Fall 2019 Course Offerings

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It’s that time again – time to think about which American Studies courses you want to take next semester.

American Studies students in Tulsa and Stillwater have a variety of course options available for Fall 2019. Visit the Course Offerings Page, where you can find informational flyers for individual courses.

For Stillwater-based students, I would highly recommend either of the Special Topics courses: Introduction to Folklore or Disability in the United States. You should also check out Dr. Shaila Mehra’s new AMST 3753 course on African American Women’s Art & Ideas.

In Tulsa, students will have a number of great courses to choose from, including Dr. Stacy Takacs’s hybrid course on Theories and Methods of American Studies, Dr. David Gray’s popular course on Tulsa’s Public Cultures, and Language in America, a course new to the Tulsa campus. Nathan Horton, a PhD student in the English Department, will be leading the course.

If you have any questions, be sure to contact American Studies director John Kinder at john.kinder@okstate.edu.

Spring 2019 Course Offerings

AMST3723 Cultural History of Am Sport
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American Studies students in Tulsa and Stillwater have a variety of course options available for Spring 2018. Visit the Course Offerings page, or download the Stillwater and Tulsa flyers to get the complete list of what’s available where. Informational flyers for individual courses are available from the Course Offerings Page.

For Stillwater-based students I would highly recommend  AMST3950 Intro to Asian American Studies (DH) and Dr. Rachel Jackson’s AMST 3683 Intro to Digital Humanities course which will involve a digital story-telling project with Iowa tribal elders. Dr. Louise Siddons will also be offering her popular ART 4763 Native American Arts and Material Culture course, which can be substituted for AMST 3673 on the AMST degree sheet.

In Tulsa, I would HIGHLY recommend AMST3723 Cultural History of American Sports with OSU AMST grad and now PhD History candidate Jake Cornwell, an expert on local baseball and hot rod cultures, or Dr. Tom Jorsch’s AMST 4910 Period Seminar on The Gilded Age, which will examine the first “Gilded Age” in the 1890s and draw comparisons to today, which many people describe as a “new Gilded Age.” And, of course, Dr. Gray’s  AMST4973 Senior Seminar in American Studies will be offered for seniors looking to finish off that capstone research project. 

NEED ADVICE? I (Dr. Takacs) will have drop-in office hours on Thursday, November 1 from 3-4:30 in Main Hall 2215 on the OSU Tulsa campus for those who have questions about course offerings or degree requirements. Feel free to stop by!

Welcome to the new semester!

Welcome, one and all, to another exciting semester in American Studies. If you haven’t yet discovered the perfect course, here is the list of course offerings for Fall on both campuses. We hope to see you in our classes come Monday!

A note about the TV and American Society course: it is listed as a “hybrid” course, but all this means is that the screening lab will take place outside of the regular class time. In other words, I’m going to ask you to watch everything from The Honeymooners to Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog on your own time and then report back. I’ve mostly picked programs that are accessible for free online, or available in the OSUT library, but if you have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, and/or Amazon Prime it might come in handy. Screenings will range from 1-2 hours per week, but should be fun!

Fulbright information sessions will be held very early in the semester. Here’s the info per Dale Lightfoot who runs the sessions:

Fulbrights are fully-funded grants to teach English or pursue your studies or research interests abroad.

Information sessions for 2019-2020 student Fulbright programs will be held on the Stillwater campus August 22, 23, and 24 (see flyer for details regarding dates and rooms).

The online application for the 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Student Program is open.  The campus deadline (for completed applications and campus review) will be mid-September.

For more information contact (or if you can’t make the sessions):

Dale Lightfoot
373 Murray Hall
Department of Geography
Oklahoma State University

Alas, there are no planned sessions for the Tulsa campus. I’m working on getting them over here in future. Happy first week!

Summer and Fall 2018 Course Offerings

Perspectives on Social Justice
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American Studies students in Tulsa and Stillwater have a variety of course options available for Summer and Fall 2018. Visit the Course Offerings page, or click to get the complete list of what’s available for Summer and Fall. Informational flyers for individual courses are available from the Course Offerings Page.

For Stillwater-based students I would recommend our AMST3950 Topics Course: Perspectives on Social Justice, AMST3950 Topics Course: Black Thought in the Age of Mass Incarceration, or AMST3803 War in American Culture. The latter course is a perennial favorites featuring resident expert John Kinder, author of Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Vet.

In Tulsa, I recommend my own AMST3503 TV and American Society, which discusses changes in the television industry and how TV has shaped our sense of identity and community in America. Dr. David Gray’s AMST3550 Tulsa Public Cultures courses is also a favorite, which teaches the history of Tulsa and takes students into the community to meet cultural producers, curators, and movers and shakers.

NEED ADVICE? Email Dr Takacs with questions (stacy.takacs@okstate.edu)

Let’s Talk Jobs for Humanities Grads…

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ latest report on  “The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce & Beyond” is now out, and the news is good for Humanities grads (hint: American Studies would fit this definition).

  • First, unemployment among anyone with a college degree remains low (below 4%). This is also true for Humanities grads.
  • Second, Humanities grads may earn less initially, but over time they catch up to their peers in engineering, the health fields, and the sciences. To quote the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s overview of the report, jobs in high earning fields, like business and the law, eventually find, value and promote humanities majors:

For example, one million people with humanities degrees work in management, and some 600,000 work in business and financial operations. A quarter of the legal profession is made up of humanities majors. Those fields can pay well.

  • Third, Humanities majors are more flexible in their career choices and paths, which means they have more various jobs and greater job satisfaction. They also tend to work in fields that require a high degree of autonomy and creativity (yay!). Here’s a graphic from the report,

Occupational Distribution of Humanities Majors (2018)

  • Finally, Humanities majors continue to possess the skills Employers feel are desperately needed, including foreign language and writing skills. Remember that the next time you’re groaning about the onerous writing requirements in Dr. Gray’s class, or the Foreign Language proficiency requirements for the BA–these skills really pay off!

Employer rating of grad skills (2018)

Now for some specific job opportunities that have recently run across my desk:

  1. To combat the teacher shortage in Tulsa Public Schools, TPS has been sponsoring an alternative certification program called Tulsa Teacher Corps for a couple of years. Here’s a link to info about the program.
  2. The Fulbright Program provides fully-funded grants for students to conduct research OR teach English overseas. Some information sessions are upcoming in Stillwater on February 15, 16, 19, and 20. Dale Lightfoot, who coordinates the grant program, says  he is “available to provide details, as shared in the info sessions, with any student who contacts me for information.  I can talk to them on the phone, or via email, or in person in my office if they come to Stillwater.” So here’s his office, phone and email: 373 Murray Hall; 405-744-6250; d.lightfoot@okstate.edu. Check the facebook feed for a flyer with the info session dates.
  3. The Tulsa Career Services office has a number of events to prepare students for the job market. The full list is available here.

And don’t forget to check the blog archive for tips on how to Prepare for the Job Market:

Spring 2018 Course Offerings

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American Studies students in Tulsa and Stillwater have a variety of course options available for Spring 2018. Visit the Course Offerings page, or CLICK HERE to get the complete list of what’s available where. Informational flyers for individual courses are available from the Course Offerings Page.

For Stillwater-based students I would recommend our AMST3950 Topics Course: Jewish Literature and Film and Dr. Lisa Hollenbach’s ENGL4320: Listening to Contemporary Poetry, which is about American poetry since 1950 with an emphasis on performance and sound culture studies.

In Tulsa, I would HIGHLY recommend my own AMST 3683 Intro to Digital Humanities, which will introduce students to digital communication via a project-based approach to skills acquisition. Translation: We’re gonna build digital stuff for one or more partner organizations! It’s hands-on learning with an outcome you can show off on the job market. All that’s required is a basic knowledge of computer skills, an ability to collaborate with others to achieve a common goal, and a willingness to tinker with technology.

NEED ADVICE? I (Dr. Takacs) will have drop-in office hours on Thursday, November 2 from 3-4:30 in Main Hall 2215 on the OSU Tulsa campus for those who have questions about course offerings or degree requirements. Feel free to stop by!

Introducing the Office of Scholar Development

Oklahoma State University students interested in applying for scholarships or research opportunities need to know about the Office of Scholar Development. Housed in Stillwater, it provides assistance and advice to all OSU students–Tulsa-based and transfer-students included. They have recently begun to reach out to Tulsa campus, so I thought it might be useful to say a few words about the office and some upcoming competitions.

