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Fall | Winter | Spring | Program Director: Kate Baldwin


Fall Quarter 2010

Monday, September 27, 10:00 am  || American Studies Lounge (University Hall 022)

American Studies Welcome Back Reception

You are all invited to join us for good food and company to kick off the year! How was your summer?  What courses are you taking this year? Is your housing all situated and comfortable?  With so much to think about at the beginning of the year, please come to relax your mind a bit with your fellow American Studies majors and Faculty. Pizza and other refreshments will be available!

Thursday, September 30, 7:30 pm || Helmerich Auditorium (Annie May Swift Hall)

Moustafa Bayoumi (English Department, Brooklyn College, CUNY), "How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America"  Event Poster

Sponsored by the American Studies Program and the Center for Global Culture and Communications

Friday, October 1, 8:30 am || The Globe Cafe located in the Orrington Hotel

Moustafa Bayoumi (English Department, Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Breakfast with graduate students and Professor Brian Edwards

Sponsored by the American Studies Program and the Center for Global Culture and Communications

Tuesday, October 26, 5:00 pm || Helmerich Auditorium (Annie May Swift Hall)

Kevin Hamilton (Chair of New Media in the School of Art and Design, U of Illinois)

Ned O'Gorman (Department of Communication, U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

We are ALL Operators Now: Gender at the Cold War (Nuclear) Console

This talk will contribute to our growing understanding of performances of gender in 1940s, 50s, and 60s America by looking at discourse about women "operators" in the period, especially computer operators. We argue that this discourse negotiated two broad tensions in the U.S.'s Cold War efforts: (1) that between gender and "competency," especially as it came to be manifested in rhetoric about operators in nuclear weapons operations, and (2) that between a "specialist" nuclearized military and the universal conscription the mass public into the Cold War effort. By exploring these tensions in discourse about women operators, we hope to contribute not only to the growing scholarship on gender in Cold War America, but help explain an aspect of the rise of America as a nuclear hegemon in the Cold War.

Sponsored by the American Studies Program and the program in Rhetoric and Public Culture  Event Poster

Wednesday, November 10, 7:30 pm || Helmerich Auditorium (Annie May Swift Hall)

Mark Twain in the Twenty-First Century

This event, which is free and open to the public, will offer a retrospective consideration of Mark Twain on the centenary of his death.  It will consist of a panel of distinguished scholars of American literature and experts on Twain who will present their ideas and discuss them among themselves and with the audience.  Event Poster

Panelists include:

Sponsored by the Northwestern University Program in American Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Communication Studies

Thursday, November 11,  9:00 am || Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)

Please join us for a breakfast discussion of Mark Twain. We will be discussing a selection from the long-awaited, “unexpurgated and definitive” Autobiography of Mark Twain. Our discussion will be led by the distinguished Twain scholars Jonathan Arac and Susan Gillman. Copies of the selected reading can be picked up in the American Studies office. This discussion will be following our Twain celebration on Wednesday evening.

Monday, December 6, 6:00 pm || American Studies Lounge (University Hall 022)

American Studies End-of-Quarter Study Break

Please join us in University Hall 020 for a jolly gift wrapping good time! There will be good food and wrapping the gifts for the family we are sponsoring this holiday season will make the event even more cheerful.

Winter Quarter 2011

Thursday, February 25, 4:00 pm || American Studies Lounge (University Hall 022)

American Studies Open House

The Program in American Studies is a challenging and rewarding interdisciplinary major. As one of the first such kinds in the College, the Program in American Studies has enjoyed a long history of teaching exceptionally motivated undergraduates who are attracted to intensive and engaging small seminars and the intellectual demands of writing a research-based senior thesis. Light refreshments will be served. Event Poster

Friday, January 21, 4:00 pm || Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)

Jim Collins (Professor of Film, Television, and English at the University of Notre Dame), Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Literary Experiences Across Digital Cultures

Abstract: This paper explores the ways in which literary reading is being “screened” in contemporary culture, from high-concept adaptations, to television book clubs, to Amazon customer communities, to omnipresent ereaders. What can we learn about the future of the book from reading digital culture? Event Poster

Sponsored by the American Studies Program in collaboration with the Department of Radio, Television + Film

Thursday, March 10, 3:00 pm || American Studies Lounge (University Hall 022)

American Studies Open House

American Studies is going Global.  Want to be a part of a new project? Come check out the changes underway at American Studies. Light refreshments will be served.

Spring Quarter 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 || Chicago History Museum

Professor Carl Smith took his 310, Studies in American Culture course to the CHM and other fire-related sites.

Thursday, April 14 - Friday, April 15 || Leverone auditorium (keynote), Louis Room/Norris University Center (panels)

Northwestern Living Wage Conference, featuring Keynote Speaker Barbara Ehrenreich

On April 14th and 15th Northwestern University's Living Wage Campaign will be hosting a historic event, a Conference on the economics and social implications of a living wage featuring keynote speaker Barbara Ehrenreich.  The Conference will feature leading national scholars on the social inequalities that provide context for working conditions and wages at Northwestern University, the ways in which living wage policies have successfully reduced economic inequality in cities and other jurisdictions, and finally activists from living wage campaigns and struggles for social justice who were able to overcome formidable obstacles in order to achieve meaningful victories. Like our page on Facebook to get constant updates about the campaign!

Sponsored by the American Studies Department, NCDC, and FMO

Friday, April 15, 12:00 pm || American Studies (University Hall 020)

American Studies application deadline (extended deadline)

Wednesday, April 27, 4:00 pm  || Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)

John Low (Visiting Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), “Chicago and the Legacies of Turner, Cody, Streeter, and the Pokagon Potawatomi”

Abstract: The Chicago urban Indian experience did not begin with the post World War II federal programs of relocation of American Indians from reservations to urban areas. Rather, the Potawatomi (more specifically the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians) have been a part of Chicago since its founding. In very public expressions of indigeneity, they have refused to hide in plain sight or assimilate. However, that is not to suggest that Chicagoans of today remember every significant effort by the Pokagon Potawatomi to do so. In this presentation, I explore the competing claims of the Pokagon Potawatomi and others for the City’s lakefront and the ways in which understandings and articulations of frontier, settlement, conquest, rights of discovery and civilization advanced by Frederick Jackson Turner and William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody contributed to the remembrance of “Yankee” claims maker George W. Streeter to the lakefront, while erasing the memory of the Indians claims to the same lands.  Event Poster

Thursday, April 28, 6:00 pm || Block Museum Cinema 40 Arts Circle Drive

Film Screening and DiscussionLunch Line

Lunch Line focuses on the national school lunch program by exploring its past, its current challenges, and its opportunities for the future. Leaders are interviewed from all sides of the issue, including government officials, school food service experts, activists, and students, including 6 culinary students from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch - and end up at the White House.

Following the screening, there was a panel discussion and question and answer session with film co-directors Michael Graziano (a former NU doctoral film student) and Ernie Park; Chicago Tribune journalist Monica Eng; Northwestern Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach; and Northwestern student Victor Esteban Fimbres. To see the trailer for the film visit

The screening of this film was organized by the Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Evanston Public Library and also the following departments at Northwestern: Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, American Studies, Radio, Television and Film, SESP, Environmental Policy and Culture, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Institute for Policy Research.

Tuesday, May 3, 3:00 pm || American Studies Lounge (University Hall 022)

American Studies senior projects due
You did it...big sigh of relief...your senior thesis is due as is customary - to celebrate a job well done! - there will be a toast with light refreshments at 3:15 ish in the lounge. HOORAY!

Monday, May 16, 6:00 pm || Humanities Seminar Room (Kresge 2-370)

2011 Senior Research Symposium
The Senior Symposium will begin at 6:00 pm with panels TBA. Each panelist will speak about his or her project for about 5 minutes, and then a faculty member will make a few comments and moderate some Q&A that brings together some of the connections. The presentations will be followed by a buffet dinner. Event Poster

Thursday, May 19 - Friday, May 20 || Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201) and Harris Hall 108

Globalizing American Studies - Conference organized by Brian T. Edwards and Dilip P. Gaonkar

Presented by the Center for Global Culture and Communication, an interdisciplinary initiative by the Northwestern University School of Communication and the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies with additional support from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the American Studies Program.

Wednesday, June 1, 12:00 pm || John Evans Alumni Center, 1800 Sheridan Rd

Annual End-of-Year Picnic

Join us as we celebrate the year and say goodbye for the summer.  Congratulate both the new majors and the seniors.  Mark the beginning and culmination of the program directors with plenty of food and loads of fun, including a sack race & water balloon toss!

Thursday, June 2, 6:00 pm || American Studies Classroom (University Hall 018)

Jefferson Cowie's Stayin' Alive, which won the OAH 2011 Merle Curti award for best book

For faculty and graduate students. We will offer a casual repast for those who join us to discuss Cowie's book.

Saturday, June 18, 8:30 am || Hagstrum Room (University Hall 201)

American Studies Pre-Convocation Breakfast

Annual traditional for all of the graduating seniors, their families, and American Studies faculty.

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