Advanced Seminars

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge.

Advanced seminars pull from primary sources from multiple disciplines and cultural products across varied genres and media.  Experimentation is encouraged, and students-as-collaborators learn to synthesize disparate elements into sustained complex arguments, creating and presenting significant work in written, oral, and other creative formats at varied lengths. Seminar participants bring their special interests into dialogue with one another through the lens of course topics aimed at addressing key issues in America today.

Fall 2022

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Elites in Democratic America
Subject associations
AMS 403 / SOC 403

The aim of this course is to provide you with the tools to think about elites within democratic societies. The course is divided into four modular units: (1) The Decline of Aristocracy, (2) Creating an American Elite, (3) Elites and Power, and (4) A New Elite. For each of these units we will spend one week reading a theoretical approach to understanding the theme, one week on an empirical case to put this theory in context, and one week reading a novel that works with the themes of the theory and research we have read.

Shamus R. Khan
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: 'America': Writing the Public, Writing the Self
Subject associations
AMS 404 / CWR 404 / ENG 454

In-depth look into current US issues, with emphasis on democracy and the question 'What is America?'-socially, culturally, politically. Seminar immerses students into nonfiction literature, particularly as it illuminates the idea of "America" and the state of "Americans". Together we explore seminal non-fiction writing about America, the better to hone students' ability to think and write critically about the public sphere, and to write intelligently about their lives. Seminar examines how major writers, and students, best integrate research, socio-political analysis, literary skill, to craft publicly valuable, self-revelatory writing.

Richard Benjamin

Recent Semesters