American Studies
American Studies

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30515 • Gaughen, Brendan
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CMA 2.306
CD HI (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. Using a variety of sources and methods, this course takes as its focal point American attitudes regarding place, landscape, community, nature, and the physical environment as demonstrative of social values both historic and current, dominant and resistant. This course examines three major conceptual categories connecting the North American continent and the people who have inhabited it--landscape and the physical environment, people and place, and community and place-making--demonstrating great transformations in American society, culture, and everyday life, while also showing main currents and trajectories over time.

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30510 • Gaughen, Brendan
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 0.102
CD HI (also listed as HIS 315G)
show description

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. Using a variety of sources and methods, this course takes as its focal point American attitudes regarding place, landscape, community, nature, and the physical environment as demonstrative of social values both historic and current, dominant and resistant. This course examines three major conceptual categories connecting the North American continent and the people who have inhabited it--landscape and the physical environment, people and place, and community and place-making--demonstrating great transformations in American society, culture, and everyday life, while also showing main currents and trajectories over time.

AMS 311S • Americans Abroad

30517 • Butterfield, Leah
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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Throughout U.S. history, Americans have defined, questioned and reworked their sense of national identity by traveling outside of the nation’s borders. From Audre Lorde to Anthony Bourdain, this course will consider various Americans who have traveled abroad, looking at how their voyages have been imagined, experienced and represented in literature and popular culture. We will approach these figures and journeys from multiple perspectives, asking questions about how international travel influences individuals as well as local, national and global communities. A key goal of this course will be to consider the ways that Americans with differing levels of privilege have approached international travel. We will question the ways that gender, sexuality, race, class, age, ability and citizenship status shape not only which individuals are easily able to leave the country, but also how those individuals experience travel. We will consider tourism alongside other modes of travel, including travel on behalf of social causes, in search of knowledge, or travel in service of governmental or corporate agendas. Themes that we will return to throughout the course will be cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, consumerism, mobility and identity.

The course will begin in the mid-nineteenth century, looking at the ways technological advances made international tourism feasible for increasing numbers of Americans, resulting in humorous travelogues like Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad. Moving into the twentieth century, we’ll address the destruction wrought by the World Wars, as well as the liberatory potential of movements such as WWII’s “Double V Campaign,” where black Americans fought for the dual victories of freedom abroad and freedom at home. During the last third of the course, we will consider international travel towards the end of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, looking at travel TV shows and best-selling memoirs like Eat, Pray, Love for what they can tell us about the interplay between international travel and American identity.

AMS 311S • Gendering Asian America

30513 • Remoquillo, Andrea
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
CDWr (also listed as AAS 310)
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In this course, students will study representations of gender and sexuality in Asian America from the Chinese Exclusion Era to the 21st century. Students will be taught how to study race and subject formation through an intersectional and transnational feminist lens, thereby encouraging a more complex understanding of how race is always-already constituted by gender, sexuality, and class. For Asians in America, their belongingness and struggles with inclusion/exclusion have been readily predicated on racialized and gendered representations created by Euro- American discourses. This course will (re)introduce students to key moments of Asian American history — spanning from Chinese Exclusion, Japanese internment camps, the dropping of the atomic bombs, the Vietnam War, and more — while focusing on how these historical moments were represented to the American public. Rather than taking these representations at face value, however, I urge students to ask: how does time, place, gender, and sexuality shape our understandings of Asians in America? How have gender and sexuality been used as a means to marginalize Asians/Asian Americans, and how have individuals themselves engaged with these concepts as tools for subject formation and national belongingness? These are the questions that frame Gender in Asian America, and will guide students as they deconstruct the history of making Asian America.

AMS 311S • Rock Music/Representation

30518 • Grover, Katherine
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
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What are the “roles” of rock music and culture? Who gets to be a guitar god, and why? Where do artists like Selena, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Lady Gaga belong in rock history? What is rock music, and who plays it?

This course considers 20th and 21st century American rock music and culture as a site for ongoing struggles over identity, belonging, and power. Using the framework of “roles,” students will explore how race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and ability have shaped how various groups of people engage with rock music and culture and what insights these engagements provide about “the American experience” over time. While examining rock’s players, students will also consider the roles of different rock media and institutions such as MTV, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone magazine. Students will analyze music videos, write their own album reviews, and contribute to a weekly class playlist.

