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American Studies


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Fall 2009 American Studies Courses at Rose Hill









Fall 2009 American Studies courses at Rose Hill

AMST 3010-R01              Approaches to American Studies  Hendler, G                             T 2:30-4:30
An introduction to the interdisciplinary perspectives and methods of American studies, required of all American Studies majors and minors, and typically taken in the junior year. In this course, students will gain: knowledge about the history of American studies as an interdisciplinary movement--its major schools of thought, some of its influential figures, recent and emergent developments, and the conflicts and controversies that have animated work in the field; Understanding of several of the methodologies American studies scholars use to analyze American culture; awareness of some of the major theories that influence and underpin American studies scholarship. In the end, students will have developed the skills and knowledge necessary both for informed, rigorous reading of current publications in the field and for the production of original research of their own in future classes, including (for majors) the senior thesis. This year, the course is organized around a theme that has been central to American Studies for over half a century: technology. From Leo Marx’s 1964 book The Machine in the Garden to current cutting-edge scholarship on imperialism, empire, and subjectivity in a recent special issue of American Quarterly, scholars have used interdisciplinary methodologies to explore the role of technology and technological change in American culture. Over the course of the semester we will trace the history of American studies scholars’ engagement with technology, explore the methodological and theoretical tools they have deployed in their analyses, assess the value of various keywords they have used to interpret culture and technology, and accumulate an archive of primary sources—texts, sites, events, figures, and objects—that help us ask new questions about American culture.

AMST 3500-R01              The Senior Seminar                           Kim,J/LaBennett, O            R 2:30-4:30          
A team-taught seminar, drawing on faculty in different areas of American Studies, the seminar provides a focused exploration of some aspect of American history and culture and forms the basis of the senior essay. The theme for this year's Senior Seminar is "Race and Youth Culture." This course will introduce students to some of the theories and methods of cultural studies, focusing in particular on the intersections of race and global youth culture.  We will familiarize ourselves with some influential theories of racial formation, as well as with approaches and debates surrounding the analysis of subcultures in general and youth subcultures in particular.  Some theorists we will examine include Stuart Hall, Adorno and Horkheimer, Omi and Winant, and Antonio Gramsci.  We will also explore a range of youth in a variety of contexts, including 1960s consumers in the market for counterculture, post-war British punk rockers using style to contest the dominant values of bourgeois society, and second-generation Southeast Asian immigrants negotiating the racial and gender politics of hip hop in New York City.  The course work will be aimed towards facilitating the design and completion of a successful senior thesis in American Studies.


Fall 2009 courses at Rose Hill cross listed with American Studies

AFAM 2005-R01              American Pluralism                            Mangum, C                           TF 11:30-12:45
Contemporary and historical studies in the racial and ethnic diversity of American (U.S.) society with a special emphasis on the issues of race relations, migration and immigration, and their relation to either (1) the distribution of economic and political power or (2) their cultural manifestations in literature, the arts and/or religion. Focuses on the historical roots of racial and cultural diversity in the founding, settlement and expansion of the American nation; the role of race, class, and gender in shaping the destinies of racial and ethnic groups; political, economic, and immigration policy affecting newcomers; public policy and the future of American pluralism. [H] [D, P]

AFAM 3037-R01               Blacks in the Atlantic World            LaBennett, O                        MR 10:00-11:15
This course is a comparative analysis of people of African descent in the Atlantic world.  It focuses on the people who were relocated by the Atlantic slave trade to the Caribbean, South and Central America, and the United States, and on their subsequent migrations.  We will explore the disparate cultural, national, historical and intellectual contexts in which Black identities are constructed, revealing both commonalities and differences.  Paying specific attention to how racial identity is shaped by social context, the course will interrogate theories of Black identity formation and notions of Black nationhood, and will examine different perspectives on Diaspora theory. Questions addressed will include: How can we characterize the role of slavery and colonialism in defining Black identity? Is “diaspora” a useful concept for understanding Blackness? How can we theorize on the notion of “identity” and on the social construction of race for such a diverse and wide spread group of people? Where does the Black female subject fit into theories surrounding Black identity formation, politics and nationhood? The course approaches Black identity formation as a contradictory and contingent process. Topics examined will also include: gender, migration and transnationalism, authenticity and Black identity formation vis-à-vis popular culture, contradictions associated with blanqueamiento, and hair as a site for female body politics.  While readings are multidisciplinary in approach, our understandings of Blacks in the Atlantic world will be informed primarily by ethnographic and historical texts covering many cultural contexts including the U.S., England, Kenya, Haiti, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Suriname, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Readings and assignments are designed to challenge, and students are urged to choose research topics early in the term from a variety of subjects including music, fashion, religion, literature, politics, sports, etc. [H] [D, P]

