America has always named something more than a geographical place; being “American” has always been about something more than political citizenship. This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and the nation of the United States. We will focus on the workings of that culture and nation as they both shape and have been shaped by factors such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, place, and religion. Over the semester, we will ask critical questions of a wide variety of materials: essays, novels, autobiographies, poems, photographs, films, music, visual art, architecture, urban plans, historical documents and legal texts. We critique notions of American exceptionalism, empire, power, citizenship, labor, borders, inequality, assimilation, aesthetic form, and the role of the U.S. and its products in the world.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
total of 20 pages of writing: several short papers (2-3 pages), as well as several 5- to 7-page essays; drafts and revisions are built into the assignment schedule
first- and second-year students
Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
This course satisfies the DPE requirement in its constant interrogation of historical patterns of unequal access to power, wealth, citizenship, and education in the U.S., and in its recognition and analysis of forms of resistance to and corrections of such inequities.
EXPE Experiential Education Courses