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American Studies is a capacious, interdisciplinary, and extraordinarily varied field encompassing ethnic studies, women and gender studies, political science, media studies, history, anthropology, literature, ethnography, and more. “America” as a term is itself contentious. Is America transnational and transhistorical? Does America mean the United States? Is it a settler colonial empire? A symbol of liberal democracy? Who or what is American and who or what makes America? In asking and answering these questions, American Studies scholars value scholarship and teaching rooted in praxis, political relevance, intersectionality, and solidarity.
In this course, we will anchor the dizzying array of methods and questions surrounding who, what, where, when (and why) is America(n) by focusing on the very real ways these subjects are embodied — in environments, practices and artifacts, and in the bodies of people who labor under, are colonized and oppressed by, who resist, refuse, reform, and reimagine “America.” The goal of this course is to explore the myriad and contradictory ways in which America has been made and unmade, training students in primary source analysis, including political manifestos, autobiographies, historical and archival materials, legal documents, ethnography, art, literature, music, and film.
Format: seminar; This course will be taught remotely, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous meetings, assignments, short lectures, and opportunities for engagement (e.g. Zoom, Glow, Panopto & Loom). In the time slots assigned to this course, there will be a single, collective meeting every week, as well as weekly meetings of small groups in which readings are further discussed.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Evaluation will be based on class participation, weekly reading questions (via Glow quiz), and series of written assignments (three 3-page papers; and one 5- to 7-page paper.
first- and second-year students
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course satisfies the DPE requirement in its constant interrogation of historical patterns of unequal access to power, wealth, citizenship, and education in the U.S., and in its recognition and analysis of forms of resistance to and corrections of such inequities.