American Studies

Department of American Studies

College of Arts and Sciences
1010 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4630

Phone: 716.645.2546
Fax: 716.645.5977
Web: cas.buffalo.edu/centers/cfta

Donald Grinde
Chair

About the Program

A major or minor in American studies offers the opportunity to take an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to the understanding of the Americas. Faculty and students pursue ideas and carry out research projects that cross the boundaries separating nations, languages, media, and academic departments. They consider multiple representations of the Americas, using official documents, literature, oral traditions and histories, and the visual and performing arts. They explore the past and future place of indigenous cultures and societies, the utopian imagination, the social significance of technologies, the relationship between nature and culture, and the administration of justice.

We seek students who wish to pursue a coherent program centering on the vigorous multidisciplinary study of the Americas. We also want students who may already have some ideas about the projects they would like to pursue or the problems they would like to address. We also welcome foreign students who seek to deepen their understanding of the cultural, historical, and natural complexity of the United States, or the Americas more generally.

Degree Options

The Center for the Americas offers the American studies major and minor in collaboration with the Department of African American Studies, the Asian Studies Program, the Cuban and Caribbean Program, the Indigenous Studies Program, the Latino/Latina studies program, and the Department of Women�s Studies, all of which share our commitment to an interdisciplinary approach.

Indigenous Studies (not a baccalaureate degree program). Indigenous American traditions provide a unique cosmological vision and an irreplaceable source of knowledge about social relationships and the natural environment.

Courses and activities are open to all, but for students pursuing an American studies BA degree with a focus in indigenous studies, the following courses are recommended: AMS 100 Indian Image on Film, AMS 179 Introduction to Native American History, AMS 231-AMS 232 Survey of Native American History, AMS 279 Contemporary Problems of American Indians, AMS 281 Native Americans and the Colonist, AMS 282 American Indian Identity Crisis, AMS 301 Introduction to Indigenous Women, and AMS 306-AMS 307 Native American Art. AMS 162 New World Imaginations is a cognate intercultural studies course.

American Studies - B.A.

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum 2.0 GPA overall.
Minimum 2.5 GPA in AMS 107 Introduction to American Studies and two prerequisite courses.

Advising Notes

See the director of undergraduate studies or the undergraduate advisor for advisement and suggestions on course selection.

Prerequisite Courses

SELECT TWO OF THE FOLLOWING:
AMS 162 New World Imaginations
APY 106 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
APY 108 Introduction to Archaeology
DMS 107 Film History I
DMS 108 Film History II
DMS 109 Introduction to Film Interpretation
HIS 161 United States History I
HIS 162 United States History II
PSC 101 Introduction to American Politics
SOC 201 Structure of American Society
WS 101 Introduction to Women�s Studies
WS 213 Women in Contemporary Society

Required Courses

Eight additional courses, including AMS 364 Seminar for Majors, and seven chosen from the six lists that follow below (additional courses may be designated by the director of undergraduate studies). At least four of the seven must be at the 300/400 level. Further, the seven must be distributed among at least four of the six groups.

Summary
Total required credit hours for the major: 33

See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for general education and remaining university requirements.

Recommended Sequence of Program Requirements

FIRST YEAR
Fall�AMS 107 or AMS 162; 100- or 200-level prerequisite course from the list given above
Spring�100- or 200-level prerequisite course from the list given above

SECOND YEAR
Fall�100- or 200-level AMS or other listed course
Spring�Two 100- or 200-level AMS or other listed courses

THIRD YEAR
Fall�300- or 400-level AMS or other listed course
Spring�AMS 364*

FOURTH YEAR
Fall�300- or 400-level AMS or other listed course
Spring�Two 300- or 400-level AMS or other listed courses

*This course might instead be taken in the fourth year.

Electives and Course Groupings

INDIGENOUS STUDIES
AHI 334 Native American Art: Socioeconomic Renewal or Ruin
AHI 342 Photo and the Colonial Gaze
AMS 100 Indian Image on Film
AMS 179 Introduction to Native American History
AMS 197 Seneca Language
AMS 198 Language of the Seneca I
AMS 231 Survey of Native American History
AMS 232 Survey of Native American History
AMS 272 Native American Literature
AMS 281 Native Americans and the Colonist
AMS 301 Introduction to Indigenous Women
AMS 425 Native American Legal Situation
APY 183 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
APY 250 Ancient Maya
APY 302 Art and Cities of Central America
APY 331 Archaeology of New World
APY 333 North American Archaeology
APY 449 Mayan Civilization: Past and Present
APY 480 Collapse of Civilization
DMS 405 Ethnographic Film
ENG 343 Native American Literature
ENG 382 Books of the Ancient Maya
ENG 447 Mythology of the Americas
LIN 275 Languages and Cultures of Native North America
WS 219 Women of Color and the American Experience

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
APY 183 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
ENG 277 Introduction to U.S. Latino Literature
HIS 111 Latin America: Culture and History
HIS 322 Latin America: Culture and History
PHI 385 Latin American Thought
POR 402 Brazilian Civilization
PSC 329 U.S.-Latin American Relations
PSC 372 Latin American Politics
SPA 304 Early Spanish American Literature
SPA 311 Survey of Spanish American Literature
SPA 320 Contemporary Spanish-American Literature
SPA 328 Spanish American Culture and Civilization
SPA 330 Spanish American Themes
SPA 350 Spanish American Short Story
SPA 411 Spanish American Novel
SPA 415 Spanish American Poetry
SPA 416 Spanish American Theatre
SPA 418 Spanish American Literature: Main Currents
SPA 449 Latin Americans and Latinos in Film
SPA 450 Latina/o Literature in U.S.
WS 247 Women in Latin America

Note: SPA 411 and SPA 416 have SPA 210 or SPA 310 as prerequisites.

AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
AAS 118 Introduction to African-American Studies
AAS 184 Classic Black Prose
AAS 253 Blacks in Films I
AAS 254 Blacks in Films II
AAS 290 Creating Black Art
AAS 361 Slavery and the Underground Railroad
AAS 392 The Black Church
AAS 414 Health Problems in the Black Community
CPM 250 USA Islam and Muslims
CPM 298 Religion in the Inner City
CPM 310 Black Writers
CPM 382 Law and Urban Problems
ENG 275 Black Literature
ENG 365 Black Literature
ENG 366 Studies in Black American Literature
LLS 200 Black Roots in Spanish American Literature
SOC 321 Race and Ethnic Relations
WS 219 Women of Color and the American Experience
WS 387 Black Female in Literature
WS 401 Black Women Writers

CARIBBEAN STUDIES
AAS 270 Major Issues/Caribbean Studies
AAS 377 Caribbean Literature
AMS 128 Afro-Latin Musical Praxis
HIS 414 Cuban Revolution
LLS 200 Black Roots in Spanish American Literature
LLS 204 Introduction to Puerto Rican Culture
LLS 208 20th-Century Puerto Rican Literature
LLS 301 Ethnicity and the Puerto Rican Experience
LLS 303 Mainland Puerto Rican Experience
LLS 305 Contemporary Afro-Caribbean Religion
LLS 307 History of Ideas in Puerto Rico
LLS 308 Black Presence in Latin America
LLS 401 Seminar in Puerto Rican Studies
LLS 402 Puerto Rican Literature
LLS 404 Havana: City and Culture

