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Seminars


Congratulations to Brian Herrera.  See article about  how he bridges Latinx culture and popular performance at Princeton.


Course Offerings -- Fall 2016

AMS 306         Issues in American Public Health
Leslie Gerwin, Program in Law and Public Affairs

The study of public health is an interdisciplinary inquiry involving issues of politics, policy, history, science, law, philosophy, ethics, geography, sociology, environmental studies, and economics, among others. Students will examine the government's role in assuring and promoting health, through the exploration of issues on America's "public health agenda," such as epidemic response, tobacco use, the impact of weight on health, mandatory vaccination, disease prevention, and violence. In doing so, they will consider the impact of race, income, gender, place and environment, education, capitalism and democracy on health outcomes.

AMS 311         Education and Inequality
Kathleen M. Nolan, Program in Teacher Preparation

We explore the educational practices and organizational structures through which social inequality is produced and reproduced inside schools and how social class, race, ethnicity, gender, and other social differences shape educational outcomes. Additionally, we examine students’ responses to inequality and theories of resistance. We mainly consider theoretically grounded qualitative research related to K-12 education. Several readings discuss the realities of urban schooling; each week we connect the readings to current policy trends.

AMS 364 / ENV 365   Environmental and Social Crisis
Laurel Mei-Sing, Program in American Studies

In recent years, global public discourse has stressed the urgency of unfolding environmental crisis. The course will start with the premise that a "crisis" marks a moment when a previous set of relations is markedly upset, and when state institutions aim to manage instability and consolidate power. Our entry point will be apocalyptic texts, which are reflections and exaggerations of existing realities. We will ask: What is crisis? Is crisis actually the norm? Then we'll focus on environmental justice, examining how environmentalism intersects with race and class. Third, we will examine capitalist crisis and its articulation with war.

AMS 371 / JRN 371   The Art of Narrative Nonfiction
Richard M. Preston, Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies

Study of the art of narrative nonfiction through reading and writing. Narrative nonfiction is a form of "creative nonfiction" in which narrative--a story--supplies the structure and energy for the text, and the work is crafted with literary art. Narrative nonfiction is distinct from expository nonfiction and the lyrical essay, and is also very different from daily journalism. We'll focus on American writers and writings between World War II and today. We'll do reverse engineering on the texts, reading with a sharp eye for professional techniques, and we'll put the techniques to work in creative writing assignments.

AMS 385 / JDS 385    Comics, The Graphic Novel and the American Jew
Paul Levitz, Program in American Studies

How did comic books seize upon and express the Jewish bicultural experience in twentieth century America?  How did the ambitions of comics' greatest Jewish creators shape the medium's fantasy traditions and drive artistic self-expression in the graphic novel? This seminar combines literary and historical approaches to investigate the tension between comics' genre storytelling and its creators' self-expression. We will examine the evolution of the comic into its mature form, the graphic novel, through Jewish and American social, political and sexual perspectives.

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.

CWR 316 / AMS 396  Race, Identity and Innovation
Monica Youn, Creative Writing, Lewis Center for the Arts

This workshop explores the link between racial identity and poetic innovation in work by contemporary poets of color. Experimental or avant-garde poetry in the American literary tradition has often defined itself as "impersonal," "against expression" or "post-identity." Unfortunately, this mindset has tended to exclude or downplay poems that engage issues of racial identity. This course explores works where poets of color have treated racial identity as a means to destabilize literary ideals of beauty, mastery and the autonomy of the text while at the same time engaging in poetic practices that subvert conceptions of identity or authenticity.

CWR 345 / AMS 395  Writing Political Fiction
A.M. Homes, Creative Writing, Lewis Center for the Arts

In traditional workshops content and context come second to craft. Here we will explore writing political fiction, the politics of fiction and writing as political engagement. We'll read widely, from the most realistic depictions of the American political process and the varieties of immigrant experience to the work of afrofuturists and feminists. The personal is the political and our frame will range from the global to the domestic. We will write stories that inhabit experiences other than our own. This course will allow students to make interdisciplinary connections between courses on history, politics and identity and creative writing.

