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Course Offerings Summer 2016

DEPARTMENT OF AMERICAN STUDIES COURSE OFFERING SUMMER 2016

SUMMER SESSION I

01:050:259 POPULAR CULTURE - 3 credits
Course Description: This class explores major themes and problems in American popular culture. We will analyze and discuss a wide array of movies, videos, songs, texts, and images in an effort to understand what makes popular culture popular, how it "works" (or does not work) in society, what kinds of meaning it generates, and how it is received by audiences. We will use a variety of scholarly models and theoretical literature to help make sense of cultural productions that seem all too familiar but bear careful scrutiny. In addition the course will take on a special theme: humanness and popular culture. In what ways does popular culture shape and reflect our understandings of ourselves as human in the present age of virtuality, layered reality, mechanized intelligence, and networked identities?
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section B1 / Index: 02281
MW 10:00 AM - 2:25 PM D/C RAB-208, BACKES

01:050:266 CULT FILMS IN AMERICAN CULTURE - 3 credits
Course Description: This lecture-discussion course focuses on the “cult” film from its origins in the 1920s to its evolution in American culture. Close analyses of cult films will be paired with readings by J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum, Sigmund Freud, and others. According to Freud, for example, social organization for the primordial horde came about as a result of the incest taboo and the law of exogamy. Several of the films to be screened depict scenes that violate this organization and break the taboo. This course will explore how and why these violations permeate cult films. In addition, many cult films are open-ended metaphors for contemporary social anxieties. We will examine how some of these counter-culture films are a reaction to late ‘60s and ‘70s American society. Finally, this course will include in-depth analyses of the structure of celebrated American cult films ("mise-en-scene," editing, narrative form, set design, sound, and special effects) including: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Eraserhead, Night of the Living Dead, Cat People, and others. Warning: some films may contain nudity, sexual situations, violence, profanity, substance abuse, and disturbing images.
05/31/2015 - 07/08/2016, Section B6 / Index: 02282, Cross-Listed With: 01:175:266:B6
TTh 6:00 PM - 9:40 PM CAC SC-123, NIGRIN

01:050:301 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES - MURDER IN AMERICA - 3 credits
Course Description: The string of mass killings in the United States this past year underscore the need of Americans to study the history of murder in our country. We do that in ‘Murder in America.’ The course examines homicide in movies and television, real life, history, the media and in entertainment. We watch movies, read news stories and analyze TV shows such as CSI. Students stage an original 1940s radio mystery play and hold a mock trial to find out who killed one of Hollywood’s 1920’ssuperstars.
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section B3 / Index: 03352
MW 1:15 PM - 5:40 PM CAC MU-213, CHADWICK
01:050:301 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES - REMARKABLE BEACHES OF NJ 3 credits
Course Description: Explore the natural and touristic aspects of NJ beach culture. We study six beaches on six Saturdays, focusing on dune ecology, weather patterns, wildlife, recreation, art, literature, fitness, history, cultural venues, social life, cuisine, and the pleasures of coastal life.
05/31/2016 - 07/22/2016, Section C1 / Index: 02913 Saturdays 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM, CAC SC 201, APPELS

Off-CAMPUS

01:050:301 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES – NATURE, MEMORY, AND HISTORY IN MONMOUTH COUNTY
Course Description:
Visits to historical sites and monuments, as well as nature sites (including beaches, forests, 3 credits estuaries, and meadows). The literature of differing townships, boardwalks, and cultural sites will be explored through performances, exhibitions, theatre, films, and short stories. We look at the ways in which both popular and global culture frame our relationship to the natural and built environment.
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section B1 / Index: 02912 TTh 2:00 PM – 5:40 PM, WESTERN MONMOUTH HIGHER ED CTR, APPELS

01:050:301 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES – RACE, ROOTS, AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL - 3 credits
Course Description:
“It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it …,” so the song goes. But is it only rock ‘n’ roll? Rock music has been a continuing thread in the fabric of post-World War II American culture. Rock ‘n’ roll has not merely reflected enormous social and cultural upheavals it has shaped them as well. Beginning with a brief survey of American “roots” music – including jazz, blues, gospel and rhythm & blues – we will study the explosion of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, followed by the folk and rock music of the 1960s, that which served as the soundtrack for the civil rights, anti-war and other protest movements of the turbulent era. This course will examine rock ‘n’ roll – its historical and musical roots, its explosive beginnings in the mid-1950s, and its rise to cultural dominance – in order to explore issues of race, gender and class amidst the rapidly changing social, cultural, economic, and political landscape of mid- to late-20th century United States.
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section B7 / Index: 04419 MW 6:00 PM – 10:25 PM, RARITAN VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, ZEMLA

