Spring 2014 Courses

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MUSC 144: Introduction to Country Music
Dr. Jocelyn Neal (jneal@email.unc.edu)
MWF 11:00am-11:50am

AMST 211: Introduction to the American South: A Cultural Journey
Dr. Bernie Herman and Dr. Marcie Ferris (blherman@email.unc.edu; ferrism@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

In the past, to discuss the South, we would first define the borders of the region, and theorize about what makes the South distinctive.  The “old” map of the South traditionally referred to the eleven states of the former Confederacy, but today, these rigid borders are more fluid.  The South “is found wherever southern culture is found,” existing “as a state of mind both within and beyond its geographical boundaries.”  Beyond the question of what constitutes the South’s borders, a new vision of Southern Studies challenges conventional tropes of southern identity. The “new Southern Studies” considers landmarks of southern identity other than the Civil War, Reconstruction, and barbecue. Rather than the old white and black South, the “new Southern Studies” recognizes the diverse cultures and ethnicities of the South, whose global influences have shaped the region in powerful ways for centuries.

In this gateway course to the study of the American South, students will examine southern cultural identity, recognizing the contributions of all its people, including men and women of American Indian, African, Latino, Asian, and European descent.  Students will consider the region in all its complexity through a multi-disciplinary conversation about the American South that considers art, archaeology, architecture, cultural tourism, ecology, folklife, foodways, geography, history, language, literature, material culture, myth and manners, music, politics, religion, values, and more.  Throughout the semester, students will meet and work with scholars from our university community who study the region from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

Course assignments will expose students to the unsurpassed resources of UNC’s Southern Historical Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, the North Carolina Collection, and the Southern Oral History Program, as well as southern collections at UNC’s Ackland Museum of Art, and other cultural and historical institutions in the region.  Students will be encouraged to explore local cultural “repositories,” to taste the flavors of southern foodways, and to attend regional art happenings, lectures, literary readings, musical performances, and folklife events.

AMST 290: Topics in American Studies – Indigenous Performance and Representation
Dr. Angeline Shaka (ashaka@email.unc.edu)
MW 3:00-4:15pm

This interdisciplinary seminar course examines a broad range of artistic expression among the Indigenous people of the Americas, Canada, and the Pacific. Using specific case studies, we will consider how chosen performance strategies address many current political, cultural, and historical issues relating to understandings of indigeneity today. Our investigations will emphasize the centrality of performance both historically and in the modern world as a means of preserving and asserting Native cultural values in the present-day. Topics will include: performance and traditions in a Postmodern era, defining indigeneity through performing bodies, representations of the indigenous in drama, and Native stereotypes in film. In addition to reading contemporary theory and criticism and performance ethnographies, students will watch films and performances.

AMST 292: Historical Seminar in American Studies – The South in Black and White
Dr. Tim Tyson (NA)
Tuesday 6:15-8:15pm

(Spring 2012 Description) The South in Black and White explores Southern history, politics and culture in the 20th century.  This lecture and discussion course is open to students at Duke, UNC, NCCU, NC State, Durham Tech and the larger community.  We will constitute a kind of front porch on Southern history and culture, where we will join those whom Zora Neale Hurston called “the big picture talkers” and hear their stories.  We meet at the American Tobacco Campus on Tuesday nights in Downtown Durham. There will be live music, poetry, lectures, stories, discussions, oral histories, and dramatic performances.  We will explore a history as rich and complicated, painful and delightful as the South itself. * This course counts for Southern Studies credit in History and Social Sciences.

AMST 338: Native American Novel
Dr. Chris Teuton (teuton@email.unc.edu)
MWF 12:00-12:50pm

At the heart of any Indigenous community you will find its stories. Stories passed on by word of mouth, through expressive art forms, and in writing all respond in creative and adaptive ways to the changing histories, lifeways, and circumstances of Native American peoples. Over the past forty years, the novel has become the single most important genre of Native American storytelling. In this class, we will read a wide variety of many of the best works of contemporary Indigenous novels from inside the territorial boundaries of the United States and Canada. In the course of our reading and discussion, we’ll engage the ideas and contexts these powerful works of literature invite us to consider.

AMST 340: American Indian Art and Material Culture
Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote (tonepahh@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 2:00pm-3:15pm

This course examines American Indian art and material culture through interdisciplinary perspectives.  Throughout the course students will gain a greater understanding of the role that the arts play in the social, cultural, and political life of American Indian peoples.  This course will also explore a number of questions:  What is the relationship between art and American Indian identities?  How have Native artists negotiated various markets and audiences for their works?  Over the course of the term students will read, discuss, and write about a number of objects and texts. In addition to articles and book chapters we will read Native North American Art, by Janet C. Berlo and Ruth B. Phillips, History of the Book in Indian Country by Phillip, No Deal! Indigenous Art and the Politics of Possession, edited by Tressa Berman, Object of Exchange:  Social and Material Transformation in the late Nineteenth Century Northwest Coast, and The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich.

AMST 375: Food in American Culture
Dr. Marcie Ferris (ferrism@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 2:00pm-3:15pm

AMST 375 examines the history and meaning of food in America and how our culinary cultures have shaped national, regional, and personal identity for over five centuries.  To approach the unwieldy, vast history of American foodways, this course highlights selected historical moments, places, and people in the complex narrative of our country’s foodways.  Rather than an encyclopedic overview of cuisine, AMST 375 steps beyond iconic dishes and recipes to examine a cultural conversation found in the historical interactions of Americans across time. Food is also a barometer of contemporary America, where a return to local food and small-scale, heritage agriculture exists alongside industrial farming.  The challenges of our national food system—environmental degradation, sustainable agriculture, food access, and food-related disease—are especially acute in the American South, and have been throughout its history.  We must consider how this history impacts current institutional policy and individual action.    “Food in American Culture” considers the intersection of America’s multi-racial and multi-ethnic populations to explore the meaning of our nation’s ‘cuisine.’ Throughout the semester, students 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.”

AMST 398 – Service Learning in America:  The Arts & Social Change
NOTE: INSTRUCTOR PERMISSION REQUIRED – Email ashackel@unc.edu for details.
Instructor: Dr. Aaron Shackelford, Carolina Performing Arts
W 3:30-6:20

This seminar investigates the history of the arts as instruments of social change in America. Over the course of the semester we will study how artistic engagement enacts change in the culture and politics of the United States, beginning with abolitionist movements of the nineteenth century and continuing to present-day efforts. A large portion of this class will be student engagement in an arts-based service-learning project. All students will maintain a journal and series of critical reflections throughout their project. The student experiences in the community will provide a direct experience of the power – and challenges – of art as a catalyst for social change here in North Carolina.

 As a course which fulfills the Experiential Education requirement, AMST 398 will require individual service-learning placements for a minimum of 30 hours outside of class time. Assistance in finding placements will be provided, and you are encouraged to think deeply about which opportunities will be most beneficial for your interests. If you have an idea for an alternative placement, please speak with me as soon as possible and we will discuss your options. You will be required to return APPLES contracts and placement supervisor contact information will be needed ASAP in the semester. Throughout the semester you will write at least four Critical Incident Reflections. You will also be responsible for leading one class discussion of at least 30 minutes that connects with your service-learning placement.

This course of study can become the basis for 100-300 hours of public service necessary for all Buckley Public Service Scholars participants (see http://ccps.unc.edu/bpss/opportunities/the-arts-in-public-service-fellows/).

AMST 466 – You Are Where You Live: The American House
Dr. Kathy Roberts (katrober@email.unc.edu)
W 3:30-6:20pm

 This course is designed to attune students to the complexities of human shelter.  We will begin our journey by studying the development of several national and regional housing types in the U.S. and the environmental and socio-political factors that contributed to their formation.  From shotguns to ranches to mobile homes and more, we will learn about how domestic forms in the built environment have contributed to American cultural landscapes—past and present.  In addition, we will explore the social use and meaning of housing and examine the strategies people use to create “homes” out of built forms.  Finally, we consider several larger issues associated with housing in the U.S., including affordability, sustainability and gentrification.  By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the built environment as a form of communication, capable of revealing what we value as individuals and communities and as a nation, and to critically evaluate the ways in which housing mediates power relations in the U.S.

