Post-Nationalist American Studies
Publication Year: 2000
Contributors are concerned with cross-cultural communication, race and gender, global and local identities, and the complex tensions between symbolic and political economies. Their essays explore, among other topics, the construction of "foreign" peoples and cultures; the notion of borders—territorial, racial, economic, and sexual; the "multilingual reality" of the United States; the place of the Mexican-American War in U.S. history; and the significance of Tiger Woods in today's global market of consumption.
Together, the essays propose a renewed vision of the United States' role in the world and how American Studies scholarship can address that vision. Each contributor includes a sample syllabus showing how the issues discussed in individual essays can be brought into the classroom.
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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In the fall of 1996, nine scholars participated in the residential researchgroup, “Post-Nationalist American Studies,” at the University of California’sHumanities Research Institute (UCHRI) on the Irvine campus: BarbaraBrinson Curiel, at that time lecturer in Liberal Studies and Women’s Stud-ies at California State University, San Marcos, currently assistant professor...
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Steven Mailloux, Jay Mechling, John Carlos Rowe, George Sánchez,Our group was initially organized under the title “Post-Nationalist Ameri-can Studies.” In the call for applications, the description beneath the title,however, emphasized the intersections between changing models of Amer-ican Studies and “ ‘post-national’ models for community and social organi-...
Post-Nationalism, Globalism, and the New American Studies
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Curricula and scholarship in American Studies have changed significantlyover the past decade, reflecting the important influences of Women’s Studies,Ethnic Studies, and postmodern and postcolonial theories. Earlier ap-proaches, such as the Puritan Origins and Myth-and-Symbol schools, at-tempted to elaborate those features of American identity and social organiza-...
Syllabus: Comparative American Studies: An Introduction
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Leo Marx, “Pastoralism in America,” and Richard Slotkin, “Myth andthe Production of History,” in Sacvan Bercovitch and Myra Jehlen, eds.,Ideology and Classic American Literature (New York: Cambridge UniversitySacvan Bercovitch, “The Problem of Ideology in a Time of Dissensus,”in The Rites of Assent: Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of America...
Creating the Multicultural Nation: Adventures in Post-Nationalist American Studies in the 1990s
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Mankind—that word should have more meaning for all of us today. We can’t beconsumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common inter-ests. Perhaps it is fate that today is the Fourth of July and you will once again befighting for our freedom—not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from an-nihilation. We are fighting for our right to live, to exist. And should we win the day,...
Syllabus: Introduction to American Studies and Ethnicity
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This course explores a variety of themes, theoretical influences, andmethodological approaches currently alive in American Studies, and its re-lated disciplinary fields. My aim is to introduce you, at the graduate level, toa wide array of ongoing “conversations” in the field of American Studiesand Ethnicity with the hope of promoting active engagement in those dis-...
Rethinking (and Reteaching) the Civil Religion in Post-Nationalist American Studies
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Several years ago I inherited from my good friend and colleague, David S.Wilson, an undergraduate course entitled “Religion in American Lives.” I hadbeen teaching an undergraduate course on “Technology, Science, and Amer-ican Culture,” which examines science as a belief system and compares thatbelief system with other systems of belief and practices, including religion....
Syllabus: (Re)Teaching the Civil Religion: Religion in American Lives
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The following syllabus describes only one of several possible ways to trans-late the foregoing ideas into a concrete course. I teach this course in a ten-week quarter, but I present here a twelve-week design that can be ex-The course design moves from the individual’s most private experience(“Religion as Subjective Reality”) to the social construction of religious...
Foreign Affairs: Women, War, and the Pacific
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Near the end of Joan Didion’s novel Democracy, the main character, InezVictor, the wife of a Kennedyesque senator, is waiting in Hong Kong inApril of 1975 while her lover, Jack Lovett, searches for her daughter inSaigon. Lovett tells Inez to listen to the shortwave radio for the final evac-uation order from the American embassy in Saigon. “Mother wants you to...
