Spring 2015

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
AMST 101-01 American Jewish Literature
Instructor: Edward Merwin
Course Description:
Cross-listed with JDST 216-02 and RELG 241-01. We will read poetry, drama, fiction and essays from a variety of authors who write about the Jewish experience. Among the writers we will study are Abraham Cahan, Bernard Malamud, Anne Roiphe, Philip Roth, Neil Simon and Michael Chabon. We will examine multiple perspectives of what it means to be Jewish in America.
1330:MR   ASBELL SEM
AMST 101-02 American Religious Diversity
Instructor: Beth Graybill
Course Description:
Cross-listed with RELG 250-02. This course will investigate varied manifestations of religious practice in US culture. The material we study will challenge us to think about the role that ethics, spirituality and belief systems play in the lives of all of us, whether we consider ourselves religious or not. We will be treating the range of spiritual and religious practices as appropriate objects of respectful study, regardless of whether or not we personally agree with them, as we develop our understanding of religious pluralism. In this course we will be studying religion as it is actually experienced in people's everyday lives, a concept known as lived religion, as we seek to understand the ways in which individuals live out their beliefs and develop their spirituality. We will be asking: what can we learn about U.S. culture by looking at the religious understanidngs and practices of diverse Americans in the US today?
1330:MR   DENNY 104
AMST 101-03 Class in America
Instructor: Brenda Bretz
Course Description:
Many consider America a classless society, but class is an important part of the way American society and its institutions are structured. In this course we will examine such topics as upward mobility, class identification, the way in which class is represented in our daily lives. Through readings such as hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters, Lareaus Unequal childhoods: Class, race and family life and films such as Pretty Woman we will ask: how do we explain inequality in the U.S. despite the ideology that the U.S. is a meritocracy? How does class shape our family experiences? Our educational experiences? Our opportunities? How do issues of gender and race affect our experience of social class?
1330:TF   WESTC DURBIN
AMST 101-04 The Harlem Renaissance
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
Cross-listed with AFST 220-07.This introductory course focuses on the Harlem Renaissance which is sometimes referred to as the New Negro Renaissance. The course will study the history and politics of the Harlem Renaissance--roughly a period from 1915-1940. Students will be introduced to the historical background of the Harlem Renaissance as well as the major intellectual, racial, political, and social issues of this period in American, Caribbean, and African American cultural history. Through consideration of literature, art, and music, the course probes the impetus behind, meaning, and legacy of the period describe as the Harlem Renaissance.
1030:TR   DENNY 303
AMST 200-01 Prisons and Punishment in American Society
Instructor: Marisol LeBron
Course Description:
Cross-listed with SOCI 230-04. 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?
0900:TR   DENNY 203
AMST 200-02 American Popular Music
Instructor: Gregory Kaliss
Course Description:
American popular music provides a fascinating window into a wide range of issues in American culture, including, but not limited to, racial and gender identities, commercialization, the contours of American democracy, class divisions, and technological transformations. In order to trace these developments, we will explore a variety of forms of popular music, including: blackface minstrelsy; ragtime; swing; country; rock and roll; and hip-hop. Course materials will include music samples from featured genres, articles and books linking popular music to cultural context, album art, and music advertisements. No background in music required--we will all learn to analyze music as a cultural form.
1500:MR   DENNY 311
AMST 200-03 Civil Rights Movement
Instructor: Crystal Moten
Course Description:
Cross-listed with AFST 220-03 and HIST 211-01. This course will examine the post-World War II Civil Rights Movement led by African Americans in the United States. In the class, we will analyze key people, issues, events and debates within movement history, including, but not limited to, gender and leadership; struggles for civil rights in the south, west, and urban north; the impact of the Cold War on race relations; student activism; movement strategies; and the emergence of Black Power. Throughout the semester, we will read a wide variety of primary and secondary texts to illuminate the activities and life stories of individual participants as well as the broad historical forces that characterized this long era of insurgency.
1500:MR   DENNY 203
AMST 200-07 The American Sitcom
Instructor: Gregory Steirer
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 101-01 and FLST 210-03. 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:MR   EASTC 405
AMST 201-01 Introduction to American Studies
Instructor: Gregory Kaliss
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 DIV II social sciences distribution requirement.
1030:TR   DENNY 311
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 DIV II social sciences distribution requirement and WR graduation requirement.
1330:MR   EASTC 300
AMST 301-01 How the Great War Made America Modern
Instructor: K Wendy Moffat, Tami Biddle
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENGL 349-01, HIST 215-03 and POSC 290-01. This interdisciplinary course posits the entry of the United States into World War I as a pivotal moment in its becoming a modern society and a global political force. We will trace the emergence of the US government as a force in the lives of Americans; the emergence of the US as a great power, and as the owner of a sizable and increasingly powerful military establishment; and the effect of war trauma (particularly PTSD) in medicine and public policy. We will read widely (in policy, journalism, literature, government documents, personal accounts, war theory, history) to explore the following questions: What were the justifications for and debates about America entering a foreign war ? If you become a great power and create a large military full of people whom you then send off to war, how do you bring them home again? What do the burdens of this war experience look like and feel like to those who carry them? What do we do (or fail to do) as a nation to help people bear those burdens? How does the experience of America in World War I shape ideas about the role the US military should play in the world? How did America face (or avoid) reckoning with the cost (material and psychic) of the war?
1330:T   ALTHSE 201
AMST 301-02 Introduction to Visual Culture
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
In this course, students will learn to analyze and interpret the increasing visualization of American contemporary culture. Students will develop specific visual and verbal skills for observing, analyzing, describing and critiquing visual imagery from a range of diverse theoretical perspectives. Students will be encouraged to interrogate all varieties of visual forms and to consider the different viewing contexts, historical antecedents, and cultural differences that condition their experience of the visual world. The course will familiarize students with the key terms and debates, as well as introduce techniques used to analyze visual images from art and photography, to television and electronic media, using a variety of analytic frameworks. We will draw upon approaches in art history, media studies, gender studies, literary, cultural, and social theory. By introducing and applying ideas from theories of visual culture, particularly visual semiotics, the course will provide a deeper understanding of images in contemporary culture. Students will be encouraged to think broadly about what makes up their visual world and its cultural implications through careful looking, reading, and writing.
1330:TF   DENNY 303
AMST 402-01 Writing in American Studies
Instructor: Gregory Kaliss
Course Description:
Students research and write a substantial research project, normally drawing on their work in 401. Prerequisite: 303, 401. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement.
1330:T   DENNY 212
AMST 402-02 Writing in American Studies
Instructor: Marisol LeBron
Course Description:
Students research and write a substantial research project, normally drawing on their work in 401. Prerequisite: 303, 401. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement.
1330:W   DENNY 212
AMST 500-01 Cultural & Art Theory & Application
Instructor: Anthony Cervino, Jerry Philogene
Course Description: