News for Undergraduates

CSUS INTERIM DIRECTOR (to June 30, 2017)

CSUS Interim Director, Prof. Robert Vipond, will be holding student office hours on the following day & time:
Mondays, 2:00-4:00 pm.

His office is in Room 326N North House, Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place. He may also be reached by email anytime at:


I am pleased to announce that the Centre for the Study of the United States and American Studies Undergraduate Program is allocating up to three awards of up to $1,500 each for students completing internships this summer 2017. If you are completing an internship related to your studies, regardless of location, and would be aided by financial support, please email me with the following materials:

  1. A 1-2 paragraph description of your internship, including the organization, location, and dates.
  2. A 1-2 paragraph description of your goals during this internship, especially in how they relate to American Studies.
  3. A budget which indicates costs of undertaking the internship, and a justification for a request of up to $1,500.

Applications should be sent to me by April 5, 2017, BY EMAIL, to, with a copy to

Preference will be given to students who have not won this award before. Applicants must be American Studies students in the Major or Minor program.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

Robert Vipond, Director


The American Studies Students Society has recently been formed.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please email us. We are always happy to hear from members of the American Studies community, and will respond as soon as possible.

President: Samantha Odrowaz-Sekely (
Co-Vice Presidents: Malia Omale ( and Helen Hayes (
Treasurer: Sophie Jackson (
Media Coordinator: Adam Harris-Koblin (
Secretary: Aisha Assan-Lebbe (
Executive-at-large: Syed Raza (


Major in american studies

Completion Requirements: As of 2017-2018 Academic Year

American Studies Major (Arts Program)

7.0 full courses or equivalent (FCEs), specified as follows:

  1. 1.0 FCE from the 200-level gateway courses in English (ENG250Y1), History (HIS271Y1), Geography (GGR240H1 AND GGR254H1), or Political Science (POL203Y1).
    2. USA200H1 and USA300H1 (total of 1.0 FCE).
    3. 1.0 FCE from at least three disciplinary/thematic clusters, categorized as follows (3.0 FCEs): a) Politics and Economics b) Society (Aboriginal Studies, Anthropology, East Asian Studies, Geography) c) Culture (Cinema Studies, English, Music, Religion) d) History
    4. 0.5 FCE in Breadth Requirement Category 5: The Physical or Mathematical Universe, or another half course approved by the CSUS Program Director, to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning competency requirement of the program.
    5. Additional eligible courses from the Recommended Courses listed on the Centre for the Study of the United States website[]

    , to a total of 7.0 FCEs, including requirement #4 above.
    6. At least 2.0 FCEs of the student’s 7.0 FCEs must be at the 300-level or above.
    7. At least 1.5 FCEs of the student’s program must be in American Studies (USA prefix courses), at the 300- or 400-level.

Recommended Sequence of Courses:

First Year:
Students are encouraged to take any pre-requisites for the 200-level gateway course required, and/or enroll directly in USA200H1 as a first year student. Of the required second-year disciplinary survey courses, only one–POL203Y1–has a pre-requisite; students interested in politics, therefore, should take one full POL course, a prerequisite for POL203Y1. Other recommended courses at the first year level include: HIS106Y1 Natives, Settlers, and Slaves: Colonizing the Americas, 1492-1804.

Second Year:
USA200H1 Introduction to American Studies HIS271Y1 History of the United States since 1607 (or) ENG250Y1 American Literature (or) GGR240H1 AND GGR254H1 Historical Geography of North America / Geography USA (or) POL203Y1 U.S. Government and Politics

Second, Third, and Fourth Years:
USA300H1, plus other eligible courses, to a total of 7.0 FCEs. At least 2.0 of these courses must be at the 300-level or above. At least 1.5 of these courses must be in American Studies (USA prefix courses) at the 300- or 400-level. Courses must be chosen in a way that satisfies the disciplinary/thematic variety described above, plus 0.5 FCE in Breadth Requirement Category 5, or another half course approved by the CSUS Program Director, to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning competency requirement of the program.

NOTE: Other 300+ series courses with 50% or more American content may be allowed; students should seek early approval of program credit for such courses from the CSUS Director.

American Studies Minor (Arts Program)

(4 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 300+ series course in at least two disciplines)

Second year:
1. 1.0 FCE of the following 200-level gateway survey courses in English (ENG250Y1), History (HIS271Y1), Geography (GGR240H1 and GGR254H1), or Political Science (POL203Y1).

Third year:
2. Students must take USA300H1 (0.5 FCE).

Second, third, and fourth years:
3. 2.5 courses from the eligible courses listed below to total 4.0 FCEs.

NOTE: Other 300+ series courses with American content may be allowed; students should seek early approval of program credit for such courses.

For a detailed list of courses please consult the links above. 

core courses

2016-2017 Course Offerings

For additional information on the American Studies courses, please contact our Program Coordinator, Stella Kyriakakis, at

Fall 2016

USA200H1F: Introduction to American Studies; Instructor: Alexandra Rahr

Students in this course will examine the politics, history, and culture of the United States through a selection of “keywords” from the field of American Studies (i.e. nation, frontier, race, gender, memorials, etc.). Through a critical analysis of primary readings from American Studies scholars, as well as other academic and contemporary writing, we will interrogate and problematize the keywords in question. A central focus of our analysis will be the social, cultural, and political contexts surrounding our keywords, as well as their representation in mediated texts. The instructor will also provide a material “object of the week” which functions as a fun and engaging entry point into the issues and debates related to the week’s topic. The object and its significance will be discussed and debated by the students in conjunction with the instructor.

Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

USA310H1F: Approaches to American Studies: Life and Death in the American Health Care System; Instructor: Caitlin Henry

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), American health care is entering a new phase. While millions of people will now be able to better access health care services, the ACA has brought to light issues of politics, religion, discrimination, and inequality in the US. And perhaps most importantly, these debates have shown how politically, economically, and financially, health care in America is in crisis. In this class, we will investigate the history and key issues of health care in the US. The topics we will cover are both obvious and less apparent, but all play important roles in how health and health care is defined, accessed, distributed, and funded. The topics each get at the various ways health and health care in America is full of political contestations rooted in complex histories. Through these various topics, we will ask: What is the geography of health and health care in the US? Why does the US, unlike every other Western nation, not have national health care? How did the massive for-profit health care industry develop? Why, in one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world, do millions of people lack access to basic health care services? What does the health care system reveal about politics, government, and inequality in the US?

Prerequisite: At least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the American Studies list of eligible courses or USA300H1.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA311H1F (cross-listed as POL300H1F): Approaches to American Studies: Party Politics and National Elections in the Unites States; Instructor: Matthew Lebo

We will study both congressional and presidential campaigns and elections in the United States while paying close attention to the 2016 races. In particular, we will focus on understanding the causes of successes and failures in primary and general election campaigns. We will also cover topics such as the U.S. electoral system, public opinion, redistricting and gerrymandering, polarization, voting behaviour, and campaign financing. Readings and assignments will include in-depth empirical research on these and other contemporary aspects of American politics. In preparation for the 2016 election we will discuss election forecasting, electoral maps and math, and presidential debates.

Prerequisite: At least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the American Studies list of eligible courses or USA300H1.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA402H1F: Topics in American Studies: Disaster in America; Instructor: Alexandra Rahr

From the turn-of-the-century Galveston hurricane to the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl to Hurricane Sandy’s recent devastation of the Jersey Shore, America has been shaped by acts of God as much as by divine providence. In our own era of the Anthropocene, disaster is increasingly understood as a virtually continuous long emergency rather than as a discrete anomaly. Focusing on the nature of American catastrophe—both historical and ongoing—this class will engage with questions such as how cataclysm interrogates American exceptionalism and disaster relief policy’s vexed relationship with federalism. We will also consider the political economy of catastrophe, and explore just how natural ‘natural’ disasters really are. Pressing contemporary questions of precarious citizenship also be discussed as we examine how disaster complicates the category of ‘refugee’ by creating dispossessed migrants who are also already Americans. To aid this analytical work, we will draw on disaster’s deep cultural archive and listen to Charley Patton sing the Mississippi Delta flood blues, view the graffiti art Banksy painted on New Orleans levee walls and read The Wizard of Oz sequel that swallows up Dorothy Gale in a San Francisco earthquake.

Prerequisite: At least two courses (2.0 FCEs) from the American Studies list of eligible courses.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA494H1F / USA 494Y1 – Independent Studies

Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

Spring 2016

USA300H1S: Theories and Methods in American Studies; Instructor: Alexandra Rahr

This course, required for majors and minors, but open to all who have met the prerequisites, explores a range of approaches to the field of American Studies. Students will be introduced to some of the many ‘theories and methods’ that have animated the field of American Studies, including historical methods; formal analysis of visual and literary texts; and key concepts, such as commodity chain analysis; ‘race,’ ‘commodity,’ ‘gender,’ ‘diaspora,’ and ‘affect.’

Prerequisite: HIS271Y1/ENG250Y1/POL203Y1/GGR240H1/GGR254H1
Exclusion: USA300Y1
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

USA312H1S: Approaches to American Studies: American Protest; Instructor: Alexandra Rahr

This is a course on the narratives of American protest movements from revolution through abolitionism, socialist dissent in the Progressive era, civil rights, and the Vietnam War.

Prerequisite: At least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the American Studies list of eligible courses or USA300H1.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA401H1S (cross-listed with HIS404H1S): Topics in American Studies: From the Melting Pot to Multiculturalism:  A History of American Diversity; Instructor: Anastasia Jones

This course will examine racial, religious, and ethnic diversity in the United States from the American Revolution to the present day. Though beginning in the 18th century, the course will focus on period following the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Students will explore different ideas about the integration of former slaves, assimilation of immigrants, and religious accommodation to modern society. The course will pay close attention to how demographic changes affected politics, gender norms, educational priorities, and economic activity. Racism and nativism will be contrasted with theories of melting pot, cultural pluralism, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism. The American case will also be contrasted with comparably diverse nations like Canada, Australia, the UK, and France.

