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

Course Descriptions

AMS 311S • Life And Death In American Cul

29970 • Quesal, Susan
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm BUR 436A
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American attitudes about life and death have changed over the past two centuries, as a consequence of changing ideas about the body, health, and medical authority. From early surgeons and midwives to serial killers and funeral directors, this course explores the cultural history of the twin sciences of life and death in the U.S. By looking at the historical overlap and difference between medicine and funeral science, students will understand how social structures of race and class have informed and produced the seemingly natural practices of life and death in America. Our readings will draw from a variety of disciplines, including black studies, urban studies, cultural geography, and public health. We will consider questions such as: How did the science of medicine benefit from white supremacist social structures in the 19th and 20th centuries? What cultural role(s) have funeral directors and other handlers of the dead played over time? What can the geography and location of a cemetery or hospital tell us about the social value of certain spaces and bodies?

            The course will begin with an exploration of the foundations of both medicine and mortuary science, with particular attention to the role of death, race, and poverty in the development of medicine. Next, we will look at the geography of medicine and death—where cities locate their hospitals, doctors, and burial grounds—and think about what that has to tell us about the cultural meaning of death and sickness over time. Finally, we will consider the role of social justice and environmentalism in contemporary movements that work to change public health and burial practices. Students will be asked to produce a series of reading response essays, a take-home midterm essay exam, and a longer research paper that offers an analysis of Austin’s geographies of life and/or death.

Possible Texts

Erik Larson, Devil in the White City

Keith Wailoo, Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health

Mark Harris, Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial

Jessica Mitford, The American Way of Death

Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Assignments (include % of grade):

10% Attendance and Participation

20% Two reading response essays (10% each)

20% Take-Home Midterm essay

10% Life/Death Geography of Austin assignment

10% Annotated Bibliography

30% Final Research Essay (10% Draft; 20% Final)

AMS 315 • Drug History In The Americas

29980 • Alvarez, C.J.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am BUR 112
(also listed as HIS 306N, LAS 310, MAS 319)
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FLAGS:   CD  |  GC


The international traffic in illegal drugs is a phenomenon loaded with important implications for democracy, public health, and politics. Yet it is also freighted with misunderstanding, prejudice, and bad data. In an effort to demystify, this course examines the narcotics trade from a historical and transnational perspective, tracing the multiple and intertwined histories of psychoactive substances, law enforcement, and diplomacy. We will explore the origins of marijuana and poppy cultivation, the medical development of cocaine, the popularization of hallucinogens, the invention of synthetics, while also considering why other mind-altering substances like tobacco, coffee, sugar, and many pharmaceuticals remain legal. We will also examine the rise of the Columbian and Mexican crime syndicates and the dramatic expansion and internationalization of law enforcement and incarceration.


Andreas, Peter. "The Politics of Measuring Illicit Flows and Policy Effectiveness." In Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, edited by Peter Andreas and Kelly Greenhill. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.

Mintz, Sidney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Viking, 1985.

Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Gootenberg, Paul. "Talking About the Flow: Drugs, Borders, and the Discourse of Drug Control." Cultural Critique, no. 71 (2009).

Astorga Almanza, Luis. "Cocaine in Mexico: A Prelude to 'los narcos'." In Cocaine: Global Histories, edited by Paul Gootenberg, 183-191. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Camp, Roderic Ai. Mexico's Military on the Democratic Stage. Westport, Conn.; Washington, D.C.: Praeger Security International; published in cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2005.


Participation: 25%

Midterm: 25%

Debate: 25%

Final exam: 25%

AMS 315 • Ethncty & Gender: La Chicana

29990 • Gonzalez, Rachel
Meets MWF 900am-1000am PAR 101
(also listed as MAS 311, SOC 308D, WGS 301)
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The purpose of this course is to examine the various experiences, perspectives, and expressions of Latinas in the United States. Specifically, the relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, and class will be key as we discuss issues that have been significant in the experiences and self-identification of Latinas, such as family, gender, sexuality, religion/spirituality, education, language, labor, and political engagement. We will also explore the emergence of Latina and U.S. Third World (or woman of color) feminisms and what it means to be Latina in the United States today. We will engage in interdisciplinary analysis not only concerning cultural traditions, values, belief systems, and symbols but also concerning the expressive culture of Latinas, including folk and religious practices, literature and poetry, the visual arts, and music. Finally, we will examine media representations of Latinas through critical analyses of film and television portrayals.

AMS 315 • Intro East Austin Ethnography

29993 • Jones, Omi Osun Joni L.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CAL 21
(also listed as AFR 317D, ANT 310L)
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In this course, students will study ethnographic methods including fieldwork, observant participation, interviewing, and oral histories. Archival research will also be conducted. Students will conduct fieldwork at specific sites in Austin with an emphasis on East Austin communitites. This course provides students with skills in critical ethnography by foregrounding the racial politics that shape policy-making and community-building.

Grading breakdown:

Project Focus 10%

Interview 10%

Oral History 10%

Observant Participation Notebook 30%

Research Project 30%

Participation 10%

AMS 315 • Revolution Will Be Dramatized

29994 • Thompson, Lisa B.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 203
(also listed as AFR 317F, WGS 301)
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This course will examine the representations of black political protest in film and theatre from the 1960s to the present. We will discuss fictional and documentary films as well as plays. The class will also consider the performative aspects of black protest movements for social justice. Texts under consideration include plays such Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, Robert O’Hara’s Insurrection, and films such as Free Angela and all Political Prisoners, The Butler, The Untold Story of Emmett Till, Night Catches Us and Panther.


The Mountaintop – Katori Hall

Insurrection – Robert O’Hara

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (film, director – Shola Lynch)

The Butler (film, director – Lee Daniels)

The Untold Story of Emmett Hill (film, director – Keith Beauchamp)

Night Catches Us (film, director- Tanya Hamilton)

Grading breakdown (percentages):

Performance review journal – 25%

Attendance – 15%

Class presentation – 30%

Three response papers – 30%

AMS 315 • Intro To Asian Amer Studies

29995 • Cho, Alexander
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CBA 4.326
(also listed as AAS 301)
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Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to major issues in the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans. Accordingly, it also trains students to critically unpack the idea of “Asian American” as containing an ever-shifting multiplicity of peoples and histories and places this category in conversation with issues of power, race, nation, and gender and sexuality. This course also spends substantial time on contemporary Asian American issues and recent histories of migration. Key topics to be explored are: (im)migration, citizenship, imperialism, panethnicity, racial formation, intersectionality, multiraciality, transnationalism, hybridity, mediated representation.

AMS 315F • Gay & Lesbian Lit & Culture

Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 204
(also listed as E 314V, E 314V, E 314V, WGS 301)
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E 314V  l  5-Native American Literature and Culture

Instructor:  Grewe, L

Unique #:  33920

Semester:  Fall 2015

Cross-lists:  AMS 315F

Flags:  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.; Writing

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  Yes

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: When Pharrell appeared in a headdress on the cover of Elle UK, it raised many questions, among them: how are Native Americans portrayed in popular culture? In response to this question, we might ask: how do Native Americans represent themselves? Native Americans, in fact, have been representing themselves in writing for hundreds of years. This class will focus on Native American literature from a range of different tribal nations, regions, and histories. We will examine Native American activism and forced assimilation as well as continuing conflicts between Native and non-Native belief systems and between tribal nation communities and US federal and state governments. Together, we will uncover the surprising way that indigenous literature has fundamentally shaped American literature and is beginning to impact world literature.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines. They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities. Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course contains a writing flag. The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.

Tentative Texts: On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot, William Apess, ed. Barry O’Connell (1992); Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (1977); Mean Spirit, Linda Hogan (1991).

Requirements & Grading: There will be a series of 3 short essays, the first of which must be revised and resubmitted.  Subsequent essays may also be revised and resubmitted by arrangement with the Instructor (75% of the final grade).  There may also be reading quizzes, reaction papers, and in-class presentations (25% of the final grade).

AMS 321 • Asian American Gender & Sexual

30005 • Cho, Alexander
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SZB 330
(also listed as AAS 320, WGS 335)
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Why are Asian female bodies hypersexualized while Asian men are portrayed as emasculated? What can tracing the long history of sexual management of Asians in America reveal in terms of who is included in the category “American”? This course trains students to critically unpack concomitant constructions of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality that have informed the Asian American experience and connects these issues to broader themes of gender and sexual politics throughout American history. The course’s multidisciplinary approach spans the fields of literature, sociology, history, media studies, and anthropology.

AMS 321 • Rethinking Blackness

30010 • Thompson, Lisa B.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.104
(also listed as AFR 372C, E 376M, WGS 340)
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Cultural critic Wahneema Lubiano argues that “postmodernism offers a site for African American cultural critics and producers to utilize a discursive space that foregrounds the possibility of rethinking history, political positionality in the cultural domain, the relationship between cultural politics and subjectivity, and the politics of narrative aesthetics.” Other scholars such as Cornel West conclude that the black experience in America is fundamentally absurd. Henry Louis Gates Jr. suggests that, “only a black person alienated from black language-use could fail to understand that we have been deconstructing white people's languages and discourses since that dreadful day in 1619 when we were marched off the boat in Virginia. Derrida did not invent deconstruction, we did!” If postmodernism is characterized by a de-centered human subjectivity then the black condition in the Americas is fundamentally postmodern. Although many writers render the outsider status of African Americans with somberness this course examines texts that re-imagine black subjectivity beyond traditional narratives of suffering and oppression. The authors that we will read present topics sacred to many African Americans such as the Civil Rights movement, slavery, family and blackness, but do so outside traditional African American literary paradigms. We will consider how their treatment of such sensitive issues expands notions of black identity and re-writes assumptions about the African American experience. During the term we will explore texts—some non-canonical others more familiar—from the late 20th century to the present. Class participants will become acquainted with artists working in a variety of genres such as literary satire, rock musical, faux documentary and speculative fiction.

Required Texts:

1. Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979)

2. Katori Hall, The Mountaintop (2011)

3. Andrea Lee, Sarah Phillips (1984)

4. Robert O'Hara, Insurrection: Holding History (1999)

5. Stew, Passing Strange (2008)

6. Lisa B. Thompson, Single Black Female (2012)

7. Baratunde Thurston, How to Be Black (2012)

8. Touré, Whose Afraid of Post Blackness? (2011)

Grading breakdown (percentages):

Essay One (5-7 pages) 15%

Midterm Exam 25%

Group Presentation 10%

Presentation 10%

Essay Two (7-10 pages) 30%

Participation 10%

AMS 321 • Tex Czechs: Cowboys & Kolaches

30015 • Hilchey, Christian
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm MEZ 2.124
(also listed as REE 325)
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FLAGS:   GC  |  Wr


This course examines the history and culture of the Bohemians and Moravians who made Texas their home during the 19th and early part of the 20th century. According to U.S. census data, over 180,000 Texans trace their ancestry back to Czech immigrants. Who are the Czechs and what were the circumstances that led them to leave their homeland? Why did they choose Texas, and in particular, Central Texas? Beginning with these essential questions, this course will examine the unique ways in which the Czech diaspora has manifested on Texan soil. We will consider the structure of Czech communities through their traditions and institutions, examining how Czech language and culture has been preserved and passed down through many generations. These explorations will take us into present-day Czech communities in Texas as we analyze the contemporary role of heritage associations and festivals, while also looking back at the contributions Czechs have made to Texas culture: city names such as Dubina and Hostyn, cemeteries and painted churches, and the distinctly Czech culinary traditions of beer and kolaches.

Coursework will consist of readings about the Czechs who made their way to Texas, as well as trips to nearby Czech communities, museums, and restaurants. A significant component of the course will include a project to visit and document one or more of the Czech communities of Texas. We will also examine other Czech diaspora communities in the United States, particularly those in Chicago and across the Midwest, through interviews, newspapers, and other documents.


Czech Voices: Stories from Texas in the Amerikán národní kalendář, Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Jr.

Krasna Amerika: A Study of Texas Czechs, 1851-1939, Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Jr.

We're Czechs, Robert L. Skrabanek

My Ántonia, Willa Cather

Additional course readings and materials will be distributed on the course website.


Attendance/Participation                                20%

Map Quiz                                                    5%

Midterm                                                     20%

Short Paper 1 (3-4 pages)                             10%

Short Paper 2 (3-4 pages)                             10%

In-Class Presentation                                   10%

Final Research Paper (10-12 pages)               25%

AMS 321 • US-Mexico Border Sounds

Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CMA 3.114
(also listed as MAS 374)
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COURSE TITLE: U.S.-Mexico Bordersounds

INSTRUCTOR: Tahkahmera, Dustin 


Through interdisciplinary scholarship in sound studies, cultural studies, and popular music, this course critically listens to and analyzes soundways (i.e., interpretive beliefs, modes, and practices concerning sound) and soundscapes in relation to cultural identities in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. How, the course asks, does sound matter in and around the borderlands? How are borderland identities sonically and musically represented? How does sound construct, critique, remix, or otherwise complicate perceptions of the borderlands?



Week 1: Sound Studies and Borders

  • Schafer, Murray. “Introduction.” The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. NY: Knopf, 1977. 3-12.
  • Samuels, David, Louise Meintjes, Ana Maria Ochoa, and Thomas Porcello. “Soundscapes: Toward a Sounded Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology. 39.1 (2010): 329-345.
  • Pinch, Trevor, and Karin Bjisterveld. “New Keys to the World of Sound.” The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. NY: Oxford UP, 2012. 3-38.

Week 2: Listening for Bordersounds

  • Bull, Michael, and Les Back. “Into Sound.” The Auditory Culture Reader, ed. Bull and Back. London: Berg, 2003. 1-18.
  • Sterne. Jonathan. “Sonic Imaginations” 1-18 The Sound Studies Reader, ed. Sterne. NY: Routledge, 2012. 1-18.
  • Smith, Mark, Mitchell Snay, and Bruce Smith. “Talking Sound History.” Hearing History: A Reader. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2004. 365-404.
  • Pistrick, Eckehard, and Cyril Isnart. “Landscapes, soundscapes, mindscapes: introduction.” Etnográfica. Revista do Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia (17.3) (2013): 503-513.

Week 3: Theoretical Meditations on Listening

  • Attali, Jacques. “Listening.” Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1985. 3-20.
  • Connor, Steven. “Sound and the Self.” Hearing History: A Reader. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2004. 54-68.
  • Keeling, Kara, and Josh Kun. “Introduction: Listening to American Studies.” In American Quarterly. Special Issue Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies. Ed. Keeling and Kun. American Quarterly, Special Issue: “Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies,” ed. Kara Keeling and Josh Kun. 63.3 (Sept 2011): 445-459.
  • Paquette, David, and Andra McCartney. "Soundwalking and the Bodily Exploration of Places." Canadian Journal of Communication 37.1 (2012): 135-145.

Week 4: Sound, Space, and Race

  • Marina Peterson “Mapping a Metropolis in Motion” in Sound, Space, and the City: Civic Performance in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Stoever-Ackerman, Jennifer. “Splicing the Sonic Color-Line: Tony Schwartz Remixes Postwar Nueva York.” Social Text. 28.1 (2010): 59-85.
  • Tahmahkera, Dustin. “‘An Indian in a White Man’s Camp’: Johnny Cash’s Indian Country Music.” Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2012. 147-174.

Week 5: Sonic Territories: Listening to Lowrider Culture

  • Bijsterveld, Karin. “Acoustic cocooning: How the car became a place to unwind.” The Senses and Society 5.2 (2010): 189-211.
  • LaBelle, Brandon. Acoustic territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010. “Street: Auditory Latching, Cars, and the Dynamics of Vibration.” 127-161.
  • Lipsitz, George. “Cruising Around the Historical Bloc: Postmodernism and Popular Music in East Lost Angeles.” Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1990. 133-160.
  • Delgado, Fernando. “All Along the Border: Kid Frost and the Performance of Brown Masculinity.” Text and Performance Quarterly 20.4 (2000): 388-401.

Week 6: Border Theatre and Sonic De/colonization

  • McMahon, Marci. “Soundscapes of Narco Silence.” 2013.
  • Saracho, Tanya. El Nogalar/Peach Orchard.

