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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Course Descriptions

AMS 311S • America's Army

30060 • Garza, Irene
Meets MWF 900am-1000am BUR 228
(also listed as WGS 301)
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This course considers how popular representations of the U.S. military, particularly those centering on the figure of the American soldier, can offer productive ways of examining and analyzing contemporary formations of citizenship, national identity, social relations of power, and U.S. global empire. One of our central aims will be to understand how the Armed Forces, though a distinct political and cultural institution in its own right, also serves as a microcosm for American life/culture as shaped by and experienced through classifications of race, class, gender, sexuality, health, and legal status. Topics of study will include: PTSD/ veterans disability rights, enlistment by non-citizen soldiers, race relations/multiculturalism, controversy over women in combat, military sexual trauma (MST), the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the militarization of gratitude (ie “Support the Troops” initiatives), and the civilian labor market’s relationship to evolving recruitment practices. 

AMS 315 • Building America

30090 • Bsumek, Erika M.
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am GAR 0.102
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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This course will look at roughly 100 years of building in American society from 1867-1980. It will focus on the ways in which politicians, architects, engineers, urban planners, construction workers, naturalists, environmentalists, novelists, filmmakers and the American populous approached the relationship between large-scale infrastructure projects and social development. This course will pay special attention to  the design of specific dams, highways, and urban areas and will place them in larger historical perspective by evaluating key locations before and after they were built or expanded. Hoover Dam, for instance, would provide a key case study in this class. Hoover Dam does more than hold water and generate electricity. It dramatically changed (and continues to change) the relationship that people had with technology, the surrounding area, and with each other. The closest urban area, Las Vegas, will also be evaluated when discussing Hoover Dam, but so too will Southern California. Special attention will also be paid to the engineering innovations that changed construction techniques used in large scale projects.


Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America by Henry Petroski (Oct 29, 1996)

To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski (Mar 31, 1992)

Seely, Bruce Edsall. Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policy Makers. Technology and Urban Growth. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987.

Snyder, Logan Thomas. “The Creation of America’s Interstate Highway System.” American History 41, no. 2 (June 2006): 32–39.

Moudry, Roberta, ed. The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

McCullough, David G. The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Introduction to Engineering Nature: Water, Development, and the Global Spread of American Environmental Expertise, by Jessica Tiesch, (UNC Press, 2011). 

We will be reading short articles about specific building projects: Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Sears House, the Woolworth Building, etc.

Possible readings may include:

Schweitzer, Robert. America’s Favorite Homes: Mail-order Catalogues as a Guide to Popular Early 20th-century Houses. Great Lakes Books. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990.

Cooke, Amanda, and Avi Friedman. “Ahead of Their Time: The Sears Catalogue Prefabricated Houses.” Journal of Design History 14, no. 1 (January 1, 2001): 53–70. 


Midterm: 100 points

Paper: 50 points

Final exam: 100 points

Book Review: 25 points

Reading quizzes: 10 points each

In class participation: 25 points.

AMS 315 • Latina/O Med/Pop Cul 1950-Pres

30092 • Gray, Amanda
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.122
(also listed as MAS 319, WGS 301)
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The purpose of this course is to introduce students to various representation and re-presentations of Latina/os within U.S. popular culture and the formation of identity and its many productions and social constructions. Throughout the course of the semester, students will gain an understanding of the importance of identity in terms of how we view ourselves, others, and the world around us. We will conduct a thorough analysis of various topics across many different forms of media. Utilizing learned analytical skills to conduct contextual readings of these media using methodology from an interdisciplinary approach grounded in American Studies, we will look at a number of issues pertaining to Latina/o representation within the mainstream and dominant culture, as well as address the importance of "the popular" and its purpose in understanding individual/collective identity formations. Examining multiple sites of popular culture, we will atempt to reconstruct and deconstruct different materials including books, cartoons, films, magazine, mass media, music, popular images, television shows, and other artifacts of popular culture to understand their significance in the representation of Latinas/os in U.S. society.

Proposed Grading Policy:

  • 20% Participation
  • 20% Midtern Exam
  • 15% Response Papers
  • 25% Final Exam

AMS 315 • Curating Latina/O Spaces

30093 • Leiva, Priscilla
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 208
(also listed as MAS 319)
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Course Description:

This course examines the experience of Latina/ o populations in U.S. cities during the 20th and 21st centuries while considering how these experiences have been portrayed. We will study how racialization, segregation and urban renewal shaped the experiences of Latinas/os and how they responded to these challenges. By studying Latina/o experiences and identity formation in the city, this course bridges political, cultural and economic boundaries through considering the complexities of popular culture, integration and assimilation, neighborhood formation, suburbanization and multicultural interaction.

