Course Catalog for AMERICAN STUDIES
AMST 200
Environmental Movements
This course critically examines the histories, development, and contemporary work of environmental movements in the United States. Utilizing a combination of primary and secondary texts in connection with multiple movements, ranging from conservation and sustainability movements to environmental justice movements, the course will explore the variety of issues, goals, and methods movements have pursued as well as the connections, interactions, and relations of power between different environmental movements. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
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
This course introduces the key questions, frameworks, and methodologies of American Studies through the lens of a specific decade in US history. How have dynamics of race, gender, and class formed in relation to one another, and how did they intersect during this decade? How have Black, Indigenous, and immigrant peoples in the United States negotiated and resisted these dynamics via social movements and cultural production? Topics of study may include: slavery, colonialism, immigration, gender and sexuality, capitalism, and war. Students explore these themes through primary and cultural texts such as literature, film, popular culture, and political documents. Together, we study this decade with the understanding that these histories did not begin or end during this period; rather, they continue to structure American society today. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 204
Central American Immigration to the US: History and Contemporary Situation
This course will survey the history of immigration patterns from the five countries of Central America to the U.S. between the early 19th century and the current decade in the context of Latin American history. The countries that will be surveyed are: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The methodological emphasis in the lectures will be comparative. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 209
African-American History
Moving chronologically, we will begin with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade on the coast of West Africa that wrought the beginnings of African America and follow the stories of their descendants on these lands. As much we uncover from what roots and waters Black people emerge, we will also learn of how they have survived in a nation-state where their lifelessness is imminent. Over a span of four hundred years, they have made themselves. We will follow their courageous and deliberate formation of a rich cultural heritage, as well as their construction of a complex body of social and political ideas about the contradictory nature of American democracy and the position of Black people within it. (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 219
Planet Earth: Past, Present and Future
This course explores the effect of the natural world on human history and of humans on the natural world. Our focus is on the earth as a global system. We begin with a consideration of human and natural histories in deep time, well before the written record, and offer an argument for why those histories matter. We then examine how the historical past can be understood in the context of these planetary themes, reframing familiar events in ancient and modern history by highlighting major natural changes that accompanied them, such as the redistribution of plants and animals, the fluctuation of climate, and the development of planet-altering technologies. The course culminates in a consideration of the future planetary conditions that past and present actions may cause. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 220
Possible Earths: Histories and Cultures of Environmental Thought
This seminar examines environmental thinking across histories and cultures in order to retrieve sources of hope and wisdom for a planetary future. Reading and discussion will foreground current humanity's vast inheritance when it comes to ways of existing in community with and knowing a living planet. Students will look critically at how texts, images, objects, and practices are historical evidence of the many ways humans have imagined natural communities and acted within them. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 223
The Prison & Public Humanities
The United States has the world's largest prison population. This course interrogates the structures and processes that have led to this calamitous condition. It introduces students to public humanities approaches to understanding the problem of mass incarceration. It prepares students for engaged public intellectual work in oral history, journalism, and social justice advocacy, among other creative applications. Through readings, lectures, and original research, students will acquire an inventory of concepts, including: systemic racism, the carceral state, policing, and security. Throughout the course, we will ask: How have carceral resolutions of social and economic crisis been legitimated? How have public humanities scholars challenged dominant definitions of mass incarceration? Together, we will explore the dimensions of the problem and what ethical and political alternatives might be possible. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 228
Scandals in American Sports
Sports have long generated public debate on a variety of issues, from the ethics of competition to the spending of money on events like the Olympics and World Cup. This is never truer than in moments of scandal. In this course, students will address sports scandals in United States history, with a focus on what they can teach us about the culture and politics of a given era. In the process, students will consider the racial, class, and gender dynamics surrounding the ethics of sports. From baseball's "Black Sox" of the 1910s to the "doping" episodes of recent decades, we will continue to ask a question that is both social and personal: What is right and wrong? (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. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 238
