American Studies
American Studies

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30800 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)
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. “Home” will serve as our central trope and organizing framework, allowing us to track changes and themes in the American past in three major ways. First, we will examine “home” in a literal sense, as a dwelling place or lack thereof, to help us uncover persistent forms of racial and economic inequality. Second, we will consider “home” in a metaphorical sense, as a powerful and enduring symbol of the nation as a whole, drawing our attention to issues of immigration and citizenship. Finally, we will consider “the home” in an ideological sense, as a site at which ideas about family, gender roles, and sexuality cohere. Throughout, this course will examine shifts in what it means to be American, the ways in which that identity has worked to bring people together and push them apart, to bestow power and privilege on some while taking them away from others. Hopefully, students will come away from this course with a firm grounding in the diverse methods of American Studies research, a richer understanding of the American past, and a deeper sense of the multiple meanings of home in the present.

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30805 • Cordova, Cary
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)
show description


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


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


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

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30807 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as HIS 315G)
show description

This course introduces students to the field of American Studies, as well as to interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing and exploring a variety of elements of American culture and history. Students will gain expertise in basic theories and methods in American Studies, and will employ a variety of analytical tools, from close readings of television episodes to investigations into digital archives, to examine the transformation of identity and culture in America from WWI to the present. As such, questions of inclusion, exclusion, visibility, and invisibility will be central to our examination, and the ways that different identities - race, gender, class, sexual identity, religious belief, and other markers - have historically engaged with media and culture in America.

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


AMS 311S • American Popular Culture

30835 • Kopin, Joshua
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
show description

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

Possible texts:

Scott Bukatmen, The Poetics of Slumberland

Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering

Deborah Gould, Moving Politics

Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants

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

Lawrence Levine, Highbrow, Lowbrow

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


Assignments (include % of grade):

50% Semester Long Research Project

20% Weekly Writing Assignments

20% Critical Sensorium Assignments

10% Participation 

AMS 311S • Capitalism In America

30815 • Knerr, Kerry
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A
show description


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

Possible texts:

Philip, M. NourbeSe. Zong!

Morgan, Edmund. American Slavery, American Freedom. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Assignments (include % of grade):

Participation: 10%

Weekly response papers: 25%

Unit papers (3 total): 30%

Final revised paper: 35%

AMS 311S • Environ Justice/Culture/Soc

30825 • Oxford, Robert
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 436A
show description


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

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

Assignments (include % of grade):

Participation 10%

Reading Responses 15%

Mid-Term Paper 25%

Archive Report 25%

Final paper 25%

AMS 311S • Left And Right In America

30830 • Moench, B
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM SZB 524
(also listed as CTI 310)
show description


Is the United States a “liberal society”—why or why not? This course will examine the philosophical origins of contemporary American political culture and retrace the country’s often contradictory relationship with liberal philosophy.

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

possible texts:

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



Attendance: 5 percent

Participation: 5 percent

Research summary papers: 15 percent

Mid-term paper: 30 percent

Final paper: 35 percent           

AMS 311S • Paranormal America

30810 • Whitewolf, Edwin
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 436A
show description



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


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


Possible Texts:

John A. Keel, The Mothman Prophecies

Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror

Whitley Streiber, Communion

Various texts on Canvas


Possible Movies/Television Shows/Podcasts

The Witch (2015), Robert Eggers

The House of the Devil (2009), Ti West

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

Poltergeist (1983), Tobe Hooper

The Amityville Horror (1979), Stuart Rosenberg

Fire in the Sky (1993), Robert Lieberman

The X-Files (series)

Supernatural (series)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (series)

American Horror Story (series)

Lore (podcast)

Astonishing Legends (podcast)


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance - 20%

Participation and Weekly Reading/Viewing Response - 20%

Folklore Project - 10%

Final Paper Rough Draft - 20%

Final Revised Paper - 30%

AMS 311S • Performing Identity

30820 • Roehl, Emily
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 436A
show description


