Course Offerings

Course Offerings Spring 2023



Spring 2023: Introduction to American Studies Section: 01 (Index: 03434)

Professor: ALMIRON

Credits: 3.00

T 0200 PM - 0320 RAB 206 D/C Lec

H 0200 PM - 0320 RAB 206 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Introduction to Race and Ethnicity in America Section: 01 (Index: 03435)

Professor: AUSTON, DONNA

Credits: 3.00

M 0730 PM - 0850 FNH 101 D/C Lec

W 0730 PM - 0850 FNH 101 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Thought and Society in the American Past Section: 01 (Index: 03436)

Professor: MASUR, LOUIS

Credits: 3.00

In this course, we will read and unpack primary sources—letters, essays, poems, short stories, and novels as well as images, music, and film —and survey some of the critical ideas that shaped American culture from the era of the American Revolution to the Civil Rights movement. Topics include revolutionary thought, slavery and race, social reform, westward expansion, immigration, women’s rights, and the contested meanings of the American experience. Substantial weekly reading is required.

H 1020 AM - 0120 RAB 105 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: The Contemporary American: Strange Phenomena Section: 01 (Index: 03437)

Professor: GILLESPIE

Credits: 3.00

In contemporary America, we find a trend toward fascination with strange phenomena.  The evidence seems to be everywhere and is easy to find in social media, television, books, and journals.  In this course, we deal with truth, knowledge, and belief with reference to the unusual.  Topics include apparitions, time travel, mind control, miracles, prophecy, apocalyptic cults, magic, angels, pilgrimage, vampires, monsters, UFOs, zombies, and possession states. Many of these beliefs and practices fall outside the normal scope of religion and science.  We deal with things that are difficult to explain.  How do we balance belief with skepticism?  How do we prove things beyond a doubt?

M 1210 PM - 0130 RAB 204 D/C Lec

H 1210 PM - 0130 RAB 204 D/C Lec



Cross Listings: 01:098:262:01 (03439)

Spring 2023: Asian American Experience Section: 01 (Index: 03438)


Credits: 3.00


Through a variety of genres and textual forms, including history, literature, film, digital media, and popular culture, we will interrogate the fluid identity categories, as well as the dynamic experiences, cultures, and politics of “Asian American”/ “Asian Pacific American”/ “Asian Pacific Islander American” communities in the United States.

T 0350 PM - 0510 FH B4 CAC Lec

H 0350 PM - 0510 FH B4 CAC Lec



Cross Listings: 01:014:203:01 (03399)

Spring 2023: The Black Experience in America Section: 01 (Index: 03400)

Professor: WESTBROOK

Credits: 3.00


M 0540 PM - 0700 LSH AUD LIV Lec

W 0540 PM - 0700 LSH AUD LIV Lec



Cross Listings: 01:512:253:01 (03441)

Spring 2023: Asian American History Section: 01 (Index: 03440)

Professor: BAE, MINJU

Credits: 3.00


M 0540 PM - 0700 HH B6 CAC Lec

W 0540 PM - 0700 HH B6 CAC Lec



Spring 2023: American Folklore Section: 01 (Index: 03442)

Professor: GILLESPIE

Credits: 3.00

In this course we are interested in describing and understanding living people and their traditions. Every item of folklore (a story, song, custom, or material culture) exists in variants: As it passes from person to person, from generation to generation, from place to place, folklore adapts to new contexts. Because folklore is common, widespread, and long lived, it is the key to understanding who we are.

M 1020 AM - 1140 ARH 100 D/C Lec

H 1020 AM - 1140 ARH 100 D/C Lec



Cross Listings: 01:175:266:01 (03444)

Spring 2023: Cult Films in American Culture Section: 01 (Index: 03443)


Credits: 3.00


This lecture-discussion course focuses on the “cult” film  from its origins in the 1920s to its evolution in American culture. Close analyses of cult films will be paired with readings by J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum, Sigmund Freud, and others. According to Freud, for example, social organization for the primordial horde came about as a result of the incest taboo  and the law of exogamy. Several of the films to be screened depict scenes that violate this organization and break the taboo. This course will explore how and why these violations permeate cult films. In addition, many cult films are open-ended metaphors for contemporary social anxieties. We will examine how some of these counter-culture films are a reaction to late ‘60s and ‘70s American society. Finally, this course will include in-depth analyses of the structure of celebrated American cult films ("mise-en-scene," editing, narrative form, set design, sound, and special effects) including: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Eraserhead, Night of the Living Dead, Cat People, and others. Warning: some films may contain nudity, sexual situations, violence, profanity, substance abuse, and disturbing images. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.

