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Elizabeth Engelhardt, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Lisa Powell

Assistant Instructor

Doctoral Student

Biography

M.A. American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
M.S. Vanderbilt
B.A. Harvard

Thesis title: Beauty and the Brochure: Nature and Tourism Promotion at the Tennessee Gateway Communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Interests

cultural geography, food, agriculture, environmental history, sustainability, national parks, the American South, Appalachia, pumpkins

AMS 311S • Women In The American West

30695 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 800am-900am GAR 0.132
(also listed as GRG 302P, WGS 301 )
show description

From spur-clad, sassy cowgirls and fuzzy-sweatered, ski-toting snow bunnies, to statuesque Indian princesses and lovely señoritas in brightly embroidered blouses, stereotypical images of women in the majestic spaces of the American West abound.   In this course, we will both interrogate and look beyond popular images of women in the West.   We will be considering such issues as how these images have been formed and how “real” women on whom stereotypes have been (often loosely) based have viewed their own lives.   We will also learn about other groups of Western women, whose lives have not necessarily been glamorized in popular culture, including women working in fields, canneries, factories, and at establishing and maintaining homes.  We will examine how race, ethnicity, religion, and economic class affected their experiences, alongside their status as women.  We will consider women who have helped to shape images of the American West through their cultural productions and activism, including painters, photographers, essayists, poets, environmentalists, and labor organizers. As we are situated in Austin, we will also take the opportunity to look at how Texas women have been positioned at the intersection of Western and other regional contexts. Though we will periodically turn to earlier eras for background and context, the course will focus on the year 1880 to the present.  Examining women in the American West will lead to an examination of the Western landscape itself, as we see how women have responded to and helped to shape their rural, urban, and ‘wild’ environments.  

Among the many skills honed in this course, students will develop their abilities to think critically about images found in popular media; to understand how identity factors broadly considered—and especially one’s identity as a “woman”—can affect experience; to investigate the processes contributing to the formation of the landscapes around them; and to seek out and use a variety of source materials to understand a subject.            

                 

Requirements

Four reading and/or film response papers (1-2 pgs)       20%

Research paper (6-8 pgs)                                            20%

Presentation (10 min max)                                          10%

Landscape Personal Essay                                            15%

Mid-semester exam                                                     15%

Attendance and participation                                        20%

 

Possible Texts

Coleman, Ski Style: Sport and Culture in the Rockies

Hale, Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daugher 

Hasselstrom (ed.), Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West

Kaufman, National Parks and the Woman's Voice

Kingsolver, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike

Ortlieb, Creating an Orange Utopia: Eliza Lovell Tibbets and the Birth of California's Citrus Industry

Ruiz, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950

Schackel, Working the Land: The Stories of Ranch and Farm Women in the Modern American West

Scharff (ed.), Seeing Nature Through Gender

Yung, Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco

 

Flag(s): Writing

AMS 311S • Natl Parks: Amer's Best Idea?

30603 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as GRG 309 )
show description

Since Fall 2009, PBS has dedicated considerable prime air time to showing (and re-showing) the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea.  The series has been celebrated by many, ranging from pop musicians (who staged a concert in its honor in NYC's Central Park) to outdoor stores (which sponsored sales and events the weekend of the premiere) to the National Parks Conservation Service, an activist group.  While the series did address some of the controversies that have plagued the National Park Service throughout its establishment and history, the stunning footage of natural splendors and triumphal tone of its narrative provided substantial support for the assertion expressed by the title.    Not all Americans over the past two centuries have considered the parks to be a great idea, however, as establishing parks has often meant removing peoples from their homes and limiting or restricting access to long-used resources.

While acknowledging the beauty and significance of the places administered by the National Park Service (not only those named National Parks, but also National Monuments, Recreation Areas, Lakeshores, etc.), we will examine them as sites where land, history, values, and ideas have been contested. We will consider such questions as:

- How have national parks reflected and influenced perceptions and ideals of “nature” and  “wilderness”?

- How have tensions over preservation, conservation, resource use and public recreation shaped the development and histories of the parks?

- How have different groups (defined by such factors as race, ethnicity, gender, and class) borne the costs and received the benefits of the establishment of park areas?

-How have parks affected and been affected by the communities and lands they border?

Upon completing this course, students will not only be well-acquainted

with the interdisciplinary sources and methods of analysis of American studies, cultural geography, and environmental history, but will also be well- prepared

to generate their own critical interpretations of environments and experiences in national parks and other landscapes. They will also have gained experience in producing different types of written communication through structured writing processes.                                   

 

Requirements

Research paper (6-8 pgs) and in-class presentation on contemporary park issue  25%

Park interpretation Paper (4-5 pgs)  20%

Four short (1-2 pgs) reading and/or film response papers   20%

In-class exam   15%

Participation, attendance, and impromptu in-class quizzes and writing assignments 20%

 

Possible Texts

Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Hollis, The Land of the Smokies: Great Mountain Memories

Louter, Windshield Wilderness: Cars, Roads, and Nature in Washington's National Parks

Muir, The Yosemite

Rothman, Blazing Heritage: A History of Wildland Fire in the National Parks

Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks

Burns, The National Parks: America's Best Idea (documentary film series)

 

Flag(s): Writing

 

AMS 311S • Natl Parks: Amer's Best Idea?

30604 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as GRG 309 )
show description

Since Fall 2009, PBS has dedicated considerable prime air time to showing (and re-showing) the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea.  The series has been celebrated by many, ranging from pop musicians (who staged a concert in its honor in NYC's Central Park) to outdoor stores (which sponsored sales and events the weekend of the premiere) to the National Parks Conservation Service, an activist group.  While the series did address some of the controversies that have plagued the National Park Service throughout its establishment and history, the stunning footage of natural splendors and triumphal tone of its narrative provided substantial support for the assertion expressed by the title.    Not all Americans over the past two centuries have considered the parks to be a great idea, however, as establishing parks has often meant removing peoples from their homes and limiting or restricting access to long-used resources.

While acknowledging the beauty and significance of the places administered by the National Park Service (not only those named National Parks, but also National Monuments, Recreation Areas, Lakeshores, etc.), we will examine them as sites where land, history, values, and ideas have been contested. We will consider such questions as:

- How have national parks reflected and influenced perceptions and ideals of “nature” and  “wilderness”?

- How have tensions over preservation, conservation, resource use and public recreation shaped the development and histories of the parks?

- How have different groups (defined by such factors as race, ethnicity, gender, and class) borne the costs and received the benefits of the establishment of park areas?

-How have parks affected and been affected by the communities and lands they border?

Upon completing this course, students will not only be well-acquainted

with the interdisciplinary sources and methods of analysis of American studies, cultural geography, and environmental history, but will also be well- prepared

to generate their own critical interpretations of environments and experiences in national parks and other landscapes. They will also have gained experience in producing different types of written communication through structured writing processes.                                   

 

Requirements

Research paper (6-8 pgs) and in-class presentation on contemporary park issue  25%

Park interpretation Paper (4-5 pgs)  20%

Four short (1-2 pgs) reading and/or film response papers   20%

In-class exam   15%

Participation, attendance, and impromptu in-class quizzes and writing assignments 20%

 

Possible Texts

Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Hollis, The Land of the Smokies: Great Mountain Memories

Louter, Windshield Wilderness: Cars, Roads, and Nature in Washington's National Parks

Muir, The Yosemite

Rothman, Blazing Heritage: A History of Wildland Fire in the National Parks

Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks

Burns, The National Parks: America's Best Idea (documentary film series)

 

Flag(s): Writing

AMS S310 • Intro To American Studies

81905 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 100pm-230pm BUR 130
(also listed as HIS S315G )
show description

