American Studies
American Studies

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30800 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)
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AMS 310 is designed to provide an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, that is, the study of American history, culture, and politics. Though not a comprehensive U.S. history survey, this course will cover a broad time period, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century and extending into the present day. “Home” will serve as our central trope and organizing framework, allowing us to track changes and themes in the American past in three major ways. First, we will examine “home” in a literal sense, as a dwelling place or lack thereof, to help us uncover persistent forms of racial and economic inequality. Second, we will consider “home” in a metaphorical sense, as a powerful and enduring symbol of the nation as a whole, drawing our attention to issues of immigration and citizenship. Finally, we will consider “the home” in an ideological sense, as a site at which ideas about family, gender roles, and sexuality cohere. Throughout, this course will examine shifts in what it means to be American, the ways in which that identity has worked to bring people together and push them apart, to bestow power and privilege on some while taking them away from others. Hopefully, students will come away from this course with a firm grounding in the diverse methods of American Studies research, a richer understanding of the American past, and a deeper sense of the multiple meanings of home in the present.

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30805 • Cordova, Cary
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)
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This class introduces students to the field of American Studies. The guiding objective of the class is to use interdisciplinary lenses – such as music, dance, material culture, and urban studies – to develop a more complex understanding of American culture. In this class, we will investigate select aspects of American culture using various methodological approaches. The course outline follows a semi-linear pattern in history, but is hardly comprehensive. We will look broadly at the tensions between individual identity formation and the many social constructions that operate in American culture. The class is loosely tied around the connection, or disconnection, of individuals with mass culture (music, in particular, but also cars, corporations, television, and even fashion).


This class is organized into three sections, starting with swing culture in the 1930s and 40s, shifting to the dynamics of popular music and culture from the 1950s to the 1980s (think girl groups, salsa, disco, and rap), and finally, looking at the politics of consumerism and globalization in our everyday lives. We will use these three modules to think critically about the relationship between the past and present, to examine the relationship between individual identity formation and the larger cultural zeitgeist, and to develop an understanding of how social inequalities, particularly guised through race, class, gender, and sexuality, infiltrate all areas of American life.


While mass culture often provides a context for making sense of the world, it also simplifies and negates a variety of more complex issues. Thus, if there is an overriding theme to the class, it is the concept of visibility versus invisibility. Who becomes the representative American? What is un-American? Who feels displaced, or invisible? How do ideologies of race, class, gender, and sexuality penetrate popular culture? And how have individuals responded? The goals of the course are to develop a more nuanced understanding of American culture and American Studies, to build critical thinking skills, and to generate new paradigms for looking at the world.   

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30807 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as HIS 315G)
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This course introduces students to the field of American Studies, as well as to interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing and exploring a variety of elements of American culture and history. Students will gain expertise in basic theories and methods in American Studies, and will employ a variety of analytical tools, from close readings of television episodes to investigations into digital archives, to examine the transformation of identity and culture in America from WWI to the present. As such, questions of inclusion, exclusion, visibility, and invisibility will be central to our examination, and the ways that different identities - race, gender, class, sexual identity, religious belief, and other markers - have historically engaged with media and culture in America.

This course centers thematically on how media and performance have reflected, shaped, or challenged notions of what it means to be an American. We will proceed linearly from the early 20th century into the present, and the course will be divided into three units. First, we will examine the role of photography, exhibition, and performance in constructing an early vision of modern America before WWII, emphasizing in particular the development of early mass culture. Next, we will examine the developing role of television and film in crafting a culture of consensus and conformity during WWI and in the Cold War era, and the various sites of resistance to that conformity that developed into the 1980s. The course will conclude with a unit on the anxieties of political life and identity from the Watergate era into the present, from post-Vietnam War malaise to contemporary fears of terrorism.


AMS 311S • American Popular Culture

30835 • Kopin, Joshua
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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Description: Through the study of popular culture in the United States, it is possible to research historical questions of race, gender, sexuality, and disability, among others. This course considers various methods of studying American popular culture, with particular attention to questions of status and approaches that emphasize the senses (including, but not limited to, touch, taste, vision, hearing, smell) and the broader issue of feeling within the humanities. In order to deal with these questions, we will consider three historical periods: during and after the Civil War, the 1910s, and the 1980s, and match primary sources to secondary sources that both provide historical context and consider popular culture in less linear ways. In addition, students will work on a semester long research project, dealing with questions and materials of their choice using the methods and approaches studied over the course of the semester.

