Comparative American Studies
Department Chair:
Wendy Kozol, Chair

Administrative Assistant:
Linda Pardee

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8390
Fax: (440) 775-8644

King 105
10 N. Professor Street
Oberlin, OH, 44074-1095

CAST courses: 2013-2014

CAST courses: 2013-2014

FALL 2013

  • CAST 100 - Introduction to Comparative American Studies
    The course will introduce students to the complexity of American social and cultural formations, with particular emphases on sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and to various methodologies of comparative analysis. Instructor: W. Kozol

  • CAST 201 - Latinas/os in Comparative Perspective
    This course analyzes the varied experiences of Latinas/os in the United States. Using ethnography, literature, film, and history, this course will explore questions of immigration/transnationalism; culture and political economy; racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities among Latinas/os; the struggle for place in American cities; as well as the intersections of gender, work and family.  Instructor: M. Garcia

  • CAST 223 - Surviving America: Introduction to Native Studies  
    This class is an introduction to the study of the indigenous peoples of North America and the academic field of Native Studies. Native Studies seeks to understand indigenous peoples from indigenous perspectives and to undertake research to address the problems created by the history of Euro-American misrepresentations and mistreatment of Indian peoples. This course explores critical issues facing Native communities including legal and cultural identities, revitalization, environmental racism, gender and sexuality, religious freedom, and sovereignty. Instructor: S. Williams

  • CAST 240 - How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity
    This course examines US beauty pageants from the 1920s to the present. Our aim will be to analyze pageantry as a unique site for the interplay of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nation. We will learn about cultural studies methodology, including close reading, cultural history, critical discourse analysis, and ethnography, and use those methods to understand the changing identity of the US over time. This course includes a field visit to a pageant in Ohio.  Instructor: A. Ofori-Mensa

  • CAST 256 - Im/migration in U.S. History
    History of immigration and migration in the United States, from nineteenth to early twenty-first centuries. Includes international context of migration, migrants’ encounters with American society, policy responses, and significance of immigration in American culture. Also covers internal migrations such as the ‘Great Migration’ of blacks from the South. Aim is to provide introduction to major developments in history of U.S. im/migration, historicize contemporary debates, and develop comparative understanding of experiences among Asians, Blacks, Europeans, Latinos. Instructor: M. Esguerra

  • CAST 260 - Asian American History
    This course is an introduction to the history of peoples of Asian ancestry in the United States and the construction of an Asian American collectivity. Major themes will include the place of Asian Americans in the American imagination, migrations, labor, communities, and responses to social and legal discrimination. The categories of race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality will figure prominently as we explore similarities and differences among Asian American experiences. Instructor: M. Esguerra

  • CAST 286 - Latina Feminisms
    This course examines the heterogeneous experiences of U.S. Latinas across space and time. We will explore how, and under what circumstances, Latina feminism has emerged. Historically as well as epistemologically, we will discuss central concepts and examine what constitutes Latina feminism in its multiple forms. We will also discuss how Latina feminists have made important historical, academic, cultural, and political contributions and have inspired change and activism in innovative ways. Instructor: M. García

  • CAST 300 - Situated Research
    This field-based methods course integrates seminar discussion of methodologies and theory with field research to explore issues of power and hierarchical cultural formations. Weekly fieldwork in an internship and texts pertaining to interpersonal relations in American culture will provide the foundation for projects and written assignments. Students will present, discuss, and engage with methodological, theoretical, and ethical questions arising from field research and work with the instructor in writing an analytical close-reading of cultural formations. Instructor: E. Heiliger 

  • CAST 301 - Situated Research Practicum 
    Students will choose a field site and use this work as the basis of weekly written assignments in the form of field journals. Instructor: E. Heiliger

  • CAST 342 - Race, Gender & American Social Movement
    This course examines social movements in the U.S. in the second half of the twentieth century, particularly those addressing racial and gender inequalities in American society. Thinking comparatively, the course includes study of the black freedom struggle, American Indian Movement, and the “Yellow Power” and “Brown Power” movements. We also consider struggles that cross (and complicate) ethno-racial identity such as feminism, gay rights, worker rights, and third world liberation.  Instructor: M. Garcia

Spring 2014

  • CAST 100 - Introduction to Comparative American Studies
    The course will introduce students to the complexity of American social and cultural formations, with particular emphases on sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and to various methodologies of comparative analysis. Instructor: P. Mitchell

  • CAST 203 - For Better or Worse: Marriage & Family in American Culture
    This class critically interrogates the meanings of marriage in U.S. society. The following questions will guide this exploration: Who can marry? What privileges and rights does marriage afford? How have economic, legal, and social forces shaped what marriage means? What will the future of marriage in America look like? The class will pay particular attention to the ways that race, sexuality, and class complicate and enrich constructions of marriage and family. Instructor: M. Paz Esguerra

