Courses

Fall 2017

AMS 306               Issues in American Public Health
Leslie Gerwin, Program in Law and Public Affairs

The study of public health is an interdisciplinary inquiry involving issues of politics, policy, history, science, law, philosophy, ethics, geography, sociology, environmental studies, and economics, among others. Students will examine the government's role in assuring and promoting health, through the exploration of issues on America's "public health agenda," such as epidemic response, tobacco use, the impact of weight on health, mandatory vaccination, disease prevention, and violence. In doing so, they will consider the impact of race, income, gender, place and environment, education, capitalism and democracy on health outcomes.

AMS 353 / HIS 455             Sugar: A Commodity History of the United States
Bernadette Pérez, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

Moving from the colonial era to the present, and from the Caribbean to the Midwest and the Pacific, we will place sugar in the history of European colonialism, trans-Atlantic slavery, capitalism, American Empire, and global immigration restrictions. During this period, the United States built a sugar empire that relied upon differentially racialized laborers, who worked under a variety of coercive labor systems. We will explore how the production and consumption of sugar connected diverse people and places in unequal ways, focusing on themes such as labor, migration, race, gender, citizenship, identity, power, resistance, and the land.

AMS 364 / ENV 365          Environmental and Social Crisis
Laurel Mei-Sing, Program in American Studies

In recent years, global public discourse has stressed the urgency of unfolding environmental crisis. The course will start with the premise that a "crisis" marks a moment when a previous set of relations is markedly upset, and when state institutions aim to manage instability and consolidate power. Our entry point will be apocalyptic texts, which are reflections and exaggerations of existing realities. We will ask: What is crisis? Is crisis actually the norm? Then we'll focus on environmental justice, examining how environmentalism intersects with race and class. Third, we will examine capitalist crisis and its articulation with war.

AMS 367               American Noir: Crime Fiction and Film
Lee Clark Mitchell, Department of English
Brian Gingrich, Department of English

A study of the emergence during the high modernist period of two genres that might be considered at once eminently American, distinctively modernist, and brazenly vulgar. The subject matter may be louche, but writers thereby more directly engaged issues of social inequality (racial, sexual, and economic), along with changing images of gender construction. As well they registered the impact of Freudian psychoanalysis on literary form, and in formal terms engaged the belatedness of narrative to event. Such fiction had tremendous appeal for cinema, and we will focus on the ways in which adaptation modified popular formulas.

AMS 390 / HIS 382            American Legal Thought
Hendrik Hartog, Department of History

This course surveys American legal thought and the practices of American lawyers. Along the way, it questions the notion of distinctive "schools," as well as the distinctive legality and the distinctive Americanness of legal thought. It offers an intellectual history of 20th century American law, with an emphasis on core controversies and debates.

AMS 399 / HIS 399             In the Groove: Technology and Music in American History, From Edison to the iPod
Emily Thompson, Department of History

When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, no one, including Edison, knew what to do with the device. Over the next century Americans would engage in an ongoing dialogue with this talking machine, defining and redefining its purpose. This course will track that trajectory, from business tool to scientific instrument to music recorder to musical instrument. By listening to the history of the phonograph, and by examining the desires and experiences of phonograph users, students will perceive more generally the complex relationships that exist between a technology and the people who produce, consume, and transform it.

AAS 380 / AMS 382            Public Policy in the American Racial State
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Department of African American Studies

This course explores how ideas and discourses about race shape how public policy is debated, adopted, and implemented. Black social movements and geopolitical considerations prompted multiple public policy responses to racial discrimination throughout the twentieth century. Despite these policy responses, discrimination persists, raising theoretical concerns about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, political representation, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policymaking and addressing group oppression.

