American Studies Courses

American Studies Courses

In addition to the annual Scherer Center Seminar course, the Center helps students coordinate programs of study on American topics. The following courses are crosslisted with American Studies for the 2017-2018 term by departments and schools across the University. 

Please note: the course numbers for all American Studies classes are the same as the parent department, but simply substite the AMER prefix.

Autumn 2017

HIST 62503 Colloquium: US Legal History—Sovereignty, Property, Rights (A. Dru Stanley)
This course explores classic, recent, and theoretical/conceptual works in legal history, as well as selected landmark legal cases. Key themes include sovereignty and democracy, equality and difference, property and power, rights and equity. We will consider how the rule of law is studied in light of major historical transformations—the birth of the Republic, capitalist development, slavery abolition, and the emergence of the welfare state.
 

Winter 2018

HIST 63904 Colloquium: Rise of the Carceral State (K. Belew)
This course explores the historical roots and late-twentieth century rise of mass incarceration in the United States. We will focus on three major themes: the emergence of the prison-industrial complex, histories of racialized prison labor, and local economies around prisons; racialized and militarized policing, mandatory mimums, and the war on drugs; and militarism more broadly in American life and culture. Within these historical trajectories, we will focus on mass incarceration as continuity and change with earlier moments; race and gender as rendered through the carceral state; and how the state itself has shifted to promote and accommodate militarized policing and large numbers of incarcerated people.
 
 

Spring 2018

 
HIST 29905/HIST 39905 History of the Megalopolis in the Americas (M. Tenorio)
The megalopolis comprises a unique phenomenon where social conflicts, such as violence and inequality, and ecological devastation occur simultaneously with social mobility and economic, cultural, and political opportunities. And all occur at exponential rates. What historical factors mades such monsters possible in the Americas? What do they tell us about larger urban, social, and cultural assumptions about history? The course will explore these questions, focused on such cities as Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
 
 
HIST 48400 Colloquium: United States Intellectual History (M. Rossi)
The practice of intellectual history has famously been described as "like nailing jelly to the wall." In this course, we will look at different methods, modes, and strategies employed by contemporary scholars in order to get a handle on the slippery topic of ideas in United States history. In addition to examining major trends in American thought since the nineteenth century, we will consider what the writing of ideas entails; where and how the disciplinary borders of history are drawn; how ideas travel; and how to think about ideas, ideologies, concepts, and thoughts in conjunction with the people, places, institutions, environments, non-human organisms, and material things that form the substrate of historical narratives.

 

Past Courses

The course archive offers a representative looks at past courses offered in the study of American culture at the University of Chicago. For the current year's course offerings, please the University of Chicago's Time Schedules.
 

Courses 2015-2016

American Legal History: The Twentieth Century

LAWS 97603 - 01 (3) c/l, e, x

Laura Weinrib

This course examines major legal and constitutional conflicts in twentieth century American history. Topics include law and social movements, the role of the courts, rights consciousness, the legal profession, and legal thought. Students will connect legal texts and legal struggles to broader developments in social, cultural, and political history. Grading is based on class participation and a final examination.

 

American Law and the Rhetoric of Race

LAWS 49801 - 01 (3) c/l

Dennis J. Hutchinson

This course presents an episodic study of the ways in which American law has treated legal issues involving race. Two episodes are studied in detail: the criminal law of slavery during the antebellum period and the constitutional attack on state-imposed segregation in the twentieth century. The case method is used, although close attention is paid to litigation strategy as well as to judicial opinions. Undergraduate students registering in LLSO, PLSC, HIST cross-listed offerings must request faculty consent prior to registration. Law students do NOT need consent. Grades are based on class participation and a final examination.

 

Hawthorne and Melville

ENGL 25406

Janice Knight

In the two year period between 1850-1852 Hawthorne and Melville produced five remarkable books: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, Moby-Dick, and Pierre. During this same time they lived within six miles of each other in Berkshires, a circumstance that initiated a strong literary friendship and that prompted a number of shared literary, aesthetic, and political preoccupations. This course will focus on four texts: Hawthorne’s Mosses from and Old Manse and The Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s “Hawthorne and his Mosses” and Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into these texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (B, G)

 

American Art since the Great War

ARTH 15707

A survey of major figures and developments in visual arts and related fields since roughly 1920. Chronological in progression, this course affords students a wide view of consequential developments in and beyond major art centers and occurring across mediums and national borders. Themes to be considered will include American metabolizations of cubism and Dada, as well as more homegrown manners including regionalism, abstract expressionism, color field, happenings, neo-Dada, pop, op Art, minimal art, process, performance, Situationism, conceptual art, experimental film and video, earth and land art, neo-geo, and others. D. English.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond

ARTH 17410

This course looks at Wright’s work from multiple angles, examining his architecture, urbanism, relationship to the built environment and socio-cultural context of his lifetime, and legend. We’ll take advantage of the Robie House on campus, and of the rich legacy of Wright’s early work in Chicago; we’ll also think about his later “Usonian” houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (“Broadacre City”), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a required one-day Friday field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect’s work in context, students will gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism. K. Taylor

HIST 63904  Colloquium: Violence in United States History and Historiography  (K. Belew)  This colloquium explores the ways in which "histories of violence," as an emerging field, is entering scholarly conversations both in and beyond the field of history. Centralizing violence in historical study allows us to place in conversation historical monographs from several subfields, including women's history, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial studies, environmental history, history of conservatism, and legal history. We will explore the relationship between bureaucracy, surveillance, and vigilantism; war, militarism, and paramilitarism; ideas about reproduction and intersectionality; and the limitations of discourses of nonviolence, freedom, and equality. This course moves both chronologically and topically to emphasize several questions: how has violence played a role in constructing and shoring up state and systemic power? How have particular bodies and sites served as the site of this power's articulation, through surveillance, violence, and bureaucracy? What is the relationship between racial and sexual violence? How has violence shaped particular environments? What is the relationship between violence, alliance politics, and social movements?

HIST 47101  Colloquium: Re-imagining the US Civil War and Reconstruction  (J. Saville)  This course explores the conflicts and contestations opened by efforts to reestablish new basis of national life in the aftermath of the political dismantling of slavery during the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Course readings and discussions explore ways to reconceive of US Reconstruction as a national and indeed even international phenomenon, rather than as an exclusively regional process. Readings and discussions will give particular attention to territorial expansion and annexation in American national and domestic life during the nineteenth century, the politics and economics of national reunification of former Confederate states and new western territories, and changes in the material, moral, and political meanings of freedom during the postwar acceleration of capitalist industrial and agricultural development. What is the role of violence in social change? What new political, economic, and cultural conflicts were opened by slavery’s abolition? How did former slaveowners, former slaves, government policymakers, and abolitionists envision the promises and dangers of emancipation? What labor systems replaced slavery? What were the ideologies, laws, and social practices by which work and citizenship were reconfigured in the upheaval of Reconstruction? Can we connect ideologies and projects of slave emancipation to the Reconstruction era’s crisis in the administration of justice and the emergence of racial, class, and gendered constraints on citizenship? What does a consideration of social change in the West and in Native America add to our understanding of the historical tasks of Reconstruction? Through consideration of such questions we explore the material and symbolic efforts to define and change the terms of participation in a postemancipation world as they relate to contradictions of modern freedom and to the production of histories about this era.

How Walden Was Made

Winter 2015-2016

ENGL 20208

Eric Slauter

This course explores the composition, production, and reception of Thoreau’s Walden. In early sessions we trace Thoreau’s writing process from his journals, lectures, and early drafts to the finished, copyrighted manuscript and attend to the way in which his text registers and resists political and social issues in the United States in the 1840s and 1850s (especially immigration, slavery, and war). Then, taking Walden as a case study in the history of the book, we investigate key aspects of industrial book production in the mid-nineteenth century (from papermaking, stereotyping, lithography, engraving, printing, and binding to marketing, distribution, and bookselling); in doing so, we make visible the large cast of players (including female operatives, child laborers, and free and enslaved African Americans) who ultimately turned Thoreau’s manuscript into a book. Finally, we examine various historical contingencies that made the book into a classic, attending to its reception by different domestic and international readers and movements from the 1850s to the present. This hands-on course meets in the Rosenthal Seminar Room in the Special Collections Research Center in Regenstein Library. (G)

The American Novel, 1950-1990

Winter 2015-2016

ENGL 26909

Richard So

Readings of major works of American fiction from the post-war period to the end of the Cold War. Likely authors include Mailer, Pynchon, Morrison, Hong Kingston, Updike, and others. Topics will include the Cold War, American Century, race relations, new media, consumerism, etc. (B)

Black in the City

Winter 2015-2016

ENGL 27008

Adrienne Brown

Moving from slave narratives to contemporary hip hop, this course will look at the ways African American writers have staged encounters with sites of urbanity. While black bodies in cities have typically been associated with specific enclaves (Harlem, the Southside) or distinct time periods (the two Great Migrations), a closer work at key African American works offers a more sprawling story of black relationships to urban spaces, technologies, and rhythms. We will pay close attention to not just how African Americans have represented the city but the methodologies they have invented and experimented with in their study of it. From the juxtaposition of Southern and Northern cities in slave narratives, to works associated with the Harlem Renaissance that look beyond Harlem, Gwendolyn Brooks’ mid-century experiments in urban seeing, Spike Lee’s staged urban explosions and Kendrick Lamar’s Compton soundscapes, this course aims to complicate both the dream and the despair yoked to being black in the city. (B, G)

Aesthetics of Media: Image, Music, Text

Winter 2015-2016

ENGL 12810 / 32810

W.J.T. Mitchell; Janice Misurell-Mitchell

Designed for advanced undergraduates and first year graduate students, this course will take up the image/sound/text complex as a foundational issue in aesthetics and media. Our aim will be to ask why this particular triangulation of media aesthetics has been so enduring, ranging all the way from Aristotle’s dramatic triad of opsis, melos, lexis, to Nelson Goodman’s semiotic distinctions between “score, script, and sketch,” to Friedrich Kittler’s reflections on technology in Gramaphone, Film, Typewriter. We will investigate a range of examples, from the Wagnerian notion of the Gesamstkunstwerk to the role of sound in cinema to the modernist impulse to “purify” the arts, or (conversely) to mix them in multi-media practices. The role of technology and technical innovation in the history of media will be considered, from the invention of writing and printing systems, musical and dance notation, “mechanical” processes such as photography/phonography, cinema, and video to the rise of electronic, digital media and network aesthetics. Students will be expected to give a performance or demonstration that reflects on the interplay of image, sound, and words, OR to write a short reference article on a key concept in media theory for the Glossary of Keywords in Media Theory. (See the graphic interface at http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/navigation.htm). Visual artists, writers, and musicians are cordially welcome. (H)

Poetry of the Americas

Winter 2015-2016

ENGL 28613

Rachel Galvin

This course investigates the long poem or “post-epic” in 20th- and 21st-century North and Latin America. As we test the limits of the term post-epic, we will consider whether it may be applied equally to the heroic tale and the open field poem. How do poets interpret the idea of “the Americas” as lands, nations, and sources of identity in these works, and in what tangled ways do their poetics develop through dialogue across linguistic and geographical distances? Authors may include Pablo Neruda, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Vicente Huidobro, Aimé Césaire, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Anne Carson, Lisa Robertson, M. NourbeSe Philip, Urayoán Noel, and Jennifer Tamayo. (C, G)


ENGL 47905 Contemporary Latino/a Poetry
ENGL 45406 Emily Dickinson
ENGL 21108 Resurrecting God

CMS 61101 Birth of a Nation

LAWS 97603 American Legal History: The Twentieth Century
LAWS 49801 American Law and the Rhetoric of Race

HIST 60302 Immigration & Assimilation in American Life
HIST 27012/37012 Histories of Violence

ANTH 24320/35110 Cultural Psychology
ANTH 25117 About Nature
ANTH 25310 Drinking Alcohol: Social Problem or Normal Cultural Practice?

 

Courses 2013-2014

 

Art History

Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond

This course looks at Wright’s work from multiple angles. We examine his architecture, urbanism, and relationship to the built environment, as well as the socio-cultural context of his lifetime and legend. We take advantage of the Robie House on campus and of the rich legacy of Wright’s early work in Chicago; we also think about his later Usonian houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (Broadacre City), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect’s work in context, students gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism.

Autumn 2013

K. Talyor

 

Cinema and Media Studies

Post WWII American Mise en Scene Directors

This course will treat the style of a number of American Hollywood feature film directors during the two decades after World War II, including Nicholas Ray, Anthony Mann, Otto Preminger, and others. These directors were singled out at that time by the critics writing for the French journal Cahiers du Cinema as auteurs, directors with a consistent style. Critics in France, England, and the USA used the term mise en scene to discuss their use of framing, performance, editing, and camera movement and especially their use of new technologies such as wide screen and color. This course will explore the concept of directors’ style as well as the mode of close analysis criticism that grew out of this concept.

Spring 2014

T. Gunning

 

English

Literature of 9/11

This course explores how 9/11 informs 21st-century literature. It understands the category of "literature" broadly: as Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors write in The New Literary History of America, the "literary" is not only what is written but also what is voiced, what is expressed, what is invented, in whatever form. As such, we will analyze novels, graphic narratives, memoirs, music, films, professional and amateur photography, and civic memorials and public art projects, as well as recent critical and theoretical studies about trauma and mourning, to develop a framework for gauging contemporary cultural and aesthetic responses to and representations of disaster. Texts may include Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers, Ernie Colón and Sid Jacobson's 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, Don DeLillo's Falling Man, Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs (ed. Peress et al), Jenny Holzer's 7 World Trade Center project, such essays as DeLillo's "In the Ruins of the Future," and the films United 93 and World Trade Center, along with writing by Judith Butler, Marianne Hirsch, E. Ann Kaplan, and Jill Bennett, among others.

Spring 2014

H. Chute

The American Novel

Intensive readings in American fiction during its rise to prominence. Likely authors will include Mark Twain, Henry James, W. D. Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser. We'll pair close readings of the texts with broader considerations of the period's massive social transformations: urban industrialism and labor, migration and race relations, the rise of new forms of media, consumer culture, and shifting gender norms.

Spring 2014

R. So

Late 20th Century US Literature and Culture

Ranging across genres and media platforms, this survey course covers the major aesthetic innovations of the late 20th century in their historical context. Beginning with the end of World War II and ending at 9/11, each week will contain one major reading and several smaller ones as well as samplings of other arts (photography, film, performance art, etc.) relevant or analogous to the readings.

Spring 2014

D. Nelson

Aesthetic Judgment and 19th C American Literature

We will read a variety of texts from 19th century American literature (Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Jacobs, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe), and some non-American philosophy (Kant, Adorno) as a frame for thinking about the work of aesthetic judgment in philosophical modernity, and, in turn, the work of American literature in a modern critical imaginary.

Spring 2014

J. Duesterberg

Introduction to African American Literature, 1892-1974

This course will examine the political considerations and the literary and critical texts that gave rise to the conception of, and the effort to establish, a distinctively black literary practice. We will seek to understand why the idea of a black literature emerged and the way that this idea shaped aesthetic and critical practices for black writers over the course of the 20th century.

Winter 2014

K. Warren

American West

This course considers the power of the west as an imagined construct, an ideologically charged and prophetic “direction” in American cultural production. Beginning with Elizabethan dreams of wealth and haven, as well as Revolutionary and Jeffersonian articulations of America’s redemptive role in world politics, we will focus primarily on 19th novels and paintings of westwarding as an American “manifest destiny.” Finally, we will turn to the marketing of the west in dime novels, the Wild West Show, Hollywood films, and contemporary television. Throughout the quarter we will follow out the challenges posed by recent scholars of the New Western History to boosters of the mythic west.

Winter 2014

J. Knight

Genres of American Pessimism

This course will be devoted to studying genres of American pessimism, which seek to overturn the assumptions undergirding various forms of “positive thinking.” We will find genres that counter the optimistic American ethos—among them, gothic and horror fiction, tragedy, satire, naturalism, noir, and the revisionist western. Along the way, we will track the philosophical and cultural underpinnings of pessimistic thought. We will read literary works by Edwards, Brockden Brown, Hawthorne, Twain, Henry James, Bierce, Larsen, Lovecraft, Mencken, Barnes, Faulkner, Baldwin, John Williams, and McCarthy. Additionally, we will study theoretical and philosophical accounts by King Solomon, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Adorno, Joshua Foa Dienstag, and Lee Edelman.

Winter 2014

M. Rayburn

 

History

America in the Twentieth Century

This lecture course provides an introductory survey of major developments in American history in the twentieth century. It is structured around a political history narrative, but we will examine events from a wide range of perspectives: legal, intellectual, social, economic, diplomatic, military, religious. The course is neither encyclopedic nor focused on mastering facts (although this is not discouraged). It is rather concerned with “big” questions about American history since circa 1900, including the role and scope of government and the rights and obligations of citizens.

Spring 2014

J. Dailey

Colloquium: Urban US History

This course introduces graduate students to important and innovative scholarly texts in the study of American urban history, with a focus on the nineteenth century.  Readings touch upon a range of methodologies, themes, and historical experiences, with some focus on white-Indian relations, slavery, gender roles, the West, reformism, and the cultural histories of market relations, public perception, and spectacle, and print communication. The colloquium is intended for doctoral students in any department who intended to pursue primary, secondary, or outside fields of study in US history, American social and  cultural history, comparative cultural history, or American literature. Requirements include careful reading, active and thoughtful participation, and two historiographical presentations in class.

Spring 2014

A. Lippert

Colloquium: The Civil Rights Movement

This course is designed to explore selected topics in the history and historiography of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, with a special focus on the lived experience of movement activists. Our principal objectives will be identifying the roots and causes of the movement, putting it in context of earlier political mobilizations as well as distinguishing it from them, and tracing the countervailing social, political, and international forces that shaped its evolution from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. Principal course requirement will be an essay examining one of the key topics or themes of the course in depth.

Spring 2014

T. Holt

Turning Right: Conservative Politics in the Long 20th Century

Historians have struggled to make sense of a “conservative turn” in the United States since the serial crises of the New Deal order and the rise of movement conservatism in the latter half of the 20th century. This course offers a deeper perspective on the historical varieties of conservative thought and politics in the American past by examining (1) the career of the Republican Party in shaping American political economy, culture, and mores between the 1850s and 1920s, and (2) responses to the New Deal state and social change between the 1930s and the age of Obama, in which conservatives have frequently been cast as dissidents, insurgents, populists, or an ascendant silent majority. Students will be asked to consider the shifting historical meanings of “conservative” politics and the usefulness of the “conservative turn” as a description of recent American history.

Spring 2014

J. McCallum III

Colloquium: Race, Sex, and the Law

This graduate reading colloquium explores the centrality of questions about sex and marriage to the ongoing effort to define the rights of Americans. Our principal focus will be on the African American freedom struggle, but we will also consider how putting issues of interracial sex and marriage at the heart of the civil-rights movement changes its narrative as well as intersects with other modern civil-rights struggles, especially over same-sex marriage.

Spring 2014

J. Dailey

Women in the Civil Rights Movement

Women initiated, organized, and sustained the civil rights movement. Not only did women activists far outnumber men, but they also emerged as leaders in working-class and poor neighborhoods more often than men. This course will investigate women’s diverse visions of and involvement in social justice using historical texts, film, television, and music. Taking the long civil rights movement approach, it will consider middle-class and working-class activism towards racial, gender, and economic justice in the early twentieth century, the labor-oriented civil rights movement of the 1930s and 1940s, and the modern civil rights and women’s liberation movements. Special attention will be paid to the relationships between black and white women and the impact of the movement on women’s status and identity. Notable activists, such as Mary Church Terrell, Ella Baker, Florynce Kennedy, Lena Horne, and Nina Simone, as well as those who remain unnamed in the historical record, will be critical to this investigation.

Spring 2014

T. Parker

Not Just the Facts: Telling About the American South

The great jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once observed: “The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” This course concerns itself with the various ways people have striven to understand the American South, past and present. We read fiction, autobiography, and history (including meditations on how to write history).  Main themes of the course include the difference between historical scholarship and writing history in fictional form; the role of the author in each, and consideration of the interstitial space of autobiography; the question of authorial authenticity; and the tension between contemporary demands for truthfulness and the rejection of “truth.”

PQ: Upper-level undergraduates.

Winter 2014

J. Dailey

Early America to 1800

This course surveys major themes in the settlement of the British colonies, the crisis of the American Revolution, and the growth of American society and politics.

Autumn 2013

E. Cook Jr.

US Legal History

This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.

Autumn 2013

A. Stanley

 

History of Christianity

Cities on a Hill, 1630-Present

Beginning with John Winthrop’s famous 1630 speech, “A Model of Christian Charity,” and ending with the 2012 presidential election, we will examine the image of America as a “city on a hill.” How has this image changed and developed over time? We will discuss how it has been used by a variety of figures, including Puritans, nineteenth-century women’s rights activists and abolitionists, defenders of manifest destiny, and activists in the Christian Right.

Spring 2014

C. Brekus

Research in American Religious History

This course is a seminar for students who wish to write research papers on American religious history. We will discuss how to identify good topics and ask good analytical questions, how to find sources, and how to make persuasive claims. Students are required to make two class presentations and to write a final paper, 25-30 pages in length. Given the brevity of the quarter, students are encouraged to identify a research topic before the first class or to expand a previous essay into a comprehensive research paper.

Spring 2014

C. Brekus

 

Human Rights

Law, Mobilization, and Social Change in Comparative Perspective

This course examines various approaches to law, social movements, and social change. In what ways and under what conditions do legal institutions constrain movement activity and when do they offer opportunities for social movements? How do social movements use legal mobilization and claims about legal rights to pursue their goals? Under what conditions do movements choose to use institutional channels and when do they take extra-legal action? When do rights frameworks tend to be most effective in making claims on the state? What are the roles of lawyers and other experts in reproducing existing institutions or fostering social change? What is the relationship between global norms and the local realities of implementation? We will explore these questions using a series of case studies on women’s rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, environmental justice, and other sites of mobilization drawn from the global north and south, especially in the Americas.

Spring 2014

M. Akchurin

 

Political Science

American Politics Workshop

The American Politics Workshop is a forum for University of Chicago students and faculty to present and discuss research in all areas of U.S. politics. On a regular basis, the workshop also features speakers from other universities. Through presentations and critical discussion, workshop participants are exposed to emerging work in the field.

Autumn 2013

C. Cohen & E. Oliver

 

Psychology

Cultural Psychology

There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of “normal” psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of “culture” and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.

Autumn 2013

R. Shweder

 

Religions in America

The Christian Right:  History and Historiography

 This seminar examines the “new” Christian Right as a political project and a prescriptive Christian way of living in a rapidly changing society.  We explore the question of whether the Christian Right is primarily a response to a number of cultural and political shifts in the 1960s or a movement with a longer history and a broader agenda.  Attention is also paid to the relationship between the Christian Right and the larger evangelical movement.

Winter 2014

C. Evans

Race and Religion in the U.S. in the 20th Century

This course explores the major changes in race relations in the 20th century in the context of religious communities and shifts in understandings of race.  Particular attention is placed on how churches and religious communities have shaped and constructed religious and social identities.  The focus is primarily on Christian communities and how they have responded to internal and external pressures to address the racial divide within churches and the broader society.

Winter 2014

C. Evans

 

Religious Studies

Women, Gender, and Religion in America

This course asks how religious communities have shaped gender roles in colonial North America and the United States, and how individuals have both reproduced and challenged the dominant gender discourses of their time. Among other topics we will discuss witchcraft accusations in early America, the ideology of “Republican motherhood” during the American Revolution, the controversies over women’s religious leadership in the nineteenth century, the rise of “muscular Christianity” at the turn of the twentieth century, and recent debates over homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and women’s ordination. Requirements: class attendance/participation, class presentation, midterm exam, final exam.

Winter 2014

C. Brekus

 

Courses 2012-2013

The Scherer Center sponsors an annual seminar for PhD students. The seminar for 2012-13, cross-listed in the departments of English and History as well as the Divinity School, was entitled “The Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture” and featured the recent scholarship of (and visits from) faculty members who teach in Anthropology, Art History, the Divinity School, Economics, English, History, the Law School, Philosophy, and Social Thought.

ENGL 55405/HIST 62304/RLIT 48801/HCHR 48801 This seminar surveys the rich and varied multidisciplinary study of American culture as it is currently practiced at the University of Chicago. Seminar members read and discuss together recent books by scholars who teach in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Divinity School, the Law School, and the Booth School of Business. Though interested in the way in which members of different departments and disciplines frame questions and problems, we will also be attuned to convergences in themes, approaches, and methods. During the last half of our seminar meetings the authors of our readings will join us for a discussion of their work and their fields. E. Slauter, Spring 2013

Art History

The Visual Arts in American Culture, 1830-1945

This course introduces students to multiple modes of art’s production and reception from the Jacksonian era to World War II—the period broadly characterized by the United States’ consolidation of North American territories into nationhood; its emergence as an imperial power; its competitive participation in industrialization and modernization alongside other western societies; and near-constant turmoil over the parameters and requirements of citizenship and “culture.” The arts in the U.S. have never been limited to an elite tradition of painting and sculpture; indeed much of their vitality derives from interchange between European academic models of art and the popular, vernacular, and mass-media visual forms developed in the Americas, inflected by both indigenous traditions and those carried by slaves and immigrants. Our subjects will include monuments, landscape and urban design, architecture, mural and easel painting, popular prints and illustration, photography and avant-garde cinema, modern iterations of “craft,” public and private forms of patronage and collecting, and the establishment and aspirations of civic art museums. We will study relationships of artistic production to aesthetic, political, economic, environmental, and religious discourses—asking how those intersections precipitated new visual forms, practices, and iconography; new audiences; rapidly changing definitions of “art” and “artist”; and ongoing efforts to define what is, or should be, “American” in visual art and culture. Some written assignments will require visits to local museums. S. Miller, Autumn 2012

 

Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond

This course looks at Wright’s work from multiple angles, examining his architecture, urbanism, relationship to the built environment and socio-cultural context of his lifetime, and legend. We’ll take advantage of the Robie House on campus, and of the rich legacy of Wright’s early work in Chicago; we’ll also think about his later “Usonian” houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work (“Broadacre City”), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a required one-day Friday field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining one architect’s work in context, students will gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism. K. Taylor, Autumn 2012

 

New Art in Chicago Museums and Other Spaces

Through very regular, required site visits to museums, galleries, and experimental spaces in the greater Chicago area, this course introduces students to the close consideration—in situ—of works of art created in and for our time, as well as to pertinent modes of critical and historical inquiry. Sites visited can include our own Smart Museum of Art, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and private collections and galleries. Enrollment strictly limited to 12 with instructor consent required. D. English, Autumn 2012

 

Sexuality Studies in American Art

Taking the recent, controversial exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference & Desire in American Portraiture as our springboard, this course examines the plural strategies by which sexuality studies (in modes ranging from feminist history to psychoanalysis to queer theory) have been brought to bear on the canon of modern American art over the past thirty years, and the ways they have refigured our investigative methods, our objects of study, and the canon itself. Treating sexuality as a multivalent force in the creation of modern art and culture (rather than merely as subject), our topics will range from the 1870s to the 1960s—the years before artistic engagements with sexuality and gender were radically transformed by postmodernism and contemporary identity politics. Case studies will include the work of, and recent scholarship about, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, the Stieglitz circle (Charles Demuth, Georgia O’Keeffe), the trans-Atlantic “New Women” of the 1920s (Berenice Abbott, Romaine Brooks), the downtown bohemian and uptown Harlem Renaissance scenes of 1920s-30s New York, Joseph Cornell, Jasper Johns & Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Eva Hesse. Readings are drawn from recent art historical and key theoretical texts, with an emphasis on methodological analysis. S. Miller, Autumn 2012

 

The Black Arts Movement in Chicago

This course studies the 1960s-1970s Black Arts Movement in Chicago, in particular its visual artists, in the broader context of African American art and artists in Chicago from the 1940s to the 1990s. The class will make frequent trips to the South Side Community Art Center at 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Topics include the relationship of art to political militancy, the place of history, the formation of a “Black aesthetic,” text-image relations, and the uses of different media (painting and sculpture, printmaking, performance). Students in the course will work together to curate an exhibition. No art history expertise is required, but willingness to work independently and as a group is essential. R. Zorach, Winter 2013

 

Visual Art in the Postwar U.S.

A survey of major figures and developments in visual arts and related fields since roughly 1945. Chronological in progression, this course nevertheless affords a wide view of consequential developments in and beyond major art centers and occurring across mediums and national borders. Themes to be considered will include Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Happenings, Neo-Dada, Pop Art, Op Art, Minimal Art, Process, Performance, Situationism, Conceptual Art, experimental film and video, Earth Art, Neo-Geo, and others. D. English, Spring 2013

 

University of Chicago Campus

An introduction to architecture and planning, this course examines the changes in thinking about the University campus from its origins in the 1890s to the present. Many of the University’s choices epitomize those shaping American architecture generally and some of our architects are of national significance. The course develops skill in analyzing architecture and urban form in order to interpret: how the University images itself in masonry, metal, and lawn; how it works with architects; the role of buildings in social and intellectual programs and values; the effects of campus plans and the siting of individual buildings; and the impact of technological change. “On site” sessions and study of archival documents required. K. Taylor, Spring 2013

 

The 1930s as Culture Laboratory

The 1930s was a decade of wildly diverse artistic experiments in the United States, a veritable laboratory for modernizing American art and for redefining “culture” itself. This course introduces a wide range of those experiments, with readings drawn largely from primary sources. Topics include debates about realism vs. abstraction; American versions of surrealism; the work and impact of Mexican muralists in the U.S.; Midwestern regionalism and its controversial nativist sources; African-American artists in Chicago and New York; the impact of European émigré artists and scholars; the involvement of American artists in international anti-fascist movements; experiments in curatorial practice at the fledgling Museum of Modern Art, including the “Machine Art” exhibition; the emergence of “documentary” theories and practices in photography, film, and literature; the rise of photo-magazines LIFE & Look; the WPA Federal Arts Program; and the 1939 World’s Fair. S. Miller, Spring 2013

 

Divinity School

American Religious Naturalism Following James

This course will take several soundings in a trajectory of American religious thought that can be said to center of William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, perhaps especially insofar as that is read in light of the late-career philosophical project that James referred to as “radical empiricism.” This tradition of thought might just as well be referred to as “American religious empiricism,” or ~pragmatism, or ~process philosophy; in styling this a tradition of religious “naturalism,” though, I mean not only to make contact particularly with the work of John Dewey, but also (and more importantly) to advance the project of recovering an understanding of “naturalism” that is antithetical to what John McDowell has referred to as “bald naturalism”–where the latter seems, these days, often to be what philosophers suppose we must be talking about in referring to “naturalism.” D. Arnold, Autumn 2012

 

Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619-1865

This course examines the history of Christian thought and practice in relation to slavery’s development in what became the United States. C. Evans, Autumn 2012

 

Religion in Modern America, 1865-1920

This course is a general history of religion in the United States from the Civil War to the 1920s. Special emphases include religious practice, interreligious encounters and conflicts, race, confrontation with modernity, and the changing social and public dimensions of religion in the U.S. C. Evans, Autumn 2012

 

English

The American Novel and the Photographic Impulse: 1895-1940

This course will consider canonical American novels in concert with the photographic images that influenced their writers and their eras. We will study, for example, how Matthew Brady’s Civil War images helped to produce the realist style of Stephen Crane, as well as how modernist image production and novelistic production might be seen to contradict or reinforce each other. M. Tusler, Autumn 2012

 

Anglo-American Gothic Fiction in the Nineteenth Century

In the nineteenth century, gothic fiction in English is an Anglo-American phenomenon. America’s first internationally recognized literary masterpiece, Rip Van Winkle, is written in England and appears the same year as Frankenstein. Our course will study the transatlantic aspect of the gothic tradition, while we also give full attention to the particular qualities of individual texts. Close reading will be central to our project. Attention to textual intricacies will lead to questions about gender and psychology, as well as culture. W. Veeder, Autumn 2012

 

American Literary Naturalism and Modernity

Naturalism is commonly understood as a genre that depicts human behavior as determined or influenced by environment and instinct. In this course we will ask what this genre might teach us about subjects embedded in the modern environments of industrial capital and urban centers. We will read from authors who are usually categorized as naturalists, such as Emile Zola, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodor Dreiser, and Edith Wharton; and from authors not usually considered to be naturalist like Don DeLillo. S. Hutchison, Autumn 2012

 

