American Studies home page

Fall 2015


Course descriptions for FALL 2015

Complete list of Fall 2015 AMST courses available here

Courses are subject to change; last updated 3/10/15.

AMST 150 (FGB) » America and the World

Instructor: Jeffrey Tripp

Course Description: This course examines formations of “America” in a global context, beginning with its emergence as a European colonial outpost imposed on indigenous peoples, to its emergence as an imperial and military power in the modern era. We will survey major world-historical events in which the U.S. has played key roles as well as consider the significant impacts that other world cultures have had on the American social, political, cultural and economic fabric (and vice versa). Central to the organization of this course is a consideration of race, class and gender as crucial axes for the formation of “America” and Americans.

Required Text(s):

  • Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African
  • Spiegelman, Art.  Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale
  • Spiegelman, Art.  Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale
  • Stannard, David.  American Holocaust

AMST 201 (W) » An American Experience – Institutions and Movements

Instructor: Jonathan Valdez

Course Description: This interdisciplinary course examines diversity and changes in American lives and values in a historical context as manifested in social institutions and social movements. It introduces students to various types of primary sources (such as laws, sermons, political manifestoes, memoirs, music, popular culture, et cetera) and to different methods of reading and analyzing such materials. Using social and analytical categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality, the course examines several critical periods in U.S. history as well as situates Hawai‘i in the context of American experience. This course fulfills a Manoa Core humanities requirement.

Required Text(s):

  • Butler, Octavia E. Kindred.
  • Yang, Kao Kalia. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. 
  • Zinn, Howard.  A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present.
  • **All books are available at Revolution Books: 2626 King St #201, Honolulu, 96826
  • **Additional readings will be posted on the course website

AMST 202 (W) » American Experience: Culture and the Arts

Instructor: Jessica Tan

Course Description: If contemplation of any aspect of America must include a consideration of culture, so too must any study of American culture include a discussion of the arts.  Surveying a variety of cultures practiced by people (s) (with) in America, this course investigates just what may be talking about when we use such words as “America,” “culture,” or “art,” and how our ideas about these words have developed.

Largely focusing on the ways in which power, beauty and belonging have been constructed, contemplated and asserted through the arts, we will conclude the semester by asking the question of whether we might analyze and shape our own lives — as people living (with) in America — as we might a piece of art?

Required Text(s):

The following may be purchased at the UH Bookstore.

  • Alexie, Sherman. Reservation Blues. New York: Grove Press, 2005.
  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Vintage International Press, 2007 ed (any older edition acceptable).
  • Yamashiro, Aiko and Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, eds. The Value of Hawai‘i 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014.

AMST 211 (W) » Contemporary American Domestic Issues

Instructor: Logan Narikawa

Course Description: This course explores contemporary American domestic topics by examining the intersectional senses of the “domestic” – the “American” and the “familial.”  Our course will mostly be rooted in the contemporary – from the 1970s to the present – however, the American decade 1950-1960, will inform our readings and academic inquiry.

In the spirit of American Studies, we will implement a wide-ranging archive-drama, short stories, cinematic texts, history, performance and reportage.  Stylistically this course echoes a seminar forum, which means you are expected to actively discuss our texts, as well as intellectually engage with your peers.  Attendance and participation are mandatory.  As a Writing Intensive course, you will need to actively read and write throughout the semester.

In our tour through the senses of American domesticity and its contradictory impulses of conformity and resistance, you will discover the domesticity in all of its rich ramifications is all around us – in the present, as well as significantly celebrated in our past.

AMST 212 (W) » Contemporary American Global Issues

Instructor: Tomoaki Morikawa

Course Description: This course explores contemporary global issues within their historical, political, economic, and cultural contexts. It will track the influence of American values and institutions in the world and analyze how globalization has impacted and changed society. Key concepts for this course will include, but will not limited to, international inequality, imperialism, militarism and capitalism.

Course Requirements:

Quizzes: 30% (Two lowest scores will not be counted)
Class Participation discussion and peer review: 20%
Leading class discussion: 10%
Four 4-pages analytical papers: 40%

Required Text(s):

  • Butler, Smedley D. War is a Racket. Washington: Feral House, 2003.
  • Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. New York: Mariner Books, 2011.
  • Louie, Miriam Ching Yoon. Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factor. Cambridge: South End Press, 2001.
  • Simon, Bryant. Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
  • Dower, John W. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1987).
  • Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (New York: Times Books, 2006).
  • Sturken, Marita. Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).

AMST 220 » Introduction to Indigenous Studies

Instructor: Brandy McDougall

Course Description: The lands that are now known as the United States and its territories have witnessed a long history of conquest against their indigenous peoples and ecologies.  Many of the details of this violent conquest are either absent from most American history textbooks, or when they are explored, are often discussed in terms of “the distant American past.”  By and large, this constructed history has resulted in a relegation of native peoples to the primitive past and/or an ambivalence toward various native groups in terms of their efforts to redress injustices, both historic and contemporary, and to maintain their inherent sovereignty.

Using film, literature and scholarship, this interdisciplinary course aims to overturn these dominant constructions of history in order to explore contemporary issues of indigenous cultural identity, representation, sovereignty, and legal frameworks.  For the purposes of this course, Indigenous Americans includes Native American tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Pacific and Atlantic Islanders whose lands are U.S. states, territories, or “freely associated” with the U.S.  We will examine the varied experiences and situations of Indigenous peoples in the United States, how indigeneity is framed by dominant American culture, and the complex ways in which Indigenous Americans are made to continuously negotiate between traditional and settler cultures as they struggle for their lands, their rights, and their futures.

Course Requirements:

Reading Responses 20%
PSAs 15%
Indigenous Issue Analysis Paper (4-5 pages) 15%
Attendance & Participation 20%
Midterm & Final Exams 20%

Required Text(s):

The following may be purchased at the UH Bookstore (unless otherwise noted):

  • Yamashiro, Aiko and Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, eds. The Value of Hawai‘i 2. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014.
  • Other readings will be posted as pdfs or links on the class blog’s “Course Readings” page  

301  » Hip Hop & American Culture

Instructor: Pahole Sookkasikon

Course Description: Survey tracing hip-hop from its Afro-Carribean musical beginnings to contemporary adaptations and interpretations. Students will analyze various materials and will pay attention to the relationships between hip-hop and contemporary social forms. Pre: sophomore standing or consent.

Required Text(s):

No books required

AMST 310 (O) » Japanese Americans

Instructor: Dennis M. Ogawa

Course Description: Japanese American life in Hawaii and American society at large. Historical and cultural heritage. Biographical portraits, changing family ties, ethnic lifestyle, male and female relations, local identity and the nature of island living.

Course Requirements:

  1. Oral Communication Assignments: 46%
  2. Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Paper: 8%
  3. Quizzes: 6%
  4. Two Tests: 20%
  5. Final Examination: 20%

Required Text(s):

  • Ogawa, Dennis.  Jan Ken Po
  • Ogawa, Dennis.  Kodomo No Tame Ni
  • Various handouts (online) 

AMST 318 (W) » Asian America

Instructor: Brian Chung

Course Description: History of selected Asian immigrant groups from the 19th century to the present. Topics include: immigration and labor history, Asian American movements, literature and cultural productions, community adaptations and identity formation.

AMST 325 » Religion and Law in the U.S.

Instructor: Kathleen Sands

Course Description: This course introduces students to Church-State jurisprudence in the United States, with particular attention to the difficulty of defining religion.  We begin by mastering constitutional concepts that underlie religion jurisprudence.  Then, by studying key Supreme Court cases, we gain perspective on the development and present state of the law. In the final part of the course, students engage in a group project concerning on a case or controversy that highlights the limitations of, contradictions in, and prospects for “religion” as a constitutional concept.  Your final paper will be your own opinion on the issue presented by your group.

AMST 334 (E) » Digital America: Online Communities and Virtual Worlds

Instructor: Bryant Murakami

Course Description: Seminar on the impact of the digital revolution and virtual communities on American culture and society, with an emphasis on questions of identity and participatory democracy.  Open to non-majors.  Pre: one DH, DA, or DL course, sophomore standing, or consent.

Required Text (s):


AMST 339 » Religions in America

Instructor: Kathleen Sands

Course Description: This course surveys the religious landscape of the United States, often using the experience of those outside the cultural mainstream as a lens on the various meanings of “religion” in America.  We will use primary documents, selected documentary films, and face-to-face dialogue and debate.  The methods of the course are interdisciplinary; religions will be approached as historical, cultural, and political phenomena.  In weekly discussions sessions, students will review course readings, discuss key ideas, and debate the role of religions in a variety of public issues.

AMST 343 (W) » America Thought and Culture: To the 20th Century (Cross-listed as HIST 374)

Instructor: Richard Rapson

Course Description: Politics, family, philosophy, technology, etc.; their interrelationship with the total society.  Pre-Colonial to end of Reconstruction.  Pre: 150 or 201 or 202 or 211 or 212 or HIST 151 or HIST 152; or consent.

Required Text (s):

  • Collins, Gail. America’s Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heriones
  • Doctorow, E.L. Ragtime
  • Nash, Roderick. From These Beginnings
  • Rapson, Richard. Magical Thinking and the Decline of America
  • Schlesinger, Arthur. The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society

AMST 344 (W) » America Thought and Culture: To the 20th Century (Cross-listed as HIST 374)

Instructor: Richard Rapson

Course Description: Continuation of 343: 20th century.  Pre: 150 or 201 or 202 or 211 or 212 or HIST 151 or HIST 152; or consent

Required Text (s):

  • Collins, Gail. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
  • Heilbroner, Robert. An Inquiry into the Human Prospect
  • Nash, Roderick. From These Beginnings
  • Rapson, Richard. Magical Thinking and the Decline of America
  • Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History/and Here My Troubles Begin
  • Toffler. The Third Wave 

AMST 349 (O) » Contemporary America Design

Instructor: Will Temple

Course Description: Design is essential feature of everyday life.  Major changes in the ways we work, communicate, and produce and consume goods and services have elevated the significance of design, both as physical artifact and as a professional occupation.  In this course we will investigate the varied ways design contributes to contemporary American culture.  We will approach these contributions from three directions: from the individuals who practice design, from the technologies that make and distribute designed products and experiences, and from the finished products and experiences themselves.  In each direction, we will situate contemporary design practices, technologies and products, within the broader social and economic forces that propel them.

Required Text (s):

  • Julier, Guy. The Culture of Design

AMST 360 » American Cinema

Instructor: Jonna Eagle

Course Description:  American Cinema (formerly AMST 250: American Film History) explores the social and cultural development of American cinema from the origins of moving pictures to the latest blockbuster. We’ll screen popular films from a range of genres and periods–including the gangster film, the musical, film noir, melodrama, the western, and the action cinema–with particular attention to how these films work to shape understandings of contemporary social issues and identities. In addition to a knowledge of U.S. film history, students will be introduced to different approaches to the study of film, and a new critical vocabulary through which to analyze onscreen images. The course fulfills a W focus requirement.

Course Requirements: Requirements for this course include weekly film screenings, a film journal, two critical response papers, and a final exam, in addition to regular attendance and participation in class discussion.

Required Text(s):

  • Corrigan, Timothy.  A Short Guide to Writing About Film
  • Additional readings available on Laulima

AMST 373 » Filipino Americans: History, Culture and Politics (Cross-listed as ES 373)

Instructor: Joyce Mariano

Course Description: An introduction to the study of Filipino Americans in the U.S. and the diaspora.  The course pays special attention to labor migration, cultural production ad community policies.  Pre: sophomore standing.

Course Requirements:


Course Text (s):


AMST 381 » Junior Seminar

Instructor: Brandy McDougall

Course Description: Materials and methods for the study of American life and thought. For American studies majors and minors only.

Required Text(s):


Prerequisite: Officially declared majors in American Studies. Minors and double majors in American Studies must have a course approval code to be allowed to register for this course.

AMST 411 (O) » Japanese Americans: Research Topics

Instructor: Dennis Ogawa

Course Description: Research and thematic seminar on Japanese American culture, issues, and history.

Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent.

AMST 423 (O) » History of American Architecture (Cross-listed as ARCH 473)

Instructor: William Chapman

Course Description: This is a basic introduction to the history and range of American architecture. Coverage is given to both “designed” and “vernacular” examples of buildings and surroundings, with principle emphasis on well-known American buildings. In addition to buildings and built environments of the continental U.S., the course will also discuss buildings in Hawai‘i, the Caribbean and Panama, the Philippines, and other Asian-Pacific countries and islands influenced by North American architectural traditions and practice.

Both lectures and readings will emphasize the ways in which cultural identity and aspirations are expressed in architecture. It will also treat the impacts of materials and technology upon architectural forms.

Course Requirements: 

Participation/discussion (Oral focus)  5%
Short presentations (2) (Oral focus) O1, O2, O3  10%
Quizzes (4)  10%
Mid-term Exam  10%
Final Paper (6 pages, double-spaced)  20%
Presentation (Oral focus) O1, O2, O3  30%
Jury participation (2), O1, O2  5%
Final Exam  10%

Required Text(s): 

David P. Handlin, American Architecture, 2nd edition, New York: Thames and Hudson

AMST 431 » History of American Workers (Cross-listed as HIST 477)

Instructor: James Kraft

Course Description: Survey history of the complex relations between American societies and diverse U.S. ecosystems, from European contact and colonization to the present.

AMST 440 »  Race & Racism in America

Instructor: David Stannard

Course Description: This course begins with a survey of racial controversies and concerns in America today—including police violence and the overrepresentation of minorities in the prison system as well as general issues of inequality and discrimination in the workplace, the media, and more.  After that we will look back into U.S. history for roots and causes of these contemporary problems, examining the institutions of slavery and segregation for blacks, forced labor and internment for immigrants, the conquest and mass destruction of indigenous peoples; historical misrepresentation and pseudo-scientific racial ideologies; and racist representations of people of color in popular culture, including film and television.  We also will examine the different forms that racism takes, from extreme violence to less visible but insidious structures of institutional and cultural domination.

Course requirements include short written commentaries throughout the semester, a lengthier end-of-term paper, and participation in class discussion.

AMST 455 »  U.S. Women’s Literature and Culture (Cross-listed as Eng 455/WMNST 445)

Instructor: Elizabeth Colwill

Course Description:  This course highlights the literary production, cultural strategies, and diverse histories of women in the Americas.  While the course foregrounds the voices of Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and U.S. women of color in the last half century, our inquiry crosses boundaries of nation and genre as we examine the intersections of ethnicity, race, and class; slavery, colonialism, and migration; and sexuality and gender that have shaped women’s experiences, identities, and forms of expression.  We will explore a range of genres–fiction, testimonio, short stories, film, comedy, theater, spoken word, and dance-as modes of self-invention, community creation, political resistance, and historical narration.

Our texts include women’s prison writing in Hawai‘i (Hulihua IV); documentaries on Asian American women’s poetry and Filipina migration; essays and poetry by Mitsuye Yamada, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa, Brandy Nālani McDougall, and Haunani-Kay Trask; science fiction by Octavia Butler (Kindred); short stories by Sarah Lau (“Long Way Home”) and Fae Myenne Ng (“A Red Sweater”); fiction by Jamaica Kincaid (Annie John) and Linda Hogan (Power: A Novel); and testimony by I Rigoberta Menchu and Joy Kogawa, Obasan.

Note:  This course receives Writing Focus credit. Details of each assignment will be posted on Laulima. 

  • Weekly short written assignments (reading responses, seminar questions, quizzes, or “pearls” – short, informal writing exercises) (25%) Posted on Laulima each Friday for the upcoming week.
  • Two analytical essays, 5-6 pages each, based on analyses of assigned texts (30%).
  • Final project (30%) including four elements: creative writing assignment (short story, series of poems, creative non-fiction, or autobiographical reflection), a 3-4 page analytical individually about their projects.
  • Seminar participation (15%)

Required Text(s): (All are available for purchase at UH Manoa Bookstore but feel free to shop around. You do need your texts – even if electronic – in front of you each day during seminar.)

  • Octavia Butler, Kindred (NY: Random House, 2012).
  • Deborah Silverton, Rosenfelt, ed., “Tell Me a Riddle”: Tillie Olsen (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995)
  • Joy Kogawa, Obasan (NY: Anchor Books, 1994)
  • Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (NY: Vintage, 2004)
  • Rigoberta Menchu, I, Riboberta Menchu
  • Linda Hogan, Power: A Novel (NY: W.W. Norton & Col, 1998)
  • Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)


AMST 456 (W) » Art of the United States (Cross-listed as ART 472)

Instructor: Joseph Stanton

Course Description: This course examines the development of the visual arts in America from colonial to contemporary periods. (Cross-listed with ART 472)

Required Text(s): 

  • Hughes, Robert. American Visions
  • A packet of photocopied articles

AMST 459 (W) » Sports in America

Instructor: Joseph Stanton

Course Description: This course examines the development of sports in America from colonial to contemporary periods.

Required Text(s): 

  • Bissinger, H. G. Friday Night Lights
  • Finney, Ben. Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport
  • Rader, Benjamin. American Sports
  • Stanton, Joseph. Cardinal Points: Poems on St. Louis Cardinals Baseball
  • A packet of photocopied articles

AMST 460 » Early 20th Century American Art

Instructor: Joseph Stanton

Course Description: How did American art become modern?  This course examines the collision between such elements as the Gilded Age, the Ashcan School, and the Armory Show that led to the emergent American modernisms and anti-modernisms of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.  This course will examine issues routinely ignored by traditional art history and traditional American history: the making of modern art in American and the making of modern America by art.  Because the topics covered by this course are not generally addressed by any single existing textbook, the primary text will be a packet of articles and book chapters assembled by the professor.

