American Studies
American Studies

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

31090 • Cordova, Cary
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM ART 1.102
(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 311S • American Catastrophes

31096 • Bloom, Nicholas
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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The history of the United States, both internally and internationally, has been defined and circumscribed by violent catastrophes.  Genocides, wars, exploitation of workers, violent manipulation of the land, and a centuries-long system of racial chattel slavery are all integral features of US history, and continue to shape the society we live in today. This course will consider a range of ways that artists, intellectuals, and activists have attempted to understand and articulate these legacies of violence and catastrophe, and have tried to imagine alternative ways of living and organizing society in response. The ultimate purpose of the course is to expose students to the rich history of radical thought in the United States, in the literal sense of the word “radical”:  to get to the root of something.

The course will be divided into three units.  The first unit will consider foundational catastrophes in the genesis of the United States, including indigenous genocide and African slavery, and the ways in which black and indigenous artists, thinkers, and activists—then as well as later—have understood and imagined this foundational violence and its historical and contemporary consequences.  The second unit will consider the movements and imaginaries that emerged out of the violent catastrophes that defined the first half of the 20th century:  two massive world wars and the development of unprecedented technologies of destruction; anti-colonial struggles abroad; and the persistence of a nation violently and unequally segregated by racial categories at home.  The third unit will consider contemporary instances of violent catastrophe, including the burgeoning American mass incarceration system and global climate change, and will also examine contemporary thinkers and movements that are attempting to understand these catastrophes radically in an attempt to transform them.  Students’ final project will require students to situate a contemporary social movement or thinker in the context of a particular element of the USA’s catastrophic history, as well as its rich tradition of radical thinkers, artists, and movements.

AMS 311S • Eating Right In America

31097 • Knerr, Kerry
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
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Eating in American culture has always been a fraught prospect. Each stage in the food chain—how food is grown, how it is prepared, and who eats it—is highly contentious on their own; these are then further complicated by pressure to eat correctly. This course will investigate how it is that people in America have attempted to adhere to or push back against societal ideas about health, etiquette, and culture. The course will be comprised of three units. The first will start with the colonial period and the first encounters between Native people and Europeans, where food could serve as offering of thanks or a biological weapon, and end with the food regimes within plantation agriculture. The second unit will look at the radical changes that took place in the first half of the twentieth century, ranging from the invention of vitamins to mass food rationing in WWII. The third unit will look at more recent interventions in American food culture: the countercuisine and the growth of “organic” food, body diversity movements, and anti-capitalist freegans. Overall, we will use the lenses of race, gender, ability, and class to understand what it means to eat right in America.


AMS 311S • Sex, Science And America

31092 • Lyon, Anna
Meets MWF 4:00PM-5:00PM GAR 1.134
(also listed as WGS 301)
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Reproduction and science have long been intertwined in America, with anxieties about national identity at the crux of these entanglements. In this course, we will trace the legacy of science, medicine, public health, and reproduction from the Antebellum to the present day, studying everything from medical experiments on enslaved women to egg donations in the 21st century. We will draw on a variety of sources, including fiction, film, histories, and primary sources from the past and present, using the topic of reproduction as an entry point for understanding America’s longstanding anxieties about the race, class, and genetic composition of the nation’s residents. By the end of the course, students will understand how the fields of science, medicine, and public health have influenced and responded to anxieties about race and class in America. They will be able to synthesize primary and secondary sources, as well as historical and contemporary sources, to make original arguments about science and medicine, and their relationship to American culture and identity. Students will also become comfortable critically analyzing nonacademic sources like “donor wanted” ads, and pairing them with scholarly sources to make historically-grounded arguments about events unfolding in today’s world. 

AMS 311S • The Selfie Stick: Art In US

31099 • Zelt, Natalie
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A
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Self-portraits changed the way we see in the United States as millions of people have chosen to turn the camera around and picture themselves. What are the stakes and histories of rotating the camera lens?  How have artists used the camera and photographs to highlight and challenge the politics of identity in US culture during the last four decades? Are selfies anything new?

In this undergraduate seminar we will consider self-portraiture and the photograph from a different cultural vantage point each week.  Paying close attention to the politics of the camera in relationship to representation, students will examine the myriad ways artists in the United States have used the camera and pictures in an effort to depict and sometimes to define themselves. This class is not a comprehensive history, rather a litany of jumping off points and positions from which students might begin to grapple with the intersections of self-making, identity formation, art and culture of the United States. Students will consider artwork concerning a range of themes such as the construction of race and gender, nationalism, intersectionality, narcissism, documentary practice, feminism and performance.  Artists studied will include, Laura Aguilar, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Nikki S. Lee, James Luna, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Wilke, and Kim Kardashian.

