SAS Banner
SAS Mobile Banner
students banner 1200

Course Offerings Fall 2015

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

101:01

Intro to American Studies: “America” as Idea

Introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Employing literature, legal studies, film, history, visual culture, philosophy, and politics, the class will examine the concept and idea of “America” in its global, national, community, and bodily/psychic permutations. We will explores key themes from the past – such as American exceptionalism, “manifest destiny,” and the search for equality – and examine how these ideas have both changed and persisted as part of a national culture and identity. The goal of the course is to expose students to intellectual and creative possibilities in the field of American Studies, as well as to provide incoming majors with key concepts and analytical tools that can be used in more advanced courses. Emphasis will be placed on students’ analytical skills, close reading, verbal articulations of interdisciplinary scholarship, and critical thinking.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp

3

M/W

4:30-5:50

MU 211

(CAC)

Backes

101:02

Intro to American Studies: “America” as Idea

Introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Employing literature, legal studies, film, history, visual culture, philosophy, and politics, the class will examine the concept and idea of “America” in its global, national, community, and bodily/psychic permutations. We will explores key themes from the past – such as American exceptionalism, “manifest destiny,” and the search for equality – and examine how these ideas have both changed and persisted as part of a national culture and identity. The goal of the course is to expose students to intellectual and creative possibilities in the field of American Studies, as well as to provide incoming majors with key concepts and analytical tools that can be used in more advanced courses. Emphasis will be placed on students’ analytical skills, close reading, verbal articulations of interdisciplinary scholarship, and critical thinking.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp

 

3

T/Th

5:00-6:20

TIL 257

(LIV)

Ferguson

200:03

Latinos and Community

This interdisciplinary course examines historical and contemporary formations of Latin communities in the US. We critically analyze the connection between space, power, and Latin populations across the country. The class highlights the ways in which Latin groups challenge social obstacles and re-shape their environments through diverse forms of community engagement.

Crosslisted with 01:590:299:01 and 01:595:299:01

3

M/W

6:10-7:30

FH A1

CAC

Bañales

218:01

Visual Culture in the United States

Examines the evolution of American visual culture through the lenses of war and peace; race and ethnicity; the body, gender, and sexuality; and family and socioeconomic class. Among the topics we may consider are fashion, vaudeville, the little theater movement, museum cultures, installation and performance art, documentary photography and film, and the graphic memoir. The works to be assigned may include Jacob Riis’ and Lewis Hine’s photography of immigrants and child laborers; Edward Steichen and Carl Sandburg’s Museum of Modern Art exhibit and 1955 book The Family of Man; James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks’ photography of black life; Diane Arbus’ photography of freaks; Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award-winning documentary on bloody unionization campaigns in Appalachia, Harlan County, USA (1976); the Vietnam War documentary films Hearts and Minds (1974)and Haskell Wexler’s Interviews with My Lai Veterans (1971) and Medium Cool (1969); Marco Williams’ documentary film on immigrants from Mexico who cross the border illegally, The Undocumented (2013); and Alison Bechdel’s lesbian graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2007).

 

 

3

T/Th

3:55-5:15

RAB 018

(C/D)

Fishbein

227:01

19th Century Literature and Culture

Examines some of the central literary texts and cultural expressions of the nineteenth century. We will focus especially on questions of race, religion, gender, reform, politics, class, and region. Readings include works by Jefferson, Douglass, Emerson, Melville, Stowe, Whitman, Twain and DuBois, among other writers.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goal: AHp

3

M/Th

10:55-12:15

RAB 018

(C/D)

Masur

228:01

Contemporary American: The Global War on Terrorism

The War on Terror, also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) is a term which has been applied to an international military campaign that started after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. This resulted in an international military campaign to eliminate AL-Qaeda and other militant organizations. We will focus on two theaters of operations—Iraq and Afghanistan. By hearing from many different narrators, we will hopefully learn more about American culture in the period under discussion. We will read, watch, and listen to a variety of academic and popular sources in order to ask broader questions about what it means to be an American in today’s world.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHp SCL (h,m,p)

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

M/Th

10:55-12:15

RAB 001

(C/D)

Gillespie

230:01

TRANSforming Bodies and Identities in American Culture
The American body has been transformed over time physically, socially, culturally, and politically.  Rhetorics of the body are more critical when something is worn or swallowed; however, surveillance of the body often escapes scrutiny when enhancements move away from the body.  The course examines negotiated identities, “covering and passing” bodies through the lens of gender, sexuality, race, ability, socioeconomic class and more. Social media, film, art, music, fashion, and pop culture will be considered to examine sites and spaces of: the surgically embellished, ambiguous, surveilled, bold, queer, trans, roided, androgynous, oppressed, and the subverted American body in all of its transformations and wonder.  Students will look at body fascism, bodies at war; falling bodies (figure skating, gymnastics, high wire and circus acts); smashing bodies (NASCAR); collision sports and injuries; reassembled bodies (prosthetics); aging bodies; cyborgs and various definitions of the “healthy” body through a critical lens. The use and influence of American technology and fantasy will be examined through examples from Barbie dolls, action figures, Marvel comics, Comic Con, Trekkies to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.  No text is required, but there are weekly article readings and class recommendations of relevant and provocative readings from The New York Times.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

Th

6:10-9:00

SC 220

(CAC)

Schuster

240:01

Latino Literature and Culture

Survey of Latino/a literary voices drawn from the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban and other Latin American migrations to the United States. Analysis of the relationship between literary and cultural representation and exile, resistance and assimilation; political presence and identity formation; race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Theorization of the links between literary modes and genres (autobiography, poetry, novel, film, music) in the cultural representation of U.S. Latinidad.

Crosslisted with Africana Studies 01:595:240

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

M/W

1:10P-2:30P

SC 201

(CAC)

Sifuentes

245:01

Asian American Experience

Through a variety of genres, including history, literature, film and popular culture, interrogate the fluid identity categories, the dynamic and diverse experiences, cultures, and politics of “Asian American”/ “Asian Pacific American”/ “Asian Pacific Islander American” peoples in the United States. 

Eligible for CCRES Minor

Crosslisted with Asian Languages and Cultures 098:262:01

3

M/W

1:40P-3:00P

BRR 5117

LIV

TBA

246:01

Black Experience in America

Interdisciplinary examination of African-Americans within the context of American political economy, special conditions of oppression, responses to exploitation, and resultant social changes.

Crosslisted with Africana Studies 014:203:01

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

M/W

6:20-7:40

BE-AUD

(LIV)

Ramsamy

247:01

History and Culture of Hip Hop

Since its emergence in the 1970s as a localized community formation in New York, hip hop has developed into a billion‐dollar, transnational industry with a myriad of cultural legacies and commercial products. This course examines the historical, social, political and aesthetic roots of hip hop culture and music.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

MW

2:15-3:35

RAB 206

(C/D)

Fleetwood

260:01

On the Road: Mobility in America

It has often been said that the American people are the most mobile in the world—traversing their continent sized country constantly in search of adventure and opportunity. This is seen especially in our literature, our movies, and our music—and the course will focus on these three means of communication. Authors will include Mark Twain, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac, Robert Pirsig, William Least Heat Moon, and Tom Robbins. We will also look at how mobility has often been gendered male and how, in recent years women have also become more “footloose and fancy free.” Some of our greatest American movies will be part of the mix. As for music, one only need mention as an example New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen and his songs “Born  to Run” and “Thunder Road.” Professor Rockland was recently interviewed about the publication of his fourteenth book and, when asked what these diverse books share, after considerable thought, responded, “I guess mobility is their common denominator.” So this is a course where the professor has been very much part of the subject the course addresses.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goal: AHp

3

MTh

12:35-1:55

RAB 208

(C/D)

Rockland

263:01

American Folklore: Weird Tales

Folklore is the traditional, unofficial, non-institutional form of culture. It encompasses knowledge and beliefs transmitted in traditional forms by word of mouth or by customary examples. In the first part of the course we deal with the major genres of folklore including myth, legend, folktale, ballad, and folksong. Later in the course, we briefly take up Haitian Voodoo, a syncretic religion that originated in the Caribbean country of Haiti.  It is based upon the merging of the beliefs and practices of West African peoples and Roman Catholic Christianity. Still later in the course, we take up cryptozoology, the study of animals that may or may not exist.

3

M/W

5:35-6:55

RAB 208

(C/D)

Gillespie

265:01

American Experimental Film

A survey course focusing on the history and development of the various American experimental cinema movements from its beginnings to the present. In-depth analyses of the structure and content of films by Andy Warhol, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Sidney Peterson, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Yoko Ono,and others. Emphasis on the "mise-en-scene," editing, narrative form, sound, and special effects in the films of these celebrated experimental filmmakers. Warning: some films may contain nudity, sexual situations, violence, profanity, substance abuse, and disturbing images.