Late Nineteenth-Century American Literary Realism

This course takes up major 19th-century American novelists in conjunction with philosophical and scientific essays that reflect on the project of representing “the real."  K. Warren, Autumn 2012

 

Theory in the Archive: Working through Freedom in the Americas

This course will consider re-elaborations, interruptions, and improvisations with Enlightenment-era notions of freedom articulated by the African diaspora in the Americas before the twentieth century. Reading a multi-generic archive of polemical pamphlets, poetry, slave narratives, and other ephemera, we will see how diasporans worked through—neither simply rejecting nor accepting—dominant European philosophies of freedom. C. Taylor, Winter 2013

 

Chicago

In this course we will sample some of Chicago’s wonders, exploring aspects of its history, literature, architecture, neighborhoods, and peoples. We begin with study of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the early history of Chicago as a mecca for domestic and international immigrants. In subsequent weeks we will examine the structure of neighborhood communities, local debates about cultural diversity and group assimilation, and the ideology and artifacts of art movements centered in Chicago. J. Knight, Winter 2013

 

The American Novel and the Death of Jim Crow

Taken as a whole, the fiction of Richard Wright, William Faulkner, Ann Petry, Paule Marshall, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, and James Baldwin constitutes a powerful testament to the common humanity of black and white Americans in a nation where “separate but equal” in matters of race was deemed consistent with the law of the land. How decisive was the humanistic eloquence of these writers in helping to shift the nation’s legal climate against de jure segregation? How successful was the American novel of race in coming to terms with the turbulent social reality of the Civil Rights era? K. Warren, Winter 2013

 

American Television: From Broadcast Networks to the Internet

The idea of electromechanically transmitted moving images dates back to the nineteenth century and the first technological demonstration of televised moving images took place in the 1920s. While this course touches upon the early history of television, we will focus our attention on the era between the commercialization of television in the United States (in the early 1950s) and the rise of internet-based television via services such as Hulu (in the 2000s). As we will see, the history of television in these years, intersects with numerous other media, such as radio, film, video, digital games, and the novel. Alongside a study of the medium of television and its role in American culture, we will attend carefully to the form of TV narrative as it changes from an early episodic format to the complex long-form serial narratives that attained maturity in the 1990s. Through historical, formal, and cultural analyses, we will attempt to make sense of the recent renaissance of television narrative characterized by such serial programs as The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. The course combines theoretical texts with close readings of particular television shows. Requirements include engaged participation in class discussion, weekly blog entries, a mid-term paper, and a substantive final research paper. There will be no exams. P. Jagoda, Autumn 2012

 

History

US Latinos: Origins & Histories

An examination of the diverse social, economic, political, and cultural histories of those who are now commonly identified as Latinos in the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the formative historical experiences of Mexican-Americans and mainland Puerto Ricans, although some consideration will also be given to the histories of other Latino groups i.e., Cubans, Central Americans, and Dominicans. Topics include cultural and geographic origins and ties; imperialism and colonization; the economics of migration and employment; legal status; work, women, and the family; racism and other forms of discrimination; the politics of national identity; language and popular culture; and the place of Latinos in U.S. society. R. Gutierrez, Autumn 2012

 

Race in the 20th Century Atlantic World

This lecture course will provide an introduction to the workings of race on both sides of the Atlantic from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Topics covered will include: the very definition of the term “race”; policies on the naming, gathering and use of statistics on racial categories; the changing uses of race in advertising; how race figures in the politics and practices of reproduction; representations of race in children’s books; race in sports and the media. We will explore both relatively autonomous developments within the nation-states composing the Atlantic world, but our main focus will be on transfer,connections, and influence across that body of water. Most of the materials assigned will be primary sources ranging from films, fiction, poetry, political interventions, posters, advertisements, music, and material culture. Key theoretical essays from the Caribbean, France, England, and the United States will also be assigned. T. Holt & L. Auslander, Autumn 2012

 

Historical Geography of the U.S.

This course examines the spatial dynamics of empire, the frontier, regional development, the social character of settlement patterns, and the evolution of the cultural landscapes of America from pre-European times to 1900. All-day northern Illinois field trip required. M. Conzen, Autumn 2012

 

Immigration and Assimilation in American Life

This course explores the history of immigration in what is now the United States, starting with the colonial origins of Spanish, French, Dutch and English settlements, the importation of African slaves, and the massive waves of immigrants that arrived in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Additionally, we will study the adaptation of these immigrants, exploring the validity of the concept of assimilation, comparing and contrasting the experiences of the “Old” and “New” immigrants based on their race, religion, and class standing. R. Gutierrez, Autumn 2012

 

Atlantic World

We will examine the British, Spanish and French Atlantic Worlds, c1600-1800 with particular emphasis upon themes that lead themselves to comparative analysis. Topics will include the plantation economy: demography and emigration; colony-metropole relations; imperial rivalries; as well as creole institutions and culture. P. Cheney, Autumn 2012

 

The Politics of Black Culture

In this course we will explore historically the political implications of black culture, including the diverse ways in which culture has been invoked or deployed to political ends, has served as a means of political mobilization, has marked African Americans as fit or unfit for citizenship rights. Through this debate which has been sometimes explicit and at other times sub-rosa we will probe the meanings and significance attributed to race, culture, and their interrelationship.” T. Holt, Autumn 2012

 

Problems in Caribbean-Atlantic

This colloquium broadly surveys interdisciplinary approaches to central themes in the making of Caribbean history, from the 16th through the 20th centuries. J. Saville, Autumn 2012

 

Political Science

The Politics of Climate Change in the U.S. Breakthroughs in climate science affirm with ever more certainty that climate change is occurring and that it is caused by human activity. Yet while the US is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, America has been slow to act and to recommend initiatives to mitigate global warming. In this course, we will examine political responses to climate change in the US through exploration of three interrelated themes: the political meaning of scientific evidence for climate change, media coverage of climate change, and American public opinion on climate change. The class will look at each theme in turn, but the three topics are not mutually exclusive will all come up throughout the quarter. A. Bass, Autumn 2012

 

Contemporary African American Politics

This course explores the issues, actions, and arguments that comprise black politics today. Our specific task is to explore the question of how do African Americans currently engage in politics and political struggles in the United States. This analysis is rooted in a discussion of contemporary issues, including the 2008 presidential election, the response to Hurricane Katrina, debates surrounding the topic of immigration, the exponential incarceration of black people, and the role of rap music and hip-hop among black youth. We situate the politics of African Americans into the larger design we call American politics. Is there such a thing as black politics? If there is, what does it tell us more generally about American politics? C. Cohen, Winter 2013

 

Public Opinion

What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation. J. Brehm, Spring 2013

 