Race and Speculative Fiction
Science fiction and fantasy are powerful ways of imagining the world, both as it should or could be and as a cautionary example of what it might become. From Afrofuturism to Indigenous Futurism, contemporary writers of color are using the fantastic to challenge oppressive structures and imagine different ways of being in the world. In this course we will examine the work of African American writers such as Octavia Butler, Asian American writers such as Ted Chiang, and Indigenous writers such as Cherie Dimaline, Louise Erdrich, and Stephen Graham Jones, who use this genre both to explore alternative histories and also to offer a redemptive vision of a future in which alternative ways of being in the world have the potential to save us all. (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 255
Dancing for the Camera 1897-2025
Dancing for the Camera 1897-2025 examines the history of dance created for the camera, from early film through Hollywood musicals, Bollywood, TikTok, and Instagram as well as posing questions about the future of the form. The course focuses on becoming critical viewers while watching film, reading scholarly texts, writing papers, and creating our own screendance as a mode of historical inquiry. The course fulfills the theater and dance history requirements for Theater and Dance Majors. (ART)
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 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 268
Black Inner Lives
Prevailing understandings of Black life, read Black expression through a social, public lens. Their cultures, embodiments, and ideologies are often cast as responses to institutions and forms of protest. Often placed in conversation with worlds outside of themselves and their communities, they are cast as either disrupting a space, or transforming it. But what of Black life outside of public expression? This course complicates our conceptions of Black culture by tracing the inner lives of Black Americans. Focusing on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and drawing from multidisciplinary works - we will trace their aspirations, longings, imaginations, as well as their fears, across race, gender, class, and time. With an emphasis on the intimate, we will redefine our sense of Black people's relationship to resistance. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 271
Decentering and Re-centering History: Anthropology of Museums
From children's movie backdrops to contemporary news headlines, museums continue to capture our public attention as cultural spaces of fantastical object storytelling and contested object ownership. What might the future of the (re)making of museum spaces tell us about the future of our relationships to social institutions and how we remember the past? We will shift between lenses of research and practice to consider issues of community engagement, digitization, and climate resiliency. We will materially trace and analyze the complex, often difficult historical legacies of these cultural institutions from a global case-study perspective. We will explore the diverse ways in which museums are being called on today to re-imagine the work that they do and the stories that they tell. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 272
Mapping Arts Economies
How does one sustain a life in the arts? How do artistic, curatorial, philanthropic, academic, and community practices relate to one another and to the organizational structures that support them? How is success defined? Where are the points of entry, and who are the gatekeepers? What is the role of place? Designed for practicing and aspiring artists, arts administrators, curators, cultural critics, and advocates, we employ ecological frameworks to consider the evolution of existing arts infrastructures and our place in their futures. Through readings, group discussions, off-campus engagement with industry practitioners, place-based research, and culminating project proposals, we imagine holistic and innovative approaches to sustained arts engagement that respond to social, cultural, and economic realities. (ARTW)
1.00 units, Seminar
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. (HUM)
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 283
The Craft & Culture of HBO's Euphoria
The course will explore how the show effectively uses stylized colors, lighting, technology, fashion, and settings to create a surreal and nostalgic lens for which to explore mature themes. Specifically, the aesthetics of Euphoria give voice and connection to 'out of touch' identities. We will discuss how the aesthetics and cinematography help the viewer see the world through the eyes of many different identities and ultimately subvert glamorized assumptions about high school culture. Cultural/social issues addressed include the complexities and tolls of addiction (both on the addicted and their family/friends), sexuality, abuse, gender identity, mental health, the trappings of social media, and abusive relationships. Sadly, due to the recent passing of Euphoria star Angus Cloud, we will also take time to discuss art mirroring life and vice versa. (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 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 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 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 314
Global Radicalism
In the early twentieth century, struggles against racism, capitalism, and colonialism, encircled the globe. From Irish republicanism in Dublin, Bolshevism in Moscow, revolution in Mexico City, to anti-lynching crusades in Birmingham, these movements represented the largest waves of rebellion sustained by the global economy. This seminar offers an overview of these struggles and spaces. Through examination of primary and secondary sources, students will consider radical social movements from distinct yet overlapping traditions. We will discuss how radicals confronted issues of racism, gender, and nationalism in their revolutionary theories. Taking a uniquely spatial approach, we will observe how geographies of accumulation emerged alongside sites of global resistance. Throughout we will consider these debates' contemporary relevance, observing how global radicalism might be charted in our present world. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 315
