American Studies
American Studies

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30540 • Davis, Janet
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM WAG 101
(also listed as HIS 315G)
show description

AMS 310 is an introductory course in American Studies—the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. We will begin our journey by considering some of the critical transformations—both physical and ideological—that World War II brought to American society and culture.  Filled with televisions, cars, suburbs, malls and chain stores, the landscape that we know so well today came of age during this period.  Throughout the course, we will analyze how communities, broadly defined by differing variables like age, geography, gender, race, ethnicity, class and/or political persuasion, have wrestled with questions about identity, inclusion and exclusion in modern America. While the course will proceed chronologically, I have organized these topics around three separate themes: consumerism, youth culture, and multiculturalism.


First exam (in-class): 20%

Second exam (in-class): 30%

Final exam (cumulative, 3 hours long): 50 %.

In addition to the graded assignments, regular attendance is expected.


Possible Texts

Clara Marie Allen and Constance Bowman Reid, Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Woman

Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30535 • Vaught, Jeannette
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)
show description


Introduction to American Studies: Cyborg Americans


This course introduces students to the field of American studies.  The guiding objective of this course is to use various interdisciplinary lenses – such as forms of material culture, technology, and performance – to investigate the United States as a contested set of identities and representations. 


In this particular section of AMS 310, we’re going to look at the human-technology interface – the cyborg! – in American culture.  The course emphasizes these concurrent and parallel histories of Americans by focusing on the adoption of and responses to new technologies from the late 19th century to the present.  The semester will be organized into four units, starting with the germ revolution in the 1880s and 1890s, then moving through the electrification of the nation from 1900 to 1940, shifting into the Cold War cultural relationships between nuclear particle physics and the boom in consumer domestic products, and finally investigating the turn to computing.  We end by considering the global dimensions of the internet age. 


In each of these units, we will use these examples to think critically about the relationship between the past and the present, to examine how individual identity formation relates to the larger cultural zeitgeist, and to understand more fully how social inequalities, particularly in the forms of race, class, gender, and sexuality, infiltrate all areas of American life.  By the end of the course, students will develop a more nuanced understanding of American culture and American studies, build critical thinking skills, and become cognizant of the multiple histories at play at any given period. 


Possible course texts:

Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club

Carolyn De La Peña, The Body Electric

Lizabeth Cohen, The Consumer’s Republic

Lisa Nakamura, Cybertypes



Midterm: 30%

Final: 30%

Digital History project: 25%

Attendance and Participation: 15%

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30543 • Gaughen, Brendan
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 116
(also listed as HIS 315G)
show description

AMS 310/HIS 315G is an introductory course in American Studies, a field that examines American culture and society from multiple perspectives. Using a variety of sources and methods, this course explores how different communities organized around identifiers such as race, ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, and ideology have negotiated with and contributed to changing conceptions of American identity.

This course follows a rough chronology of the past century divided into three major sections: 1910 to 1945, 1945 to the early 1970s, and the early 1970s to the present, demonstrating great transformations in American society, culture, and everyday life, while also showing main currents and trajectories as groups have continually struggled for rights and inclusion over the past hundred years. The interdisciplinary approach of this course draws upon history, geography, sociology, literature, popular culture, and other methods of inquiry to reveal a century of political and social conflicts that complicate narratives of national consensus.

AMS 311S • America's Reality Tv

30545 • Kantor, Julie
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A
show description

Reality Television is the most ubiquitous and popular programming on American Television, garnering 50 percent of prime time viewers in 2013. Though most Americans claim hatred of reality shows, the influence of the programming and its reflection of American culture is undeniable; the shows' mediated narratives reverberate with American's desires, fears, and showcase our discourses and discursive production. Through the study of reality television, we can understand ideals and forms of American citizenship, race, gender, sexuality and class. This class will use a variety of disciplines, including American studies, media studies, anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, and theoretical lenses, such as affect, performance, and Foulcauldian genealogy to unpack the narratives produced by and around these shows. The class will look at a variety of reality programs, including makeover, identity-based (i.e. The Real Housewives, Shahs of Sunset), competition, and therapeutic shows (Hoarders, Intervention, Couples Therapy) to ask questions about American social life and culture. This class will also explore realms of culture and life where we can follow the bleed over of reality television; that these reality stars' real lives are continually followed on and off the shows speaks to cultural obsessions and fixations that are a part of the reality of American lives.


Possible Texts:

Susan Lepselter, "The Disorder of Things: Hoarding Narratives in Popular Media"

David Grazian, "Neoliberalism and the Realities of Reality Television"

Neal Saye, "No "Survivors," No "American Idol," No "Road Rules" in "The Real

World" of "Big Brother": Consumer/reality, Hyper/reality, and Post/reality in

"Reality" TV"

“Reality TV, or The Secret Theater of Neoliberalism” by Nick Couldry from Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 30:1, 3-13

“Jersey Shore: Part Fantasy, Part Train Wreck, Cloaked in Neoliberalism” by Mark Sherry and Katie Martin from The Journal of Popular Culture, December, 2014. 10.1111.

 "The Unwatched Life Is Not Worth Living: The Elevation of the Ordinary in Celebrity Culture" by Joshua Gamson in Theories and Methodologies 126.4

"The Mass Production of Celebrity: ‘Celetoids’, Reality TV and the ‘Demotic Turn’1" by Graeme Turner in International Journal of Cultural Studies, Volume 9(2): 153–165, 2006

"Reality TV and the Production of 'Ordinary Celebrity': Notes from the Field" by Laura Grindstaff, from Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Volume 56, 2012

Oct 2 – “Reality Celebrity: Branded Affect and the Emotion Economy” by Laura Grindstaff and Susan Murray from Public Culture, 01/2015, Volume 27, Number 1 75: 109-135


Assignments (include % of grade):

6 one-page (single space) responses to reading: 30%

Final paper proposal (1 page): 10%

Annotated Bibliography (5-6 sources): 10%

Participation: 10%

Contribution to Zine: 15%

Final paper (10-12 pages): 25%

AMS 311S • Borrowing And American Cul

30550 • Kopin, Joshua
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
show description

We live in an age of stealing. With the advent of digital technologies and the internet, it is now easier than ever to make and share art—but it’s also easier to claim someone else’s work as your own, even to make money off of it. Still, borrowing has a long history in American culture. This course will consider that history, starting with the Declaration of Independence and continuing through to pop art, remixing, and internet memes. In order to think about these phenomena, we will investigate the past and future of American copyright law, popular and fine art forms that encourage borrowing or outright stealing, writers and poets who openly (or secretly) plagiarize the work of others, and what new possibilities exist for borrowing in the age of the internet. While acknowledging, as well as experiencing, the potential that these forms allow, we will also need to investigate the ways that borrowing may work differently for some groups than others—whom does borrowing hurt? How can we understand borrowing through the lenses of race, gender, and empire? What are the differences between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation?