Law and Society

This course examines the myriad relationships between courts, laws, and lawyers in the United States. Issues covered range from legal consciousness to the role of rights to access to courts to implementation of decisions to professionalism. G. Rosenberg, Spring 2013

 

The Political Nature of the American Judicial System

This course aims to introduce students to the political nature of the American legal system. In examining foundational parts of the political science literature on courts conceived of as political institutions, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the course with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. G. Rosenberg, Winter 2013

 

Electoral Politics in America

This course explores the interactions of voters, candidates, the parties, and the media in American national elections, chiefly in the campaign for the presidency, both in nominating primaries and in the November general election. The course will examine how voters learn about candidates, how they perceive candidates, how they come to turn out to vote, and how they decide among the candidates. It will examine the strategies and techniques of electoral campaigns, including the choices of campaign themes and the impact of campaign advertising. It will consider the role of campaign contributors and volunteers, the party campaign organizations, campaign and media polls, and the press. Finally, it will assess the impact of campaigns and elections on governing and policymaking. M. Hansen, Autumn 2012

 

Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution

The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas). M. Dawson, Winter 2013

 

The Political Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois

The seminar will concentrate on three of Du Bois’s books: The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Darkwater (1920), and Dusk of Dawn (1940). Through close readings of these carefully wrought works, we will concentrate on the relationship between Du Bois’s political thought and his conceptualization of race at different stages of his intellectual and activist career. We will also pay attention to Du Bois’s retrospective self-criticisms, and to his reliance on fictional and other genres of writing to articulate his thinking. Finally, we will consider a number of different methodological approaches to the study and appraisal of Du Bois’s political thought in particular and the history of African American political thought more generally, including recent work by Lawrie Balfour, Robert Gooding-Williams, Adolph Reed, Tommie Shelby, and Cornel West. R. Gooding-Williams, Autumn 2012

 

The Politics of Blackness in the Americas

The aim of this course is to examine the politics of blackness and black mobilization in historical context and across a number of countries in the Americas. The course begins with an analysis of the structural and ideological conditions that gave rise to particular kinds of expressions of black politics in countries like the United States, Cuba, Panama, Colombia and Brazil. In this, we focus on the early part of the 20th century and analyze the very different ways black populations and African culture were incorporated into, or excluded from, nationalist projects. This laid the context for complex processes of identity formation that would both facilitate and constrain black mobilization in these countries. We then move to the second half of the 20th century where we examine the emergence of nation-based black political movements alongside a number of attempts to build a broader Pan-African movement of the Americas. In so doing, we pay special attention to the crosspollination of ideologies, strategies and aesthetics among black activists in ways that complicate simple North to South flows of influence. Throughout the course we explore contestation between black activists over the meanings and boundaries around blackness itself, as well as the nature of their racial utopias, both within and across national contexts. T. Paschel, Spring 2013

 

The American Presidency

This course examines the institution of the American presidency. It surveys the foundations of presidential power, both as the Founders conceived it and as it is practiced in the modern era. This course also traces the historical development of the institutional presidency, the president’s relationships with Congress and the courts, the influence presidents wield in domestic and foreign policy making, and the ways in which presidents make decisions in a system of separated powers. W. Howell, Autumn 2012

 

Political Communication Networks

Does an individual’s social context, such as her social networks or social environment, have the ability to impact her political behavior? We focus on identifying a causal relationship from the political behavior of one’s social group to individual political activities. Specific readings are drawn from empirical research which relies upon public opinion surveys and field experiments, with a focus on the role of new media in American political life. B. Sinclair, Spring 2013

 

Political Communication Networks

Does an individual’s social context, such as her social networks or social environment, have the ability to impact her political behavior? We focus on identifying a causal relationship from the political behavior of one’s social group to individual political activities. Specific readings are drawn from empirical research which relies upon public opinion surveys and field experiments, with a focus on the role of new media in American political life. B. Sinclair, Spring 2013

 

Race and Politics in the U.S.

Fundamentally, this course is meant to explore how race, both historically and currently, influences politics in the United States. For example, is there something unique about the politics of African Americans? Does the idea and lived experience of whiteness shape one’s political behavior? Throughout the quarter, students interrogate the way scholars, primarily in the field of American politics, have ignored, conceptualized, measured, modeled, and sometimes fully engaged the concept of race. We examine the multiple manifestations of race in the political domain, both as it functions alone and as it intersects with other identities such as gender, class, and sexuality. C. Cohen, M. Dawson, Winter 2013

 

Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions

An examination of the ways in which United States courts affect public policy. Questions include: How do the procedures, structures, and organization of the courts affect judicial outcomes? Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive impact, including judicial selection, have on court decisions? What are the difficulties with implementation of judicial decisions? G. Rosenberg, Winter 2013

 

The Political Nature of the American Judicial System

This course aims to introduce students to the political nature of the American legal system. In examining foundational parts of the political science literature on courts conceived of as political institutions, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the course with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. G. Rosenberg, Winter 2013

 

Sociology

Social Change in the United States

This course provides students with concepts, facts and methods for understanding the social structure of the contemporary United States, recent changes in the U.S. social structure, survey data for measuring social structure and social change in contemporary industrial societies, and data analysis methods for distinguishing different types of change. This course is taught by traditional and nontraditional methods. The traditional part is taught by a combination of readings, lectures and discussions. The nontraditional part will be taught by in-class, “live” statistical analysis of the 32-year (1972-2004) cumulative file of the NORC General Social Surveys (GSS). R. Stolzenberg, Autumn 2012

Labor Force and Employment

This course introduces key concepts, methods and sources of information for understanding the structure of work and the organization of workers in the United States and other industrialized nations. The course surveys social science approaches to answering key questions about work and employment, including: What is the labor force? What determines the supply of workers? How is work organized into jobs, occupations careers and industries? What, if anything, happened to unions? How much money do workers earn and why? What is the effect of work on health? How do workers and employers find each other? Who is unemployed? What are the employment effects of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and other ascribed characteristics? R. Stolzenberg, Winter 2013

 

 

Courses 2010-2011

The Scherer Center sponsors an annual seminar for PhD students. The seminar for 2010-11, cross-listed in the departments of English and History as well as the Divinity School, was entitled “Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture” and featured the recent scholarship of (and visits from) faculty members who teach in Anthropology, Art History, the Divinity School, Economics, English, History, the Law School, Philosophy, and Social Thought.

