Course Descriptions

For students entering IWU in fall 2021 and beyond, American Culture Studies is no longer available as a major or minor.

ACS 150 Introduction to American Culture Studies

This course examines the historical, literary, and material culture of the United States in an effort to provide a model for interdisciplinary study as practiced in the field of American Culture Studies. Topics addressed in the course may include specific events, discrete periods, or larger themes, but in each instance they will serve as significant case studies for the interdisciplinary investigation of the American experience.

ACS 257 Promised Lands: A Cultural and Literary History of the Great Migration, 1917-1970 (CHC, U) (Cross-listed with ENG 257/HIST 257)

Between 1917 and 1970, more than six million African-Americans departed the rural U.S. South seeking asylum, economic opportunity, and equality in the urban North. This “Great Migration”, as schol- ars call this collective movement, reconfigured the demographics, politics, and culture of both regions. This course will explore the Great Migration through two disciplinary lenses – cultural history and literature – in order to reimagine the twentieth-century United States from an African-American perspective that decenters and denaturalizes whiteness as an unspoken condition in this historical construction of American identity. Offered in alternate years.

ACS 270 Special Topics in American Culture Studies

A course with variable content depending on the particular aspects of the American experience selected for study. Emphasis may be directed toward historical periods or perspectives, geographical areas, and social, intellectual or cultural phenomena, but the approach to the selected subjects will uniformly stress an interdisciplinary perspective. Offered occasionally.

ACS 350 Independent Study

Designed to allow students to develop individual interests in American Culture Studies. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Offered each semester.

ACS 398 American Culture Studies Seminar

An interdisciplinary seminar interpreting select issues pertaining to the American experience. Specific topics will vary, according to the expertise of the instructor, but the approach will consistently stress an interdisciplinary perspective. Substantial independent research will be required. Prerequisite: senior standing or consent of the instructor. Offered occasionally.

ACS 490 Senior Seminar: Methods in American Culture Studies (W)

A research and writing seminar in which students work with the instructor and a committee of American Culture Studies faculty to produce a senior project that works toward synthesizing some of their work in the major, particularly in the thematic concentration. Though the project will be individual, students will have in common a series of readings on American Culture Studies theories and methods.Must be a senior American Culture Studies major or minor.