Spring 2018

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
AMST 101-01 Racial Politics of American Popular Music
Instructor: J Cotten Seiler
Course Description:
This course will consider popular music as both a reflection of and a transformative force within American culture. Beginning with the nineteenth century and continuing into our own time, we will look at (and listen to) the ways in which popular music has participated in continuing, often volatile, dialogues about racial identity and racial power in the United States, and as simultaneously shaped ideologies of gender, class, sexuality, and nation. Rather than be structured as a strict chronological survey, the course will focus on themes and issues in popular music production and consumption. In the first part of the course, we will examine theories of musical aesthetics, inquire into the sources of identity, and discuss the power of popular music to reflect and influence politics and cultural values. These discussions will give us analytical tools and historical knowledge for thinking and writing about music commerce and the genres we will discuss more specifically in the course's second halfblues, race music, hillbilly/country, ragtime, swing, rhythm & blues, rock and roll, folk, disco, rap/hip-hop, funk, punk, salsa, heavy metal, and alternative.
1030:TR   DENNY 313
AMST 101-02 Introduction to Native American Literature
Instructor: Nicholle Dragone
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-06. This course introduces students to novels, plays, poetry and short fiction authored by writers from North American Native nations, primarily those located within the boundaries of the US and Canada. As one of the goals of any class in non-Western literature(s) is to better understand cultural diversity in general, and the culture(s) being studied, in particular, this course will provide students with a brief overview of the culture and history of the nations the authors are from. In addition to contemporary literature, we will study select Native oral traditions such as, traditional teachings about creation, migration, tricksters and monster-like sacred beings to illustrate the ways in oral literature not only influences but is the basis for contemporary Native North American written literature(s). This course also will explore the relevance of issues like sovereignty, nationhood, resurgence and decolonization if these issues are appropriate to the historical context of the literature we read. In the process, this course will not only help develop students critical reading, analysis and writing skills, but also, will help them understand the importance of cultural self-representation and identity construction through literature. For as Creek literary theorist Craig Womack argues: Native literature, and Native literary criticism, written by Native authors, is a part of sovereignty: Indian people exercising the right to present pictures of themselves and to discuss those images. . . Tribes recognizing their own extant literatures, writing new ones and asserting the right to explicate them constitutes a move toward nationhood.
1230:MWF   DENNY 212
AMST 101-03 #StayWoke: Activism in U.S. Popular Culture
Instructor: Stacey Moultry
Course Description:
What is activism? Can activism take place in the realm of popular culture or does popular culture merely reflect activism happening in U.S. culture? This course will explore these questions and more as we look at examples of protest movements in modern American history. Theoretical concepts and historical context will be examined at the outset of the course. The major focus, however, will be on selected protest movements from the 1960s to present day and their relationships with popular culture. Selected movements include, but are not limited to, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, Environmental Movement, Disability Rights Movement, and more.
0830:MWF   DENNY 212
AMST 101-04 Latina/o Popular Culture
Instructor: Eric Vazquez
Course Description:
Cross-listed with LALC 200-06. This course will examine how the increasing diversity of audiences, voices, and participants in popular culture point to deficits, needs, and changes in American culture. Focusing specifically on Latinas/os, we will analyze representation of Latinas/os in a variety of different genres music, film, sports, and television for what they tell us about race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and language. We will look particularly at how Latinas/os negotiate mainstream media representations and create new forms of culture expression. Exploring how Latinas/os produce media representations that defy both narrow understandings of Latinidad as well as dominant U.S. culture, class discussion will explore how identity is produced and contested through popular culture.
1330:MR   DENNY 203
AMST 200-01 Fat Studies
Instructor: Amy Farrell
Course Description:
Cross-listed with WGSS 206-01. This course introduces students to an emerging academic field, Fat Studies. By drawing from historical, cultural, and social texts, Fat Studies explores the meaning of fatness within the U.S. and also from comparative global perspectives. Students will examine the development of fat stigma and the ways it intersects with gendered, racial, ethnic and class constructions. Not a biomedical study of the obesity epidemic, this course instead will interrogate the very vocabulary used to describe our current crisis. Finally, students will become familiar with the wide range of activists whose work has challenged fat stigma and developed alternative models of health and beauty.
1330:MR   DENNY 212
AMST 200-02 Prisons and Punishment in American Society
Instructor: Marisol LeBron
Course Description:
Cross-listed with SOCI 230-01. The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world. More than two million men and women are currently locked up behind bars, a population constituting roughly one in every one hundred American adults. What has led to this phenomenon of mass incarceration in the United States? This interdisciplinary course will examine the historical, political, economic, and social factors that have resulted in the growth of the prison system in American society. We will examine how race, class, education, gender, and sexuality shape the American legal system and impact the demography of prisons. We will also pay special attention to the intersections between the growth of for-profit prisons, the increasing criminalization of low-level drug offenses, and the rise of zero tolerance policing. We will conclude the course by considering alternatives to the current prison system and debate whether we can envision a world without prisons. This course will analyze a wide range of texts including, scholarly monographs, prison writings, documentaries, zines, and photographs. Readings for this course will include Michelle Alexanders The New Jim Crow, Sabrina Jones and Marc Mauers graphic novel Race to Incarcerate, and Angela Davis Are Prisons Obsolete?
1500:MR   DENNY 303
AMST 200-03 Black and Latinx Intersections
Instructor: Marisol LeBron
Course Description:
Cross-listed with LALC 200-03. As Latinx population growth outpaced African American population growth over the course of the 2000s, a discourse of conflict and competition between the two groups started to take center stage. Scholars, journalists, and pundits argued that the new status of Latinxs as the majority minority population in the United States would diminish Black political and economic power and further exacerbate tensions between African American and Latinx groups. This course troubles sensationalistic accounts of Black and Latinx conflict by focusing on what interactions between African Americans and Latinx groups illuminate about race and power relations in the United States. We will focus special attention on the history of coalitional organizing between African American and Latinx groups, as well as the ways that Afro-Latinxs challenge narrow understandings of both Blackness and Latinidad. Ultimately, students will learn about the shifting history of racial power relations in the United States and the coalitional efforts undertaken by marginalized groups in order to affect social change.
