Dec 08, 2022  
2013-2015 University Catalog 
    
2013-2015 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies, Department of


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Department Chair

Leila Zenderland

Department Office/Website

University Hall 313
657-278-2441
amst.fullerton.edu

Faculty

Erica Ball, Jesse Battan, Adam Golub, John Ibson, Carrie Lane, Elaine Lewinnek, Karen Lystra, Terri Snyder, Michael Steiner, Pamela Steinle, Susie Woo, Leila Zenderland

Introduction

American Studies gives students a thorough understanding of the past and present nature of American culture and society. Three central features of our approach are: (1) an emphasis on the analysis of culture - that shared system of beliefs, behaviors, symbols and material objects through which Americans give meaning to their lives; (2) examination of dominant culture patterns, as well as the diversity of cultures in America; and (3) an interdisciplinary perspective that uses both the social sciences and humanities.

Besides providing a rich liberal arts education, training in the major develops skills in writing and analysis, and strengthens the ability to recognize connections among complex materials and diverse phenomena. American studies graduates enter careers in business, communications, government service, law, social services and teaching. The major is also a fine background for graduate work in the field or in related fields.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Bachelor’s Degree

The following learning goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in American Studies:

Interdisciplinary Sensibility

  • Develop a rigorous concept of culture and cultural process as well as an interdisciplinary sensibility, becoming aware of connections among the social sciences and the humanities
  • Develop an interdisciplinary interpretive framework for studying American culture, cultural diversity, and cultural processes in ways that will enable students to solve practical and theoretical problems
  • Have a working knowledge of the history of the field of American studies-its theories, methods, and intellectual justifications

Cultural Diversity

  • Gain a thorough understanding of cultural diversity by examining the creative tension between unity and multiplicity in American experiences
  • Identify a variety of examples of cultural diversity and commonality in America’s past and present, demonstrating an awareness of the similarities, differences and relationships among the multitude of American groups
  • Explain how categories of difference - including race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality - are culturally constructed and vary according to historical, regional and social contexts
  • Understand and demonstrate how cultural beliefs and practices have played a role in both the exercise of and resistance to power throughout American history
  • Understand and interpret the ways in which culture creates meaning and guides behavior

Interpreting American Culture

  • Critically analyze and interpret a spectrum of cultural documents and expressive forms, ranging from popular to folk to elite expressions, from mass media to material culture
  • Employ both historical and contemporary perspectives in order to situate these documents in relevant individual and social as well as local, national and global contexts

Research, Writing and Expressive Skills

  • Learn research, writing and expressive skills to see connections among complex materials and to clearly communicate an understanding of the underlying meanings and causes of cultural/ historical events
  • Design and carry out an original interdisciplinary research project on American culture
  • Discover primary and secondary sources (hard copy as well as digital) using the library’s resources
  • Analyze and synthesize material from primary and secondary sources in order to create a coherent argument based on evidence
  • Develop an original thesis and support that thesis through the thoughtful use of a variety of properly cited sources
  • Communicate their research findings through clear, wellorganized written and oral presentations
  • Develop critical thinking, writing and interpretive skills

Social Issues and Cultural Contexts

  • Become informed and engaged American citizens, able to situate current political and social issues within their historical and cultural contexts
  • Understand the historical origins and cultural significance of current movements for social change
  • Situate the historical and contemporary study of American culture in a global context, demonstrating an understanding of the ways American culture has been shaped by diaspora, colonialism and globalization

Master’s Degree

The following learning goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a master’s degree in American Studies:

Interdisciplinary Sensibility

  • Develop a rigorous concept of culture and cultural process, as well as an interdisciplinary sensibility, demonstrating an advanced understanding of connections among the social sciences and the humanities
  • Develop an advanced interdisciplinary interpretive framework for studying American culture, cultural diversity and cultural processes in ways that will enable students to solve practical and theoretical problems
  • Have an advanced knowledge of the history of the field of American Studies - and of at least one outside disciplinary field
  • Develop an advanced understanding of the theoretical and methodological approaches used in American Studies and interdisciplinary scholarship

Cultural Diversity

  • Gain a thorough understanding of cultural diversity by examining the creative tension between unity and multiplicity in American experiences
  • Indentify a variety of examples of cultural diversity and commonality in America’s past and present, demonstrating an advanced understanding of the similarities, differences and relationships among the multitude of American groups
  • Explain how categories of difference - including race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality - are culturally constructed and vary according to historical, regional and social contexts
  • Understand and demonstrate how cultural beliefs and practices have played a role in both the exercise of and resistance to power throughout American history
  • Articulate a critical awareness of the conceptual approaches to the study of cultural diversity

Interpreting American Culture

  • Understand and interpret the ways in which culture creates meaning and guides behavior
  • Critically analyze and interpret a spectrum of cultural documents and expressive forms, ranging from popular to folk to elite expressions; from mass media to material culture
  • Employ both historical and contemporary perspectives in order to situate these documents in relevant individual and social, as well as local, national and global contexts
  • Develop an advanced understanding of the theoretical approaches to the study of culture

Research, Writing and Expressive Skills

  • Demonstrate advanced research, writing and expressive skills to see connections among complex materials and to clearly communicate an understanding of the underlying meanings and causes of cultural/historical events
  • Design and carry out original interdisciplinary research projects on American culture
  • Discover primary and secondary sources (hard copy, as well as digital) using the library’s resources
  • Analyze and synthesize material from primary and secondary sources in order to create a coherent argument based on evidence
  • Develop an original thesis and support that thesis through the thoughtful use of a variety of properly cited sources
  • Communicate research findings through clear, well-organized written and oral presentations
  • Devlop advanced critical thinking, writing and interpretive skills
  • Develop the ability to adhere to scholarly conventions in research, writing and documentation

Social Issues and Cultural Contexts

  • Become informed and engaged American citizens able to situate current political and social issues within their historical and cultural contexts
  • Develop an advanced understanding of the historical origins and cultural significance of current movements for social change
  • Situate the historical and contemporary study of American culture in a global context, demonstrating an understanding of the ways American culture has been shaped by Diaspora, colonialism and globalization

Teaching Credential

Because American Studies is interdisciplinary, the major may be effectively combined with subject matter studies necessary for either the multiple subject teaching credential (K-8) or single subject credential (7-12) in History/Social Science. Undergraduates are encouraged to work with the Center for Careers in Teaching (657-278-7130) as early as possible in their academic careers to plan efficient course selections for general education, the major and electives. With careful planning, it may be possible to enter the credential program in the senior year of the bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate students should contact the Admission to Teacher Education office in the College of Education (657-278-3352) to obtain information on attending an overview presentation.

Double Major in American Studies

A double major in American Studies is often simple to arrange, since it allows for up to 12 units of coursework in the department of the other major to be used to complete the requirements of our major.

Programs and Courses Offered

Programs

    Bachelor of ArtsMaster of ArtsNon-Degree

    Courses

      American Studies

      Courses are designated as AMST in the class schedule.

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