American Studies

The purpose of the American Studies program at Fairfield University is for students to engage the idea of America as it has been culturally imagined and contested throughout history, both within and beyond U.S. national borders. Students also consider their own place, engagement, and responsibilities as participants in the unfolding narratives of America within a global context. Interdisciplinary in its goal, the program draws from a wide range of courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences in order to help students develop the ability to read America, in all its manifestations, as a rich and dynamic cultural artifact.

Offered as both a major and minor, our course variety allows you to create your own line of study, or a double major – combining American Studies with a traditional academic discipline – giving you some extra advantages towards future careers in business, law, education, public service or graduate studies.

American Studies Courses

AS 0200 Roots of American Culture3 Credits

Prerequisite: One American Studies Gateway course.

This course provides an introduction to the study of American culture. In familiarizing students with the variety of interdisciplinary ways to approach American Studies, students will examine the diverse experiences, intellectual traditions, and cultural touchstones that make American life a rich and fascinating object of study. Using a variety of sources, students will survey the following themes: race, ethnicity and immigration; expression and imagination; values and ethics; gender; institutional power and politics; and America as a global identity.

AS 0201 The American Intellectual Tradition3 Credits

A seminar on major ideas and themes that have helped shape American life, this course makes a conscious effort to demonstrate the interaction between intellectual, social, and cultural dynamics in the formation of America.

AS 0350 Internship1-3 Credits

The internship program allows students to gain on-site access experience in a wide variety of fields, including, but not limited to, law, marketing, magazine publishing. These positions are available upon recommendation of the program intern supervisor, under whose guidance the students assume the jobs, which require 10-15 hours a week. Students may take one internship for credit toward the American Studies major. Students may take a second internship for elective credit. Enrollment by permission of the program intern supervisor only.

AS 0361 American Civil War: Myth and Reality3 Credits

Attributes: ASHI American Studies: History

This course exposes students to an interdisciplinary method of learning. While using standard historical texts to establish the facts regarding the American Civil War, this course explores the sometimes confusing and contradictory versions of the Civil War as depicted in literature, photography, feature films, documentary films, music, painting, and other modes of expression.

AS 0383 America in the 1930s: A Decade of Change3 Credits

Attributes: ASHI American Studies: History

The Great Depression represents the catalytic agent in America's extraordinary transformation in the 1930s, a decade during which the changes in the economic and political sectors provided the matter for American cultural life. This course acquaints students with the complexities of this pivotal period in American life through feature films and documentaries, popular and serious fiction, the American theatre of the time, popular music, public and private art, and mass circulation and little magazines, while introducing them to an interdisciplinary methodology.

AS 0389 Literature and Religion: The American Experience3 Credits

This course surveys the relationship of literature to religion in the history of American letters. Beginning with the moral didacticism of early Puritan literature, American writers have manifested a persistent concern with religio-ethical matters as well as with the impact of religious institutions in shaping our social and cultural environment. Using literary texts by major American writers, the course evaluates the critical perspective and relevance of the imaginative writer's treatment of religious questions.

AS 0399 Independent Research Project3 Credits

During their senior year, each American studies major writes a research paper under the supervision of several participating faculty members. Students integrate different intellectual disciplines in the design and execution of their projects.

American Studies Electives

Gateway Courses

Art History
American Art and Media Culture
The Black Experience: African-American Art and Criticism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
English
African Diaspora: Literature and Culture
Caribbean Literature: History, Culture, and Identity
American Women Playwrights
American Literature and the Environment
The Frontier in American Literature
Ethnic American Literature
American Literature: Myths and Legends
American Drama
American Social Protest Literature
American Short Story
Contemporary Women Writers of Color
The African American Literary Tradition
Writing the Self: Autobiography
Film
American Cinema: History and Analysis
American Television: History and Analysis
American Film: Decades (Shell)
Film Genres: The Western
History
19th Century United States
20th Century United States
Women and Gender in U.S. History
The American Century: The United States and the World Since 1900
Early America to 1800
Who Built America? Working People in America
Music
The History of Jazz
History and Development of Rock
The Life and Music of Gershwin, Ellington, and Porter
Music of Black Americans
The History of American Song
Politics
Introduction to American Politics
Introduction to the Study of Peace and Justice
American Political Thought
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
United States Foreign Policy
The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
The American Presidency
Religious Studies
Religion in the United States
I'm Spiritual, Not Religious: The American Spiritual Tradition
Sociology
American Society
American Class Structure
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations
Feminism, Gender, and Everyday Life
Theatre
American Women Playwrights
American Drama

