Course descriptions for SPRING 2015
Complete list of Spring 2015 AMST courses available here
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.
Instructor: Pahole Sookkasikon
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.
Instructor: Logan Narikawa
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?
The following may be purchased at the UH Bookstore.
Instructor: Leanne Sims
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.
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.
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%
Instructor: David Goldberg
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.
No books required
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.
Instructor: Elizabeth Colwill
Course Description: In this class, women’s life stories dramatize the cultural encounters and collisions that mark North American history. We’ll encounter evangelicals and revolutionaries; midwives and migrants; activists and authors as we explore how women carved out meaningful lives within and against dominant forms of social power.
The life stories of women, including fugitive slave, a Cherokee woman on the Trail of Tears, Japanese picture bride, and a Hawaiian woman who resisted family’s banishment to Moloka‘i, will provide a window on broader histories of immigration and empire, slavery and expansion. How, we’ll ask, does an intersectional gendered approach alter familiar historical narratives? How might the histories of reproduction and sexuality open up new perspectives on the past? How do unconventional historical sources-plays, personal narratives, film, music, political cartoons-shed light on the diverse feminisms at work in the U.S. today?
Student will develop research skills, write their own historical narratives and earn “O” focus credit through a creative oral history project.
Texts will include Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Julie Otsuka, Buddha in the Attic; The True Story of Kaluaikoolau as Told by his Wife, Piilani, and a selection of personal narratives primary documents and scholarly essays.
Instructor: Joyce Mariano
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.
Instructor: David Goldberg
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.
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.
Instructor: Will Temple
Course Description: Design is an 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 a 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.
Instructor: Mari Yoshihara
Course Description: This course examines the place and roles of the arts in American life and society in both historical and contemporary contexts. What have the arts meant to Americans? Who have practiced the arts, and how? How do the arts function as an economic activity? What has been the relationship between the arts and the government? What roles do the arts serve in the community? We will consider these questions with a particular focus on performing arts (e.g. music, theatre, dance). In addition to reading and discussion of scholarly materials from various disciplines, students will conduct research on performing arts taking place in the community.
Students will attend several performing arts events and conduct in-depth analysis of the artistic text, production and performance, audience reception, and critical reviews. They will interview a performing artist about their work. Students will also conduct a group project in which each group proposes a production of a performing arts event to prospective sponsors.
Requirements and Grade Distribution
Class participation 10%
Event review essay and oral presentation 40% (20% essay + 20% oral presentation)
Artist interview 10%
Group presentation 40%
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.
Instructor: Joyce Mariano
Course Description: Materials and methods for the study of American life and thought. For American studies majors and minors only.
Instructor: Dennis M. Ogawa
Course Description: Ethnic identity and Japanese media. Comparative study of American and Japanese media as related to Japanese American ethnic identity.
Various online readings
Instructor: Carol Matteson
Course Description: This course explores the dynamic interaction between people and nature in the Americans and Hawai‘i, focusing on the political, economic, cultural, and ecological dimensions of humans’ dependency on the natural environment from pre-contact to the present.
In keeping with the course’s two focus designations — Contemporary Ethical Issues and Oral Communication – the class will feature substantial dialogue and debate in class and on our course blog. Course topics include hunting, human-animal relations, industrialization, urbanization, wilderness preservation, energy dependency, resource conservation, environmental activism and policymaking, and historical models of sustainability and resilience.
While this course is 400 level, it is intended as an introduction to environmental history and assumes no background in American historiography, ecology, or environmental studies. Regardless of disciplinary background, students will obtain a grounded and valuable understanding of the historical origins of our nation’s present environmental challenges.
Mondays 3:00 – 5:30
Quizzes, midterm exam, presentation, reading responses
Instructor: Lee Ann Wang
Course Description: Exploration of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases related to sex and gender. Topics may include sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, privacy, and reproductive freedom. A-F only. Pre: one of WS 151, WS 175, WS 176, WS 202, WS 360, WS 381, or consent.
