COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Holly Allen

Assistant Professor of American Studies

 work(802) 443-2042
 Fall 2020: Mon 9:30--11:00 am; Fri 11:30 am-12:30 pm (Eastern) and by appointment
 Axinn Center 245

Holly Allen teaches courses on U.S. cultural studies, gender, sexuality, and feminist studies, and digital American studies. Class, race, nationality, and disability are also important categories in Allen’s teaching and research. 

Allen received her Ph. D. in American Studies from Yale University (1996) and her B.A. in American Civilization and Afro-American Studies (1988) from Brown University.  

Allen’s book, Forgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives (2015), examines the interplay between widely-circulating gendered narratives and broader civic developments during the Great Depression and World War II.  Allen’s more recent scholarship has focused on the cultural history and media representation of autism and intellectual disability.  

Allen’s current project is a digital history of public institutions (asylums, prisons, poor houses, industrial and training schools) in which 19th- and 20th-century Vermonters were incarcerated.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

AMST 0102 - Politics, Media, Pop. Culture      

Politics, Media, Popular Culture
In this course, we will examine U.S. politics and popular culture in the period 1941-2015. We will analyze political films ranging from the World War II propaganda series, Why We Fight, to more recent feature films such as Wag the Dog and Good Night and Good Luck. We will consider television’s impact on civic culture, focusing on entertainment programs (I Led 3 Lives, 24, Scandal), the news (See It Now, The O’Reilly Factor), campaign commercials, and political satire (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report). Finally, we will assess how online organizing and the blogosphere impact civic participation. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2016

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AMST 0230 / GSFS 0230 - Gender Images in Pop Am Cult      

Gender Images in American Popular Culture
In this course, we will examine representations of gender in American popular culture. Course materials will include nineteenth-century popular music, literature, and theater, early twentieth-century advertising and film, 1950s television, and more recent electronic media. Considering a range of cultural forms over a broad historical period allows us to determine the impact that particular media have had on our conceptions of gender difference. Finally, by becoming critical readers of popular cultural forms that represent manhood and womanhood, we gain a greater appreciation for the complexity, variability, and open-endedness of gender constructions within American life. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR

Spring 2017

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AMST 0234 - American Consumer Culture      

American Consumer Culture
For many Americans in the 20th century, consumer goods came to embody the promise of the "good life." Yet mass consumption also fostered economic, political, and social inequalities and engendered anti-consumerist activism. In this course we will pursue an interdisciplinary approach to American consumer culture, focusing on the rise of commercialized leisure and advertising; the role of radio, television, and film in shaping consumer practices; and the relationship of consumerism to social inequality and democratic citizenship. Readings will include works by Veblen, Marcuse, Bordieu, Marchand, Cohen, and Schor. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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AMST 0262 - Class, Culture, Representation      

Class, Culture, and Representation
In this course we will examine the contested meanings of social class in U.S. culture from 1930 to the present. We will ask the following: How have workers, the workplace, and economic inequality been imagined in U.S. film, art, and popular culture? How have categories such as race, gender, and sexuality informed ideas about class? And how do the realities of economic inequality mesh with civic narratives of meritocracy and the “American Dream”? Readings will include works by Barbara Ehrenreich, Studs Terkel, Tillie Olsen, and Helena Maria Vilamontes. Films, music, and other media will supplement written materials. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

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AMST 0313 - VT Incarcerated: Digital Hist      

Vermont Incarcerated: A Digital History
Course participants will contribute to Vermont Incarcerated, a new digital history project that will curate the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of Vermont state carceral institutions and the vulnerable persons compelled to live in them. We will use digital technologies to tell the human stories of the Vermont State Prison in Windsor, the State Hospital in Waterbury, the State Industrial School in Vergennes, and the State Training School in Brandon. In addition to digital project work, we will read scholarship on the digital humanities and on the histories of crime and punishment, mental illness, and intellectual disability in the United States. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2020

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AMST 0325 / GSFS 0325 - American Misogyny      

American Misogyny
In this course we will explore the place of misogyny in U.S. media and politics. Early topics will include film noir, Cold War gender scapegoating, and lesbian pulp fiction. Subsequent topics will include the backlash against second-wave feminism, the rise of “post-feminism,” and the impact of reality TV and social media on feminist and antifeminist expression. We will conclude by examining how misogyny informs U.S. culture and politics in the Trump era. Throughout the course, we will consider how discourses of misogyny are inflected by white, cisgender, ableist, ageist, and class privilege. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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AMST 0400 - Theory and Method      

Theory and Method in American Studies (Junior Year)
A reading of influential secondary texts that have defined the field of American Studies during the past fifty years. Particular attention will be paid to the methodologies adopted by American Studies scholars, and the relevance these approaches have for the writing of senior essays and theses. (Open to junior American studies majors only.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020

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AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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AMST 0701 - Senior Work I      

Senior Work
(Approval required)

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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AMST 0710 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021

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FYSE 1335 - Cold War Culture      

Cold War Culture
“Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being American?” So asks Rabbit Angstrom, the main character in John Updike’s 1990 novel, Rabbit at Rest. In this course, we will examine the Cold War’s impact on American culture throughout the period 1945-1991, with a focus on art, literature, television, film, consumer culture, and politics. Texts will include Luce, The American Century; Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking; Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; and Plath, The Bell Jar. Films will include The Thing from Another World!/, /Dr. Strangelove, and Terminator. 3 hrs. sem CW HIS NOR

Fall 2017

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Program in American Studies

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753