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Alan Tully, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Janet M. Davis

Associate Professor Ph.D., History, University of Wisconsin (Madison)

Janet M. Davis

Contact

Biography

Professor Davis was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1964, three days after a devastating Alaskan earthquake triggered tsunami warnings across the Hawaiian Islands and beyond. She spent the majority of her childhood and young adulthood in the Upper Midwest—with intermediate stops on study abroad programs in Germany and India. From 1986-1989, Professor Davis worked as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. She finished her Ph.D. in U.S. History in 1998 and landed at the University of Texas that fall.

 

Research interests

U.S. cultural and social history; popular culture; social thought; animal studies; women’s and gender history; U.S. social movements; modern South Asia

 

Courses taught

Professor Davis teaches Introduction to American Studies, both halves of Main Currents in American Culture, and specialized seminars in U.S. social and cultural history; popular culture; animal studies; women’s and gender history; cultural approaches to U.S. foreign relations; and U.S. social movements. Professor Davis has won the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award (2004), as well as the Eyes of Texas Excellence Award (2000).

 

Publications

Professor Davis is currently writing a book, “The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America” (under contract with Oxford University Press). “The Gospel of Kindness” analyzes the relationship between the growth and development of the U.S. animal welfare movement and ideologies of American benevolence and exceptionalism from the Second Great Awakening to the eve of World War II.  The project pays special attention to the religious dimensions of the movement, as well as its relationship to American expansionism. Professor Davis is also the author of The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), the winner of a Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award; the Robert W. Hamilton Book Award; and a finalist for the George Freedley Memorial Award from the Theatre Library Association.  Professor Davis is also the editor of Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline (University of Illinois Press, 2008), by Tiny Kline. Professor Davis works regularly as a consultant for museum exhibitions and documentary films. She has received fellowships from FLAS VI in Hindi, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Association of University Women, and the University of Texas at Austin.

HIS 315G • Intro To American Studies

39305 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm WEL 1.308
(also listed as AMS 310 )
show description

AMS 310 is an introductory course in American Studies—the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. We will begin our journey by considering some of the critical transformations—both physical and ideological—that World War II brought to American society and culture.  Filled with televisions, cars, suburbs, malls and chain stores, the landscape that we know so well today came of age during this period.  Throughout the course, we will analyze how communities, broadly defined by differing variables like age, geography, gender, race, ethnicity, class and/or political persuasion, have wrestled with questions about identity, inclusion and exclusion in modern America. While the course will proceed chronologically, I have organized these topics around three separate themes: consumerism, youth culture, and multiculturalism.                 

                 

Requirements

First exam (in-class): 20%

Second exam (in-class): 30%

Final exam (cumulative, 3 hours long): 50 %.

In addition to the graded assignments, regular attendance is expected.

 

Possible Texts

Clara Marie Allen and Constance Bowman Reid, Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Woman

Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

 

Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History. 

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

 

 

HIS 389 • Watershed Decade: The 1970s

40277 • Spring 2014
Meets M 1000am-100pm BUR 436B
(also listed as AMS 390 )
show description

This research course is designed for graduate students to conduct research and prepare a paper in their area of interest on broad questions of ethnicity/race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and transnational identity in global context. More specifically, the course is designed for students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to explore the ways in which national and transnational identities shape and are shaped by changing concepts of citizenship, patterns of global migration, postcolonialism, as well as race, class, and gender formations.  In the past students have chosen topics on identity formation in the U.S., Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Students prepare a 25-30 page research paper based on a topic of their choosing, preferably one related to their thesis or dissertation projects. Students will also write short response papers to introductory readings, prepare a short research-paper prospectus, and spend the middle weeks of the semester conducting research and meeting individually with the instructor. During the last three weeks students will present their paper drafts and receive feedback before handing in the final paper.  Grading: three short reader response papers/class participation (30%); short research paper proposal (10%); final paper (60%).

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of the graduate adviser.

