American Studies

Nicole Guidotti-Hernández

ProfessorPh.D., Cornell University

Associate Professor
Nicole Guidotti-Hernández


  • Phone: 512-232-6313
  • Office: BUR 422
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays from 8:00-9:00am in GWB 2.102f and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: B7100


Borderlands History after 1846, Transnational Feminist Methodologies, Chicano and Latino Studies, Popular Culture and Immigration


Dr. Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández is Associate Professor of American Studies, the Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies and holds the Alma Cowden Madden Centennial Professorship at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an expert in Borderlands History after 1846, Transnational Feminist Methodologies, Chicano and Latino Studies, and Popular Culture and Immigration.


Her book titled Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S.  and  Mexican National Imaginaries, Duke University Press (2011) was a finalist for the 2012 Berkshire Women’s History First Book Prize and has received many favorable reviews. Her articles such as “Reading Violence, Making Chicana Subjectivities” appear in anthologies such as Techno/futuros: Genealogies, Power, Desire (2007), edited by Nancy Raquel Mirabal and Agustin Lao-Montes. She has also published in journals such as Women’s Studies International Forum, Social Text, The Latin Americanist, and Latino Studies, where her article “Dora the Explorer, Constructing “Latinidades” and the Politics of Global Citizenship” is one of the most downloaded articles in the history of the journal. She is also the co-editor of the forthcoming issue of Radical History Review special issue number 123 entitled “Sexing Empire.”


As a public intellectual, Dr. Guidotti-Hernández has written numerous articles for the feminist magazine Ms. and the feminist blog The Feminist Wire, covering such topics as immigration, reproductive rights, and the Dream act. She also sits on the national advisory council for the Ms. and is currently on the national advisory council for Freedom University in Athens, Georgia.


She is currently working on several book projects about border saints, 20th century Mexican masculinities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and Yaqui deportations and the accumulation of value.


AMS 393 • Intro Readings In Amer Studies

31085 • Fall 2014
Meets M 500pm-800pm BUR 436B

Graduate standing required. Permission from instructor required.


This reading seminar introduces students to the history of and current debates in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Arising out of Depression-era concerns about what constituted American Identities and experiences, and the field was institutionalized through U.S. cultural nationalisms emanating from both the Second World War and the Cold War. In this long historical view of the field, American Studies has undergone an extraordinary series of transformations. Thus, this seminar is divided in three parts. First, we will review the history of the field, considering classic texts that generated a consensus model and American exceptionalism. Second, we will examine transitional texts that refocus American Studies around race, gender, class, sexuality, material culture, popular culture and body technologies. Third, we will read ASA Presidential Addresses to examine the transnational turn to empire, and Critical Ethnic Studies.

Each week, we will read a single book-length text with accompanying secondary literature or the equivalent in articles from the journal of record for the field, American Quarterly. We will place the text(s) in historical and cultural contexts, evaluating their usefulness as methodological models. The course’s purpose is not to define a singular form of “doing” American Studies but to analyze a series of very often-conflicting definitions and theories for current practitioners in the field. By course end students will be able to write at a level commensurate with graduate training in American Studies, produce a book review ready for publication, develop close reading skills, deliver an organized presentation to an American Studies audience, and understand the meaning of and produce interdisciplinary scholarship.


Possible texts: Briggs, Somebody’s Children, Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, Pak, Gentleman Bankers, Marx, Machine in the Garden, Spillers ‘Who Cuts the Border,” and Tompkins, Sensational Designs, among others.

AMS 393 • Intro Readings In Amer Studies

30930 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm BUR 436B

Consent from Instructor Required

AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

30655 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 315G)

Introduction to American Studies is an interdisciplinary introduction to the historical exploration of American cultures. The class is designed to introduce you to some of the major themes and ideas in American history and culture, as well as to familiarize you with some of the methods and materials that are used in the interdisciplinary study of American societies. Utilizing both historical and contemporary perspectives, and drawing from a wide range of approaches, we will take as our central motif the importance of citizenship, belonging, and inequality. Alongside readings in U.S. literature and history, students will use Keywords for American Cultural Studies and analyze how each keyword appears throughout the course readings. Overall, the course incorporates a sense of historical change of U.S. cultures over time.

