Spring 2021

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
AMST 101-01 Racial Politics of American Popular Music
Instructor: Cotten Seiler
Course Description:
This course considers popular music as both a reflection of and a transformative force within the larger American culture. Beginning with the nineteenth century and moving toward our own time, we will look at (and listen to) how popular music has helped to form and challenge racial identities in the United States. In the first part of the course, we will examine theories of musical aesthetics, inquire into the origins and revisions of the ever-weird entity called race, 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 the genres such as minstrelsy, blues, race music, hillbilly/country, rhythm & blues, rock, folk, disco, rap/hip-hop, funk, conjunto, punk, heavy metal, reggae, and indie (to name just a few!).
0900:TR   DIST
AMST 101-02 Football: Gender, American Culture, and the Gridiron Game
Instructor: Katie Schweighofer
Course Description:
Are you ready for some football?! American football dominates U.S. high school and university sporting cultures, draws millions of fans to professional games, and increasingly is played by children as young as four and five. The gridiron game shapes our culture, bodies, and social interactions, both offering opportunity and presenting challenges. Football: Gender, American Culture, and the Gridiron Game considers how forces like gender, sex, sexuality, race, class, and ability shape and are shaped by football in the United States. Does football reinforce ideas of American exceptionalism? How has it historically functioned as a tool of white settler colonialism, and where do we see that nationalist project today? How does American football continue to shape discourse on violence, masculinity, sexuality on fields, in schools, and in popular culture? These questions and others will be tackled during the term.
0930:MWF   HUB SOC HALL E
AMST 200-01 Fat Studies
Instructor: Amy Farrell
Course Description:
Cross-listed with WGSS 206-01.Class will be held synchronously on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Throughout the semester the professor will schedule small group meetings, about every other week, with students who are on campus. Otherwise, the class will be held remotely.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.
1030:TR   DENNY 304
AMST 200-02 Black Feminist Thoughts
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
Cross-listed with AFST 320-02, LALC 200-01 and WGSS 202-01. This course provides perspectives on the development and materialization of Black feminist thoughts within historical, social, political, and cultural contexts. Interdisciplinary in focus, it surveys feminist politics and theories through films, popular culture, manifestoes, literary texts, and theoretical and historical essays. It offers an interdisciplinary survey of African-American and other African descendant womens contributions to feminist theory as a heterogeneous field of knowledge encompassing multiple streams of gender- and race-cognizant articulation and praxis. This course will pair primary texts authored by black women with secondary texts produced by black feminist scholars; these critiques will illustrate the myriad ways black feminists engage with and seek to transform representations of black female experience. During the course, we will identify and characterize the major issues that black feminists address as well as the various contemporary forms of resistance to social structures. In addition, the course will explore the diversity and ambiguity of various black feminisms through a number of frames, such as gender theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and reproductive rights and practices. Caribbean, Afro-Latina, and Black British feminisms are also included as we map feminist consciousness and practice across the African Diaspora.
1330:MR   DIST
AMST 200-03 Indigenous Futurism in Contemporary Culture
Instructor: Darren Lone Fight
Course Description:
In the field of what scholar Grace Dillon calls Indigenous Futurism, Native artists from the visual to the literary have found a profoundly ripe stage for the exploration of Indigenous representation and artistic exploration. Following historically on other alternative-futurist projects such as Afrofuturism and Queer Futurism, Indigenous Futurism shares certain sensibilities with these related aesthetic forms, perhaps most strikingly as a strategy of decolonial clapback against the white-washing tendencies of the majority of popular speculative art throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Nevertheless, Indigenous Futurism marshals the field of SF/Futurism in critically different ways unique to the history and relationship of Native America to popular culture. Indeed, this emerging field has a particular strategic advantage due to its temporal and pop-cultural orientation, allowing such art to function as a laboratory of resistance to the colonial project. This course examines Native authors, filmmakers, and visual/multimedia artists in order to evolve an understanding of the character of the field of Indigenous Futurism and why it operates as a critical strategic negotiation site for the representation of Native people in contemporary American culture.
1330:TF   DIST
AMST 201-01 Introduction to American Studies
Instructor: Darren Lone Fight
Course Description:
Introduces students to basic theories and methods used for the interdisciplinary analysis of United States and hemispheric 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.
1030:MWF   DIST
AMST 202-01 Workshop in Cultural Analysis
Instructor: Amy Farrell
Course Description:
Class will be held synchronously on Zoom on Mondays and Thursdays. Throughout the semester the professor will schedule small group meetings, about every other week, with students who are on campus. Otherwise, the class will be held remotely. This intensive writing workshop focuses 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 upper level departmental courses. Intended to develop independent skills in analysis of primary texts and documents.
1330:MR   DENNY 304
AMST 303-01 Black Visual Aesthetics
Instructor: Jerry Philogene
Course Description:
Cross-listed with AFST 320-03 and FMST 310-02. The course will examine the construction and performance of "black" racial identities through various forms of visual culture. In the class, we will investigate how visual representations, technologies of vision, and the visual arts including specifically film and photography produced in North America (the U.S. Canada, and the Caribbean) and Europe have been used to create and transform the idea of "blackness" at specific historical moments. Specifically, we will look at the films of Sankofa Film and Video Collective, a pioneering group of young black British filmmakers; "blaxpolitations" films in the U.S.; and the work of various Caribbean film makers. In addition, the photography of African Americans James Van der Zee and Lorna Simpson, British-Nigerian Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Jamaican Albert Chong, among others, will be explored to examine the ways in which people of African descent have used visual means to call into question and subvert dominant racial, sexual, and gender categories and ideologies.
1030:TR   DIST
AMST 402-01 Writing in American Studies
Instructor: Cotten Seiler
Course Description:
Students research and write a substantial research project, normally drawing on their work in 401. Prerequisite: 303, 401.
1330:W   DIST