AMS 311S • Vice In American Culture

30519 • Barber, Judson
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 436A
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The regulation or eradication of certain individual actions has been an issue of primary importance to American society since the earliest colonial arrivals in the 17th century. Though the boundaries of what behaviors have been considered “vices” continually changes over time, responses to those behaviors provide an insightful glimpse into the priorities of American culture as it has evolved from the 1620s to the present. In this course we will examine the interplay between vices, their prohibition, and their consequences—looking across an array of public debates, legislation, and popular culture to explore issues including (but not limited to) idleness, gambling, drug use, alcohol consumption, and sexuality. In addition to relying upon both primary and secondary historical texts, we will look to popular media such as film, television, literature, memoir, and geography to understand the culture of control that pervades across traditional divisions of race, class, and gender in America. By the end of this course, students will understand how culture and policy inform one another and how that cyclical relationship often targets the behaviors of raced and classed populations. They will be able to critically analyze primary sources and construct original arguments about vices, their function, and status as a focal point in constructing American culture and society. Students will complete the course well-equipped to analyze the social world and produce historically grounded and logically sound arguments about morality, behavior, propriety, and culture as they change over time.

AMS 311S • Visions Of Utopia

30516 • Brumberg-Kraus, Zoe
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 436A
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What would Karl Marx have to say about Wakanda? Can reading Plato change the way we watch Star Trek? You might be familiar with the dystopias of 1984 or Brave New World, but did you know that in 19th-century America, utopian fiction was all the rage? In this course, we will explore the concept of utopia in fiction. We begin the course by reading some of the political philosophy that inspired this “golden age” of utopian fiction. You will read the classic texts Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy and Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The rest of the course will focus on utopian themes in literature, film, theory, and television from the 1890s to 2000s that fall outside of this genre.


You will grapple with the blurred lines between fiction and idealism; racism, sexism, and other prejudices in “equitable” worlds; personal versus social utopias; what culture and identity look like in utopias; and the often unclear distinctions between dystopias and utopias. The utopias we explore are political and personal. They are all explorations of and responses to the utopian visions and (failed) experiments of radical political thought.

AMS 315 • African American Culture

30512 • Walter, Patrick
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM RLP 0.128
CD (also listed as AFR 301)
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Please check back for updates.

AMS 315 • Asian American Film History

30530 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 1.102
CD (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. 

AMS 315 • Drug History In The Americas

30520 • Vasquez, Antonio
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 136
CDGC (also listed as HIS 306N, 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 • Intro To Native Am Histories

30525 • Bsumek, Erika
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM GAR 0.102
CD HI (also listed as HIS 317L)
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This survey course will examine the history of Native American societies in North America from the earliest records to the present. We will explore the diverse ways in which Indian societies were structured, the different ways that indigenous peoples have responded to colonization and the complex history of European/Indian relations. Attention will be paid to political, social, economic and cultural transformation of Native American societies over time. We will cover, among other things, the following topics: disease, religion, trade, captivity narratives, warfare, diplomacy, removal, assimilation, education, self-determination, and gaming.

Possible readings to include:

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


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


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


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


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


The final grade breakdown is as follows:

Midterm: 100 points

Paper: 50 points

Final exam: 100 points

Book Review: 25 points

Reading quizzes: 10 points each

In class participation: 25 points.

AMS 321 • Natv Amer Culs North Of Mex

30540 • Sturm, Circe
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 336L)
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This upper-division undergraduate course examines contemporary articulations of indigenous cultures and practices in the U.S. and Canada. Because the present cannot be understood without understanding historically how we got to here, this course includes histories that inform the contemporary. We will cover critical developments that shape and are shaped by late 20th century and early 21st century indigenous life. Issues include but are not limited to the American Indian Movement; IdleNoMore; tribal and First Nation citizenship politics; the politics of race and indigeneity in the U.S. and Canada; gaming and other economic development strategies; residential schools; evolving kinship practices; indigenous feminisms, masculinities, and sexualities; indigenous environmental and religious politics (including how “environment” and “religion” are inadequate for understanding those politics!); food sovereignty movements; and science, technology and Native Americans. Course readings come from anthropology, U.S. and Canadian indigenous studies, history, and cultural studies. We will read scholarly work, blogs, and other popular literature. The course features several guest speakers, some via Skype.