Required Text(s): 

  • A packet of photocopied articles

AMST 480 » Approaches to American Studies

Instructor: Jeffrey Tripp

Course Description: This course is designed to train American Studies majors in research methods and prepare them for their senior capstone project. Through this class, students will become familiar with how scholars conduct research-e.g. how they formulate a useful research question, how they design the scope of inquiry, how they identify primary sources, how they address existing knowledge and current debates, how they develop an argument, and how they organize their writing. In addition to close reading and discussion of diverse types of scholarship in the field, we will conduct a series of research exercises that train students in identifying and analyzing primary as well as secondary sources. By the end of the semester, students will produce a proposal for a major research project which they will complete in AMST 481.

Course Requirements: 


Required Text(s):

Reading packet available on Laulima


American Studies majors only

AMST 600 » Approaches to American Studies

Instructor: Mari Yoshihara

Course Description: This seminar covers the broad historiography of American Studies and introduces students to the theoretical frameworks and methodological tools used in the field.  Tracing the key “moments” in American Studies historiography from the “myth and symbol” school of the 1950s-1960s to the recent calls for transnational approaches to American Studies, we will examine the development of field’s concerns.  We will examine how scholars from different generations and disciplinary and methodological orientations have tackled categories and concepts such as class, gender, and race as they pertain to U.S. history, society, and culture.   Themes include: the intellectual and ideological origins of American Studies; Marxist traditions and social history; the crisis of the canon; literary theory and “representation”; anthropological turn and the move beyond the “text”; theorizing “identities”; and re-situating American Studies in the age of globalization. We will discuss these themes through the reading of both classic and recent texts in the field.

Course Requirements:

Class Participation
Review essay
Final paper

Required Text(s):

Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950 [1978])
Philip Deloria, Playing Indian
Marita Sturken, Tourists of History
Robin D. G. Kelly, Race Rebels
Julie Bettie, Women Without Class
Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009)
Laurel Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (New York: Knopf, 1980 [1991])
Janice Radway, Reading the Romance
Brenda Stevenson, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
C. Van Woodward, Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955 [2002])
David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (New York: Verso, 1991 [2007])
Ellen Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013)
Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, & U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 Updated ed. (Berkeley: University of California, [2001] 2005)
Laura Briggs, Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012)

AMST 643 » Critical Traditions in America

Instructor: David Stannard

Course Description: Among various instances of mass political and cultural upheaval in American history, few compare in terms of depth, intensity, and long-term influence with the uprisings of the so-called “long” 1960s.  This period began in the mid-1950s, with the U.S. takeover from France as the dominant colonial military power in Vietnam and the almost simultaneous ending of traditional legal barriers to racial segregation in American public education.  It drew to a close in the mid-1970s, with America’s humiliating defeat in Vietnam and a legal backlash against efforts, such as busing and affirmative action, to end racial discrimination in public education.  The intervening twenty years of disastrous American involvement in Southeast Asia and massive domestic resistance to the war and to racial discrimination in the U.S. are the overall concern of this course, although a disproportionate point of focus will be the years between 1963 and 1968.

While the headlined events of this era were often concerned with public antiwar and antiracist demonstrations and acts of resistance, that also was a time of dramatic change in media, social thought, culture, the arts, and recognition of the commonplace oppressions of women, gays and lesbians, and the poor.  Those will be concerns of this course as well.

Course requirements include brief weekly written commentaries on reading and other assignments, a substantive (albeit secondary source) research paper, and participation in class discussion.

AMST 675 » Preservation: Theory & Practice (Cross-listed as ARCH 628/PLAN 675)

Instructor: William Chapman

Course Description: The course serves as a basic introduction to the field of historic preservation.  Students will be introduced to the language of the field, will come to understand key concepts and assumptions and will become familiar with the overall background of the subject.  Emphasis will be placed on the history of historic preservation in the U.S. and in other countries, on basic theoretical precepts and on current practice. Subjects include the role of house museums in historic preservation, historic districts and their regulation, architectural and other resource surveys, the National Register program, historic preservation law, the relationship of preservation to planning, the economics of preservation and landscape and rural preservation. Historic preservation, as students will come to realize, is a many-faceted subject, touching upon art, social values, economics and law.  However, the discipline remains strongly tied to architecture and planning; and these core interests will continue to take priority in the course.

