Professor Thomas Tweed and his "Buddhism in America" class in the midst of discussion
In the Department of American Studies, we believe that a complete education should take place both inside and outside of the classroom.
We offer courses exploring the wilderness of Indiana, the “ruins” of Detroit, the campus of Notre Dame, and beyond. In the classroom, we offer a wide breadth of courses that allow you to study what interests you. With American Studies, you can truly study everything.
Fall 2019 Course Descriptions
Please visit the registrars site for the most up to date class listing and to register.
AMST 10100/20100 Introduction to American Studies
Perin Gurel M/W 12:50-1:40pm F Discussion Sections
This course explores the rich and varied field of American Studies, a field dedicated to understanding America's diverse cultures and the ways American national identity has been constructed and contested differently over time. Through lectures, readings, and discussion, we will consider questions such as: How have ideas about race, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and class shaped the making and meaning of America and Americans, and how have they evolved? What are the dominant myths and values that Americans seem to share? How has the American Dream been defined, and by whom? As a class we will consider the ways in which concepts of America and American are performed and how they have changed over time, across space, and within particular social, cultural, and political contexts. Assignments emphasize critical analysis of texts; requirements include papers, a midterm, and a final.
AMST 30107 History of the Book Since the American Revolution
Korey Garibaldi T/R 11:00-12:15pm
This course examines the nineteenth and twentieth century histories of print and cultural manufacturing in the U.S., with special attention given to readers, writers, media producers, and distribution. By tracing how literature, broadly defined, has influenced the shape and reshaping of modern life, our primary goal for the semester will be to better understand the role and impact of intellectual transmission on civil society, formal politics, and cultural standards. Related topics we will investigate include the development and growth of American children's literature; the history of racial and ethnic authorship; the rise of industrial publishing; national and transnational censorship; and legacies of "master" communicators to mass audiences (e.g. Franklin Roosevelt with radio, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan with television, and Donald Trump with Twitter). Course readings and film screenings will range from William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, Matthew Rubery's The Untold Story of the Talking Book, Catherine Fisk's Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue, James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, Capote, and The Social Network.
AMST 30108 History of American Capitalism
Korey Garibaldi T/H 2:00-3:15pm
This course offers a broad thematic overview of the history of capitalism from the early sixteenth century up to the late 1980s. As a discussion-based seminar, we will devote most of our conversations to discovering, analyzing and reflecting on the transformation of the U.S. from a newly-independent British colony, to the most influential economic power in the world. Topics and themes we will consider include: the rise of early modern transnational capitalism, European imperialism and trade, and indigenous dispossession after 1492; science and technological transformations; social and economic thought; slavery and servitude, broadly construed; and characteristics of prosperity, wealth, and economic flux. Our readings and viewings will be a mix of scholarly and primary sources, including an abundance of canonical literary and artistic material, such as novels, visual art, and film excerpts (e.g. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879), Aaron Douglas's Building More Stately Mansions (1944), and Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence (1920)). Over the course of the semester, students will draw upon this eclectic combination of sources to synthesize the dominant historical dimensions of capitalism in and beyond the U.S. via four short essays (4 - 5 pages, double-spaced-between 1,100 and 1,400 words), and a final paper (10 - 12 pages, double-spaced) based on cumulative texts.
AMST 30119 Asian American Experience
Jennifer Huynh M/W 2:00-3:15pm
This class will survey the various historical and contemporary dimensions of Asian American experiences including immigration & integration, family & community dynamics, ethnic/gender/class identity, as well as transnational and diasporic experiences. We will explore contemporary and historical issues of racism, the model minority myth, inter-generational relationships, and the educational experiences of Asian Americans. To accomplish this, our class will pose such questions as: Who is Asian American? How did racism create Chinatown? Is there an Asian advantage? Coursework includes essays based on topics of your choice, presentations, and a creative narrative.