Possible texts:

Scott Bukatmen, The Poetics of Slumberland

Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering

Deborah Gould, Moving Politics

Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants

Tom Gunning, D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film

Lawrence Levine, Highbrow, Lowbrow

Mark M. Smith, The Smell of Battle, the Taste for War


Assignments (include % of grade):

50% Semester Long Research Project

20% Weekly Writing Assignments

20% Critical Sensorium Assignments

10% Participation 

AMS 311S • Capitalism In America

30815 • Knerr, Kerry
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
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This course investigates the range of ways that capitalism has influenced the development of the nation, from early contact to the present, and the cultural ideas that have shaped the daily life of capital. The course will be comprised of three units. The first will focus on how understandings of property in the trans-Atlantic world, especially human property, created a basis for the growth of modern capitalism. The second will focus on the interactions of geography and capital in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, with a focus on the ways that ideas about race and space fueled westward expansion. The final section will look at the ways that economic thinking changed in the post-war period and in the shift to post-industrialism, with the invention of economic statistics, like GDP, and the growth of neoliberalism and globalization. Overall, we will investigate both how culture shapes and is shaped by capital.

Possible texts:

Philip, M. NourbeSe. Zong!

Morgan, Edmund. American Slavery, American Freedom. 

Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul: Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market.

Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Making of the Great West.

Raibmon, Paige. Authentic Indians:Episodes of Encounter from the Late-Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast.

Kahrl, Andrew W. The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South.

Collins, Robert M. More: The Politics of Economic Growth in Postwar America.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California.

Moreton, Bethany. To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise.


Assignments (include % of grade):

Participation: 10%

Weekly response papers: 25%

Unit papers (3 total): 30%

Final revised paper: 35%

AMS 311S • Environ Justice/Culture/Soc

30825 • Oxford, Robert
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
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The term “environmental justice” denotes an ongoing civil rights struggle based
upon the fact that certain groups are marginalized by bearing the greatest social and cultural
burdens from ecological changes and circumstances based on race, gender, and class. This
discussion and reading seminar will allow students to use these lenses and develop a vocabulary
to deepen their understanding of a variety of environmental issues like climate change and
environmental racism in order to understand humans’ relationships to and definitions of nature,
modernity, and pollution, as well as to recognize those most at risk from environmental
degradation and destruction. This class will engage with a variety of cultural texts like
photography, film, ethnography, public policy, environmental justice advocacy, and testimonials.
The goal of the course is to recognize the intersectional ways in which we come to understand the
environment and how people work at different times and contexts toward a more equitable,
sustainable, and social centered approach to ecological problems.

Possible texts:
Keywords in Environmental Studies
Andrew Ross, Bird On Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
Flow (2008)
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
William Cronon ed., Uncommon Ground
Robert Bullard, Dumping in Dixie
Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and Environmentalism of the Poor
Carl Zimring, Clean and White; Race, Nature, and the Politics of Difference
Eben Kirksey, Ed., The Multispecies Salon
et al.

Assignments (include % of grade):

Participation 10%

Reading Responses 15%

Mid-Term Paper 25%

Archive Report 25%

Final paper 25%

AMS 311S • Left And Right In America

30830 • Moench, B
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A
(also listed as CTI 310)
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Is the United States a “liberal society”—why or why not? This course will examine the philosophical origins of contemporary American political culture and retrace the country’s often contradictory relationship with liberal philosophy.

      American political culture produces ethical constructs—such as “the personal is political or “government is the problem, not the solution—which guide one’s perceptions of political events and historical causation. Together we will excavate the intellectual history behind the ethical frameworks of American politics and search for the causes of the country’s current political divide. In 2004, Barack Obama, then a candidate for the US Senate, proclaimed there was not “a Liberal America” and a “Conservative America” but “one United States of America.” What was Obama referring to? Are there underlying agreements in American political culture that reach across both the left and right? This course will address this debate by examining the political and ethical commitments behind the core texts of America’s past and present.     

possible texts:

A course pack will be assigned that includes short selections from John Locke, Adam Smith, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bernard-Henri Levy, Malcolm X, and Ronald Reagan.



Attendance: 5 percent

Participation: 5 percent

Research summary papers: 15 percent

Mid-term paper: 30 percent

Final paper: 35 percent           

AMS 311S • Paranormal America

30810 • Whitewolf, Edwin
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 436A
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The United States of America is filled with strange locations, some with specifically dark and frightening histories. Our landscape is dotted with areas of legend, from the Bridgewater Triangle in Massachusetts to the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. It is home to locations that have filled our imaginations and our popular culture with dread, from Amityville and Salem, to Roswell and Snowflake. Our skies seem at times to be filled with terrifying winged creatures and UFOs, while our forests, swamps, rivers, lakes, and bays at times seem to be filled with threatening monsters. We may not be safe even in our homes, which can be invaded by spectral presences from beyond the grave or simply from someplace else. How do these stories act on both micro and macro levels, at the local and national scales? How does the generation of local legend interweave with American history? In what ways do these narratives describe, or even shape, physical landscape? And how does lore help in forming or ripping apart communities?


This course seeks to investigate famous and frightening instances of American paranormal lore and study their relationship to American history, community, and placemaking within national geography. We will begin with an analysis of the different sorts of legends that permeate American lore. Moving throughout American history, we will touch upon specific moments, such as the Salem Witchcraft Trials, the birth of the Jersey Devil, the Mothman legend, the famous haunting at Amityville, Travis Walton’s alien abduction, and others in order to analyze the ways in which these stories have affected the communities and landscapes in which they have reputedly taken place. We will also study how these and other events have been interpreted through popular American media, such as literature, television, and film, and the effect that popular media representations has had on the locations involved.


Possible Texts:

John A. Keel, The Mothman Prophecies

Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror

Whitley Streiber, Communion

Various texts on Canvas


Possible Movies/Television Shows/Podcasts

The Witch (2015), Robert Eggers

The House of the Devil (2009), Ti West

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976), Charles B. Pierce

Poltergeist (1983), Tobe Hooper

The Amityville Horror (1979), Stuart Rosenberg

Fire in the Sky (1993), Robert Lieberman

The X-Files (series)

Supernatural (series)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (series)

American Horror Story (series)

Lore (podcast)

Astonishing Legends (podcast)


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance - 20%

Participation and Weekly Reading/Viewing Response - 20%

Folklore Project - 10%

Final Paper Rough Draft - 20%

Final Revised Paper - 30%

AMS 311S • Performing Identity

30820 • Roehl, Emily
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 436A
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Culture is a shared, embodied process, and American cultural history is as much about dynamic events as written texts. Cultural performances reveal social conflicts, emergent political energies, and conflicting expressions of national identity. Performance can be a practice of resistance or a reactionary gesture. In this class, we will study cultural performances at key moments in American history, from the Election Day celebrations of the early national period to the nationalist displays of World’s Fairs to the public interventions of the Civil Rights Era to the mediated activism of the digital world. Focusing on the historical experience of race, class, gender, and sexuality, we will look at the cultural performances of marginalized communities, who are often omitted from official written histories but leave traces in performance. We will examine performance across genres, including parades and festivals, music and theatrical events, television and film, sports and fashion, digital culture and dance.


