Courses: Spring 2022
American Studies Inside Courses: Spring 2022
AMST 30103 Critical Refugee Studies
Jennifer Huynh MW 12:30 pm - 1:45pm
The United Nations estimates that an unprecedented 71 million people around the world have been forced to flee from their respective homes. Among them are nearly 26 million refugees, half of whom are under the age of 18. Media and social science scholarship represent refugees as passive recipients of western aid and avoid critical examination of the global and historical conditions that create "refugees."This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of critical refugee studies (CRS) to re-conceptualize the refugee not as a problem to be solved but as a site of social and political critiques. CRS illuminates the processes of colonization, war, and displacement. This course examines militarism and migration as well as refugee voices written in their own words. We will assess a variety of sources, including oral history, ethnography, art, graphic novels, and interdisciplinary scholarship from humanities and social science.
AMST 30106 Gender and Popular Culture
Perin Gürel MW 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
This course will explore how popular culture, constructed through as well as against folk and high cultures, operates at the intersection of gender with race, class, sexuality, and nationality in the United States. Approaching gender and popular culture from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, we will consider how culture in its commodified form has helped construct gendered identities, communities, and power structures in the United States. For example, we will examine how popular media texts may influence ideas about gender and how fans may transform and use mass culture texts for different purposes. Along the way, we will consider popular culture's ideological potential in relation to gender justice. Do negative representations harm the cause of women's and/or minority rights? What does the rise of the Internet and social media activism mean for the intersections of popular culture and social justice? Assignments include mini essays, a multimedia essay, and a final creative project accompanied by an analytical paper.
AMST 30108 History of American Capitalism
Korey Garibaldi TR 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
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 30109 Sport and Big Data MAJORS ONLY
Katherine Walden TR 11 am - 12:15 pm
Sport is one of the most enduringly popular and significant cultural activities in the United States. Data has always been a central part of professional sport in the US, from Henry Chadwick's invention of the baseball box score in the 1850s to the National Football League's use of Wonderlic test scores to evaluate players. This course focuses on the intersecting structures of power and identity that shape how we make sense of the "datification" of professional sport. By focusing on the cultural significance of sportdata, this course will put the datafication of sport in historical context and trace the ways the datafication of sport has impacted athletes, fans, media, and other stakeholders in the sport industry. The course will also delve into the technology systems used to collect and analyze sport data, from the TrackMan andPITCHf/x systems used in Major League Baseball to the National Football League's Next Gen Statspartnership to emerging computer vision and artificial intelligence research methods. Readings for this course will draw on texts like Christopher Phillips' Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We KnowAbout Baseball (2019), Ruha Benjamin's Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, andLiberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (2019), and Michael Lewis' Moneyball: The Art of Winning anUnfair Game (2004). Class meetings will be split between discussions of conceptual readings and applied work with sport data and technology systems. Coursework may include response papers, hands-on work with data, and a final project. Familiarity with statistical analysis, data science, or computer science tools and methods is NOT a prerequisite for this course.
AMST 30112 Witnessing the 60s
Peter Cajka MW 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
The purpose of this interdisciplinary course is twofold: to examine the social context and cultural change of the sixties and to explore the various journalistic and aesthetic representations of events, movements, and transformations. We will focus on the manner in which each writer or artist witnessed the sixties and explore fresh styles of writing and cultural expression, such as the new journalism popularized by Tom Wolfe and the music/lyrics performed by Bob Dylan. Major topics for consideration include the counterculture and the movement--a combination of civil rights and anti-war protests.