Latinas/os gradually transform the social and class relations and spatial practices that manifest the geographical and historical legacies of previous waves of urbanization, to suit their needs and express their own diverse values. Concurrently,  these Latina/o communities adjust to the built environments they encounter as well as to the social fabric upon which they transform. These spaces become important sites that constrain and mediate Latina/ o identity formation and yield new potential for political and social change as they shape new claims on urban futures. Students will engage debates in cultural geography, urban studies and cultural studies regarding the meaning of place and space, production of cities, public space and the relationship of these concepts to Latina/o communities and bodies.

After the course, students will be able to identify key similarities and differences of the Latina/o experiences in major cities; recognize the ways racial formation and place-making intersects with citizenship status, gender, class and sexuality to produce varying life experiences; and analyze cultural representations and portrayals of Latinas/ os in print and visual media, music and popular culture. Throughout the course, students will consider the production and consumption of particular spaces and geographies such as stadiums, clubs and streets.  Finally, students will be called upon to focus on a particular space as a means of understanding larger processes and portrayals of the Latina/o experience.

Proposed Texts:

Diaz, David R. and Rodolfo D. Torres, ed. Latino Urbanism:The Politics of Planning, Policy and

Redevelopment (New York: NYU Press, 2012).

Perez, Gina, Frank Guridy and Adrian Burgos, ed. Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America

(New York: NYU Press, 2010)


Selections from the following for course packet:

Davila, Arlene. Latinos Inc: The Making and Marketing of a People (Berkeley: UC Press, 2001).

--Barrio  Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City (Berkeley: UC Press, 2004).

de Certeau, Michel. The  Practice of Everyday Life. reprint. (Berkeley: UC Press, 2011).

Fernandez, Lilia. Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago (University of

Chicago Press, 2012).

Hayden, Dolores.  The Power of Place:Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995).

Lipsitz, George. "Race, Place and Power," How Racism Takes Place (Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2012).

Winders, Jamie and Barbara Ellen Smith, "New Pasts: Historicizing Immigration, Race and Place in the South," Southern Spaces Nov. 2010.



Class Participation: 15%

Reading Responses: 10%

Short Paper #1: 15%

Short Paper # 2: 15%

Oral Presentation: 10%

Research Project: 35%

AMS 315 • Street Justice:morals/The Wire

30095 • Marshall, Stephen H
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WRW 102
(also listed as AFR 317D, CTI 310, GOV 314)
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This lower-division large lecture course will examine the moral and philosophical dilemmas behind the concept of “justice” for Black, inner city communities in the United States, using Baltimore, MD in the popular TV program “The Wire” as a case study. Students will be expected to define the ethical subjects in real-world moral dilemmas surrounding justice, using introductions to political science, philosophy, and intellectual history as a structural guide (with special considerations of Critical Race Theory and Black Studies in their analyses).

Students will be asked to think critically about the complicated concepts of justice in inner-city communities, as exemplified in “The Wire”. Students will be invited to apply their understandings of morality and justice to not only the fictional situations in this case study, but also to ethical decisions in historical, race-related cases in Black United States history, such as Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and modern-day Drug Wars. It is hoped that this course helps to parse out what is considered “right” and what is considered “wrong” when analyzing the concept of justice.

AMS 315 • Mixed Race Identities

30100 • Cho, Alexander
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 302
(also listed as AAS 310)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and Writing

What is “race,” and what does it mean to be “mixed”? How is mass media responsible for channeling fears, desires, and anxieties about “mixed” bodies? Why are “mixed race” bodies suddenly desirable and chic? Can one exist in two or more categories at the same time? How do people think of “mixedness” in the U.S., and how is it different in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil? Why do people care so much? Why do categories matter? Isn’t everyone “mixed” somehow? Where do you fit in?