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


Possible texts:

David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes

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

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

Phil Deloria, Playing Indian

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

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

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton


Possible viewing: 

Mad Hot Ballroom


West Side Story

Free to Dance

In the Heights


Assignments (include % of grade):

Attendance and Participation 20%

Reading / Viewing Responses 20%

Performance Critique 20%

Presentation 10%

Creative Project  10%

Final Essay  20%

AMS 315 • African American Culture

30840 • Jones, Omi
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CAL 100
(also listed as AFR 301, ANT 310L)
show description

This course is an exploration of African American culture that provides students with analytical tools to critically examine and consciously participate in the ongoing construction of African American culture. Particular attention is given to key terms such as race, culture, Blackness, hegemony, aesthetics, and politics. Emphasis is placed on Black agency as demonstrated through the social, political, and representational choices made by African Americans.

AMS 315 • Ethncty & Gender: La Chicana

30850 • Mena, Olivia
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as MAS 311, SOC 308D, WGS 301)
show description


The purpose of this course is to examine the various experiences, perspectives, and expressions of Chicanas in the United States. This involves examining the meaning and history of the term, “Chicana” as it was applied to and incorporated by Mexican American women during the Chicano Movement in areas of the Southwest United States, such as Texas and California. We will also explore what it means to be Chicana in the United States today. The course will begin with a historical overview of Mexican American women's experiences in the United States, including the emergence of Chicana feminism. We will discuss central concepts of Chicana feminism and attempt to understand how those concepts link to everyday lived experiences. Specifically, the relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, and class will be key as we discuss issues that have been significant in the experiences and self-identification of Chicanas, such as: family, gender, sexuality, religion/spirituality, education, language, labor, and political engagement. We will be engaging in interdisciplinary analysis not only concerning cultural traditions, values, belief systems, and symbols but also in relation to the expressive culture of Chicanas, including folk and religious practices, literature and poetry, the visual arts, and music. Finally, we will examine media representations of Chicanas through critical analyses of film. By the end of this course, it is my hope that you will not only be more critical readers and thinkers, but that you will also be able to apply themes and elements from the readings and discussions to your understanding of your own experiences.


Anzaldúa, Gloria and Moraga, Cherríe eds. (2015) This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.

 Anzaldúa, Gloria (2015) Light in the Dark Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity,  Spirituality, Reality.


AMS 315 • Ethncty & Gender: La Chicana

30845 • Mena, Olivia
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as MAS 311, SOC 308D, WGS 301)
show description


The purpose of this course is to examine the various experiences, perspectives, and expressions of Chicanas in the United States. This involves examining the meaning and history of the term, “Chicana” as it was applied to and incorporated by Mexican American women during the Chicano Movement in areas of the Southwest United States, such as Texas and California. We will also explore what it means to be Chicana in the United States today. The course will begin with a historical overview of Mexican American women's experiences in the United States, including the emergence of Chicana feminism. We will discuss central concepts of Chicana feminism and attempt to understand how those concepts link to everyday lived experiences. Specifically, the relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, and class will be key as we discuss issues that have been significant in the experiences and self-identification of Chicanas, such as: family, gender, sexuality, religion/spirituality, education, language, labor, and political engagement. We will be engaging in interdisciplinary analysis not only concerning cultural traditions, values, belief systems, and symbols but also in relation to the expressive culture of Chicanas, including folk and religious practices, literature and poetry, the visual arts, and music. Finally, we will examine media representations of Chicanas through critical analyses of film. By the end of this course, it is my hope that you will not only be more critical readers and thinkers, but that you will also be able to apply themes and elements from the readings and discussions to your understanding of your own experiences.


Anzaldúa, Gloria and Moraga, Cherríe eds. (2015) This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.

 Anzaldúa, Gloria (2015) Light in the Dark Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity,  Spirituality, Reality.


