Concentration Areas

Concentrations are subject areas of special strength and long-standing student interest in the AMCS curriculum. In general, they provide meaningful focus for study in several disciplines and encourage students to be deliberate about their coursework within AMCS or any complementary programs / departments.

Concentrations are designed to be flexible and to encompass a range of fields. Majors are welcome to propose new Concentrations or to tailor an established one to suit their interests (for example, focusing their work in the "20th-Century America" area on gender or race in the civil rights period).

To fulfill the requirement, students must take at least three courses, two of them above the 300-level, in their Concentration area.

To see descriptions of each Concentration Area and examples of past and current courses in each of these areas, click on the Concentration Area's name.

AMCS currently has nine established Concentrations:

20th Century America

"20th Century America" concentration coursework explores defining features, texts and patterns of change in American culture and society during the 20th century.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "20th Century America" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

20th Century America:

  • AMCS 1022: Popular Music in American Culture
  • AMCS 2120: Archaelogical Fantasies and Hoaxes
  • AMCS 220: Don't Believe the Hype: Race, Media, and Social Movements
  • AMCS 245: Images of Disability: Portrayal in Film and Literature
  • AMCS 301C: The American School
  • AMCS 3028: Music of the 1960s
  • AMCS 3050: The History of the Civil Rights Movement

A Sense of Place: Community, Region, and Landscape

"A Sense of Place: Community, Region, and Landscape" concentration coursework is concerned with the way that ideas of place (e.g. the rural, the Midwestern, the regional, etc.) or specific places (e.g. a city, a neighborhoood, or a defined community) shaped, or have been shaped by, American culture and identity.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "A Sense of Place: Community, Region, and Landscape" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

A Sense of Place: Community, Region, and Landscape:

  • AMCS 118A: Geology of National Parks
  • AMCS 3142: Native Americans at Westward Expansion
  • AMCS 330D: Culture and Identity: Telling the History of Race in the American South
  • AMCS 3190: Engaging the City: The Material World of Modern Segregation
  • AMCS 3322: Brave New Crops
  • AMCS 3891/389A: Power, Justice, and the City
  • AMCS 454: Environmental Policy

Early America

"Early America" concentration coursework focuses on the United States before 1900, including the various cultural events, attitudes and ideas, movements, texts, etc. that shaped, or have been shaped by, national identity.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "Early America" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

Early America:

  • AMCS 163: Making of American Culture from the Colonial Era to Present
  • AMCS 2032: Freshman Seminar: The Enigma of Thomas Jefferson
  • AMCS 2906: Sophomore Seminar: American Frontiers: Badlands and Borderlands in Early U.S. History, 1776-1898
  • AMCS 365: The New Republic: The United States 1776-1850
  • AMCS 49SA: Advanced Seminar: Slavery in America: The Politics of Knowledge Production
  • AMCS 430: Early American Literature
  • AMCS 4689: American Intellectual History to 1865.

Policy-Making in American Society

"Policy-Making in American Society" coursework focuses on public policy and the cultural influences on it.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "Policy-Making in American Society" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

Policy-Making in American Society:

  • AMCS 101B: American Politics
  • AMCS 202: The Immigrant Experience
  • AMCS 2152: The Theory and Practice of Justice: The American Historical Experience
  • AMCS 3034: Race and Ethnicity in America Politics
  • AMCS 308: Cracks in the Republic: Discontent, Dissent, and Protest in America, 1950-1975
  • AMCS 3255: Development of the American Constitution
  • AMCS 327: Public Opinion and American Democracy
  • AMCS 3422: Americans and their Presidents
  • AMCS 3535: Global Energy and the American Dream
  • AMCS 3561: Women and the Law

Popular Culture

"Popular Culture" coursework explores the significance of popular culture in America, the role that specific pop cultural phenomena have played in shaping ideas, events, and changes in specific periods, etc.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "Popular Culture" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

Popular Culture:

  • AMCS 1022: Popular Music in American Culture
  • AMCS 206: "Reading" Culture: The Cultural Lives of Things
  • AMCS 2250: Freshman Seminar: African-American Women's History: Sexuality, Violence, and the Love of Hip-Hop
  • AMCS 239: Performance and Culture
  • AMCS 245: Images of Disability: Portrayal in Film and Literature
  • AMCSS 3025: Sports and Culture: Empire of Hoop: Basketball as American Culture
  • AMCS 3270: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Sequential Art
  • AMCS 3301: History of American Cinema
  • AMCS 4604: Taboo: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and Violence in American Cinema

Social Thought & Social Problems

"Social Thought and Social Problems" concentration coursework focuses on a variety of social issues/problems in U.S. culture and how they can be understood.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "Social Thought and Social Problems" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

Social Thought and Social Problems:

  • AMCS 226: Sociological Approaches to American Health
  • AMCS 245: Images of Disability: Portrayal in Film and Literature
  • AMCS 301C: The American School
  • AMCS 3322: Brave New Crops
  • AMCS 330C: The Politics of Black Criminality and Popular Protest
  • AMCS 3691: Kill Assessment: An Investigation into Death, Genocide, and Other Forms of Violence
  • AMCS 4134: The AIDS Epidemic: Inequalities, Ethnography, and Ethics
  • AMCS 4455: Ethnographic Fieldwork

The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life

"The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life" coursework focuses on the processes by which Americans have made and re-made their racial and ethnic identities, with the assertion and construction of humanity by people color and the responses thereto understood as a central problematic in American culture.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life:

  • AMCS 130: Freshman Seminar: The Ritual Landscape of Cahokia: Perspectives and the Politics of Religion and Chiefly Power
  • AMCS 165: Survey of Latin-American Culture
  • AMCS 202: The Immigrant Experience
  • AMCS 208B: African-American Studies: An Introduction
  • AMCS 2674: Sophomore Seminar: Slavery and Memory in Popular Culture
  • AMCS 3034: Race and Ethnicity in American Politics
  • AMCS 3050: The History of the Civil Rights Movement
  • AMCS 3512: "Model Minority": The Asian American Experience

Visual, Material, and Digital Cultures in the United States

"Visual, Material, and Digital Cultures in the United States" concentration coursework allows for the exploration of visual, material, and/or digital culture and the significance of these cultural forms in American life, past and present.

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "Visual, Material, and Digital Cultures in the United States" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

Visual, Material, and Digital Cultures in the United States:

  • AMCS 102: Freshman Seminar: Visualizing and Documenting Race, Class, and Gender
  • AMCS 206: "Reading" Culture: The Cultural Lives of Things
  • AMCS 229: Topics in AMCS: The Rearview: Automobility and American Culture
  • AMCS 3270: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Sequential Art
  • AMCS 3490: Film and Media Studies
  • AMCS 351: History of Electronic Media: From Radio to Television to Digital
  • AMCS 4373: Immigration, Identity, and the Internet
  • AMCS 4776: The Arts of Cultural Democracy: American in the 1930s

War & Peace

"War and Peace" concentration coursework explores the profound significance of war in American culture (historical events and representations of conflicts as well as peace-related topics- national security, peace movements, etc.).

Below is a sampling of past and present courses offered in the "War and Peace" Concentration Area. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; For a full list of courses by Concentration Area for each semester, please see our AMCS Course Listings site.

War and Peace:

  • AMCS 232: Freshman Seminar: Theatre of War
  • AMCS 3073: The Global War on Terrorism
  • AMCS 330: Topics in AMCS: The Unfinished Civil War
  • AMCS 3580: Combat Movie Music and Sound After Vietnam
  • AMCS 366: The Civil War and Reconstruction: 1848-1877
  • AMCS 3680: The Cold War, 1945-1991
  • AMCS 3682: The U.S. War in Iraq 2003-2011
  • AMCS 3691: Kill Assessment: An Investigation into Death, Genocide, and Other Forms of Violence

Máire Murphy

Academic Coordinator, AMCS

maire.murphy@wustl.edu