01:050:302 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES - JERSEY SHORE MUSIC CULTURE - 3 credits
Course Description: Outings to those places where Jersey Shore music culture had its beginnings -- and where it continues to flourish. We study the widest dimensions of the connection between music and summer beach culture, and the yearning for a song that will speak to our hearts.
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section B6 / Index: 03740 TTh 6:00 PM – 9:40 PM, WESTERN MONMOUTH HIGHER ED CTR, APPELS

SUMMER SESSION II

01:050:300 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES - COMIC LIFE, PART II - 3 credits
Course Description: (Comic Life is not a prerequisite for this course.) Why is comedy such an effective tool for avoiding stress and for understanding daily life? The course focuses on venues and events where laughter and comic eruption are the norm (comedy clubs, film, TV, entertainment parks, game playing, standup and sketch comedy, yogic laughter). As well, we ask why labor in America often precludes playful and comic language.
06/27/2016 - 08/05/2016, Section E6 / Index: 02511
MW 6:00 PM - 9:50 PM CAC SC 101, APPELS

Off-CAMPUS

01:050:301 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES – HISTORY AND CULTURE OF ASBURY PARK - 3 credits
Course Description: ASBURY PARK: Founded in 1871 by James A. Bradley, named after Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. Asbury Park was a favorite seashore destination in its early years and welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. A number of factors during the mid-twentieth century caused a dramatic decrease in tourism. By the late 1960s many urban centers experienced escalating racial tension; Asbury Park was no exception. The 1970 riots ushered in a prolonged period of economic decline. After several promising efforts, residents and tourists alike now can now witness Asbury's long-awaited resurgence. Once again playing host to record crowds, visitors are drawn to the vibrant music scene, something that has characterized the city almost from the start - from the sounds of John Philip Sousa and Arthur Pryor, jazz greats Billie Holliday and Count Basie to Springsteen and Bon Jovi. This course will feature guest speakers whose topics will include Asbury Park history; urban renewal; the Civil Rights era; Asbury's musical legacy and more.
05/31/2016 - 07/08/2016, Section D1 / Index: 04852 T 9:00 AM – 12:40 PM, CLASS MEETS AT G. HAROLD ANTIMELEM, SCHOOL, 401 NIBLICK ST. PT. PLEASANT BEACH – SOME MEETINGS ONLINE, ZEMLA

01:050:302 TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES - SOUND AND CULTURE OF THE BLUES - 3 credits
Course Description: Gil Scott Heron, in his poem “Bicentennial Blues,” wrote, “the blues has always been American, as American as apple pie...the question is why?” In an attempt to answer that question, this course will conduct an exploration of blues based music and film. We will explore the evolution of the blues as both a musical genre and as a cultural space where questions of race, gender, class, art, politics and more converge. The rise of the popularity of the blues as a musical style will be juxtaposed with key historical events and social movements. In addition to gaining perspective on the historical roots of the blues, we will also explore how the blues continues to resonate in popular culture today.
06/27/2016 - 07/22/2016, Section D1 / Index: 04853 W 9:00 AM – 12:40 PM, RU at SHORE - Some Meetings Online, MOOMJY

01:050:306 AMERICAN DETECTIVE IN FICTION AND FILM - 3 credits
Course Description: The detective, as a preeminent figure in all forms of American popular culture, has become the subject of a variety of theoretical exploration. By investigating that figure, this class will explore how the genre embodies all the contradictions of American society and the ways in which literature and the media attempt to handle those contradictions. Issues of class, gender, and race; the interaction of film and literature; and generic evolution are fundamental to any understanding of the American detective in all of his or her forms.
06/27/2016 - 07/22/2016, Section D6 / Index: 04854 T 6:00 PM – 9:40 PM, RU at SHORE - Some Meetings Online, MCELHINNEY

SUMMER SESSION III

01:050:304 THE AMERICAN CITY - 3 credits
Course Description: The American City takes an interdisciplinary approach to the history, culture, problems and future of the American urban environment by investigating specific icons of American urbanism including The World’s Fair of 1893, New York City Tenements, Levittown, Los Angeles, Rust Belt Cities and Atlantic City. The course will also trace the progression of urbanism in America by examining how urban areas are portrayed in literature, music, art, film and popular culture.
07/11/2016 - 08/17/2016, Section H6 / Index: 03353
T 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM CAC SC-221, FERGUSON

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