Possible texts:

David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes

Susan Davis, Parades and Power: Street Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia

Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class

Phil Deloria, Playing Indian

Harding and Rosenthal, Restaging the Sixties: Radical Theaters and Their Legacies

Nicolas Lampert, A People’s Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements

Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play, and Other Works

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton


Possible viewing: 

Mad Hot Ballroom


West Side Story

Free to Dance

In the Heights


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance and Participation 20%

Reading / Viewing Responses 20%

Performance Critique 20%

Presentation 10%

Creative Project  10%

Final Essay  20%

AMS 315 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

30865 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 136
(also listed as AAS 301)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the US

This interdisciplinary course introduces students to core questions regarding the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans. Students will critically engage key issues, theories and debates in Asian American Studies, while also learning to unpack “Asian American” as a concept that contains 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, LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color more generally. Key topics include: racial formation, (im)migration and citizenship, imperialism, social justice activism, intersectionality, multiraciality, solidarity, mediated representations, hybridity and transnationalism.
Wu, Jean Yu-wen Shen, and Thomas C. Chen. 2010. Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader. New
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. (Available at Campus Bookstore)
Zhou, Min and Anthony C. Ocampo. 2016. Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader (3rd
Edition). New York: New York University Press. (Available at Campus Bookstore)
Additional Readings will be posted on Canvas. Students are responsible for retrieving and printing them.

Requirements                                   % of Final Grade
Weekly Quizzes/Responses                    20%
Midterm                                               20%
Final                                                    20%
Group Presentation                               20%
Attendance and Participation                  20%

AMS 315 • Race, Immigration & Family

30870 • Gunasena, Natassja
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 5.190
(also listed as AAS 310, WGS 301)
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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 315 • Rights In Modern America

30860 • Green, Laurie
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM UTC 3.110
(also listed as AFR 317D, HIS 317L, WGS 301)
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This course explores the history of social movements for rights in twentieth-century America. Whether they used a language of equality, justice, freedom or liberation, an array of social groups in modern America forged struggles and organizations that advocated for recognition of their rights. And yet there was no unanimity about the meaning of rights; the course examines changing and often conflicting interpretations, focusing on Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, women, working-class people, and gay men and lesbians. Instead of isolating them from each other, we use both comparative and relational approaches to the history of these movements. We strive not only to make sense of similarities and differences, but how they influenced each other. It what ways, for instance, did the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s inspire the Women’s Liberation Movement? Such an approach can lead to surprises; in Austin, for example, African American and Mexican American attorneys filed suit for school desegregation on the same day. A goal is for students to get a sense of how historians approach their work, thus readings include original historical documents and memoirs in addition to scholarly analyzes. This is primarily a lecture course, but some classes are devoted to group projects.


Possible readings:

Selected historical documents and articles

Melba Pattillo Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry:  A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High

Carlos Bulosan, American is in the Heart: A Personal History

Charles Denby, Indignant Heart: A Black Worker’s Journal

José Angel Gutiérrez, The Making of a Civil Rights Leader: José Angel Gutiérrez

Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Wilma Mankiller, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People



Midterm                                                                                                          25%

Final exam                                                                                                      35%

3 short quizzes on lecture terms (5% each)                                                  15%

1 500-word writing assignment on a selected reading (15%)                      15%

2 historical documents analyses (Submission grade, 5% each)                    10%

Attendance is required. Extra credit opportunities are available

AMS 315F • Native American Lit And Cul

30875 • Grewe, Lauren
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as E 314V)
show description

E 314V  l  5-Native American Literature and Culture


Instructor:  Grewe, L

Unique #:  35005

Semester:  Fall 2017

Cross-lists:  AMS 315F

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  Yes



Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).


Description:  When Pharrell appeared in a headdress on the cover of Elle UK, it raised many questions, among them: how are Native Americans portrayed in popular culture?  In response to this question, we might ask: how do Native Americans represent themselves?  Native Americans, in fact, have been representing themselves in writing for hundreds of years.  This class will focus on Native American literature from a range of different tribal nations, regions, and histories.  We will examine Native American activism and forced assimilation as well as continuing conflicts between Native and non-Native belief systems and between tribal nation communities and US federal and state governments.  Together, we will uncover the surprising way that indigenous literature has fundamentally shaped American literature and is beginning to impact world literature.


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:  Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (1977); Blue Ravens, Gerald Vizenor (2016).


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 (80% of the final grade).  There will also be reading quizzes, close reading exercises, and in-class presentations (20% of the final grade).

AMS 321 • Europn Immigratn Texas 19th C

30885 • Kearney, James
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 360)
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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 cultural 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 bilingualism 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 causes of European emigration and the attraction of Texas as a destination. The goal is to further our understanding of the cultural and social forces in the nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic and to examine the legacy of the European nationalities that have been woven into the rich and colorful tapestry of the state of Texas.

