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Summer 2014

AMST 110.  Introduction to Native American Studies (SECOND SESSION)
Instructor: Dr. Dan Cobb

Mo/Tu/We/Th/Fr 9:45AM – 11:15AM

This course will survey American Indian history from the period before European contact to the present, with a particular focus on the ways in which the peoples indigenous to North America have negotiated dramatic changes in their lives. We will also explore how scholars have come to “make sense” of this past.  At the heart of the course in both regards is ethnohistory—a broadly interdisciplinary way of knowing that draws insights from history, anthropology, sociology, literature, and other fields of study.  Our goal is a challenging one, and to meet it we will come to appreciate the complexity of multiple contexts, including Native and non-Native cultures, federal policies and local adaptations, domination and agency.  It is an endeavor that will call upon us to imagine what one scholar has aptly called “history in the round.”

AMST201. Literary Approaches to American Studies (FIRST SESSION)
Instructor: Dr. Sharon P. Holland 
Mo/Tu/Th 3:15PM – 5:50PM
What is it about animals that so intrigues us? What is the difference between human cognition and animal cognition? What do we truly know about dogs, horses or cats? Why should we care? This course is an introduction to the discipline of “Animal Studies” in American Studies work through literary approaches to the question of the animal. We will read work from dog and horse trainers, get an inside look at the workings of North Carolina barn culture and explore the history of the racetrack through such novels as Toni Morrison’s A Mercy and Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule. We will read works by Temple Grandin and view the HBO biopic about her work. We will also read local dog trainer Cat Warren’s book, What the Dog Knows. This course defines the “literary” very broadly and will also include readings in philosophy, and of course, animal science.

AMST256. Anti ’50s: Voices of a Counter-Decade (MAYMESTER)
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson
Mo/Tu/We/Th/Fr 11:30AM – 2:25PM
We remember the 1950s as a period of relative tranquility, happiness, optimism, and contentment. This course will consider a handful of countertexts: voices from literature, politics, and mass culture of the 1950s that 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. This Maymester, our major topics include: a genealogy of an American Independent Cinema and the strange creations that emerged from Classical Hollywood’s implosion; unusual representations of the South and the appearance of a “kinky” gothic; the experiences of WWII and Korean War veterans with what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder; and new conceptions of artificiality and authenticity. We will work with a few novels and plays: The Ballad of the Sad Café (Carson McCullers 1951), The Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith 1955), The Zoo Story (Edward Albee 1958), and Some of Your Blood (Theodore Sturgeon 1961), as well as a selection of short stories, essays and poems which may include the work of authors Tennessee Williams, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg and Flannery O’Connor. We will also watch Baby Doll (dir. Elia Kazan, 1956); Shadows (dir. John Cassavetes, 1958); and, of course, Rebel Without a Cause (dir. Nicholas Ray, 1955).  

AMST 336. Native Americans in Film (MAYMESTER)
Instructor: Dr. Chris Teuton
Mo/Tu/We/Th/Fr 9:00AM – 12:15PM
This course introduces students to the complex history of the portrayal of Native Americans in film. Beginning with the earliest cinematic depictions of Native peoples, the class moves through different time periods and perspectives as we seek to understand the importance of the visual representation of Native Americans to American national identity; Western conceptions of modernity as read through depictions of the Indigene; and the decolonial reclamation of Indigenous identity and representation with today¹s era of Indigenous filmmakers. The course will introduce students to film study, film genres including the Western and documentaries, cultural and historical analysis, as well as contemporary issues in American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

AMST 390. Seminar in American Studies (SECOND SESSION)
Instructor: Dr. Sharon P. Holland
Mo/Tu/Th 3:15PM – 5:50PM
This course is NOT about the movie “Crash,” but about the stock market crash of 1987, a precursor to the financial crisis of the present moment. In this course we will read scintillating tales of corporate greed and personal indulgence written by Pulitzer Prize winning writers for The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. In our quest to understand what makes the market tick and spin, we will be thinking about words like “debt,” “derivatives,” “savings and loan” and “leverage.” We will be paying close attention to urban locations like New York City, and at least one week of our class will be devoted to readings about the transformation of Times Square. We will ask ourselves what capital really is and how the market works, and doesn’t work. We will also view popular films like Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987), Trading Places (John Landis, 1983), and The Associate (Donald Petrie). These films include both dramatic and comic takes on the both the American financial industry and the cultural norms that subtend it. There are no prerequisites for this course, just come with enthusiasm and a desire to get to bottom of one of the most scandalous decades in U.S. finance.

Fall 2014

AMST055H FYS: Birth and Death in the US
Instructor: Dr. Tim Marr
TR 11:00-12:15;
Murphey 204
This course explores birth and death as essential human rites of passage informed by changing American historical and cultural contexts.  Birth and death define life in ways that none can recall or relate with experiential authority, so examining them provides powerful insights into how culture mediates the construction of bodies and social identities.  Birth and death in contemporary United States, in contrast to much of America’s history when they took part in the home, often happen within institutional conventions of professional practice and legal concern.  This seminar uses active interdisciplinary learning to expose the ways that various Americans have historically defined the meanings of these passages through different processes of cultural power.  Readings and assignments are designed to provoke dynamic understandings of birth and death by examining the changing anthropological rituals, scientific technologies, medical procedures, religious meanings, and ethical quandaries surrounding them.  We will explore – through independent research and collective discussion – a variety of representations of American birth and death through literary expressions, photography and film, material and commercial culture, scholarly inquiry, and institutional practice, as well as in hospitals, funeral homes, and cemeteries.

