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Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

AMST 490: American Studies Senior Seminar

Course Description

The seminar will enable students to practice the various theories and methods for the academic study of the American experience. The goals of the seminar are to help students attain information and conceptual tools needed for graduate work in American Studies, and to assess the achievement of the learning goals for the undergraduate major. To accomplish the first goal students will become familiar with the field of American Studies by reading and discussing a major work chosen by the instructor. To assess achievement of learning goals for the undergraduate major, students will contribute to the field‘s literature by conducting original research on a topic of relevance to American Studies and composing a substantial paper on that topic.  

Prerequisite: Junior standing

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Lipsitz, George. American Studies in a Moment of Danger. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
    • ISBN-978-0-8166-3949-6

Recommended

  • Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual. 7th. Bedford Books, 2015.
    • ISBN-978-1-4576-4232-6

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

This course offers you the chance to more formally investigate the discipline of American Studies, including its history, its triumphs, its mistakes, and its possible futures. American Studies is a widely interdisciplinary field, arising from literature, history, anthropology and sociology. Few of us will know all the threads and major works that contribute to the field, but the course should provide many leads for further reading and research. Hopefully, we will find that American Studies is a powerful tool we can use to investigate the plural faces of American culture and the range of American identities.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Objectives

  • The goals of the seminar are to help students attain information and conceptual tools needed for graduate work in American Studies and to assess the achievement of the learning goals for the undergraduate major.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 360-400 90-100%
B 320-359 80-89%
C 280-319 70-79%
D 240-279 60-69%
F 0-239 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion (8) 200 50%
Research Paper: Topic Proposal 100 25%
Research Paper: Critical Summary 200 50%
Research Paper: Final Seminar Paper 300 75%
Total 800 200%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction - Sunday
Discussion 1 25
Research Proposal 100 Saturday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 25 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 25 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 25 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 25 Sunday
Critical Summary 200
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Critical Summary Discussion - Sunday
Discussion 6 25
Rough Draft -
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 25 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Seminar Essay 300 Thursday
Discussion 8 25 Saturday
Total Points 800

Assignment Overview

Discussions

The weekly discussions in this course act as both the class discussion and a weekly study group.  Therefore, the quality and effectiveness of your postings and responses, and not merely their frequency, is extremely important.

Each week there will be discussion topics that contain multiple questions.  I do not expect you to answer all of them. These questions are intended to help guide the class to what is most important in the readings.  At a minimum, you should answer two questions in each topic.  Then, read and respond to a number of the other student postings per topic. 

Please avoid putting all of your answers into one, lengthy response.  This method makes your ideas harder to read online and it is harder for others to respond to a specific point.

All discussion postings and responses are due by midnight Sunday.


Seminar Paper

You are required to write one, 15-20 page research paper on an approved topic of American Studies. The assignment is broken into three sub-assignments: the proposal (topic and thesis), the critical summary, and the seminar essay (final paper). 

Proposal: In a two-page essay, identify your intended topic and course of research for your semester project.  The topic must be relevant to American studies.  I must approve the topic for your paper in advance.  

Critical Summary: The critical summary of research materials should take the form of an annotated bibliography, using the appropriate reference style for citations, and including a brief summary and discussion of materials that will contribute to the seminar essay. Your bibliography should include 10 – 15 specific items.  Keep in mind that the final paper (the Seminar Essay) must include proper citations using the style appropriate for the discipline.  Papers focusing on sociology or political science should be written following APA requirements; history papers should be written in Chicago style; literature-related papers should use MLA.  A consistent citation style must be used in the body of the final paper as well as the bibliography.

Seminar Essay: Your final paper should be an analysis that posits and develops your thesis.  You should submit a rough draft for review in Week 6.  The final draft of your Seminar Essay must be 15-20 pages in length, double spaced with one-inch margins, and include proper citations. 



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: In the Midnight Hour: American Studies in a Moment of Danger
Readings

Lipsitz: Introduction and Chapter 1

Introduction
Introduce yourself to the class—who you are, where you are, your academic interests, perhaps how you got involved in American Studies. Describe how you see American Studies as a discipline.
Discussion 1
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 1.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Research Proposal

Submit your proposed topic and thesis essay to the Dropbox by Saturday night.

Week 2: The 1930s
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 2.

Smith, Henry Nash.  “Can American Studies Develop a Method?” American Quarterly 9.2 (Summer 1957).  

Discussion 2
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 2.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Week 3: The 1960s
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 3.

Susman, Warren I.  “History and the American Intellectual: Uses of a Usable Past.” American Quarterly 16.2, Part 2 (Summer 1964).

Kuklick, Bruce. “Myth and Symbol in American Studies.” American Quarterly 24.4 (October 1972).  

Discussion 3
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 3.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Week 4: The 1980s
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 4

Wise, Gene. “’Paradigm Dramas’ in American Studies: A Cultural and Institutional History of the Movement.” American Quarterly 31.3 (1979).  

Discussion 4
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 4.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Week 5: Urban Art and New Social Movements
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 9 and one essay from Part II (Chapters 5-8) 

Discussion 5
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 5.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Critical Summary

Submit your Critical Summary to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday. 

Week 6: Consumer Culture and American Studies
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 10

Critical Summary Discussion
Post the critical summary for your paper to the discussion.  Please comment on your classmates’ research. 
Discussion 6
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 6.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Rough Draft

Submit your Rough Draft to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday. 

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: The Politics of Academia
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 11

Kessler-Harris, Alice.  “Cultural Locations: Positioning American Studies in the Great Debate.”  American Quarterly 44.3 (Sept. 1992).

Discussion 7
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 7.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.
Week 8: American Studies at the Crossroads
Readings

Lipsitz: Chapter 12

Seminar Essay

Submit the final draft of your Seminar Essay to the Dropbox by midnight Thursday.

Discussion 8
Answer at least two questions over this week's readings.  You will find a list of questions posted in the Content area for Week 8.  Then read and respond to a number of the other students' postings.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late papers will be penalized 5% / day and may be refused entirely if more than one week overdue.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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