Spring 2015 AMST Classes

AMST 101gm: Race and Class in Los Angeles
Tues/Thurs 11am – 12:20 pm | THH 201
Class no. 10310R | 4 units
Taught by Professor Manuel Pastor

Los Angeles has always had an underbelly that belies this hope of inclusive opportunity and shared prosperity: the chance of reinvention has always been accompanied by sharp residential segregation, significant economic deprivation, and an uneasy relationship with the natural setting that attracted so many in the first place. Contradictions seem to abound: celebrated for its cultural openness and it multiethnic fusion of identities, it is also known as a place that both perfected a modernized form of residential segregation and experienced two major waves of civil unrest (the Watts riots of 1965 and Los Angeles uprising of 1992). Considered the capital of working poverty in the United States, it is also host to a revitalized labor movement. And while L.A. has been the epicenter of immigration to the United States – in the 1980s, it was receiving one quarter of the nation’s immigrants – it has also been a focal point for anti-immigrant sentiment and action.

AMST 200m: Introduction to American Studies and Ethnicity
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:50 am | THH 215
Class no. 10347 | 4 units
Taught by Professor Alicia Chavez

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to American and Ethnic Studies. A principal goal is to help students understand how people in the United States live in and think about their country as well as how the world views them. The central themes and topics addressed will include identity formation, immigration, imprisonment, militarism, cultural production, religion, sexuality, and political change. This course will encourage students to formulate connections between these issues by placing them in their broad historical and cultural contexts. We will consider a variety of types of evidence such as novels, photographs, films, the built environment, and material culture to show that we can and need to analyze everything in the world around us.

*In addition to meeting the University Diversity Requirement, this course meets the requirements for all ASE Majors and Minors!

AMST 250: The African Disapora
Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:50 PM | SGM 101
Class no. 10381R

As laborers, creators, culture bearers, political activists, dreamers, and renegades, African Americans were the fulcrum upon which the country’s material and cultural wealth was built. Throughout the last two centuries, black social movements occasionally pricked America’s moral conscience and compelled the nation to re-think the meaning of democracy. The core of much of “American” culture and politics has been shaped immeasurably by black social movements, which in turn have opened a path for the demands of other aggrieved populations.

In this course, we examine historical and contemporary black movements for freedom, justice, equality, autonomy and self-determination. Beginning with the struggles of Africans to destroy or escape from the system of slavery, we consider a wide range of movements, including labor, civil rights, radical feminism, socialism and communism, reparations, Black Nationalism, and hip hop as a political movement. We will explore, among other things, how movements were formed and sustained; the social and historical contexts for their emergence and demise; and the impact they might have had on power.

*Courses fulfills these requirements: Diversity Requirement; ASAF social and political issues; elective: ASE, ASCL, ASAS majors; and ASE minor elective.

AMST 247gm: Exploring Ethnicity through Film
Tues/Thurs 11-12:20 pm | THH 301
Class no. 10390RTaught by Proessor Kara Keeling

This course explores the complexities of race/ethnicity in America through analyses of films. We shall ask such questions as: What is ethnicity? How is ethnicity shaped, or how does one “become” ethnic?, What is at stake in claims and visual representations about ethnicity; what politics surround ethnic representations and performances?, How is ethnicity actualized and/or performed?, Can there be an “authentic” ethnicity?, and, finally, How are such complexities reflected and/or constructed in film? Towards these ends, the initial weeks of the semester will be devoted to developing a critical vocabulary for speaking about race/ethnicity. We will also (continuously) hone our visual literacy by looking at the ways notions of ethnicity are privileged, constructed, and contested in film via such techniques as editing, sound, lighting, narration, etc. This middle of the course will focus on case studies in film that illuminate the complexities of ethnicity in relation to specific American ethnic groups. The latter weeks of the course will explore broader complexities of ethnicity, such as ethnic hybridity and inter-ethnic relations encompassing political conflict, interracial love and identity, and residential strife.

