American Culture and Difference at the University of St. Thomas has experienced a consistent growth in program events, interdisciplinary initiatives, and faculty and student activities since its inception in 1998. Invited speakers and student panels have explored a variety of cultural texts, focusing on a range of issues, such as representations of race, class, and gender in popular culture, and identity formation in the age of globalization.
In the 2013-2014 academic year, AC&D co-sponsored a talk by Fr. Jose Angel Renderos on the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador (October 30); co-founded the Culture Stew Series with the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion Services, which included three events its first year – two facilitated by Todd Lawrence (“Race and Urban Space” & “A Tribute to Amiri Baraka”) and one by Patty Kameya and Dina Gavrilos (“Representations of Asian Americans in Popular Culture”) (November 20 and April 23); co-sponsored with the History Department a talk by Christopher Wells on his book, Car Culture: An Environmental History (later broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio) (March 4); sponsored an event with Cindy Garcia on her book, Salsa Crossings: Dancing Latinidad in Los Angeles; co-sponsored speaker Michelle Berger along with Women’s Studies (May 1); continued the venerable Troubling Waters Series with discussions facilitated by Heather Shirey, Lucia Pawlowski, and Julia Schaetz; and hosted an end of the year graduation celebration (May 19).
In the 2012-2013 academic year, AC&D co-sponsored "Occupy: Film and Panel Discussion" (September 20); and held a registration open house for AC&D students (November 13). Spring semester the department sponsored "Between (Play) & (Rewind): The Making of 'Son Dos Alas'" with speaker Dr. Melisa Rivière (February 28); co-sponsored poet Nikki Giovanni at "A Night of Expression" organized by the Black Empowerment Student Alliance (BESA) (April 12); continued the Troubling Water Film Series with presentations by Dr. Dina Gavrilos, Dr. Todd Lawrence and Samantha Wisneski (April 18); sponsored speaker Professor Louis Mendoza on "Meditations on Belonging and the Latinoization of America" (May 2); and hosted an end of year open house (May 20).
In the 2010-2011 academic year, AC&D co-sponsored a lecture by 2001 alumna, Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara (October 19); sponsored a lecture on "Excavating New Orleans" Viewing the City Through the Lens of the Superdome" by English professor Brian Greening (October 27); continued the Troubling Waters Film Series, with viewing and discussion of film excerpts by Breanna Alston, Dr. Olga Herrera and Professor Paul Lai (November 3); hosted a registration open house ((November 8); and co-sponsored Multicultural Student Service Fall Community dialogue speaker Dr. Robert Bullard on "Growing Smarter to Achieve Just, Healthy and Sustainable Communities" (November 9). Spring semester the department co-sponsored MSS Spring Community Dialogue author Luis Albero Urrea at a lecture and book signing (February 21); sponsored speaker Ricardo Levins Morales on "The Power of Medicinal Art" (March 8); sponsored Dr. Paola Ehrmantraut on "Teaching Human Rights to the Millennial Generation" (March 30); co-sponsored the film "Veins in the Gulf" (April 6); co-sponsored with Augsburg College the "American Culture and Difference Native American Film Event: A showcase of short films, hosted by Elizabeth Day" (April 13); sponsored "Blame Narratives and the News" An Ethical Analysis" by speaker Dr. Wendy Wyatt (April 14); and held an end of the year celebration (May 16).
During the 2009-2010 academic year the American Culture and Difference program presented UST speaker, Dr. Bernard Armada, on "Memory's Execution: (Dis)placing the Dissident Body" (October 20); held a pre-registration informational open house (November 11); and continued the Troubling Waters Film Series (November 18). Spring semester the department co-sponsored Dr. James Loewen, author of Teaching What Really Happened, Sundown Towns, Lies My Teacher Told Me, in a lecture, book signing, faculty workship and student discussion (March 15-16); UST speakers, Dr. Wendy Wyatt and Dr. Peter Parilla, on "Media Constructions of Urban Problems: The Wire as Case Study" (April 8); and Elise Marrubio, Augsburg College, Elizabeth Day and Migizi Pensoneau, in "An Evening of Native American Films and Discussion," (April 21).
The American Cultural Studies program is renamed American Culture and Difference. Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury is appointed the new Director of the program.
In fall 2007 American Culture and Difference moved to a new location at 2093 Grand Ave. on the St. Paul campus. During the 2007-2008 academic year the program held an open house at the new location in November, and sponsored a number of events: fall and spring pre-registration information sessions; fall and spring "Troubling Waters" film discussions; speaker Dr. Jane Rhodes (March 11), Dean of the Study of Race and Ethnicity and chair of the American Studies Department at Macalester College, spoke on FRAMING THE BLACK PANTHERS: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon; and Elise Marubbio, Augsburg College, presented a screening and discussion of three films about Native American issues (April 3).
2006Professor David Todd Lawrence is appointed Interim Director of the program. The American Cultural Studies Advisory Board is formed with the following faculty members: Kanishka Chowdhury (English), Chris Kachian (Music), David Todd Lawrence (English), Ellen Riordan (Communication Studies), and Buffy Smith (Sociology). Alex Pate, University of Minnesota, is invited to speak on “In the Heart of the Beat: The Poetry of Rap”
An interdisciplinary film series "Troubling Waters" is introduced in conjunction with the Justice and Peace Studies program and the Women's Studies department.
American Cultural Studies creates an Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) course listing and Web site highlighting its interdisciplinary offerings. The Foundations of American Cultural Studies introduction courses triple in size and are offered in both fall and spring semesters. Faculty from various disciplines begin team-teaching the Foundations course and a course in Music and Rhetoric in American Popular Culture.
Faculty and students participate in Popular Culture and American Cultural Studies conference in Philadelphia.
American Cultural Studies, Journalism, and Women’s Studies co-sponsor a lecture and university teach-in with TV commentator, journalist and author, Farai Chideya.
The Cultural Studies program, inaugurated with funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, hosted a symposium on American Cultural Studies with Henry Louis Gates and Susan McClary among the speakers and panelists.