American Studies Descriptions

American Studies

Major

A major in American Studies requires 48 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

Minor

A minor in American Studies requires 36 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(iv) 6 credit points 3000-level core units
(v) 6 credit points 3000-level selective units

1000-level units of study

AMST1001 Global America

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lectures/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Assessment: 2x1000wd essays (2x30%), tutorial participation (10%) and 1x1.5 hr exam (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Why does America have so much influence globally? What is the nature of this influence? And what are the consequences of this influence? What are the nature and consequences of the influence of the rest of the world on America? Why given America's global influence, and globalisation in general, does America remain such an insular society? This unit takes an interdisciplinary approach to these questions with a focus primarily on the United States in the 21st century.
AMST1202 Hashtag America: Media, Technology, Industry

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Assessment: 1x750wd Media practice analysis (15%), 1x750wd Research essay proposal (15%), 1x2000wd Research essay (45%), 1x1000wd equivalent Group presentation (25%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit examines the scope and impact of American media. Google, Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, Instagram: the American nation is constructed and consumed through its media technologies, beamed around the world as "content. " This unit will consider the relationship between US media industries and the stories we consume. It surveys multiple forms and formats, including cinema, television, radio, podcasts, literature, and social media. Students will be encouraged to examine their own media habits and practices, as well as understand how the US projects an image of itself through its media industries.
USSC1201 America and Australia: the issues compared

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Assessment: 1x 500wd Tutorial reflection exercise (10%), 1x 2hr Exam (40%), 2x 2000wd Comparison essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit we explore major American social issues by comparing them with similar issues in Australia. What makes America different? How do personal rights, from gun rights to LGBTI rights, work differently in the two countries? What differences and similarities exist on issues like race and mass incarceration? How much do we either exaggerate or downplay political differences between the United States and ourselves?
USSC1602 US Politics: Presidents, Elections and Laws

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr Lecture, 1x1hr Tutorial per week Prohibitions: USSC2602 Assessment: Participation (10%), 1x2hr Exam (45%), 1x2500 Major Paper (45%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to US political institutions and political culture. The unit will examine the electoral system and recent presidential elections as well as presidencies from 1960 onwards. It will explore US public policies in the area of race, welfare, and criminal justice and analyse how policy ideas and proposals come into law. It will also introduce the dominant ideologies in US politics. By the end of the unit students will have a comprehensive understanding of American Domestic politics.
USSC1604 Sex, Race and Rock: US Culture

Credit points: 6 Session: Intensive July Classes: 1x2hr Lecture, 1x1hr Tutorial per week Prohibitions: USSC2604 Assessment: Participation (10%), 1x500wd Group Presentation (10%), 1x2500wd Research Paper (40%), 1x1000wd Research Paper Proposal (25%), 1x500wd Annotated Bibliography (15%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
This unit explores the cultural history of and intersections between sexuality, race and rock music in the United States from Elvis to Beyonce. Influenced by black and working-class cultures, and with sexuality embedded in its form and practice, rock music challenged and transformed existing norms of family, sex and gender. Through subjects including Black women, glam rock, and disco, we will learn that rock music, far from frivolous, provided a realm for rebellion, freedom, community and profit.

2000-level units of study

Core
AMST2701 American Dreams

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 18 Junior credit points or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Prohibitions: AMST2601 Assessment: 1x 1500 wds Reading Response (30%), 1x 10 min In-class presentation (15%), 1x 2000 wds Research Essay (40%), x Tutorial Participation notes (15%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to the complex richness of 'Americanness' and prepares them for the Major in American Studies. Divided into historically grounded modules (Race; Religion; Gender; Politics; Region), the unit will approach each from a variety of angles: the historiographical, the literary, the cultural, the political, the cinematic. It will open lines of interrelation between historical and imaginary forms in the construction and ongoing redefinition of the United States.
Selective
AMST2606 Stand Up USA: American Comedy and Humour

