2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

A People's Geography of American Empire

Spring quarter

Faculty: Lawrence Mosqueda political economy, political science, Zoltan Grossman geography

Fields of Study: American studies, community studies, geography and international studies

Spring: CRN (Credit) Level 30234 (16) So - Sr; 30727 (1-16)  

Credits: 16(S)

Class Standing: Sophomore - Senior

Offered During: Day


This program will look at U.S. expansion -- from "Manifest Destiny" and overseas imperial expansion, to present-day resource wars. It will focus on the place-making processes inherent in each stage of expansion, and on the imprints they have left on the human and physical landscape. It will examine "imperial places" that have been shaped by each era of expansion, and in turn have shaped each era.

In addition to the origins and rationales underlying each stage of expansion, we will examine how and to what extent the world's landscape reflects and helps to (re)produce imperial power. The program will aim to interconnect global and local scales, "foreign" and "domestic" policies, and past histories and present-day legacies. It will examine the lasting effects of imperial control on real local places, in particular the expanding network of U.S. military bases around the world. Fort Lewis and other Northwest military installations will be examined as local case studies of military land acquisition, place-making, and internal G.I. dissent (including a possible one-day field trip).

The program will identify the disproportionate role of small places such as Wounded Knee (Lakota Nation), Subic Bay (Philippines), Vieques (Puerto Rico), Okinawa (Japan), Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean), Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Cabanas (El Salvador), Fallujah (Iraq), Bagram (Afghanistan), and Khuzestan (Iran), and locate them within a typology of imperial places. Such a typology could include internal colonies, emptied or erased places, ground zeros, poisoned places, places of resistance, and places of justice.

As their class project, students will focus on a single local-scale case study, writing separate papers on its past history, present-day landscape, and a resident interview (of activists, refugees or veterans). Students will also turn in a discussion page on the readings--with specific questions or comments--in each seminar.

The program will make a geographical contribution to the study of American Empire, by examining the making and remaking of "imperial places," and using place-based approaches to learning about imperialism. Book and article authors could include Cynthia Enloe, Catherine Lutz, Michael Klare, Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn, Patricia Limerick, Dahr Jamail, Richard Drinnon, Jean Bricmont, Michael Ignatieff, and Barack Obama.

Maximum Enrollment: 50

Required Fees: $12.50 for event tickets.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: community studies, geography and international studies.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 7th, 2011 Fees updated.
April 8th, 2010 New program added.