Readings for classroom discussion will all come from online sources, either posted on my website or available through the Handbook of Texas online. It will not be necessary to purchase any books.

This will be a project-oriented course. We will tour the Briscoe Center for American History Studies, the Texas State Library, and the General Land Office, all located in Austin and all important repositories of primary and secondary source information. Students will do a research paper and presentation based on original research.


AMS 321 • Urban Unrest

30895 • Tang, Eric
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 203
(also listed as AAS 330, AFR 372F, ANT 324L, URB 354)
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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 321E • African American Hist To 1860

30900 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 1.126
(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 H. and Alfred Moss, FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM, 9th ed



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




MID-TERM EXAM                         35%

RESEARCH PAPER                        30%

EXAM 2 (TAKE-HOME)                 35%

AMS 325 • US Music/Religious Identity

30909 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM ART 1.110
(also listed as MUS 376G, R S 346)
show description

Music and Religious Identities in America

Music can play an important part in the formation of a religious identity. How a religious community uses its voices, the words it sings, which instruments are deemed acceptable, and aspects of music such as melody, harmony, polyphony, and rhythm all combine in specific ways that are recognized as “religious,” or more specifically, as belonging to a particular religious tradition (or not!). Additionally, musical performance conventions – the physical embodiment of religious music – can reflect religious conceptions of the individual in relation to the divine as well as to his or her community. Likewise, the music rejected by a given religious community (“the Devil’s music!”) can be as defining as the music it embraces. From Catholic Gregorian chant, to Jewish camp songs, from African-American gospel music to Sacred Harp singing, from Lutheran hymns to Islamic recitation, and including many other traditions, this upper-division, undergraduate course explores the diversity of the American experience of religious identity through its musical traditions. Come ready to read and discuss but also ready to listen to and sing some of the music we will talk about. One of our tools for exploring the relationship of religious music to religious identity is “theory of the body” and an important part of understanding embodiment is experiencing it! This course includes includes both writing and "cultural diversity in America" flags.


Basis for evaluation:


  • Short observer paper (3-5 pages) 10%
  • Short participant observer paper (3-5 pages) 10% 
  • Short paper (3-5 pages), basic theoretical analysis of in-class example: Syncretism/Anti-syncretism theory 20%
  • Short paper (3-5 pages), basic theoretical analysis of in-class example: theory of the body 20%
  • Final paper: abstract 250 words 5%
  • Final paper: peer editing of abstract (on Canvas) 5%
  • Final paper: first page, for initial feedback 5%
  • Final paper (12-15 pages), due on exam day 25%


Required Texts:

  • Bohlman, Philip V, Edith W. Blumhofer, and Maria M. Chow. Music in American Religious Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Fraser, Mariam, and Monica Greco. The Body: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Hoffman, Lawrence A, and Janet R. Walton. Sacred Sound and Social Change: Liturgical Music in Jewish and Christian Experience. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992.
  • Leopold, Anita M, and Jeppe S. Jensen. Syncretism in Religion: A Reader. New York: Routledge, 2005.

AMS 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

30920 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 370
(also listed as HIS 356K)
show description

This course examines the cultural history of America, 1865 to the present, focusing on Americans' uses and encounters with technology. Topics of discussion will include the railroad and modernity, the rise of mass culture through the radio, the growth of suburbia, the space race, the birth of Silicon Valley, and activism on social media, among other areas.

Syllabus forthcoming.

