Spring 2013 Courses

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AMST 211: Approaches to Southern Studies: The Literary and Cultural Worlds of the American South
Jocelyn Neal and Tim Marr (jneal@email.unc.edu;
MW 1:00 – 1:50

Sections: 601, 602, 603, 604 (all F 1:00 – 1:50)

An examination of Southern cultural identity, literary imagination, and sense of place with an emphasis on the fiction, folklore, foodways, art, architecture, music, and material culture of the American South.

AMST 266: The Folk Revival: The Singing Left in Mid-20th-Century America
Robert Cantwell (
MWR 2:00 – 2:50

Emphasizing cultural stratification, political dissent, and commercialization in American youth and popular movements, this course will map the evolving political and cultural landscape of mid-20th-century America through the lens of the Folk Revival, from its origins in various regionalist, nativist, and socialist traditions of the 1920s to its alliance with the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.

AMST 275: Documenting Communities/ FOLK 490 Topics in Folklore: American Communities and Cultures: A Photographic Approach
Bill Bamberger
T 6:00-8:50

This is a documentary fieldwork class in which each student selects a community to come to know and photograph during the course of the semester.  Community is broadly defined as a place where people come together in a meaningful way.  In previous classes students have photographed unusual kinds of communities or cultural gathering places like shopping malls, airports and cemeteries.  Others have explored the social landscape and American culture with topics like patriotism and the American flag or graffiti art in the South.  The class meets once a week and is divided into two parts: students sharing their evolving projects and slide discussions about the work of renowned documentary photographers.

Students must have Adobe Photoshop CS5 and access to a DSLR camera or similar.  Instructor permission required.

AMST 375: Food in American Culture
Marcie Cohen Ferris
TR 9:30 – 10:45

This course examines the history and meaning of food in American culture, and explores the ways in which food shapes national, regional, and personal identity.

AMST 390: Seminar in American Studies: Life and Work in Appalachia
Katherine Roberts
TR 2:00 – 3:15

This seminar explores everyday practices—past and present— of people living and working in the geo-cultural region known as Appalachia. Through historical, theoretical and thematic readings, we will cover such topics as recreation, education, land tenure, foodways, natural resource extraction, and industrial and post-industrial work.  The course will consist of lectures and discussion led by the instructor and by students, regular reading responses, a seminar paper, and a final exam.

AMST 482: Images of the American Landscape
Katherine Roberts
TR 9:30 -10: 45

This course invites students to think critically about landscape as a concept and as a physical reality.   The class will explore where the concept of landscape originates for us in a Western context and how this concept informs the way many of us understand our physical environment.  The way we perceive the landscape influences everyday choices, such as where to live, where to travel, and what to look at.   We will also engage with physical landscapes in our midst, such as the university campus, the farm, the factory, the town, the neighborhood, and the front yard.  We will explore what landscapes such as these tell us about human life and work through time.  Ultimately, students will attune themselves to the complexity of American landscapes in this course and learn the empirical and analytical skills to investigate their meaning in a larger socio-cultural context. The course will consist of weekly readings, class discussion led by the instructor and the students, several field trips, a semester field project, and a final exam.

AMST 488/FOLK 488: No Place Like Home: Material Culture of the American South
Marcie Cohen Ferris
TR 12:30 – 1:45

This seminar will explore the unique worlds of Southern material culture and how “artifacts” from barns to biscuits provide insight about the changing social and cultural history of the American South.

AMST 490: Writing Material Culture
Bernie Herman
W 3:00 – 5:50

A reading seminar that examines multiple critical perspectives that shape the reception and interpretation of objects, with a particular emphasis on things in American life.

AMST 499/ FOLK 690: Fieldwork and Documentary Writing
Sam Stepehnson, Lehman Brady Visitng Professor
W 3:00-5:30

Fieldwork and Documentary Writing concerns literary nonfiction writing based on oral history interviews and field observations gained from living and working in various human and natural environments, both foreign and familiar, extraordinary and ordinary, on the other side of the world and in your backyard.  Readings will be by writers of historical significance such as James Agee, Zora Neale Hurston, Annie Dillard, and Ryszard Kapuscinski, along with contemporary forerunners such as John Jeremiah Sullivan, David Foster Wallace, and Joan Didion.  Students will absorb these works and then write their own documentary pieces.

ANTH   77: First-Year Seminar: Windows of Mystery and Wonder: Exploring Self-Taught Art
Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)
TR 9:30 – 10:45

Folk, “outsider,” visionary — these terms invoke artistry that unfolds outside of mainstream artistic traditions. This seminar explores these worlds of self-taught art, addressing issues of inspiration, “authenticity,” and cultural (mis)representation.

FOLK 560 Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition
William R. Ferris
TR 8:00 – 9:15

(Graduate students also meet 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 The Art of Ethnography
Glenn Hinson
TR 12:30-1:45

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.