Possible Texts:

Dan Clowes, Ghost World

Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Susan Scafidi, Who Owns Culture?

Cory Doctorow, Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free

Kembrew McLeod, Cutting Across Media

Joseph Schloss, Making Beats

Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing

Eric Lott, Love and Theft

Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian

Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters


Assignments (include % of grade):

20% Participation

25% Weekly Creative and Analytical Writing Assignments

10% Comparison Paper

10% Analysis Paper

35% Final Project, including annotated bibliography, presentation, and final paper

AMS 311S • Culture Of The Right

30555 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
show description

Course Description

The moniker “conservative” can apply at once to fiction authors like Ayn Rand, political theorists like Alexis de Tocqueville, Renaissance men like Henry David Thoreau, television writers like the creators of South Park, and preachers like Jerry Falwell. How? What does it mean to be conservative? How has that definition transformed over time? And how are those ideologies expressed in so many different cultural forms, from film to television to music to videogames?

In this class, we will explore those cultural forms to understand the changing politics of the Right in America from the 19th century through the 2016 election cycle, emphasizing the relationship between the history of the Right and recent current events in culture and politics. In tracking the historical development of the Right, we will also attend to the interplay between conservative ideology and race, gender, sexuality, class, and religion.

This course will draw upon a variety of primary source texts (including films, television shows, fictional stories, essays, videogames, and music) as well as secondary source analyses of those cultural works.

Finally, a key question will subtly guide many of our discussions, readings, and assignments: how did we get from Thomas Jefferson to Donald Trump? 


Possible Texts

Excerpts from:

  • Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin
  • Tara MacPherson, Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender,and Nostalgia in the Imagined South
  • Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
  • Claire Conner, Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right
  • Dan Baum, Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure 
  • Harel Schapira, Waiting for José: The Minuteman's Pursuit of America
  • Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes:The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History
  • Assorted primary source texts


Assignments will not be strictly limited to essay writing or exams: rather, you will be required to engage with digital media, creative and artistic expression, and personal memoir, as well as more a traditional final paper rooted in independent research and analysis.

  • Participation (20%)
  • Brief reading quizzes (10%)
  • Autobiographical essay (10%)
  • Online historical exhibit (10%)
  • Political campaign advertisement (15%)
  • Final Paper (35%)

AMS 311S • Cultures Of American Energy

30560 • Roehl, Emily
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 436A
show description

Sources of energy are all around us—deep underground, blowing in the wind, stored in muscle and bone, mined and refined. The way we work, move, eat, and play is deeply connected to the histories and cultures of these energy sources. For this reason, energy is an important topic not only to engineers and economists but to humanities scholars as well. In this course, we will consider the histories and cultures of energy in North America from the mid-19th century to the present. We will dig into the question of energy by focusing on four themes: energy frontiers past and present, energy disasters fast and slow; energy in cultural memory; and energy media. We will look at representations of various energy sources (fossil fuels, human and animal power, wood, water, and wind) in film, television, literature, art, photography, museums displays, and industry archives while considering the role of energy in our everyday lives.

Students will complete four major assignments: an annotated bibliography that summarizes and synthesizes primary and secondary sources, a short essay that analyzes an energy exhibit at a museum, a presentation on archival materials from the ExxonMobil collection at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, and a final paper. Students will also write short summaries of class readings and field trips.

AMS 311S • Imagining Public Education

30565 • Pinkston, Caroline
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
show description


The last sixty years have been a remarkable and tumultuous period for American public education. From the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools to the more recent controversies over charter schools and high-stakes testing, public education has spent much of the last half-century right in the middle of national debates about equality, justice, and democracy. A recurring narrative in these debates is that our public schools are failing, and that fixing them is crucial to solving other longstanding issues of poverty and racial injustice.


Where does this narrative come from?  What stories and images contribute to the way we understand the importance of public schooling and its apparent failures? What’s at stake when we imagine a “failing” public school – or, for that matter, a successful one?


This course will examine contesting representations of public school in American culture from the 1960’s to the present day.  This will not be a course in the history American education. Our main purpose, instead, will be to investigate cultural perceptions of the state of public education, in pop culture, in the news, and beyond. What’s the relationship between the stories we tell about public education, the policy that determines what happens in schools, and broader cultural anxieties about race, childhood, and social justice? We will consider sources including film and television, policy briefs & journalism, nonfiction texts & memoir, children’s literature & school curriculum.


Potential texts (excerpts): Up the Down Staircase (Kaufman, 1964); Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (Kozol, 1990); Bad Boys: Public Schools and the Making of Black Masculinity (Ferguson, 2000); Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America (Tough; 2009)


Potential films (excerpts): The Breakfast Club (1985), Dangerous Minds (1995); Freedom Writers (2007); Waiting for Superman: How We Can Save America’s Failing Schools (2010) 



Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance and Participation (10%)

Reading Responses (20%)

Reflective Essay (10%)

In-Class Presentation and Short Essay (20%)

Final Project (40%)

                  Proposal – 10%

                  First Draft – 10%

                  Final Paper – 20%

AMS 311S • Mythic Indian In Amer Cul

30570 • Whitewolf, Edwin
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 436A
show description

American culture is replete with images of the “Indian.” From the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to professional sports team mascots, and from the packaging on Land ‘o’ Lakes butter to Walt Disney animated feature films, the “Indian” remains a pervasive yet enigmatic figure, but also, in the words of Vine Deloria, “unreal and ahistorical.” What exactly was Deloria saying when he wrote those words in 1969, and how are his comments relevant to the images of Native people in American culture then and now? Where do these images come from, and how are they connected to the creation of the republic of the United States of America? Further, how have these images helped in creating stereotypes that have been utilized by non-Native people, and how have these stereotypes been used? How and why have these stereotypes changed over the past 500 years? Finally, what are the broader political and cultural consequences of these stereotypes for Native people in America?


This course will interrogate the image of the mythic Indian in American popular culture, as seen through a variety of media, including American history, world’s fairs and expositions, public museum exhibits, literature, and film. In doing so, we will focus upon popular stereotypes, with specific attention paid to their genealogies. We will begin by analyzing the role of these images and their relevance to the United States of America, and how they have continued to operate throughout American history. We will also spend some time focused upon critical responses to these images from Native American people.


Possible Texts:

Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America

Phil Deloria, Playing Indian

Shari Huhndorf, Going Native: Indians in the American Cultural Imagination

Various authors, Course Reader


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance and Participation - 20%

Weekly Reading/Viewing Response - 20%

Final Paper Rough Draft - 20%

Final Paper Rough Draft Presentation - 10%

Final Revised Paper - 30%

AMS 315 • African American Culture

30575 • Foster, Kevin
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GEA 105
(also listed as AFR 301, ANT 310L)
show description

This course surveys African American cultural production from the 1600s to the present. Topics cover the circumstances and responses of blacks during North American enslavement, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Great Migration, The Harlem Renaissance, The Civil Rights Movement, and in contemporary contexts. Class sessions will reflect our reading of primary and secondary texts that embody a wide range of African American religious, political, social and artistic thought and production. The class will fill gaps in students’ knowledge about African American culture and history and provide a foundation for future Black Studies course work.

Required Texts: 

  • Kindred (Octavia Butler)
  • Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. Du Bois)
  • Why We Can’t Wait (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • Price of the Ticket (Frederick Harris)
  • Good Ole’ Fashioned Composition Notebook

Graded Assessments (100 points available):

  • Unannounced (10) Quiz #1 Kindred, lectures & other readings Unannounced
  • (10) Quiz #2 Souls of Black Folk, lectures & other readings
  • Mid-term Test (30)
  • Unannounced (10) Quiz #3 Why We Can’t Wait, lectures & other readings
  • Unannounced (10) Quiz #4 (Price of the Ticket; lectures & other readings
  • Final Test (30)

AMS 315 • Intro Natv Am/Indig Studies

30593 • Tahmahkera, Dustin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BIO 301
(also listed as ANT 310L, MAS 319)
show description

This interdisciplinary course introduces students to issues in Native American and Indigenous Studies, including but not limited to research conducted by affiliate faculty of the Native American and Indigenous Studies program at the University of Texas at Austin. Topics may include indigenous historiography, decolonization, geography, tribal law and policy, education, health, language revitalization, intellectualism, expressive culture, media, and other subjects.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To develop a critical understanding of key topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • To use modes of inquiry applicable to subjects in Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • To gain an understanding of the course content’s importance to historical and contemporary Native America
  • To become proficient in learning how to communicate effectively about Native American and Indigenous issues

AMS 315 • Intro To Amer Indian History

30595 • Bsumek, Erika
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM JGB 2.218
(also listed as HIS 317L)
show description

This survey course will examine the history of Native American societies in North America from the earliest records to the present. We will explore the diverse ways in which Indian societies were structured, the different ways that indigenous peoples have responded to colonization and the complex history of European/Indian relations. Attention will be paid to political, social, economic and cultural transformation of Native American societies over time. We will cover, among other things, the following topics: disease, religion, trade, captivity narratives, warfare, diplomacy, removal, assimilation, education, self-determination, and gaming.


1. Colin G. Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of the American Indian History (Boston: Bedford St. Martins) – third edition. 

2. Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman (New York: Harper Collins, 1990) 

3. Douglas C. Sackman, Wildmen: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2010). 

4. David Edmunds, Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership (New York: Longman, 2006). 


Assessment for this class will be based on class participation, a mid-term examination, one short paper, 2¬4 reading quizzes, in-class participation, a book review, and a final examination. 

The final grade breakdown is as follows: 

Midterm: 100 points 

Paper: 50 points 

Final exam: 100 points 

Book Review: 25 points 

Reading quizzes: 10 points each 

In class participation: 25 points.  

AMS 315 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

30600 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 136
(also listed as AAS 301)
show description

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This interdisciplinary course introduces students to critical questions regarding the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans. Students will intellectually engage key issues, theories and debates in Asian American Studies, and learn to unpack the very idea of “Asian American” as containing an ever-shifting multiplicity of peoples, histories and places. Taking an intersectional approach to identity that explores race and ethnicity in conjunction with gender, sexuality, generation and nation, this course will engage diverse viewpoints, including those of women, LGBT+ individuals and people of color more generally. Key topics to be explored include: (im)migration, citizenship, imperialism, panethnicity, racial formation, intersectionality, multiraciality, transnationalism, hybridity and mediated representation.

AMS 315 • Race, Immigration & Family

30605 • Gunasena, Natassja
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GEA 127
(also listed as AAS 310, WGS 301)
show description

Flag: Culutural Diversity in the U.S.

Queer South Asian Feminisims This class will interrogate the ways South Asian feminists conceptualize identity, belonging and sexuality within the context of nationalism, anti-blackness, colonialism and diaspora. Through close-reading literary and theoretical texts, we will examine how nationalism constructs gender and femininity and the transformative potential of queer feminine desires. This class is designed as an introduction to key issues in South Asian feminist thought as well as how these feminisms interface with the larger project of women of color feminisms. Beginning with feminist perspectives on identity and the nation state, we will consider what “queer” and “feminist” mean in the context of casteism, ethnic cleansing and forced migration. For the scope of this class we will focus extensively on Sri Lanka and India and their diasporas. Some of the authors we look at include Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Shailja Patel, Ru Freeman and Gayatri Gopinath.

AMS 315D • Anthropol Of Race/Ethnicity

30610 • Hartigan, John
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.102
(also listed as AFR 317D, ANT 310L)
show description

Objectives: Why are race and ethnicity such important aspects of our everyday lives? This course examines how and why these forms of identity matter so intensely, both in this country and around the world. Our aim is to understand the fundamental dynamics shaping racial and ethnic identity by drawing on theories and methods from anthropology. The first third of the course will cover key concepts and the basic forces that make ethnicity and race important. The second portion of the course will develop a cultural perspective on these topics by surveying a range of ethnographic work on these forms of identity. The final third of class will address a variety of ways that race and ethnicity operate in the sphere of public culture. Rather than attempt to present a survey of various groups and traditions, the aim of this course is to introduce students to the challenges of producing reliable knowledge claims about race and ethnicity.

