American Cultural Studies
Professors Taylor (English), Rice-DeFosse (French), Creighton (History; chair), Herzig (Women and Gender Studies), Carnegie (Anthropology), and Nero (Rhetoric); Associate Professors Fra-Molinero (Spanish), Jensen (History), and Houchins (African American Studies); Assistant Professors Chapman (Music), Melvin (History), Beasley (African American Studies and American Cultural Studies), and Osucha (English); Visiting Assistant Professor Bessire (African American Studies, American Cultural Studies, and Art and Visual Culture); Lecturers Kerr (American Cultural Studies) and Blaine-Wallace (African American Studies)
What does it mean to be American? Students in this interdisciplinary major reflect on this question in multiple ways. American cultural studies core courses ponder the changing meanings of nation and citizenship in both the United States and in the Americas. They consider how groups of Americans see themselves and each other, and investigate how institutions have constructed such differences as race, gender, class, and sexuality. These discussions assume that what has been deemed natural or inevitable is in fact dynamic and changeable, and that what has been socially invisible must be brought to light. All American cultural studies students are grounded in African American studies and use this method of inquiry to better understand the meaning of belonging, privilege, and exclusion. Among current American cultural studies courses are those that focus on cultural geography and cultural politics, borderlands, diasporas, film and media, gender, history, literature, music, performance, queer theory, and race theory.
More information on the American cultural studies program is available on the website (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 study and engagement. 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:
AAS 100. Introduction to African American Studies (formerly 140A).
AA/EN 121J. African American Literature.
AA/EN 121X. Music and Metaphor: The Sounds in African American Literature.
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
AA/WS 201. Black and Feminist Thought.
AA/EN 212. Black Lesbian and Gay Literatures.
AA/TH 225. The Grain of the Black Image.
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.
AA/WS s33. Reading Toni Morrison.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archeology.
ANTH 222. First Encounters: European "Discovery" and North American Indians.
ANSO 232. Ethnicity, Nation, World Community.
AN/RE 234. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
AN/ED 378. Ethnographic Approaches to Education.
ANTH s10. Encountering Community: Ethnographic Fieldwork and Service-Learning.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archeological Fieldwork.
AV/WS 287. Women, Gender, Visual Culture.
AVC 288. Visualizing Race.
AV/WS 296. Visualizing Identities.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 374. Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture.
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 s29 A–C. Tour, Teach, Perform I, II, III.
ECON 230. Economics of Women, Men, and Work.
ECON 331. Labor Economics.
ECON 348. Urban Economics.
EDUC 231A. Perspectives on Education: Writing Attentive.
EDUC 231B. 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/WS 330. Gender, Power, and Leadership.
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 143. Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
ENG 152. American Writers since 1900.
ENG 241. Fiction in the United States.
ENG 242. American Realisms.
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 s15. 9/11 in Literature and Art.
ENG s20. NewsWatch.
ENG s25. Sociocultural Approaches to Children's Literature.
ENVR 222. Imagining Open Spaces.
ENVR 300. Posthuman Science Fictions.
ENVR 332. Environmental Nonfiction.
FYS 152. Religion and Civil Rights.
FYS 234. United States Relocation Camps in World War II.
FYS 242. Blackness (and Whiteness) in the Social Imagination.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden.
FYS 300. Exploring Education through Narratives.
FYS 329. Latin American Time Machine.
FYS 363. The Rhetoric of Women: Politics, Prime Time, and Pop Culture.
FYS 381. Visualizing Identities.
FYS 393. DiY and Mash-up Culture.
FRE 208. Introduction to the Francophone World.
HIST 140. Origins of the New Nation, 1500–1820.
HIST 142. America in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
HIST 241. The Age of the American Revolution, 1763–1789.
HIST 249. Colonial North America.
HIST 265. Wartime Dissent in Modern America.
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.
INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.
INDS 257. African American Women's History and Social Transformation.
INDS 262. Ethnomusicology: African Diaspora.
INDS 342. Performance, Narrative, and the Body.
INDS s25. Black Terror.
MUS 212. Introduction to Ethnomusicology.
MUS 247. History of Jazz.
MUS 248. Music in Contemporary Popular Culture.
MUS 254. Music and Drama.
MUS 266. Miles Davis.
MUS 396. Music History and Cultural Politics.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
PLTC 155. Women, Power, and Political Systems.
PLTC 212. Several Sides of the Cold War.
PLTC 215. Political Participation in the United States.
PLTC 219. Social Movements in Latin America.
PT/WS 220. Gender, War, and Peace.
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 320. The Politics of Latin American Migrant Transnationalism.
PLTC 325. Constitutional Rights and Social Change.
PLTC 329. Law, Gender, and Sexuality.
PLTC 347. Gender and the State.
PT/WS 390. Race and United States Women's Movements.
PLTC s21. Politics and Community Service.
PY/SO 210. Social Psychology.
PSYC 372. Racial and Ethnic Identity Development.
REL 100. Religion and Film.
REL 247. City upon the Hill.
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 276. Television Criticism.
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.
SOC 250. Privilege, Power, and Inequality.
SOC 270. Sociology of Gender.
SOC 395I. Gender and Family.
SPAN 215. Readings in Spanish American Literature.
SPAN 250. The Latin American Short Story.
SPAN 348. Social Justice in Hispanic Literature.
SPAN 442. Hybrid Cultures: Latin American Intersections.
WGST 100. Introduction to Women and Gender Studies.
WGST 350. Walking the Edge: About Borders.
WGST 355. Gender and Technology.
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. Staff. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
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. Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations
AC/HI 141. America in the Age of the Civil War.This course surveys United States history from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century, focusing particularly on the experience of immigrants, women, the plantation South, and the urbanizing North. Special attention is also given to the history of the American Civil War. Not open to students who have received credit for History 141. Enrollment limited to 48. (United States.) M. Creighton. Concentrations
ACS 210. Video Democracy: Documentary Production and Civic Life.This course explores the role of documentary video in the public sphere, the ways in which new digital media are reshaping communities and civic life, and the potential of video as a medium of democratic engagement. On the one hand, it is a media studies course, investigating such themes as the politics of spectatorship, the democratization of the media through interactive technology, and the use of documentary films in advocacy and activism. On the other hand, it is a laboratory for community-based storytelling in which students work in teams on documentary projects with community partners. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. Offered with varying frequency. D. Scobey. Concentrations
INDS 210. Technology in U.S. History.Surveys the development, distribution, and use of technology in the United States from colonial roadways to microelectronics, using primary and secondary source material. Subjects treated include sexual and racial divisions of labor, theories of invention and innovation, and the ecological consequences of technological change. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, history, and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for History/Women and Gender Studies 210. Not open to students who have received credit for HI/WS 210. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) R. Herzig. Interdisciplinary Programs.
INDS 211. Environmental Perspectives on U.S. History.This course explores the relationship between the North American environment and the development and expansion of the United States. Because Americans' efforts (both intentional and not) to define and shape the environment were rooted in their own struggles for power, environmental history offers an important perspective on the nation's social history. Specific topics include Europeans', Africans', and Indians' competing efforts to shape the colonial environment; the impact and changing understanding of disease; the relationship between industrial environments and political power; and the development of environmental movements. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, environmental studies, and history. Not open to students who have received credit for Environmental Studies/History 211. Not open to students who have received credit for ES/HI 211. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) J. Hall. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
ACS 220. Community Studies.Too often, students experience college within an academic cocoon, taking for granted their surrounding environment. This course moves beyond the bubble of the academy. After a review of cultural studies methodology, students consider the evolution of the College itself as well as the dynamic history of Lewiston, Maine. Students' understanding of the community is developed in readings on immigration and on practical work in local service-oriented agencies. In addition to community work and weekly assignments prepared for seminar discussions, students produce a research paper relevant to the themes of the course. Enrollment limited to 12. Normally offered every year. M. Creighton. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
AC/FR 240I. French in Maine.An appreciation and analysis of what it means to speak French and to be "French" in the local and regional context. Students examine questions of language, ethnic identity, and cultural expression through novels, short stories, autobiographies, film, and written and oral histories. Visits to local cultural sites enhance students' understanding of the Franco-American community and its heritage. Prerequisite(s): French 207 or 208. Not open to students who have received credit for French s35. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20. [W2] M. Rice-DeFosse. Concentrations
AC/HI 244. Native American History.A survey of Native American peoples from European contact to the present, this course addresses questions of cultural interaction, power, and native peoples' continuing history of colonization. By looking at the ways various First Nations took advantage of and suffered from their new relations with newcomers, students learn that this history is more than one of conquest and disappearance. In addition, they learn that the basic categories of "Indian" and "white" are themselves inadequate for understanding native pasts and presents. Much of this learning depends on careful readings of native writers. Not open to students who have received credit for History 244. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) J. Hall. 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. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) 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 100 or 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. Interdisciplinary Programs.
INDS 267. Blood, Genes, and American Culture.Places recent popular and scientific discussions of human heredity and genetics in broader social, political, and historical context, focusing on shifting definitions of personhood. Topics include the ownership and exchange of human bodies and body parts, the development of assisted reproductive technologies, and the emergence of new forms of biological citizenship. Recommended background: course work in biology and/or women and gender studies. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, history, and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for History/Women and Gender Studies 267. Not open to students who have received credit for HI/WS 267. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) R. Herzig. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
ACS 280. Story of Things: Introduction to Material Culture.Material culture has been defined from numerous perspectives, most notably anthropology, archeology, art history, cultural theory, and history. Scholars in these and other disciplines have used material culture sources of evidence to explore the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. The phrase "material culture" refers to the "things" of our daily lives. Our material lives range from our bodies to the clothes we wear, the specific objects we use, the food we eat, and the places we go. This seminar introduce students to consider how objects are used to reinforce, propagate, and resist cultural hierarchies based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and national identity. Prerequisite(s): American Cultural Studies 100, African American Studies/American Cultural Studies 119, or Anthropology 101. Enrollment limited to 30. Normally offered every other year. M. Beasley. 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 100 or 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. Staff. Interdisciplinary Programs.
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. Interdisciplinary Programs.
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 exhibit, educational, and walking-tour materials for the Lewiston-Auburn community. The goal is both to understand the importance of the past in community life and to contribute to the local community's historical consciousness. Prerequisite(s): History s40 or American Cultural Studies 220. Enrollment limited to 15. (United States.) [W2] Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations
AC/EN 395B. Privacy, Intimacy, and Identity.This seminar explores American concepts of "self" in historical and cultural context, focusing on distinct yet overlapping discourses of privacy, intimacy, and identity, as these are shaped by evolving understandings of race, sexuality, gender, class, and nation. Beginning with a critical investigation of how the nation's Puritan settlers articulated, practiced, and regulated "the self" and concluding with a consideration of how self and identity are presented in mediated environments such as Facebook and MySpace, students consider scholarship in American literary and cultural history, critical theory, and primary literary and legal texts. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level English course or one 200-level American Cultural Studies course and English 141 or 152. Recommended background: Women and Gender Studies 100. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. (Critical thinking.) [W2] E. Osucha. Concentrations
AC/EN 395C. Frontier and Border in U.S. Literature.The American "frontier" has long been a controlling idea in the production of U.S. national identity: less physical reality than ideological framework, what historian Frederick Jackson Turner called "the meeting point between savagery and civilization." Drawing on theoretical and historical writings, studied alongside twentieth-century U.S. literary texts, this course examines the history and legacy of this concept, and the new interpretive and cultural paradigms of "the border" that have supplanted Turner's "frontier thesis." Studying the border as "contact zone," students read widely in Chicana/o and Native American literatures, studying connections and commonalities in what are often treated as distinct traditions, toward a more nuanced understanding of the diverse territories — real and imagined — engaged by critical discourses of the border. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level course in American cultural studies or English. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. (Critical thinking.) [W2] E. Osucha. 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. Interdisciplinary Programs.
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. Interdisciplinary Programs.
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. Interdisciplinary Programs.Short Term Courses
ACS s10. Taste, Memory, Book: Indigestible Memories of Food.The food narrative is an increasingly popular subgenre of autobiography; as Ruth Reichl explains, "People are writing their lives in food. They are actually looking at the world food-first." This unit explores the intersections of writing, memory, and the book. Food books (e.g., cookbooks, food memoirs) are not only instructional manuals for the culinary arts and repositories for traditional dishes, they also reflect food habits of a population, act as historical markers of major events, and record technological advances in a society. They also provide narratives of self-development, interpersonal engagements, and intercultural negotiations as they recount relational life stories. Students read, write, and create food books. Recommended background: one course in American cultural studies or women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley. Concentrations
AA/AC s16. The Wire: The City and Race in Popular Culture.This course focuses on the HBO series The Wire. Students discuss the episodes in terms of their narrative structure and content as well as cinematic techniques including shot sequence, lighting, camera angle, editing, and transitional devices. They also explore some of the sociopolitical issues this series examines: poverty, unemployment, the drug trade, public education, the decline of newspapers, and public housing. The intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and class serves as the lens through which they scrutinize these topics. Enrollment limited to 20. S. Houchins. Concentrations
INDS s19. Food, Culture, and Performance.This interdisciplinary seminar examines the idea of cultural engagement through food. Students explore the meanings of food and eating across cultures, with particular attention to how people define themselves socially, symbolically, and politically through food consumption practices. Drawing from cultural, critical, and performance theories, students engage in the dialectics of cultural exchange and the fluidity of identity; they interrogate conceptions of desire and consumption. The course develops research and writing skills, introduces visual and performance theories of culture, and fosters an understanding of the importance of food and its relationship to identity construction, histories, and cultural literacy. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 20. M. Beasley. Interdisciplinary Programs.
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. Interdisciplinary Programs.