Instructor: Prof. T.V. Reed, American Studies, Washington State University
Course Info: American Studies 513 (Spring 2001) Room: Avery 110 Day/Time: TTh 9:10-10:25
Instructor's Office: Avery 202M
Office Hours: Th 10:30-12 & Fr 10-11:30 other times by appt. at x5-1560


READING SCHEDULE: [WEEK 1-5 Jan 16 +] [WEEK 6-9 Feb 20 +] [WEEK 10-15 Mar 27+ ]


The companion Website to this course is:
"Theory and Method in America/Cultural Studies: A Bibilographic Essay"


"Theory is the sound made by the shifting ice floes of academic disciplines, breaking up or grinding against one another."
-- Stefan Collini

"Theory is the name for the questions that arise when the answers we have about a topic no longer seem adequate to our understanding."

-- Gerald Graff

"The only theory worth having is that which you have to fight off, not that which you speak with profound fluency."

-- Stuart Hall

"By reinforcing the idea that there is a split between theory and practice or by creating such a split, [we] deny the power of liberatory education for critical consciousness, thereby perpetuating conditions that reinforce our collective exploitation and repression."

-- bell hooks

The aim of this course is to introduce (or reintroduce) graduate students to some of the major theories and methods currently practiced in cultural studies and related interdisciplines, such as ethnic, American, women's and queer studies. The course is organized along two overlapping axes: 1) we will examine key concepts, including "culture," "race," "ethnicity," "formation," "class," "hegemony," "gender," "sexuality" and "imperialism"; and 2) we will discuss various elaborated theoretical positions, including race/ethnicity theories, marxisms, feminisms, post-structuralisms, queer, and post-colonial theories. While for purposes of analysis we will at times isolate these concepts and theories from one another, much of our work will emphasize conceptual and theoretical intersections.Throughout the course grand questions of theory and method will be grounded via examination of applied scholarship on U.S. culture.

Questions of method will be approached throughout the course using a diverse body of applied texts that we will examine in terms of the relation between the theoretical questions addressed and the methods used to test those questions. The course aims to show that theoretical questions should always inform the choice of methods, and that, in turn, methods used well will generate new theoretical questions. The methods we will examine include: several kinds of archival historical research, cultural ethnography, oral history, and several varieties of rhetorical and textual analysis.

Such a quick survey cannot hope to do justice to these complex theories and methods, so the goal is to provide the tools to increase your literacy in reading theory and lay the groundwork for further study. The syllabus is a negotiable outline. We may add, subtract or otherwise change readings and topics as the interests and needs of the participants become clearer.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for this course. Late notification may cause the requested accommodations to be unavailable. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in Administration Annex 206, 335-1566.

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 Grading for the course will be based on the following:

1. ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN SEMINAR DISCUSSIONS. This is a discussion class, with only occasional mini-lectures as requested. Active participation in discussions is part of the commitment one makes in joining the class community. [20%]

2. WEBSITE REVIEW of the "Theory and Method" web pages. Choose one of the sections (or one subsection of the "Race, Gender, and Sexuality" page), familiarize yourself with the citations; analyze the inclusions and exclusions; suggest additions with annotations; and suggest changes to the section intro and/or annotations to make the site more user-friendly and effective. Suggestions for other changes to the site, including reorganized or new sections, new links, better navigation, or other possibilities for improving the site are also welcome. [10%]


3. CRITICAL BOOK REVIEW of an assigned book, written as if for a scholarly journal and emphasizing questions of theory and method. Reviews should not exceed 4 typed, double-spaced pages. Eligible books are those by: Pulido, Deloria, Gaspar de Alba, Perez, Sandoval, Jagose, and Gamson. Reviews are due by the second session we discuss the book in class. [10%]

4. SEMINAR FACILITATION Each of you will serve as facilitator of the discussion for two or three sessions over the course of the semester. This entails reading the pieces assigned on those days with special care, doing some background, contextualizing research as needed, and serving as resident expert that day for the texts in question. Preparation will also include writing up and e-mailing to all class members discussion questions on the reading at least two days before the discussion. [20%]

a) analyzing a theoretical issue that interests you; OR
b) applying theories and methods drawn from class readings to a text or topic that interests you ; OR
c) offering a draft theoretical introduction to a thesis or topic you are working on; OR
d) "translating" (bell hooks' term) the most useful ideas of the "academic" theory we read this semester for a specific, non-academic audience (i.e., union organizers; high school students; etc.), and for use on the "Theory and Method" website. Approximately 12-20 pp. [40%]


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All required texts are available in the Bookie.

