American Studies Program

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field defined both by its objects of study--the processes, places, and people that comprise the United States--and by a mode of inquiry that moves beyond the scope of a single disciplinary approach or critical methodology.  American Studies majors develop a rich understanding of the complex histories that have resulted from the conflict and confluence of European, Indigenous, African, and Asian cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere, and explore U.S. nation-formation in relation to global flows of American cultural, economic and military power. An individually designed course of study, which is the hallmark of the program, allows students to forge multidisciplinary approaches to the particular issues that interest them.

The American Studies program offers both core program courses and cross-listed electives via the following inter-related rubrics:

The United States in a global context: the role of the United States outside of its national borders, the flow of peoples, ideas, goods and capital both within and beyond the United States; explorations of historic and contemporary diasporas; contexts and cultures of U.S. militarism and anti-militarism.

Spaces, places, and borders: explorations of particular places and processes of place-making in the U.S.; focus on borders and borderlands as contested geographical and figurative spaces of cultural, political, and economic exchange.

U.S. cultural formations: investigations of literary, visual, audio, and performance cultures, and their interaction; U.S. popular culture, music and media. 

Identity, difference & power: the contest to extend the promises of abstract citizenship to the particular experiences of embodied subjects; shifting politics of U.S. immigration; explorations of the production, representation and experience of race and ethnicity in the U.S., including structural dimensions of race and racism; investigations of the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality, and other systems of difference.

U.S. Intellectual traditions and their discontents: explorations of American religious, cultural and political thought; traditions of social and political protests; discourses of sovereignty, liberty, federalism, individualism, rights.

The program also offers a correlate sequence in Native American Studies which enables students to examine Indigenous cultures, politics, histories, and literatures, in a primarily North American context.  Students electing the correlate sequence are trained in the methodology of Native American Studies as a means to critically assess colonial discourses, examine the many ways Native peoples have contributed to and shaped North American culture, and analyze and honor the autonomy and sovereignty of Indigenous nations, peoples, and thought.

The American Studies program values close faculty-student interaction. Courses utilize a range of collaborative learning strategies; mentored independent senior work is an integral component of the major.

Requirements for Concentration: 14 units. Five required courses:  American Studies 105, 250, 313, 315, 302-303; two 300-level courses: one in each disciplinary cluster; two American Studies core courses; Comparative Cultures requirement; four additional courses drawn from the list of cross-listed and/or approved courses.

After the declaration of the major, no required courses may be elected NRO.

Junior-Year Requirement: 313b: Multidisciplinary Research Methods.

Senior-year requirements: Senior project (302/303) and Senior project research seminar (315). 

Correlate Sequence in Native American Studies

The American Studies Program offers a correlate sequence in Native American Studies, a multi- and interdisciplinary field, in which students examine Indigenous cultures, politics, histories, and literatures, in a primarily North American context.  Students electing the correlate sequence are trained in the methodology of Native American Studies as a means to critically assess western colonial discourses, examine the many ways Native peoples have contributed to and shaped North American culture, and analyze and honor the autonomy and sovereignty of Indigenous nations, peoples, and thought.  Students pursuing a correlate in Native American Studies are required to complete a minimum of 6 units including Introduction to Native American Studies (AMST 105) and at least one 300-level course. 

Each year, the American Studies Program will provide an updated list of approved courses for the Native American Studies correlate sequence.  From this course list, students define an appropriate course of study, which must be approved by the American Studies Program Director and a Correlate Sequence advisor prior to declaration.  Additional courses may be approved for the Correlate Sequence upon petition to the Program Director. Students are encouraged, but not required, to complete one unit of work outside of the Vassar classroom (fieldwork, summer program, study away).  A maximum of two units of ungraded work may be counted toward the Correlate Sequence.

I. Introductory

100b. Introduction to American Studies (1)

This course reveals and challenges the histories of the categories that contribute to the definition of “America.” The course explores ideas such as nationhood and the nation-state, democracy and citizenship, ethnic and racial identity, myths of frontier and facts of empire, borders and expansion, normativity and representation, sovereignty and religion, regionalism and transnationalism as these inform our understanding of the United States and American national identity. One goal of the course is to introduce students to important concepts and works in American Studies. Either American Studies 100 or 105 will satisfy the 100-level core requirement of the American Studies major. Topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course. 

