Spring 2012 Courses

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AMST 266 – The Folk Revival: The Singing Left in Mid-20th-Century America (Focus for Spring 2012: Bob Dylan and the Folk Revival)
Robert Cantwell
MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM

For Spring 2012 this course will explore the life and career of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, with particular reference to his emergence in the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, his mid-decade turn to electrically amplified blues-rock instrumentation, and above all to his visionary, prophetic, and often enigmatic songs and much-imitated though inimitable performance style. Syllabus will include, in addition to readings by historian Sean Wilentz, cultural critic Greil Marcus, as well as Bob Dylan himself, several documentary and feature films, including Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home and Todd Hayne’s I’m Not There.

AMST 293 – American Studies Junior Seminar Aesthetic Perspective (Vernacular Poetry)
Danielle Christensen (NA)
TuTh 9:30AM – 10:45AM

Songs, Slams, Slogans: Poetry as Social Force

This course examines a range of poetic forms—playground insults, murdered girl ballads, oral histories, advertising jingles, border corridos, gravestone inscriptions, blues lyrics, slam poetry, sermons—as socially significant forms of popular literacy. Employing methods used by literary critics, linguists, ethnographers, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, historians, and scholars of communication, cultural studies, and performance studies, we’ll look at how and why people manipulate the sound and sense of language in everyday life. How is the poetic impulse employed in order to express personal feelings, but also to commemorate, impress, teach, play, unify, divide, negotiate, document, sell, critique, and change? We’ll explore these questions through lecture, in-class activities, and projects that ask you to apply course concepts. No previous experience with poetry or its analysis is required.

AMST 390 – Seminar in American Studies (Documentary Photography—cross listed with FOLK 690)
William Bamberger (NA)
Tu 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Instructor permission required – email Prof. Bamberger at Bill@BillBamberger.com to explain your interest and request permission to be enrolled.
Theory and practice of documentary photography. Students will complete a documentary photographic study of a community outside the university. Covers the documentary tradition and classic documentary books while emphasizing photographs produced by students in the course. Students must have Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a 35 mm film or digital camera.

ANTH/FOLK 428 – Religion and Anthropology
James Peacock (peacock@unc.edu)
MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

Religion studied anthropologically as a cultural, social, and psychological phenomenon in the works of classical and contemporary social thought.

ANTH/FOLK 429 – Culture and Power in Southeast Asia
Lorraine Aragon (aragon2@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 9:30AM – 10:45AM

The formation and transformation of values, identities, and expressive forms in Southeast Asia in response to forms of power. Emphasis on the impact of colonialism, the nation-state, and globalization.

ANTH/FOLK 470 – Medicine and Anthropology
William Lachiocotte (william_lachicotte@med.unc.edu)
TuTh 3:30PM – 4:45PM

This course examines cultural understandings of health, illness, and medical systems from an anthropological perspective with a special focus on Western medicine.

AMST 482 – Images of the American Landscape
Katherine Roberts (katrober@email.unc.edu)
W 1:00PM – 3:30PM

This course introduces students to the concept of landscape and how it developed in the Western context. We consider how the idea of landscape shapes the way we look at our physical surroundings. The course progresses thematically, covering different analytical perspectives on landscape studies, such as experience (phenomenological approaches), consumption and the geographic gaze. Towards the end of the course, we consider several particular landscapes in light of our theoretical readings: urban, rural and university. We take class fieldtrips to visit and analyze these landscapes together.

AMST 485 – Folk, Self-Taught, Vernacular, and Outsider Arts
Bernard Herman (blherma@email.unc.edu)
Tu 3:30PM – 6:00PM

Folk, vernacular, self-taught and outsider are terms applied to a large amorphous body of aesthetic work that occupies and contests the borderlands of contemporary art.  Our course examines current conversations with this often hotly contested and deeply conflicted field.  Among the several themes we will discuss are anxieties of authenticity, the connoisseurship of dysfunction, creative and critical inscription and erasure, aesthetic and identity transgressions, and the representation of outsiders in popular and documentary media.  The class will visit collections and exhibitions. Among the artists to be discussed are the works of Charles Benefiel, Malcolm Mckesson, Thornton Dial, Sr., Mary Lee Bendolph, Philadelphia Wireman, and James Castle.  Genres addressed include works on paper, artists’ books, quilts and fiber arts, sculpture and constructions, performance pieces, and installations.  An advanced seminar, the course requires an original research paper, formal class presentation and discussion, and continuous class participation.

AMST 488 – No Place like Home: Material Culture of the American South
Marcie Ferris (ferrism@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 3:30PM – 4:45PM

For generations, American Southerners have lived and worked in regionally distinctive worlds, filling these spaces and the landscapes that surround them with tools, furniture, outbuildings, and art inspired by folk, academic, and popular culture. These material settings evoke another time—a pre-industrial South of “shotgun” houses, barns, cast iron skillets, pottery, dulcimers, quilts, and baskets—where the power of place was unmistakable and oral traditions were passed down by families and neighbors. In the contemporary South, these traditional forms of material culture have simultaneously survived, disappeared, and evolved. Newer forms of material culture, including double-wide trailers, the “McMansions” of new urbanist communities and suburbs, banking skyscrapers, NASCAR souvenirs, and nouvelle southern cuisine, have become an integral part of South culture. This course explores the unique worlds of southern material culture and how “artifacts” from portraiture to porches to gain insight about the changing social and cultural history of the American South.

AMST 499 – Advanced Seminar in American Studies – 001 (Women and Folklore)
Elaine Lawless (NA)
W 4:00PM – 6:30PM

This course will examine a wide variety of genres of women’s traditional and expressive cultures—from home altars to girls’ games, narrative traditions (modes, and styles of delivery), to humor and quilting, preaching styles and beliefs. Students will read articles on women’s traditions throughout the semester and will respond to these readings with weekly responses on a Blackboard learning site. Students will also conduct a small fieldwork project on some aspect of women’s expressive culture, interviewing the participants in this culture and writing a paper on their field research by the end of the semester. Open to Juniors, Seniors, and graduate students.

ANTH/FOLK 525 – Culture and Personality
Robert Daniels (ROBERT_DANIELS@unc.edu)
MWF 1:00PM – 1:50PM (Also sign up for required discussion section.)

Systems theory used to conceptualize relationship between cultural patterns and individual minds. Functional, dysfunctional, and therapeutic processes considered. Examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Native America. Lectures, films, recitations.

FOLK 550 – Introduction to Material Culture
Katherine Roberts (katrober@email.unc.edu)
F 1:00PM – 3:30PM

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.

HIST/FOLK 670 – Introduction to Oral History
Jacquelyn Hall (jhall@email.unc.edu)
M 4:00PM – 6:50PM

Introduces students to the uses of interviews in historical research. Questions of ethics, interpretation, and the construction of memory will be explored, and interviewing skills will be developed through fieldwork.

FOLK 690 – Studies In Folklore (Documentary Photography—cross listed with AMST 390)
William Bamberger (NA)
T 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Instructor permission required–email Prof. Bamberger at Bill@BillBamberger.com to explain your interest and request permission to be enrolled.
Theory and practice of documentary photography. Students will complete a documentary photographic study of a community outside the university. Covers the documentary tradition and classic documentary books while emphasizing photographs produced by students in the course. Students must have Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a 35 mm film or digital camera.

FOLK 690 (section 002) – Folklore and Human Rights
Robert Cantwell (rcantwel@email.unc.edu)
M 2:00PM – 4:50PM

This course aims to introduce graduate-level folklore students to Human Rights discourse as an historical, philosophical, and political problem bearing upon folklore as a social field, a research discipline, an ethnographic method, and public practice. Readings will include primary documents, developed theoretical and philosophical statements, as well as work-in-progress on cultural rights. Central to the course will be the “capability” approach to social justice developed by Nobel-prize winning economist Amartya Sen.

Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)
TuTh 12:30PM – 1:45PM

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.

FOLK 993 – Master’s Thesis