Xeroxed Handouts [Abbr. (X)]
M. Omi and H. Winant. Racial Formation in the United States
J. Gamson, Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity
A. Jagose, Queer Theory: An Introduction
L. Pulido, Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles in the Southwest
P. Deloria, Playing Indian
A. Gaspar de Alba, Chicano Art
W. Kolmar, & F. Bartkowski, eds., Feminist Theory: A Reader
E. Perez, The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History
C. Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed


WEEK 1: T Jan 16 -- What is Theory & Why Should We Theorize? Part 1
Introductions; Setting Our Preliminary Course Agenda

Th Jan 18 -- What is Theory & Why Should We Theorize? Part 2
READINGS: C. Lemert, "Social Theory: Its Uses and Pleasures" (X)
b. hooks, "Educating Women: A Feminist Agenda" (X)
A. Lorde, "Poetry is Not a Luxury" in Kolmar & Bartkowski, eds. Feminist Theory
T. Reed, "Theory and Method in American/Cultural Studies: A Bibliographic Essay" (X)

WEEK 2: T Jan 23 -- Questioning the History of Interdisciplinary American Cultural Studies
READINGS: G. Wise, "'Paradigm Dramas' in American Studies" (X)
A. Kaplan, "Left Alone with America: Absence of Empire in the Study of American Culture" (X)
G. Lipsitz, "Listening to Learn, Learning to Listening" (X)

FURTHER READING on the history of American Studies

Th Jan 25 -- Questions for the Future of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies
READINGS: J. Rowe, "Post-Nationalism, Globalism, and the New American Studies" (X)
G. Sanchez, "Creating the Multicultural Nation: Adventures in Post-Nationalist

American Studies" (X)
T. Reed, "Heavy Traffic at the Intersections: Ethnic American Women's Queer
Cultural Studies" (X)
B. Agger, "The Disciplinary Positioning of Theory "(X)
WEEK 3: T Jan 30 -- Questions of Political Economy, Class & Hegemony (Marxisms)
READINGS: Denning "'The Special American Conditions': Marxism and American Studies" (X)
K. Marx, selected excerpts (X)
A. Gramsci, "Hegemony, Intellectuals, and the State" (X)
T. J. J. Lears, "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony" (X)
R. Williams, from Marxism and Literature (X) Th Feb 1 -- Further Questions of Political Economy, Class & Hegemony
READINGS: L. Althusser, "Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses" (X)
S. Hall, "The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees" (X)
T. Franks, "Getting to Yes: The Arcitecture of a New Consensus" (X)

FURTHER READING on Marxist Theories

WEEK 4: T Feb 6 -- Questions of Race/Ethnicity (Racial Theories)
READINGS: M. Omi & H. Winant, Racial Formation in the United States
E. San Juan, Jr., from Racial Formations, Critical Transformations (X)

Th Feb 8 -- Questions of Race/Ethnicity
READINGS: M. Omi & H. Winant, Racial Formation in the United States
S. Hall, "Gramsci's Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity" (X)
A. Gordon & C. Newfield, "Multiculturalism's Unfinished Business" (X)

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WEEK 5: T Feb 13 -- Questions of Race, Class and the Environment
READINGS: L. Pulido, Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles

Th Feb 15 -- Further Questions of Race, Class and the Environment
READINGS: L. Pulido, Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles
N. Sturgeon, "The Nature of Race" (X)

FURTHER READING on Race/Ethnicity Theories

T Feb 20 -- "Indian" Questions, Questioning "Indianness"
READINGS: P. Deloria, Playing Indian

Th Feb 22 -- Further "Indian" Questions
READINGS: P. Deloria, Playing Indian
R. Slotkin, "Buffalo Bill's 'Wild West' and the Mythologization of the American Empire" (X)

