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Fall 2012

AMST 89H: Navigating the World Through American Eyes

Section 1: Rachel Willis

11:00 TR; 210 Graham Memorial

This course is designed to be a course that better prepares students for future study abroad opportunities, international work, and understanding the implications of national identity and action in a global environment. Using group projects, individual proposal writing, and collaborative field study within the campus and near-by community, we will explore a wide range of issues including access to work, health care, and education. Differences in religion, culture, gender roles, geography, and more will be considered as students intensely develop individual plans for foreign travel, study, and work using readings, class exercises, documentaries, and interviews. There will be a special focus on transportation systems and other forms of infrastructure that impact navigating places, people, and information.


AMST 110: Introduction to the Cultures and Histories of Native North America

Section 1: Kathleen DuVal

11 MWF; MA 209

An interdisciplinary introduction to Native American history and studies. The course uses history, literature, art, and cultural studies to study the Native American experience.


AMST 201: Literary Approaches to American Studies

Section 1: Joy Kasson

9:30 TR; MU 204

This course serves as an introduction to the American Studies major, and examines methods and materials for the interdisciplinary study of American society. Focusing on selected literary texts enriched by other arts and historical context, we will explore such subjects as Americans’ relationship with nature and the rise of the city; gender, race and social justice; American optimism and American struggle. Among the readings: Walden, The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man. Course work will include reading and discussion, short papers and projects.

AMST 235: Native America in the 20th Century

Section 1: Dan Cobb

2 MWF; PE 104

This course explores the multiple ways that American Indians navigated cultural, political, and economic changes in the twentieth century. Opening with assimilation policy in the 1880’s and extending to contemporary struggles for autonomy, the class emphasizes the continuities of American Indian life ways and their adaptability to changing cultural and political landscapes. It also examines three important, interrelated questions. First, how have American Indian peoples maintained sovereignty as Native nations and autonomy as individuals in the shifting contexts of the twentieth century? How have federal policies shaped the lived experiences of American Indians? Finally, how have they responded to and resisted these policies? This course approaches these questions though historical texts, literature, and film. The readings for this semester include articles and the following texts: Beyond Red Power: American Indian Politics and Activism Since 1900, Boarding School Seasons, and Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee.

AMST 246: Introduction to American Indian Literatures

Section 1: Chris Teuton

12:30 – 1:45 TR; MU 115

Students will develop a working knowledge of American Indian cultural concepts and historical perspectives utilizing poetry, history, personal account, short stories, films, and novels.


AMST 253: A Social History of Jewish Women in American

Section 1: Marcie Cohen Ferris

10 MWF; MU 204

This course will examine the history and culture of Jewish women in America from their arrival in New Amsterdam in 1654 to the present day. We will explore how gender shaped Jewish women’s experiences of immigration, assimilation, religious observance, home, work, motherhood, family, and feminism. The course will also investigate how factors such as region, race, class, country of origin, and religious denomination influenced the lives of Jewish women in America, and in turn, how Jewish women have shaped the national expression of American Judaism. Texts and discussions consider how these factors have created an American Jewish women’s history that is distinctive from men’s. Students will examine a variety of sources, including diaries, memoirs, letters, film, recipes, organizational records, and artifacts that reveal women’s voices that are absent in more traditional histories. The central goal of the course is to integrate Jewish women into the American past, and thus, fundamentally transform American Jewish history.

AMST 256: Anti-Fifties: Voices of a Counter Decade

Section 1: Bob Cantwell

11 TR; MU 204

We remember the nineteen-fifties as a period of relative tranquility, happiness, optimism and contentment. The decade saw unprecedented prosperity, an expanding middle class, the consolidation of a postwar national security state and the ascendancy of America as a global power. The picture is not altogether mistaken. Yet the ‘fifties had its sores and blemishes: a too passionate social conformity, a crass and overblown consumerism, a fatuous ideology of the family, as well as the usual forms of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and class resentment which in such eruptions and McCarthyism enjoyed episodes of national assent.

This course will consider a handful of counter-texts: voices from literature, film, politics, and mass culture of the nineteen-fifties that each for one or another reason found life in the postwar world repressive, empty, frightening, or insane, and predicted the social and cultural revolutions that marked the decade that followed.

