Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures
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.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
AMST 0101 - Intro to American Studies
Introduction to American Studies: American Representations of Crime and Violence
In this course we will offer an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and identity. Integrating a range of sources and methods, we will examine myths, symbols, values, and social changes that have been used to create and contest ideas of "Americanness." Sources for the course will include movies, fiction, political and religious tracts, advertising, TV shows, video games, music, and journalism. This year, we will focus on American portrayals of crime and violence in a wide range of texts and cultural artifacts that provide us with a larger sense of how these representations function in the formation of categories of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, ethics and religion, as well as socio-economic class in American society. Texts and films will range from True Crime to Pulp Fiction and from street photography to pictures of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. 3 hrs. lect.
Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013
AMST 0209 / ENAM 0209 - 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./dics.
Fall 2013, Fall 2014
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.
Fall 2011, Spring 2013
AMST 0225 / FMMC 0225 - 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.
Spring 2011, Fall 2012
AMST 0226 - 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.
AMST 0253 / ENAM 0253 - 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.
Spring 2012, Spring 2014
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 2010, Fall 2013
AMST 0500 - Independent Study ▲ ▹
Select project advisor prior to registration.
Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
AMST 0700 - 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)
Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012
AMST 0710 - 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)
Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Spring 2015
CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing
Special Project: Creative Writing
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
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. (Formerly ENAM 0701)
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
ENAM 0206 / AMST 0206 - 19th Century American Lit.
Nineteenth-Century American Literature (II, AL)
This course will examine major developments in the literary world of 19th century America. Specific topics to be addressed might include the transition from Romanticism to Regionalism and Realism, the origins and evolution of the novel in the United States, and the tensions arising from the emergence of a commercial marketplace for literature. Attention will also be paid to the rise of women as literary professionals in America and the persistent problematizing of race and slavery. Among others, authors may include J. F. Cooper, Emerson, Melville, Douglass, Chopin, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Hawthorne, Stowe, Alcott, Wharton, and James. . 3 hrs. lect./disc.
ENAM 0263 / AMST 0263 - American Psycho
American Psycho: Disease, Doctors, and Discontents (II) (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/.
ENAM 0434 - The Transformation of Desire
The Transformation of Desire
In this course we will focus on the ways that novels near the turn of the 20th century imagine epic changes in the experience of desire and longing-for consumer goods, for wealth, for fame, for sex, and for happiness. In the face of urbanization, industrialization, and a burgeoning consumer culture, how was the nature of yearning altered and what can novelists tell us about that change? The course will focus significantly on the novels of Edith Wharton and Willa Cather, but will also include works by Jane Austen (to provide an earlier portrait of desire), Thomas Hardy, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and W. Somerset Maugham. Some particular texts might include Wharton’s, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence; Cather’s, My Antonia and The Professor's House; Hardy’s, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. 3 hr sem.
ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit ▲
Special Project: Literature
Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
ENAM 0560 - Special Project: Writing
Special Project: Creative Writing
Fall 2010, Fall 2011
ENAM 0700 - Senior Essay: 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 essay workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.
Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
ENAM 0701 - Senior Essay: Creative Writing
Senior Essay: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
Fall 2010, Fall 2011
ENAM 0710 - 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 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
FYSE 1003 - 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.
Fall 2012, Fall 2014