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

Brendan C Gaughen

Doctoral Student
Brendan C Gaughen



Brendan Gaughen is originally from southern California. He received a B.A. in communications/media studies in 2003 from Azusa Pacific University, and an M.A. in American studies in 2009 from Cal State Fullerton, after which he moved to Austin to join UT's American studies PhD program.

He was an assistant instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing for three years and has spent a total of fourteen semesters working as a writing tutor, eight of those exclusively with student athletes. Before that he was a security guard at an art museum and prior to that worked as an office manager (and occasional long-distance driver) for a vehicle relocation company.

Brendan is working on a dissertation that examines the relationships between place, mobility, and technology, drawing together a number of seemingly disparate things such as a club for people who attempt to visit every county in the United States, graffiti and street art, historic highway travelers, amateur radio, GPS technology, and ankle-worn punitive monitoring devices.



"Innovation, Imitation, and the Continued Importance of Vintage Video Games." Reconstruction Vol. 14, No. 1 (2014).


practices of leisure and collecting, material culture, mass/popular/trash culture, space/place/landscape, road culture/transportation/mobility, vintage video games, digital humanities, nostalgia

AMS 311S • America In The 1990's

29950 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm BUR 436A
show description


Using a variety of popular culture texts including film, television, literature, fashion, and music, this course takes a critical look at American culture and society between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, framing the decade as a pivotal time for the nation when its preoccupations shifted from fighting communism to combating terrorism. During the twelve-year period framed by these two major events the nation turned inward, away from international affairs, and the trajectories, trends, crises, and debates during this time have had an enormous impact on our culture in the present day. This course takes a thematic, rather than chronologic, approach to understanding the complexities of the last decade of the twentieth century, focusing on the continued growth of neo-conservatism, the impacts of globalization, advances in technology, changes occurring within various media industries, the mainstreaming of “alternative” culture, and political battles over education, censorship, immigration, labor, and civil rights. What do things like school shootings, domestic terrorism, support for and backlash against social programs, and the increasing use of digital technologies tell us about the past and present? How is the decade remembered today?


Course reader potentially including the following texts:

Sarah Banet-Weiser – Kids Rule!: Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship

Ch 2 “The Success Story: Nickelodeon and the Cable Industry”

Ch 3 “The Nickelodeon Brand: Buying and Selling the Audience”

Tom Engelhardt – The End of Victory Culture

Part 5 “Victory Culture: The Sequel”

Tom Engelhardt – History Wars

Ch 8 “The Victors and the Vanquished”

Thomas Frank – What’s the Matter With Kansas

Ch 2 “Deep in the Heart of Redness”

Ch 9 “Kansas Bleeds For Your Sins”

Mary Celeste Kearney – Girls Make Media

Ch 2 “Brought to You By Girl Power: Riot Grrrl’s Networked Media Economy”

Ch 4 “Grrrl Zines: Exploring Identity, Transforming Girls’ Written Culture”

Robin D G Kelley – Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

Ch 8 “Kickin’ Reality, Kickin’ Ballistics: Gangsta Rap and Postindustrial Los Angeles”

Naomi Klein – No Logo

Ch 3 “Alt.Everything: the Youth Market and the Marketing of Cool”

Ch 5 “Patriarchy Gets Funky: The Triumph of Identity Marketing”

Ch 12 “Culture Jamming: Ads Under Attack”

James Livingston – The World Turned Inside Out: American Thought and Culture at the End of the 20th Century

Ch 2 “’Tenured Radicals’ in the Ivory Tower: Origins and Effects of the Reagan Revolution”

Ch 3 “The Creators and Constituents of the Postmodern Condition”

Ch 4 “Signs of Signs: Watching the End of Modernity at the Cineplex”

Bethany Moreton – To Serve God and Wal-Mart

Ch 13 “Selling Tree Trade”

Kaya Oakes – Slanted & Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture

Ch 7 “Brighten the Corners: The Reinvention of Indie Rock”

Ch 10 “Branded: The Big Indie Crossover”

Alisa Perren – Indie Inc: Miramax and the Transformation of Hollywood in the 1990s

Ch 1 “Finding a Niche in the 1990s”

Ch 2 “The Rise of Miramax and the Quality Indie Blockbuster”

Ch 8 “Maxed Out: Miramax and Indiewood in the New Millennium”

Otto Santa Ana – Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public Discourse

Ch 3 “Proposition 187: Misrepresenting Immigrants and Immigration”

Ch 4 “Proposition 209: Competing Metaphors for Racism and Affirmative Action”

Eric Schlosser – Fast Food Nation

Ch 4 “Success”

Ch 10 “Global Realization”

Marita Sturken – Tangled Memories

Ch 4 “Spectacles of Memory and Amnesia: Remembering the Persian Gulf War”

Marita Sturken – Tourists of History

Ch 2 “Citizens and Survivors: Cultural Memory and Oklahoma City”

Ch 3 “The Spectacle of Death and the Spectacle of Grief: The Execution of Timothy McVeigh”

Numerous primary texts


Assignments (include % of grade):

Analysis paper 1 (3-5 pages)                10%

Analysis paper 2 (3-5 pages)                10%

One-page reading responses (7)           35%

Final project proposal (1-2 pages)         10%

Final project (8-10 pages)                    25%

Participation/attendance                       10%


"Making a Mark: Graffiti Art and Identity from Lascaux to Los Angeles" (American Papers, CSUF, 2007)

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