AMS 321 • Politics Of Memory: Ger/US

30535 • Laubenthal, Barbara
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.102
GC (also listed as EUS 348, GOV 365N, GSD 360)
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What role do narratives of the past play in current politics and policies in Germany and the United States? This course addresses this question by engaging with key theoretical and empirical debates from the burgeoning research field of politics of the past. We will look at the role that memories play in German and US politics today from a comparative perspective, and with several case studies, we will ask questions such as:  how are transnational political events like the Second World War, the Cold War and historical immigration movements articulated and used in current political debates? How do narratives of the past reproduce or challenge contemporary power relations? To what extent do political actors and institutions construct particular historical narratives that serve their current interests? In answering these questions, the course will put a specific focus on the role of memory in German and US immigration politics.

The course aims to enable students to understand central theories and concepts of memory studies, and to apply them in an empirical case study. At the end of the course, students will have a thorough theoretical and empirical understanding on the ways in which memory and politics intersect both as research fields and as political practices in contemporary societies.



Assmann, Aleida/Conrad, Sebastian (eds.) (2010): Memory in a Global Age. Discourses, Practices and Trajectories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Halbwachs, Maurice (1980): The Collective Memory. New York: Harper and Row.

Kleist, Olaf/Glynn, Irial (eds.) (2012): History, Memory and Migration. Perceptions of the Past and the Politics of Incorporation, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nebow, Richard N./Kansteiner, Wulf/Fogu, Claudio (2006) (eds.): The Politics of Memory in Post-war Europe. Durham: Duke University Press.

Olick, Jeffrey (2007): The Politics of Regret. On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility. London/New York: Routledge.

Torpey, John. 2006. Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 

Wittlinger, Ruth (2011): The Merkel’s Government Politics of the Past, German Politics and Society 26 (4), 9-27.

AMS 321 • Race/Gender/Surveillance

30545 • Browne, Simone
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 0.130
CDE (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 (24South 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.

AMS 321E • African American Hist To 1860

30555 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 1.126
CD HI (also listed as AFR 357C, HIS 357C)
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This upper division course examines the history of African Americans 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 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; 2). to heighten historical consciousness 3), encourage critical thinking and analysis of historical material; and. 4) to recognizing the difference between what might have happened and what actually happened to blacks, both slave and free blacks during the age of slavery to the Civil War.



Franklin, John Hope and Higginbotham, E. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans

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

Horton, James, Horton, L., In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, Protest among Northern Free Blacks,


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

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

Washington, Harriet A., Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black

             Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. 


EXTRA CREDIT    (Museum Visit Report)       5%  

EXAM I (take-home )                                      30%

MOVIE/BOOK CRITICAL REVIEW                     5%

RESEARCH PAPER                                            30%

EXAM 2                                                             30%

CLASS PARTICIPATION                                   5-10%

AMS 321Q • Writing For Black Performance

30565 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM CMA 3.114
CDWr (also listed as AFR 330F, CRW 325T, T D 357T)
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This course will require students to write critical essays as well as theatrical pieces about the performance of black identity in America. Participants will also give oral presentations and perform readings of their work using various African-American performance styles. Students will read texts that examine African-American performance, contemporary black identity, and expressive culture.




Brandi Wilkins Catanese, Problem of the Color[blind]: Racial Transgression and the Politics of Black Performance

Nicole R. Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness

E. Patrick Johnson, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and Other Works

Cherise Smith, Enacting Others

August Wilson, The Ground on Which I Stand

George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum

AMS 325 • American Art 1958-1985

30570 • Clarke, John
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM ART 1.110
VP (also listed as ARH 339M)
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Objectives or Goals of the Course:

1) To survey the major movements in American art from about 1958 to about 1985. We will look at the work of selected artists associated with the major trends, including pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, site-specific art, performance and body art, photorealism, patterning and decoration, and the varieties of figural art that emerged in the 1980s, including neoexpressionism, graffiti, narrative, and appropriation.

2) We will look at these trends from three principal points of view: their relationship to prior historical developments, their self-stated aims, and their treatment by contemporary critics.

3) To introduce you to contemporary critical writing.

AMS 325E • Music/Religus Identities US

30575 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 303
CDWr (also listed as R S 346M)
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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 355 • Main Curr Of Amer Cul To 1865

30585 • Meikle, Jeffrey
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM BUR 216
CD HI (also listed as HIS 355N)
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This lecture-discussion course traces U.S. cultural history from the time of the Puritan migration of 1630 through the end of the Civil War in 1865. The basic premise of the course is that cultural history can best be understood by examining common themes that, at any given historical moment, cut across many fields of human activity—such as work, domestic life, politics, religion, philosophy, science, literature, art, architecture, and popular culture. The course will explore such ongoing questions as the attempt to define a “new, young America” against an “old, decaying Europe”; the struggle to define individual identities and rights against the force of a cohesive, organic community; the significance of the frontier, of slavery, and of race to the development of American society; the impact of evangelical Protestantism; the concept of an American “mission”; and the rise of regionalism and pluralism in opposition to the mainstream. The course will cultivate a sense of historical empathy as a means of understanding early Americans whose intentions and activities were utterly unlike ours, but will also suggest ways in which we have inherited aspects of their social issues and cultural concerns. The format of the course consists of lectures (with questions and discussion encouraged) and several designated discussion periods. Exams require knowledge of lectures and required readings. Not all readings will be discussed in class. Students are expected to be able to integrate material from all sources. Prior knowledge of basic U.S. history is recommended. Required written work consists of two in-class exams (the first counts 20% of the course grade, the second 35%) and a cumulative final exam (45%). Exams contain essay questions and short identifications. Final grades are reported with pluses and minuses. No make-up exams are permitted except in cases of documented personal emergency. Attendance will be taken daily through a sign-in sheet. It is your responsibility to make sure you sign in before you leave the classroom each day. A student who misses no more than two classes will have the earned final course grade increased by one degree (for example, C+ to B-). A student who misses five or more classes will have the earned final course grade decreased by one degree (for example, B- to C+). Excused absences are awarded only in the case of documented personal emergency or by prior approval for educational conferences, organized athletic competition, religious holidays, or similar reasons. Use of phones, whether for calls, texting, or Internet access, is prohibited. Use of laptops and tablets for Internet access is distracting to other students and is prohibited. Anyone violating this policy will be asked to turn off the device, and at the second offense to leave class for that day. If you intend to miss a class or exam in order to observe a religious holiday, please notify me at least a week in advance and you will be given an opportunity to complete missed work within a reasonable time after the absence. 2 The course is flagged for Cultural Diversity. You are expected to abide by the University Code of Conduct and the Student Honor Code, both stated here: “The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.” “As a student of The University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.” If you have any uncertainty as to what constitutes cheating, please see the official eleven-point definition at Cheating will not be tolerated and is grounds for course failure. The University provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-6441 TTY. If you already know you will be requesting an accommodation, please submit your letter to me during the first two weeks of the semester. Please attend to the following statement from the Office of Campus Safety and Security regarding emergencies: “Occupants of buildings on the UT campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside. Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors.”


Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed

Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale

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

Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

AMS 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

30590 • Beasley, Alex
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 136
CD HI (also listed as HIS 356K)
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This course explores how different communities organized around identifiers such as race, ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, and ideology have negotiated with and contributed to changing conceptions of American identity. This course follows a rough chronology of the past 150 years, demonstrating changes and consistencies in social attitudes regarding individual, communal, and national identities, revealing a century and a half of political and social conflicts that complicate narratives of national consensus.

AMS 370 • Amer Cul Hist Alchl/Drugs

30600 • Smith, Mark
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
IIWr HI (also listed as HIS 350R)
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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 • American Utopias

30594 • Gaughen, Brendan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM BUR 436A
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What do utopian socialist communities of 150 years ago have to do with the gated suburbs of today? What salacious things were going on in the Oneida Community in the second half of the nineteenth century? Why is the City on a Hill metaphor so persistent? Part geography and part intellectual and social history, this course explores some of the most lasting cultural forces in American thought and practice from the colonial era through the present – belief that America is an ideal place and the recurring impulse to form separate societies by those who have believed America to be an irreparably flawed place. Paying close attention to historic attempts (and failures) to create “perfect” social, spiritual, and physical communities both real and imagined, this course investigates ideas about society, inclusion and exclusion, and American exceptionalism, finding that these communities tell us as much about the beliefs of their adherents as they do about prevailing attitudes and values at various points in American history.

This course uses a variety of primary and secondary texts spanning the colonial era to the postindustrial era to critically investigate historical ideas about community, landscape, nature, property, family, labor, society, optimism, perfection, and other concepts that have influenced the development of America and facilitated the creation and maintenance of various communities within.

AMS 370 • Arts/Artifacts In Americas

30629 • Kamil, Neil
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.108
IIWr HI (also listed as HIS 350R)
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Material culture is a term borrowed by a number of disciplines from archaeology that refers to all categories of historical artifacts—things from artistic masterpieces to the lowly stool; from architectural monuments to hedge rows—that are studied by historians in the hope of revealing their use as overlooked evidence of past lives that reach beyond the written text.


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


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



2 page book review due weekly; 50%

Final 5 page project; 20%

Class Participation; 30%

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30625 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.204
CDWr HI (also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R)
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Within the construct of African American Business history, race, American capitalism, 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 and American capitalism.

Yet, during the “Golden Age” of black business in the early 20th century, there were examples of African Americans participating in the development of enterprises that paralleled mainstream white business activity in Industrial America such as the first African American car manufacturing company, C.R. Patterson & Sons. The Ohio-based company was founded by ex-slave in 1865 and manufactured carriages. In 1916, the founder’s son Frederick Douglass Patterson, built his first car, the Patterson-Greenfield. below...

Early advertisements showed the Patterson Car company’s marketing brand announced:  “If it’s a Patterson, it’s a good one.” Also the company said their cars be more efficient than the Model T. The cars cost about $850 each while a Model T cost $620.and reached speeds up to 50 miles per hour, while a Model T cost $620 and averaged 20  miles per hour. The Patterson Company could not compete with Ford’s assembly-line production and eventually stopped production of the Patterson-Greenfield car.  In the 1920s, the Patterson Company became a subcontractor manufacturing busses for Ford. 

See Juliet E. K. Walker, The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship ((New York/London:  Macmillan/Prentice Hall International, 1998; 2nd Printing,  Macmillan, 1999), 203, 239. 262

By the 1930s, most black business sales were limited to black consumers.  In the Civil Rights era, black hair care manufacturers expanded into million dollar enterprises. Beginning with the post-Civil Rights and Black Power eras, the only black businesses that profited from multi-million dollars sales in American’s mainstream consumer market were  those  enterprises that commodified  (sold) black cultural expressions, primarily in music, sports and cable TV media enterprises. Ironically, with few exceptions most of the profits derived from the sale of black culture go to white corporate America. 


Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers the super-rich hip hop entrepreneurs,  superstar black athletes and the cable media billionaire moguls 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?  Indeed,  also, why and how has the criminal element in the black community used modern business methods to succeed such as exemplified by the movie “American Gangster,“ which starred Denzel Washington.

Most important, the major question is why 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?



Eldridge, Lewis, Capitalism:  The New Segregation

Lewis, Reginald, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun:  How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar

                                               Business Empire

Peebles, R. Donahue, The Peebles Principles: Tales and Tactics from an Entrepreneur's Life Winning Deals                                                                                                             

                            Succeeding in Business, and Creating a Fortune from Scratch

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

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

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

      Course Packet chapters 6-11 or 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 • History Of Islam In The US

30630 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.132
CDWr HI (also listed as HIS 350R, ISL 372, R S 346)
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This course is intended to do three things: provide a brief introduction to Islam; define the role of Islam and views of Muslims in the early history of this country; and introduce students to major issues concerning contemporary American Muslims. The course surveys the presence of Islam in the United States from the colonial era to the twenty-first century through the use of historical documents and contemporary media. 

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


  • Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815
  • Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, A History of Islam in America
  • Jonathan Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short History
  • John Esposito, What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, first edition
  • John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, 4th edition
  • Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore, Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today
  • Michael Muhammad Knight, Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey
  • Xerox documents in a course packet
  • All books on sale at the University Co-op and on reserve at PCL
  • Xerox document packet available at Speedway in Dobie Mall and on reserve at PCL


  • Quiz 10%
  • First Essay 20%
  • Second Essay 20%
  • Biography peer-reviewed first draft, 5%
  • Biography final version 20%
  • Final Essay 20%

AMS 370 • Key Works In Amer Pop Music

30620 • Lewis, Randolph
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 436B
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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 • Latina/O Spirituality

30599 • Gonzalez-Martin, Rachel
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 128
CDIIWr (also listed as MAS 340S, R S 346)
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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

30615 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GDC 1.406
IIWr (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 • Radical Latinos

