Saint Louis University


Skip to: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015Fall 2014Spring 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2013 and Earlier

OFFERED SPRING 2017

Undergraduate

ASTD 2700: Gender, Race, Social Justice

Emily Lutenski
Tues/Thurs 11:00am-12:15pm

This course examines the intersection of gender and race with other categories of analysis (such as class, religion, sexuality, and nation) in historical and contemporary social justice movements in the United States. Topics include the role of races in movements for gender equality, as well as the impact of gender on movements for racial justice.

This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts and Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3000: American Decades - Culture Wars after WWII
Joshua Woodard
Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:45am

In post-WWII America, ideals like consumerism and the nuclear family were thought to be central to national identity. However, growing counter-cultures demonstrated that Americans were not as unified as they believed. Through pop culture, politics, and social history, this course explores how competing perspectives evolved into what we now call "culture wars:" political conflicts over the meaning of America.

This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts and Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3200: The Urban Crisis
Ben Looker
Lecture: Mon/Wed 1:10pm-2:00pm, Sections: Fri 12:00 noon-12:50 pm or 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm

This course examines the political, cultural, economic, and demographic transformations that have remade US cities and their metropolitan areas in the decades since World War II. Over the course of the semester, students will investigate the history and legacy of urban problems such as racial segregation and poverty, white flight and suburban sprawl, public housing and urban renewal, riots and insurrections, job loss, and industrial change. Participants will also consider a number of the approaches developed by planners, policymakers, social activists, and ordinary residents to address these challenges, as well as several examples of how Americans have tried to make sense of the changing urban landscape in the realms of art, literature, popular culture, and social criticism. Along the way, participants will regularly engage with the city around them, pausing frequently to consider local examples, spaces, and issues in greater depth.

This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement and 3 credits of the Social Science requirement for the Arts and Sciences BA/BS core.

OFFERED FALL 2016    

Undergraduate

ASTD 1000: Investigating America
Instructor: Kate Moran
Tues/Thurs 12:45-2:00pm

In 1925, African American poet Langston Hughes wrote, "I, too, sing America. / I am the darker brother. / They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes," indicating that "America" may not always be the land of opportunity touted by its foundational myths and dreams. Despite this, Hughes continues, "I laugh / and eat well, / And grow strong. / [...] I, too, am America." His poem raises a series of questions: What does it mean to be American? Who decides, and who is included or excluded? Are there uniquely American characteristics, experiences, identities, art forms, places, politics, or stories? Is America a nation-state, geography, or citizenship status? Or is it a set of ideas--like "democracy," "capitalism," "the frontier," "exceptionalism," "freedom," "opportunity," "work," or "imperialism"? How do race, gender, sexuality, and class inflect American identity and shape American culture? These are the central questions of this course, which are at the heart of the field of American Studies. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these questions, examining a variety of sources and methods: literary, historical, visual, and social scientific. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 2100 / ARTH 2930: Studies in American Photography
Instructor: Elizabeth Eikmann
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:45am

What can American photographs tell us about the past and the present, and about how Americans have thought about themselves and others? What can we learn from archives, the media, family albums, photography blogs, and Facebook snapshots about the role of photographs in crafting individual and collective identities? From the Civil War to Abu Ghraib, and from the daguerreotype to digital media, this course introduces students to critical methods in studying American photography. We will read a range of foundational texts about photography as well as recent American Studies approaches to visual culture analysis. Topics include the history of photography, the work of documentary photographers, and the interpretation of photographs as a primary source in historical study and as an aesthetic object in contemporary art. We will examine photographs as cultural texts, paying particular attention to the ways in which photographs are both influenced by and shape ideas about gender, race, class, and sexuality. We will also visit several St. Louis cultural institutions to learn first-hand how different professions use photographs on a daily basis. By the end of the semester, students will have a good working knowledge of American photographic history, an understanding of some of the major theoretical trends in image-based studies, and ability to identify and utilize photographic images in his or her own research and writing. They will also have gained research and writing skills that will translate to other courses. This course fulfills the Fine Arts requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3000 / AAM 3930 / WGST 3930: American Decades: Hip-Hop History and Culture
Instructor: Aretha Butler
Mon/Wed 11:00am-12:15pm

This critical introduction to hip-hop history and culture considers the production and consumption of the genre, tracing it from its 1970s subcultural beginnings to its current state of global popularity and crosscultural appeal. Its scope includes a wide range of stylistic, artistic, and musical practices, considering rap artists, DJs, b-boys, graffiti artists, fashion designers, producers, critics, and listeners as important actors making up the genre's diverse nature and culture. We consider topics such as geographic and political factors in the genre's spread and popularity, the processes of appropriation and recontextualization in hip-hop style and music, notions of authenticity and "realness," commercialization and luxury product placement, censorship of explicit depictions of sex and violence, and attitudes regarding misogyny and homophobia. Students will explore these topics through analysis of varied media-including album covers, music videos, lyrics, concert footage, film, ad campaigns, and interviews. Participants adopt a sociohistorical approach to examine the conditions for the creation and continued existence of hip-hop, while using frameworks such as Marxism and feminist theory to analyze issues of power and its distribution in hip-hop culture. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the US requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3020 / ENGL 3560: American Mosaic: Literature and Diversity
Instructor: Emily Lutenski
Mon/Wed 3:10-4:25pm

In Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior (1975), the narrator describes how "When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves." This narrative is not the only one that links storytelling to ethnic and gender identity formation-and, at times, subversion. Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony (1977) begins with the reminder, "I will tell you something about stories, / [...] They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled." More recently, Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo (2002) admonishes its reader to "Tell me a story, even if it's a lie." What is the function of storytelling in these texts, and for writers of color? Do stories create and sustain ethnic and gender identities-or do they trouble our expectations of these identities? Can stories be used as a form of domination or resistance? Questions like these will form the center of this course as we read contemporary multiethnic fiction that tells us about "talking-story." This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core, the upper-division literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core, and the literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BS core.

Graduate

ASTD 5000: Perspectives in American Studies
Instructor: Matthew Mancini
Tues 4:00-6:30

Introductory graduate seminar offering a survey of major theoretical and methodological frameworks for the interpretation of American culture over time. In this course, first-year graduate students examine the intersection of history, text, and theory in the interdisciplinary study of the American experience, consider the historical development of American Studies as an academic field of inquiry, and engage with readings in areas such as Marxism, feminism, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, cultural studies, critical race theory, and queer theory. Participants will leave the seminar with a strong understanding of selected major texts that have shaped the contemporary practice of American Studies and related disciplines. Offered every year. N.B.: First-year Ph.D. students will complete a SP17 qualifying exam on materials covered in ASTD 5000 and one other graduate course taken during the 2016-17 academic year. Required of first-year M.A. and Ph.D. students.

