Buddhism in AmericaProfessor Thomas Tweed and his "Buddhism in America" class in the midst of discussion

In the Department of American Studies, we believe that a complete education should take place both inside and outside of the classroom.

We offer courses exploring the wilderness of Indiana, the “ruins” of Detroit, the campus of Notre Dame, and beyond. In the classroom, we offer a wide breadth of courses that allow you to study what interests you. With American Studies, you can truly study everything.



Fall 2020 Inside Course Descriptions


Please visit the registrars site for the most up to date class listing and to register.

AMST 10100/20100  Introduction to American Studies

Perin Gurel                M/W   12:50-1:40pm            F          Discussion Sections


This course explores the rich and varied field of American Studies, a field dedicated to understanding America's diverse cultures and the ways American national identity has been constructed and contested differently over time. Through lectures, readings, and discussion, we will consider questions such as: How have ideas about race, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and class shaped the making and meaning of America and Americans, and how have they evolved? What are the dominant myths and values that Americans seem to share? How has the American Dream been defined, and by whom? As a class we will consider the ways in which concepts of America and American are performed and how they have changed over time, across space, and within particular social, cultural, and political contexts. Assignments emphasize critical analysis of texts; requirements include papers, a midterm, and a final. 


AMST 30101 Baseball in America

Katherine Walden    T/H     9:30-10:45am

Baseball is one of the most enduringly popular and significant cultural activities in the United States. Since the late 19th century, baseball has occupied an important place for those wishing to define and understand "America." Who has been allowed to play on what terms? How have events from baseball's past been remembered and re-imagined? What is considered scandalous and why (and who decides)? How has success in baseball been defined and redefined? Centering baseball as an industry and a cultural practice, this course will cover topics that include the political, economic, and social development of professional baseball in the United States; the rise of organized baseball industry and Major League Baseball; and globalization in professional baseball. Readings for this course will include chapters from texts that include Rob Rucks's How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game (2011), Adrian Burgos's Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line (2007), Daniel Gilbert's Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency (2013), Robert Elias's How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad (2010), and Michael Butterworth's Baseball and Rhetorics of Purity: The National Pastime and American Identity During the War on Terror (2010). Coursework may include response papers, primary source analysis, and a final project.

AMST 30102 Integration in the US and Europe

Korey Garibaldi        T/H     2:00-3:15pm


This class examines the social, spatial and intellectual history of "integration" in the United States and Europe, from the publication of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract (1762) up to the so-called "global revolutions" of 1968. Students will gain a comprehensive introduction to how peasants, (im) migrants, people of color, and other disempowered populations negotiated confraternity and inclusion - despite tenacious subjugation and exclusion - within and across Western nation-states and colonial possessions. Related topics range from "Indian removal" to religious persecution; from absolutist monarchies to gender discrimination; and from legalized slavery to histories of genocide. Our seminar, eclectic in scope and method, will put particular emphasis on transnational histories of social movements and cultural transformations. In addition to four short writing assignments (4 - 5 pages, double-spaced) connecting two or more course readings, students will develop a final paper (7 - 8 pages, double-spaced) based on cumulative sources, including texts such as: Alexander Pushkin's The Moor of Peter the Great (1837), Maya Jasanoff's The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World (2017), Todd Tucker's Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan (2004), and Winston Churchill's "United States of Europe" speech (1946). No prior background in American or European history is either required or assumed. 


AMST 30103 Critical Refugee Studies

Jennifer Huynh         M/W   2:00-3:15pm


The United Nations estimates that an unprecedented 71 million people around the world have been forced to flee from their respective homes. Among them are nearly 26 million refugees, half of whom are under the age of 18. Media and social science scholarship represent refugees as passive recipients of western aid and avoid critical examination of the global and historical conditions that create "refugees." This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of critical refugee studies (CRS) to re-conceptualize the refugee not as a problem to be solved but as a site of social and political critiques. CRS illuminates the processes of colonization, war, and displacement. This course examines militarism and migration as well as refugee voices written in their own words. We will assess a variety of sources, including oral history, ethnography, art, graphic novels, and interdisciplinary scholarship from humanities and social science. 

