Fall 2015

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
AMST 101-01 Latina/o Popular Culture
Instructor: Eric Vazquez, Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
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.
1030:TR   DENNY 212
AMST 101-02 Gender, Sport, and American Society
Instructor: Katherine Schweighofer
Course Description:
Cross-listed with WGST 202-01.From children tossing a ball in the backyard, to middle-aged weekend warriors on tennis courts, to athletes training for Olympic gold, sport cultures shape our bodies, relationships, and society. This course applies the interdisciplinary study of gender - the social creation and cultural representation of masculinity and femininity to American sports culture. We will consider how race, class, and sexuality are woven through sports cultures using cross-disciplinary materials and methods. Topics include sports media, coaches and fans, national identity, sport technologies, fitness and health, and sporting histories.
1030:MWF   DENNY 204
AMST 101-03 Narrating War in American Culture
Instructor: Eric Vazquez
Course Description:
When faced with the violence and destruction of 20th and 21st century war artists, journalists, authors, and even technicians find it difficult to encapsulate their experiences in the form of a story. This problem of representation suggests the ways that war inherently challenges ideas about human experience. In this class, we will examine the different ways American storytellers of different media try to capture the savagery, anomie, and ramifications of war. Due to the fact that warfare tests the universal character of human experience we will explore how gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity further complicate the war narrator's task. Through novels, film, protest music, and electronic media the class will examine the storyteller's dilemma in representing conflict as it parallels the ethical dilemma of one's complicity in state-mandated acts of violence.
1330:TF   DENNY 103
AMST 200-03 American Capitalism and Social Justice
Instructor: Jonathan Cogliano
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ECON 223-01 and SOCI 230-03.This course introduces students to the practice of Political Economy, which engages in a critical examination of the economic and social underpinnings of a capitalist society and their political and cultural effects. The course will analyze the U.S. economy within a global context and examine such issues as the social relations of production and distribution, markets, the labor process, cycles of growth and accumulation, and economic crises. Attention will be given to asymmetries of power and influence in government, media, and other institutions that shape American culture. Questions of the sustainability of capitalism and the viability of alternatives that could improve social and economic justice will be discussed.
0900:TR   ALTHSE 207
AMST 200-04 American Capitalism and Social Justice
Instructor: Jonathan Cogliano
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ECON 223-02 and SOCI 230-04.This course introduces students to the practice of Political Economy, which engages in a critical examination of the economic and social underpinnings of a capitalist society and their political and cultural effects. The course will analyze the U.S. economy within a global context and examine such issues as the social relations of production and distribution, markets, the labor process, cycles of growth and accumulation, and economic crises. Attention will be given to asymmetries of power and influence in government, media, and other institutions that shape American culture. Questions of the sustainability of capitalism and the viability of alternatives that could improve social and economic justice will be discussed.
1030:TR   ALTHSE 207
AMST 200-05 The American Sitcom
Instructor: Gregory Steirer
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-04 and FLST 210-02.From the 1950s until very recently, the sitcom or situation comedy has been one of American televisions most popular and emblematic genres. Network lineups have been determined by it, household rhythms organized around it, and legal and financial battles fought over its content. In large part, the sitcoms popular significance and financial success have stemmed from its unique approach to the representation of social, economic, and political change. Both the genres strict stylistic conventions and its comedic approach to storytelling have allowed it to function as an unusual kind of public sphere in which contemporary debates about race, class, gender, and sexuality are represented through visual and narrative forms. In this course we will examine the sitcom from institutional, aesthetic, and historical perspectives so as to understand its role in the negotiation of cultural change.
1500:TF   EASTC 405
AMST 200-06 Crime and Punishment in American Society
Instructor: J Daniel Schubert
Course Description:
Cross-listed with SOCI 230-06.This course is concerned with a wide range of issues surrounding crime and punishment in society. Our main focus will be prisons and punishment, but we will also address issues such as the demographics, image, patterns, and consequences of crime and punishment in contemporary society. We will consider the ways in which society and social factors influence crime and punishment, as well as the ways in which crime and punishment impact various components of society. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, drawing materials from sociology, philosophy, economics, history, psychology, American Studies, and criminal justice. The course will likely include a weekday visit to the State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill and a Saturday visit to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
1500:MW   DENNY 212
AMST 201-01 Introduction to American Studies
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
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. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement.
1330:TF   DENNY 303
AMST 202-01 Workshop in Cultural Analysis
Instructor: Sharon O'Brien
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. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement and WID graduation requirement.
1030:TR   WESTC 1
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 315
AMST 401-01 Research and Methods in American Studies
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
An integrative seminar focusing on the theory and methods of cultural analysis and interdisciplinary study. Students examine the origins, history, and current state of American studies, discuss relevant questions, and, in research projects, apply techniques of interdisciplinary study to a subject related to thematic concentration. Prerequisite: 303, Senior American studies major, or permission of the instructor. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement.
1330:W   DENNY 204