AMS 370 • American Food

30950 • Bendele, Marvin
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM BUR 436B
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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 • Animals/American Culture

30955 • Davis, Janet
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
(also listed as HIS 350R, WGS 345)
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                  A wandering pig played a central role in creating a bicameral legislature in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1644.  According to John Winthrop, the colony’s first governor, “There fell out a great business upon a very small occasion”:  a poor widow and a wealthy merchant went to the General Court regarding the disputed ownership of a stray sow.  Although popular sympathies rested with the widow, the Court ruled in favor of the merchant, thus prompting the Court’s assistants and deputies to divide formally into two distinct legislative houses in order to make the colony’s government more representative. This is but one example of the central—if hitherto unrecognized—role that animals have played in shaping  the course of American history. This interdisciplinary upper-division undergraduate seminar explores the place of animals in the social, cultural, economic, and political life of the United States. Topics of discussion include animals in entertainment; hunting; vegetarianism; changing cultural attitudes about nature; wandering animals and property rights;  animals and evolutionary theory; the rise of the animal welfare and animal rights movements;  laboring animals and the nation’s move to a motorized economy; animals and war; the growth of pet keeping as a cultural practice and big business; factory farms; the rise of veterinary science; zoos; and more. Please note: This course contains a Service Learning Component. You will complete your Service Learning hours at one of three locations: The Austin Animal Center; Travis County Audubon; or The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. If you do not have access to transportation, there will be Service Learning opportunities on campus.



Discussion:  20%

Service Learning Journal: 20%

Service Learning Research Paper: 30%

Final Take-Home Essay Exam: 30%


Possible Texts

Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Nigel Rothfels, ed., Representing Animals

Susan Jones, Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Laura Hillenbrandt, Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Gregg Mitman, Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film


AMS 370 • Digital Media/Amer Culture

30922 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A
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From videogames to smartphones, from “fake news” to digital activism, digital media have been inextricably entwined with culture and politics in America and beyond. This course examines the culture of digital media from the 19th century into the present, and students will explore a variety of questions and themes aimed at excavating how digital media has shaped—or has been shaped by—culture and society. What defines “digital media”? How have these media historically engaged with our notions of the self, culture, and the state? How have digital media afforded new spaces for expressions of power, citizenship, and activism? To what extent is social change driven by digital media—or vice versa? And to what extent have humans become digital creatures? The course will begin with a theoretical and historical exploration of what constitutes “digital media,” reaching back into the earliest forms of computers in the 19th century. From there, we will examine a variety of interrelated digital technologies (computers, videogames, the internet, social media, and digital art) as they relate to key cultural themes, such as identity, power, security, and resistance.

This course has four principal goals. First, students will learn to draw connections between significant cultural and political ideas and digital media that they may encounter every day. Next, students will examine how these media engage with our everyday lives in America through written and creative assignments, some of which will involve the use and analysis of digital media. Third, students will connect the emergence of these digital forms with their broader cultural and historical contexts. Finally, we will all think through the ethical and cultural possibilities of what we want the future to look like, and what the role of digital media should be in that future. Students will leave the course with a new appreciation for the social, historical, and cultural complexities of a variety of digital media technologies, from Donkey Kong to Facebook.


Grade Breakdown:

Participation: 20%

Weekly blog posts and comments: 20%

Self-reflection: 15%

Video game analysis: 15%

Final paper: 30%


Possible Texts/Excerpts:

  • Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
  • Corey Mead, War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict
  • Dave Eggers, The Circle
  • Gabriella Coleman, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
  • Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the rise of Digital Utopianism
  • Lisa Nakamura, Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet
  • Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
  • Carly Kocurek, Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry)

Possible films:

  • WarGames
  • Catfish
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
  • The King of Kong
  • Citizenfour
  • Eye in the Sky

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30925 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R, URB 353)
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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

Walker, Juliet E. K. “History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship”          

      Course Packet chapters 6-11 from The History of Black Business in America:  Capitalism, Race,

                      Entrepreneurship (New York/London:  Macmillan/Prentice Hall International, 1998) 

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 • Key Works In Amer Pop Music

30930 • Lewis, Randolph
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM JGB 2.202
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With an emphasis on rock, pop, punk, rap, disco, and country in the US since 1945, this course will look closely at individual songs as a means to understand larger trends in US cultural history (including various Civil Rights movements, de-industrialization and economic dislocation, cultural polarization, anti-war movements and the backlash, etc.). This course is not primarily musicological in approach, but instead looks at popular song through the lens of cultural studies, sociology, and history. More than 40 artists will be considered, including Jimi Hendrix, Merle Haggard, The Dixie Chicks, Devo, Nina Simone, Public Enemy, Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin, Beyonce, Blondie, X, Loretta Lynn, The Impressions, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, and 30 others whose work was crucial to particular moments and movements in recent American history. 