UNITED STATES AND CANADIAN STUDIES
AHI 365 Victorian America
AHI 387 American Art
AHI 390 American Architecture
AHI 391 American Architecture
AMS 111 Contemporary Popular Music
AMS 113 American Lives and Environments
AMS 114 American Lives and Environments
AMS 162 New World Imaginations
AMS 167 Cross-Cultural Topics
AMS 168 Cross-Cultural Topics
AMS 209 Musics of the World
AMS 210 Musics of the World
AMS 439 Contemporary American Fiction
AMS 440 Contemporary American Fiction
AMS 457 Problems in American Urban History
AMS 488 Violence and Nonviolence
AMS 489 Violence and Nonviolence
AS 110 The Asian American Experience
AS 117 Asians in American History and Culture
AS 270 Asian American Women Writers
AS 348 Asian Americans and Visual Media
ENG 241 Major American Writers
ENG 242 Major American Writers
ENG 332 Early American Literature
ENG 333 American Literature, 1828-1865
ENG 334 American Literature, 1865-1914
ENG 335 19th-Century American Novel
ENG 336 Modern American Novel
ENG 339 American Poetry
ENG 342 Studies in American Literature
GEO 231 U.S. Contemporary Problems
HIS 361 American Intellectual History
HIS 362 American Intellectual History
HIS 422 Topics in American Intellectual/Cultural History
HIS 452 Topics in Colonial America
JDS 255 Jewish Folklore
JDS 401 Aspects of American Jewish History
MUS 265 Rock Music
MUS 300 Music Pluralism Since 1900
MUS 313 American Music
PHI 359 American Philosophy
PSC 225 Equality and Justice in U.S.
PSC 319 Media in American Politics
PSC 384 American Political Thought
PSC 385 American Political Thought
SOC 334 Introduction to Mass Cultural Studies
SOC 348 Urban Sociology
WS 212 The American Jewish Woman
WS 283 American Women Writers
WS 353 Women and the Law
WS 376 Gender and Hollywood Films

AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTS
AMS 113 American Lives and Environments
AMS 114 American Lives and Environments
AMS 161 Natural World Perspectives
AMS 285 Natural World vs. Legal World
AMS 343 Human Ecology
APY 276 Introduction to Ethnomedicine
ARC 121 Introduction to Architecture
ARC 241 Introduction to Building Technology
ARC 328 Historic Preservation
ARC 465 Urban Planning and Design I
ARC 470 Climate and Architecture
ARC 476 Landscape Design
BIO 102 Plants and their Uses
BIO 200 Evolutionary Biology
BIO 309 Ecology
BIO 310 Ecology Methods
GEO 355 Landscape Ecology
GEO 356 Environmental Change
PD 301 Perspectives on Land Use and Development
PD 302 Technology and Public Policy
SSC 118 Introduction to Environmental Studies
SSC 238 Ethics of Survival
SSC 315 Field Ecology
SSC 317 Environmental Politics
SSC 470 Ethnobotanical Surveys

Note: BIO 309 and BIO 310 have BIO 200 as a prerequisite. PD 301 and
PD 302 have PD 120 or PD 212 as a prerequisite.

Note: A maximum of two courses may be applied both to the major and to the general education requirement, and a maximum of two courses may be applied to a major or minor other than American studies.



American Studies - Minor

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.

Advising Notes

Submit minor application to the Center for the Americas.

Required Courses

At least six AMS or other courses among those listed for the major (see above), including at least three at the 300-400 level. Further, the six courses must be distributed among at least three of the six groups in the major list.

Course Descriptions

AMS 100 Indian Image on Film

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Discusses the fabricated image of Native Americans in American film history, the media process that perpetuates such images, and the resulting stereotypes; also covers the relationship to social movements and alternatives for overcoming stereotypes.

AMS 107 Introduction to American Studies

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Introduces students to a variety of approaches that have been developed in American studies to assist understandings of how different people participate in this society and in the world. Also considers how experiences continue to shape present thinking and future possibilities.

AMS 111 Contemporary Popular Music

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Outlines historical developments that helped formulate today�s jazz and rock movements; emphasizes roots and foundations of the forms.

AMS 113 American Lives and Environments: Folklore and Social Groups

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC/SEM

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Examines patterned stories, sayings, designs, and ways of living that have been created and are continuously being recreated by groups of people; also investigates historical and social meanings of folklore.

AMS 114 American Lives and Environments: Folklore and Social Groups

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC/SEM

View Schedule

Examines patterned stories, sayings, designs, and ways of living that have been created and are continuously being recreated by groups of people; also investigates historical and social meanings of folklore.