AMS 315 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

30865 • Nault, Curran
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 136
(also listed as AAS 301)
show description

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the US

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

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

AMS 315 • Latina/O Med/Pop Cul 1950-Pres

30858 • Gray, Amanda
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 306
(also listed as MAS 319, WGS 301)
show description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to various representations and (re)presentations of Latin@s within U.S. media and popular culture. We will pay special attention to Latin@ identity formation and its many productions and social constructions. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of identity in terms of how we view ourselves, others, and the world around us. Utilizing interdisciplinary methodologies and learned analytical skills to conduct textual readings of various media, we will look at a number of issues pertaining to Latin@ representation within the mainstream and dominant culture, as well as some subversive techniques Latin@s use in producing their own identity re-presentations. Examining multiple sites of popular culture, we will attempt to reconstruct and deconstruct different materials including books, cartoons, films, magazines, mass media, music, popular images, television shows, and other artifacts of popular culture to understand their significance in the representations of Latin@s in U.S. society, as well as formations of individual and collective identities. Throughout the course of the semester, the following themes will regularly emerge during class lectures, discussions, readings, and film screenings: ideologies and representations of race in mainstream and popular culture, issues of race, interracial relations, mestizaje and mixed-race within U.S. borders; issues and representations of gender and sexuality; issues of class and the labor force; immigration, nationalism, borders and borderlands, borderland violence: violence against brown bodies, brown bodies committing violence; representations and perpetuation of stereotypes and discrimination; the commodification of Latinidad and consumer culture; and much more.

AMS 315 • Rights In Modern America

30860 • Green, Laurie
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM UTC 3.110
(also listed as AFR 317D, HIS 317L, WGS 301)
show description


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



4 unit exams of equal weight (15% each)                                                     60%

4 short quizzes on lecture terms (5% each)                                                  20%

3 historical documents analyses (5% each)                                                   15%

Participation (pertaining to contributions to class projects)                           5%

Extra credit opportunities are available.

Attendance is required. Two points will be deducted from final grade for each unexcused absence over the allowed 3 unexcused absences.



Selected historical documents and articles will be posted on CANVAS.

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

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

Sal Castro and Mario T. García, Blowout: Sal Castro & the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice

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

            NOTE: Use 1989 edition. The bookstore is producing copies for students.

Wilma Mankiller, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People

AMS 315 • Writing Crime On The Border

30863 • Brousseau, Marcel
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BEN 1.102
(also listed as MAS 319)
show description

This class will explore the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as a longstanding setting for narratives of crime and criminality. Political scientist Peter Andreas argues that the environment of historic conquest, transcultural exchange, and legal enforcement in the borderlands seems to “create the very conditions” for events of crime and policing. As a class, we will examine how such events are mediated through different genres of literary writing, and we will trace how the form and content of border crime writing has evolved over roughly a century. Our primary goal is to increase our understanding and appreciation of border culture as it is produced through acts of writing and reading, particularly by Mexican American and Latinx authors. We also seek to comprehend how these authors experiment with meanings of legality and illegality, how they examine different subject positions relative to the state, and how they diagram relationships in terms of place, nation, culture, gender, race, and the law. In order to refine their analyses of literary genres, film, and historiography, students will write a number of micro papers, including a creative writing project, and conclude the course by constructing an analytical dossier about a theme relevant to border crime writing.

AMS 321 • Europn Immigratn Texas 19th C

30885 • Kearney, James
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 360)
show description

In the nineteenth century waves of immigrants from several Central and Northern European countries altered the demographics of Texas significantly while accelerating both economic and 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 • German Scholars: US Exile

30890 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 360, PHL 354)
show description

German-speaking scholars and professionals lost their worlds because of the 20th century's two great European Wars, but Europe's loss was the US's gain.  From philosophers, psychoanalysts, and sociologists through theorists of art, film, and power -- between the end of the First World War (1918) and the aftermath of the Second World Warm these scholars and professionals at the top of their intellectual games were displaced, deported, or sent into exile on a diasporic course.  No small number of them ended in the US.

This course will combine history with the study of disciplinary philosophies  in order to pursue the problem of what forced intellectual migration can imply for the disciplines to which these scholars belonged.  What is the responsibility, for example, of a scholar like Adorno when he brings a study from Weimar Germany and uses it to help support the myth of Hitler as a father figure, or like Siegfried Kracauer, who theorizes representations of the "mass ornament" in films to write From Caligari to Hitler,  or of Heidegger's followers who refuse to look Nazi complicity in the face? Or, looking back to WW I, what it meant to claim your work as the product of a national school of thought, when the nation that It purportedly belonged to did not exist before 1918 and had not educated or sponsored you? 

In pursuing these examples, students will learn not only new ways of reading philosophy and theories that were central to the 20th century and remain viable today, but also how to evaluate the costs for individuals caught between history, exile, and intellectual work. 


Readings will include:

Heidegger, Letter on Humanism

Erik Erikson, Identity and the Life Style

 Kracauer: From Caligari to Hitler

Arendt:  Origins of Totalitarianism

Adorno, et al.;  Authoritarian Personality

Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man

Cassirer, Myth of the State

Neurath, 1937. Die neue Enzyklopaedie des wissenschaftlichen Empirismus = .

---. The Departmentalization of Unified Science', Erkenntnis VII, pp. 240–46

---. 1940. Argumentation and action.

---. 1941. The danger of careless terminology

Joel Isaac, Working Knowledge:  Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (2012)

Klemperer:  LTI:  Language of the Third Reich

Neumann, ed.  Secret Reports on Nazi Germany.

Claus-Dieter Krohn and Rita Kimber.  Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research

Martin Jay, Permanent Exiles

Franz L. Neumann and Peter Hayes.  Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944



  • 4 précis situating texts into historical context to address the covert ethical / valuative assumptions of theory = 4 x 5% of course grades = 20 % of grade
  • 1 short essay (5- 8 pp) analyzing a selection of the readings as representing both an intellectual and an ethical problem = 20 % of Grade (will be done in groups)
  • 1 essay for the defense or prosecution of an immigration trial:  combing historical research in the history of a particular discipline with a systematic case for guilt or innocence, done in phases:  10% of grade= abstract/proposal;  20 % for bibliography and "history of" section, and 20% for the final essay presenting a case.

AMS 321 • Urban Unrest

30895 • Tang, Eric
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 203
(also listed as AAS 330, AFR 372F, ANT 324L, URB 354)
show description

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


Required Texts: 

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

AMS 321E • African American Hist To 1860

30900 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR 357C, HIS 357C)
show description

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

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

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

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

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

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

Franklin, John H. and Alfred Moss, FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM, 9th ed



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




MID-TERM EXAM                         35%

RESEARCH PAPER                        30%

EXAM 2 (TAKE-HOME)                 35%

AMS 325 • US Music/Religious Identity

30909 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as MUS 376G, R S 346)
show description

Music and Religious Identities in America

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


Basis for evaluation:


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


Required Texts:

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

AMS 327 • Views Of Islam In The US

30913 • Hillmann, Michael
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as ISL 372)
show description

The seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979, the terrorist attacks in America on 11 September 2001, American military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan and against al-Qa’eda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and against ISIS and other other groups in Iraq and Syria, the turmoil in Egypt and Turkey, terrorist attacks in the name of Islam in Europe and elsewere, among other events, have helped make Islam a controversial subject in America. Negative characterizations of Islam by officials in the American administration that took office in early 2017 (e.g., e.g., “Islam hates us” and “Islam is a cancer...the American Founding Fathers wanted nothing to do with”) and that administration’s proposal of a ban on the entry of citizens of so-called Muslim countries have helped crystallize two dozen or more specific and categorial negative perceptions about Islam on the part of many educated Americans. This Views of Islam in the U.S. and Islam course first examines American writing voicing these perceptions (in files in the course’s Dropbox folder) and then assesses those perceptions in the context of these course texts: The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, et al. (2015); No god but God: Updated Edition (2011) by Reza Aslan; essays by Muslim scholars and critics addressing relevant issues (available in the course Dropbox folder); and a series of PowerPoint presentations on “American Perceptions of Islam,” “Islam, Pillars of Islam, the Koran, and Islamic Architecture.” After demonstrating that multiple Islams exist, rather than a single Islam,  the course focuses attention on Islam in Iran, where the instructor lived and worked for six years and the Muslim country that arguably receives the strongest stereotypical negative criticism in America. For more information about Views of Islam in the US and Islam  (AMS 327 [30913] or ISL 372 [41522]), which meets on MWF from 12 noon to 1 pm in Calhoun 422,  contact Michael Craig Hillmann