AMST 30117 American Conspiracies
Perin Gürel MW 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
This course will explore modern conspiracy theories in and about the United States, discovering what they tell us about American culture and politics. The "truth" we will be seeking will not necessarily be whether secret forces have ever conspired or currently conspire to influence specific world events, but what conspiracy theorizing can tell us about modern American identities, communities, and social hierarchies including race, gender, class, religion, and national origin. In other words, we will take theories of conspiracy seriously as vernacular narratives that contribute to collective identity formation, produce powerful symbolic systems for ordering and inverting hierarchies, and help communities negotiate differences of identity and background. Beginning with the Cold War and moving on to the War on Terror, we will discuss why some theories gain preeminence in certain historical contexts and among different social groups. In addition, we will interrogate the role the label "conspiracy theory" plays within contemporary dynamics of knowledge/power. What types of knowledge are respected and acceptable and what types are stigmatized and mocked, and why? This is a writing-intensive course requiring over 20-pages of written work, including 3 small writing assignments, a series of graded and ungraded assignments leading to a major research paper, and an original research paper.
AMST 30119 The Asian American Experience
Jennifer Huynh MW 9:30 am - 10:45 am
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, intergenerational 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 30125 Race and Technologies of Surveillances MAJORS ONLY
Katherine Walden TR 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
The United States has a long history of using its most cutting-edge science and technology to discriminate, marginalize, oppress, and surveil. The poorhouse and scientific charity of an earlier era have been replaced by digital tracking and automated decision-making systems like facial recognition and risk prediction algorithms. This course focuses on how automated systems are tasked with making life-and-death choices: which neighborhoods get policed, which families get food, who has housing, and who remains homeless. This course will examine black box tools used in K-12 education, social services, and the criminal justice system to better understand how these technologies reinforce and worsen existing structural inequalities and systems of oppression. Class meetings will be split between discussions of conceptual readings and applied work with technology systems. Readings for this course will draw on texts that include Safiya Noble's Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (2018), Virginia Eubanks' Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor (2018), Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren Klein's Data Feminism (2020), and Meredith Broussard's Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World (2019). This course will also examine the advocacy and activism work undertaken by groups like Our Data Bodies, Data 4 Black Lives, Algorithmic Justice League, Auditing Algorithms, Big Brother Watch, and Chicago-based Citizens Police Data Project. Coursework may include response papers, hands-on work, and a final project. Familiarity with statistical analysis, data science, or computer science tools and methods is NOT a prerequisite for this course.
AMST 30129 Notre Dame and America
Kathleen Cummings MW 2:00 pm -2:50 pm
Friday Discussion 12:50 pm - 1:40 pm
2:00 pm - 2:50 pm
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 a social and institutional world, and as an imaginary. We will explore Notre Dame from its prehistory 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 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 30142 Latino Muralism
Jason Ruiz TR 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm
This class investigates murals in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, the city's neighborhood most closely identified with Latinos and Latinidad. Students will explore the cultural, historical, and social contexts that give rise to muralism and will examine the murals themselves over the course of several trips to the city. Our research will contribute to an exciting new digital humanities project that is building a mobile app and website devoted to murals, so students' work will directly impact what the public knows about muralism in the city. Students will also gain training in digital humanities, including such skills as app development, geolocation, 3-D modeling, and data mining.
AMST 30143 Fashioning American Identities
Sophie White TR 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Did Puritans really only wear black and white, or did they wear fashionable lace, silk ribbons and bright colors? Did early settlers wash their bodies to get clean? What role did fashion play in the making of the American Revolution? And how did slaves and Native Americans adorn their bodies?This course will address such questions by focusing on dress and material culture. We will consider the role of dress in the construction of colonial identities, and examine the ways that bodies operated as sites for negotiating class and ethnic encounters.
AMST 30150 Decolonizing Gaming
Ashlee Bird TR 9:30 am - 10:45 am
This course aims to change the way you think not only about the way that we play games, but also about the way that video games teach their players to behave within their digital worlds. This course will encourage students to reflect on and utilize their lived experiences as players, and utilize these experiences to locate themselves within their analysis and writing as well as their design practices. This course will undertake an intensive, interdisciplinary focus on the history of video game development, representation in video games, and the languages that digital games work in as well as decolonial theory and diverse theories of design. This class will engage with a variety of scholarly texts, video games, media posts, videos, and design exercises, in order to illustrate the ways in which video games have shaped the ways we play, think, and behave within their spaces. Students will be required to write and design around these lessons and address and push back against the problematic behaviors and colonial narratives around violence, race, gender, sexuality, and relationship to the land that these gamic languages and lessons have created.
AMST 30154 Disability in American History and Culture
Laurel Daen TR 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 26% of Americans (about 61 million people) have a disability?a physical, intellectual, sensory, or self-care impediment that affects major life activities. This course considers this population, their stories and experiences, as well as how disability as a social, cultural, legal, and political construct has shaped the nation and its history. A particular focus of the course will be on disability and social justice. Throughout American history, and still today, disabled people have been excluded from basic civil rights, such as voting, marrying, holding property, and living independently. This course will examine how these restrictions developed and changed over time as well as how disabled people have fought for greater access and equality. Coursework may include response papers, primary source analysis, and a final project.
AMST 30163 Epidemics in America
Laurel Daen TR 9:30 am - 10:45 am
For over a year now, our lives have been transformed by COVID-19, the coronavirus disease now causing a pandemic. As we navigate this crisis and work to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, it may feel like we are treading in uncharted territory. But epidemics, even pandemics, have a long history in America and have integrally informed the American experience. In this course, we will examine health and disease in America from the pre-colonial period to the present, paying particular attention to how epidemics - smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, Spanish influenza, AIDS, and more - have shaped American history and culture. Epidemics are cultural as well as biological events, influencing everything from governmental policy and market relations to ideas about race, gender, class, disability, family, community, and citizenship. By engaging with a wide variety of historical and contemporary texts - newspapers, literature, medical journals, cultural artifacts, government documents, among others - we will see how epidemics have been forces of incredible cultural and historical change, shaping the nation today. Coursework includes response papers, primary source analysis, and a final project.
AMST 30189 Civil Rights in America
Peter Cajka MW 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
This course explores the Black Freedom Struggle from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Power and into Black Lives Matter. How have African Americans mobilized to secure recognition of human dignity from the American Political system? How did the Freedom Struggle shape American culture? By studying the Civil Rights Movement in America, this class opens up conversation on the central issues of American history: race, racism, rights, and freedom.
AMST 30192 Sports and American Culture
Anne Coleman MW 12:30 pm -1:45 pm
Sports play a big role in American culture. From pick up soccer and the Baraka Bouts to fantasy football and the Olympics, sports articulate American identities, priorities, aspirations, and concerns. They reflect our dominant values but also highlight our divisions and serve as a means to question those values. Athletes, organizers, spectators, fans, and the media all have a stake. This course will examine sport's role in American society and culture thematically, covering the late 19th century to present and paying special attention to sport as a physical performance (including issues of danger, drugs, disability, spectatorship, and fandom), sport as an expression of identity (the construction of race, gender, class, community, and nation), sport as a form of labor (with issues of power and control, safety, and amateurism), and sport as a cultural narrative (how do writers, historians, and the media attach meaning to it?). We will examine history, journalism, documentary film, and television coverage; topics will range from Victorian bicyclists and early college football to Muhammad Ali. Requirements include reading and regular discussion, a variety of short analytical papers, and a culminating project in which students will choose one course theme to analyze through a topic of their own choice.
AMST 30166 Magazine Writing
Kerry Temple TR 11:00 am -12:15 pm
This course will examine various forms of magazine journalism, from the direct presentation of information to narrative journalism to the art of the first-person essay. The class, requiring students to complete a variety of written assignments while performing in a workshop setting, will emphasize those storytelling techniques essential to writing for publication.
AMST 30178 Public Affairs Reporting
Thomas Coyne MW 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
This course builds on and hones skills learned in Fundamentals of Journalism by cultivating students' abilities to develop story ideas, gather information, conduct interviews, and then write and edit articles under deadline pressure. It introduces students to "beat" reporting, allowing them to cover a variety of newsworthy subjects and events. Students will be expected to conduct in-depth reporting and interview multiple sources to write four or five stories suitable for print, digital or broadcast media. Coursework will include reading, watching and discussing historic and contemporary reporting to learn about the evolution of the industry, professional ethics, and best practices.
