Courses

Courses

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.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

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. Enrollment limited to 39. Normally offered every year. M. Beasley.
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. Enrollment limited to 48. (Modern. ) (United States.) A. Baker, M. Creighton.
Concentrations

INDC 177. Caribbean Popular Cultural Insurgency.

Caribbean popular culture exerts influence on the world stage disproportionate to the region's size. This course examines the politics and creolized development of Caribbean popular culture through some of its best-known modes of expression such as music, the Trinidad Carnival, and the game of cricket. Placing these cultural forms in their historical and social contexts reveals their oppositional, dissenting qualities. By applying various critical analytical lenses, however, including gender and sexuality, ethnicity, nationalism, and transnationalism, the course also considers certain conservative undercurrents of these cultural formations. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, and Latin American studies. Enrollment limited to 19. C. Carnegie.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDC 211. U.S. Environmental 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. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Modern. ) (United States.) J. Hall.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

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. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 12. (Community-Engaged Learning.) Normally offered every year. Staff.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

AC/HI 228. Making Asian America: Citizenship, Identity, Belonging.

Contemporary discourse of Asian Americans as the "model minority" obscures a long history of struggles for equality and glosses over the community's rich diversity. This course surveys the history of Asians in the United States from the late sixteenth century to the present. Students examine the causes and effects of migration and settlement; anti-Asian violence and legal exclusion; wartime internment and refugee resettlement; and the formation of intersectional identities and transnational communities. Ultimately, this course advances the argument that citizenship and belonging in U.S. history cannot be fully understood without taking into account the experiences of Asians in the country. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Modern. ) (United States.) I. Shin.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

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 as well as other French speakers. Prerequisite(s): FRE 207, 208, or 235. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 19. [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. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Early Modern.) (Modern. ) (United States.) J. Hall.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

AC/EN 247. Contemporary Arab American Literature.

This course studies Arab American literature from 1990 until the present. Students examine novels, short fiction, memoirs, or poetry in an effort to understand the major concerns of contemporary Arab American authors. Students are expected to engage theoretical material and literary criticism to supplement their understanding of the literature. In addition to a discussion of formal literary concerns, this course is animated by the way authors spotlight gender, sexual orientation, politics, and history. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level course in English. Enrollment limited to 25. (Race, Ethnicity, or Diasporic Literature.) (Post-1800.) T. Pickens.
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): AC/HI 141 or HIST 243. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Modern. ) (United States.) M. Creighton.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 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. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Prerequisite(s): AAS 100, ACS 100, or GSS 100, and one other course in African American studies, American cultural studies, or gender and sexuality studies. Enrollment limited to 39. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDC 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 gender and sexuality studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. R. Herzig.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

AC/RE 272. Islam in America.

Islam, with its mosaic of different beliefs and practices, has been part of America’s social and religious fabric for centuries. This course traces a history of Islam in America from West African slaves, to voluntary immigration, to experiences of Muslims in the post-September 11 era. Students explore the historical and contemporary realities of Muslims living in America, including the role of religious authority, racial identity, and activism of American Muslim women. These explorations take students into the Lewiston-Auburn community to discover its religious diversity and hear how local residents speak about and practice their Islamic faith. Enrollment limited to 39. (Community-Engaged Learning.) Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

ACS 280. Story of Things: Introduction to Material Culture.

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. Material culture has been defined from numerous perspectives, most notably anthropology, archaeology, art history, cultural theory, and history. Scholars in these and other disciplines have used material culture as sources of evidence to explore the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. 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): ACS 100, AA/AC 119, or ANTH 101. Enrollment limited to 29. M. Beasley.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

AC/AV 288. Visualizing Race.

This course considers visual constructions of race in art and popular culture, with a focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. General topics include the role of visual culture in creating and sustaining racial stereotypes, racism, white supremacy, and white-skin privilege; the effects upon cultural producers of their own perceived race in terms of both their opportunities and their products; and the relations of constructions of race to those of gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. (Race, Sexuality, Gender.) [W2] E. Rand.
Concentrations

INDC 301L. Exhibiting American Culture.

How is America defined through cultural exhibitions and performances of national identity? This course examines the politics of exhibiting American culture. Each week the course investigates distinct exhibitions of visual culture and the cultural body, such as historic house museums, plantations and American slavery museums, Colonial Williamsburg, world expositions, the phenomenon of the wild west show, cowboy culture, Native American exhibitions, and displays of American culture in music videos, film, and television. Through these types of exhibitions, students consider issues of stereotype, race, and national and local identity. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, art and visual culture, and history. Enrollment limited to 39. (Modern. ) (United States.) [W2] Staff.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDC 302. Black Feminist Activist and Intellectual Traditions.

