The Black Image in American Film
(1) Since the beginning of the American film industry, white, black and other filmmakers have used the black image to interrogate American identity. This course focuses upon the often contentious dialog between white and black filmmakers, critics, and activists over the creation and control of the black image - a struggle that has been a fundamental component of the American film industry since its creation. Examination of this artistic conflict helps students to explore the larger social struggles and issues surrounding race in American society, as well as to experience the richness of African American culture and the vibrant history of American film and criticism. Above all, students learn to see the political, social and economic context in which film is created, viewed, and understood. Some of the issues to be discussed include: the black aesthetic; representations of the black family, religion, and gender/sexuality by Hollywood vs. independent black films; the changing black image in film over time; the business and economics of filmmaking.
Prereq : sophomore standing or permission of the instructor;
Cross Listing : BKST 227;
(1) This course treats nineteenth century and modern communal societies from a social science viewpoint, examining conditions under which the societies arose, and the social and cultural characteristics of "successful" and "unsuccessful" utopias. HSS;
Cross Listing : ANSO 233;
U.S. Latino Literature: Identity and Resistance
(1) Examines major works by U. S. Latino writers. We explore the themes of identity and resistance as they are developed in the poetry, fiction, theater, and essays of Chicano and Puerto Rican authors. Taking as our starting point the cultural nationalist discourses developed by the Chicano writers in the late 1960s, we analyze Puerto Rican and Chicano critiques of the American ideal of the "melting pot." We see how poets, novelists, and dramatists have grappled with questions regarding Spanish as a proud marker of identity, with the impossibility of the return to an ideal Island paradise, or to an "Aztlan." In addition, special attention is given to the discussion of gender dynamics as they are expressed in the literature and culture.
Cross Listing : ENG 243;
(1/2 or 1)
Prereq : Permission of instructor;
May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion;
America in the 1960s
(1) The 1960s was one of the defining periods in American history, when great conflict served to reveal fundamental elements of the American character. American values and practices regarding sex and race, poverty and justice, apathy and activism, violence and peace, drugs, music, and other issues all came under intense scrutiny during this era. This class immerses students in the "sixties experience" - the events, ideas, values, sights and sounds of this exciting and important decade - and asks what this era reveals about America's past, present and future.HSS;
Cross Listing : HIST 259;
Religion and Politics in the United States
(1) An examination of the role of religion in political activism. Among the topics covered are the Black Church and the civil rights movement, the Christian Right, the partisan politics of the "culture war", and religiously based terrorism. While the primary focus of the course is on the United States, we examine issues comparatively and conclude by looking at the political impact of transnational religious movements.HSS;
Cross Listing : PS 260;
American Art, Architecture and Culture
(1) This course is a selected overview of the history of American art from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century with an emphasis on art as part of a larger material culture related to political, socio-economic and intellectual trends. A major concern is the contribution of visual culture to the conceptualization of American national identity in light of changing views associated with nature, labor, race, gender and sexuality. A special topical issue is the influence of American Transcendental and Pragmatist philosophy on the development of artistic styles and themes.
Prereq : ART 105 or 106, and/or HIST 160 or 161 are recommended;
Cross Listing : ART 261;
Great American Debates
(1) This course examines the way in which debate has informed American history - the issues that inhabitants of the continent have found pressing; the means by which they have articulated and advanced their perspectives; and the consequences of their successes and failures over time. By focusing on one broad issue - such as women's rights, election to political office, or abolitionism - this course examines debate as a cultural creation and explores connections between present-day debates and those of the past. Course may be repeated for credit. AMST 267B History of Marriage is DV.;
Cross Listing : HIST 267;
Alternatives to Consumerism
(1) Many thinkers have criticized the manner in which consumerism, overconsumption, and profit-seeking dominate both American and global culture. This course uses these criticisms as the starting point for an exploration of various alternatives which might lead humans toward not only a more sustainable lifestyle, but one which is also more personally enlivening and socially just. These alternatives include changes in personal lifestyles, economic organization, media practices, and social structures. We discuss not only the scholarly ramifications of these ideas, but how to act upon them in our lives and society more broadly.