AMST 43531 Religion and Irreligion
Thomas Tweed T/R 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Religion-and challenges to religion-are everywhere in the American cultural landscape, and in recent years American Studies scholars have expressed renewed interest in studying how religious and secular forces have made competing claims on the national imagination. In the early decades of the discipline, American Studies scholars highlighted the Puritan "errand into the wilderness" and the spiritual impact on U.S. culture. That began to change as new theoretical perspectives-poststructuralism, postmodernism, and postcolonial theory-combined with increasing attention to race, class, and gender. That shift, which led to an emphasis on power relations more than meaning making, nudged the study of religion to the disciplinary margins. Yet the situation changed again especially after 9/11, as religion's enduring significance in daily life and public culture seemed hard to deny.This senior seminar begins by tracing the history of American Studies, focusing on the ways scholars have studied religion. That discussion of diverse sources, methods, and themes will provide an angle of vision on the field, while other readings will prepare students to do their own research on a topic of their choice. There are lots of choices. It could mean exploring the religious history of your hometown. It might mean focusing on a particular religious traditon-from Catholicism in politics to Buddhism in popular culture-or analyzing challenges to religion-from feminist criticism within churches to affirmations of the atheism.
American Studies Outside Courses: Spring 2022
AMST 30223 Multiethnic Literatures of Chicago
Oliver Ortega TR 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Lifelong Chicago resident Gwendolyn Brooks once said of her Bronzeville home, ?If you wanted a poem, you had only to look out of a window. This life in the raw that inspired the Pulitzer-winning poet has also spoken to generations of Chicago writers and poets. What can the writing of Chicago, a place proud of its diversity but dogged by inequities, tell us about race and citizenship in the U.S.? And what does it even mean to talk about the literature(s) of a city? We’ll tackle these big questions as we learn about the 1893 World Fair; the Chicago Renaissance; the Great Migration; The Black Arts Movement; the Latino Arts Movement; and Chicago’s contemporary literary scene. Through discussion, several short writing assignments, and a longer, research essay, we’ll sharpen our analytical and writing skills and seek to become empathetic but also critical readers of Chicago’s writers of color.
AMST 30224 Constructing Reality in U.S. Fiction
Kristen Carlson MW 5:05 pm - 6:20 pm
What does it mean when we label something - an experience, a story, a work of art - as real or realistic? How do we evaluate the correspondence between reality and fiction? Literary realism has often been associated with a steadfast and often unimaginative faithfulness to reality. In this course, we will read realism differently. Studying the evolution of literary realism, we will consider how writers and their narratives struggle to reflect their fidelity to the real-world and art-world. What happens when narrative worlds cannot be reduced to or pin down reality. We will focus on the creative and imaginative, often experimental, capacity of literary realism that works to defamiliarize, multiply, or challenge constructed realities. Humans, as Gertrude Stein wrote, are interested in two things. They are interested in reality and interested in telling about it. This course will take up the study of American literary realism to trace how these two interests intersect in how we construct representations of reality. We will consider different forms of realism, from social realism, naturalism, and magical realism to realism in philosophy, pop-culture, film and television, and videogames.
AMST 30244 Citizenship & the American Novel
Sandra Gustafson MW 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
This course will explore how civic life has been represented in classic American fiction. We will take up questions of form and style as they relate to distinctive visions of US citizenship in Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (1851), Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Henry Adams's Democracy: An American Romance (1880), Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952), and Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker (1995). Several of these novels are quite long, so be prepared to do a good amount of reading. Course requirements include regular attendance and consistent high-quality participation; presentations and/or group work; and a mix of short and longer writing assignments totaling around 25 pages.
