American media headlines, from across the political spectrum, often express anxiety over the downfall of America, or more specifically, the American “Empire”: as a 2018 headline in The New Republic asked, “Are We Witnessing the Fall of the American Empire?” But what does it mean to consider the United States as an empire? How is culture deployed for the ends of empire? How does empire undergird military, economic, and humanitarian intervention? How do individuals and groups make claims for rights in the shadow of empire? In this course, we will analyze various facets of U.S. imperialism in the 20th century, with specific attention to cultural forms of power and instances of armed conflict, as well as anti-imperial dissent. By engaging with a wide variety of materials – historical monographs, fiction, films, oral histories, government documents, and pop culture artifacts – we will develop an interdisciplinary approach to the study of empire.