Course Descriptions

Fall 2022


AMST 1100 - Introduction to Environmental & Social Justice

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM MWF | Full Semester

2:00 PM - 2:50 PM MWF | Instructor Alexander Pearl, apearl00@unm.edu | Full Semester

This class provides an introduction to the theories of the environment, theories of justice in the context of environmental policy and planning, and to histories of poor peoples' struggles around the unequal distribution of toxic waste. We will focus on the ways race, class, gender, sexuality, region, eco-colonialism and their intersections shape environmental and political struggles over natural resource use. Students will learn to examine the ways in which socially constructed representations of Nature shape our interactions with natural environments and shape our perceptions of environmental problems and solutions.

 

AMST 1120.001 - Introduction to American Pop Culture

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM TR | Francisco J Galarte, galarte@unm.edu | Full Semester

While Gender Studies is truly a vast field of inquiry, there is great symmetry in the ways in which feminist scholars have been engaged with questions as to how disciplinary apparatuses and discourses shape and construct "gender." This course will begin with the process of peeking into this exciting scholarship, focusing on the "intersectional ties" of identity-that is, how gender has been produced in and through other categories of identity, such as race, class, sexuality, and nation. While there are numerous ways to structure such a course, this course will maneuver through the field of Gender Studies with an eye toward feminisms, race, and U.S. Empire through processes of incarceration, colonialism, and war). In this course, we will explore how the "intersectional ties" of identities have been constructed within a range of institutions, discourses, and processes, such as law, medicine, popular culture, nationalism, colonialism, and empire. Throughout, we will pay close attention to how discourses normalize certain types of identities, practices, and behaviors, and mark others as deviant or unnatural. And, of course, we will look for strategies to contest these productions. This will necessarily place us within key debates in feminist studies of power, agency, activism, and justice at the individual, community, national, and transnational levels, and allow us to end the course by interrogating the role of Gender Studies in regard to current U.S. occupation in the Middle East and Native America. This course will provide a strong foundation for you to pursue studies in feminist, queer, critical race, and postcolonial theories.

 

AMST 1130.001 - Introduction to Politics in Popular Culture

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM MW | Shebati Sengupta, ssengupta@unm.edu | Full Semester

This course considers a range of theoretical approaches to the study of popular culture, including cultural studies and feminist theory as well as key concepts and key debates in the study of popular culture. It explores the ways popular culture is implicated in the formation of social determinants such as race, gender, class, and sexuality and conversely, how these social determinants are implicated in the formation of popular culture. The course also considers the ways in which popular culture serves as a site of ongoing political struggle. The aim of the course is to provide students with a critical vocabulary to make sense of the broader significance and relevance of popular culture—how and why popular culture matters. To accomplish this, we will investigate a number of popular culture examples including the punk movement, youth cultural production and branding, Black science fiction, sport mascots, the Riot Grrrl movement, body positivity, Indigenous pop music, and social media.


AMST 1140.001 - Introduction to Critical Race and Indigenous Studies

9:30 AM - 10:45 PM TR | Nathan Leach, nleach@unm.edu  | Full Semester

This course introduces students to the historical and contemporary significance of race and Indigenous sovereignty in the context of what is currently the United States from the interdisciplinary perspective of American Studies. Beginning with the formative role of slavery and colonialism in the making of modern understandings of race and racial difference, this course focuses on race, class, ethnicity, and gender as key organizing categories of U.S. social, legal, cultural, and political life. Throughout the course we will consider the interdependent, intersectional, and relational dynamics of race, class, and ethnicity rather than approach each as discrete or stand-alone categories. We likewise examine how capitalism is a historically specific racialized and gendered social relation of inequality. Although our primary concern is the U.S. context, the course situates this context within the broader framework of global history and geopolitics in order to show how and why the U.S. cannot be studied and understood in isolation from the rest of the world. Course readings provide an analytic and historical basis for addressing questions of power, inequality, identity, collective struggle, and social movements.