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

 

 

HIS 315G • Intro To American Studies

39615 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 330pm-500pm BEL 328
(also listed as AMS 310 )
show description

AMS 310 is an introductory course in American Studies—the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. We will begin our journey by considering some of the critical transformations—both physical and ideological—that World War II brought to American society and culture.  Filled with televisions, cars, suburbs, malls and chain stores, the landscape that we know so well today came of age during this period.  Throughout the course, we will analyze how communities, broadly defined by differing variables like age, geography, gender, race, ethnicity, class and/or political persuasion, have wrestled with questions about identity, inclusion and exclusion in modern America. While the course will proceed chronologically, I have organized these topics around three separate themes: consumerism, youth culture, and multiculturalism.                 

                 

Requirements

First exam (in-class): 20%

Second exam (in-class): 30%

Final exam (cumulative, 3 hours long): 50 %.

In addition to the graded assignments, regular attendance is expected.

 

Possible Texts

Clara Marie Allen and Constance Bowman Reid, Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Woman

Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

 

Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

 

HIS 356K • Main Curr Amer Cul Since 1865

39625 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BUR 136
(also listed as AMS 356 )
show description

Description: This is a lecture course on postwar American culture and society with special emphasis on the 1950s and 1960s. Issues to be discussed include the domestic impact of the Cold War, the effects of McCarthyism on politics and the entertainment world, the problems of affluence in the 1950s, the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, the cultural relationships between the United States and the rest of the world, as well as conflicts between blacks and whites, the middle class and blue-collar workers, men and women, parents and children. The lectures will deal primarily with cultural and intellectual history, while the reading draws heavily on novels, journalism and social criticism.  Therefore, no one should enroll in this course who has not already taken at least one, preferably upper-division, course in 20th century American history.  Nor should anyone take the course if they are unfamiliar with trends in modern American literature, art, music, and movies.  In addition, since students will be asked to write two 10-15 page papers (there are no exams) based on the reading, you should not register for the course if you are unaccustomed to writing in-depth analytical essays, especially about novels.

Texts: Partial List, All Required:   

  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • John Updike, Rabbit Run
  • Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
  • Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night
  • Richard Pells, Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War II

Grading:

Two 10-15 page papers, each counting 50% of the course grade.  Each paper will analyze two books on the reading list, one of which must be a novel.  The first paper will deal with the culture of the 1940s and 1950s; the second, with American culture from the 1960s to the present.


HIS 350R • Amer Popular Cul, 1682-Pres

39480 • Fall 2012
Meets T 500pm-800pm GEA 114
(also listed as AMS 370, WGS 340 )
show description

Description

In 1682, the first American bestseller was published. Audiences in the American colonies and in England devoured Mary Rowlandson’s breathless account of her harrowing experiences as a captive of the Narragansett and Nipmunk Indians during King Philip’s War in The Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.  Taking a long, historical view, this course explores the evolution of American popular culture and its relationship to national consolidation (and at times, disunion) over the last 330 years. Starting with oral, religious, print, and live performance traditions during the colonial, early national, and antebellum periods, this course will consider the cultural impact of new technologies such as steam power, the railroad, photography, recorded sound, celluloid, the electronic transmission of moving images (i.e. television), and the internet.  Throughout the semester, we will stress the centrality of race, gender, and class in shaping the production and content of popular culture, modes of popular representation, the composition of popular audiences, and types of reception.

 

Requirements

Creative Think Piece:                                     10%

5 Short Papers (1-2 pages each):                   20%

First Draft of Final Paper (10-15 pgs):             5%

In-Class Presentation of Final Project:             10%

Final Paper (10-15 pages):                             35%

Discussion:                                                    20%

 

Possible Texts

Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, ed., Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives 

P.T. Barnum, The Life of P.T. Barnum, Written by Himself

Ken Emerson, Doo-dah! Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

Paula Marantz Cohen, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth

Tiny Kline, Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline

Susan Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination

Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday

Aniko Bodroghkozy, Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion

 

Upper-division standing required. Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.  Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

HIS 315G • Intro To American Studies

39165 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GEA 105
(also listed as AMS 310 )
show description

Description

AMS 310 is an introductory course in American Studies—the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. We will begin our journey by considering some of the critical transformations—both physical and ideological—that World War II brought to American society and culture.  Filled with televisions, cars, suburbs, malls and chain stores, the landscape that we know so well today came of age during this period.  Throughout the course, we will analyze how communities, broadly defined by differing variables like age, geography, gender, race, ethnicity, class and/or political persuasion, have wrestled with questions about identity, inclusion and exclusion in modern America. While the course will proceed chronologically, I have organized these topics around three separate themes: consumerism, youth culture, and multiculturalism.                 

 

Requirements

First exam (in-class): 20%

Second exam (in-class): 30%

Final take-home exam: 50 %.

In addition to the graded assignments, regular attendance is expected.

 

Possible Texts

Clara Marie Allen and Constance Bowman Reid, Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Woman

Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

 

Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

 

HIS 389 • 20th-Cen Us Social Movements

39675 • Fall 2011
Meets W 1000am-100pm BUR 436B
(also listed as AMS 390 )
show description

coming soon

HIS 350R • Animals & American Culture

39760 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 228
(also listed as AMS 370, WGS 345 )
show description

350R

This course partially fulfills the Legislative Requirement in American History and is also a writing component course.

 

Course Scope: A wandering pig played a central role in creating a bicameral legislature in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1644.  According to John Winthrop, the colony’s first governor, “There fell out a great business upon a very small occasion”:  a poor widow and a wealthy merchant went to the General Court regarding the disputed ownership of a stray sow.  Although popular sympathies rested with the widow, the Court ruled in favor of the merchant, thus prompting the Court’s assistants and deputies to divide formally into two distinct legislative houses in order to make the colony’s government more representative. This is but one example of the central—if hitherto unrecognized—role that animals have played in shaping the course of American history. This interdisciplinary upper-division undergraduate seminar explores the place of animals in the social, cultural, economic, and political life of the United States. Topics of discussion include animals in entertainment; hunting; vegetarianism; changing cultural attitudes about nature; wandering animals and property rights;  animals and evolutionary theory; the rise of the animal welfare and animal rights movements;  laboring animals and the nation’s move to a motorized economy; animals and war; the growth of pet keeping as a cultural practice and big business; factory farms; the rise of veterinary science; zoos; and more.

Course requirements:  Mandatory class attendance and completion of all reading and writing assignments. Each student will serve as a discussion leader for one class; each student will also write weekly response papers and/or study questions; each student will prepare a class presentation based upon h/her research work, and will submit a final research paper of ten-fifteen pages in length on a topic relating to the course material of his or her choosing.

TENTATIVE Reading List (will be modified):

Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast

Jennifer Price, Flight Maps

Steve Baker, The Postmodern Animal

Susan Jones, Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America

Ingrid Newkirk, Free the Animals: The Story of the Animal Liberation Front

Laura Hillenbrandt, Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Gregg Mitman, Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film

Elizabeth Hanson, Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos

 

 

 

 

 

HIS 315G • Intro To American Studies

39040 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 800am-930am GEA 105
(also listed as AMS 310 )
show description

Description

AMS 310 is an introductory course in American Studies—the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. We will begin our journey by considering some of the critical transformations—both physical and ideological—that World War II brought to American society and culture.  Filled with televisions, cars, suburbs, malls and chain stores, the landscape that we know so well today came of age during this period.  Throughout the course, we will analyze how communities, broadly defined by differing variables like age, geography, gender, race, ethnicity, class and/or political persuasion, have wrestled with questions about identity, inclusion and exclusion in modern America. While the course will proceed chronologically, I have organized these topics around three separate themes: consumerism, youth culture, and multiculturalism.                 

 

Requirements

First exam (in-class): 20%

Second exam (in-class): 30%

Final take-home exam: 50 %.

In addition to the graded assignments, regular attendance is expected.

 

Possible Texts

Clara Marie Allen and Constance Bowman Reid, Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Mary Brave Bird, Lakota Woman

Elva Treviño Hart, Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi

 

Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

HIS 350R • Amer Pop Culture, 1682-Present

39309 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 228
(also listed as AMS 370, WGS 340 )
show description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

AMS 370/HIS/WGS: “American Popular Culture: 1682-Present”
Fall 2010
Professor Janet M. Davis

This course fulfills a Writing Flag and the Cultural Diversity in the United States Flag.

In 1682, the first American bestseller was published. Audiences in the American colonies and in England devoured Mary Rowlandson’s breathless account of her harrowing experiences as a captive of the Narragansett and Nipmunk Indians during King Philip’s War in The Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.  Taking a long, historical view, this course explores the evolution of American popular culture and its relationship to national consolidation (and at times, disunion) over the last 330 years. Starting with oral, religious, print, and live performance traditions during the colonial, early national, and antebellum periods, this course will consider the cultural impact of new technologies such as steam power, the railroad, photography, recorded sound, celluloid, the electronic transmission of moving images (i.e. television), and the internet.  Throughout the semester, we will stress the centrality of race, gender, and class in shaping the production and content of popular culture, modes of popular representation, the composition of popular audiences, and types of reception.


Tentative Reading List (Will Likely Change!):

Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, ed., Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives
P.T. Barnum, The Life of P.T. Barnum, Written by Himself
Ken Emerson, Doo-dah! Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
Paula Marantz Cohen, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth
Tiny Kline, Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline
Susan Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination
Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
Aniko Bodroghkozy, Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion

HIS 350L • Animals And American Cul-W

39715 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GAR 1.134
show description

Lectures, discussion, reading, and research on selected topics in the field of history.

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Designed for History majors. 

History 350L and 350R may not both be counted unless the topics vary.

Course carries Writing flag. 

Publications

Books

Editor, Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline, by Tiny Kline (University of Illinois Press, June 2008).

The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top (University of North Carolina Press, September  2002). 

Articles

“Bird Day: Promoting the Gospel of Kindness in the Philippines during the American Occupation,” in Mark Lawrence, Erika Bsumek, and David Kinkella , editors, The Nation-State and the Transnational Environment (currently under review at Oxford University Press)

“Thinking about Empire, Frontier and the Evolution of the English and American Circus,” in Between Margin and Center – The Circus as Modernity in a Nutshell, edited by Yoram Carmeli (Washington, D.C.: American University Press, forthcoming, Winter 2010)

“Propagating the Gospel of Animal Kindness: Sacred Cows, Christians, and American Animal Welfare Activism with Reference to India at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” in Speaking Truth to Power: Religion, Caste, and the Subaltern Question in India, edited by Manu Bhagavan and Anne Feldhaus (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, June 2008): 47-61  

“Cultural Watersheds in Fin de Siécle America,” 8,000-word essay in A Companion to American Cultural History (Blackwell Companions to American History), edited by Karen Halttunen, (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, February 2008): 166-180

“Proletarian Daredevil,” review essay of Paul E. Johnson, Sam Patch, the Famous Jumper (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003), in Reviews in American History 32(2004): 176-183

“Instruct the Minds of All Classes: Celebrations of Empire at the American Circus, 1898-1910,” in Dreams of Paradise, Visions of Apocalypse, edited by Jaap Verheul. (Amsterdam: VU Press, November 2003): 58-68

“With the Greatest of Unease,” (New York) Newsday, February 24, 2002,  B7

“The Life of Tiny Kline and the Evolution of Twentieth-Century American Mass Culture,”  Bandwagon: Journal of the Circus Historical Society  45, no. 2 (May-June 2001): 4-8

“Spectacles of South Asia at the American Circus, 1890-1940,” Visual Anthropology, 6, no. 2 (1993): 121-138

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