AMS 370 • Mexican American Cultural Seminar
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Cultural Studies is exactly like it sounds, a scholarly approach to study culture. The field of Cultural Studies encourages us to ask certain key questions, such as: How do power relationships impact cultural practices? How does one develop theories to understand everyday life? How does one examine the role of social structures and institutions in shaping culture? Cultural Studies requires deconstructing the world in order to see how certain structures, discourses, and symbols have patterned our lives. By throwing a spotlight on dominant forces and ideologies, Cultural Studies is also invested in exposing inequalities and disturbing the status quo. In this seminar, we will examine the various methodologies that have evolved in Cultural Studies in order to expand our understanding of Mexican American history and culture.
Over the course of the class, students will develop a research project that integrates the objectives of Mexican American Studies, Cultural Studies, and American Studies. Students will consider how the converging and diverging histories of these academic disciplines can facilitate multiple perspectives, or generate enormous debate. Assigned readings will train students to analyze culture, to critique academic theories, to define methodologies of study, and to decode what they most take for granted. Through the readings, class discussions, and research projects, students not only will build an understanding of the complexity of Mexican American identity and culture, but they also will engage with issues of social justice, decolonization, and power.
Possible Texts Angie Chabram-Dernersesian, ed., The Chicana/o Cultural Studies Forum: Critical and Ethnographic Practices (NY: New York University Press, 2007) Angie Chabram-Dernersesian, ed., The Chicana/o Cultural Studies Reader (NY: Routledge, 2006) Course Reader.