AMST089 FYS: Native American Artists
Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote
MWF 10:00-10:50;
Greenlaw 222

This course examines the lives, works, and representation of American Indian artists though biographical and autobiographical texts, secondary articles, books, and though art itself.  This course sharpens written and verbal communication though in-class discussion, informal, and formal assignments.  This course also encourages students to critically examine and analyze representations of Native artists and the items they have produced.This course analyzes multifaceted roles that American Indian artists play within their families, communities, and the world at large. This course connects artists and art to vital conversations in American Indian studies such as colonialism, identity, gender, and tribal sovereignty. It also explores how Native people and others have constructed and contested the idea of the “Native American Artist.”  Why is this so contentious?  What do the lives of artists tell us about how Native people have been represented by themselves and others?    How have the represented themselves not just though their art but through texts as well?

AMST/HIST 110: Introduction to the Cultures and Histories of Native North America
Instructor: Dr. Malinda Maynor-Lowery
MW 12:00-12:50; Manning 209
Recitation Sections: F 9:00-9:50; F 10:00-10:50; F 9:00-9:50; F 12:00-12:50; F 1:00-1:50; F 12:00-12:50; F 10-10:50; R 3:30-4:20; R 5:00-5:50

AMST201: On the Question of the Animal: Literary Approaches to American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Sharon Holland
TR 3:30-4:45;
Murphey 204
What is it about animals that so intrigues us? What is the difference between human cognition and animal cognition? What do we truly know about dogs, horses or cats? Why should we care? This course is an introduction to the discipline of “Animal Studies” in American Studies work through literary approaches to the question of the animal. We will read work from dog and horse trainers, get an inside look at the workings of North Carolina barn culture and explore the history of the racetrack through such novels as Toni Morrison’s A Mercy and Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule. We will read works by Temple Grandin and view the HBO biopic about her work. We will also read local dog trainer Cat Warren’s book, What the Dog Knows. This course defines the “literary” very broadly and will also include readings in philosophy, and of course, animal science.

AMST202: Historical Approaches to American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
MWF 11:00-11:50; Greenlaw 302
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary methods of American Studies scholarship with an emphasis on historical analysis. Driven by our discussion of a wide variety of course texts, literature, film, and other sources, we will seek to understand historic conflicts over American identity and how those histories are remembered and forgotten today. This course moves forward in time from the Civil War to the present day, exploring American culture and politics with an emphasis on uncovering the sometimes surprising histories of the American identities that continue to shape our policies and practices, including race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and class.

AMST/HIST/ANTH 234:  The Kiowa in American Indian Studies
Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote
MWF 1:00-1:50; Room TBA

It is possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of American Indian Studies though the lens of one American Indian nation.  This course examines major discussions in the field, through a discussion of the Kiowa, a Plains Indian nation located in Oklahoma. The Kiowa play a unique role in American Indian history, literature, and the arts. This class will take an interdisciplinary approach to explore Kiowa social, cultural, and political life.  We will examine Kiowa efforts to maintain their tribal sovereignty. We will also analyze the role of law policy, gender, and the rise of intertribal movements like the powwow.  To approach these and other issues, students will read a number of articles, historical documents, and following texts:  The Way to Rainy Mountain by Pulitzer Prize winner, N. Scott Momaday, The Jesus Road:  Kiowas, Christianity and Indian Hymns by Luke Lassiter, Clyde Ellis, and Ralph Kotay, and Kiowa Humanity and the Invasion of the State by Jacki Rand.

AMST235: Native America in the 20th Century
Instructor: Dr. Dan Cobb
MW 10:00-10:50; Davie 112
Recitation Sections R 2:00-2:50; R 3:30-4:20; F 10:00-10:50
The idea that American Indian communities would continue to exist in the year 2000 would have confounded late nineteenth-century federal policymakers.  By that time, the Native population had collapsed, the tribal land base had been all but destroyed, and the allotment and assimilation juggernaut pledged to “Kill the Indian to Save the Man.”  And yet, at the dawn of the new millennium, it was the system of colonial administration—not the indigenous peoples subjected to it—that appeared anachronistic.  Against terrible odds and in defiance of dominant expectations, Native communities endured.  “Twentieth-Century Native America” explores this complex and fascinating story.  Readings and lectures will carry students from the Pacific Northwest at the end of the nineteenth century to the Southeast at the end of the twentieth.  Along the way, we will engage critically important issues, such as identity construction and contestation, the shifting meanings of sovereignty and citizenship, and the problems of blood and belonging.

AMST253: A Social History of Jewish Women in America
Instructor: Dr. Marcie Ferris
MWF 10:00-10:50); Murphey 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.

AMST256: Anti ’50s: Voices of a Counter-Decade
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson
MW 3:00-4:15;
Dey 306

We remember the 1950s as a period of relative tranquility, happiness, optimism, and contentment. This course will consider a handful of countertexts: voices from literature, politics, and mass culture of the 1950s that 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.In Fall 2014, our major topics include: a genealogy of an American Independent Cinema and the strange creations that emerged from Classical Hollywood’s implosion; unusual representations of the South and the appearance of a “kinky” gothic; the experiences of WWII and Korean War veterans with what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder; and new conceptions of artificiality and authenticity. We will work with a few novels and plays, such as The Ballad of the Sad Café (Carson McCullers 1951), The Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith 1955), The Zoo Story (Edward Albee 1958), and Some of Your Blood (Theodore Sturgeon 1961), as well as a selection of short stories, essays and poems by authors such as Tennessee Williams, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg and Flannery O’Connor. We will also watch Baby Doll (dir. Elia Kazan, 1956); Shadows (dir. John Cassavetes, 1958); and, of course, Rebel Without a Cause (dir. Nicholas Ray, 1955).

AMST258: Captivity and American Cultural Definition
Instructor: Dr. Tim Marr
TR 2:00-3:15;
Dey 306

This course examines how narratives and representations of captivity, bondage, and imprisonment in American expression worked to construct and transform communal categories of gender, religion, race, and nation. Readings will be drawn from a variety of expressive, visual, and material genres. We examine a series of different contact zones ranging from transnational encounters, institutional oppression, labor domination, and hostage-taking in global situations. We explore such issues as hybridity in cultural exchange; liminality, resistance, and cultural critique; the paradox of slavery in a society dedicated to liberty; and genre and convention as forms of ideological confinement. The study of captivity dialectically reveals many insights into cultural constructions and uses of American myths of freedom and liberation.

