AMCULT 275 - Practices of American Culture
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course explores the basic tenets and rich contexts of the fascinating question: What do we mean by “American culture”? Is it a simple form of shared, popular knowledge – of food, holidays, music, cinema, fashion, language, and consumerism, etc., – the knowledge that everyone within the country’s borders recognizes or shares to some degree? And if so, given our diversity, shouldn’t we rather speak of a more pluralistic and inclusive concept of “cultures,” that is, a variety of diverse practices, approaches, and meanings? And what is so unique and distinctive about “American” cultures when seen from the outside of the U.S., borders? And, crucially – and that’s where we shall begin–: What exactly is meant by “culture(s)” as a general term that has been running back and forth through the fields of the humanities and social sciences?

Throughout this semester, we will be pursuing all of these questions, and also examine how scholars and intellectuals study, visual artists and writers express various aspects of, and ourselves as an intellectual community in this course think through both broadly and minutely defined aspects of American cultures. The general title of the course, “Practices of American Culture,” signals that we will think about practices in multiple contexts. The detailed thematic title – "Borderlands, Structures, and Revisions: American Cultures through Communities, Identities, and Affects" – focuses on three specific approaches to important sites or domains where such practices often take place: (1) border(lands) as localities and sites, both imagined and physical/actual, or social spaces of contact, cross-pollination, and contention between diverse groups, individuals, languages, ideologies, and expressive cultural practices, (2) structures as principal building blocks, or discernible frameworks that can be seen as organizing, underlining or deconstructing, or throwing into question, if not unraveling, communities, identities, and feelings/affects, and (3) revisions as a modality of change, often understood as “progress,” inherent in many of the cultural practices we will study, but especially key to the most important and formative moments in American cultural and literary history, such as dissent, revolution, secession, disidentification, (even … “dissing”).

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AMCULT 275 - Practices of American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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