Courses

AMST 112 Production and REproduction: Experimental Archaeology Lab

This lab-based course provides an introduction to archaeology and inference. Students design individual experimental archaeology projects that include background research, hypothesis, test expectations, methods, intellectual merit, and broader impacts. During the course, students carry out their research, followed by a series of revisions and retesting. This hands-on course provides holistic engagement in research design, western-scientific methods, quantitative and qualitative analysis, interpretation, redesign, and connection to scholarly and general public interests. Recommended background: ANTH 103.

AMST 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.

AMST 125 Critical Perspectives on Sport and Society

This course explores the connections between sports and a broad range of anthropological concerns, including colonialism, resistance and domination, race, and gender. Students consider questions such as: Why do we play the sports we do? Why are sporting performances socially significant, and how have groups and political regimes used this significance to suit their needs? What can teams, players, and brands tell us about how we (and others) see the world? Addressing topics from cricket in the Caribbean to boxing in Chicago, students reappraise conventional sporting narratives and use sports to analyze the social and historical conditions in which they occur. In doing so, students think critically about their own sporting experiences and develop a deeper and subtler understanding of the ways that societies make sports and sports make societies.

AMST 141 Rise of the American Empire

During the nineteenth century, the United States experienced one of the most dramatic political transformations in world history, rising from an imperiled post-revolutionary state to become a global empire. This course examines the diverse experiences of those who lived through this era of dizzying change and confronted the forces that shaped a restless nation: slavery, capitalism, patriarchy, expansionism, urbanization, industrialization, and total warfare. Whether fighting for recognition or resisting the encroaching state, they struggled over the very meaning of American nationhood. The outcome was ambiguous; its legacy is still being contested today.

AMST 200 Introduction to American Studies

This course introduces students to the different methods and perspectives of cultural studies within an American context. Students consider the separate evolution of American studies and cultural studies in the academy, and 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.

AMST 203 Cultural and Creative Expressions of the American Indian

This course examines American Indian expression and settler colonialism in North American through a lens of Tribal Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory. The course establishes an understanding of settler-colonialism and its functions and impacts, including federal “Indian policy,” the development of hegemonic control of all facets of American Indian society and its overreaches regarding tribal affiliation, racial tensions, land allocation, subsistence rights, and access, and their many intersects. Students consider dominant narratives, aided by critical theories, including hypotheses of the “peopling of the Americas,” and the way in which the dominant hegemonic narrative has established regional histories and experiences of North American Indigenous/Native/First Nations people with persistent implications.

AMST 204 Native American Governance: Economies, Land, and Judicial Reforms

The course examines the diversity of governing models that exist in Native American communities. Students consider the effects of settler colonialism and its ongoing implications for economic development, land ownership, and judicial reforms. Specifically, the course highlights organizational models of resistance constructed by Native American communities against mainstream American society.

AMST 207 Race, Racism, and Redress

Recent events in the United States and around the globe have prompted a re-examination of the role of race in contemporary life. Since its inception, anthropology has been concerned with questions of human origins, diversity, and community. In this course, students examine the origins of racial thought, its transformation over time, and the ways race and intersecting identifications shape everyday life. Through ethnographies of global cultures, students explore how race takes form and meaning in different contexts. Throughout, they learn how to think critically about their own identities and beliefs and engage with strategies for redress.

AMST 210 Technology in U.S. History

Surveys the development, distribution, and use of technology in the United States drawing on primary and secondary source material. Subjects treated include racialized and gendered divisions of labor, militarism and colonial dispossession, and the ecological consequences of technological change.

AMST 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 Native Americans’ 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.

AMST 214 Election! Religion, Race, and American Politics

America is a nation that prides itself on religious diversity but has been deeply shaped by Christianity. Americans claim to support a separation of church and state but also call the United States a Christian nation. In light of the 2016 presidential election, understanding these tensions is crucial. This course examines religious and political issues that will shape the 2016 election while grounding contemporary debates in their historical context. Students analyze speeches, debates, court cases, and visual and popular culture sources as well as scholarly articles on how religion and politics shape each other. Assignments include a community-engaged learning project. Recommended background: familiarity with American history, 18th century to the present.

AMST 216 Indigenous American Photography

The practice of photography has a complicated history with regards to Indigenous American communities and cultures. The extensive photographs of Indigenous Americans created by Edward Curtis even now hold sway over America’s collective imaging of Indigenous American culture. And yet the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are rich with photographies of Indigenous Americans, representing themselves through the medium, new and vibrant ways of seeing, understanding, and representing Indigenous American cultures and histories. In this course, we begin with an overview study of how the process of colonization (specifically as it occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the era after the invention of photography), deployed the camera and photography to assert discursive control over Indigenous Americans. From that painful history, we move into study of the later twentieth century and early twenty-first century studying lens-based photographic and filmic works of contemporary Indigenous American artists. The goal of the course is to explore and better understand how the photographic image, as leveraged by Indigenous Americans, redresses and decolonizes the social landscape of our United States, and to honor the art works of these photographers.

AMST 222 Archaeology and Colonial Entanglements in North America

An introduction to the archaeology of North America throughout the past 20,000 years and earlier. Students examine current archaeological hypotheses of the “peopling of the Americas,” and construct the most likely model based on their command of the literature and an independent critical analysis supporting their own hypothesis. Students review and reconcile the archaeological past with indigenous concepts such as oral histories and origin stories, challenging and expanding their world view to include non-Western concepts. The course applies critical theory perspectives, including indigenous-feminist and postcolonial theories, to assess the colonial process that archaeology has at times unwittingly imposed on North American native peoples.STAFF

AMST 227 #BlackLivesMatter

This course examines the history of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It examines invisibility and spectacle in black death, voyeurism, and the destruction of the black body in the new public square. Is it true that black lives are more easily taken and black bodies destroyed with less legal consequence than others? What are the ways in which black lives do not matter? This course analyzes media coverage and debates on social media about black death. Students place these discussions in conversation with the critique of race and racialized violence offered in literature, music, film and social theory.

AMST 236 Race Matters: Tobacco in North America

This course explores race and the history of tobacco in North America. With a primary focus on the intersection of tobacco capitalism and African American history, the course introduces students to the impact of tobacco on the formation of racial ideologies and lived experiences through a consideration of economic, cultural, political, and epidemiological history. Recommended background: at least one course in Africana, African American history, American studies, or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 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.

AMST 244 Native American History

A survey of Native American peoples from the centuries just before 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 Indigenous American writers.

AMST 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.

AMST 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): AFR 100, AMST 200, or GSS 100, and one other course in Africana, American studies, or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 258 American Minority Religions: Goddesses, Guns and Gurus

Americans often claim to value religious freedom and diversity. But how do we respond when religious minorities take more than one spouse, interact with aliens, or stockpile weapons for the end of the world? This course explores common characteristics of minority religions and considers how gender and sexuality have shaped beliefs, practices, and popular depictions of American minority religions since 1945. Students examine writings and speeches of charismatic leaders, consider radical religious innovations, and analyze popular culture portrayals (including films, graphic novels, and fiction) of minority religions in the post-World War II United States.

AMST 264 A People’s History of American Capitalism

Capitalism has been a powerful engine of prosperity and disruption from the founding of the United States to the present day, but its advantages and disadvantages have not been shared equally by those whose fortunes it has indelibly shaped. Tracing more than two centuries of development and growth, this course emphasizes the social dimensions of economic transformation, centering race, gender, and ethnicity as categories integral to understanding capitalism as both a productive and destructive force in American history.

AMST 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 commodification of human bodies and body parts; racial, colonial, and gendered disparities in science and medicine; and the emergence of new forms of biological citizenship. Recommended background: course work in biology and/or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 270 Religion and American Visual Culture

A study of the constitutive role of visual culture in the formation of American religious traditions and the influence of religious experience on American art and mass culture. Moving from the colonial period to the present, this course examines the symbiotic relationship between American visual culture and religion in painting, photography, illustrated media, mass-produced objects, memorials, architecture, and decorative items.

