Course Catalog for AMERICAN STUDIES
AMST 120
Fashioning America: Clothing, Culture, and Identities
We will examine the history and meanings of significant chapters in American clothing culture from the nineteenth century to today. Some of our topics will include: fashion advice and the shaping of the nation, gendered garments and body politics, clothing and ethnic identities, and the global politics of clothing production, consumerism, and recycling. Students will also share their own interests in developments such as today’s secondhand clothes industries, fashion and media, and wearable technologies. Our classroom work will be enriched by visual and material culture workshops at museums and other organizations in and near Hartford.
0.50 units, Seminar
AMST 202
Early America
This course introduces students to major developments in the political, economic, and social history of North America from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. We will study indigenous sovereignty, encounters between Europeans and Native Americans, the founding of European colonies, the rise of the Atlantic slave trade, the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, the spread of human enslavement, the War of 1812, Indian removal policy, U.S. wars with Native nations, westward expansion, the U.S.-Mexican War, abolitionism, and the Civil War. Students will be challenged to imagine American history within Atlantic and global contexts and to comprehend the expansiveness of Native American homelands and the shifting nature of North American borderlands. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 203
Conflicts and Cultures in American Society
Focusing on a key decade in American life—the 1890s, for example, or the 1850s—this course will examine the dynamics of race, class, gender, and ethnicity as forces that have shaped, and been shaped by, American culture. How did various groups define themselves at particular historical moments? How did they interact with each other and with American society? Why did some groups achieve hegemony and not others, and what were—and are—the implications of these dynamics for our understanding of American culture? By examining both interpretive and primary documents—novels, autobiographies, works of art, and popular culture—we will consider these and other questions concerning the production of American culture. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 209
African-American History
The experiences of African-Americans from the 17th century to the present with particular emphasis on life in slavery and in the 20th-century urban North. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 210
Doing Culture: Methods in Cultural Analysis
Culture is not something we simply consume, inhabit or even create. Culture is serious business: pun both intended and upended. We have a dynamic relationship with the world around us and in this class we will use culture, both elite and popular, to help bridge the gap between what we do here in the “ivory tower” and how we live out there in the “real world,” hopefully changing both in the process. Here we will not take culture for granted but engage culture as a method, a tool by which to engage, analyze and critique both historical narratives and contemporary events. In this course, street life, advertisements, popular media, and clothing are interrogated as archives of dynamic meaning, arenas of social interaction, acts of personal pleasure, and sites of struggle. We will also explore what happens when a diversity of forces converge at the intersection of commerce and culture. Present day notions of popular culture, and topics such as authenticity and selling out, will be interrogated both socially and historically. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 212
Introduction to Disability Studies: Theory and History
This course offers a rigorous interdisciplinary introduction to Disability Studies. We will look at the history of disability studies as it emerged in relation to the Civil Rights movement. We will consider how the efforts of disability activists and scholars have shaped disability studies and how this field informs and is also informed by other disciplines, such as Performance and Trauma Studies. We will examine how disability has been defined over time and how particular definitions of disability intersect with other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race and/or ethnicity, sexuality and gender. In addition to reading and critiquing history and theory, we will also look at a variety of “disability texts” that will include various genres, such as fiction, memoir, film, and drama. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 218
United States Since 1945
This course examines America since World War II. We will explore both political events and cultural and social trends, including the Cold War, rock 'n' roll, civil rights, feminism, Vietnam, consumerism and advertising, the New Right and the New Left, the counterculture, religious and ethnic revivals, poverty, and the "me" generation. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 230
The Aesthetics and Politics of FX’s Atlanta
This course closely dissects the first two seasons of FX’s Atlanta, written and directed by Donald Glover. Particular attention is paid to how the cinematography helps convey the mood, tone, and themes of the show. These themes, including, but not limited to, race, gentrification, authenticity, misogyny, and urban policy, will be explored in detail. We will use our close analysis of the show to create dialogue about both the successes, shortcomings, and potential legacy of the show. Significant time will also be dedicated to placing Atlanta within the context of other critically-acclaimed modern television.
0.50 units, Lecture
AMST 244
Strange New Worlds: Star Trek and the 1960s
For many, the 1960s were the “final frontier,” as young people, African-Americans, women, conservatives, members of the “New Left” and many others struggled to re-imagine their lives and the life of their nation. Originally intended as a “Wagon Train to the Stars,” Star Trek came to embody the 1960s spirit, both reflecting and reflecting on the many pressing issues of the day. This course will examine important issues in the 1960s from Vietnam to the counterculture, from race to shifting sexual norms, from new technology to workers’ rights, through the television show that explored the “strange new worlds” of its time. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 253
American Conscience
Conscience can be the inner voice of an individual; it can also be the shared voice of a society's commitment to certain norms--sometimes the same norms an individual feels driven by conscience to defy. Questions of conscience therefore involve central issues of literary study: How does individual expression interact with cultural context? How is content (what is moral?) mediated and modulated by the form of its representation (what is "my conscience" telling me?). This course explores key episodes in US history when authors and activists--from Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry David Thoreau to Ida B. Wells and Martin Luther King--have mobilized the written word to awaken readers' consciences or reshape a collective conscience. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 254
Ellison’s Invisible Man and the Black Modern Experience
This class interrogates the text and contexts of Ralph Ellison’s iconic novel Invisible Man. Specifically, bringing historical and cultural analysis to bear on a single work of fiction, this course surveys key themes in the Black modern experience from 1899 to 1950 including migration, urbanization, the black modern aesthetic, black radicalism, and black nationalism. Ultimately, Ellison crafted a text of profound social commentary through experimentation with archival evidence and literary form. This class reconstructs the intellectual, aesthetic, and historical production of an American classic. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 260
From the Civil Rights Movement to the Movement for Black Lives
Have we entered a new civil rights era? What are this new movement's goals? Who are these new activists and what political beliefs motivate them? How did we get here? This seminar tries to answer these questions by looking backward. Both the strategies and the political analyses of the Movement for Black Lives are rooted in the successes - and failures - of the civil rights movements of the past. We will study the twentieth century's "Long Civil Rights Movement" and consider both continuities and breaks between past and present struggles for racial justice. This course is not open to those who took a similar course at the 300 level. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 264
Representations of Autism(s)
With increased visibility and diagnosis rates (1 in 50), autism spectrum disorders constitute a vital part of our nation’s fabric. Because it crosses boundaries, regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status and because of its pervasiveness, a critical study of autism representations provides an instructive site for exploring overlapping commonalities and differences in U.S. culture. We will consider how shifting definitions of disability/ability contribute to our understanding of central values/beliefs, such as normalcy, success, humanity, and progress. How do representations and lived experiences frame our society’s understanding of identity, community, citizenship, agency, equality and humanity? Texts include fiction, memoir, film, poetry, print news, periodicals, legal documents, theoretical articles, television, internet media. Some titles include, Rainman and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 265
Thinking with Things: Exploring our Material World
Our relationship to and interaction with things is a defining feature of the human experience. To think with things is to use objects as the primary lens of analysis. This course explores a range of object case-studies and the unique questions they present for understanding American history and contemporary society. The course centers on close-looking or building interpretations from direct material observation. Students work hands-on with objects spanning from historical texts to folk art and souvenir material to contemporary art and digital media. Object case-studies draw from diverse representations including cultural heritage debates in museums and portrayals of cultural identity performance in popular media. Students will learn to critically examine and discuss the many materials that make up our world. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 267
Unearthing Local Histories
We live in interesting times. This course invites you to explore an interesting moment either in the past or present in your home town (or wherever you are currently), and create a document that explores it from a local perspective. Using interviews, local newspapers and other available materials, you'll be constructing the story, rather than simply reporting it. The course will move you through each stage of the process, with the end product intended (if possible) to be a public, online document others can learn from. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 269
The 1960s
The 1960s were watershed years in modern American history. Major areas of U.S. life – politics, foreign policy, culture, race, gender, the economy – experienced monumental shifts that irrevocably altered the nation. This class examines the social, cultural and political history of “the sixties.” Major course themes include: the Cold War; the civil rights movement and Black Power; the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement; the rise of both the New Left and the New Right; the counterculture and cultural change. In addition, the course studies the emergence of second-wave feminism and anti-feminism; the shift from a liberal, Keynesian political-economic order to a conservative, neoliberal era; the international history of the sixties; and the ways that ideas of “the sixties” are used and remembered in contemporary U.S. society, culture and politics. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 281
The Stand-up Comic as Political and Social Activist
This course will explore the power of stand-up comedians to provide social commentary that has historically invoked social and/or political change. We will accomplish this through the lens of several specific comics, notably Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Dick Gregory, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, and Janeane Garofalo. Taking time to appreciate both the aesthetics of the performances and the insightfulness of the social critique, we will take a deep dive into some of the most legendary, controversial, and thought-provoking skits and routines of all time.
0.50 units, Lecture
AMST 282
Contemporary Native American Literature
Indigenous writers have used fiction, autobiography, and poetry to explore what it means to be a Native person today, whether that is in an urban context or on a reservation. From poetry to historical fiction to dystopian futurist science fiction, Native writers celebrate the resistance and survival that has shaped their lives and communities despite a history of colonization. In this course we will examine a selection of works by Native American writers from across the United States and Canada, using these works to gain insight into the ongoing cultural experience of Native people. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 284
Food and American Culture
What we eat and how we eat reflect more than basic physical needs, and food has long played influential roles in defining and representing American culture, identities, and nationalism. Our course will begin by examining the history of the Thanksgiving feast and conclude with contemporary movements in organic and farm-to-table eating. As we explore foods' implications for Americanism, gender, class, and age, our topics of study will include defining edibles and non-edibles, immigrant influences, food and technology, American farming, diet fads, school lunches and gardens, hunger in America and food regulations. Our class will work with the nearby Billings Forge community to learn more about food's roles in family life and social reforms, including urban renewal. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 285
Born in Blood: Violence and the Making of America
This course explores the formations and functions of violence in the United States from 1754 to 1900. It investigates government (federal, state, and local) and individuals-and the intersection of the government and the individual-regarding military bodies, access to weapons, and legal and extralegal violent activities. Using figures from the well-known (George Washington or Abraham Lincoln) to the lesser known (Hannah Dustan or Robert Smalls), the class questions the limits and boundaries of American violence according to race, class, and gender. In the end, students will debate whether violence belongs aside liberty, democracy, freedom, and equality in the pantheon of American political and cultural ideals. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 289
Culture of Sports: Politics, Economics, Sociology
Through critical examination of various sports, unique eras, and individual athletes, Culture of Sports: Politics, Economics, and Sociology will dissect the reciprocal role of sport within the societal and historical context in which it arose and evolved. Using individual eras, teams, players, and managerial positions, we will explore the dynamic of the greater socio-economic paradigms at work. Issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics, and economics will be thoroughly explored as students are provided the skill set necessary to analyze society throughout our rich and dynamic history. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary American sport; students are expected to draw meaningful comparisons to current events. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 290
Hip Hop in Film
Through the lens of the six unique films that embody the aesthetic of Hip Hop culture, this course examines Hip Hop’s cinematic representation over the span of the past thirty years. Through critical analysis of Hip Hop on the silver screen, students explore how the entertainment industry has framed the public’s understanding of Hip Hop. At the same time, students are taught to reflect upon the role Hip Hop has played in the culture in which they came of age. Particular emphasis is placed upon the way in which Hip Hop culture has served to redefine issues of race, gender, sexuality, ownership, commodification, and public space.
0.50 units, Seminar
AMST 293
James Baldwin Now
This course focuses on James Baldwin, one of the most important and influential figures in the post World War II struggle for racial justice in the United States. It pays particular attention to Baldwin's analysis of the complicated nexus of race, gender, and sexuality and explores his relevance today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and lgbtq activism. In addition to a selection of his writings, materials also include documentaries, feature films, and broadcast interviews. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 298
Introduction to Hip Hop Music and Culture
This course will examine the evolution of hip hop music and culture (Graffiti art, B-boying [break-dancing], DJ-ing, and MC-ing) from its birth in 1970s New York to its global and commercial explosion during the late 1990s. Students learn to think critically about both hip hop culture, and about the historical, commercial, and political contexts in which hip hop culture took, and continues to take, shape. Particular attention is paid to questions of race, masculinity, authenticity, consumption, commodification, globalization, and good, old-fashioned funkiness. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 301
American Studies Seminar
This course, required for American Studies majors and ordinarily taken in the sophomore or junior year, examines central methods in the field. Situated on a theme, such as race or popular culture, seminar participants engage in archival, spatial, public humanities, and transnational approaches to the American experience. (WEB)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 303
Around the World: Basketball and Global Culture(s) Since 1891
This seminar follows basketball "around the world" in order to trace how culture moves. Beginning with the game's roots in the 19th-century U.S., students will analyze how basketball was subsequently shared, adopted, and adapted to a variety of settings on every continent of the globe. Throughout, attention will remain on politics: that is, basketball's role within larger struggles around power, identity, and (inter)nationalism. It will become clear that, far from "just a game," basketball is a key cultural practice through which people and groups have come to understand themselves for over a century. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 306
Imagining Digital Humanities: Research Methods for Cultural Analysis
Organized around a series of labs, this course surveys projects, methods, and controversies in digital humanities scholarship. Students will develop skills in digital methods-potentially including textual analysis, network analysis, data scraping, visualization, mapping, and sound studies, while exploring: the digital humanities as a way of knowing; the uses and abuses of data-based humanities; the politics of race, gender, and labor in collaborative scholarship; and the problems and possibilities of thinking the humanities at scale. Students will reflect on their experience with the digital and assess the ways digital methods (re)mediate analog forms of scholarship. Students will practice reviewing digital humanities projects and create low-stakes DH artifacts of their own. A final project investigates a substantive humanities research question using digital methods. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 307
Early American Women's Literature
Although early American literature often revolves around "Founding Fathers," in this course we will examine the writing of women. Writing poetry, journals, novels, travel diaries and letters, colonial women had a lot to say about their world and were extraordinarily creative in finding ways to say it-even when the society they lived in suggested it was "improper" for them to write. Along with elite white women, Native Americans, free African Americans, slaves, and indentured servants all wrote as well. As we explore this writing, we will think about what the texts these women produced tell us about the early American experience-how people thought of their place in the world, and what role women imagined for themselves in this newly developing society. This is a research-intensive seminar. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 308
Mapping Modern American Sexualities
This course examines the emergence of modern forms of sexual personhood in the United States. Starting in the late nineteenth century, it tracks the shift from gender role to object choice as the organizing principle of sexual identities, desires, and practices while paying particular attention to the consolidation of the hetero/homosexual binary. Readings include novels, plays, films, and memoirs, as well as key theoretical texts. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 308
Race and Property in the US
Early Americans redefined the meaning of property during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and these changes reflected the economic, social, and political reorganization of the young United States. Using the history of property as a framework to connect diverse topics, this course will examine major themes in American history, drawing connections among them. It is focused on the most influential property relationships in colonial and early America from the enslavement of human beings and real estate to wheat futures. We will examine issues of slavery, resistance, and freedom, housing and real estate, intellectual property, natural resources and nature's commodification, and the ever-changing roll of capitalism in the American past. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 309
The Spectacle of Disability
This course examines how people with disabilities are represented in American literature and culture. Whether it is the exceptional savant who is heralded as a hero because of her "special" abilities or the critically injured person whose disability relegates him to the sidelines of society even though his ability to overcome everyday challenges is applauded from a distance, definitions of disabilities (both generally and explicitly) tell us a great deal about the concept of normalcy and the expectations that we attach to this term. In addition, the various narratives associated with different disabilities and their origins are shaped by other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. We will look at a variety of mediums including fiction, non-fiction, film, television, and memoirs in order to examine how these representations, along with the material realities of disabled people, frame our society's understanding of disability and the consequences of these formulations. We look at texts and cases such as Million Dollar Baby, the Terry Schiavo case, Born on a Blue Day, Forrest Gump, the American Disabilities Act, the Christopher Reeves story, and Radio. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 310
Young People Rise Up: Student Movements and American Politics
How have students imagined resistance? What methods have they used to actualize their ideas, and what have been outcomes of their efforts? This course centers student movements primarily in the United States, but also includes those elsewhere, discussing their relationship to American politics. Topics may include the formation of the Third World Liberation Front and movement for Ethnic Studies, anti-Vietnam War protests, #blacklivesmatter, campus sexual violence, gun violence, and student movements in the Philippines, Iran, and South Africa. Using primary documents, film, literature, popular media, and scholarly analysis, the course will assess the global social forces that spark and shape students' collective action, conditions that impact responses from the university, police and other institutional powers, and how these social actors shape one another. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 311
Data Driven Cultures
From the algorithms that time traffic lights to those that filter search criteria and record thoughts and ideas, human existence is increasingly defined by code. This course explores the possibilities, limitations, and implications of using digital tools and methods to understand the issues that affect our everyday lives. What does big data reveal about the world? What does it hide? How do American policies and values influence the global production of the Internet, social media, algorithms, and data? Students will learn a range of data visualization tools to understand and evaluate what technology can and cannot bring to the study of American life. Topics such as gender, race, sexuality, class, privacy, war, and governance will be highlighted through in-class conversations and research projects. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 312
Imagining Digital Humanities: Research Methods for Cultural Analysis
Organized around a series of labs, this course surveys projects, methods, and controversies in digital humanities scholarship. Students will develop skills in digital methods-potentially including textual analysis, network analysis, data scraping, visualization, mapping, and sound studies, while exploring: the digital humanities as a way of knowing; the uses and abuses of data-based humanities; the politics of race, gender, and labor in collaborative scholarship; and the problems and possibilities of thinking the humanities at scale. Students will reflect on their experience with the digital and assess the ways digital methods (re)mediate analog forms of scholarship. Students will practice reviewing digital humanities projects and create low-stakes DH artifacts of their own. A final project investigates a substantive humanities research question using digital methods. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 317
Curating the Present: Ethics, Imperatives, Practice
We are living through a moment of rupture. Approaching this moment from a heritage perspective, what must we hold on to—physically, emotionally—to curate this story for future generations? How do we do this ethically and without a clear sense of narrative complete with start and end? Drawing lessons from critical heritage literature and a variety of case studies from the recent past, we will seek answers to these probing questions, engaging virtually with a variety of experts throughout the semester. For their final projects, students will create experimental “exhibition catalogues” oriented in real and imagined events and possible futures, or alternately describe why such their exhibitions are impossible—where curating the moment might best be encapsulated by blank spaces and spectral voids. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 318
Literacy and Literature
Literature is produced and consumed by literate people. Nothing could be more obvious. But how do the different ways writers and readers become literate influence the ways they write and read? How have writers depicted the process of acquiring literacy and imagined its importance? In this course, we will examine the nature of literacy and the roles texts play in the development of literacy. With a focus on the United States from the 18th century to the 20th, we will study schoolbooks, texts for young readers, and representations of literacy in literary works ranging from slave narratives to novels to films. We also will study theories of literacy from philosophical, cognitive, and educational perspectives. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. This course is research intensive. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 319
Beyond Traditional: Contemporary Understandings of Puerto Rican Culture
Coined "a forgotten spot in the Caribbean" by Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been the subject of renewed national attention in the wake of the devastating 2017 Hurricane Maria. This course interrogates Puerto Rican culture on its own terms - shifting from traditional definitions of the island's identity formation to contemporary critiques centering marginalized communities. Students will work hands-on with a diverse range of material and immaterial cultural productions originating from the island and stateside diaspora communities. Students will analyze how Puerto Rican culture has been represented in museum institutions and by popular media. The course culminates with students proposing original curation designs based on their new, critical understandings of the island's cultural legacy. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 320
Sense of Place in the Native Northeast
The coasts, rivers, fields, hills, villages, and cities of present-day Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia have been home for indigenous families, communities, and nations through numerous environmental, political, and economic transformations. Students will learn about the ways that Native nations of the Northeast, from Pequots to Mi'kmaqs, have adapted, recreated, and reaffirmed a deep connectedness to their homelands and territories, from the fifteenth century to the present. Fields trips to local sites and archives will facilitate original historical research. Primary sources to be assigned include autobiographies, travel narratives, war histories, maps, Native American stories, and dictionaries of indigenous place names, and secondary source readings will cover major themes in Native American studies, with special emphasis on sense of place. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 324
From Civil Rights to #BLM
Have we entered a new civil rights era? What are this new movement's goals? Who are these new activists and what political beliefs motivate them? How did we get here? This seminar tries to answer these questions by looking backward. Both the strategies and the political analyses of the Movement for Black Lives are rooted in the successes - and failures - of the civil rights movements of the past. We will study the twentieth century's "Long Civil Rights Movement" and consider both continuities and breaks between past and present struggles for racial justice. (HUM)
This course is not open to first-year or sophomore students without instructor consent.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 325
New York City and its Neighborhoods
Founded as a small Dutch colonial port city on a narrow island inhabited by Lenape Indians, New York City became the most populous city in the United States, as well as a global economic and cultural hub. In order to better understand New York’s complex and uneven urban growth, we will analyze the ways a diverse array of New Yorkers struggled to define themselves and their communities. As we explore the dynamic history of the city and its residents, we will become better scholars and more responsible urban citizens. Each class meeting will focus on one of New York City’s diverse neighborhoods, using it as a lens to illustrate and investigate important themes of urban and American history that extend well beyond the five boroughs. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 326
Representations of Miscegenations
The course examines the notion of miscegenation (interracial relations), including how the term was coined and defined. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will consider the different and conflicting ways that interracial relations have been represented, historically and contemporaneously, as well as the implications of those varied representations. Examining both primary and secondary texts, including fiction, film, legal cases, historical criticism, and drama, we will explore how instances of interracial contact both threaten and expand formulations of race and “Americanness” in the U.S. and beyond. How is miscegenation emblematic of other issues invoked, such as gender, nation, and sexuality? How do enactments of interracial contact complicate the subjects that they “stage”? (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 329
Viewing The Wire Through a Critical Lens
Through analysis and dissection of David Simon's The Wire, this course seeks to equip students with the tools necessary to examine our postmodern society. The Wire seamlessly juxtaposes aesthetics with socio-economic issues, offering up a powerful lens for investigating our surroundings. Whether issues of unregulated free market capitalism, the bureaucracy of our school systems, politics of the media, false notions of equal opportunity, devaluation of human life, or a failed war on drugs, The Wire addresses the complexities of American urban life. Through a socio-political and cultural reading of the five individual seasons, students will be able to explore a multitude of contemporary problems. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 331
Literature of Native New England
Before it was New England, this was Native space. From the Wampanoags to the Mohegans, Narragansetts and Pequots, diverse Algonquian communities imbued their physical space with their own histories, traditions, and literatures. With the arrival of English settlers, Native Americans became active participants in a world deeply invested in writing and written traditions, and they marked their presence through English colonial written forms while maintaining a longstanding commitment to their own communities and lifeways. In this course we will explore the great variety of writing by and about Native Americans in this region: we will look at the long tradition of Native American literary presence in New England, from English language texts to other forms of cultural expression. The course is research intensive. Note: For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 335
Mapping American Masculinities
This course examines the construction of masculinity in American society starting with Theodore Roosevelt’s call at the turn of the twentieth century for men to revitalize the nation by pursuing the “strenuous life." Through close readings of literary and filmic texts, it considers why American manhood has so often been seen as in crisis. It pays particular attention to the formation of non-normative masculinities (African-American, female, and gay) in relation to entrenched racial, class, and sexual hierarchies, as well as the impact of the feminist, civil rights, and gay liberation movements on the shifting construction of male identity. In addition to critical essays, readings also include Tarzan of the Apes, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, The Great Gatsby, The Sun also Rises, Native Son, Another Country, and Kiss Me Deadly (Spillane). Film screenings include Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich), Shaft, Magnum Force, Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, Cleopatra Jones, and Boys Don’t Cry. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 336
U.S. Colonialism Past & Present
What does it mean to study the United States in the world, and the world in the United States? This course considers the role of the United States within global relations of empire, capitalism, migration, and war. It also examines how U.S. domestic politics of race, gender, national identity, and social justice have evolved in relation to these transnational histories. We will explore how the existence of the U.S. nation-state is premised upon the global histories of European colonialism, indigenous displacement, and transatlantic slavery. We will analyze the cultures and consequences of U.S. empire, as well as the multiracial and transnational social movements that have contested U.S expansion. This interdisciplinary course combines historical, literary, visual, and theoretical texts. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 340
Sports and American Society
This seminar addresses sports as a central thread in the American cultural fabric of the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is placed on the sports/society intersection, with particular attention to issues of identity, capitalism, power, ethics, and globalization. Analysis is guided by a variety of cultural “texts,” from films and magazine articles to the great spectacles (Olympics, World Cup, etc.) through which sports have exerted global reach. Discussion and debate is encouraged throughout; students must grapple with the political issues that have, from the beginning to the present, pervaded the sports world (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 344
America's Most Wanted: True Crime and the American Imagination
Americans are fascinated by crime. We read detective fiction, watch police dramas, and hold murder mystery dinners. When the crimes are real, we debate guilt or innocence, punishment or rehabilitation, death penalty or life in prison at our dinner tables. Why this fascination, and what does it tell us about our culture and our concerns? In this course we examine several actual crimes and try to understand what made these crimes, and not others, so riveting. What drew us in? What kept us there? Along the way we will also discuss changing police and penal practices, how attitudes about race, class, religion, and gender play into public fixations on particular crimes, and how and why those attitudes shifted over time. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 350
Race and Incarceration
#BlackLivesMatter has brought the intersection of race and the criminal justice system into public conversation, but race has been intertwined with imprisonment since American colonization. This course begins with the ways slavery and African Americans were policed by the state, and the history of American prisons. After the Civil War, freed black men and women sought equal rights and opportunities. In response, the justice system shifted to accommodate new forms of racial suppression. The course then considers civil rights activists' experiences with prisons, the War on Drugs' racial agenda, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which argued that the "prison-industrial complex" is the newest form of racial control. The course ends with current practices of, and challenges to, the criminal justice system. This course meets the Archival method requirement.
This course is not open to first-year or sophomore students without instructor consent.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 354
The American Civil War and Reconstruction
As much as the American Civil War was a culmination of centuries of history, it was also a moment of fundamental rupture, transformation, and opportunity. The war, reconstruction, and their reverberations shook the whole nation. At the center of this tumultuous time was the destruction of slavery-on which the nation had been built-and the reconstruction of freedom, labor, and capital across the country. This course will highlight the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that shaped the epoch and changed the nation. Some of the issues we will investigate include: the causes and effects of the American Civil War, slavery, emancipation and freedom, race, racism and racial violence, gender and the role of women in the war and its aftermath, and historical memory. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 355
Narratives of Disability in U.S. Literature and Culture
This course introduces students to the ways in which disability has been used to represent both "normalcy" and extraordinariness in literature. We will consider how "tales told by idiots," as framed in Shakespeare's Hamlet, often supply the unique and insightful perspective that mainstream characters cannot see, hear, or experience because of their own limitations. We will look at how the notion of disability has been aligned with other aspects of identity, such as Charles Chesnutt's representation of race as a disability in his turn of the century literature or of slaves using performances of disability to escape from the horrid institution during the 19th-century. We will read a variety of genres, fiction, memoir, and some literary criticism to come to a clearer understanding of the ways in which the meaning of disability and its representation in a variety of texts echoes a broader set of beliefs and practices in the U.S. For English majors this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written after 1900. This course is research-intensive.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 357
Race and Urban Space
Scholars and now even the larger public have conceded that race is a social construct. However, many are just beginning to fully explore how the specific dimensions and use of space is mediated by the politics of racial difference and racial identification. Therefore, this course seeks to explore how racism and race relations shape urban spatial relations, city politics, and the built environment and how the historical development of cities has shaped racial identity as lived experience. Covering the 20th century, the course examines three critical junctures: Ghettoization (1890s-1940s); Metropolitan Formation (1940s-1990s); and Neo-Liberal Gentrification (present). (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 379
Melville
Though a superstar during his early career, Herman Melville watched his reputation decline as his literary ambitions escalated. One review of his seventh novel bore the headline, "Herman Melville Crazy." Not until the 20th century did even his best-known work, Moby Dick, attract considerable attention, but it now stands at the center of the American literary pantheon. Melville's work merits intensive, semester-long study not only because he is a canonical author of diverse narratives—from maritime adventures to tortured romances to philosophical allegories—but also because his career and legacy themselves constitute a narrative of central concern to literary studies and American culture. Through reading and discussion of several of his major works, we will explore Melville's imagination, discover his work's historical context, and think critically about literary form. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 382
Dangerous Tech: Surveillance and Data Ethics
Our modern lives are under constant surveillance. Of course corporations log information from our devices, but we too participate in the process--surveilling ourselves and one another. Although much of this behavior is hidden, there are tools to uncover who is watching, what is collected, and how the information is being used. This course helps students take control of their personal data by discussing common methods of surveillance—such as body scanners, traffic cameras, digital devices, and fitness trackers—and by building their own surveillance devices. By the end, you will know the implications of surveillance and be able to adopt strategies to keep yourself and your data protected.
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
AMST 403
American Ruins
This class explores the nexus between multi-disciplinary literatures on contemporary ruins and that of critical heritage querying how ruins and heritage are socially constructed, the process by which ruins become heritage, and the political and affective valences of ruined sites. Walter Benjamin’s groundbreaking yet unfinished Arcades Project will serve as a beacon and guide. We will navigate these literatures through case studies from the contemporary United States and Latin America. Cases include the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina, the abandoned buildings of Detroit, and the ruins of the World Trade Center post 9/11. We also look at a series of emerging heritage sites including the heritage of violent labor disputes in the early 20th century, and the materiality of undocumented migration in the U.S. southwest. This course meets the Spatial method requirement.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 405
Meds, Eds, Slot Machines, and Stadiums: Culture Industries and the New Urban Economy
Colleges, universities, and their medical centers have become the dominant employers, real estate holders, policing agents, and educational and health care providers in major cities across the country. Meanwhile struggling areas have looked to sports stadiums and casinos as their salvation from poverty. What happened? "Meds, Eds, Slots, and Stadiums" examines a world without factories, as higher education, healthcare, and tourism have become the face of today's urban economy. Located at the center of what has been called the "Knowledge Corridor" along I-91, the course draws special attention to Trinity College's past and present role in shaping greater Hartford. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 406
History and Memory of Slavery on Campus
How long do the reverberations of slavery last, and how far do they travel? While debates on the memory and legacy of slavery take the national stage, colleges and universities are reckoning with how their own histories of slavery and exploitation may have shaped their pasts and presents. It is Trinity's turn for an honest accounting. Recent scholarship emphasizes slavery's many facets and its far-reaching tendrils. In this course, students will discover Trinity's and Hartford's place in slavery's vast social, cultural, economic, and political networks. Combining archival research and public humanities, we will create projects and archives commemorating Trinity's past, which our community will be able to use as we plot a course for a more equitable future. This course meets the Archival method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 409
Digital City
With half the world's population now in cities, policymakers and activists are focused on the promise of technology to tackle issues from gentrification, pollution, access to public spaces, and walkability. How can digital platforms affect the growth of equal and just cities? How can critical interventions using such platforms work to recognize differences of gender, race, sexuality, and class in cities, and promote equality? What role do and should colleges play in supporting the growth of just and equal spaces? Focusing on Hartford and Trinity, this course connects global and national issues to the intimate experiences of everyday urban life. It pairs technical skills and social science data collection with urban theory and urban studies. Students contribute to an online archive examining the college-city relationship. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 409
Gender, Sexuality, and Space
This research seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to explore key spaces of American historical geographies of sexuality and gender, with special attention paid to women and gender non-conforming people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. From bars and neighborhoods, potlucks and protests, to cities and rural Walmarts, cruising grounds and social media, students will employ feminist and queer theory to broaden their understandings of how gender and sexuality inform the production of space, and, in turn, the production of empire and resistance to it. The application of both classic and cutting-edge texts will challenge the seemingly normal histories and geographies of American life. This course pays special attention to the intersectionality of gender and sexuality with race, class, disability, age, and generation. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 409
The Spectacle of Disability
This course examines how people with disabilities are represented in American literature and culture. Whether it is the exceptional savant who is heralded as a hero because of her "special" abilities or the critically injured person whose disability relegates him to the sidelines of society even though his ability to overcome everyday challenges is applauded from a distance, definitions of disabilities (both generally and explicitly) tell us a great deal about the concept of normalcy and the expectations that we attach to this term. In addition, the various narratives associated with different disabilities and their origins are shaped by other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. We will look at a variety of mediums including fiction, non-fiction, film, television, and memoirs in order to examine how these representations, along with the material realities of disabled people, frame our society's understanding of disability and the consequences of these formulations. We look at texts and cases such as Million Dollar Baby, the Terry Schiavo case, Born on a Blue Day, Forrest Gump, the American Disabilities Act, the Christopher Reeves story, and Radio. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 409
Senior Seminar: American Empire
Thomas Jefferson once boldly described the United States as an “empire of liberty.” But whether or not America has ever taken on the identity, ever functioned, as an empire has been one of the most hotly debated topics of our current global times. In this senior seminar we want to take both a historical and contemporary look at what happens when the foreign policy of the United States converges with the general practices of military engagement, occupation, nation-building, commercial market control, and/or annexation of “foreign lands.” Do such foreign relations constitute an empire? In this course we will examine a number of critical moments including the internal U.S. expansion into native American and Mexican lands, “Manifest Destiny” projects in the turn-of-the-twentieth century Caribbean and Asian Pacific, Marshall Plan policies in Cold War Europe, and “War on Terror” initiatives in the present day Middle East. What have been the aspirations of U.S. foreign policy, what have been the consequences, how do they affect the policies and practices “back home.” Have any of these experiences constituted an American Empire? (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 410
Through a Queer Lens: Migrant Critiques of the US
This course illuminates the ways the U.S. nation state is organized to promote traditional hetero-normative family and citizenship structures that inform narratives of American exceptionalism and sexuality. How have the "normative" and "queer" emerged and changed during the 20th and 21st centuries? How have processes of globalization and empire building impacted the lives of queer migrants, producing new experiences and understandings of gender and sexuality? Students will explore the material realities of LGBTQ immigrant communities of color in the United States and how they, as Amy Villarejo puts it, "antagonize and/or conspire with normative investments of nation-states and capital." This course meets the Transnational method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 412
Popular Narratives of American History