AFAM 4896-R01              Feeling the Funk                                 Naison, M                              TF 1:00-2:15
In this course “funk” will be used, in a more metaphoricalsense, to refer to popular music of the Caribbean and the United States which retains powerful African elements, not only in its rhythmic power and complexity, but its connection to the daily lives of black working class people and communities. Such musics include rhumba, mambo and son from Cuba, ska and reggae from Jamaica, soca frfom Trinidad, meringue from the Dominican Republic and blues, rhythm and blues, salsa and hip hop in the United States. What all these musics have in common is that in spite of the popularity they achieved, they were viewed with suspicion by elites in the countries they arose in because they  were nurtured and created in black or mixed race communities and were associated with rituals and behaviors, both secular and religious,  that were regarded as backward, primitive and subversive of productivity and social discipline.. In all Western Hemisphere societies, even in those which have black or mixed race majorities, folk practices of direct African derivation have had a contested history, sometimes being claimed as core elements of national identity, sometimes being viewed as markers of lower class status. [H, A] [C, D]

AMCS 3340-R01              Catholicism & Democracy               Gould, W                                TF 1:00-2:15
This course will examine the relationship between Catholicism and democracy, placing particular stress on their relevance to contemporary American public life. In this context, Catholicism will be understood not only as a religious institution, but as the source of a tradition of communitarian social and political thought, while democracy will be understood not only institutionally, that is, as a form of government, but also as an ethos shaping American society. Authors and texts to be studied will include (among others) Alexis de Tocqueville, Orestes Brownson, Dorothy Day, John Courtney Murray, and relevant documents from Vatican II and the American hierarchy. Areas of historic tension between Catholicism and democracy will be discussed, as will possibilities of greater harmony between them. In particular, the possibility that Catholicism’s communitarian orientation might serve as a corrective to American individualism and consumerism, while democratic institutions and practices might have something to offer Catholicism, will be carefully explored. [H, R] [P]

AMCS 3360-R01              Ethnic & Catholic Literature             O’Donnell, A                          MR 2:30-3:45
This course engages the question of what it means to be both “ethnic” and “Catholic” in America and explores the ways in which these primary aspects of identity influence the work of writers affiliated with three of the most visible European Catholic ethnic groups that immigrated to the United States in the early 20th Century: the Irish, the Italians, and the Polish.  Students will read memoir, fiction, and poetry by representative writers from each group, including the work of J.T. Farrell, Elizabeth Cullinan, Don Delillo, Helen Barolini, Czeslaw Milosz and Adam Zagajewski.  Through selected historical and critical readings, we will attempt to create a descriptive narrative of what happens when writers wrestle with ethnic and Catholic identity in the context of 20th-century political and economic struggle in America, a predominantly White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant society, and a growing culture of unbelief. [L, R] [C]

AMCS 3451-R01              Niebuhr in America                             Liebowitz, N                          MR 4:00-5:15
Focusing on the influential work of liberal Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the course will trace the development of major strands of modern American social and political thought and action including the Social Gospel, Catholic Worker and Settlement House movements—as reactions to nativism, consumerism, industrialism, individualism and greed. Niebuhr helped shape both contemporary Liberalism and Neo-Conservatism and was the architect of a “Christian realism,” which influenced American Catholic and Jewish thought.  Niebuhr is widely known as the author of the “Serenity Prayer”  [“God give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed….”] [R] [P]