Prerequisite: At least two courses (2.0 FCEs) from the American Studies list of eligible courses.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA494H1S – Independent Studies

Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

Summer 2017

USA400H1F: Topics in American Studies: Gun Violence in the United States; Instructor: Jooyoung Lee

This course will introduce you to three iconic case studies in American gun violence. First, we will examine theories of school-rampage shootings, with a particular emphasis on the Columbine School Shootings. Next, we will look at a decades-long gang war between the Crips and Bloods in “South Central” Los Angeles. Third, we will revisit the Zodiac Killings, the most infamous unsolved serial murder case in U.S. history. These three case studies will provide the empirical foundations for in-depth analyses of guns, violence, masculinity, mental health, policing, and the lived experiences of victims. We will also think broadly about policies that could prevent these tragedies from happening again.

Prerequisite: At least two courses (2.0 FCEs) from the American Studies list of eligible courses.
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

USA494H1F / S and USA 494Y1 – Independent Studies

Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities or Social Science
Breadth Requirement: None

Recommended courses

Updated March 2017

From the Faculty of Arts and Science website: 

American Studies

Cinema Studies





Indigenous Studies (formerly Aboriginal Studies)


Political Science


Recommended Course Descriptions

Cinema Studies

CIN211H1 Science Fiction Film Study of science fiction film in its role as a commercial film genre, social allegory and speculation on technology and the future. Exclusion: INI227H1

CIN230H1 The Business of Film Examines cinema as a commercial enterprise, a technology and a formal system, with an emphasis on devising numerically-based approaches to amplify the study of cinema. This course fulfills the Category 5 Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Exclusion: INI228H1

CIN270Y1 American Popular Film Since 1970 Examination of the art of popular film in its social, political, and commercial contexts, through study of selected popular films from 1970 to the present. Various critical approaches, genres, and directors are included. Exclusion: INI225Y1

CIN310Y1 Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Film experimentation in the context of modern art and poetry (Cubism, Dada-Surrealism) from the 1920s through the 1990s. (Offered in alternate years). Prerequisite: CIN105Y1; Exclusion: INI322Y1

CIN334H1 The Origins of the Animation Industry, 1900-1950: A Technosocial History An introduction to early animation, considering its vaudeville roots, its industrialization, and its emerging aesthetics and representational tropes. Examination of the early corpus of animation from 1900-1950 and in-depth study of the artistic, social and cultural mileux from which animation derived. (Offered in alternate years). Prerequisite: CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1; Exclusion: INI383H1

CIN374Y1 American Filmmaking in the Studio Era A study of filmmaking in the US once the studio system was in place; consideration of industrial, economic, ideological, and aesthetic dimensions of the American studio era. Topics include the primacy of classicism, the operations of the studio system (including censorship, labour relations, marketing, and star promotion), and the cultural function of American films. (Offered in alternate years). Prerequisite: CIN105Y1; Exclusion: INI324Y1

CIN490Y1/491H1/492H1 Advanced Studies in Cinema  Seminars in special topics designed for advanced specialist and major students in Cinema Studies. See course description for CIN492H1 listed below. Not eligible for CR/NCR option. Prerequisite: At least ten full-course equivalents, including CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1, CIN301Y1/ permission of instructor.


ECO306H1 American Economic History A survey of American economic history from the antebellum period to the present.  Potential topics include the the rapid growth of the American economy in the late 19th and early 20th century; Causes of the onset of the Great Depression; The economic impact of slavery and its aftermath; Health and demographic trends; and 20th century trends in inequality. Prerequisites: ECO200Y1/ECO204Y1/ECO206Y1ECO202Y1/ECO208Y1/ECO209Y1; ECO220Y1/ECO227Y1/(STA220H1,STA255H1)/(STA257H1,STA261H1)


ENG250Y1 American Literature   An introductory survey of major works in American literature, this course explores works in a variety of genres, including poetry, fiction, essays, and slave narratives. Prerequisite: 1.0 ENG FCE or any 4.0 FCE

ENG254Y1 Indigenous Literatures of North America   An introduction to Indigenous North American writing in English, with significant attention to Aboriginal literatures in Canada. The writings are placed within the context of Indigenous cultural and political continuity, linguistic and territorial diversity, and living oral traditions. The primary focus is on contemporary Indigenous writing. Prerequisite: 1.0 ENG FCE or any 4.0 FCE

ENG360H1 Early American Literature This course explores writing in a variety of genres produced in the American colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as narratives, poetry, autobiography, journals, essays, sermons, and court transcripts. Prerequisite: 2.0 ENG FCE and any 4.0 FCE

ENG363Y1 Nineteenth-Century American Literature This course explores American writing in a variety of genres from the end of the Revolution to the beginning of the twentieth century. Prerequisite: 2.0 ENG FCE and any 4.0 FCE

ENG364Y1 Twentieth-Century American Literature  This course explores twentieth-century American writing in a variety of genres. Prerequisite: 2.0 ENG FCE and any 4.0 FCE

ENG365H1 Contemporary American Fiction This course explores six or more works by at least four contemporary American writers of fiction. Prerequisite: 2.0 ENG FCE and any 4.0 FCE

ENG368H1 Asian North American Poetry and Prose Close study of works by Asian American and Asian Canadian authors, with attention to the historical and political contexts in which such works have been written and read. Topics may include racial, diasporic, and hybrid identity; cultural nationalism and transnationalism; gender and sexuality; the politics of poetic form. Prerequisite: 2.0 ENG FCE and any 4.0 FCE

ENG434H1/435H1 Advanced Studies: American and Transnational Literatures Prerequisite: 4.0 ENG FCE and any 9.0 FCE

ENG 438H1 Advanced Studies: American and Transnational Literatures Prerequisite: 4.0 ENG FCE and any 9.0 FCE


GGR240H1 Historical Geography of North America An introduction to the historical geography of North America from the pre-Columbian period to the present. Topics include European imperialism, staple economies, colonial settlement, railroads and the West, industrialization and urbanization, sovereignty and security, environmental and agricultural change, and regional identities.