1030:TR   DENNY 110
AMST 200-04 American Indians in Film and Media
Instructor: Nicholle Dragone
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 222-03 and FLST 310-05.Students should be prepared for a weekly 2 1/2 hour film lab, day and time to be determined during the first week of class. From its earliest days, film has been an important medium of storytelling. Film also has been used to appropriate and manipulate the images of people, places and events. In particular, film as story has been used by both non-Native and Native directors and producers to capture images of Native peoples, and to construct or to represent their identities and lived realities in particular ways. For a brief moment during the Silent Film era, American Indians were able to control some of the stories told about them through film, thereby controlling the way film constructed their identities, their lived realities. From the close of the Silent Film era until the 1990s, Hollywood controlled the representation of Native Americans in film, effectively colonizing their identities. In recent decades, however, Native film producers, directors, screen writers, actors and actresses have been using film to present images and stories that more accurately reflect their own contemporary lived realities and identities. In so doing, they are decolonizing filmic representations of them. This course surveys two important topics with regards to the representation of Native North Americans in Film, TV and social media. The first topic is the colonization of Native identities and lived realities via cinematic imaging and redfacing. The second explores how contemporary Native North American film makers engage in visual sovereignty to tell their stories in a way that challenges and decolonizes U.S. and Canadian representations of Native North American peoples.
0930:MWF   DENNY 212
AMST 200-06 Visualizing Blackness
Instructor: Stacey Moultry
Course Description:
Cross-listed with AFST 220-10.In his introduction to The Matter of Images, Richard Dyer argues that, how social groups are treated in cultural representation is part and parcel of how they are treated in life, that poverty, harassment, self-hate and discrimination are shored up and instituted by representation (1). Images are imbedded with arguments about national identity and the social body. In this course, we will construct a vocabulary for reading images and consider how the representation of people of African descent in the United States shapes important cultural narratives. To help guide our course, we will look at several key historical moments when those narratives were in formation and issues of representation were greatly debated.
1130:MWF   DENNY 212
AMST 200-07 The Literature of Money
Instructor: Eric Vazquez
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 222-04. The 2007 crisis is thought to have laid to rest widespread assumptions about the ceaseless abundance of financial markets. This faith, it has been argued, is built on fantasies of infinitely compounding abstractions that wager on hypothetical futures and turbulent risk. Fantasies, futures, and abstractions also describe the cultural function of literary texts. This course will examine not only how American literature represents practices like speculation and efforts to monetize risk, but also investigate literature and finance's common practice of producing fictions through an analysis of narrative: novels, film, and other forms of storytelling. Class will begin by examining 19th century novels about land and commodity speculation, but the majority of class will be devoted to literature composed in or about the 1980s and 90s, when financial capitalism is thought to have hit its apex. Fulfills AMST Representation or AMST Structures and Institutions. Cannot fulfill both.
0900:TR   ALTHSE 07
AMST 201-01 Introduction to American Studies
Instructor: Marisol LeBron
Course Description:
Introduces students to basic theories and methods used for the interdisciplinary analysis of U.S. cultural materials and to the multiplicity of texts used for cultural analysis (mass media, music, film, fiction and memoir, sports, advertising, and popular rituals and practices). Particular attention is paid to the interplay between systems of representation and social, political, and economic institutions, and to the production, dissemination, and reception of cultural materials. Students will explore the shaping power of culture as well as the possibilities of human agency.
0900:TR   DENNY 204
AMST 202-01 Workshop in Cultural Analysis
Instructor: Nicholle Dragone
Course Description:
Intensive workshop focused on theoretical approaches to the interpretation of social and cultural materials. The course provides an early exposure to theories and methods that will be returned to in greater depth in the senior year. Intended to develop independent skills in analysis of primary texts and documents.
1030:TR   DENNY 112
AMST 301-01 Studies in US LGBTQ History and Literature
Instructor: Katherine Schweighofer, Sarah Kersh
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 321-01 and WGSS 301-03. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) literature and culture in the United States. Co-taught by professors in Womens Gender and Sexuality Studies and English, the course moves among literary, historical, and theoretical texts to address questions of sex, gender, and sexuality as they shape queer American identities, communities, and cultures. Drawing from queer theory, feminist and queer historicism, and feminist and queer literary analysis, students will consider the impact of sexuality and gender on literature and culture. We will pay particular attention to how sex and gender intersect with other forms of difference, including race, class, geography, and nationality. Primary readings will be drawn from a range of literary genres and archival sources.
1330:TF   EASTC 405
AMST 303-01 The America that Race Built
Instructor: J Cotten Seiler
Course Description:
This course examines the origins and histories of the concept of race in the United States. Beginning with a discussion of the concept of race and proceeding through the histories of various groups, we will examine how race interacts with other categories of identitysuch as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and nationalityin the everyday life of the nation past and present. Through we will rely on histories and social-scientific work to develop an understanding of how difference and diversity have been lived in America, we will also focus on how popular culture (such as film, television, popular music, and sports) and literature have shaped and continue to shaperightly or wronglythe way we see one another. This course fulfills the AMST major theory requirement.
0900:TR   DENNY 303
AMST 402-01 Writing in American Studies
Instructor: Eric Vazquez
Course Description:
Students research and write a substantial research project, normally drawing on their work in 401. Prerequisite: 303, 401.
1330:W   ALTHSE 07