William Nash

Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

 work(802) 443-5337
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 250

William Nash is Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures.  He received his B.A. from Centre College of Kentucky and his M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ans has taught at Middlebury since 1995.  The author of Charles Johnson's Fiction and co-editor of Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher, he has also published scholarly articles and reviews in African American Review and Callaloo.  His current research focuses on the interrelationship of space, race and place in mid-twentieth-century Chicago.  His scholarly and teaching interests include contemporary representations of urban African America; Nineteenth and Twentieth century African-American Literature; American Soul and Blues music.



Course List: 

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

ENGL 7511 - 1st Century African Amer Lit      

American Literature

Summer 2015 - BLSE

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ENGL 7679 - Reading America      

American Literature

Summer 2014 - BLSE, Summer 2015 - BLSE

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ENGL 7891 - Independent Reading Project      

Summer 2015 - BLSE

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AMST 0210 - 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 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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AMST 0252 / ENAM 0252 - African American Literature      

African American Literature
This course surveys developments in African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays during the 20th century. Reading texts in their social, historical, and cultural contexts—and often in conjunction with other African American art forms like music and visual art—we will explore the evolution and deployment of various visions of black being and black artistry, from the Harlem Renaissance through social realism and the Black Arts Movement, to the contemporary post-soul aesthetic. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, and Octavia Butler. 3 hrs lect./disc. (Diversity)/ AMR LIT NOR

Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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AMST 0259 - Re-Presenting Slavery      

Re-Presenting Slavery
In this course we will examine 20th century American portrayals of chattel slavery through creative works and situate them in their historical contexts. Working primarily with fiction (Oxherding Tale, Kindred, The Underground Railroad), film (Mandingo, Django Unchained, Twelve Years a Slave), television (Roots, Africans in America, Underground), and visual art (works by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Kara Walker), we will evaluate how those various representations of the “Peculiar Institution” have changed, and/or have been changed, by the cultural moments in which they appeared. 3 hrs lect. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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AMST 0268 - Chicago: Texts & Contexts      

Chicago: Texts and Contexts
The subject of this course is Chicago. We will study America's so-called "Second City" with an eye to its history and its cultural, political, and economic significance in the development of an "American" ideology and identity. Building on that foundation, we will examine representations of the city across the 20th and 21st centuries comprising a range of media including literature, visual art, film, and television. Looking at work by "outsiders" and "insiders," we will consider the complicated relationship between the actual place and the mythos that has grown up around it. 3 hrs. Lect. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2017

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AMST 0310 - Livin' for the City      

Livin' for the City
In this course we will engage the idea of the "ghetto" as constructed through literature, film, music, and television. Our exploration will relate this concept to geographic spaces and to a socially-constructed set of ideas about urban African American spaces and communities. We will combine critical textual analysis with fundamental concepts from human geography and social history to explore shifting conceptions of the “ghetto”, consider its impact on urban African American space, and examine how the responses of urban black American artists affect, resist, and change its imaginative geography. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR CMP NOR SOC

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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AMST 0347 / ENAM 0347 - Families-American Ethnic Lits      

Families in American Ethnic Literatures
In this course we will explore depictions of "the family" by authors of various ethnicities-in every case interaction with/integration into "American life" is at issue. Under that broad rubric, we will discuss a range of topics, including: the processes of individual and group identity erasure and formation; experiences of intergenerational conflict; considerations of the burden and promise of personal and communal histories; examinations of varied understandings of race, class, and gender; and interrogations of "Americanness." Authors include Ronald Takaki, Gloria Naylor, Arturo Islas, Sherman Alexie, Philip Roth, Julie Otsuka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, Gish Jen, and Dinaw Mengestu. 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP LIT NOR

Spring 2016

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AMST 0349 - Toni Morrison American Culture      

Toni Morrison and American Culture
In this course we will explore how Toni Morrison has helped shape and been shaped by ongoing American conversations about race and identity. Beginning with The Origin of Others, her recent collection of essays, and ranging through her fiction from The Bluest Eye to Beloved to Home, we will assess her work in the contexts of the cultural moments in which the novels appeared, using commentary from Black cultural critics like Ta-Nehisi Coates, bell hooks, Shaun King, and James Baldwin to inform our readings. 3 hrs. sem. AMR HIS LIT NOR

Fall 2018

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AMST 0358 / ENAM 0358 - Reading Slavery and Abolition      

Reading, Slavery, and Abolition
In this course we will study both black and white writers' psychological responses to, and their verbal onslaughts on, the "peculiar institution" of chattel slavery. We will work chronologically and across genres to understand how and by whom the written word was deployed in pursuit of physical and mental freedom and racial and socioeconomic justice. As the course progresses, we will deepen our study of historical context drawing on the substantial resources of Middlebury's special collections, students will have the opportunity to engage in archival work if they wish. Authors will include Emerson, Douglass, Jacobs, Thoreau, Stowe, Walker, and Garrison. 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity)/ AMR HIS LIT NOR

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017

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AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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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)

Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

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CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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CRWR 0701 - 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 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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ENAM 0700 - 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 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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FYSE 1448 - Music, Race, and Place      

Music, Race, and Place
In this seminar we will consider how the rise of urban African America shaped and was shaped by the evolution of contemporary black music. We will examine blues, soul, and early hip hop music in their historical and spatial contexts, beginning with the Great Migration, progressing through the heyday of centers of black life like New York’s Harlem and Chicago’s Bronzeville, and ending with the development and decline of high-rise housing projects. Driven by the recurrent questions of “why here?” and “why now?” we will work to understand what the growth of these various musical forms meant to urban African America. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2015

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INTD 1074 - MiddCORE 2017      

MiddCORE’s mentor-driven leadership and innovation immersion program builds skills and confidence through collaborative, experiential, and impact-focused learning. Through daily, weekly, and month-long challenges, students gain experience in leadership, strategic thinking, idea creation, collaboration, persuasive communication, ethical decision-making, cross-cultural understanding, conflict resolution, empathy, and crisis management. Acceptance into MiddCORE is by approval only. To learn more about this January's MiddCORE curriculum and to apply to the program, please visit go/MiddCOREwinter. (Pass/Fail; Approval Required) non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2018

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LITS 0701 - 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

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