Learning outcomes:

*Students will develop a critical vocabulary for taking about key words and concepts in the field.

*Students will understand and demonstrate the role of interdisciplinary study

*Students will learn a brief historiography of the field

*Writing assignments, class participation and attendance, quizzes, and exams will be the measure of these learning outcomes.



Class Attendance and Participation             30%

Quizzes                                                   10%

Position papers                                        15%

Midterm                                                  20%                         

Final Exam                                              25%


Possible Texts

Journals of Christopher Columbus

Powhatan “Letter to Captain John Smith”

Fredrick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass

Burgett & Hendler, Keywords for American Cultural Studies

Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Walmart

Anthony Macias, Mexican American Mojo


When the Levees Broke

Smoke Signals


Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

AMS 370 • Latina/O Pop

30695 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 330pm-500pm BUR 228
(also listed as MAS 374)


This course examines how Latinas/os have been a major force in the production of  popular culture. In particular we will critically examine discourses of “Latinidad” (a seamless construction of Latinos as a monolithic group) in the corporate production of identities.  This lack of attention to national origin and historical specificity is one definition of Latinidad.  Latinidad also provides the contradictory grounds where consumer culture meets Latina/o performance. Some artists choose to reappropriate commercial spaces as sites of empowerment, while others are complicit in perpetuating stereotypical representations of Latinas/os.  With special attentiveness to the body,  we will explore the construction of Latina/o identities as they influence and produce particular racial, sexual and gendered identities. The body becomes an essential marker of “Latinidad,”  which is constantly connected to notions of sexuality. We will also examine the material effects of such cultural and commercial practices upon U.S. Latino populations, reminding us that there are real-world implications for these performances as they commodify Latina/o culture.  To account for the shifts in notions of performance and cultural practices, the focus of the course will center Latina/o/Chicana/o musical production, movies, television, advertising, magazines, literary texts, performance art, murals, installation art, music videos, and animation within a historical context.                 



Class Participation (discussions and attendance)          25%

Oral Presentation                                                      5%

Quizzes                                                                    15%

Essay 1 and 2                                                           25%

Prospectus Final Essay                                               5%

Final Paper                                                                25%


Possible Texts

Habel-Palan and Romero, Latina/o Popular Culture

Leguizamo, Freak

Lipsitz, Footsteps in the Dark

Rivera, New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone


Films/ TV Shows

1951-1957-I Love Lucy

1997- Selena

1998- Freak

2001-Dora The Explorer


Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

AMS 370 • Fem Intervntns Borderlands His

30853 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A217A
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 340)

This seminar will provide undergraduates with an in-depth understanding of the social, economic, and spatial transformations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries U.S.- Mexico borderlands. In particular, we will examine how Indian removal, the Texas wars for Independence, the Mexican American war of 1848, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo continue to influence how ideas of nation, space and citizenship (or lack thereof) are articulated in these regions today. Lastly, this course operates from a feminist scholarly perspective, demonstrating the role of both transnational analysis and the pivotal role of the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality in forming this distinct regional history.

In addition, students will engage in their own archival research projects during the semester.  Juxtaposed with contextual historical and methodological essays, we will examine the concerns, anxieties and preoccupations with the contested nature of gender, race, subjectivity and sexuality in the nineteenth and early twentieth century U.S./Mexico Borderlands.                 



25% Final Paper

10% Prospectus and Bibliography

10% Presentation

25% Position Papers

30% Attendance and Class Participation


Possible Texts

Juliana Barr, Peace Came in the Form of A Woman

James Brooks, Captives and Cousins

Ned Blackhawk, Violence Over the Land

Dena Gonzlaez, Refusing the Favor

Guidotti-Hernández, Unspeakable Violence

Adina de Zavala, History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions in and around San Antonio

Jovita Gonzalez, Dew on the Thorn

Encarnación Pinedo, El Cocinero Español


Upper-division standing required.  Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing


Duke University Press, Latin America Otherwise Series. Forthcoming, September 2011

Curriculum Vitae

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