American Studies Course Descriptions

AMS 2311 Social Change and Photography in America (3 semester hours) This course exposes students to a broad range of images from the tradition of American documentary photography in order to help them better understand the role that such images play in social change. After briefly familiarizing ourselves with the history of photography and photographic methods, we will trace the history of documentary photography in the United States from the late 19th century to the present. (Same as GST 2311) (3-0) R

AMS 2312 Social and Political Legacies of the 1960s (3 semester hours) This course examines the social and political movements of the 1960s and links those activities to more recent debates regarding various forms of political thought and action in American society. We will follow the history of the sixties in order to enhance our understanding of the people, events, and places that not only defined this decade but which have also impacted American society in subsequent decades. Course readings and lectures will be supplemented by a wide range of media including songs, commercials, print advertisements, movies, and documentary footage. (Same as GST 2312) (3-0) R

AMS 2341 American Studies for the Twenty-First Century (3 semester hours) An introduction to American cultural studies, its theories, and methodologies. Topics may include: religion and politics; transnationalism; gender and sexuality; class, labor and consumption; race and ethnicity. Develops students’ abilities to interpret cultural texts, to make and evaluate historical and literary arguments, and to situate contemporary cultural debates in larger historical and theoretical frames. (3-0) Y

AMS 2390 Topics in American Studies (3 semester hours) May be repeated for credit as topics vary (9 hours maximum). (3-0) R

AMS 3300 American Popular Culture (3 semester hours) Examines American culture from the colonial period to the present through some of its most popular cultural forms: fiction, film, magazines, advertising, music, sports, television and media. Considers the economics of cultural production, ways of critically reading popular texts, and how consumers make use of popular culture. Pays particular attention to the ways gender, race, and class influence how popular texts are created and consumed. (3-0) Y

AMS 3302 American Cultures (3 semester hours) Study of contemporary American cultures. Examines institutions, culture regions, and the interaction between mainstream American culture and various subcultures. (3-0) Y

AMS 3313 Public Relations (3 semester hours) Study of the techniques used by U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals to create and foster the public images they desire. (3-0) Y

AMS 3314 Public Communication (3 semester hours) Study of communication theory in relation to ways in which the U.S. government and other institutions present themselves. (3-0) Y

AMS 3316 Interpersonal Communication (3 semester hours) Study of theory and practice of interpersonal communication. The focus will be on learning and applying various concepts and skills needed to improve the quality and effectiveness of communication in both personal and professional aspects of life. (3-0) Y

AMS 3317 United States and the World Community (3 semester hours) An examination of the relationships among the United States, its sociocultural institutions, and the world community. Topics will include globalization, foreign relations, and national security issues. (3-0) R

AMS 3318 Contemporary American Conflicts (3 semester hours) An investigation of the core tensions and strains in contemporary American society and culture with emphasis on individual freedoms vs. social responsibility, pluralism, social inequality, gender, and poverty and prosperity. (3-0) R

AMS 3321 American Ethnic Experience: Immigrants Before 1945 (3 semester hours) Study of the experiences, conditions, and contributions of the old immigrants who came to America before 1945. The course examines the making of mainstream American culture, persistence of ethnic subcultures, and changes in ethnic relations. (3-0) R

AMS 3322 American Ethnic Experience: Immigrants After 1945 (3 semester hours) Study of the experiences, conditions, and contributions of the new immigrants who have arrived in America since 1945. Topics include the changes in immigration policies, new patterns of ethnic relations, and impact of new immigrants on American society. (3-0) T

AMS 3326 The U.S. in the 21st Century (3 semester hours) An exploration of 21st-century scenarios for the U.S. by studying the conditions and trends in the 1990s. The course examines the future roles of the U.S. in the world community. (3-0) T

AMS 3350 Crisis Communication (3 semester hours) An introduction to the concepts, terms, strategies and foundations of communication prior to, during and after a crisis. This course looks beyond the basic elements of communication into how a crisis changes elements of communication. (3-0) R

