Course Offerings

Course Offerings Spring 2021

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.

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: AHo or AHp

3

Remote Instruction

Isaac

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

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: CCD

3

Remote Instruction

Auston

050:200:01

Topics: Native American New Jersey

Today, New Jersey is home to three tribal nations, and despite 400 years of colonialism, they maintain their rights as sovereign nations and still have vibrant cultures. Settlers forced most Native Americans out of New Jersey by 1801, resulting in a broad diaspora community in the U.S. and Canada. This course examines the long Native American history of the region, including the diaspora communities from New Jersey. Through an examination of their cultures, oral histories, literature, and languages, students will analyze the experiences of Native Americans in New Jersey and the region. Students will also study the present conditions of Indigenous people in New Jersey, such as their fight for environmental justice, federal recognition, the revitalization of their languages, and other political activism. 

3

T
2:15-5:15pm
Remote Instruction

Sweet

050:201:01

Topics: Art & Protest

3

M/H
11:30-12:50pm
Remote Instruction

Fleetwood

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

Remote Instruction

Gillespie

050:218:01

Visual Culture in the United States

3

Remote Instruction

Fleetwood

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

T
10:55-1:55pm
Remote Instruction

Masur

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, WCr

Eligible for CCRES Minor

Crosslisted with: 01:595:240:01

3

Remote Instruction

Zamora

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

Remote Instruction

Westbrook

050:250:01

CLT. PORT SPK COMM US

3

T/H

1:10-2:30pm
Remote Instruction

Da Silva

050:259:01

Popular Culture

This class explores the history and current dynamics of American popular culture. We will analyze and discuss a wide array of movies, music videos, songs, literature, and art 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 forms and productions that seem all too familiar but bear careful scrutiny. In addition the course will give special attention to the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as a critical juncture at which a new politics and aesthetics of popular culture emerged.

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: AHo AHp 

3

T/H

3:55-5:15pm

Remote Instruction

Backes

050:263:01

American Folklore

This course provides an introduction to American folklore as the lore, values, ideas, and world views of Americans found in folk or community life, folk speech, words, signs and symbols, tools and decorative objects, music and other expressive forms. We will study several specific forms in which American folklore appears including the appearance of strange animals and the widespread belief in conspiracy theories. We then attempt to relate these phenomena to the greater American society and culture.

SAS Core Curriculum Goals: AHo or AHp

3

Remote Instruction

Gillespie

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/H

5:35-6:55pm

H

7:15-8:35pm

Remote Instruction

Nigrin

050:282:01

Topics: Asian American 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.

3

F

1:40-3:00pm

Remote Instruction

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

Remote Instruction

Eda

050:283:MA

Topics: Arts Adventure (3/9 – 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

Remote Instruction

Appels

050:283:MB

Topics: Arts Adventure (3/9 – 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

Remote Instruction

Appels

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

Remote Instruction

Grier

050:310:01

Approaches: “The Invention of Modern Life”

This course explores core and enduring themes in the American imagination—progress, movement, innovation, power, etc.—by looking at the landscapes of modern life in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. From the so-called closing of the frontier and the popularity of world fairs and P.T. Barnum’s hoaxes to the emergence of amusement parks and the proliferation of slapstick comedy films by Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, we will consider how questions and concerns about rapidly changing ways of life in the United States were negotiated in the visual cultures of the period. Because studies of modern life draw on film studies, art history, anthropology, cultural studies, and literature, we will use that framework to build a foundation for understanding the interdisciplinary scope and methods of 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.

3

H

9:15-12:15pm

Remote Instruction

Williamson

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.

Core Curriculum Requirements: WCd

3

W

12:35-3:35pm

Remote Instruction

Decker

050:314:01

Tech Music Culture

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

Remote Instruction

Appels

050:316:01

21st Century Expression: On and Off the Net

Can you imagine life without the internet? In spite of the seeming ubiquity of the so called “internet of things,” over half the global population does not have reliable internet access. In other words, half of the world is “offline.” This course will examine the implications of this digital divide—especially in light of the current global pandemic. We’ll explore how the carryover of mass media from older forms migrates onto the internet and the emerging ways by which forms of expression, by both individuals and groups, form new communities and new identities. Finally, we’ll consider how human interaction with new forms of technology impacts the future. These issues are fundamental to understanding differences among various groups (classes, ethnicities, genders, religions, generations, and more) and how people navigate information literacy in the 21st Century. Students are expected to show proficiency in research, reading, and writing. For our purposes, writing will include not only traditional academic essays, but online forms of expression including videos, audio, and social media.

