Course Offerings Spring 2019

Course 

Title 

Cr 

Time/Place 

Instructor 

101:01 

Introduction to American Studies  

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Employing literature, essays, the digital humanities, law, film, history, visual culture, philosophy, and politics, the class will examine the concept of “America” in its global, national, community, and bodily/psychic permutations. Students will engage with primary and secondary sources of all kinds dealing with history, literature, culture, law, race, gender and sexuality. The goal of the course is to expose students to intellectual and creative possibilities in the field of American Studies, as well as providing incoming majors with key concepts and analytical tools to prepare them for more advanced courses.  

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp 

MW 

5:35-6:55 

RAB 001 

(DC) 

Isaac 

102:01 

Introduction to Race and Ethnicity in America 

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 this 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. Through historical accounts, sociological studies, cultural geography, literature, visual culture, and discussion of current events, we will take a comparative approach to race and   ethnicity. We will also pay close to how racial and ethnic difference and conflicts shape neighborhoods, communities, public space, and property ownership. 

TTh 

2:15-3:35 

CDL 103 

(DC) 

Plasencia 

216:01 

America in the Arts 

This is a course that looks at what distinguishes the arts in  
America--at the special ways Americans communicate in music, painting, architecture, sculpture, movies, and literature--as a reflection of American ideas and values. One  
could argue that the arts are a universal language, but America has made unique contributions to the arts that illuminate the nature of our society and culture. For example, one might ask why it is that jazz, rock n' roll and rap have  
all been American creations, and what does this tell us about our people? We will look at the arts as a means of answering the question, "What's American about America? 

TTh 

2:15-3:35 

RAB 206 

(DC) 

Rockland 

225:01 

Thought and Society in the American Past 

Examination of the cultures 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.  

9:15-12:15P 

RAB 105 

(DC) 

Backes 

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 

240:01 

Latino Literature and Culture  

Read texts by Mexican American, Chicano and Hispanic Caribbean Diasporic writers from the 1960s until 2010. Begins with the PBS documentary “Latinos in America” and Juan Flores’s work. Then focuses on close-reading of a selection of well-known texts from the Chicano tradition and of Nuyorican, Dominican American and Cuban American texts. Topics addressed: border and hybrid identities, mestizaje, indigeneity,“la raza” and racialization, Spanglish and the limits of transculturation, the transformation of Latino gender and sexuality, and the subversion of internal colonialism in the creation of a new notion of American identity. We will also watch the following films: Selena (1997), Quinceañera (2006), Precious Knowledge (2012), Gun Hill Road(2013). Crosslisted with Africana Studies 01:595:240:01 Eligible for CCRES Minor Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo 

MW 

4:30-5:50P 

HH-A1 

CAC 

TBD 

246:01 

The 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. Cross-listed with Africana Studies 014:203:01       

Elgible for CCRES Minor 

MW 

5:00-6:20 

LSH A143 

(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 broad range of cultural legacies and commercial products. This course examines the historical, social, political, and aesthetic roots of hip hop culture and music. We will look at its beginnings in urban black and Latino communities; its technological and aesthetic innovations; performances of racialized, gender and sexual identities; its contributions to popular music and cultural expression; and its place in a larger global commercial exchange. In addition to analyzing hip hop music, the course will look at advertising, fashion, cinema, music video, and other cultural forms influenced by hip hop.  

MTh 

12:35-1:55P 

ARH 200 

(DC) 

Fleetwood 

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 

NOTE: Description is subject to change 

M  

6:10-9:00P 

FH-B1 

(CAC) 

Backes 

259:02 

Popular Culture 

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 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 

NOTE: Description is subject to change 

    3 

TTh 

2:15-3:35P 

HCK 114 

(DC) 

Miller 

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. 

