Course descriptions for Spring 2018
Complete list if Spring 2018 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: Taylor Wray
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.
**All books are available at Revolution Books: 2626 King St. #201, Honolulu 96826
**Additional readings will be posted on the course website
Instructor: Joshua Uipi
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?
Instructor: Houston Ladner
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: Marimas Mostiller
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.
Instructor: Jesi Bennett
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 exploded, 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” within the U.S. We will examine the varied experiences and situations of Indigenous peoples in the United States, how indigeneity is framed 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.
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: Joyce Mariano
Course Description: This course situates the experiences and perspectives of Asian Americans within larger historical, social, cultural, political, and economic contexts. We will examine how the meaning of “Asian America” is shaped – and in turn shapes – phenomenon, categories, and events related to race, class, gender, policy, immigration, war, and citizenship.
How do we tell the story of Asian America? In large part, our class will examine these issues through a focus on memoir, working to interpret and understand the forces that shape Asian American politics, subjectivity, and experience. We will analyze these works with an eye toward the relationships among form and meaning, self and society, and Asian American cultural production within a larger American and transnational context. As a class, we will analyze our readings to create a vocabulary and framework for discussing the complexity of Asian America. This is a not a comprehensive survey, but an introduction to the many issues and themes important to the categories under study.
Instructor: R. Kam
Course Description: Survey of social, political, and cultural relations in diverse, contemporary American environments, including: island societies, urban centers, suburbs, Indian reservations, farming communities, and national parks. Special emphasis on contemporary environmental issues in Hawai’i.
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.
Instructor: Heather Diamond
Course Description: Examination of the history and ethics of folklore studies and the dynamics and social functions of traditional culture in diverse communities through topics such as ritual, storytelling, games, gossip, belief, music, and cultural tourism.
Instructor: Richard Rapson
Course Description: Continuation of 343: 20th century.
Instructor: Jessica Tan
Course Description: Study of the role of the arts in American society and diverse cultural practices historical and contemporary contexts.
Instructor: Bryant Murakami
Course Description: Survey of Asian and Asian American representations in American film and television from the silent era to the present, with an emphasis on Orientalism and multiculturalism, as well as performance and spectatorship.
Instructor: Suzanna Reiss
Course Description: Examines the interplay between an “American culture of empire” and the rise of the U.S. as a superpower. Topics: imperialism and political culture, social movements and international affairs, race gender and class relations.
Instructor: Jeffrey Tripp
Course Description: Materials and methods for the study of American life and thought. For American studies majors and minors only.
Instructor: Roderick Labrador
Course Description: A research seminar on the study of Filipino Americans. Special themes in film/video/media, the performing arts, or literature may be offered.
Instructor: Dennis Ogawa
Course Description: Research and thematic seminar on Japanese American culture, issues, and history.
Instructor: Yuka Polovina
Course Description: Hawai’i has long been imagined as a “racial paradise,” but what does this mean exactly? For whom is it a “paradise”? For whom is it not? What local and national purpose does it served to celebrate Hawai’i’s multiculturalism? How is multiculturalism similar and different from the continental U.S.’s version of the “melting point”? This course looks at key historical junctures that informed contemporary understandings of the term “multicultural.” Some of these moments include: annexation, WWII, statehood, civil rights era, and the Hawaiian Renaissance. We also look at Hawai’i’s multiculturalism through the lens of tourism, militarization, immigration, localism, language, and food culture.
The goal of the course is to understand multiculturalism as an ideology entangled in power struggles. This course brings together historical and contemporary perspectives, enabling students to assess, discuss, and develop their own perspectives on Hawai’i’s multicultural successes and failures to achieve ethnic and cultural harmony.
Instructor: Njoroge, Njoroge
Course Description: Examines the history of slavery, race, and abolition in the Americas from a comparative, global perspective, and traces the legacy of slavery in the post-emancipation societies of the New World.
Instructor: Susan Hippensteele
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.
Instructor: David Stannard
Course Description: During a time of extraordinary racial ethnic turmoil in the United States–from police violence in the cities to sit-ins and protests on college campuses–this course will work to understand these and other current controversies by putting them into cultural and historical context. Beginning with discussions on the varied meanings of the words “race” and “racism,” the course will proceed to examine the trajectory of racisms in the United States and their presence in contemporary law, medicine, sports, education, media, immigration policy, and more. This is a discussion seminar with short papers and a final essay. No exams.
