Holly Allen teaches courses on U.S. cultural history and cultural studies, political culture and theories of citizenship, women’s and gender studies, the history of sexuality, and digital history. Race, ethnicity, nationality, class, and disability are also important categories of analysis in Allen’s teaching and research.
Allen received an M.A. and Ph. D. in American Studies from Yale University (1996). She also holds a B.A. in American Civilization and Afro-American Studies (1988) from Brown University.
Allen’s book, Forgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives, examines the interplay between widely-circulating gendered narratives and broader civic developments during the Great Depression and World War II. She has also published articles on gender and Japanese-American internment and on the cultural politics of labor activism during the Gilded Age and World War II.
Allen’s current project is a cultural history of gender, developmental disability, and institutional care in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Vermont.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
AMST0102 - Politics, Media, Pop. Culture
Politics, Media, Popular Culture
In this course, we will examine U.S. politics and popular culture in the period 1941-2015. We will analyze political films ranging from the World War II propaganda series, Why We Fight, to more recent feature films such as Wag the Dog and Good Night and Good Luck. We will consider television’s impact on civic culture, focusing on entertainment programs (I Led 3 Lives, 24, Scandal), the news (See It Now, The O’Reilly Factor), campaign commercials, and political satire (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report). Finally, we will assess how online organizing and the blogosphere impact civic participation. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR
Fall 2015, Fall 2016
AMST0224 - Race and Ethnicity in the US
Formations of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
Historical memories, everyday experiences, and possible futures are powerfully shaped by racial and ethnic differences. Categories of race and ethnicity structure social relationships and cultural meanings in the United States and beyond. In this course we will track the theoretical and historical bases of ideas of race and ethnicity in modern America. We will investigate how race and ethnicity intersect at particular historical moments with other forms of difference including gender, sexuality, nation, and class. The course offers an approach informed by critical studies of race including texts in history, political theory, cultural studies, and anthropology. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR SOC
AMST0230 / GSFS0230 - Gender Images in Pop Am Cult ▲
Gender Images in American Popular Culture
In this course, we will examine representations of gender in American popular culture. Course materials will include nineteenth-century popular music, literature, and theater, early twentieth-century advertising and film, 1950s television, and more recent electronic media. Considering a range of cultural forms over a broad historical period allows us to determine the impact that particular media have had on our conceptions of gender difference. Finally, by becoming critical readers of popular cultural forms that represent manhood and womanhood, we gain a greater appreciation for the complexity, variability, and open-endedness of gender constructions within American life. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR
AMST0234 - American Consumer Culture
American Consumer Culture
For many Americans in the 20th century, consumer goods came to embody the promise of the "good life." Yet mass consumption also fostered economic, political, and social inequalities and engendered anti-consumerist activism. In this course we will pursue an interdisciplinary approach to American consumer culture, focusing on the rise of commercialized leisure and advertising; the role of radio, television, and film in shaping consumer practices; and the relationship of consumerism to social inequality and democratic citizenship. Readings will include works by Veblen, Marcuse, Bordieu, Marchand, Cohen, and Schor. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR
Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
AMST0262 - Class, Culture, Representation ▲
Class, Culture, and Representation
In this course we will examine the contested meanings of social class in U.S. culture from 1930 to the present. We will ask the following: How have workers, the workplace, and economic inequality been imagined in U.S. film, art, and popular culture? How have categories such as race, gender, and sexuality informed ideas about class? And how do the realities of economic inequality mesh with civic narratives of meritocracy and the “American Dream”? Readings will include works by Barbara Ehrenreich, Studs Terkel, Tillie Olsen, and Helena Maria Vilamontes. Films, music, and other media will supplement written materials. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR
Spring 2016, Spring 2017
AMST0400 - 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 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017
AMST0500 - Independent Study ▲ ▹
Select project advisor prior to registration.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018
AMST0705 - Senior Research Tutorial
Senior Research Tutorial
This seminar will focus on the development of sophisticated research skills, the sharing with peers of research and writing in progress, and the completion of a substantial research project. Those writing one-credit essays will complete their projects over the course of this tutorial.
Fall 2013, Fall 2014
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 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2018
AMST1007 - Designing a Field House Museum
Designing a Field House Museum for Middlebury College
In this course students will help design a museum space dedicated to the history of athletics at Middlebury College. The work we accomplish will contribute to plans for the new Field House, to be erected in 2013-14. Students will conduct archival research on the history of Middlebury athletics, and they will design interpretive exhibits utilizing digital and analog formats for inclusion in the new museum space. NOR WTR
FYSE1335 - Cold War Culture ▹
Cold War Culture
“Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being American?” So asks Rabbit Angstrom, the main character in John Updike’s 1990 novel, Rabbit at Rest. In this course, we will examine the Cold War’s impact on American culture throughout the period 1945-1991, with a focus on art, literature, television, film, consumer culture, and politics. Texts will include Luce, The American Century; Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking; Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; and Plath, The Bell Jar. Films will include The Thing from Another World!/, /Dr. Strangelove, and Terminator. 3 hrs. sem CW HIS NOR
Fall 2013, Fall 2017