AMST 257: Herman Melville: Culture and Criticism

Section 1: Tim Marr

3:30 TR; VN G307

This seminar investigates the significance of Herman Melville as an exciting nineteenth-century American author whose works speak with power to different generations of readers. The course places Melville and his literary creations in the situation of their production as well as across a spectrum of evolving critical paradigms. The course will explore issues and problems in biography, influence, textual authority, and changing reception, as well as examine cultural approaches that analyze Melville’s engagement with gender, sexuality, “race,” ethnicity, class, and the politics of the literary marketplace. Texts include Typee; Moby-Dick; Pierre; The Piazza Tales; Billy-Budd, Sailor; and selected poems. Readings also include historical sources and examples of critical reception ranging from popular reviews from the time of publication to analytical readings from a wide variety of theoretical approaches. The course will examine the status of Melville and his work today, especially Moby-Dick and its characters, as central icons of American memory, as shown in recent popular culture, film, and art.

AMST 269: Mating and Marriage in American

Section 1: Tim Marr

11 TR; PH 222

This seminar is an interdisciplinary examination of the cultural politics of the married condition from colonial times to the present. We will explore American marriage as a changing and contested tradition and institution by examining developments in legal discourse, the history of sexuality, and the sociology of gender roles. The readings explore how ideologies and customs influence the intimacy of interpersonal relations. Readings include both recent scholarly studies on courtship, family, and divorce in United States history as well as literary expressions and those from art, film, music, and popular culture. Themes that the course examines include courtship and romance; marital power and the emergence of an egalitarian ideal; the challenge to monogamy from divorce, extramarital cohabitations, and singleness; as well as evolving debates over interracial, cross-cultural, and same-sex marriages.

AMST 290/ENGL 475: Southern Literature – Contemporary Issues

Section 1: Ruth Salvaggio

11:00 TR; GL 304

Readings in the literature of this distinctly un-American city—where Africans shaped poetry in Congo Square long before anyone there even spoke English, and where passion and longing infused literature well before Tennessee Williams wrote his play about an old “Streetcar Named Desire.”  As one early observer said of New Orleans, it resembled Bagdad or Cairo more than anyplace in North America.  So with the city’s literary heritage, connected more to the Caribbean than the United States, and perfectly situated as a pivot for studies of the global south.  This course will inevitably expand the borders of what counts as the “literature of the US South,” if indeed New Orleans is south at all, or if it forever remains, as some suggest, “south of south.”  Our literary texts will span three centuries, beginning with African slave songs sung in Congo Square in the 1700’s, Creole poetry and novels in the 1800’s (both before and after the invasion of “Americans” mid-century following the sale of the Louisiana territory to the newly-formed United States), and a wide range of quintessentially New Orleans writers in the 20th century who have stamped the literary legacy of this city.  We will also read works from the burgeoning field of post-Katrina writing, including memoirs and stories of flood and recovery, loss and memory, and a reckoning with impending environmental disaster that surrounds the fate of the city as its surrounding marshlands continue to wash away.  As one recent New Orleans writer says, “There’s trouble in the world.  The kind you can’t fix.”  If reading literature helps us to navigate troubled worlds, then the literature of New Orleans tracks that journey from the earliest Indian chants on through the chants of today’s Mardi Gras Indians, from its formation in the swamplands of river and gulf to its response to human and environmental catastrophe in our own precarious times.

Materials:  Literary texts, cultural history, soundtracks, some film and photos, on-line archives.

AMST 292: Islands in the City: Caribbean Immigration in New York

Section 1: Tammy Brown

3-5:30 W; SC 209

This course explores the history of Caribbean immigration to New York City through intellectual biographies.  The approach will be chronological, but also topical.  Starting with the “New Negro” and ending with critical analysis of the political economy of multiculturalism, this course explores the complex and diverse ways in which peoples of African descent have constructed black identities, confronted de facto and de jure racial oppression, and forged transnational political and cultural alliances.  The course’s primary goal is to convey a nuanced understanding of African-Diasporic History with close attention to intra-racial distinctions which often manifest along class, gender, ethnic, and geographic lines.