 

AMST 1150 - Introduction to Southwest Studies

3:30 PM - 4:45 PM TR | Kara G Roanhorse, roanhorse@unm.edu | Full Semester

1:00 PM  - 1:50 PM MWF | Jennifer M Marley, jenm11@unm.edu | Full Semester

This course provides both an introduction to the complex history and culture of the southwestern United States and a demonstration of the possibilities of the interdisciplinary study of regional American culture. It is multicultural in content and multidisciplinary in methodology. It examines cross-cultural relationships among the peoples of the Southwest within the framework of their expressions and experiences in art, culture, religion, and social and political economy. More specifically, this course will consider: What is this place we call the Southwest? How is it defined- geographically, politically, and culturally? Who are the people that live there? How have their lives been transformed by social and historical forces into the cultures we see today? At the same time, how have these same groups retained their traditions, customs, and beliefs in response to change? This course will explore contemporary Southwestern cultures, their multiple voices and culture expressions, using an interdisciplinary approach that draws from geography, anthropology, history, literature, and the arts.


AMST 309.001 - Radical Religions and American Transformations

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM TR | Kathleen A Holscher, kholscher@unm.edu | Full Semester

From nineteenth century abolition, to twentieth century Civil Rights, anti-war, and climate justice movements, religion has been a foundation for social activism in the United States. Religion has provided people with moral and ethical truths that expose the limits of secular or state-based models of law and justice, and religious institutions have doubled as organizing spaces. This course takes a historical view, and considers how religion has informed radical visions for a just society, and motivated people to different types of radical action, to make those visions reality. We’ll explore radical possibilities that people in the United States have found in Protestant and Catholic Christianity, as well as in Spiritualism, Islam, Indigenous spiritualities, and other forms of religion. We’ll compare religious and “secular” social movements, and we’ll think about the relationship between prophetic individuals and grassroots organizing for social change. Above all, we’ll work to understand the relationship between the religious worlds people inhabit—worlds in which gods and spirits are powerfully present-- and the political and social worlds in which activists work.


AMST 309 - Liberation Struggles of the Amerícas

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM TR | Manuel Criollo, manuelcriollo@unm.edu | Full Semester

An American Studies interdisciplinary topics seminar course centering Hemispheric Liberatory Social Movements of the Amerícas centered on Central American, Latin American, Black, Chicanx, African Diasporic and Indigenous movements of the Amerícas. A key area of investigation will be to understand the reverberations, exchanges, solidarities and inspirations that social movements interchange at a hemispheric level – how Haiti, the U.S. South, the Caribbean, Central America, Indigenous Nations, Cuba and New Mexico have been (and will continue to be) connected.  We will study how the Black Liberation movement is a hemispheric and diasporic movement beyond the border of United States.  We will study how Indigenous resistance in what is called the “Amerícas” today is leading the path for ecological and social justice, how queer led national united fronts in Honduras confronts U.S led-coup, how various articulation of hemispheric feminisms have merged with anti-imperialist Marxism to build expansive cultures of resistance. We will put in conversation social movement experiments that center internationalism, intersectional, radical relationality, abolition, and ecosocialism. We will investigate the dynamics of social movements – in understanding their liberatory aspirations, visions, pedagogies, aesthetics, poetics and strategies and tactics to achieve peace, justice and liberation.  


AMST 350.001  - T: Black Women in Cultural Production

4:00 PM -6:30 PM R | Andrea Mays, amays@unm.edu | Full Semester 

This upper division, seminar-styled course challenges students to carefully read, examine and investigate the creative, social and political influences that have shaped, theater, cinema, fine art painting, and literature created by women of African descent. Though the works considered in this course are primarily authored by women of African descent from the U.S., students will also read works by Black British writers, and women from African and Caribbean countries. The works considered will also include, but are not limited to, literary, art, and film criticism. Questions considered include: What factors have shaped the structures of production and consumption surrounding works by Black women? How have Black women’s creative work been considered compared to their contemporary male and non-Black counterparts? What factors have shaped the social, political, and creative contours of works produced by Black women?

AMST 380.001 - T: Chicanx Cultural Studies

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM MWF | Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán, mviz@unm.edu | Full Semester

This course tracks the formation of contemporary Chicanx identity politics and aesthetics through a historical and critical consideration of language, power, displacement, regionalism, and transnational movements. The class will chart the emergence of Chicana/o cultural production and the paradigmatic shifts in identity, with attention to how the Spanish colonial, Mexican national, and the post-colonial US inform Chicana/o/x identity. We will pay special attention to the evolution of the "x" in intellectual discussions of the field and as an expression of non-normative gender and sexuality. In order to achieve this critical and historical trajectory, we will read both primary and secondary texts that range from testimonios, folklore, ethnography, literature, short fiction, history, and criticism. The class will also become familiar with the politics of Chicana/o film, art, and landscape architecture, as well as critical essays and the key terms of cultural studies. We will hone our critical reading and thinking skills, and apply these skills to written assignments that engage in the art, aesthetics and politics of identity in Chicanx cultural studies.

