Department of American Studies

amerstud.unc.edu

folklore.unc.edu

BERNARD HERMAN, Chair

PATRICIA SAWIN, Coordinator of the Folklore Program

Core members of the Folklore Program are indicated with *.

Professors

Robert Allen, American Cultural History, Media Studies, Digital Humanities, Global American Studies

Philip Gura, American Literature, American Studies

*Bernard Herman, Material Culture, Visual Culture, Vernacular Arts, Foodways

Sharon Holland, Feminist, Queer, and Critical Race Theory, Afro-Native Studies, Food Studies, the Human/Animal Divide

John Kasson, American Intellectual and Cultural History, Technology and Society, Art and Literature, Popular Culture

Joy Kasson, American Visual Culture, Literature, Popular Culture, Cultural History

Associate Professors

Daniel Cobb, American Indian History, 20th-Century History and Culture

*Marcie Cohen Ferris, Southern Jewish History, American Foodways, Women's Studies, Folklore, Material Culture

Tim Marr, American Literature and Culture, American Studies Theory, Globalization, American Encounters with Southeast Asia

*Patricia Sawin, Folklore Theory, Gender, Narrative, Festival, Ethnography of Speaking

Christopher Teuton, North American Indigenous Oral and Written Literatures, Indigenous Critical Theory; 19th-Century American Literature and Culture

Rachel Willis, Labor Economics, Access to Work, History of the University, Documentary Studies

Assistant Professors

Seth Kotch, Modern American History, Oral History, Digital Humanities

Michelle Robinson, 19th-Century American Literature and Culture, Detective Fiction, Women's History, Religious Movements

Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote, American Indian Material and Expressive Culture, American Indian Art History, Museums, Tourism, the Plains, and American Indian Social and Cultural History

Adjunct Faculty in American Studies

Fitzhugh Brundage, History, American History since the Civil War, Southern History

Kathleen DuVal, History, Early America, Particularly Cross-Cultural Relations on North American Borderlands

Larry Griffin, Sociology, Social Inequality, Race and Race Relations, Politics, U.S. Culture, the American South

Lawrence Grossberg, Communication Studies, Media and Cultural Studies

Minrose Gwin, English, 20th-Century American Literature, Critical Theory and Cultural Studies, Southern Literature

Jacquelyn Hall, History, U.S. Women's History, Southern History, Working-Class History, Oral History, Cultural/Intellectual History

Jennifer Ho, English, 20th-Century American Literature, Asian-American Literature, Critical Theory and Cultural Studies

Michael Lienesch, Political Science, American Political Theory, Religion and Politics in America

*Jocelyn Neal, Music, 20th-Century Music Theory, Popular Music

Eliza Richards, English, 19th-Century American Literature, Gender Studies, American Poetry

Ruth Salvaggio, English, 18th-Century Literature, Feminist Theory

Additional Faculty in Folklore

Professors

*William Ferris, Southern Music and Literature, Documentary Studies, American South

James L. Peacock (11) Culture Change, Symbolic Systems, Southeast Asia

Della Pollock (9) Performance of Literature, Performance Theory and Criticism, Cultural Studies

Associate Professors

Robert Edward Daniels (4) Social Anthropology, Culture and Personality, Africa

*Glenn D. Hinson (36) Ethnography, African American Expressive Culture, Belief Systems, Vernacular Art, Public Folklore, American South

Valerie Lambert (59) American Indians, Ethnography, Political and Legal Anthropology, Sovereignty, Identity, Race and Racism, Elites, United States

Christopher Nelson (64) History and Memory, Everyday Life, Ethnography, Critical Theory, Storytelling, Ritual and Performance, Japan and Okinawa

Karla Slocum (56) Global/Local Studies, Social Movements, Agency, Development, Gender, Applying Anthropology, Caribbean

Professors Emeriti

Robert Cantwell, Folklore, Vernacular Music, Culture and Human Rights, Folklore Theory, Jane Addams, Pragmatism and the Progressive Era, Jewish Writers, Close Reading

Trudier Harris, African American Folklore and Literature

Townsend Luddington, American Literature, Art, and Culture

Daniel W. Patterson, Ballads, American Folksong, Religious Folklife, Gravestones, American South

Theda Perdue, Native American History

Charles Gordon Zug, Pottery, Material Culture, Narrative, Maritime Folklife, Folk Art, American South

The American Studies Department offers a Ph.D. in American Studies and an M.A. in Folklore as well as a graduate minor in either American Studies or Folklore for students pursuing a graduate degree in other departments.

Ph.D. in American Studies

amerstud.unc.edu/programs/graduate-studies/

Admissions

Students will be admitted to the Ph.D. in American Studies from a wide range of undergraduate programs, some with an undergraduate degree, some with a master's degree in American Studies or another relevant discipline. Candidates for admission should be firmly grounded in the humanities, social sciences, or the arts. The best qualified students should articulate an interest in American history, literary, expressive and/or material culture, and/or critical theory, should show some familiarity with library, Web-based, and/or ethnographic research methods, and should offer a specific rationale for their interest in the UNC–Chapel Hill graduate program. In addition to the Graduate School application form, candidates for admission will present one or two writing samples, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, GRE aptitude scores, and a curriculum vitae. Transfer credits may be awarded at the department's discretion on the basis of course equivalencies.

Applications will be accepted in December for matriculation the following August. Consult the Web site of the Graduate School gradschool.unc.edu/admissions/ for details, specific deadlines, and link to the on-line application system.

Students who join the department with a master's degree can usually expect to spend one year less on coursework than those who enter with an undergraduate degree, although students admitted with a master's degree in a field other than American Studies may need to take some additional courses as they progress toward the American Studies Ph.D. The graduate studies committee will make the determination on an individual basis. Students who enter with an undergraduate degree undertake a capstone project in their second year and earn the M.A. upon completion and defense of the capstone project before proceeding to preparations for comprehensive examinations and the dissertation.

The Department of American Studies offers a separate M.A. degree in Folklore. Students in the Folklore M.A. may apply for admission to the Ph.D. in American Studies. Admission to the M.A.in Folklore does not constitute admission to the Ph.D. in American Studies.

The Ph.D. in American Studies

The Ph.D. degree in American Studies provides rigorous training in interdisciplinary methods dedicated to the understanding of the complex cultures and history of the United States and its place in the world. Program graduates will be prepared both to teach at the college and university levels in American Studies and related fields, including Southern Studies, American Indian Studies, literature, history, art history, cultural studies, and folklore and to pursue professional opportunities in museums, historical sites, archives, or related fields requiring interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies.

Requirements

The Ph.D. program in American Studies balances flexibility and a focus on students' own areas of interest with requirements designed to insure knowledge of key issues and texts in the interdisciplinary study of American culture. Ph.D. students must complete 20 courses (60 hours). Those who enter the program with an M.A. may count up to 18 hours of previous study toward the degree. Four specific courses–History and Practices of American Studies (AMST 700), Interdisciplinary Research Methodologies (AMST 701), Readings in American Studies (AMST 702), and Ph.D. Research Seminar (AMST 902)–are required. Students generally take six other courses offered by American Studies core faculty and the remainder of their courses in a variety of associated graduate programs, including English, history, music, and religious studies. Those who enter the program with a B.A. also undertake the M.A. Research Seminar (AMST 901) and the Capstone Project (AMST 992). Students pursuing the Ph.D. take comprehensive exams in American Studies and two other areas of their own choice and complete a dissertation. They must also participate actively in the departmental colloquium and demonstrate reading proficiency in a language other than English.

Language Proficiency

Ph.D. candidates will demonstrate reading proficiency in one language other than English. Language competence may be demonstrated in one of three ways: an undergraduate degree in language study; successful completion of a university-administered language examination or other examination approved by the director of graduate studies; or successful completion (at least a B grade) of an undergraduate literature course in any language other than English. Such a course will not count toward required graduate credits.

Colloquium

All students enrolled in the American Studies graduate program will participate throughout their graduate careers in a monthly colloquium in which faculty and Ph.D. candidates will offer presentations of their work-in-progress. The colloquium exposes graduate students to the research interests of faculty in American Studies and allied fields and more advanced students, provides opportunities for sharing discourses and ideas, and may also include visiting graduate students and faculty from international partner institutions. The colloquium is the collegial wellspring of the program, the intellectual and social center of the American Studies community, the conversation occurring there will naturally both inform and be informed by classroom work, particularly in AMST 700, 701, and 702, will help to shape, against the backdrop of individual specializations, a common discourse, and in large part provide a site for the formation of the American studies social and intellectual community.

Comprehensive Exams

Students will undertake comprehensive exams in the spring of the third year for students admitted with a B.A. and in the spring of the second year for students admitted with an M.A. Students and faculty will work collaboratively, with the aim of integrating the best work with the most current scholarship in particular fields. The professors who teach AMST 700, AMST 701 and/or AMST 702 for each cohort will collaborate with students to develop the reading list for the American Studies major field exam required of all students. Each student will constitute a three-person examination advisory committee in consultation with whom to develop reading lists for two other field concentrations. In one of the field concentrations the student will undertake a written exam and in the other the student will produce a portfolio. Shortly after passing the written exams and submitting the portfolio, each student will undergo an oral exam covering the American Studies major and the two minor field concentrations. Students are expected to receive passing evaluations in all three examination areas as well as the oral exam. Any student who fails one or more sections of the exam may repeat the failed section(s) only once.

Portfolio

Each student will prepare a professional portfolio directed toward teaching, museum, archival, public policy, digital humanities, publicly engaged humanities, or other appropriate application of the field. The portfolio will constitute the written examination in one of the student's minor field areas. A teaching portfolio will include the syllabus for an upper division course in the area of specialization plus bibliography and sample lesson plans. The professional portfolio will include a comprehensive framework for an exhibit or project plus a bibliography and sample components.

Teaching and Professional Development

All students will be expected to teach as part of their service requirement for financial aid. Teaching experience is fundamental to preparation for the professoriate. In their first year of graduate study, students may participate, under supervision, in collaborative faculty-student undergraduate teaching assignments. (Students entering with a master's degree may begin teaching in their first year). Students may also apply for teaching assistantships in undergraduate courses. After supervised classroom teaching (TA), depending upon the availability of assistantships, students may develop and teach undergraduate courses in their areas of specialization. The teaching portfolio may provide the basis for an independently taught course.

Doctoral Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation constitutes an original contribution to knowledge that advances the interdisciplinary understanding of American culture. It may be based upon archival research, analysis of texts and/or cultural artifacts, ethnographic research, or a combination. The student will constitute a five-person doctoral advisory committee, usually by adding two more members to the three-person comprehensive examination advisory committee. The student ordinarily completes the dissertation prospectus and refines it with the advice of the doctoral advisory committee at the end of the semester that begins with his/her successful completion of the comprehensive exams and the acceptance of the portfolio. The prospectus must be approved by the committee following a prospectus defense. Students should normally plan to complete the doctoral dissertation during the spring of the third year of doctoral studies (the fourth year of matriculation for students beginning the program with a B.A.; the third year for students admitted with an M.A.). Upon completion of the dissertation, all degree candidates must successfully defend their dissertations before their doctoral advisory committee.

M.A. in Folklore

folklore.unc.edu

The Folklore Program, which operates within the departmental structure of American Studies, offers a M.A. in Folklore independent of the American Studies Ph.D. program. The Folklore Program focuses on the study of creativity and aesthetic expression in everyday life and on the social and political implications of this expression as it unfolds in contested arenas of culture. Not bound to traditional definitions of folklore, and committed to preparing students for ethical practice in a multicultural world, the Folklore Program offers a flexible M.A. curriculum that readies students for both public practice and further academic study.

The study of folklore focuses attention on those expressive realms that communities infuse with cultural meaning and through which they give voice to the issues and concerns that they see as central to their being. These realms are often deeply grounded in tradition, yet as community self-definitions develop and change in light of shifting social, political, and economic realities, community-based artistry likewise evolves. Folklore thus moves beyond the study of the old and time-honored to explore emergent meanings and cultural forms.

The primary vehicle for the exploration of contemporary folklore is ethnographic fieldwork, the real-world study of people's lives in everyday settings, grounded in conversation and participatory engagement. In Folklore courses, students often move beyond the university to engage experts of the everyday in the communities they call home. The expertise of our core faculty offers broad coverage of the expressive realms of music, narrative, festival, architecture, belief, language, food, and art as articulated in communities defined by race, gender, class, ethnicity, region, faith, and occupation.

Admission

Applications will be accepted in December for matriculation the following August. Consult the Web site of the Graduate School gradschool.unc.edu/admissions/ for details, specific deadlines, and link to the on-line application system.

Degree Requirements

The M.A. program in folklore balances flexibility and a focus on students' own areas of interest with requirements designed to insure knowledge of key issues and texts in the discipline. Master's students must complete 10 courses (30 hours). Two specific courses–Approaches to Folklore Theory (FOLK 850) and The Art of Ethnography (FOLK 860)–are required, and students must take three other courses offered by core faculty. Students take the remainder of their courses in a variety of associated graduate programs, including American studies, anthropology, communications studies, English, history, music, and religious studies or take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in courses at neighboring universities, particularly those offered at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. Students pursuing an M.A. must compile a critical literature review at the beginning of their third semester, and must complete and defend a thesis at the end of their second year of study. They must also demonstrate reading proficiency in a language other than English.

Graduate Minor in American Studies

amerstud.unc.edu/programs/graduate-studies/graduate-minor

The American studies graduate minor serves students admitted in a variety of departments, including art, communications studies, English, history, and religious studies. Interdisciplinary training in the study of American culture can enhance scholarly and teaching capabilities for these students. The object of study is American culture in all its diversity, and the methodologies include historical, literary, and visual analysis as well as ethnography, sociology, economics, and political science as appropriate. The American Studies Department at UNC offers courses in the theory and methodology of American studies and in concentrations including American Indian studies, folklore, material culture studies, Southern studies, and digital humanities.

Application

Contact the department chair or director of graduate studies.

Requirements

The graduate minor consists of five courses, to be selected with the advice of the chair or director of graduate studies in American studies. These courses should include AMST 700 or 701 and at least two other graduate courses with an AMST designation. Additional courses may be chosen from cognate departments.

Graduate Minor in Folklore

Students pursuing the Ph.D. in another department at UNC may qualify for a minor in Folklore by completing six courses, chosen in consultation with the coordinator of the Folklore Program.

Courses for Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Students

AMST

410 Senior Seminar in Southern Studies (3). We will engage such topics as race, immigration, cultural tourism, and memory to consider conceptions of the South. Students will research a subject they find compelling and write a 20- to 25-page paper.

440 American Indian Poetry (3). This course explores the relation of American Indian poetry and music in English to the history and culture of indigenous communities and their relation to the United States.

466 You Are Where You Live: The American House in Critical Perspective (3). This course emphasizes the complexities of human shelter in the United States. We learn housing types, explore their social uses and meanings, and evaluate critical issues, such as affordability and gentrification.

482 Images of the American Landscape (3). This course will consider how real estate speculation, transportation, suburbanization, and consumerism have shaped a landscape whose many representations in art and narrative record our ongoing struggle over cultural meaning.

483 Seeing the U.S.A.: Visual Arts and American Culture (3). Examines the ways in which visual works–paintings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, film, advertising, and other images–communicate the values of American culture and raise questions about American experiences.

484 Visual Culture (3). This course investigates how we make and signify meaning through images, ranging from art to advertising to graffiti, and provides the critical tools to understand the visual worlds we inhabit.

485 Folk, Self-Taught, Vernacular, and Outsider Arts (3). Drawing on American and international examples, this course addresses a body of art that occupies the borderlands of contemporary art, examining questions of authenticity, dysfunction, aesthetics, and identity.

486 Shalom Y'all: The Jewish Experience in the American South (JWST 486) (3). This course explores ethnicity in the South and focuses on the history and culture of Jewish Southerners from their arrival in the Carolinas in the 17th century to the present day.

487 Early American Architecture and Material Life (3). This course explores, through lecture and discussion, the experiences of everyday life from 1600 through the early 19th century, drawing on the evidence of architecture, landscape, images, and objects.

488 No Place like Home: Material Culture of the American South (FOLK 488) (3). Seminar will explore the unique worlds of Southern material culture and how "artifacts" from barns to biscuits provide insight about the changing social and cultural history of the American South.

489 Writing Material Culture (3). A reading seminar that examines multiple critical perspectives that shape the reception and interpretation of objects, with a particular emphasis on things in American life.

493 Internship (1–3). Permission of the department and the instructor. Internship. Variable credit.

498 Advanced Seminar in American Studies (3). Graduate or junior/senior standing. Examines American civilization by studying social and cultural history, criticism, art, architecture, music, film, popular pastimes, and amusements, among other possible topics.

685 Literature of the Americas (CMPL 685, ENGL 685) (3). See ENGL 685 for description.

691H Honors in American Studies (3). Directed independent research leading to the preparation of an honors thesis and an oral examination on the thesis. Required of candidates for graduation with honors in American studies who enroll in the class once permission to pursue honors is granted.

692H Honors in American Studies (3). Directed independent research leading to the preparation of an honors thesis and an oral examination on the thesis. Required of candidates for graduation with honors in American studies who enroll in the class once permission to pursue honors is granted.

Courses for Graduate Students

AMST

700 The History and Practices of American Studies (3). This course will acquaint students with the texts, contexts, issues, and controversies in American studies as a field of study. It is required for most American studies graduate students and open to graduate students in other departments.

701 Interdisciplinary Research Methods (3). This course will focus on techniques of American studies investigation. Various faculty members will make presentations highlighting approaches including Southern studies, American Indian studies, Material Culture studies, and new media.

702 Readings in American Studies (3). This course takes a specific topic to explore in depth, and through this investigation critically examines contending perspectives on the field. Topics will change depending on faculty interest.

795 Digital Humanities Field Experience (1-3). An opportunity for students to translate theory into practice as they make meaningful contributions to digital humanities projects. Field experience can be tailored to fit the intellectual and professional needs of individual students, who may choose to work on projects in cultural heritage institutions or within academic departments on campus.

840 Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies (3). This course, explores the application of digital technologies to the materials, questions, and practices of humanities scholarship, particularly as related to enduring topics in American Studies scholarship and community engagement. Students will work on group digital history projects in collaboration with local cultural heritage organizations.

850 Digital Humanities Practicum (3). This practicum blends graduate seminar discussions with hands-on training in the digital humanities. Students will work in the Digital Innovation Lab, contributing to real-life projects while developing their own professional development goals. Students will emerge with a deeper understanding of and experience with digital humanities approaches, practices, and issues.

878 Readings in Native American History (HIST 878) (3). See HIST 878 for description.

880 American Film and Media History (3). Topically focused examination of social and cultural aspects of cinema and media history in the United States including cinema/media audiences, reception, and historiography.

890 Special Topics in American Studies (3). Field/topical/research seminar. Instructors use this course to offer instruction in particular topics or approaches. Specific course descriptions are available each semester on the departmental Web site.

895 Directed Readings for Graduate Students (3). Permission of the instructor. Independent reading programs for graduate students whose needs are covered by no course immediately available. For students resident in Chapel Hill or vicinity.

900 Directed Readings (0.5–21). Topics vary according to the needs and interests of the individual student and the professor directing the reading and writing project.

901 M.A. Research Seminar (3). Students will be introduced to issues of project design, develop a prospectus for the M.A. capstone project, work with an advisor, and prepare full drafts of their projects.

902 Ph.D. Research Seminar (3). A review of current scholarship in American studies, with the aim of creating the final reading list for the comprehensive exams, and an introduction to dissertation design.

948 Research in Native American History (HIST 948) (3). See HIST 948 for description.

992 Master's (Non-Thesis) (3). Non-Thesis Option.

993 Master's Research and Thesis (3). Master's Thesis.

994 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (3). Individual work on the doctoral dissertation, pursued under the supervision of the Ph.D. advisor.

Courses for Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Students

FOLK

428 Religion and Anthropology (ANTH 428, RELI 428) (3). See ANTH 428 for description.

429 Culture and Power in Southeast Asia (ANTH 429, ASIA 429) (3). See ANTH 429 for description.

435 Consciousness and Symbols (ANTH 435, CMPL 435) (3). See ANTH 435 for description.

454 Historical Geography of the United States (GEOG 454) (3). See GEOG 454 for description.

455 Method and Theory in Ethnohistoric Research (ANTH 455) (3). See ANTH 455 for description.

470 Medicine and Anthropology (ANTH 470) (3). See ANTH 470 for description.

473 Anthropology of the Body and the Subject (ANTH 473) (3). See ANTH 473 for description.

484 Discourse and Dialogue in Ethnographic Research (ANTH 484, LING 484) (3). See ANTH 484 for description.

487 Folk Narrative (ENGL 487) (3). See ENGL 487 for description.

488 No Place like Home: Material Culture of the American South (AMST 488) (3). See AMST 488 for description.

490 Topics in Folklore (3). Topics vary from semester to semester.

495 Field Research (3). Research at sites that vary.

496 Directed Readings in Folklore (3). Permission of the department. Topic varies depending on the instructor.

502 Myths and Epics of the Ancient Near East (RELI 502) (3). See RELI 502 for description.

525 Culture and Personality (ANTH 525) (3). See ANTH 525 for description.

537 Gender and Performance: Constituting Identity (ANTH 537, WMST 438) (3). See ANTH 537 for description.

550 Introduction to Material Culture (3). An introduction to material folk culture, exploring the meanings that people bring to traditional arts and the artful creations with which they surround themselves (e.g., architecture, clothing, altars, tools, food).

560 Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition (3). Course considers how Southern writers employ folklore genres such as folk tales, sermons, and music and how such genres provide structure for literary forms like the novel and the short story.

562 Oral History and Performance (COMM 562, HIST 562, WMST 562) (3). See COMM 562 for description.

565 Ritual, Theater, and Performance in Everyday Life (COMM 362) (3). See COMM 362 for description.

571 Southern Music (HIST 571) (3). See HIST 571 for description.

587 Folklore in the South (3). An issue-oriented study of Southern folklore, exploring the ways that vernacular artistic expression (from barns and barbecue to gospel and well-told tales) come to define both community and region.

610 Vernacular Traditions in African American Music (AAAD 432) (4). Explores performance traditions in African American music, tracing development from African song through reels, blues, gospel, and contemporary vernacular expression. Focuses on continuity, creativity, and change within African American aesthetics.

670 Introduction to Oral History (HIST 670) (3). See HIST 670 for description.

675 Ethnographic Method (ANTH 675) (3). See ANTH 675 for description.

688 Observation and Interpretation of Religious Action (ANTH 688, RELI 688) (3). See ANTH 688 for description.

690 Studies in Folklore (3). Topic varies from semester to semester.

691H Honors Project in Folklore (3). Permission of the instructor. For honors candidates. Ethnographic and/or library research and analysis of the gathered materials, leading to a draft of an honors thesis.

692H Honors Thesis in Folklore (3). Prerequisite, FOLK 691H. Writing of an honors thesis based on independent research conducted in FOLK 691H. Open only to senior honors candidates who work under the direction of a faculty member.

Courses for Graduate Students

FOLK

790 Public Folklore (3). A graduate seminar addressing theory and praxis in public sector cultural work. Focusing on public folklore, this course explores broad issues of representation, cultural politics, and cultural tourism.

841 Performance Ethnography (COMM 841) (3). See COMM 841 for description.

842 Seminar in Performance and Cultural Studies (COMM 842) (3). See COMM 842 for description.

843 Seminar in Contemporary Performance Theory (COMM 843) (3). See COMM 843 for description.

850 Approaches to Folklore Theory (3). A systematic overview of the major issues and theoretical perspectives that have informed the study of folklore historically and that are emerging in contemporary scholarship.

860 Art of Ethnography (ANTH 860) (3). A field-based exploration of the pragmatic, ethical, and theoretical dimensions of ethnographic research, addressing issues of experience, aesthetics, authority, and worldview through the lens of cultural encounter. Field research required.

890 Seminar in Selected Topics (3). An irregularly offered graduate seminar exploring selected topics in the theory and practice of folklore.

891 Topics in Folklore (3). An irregularly offered graduate seminar exploring selected topics in the theory and practice of folklore.

895 Seminar in Folklore (3). An irregularly offered graduate seminar exploring selected topics in the theory and practice of folklore.

993 Master's Research and Thesis (3). Research in a special field under the direction of staff members.