Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

CO 626 American Studies Senior Seminar

the college of arts and sciences

In the fall of your senior year, you must enroll in the course designated as the American Studies Senior Seminar. The topic of the seminar, an interdisciplinary course housed in one of the major cooperating departments, varies every year. For Fall 2013, the seminar will be taught by Christophrt Wilson of the English Department. The course is required for completion of the minor; admissions will be by permission of the instructor or the director of the American Studies Program.

EN 626.01 Studies in American Culture: Fear, Comfort, Risk

This interdisciplinary seminar will examine fiction writers, film makers, journalists and cultural critics who write about American post-industrial society: about the pleasures and risks of class enclaves and underground economies; working for Wal-Mart or the home security industry; consuming mass fantasies of fear and terrorism; and more. Our particular focus will be the themes of fear, risk and comfort: how do Americans define or confront fears, manage risks, describe what gives them comfort or makes them feel safe, in their homes, on their streets, in their communities? Together, we will explore how fears, risk and risk-takers (in the stock market, corporate life, terrorism) are represented in contemporary mass culture and everyday news; we will discuss how ideals of comfort, beauty, and aesthetic pleasure have negotiated new demands for security in the post 9/11 world. Students will pursue a journalistic research essay on a topic of their own choosing.