Current and Future Courses

Fall 2016 Courses

Mostern and Goggans: Theories and Methods: Conservation, Extinction, and Enviornmental Writing (IH 201 A and B)

This course, designed for first semester graduate students, explores multidisciplinary perspectives on a thematic topic with reference to the theme of The World at Home/At Home in the World.  Each week, students will read between 250 and 500 pages of scholarly humanities writing in the form of books, theses and articles that address aspects of the theme, and they will synthesize and react to the reading assignments through reading response papers, seminar presentations, and guided seminar discussions.  The course will offer the opportunity for student peer-instruction across program specializations. This year, the course will include a unit about the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity in the humanities and beyond.  The rest of the course will interrogate the relationship between the concepts of nature and culture and between human and non-human species, explore the notion of the Anthropocene as an emerging keyword for the interdisciplinary humanities, and look to nonhumanism and posthumanism as theoretical frameworks that can help us to make sense of these complex ideas.

Zanzucchi: Pedagogy (IH 203)

This introductory seminar engages teaching as research in a humanities context. Humanities teaching topics will include developing an integrative philosophy and practice, designing active learning activities, engaging students in course and field-specific expectations, defining measures of success, and evaluating evidence of effective practices. With creating a teaching-focused research plan, we will review pedagogy methods and learner-centered models. This is an opportunity to design holistic and analytical measurements of student learning, based on both direct and indirect evidence. Developing approaches for communicating with students about learning expectations is an important focus, including classroom management techniques, rubrics, webinars, collaborative projects and assignment design. Measures of student success from a humanities perspective will also be explored, with identifying threshold concepts, designing learning outcomes, and promoting strategies for learning within and beyond the classroom. Course projects include an annotated lesson plan, reflection journal, microteaching, teaching self-statement, and a culminating seminar paper.

Aldenderfer: Methods and Research: Research Design (IH 206)

Arias: Methods and Research: Native American and Indigenous Theories and Methods (IH 206)

Demographic shifts, diasporas, labor migrations, the movements of global capital and media, and processes of cultural circulation have brought into question the nature of areas’ identities and composition. Globalization, space/time compression, and greater international mobility have created an intensification of overlaps and have launched a critique of national cultures as apparatuses of power, while emphasizing “knowledges otherwise,” to mark the types of wisdom that indigenous and other native peoples have displayed for millennia.  What has come into question in the wake of contemporary approaches a reorientation of knowledge, an epistemology that began looking at global concerns from a subalternized and racialized postcolonial peoples’ perspective, while distancing itself from modern, Eurocentric knowledge. Ultimately, one of the new directions in this perspective is global indigeneities.  This graduate seminar will teach students new Native American and Indigenous theories and methods that have emerged from these perspectives, crafted by Native American and Indigenous scholars. Students will trace the changing definition of cultural studies from the emergence of postcolonial studies to contemporary indigenous knowledges. It will emphasize a historical evolution and transformation from postcolonial studies to the present, with an emphasis on cosmopolitics, posthuman and non-representational theories. Students will also learn the basic methodological techniques underlying interdisciplinary research methods.

C. Torres-Rouff: Readings in IH (Past Worlds): Inequality and the Body (IH 210)

This course is a readings course focused on the repercussions of social inequality in prehistory through the record of material culture and, importantly, the human body itself. The origin and intensification of social inequality is a long-standing and hotly debated topic in anthropology, however, this debate frequently privileges societies with entrenched social hierarchies rather than those in which hierarchy is incipient or emerging. In this course we will consider a spectrum of inequalities from more intimate developmental/gender differences through to the large-scale impacts of colonization and warfare.  While primarily focused on the mortuary context—both material and skeletal— in this course we will also explore community evidence of inequality and hierarchization in terms of, for example, architecture, craft, and group interaction. Many studies have viewed the intensification of inequality on the level of whole societies rather than evaluating its effects on the lived experience of individuals and communities. By its very nature, however, inequality affects individuals differentially and, as such, the individualized perspective inherent to bioarchaeology will allow us to focus more deeply on the expression of this inequality through the physical manifestations of differences in work stress, infectious disease, nutritional deprivation and violence. We will begin with a series of theoretical readings on interpreting evidence of social inequality in the past then move on to consider the material evidence for these approaches, ultimately focusing the second half of the semester specifically on the varied biological repercussions of inequality that manifest in the body and persist in human remains. 

Vang: Readings in IH (Social/Spatial): History of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (IH 220)

This course traces dominant modes of research on Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity as they have developed within the disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology, History, and Literature, among others. Within this historical and intellectual context, we look for the ways that scholars related to Critical Race and Ethnic Studies have critiqued, extended, challenged, and incorporated elements of other disciplines, generating new perspectives and areas of research centering Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity in the process. 

Wang: Readings in IH (Expressive/Imaginative): Museums as Contested Sites (IH 230)

The seminar examines issues concerning the critical history of museums and controversies surrounding high-profile exhibitions organized by public and private U.S. institutions in the second half of the twentieth century. Interdisciplinary readings—written by art historians, curators, sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural critics—provide a broad historical and theoretical overview of the development of museums as sites of engendering new discourses, shifting epistemological paradigms, and provoking cultural and sociopolitical debates that, in some cases, effected policy changes. Students will not only acquire specialized knowledge of institutional and curatorial practices, but also have the opportunity to apply their critical understanding and curate an original, virtual exhibition as part of their course project.

Spring 2017 Courses

TBD: Study Plan Design (IH 202)

Chandra: Humanities in the World: Women, Gender and Art in Islamic Cultures: An Exhibition Practicum (IH 205)

Yoshida: Methods and Research: Film Theory and Criticism (IH 206)

Amussen: Readings in IH (Past Worlds): Shakespeare's London (IH 210)

Dawson: Readings in IH (Past Worlds): Gender, Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World (IH 210)

Malloy: Readings in IH (Past Worlds): White Supremacy and Colored Cosmopolitanism (IH 210)

Hull: Readings in IH (Social/Spatial): Material Culture (IH 220)

Kaur Hundle: Readings in IH (Social/Spatial): Feminist Theories: Traditions, Critiques, Praxis (IH 220)

Martin-Rodriguez: Readings in IH (Expressive/Imaginative): Researching Readerships and Audiences in Literature and Film (IH 230)




Graduate Division

Graduate Admissions:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Graduate Funding:
Phone: (209) 228-4622
General Inquiries:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Fax: (209) 228-6906
Mailing Address:
University of California, Merced
ATTN: Graduate Division
5200 N. Lake Road, SSB 310
Merced, CA 95343


Graduate Group

Graduate Group Chair: Arturo Arias
Graduate Group Coordinator: Mitch Ylarregui
Phone: (209) 228-4105

Additional Resources

Graduate Student Services
Graduate Peer Mentor Program
Writing Services
Grad Student Association
Resolve a Conflict

University of California, Merced
The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California


Go to top