Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) and Reader Positions

SPRING 2020 American Studies GSI and Reader Positions

To apply for a position,  please send your resume to 

*Two GSI positions for American Studies 10 – “Frontiers” in American History and Culture (4 units) — Class # 18860.  Instructors: C. Palmer and M. Brilliant —  POSITIONS FILLED. 

*One Reader position for  American Studies 102, Sec. 1– Oakland |City (4 units)– Class #18864. Instructor: J. Winet

The 2020 edition “Oakland | City” renews an active investigation of the unique dynamics of the Bay Area’s third largest city, closest to the Campanile, and home to many Cal students.In concert with in-class lectures and presentations highlighted by visits from civic and community leaders, students will direct individual and collaborative public digital humanities research in areas to include but not limited to the City’s sports teams, film scene, political activists, cultural organizations, museums, DIY initiatives, galleries and music clubs, library, police department, neighborhood business improvement districts, advocates for the homeless, and city government. Class activity will also include working on audio, video, photography and website production. Integral to the class are one or two field trips to Oakland, and final public and online multimedia research presentations

*One Reader position for American Studies 101, Sec. 1 – P.T. Barnum and Other Scams (4 units) – Class #18863. Instructor: S. Gold McBride

What can we learn about American culture by studying its scams? In this class, we will closely examine the scammers, grifters, tricksters, and con artists that began to terrify urban Americans in the nineteenth century. As the United States grew more urban, more industrialized, and more structured around capitalism and consumerism, interactions with strangers became a part of daily life for the first time in the nation’s history. From the confidence men who haunted American cities to the “humbug” peddled by showmen like P.T. Barnum, deception seemed to lurk around every corner, and many Americans felt increasingly anxious about their ability—or inability—to tell truth from fiction. Our examination of American scams will focus especially on the middle decades of the nineteenth century (1830–1870), an era during which the nation’s population tripled, Barnum opened his American Museum in New York City, and Herman Melville published his final novel, The Confidence-Man. As we grapple with questions about popular culture, spectacle, consumption, the media, art, violence, race, and the body, we will also consider the resonance and residue of nineteenth-century scamming in our contemporary world.