Upcoming AMST Capstone Classes

One American Studies Capstone class is offered each fall and winter semester. American Studies majors are required to take the capstone class (AM ST 490) within the year before graduation. The capstone classes that will be offered during the upcoming Fall 2020 and Winter 20121 semesters are described below:


Fall 2020

Instructor: Kristen Matthews, English Department

Interpreting America Through Baseball

“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game–the American game.” (Walt Whitman)

America as baseball–baseball as America: writers, politicians, and many others have equated these two entities and ideas since the sport was formalized. How come? What about baseball makes it a type for nation and nationalism? What about “America” as an idea makes it ripe for this particular kind of contest? What values are reflected or created, and to what end? And at what cost? This course will examine how baseball has been used to tell particular stories of “Americanness.” Note: this is not a baseball appreciation class. Instead, this capstone course uses baseball as a means by which we can examine the primary schools of the discipline and means by which we author and interpret particular stories of “America” and “American.”


Winter 2021

Instructor: Matthew Mason, History Department

American Slavery

This course will examine the history of slavery in the United States using a broad lens.  Therefore, it will attend to the reasonably well-known story from the rise of African American slavery in colonial North America to its violent demise in 1865.  But students will also encounter lesser-known aspects of this history, including Native American slavery, the resurgence of African American bondage in the postbellum South, the rise of human trafficking in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and battles over slavery in American memory.  And at key moments we will use an international lens to better understand this American story.  We will pursue these themes through a mix of readings involving both primary and secondary sources; lectures and discussions in class; and artifacts of memory including films, statues, and other memorials.  After these introductory explorations, students will, in ongoing consultation with the professor, generate a research question that will by stages lead to a 15-20 page research paper.


For further information on the American Studies Senior Seminar’s course objectives click here.