AMST 350: Main Street Carolina

Section 1: Pamella Lach

3-4:15 MW; Hanes Hall 112

No matter what town or city in North Carolina you might visit (or be from), its downtown is likely to share many common features with other “Main Streets” across the state and around the country.  By the same token, each downtown is unique—the product of local forces and a specific history.  Hundreds of towns and cities in the state began to assume their modern forms in the years between 1880 and 1920—when more towns were chartered in N.C. than in any other period of the state’s history and when existing towns and cities replaced older wooden structures and dirt roads with multi-story brick buildings and streetcars.

This course looks at how downtowns in N.C. developed and how downtowns then shaped the economic, social, and cultural life of communities across the state.  We will try to reimagine the experience of “being” downtown for our great-grandparents’ generation.  We will research and think about how race, gender, religion, class, and ethnicity inflected that experience.   We will look at the establishment and growth of businesses and cultural institutions that come to define Main Street throughout most of the twentieth century: movie theaters, department stores, drug stores, fraternal organizations, restaurants, and barber shops, among them.

We will use Wilson Library’s extraordinary collection of materials about towns and cities in North Carolina in our study of downtowns at the turn of the century: newspapers, city directories, maps, photographs, and postcards in the North Carolina Collection; family papers, oral histories, business records, and diaries in the Southern Historical Collection.

A major focus of the course will be on using the latest digital technologies to document and share the history of Main Street.  The work space for the course will be a class website to which students will contribute research they have conducted on the history of a town in North Carolina they have “adopted” for the semester. We will also take advantage of digital history projects developed at UNC. “Going to the Show” ( documents the experience of moviegoing in more than 200 communities in North Carolina between 1896 and 1930. It was awarded the American Historical Association’s Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History. “Main Street, Carolina” allows local libraries, museums, schools, and historic preservation organizations to collect and display a wide range of content about the history of downtown layered on top of highly detailed historic maps (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps).  It was awarded the 2009 C. Felix Harvey Award to advance Institutional AMST Priorities at UNC and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. * This course counts for Southern Studies credit in History and Social Sciences.

AMST 360: The Jewish Writer in American Life

Section 1: Bob Cantwell

2TR: MU 204

Imitating, emulating, adapting, imagining and reinventing the America they discovered, Jewish writers, composers, and filmmakers provided democratic, Protestant, Anglo-American society with durable ideas of itself, at the same time as they enlarged the political, cultural, and spiritual landscape in which a diverse, secular, liberal society might flourish. This course will investigate, through literature, film, and song, the Jewish-American novel in particular, the encounter between first and second-generation Jewish Americans shaped by centuries in the Pale of Settlement with American culture in the Twentieth Century and the first decade of the Twenty-First. We’ll read major novelists such as Abraham Cahan, Henry Roth, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Phillip Roth and Jonathan Safran Foer against backdrops supplied by Al Jolson, Irving Berlin, Issac Bashevis Singer, Arthur Miller, Woody Allen and Barry Levinson. Our aim will be to understand immigration, ethnicity, assimilation and cultural membership in light of the Jewish experience, and to explore the cultural, ethical and philosophical issues arising from the conditions of Jewish identity in America.

AMST 370: Girl Talk: American Women’s Voices in Literature

Section 1: Joy Kasson

2 TR; GM 038

This course will examine common themes in American literature, art, and popular culture produced by women from the mid-nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.  We will ask how women writers and artists find their voices and produce works of art that speak to their concerns as women and their historical moment.  Among the figures to be examined will be children’s book writers Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder, poet Emily Dickinson, novelists Maxine Hong Kingston and Marianne Gingher, and artists Mary Cassatt, Faith Ringgold, and Carmen Lomas Garza.  Our inquiry will proceed through class discussion, student reports, and papers long and short.  (Male students are welcome!)

AMST 398: Service Learning in America

Section 1: Rachel Willis

2-5 T;

This seminar explores the history and theory of volunteerism and service learning in America. Requirements for the course include an academic seminar and significant placement in a service learning project.  Students produce published websites from their specific internship.  This is supplemented by visual and audio documentation as relevant.  Additionally students are required to keep a digital diary of their internship experience and respond to specific prompts in electronic discussion forums on a bi-weekly basis throughout the term.

AMST 466: You Are Where You Live: The American House in Critical Perspective

Section 1: Kathy Roberts

12:30 TR; MU 204

This course is designed to attune students to the complexities of human shelter.  We will begin our journey by studying the development of several national and regional housing types in the U.S. and the environmental and socio-political factors that contributed to their formation.  From shotguns to ranches to mobile homes and more, we will learn about how domestic forms in the built environment have contributed to American cultural landscapes—past and present.  In addition, we will explore the social use and meaning of housing and examine the strategies people use to create “homes” out of built forms.  Finally, we consider several larger issues associated with housing in the U.S., including affordability, sustainability and gentrification.  By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the built environment as a form of communication, capable of revealing what we value as individuals and communities and as a nation, and to critically evaluate the ways in which housing mediates power relations in the U.S.

AMST 484: Visual Culture

Section 1: Bernard Herman

3:30 TR; BI 103

Visual Culture investigates how we make and signify meaning through images, ranging from art to advertising to graffiti to comics and more. Our course provides the critical tools to understand the visual worlds we inhabit. Because images have played and continue to play a powerful role in shaping American culture, Visual Culture explores their range and contexts in modern and contemporary American life in both national and global contexts. The course emphasizes the speaking and writing skills necessary to read, write, listen, and speak effectively and the critical skills central to raising clear and precise questions, using abstract ideas to interpret information, considering diverse points of view, reaching well-reasoned conclusions, and testing them against the worlds of images.


AMST 486: Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Experience in the American South

Section 1: Marcie Cohen Ferris

2 MWF; GA 106

This course explores ethnicity in the South and focuses on the experience of Jewish southerners. Since the arrival of Sephardic Jews in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, southern Jews have blended their regional identity as Jews and as Southerners. This course explores the “braided identity” of Jews in the South—their relationships with white and black Gentile southerners, their loyalty to the South as a region, and their embrace of southern culture through foodways and religious observance. The course traces the history of Jewish southerners from the colonial era to the present, using film, museum exhibits, literature, and material culture as resources. Throughout the course we consider the question of southern Jewish distinctiveness. Is southern Jewish culture distinctive from Jewish culture in other regions of the country, and if so, why? Is region a significant factor in American Jewish identity? Students will explore these issues through class discussion and a research paper.

AMST 499: Writing the Documentary Biography and Literary Profile

Section 1: Sam Stephenson

3:00 – 5:30 W; MU 204

This course concerns researching and writing about the lives of others. It concerns the literary intention of telling a story about somebody else’s life. It’s a tradition that began in biblical times, or earlier, and extends through the current issue of magazines such as the New Yorker or Rolling Stone. Students will study classic works of biography and literary profile – writers as various as James Boswell, Richard Ellman, Joseph Mitchell, Lillian Ross, John McPhee, Janet Malcolm, and AB Spellman. Some of these writers wrote about famous icons (Boswell, Ellman), others wrote about people nobody knew (Mitchell, McPhee, Spellman). In any case, the effort is to learn as much about a person as possible – a figure from history or somebody still alive, perhaps even a grandparent or next door neighbor – and attempt to see through their eyes, walk in their shoes, and render their story in literary, documentary writing. Oral history and archival research will be featured. Students will submit a written final project modeled after classic New Yorker magazine profiles, or chapters from a book-length biography. The instructor will help them determine a subject, living or deceased.

AMST 702

This course takes a specific topic or related topics to explore in depth, and through this investigation critically examines contending perspectives on the field. We will explore early American religion, philosophy , and literature in the context of American Puritanism in the seventeenth century,  the Great Awakening in the eighteenth, and Transcendentalism in the nineteenth. Attention will be given to bibliographical knowledge and control of both primary and secondary sources as well as to continuities between periods. Recommended for students in American literature, intellectual and social history, philosophy, and religious studies.

Spring 2013

AMST 51: Navigating America

Rachel Willis, MWF 10:00-10:50 Greenlaw 301

This seminar is designed to teach students how to navigate new intellectual terrain and process unfamiliar information from a variety of disciplinary perspectives with an emphasis on discussion and field study. Each student will plan, implement, and document an individual short journey.  This voyage of discovery on the campus or in the surrounding community will be chronicled with a documentary journal and presented to the class in a multi-media format that conveys the individual’s perspective, journey, and discoveries. Additionally, the class will collaboratively plan, implement, and document a common rail journey that will be linked to our readings, guest lectures, and research  as it will be a core aspect of the experiential education connection for the course.   In Spring 2013 we will focus on rail journeys in America.


AMST 89: Navigating the World Through American Eyes

Rachel Willis, MWF 12:00-12:50, Bingham 317

This course is designed to better prepare students for future study abroad opportunities, international work, and understanding the implications of national identity and action in a global environment. Using group projects, individual proposal writing, and collaborative field study within the campus and near-by community, we will explore a wide range of issues including access to work, health care, and education. Differences in religion, culture, gender roles, geography, and more will be considered as students intensely develop individual plans for foreign travel, study, and work using readings, class exercises, documentaries, and interviews. There will be a special focus on transportation systems and other forms of infrastructure that impact navigating places, people, and information.


AMST 101: The Emergence of Modern America

Joy Kasson, MWF 12:00-12:50 (and occasional discussion sections), Phillips  215

This course traces major themes in American culture as viewed through history, literature, art, film, music, politics, and popular culture, from the American Revolution to the present.  It is not a comprehensive survey but rather an examination of the ways in which history and the arts interrelate as the present emerges from the past.  Topics include American diversity, the natural environment, the rise of the cities, social criticism, the cultural impact of war.  Readings consist of primary sources: poetry (Walt Whitman), fiction (Ernest Hemingway and Tim O’Brien), and autobiography (Frederick Douglass and Jane Addams).   Each unit will include the work of an artist or photographer, such as Thomas Cole, Matthew Brady, Jacob Riis, Dorothea Lange. Topics include the heritage of the American Revolution; slavery, Civil War, and memory; technology and the environment; writers, film-makers, and artists as social critics.


AMST201: Literary Approaches to American Studies

Michelle Robinson, T/ Th 9:30-10:45, Dey 304

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary methods of American Studies, and an overview of contemporary approaches to the study of American society and culture. In addition to a variety of short stories and essays that cover the span of the twentieth century, our examination of American life will center on three historical moments.  First, we will explore representations of race, gender, and citizenship in the late nineteenth century, with a focus on depictions of the Spanish-American War and the U.S. occupation of the Philippines, as well as more recent reflections on Filipino identity in fiction and film. Next, we will study Jack Kerouac’s The Subterraneans (1958) and the cultural impact of the Beat Generation, as well as the commodification of “beatnik” culture and Beat philosophy in Hollywood films such as Funny Face (dir. Stanley Donen, 1957). Finally, we will examine Arab American and Muslim American identities following 9/11 using ethnographies, short stories and legal documents, in addition to The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and Canadian Zarqa Nawaz’s sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, as our sources.


AMST 203: Approaches to American Indian Studies

Dan Cobb, T/Th 12:30-1:45, Greenlaw 222

AMST 203 introduces students to the fundamentals of American Indian Studies—from theoretical orientations and source materials to research methodologies and means of reporting.  The course begins with an exploration of the field’s origins and evolution.  Then, throughout the semester, we will learn about the approaches adopted by archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, literary scholars, and specialists in law.  You will gain a critical introduction to the questions asked by individuals working in these fields and to the “raw materials” of their various “ways of knowing,” including ethnographic interviews, oral histories, archival materials, artifacts, maps, language, place, forms of expressive culture, and material objects.  Still more exciting, you will be learning directly from the outstanding American Indian Studies faculty at the University of North Carolina and a few special guests. Rather than merely listening to others talk, however, you will also apply the insights and techniques about which you are learning in the context of a research project.


AMST 211: Approaches to Southern Studies: The Literary and Cultural Worlds of the American South

Jocelyn Neal, Tim Marr MWF 1:00PM – 1:50PM, Greenlaw 101

What is now called the “South” is defined by its relationship with a north from which its states once sought to secede.  This interdisciplinary, team-taught course examines the complex cultural expressions that have helped to form and have emerged from this distinctively transcultural region.