AMST275: American Communities and Cultures: A Photographic Approach (Documenting Communities)
Instructor: Bill Bamberger
T 6:00-8:50; Greenlaw 301
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 CS6 and access to a DSLR camera or similar.  Instructor permission required.

AMST291: Ethics and American Studies: The Ethics of Stand Up
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson
MW 2:00-2:250; Greenlaw 101
Recitation Sections R12:30-1:20; R 3:30-4:20; F 9:00-9:50; F 11:00-11:50; F 11:00-11:50; F 1:00-1:50

“The Ethics of Stand Up” will explore the historical, sociocultural, and legal significance of twentieth and early twenty-first century stand-up comedy. We will consider comedy as public voice; examine the ways humor constructs and disrupts American identities; and discuss the ethics of the creative process, performance and reception in contemporary life. Our syllabus will include a limited number of scholarly articles to guide our study, but will focus primarily on the work of Moms Mabley, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, Margaret Cho, Mitch Hedburg, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Hari Kondabolu, among many others. In addition to lectures, attendance at one recitation section per week is required.

AMST337: American Indian Activism since 1887:  Beyond Red Power
Instructor: Dr. Dan Cobb
MWF 12:00-12:50;
Greenlaw 319
This course begins with three questions:  What is political?  What is activism? and What is Red Power?  From there we will explore the liminal space in which Native political action takes place and investigate case studies that will broaden our conception of when, where, and how politics and activism happen. In so doing, we will move across the late nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first centuries, giving systematic attention to multiple social groups, including different American Indian nations and Euro-American society.  We will conclude with a discussion of the globalization of the indigenous rights movement. I find the “Discovery Paradigm” to be a compelling model for enhanced learning and have adopted it in this course.  This approach is driven by the idea of the “student as scholar.”  My objective is to situate you as the discoverers of knowledge—sometimes in the context of critically reflecting on readings that I assign but more often through your own research and writing. Indeed, the research component of the course will afford an opportunity to gain an introduction to historical methods, to apply those methods, and to communicate what you have learned with your colleagues.  Throughout the semester, you will also have several opportunities to engage with other learners by working in small groups inside and outside of class.  

AMST390: America’s Threatened Languages (Special Topics in American Studies)
Instructor: Dr. Ben Frey

TR 2:00-3:15; Murphey 204

This course provides an introduction to the phenomenon of language shift, endangerment, and revitalization in the United States. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the rich tapestry of minority languages spoken in this country began to change, tending more and more toward a shift to English. This has led many indigenous languages of America to the brink of extinction, and to the loss of the heritage languages of many immigrant communities as well. This course examines the social and historical motivations for this trend, and explores critical thinking skills for analyzing the phenomenon of language shift.

AMST 390: Dance In America (Seminar in American Studies)
Instructor: Dr. Angeline Shaka

MWF 1:00-1:50pm; Dey 305

In the first decades of the twentieth century a group of New York choreographers engaged with a major project: making theatrical dance distinctly American. What does it mean to establish Americanness in and through dance? Unsurprisingly perhaps, these choreographers found inspirations for their American dance in Native American and African-American cultural practices. In this seminar we will traipse through the twentieth century to explore the many ways in which American ideals and subjectivities have consistently been translated through dancing bodies—on theatrical stages and on social dance stages. Our explorations will help us engage with questions including: “What is dance?” “What does dance do?” “What does it mean to characterize certain dance practices as American?” “What, historically, has been erased by such characterizations?” And, “how are changing understandings of race, class, gender, religion, and other social and political movements reflected and defined by our dancing?” In addition to a variety of historical and theoretical readings based on twentieth century theatrical and social dancing, students will watch live dance at Memorial Hall, view mediatized dance performances, and should expect to periodically encounter dance in class.

AMST482: Images of American Landscapes
Instructor: Dr. Kathy Roberts

TR 11:00-12:15; Wilson 202
This course is designed to attune students to the complexities of cultural landscapes in the US. We will begin our journey by studying the development of landscape as a concept in the Western context and how the idea of landscape shapes the way we look at our physical surroundings. The course will progress thematically, covering different analytical perspectives on landscape studies, such as experience (phenomenological approaches), consumption and the geographic gaze. Towards the end of the course we will consider several particular landscapes in light of our theoretical readings: urban, rural and university. We will take class fieldtrips to visit these landscapes together. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand cultural landscapes as material realities and as forms of communication, capable of revealing what we value as individuals and communities and as a nation, and to evaluate critically the ways in which landscape mediates power relations in the U.S. 

AMST485: Folk, Self-Taught, Vernacular, and Outsider Arts

Instructor: Dr. Bernie Herman

W 3:30-6:20; Murphey 204

Folk, vernacular, self-taught and outsider are terms applied to a large body of aesthetic work that occupies and contests the borderlands of contemporary art.  Our course examines current conversations with this often hotly debated and deeply conflicted field.  Among the themes we will discuss are anxieties of authenticity, the connoisseurship of dysfunction, creative and critical inscription and erasure, aesthetic and identity transgressions, and the representation of outsiders in popular and documentary media.  The class will visit collections and exhibitions. Among the artists to be discussed are the works of Charles Benefiel, Malcolm Mckesson, Thornton Dial, Sr., Mary Lee Bendolph, Ronald Lockett, Martin Ramirez, Irene Williams, and James Castle.  Genres addressed include works on paper, artists’ books, quilts and fiber arts, sculpture and constructions, performance pieces, and installations.  The seminar will also include working with the artist Lonnie Holley during his weeklong residency, planning an exhibition and programming on the art of Ronald Lockett, and exploring the Souls Grown Deep Archive recently acquired by the Southern Folklife Center.

