AMST 435
Ghosts: Race, Memory, and Haunting in the United States
Last Offered n/a
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

This course explores interdisciplinary scholarship, literature, and artistic work related to race, memory, and haunting in the United States. Across diverse historical moments and sites of cultural production, ghosts and other absent presences are conjured to mediate the meanings of race, gender, colonialism, enslavement, patriotism, and other keywords in American Studies. From plantations and abandoned prisons, to battlefields and sites held sacred by indigenous communities, the contemporary ghost tourism industry offers a blend of history, national mythology, and popular beliefs about paranormal activity to reshape national memory. During the 19th century, activities such as spirit photography, telepathic experiments, and seances engaged with ghostly phenomena. In the 21st century, digital technologies have the capacity to resurrect dead musicians and other cultural icons as “holograms” or “digital humans” that can interact with the living. In a series of self-designed, analytical essays, students will explore how haunting has played an important role in the formation of American identities, how various kinds of ghosts come to life through texts, material culture, performance, and technology, and how the past can be reimagined to generate new understandings of the present and the future.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 0
Requirements/Evaluation: Four papers, in-class writing/reflective work, and a presentation.
Prerequisites: At least sophomore standing, permission of instructor (please email instructor a brief paragraph explaining your interest in the course)
Enrollment Preferences: American Studies majors or prospective majors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course requires students to explore the history and afterlife of racialized, gendered, and otherwise inequitable social arrangements and labor systems in the United States. Students analyze historical narratives that operate through combinations of text, material culture, performance, tourism, and digital technology, and learn about scholarly and creative interventions for reshaping memory, questioning power, and building narratives that offer a fuller picture of the past.
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Space and Place Electives

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