American Culture Studies Minor

Required Courses for the American Culture Studies Minor

A student must successfully complete, at Fontbonne, a minimum of 50 percent of the credit hours required for the minor.

Core courses:

  • ACS 100

    Introduction to American Culture Studies

    3 credits

    A general introduction to American studies and its
    problems and contexts. Students will consider what and
    who defines America (and how) through interdisciplinary
    readings and discussions. Students will develop critical
    thinking and analytic skills to help them develop skills for
    interpreting American culture. Fulfills a specialized
    valuing general education requirement.

  • ACS 200

    America Abroad

    3 credits

    An examination of the meaning of “America” outside its own borders, with emphasis on the last sixty years with an emphasis on the intersection of popular culture and foreign policy, as well as on globalization. Instructors will draw from film, television, politics, journalism, history, literature, music, art, and other media.

  • ACS 300

    Topics in American Culture Studies

    3 credits

    Various topics in American studies will be offered on a
    rotating basis. Sample topics include The Holocaust in
    American Life, The American Family, The American
    City Since 1945, and The American Photograph.

The elective courses, drawn from offerings in other departments, are listed below. Students must choose one course from each of the following clusters.

In addition, the chair of the department of interdisciplinary studies may approve Special Topics or Dedicated Semester courses to count toward this minor program on a one-time basis. See the chair of the department of interdisciplinary studies for further information.

Cluster 1:

  • ART 207

    High Art, Propaganda, and Kitsch

    3 credits

    Meets the specialized valuing component of the general
    education requirements. Through the examination of
    works of art and artists, students will evaluate the uses of
    art, both current and historical, to better understand the
    role it has in contemporary society, and the methods used
    in critiquing art.

  • ART 313

    The American Photograph

    3 credits

    This class offers students an opportunity to explore the human figure further in terms of real sense of space and solid forms, as well as skin color. This class requires the completion of two life-size figure paintings: male and female with long term rendering through Grisaille, which is the value study of human form and color skin sensitivity with the source of light interaction based upon realistic and impressionistic color theory.

  • MUS 106

    American Popular Music

    3 Credits

    Social, economic, and musical foundations of ragtime, jazz, swing, and popular music, with a special emphasis on the best work of America’s most distinguished popular music composers and lyricists. Some emphasis on the verbal, melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic characteristics that distinguishes the American popular song and its creators.

  • SOC 225

    Contemporary Social Theory

    3 Credits
  • SOC 235

    Social Stratification

    3 credits

    An examination of the changing patterns of social
    stratification in the United States with an emphasis on
    class, gender, and race. Topics include principles and
    theories of stratification, inequality, income, education,
    and social mobility. Prerequisite: SOC 100.

  • SOC 245

    Social Theory

    3 credits

    An introduction to theorizing as a skill, while also providing students with the tools to develop theories about social phenomena and the social world. The major works of classical and contemporary sociological theorists are integrated and evaluated as examples of the theorizing process.

  • SOC 265

    Diversity Studies

    3 credits

    An introduction to central debates in the sociological
    literature on diverse groups. Discussion of issues such as
    power and inequality, prejudice and discrimination, social
    justice, and social policy. Prerequisite: SOC 100.

  • WGS 101

    Introduction to Women’s Studies

    3 Credits

    This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of women’s studies. Readings in feminist theory and research, autobiography, and the history of women’s rights activism will provide a framework for an investigation of major themes in women’s lives. Using contemporary cultures of the United States as our primary field of study, we will also explore dominant ideas about gender, one of the primary terms through which human beings articulate identity, define social roles, and assign status. We will consider as well how notions of gender intersect with other components of experiences such as those related to nationality, culture, ethnicity, race, class, age, religion, and sexuality. Fulfills specialized valuing general education requirement.

  • WGS 220


    3 credits

    The course introduces students to main categories, topics,
    and research of masculinity studies. Through theoretical
    readings and discussions of popular culture, we will focus
    on the central debates around men and masculinities. We
    will examine the following questions:
    _ How is masculinity constructed and maintained in
    _ How do we learn to be men and play masculinity in
    everyday life?
    _ How do race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality affect our
    _ What is the relationship between masculinity and
    sexed bodies?
    Analyzing male sexuality, intimacy, violence,
    homophobia, and gender equality, we will pay
    considerable attention to different forms of masculinity
    and masculinity politics in the contemporary world.

Cluster 2:

  • COM 210

    Rhetorical Criticism

    3 credits

    Introduces students to a variety of rhetorical methods and
    perspectives that can be used to evaluate public discourse.
    By reading works of rhetorical criticism, engaging in
    class discussion, and writing and presenting individual
    reports, students will consider the constructed nature of
    public discourse in a variety of contexts and explore the
    methodological issues inherent in assessing that
    discourse. Students will integrate theory and practice in a
    critical essay. Prerequisites: ENG 101; ENG 102; COM

  • COM 380


    3 credits

    This course will introduce students to persuasion theory
    and research. Students will become more critical
    consumers and producers of persuasive messages as they
    examine persuasion in a variety of contexts, and from a
    diverse set of theoretical perspectives. The course will
    culminate in the application and/or appraisal of a
    persuasive campaign. During Presidential election years,
    this course may be offered as Political Persuasion.
    Prerequisite: COM 102 or COM 103.

  • ENG 255

    African-American Literature

    3 credits

    And introduction to the literature of African Americans
    from the slave narrative to the present and an opportunity
    to analyze and interrogate issues of race, identity, and
    gender in the works of African-American writers. Offered
    even years.

  • ENG 260

    American Literary Tradition: to Whitman

    3 Credits

    Consideration of important movements, writers, and works from the Colonial Period to the Civil War; examination of colonial literature, revolutionary literature, the slave narrative, transcendentalism, and the sentimental novel. (pre-18

  • ENG 261

    American Literary Tradition: since Whitman

    3 Credits

    Consideration of important movements, writers, and works of the late 19th century and of the 20th century; emphasis on realism, naturalism, regionalism, modernism, and postmodernism.

  • ENG 337

    American Literary Renaissance

    3 Credits
  • ENG 355

    African-American Literature

    3 Credits
  • ENG 365

    Development of the American Novel

    3 Credits

Cluster 3:

  • HST 105

    Introduction to American History I

    3 credits

    Promotes a better understanding of the multiple origins and development of the United States from the precolonial period through the end of the Civil War, including attention to French, Spanish, and British colonization; the American Revolution; development of the Constitution; the Northwest Ordinances and Louisiana Purchase; slavery and debates over expansion; Indian removal; Jacksonian democracy; the Mexican-American War; and the Civil War. Develops skills of historical thinking through interpretation and analysis of primary and secondary sources. FA

  • HST 106

    Introduction to American History II

    3 credits

    Traces U.S. history from the Reconstruction period to the present day, exploring questions and issues related to government, technology and transportation, women’s roles and rights, race and Civil Rights, immigration, the growth of the consumer economy and mass media, work and labor issues, and war and foreign affairs. Promotes a better understanding of the United States and how it has developed through study of the American past. Covers Reconstruction after the Civil War, Big Business and Reform, the Progressive Era, WW I, the Roaring Twenties, the Depression, WW II, the U.S. since WW II. SP

  • HST 310

    African-American History

    3 credits

    Provides an introduction to African-American history.
    Establishes a broad foundation for understanding the
    influence on America of the African-American
    community from pre-slavery to contemporary times.
    Topics include Pre-slavery, Colonialism, The Civil War,
    Jim Crow Laws, Reconstruction, The Harlem
    Renaissance, The Civil Rights Movement, and
    Contemporary Issues.

  • HST 340

    American Social History

    3 credits

    Study of America from the colonial period to the present,
    emphasizing the forces that divided the united American
    society-assimilation of minority groups, the influence of
    religious institutions, and the impact of industrialization
    and urbanization.

  • SSC 201

    American Economy

    3 Credits

    A study of the development of the American economy from the colonial period to its present position as a major world economic power. A study of economic theory— how the American economy works today through the free market system and regulation, and what the future may hold.

  • GOV 230

    American National Government

    3 credits

    Historical background, organization, and functions of the American National Government; study of the operation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in today’s environment and a study of the current political process in the United States.

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