Possible texts:

Tricia Rose, The Hip Hop Wars

Simon Reynolds, Rip it Up and Start Again, Post Punk, 1979-1983

Alice Echols, Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture

David Margolick, Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song

Doug Bradley, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War

Bob Dylan, Chronicles

Jonathan Lethem’s Fear of Music 

Kembrew McLeod’s Blondie's Parallel Lines




Assignments (include % of grade):

Final research paper, 10-12 pages, 30%

Midterm paper, 5-7 pages, 20%

Class participation, 30%

Quizzes and mini-writing assignments, 20%

AMS 370 • Lit Of Black Politics

30975 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.122
(also listed as AFR 374F)
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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

30935 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.104
(also listed as AFR 372F)
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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 • Rethnkng 1950s Rebls/Rejcts

30940 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM BUR 436A
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Focusing on the first two decades after the end of WWII—the “long 1950s”—this seminar course examines how the context of the Cold War influenced American culture and politics, particularly with regard to race, gender, and sexuality. In many ways, Cold War paranoia about the communist threat prohibited political dissent, but it also indirectly inspired or created limited opportunities for civil rights struggles for people of color, women, and gays and lesbians. This course thus uncovers the roots of the radical liberation movements that emerged in the 1960s. We will examine issues such as the “Lavender Scare” against gays in the federal government, Asian Americans’ battles against housing discrimination in California, the politics of mass consumption, the nuclear family ideal and those bachelors, Beatniks, workingwomen and delinquent teens who defied it.

Possible Texts:

Charlotte Brooks, Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing and the Transformation of Urban California

Mary Duziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy

Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America

David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government

Amanda Littauer, Bad Girls: Young Women, Sex, and Rebellion before the 1960s

Joanne Meyerowitz, Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960

David Serlin, Replaceable You: Engineering the Body in Postwar America

Stephen J. Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War

AMS 370 • Urban Slavery In The Americas

30945 • Canizares, Jorge
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as AFR 374E, HIS 350L, LAS 366)
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Slavery was prevailing labor institution in the early modern world. It was not associated with race. When the Iberians arrived in the New World, Southern European had slaves of all colors: Greeks, Turks, Moors, Guanches (the natives of the Canary Islands), and Sub-Saharan Africans. This was also true of all Islamic societies in the Mediterranean. The Ottomans and the Mamelukes held white Christians, Russians, and Sub-Saharan Africans as slaves. The word slave, in fact, is a reference to white Slavic captives. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Native Americans became slaves and captives of the Europeans by the hundreds of thousands. Natives themselves enslaved rivals, including Europeans. In this world of generalized, nonracial slavery, however, slaves had some rights to self-manumission and even property.  Many slaves could even become powerful, as in the case of the mameluke troops among the Ottomans. Islam and Christianity  limited the power and sovereignty of masters held over slaves. Religious institutions could intervene and remove slaves from abusive masters.  In the European Mediterranean, blacks were not only considered slaves but also saints, ambassadors, queens, kings, and generals. By the 19th century, this world of slaveries had been completely transformed. Slavery was now associated exclusively with Africans in America. Blacks became chattel with no rights. The constitution of the independent Republic  of Texas in 1841, for example, held that any black who was manumitted could not reside in the Republic. It was illegal for blacks to be anything other than slaves. This course explores how in the 1700s slavery became racialized and industrialized, leading to legal regimes the world had never witnessed before. This transformation of slavery also triggered new resistance movements, including  abolitionism. By the early 1800, abolitionism, resistance, and revolutions led to the dismantling of the first wave of racialized, industrialized slavery in the Americas and to the end of the Atlantic slave trade. Yet a “Second Slavery” emerged in the 19th century that thrived in the Age of Abolitionism and the ending of the African trade. It was a form of racial slavery that was brutal as the previous one but that no longer relied on slaves from Africa, but from the displacement of salves within the American continent. This slavery powered the industrial revolution and the transformation of the US into a global power. This course explores this massive changes in the history of slaveries in the Americas and focuses particularly in the racialization and industrialization of slavery.


