American Cultural Studies
Professors Taylor (English), Rice-DeFosse (French), Creighton (History; chair), Bruce (Religion), and Carnegie (Anthropology); Associate Professors Nero (Rhetoric), Fra-Molinero (Spanish), Jensen (History), Houchins (African American Studies), and Aburto Guzmán (Spanish); Visiting Assistant Professor Beasley (African American Studies and American Cultural Studies)
American cultural studies is an interdisciplinary program that seeks to understand the differences and commonalities that inform changing answers to the question: What does it mean to be an American? Courses offering diverse methods and perspectives help to explore how self-conceptions resist static definition, how cultural groups change through interaction, and how disciplines transform themselves through mutual inquiry. The courses in American cultural studies help provide a lens through which to view how groups of Americans see themselves and each other and how American institutions have constructed such differences as race, gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Seen as such, the critical study of what it means to be American relies not on fixed, unitary, or absolute values, but rather on dynamic meanings that are themselves a part of cultural history. Respecting diverse claims to truth as changing also allows them to be understood as changeable.
More information on the American cultural studies program is available on the Web site (www.bates.edu/ACS.xml).
Major Requirements. The major in American cultural studies requires ten courses in addition to a senior thesis. There are four required courses: an introduction to American cultural studies; an introduction to African American studies; a course introducing interdisciplinary methods of analysis; and a course centering on community fieldwork. Six other courses are to be chosen from the list below. They should include advanced courses at the 200 and 300 levels. Furthermore, one course should study the African diaspora outside of the United States, one course should focus on gender as an interpretive category, and one course should take a cultural studies approach to either Asian American, Franco-American, Native American, Canadian, or Latin American experience. The selection and sequence of courses must be discussed with the faculty advisor and approved by the fall semester of the junior year. All majors must complete a senior thesis (American Cultural Studies 457 or 458).
Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail may not be applied to the four required courses. There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option for other courses taken for the major.
In addition to specific American cultural studies courses, the following courses from across the curriculum can be applied to the major:
AA/EN 121X. Music and Metaphor: The Sounds in African American Literature.
AAS 140A. Introduction to African American Studies.
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
AA/WS 201. African American Women and Feminist Thought.
AA/EN 212. Black Lesbian and Gay Literatures.
AA/TH 225. The Grain of the Black Image.
AA/TH 226. Minority Images in Hollywood Film.
AA/HI 243. African American History.
AA/MU 249. African American Popular Music.
AA/AN 251. History, Agency, and Representation in the Making of the Caribbean.
AA/DN 252. Contemporary Issues in Dance.
AA/EN 253. The African American Novel.
AA/HI 390E. African Slavery in the Americas.
AA/RH 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
AA/AV s20. Religious Arts of the African Diaspora.
AA/AN s28. Cultural Production and Social Context, Jamaica.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archeology.
ANTH 222. First Encounters: European "Discovery" and North American Indians.
AN/RE 234. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
ANTH 335. The Ethnographer's Craft.
ANTH 347. New World Archeology.
AN/ED 378. Ethnographic Approaches to Education.
ANTH s10. Encountering Community: Ethnographic Fieldwork and Service-Learning.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archeological Fieldwork.
AVC 288. Visualizing Race.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 375. Issues of Sexuality and the Study of Visual Culture.
AVC 377A. Picturesque Suburbia.
AVC s17. Consuming Consumer Culture.
AVC s32. The Photograph as Document.
DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History.
DN/ED s29A. Dance as a Collaborative Art I.
DN/ED s29B. Dance as a Collaborative Art II.
DN/ED s29C. Dance as a Collaborative Art III.
ECON 230. Economics of Women, Men, and Work.
ECON 331. Labor Economics.
ECON 348. Urban Economics.
EDUC 231. Perspectives on Education.
EDUC 240. Gender Issues in Education.
ED/SO 242. Race, Cultural Pluralism, and Equality in American Education.
EDUC 250. Critical Perspective on Pedagogy and Curriculum.
ED/SO 380. Education, Reform, and Politics.
EDUC s25. Democratic Dialogue.
EDUC s27. Literacy in the Community.
ENG 121C. Frost, Stevens, Williams.
EN/WS 121G. Asian American Women Writers.
ENG 141. American Writers to 1900.
ENG 152. American Writers since 1900.
ENG 241. Fiction in the United States.
ENG 294. Storytelling.
ENG 395F. To Light: Five Twentieth-Century American Women Poets.
ENG 395G. Literature and Cultural Critique.
EN/WS 395L. Feminist Literary Criticism.
EN/WS 395S. Asian American Women Writers, Filmmakers, and Critics.
EN/RH s14. Place, Word, Sound: New Orleans.
ENG s20. NewsWatch.
ENG s23. Beatniks and Mandarins: A Literary and Cultural History of the American Fifties.
ENG s25. Sociocultural Approaches to Children's Literature.
ES/HI 211. Environmental Perspectives on U.S. History.
ENVR 200. Imagining Open Spaces.