AMST 30104 Data Feminism

Katherine Walden        T/H      3:30-4:45pm

Feminism isn't only about women, nor is feminism only for women. Feminism is about power - about who has it and who doesn't. And in today's world, data is power. Data can be used to create communities, advance research, and expose injustice. But data can also be used to discriminate, marginalize, and surveil. This course will draw intersectional feminist theory and activism to identify models for challenging existing power differentials in data science, with the aim of using data science methods and tools to work towards justice. Class meetings will be split between discussions of theoretical readings and explorations of data science tools and methods (such as Tableau, RStudio, and Python). Those readings may include chapters from texts that include Catherine D???Ignazio and Lauren Klein???s Data Feminism (2020), Virginia Eubanks???s Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor (2018), Ruha Benjamin???s Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (2019), and Sasha Costanza-Chock???s Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need (2020). This course will also examine the data advocacy and activism work undertaken by groups like Our Data Bodies, Data for Black Lives, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and Chicago-based Citizens Police Data Project. Over the course of the semester, students will develop original research projects that use data to intervene in issues of inequality and injustice. This course is not about gaining mastery of particular data science tools or methods, therefore familiarity with statistical analysis or data science tools (R, RStudio, Python, etc.) is NOT a prerequisite for this course.



AMST 30108 History of American Capitalism

Korey Garibaldi        T/H     11:00-12:15pm


This course offers a broad thematic overview of the history of capitalism from the early sixteenth century up to the late 1980s. As a discussion-based seminar, we will devote most of our conversations to discovering, analyzing and reflecting on the transformation of the U.S. from a newly-independent British colony, to the most influential economic power in the world. Topics and themes we will consider include: the rise of early modern transnational capitalism, European imperialism and trade, and indigenous dispossession after 1492; science and technological transformations; social and economic thought; slavery and servitude, broadly construed; and characteristics of prosperity, wealth, and economic flux. Our readings and viewings will be a mix of scholarly and primary sources, including an abundance of canonical literary and artistic material, such as novels, visual art, and film excerpts (e.g. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879), Aaron Douglas's Building More Stately Mansions (1944), and Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence (1920)). Over the course of the semester, students will draw upon this eclectic combination of sources to synthesize the dominant historical dimensions of capitalism in and beyond the U.S. via four short essays (4 - 5 pages, double-spaced-between 1,100 and 1,400 words), and a final paper (10 - 12 pages, double-spaced) based on cumulative texts. 

AMST 30115 Podcast in America

Brian Collier              M/W   9:30-10:45am


THIS CLASS HAS NO ASSIGNED READINGS! That's right, there is no reading for this class. Instead, you'll learn how millions of Americans are coming to know their history, their science, their neighbors, their sexuality, their art and so much more and you'll do it all through listening to some of the most engaging (and some of the least engaging too) podcasts available. We'll take a look at primary sources that corroborate and dispel some of what we're hearing and we'll think about the integral ways that podcasts are shaping our nation and our national interests. We'll even delve into how podcasts in other lands celebrate and eviscerate America, Americans, and Americanism. Double up on your homework and your workout as you listen your way into exciting and engaging topics that we'll explore in class using the methodologies of the best scholarship in American Studies, History, and Education, Schooling, and Society. This class is for all of those who love American Studies, great stories, researching and discovering, and can't wait to get their headphones on and delve into the best stories we as a society know how to tell. #AmericanStudiesND 


AMST 30116 American Ruins

Erika Doss                 M/W   12:30-1:45pm


American ruins are increasingly visible today, from images of urban decay and piles of debris in Detroit and Gary to movies and novels (The Book of Eli, The Road) depicting post-apocalyptic "ruinscapes" of abandoned towns, derelict factories, crumbling monuments, and deserted shopping malls, variously populated by zombies, vampires, and survivalists. Ruins typical signify "disaster," "failure," "defeat," and "the past." Why, then, in a nation that has repeatedly defined itself in terms of promise, progress, and success-the American Dream-are visions of ruin, real and imagined, so prevalent today? This class explores the history and meaning of American ruins, relating contemporary fascination with ruins ("ruin porn") to currently held attitudes about modernity, technology, citizenship, consumerism, the rule of law, and the environment. Course materials include novels, films, and photographs; coursework includes fieldtrips (to Detroit and Gary), essays, and discussion.

