Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Courses Offered

American Studies

A list of regularly offered courses follows. The indication of when a course will be offered is based on the best projection of the department and can be subject to change.

Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement.

100. Introduction to American Studies. (S)

An interdisciplinary introduction to American identity. Examines expressions of national identity in arts and popular culture. Pays particular attention to race, ethnicity and gender from the 19th through the early 20th centuries. Clark, Kieran, Schuyler

150. Introduction to African American Studies. (S)

The development of the United States as a global and multiracial society. Topics can include the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries; Pan Africanism, mass media in the African Diaspora; the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights movement. Same as AFS 150. Clark

167. American Spiritualities. (H)

Surveys the dominant tradition of American religious practice: spirituality. The goals of this course encompass the study of different forms of spirituality in the United States past and present. The course will familiarize you with mainstream as well as alternative spiritual practices, from Puritan Devotions and the Lakota Sundance to evangelicalism, political radicalism and various modes of artistic production. The course seeks to trace major outlines of development from past to present and to illuminate the meaning of spirituality for our time and in relation to American history. Same as RST 167. Lardas Modern

203. Cultural History of American Religion. (H)

Examines the relationship between religion and culture in the United States from approximately 1492 to the present. In addition to looking at liturgical forms of religion and surveying various religious movements and groups, we will explore 1) how cultural forms serve as vehicles of religious meaning; 2) how religious values are expressed and/or criticized in everyday social life; and 3) the interaction between religion and developments within the political, social, economic and philosophical spheres. Same as RST 203. Lardas Modern

213. Black American Film. (A)

An introduction to film studies using black film as a genre of Hollywood and independent film. Covers the work of Oscar Michaux through the “blaxploitation” films of the 1970s and beyond. Explores films as social commentary in their particular historical contexts. Particular attention is given to screen analysis of segregation, sexuality, class differences and more. Same as AFS/TDF/WGS 213. Clark

236. U.S. Empire. (S)

From the Mexican War through World War II (1845 – 1945) the U.S. developed the intellectual and diplomatic arguments of empire while acquiring the territory necessary for achieving global predominance. This course examines this rise to world power, including territorial expansion, European diplomacy, world wars and the exertion of influence into Mexico from a historical perspective that includes both critics and supporters of U.S. world involvement. Same as HIS 236. Stevenson

238. Dance on the American Musical Stage. (A)

A lecture-survey, supplemented by studio experiences, of musical stage dancing in America from the colonial period to the present. Dance styles covered include acrobatic, ballet, ballroom, melodrama, exotic, folk, jazz, modern and tap. Same as TDF 238. Brooks

243. American Art. (A)

Historical and aesthetic consideration of architecture, painting, decorative arts and sculpture produced in the United States from colonial settlement through the 1913 Armory Show. Course themes include the social functions of works of art, the relationship of U.S. and European cultures, the role of art in building a national identity, the development of an infrastructure of art institutions and the contrast and connection between popular and elite art. Same as ART 243. Clapper

245. Baseball in American Literature and Culture. (H)

How do the history of baseball, writings about baseball and the playing of the “national pastime” reflect and shape American values, social conflicts and identity? An exploration through readings in baseball literature and history. Topics include: American idealism and the American Dream; democracy and free enterprise; race and class conflicts; hero worship; patriotism; ethics (including corruption and disillusionment); and masculine identity. Same as ENG 245. O’Hara

251. Issues in Modern and Contemporary American Drama. (A)

A literary and theatrical examination of representative American Drama from the early twentieth century to the present, emphasizing developments since 1950. The focus of this study is on how and why Americans and American life have been depicted onstage as they have and the powerful effect this range of depictions has had on American identity and the American imagination. Same as ENG/TDF 251. C. Davis

256. African American Literature I. (H)

Significant writers from the colonial period through the 19th century are studied to establish the Black literary tradition in the developing nation. Same as AFS/ENG/WGS 256. Bernard

257. African American Literature II. (H)

Selected writers from the Harlem Renaissance through the Black Aesthetics movement comprise the modern Black literary tradition in America. Same as AFS/ENG/WGS 257. Bernard

261. North American Indians of the Eastern Woodlands. (NW) (S)

A survey of the past and present diversity of indigenous peoples in the Eastern Woodlands of the United States and Canada. The focus is on the prehistoric archaeology of the region, the consequences of European colonization on native groups and the struggles and achievements of indigenous peoples today. An examination of issues ranging from the controversy that surrounds the initial settlement of the Eastern Woodlands by Native Americans to contemporary debates on federal recognition and sovereignty. Prerequisite: ANT 100 or 102. Same as ANT 261. M. A Levine

280. American Landscape. (S)

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the American landscape as it has evolved over centuries of human habitation, this course pays particular attention to three themes: the domesticated and designed landscape of the mid-nineteenth century; the crusade to preserve nature and the establishment of national and state parks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and the sprawling, seemingly formless automobile-dominated landscape of the late twentieth century. Same as ENV 280. Schuyler

300. Urban America. (S)

An interdisciplinary approach to the evolution of American metropolitan areas as physical spaces and social-cultural environments. Topics include the economy of cities, urban politics and cultural conflict, immigration, city planning, suburbanization, and the modern metropolis. Schuyler

310. American Masculinities. (S)

This course explores the importance of masculinity and its various constructions in American history and the contemporary period. We begin by examining the theoretical and historical foundations of American masculinities. We will focus on key ways in which men (and women) sustain and recreate masculinities. Topics include manhood and the workplace, politics, sports, courtship, fatherhood, military, immigration and ethnicity, crime and prisons and religion. Same as HIS/WGS 310. Deslippe