AMST 272 Islam in the Americas

This course traces the history andsociology of Islam in North and South America, from West Africantraditions in Brazil and Syrian immigration via Ellis Island and BuenosAires, to the story of Malcolm X during the civil rights era, to the 2000s and the rise of millennial pop culture. Students explore the stories of Muslims in the Americas as a lens for understanding larger research questions in American cultural studies, political science, sociology, and comparative law.

AMST 273 US Immigration: From the “Uprooted” to the Rise of the Immigration Regime

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” encapsulates the belief that the United States is a nation of immigrants, yet that can be an oversimplification of a deeply complex issue. This course explores the various reasons people migrate, acculturate, and what it means to be an “American” and an immigrant. Students review immigration records to examine how issues of poverty, sexual orientation, gender, race, and political affiliation affected how people “breathe free” and navigated the US immigration regime from the late-nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.

AMST 281 Arab American Poetry

This course offers students an introduction to Arab American poetry from the early works of Khalil Gibran to the present. The course develops an appreciation of Arab American poetic forms, craft, voice, and vision within a transnational and diasporic framework. Surveying the poems and critical work of an expansive array of poets such as Lauren Camp, Hayan Charara, Suheir Hammad, Marwa Helal, Mohja Kahf, Philip Metres, Naomi Shihab Nye, Deema Shehabi, students examine the complex, personal, communal, national, cultural, historical, political, and religious realities that manifest themselves at home and elsewhere in the Arab American literary imagination. Prerequisite(s): one course in Africana, American studies, English, or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 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.

AMST 299 White Supremacy: An American History

Shaped by early conflicts with native populations and the expansion of African slavery, ideologies of white supremacy have been powerful sociopolitical forces in the making of the United States. At the same time, the concept of “whiteness” has been unstable throughout the nation’s history. It has been challenged by immigration patterns and changing ideas about race, ethnicity, and citizenship. Covering more than three hundred years, this course examines the meaning of whiteness in America and considers the historical and ongoing struggles of those excluded from its privileges. Recommended background: AM/HI 141; HIST 140, 142.

AMST 302 Black Feminist Activist and Intellectual Traditions

This seminar examines the intersections of gender with Black racial and ethnic identities as they have been and are constructed, expressed, and lived throughout the anglophone and francophone African/Black diaspora. The course not only pays special attention to U.S. women and the movements where they lead or participate; but it also devotes substantial consideration to African, Caribbean, Canadian, European, and Australian women of African descent. 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 Black women’s histories; activism; resistance; and cultural, intellectual, and theoretical productions, as well as digital literacy. Prerequisite(s): one course in Africana, American studies, or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 304 Decolonization

This course mines the topic of justice while explicitly focusing on the concept of decolonization. In doing so, it identifies various iterations of coloniality, such as colonialism, settler colonialism, and postcolonialism. It traces decolonial sentiment through previous anti-colonial and anti-imperial movements. It then examines the multiple conceptualizations of decoloniality that are determined to sever colonial ties. In doing so, the course allows students to envision decolonial futures.

AMST 305 Art, Power, and Politics

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. Prerequisite(s): one course in Africana, American studies, anthropology, art and visual culture, or gender and sexuality studies.

AMST 308 Black Resistance from the Civil War to Civil Rights

From antebellum slavery through twentieth-century struggles for civil rights, black Americans have resisted political violence, economic marginalization, and second-class citizenship using strategies ranging from respectability to radicalism. Engaging with both historical and modern scholarship, literary sources, and other primary documents, this course explores the diverse tactics and ideologies of these resistance movements. By considering the complexities and contradictions of black resistance in American history and conducting source-based research, students develop a deep understanding of the black freedom struggle and reflect on the ways that these legacies continue to shape present-day struggles for racial justice.

AMST 340 Inquiry and Knowledge as Social Justice: Indigenous and Decolonizing Frameworks

American studies offers reflexive and critical analysis of the world around us, particularly in a broadly defined context of “America.” This Indigenous studies course focuses on decolonizing knowledge, knowledge production, and unsettling the dominant structures that define research, process, and outcomes. Employing Indigneous-queer frameworks, this course develops students’ understanding and application of research as a critical, Indigenous, and anti-oppressive undertaking accessible to a range of interdisciplinary inquiry. Recommended background: AM/AN 222. Only open to juniors and seniors.

AMST 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.

AMST 354 Bodies of Land: The Creation of Indigeneity in Film

This course explores the representation and roles of Indigenous peoples in film, the creation and maintenance of the settler-colonial imagination, the inseparable links between Indigneous bodies and land, and the roles of environment and landscape. This is an Indigenous studies course, centering Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous interests, perspectives, and identities. The course relies on various genres of films; “classics,” independent, Hollywood blockbuster, and documentary, created by a range of filmmakers from various backgrounds and identities. Students become well-versed in the topic and impacts of settler-colonialism, develop critical thinking, and explore methods of analysis that will allow them to apply methodological skills related to film review, analysis, and writing.

AMST 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.

AMST 372 Racial and Ethnic Identity Development

This course is designed to develop students’ understanding of how individuals from different backgrounds come to define themselves in terms of race or ethnicity. Students explore theories that explain how racial/ethnic identity develops among individuals from Caucasian, African American, Asian, Hispanic, immigrant, and mixed-race backgrounds. They also consider the role that others play in the identity development process and how identity relates to important life outcomes. As a final project, students are given the opportunity to analyze their own experience by applying course material to their own life through the creation of an autobiography. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level psychology course.

AMST 377 Psychology of Oppression and Liberation

This course examines how psychology continues to uphold the interests of those in power (e.g., ruling/owning class), thus reproducing systems of oppressions (e.g., white supremacy). The course also explores how psychology might be transformed in order to realize people’s liberatory potential. Topics include the ways that psychology has been dehumanized (as Martín-Baró says, psychology “erases the very real thing of life that make up what we are as human beings”); how to embed human experiences within the historical, sociopolitical, and economic context; and how to place psychology in the service of human liberation, especially for those who have hitherto been ignored or relegated to the margins of consideration. Recommended background: PSYC 261 or 262. Only open to juniors and seniors

AMST 382 Latinx Film

This course introduces students to the field of Latinx studies through the lens of Latinx representations in United States film. By analyzing various films that feature Latinx characters, actors, and stories, students learn about the diversity of the Latinx population in the United States and develop an understanding of the key sociopolitical issues Latinx individuals face. Through the medium of film, themes such as immigration, gender, ethnicity and race, and the policing of Brown bodies gives students a more nuanced understanding of the largest growing minority population in the United States while also providing them the terms and skills necessary for audiovisual analysis. Taught in English. Cross-listed in American studies, Hispanic studies, and Latin American and Latinx studies. Only open to juniors and seniors. Recommended background: AM/AN 207, AMST 200, HISP 228, LL/PT 208, or RFSS 120.

AMST 395J 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 100-level English course or one American studies course.

AMST 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 AMST 457 in the fall semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both AMST 457 and 458.

AMST 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 AMST 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both AMST 457 and 458.

AMST S23 The Revolutionary Era from the Bottom Up: A Social History of the American Revolution

Patriotic narratives associated with the birth of the republic are deeply ingrained within the American political identity. Recently, the hit Broadway musical Hamilton brought the production’s namesake and the familiar cast of Founding Fathers back to the center stage of American pop culture. The contributions of political elites merit popular and scholarly attention, of course, but should we also consider the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of those outside centers of formal political power? This course asks students to examine the ways African Americans, Native Americans, women, loyalists, common farmers, and urban artisans experienced and contributed to the Revolutionary era.

AMST 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.

FYS 475 Theorizing the Ku Klux Klan: The White Power Movement and the Making of “America”

This multidisciplinary course explores the origins and iterations of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the United States from 1866 to the present. In so doing, the course makes larger claims about the core relationship between the white power movement and the making of “America.” Drawing on the concepts, paradigms, and intellectual traditions of American cultural studies and Black studies, students consider the shifting narratives, contested ideologies, and the regional and temporal convergences and divergences of the KKK from its violent founding to our contemporary moment. Students learn how to theorize the KKK through frameworks that prioritize the concepts of racialization, patriarchy, cultural hegemony, resistance, citizenship, and counterrevolution.