Michael Newbury

Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

Program Director

 Spring 2017: Friday 9:00-10:30, Wednesday 1:30-2:30 or by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 252

Michael Newbury is Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures.  He received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Yale University and has taught at Middlebury since 1993.  He is the author of Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America and various scholarly articles.  His current research focuses on the representation of crisis, disaster, and apocalypse  in American culture.  Some of his scholarly and teaching interests are:  the American Colonial period, Nineteenth and early-Twentieth century American Literature, Science Fiction, Imperialism, Horror and the Gothic, and Consumer and Mass Culture.



Course List: 

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

AMST0101 - Intro to American Studies:      

Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

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AMST0209 / ENAM0209 - Am. Lit. & Cult: origins-1830      

American Literature and Culture: Origins-1830
A study of literary and other cultural forms in early America, including gravestones, architecture, furniture and visual art. We will consider how writing and these other forms gave life to ideas about religion, diversity, civic obligation and individual rights that dominated not only colonial life but that continue to influence notions of "Americanness" into the present day. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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AMST0210 - Mod. American Cult. 1830-1919      

Formation of Modern American Culture I: 1830-1919
An introduction to the study of American culture from 1830 through World War I with an emphasis on the changing shape of popular, mass, and elite cultural forms. We will explore a widely-accepted scholarly notion that a new, distinctively national and modern culture emerged during this period and that particular ideas of social formation (race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.) came with it. We will practice the interdisciplinary interpretation of American culture by exploring a wide range of subjects and media: economic change, social class, biography and autobiography, politics, photo-journalism, novels, architecture, painting, and photography. Required of all American studies majors. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2013

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AMST0225 / FMMC0225 - Gothic and Horror      

Gothic and Horror
This course examines the forms and meanings of the Gothic and horror over the last 250 years in the West. How have effects of fright, terror, or awe been achieved over this span and why do audiences find such effects attractive? Our purpose will be to understand the generic structures of horror and their evolution in tandem with broader cultural changes. Course materials will include fiction, film, readings in the theory of horror, architecture, visual arts, and electronic media. 3 hrs. lect./disc. 3 hrs lect. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2015, Fall 2017

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AMST0226 - Global American Studies      

Global American Studies
The intensification of globalization since the 1980s has transformed the United States and the field of American Studies. In this course we will explore cultural and social changes that are linked to global flows of media, money, and migration in and out of the United States. Contemporary theories of globalization in the humanities and social sciences will be explored through a number of case studies. Some of the themes covered will include: the relationship between globalization and Americanization, imperialism and American militarization, transnationalism and media, and neoliberalism and finance. AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2013

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AMST0253 / ENAM0253 - Science Fiction      

Science Fiction
Time travel, aliens, androids, robots, corporate and political domination, reimaginings of race, gender, sexuality and the human body--these concerns have dominated science fiction over the last 150 years. But for all of its interest in the future, science fiction tends to focus on technologies and social problems relevant to the period in which it is written. In this course, we'll work to understand both the way that authors imagine technology's role in society and how those imaginings create meanings for science and its objects of study and transformation. Some likely reading and films include Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, and works by William Gibson, Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler and other contemporary writers. (Students who have taken FYSE 1162 are not eligible to register for this course). 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT

Spring 2014

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AMST0304 / ENAM0304 - The Graphic Novel      

The Graphic Novel
In this course we will study some of the most widely respected graphic novels produced in the last thirty years. Our purpose will be to understand how the form works and is structured by its dual, but sometimes competing, interests in the verbal and the visual, and to think about distinct styles of illustration. We will also think about how landmark examples have shaped the form. Working with software designed for the purpose, students will use photographs to produce short comics of their own. Possible texts include: Alan Moore, Watchmen; Art Spiegelman, Maus; Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home.3 hrs. lect. AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2016

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AMST0400 - 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 2013

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AMST0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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AMST0705 - Senior Research Tutorial      

Senior Research Tutorial
This seminar will focus on the development of sophisticated research skills, the sharing with peers of research and writing in progress, and the completion of a substantial research project. Those writing one-credit essays will complete their projects over the course of this tutorial.

Fall 2017

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AMST0710 - 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)

Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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CRWR0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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CRWR0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing      

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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ENAM0263 / AMST0263 - American Psycho      

American Psycho: Disease, Doctors, and Discontents (II) (AL) (Pre-1900 AL) *
What constitutes a pathological response to the pressures of modernity? How do pathological protagonists drive readers toward the precariousness of their own physical and mental health? The readings for this class center on the provisional nature of sanity and the challenges to bodily health in a world of modern commerce, media, and medical diagnoses. We will begin with 19th century texts and their engagement with seemingly "diseased" responses to urbanization, new forms of work, and new structures of the family and end with contemporary fictional psychopaths engaged in attacks on the world of images we inhabit in the present. Nineteenth century texts will likely include stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Later 20th-century works will likely include Ken Kesey, /One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest/, Thomas Harris, /The Silence of the Lambs/, Susanna Kaysen, /Girl, Interrupted/, and Bret Easton Ellis, /American Psycho/.

Spring 2014, Spring 2017

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ENAM0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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ENAM0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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ENAM0710 - Senior Thesis: Critical Writ.      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking two-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the thesis workshop (ENAM 710z) in both Fall and Spring terms.

Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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FYSE1003 - Science Fiction      

Science Fiction
Out-of-control scientific discovery, time travel, aliens, androids, corporate and political domination, reimaginings of race, gender, and sexuality--these and other themes have dominated science fiction over the last 250 years. We will try to understand the ways in which selected writers have seen the world we inhabit and have imagined alternatives to it. Texts and movies include: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; H. G. Wells, The Time Machine; Isaac Asimov, I, Robot; Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness; and Ridley Scott, Bladerunner. CW LIT

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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LITS0701 - Independent Reading Course      

Independent Reading Course
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the senior comprehensive examinations. At the conclusion of this course, students will take a one-hour oral examination (part of the senior comprehensive examination) in a specialization of their choice. (Approval Required) (Staff)

Fall 2014

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Program in American Studies

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