History surrounds us in popular culture—from hit Broadway musicals like Hamilton and video games like the Assassin’s Creed series today to the earliest American novels. Though some have dismissed these media as “non-scholarly,” they are the main source of history for many who might not be interested in a traditional scholarly monograph and should be taken seriously. We will spend the semester learning how to analyze the unexpected history presented through these methods, and investigating the possibilities and pitfalls of communicating American history in these different forms. In conversation with practitioners of narrative, experimental, and popular history, students will create a final project of their own design that pushes on the boundaries of how we communicate history and how we define our audience. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 413
Native American Literature and Theory
We are currently in an extraordinary intellectual and artistic moment for Native American communities. In this course, we will turn our attention to forms of Native textual production from the colonial period to today. We will not only educate ourselves in the richness and variety of Native expression, we will also grapple with our assumptions about what constitutes Native American literature, using recent Native American scholarship to guide us. Along the way we will sample various forms of expression from origin stories to ledger drawings, poems, novels, autobiographies, and critical nonfiction. Our efforts in this class will be collaborative; while we will share core readings, you should expect to do several outside readings and class reports. This seminar is research-intensive. For English majors, this course satisfies the post-1900 requirement, or a course emphasizing critical reflection. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 417
Space, Security, Sovereignty: The U.S.-Mexico Border
This course explores the social and political history of the U.S.-Mexico border divide, from the evolution of border policing, justifications for sealing the border, and the borderlands' material particularities in contrast to the imagined border. It discusses the expanding "borderization" of the United States. How has border security policy become an extension of U.S. sovereignty, and what is the role of such sovereignty in a globalizing world? Finally, we will talk about what it means to clandestinely cross the border, the construction of race connected to the experience of border crossing, and how the border becomes embodied in those who traverse it. We will read primary policy documents and academic and literary sources that tell multi-dimensional stories of the border as place, idea, and experience. This course meets the Spatial method requirement. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 418
Change of Clothes
North American clothing and textile practices have long engaged in global networks. Our course will chart clothing’s centrality in the formation of American social, political, and economic identities and structures. By focusing on moments of change and crisis, we will explore the fashioning of transnational citizenship. Our topics will include: clothing as protest, transformable garments as humanitarian aid, wearable technology, fast fashion and global economies, and the (de)coding of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation in clothes. This course fulfills transnational methods (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 424
Comic Art in America 1895-Present
This course provides an introduction to Comic Art in North America, from the beginnings of the newspaper comic strip through the development of comic books, the growth of graphic novels, and current developments in electronic media. It focuses on the history and aesthetics of the medium, comparison between developments in the United States, Mexico, and French Canada, and the social and cultural contexts in which comic art is created and consumed. The first half of the semester concentrates on early and 20th-century comic strips and the development of the comic book form through the 1940s; the second on the social changes affecting comic art in the 1950s and 1960s, the development of a comic book subculture from the 1970s to the 21st century, the growth of independently published graphic novels and the independent comics, and contemporary electronic media developments. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 425
Museums, Visual Culture, and Critical Theory
This course aims to examine the issues brought up in key theoretical readings by applying their insights to case studies, particularly cases of museum exhibitions and programs. Issues to be addressed include: reproduction and spectacle; gender and display; ethnicity, 'primitivism,' and race; and sexuality, sexual practice, and censorship. Case studies will vary each year and will range from exhibitions focusing on consumption, to ethnicity and race (such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Pequot Museum), and sexuality (The Museum of Sex; the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibitions). Each class will combine theoretical readings with considerations of museum practice. By the end of the semester, students shall be able to analyze exhibitions using both the tools of postmodern theory and practical observation and history. This course fulfills the public humanities approach. This course meets the Public Humanities method requirement.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 426
Nuclear America
In this course we will explore large- and small-scale cultural landscapes as they have been shaped by nuclear power, weapons, transportation, and waste. Among these landscapes are towns created for making nuclear weapons; open-air testing sites; military complexes, such as ports, bases, airfields, and silos; the West’s uranium mines, and the land, water, and Native American territory polluted by radioactive tailings; nuclear reactor sites, from New England’s regional power plants to those in metropolitan areas; and land and offshore storage sites for nuclear waste. Besides the physical changes to the American landscape, nuclear sites involve extensive secrecy, exclusion, and policing, and they are invested with fraught meanings. We will explore nuclear America through history, geography, art, literature, and film.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 427
Sci Fi in the Archives: Post-War American Speculative Fiction
With the aid of the Loftus E. Becker collection in the Watkinson, this course will explore science fiction as an essential map of our post-war American empire. Fueled by dystopian and utopian impulses, artists like Ursula K. Le Guin and Ted Chiang evolved the genre from technological triumphalism into a devastating critique of a culture invested in weapons of mass destruction, alienating digitalization, and environmental collapse. While we read canonical works of post-1945 American science fiction for their aesthetic elements and ideological functions, we'll also map the genre's tangled publishing history and material traces via archival work at the Watkinson. This course meets the Archival method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 430
Political Bodies: Contemporary Issues in Death and Dying in the United States
Death is an inevitable aspect of life, but practices of death and mourning vary culturally. How do we die in the United States? What is a "good death"? This course explores the many dimensions of death and dying in the United States from the evolving conceptions life-saving medicine to the alternative funeral industry and cultural alienation from dead bodies. It covers the inequities of death investigation and the social ramifications of the "CSI effect." Students learn about recent key milestones in the politicization of death such as the AIDS crisis, the passing of the North American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the mass disappearances of undocumented migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 435
Museum Exhibition
One of the most engaging ways to promote collections and explore a subject or theme is to create an exhibition, which is a genre in and of itself—telling a story with artifacts. Through critical readings students will explore the cultural and educational goals of exhibits, visitor needs and accessibility, design elements (including technology), and audience evaluation methods utilized at libraries, historic houses and historical sites, and history and cultural museums. Drawing from the extensive and wide-ranging collections in the Watkinson Library, students will conceive, write, and install an exhibition, design and publish a catalogue, and plan and implement an opening event to take place at the end of the semester in the Watkinson. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 440
Autistic Blackness
How might autism and blackness be read alongside each other in a way that matters? By examining how the histories, lived experiences, and representations of autism and blackness intersect, it is possible to move beyond narrow understandings of both and create space for more diverse ways of being in our communities and in our world. What does it mean to recognize that autism is part of the neurodiversity of blackness historically and contemporaneously? What sort of creativity and meaning does the nonlabeled black autists presence add to our understanding blackness? We will examine this topic through an interdisciplinary lens that explores theoretical and historical perspectives of blackness, autism, and neurodiversity/neurodivergence, as well as primary sites of inquiry, including life writing, film, digital media, and performance/ (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 444
America's Most Wanted: True Crime and the American Imagination
Americans are fascinated by crime. We read detective fiction, watch police dramas, and hold murder mystery dinners. When the crimes are real, we debate guilt or innocence, punishment or rehabilitation, death penalty or life in prison at our dinner tables. Why this fascination, and what does it tell us about our culture and our concerns? In this course we examine several actual crimes and try to understand what made these crimes, and not others, so riveting. What drew us in? What kept us there? Along the way we will also discuss changing police and penal practices, how attitudes about race, class, religion, and gender play into public fixations on particular crimes, and how and why those attitudes shifted over time. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 445
Black Women Writers in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Through readings in various genres (fiction, essays, drama, poetry, memoir, etc.), this course examines how black women's literary production is informed by the experiences, conditions, identities, and histories of women of African descent in the U.S., including some who were born or have lived outside of the U.S. Among the recurring themes/issues we will discuss are the impact of class, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and geographical location on black women's writings, artistic visions, the politics and dynamics of black women's roles in families, communities, the nation, and across the globe. Writers vary each semester but may include: Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Roxanne Gay, Lorraine Hansberry, bell hooks, Nella Larsen, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Z.Z. Packer, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ann Petry, Tracy K. Smith, and Alice Walker. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 450
Race and Incarceration
#BlackLivesMatter has brought the intersection of race and the criminal justice system into public conversation, but race has been intertwined with imprisonment since American colonization. This course begins with the ways slavery and African Americans were policed by the state, and the history of American prisons. After the Civil War, freed black men and women sought equal rights and opportunities. In response, the justice system shifted to accommodate new forms of racial suppression. The course then considers civil rights activists' experiences with prisons, the War on Drugs' racial agenda, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which argued that the "prison-industrial complex" is the newest form of racial control. The course ends with current practices of, and challenges to, the criminal justice system. This course meets the Archival method requirement.
This course is not open to first-year or sophomore students without instructor consent.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 453
The Rise and Fall of American Slavery
This course covers important themes and developments in the history of slavery in the United States. From origins in indigenous communities, colonization, and the black Atlantic, human bondage shaped (and continues to shape) the legal and social framework for generations of Americans. Readings feature voices from slaveholders to the enslaved, politicians and activists, as well as some of the best work done by recent historians. This course fulfills transnational approaches. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 454
The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877
This course examines not only the military dimensions of the war years but also such topics as politics in the Union and the Confederacy, the presidential leadership of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, women in the Union and Confederate war efforts, and the struggle over emancipation. The latter part of the course considers post-war political, social, and economic developments, including nearly four million African Americans' transition from slavery to freedom, the conflict over how to reconstruct the former Confederate states, the establishment of bi-racial governments in those states, and the eventual overthrow of Reconstruction by conservative white "Redeemers." Lectures and discussions. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 459
Orphans and Others: Family Identity in Early American Literature
From cross-dressing sailors and adventurers to castaways and runaways, early American literature is filled with narratives of reinvention—sometimes by choice, often by necessity. In this course we will look at the peril and promise of such reinvention as various figures reimagine their relation to a social order organized by family lineage and paternal descent. For some the Americas (at least theoretically) presented a world of new possibilities while for others this was a dangerous and isolating place. Our readings will include novels, autobiographical narratives, confessions, and other literary accounts. This seminar is research-intensive. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
AMST 470
Native American Art and Storytelling
This seminar examines Native American Indian narrative artistic, pictorial, and literary traditions from North and Central America.Such traditions are inseparable from culture and performance, community and nation, human life and the physical world. The visual and tactile media considered include pictorial manuscripts, ceramics, bead- and shellwork, textiles, photographs, and paintings. The seminar will be interdisciplinary, with each unit including analyses of texts and visual materials and readings on aesthetics, translation, memory, and appropriation. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 479
Revolutionary Generations: American Literature 1740-1820
Hannah Arendt suggested that the United States failed to remember its revolutionary tradition because it failed to talk about it. This course will recover those memories by reading the texts that founded the American rebellion, the intense arguments made in the aftermath of independence, and the passionate creative works produced in the wake of revolution. We will look beyond the context of New England to consider the roles played by Africa and the Caribbean in the cultural imagination, and we will trace how social class, race, and gender inflected the constitution of American identities in a post-1776 world. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. This course is research-intensive. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 480
New England Landscapes
This course concerns historical geographies of New England, or the meeting of nature and human agency in “developing” the land and waters of the region. It explores such iconic landscapes as Native American fields and villages; New England’s villages and commons; farms, fields, factories, and forests; free-flowing and dammed rivers; seaports; cities; and tourist destinations. We will attempt to understand both how this region has been imagined and how its changing, often contested landscapes have been related to the political economy, social identities (such as class, race, and gender), and cultural values, metrics, and desires.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 490
Research Assistantship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 496
U.S. Empire and the Asia/Pacific Wars
U.S. military involvement in Asia and the Pacific Islands has impacted the experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander communities and their diaspora since the late nineteenth century. In this seminar, students study the history of the Asia/Pacific wars and investigate the consequences of U.S. militarism, empire, and settler colonialism in Asia and the Pacific Islands via individual research projects. Together we will examine historical narratives, government documents, and cultural texts (films, literature, musicals) to understand how U.S. wars in the Asia/Pacific region have informed notions of race, indigeneity, gender, and empire both at home and abroad. The course brings together scholarship from the fields of American Studies, Asian American Studies, Pacific Indigenous Studies, and East Asian Studies. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the thesis adviser and the director are required for enrollment. The registration form is required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (The two course credits are considered pending in Part I of the thesis; they will be awarded with the completion of Part II.) (HUM)
2.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the thesis adviser and the director, are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (The two course credits are considered pending in Part I of the thesis; they will be awarded with the completion of Part II.) (HUM)
2.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 801
Approaches to American Studies
This seminar, which is required of all American Studies graduate students, examines a variety of approaches to the field. Readings may include several “classic” texts of 18th- and 19th-century American culture and several key works of American studies scholarship from the formative period of the field after World War II, as well as more recent contributions to the study of the United States. Topics will include changing ideas about the content, production, and consumption of American culture; patterns of ethnic identification and definition; the construction of categories like “race” and “gender”; and the bearing of class, race, gender, and sexuality on individuals’ participation in American society and culture. Undergraduates who wish to enroll in this course must obtain permission of their adviser and the instructor. This course meets the Spatial methods requirement.
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 802
Primary Research Materials
This seminar is designed to enable students to identify, evaluate, and use a range of primary sources, from personal letters, vital records, and the census to photographs, oral history, and newspapers. Students will critically read secondary literature to explore how other scholars have used primary sources, and will develop research projects on topics of their own choosing, based on primary sources available in local archives and repositories. Course not open to undergraduates.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 803
American Ruins
This class explores the nexus between multi-disciplinary literatures on contemporary ruins and that of critical heritage querying how ruins and heritage are socially constructed, the process by which ruins become heritage, and the political and affective valences of ruined sites. Walter Benjamin’s groundbreaking yet unfinished Arcades Project will serve as a beacon and guide. We will navigate these literatures through case studies from the contemporary United States and Latin America. Cases include the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina, the abandoned buildings of Detroit, and the ruins of the World Trade Center post 9/11. We also look at a series of emerging heritage sites including the heritage of violent labor disputes in the early 20th century, and the materiality of undocumented migration in the U.S. southwest. This course meets the Spatial method requirement.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 805
Meds, Eds, Slot Machines, and Stadiums: Culture Industries and the New Urban Economy
Colleges, universities, and their medical centers have become the dominant employers, real estate holders, policing agents, and educational and health care providers in major cities across the country. Meanwhile struggling areas have looked to sports stadiums and casinos as their salvation from poverty. What happened? "Meds, Eds, Slots, and Stadiums" examines a world without factories, as higher education, healthcare, and tourism have become the face of today's urban economy. Located at the center of what has been called the "Knowledge Corridor" along I-91, the course draws special attention to Trinity College's past and present role in shaping greater Hartford. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 806
History and Memory of Slavery on Campus
How long do the reverberations of slavery last, and how far do they travel? While debates on the memory and legacy of slavery take the national stage, colleges and universities are reckoning with how their own histories of slavery and exploitation may have shaped their pasts and presents. It is Trinity's turn for an honest accounting. Recent scholarship emphasizes slavery's many facets and its far-reaching tendrils. In this course, students will discover Trinity's and Hartford's place in slavery's vast social, cultural, economic, and political networks. Combining archival research and public humanities, we will create projects and archives commemorating Trinity's past, which our community will be able to use as we plot a course for a more equitable future. This course meets the Archival method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 809
The Spectacle of Disability
This course examines how people with disabilities are represented in American literature and culture. Whether it is the exceptional savant who is heralded as a hero because of her "special" abilities or the critically injured person whose disability relegates him to the sidelines of society even though his ability to overcome everyday challenges is applauded from a distance, definitions of disabilities (both generally and explicitly) tell us a great deal about the concept of normalcy and the expectations that we attach to this term. In addition, the various narratives associated with different disabilities and their origins are shaped by other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. We will look at a variety of mediums including fiction, non-fiction, film, television, and memoirs in order to examine how these representations, along with the material realities of disabled people, frame our society's understanding of disability and the consequences of these formulations. We look at texts and cases such as Million Dollar Baby, the Terry Schiavo case, Born on a Blue Day, Forrest Gump, the American Disabilities Act, the Christopher Reeves story, and Radio. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 809
Senior Seminar: American Empire
