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Seminars


Fall 2014

AMS 351          Liberation Photography/The Engaged Photographer
Richard Street, Program in American Studies
 
This is a hybrid course that focuses on a powerful and important facet of modern visual culture – those photographers who embrace the human condition and use the camera as a tool to explore the world; fight poverty, injustice, and exploitation; shape public policy; and advance human rights. This course is not about technologies, cameras, darkroom techniques, or Photoshop. Writing is essential. The course is project-oriented. While studying exemplars of still picture communication, students will create and present a modest photo essay and supply meaning through the right words, intelligent sequencing, and creative captioning.
 
AMS 358 / ENG 355 / HUM 358  Electronic Lit: Lineage, Theory, and Contemporary Practice
Judy Malloy, Clifford Wulfman, Library Digital Initiatives
 
Electronic Literature: Lineage, Theory, and Contemporary Practice will explore electronic literature, including print antecedents, generative literature, interactive fiction, hypertext literature, social media-based literature, electronic manuscripts and digital visual poetry. Lectures, dialog, discussion, and student presentations on theoretical, critical, and historical aspects of electronic and avant-garde literature will alternate and intertwine with lectures, dialog, and student traversals/projects that investigate the creative practice of writing electronic literature.
 
AMS 376 / ART 376    American Images
Rachael DeLue, Art and Archaeology
                       
This course examines America through the lens of its images. Pictures created by Americans of all stripes in all periods have been integral to the shaping of American history, culture, and identity. By examining a wide range of image types – from the fine arts and photography to the built environment, scientific illustration, film, and digital media – and by considering these images in terms of their historical, political, social, intellectual, and global contexts, “American Images” will offer both a sweeping and a detailed portrait of America through the rich, sometimes strange history of its art and visual culture.
 
AAS 323 / AMS 321    Diversity in Black America
Imani Perry, African American Studies
 
As the demographics of Blacks in America change, we are compelled to rethink the dominant stories of who African Americans are, and from whence they come. In this seminar, we will explore the deep cultural, genealogical, national origin, regional, and class-based diversity of people of African descent in the United States. Materials for the course will include scholarly writings as well as memoirs and fiction. In addition to reading assignments, students will be expected to complete an ethnographic or oral history project based upon research conducted within a Black community in the U.S., and a music or visual art based presentation of work.
 
AAS 372 / ART 374 / AMS 372    Postblack – Contemporary African American Art
Chika Okeke-Agulu,Art and Archaeology and African American Studies
 
As articulated by Thelma Golden, postblack refers to the work of African American artists who emerged in the 1990s with ambitious, irreverent, and sassy work. Though hard to define, postblack suggested the emergence of a generation of artists removed from the long tradition of black affirmation of the Harlem Renaissance, black empowerment of the Black Arts movement, and identity politics of the 1980s and early 90s. This seminar provides an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade. It will involve critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art.
 
AAS 380 / AMS 382 Public Policy and the American Racial State
Naomi Murakawa, African American Studies 
 
In the context of de facto equality but persistent racial inequality, how do we identify race’s role in public policy? This course addresses this question by drawing on a range of interdisciplinary texts. We begin by exploring different theoretical perspectives of race, seeking to define “the racial state” in historical and comparative terms. We then consider how race interacts with a variety of American political institutions, including the welfare state, immigration regulation, and the criminal justice state. We give particular attention to the complexities of racial construction and race’s intersection with other forms of hierarchy.      
 
ENV 347 / AMS 352    Arts & Humanities: Essential Tools for Environmentalists
Jenny Price, Princeton Environmental Institute                       
 
Is the climate blazing? Our cities have food deserts? Your groundwater supplies are contaminated with toxins? Historians, literary scholars, and artists to the rescue! This course explores how to deploy the humanities and arts to grapple with our most urgent environmental challenges – and is affiliated with a fall 2014 What Arts & Humanities Are Good For PEI series of panel events. The course asks how, exactly, we can put the indispensable methods and insights of the arts and humanities to work to create more sustainable places and to enact more equitable and effective environmental policies.
 
GSS 319 / AMS 320  U.S. Women Writers
Alfred Bendixen, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies
 
An exploration of the literary works of women writers in the United States with an emphasis on the role gender has played and continues to play in the development of literary movements and genres.  Our examination of both canonical and non-canonical writings will focus on the formation of feminist literary conventions in the 19th century and their transformations in th 20th and 21st centures.  Our reading will include romantic tales, ghost stories, novels of immigration, thrillers, works for children, autobiographical mythmaking, poetry, and graphic novels.
 
HIS 402 / AAS 402 / AMS 412   Princeton and Slavery                                                           
Craig Hollander, Department of History
 
Research seminar focused on Princeton University’s historical connections to the institution of slavery. The class will work toward creating a report that details the slave-holding practices of Princeton faculty and students, examines campus debates about slavery, and investigates whether money derived from slave labor contributed to the early growth of the school. 
 
HIS 481 / AMS 481     History of the American Workplace
Margot Canaday, History, and Jonathan Levy, History
 
This seminar introduces students to the history of work by focusing upon the history of the American workplace. Whether farm or factory, office or kitchen, assembly line or computer screen, the course explores the historical transformation of work through the examination of different kinds of workplaces. The seminar covers industrialization to the present, focusing upon such themes as the relationship between home and work, work and politics, work and identity, work and technology, and work and power.
 
HUM 470 / AMS 470      Revisiting Nature’s Nation: An Ecocritical History of American Art
Karl Kusserow, Art Museum, and Alan Braddock, Humanities Council
 
This course critically explores the interface of American art and environmental history while laying the basis for a groundbreaking traveling exhibition on the subject being organized by the Princeton University Art Museum. Using emerging interpretive strategies of “ecocriticism”, we will approach American art as creative material that has imagined and embodied environmental issues concerning land use, species extinction, pollution, climate change, sustainability, and justice in a variety of historical contexts since the 18th century – when the foundations of “ecology” as an idea first began to materialize.
 
THR 303 / AMS 330    Ethnographic Playwriting
Aaron Landsman, Theater
 
This course delves into a collaborative, ethnographic approach to making theater. In class, we will read, watch and discuss the work of subculture theorists, theater-makers and other artists and thinkers, all of whom use staged conversations as the basis for characters, scenes and entire works. We will hash out ethics and responsibilities for those of us who engage communities outside our own. What does it mean to take responsibility for someone else’s words? What is it like to put the words of a stranger in your mouth? Finally, we will make theatrical material using this approach, culminating in an end of semester showing.
 
WWS 387 / AMS 387 Education Policy in the United States
Nathan Scovronick, Public and International Affairs           
               
This course will consider some of the major issues in education policy, with particular focus on attempts to secure equal educational opportunity. It will include discussions of desegregation and resource equity, education for immigrants and the handicapped, school choice and school reform.
 
WWS 385 / AMS 350             Civil Society and Public Policy
Stanley Katz, Lecturer with rank of Professor in Public and International Affairs, WWS
 
Civil society is the arena of voluntary organizations (churches, social welfare organizations, sporting clubs) and communal activity. Scholars now tell us that such voluntary and cooperative activities create "social capital" -- a stock of mutual trust that forms the glue that holds society together. The course will be devoted to the study of the history of these concepts, and to the analysis of their application to the United States and other societies. This will be an interdisciplinary effort, embracing history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines.