American Studies

Ava Eleanor Olson - Vice and Violence

Ava attended the Tin House Summer Workshop as a member of the 2023 Short Fiction cohort and currently works as a Course Reader in the American Studies department. If all goes well, they will be pursuing a PhD by Autumn 2024, studying Indigenous resource management and human-animal encounters on the American landscape.

Area of Concentration Courses

Amerstd 101: PT Barnum and Other Scams
Amerstd H110: Standing in a Crooked Room Speaking God’s Language: Memory, Creation, and Fiction
Amerstd 110: The Secret History of the US
English 166: Literature of Revolution and Protest
History 103U: Money Crimes
Amerstd 101: The Atomic Age

Thesis

An American Happy Ending: Sex, Sickness, and Sin During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ava’s honors thesis explored the role of The Body in American history, using the bodies of Asian American sex workers as a case study. Moving from the apocalypse prophecies of the 17th and 18th centuries to the establishment of Chinese American sex work to the military brothels in East/Southeast Asia before finally settling in the 2021 Atlanta shootings, their work aimed to evaluate the way America regards the human body as a temporary object.

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