American and New England Studies

ANES Course Descriptions

ANE 600 Creating New England I
This required core course examines the development of New England regional identity from the 17th to the mid-19th century. Drawing on interdisciplinary approaches and materials, the course focuses on how regional identity has been both historically grounded and culturally invented. Topics include: the invention of New England as a second England; the Yankee character; the New England town; the creation of regional traditions; and the perspectives of Native Americans and African Americans on narratives of New England identity. Cr 3.

ANE 610 Creating New England II
The second part of the required core sequence, this course continues the examination of New England regional identity from the mid-19th century to the present. Topics include: the colonial revival; New England's working class and ethnic heritage; nostalgia; the regional revival of the 1920s and 30s; and regional identity and consumer culture. Cr 3.

ANE 612 Documenting America
This course will introduce students to the politics, culture, and history of documentary practices including film, photography, war reportage, television journalism, and storytelling venues such as Moth Radio and This American Life. The course will be organized chronologically with special attention given to the Progressive Era and WWI, the 1930's, including oral narratives conducted by Federal Writers Project, photojournalism of 1930's and 40's, postwar television documentary, documentary field schools in the 1970's, and contemporary radio practices. Cr 3.

ANE 615 Folklore and Region
This course will begin by introducing students briefly to the study of folklore, particularly in a regional context, and to the identification and analysis of folkloric "texts" broadly conceived. It will then proceed topically, examining regional folk culture as it relates to various of the elements that help comprise a regional identity: history, economic activity as it is constrained by the region, and the natural and humanly shaped physical environment. Attention will also be paid to variations in regional folk culture according to gender, ethnicity, and class. Each topic will include an extended examination of an example from New England as well as materials from other regions of the country. Cr 3.

ANE 618 African American Historical Archaeology
This course will examine the role of historical archaeology in interpreting African American lifeway and heritage in North America and the Caribbean. Several important topics in contemporary historical archaeology will be focused on including: plantation slavery, urban lifeways, subsistence and foodways, burial practice, ethnicity and social inequality, feminism, African cultural connections and public and museum construction of African identity and representation. Cr.3.

ANE 620 Regional Writing and the Sense of Place
This course focuses on New England literature of place including fictional, historical, poetic, and autobiographical writing. It examines the subjective experience of place and the cultural perception and use of space. The course explores how memory, experience, and nostalgia connect individual and collective identity to place. It also offers some comparative perspectives on the sense of place in other American regions. Cr 3.

ANE 622 Food: History, Culture, Politics
This course will explore the history, culture, and politics of food in America with a special emphasis on New England and regional differences.  The course will examine colonial food ways and scarcity, nineteenth century health reforms, diets, and cooking schools, the uses and production of cookery books, class and gender meanings of food, the growth of industrial foods and food-like substances, hunger, organic and local movements, school lunches, and contemporary politics. Cr 3.

ANE 629 Ethnicity, Migration, and Labor in New England
This course explores the historic role of ethnicity in the formation of New England social life and cultural identity. Using a variety of texts and approaches, students will examine immigrant community life (including foodways, housing, leisure, and work), constructions of "race" and "whiteness," and the relationship between ethnicity and regional identity. Cr 3.

ANE 630 The Culture of Consumption
Consumerism is so much a part of our lives today that it seems timeless and almost natural. Yet consumerism has a long history that continues to shape the social and cultural worlds around us. This course will explore the emergence of modern consumer practices with special attention to New England from the censorious attitude of the Puritans to contemporary sartorial habits in the region. We will also explore the emergence of national trends and debates over advertising, shopping, lesbian chic, masculinity, style, urban pleasures, commodity racism, and the commodification of everyday life. Cr 3.

ANE 633 Mapping New England
A study of the history of construction and use of cartographic representations of New England and Maine, through the 20th century. Students learn to read maps as cultural texts and to analyze them according to their originating discourses. The basic theme running through the course is therefore that of cartographic literacy and commercialism: who used the maps and for what purposes? The course is structured around spatial discourses which have been relevant for New England and the cartographic practices they have sustained. The scope of the course will expand to address, as necessary, more general issues in European and North American cartographic history. Cr 3.

ANE 635 Art and New England Culture
This course will examine painting, prints, and photography from the 17th through the 19th centuries; it will focus on New England art and its place in American art history. Students will study style and subject matter and their relation to literature, thought, and social history. Central to this course is the consideration of how region is "imaged" in the visual arts and how these images shape regional and national culture. Topics include: "reading" colonial portraits; landscape painting and the commodification of nature; race, ethnicity, and regional types; Winslow Homer and the masculinization of region; and imaging the New England woman at the turn of the century. Cr 3.

ANE 638 Reading the Cultural Landscape
This course will examine the New England and American human landscapes as texts which can be read to reveal cultural attitudes, values, priorities, and experiences. Emphasis will be on the analysis of ordinary landscapes of the sort which surround us every day. The course will focus on typical landscape "settings" or "compositions," not necessarily on individual components within those landscapes: that is, domestic or residential landscapes, commercial landscapes, industrial landscapes, civic landscapes, historic landscapes, and so on. Cr 3.

ANE 641 Environment and Culture
This course is an interdisciplinary examination of the ways in which occupants of the North American continent, from the pre-contact period to the present, have conceived of and interacted with the natural environment. The history of human use of and attitudes toward the environment will be examined within a cultural context. Course materials will be drawn both from New England and from other regions of the country. Cr 3.