GGR254H1 Geography USA After a brief historical overview, focuses on contemporary issues in American society: economy, politics, race, regional distinctions and disparities, urban development and the U.S. as world power.

GGR336H1 Urban Historical Geography of North America  Processes of urbanization; development of urban systems; changing internal patterns: central area, residential districts, housing, transportation, reform and planning movements. Emphasis on the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Recommended Preparation: 8.0 FCE’s including one of GGR124H1, GGR241H1, GGR254H1

GGR339H1 Urban Geography, Planning and Political Processes  The interdependence of political processes and institutions, public policy and urban geography. The political economy of federalism, urban growth, planning and public services as they shape the urban landscape. The spaces of the city as the negotiated outcomes of variously empowered people and the meanings they ascribe to localities and places. Approaches informed by post-colonial, post-modern, and feminist perspectives. Canadian, U.S. and European comparisons. Recommended Preparation: 8.0 FCE’s including GGR124H1, GGR246H1/GGR254H1


HIS106Y1 Natives, Settlers and Slaves: Colonizing the Americas, 1492-1804 North and South America and the Caribbean from Columbus to the American Revolution: aboriginal cultures, European exploration, conquest and settlement, the enslavement of Africans, the ecological impact of colonization. Exclusion: HIS103Y1, HIS104Y1, HIS107Y1, HIS109Y1

HIS202H1 Gender, Race and Science This course examines scientific ideas about human difference from the 18th-century to the present. It explores how scientists and their critics portrayed the nature of race, sex difference, and masculinity/femininity in light of debates over nation, citizenship, colonialism, emancipation, knowledge and equality. The course will also introduce students to the uses of gender and race as analytic categories within the practice of history. While the course draws much of its subject matter from the history of the United States, it also explores selective issues in European and colonial contexts.

HIS271Y1 American History Since 1607   This course is a survey of the economic, social, political, and cultural history of the United States from first contact between Europeans and native peoples to recent times. Some of the issues the course will deal with are: the contested character of democracy and equality; the evolution of race, gender, and class identities; the relationship between business and government; the relationship between church and state.

HIS300H1 Energy Cultures in North American History This course examines the history of energy in North America from the perspective of political economy, environment and social-cultural history. Particular attention is paid to twentieth-century developments and to the relationship between energy and social power. Examples are drawn from both Canada and the United States.

HIS310H1 Histories of North American Consumer Culture  This course examines the emergence of a modern consumer society in North America from about 1850 to recent times. The aim is to combine political, social, economic and cultural history to chart changing relationships between North Americans, consumer commodities, and identities.

HIS343Y1/HIS343H1 History of Modern Espionage An introduction to the historical origins and evolution of modern intelligence services. Topics to be studied include: intelligence in wartime; technological change; intelligence failures; covert operations; counter-espionage; the future of spying. The impact of the popular culture, both in fiction and film is also examined. Recommended preparation: HIS103Y1 or an equivalent introduction to modern international relations

HIS365H1 History of the Great Lakes Region  This course is a survey of some key historical developments in the Great Lakes Region as a “trans-national space,” a region that transcends the “49th parallel” but is simultaneously shaped by it.  At one level, the course is a chronological history of the region from early contact between native peoples and Europeans to the 1980s; at another level, it aims to provide a thematic consideration of how a “region” gets made over time.  By focusing on the region as a unit of analysis, students are encouraged to question and de-emphasize the national border as an organizing principle of historical knowledge, and to ask what alternative geographies might better capture the complexities of change.  To this end, some attention is given to local histories within the region (e.g. of Toronto and other cities) and to whether the region’s history reflects local trends or broader forces in North America and the world. Topics and themes may include: the movement of people, commodities, and ideas into and inside the region; southern Ontario’s place in continental history; the building of transportation networks; urbanization and industrialization; competition between Great Lakes cities for metropolitan status; the relationship between cities and hinterlands; urban and rural cultures; the making of the border as a real or imagined boundary; the importance of race, class, and gender to the social history of the region; nationalism and regionalism; deindustrialization and urban crisis; and changing ideas of geography and environment (particularly regarding the Lakes themselves). Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS271Y1

HIS366H1 Aboriginal Peoples of the Great Lakes from 1815 to the Present Explores the history of Aboriginal peoples (Indigenous and Métis) living in the Great Lakes Region after the Great Lakes were effectively split between British North America (later Canada) to the north and the United States to the south, when a rapidly increasing newcomer population on both sides of the border marginalized Indigenous peoples and settled on their land. Topics include a comparative examination of Indigenous experiences of colonialism, including treaties and land surrenders as well as the development of government policies aimed at removing and/or assimilating Great Lakes peoples. This course will also study resistance by First National and Tribal Councils to those programs over nearly two centuries and assess local strategies used for economic and cultural survival.

