Expand the course offereings below to learn more about the class schedule, theme, cross listing, and major requirements.
American Studies Courses
AMST 1060 - 001 - Aftermath of Slavery at UVA
MW 02:00PM-03:15PM | MON 110
Kirt Von Daacke & Ashley Schmidt
This course examines the post-1865 history at UVA and in the region, recovering the experiences of African Americans in building community in the face of racism, and also contextualizing those experiences within U.S. history. The course situates that local history in political and cultural context, tracing the advent of emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, desegregation, civil rights change, and even twenty-first century racism and inequality.
AMST 2321 - 001 - Latinx Fiction and Film
TR 02:00PM-03:15PM | WIL 238
This course explores the diverse and also converging experiences of Latinos in the US. We will read contemporary novels and poetry by Latinx authors from different Latinx groups (Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American and South American). We will discuss reasons for migration, concepts of the "border" and the impact of bilingualism on group identity. We will view films that depict the Latinx experience in the US.
AMST 2422 - 001 - Point of View Journalism
TR 12:30PM-01:45PM | CAB 309
This course analyzes 'point-of-view' journalism as a controversial but credible alternative to the dominant model of ''objectivity' in the U.S. news media. It will survey point-of-view journalists from Benjamin Franklin to the modern blog.
Cross listed with ENGL 2910-001
AMST 2559 - 002 - New Course: Nonviolence in America: From “Civil Disobedience” to Civil Rights
TR 11:00AM-12:15PM | SHN 109
Has nonviolence worked in America? How did African Americans come to embrace nonviolence in their quest for justice during the civil rights movement? Is nonviolence entirely peaceful, or does it necessarily rely on some sort of force? What are the diverse religious roots of American nonviolence? How does nonviolence in America differ from nonviolence in other contexts? We will pursue these questions (and more) by tracing the development of overtly political nonviolence in the United States, culminating in the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.
We will start by finding the roots of modern American nonviolence in the New Testament and in the abolition and anti-slavery movements of the Civil War Era. We will see women before, during, and after World War I make the first major trial of nonviolence in the United States in their successful campaign for the right to vote. With the goal of understanding how Christianity and Hinduism acted on each other to shape American nonviolence, we will see how Jesus (and Thoreau) influenced Gandhi, who in turn was to inspire and inform the Christian nonviolence of King and other civil rights leaders. After watching it sink to its nadir during World War II, we will watch (literally, on film, as well as figuratively, in print) nonviolence again rise to national and international prominence after 1955, when African Americans in the South used it to help wrest their civil and political rights from the grip of white supremacy and segregation. We will close with a look at nonviolence “today” (including recent history).
AMST 2559 - 003 - New Course: Politics Memory & Resistance
TR 11:00AM-12:15PM | MRY 113
This course considers how activists and scholars construct memory as essential to politics, either as a medium for public healing, re-activating identities, or demanding structural change. By reflecting on memory in social movements, public memorialization and art, and institution-building, the class will explore how invocations of the past offer new perspectives on political struggles for freedom and equality
AMST 2660 - 100 - Spirituality in America
MW 02:00PM-02:50PM | MRY 209
What does "spiritual but not religious" mean, and why has it become such a pervasive self-description in contemporary America? This interdisciplinary course surveys spirituality in America, with a particular eye for the relationship between spirituality and formal religion, on the one hand, and secular modes of understanding the self, such as psychology, on the other.
Cross listed with RELG 2660-100
AMST 3180 - 100 - Intro to Asian Amer Studies
MW 10:00AM-10:50AM | MON 134
An interdisciplinary introduction to the culture and history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America. Examines ethnic communities such as Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Asian Indian, and Native Hawaiian, through themes such as immigration, labor, cultural production, war, assimilation, and politics. Texts are drawn from genres such as legal cases, short fiction, musicals, documentaries, visual art, and drama.
Cross listed with ENGL 3740-100 and EAST 5180-001
AMST 3222 - 001 - Hands-On Public History II: Reconstruction, the Black Church, and the Black Press
T 03:30PM-06:00PM | BRN 235
This course investigates how the history of slavery and Reconstruction in central Virginia are presented to the public at historic sites, museums, archives, and on digital platforms. In the fall semester, we collaborated with our community partner, One Shared Story, to critique historic sites of enslavement in the Charlottesville area and to produce digital “story maps” that filled in some of the gaps in the public history of slavery in Fluvanna County, Virginia—contributing, in some small way, to a more just and comprehensive public history. This spring we will continue our study of white supremacy by focusing on Reconstruction. In addition to the brutal realities of that historical period we will also focus on three areas of Black achievement and empowerment during that era: politics, religion, and media. We will continue our work with One Shared Story, contributing specifically to two of their initiatives: georeferencing and documenting African American cemeteries at Black churches in central Virginia; and assisting community members conducting genealogical research. This is designed as a year-long course, but you are welcome to join us in the spring as long as you're willing to do a little catching up re: using Ancestry.com, and StoryMaps. You can see the work students have done in previous classes here: https://hoph-2020-f-oss.hub.arcgis.com/.