  • CAST 204 - Asian Americans in Popular Culture
    This course will examine how popular culture such as fashion, television, film, art, music, theater, and the Internet has shaped perceptions of Asia and people of Asian descent in American history. Topics include: Asian immigration and early stereotypes; white actors in “yellowface”; representations of Asian American sexualities; the relationship between Asian Americans and African Americans; hate crimes and anti-Asian violence; community activism; the Vietnam War; and the relationship between the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific.Instructor: M. Paz Esguerra
  • CAST 211 - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Identities  
    This course examines the production of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities in the United States as they intersect with important social markers such as race, class, gender, and nation. Situating specific case studies in historical, social, and comparative context, we explore issues such as the intersection of racial and sexual sciences, processes of community formation, the politics of embodiment, social justice movements and queer cultural productions. Instructor: E. Heiliger

  • CAST 216 - Native America Collected 
    This course is intended as an introduction and overview of the politics, history and contemporary implications of collecting Native American objects. This class will examine ideologies that have been and continue to be behind Indian collecting with particular focus on issues of colonialism, cultural representation and appropriation inherent in collections of “others.” We will also look at current legislation regarding Indian collections and art and critiques of Indian collecting from both Native and non-native perspectives. Instructor: S. Williams 
  • CAST 237 - Latinas/os in the Midwest: Histories, Communities, and Latinidades  
    Working within an interdisciplinary framework, we will explore the ways in which academic scholars have theorized and represented the everyday life of Latinas/os in the Midwest. Historically and contemporaneously, we will study the formation and transformation of various Latina/o communities in the Midwest. We will discuss how scholarship on Latinas/os in the Midwest has contributed and shaped theoretical understandings of Latinidades and the field of Latina/o Studies, more broadly. Field trip Required.  Instructor: M. Garcia

  • CAST 267 - The Nature of Sexualized Identities: Gender, Race, Queerness, and Environmental Justice 
    Interdisciplinary seminar re-examines nature, gender, race, queerness, and sexualized identities as they shape, and are shaped by, sustainability, health, and environmental justice concerns. Working from the premise that sexual(ized) identities are at least partially socially constructed, course also interrogates ways that sexual identities and ideas about nature have co-evolved through science and media. Theories, methodologies and case studies primarily from the Americas. All students welcome. Instructor: V. Heiliger

  • CAST 307 - Between the Lines: Reading Asian American Women and Memory
    This class will focus on historical memoirs, autobiographies, novels and other narratives of and by Asian American women. We will read these materials for the ways that they articulate a diverse range of understandings of history, identity, community life, migration, family, politics, and language. This course will bring historical perspectives and methodological approaches to our analysis of differing understandings of gender, class, and sexuality that have shaped Asian American women’s experiences.Instructor: M. Paz Esguerra

  • CAST 340 - Queer Money Matters: The Costs of Being LGBTQI in America  Advanced interdisciplinary course integrates seminar discussion of theories, methodologies, policy reports, and popular culture to explore economic concerns of LGBTQI populations in/of the US. We ask: how would we fare as trans*women, single bisexual men, queer immigrant youth, intersex adults, or as latina lesbian parents? Seminars focus on synthesizing weekly readings and discussing field-specific writing techniques. Each student designs an individual research project proposal to investigate a specific economic aspect of American LGBTQI life. Instructor: V. Heiliger

  • CAST 345 - Narratives of Passing 
    Is passing about pretending to be someone you are not, or is it about becoming someone different than you were before? This course uses passing as a paradigm to destabilize normative understandings of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality. Through literature and film about various forms of passing from the early 20th century through the present, we will analyze relationships between privilege and oppression, representation and performance, normativity and difference, and visible and invisible identities. Instructor: A. Ofori-Mensa

  • CAST 361 - Latina/o Ethnography  - CANCELLED 
    This course examines ethnographic literature on U.S. Latina/o experiences in order to better capture the many ways ethnographies about U.S. Latinos contribute to the fields of anthropology, Latina/o Studies, and ethnic studies more broadly. The purpose of this course is to understand the construction of “the ethnographic.” It will provide advanced undergraduate students with a foundation on the multiple ways Latina/o ethnographers have contributed to theory and ethnography. Field trips required. Instructor: M. García

  • CAST 400 - Research Seminar: Expanding the Archive  
    How do American Studies scholars use archives? Is this changing in the 21st century? Do new archives like the Internet require different methodological approaches? This seminar explores the distinctiveness of interdisciplinary research in Comparative American Studies as well as the range of traditional and contemporary sources of evidence available to scholars. In this class, students will work through the various steps of evidence gathering, analysis, and writing a research paper. Instructor: W. Kozol