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Course Offerings Spring 2018

 

COURSE OFFERINGS

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

050:101:01

Introduction to American Studies

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 permutation. We will explore 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.

SAS Core Goals: AHo and AHp

 

3

MW

5:35-6:55P

RAB 001

DC

Urban

050:102:01

Introduction to Race and Ethnicity
How do we approach issues of race, ethnicity, and skin color in the 21st-century United States? We live in arguably the most diverse and multicultural time in the nation’s history; and yet, these terms remain contentious, and even “fighting words” in public and private arenas, largely because systemic inequality and quotidian forms of discrimination continue to shape lived experience. This course examines social and political forces, both historical and contemporary, that have brought about racial and ethnic “diversity” and “difference” in the U.S. focusing on the mid-20th century through the contemporary era, and we will engage case studies from the Civil Rights era through the age of Obama and the War on Terror.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

MTh

12:35-1:55P

RAB 206

DC

Fleetwood

050:225:01

Thought and Society in the American Past

Examination of the culture and society of the long nineteenth century from the Revolutionary era to the eve of World War I: revivalism, transcendentalism, populism, progressivism, and pragmatism, among others, through the lens of race, gender, class, and ethnicity.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

T

9:15-12:15P

RAB 105

DC

Masur

050:228:01

The Contemporary American

The War on Terror, also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) is a term applied to an international military campaign starting after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. This resulted in an international military campaign to eliminate Al-Qaeda and other militant organizations, such as ISIS. We will focus on two theaters of operations – Central Asia and the Middle East. 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.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

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

3

MTh

10:55-12:15P

HSB 106

DC

Gillespie

050:246:01

The Black Experience in America

Offers an inter-disciplinary examination of the Black experience in the US focusing on the themes of acculturation, alienation, oppression, and resistance. Surveys the Black experience from slavery to the present; the subject matter is not approached in a simple chronological manner. Issues and individuals discussed in the context of the struggle of African-Americans for political rights, economic justice, and cultural accommodation. Begins with the 15th and 16th centuries and how the enslavement of Africans related to economic and political processes of this era. Proceeds to examine the institutionalization of slavery in the United States and the subsequent struggles for emancipation. Cross Listed with 01:014:203:01
Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

MW

5:00-6:20P

LSH A143

LIV

Ramsamy

050:250:01

Cultures of the Portuguese-Speaking Community

Discussion of socio-cultural issues concerning the diverse Portuguese-speaking communities of the U.S. 

 

3

TTh

5:35-6:55P

TBA

DC

Serra

050:259:01

Popular Culture

Explores major themes and problems in American popular culture. 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 question: 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?

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp

3

M

6:10-9:00P

FH-B1

CAC

Appels

050:267:01

American Film Directors
A course focusing on the films of Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, John Frankenheimer, David Lynch, Val Lewton, Andy Warhol, and others. In-depth analyses of the structure and content of films which include: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moonrise Kingdom, Cat People, The Magnificent Ambersons, Mulholland Drive, and others. Emphasis on the “mise-en-scene,” narrative form, set design, sound, and special effects in the films of these celebrated filmmakers. Warning: some films may contain nudity, sexual situations, violence, profanity, substance abuse, and disturbing images.

3

TTh

5:35-6:55P

RAB 001

DC

Nigrin

050:281:01

Asian American Learning Community

Explore and learn about the diverse array of peoples of Asia decent in the Americas, including West, South, Southeast, and East Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Examine, reflect upon, and discuss representations of Asian Americans in literature, history, politics, film, scholarship, current events, and popular culture.

1.5

F

1:40-3:00P

AACC

LIV

Isaac

050:283:MA

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.

1.5

Sun

8:25-9:20P

SC 105

CAC

Appels

050:283: MB

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.

 

1.5

Sun

12:00-3:15P

SC 105

CAC

Appels

050:300:01

Topics: Civil War and Reconstruction
In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, in their novel The Gilded Age, provided an epitaph for the era that we shall probe in depth this semester. They maintained that the Civil War and its immediate aftermath “uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations.” We will examine the coming of the war, the four years of conflict that forever transformed the United States, and the struggle to reconstruct the nation in the decade following Appomattox. Our focus will be primarily on the political, social, and cultural history of the era, though we will also address significant issues in military history.

Cross-listed with 01:512:303

3

MW

2:50-4:10P

VD 211

CAC

Masur

050:301:W1

Topics: Asian Migration

Traces the modern history and contemporary cultures of Asian migration, from approximately 1850 to the present. It explores how global historical trends, including overseas exploration, colonialism, capitalism, nation-building, and war have shaped patterns of Asian migration. Over the course of the semester we will get to know a Chinese maritime explorer, a Bengali sailor who jumped ship in New York, an Indian woman who traveled, while pregnant, to work as an indentured laborer in Guiana, and a Chinese immigrant in New York who was accused of killing his Jewish lover. A series of “primary-source labs” will guide students through the use of different types of historical sources, including autobiographies, legal sources, maps, newspapers, and oral interviews.

Cross-listed with 01:508:338

3

MTh

11:30-12:50P

CA A3

CAC

Stephens

050:302:01

Topics: Law & Society

Examines the relationship between the law and society, focusing primarily on the U.S. Topics will include: The structure and purpose of legal institutions; how the law reflects other social institutions; the legitimacy and limits of the law; law and social inequalities; and how the law interacts with the diversity of social life, such as the family, the natural world, and markets for goods and services. In the interest of understanding the law as a social institution, readings will not focus on case law so much as sociological studies, history, religious and philosophical texts, institutional political science, social theory, and narrative journalism.

Cross-listed with 01:790:340

3

TTh

5:35-6:55P

ARH 200

DC

Decker

050:303:01

Decades: 1980s
This class explores the culture and society of 1980s America. We examine the decade’s pervasive concern with surfaces and ultimately seek to reveal the deeper questions, commitments, and changes that marked the period and continue to define the world we live in today. The class takes popular culture as a special focus and looks at the period through mainstream movies, popular literature, and best-selling non-fiction, as well as pop songs, music videos, and popular political movements. We also consider broad intellectual trends of the time as well as the political and economic context in which the culture of the decade unfolded.

3

TTh

2:15-3:35P

HCK 216

DC

Backes

050:310:01

Approaches: Messing with Nature
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary history, practice, and research methods that comprise American Studies. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the central approaches to the field, and to encourage students to explore and apply these approaches in their own work; every student should leave this class feeling prepared for more-advanced work. To demonstrate how diverse approaches can help tackle a specific issue, the course will focus primarily (though not exclusively) on the relationship between American society and the natural world. We will “mess around” with the concept of nature from a variety of perspectives. We will also think about the categories of “natural” and “unnatural” and the consequences—intended or otherwise—of defying them. Assignments include memoir, fiction, art criticism, history, and narrative film.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: WCD

3

T

10:55-1:55P

RAB 018

DC

Decker

050:310:02

Approaches: Generations
Introduces students to the research methods and intellectual strategies that characterize the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the central approaches to the field and to effectively practice American Studies together as a group. To this end the class focuses on the broad theme of generation conflict in American culture and the many scholarly approaches that may be used to explore this topic.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: WCD

3

M

3:55-6:55P

RAB 105

DC

Backes

050:312:01

Sports in American Culture
What do sports in America tell us about our people? For example, why is soccer the number one game worldwide except in our country? What does it tell us about ourselves that we are the only country in the world where universities compete in sports? Why has the Super Bowl become the most observed (in terms of numbers) American “holiday” while it is, of course, not a holiday at all? What about issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation in American sports? The course will court controversy as a means of illuminating the American character. There will be a good number of guests from the world of sports, especially Rutgers’ own coaches.

3

Th

6:10-9:00P

MU 212

CAC

Schuster

050:314:01

Technology and Culture
In spite of ever increasing expanses in technology, roughly half the global population does not have Internet access. This course will examine the cultural implications of this digital divide using a combination of analog and digital sources – music, films, novels, and the Internet itself.

3

TTh

12:35-1:55P

RAB 207

DC

Moomjy

050:324:01

Wayward Americans

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

M

7:15-10:05A

RAB 110B

DC

Zemla

050:331:01

Ethnic America: Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American Lit & Culture

In the past decade, literary critics and scholars have noted the emergence of “9/11 literature” and “Post-9/11 literature” as markers of “two discrete stages in the process by which we collectively revised out expectations about the world after the terrorist attacks” (A.J. Aronstein). Perhaps the most significant “Post-9/11” revision was—and continues to be— the emergence of collective experiences amongst South Asians, Arabs, and Muslims in the United States, due to the racist and orientalist logics of the War on Terror and its ongoing consequences. This course explores the literary and cultural expressions of these collective experiences of identity formation, state violence, and community response and resistance, while also investigating the distinctive and complex historical contexts that shape contemporary South Asian, Arab, and Muslim literature in the United States.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

MTh

9:15-10:35

RAB 110B

DC

Chan-Malik

050:340:01

Race Matters: Borderlands, Settlers & Native Americans

From its origins in the collision of European, Native American, and African peoples, the United States has been a series of borderlands, a nation of many different peoples struggling to live together. Borderlands are sites of contact and exchange between people of different cultures and races. Borderlands can produce violence, but also create new identities that refuse to stay within borders. Examining borderlands throughout American history, this course will cover topics including empire, violence, law, the environment, gender, sexuality, and race. As inhabitants of an increasingly connected world, one large borderlands space, citizens of the twenty-first century have much to learn from those who navigated borderlands in the past.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

 

3

TTh

3:55-5:15P

RAB 018

DC

Cevasco

050:341:01

American Childhoods
American Childhoods examines the evolution of concepts of childhood and adolescence and of child-rearing practices from the colonial era through the present via an analysis of social history, religious tracts, novels, poetry, film, and child care manuals. We will study such issues as child discipline; the impact of religion on child-rearing practices; homelessness; the effects of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality on childhood development; and the cultural significance of toys.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

MW

2:15-3:35P

RAB 018

DC

Fishbein

050:377:01

Asian American Literature in Literature and Film: Coming of Age Across Eras and Identities

Drawing on film and literature, this course will engage students with Asian American experiences through the frame of “coming of age.” Using a mixture of novels, short stories, essays and films, we will explore how Asians as populations and communities “came of age” in the U. S. throughout several historical eras in the twentieth century. We will also examine how multiple Asian American identities were/are creatively expressed in “coming of age” narratives on the page and on the screen.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

 

3

MTh

9:50-11:10A

CA A4

CAC

Alves

050:450:01

Seminar in Folk Festival Management
Focus on the theoretical study of folk cultures while developing skills in planning, fieldwork, administration, funding, staffing, publicity, and production of the New Jersey Folk Festival at Rutgers.

3

M

6:00-9:00P

RAB 018

DC

Gillespie

050:489:01

Seminar in American Studies

3

Th

2:15-5:15P

RAB 105

DC

Fleetwood

050:496:01

Honors in American Studies

3

TBA

Backes

 

Offsite Campuses: Atlantic Cape, Mercer, Raritan Valley, Western Monmouth

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

050:300: W1

Sex, STIs, and Your Daily Life

What is contemporary sex, in New Jersey, in NYC, and in the world?  This seminar will also ask how STIs have transformed the nature of daily interactions, and the relationship we have to our own flesh, and those close to us.  What is safe sex in practice?  How is HIV understood in 2018?  What constitutes an STI, whether from the vantage of epidemiology on the one hand, poetry on the other, and everything in between.  What is sexual health and expression from one culture to another?  How does hookup culture work, and not work?  How do therapeutic and psychological models affect sexual expression and sexual understanding? Field outings whenever possible to arts events and nature sites.

 

3

Th

3:00-5:40P

WM

Appels

050:325: A1

Women on the Fringe

From the colonial period to the present day, women’s appearances, thoughts, and actions have been prescribed by a largely patriarchal society. Moreover, society at large dictates the borders and peripheries of “acceptable” vs. “unacceptable” behavior, and of “sanity” vs. “madness”, according to constructed gender binaries. This course explores the tensions revealed by women who have ignored, subverted, and openly protested cultural and political norms in America.

 

3

Th

4:20-5:40P

ACCC

McElhinney

050:303: A1

Decades: 1980s

This course is a study of the history, literature, and popular culture a single decade in American life: the 1980s. Topics include the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, urban decline and renewal, deindustrialization, the AIDS crisis, the war on drugs, evangelical Christianity, the Wall Street boom, a changing workforce, the ‘Brat Pack’, RAP music, cyberpunks, and the new American family.  Course materials will be drawn from history, sociology, law, fiction, poetry, essays, TV and films.  By the end of the course, students will have developed a basic knowledge of the public events, artistic achievements, and cultural life of the Americas in the 1980s.

 

3

Th

3:00-4:20P

ACCC

McElhinney

050:303: R1

Decades: 1990s

This course is a study of the history, literature, and popular culture a single decade in American life: the 1990s. Topics include the presidency of George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, the middle east, urban decline and renewal, deindustrialization, LGBTQ rights, the second generation of the AIDS crisis, the war on drugs, evangelical Christianity, the Wall Street boom, a changing workforce, RAP music, "white trash" culture, cyberpunks, and the new American family.  Public figures explored include Spike Lee, Bikini Kill, Nirvana, Vanilla Ice, David Lynch, Mike Meyers, Rose Troche, Kevin Smith, OJ Simpson, the Cohen Brothers, Hillary Clinton, Quentin Tarantino, N.W.A. and Donald Trump.  Course materials will be drawn from history, sociology, law, fiction, poetry, essays, TV and films.  By the end of the course, students will have developed a basic knowledge of the public events, artistic achievements, and cultural life of the Americas in the 1990s.

 

3

T

4:20-5:40P

RVCC

McElhinney

050:310: R1

Approaches to American Studies

This course examines the expectations that Americans have placed on political, social, cultural, and economic behavior, and how the violation of established norms in these different arenas has led to ostracization, conflict, and repression. What, exactly, does it mean to be an “American” anyway?  This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary history, practice, and research methods that comprise American Studies. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the central approaches to the field, and to encourage students to explore and apply these approaches in their own work. This course looks at how American Studies’ interdisciplinary method engages with other disciplines and fields, such as history, literary theory, anthropology, media studies, sociology, ethnic studies, and gender studies, among others. To make these investigations, we will focus on American media and culture, including literary, visual, performative, and digital productions.

 

3

T

6:00-7:20P

RVCC

McElhinney

050:317: A1

Law & American Culture

This course focuses on immigration policy/law within American culture from the late 19th century to the present.  Topics include but are not limited to Chinese exclusion, quotas, determinations as to who can be a citizen, nativism and anti-immigration sentiment, expansion of immigration after 1965, deportation.  H-1B visas and green cards, immigration fraud, border walls and policing, undocumented immigrants and INS/ State policies, sanctuary cities, refugee/asylum policy through the 20th century, bilingualism and multiculturalism, impact upon unemployment, post 9/11 immigration and refugee debate and who we are as Americans.

 

3

T

3:00-5:40P

ACCC

Furman

050:324: M1

Wayward Americans

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

W

6:00-8:40

MC

Moomjy

 

 

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