 

AMST 380.002 - T: Nuevomexicanx Race and Identity

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM MWF | Michael Trujillo, mtruj@unm.edu  | Full Semester

This course examines “race” in the United States through the lens of New Mexican Chicanx or Hispanic racial identity. Course materials examine how Nuevomexicanx people sometimes understand themselves or are conceptualized by others as racialized nonwhites or conversely as the descendants of European immigrants. We will critically interrogate these sometimes-contradictory racial formations utilizing, among other things, Chicanx feminist theory and Indigenous decolonial methodologies. Key texts will explore Nuevomexicanx self-conceptualization through the experiences of Indigenous peoples, Spaniards, Black peoples, Central American immigrants, undocumented Mexicans, Jewish people, and Muslims. The instructor will encourage students to explore these themes in New Mexican history, literature, and popular culture and we will conduct all of our analysis in the context of broader US gender and racial politics.

AMST 385.002 - The Problem of America: Theories and Methods

4:00 PM - 6:30  PM M | Rebecca M Schreiber, rschreib@unm.edu|  Full Semester

This seminar introduces students to interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of “America.” We will focus on how ideas about race, ethnicity, class, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, region, disability, and nationality have shaped contests over the meaning of citizenship and belonging. Further, through close analysis and classroom discussion of various research methodologies that employ primary source material such as historical documents, literature, ethnography, and visual and popular culture, this course gives students the tools to create their own interdisciplinary work.

 

 

 


Graduate Seminars

Unless indicated otherwise, all the courses listed below will count toward the American Studies seminar requirement ( cf. American Studies Graduate Student Handbook for details on the total number of required seminars required.)

AMST 500.001 - American Culture Study Seminar

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM T | Alyosha Goldstein, agoldste@unm.edu | Full Semester

The proseminar introduces graduate students the field of American Studies. Over the course of the semester, the first-year cohort works to develop a shared frame of reference for the multiple ways in which American Studies scholars and scholars from adjacent fields utilize, reimagine, and/or challenge an interdisciplinary range of theories, methods, and academic literatures. We focus on readings from Feminist, Gender, Sexuality, Queer and Transgender Studies, Critical Indigenous studies, Critical ethnic studies, Black and African Diaspora studies, Religious studies, the study of Law and Society, Cultural studies, Disability studies, and the study of social and liberation movements (for prison abolition, decolonization, racial and gender justice, migrants and refugees, and queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming / nonbinary peoples, among others) as vital to the interdisciplinarity of American Studies. The proseminar introduces students to the intellectual questions and problems that have shaped the field historically, as well as providing an opportunity to engage recent innovative texts that extend and/or critically rethink aspects of American Studies and related scholarship. Readings and course discussion are intended to provide students with knowledge of the multiple disciplinary perspectives and thematic fields most relevant to the specific formation of American Studies at UNM.


Graduate Seminars

Unless indicated otherwise, all the courses listed below will count toward the American Studies seminar requirement ( cf. American Studies Graduate Student Handbook for details on the total number of required seminars required.)

AMST 502.001 - Research Methods Practicum

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM T | Rebecca M. Schreiber, rschreib@unm.edu | Full Semester

This seminar critically examines the methods and means by which scholars conduct research and make arguments, focusing on how scholarship is shaped by institutional and disciplinary conventions and the production of knowledge. The course is comprised of two primary components -- an introduction to various methods and the practices of research and a broad array of readings that facilitate our inquiry into methodology. Students will be challenged to define their interests, to clarify their investment in particular projects, and to situate their approaches within the existing scholarship.


