Course Descriptions

Spring 2023


AMST 1110.001 - Introduction to Environmental & Social Justice

1:00 PM - 1:50 PM MWF | 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 Gender, Sex & U.S. Empire

3:00 - 4:45 PM TR | Elle Herman, eherman@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 “intersectionalities” 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 globalization, immigration, colonialism, and war). 

In this course, we will explore how the “intersectionalities” of identities have been constructed within a range of institutions, discourses, and processes, such as law, medicine, popular culture, nationalism, colonialism, globalization, 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. military bases and campaigns throughout the world. This course will provide a strong foundation for you to pursue studies in feminist, queer, critical race, and postcolonial theories.

AMST 1140.001 - Introduction to Critical Race and Indigenous Studies

9:00 - 9:50 AM MWF | Staff | 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 1150.001 - Introduction to Southwest Studies

1:00 - 1:50 PM MWF | Jennifer Marley, jenm11@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 1996.001 - Introduction to Asian American Studies

12:00 - 12:50 PM MWF | Shebati Sengupta, ssengupta@unm.edu | Full Semester 

In this course, we will be looking at critical histories and theoretical interventions within Asian American and Pacific Islander studies. What has it meant to be Asian American in the United States? What does it mean to be Asian American today? Together, we will look at the history of Asian American racialization and activism in the United States. We will explore ‘Asian American’ as an umbrella category, a network of solidarity, and an imperfect racialization. We will look at the impacts of US imperialism across the diverse positionalities of Asian America, as well as the theoretical interventions put forth by scholars, artists, activists, and community members. We will explore the present and future of Asian American communities by analyzing contemporary scholarship and community work, as well as Asian American futurisms.   

Asian American studies is a broad and interdisciplinary field. Our course will be similarly expansive, drawing on works by East Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, South Asian, West Asian, Middle Eastern, and Arab American scholars, artists, activists, and community members.  


AMST 309.001 - T:  Resistance, Revolution, Decolonization

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

This is a “topics in social movements course” that will examine three interrelated dynamics for social change – Resistance, Revolution, and Decolonization. This course focuses especially on how Black and Indigenous revolts against slavery, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy and state repression have shaped the history of the modern world. A key area of investigation will be to understand the reverberations, exchanges, solidarities and inspirations that social movements interchange at a local, hemispheric, and global level. Studying a range of radical organizations and revolutionary periods, we will traverse a wide range of localities, geographies and revolts throughout the globe and around the corner from Haiti, Russia, China, Cuba, Africa, and Central America and their intersection with North American Black, Indigenous, Chicanx/Latinx, LGBTQ and worker’s movements. 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 341.001 - T: Indigenous Feminisms

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

The course provides an introduction to the complexities of Indigenous feminisms and feminist studies broadly. We will trace colonial histories & the political, intersectional issues of gender, sexuality, sovereignty, refusal, & radical relationality in Native and Indigenous nations across the U.S. & beyond. Open to all undergraduate students

 

AMST 350.001 - T: The Opioid Crisis-NM & Beyond

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

This course examines the historical and contemporary formation of what has become known as the “opioid crisis” in the United States. In this course students will consider the role of capitalism and its intersection with gender, race, ability, and class that impact how the opioid crisis as taken shape. These insights play a key role in how legislation, public health initiatives, policing, and addiction treatment has informed the responses to the debilitation and mass death caused by opioid use. Throughout the semester students will explore what social, cultural, and economic formations have come to create the material conditions in which opioid use and overdose have impacted the everyday life for millions of Americans. Further, students will explore the various responses to the opioid crisis by public health policy, policing and carceral institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and political activists. Although this course provides perspectives attributed to the US more broadly, this course will also look at the unique formation of the opioid crisis within the New Mexico context including the intersection of drug use, culture, dispossession, colonialism and state and tribal responses.


AMST 380.001 - T: Chicanx Cultural Studies

1:00 - 2:15 PM TR | Michael Trujillo, mltruj@unm.edu | Full Semester

Description Forthcoming.


AMST 485.001 - Senior Seminar

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

This is the capstone course for the American Studies major. It is meant to give students an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned in your American Studies courses and related classes.  It is also a chance for students to do their own, original work on a topic that matters to them.  We will work together to develop and strengthen skills in research, analysis, and writing, but the major part of the seminar is the work students will do to produce a 20-page original senior thesis.


 

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 510.001 - T: Archive: Theory & Fiction

10:00 - 12:30 PM R | David Corriea, dcorreia@unm.edu | Full Semester

This seminar will introduce graduate students to the praxis of scholarly archival research. What counts as evidence in the archive? What are the challenges, standards, mechanics, and rigors of archival research methods? How do scholars account for presence and absence in the archive? What is the relationship between the archive and scholarship based upon the archive? How is our knowledge of the past shaped by the archive? Through an engagement with critical texts in historiography and archival research, we will consider what it means to encounter a past trapped in the archives. We will consider what it means to write about lives reduced to a documentary record of a few lines, and how scholars set out to do it. Can we ever account for the power relations reflected in and by the archive? Most importantly, through hands-on research in the archive, we will learn what it means to practice scholarly archival research as a methodology. What are its basic skills and critical methods, and what are its limits? How should we confront the challenge of entering a world of contradiction and confusion? How does the archival researcher survive what Arlette Farge called “the allure of the archive”? What should we make of what Michel Foucault called the “poem-lives” of those we encounter there? And what honest thing can be written about people discovered there? Lives for whom the archive, as Saidiya Hartman writes, constitute “a death sentence, a tomb, a display of the violated body.”  


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 540.001 - T: Race, Sex & Fashion

4:00 - 6:30 PM W | Frank Galarte, galarte@unm.edu | Full Semester

Decription Forthcoming.


AMST 550.001 - T: Anticolonial Worldmaking

10:00 - 12:30 PM T | Alyosha Goldstein, agoldste@unm.edu | Full Semester

This seminar examines anticolonial revolts and solidarities, Pan-African, Black, and radical internationalisms, maroon societies, and abolitionist, feminist, working-class, and anticapitalist movements that not only challenged imperial and colonialist invasion and occupation but sought to imagine and collectively build worlds otherwise. Readings and discussion will situate the so-called “era of decolonization” (often narrowly periodized as 1945-1975) within a more expansive historical and geopolitical context that includes Indigenous peoples’ resistance to colonization. Rather than more limited sense of the national liberation struggles that culminated in newly independent nation-states after the Second World War, we focus on historical flashpoints from thePueblo Revolt of 1680 to the Andean insurrection of the early 1780s to the Haitian Revolution to the Algerian Revolution to the Red Power movement to more recent movements to dismantle imperial economies of colonial-capitalist extractivism and create new possibilities for more sustainable and ethical relations among the human and more-than-human world. While attending to the various historical and ongoing formations of empire and their interdependent racial, gendered, sexual, anthropocentric, and ecological violences, the primary concern of this seminar are key examples of worldmaking through and beyond these dispossessive practices and conditions.Readings include “classic” texts by Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, Claudia Jones,José Carlos Mariátegui, Walter Rodney, and Zitkala-Ša,as well as selections from Julian Aguon, Glen Coulthard, Adom Getachew, Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Moon-Ho Jung,Minkah Makalani, Tracey Banivanua Mar,Achille Mbembe, Elaine Mokhtefi,Quito J. Swan, and the Red Nation.

 


AMST 1110 - Introduction to Environmental and Social Justice

Matthew MacDermant, mmacdermant@unm.edu | Full Semester

David Correia, dcorreia@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 1130.001 - Politics in Pop Culture

Shebati Sengupta, ssengupta@unm.edu | Full Semester

Description Forthcoming.


AMST 1140.003 - Introduction to Critical Race and Indigenous Studies

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

This course introduces students to the historical and contemporary politics of race and Indigenous self-determination 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 and colonialism 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 social identities. 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

Michael Trujillo, mltruj@unm.edu | 2nd 8-weeks

Melissa Bendt, mbbendt@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.

Jennifer Denetdale

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


Alyosha Goldstein

Director of Graduate Studies
Humanities Building - Room 436 
Phone: 277-3929


Rebecca Schreiber

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Humanities Building - Room 426
Phone: 277-3929