Open to freshmen and sophomores only.

Two 75-minute periods.

105a and b. Unsettling America (1)

This course reveals and challenges the histories of the categories that contribute to the definition of “America.” The course explores ideas such as nationhood and the nation-state, democracy and citizenship, ethnic and racial identity, myths of frontier and facts of empire, borders and expansion, normativity and representation, sovereignty and religion, regionalism and transnationalism as these inform our understanding of the United States and American national identity. One goal of the course is to introduce students to important concepts and works in American Studies. Required of all American Studies majors, topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course.

Topic for 2013/14a: The American Secular: Religion and the Nation-State. (Same as Religion 105) Is there a distinct realm in American politics and culture called the secular, a space or a mode of pubic discourse that is crucially free of and from the category of religion? This class considers the sorts of theoretical and historical moments in American life, letters, and practice that have, on the one hand, insisted the importance and necessity of such a realm, and on the other hand, resisted the very notion that religion should be kept out of the American public square. We will ask whether it is possible or even desirable—in our politics, in our public institutions, in ourselves—to conceive of the secular and the religious as radically opposed. We will ask if there are better ways to conceive of the secular and the religious in American life, ways that acknowledge their mutual interdependence rather than their exclusivity. Mr. Kahn.

Topic for 2013/14b: TBA. Ms. Brawley.

Open to freshmen and sophomores only.

Two 75-minute periods.

112. Family, Law, and Social Policy (1)

(Same as Political Science and Women's Studies 112) This course explores the ways laws and social policies intertwine with the rapid changes affecting U.S. families in the 21st century. We focus on ways in which public policies both respond to and try to influence changes in family composition and structure. The topics we explore may include marriage (including same-sex and polygamous marriage); the nuclear family and alternative family forms; domestic violence and the law; incarcerated parents and their children; juvenile justice and families; transnational families; and family formation using reproductive technologies. Although focusing on contemporary law and social policy, we place these issues in historical and comparative perspective. Course meets at the Taconic Correctional Facility. Ms. Dunbar and Ms. Shanley.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructors.

One 3-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

160a. Politics of Art/Art of Politics (1)

(Same as Art 160) In this first-year seminar, we examine the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the United States. Focusing on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we explore connections between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Two 75-minute periods.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

II. Intermediate

203b. These American Lives: New Journalisms (1)

(Same as English 203) This course examines the various forms of journalism that report on the diverse complexity of contemporary American lives. In a plain sense, this course is an investigation into American society. But the main emphasis of the course is on acquiring a sense of the different models of writing, especially in longform writing, that have defined and changed the norms of reportage in our culture. Students are encouraged to practice the basics of journalistic craft and to interrogate the role of journalists as intellectuals (or vice versa). Mr. Kumar.

Not open to first-year students.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Applicants to the course must submit samples of original nonfiction writing (two to five pages long) and a statement about why they want to take the course. Deadline for submission of writing samples one week after October break.

205. Arab American Literature (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 205) This course examines issues of identity formation, including race and ethnicity, gender, religion, and multiculturalism in the literary production of at least four generations of American writers, intellectuals and journalists of Arab and hybrid descent. We will read autobiographies, novels, short stories and poetry spanning the twentieth century, as well as articles and book chapters framing this literature and the identity discourse it vehicles within the broader cultural history of the American mosaic. Authors and works studied may change occasionally and include: Khalil Gibran, Elia Abu Madi, Gregory Orfalea, Joseph Geha, Diana Abu Jaber, Naomi Shihab Nye, Suheir Hammad, Betty Shamieh, Moustafa Bayoumi, and others. All texts are originally written in English. Mr. Mhiri.

Open to all students.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

207b. Commercialized Childhoods (1)

(Same as Sociology 207) This course examines features of childhoods in the U.S. at different times and across different social contexts. The primary aims of the course are 1) to examine how we’ve come to the contemporary understanding of American childhood as a distinctive life phase and cultural construct, by reference to historical and cross-cultural examples, and 2) to recognize the diversity of childhoods that exist and the economic, geographical, political, and cultural factors that shape those experiences. Specific themes in the course examine the challenges of studying children; the social construction of childhood (how childhoods are constructed by a number of social forces, economic interests, technological determinants, cultural phenomena, discourses, etc.); processes of contemporary globalization and commodification of childhoods (children’s roles as consumers, as producers, and debates about children's rights); as well as the intersecting dynamics of age, social class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in particular experiences of childhood. Ms. Rueda.

Two 75-minute periods.

213. American Music (1)

(Same as Music 213) The study of folk, popular, and art musics in American life from 1600 to the present and their relationship to other facets of America's historical development and cultural growth. Mr. Pisani.

Prerequisite: one unit in one of the following: music; studies in American history, art, or literature; or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

214. History of American Jazz (1)

(Same as Music 214) An investigation of the whole range of jazz history, from its beginning around the turn of the century to the present day. Among the figures to be examined are: Scott Joplin, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Thomas "Fats" Waller, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. Mr. Mann.

Prerequisite: one unit in one of the following: music, studies in American history, art, or literature; or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Not offered in 2013/14.

235. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 235) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of the modern Civil Rights movement. We explore how the southern based struggles for racial equality and full citizenship in the U.S. worked both to dismantle entrenched systems of discrimination—segregation, disfranchisement, and economic exploitation—and to challenge American society to live up to its professed democratic ideals. Ms. Collins.

Not offered in 2013/14.

250a and b. America in the World (1)

This course focuses on current debates in American Studies about resituating the question of "America" in global terms. We explore the theoretical and political problems involved in such a reorientation of the field as we examine topics such as American militarization and empire, American involvement in global monetary organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, the question of a distinctive national and international American culture, foreign perspectives on American and "Americanization," and the global significance of American popular culture including film and music such as hip-hop. Mr. Alamo and Ms. Dunbar (a), Ms. Hoehn (b).

Required of students concentrating in the program. Generally not open to senior majors. Open to other students by permission of the director and as space permits.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

251b. Modern America: Visual Culture from the Civil War to WWII (1)

(Same as Art 251) This course examines American visual culture as it developed in the years between the Civil War and World War II. Attention is paid to the intersections among diverse media and to such issues as consumerism, abstraction, primitivism, femininity, and mechanized reproduction. Artists studied include Thomas Eakins, Timothy O’Sullivan, James McNeill Whistler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Edward Weston, and Aaron Douglas. TBA.

Prerequisite: Art 105-106 or a 100-level American Studies course or by permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

252b. The American Military at Home and Abroad(1)

After 1945 the U.S. created the world’s largest and most far-reaching network of military bases. Today, more than 700 military bases in over 150 countries are hosts to American troops, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and private military contractors. Readings explore the development of this unprecedented global network of military bases, the differing Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) that govern the relationship between the U.S. military and the local populations, as well as the impact of the U.S. troops on these communities. By taking a transnational perspective, we explore the possibilities and limits for democratic change due to the U.S. presence, but also the way in which America’s military deployments abroad brought about change at home. Assigned readings draw on the writing of scholars of the U.S. military, texts produced by opponents of the U.S. military, as well as artistic responses (films, plays, novels, poems) to the U.S. global base structure. Ms. Hoehn.

Two 75-minute periods.

257. Reorienting America: Asians in American History and Society (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and Sociology 257) Based on sociological theory of class, gender, race/ethnicity, this course examines complexities of historical, economic, political, and cultural positions of Asian Americans beyond the popular image of "model minorities." Topics include the global economy and Asian immigration, politics of ethnicity and pan-ethnicity, educational achievement and social mobility, affirmative action, and representation in mass media. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 2013/14.

262. Native American Women (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 262) In an effort to subjugate indigenous nations, colonizing and Christianizing enterprises in the Americas included the implicit understanding that subduing Native American women through rape and murder maintained imperial hierarchies of gender and power; this was necessary to eradicate Native people's traditional egalitarian societies and uphold the colonial agenda. Needless to say, Native women's stories and histories have been inaccurately portrayed, often tainted with nostalgia and delivered through a lens of western patriarchy and discourses of domination. Through class readings and writing assignments, discussions and films, this course examines Native women's lives by considering the intersections of gender and race through indigenous frameworks. We expose Native women's various cultural worldviews in order to reveal and assess the importance of indigenous women's voices to national and global issues such as sexual violence, environmentalism, and health. The class also takes into consideration the shortcomings of western feminisms in relation to the realities of Native women and Native people's sovereignty in general. Areas of particular importance to this course are indigenous women's urban experience, Haudenosaunee influence on early U.S. suffragists, indigenous women in the creative arts, third-gender/two-spiritedness, and Native women's traditional and contemporary roles as cultural carriers. Ms. McGlennen.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

266a. African-American Arts and Artifacts (1)

(Same as Africana Studies and Art 266) An exploration of the artistic and material production of African Americans in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present day. We examine multiple influences on (African, European, American, diasporic, etc.) and uses for black creative expression. Working with an expansive conception of art, we pay close attention to the work of formally and non-formally trained artists in relation to their social, cultural, aesthetic, and historical contexts. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: Art 105-106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

275. Race and Ethnicity in America (1)

This course examines "white" American identity as a cultural location and a discourse with a history—in Mark Twain's terms, "a fiction of law and custom." What are the origins of "Anglo-Saxon" American identity? What are the borders, visible and invisible, against which this identity has leveraged position and power? How have these borders shifted over time, and in social and cultural space? How has whiteness located itself at the center of political, historical, social, and literary discourse, and how has it been displaced? How does whiteness mark itself, or mask itself? What does whiteness look like, sound like, and feel like from the perspective of the racial "other"? What happens when we consider whiteness as a racial or ethnic category? And in what ways do considerations of gender and class complicate these other questions? We read works by artists, journalists, and critics, among them Bill Finnegan, Benjamin DeMott, Lisa Lowe, David Roediger, George Lipsitz, Roland Barthes, Chela Sandoval, Eric Lott, bell hooks, Cherríe Moraga, Ruth Frankenberg, James Baldwin, Homi Bhabha, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, James Weldon Johnson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Faulkner, Nathanael West, Alice Walker, and Don DeLillo. We also explore the way whiteness is deployed, consolidated and critiqued in popular media like film (Birth of a NationPulp FictionPleasantville) television ("reality" shows, The West Wing) and the American popular press.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

283. U.S. Consumer Culture (1)

(Same as History 283) This course examines the rise of consumer culture in twentieth century America. This culture has flourished, in part, because consumer capitalism has continuously transformed everyday wants into needs. We explore how the growth of mass production, advertising, department stores, shopping malls, modern technologies, and imperialism have shaped the nation’s desire for goods and pleasure. Americans’ relationships with these commodities and services reveal how people have come to understand themselves as consumers (staking claims to the ability to consume as a function of citizenship) and how consumption has shaped their lives (where they have defined themselves by what they buy). We take a chronological and thematic approach to contextualize the culture of consumption, in its many forms, across time and space. Mr. Mills.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

284a. Decolonizing the Exhibition: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Indigenous Art (1)

This course consists of two areas of inquiry: the study of the impact and importance of Indigenous art from a Native American Studies perspective and the research and exhibition of Inuit works on paper from the Edward J. Guarino Collection at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. We begin by exploring Indigenous art through culturally and tribally specific perspectives in order to challenge the ethnographic lens that has traditionally examined and catalogued Native artists. Through a Native American Studies framework, we approach Indigenous art not through western categories of artifact or craft, but as artworks that stress the continuance of Indigenous peoples in direct conversation with the non-Indigenous world. From this understanding, the class constructs an exhibition to be installed in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at the end of the semester. Students research and interpret Inuit works from the collection, design the exhibition installation, write the exhibition catalogue and create the accompanying website. Ms. McGlennen.

Two 75-minute periods.

286a. Framing Autism in U.S. Policy and Practice(1)

(Same as Education 286) From the iconic autism puzzle piece to the “startling statistics” that are displayed on billboards and in newspapers, autism has captured the attention of the American public. This course will explore the dynamic interplay between the medical, educational, and legal communities with regard to autism research and scholarship. We will discuss different theoretical and methodological stances to the study of disability in general and autism in particular. Investigating autism in a multidisciplinary way will entail reading texts and watching films produced by autistic individuals and engaging in multimodal research that investigates how language and image influence how people perceive autism and autistic people. Ms. McCloskey.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission of the director required.

297. Readings in American Studies (1/2)

298a or b. Independent Study (1/2 or 1)

Permission of the director required.

III. Advanced

302a. Senior Thesis or Project (1/2)

Required of students concentrating in the program.

The senior project is graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

Yearlong course 302-303.

303b. Senior Thesis or Project (1/2)

Required of students concentrating in the program.

The senior project is graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

Yearlong course 302-303.

313. Multidisciplinary Research Methods (1)

This course explores the challenges of conducting multi- and interdisciplinary inquiry within the field of American Studies. Drawing on key texts and innovative projects within the field, the course examines the ways in which varying disciplines make meaning of the world and puts specific modes of inquiry into practice. Students learn how to seek, produce, and evaluate different forms of evidence and how to shape this evidence in the direction of a broader project. Specific forms of inquiry may include: interpreting archival documents, conducting interviews, making maps, crafting field notes, analyzing cultural texts, among others.

Required of all Junior American Studies majors.

Prerequisite or co-requisite: a discipline-specific methods course appropriate to the student.

Not offered in 2013/14.

315a. Senior Project Seminar (1)

This course is required for all senior American Studies majors. The seminar engages current debates in the field of American Studies, as it prepares students to undertake the Senior Project. The course is designed to help students to identify a compelling research problem, locate appropriate critical resources, deepen their engagement with the disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods appropriate to their focus within the major, and locate their projects within a broader field of inquiry. Texts include Bruce Burgett and Glen Hendler, Keywords for American Culture Studies; Wayne Booth et al., The Craft of Research. Taught by the Director. Mr. Hsu.

Corequisite: Senior Project; offered in the fall semester in the senior year.

One 2-hour period.

350a. Confronting Modernity (1)

Topic for 2013/14a: Intersections in American Jewish Thought: Politics, Religion, Culture. (Same as Jewish Studies 350) The course begins with three thinkers from the generations of Jewish immigrants to America. The speeches and writings of anarchist Emma Goldman, including her contributions to the journal Mother Earth, which she founded in 1906, chart the left turn from the Eastern European shtetl to internationalist politics, and eventually, to feminist issues. Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan articulates a sociological perspective in propounding a program for Jewish community organization and the reconstruction of ritual observance as a response to the specific conditions of Jewish life in early twentieth-century America. And Rabbi Abraham Heschel, arriving in the US at the outset of World War II, presents what he called a philosophy of Judaism, but what we might now call a renewed spirituality. From that base in distinct experiences, projects and perspectives, and their associated disciplines, the course focuses on an intersection between politics, religion and culture in later twentieth-century Jewish feminism, in such writings as Rabbi Rachel Adler’s work on feminist theology, the activist poetry of Muriel Rukeyser and the art installations of Judy Chicago. Thereafter, recent developments will be considered, such as the Jewish Renewal movement, the Second Diasporist Manifesto of painter R. B. Kitaj, the philosophy of Judith Butler, and the diverse social, political and cultural programs enunciated in contemporary periodicals like Lilith("independent, Jewish and frankly feminist") and Tikkun ("to heal, repair and transform the world") as well as the battles of liberals and new-cons in ongoing, older magazines like Commentary and Dissent. Mr. Bush.

Two 75-minute periods.