AMS 315 • Asian American Film History

31140 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 1.102
(also listed as AAS 310, RTF 301N)
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This course will consider Asian American film from a historical perspective, from the pioneers of Hollywood, to the YouTube stars of today. 

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AMS 315 • Drug History In The Americas

31105 • Vasquez, Antonio
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 201
(also listed as LAS 310, MAS 319)
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The international traffic in illegal drugs is a phenomenon loaded with important implications for democracy, public health, and politics. Yet it is also freighted with misunderstanding, prejudice, and bad data. In an effort to demystify, this course examines the narcotics trade from a historical and transnational perspective, tracing the multiple and intertwined histories of psychoactive substances, law enforcement, and diplomacy. We will explore the origins of marijuana and poppy cultivation, the medical development of cocaine, the popularization of hallucinogens, the invention of synthetics, while also considering why other mind-altering substances like tobacco, coffee, sugar, and many pharmaceuticals remain legal. We will also examine the rise of the Columbian and Mexican crime syndicates and the dramatic expansion and internationalization of law enforcement and incarceration. 



Andreas, Peter. "The Politics of Measuring Illicit Flows and Policy Effectiveness." In Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, edited by Peter Andreas and Kelly Greenhill. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.  


Mintz, Sidney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Viking, 1985.  


Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. New York: Basic Books, 1999.  


Gootenberg, Paul. "Talking About the Flow: Drugs, Borders, and the Discourse of Drug Control." Cultural Critique, no. 71 (2009).  


Astorga Almanza, Luis. "Cocaine in Mexico: A Prelude to 'los narcos'." In Cocaine: Global Histories, edited by Paul Gootenberg, 183-191. New York: Routledge, 1999.  


Camp, Roderic Ai. Mexico's Military on the Democratic Stage. Westport, Conn.; Washington, D.C.: Praeger Security International; published in cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2005. 



Participation: 25%  

Midterm: 25%  

Debate: 25%  

Final exam: 25%

AMS 315 • Race, Immigration & Family

31135 • Gunasena, Natassja
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 5.190
(also listed as AAS 310, WGS 301)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Queer South Asian Feminisms: 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 • Revolution Will Be Dramatized

31130 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CLA 1.104
(also listed as AFR 317F, T D 311T, WGS 301)
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This course will examine the representations of black political protest in film and theatre from the 1960s to the present. We will discuss fictional and documentary films as well as plays. The class will also consider the performative aspects of black protest movements for social justice. Texts under consideration include plays such Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, Robert O’Hara’s Insurrection, and films such as Free Angela and all Political Prisoners, The Butler, The Untold Story of Emmett Till, Night Catches Us and Panther. 



  • The Mountaintop – Katori Hall 

  • Insurrection – Robert O’Hara 

  • Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (film, director – Shola Lynch) 

  • The Butler (film, director – Lee Daniels) 

  • The Untold Story of Emmett Hill (film, director – Keith Beauchamp) 

  • Night Catches Us (film, director- Tanya Hamilton) 


Grading breakdown: 

  • Performance review journal – 25% 

  • Attendance – 15% 

  • Class presentation – 30% 

  • Three response papers – 30%

AMS 321 • Black Women In America

31150 • Berry, Daina
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R, WGS 340)
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Course Description:  

In an White House Blog posted on 10 February 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the 2012 theme for Black History Month: Celebrating Black Women in American Culture and History. “They are women,” she explained, “who fought against slavery, who stood up for 


Women’s suffrage, and marched in our streets for our civil rights.”  Continuing, she noted that African American women also  “… stirred our souls and they’ve open our hearts.”  In addition to celebrating Black Women’s contributions, we must also look at the struggles women overcame to be a part of the American fabric; struggles over their images, representation, and reputation. 


