American Studies
American Studies

Carrie Andersen


LecturerPh.D.,

Carrie Andersen

Contact

Interests


war and violence, game studies, technology and culture, political theory, American conservatism, post-1945 US culture and history, public scholarship, digital humanities

Biography


Carrie Andersen received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2017. Her dissertation, "Securing America: Drone Warfare in American Culture After 9/11" won the Michael H. Granof Award, which recognizes the best dissertation at UT Austin out of any field.

"Securing America" examines the growing ubiquity of military drones in American culture and media. Through closely reading videogames, defense industry advertisements and social media outreach strategies, STEM education programs, and even religious rhetoric, Andersen concludes that these textual and media forms articulate the value of drones not only to national security, but to individual feelings of wellbeing and comfort. She ultimately claims that such cultural visions of the drone accelerate the process of domestic militarization in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the nation's ongoing battle against terrorism.

In addition to the Michael H. Granof Award, she was awarded the Mike Hogg Endowed Graduate Fellowship and the P.E.O. Scholar Award to support her dissertation research during the 2015-2016 school year.

Carrie is also committed to public scholarship. She was the founding digital communications strategist and administrator for the Department of American Studies. Her duties included managing the department's social media presence and blog, spearheading campaigns to secure donations from graduate and undergraduate alumni, filming and photographing department events, collaborating with the College of Liberal Arts IT Services on a website redesign, and managing the department website. For more information, see the department blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page.

For several years, Carrie served on the editorial board of The End of Austin, a digital humanities project that explores change within the city of Austin. She also designed and maintained the publication's website. Previously, she was a member of the editorial board for the UT Radio-Television-Film department's Flow journal, and served as the publication's Marketing Editor. 

For more information about Carrie's research, teaching, and work experience, see her website.

 

EDUCATION

Ph.D., American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 2017.

M.A., American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 2012.

A.B., Government, cum laude, Harvard University, 2008.

 

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

“’There Has To Be More To It’: Diegetic Violence and the Uncertainty of President Kennedy’s Death.” Game Studies 15, no. 2 (December 2015): http://gamestudies.org/1502/articles/andersen.

"Games of Drones: The Uneasy Future of the Soldier-Hero in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Surveillance and Society 12, no. 3 (July 2014): 360-376. http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/surveillance-and-society/article/view/hero.

 

ADDITIONAL PUBLICATIONS

“‘Why Do They Make It So Extreme?!’ On Videogame Glitches and Joy.” Flow 18, no. 8. http://flowtv.org/2013/10/videogame-glitches-joy/.

“Comedy and the Social Contract: The Surprisingly Conservative Vision of Louis C.K.” Flow 16, no. 5. http://flowtv.org/2012/08/conservative-vision-louis-ck/.

 

 

Courses


AMS 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

30285 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 108
(also listed as HIS 356K)

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.

 

AMS 370 • Digital Media/Amer Culture

30295 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 436A

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 • Tech/Security In Am Culture

30309 • Spring 2018
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM BUR 436B

From sniper rifles to drones, the consequences of technologies deployed in the service of war and national security have never stayed confined to the battlefield. Rather, these technologies have impinged upon political, cultural, and psychosocial life in America since the nation’s inception. Alongside investigations of the functions of security technologies in state conflicts over the course of American history, this course emphasizes the intricate relationship between such technologies and American culture from the 18th century to the present. We will grapple with the possibilities and limitations of technology for engaging with and complicating the cornerstones of key debates in cultural studies and political theory: security and privacy, visibility and invisibility, identity politics and embodiment, subversion and dissent, militarization, and state and individual power. 

The course is organized as a history of individual security technologies: sniper rifles and Gatling guns of the Civil War era; chemical warfare, tanks, and aircraft of the WWI era; atomic bombs of WWII; satellites like Sputnik and covert CIA “mind control” chemicals of the Cold War era, like LSD; Agent Orange and napalm during the Vietnam War; and unmanned aerial vehicles, digital surveillance technologies, and hacking/cybersecurity technologies of the post-9/11 era. In each of these cases, we will first investigate the functions of these weapons and security technologies in the theaters of war or in the service of security on the home front. The bulk of the class, however, emphasizes how visions and narratives about these weapons circulated through media and popular culture in America, how anxieties and hopes about what became almost mythic weapons impinged upon everyday life in unexpected ways, and how narratives about such weapons exacerbated or smoothed over divisions within American culture and transnationally along the lines of class, race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Ultimately, our overall goal is to investigate the contours of militarization in America born of the technologies of war and security that have long leaked into everyday life.

This class has four principal objectives. First, we will explore how narratives about security technology emerge from specific political and historical contexts. Second, we will examine both common threads and points of difference across debates about technology over time. Third, we will examine the political valences of these technologies through the lens of identity politics. Finally, we will explore how technologies have been celebrated and critiqued in political theory texts, speeches, works of journalism, film, literature, television, video games, art, and other cultural works. 