AMS 3370 Organized Crime in America (3 semester hours) An examination of how the vast network of organized crime has become an ineradicable part of the nation's special fabric and how it alters the ways in which legitimate business is done. Emphasis is placed on understanding the phenomenon and its implications for American life. (3-0) Y

AMS 3374 Entrepreneurs in America (3 semester hours) An interdisciplinary introduction to various kinds of entrepreneurial ventures. The basic purpose of the course is to discover and understand the factors that govern the success (or failure) of entrepreneurial ventures and the role of the entrepreneur in a capitalist economy. (3-0) R

AMS 4300 Oral and Written Communication for the Classroom (3 semester hours) This course provides future teachers with the ability to understand, use, and teach standard American English grammar rules and to employ effective speaking techniques as well as write efficacious sentences, paragraphs, and essays and make effective oral presentations. By becoming proficient in these areas, future teachers will know how to score student essays and deliver viable classroom instruction. (3-0) T

AMS 4304 Communication in America (3 semester hours) Examines the basic verbal and non-verbal elements affecting communication in American society. Perspectives to be addressed include communication across cultures, gender differences in communication, interpersonal communication styles, and communication in peer groups, families, and work contexts. In addition, the effects of technology on communication and its impact on individuals and society will be explored. (3-0) T

AMS 4305 World History for Teachers (3 semester hours) This course is a comprehensive thematic survey of world history that parallels the standards in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) as required for teachers in grades 8 through 12. (3-0) T

AMS 4310 Terrorism and American Foreign Policy (3 semester hours) Explores in depth the ways in which critical areas of American foreign policy have been influenced by terrorist events often led by shadowy forces difficult to defend against. (3-0) Y

AMS 4325 War and Its Influence on American Life (3 semester hours) This course will offer a rigorous examination of the theory of war and its diverse practical implications for American power in the 21st Century. From a solid base of classical theories, it will explore the expanding United States involvement in the salient conflicts of the 20th Century and chart the likely future of warfare in an age where destructiveness on a global scale threatens the very existence of mankind. (3-0) R

AMS 4360 Rebels and Reformers: Women and Alcohol in America (3 semester hours) Examines women’s historical role as crusaders against alcohol and identifies how the role of reformer was gendered. Identifies the genesis of the disease concept of alcoholism and how it was applied to women and men in different ways. Examines gendered ideas about male and female drinking and how they are represented in popular culture, literature, and film. (Same as GST 4360) (3-0) R

AMS 4378 Contemporary Studies of America (3 semester hours) Subject matter will vary from semester to semester with emphasis on America in the modern era. May be repeated for credit as topics vary (9 hours maximum). (3-0) Y

AMS 4379 Topics in American Studies (3 semester hours) Subject matter will vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit as topics vary (9 hours maximum). (3-0) Y

AMS 4381 Senior Honors in American Studies (3 semester hours) Required for graduation magna cum laude or summa cum laude. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 39 and no more than 45 hours of work towards a degree in American Studies and consent of instructor. (3-0) S

AMS 4382 Global Economy (3 semester hours) Considers the changing relationships of population, resources, and the economy, the transformation of classical spatial economies, and the processes producing increasing globalization. Particular attention is paid to technological change and to the dynamics of world trade and investment. This course is also recommended for students who are not economics majors. (3-0) T

AMS 4383 Media Issues (3 semester hours) Investigates the impact and influence of the mass media on society today, using classical techniques of argument and evidence. Students engage in debate-styled discussions about topics, such as V-chip technology, TV talk shows, criminal trial news coverage, TV violence, and American values, among others. (3-0) T

AMS 4385 Professional Communications in Business (3 semester hours) Combines theory and practice in improving both the written and spoken word in business. Students learn to evaluate professional and technical audiences and how to communicate more effectively to those audiences. Principles of composition, organization, tone, format, and punctuation are reviewed. Exercises in effective speaking and group presentations are also conducted. (3-0) T

AMS 4V80 Independent Study (1-6 semester hours) Independent study under a faculty member's direction. May be repeated for credit. Consent of instructor required. ([1-6]-0) S