30610 • Cordova, Cary
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A
CDIIWr (also listed as MAS 374)
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The word “radical” encompasses a wide variety of meanings, including being different, “other,” new, extreme, awesome, and even of the Left. Radical suggests a “black sheep” quality, or an inability to fit into standard operating procedure. This course will use the word “radical” to examine the social positioning and history of Latinas/os in the United States. Specifically, we will use this framework to analyze the histories of Latinas/os who have gone against mainstream expectations, or who have challenged or critiqued the status quo in provocative and unexpected ways. The class will examine a wide range of radical representations, from “radical” activists like Emma Tenayuca, Luisa Moreno, Lolita Lebron, and Reies López Tijerina, to radical social movements like the Brown Berets and the Young Lords, to radical films like Salt of the Earth, to radical artists like Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Asco, and Raphael Montañez Ortiz. In looking at what is considered extreme, out of the ordinary, or unusual, the class is equally invested in what is appropriate, ordinary, traditional, and everyday.

AMS 385 • Cultural History Of US To 1865

30640 • Thompson, Shirley
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 436B
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This graduate seminar will introduce students to a range of primary literature and scholarly debates relevant to the cultural history of the United States from the colonial period through the Civil War. In addition to our own weekly seminar, students will attend the lectures given in the corresponding undergraduate course, “Main Currents of American Culture” which explores the theme: “America in Crisis.” In recent years, we Americans have increasingly defined ourselves in terms of our actions and reactions in particular moments of crisis. Events such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina have provoked debates about the substance of our national identity and character and have revealed deep fault lines in the bedrock of our society. Each week we will take as our starting point a particular moment of crisis, paying attention to the political, social and cultural forces that gave rise to the crisis as well as the dispersal, transformation and/or entrenchment of these forces in its aftermath. The critical moments we will focus on will include the King Philip’s War; The Trail of Tears; the “American Renaissance”; and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry among others. Our semester will culminate, of course, in the crisis of disunion and the Civil War. In this course, we will examine the British, (and to a lesser extent the Spanish and French) colonial legacies in the United States and social formations among the diverse groups of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans both within and on the borders of these colonies. We will consider many dimensions of American national identity: What is the proper relationship among the nation, the states, and individuals? How have Americans negotiated the tension between republicanism and democracy or between religious and secular world views? What would it mean to recognize slavery as one of the founding institutions of the United States? We will study the formation of American identity around differences of race, class, gender, religion, and region. We will study these developing identities through literature, political documents, painting, music, newspapers and other media.

AMS 390 • US Capitalism And Culture

30650 • Beasley, Alex
Meets M 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 436B
(also listed as HIS 392, WGS 393)
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This graduate seminar surveys key texts in the history of U.S. capitalism, paying particular attention to how capitalism has shaped American culture, and how American culture has shaped capitalism. We will place scholarship from the “new history of capitalism” into conversation with older texts to ask a series of questions: What is capitalism? What is culture? How does the “new history of capitalism” stem from and diverge from older histories of labor, business, and consumption? What is the relationship between the history of capitalism and American Studies? Our analysis will foreground scholars interrogating racial capitalism, settler colonialism, empire, gender, and sexuality, and we will also examine debates in the field about whether the “new history of capitalism” is or is not antagonistic to the so-called “cultural turn.”

AMS 391 • Cultl Lndscp And Ethnogr Meths

30660 • Lopez, Sarah
Meets W 9:30AM-12:30PM WMB 5.102
(also listed as ARC 388R, CRP 388)
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What is a cultural landscape and how can landscape and building elements narrate unique histories of people and place? This class is organized around the form, style, and context of buildings types and landscape elements—bungalows, shopping malls, libraries, courthouses, plazas, apartments, the grid—to examine 19th and 20th century U.S. built environment history, and provide students with a toolkit to conduct their own architectural and spatial analysis. We examine the American landscape as a composite of discrete building types and landscape elements that embody social, political, and cultural processes. Such examination allows us to explore the histories, identities, and cultural transformations of individuals who might not be included in canonical histories. This approach also spans multiple scales—from the assembling of the American grid to the building and inhabitation of individuals’ workers cottages. Students will be asked to use various cultural landscape methods to write a primary research paper on Austin’s built environment as text. Our methodological toolkit will include diagrams, architectural plans, town plats, aerial photographs, Sanborn maps, material analysis, city directories and interviewing.

