Advanced Seminars

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge.

Advanced seminars pull from primary sources from multiple disciplines and cultural products across varied genres and media.  Experimentation is encouraged, and students-as-collaborators learn to synthesize disparate elements into sustained complex arguments, creating and presenting significant work in written, oral, and other creative formats at varied lengths. Seminar participants bring their special interests into dialogue with one another through the lens of course topics aimed at addressing key issues in America today.

Fall 2022

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: American Empire, the Anthropocene, & Afrofuturism in Octavia E. Butler
Subject associations
AMS 404 / AAS 405

This seminar takes up the works of science fiction pioneer Octavia E. Butler to explore the future of the American empire via a study of Afrofuturism and the Anthropocene. We will explore Afrofuturism's history and current status, especially in relation to the Anthropocene in the novels, short stories, and critical writings by and related to Butler's canon. We will pay close attention to how Butler's oeuvre charts the arc of American history from the Civil Rights Movement to the Iraq war and the significance of Butler's prophetic work that had dire warnings regarding climate change, white nationalism, and the waning of the American empire.

Susana Morris
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: The Disney Industrial Complex
Subject associations
AMS 406

This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the history and evolution of the Walt Disney Company not only as a multinational media and entertainment conglomerate but also as a powerful cultural force--from the early films and theme parks to the highly successful streaming service. We'll consider the ever-expanding Disney multiverse (which now includes Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, among others) as well as the company's global reach, while paying special attention to its impacts on, and representations of, American history, society, and culture, particularly as they touch on matters of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and place.

William A. Gleason

Recent Semesters