ENVR 300. Posthuman Science Fictions.
ENVR 332. Environmental Nonfiction.
FYS 024. The Magic Mirror.
FYS 242. Blackness (and Whiteness) in the Social Imagination.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden.
FYS 305. Corporal Culture: Body and Health in America.
FYS 329. Latin American Time Machine.
FYS 335. Watching the Detectives.
FYS 349. Lawyers, Real and Imagined.
FYS 351. Hearing Duke Ellington.
FYS 356. Mountains and Rivers without End.
FYS 357. Cocaine, Politics, and the Americas.
FRE 208. Introduction to the Francophone World.
FRE s35. French in Maine.
HIST 140. Origins of the New Nation, 1500–1820.
HIST 141. America in the Age of the Civil War.
HIST 142. America in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
HI/WS 210. Technology in United States History.
HIST 241. The Age of the American Revolution, 1763–1789.
HIST 244. Native American History.
HIST 249. Colonial North America.
HIST 261. American Protest in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 265. Wartime Dissent in Modern America.
HI/WS 267. Blood, Genes, and American Culture.
HIST 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HIST 390F. The American West.
HIST 390H. The Mexican Revolution.
HIST 390P. Prelude to the Civil Rights Movement.
HIWS 390Q. A Woman's Place: Gender and Geography in the United States, 1800–Present.
HIST 390S. Colonies and Empires.
HIST 390V. The Spanish Empire in the Americas.
HIST 390W. The Civil Rights Movement.
HIST 390Z. American Migrations.
INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.
INDS 236. The Literatures of Women of the African Diaspora.
INDS 262. Ethnomusicology: African Diaspora.
INDS s25. Black Terror.
MUS 247. Jazz and Blues: History and Practice.
MUS 248. Music in Contemporary Popular Culture.
MUS 254. Music and Drama.
MUS 266. Miles Davis.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
PLTC 212. Several Sides of the Cold War.
PLTC 215. Political Participation in the United States.
PLTC 219. Social Movements in Latin America.
PLTC 228. Constitutional Freedoms.
PLTC 229. Race and Civil Rights in Constitutional Interpretation.
PLTC 235. Black Women in the Americas.
PLTC 249. Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 253. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East.
PLTC 310. Public Opinion.
PLTC 325. Constitutional Rights and Social Change.
PLTC 329. Law, Gender, and Sexuality.
PLTC 422. Social Justice Internships.
PLTC s21. Politics and Community Service.
PLTC s26. Environmental Conflicts in Latin America.
PY/SO 210. Social Psychology.
REL 247. City upon the Hill.
REL 255. African American Religious Traditions.
REL 270. Religion and American Visual Culture.
REL s27. Field Studies in Religion: Cult and Community.
RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RHET 265. The Rhetoric of Women's Rights.
RHET 275. African American Public Address.
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
SOC 270. Sociology of Gender.
SOC 395I. Gender and Family.
SPAN 215. Readings in Spanish American Literature.
SPAN 245. Social Justice in Hispanic Literature.
SPAN 250. The Latin American Short Story.
SPAN 342. Hybrid Cultures: Latin American Intersections.
WGST 100. Introduction to Women and Gender Studies.
WGST 350. Walking the Edge: About Borders.
WGST s23. Technologies of the Body.
ACS 100. Introduction to American Cultural Studies.This course introduces students to the different methods and perspectives of cultural studies within an American context. The course considers the separate evolution of American studies and cultural studies in the academy, and considers how cultural studies provides a lens through which to investigate dynamic American identities, institutions, and communities. Of particular concern is how differences such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality are constructed and expressed in diverse settings, and how they connect to the deployment of power. Enrollment limited to 35. Normally offered every other year. Staff.