T 0540 PM - 0700 RAB 001 D/C Lec

H 0540 PM - 0700 RAB 001 D/C Lec

H 0730 PM - 0850 RAB 001 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: Asian American Leaders & Community Section: 01 (Index: 03446)

Professor: CHACKO, JACOB

Credits: 1.50


This course seeks to enhance students’ knowledge of the diverse and unique lived experiences of Asian Americans and other peoples of Asian descent in the United States. Students will critically examine, contextualize, and engage in discussions of a wide range of contemporary issues and debates related to Asian Americans. This junior internship class prepares students to connect and familiarize themselves with the Asian American Cultural center and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi Community at Rutgers.

F 0200 PM - 0320 AAC 202 LIV Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies Section: 02 (Index: 03447)

Professor: EDA, HARUKI

Credits: 1.50


F 0200 PM - 0320 AAC 207 LIV Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: Arts Adventure Section: MA (Index: 03448)

Professor: ALMIRON

Credits: 1.50

T 1210 PM - 0130 RAB 018 D/C Lec

H 1210 PM - 0130 RAB 018 D/C Lec


Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies Section: MB (Index: 03449)

Professor: ALMIRON

Credits: 1.50


T 0350 PM - 0510 RAB 018 D/C Lec

H 0350 PM - 0510 RAB 018 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: New Jersey Diners

Professor: MORALES

Credits: 1.50

M 0830 AM - 0950 HC S124 CAC Lec

H 0830 AM - 0950 HC S124 CAC Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: America on a Global Stage Section: 01 (Index: 03460)


Credits: 3.00

In this course, we examine a series of American texts (literature, history, film, music, photography) and learn about the social, cultural, and political debates that surround the circulation of American cultures in a global stage. We will analyze examples of democratization, cultural appropriation, racialization, cultural transfer, and cultural mobility from the founding of the United States to the digital age of globalization. Based on key historical moments of intercultural confrontations, we will investigate patterns of (anti)Americanization in modern cultures by addressing the role of popular culture and media. Students will engage in reflections on cultural reception, transmission, and mobility. This will enable them to theoretically ground critical approaches to American culture in global contexts. Students will observe and understand the ways in which other nations have responded to American popular culture in texts, (moving) images, and music. Special sessions are dedicated to the intersection of music and politics, race and racialization, the United States’ ongoing contest with other global powers, among other topics.

M 1020 AM - 1140 RAB 110B D/C Lec

H 1020 AM - 1140 RAB 110B D/C Lec


Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: Native American New Jersey Section: 02 (Index: 03461)


Credits: 3.00

M 1210 PM - 0130 FOR 138B D/C Lec

H 1210 PM - 0130 FOR 138B D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Topics in American Studies: Digital History Section: 01 (Index: 03462)

Professor: URBAN, ANDREW

Credits: 3.00


M 1020 AM - 0120 SC 116 CAC Lec

This course explores the field of digital history, and how archives, exhibitions, research, and scholarship have been produced, conducted, and shared using digital technologies and mediums. Over the course of the semester, we will review a series of websites and online projects, as case studies, and assess how they use digital tools and platforms to explore and interpret the past. Among the questions we will explore: how does engagement with digital history allow for new understandings of past events and changes over time? What are the advantages of digital history and what are its limits? What does it mean to discuss, debate, and share history online? In addition to reviewing existing digital history projects, students will also be tasked with producing and curating content for inclusion in a series of digital exhibitions, and will gain firsthand experience creating history for online audiences.



Spring 2023: The Decade in American Culture: 1980s Section: 90 (Index: 03464)


Credits: 3.00

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, Women's rights, evangelical Christianity, the Wall Street boom, Black rights, a changing workforce, the ‘Brat Pack’, RAP music, cyberpunks, Queer rights, and the new American family, among others. Course materials will be drawn from history, sociology, law, newspapers, essay, articles, fiction, poetry and media. By the end of the course, students will have developed a knowledge of the public events, artistic achievements, and cultural life of the Americas in the decade of the 1980s. They will acquire insight into a pivotal moment in American history and gain new perspectives about how and why the USA arrived at our current cultural moment in the 21st century. Fully Online, Asynchronous course.

PM - ** Lec



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. 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? 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 their forms. 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



Spring 2023: Approaches to American Studies: Comedy and Humor Section: 01 (Index: 03466)

Professor: ALMIRON

Credits: 3.00

T 0830 AM - 1130 HCK 132 D/C Lec


Spring 2023: Approaches to American Studies: Mediating Free Speech Section: 02 (Index: 03467)