AMST 30119 Asian American Experience

Jennifer Huynh         M/W   11:00-12:15pm


This class will survey the various historical and contemporary dimensions of Asian American experiences including immigration & integration, family & community dynamics, ethnic/gender/class identity, as well as transnational and diasporic experiences. We will explore contemporary and historical issues of racism, the model minority myth, inter-generational relationships, and the educational experiences of Asian Americans. To accomplish this, our class will pose such questions as: Who is Asian American? How did racism create Chinatown? Is there an Asian advantage? Coursework includes essays based on topics of your choice, presentations, and a creative narrative. 

AMST 30126 Captives and Slaves

Sophie White             M/W   11:00-12:15pm


This interdisciplinary course will foreground the lives of the enslaved in colonial America and the Caribbean (inc. Haiti). We will consider indigenous Native-American and West African practices pertaining to enslavement and captivity, as well as the development of hereditary slavery in the colonies. Throughout, we will maintain a focus on understanding the lived experience of individuals who were captured/enslaved, with special emphasis on gender and material culture. 

AMST 30135 Off The Wall

Erika Doss                 M/W   9:30-10:45am


The 1950s, we're told, were America's "best" years: an idyllic era of suburban family togetherness, television shows like Leave it to Beaver, Disneyland (which opened in Anaheim in 1955), and really big cars. Magazine publisher Henry Luce and other mid-century American power-brokers promoted the postwar US on hegemonic terms: as a unified nation defined by a liberal political economy and by the expectations and desires of middle-class citizens united by the shared goals of upward social mobility and consumerism (white collar jobs, home ownership), college educations, family/suburban lifestyles, etc. This was called the "consensus model" of American identity. Not surprisingly, this ideal of America and these normative expectations about "being" American created a number of tensions in post-World War II America. First, the goals themselves were unattainable for some Americans due to the nation's persistent habits of racism, sexism, class preference, and homophobia. Second, some Americans felt restricted and restrained by expectations of middle-class conformity, among other things. This led to a number of counter-hegemonic cultural expressions: from art that came off the wall to artists who went on the road. This course examines those American artists and their rebellions, from artists like Jackson Pollock who took his paintings "off the wall" and made them on the floor to writers like Jack Kerouac, whose novel On the Road was published in 1957. It surveys American art from the Great Depression of the 1930s through the early 1970s, looking at art styles and movements including Regionalism, Abstract Expressionism, Beat, Funk, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptual art, Psychedelia, Earthworks, Feminist art, and the Black Art Movement. Themes include the "triumph of American painting" after World War II, links between art and politics, the development of postwar art theory, and intersections between the avant-garde, popular culture, and consumer culture. A special "Elvis Day" examines post-World War II youth culture and counter-hegemonic rebellion.



AMST 30146 Persuasion, Commentary, and Criticism                                       (C/L with JED)

Jack Colwell              M/W   2:00-3:15pm


This course will consider the roles of persuasion, commentary, and criticism in contemporary American culture and will explore the techniques of these forms of expression. Students will prepare and discuss their own writing assignments, including opinion columns, editorials, and critical reviews of performances or books. Ethics and responsibilities in contemporary American journalism in expression of opinions also will be explored. Assignments will serve as the examinations in this course, which is taught by a political columnist for the South Bend Tribune who also serves as a television political analyst. Non AMST majors and JED minor applicants must submit a writing sample for review for course permission. 


AMST 30163 Epidemics in America

Laurel Daen              T/H     2:00-3:15pm


This spring, many of our lives have been transformed by COVID-19, the coronavirus disease now causing a pandemic. As we respond to this crisis and work to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, it may feel like we are treading in uncharted territory. But epidemics, even pandemics, have a long history in America and have integrally informed the American experience. In this course, we will examine health and disease in America from the pre-colonial period to the present, paying particular attention to how epidemics - smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, Spanish influenza, AIDS, and more - have shaped American history and culture. Epidemics are cultural as well as biological events, influencing everything from governmental policy to market relations to ideas about race, gender, class, disability, family, community, and citizenship. By engaging with a wide variety of historical and contemporary texts - newspapers, literature, medical treatises, cultural artifacts, government documents, among others - we will see how epidemics have been forces of incredible cultural and historical change, shaping the nation today. Coursework may include response papers, primary source analysis, and a final project.