AMST486: Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Experience in the American South
Instructor: Dr. Marcie Ferris
MWF 11:00-11:50; Murphey 115
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, language, religious observance, and other expressive forms of culture. 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 different 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 writing assignments.

AMST498: Theory and American Studies (Advanced Seminar in American Studies)

Instructor: Dr. Sharon Holland
T 6:00-8:50; Greenlaw 302
In the last decade of American Studies work, historians, ethnographers, geographers, philosophers and literary critics have made use of countless theoretical paradigms to make arguments about topics like the prison system, healthcare, geo-political events and more. This course will move through prevalent theories in American Studies to familiarize students with theoretical concepts and to ascertain both the advantages and pitfalls of theoretical landscapes for American Studies work. Students will become familiar with critical race (work on the post-colony and settler-colonialism, for example), feminist, and “queer” theories. They will also be working with contemporary publications (articles and books) in the field to think through work in familiar theoretical constructs like historical materialism, political economy, post-colonialism, and bio-power. Students will work on a group final project that engages this issue through creating their own archive.

AMST498: First Person Narrative (Advanced Seminar in American Studies)

Instructor: Marco Williams
W 3:00-5:50; Saunders 204  
This documentary based production class explores the personal video essay form as a compelling mode of creative expression.  Students will be encouraged to identify, research and explore subject matter that has some actual core basis in their lives.  Story content can range from an actual event, family story or myth, political or social view/position, or other issue involving the deeply held belief or observation of the filmmaker. The goal of this class is to explore the first personal narrative as a lens upon which to gaze and examine the communal.  By using one’s own life as creative canvass commonality is discovered and diversity engaged. The class will be introduced to a variety of filmmakers that have produced work within this domain… Additionally, the course will incorporate first person narratives from other mediums, in addition to documentary film—literature, painting, photography, and theater.  Review and analysis of these forms offer students the tools to appreciate the necessity of depth, vulnerability, and internal and external reflexivity required to create an effective first person narrative. Crew collaboration, production exercises, tech seminars, lectures, screenings, and writing workshops will take place on a weekly basis.  Every student is expected to complete and screen a final short project with full sound design, titles and color correction.

AMST700: History and Practices of American Studies

Instructor: Dr. Joy Kasson
T 3:30-6:20;
Greenlaw 319

The History and Practices of American Studies will acquaint students with American Studies as an interdisciplinary field. A close look at the emergence of the field of American Studies in the 1940s and 1950s will be followed by considering its expansion into new areas and the self-reflexive evaluation of the field.  Reading will consist of journal articles and books; weekly reflection papers will take the place of a concluding seminar paper.  Visiting faculty members will share insights into new work in fields including American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Southern Studies, Foodways, Visual Culture, Popular Culture, Music, Ethnography, and other areas.  Graduate students from American Studies are required to take this course in their first semester, and students from other disciplines are especially invited to join in the conversation. 

AMST795: Digitial Humanities Field Experience
Instructor: Dr. Bobby Allen

AMST850: Digital Humanities Practicum
Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
M 2:00-4:50; Greenlaw 431
This practicum blends traditional graduate seminar discussions with hands-on training and experience in the digital humanities. Students will work alongside DH practitioners in the Digital Innovation Lab, contributing to an ongoing digital humanities project or projects that emphasize interdisciplinary, trans-domain, collaborative practice. Students will emerge from this practicum with a deeper understanding of digital humanities approaches, practices, and issues, all of which will have been applied to their own project-based work and training. Lab Work: Students will contribute eight hours per week to ongoing project work in the Digital Innovation Lab. The particular role each student will play on the project tam will depend on their skills, background, professional goals, and experience in relation to the needs of the project. Student work will be split between contributions to a collaborative group project and other ongoing work. Enrollment for this course is limited and is by permission of instructor. Please email Professor Kotch with a statement of interest to request permission to enroll. Enrollment is open to MA and PhD students at UNC and (via inter-institutional registration) to graduate students at Duke and NCSU. Disciplinary diversity is valued.

AMST902: Ph.D. Research Seminar
Instructor: Dr. Patricia Sawin
T 2:00-4:50; Greenlaw 104
Over the course of the semester each student, in consultation with the professor teaching AMST 902 and his/her advisory committee, will prepare the professional portfolio that serves as one of the comprehensive examinations and also the dissertation proposal.  This course will also involve readings and exercises to explore the process of writing the dissertation and the design of syllabi, museum exhibits, etc. as well as to promote other dimensions of professional development, tailored to the career goals of the students in each cohort.

CHER 203: Intermediate Cherokee

FOLK 077 FYS: Poetic Roots of Hip-Hop
Instructor: Dr. Glenn Hinson
TR 12:30-1:45;
Murphey 204

“There ain’t nothing new about rapping.”  That’s what elders from a host of African American communities declared when hip hop first exploded onto the scene.  This “new” form, they claimed, was just a skilled re-working of poetic forms that had been around for generations.  Each elder seemed to point to a different form—some to the wordplay of rhyming radio deejays, others to the bawdy flow of streetcorner poets, still others to the rhymed storytelling of sanctified singers.  And each was right; elegant rhyming has indeed marked African American talk for generations.  Yet because most such rhyming was spoken, its history remains hidden.  In this seminar, we’ll explore this lost history, searching the historical record to uncover hidden heritages of African American eloquence, rhymed storytelling, and sharp social critique.  Our goal is nothing short of writing the prehistory of hip hop, by revealing the everyday poetries that, for generations, have defined what it means to be African American.   Towards this end, students will meet with oral poets and hip hop emcees, and also conduct original archival research, leading to team-based class presentations and individual papers.  Throughout the semester, students will also attend a range of poetic events, thus honing their skills at hearing and appreciating the eloquence that surrounds us all.