5:35-6:55 

Th 

5:35-8:35P 

RAB 001 

(DC) 

Nigrin 

281:01 

Topics:  Asian American 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 

1:40-3:00 

Asian American Cultural 

Center 

(LIV) 

Eda 

282:02 

Topics: Asian American 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 

1:40-3:00 

Asian American Cultural 

Center 

(LIV) 

Lee 

283:01:MA 

Topics in American Studies:  Arts Adventure (3/31-5/5) 

 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 differing artistic forms. How do the aesthetic values of one art discipline (for example, painting) influence the creation of works in another artistic field (such as music or theatre)? We will examine how   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. 

Second 7 weeks of semester.  

1.5 

Sun 

8:25-11:40 

SC 105 

(CAC) 

Appels 

283:02:MB 

Topics in American Studies: Arts Adventure (3/31-5/5) 

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 differing artistic forms. How do the aesthetic values of one art discipline (for example, painting) influence the creation of works in another artistic field (such as music or theatre)? We will examine how   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. 

Second 7 weeks of semester.  

   

 1.5 

Sun 

12:00-3:15 

SC 105 

(CAC) 

Appels 

291:01 

Jerseyana: New Jersey as a Culture  

This course assumes that there is such a thing as New Jersey culture and that it differs from that of other American states in its ideas, values, and assumptions, its way of thinking of itself. Like any American Studies course Jerseyana is interdisciplinary, except that it focuses on life and society in one state rather than in the nation as a whole. Hence “Jerseyana” instead of “Americana.” The course tries to get at New Jersey’s essence through examining all that we can about the state, from its politics to its art to its point of view—which some would call “New Jersey attitude.” 2014 is the 350th anniversary of New Jersey and will be celebrated statewide. In a sense, our class is part of that celebration.  

MW 

2:15-3:35P 

RAB 105 

(DC) 

Murray 

300:01 

Topics:  History of LGBT through Film  

 Birrell and McDonald define “articulation” as a barometer of our culture and who we are as social beings.  The course interrogates the portrayal of sexually diverse communities and identities through films as a critical lens of personal and political power over human beings.  The class will discuss cultural perceptions that force LGBTQ persons to hide their authentic identities.  Mainstream films such as: “Some Like it Hot,” “The Celluloid Closet,” “Boys Don’t Cry”, “Paris is Burning,” “Broke Back Mountain,” “Trans America” and “Dallas Buyer’s Club” will be explored as well as independent films.  Besides “Chasing Amy,” bisexuality is virtually untreated in film criticism due to the disavowal of twin fascination and anxiety that bisexuality invokes.  This fluid approach to cinema eroticism deconstructs affectional preferences in the context of films that empower all members of our very complex and evolving American identity. 

TEXT FOR THE COURSE: San Filippo, Maria (2013). The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Paperback. 

Th 

6:10-9:00 

MU 212 

(CAC) 

Schuster 

303:01 

Decade in American Culture: 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.  

TTh

 2:15-3:35pm

 HCK 216

 

Moomjy

310:01  

Approaches: Native, Settlers, and Borderlands 

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 ways American culture has dealt with the “first” encounters between Native Americans and European colonists. By examining representations of early American borderlands in film, fiction, museums, material culture, and scholarship from a variety of fields, we will consider this topic from a variety of perspectives, and how these perspectives have (and have not) changed over time.  

    3 

10:55-1:55P 

RAB 018 

(DC) 

Cevasco 

310:02 

Approaches: Music  

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 American music derived from the blues (Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, Pop Music and more) We will explore the evolution musical genres in the 20th Century, and use music as a cultural space where questions of race, gender, class, art, politics and more converge. Using music, literature, and film we will juxtapose and examine key historical events and social movements. In addition to gaining perspective on the historical roots of the blues based music, we will also explore how the culture of the blues continues to resonate in popular culture today. 

3:55-6:55pm 

RAB 105 

(D/C) 

Moomjy 

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. 