Course Requirements: The course combines lectures and in-class discussions that build a knowledge base intended to support your completion of a Preservation Research Project.  Students will be expected to attend class sessions and participate in discussions and question periods. Weekly reading assignments will serve as a basis for classroom discussions; so students are expected to come to class prepared. Participation in classroom discussions will constitute a significant portion of your class grade.  This course also includes a Mid-Term Term Exam and a Research Project, which will serve as a Final Exam.  The Research Project may be a draft of a National Register nomination OR a 10-12 page Research Paper on a Preservation Site or Issue of your choice.  The grading will be based on the following:

1. Participation 30%
2. Mid-term Exam 30%
3. Research Project (with Preservation) 40%

Required Text(s):

1. William J. Murtagh, Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America, Revised ed., New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1997. [original edition (Sterling Publishing/Main Street) may be used].

2. Robert E. Stipe, A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the 21st Century, Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.

3. A Course Reader is also required and is available either for download or purchase at Marketing and Publications Services (MAPs), Curriculum Research & Development Group.  A copy will also be available for download on laulima.

Supplemental Texts (not required for purchase)

1. Robert E. Stipe and Antoinette J. Lee, The American Mosaic: Preserving a Nation’s Heritage, Washington, D.C.: US/ICOMOS, 1987.

2. National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior, Respectful Rehabilitation, Washington, D.C., 1982 [now out of print, available in on-line edition through NPS, Heritage Programs]

AMST 679 » Elements of Style in American Architecture, Furniture and Decorative Arts

Instructor: William Chapman

Course Description: The course is an in-depth examination of the manifestation, visual characteristics and social/cultural meaning of “style” in American architecture and decorative arts from the early settlement period through the present.  The course covers the basic issues, such as “what is style?” (or is there such a thing as “style”?), the terminology of architectural description and the persistence of classical tradition in both architecture and furniture and furnishings.

Students will be introduced to the full range of “style” terminology and also to specialized terminology for architectural and decorative components.  The course will also introduce students to some of the key architects, furniture makers, and decorators in each period, though he emphasis will remain on more anonymous expressions. One or more filed trips will also be scheduled.

This term the focus will be on the twentieth-century architecture of the “modern” period.  Students will be expected to choose one building from this period, and discuss furniture, style, architects or designers and something of the building’s history and use.  Student projects will be presented in class and submitted as term papers.  Slides are encouiraged as part of the presentation (copies of the slides will be appreciated).

Each student will also prepare a power-point presentation on a particular architectural style and its decorative arts equivalent(s).

Course Requirements: Students will be evaluated on the basis of class attendance and participation, the quality of their presentations and papers, and performance on the exam as followers:

1. Participation 30%
2. Powerpoint presentation 25%
3. Final presentation 25%
4. Final paper 40%

Required Text(s):

1. Joseph T. Butler. A Field Guide to American Antique Furniture, New York: Roundtable Press, 1985.

2. Virginia McAlester and Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses, New York: Knoft, 1984.  All available at Bookstore.

3. Leland Roth, American Architecture: A History, 2nd Edition. CO: Westview Press, 2003.

Supplemental Texts:

1. John C. Poppeliers and S. Allen Chambers, Jr. What Style is It?: A Guide to American Architecture. Hoboken, H.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

2. John J. -G. Blumenson. Identifying American Architecture: A Pictorial Guide to Styles, 1600-1945. Walnut Creek, C.A.: AltaMira Press, 1995.

3. Milo M. Naeve. Identifying American Furniture: A Pictorial Guide to Styles and Terms Colonial to Contemporary. Walnut Creek, C.A.: AltaMira Press, n.d.

AMST 683 » Museums: Theory, History, Practice

Instructor: Karen Kosasa

Course Description: This class is designed to introduce students to a range of theoretical, historical, and practical issues important to the study of museums and related places (art galleries, historic sites, aquariums, and parks). Museums are knowledge-producing institutions that orchestrate the experiences of visitors through the collection and organization of exhibition materials. Students will utilize theories and methodologies from a wide range of fields (museology, art history, anthropology, geography, cultural studies, literary criticism) to analyze the links between the function and practices of museums and the production of cultural knowledge, especially by privileged social groups. In the past, successful exhibits effaced all evidence of the pedagogical objectives and efforts of their makers. Hence, museums appeared to simply present and not interpret what they exhibited and their institutional authority allowed their interpretations to be accepted as “universal truths.”

