America Then and Now
Professor/InstructorRachael Ziady DeLue, Brian Eugenio Herrera, Monica Huerta
This course introduces a selection of signature ideas and debates that made the nation what it is today and what it is becoming. Objects of study range across multiple media, including texts, images, works of art, music, performance, and film, and draw from the diverse fields of literature, history, political science, art history, economics, law, cultural studies, and the history of science. The course attends to how knowledge about America has and continues to be produced, disseminated, and consumed, emphasizing the cognitive processes associated with the invention and delineation of America.
Civil Society and Public Policy
Professor/InstructorStanley Nider Katz
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. One three-hour seminar.
Topics in American Literature
Professor/InstructorEsther Helen Schor
An investigation of issues outside the scope of traditional surveys of American literature. Topics may include: definitions of "America," literature of the South, contemporary poetry, New Historicism, America on film, the Harlem Renaissance, the Vietnam War, the sentimental novel, colonial encounters, literature of the Americas, fictions of empire, Jewish American writers. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Race and Religion in America
This course examines the ways in which constructions of race have shaped how varied Americans have constructed religious identities and fostered religious experience, as well as made meaning of the religions of others. Topics addressed include American intrepretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, religious constuctions of whiteness, and religious resistance to notions of race. Readings are drawn from a range of primary and secondary sources.
Religion and American Film
The controversy over Mel Gibson's [The Passion of the Christ] sits in a long history of complex interactions between religious Americans and popular movies. In this course we explore the politics of representing religion at key moments in American film and religious history. We consider how movies provide unique insight into aspects of American religious life and how representations of religion reveal the shifting contours of constructions of American identity. Topics include: censorship; representations of religious, ethnic, and racial minorities; gender, sexuality, and religion; recent filmmaking strategies of religious groups.
An Introduction to Latino Literature and Culture
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.