To that end, the course will use primary sources, historical monographs, and essays to provide a chronological and thematic overview of the experiences of black women in America from their African roots to the circumstances they face in the present era.  This seminar class will be discussion driven and will address the following topics: the evolution of African American women’s history as field of inquiry; African American women historians; the trans-Atlantic slave trade; enslavement in the United States; abolition and freedom; racial uplift; urban migration; labor and culture; the modern civil rights movement; organized black feminism; hip-hop culture; AIDS and the Black Women's Health study.  Additionally, the course will draw upon readings written by and about African American women with a particularly emphasis on their approach to gender and race historiography 



  • Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography 

  • Tera Hunter, To Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labor After the Civil War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997). 

  • Catherine M. Lewis and J. Richard Lewis, eds., Women and Slavery in America: A Documentary History (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011). 

  • Eric McDuffie, Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism(Durham: Duke University Press, 2011). 

  • Deborah Gray White, Ar’n’t I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1985). 

  • Additional readings will be distributed electronically on Blackboard. 





  • Class Engagement       20%   

  • Posting Responses to the Week’s Readings   10% 

  • Cultural Critique         20% 

  • Outline of Research Paper with Annotated Bibliography      15% 

  • Final Research Paper and Presentation           35% 


AMS 321 • Europn Immigratn Texas 19th C

31155 • Kearney, James
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 302
(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 • Natv Amer Cul Greater Sthwst

31160 • Webster, Anthony
(also listed as ANT 322M)
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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 groups of the Southwest, this course aims to increase knowledge concerning specific Native populations. The course will involve three ethnographies and readings that will orient students to peoples and issues of import in the Southwest. This course pays particular attention to the expressive forms of Native American peoples and cultures of the Southwest as well as political economy.

AMS 321 • Policing Latinidad

31161 • Lebron, Marisol
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BIO 301
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 340)
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Course Description:

How does the criminal justice system make itself felt in the everyday lives of Latinxs? From border enforcement, to stop and frisk, to the phenomenon of mass incarceration, many Latinxs find themselves and their communities enmeshed within a dense web of surveillance, punishment, and detention. This interdisciplinary course will examine the historical, political, economic, and social factors that have, in many ways, criminalized Latinidad and/or rendered Latinidad illegal.

We will examine how race, class, education, gender, sexuality, and citizenship shape the American legal system and impact how Latinxs navigate that system. This course will pay special attention to the troubled and unequal relationshi between Latinxs and the criminal justice apparatus in the United States and how it has resulted in the formation of resistant political identities and activist practices.


Timothy Black, When a Heart Turns Rock Solid: The Lives of Three Puerto Rican Brothers On and Off the Streets, New York: Vintage Books, 2009.

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

Patrisia Macia-Rojas, From Deportation to Prison: The Politics of Immigration Enforcement in Post-Civil Rights America, New York: New York University Press 2016.

Eduardo Obregon Pagan, Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race, and Riots in Wartime L.A., Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Victor M. Rios, Punished: Policing he Lives o Black and Latino Boys, New York: New York University Press, 2011.

All other readings for this course will be available online.

Assignments and Grading:

Class Participation: 15%

Presentations: 25%

Midterm Essay: 25%

Final Essays: 35%

AMS 321 • Race/Gender/Surveillance

31165 • Browne, Simone
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 101
(also listed as AFR 372C, SOC 322V, WGS 322)
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Drawing from social science readings, science fiction (Gattaca, THX-1138, Ex-Machina, Grounded), documentaries, and popular media (24, South Park, Orange is the New Black, The Bachelor, Cheaters), this course introduces students to the emerging field of Surveillance Studies.

We examine: slavery, reality TV, sports, Google, trolling + social media, borders, airports, biometric technology, whistleblowers, drones, wearables + fashion, among other topics.


Film Review, In-class Quizzes, Current Event Analysis, Take-Home Final Exam, and Research Teams produce a digital magazine on “Surveillance”.

AMS 321 • Ut Jews In Civil Rights Era

31158 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM SAC 4.120
(also listed as ANT 325L, J S 364)
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Course Description:

Segregation protests, sit-ins, free love, flower power—Revolution was in the air on 1960’s college campuses—UT included. Where were the Jews? In/out? Right/Left? Greek/geek? Activist/Pacifist? Gay/Straight? White/Other? Students will learn the art of oral history and digital storytelling to uncover the untold tales of UT’s Jewish students in the Age of Aquarius.