This course will give students the tools to critically respond to these questions via a comparative, historically situated study of the representation of "mixed-race" people in the United States. Major attention will be paid to special concerns for Asian American populations; it includes substantial attention to African American and Latino populations. Chiefly U.S.-centered, but with a large transnational comparative component analyzing “mixed” racial formation in: North America, Latin America, Caribbean, Brazil.

download syllabus

AMS 315 • Hist Of Religion In The US

30105 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.128
(also listed as HIS 317L, R S 316U)
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This class explores how religious people and communities in the United States affirm their worldviews, understand the ethical life, engage in ritual acts, and organize their communal relations. It also looks at the way the American social environment has shaped these practitioners and their communities. In particular, this class explores an ongoing tension: the dominance achieved by majority religious groups and the religious diversity that marks the population and is protected by law. We will observe how this particularly American dynamic shapes religious communities. We will explore this tension through a historically organized survey of majority and minority religious groups. We begin with the continent’s original diversity in its hundreds of Native American traditions. We then move to dominant varieties of Protestant Christianity in relation to smaller groups, including colonial-era Jews, upstart Mormons, newly immigrated Catholics, African-American believers, and more recently arrived immigrants who practice Hinduism and Islam. While the class cannot cover the entire history of religion in United States history, it offers students greater historical understanding and tools for analyzing the ongoing dynamics of religious dominance and religious diversity in this country.

AMS 321 • Race/Class/Gender In Amer Tv

30109 • Beltr├ín, Mary
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CMA 3.116
(also listed as MAS 374, WGS 324)
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Multidisciplinary course examining issues of women, gender, and sexuality in media industries, texts, and audiences.

AMS 321 • Asian American Jurisprudence

30115 • Ko, Ramey
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 101
(also listed as AAS 325, GOV 357M)
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Flags: Cultural Diversity in the U.S., Ethics and Leadership

Throughout the history of the United States, the law and the legal system have shaped nearly every facet of Asian American life.  The law can be used to exclude, to empower, and sometimes even to define the very meaning and definition of one’s community and identity.  Apart from the law itself, the court system, as the main forum for the discussion and resolution of legal disputes, has also had tremendous power to influence the lives and experiences of Asian Americans.  Whether it is immigration, national security, or the pursuit of happiness, the law has had and will continue to have a profound impact on the lives of Asian Americans everywhere.

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the study of Asian Americans and the law.  Students will examine the historical development of US law and its relationship to Asian Americans, as well as the development of Asian American jurisprudence as an independent field of legal scholarship.  In addition, this course will provide students the tools to think critically about Asian Americans and the law by introducing students to principles of legal reasoning and analysis and the major schools of legal thought.  Topics will include immigration, civil rights, affirmative action, and access to justice.  Students will also learn about the common law system, legal positivism, legal realism, economic analysis of law, and critical race theory.

We will approach this course like a law school class.  The majority of the readings consist of primary source court opinions, and class time will focus on deepening student understanding of the course material through the Socratic method of question and answer.  Grading will be based on participation, five reading quizzes, a midterm, and a final.  Participation will be measured by quality, not quantity; what matters is not whether students can give a “right” or “wrong” answer, but whether student responses demonstrate a familiarity with the reading and a genuine effort to think critically about the subject matter.

AMS 321 • Women And Socl Mvmnts In US

30120 • Green, Laurie B.
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm UTC 3.122
(also listed as HIS 365G, WGS 340)
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This upper-division history course examines women’s participation in well-known and lesser-known social movements during the twentieth century, more deeply than is possible in a U.S. history survey course. Throughout, we explore women’s activism in movements that specifically targeted women’s rights, such as the woman suffrage movement. However, we also consider women’s participation in movements that do not outwardly appear to be movements about women’s rights, such as the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to exploring the scope and contours of women’s activism, the course will place particular emphasis on four key themes: 1) how cultural understandings of gender may have shaped these movements, 2) tensions between ideas of women’s rights that emphasized equality of the sexes and those that emphasized difference; 3) the question of whether you can write a universal history of women or need to write separate histories along lines such as race, class, region and/or sexual preference; 4) power relations not only between men and women but among women.


SHORT READINGS will be available on Canvas.


Crow Dog, Mary. Lakota Woman.  Reprint edition, Grove Press, 2011.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 1968; reprint edition, Delta, 2004.

Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965. University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Ruth Rosen. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America. Revised edition. Penguin, 2006.

Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Women’s Suffrage Movement. NewSage Press, 1995.


Attendance                                                      5%

On-time submission of assignments               5%

5 Lecture/Reading quizzes                              4% each (20% total)

5 In-class essays                                             10% each (50% total)

Final exam                                                       20%


AMS 321 • Vietnam Wars

30125 • Lawrence, Mark Atwood
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am MEZ 1.306
(also listed as HIS 365G)
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This course introduces undergraduates to the complex and controversial history of the wars fought in Vietnam from 1941 to the 1980s.  It will focus especially on American intervention, but students should be aware that the course will devote careful attention to Vietnamese history as well as the history of French, Japanese, British, and Chinese interventions in Indochina.  In this way, the course will attempt to place the American war in the broad context of colonialism, nationalism, communism, and cold war. 