Abolition: A Global History
Over the past decade, a new word has emerged in the lexicon of struggle: abolition. Alongside calls to "Abolish prisons," "Abolish ICE," and "Abolish borders," organizers have challenged the horizons of political possibility. This class considers contemporary debates while situating them in a long global history. We will study how definitions of freedom, the state, and human rights have been shaped by struggles to abolish slavery in tandem with Indigenous struggles against settler colonialism. We will learn how abolition has long been defined not simply as the negation of untenable violence but as an affirmation of alternative ways of being. By engaging American Studies and Human Rights scholarship on incarceration, disability, racism, gender and sexuality, we will deepen our understanding of this language of struggle. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 316
Freedom & Confinement: Narratives of Captivity in Early America
Even as America defines itself as "the land of the free," narratives of confinement have a prominent place in our national literature. In this class we will begin to explore this conundrum, focusing our attention on early American texts in which confinement operates as a structuring principle. We will explore ideas of imprisonment and captivity from colonial America through the nineteenth century, looking at such texts as criminal narratives compiled by ministers and others, captivity narratives, slave narratives, prison writing, and early American novels, among other texts. Along the way we will touch on issues of race and gender as well as institutions of confinement including slavery, prisons and even schools in early America, using appropriate theoretical models to frame our conversations. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
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
An island uniquely characterized by a liminal political status and a dominant stateside diaspora, the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been the subject of renewed national attention in the wake of the devastating 2017 Hurricane María and the 2019 "Verano Boricua" which saw the ousting of the governor, Ricardo Rosselló. This course interrogates Puerto Rican culture on its own terms - shifting from traditional definitions of identity formation to contemporary critiques centering historically marginalized communities amidst ongoing climate and economic precarity. Students will work hands-on analyzing diverse (im)material cultural productions, originating from the island and stateside diasporas. Students will engage with Puerto Rican cultural workers as they develop new, critical understandings of the island's cultural legacy and its future. (GLB5)
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 323
Grounded Ways of Knowing: Spatial Politics & Activist Research
Renowned popular educator Paulo Freire once warned of teaching with false impartiality, treating societies under study as if one was not also a "participant in it." He sought to challenge the divides separating spaces of learning from the process of learning itself. In this seminar, we will consider the questions Freire sought to ask and answer. By engaging texts in American Studies and Human Rights we will interrogate the spatial, epistemological, and social divides between the places in which we learn and the spaces we inhabit to do so. Through readings and discussion, we will consider how we might observe, engage, and challenge those divides. Students will produce a final project that interrogates these divisions as well as the many ways they might be transgressed. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 324
Gender and Global Politics
This course will examine gender roles and relations of power in international and transnational politics. The course focuses on the constructions of gender difference, experiences of women and LGBTQ+ people, as well as efforts to transform uneven or unjust gendered relations of power in global politics. We will further consider how gender, in combination with constructs of race, class, sexuality, nationality, and citizenship, serves as a basis for political organization, the distribution of power and resources, and participation in global politics. Topics covered will include conflict, security, economic globalization, labor, migration, environment, human rights, humanitarian intervention, nation-building, and transnational justice. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 327
Racial Capitalism
This course introduces students to critical theories of racial and class formation. Students will trace how modern racial and labor regimes came into being and how, in turn, they have impacted contemporary debates about capitalism, white nationalism, and populism. Through readings by key theorists in American Studies, students will interrogate new and evolving theories of racial capitalism. Course discussions will explore how critiques of racial capitalism have emerged out of Black freedom, anticolonial, labor, feminist, queer of color, and immigrant struggles. Throughout the course, we will screen films and engage primary sources that inform these debates. By the end of the course, students will be able to define and describe the relationships between racism, capitalism, accumulation, dispossession, and the state's regulation of gender and sexuality. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 329
Civil War Literature
