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University Bulletin: Graduate Programs The George Washington University  



University Professor V.N. Gamble

Professors J.M. Vlach, R.W. Longstreth, J.A. Miller

Associate Professors T.A. Murphy, M. McAlister, C. Heap (Chair), T. Guglielmo, J.K. Kosek, S. Osman

Assistant Professors E. Peña, E. Anker, J. Nash, C.L. Warren, J.N. Cohen-Cole

Professorial Lecturers R.D. Wagner, O. Ridout, F. Goodyear, N.E. Davis, K. Ott, J. Deutsch

Master of Arts in the field of American studies—Prerequisite: the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American studies or a related field.

Required: the general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The program requires 30 credit hours, including AmSt 6100, at least two research seminars, and 21 additional credits of courses pertaining to the study of American culture. These may include graduate courses in anthropology, English, fine arts and art history, geography, history, media and public affairs, and political science. With departmental approval, an optional thesis may be undertaken for 6 credits.

Master of Arts in the field of American studies with concentration in historic preservation—Prerequisite: the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a course in American architectural history.

Required: the general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Course work in this 36-credit degree program focuses on interpreting issues in historic preservation through a humanistic framework. AmSt 6100, at least one designated research seminar, and at least 6 additional credits of general American studies courses are required, along with at least 18 credits of historic preservation courses, including AmSt 6495-96. With departmental approval, students may undertake an optional thesis (AmSt 6998-99) for 6 credit hours. A comprehensive examination in historic preservation is required.

Master of Arts in the field of American studies with concentration in museums and material culture—Prerequisite: the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American studies or a related field.

Required: the general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Course work in this 30-credit degree program, offered in association with the Smithsonian Institution, emphasizes the use of physical objects and spaces in historical research. AmSt 6100 and 6710 are required, along with at least two designated research seminars and 18 additional credits of courses pertaining to the study of American culture, museum studies, and museum education.

Doctor of Philosophy in the field of American studies—This program combines work in the humanities and/or social sciences as preparation for careers in a range of institutions, including universities, museums, archives, libraries, preservation offices, and related public and private enterprises. Applicants are required to have an adequate background in the humanities and/or social sciences as they apply to the understanding of American studies.

Required: the general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. All students must take AmSt 6100, at least two designated research seminars, and at least one theory course approved by the advisor. Candidates must pass a General Examination in three areas, to be taken over the course of one month, by the end of the third year from matriculation. The three fields are elected with approval of the advisory committee and should constitute a coherent, interdisciplinary program of study; one field may be devoted to the comparative study of a non-U.S. culture.

With permission, a limited number of upper-division undergraduate courses in the department may be taken for graduate credit; additional course work is required. See the Undergraduate Programs Bulletin for course listings.