AMS 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

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

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

Syllabus forthcoming.

AMS 370 • American Food

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

30922 • Andersen, Carrie
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A
show description

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

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


Grade Breakdown:

Participation: 20%

Weekly blog posts and comments: 20%

Self-reflection: 15%

Video game analysis: 15%

Final paper: 30%


Possible Texts/Excerpts:

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

Possible films:

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

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Critical Book Review Analysis                           25%

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

Class Discussion/participation                             25%

Oral Summary of Research Paper                         5%

Seminar Research Paper (15 pages)                    45%

AMS 370 • Key Works In Amer Pop Music

30930 • Lewis, Randolph
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM JGB 2.202
show description


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 • Politics Of Black Life

30935 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.104
(also listed as AFR 372F)
show description

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

Possible Texts

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

Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville

The US Constitution

Black Reconstruction, W.E.B. DuBois

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehise Coates

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Home, Toni Morrison

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

No Name in the Street, James Baldwin

AMS 370 • Rethnkng 1950s Rebls/Rejcts

30940 • Gutterman, Lauren
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM 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 • Urban Slavery In The Americas

30945 • Canizares, Jorge
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as AFR 374E, HIS 350L, LAS 366)
show description

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World


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

AMS 370 • Women In Postwar America

30965 • Green, Laurie
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as HIS 350R, WGS 345)
show description


This course intensively examines U.S. women's history between World War II and the 1970s. In doing so, it also explores understandings of womanhood, manhood and sexuality that became central to the cultural politics and social conflicts of the postwar period. By weaving together these topics – women’s history, popular culture, and postwar social movements – we raise fresh questions about well-known episodes of U.S. history. Why, for example, do most Americans remember Rosa Parks only as a demure seamstress who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott because she was too tired to give up her seat to a white? If every young woman hoped to be like Donna Reed or June Cleaver in the fifties, where did the sixties movements come from? We also explore how various groups (e.g., suburban girls, working-class women, civil rights activists, immigrants, and others) differently negotiated ideas of family, work and sexuality. In doing so, we examine roots of issues that continue to have political purchase today, such as reproduction, sexuality, job equity, welfare, race, and ethnicity. This is primarily a discussion seminar, but class will include short lectures, films, writing workshops and more.


This course is designed to help students develop the historical writing, research, and analytical skills you need 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 weekly reading summaries, a short media research paper based on popular magazines and other mass media of the postwar era; and a “Postwar Women’s Memoir Project” based on interviews with women who came of age between the 1950s and the 1970s. Students have opportunities to submit and revise drafts, and to share work with other students.

This year, a special component has been added to the course. The Memoir Project will focus on women’s activism in Austin in the 1960s and 1970s. Each student will be paired with a woman who has already agreed to be interviewed for this project.



Short reading analyses

Media research essay

Postwar Women’s Memoir Project essay

Postwar Women’s Memoir Project project

Attendance is required.

Books (Shorter readings will be posted on CANVAS.)

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

AMS 370 • Women Radicals & Reformers

30960 • Mickenberg, Julia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A
(also listed as WGS 345)
show description



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




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


Probable Texts


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

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

Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

Tillie Olsen, Yonnondio

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

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