American Studies
American Studies

AMS 311S • American Catastrophes

31015 • Bloom, Nicholas
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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AMS 311S • Eating Right In America

31020 • Knerr, Kerry
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
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AMS 311S • Sex, Science And America

31024 • Lyon, Anna
Meets MWF 4:00PM-5:00PM BUR 436A
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AMS 311S • The Selfie Stick: Art In US

31025 • Zelt, Natalie
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A
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AMS 315 • Ethncty & Gender: La Chicana

31030 • Allison, Alexandrea
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM JGB 2.202
(also listed as MAS 311, SOC 308D, WGS 301)
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The term “Chicana” has its roots in the 1960’s-70’s Civil Rights Era and the Chicano Movement. Beginning with this rich activist heritage and ending at our current political moment, in this class we will deconstruct the term “Chicana,” discovering and celebrating the plurality of meanings and identities that make up the word. We will do this work through a survey of multiple genres—poetry, film, testimonio, and more—and we will have the opportunity to see how Chicanas have interrogated and manipulated different forms in order to best express their hybridized selves.


Readings will come from authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, and Norma Cantu. 

AMS 315 • Hist Of Religion In The US

31045 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLP 0.126
(also listed as HIS 317L, R S 316U)
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AMS 315 • Intro To Amer Indian History

31035 • Dixon, Bradley
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM RLP 0.126
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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In this course we will investigate the histories of the Native peoples of North America from the beginning to the present day. Students will learn about the unique and specific histories of indigenous nations in North America, deepening their knowledge of Native cultures, languages, religions, political and economic systems, gender relations, astronomies, cartographies, as well as the internal dynamics that helped propel each nation’s history. The course will also consider commonalities in the experiences of Native peoples. In particular, we will examine the effects of colonialism in great detail, connecting students with a wide array of Native American perspectives on colonial and United States history. You will become familiar with the development of Native American rights in North America and with the many Native leaders who led the struggles to secure them.

Training in Native History

This semester will prepare you for further study in the field of Native American history. Your training will include delving weekly into various archives, both in-person and online, to explore a range of primary sources and discuss them in class. Weekly “Flashback Friday” discussions will help you sharpen your analytical skills.


You will also hone your advanced reading skills, learning how to evaluate works of historical scholarship by their arguments, the evidence they employ, their methodology, and place in the literature. To test your skills in reading, you will complete five “Challenge Statements,” one roughly every two weeks, in which you will summarize the main idea of a work of historical scholarship in 50 words or less.


You will choose for analysis one primary document of particular interest to you. The document can be from any time or place covered in this course. This assignment will be due near the end of the semester. Detailed guidelines will be available in the syllabus.


Online Magazine Project
Working with editorial advisors from UT-Austin’s history department, you will collaboratively write, design, edit, and publish the May 2019 issue (the work will be complete before the semester ends) of a new online magazine that explores unique topics in Native North American history. Detailed guidelines will be available in the syllabus on the first day of class.


Reading for Background, Discussion, and Primary Sources
Textbook for Background Reading: Calloway, Colin G. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History. 5th Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016.

Primary Sources, including links to archives, and Discussion Readings will be available each week as assigned. The syllabus will include links to online databases available through UT Libraries and elsewhere on the web.


Cerego Map Exercises:                  5%

Challenge Statements:                   10% 

Primary Document Analysis:         15%

Midterm:                                            20%

Online Magazine                             20%

Final Examination                            30%   

AMS 315 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

31040 • Tang, Eric
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 134
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AMS 321 • Black Freedom Movement

31055 • Makalani, Minkah
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.120
(also listed as AFR 372C, LAS 322)
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AMS 321 • Black Middle Class

31060 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CBA 4.348
(also listed as AFR 372C, WGS 340)
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AMS 321 • Chicana Feminisms

31065 • Guidotti-Hernandez, Nicole
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM ECJ 1.308
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 340)
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AMS 321 • Cultrl Heritage On Display

31070 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM SAC 4.118
(also listed as ANT 325L)
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AMS 321 • Race/Internet/Social Media

31095 • Nault, Curran
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GDC 4.304
(also listed as AAS 320)
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AMS 321 • Rethinking Blackness

