Faculty Profile

Gregory Kaliss

Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies (2014)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 312


  • B.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1998
  • M.A., 2004
  • Ph.D., 2008

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

AMST 200 Sports, Race & Amer Dream
Many have looked to the world of sports as a realization of the “American Dream” of a color-blind meritocracy in which participants succeed or fail on their own merits alone. And yet issues of racial identity have been central to the story of sports in America, echoing and informing social debates regarding equality, racial and gender stereotypes, legalized segregation, and the quest for civil rights. We will explore these issues and others by examining a wide range of subjects from the late nineteenth century through to the present, including: the life and times of Jack Johnson; Jim Thorpe and the experiences of Native American athletes; the Black Athlete Revolt of 1968; Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and corporate America’s influence on black athletes; and much more. Course materials will include historical accounts, sports journalism, theoretical analysis, documentary and feature films, and Internet message boards.

AMST 303 The America that Race Built
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 identity—such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and nationality—in 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 shape—rightly or wrongly—the way we see one another. This course fulfills the AMST major theory requirement.

Spring 2015

AMST 200 American Popular Music
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.

AMST 201 Intro to American Studies
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.

AMST 402 Seminar in American Studies
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.