AMST 30249 American Modernisms
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier MW 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Discussions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century literary and cultural movement of Modernism often center on those qualities of the movement described in the work of early Modernist literary critics, such as Harry Levin or Edmund Wilson. Such examinations emphasize the Modern movement's experiments in form, structure, linguistic representation, characterization, etc., while paying much less attention to the role of the Modernist movement in the larger context of a given culture. In this course, we will explore the significance of the Modern movement from the perspective of American culture, as well as the manner and meaning of American literary participation in the movement. To that end, we will consider not only the work of authors generally accepted as Modernists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein; we will also consider the role of authors such as Sherwood Anderson and Waldo Frank, of the early Chicago Renaissance (1910 - 1925), and a number of authors from the Harlem Renaissance. We will examine the work of these authors not only in the context of Modernism, but also as it relates to many issues of the day, including progressivism, primitivism, race and ethnicity, immigration, cosmopolitanism vs. regionalism, and the importance of the vernacular, in addition to the question of "Americanness" and its importance to an understanding of American literature during this time. Considering these different vantage points in American literary Modernism, we will try to imagine the contours of "American Modernisms," and draw some conclusions about their significance within the larger Modernist context. In so doing, we'll seek to arrive at a more comprehensive, more nuanced perspective on the meaning of the Modern in American literature and culture.Course texts: Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Sherwood Anderson, Dark Laughter; Waldo Frank, Holiday; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Ernest Hemingway, Torrents of Spring; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun; Jean Toomer, Cane; William Faulkner, Absalom! Absalom!Course Requirements: Two 10-page essays, one mini-presentation, one larger presentation.
AMST 30272 American Lit Traditions II
Matthew Kilbane TR 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
This course is premised on the contested concepts of "American" and "literature." It posits and departs from the idea that certain cultural stances were generated in the American colonial period and the earlier nineteenth century prior to the Civil War, subject always to transnational influence. Among these are Puritanism, the "Other," nature, commerce, and the category of literature itself. Such positions continued to exert a powerful - if always conflicted and contested - hold on subsequent major writers in the United States after the Civil War into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will closely examine writers such as Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Henry James, Kate Chopin, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Ralph Ellison, and John Updike to see how they practice their craft in response to and revision of this inherited American tradition.
AMST 30321 U.S. Environmental History
Jon Coleman TR 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
This course is an introduction to the new field of environmental history. While many people think "The Environment" suddenly became important with the first "Earth Day" in 1970 (or a few years earlier), environmental issues have in fact long been of central importance. In recent decades historians have begun actively to explore the past sensibilities of various groups toward their surroundings and fellow creatures. They have also increasingly paid attention to the ways environmental factors have affected history. This course will range widely, from world history to the story of a single river, from arguments about climate change to the significance of pink flamingos, and will survey a number of types of history including cultural, demographic, religious, and animal.
AMST 30331 U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction
Linda Przybyszewski TR 9:30 am - 12:45 pm
Through intensive reading and writing students will explore the social and cultural history of America's most costly war. We will focus on various topics as they relate to the war: antebellum origins, religion, gender, Lincoln's reasons for waging war, dead bodies, freedmen's families, black soldiers, and the uses of war memory. This will not be a guns-and-generals-smell-the-smoke course, though knowledge of military matters can be helpful. We will ask and try to answer who really "won" and "lost" the war.
AMST 30375 The American Constitution
Katlyn Carter TR 9:30 am - 10:45 am
"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 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 30388 Gender @ Work in US History
Daniel Graff T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
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 30393 Consuming America
Emily Remus T/R 11:00 am -12:15 pm
This course traces the development of consumer society in the United States from the colonial era through the late twentieth century. It asks how Americans came to define the "good life" as one marked by material abundance and how transformations in buying and selling have shaped American culture, politics, and national identity. One of our aims will be to develop a usable historical definition of consumer society and to evaluate when such a society emerged in the United States. We will examine the role that consumption has played in defining and policing ideals of gender, race, sexuality, and class. We will also consider how Americans have used consumer practices and spaces to advance political claims and notions of citizenship. The course is organized around key turning points in American consumer capitalism: the consumer boom of the eighteenth century; the market revolution and feminization of consumption; the birth of the department store; the rise of mass consumption and commercial leisure; the development of modern advertising and sales; the spread of chain stores and shopping malls; and the globalization of American consumer culture. In addition to recent scholarship and text-based primary sources, we will analyze artifacts of consumer culture, such as advertisements, catalogs, product labels, broadsides, film, and television.
AMST 30416 Ballads to Hip-Hop
Alex Chavez M/W 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
This course is designed to introduce students to important historical and stylistic musical developments as part of the cultural experience of ethnic Mexicans in the United States. To this end, we examine both music-making and performance as aesthetic dialects of the social texture of "everyday life". We will cover various styles and genres, including corridos (the Mexican ballad form), Chicano rock 'n- roll and hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary folk-derived styles (i.e. Banda, Pasito Duranguense, Norteño) with attention to their historical, political, and musical significance. In order we achieve our aims, the course is organized along two axes: one chronological, the other conceptual - neither complete. The chronological portion will allow us to survey the various genres, styles, and ensembles of ethnic Mexican musical production. We detail this effort with a focus on important themes and concepts, identity, race, gender, migration, hybridity, that pertain to the present and historical social conditions of this community. Our approach, such that we are dealing with music-cultures, is at once anthropological and ethnomusicological, yet we are guided more broadly, by the paradigm of cultural studies, as we interrogate the expressive terrain where history, language, performance, and social bodies intersect.
AMST 30428 U.S. Foreign Policy
Daniel Lindley T/R 9:30 am - 10:45 am
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 30460 Introduction to Latino Studies
Alex Chavez T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
This course will examine the Latino experience in the United States, including the historical, cultural, and political foundations of Latino life. We will approach these topics comparatively, thus attention will be given to the various experiences of a multiplicity of Latino groups in the United States.
AMST 30468 American Politics
Benjamin Radcliff M/W 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
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 30518 Inner City America: Decoding
William Carbonaro T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Most Americans think of the "inner city" as a place of misery, danger, and despair. Why do most American cities have racially segregated areas dominated by concentrated poverty? What are the lives of inner city residents like? Why do the legal, political, economic, and educational institutions that serve these communities struggle so mightily to improve the lives of inner city residents? In this course, we will address all of these questions by viewing all five seasons of The Wire, David Simon's epic tale of life in inner city Baltimore. Sociological theory and research will serve as powerful tools to help students "decode" The Wire, and better understand the social forces that create and sustain inner city poverty, violence, and disorder. (Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors Only)
AMST 30609 Caribbean Diasporas
Karen Richman T/R 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
What is the meaning of identity in a transnational space straddling the United States and the Caribbean? Migration, settlement and return are central to the historical experiences and the literary and aesthetic expressions of Caribbean societies. This course combines literary and anthropological perspectives to the study of novels and historical and anthropological texts in which themes of migration, immigration and transnationalism play central roles.
AMST 30614 Legacies of the Southwest
Donna Glowacki T/R 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm
This course introduces students to the diversity of cultures living in the American Southwest from the earliest Paleoindians (11,500 years ago) to European contact, the establishment of Spanish Missions, and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680-1692. Most of the course is devoted to learning about the complex cultural developments in the Mimbres Valley, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, the Rio Grande, and the Phoenix Basin. Class work and discussions will focus on important issues such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of villages, the transformation of ideological beliefs and political organization, the importance of migration, and the impact of warfare using information on environmental relationships, technology, and other aspects of material culture. Students will also learn about descendant populations living in the Southwest today including the Pueblo peoples (e.g., Hopi, Santa Clara, Acoma) and Tohono O'odham.
AMST 30635 Black Ethnographers
Tracie Canada T/R 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
What is ethnography, broadly defined? How is a scholar's ethnographic product shaped by their racialized experience? This course will reference texts over time and across academic disciplines to consider genre, style, audience, and purpose when engaging with this research method. We will read, listen to, and watch works to think through the various ways that Black intellectuals have used ethnography to make sense of our everyday social worlds.
