Fall 2020

American History and Memory

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-334

Moodle site: Course


Robert T. Hayashi (Section 01)


Americans increasingly debate their monuments, movies, and institutions: the histories they present and how they narrate the past. In this course, we will examine how individuals, organizations, and groups in the United States have recorded and recounted violent histories: Armenian Genocide, Japanese-American Incarceration, Vietnam, The LA Riots/ Insurrection/Sa-I-Gu, and 9/11. We will explore the tensions between individual and collective memories, and the role of memory in shaping national identity. We will also consider the material and ethical challenges of memorializing trauma, as well as the relation between narrative, identity, and place. The course is highly interdisciplinary and includes readings in history, museum studies, literary theory, and critical race studies. We will closely engage a range of primary materials including photographs, memoir, film, poetry, and archival materials. Class meetings include group discussions, lectures, training sessions, and outside speaker visits. Throughout the semester, we will also consider how these historical events impacted the Amherst College community. Course members will design and contribute to a public history project documenting and interpreting the Amherst Uprising of 2015, a student led social protest that further illuminates the challenges of narrating and remembering historical events.

Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Hayashi.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to American Studies majors.


Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Online Only


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020