Interdisciplinary Studies Department

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Fall 2012 AMST Course Highlights

AMST 3700: Principles and Methods of American Studies
Thursdays 5:00-7:45 Dr. Ugena Whitlock Contact:  Prerequisite: ENGL 1102

This course critically examines the meaning and culture of America locally and globally. This reading, writing, and discussion-based course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of American cultures. The course uses a wide variety of readings and activities from multiple academic disciplines and popular culture.

AMST 3710: US in the World (focus on Latin America)
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00-3:15 Dr. Ernesto Silva Contact: Prerequisite: ENGL 1102

This course examines “America” as a cultural signifier that circulates around the world. These representations not only travel to other countries, but also return to us in cultural products from other countries. In addition to cultural theory, we will look at film, television, literature, and music as primary concern is to interrogate what ideological assumptions underlie our notion of what “America” means.

AMST 3740: American Popular Culture: Blues in American Culture Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-4:45 Mr. Don Fay Contact:
Blues is a major musical contribution of African-Americans to 20th century American culture and letters, essential for understanding a number of American literary works. As background to the assigned poetry and fiction, this course will examine the blues as feeling, as music, and as means of coping with the blues feeling. We will consider key blues musicians, blues history from rural blues to blues-rock, blues records (an audio CD set will be one of our texts), blues clubs, influences on jazz, key commentaries on the blues as they apply to our literary texts, as well as the relevant issues of race, gender, class and ethnicity. This course is cross-listed with ENGL 4560.

AMST 3750: Place in American Culture: The History of the American West Mondays 5:00-7:45 p.m. Dr. Kay Reeve Contact:

Professor Elliott West once wrote “…what attracted pioneers (to the West) was the West’s placelessness. As they saw it, the West was no past and all possibilities.” This course will examine both the actual history and the enduring mythologies associated with the region of the U.S. traditionally identified as the American West. Course material will explore the unique roles this place called "The West" have played in American culture. This course is cross-listed with HSIT 3315.

AMST 3760: American Identities: African American Humor Fridays 11:00-1:45, Dr. Regina Bradley Contact:

This course will use satire and humor to complicate 21st-century constructions of gender, race, and identity. Through an interdisciplinary framework consisting of readings (both critical and creative), music, film, and television we will investigate how humor can frame (black) American identity and what that signifies in a deemed “postracial” era. Of particular interest to this class is troubling race and gender politics which underlie social and cultural interactions of a contemporary, post-Civil Rights American experience.

AMST 3770/01: American Cultural Productions (American Music) Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:12:15 Dr. Ed Eanes Contact: Prequisite: Music 1107

Through an examination of the role of music in American Society, and a study of American musical works from the Native Americans to the present day, this course provides a context-based understanding of the cultural history of the United States and develops skills in critical analysis. Purpose: This course was designed to expand the undergraduate music major’s core knowledge and broaden their understanding of Music in Western Culture to include North America. Goals and Objectives:

 Identify and distinguish the three broad streams of American Music

 Identify and articulate the historical and socio-cultural context of the various styles of American folk music

 Trace the development of various popular styles of American music, both sacred and secular, from their cross-cultural roots  Identify and analyze the various processes by which American composers of classical music create an indigenous American classical sound

 Recognize and discuss the role of American music as being intricately connected with and supportive of the larger American society

 Recognize the presence and influence of American music within the broader global society

 Articulate how a piece is “American”

This course is cross-listed with MUSI 4412.

AMST 3770/02: American Cultural Productions (Immigration) Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-4:45 Dr. Ken Maffitt Contact:

Is there an “immigration problem” in the United States? Why is immigration reform such a divisive political issue? How have immigrants and debates over immigration policy shaped American history? This course explores the history of immigration in the United States through study of immigrant experiences and cultures, key pieces of legistlation, and contesting images and ideas about immigrants in U.S. politics and popular culture. Central issues include citizenship and naturalization, the process and impact of immigration policymaking, the relation between immigration and U.S. foreign policy, and changing notions of assimilation and ethnic identity. Students will examine a range of sources including secondary readings, documentary and feature films, key legal cases, fiction, music, and art.

Posted: June 13, 2012