Spring 2011 Courses

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AMST 375  Food in American Culture
TR 11:00-12:15
Danille Christensen (NA)

This course examines the cultural history and meaning of food in America.  We will explore how food shapes national, regional, and personal identity.  We will consider how region, gender, ethnicity, class, race, religion, the media, global politics, and corporate America affect the food we eat.  We will discuss food as both a source of healing and a source of conflict, and the ways in which it impacts community, from the American family to the “national family.”  Students will examine a variety of sources including cook books, recipes, journalism, film, literature, art, photography, and artifacts to develop an understanding of food in American culture.

FOLK/ANTH/LING 484  Discourse and Dialogue
TR 11:00-12:15
Patricia Sawin (sawin@unc.edu)

Complex communication is a defining capacity of human beings and a crucial factor in the creation and maintenance of human societies. Effective communication requires not only a shared language, but also a shared set of social conventions about how to speak—who may talk to whom, what styles are appropriate for what occasions, what forms recognizably accomplish the various things speaking is supposed to get done, etc., which differ among social groups just as much as do languages themselves. Additionally, in the course of employing the discursive resources they inherit, speakers inevitably make their own contributions, transforming the patterns they transmit. The study of discourse consequently provides a window into the micro-level workings of social change and into the ways that individuals and groups negotiate and regenerate their identities through communication with present and anticipated interlocutors.  The course revolves around two projects in which students record, edit, and analyze examples of spontaneous live speech and share conclusions with the class.  Fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science, U.S. Diversity, and Communication Intensive requirements.

AMST 499.001  Documentary Expression and the Sacred South
W 3:30-5:50
Tom Rankin (Lehman-Brady Professor, Director of the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke)

A course that explores the intersections of sacred traditions and documentary expression in the American South, investigating ways in which writers, photographers, filmmakers, ethnographers, visual artisits, among others, have responded to and portrayed individual and community faith, belief, and sacred space.  The course will look at depictions and resonanaces that come from outside as well as inside the region and particular southern communities.

FOLK 550  Introduction to Material Culture
TR 3:30-4:45
Danille Christensen (NA)

Why (and to whom?) are objects meaningful?  Material things—houses, pottery, grave markers—can provide historical insight into the rhythms and concerns of daily life in the past. But they’re also lenses for understanding people’s values in the present. Yardscapes, clothing, state fair entries, embellished automobiles, home décor, ritual meals, DIY projects, laundry lines—all communicate assumptions, preferences, and goals, and they help direct the course of our habits and interactions.  Combining scholarly arguments with first-hand field research, in F550 you’ll investigate material things as historical records, as shapers of human behavior, and as forms of cultural expression. Open to students at all levels; no previous experience necessary. Fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts requirement.

FOLK 560  Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition
TR 8:00-9:15
William R. Ferris
(wferris@unc.edu)

(additional meeting for graduate students, T 9:30-10:30)
This seminar considers how Southern writers employ folklore genres such as folktales, sermons, and music and how such genres provide structure for literary forms like the novel and the short story.

FOLK 860  Art of Ethnography
TR 12:30-1:45

Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)

A field-based exploration of the pragmatic, ethical, and theoretical dimensions of ethnographic research, addressing issues of experience, aesthetics, authority, and worldview through the lens of cultural encounter. Field research required.  Open to graduate students only.

MUSC 144  Introduction to Country Music
TR 9:30-10:45
Jocelyn Neal (jneal@email.unc.edu)

A survey and investigation of country music from 1920 to the present. Music of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, and others.