Instructor: Joseph Stanton
Course Description: This course will examine the development of the visual arts in America from colonial to contemporary periods. There will be an emphasis on nineteenth-century painting.
Instructor: Karen Kosasa
Course Description: This course focuses on the interpretive practices of museums and related institutions in the continental U.S., Hawai‘i, and other parts of the world. Museum exhibitions can become sites of public controversies and battles over the “politics of representation.” Individual viewers or whole communities may feel that a particular display undermines “traditional family values” or inappropriately challenges long-held beliefs about a nation’s history. Others may feel that a curator’s interpretive framework inadvertently denigrates a minority community or overlooks the importance of ethnic, racial, class, gender, or sexual differences. Thus, museum professionals must carefully consider and examine the ethical dimensions of their institutional practices. Through readings on a wide range of related subjects, brief lectures, discussions, field trips, and writing assignments, the class will engage with theoretical, historical, ethical, and practical issues. Students will develop skills to analyze interpretive programs as well as practice writing labels and developing didactic materials for visitors. The course is structured to weave back and forth between the study of three distinct but related activities: 1) the interpretation or representation of objects and phenomena by museum professionals, 2) the reception of the interpretative materials by museum visitors, and 3) the ethical implications of the interpretive materials produced by museums. Museums are dependent on staff members who combine strong conceptual, analytical, research, and writing skills, along with creative problem-solving abilities and a knowledge of the contemporary ethical issues facing the profession. Multiple opportunities to develop these skills and abilities will be available throughout the semester. Students who take this course may be inspired to work within museums in the future as professionals or volunteers; to develop projects as artists; or to participate in programs as informed visitors and patrons.
Instructor: Dr. William Chapman
Course Description: This O-focused course is an overview of issues in conservation and historic preservation facing peoples of Hawai‘i, Asia, and the Pacific. The course covers the range of historic and cultural resources found in the region, steps taken in the past to preserve these resources and present threats to their preservation. Issues of past colonial interventions, the rights of indigenous peoples to have a say in what is preserved and how, and the means by which traditional cultures might best be saved and recognized are treated in detail throughout the course.
Although significant emphasis is placed upon examples of tangible cultural and historic resources-buildings, structures, landscapes, and archaeological sites-more recently identified cultural preservation issues, as embedded in language, food, ceremonies, and other cultural practices, will also feature in course readings, lectures, and discussion.
Readings/discussions (O-focus): 10% (O-focus 5%)
Book report (O-focus): 20% (O-focus 10%)
Country/Regional Reports (O-focus): 20% (O-focus 10%)
Mid-term exam: 10%
Research paper/Final Pres. (O-focus): 30% (O-focus 15%)
Final exam: 10%
Instructor: Jeffrey Tripp
Course Description: This course guides American Studies majors to complete their senior capstone projects. Students who have designed their projects and begun their research in AMST480 will complete their research and writing that will result in an approx. 20-page paper. The course will take the students through the steps of analyzing primary sources, situating their ideas in relation to secondary sources, developing a clear and coherent thesis, organizing their ideas, and polishing their prose. We will have a series of workshops with writing exercises and peer editing as well as one-on-one consultations with the instructor.
Participation 20%; Draft assignments 30%; Oral presentation 10%; Final paper 40%
No books required
Instructor: Robert Perkinson
Course Description: American cultural origins and development. Civil war to present.
