These two courses are ONE TIME ONLY opportunities for our undergraduates!
(for a full listing of our Spring course offerings, follow this link)
AMST 3950.11 – Cinema, Citizenship, and the Environment
Shannon Davies Mancus
This course will address the ways in which environmentalist narratives in popular culture engage in competing politics of sustainability across fictional and nonfictional discourses. Students will use a combination of cultural studies and performance studies methodologies to analyze competing stories about the “correct” way of relating to the earth, and by the end of the course will be able to answer the following questions: How do mediums such as film, reality television, and pulp novels engage with debates about, within, and against politics? What do social movement narratives ask us to think, feel, and do? In what ways are terms like “nature” and the “environment” constructed, and how do these constructions substantively change not only environmental imaginaries but lived experience? How have individuals used, incorporated, or resisted such environmentalist ideas? By examining diverse sources that run the gamut from congressional testimony to blockbuster films, radical fiction to public service announcements, and Walden Pond to South Park, we will contemplate how Americans creatively imagine and perform politics.
AMST 3950.80– Humanitarians Without Borders
This course will consider the changing shape and trajectory of American humanitarian engagements in the long twentieth century. It will examine how Americans of a humanitarian orientation, broadly construed, crossed and collapsed boundaries—between disinterest and self-interest, public and private sectors, domestic and foreign policy, and the religious and secular, as well as those legislating race, gender, and class. Major course themes will be the emergence and impact of humanitarian sensibilities in relation to capitalism, imperialism, and governance. Throughout, the course will chart the historical emergence of international development—a political, economic, and cultural arrangement between global North and global South mediated by actors from diplomats to entrepreneurs and institutions from USAID to NGOs. We will assess diverse encounters wrought of Americans’ avowed desire to “help,” including civilizing missions toward Native Americans, formal imperialism overseas, development programs to fight poverty, hunger, and over-population, and contests to establish and define human and indigenous rights. Along the way, we will consider critiques—postcolonial, environmental, and Marxist—that arose to challenge the claims that such efforts were “helping” people. We will ask, how did humanitarian sensibilities propel U.S. global engagements and to what effect?