AMST 30129 Notre Dame and America
Kathleen Cummings M/W 12:30-1:45pm
In this course, we will interpret Notre Dame-an institution often defined as America's only truly national University-from the perspective of American studies. Notre Dame--much like America--can be defined and understood in multiple ways: as a physical location, as social and institutional world, and as an imaginary. We will explore Notre Dame from its pre-history as the homeland of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, to its founding as a missionary outpost of the European Catholic Church, through its evolution during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, through its present profile as a top-tier research university and the nation's premier Catholic educational institution. We will focus not only on obvious subjects such as Catholicism and football but also on as other key topics and themes in American studies that intersect with Notre Dame's story in the past and present. This course is designed to fulfill the History and CAD requirements.
AMST 30137 The Indian School and American Culture: Native peoples, education, mascots, and more
Brian Collier M/W 9:30-10:45am
Native education took place in communities throughout North and South American long before Europeans arrived, but when the Europeans arrived the education took on a new form and flow first with Spanish missionary education in the presidios that dotted the new American landscape and then later in schools run out of the budget of the War Department as Grant's Peace Policy worked to "kill the Indian but save the man" a quote so often attributed to the Indian School era. Now in the modern era Native American schools are being run more and more often by Native people and for Native peoples. What has shifted in these eras to make "Indian" education change? What does the Indian School in the modern era look like? How do modern schools combat the prejudice and racism against them in other schools and in broader society? How are Native mascots seen inside and outside of Native communities. This course will discuss the history of native education both in the past and present and create digital humanities resources for some of the remaining Indian Schools in the country in conjunction with the American Indian Catholic Schools Network at Notre Dame. The useful digital humanities projects will be put to work at current schools. This is a class in which you'll both learn about the past and make a difference in the present with members of a small team from the class.
AMST 30140 Multiplatform Journalism: Advanced Video Editing (C/L with JED)
Victoria Martin M/W 8:00-9:15am
Multiplatform journalists today are expected to write, edit and produce content across multiple platforms. This course will expose students to a variety of media by focusing on the opportunities and challenges faced by journalists in the digital world, with an emphasis on video. This course is a practical immersion into the production of high-quality, professional-level journalistic videos. Focusing on experiential learning, students will be taught the essential skills for producing video stories to both digital-first and broadcast media platforms. Students will learn story form and how to create professional video stories; how to shoot videos for social media and the web; advanced editing techniques on Adobe Premiere Pro; storyboarding and how to develop journalistic narratives; on-camera interviewing; and incorporating audio, video, archival material, still photos, music and other elements into edits. Students will be prepared to publish journalistic video content using a range of digital tools, including Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other mobile reporting and visualization platforms.
AMST 30145 – Immigrant America
Jennifer Huynh M/W 11:00-12:15pm
This course offers a critical examination of what it means to be an immigrant or child of immigrants through scholarly works, memoirs, blogs, and popular journalism. Since the liberalization of immigration policy in 1965, immigrants from Latin America and Asia are becoming an increasing and emergent demographic of American society. In major American cities such as Los Angeles and New York, they comprise over 50% of the population. This course focuses on how immigrants and the children of immigrants experience the United States. How are immigrants changing the US racial and ethnic structure? How do their experiences differ given varying legal statuses? How is the second generation becoming American? We will explore these questions through readings that focus on family, religion, education, dating and sexuality. This course will include a community based learning component where students will work with immigrant serving organizations. Students will have the option to teach citizenship classes or to work with immigrant children. Service will be 2-3 hours per week outside of class.
AMST 30146 Persuasion, Commentary, and Criticism (C/L with JED)
Jack Colwell M/W 2:00-3:15pm
This course will consider the roles of persuasion, commentary, and criticism in contemporary American culture and will explore the techniques of these forms of expression. Students will prepare and discuss their own writing assignments, including opinion columns, editorials, and critical reviews of performances or books. Ethics and responsibilities in contemporary American journalism in expression of opinions also will be explored. Assignments will serve as the examinations in this course, which is taught by a political columnist for the South Bend Tribune who also serves as host of public affairs programs on WNIT-TV, Public Broadcasting. Open to American Studies majors and Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minors by permission. Other applicants must submit writing samples for review.
AMST 30165 – The Vietnam War & American Catholics
Peter Cajka T/R 11:00-12:15pm
How did the most divisive war in American History shape the nation's biggest church community? This course explores Catholics as both supporters and detractors of the Vietnam War. American Catholics wished to see America defeat Communism but, importantly, the power of faith motivated many to criticize the state's escalation of the conflict. Students will explore the tensions and transformations of this important moment in American life. Lectures and classroom discussions will address decolonization, the global and national nature of American Catholicism, the power of the liberal state, conscientious objection, the "Spirit of the Sixties," sacramental protests, the rise of human rights, geopolitics, and the Cold War. Course readings will include the latest scholarship, but also primary sources like poems, films, songs, letters, prayers, newspaper articles, and art. Students will have access to the rich materials of Catholic peace activists found in the University of Notre Dame Archives.
AMST 30174 – American Wilderness
Annie Coleman T/H 9:30A-10:45am
What does it mean to be American? Wilderness, as a specific place as well as an idea, is a big part of the answer. Writers, historians, painters, photographers, and politicians have described American landscapes as wild from colonization into the 21st century to great effect. Because places are constantly constructed and reconstructed through culture, they take shape in concert with identities of gender, class, race, and nation. This class will explore how the idea of wilderness—and the places associated with that idea—have developed, and how they have supported an American national identity but largely failed to recognize the diversity of American society and culture. We will focus on the 20th century with major sections on 1) developing the wilderness idea; 2) national parks and the problem of wilderness; 3) wilderness experience and politics; and 4) wilderness narratives. We will discuss literature, history, visual images, journalism, and legislation, and explore the constant tension between changing ideas of wilderness and the physical environments associated with those ideas. Through an examination of wilderness, this course will encourage students to think more critically and creatively about the historical formation of American culture, its social and political consequences, and the role they choose to play in that dynamic. Requirements include discussion and a series of papers; there will be a field trip.
How is a national park different from a national wilderness area, a city park, the lakes at Notre Dame, or your back yard? Why are some considered wilder than others, and why is wilderness such an attractive idea? Writers, historians, painters, photographers, and politicians have described American landscapes as wild to great effect, in concert with identities of gender, class, race, and nation. This class will explore how the idea of wilderness - and the places associated with that idea - has developed during the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine how wilderness has supported the growth of a national identity but largely failed to recognize the diversity of the American people. Course themes include: 1) developing the wilderness idea; 2) national parks and the problem of wilderness; 3) wilderness experience and politics; and 4) wilderness narratives. Readings will range from Henry David Thoreau and John Muir to Edward Abbey and Jon Krakauer, and there will be a strong visual culture component. For their final project students will choose a wild place of their own to interpret.
AMST 30177 Ideas That Made America
Peter Cajka T/H 3:30-4:45pm
America, at its heart, is an idea. This course will examine the political, religious, and social visions that created, and sometimes contradicted, “America”.
AMST 30182 Sports Media (C/L with JED)
Jason Kelly M/W 11:00-12:15pm
This course is a practical and conceptual immersion into the world of contemporary sports journalism. Students will learn how to write and report for multiple journalism platforms, including newspapers, magazines and digital media. Students will practice a variety of reporting techniques and study writing styles ranging from features to news articles to profiles, while also taking a rigorous look at the legal, ethical and cultural issues surrounding the intersection of media, sports and society. In addition, students will gain hands-on sports writing experience by preparing articles for the university's independent, student-run newspaper, The Observer.
AMST 30183 Applied Multimedia for Journalists (C/L with JED)
Victoria St. Martin M/W 9:30-10:45am
This course is a hands-on examination of the latest digital tools and techniques used by journalists as they produce stories on multiple platforms. Students will learn how to take digital photographs, how to shoot and edit high-definition videos, and how to produce audio stories and podcasts. Students will also study the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use, creation and publication of digital media.
AMST 30197 Public Art & Memory in America
Erika Doss T/H 12:30-1:45pm
Public art is a major facet of modern and contemporary American culture and is often controversial: in the 1980s, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was criticized by some for being "anti-American," in the 1990s, the Smithsonian cancelled an exhibit on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima after certain members of Congress said it was not "patriotically correct," in the 2000s, the design and construction of the National September 11 Memorial (dedicated in New York in 2011) was beset by protests. This course examines the politics and aesthetics of public art in America from the perspectives of its producers and audiences. What is public art? Why is it made? Who is it for? How and why does it embody tensions in American culture and society regarding identity, authority, and taste? Specific topics to be explored include American memorials and remembrance rituals, the development of the public art "industry," community art projects (such as murals), national arts programs and policies, landscape architecture, tourism, museums, and national fairs. Our objectives are to recognize how public art shapes and directs local and national understandings of history and memory, self and society, in the United States. Course includes field trips.
AMST 43142 Death In America
Erika Doss T/H 9:30-10:45 (Senior AMST Majors Only)
The Senior Seminar is designed as a culminating experience for American Studies majors, an opportunity to hone the skills, methods, and interests acquired in previous American Studies classes and direct them toward a specific and significant research project. Readings and assignments explore themes in the field of American Studies. Requirements include seminar-style discussions of course readings, a final research paper of 20-25 pages (or the equivalent), and a presentation of that project in class. This Senior Seminar focuses on changing cultural understandings of death, dying, and mourning in modern and contemporary America. Examining different visual, material, and media cultures, it explores topics such as: permanent and temporary memorials (like crosses erected at the sites of roadside fatalities, "ghost bikes" left at the scenes of pedestrian fatalities, and "dead-man" t-shirts worn at funerals), funeral practices and cemeteries (including traditional cemeteries, virtual cemeteries, "green" cemeteries, and Living Monuments), death related humor (too soon?), dark tourism (visiting sites of tragic and traumatic death), death-related rituals (Day of the Dead), dead bodies and sensational exhibitions like Body Worlds, Deadheads, death metal, and forensic-based TV shows like CSI and Bones. Our objectives are to consider what death means in America today on cultural terms. Course includes field trips.
AMST 47909 The Senior Thesis: Theory, Method, and Composition
Perin Gurel M/W 9:30-10:45am
The Senior Thesis Capstone provides a culminating experience for American Studies majors who are writing a Senior Thesis. It is only offered during fall semesters and should be followed in the spring by 3 credit hours of AMST 47910 Senior Thesis Writing with the thesis advisor. This course encourages students to think about how their coursework fits together as a whole and gives them an opportunity to put what they've learned as American Studies majors into practice. In this course students will be expected to demonstrate significant progress towards their senior thesis, a year-long experience developed with a faculty advisor that aspires to make an original contribution to the field. Class readings and discussions will address current issues and themes in the field of American Studies as well as how student theses will develop, support, or revise those themes. During the semester students will work on refining a topic and developing a supporting bibliography, conducting a significant amount of research (whether in libraries or in the field), situating their research among relevant secondary sources, writing an abstract or prospectus to guide further research and writing in the spring, and planning the project's final form (paper, exhibit, documentary, etc.). Specific expectations for each project/student will be developed in consultation with the course instructor and the student's thesis advisor. It is expected that each student meet at least twice with their thesis advisor during the semester.
AMST 30271 American Literary Traditions I
Laura Walls T/R 3:30-4:45pm
Introduction to American literature from its beginnings through the Civil War, emphasizing important figures, literary forms, and cultural movements.
AMST 30313 US Gilded Age/Progressive Era
Rebecca McKenna M/W 11:00am-12:15pm
This course offers an introduction to the history of the United States from Reconstruction through the First World War with particular emphasis on the social, cultural, and intellectual formations of the period. The United States made a dramatic transition in these years: from a predominantly agrarian and rural society to an urban, industrial society and imperial, world power. It is also said that in this period, a new, national, and distinctly modern culture emerged. We will test the merits of this claim and attempt to understand how Americans grappled with these broad transformations by examining the history of social formations, including class, race, and gender, together with the history of cultural formations - American popular culture, the adaptations of bourgeois culture, and the creation of mass culture. In reading sources such as short stories, poetry, political speeches, and novels, and analyzing photography, film, advertising, and architecture, we will explore the making of a modern America.
AMST 30381 The American Constitution
TBA T/R 9:30-10:45a
The Constitution holds a unique place in American law and political culture. Not only is it the basis of the federal government, it provides the framework for political debates about all manner of controversial issues in modern America. Today, there is much talk of a "constitutional crisis" in the United States. What does this mean? How can a history help us make sense of the Constitution and of our politics? This course explores the historical context in which the American Constitution was framed, ratified, and amended over time. Together, we will ask and answer the questions of how and why it was written the way it was; how and why it gained legitimacy; and how it was put into practice and interpreted over time. The class will introduce students to central historical problems, which include: Is the American Constitution democratic? Did the Constitution codify slavery into law? Is originalism a useful and valid way to interpret the Constitution? Course readings will consist primarily of primary source material, though students will also read historical interpretations of the Constitution and the process of forming, amending, and interpreting it. The discussion-based class will empower students to think historically about the American Constitution by interpreting primary source material, building arguments about causes and effects of particular constitutional points, and intervening in scholarly dialogues about the founding and its legacy. Students will be evaluated primarily based on class participation, a short primary source analysis, a role-play activity, and a final paper.
AMST 30386 Modern America from the Gilded Age to the Information Age
TBA T/R 2:00-3:15pm
This course traces the developments that have shaped modern America. We will examine the American state from the growing pains of the Gilded Age to the chaos of the Great Depression and the challenges of the 1980s. Throughout, this course explores debates about who is an American and what are their rights, from the civil rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter and the immigration controversies of today. On the global stage, we will examine the United States' emergence as a major power from the ashes of the first and second world wars through the bitter rivalry of the Cold War. This course traces the arc of the American Century and asks whether it continues today.
AMST 30388 Gender at Work in US History
Daniel Graff M/W 12:30-1:45pm
Gender has been fundamental to the organization of nearly all human societies, but what gender has meant in terms of identity, opportunity, and economic activity has varied widely across time and space. This course will explore gender at work in US history, taking a chronological approach to show gender's evolution and ongoing intersections with class, race, age, religion, region, and sexuality from 1776 to the near present. The term "gender at work" expresses a double meaning here -- first, it connotes that this is a labor history course, with an emphasis on the ways gender has operated at the workplace; second, it suggests the ubiquity of gender in shaping Americans' lives, experiences, and imaginations not only at the workplace, but also in formal politics, informal communities, and every space in between. By exploring the ways gender has been both omnipresent and contingent throughout US history, students should better understand -- and perhaps act upon -- seemingly intractable contemporary conundrums involving questions of equal opportunity and pay, household division of labor, work-life balance, and the proper relationships among employers, workers, households, and government.
AMST 30412 Contemporary Thinking in the Philosophy of Education
Maria McKenna M/W 9:30-10:45a
Philosophy of Education is a systematic reflection about learning, education, and the development human capacities. The aims of education in varying contexts, the means/content to attain those goals, and the inclusion and exclusion criteria for participation in educational endeavors are all aspects of educational philosophy. Further, since education is part of acculturation and civic processes we must also reflect on the role of individuals in the social and political order and vice-versa, the role of social and political orders on individuals. Western and non-Western approaches and philosophies will be studied in this course with attention to a diverse cannon of educational philosophers.
AMST 30428 US Foreign Policy
Joseph Parent M/W 11:00am-12:15pm
The United States is the most powerful state in the world today. Its actions are important not just for US citizens, but they also affect whether others go to war, whether they will win their wars, whether they receive economic aid, whether they will go broke, or whether they will starve. What determines US foreign policy? What is the national interest? When do we go to war? Would you send US soldiers into war? If so, into which wars and for what reasons? How do our economic policies affect others? Does trade help or hurt the US economy and its citizens? We first study several theories about foreign policy. We then examine the US foreign policy process, including the President, Congress, the bureaucracy, the media, and public opinion. To see how this all works, we turn to the history of US foreign policy, from Washington's farewell address through the World Wars and the Cold War to the Gulf War. We then study several major issue areas, including weapons of mass destruction, trade and economics, and the environment. Finally, we develop and debate forecasts and strategies for the future.
AMST 30434 Public Opinion and Political Behavior
Darren Davis M/W 9:30-10:45am
A principle tenet underlying democratic governance is the belief that public opinion or the "will of the people" should dictate governmental behavior. To the extent this belief is a realistic consideration, difficult questions remain concerning the capacity for citizens to develop reasoned opinions and how to conceptualize and measure opinion. This course explores the foundations of political and social attitudes and the methodology used to observe what people think about politics.
AMST 30453 History of American Education: Race, Class, Gender, and Politics
Brian Collier M/W 8:00-9:15am
American Education mirrors American society with myriad challenges, successes, and ideologies. This course will look at how political struggles over race, language, gender, and class have all played out in the battle over American schools, schools that ultimately hold the literal future of America. This course will explore the History of Education in American from the late 1865 to the present and will have special emphasis on segregated schools in the 19th century and today. The course will also look closely at the very best programs re-shaping American education such as The Alliance for Catholic Education and KIPP. The course will look at education from Kindergarten all the way through graduate programs as we study how our institutions have formed and how they form and transform our society.
AMST 30468 American Politics
Geoffrey Layman M/W 2:00-3:15pm
This course surveys the basic institutions and practices of American politics. The goal of the course is to gain a more systematic understanding of American politics that will help you become better informed and more articulate. The course examines the institutional and constitutional framework of American politics and identifies the key ideas needed to understand politics today. The reading and writing assignments have been designed not only to inform you, but also to help develop your analytic and research skills. The themes of the course include the logic and consequences of the separation of powers, the build-in biases of institutions and procedures, the origins and consequence of political reforms, and recent changes in American politics in the 21st century. This semester we will emphasize the significance of the upcoming 2016 elections, and the course will include election-related assignments. Although the course counts toward the Political Science major and will prepare prospective majors for further study of American politics, its primary aim is to introduce students of all backgrounds and interests to the information, ideas, and academic skills that will enable them to understand American politics better and help them become more thoughtful and responsible citizens.
AMST 30469 Gay Rights & the Constitution
Sotirios Barber T/R 2:00-3:15pm
This course will review decisions of the U.S. Supreme court regarding the constitutional rights of homosexuals. It will assess the Court's decisions in light of (1) background theories of constitutional interpretation; (2) the principles of the American Founding; and (3) present day moral arguments for and against gay rights. Readings will consist of Supreme Court cases, selections from the Ratification debate and the philosophic writings that influenced the Founding, and the writings of present-day moral philosophers on both sides of the issues. Grades will be based on mid-term and final exams, with an optional term paper for one quarter of the course grade.
AMST 30519 Social Inequality & American Education
Amy Langenkamp M/W 9:30-10:45am
Many have claimed that the American educational system is the "great equalizer among men." In other words, the educational system gives everyone a chance to prosper in American society regardless of their social origins. In this course, we will explore the validity of this claim. Do schools help make American society more equal by reducing the importance of class, race, and gender as sources of inequality, or do schools simply reinforce existing inequalities and reproduce pre-existing social relations? Topics covered in the course include: unequal resources among schools, sorting practices of students within schools, parents' role in determining student outcomes, the role of schooling in determining labor market outcomes for individuals, and the use of educational programs as a remedy for poverty.
AMST 30703 History of Television
Michael Kackman M/W 12:30-1:45pm
Television has been widely available in the United States for only half a century, yet already it has become a key means through which we understand our culture. Our course examines this vital medium from three perspectives. First, we will look at the industrial, economic and technological forces that have shaped U.S. television since its inception. These factors help explain how U.S. television adopted the format of advertiser-supported broadcast networks and why this format is changing today. Second, we will explore television's role in American social and political life: how TV has represented cultural changes in the areas of gender, class, race and ethnicity. Third, we will discuss specific narrative and visual strategies that characterize program formats. Throughout the semester we will demonstrate how television and U.S. culture mutually influence one another, as television both constructs our view of the world and is affected by social and cultural forces within the U.S.
AMST 30812 Rethinking Crime and Justice: Explorations from the Inside Out
Susan Sharpe and Jay Brandenberger M 4:40-10:00pm
What are the causes and costs of criminal behavior? How are people and communities affected by incarceration? How can we make our criminal justice system as good as it can be for all stakeholders?
Inside-Out brings together students from both sides of the prison wall to explore issues including why people commit crime, what prisons are for, realities of prison life and reentry, effects of victimization, and restorative justice perspectives.
This course follows the Inside-Out model of prison exchange now well established across the United States. It provides an opportunity for “inside students” at the Westville Correctional Facility and “outside students” from the Notre Dame campus to learn with and from each other and to break new ground together. Notre Dame students travel to Westville each week of the semester for dialogue with students at the facility, who have read the same relevant texts. Together they examine myths and realities related to crime and to punishment, explore the effects of criminal justice policy, and develop ideas for responding more effectively to crime in our communities.
APPLY online via the CSC website: socialconcerns.nd.edu
AMST 40326 African-American Resistance
Richard Pierce T/R 12:30-1:45pm
Through a close examination of twelve historical events, we will study African American resistance in the United States from the 17th century through the 20th century. We will employ a case study method and seek to categorize and characterize the wide variety of African American resistance. Our study will include the politics of confrontation and civil disobedience, polarization of arts, transformation of race relations, the tragedies and triumphs of Reconstruction, interracial violence, black political and institutional responses to racism and violence, the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz, Blues, and the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Students will be confronted with conflicting bodies of evidence and challenged to analyze these issues and arrive at conclusions. Music and film will supplement classroom discussions.
AMST 40402/41402 Mexican Immigration: A South Bend Case Study
Karen Richman T/R 12:30-1:45pm
This course uses experiential learning in the Mexican community of South Bend in order to understand how Mexican migrants conduct their lives across the vast distances separating South Bend and their homeland. The course begins with readings in social science and fiction about transnationalism, Mexican-U.S. migration and the history and sociology of the local community. Next we learn ethical fieldwork methods in preparation for community research. Students working in two-person teams will gather data on local and transnational households and kin networks, gender relations, political involvement, employment, consumption practices, cultural activities and religious life, working through contacts with social service agencies, the Mexican consulate, and Mexican- or Latino-run media, businesses, food stores, and sports leagues. We will document the innovative adaptations of this migrant community, especially the growth of an ethnic enclave of small businesses that both unite Mexicans as an ethnic group and sustain their ties to their homeland. We intend to compile the research in a volume published by Latino Studies to be given to those who shared their lives with us and to entities that are committed to helping them.
AMST 40711/41711 The Movie Musical
Pamela Wojcik M/W 2:00-3:15pm / M 3:30-5:45pm
This course examines the musical on film from the earliest sound films to the present. The class will look at musicals from Hollywood, but will also consider the French musical, Bollywood musical films, and postmodern musicals. We will consider different subgenres of the musicals, such as the backstage musical, the animated musical, the fantasy musical, the black cast musical, the folk musical, and the rock musical. In addition to considering the influence of Broadway on the movie musical, we will consider the ways in which the musical's life has been extended in contemporary digital culture through flash mobs, indie online musicals and more. We will look at the different styles of different Hollywood studios, such as MGM and Fox; the role of producers, such as Arthur Freed; the role of directors like Busby Berkeley, Vincente Minnelli, and Bob Fosse; composers like Rogers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim; and stars such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Judy Holliday, Lena Horne, Carmen Miranda, and Barbra Streisand. Throughout, we will attend to questions of race and gender, including a consideration of how romance works in the musical, how masculinity and musical spectacle work together, the queerness of the musical, the representation of women, the role of African American performers, and questions of diversity and spectatorship. The class will have weekly screenings and additional films to be viewed online.