FOLK202: Introduction to Folklore (ENGL/ANTH202)
Instructor: Elijah Gaddis
MW 12:00-12:50; Hanes 120
Recitation Sections R 3:30-4:45; F 11:00-11:50; F 12:00-12:50
Folklorists seek to understand how people interpret and make sense of the world.  The study of folklore asks how, in a world flooded with commercial and highly refined cultural products, people use those particular materials that they themselves create and re-shape in order to express who they are, where they belong, and what they value.  In this course we will look at diverse forms (or “genres”) of folklore, including song, architecture, legend, and food.  We will consider how vernacular expressive culture is learned, what it does for people, and why these processes and products persist through time and space.  Students will be introduced to the discipline of Folklore’s central research methodology, ethnography, and have an opportunity to practice that approach in individual and group research projects. These projects will look at the role of performance in everyday speech acts, invite further reflection on students’ own family foodways, and allow for an in-depth exploration of the diverse traditions of the North Carolina State Fair.

FOLK571: Southern Music
Instructor: Dr. William Ferris
TR 8:00-9:15am; Love House

This course explores the music of the American South and considers how this music serves as a window on the region’s history and culture.  We will first consider the South and how the region’s distinctive sense of place defines music in each generation.  From the Mississippi Delta to Harlan County, Kentucky, from small farms to urban neighborhoods, from the region itself to more distant worlds of the southern diaspora, southern music chronicles places and the people who live within them. Our course covers a vast span of southern music and its roots, from ballads to hip hop, with numerous stops and side-trips along the way.  We will examine the differences between bluegrass and country, zydeco and Cajun, and black and white gospel.  We will also study the influences of southern music on American classical music, art, dance, literature, and food.  The class also includes guest speakers and performers. We will listen to field recordings were made by collectors like Alan Lomax and will consider the impact of these recordings on contemporary music. We will also view documentary films on southern music and will discuss how these films enrich our understanding of each musical tradition.

FOLK610: Vernacular Traditions in African American Music
Instructor: Dr. Glenn Hinson
TR 9:30-10:45;
Phillips 224

This four-credit-hour course explores the history, politics, and stylistic features of vernacular musics in African America, tracing the music’s development from West Africa to contemporary hip hop.  The class’s journey is gradual and intermittent, stepping into selected musical and poetic forms (worksongs, string-band dance music, blues, rhymed comedy routines, gospel, and more) as a way of addressing continuity, creativity, and change within African American aesthetics.  Reading and listening, however, are only part of the class; students will also join together in teams that will each pursue an interview-based research project.  In essence, each team will spend the semester conducting interviews with a group of artists whom they’ve chosen in consultation with the professor.  In recent years, student teams have worked with groups as diverse as sorority step teams, hip hop crews, gospel ensembles, community drum lines, and spoken word artists.  These field projects—which culminate in team-based presentations and individual papers—are both intensive and intensely rewarding; that’s why students in the class earn four credit-hours instead of the standard three.  We’ll also punctuate the semester with in-class visits by a range of guest artists, who in 2014 will include a Ghanaian master percussionist, a freestyle poet, and a gospel group.

FOLK688/RELI688: Observation and Interpretation of Religious Action (Ethnographic Methods for the Study of Religion)
Instructor: Dr. Lauren Leve
M 5:00-7:50; Global Center 3024
This course engages the practices, politics, ethics, and epistemology of ethnography as a technique of data production and analysis, with particular attention to religious phenomena. It is primarily intended as a workshop for graduate students who are currently, or will soon be, engaged in ethnographic research. The class is organized around the assumption that the best ethnographic research is founded on a critical and diverse acquaintance with other ethnographers’ work (both fieldwork practices and published texts) and on a rigorous analysis of the epistemological assumptions that underlie the production of ethnographic knowledge. While this course will privilege problems that arise in the study of religion, it should be useful to a wide range of students interested in the dilemmas, practices and politics of ethnographic research and analysis. Specific topics to be addressed include participant-observation; interviewing; modes of description, inscription and interpretation; the nature of “the field” and the practice of fieldwork in era of new communication technologies and globalization; the tension between positioned knowledge and positivist objectivity; participatory methodologies; problems of power, subjectivity, rhetoric and representation; “experience”; and multi-sited research strategies, as well as ethnographic epistemology and ethics.

FOLK850: Approaches to Folklore Theory
Instructor: Dr. Patricia Sawin
R 2:00-4:50; Fetzer 105

Folklore is not a thing, let alone a single, determinate object. It is, rather, a category of cultural analysis and a way of looking at our cultural world. It was developed as part of the project of European Modernity and had significantly different definitions and impacts in succeeding eras.  Indeed, the “problem” with folklore (in the sense of both a practical challenge and a fascinating intellectual question) is that folklore is taken to stand for so many different partially overlapping or even contradictory objects. What, then, might it mean or entail to study folklore in the 21st century? This graduate seminar is designed to do three things. First, the readings provide one relatively systematic overview of many of the major issues and perspectives that have characterized the study of folklore over the past two centuries and more. Second, written work will require students to apply selected theories to bodies of data in order to understand the continuous process whereby theory illuminates data and data inform new theory. Third and perhaps most importantly, our discussion is intended to model a way of thinking historically about the discipline, recognizing how definitions of the folk and folklore and consequent ideas about the social role of folklore and what questions one might productively ask of such material have emerged from the political and social developments of various periods. Students’ challenge will be to use this perspective to develop a form of folklore study that responds progressively to the realities of the global culture in which we now operate.

FOLK 993: Master’s Research and Thesis

Spring 2015

AMST 53H—First Year Seminar: Family and Social Change
Instructor: Dr. Robert Allen

TR 5:00 – 6:15; room TBA

Inspired by successful television programs “Finding Your Roots,” and “Who Do You Think You Are?” and the popularity of such online genealogical resources as and Family Search, millions of people are taking advantage of billions of digitized public records and publications (census enumerations, city directories, newspapers, military records, etc.) to become online historical detectives.  Some are also becoming 21st century family “kinkeepers”: combining digital resources with local archival resources (including the Southern Historical Collection and North Carolina Collection at UNC and State Archives in Raleigh), family memorabilia from “the bottom drawer of grandma’s dresser” and recordings of family stories to create multimedia family archives, which can be shared with far-flung extended family members and passed down to future generations.