Syllabus: Pacific America: War, Memory, and Imagination
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This class considers the importance of the Pacific and Asia in twentieth-century American conceptions of nationalism and culture, particularlyin relationship to war. For the first half of the course we will consider avariety of historical moments and cultural icons—Captain Cook, MadamButterfly, the atomic bomb, and war memorials—which mark the fre-...
Making Comparisons: First Contact, Ethnocentrism, and Cross-Cultural Communication
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Despite all his efforts, Kirk’s scorn broke through, “And you consider yourself Plato’sThe comment amused Parmen. “We’ve managed to live in peace and harmony forSpock’s voice was icy. “Whose harmony? Yours? Plato wanted beauty, truth and,The new American Studies is going radically comparativist. In John Rowe’swords, it combines two models, one which “stresses the ‘comparative Amer-...
Syllabus: Making Comparisons
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The new American Studies has made a strong comparativist turn. This courseexamines several of the theoretical issues surrounding the practice of makingcomparisons in such a revisionist field. In particular we will look at compar-isons made within and across different geopolitical communities, cultural tra-ditions, professional disciplines, and historical periods. We will begin with an...
Race, Nation, and Equality: Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and a Genealogy of U.S. Mercantilism
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After I had been sailing for some time with [Capt. Thomas Farmer, an English-man], I at length endeavoured to try my luck and commence merchant. . . . Thuswas I going all about the islands upwards of four years, and ever trading as I went,during which I experienced many instances of ill usage, and have seen many in-I take the liberty, Mr. Chairman, at this early stage of the business, to introduce to...
Syllabus: Enclosing the “Open Sea”: Race, Nation, Gender, and Equality in the Northern Atlantic
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This class examines the confrontations of African diasporans who traveledthe Northern Atlantic during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth cen-turies with emerging Enlightenment conceptions of “race,” “gender,” “na-tion,” and “equality.” The readings will allow us to consider the relation-ships among central aspects of the period’s Northern Atlantic cultures:...
Joaquín Murrieta and the American 1848
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...1998 marked the 150th anniversary of the American 1848, the year thatgold was discovered in California just before the signing of the Treaty ofGuadalupe Hidalgo formally ended the war between the United States andMexico. Eighteen forty-eight has been and continues to be, of course, a cru-cial date for Chicano Studies scholars and cultural workers. In the 1960s...
Syllabus: 1848: Empire, Amnesia, and American Studies
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This course complicates the conventional periodization of nineteenth-century U.S. history and culture that makes the Civil War the pivotal eventin a narrative that moves from sectional conflict to national consolidationand then to imperialism at the end of the century. By examining the earlyhistory of U.S. empire-building in Mexico as well as the filibustering at-...
My Border Stories: Life Narratives, Interdisciplinarity, and Post-Nationalism in Ethnic Studies
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A few years ago in Southern California, in response to a series of incidentsin which border-crossers were hit by cars while fleeing across the highwayfrom Immigration and Naturalization Service officers, a new traffic sign wasinstalled to alert drivers to watch for people crossing the highway. It’s awell-known sign to Southern Californians. In a bright yellow diamond, a sil-...
Syllabus: Race and Gender in American Autobiography
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In this class we will explore life writings that address the issues of culture,race, gender, class, and nation. We will read a selection of texts and exam-ine the possibilities and the limits of biographical and autobiographicalforms. We will look at how authors establish credibility in the eyes of theirreaders, as well as how authors challenge their readers’ preexisting views....
How Tiger Woods Lost His Stripes: Post-Nationalist American Studies as a History of Race, Migration, and the Commodification of Culture
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As the summer waned in 1996, the world was treated to the coronation of anew public hero. Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, the twenty-year-old golf prodigy,captured his third straight amateur championship and then promptly de-clared his intention to turn professional. The story became a media sensa-tion, transferring the material of sports page headlines to the front page of...
Syllabus: Buying and Selling the Exotic: Transnational Culture and Global History
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An undergraduate- or graduate-level course might organize an examina-tion of post-nationalist issues into three main themes: migration andmovement, the consciousness of cultural difference, and commodifica-tion. An examination of migration, either actual physical bodies or imag-ined movements, is a good starting point to ground the previous two hun-...
List of Contributors
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Page Count: 271
Publication Year: 2000