*Course fulfills these requirements: Diversity requirement; ASAF Social and Political Issues; Elective: ASE, ASCL, ASAS Majors; Elective: ASE Minor

AMST 301: America, the Frontier, and the New West
Mon/Wed 12-1:50 PM | SGM 123
Class no. 10408R
Taught by Prof. Thomas Gustafson

This course is an introduction to an interdisciplinary study of American political, cultural and social life with a particular emphasis on the Western United States as a region. We will examine the diversity of peoples and experiences in the U.S. West over time, paying particular attention to how the foundational beliefs of American civilization have been played out in historical reality in the past and present. Topics will include the experiences of racial and ethnic conflict and cooperation; economic development of the region; tourism and the representations of “America” in Las Vegas, Hawaii, California, and other Western sites; meanings of frontier societies and their effect on incorporation into the broader United States; the birth of new movements for American civil rights in the region; and contemporary and historical struggles over who is “native” and who is “foreign” in the region that has become known as the “New West.”

AMST 337: Islam in Black America: From Slavery to Hip Hop
Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:50 pm | VKC 210
Class no. 10417R
Taught by Professor Sherman Jackson

Is there such a thing as “Black American Islam?” Can there be? Should there be? What would distinguish it from historical Islam, and how will/should it relate to the global Muslim community? How do Black American Muslims relate to those Muslims who came to America from the Muslim world? What about Black American Muslim women? And how has 9-11 affected all of these relationships? As for Hip Hop, what role have/do Muslims play[ed] in its development and substance, and what challenges or opportunities does Hip Hop pose for Black American and other Muslims? Finally, what does all of this tell us about the future of Islam in Black America?

AMST 342m: Law and Identities
Mon/Wed 10-11:50 am | WPH 206
Class no. 10421
Taught by Alicia Chavez

This seminar is designed to allow students to explore the complex and contested interactions between the law and the construction of group and individual identities. Students will study theories of identity and community including racial, gender, religious, national, and sexual and will focus upon how the law has been central in defining, rewarding, and punishing difference. After a general examination of how diverse communities define themselves and their legal and contemporary problems, the class will examine cases studies.

AMST 350: American Studies & Ethnicity Junior Seminar
Mon/Wed 10-11:50 am | KAP 166
Class no. 10424R
Taught by Professor Lanita Jacobs

This seminar will provide a broad overview of social research methods pertinent to the study of race, ethnicity, gender, and culture. In the first half of the course, attention will be devoted to qualitative and quantitative methods, including oral history interviews, ethnographic observation/field research, and surveys. We will also explore theories concerning “ethnicity” as both a social construct and constituent feature of peoples’ identities and lived experiences. In the second half of the course, we will examine the application of social research methods and theories in scholarship pertinent to American Studies.

*This course is a core requirement for all ASE Majors and Minors

AMST 357m: Latino Social Movements
Tues 2-4:50 pm | THH 108
Class no. 10427
Taught by Prof. Juan De Lara

Focuses on the political experience of Latinos in the U.S. Comparative analysis of their political experiences and perspectives, their histories of identity formation, and their political organizations.

*This course fulfills the diversity requirement. It also fulfills the requirements for the majors in American Studies and Ethnicity and the Chicano/Latino Studies as well as the minors in American Studies and Ethnicity and the American Popular Culture.

AMST 365: Leadership in the Community – Internship
Wed 2-4:50 pm | VKC 257
Class no. 10426
Taught by Prof. Stanley Huey

Community leadership is fundamentally about empowerment, that is, empowering others to develop the skills, strategies and the confidence to solve their own problems. Study leadership within the context of a community-based organization through a hands-on internship experience. Explore theory and research on leadership, as well as principles of behavioral and social change, using specific examples from your own community leadership efforts.

  • In the past, students have been placed with organizaons such as ACORN, A Place Called Home, the Boys & Girls Club, the Korean Immigrant Workers Association (KIWA), Planned Parenthood, and the Salvation Army.” Then follow that with “Students are encouraged to choose their own internship with instructor approval. Those who are already doing an internship should approach the instructor to find out if it qualifies.
  • USC Students at all levels (including Freshmen), and from all disciplines, are encouraged to enroll.
  • Students who are already doing an internship can approach the Instructor about the possibility of getting course credit.