3

TTh

5:35-6:55

Th

7:15-8:35

RAB 001

(C/D)

Nigrin

281:01

Asian American Studies Learning Community

Explore and learn about the diverse array of peoples of Asian descent in the Americas, including West, South, Southeast, and East Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Throughout the semester, we will examine, reflect upon, and discuss representations of Asian Americans in literature, history, politics, film, scholarship, current events, and popular culture.

1.5

F

1:40-3:00

Asian American Cultural

Center

(LIV)

Hwang

283:01

Contemporary Arts Adventure

Visits to museums, galleries, and arts centers in New Brunswick, Princeton, and New York City, as well as Off-Broadway theatre, dance, music, and poetry readings to experience the arts of our time. We will examine the way current events are depicted in the arts, how the arts shape social values, and how the arts are interpreted by different social groupings.  We will also consider the human figure in artistic representation, as well as the body as an expressive vehicle.

Course runs Sunday 10/25-Sunday 12/6

1.5

Sun

11:30-2:30

SC 201

(CAC)

Appels

283:02

Contemporary Arts Adventure

Visits to museums, galleries, and arts centers in New Brunswick, Princeton, and New York City, as well as Off-Broadway theatre, dance, music, and poetry readings to experience the arts of our time. We will examine the way current events are depicted in the arts, how the arts shape social values, and how the arts are interpreted by different social groupings.  We will also consider the human figure in artistic representation, as well as the body as an expressive vehicle.

Course runs Sunday 10/25-Sunday 12/6

1.5

Sun

8:20-11:20

SC 201

(CAC)

Appels

300:01

Spike Lee

This course will survey the work of Spike Lee through screenings, lectures and group discussions. Students will expand their understanding of the narrative film genre as well as that of storytelling. Most importantly, this course will examine the use of film as a medium and conduit for change, conversation and understanding. Spike Lee's films, both narrative and non-narrative will be compared and contrasted for their similarities and differences.

Crosslisted with: 014:301

3

M

6:10-9:00

SC 203

(CAC)

Brown

303:01

Decade in American  Culture: 1980s

The 1980s was a decade of surfaces—from Ronald Reagan’s flawless hair to Madonna’s MTV image, from the language of political correctness to the conspicuous consumerism of Yuppies, and from the deliberate artifice of postmodern art to the avowed shallowness of Wall Street culture. This class explores the 1980s, seeking to explain the pervasive concern with surfaces and ultimately to reveal the deeper questions, commitments, and changes that roiled underneath (many of which define the world we live in today). Since this is a class about a time in which outward appearances and surface impressions ruled, we will take popular culture as our primary focus and explore the period through mainstream movies, popular literature, and best-selling non-fiction, as well as pop music, music videos, and popular political movements.

3

T/Th

2:15-3:35

RAB 207

(C/D)

Backes

313:01

America as a Business Civilization

This course will examine the social, cultural and political underpinnings of economic constructs such as money, the market, and consumption. Some of the issues that will be explored are debt in America, as illustrated by the high amounts of credit card debt many Americans have and the increasing numbers of Americans declaring bankruptcy. We will also delve into the political economy of higher education, identifying the factors that contribute to the continuing rise of tuitions, why colleges and universities engage in what is referred to as an “arms race,” and what is meant by the commodification of education. We will also analyze the culture of Wall Street, and the changing landscape of retirement in America.

3

M/Th

9:15-10:35

HCK 205

(C/D)

Prisock

316:01

Twenty-First Century Expressions: Envisioning Other Worlds

Mutants, robots, zombies, vampires, and other super- or non-human beings abound in popular literature and media today. These extraordinary figures and the fantastical, often dystopian worlds, they inhabit have become rather ordinary components of our shared cultural landscape. They point, moreover, to the ways in which science and speculative fiction as a genre speaks to our contemporary moment. In this course we will examine a range of cultural texts, including short stories, novels, film, comics, and visual art, to explore how science and speculative fictions allow us to envision other timespaces, dimensions, and worlds that create room for discussing changing conceptions of the human, alternate representations of race, gender, and sexuality, the contradictions of technology, and the possibilities of social justice in the present.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: 21C, AHp

3

M/W

2:15-3:35

HSB 204

(C/D)

Tran

324:01

Wayward Americans

Explore various groups of “wayward” Americans.  Or, to put it another way, we will examine our understandings of what it means to be “normal,” with particular focus on physical, mental, and behavioral norms.  Some questions we will consider are: “How do we determine who or what is normal?  Has the definition of normal remained consistent over time and place?  How is normalcy measured?  And by whom?  How important is context – geographic location, social and cultural background, age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion – when determining normalcy?  By examining various groups that have been described as: different; weird; deviant; abnormal; beyond the pale; on the fringe – including the “feeble-minded,” religious fanatics, criminals, and “sexual deviants” – we will seek to understand the historical, sociological, and psychological frameworks that have rendered these groups outside of mainstream American society.

 

3

T/Th

3:20-4:40

TIL 252

(LIV)

Zemla

329:01

The United States as Seen From Abroad

American Studies courses focus on the American character and on American society and culture. This course is different because it looks at the United States from a foreign perspective: how others see us and how Americans view their own country while abroad—a kind of transnational American Studies. Including classic works by Charles Dickens, Alexis De Tocqueville and Henry James and continuing forward to contemporary views of the United States and especially views of it from the embattled Middle East, the course will appeal as much to those whose interests include Political Science and International Affairs as to those whose key interest is great literature. A few feature films will be included. Professor Rockland spent his early career in the United States diplomatic service and has lectured abroad in 27 countries to date—often on the very subject of this course.

Crosslisted with History 512:391:02

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

M/Th

HSB 206

10:55-12:15

(C/D)

Rockland

389:01

Seminar: Memoir and Memory

Junior Seminar: Memoir and Memory examines classic and modern American memoirs in order to understand how these memoirs sought to interpret their subjects’ lives both as they had been lived and as their subjects would like to have them understood  retrospectively.  Readings may include Harriet A. Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself (1861); Piri Thomas’ Down These Mean Streets (1967), a Puerto Rican memoir of gang life and drug addiction in New York; Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir of growing up Chinese American in Stockton, California The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1975); Paul Clemens’ memoir of growing up white working-class in a predominantly black neighborhood, Made in Detroit (2005); Jeanette Walls’ memoir of her dysfunctional family The Glass Castle (2005); Domenica Ruta’s With You or Without You (2013), a memoir about life with a drug-addicted mother who, nevertheless, had high educational aspirations for her daughter; Martin Duberman, Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey (1992, reprinted 2002); Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of a lesbian girl with a closeted gay father Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2007); Edwige Danticat’s Brother, I'm Dying (2007), a memoir about how Danticat’s surrogate father and uncle and her biological father responded to the political turmoil in Haiti and the impact that their decisions had on family life(2007); Moustafa Bayoumi’s How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America (2008), and Sonya Sotomayor’s My Beloved World (2013) a memoir by first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Satisfies core Curriculum Goal WCD

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

F

9:15-12:15

RAB 018

(C/D)

Fishbein

400:01

Public Histories of Detention and Mass Incarceration

This unique course will give students the opportunity to work on a collaborative public exhibition and series of digital projects, organized by the Humanities Action Lab, on the history of detention and mass incarceration in the United States. The resulting project will be seen by an audience of more than a half million visitors, and will be on display at locations across country – from Riverside, California to Nashville, Tennessee, and on Rutgers’ campus. Our specific contribution to the project will focus on the history of Seabrook Farms, a frozen foods processing facility and World War Two labor camp that housed Japanese American and Japanese Peruvian detainees. Upon completion, students’ research and curation will be incorporated into the national travelling exhibition.  We will examine more generally the politics, economics, and social and cultural meanings of incarceration and detention – from the colonial era to the present – and the centrality of these practices to American history. Finally, this course will also function as an advanced public history theory and methodology course. Using the Humanities Action Lab exhibition as our primary case study, we will address the possibilities and challenges that come with producing and disseminating histories outside of the classroom.
Prerequisites: Permission of department required.

3

M

12:35-3:35

RAB 018

(C/D)

Urban

495:01

Honors Thesis Writers

Independent study for majors of an interdisciplinary nature, which may be expressed in a paper, audiovisual project, or other creative enterprise. Prerequisites: Permission of department required

3

W

By Appt.

Gillespie

Follow Us

 FB-f-Logo  blue 29

Contact Us

rab cropped

Ruth Adams Building
131 George Street
RAB 024 & RAB 103
New Brunswick, NJ
08901-1414

tel. 848-932-9174