Instructor: Karen Kosasa
Course Description: Objects salvaged from horrific events are often valued as silent and authentic “witnesses.” However, the meaning of these objects is never given but dependent on the rhetorical strategies developed by curators, historians, and exhibit developers. This course examines how history is remembered in public spaces through exhibitions, memorials, art works, and virtual sites. It will evaluate the power and effectiveness of varied forms of remembrance. More importantly, it will examine what is not remembered and efforts to produce histories that do not challenge common knowledge. Why is public history so important to the education of a nation’s citizens? How does a visitor’s understanding of historic events differ from those who directly experienced it? As Americans increasingly encounter the stories of World War II through hyper-mediated experiences, as they identify with the innocence of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and as they purchase souvenirs to help them heal from the traumatic events of 9/11, how is their ability to grasp the complexity of the events enhanced and/or diminished? When visitors interact with Native peoples “playing themselves” at national parks can they link these brief encounters to the historic and current colonization of Native peoples? How are new digital technologies providing ways for people to thoughtfully engage with historic information and consider how it might illuminate contemporary problems? While the majority of the course material will focus on sites within the United States, it will also include an examination of several places outside of it.
Course Requirements: Freewrites (ungraded) for required readings, 1-pg Handout (for 1-2 class discussions), 1 Research Paper (approx. 25 pages)
Required Text (s): Listed in Reading Order.
Instructor: Dr. William Chapman
Course Description: This course serves graduate students in the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation program and students in Anthropology, Geography, History, Planning, Architecture, Tourism and any other field with an emphasis on Cultural Heritage Management and Historic Preservation. It also serves students in the Applied Archaeology and Anthropology programs in the Department of Anthropology. The focus of the course is federal, state and local historic preservation laws and their impacts on the protection and recording of historic and cultural sites. A major component will be the existing series of federal laws and Hawai‘i State laws pertaining to cultural resource management. The course will also discuss case law, particularly zoning and land-use laws, as they impact historic preservation in Hawai‘i and elsewhere.
The course includes lectures, student presentations, videos, guest speakers and discussion. Students will be expected to contribute strongly to the class sessions, making presentations on the existing laws and completing a term paper and class presentation. There is also a take-home Mid-Term Exam.
Short presentations: 15%
Book Report: 20%
Project and Final Presentation: 35%
Required Text (s):
Instructor: David Stannard
Course Description: The History Department Chair at Columbia University once complained to the university’s president and board of trustees that some of his younger faculty, self-proclaimed “New Historians,” were teaching “elaborate courses in the history of thought and culture…everything except history, as their colleagues understand it.” So radical was their approach, he wrote, that it almost amounted to “secession and the creation of a new department.” That was 100 years ago.
No doubt not a week (perhaps not a day) now passes when some department chair somewhere doesn’t mutter a similar lament. But, as was the case at Columbia in 1915, moments of truly significant change in history and related disciplines have tended to accompany shifts in the larger political and intellectual climate. One such moment, not surprisingly, began in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, with a push by New Left historians to study history “from the bottom up.” That would-be revolution was short-lived, but its influence has been unfolding ever since, bringing in its aftermath a decline in conventional political and intellectual history and a rise in interdisciplinary approaches to social and cultural history, often engaging with critical studies in such fields as anthropology, sociology, geography, visual culture, mass media, and literature.
This transformation within the world of historical scholarship also materialized at a time when the field of American Studies-then thirty or forty years old-was expanding dramatically, while African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s Studies were coming into being. Within only three or four years such enduring journals as Radical History Review, The Black Scholar, Feminist Studies, the Journal of Social History, and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History were launched.
This course begins with readings and discussions on this tumultuous moment in American politics and historical scholarship. It then surveys some trends that emerged over time within the profession, including (in addition to an intensified focus on gender, class, ethnicity, and race) the impact of quantitative, psychological, and anthropological perspectives, environmental history, indigenous history, diasporic history, oral history, material culture, the history of violence, the history of memory, the history of the body, the history of perception, and more.
The second part of the course takes a more closely focused look at a handful of emerging fields, methodological concerns, and/or controversies that have arisen in American social, intellectual, and cultural history during the past four decades or so, drawing upon students’ scholarly interests in determining the topics and readings that we will examine and discuss.