In recent years, museums have undergone significant changes. Along with shifts in the study of collections, design of exhibitions, and educational programming, museums are rethinking their relationship and obligations to the communities represented in their collections. According to Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, museums are moving from being “sites of authority” to becoming “sites of mutuality.” Many are actively soliciting the views and needs of social groups previously ignored or considered unimportant. Some have actively or inadvertently challenged widely-held social practices and beliefs. In these instances, they have been at the frontlines of “culture wars,” becoming embattled sites over the role of public institutions, government funding, and diverse viewpoints. This course will examine these recent shifts and some of the theoretical and pragmatic issues that underlie them—the politics of representation, the importance of visual practices/culture, and legal and ethical problems concerning access to and ownership of cultural objects and collections.

In an early section students will briefly look at the history of museums in Western Europe, especially the emergence of large exhibition halls in the nineteenth century which offered new state-sanctioned forms of entertainment and education to lower- and middle-class visitors. In another section it will review issues pertinent to museums and colonial history in Hawai‘i, and efforts to consider the “Host Culture” and Native Hawaiian views on museums, collections, and the growth of cultural tourism. Finally, students will consider pragmatic issues concerning museum governance, management, planning, ethics, and public policy. While this class will focus most of its attention on museums in Western Europe and the United States, it will also examine institutions and cultural centers in other geographic locations.

AMST 684 » Museums and Collections

Instructor: Karen Kosasa

Course Description: Museums and related institutions (e.g., art galleries, historic homes, archives) are invaluable sites of knowledge in our society. They are charged with caring for important cultural resources, mounting exciting exhibitions, making their collections available to researchers or the public, and providing learning opportunities for a wide range of visitors. This class will focus on the “nuts and bolts,” the pragmatic aspects of running museums and related institutions. It will provide both a broad overview of the responsibilities of museums and museum professionals and an in-depth look at how the latter interact and function within their institutions. A significant component of the class will include on-site visits where registrars, archivists, collections managers, conservation specialists, curators, and exhibition designers will speak about their responsibilities and concerns, offer up-to-date information on their field of specialization, and provide a glimpse of the problems and challenges facing them. Among the topics to be covered: collection policies, accession and deaccession processing, registration and cataloguing systems, emerging technologies and the digitizing of collections, conservation treatment and documentation, preservation awareness/management, curatorial research, exhibition design and installation, and development of interpretive materials for displays.

Site visits will include trips to large and small museums as well as to different types of institutions (e.g., natural history museum, historic home). Students will be asked to visit museums on their own and participate in a volunteer program. During the semester students will learn about the Hawaii Museums Association as well as its national and international counterparts. The class itself will importantly reflect a collaborative partnership between the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Museum Association, and local museums.

An important section of this course will review the concerns of Native communities in the U.S. and abroad regarding heritage preservation. In recent decades, the interactions between Native peoples and non-Native museum professionals (including conservators and curators) have led to important discussions over divergent views on the collection, handling, and exhibition of Native cultural resources. These discussions have led to innovative collaborative projects, changes in museum policies, and a rethinking of the professional discipline of museum conservation and collections management.

During the semester students will be introduced to the importance of grants and grant writing. Some students may choose to work on a grant application as part of their final project. Other students may want to involve themselves in curatorial research or the development of interpretative texts in conjunction with a local museum professional. At the end of the semester, students will submit a formal research paper on a topic of interest related to the course material.

AMST 686 (Restriction: Instructor Approval) » Museums Studies Practicum

Instructor: Karen Kosasa

Course Description: This course is designed as the final requirement for the Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. It is generally taken as the last course in the sequence of required courses for the certificate, although students may be enrolled simultaneously in the Practicum/Internship and other courses in the program. This course is restricted to “majors” in the Museums Studies Graduate Certificate Program.

The Practicum/Internship is intended to advance the student’s knowledge of the field of museum work and to provide an opportunity to research areas of special interest. Since the course is meant to be of a practical character, students are encouraged to take advantage of work-related opportunities in museums and related places (art galleries, historic sites, parks, zoos, aquariums, festivals, etc.). Students should consider new areas of exploration, or build on and consolidate projects in which they have had prior involvement. The Practicum/Internship may include research reports for non-profit organizations, research projects for museum exhibits or collections, or other similar activities.