*This course fulfills requirements for all ASE Majors and Minors, including Popular Culture, Leadership, and Race & Politics Minors.

AMST 373: History of the Mexican American
Mon/Wed 2-3:20 PM | THH 213Class no. 10428R
Taught by Professor Alicia Chavez

This course is an exploration of the history and culture of Mexican Americans and other Latinos in the United States from the colonial era to the present. We will examine the diversity of experiences among this group across the United States, paying particular attention to issues of race, region, gender, class, and immigrant status. Topics will include the varied experiences of colonialism and immigration; the role of race prejudice and discrimination in shaping social mobility; cultural transformation and regional variations in language, religion and music; gender as a central variable in defining issues of identity and opportunity; and the birth of a Chicano/Latino civil rights movement.

*AMST/HIST 373 fulfills the history requirement in both Chicano/Latino Studies & American Studies majors. It also fulfills requirements in the History major. It also fulfills elective requirements in African American Studies and Asian American Studies. This course is open to all students with an interest in the topic.

AMST 378: Introduction to Asian American Histoy
Tues/Thurs 11-12:20 pm | WPH 103
Class no. 10430
Taught by Lon Y. Kurashige

This class is designed to be an exciting and challenging introduction to the field of Asian American Studies. Asian American Studies was born out of the 1960s movements for social justice and equality. Thus, fundamental to this class is the concept of race and racial dynamics in the United States. Regardless of their racial identity, students will be challenged to examine how social identities have influenced their life and society overall. The main objectives of this course are 1) to gain an overview, from a range of perspectives, of Asian American history, community, and contemporary issues; and 2) to analyze critically important social structures in the U.S. and elsewhere.

*This class meets USC’s diversity requirement by addressing the formation of race relations in relationship to social class and gender distinctions within American society and Asian immigrant communities. Issues of diversity and nation are addressed in substantial discussion of US imperialism and through foreign relations and wars.

AMST 449: Asian American Literature
Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:50 pm | THH 108
Class no. 10438R
Taught by Prof. Viet Nguyen

This course is a selective examination of the major works, authors, and themes of Asian American literature, from the mid-20th century until the contemporary moment. The primary concern of the course is to demonstrate the dynamic relationship between Asian American literature and the histories of Asians in the United States, and the United States in Asia. In particular, the shifting function of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans in U.S. culture and economy will be a focus for the course as we examine how Asian American literary concerns and styles have evolved with that shifting function. Ultimately, the proposition this course puts forth is that the aesthetics of Asian American literature is inseparable from the politics of Asian American experiences; this intersection between aesthetics and politics is one important site where Asian American culture and identity are formed.

AMST 498: Senior Seminar in American Studies and Ethnicity
Mon 2-4:50 | VKC 105
Course no. 10444R
Taught by Prof. Laura Pulido

This course investigates contemporary American culture through the lens of the literary, visual, and performing arts. The course proposes 1) that the arts play a vital role in shaping American thought and sentiment, 2) that the arts provide a means to address national issues and debates, and 3) that the study of the arts enhances our understanding of the contemporary scene. The course is organized around three clusters—“Now,”“Peace,” “AIDS,”—each with its own set of readings.

AMST 493: Senior Honors Thesis in American Studies & Ethnicity
Tues 2-4:50 pm | KAP 150
Course no. 10443
Taught by Prof. Sarah Gualtieri

The American Studies and Ethnicity Department at the University of Southern California offers a two-semester honors program for qualified students, first identified in ASE 350 or by the program advisor. Students spend their first semester in the honors program in an honors senior seminar, ASE 492, focused on developing their research and methods for the honors thesis. During the second semester, all honors students are required to take ASE 493, in which each completes a thesis project on a topic of his or her own choosing under faculty direction. Contact the program advisor for further information.