AMST 3559 - 001 - New Course: The Education of Blacks in America
MW 03:30PM-04:45PM | Online Synchronous
The seminar will introduce the history of education for Black Americans and unpack various events and perspectives in the community to show not only how education influenced their lives, but how they used their institutions as workshops for economic, political and social equity.
AMST 3559 - 002 - New Course: Afro-Caribbean-Latinx History
TR 12:30PM-01:45PM | CAB 594
AMST 3740 - 100 - Cultures of Hip-Hop
TR 03:30PM-04:20PM | CLK 107
This course explores the origins and impacts of American hip-hop as a cultural form in the last forty years, and maps the ways that a local subculture born of an urban underclass has risen to become arguably the dominant form of 21st-century global popular culture. While primarily focused on music, we will also explore how forms such as dance, visual art, film, and literature have influenced and been influenced by hip-hop style and culture.
Cross listed with MDST 3740-001
Theories & Methods of American Studies
AMST 3001 – Theories & Methods of American Studies (2 sections)
This seminar course will introduce majors to various theories and methods for the practice of American Studies. The three goals of the seminars are (1) to make students aware of their own interpretive practices; (2) to equip them with information and conceptual tools they will need for advanced work in American Studies; and (3) to provide them with comparative approaches to the study of various aspects of the United States.
Prerequisites: American Studies Major
001 - MW 02:00PM-03:15PM | CAB 415
Penny Von Eschen
002 - TR 09:30AM-10:45AM | BRN 235
Fourth Year Seminars
AMST 4500 - 001 - Land & Health Native America
TR 02:00PM-03:15PM | CAB 415
AMST 4500 - 002 - Race in American Places
R 05:00PM-07:30PM | CAB 036
Cross listed with ENGL 4580-001
AMST 4500 - 003 - James Baldwin
T 05:00PM-07:30PM | CAB 036
Cross listed with ENGL 4570-001
AMST 4559 - 001 - Race & the Environment
TR 11:00AM-12:15PM | CAB 395
This research seminar explores the significance of American race and ethnicity within environmental humanities, crisis, and activism. Beginning in the mid-20th century, we will consider the emergence of contemporary U.S. environmentalism, and relationships between space, landscape, built environments, and identity formation, belonging, as well as public health, legislation, and sustainability.
Cross listed with ENGL 4570
Distinguished Majors Course
AMST 4999 - 001 - DMP Thesis Seminar
R 04:00PM-06:30PM | BRN 235
This workshop is for American Studies majors who have been admitted to the DMP program. Students will discuss the progress of their own and each other's papers, with particular attention to the research and writing processes. At the instructor's discretion, students will also read key works in the field of American Studies.
Prerequisites: admission to DMP.
AMST 8001 - 001 - Approaches to American Studies
T 03:30PM-06:00PM | CAB 066
This course explores the theory and practice of American cultural studies, a set of intellectual formations that contemplates the contours of interdisciplinarity. It conceives of culture in the broadest way, capturing a more anthropological understanding of the quotidian (rituals, customs, conversations, worldviews), as well as more aesthetic projects of the creative imagination (literature, film, music). Culture’s deep stratification by class, race, gender and sexuality is a special focus as we consider seemingly coherent expressions of the United States.
Any number of materials could be considered under the expansive rubric of American cultural studies, but this particular inquiry begins in the twentieth century to develop a conversation about how the nation has been imagined as bounded within but also overlapping with global modernity. Here we necessarily cast “America” as provisional, contingent, and potentially opening of continental and hemispheric horizons. We will pay attention to how academic fields (Americanist and other) have formed in relation to questions about spatiality, politics, language, canons, social movements, and more. Above all this class seeks to inspire an interpretive practice that can be mobilized for a range of inter/disciplinary projects across the humanities and social sciences. If we consider the meaning of a text to be derived from relationships among production, consumption and circulation, we must closely read historical, social, aesthetic and formalistic aspects together. In so doing, we hope to develop new ways to organize knowledge and get closer to how people live in and express the world.
Readings for the class will range from primary works by W.E.B. DuBois, James Agee and Walker Evans, Jose Martí, and Randolph Bourne, to critical-theoretical texts by Paul Gilroy, Joseph Roach, Kathleen Stewart, Lisa Lowe, George Lipsitz and others. Students will be required to workshop and complete a 15-20 page paper.
Cross listed with ENGL 8570-003
AMST 8570 - 001 - Intro to Southern Studies
M 03:30PM-06:00PM | BRN 334
Grace Hale & Jennifer Greeson
Cross listed with ENGL 8570-001