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AMERICAN STUDIES GRADUATE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS - SPRING 2014

 

509.003 - Chicano-a Movement     W     4:00 – 6:30     ORTG 221     Vasquez

This course is offered with AMST 309.003

This course examines the Chicano Movement beyond the 1960s Civil Rights Era, exploring the precursors to the political movement as well as the legacies of the Chicana/o movement and its effect on society and academia.

 

 

510.001 - Marxism and Cultural Interpretation     T     2:30 – 5:00     HUM 424     Trujillo

This course explores the development of Western Marxism and Marxist cultural interpretation through the reading of key Marxist and post-Marxist texts. We critically entertain the questions “What relevance does Marxist cultural critique hold for current scholarship?” and “Was Marx right?” Course readings will illustrate Marxist understandings of capitalism and modernity as well as Marxist perspectives on cultural production, domination/resistance, and aesthetic experience. In the second half of the course, discussion will increasingly focus on works that contest, reveal the limitations of, or seek to expand Marxist thought. Readings will include selections from Marx, Gramsci, the Frankfurt School, and British and American Cultural Studies.

 

 

520.001 - Marxism & Nature     W     10:00 – 12:30     HUM 424     Correia

This class begins with Marx and moves out into path-breaking interdisciplinary work in Marxist nature-society theory and method. The various texts for the course have been selected because of the way they draw on Marxist social theory and innovative methods to examine nature (broadly conceived) as a contested site of social struggle. In particular, the course will focus on the broad acceptance and extension of capitalist social relations in contemporary society to show how, as these texts demonstrate, nature has been remade in the image of capital: nature as an assemblage of commodities with broad consequences, experienced unevenly, for human and non-human life. The class will begin by examining the origins of the contemporary mode of capitalist social relations in contemporary society (the nature of capitalism) as a way to consider how these relations have given rise to particular kinds of political subjectivities and forms of resistance in ways that obscure the violence upon which they rely. The last two-thirds of the course will take up the question of nature and its representation in capitalism. What becomes nature and what becomes of nature when it is understood as a commodity that operates within a private property regime and circulates in a global capitalist market in which value arises only through exchange.

 

 

550.001 - Comparative Racialization: Blackness, Indigeneity, and Latinidad     R     2:00 – 4:30

HUM 424     Tiongson

This graduate seminar is a critical engagement with the burgeoning literature on comparative racialization. It explores what it means for scholars to engage in this kind of work through a critical consideration of select bodies writing: U.S. imperial subjectivities and legacies, Afro-Indigenous encounters, Afro-Asian encounters, interracial exchanges in popular culture, and the politics of interracial solidarity in social movements. Notwithstanding the valorization of comparative scholarship, however, the broader implications of this kind of work remains undertheorized and unproblematized. Rather, it has given rise to a set of questions concerning the contours and trajectory of comparative scholarship that has yet to be adequately addressed and rigorously explored, questions that drive and inform this course. What does it mean to engage in a comparative analysis of race? What are the underlying assumptions of this kind of work? Why has comparative analysis of race come to be held as exemplary? What is to be gained precisely by engaging in this kind of work? What is to be gained precisely by going beyond it? What are the stakes—theoretical, political, and methodological—in engaging in the comparative analysis of race? The course aims to delineate the grounding assumptions and foundational narratives of this emergent body of literature. At the same time, it aims to delineate the inherent complications and challenges of so-called comparative work but also to begin to articulate points of departure for a critical comparative race studies approach.

 

 

556.001 - Indigenous Feminisms     M     4:00 – 6:30     MITCH 221     Denetdale

This course is offered with AMST 356.001

This course introduces students to the study Native nations, gender, and feminisms. We will take three case studies, explore how Native women have been represented in discursive practices and reframe through the lens of critical Indigenous feminisms and queer Indigenous Studies. Through these case studies, students will become familiar with the development of Indigenous feminisms and queer studies and put them into conversation with the interdisciplinary frameworks of American Studies. Our examination takes us beyond the U.S. border to make comparisons with the experiences of Indigenous women and queer people who live in other settler nations in order to map trajectories of histories, the impacts of colonialisms, and the calls for decolonization.

 

 

557.003 - Race and Speculation     T     4:00 – 6:30     MITCH 121     Smalls

This course is offered with AMST 357.003

This course will be a survey of the intersection of the categories of race, specifically, blackness, and speculation, or racial categories as speculation. Using Afrofuturism, psychoanalysis, science fiction, literature, popular culture, film and music, we will explore what we mean when we talk about race and speculation. How is the category of race itself a speculation? What do we speculate based on what and who we see, how we hear? How do artists, writers, musicians, inventories speculate about race? We will, of course, put pressure on these categories, to investigate the ways we have been taught to think about race and speculative fiction as fixed categories, rather than as dialogical positions that move with and over time. We will use theories of Afrofuturism, speculative fiction, and psychoanalysis as organizing tools from which we may diverge, but nevertheless, give us some theoretical grounding.

 

Most of our readings, viewings, listenings and other sensory interactions will focus on human/hybrid/animal bodies, embodiment and disembodiment, as well as other body-related issues: sexual desire, illness, cleanliness, texture, taste, and smell. We will also investigate why race is still understood in terms of the polarity of black and white; ways to think about gender beyond a binary system; and the ways that speculation, rumor, and stereotypes shape our perception of our lives and world.

 

 

560.002 - Religion in the American West     TR     12:30 – 1:45     ORTG 115     Holscher

Arts & Sciences group: Humanities

This course is offered with AMST 360.004.

This course takes as its focus the religious people and practices that have populated the western extremities of the present-day United States from the eighteenth century through today. Our approach to the study will be framed by two imagined concepts that both historians and Americans generally often draw upon to understand this particular geography – that of “the West” and that of “the frontier.” In the course, we will spend time learning about the various peoples – Latinos, Native Americans and Anglos among them – that emerged as players in the Western experience. We will examine how each group developed religious ideas and practices in relation to the distinct landscape (both geographic and ideological) on which it found itself. The course will highlight the range of religious encounters between these cultures, both along the shifting political borders between the U.S. and Mexico, and between the U.S. and various Native American tribes, and we'll consider how religion and region play into how race is imagined and negotiated by the parties involves. We will also consider religious communities like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) – for whom the imagined Western frontier, and members’ actual, lived experiences thereon, played central roles in the formation of collective religious identity. In addition, we will consider non-denominational American interpretations of the West as intimately tied to the religious destiny of the entire nation. Finally, the course will orient itself around a set of questions, about the dynamic processes that constitute religious life on borders and frontiers, about the consequences of settling upon a religiously mapped landscape, and about the challenges historians face in telling the story of a territory that is contested, especially when religion lies at the center of those contests.

 

 

600.001 - Research Methods     T     10:00 – 12:30     HUM 424     Goldstein

This seminar critically examines the methods and means by which scholars conduct research and make arguments, focusing on how the conditions of possibility for scholarship are shaped by institutional and disciplinary conventions and the political economy of knowledge and interpretation. The course is comprised of three primary components: an introduction to the practices of research (writing research and funding proposals, preparing IRB applications, the organization and protocols of archival research, the promise and problematic of ethnography, etc.); a broad array of readings that facilitate our inquiry into methodology; guest presentations by UNM faculty working in a range of (inter)disciplines. Readings include texts by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, María Josefina Saldaña‑Portillo, Tiya Miles, David Kazanjian, Christina Hanhardt, Chandan Reddy, Melinda Cooper, Jodi Byrd, and Grace Kyungwon Hong.

 

 

 


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