AMST 30165 Vietnam War and American Catholics

Peter Cajka               T/R                 11:00-12:15pm


How did the most divisive war in American History shape the nation's biggest church community? This course explores Catholics as both supporters and detractors of the Vietnam War. American Catholics wished to see America defeat Communism but, importantly, the power of faith motivated many to criticize the state's escalation of the conflict. Students will explore the tensions and transformations of this important moment in American life. Lectures and classroom discussions will address decolonization, the global and national nature of American Catholicism, the power of the liberal state, conscientious objection, the "Spirit of the Sixties," sacramental protests, the rise of human rights, geopolitics, and the Cold War. Course readings will include the latest scholarship, but also primary sources like poems, films, songs, letters, prayers, newspaper articles, and art. Students will have access to the rich materials of Catholic peace activists found in the University of Notre Dame Archives. 



AMST 30170  Laboring Women

Sophie White             M/W   2:00-3:15pm


What did shopping, tavern-keeping, and midwifery have in common in early America? They could all be considered legitimate forms of women's and girls' labors both inside and outside of the home. We will consider work that was skilled or unskilled, free or enslaved, and paid or unpaid, and how changing definitions of "women's work" helped to shape boundaries of race and class. Servants were restricted from marrying and procreating while the value of enslaved women resided in both their work and their reproductive potential. Hence this course will also consider the dual facets of women's labor in work and their laboring in childbirth. 


AMST 30177 Ideas That Made America

Peter Cajka               T/H     3:30-4:45pm

This course traces a long arc from Puritanism to Postmodernism in order to understand the ideas Americans draw upon to frame their worlds. It examines passionate and long-running debates about equality, capitalism, pluralism, democracy, freedom, and the social order. We explore a series of clashing visions: Religion or Enlightenment; Slavery against Freedom; Modernity challenging Tradition; and Revolution versus Counterrevolution. Lectures and discussions will consider classic American texts from positions of race, gender, class, and subjectivity. 



AMST 30182 Sports Media                                                                         (C/L with JED)

Jason Kelly                 M/W   11:00-12:15pm


This course is a practical and conceptual immersion into the world of contemporary sports journalism. Students will learn how to write and report for multiple journalism platforms, including newspapers, magazines and digital media. Students will practice a variety of reporting techniques and study writing styles ranging from features to news articles to profiles, while also taking a rigorous look at the legal, ethical and cultural issues surrounding the intersection of media, sports and society. In addition, students will gain hands-on sports writing experience by preparing articles for the university's independent, student-run newspaper, The Observer. 



AMST 30183 Applied Multimedia for Journalists                                   (C/L with JED)

Victoria St. Martin   M/W   9:30-10:45am


This course is a hands-on examination of the latest digital tools and techniques used by journalists as they produce stories on multiple platforms. Students will learn how to take digital photographs, how to shoot and edit high-definition videos, and how to produce audio stories and podcasts. Students will also study the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use, creation and publication of digital media. 


AMST 43156 Drugs and US Popular Culture

Jason Ruiz                 T/H     12:30-1:45pm                        (Senior AMST Majors Only)


This senior seminar explores the history, meanings, myths, and realities associated with narcotics in the United States.  We will consider, for example, the fascinating history of cocaine as it went from miracle drug and panacea (as well as the active ingredient in Coca-Cola) in the early twentieth century to elite party drug in the 1970s to public health threat in the 1980s and 1990s.  Through this example and many others, including marijuana’s dramatic shift from illegal to legal substance, we will pay special attention to drugs and social difference, exploring the ways that American ideas about narcotics relate to such matters as race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, citizenship, and nation.  Through the lens of popular culture, we will also explore questions such as who gets treatment and who gets punishment in America’s War on Drugs and how narcotics have driven U.S. interventionism around the world.  Because the senior seminar serves as a culminating experience for the American Studies major, readings and assignments will explore course themes in the context of American Studies as a field.  Assignments will include seminar-style discussions of course readings, a final research project of 20-25 pages, and a presentation of that project to the class.