TTh 

3:55-5:15 

RAB 206 

(D/C) 

Rockland 

316:01 

21ST Century Expression 

This course examines how digital technologies and social media influence our modes of interaction in the 21st Century. We will expand on the idea of expression by reconsidering the design of the internet and mobile devices according to Dieter Rams’ “10 Principles of Good Design.” We will examine the ways in which they shape individual identities and larger senses of belonging by using case studies in the areas of digital music curation, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, “clicktivism” (digital activism), community engagement, museum-going experiences, and others. Most importantly, students will put theory into practice by creating their own multimedia projects that utilize these ideas. 

    3 

9:15-12:15P 

RAB 018 

(D/C) 

Rzigalinski 

316:02 

21st Century Expression 

How has 21st Century technology transformed communication in “hookup” culture? Why is it so much harder to get a job, and find a lover, with expressive technology all around us? How is being alive in the 21st Century understood through the arts and through physically expressive culture (skateboarding, football, soccer, volleyball, swimming, jogging, biking, workout, yoga, clubbing, the KiKi Challenge, sprint interval training, etc.)? This course uses the arts to remember what is human, feeling, emotion, understanding, and expression. We visit plays, concerts, performances, stand-up comedy, museums, and galleries. All of the arts are available in this course in all of their resplendent colors and forms. Fulfills the SAS Core Curriculum requirement: Contemporary Challenges (CC) and Arts and Literatures (AHo)  

    

 3 

6:10-9:00P 

TBD 

(CAC) 

Appels 

324:01 

Wayward Americans 

Wayward Americans – or – Who’s Normal Anyway?  An examination of individuals and groups, those who might be categorized as “wayward” Americans, allows us to explore various normal/abnormal dichotomies within American culture. How do we determine who or what is normal? Do norms remain constant 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?  As we examine groups that have been described as different, weird, deviant, strange, abnormal, disobedient or unnatural, we will seek to understand the historical, sociological and psychological underpinnings of the cultural norms, from which these groups are/were excluded. 

7:15-10:05P 

RAB 110B 

(D/C) 

Zemla  

325:01 

Women on the Fringe 

Examines societal responses to female behavior deviating from prescribed norms of social and feminine behavior from the colonial period to the present through the use of historical narratives, literature, and film to treat such themes as heresy, madness, prostitution, adultery, criminality, juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction, political protest, and lesbianism. 

MTh 

10:55-12:15P 

RAB 018 

(D/C) 

Extra 

331:01 

Ethnic America: Native American Civil Rights Movement  

Characterized by clashes with government authorities at places like Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, and Washington, D.C., the Native American Civil Rights Movement was led by Native Americans to demand tribal self-determination and sovereignty, religious freedom, land rights, voting rights, and many other rights. The course will examine Native American political activism from the early 1900s to today, with an emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s. Through literature, film, and scholarly sources, students will analyze the contentious and controversial social, cultural, and political changes of the era and the legacies of the movement that continue to shape Indian Country and the United States today. 

MTh 

9:15-10:35A 

RAB 209A 

(D/C) 

Sweet 

342:01 

American Sexuality 

A historical survey of American sexualities and sexual cultures from the colonial era through the present, this course will focus on primary source documents and on classic texts that have helped to shape the emerging field of sexuality studies. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which politics, race, religion, ethnicity, age, region, and gender have influenced American sexual cultures and the efforts to regulate them. The course will employ an interdisciplinary approach to its subject, examining artifacts from visual culture such as cartoons, photographs, paintings, and film as well as printed sources. 

    3 

MTh 

10:55-12:15P 

RAB 207 

(D/C) 

Fleetwood 

350:01 

Fest Curation: Curatorial Seminar 

Curation is the process of arranging things to tell a story. In this course, students will conduct original research that will form the basis for the curation of a future New Jersey Folk Festival, an annual one-day public humanities event. This year’s curatorial seminar will plan for the 2020 Folk Festival, which will have the theme On the Move: Transportation in New Jersey. Half of each seminar session will be devoted to discussion of issues in folk festivals and folklore, curation, and transportation; the other half of each class will be devoted to research, fieldwork, and group work on the final curatorial project, which will be a formal report and presentation of recommendations for the curation of the festival. Students will not only learn the fundamentals of public humanities curation, but also practice other important professional skills, including writing and speaking to a variety of audiences, both academic and public. 