AMST 695 (Restriction: Instructor Approval) » Historic Preservation Practicum

Instructor: William Chapman

Course Description: The Practicum/Internship is the final requirement for the Certificate in Historic Preservation. It is restricted to “majors” in the Historic Preservation Program and is generally taken as the last course in the sequence of required courses for the certificate, although students may be enrolled simultaneously for the Practicum/Internship and other courses in the program. Students not enrolled in the program may take the Practicum/Internship as part of their other studies, with the permission of the Director, although this is not encouraged.

To enroll in AmSt 695, you must submit a practicum/internship topic and proposal to the Director for approval. Upon receipt of approval, the student will be given a special approval code for registration.

The Practicum/Internship is intended to advance the student’s knowledge of the field and to research areas of special interest. Since the project is meant to be of a practical character, students are encouraged especially to take advantage of work-related opportunities in the field. Past Practica/Internships, for example, have included research reports carried out for Cultural Resource Management firms, studies conducted for non-profit organizations, research and exhibits undertaken for museums, and results of ongoing advocacy projects. Students should view the Practicum/Internship as an opportunity to explore areas they have never had an opportunity to consider, and to build on and consolidate projects in which they have had prior involvement.

Course Requirements:

  • The practicum should seek to apply general preservation theory to the student’s specific discipline.
  • Internships must be taken with an organizational entity such as a public or private agency or an architectural or planning firm which is involved in some aspect of preservation.
  • Selection of internship program and affiliated organization or agency must be approved by the director.
  • Internship activities shall involve exploration and application of knowledge gained in course work of the Historic Preservation Certificate Program.
  • Students are expected to devote between 8-10 hours per week to the internship plus a biweekly meeting with the faculty member in charge, alternating with a biweekly meeting with the contact of the sponsoring entity.
  • The individual shall record the process undertaken.
  • At the completion of the internship, the student shall submit a copy of the internship report or project to complete the practicum to the Director.
  • The practicum may be taken at any time after the completion of American Studies 675 (628/421/410). It may be undertaken during the academic year or during summer.

AMST 699V Directed Readings/Research

American Studies 699V is a directed reading/directed research course. Such courses are not intended as routine alternatives to regular course offerings but rather as opportunities to explore themes and topics that are not covered in any available course within the American Studies Department or other departments within the University.

A directed reading/research 699 will be counted as a course towards an American Studies degree only if it carries 3 credits.

Students must first discuss with the graduate chairperson what is to be studied and with whom as well as justify why a 699 is the only feasible alternative.

Master and doctoral students are limited to three (3) credits to count towards their degree.

To enroll in a 699, you must obtain the consent of a particular professor with an expertise on the topic you wish to pursue. This professor may be in American Studies or in any department. Within a week after registration, you must submit to the department office a one-page account of the work to be done. This account must contain the following:

a. The theme or topic to be explored
b. The nature of the work to be done
c. Grade Options (letter grade or CR/NC)
d. Justification as to why 699 is the only feasible alternative
e. The list of books to be read (if a directed reading course)
f. The number of credits to be awarded
g. The basis upon which the credits are to be awarded–a paper, exam, or whatever. Include information on the frequency of student/professor meetings.

This one-page account must be signed by you, the professor, and the graduate chair and submitted to the American Studies Department Office (Moore 324). Without it, you will lose the right to have your directed work count towards your degree. Procedure for Registration: You may obtain appropriate forms/approvals from the American Studies Department office (Moore 324) or download these forms.
Directed Reading Consent Form
Directed Reading Approval Form

AMST 700V Thesis Research

Before registering for a Thesis 700 (for Plan A students only), the student must have completed and obtained an approved thesis committee approved/thesis topic/proposal progress form from Graduate Division

If the above have not been submitted and approved by Graduate Division, the CRN for AmSt 700 WILL NOT BE ISSUED. Please see graduate chair (in Moore 324) one month prior to registration to process the necessary forms.

NOTE: Master’s Plan A students MUST register in 700 in the semester they plan to graduate.

AMST 800V Dissertation Research

Before a doctoral student can register for a Dissertation 800 course, the student must have achieved the following:

a) passed the written and oral qualifying examination
b) received approval of doctoral committee/dissertation topic/proposal
c) passed the oral comprehensive examination

The CRN for AmSt 800 WILL NOT BE ISSUED unless all the above have been completed.

NOTE: Doctoral students MUST register in 800 in the semester they plan to graduate.

 Outreach Extension Courses

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