Courses in American Culture (Division 315)

Unless otherwise stated, the permission required for the repetition for credit of specifically designated courses is that of the student's concentration or BGS advisor.

170/History 170/University Courses 170/Women's Studies 210. Histories of "Witchcraft." First-year students only. (4). (Introductory Composition).
Histories of "Witchcraft"
is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural course offered to first year students only. Students will attend a twice-weekly lecture class focusing on the 1692 "witchcraft" outbreak in Salem, Massachusetts, and second, on similar or sometimes contrasting beliefs and practices in other societies. Readings and visual materials for the lecture part of the course will be drawn from history, literature, film, art, journalism, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. In addition, each student will enroll in one of the six, twice-weekly discussion sections listed below (which function as six mini-courses with the larger course). Initially, discussion in each of these sections will focus on the Salem outbreak, but subsequently students will direct their attention to the issues raised on individual sections. Readings and visual materials for these sections will vary according to the topics and approaches of the instructors. In both lecture sections, we will be primarily interested in why such a wide variety of beliefs and practices have so often been labeled and understood as "witchcraft." This is a reading-intensive and writing-intensive course that fulfills the first-year composition requirement. (Du Puis)

Section 002 Spirits Rising: Race, Gender, and Colonialism in the New World. From the course's common beginning in 17th century New England, this section will continue to examine the New World under European colonization and as the United States. Moving to a multi-cultural approach, we will look at the beliefs and practices expressed by Anglo-American, Spanish-American, Native-American, African American, and Latino/a groups less witchcraft as understood "shamanism," "root work," and "spirits." Throughout, we will explore issues of power and domination, resistance and autonomy, and racial and gender stereotypes as portrayed in history, anthropology, literature, and film. (Ardizzone)

Section 003 Gender, Magic, and Power in Java, 1900-1966. Beginning with an exploration of "traditional" Javanese culture, including shadow puppet plays (Wayang), spirit beliefs, and magic, this section will concentrate on the relationship between tradition and power during periods of great social change in twentieth-century Java (Indonesia). Mindful of the pervasive effects of Dutch colonial rule, we will use European ideas about gender, which gained currency with the rise of Indonesian nationalism during the 1920s and 1930s, to examine in-depth how this relationship between tradition and power played itself out in a modern political case the 1965 Year of Living Dangerously coup and its especially violent aftermath. (Sullivan)

Section 004 "Calling out the Witch": Images of Women's Power in American Culture. This section will focus on the multiple uses of the witch image in the United States from the late 19th century to the recent Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Drawing on art, fiction, films, TV, news media, and other sources, it will pose questions about the relationship between popular culture and politics, between individuals accused o witchcraft in 17th century New England and more recent witchcraft representations, and between historical witch figures and contemporary feminists who label themselves witches as part of their political strategy. Issues of gender, race, class, age, and sexual orientation will guide our inquiry. (DuPuis)

Section 005 Transformations and Transgressions: The Many Faces of the Witch in German Literature and Culture. Vampire, werewolf, healer, beautiful young woman, ugly old hag, venerable wizard the witch has had many faces in German culture, from the medieval period to the present day. This section will look at fairy tales, short stories, films, operas, paintings, and drawings as we consider how the witch transgresses the borders between good and bad, male and female, aristocracy and peasantry, and the marvelous and the natural by transforming herself into creatures of many shapes and possibilities. With the assistance of feminist theory, we will discuss the "witch" as not only myth but also an object of fantasy, fear, power, and desire. (Lenckos)

Section 006 Aztlán and Beyond: Spirituality, Sexuality, and Healing Traditions in the Southwestern United States. At the core of this section are the interconnections between sexuality, healing, and spirituality. We will begin with an historical exploration of the spiritual traditions that inform contemporary beliefs and practices in the Southwestern United States. We will evaluate the colonial legacy of the Catholic Church within this geographic region and trace its impact on women and indigenous peoples. We then turn to the discussion of particular traditions among Latina/os, such as curanderismo, Santerío, and Espiritismo. We will close the term by examining both the cultural tensions along the Texan-Mexican border and recent accusations of witchcraft in South Texas. Historical, ethnographic, cinematic and literary in perspective, we will stress the work by Chicanas who are most insistent in reconstructing culturally-specific spiritual practices. (Hernandez)

Section 007 Missionaries, Obeah, and Rebellion: Colonizing the West Indies, 1600-1865. This section of "Histories of Witchcraft" will trace the development of a creole religious tradition that is, one built from elements of European and West African religions in the English-speaking Caribbean. We will specifically examine the efforts of English planters and colonial administrators to stamp out West African, derived beliefs and rituals, the impact of white English and Black American missionaries on Afro-West Indian religion, the role of religion in inspiring and structuring political resistance and rebellion, and the intersection and mutual reinforcement of public discourses about race, civilization, and culture. We will rely heavily on primary documents letters, colonial laws, and governors' despatches from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries but will also consider secondary sources on West African, West Indian, and English Protestant religious tradition and history. (Buffington)

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

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the formation of twentieth-century American culture. Focusing on the period from the end of the Civil War to the present, it examines the evolution of American values, attitudes, and community life, focusing on such changes as the growth of mass production, the emergence of modern gender ideals and sexualities, the growth of and challenges to institutionalized racism, and the rise of the consumer culture. The course does not focus on some assumed 'core' of American ideals or experiences; rather it traces the open-ended process by which diverse groups of Americans have shaped, resisted, and tried to change the meaning of "America." It links that cultural dialogue to the history of social diversity, material inequality, and political struggle in the late 19th- and 20th- century U.S. We will explore these issues using a multidisciplinary range of methods and source materials, including novels, photographs, popular music, journalism, architecture, memoirs, and movies.

213(211). Introduction to Latino Studies Humanities. (3). (HU).
Section 001 Growing Up Latina/Latino.
In this course we will analyze the social, cultural and historical realities of Latinos in the Unites States Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban-Americans through autobiographical narratives and fictional works about growing up Hispanic in the USA. Issues such as migration patterns, life in the barrio, family structures, socioeconomics, race relations, bilingualism and education, sexual roles, and cultural resistance and assimilation will be examined as they are reproduced and analyzed by major Latino writers in the U.S. Discussion will also focus on divergences of experiences among the three groups. From a humanistic point of view, autobiography and fiction will be explored not only as aesthetic expressions of an individual's (bi)cultural identity, about also as representational tools of a collective ethnic experience which contest the invisibility and silencing of Latinos within official discourses of history and culture. Cost:2-3 WL:2 (De La Vega-Hurtado)

215. Introduction to Asian American Studies Humanities. (3). (HU).
Section 001 Hot Properties: Contemporary Asian American Literature in Their Popular Contexts.
The authors and works (late 1980s to the present) to be studied in this course include David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly; Cynthia Kadohata, The Floating World; Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey; Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club; Bharati Mukherjee, The Middleman and Other Stories; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters; Frank Chin, Donald Duk; Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre. In addition to these, however, will be readings (for instance, of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictée, David Mura's Turning Japanese, The Open Boat, the poetry anthology edited by Garrett Hongo, and Charlie Chan Is Dead, the fiction anthology edited by Hagedorn) about text and context of literary history and American cultures which have contributed to an eruption in the recognition, popularity, and effects of contemporary works of Asian American literature during the early 1990s. When possible, the course will also include the viewing and discussion of such films as Joy Luck Club, M. Butterfly, A Wedding Banquet, and in an understated way, The Remains of the Day, which have both reflected and affected the popularity of this literature. Those wishing and able to do so will travel to Toronto to see the musical, Miss Saigon, to judge whether and how the recognition of Asian American literature today has made any difference in the popularity of themes, plots, and characterizations that Asian American writers have pointedly criticized. While based on the study of literary texts, this course is interdisciplinary and involves analyses of subjects by means of theories of race, ethnicity, gender, gay and lesbian, class, popular culture, and film studies as well as of literature, history, and social sciences. Lecture and discussion. Required writings: two papers of 3-5 pp. each, on paper of 7-10 pp.; plus quizzes. Cost:3 (Sumida)

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

See Women's Studies 240.

