Course Offerings Spring 2020

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 permutations. 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.

3

M/W

5:35-6:55pm

FS AUD

DC

Backes

050:102:01

Introduction to Race/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

T/H

2:15-3:35pm

CDL 103

DC

Chan-Malik

050:203:01

The American West

Examines the historical development of the US and its westward expansion and its impact on contemporary American culture. Analyzes myths, legends and the historical realities of the American West, symbols and themes, as well as Western portrayal in film and television. Includes a new unit on the crisis at the Southwestern border.

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: AHp

3

M/W

2:15-3:35pm

RAB 206

DC

Gillespie

050:223:01

Learning from the Past

Early Americans faced many of the same challenges as we do in the 21st century: climate change, income inequality, rapidly changing technology, and more. This course will explore how early Americans confronted the problems of their times, and what we can learn from their successes and failures. Students will produce a portfolio of opinion essays aimed at a public audience, comparing past and present. 

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: CC/HST, a, l, k

3

W

2:15-5:15pm

RAB 105

DC

Cevasco

050:225:01

Thought and Society in the American Past

This course examines key American events, debates, and cultural developments during the long nineteenth century, from the Revolutionary era to the eve of World War I. Analyzing a variety of historical, visual, literary, and cultural texts from the era – as well as scholarly secondary sources - we’ll explore topics such as revivalism, transcendentalism, populism, progressivism, and pragmatism, among others, through the lens of race, gender, class, and ethnicity.

3

M

10:55-1:55pm

RAB 105

DC

Urban

050:228:01

The Contemporary American

3

M/H

10:55-12:15pm

HSB 106

DC

TBA

050:240:01

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).

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: AHo

Eligible for CCRES Minor

Crosslisted with: 01:595:240:01

3

T/H

5:00-6:20pm

TIL 207

LIV

Duchesne-Sotoma

050:246:01

The Black Experience in America

Offers an inter-disciplinary examination of the Black experience in the US focusing of the themes of acculturation, alienation, oppression and   resistance. While the course 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 a brief look of   the position of Africa and the fledgling United States in the emerging   international economic order of 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. Attempts by African-Americans to gain socio-cultural equality and political and economic rights in the aftermath of the slave experience.

Eligible for CCRES Minor

3

M/W

5:00-6:20pm

LSH A143

LIV

Westbrook

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

T

10:55-1:55pm

RAB 207

DC

Backes

050:259:02

Popular Culture

Popular Culture explores the emergence of a democratic mass culture that challenged and subverted the norms of elite culture, ranging from Edgar Allan Poe and the rage for hoaxing through the fads and fashions that accompanied the rise of youth culture in the Twenties to the cult of Elvis Presley in the Fifties and the burgeoning countercultures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and the mass market adaptations of the once subversive for commercial profit and fame.

Satisfies Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp 

3

M/W

2:15-3:35pm

RAB 110B

DC

Fishbein

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

T

5:35-6:55pm

RAB 001

DC

H

5:35-8:35pm

RAB 001

DC

Nigrin

050:282:01

Topics: Asian American Studies

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.

3

F

1:40-3:00pm

AAC 202

LIV

Lee

050:282:02

Topics: Asian American Identities and Images LLC

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.

3

F

1:40-3:00pm

AAC 207

LIV

Eda

050:283:MA

Topics: Arts Adventure (3/29 – 5/3)

Visits to museums, galleries, and arts centers in New Jersey (New Brunswick, Princeton, etc.) 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 social 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.

3

Su

8:25-11:40am

SC 105

CAC

Appels

050:283:MB

Topics: Arts Adventure (3/29 – 5/3)

Visits to museums, galleries, and arts centers in New Jersey (New Brunswick, Princeton, etc.) 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 social 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.

3

Su

12:00-3:15pm

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.

3

M/W

4:30-5:50pm

VD 211

CAC

Masur

050:300:02

Topics: History of LGBT Through Film

The portrayal of the LGBTQAI community since Stonewall, 50 years ago has improved and sexually diverse movies have increased to the point that it is hard to cover them all in one semester.  Birrell and McDonald define “articulation” as a barometer of who matters as social beings. This course interrogates herstory through film as a critical lens of personal and political power over other human beings. The class will discuss cultural perceptions that originally forced LGBTQ persons to hide their authentic selves and who they loved.  Even "Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The Favourite” (both 2018) were problematic in their avoidance and treatment of the twin fascination and anxiety that bisexuality invokes. Mainstream films such as: “Some Like it Hot,” “The Celluloid Closet,” “Paris is Burning,” “TransAmerica,” “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” and “Moonlight” will be explored as well as independent films such as “Brother Outsider."  This fluid and critical deconstruction of cinematic eroticism aims to empower and value all communities in our very complex and evolving American identities and culture. 

Crosslisted with: 988:396:02

3

H

6:10-9:00pm

AB 1170

CAC

Schuster

050:301:01

Topics: American Animation

This course explores how American animated films by everyone from Winsor McCay in the early 1900s to Walt Disney and Tim Burton have shaped and been shaped by American culture. Deeply concerned with the labor and vision of individual artists, American animation reflects essential questions about the medium’s potential as an art of movement and transformation, an art of time, and an art of dreams, all of which are wrapped up in broader discourses on American ideals and ways of life. Our goal for the semester is to understand how animators have grappled with these questions using innovative formal and stylistic techniques that bring inanimate materials – drawings, puppets, and other objects – to life. To do this we will examine the many contexts that have shaped a wide range of films, from early hand-drawn animations and experimental films, to visual music films, realist animations, and contemporary computer animations. In the process, we will consider how American animated films intersect with the politics of race, class, and gender, as well as with other arts and media, including dance, painting, and comics.

Crosslisted with: 175:377:01

3

M/H

10:55-12:15pm

HCK 211

DC

M

5:35-8:35pm

RAB 001

DC

Williamson

050:301:02

Topics: Remembering Emmett Till

The events that took place in rural Mississippi in 1955 – the brutal lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till and the subsequent trial and acquittal of two defendants – shocked the nation and served as a catalyst for the demand for and pursuit of civil rights in the decades to follow. The story of Emmett Till will be central to this course as we explore ideas of race, equality, human rights and citizenship in the United States. It continues to resonate with the American public and in fact has gained increased attention in recent years, as evidenced by the reopening of the murder investigation by the Department of Justice in 2018; the creation of the Emmett Till Memory Project; and the unveiling of the Emmett Till exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.

3

W
7:15-10:05am

RAB 018

DC

Zemla

050:302:01

Topics: Law & Society

This course will be an examination of the relationship between the law and society, focusing primarily on the United States. 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

M/W

3:55-5:15pm

RAB 105

DC

Decker

050:302:02

Director 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.

3

W

5:00-8:00pm

LSH B110

LIV

Grier

050:310:01

Approaches:

3

H

2:15-5:15pm

RAB 018

DC

Fleetwood

050:310:02

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.

3

T

12:35-3:35pm

HCK 206

DC

Decker

050:314:01

Technology and Culture in America

Cultural responses to the growth and elaboration of American technology as reflected in literature, art, and popular culture. We will look at new art forms that have been created through new technologies, as well as the ways that traditional art disciplines (theatre, music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) have been shaped by differing forms of technology in distinct centuries and cultures. How is personal expression enhanced (or limited) with varying forms of technology?

3

M

6:10-9:00pm

SC 104

CAC

Appels

050:316:01

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.

Core Curriculum Requirements: CC and AHo

3

T

5:35-8:35pm

RAB 018

DC

Moomjy

050:324:01

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.

3

M

7:15-10:05pm

RAB 110B

DC

Zemla

050:331:01

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.

3

M/H

9:15-10:35am

RAB 209A

DC

Sweet

050:342:01

American Sexuality

This course explores specific moments (from the late-19th century to the present) in American cultures to understand and analyze evolving conceptualizations of gender and sexuality. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which narratives of sexuality become dominant in the cultural imaginary. How do these stories of gender and sexuality get framed, and circulate as “normal”? How are heteronormative ideals disrupted? Some of the issues we will discuss include: marriage, sex and the culture wars, feminism, masculinities, race and ethnicity, AIDS, pornography, among other topics. Examination of literature, film, television, advice manuals, reports on sexual behavior (Kinsey), music videos, and other cultural artifacts. Theoretical works by Freud, Foucault, and others will be read alongside primary works.

3

M/W

1:10-2:30pm

SC 201

CAC

Sifuentes-Jauregui

050:355:01

Museums, Monuments, and American Culture

This course examines the role that museums and monuments, as well as historic sites and other public places of commemoration, have in American culture. It will focus on how acts of memorialization produce collective memories, and the politics that surround how the past is remembered. At a moment when Americans debate whether monuments to slaveowners and Confederate generals should remain standing, how public institutions can be made more inclusive to different groups and histories, and what roles museums should have in the twenty first century, so too will the course wrestle with these pressing contemporary concerns. In addition, we will also explore the complicated dynamics between education and entertainment; celebration and criticism; and vernacular and official forms of commemoration.

3

W

10:55-1:55pm

RAB 105

DC

Urban

050:376:01

Native American Lit. in English

This course examines a range of literature and 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 literature and its evolving relationship to Native American culture and identity. Students will engage with Native American philosophical, cultural, religious, and historical ideas. Students will learn to interpret texts as modes of artistic and cultural production and gain a general understanding of the history of Native American literature.