This course unfolds the process and materials of genealogical research to larger historical issues and contexts; explores how family history can personalize and localize social, cultural, political, and economic history; and asks how the question “Who do you think you are?” can become the basis for examining “Who do wethink we are?” as a diverse national culture.

Participants will research and document the history of the last four generations of their biological/cultural families; gather (and preserve) family history materials from living family members; and explore the complexities of family history in relation to gender, race, and ethnicity.  In addition to learning more about your own and your family’s history, we will use the tools and resources that have revolutionized genealogy and family history to ask new questions about the social and cultural history of “ordinary” people in North Carolina over the past 150 years.

In the process, participants will also gain valuable experience in using digital technologies to gather and represent historical data; using public records and other primary documents; conducting oral history interviews; and constructing historical narratives.

AMST 61—First-Year Seminar: Navigating the World through American Eyes
Instructor: Dr. Rachel Willis

MW 11:15-12:30; Global Center 3024
The Spring 2015 offering is supported by the Johnston Scholars Program. Contact or for more information and priority registration no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 14.

Designed to help prepare students for future study abroad opportunities and travel, service, and work in a global environment, the seminar focuses on critical differences, including transportation and other forms of infrastructure, that impact navigating places, people, and information. Individual competitive global travel proposals will be developed and presented.

AMST 89—First Year Seminar: Introduction to Digital Humanities, the Rural South
Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
TuTh 2:00-3:15; Alumni 203

This course uses interdisciplinary approaches and methods in combination with digital humanities tools to explore American identity through the lens of rural America, and specifically the rural American South. It combines seminar-style readings and discussions with collaborative, lab-based digital work on a student-designed project that illuminates the cultures, politics, and histories of the rural South.

AMST 101—The Emergence of Modern America
Instructor: Dr. Joy Kasson

MW 12:20-1:10; Gardner 105
(Discussion Sessions: Th 2:00-2:50, 3:30-4:20; F 11:15-12:05, 12:20-1:10)

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.

AMST 201—Literary Approaches to American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson

TuTh 9:30-10:45; Hanes 112

This course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary methods of American Studies and contemporary approaches to the study of American society and culture, with an emphasis on literary works. 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 four 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. We will also study the U.S. presence in Haiti and explore representations of marriage and consensual governance in Hollywood zombie movies, including White Zombie. (Dir. Victor Halperin, 1932) and I Walked with a Zombie (Dir. Jacques Tourneur, 1943).  Next, we will examine 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 representations of the AIDS epidemic and the origins of ACT Up, as well as other manifestations of gay and lesbian political activism in the 1980s and 90s. Athletes and other human beings welcome.

AMST 202—American Voices: Historical Approaches to American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
TuTh 11:00-12:15; Graham Memorial 213

This course invites you to explore American history and culture through the voices of those who lived it. Moving forward from the slave era to the recent past, you will approach American history through narratives as expressed in oral histories, original writing, photographs, music, and film. These narratives will introduce the human voice, and more broadly human expression, into American history and allow you to explore its major problems, from issues of race, gender, class and other identities; to the influence of memory and context on our understandings of our history; to the reliability of different versions of the past and how to evaluate authenticity, reality, and truth—should it exist—in a historic context.

AMST203—Approaches to American Indian Studies
Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote
TR 11:00 a.m.-12:15 pm; Murphey 314

Introduces students to the disciplines comprising American Indian studies and teaches them how to integrate disciplines for a more complete understanding of the experiences of American Indian peoples.

AMST 211—Approaches to Southern Studies: The Literary and Cultural Worlds of the American South
Instructor: Dr. Bernard Herman

TuTh 3:30pm-4:45pm; Gardner 105

Our course explores Southern cultural identity, expressive imagination, and sense of place with an emphasis on the folklore, literature, foodways, art, architecture, music, and material culture of the American South. We’ll organize our conversations around four big themes: Southern imaginaries (the ways in which the South is understood as many places and spaces defined by the relationships between people and the material worlds they inhabit); affect (the South comprehended as networks of structured feeling and emotion); ideologies (how the South exists as systems of values and beliefs that give sense to everyday life); aesthetics (where aesthetics is understood, not as a philosophy of the beautiful, but as the balance and proportion of being in the world – in our instance the South). Our course includes a mix of lectures, guest presentations from other Southern Studies faculty, workshops, and discussion groups.

AMST 234/HIST234—Native American Tribal Studies: Lumbee History
Instructor: Dr. Malinda Maynor-Lowery
Tu 3:30-6:20; Saunders 104

The Lumbees are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi and the ninth largest tribe in the United States. North Carolina, correspondingly, has the largest Native American population of any state east of the Mississippi. This purpose of this course is to unveil Lumbee history and culture in a useable way, revealing how the past resonates in the present. Students will learn through readings, in-class discussions and films, and by conducting a research project with one or more partners on- or off-campus who have defined subjects of inquiry from which Indian people, academic researchers, and the general public can benefit. This course meets the UNC’s service-learning requirement, and students will commit 30 hours of time throughout the semester to completing these projects.

AMST 290-001—Topics In American Studies: Indigenous Performance and Representation
Instructor: Angeline M Shaka

MW 4:40-5:55; Bingham 208

This interdisciplinary seminar course examines a broad range of artistic expression among the Indigenous people of the Americas, Canada, and the Pacific. Using specific case studies, we will consider how chosen performance strategies address many current political, cultural, and historical issues relating to understandings of indigeneity today. Our investigations will emphasize the centrality of performance both historically and in the modern world as a means of preserving and asserting Native cultural values in the present-day.