While participating in these first two sections of the course students also will be conducting individual readings on relevant topics of their choice in preparation for the final part of the course, which will be devoted to written and oral presentations of draft proposals for potential research projects.
We will discuss all this during the first class session.
Please Note: These texts, plus a few handouts, are for the first section of the course only. Course participants will select their own readings, in consultation with the instructor, for the latter two portions of the course. Also note that these books have not been ordered for the UH bookstore, but they are readily available online from Barnes & noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, et al.
Instructor: William Chapman
Course Description: This is a graduate seminar class in issues revolving around historic districts and communities in the U.S. and elsewhere n the world. Historic districts and conservation areas, focused on small towns and also on historic quarters of larger cities, has been a primary activity in the field of historic preservation/conservation since the inception of the discipline in the 19th century.
This course is an effort to bring this history and the many aspects of historic town and district management into perspective. The course is based on an overview of regional national practices and also on readings in the field. In addition, students are expected to bring their knowledge to bear on a specific site used throughout the course as a case study.
Book report: 20%
Short presentations: 30%
Research paper: 40%
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.
Instructor: Elizabeth Colwill
Course Description: Catastrophic in its human dimensions, foundational in its economic and political effects, Atlantic slavery is inseparable from the history of the Americas. The violence of slavery figures centrally in post-emancipation politics, from struggles over Jim Crow segregation, miscegenation law, and Civil Rights, to debates over convict labor, police brutality, and contemporary ideologies of race. Slavery and its legacies remain highly disputed, their meanings produced and transformed not only within the academy, but also in legislatures and museums, through the arts, and on the streets.
This course is about how slavery has been remembered and how memory works. How, we’ll ask, have scholars, artists, activists, and ordinary citizens struggled to frame a history of trauma? How have distinct genealogies of privilege and oppression inflected modes of narration? What is the relationship between memory and history? Trauma, testimony, and collective memory? How have representations of slavery changed over time and in different locations in response to shifting political tides? Howe do modern media, the arts, and public practices of commemoration shape memory and produce history? How can memory work serve as a practice of freedom?
The course will interweave historical and literary scholarship with artistic and embodied forms of remembrance, from Kara Walker’s tableaux and Jacob Lawrence’s portraits of Toussaint Louverture, to Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” and Dionne Brand’s poetry. Each week will highlight an interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars, and between artistic and academic forms of knowing. Historians’ representations of agency and resistance, slavery and trauma, memory and forgetting, will be read in conjunction with theorists from performance, visual, and postcolonial studies who interrogate the politics of visuality and trouble notions of a transparent historical subject or stable archive.
Weekly themes will include the Archive and Historical Amnesia; Enslavement and the Politics of Intimacy; Museums, Memorialization, and Public Space; Performing Freedom and Subjection; Slavery and the Prison Industrial Complex; Slave Revolts and Diasporic Returns; Exhibiting Slavery; Queering the Black Atlantic; Slave Narratives and Spectacular Violence; Pro-Slavery Legacies in the Post-Bellum Era; Baartman, Bones, and Reconciliation; and Monstrous Intimacies.
Readings include Edwidge Danticat, Krik, Krak; Dionne Brand, A Map to the Door of No Return; Saidya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection; Octavia Butler, Kindred; Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden; Crystal N. Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching; Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello; Clifton Creis and Pamela Scully, Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and Biography; Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough; Christina Sharpe, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects; Marcus Rediker, The Amistad Rebellion; Michel Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past; James C. Horton, Slavery and Pubic History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory; and Robin Backburn, The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights. We’ll also engage theorists of memory, and scholars in postcolonial, performance and visual studies such as Pierre Nora, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Ana Lucia Araujo, David Scott, Walter Benjamin, Nicole Fleetwood, Douglas Hamilton, Jenny Sharpe, Jeffrey Olick, Ron Ayerman, Paul Ricoeur, Marianne Hirsch, and Ann Czetkovich.
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.
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
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.