AMS 391 • Intro To Digital Humanities

30665 • Clement, Tanya
Meets M 10:00AM-1:00PM PAR 104
(also listed as E 388M, HIS 381, INF 383H)
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This course is a hands-on introduction to Digital Humanities. This course directs students to better understand the digital in terms of the humanities and vice versa, including questions concerning Why digital: What knowledge systems are prioritized? What digital: What has been captured and what is not included? How digital: How have artifacts of study been produced, how structured, how made accessible? Who digital: Who is represented, by whose authority and for what audience? Where digital: Where does it come from? Where does it reside? Where does it go? When digital:  When is the digital at play? When is it in circulation?

This course will include learning to evaluate the nature of Digital Humanities artifacts, projects, scholarship, and teaching through a close (and critical) look at the infrastructural, institutional, and political issues involved in creating, analyzing, disseminating, and preserving digital resources in the humanities. As we look at the concepts, methods, and theories of digital humanities through the perspective of practice, we will not only consider how computational methods are being used to further humanities research and teaching but how the humanities can deepen our understanding of the digital. No experience is required, but an openness to learning basic programming is a must.

AMS 391 • Rsch In African American Hist

30680 • Berry, Daina
Meets M 12:00PM-3:00PM SRH 2.106
(also listed as AFR 385, HIS 389, WGS 393)
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This is a graduate research course for doctoral students interested in learning how to conduct archival research. Employing a thematic approach to historical studies, students will examine sources related to African American History, Slavery, and the Domestic Slave Trade housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The Natchez Trace Collection serves as the core collection researched in this course. With more than 450 linear feet of primary resources, this collection contains slaveholding records, personal papers, photographs, maps, newspapers, broadsides, diaries and other political, business and legal records related to slavery in the Gulf South states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Students will learn how to locate, transcribe, analyze, and interpret a variety of records culminating with a research paper based on primary documents at the end of the semester.


Students should familiarize themselves with the Briscoe website:


In addition to drawing upon the resources in this large collection, members of the library staff will make guest presentations on topics related to the research process, archival preservation, and how to navigate various complementary collections on campus and at other institutions. Students are expected to produce a research paper primarily based on the holdings in the Briscoe Center, in particular the Natchez Trace Collection, yet some may wish to consult other repositories on campus including the archival material from the Benson Center and Harry Ransom Center if their approved paper topics fall beyond the Gulf South. The professor expects this course to draw upon students interested in US slavery as well as comparative slavery in the Americas -broadly definedand welcomes scholars in a variety of fields including but not limited to History, African and African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, American Studies, and Art History.


Required Readings:

Martha Jones, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slavery Owners in the American South

Barbara Krauthamer, Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

Maurie McInnis, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade

Damian Pargas, Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South

Caitlin Rosenthal, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management

Calvin Schermerhorn, Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery


AMS 391 • Staging Black Feminism

30685 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM MEZ 1.104
(also listed as AFR 388, T D 387D, WGS 393)
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This graduate course considers the feminist practices of black women cultural producers including filmmakers, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and performance artists. Besides engaging with primary materials, we will draw on black feminist scholarly texts in order to explore such topics as black womanhood, the black female body, black histories, sexuality, politics and aging. We will trace the genealogy of black feminist artistic practices and performances from the 1950s to the present. We will explore the ways that their work challenges the male gaze, the capitalist market place, heteronormativity and racial hierarchies. Some of the artists under consideration include: Julie Dash, Kara Walker, Valerie June, Ava DuVernay, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lorraine O’Grady, Tanya Hamilton, Carrie Mae Weems, Tina Turner, Anna Deavere Smith, Diana Ross, Lynn Nottage, Kasi Lemmons, Lorna Simpson, Issa Rae, and Adrienne Kennedy.


Sample Texts:

  • Sandra Adell, Contemporary Plays by African American Women: Ten Complete Works
  • Sharon Bridgforth, The Bull-Jean Stories
  • Kimberley Juanita Brown, The Repeating Black Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary
  • Hazel Carby, Reconstructing Womanhood
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness
  • Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
  • E. Patrick Johnson, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Eds. Solo/Black/Woman: Scripts, Interviews, and Essays
  • Uri McMillan, Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance.
  • Dominique Morisseau, Sunset Baby
  • Suzan-Lori Parks, Venus
  • Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
  • Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
  • Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles
  • Cherise Smith, Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith 

AMS 392 • Conference Course In Amer Stds

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Graduate standing required. Permission from instructor required.

AMS 393 • Intro Readings In Amer Studies

30695 • Cordova, Cary
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM BUR 436B
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Graduate standing required. Seminar designed to acquaint the graduate student with the nature and extent of materials for interdisciplinary research on American culture. Consent of instructor required.