This junior-senior seminar examines the intersections of gender with black racial and ethnic identities as they have been and are constructed, expressed, and lived throughout the African/black diaspora. Special attention is given to the United States but substantial consideration is given to Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The course combines approaches and methodologies employed in the humanities, social sciences, and arts to structure interdisciplinary analyses. Using black feminist (womanist), critical-race, and queer theories, students examine African-descended women’s histories, activism, resistance, and contributions to culture, knowledge, and theorizing. Crosslisted in African American studies, American cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Prerequisite(s): one course in African American studies, American cultural studies, or gender and sexuality studies. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Houchins.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDC 305. Art, Power, and Politics.

This course is an anthropological examination of the relationship among art, power, and politics. What can the artistic works of various societies say about their worlds that other creations cannot? What claims can art make about the workings of power, and what artistic techniques does power itself employ? Students consider these and other questions from a number of different perspectives, including the politics of perception, the place of art in modern life, the artistry of terror, the art of protest and propaganda, and the dream of building a beautiful regime. Recommended background: familiarity with classical social theory, especially Marx, is encouraged but not necessary. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and anthropology. Not open to students who have received credit for ANTH s22. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Rubin.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 352. Preserving the Vibration: Digitizing the Legacy of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.

This course introduces public and digital humanities through the life and work of noted journalist, food anthropologist, and public broadcaster Vertamae Grosvenor. Public humanities is concerned with expanding academic discourse beyond academia and facilitating conversations on topics of humanistic inquiry with the community at large. Digital studies provide a plethora of unconventional ways to engage community in public dialogues for the greater good. Drawing from books, operas, NPR audio segments, interviews, cookbooks, and other artifacts of Grosvenor, students create and curate a digital archive. Themes include Gullah culture, African American migration, foodways, memoir, public memory, and monuments. Leading theories and methods of black feminism, material culture, race, food studies, new media and digital humanities are foregrounded. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, digital and computational studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: AA/AC 119; AA/HI 243; AAS 100; ACS 100; AC/AV 340; AC/EN 395B; AV/GS 287; GSS 100; INDS 250 or 267; REL 255 or 270. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley.
Interdisciplinary Programs

AC/GS 353. Critical Theory/Critical Acts.

Critical theory unravels streams of repressive discourses and hierarchies in our contemporary world, and artists have fostered ruptures and fissures in everyday life. This seminar ponders the concept of "cultural worker" and laments the domain of theory by exploring the intersections between critical theory, art, and cultural politics. Students engage in the ruptures, the fragments of knowledge, and making sense of the residue of "social change" while not forgetting the problematization of the aesthetic. They consider U.S.-based interdisciplinary artists such as Thiong'o, Fusco, Ana Mediata, Tania Bruguera, David Hammon, Jay-Z, Pope.L, and Lady Gaga with critical theorists such as Fanon, Butler, Foucault, Phalen, Muñoz, Moten, Adorno, Barthes, Olkowski, and Benjamin. This seminar is based on close readings of theoretical texts and connecting those texts with contemporary cultural politics. Prerequisite(s): AA/AC 119, ACS 100, AC/AV 340, AC/EN 395B, AV/GS 287, GSS 100, or INDS 250 or 267. Not open to students who have received credit for AC/WS 353. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

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

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

AA/AC 375. Curatorial Studies and Contemporary Culture.

Cultural studies interprets curatorial practice such as how people come to understand and express identities through interactions with spaces, things, and shared social relations in contemporary daily life. This seminar considers the definitions of "curating" from an act of collecting, arranging, and displaying things for others to understanding curatorial projects that investigate rituals, objects, sites, and events of everyday life and their interplay with identity and cultural politics. Students consider the work of such scholars as Wilson, Golden, Benjamin, Foucault, Gonzalez, and de Certeau. They discuss the usual sites for curatorial work such as museums, galleries, libraries, and botanical gardens as well as less conventional sites such as food displays, magazines, dorm rooms, websites, music (the DJ as curator), and video programs. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: AA/AC 119; AAS 100; ACS 100, 283; AC/AV 288; ANTH 100; AVC 280, 374; AV/GS 296, 297; GSS 100; or INDS 250. Enrollment limited to 29. M. Beasley.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education 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 via social media on platforms such as Facebook, students consider scholarship in American literary and cultural history, critical theory, and primary literary and legal texts. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level English course or one American cultural studies course. Recommended background: GSS 100. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. (Critical thinking.) [W2] E. Osucha.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education 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 ACS 457 in the fall semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both ACS 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

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 ACS 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both ACSs 457 and 458. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

Short Term Courses

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 19. S. Houchins.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 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. Students in this community-based course collaborate with Nezinscot Farm exploring themes of gathering, homesteading, and biodynamic farming. 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. The course culminates in a performative meal. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, and gender and sexuality studies. Enrollment limited to 19. (Community-Engaged Learning.) M. Beasley.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

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

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)