6100 Scope and Methods in American Studies (3) Murphy, Kosek, Osman
  Consideration of American studies as an area for research and teaching; introduction to bibliography. Required of candidates for the degree of Master of Arts in the field of American studies.
6110 Cultural Theory and American Studies (3) McAlister, Anker
  Major issues in critical and cultural theory as they relate to American culture. Various interpretive approaches including discourse analysis, cultural studies, new historicism, anthropological theory, etc. Prerequisite: AmSt 6100 or permission of instructor.
6120 Theories and Practices in the Study of Media (3) McAlister, Anker
  Examination of theories and methods in the study of media and popular culture; case studies explore specific issues related to cultural products such as film, television, music, and the Internet.
6190 Topics in American Studies (3) Staff
  May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs.
6195 Research Seminar in American Studies (3) Staff
  May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs.
6210 The United States in a Global Context (3) McAlister
  Analysis of the cultural constructions of the nation and international power, comparing the context of the 18th and 19th century, European colonialism, and U.S. expansion in the 20th century. The role of literature and mass media in furthering the logic of globalization. Readings are both theoretical and historical.
6254 Seminar in American Art before 1900 (3) Staff
  Same as AH 6254.
6410 Readings in American Cultural History (3) Staff
  Studies in the cultural history of the United States, focusing on major historiographic debates and interventions. Examples of possible topics include cultural contact, the public sphere, and systems of religious and political belief. Same as Hist 6410.
6420 Religion and American Culture (3) Kosek
  Interdisciplinary analysis of religious beliefs, practices, and representations in the United States, as well as intersections of the religious and the secular. Relationships of religion to race, gender, capitalism, science, mass media, and material culture. Same as Hist 6420.
6430-31 Gender, Sexuality, and American Culture (3-3) Murphy, Heap
  The changing social organization, cultural representation, and meaning of gender and sexuality in the United States, with emphasis on their relationship to race, class, region, nationality, empire, and globalization. AmSt 6430: pre-Columbian settlement to 1876; AmSt 6431: 1877 to present. Same as Hist 6430/WStu 6430-31.
6435 Readings on Women in American History (3) Harrison
  Same as Hist 6435/WStu 6435.
6450 Race in America (3) Guglielmo
  Interdisciplinary analysis of the history of race and its changing political, social, and cultural meanings in the United States. Transnational racial formations, struggles for and against civil rights, multiracialism, and interracialism. Same as Hist 6450.
6455 American Social Movements (3) Guglielmo
  The history of social movements in the United States, with emphasis on civil rights, feminism, conservatism, and labor in local, national, and transnational contexts; the historical rise and fall of these movements and their larger impact on American life. Same as Hist 6455.
6470 Cityscapes (3) Osman
  Interdisciplinary examination of the American city, including urban theory, history, planning, architecture, urban politics, and cultural representations of the city. Same as Hist 6470.
6475 U.S. Urban History (3) Staff
  History of American urban life and culture from the Colonial era to the present, focusing on the transitions from pre-industrial to industrial and post-industrial forms, the social and spatial configuration of U.S. cities, and the urban politics of race, class, and gender. Same as Hist 6475.
6480 Theory and Practice of Public History (3) Staff
  Theoretical and practical dimensions of public history, as illustrated by recent controversies surrounding public exhibitions and debates on revisionist history as well as more traditional means of presenting the past in public forums. Same as Hist 6480.
6495-96 Historic Preservation: Principles and Methods (3-3) Longstreth
  The scope and purpose of the preservation movement in the United States, with focus on developments since the 1960s. Preservation theories, attitudes toward the past and toward design, the intent and impact of legislation, approaches to documentation, the concept of significance, and preservation as an instrument of change. Same as Hist 6495-96.
6520 Economics of Preservation (3) Wagner
  Analysis of economic techniques and benefits used to encourage the retention and reuse of historic buildings and districts in the United States. Emphasis on revitalization of older commercial centers and the Mainstreet program. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
6525 The Politics of Historic Preservation (3) Staff
  Overview of the political issues, forces, events, and players that have shaped contemporary preservation practice, with an emphasis on public policy issues that have not been resolved and continue to confront preservation objectives. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
6530 Field Methods in Architectural Documentation (3) Ridout
  In-depth thematic examination of cultural landscape, focusing on field techniques for recording, analysis, and interpretation of historic properties. Work at field sites is supplemented by lectures, discussion, and readings.
6550 Seminar in American Architecture (3) Longstreth
  Advanced research problems addressing artistic, cultural, social, technical, and urbanistic aspects of American architecture in the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics vary. Prerequisite: AmSt 2520 or 2521 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.
6561 American Folklife (3) Staff
  Research and discussion on the traditional cultures of various geographical regions of the United States. Analysis of folk art, craft, and architecture; regional and ethnic identities. Same as Anth 6561.
6562 Folklore Theory (3) Staff
  An intellectual history of American folklore research; analysis of particular theories and methods. Same as Anth 6562.
6563 Topics in American Folklife (3) Staff
  A seminar devoted to a variety of subjects related to folklore and folklife, such as public folklore policy, folk music, or ethnic folklore and culture. Specific topic to be determined by the interests of available faculty and the needs of the folklife program.
6709 Interpretation in the Historic House Museum (3) Stapp
  Same as Educ 6709.
6835 Historical Archaeology Field Program (3) Staff
  Same as Anth 6835.
6930 Independent Study (arr.) Staff
  Limited to master’s and doctoral candidates. Written permission of instructor required.
6998-99 Thesis Research (3-3) Staff
8998 Advanced Reading and Research (arr.) Staff
  Limited to students preparing for the Doctor of Philosophy general examination. May be repeated for credit.
8999 Dissertation Research (arr.) Staff
  Limited to Doctor of Philosophy candidates. May be repeated for credit.

Courses Offered in Affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Studies Program. The following courses are offered at the Smithsonian Institution.

6710 American Material Culture (3) Ott
  Opportunities for research and publication based on historical objects in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.
6720-21 American Decorative Arts (3-3) Staff
  Recognition and evaluation of domestic artifacts from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
6730 Studies in American Art and History (3) Goodyear
  Selected problems and themes in American cultural history involving the use of artistic materials in different media; emphasis on methodology and analytic techniques. May be repeated for credit. Same as AH 6255.


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© 2013 University Bulletin
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Information in this bulletin is generally accurate as of fall 2012. The University reserves the right to change courses, programs, fees, and the academic calendar, or to make other changes deemed necessary or desirable, giving advance notice of change when possible.