In this course, we will learn about the literary culture of the Civil War era (by reading Louisa May Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman, among others) and also consider broader questions about how we read, value, and remember literary works. What makes a text "Civil War literature"? Must it have been written during the U.S. Civil War, or about events of that war, or by a person who participated in the war? And do we understand literature differently when we organize it around a historical event rather than forms, genres, or authors? We will engage with the most recent scholarship on the subject and converse (in person or via Skype) with some of the nation's leading experts on Civil War literature. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
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 332
Beyond the Ivory Tower: Critical Studies in Higher Ed
Upon graduation you will be forever tied to Trinity College. Yet, during your time here, you have little opportunity to learn about higher education itself. This course will change that. While colleges and universities are often understood as "ivory towers," insulated from the "real world," institutions of higher education actually sit at the center of today's politics and economy. How did we get here? With a focus on Trinity, this class explores the impact of higher education on communities both on and off campus. Together we question whether higher education, in its current form, was inevitable. We also explore whether other paths are possible. Key themes include: land acknowledgments, academic freedom, the knowledge economy, sexual assault, student debt, academic labor, campus policing, and community engagement. (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 337
Critical Ethnic Studies
This course considers the relational formation of race in the United States, including its intersection with dynamics such as indigeneity, gender, sexuality, and class. We analyze race as both a social construction that contributes to differentiated access to power and privilege, and as an identity and source of solidarity, community, and political agency. We study the roots of racial capitalism in histories of slavery and settler colonialism. We examine transnational dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality as they circulate via global migration and US imperial expansion. With this relational understanding, we explore histories of and possibilities for antiracist, feminist, and decolonial social movements and cultural production. This interdisciplinary course brings together historical, theoretical, and cultural texts. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
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 340
American Adaptations: Contemporary Writers take on Early America
This course will look at the ways American writers from the nineteenth century to the present have mythologized an early American moment, looking to the past to critique or celebrate American identity through fiction and poetry. We will focus on texts concerned with early America, from works like Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter to twentieth-century texts like I, Tituba by Maryse Conde and A Mercy by Toni Morrison. By focusing on the historical and literary context for such works, including pivotal moments like the Salem witch trials, King Philip's War, and the American Revolution and writers like Mary Rowlandson and Phillis Wheatley, we will frame our discussion of the ways the past usefully informs current conversations around race, identity, and belonging. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 344
The 1980s
When we think of the 1980s, certain things might come to mind: synthesizer music, action movie heroes, bright clothes, side ponytails, and other pop-culture markers. Yet the decade also featured a number of crucial developments and conflicts, from the Cold War to the War on Drugs, that set much of the foundation for American life today. This course will address the U.S. in the 1980s through a wide lens, surveying popular culture, global interactions, and political struggles related to race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. In the process, students will learn how a "gnarly" decade featured ongoing struggle over the conditions, and meanings, of the American nation. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
AMST 347
Politics of Indigeneity and Sovereignty
With a focus on contemporary issues, this course will examine the complex legacies of colonialism, survival, and resistance in North American indigenous movements for sovereignty. We will analyze current discourses and practices of sovereignty in relation to land, citizenship, ecology, economic development, justice, and politics of gender and race. This analysis will also consider the ways in which indigenous communities in North America engage with indigenous movements globally under contemporary structures of international and transnational politics. Utilizing specific historical events, legal cases, and social movements of significance to contemporary politics of indigeneity and sovereignty, the course will critically examine how diverse forms of oppression, resistance, and transformation shape the struggles for self-governance. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 349
Global Migration/Refugee Resettlement Lab
Provides an experiential-based introduction to the practical challenges of refugee and immigrant resettlement and integration and to the development of effective policies and implementation strategies to address them. Students will be placed with a community-based organization working with immigrants and refugees 10-12 hours a week and attend (weekly or biweekly) seminar class meetings to integrate their onsite learning experience and responsibilities with discussions of assigned readings and relevant concepts in participatory action research and diaspora studies. Seminar meetings will be organized around enrolled students' existing class schedules. (GLB5)
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 this process, including 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. (HUM)
This course is not open to first-year or sophomore students without instructor consent.
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 352
Black Power/Red power: A "Long Movement" Approach to Black and Indigenous Social Movement History
Heeding recent scholars' calls to place Black Studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies in more active dialogue with each other, this seminar examines the Black Power and Red Power movements. Students will engage both primary and secondary sources, and attend to the ways in which these movements rejected the possibility of Black and Indigenous incorporation into the American polity and instead called for self-determination and political autonomy. Instead of limiting our consideration of Black Power and Red Power to the late 1960s and 1970s, we will take a "long movement" approach to thinking about these movements. Topics covered will include: sovereignty and self-determination, land and community control, revolutionary violence and self-defense, gender and sexuality; and solidarity. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 354
Black American Women's History
In this course, through lectures, readings, and discussion - we will follow the lives of Black women in America - a people enslaved by European powers - and then held in the bellies of ships that would sojourn through and across the Atlantic Ocean. Upon arrival to North American soil, their stationing as nonhumans would be solidified. We will trace how this intersectional, racial and gendered status, has followed them through the generations. Centrally, we will tend to the ways and means by which Black women have endeavored to live free and make a way of out of no way. We will unearth the ways in which the margins are, as scholar bell hooks states, "a position and place of resistance." (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. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 356
Black Neurodiversity and Neurodivergence
This seminar explores the stigma of Black neurodivergence and neurodiversity in mainstream and marginalized communities and cultures in the U.S. as well as in select Black diasporic contexts. It examines how the historical pathologization of Black bodies and minds, at least as far back as enslavement, informs contemporary understandings and treatment of Black neurodivergence and neurodiversity. Students will consider various representational sites of Black neurodivergence and diversity, such as the current mental health crisis that has impacted the Black population disproportionally. They will also explore how past and present discriminatory practices have contributed to the notion of Black inferiority and how idealized constructions of able-bodiedness and neurotypicality have been equated with white supremacy and have reinforced the historical conflation of anti-Black and ableist discourse. By examining how Black-disabled intersectionality informs a variety of counternarratives in fiction, poetry, film, and performance, the class works toward a fuller understanding of the shared humanity and overlapping histories that bind us as citizens of the nation and of the world. (HUM)
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 360
Walden
Henry David Thoreau is popularly regarded as a pioneer of social distancing, but his work speaks to contemporary life in other ways, too. He followed his conscience into conflict with federal law. He studied the natural world so fastidiously that scientists use his journals to document global warming. He made flawed but uncommonly earnest efforts to understand North America's indigenous history. This course takes WALDEN as the starting point for an intellectual exploration ranging from Thoreau's medieval Japanese precursor Kamo No Chomei to debates still raging about him today. Students will get to follow-or carve out for themselves-one of many paths of inquiry Thoreau's work inspires, including Ecology & Climate, Ethics & Political Resistance, Transcendentalism & Eastern Philosophy, or Indigeneity & Deep History. (HUMW)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 371
Excavating Island Futures: Archaeology of the Caribbean
Moving beyond popular tropes of archaeology as an Indiana Jones adventure and of the Caribbean as a tourist playground, this course explores the material realities of archaeological practice in the study of past island culture and society. Through a multi-site case-study approach, the course considers uncertain future dynamics entangling economic and climate precarity, and questions of colonial debts and sovereignty with methods of cultural management and historical preservation. We will critically trace the historical legacies of archaeological excavation in and theoretical framings about the Caribbean. We will examine how archaeology has and continues to powerfully impact contemporary art. Students will learn to identify and analyze a wide range of Caribbean artifact types and assemblages across diverse temporal and geographic contexts. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
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. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
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. (HUM)
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
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. This course counts towards the spatial requirement. (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
Senior Seminar: Race, Gender, and Global Security
Recent events have focused attention on questions of race, gender, social justice, and the militarization of police. This course will consider how notions of race and security that evolved in the late 20th and early 21st century U.S., have shaped political discourse, and how in turn, those ideas have circulated around the world. Through analyses of American Studies texts, documentaries, and popular culture, we will consider both emerging and prevailing definitions of security. By examining case studies in major global cities, including Los Angeles, we will explore how space has been organized around the logics of racialized threats and gendered notions of safety. For a cumulative paper, students will select a global city and offer history, context, and analysis of the production of insecure spaces. (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 422
The 19th Century: War, Colonialism, Capitalism
How might we consider US wars of the nineteenth century - including the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, and the Philippine-American War - as intertwined with histories of settler colonialism, slavery, capitalism, and overseas empire? Experiences of war impacted Indigenous, Black, and immigrant civilians and soldiers in the US continent and overseas. As the abolition of slavery led to new forms of racialized labor exploitation and innovations in industry contributed to US militarization and westward expansion, laborers negotiated and resisted changing capitalist systems. Wars over territory invented and shifted borderlands, leading Indigenous and immigrant communities to realign national and tribal identifications in the face of new regimes of racialization. We will consider these themes by reading in American studies, Critical Ethnic studies, Indigenous studies, and US history. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 425