Dynamics: The lectures and readings will present various aspects of ethnic and racial identity, using examples drawn from around the globe and our everyday lives. Discussion sections on Thursdays and Fridays provide students the opportunity to comment on and raise questions about the material. 

AMS 315F • Native American Lit And Cul

30635 • Stewart, Anne
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.208
(also listed as E 314V)
show description

E 314V  l  5-Native American Literature and Culture

Instructor:  Steward, A

Unique #:  34680

Semester:  Fall 2016

Cross-lists:  AMS 315F

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  Yes

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description:  This course will explore the worlds of Native American literature ranging across tribal affiliations, regions, and histories.  While this literature teaches us about Native American cultures, the novels that we will read also explore cities, technology, ecology, and the challenges of living in our hypermodern world.  We will engage with essays that discuss the connections between oral and written narratives, language and thought, ideas and places, and other concepts key to understanding Native American literature, and literary studies.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines.  They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course contains a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.

Tentative Texts:  Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony (1977); Erdrich, Louise. Tracks (1988); Robinson, Eden. Monkey Beach (2000).

Requirements & Grading:  There will be a series of 3 short essays, the first of which must be revised and resubmitted.  Subsequent essays may also be revised and resubmitted by arrangement with the Instructor (75% of the final grade).  There will also be graded reading journals, and/or in-class presentations (25% of the final grade).

AMS 321 • Amer Lit/Cul Of Late 1960s-Hon

30637 • Gorges, Marshall
Meets MW 12:30PM-2:00PM CRD 007B
(also listed as LAH 350)
show description





American Literature and Culture of the Late 1960s

Todd Gitlin, respected sociologist and writer, summarized the decade of the 1960s as “Years of Hope, Days of Rage.”  In this course we will explore this hope/rage dichotomy and examine the late 1960s U.S. cultural and social milieu through the prism of American literature, film and popular music produced primarily in 1967, 1968 and 1969. The course will analyze subjects that polarized Americans in the late 60s and will consider how, despite the lapse of nearly 50 years, our society continues with the struggle to reconcile many of these same issues today.

We will read a wide range of literature published in the late 60s including new journalism, essays, novels, autobiographies, short stories, drama and poetry. Throughout the semester we will screen a variety of Hollywood produced movies, in addition to watching shorter documentary films produced in 1968-69 by the Newsreel Film Collective. Two weeks of the semester will be devoted to listening critically to popular music of the era. One class meeting will feature a guest speaker who is a nationally recognized authority on the 60s decade, and another class meeting will include a visit to a campus museum to view late 1960s archival material.

The course will cover the following topics—the counterculture, the Vietnam War, youth protest, racism in the South, and the Black Power/Black Arts Movement.


  • Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) ISBN-10: 031242759X, ISBN-13: 978-0-312-42759-7
  • Robert Stone, Dog Soldiers (1974) ISBN-10: 0395860253, ISBN-13: 978-0395860250
  • Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968) ISBN-10: 1590172965, ISBN-13: 978-1590172964
  • Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968) ISBN-10: 0440314887, ISBN-13: 978-0-440-31488-2
  • Eldrige Cleaver, Soul on Ice (1968) ISBN-10: 038533379X, ISBN-13: 978-0-385-33379-5

In addition, there is a coursepack of required materials including new journalism by Gay Talese, Joan Didion and Michael Herr; essays by Todd Gitlin, Tom Wolfe, Andrew Kopkind, Joan Didion, Reebee Garofalo, Dave Marsh, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Larry Neal; fiction by Saul Bellow; poetry by Amiri Baraka and Don L. Lee; and dramatic plays by Jimmy Garrett and Sonia Sanchez. 


  • Easy Rider  (1969)
  • Platoon  (1986)
  • Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  • In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  • Medium Cool  (1969)


1.  Group presentation/group direction of a class discussion on one of the screened films   10%

2.  Three 2-3 page response papers on three of the screened course films   15%.  

3.  Class attendance, careful preparation of each class meeting's reading assignments, required attendance at four evening film screenings on campus and active participation in class discussions   20%

4.  Mid-course paper assignment of 7-8 pages   25%

5.  Final paper assignment of 9-10 pages   30%


Instructor: Marshall P. Gorges




AMS 321 • Bad Lang: Race, Class, Gender

30640 • Garza, Thomas
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM CLA 0.126
(also listed as C L 323, LIN 350, MAS 374, REE 325, WGS 340)
show description

Maledicta: (Latin. n., pl. maledictum, sg.), curse words, insults; profane language of all kinds.

When is a word “bad”? Why can one person use a “bad” word with impunity, and another cannot? What marks such usage as acceptable or not?  How do race, socioeconomic class, and gender play into the use of “bad” language in the US? This course undertakes the examination of modern usage of language that has been designated as “bad” through social convention. Usage of forms of obscenities and profanity in popular usage will be examined in an attempt to come to an understanding of how the products of US popular culture portray maledicta in situational contexts. Through an examination of various texts culled from print, film, and music, participants will study the context and use of “bad” language and attempt to determine the underlying principles that dictate its affect and determine its impact on the audience. Though the majority of texts and usage will be taken from English-language sources, several non-English examples of maledicta from Mexican Spanish and Russian will also be examined for contrast and comparison.


NB: This course examines texts that contain usage of obscenities, profanity, and offensive language. Students who do not wish to be exposed to such language in use should not sign up for this course.



• Bad Language: Are Some Words Better than Others? Edwin Battistella. Oxford UP, 2007.

• Expletive Deleted: A Good Look at Bad LanguageRuth Wajnryb. Free press, 2005.

• Course packet


Requirements and Grading

• Exams (two midterms): 30%

• Film review: 20%

• Reading journal: 20%

• Research paper: 30%

AMS 321 • Europn Immigratn Texas 19th C

30645 • Kearney, James
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 360)
show description


In the nineteenth century waves of immigrants from several Central and Northern European countries altered the demographics of Texas significantly while accelerating both economic and agricultural development of the republic and (later) state. Painted churches, dance halls, sausage festivals, etc. still speak to the cultural legacy of these immigrants in large swaths of Texas while, amazingly, pockets of diglossia still survive after several generations. The immigrant story often intertwined with larger themes of Texas history such as frontier, Native Americans, and slavery. Contrasting attitudes and values led to conflict at times, especially during the Civil War, since many of the immigrants openly opposed secession and/or slavery. 