3

M/H

12:35-1:55pm

RAB 018

DC

Sweet

050:381:01

Internship in American Studies

3

By Appointment

 

050:450:01

Seminar in Folk Festival Management

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.

3

M/W

5:35-6:55pm

RAB 018

DC

Kennedy

050:489:01

Seminar in American Studies

3

H

10:55-1:55pm

RAB 105

DC

Chan-Malik

050:491:01

Honors in American Studies

3

By Appointment

 

Off-Site Courses

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

050:300:80

Topics: Immigration and Refugee Policy: A Study in American Law and Culture from 1900 to the Present Era

3

T

4:20-5:40pm

ACCC

Furman

050:301:80

Topics: Fantasy, Illustration and Science Fiction

The imaginary often becomes the reality of tomorrow.  Thinking something is the first step to realizing something.  In examining the non-realistic, that which is actual is revealed.  Speculative fictions often cloak provocative contemporary allegories.  Speaking of the future or the fantastical can acutely pinpoint contemporary anxieties and fears.  The study of fantasy reflects the desire of its authors and the needs of its consumers.  This class looks at popular and iconic American Fantasy, Animation and Sci-Fi from late 19th to the 21st century seeking to understand how futures-past helped shape our world today, while also looking forward to what the future may hold for humanity.

3

W

3:00-5:40pm

ACCC

McElhinney

050:302:80

Topics: Pursuit of Happiness

3

H

3:00-5:40pm

BCC-L

Appels

050:310:80

Approaches: Art, Music, Sports

3

H

6:00-8:40pm

BCC-L

Appels

050:314:80

Technology & Culture: Music and Technology

3

T

6:00-8:40pm

MCCC

Moomjy

 

Online Courses

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

050:300:90

Topics: Race, Ethnicity, Economics, and Crime

Crime Fiction and Film flourished in the 20th Century.  The genre birthed great masterpieces, haunting memoirs, the urban experience novel, and what is commonly (and now fashionably) known as “Pimp Lit.”  These crime narratives have influenced, provoked and inspired subsequent generations and reached beyond the world of books into cinema, TV, popular music, and society-at-large.  While offering the action and thrills demanded of the crime genre, these texts also importantly give first-hand ethnographic ‘ground-zero’ accounts of lifestyles and communities extra to the mainstream.  What is the intersection of crime, poverty, lack of education, and drugs? What are the responsibility and burdens of first responders? Is our legal system just? How is prison reform possible? What are values of public education? This class will explore and celebrate Crime Fiction and Film while also examining historical legal cases, decisions and transcript that present a historical narrative parallel to the fictional development of the genre. Together, the class will seek to understand what these works says about identity, economy, politics, gender and race relations within the United States of America.

3

Online

McElhinney

050:301:90

Topics: Rebels, Outlaws, and Iconoclasts

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. We will explore “Rebels, Outlaws and Iconoclasts” and their actions committed by Americans as both the consequence of different forms of exclusion, and as conscious resistance against the dominant order. Through an engagement with scholarly texts, legal cases, novels, film, advertising, art, and music, we will explore how definitions of what defines and constitutes "Rebels, Outlaws and Iconoclasts" and how this changes over time. In addition, we will analyze how outsider statuses have informed the construction of racial, sexual, gendered, classed, and religious identities. Finally, we will grapple with the converse of Rebels, Outlaws and Iconoclasts: obedience and normalcy. What has it meant, historically and in the present, to fulfill expectations and conform to “normal” social behavior? Is anyone every truly normal? And what, exactly, does it mean to be an “American” anyway?

3

Online

McElhinney

050:302:90

Topics: Culture and Counter-Culture 1960-1980

In the sixth and seventh decades of the 20th century the United States of America swung a pendulum between conservative, experimental, liberal, to conservative again. This course looks at American culture—from the birth of the 1960s and the election of John F Kennedy to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. In these violent years, the Vietnam War raged; JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcom X were victims of political violence and Nixon resigned the presidency because of the Watergate scandal.  Sexual politics remade themselves. There were hippies and yippies.  Women's rights expanded with the pill and Roe v. Wade. The Stonewall uprising launched the Queer rights movement and the Civil Rights movement's civil disobedience gave way to the militarism of The Black Panthers. Philosophy, cinema, art, theater and music flourished. We will study cultural game-changers such as artists like Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Judy Chicago. Musicians like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Velvet Underground, Johnny Cash, The Stooges, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Ramones. Famous theater like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Dutchman, Cabaret, Hair, Follies, That Championship Season. And we will study classic movies like Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, Pink Flamingos, The Godfather, Paper Moon, The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre, Mandingo, Rocky, Apocalypse Now and Star Wars. Come join this exciting excursion back in time—you'll get perspective on pivotal American history and gain new perspectives about how and why the USA arrived at our current cultural moment in the 21st century.

3

Online

McElhinney