The class will begin by considering the development of Vietnamese nationalism and communism during the period of French colonialism.  It will then examine the profound impact of the Second World War, which brought about, in succession, Japanese, Chinese, and British intervention before the country fell once again under French domination.  The French war (1946 to 1954) will receive careful attention before the class shifts its focus to the United States for the second half of the semester.  Lectures and readings will consider many of the major controversies associated with the American war:  Why did the United States intervene despite the lack of tangible American interests in Vietnam?  To what extent and why did American policymakers misunderstand the nature of the war?  Was the war “winnable” in any meaningful sense?  If so, why did the United States fail to achieve its objectives?  What social, cultural, and political legacies has the war produced in the United States and Vietnam?

Class time will consist of lecture, film clips, and discussion.  Students will be expected to read approximately 150 pages a week.


Mark Philip Bradley, The Vietnamese War

Christian Appy, Working Class War

Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect

George Herring, America’s Longest War

William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American


Requirements will likely include a few reading quizzes (25%), a paper of approximately 5-6 pages (25 %), a midterm examination (25 %), and a final (25%).  Students will have the opportunity to improve their grades through class participation but not through extra credit assignments.

AMS 327 • Debating The Bible In 21st Cen

30145 • Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am BEN 1.122
(also listed as CTI 375, R S 346)
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This course investigates the ongoing controversy in the United States about the meaning and continued relevance of the Bible. No knowledge of the Bible is assumed, and the course will begin with a short overview of the Bible’s content. Topics to be discussed include: the variety of perspectives within mainstream academic biblical scholarship; debates within evangelical scholarship about what it means for the Bible to be “inerrant”; the creationism-evolution controversy; the use of the Bible in “hot button” social and political issues (gay rights, for example); “End-Times prophecy”; and the movement to have the Bible taught in American public schools, including in Texas.


This course meets the criteria for the Ethics and Leadership flag, because more than one third of the class is devoted to identifying the vast array of ethical issues embedded within the Bible and and to walking students through the decision-making process about the Bible’s continued relevance using insights from the field of practical ethics.

AMS 327 • Hist Pentecostalism Americas

30149 • Doran, Justin
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm JES A215A
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 366, R S 366)
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Since its birth in the Southwestern United States a century ago, the Pentecostal movement has changed the way that Christians—both Protestant and Catholic—understand the everyday role of miracles in a modern, secularized world. This course provides a historical overview of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity across South, Central, and North America in the twentieth century. Although all readings are in English, the course balances materials and historical cases from Anglo North America with Latin American counterparts, attending especially to Brazil and Mexico. Throughout the course, we will focus on Pentecostalism’s transnational character and learn to critically engage anthropological and historical explanations for the movement’s enduring influence across Christian denominations.



Class participation (20%)

Critical Mapping Assignment (15%)

Two mid-term exams (20% each)

Final paper (7-9 pages, 25%)



Bowler, Kate. Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Burdick, John. The Color of Sound: Race, Religion, and Music in Brazil. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

Cox, Harvey. Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley Pub, 1995.

Stoll, David. Is Latin America Turning Protestant?: The Politics of Evangelical Growth. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Wacker, Grant. Heaven below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2001.

AMS 330 • Mdrnsm In Am Design & Arch

30150 • Meikle, Jeffrey L
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm ART 1.110
(also listed as URB 352)
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Upper-division standing required. Fulfills the core requirement for “Visual and Performing Arts”



This lecture course is intended to provide a broad knowledge of major issues in the history of American design and architecture from about 1880 to the present.  The central assumption of the course is that our environments both shape us and reflect what manner of people we are.  The term design is understood to include all elements of the built environment ranging from the smallest artifacts and products through buildings (whether vernacular or elite) to the shape of suburban and urban landscapes.  Students are encouraged to consider design in the context of social and cultural history.  Among topics to be considered are methods of cultural analysis of material artifacts; the rise, triumph, and fall of functionalism and the International Style; the emergence of uniquely American varieties of commercial design in a consumer society; the interactions of technology, economics, and design; the impact of the automobile on all levels of design; the rise of postmodern design and deconstructive architecture as counters to the modernist tradition; and design for the information age.  Among problems to be considered are tensions between tradition and novelty, between functional and expressive theories of design, between elite ideologies and popular desires, and between European and American design. 



