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Coronavirus Update

Dickinson has made the decision to move classes online for the rest of the semester. The campus is not open to visitors until further notice.

Additional Information.

Faculty Profile

Cotten Seiler

Associate Professor of American Studies (2008)

Contact Information

Denny Hall Room 312


U.S. cultural and intellectual history, critical race theory, cultural studies.


  • B.A., Northwestern University, 1990
  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2002

2019-2020 Academic Year

Spring 2020

AMST 101 Racial Politics/Am Pop Music
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 half—blues, “race” music, hillbilly/country, ragtime, swing, rhythm & blues, rock and roll, folk, disco, rap/hip-hop, funk, punk, salsa, heavy metal, and “alternative.”

AMST 202 Workshop in Cultural Analysis
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.