ATL 499 / THR 499 / AMS 499          Who Owns A Song?:  A Theatrical Investigation of Princeton and Slavery     
Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, Princeton Atelier

This course will take the form of an inter-disciplinary, creative investigation of a rarely-discussed chapter of Princeton’s past: the university's history as it relates to the institution of slavery in America. Composer/lyricist Peter Mills ’95 and director Cara Reichel ’96 (founding members of NYC's critically-acclaimed Prospect Theater Company) will guide students in a collaboration to create and present original, short music theater pieces based on the research of the Princeton and Slavery Project.

DAN 312 / AMS 398          FAT
Judith Hamera, Program in Dance, Lewis Center for the Arts

This seminar investigates discourses and politics around the fat body from a performance studies perspective.  How does this “f-word” discipline and regulate bodies in /as public?  How do dancers reveal these politics with special clarity?  How might fat be a liberating counterperformance?  We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, and media texts as key case studies.  Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. Emphasis primarily on the US. Assignments include written work and group performances. No dance experience necessary.

ENG 319 / AMS 322          About Faces: Case Studies in the History of Reading Faces
Monica Huerta, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

What aspects of your identity does your face carry? Why do we form attachments not only to our own face, but to the faces of those we love? This course explores theories about human faces, in terms of race, gender and class, and in relation to animal faces. We consider the ethical hold of the human face alongside the long history of studies--aesthetic, scientific, philosophical--of faces. We will also consider case studies of faces in specific contexts (e.g. in early film, in racial science, as emoji).

ENG 354 / AMS 454 / LAO 354     Latina/o Literary Worlds
Christina A. León, Department of English

Latina/os have long been present in the story of the United States. Yet, contemporary media headlines often report an increasing, and often alarmist, "browning" of America. These headlines often rely upon stereotypes of Latina/os--morphing them into a static and falsely unified identity category. We will examine to Latina/o literature and art to note how such headlines leave out many stories. Looking at Latina/o narratives, we will consider the uniqueness of each piece in relation to place, history, and gender. Attention will be paid to how these aesthetic pieces perform modes of resistance.
 

ENG 379 / AAS 379 / AMS 389      Black Aesthetics: Art, Literature, and Politics in the African Diaspora
Nijah Cunningham, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

This course introduces students to black aesthetics as a historically grounded concept that stages questions of the social, cultural, political and philosophical meaning of blackness. We'll explore various 'flashpoints' during the 20th century where black art serves both as a site of contestation and a platform for interrogating topics of race, gender, sexuality, the body, objecthood, slavery and colonialism. We'll consider how various generations of black artists/intellectuals across the African diaspora turned to the aesthetic realm to imagine new political possibilities and generate different ways of seeing, feeling, sensing, and thinking.

GSS 324 / AMS 324           Science After Feminism
Catherine Clune-Taylor, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

Science is commonly held to be the objective, empirical pursuit of natural facts about the world. In this course, we will consider an array of theoretical, methodological, and substantive challenges that feminism has posed for this account of science, and for the practice of scientific knowledge production. In the course of this survey, we shall engage a number of key questions such as: is science gendered, racialized, ableist or classist? Does the presence or absence of women (and other marginalized individuals) lead to the production of different kinds of scientific knowledge?

GSS 337 / AMS 336 / MTD 302 / THR 347   Gender Crossings in American Musical Theater
Brian Herrera, Program in Theater

This course offers an intensive survey of gender crossings on the American musical theater stage. The course's study of American musicals (in terms of form, content and context) will be anchored in a historical exploration of world theatrical traditions of cross-gender performance. The course will examine multiple modes of cross-gender  erformance, while also considering musicals that stage gender role reversals and those that open questions of gender expression and identity.

GSS 345 / AMS 373           Pleasure, Power and Profit, Race and Sexualities in a Global Era
Anne McClintock, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial,  compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and  pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence.