Week 7: Border Art and Aesthetic Borders

  • Kun, Josh. ”Playing the Fence, Listening to the Line: Sound, Sound Art, and Acoustic Politics at the US-Mexico Border.” Performance in the Borderlands: A Critical Anthology, eds. Harvey Young and Ramon Rivera-Servera. NY: Palgrave, 2011. 17-36.
  • Casillas, Dolores Ines. “Listening to the Border: Giving Voice in Diaspora” and the Sound Art of Luz Maria Sanchez.”
  • Luz Maria Sanchez “Diaspora 2487.”
  • Misrach, Richard, and Guillermo Galindo. “Border Signs.” 2014.

Week 8: Sounding la frontera

  • Paredes, Américo. With His Pistol in his Hand: A Border Ballad and its Hero. Austin: U of Texas P, 1958.
  • Villalobos, José Pablo. “Mapping Border Music: Sonic Representations of la frontera.” Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. 69-82.
  • Hernández, Roberto. “Sonic Geographies and Anti-Borders Musics: ‘We Didn’t Cross the Border, the Borders Crossed Us.’” Performing the US Latina and Latino Borderlands, ed. Arturo Aldama, et al. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2012. 235-57.

Week 9: Sounding Audiotopias

  • Kun, Josh. Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America. “Rock’s Reconquista” and “La Misma Canción.” U of California P, 2005. 184-218, 219-226.
  • Garrett, Charles Hiroshi. “Jelly Roll Morton and the Spanish Tinge” (48-82)
  • Johnson, Gaye Theresa. “Spatial Entitlement: Race, Displacement, and Sonic Reclamation in Postwar Los Angeles.” Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity. U of California P, 2013. 48-64.

Week 10: Listening Transnationally

  • Madria, Alejandro, ed. Transnational Encounters: Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border, Oxford UP, 2011.

Week 11: Sounding Apachería

  • Samuels, David. Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2006.

Week 12: Sounds of Advocacy and Belonging

  • Cárcamo-Huechante, Luis E. “Indigenous Interference: Mapuche Use of Radio in Times of Acoustic Colonialism.” Latin American Research Review 48.S (2013): 50-68.
  • Casillas, Dolores Ines. Sounds of Belonging: Us Spanish-language Radio and Public Advocacy. NYU Press, 2014.

Week 13: Dissonant Divas

  • Vargas, Deborah. Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012.

Week 14: Sonic Fusions

  • Hernandez, Deborah Pacini. “Turning the Tables: Musical Mixings, Border Crossings, and New Sonic Circuitries.” Oye Coma Va!: Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music. Temple UP, 2011.
  • Alvarez, Luis. “Reggae on the Border: The Possibilities of a Frontera Soundscape.” In Transnational Encounters: Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border, ed. Alejandro Madrid.Oxford UP, 2011. 19-40.
  • Vargas, Deborah R. “Punk’s Afterlife in Cantina Time.” Social Text. 31.3 (2013): 57-73.

Week 15: Sonic Youth

  • Madrid, Alejandro L. “Imagining Modernity, Revising Tradition: Nor‐tec Music in Tijuana and Other Borders 1.” Popular Music and Society 28.5 (2005): 595-618.

Morrison, Amanda Maria. “Musical Trafficking: Urban Youth and the Narcocorrido-Hardcore Rap Nexus.” Western Folklore. 67.4 (Fall 2008): 379-396.



In addition to Sonic Engagements (i.e., short sound studies writing assignments engaging course readings and sonic texts), you will complete a series of tasks for your final research paper of 15-20 complete pages, citing and conversing with at least 10 scholarly sources, on an approved topic situated within the fields of borderlands studies and sound studies.


