American Univesity of Beirut

Current Course Offerings

Spring 2021

​ENG 258F / AMST 275AS Feminism in Ethnic American Literature

Sirene Harb
Tuesdays & Thursdays  11:00 AM - 12:15 PM 

 Focusing on fiction, memoirs, essays, and poetry, this course explores works penned by US women writers of Middle Eastern, Asian, and African descent. We will analyze how these writers shape a feminist consciousness through their choice of themes and characters; we will also examine how their writing reflects the complex relations between gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and class. In our exploration of these issues, we will probe individual and collective experiences and how they relate to gendered configurations of power, voice, and language.

CVSP 212 / AMST 275AT Modern & Cont​​emporary World Theatre

Robert Myers
Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00-6:15 PM 

In this course we will examine various modern and contemporary theatre traditions, beginning with plays written by Chekhov and Ibsen in the late 19th century and including contemporary works by Federico Garcia-Lorca, Wole Soyinka, Harold Pinter and Michael Frayn. As we read and analyze modern and contemporary plays from a number of traditions--British, Russian, North American, African, Norwegian, Arabic, etc.--in both written and visual form, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which theatrical forms in the late 19th and 20th century have crossed cultural boundaries and in so doing created new modes of theatrical expression.​

​AMST 275AU Gender, Sex, Revolution

Suzanne Enzerink
Tuesdays & Thursdays  2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Visions for truly equitable futures have always depended on legal equality for all. As American activist Fannie Lou Hamer noted, “ain't nobody free until everybody's free." In practice, pushes for such legal equality in recent memory have cohered around gender, sex, race and their intersections. As most nations legally defined themselves in terms of (white) heterosexual reproduction, those existing outside of this space have fought hard to be recognized both legally and socially. Revolution, then, is inherently indistinguishable from fierce advocacy for gender and sexual equality and freedom, a fact readily seen today in uprisings as diverse as those in the United States and Lebanon.

 This course will explore the many connections between sex, gender and revolution through a mix of theory, law, film, television, literary fiction, poetry, podcast and other visual and digital media used in revolutionary protests. Area focus will be both on the United States and the Middle East, beginning with historical roots but with a firm focus on the present. Crucial to the course will be an understanding of how sex, gender, and intersectionality have been historically and geographically situated, and how gender-based activism has become intertwined with various other kinds of social justice groups that advocate for sustainable and equal futures such as environmental movements and anti-imperial movements.

​​Fall 2020

​ENG 216 / AMST 275M Modern American Drama 

Robert Myers
Tuesdays & Thursdays  2:00 PM - 3:15 PM |  Nicely 321

In this course students will read many of the most significant plays of the 20th century, including ones by Williams, Miller, O'Neill, Hansberry, Wilson and others. The focus in the course will be both on the creation of new forms of theater in the U.S. in the 20th century and on the ways in which theatrical works manifest key dilemmas in modern and contemporary American society associated with race, social class, capitalism, changing gender roles, sexuality, and family dynamics.   ​​

AMST 215 / HIST 278A Introduction to American Studies

Suzanne Enzerink
Mondays & Wednesdays​ 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  |  Nicely 410

This class introduces students to transnational understandings of both the contemporary United States and contemporary American Studies post-9/11. What do the cultural, economic, and political landscape of the U.S. look like, and how did they get to be this way? This is not a history course; it is not intended to give you an exhaustive overview of the development of the country known as “the United States." You will not be quizzed on dates or laws. Rather, by assessing a wide variety of sources—from television shows to podcasts to news reports to historical documents to scholarly writing—you will acquire targeted knowledge that illuminates how social and political debates today are shaped by longer transnational processes.

The course is organized around three assignments: an object analysis, a group media project, and a final book review that will allow you to explore your own area of interest within contemporary American Studies. As such, you will acquire soft skills specifically geared towards future careers or education paths. Via Skype, we will also connect with leading American Studies-scholars in the US. 

​MCOM230 / AMST 275AR Screening Crises

Suzanne Enzerink
Mondays & Wednesdays 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM  |  Nicely 327

​Thematically-oriented around films that highlight capitalism as productive of inequalities on both local (rich vs poor within national contexts) and global scales (Global North vs. Global South), this course sets out to introduce students to transnational film culture and illuminate how categories of difference—such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and nationality—can both be reproduced and challenged through film. Throughout, we will alternate between theoretical explorations of keywords in film analysis, close readings of the primary texts themselves, and readings about (the economics of) an increasingly global film industry. We will also look at the divergent potential of narrative film and documentary film in representing these subjects.​

​​ENG 225 / AMST 275AK Modern American Literature (1900-1960)

Robert Myers
Tuesdays & Thursdays​ 11 AM – 12:15 PM |  Nicely 318

​In this course we will examine various novels, films, plays and stories written and created by American authors in the 20th century. We will begin with two canonical texts from the first third of the century, A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway, and The Great Gatsby, by Fitzgerald. We will screen a film version, directed by Martin Scorsese, of Edith Wharton’s novel Age of Innocence, which was written in 1920 but set in the late 19th century. We will also read an excerpt of the novel. We will read Steinbeck’s Depression-era classic Of Mice and Men; Richard Wright’s explication of racial and political divides in 1930s Chicago, Native Son; and As I Lay Dying, by Faulkner, about the rural American South in the early 20th century. We will view a film version, with Halle Berry, of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel about a black town in Florida, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the film Patton, written by Francis Ford Coppola, and read Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. We will also read poetic texts by T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost and Gwendolyn Brooks and essays and stories by Salinger, Baldwin, Ellison, O’Connor and others. In addition to analyzing the various genres, forms and idioms that American writers and artists used between 1900 and 1970, we will also focus on the ways in which literature and culture provide a window into specific historical moments—e.g. World War I, the Jazz Age, the Depression, etc.—and significant issues in American culture—e.g. urbanization, racial discrimination, disparities in wealth, gender relations, etc.​

ENG 222 Literature and Cultural Studies / AMST 275AQ Environmentalism and Limits to American Stu​dies

Adam John Waterman
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM 

In this course we will approach the history and legacies of American Studies through a consideration of environmentalism and climate crisis, their relationship to the history of resource capture and extraction, the theft and enclosure of Indigenous lands, and ​the history of race and human capital in labor​. Taking as axiomatic Jason Moore's argument that human-driven climate change begins with the advent of capitalist industrialism, we will look to the formation and plunder of the Americas as part of a global project of wealth production integral to the emergence of industry as a vehicle for the generation of surplus-value. Moreover, we will look to the ways in which the reorganization of old growth landscapes—the engineering of rivers and dredging of canals, the creation of railroads and their impact on human, animal, and plant species—allowed for the expansion of capital through the intensification of resource extraction, while contributing to the accumulation of atmospheric carbon and the acceleration of climate change. As a course taught between American Studies and English, we will also look to these processes, these infrastructures and their environmental traces, as forms of inscription, composing an uncommon type of writing that tells a particular story about the land, as well as the geophysicalities that transcend nations and states, continents and peoples.

​​

Spring 2020

ENGL 209 / AMST 275A​​O Survey of American Literature

​Sirene Harb​
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  |  Nicely 318

This course is a survey of American Literature from 1492 to the present through the exploration of canonical as well as non-canonical voices/texts. Some of the topics that will be discussed in the course include, but are not limited to, American identity and individualism, American Exceptionalism, the cult of true womanhood and domesticity, Realism and Regionalism, and projections of racial and ethnic identity.

ENGL 250 / AMST 275AP Poetry Writing

Marilyn Hacker
Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM  |  Nicely 103

With the freedom to choose the way in which we flex our imaginative and expressive muscles, students will have the opportunity to write and discuss poems with a wide range of forms and content. It is important to recognize that critical writing is creative, too. Throughout the course, students will read and write about several modern and contemporary poets, and have the opportunity to experiment with poetry translation.

​AMST 215 / ​​HIST 278A - 2 Introduction to American Studies

Suzanne Enzerink
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM  |  Nicely 327

This class introduces students to transnational understandings of both the contemporary United States and contemporary American Studies post-9/11. What do the cultural, economic, and political landscape of the U.S. look like, and how did they get to be this way? This is not a history course; it is not intended to give you an exhaustive overview of the development of the country known as “the United States.” You will not be quizzed on dates or laws. Rather, by assessing a wide variety of sources—from television shows to podcasts to news reports to historical documents to scholarly writing—you will acquire targeted knowledge that illuminates how social and political debates today are shaped by longer transnational processes.

The course is organized around three assignments: an object analysis, a group media project, and a final book review that will allow you to explore your own area of interest within contemporary American Studies. As such, you will acquire soft skills specifically geared towards future careers or education paths. Via Skype, we will also connect with leading American Studies-scholars in the US.​

​​AMST 275AI U.S. Politics on America's Big & Small Screens

Samar Temsah
Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM  |  Nicely 318

Primarily thought of as a source of entertainment for both domestic and international audiences, film and Television have been used to teach people about the political world around them as well. Not a traditional film course nor a course about politics, this course, however, focuses on the last 25 years while investigating various tendencies in popular culture representations of politics and political life in the U.S. on how these representations reinforce that political culture itself.​

​AMST 215 / HIST 278A - 1 Introduc​​​tion to American Studies

​​​​Samar Temsah
Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30-10:45 AM  |  Nicely 411

“What is America/an American?" We survey cultural encounters between the U.S. and others. The investigation starts with the colonial juxtaposition of Europeans, Native Americans and Africans leading up to subsequent encounters with Latinos, Asians and Arabs. Although cultural fictions and cultural exclusions, where the U.S. & its cultural producers have identified identities and ideologies in contrast to or in interaction with other nations and cultures, have helped sustain unity among many Americans, sub-national and transnational identities have continually called this unity into question. We examine encounters/accounts of the idea of "America" and notions of what it means/it takes to be an “American" as they have evolved over time within the framework of themes that have been considered molding agents of the “American" identity."

AMST 265G / PSPA 220 Globalization and Culture

Danyel Reiche​
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  |  Nicely 323

This course offers a critical exploration of the cultural dynamics of globalization and the politics of the globalization of culture. It also addresses the spread of (and reaction to) American popular culture abroad and the impact of globalization on American culture and identity.

AMST 265D / PSPA 288​K Politics of Sports

Danyel Reiche​
Fridays 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM  |  Nicely 107

This course focuses on issues around sport and nationality. It is within the architecture of international sports that countries compete with each other. To be eligible to compete for any given country in the Olympic Games and in almost all international sporting events, players must hold citizenship in that country. There are a few exceptions such as rugby, which only requires proof of at least three years residency to be eligible to play for the national team. If the residence criteria in rugby spread to other sports, Palestinians living in Lebanon without citizenship could represent Lebanon internationally. However, i​n a globalized world, national allegiance is becoming more and more a fluid concept. 

Looking at the eligibility criteria of international sporting federations (IF) will be the main emphasis of the class. Topics include Lebanon's sporting boycott of Israel, Qatar's motives behind hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, and sports betting regulations in the United States. Students are expected to give a class presentation reviewing the press coverage of a topic at the intersection of sport and politics.​

​MCOM204-2 From Telegraph to Twitter

Suzanne Enzerink
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM  |  Nicely 103

​What does it mean to study media historically? The answer lies in examining media not just as a series of technological developments but rather as the practices, networks, and communities that form around them. This class will introduce students to the field and to the practice of media history. While the study of the media has often focused on the new and the innovative—from now until the future—this course is an opportunity to dig into the past in order to consider how media have shaped societies and how societies, in turn, have determined what media are in the first place. 

At various historical moments, how have different media arranged or facilitated communication, imagination, and conceptions of identity and belonging? Such a question requires that we contextualize the media as structures that grow out of specific technological, economic, cultural, and political circumstances. Looking at case studies spanning from North American and the Middle East to Europe and East Asia, we will attempt to construct a global history of media, attending to the particularities of individual contexts that we study.​​


_ _ _ _ _


Fall 2019

​​AMST 275 / PSPA 251 Politics and Government: USA

Danyel Reiche
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2-3:15 PM  |  NICELY 416

This class reflects on the role of the U.S. in the world. The United States is the most powerful country in the world. Some authors argue that emerging countries like China are in the process of taking the place of the U.S. For this course, we will be focusing on two books. The author of Is the American Century Over, Joseph Nye, argues that the American century is far from over and its military, economic, and soft power capabilities will continue to outstrip those of its closest rivals for decades to come. The authors of How Democracies Die,​ Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, paint a different picture and argue that the United States under Trump is on the verge of collapse. 

In addition to the books, newspaper articles on current events in U.S. politics will be analyzed during the semester in the form of “press reviews". We will discuss these diverging arguments during the semester in order to conclude together whether the “American century" is approaching its end.​ The professor has also invited a guest from the U.S. embassy.

​AMST 215 / HIST 278A Introduc​​​tion to American Studies

​​​​Samar Temsah
Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30-10:45 AM  |  NICELY 210

“What is America/an American?" We survey cultural encounters between the U.S. and others. The investigation starts with the colonial juxtaposition of Europeans, Native Americans and Africans leading up to subsequent encounters with Latinos, Asians and Arabs. Although cultural fictions and cultural exclusions, where the U.S. & its cultural producers have identified identities and ideologies in contrast to or in interaction with other nations and cultures, have helped sustain unity among many Americans, sub-national and transnational identities have continually called this unity into question. We examine encounters/accounts of the idea of "America" and notions of what it means/it takes to be an “American" as they have evolved over time within the framework of themes that have been considered molding agents of the “American" identity."

​AMST 275 AF Introduction to Americ​​an Popular Culture & Theories

Samar Temsah
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:30-1:45 PM  |  NICELY 327

Love it or hate it, over the past few decades American popular culture has risen as an inescapable force penetrating most aspects of both Americans and other people's lives. In an attempt to understand the relationship between the “American" cultu​re and the “popular", we look at popular representations of the American culture using theories within popular culture and critical tools. Within the American culture, we mainly consider the r​e/presentation of factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, counterculture, subcultures/youth and ideology by and in popular culture and we study primary texts, such as TV series, film, documentaries, popular music, sports, fashion, artwork and magazines with forays into other types of pop culture like news media, toys, graffiti, social media, phone apps, brochures, holidays, advertisements and​ websites.​

AMST 265D / PSPA 288​K Politics of Sports

Danyel Reiche​
Wednesdays 3:30-6:00 PM  |  NICELY 212

This course focuses on issues around sport and nationality. It is within the architecture of international sports that countries compete with each other. To be eligible to compete for any given country in the Olympic Games and in almost all international sporting events, players must hold citizenship in that country. There are a few exceptions such as rugby, which only requires proof of at least three years residency to be eligible to play for the national team. If the residence criteria in rugby spread to other sports, Palestinians living in Lebanon without citizenship could represent Lebanon internationally. However, i​n a globalized world, national allegiance is becoming more and more a fluid concept. 

Looking at the eligibility criteria of international sporting federations (IF) will be the main emphasis of the class. Topics include Lebanon's sporting boycott of Israel, Qatar's motives behind hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, and sports betting regulations in the United States. Students are expected to give a class presentation reviewing the press coverage of a topic at the intersection of sport and politics.

​AMST ​265F / MCOM 290Q Scree​ning American Crises

Suzanne Enzerink
Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30-4:45 PM  |  NICELY 210

​​​What place does film have in addressing some of the most pressing issues facing us in the 21st century? What is the relationship between politics and aesthetics? How do stagings or representations of violence and disaster rework, challenge, or complicate our understanding of them? 

Organized thematically, this course introduces students to representations of pressing social issues across a variety of media, with a focus on the United States and its role in the world. Topics include climate change, terrorism, economic collapse, violence against women, and the refugee crisis. We will focus on narrative cinema and documentary film, but also look at how longform journalism, creative nonfiction, and scholarly writing have represented these delicate and urgent subjects. Students will consider the ways in which fictional landscapes refract deeply-rooted anxieties about race, class, gender, and national belonging.

AMST 275AM / ENGL 2​​​18 Poetry

Marilyn Hacker
Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00-12:15 PM  |  NICELY 103

The virtual hegemony of “free verse” in contemporary poetry in English has produced a generation of student readers and writers to whom the underpinnings of poetry are often foreign. And yet, these linguistic and formal structures are among the primary pleasures of poetry for readers and writers alike, from the first memorized nursery-rhyme to the tenth re-reading of John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets” or Adrienne Rich’s “Atlas of the Difficult World.” Students will examine and assimilate different metrical and formal strategies in the writing and reading of poems in a variety of forms and freedoms. Students will also each do a class presentation and a paper on a book by an individual contemporary poet whose work is relevant to what we’ve been discussing in its uses and transformations of prosodic forms.

CVSP 212 Modern & Cont​​emporary World Theatre

Robert Myers
Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00-12:15 PM  |  NICELY 414

In this course we will examine various modern theatre traditions, beginning with plays written by Chekhov and Ibsen in the late 19th century and including contemporary works by Federico Garcia-Lorca, Wole Soyinka and Bertolt Brecht. As we read and analyze modern and contemporary plays from a number of traditions (European, Russian, African, etc.) in both written and visual form, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which theatrical forms in the 20th century have crossed cultural boundaries and in so doing created new modes of theatrical expression.





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