 

Possible Texts: 

Paul Boyer, By the Bomb’s Early Light

Torin Monahan and John Gilliom, SuperVision: An Introduction to the Surveillance Society

Patrick Wright, Tank

Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering

Michael Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

Julia Keller, Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel

 

Media:

The Twilight Zone

Good Kill

Citizenfour

Dr. Strangelove

 

Possible assignments:

Participation (20%)

Historical newspaper analysis (10%)

Media artifact analysis (15%)

Research paper proposal (5%)

Research paper annotated bibliography (10%)

Research paper final draft (30%)

Research presentation (10%)

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30807 • Fall 2017
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as HIS 315G)

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 356 • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

30920 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 370
(also listed as HIS 356K)

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 • Digital Media/Amer Culture

30922 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 436A

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 311S • Culture Of The Right

30555 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 436A

Course Description

The moniker “conservative” can apply at once to fiction authors like Ayn Rand, political theorists like Alexis de Tocqueville, Renaissance men like Henry David Thoreau, television writers like the creators of South Park, and preachers like Jerry Falwell. How? What does it mean to be conservative? How has that definition transformed over time? And how are those ideologies expressed in so many different cultural forms, from film to television to music to videogames?

In this class, we will explore those cultural forms to understand the changing politics of the Right in America from the 19th century through the 2016 election cycle, emphasizing the relationship between the history of the Right and recent current events in culture and politics. In tracking the historical development of the Right, we will also attend to the interplay between conservative ideology and race, gender, sexuality, class, and religion.

This course will draw upon a variety of primary source texts (including films, television shows, fictional stories, essays, videogames, and music) as well as secondary source analyses of those cultural works.

Finally, a key question will subtly guide many of our discussions, readings, and assignments: how did we get from Thomas Jefferson to Donald Trump? 

 

Possible Texts

Excerpts from:

  • Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin
  • Tara MacPherson, Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender,and Nostalgia in the Imagined South
  • Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
  • Claire Conner, Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right
  • Dan Baum, Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure 
  • Harel Schapira, Waiting for José: The Minuteman's Pursuit of America
  • Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes:The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History
  • Assorted primary source texts

Assignments

Assignments will not be strictly limited to essay writing or exams: rather, you will be required to engage with digital media, creative and artistic expression, and personal memoir, as well as more a traditional final paper rooted in independent research and analysis.

  • Participation (20%)
  • Brief reading quizzes (10%)
  • Autobiographical essay (10%)
  • Online historical exhibit (10%)
  • Political campaign advertisement (15%)
  • Final Paper (35%)

AMS S370 • Conservatism In America

80926 • Summer 2015
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 436B

Description

What does it mean to be conservative? Applying at once to Thomas Jefferson, Rand Paul, Ann Coulter, and Jerry Falwell, the moniker “conservative” that describes politicos and pundits has become strikingly messy and indeterminate. This class explores the history and culture of the Right in America from the 18th century until the present, focusing in particular on the ways that conservative ideologies fractured into diverse movements and identities after WWII and into the present.

We will begin with anti-Federalism at the nation's inception, Southern conservatism and the Civil War, 19th century antimodernism, off-the-grid approaches to nature, and nascent 20th century clashes between religion and science. We will then explore the multifaceted forms of conservatism that have developed since 1945, including (but not limited to) anti-Communism in Hollywood, Ayn Rand's objectivism, neoconservatism, the Reagan Revolution, the Religious Right, the Tea Party, the Minutemen Project on the U.S.-Mexico border, and “Silicon Valley Libertarians.”

This class has four principal objectives. First, we will chart the development of these ideologies by attending to their emergence within particular historical contexts. Second, we will examine both common threads and points of difference across varying forms of conservatism over time. Third, we will examine the social and political consequences of these ideologies as they play out along the lines of class, race, gender, and sexuality. Finally, we will explore how these ideologies have been expressed and revised in political theory texts, speeches, works of journalism, film, literature, television, video games, art, and other cultural works.

Possible Texts

Short excerpts from:

Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Colin Dueck, Hard Line: The Republican Party and U.S. Foreign Policy Since WWII
Thomas Doherty, Cool War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture
Hanna Rosin, God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America
Harel Schapira, Waiting for José: The Minutemen’s Pursuit of America
Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin
Additional short articles to be posted on Canvas

Films:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Rambo: First Blood (1982)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Our Nixon (2013)

Assignments

Contributions to class blog (20%)

In-class participation (15%)

Intellectual autobiography (750-1000 words) (10%)

Final paper (2000-2500 words): choice of close reading and analysis of a cultural artifact OR intellectual biography of a conservative figure (55% total):

  • Research paper proposal (250-500 words): 10%
  • Annotated bibliography: 15%
  • Final draft: 30%

Curriculum Vitae


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