Sonic Engagements I               10%                

Sonic Engagements II              15%    

Project Proposal                     10%

Workshop Draft                     5%                              

Peer Reviews                        10%                

Research Paper                      25%

Soundtrack                            5%                              

Presentation                          10%                

Attendance                            10%

AMS 321 • US In The Civil Rights Era

30030 • Green, Laurie B.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm UTC 3.102
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 356P, MAS 374)
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FLAGS:   CD  |  EL

AMS 370 • Arts/Artifacts In Americas

30055 • Kamil, Neil D.
Meets MW 400pm-530pm GAR 1.134
(also listed as HIS 350R)
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Material culture is a term borrowed by a number of disciplines from archaeology that refers to all categories of historical artifacts—things from artistic masterpieces to the lowly stool; from architectural monuments to hedge rows—that are studied by historians in the hope of revealing their use as overlooked evidence of past lives that reach beyond the written text.


This course will survey the changing material culture of the western hemisphere from pre-Columbian times to the beginning of the industrial revolution.  We will view artifacts from an Atlantic perspective on all levels of society while sampling a cross-section of written work from a number of disciplines and geographies in the Americas.  We will keep a keen eye on our central problem of telling the connected stories of both the artisans (makers) and their societies (consumers).



Robert Blair St. George, Material Life in Early America.

Robert Blair St. George, Conversing by Signs

Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Nature, empire, and nation : explorations of the history of science in the Iberian world

Neil Kamil, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Disappearance and Material Life in early New York,” in American Furniture 1995

Neil Kamil, Fortress of the Soul: Violence, Metaphysics and Mateial Life in the Huguenots' New World, 1517-1751

Jules Prown,  American Artifacts: Essays in Material Culture

Henri Focillon, The Life of Form

Jones, Michael Owen, Handmade Object and its Maker

Deetz, James, In Small things Forgotten

Humes, Ivor Noel, Martins Hundred

SY Edgerton, Theaters of Conversion: Religious Architecture and Indian Artisans in Colonial Mexico




2 page book review due weekly; 50%

Final 5 page project; 20%

Class Participation; 30%

AMS 370 • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30060 • Walker, Juliet E. K.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as AFR 374D, HIS 350R)
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Within the construct of African American Business history, race, contemporary American popular culture and global capitalism, this course will focus on an important aspect in the contemporary political economy of black Americans. Specifically, the commodification (sale) of black culture provides the conceptual frame for an examination of the phenomenon of both the superstar black athlete as an entrepreneur and the Hip Hop Superstar as an entrepreneur in post-Civil Rights America. The emphasis in this course, then, is to critically examine and analyze the impact of a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic factors in the post-modern information age, propelled by new technologies in the New Economy of Global Capitalism.  Also, consideration will be given to the new diversity as it impacts on the political economy of African Americans.


Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers both the financial successes of superstar black athletes and hip hop entrepreneurs as well as their emergence as cultural icons, contrasted with the comparatively overall poor performance of Black Business not only within the intersection of race, gender, class, but also within the context of transnationalism in the globalization sale of African American Culture in post-Civil Rights America. But who profits?


Most important, why is it that business receipts for African Americans, who comprise almost thirteen percent of this nation's population, amounted in 2007 to only .5%, that is, less than one (1) percent of the nation's total business receipts? In addition, why is it that among the various occupational categories in which blacks participate in the nation's economy, especially as businesspeople, that black entertainers and sports figures are the highest paid? What does this say about race, class, gender and hegemonic masculinities in America at the turn of the new century?



Boyd, Todd,      Young, Black, Rich and Famous:  The Rise of the NBA, The Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture

Curry, Mark,         Dancing With the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop

Daniels, Cora,     Black Power, Inc: The New Voice of Black Success

Johnson,  Magic,    32  Ways to Be a Champion in Business

Kitwana, Bakari,   Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality                             of Race in America

Lafeber, Walter, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism, New Expanded Edition

Oliver, Richard, Tim Leffel, Hip-Hop, Inc. : Success Strategies of the Rap Moguls   

Pulley, Brett, The Billion Dollar BET: Robert Johnson and the Inside Story of BET

Smith-Shomade, Beretta, Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television           

Walker, Juliet E. K. History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship

Chaps, 6-11; Course Packet “The Commodification of Black Culture”   


Critical Book Review Analysis                           25%

    (5 reviews, 2-3 pages 5 points each)

Class Discussion/participation                             25%

Oral Summary of Research Paper                         5%

Seminar Research Paper (15 pages)                    45%


AMS 370 • Latina/O Spirituality

30065 • Gonzalez, Rachel
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as MAS 374, R S 346, WGS 335)
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FLAGS:   CD  |  Wr  |  II