Interdisciplinary Themes

Expression and Imagination in American Culture
The American Intellectual Tradition
American Art and Media Culture
The Black Experience: African-American Art and Criticism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
African Diaspora: Literature and Culture
Caribbean Literature: History, Culture, and Identity
American Literature and the Environment
The Frontier in American Literature
Ethnic American Literature
American Literature: Myths and Legends
American Poetry
Contemporary American Novel
American Literature: 20th Century to the Present
American Women Writers of the 19th Century
The Harlem Renaissance
African American Women Writers
African American Fiction, 1940 to Present
Native American Literature
Latin@ Literature
American Romanticism
American Realism and Naturalism
American Modernism
Contemporary American Literature and Culture
The Woman Question: Early Feminism and 19th Century Transatlantic Literature
Caribbean Women Writers
Urban Texts and Contexts: NYC
American Cinema: History and Analysis
American Television: History and Analysis
African American Cinema
American Film: Decades (Shell)
Film Genres: The Western
Examining the Sixties
The History of Jazz
History and Development of Rock
The Life and Music of Gershwin, Ellington, and Porter
The History of American Song
Critical Issues in American Popular Music: Blues to Hip Hop
New Religious Movements in America
I'm Spiritual, Not Religious: The American Spiritual Tradition
Feminism, Gender, and Everyday Life
Spanish-American Narrative
American Women Playwrights
American Drama
Power, Politics, and Institutions in America
American Social Protest Literature
19th Century United States
20th Century United States
The Personal Is Political: Women's Activism in the 1960s
Examining the Sixties
Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. History
American Constitutional and Legal History I: 1776-1900
American Constitutional and Legal History II: 1900 to Present
America Enters the World: United States Foreign Relations, 1763-1900
The American Century: The United States and the World Since 1900
Early America to 1800
Who Built America? Working People in America
American Revolution and the New Nation
Social Movements in US History: The 1960s
History of the Cold War
Ethical Theories in America
Introduction to American Politics
Introduction to the Study of Peace and Justice
American Political Thought
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
United States Foreign Policy
The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
Public Administration
The American Presidency
United States Congress
Supreme Court
Supreme Court II
Political Parties and Interest Groups
American Public Policy
United States Environmental Politics and Policy
The Battle Over Family Values in American Politics
Seminar on Feminist Theory
New Religious Movements in America
American Society
American Class Structure
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations
Urban/Suburban Sociology: NYC
Criminology
Sociology of Law
Death Penalty in America
Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in American Society
American Art and Media Culture
The Black Experience: African-American Art and Criticism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
The African American Literary Tradition
Contemporary Women Writers of Color
The Frontier in American Literature
The Harlem Renaissance
African American Women Writers
African American Fiction, 1940 to Present
Latin@ Literature
Asian Diasporas: Challenges to Citizenship
Native American Literature
American Modernism
Caribbean Women Writers
African American Cinema
19th Century United States
20th Century United States
Examining the Sixties
Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. History
Early America to 1800
Who Built America? Working People in America
American Indian History
African-American History, 1619 to 1865
Inventing Themselves: African-American Women in U.S. History
African-American History, 1865 to Present
American Revolution and the New Nation
Civil War and Reconstruction
Race, Violence, and Punishment in the United States, 1865-1976
The Long Black Freedom Struggle
Social Movements in US History: The 1960s
The History of Jazz
Music of Black Americans
Critical Issues in American Popular Music: Blues to Hip Hop
The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
Race, Cities, and Poverty
Spanish-American Narrative
Jews and Judaism in America
Islam in America
American Society
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations
History of Social Welfare
Gender in American Society
The Frontier in American Literature
Contemporary Women Writers of Color
American Women Writers of the 19th Century
African American Women Writers
Latin@ Literature
The Woman Question: Early Feminism and 19th Century Transatlantic Literature
Caribbean Women Writers
Film Genres: The Western
The Personal Is Political: Women's Activism in the 1960s
Feminism in the United States
Women and Gender in U.S. History
Family and Sexuality in U.S. History
Who Built America? Working People in America
Inventing Themselves: African-American Women in U.S. History
The History of Jazz
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
The Battle Over Family Values in American Politics
Seminar on Feminist Theory
Sociology of the Family
American Class Structure
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations
Feminism, Gender, and Everyday Life
Women: Work and Sport
History of Social Welfare
American Women Playwrights
Values and Ethics in American Culture
Roots of American Culture
American Literature and the Environment
The Frontier in American Literature
American Social Protest Literature
American Prophetic Tradition
Who Built America? Working People in America
American Indian History
The Long Black Freedom Struggle
Social Movements in US History: The 1960s
American Philosophy
Ethical Theories in America
Introduction to the Study of Peace and Justice
The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
United States Environmental Politics and Policy
The Battle Over Family Values in American Politics
Jews and Judaism in America
American Catholic Theologians
New Religious Movements in America
I'm Spiritual, Not Religious: The American Spiritual Tradition
Sociology of the Family
Sociology of Religion
Race, Cities, and Poverty
Sociology of Law
Death Penalty in America
History of Social Welfare
Criminal Justice System Seminar
America and the World
African Diaspora: Literature and Culture
Caribbean Literature: History, Culture, and Identity
Ethnic American Literature
Latin@ Literature
Asian Diasporas: Challenges to Citizenship
Caribbean Women Writers
Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. History
America Enters the World: United States Foreign Relations, 1763-1900
The American Century: The United States and the World Since 1900
Early America to 1800
History of the Cold War
East Asia in 20th-Century American Wars
United States Foreign Policy
Seminar on Feminist Theory
Islam in America
Sociology of Religion
Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations
Spanish-American Narrative

Director

Bayers (English)

Faculty

Alphonso (Politics)
Bucki (History)
Carolan (Modern Languages and Literatures)
Downie (Politics)
Eliasoph (Visual and Performing Arts)
Garvey (English)
Hohl (History)
Lawrence (History)
LoMonaco (Visual and Performing Arts)
McFadden (History)
Nash (Visual and Performing Arts)
Nguyen (Religious Studies)
O’Driscoll (English)
Orlando (English)
Petrino (English)
Rajan (English)
Schlichting (Sociology and Anthropology)
Torff (Visual and Performing Arts)
Umansky (Religious Studies)
Willsky-Ciollo (Religious Studies)