News & Notes

American Culture Studies Announces Director of Graduate Studies Transition

posted by Iver Bernstein

May 2th, 2016

Clarissa Hayward, Associate Professor of Political Science, steps down from her role as AMCS Director of Graduate Studies this spring, completing her three year term. In addition to her superb mentorship of an expanding group of Harvey Fellows/Graduate Certificate Students, Clarissa has provided crucial leadership in a variety of AMCS initiatives, courses, and activities--Modern Segregation (particularly as grant writer and investigator on the original Modern Segregation Workshops collaborative research grant, as well as reading group coordinator); the successful AMCS Graduate Intro to American Culture Studies "Democracy in America" course, which she taught in fall 2015; the Americanist Dinner Forum, which she convened; the postdoctoral fellowships in Inequality and Identity, and Family and Intimate Relations, to which she made key contributions at every level, from conceptualization, to selection and recruitment, to mentoring; Harvey Fellowship selection; and the AMCS Dissertation Writers' Workshop, which she created and ran. It is impossible to imagine AMCS's growth and intellectual leadership across the Humanities/Social Sciences divide over the last three years without Clarissa's rigorous approach to cross-disciplinary study and wide-ranging influence on the program. Thank you, Clarissa!

AMCS welcomes Peter Benson to the role of Director of Graduate Studies, beginning July 1!

Peter Benson is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. His main research has been a study of the history and ethnography of tobacco agribusiness in North Carolina, focused on issues of race, labor, corporate power, anti-smoking politics, and the conservative cultural politics of white tobacco farmers amid the long southern strategy, rampant farm loss, and the globalization and industrialization of agriculture. This project culminated with Tobacco Capitalism: Growers, Migrant Workers, and the Changing Face of a Global Industry (Princeton UP, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Prize for the Critical Study of North America from the Society for the Anthropology of North America as well as the 2012 James Mooney Award from the Southern Anthropological Society. Now researching paradoxes and complexities related to the "corporate social responsibility" campaigns of Big Tobacco and other industries, including American football, Benson's scholarship and teaching interests draw on medical anthropology and critical studies in global health and engage conversations in social theory and cultural studies. His goal has been to produce anthropological work that is richly informed by historical and archival research, critically attendant to political economy and biopolitics, and deeply appreciative of human experience as inspired by his fascination with existentialism and phenomenology. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University in 2007 and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University in 2007-2008.

AMCS is excited to work with Pete in this new leadership role!

American Culture Studies announces the appointment of Jasmine Mahmoud as the new AMCS Postdoctoral Fellow in Inequality and Identity, beginning July 1st

posted by Iver Bernstein

April 26th, 2016

Jasmine Mahmoud will be receiving her Ph.D. from the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University in June. Her research and teaching interests center on aesthetics, race, and urbanism. Her dissertation "Avant-Garde Frontiers in the Austere City: Political Economies of Artistic Placemaking in the Post-Millennial United States" examines the trend of fringe, experimental theater practices taking place in fringe, urban "frontier" neighborhoods, and situates relationships among aesthetics, race, and neighborhood development and displacement in early 21st century New York, Chicago, and Seattle. Her research has been published in TDR: The Drama Review, Performance Research, and Women & Performance. She received her M.A. in Arts Politics from the Department of Art and Public Policy at New York University, and her B.A. in Government from Harvard University.

Please join us in welcoming Jasmine to Washington University and to the American Culture Studies intellectual community!

AMCS Announces the 2016 Lynne Cooper Harvey Writing Prize Winner

posted by Maire Murphy

April 21st, 2016

AMCS is delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 writing prize is rising senior and AMCS Harvey Scholar, Billie Mandelbaum. Her paper, To Contain and Secede: The Making of Missouri’s First All-Black City, was nominated by Professor Margaret Garb from her course, “Visualizing Segregation: A History of St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans.” An independent prize committee selected Billie’s as the winner from among papers nominated in many different fields. This group represented strong work by the nominees, but Billie’s stood out for its excellence. Committee members were impressed with how she complicated the suburbanization narrative, brought together economic and visual analyses, and untangled the myriad factors leading to the creation of Missouri’s first all-black city.

Congratulations, Billie!