AMST 47909 The Senior Thesis: Theory, Method, and Composition

Perin Gurel                M/W   9:30-10:45am


The Senior Thesis Capstone provides a culminating experience for American Studies majors who are writing a Senior Thesis. It is only offered during fall semesters and should be followed in the spring by 3 credit hours of AMST 47910 Senior Thesis Writing with the thesis advisor. This course encourages students to think about how their coursework fits together as a whole and gives them an opportunity to put what they've learned as American Studies majors into practice. In this course students will be expected to demonstrate significant progress towards their senior thesis, a year-long experience developed with a faculty advisor that aspires to make an original contribution to the field. Class readings and discussions will address current issues and themes in the field of American Studies as well as how student theses will develop, support, or revise those themes. During the semester students will work on refining a topic and developing a supporting bibliography, conducting a significant amount of research (whether in libraries or in the field), situating their research among relevant secondary sources, writing an abstract or prospectus to guide further research and writing in the spring, and planning the project's final form (paper, exhibit, documentary, etc.). Specific expectations for each project/student will be developed in consultation with the course instructor and the student's thesis advisor. It is expected that each student meet at least twice with their thesis advisor during the semester.

American Studies – Fall 2020 outside course descriptions


AMST 30271 American Literary Traditions I

Laura Walls T/R 3:30-4:45pm C/L with ENGLISH


Introduction to American literature from its beginnings through the Civil War, emphasizing important figures, literary forms, and cultural movements.


AMST 30288 The Stage Where it Happens: Dramatizing the American Revolution from Propaganda Plays to Hamilton

Kaden Ivy M/W 9:30-10:45am C/L with ENGLISH


Historian Joanne Freeman calls Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton a piece of "revolutionary theater." Freeman's characterization suggests two ideas: (1) that Hamilton represents a milestone and turning point in theater as a form and (2) that Hamilton is part of an identifiable body of drama dealing with the American Revolution. While these two ideas may seem contradictory, this course works with the hypothesis that both are true. Beginning with the pamphlet plays of the 1770s and ending with Hamilton, this course explores plays and musicals that dramatize the figures and events of the American Revolution. What histories do these pieces stage, and what do they omit? What are some commonalities in the plays' content, structure, and characterization, and how has this tradition of theater evolved from the tragedies of Mercy Otis Warren to the postmodern comedy of Will Eno, or from the traditional "Broadway" sound of 1776 to the hip-hop of Hamilton?


AMST 30302 American Feminist Thought

Emily Remus M/W 11:00-12:15pm C/L with HISTORY


This course traces American feminism from the margins of democratic thought in the eighteenth century to the center of modern political discourse and culture. Drawing on primary sources and recent scholarly work, we will investigate how the goals and meaning of feminism have changed over time, as well as how the boundaries drawn around who could and could not claim the title of "feminist" have shifted. We will approach feminism as an argument--not a received truth--responsive to contemporary historical developments and marked by divisions of race, class, sexual orientation, age, and religion. Course readings are organized around major turning points in the American feminist movement and chart significant continuities and contradictions that have animated each new wave, including questions of gender difference, economic dependence, reproductive rights, marriage, subjectivity, and citizenship.


AMST 30318 Law & Religion in US History

Linda Przybyszewski M/W 3:30-4:45pm C/L with HISTORY


This course focuses on the historical tension between Americans' support for religious liberty under law and their belief that religious faith was essential to the success of the Republic. It will examine both official legal discourse, such as judges' rulings and popular understandings of the law as expressed in speeches and letters. Religious faith has taken many forms in the United States and so have the debates over its proper relation to the state Americans argued over how to define religious liberty. They argued over which religion best suited a republic. Some said God had made certain people inferior to citizenship, while others shot back that God had made all people equally capable. One man's piety was another man's oppression. One woman's equality was another woman's blasphemy. We will look at the colonial background and the founders' concerns, the 19th century and it’s myriad of reform movements and state building, religion's role in legal thought and education, the Scopes Monkey Trial, pacifism during time of war, the Civil Rights movement and its opposition, and the rise of the New Right. Discussion will be the primary mode of instruction. In addition to a mid-term and final, there will be short writing assignments and an essay.