Professor: REINHARD

Credits: 3.00

M 0830 AM - 1130 RAB 105 D/C Lec

This course trains students in the foundations of media activism in the U.S. across music, visual culture, and digital media, while providing elemental training in writing approaches to media studies. Moreover, this course challenges students to historicize contemporary problems in the politics of media and cultural activism as they have gained renewed focus in recent reconsiderations of the U.S.’s free speech tradition. In July 2020, a letter in Harper’s Magazine warned of a growing culture of censoriousness whose features included “a vogue for public shaming.” This diagnosis, signed by well-established public intellectuals, reflected what its authors saw as a new set of political commitments that weaken norms of open debate. Elsewhere, critics of this censoriousness have reductively summarized these debates – afforded largely by new exposure to media criticism through social media technologies – by the pejorative “cancel culture.” Speaking to these concerns with a more historically situated approach, this course asks vital questions about this so-called culture of censoriousness by turning back towards media histories where forms of cultural activism have been foundational to the articulation of new imaginations around race, gender, sexuality, and class. This course seeks to consider what roles media has played in political, social, and legislative movements. How have activists turned towards media production to make their goals legible to the public? Are all forms of media activism exactly in pursuit of equity and justice? What are the limits of media activism? In asking such questions, this course considers the intersections between social identities, politics, and media representation to move beyond contemporary anxieties in public discourse. From the rise of yellow journalism in the progressive era to suffragette cinema and television’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, students will be challenged to develop their critical fluencies in examining media representation and social problems both historically and contemporaneously.


01:050:316: 21st Century Expression

Professor: MOOMJY

Credits: 3.00

T 5:50-7:00, Hardenberg Hall B6, CAC

TH 5:40-7:00, Hardenberg Hall B6, CAC



Spring 2023: American Horror


Credits: 3.00

The Latin root of the word ‘monster’ means warning and horror is inescapable from social allegory as it disrupts the ‘normal’ and challenges the body. A uniquely American genre born of crime, tragedy, toilet-training, war, voyeurism, excess and mental illness, the genre of Horror attracts and repels often in equal measure. From abjection to ‘othering’—personal history fuses with political events and transitory social customs, creating an ever-changing and controversial flux of what may be deemed ‘horrific’. We will look at controversial motion pictures, court transcripts and texts (fiction and otherwise) that defy, redefine, or revisit cultural and social norms associated with horror. Fully Online, Asynchronous course.



Spring 2023: Wayward Americans Section: 90 (Index: 03470)


Credits: 3.00

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 “Wayward Americans" - that is Rebels, Outlaws and Iconoclasts - and their actions 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 Wayward Americans 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? Fully Online, Asynchronous course.



Spring 2023: Women on the Fringe Section: 01 (Index: 03471)

Professor: ZEMLA

Credits: 3.00

T 0540 PM - 0840 RAB 110B D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Cultures of Consumption Section: 01 (Index: 17582)

Professor: URBAN, ANDREW

Credits: 3.00

M 0350 PM - 0510 CA A4 CAC Lec

W 0350 PM - 0510 CA A4 CAC Lec

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:



Spring 2023: Native American Literature in English Section: 01 (Index: 03472)

Cross Listings: 01:358:388:01 (03473)01:595:312:03 (03474)


Credits: 3.00

CREDIT NOT GIVEN FOR THIS COURSE AND 01:595:312:03 AND01:358:388:01

W 0200 PM - 0500 RAB 018 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Asian American Literatures in English Section: 01 (Index: 03475)

Cross Listings: 01:358:389:01 (03476)

Professor: ISAAC, ALLAN

Credits: 3.00

T 0350 PM - 0510 HH A2 CAC Lec

H 0350 PM - 0510 HH A2 CAC Lec



Spring 2023: Junior Seminar: RACE AND BORDERS

Professor: ISAAC, ALLAN

Credits: 3.00

W 0350 PM - 0650 RAB 105 D/C Lec



Spring 2023: Seminar in Folk Festival Management Section: 01 (Index: 03485)


Credits: 3.00

M 0540 PM - 0840 RAB 018 D/C Lec

The Seminar in Folk Festival Management is a hands-on learning experience integrated with the production, planning, and presentation of the New Jersey Folk Festival, a public campus event which occurs during Rutgers Day at the end of the spring semester. The festival presents music, dance, and traditions of the cultural groups of New Jersey. Students on the festival internship team are each assigned roles where they will plan and execute aspects of the festival production. Roles include: exhibit design, stage management, logistics and production, fundraising and alumni relations, vendor management, public relations and marketing, graphic/web design, photography, curatorial and public program management, and arts education. All majors are encouraged to apply. There are no prerequisites, but students must submit an application and attend an interview. Registration is by permission pending the successful interview process with the instructor. Please contact the department or instructor for information on how to apply.



Spring 2023: Seminar in American Studies: Political Cultures Section: 01 (Index: 03486)

Professor: DECKER

Credits: 3.00

T 0350 PM - 0650 RAB 105 D/C Lec

This class examines the variety of subcultures among Americans acting politically—that is, trying to wield power and influence in the public sphere. Rather than compare left and right (or Republicans and Democrats), we will focus on the culture of different sorts of political actors, such as activists, legal advocates, policy wonks, bureaucrats, party officials, pundits, contrarians, conspiracists, and extremists. By exploring different ways that people act politically, we will better understand the strength or weakness of certain pathways to social change. We will also try to understand why Americans, whether professionals with specific expertise or fringe figures, devote time to political goals. All students will write an original research paper on a topic related to the class.