American Cultural Studies
Professors Taylor (English), Creighton (History; chair), Bruce (Religion), and Carnegie (Anthropology); Associate Professors Nero (Rhetoric), Fra-Molinero (Spanish), Jensen (History), McClendon (African American Studies and American Cultural Studies), Houchins (African American Studies), and Aburto Guzmán (Spanish)
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).
Note that unless otherwise specified, when a department/program references a course or unit in the department/program, it includes courses and units cross-listed with the department/program.
The major in American cultural studies requires ten courses in addition to a senior thesis. There are three required courses: an introduction to African American history or African American studies; a course introducing interdisciplinary methods of analysis; and a course centering on community fieldwork. Seven courses are to be chosen from the list below. They should include advanced courses at the 200 and 300 hundred 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
There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option within 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/WS 266. Gender, Race, and Science.
AA/HI 390E. African Slavery in the Americas.
AA/RH 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
AA/EN 395Z. African American Literature and the Bible.
AA/AV s20. Religious Arts of the African Diaspora.
AA/AN s28. Cultural Production and Social Context, Jamaica.
ANTH 101. Social Anthropology.
AN/RE 234. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
ANTH 322. First Encounters: European "Discovery" and North American Indians.
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 s24. Service-Learning in the Local Community.
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.
CMS 285. Democracies and Crisis: Athens and America.
DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History.
DANC s29A. Dance as a Collaborative Art I.
DANC s29B. Dance as a Collaborative Art II.
DANC 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.
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 395B. Dissenting Traditions in Twentieth-Century American Literature.
ENG 395C. Frost, Williams, and Stevens.
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.
FYS 177. Sex and Sexualities.
FYS 234. The U.S. Relocation Camps in World War II.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden
FYS 295. American Musicals on Film.
FYS 299. Contemporary American Poetry.
FYS 301. Border Crossings: Latino Self-Identity and Narrative.
FYS 304. Visions of the Past: Political Film and Historical Narrative.
FYS 305. Corporal Culture: Body and Health in America.
FYS 313. Whitelands: Cinematic Nightmares.
FYS 328. Borderland: The American Suburb.
FYS 332. A Raisin in the Sun.
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 220. From Goldwater to Gingrich: American Political Conservatism.
HIST 241. The Age of the American Revolution, 1763–1789.
HIST 244. Native American History.
HIST 249. Colonial North America.
HI/WS 252. A Woman's Place: Gender and Geography in the United States, 1800–2000.
HIST 261. American Protest in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 265. Wartime Dissent in Modern America.
HI/WS 267. Blood, Genes, and American Culture.
HIST 271. The United States in Vietnam, 1945–1975.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HIST 290. Gender and the Civil War.
HIST 390B. Race and the History of U.S. Women's Movements.
HIST 390F. The American West.
HIST 390H. The Mexican Revolution.
HIST 390P. Prelude to the Civil Rights Movement.
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 s21. Writing a Black Environment.
INDS s25. Black Terror.
MUS 247. Jazz and Blues: History and Practice.
MUS 254. Music and Drama.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
PLTC 118. Law and Politics.
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 349. Indigenous Movements in Latin America.
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 s24. Religion and the City.
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 390. Contemporary Rhetoric.
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
SOC 270. Sociology of Gender.
SOC 395B. Beliefs about Social Inequality.
SOC 395I. Gender and Family.
SPAN 215. Readings in Spanish American Literature.
SPAN 225. Diaspora: Identity and Culture.
SPAN 245. Social Justice in Hispanic Literature.
SPAN 247. Latin American Travel Fiction.
SPAN 248. Encuentros y confrontaciones: representaciones de otreadad
SPAN 250. The Latin American Short Story.
SPAN 342. Hybrid Cultures: Latin American Intersections.
SPAN 343. Contemporary Latin American Literature.
SPAN s35. Muralsimos: Movimientos en practica
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. M. Bruce.
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. J. McClendon.
INDS 215. African American Culture through Sports.Sports in African American life have served in a variety of ways to offer a means for social, economic, cultural, and even political advancement. This unit examines how sports have historically formed and contemporaneously shape the contours of African American culture. Particular attention is given to such questions as the ethical dimension of segregation, the locus of gender equity, cultural images, and their political effects for African American athletes and the African American community. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for Interdisciplinary Studies s18. Enrollment limited to 30. Offered with varying frequency. J. McClendon.
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. Besides 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.
INDS 240. Theory and Method in African American Studies.This course addresses the relationship between political culture and cultural politics within African American studies. Particular attention is paid to the contending theories of cultural criticism. Cornel West, Molefi Asante, Patricia Hill Collins, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Maramba Ani, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. are some of the theorists under review. Recommended background: African American Studies/American Cultural Studies 119 or significant work in politics, American cultural studies, or African American studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for American Cultural Studies 240 or Political Science 240. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 50. Offered with varying frequency. J. McClendon.
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 Neueva 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.
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.
INDS 339. Africana Thought and Practice.This seminar examines in depth a broad range of black thought. Students consider the various philosophical problems and the theoretical issues and practical solutions offered by such scholar/activists as W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Claudia Jones, C. L. R. James, Leopold Senghor, Amilcar Cabrah, Charlotta Bass, Lucy Parsons, Walter Rodney, and Frantz Fanon. Recommended background: a course on the Africana world, or a course in philosophy or political theory. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 15. Offered with varying frequency. J. McClendon.
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/SP 363. Poetry, Exile, and the U.S.A.Two books of poetry, Versos libres and Ismaelillo, by José Martí, considered milestones in the foundation of the Hispanic Modernismo, were written by the Cuban poet in the United States in 1882. This could be a disturbing coincidence considering Martí's "americanismo" and his sharp image of the United States as a historical symbol. This course explores the varied and problematic ways Spanish and Latin American poets living in the United States in the twentieth century created an image of the United States through poetry. The course focuses on works by the Spanish poets Juan Ramón Jiménez, García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, Pedro Salinas, and Jorge Guillén, and Latin American poets Xavier Villaurrutia, Ernesto Cardenal, Enrique Lihn, and Heberto Padilla. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level literature course in Spanish. O. Torres Duque.
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. Normally offered every year. D. Scobey.
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. 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. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Short Term Courses
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. Normally offered every year. Staff.
INDS s18. African American Culture through Sports.Sports in African American life have served in a variety of ways to offer a means for social, economic, cultural, and even political advancement. This unit examines how sports have historically formed and contemporaneously shape the contours of African American culture. Particular attention is given to such questions as segregation, gender equity, cultural images, and their political effects for African American athletes and the black community. In addition to the required and recommended readings, lectures, and discussions, videos and films are central to the teaching and learning process. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for Interdisciplinary Studies 215. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. Offered with varying frequency. J. McClendon.
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.