272. Environment and Society. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

The topic of this course is the interactions among social forces that generate environmental problems and the consequences of those problems for society. Environmental issues at the local, national, and international levels will be explored through the lens of race, ethnicity, and gender. Topics will include biological theories of race, ethnicity and gender, the evolution of thew hydrocarbon society, and the growth and spread of agriculture. Two exams, a single research paper, weekly short essays and class participation will determine course grade. The course is limited to 25 students. (Vandermeer)

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 Exploring Society Photographically.
This course will offer students an approach to thinking about and using photographs and text in constructing blended narratives that speak to the relation between personal experience, memory, and cultural meanings. Students do four to five assignments in the term, each designed to underscore particular approaches to the possibilities with the notion of photo essay and to the possibilities and difficulties in combining text with imagery. Students must own an adjustable, still-photographic camera, any format (35mm, 2-1/4, or 4x5). Black and white photographic materials are stressed, and darkrooms for black and white work are available for students of this class. Students may work in color if they are involved in a color photo class at the School of Art or otherwise, have means of color processing and printing available to them. A lab fee of approximately $40 is charged. (Leonard)

Section 002 Reading Too Much Into It: Studies in American Material Culture. (3 credits). In this course we will study the American material world. The course will serve as an introduction to the study of material culture and an exploration of twentieth century American. Instead of relying entirely on printed texts, we will use a rich collection of material objects everything from the U.S. Capitol building to a Barbie doll or a polyester suit to teach us about the culture. We will bring serious critical skills to bear on things and the meanings in them. Thinking about American culture through its things will allow us to broaden our scholarly scope; we will discover that there is a lot to be learned from a pair of tennis shoes or a time clock. Readings will be drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources. Requirements will include two short papers, one presentation, and a final exam. (Hass)

302/Sociology 302. Introduction to American Society. (3). (Excl).

See Sociology 302. (Shively)

304/Soc. 304. American Immigration. (3). (SS).

See Sociology 304. (Pedraza)

314/Hist. 378. History of Asian Americans in the U.S. (4). (Excl).

Asian/Pacific American History in the U.S. will examine the nature of American Culture and society through a specific study of Asian/Pacific Americans. The Asian/Pacific American experience reveals the dynamics of race relations in the U.S. as well as the continuing process of defining America and American. This course provides a survey of the experience of Asian immigrants and Pacific-Islanders and their citizen descendants in the United States from the late-eighteenth century to the present. The groups covered include Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Pacific Islander, South Asian, and Southeast Asian Americans. Topics for discussion include international/domestic factors for immigration, immigration policy, U.S. imperialism/colonialism, settlement and occupational patterns, ethnic adaptive strategies, ethnic community building, constitutional issues, majority/Minority relations, anti-Asian movements and Asian resistance to exclusion, World War II, repeal of legal restrictions, and postwar changes in Asian/Pacific-American communities. (Nomura)

342/Hist. 368/Women's Studies 360. History of the Family in the U.S. (3). (SS).

See History 368. (Morantz-Sanchez)

403/Phil. 403/Rel. 403. American Philosophy. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).

See Philosophy 403. (Meiland)

404/Soc. 404. Hispanic-Americans: Social Problems and Social Issues. Junior or senior standing. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Amer. Cult. 410. (3). (Excl).

Latinos or Hispanics are the second largest minority in the U.S. Comprised of those whose origins however near or far - come from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America, Latinos share a basic culture. At the same time, Latinos comprise very variegated experiences in the U.S. Both the reasons for migration from their countries and their processes of incorporation in American society vary widely. Together we will seek to understand both what they share and what is unique. This course explores the experiences of the major groups of Latinos in the U.S. Chicanos, Mexican immigrants, Puerto Ricans, Cubans both for what it tells us about them and for the social problems and social issues they serve to exemplify: issues of political versus economic migration, poverty and its impact on the family, immigration law and its consequences, the changing nature of work, the unfolding drama of revolution, the Cold War, and the like. Throughout we will utilize a historical and comparative perspective. In additions we will utilize different theoretical models to help us explain the contrasting experiences. Among the theoretical models we will examine will be the "push-pull" theory of migration, evolutionary perspectives on assimilation, internal colonialism, dual labor markets, the impact of state assistance, immigrant entrepreneurs, the middleman minority, and the impact of the ethnic enclave. (Pedraza)

428. Native American Literature. Junior standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Native American Women Writers.
We will read works by major Native American women writers from 1927 to 1992. The course will emphasize the cultural and feminist politics of Mourning Dove, Ella Deloria, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, and other native women writers. Class discussions will focus on the ways in which native women writers negotiate the often conflicting communities of women and Native America. One class presentation will be required, and there will be a final research paper. (Bell)

430/Women's Studies 430. Feminist Thought. Women's Studies 240 and one 340-level course, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

See Women's Studies 430.

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration adviser.

Section 001 The Sixties: Politics and Culture. "The Sixties" is an interdisciplinary course that will meet once a week for a three-hour session to rigorously explore some of the political and cultural features of the controversial decade of the 1960s. Using a historical method, we will commence with a look at the political origins of the "New Left" in the remnants of the "Old Left" of the 1950s, making use of Maurice Isserman's If I had a Hammer. We will then survey much of the terrain of the following ten years, including the Free Speech Movement, Black Power Movement, Second Wave of Feminism, anti-Vietnam War movement, and so forth. Among the likely texts to be read are Alice Echols' Daring to Be Bad, Todd Gitlin's The Sixties, Malcolm X Speaks, E. L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel, and perhaps an anthology of political and cultural writings from the period. Where possible, we will make use of documentaries and perhaps invite guests who were participants in various events. Requirements include a short diagnostic essay, a longer term paper, an oral presentation to the seminar, and a final exam. The course is aimed at meeting the Senior Seminar requirement in American Culture, although other students will be admitted. History Department students taking the course for four credits will be obligated to do some additional work. (Wald)

Section 002 Law and Society in American History. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 396.002. (Green)

Section 003 Women in the Age of Democratic Revolution. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 396.003. (Juster)

Section 004 Plagues: Mass Disease In American Cultural History. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 397.002. (Pernick)

Section 005 American Performance and Urban Social Change, 1820-1920. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 396.004. (Oberdeck)

Section 006 Sex and Sexuality in U.S. History. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 397.003. (Johnson)

Section 007 Television, Society, and Culture. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with Anthropology 429.001. (Kottak)

498. Literary Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 The Family Romance in American Literature.
For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with English 417.001. (Barnes)

Section 002 Native American Women Writers. For the Fall Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with American Culture 428. (Bell)

Courses in Spanish

307/Spanish 307. Spanish for U.S. Latinos. Basic knowledge of Spanish language or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course addresses the particular linguistic needs and interests of students of Hispanic descent and heritage born and/or educated in the United States interested in acquiring a formal and structural knowledge of Spanish, in further expanding vocabulary at the abstract and professional levels, and in developing their skills in formal and professional writing. Sociolinguistic aspects of Spanish in the United States code-switching, linguistic attitudes, bilingualism - also will be explored in relation to the politics of cultural identity. Short weekly assignments and exercises emphasizing the differences between oral and written modes of communication and between formal and informal Spanish will be required, along with a mid-term and a final exam. Readings will include cultural essays, literature, and scholarly articles. (Aparicio)

Courses in Ojibwa

A full sequence of Ojibwa cannot be guaranteed. Students must consult with the American Culture Program Office before undertaking Ojibwa to satisfy the College language requirement.

222. Elementary Ojibwa. Non-LS&A students must have permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

This course is designed to give the conversational and cultural skills necessary to enable students to use Ojibwa in real life situations. The teaching methods are entirely inductive, and the role of writing is downplayed. There is considerable emphasis on teaching culturally appropriate behavior, and the simple conversational patterns of greetings, leave takings, introductions, table talk, etc. There is no prerequisite for the course. Cost:1 (McCue)

223. Elementary Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 222 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

See Ojibwa 222. (McCue)

322. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 223 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

This course is designed to improve the basic conversational skills of the student who knows some Ojibwa. The emphasis in class is on increasing the range of situations in which the student can use Ojibwa in real life. Some emphasis is placed on teaching the students to be able to learn more Ojibwa outside of the classroom, by talking and using the language with native speakers. Cost:1 (McCue)

323. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 322 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

See Ojibwa 322. (McCue)

422. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 323 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (Excl).

This course is aimed at giving students with conversational ability in Ojibwa the opportunity to both improve their speaking and listening skills and to introduce them to Ojibwa literature, and the various dialects represented in the literature. Students will work with the original, unedited texts, as well as with edited, retranscribed materials, and thus learn about the problems of working in a language without a standard writing system that is widely accepted. Cost:1 (McCue)

423. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 422 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (Excl).

See Ojibwa 422. (McCue)


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.