Centre for the Study of the United States

New CSUS faculty: Professor Leah Montange

Professor Leah Montange is a new faculty member of the Centre for the Study of the United States for the 2022-23 Academic Year. Find out more about her in this interview!



AMS200H1F: Introduction to American Studies
Mondays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm; Enrollment Cap: 60 seats

This course will ask the central questions: What is America and who are Americans? This course concentrates on a series of moments in which different groups of Americans—such as women, African Americans, indigenous people, immigrants, refugees, queer Americans, and workers — debated, struggled over, and changed the boundaries of who and what counts as American. We will interrogate and problematize these questions across four time periods: the decades around the American Revolution, the US Civil War, the late 19th century through World War 2, and the second half of the 20th century. Drawing from a variety of source materials ranging from political and literary to visual culture and material artifacts, this course examines the politics, history and culture of the U.S. A major emphasis will be learning to analyze primary sources. Required for majors and minors, but open to all who meet pre-requisites.

AMS401H1F: Topics in American Studies: Work and Labor in American Life
Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm; Enrollment Cap: 20 seats

From chattel slavery to the fight for the 8-hour workday to the so-called Great Resignation, this class will unpack the meaning and force of “work” in American life. How have labor movements shaped American life and the US landscape? How have social categories (i.e., race, class, gender, sexuality) been constructed according to labor? What is the relationship between work and freedom (or unfreedom) in America? We will read perspectives from American Studies scholars working in the disciplines of history, geography, cultural studies, political theory, and more.

AMS300H1S: Theories and Methods in American Studies
Wednesdays, 1:00pm – 3:00pm (Tutorials: 3:00pm – 4:00pm / 4:00pm – 5:00pm); Enrollment Cap: 40 seats

This course explores a range of the many ‘theories and methods’ that have animated the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Students will read and discuss texts that exemplify or explain a wide variety of theoretical orientations and their associated research methods, exploring how scholars use different approaches to illuminate different kinds of questions about American experience(s). By analyzing the methods, history and theories of American Studies, we’ll trace the invention of the field. Students will have four methods exercises where they will try their hand at close reading, ethnographic interviews, visual methods, and historical analysis. This course is required for majors, but is open to all who have met the prerequisites.

AMS311H1S: Approaches to American Studies: Borderscapes
Tuesdays, 2:00pm – 4:00pm; Enrollment Cap: 25 seats

This course is about the US’s borders and their crossing. We live in an age of human migration, with more humans than ever before crossing borders to work and study, or as asylum seekers and refugees, both legally and clandestinely. In turn, states are attempting to confront, manage, and control these movements. The outcome has been bordering practices that have reshaped human mobility, and securitized the boundaries between national territories across the globe. In this course we will read and discuss a set of texts from the social sciences and the humanities that address America’s border regions, including the US-Mexico border, US-Canada border, Caribbean Seas, and even borders within the US interior. We will explore state power, especially as it manifests through bordering techniques such as deportation, detention, policing and surveillance. We will read and discuss texts that analyze how humans on the move have resisted, circumvented, and reshaped bordering practices. Throughout, we will consider the complex construction and contestation of America’s borderscapes: border landscapes that are shaped over time through the actions of both states and border crossers.