AMST 233: Native American History: the West

Dan Cobb, T/Th 2:00-3:15, Genome Sciences G200

This course explores the lifeways and historical experiences of the many and diverse peoples indigenous to North America’s trans-Mississippi West.  My goal is to make unfamiliar the familiar story of declension and defeat for Native peoples.  We will begin by investigating the peopling of this space through stories of creation, migration, evolution, and change.  We will then focus on the multifaceted encounters between Natives and newcomers from the sixteenth through the late nineteenth centuries. While not shying away from the colonialism’s punishing consequences, we will attend closely to stories of innovation, resistance, adaption, and survival.  Readings this semester include Jack Brink’s Imagining Head Smashed In:  Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains, Kathleen DuVal’s The Native Ground:  Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent, and Elliott West’s The Last Indian War:  The Nez Perce Story, along with primary documents and scholarly articles.  Through the accumulation of new knowledge about Native peoples, students will gain an appreciation for the diversity and durability of indigenous lifeways and come to realize that the past is not past.  Whether we realize it or not, we live it everyday.


AMST/ANTH/HIST 234: Tribal Studies: Lumbee History

Malinda Maynor-Lowery, T 3:30-6:00

This service-learning course will examine the history of the Lumbee and Tuscarora people whose homeland is in Robeson County, North Carolina, beginning in the 1500s up to the present. Topics discussed include the effects of early exploration and colonization, the coming together of these groups from multiple Indian groups, their histories in major colonial and United States wars, and how the Lumbee and Tuscarora experience reflects the American nation as a whole. Students will conduct original research in collaboration with members of these communities, and a field trip will be required.


AMST 266:  The Folk Revival: The Singing Left in Mid-20th-Century America

Bob Cantwell, MWF 2:00-2:50, Venable  G311

Emphasizing cultural stratification, political dissent and commercialization in American youth and popular movements, this course will map the evolving political and cultural landscape of mid-20th-century America through the lens of the Folk Revival, from its origins in various regionalist, nativist, and socialist traditions of the 1920s, to its alliance with the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, to the resurgence of neo-traditional and roots music.


AMST 275, Section 1/ FOLK 490: American Communities and Cultures: A Photographic Approach

Bill Bamberger, T 6:00-8:50, Greenlaw 304

This is a documentary fieldwork class in which each student selects a community to come to know and photograph during the course of the semester.  Community is broadly defined as a place where people come together in a meaningful way.  In previous classes students have photographed unusual kinds of communities or cultural gathering places like shopping malls, airports and cemeteries.  Others have explored the social landscape and American culture with topics like patriotism and the American flag or graffiti art in the South.  The class meets once a week and is divided into two parts: students sharing their evolving projects and slide discussions about the work of renowned documentary photographers.

Students must have Adobe Photoshop CS5 and access to a DSLR camera or similar.  Instructor permission required.


AMST290: LGTBQ Fiction and Film from 1950 to the Present

Michelle Robinson, T/Th 2:00-3:35, Murphey 204

This course will explore representations of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and gender-queer identities in American literature and film from 1950 to the present. We will examine how theories about sexual identity have shifted in the last half-century, and consider topics such as sexuality, desire, activism and family. We will also examine the impact of specific historical developments, such as the Lavender Scare, Stonewall Riots, and the AIDS epidemic, on the emergence of a LGTBQ literary tradition in the United States. In addition to short stories and essays, we will examine a number of books and films that may include Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt (1952), John Rechy’s City of Night (1963), Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckenridge (1968), Gus Van Sant’s Mala Noche (1985), Todd Haynes’  Poison (1991), Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman (1996) and The Owls (2010), Jaime Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), Kate Davis’ Southern Comfort (2001), Felicia Luna Lemus’ Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (2003), Greg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2004), and Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home (2006).


AMST 290, Section 3: The Graphic Novel

Chris Teuton, MWF 12:00-12:50, Murphey 204

Since Art Spiegelman’s  Maus: A Survivor’s Tale won the Pulitzer Prize Special Award in 1992, novels presented in the medium of comics, otherwise known as “graphic novels,” have grown both in popularity and respect within the fields of literature and popular cultural studies. This course traces the history of the medium of comics; the history of the graphic novel; and the conceptualization of comics as a medium and subject of inquiry. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between visual and textual representation, and the ways race, class, gender, and sexuality are portrayed in graphic novels. Drawing on contemporary theory and criticism, we will attempt to theorize the growing relationship comics have with other forms of popular cultural media, most importantly, film. Students will read a wide array of contemporary graphic novels, beginning with seminal works of the 80s and continuing to the present.