AMST 509.001 - Radical Religions and American Transformations

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM TR | Kathleen A Holscher, kholscher@unm.edu | Full Semester

From nineteenth century abolition, to twentieth century Civil Rights, anti-war, and climate justice movements, religion has been a foundation for social activism in the United States. Religion has provided people with moral and ethical truths that expose the limits of secular or state-based models of law and justice, and religious institutions have doubled as organizing spaces. This course takes a historical view, and considers how religion has informed radical visions for a just society, and motivated people to different types of radical action, to make those visions reality. We’ll explore radical possibilities that people in the United States have found in Protestant and Catholic Christianity, as well as in Spiritualism, Islam, Indigenous spiritualities, and other forms of religion. We’ll compare religious and “secular” social movements, and we’ll think about the relationship between prophetic individuals and grassroots organizing for social change. Above all, we’ll work to understand the relationship between the religious worlds people inhabit—worlds in which gods and spirits are powerfully present-- and the political and social worlds in which activists work

AMST 580.001 - Nuevomexicanx Race and Identity

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM MWF | Michael Trujillo mtruj@unm.edu | Full Semester

This course examines “race” in the United States through the lens of New Mexican Chicanx or Hispanic racial identity. Course materials examine how Nuevomexicanx people sometimes understand themselves or are conceptualized by others as racialized nonwhites or conversely as the descendants of European immigrants. We will critically interrogate these sometimes-contradictory racial formations utilizing, among other things, Chicanx feminist theory and Indigenous decolonial methodologies. Key texts will explore Nuevomexicanx self-conceptualization through the experiences of Indigenous peoples, Spaniards, Black peoples, Central American immigrants, undocumented Mexicans, Jewish people, and Muslims. The instructor will encourage students to explore these themes in New Mexican history, literature, and popular culture and we will conduct all of our analysis in the context of broader US gender and racial politics.

between the religious worlds people inhabit—worlds in which gods and spirits are powerfully present-- and the political and social worlds in which activists work

AMST 560.001 - Southwest Women Writers

4:00 PM - 6:30 PM M | Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán, mviz@unm.edu | Full Semester

This course will count toward the total number of required coursework credit hours but does not count toward the required number of American Studies seminars

This course is a study of the Southwestern women writers whose work defines and redefines the region as a place. We read a wide range of texts and situate them within their social and cultural histories. The class begins with the early twentieth-century writings of Mary Austin and Alice Corbin Henderson, and it makes its way through the mid-to-late twentieth-century writings of Leslie Marmon Silko, Ana Castillo, and Luci Tapahonso. The class also considers the more contemporary work of Deborah Miranda and Natalie Díaz to rethink the meanings of place in the wake of gender studies, settler-colonial theories, Chicana feminism, and critical Indigenous



AMST 1110.003 - Introduction to Environmental and Social Justice

Matthew MacDermant, mmacdermant@unm.edu | 2nd 8-weeks

This class provides an introduction to the theories of the environment, theories of justice in the context of environmental policy and planning, and to histories of poor peoples' struggles around the unequal distribution of toxic waste. We will focus on the ways race, class, gender, sexuality, region, eco-colonialism and their intersections shape environmental and political struggles over natural resource use. Students will learn to examine the ways in which socially constructed representations of Nature shape our interactions with natural environments and shape our perceptions of environmental problems and solutions.


AMST 1140.005 - Introduction to Critical Race and Indigenous Studies

Alyosha Goldstein, agoldste@unm.edu | 2nd 8-weeks

This course introduces students to the historical and contemporary significance of race and Indigenous sovereignty in the context of what is currently the United States from the interdisciplinary perspective of American Studies. Beginning with the formative role of slavery and colonialism in the making of modern understandings of race and racial difference, this course focuses on race, class, ethnicity, and gender as key organizing categories of U.S. social, legal, cultural, and political life. Throughout the course we will consider the interdependent, intersectional, and relational dynamics of race, class, and ethnicity rather than approach each as discrete or stand-alone categories. We likewise examine how capitalism is a historically specific racialized and gendered social relation of inequality. Although our primary concern is the U.S. context, the course situates this context within the broader framework of global history and geopolitics in order to show how and why the U.S. cannot be studied and understood in isolation from the rest of the world. Course readings provide an analytic and historical basis for addressing questions of power, inequality, identity, collective struggle, and social movements.

Jennifer Denetdale

Department Chair
Humanities Building - Room 430
Phone: 277-3929


Alyosha Goldstein

Graduate Advisor
Humanities Building - Room 436 
Phone: 277-3929


Rebecca Schreiber

Undergraduate Advisor
Humanities Building - Room 426
Phone: 277-3929