366. Art and Activism in the United States (1)

(Same as Africana Studies, Art, and Women's Studies 366) Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women's Art Movements in the United States. Focusing on the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions,and ideas of the Black Arts movement and Women's Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Analyzing paintings, photographs, posters, quilts, collages, murals, manifestos, mixed-media works, installations, films, performances, and various systems of creation, collaboration, and display, we explore connections between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

367. Artists' Books from the Women's Studio Workshop (1)

(Same as Art and Women's Studies 367) In this interdisciplinary seminar, we explore the limited edition artists' books created through the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. Founded in 1974, the Women's Studio Workshop encourages the voice and vision of individual women artists, and women artists associated with the workshop have, since 1979, created over 180 hand-printed books using a variety of media, including hand-made paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, and ceramics. Vassar College recently became an official repository for this vibrant collection which, in the words of the workshop's co-founder, documents "the artistic activities of the longest continually operating women's workspace in the country." Working directly with the artists' books, this seminar will meet in Vassar Library's Special Collections and closely investigate the range of media, subject matter, and aesthetic sensibilities of the rare books, as well as their contexts and meanings. We will also travel to the Women's Studio Workshop to experience firsthand the artistic process in an alternative space. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

375a. Seminar in Women's Studies (1)

Topic for 2013/14a: Gender and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. (Same as Africana Studies and Women's Studies 375) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the modern civil rights movement in the U.S. by foregrounding the roles and experiences of women, particularly African American women. Attentive to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, we study the various constraints on--and possibilities for--women activists during the movement, and theorize the impact of women's activism on U.S. society. Ms. Collins.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 130.

One 2-hour period.

380. Art, War, and Social Change (1)

(Same as Sociology 380) Can the arts serve as a vehicle for social change? In this course we look at one specific arena to consider this question: the issue of war. How is war envisioned and re- envisioned by art and artists? How do artists make statements about the meaning of war and the quest for peace? Can artists frame our views about the consequences and costs of war? How are wars remembered, and with what significance? Specifically, we look at four wars and their social and artistic interpretations, wrought through memory and metaphor. These are: The Vietnam War, its photography and its famous memorial; World War I and the desolation of the novels and poetry that portrayed it; World War 11 and reflections on Hiroshima; and the Spanish Civil War through Picasso's famous anti- war painting Guernica, the recollections of Ernest Hemingway, the memories of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and the photography of Robert Capa. By looking at both the Sociology of Art and Sociology of War we consider where the crucial intersections lie. Ms. Miringoff.

Not offered in 2013/14.

382b. Documenting America (1)

The demand for documentation, the hunger for authenticity, the urge to share in the experiences of others were widespread in the first half of the twentieth century. A huge world of documentary expression included movies, novels, photographs, art and non-fiction accounts. This course explores the various ways in which some of these artists, photographers, writers and government agencies attempted to create documents of American life between 1900 and 1945. The course examines how such documents fluctuate between utility and aesthetics, between the social document and the artistic image. Among the questions we consider are: in what ways do these works document issues of race and gender that complicate our understanding of American life? How are our understandings of industrialization and consumerism, the Great Depression and World War II, shaped and altered by such works as the photographs of Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange,the paintings of Jacob Lawrence, the films of Charlie Chaplin, the novels and stories of Chester Himes, William Carlos Williams and Zora Neale Hurston, the non-fictional collaboration of James Agee and Walker Evans. Ms. Cohen and Ms. Wallace.

One 2-hour period.

383b. Indigenous New York (1)

Over half of all Native American people living in the United States now live in an urban area. The United States federal policies of the 1950's brought thousands of Indigenous peoples to cities with the promise of jobs and a better life. Like so many compacts made between the United States and Native tribes, these agreements were rarely realized. Despite the cultural, political, and spiritual losses due to Termination and Relocation policies, Native American people have continued to survive and thrive in complex ways. This seminar examines the experiences of Indigenous peoples living in urban areas since the 1950's, but also takes into consideration the elaborate urban centers that existed in the Americas before European contact. Using the New York region as our geographical center, we examine the pan-tribal movement, AIM, Red Power, education, powwowing, social and cultural centers, two-spiritedness, religious movements, and the arts. We study the manner in which different Native urban communities have both adopted western ways and recuperated specific cultural and spiritual traditions in order to build and nurture Indigenous continuance. Finally, in this course, we understand and define “urban” in very broad contexts, using the term to examine social, spiritual, geographical, material, and imagined spaces in which Indigenous people of North America locate themselves and their communities at different times and in different ways. Ms. McGlennen.