AMST 290-002—Topics In American Studies: Introduction to American Legal Education
Instructor: Dr. Keith Richotte
MWF 2:30-3:20; Gardner 105

This class will afford students the opportunity to learn and engage with how legal education is conducted in the United States by mimicking the “1L” experience, or first year in law school.  The class is broken into units that represent the classes that virtually every law school teaches to its first year class.  By the end of the course, students will have an introductory understanding of some of the major principles in some of the most prominent areas of law, a greater capacity to “think like a lawyer,” and a true sense of life as a law student and a member of the legal profession.

AMST 339—The Long 1960s in Native America
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Cobb
TuTh 9:30-10:45; Murray 204

This course explores Native America during the “long 1960s,” a period that extends from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.  Our goal will be to arrive at a story that is at once distinctively indigenous and inextricably bound up with the larger narrative of United States history. To do so, we will compare and contrast Native and non-Native involvement in youth, women’s rights, civil rights, radical protest, ethnic nationalist, and anticolonial movements, as well as the War on Poverty and Vietnam War.

AMST 340—American Indian Art and Material Culture
Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-pah-hote
TuTh 12:30-1:45; Bingham 317

Analyzes material culture created by Native artists throughout the United States and portions of Canada. Examines the role of art and artists and how material culture is studied and displayed. Students study objects, texts, and images, exploring mediums such as painting, sculpture, basket making, beadwork, and photography.

AMST 371—LGBTQ Film and Fiction
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson

TuTh 2:00-3:15; Bingham 317

This course will explore representations of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and gender-queer identities in American literature and film from 1950 to the present, with a focus on close readings of literary and film texts to gain insight into stylistic choices and representational modes available to lgbtq artists.  We will examine how theories about gender and sexual identity have shifted in the last half-century, and consider topics such as sexuality, desire, activism and family. We will also study the impact of specific historical developments on the emergence of a lgtbq literary tradition in the United States. Novels will include Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (2004) by Felicia Lunas Lemus and City of Night (1963) by John Rechy. Additionally, we will read poems, short stories, essays, and excerpts from works by James Baldwin, Sarah Schulman, David Wojnarowicz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Chrystos, Cathy Cohen, Adam Haslett, and others. Films may include The Children’s Hour (dir. William Wyler, 1961); Female Trouble (dir. John Waters, 1974); Mala Noche (dir. Gus Van Sant, 1986); The Watermelon Woman (dir. Cheryl Dunye, 1996);  Southern Comfort (dir. Kate Davis, 2001); and Pariah (dir. Dee Rees, 2011). Athletes and other human beings welcome.

AMST/FOLK 375—Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats
Instructors: Dr. Sharon Holland and Dr. Marcie Cohen Ferris
TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM; Davie 112

This course explores the history and contemporary politics of food in five regions of North Carolina: the coast, eastern Carolina, the Piedmont, western Carolina, and the state’s borderlands. Organized around selected core foods in each region, themes include southern history and culture (food and race, class, gender, ethnicity, and place), environmentalism and sustainability, public health/nutrition, activism, immigration, globalism, gender and sexuality, and justice.  An oral history project developed in collaboration with community members sends students into the field to document our state’s relationship with cooking and eating as a lens onto national and global food issues. Farmers, chefs, activists, and statewide leaders of the food movement will join us in the classroom.

AMST 384—Myth and History in American Memory
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Marr

MW 11:15-12:05; Davie 112
(Recitation sections: F 9:05-9:55, 10:10-11:00, 11:15-12:05, 11:15-12:05).

Memory has long been studied in the academy as a psychological process of individual cognition. Over the past quarter century, however, notions of collective, public, and cultural memory have emerged as a useful means of understanding the complex ways that personal remembrances are enmeshed in larger patterns that inform social belonging. This course examines the powerful and contested role of memory in constructing historical meaning and imagining the cultural boundaries of communities. We will examine a variety of symbolic and material expressions that Americans have developed over time to celebrate national, regional, and ethnic difference by exploring popular fictions, films, rituals, artifacts, monuments, landscapes, and performances. Problems we will examine include the invention of tradition; the politics of commemoration; subaltern expression and counter-memory; and the cultural work and play performed by celebrity figures, sites of memory, national legends, and literary canons. We will approach these problems from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including those of literature, history, anthropology, folklore, cultural geography, and media studies.

AMST 398—Art and Social Change
Instructor: Dr. Aaron Shackelford

M 3:35-6:25; Murphey 220

This seminar investigates the history of the arts as instruments of social change in America. Over the course of the semester we will explore how the arts provide a medium to process, respond, and draw attention to injustices and suffering. At the same time we will ask questions about the efficacy of art to accomplish social change, and how we go about answering such questions in a rigorous manner.  A large portion of this class will be student engagement in an arts-based service-learning project. The student experiences in the community will provide a direct experience of the power – and challenges – of art as a catalyst for social change here in North Carolina. Another avenue by which we will explore these topics will be through Carolina Performing Arts’ Lamentation Project, which asks how we go about expressing grief and recovering from the experience of loss. Through a series of live performances and talks, we will see how artists around the world and scholars here in Chapel Hill tackle these difficult questions.

AMST 410—Senior Seminar in Southern Studies: How to Study the South Today: Methods in Southern Studies
Instructor: Elizabeth Engelhardt
TuTh 9:30-10:45; room TBA

How do we construct research in southern studies today? What methods do we adopt, modify, and innovate to write about the experiences of living in the past, present, or future of the US South? How can recent scholarship help us organize and analyze our own research projects? Whether we study the imagined souths of media and culture, global US souths of social and economic capital, ecological souths of field and city, or queer-raced-gendered souths in liminal spaces, we as writers about and students of this place must make decisions about how to proceed.

