IH AMST 140-01 Riot! (Antonucci) Civil disturbances have profoundly impacted the United States. This section of What is American Studies? examines popular, and political uprisings and their influence on shaping the American body politic, social landscape and cultural imagination. Students will consider what eruptions of violence have to tell Americans about themselves. Events as distant as the Boston Massacre and Chicago’s Haymarket Incident as well as Watts, Newark, and called Rodney King Riots in Los Angles (1992) along with the WTO Protests in Seattle (1999) will be considered along with recent street unrest in Missouri, Maryland, and even Keene.
IH AMST 140-02 California Dreamin (Long) American Studies is about peoples and places. And this section of American Studies 140 begins with an introduction to the social, cultural, and natural history of California. We will begin with an overview of the competing conceptions of place and identity, legacies of colonialism, and cultural norms, ideals, and media representations that feed into the “California dream.” We will then use print and digital materials to explore the historical myth and material reality of the Golden State. Using historical research, students will build interdisciplinary perspectives and critical understandings of such themes as immigration and demographics; racism and multiculturalism; water, orange groves, and agribusiness; cities and suburbia; political corruption and capital crimes; money and Hollywood moguls; technological booms and busts; film, fiction, and fashion; music and poetry; sex, drugs, rock and roll; self-actualization and alienation; surfing and skateboarding; television, sports, and celebrity culture.
IH AMST 199 Spanglish Exploring Linguistic Transformations in the US (Pedroza) This course examines linguistic interactions through an interdisciplinary approach. Focusing in films, linguistics, languages and literature this class addresses language as a tool to understanding of changes reflected in culture. Several linguistic approaches will be reviewed besides current interactions between English and Spanish.
II AMST 210-01 Introduction to American Studies (New) Popular culture provides an essential lens on American identity and culture. This course traces the history and evolution of mass media and popular forms in the US from 1830 to the present. Coursework includes film, fiction, fashion, music, poetry, television, sports, and celebrity culture. Beginning with folklore and mythology and then examining stage traditions like minstrelsy and vaudeville, we explore American values and humor. Hollywood cinema and genre fiction, like Westerns and detective stories, reflect American ideas about ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, and forms like the comic book blur the distinction between high and low culture. Historical research enables us to build interdisciplinary perspectives and critical understandings of the contemporary media landscape.
II AMST 210-02 Introduction to American Studies (Musial) This interdisciplinary course explores the representation of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality within U.S. visual culture, including film, video, and mass media. Drawing on feminist and queer studies, visual culture studies, film studies, and ethnic studies, this course asks how images convey racial, gender, and sexual difference. Cross-listed with II Women and Gender Studies 250.
II AMST 250 Bob Dylan in/and the 1960s As has been highlighted by Martin Scorsese’s documentary film, No Direction Home, and by the publication and success of Dylan’s autobiographical Chronicles, Bob Dylan is a figure of ongoing and lasting cultural significance. This course will explore the life, career, music, and achievements of Bob Dylan (and the controversies associated with Dylan) in the context of1960s America. Some attention will also be given to (and opportunities for study will also be provided for) other singer-songwriters and performers connected to Dylan and Dylan’spost-1960s career and music. Possible texts for the course include Michael Marqusee’s Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the1960s, Andy Gill’s Bob Dylan: the Stories Behind the Songs,1962-1969, and Bob Dylan’s Chronicles. Other crucial “texts” will include songs/CDs/albums/performances by Dylan (and other related singer-songwriters and performers) and pertinent films and videos, including Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back and Scorsese’s No Direction Home.
AMST 350 Space, Place, Race (Antonucci) This course explores representations and identifications of” race” in the United States, particularly as they are manifest within various national and regional social, historical, political flows. Additionally, students will examine modes of cultural production that emerge as geographies and spatial formations. Literary texts, theory, in addition to scholarly works by historians, geographers, artists, and other cultural producers, inform and instruct students’ research methods and scholarly writing.
AMST 390 American Indian Writers / Cultures (Bouley) This course is a study of some of the most influential Native American authors, the many cultures they represent, and how those cultures have defined themselves in the 20th and 21st centuries. The focus will be on themes of self-definition, heritage, landscape, sexuality, and gender. The object of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of modern Native American issues and the writers who help to define them.
AMST 390 American Property rights Traditions (Duggan) Contrasts property rights of New England with those in the Spanish Borderlands and the pre-civil war South. Spanish corporate law probed to explain why Native American communities retained land in the Spanish Borderlands, while tending to lose land in New England. Cross-listed with Economics 355-01.
IH AMST 391 The Beatles and American Culture (Lebeaux) The recent celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America dramatizes once again that the Fab Four are figures of lasting cultural significance and popularity. This interdisciplinary course will explore the lives, music, careers, achievements, and significance of the Beatles in the context of American (as well as British) culture in their times (and ours). Among possible texts for the course, in addition to the Beatles’ songs/albums/CDs/online recordings and performances, are Steven Stark’s Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band that Shook Youth, Gender, and the World and Tim Riley’s Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album by Album, Song by Song, The Sixties and After, as well as pertinent films and videos.