Courses: Fall 2021
AMST 10100/20100 Introduction to American Studies M/W 12:50-1:40pm
Perin Gurel Discussion sections Fridays 11:35-12:25 and 12:50-1:40pm
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 30104 Data Feminism
Katherine Walden T/H 3:30-4:45pm
Feminism is not only about women, nor is feminism only for women. Feminism is about power - about who has it and who doesn't. And in today's world, data is power. Data can be used to create communities, advance research, and expose injustice. But data can also be used to discriminate, marginalize, and surveil. This course will draw intersectional feminist theory and activism to identify models for challenging existing power differentials in data science, with the aim of using data science methods and tools to work towards justice. Class meetings will be split between discussions of theoretical readings and explorations of data science tools and methods (such as Tableau, RStudio, and Python). Those readings may include chapters from texts that include Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren Klein's Data Feminism (2020), Virginia Eubanks's Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor (2018), Ruha Benjamin's Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (2019), and Sasha Costanza- Chock's Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need (2020). This course will also examine the data advocacy and activism work undertaken by groups like Our Data Bodies, Data for Black Lives, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and Chicago-based Citizens Police Data Project. Over the course of the semester, students will develop original research projects that use data to intervene in issues of inequality and injustice. This course is not about gaining mastery of particular data science tools or methods, therefore familiarity with statistical analysis or data science tools (R, RStudio, Python, etc.) is NOT a prerequisite for this course.
AMST 30107 History of the Book Since the American Revolution
Korey Garibaldi T/H 9:30-10:45pm
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 30115 Podcast America: Now hear this! It’s time to hear great American Stories
Brian Collier MW 9:30-10:45am
THIS CLASS HAS NO ASSIGNED READINGS! That's right, there is no reading for this class. Instead, you'll learn how millions of Americans are coming to know their history, their science, their neighbors, their sexuality, their art and so much more and you'll do it all through listening to some of the most engaging (and some of the least engaging too) podcasts available. We'll look at primary sources that collaborate and dispel some of what we're hearing and we'll think about the integral ways that podcasts are shaping our nation and our national interests. We'll even delve into how podcasts in other lands celebrate and eviscerate America, Americans, and Americanism. Double up on your homework and your workout as you listen your way into exciting and engaging topics that we'll explore in class using the methodologies of the best scholarship in American Studies, History, and Education, Schooling, and Society. This class is for all of those who love American Studies, great stories, researching and discovering, and can't wait to get their headphones on and delve into the best stories we as a society know how to tell.
AMST 30119 The Asian American Experience
Jennifer Huynh M/W 11:00-12:15pm
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 30149 America’s Culture Wars
Pete Cajka M/W 2:00-3:15pm
This course explores how, since the 1970s, Americans have disagreed on fundamental ideas regarding sex, race, history, foreign policy, class, the economy, and religion It comes to terms with why contemporary Americans can see reality in such radically divergent ways. Students will examine the way Americans of the last half century have fought over the "soul of the nation." Readings will address the liberal-conservative divide, fracture, and polarization.
AMST 30160 America in the 20th Century
Annie Coleman M/W 9:30-10:45am
The field of American Studies takes as its central concern the tension between the ideals and institutions that unite us as a nation, and the diversity of identities, perspectives, and experiences that make that unity so difficult to achieve. This course examines how those tensions have played out in 20th century American history, with a focus on domestic politics and the production of culture, particularly music. The course also examines how those tensions have been reflected in the writing of American history itself. Taking a cue from the 1619 Project that re-conceptualized American history by placing the institution of slavery at its center, we will explore what 20th century U.S. history looks like when we move traditionally marginalized voices to the fore, and focus explicitly on the relationship between racialized power and the production of culture. Through the Blues and folk music to Elvis, girl groups, Chicano rock, disco, and hip-hop, this blends historical perspectives and method with approaches from American studies to rethink 20th century history as well as the making of that history. Assignments will include extensive reading, midterm and final essay exams, and three short papers/projects. Classes will include some lectures as well as a significant amount of discussion.
AMST 30161 Football in America
Katherine Walden M/W 9:30-10:45am
Football is one of the most enduringly popular and significant cultural activities in the United States. Since the late 19th century, football has occupied an important place for those wishing to define and understand "America." And Notre Dame football plays a central role in that story, with larger-than-life figures and stories, from Knute Rockne¿¿¿s ¿¿¿Win one for the Gipper¿¿¿ line to the ¿¿¿Four Horsemen¿¿¿ backfield that led the program to a second national championship in 1924. The mythic proportions of the University's football program cast a long shadow on the institution's history, cultural significance, and traditions. This course focuses on Notre Dame football history as an entry point into larger questions about the cultural, historical, and social significance of football in the U.S. Who has been allowed to play on what terms? How have events from Notre Dame Football’s past been remembered and re-imagined? How has success in Notre Dame Football been defined and redefined? In particular, the course will focus on how Notre Dame football became a touchstone for Catholic communities and institutions
across the country navigating the fraught terrain of immigration, whiteness, and religious practice. This course will take up those questions through significant engagement with University Archive collections related to Notre Dame football, working toward increased levels of description and access for these materials. This course will include hands-on work with metadata, encoding and markup, digitization, and digital preservation/access through a collaboration with the University Archives and the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship. Readings for this course will include chapters from texts such as Murray Sperber's Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football (1993), TriStar Pictures' Rudy (1993), Steve Delsohn's Talking Irish: The Oral History of Notre Dame Football (2001), Jerry Barca's Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season (2014), David Roediger's Working Toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Became White (2005), David Roediger's The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (1991), and Noel Ignatiev's How the Irish Became White (1995). Class meetings will be split between discussions of conceptual readings and applied work with library and information science technologies and systems. Coursework may include response papers, hands- on work with data, and a final project. Familiarity with archival methods, library/information science, data science, or computer science tools and methods is NOT a prerequisite for this course.
AMST 30163 Epidemics in America
Laurel Daen M/W 12:30-1:45pm
This spring, many of our lives have been transformed by COVID-19, the coronavirus disease now causing a pandemic. As we respond to 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 to 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 treatises, 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 may include response papers, primary source analysis, and a final project.
AMST 30165 The Vietnam War and American Catholics
Pete Cajka M/W 11:00-12:15am
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 30169 Race and American Popular Culture
Jason Ruiz T/H 12:30-1:45pm
While it is a notoriously difficult concept to define, “race” is undoubtedly a powerful force in American life. Focusing on the late nineteenth century to the present, this course examines the ways in which racial ideas are formed, negotiated, and resisted in the arenas of American literature and popular culture. From the story of racial confusion in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894) to contemporary cultural politics of performance and appropriation, this course will ask how popular culture actively shapes—rather than merely reflects—American ideas about race and ethnicity. A key aim of the class is to go beyond looking for “good” and “bad” pop culture texts to explore the deeper meanings of racism and antiracism. By closely engaging with a diverse set of theoretical, historical, and primary texts, students will learn to approach and analyze popular culture with a critical eye.
AMST 30174 American Wilderness
Annie Coleman M/W 12:30-1:45pm
How is a national park different from a national wilderness area, a city park, the lakes at Notre Dame, or your back yard? Why some are considered wilder than others are, 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 30190 Religion in America
Thomas Tweed T/TH 2:00-3:15pm
This course introduces students to the history of religion in the lands that became the United States. It focuses on how diverse peoples imagined and transformed the landscape, interacted with one another at different sites, and moved within and across borders. It is divided into two main sections. We begin --and end--by asking: How should we tell the story of religion in America? To help students clarify their thinking and provide them with a wide variety of intriguing sources, the next two sections introduce different ways to tell that story--by chronology or theme. Section one provides an historical overview, telling the story of U.S. religion by tracing chronological shifts, and we turn in the next section to explore a series of theses drawing on varied sources from multiple groups and historical periods. The topics we discuss in that section include gender, sexuality, science, class, race, ethnicity, violence, politics, pluralism, and law. Along the way, students plan and write a research paper on a topic of their choice and present their findings to the class. At the end, we circle back to the questions we posted at the start-how do we tell the story of U.S. religion?-as we write our own narrative on the last day of class.
AMST 30197 Public Art & Memory in America
Erika Doss T/H 3:30-4:45pm
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; students will develop their own "Wiki Public Art" pages.
AMST 30198 20th/21st Century American Art
Erika Doss T/H 2:00-3:15pm
This course traces the history of 20th/21st Century American art: art made in the United States from the Gilded Age of the 1890s to today. A historically based survey of the evolution and development of American modern and contemporary art, it explores a variety of media from paintings and sculpture to photography, graphic arts, performance art, installation, street art, video, digital, New Media, and Social Practice within cultural, economic, political, social, and theoretical contexts. Especially attentive to the themes of modernism, migration, and mobility, it considers the roles that American art has played in the formation of and contestation over ideas
about modern national identity and understandings of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual difference.
AMST 43137 The Meaning of Things
Sophie White M/W 11:00-12:15 Senior AMST Majors only
The Meaning of Things" asks how objects as diverse as a ND class ring, a pair of jeans, a lava lamp or an iPod acquire meaning and value. This seminar will introduce students to a range of practices relating to consumption in American culture. We will investigate the diverse aspects of production, marketing, buying and using goods as these influence not only gender, but also the construction of a range of identities. This will lay the foundation for students to write substantive individual research papers on "thing" of their choice. The senior seminar is designed to be a culminating experience for American Studies majors. Readings and assignments will explore course themes in the context of American Studies as a field. Requirements will include seminar- style discussions of course readings, a final research project of 20-25 pages (or equivalent), and a public presentation of that project in class.