Course Assessment:

Weekly reading, online posting, class discussion, and attendance (25%)

Archival research and analysis (20%)

Oral Historical audio/video interview, transcription, production, and analysis (20%)

Final Project/Presentation (35%)


Oral History Resources:

Donald A Ritchie, Doing Oral History: Practical Advice and Reasonable Explanations for Anyone. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Barbara Sommer and Mary Quinlan. The Oral History Manual. 2nd edition (2009)

Alessandro Portelli, The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories: Form and Meaning in Oral History, Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1991) pp. 1-26 (“The Death of Luigi Trastulli,”).

Martha Norkunas “Teaching to Listen: Listening Exercises and Self-Reflexive Journals,” Oral History Review v. 38, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 2011): 73-108.


Content Resources:

Michael E. Staub, ed. The Jewish 1960s: An American Sourcebook (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life. 2004

Richard Flacks, “The Liberated Generation: An Exploration of the Roots of Student Protest,” Journal of Social Issues 23 (July 1967): 52-75.

Martin Kulhman, “Direct Action at the University of Texas During the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1965,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 98 (1995): 551-566.

Beverly Burr. History of Student Activism at the University of Texas at Austin (1960-1988). Unpublished Thesis

Goldstone, Dwonna, N. Integrating the 40 Acres: The Fifty Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006).

AMS 321 • Women And Socl Mvmnts In US

31170 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 4.122
(also listed as AFR 372C, HIS 365G, WGS 340)
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This upper-division history lecture course examines women’s participation in both well-known and lesser-known social movements during the twentieth century, more deeply than is possible in a U.S. history survey course. Throughout, we explore women’s activism in movements that specifically targeted women’s rights, such as the woman suffrage movement. However, we also consider women’s participation in movements that do not outwardly appear to be movements about women’s rights, such as the Civil Rights Movement. 

In addition to exploring the scope and contours of women’s activism, the course will emphasize on four key themes: 1) how cultural understandings of gender may have shaped these movements; 2) tensions between ideas of women’s rights that emphasized equality of the sexes and those that emphasized difference; 3) the question of whether you can write a universal history of women or need to write separate histories along lines such as race, class, region, religion, sexual preference, and more; 4) power relations not only between men and women but among women. 


SHORT READINGS will be available on Canvas. 
Crow Dog, Mary. Lakota Woman.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 1968.
Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965.
Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

OTHER COURSE MATERIALS: Films, photographs, original historical documents


Short assignments                                                               10% total      

Unit quizzes (3)                                                                     10% total

Unit in-class essay exams (3)                                            60% total

Take Home Final                                                                  20%

Extra credit   1-2 points added to final grade

Attendance: Unexcused absences beyond those allowed result in a point deduction from final grade.

AMS 321 • Women Of Color Feminisms In US

31162 • Guidotti-Hernandez, Nicole
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as AFR 372C, MAS 374, WGS 340)
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This relational ethnic studies course examines the most influential works produced by those women of color whose political and cultural investments in a collaborative, cross-cultural critique of U.S. imperialism and heteronormativity has been called “US Third World Feminism.”  In order to situate these works historically, materially, and culturally, we will also read works by key “third world” anti-colonialist writers.  In addition to developing a facility with historical and contemporary discourses of nationalism, gender, race, sexuality, and class, our goal will be to engage in a sustained and critical exploration of the limits and promises of “US Third World Feminism.”  What is “third world” about this feminism, and what is gained by using this politically fraught label?  How does its discourse carry over into everyday practice?  How do the documents produced under its name draw from the anti-colonial writings of “third world” writers?  What is the relationship between this mode of feminism and more recent elaborations of global and transnational feminisms? 



Alarcón,,  Norma, Kaplan, Caren and Moallem, Minoo. Between Woman and Nation 

Anzaldúa, Gloria and Moraga, Cherríe eds. This Bridge Called My Back 

Davis, Angela. The Angela Davis Reader. 

Ehrenreich, Barbara  and Annette Fuentes Women in the Global Factory 

Límon, Graciela. In Search of Bernabé 

Mohanty, Chandra .Feminism Without Borders. 

Peña, Milagros. Latina Activists Across Borders 



La Operación 

Black Skins/White Masks 



25% Final Paper 

5% Prospectus and Bibliography 

30% Long Papers 

10% Presentation of final paper 

30% Attendance and Class Participation

AMS 321E • African American Hist To 1860

31175 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR 357C, HIS 357C)
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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.

AMS 325 • US Music/Religious Identity

31185 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PHR 2.114
(also listed as MUS 376G, R S 346)
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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 327 • Evangelical Christianity

31187 • Seales, Chad
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.204
(also listed as R S 346)
show description

This course is an introduction to the intellectual and social sources of evangelical Protestant traditions in the United States. It examines varieties of evangelical beliefs and practices. In the first section of the course, we address the self-professed ethical struggle of evangelicals to be in but not of the world.  We historically contextualize that struggle, tracing its more recent expressions back to the categorical rupture between sacred “selves” and profane “society” that was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation.  In our second section of readings, we study how evangelicals continually work out this ethical tension in their everyday lives.  Surveying a range of themes, including science, sexuality, politics, and environmentalism, we examine how evangelicals have defined themselves in opposition to secular society but also have engaged the secular in an effort to convert souls, manage personal behavior, and transform American society in their image of Christian community. By the end of this course, students should be able to defensibly define “who is an American evangelical.”  They should be able to construct a broad historical narrative of nineteenth and twentieth century American evangelicalism.  And they should be able to use this narrative to evaluate evangelical encounters in the twenty-first century with at least one sub-type of American culture listed on the syllabus.



Mark Noll, American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction (2001).


Additional readings posted on Blackboard.



Attendance/Participation 15%

Reading Response Journal 25%

Short Essays 25%

Final Essay 35%

AMS 355 • Main Curr Of Amer Cul To 1865

31190 • Meikle, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 220
(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 370 • Amer Cul Hist Alchl/Drugs

31230 • Smith, Mark
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
(also listed as HIS 350R)
show description

Most scholars of alcohol and drug use have concentrated upon its physiological aspects.  It is clear that addiction and craving have a physical and, in many cases, even a genetic basis.  Yet, as many anthropologists and sociologists have pointed out, cultures directly affect the types of drugs used, how they are used, and for what purposes.  In addition, one can examine a culture's drug use and attitude toward it and often discover a great deal about its functioning and values.  Thus, drug use is not only a cultural product but also a key social and historical descriptor.  In this course, we will study both how American culture affected the use of drugs and attitudes toward them and how these serve as keys to the changing American intellectual, social, and political landscape.  We will especially concentrate on alcohol, the opiates, marijuana, metamphetamines, and crack cocaine. We will note that the War on Drugs has been taking place for many years.

Topics to be considered include proliferation of alcohol abuse in the early Republic, the fight over cigarettes, the Prohibition movement, criminalization of drugs, Alcoholics Anonymous and treatment, medical response to addiction, and the drug war and the issue of legalization.

AMS 370 • Amer Popular Cul, 1682-Pres

31245 • Davis, Janet
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
show description

In 1682, the first American bestseller was published. Audiences in the American colonies and in England devoured Mary Rowlandsonʼs breathless account of her harrowing experiences as a captive of the Narragansett and Nipmunk Indians during King Philipʼs War in The Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Taking a long, historical view, this course explores the evolution of American popular culture and its relationship to national consolidation (and at times, disunion) over the last 330 years. Starting with oral, religious, print, and live performance traditions during the colonial, early national, and antebellum periods, this course will consider the cultural impact of new technologies such as steam power, the railroad, photography, recorded sound, celluloid, the electronic transmission of moving images (i.e. television), and the internet. Throughout the semester, we will stress the centrality of race, gender, and class in shaping the production and content of popular culture, modes of popular representation, the composition of popular audiences, types of reception, and the ways in which people have used pop cultural forms as a claim to citizenship.

AMS 370 • American Disasters

31240 • Cordova, Cary
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A
show description

As the popularity of Hollywood disaster films can attest, Americans relish the spectacle of disaster.  This course will examine “natural” and human-made disasters as key turning points in American history.  Whether fire, hurricane, toxin, or epidemic, moments of crisis frequently heighten the visibility of race, gender, and class inequalities, as well as propel, or retard social change.  This class requires students to question what is “natural,” to analyze the relationship between race and environmental policies, and to develop a historical view of disasters and American identities and transformations.  This class will engage with the politics of disasters, analyzing environmental contexts, grassroots activism, legislative policies, and approaches toward commemoration.  Possible topics to be covered include the Triangle Factory fire of 1911, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Love Canal, Three Mile Island, AIDS, the Los Angeles Riots of 1965 and 1992, The Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, and Hurricane Katrina (2005). 



Class participation:            25%

Group Presentation:           10%

Paper #1:                        15%

Paper #2:                        20%

Final Paper:                      30%


Possible Texts

Eric Klinenberg, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago

Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Erik Larson, Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History 

Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight Los Angeles

Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil’s Highway: A True Story

Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, 25th Anniversary Edition

Julie Sze, Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice

AMS 370 • American Food

31235 • Bendele, Marvin
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM 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 • Civil Rts Mov From Comp Persp

31200 • Green, Laurie
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM JES A209A
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R)
show description

This writing intensive seminar allows students already familiar 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 large course. We concentrate primarily on African American and Mexican American struggles for civil rights, but also address the Asian American and Native American movements. Using a comparative approach allows for unique insights into the complex histories of places like Texas, California, and elsewhere. Students consider the distinctiveness of each movement while also viewing them in relation to each other. We also explore how historical understandings of race, national origin, gender and class impacted these movements. This comparative perspective encourages new understandings of mid-twentieth century U.S., more broadly speaking.

In the first part of the class, students concentrate on readings, discussions, and brief assignments. Students then deepen their understandings of the civil rights era by researching and writing a 5,000 word research paper about a specific struggle at the University of Texas or Austin. These original research papers are based on archival collections at the University of Texas, newspapers, and published scholarly works. Students work closely with the professor to identify topics and sources. As a class, we also work on improving students’ writing skills, and the project is broken down into a series of shorter assignments leading to the final draft. Most of this history has received next to no historical attention, so this research has significance beyond the classroom. At the end of the course, students thus present papers in a conference-like format.

Readings (Please note: these are possible texts, the final syllabus will include fewer texts.):
Biondi, Martha. The Black Revolution on Campus

Goldstone, Dwonna. Integrating the 40 Acres: The 50-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas

Green, Laurie. Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle

Maeda, Daryl J. Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America
Oropeza, Lorena. ¡Raza Si! ¡Guerra No! Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era

Phillips, Kimberley L. War! What is it Good For? Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th edition) NOTE: Be sure you purchase the correct edition.

10% Participation (completion of readings, participation in class discussion)

15% Archives activity
60% Research paper. This is a cumulative grade based on a series of assignments from the initial planning stages to final submission of the papers.

15% Presentation
There is an attendance policy; unexcused absences over a certain number result in point deductions from the final grade.

AMS 370 • Coastal Commun In Early Amer

31205 • Kamil, Neil
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.124
(also listed as HIS 350R)
show description

Most of America’s earliest settlements were coastal communities.  Indeed, in human terms, bodies of water: oceans, lakes, rivers, bays, sounds, tidal pools, ponds, and streams helped define both the extent and limits of local, regional, and ultimately global history and culture.  Water simultaneously connected and separated through the movements of highly mobile populations which communicated through exploration, war, commerce, migration, and travel along routes sometimes millennia old during a time when travel by boat was far simpler than overland travel.  Hence, American history can be understood within the broad, transoceanic web of human geography called Atlantic history and culture.  The purpose of this course is to explore the social and cultural history of American coastal communities from an interactive perspective.  Ultimately, then, we are concerned with water and water-mediated culture as fundamental modes of contact and communication in the pre-industrial world.

Selected readings will include: H. Magnusson and H. Palsson, The Vinland Sagas (on the Vikings); M. Kurlansky, Cod, N. Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whale Ship Essex; and Marcus Rediker’s book on pirates, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.  

This course meets substantial writing requirements.  Students will read about a book a week or substantial articles from a multidisciplinary list.  One film will be shown.  Attendance is mandatory.  Students must contribute regularly to class discussion and turn in brief (2 page maximum) weekly writing assignments analyzing the reading for that week.  These readings should not be considered standard book reviews; rather, they take the form of focused essays about problems, issues, and questions that the student wants to ask in the seminar, so they are intended to help facilitate discussion.  A 5-page final essay will propose an article to be included in a (fictitious) collection of essays about the major themes to emerge from this course.  Grades: weekly papers (50%); discussion (30%); final essay (20%).

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

31210 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 2.128
(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

AMS 370 • Latina/O Spirituality

31215 • Gonzalez-Martin, Rachel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GWB 1.130
(also listed as MAS 374, R S 346)
show description


This course introduces students to the religious and spiritual practices of diverse Latina/o populations living in the United States. Students will work with primary and secondary texts, ethnographic film and museum exhibitions to examine the diverse ways in which Latina/o communities’ create spiritual meaning in their lives. It will examine the religious and spiritual practices from the vantage point of transition and change as a way of understanding larger aspects of cultural and social change within 21st century U.S. Latina/o publics. This course incorporates materials and theoretical approaches relevant to multiple diasporic Latina/o communities including Afro Latino and Indigenous migrant communities. Students will learn about the diverse aspects of Latina/o spiritual, from the history of Latina/o Catholicism, to influences of West African ritual, to the rise of Latina/o Muslim conversion in the United States. It will expressly look at cultural productions from the vantage points of gender and race politics, and incorporate the spiritual tradition of women, queer communities, and various “othered” Latina/o identifying community members. 



  • Aponte, Edward David. 2012. Santo!: Varieties of Latina/o Spirituality. New York: Orbis.  
  • Baez, Edward J. "Spirituality and the Gay Latino Client." Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 4, no. 2 (1996): 69-81.  
  • Daniel, Yvonne. 2005. Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble. Urbana: University of Illinois Press Otero, Solimar. 2014.  
  • Yemoja: Gender, Sexuality, and Creativity in the Latina/o and Afro-Atlantic Diasporas. Albany: State University of New York Press.  
  • Perez, Laura E. 2007. Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities. Durham: Duke University Press  
  • Rodriguez, Roberto C. 2014. Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas. Tucson: University of Arizona Press  
  • Romero Cash, Marie. 1998. Living Shrines: Home Altars of New Mexico. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press 



  • Minute Papers/Attendance 10%  
  • 3 Film/Art-Exhibit Reviews 15%  
  • Project Proposal & Annotated Bibliography 20%  
  • Midterm Exam 20%  
  • Final Exam 15%  
  • Final Project 20%

AMS 370 • Lit Of Black Politics

31250 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM GAR 3.116
(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 • Puerto Rico In Crisis

31220 • Jimenez, Monica
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 304
(also listed as AFR 374E, HIS 363K, MAS 374)
show description

Course Description:  

This course will provide a history of the island’s relationship with the United States focusing in particular on questions of law and capitalism. The course will center around two questions: What is Puerto Rico to the United States? And how did we get to the present moment of crisis? In answering these questions we will focus in particular in the ways that law has racialized islanders and conceived them as unprepared and undeserving of rights. This conception has thus shaped the way that capitalism has worked as a force in shaping the islands possibilities throughout the 120 years of its relationship with the US. 


Readings (subject to change): 

  • Jorge Duany, Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know, (New York: Oxford UP, 2017). 

  • Reconsidering the Insular Cases: The Past and Future of the American Empire, Gerald Nueman and Tomiko Brow-Nagin, eds. (Caimbridge: Harvard UP, 2015). 

  • Charles Venator-Santiago, Puerto Rico and the Origins of US Global Empire: The Disembodied Shade, (New York: Routlidge, 2015). 

  • Joanna Poblete, Islanders in the Empire: Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai’I, (Urbana: University of Illinois, 2017). 

  • Kelvin Santiago-Valles, “ ‘Our Race Today [is] the Only Hope for the World:’ An 

African Spaniard as Chieftain of the Struggle Against ‘Sugar Slavery’ in Puerto Rico, 1926-1934” Caribbean Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1 (2007), pp. 107-140. 

  • Gervasio Luis Garcia, “I am the Other: Puerto Rico in the Eyes of North Americans, 1898,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jun., 2000), pp. 39-64. 

  • Solsirée del Moral, “Negotiating Colonialism ‘Race,’ Class, and Education in EarlyTwentieth-Century Puerto Rico,” in Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano, eds. Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009.) 

  • Eileen J. Findlay, “Love in the Tropics: Marriage, Divorce, and the Construction of Benevolent Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 1898-1910,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of the U.S. and Latin American Relations, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.) 

  • Ellen Walsh, “The Not-So-Docile Puerto Rican: Students Resist Americanization, 1930,”Centro Journal, Vol. XXVI, No. I (Spr. 2014), pp. 148-171.  



Grade breakdown (subject to change): 

  • Attendance and class participation (20%) 

  • News Journal (20%): Given that the history of Puerto Rico in crises is quite literally being written daily, an essential part of this course will be to keep track of the events on the island as they relate to the topics of our course. Students will explore the ways in which media sources report on and interpret contemporary issues and events in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican community in the United States. Each week you will read a minimum of two articles about PR and Puerto Ricans and craft a brief (3-4 sentence) written summary of them in your own words.  

  • One of the articles must explore the relationship between the island and the United States (e.g. through politics, economics, migration); the other article can report any aspect of current life in PR or for mainland based Puerto Ricans. Please note the title, date and source of your newspaper articles and include a web address. 

  • The articles and summaries will be kept in an on-going journal and collected four times during the semester.  

  • Sources should be legitimate media/ news sources and not simply entertainment or opinion blogs or websites. Acceptable examples include NY Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, BBC, Guardian, etc. Sources in Spanish are acceptable. Bring your journals to each class. We will begin each meeting with a brief news update. 

  • Please come to class prepared to discuss the current events on the island as these will feature prominently in our course.  


  • Short Paper (20%) – One 4-5 page paper 


  • In-class examination (20%) or 2nd short paper (will depend on size of class)  


  • Final examination (20%)

AMS 370 • Rethnkng 1950s Rebls/Rejcts

31225 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
show description

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 • Tejana Cultural Studies

31226 • Rosas, Lilia
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:30PM CAL 419
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 340)
show description

Course Description:

With the publication of Entre Guadalupe y Malinche, editors Inés Hernández-Ávila and Norma Elia Cantú solidify their mandate to legitimize Tejan@/x Studies as an arena worthy of ongoing research, study, and comprehension. Furthermore, they center the narratives of Tejanas as a necessary part of the conversation to understand this emergent field of inquiry and integral to Chicana Studies. In this course, we investigate the history of Tejanas to reaffirm and reclaim their place and role in the histories of Native Americans, woman, Chican@/xs, Greater Mexico, and the United States. We will further explore how transfronterizismo and transregionalism complicate this history. Last, we will contemplate how their stories are fundamental to illuminating the struggles, resistance, and liberation of Chicanas, xicanindias, mestizas, and afromexicanas from precontact to decolonization.



Acosta, Teresa Palomo and Ruthe Winegarten. Las Tejanas: 300 Years of History. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.

Brown, Ariana. Three-headed Serpent: Digital Chapbook. 2016.

González, Gabriela. Redeeming La Raza: Transborder Modernity, Race, Respectability, and Rights. New York: Oxford University, 2018.

Hernández-Ávila, Inés and Normal Elia Cantú, eds. Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016.

Nájera, Jennifer R. The Borderlands of Race: Mexican Segregation in A South Texas Town. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.

Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009.

Pérez, Emma. Forgetting the Alamo, or, Blood. Memory: A Novel. Austin: University of. Texas Press, 2009. Vargas, Deborah R. Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.



  • Attendance and Participation 15%
  • Reading Journal 10%
  • Research Proposal and Bibliography 5%
  • Primary Document Analysis 10%
  • Rough Draft of Final Paper 10%
  • Oral Presentation 20%
  • Final Paper 30%

AMS 370 • Urban Slavery In The Americas

31227 • Canizares, Jorge
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM PAR 208
(also listed as AFR 374E, HIS 350L, LAS 366)
show description

Black slavery in the American South was just one type of slavery. It resembled forms of slavery in the integrated sugar plantations of the early- modern and nineteenth-century Caribbean and Brazil. Yet in the American South, plantation slavery did not rely on the Atlantic slave trade. Urban slavery differed from plantation slavery. In Spanish America, for example, Africans were brought as slaves only to become within a generation “settlers” of city-ports (merchants, stevedores, shipbuilders, tailors) and citizens of towns. The first settlers of North America were not Puritans and Pilgrims but Afro American manumitted slaves in places like Florida.  Not all slaves were black Africans. The colonial states of Carolina and Georgia, for example, captured and exported tens of thousands of Native American into the Caribbean as slaves.  In the wake of the epidemiological devastation brought about by European diseases, Native Americans created new communities often by raiding neighboring enemy groups and incorporating outsiders as slaves (or family).  This course will examine the history of the many slave trades in the Americas. We will rely on readings that are primarily biographical in nature.
This is a reading and writing intensive seminar.  You will receive training on how to identify the argument of books and chapters within books. You will improve basic writing skills and develop new ones, particularly on how to organize and justify a research proposal. You will also learn how to use citations appropriately to back up your arguments.
Texts (a monograph per week) some examples:
Karl Jacoby The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire
Robert Harms, The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade
Jon F. Sensbach. Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World
Weekly papers: 70% grade
Final paper: 30 % grade