Thomas Jefferson once boldly described the United States as an “empire of liberty.” But whether or not America has ever taken on the identity, ever functioned, as an empire has been one of the most hotly debated topics of our current global times. In this senior seminar we want to take both a historical and contemporary look at what happens when the foreign policy of the United States converges with the general practices of military engagement, occupation, nation-building, commercial market control, and/or annexation of “foreign lands.” Do such foreign relations constitute an empire? In this course we will examine a number of critical moments including the internal U.S. expansion into native American and Mexican lands, “Manifest Destiny” projects in the turn-of-the-twentieth century Caribbean and Asian Pacific, Marshall Plan policies in Cold War Europe, and “War on Terror” initiatives in the present day Middle East. What have been the aspirations of U.S. foreign policy, what have been the consequences, how do they affect the policies and practices “back home.” Have any of these experiences constituted an American Empire? (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 809
Digital City
With half the world's population now in cities, policymakers and activists are focused on the promise of technology to tackle issues from gentrification, pollution, access to public spaces, and walkability. How can digital platforms affect the growth of equal and just cities? How can critical interventions using such platforms work to recognize differences of gender, race, sexuality, and class in cities, and promote equality? What role do and should colleges play in supporting the growth of just and equal spaces? Focusing on Hartford and Trinity, this course connects global and national issues to the intimate experiences of everyday urban life. It pairs technical skills and social science data collection with urban theory and urban studies. Students contribute to an online archive examining the college-city relationship. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 810
Through a Queer Lens: Migrant Critiques of the US
This course illuminates the ways the U.S. nation state is organized to promote traditional hetero-normative family and citizenship structures that inform narratives of American exceptionalism and sexuality. How have the "normative" and "queer" emerged and changed during the 20th and 21st centuries? How have processes of globalization and empire building impacted the lives of queer migrants, producing new experiences and understandings of gender and sexuality? Students will explore the material realities of LGBTQ immigrant communities of color in the United States and how they, as Amy Villarejo puts it, "antagonize and/or conspire with normative investments of nation-states and capital." This course meets the Transnational method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 812
Popular Narratives of American History
History surrounds us in popular culture—from hit Broadway musicals like Hamilton and video games like the Assassin’s Creed series today to the earliest American novels. Though some have dismissed these media as “non-scholarly,” they are the main source of history for many who might not be interested in a traditional scholarly monograph and should be taken seriously. We will spend the semester learning how to analyze the unexpected history presented through these methods, and investigating the possibilities and pitfalls of communicating American history in these different forms. In conversation with practitioners of narrative, experimental, and popular history, students will create a final project of their own design that pushes on the boundaries of how we communicate history and how we define our audience. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 813
Native American Literature and Theory
We are currently in an extraordinary intellectual and artistic moment for Native American communities. In this course, we will turn our attention to forms of Native textual production from the colonial period to today. We will not only educate ourselves in the richness and variety of Native expression, we will also grapple with our assumptions about what constitutes Native American literature, using recent Native American scholarship to guide us. Along the way we will sample various forms of expression from origin stories to ledger drawings, poems, novels, autobiographies, and critical nonfiction. Our efforts in this class will be collaborative; while we will share core readings, you should expect to do several outside readings and class reports. This seminar is research-intensive. For English majors, this course satisfies the post-1900 requirement, or a course emphasizing critical reflection. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 817
Space, Security, Sovereignty: The U.S.-Mexico Border
This course explores the social and political history of the U.S.-Mexico border divide, from the evolution of border policing, justifications for sealing the border, and the borderlands' material particularities in contrast to the imagined border. It discusses the expanding "borderization" of the United States. How has border security policy become an extension of U.S. sovereignty, and what is the role of such sovereignty in a globalizing world? Finally, we will talk about what it means to clandestinely cross the border, the construction of race connected to the experience of border crossing, and how the border becomes embodied in those who traverse it. We will read primary policy documents and academic and literary sources that tell multi-dimensional stories of the border as place, idea, and experience. This course meets the Spatial method requirement. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 818
Change of Clothes
North American clothing and textile practices have long engaged in global networks. Our course will chart clothing’s centrality in the formation of American social, political, and economic identities and structures. By focusing on moments of change and crisis, we will explore the fashioning of transnational citizenship. Our topics will include: clothing as protest, transformable garments as humanitarian aid, wearable technology, fast fashion and global economies, and the (de)coding of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation in clothes. This course fulfills transnational methods (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 824
Comic Art in America 1895-Present
This course provides an introduction to Comic Art in North America, from the beginnings of the newspaper comic strip through the development of comic books, the growth of graphic novels, and current developments in electronic media. It focuses on the history and aesthetics of the medium, comparison between developments in the United States, Mexico, and French Canada, and the social and cultural contexts in which comic art is created and consumed. The first half of the semester concentrates on early and 20th-century comic strips and the development of the comic book form through the 1940s; the second on the social changes affecting comic art in the 1950s and 1960s, the development of a comic book subculture from the 1970s to the 21st century, the growth of independently published graphic novels and the independent comics, and contemporary electronic media developments. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 825
Museums, Visual Culture, and Critical Theory
This course aims to examine the issues brought up in key theoretical readings by applying their insights to case studies, particularly cases of museum exhibitions and programs. Issues to be addressed include: reproduction and spectacle; gender and display; ethnicity, 'primitivism,' and race; and sexuality, sexual practice, and censorship. Case studies will vary each year and will range from exhibitions focusing on consumption, to ethnicity and race (such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Pequot Museum), and sexuality (The Museum of Sex; the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibitions). Each class will combine theoretical readings with considerations of museum practice. By the end of the semester, students shall be able to analyze exhibitions using both the tools of postmodern theory and practical observation and history. This course fulfills the public humanities approach. This course meets the Public Humanities method requirement.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 826
Nuclear America
In this course we will explore large- and small-scale cultural landscapes as they have been shaped by nuclear power, weapons, transportation, and waste. Among these landscapes are towns created for making nuclear weapons; open-air testing sites; military complexes, such as ports, bases, airfields, and silos; the West’s uranium mines, and the land, water, and Native American territory polluted by radioactive tailings; nuclear reactor sites, from New England’s regional power plants to those in metropolitan areas; and land and offshore storage sites for nuclear waste. Besides the physical changes to the American landscape, nuclear sites involve extensive secrecy, exclusion, and policing, and they are invested with fraught meanings. We will explore nuclear America through history, geography, art, literature, and film.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 827
Sci Fi in the Archives: Post-War American Speculative Fiction
With the aid of the Loftus E. Becker collection in the Watkinson, this course will explore science fiction as an essential map of our post-war American empire. Fueled by dystopian and utopian impulses, artists like Ursula K. Le Guin and Ted Chiang evolved the genre from technological triumphalism into a devastating critique of a culture invested in weapons of mass destruction, alienating digitalization, and environmental collapse. While we read canonical works of post-1945 American science fiction for their aesthetic elements and ideological functions, we'll also map the genre's tangled publishing history and material traces via archival work at the Watkinson. This course meets the Archival method requirement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 830
Political Bodies: Contemporary Issues in Death and Dying in the United States
Death is an inevitable aspect of life, but practices of death and mourning vary culturally. How do we die in the United States? What is a "good death"? This course explores the many dimensions of death and dying in the United States from the evolving conceptions life-saving medicine to the alternative funeral industry and cultural alienation from dead bodies. It covers the inequities of death investigation and the social ramifications of the "CSI effect." Students learn about recent key milestones in the politicization of death such as the AIDS crisis, the passing of the North American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the mass disappearances of undocumented migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 835
Museum Exhibition
One of the most engaging ways to promote collections and explore a subject or theme is to create an exhibition, which is a genre in and of itself—telling a story with artifacts. Through critical readings students will explore the cultural and educational goals of exhibits, visitor needs and accessibility, design elements (including technology), and audience evaluation methods utilized at libraries, historic houses and historical sites, and history and cultural museums. Drawing from the extensive and wide-ranging collections in the Watkinson Library, students will conceive, write, and install an exhibition, design and publish a catalogue, and plan and implement an opening event to take place at the end of the semester in the Watkinson. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 839
Special Topics in Film: The Evolution of the Western Film
The course examines how the Western genre emerged from global popular culture at the end of the 19th century to become one of the most powerful and complex forms for expressing the experience of Modernity. After a careful consideration of the political and philosophical implications of the Western, we will track the development of the genre as it responds to the ideological contradictions and cultural tensions of 20th-century American history, focusing on broad trends within the mainstream, the contributions of individual directors, and the global dissemination of generic elements. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written after 1800, or a course emphasizing cultural contexts.