Instructor: Robert Perkinson
Course Description: Varieties of radicalism that have provided a continuing critique of prevailing values and structures.
Instructor: C. Pummer
Course Description: An exploration of the critique of racial ideologies in American film. The course also examines how aggrieved communities develop cultural sensibilities, aesthetic choices and politicized identities through film, video and media work.
Instructor: Jonathan Valdez
Course Description: Major themes, modes, and media of popular of mass culture in the U.S.; emphasis on cultural trends and social implications.
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: Joseph Stanton
Course Description: Sports as reflected in literature, films, and TV.
Instructor: 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.
Instructor: Joyce Mariano
Course Description: AMST 484 guides majors in American Studies through the process of completing their Senior Capstone Projects. Students will refine the formal proposals they designed in the Fall Semester and pursue research strategies appropriate to their project ideas. This course provides students a structure to produce an original research project. In so doing, students will work toward expertise in their own designated subfields.
Instructor: David Stannard
Course Description: American cultural origins and development.
Instructor: Kathleen Sands
Course Description: This is a practical, collaborative seminar, geared to developing the skills for a successful academic career in the humanities. With the guidance of some excellent how-to-manuals and the sage advice of more experienced academics, we’ll address issues such as finding a mentor, seeking grants and fellowships, preparing for exams, presenting papers at academic conferences, teaching, publishing and balancing the various components of academic life (not to mention “life” life). The primary work product of the semester will be a major piece of scholarly writing, which you will develop in stages with the feedback of the instructor and other students.
Instructor: Karen Kosasa
Course Description: Physical artifacts considered as documents of American cultural and regional development.
Instructor: Robert Perkinson
Course Description: Examines the history of American criminal punishment, from the birth of the penitentiary to the rise of the prison-industrial complex.
Instructor: 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: Kathleen Sands
Course Description: AMST 650 is designed for Ph.D. students to reinforce and deepen content knowledge in the general field of American Studies and in specialized subfields within American Studies. By the time that Ph.D. students begin their dissertations, students are expected to have engaged at a sophisticated level with the major themes, problems, and interdisciplinary methods of the field of American Studies, and to have developed specializations in two subfields that will serve as their professional teaching and research fields.
AMST 650, offered each semester with variable content, aims to provide students with a defined pathway toward field mastery, and thus to facilitate progress to degree. To prepare for the qualifying examination, students read 40-50 texts in their major field, and in each of two subfields under the supervision of a faculty member. Each of the three fields requires intensive preparation. By consequence, advanced Ph.D. students will be permitted to register for this course, with different content, up to three times (up to 9 credits)–each with a separate field adviser.
AMST 650 involves substantial intellectual content and regular meetings with a faculty member, receives a letter grade, and counts toward the 45-credits required for the Ph.D. It requires the approval and signature of the supervising instructor and the graduate chair prior to receipt of the CRN.
Instructor: William Chapman
Course Description: Techniques in recording and evaluation of historic buildings and other resources, with an emphasis on field recordings and state and federal registration procedures.
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: M. MacKenzie
Course Description: Themes, problems, issues not addressed in other American studies graduate courses; emphasis upon research methods.
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 699 is a directed reading/directed research course. AMST 699 is not intended as a routine alternative to regular course offerings. As a general rule, 699 should not substitute for graduate seminars before completion of course requirements, except when the 699 provides content essential to the student’s program of study and unavailable either in the Department of American Studies or elsewhere at UHM.
The 699 should not be used for field mastery in preparation for qualifying exams, since AMST 650 fulfills this purpose. 699s are occasionally authorized for students who have completed coursework but need one semester to complete thesis or dissertation proposals, or when special needs arise.
AMST 699 may be taken either for a letter grade, or Credit/No Credit. Only courses taken for a letter grade, and only 3 credits of 699, can count toward total American Studies graduate credit requirements.
Registration requires completion of two forms, available on the website or from the American Studies graduate coordinator. The 699 Consent form requires a full course plan signed first by the supervising professor with expertise on the topic, and next by the graduate chair. Forms must be completed and submitted to the graduate coordinator in Moore 324 prior to the receipt of a CRN.
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.