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 18 Junior credit points or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x500wd Essay Proposal (20%), 1x2500wd Research Essay (40%), 1x1500wd Take-home Exercise (30%), Tutorial Participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
From Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle, this unit charts comedy's discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and of party and identity politics in the form of parody and satire. Influenced by ethnic, minority, and working-class cultures, comedy challenged and transformed existing norms of American family and institutions, and American identity, sex, and gender. Through forms such as literature, television, stand-up, cinema, and new media, students will learn that comedy provided a space for resistance, profit, and community.
USSC2601 US in the World: Policies and Strategies

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 18 Junior credit points or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x500 word reaction paper (15%); 1x midterm exam (30%); 1x 2500 word policy report (40%); participation (15%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study introduces students to the key global transformations of the contemporary era, focusing on the role of the United States amid the challenges posed by: globalisation, free trade, the rise of Islamic extremism, nuclear proliferation, and the emergence of China and India as world powers. The unit is designed to give students the ability to look behind today's news headlines to understand the underlying forces driving them, particularly the behaviour and views of key policy makers and opinion leaders.
USSC2602 US Politics: Elections, Presidents, Laws

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Prohibitions: USSC1602 Assessment: 1x2000-2500wd major paper (45%), 1x2hr exam (45%) and participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to US political institutions and political culture. The unit will examine the electoral system and recent presidential elections as well as presidencies from 1960 onwards. It will explore US public policies in the area of race, welfare, and criminal justice and analyse how policy ideas and proposals come into law. It will also introduce the dominant ideologies in US politics. By the end of the unit students will have a comprehensive understanding of American Domestic politics.
USSC2603 Americanism and Anti-Americanism

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 18 Junior credit points or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x1000wd essay (30%), 1x1hr exam (20%), 1x2500wd learning journal (40%), participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The United States is regarded by many as an exceptional nation, a haven from the ¿Old World¿ constituted by ideals of liberty and democracy. Others see America as an oppressive state with a militaristic foreign policy. This unit explores the origins and development of negative and positive opinions of America around the world, and from within. It undertakes a critical analysis of American politics and foreign relations, taking the perspectives of individuals and publics. We consider a range of concrete historical and contemporary responses to the U.S., its politics, foreign policies and culture, drawing widely on historical, cultural and policy sources.
USSC2604 Sex, Race and Rock in the USA

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lectures/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 junior credit points from one of the following subject area; American Studies, Anthropology, Music, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, English, European Studies, Government and International Relations, History, International and Global Studies, Media and Communications, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Political Economy or Sociology Prohibitions: HSTY2057 Assessment: Annotated bibliography (500wds) (15%) research paper proposal (1000wds) (25%) research paper (2500wds) (40%) group presentation (500wds) (10%) Class participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit explores the cultural history of and intersections between sexuality, race and rock music in the United States from Elvis to Beyonce. Influenced by black and working-class cultures, and with sexuality embedded in its form and practice, rock music challenged and transformed existing norms of family, sex and gender. Through subjects including bwomen of colour, glam rock, disco and hip hop, students will learn that rock music provided a realm for rebellion, freedom, community and profit and has transformed the United States..
ENGL2627 Screening Sexuality

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr seminar/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in English or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Film Studies Prohibitions: ENGL2027 Assessment: 1x1500wd word essay (40%), 1x2000wd take-home exercise (40%), 1x500wd tutorial presentation (10%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit explores the relationship between cinema and sexuality in classic films through detailed, historicised readings. Questions to be investigated include the erotics of cinematic genre and form; the sexual politics of representation and spectatorship; stardom, scandal and cult appreciation; cinema and sexuality as technologies of modernity; cinema, sexuality and pedagogy.
ENGL2660 Reading the Nation: American Literature

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1-hr lectures/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in English or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x500wd in-class exercise (15%), 1x1500wd reader response (40%), 1x2500wd essay (45%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit, we study a variety of American literary and visual texts to consider what it means to read "nationally". We first examine the rise of literary nationalism to look then at the ways in which exigencies of empire, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality, for example, have exerted pressure on the fantasy of a cohesive national culture. We will also consider the transnational turn of recent decades to understand the nation's function in a global context.
HSTY2609 African-American History and Culture

