Jul 14, 2024  
Catalogue 2023-2024 
Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AMST 100 - Introduction to American Studies

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
This course reveals and challenges the histories of the categories that contribute to the definition of “America.” The course explores ideas such as nationhood and the nation-state, democracy and citizenship, ethnic and racial identity, myths of frontier and facts of empire, borders and expansion, normativity and representation, sovereignty and religion, regionalism and transnationalism as these inform our understanding of the United States and American national identity. One goal of the course is to introduce students to important concepts and works in American Studies. Either AMST 100 or AMST 102  or AMST 105  will satisfy the 100-level core requirement of the American Studies major. Topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course.

Topic for 2023/24a: The American Secular. (Same in RELI 100 ) Is there a distinct realm in American politics and culture called the secular, a space or a mode of public discourse that is crucially free of and from the category of religion? This class considers the sorts of theoretical and historical moments in American life, letters, and practice that have, on the one hand, insisted the importance and necessity of such a realm, and on the other hand, resisted the very notion that religion should be kept out of the American public square. We ask whether it is possible or even desirable—in our politics, in our public institutions, in ourselves—to conceive of the secular and the religious as radically opposed. We ask if there are better ways to conceive of the secular and the religious in American life, ways that acknowledge their mutual interdependence rather than their exclusivity. Jonathon Kahn.

Priority given to first-year students and sophomores.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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