320. Women in American Society and Politics Since 1890. (S)

An interdisciplinary study of the various ways women have participated in American society and politics. Topics include the suffrage movement, modern modes of political participation and the New Deal and World War II. Critical analysis of the meaning of feminism and special attention to the post-1945 period. Same as HIS/WGS 320. Stevenson

322. Buddhism in North America. (H)

Focuses on some of the distinctive forms that Buddhism has taken in North America. Discusses a number of traditions, including Theravada, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, comparing their American versions with those in Asia and addressing the transformations of various Buddhist traditions to accommodate American lifestyles and views. Also addresses a number of issues pertinent to Buddhism in America and the West, such as Buddhist identity, ethnicity, gender issues, authority and social activism. Same as RST 322. McMahan

327. Cinema and the American Jewish Experience. (S)

Course explores representations of American Jewish life, culture and religion in cinema. Using an historical perspective, it analyzes the different ways in which Jewish identity and culture have been represented in American film. Looks at history of Jews in the United States, Jewish involvement in the film industry and anti-Semitism. Films viewed weekly, including feature films and several documentaries, in class and in an extra viewing session. Same as HIS/JST/RST 327. Hoffman

330. Ethnic America. (S)

This course explores the meaning and significance of ethnicity in America. It does so by examining the historical and contemporary experiences of immigrants and their children. The heart of the course is class discussion of the readings, films, and primary documents. We will augment these with group work, lectures, and short documentary and feature film clips. In addition to completing weekly short reading response papers and submitting a take-home final examination, students will submit a “film fest” essay on three feature films that address ethnicity and a “lecture proposal” project in which they will propose a new topic to be included in a future offering of “Ethnic America.” Same as HIS 330. Deslippe

339. Civil War and Reconstruction. (S)

Interdisciplinary course asks students to investigate the causes, events, results of the American Civil War and its enduring impact on American life. The class usually takes one all-day trip to battlefields. No prerequisite, although some background in 19th-century history is helpful. Same as HIS 339. Stevenson

350. Studying the American Experience. (S)

An examination of the principal methods and paradigms used in conceptualizing, researching and writing in American Studies. Usually completed in the junior year. Topics vary. Stevenson

390. Independent Study.

391. Directed Reading.

Tutorial. Topics adapted to the knowledge and interests of the individual student. Admission by consent of the instructor.

410. Girl Culture. (H)

This class explores the popular culture of American girls. We consider the representation of girls in American popular culture and the cultural constructions of “girlhood” itself. We follow girls as consumers, spectators, readers and producers of popular culture in contemporary and historical contexts. We are particularly interested in the role that popular culture plays in several contemporary problems associated with American girls: self-esteem, early sexualization, eating disorders, and violence. Our main case studies are dolls, children’s television, the quinceanera, and girl zines. Prerequisites: WGS 210 or AMS 100 or permission. Same as WGS 410. Kibler

420. Selected Topics in the Cultural and Intellectual History of the United States. (S)

Recent topics include: “Lincoln” and “National Discourse.” Same as HIS 420.  Stevenson

489. Senior Seminar. (S)

A capstone or integrative seminar. Topics vary. Kibler

490. Independent Study.

Topics courses EXPECTED to be offered in 2014 – 2015

World War I and the U.S.

American Advertising.

Frederick Law Olmsted’s America.

Pops and Jelly Roll.


The courses listed below have been approved as American Studies electives by the American Studies Committee. They have been selected on the basis of being self-conscious about their American subject matter as a problem or issue or because of the questions they raise about American identity. Other courses that meet these criteria, such as topics courses, may be approved by the Chairperson of American Studies. Students should be aware that some of these courses have prerequisites.


AMS—Other elective American Studies courses, if appropriate.

ART 243. American Art.

ART 271. Lancaster: Bricks and Mortar.

ART 371. American Photography.

ENG 162. America from Outside.

ENG 206. American Tradition I.

ENG 207. American Tradition II.

ENG 208. American Tradition III.

ENG 259 Contemporary American Short Story.

ENG 252. American Novel.

ENG 263. Contemporary American Novel.

ENG 273. Graphic Novel.

ENG 461 – 489. Author seminars, where appropriate.

MUS 105. Jazz.

MUS 106. History of the Blues.

MUS 112. American Music.

PHI 317. 20th-Century American Philosophy.

TDF 238. Dance on the American Musical Stage.


AMS—Other elective American Studies courses, if appropriate.

BOS 332. Law, Ethics and Society.

ECO 310. Labor Economics.

ECO 330. Public Finance and Social Choice.

GOV 203. American Political Tradition.

GOV 210. American Presidency.

GOV 211. Urban Government.

GOV 219. City and State Gov.

GOV 230. Foreign Policy Analysis.

GOV 231. National Security Policy.

GOV 310 Campaigns and Elections.

GOV 312. The Congress.

GOV 313. The Bureaucracy.

GOV 314. American Constitution.

GOV 315. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

GIV 318. Media and Public Opinion.

GOV 320. Environmental Law.

GOV 370, 470. Topics in American Politics.

HIS 331, 332. African American History.

HIS 334. American South.

HIS 345. America Since 1945.

HIS 409, 411. Selected Studies/Social and Political History.

HIS 420. Selected Studies/Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States.

PBH 303. Problem-Solving Courts/Drug Court

PBH 388. Public Health Research.

STS 383. History of American Science and Technology.

SOC 330. Sociology of Medicine.

SOC 372, Sociology of the Family.

SOC 350. Sociology of Gender.

SOC 360. Race and Ethnic Relations.

SOC 384. Urban Education.

SOC 420. Sociology of Education.