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 840
Autistic Blackness
How might autism and blackness be read alongside each other in a way that matters? By examining how the histories, lived experiences, and representations of autism and blackness intersect, it is possible to move beyond narrow understandings of both and create space for more diverse ways of being in our communities and in our world. What does it mean to recognize that autism is part of the neurodiversity of blackness historically and contemporaneously? What sort of creativity and meaning does the nonlabeled black autists presence add to our understanding blackness? We will examine this topic through an interdisciplinary lens that explores theoretical and historical perspectives of blackness, autism, and neurodiversity/neurodivergence, as well as primary sites of inquiry, including life writing, film, digital media, and performance/ (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 842
American Literary Modernism and the Great War
This course will consider the impact of the Great War on American literary modernism. Grappling with apocalyptic devastation in Europe, massive shifts in global politics, and dramatic changes in technology, the Lost Generation responded with enduring and enigmatic works, haunted by wounds both psychic and spiritual. We will consider canonical writings by Ernest Hemingway and e.e. cummings, lesser-known works by Jessie Redmon Fauset and Edith Wharton, and first person accounts by combatants such as Thomas Boyd. As our focus will be on introducing the aesthetics of modernism through the context of the war itself, we will study maps, songs, photographs, newspapers, and other historical materials alongside traditional literary objects. Assignments will include a creative research project, weekly responses, and short essays. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written after 1900. It is research intensive. This course fulfills archival approaches. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 845
Black Women Writers in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Through readings in various genres (fiction, essays, drama, poetry, memoir, etc.), this course examines how black women's literary production is informed by the experiences, conditions, identities, and histories of women of African descent in the U.S., including some who were born or have lived outside of the U.S. Among the recurring themes/issues we will discuss are the impact of class, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and geographical location on black women's writings, artistic visions, the politics and dynamics of black women's roles in families, communities, the nation, and across the globe. Writers vary each semester but may include: Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Roxanne Gay, Lorraine Hansberry, bell hooks, Nella Larsen, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Z.Z. Packer, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ann Petry, Tracy K. Smith, and Alice Walker. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 850
Race and Incarceration
#BlackLivesMatter has brought the intersection of race and the criminal justice system into public conversation, but race has been intertwined with imprisonment since American colonization. This course begins with the ways slavery and African Americans were policed by the state, and the history of American prisons. After the Civil War, freed black men and women sought equal rights and opportunities. In response, the justice system shifted to accommodate new forms of racial suppression. The course then considers civil rights activists' experiences with prisons, the War on Drugs' racial agenda, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which argued that the "prison-industrial complex" is the newest form of racial control. The course ends with current practices of, and challenges to, the criminal justice system. This course meets the Archival method requirement.
This course is open only to History and American Studies majors, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 853
The Rise and Fall of American Slavery
This course covers important themes and developments in the history of slavery in the United States. From origins in indigenous communities, colonization, and the black Atlantic, human bondage shaped (and continues to shape) the legal and social framework for generations of Americans. Readings feature voices from slaveholders to the enslaved, politicians and activists, as well as some of the best work done by recent historians. This course fulfills transnational approaches. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 854
The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877
This course examines not only the military dimensions of the war years but also such topics as politics in the Union and the Confederacy, the presidential leadership of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, women in the Union and Confederate war efforts, and the struggle over emancipation. The latter part of the course considers post-war political, social, and economic developments, including nearly four million African Americans' transition from slavery to freedom, the conflict over how to reconstruct the former Confederate states, the establishment of bi-racial governments in those states, and the eventual overthrow of Reconstruction by conservative white "Redeemers." Lectures and discussions. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 857
Tough Guys & Bad Girls: 20th Century American Crime Fiction
Crime fiction has been an amazingly resilient and pliable genre, a cultural barometer registering revisions to cultural fantasies about knowledge and power, sex and gender, race and ethnicity, violence and freedom. Its character types are interwoven into the fabric of popular culture, from the detective to the sociopath, the femme fatale to the street tough. This course will trace an alternative American history through the brutal, lurid, and stylish crime fiction of the 20th century. We will explore its pulp roots through Dashiell Hammett, its modernist peaks with Raymond Chandler, its post-war weirdness in Chester Himes and Patricia Highsmith, and its contemporary renaissance by George Pelecanos. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 859
Orphans and Others: Family Identity in Early American Literature
From cross-dressing sailors and adventurers to castaways and runaways, early American literature is filled with narratives of reinvention—sometimes by choice, often by necessity. In this course we will look at the peril and promise of such reinvention as various figures reimagine their relation to a social order organized by family lineage and paternal descent. For some the Americas (at least theoretically) presented a world of new possibilities while for others this was a dangerous and isolating place. Our readings will include novels, autobiographical narratives, confessions, and other literary accounts. This seminar is research-intensive. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 868
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
Nothing that precedes them in the American literary tradition quite prepares us for the poems of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. We will steep ourselves in the verse of these two literary iconoclasts. At the same time, we will trace the critical history of both, reading essays from the 19th century to the present which have made the complex works and lives of Whitman and Dickinson more legible. The final class period will be reserved for reading selections from 20th-century poets -- not all of them American -- who have openly professed a debt to Whitman's and Dickinson's experimental and often exhilarating poems. Note: English 468-06 and English 868-16 are the same course. For undergraduate English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 870
Native American Art and Storytelling
This seminar examines Native American Indian narrative artistic, pictorial, and literary traditions from North and Central America.Such traditions are inseparable from culture and performance, community and nation, human life and the physical world. The visual and tactile media considered include pictorial manuscripts, ceramics, bead- and shellwork, textiles, photographs, and paintings. The seminar will be interdisciplinary, with each unit including analyses of texts and visual materials and readings on aesthetics, translation, memory, and appropriation. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 874
Race and Realism: African American Literature Before the Harlem Renaissance
Coming of age in the ruins of Reconstruction, the encroachment of Jim Crow laws, and waves of great migration, African American writers of the early 20th century shaped American literature in powerful and often-forgotten ways. Their texts, published in the decades before the Harlem Renaissance, offer an opportunity to consider how people produce literature under the pressures of structural racism; how art might respond to the terrorism of state sanctioned violence; how genres might stretch to articulate the psychological complexities of social and self identities; and how writers appeal to audiences, construct communities, forge friendships, and speak truth to power, despite institutional ambivalence and resistance to their voices. Course readings will come from Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Alice Dunbar Nelson, WEB Du Bois and others. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written post-1900. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 876
The U.S. Civil War and Its Afterimage
More than 150 years after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, the United States is plainly still engaged in some of that era’s conflicts. This course examines representations of the historical event known as the Civil War and the enduring controversies its memory provokes. By studying the work of novelists, poets, short-story writers, and filmmakers from the 1860s through the present, students in this course will consider how—and to what ends—the memory of the Civil War has been fashioned, revised, and invoked by Americans of the several generations since. In addition to reading an array of literary texts, students will develop individual research projects and examine other registers of public memory, including war memorials, historic sites, museum exhibits, and popular culture. This course fulfills the public humanities approach.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 879
Revolutionary Generations: American Literature 1740-1820
Hannah Arendt suggested that the United States failed to remember its revolutionary tradition because it failed to talk about it. This course will recover those memories by reading the texts that founded the American rebellion, the intense arguments made in the aftermath of independence, and the passionate creative works produced in the wake of revolution. We will look beyond the context of New England to consider the roles played by Africa and the Caribbean in the cultural imagination, and we will trace how social class, race, and gender inflected the constitution of American identities in a post-1776 world. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing literature written between 1700-1900. This course is research-intensive. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 880
New England Landscapes
This course concerns historical geographies of New England, or the meeting of nature and human agency in “developing” the land and waters of the region. It explores such iconic landscapes as Native American fields and villages; New England’s villages and commons; farms, fields, factories, and forests; free-flowing and dammed rivers; seaports; cities; and tourist destinations. We will attempt to understand both how this region has been imagined and how its changing, often contested landscapes have been related to the political economy, social identities (such as class, race, and gender), and cultural values, metrics, and desires.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 881
Coffee Power and Cultures
Coffee has long connected and stratified communities globally and locally. This course will investigate how coffee has played central roles in the formation of power structures, politics, and relations worldwide. We will explore how coffee houses have brewed revolutions, from the American patriots to women suffragists to colonial Singaporeans. Our studies will also focus on early production and trade practices, including slavery and the triangular trade, to more recent developments, such as organic and fair trade coffees. Additional discussions will cover coffee as a status symbol and conspicuous consumption, the bean to cup movement, coffee and gender construction, and the meanings of coffee places, as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage spaces to third spaces. We will hold several class meetings off campus.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 894
Museums and Communities Internship
Matriculated American studies students have the opportunity to engage in an academic internship at an area museum or archive for credit toward the American studies degree. Interested students should contact the Office of Graduate Studies for more information.
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 896
U.S. Empire and the Asia/Pacific Wars
U.S. military involvement in Asia and the Pacific Islands has impacted the experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander communities and their diaspora since the late nineteenth century. In this seminar, students study the history of the Asia/Pacific wars and investigate the consequences of U.S. militarism, empire, and settler colonialism in Asia and the Pacific Islands via individual research projects. Together we will examine historical narratives, government documents, and cultural texts (films, literature, musicals) to understand how U.S. wars in the Asia/Pacific region have informed notions of race, indigeneity, gender, and empire both at home and abroad. The course brings together scholarship from the fields of American Studies, Asian American Studies, Pacific Indigenous Studies, and East Asian Studies. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 940
Independent Study
Selected topics in special areas are available by arrangement with the instructor and written approval of the graduate adviser and program director. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the special approval form.
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 953
Research Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, graduate students may do an independent research project on a topic in American studies. Written approval of the graduate adviser and the program director are required. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the special approval form.
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 954
Thesis Part I
(The two course credits are considered pending in Part I of the thesis; they will be awarded with the completion of Part II.)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 955
Thesis Part II
(Continuation of American Studies 954.)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 956
Thesis
(Completion of two course credits in one semester).
2.00 units, Independent Study