One 2-hour period.

385b. Darkness and Disorder: Gothic American Art (1)

(Same as Art 385) What is the gothic? What did it mean to American art? While the United States was founded on Enlightenment principles of order and reason, American art has long exploited the disorder and unreason, darkness and mystery, of the gothic. The seminar explores the gothic through the work of such artists as Thomas Cole, John Quidor, Raphaelle Peale, Elihu Vedder, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Andrew Wyeth, and Edward Hopper, as well as popular culture and film. Ms. Ikemoto.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

389. From the Natural History Museum to Ecotourism:The Collection of Nature (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 389) From the rise of the Natural History Museum, the Bureau of Ethnology, and early endeavors to create a national literature, the appropriation of American Indian lands and Amerian Indians (as natural objects) offered Euro-Americans a means to realize their new national identity. Today, the American consumer-collector goes beyond the boundaries of the museum, national park, and zoo and into ecotourism, which claims to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate money, jobs, and the conservation of wildlife and vegetation. This course investigates historical and current trends in the way North Americans recover, appropriate, and represent non-western cultures, 'exotic' animals, and natural environments from theoretical and ideological perspectives. Course readings draw from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, museology, literature, and environmental studies. Ms. Graham, Ms. Pike-Tay.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

399. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Approved Courses

Approved 1-Unit Courses for Native American Studies (NAS) Correlate

American Studies 105 Introduction to Native American Studies

American Studies 260 Native American Women

American Studies 261 Native American Urban Experience

Anthropology/Latin American and Latino/a Studies 240 Mesoamerican Worlds –or– Andean Worlds (rotates)

Anthropology 266 Indigenous and Oppositional Media

Art 250 Encounter and Exchange: American Art from 1565 to 1865

English 231 Native American Literature

Environmental Studies 283 Native Americans and the Environment

History 274 Colonial America

Political Science 271 Race, Gender, and Class in American Political Thought

Sociology 221 Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis (some years offered as 300-level)

American Studies 290 Fieldwork

American Studies 298 Independent Work

Anthropology/Latin American and Latino/a Studies 351 Indigenous Literatures of the Americas

Anthropology/Latin American and Latino/a Studies 360 Native Religions and Resistance in the Americas

English 356 Contemporary Poetry

History 366 American Encounters

American Studies 399 Senior Independent Work

Approved 1/2-Unit Courses for NAS Correlate (Reading Courses)

American Studies297.01 Native American Art (½)

Selected readings in Native American art, with emphasis on the Inuit, Haudenosaune (Iroquois), Pueblo and Navajo peoples. Ms. Lucic.

American Studies 297.02 Regional Cultures of Native North America(½)

Directed reading of ethnographies on a particular region of North America to be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students will write brief reviews and comparative analyses of 3-4 ethnographies written about the same culture group. Ms. Johnson

American Studies 297.03 Regional Prehistory of Native North America (½)

Directed reading of field reports and syntheses of the prehistory of a particular region of North America to be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students will write brief analyses of the field reports and critique the synthesis based on more recent field reports. Ms. Johnson

AmericanStudies 297.04 Native American Memoir and the Premise of Memoir (½)

Selected readings from Native authors, including Sherman Alexie, Kimberly Blaeser, Forest Carter, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Gordon Henry, Linda Hogan, Ignatia Broker, Janet McAdams, Molly McGlennen, N. Scott Momaday, Nasdijj, Leslie Marmon Silko, Stephanie Sellers, and Gerald Vizenor. Ms. Nichols.

American Studies 297.05 Native American Philosophies and Religions(½)

Directed reading of Indigenous North American philosophical and religious belief systems. Students will write brief reviews of chosen texts and a final research paper on a (related) topic of the student’s choice. Ms. McGlennen

American Studies 297.06 Native American Ethnobotany. (½)

Directed reading on the ways that Native Americans in North America (north of Mexico) perceive and interact with plants. Particular cultural groups and time periods to be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. Students will write brief reviews of chose texts and a final research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. Mr. Schlessman