WEEK 7: T Feb 27 & Mar 1 -- No class sessions: review? read ahead? meet in study groups?
WEEK 8: T Mar 6 -- Questions of Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality (Feminist Theories)
READINGS: W. Kolmar, & F. Bartkowski, eds. Feminist Theory: A Reader, pp. 1-51;
items #50 (Rubin), 54 (Combahee), 57 (Lorde), 62 (Yamada),

Th Mar 8 -- Further Questions of Gender, Race, Class, & Sexuality
READINGS: W. Kolmar & F. Bartkowski, eds. Feminist Theory: A Reader, and

items # 67 (Mohanty), 69 (Haraway), 70 (Gunn Allen), 73 (Anzaldúa), 74 (Alcoff)
C. Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed, ch 2.

FURTHER READING on Feminist Theories

WEEK 9: T Mar 13 -- Questions of Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality & Art
A. Gaspar de Alba, Chicano Art

Th Mar 15 -- Further Questions of Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality & Art
READINGS: A. Gaspar de Alba, Chicano Art

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Spring Break: Mar 19-23

WEEK 10: T Mar 27 -- Que(e)ries for Theories (Lesbian/Gay//Queer Theories)
READINGS: A. Jagose, Queer Theory
C. Patton, "Tremble, Hetero Swine" (X)
S. Seidman, "Identity Politics and 'Postmodern' Gay Culture" (X)

Th Mar 29 -- Further Que(e)ries for Theories
READINGS: A, Jagose, Queer Theory
L. Duggan, "Making It Perfectly Queer" (X)
W. Kolmar, & F. Bartkowski, eds., Feminist Theory,item #81 (Judith Butler)

FURTHER READING on Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theories

WEEK 11: T Apr 3 -- Questioning Sex Talk, Talking About Talk Shows
READINGS: J. Gamson, Freaks Talk Back

Th Apr 5 -- More Sex Talk
READINGS: J. Gamson, Freaks Talk Back
K. Floyd, "Making History: Marxism, Queer Theory and Contradictions in the Future of

American Studies" (X)
WEEK 12: T Apr 10 -- Post-structural Questions
READINGS: J. P. Surber, "Poststructuralist and Postmodernist Discources" (X)
B. Agger, "The Politics of Grand Narratives II: From Derrida to Difference Theory" (X)

Th Apr 12 -- More Post-structural Questions
READINGS: M. Foucault, selected excerpts (X)
W. Kolmar & F. Barkowski, eds., Feminist Theory, item #75 (Joan Scott)

FURTHER READING on Post-structuralist & Postmodern Theories

WEEK 13: T Apr 17 -- Questions of Imperialism & (Post)Colonialism (Anti-/Post-colonial Theories)
READINGS: C. Williams, "Postcolonial Theory: An Introduction" (X)
A. Dirlik, "The Post-colonial Aura" (X)
J. B. Foster, "Marx and Internationalism" (X)

FURTHER READING on Anti-/Post-colonial Theories

Th Apr 19 -- No class session: Pacific Northwest ASA conference

WEEK 14 T Apr 24 -- Questions of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Post-modernity
READINGS: C. Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed, chs. 1 & 3

Th Apr 26 -- Further Questions of Post-modernity
READINGS: C. Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed, chs. 4-7

WEEK 15 T May 1 -- Questions of Race, Class, Gender, Sex & Empire
READINGS: E. Perez, Decolonial Imaginary
H, White, from Content of the Form (X)
S. Freud, selections (X) J. Lacan, "The Eccentric Self and the Discourse of the Other" (X)
S. Freud, "The Dream Work" (X)
L. Buell, "It's Good, But Is it History?" (X)

FURTHER READING on Historiographic Theory

Th May 3 -- Final Questions of Race, Class, Gender, Sex & Empire
READINGS: E. Perez, Decolonial Imaginary
M. Hart-Landsberg, "After Seattle: Strategic Thinking About Movement Building" (X)
E. Martínez, "Where Was the Color?:..Why the Great Battle of Seattle Was So White" (X)

Seminar papers are due in my office by 4:30pm Wednesday, May 9th

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