From news coverage of the trials and settlements following the BP Gulf Oil Spill to automobile advertisements playing on concern over the plight of the Lorax, the environment has become a dominant theme in American popular discussion and culture.  Focusing on the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this course will explore the environment as a central part of many aspects of American life, including work, recreation, politics, health, home-building, eating, and shopping.  The course will consider questions such as:  How do identity factors such as race, economic class, gender, and age affect relationships with the environment and environmental issues? How does the place in which one lives, and the larger American region (e.g. Pacific Northwest, Appalachia, Texas) surrounding that place, affect environmental experience and perception?  How do different types of information sources—news, movies, fiction, music, scientific reports—contribute to understanding of the American environment and provide competing views of it?  How have representations of the environment in popular media changed throughout the past century?    As we tackle these questions, we will explore and employ the interdisciplinary methods and sources of the field of American Studies.  Through this course, students will develop a background and set of skills to help them critically evaluate environmental discourse and effectively communicate their knowledge and positions about the environment and other aspects of American culture.

 

Requirements

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Three Short (1-1.5 pg) Reading/Film/Experience Response Papers:  20%

Research Paper (6-7 pgs):  20%

Midterm Exam:  20%

Final Exam:  20%

 

Possible Texts

Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang 

Evison, West of Here

Jacoby, Crimes Against Nature:  Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation

Kuletz, The Tainted Desert: Environmental Ruin in the American West

Price, Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America  

Reece, Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness-Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia

Reid, Rio Grande

Scharff, Seeing Nature Through Gender

Worster, Dustbowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s

Films: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front; Ken Burns, The National Parks: America's Best Idea; Erin Brockovich; Tapped; The Unforeseen

 

Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

AMS 311S • Natl Parks: Amer's Best Idea?

30775 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am JES A209A
(also listed as GRG 309 )
show description

Description

In September 2009, PBS dedicated all of its prime evening air time for one week to showing (and re-showing) the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America's Best Idea.  The series was celebrated by many, ranging from pop musicians (who staged a concert in its honor in NYC's Central Park) to outdoor stores (which sponsored sales and events the weekend of the premiere) to the National Parks Conservation Service, an activist group.  While the series did address some of the controversies that plagued the National Park Service throughout its establishment and history, the stunning footage of natural splendors and triumphal tone of its narrative provided substantial support for the assertion expressed by the title.    Not all Americans over the past two centuries have considered the parks to be a great idea, however, as establishing parks has often meant removing peoples from their homes and limiting or restricting access to long-used resources.

While acknowledging the beauty and significance of the places administered by the National Park Service (not only those named National Parks, but also National Monuments, Recreation Areas, Lakeshores, etc.), we will examine them as sites where land, history, values, and ideas have been contested. We will consider such questions as:

- How have national parks reflected and influenced perceptions and ideals of “nature” and  “wilderness”?

- How have tensions over preservation, conservation, resource use and public recreation shaped the development and                   histories of the parks?

- How have different groups (defined by such factors as race, ethnicity, gender, and class) borne the costs and received the benefits of the establishment of park areas?

- How have the parks been affected by tourism promotion and representations in popular media?

-How have parks affected and been affected by the communities and lands they border?

 

Requirements

20%  Research paper (5-7 pages) and accompanying in-class presentation

20%  Position paper on a current park controversy OR Park interpretation paper (4-6 pages)

20%   Four short (1-2 pages) reading or film response papers

20%  Two in-class keyword identification exams

20%  Participation, attendance, and impromptu in-class quizzes and writing assignments

 

Possible Texts

Readings may include selections from:

Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness 

Barringer, Selling Yellowstone: Capitalism and the Construction of Nature 

Catton, National Park, City Playground: Mount Rainier in the Twentieth Century 

Dunn, Cades Cove:  An Appalachian Mountain Community 

Frank, Eat, Drink & Be Hairy: The Travels and Travails of Yosemite's Bears and Their Peculiar Pals (collection of comic strips)

Jacoby, Crimes Against Nature:  Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation 

Neumann, On the Rim: Looking for the Grand Canyon 

Perry, Squatters in Paradise: A Yellowstone Memoir

Righter, The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism

Rothman, Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West

Runte, National Parks: the American Experience

Sellars, Preserving Nature in the National Parks

Shaffer, See America First:  Tourism and National Identity, 1880-1940

Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks

Sutter, Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement

 

Flag(s): Writing

 

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