America Then and Now
Professor/InstructorAisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, William Albert Gleason, Stacy E. Wolf
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.
Topics in Race and Public Policy
This seminar uses and interrogates social science methodologies in examining the condition of the American state and American institutions and practices. With an analysis of race and ethnicity at the center, students will examine the development of institutions and practices, with the growth and formation of racial and ethnic identities, including changing perceptions, measures, and reproduction of inequality.
Music Traditions in North America
Professor/InstructorMari Jo Velasco
This course will delve into the many historical themes, social issues, and musical aspects that arise from surveying and comparing the diverse musical traditions of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.
Civil Society and Public Policy
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, Deborah Epstein Nord, Maria A. DiBattista
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.
Women and American Religion
An exploration of women's roles and experiences, and constructions of gender in diverse settings within North American religion. The seminar will examine female religious leaders and participants in such subcultures as Puritanism, evangelicalism, Catholicism, Judaism, African American Protestantism, native traditions, and American Islam. Emphasis on the dilemmas faced by women in religious institutions as well as the creative uses women have made of their social and religious "place." One three-hour seminar.
Postblack - Contemporary African American Art
Professor/InstructorChika O. Okeke-Agulu
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. Postblack suggests 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 involves critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art, and will provide an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade. One three-hour seminar.
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.
Unrest and Renewal in Urban America
Professor/InstructorAlison Ellen Isenberg
From the colonial era to the present, this course weaves together a comprehensive history of American cities and suburbs, cutting across social life, politics, economics, culture, and the built environment. Topics include urban planning and design, public and private spaces, social experience, urban investment and disinvestment, the metropolitan economy, politics and policy, arts and culture, city leadership, and the participation of ordinary people in shaping urban and suburban life.
Forms of Literature
Professor/InstructorLee Clark Mitchell
Each term course will be offered in special topics of English and American literature. One three-hour seminar.
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.
Advanced Seminar in American Studies
Professor/InstructorAnne Cheng, Hendrik Arnold Hartog
This is an experimental and collaborative seminar that will explore selected sites and episodes in the history of property relations in America. We are as interested in hoarding as in wealth production, blood as well as land, cultural identities as well as corporations. The focus is relentlessly interdisciplinary, bringing together legal cases, ethnographies, novels, poems, films, buildings, maps, and other cultural products. The seminar will offer several opportunities for students to "do" American Studies through the lens of property law and property conflicts.
Advanced Seminar in American Studies
Professor/InstructorBrian Eugenio Herrera
This course offers an intensive introduction to the particular tools, methods and interpretations employed in developing original historical research and writing about race and ethnicity in twentieth century popular performance (film, television, theater). Through collaborative, in-depth excavations of several genre-straddling cultural works, course participants will rehearse relevant methods and theories (of cultural history, of race and ethnicity, of popular culture/performance) and will undertake an independent research project elaborating the course's guiding premise and principles of practice.
AMS Capstone Seminar
What "information" does your face transmit? This course explores aesthetic, philosophical, and ethical theories about human faces as markers of identity and carriers of cultural information, in terms of race, gender and class. We will turn throughout the course to the collections of the Princeton Art Museum to consider how visual art depicts the processes through which we "read" faces. We will also think about the limits of "faciality" - i.e. at what point is a face not a face - especially alongside questions of technology and performance.
Topics in Literature and Ethics
Professor/InstructorSimon Eliud Gikandi
Courses offered under this rubric will investigate ethical questions in literature. Topics will range from a critical study of the textual forms these questions take to a historical study of an issue traditionally debated by both literature and ethics (responsibility, rhetoric, justice, violence, oppression). Two lectures, one preceptorial.
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.