ARHI 2270-R01               Native American Art                          Mundy, B                               MR 10:00-11:15
This course examines the art and architecture made by the “other America”—the indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to inhabit the modern day United States and Canada. While it is designed as a survey course to familiarize you with the art and architecture of different geographic regions and peoples, it also focuses on the ways that the visual arts contribute in the shaping of ethnic identities—both among Native Americans themselves, and in the ways that ideas about Native Americans, both historic and contemporary, have shaped understandings of “American-ness” among other groups in the United States. We will examine the current debates about “Indian-ness” and look at the ways museums have collected and presented the “Indian” and the ways that Native American artists have used visual arts to develop, and to question, the power of ethnic identity. [A] [C, D]

MUSC 2031-R01             Rock and Pop Music since WWII     Gelbart, M                             TF 10:00-11:15
Rock and pop music have played key roles in Western culture for over half a century. This course considers the roots and musical features of rock and related styles, their changing status within "mainstream" culture, and the musical and ethical issues they raise. From the R&B music of the early 1950s to the British Invasion, punk, disco, rap, alternative and the spread of electronica, pop musicians have moved billions of people, while raising questions about race, gender, generation gaps, commercialism, and globalization. [A] [C]

COMM 2602-R01             Myth & Symbol of Amer Chars        Capo, J                                 T 6:00-8:30
A study of the heart of American culture through an examination of the recurring myths and symbols found in journalism, public speeches, social commentary and the popular media. [A] [C]

COMM 3108-R01             Movies & American Experience      Ribalow, M                            T 2:30-5:00
A study of the American character as portrayed in American feature films from the early 20th century to the present. Lab fee. [A] [C]

COMM 3112-R01             Media Law                                           Suzanne, C                            W 6:00-8:30
Prerequisites: CM 1011. This course is designed to introduce the communication and media studies major to the basic issues in the field of media law. Examined here are the Constitutional principles underlying the major Supreme Court cases that have established the parameters governing the use of communication technologies in this country. Special focus will be given to the various legal challenges posed by new media. Juniors and seniors only. [A, H] [C, P]

COMM 3205-R01             Journalists & the Law                        Hayes, A                               MR 4:00-5:15      
An investigation of the legal concerns of the working journalist: prior restraint, shield law, libel, invasion of privacy, the Freedom of Information Act. [A] [P]

COMM 3309-R01             Children and Media                            Freeman, L                           MR 4:00-5:15
This course focuses on the role of media in children's socialization and education as well as the effects of media content and communication technologies on children's social, emotional, cognitive development. The course looks at the functions that media perform for children and the efforts to design media specifically for children (e.g., television, popular music, film, games, school texts, children's literature, toys, games, websites, etc.). The course looks at the business and regulation of children's media as well. We will also examine current social issues such as the impact of media on violence, stereotyping, and consumerism. In short, this course is about the concepts and ideas, theories and generalizations, and perspectives and philosophical positions relating to the study of children and media. [A] [P]

COMM 3310-R01             TV Comedy & American Values      Teuth, M                                T 2:30-3:45          
An examination of the major genres of American television comedy and their relationship to American culture, this course observes examples of the most successful television comedies in the light of traditional comic theory and practice and American social and cultural history. The influence of social, artistic and commercial factors on comic patterns and techniques are considered. [A] [C]

COMM 3322-R01             TV News Innovators                           Knobel, B                               MR 2:30-3:45
A survey of the most prominent figures in the history of electronic journalism--producers, executives, anchors, correspondents--and how they shaped and influenced the course of the world's most popular medium of communication. Innovators whose work is studied include David Sarnoff, William S. Paley, Edward R. Murrow, Roone Arledge, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkely, Barbara Walters, Ed Bradley, Ted Turner and Roger Ailes. [A] [C, P]

COMM 3451-R01             Films of Alfred Hitchcock                  STAFF                                     M 6:00-8:30
A critical examination of Hitchcock's cinema. Students explore Hitchcock's major films, including Rear Window, Vertigo and Psycho from a variety of perspectives, including psychoanalytic, narrative and feminist theory. Emphasis on Hitchcock's role in the British and American studio system and his mastery of cinematic technique and language. Lab fee. [A] [C]