31080 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 0.128
(also listed as AFR 372C, WGS 340)
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AMS 321 • US In The Civil Rights Era

31085 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 3.124
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 356P)
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A half century after the high point of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., most American students learn about the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1957 Little Rock conflict over school desegregation, the 1963 March on Washington, and the fire hoses in Birmingham. Far fewer encounter the less-televised moments of civil rights history, the meanings of freedom that included but went beyond desegregation, and the breadth of participation by local people. It is even less common to consider other movements that paralleled the black freedom movement among, for example, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. Taking a comparative perspective, this upper division lecture course explores these aspects of the civil rights era. It also examines their larger historical context within American culture from the Second World War to the present. Finally, we consider questions about the writing of history: What does it mean to look back at such historic events with the benefit of hindsight?  How did they come about?  What changed?  What did not?  

Possible texts-
Cone, James H . Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare            :
Mankiller, Wilma. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People.
Garcia, Mario T. Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice
Martin, Waldo E.  Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents
Sellers, Cleveland.  The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC          
Strum, Philippa. Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican American Civil Rights.
Takaki, Ronald.  Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II

Three reading handouts  (5% each, 15% total)
Three in-class exams  (20% each, 60% total)
Five-page essay  (25%)
Regular class attendance (5%)

AMS 321 • Vietnam Wars

31090 • Lawrence, Mark
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JGB 2.216
(also listed as HIS 365G)
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This course introduces undergraduates to the complex and controversial history of the wars fought in Vietnam from 1941 to the 1980s.  It will focus especially on American intervention, but students should be aware that the course will devote careful attention to Vietnamese history as well as the history of French, Japanese, British, and Chinese interventions in Indochina.  In this way, the course will attempt to place the American war in the broad context of colonialism, nationalism, communism, and cold war.  

The class will begin by considering the development of Vietnamese nationalism and communism during the period of French colonialism.  It will then examine the profound impact of the Second World War, which brought about, in succession, Japanese, Chinese, and British intervention before the country fell once again under French domination.  The French war (1946 to 1954) will receive careful attention before the class shifts its focus to the United States for the second half of the semester.  Lectures and readings will consider many of the major controversies associated with the American war:  Why did the United States intervene despite the lack of tangible American interests in Vietnam?  To what extent and why did American policymakers misunderstand the nature of the war?  Was the war “winnable” in any meaningful sense?  If so, why did the United States fail to achieve its objectives?  What social, cultural, and political legacies has the war produced in the United States and Vietnam?

Class time will consist of lecture, film clips, and discussion.  Students will be expected to read approximately 150 pages a week.
Possible readings include:
Mark Philip Bradley, The Vietnamese War
Christian Appy, Working Class War
Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect
George Herring, America’s Longest War
William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American

Requirements will likely include a few reading quizzes (25%), a paper of approximately 5-6 pages (25 %), a midterm examination (25 %), and a final (25%).  Students will have the opportunity to improve their grades through class participation but not through extra credit assignments.

AMS 325 • American Music

31105 • Lewis, Hannah
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM MRH 2.634
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AMS 325 • Information Society/Beyond

31110 • Strover, Sharon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BMC 4.204
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AMS 325 • Painting In America To 1860

31123 • Rather, Susan
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM DFA 2.506
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AMS 325 • Screening Race

31115 • McClearen, Jennifer
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CMA 3.116
(also listed as AFR 372E)
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AMS 325 • US Painting: 1860-1913

31124 • Rather, Susan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM DFA 2.204
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AMS 327 • Native American Religion

31125 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM CMA 5.190
(also listed as R S 346D)
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AMS 327 • Science/Magic/Religion

31130 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as AFR 372G)
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AMS 327 • Views Of Islam In The US

31135 • Hillmann, Michael
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.204
(also listed as ISL 372, R S 346)
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AMS 330 • Mdrnsm In Am Design/Arch

31140 • Meikle, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM SAC 5.102
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Upper-division standing required. Fulfills the core requirement for “Visual and Performing Arts”



This lecture course is intended to provide a broad knowledge of major issues in the history of American design and architecture from about 1880 to the present.  The central assumption of the course is that our environments both shape us and reflect what manner of people we are.  The term design is understood to include all elements of the built environment ranging from the smallest artifacts and products through buildings (whether vernacular or elite) to the shape of suburban and urban landscapes.  Students are encouraged to consider design in the context of social and cultural history.  Among topics to be considered are methods of cultural analysis of material artifacts; the rise, triumph, and fall of functionalism and the International Style; the emergence of uniquely American varieties of commercial design in a consumer society; the interactions of technology, economics, and design; the impact of the automobile on all levels of design; the rise of postmodern design and deconstructive architecture as counters to the modernist tradition; and design for the information age.  Among problems to be considered are tensions between tradition and novelty, between functional and expressive theories of design, between elite ideologies and popular desires, and between European and American design. 



Although lectures will be illustrated with slides, this is not an image memorization course.  Grades will be based on:

Two in-class exams (the first counting 15%; the second 25%)

5-7 page paper based on original observation (30%)

Final exam (30%).


Possible Texts

Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture

Carma Gorman, The Industrial Design Reader

Jeffrey Meikle, Design in the USA

John Kasson, Amusing the Million

Karal Ann Marling, As Seen on TV

Michael Sorkin, Variations on a Theme Park

AMS 370 • American Utopias

31155 • Gaughen, Brendan
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
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AMS 370 • Energy And US Capitalism

31157 • Beasley, Betsy
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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AMS 370 • Fem Intervnt Borderland His

31180 • Guidotti-Hernandez, Nicole
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 436B
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 340)
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AMS 370 • Global Cities In The U.s.

31159 • Beasley, Betsy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A
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AMS 370 • Race, Law, And US Society

31160 • Thompson, Shirley
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM BUR 224
(also listed as AFR 360, HIS 365G)
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AMS 370 • The Beats/Amer Cul, 1945-90

31165 • Meikle, Jeffrey
Meets W 6:30PM-9:30PM BUR 436A
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AMS 370 • Vienna: Memory/The City-Aut

31175 • Hoelscher, Steven
(also listed as EUS 346, GRG 356T, GSD 360, HIS 362G)
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AMS 370 • Women In Postwar America

31170 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 350R, WGS 345)
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This upper division history seminar examines U.S. women's history in the mid-twentieth century, roughly from World War II to the 1970s. Students have the opportunity to explore important themes far more deeply than is possible in a lecture course covering a longer period. While looking at what women did, the course explores historical understandings of womanhood, manhood and sexuality that became central to the cultural politics and social conflicts of the postwar period. This approach raises fresh questions about well-known episodes of U.S. history. Why, for example, do most Americans remember Rosa Parks only as a demure seamstress who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott because she was too tired to give up her seat to a white? Why do many imagine the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s as one of white middle-class bra burners? We explore how various groups (e.g., suburban girls, women of color, working-class women, immigrants, queer women and others) differently negotiated ideas of family, work, and sexuality. The goal is not to arrive at a universal or normative history of women, gender, and sexuality, but to explore how race, place, citizenship, and class shaped them. In doing so, we examine roots of issues that continue to have political purchase today. Weekly classes include discussion of readings, short lectures, films, and writing workshops.



As a course with Writing and Independent Inquiry flags, this seminar is designed to help students develop historical writing, research, and analytical skills needed to pursue their own intellectual voyages of discovery in the history of women, gender and sexuality in mid-twentieth-century American culture. Graded assignments include three short projects: 1) a media research essay focused on 1945-1960; 2) an oral history conducted by students with woman who were activists at University of Texas in the 1960s/70s; 3) a 5-6-page essay about the most important material from the oral history. These oral histories will become part of the Austin Women Activists Oral History Collection at the Briscoe Library, which began in Fall 2017 with contributions from students who took this course.


Evaluation based on:

Participation and attendance

Media research essay

Oral history for Austin Women Activists project

Essay about student’s oral history

Submission of brief assignments


Boyd, Nan Alamilla, Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965

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

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

Orleck, Annelise, Rethinking American Women’s Activism (Routledge). Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography

Dreyer, Thorne, Alice Embree, and Richard Croxdale. Celebrating the Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper