Fordham University: Approaches to American Studies Fall 2009
Fordham University---American Studies 3010---Approaches to American Studies---Fall 2009
Instructor: Glenn Hendler
- An introduction to the interdisciplinary perspectives and methods of American studies, required of all American Studies majors and minors, and typically taken in the junior year. In this course, students will gain:
- Knowledge about the history of American studies as an interdisciplinary movement--its major schools of thought, some of its influential figures, recent and emergent developments, and the conflicts and controversies that have animated work in the field;
- Understanding of several of the methodologies American studies scholars use to analyze American culture;
- Awareness of some of the major theories that influence and underpin American studies scholarship.
- In the end, students will have developed the skills and knowledge necessary both for informed, rigorous reading of current publications in the field and for the production of original research of their own in future classes, including (for majors) the senior thesis.
- This year, the course is organized around a theme that has been central to American Studies for over half a century: technology. From Leo Marx’s 1964 book The Machine in the Garden to current cutting-edge scholarship on imperialism, empire, and subjectivity in a recent special issue of American Quarterly, scholars have used interdisciplinary methodologies to explore the role of technology and technological change in American culture. Over the course of the semester we will trace the history of American studies scholars’ engagement with technology, explore the methodological and theoretical tools they have deployed in their analyses, assess the value of various keywords they have used to interpret culture and technology, and accumulate an archive of primary sources—texts, sites, events, figures, and objects—that help us ask new questions about American culture.
Our collective task this semester will be to write a keyword essay on a term that does not have an entry in Keywords for American Cultural Studies, but which is the central keyword for this course: technology. From early in the semester, everyone should begin collecting and archiving on the collaboratory site important usages of the word “technology.” By the middle of the semester, we will begin the process of writing and revising the essay, a process that I will consider complete at 5pm on Wednesday, December 9 (the day after our final class meeting). Each student will receive a grade based on his or her level and quality of participation in the construction of this keyword essay.
- Do note that the Keywords Collaboratory is a public space, and anyone at all can look at what we write there (though not just anyone can revise what we have written). If you prefer not to be identifiable to anyone beyond our class group, choose a username that does not clearly indicate your real name. Also, if the essay we produce is of a high enough quality, the editors may choose to publish our essay on the site permanently. If you do not wish your name to be attached to such a publication, please let me know by the end of the semester.
This link leads to the collaboratory area where you'll collect and discuss usages of the keyword technology:
Write, edit, and discuss our class keyword essay on technology by clicking on this link.
Collaboratory Leads: Glenn Hendler, Fordham University
Instructions for First-Time Users
Students: If you're a student enrolled in this class, you'll have access to edit and create pages. First, you'll need to create an account and email me your user name so I can give you special editing privileges. Please note: You will only be able to modify pages once I have activated your account.
- To create an account, click on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
- Submit all the information requested on the registration page. Make sure to remember your user name and password.
- email me your user name so I can activate your account.
- Until I activate your account, you're welcome to experiment with editing pages in the Sandbox. Check out the Help and FAQs pages for tips on how to format pages.
- After I've activated your account, you should sign up for a group by clicking on the discussion tab on this page.
- Add your name, your user name, and your email to the list. Spaces are limited by the number of secondary/critical texts that are coordinated with each novel.
Other Visitors to the Site: If you're not enrolled in this class, you can still read and comment on the work that we're generating throughout the quarter. This will be a work in progress, so please check back for new additions and developments. You're also welcome to email me with any questions or comments about our course.
As soon as you've been approved as a collaboratory participant (and to make sure you have been approved), go into the page linked below. In it you'll find the e-mail addresses of all members of the class, including yours. Open the "edit" tab for the page, change the e-mail address to your actual name, and feel free to add a couple of words afterward. For example, if your name is Jane Doe, you'll change "email@example.com" to Jane Doe, and can add "was here" after your name. Save the page, and you should see a sentence that says "Jane Doe was here." If you can't make this change, you aren't properly signed in or haven't been approved yet. Make sure you're signed in, and if you are, check with me to get yourself approved as a participant.
If you were involved in the collaboratory project in a class last year, and you remember your username and password, you can continue to use them. Even if so, please do go into the test page and follow the instructions above, just to make sure you're still authorized to use the site.