ECON 3453-R01               Law and Economics                            Themeli, B                             MR 8:30-9:45
Prerequisites: EC 1200. This course is intended to provide students who have an interest in economics and law with all the tools they will need to master their professional careers. Specifically the course will examine the interaction between economics and the central areas of the common and criminal law systems. Emphasis will be placed on the public implications of law and economics, particularly the effects of legal structures on economic efficiency. Topics such as the Economics of Contract Enforcement; the Economics of Property Rights; an economic theory of Torts; and an economic theory of Crime, Criminal Law and Punishment will be covered. [H] [P]

ENGL 3064-R01                American Voice                                   Brandt, C                               TF 1:00-2:15
A writing course using iconic texts in the emergence/development/evolution of an American form of linguistic expression as prompts for student writing.  Reading: Emerson's "American Scholar" essay, a look back at some of the earlier American language as (mostly) an imitation of British English (culturally and linguistically, with some notable partial exceptions like Franklin), then the beginnings of a truly American language seen through Whitman's "Primer" in which he lists all the wonderful forms of American "democratic" speech.  Students will be asked to listen for and write contemporary versions of what Whitman heard.  Further reading: the rhetoric of Douglass, Lincoln, Anthony, Stanton, Sojourner Truth, etc., the prose of Twain, Harte, Melville, Bierce, and the poetry of Dickinson, Whitman, Frost.  Twentieth-century readings will include du Bois (Souls of Black Folk), Mencken, William Carlos Williams (Imaginations, In the American Grain), Faulkner, Hurston, Hughes, Stein (Geography for Americans), Bishop, etc.; and on the more "popular" plane, Studs Terkel, the detective novel, the public rhetoric of the civil rights and anti-war struggles.  Clearly, there is too much here for any one student to master in the course of only one semester, so students will be asked to choose, and wherever possible to work in teams.  The goal is for learning to become doing, by imitation or response. [L] [C]

ENGL 3672-R01                Toni Morrison                                      Christianse, Y                       MR 10:00-11:15
An intensive study of the novels of Toni Morrison. [L] [C,D]

ENGL 3843-R01                Extraordinary Bodies                         Cassuto, L                             W 11:30-2:00
From freak shows to the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with odd bodies have received special, and not always welcome, attention from their peers. This course will study the experience of people with anomalous bones from a variety of personal and social perspectives. [L] [C, D]

ENGL 4129-R01                Four Modern Catholic Writers         Giannone, R                          T 2:30-5:00
This seminar will consider the writings of Dorothy Day (1897-1980), Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), and Walker Percy (1916-1990). These four authors, who arguably can be termed reformers as well as artists in their own right, are the principal critics of the modern Catholic predicament before and after World War II. Each in her or his way saw a church in drastic need of rebuilding and sought to restore what had collapsed and had been left unheeded by what was essentially an immigrant institution. [L, R] [C]

ENGL 4602-R01                Rural America in Literature             Farland, M                             TF 2:30-4:20
This course examines the representation of rurality and agrarian life in American literature from the Revolutionary period to the present. Authors studied include Hector de Crevecoeur, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Breece D’J Pancake, Jane Smiley, and others. [L] [C]

HIST 3757-R01                The American South                          Cimbala, P                             MR 10:00-11:15
The American South is an enigma, a riddle that defies a solution, so some people claim. Indeed, the South's rich history, folk-life, and mythology prompt contradictory assessments of the region: it is a pathological deviation from the American success story and at the same time the quintessence of our national character. This course will explore the nature of the American South, concentrating on the 19th and 20th centuries, in an attempt to understand if not resolve the apparent paradox. In the process, we will discuss some of the major themes of southern history, including sectionalism, race, continuity and discontinuity, and the origins and persistence of regional poverty. We will examine specific topics dealing with slavery, the plantation system, the impact of the Civil War, the Lost Cause, the New South, segregation, Populism, demagogues, and the Depression. Students will become familiar with these themes and topics through the works of scholars, novelists, and essayists such as U.B. Phillips, William Faulkner, C. Vann Woodward, David Potter, Bertram Wyatt-Brown and Marshall Frady. In the end, we may learn more about ourselves and our nation through developing an understanding of what to many Northerners is an exotic region. Or we may discover that the words of the late historian Joseph J. Mathews bear universal significance: "The problem is not the Southerner's fascination with gazing at his own navel but his satisfaction with the restricted view." [H] [P]