This course introduces students to the religious and spiritual practices of diverse Latina/o populations living in the United States. Students will work with primary and secondary texts, ethnographic film and museum exhibitions to examine the diverse ways in which Latina/o communities’ create spiritual meaning in their lives. It will examine the religious and spiritual practices from the vantage point of transition and change as a way of understanding larger aspects of cultural and social change within 21st century U.S. Latina/o publics. This course incorporates materials and theoretical approaches relevant to multiple diasporic Latina/o communities including Afro Latino and Indigenous migrant communities. Students will learn about the diverse aspects of Latina/o spiritual, from the history of Latina/o Catholicism, to influences of West African ritual, to the rise of Latina/o Muslim conversion in the United States. It will expressly look at cultural productions from the vantage points of gender and race politics, and incorporate the spiritual tradition of women, queer communities, and various “othered” Latina/o identifying community members.


Aponte, Edward David. 2012. Santo!: Varieties of Latina/o Spirituality. New York: Orbis.

Baez, Edward J. "Spirituality and the Gay Latino Client." Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 4, no. 2 (1996): 69-81.

Daniel, Yvonne. 2005. Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble. Urbana: University of Illinois Press Otero, Solimar. 2014.

Yemoja: Gender, Sexuality, and Creativity in the Latina/o and Afro-Atlantic Diasporas. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Perez, Laura E. 2007. Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities. Durham: Duke University Press

Rodriguez, Roberto C. 2014. Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas. Tucson: University of Arizona Press

Romero Cash, Marie. 1998. Living Shrines: Home Altars of New Mexico. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press


Minute Papers/Attendance 10%

3 Film/Art-Exhibit Reviews 15%

Project Proposal & Annotated Bibliography 20%

Midterm Exam 20%

Final Exam 15%

Final Project 20%

AMS 370 • Women In Postwar America

30075 • Green, Laurie B.
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as HIS 350R, WGS 345)
show description

This course intensively examines U.S. women's history between World War II and the 1970s. In doing so, it also explores popular perceptions of womanhood, manhood and sexuality that became central to the cultural politics and social conflicts of the postwar period. By weaving together these topics – women’s history, popular culture, and postwar social movements – we raise fresh questions about well-known episodes of U.S. history. Why, for example, do most Americans remember Rosa Parks only as a demure seamstress who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott because she was too tired to give up her seat to a white? If every young woman hoped to be like Donna Reed or June Cleaver in the fifties, then where did the sixties movements come from? We also explore how various groups (e.g., suburban girls, working-class women, civil rights activists, immigrants, and others) negotiated ideas of family, work and sexuality. In doing so, we examine roots of issues that continue to have political purchase today, such as reproductive rights, sexuality, job equity, welfare, race, and ethnicity.

Course Activities:This is primarily a discussion seminar, but class will occasionally include short lectures and films. Readings include historical documents, memoirs, scholarly articles and full-length historical studies. The course has a writing flag, and is designed to help you develop skills in historical writing and analysis. Students will write regularly to encourage critical thinking and class discussion of readings. Graded assignments include weekly reading summaries, a short media research paper based on popular magazines of the postwar era; and a “Postwar Women’s Memoir Project” based on interviews with women who came of age between World War II and the 1970s.



* Bailey, Beth. Sex in the Heartland

* Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media 

* Gilmore, Stephanie, ed. Feminist Coalitions: Historical Perspectives on Second-Wave Feminism in the United States

* Grace, Nancy M. and Ronna C. Johnson, eds., Breaking the Rule of Cool: Interviewing and Reading Women Beat Writers

* Lee, Chana Kai. For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

* Meyerowitz, Joanne, ed. Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960 (noted as NJC on syllabus)

* Santiago, Esmeralda. Almost a Woman

* Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography



10% Attendance, promptness, class participation

30% 350-word weekly analyses of readings (6 essays, 5% each)

20% Media research essay, 5 pages 

35% Final Postwar Women’s Memoir Project essay, 8-10 pages

5%  Group Presentation on Memoir Projects

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