DAN 123 / AMS 398   FAT
Judith Hamera, Program in Dance, Lewis Center for the Arts

This seminar investigates discourses and politics around the fat body from a performance studies perspective.  How does this “f-word” discipline and regulate bodies in /as public?  How do dancers reveal these politics with special clarity?  How might fat be a liberating counterperformance?  We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, and media texts as key case studies.  Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. Emphasis primarily on the US. Assignments include written work and group performances. No dance experience necessary.

ENG 354 / AMS 454   We Out Here: An Introduction to Latino Literature
Monica Huerta, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

This introduction to Latino literature will situate the long history of Latino writing in a network of linguistic and literary influences across race, geographics, and histories. We will read texts like Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burtón's The Squatter and the Don, Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands, and Junot Diaz's The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

ENV 357 / AMS 457   Empire of the Ark: The Animal Question in Film, Photography and Popular Culture
Anne McClintock, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

This course explores the current fascination with animals in film, photography and popular culture, engaging central issues in animal and environmental studies. Why has looking become our main way of interacting with animals? How does rethinking animals inspire us to rethink being human? How can we transform our relations with other species and the planet? Course themes include: wilderness, national parks and zoos; the cult of the pet; vampires, werewolves and zombies; animal speech, animal emotions and rights; nature, sexuality and race. Exploring planetary crises such as extinction and climate change, and positive strategies for change.

 GSS 326 / AMS 426  Disability and the Politics of Life
Catherine Clune-Taylor, Program in Gender and Sexuality

This introduction to disability studies draws together the work of feminists and queer theorists with that of historians and clinicians in order to contextualize the field's major theoretical claims.  We will take up and critique the oft-made distinction between natural, physical impairment and socially constructed disability, situating it with regards to Michel Foucault's account of biopower, and his controversial claims in Society Must Be Defended regarding "racism against the abnormal."

GSS 345 / AMS 373    Pleasure, Power and Profit, Race and Sexualities in a Global Era
Anne McClintock, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial, compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence.

GSS 348 / AMS 448  Corporealities of Politics
Tala Khanmalek, Program in American Studies; Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

What do feminists of color have to say about how the social determinants of health affect our bodies?  In this seminar, we will explore the ways in which feminists of color narrate the impact of multiple oppressions on their well/being.  The readings begin with an overview of key concepts in women of color and transnational feminisms including but not limited to intersectionality and theory in the flesh, which we will draw on to think about the materiality of difference.

GSS 365 / AMS 365    Isn’t It Romantic? The Broadway Musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim
Stacy Wolf, Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts

Song. Dance. Man. Woman. These are the basic components of the Broadway musical theatre. How have musical theatre artists, composers, lyricists, librettists, directors, choreographers, and designers worked with these building blocks to create this quintessentially American form of art and entertainment? Why are musicals structured by love and romance? This course will explore conventional and resistant performances of gender and sexuality in the Broadway musical since the 1940s.

HIS 270/AMS 370      Asian American History
Beth Lew-Williams, Department of History

This course introduces students to the multiple and varied experiences of people of Asian heritage in the United States from the 19th century to the present day.  It focuses on three major questions:  (1) What brought Asians to the United States? (2) How did Asian Americans come to be viewed as a race? (3) How does Asian American experience transform our understanding of U.S. history?  Using newspapers, novels, government reports, and films, this course will cover major topics in Asian American history, including Chinese Exclusion, Japanese internment, transnational adoption, and the model minority stereotype.

POL 319 / AMS 391   History of African American Political Thought
Desmond D. Jagmohan, Department of Politics

This course explores central themes and ideas in the history of African American political thought: slavery and freedom, solidarity and sovereignty, exclusion and citizenship, domination and democracy, inequality and equality, rights and respect. Readings will be drawn, primarily, from canonical authors, including Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ralph Ellison, Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an introductory course, which emphasizes both thematic and historical approaches to political theory.

WWS 385/AMS 350   Civil Society and Public Policy
Stanley Katz, Lecturer with the rank of Professor in Public and International Affairs

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.