 HIS 270/AMS 370             Asian American History
Beth Lew-Williams, Department of History

This course introduces students to the multiple and varied experiences of people of Asian heritage in the United States from the 19th century to the present day.  It focuses on three major questions:  (1) What brought Asians to the United States? (2) How did Asian Americans come to be viewed as a race? (3) How does Asian American experience transform our understanding of U.S. history?  Using newspapers, novels, government reports, and films, this course will cover major topics in Asian American history, including Chinese Exclusion, Japanese internment, transnational adoption, and the model minority stereotype.

HIS 402 / AAS 402 / AMS 402    Princeton and Slavery
Martha A. Sandweiss, Department of History

Research seminar focused on Princeton University's historical connections to the institution of slavery. The class will contribute to a website that details this history and assist with the scholarly events related to the public launch of the Princeton and Slavery Project. Class will meet in Mudd Library.

HUM 302 / SLA 302 / GSS 302 / AMS 302     Medical Story-Worlds
Elena Fratto, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Tala Khanmalek, Program in Gender & Sexuality Studies; Program in American Studies

This course examines illness, health, and the body using storytelling as an entry point. Revolutionary experiments and the construction of the "New Soviet Man" in the 1920s connects with disability studies in North-America, exploring how actors negotiate illness and healing, and how storytelling can critique health disparities and their institutionalized roots in patterns of discrimination both in and beyond the U.S. The seminar is highly interactive, featuring guest lecturers from Global Health, the Lewis Center, the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories, and a Theater of the Oppressed group, who will teach a class in their own institutional space.

JDS 304 / AMS 334           Yiddish in America
Jeffrey Shandler, Rutgers University Department of Jewish Studies

This course examines the place of Yiddish in America from the late 19th century to the present and considers the dynamics of the language's significance in modern American Jewish life.  Topics include immigrant Yiddish culture -- press, political activism, theater, music, literature -- at the turn of the 20th century; hybrid Yiddish-English cultural works of the interwar years, American Yiddish responses to the Holocaust; Yiddish in postwar Hasidic and yeshiva communities; and contemporary engagements with Yiddish by performing artists, queer activists, and postmodern intellectuals.  All materials in English.

POL 319 / AMS 391          History of African American Political Thought
Desmond D. Jagmohan, Department of Politics

This course explores central themes and ideas in the history of African American political thought: slavery and freedom, solidarity and sovereignty, exclusion and citizenship, domination and democracy, inequality and equality, rights and respect. Readings will be drawn, primarily, from canonical authors, including Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ralph Ellison, Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an introductory course, which emphasizes both thematic and historical approaches to political theory.

REL 271 / AMS  341          "Cult" Controversies in America
Judith Weisenfeld, Department of Religion; Program in American Studies

In this course we examine a variety of new religious movements that tested the boundaries of acceptable religion at various moments in American history. We pay particular attention to government and media constructions of the religious mainstream and margin, to the politics of labels such as "cult" and "sect," to race, gender, and sexuality within new religions, and to the role of American law in constructing categories and shaping religious expressions. We also consider what draws people to new religions and examine the distinctive beliefs, practices, and social organizations of groups labeled by outsiders as "cults."

REL 377 / AMS 378          Race and Religion in America
Judith Weisenfeld, Department of Religion; Program in American Studies

In this seminar we examine the tangled and shifting relationship between religion and race in American history. In doing so, we explore a broad landscape of racial construction, identity, and experience and consider such topics as American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, race and missions, religion, race, and science, popular culture representations of racialized religion, and religiously-grounded resistance to racial hierarchy.

WWS 385 / AMS 350          Civil Society and Public Policy
Stanley Katz, Lecturer with the rank of Professor in Public and International Affairs

Civil society is the arena of voluntary organizations (churches, social welfare organizations, sporting clubs) and communal activity. Scholars now tell us that such voluntary and cooperative activities create "social capital" -- a stock of mutual trust that forms the glue that holds society together. The course will be devoted to the study of the history of these concepts, and to the analysis of their application to the United States and other societies. This will be an interdisciplinary effort, embracing history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines.