Courses in American Culture (Division 315)

Unless otherwise stated, the permission required for the repetition for credit of specially designated courses is that of the student's concentration or B.G.S. adviser.

201. American Values. (4). (HU).

From the European discovery of America to the present, it has been assumed that America was a special land, a land anointed by God, chosen as the New Jerusalem, the landscape in which the millennium would occur. From John Winthrop to Ronald Reagan, America has been envisioned "as a city upon the hill," a beacon shining forth for the rest of the world. When that light has dimmed, Americans have denounced their land in a peculiar way, mourning its declension. And then they have written of what America is supposed to be, and of how a person is properly to become an American. They have undertaken their inquiry into values, proposing, often in the form of utopian visions, a reconstruction of their nation, a return to inherent values. This course will examine a few of these visions. Such visions have changed across time, but a core of values has remained as Americans have continued to celebrate, discuss, lament, and recreate America in an ongoing obsession with the meaning of their land, values such as pastoralism, agrarianism, the work ethic, efficiency, the American as Adam, the frontier, pragmatism, anti-intellectualism, the melting pot, the self-made man, and, more recently, the self-made woman, or the belief that if the American only works hard enough, believes enough, he or she can succeed, that from out of the rubble one can emerge to conquer. In all, the course will consider the machine, the garden, the Republic, and the belief that the Republic and the landscape can survive the machine, that no matter how complex the technology, a Han Solo will drive his spacecraft across light warps as singularly as a teenager his hot rod, that individualism, in other words, will still count in America, that one man, in the name of the Republic, can still destroy the Death Star. A midterm and final examination will be required, along with a 5-7 page paper.

203. Periods in American Culture. (3). (HU).
Introduction to Latino Studies.
This course is a multidisciplinary survey of the Hispanic population of the United States. Students are familiarized with the historical origins, cultural diversity, and socioeconomic conditions of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, and the other peoples of Spanish, Indian, and Black descent that comprise this population. This class serves as an introduction to the more advanced sections of American Culture courses on Hispanics, sections such as Latino Critical Social Issues (Amer. Cult. 410), Latinos in Film (Amer. Cult 410), and Mexican-American History (Amer. Cult. 496). Classes are conducted on a lecture and discussion basis. Students must complete a midterm, a final examination, and a ten-page paper. The text for the course is Hispanics in the United States by Joan Moore and Harry Pachon. (Chavez)

240/Women's Studies 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4). (HU).

See Women's Studies 240 for description.

430/Women's Studies 430. Theories of Feminism. Any of Women's Studies 341-345; or permission of instructor. (4). (HU).

See Women's Studies 430 for description. (Stanton)

490. History of the American Film. Junior standing. (3-4). (HU). Laboratory fee (approximately $20.00).

The western, the detective/crime film, the musical, the screwball comedy, the science fiction film, etc., form a background against which we measure and understand contemporary American cinema. These film genres each have their particular conventions presenting certain kinds of characters and plots; utilizing particular camera styles, mise-en-scene, and acting; and addressing themselves to particular issues and conflicts. As these genres evolve, old patterns are given new twists, surprising the viewer with unexpected departures from the norm and turning the genre toward consideration of new social and cultural problems. We will examine four characteristic American film genres. A weekly film screening will be accompanied by two hours of lectures and one hour of discussion. Three films in each genre will be studied, ranging in period from the 1930's to the 1970's, thus allowing us to analyze changes within the genre, and the aesthetic as well as the socio-political implications of these changes. Short units on the documentary and the avant-garde film may be included. Students will be evaluated on the basis of four short papers, one longer paper and their participation in discussion. Required texts vary in accordance with the genres chosen for study. (Bradley)

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 001.
During Fall 1985, this course is jointly offered with Music History 450. For description, see Music History. (Crawford)

498. Literary Approaches to American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001.
American Indians have had a long history of contributing works written in English to American literature. Since about 1960, with an understandable increase of conventionally educated American Indian authors, literature written by Indians has quadrupled that of earlier times. For the most part, no matter the time period, the literature written by Indian authors remains unique, and somehow "Indian". Why is this so? And what is the nature of this "Indianess"? How do these authors describe Indians, Indian cultures, and the place Indian cultures have in an English speaking world? How does their own image of "Indian" compare to the white image of "Indian" found in earlier and contemporary American literature? The course will start with a brief overview of American literature written by whites about American Indians, in such works as selected scenes of Cooper's Leatherstocking tales; Altman's screenplay, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or, Sitting Bull's History Lesson, and a Hollywood thriller like the Crooked Tree. These works will be examined for the kind of Indian imagery they reflect. With this background, the course will then survey American Indian literature as a whole. Authors will include John Rollin Ridge, D'Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, James Welch, Leslie Silko, and Simon Ortiz. The novels and poetry will be examined from the perspective of the Indian cultures they reflect and the literary and historical milieus in which they were written. Course requirements will include a midterm examination, a term paper, and a final exam. An additional short paper or project can be substituted for the midterm. (LeBeau)

Section 002 Mexican-American Literature. In this course students have the opportunity to read (in English) poetry, drama, short stories, and novels that express the diverse cultural background of Mexican-Americans. Because Chicanos integrate the distinct traditions of Mexico and the United States, their literature expresses a unique view of themselves and society as a whole. This alternate perspective encourages students to move beyond the limits of Anglo-American education towards a truly universal world view. Classes are conducted on a lecture and discussion basis. Students must complete a midterm, a final examination, and a 10-15 page paper. Readings for the course will be selected from the following: Chicano Literature: Text and Context edited by Antonia Castaneda Shular, et al.; The Chicano: From Caricature to Self-Portrait edited by Edward Simmen; Pocho by Jose Antonio Villerreal; Below the Summit by Joseph Torres-Metzger; and The Road to Tamazunchale by Ron Arias. (This list may change depending on the availability of the texts.) (Chavez)

Section 003 North and South American Literature. During Fall 1985 this section is jointly offered with English 473. See English 473 for description. (McIntosh)


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