Reading and discussion in this seminar explore strategies for today’s southern studies. Then, from diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary locations, we will choose methods for our own scholarship as we apply what we have learned to data gathered by the parallel Carolina Eats course taking place on campus this semester. The final project in the class will model southern studies’ methodologies to write about North Carolina, the state’s foodways, and complementary projects developed by course participants.

Please note: students are not required to register for the Carolina Eats course, but we will engage with it over the semester. Cross participation is welcome.

AMST 466—You Are Where You Live: The American House
Instructor: Dr. Katherine Roberts
TuTh 11:00-12:15; Murphey 204

This course emphasizes the complexities of human shelter in the United States. We learn housing types, explore their social uses and meanings, and evaluate critical issues, such as affordability and gentrification.

AMST/FOLK 488—No Place Like Home: Material Culture of the American South
Instructor: Dr. Marcie Cohen Ferris
TuTh 2:00-3:15; Murphey 204

Seminar will explore the unique worlds of Southern material culture and how “artifacts” from barns to biscuits provide insight about the changing social and cultural history of the American South.

AMST 498.001—Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Global Impacts on American Waters
Instructor: Dr. Rachel Willis
M 3:35-6:25; Graham Memorial 210

Water is a vital element for life, agriculture production, countless processes essential to health and economic development, transportation, industrial processing, energy production and distribution.  Nations have always been connected and separated by water through borders, trade, and transportation systems.  This seminar will focus on examining the key global impacts on American waters with respect to the history of port cities and water corridors.  Students will learn from readings, documentary sources, music and expert guests about critical global water transportation issues and related impacts. A major portion of the course will be devoted to climate change predictions of sea-level rise, increased storm severity, and drought. Equally important will be examining the potential for planning in creating opportunities for resilience, recovery, and development with respect to local, regional, national and global water issues.  Everyone will participate in one of two related local research conferences in March (NEXUS on Water, Food, Climate and Energy or the Global American South Conference on “The State of the Plate). Throughout the term, students will be responsible for several short collaborative projects related to water and one major individual research project and presentation on a pair of selected port cities (one US and one abroad).

AMST 498.002—Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Documentary Video Editorials: Opinion Docs
Instructor: Dr. Marco Williams
Th 3:30-6:20; room TBA
(Students from all majors are welcome).

“Documentary Video Editorials: Opinion-Docs” is a documentary video production class in which students create short, first person opinion pieces, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life, and historical subjects. Modeled after on-line video channel Op-Docs, the class offers students the opportunity to make a subjective, opinionated documentary—an editorial style documentary. Students will express their views in the first person, through subjects or more subtly through an artistic approach to their topic. Each short documentary will be accompanied by a director’s statement based on their reporting, research, or experience.

This special topics course is taught by visiting NYU professor and documentary filmmaker Marco Williams, who is the 2014-2015 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Questions:

498.003—Federal Indian Law and Policy
Instructor: Dr. Keith Richotte
MW 3:35-4:50; Dey 405

This class will engage in an in-depth study of the federal government’s legal and political interactions with tribal nations and peoples from the founding through the present day.  Often couched as, the “Indian problem,” this class examines how the federal government has sought to solve the “problem” through treaties, legislation, litigation, and other political and legal means.  By the end of the course, students will have a thorough understanding of the major policy eras and movements in the field of federal Indian law, the major pieces of legislation that have defined the field, and the major court cases that have shaped the law, as well as other political and legal efforts that have defined the relationship between the federal government, the states, and tribal nations and peoples.

AMST 702—Readings in American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Marr

W 3:35-6:25; Greenlaw 103

AMST 840—Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies
Instructor: Dr. Julie Davis
Th 1:00-3:50; Greenlaw 431

This course focuses on the application of interdisciplinary digital humanities approaches within site-based, community-oriented, public history projects.  We’ll explore how to incorporate a physical and emotional sense of place into digital spaces.  We’ll also consider how to use digital technologies to interpret historic sites in ways that engage broad publics and foster local community.  Students will analyze/discuss readings on digital humanities and public history theory, review case studies, and critique examples of digital public projects.  They also will analyze ongoing work in the Digital Innovation Lab (DIL), including the Loray Mill project.

Students also will gain hands-on, practical experience in applying digital tools & methods to a public history project.  They will contribute work to one or more DIL projects in ways that could be translated into individual portfolios.  No prior DH training is necessary, but a willingness to experiment and make small contributions to a long-term, collaborative effort is essential.

AMST 878—Readings in Native American History
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Cobb

T 1:00-4:15; Stone Center 200

This semester we will explore American Indian ethnohistory as an interdisciplinary methodology and read a selection of emblematic works.  The course will be at once methodological, historiographical, and content-driven.  We begin by asking a deceptively simple question:  What is ethnohistory?  Then we will read some of the most important and/or controversial texts, following a roughly chronological framework.  Most of the readings will further offer an opportunity to investigate particular themes, from race and gender to labor and ecology.  While we will delve deeply into American Indian history, this course has been designed to be accessible to those who do not have a background in the field.

AMST 890—American Popular Arts in Historical Perspective
Instructor: Dr. John Kasson
M 3:35-6:25; Hamilton 425

This course is intended to lead graduate students in American Studies, History, English, and other fields in an exploration of key texts and issues in the American popular arts through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each week we will consider a central text, individual, or site and discuss its salient themes, historical and artistic contexts, and critical issues surrounding its reception and ongoing appraisal. These topics will include: P. T. Barnum and the art of humbug (especially his 1855 autobiography); Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson; Coney Island and the pleasures of the urban crowd; vaudeville theater and gender, racial, and ethnic spectacle; Louis Armstrong and the rise of jazz; Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and the transformation of the detective story; Hollywood escapism in the Great Depression; Porgy and Bess and its musical and racial controversies; Disneyland and postwar America; Michael Kramer’s The Republic of Rock, the counterculture, and the war in Vietnam; and love, hate, and longing in Robert Altman’s Nashville and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. We will also attend a performance in Memorial Hall by the brilliant singer and actress Audra McDonald.