AMST 30325 US Foreign Policy

Wilson Miscamble M/W 3:30-4:45pm C/L with HISTORY


This course covers the main developments in American foreign relations from the Spanish-American War in 1898 through World War II. It traces the emergence of the United States as a major world power and examines in some detail how the United States became involved in the two world wars. A recurring theme will be the major traditions in America foreign policy and the ways in which these traditions influenced policy makers in the early years of the "American Century."


AMST 30332 Crime, Heredity, and Insanity in American History

Linda Przybyszewski M/W 2:00-3:15PM C/L with HISTORY


The 19th century witnessed a transformation in the understanding of the origins of criminal behavior in the United States. For many, a religious emphasis on humankind as sinful gave way to a belief in its inherent goodness. But if humans were naturally good, how could their evil actions be explained? Drawing on studies done here and abroad, American doctors, preachers, and lawyers debated whether environment, heredity, or free will determined the actions of the criminal. By the early 20th century, lawyers and doctors had largely succeeded in medicalizing criminality. Psychiatrists treated criminals as patients; judges invoked hereditary eugenics in sentencing criminals. Science, not sin, had apparently become the preferred mode of explanation for the origins of crime. But was this a better explanation than what had come before?


AMST 30388 Gender @ Work in US History

Daniel Graff M/W 12:30-1:45pm C/L with HISTORY


Gender has been fundamental to the organization of nearly all human societies, but what gender has meant in terms of identity, opportunity, and economic activity has varied widely across time and space. This course will explore gender at work in US history, taking a chronological approach to show gender's evolution and ongoing intersections with class, race, age, religion, region, and sexuality from 1776 to the near present. The term "gender at work" expresses a double meaning here -- first, it connotes that this is a labor history course, with an emphasis on the ways gender has operated at the workplace; second, it suggests the ubiquity of gender in shaping Americans' lives, experiences, and imaginations not only at the workplace, but also in formal politics, informal communities, and every space in between. By exploring the ways gender has been both omnipresent and contingent throughout US history, students should better understand -- and perhaps act upon -- seemingly intractable contemporary conundrums involving questions of equal opportunity and pay, household division of labor, work-life balance, and the proper relationships among employers, workers, households, and government.


AMST 30431 Race/Ethnicity & American Politics

Dianne Pinderhughes T/H 2:00-3:15pm C/L with POLITAL SCIENCE


This course introduces students to the dynamics of the social and historical construction of race and ethnicity in American political life. The course explores the following core questions: What are race and ethnicity? What are the best ways to think about the impact of race and ethnicity on American citizens? What is the history of racial and ethnic formation in American political life? How do race and ethnicity link up with other identities animating political actions like gender and class? What role do American political institutions the Congress, presidency, judiciary, state and local governments, etc. play in constructing and maintaining these identity categories? Can these institutions ever be used to overcome the points of division in American society?


AMST 30434 Public Opinion and Political Behavior

Darren Davis M/W 11:00-12:15pm C/L with POLITICAL SCIENCE


A principle tenet underlying democratic governance is the belief that public opinion or the "will of the people" should dictate governmental behavior. To the extent this belief is a realistic consideration, difficult questions remain concerning the capacity for citizens to develop reasoned opinions and how to conceptualize and measure opinion. This course explores the foundations of political and social attitudes and the methodology used to observe what people think about politics.


AMST 30468 American Politics

Josh Kaplan M/W/F 8:20-9:10am C/L with POLITICAL SCIENCE


This course surveys the basic institutions and practices of American politics. The goal of the course is to gain a more systematic understanding of American politics that will help you become better informed and more articulate. The course examines the institutional and constitutional framework of American politics and identifies the key ideas needed to understand politics today. The reading and writing assignments have been designed not only to inform you, but also to help develop your analytic and research skills. The themes of the course include the logic and consequences of the separation of powers, the build-in biases of institutions and procedures, the origins and consequence of political reforms, and recent changes in American politics in the 21st century. This semester we will emphasize the significance of the upcoming 2016 elections, and the course will include election-related assignments. Although the course counts toward the Political Science major and will prepare prospective majors for further study of American politics, its primary aim is to introduce students of all backgrounds and interests to the information, ideas, and academic skills that will enable them to understand American politics better and help them become more thoughtful and responsible citizens.