AA/AC 119. Cultural Politics.This course examines the relationship of culture to politics. It introduces the study of struggles to acquire, maintain, or resist power and gives particular attention to the role culture plays in reproducing and contesting social divisions of class, race, gender, and sexuality. Lectures and discussion incorporate film, music, and fiction in order to evaluate the connection between cultural practices and politics. Not open to students who have received credit for Political Science 119. Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations
ACS 220. Fieldwork in American Cultural Studies.Central to the Program in American Cultural Studies is the examination of and engagement with diverse American communities. Students in this course first consider their own positions, identities, and privileges within America, and then, using gender, class, and race analysis, they investigate the historical cultures of the College and the Lewiston community. In cooperation with the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, students also work in service-oriented agencies. In addition to extensive fieldwork, students participate in weekly seminar discussions, and prepare a research paper relevant to their experience. Enrollment limited to 12. Normally offered every year. M. Creighton. Concentrations
AC/ED 238. The Public Work of Academics.This course explores how academic work matters in the world, using various kinds of academic tools, both conventional (historical texts, critical essays, films, and literary work) and experiential (community-based learning or research). Topics include the history of U.S. higher education, questions of academic responsibility to the public welfare, images of academics in film and literature, the vocation of the intellectual, and forms of public scholarship or civic engagement. The course is reading- and writing-attentive and requires thirty hours of community-based learning/research. Enrollment limited to 20. [W2] Normally offered every other year. A. Bartel. Concentrations
AC/HI 248. Back East, Down South, Out West: Regions in American Culture.This course examines American regions as they have emerged as cultural entities from the eighteenth century to the present. Its primary texts are grounded in contemporary scholarship in history and cultural geography and in popular literature, film, music, and architecture. Students investigate the intersection of demographic and economic history with cultural invention. Beginning with a focus on "olde" New England and continuing with a study of the cultural power of the "wild" West, students devote considerable attention to the "deep" South to understand how region mediates the identities and experiences associated with race, class, and gender difference. Prerequisite(s): History 141 or 243. Open to first-year students. Offered with varying frequency. M. Creighton. Concentrations
INDS 250. Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Modes of Inquiry.Interdisciplinarity involves more than a meeting of disciplines. Practitioners stretch methodological norms and reach across disciplinary boundaries. Through examination of a single topic, this course introduces students to interdisciplinary methods of analysis. Students examine what practitioners actually do and work to become practitioners themselves. Prerequisite(s): African American Studies 140A or Women and Gender Studies 100, and one other course in African American studies, American cultural studies, or women and gender studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 40. Normally offered every year. Staff.
INDS 260. United States Latina/Chicana Writings.This course rests on two conceptual underpinnings: Gloria Anzaldúa's Nueva Mestiza and the more recent "U.S. Pan-latinidad" postulated by the Latina Feminist Group. The literary and theoretical production of Chicanas and Latinas is examined through these lenses. Particular attention is given to developing a working knowledge of the key historical and cultural discourses engaged by these writings and the various contemporary United States Latina and Chicana positionalities vis-à-vis popular ethnic representations. The course also examines the function given to marketable cultural productions depending on the different agents involved. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, Spanish, and women and gender studies. Open to first-year students. Offered with varying frequency. C. Aburto Guzmán. Concentrations
INDS 291. Exhibiting Cultures.This course examines the politics of exhibiting cultures. Each week students analyze specific exhibitions of cultural artifacts, visual culture, and the cultural body as a means to evaluate the larger issues surrounding such displays. These include issues of race, colonialism, postcolonialism, and curatorial authority in relation to the politics of exhibiting cultures. A field trip to analyze an exhibition is a critical part of the students' experience in the course. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and art and visual culture. Offered with varying frequency. Staff. Concentrations
INDS 315. African American Philosophers.This course focuses on how African American philosophers confront and address philosophical problems. Students consider the relationship between the black experience and traditional themes in Western philosophy. Attention is also given to the motivations and context sustaining African American philosophers. Recommended background: African American Studies 140A or African American Studies/American Cultural Studies 119. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for Interdisciplinary Studies 165. Enrollment limited to 15. Offered with varying frequency. Staff.
ACS 360. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.
AC/HI 390B. History in the Public Sphere.This course combines a cultural history seminar with a community history practicum. On the one hand, students explore together the role of social memory and historical consciousness in American culture—the history of Americans' views on and use of their past. On the other hand, students' research and writing focuses on the history of Lewiston's mills and millworker families, as they work with a local museum to help create a traveling exhibit for the Lewiston-Auburn community. The goal is both to understand the importance of the past in community life and to contribute to our own community's historical consciousness. Prerequisite(s): History s40 or American Cultural Studies 220. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] Normally offered every year. D. Scobey. Concentrations
ACS 457. Senior Thesis.Under the supervision of a faculty advisor, all majors write an extended essay that utilizes the methods of at least two disciplines. Students register for American Cultural Studies 457 in the fall semester and for American Cultural Studies 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both American Cultural Studies 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
ACS 457, 458. Senior Thesis.Under the supervision of a faculty advisor, all majors write an extended essay that utilizes the methods of at least two disciplines. Students register for American Cultural Studies 457 in the fall semester and for American Cultural Studies 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both American Cultural Studies 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
ACS 458. Senior Thesis.Under the supervision of a faculty advisor, all majors write an extended essay that utilizes the methods of at least two disciplines. Students register for American Cultural Studies 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both American Cultural Studies 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.Short Term Courses
AC/HI s22. Red Sox Nation.This unit examines the place of major league baseball in American history and contemporary culture, considering particularly the franchise and fan base known as Red Sox Nation, and the legendary rivalry between Boston and the New York Yankees. Students consider how race, class, ethnicity, and gender dynamics have determined the business and practice of the game, and how baseball itself is a culturally defining event. They also examine how baseball rivalries have shaped and reflected regional cultures and identities. This interdisciplinary unit uses a variety of materials for its texts: historical studies, documentary and feature films, Web sites, and visits to baseball games and parks. Students are responsible not only for readings, viewings, and in-class discussion, but also for presentations and a short research paper. This unit has an additional fee. Enrollment limited to 20. Offered with varying frequency. M. Creighton.
ACS s50. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Normally offered every year. Staff.