Curating Conversations in the Public Humanities
Scholars in the public humanities are able to facilitate conversations across multiple divides: between disciplines, over different institutional spaces, and in traditional and non-traditional sites of knowledge production. This seminar trains students how to curate such conversations. Through readings and discussion, students will learn a variety of critical theories and methodological approaches to develop their own public humanities projects. Along with key texts, students will learn to engage different forms of evidence such as expressive culture, social movement periodicals, oral histories, museum exhibitions, podcasts, and digital archives By the end of the semester, students will demonstrate a critical understanding of public humanities theories and practices; develop research, writing, and curating skills; and present a project to a panel of researchers, educators, and activists. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 432
Toni Morrison's BELOVED: Past, Present, Future
This seminar interrogates the text and contexts of Toni Morrison's powerful and challenging novel, Beloved, bringing historical, theoretical, and cultural analysis to bear on a single work of fiction. We will consider how Morrison crafted a story about the horrors of slavery, as well as the value of excavating stories deemed unspeakable or illegible. This course surveys critical responses to Morrison's work and considers how contemporary theories of racial formation and embodied blackness inform the novel. We will also address the novel's representation of themes that speak to Black racial formations not only in the wake of slavery, but also in the context of contemporary topics such as migration, trauma and healing, neurodiversity, radical self-love, and Afro-environmentalism. (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 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 446
Communities in/of Practice: Public Engaged Scholarship as Method
What is the ethical role of research in our contemporary society? How can research implicate and impact broader publics beyond academic stakeholders through mutually beneficial partnerships? This course critically interrogates the relationship between the researcher and the researched; and explores the broader, more creative possibilities of scholarly practice beyond traditional forms of writing. Students will acquire experience and fluency with a wide variety of digital humanities platforms as they gain new understandings of best practices for developing storytelling of community value and relevance. Students will also engage both with diverse case-studies of public engaged scholarship as well as collaborate directly with current practitioners actively applying their academic research towards timely social issues. (SOC)
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 this process, including 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. (HUM)
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 463
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 465
Decolonial Feminist Theory
This course surveys decolonial feminist thought prevalent in feminist and decolonial discourses in the United States. Readings will consider relevant histories and legacies of settler colonialism and decolonization, enslavement and abolition, labor, migration, reproduction, and nation-state building in the construction of different lineages in decolonial feminist thought. The course will also explore how decolonial feminist theory has contributed to numerous academic fields of study such as history, law, literature, and politics, among others. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available online, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment. Guidelines are available in the College Bulletin. (0.5 - 1 course credit) (HUM)
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
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
Sports, Identity, and Global Capitalism
Using transnational methods in American Studies, this course addresses the intersection of sports, global capitalism, and identity, with a focus on how capitalism (as a set of logics and processes) has shaped identity formation on fields, courts, and beyond. We will address such identity categories as nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality as (re)formed through sports. We will also examine how global-capitalist logic has shaped the experiences of athlete-laborers, fans, and even those who may seem to have little connection to the games. All of these processes take place in the form of spectacle, rendering mass-mediated sports a crucial purveyor, or "mirror," of social ideas. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 490
Research Assistantship
This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to undertake substantial research work with a faculty member. Students need to complete a special registration form, available online, and have it signed by the supervising instructor. (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
This course is the first part of a two semester, two credit thesis. Submission of the special registration form 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. (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
This course is the second part of a two semester, two credit thesis. Submission of the special registration form 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. (HUM)
1.00 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. (HUM)
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. (HUM)
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. This course counts towards the spatial requirement. (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
Senior Seminar: Race, Gender, and Global Security
Recent events have focused attention on questions of race, gender, social justice, and the militarization of police. This course will consider how notions of race and security that evolved in the late 20th and early 21st century U.S., have shaped political discourse, and how in turn, those ideas have circulated around the world. Through analyses of American Studies texts, documentaries, and popular culture, we will consider both emerging and prevailing definitions of security. By examining case studies in major global cities, including Los Angeles, we will explore how space has been organized around the logics of racialized threats and gendered notions of safety. For a cumulative paper, students will select a global city and offer history, context, and analysis of the production of insecure spaces. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 814