2:15-5:15P 

RAB 018 

(D/C) 

Cevasco 

376:01 

Native American Lit. in English: Native American Autobiography 

This course examines a range of autobiographical writing as literary texts that provide a window into Native American cultures, histories, and worldviews. Spanning oral histories of creation stories to autobiographical writing in the twenty-first century, this course will analyze the diversity of Native American autobiography and its evolving relationship to Native American culture and identity. Through autobiographical writings, students will engage with Native American philosophical, cultural, religious, and historical ideas. Students will learn to interpret autobiographical texts as modes of artistic and cultural production and gain a general understanding of the history of Native American autobiography. 

MTh 

12:35-1:55P 

RAB 105 

(D/C) 

Sweet 

377:01 

Asian-American Lit. in English 

Violence has the ability both to destroy but also to recreate identities and subjects, both to tear away from and to stake claims to nations and places. How and why is violence a recurring theme in Asian American literature? From the Philippine-American War (1898) and the Pacific wars against Japan (1941), Korea (1950s) to the Vietnam War (1960s) and the War on Terror (2001) in the past century, conflicts in Asia have affected treatment of Asians in the US from immigration bans and internment to dislocation and surveillance. The course will look at the literary representations, experiments to the narrative form, and reactions to different types of violence emerging from colonial, gender and race relations in Asian American novels and documentaries.  

MW 

2:50-4:10P 

SC 220 

(CAC) 

Isaac 

381:01 

Internship in American Studies  

BA 

BA 

BA 

450:01 

Seminar: Folk Festival Management   

Mondays 6:00 to 9:00 pm, RAB 018  

Professors Gillespie and Kennedy This course allows students to gain background and experience in planning, budgeting, and implementing a large festival. Course work includes event management, site selection, contracts, vendors, and negotiations; marketing and promotion; fieldwork; selection of participants; legal considerations; and staffing. Enrollment by permission only. 

6:00-9:00 

RAB 018 

(D/C) 

Gillespie/Kennedy 

489:01 

Seminar in American Studies 

N/A. 

 

12:35-3:35P 

RAB 105 

(D/C) 

Masur 

495:01 

Honors Senior Thesis 

     

496:01 

Honors in American Studies 

BA 

BA 

Backes 

 

OFF CAMPUS 

     

300:A1 

Topics: American Justice: What’s Race Got To Do With It? 

To be provided. 

4:20-5:40P 

RAB 105 

ACCC 

Furman 

301:A1 

Topics: American Horror and Mystery 

N/A. 

12:30-2:40P 

ACCC 

McElhinney 

301:80 

Topics: Food and Pleasure 

The desire for oral pleasure has become a mainstay of American culture, at least since the 1960s. Is this hunger for sensation encased ever satisfied? Which oral pleasures are nutritive? How can citizens distinguish between individual “true” pleasures and the daily offerings from the mass marketing of popular culture?  

Th 

3:00-5:40 

WM 

Appels 

302:80 

Topics: Invitation to Comic Theatre 

What is the relationship between laughter, comedy, wonder, theatre, and happiness? Often in this fast-paced, technological American society of the 21st century we forget to be content with the subtle humor hidden in our daily lives, both on stage and in the staged moments of our lives. Is it possible to laugh too much? (Unlikely.) We make and visit comedy in all its forms, on stage and off.  

Th 

6:00-8:40P 

WM 

Appels 

303:R1 

Decades: 1970s 

N/A.  

6:00-8:40P 

RVCC 

McElhinney 

316:MC 

21st Century Expression 

This course will explore new genres of writing and some popular updates of familiar genres, such as the memoir, the novel, and the short story. In particular, we will examine blogs, read a graphic novel, examine some outsider perspectives on 9-11 and subsequent events, and finish the semester with a unit on zombies in popular literature and film. There will be individual reports on YouTube videos and group discussions.  

6:00-8:40P 

MCC 

Moomjy