COVID-19: Essential Information

William Nash

Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

 work(802) 443-5337
 Fall 2021: Thursday 10:00-1:00 p.m. and by appointment.
 Axinn Center 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 and has taught at Middlebury since 1995.  The recipient of three NEH grants and 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 anthologies and journals such as African American Review and Callaloo.  His current research focuses on historical and contemporary representations of abolitionism and enslavement.  He teaches courses on Black literature, enslavement and abolitionism, and contemporary Black culture.



Course List: 

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

AMST 0107 / BLST 0107 - Black Freedom Struggles      

Black Freedom Struggles
This course explores racial tensions of the present moment and situates them in the historical context of the ongoing struggles for Black freedom. Topics discussed may include Black reparations, Abolitionism, mass incarceration, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. The primary mode of interaction will be synchronous online discussions. Students will do individual and group presentations, engage in debates, and write essays. Readings may include Coates’ The Case for Reparations, Kendi’s We're Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholder's Republic, Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, ; and Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and screenings may include “13th” and “Eyes on the Prize.”. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR NOR

Fall 2020

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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 and minors. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2018

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AMST 0252 / BLST 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. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect./disc. (Diversity)/ AMR LIT NOR

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

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AMST 0259 / BLST 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. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect. AMR ART HIS NOR

Spring 2018, Spring 2021

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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 / BLST 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

Spring 2020

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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 / BLST 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. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity)/ This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* AMR HIS LIT NOR

Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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AMST 0701 - Senior Work I      

Senior Work
(Approval required)

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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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 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022

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BLST 0101 - Introduction to Black Studies      

Introduction to Black Studies
This course considers the issues, epistemologies, and political investments central to Black Studies as a field. We will explore chronologically, thematically, and with an interdisciplinary lens the social forces and ideas that have shaped the individual and collective experiences of African-descended peoples throughout the African Diaspora. This course is a broad survey of the history of chattel slavery, colonial encounters, community life, and social institutions of black Americans. We will address issues of gender and class; the role of social movements in struggles for liberation; and various genres of black expressive cultures. Students will develop critical tools, frameworks, and vocabulary for further study in the field. Course materials may include Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins, and Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. 3 hrs. lect. AAL AMR HIS SOC

Spring 2021

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BLST 0700 - Senior Work      

Senior Work
(Approval Required)

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BLST 0710 - Senior Thesis Work      

Senior Thesis Work
(Approval Required)

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CRWR 0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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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.

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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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 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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INTD 1074 - MiddCORE 2021      

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) WTR

Winter 2018

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Department of English & American Literatures