ANTH 490: Undergraduate Seminar in Anthropology
Dr. Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)
TuTh 12:30pm-1:45pm

AMST 498: Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Acting Out Black History
Mike Wiley (mlwiley@email.unc.edu)
Th 12:30 – 3:20

This course is taught by visiting professor Mike Wiley, an actor, playwright and director of documentary theater. Teaches students about a powerful, experimental form of storytelling that complicates the relationships between documentary, narrative, past, and present. Students work directly with the professor conducting oral histories and archival research of African American life, including film footage, photographs, newspapers, letters and other sources to produce the raw material of documentary narratives. Professor Wiley and the students then convert this historical oral and archival research into a documentary theater performance. This course will illuminate both historical events and contemporary issues to show how art and scholarship document and change the world. Professor Wiley’s current project is the research and production of a one-person play about James Baldwin, one of America’s greatest writers and a crucial voice of the civil rights movement. Note: this is not an acting class.

ANTH 537: Gender and Performance
Dr. Patricia Sawin (sawin@unc.edu)
TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

In this course we explore the culturally and historically variable ways in which individuals constitute themselves as gendered subjects.  We ground our study in theories of gender as a negotiated discursive accomplishment and as a recursive and malleable performance (rather than as an inherent or natural quality).  Readings suggest the wide range of ways in which people draw upon both unmarked, everyday talk and action and on a variety of aesthetic performance forms—including narrative, pageant, song, dance, and material culture—in order to perform and potentially transform gendered selves.  We further explore the ways in which gender performers, who necessarily rely upon extant expressive resources yet modify them, expand the options available to themselves and others. Each student will undertake their own ethnographic study of gender performance, working with a group or individual with whom they can interact over the course of the semester.

FOLK 560: Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition
Dr. Bill Ferris (wferris@unc.edu)
TuTh 8:00am-9:15am

This course focuses on Southern writers and explores how they use oral traditions in their work.  We will discuss the nature of oral tradition and how its study can provide a methodology for understanding Southern literature.  We will consider how specific folklore genres such as folktales, sermons, and music are used by Southern writers, and we will discuss how such genres provide structure for literary forms such as the novel and the short story.

The seminar begins by exploring the nature of folklore and how its study has been applied to both oral and written literature.  We will then consider examples of oral history and how they capture the southern voice.  We will discuss how nineteenth century slave narratives by Harriet Ann Jacobs and Frederick Douglass and works by Tennessee Williams and Mark Twain deal with local color and black and white southern voices.  After these readings, we will consider a rich selection of twentieth century Southern writers and discuss how they use folklore in their work.

FOLK 860/ANTH 860. The Art of Ethnography
Dr. Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)
TuTh 9:30am-10:45am

To many, the combination of the terms “art”—with its implications of creativity and aesthetic engagement—and “ethnography”—the practice of engaged community study, with the end of deeper cultural understanding—might seem a bit odd.  But this layering speaks rather pointedly to the ways we’ll approach ethnography in this graduate seminar, treating it as more than mere process and skill, and as more than just research and writing.  Ethnography—as a process based in conversation and the search for shared understanding—is inherently creative. It’s always a “making,” an enacting that begins with conversations in the “field,” moves into domains of intimate sharing and mutual realization, and eventually finds voice in various forms of artful representation.  All these realms of enactment involve a host of choices that ethnographers and their consultants creatively make throughout the course of their engagement.  In the field, these choices encompass such matters as with whom to speak; how to present oneself in that speaking; how and with whom to craft bonds of collaboration; how to offer oneself as student, friend, and colleague; how to enact an ethic of caring and equity; and how to measure one’s emergent understanding.  In crafting the representation, choices involve what to include and what to leave out; when to give voice to consultants and when to speak for self; how to frame and how to order and how to story.  In these arenas of dialogue and subjective choice lies the art in ethnography.

This seminar invites students to journey from the classroom to the community to practice this art and to investigate the complexities of community meaning.  Over the course of the semester, we will both explore various fieldwork techniques and wrestle with the entanglements of ethnographic representation.  Since the only way to “learn” how to “do” this is to actually enter the field, we will each be planning, conducting, and reporting on a semester-long field project; in so doing, we’ll craft collaborative partnerships with both our consultants in the community and our peers in the classroom.