AMS 128 Afro-Latin Musical Praxis

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Uses basic musical techniques derived from various Afro-Western traditions.

AMS 161 Natural World Perspective

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Speaks about ways of life of the North American continent�s original peoples, including their history and contemporary issues. Provides a Native American perspective.

AMS 162 New World Imaginations

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Studies the connection with all forms of life in evolutionary development and ecological processes. Also examines ecstatic experiences; social life before the domestication of plants, animals, and each other; and utopian thinking.

AMS 167 Cross Cultural Topics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Provides a special concentration in Native American, African / African American, and American history. Utilizes an interdisciplinary and cross cultural approach to better understand oppression and the creation/maintenance of hegemony in the Americas.

AMS 179 Introduction to Native American History

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

View Schedule

Introduces the lives, histories, cultures, and characters of Native American peoples of North America. Focuses on cultural assumptions and native visions of the land, the environment, and the spirit life.

AMS 197 Seneca Language

Credits:  4
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Seneca is an unwritten language. The course presents the basic Seneca vocabulary for numerals, foods, geological features, the classification of society, and the classification of nature, and works up to reading myths and legends.

AMS 198 Language of the Seneca I

Credits:  4
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Introductory course; concentrates on the Seneca language by reciting some Iroquoian speeches.

AMS 209 Musics of the World

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Introduces ethnomusicology; studies musical styles in a variety of cultures.

AMS 210 Musics of the World

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

View Schedule

Introduces ethnomusicology; studies musical styles in a variety of cultures.

AMS 231 Survey of Native American History

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Focuses on the spiritual side of the Native American; including substance, motivation, and character of the American Indian.

AMS 232 Survey of Native American History

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Focuses on the spiritual side of the Native American; including substance, motivation, and character of the American Indian.

AMS 272 Native American Literature

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Examines perspectives and philosophies of Native American writers. Provides insight into why the American Indian has a unique perspective on caring for what happens to the Earth.

AMS 279 Contemporary Problems of American Indians

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Introduces undergraduate students to some of the current difficulties facing Indigenous peoples in North America.

AMS 281 Native Americans and the Colonist

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Examines cultural interactions and values in collision during the major phase of the colonization of the Americas. Reviews contemporary texts in Native American history and culture in a seminar setting.

AMS 285 Natural World vs. Legal World

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC/SEM

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Examines conflict between the natural world perspective of Native American culture and the legal world perspective of U.S. culture.

AMS 301 Introduction to Indigenous Women

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Traces historical periods that affected Indigenous women's lives; emphasizes current laws and policies that have impacted their families and communities. SEM

AMS 306 Native American Aesthetics

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Examines traditional and contemporary art methods and techniques by various Indigenous groups in North and South America.

AMS 343 Human Ecology

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Studies social dimensions of space affecting human distribution and location of social activities; provides theoretical explanations.

AMS 364 Seminar for Majors

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

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Utilizes a common reading text and individually assigned textual readings plus occasional reports.

AMS 425 Native American Legal Situation

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

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Looks at the legal status of Native North Americans in relation to the United States and its governmental predecessors.

AMS 439 Contemporary American Fiction

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

View Schedule

Considers problems in American fiction from a cultural, historical, thematic, and stylistic perspective.

AMS 440 Contemporary American Fiction

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  LEC

View Schedule

Considers problems in American fiction from a cultural, historical, thematic, and stylistic perspective.

AMS 457 Problems in American Urban History

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM

View Schedule

Studies urban development aspects in the local community and more generally.

AMS 488 Violence and Nonviolence

Credits:  3
Semester:
Prerequisites:  None
Corequisites:  None
Type:  SEM/REC

View Schedule

Introduces the theory and practice of nonviolence.

AMS 499 Independent Study

Credits:  1 - 16
Semester:
Prerequisites:  permission of instructor
Corequisites:  None
Type:  TUT

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Individually designed program of reading, research, or skills development in close association with an instructor.

Updated: Apr 12, 2006 11:03:40 AM