Core Curriculum Requirements: CCO and AHp

3

Remote Instruction

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/W

7:15-8:35pm

Remote Instruction

Zemla

050:333:01

Cultures of Consumption

This course surveys the cultural and social impact of markets, and how Americans have consumed goods and services both in the past and the present. We’ll examine, among other topics, the historic tensions and conflicts between societies defined by the production of goods and services and those organized around consumption; the relationship between consumer practices and the condition of laborers; the impact that consumption has on the environment and different ecologies; how consumerism has empowered, exploited, and governed ideas about race, gender, and sexuality; how consumption has changed with the development of the advertising industry and online shopping; and, the politics and economics of debt. This class will model an interdisciplinary approach to the study of consumption, and the cultural practices that has emerged around purchasing things.

This course qualifies for the Certificate in Curation and Cultural Programming. Additional information on the certificate can be found at:

https://amerstudies.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/certificates.

3

M

10:55-1:55pm

Remote Instruction

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.

Crosslisted with: 01:358:388:01

3

M/H

9:15-10:35am

Remote Instruction

Sweet

050:377:01

Asian American Literatures 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 (until 1965) and internment (1942) to dislocation (1970s) and surveillance (post-9/11). 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.

Crosslisted with: 01:358:389:01

3

M/H

9:50-11:10am

Remote Instruction

Isaac

050:380:01

Internships in American Studies

3

By Appointment

Urban

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. Enrollment by permission only. 

3

M

3:55-6:55pm

Remote Instruction

Kennedy

050:489:01

Seminar in American Studies

This seminar looks at the ways that people in the United States locate themselves in space. We will explore a range of questions relating to identity and experience. What does it mean to be from somewhere? How does one establish and maintain a sense of place? When and under what circumstances does that sense chance? We will also consider the physical spaces and places that American society has produced and in which American lives unfold. Topics in the class range from dialect humor to Las Vegas architecture, from the mythic West to cyberspace, from the European Grand Tour to the drive-through restaurant. Course texts include novels, films, and memoirs, as well as works of history, geography, and anthropology. The class incorporates a historical view, examining the interplay of localism, regionalism, and cosmopolitanism in American life as well as the changing face of the American landscape over two centuries, but ultimately our focus is on contemporary culture and the problems of space and place therein.

3

M

10:55-1:55pm

Remote Instruction

Backes

 

Off-Campus Courses

Course

Title

Cr

Time/Place

Instructor

050:300:90

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

Is justice blind? The course will focus on the impact of race on American justice.  We will explore the meaning of race in 20th century American culture and look at multiple legal and cultural matters and subjects such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Yick Wo, the Rhinelander case, passing, the Scottsboro Boys, Emmett Till, Brown v. Board of Education, the Central Park Jogger, O.J. Simpson, mass incarceration and death penalty cases, sentencing, police practices and the Constitution, Trayvon Marin, the chokehold controversy, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, "white privilege", stand your ground, the "post-racial society" and other related themes. The course will use a variety of readings, music, film, art and poetry.

3

T

3:00-5:40pm

Online

Furman

050:303:90

The Decade in the American Culture: 1980s

This class explores the culture and society of 1980s America, and takes popular culture as a special focus—looking at the period through mainstream movies, popular literature, as well as pop songs, music videos, and broad political movements. We also consider intellectual trends of the time as well and how those political, economic, and cultural trends influence and impact American society today.

3

W

6:00-8:40pm

ACCC/Online

Moomjy

050:303:91

The Decade in the American Culture: 1960s

An exploration, historical overview, and synthesis of American culture and politics during the years 1960-1969 with a focus on the explicit and implicit meanings of representative cinema, TV, groundbreaking music, letters, and culture.

In the sixth decade 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 1970. In these violent years, the Vietnam War raged; JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcom X were victims of political violence and Nixon was reelected. Sexual politics remade themselves. There were hippies and yippies. Women's rights expanded with the pill. 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. 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 and Easy Rider, . 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

ACCC/Online

McElhinney

050:306:90

American Detective Fiction and Film

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.

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

 

American Folklore Gillespie Decades 1980s Moomjy LETTER
Native American Literature in English Sweet LETTER