ASTD 5010: African American Politics, Culture, and Identity
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone
Wed 1:00-3:30

This graduate seminar explores the connections and tensions between politics, culture, and identity in African American experiences and public movements. Covering the mid-nineteenth century through the contemporary period, we will focus on activism, issues of representation, and the multiple strategies within a diverse African American population, paying attention to issues of gender, class, religion, region, migration, and national identity.

ASTD 5930 / WGS 5930: Women of Color and Feminism
Instructor: Emily Lutenski
Tues 1:00-3:30

In 1851, former slave Sojourner Truth spoke to a crowd of both supporters and hecklers at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio. There, she pointed out that the nineteenth-century ideology of femininity-inflected by purity, piety, domesticity, and submissiveness-was also a racialized discourse that excluded African American women under a regime of slavery. "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages. ... Nobody ever helps me into carriages...!," she pointed out, reportedly rhetorically asking, "And ain't I a woman?" For more than 150 years since, not only black women, but also Latinas, Asian American women, Arab American women, Native American women, and third-world women have continued to experience, theorize, and subvert this intersectional "matrix of domination," at times at odds with feminist thought that tends to be dominated by whites, and with civil rights and ethnic nationalist discourses that tend to be dominated by men. In doing so, women of color have produced a heterogeneous body of feminist thought to express their diverse perspectives, explain their experiences of oppression, enrich their communities, and empower themselves while working towards social justice for all people. This course will examine this genealogy, its contexts, and its contours, with particular attention to the time period after the civil rights and women's liberation movements.

ASTD 6000: Mythbusting and Mythmaking in Recent American Studies Scholarship
Instructor: Matthew Mancini
Wed. 4:00-6:30pm

It is widely known, if not always well understood, that many full-blown myths circulate in American culture, and that these mythic discourses often serve to obscure people's view of the histories for which those myths are substitutes. What's less well known is the precise role of academic scholarship in the career of such myths-sometimes in uncovering them, and sometimes in propping them up. In this seminar we will examine two areas of American mythmaking, one that surrounds the Vietnam War, and another concerning the Civil War and its aftermath. In addition, we will take a few detours to briefly visit other precincts of Mythland; and students will identify one mythic construct and carefully critique it with their own scholarship.

ASTD 6400: Transnational America
Instructor: Kate Moran
Mon 4:00-6:30

This course introduces students to the history, intellectual trajectories, and institutional impact of the "transnational turn" in American Studies. Focusing on 19th and 20th century cultural, economic, political, and religious encounters in Africa, Asia, and Europe, participants investigate the varied manifestations and wide-ranging impact of U.S. global engagement.


OFFERED SPRING 2016

Undergraduate

ASTD 2600 / AAM 2930-02 / POLS 2930-01 - American Places: Empire & Identity in the US South and the Caribbean
Mon/Wed/Fri 11:00-11:50am
Instructor: Cathryn Stout

Several cities in the US South and the Caribbean evolved from European slave colonies into places that today often struggle to overcome the ghosts of slavery and the specter of underdevelopment. This course examines the intertwined history and culture of the US South and the Caribbean, and the battle for self-determination in these formerly and currently colonized communities. The Caribbean independence movements and the US civil rights movement are some of the social uprisings that will come into center focus in class discussions. Other core topics include imperialism, migration, and tourism. Harry Belafonte films, reggae songs, beach photos, and government documents are some of the primary sources we will use to gain a better understanding of these interdependent regions. Through written assignments and digital projects we will document the historic and contemporary ties that bind the US South and the Caribbean islands. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the US requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 2930 / AAM 2930-01 / FSTD 2930 - In Search of the Real: Spike Lee's America
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:45am
Instructor: Alan Blair

Love him or loathe him, Spike Lee is undeniable. For more than twenty-five years, he has been one of America's best-known filmmakers, and one of the most visible and vocal figures in African American culture. This interdisciplinary American Studies course will survey Lee's career to understand how his films engage with American history, reify cultural moods and trends, and struggle to pin down specific moments for posterity. Along the way, the course will reconcile Lee's portrayal of America with additional historical and cultural accounts. It will also investigate Spike Lee as an artist, analyzing his body of work through established critical approaches, especially film studies. Crosslisted with Film Studies.

ASTD 3000 / AAM 3930 / WGST 3930-05 - American Decades: Hip-Hop History and Culture
Tues/Thurs 11:00am-12:15pm
Instructor: Aretha Butler

This critical introduction to hip-hop history and culture considers the production and consumption of the genre, tracing it from its 1970s subcultural beginnings to its current state of global popularity and crosscultural appeal. Its scope includes a wide range of stylistic, artistic, and musical practices, considering rap artists, DJs, b-boys, graffiti artists, fashion designers, producers, critics, and listeners as important actors making up the genre's diverse nature and culture. We consider topics such as geographic and political factors in the genre's spread and popularity, the processes of appropriation and recontextualization in hip-hop style and music, notions of authenticity and "realness," commercialization and luxury product placement, censorship of explicit depictions of sex and violence, and attitudes regarding misogyny and homophobia. Students will explore these topics through analysis of varied media-including album covers, music videos, lyrics, concert footage, film, ad campaigns, and interviews. Participants adopt a sociohistorical approach to examine the conditions for the creation and continued existence of hip-hop, while using frameworks such as Marxism and feminist theory to analyze issues of power and its distribution in hip-hop culture. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the US requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3200 - The Urban Crisis
Lecture Mon/Wed 1:10-2:00pm; sections Fri 12:00-12:50pm or 1:10-2:00pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

This course examines the political, cultural, economic, and demographic transformations that have remade US cities and their metropolitan areas in the decades since World War II. Over the course of the semester, students will investigate the history and legacy of urban problems such as racial segregation and poverty, white flight and suburban sprawl, public housing and urban renewal, riots and insurrections, job loss, and industrial change. Participants will also consider a number of the approaches developed by planners, policymakers, social activists, and ordinary residents to address these challenges, as well as several examples of how Americans have tried to make sense of the changing urban landscape in the realms of art, literature, popular culture, and social criticism. Along the way, participants will regularly engage with the city around them, pausing frequently to consider local examples, spaces, and issues in greater depth. This course fulfills 3 credits of the Social Science requirement and the Cultural Diversity in the US requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3500 / THEO 3930 - Religion and American Culture: Faith and Global Activism
Mon/Wed 1:10-2:25pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

What does it mean to be a global citizen? To pursue social justice abroad? To bring religious faith and commitment to the task of building a better and more peaceful world? These questions have motivated American women and men for generations, and they continue to do so today. This class invites students to explore the American history of faith, transnational activism, and nongovernmental organizations from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. We will examine the aims, experiences, and ideas of American missionaries, reformers, and relief workers: from the Woman's Peace Party and foreign missionary groups of the early twentieth century to migrant rights workers on the US-Mexico border and organizations fighting AIDS in Africa today. Throughout the class, we will explore issues of race, class, and gender; we will trace how the US has projected both "hard" and "soft" power abroad; and we will confront the challenges of communicating across boundaries of language, culture, and nation. Because it is crosslisted with Theological Studies, this course fulfills the 3000-level Theology requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core, regardless of whether it is taken under the American Studies or Theology course number.

ASTD 4100 - Senior Seminar
Scheduling by arrangement
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

This course is designed to guide students through researching and writing a senior thesis and, in the process, to teach them how to be good critics. The senior thesis is the embodiment of the knowledge and training students have garnered in their undergraduate education in American Studies. When completed, it should be a strong expression of students' analytical and writing skills, which will be useful for whatever career they plan to pursue. In the class, students focus on the step-by-step process of producing a 30- to 40-page research paper, read and discuss practical guides to research and writing, and use the classroom as a forum to critique individual projects. Each student plays a vital role in the development of every other student's work. At the end of the course, students will have honed their research and writing skills, developed strong techniques for critiquing their peers' work, and produced a research project that they can use as a writing sample as they pursue their respective further endeavors.

Graduate

ASTD 5020 - Frontiers and Borderlands: Contact and Conquest in the American Imagination
Thurs 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner announced the westward frontier was the defining process of American history. He insisted that confrontation with environmental wilderness and indigenous people had resulted in a unique American culture and identity. Intellectuals and artists since have interrogated this famous thesis, at times embracing it, at times rejecting it, and at times reconceptualizing it to give it new meanings. Exploring these turns, this course asks the following questions: What are the differences between "frontiers," "borderlands," and "the West?" Are these places, processes, or symbols? How have they been represented, contested, and mobilized? Why are they salient for American Studies? We will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these questions, examining a variety of sources and methods: literary, historical, and visual.

ASTD 5900 - The Practice of American Studies
Wed 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

The goal of this course is to prepare graduate students to become practicing members of the interdisciplinary humanities community, whether inside or outside of the higher-education industry, and to enable them to engage thoughtfully and critically with the social, political, and economic forces currently reshaping the various institutions in which humanities labor takes place. Over the course of the semester, participants will learn and practice a variety of practical skills, cultivate a broadened awareness of professional options available to them, and consider contemporary debates over an array of issues in higher education, including academic freedom, institutional governance, labor practices, evolving curricula, and political engagement. Required of all American Studies PhD students during the second or third year of study.

ASTD 5930 - Cultures of American Religion
Mon 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

According to a recent American Quarterly article, American Studies has had a "long, self-conscious, and productive engagement with the very category of 'religion' itself, as a category no less simple or transparent than 'race,' 'nation,' and other organizing themes of our work." This course will introduce students to that scholarship: to religion as a topic and category of analysis in the study of modern U.S. history and culture. We will begin by exploring definitional and theoretical questions: what is this thing we call "religion"? What are the kinds of things we might be able to say about it? We will also analyze some of the major grand narratives scholars have produced about American religious history. What is the shape of the story they tell about religion in the United States? What are the major question, themes, and turning points? What is included, what gets left out, and how has this changed over time? And, finally, we will explore some of the most exciting recent scholarship on religion and American culture, focusing in particular on the currently vibrant themes of race, gender, sexuality, material culture, religious pluralism, medicine, capitalism, the law, and the state.

ASTD 6930 - Civil Rights Activism and Cultural Memory
Tues 1:00-3:30pm
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone

In the last twenty years scholars have challenged almost every aspect of our collective narrative of the African American civil rights movement. Continuing debates over the roles of women, gender, class, race, religion, and region bring new interpretations and new definitions of what the boundaries of civil rights activism were. The Civil Rights movement is now "long"; or did 1955 mark something new? Was it a Southern phenomenon or also a Northern one? What about the Midwest? Did men lead and women organize? Should the Black Power movement be understood as a separate new movement or yet another shift in the ongoing Black Freedom Struggle? We will read both classic and recent scholarship addressing these questions, providing students with the opportunity to follow debates and "turns" in a vibrant and still-growing field. But we will also ask questions about the significance of both academic and popular narratives of civil rights activism: Why do these different narratives of civil rights activism matter? What roles do they play in recent political and social debates and how we view emerging protest movements? In addition to the historiography of the civil rights and Black Power movements, we will also look at scholarship on visual culture, popular history, and public memory to examine the significance of iconic images and narratives of civil rights.

OFFERED FALL 2015

Undergraduate

ASTD 1000 - Investigating America 
Mon/Wed 1:10 pm - 2:25 pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

In 1925, African American poet Langston Hughes wrote, "I, too, sing America. / I am the darker brother. / They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes," indicating that "America" may not always be the land of opportunity touted by its foundational myths and dreams. Despite this, Hughes continues, "I laugh / and eat well, / And grow strong. / [...] I, too, am America." His poem raises a series of questions: What does it mean to be American? Who decides, and who is included or excluded? Are there uniquely American characteristics, experiences, identities, art forms, places, politics, or stories? Is America a nation-state, geography, or citizenship status? Or is it a set of ideas--like "democracy," "capitalism," "the frontier," "exceptionalism," "freedom," "opportunity," "work," or "imperialism?" How do race, gender, sexuality, and class inflect American identity and shape American culture? These are the central questions of this course, which are at the heart of the field of American Studies. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these questions, examining a variety of sources and methods: literary, historical, visual, and social scientific. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 2700 - Women and Social Justice
Tues/Thurs 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Instructor: Karen Smyth

This course examines historical and contemporary examples of women in social justice movements in the United States, looking at the political and cultural contexts in which women's issues and women's activism have emerged. Topics will include the impact of race, class, and religion on women's involvement in campaigns for economic justice, political rights, and social equality. Open to American Studies majors/minors and Micah Program students only. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 3100 - Making the American City: Culture, Space, and 20th-century U.S. Urbanisms
Mon/Wed 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

This seminar examines the cultural history of the U.S. city, 1880s to present. Students consider how changing city environments have shaped urban cultural communities and processes of identity-formation over time. Meanwhile, using fiction, film, paintings, photography, and other primary-source genres, participants explore relationships between urban space and representational practices in the arts and popular culture. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the BA/BS core.

ASTD 3400 / SOC 3930 / CCJ 3401 - Prisons in American Culture
Tues/Thus 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Instructor: Matthew Mancini

Using history, social theory, film, fiction, and autobiography, the course surveys the cultural history of incarceration in America, and examines the place of incarceration in American culture. Because it is crosslisted with Sociology, this course fulfills 3 credits of the Social Science requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core, regardless of whether it is taken under the American Studies or Sociology course number.

ASTD 3020 / ENGL 3560 - American Mosaic: Literature and Diversity
Mon/Wed 3:10 pm - 4:25 pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

In Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior (1975), the narrator describes how "When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves." This narrative is not the only one that links storytelling to ethnic and gender identity formation-and, at times, subversion. Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony (1977) begins with the reminder, "I will tell you something about stories, / [...] They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled." More recently, Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo (2002) admonishes its reader to "Tell me a story, even if it's a lie." What is the function of storytelling in these texts, and for writers of color? Do stories create and sustain ethnic and gender identities-or do they trouble our expectations of these identities? Can stories be used as a form of domination or resistance? Questions like these will form the center of this course as we read contemporary multiethnic fiction that tells us about "talking-story." This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core, the upper division literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core, and the literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BS core.

Graduate

ASTD 5000 - Perspectives in American Studies
Thurs 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Instructor: Matthew Mancini

Introductory graduate seminar offering a survey of major theoretical and methodological frameworks for the interpretation of American culture over time. In this course, first-year graduate students examine the intersection of history, text, and theory in the interdisciplinary study of the American experience, consider the historical development of American Studies as an academic field of inquiry, and engage with readings in areas such as Marxism, feminism, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, cultural studies, critical race theory, and queer theory. Participants will leave the seminar with a strong understanding of selected major texts that have shaped the contemporary practice of American Studies and related disciplines. Offered every year. N.B.: First-year Ph.D. students will complete a SP16 qualifying exam on materials covered in ASTD 510 and one other graduate course taken during the 2015-16 academic year. Required of first-year M.A. and Ph.D. students.

ASTD 5700 - Metropolitan America
Wed 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

Introduction to the study of American urban and suburban life. Course examines American cities, their cultures, and their built environments as these change over time. Students engage scholarship, develop visual literacy for "reading" the metropolis, and analyze the ways in which built environments shape and reflect American cultural meaning.

ASTD 5930 - Ideas and Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century America
Mon 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

Over the past century, the United States has been riven by debates in which intellectuals and their ideas have played starring roles. This seminar will explore such debates in the United States, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Topics will include: debates about the relationship between the self, the community, and the state; about the future of the nation in a globalizing world; about the intersections between religious and secular authority; about the politics of difference and the discourse of rights; and about the very definition of intellectual work itself. This course will focus in particular on new scholarship.

ASTD 6020 / POLS 6700 / WGST 5930 - American Political Thought
Tues 7:00 - 9:30 pm
Instructor: Wynne Moskop

This course focuses on selected ideas, issues, and institutions that have been central to the U.S. Constitution and the practice of American constitutionalism, from the founding era to the present. Readings emphasize seminal works in American political thought, which are supplemented by historical accounts, illustrative literature, and contemporary analyses.

ASTD 6930 - The Harlem Renaissance

Tues 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

The first decades of the twentieth century witnessed the beginning of the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the rural south to the urban north and west, where many hoped to find increased employment opportunities, and decreased prejudice, discrimination, and racialized violence. Cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles saw the establishment of vibrant black communities and a subsequent explosion in black visual arts, music, literature, and intellectual work. The most renowned of these sites was Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, during what is now commonly known as the "Harlem Renaissance" or "New Negro Movement." This course will explore the literary arm of this movement and its intersections with the broader cultural history of the period, putting literature into dialogue with black politics, music, and visual and performing arts.

OFFERED SPRING 2015

Undergraduate

ASTD 250 - Introduction to Museum Studies
Tues/Thurs 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Cindy Ott

What can historic house museums, city zoos, national art galleries, and tribal museums tell us about how Americans have thought about themselves and the world around them? In this class, we will study the history, politics, and design of museum collections and exhibitions. We will trace museums' development from private cabinets of curiosity (such as the art collections of Asian royalty and the zoos of European princes) to public educational institutions in the nineteenth century. We will analyze museum exhibition trends in the context of changes in the natural and social sciences, exploring for example, the shift from displaying artifacts by type to geographic and cultural origins. We will especially focus on the politics of display, that is, how museum objects project and interpret ideas about cultures and nature, and how people have fought against these interpretations. We will explore these topics through scholarly writings, visual and material culture studies, visits to local St. Louis institutions, and through the development and organization of an original exhibition.

ASTD 260 - American Places: Frontiers and Borderlands
Tues/Thus 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm
Emily Lutenski

In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner announced the westward frontier was the defining process of American history. He insisted that confrontation with environmental wilderness and indigenous people had resulted in a unique American culture and identity. Intellectuals since have interrogated his famous thesis--at times embracing it, at times rejecting it, and at times reconceptualizing it to give it new meanings. Exploring these turns, this course asks the following questions: What are the differences between "frontiers," "borderlands," and "the West?" Are these places, processes, or symbols? How have they been represented, contested, and mobilized? Why are they salient for American Studies? We will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these questions, examining a variety of sources and methods, including film, literature, and history. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 310 - American Decades: The 1960s
Mon/Wed 11:00 am -12:15 pm
Heidi Ardizzone

The 1960s have a mythic quality in our political and cultural life. This is the decade of peace, optimism, cultural turbulence, despair, war, and conflict. We will explore American politics and history as well as the social and cultural movements of the 1960s and early 1970s. Our "texts" will include art, music, fiction, and visual images in exploring the history of the sixties and its legacy in American culture and politics. This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 322 - The Urban Crisis
Lecture Mon/Wed 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm; Discussion Fri 12:00 noon - 12:50 pm or 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm
Benjamin Looker

This course examines the political, cultural, economic, and demographic transformations that have remade U.S. cities and their metropolitan areas in the decades since World War II. Over the course of the semester, students will investigate the history and legacy of urban problems such as racial segregation and poverty, white flight and suburban sprawl, public housing and urban renewal, riots and insurrections, job loss, and industrial change. Participants will also consider a number of the approaches developed by planners, policymakers, social activists, and ordinary residents to address these challenges, as well as several examples of how Americans have tried to make sense of the changing urban landscape in the realms of art, literature, popular culture, and social criticism. Along the way, participants will regularly engage with the city around them, pausing frequently to consider local examples, spaces, and issues in greater depth. This course fulfills 3 credits of the Social Science requirement and the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS core.