AMST 30480 US National Security Policymaking

Daniel Lindley T/H 12:30pm C/L with POLITICAL SCIENCE

This course serves as a gateway for subsequent coursework in international security. It is a required course in the Notre Dame International Security Center's undergraduate certificate program requirements, but it is also appropriate for, and open to, any Notre Dame students interested in U.S. national security policymaking. It will begin with an account of the history and development of U.S. national security policy from the Founding through the present. Next, it examines the current state of the primary institutions involved in U.S. national security policymaking. Finally, it explores the tools and instruments of military statecraft as applied by the United States. The course culminates with a simulation exercise in which students will role-play key participants in the U.S. national security policymaking process. At a minimum, that students will gain from it the analytical tools, historical knowledge, and current-events background to become more informed citizens, particularly with respect to important national debates about when and how our country should use military force. At a maximum, the course may lead some students to become interested enough in the topic to pursue a career in either the practice or the study of U.S. national security policy. The current draft version of the syllabus is posted at


AMST 30519 Social Inequality & American Education

Amy Langenkamp M/W 9:30-10:45am C/L with SOCIOLOGY


Many have claimed that the American educational system is the "great equalizer among men." In other words, the educational system gives everyone a chance to prosper in American society regardless of their social origins. In this course, we will explore the validity of this claim. Do schools help make American society more equal by reducing the importance of class, race, and gender as sources of inequality, or do schools simply reinforce existing inequalities and reproduce pre-existing social relations? Topics covered in the course include: unequal resources among schools, sorting practices of students within schools, parents' role in determining student outcomes, the role of schooling in determining labor market outcomes for individuals, and the use of educational programs as a remedy for poverty.


AMST 30701 Media & Presidential Elections

Susan Ohmer T/H 9:30-10:45am C/L with FILM, TV, THEATER


As the brouhaha over Howard Dean's "yell" illustrates, media have come to play a key role in the coverage of presidential elections. This course examines how print and broadcast media have functioned in U.S. elections since the way we choose a president was first established. After a brief overview of changing relationships between journalists and presidential candidates in the 19th century, we will focus on elections since the 1920s, when radio first broadcast election updates. We will analyze how candidates have used radio, television, and the Internet to construct images of themselves and their platforms, and how journalists have become an active force in representing the political process. Rather than see electronic media as neutral or objective, we will assess the narrative strategies and visual and verbal codes by which media present politics to us, the voters.


AMST 30812 Rethinking Crime and Justice: Explorations from the Inside Out

Susan Sharpe M 4:30-10:00pm C/L with Center for Soc Concerns


What are the causes and costs of criminal behavior? How are people and communities affected by incarceration? How can we make our criminal justice system as good as it can be for all stakeholders? This course brings together students from both sides of the prison wall to explore issues including why people commit crime, what prisons are for, realities of prison life and reentry, effects of victimization, and restorative justice perspectives. This course follows the Inside-Out model of prison exchange now well established across the United States. It provides an opportunity for "inside students" (at the Westville Correctional Facility) and "outside students" (from Notre Dame) to learn with and from each other and to break new ground together. Notre Dame students travel to Westville each week of the semester for dialogue with students at the facility, who have read the same relevant texts. Together they examine myths and realities related to crime and to punishment, explore the effects of criminal justice policy, and develop ideas for responding more effectively to crime in our communities.


APPLY online via the CSC website:


AMST 30851 Social Justice & Action: Native American and Indigenous Insights

Justin de Leon T/H 9:30-10:45am C/L with Peace Studies


This course explores Native American and Indigenous political, cultural, and social action with a strong focus on social justice. Native communities in the United States and Canada are actively working towards cultural and political resurgence as a way to protect traditional cultural practices and also to provide future generations with a sense of Native identity and pride. Foregrounding the navigation of ongoing structures of colonialism (or settler colonialism), we will explore Indigenous political thought, land-based knowledge, and contemporary political mobilizations such as Standing Rock, Bears Ears, and Mauna Kea.