Current Course Offerings

We encourage students to take a broad range of classes across faculty expertise during their first years in the major. (See the Academic Year Course Offerings page.) These courses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Nature and Culture - Uses and abuses of nature in America; patterns of inhabitation, exploitation, appreciation, and neglect; attention to California; emphasis on metaphor as a key to understanding ourselves and the natural world; attention to models of healing: stewardship, ecology, the "rights" movement. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Introduction to American Studies - Ideals, conflicts, and realities defining American Cultures through study of popular music, advertising, and other media. Themes include Imagining America, Citizenship and Belonging, and Cultural/Spatial Practices. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Introduction to Popular Culture - American popular expression and experience as a cultural system, and the relationship between this system and elite and folk cultures. Exploration of theories and methods for discovering and interpreting patterns of meaning in American popular culture. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Corporate Cultures - Exploration of the small group cultures of American corporate workplaces, including the role of environment, stories, jokes, rituals, ceremonies, personal style, and play. The effects of cultural diversity upon corporate cultures, both from within and in contact with foreign corporations.
  • Technology and the Modern Body - History and analysis of relationships between human bodies and technologies in modern society. Dominant and eccentric examples of how human bodies and technologies influence one another and reveal underlying cultural assumptions. GE credit: ACGH, AH, WE.
  • The Individual and Community in the U.S. - Interdisciplinary examination of past and present tensions between the individual and the community in American experience, as those tensions are expressed in such cultural systems as folklore, public ritual, popular entertainment, literature, fine arts, architecture, and social thought. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Images of America and Americans in Popular Culture - Investigation of verbal and visual discourses about American identity in various popular culture products, including film, television, radio, music, fiction, art, advertising, and commercial experiences; discourses about the United States in the popular culture of other societies. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Race, Culture and Identity in the U.S. - Interdisciplinary examination of the significance of race in the making of America; how race shapes culture, identities and social processes in the United States; the interweaving of race with gender, class and nationhood in self and community. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • The Lives of Men in America: Masculinities Studies - Interdisciplinary examination of the lives of boys and men in America, toward understanding cultural definitions of masculinity, the ways individuals have accepted or resisted these definitions, and the broader consequences of the struggle over the social construction of gender. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Eating in America - Interdisciplinary examination of the culture of food in America. Exploration of eating as a richly symbolic event integral to how Americans express and negotiate values, politics and identity. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Animals in American Culture - Animals as symbols in American thought, as found in folklore, popular culture, literature, and art; customs and stories around human-animal interactions, including hunting, religion, foodways, pets, zoos, circuses, rodeos, theme parks, and scientific research on animals. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Landscapes and Places - Comparative study of several American cultural populations inhabiting a region, including their relationship to a shared biological, physical, and social environment, their intercultural relations, and their relationships to the dominant American popular and elite culture and folk traditions. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Methods In American Studies - Design and implementation of interdisciplinary research, analysis and writing for American Studies and other cultural studies fields. Library and Internet research skills, project/problem definition, methods for study of texts, individuals, communities. Hand-on, skill-building, focused reading, discussion.
  • Environmental Justice - Environmental justice through interdisciplinary lenses. Frameworks that analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality, specifically categories of race, class, gender, nature and nation. Particular focus on California and the Central Valley. GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.
  • Prison Studies - TBD


For the full list of courses including course descriptions please visit the General Catalog


***We would like to congratulate two of our amazing faculty members, Professor Julie Sze and Professor Ryan Lee Cartwright, on creating two new courses for the American Studies Department at UC Davis. Professor Cartwright’s “AMS 012: Disability Culture and Medicine” is currently the only disabilities studies course offered at UC Davis. Similarly, Professor Sze’s “AMS 150: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental Justice/Injustice” is one of the first and few environmental justice courses offered at UC Davis. Congratulations to you both on this big accomplishment and your contributions to the UC Davis Community!**