Paper Abstract

This paper examines the political, economic, and social forces that led to the formation of Kinloch, an inner-ring suburb five miles northwest of St. Louis and Missouri’s first all-black municipality. Using a range of primary source documents, including real estate advertisements printed in the St. Louis Argus, new articles published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and US Census records, I trace the early history of Kinloch, from its founding as an all-white streetcar suburb in the 1890s to its establishment as an all-black town surrounded by the white communities of Berkeley and Ferguson in 1937. Ultimately, I argue that the story of Kinloch is one of recurring discrimination and exploitation in which private business interests and eventually municipal law came to create a racially isolated suburb.

Congratulations to our AMCS Postdocs!

posted by Iver Bernstein

March 25th, 2016

American Culture Studies celebrates the accomplishments of its current postdocs, Douglas Flowe, AMCS Postdoctoral Fellow in Inequality and Identity, and Claire McKinney, AMCS Postdoctoral Fellow in Family and Intimate Relations!

In the final year of his Postdoctoral Fellowship with American Culture Studies Douglas Flowe completed research for his manuscript at various archives including the New York Public Library and State Archives in New York City. He also presented his research at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, organized a panel for the centennial conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and was an invited speaker in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Alexandrian Society lecture series. Douglas will be joining the History Department here at Washington University as an Assistant Professor in fall 2016.

Claire McKinney has spent her time at AMCS enjoying fruitful engagement with students and faculty from across the university through teaching and participation in numerous workshops and colloquia. With Cynthia Barounis, she organized a roundtable discussion on disability and intimacy as part of the American Intimacies program initiative of AMCS. She has also published two pieces, one on teaching disability in the humanities classroom and another on genetic selective abortion, while in residence. In fall 2016, Claire will begin as an Assistant Professor of Government and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the College of William & Mary.

Director's Letter, Fall 2015: Welcome to amcs.wustl

posted by admin

September 1st, 2015

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the long-anticipated launch of amcs.wustl, our new site for cross-disciplinary exchange and collaboration. Developed to support the many needs of the growing AMCS community, it is intended to house richly varied program content, including profiles of faculty research and teaching, podcasts, events and program archives, course-related digital resources (including projects by our undergraduate students and our Master’s Program candidates), and on-line exhibit curation and other content associated with Faculty Program Initiatives.

An especially noteworthy feature of amcs.wustl is its rich interface: the heightened integration of various forms of information, of textual and audio visual data, that encourages just the sort of cross-disciplinary connection and unscripted bridging the program seeks to cultivate more broadly. Above all, the site is intended to foster interactive learning and experimentation. We will build it out with your contributions!

amcs.wustl is the product of many hands. Over the course of a year, our fantastic digital team has designed the remarkable interface you see before you, and our key partner, Washington University Libraries, has helped us develop the site as a sustainable and flexible resource – one we envision as a living archive of projects past, present and future. We look forward to more of this fruitful collaboration!

In the meantime, we offer our deepest thanks to all the contributors listed below, and to many others who have shared with us their digital project ideas and ingenuity over the past fifteen- plus years. amcs.wustl reflects their thinking as well as our own, and will – we trust – provide occasion for us to continue to learn from one another in years to come!

Please share your ideas with us! We welcome project proposals and suggestions for new features, and will be seeking your contributions in specific areas as the year unfolds. In the meantime, especially in the next two weeks, we will continue to add content that includes your past contributions, including interviews, event video files, updated profiles, and projects from the archives.

Sincerely yours,
Heidi Kolk, Associate Director of AMCS (Acting Director, FL15)
Iver Bernstein, Director of AMCS
Dave Walsh, AMCS Instructional Technology Developer

Digital Projects Team: Amanda Ng, Kierstan Carter, Kenzie Chin, Kathleen Yang, and Arham Khan

We're grateful to Arts & Sciences Computing for years of technical and logistical support of our digital projects, and for assisting in a smooth transition to Olin's Technical Services; to Arts & Sciences Communications for guidance and encouragement in design and development; to the many students and staff who have made significant contributions to the development of this domain: our current admin team, Terri Behr, Máire Murphy and Jennifer Gallinat; former students and staff including Courtney Gray, Cord Luehrman, Morgan Brown, Kelsey Johnston, Katie Sadow, Brian Hamman, Joe Kolk, Sarah Smith-Frigerio, and Deb Jaegers. Particular thanks to Wayne Fields, founding director of AMCS, for creating the landscape amcs.wustl is built upon.