University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

American Studies and Ethnicity

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Arts, American Studies and Ethnicity (African American Studies)

African American Studies is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide students with a critical understanding of the historical, cultural, social and political experience of African Americans, with a particular emphasis on the development and culture of the African American communities in California and the West as well as on both historical and contemporary effects of global issues on African American communities. By drawing upon courses in American Studies and Ethnicity and by emphasizing comparative as well as interdisciplinary study, this program offers training in the analytic tools and methods of interpretation appropriate for studying the African American experience in its particularity and ethnic and cultural study in general. The program is particularly appropriate for students interested in ­integrating studies in the humanities and social sciences and for students preparing to work and interact with diverse communities and cultures in the United States and abroad in such fields as education, human services, business, journalism and public administration.

African American Studies is administered by an executive committee comprising the chair, directors of the four majors and other faculty members. In addition to the college academic adviser, the directors of the majors serve as advisers to majors and minors, providing, in conjunction with the sequence of courses, the opportunity for students to undertake an interdisciplinary concentration under close faculty supervision. It is recommended that students meet with the appropriate major director to plan a coherent set of courses to fulfill the major or minor requirements.

Program Major Requirements

Ten courses in African American Studies, or courses certified for African American Studies credit, are required. The 10 courses must be distributed as follows: the three core requirement courses of AMST 200, AMST 350 and AMST 498; one course from each of the following three lists: History, Literature and Culture, and ­Social and ­Political Issues; and additional elective courses for a total of 16 units chosen from the courses certified in African American Studies at the 300 level or above.

Core Requirements Units
AMST 200 Introduction to American Studies and Ethnicity 4
AMST 350 Junior Seminar in American Studies and Ethnicity: Theories and Methods 4
AMST 498* Senior Seminar in American Studies and Ethnicity 4

*Honors students will substitute AMST 492 Research Methods in American Studies and Ethnicity.

200/300/400-Level Required Courses Units
One course from each of the following categories:
AMST 250 The African Diaspora 4
HIST 355 The African-American Experience 4
HIST 455 Advanced Topics in African-American History 4

Literature and Culture
AHIS 365 African American Art 4
AHIS 475 Blackness in American Visual Culture 4
AMST 285 African American Popular Culture 4
AMST 385 African American Culture and Society 4
CTCS 407 African American Cinema 4
ENGL 446 African-American Poetry and Drama 4
ENGL 447 African-American Narrative 4

Social and Political Issues
AMST 101 Race and Class in Los Angeles 4
AMST 206 The Politics and Culture of the 1960s 4
AMST 274 Exploring Ethnicity through Film 4
AMST 330 Black Music and the Political Imagination 4
AMST 348 Race and Environmentalism 4
AMST 365 Leadership in the Community — Internship 4
AMST 389 Carceral Geographies 4
AMST 395 African American Humor and Culture 4
AMST 466 The Psychology of African Americans 4
POSC 421 Ethnic Politics 4
POSC 427 Black Politics in the American Political System 4
PSYC 462 Minority Mental Health 4
REL 469 Black Religion in America 4

upper-division elective courses units
Additional courses for a total of 16 units from the lists above or below, or other American Studies and Ethnicity courses with the approval of the African American Studies director, 300 level or higher. No more than two total courses in the major may be taken outside the college.
AMST 301 America, the Frontier, and the New West 4
AMST 320 Social Constructions of Race and Citizenship 4
AMST 353 Race and Racism in the Americas 4
AMST 490x Directed Research 1–8, max 12
AMST 493 Senior Honors Thesis in American Studies and Ethnicity 4
AMST 499 Special Topics 2–4, max 8
COMM 458 Race and Ethnicity in Entertainment and the Arts 4
POSC 424 Political Participation and American Diversity 4
SOCI 432 Racial and Ethnic Relations in a Global Society 4