Tim Spears has been a member of the Middlebury faculty since 1990. He received his B. A. from Yale University and did his graduate work at Harvard University in the History of American Civilization. Professor Spears has taught a wide range of classes, including courses on consumer culture, Chicago, regional and Southern literature, and football and higher education. He is the author of 100 Years on the Road: The Traveling Salesman in American Culture (1995), and Chicago Dreaming: Midwesterners and the City, 1871 to 1919 (2005). He is also a Senior Consulting Editor for The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia,a large public history reference guide that Indiana University Press published in 2006. Currently, he is working on a history of college football, based on his family's participation in the sport.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
AMST0215 - Football and Higher Education
Football and Higher Education
Football originated on American campuses, and its 150-year history reflects the vibrant, uneasy relation between sports and higher education. The first "big time" college sport, football became a media spectacle in the 1890s, and since then critics have debated the game's violence, educational merits, commercial trappings, and bearing on college admissions policies. The course will move from the 19th century to the present, tracing the sport's cultural meanings, its relation to class identity and gender roles, and its educational mission, including the sport's regulation by the NCAA. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to these issues, and readings will include literary and secondary works by William Bowen, Robert Lipsyte, Michael Oriard, and Murray Sperber. HIS NOR
AMST0295 - Across the Great Divide
Across the Great Divide: Science, Humanities, and the American Landscape
The American landscape encompasses a diversity of built and natural environments. In this course, we will survey 200 years of history, using the tools of science and the humanities to understand how people have changed the landscape and how the landscape has shaped its human inhabitants. We will read historical, literary, and scientific works—and employ a variety of archival and aesthetic materials—to explore moments of transformation within four geographic regions: New England, the Midwest, the West, and the South. In so doing, we will arrive at an understanding of the interdependency of cultural and ecological history and the intersections between scientific and humanistic modes of inquiry. Readings will emphasize primary texts, and will include writings by Harriett Beecher Stowe, George Perkins Marsh, and photography by Dorothea Lange and others. HIS NOR
Fall 2014, Fall 2015
AMST0300 - Everglades History and Science ▹
Reclaiming the Swamp: History, Science, and the Challenge of the Everglades
In this course we will survey the cultural and ecological history of the Everglades, starting in the early 19th century and culminating in current restoration efforts. A critically endangered ecosystem, the Everglades illustrates the concept of a “wicked environmental problem”: one characterized by high uncertainty and conflict over values. Following our historical survey of the Everglades, we will shift to a project-based investigation of the local and global forces that shape the region. Course materials will be drawn from fiction, art, historical studies, policy documents, and scientific literature. Students should be prepared to work collaboratively to engage a variety of primary sources. 3 hrs. lect./disc. HIS NOR
AMST0500 - Independent Study ▲ ▹
Select project advisor prior to registration.
Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
AMST0700 - Senior Essay
For students who have completed AMST 0400 and are not pursuing an honors thesis. Under the guidance of one or more faculty members, each student will complete research leading toward a one-term, one-credit interdisciplinary senior essay on some aspect of American culture. The essay is to be submitted no later than the last Thursday of the fall semester. (Select project advisor prior to registration)
AMST0710 - 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 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Spring 2017
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.
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.