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in History or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x500wd Essay Proposal and Bibliography (10%), 1x2500wd Research essay (45%), 1x1.5hr Exam (35%), Tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
From fashion, food, and music, to speech patterns and protest methods, African-American culture has had a profound effect both on America and the wider world. In this unit, we survey race relations after the end of slavery, focusing on the emergence of black communities across the North and South; the spread of black music, literature, and film; the history of the civil rights and black power movements, and the role of race in the contemporary America.
HSTY2656 A House Divided: The American Civil War

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1-hr lectures/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 1000 level in History or 12 credit points at 1000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x500wd essay proposal (10%) and 1x2000wd research essay (40%) and 1x2000wd take-home exam (35%) and tutorial participation (15%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The Civil War had momentous consequences for America - realigning the nation's political culture, ending slavery and forever transforming millions of lives. This unit analyses the social, cultural and political history of the Civil War and Reconstruction. We begin by looking at combat experience, civilian mobilization and state formation, the war's effects on gender and race relations and the causes for Reconstruction's failure, and we end by focusing on how and why this war continues to resonate in American culture.

3000-level units of study

Core
AMST3601 American Perspectives

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x1hr lecture/week and 1x2hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 Senior Credit Points in American Studies including AMST2601 or 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies Assessment: 2x 200wd Online reading response (20%) and Essay 900wd proposal with annotated bibliography (20%) 3000wd Research Essay (50%) and Tutorial Participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This capstone unit will discuss key texts from Politics, History, English, Film Studies, and Music to critically examine the ways the United States has been idealised as exceptional - as democracy, utopia, and empire. Students will study works ranging from de Tocqueville's Democracy in America to the film Birth of a Nation with the aim of developing a critical appreciation of both classic and contemporary debates about American society. The unit will conclude with a discussion of the ways American Studies as a field deals with these long standing debates in innovative and challenging ways.
Selective
USSC3601 Public Opinion and Voting in the U.S.

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2 hr lecture/week and 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: (12 Senior credit points and USSC2602) or 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x2000wd research project paper (30%), 1x1hr mid-term exam (30%), 1x500wd research project proposal (10%), 1x500wd project presentation (10%), reading responses (10%), tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit explores political beliefs and behaviour in the United States. Using survey studies, we explore what Americans know and believe about politics, how their attitudes are formed, and how and why they vote. We look at voting patterns in recent elections and examine how these have been affected by attitudes towards race and party identification.
USSC3603 Dissent and Protest in America

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecturer/week 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies or 12 credit points at 2000 level in History Assessment: 1x3000wd Research Essay (40%), 1x500wd Research Question/Proposal/Bibliography (20%), Tutorial Participation (10%), 4x250wd Tutorial Questions (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit surveys the long history of social movements and protest in the U. S. . Beginning with 19th Century movements against slavery, the course charts the way everyday Americans came together to make demands on the state, the economy, and American culture. From abolitionism, students move onto close study of the history of American feminism, Civil Rights, agrarian revolt, the labor movement, antiwar politics, gay liberation, Chicano rights, and grassroots conservatism with an eye toward commonalities and divergences in protest strategy and a close attention to the historical contexts in which various movements arose and their long-term effects on American society. The unit will utilize the insights of the disciplines of history, sociology, political science, anthropology, communication studies, and philosophy in order to build on inter- and multi-disciplinary studies of social movement in the U. S. -one of the main subjects of deep fascination that has engaged the multitude of the humanistic social sciences and encouraged debate between them as well as interdisciplinary cross-fertilization.
USSC3701 Job Hacks: US Study Tour for Career Readiness

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Intensive July Classes: Intensive: 2 weeks class room preparation (10 x 2 hour meetings) plus one 1 hour pre-departure session in Sydney, followed by a 9 day study tour to the United States (9 x 2hr meeting). 38 Course delivery hours total. 10 days in Sydney x 2 hrs (includes pre-departure seminar) - 21 hours 9 days in the US x 2 hrs - 18 hours 10 days in Sydney * 2 hrs (includes pre-departure seminar) - 21 hours 9 days in the US * 2 hrs - 18 hours Prerequisites: 18 credit points at 2000 level or 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x1500wd Evaluative/Reflective Task (20%), 1x 500wd Preparing for a Job Search (10%), 1x Raising Occupational Awareness (10%), 1x2000wd Essay (40%), 1x Self Evaluation Task (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: Note: Departmental permission is required for enrolment
This unit will integrate career development goals with academic learning. The immersive USA study tour will expose students to company visits, case studies, industry insights, networking with practicing industry experts and cultural experiences relating to Government and Public Policy (Washington DC) and Management Consulting and Investment Banking (New York). This work-integrated learning exposure will assist students to develop a more informed understanding of whether their chosen concentration suits their personality, interest and overall career plan. This intensive course will provide students an opportunity to integrate career development goals with academic learning. The immersive experience gained through the study tour will expose students to company visits, case studies, industry insights, networking with practicing industry experts and cultural experiences. This work-integrated learning exposure will assist students to develop a more informed understanding of whether their chosen concentration suits their personality, interest and overall career plan.
USSC3703 US Studies Internship

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 2x1hr one on one meeting with Internship Co-coordinator throughout semester, 2 days per week practical workplace placement Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies Assessment: 1x 1000 Research Project Proposal (30%), 1x 500 wd equivalent Presentation (20%), 1x 3000 wds Research Project Paper (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to real-world problems through an internship in an American-based or affiliated business, government, or non-government organisation located in Australia or the US. Assessment includes a research project with proposal, essay and presentation tied to the internship experience.
ENGL3608 Transpacific American Literature

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x1-hr lecture/week, 1x2-hr seminar/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in English or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Australian Literature Prohibitions: ENGL3608 Assessment: 1x2000wd research essay (40%), seminar participation 10%, 1x1000wd textual commentary (20%), 1x1.5hr exam (30%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Students will apply advanced literary methods to address the broad ways in which American Literature in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries has engaged with the opening of transpacific space. Themes will include the nature of westward exploration, the emergence of planetary perspectives and how these have affected US culture. Students will build on their knowledge of literary study to consider the key methodological question of how relationships between nation and narrative should be defined.
GOVT3672 American Politics and Foreign Policy

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: 12 credit points at 2000 level in GOVT or 12 credit points at 2000 level in American Studies Prohibitions: GOVT2405 or GOVT2445 Assessment: 1x 2000wd Research essay (40%), 8x 500wd Reading quizzes (10%), 1x 2hr Final Exam (40%), x Tutorial participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit provides an overview of the American political system and the formulation of foreign policy. The unit considers how foreign policy is made through the interaction of executive, legislative and judicial branches and with other elements of civil society, with a special emphasis on the post-Cold War period. It seeks to answer: (a) what is the influence of domestic politics on US foreign policy; and (b) how does the US system cope with the apparent contradictions between its ideals and the imperatives of global power?

Interdisciplinary Project unit of study

Where this major is being completed as a first major towards a degree, students should ensure that the Interdisciplinary Impact unit of study is undertaken.
Where this major is being completed as a second major from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences towards a degree, the Industry and Community Project unit of study is the appropriate unit to select.
USSC3999 Interdisciplinary Impact

Credit points: 6 Session: Intensive December,Intensive July,Semester 1,Semester 2 Prerequisites: Completion of at least 90 credit points Prohibitions: Interdisciplinary Impact in another major Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Interdisciplinarity is a key skill in fostering agility in life and work. This unit provides learning experiences that build students' skills, knowledge and understanding of the application of their disciplinary background to interdisciplinary contexts. In this unit, students will work in teams and develop interdisciplinarity skills through problem-based learning projects responding to 'real world problems'.
USSC3998 Industry and Community Project

Credit points: 6 Session: Intensive April,Intensive August,Intensive December,Intensive February,Intensive July,Intensive June,Intensive March,Intensive May,Intensive November,Intensive October,Intensive September,Semester 1,Semester 2 Corequisites: Interdisciplinary Impact in any major Mode of delivery: Block mode
This unit is designed for third year students to undertake a project that allows them to work with one of the University's industry and community partners. Students will work in teams on a real-world problem provided by the partner. This experience will allow students to apply their academic skills and disciplinary knowledge to a real-world issue in an authentic and meaningful way.