ASTD 340/THEO 359 - Religion and American Culture: Faith and Change in the City
Tues/Thurs 9:30 am - 10:45 am
Mark Koschmann

This American Studies course examines the role of religion in American urban contexts. In this course, we will look at the history of cities in the U.S. in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will be tracing some of the key religious factors that have shaped American cities politically, socially, and culturally in the twentieth-century through a focus on Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim religious traditions. We also will consider topics such as theology and the city, sacred space, religious diversity, religion in the streets, and urban faith-based organizations. Our interest in the city will also allow for a few urban field trips to religious sites in our own city of St. Louis. 

Regardless of whether it is taken under the ASTD or THEO course number, this course fulfills the 300-level Theology course requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core.

ASTD 393 - Coming to America: Immigration in U.S. History and Culture
Tues/Thus 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Kate Moran

The idea that the United States is a "nation of immigrants" is a mainstay of American cultural and political life. Scholars have described the United States in many different ways--as a "melting pot," a "salad bowl," or a "symphony orchestra" of different immigrant groups--yet all have agreed that immigration has contributed significantly to the formation of American society and culture, and continues to do so today. In this class, we will examine the history of this immigration--of the many people who have traveled to the United States from other places and who have built their lives here, helping to build the United States itself in the process. We will confront the ever-changing relationship that Americans have had with the very idea of immigration, including changes in immigration law and policy and recent debates over undocumented migration. We will also explore aspects of immigration history that go beyond what we read in textbooks, or see on the nightly news. We will see migrants coming to the U.S. in great numbers, but also migrating through the U.S. to other countries, or returning to their countries of origin after living in the U.S. for years. We will confront the imperial and global economic contexts of migration flows, investigating the ways in which U.S. foreign policy and international affairs have affected migration patterns. And, throughout the course, we will seek to know the history of U.S. immigration not only through the lenses of law and politics, but also through the multiple cultural forms in which that history has been enacted: in personal letters and memoirs, in film and photography, and in novels and poetry.

Graduate

ASTD 525: Tocqueville's America
Tues 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Matthew Mancini

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), was one of the ancestors of American Studies. His book, Democracy in America (2 vols., 1835, 1840), was the first empirically based and philosophically sophisticated book about the society, culture, manners, and politics of the United States--and just as important, about the future of democracy throughout the world. "Tocqueville's America" refers first to the version of America that Tocqueville presented in his book; and second to American society and culture during the Jacksonian era and beyond. Therefore our course is an advanced introduction to Tocqueville's life and work and to the field of Tocqueville studies, as well as an interdisciplinary examination of antebellum American culture.

ASTD 593: What's American about American Women Novelists?
Wed 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Emily Lutenski

"America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women," Nathaniel Hawthorne grumbled in 1855. And as recently as 2013, writer Amanda Filipacchi noticed a curious series of events on Wikipedia. The category "American novelists" had gotten so long and unwieldy that editor decided to remove authors from that page to subcategories. Who would remain? Who would go? The criterion used was not, for example, whether writers were better known for their poetry than their prose. Instead of grappling with the nuances of genre or form, there was a seemingly simpler solution: gender. Within a couple of days, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, and about three hundred other writers had been moved to a new page: "American women novelists." When they questioned women's roles in the development of a national literature, these editors continued a long history stemming at least from the time of Hawthorne's famous complaint. This class will examine the "scribbling" of contemporary U.S. women to explore questions of canon formation as well as the nexus of gender, nation, and other categories of analysis such as race and class--to ask, in short, "What's American about American women novelists?"

ASTD 612: Dissertation Colloquium
Thurs 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Kate Moran

This course is designed to facilitate the dissertation-writing process. Seminar discussions will focus on peer review of student generated works-in-progress. Required of all Ph.D. students. May be repeated for credit at adviser's discretion.

ASTD 615: Visual Culture Theory
Thurs 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Cindy Ott

This course provides an introduction to the theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and cultural practices of visual culture. Using a wide variety of visual media, including photography, film, television, art, and digital media, we will explore critical perspectives in the production, interpretation, and consumption of images.

ASTD 620: Jazz, Cities, and Social Movements
Mon 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Ben Looker

This graduate seminar explores two sets of relationships: that between jazz music and particular cities, districts, and spaces; and that between jazz communities and an array of historical movements in the realms of social activism, popular culture, and identity. Focusing on specific musical communities' engagements with debates over race, space, gender, artistic hierarchies, and economic structures, the readings and class sessions will provide a broad-ranging overview of a number of major issues in twentieth-century U.S. urban geography and cultural politics. Students will examine texts by scholars in fields such as American Studies, musicology, and history; no formal musical background is required for enrollment.

ASTD 670: American Political Thought
Tues 4:20 pm - 6:50pm
Wynne Moskop

This course focuses on selected ideas, issues, and institutions that have been central to the U.S. Constitution and the practice of American constitutionalism, from the founding era to the present. Readings emphasize seminal works in American political thought, which are supplemented by historical accounts, illustrative literature, and contemporary analyses

ASTD 693: Race and Citizenship in St. Louis
Tues 1:00 pm - 3:30pm
Heidi Ardizzone

A major urban center since the late 19th century, St. Louis sits on the geographic and cultural border between Midwest and South. This course examines St. Louis history and recent events through the lenses of race and citizenship, within its regional and national contexts. We will pay particular attention to African American experience and social protest in the 20th century.

OFFERED FALL 2014

Undergraduate

ASTD 293 / HR 190 - What Makes a Man? Manhood and Meaning in American Culture
Tues/Thurs 11:00am-12:15pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

From dueling among Southern "men of honor" to fistfights on the floor of Congress, from the "self-made men" of the frontier to the boxing ring of the "Fight of the Century," from the frontlines of warfare to icons like Ernest Hemingway or James Dean, and from fraternity rushes to the National Beard and Moustache Growing Championships, this course takes the question "What makes a man?" seriously by examining the contested sites of manly conduct throughout American history and among American cultures.
Open only to first-year honors students and American Studies majors and minors.

ASTD 310 - American Decades: Cold War Culture, 1947-1963
Mon/Wed 11:00am-12:15pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

This undergraduate course explores the culture and cultural politics of the early cold-war era in the U.S. In particular, participants will examine the ways in which cold-war domestic and international conflicts shaped American society in areas ranging from shifting gender configurations to new forms of youth culture, artistic ideologies to the transformation of urban and suburban space, civil rights struggles to the politics of mass culture. Study of these intersections is grounded each week in close work with a range of primary documents from the period: Hollywood films, advertising, magazine journalism, jazz music, science fiction, activist manifestos, radio melodramas, poetry, TV sitcoms, and more. By the semester's end, participants will have gained not only an enhanced understanding of the domestic cultural history of the early cold war period, but also a set of theoretically informed strategies for performing close readings of cultural texts in a variety of genres.
Fulfills the "Cultural Diversity in the U.S." requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 360 - History and Fiction: The Harlem Renaissance
Tues/Thurs 2:15-3:30pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

The first decades of the twentieth century witnessed the beginning of the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the rural south to the urban north and west, where many hoped to find increased employment opportunities and decreased prejudice, discrimination, and racialized violence. Cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles saw the establishment of vibrant black communities and a subsequent explosion in black visual arts, music, literature, and intellectual work. The most renowned of these sites was Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, during what is now commonly known as the "Harlem Renaissance" or "New Negro Movement." This course will explore the literary arm of this movement and its intersections with the broader cultural history of the period, putting literature into dialogue with black politics, music, and visual arts.
Fulfills the Upper Division Literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core, and the Literature requirement for the BS core.

ASTD 393/ WGST 393 - Marriage and Other American Traditions
Tues/Thurs 12:45-2:00pm
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone

This interdisciplinary course looks at cultural expectations for marriage in the United States, focusing on the late 19th and 20th centuries. We will look at changes to legal definitions of marriage as well as marital rights for women and men; public and immigration policies regarding marriage and families; and legal shifts over who can get married and how marriages can end. Against this context we will focus on American ideas about gender, sexuality, and other cultural practices that have affected how we as a society think about marriage, love, relationships, and family.

Graduate

ASTD 510 - Perspectives in American Studies
Wed 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

Introductory graduate seminar offering a survey of major theoretical and methodological frameworks for the interpretation of American culture over time. In this course, first-year graduate students examine the intersection of history, text, and theory in the interdisciplinary study of the American experience, consider the historical development of American Studies as an academic field of inquiry, and engage with readings in areas such as Marxism, feminism, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, cultural studies, critical race theory, and queer theory. Participants will leave the seminar with a strong understanding of selected major texts that have shaped the contemporary practice of American Studies and related disciplines. Offered every year. N.B.: First-year Ph.D. students will complete a SP15 qualifying exam on materials covered in ASTD 510 and one other graduate course taken during the 2014-15 academic year.
Required of first-year M.A. and Ph.D. students.

ASTD 605 - Mythbusting and Mythmaking in Recent American Studies Scholarship
Tues 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Matthew Mancini

It is widely known, if not always well understood, that many full-blown myths circulate in American culture, and that these mythic discourses often serve to obscure people's view of the histories for which those myths are substitutes. What's less well known is the precise role of academic scholarship in the career of such myths-sometimes in uncovering them, and sometimes in propping them up. In this seminar we will examine two areas of American mythmaking, one that surrounds the Vietnam War, and another concerning the Civil War and its aftermath. In addition, we will take a few detours to briefly visit other precincts of Mythland; and students will identify one mythic construct and carefully critique it with their own scholarship.

ASTD 637 - Visions of U.S. Empire
Mon 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

A decade ago, Amy Kaplan took the podium as president of the American Studies Association to express "urgency and bewilderment." The subject of empire had been thrown into sharp relief after 9/11, as pundits on both sides of the political spectrum began to embrace the notion of the U.S. as empire: some with pride, others with criticism. Yet American Studies scholars were stymied by what Kaplan called the "limitations of our available tools" for critically engaging such claims. This course will introduce students to the study of the imperial in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. culture. Students will become conversant in a multi-disciplinary collection of key theories on empire/imperialism, and will examine how these theories have influenced important scholarly studies over the past two decades. We will pay particular attention to locating the imperial both within as well as outside of U.S. national borders, in arenas as diverse as literature, law, film, and photography. Graduate students will leave this course with a box full of Kaplan's "tools," prepared to work with the concepts of empire and imperialism wherever they may encounter them.

ASTD 693 - Racial Crossings
Thurs 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone

This course examines race in American history and culture primarily through the lens of racial ambiguities, intersections, and intimacies. With attention to major theoretical frameworks for interpreting racial identity and structures, we examine historical and contemporary experiences of race, focusing primarily but not exclusively on black-white contexts. Topics covered include interracial relationships, people of mixed ancestry, and shifting or ambiguous racial identities.

OFFERED SPRING 2014

Undergraduate

ASTD 322 / HIST 393-04 - The Urban Crisis
Lecture Mon/Wed 1:10-2:00pm; section Fri 12:00-12:50pm or 1:10-2:00pm
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

This course examines the political, cultural, economic, and demographic transformations that have remade U.S. cities and their metropolitan areas in the decades since World War II. Over the course of the semester, students will investigate the history and legacy of urban problems such as racial segregation and poverty, white flight and suburban sprawl, public housing and urban renewal, riots and insurrections, job loss, and industrial change. Participants will also consider a number of the approaches developed by planners, policymakers, social activists, and ordinary residents to address these challenges, as well as several examples of how Americans have tried to make sense of the changing urban landscape in the realms of art, literature, popular culture, and social criticism. Along the way, participants will regularly engage with the city around them, pausing frequently to consider local examples, spaces, and issues in greater depth.
Fulfills 3 credits of the Social Science requirement and fulfills the "Cultural Diversity in the U.S." requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 358 - Americans Abroad
Mon/Wed 11:00 am-12:15 pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

When we think about the present-day United States, we inevitably think not only about events within the nation's borders, but also about what Americans are doing on the global stage: as travelers, consumers, teachers, students, missionaries, soldiers, and workers. Yet the world has been "globalizing" for a long time, and Americans have been engaged in work and play across the world since the nation's birth. In this course, you will examine the history of American travel and transnational encounters, exploring a variety of material including: first-hand accounts of Americans who traveled the world and lived abroad; films, fiction, and television depicting "Americans abroad"; theories of tourism and transnational exchange; and critical analyses of important individuals, organizations, and movements. This is a course that will help you understand the evolving place of the U.S. in the world, offering a deep perspective as you form your own experiences as travelers, international students, and global citizens.
Fulfills the "Cultural Diversity: Global Citizenship" requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 360 / WSTD 393-02 - History and Fiction: What's American about American Women Novelists?
Tues/Thurs 11:00am-12:15pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

In April 2013, writer Amanda Filipacchi noticed a curious series of events occurring on Wikipedia. The category "American novelists" had gotten so long and unwieldy that editors decided to remove authors from that page to subcategories. Who would remain? Who would go? The criterion used was not, for example, whether writers were better known for their poetry than their prose. Instead of grappling with the nuances of genre or form, the editors had a more simple solution: gender. Within a couple of days, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, and about three hundred other writers were moved to a new page: "American women novelists." -- When they questioned women's roles in the development of a national literature, these editors continued a long history, stemming at least from 1855, when writer Nathaniel Hawthorne famously complained, "America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women." In this class, we will examine the "scribbling" of contemporary U.S. women to explore this history of knowledge- and canon-formation, as well as the nexus of gender, nation, and other categories of identity and analysis, such as race and class--to ask, in other words, what's American about American women novelists?
Fulfills the second half of the Literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA core, and fulfills the full Literature requirement for the BS Core.

ASTD 393-01 / POLS 393-03 / WSTD 393-09 - New Questions: American Leftist Radicalism
Tues/Thurs 2:15pm-3:30pm
Instructor: Melissa Ford

This course is inspired by a quote from Robin D. G. Kelley's Freedom Dreams. He writes "Social movements generate new knowledge, new theories, new questions. The most radical ideas often grow out of a concrete intellectual engagement with the problems of aggrieved populations confronting systems of oppression." This course is cross-listed between the American Studies and Political Science Departments, and, as such, explores the unique exchange between these two disciplines. As an American Studies course, this class examines the intersection of race, class, and gender in radical ideology formation, as well as cultural, philosophical, and political implications. As a Political Science course, this class explores the theory and practice of political institutions and how 20th century activists interacted with all forms and levels of government. For this course, we will focus only on leftist activists. Leftists activists are often framed as the outsiders of history, though certainly the more popular progressive movements have made their way into mainstream American history.

ASTD 393-03 - Mixed-Race America
Tues/Thurs 12:45-2:00pm
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone

Despite popular images of America as a "melting" both of races and ethnicities, our institutions, values, and practices have often tried to create or maintain spatial and social distance between groups defined as racially different. This course will explore the ways in which Americans have transgressed those boundaries or found other ways of interacting across cultural lines, primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine popular cultural perceptions of people of mixed ancestry, their social experiences, the development of various mixed-ancestry communities, and historical attempts to limit interracial socializing, relationships, and marriage. These issues were and are deeply embedded in debates over the meaning of race, gender expectations, and ideas about sex and sexuality. We will also pay close attention to how minority communities have understood people of mixed ancestry in the United States, and how mixed-race identities intersect with African American, Native American, Asian, White, and Latino identities.

ASTD 393-04 - Sport in American Cultural History
Mon/Wed/Fri 10:00-10:50am
Instructor: Nicholas Porter

In this class, students will examine the history and continued popularity of sport in America. Sport is a fascinating and complex area of study with regard to American culture, and this course intends to investigate sport's significance to our diverse society. Issues of race, gender, and class will be analyzed alongside a range of other topics such as national identity, globalization and bodily representations as we engage with sport from multiple angles. With an emphasis on sport as both an economic enterprise and a grassroots cultural phenomenon, the class will investigate deeper cultural ideas that have made sport a crucial factor in a variety of American experiences. The aim of this course is for students to develop their skills of analysis, research, and critique as they work towards an understanding of sport's continuing centrality within American life and culture. By bringing their own interpretations and experiences of sport into contact with the assigned readings it is intended that students will be able to gain a greater perspective on why sport continues to play an important, yet always controversial, part in American life.

ASTD 410 - Senior Seminar
Scheduling by arrangement
Instructor: Benjamin Looker

This course is designed to guide students through researching and writing a senior thesis and, in the process, to teach them how to be good critics. The senior thesis is the embodiment of the knowledge and training students have garnered in their undergraduate education in American Studies. When completed, it should be a strong expression of students' analytical and writing skills, which will be useful for whatever career they plan to pursue. In the class, students focus on the step-by-step process of producing a 30- to 40-page research paper, read and discuss practical guides to research and writing, and use the classroom as a forum to critique individual projects. Each student plays a vital role in the development of every other student's work. At the end of the course, students will have honed their research and writing skills, developed strong techniques for critiquing their peers' work, and produced a research paper that they can use as a writing sample as they pursue their respective further endeavors.

Graduate

ASTD 550 - The Practice of American Studies
Tues 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Matthew Mancini

The goal of this course is to prepare Ph.D. students to become practicing members of the interdisciplinary humanities community, whether inside or outside of the higher-education industry, and to enable them to engage thoughtfully and critically with the social, political, and economic forces currently reshaping the various institutions in which humanities labor takes place. Over the course of the semester, participants will learn and practice a variety of practical skills, cultivate a broadened awareness of professional options available to them, and consider contemporary debates over an array of issues in higher education, including academic freedom, institutional governance, labor practices, evolving curricula, and political engagement.
Required of all Ph.D. students during the second or third year of study; first-years may enroll by permission of the instructor.

ASTD 557 - African American Politics, Culture, and Identity
Thurs 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Heidi Ardizzone

This graduate seminar explores the connections and tensions between politics, culture, and identity in African American experiences and public movements. Covering the mid-nineteenth century through the contemporary period, we will focus on activism, issues of representation, and the multiple strategies within a diverse African American population, paying attention to issues of gender, class, religion, region, migration, and national identity.