HIST 3775-R01               The Early Republic                               Cornell, S                              TF 2:30-3:45
The course studies the birth of American democracy and capitalism from the revolution to the age of Jackson. [H] [P]

HIST 3808-R01                New York City Politics                        Soyer, D                                 MR 11:30-12:45
An exploration of New York City since consolidation in 1898. Topics include consolidation, the role of Tammany Hall and municipal corruption, reform and radical politics, important mayoral campaigns and administrations (including Walker, LaGuardia, Lindsay, Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani), the civil rights movement in the city, the role of ethnic groups, the 1970s fiscal crisis, and September 11th. Service related to the fall municipal campaign/election required. [H] [P]

HIST 3950-R01                Latino History                                      Rivera-Giusti, I                   TF 2:30-3:45
This course explores the development of the Latina/o population in the U.S. by focusing on the questions of migration, race, ethnicity, labor, family, sexuality, and citizenship. Specific topics include: United States colonial expansion and its effects on the population of Latin America; Mexican-Americans, and the making of the West; colonialism and the Puerto Rican Diaspora; Caribbean revolutions and the Cuban-American community; and globalization and recent Latina/o migrations (Dominicans, Colombians). Service-learning requirement. [H] [D, P]

COLI 3522-R01                 Strange Memories, Strange Desires   Contreras, D                  TF 11:30-12:45
Course description will be posted when it becomes available. [L] [C, D]

SPAN 3500-R01               Literature of Discovery                     Jimenez-Belmonte, J        TF 2:30-3:45
Course description will be posted when it becomes available. [L] [C, D]

PHIL 3351-R01                Metaphysics and Race                      Hazlett, A                             MR 4:00-5:15
Philosophers have been asking questions about categorization for thousands of years. Do our human systems of categorization correspond to any objective features of the world? Or are they merely arbitrary boundaries, drawn to suit our practical, cultural, or political ends? This course considers several general issues about categorization (the existence of universals, natural kinds, projectibility), and then applies this work to the specific case of racial categories.  Should we think of races as real biological categories? Or as social constructions? Or should racial concepts be eliminated entirely? We'll look at what a number of contemporary philosophers are saying about these issues, after surveying the general metaphysics issues that lie in the background of these debates. One of the more important text's we'll be looking at is W. E. B. DuBois' "Conservation of Races," and one of the key thoughts we'll be discussing is if and how American conceptions of race have changed over time. [R] [D]

PHIL 3720-R01                African-American Philosophy          Green, J                                 MR 11:30-12:45
Using texts by Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, James H. Cone, Angela Davis, Cornel West, Patricia Hill Collins, Howard McGary, William E Lawson, Leonard Harris, Lucius Outlaw and others, this course will focus on pillars, prophets and prospects for African American philosophy, a 'philosophy born of struggle' created by profound critical and transformative voices from times of chattel slavery to the present that plays an influential role in American philosophy and American society today. [R] [D]

POSC 2206-R01               The American Presidency                Cohen, J                                TF 1:00-2:15
An examination of presidential leadership, including the development, growth and exercise of presidential power. Includes analysis of democratic foundations of the presidency, organization and operation of office, role in domestic and foreign policy, relations with Congress and the importance of character. [H] [P]

POSC 2213-R01               Constitutional Law                             Hume, R                               TF 10:00-11:15
A casebook approach to an examination of the selected problems in constitutional law and the federal system, such as jurisdiction, justiciability standing, collusive suits, mootness, judicial review, political questions doctrine, the executive branch and the Supreme Court, the legislative branch and the Supreme Court and the Commerce Clause. [H] [P]