USC Summer Archaeological Excavation at Ostia Antica, the Port of Ancient Rome (June 8 to July 19, 2015)

AHIS 325 (4 Units):
“Roman Archaeological Excavation: Methods & Practice”

6 week program: 1 week of walking tours of Rome & Ostia, 5 weeks of excavating at Ostia

(Students housed in apartments in the center of Rome)

No prerequisites or previous archaeological experience necessary:
All instruction in English

For a report on the excavation, see USC Daily Trojan Online:


For those interested in participating, please email Dr. John Pollini, Professor of Classical Art, Archaeology, & History
Department of Art History, USC: pollini@usc.edu

Deadline for Housing Deposit: On or before Sun., March 1, 2015

SOCI 499: The Evolution of Musical Hierarchies in American Society

Music is classified across Western societies as “classical” (or “highbrow”) and “popular.” The notion of cultural hierarchy implicit in these labels is so pervasive that musical genres can appear to belong inherently to one category or the other. Opera, the symphony, and chamber music are today typically thought of as “classical,” whereas the Broadway musical, jazz, country, and rock are “popular.” But what may seem to be immutable categorizations have in fact varied across time in response to each era’s particular social, aesthetic, and ideological concerns. This course examines continuity and change in American society’s conception of cultural hierarchy in music. It engages enduring questions about music’s social origins and functions and scrutinizes the evolving relationships between cultural stratification and social class.

CORE 301: Modes of Inquiry

This spring Thematic Option is offering a CORE 301: Modes of Inquiry course by Professor James Collins from the Department of Classics.  This unique interdisciplinary course is entitled “Performing Wisdom” is available to all students.  The course is a requirement for the Thematic Approaches to Humanities and Society minor (http://dornsife.usc.edu/thematic-approaches-to-humanities-and-society/) or may be taken as an elective. Performing Wisdom combines classical philosophy from the Greeks and Romans with performance exercises (such as method acting, improv games, radical theatre).  The full course description is attached along with the reading list.  For D-clearance, please contact Richard Edinger at redinger@usc.edu.

Course Description:

CORE 301: Mode of Inquiry
Professor James Collins, Department of Classics
Lecture: TTH 12:30-1:50 pm 63570D

Performing Wisdom
Fundamental to Greek and Roman philosophy is the concept of the ‘art of living’ (hê technê tou biou, ars vivendi), which maintains that living a good life is at heart a public performance, and thus entails particular modes of action, engagement, and self‐presentation and stylization. Both philosophical theory and practice, both thoughts and deeds—what one believes and how one lives as a result of holding those beliefs—are inextricably bound, and together contribute to the philosophical art of constructing, performing, and becoming the right sort of character. In addition to reading philosophy with an eye to how the ancients variously embodied and performed their wisdom, we will explore techniques drawn from contemporary performance theory in highly performative, experimental, and collaborative learning environments in order to develop an appreciation for this particular sort of philosophical activity. We aim primarily at developing this craft for our own efforts at self‐examination and presentation.

While Tuesdays are devoted primarily to close readings of texts which comprise the foundation of Western thought, we will be looking closely at evidence that sages and philosophers performed their thoughts or intentions in dramatic and compelling, sometimes even irrational and coercive ways, perhaps without even saying a word. Thursdays are then given to rendering our discoveries into philosophical action. We will draw on the Stanislavski ‘system’, ‘textbound’ characterization (Mamet), improvisational techniques (Johnstone), and the ‘gamesercises’ of radical popular theater (Boal) as we explore the connections between, on the one hand, our language, intentions, and thoughts and, on the other, how we behave and interact with one another. These dramatic techniques make explicit the notions of a character’s objectives—what she wants to get other characters to do—and a character’s actions—how she goes about working on another character’s emotions to get what she wants. The art of living requires certain kinds of audience as well, so our dramatic work will train us to become good watchers as well as performers.

The semester is divided into four units: “Becoming Wise” (Sages, Presocratics), “Becoming Socratic” (Phaedo, Euthydemus), “Becoming Stoic” (Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius), and “Becoming Eloquent” (Sophists, declamation, Cicero). However inimitable Socrates seems, we devote considerable energy to exploring, rehearsing, and refashioning his philosophical character. No previous dramatic or formal philosophical experience is required; only a willingness to try new things on your feet while cultivating both a supportive environment and oneself.

Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non‐Actors.
Cicero. Cicero: On the Ideal Orator.
Epictetus. Handbook of Epictetus.
Johnstone, Keith. Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre.
Mamet, David. True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor.
Marcus Aurelius. The Meditations.
Plato. Euthydemus.
Plato. Phaedo in Plato: Five Dialogues.
Stanislavsky, Constantin. Building a Character.
Stanislavsky, Constantin. Creating a Role.
Course reader with selections from the archaic Sages, the Presocratics, the Sophists, and declamation.

Study SPAN 220 in Valencia, Spain

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese announces a four-­week program in Valencia, Spain, for the summer of 2015. Improve your knowledge of the Spanish language and culture, and fulfill your language requirement while living in one of Spain’s most interesting cities. Students will take SPAN 220; live in a colegio mayor (student residence); explore Valencia through visits to museums and historical sties; and participate in cultural events around the city and beyond.

The program is open to qualified undergraduate students who have successfully completed SPAN 150 or have placed into SPAN 220.

For more information, contact Prof. Marianna Chodorowska-Pilch, chodorow@usc.edu, 213-740-1258.

Come to our informational meeting to learn more of this unique opportunity:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Location: THH 120

USC reserves the right to cancel any program in the case of an emergency beyond its control, or to cancel programs due to low enrollement or unavailability of faculty. Should the program be cancelled, deposits will be refunded to students. Students must register for one course only. If the program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, the decision to do so will be made by April 2015.

Spring classes in Judaic Studies

Still need a Spring Class? Check out these Judaic Studies Courses…there are still spaces open! For more information check out our website: http://dornsife.usc.edu/jewishstudies and facebook http://www.facebook.com/JewishStudiesUSC. Major in Judaic Studies or Minor in Judaic Studies or Jewish American Studies today!

JS 379m (Cross-listed as SOCI 379m): Mixed Matches: Intermarriage & American Society in the 21st Century

An investigation into inter-ethnic, interracial, and inter-religiuos marriage in the 21st century.

Tuesday / Thursday 12:30 – 1:50 PM
Professor Bruce Phillips

This course satisfies the university’s diversity requirement. This all counts towards the minors in Jewish Studies and Sociology.

JS 362: Terror and Resistance

Investigation of the multiple ways that people experience and represent incidents of terror in literature, film, music, and social media.

Tuesday / Thursday 9:30 – 10:50 am
Dr. Leah Hochman

Counts toward the minor in resistance to genocide studies.

JS 314: Holy War & History: Jews, Christians, Muslims

Investigates the engagement in war by Judaism, Christianity and Islam by examining history and theology and looks at religious justifications and condemnations of war.

Tuesday / Thursday 3:30 – 4:50 pmDr. Reuven Firestone

This course satisfies the Category I GE requirement.

JS 180: Intro to JudaismJewish beliefs, practices, and history from the biblical period to the present; Judaic contributions to Western civilization.

Tuesday / Thursday 9:30 – 10:50 am
Dr. Reuven Firestone

Counts towards JS & REL minors and RL & RLJS majors.

FSEM 100: Jews in Popular Culture
Thursday 3:00 – 4:50 pm
Professor Sharon Gillerman

Religion 479: Seminar in Christian Thought

Religion 479: Seminar in Christian Thought
(NEW TIME!) Tues 2-4:50 – Professor Lisa Bitel (bitel@usc.edu)

THE SUPERNATURAL in Christian Thought & Practice

Angels, apparitions, visions, magic, possession, saints, demons, ghosts…all these and other unearthly phenomena are built into historical Christian doctrines & practices. How did believers of the past define the supernatural, the divine, and the demonic? what techniques did they use to invoke and interact with the supernatural? How do modern believers reconcile 21st science & technologies with ideas about the paranormal and supernatural?


Class format will consist of discussion, guest lectures, viewing of films, and at least one off campus class meeting. Assignments include regular participation, brief presentations, blog postings, and a research project.

REL 479 is open to all – no prerequisites or background necessary – assignments will be adapted for both beginners & advanced students, including graduate students.