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490 Courses 2022–2023

Fall 2022 (Taught by Eric Eliason, English Department)

Religious and Regional Folklore: The Latter-day Saints. 

This American Studies capstone course will look at scholarship on religious and regional folklore, focusing on Latter-day Saints as the primary example. “Mormon folklore” has been well-represented in the field. There is a long history of Latter-day Saint folklorists, and topics like The Three Nephites and J. Golden Kimball stories are known outside our community. Students will select and investigate their own topic in this area using scholarly, archival, and ethnographic methods. The primary assignment will be to produce a publication-ready academic article. Students will workshop their papers and present their research in class. Final papers are 15-20 pages.

Winter 2023 (Taught by Brenden Rensink, History Department)

Borders and Boundaries in the American Experience(s)

Borders and boundaries serve as the theme for the Winter 2023 American Studies capstone seminar. Originally grounded in geopolitical constructs of frontiers, edges of empire, borderlands, and borders, “borderlands studies” is a rapidly expanding set of interdisciplinary fields that also analyze linguistic, cultural, religious, social, political, temporal, and other forms of division or boundary-making. These concepts have driven much of American history, and the peoples, forces, and ideas that have transgressed them provide many of the most dynamic stories in our shared pasts. These theoretical frameworks can recast familiar ideas in new lights and reveal new stories entirely. Our seminar will read multiple texts for background and discussion, including foundational borderlands histories, new boundary-pushing works (no pun intended), primary source materials, and other forms of media. Course assignments culminate in a 4,000-5,000 word (15-20 page) research paper using borders and boundaries as the primary framework.