ASTD 593 - American Modernism
Wed 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Emily Lutenski

Skyscrapers. Imagism. The Great Migration. Expressionism. The Industrial Workers of the World. Dada. The Blues. Fordism. The Bob. Eugenics. Cubism. Jazz. Women's Suffrage. Futurism. The Depression. Film. The Harlem Renaissance. Expatriation. The World Wars. Prohibition. Primitivism. Immigration. The Armory Show. Art Deco. -- Radical Breaks. Rapid Changes. Applied to art, politics, popular culture, technology, and everyday life, phrases like these have been often used to describe modernism and modernity in the United States and its transnational intersections. This interdisciplinary course will look at this cultural history and aesthetic production, largely between the World Wars.

ASTD 693 - Cultural Geographies of American Religion
Mon 4:00-6:30pm
Instructor: Kate Moran

This course will explore the relationship between religion and ongoing processes of spatial organization and place making in modern America. From store-front churches to suburban mosques, ancient burial grounds to twentieth-century urban neighborhoods, home architecture to border fences, we will look at the religious and spiritual meanings that a wide variety of people have invested in the places they live, work, and play; the spaces through which they travel; and the borders they cross and defend. We will trace how those meanings have shaped those spaces, movements, and practices, and how they have intersected with evolving notions of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Along the way, we will study theories of place, space, and religion drawn from a variety of disciplines, including geography, history, anthropology, and religious studies.

OFFERED FALL 2013

Undergraduate

ASTD 202 - Investigating America
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:45

In 1925, African American poet Langston Hughes wrote, "I, too, sing America. / I am the darker brother. / They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes," indicating that "America" may not always be the land of opportunity touted by its foundational myths and dreams. "But" despite this, Hughes continues, "I laugh / and eat well, / And grow strong. / [...] I, too, am America." His poem raises a series of questions: What does it mean to be American? Who decides, and who is included or excluded? Are there uniquely American characteristics, experiences, identities, art forms, places, politics, or stories? Is America a nation-state, geography, or citizenship status? Or is it a set of ideas - like "democracy," "capitalism," "the frontier," "exceptionalism," "freedom," "opportunity," "work," or "imperialism?" How do race, gender, sexuality, and class inflect American identity and shape American culture? These are the central questions of this course, which are at the heart of the field of American Studies. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring these questions, examining American history, literature, and culture through a variety of sources and methods: literary, historical, visual, and social scientific.
Fulfills the "Cultural Diversity in the U.S." requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 240 - American Homefronts and Global Wars
Tues/Thurs 12:45-2:00

This course considers American social history during times of war from World War I to the current "War on Terror. " How have these global wars affected American cultures, arts, demographics, and politics? What internal divisions and shared identities has war inspired or revealed? How have the experience and memory of war shaped American society and our position in the international arena? We will address these questions through an examination of primary sources in literature, media, film, and visual culture, as well as reading scholarly works.
Fulfills the "Cultural Diversity: Global Citizenship" requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 320 - Making the American City: Culture, Space, and 20th-century U.S. Urbanisms
Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:15

This seminar examines the cultural history of the U.S. city, 1880s to present. Students consider how changing city environments have shaped urban cultural communities and processes of identity-formation over time. Meanwhile, using fiction, film, paintings, photography, and other primary-source genres, participants explore relationships between urban space and representational practices in the arts and popular culture.
Fulfills the "Cultural Diversity in the U.S." requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

ASTD 393 - "Young Americans": Contemporary America in Music
Mon/Wed/Fri 10:00-10:50

This course will use music, and the cultures around music, to investigate American economic, political, social, and cultural events and values since the 1970s. It will draw connections between music and the life of the nation, analyzing contexts from the local to the international.

ASTD 425 - American Mosaic: Literature and Diversity
Tues/Thurs 2:15-3:30

In Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior (1975), the narrator describes how "When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves. " She describes how "my mother talking-story [...] said I would grow up a wife and a slave, but she taught me the song of the warrior woman [...]. I would have to grow up a warrior woman." Kingston's narrative is not the only one that links storytelling to ethnic and gender identity formation-and, at times, subversion. Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony (1977) begins with the reminder, "I will tell you something about stories, / [...] They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled." More recently, Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo (2002) admonishes its reader to "Tell me a story, even if it's a lie." What is the function of storytelling in these texts, and for writers of color? Do stories create and sustain ethnic and gender identities-or do they trouble our expectations of these identities? Can stories be used as a form of domination or resistance? Questions like these will form the center of this course as we read contemporary multiethnic fiction that tells us about "talking-story."
Fulfills the second half of the Literature requirement for the Arts & Sciences BA/BS Core.

Graduate

ASTD 425 - American Mosaic: Literature and Diversity
Tues/Thurs 2:15-3:30

See description in the undergraduate courses listing just above. By arrangement with the instructor, this 400-level course may be taken by graduate students for credit toward the M.A. and Ph.D. coursework requirements.

ASTD 510 - Perspectives in American Studies
Thurs 4:00-6:30

Survey of theoretical frameworks for the interpretation of American culture over time. Examines the intersection of history and theory in the interdisciplinary study of the American experience from colonial encounters to the present. Critical readings in Marxism, feminism, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, race theory, and queer theory. Offered every year.

ASTD 540 - Metropolitan America
Tues 4:00-6:30

Introduction to the study of American urban and suburban life. Course examines American cities, their cultures, and their built environments as these change over time. Students engage scholarship, develop visual literacy for "reading" the metropolis, and analyze the ways in which built environments shape and reflect American cultural meaning.

ASTD 593 - Historical Classics and the American Studies Tradition
Mon/Wed 12:30-1:45

Readings in great works of history that were written by important scholars in the development of American Studies. Course objectives are: to develop clear comprehension of crucial periods in U. S. history, to explain why such periods were significant in the minds of the historians who wrote about them, to relate the historians' methods to American Studies, and to critically examine the works as literature. Works include, in whole or part, Perry Miller, The New England Mind, John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction After the Civil War, David Potter, The Impending Crisis, Henry F. May, The End of American Innocence, Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon. Three short papers or one major paper; class discussion leadership; reviews of book reviews.

ASTD 627 - Transnational America
Wed 4:00-6:30

This course introduces students to the history, intellectual trajectories, and institutional impact of the "transnational turn" in American Studies. Focusing on 19th and 20th century cultural, economic, political, and religious encounters in Africa, Asia, and Europe, participants investigate the varied manifestations and wide-ranging impact of U.S. global engagement.

SPRING 2013 AND EARLIER

Course descriptions Fall 2011 to Spring 2013.


Course descriptions Fall 2008 to Spring 2011.