AMST 30636 Anthropology & Science Fiction
Mark Schurr M/W 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Anthropology is a social science with a holistic perspective on the human condition. It attempts to understand any aspect of humanity in the broadest sense anywhere and anytime. Anthropological perspectives can be used to speculate on what it meant to be human in the distant past, or what it may mean in the far distant future. While we cannot travel into the past, future, or an alternative universe to visit other societies or contact alien civilizations, we can imagine what those trips would be like. In our own culture, science fiction has moved from a fringe literature to an essential part of modern art and entertainment because it allows us to imagine alternate realities, and to speculate about the past, present and future as way to learn about ourselves and others. This class will introduce you to the basic principles of anthropology as a social science using science fiction text and video to illustrate various anthropological principles. You will learn how to critically evaluate anthropology's diverse applications and how they are reflected in popular culture (sometimes accurately and sometimes not). You will also sharpen your writing skills by using anthropological principles to critique science fiction.
AMST 30737 The Hyphenated American
Anne Garcia-Romero T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Contemporary U.S. theater ought to value equity, diversity, and inclusion by more consistently producing works that reflect its culturally complex society. This course is designed to introduce students to theatrical texts by contemporary Latinx, African-American, Asian-American, and Native American playwrights. Many of these playwrights' works engage with a variety of cultural experiences that complicate definitions of U.S. society. This course will examine the trajectory of culturally inclusive U.S. theater from the late 20th century to the present. The course will also consider how U.S. regional theaters work toward greater equity by including diverse voices. Students will be expected to read plays and analyze them using methods provided. The course aims to provide students with tools for reflection to develop their own analytical and creative responses to contemporary U.S. theater.
AMST 30901 Afrolatinidades
Marisel Marino T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
This course centers Blackness within latinidad. In it, students will learn about the history of Blackness inLatin America, and how that history continues to shape the experiences of AfroLatina/os in the US today. We will approach Blackness from a transhemispheric perspective, paying attention to how it is erased through the discourses of mestizaje and latinidad. We will analyze literary and cultural works by AfroLatina/os with roots in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Perú. This is a CBL course and students will volunteer at La Casa de Amistad once a week. Open to non-Spanish majors who are fluent in Spanish or are Spanish heritage speakers.
AMST 30950 BLM: Violence vs. Nonviolence
Jason Springs T/R: 9:30 am - 10:45 am
Is violent resistance and destructive populist uprising in response to injustice and structural violence ever justified? The apparent effectiveness of violent rebellion in the Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020 suggests that the answer is "yes." How do these developments compare and contrast to the debates surrounding violent vs nonviolent rebellion during the U.S. Civil Rights and Black Power Movements? How should the oppressed respond to their oppressors - conceptualize, fight for, and deploy power? What is the difference between rebellion and social movement, and how do their differences affect prospects for transforming systemically unjust and structurally violent conditions? This course explores answers to these questions by examining the conflicts surrounding the Movement for Black Lives over the last decade, while examining examples from the Civil Rights movement as cases for comparison. We will examine the background theories and ethical frameworks by which activists and practitioners conceptualize, implement, and justify - and argue with one another about - the necessities and limits of violent vs. nonviolent action and re-examine the roles that rebellion can play (and has played) in transforming injustice and structural violence, as well as in conceptualizing and pursuing liberation. What does the peace studies concept of "conflict transformation" have to contribute to these understandings and debates? We will consider challenges posed by rioting, property destruction and "looting," and the risks and possibilities of avoiding so-called "backlash" responses of state repression and counter-protest. Readings include works by: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Omar Wasow, Angela Davis, Danielle Allen, Cornel West, James Baldwin, Eddie Glaude, Martin King, Stokely Carmicheal (Kwame Ture), Frantz Fanon, and Barbara Deming.