HIS369H1 Aboriginal Peoples of the Great Lakes from 1500 Algonkian and Iroquoian history from the eve of European contact to the present in the Great Lakes region of today’s Canada and the United States. Algonkian and Iroquoian societies in the 16th century, change over time, material culture, and inter-cultural relations among natives and between natives and Euroamericans. Exclusion: HIS369H1 Recommended preparation: HIS106Y1/262Y1/HIS263Y1/HIS271Y1

HIS374H1 American Consumerism – The Beginnings  “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping” – according to a recent popular expression.  How did shopping, or consumerism, become such an integral part of American society?  When did it begin?  Why has consumerism become so important to the American identity, culture and economy?  Historians have argued that the eighteenth-century witnessed a “Consumer Revolution.”  This course will test that assertion for the American experience by first analyzing theories of consumption, then looking back at seventeenth-century England where it all began. We will examine the economic imperatives operating within the Atlantic world in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ultimately focusing on early America (1700-1800).  To start we look at the “First Consumer Revolution” that opened from the time the very first Europeans set foot in North America and traded with the native peoples who already lived there. As the colonial period developed, so too did attitudes towards consumer goods and ideas about fashion and style. We will investigate how these were reflected in the accumulation of goods.  The course will conclude by examining how changing patterns of consumption altered various modes of production, leading to the industrial revolution and the beginnings of mass consumption in the nineteenth century. Prerequisite: HIS271Y1 Recommended preparation: At least 6 courses completed

HIS375H1 Politics and Protest in Postwar North America This course will explore the background, experience, and legacy of protest movements in North America during the post-1945 era.  The course will draw on cutting edge historical literature, and will compare and contrast the American and Canadian contexts.  Topics will include the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, nationalism, environmentalism, labour, and the New Left.

HIS376H1 The United States: Now – and Then   An exploration of some of the historical roots of issues that are of particular importance to understanding the United States of the early 21st century: e.g., the war in Iraq and U.S. global leadership (or hegemony); the impact of globalization on the domestic economy; cultural innovation vs. neo-conservatism. Prerequisite: HIS271Y1

HIS377H1 20th-Century American Foreign Relations A survey of the history of American foreign relations from 1898 to the present. Themes include imperial expansion and the uses of power; the relationship of business and government in U.S. foreign policy; and the role of culture and ideas in America’s relations with the world. Prerequisite: HIS271Y1/372Y1/POL208Y1

HIS378H1 America in the 1960s  A survey course covering one of the most tumultuous decades in American history. In 1960 America was still dominated by a broad consensus on fundamental social issues and private values that emerged out of the 1950’s. This was true to such an extent that some commentators talked about the “end of ideology” and suggested that American society was on the verge of solving most social problems. There was little indication that by the end of the decade American society would be convulsed by civil strife and Americans would embark on a reevaluation of their values and world view. The course will begin by spending a couple of weeks examining the cold war mentality that emerged as a result of that. Next, it will look in some depth at the “Kennedy Promise” at the beginning of the decade; what this meant, and how the assassination of the president affected American’s confidence in their future. Succeeding weeks will examine in some detail the dissolution of this promise by focusing on “American Apartheid” and the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Society, the war in Vietnam and the anti-war movement, the rise of the counterculture, and ghetto revolts. An in-depth look will be taken at the year 1968, with all its implications. Finally, we will examine the early years of the Nixon presidency, the waning of the protest movements, and the emergence of new issues, such as feminism, gay rights and environmentalism. The course will place relatively equal emphasis on politics, foreign policy, society and culture during this period. Prerequisite: HIS271Y1

HIS379H1 Vietnam at War This course examines the French and American Wars (1945-75) in Vietnam, and its effects on the population of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.  It begins with a brief overview of pre-colonial Vietnamese history, and moves into a study of the impact and legacies of colonial rule and centres on the impact of the Wars on the cultures, economies, and societies of Southeast Asia. Prerequisite: HIS283Y1 or another Asian history course. Exclusion: HIS400H1

HIS389H1/HIS389Y1 Topics in History   In-depth examination of historical issues. Content in any given year depends on instructor. See Undergraduate Handbook or History website for more details.Prerequisite: Varies from year to year; consult department

HIS400H1 The American War in Vietnam This course examines the French and American Wars (1945-75) in Vietnam and its effects on the population of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.  It begins with a brief overview of pre-colonial Vietnamese history and moves into a study of the impact and legacies of colonial rule and centres on the impact of the Wars on the cultures, economies, and societies of Southeast Asia.

HIS401H1 History of the Cold War This course covers international relations from World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Topics include the breakdown of the wartime alliance, Soviet predominance in eastern Europe, the Western response, NATO, atomic weaponry. Prerequisite: HIS311Y1/HIS344Y1/HIS377Y1

HIS404H1 Topics in U.S. History This seminar interdisciplinary and studies past environmental change in North America. Topics include: theory and historiography; the pre-European environment; contact; resource development; settlement, industrial urban environments; ideas about nature in religion, literature and North American culture; conservation and the modern environmental movement. (Joint undergraduate-graduate) Exclusion: HIS318Y1 Prerequisite: 8 full courses

HIS463H1 Cloth in American History to 1865 Cloth was a major commodity in the early modern world.  Positioning early America within a global context and employing a material culture framework, textiles and clothing provide the lens through which to view the social, cultural, economic and industrial development of the United States from pre-European contact until the 1860s.

HIS473Y1 The United States and Asia since 1945 Era In this seminar we will examine the vicissitudes of U.S. relations with East and Southeast Asia during the Cold War era.  We will look at strategic, ideological, and cultural factors driving American efforts to shape the development of certain regions in Asia and the consequences of those efforts for the Asian nations in question.  We will devote significant attention to the influence of internal factors in Asian history and the motivations of key Asian leaders.  Major themes will include the role of cultural and informal diplomacy and the effect of perceptions and misperceptions on both sides of U.S.-Asian interactions. Prerequisite: HIS344Y1/372Y1/HIS377Y1 Exclusion: HIS 473H1

HIS479H1 U.S. Foreign Policy Since World War II    An in-depth study of U.S. behaviour in the global arena since World War II. Particular attention will be paid to the origins and evolution of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the initiatives of the Nixon-Kissinger years, the end of the Cold War, and the relevance of “globalization.” Prerequisite: HIS271Y1/HIS377Y1 Exclusion: HIS479Y1

HIS484H1 The Car in North American History Why do so many people drive? What’s up with those weirdos who don’t drive? How did Toronto make a highway out of a swimming hole in the Don Valley? Why do I care so much if the local donut shop has a drive thru? Didn’t we used to go there to relax? Has the car really made us free? Blending a thematic and chronological approach, this course examines the history of the car in North America from the perspective of technology, business, landscape and popular culture. We examine both the history of the car as a particular commodity and the ways its development affected, and was affected by, larger changes in business, government, family economies, and various social forces. In addition, we examine the way the car has been related to identity formation and the importance of factors like class, race, gender, and age in shaping the meaning and experience of driving. We also analyze polemics about the car to interrogate themes of freedom, mobility, enslavement to the machine, and triumph over nature, asking if the car represents the height or the decline of Western Civilization. A key question is whether the history of the car transcends borders, real and imagined, of nation, region and locality. Course material includes readings, films, images and other material. Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS271Y1 Exclusion: HIS484Y1

HIS487H1 Animal and Human Rights in the Anglo-American Culture Based on postcolonial critiques of the Enlightenment and the ways in which some humans were othered as animals, the course examines the relationship between discourses of animal and human rights in Anglo-American culture from the eighteenth century to the present.  Arguments over the constitution of subjectivity and consciousness as well as changing notions of cruelty and pain are addressed.

Indigenous Studies (formerly Aboriginal Studies)

INS302H1 Aboriginal Representation in the Mass Media and Society   A survey of historical and contemporary representations of Aboriginal people in the mass media. Introduction to basic techniques for evaluating, analyzing, and understanding the construction of ‘Nativeness’ as it is communicated through film, television, and other media. Examination of racial stereotypes and the role of mass communication in perpetuating and challenging stereotypes, cultural appropriation, Aboriginal media production, impact of media portrayal of Aboriginal peoples. Prerequisite: 8 FCE including ABS201Y1, plus one additional ABS full course equivalent.

INS341H1 North American Indigenous Theatre    An introduction to the evolution of Indigenous theatre in North America, examining traditional oratory, ceremony, community responsibility, and social construct and their impact on current Indigenous theatre. Prerequisite: 8 FCE including ABS201Y1, plus one additional ABS full course equivalent.


MUS306H1 Popular Music in North America  A selected survey of North American popular music from the 1930s through present. Students will develop a critical framework for listening to and analyzing popular music in historical and social context by focusing on aspects of performance, representation, composition, mass media, aesthetics, and commodification. No prior background in music or ability to read music is required. Exclusion: HMU111H1

Political Science

POL203Y1 U.S. Government and Politics    An introduction to U.S. government and politics within an analytical framework that helps us understand how institutions structure incentives and decisions in the U.S. system. This class examines the political forces that forged contemporary American institutions to understand how these political institutions continue to provide stability while allowing opportunities for political change. We investigate whether these forces make American institutions different and why. Special attention is paid to current events and contemporary policy dilemmas. Prerequisite: One full POL course/4.0 FCEs in the Faculty of Arts and Science/ express permission of the instructor.

POL300H1  Party Politics and National Elections in the Unites States Instructor: Matthew Lebo. We will study both congressional and presidential campaigns and elections in the United States while paying close attention to the 2016 races. In particular, we will focus on understanding the causes of successes and failures in primary and general election campaigns. We will also cover topics such as the U.S. electoral system, public opinion, redistricting and gerrymandering, polarization, voting behaviour, and campaign financing. Readings and assignments will include in-depth empirical research on these and other contemporary aspects of American politics. In preparation for the 2016 election we will discuss election forecasting, electoral maps and math, and presidential debates.

POL326Y1 United States Foreign Policy The foreign policy of the United States: tradition and context of American decision-making, the process by which it is formulated, application to a number of specific regions and problems in the world. Prerequisite: POL203Y1/POL208Y1

POL404Y1 Public, Private and the Liberal State Liberalism, it is sometimes said, stands or falls with the distinction between public and private. This seminar examines how these terms are conceptualized and how they affect the practice of liberal democracy, especially in Canada and the U.S. We will spend the first term developing a conceptual toolkit that will help us understand some of the ways in which public and private are conventionally understood. We will then spend the second term exploring some of the new (and often unexpected) ways in which public and private are playing out these days in public policy – for instance, in education, health, welfare, multiculturalism, professional sports, and war-making.

POL433H1 Topics in United States Government and Politics: Presidential Politics in America The November presidential election is an important event for understanding both the present and future directions of American government and politics. In the first part of this course we will examine the context of the election, the unique characteristics of U.S. political institutions, and the issues and dynamics of the campaign. Following the election we will analyze the outcome and consider its implications for the direction of US public policy over the next four years and the potential significance of political changes in the United States in world affairs. Prerequisites 1.0 POL credit; Exclusions POL433Y1

POL476H1 Topics in Public Policy: Urban Policy and Policymaking This course examines the social, economic, political, and institutional context of urban policies and policymaking processes, focusing on the U.S. and Canada. Course topics include the multiple dimensions of urban sustainability, including urban inequality and economic regeneration, climate change, infrastructure investments, social services, housing, and the relationship between municipal governments and international, national, and sub-national governing bodies.


RLG315H1 Rites of Passage Analysis of rituals of transition form one social status to another (e.g., childbirth, initiation, weddings) from theoretical, historical and ethnographic perspectives. Particular attention is paid to the multi-religious North American environment, and to the importance of rites of passage in the construction of gendered identities. Prerequisite: three half-courses in RLG or PHI/PHLThis is a Social Science course

RLG442H1 North American Religions This course considers the varieties of religious practice in North America from anthropological and historical perspectives. Of particular interest are the ways religions have mutually influenced each other in the context of nineteenth and twentieth century North America.

frequently asked questions

How do I declare my major in American Studies? Enrolment is done through ROSI. You must have successfully completed four full-course equivalents but need no minimum GPA. Instructions are given in the Registration Handbook and Timetable.

May the courses I have taken for a major in another program count toward my major in American Studies? The rule is that students doing two majors must have 12 separate courses to qualify for both majors, meaning that some double counting is possible, but usually amounting to only one or two courses. See the Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar for details.

Is it possible to double count American Studies Credits with other Majors/Minors? The policy of the Faculty of Arts and Science is as follows: “Two major programs, which must include 12 different courses OR One major and two minor programs, which must include 12 different courses” A limited amount of double counting is sometimes allowed. CSUS only has jurisdiction over the USA courses, students must check with the department responsible for the course for permission to double count.

Do I need to meet all the prerequisites? Students are required to have completed HIS271 or POL203 or ENG250 or GGR240H1/GGR254H1 before enrolling in USA300. However, on a case by case basis, students have been allowed to take the prerequisite concurrently with USA300 or to substitute other courses with similar content to the prerequisites. The decision is made by the Director of CSUS. If a student has taken more than one of the pre-requisites, all can be counted towards the degree.

Do I need to meet the breadth requirement? Students are required to meet a breadth requirement for a major/minor in American Studies of at least 3 disciplines, meaning course work in history, political science, english, for example. While a broader course of study is preferable, USA designated courses can be counted as a separate discipline if needed to meet the requirement.

Are there any approved courses not on the list? The list of approved courses in the calendar is not exhaustive. Departments offer many half courses, “Topics in...”, that can change from year to year and are therefore not included on the list. Students interested in having a course approved for American Studies credit should contact the program. The criteria for approval is at least 50% American content. Students should submit syllabi by email to to initiate the approval process.

internships and awards

CSUS either sponsors, or collaborates with other organizations, on several internships and awards each year. These opportunities are available to undergraduate students, graduate students, and/or faculty.

I. Internships for students:

U.S. Consulate, Toronto

The American Consulate General in Toronto, Canada offers internship positions for students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada, in the Political/Economic and Consular Sections three times per year (during the Fall, Winter-Spring, and Summer sessions). Students chosen for the program are required to participate as an intern for at least 10 weeks on a full-time basis. The positions within this program are voluntary, without salary or benefits. The Intern Program gives students valuable work experience in a challenging foreign affairs arena. For further information, please visit their website at:, or you may contact Human Resources by email at:, or by mail: 360 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S4. The internships are run through the US Consulate; CSUS plays no role in the selection of interns.

U.S. Mission, Canada
Public Affairs Section (Toronto) *UNPAID INTERNSHIP* 

Open to: Non-U.S. Citizen Students*. Candidates must be enrolled half-time or more in a trade school, technical or vocational institute, college, university or comparable recognized educational institute in the field of International Relations, Communications, Political Science or Public Administration, as well as related disciplines. For additional details on how to apply to this internship, please see this page.

