DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > American Studies > Undergraduate > American Studies (BA) > Concentration Requirements

Concentration Requirements

Social and Literary Movements Concentration

​The Social and Literary Movements concentration focuses upon two areas of study: major cultural products by the principal novelists, philosophers, poets, political and religious thinkers, historians, artists, musicians and intellectuals in American history; and major cultural movements which have shaped the world view and attitudes of literate Americans in American history.

In the first area of focus, a heavy emphasis will be given to individual creative work, its form and content, its specific antecedents and influences as well as its later impact, and the cultural and philosophical implications of the document itself. The relationship between each work and larger trends of the period, both cultural and social, will also be explored.

In the second field of study, the focus will be upon broader cultural movements which are diffused through the larger literate society, which include major cultural documents as well as popular expressions of these ideas, beliefs and attitudes. Thus, the focus here is on the cultural reception and diffusion of ideas, the relation between innovative movements and mainstream belief systems and attitudes, and the nature and direction of cultural exchange.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies.  Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.​
 
Students must choose six courses from among the following, however, exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. At least two courses must carry an AMS prefix.
 

American Studies

Asian American Studies

African & Black Diaspora Studies

Economics

English

History

Latin American & Latino Studies

Philosophy

Political Science

Religion

Women’s & Gender Studies

*Depends on topic

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication?  How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives​

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours. ​​​

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Content displayed from Social and Literary Movements on DePaul University Catalog


Popular Culture and Media Studies Concentration

​The Popular Culture and Media Studies concentration in American Studies offers students an opportunity to explore the rich and complex role popular culture has played and continues to play in American life. In contrast to high culture or folk culture forms, "popular culture" generally refers to those commercialized leisure activities or arts that are broadly accessible to most Americans, either through their mass media production (music, radio, film, television, novels, newspapers, magazines, fashion) or wide availability (amusement parks, concerts, sports, Broadway shows, shopping malls, internet sites). Since the end of the nineteenth century, American culture has been defined through its popular arts, most obviously Hollywood films and television programs, and American popular culture and media products have had enormous effects on American identity.

Four broad sets of questions underpin our examination of American popular culture and media. First, what does our close examination of the formal elements of cultural products - their written and visual texts, their physical shapes and sounds - tell us about their specific cultural effects and meanings, both during the historical period in which they were produced and in the present? Second, how does examining the development processes and industrial histories of cultural products help us better understand their political, economic, technological, and social implications? Third, what does the reception of these products by audiences, either through live performances or mass media, tell us about their impact on the formation of American identities (gender, racial, sexual), values, and opinions? Finally, how does studying the history of American popular culture help us critically assess our current cultural politics and the role American popular culture continues to play in our understanding of ourselves as individuals, as members of social groups, and as national and international citizens?

In this concentration, students integrate courses from a number of disciplines, combining those that offer broad surveys of cultural development as well as close examinations of particular cultural products; students should also look for courses that offer a variety of methodological approaches to studying American popular culture.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies. Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.​

Students must choose six courses from the following however exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. At least two must carry an AMS prefix.

American Studies

​African & Black Diaspora Studies

Anthropology

Asian American Studies

History of Art and Architecture

Communication

English

Intercultural Communication

Journalism

Media & Cinema Studies

Public Relations & Advertising

Political Science

Religion

Sociology

Theater

Women's and Gender Studies

*Depends on topic

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays— whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication? How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives​

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours.

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Content displayed from Popular Culture and Media Studies on DePaul University Catalog

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Politics, Institutions and Values Concentration

​Students in the Politics, Institutions, and Values concentration examine the structural and cultural processes that shape the distribution of power and resources, and supply the cultural meanings for U.S. society. Courses in this concentration explore a variety of American institutions and social processes, among them the political system, the economy, the educational system, the health care arena, the justice system and numerous other cultural and social spheres. Students will study the dynamic relations among these realms in courses ranging from traditional disciplines, like Political Science and Sociology, to those within interdisciplinary programs such as Women's and Gender Studies and, of course, American Studies.

This concentration particularly encourages students to choose courses that emphasize an historical perspective in order to better understand the interplay of individuals, social groups and subcultures as they shape and are shaped by various institutions over time. An historical perspective also allows for comparisons among traditional, modern and contemporary methodologies for conceptualizing American society. Ultimately, students in the Politics, Institutions and Values concentration should develop the critical skills with which to analyze the complexity of the conflicts among these institutions and processes and their diverse participants, among ruling elites, their members and outsiders, and between the official discourses and the complex real outcomes.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies.  Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.​

Students may choose six courses from the following however exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. At least two courses must carry an AMS prefix.​

American Studies

African & Black Diaspora Studies

Asian American Studies

Economics

Geography

History

LGBTQ Studies

Latin American & Latino Studies

Political Science

Sociology

Women’s & Gender Studies

*Depends on topic

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication?  How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives​

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours. ​

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Content displayed from Politics, Institutions and Values on DePaul University Catalog

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Material Culture and the Built Environment Concentration

​Students in this concentration study the complex interrelationships among the arts, craft, design, ideas, places, and social and cultural life in America. This concentration allows for the encyclopedic study of things in their historical context, drawing on methodologies and approaches from art and design history, economic history, history of technology, philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, and geography.

The curriculum combines two broad approaches: giving objects prime importance and placing objects in wider social and intellectual contexts. Some courses raise issues related to media, techniques, aesthetics, production and consumption, historiography, and theory, while others focus on the role objects and places play in people’s lives: the planning of cities, parks, and gardens; the design of buildings, interiors, and furnishings; clothing; jewelry and body adornment; the material culture of food, decoration, and ornament; illustration and the graphic arts. Students will explore the ways in which Americans have been shaped by and have shaped their physical environments, from “nature” to the urban environment.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies.  Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.​

Students may choose six courses from the following however exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. At least two courses must carry an AMS prefix.

American Studies

Additional Recommended Courses

*Depends on topic

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication?  How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives​

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours. ​

Content displayed from Material Culture and the Built Environment on DePaul University Catalog

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Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Concentration

American Studies has taken a central position in the analysis of American ethnicity and race. Early work in this area focused on the history and culture of specific groups, but as the field has developed, inquiry has turned to the theoretical and comparative analysis of race. Courses in this concentration encourage students to explore both the specificity and the diversity of race and ethnicity in American culture by taking some courses that focus on the experience of one racial or ethnic group and others that offer comparative perspectives.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies.  Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.​ 

Students must choose six courses from the following however exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. At least two courses must carry an AMS prefix.

American Studies

Asian American Studies

African & Black Diaspora Studies

Comparative Literature

Catholic Studies

English

Geography

History of Art & Architecture

History

Latin American & Latino Studies

Music

Philosophy

Political Science

Psychology

Religion

Sociology

Women's and Gender Studies

* Depends on topic

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication?  How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives​

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours.

​​​​​​

Content displayed from Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies on DePaul University Catalog

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