Global Radicalism
In the early twentieth century, struggles against racism, capitalism, and colonialism, encircled the globe. From Irish republicanism in Dublin, Bolshevism in Moscow, revolution in Mexico City, to anti-lynching crusades in Birmingham, these movements represented the largest waves of rebellion sustained by the global economy. This seminar offers an overview of these struggles and spaces. Through examination of primary and secondary sources, students will consider radical social movements from distinct yet overlapping traditions. We will discuss how radicals confronted issues of racism, gender, and nationalism in their revolutionary theories. Taking a uniquely spatial approach, we will observe how geographies of accumulation emerged alongside sites of global resistance. Throughout we will consider these debates' contemporary relevance, observing how global radicalism might be charted in our present world. (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 822
Beyond the Ivory Tower: Critical Studies in Higher Ed
Upon graduation you will be forever tied to Trinity College. Yet, during your time here, you have little opportunity to learn about higher education itself. This course will change that. While colleges and universities are often understood as "ivory towers," insulated from the "real world," institutions of higher education actually sit at the center of today's politics and economy. How did we get here? With a focus on Trinity, this class explores the impact of higher education on communities both on and off campus. Together we question whether higher education, in its current form, was inevitable. We also explore whether other paths are possible. Key themes include: land acknowledgments, academic freedom, the knowledge economy, sexual assault, student debt, academic labor, campus policing, and community engagement. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 825
Curating Conversations in the Public Humanities
Scholars in the public humanities are able to facilitate conversations across multiple divides: between disciplines, over different institutional spaces, and in traditional and non-traditional sites of knowledge production. This seminar trains students how to curate such conversations. Through readings and discussion, students will learn a variety of critical theories and methodological approaches to develop their own public humanities projects. Along with key texts, students will learn to engage different forms of evidence such as expressive culture, social movement periodicals, oral histories, museum exhibitions, podcasts, and digital archives By the end of the semester, students will demonstrate a critical understanding of public humanities theories and practices; develop research, writing, and curating skills; and present a project to a panel of researchers, educators, and activists. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 832
Toni Morrison's BELOVED: Past, Present, Future
This seminar interrogates the text and contexts of Toni Morrison's powerful and challenging novel, Beloved, bringing historical, theoretical, and cultural analysis to bear on a single work of fiction. We will consider how Morrison crafted a story about the horrors of slavery, as well as the value of excavating stories deemed unspeakable or illegible. This course surveys critical responses to Morrison's work and considers how contemporary theories of racial formation and embodied blackness inform the novel. We will also address the novel's representation of themes that speak to Black racial formations not only in the wake of slavery, but also in the context of contemporary topics such as migration, trauma and healing, neurodiversity, radical self-love, and Afro-environmentalism. (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. (HUM)
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 846
Communities in/of Practice: Public Engaged Scholarship as Method
What is the ethical role of research in our contemporary society? How can research implicate and impact broader publics beyond academic stakeholders through mutually beneficial partnerships? This course critically interrogates the relationship between the researcher and the researched; and explores the broader, more creative possibilities of scholarly practice beyond traditional forms of writing. Students will acquire experience and fluency with a wide variety of digital humanities platforms as they gain new understandings of best practices for developing storytelling of community value and relevance. Students will also engage both with diverse case-studies of public engaged scholarship as well as collaborate directly with current practitioners actively applying their academic research towards timely social issues. (SOC)
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 this process, including 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. (HUM)
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 863
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 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 871
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 works by twenty-first century writers and artists, 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 our own time. 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. (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 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
Sports, Identity, and Global Capitalism
Using transnational methods in American Studies, this course addresses the intersection of sports, global capitalism, and identity, with a focus on how capitalism (as a set of logics and processes) has shaped identity formation on fields, courts, and beyond. We will address such identity categories as nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality as (re)formed through sports. We will also examine how global-capitalist logic has shaped the experiences of athlete-laborers, fans, and even those who may seem to have little connection to the games. All of these processes take place in the form of spectacle, rendering mass-mediated sports a crucial purveyor, or "mirror," of social ideas. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
AMST 894
Museums and Communities Internship
Matriculated American studies students have the opportunity to engage in an 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. (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
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. (HUM)
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. (HUM)
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.) (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 955
Thesis Part II
(Continuation of American Studies 954.) (HUM)
1.00 units, Independent Study
AMST 956
Thesis
(Completion of two course credits in one semester). (HUM)
2.00 units, Independent Study