POSC 3404-R01                American Political Thought             Tampio, N                              MR 2:30-3:45
What does it mean to be an American? What are the principles of American politics? This course considers the answers of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Alexis de Tocqueville, W.E.B. DuBois, Emma Goldman, John Rawls, Leo Strauss and William E. Connolly. We also illustrate and weigh their theories in light of current events such as the presidential race, the role of religion in American public life, and the cultural effects of sports. [H] [P]

PSYC 3600-R01               Multicultural Issues                           STAFF                                     TF 2:30-3:45
Prerequisite: PSRU-1000. The focus of this course is the multicultural applicability of scientific and professional psychology. Traditional psychological theories, scientific psychology, psychological tests, and the practice of psychology will be examined and critiqued from cultural and socio-historical perspectives. Contemporary psychological theories and research specific to men, women, gay men, lesbians, and race/ethnicity will be reviewed. [H] [D]

ANTH 3340-R01               Anthro Perspect Race & Ethnicity  Jopling, H                              MR 4:00-5:15
This course will cover race and ethnicity in the US and around the world as students examine depictions of race and ethnicity in film, neighborhoods, and newspapers as well as interview someone about his/her experiences. Additionally students will read about race/ethnicity in other cultures for comparative purposes. [H] [D, P]

SOCI 2200-R01                Sociology of Culture                           McGee, M                              MR 2:30-3:45
"Culture" is a people's entire way of life expressed in language, art, law, religion, and other collective practices such as work, leisure, sports, food, and dress. Aspects of contemporary cultures including multiculturalism, group identity, and global consciousness are studied. [H] [P]

SOCI 2925-R01                Media Crime Sex Violence                Sweet, K                              TF 10:00-11:15
An analysis of mass media reporting, presentation and explanation. [A, H] [P]

SOCI 3140-R01                Old/New Minorities in the US           Fuentes-Mayorga, N          MR 10:00-11:15
The situations of old minority groups, such as African Americans, Japanese and earlier European immigrants, as compared to those of more recent groups such as Puerto Ricans, Cubans, other Hispanics and recent Asian immigrants, including refugees. [H] [D, P]

SOCI 3456-R01                Modern Amer Social Movements   Bush, E                                   TF 2:30-3:45
Social movements in 20th-century America have been vehicles of political protest, of social change and sometimes of resistance to change. Under what circumstances are social movements successful and what has been their impact on American institutional life and popular culture? The course pays particular attention to racial, gender and sexual diversity within social movements, and how such diversity has provided both opportunities and challenges for movement mobilization and success. Some of the movements under consideration include labor, civil rights, feminism, human rights and global justice. [H] [D, P]

SOCI 3711-R01                American Criminal Justice Systems   STAFF                                M 6:00-8:00
This seminar course focuses on the administration of criminal justice and its relation to society, the police, prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, jury and correction agency. Observations at the courthouse allow for examination of constitutional rights, plea bargaining, jury selection, insanity defense and media coverage. [H] P]

SOCI 3713-R01                Criminology                                          STAFF                                     TF 1:00-2:15
This course surveys the state of knowledge and theories explaining criminal behavior and attempts to control it by society. Although the sociological perspective on crime is emphasized, class discussion and the text attempt to examine the subject from a multidisciplinary point of view, especially with respect to legal, biological and psychological views of crime. [H] [P]

THEO 3281-R01               Religion in America                            Shelley, T                              TWF 11:30-12:20
A survey of religion in America from Colonial time through the present day. [R, H] [P]

THEO 4008-R01               Religion and Ecology                          Johnson, E                            MR 11:30-12:45
This course studies the Earth as a subject of religious and ethical concern. It examines teachings of the major world religions about the sacred character of the natural world; probes connections between social injustice and ecological devastation; and explores Jewish/Christian resources that contribute to living an ecologically intelligent and virtuous human life. [R, H] [P]

THEO 4025-R01                Marriage in the 21st Century          Hinze, C                                 MR 2:30-3:45
An ethical examination of Christian marriage focused on a theological/Christian analysis of some of the history and issues involved. The course also treats themes and features excerpts from sociology (Bellah et al, Hochschild, Schor) and other analyses and critiques of U.S. culture and practice. [R] [P]


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