AMST 292: Game, Sport, and Religion in North America

Ken Lokensgard, T/Th 3:30- 4:45, Greenlaw 304

In this course, we will examine the religious significance attributed to certain individual, team, field, and other games and sports by members of various North American social groups.  We will read relevant historical and theoretical literature and consider local examples, including Eastern Native American ball games, Carolina basketball, NASCAR, massively multiplayer online games, and Appalachian fly fishing.


AMST 335/335H:  Defining America II

John Kasson and Timothy Marr, MWF 10:00-10:50, Greenlaw 431

Together John Kasson and Timothy Marr will lead a thoroughly interdisciplinary course focusing on a series of defining and controversial historical events from America’s emergence as a major industrial power to the present.  The focus of sections in “Defining America II”  include the rise of Chicago and  the Haymarket Affair of 1886; The Wilmington Race “Riot” of 1898 and the rise of segregation in the South; Margaret Sanger, women’s rights, and struggles surrounding the legalization of birth control beginning around 1914;  the internment of Japanese citizens during the Second World War; Vietnam and the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968; contemporary concerns over terrorism and security in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001.  Linking all these events will be a focus on such issues as:  order and violence; security and freedom; citizenship and aliens; the contested elaborations of civil rights from the 14th amendment to the Patriot Act; the expansion of national power from the aftermath of the Civil War to the status of sole superpower; and transformations in expressive media from regional print culture to global virtual networks.  Throughout the course, we will also be concerned with how these histories are variously narrated and preserved, forgotten, or transformed in historical memory and commemoration. Students will write short papers and projects in response to questions for each of the six units.  As a final exercise, each student will design a hypothetical unit of readings and assignments on an important American instance since 1865 that could be taught as an additional section for this course.


AMST 338: American Indian Novels: Facing East from Indian Country

Chris Teuton, MWF 10:00-10:50, Murphey 204

When Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969 for his novel House Made of Dawn, Native American literary expression established a foothold in the literary world that it has never relinquished. Over the past forty years, Native American literature and literary studies has grown tremendously in international prominence and has become a cornerstone of the field of Indigenous Studies. This course explores the development of the novel by Indigenous writers as a mode of storytelling. We will examine the ways the American Indian novel engages the continuing effects of settler colonialism in North America, and how the novel problematizes this history by foregrounding Indigenous notions of language, history, land, culture, and community. We will read some of the best works of Native American literature published to date, including canonical novels as well as those published only recently, First Nations texts from Canada and Native American novels published in the United States.


AMST 375: Cooking Up a Storm:  Exploring Food in American Culture

Marcie Ferris, T/Th 9:30-10:45, New West  219

This course examines the cultural history and meaning of food in America.  We will explore how food shapes national, regional, and personal identity.  We will consider how region, gender, ethnicity, class, race, religion, the media, global politics, and corporate America affect the food we eat.  We will discuss food as both a source of healing and a source of conflict, and the ways in which it impacts community, from the American family to the “national family.”  Students will examine a variety of sources including cook books, recipes, journalism, film, literature, art, photography, and artifacts to develop an understanding of food in American culture.


AMST 390, Section 2: Life and Work in Appalachia

Kathy Roberts, T/Th 2:00-3:45, Greenlaw 302

This seminar explores everyday practices—past and present— of people living and working in the geo-cultural region known as Appalachia. Through historical, theoretical and thematic readings, we will cover such topics as recreation, education, land tenure, foodways, natural resource extraction, and industrial and post-industrial work.  The course will consist of lectures and discussion led by the instructor and by students, regular reading responses, a seminar paper, and a final exam.


AMST 482: Images of American Landscapes

Kathy Roberts, T/Th 9:30-10:45, Dey 204

This course invites students to think critically about landscape as a concept and as a physical reality.   The class will explore where the concept of landscape originates for us in a Western context and how this concept informs the way many of us understand our physical environment.  The way we perceive the landscape influences everyday choices, such as where to live, where to travel, and what to look at.   We will also engage with physical landscapes in our midst, such as the university campus, the farm, the factory, the town, the neighborhood, and the front yard.  We will explore what landscapes such as these tell us about human life and work through time.  Ultimately, students will attune themselves to the complexity of American landscapes in this course and learn the empirical and analytical skills to investigate their meaning in a larger socio-cultural context. The course will consist of weekly readings (TBA), class discussion led by the instructor and the students, several field trips, a semester field project, and a final exam.


AMST 488: No Place Like Home:  Material Culture of the American South

Marcie Ferris, T/Th 12:30-1:45, Greenlaw 302

For generations, American Southerners have lived and worked in regionally distinctive worlds, filling these spaces and the landscapes that surround them with tools, furniture, outbuildings, and art inspired by folk, academic, and popular culture. This course explores the unique worlds of southern material culture and how “artifacts”—from portraiture to porches—help us gain insight about the changing social and cultural history of the American South.


AMST 490: Writing Material Culture

Bernie Herman, W 3:00-5:50; Love House
Writing Material Culture is a reading seminar that examines multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives that shape the critical reception and interpretation of objects and images of all sorts. Our seminar explores the ways in which material culture can be written and our readings represent the application of an array of approaches, offering examples of strategies that can be combined and applied to the scrutiny of things. Each reading is presented as a critical tool that has a place in an analytical toolbox that contains ideas useful for understanding and interpreting the world of objects.


AMST 499/FOLK 690: Fieldwork and Documentary Writing

Sam Stephenson, Lehman Brady Visiting Professor, W 3:00-5:30, Dey 313

Fieldwork and Documentary Writing concerns literary nonfiction writing based on oral history interviews and field observations gained from living and working in various human and natural environments, both foreign and familiar, extraordinary and ordinary, on the other side of the world and in your backyard.  Readings will be by writers of historical significance such as James Agee, Zora Neale Hurston, Annie Dillard, and Ryszard Kapuscinski, along with contemporary forerunners such as John Jeremiah Sullivan, David Foster Wallace, and Joan Didion.  Students will absorb these works and then write their own documentary pieces.


 FOLK 560: Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition

William R. Ferris, T/Th 8:00-9:15am, Love House (Graduate students also meet T  9:30 – 10:30)

This seminar considers how Southern writers employ folklore genres such as folktales, sermons, and music and how such genres provide structure for literary forms like the novel and the short story.


AMST 840: Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies

Robert Allen, W 6-8:30, Howell 103

In this interdisciplinary graduate course, we will explore the implications of the application of digital technologies to the materials, questions, practices, and potential of humanities scholarship, particularly as they grow out of and relate to enduring topics in American Studies scholarship and community engagement: place, memory, identity, mobility, and the transformation/preservation of cultural practices and value.  This is a convergence point for scholars and practitioners in a number of historically inflected fields in the humanities and social sciences (public history, Southern Studies, geography, folklore, American Indian Studies, African-American Studies, among them) as well as in library/information science, archives, historic preservation, and museum studies.

The course is organized around semester-long participation in collaborative, interdisciplinary public digital humanities projects with organizational partners within and beyond the university, leading to the launch of 3-4 completed digital projects by the end of term.  The projects will make use of and test a new digital public humanities platform: diPH, currently in development through a collaboration between the Digital Innovation Lab and RENCI.  Participants will learn how to mount digital humanities projects using this WordPress-based  platform, and how to work collaboratively with colleagues and cultural heritage and educational organizations to produce digital projects for multiple audiences and uses. We will also discuss the implications for historians and other humanities scholars, libraries, archives, and museum of the digitization, organization, and circulation of a massive amount of cultural heritage materials over the past twenty years, as well as the ongoing development of digital tools for analyzing, managing, representing, and interacting with these data.  MA and Ph.D. students from all disciplines are welcome.  No prior experience/technical knowledge required.


FOLK/ANTH  860: The Art of Ethnography

Glenn Hinson, TR 12:30-1:45, Alumni 304

A field-based exploration of the pragmatic, ethical, and theoretical dimensions of ethnographic research, addressing issues of experience, aesthetics, authority, and worldview through the lens of cultural encounter. Field research required.