This course will examine both the push—the causes of European emigration—and the pull—the attraction of Texas as a destination. The goal is to further our understanding of the cultural and social forces at play in the nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic and to deepen our appreciation for the positive contributions of the many different European nationalities that have added strands to the rich and colorful tapestry of the state.



For classroom discussion will all come from online sources, either posted on my website or available through the Handbook of Texas online ( and the Portal of Texas History ( These will include the following:

  • Barker, Eugene C. "AUSTIN, STEPHEN FULLER," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Barr, Alwyn. "LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY TEXAS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Biesele, Rudolph L. “The Relations between the German Settlers and the Indians in Texas, 1844-1860,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31, No. 2 (October 1927), 116-129. (
  • Biesele, Rudolph L. “Early Times in New Braunfels and Comal County,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50, No.1 (July 1947) 75-92.
  • Elliott, Claude. "Union Sentiment in Texas, 1861–1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 (April 1947), 449-477.
  • Ernst, Friedrich. Letter from Mill Creek, 1832. Reprod. in Detlev Dunt, Reise nach Texas in 1834 [Journey to Texas in 1834], transl. by James Kearney and Geir Bentzen.
  • Gould, Lewis L. "PROGRESSIVE ERA," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Grider, Sylvia. "WENDS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Hawgood, John. Chapter VI. “The Planting of a New Germany in the Republic and State of Texas,” in The Tragedy of German-America; The Germans in the United States of America during the Nineteenth Century and After (New York, 1940; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1970), 137-200.  Available as an online Google book.
  • Jordan, Terry G. EMIGRANTS' GUIDES TO TEXAS," Handbook of Texas Online.
  • Jordan, Terry G.  "GERMANS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Jordan, Terry G. "The German Settlement of Texas after 1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 73, No.  2, (Oct. 1969), 193-212.
  • Leatherwood, Art. "SWEDES," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Machann, Clinton. "CZECHS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Nance, Joseph Milton. "REPUBLIC OF TEXAS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Narrett, David E. “A Choice of Destiny: Immigration Policy, Slavery, and the Annexation of Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 100 (July 1996-April 1997), No. 3, 271-304.
  • Perkowski, Jan L. and Jan Maria Wozniak, "POLES," Handbook of Texas Online (
  • Ransom, Harry Hunt, "A Renaissance Gentleman in Texas: Notes on the Life and Library of Swante Palm," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 53, No. 3 (Jan. 1950), 225-238.
  • Schottenstein, Allison. "Jewish Immigration in Small Town Texas” (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 2011)
  • Unstad, Lyder L. "Norwegian Migration to Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43, No.2 (Oct. 1939), 176-195.
  • Werner, George C. "RAILROADS," Handbook of Texas Online
  • Wooster, Ralph A. "An Analysis of the Texas Know Nothings," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70, No. 3, (January 1967).  414-423.



  • Participation 35%
  • Response papers 35%
  • Final paper 30%

AMS 321 • Natv Amer Cul Greater Sthwst

30651 • Webster, Anthony
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 0.106
(also listed as ANT 322M)
show description

This class explores the diverse Native cultures of the Southwest. The class focuses on the philosophical underpinnings and the frameworks of meaning and moral responsibility of indigenous peoples of the American Southwest. The goal is to give students a broader view of the Native peoples of North America and specifically of the Southwest. By focusing on the diverse peoples and cultures of the Southwest, this course aims to increase knowledge concerning specific Native populations today (Hopi, Navajo, Apache, Zuni, Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, and others). This course pays particular attention to expressive forms, current political issues, political economy, and the on-going legacy of settler colonialism.


AMS 321 • Religion And Film

30655 • Seales, Chad
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 304
(also listed as R S 346E)
show description

This course surveys representations of religious beliefs, practices, persons, and institutions in popular film.  Focusing on the media consumption of box office movies in the United States, we will examine how religion is imagined in film and how that religious imagination relates to social constructions of national, ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identities.  Although we will briefly address some of the technical aspects of film production, our primary concern will be to interpret the ways in which films portray religion against the backdrop of American history. We will use the vehicle of the silver screen to reflect on how a shared religious imagination has shaped the way we understand ourselves as Americans.  By the end of this course, students should be able to think, discuss, and write critically about film from a religious studies perspective.  Students should be able to identify a range of religious traditions as depicted in film, compare and contrast those depictions, and situate them within a larger narrative of American religious history. 



Attendance/Participation 15%Reading Response Journal 25%Short Essays 25%Final Essay 35%


  • Films on Reserve.
  • Readings posted on Blackboard

AMS 321 • Urban Unrest

30665 • Tang, Eric
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 203
(also listed as AAS 330, AFR 372F, ANT 324L, URB 354)
show description

How and when do cities burn? The modern US city has seen its share of urban unrest, typified by street protests (both organized and spontaneous), the destruction of private property, looting, and fires. Interpretations of urban unrest are varied: some describe it as aimless rioting, others as political insurrection. Most agree that the matter has something to do with the deepening of racism, poverty and violence. This course takes a closer look at the roots of urban unrest, exploring a range of origins: joblessness, state violence, white flight, the backlash against civil rights gains, new immigration and interracial strife. Urban unrest is often cast as an intractable struggle between black and white, yet this course examines the ways in which multiple racial groups have entered the fray. Beyond race and class, the course will also explore unrest as a mode of pushing the normative boundaries of gender and sexuality in public space. Course material will draw from film, literature, history, geography and anthropology.


Required Texts: 

  • The majority of readings will be available as pdf on Blackboard. Students must acquire the following texts:
  • Robert F. Williams, Negroes With Guns
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, Yo Mama’s Dysfunctional: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America
  • Dan Georgakis and Marvin Surkin, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution
  • Robert Gooding Williams eds. Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising

AMS 321 • US In The Civil Rights Era

30670 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM UTC 3.102
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 356P)
show description

A half century after the high point of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., most American students learn about the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1957 Little Rock conflict over school desegregation, the 1963 March on Washington, and the fire hoses in Birmingham. Far fewer encounter the less-televised moments of civil rights history, the meanings of freedom that included but went beyond desegregation, and the breadth of participation by local people. It is even less common to consider other movements that paralleled the black freedom movement among, for example, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. Taking a comparative perspective, this upper division lecture course explores these aspects of the civil rights era. It also examines their larger historical context within American culture from the Second World War to the present. Finally, we consider questions about the writing of history: What does it mean to look back at such historic events with the benefit of hindsight?  How did they come about?  What changed?  What did not?

Possible Texts:

Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents, by Waldo Martin

Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II, by Ronald Takaki

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, by Wilma Mankiller

Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare, by James H. Cone

Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican American Civil Rights, by Philippa Strum

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, by Jeanne Theoharis

The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC, by Cleveland Sellers


Three reading handouts  (5% each, 15% total)

Three in-class exams  (20% each, 60% total)

Five-page essay  (25%)

Regular class attendance (5%)

AMS 321E • African American Hist To 1860

30675 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116
(also listed as AFR 357C, HIS 357C)
show description

This upper division course examines the history of Blacks in the United States from the West African Heritage to the Civil War and provides a critical examination on central issues under scholarly debate in the reconstruction of the Black experience in America. The course thus engages the debate on the evolution of African-American slavery as a social, economic and political institution, with a special focus on antebellum slavery, including plantation slavery, industrial slavery, and urban slavery in addition to slave culture.

Also, the course assesses the institutional development of the free black community, during the age of slavery, with emphasis on free black protest activities, organizations, and leaders. Equally important, information is provided on the business and entrepreneurial activities of both slave and free blacks before the Civil War to underscore the long historic tradition of black economic self-help. Invariably, those slaves who purchased their freedom were slaves involved in various business enterprises. Also emphasized in the course are the various ways in which slave and free black women responded to slavery and racism before the Civil War, giving consideration to gender issues within the intersection of the dynamics of race, class, and sex.

The course format is primarily lecture, with informal class discussion, utilizing in part the Socratic method of teaching/pedagogy (especially useful for students who are pre-law), as we examine topics that broaden historical consciousness and critical thinking skills, such as: the role Africans played in the Atlantic slave trade; the historical forces that contributed to the origin of racism in Colonial America; the anomaly of black plantation slave owners in a race-based slave society; how white economic disparities and hegemonic masculinities were played out in class subordination and racial oppression; why race takes precedence over class in assessing the black historical experience; the extent to which judicial cases provide a pragmatic assessment of the realities of slave life; the extent to which American law supported the racial subordination of slave and free blacks; whether or not the economic and political imperatives that prompted antebellum African American settlement in West Africa can be considered colonialist in design and intent.

These and other questions will bring to the forefront the central issue of the agency of African Americans in their attempts to survive racism and slavery in attempts forge their own political and economic liberation. This course, consequently, emphasizes both the deconstruction of prevailing assessments and interpretations of the African American experience as well as provides information for a new reconstruction of the Black Experience from slavery to freedom. In each instance, emphasis will be on exploring different historical interpretations of the Black Experience.

African American slaves did not lead a monolithic slave experience. They shared life-time, hereditary, involuntary servitude, racial oppression and subordination. But many manipulated the institution and slave codes in attempts to mitigate that oppression. Others, such as Nat Turner and Dred Scott used other means to bring about an end to their servitude, while free blacks also fought to end slavery as well as improve their economic, societal and legal status.

The primary purposes of this course, then, are 1) to develop an understanding of the nature of historical inquiry and 2). to heighten historical consciousness 3), encourage critical thinking and analysis of historical material and 4) to recognizing the difference between what might have happened and what actually happened to blacks, both slave and free blacks during the age of slavery to the Civil War.


Franklin, John Hope and Higginbotham, E. From Slavery to Freedom: 9th edition, paper

Holt, Thomas, Barkely-Brown, E. and Patterson, T.   Major Problems in African American History, Vol 1

Owens, Leslie, This Species of Property: Slave Life and Culture in the Old South

Smithers, Gregory D., Slave Breeding: Sex, Violence, and Memory in African American History

Tyler, Ron and Lawrence R. Murphy: The Slave Narratives of Texas

Walker, Juliet E. K., The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship, Vol 1


MID-TERM EXAM                             35%

RESEARCH PAPER                                   30%

EXAM 2 (TAKE-HOME)                    35%

AMS 355 • Main Curr Of Amer Cul To 1865

30680 • Meikle, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CLA 1.104
(also listed as HIS 355N)
show description

This lecture-discussion course traces U.S. cultural history from the time of the Puritan migration of 1630 through the end of the Civil War in 1865. The basic premise of the course is that cultural history can best be understood by examining common themes that, at any given historical moment, cut across many fields of human activity—such as work, domestic life, politics, religion, philosophy, science, literature, art, architecture, and popular culture. The course will explore such ongoing questions as the attempt to define a “new, young America” against an “old, decaying Europe”; the struggle to define individual identities and rights against the force of a cohesive, organic community; the significance of the frontier, of slavery, and of race to the development of American society; the impact of evangelical Protestantism; the concept of an American “mission”; and the rise of regionalism and pluralism in opposition to the mainstream. The course will cultivate a sense of historical empathy as a means of understanding early Americans whose intentions and activities were utterly unlike ours, but will also suggest ways in which we have inherited aspects of their social issues and cultural concerns. The format of the course consists of lectures (with questions and discussion encouraged) and several designated discussion periods. Exams require knowledge of lectures and required readings. Not all readings will be discussed in class. Students are expected to be able to integrate material from all sources. Prior knowledge of basic U.S. history is recommended. Required written work consists of two in-class exams (the first counts 20% of the course grade, the second 35%) and a cumulative final exam (45%). Exams contain essay questions and short identifications. Final grades are reported with pluses and minuses. No make-up exams are permitted except in cases of documented personal emergency. Attendance will be taken daily through a sign-in sheet. It is your responsibility to make sure you sign in before you leave the classroom each day. A student who misses no more than two classes will have the earned final course grade increased by one degree (for example, C+ to B-). A student who misses five or more classes will have the earned final course grade decreased by one degree (for example, B- to C+). Excused absences are awarded only in the case of documented personal emergency or by prior approval for educational conferences, organized athletic competition, religious holidays, or similar reasons. Use of phones, whether for calls, texting, or Internet access, is prohibited. Use of laptops and tablets for Internet access is distracting to other students and is prohibited. Anyone violating this policy will be asked to turn off the device, and at the second offense to leave class for that day. If you intend to miss a class or exam in order to observe a religious holiday, please notify me at least a week in advance and you will be given an opportunity to complete missed work within a reasonable time after the absence. 2 The course is flagged for Cultural Diversity. You are expected to abide by the University Code of Conduct and the Student Honor Code, both stated here: “The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.” “As a student of The University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.” If you have any uncertainty as to what constitutes cheating, please see the official eleven-point definition at Cheating will not be tolerated and is grounds for course failure. The University provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-6441 TTY. If you already know you will be requesting an accommodation, please submit your letter to me during the first two weeks of the semester. Please attend to the following statement from the Office of Campus Safety and Security regarding emergencies: “Occupants of buildings on the UT campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside. Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors.”


Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed

Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale

Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz, The Kingdom of Matthias

Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

AMS 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

30685 • Mickenberg, Julia
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM UTC 1.132
(also listed as HIS 356K)
show description

Course description

This course will survey American cultural history from the Civil War to the present, emphasizing the variety of economic, political, demographic, and social forces that have shaped American cultural production; the variety of media and forms in which American culture is expressed; and the impact of race, class, region, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion on American identity and cultural expression. We will also consider American culture in a global context, both in terms of how the U.S. has been shaped by foreign influences and in terms of American culture’s impact abroad. The course, divided into sections on “Incorporation,” “Consolidation,” and “Unraveling” will emphasize the ongoing tension between structure and agency in American culture, or struggles between the dominant culture and various subcultures and individuals who challenge and redefine “American” culture and its norms, mores, and values.

Required Texts and Materials (available at UT Co-op):

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (Broadview Press edition)

Claude McKay, Home to Harlem

Miné Okubo, Citizen 13660

Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (revised and updated edition)

Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

AMS 370 • American Food

30715 • Bendele, Marvin
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM BUR 436B
show description

Food is more than sustenance; the foods we eat can also tell us a great deal about the culture and history of groups and individuals throughout our history. This course will investigate American culture and history through food production and consumption with a primary focus on American identities across time and space. We will consider specific food traditions and practices and the ways they are used to perform or signify race, ethnicity, gender, and class, as well as denote political, religious, and regional backgrounds or affiliations. The study of food and foodways can help us to understand our interpersonal and regional connections as well as the ways our food choices both reflect and influence developments in the food industry and American popular culture. We will cover wide-ranging topics including food and mobility, gender roles, immigration, food safety, labor, barbecue and race, food spaces, food ethics, technology, and industrialization among many other topics. The primary goal of the course is to illustrate the significant ways that the simple act of eating influences and is influenced by our local cultures and histories.        


Possible Texts:

Kathleen Leonard Turner, How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working Class Meals at the Turn of the Century

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation

Laura Shapiro, Perfection Salad

Mark Kurlansky, The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

Michael Pollen, The Omnivore's Dilemma

James McWilliams, Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly 


Assignments (include % of grade):

20% - Response Papers / Quizzes

20% - Midterm Exam

20% - Final Exam

40% - Research Paper / Project    


AMS 370 • Arts/Artifacts In Americas

30690 • Kamil, Neil
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 1.122
(also listed as HIS 350R)
show description

Material culture is a term borrowed by a number of disciplines from archaeology that refers to all categories of historical artifacts—things from artistic masterpieces to the lowly stool; from architectural monuments to hedge rows—that are studied by historians in the hope of revealing their use as overlooked evidence of past lives that reach beyond the written text.

This course will survey the changing material culture of the western hemisphere from pre-Columbian times to the beginning of the industrial revolution. We will view artifacts from an Atlantic perspective on all levels of society while sampling a cross-section of written work from a number of disciplines and geographies in the Americas. We will keep a keen eye on our central problem of telling the connected stories of both the artisans (makers) and their societies (consumers).

Texts:Robert Blair St. George, Material Life in Early America.


2 page book review due weekly; 50%

Final 5 page project; 20%

Class Participation; 30%

AMS 370 • Civil Rts Mov From Comp Persp

30695 • Green, Laurie
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.132
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R, MAS 374)
show description

This writing intensive seminar allows students who already have some familiarity with the history of the civil rights movements of the mid-twentieth century to more deeply explore themes that can be addressed only briefly in a broader lecture course. Readings and class discussions will concentrate primarily on African American and Mexican American struggles for civil rights, but also address the Asian American and Native American movements. Likewise, we compare rural and urban movements, and northern and southern ones. Using a comparative approach will allow unique insights that are usually missing in courses on the Civil Rights Movement. In this rethinking, students will consider the distinctiveness of each of these struggles while also viewing them in relation to each other, which participants frequently did at the time. In doing so, we explore how historical understandings of race, gender and class impacted these movements in distinct and shared ways. Just as importantly, this comparative perspective encourages students to gain new understandings of mid-twentieth century U.S..

This course has a substantial writing component. Students will deepen their understandings of the civil rights era by researching and writing a 5,000 word research paper using archival collections at the University of Texas or elsewhere in Austin. Papers also rely on published scholarly works and other published sources such as newspapers. Students I work closely with students to identify topics and sources. The project is broken down into a series of shorter assignments that will bring you to your final paper. At the end of the course you will have the opportunity to present your paper in a conference-like format. This presentation will not be graded, but will allow you to share your work with other students, not just me!


Maeda, Daryl J. Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi.

Nelson, Alondra. Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination.

Orleck, Annelise and Lisa Gayle Hazirjian, eds. The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980.


25%     Attendance and class participation, to be broken down as follows:

15%     participation (attendance, completion of readings, participation in class discussion)

75%     Research project. This is a cumulative grade based on a series of assignments that take the student from the initial planning stages to the final submission of their papers.

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30700 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 1.122
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R)
show description

Within the construct of African American Business history, race, contemporary American popular culture and global capitalism, this course will focus on an important aspect in the contemporary political economy of black Americans. Specifically, the commodification (sale) of black culture provides the conceptual frame for an examination of the phenomenon of both the superstar black athlete as an entrepreneur and the Hip Hop Superstar as an entrepreneur in post-Civil Rights America. The emphasis in this course, then, is to critically examine and analyze the impact of a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic factors in the post-modern information age, propelled by new technologies in the New Economy of Global Capitalism.  Also, consideration will be given to the new diversity as it impacts on the political economy of African Americans.

Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers both the financial successes of superstar black athletes and hip hop entrepreneurs as well as their emergence as cultural icons, contrasted with the comparatively overall poor performance of Black Business not only within the intersection of race, gender, class, but also within the context of transnationalism in the globalization sale of African American Culture in post-Civil Rights America. But who profits?

Most important, why is it that business receipts for African Americans, who comprise almost thirteen percent of this nation's population, amounted in 2007 to only .5%, that is, less than one (1) percent of the nation's total business receipts? In addition, why is it that among the various occupational categories in which blacks participate in the nation's economy, especially as businesspeople, that black entertainers and sports figures are the highest paid? What does this say about race, class, gender and hegemonic masculinities in America at the turn of the new century?


Anderson, Maggie, Our Black Year: One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy

Jones, Marvin D. Fear of a Hip Hop Planet: America’s New  Dilemma

Marable, Manning, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems Race, Political Economy, and  Society  

Rhoden, William C. Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete

Smith-Shomade, Beretta,   Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television

Stoute, Steve, The Tanning of America:  How Hip Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of a  New Economy

Course Packet-- Walker, Juliet E. K. History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship, chaps 6-11


Critical Book Review Analysis                           25%

    (5 reviews, 2-3 pages 5 points each)

Class Discussion/participation                             25%

Oral Summary of Research Paper                         5%

Seminar Research Paper (15 pages)                    45%

AMS 370 • History Of Islam In The US

30703 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 350R, ISL 372, R S 346)
show description

This course is intended to do three things: provide a brief introduction to Islam; define the role of Islam and views of Muslims in the early history of this country; and introduce students to major issues concerning contemporary American Muslims. The course surveys the presence of Islam in the United States from the colonial era to the twenty-first century through the use of historical documents and contemporary media.

 The course is divided into three sections. The first explores the origins of Islam through primary textual examples. The second section focuses on early American views of Islam in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on the earliest Muslims in the United States. The final section of the course analyzes the diversity of the contemporary American Muslim population. The course is designated as a Writing Flag with a series of assignments designed to improve written communication, including one peer review exercise.

AMS 370 • Lit Of Black Politics

30727 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.124
(also listed as AFR 374F)
show description

Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity.

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?



5 page Midterm paper: 20%

15 page Research Paper: 40%

Daily reading quizzes: 20%

Class Presentation: 20%


Possible Texts

  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison
  • James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain
  • James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie
  • James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Toni Morrison, Paradise
  • Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins
  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

AMS 370 • Politics Of Black Life

30704 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JGB 2.202
(also listed as AFR 372F)
show description

Black Lives Matter activists have come to occupy center stage within American political life by placing the peculiar vulnerability of Black life before public view. Quite often, this vulnerability and its politicization are framed as novel developments within American political life that are emblematic of contemporary political dysfunction. However, black life has been a central, enduring, and high stakes political matter within US politics since the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Similarly, activism in defense of black life is at least as old as black anti-slavery activity. How then, should we understand the peculiarity of our moment and the distinctiveness of the politics of Black Lives Matter? In this course, we will begin to grapple with these questions by examining the politics of Black life as an operation of American politics and a form of black political thought. Among other questions, we shall ask: how and for which ends has black life been constructed and contested as a vital resource within the life of the American Polity? How have these contests engendered distinctive forms of black vulnerability? Is the contemporary vulnerability of black life to state violence, premature death, and incarceration continuous with older forms of black vulnerability?  If so, what are the implications for contemporary politics? Finally, what is distinctive about the politics of Black Lives Matter as a form of black politics and black political thought? Which traditions of black political theorizing inform this movement and which traditions are consciously and/or implicitly rejected? 

Possible Texts

The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville

The US Constitution

Black Reconstruction, W.E.B. DuBois

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehise Coates

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Home, Toni Morrison

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

No Name in the Street, James Baldwin

AMS 370 • Sexual Deviance 20th Cen US

30705 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
(also listed as WGS 335)
show description


Americans have created and maintained hierarchies of power by casting certain people and sexual behaviors as unnatural and immoral. At various historical moments “mannish” women, Filipino migrant workers, and black men on the “down low” were all cast as sexual deviants who threatened the nation’s welfare. At the same time, however, public discussions about sexual deviance have alerted Americans to the possibility of alternative sexual relationships and communities. This course will examine why Americans’ definitions of sexual deviance have changed, and how “sexual deviants” have contested their stigmatization.  We will explore topics including Progressive Era anti-miscegenation law, psychoanalytic understandings of incest in the 1950s, and the modern asexuality rights movement. Studying sexual deviance will reveal that our conceptions of sexual normalcy are more complex and less stable than we might expect.

Possible Texts:

Excerpts from:

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (1990)

Jonathan Ned Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality (2007)

Nayan Shah, Stranger Intimacy (2011)

Lisa Duggan, Sapphic Slashers (2000)


Robert Hill, “We Share a Sacred Secret’: Gender, Domesticity, and Containment in

Transvestia's Histories and Letters from Crossdressers and Their Wives,” Journal of Social History 44.3 (2011): 729-750.

Sandra Eder, “The Volatility of Sex: Intersexuality, Gender and Clinical Practice in the       1950s,” Gender & History, 22.3 (November 2010): 692–707.

Ana Raquel Minian “’Indiscriminate and Shameless Sex’: The Strategic Use of Sexuality    by the United Farm Workers,” American Quarterly, 65.1 (March 2013): 63-90.

Thaddeus Russell, “The Color of Discipline: Civil Rights and Black Sexuality,”      American Quarterly 60.1 (2008): 101-128.


Films: Coming Out Under Fire (1994)


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance, class participation, discussion questions – 20%

Deviance Diary (5 assignments 500 words each)– 30%

Short Papers (3 papers each 1,000-1,5000 words) – 30%

AMS 370 • The Politics Of Creativity

30725 • Lewis, Randolph
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM BUR 436B
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This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of artists in American society, including (but not limited to) Richard Pryor, Banksy, Jimi Hendrix, the Yes Men, Kara Walker, Michael Moore, Dorothea Lange, Anna Deveare Smith, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Spike Lee, David Lynch, and anonymous street artists. In addition to studying individual photographers, musicians, writers, comedians, architects, and filmmakers who have made powerful statements about American culture and its history, we will be looking at the changing function of art in our society in recent decades. Our fundamental questions will often explore the intersection of art and politics: How have American artists conceptualized the United States visually, aurally, and in literature? How have they envisioned American identities? What mythologies about the United States they endorsed or defied? The course will investigate these and other questions about the roles that artists have played in our recent cultural history.