Andres Resendez, The Other Slavery
 Robin Blackburn The Making of New World Slavery

Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848

Ira BerlinGenerations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves

John Thornton Africa and Africans in the Making of the New World

James H. Sweet. Domingos Alvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World 

Linda M. Heywood Njinga of Angola Africa’s Warrior Queen

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World


Weekly papers: 60 % grade
Participation-attendance: 10 % grade
Final paper: 30 % grade

AMS 370 • Women In Postwar America

30965 • Green, Laurie
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as HIS 350R, WGS 345)
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This course intensively examines U.S. women's history between World War II and the 1970s. In doing so, it also explores popular perceptions of womanhood, manhood and sexuality that became central to the cultural politics and social conflicts of the postwar period. By weaving together these topics – women’s history, popular culture, and postwar social movements – we raise fresh questions about well-known episodes of U.S. history. Why, for example, do most Americans remember Rosa Parks only as a demure seamstress who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott because she was too tired to give up her seat to a white? If every young woman hoped to be like Donna Reed or June Cleaver in the fifties, then where did the sixties movements come from? We also explore how various groups (e.g., suburban girls, working-class women, civil rights activists, immigrants, and others) negotiated ideas of family, work and sexuality. In doing so, we examine roots of issues that continue to have political purchase today, such as reproductive rights, sexuality, job equity, welfare, race, and ethnicity.

Course Activities:This is primarily a discussion seminar, but class will occasionally include short lectures and films. Readings include historical documents, memoirs, scholarly articles and full-length historical studies. The course has a writing flag, and is designed to help you develop skills in historical writing and analysis. Students will write regularly to encourage critical thinking and class discussion of readings. Graded assignments include weekly reading summaries, a short media research paper based on popular magazines of the postwar era; and a “Postwar Women’s Memoir Project” based on interviews with women who came of age between World War II and the 1970s.

* Bailey, Beth. Sex in the Heartland

* Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

* Gilmore, Stephanie, ed. Feminist Coalitions: Historical Perspectives on Second-Wave Feminism in the United States

* Grace, Nancy M. and Ronna C. Johnson, eds., Breaking the Rule of Cool: Interviewing and Reading Women Beat Writers

* Lee, Chana Kai. For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

* Meyerowitz, Joanne, ed. Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960 (noted as NJC on syllabus)

* Santiago, Esmeralda. Almost a Woman

* Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography

10% Attendance, promptness, class participation

30% 350-word weekly analyses of readings (6 essays, 5% each)

20% Media research essay, 5 pages

35% Final Postwar Women’s Memoir Project essay, 8-10 pages

5%  Group Presentation on Memoir Projects

AMS 370 • Women Radicals & Reformers

30960 • Mickenberg, Julia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
(also listed as WGS 345)
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Concentrating on the twentieth century but beginning with eighteenth and nineteenth-century precedents and concluding with our contemporary moment, this course will look at women’s radical activism and traditions of reform through the lenses of American Studies and feminist ethics. Topics covered will include women’s challenges to slavery and lynching; campaigns for female education and women’s suffrage; women’s role in socialist and communist movements, the settlement house movement, labor activism, literary/aesthetic radicalism as it relates to political radicalism; the peace movement, and ethnic nationalism; the “waves” of women’s liberation; and intersectionality and the state of contemporary feminism. Throughout, we will use both women’s own words, as well as scholarship, films, and other elements of the documentary record to reflect upon the ways in which women’s radical and reform movements of the past provide ethical and moral frameworks for making choices in the present. Students will actively contribute to course content through research and presentations to the class, and through informed participation in class discussions.




  1. Informed participation in class discussions.
  2. Semi-weekly short reflection papers, one of which will be revised and expanded for a letter grade
  3. Presentation, based on research, supplementing the reading for a particular week.
  4. Team research project requiring primary research and engagement with relevant scholarship.


Probable Texts


Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, ed. Linda K. Kerber and Jane Sherron De Hart (sixth edition)

Sheila Rowbotham, Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century

Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

Tillie Olsen, Yonnondio

Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzulua, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

Jessa Crispin, Why I am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto