American Studies

AMS 101, Intro to American Studies: Improvising Democracy (Sherrie Tucker; with Graduate Research Consultant: Caleb Lázaro-Moreno).  

AMS 344,Veterans and Disabilities (Ray Pence). Pence incorporated an AUMI workshop into his class discussion of Dalton Trumbo's novel;Johnny Got His Gun, in which the protagonist's war injuries have cost him his arms, legs, sight, hearing and speech, but who figures out a way to communicate by tapping his pillow with the back of his head, in Morse code. The workshop assisted students in considering the possibilities of adaptive technologies such as the AUMI in terms of possibilities it opens up for people whose disabilities are such that their physical motion is compromised, with some comparisons to situations veterans with disabilities.  

AMS 650, Jazz and American Culture: Gender, Race, and Jazz (Sherrie Tucker). AUMI has proven extremely useful in the “free jazz” unit of this class to give students of a vast range of experience and inexperience in music-making the opportunity to explore what it is like to improvise together in exploratory ways (not playing “tunes” or even “chord changes”). AUMI enables improvisational collaboration among people who do not play traditional instruments, as well as those who are so disciplined by their musical training in ways not conducive to learning to improvise with freer parameters than they are accustomed to doing. It is an ideal tool for bringing “practice” into a cultural studies course about music outside the music department.

AMS 998, Theories of Embodiment (Sherrie Tucker). Tucker embedded the AUMI in the design of this graduate seminar (Fall 2013), which incorporated theoretical approaches from feminist theory, queer theory, transgender theory, disability studies, and phenomenology. Seminar participants took part in the performance, "(Un)Rolling the Boulder: Improvising New Communities," and are creating an interactive group project about the performance on the Digital Humanities tool, Scalar. 

AMS 998, Improvisation, Bodies, Difference (Sherrie Tucker) and DANCE 100, Improvisation (Fall 2012, Michelle Heffner-Hayes) Hayes and Tucker have developed and taught a collaborative interdisciplinary “meets-with” course among graduate students of theories of improvisation with undergraduates who are primarily dance majors. In Fall 2012, they added the AUMI to facilitate practice and dialogue about embodiment, disability studies, and sound and movement. In the center of the dance studio was a laptop with the AUMI interface and an amplifier.  In pairs, small groups, and alone, students interacted and experimented with movement-triggered sound, range of motion, listening, and responding, and discussed their experiences in light of readings in disability studies, improvisation, and interconnections of music and dance.