Prereq : AMST 285, ANSO 103, ENVS 101, or BUS 280;
Cross Listing : ENVS 272;
American Philosophy and Postmodernism
(1) A study of the idealist, naturalist, and pragmatist trends in American thought as exemplified in the works of Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey with special emphasis on their relationship to contemporary trends in postmodernism.
Prereq : Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor;
Cross Listing : PHIL 273;
In Search of America
(1) This course will survey the fundamental issues, methods, and perspectives in the field of American Studies. Course readings include theoretical and methodological works, foundational documents, and selected examples of representative new scholarship in the field. Students will also analyze feature films, music, and radio and film documentaries. This class is intended for American Studies majors, minors, and any student interested in the serious study of American culture and society.
Prereq : sophomore standing or above;
(1/2 or 1) Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of American Studies not covered in the usual curriculum. Staff
Identity and Alterity in Latino Literature and Culture
(1) This course examines the question of identity and alterity as experienced
by American-raised Hispanics from the 1940s to the present. This course
considers among other things the way they define their cultural, racial
and national heritage in relation to that of their parents, and how they
conceptualize their identity through the Other. The course also focuses
on the bicultural/bilingual experiences of Latinos through the analysis
of literary and cinematographic works by Americans of Mexican, Puerto
Rican, Cuban and Dominican origin who have resided primarily in the
continental United States.
Cross Listing : SPAN 307E;
Beyond Stereotypes: Exploring Literature by Chicanas
(1) During the past two decades Chicana writers have produced an innovative literature that not only dialogues with the male Chicano literary tradition, but vibrantly asserts its own core themes and stylistic and thematic contributions. We examine the innovative narrative, poetry and essay production of Chicana writers such as Gloria Anzaldua, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Elena Viramontes, Sandra Cisneros, Lucha Corpi among many others. HUM;
Prereq : junior standing;
Cross Listing : GWST 325;
(1/2 or 1)
Prereq : Permission of instructor;
May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion;
Themes in African-American Political Thought Since Emancipation
(1) This course is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of all black American thinkers since 1865, nor is it meant as a strictly chronological exercise. Rather, the focus is how fundamental themes in black political thought recur, overlap, and intertwine. These themes are studied as they appear in the writings and speeches from a wide spectrum of selected thinkers and activists. Among other themes, we consider how the accommodationism of Booker T. Washington, the Pan Africanism of Marcus Garvey, the Islamic fundamentalism of Malcolm X, and the Afrocentricity of Haki Madhubuti are all connected by a fundamental emphasis upon black capitalism. By contrast, the theme of Marxist influence are studied through the careers and writings of socialist labor leader A. Phillip Randolph, entertainer and activist Paul Robeson, Black Panther founder Huey Newton, and Communist and political prisoner Angela Davis. The themes of assimilation, acculturation, and African-American citizenship are linked through the writings of W.E.B. DuBois and James Baldwin, the direct action protest movement of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson. Additional themes are suggested by the writings of Alexander Crummell, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, bell hooks, and Molefi Asante.
Prereq : junior standing; also, prior work in Black Studies or U.S. History, or permission of the instructor;
Cross Listing : BKST 362;
Senior Research Project
(.0) Majors shall produce a significant research project that addresses the general issues of American identity, uses primary sources, and is consistent with the spirit of the student's educational plan essay. Acceptable examples include an honors project (AMST 400), independent study (AMST 350), or 300-level research project in any department (students will also register their project under the 0 credit designation, AMST 390). All projects must be pre-approved by the chair of the program, and are subject to review upon completion by the chair or designated representative before receiving credit. To be pre-approved the project must meet college standards for writing intensive (W) courses.W;
(.0) Majors shall acquire the oral presentation skills appropriate to the field of American Studies through completing a project that fosters honest and reasoned discussion on issues of fundamental American values, problems, and issues, outside formal coursework. All projects must be pre-approved by the chair of the program, and are subject to review upon completion by the chair or designated representative before receiving credit (students will register their project under the 0 credit designation, AMST 392). To be pre-approved the project must meet college standards for oral presentation (O) courses. Examples of acceptable presentations could include: debates and panel discussions; individual presentations - e.g. papers, art shows, recitals; radio show production and hosting on Knox radio station (WVKC 90.7). O;
(1/2 or 1) Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of American Studies not covered in the usual curriculum.Staff
(1/2 or 1) See College Honors Program.