ANE 645 Women and Popular Culture
The relationship between women and the public realm has always been a source of intense controversy and debate. This course will explore these controversies as they unfolded over the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning with efforts by white and African-American women to speak in public and concluding with debates over female consumption of romance fiction and daytime television. Topics include: prostitution and commercialized leisure, vaudeville and the female spectacle, working class girls and popular culture, youth culture and courtship, celebrity culture, television, women in sports, and the gendered automobile age. Cr 3.

ANE 648 Domestic Architecture and American Culture
This course will examine the physical form as well as the idea and image of "home" from the 17th through the 20th centuries. House designs and styles and their historic changes and diversity across class and geographic boundaries will be examined. Students will also analyze the idea of home in visual culture (paintings, prints, photography, popular illustrations, film) and written texts (prose, architectural pattern books, advice books, magazines). Cr 3.

ANE 650 Topics in American and New England Studies
An in-depth study of a significant aspect of New England or American culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. Topics will vary from year to year. Recent topics have included: Native People of North America, Landmarks in American Nature Writing, and Women's Captivity Narrative: Traditions and Transformations. Cr 3.

ANE 655 Historical Archaeology of New England
An examination of the role of historical archaeology in interpreting the past. Several important topics in regional contemporary historical archaeology will be examined including: exploration and settlement during the contact period, landscape research and reconstruction, ethnicity and social inequality, subsistence and food-ways, material culture studies, and the relationship between culture and consumption. Cr 3.

ANE 657 Language and Print Culture in America
This course will examine what various groups of Americans have been publishing and reading over time for purposes of education, edification, and entertainment, as well as the larger linguistic context in which those books have been produced. We will focus on questions of both the history of American English and the history of the book in America, while also examining the specific nature of print as a medium of communication. Cr 3.

ANE 658 Visual Culture of 20th-Century America
This course will examine the production and circulation of visual images in twentieth-century American society, with a focus on the years 1900-1960. Students will examine varied image types, with an emphasis on painting, photography, advertising, and film, and how these images shaped the knowledge, experience, and culture of both New England and America. Cr 3.

ANE 660 New England Autobiography
This course examines 19th- and 20th-century New England autobiography; it focuses on works that illuminate aspects of regional experience. The readings represent diverse forms of autobiographical expression as well as essays that introduce contemporary approaches to the study of autobiography. The course emphasizes a historical-cultural reading of autobiography, relating issues of style, self-representation, the life cycle, gender, class, ethnicity, and place to particular historical contexts and cultural needs. Cr 3.

ANE 665 Sex in New England
Perhaps no region has been more identified with sexual reticence and prudery than New England. Famous for its "blue laws" and "Puritanical" values, New England is more recently celebrated as a sexually liberal enclave, a region open to gay-marriage and a destination for gay travel and tourism. This course will explore the shifting history and turbulent politics of sexuality from 17th century New England to the present day. Topics include: marriage, sodomy and Puritan law, 18th century household structure and everyday sexual practices, sex and diet reform, Victorian sexual relations and marriage law, constructions of hetero/homosexuality, abortion, incest, the "Boston Marriage", New England Vice and Purity campaigns, P-town, and gay marriage. Cr 3.

ANE 668 Writers of Northern New England
This course focuses on literature about the sub region that Robert Frost referred to as "north of Boston." The course will examine writers who root their work in the landscape, culture, and history of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Considerable attention will be devoted to contemporary writing. Cr 3.

ANE 670 Museums and Public Culture
This course will examine the role of museums, preservationists, and collectors in shaping cultural identities and public memories in 19th- and 20th-century America. Topics will include: ethnographic collections and displays, fine arts museums and patrons, traditions of human display (such as 19th-century "freak shows"), history, anthropological and natural history museums, festivals, living history sites, and the narrative role of collections, artifacts, and museum design. Cr 3.

ANE 675 Workshop in Research and Writing
This course is a collaborative workshop that focuses on student writing and research needs. Students will read and comment on work in progress or use the workshop to design, research, and begin a thesis, project, or exit paper. This course is required for students writing a thesis or project, but is open to all ANES students. Prerequisite: 6 credit hours, 3 hours of which must be either ANE 600 or ANE 610. (Note: Beginning with students admitted for the fall of 2014, this course will be required for all students as part of their degree program.) Cr 3.

ANE 685 Reading and Research
Open to advanced students with exceptional records in the program, this course offers opportunities for reading and research under the direction of a faculty member. The approval of the ANES Curriculum Committee is required. This course may be taken only once. Cr 3.

ANE 687 Internship
Open to qualified students with exceptional records in the program; required for students in the Public Culture and History track. Internships are by application to the ANES Curriculum Committee. Participating organizations include, but are not limited to, the Portland Museum of Art, Old York Historical Society, Pejepscot Historical Society, and Maine Historical Society. Pass/fail. Cr 3-6.

ANE 690 Project
Completion of a two-semester project that may be an independent project or that may combine independent study and work in a historical society, a museum, a cultural organization, or other public or private institution. In consultation with an advisor, the student defines and develops the project in relation to his or her particular interest in American and New England Studies. Students should have at least a 3.50 GPA by the time they propose a project for the thirty hour track. Cr 6.

ANE 695 Thesis
The product of original research, the thesis should embody an interdisciplinary combination of approaches and/or materials. Students should have at least a 3.50 GPA by the time they propose a thesis for the thirty hour track. Cr 6.