ENGL 55405/HIST 62304/RLIT 48801/HCHR 48801 Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture (Scherer Center Seminar for 2010 -11). This seminar treats classic scholarship on American culture, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, and traces the institutionalization of the interdisciplinary project known as American Studies. Faculty members from across the University (Humanities, Social Sciences, Divinity, and Law) join seminar members each week to discuss the lasting significance of the books under discussion. E. Slauter, Autumn 2010

Anthropology

34000: Introduction to Chicago Anthropology Staff, Autumn

34823: Hemingway P. Friedrich, Autumn

35110: Cultural Psychology R. Shweder, Autumn

35325: History and Culture of Baseball J. Kelly, Spring

Art History

35900: Theories of Media W. Mitchell, Autumn

48750: Documentary: New Histories in Progress S. Miller, Autumn

Cinema and Media Studies

37800: Theories of Media W. Mithcell, Autumn

40000: Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies T. Gunning, Autumn

Comparative Human Development

42402: Trial Research in Human Development R. Taub, Autumn

Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

37200: African-American History to 1877 T. Holt, Autumn

30173: Inequality in American Society M. Small, Spring

Comparative Literature

37300: The Modern Regime in Art I: The End of Romanticism R. Pippin, D. Wellberry, Autumn

Divinity

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

53500: Religious Authority B. Lincoln, Autumn

History of Christianity 42901: Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619 – 1865 C. Evans, Autumn

43301: Religion in Modern America, 1865 – 1920 C. Evans, Autumn

42100: The Enlightenment in America C. Brekus, Winter

42101: Evangelicanism in America C. Brekus, Winter

44300: Religion and Emotion in American Culture W. Gilpin, Winter

44901: Race and Religion in 20th Century American Culture C. Evans, Winter

42000: Research on American Religious History C. Brekus, Spring

53100: US Social History: Catholics and Americans K. Conzen, Spring

Religious Ethics

43900: Religion and Democracy F. Gamwell, Autumn

Economics

32200: Population and the Economy R. Fogel, Autumn

42900: Innovators D. Galenson, Autumn

51200: Workshop: Econometrics J. Heckman, Autumn

52200: Workshop on the Economics and Biodemography of Aging R. Fogel, Autumn

32000: American Economic History D. Galenson, Winter

42800: Creativity D. Galenson, Winter

English

32800: Theories of Media W. Mitchell, Autumn

35932: Representing Finance in 20th Century American Literature and Film L. LaBerge, Autumn

42408: Cultural Policy: Analysis and Chance L. Rothfield, Autumn

42800: Chicago J. Knight, Autumn

43713: America’s Asia R. So, Autumn

48800: Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies T. Gunning, Autumn

55200: Diverging Modernities R. Coronado, Autumn

55405: Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture E. Slauter, Autumn

67801: The Intimate Public Sphere L. Berlant, Autumn

45405: Hawthorne and Melville J. Knight, Winter

45510: From Sentimentality and Affective Publics L. Berlant, Winter

31404: Writing Speeches: Reagan and Obama L. McEnerney, Spring

46100: The Aesthetics of Comics H. Chute, Spring

57501: Ethics and Literature: Edgar A. Poe J. Schleusener, C. Vogler, Spring

History

37200: African-American History to 1877 T. Holt, Autumn

38000: Us Latinos: Origins/Histories R. Gutierrez, Autumn

38301: American Political Culture, 1600 – 1820 J. Cook, M. Edward, Autumn

38800: Historical Geography: The US M. Conzen, Autumn

55700: Colloquium: Atlantic Worlds, 1700 – 1800 P. Cheney, Autumn

60302: Colloquium: Immigration and Assimilation in American Life R. Gutierrez, Autumn

62304: Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture E. Slauter, Autumn

62305: Colloquium: The Politics of Black Culture T. Holt, Autumn

63002: US Politics and Social Movements in the 20th Century E. Clemens, J. Sparrow, Autumn

64002: Politics of Reproduction in Historical Perspective C. Stansell, Autumn

84501: Research Seminar in US History J. Saville, Autumn

37300: African-American History since 1877 T. Holt Winter

37305: History of American Capitalism A. Stanley, Winter

37506: Changing America in the Last 100 Years M. Conzen, Winter

47901: Command and Control: Social Engineering in US History J. Sparrow, Winter

63003: The American South, 1865 – Present J. Dailey, Winter

38704: Race in the 20th Century Atlantic World T. Holt, L. Auslander, Spring

42801: Revolutionary Culture in 18th-Century France and America E. Slauter, P. Cheney, Spring

62503: American Legal History A. LaCroix, Spring

Music

32801: Music since 1900 B. Hoeckner, Autumn

33800: Ethnographic Methods P. Bohlman, Autumn

42211: Jazz and Popular Music Documentaries T. Jackson, Spring

Philosophy

50010: The Modern Regime in Art I: The End of Romanticism R. Pippin, D. Wellberry, Autumn

Political Sciences

36100: Civil War P. Staniland, Autumn

39900: Strategy R. Pape, Autumn

43100: Maximum Likelihood J. Brehm, Autumn

46410: Co-Evolution of States and Markets J. Padget, Autumn

54500: American Politics W. Howell, Autumn

37000: Law and Politics: US Courts as Political Institutions G. Rosenberg, Winter

42515: Political Nature of the American Judicial System G. Rosenberg, Winter

49500: American Grand Strategy J. Mearsheimer, Winter

50101: Constitutional Law: Governmental Structure A. LaCroix, Winter

54500: American Politics W. Howell, Winter

36601: Political Philosophy and Race R. Gooding-Williams, Spring

38201: African-American and Jewish Political Thought R. Gooding-Williams, J. Cooper, Spring

41600: Liberalism and American Foreign Policy J. Mearsheimer, Spring

Psychology

33000: Cultural Psychology R. Shweder, Autumn

31503: Urban Neighborhoods and Urban Schools: Community Economic Opportunity and the Schools I. Keels, R. Taub, Winter

45300: When Cultures Collide R. Shweder, Winter

Social Thought

32930: Hemingway P. Friedrich, Autumn

38111: The Modern Regime in Art I: The End of Romanticism R. Pippin, D. Wellberry, Autumn

39122: American Originals: Franklin and Lincoln D. Hutchinson, R. Lerner, Autumn

43290: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness R. Pippin, Winter

Sociology

30003: History of Social Theory A. Abbot, Autumn

30120: Urban Policy Anaylsis T. Clark, Autumn

30150: Consumption C. Knorr, Autumn

30184: Political Culture, Social Capital, and the Arts T. Clark, Autumn

30191: Social Change in the United States R. Stolzenberg, Autumn

30303: Urban Landscapes as Social Text M. Conzen

50043: US Politics and Social Movements in the 20th Century E. Clemens, J. Sparrow, Autumn

50077: Religious Authority B. Lincoln, Autumn

30105: Educational Organization/Social Inequality C. Bidwell, Winter

30104: Urban Structure and Process O. McRoberts, Spring