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William Nash

Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

 
 work(802) 443-5337
 Spring 2020: Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:30 p.m. or by appointment
 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 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 contemporary representations of American chattel slavery, with a special emphasis on the Underground Railroad.  He teaches courses on African American literature, abolitionism, contemporary representations of enslavement, and modern urban African American culture.

 

Courses

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 - Intro African American Culture      

Introduction to African American Culture
In this introductory survey we will focus on the study of African American culture in the United States, exploring various aspects of cultural production such as literature, music, visual arts, film, and performance. The guiding questions of the course are: what role has black culture played in shaping and responding to broader paradigms in American culture? How is lived experience implicated in the production of black culture? How have cultural products helped define, call into question, and celebrate “blackness?” Readings may include W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979), and Tricia Rose’s Black Noise (1994). 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 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

Fall 2016, Fall 2019

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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 / 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

Fall 2016, 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. 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity)/ AMR HIS LIT NOR

Fall 2017, Spring 2020

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AMST 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Select project advisor prior to registration.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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AMST 0701 - Senior Work I      

Senior Work
(Approval required)

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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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)

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020

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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, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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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 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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ENAM 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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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 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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INTD 1074 - MiddCORE 2020      

MiddCORE
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

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