The Office is run by Jessica Roark (jessica.roark@okstate.edu) and tasked with assisting students with their research and post-graduate goals. They can help you

  • identify undergraduate research opportunities at OSU
  • identify scholarships to offset tuition at OSU or beyond
  • write those scholarship applications

They offer assistance and practical tools for maximizing your application’s impact. Feel free to visit their website: http://scholardevelopment.okstate.edu/ or stop by their offices on the Stillwater campus (334 Student Union; 405.744.7313).

Some high-profile scholarships are due soon, and the office would like to work with any students interested in applying. Here’s a list and copies of the application instructions (click on the title to get the instructions). The first two are the most apropos for AMST students:

Harry S Truman Scholarship
Created by Congress for those who intend to pursue careers in public service, defined as “Employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service oriented non-profit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.”  This $30,000 scholarship is for current juniors who have a good GPA and plans to attend graduate school in the areas above. For additional information, please visit www.truman.gov.

Morris K. and Steward L. Udall Scholarship
Created by Congress to honor Congressman Morris K. Udall and later to include Stewart L. Udall and to award students with career aspirations related to the environment and sustainability.  The $7,000 award is also available to Native American and Alaska Native students who intend to pursue careers in native health care or tribal public health policy.  This scholarship is for current sophomores or juniors who have a good GPA and plans to attend graduate school in the areas above.  For additional information, please visit udall.gov.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship 
Created by Congress to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater and to encourage excellence in the areas of science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science.  This $7,500 scholarship is for current sophomores or juniors who have a high GPA (generally 3.80 or higher) and plans to attend graduate school in the areas above.  This award is particularly for those students who have a strong record of undergraduate research in one of the fields above as demonstrated by ongoing/completed projects, reports, presentations, publications, etc. For additional information, please visit goldwaterscholars.scholarsapply.org.



September Events

American Studies is sponsoring several exciting events this month. First, Larry O’Dell from the Oklahoma Historical Society will be visiting Dr. Gray’s AMST3550 Tulsa Public Cultures course to talk about “The Tulsa Race Riot, A.J. Smitherman, and the Report of Tulsa Race Riot Commission.” The event is free and open to the public and will be held on Thursday, September 14 at 4:30 in North Hall 212 on the OSU Tulsa campus. 

Later this month American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, the Department of History the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and OSU Tulsa will co-sponsor two visits by renowned LGBTQ activist and scholar, Robyn Ochs.

  • Loosening the Gender Girdle-How Gender Affects YOUon Tuesday, September 26 at 6pm in the French Lounge (270 Student Union) on the OSU Stillwater campus:

What does it mean to be “a man”? What does it mean to be “a woman”? What other options are there? We will look at the ways in which we are limited by a rigid and limited binary understanding of gender, and explore how the politics of gender tie together the feminist, queer and transgender movements. Please join us, and bring your gender with you.

  • Beyond the Binaries–Identity and Sexualityon Wednesday, September 27 at 6pm in the B.S. Roberts Conference Room in North Hall (rm 151 or so) on the OSU Tulsa campus:

How do we assign labels to our complicated and unique experiences of sexuality? In this interactive program we will explore the landscape of sexuality,  conduct a thought-provoking anonymous survey of those present, and look together at the data. Where do we fall on various sexuality continua? How do we label? How old were we when we came to our identities and to our sexualities? How asexual/sexual are we? How well do our friends/family members understand our sexuality? This program will expand your perspective and change the way you think about labels.

Light snacks will be provided at both events, which are free and open to the public.

Ochs is an educator, speaker, award-winning activist, and editor of the Bi Women Quarterly; and two anthologies: Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and RECOGNIZE: The Voices of Bisexual Men. Her writings have been published in numerous bi, women’s studies, multicultural, and LGBT anthologies and she has presented workshops for hundreds of campus and community groups all over the world. She is a dynamic speaker, and the events are highly interactive, so we hope you’ll join us.

Funding for Ochs’ visits is provided in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities (OH), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Fae Rawdon Norris Endowment for the Humanities at OSU. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OH, NEH, or the Norris Foundation.

We hope you can join us for one or all of these events!

Larry O'Dell on The Tulsa Race RiotOchs, "Loosening the Gender Girdle" EventRobyn Ochs, "Beyond the Binaries" Workshop

Welcome back

It’s time! The new semester is here, and the American Studies Program would like to welcome you all back to OSU for fall semester 2017. If you are still in search of interesting classes, please check our list of offerings, including courses in Stillwater on The Standing Rock protests (AMST3950 – 68943; cross-listed with ENGL 4230) and the Black Lives Matter Movement (AMST3950 – 69367). In Tulsa we’re featuring:

  • Theories and Methods of American Studies  (AMST3223 – 62293 — W 4:30)
  • Globalization & Am Culture (AMST3253 – 62299 — R 7:20)
  • American Popular Culture (AMST3423 — 68914) — in the early afternoon! (T 1:30-4:10)
  • Tulsa Public Arts and Culture (AMST3550 — 64890 — R 4:30)
  • Readings in the Am Experience on the theme of “Work” (AMST3813 — 62303 — T 4:30).

On Thursday, Dr. Takacs will host a drop-in social in Main Hall 2215 from 3-4:30 pm.

Stop in and say hi, and congratulate Dr. Gray on winning the OSU Tulsa Outstanding Professor Award for 2016-2017!

OSU T President Howard BArnett Congratulates Dr. Gray

Summer Reading Recommendations, Part II

Following up on last week’s reading recommendations, here’s advisor Kevin Seymore’s summer reading list, Part II:

6.) Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. This is an academic novel written in the form of letters of recommendation and is quite hilarious. As students you might have asked for letters of recommendation. If you become professors or academic advisors, you will certainly write them someday. Having been in academia nearly my entire adult life, I recognized a lot of what I’ve experienced, but Schumacher has given it a very humorous slant through her narrator, an aging English professor that has become quite the cynic, but still has a hint of idealism inside him to press on and write the next letter. However, some letters are doing the exact opposite of praising the person it is for, and those are often the funniest.

7.) Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams. This novel is a Western in genre, but a very metaphysical one that looks deeply into the American experience and our relationship with nature. Butcher’s Crossing is a frontier town in Kansas near the line with Colorado, and it is a town that exists because of the profit to be made out of killing buffaloes for their hides. A college drop out from Harvard comes West to experience the buffalo hunt, and ends up experiencing something like Moby-Dick on land. There’s a mad buffalo hunter that is very much in the mode of Ahab. Excellent prose, though the description is rather detailed at points, and the first third is pretty slow, but it builds and builds to a rather apocalyptic ending. [Dr. T says: If you like this one, try Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian].

8.) Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. I am interested in art history, so I enjoyed this opportunity to look at the world of Vermeer through the eyes of a servant girl in 17th century Holland. Like Toibin, the author does a brilliant job of capturing a young person’s view of the world, the journey from innocence to experience. If you’ve taken a Gender and Women’s Study course, or an art history class, or a course in developmental psychology, I think you will bring a good deal to this short novel. And you’ll leave with I believe a greater appreciation for just how hard the twists of fate can be, and at the same time, how the remarkable can emerge from the seemingly ordinary.

9.) The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver. The more I think about this dystopian novel, the more I disagree with it, haha. But if you want a strange, tough, economic forecast of what the future of the country could look like, then this is the book for you. If you took an ECON course, such as micro or macro, then you’ll probably appreciate the long monologues about economic policy more than the average reader. If you identify as a Libertarian, you will feel like you are at home with Shriver and the travails she takes the Mandible family through, as America becomes a financial wreck where Nevada has left the Union and Americans experience Great Depression level poverty. NOT a feel good story! haha.

10.) The Circle by Dave Eggers. This novel is now a currently showing movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. I have not seen the movie, but I can testify to the book being very thought provoking. It too is a dystopian look at the future where privacy has just about completely disappeared thanks to the efforts of a giant media company (combination of google, facebook, youtube, amazon, twitter) that runs by the idea that nothing should be hidden from anybody. As good satire does, it uses an extreme to draw new light upon current circumstances. I contemplated leaving facebook a number of times while reading this story of  young May who goes to work for The Circle thinking she has made it, but discovers that she has to give up more than she expected. A much darker version of Eilis Lacey’s story. [Dr. T says: If you’re taking Dr. Gray’s Readings in the American Experience course on “Work,” you’ll likely be reading this in Fall (or possibly spring?)]

So there you have it. The theme of young people venturing out into the world seems to predominate this list, which I didn’t plan, but seems all the more fitting. One of the gifts that reading gives us is being able to feel less alone in the world. If you ever feel like you are the only one experiencing some thought, anxiety, emotion, loss, you name it, go to a bookshelf, and you’ll find that you are not alone at all – very far from it!

Best wishes, for all your reading ahead . . .


. . . via Dr. Takacs. Thanks, again, Kevin, for some timely recommendations]