Canadian Embassy Internship Program, Washington, DC

The Embassy offers several unpaid, full-time internship possibilities in Public Affairs: Academic Relations, Culture, Press/Media, and Information Services. There are frequently positions available in Trade, Environment, Energy and Congressional Relations. Deadlines are three times throughout the year, in relationship to academic terms. This internship is administered by the Canadian Embassy; CSUS has no formal relationship. More information is available here:

Consulate General of Canada, New York City

This is a paid internship available only to students who are enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Toronto at the time of application. In the past this internship has been in the Political/Economic Relations and Public Affairs section. Interested students make an application to the Centre for the Study of the United States by the announced deadline. We then make a decision to forward two names to the Consulate General in NY; and then, the Consulate General will select the final recipient(s). This is a two-stage process and in the second stage nominees from the University of Toronto compete against candidates from other Canadian universities. ***Due to broad strategic operations reviews at all Canadian consulates, they are currently not sure which shape, if any, their internship programs will be taking in the coming year.***

II. Awards for students:

Killam Undergraduate Fellowships for Canadians

The Killam Undergraduate Fellowship is a competitive award that helps support Canadian undergraduates who wish to pursue an exchange at a university in the United States for one semester or a full academic year. The deadline for 2014-15 is January 30, 2014. For more information please see: If you are interested in applying to this award please contact the Centre for International Experience at the University of Toronto:

Canada-US Fulbright Traditional Fellowship Program

Funded by Canada and the US; deadline November 15. Grants of four to nine months to Canadian students who wish to study in the US. (U.S. citizens are not eligible). Please note that this award is available for all sorts of study, including both graduate work (in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences) and in the professional fields (law, medicine, business, public policy.) Also please note that the student aspect of the Fulbright is available to advanced undergraduates seeking to enter a graduate program in the U.S., to current MA students who are applying to PhD and professional degree programs; and to current PhD students seeking a year in the US as part of their dissertation research. If you have further interest in the program, please consult the website here: . Also, please feel free to make an appointment with the CSUS Director to discuss the program in more detail (or simply email with a specific question) by contacting the CSUS Program Coordinator at

Associates of the University of Toronto Award for the Study of the United States

Administered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and open to both undergraduates and graduate students. For graduate students the usual deadline is March 15. For undergraduate students this award is made on the basis of need and merit as an in-course award. Undergrads must be enrolled in the American Studies Program and be in their 3rd or 4th year. Amount: $2000 for undergrads; $3000 for grad students. For further information about this award, see:

Graduate Research Grants in American Studies and/or the Study of the United States

The Centre for the Study of the United States is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 competition for Graduate Research Grants:

Eligibility and Terms: The Graduate Research Grant competition is open to University of Toronto graduate students who have matriculated into a Ph.D. program for support of research (including preliminary research) undertaken for the dissertation. Students in all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Two grants will be awarded in the amount of $1500 each. The awards are to be used primarily for research travel and/or for presentations at major academic conferences. Funds may not be used to pay for normal living expenses or computers. Recipients will be expected to present an aspect of their research in the CSUS Graduate Student Workshop in the 2017-2018 academic year. Awards will be announced within two weeks of the application deadline, and the grants will be available within three weeks thereafter.

Applications must include: 1. Summary sheet stating the applicant’s name, address, phone, and e-mail; department; year entering department; proposed dissertation title; the name of faculty committee members (and their departments), if relevant; and proposed use of funds; 2. A one-page (single-spaced) summary of the research project, which also explains its relationship to either the interdisciplinary field of American Studies and/or to the study of the United States, whether interdisciplinary or not, if not self-evident; 3. A curriculum vita; 4. A detailed budget describing how the research funds would be spent.

Submission of Application: Emailed applications will be accepted as a single PDF file sent to the CSUS Director at, with a cc sent to the Program Coordinator at

Deadline for applications: May 1, 2017. Applicants will be notified of the outcome within six weeks. For additional information, please contact the CSUS Program Coordinator, Stella Kyriakakis, at

III. Awards for Faculty to go to the United States:

Fulbright Scholar and Chairs Program

Available to Canadian scholars and senior professionals (who are not US citizens) who want to lecture and/or do research in the US during the following academic year. Competition opens in May of each year, and the deadline is Nov. 15th of each year. For further information about this award, please see their website here:

undergraduate journal of american studies


The Undergraduate Journal of American Studies is now accepting submissions for its 2016-2017 issue. Submissions should discuss topics relating to: AMERICAN FEAR.

Submissions can range from 2 to 20 pages in length. The deadline for submissions has been extended to: March 27, 2017. Please send submissions to Senior Editors Helen and Zach at:

Undergraduate students whose works are accepted will work closely with the journal’s editing team to improve and polish their submission before the anticipated date of release in September 2017.

To view the 2015-16 Journal <click here>.

To view the 2014-15 Journal <click here>

To view the 2013-14 Journal <click here>.

To view the 2012-13 Journal <click here>.

To view the 2011-12 Journal <click here>.

To view the 2010-11 Journal <click here>.

To view the 2009-10 Journal <click here>.

life after graduation

INTERNSHip opportunity for Recent graduates

The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme runs an internship for recent graduates at Queen’s Park, Toronto. The internship lasts 10 months, from 1st September – 30th June each year, and is a paid stipend, as it is an academic programme, and as such is classed as a scholarship bursary. Interns travel to the US each year to compare the two systems (Canadian and US) and gain a greater overview of world politics, but is based more at a state / province level. More information can be found at

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