Although lectures will be illustrated with slides, this is not an image memorization course.  Grades will be based on:

Two in-class exams (the first counting 15%; the second 25%)

5-7 page paper based on original observation (30%)

Final exam (30%).


Possible Texts

Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture

Carma Gorman, The Industrial Design Reader

Jeffrey Meikle, Design in the USA

John Kasson, Amusing the Million

Karal Ann Marling, As Seen on TV

Michael Sorkin, Variations on a Theme Park

AMS 370 • Civil Rts Mov From Comp Persp

30165 • Green, Laurie B.
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R, MAS 374)
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This writing intensive seminar allows students who already have some familiarity with the history of the civil rights movements of the mid-twentieth century to more deeply explore themes that can be addressed only briefly in a broader lecture course. Readings and class discussions will concentrate primarily on African American and Mexican American struggles for civil rights, but also address the Asian American and Native American movements. Likewise, we compare rural and urban movements, and northern and southern ones. Using a comparative approach will allow unique insights that are usually missing in courses on the Civil Rights Movement. In this rethinking, students will consider the distinctiveness of each of these struggles while also viewing them in relation to each other, which participants frequently did at the time. In doing so, we explore how historical understandings of race, gender and class impacted these movements in distinct and shared ways. Just as importantly, this comparative perspective encourages students to gain new understandings of mid-twentieth century U.S..

This course has a substantial writing component. Students will deepen their understandings of the civil rights era by researching and writing a 5,000 word research paper using archival collections at the University of Texas or elsewhere in Austin. Papers also rely on published scholarly works and other published sources such as newspapers. Students I work closely with students to identify topics and sources. The project is broken down into a series of shorter assignments that will bring you to your final paper. At the end of the course you will have the opportunity to present your paper in a conference-like format. This presentation will not be graded, but will allow you to share your work with other students, not just me!


Maeda, Daryl J. Chains of Babylon: The Rise of Asian America.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi.

Nelson, Alondra. Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination.

Orleck, Annelise and Lisa Gayle Hazirjian, eds. The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980.

Oropeza, Lorena. ¡Raza Si! ¡Guerra No! Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era.

Phillips, Kimberley L. War! What is it Good For? Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq.


25%     Attendance and class participation, to be broken down as follows:

15%     participation (attendance, completion of readings, participation in class discussion)

75%     Research project. This is a cumulative grade based on a series of assignments that take the student from the initial planning stages to the final submission of their papers.

10%     15-minute oral presentation on research project

AMS 370 • Jews In American Entertainment

30170 • Ernst, Christopher
Meets TTH 800am-930am PAR 310
(also listed as HIS 350R, J S 364)
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This course explores the vital role played by commercial amusements such as theater, Broadway, radio, television and film in creating American culture.  From the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, Jews have helped shape this culture of entertainment—and in so doing, profoundly influenced American identity.  Students will examine the representations and performance strategies of Jewish Americans through the lens of public entertainment.  We will focus on how Jews, as actors and actresses, writers and composers, singers and celebrities, producers and directors have negotiated their Jewish identity within the larger society.  Students will gain an understanding of how Jews have used the entertainment industry as a forum for grappling with important questions of American identity. 

Throughout the course, we will read cutting-edge scholarship and analyze compelling primary sources.  Students will become adept at interpreting images, deconstructing texts, evaluating historical evidence and writing historical essays.


Most readings will be available through Blackboard under Course Documents.  Please note that some readings will be links to websites and other material will be accessed online through University of Texas Libraries.


  • Attendance and class participation, 30%
  • Response 1 (1000 words), 10%
  • Response 2 (1000 words), 10%
  • Midterm, 15%
  • Final Essay (2000 words), 35%

AMS 370 • 20th-Cen US Lesbian/Gay His

30200 • Marchione, Mollie T
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.108
(also listed as HIS 365G, WGS 335)
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What can we learn from U.S. history about gender and sexuality? This course will use primary and secondary readings, films, class discussion, and written assignments to explore this question as we trace the social, cultural, and political history of same-sex desire in the U.S., primarily in the 20th century. Major topics include the growth of lesbian and gay communities or sub-cultures and the persistence of racial, class and gender differences within and among them; the changing representation of homosexuality in the mass media. The course will familiarize students with some of the classic texts in the field as well as recent and varied writings on the history of sexuality, focusing on the experiences, ideas, and conflicts that have shaped modern lesbian and gay identities.Partially fulfills legislative requirement for American history.May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.Seats also available under: AMS 370 , HIS 365G.

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