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.

102. First Year Seminar in American Studies. Limited to Freshpersons and Sophomores. (3). (SS).
Section 001 What Is An American? The Making of National Identities, Past and Present.
The question What is an American? has been a central preoccupation and a source of conflict among Americans throughout our history. This seminar will explore how different groups have answered it both in the past and present. Our working assumption will be that, given the complex, multicultural fabric of the U.S. society, there is no single, right answer to this question. Rather, definitions of national identity are always changing, reflecting conflicting ideas about the qualities needed to transform individuals into Americans or make American society unified and good. We will pay particular attention to the ways competing visions of "the American" have worked to include, exclude, or privilege different social (racial, ethnic, religious, regional, sexual, and other) groups. The seminar will draw on a broad range of interdisciplinary materials, including fiction, drama, movies, advertising, and popular music. We will focus especially on the ways that national identity and social diversity have been handled in four arenas of American life: the law, religion, sexual mores, and popular culture. Thus we will explore such issues as racial assumptions in immigration or citizenship policy; the image of normal American sexuality in popular culture; changing notions of whether the U.S. is a Christian nation. The seminar will move back and forth between present-day politics and culture and historical periods such as Reconstruction or the 1920s. It is not meant as a comprehensive history course, but as an exploratory dialogue between our contemporary "culture wars" over American values and diversity and parallel conflicts in the past. WL:2 (Scobey)

Section 002 Race, Class and Gender in American History. In this seminar students will be introduced to the techniques of historical analysis as we try to unravel how gender, race and class have functioned in American history. We will also explore how historians have identified, analyzed, and written about these subjects and how those approaches have changed over time. Students will be introduced to the concept of cultural construction the idea that categories of race, gender and even class status are not fixed, universal, biological entities, but are shaped and determined by cultural values, time, and place. Students will also be urged to think about how these categories intersect, for example, the ways in which race structures class or class influences concepts of masculinity and femininity. Throughout the term students will be required to maintain a journal and record questions, thoughts and comments about their reading. Two thought papers will also be assigned, intended to stimulate students to grapple with the issues discussed in class. Cost:3 WL:2 (Morantz-Sanchez)

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). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

The social, cultural, and historical experiences of Latinos in the U.S. through the study of autobiographical narratives, art and fictional works.

214. Introduction to Asian American Studies Social Science. (3). (SS). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

The experience of people of color have shaped and tested the character of the U.S., its culture, institutions, and society. This course will examine the nature of the American culture and society through a study of the Asian American experience in U.S. history. The Asian American experience reveals the dynamics of race relations and economic stratification in this country as well as the continuing process of defining America and American. This course provides an introductory study of the experience of Asian immigrants and their citizen descendants in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The groups covered include Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Pacific Islander, South Asian, Southeast Asian Americans. Topics for discussion will include international/domestic relations, immigration policy, ethnic adaptive strategies, ethnic community building, constitutional issues, majority/minority relations, and literary expressions. The format of the course will be lecture and discussion. WL:2 (Nomura)

240/WS 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4). (HU). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

See Women's Studies 240.

272. Environment and Society. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Ecological Constraints on Development.
This course will explore the ecological forces involved in the development process. Factors such as the maintenance of the natural resource base and internalization of externalities such as pollution, will be discussed in the context of contemporary political realities. An appropriate background in natural science will be presented in a series of lectures (including climate and ecosystem formation, structure and function of soils, agroecosystem classification and function, sustained yield management of natural populations, etc.). The history and current function of economic, social and political structures (including dependency theory, international diplomacy, imperialism and neocolonialism, the Bretton Woods system, structural adjustment, etc.) will be presented through a series of course pack readings. Student participation will be ensured through class discussion which will occupy at least 50% of the classroom time. Evaluation of students will be through (1) two standard examinations, (2) weekly essays, (3) a term project, and (4) class participation. WL:2 (Vandermeer)

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 The Photo Essay.
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 several 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 (35 mm, 2-1/4, or 4 x 5). 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. Classes meet twice a week for three hours each meeting. Some classes are lecture, demonstration, discussion, and/or critique. Other class meeting times will be used for in-class lab time. Students should be familiar with basic camera and darkroom skills or have permission of instructor. Readings will be assigned from several books and/or a course pack. Cost:2 WL:2 (Leonard)

Section 002. This course will examine how constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process and civil rights statutory protections have been unevenly applied to Asians in the United States over time. We will concentrate on legal doctrines and political history as it involves Asian Pacific Americans. This course will also examine how political trends and movements have impacted Asian American citizens and resident aliens' rights from the Gold Rush to Proposition 187. The course will require detailed reading of notable U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal and state cases. The lectures will discuss first-hand some of the organizational actions and consequences involved in cases such as the Vincent Chin case (U.S. v. Ebens). This is a mini-course which meets for 5 weeks, beginning October 3. WL:2 (Hwang)

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

See Sociology 302. (Shively)

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

See Sociology 304. (Pedraza)

310. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.
Section 001 Cuba and Its Diaspora.
For Fall Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with Anthropology 356.001. (Behar)

312/Hist. 377. History of Latinos in the U.S. (3). (Excl). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

See History 377.

324/Engl. 381. Asian-American Literature. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

See English 381. (Sumida)

334/Dance 334 (Music). History and Philosophy of Dance in the Twentieth Century. (3). (Excl).

The course begins with an overview of the Romantic era of ballet and the Russian schools of ballet at the turn of the century, and then proceeds to trace the development of modern dance in the United States and in Germany. The careers of early forerunners of modern dance, and the pioneers of modern dance and their subsequent offspring, will be addressed. The next generation of choreographers emerging in the 1950s, including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and Alvin Ailey, will be surveyed. The class will consider the experimental work of the Judson Theater of the 1960s in New York, as well as the works of prominent post modern choreographers of the 1980s and 90s. Topics in the 20th century ballet Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and George Balanchine, will also be examined. The class consists of lectures and discussion, and includes viewing live performances, films and videos. There will be guest lectures by dancers who have performed with some of the major artists of the century. Readings will include a text and a course pack. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a midterm, a final exam, an 8-10 page paper, and class participation. The class is open to dance majors and to any other interested students. Graduate credit can be arranged. Permission of the instructor is required. (Fogel)

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)

410. Hispanics in the United States. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.

Section 002 Women in Prison: Gender and Crime Among Blacks and Latinas. Requirements: (a) midterm and final paper; (b) class participation; (c) reaction papers; (d) class presentation. The papers will be an exploration of the life of women in prison. Interviews will be scheduled at the prison. Students will explore a different methodology. This approach for writing papers will be Human Science perspective. It is a way of becoming more aware of the world. It is the study of every day experiences of human beings as they participate in their existence. In this approach, abstract categories and scientific constructs of our world are rooted in everyday experiences. (José-Kampfner)

421/Soc. 423. Social Stratification. (3). (Excl).

See Sociology 423. (Mizruchi)

430/WS 430. Feminist Thought. Amer. Cult. 240 and one 340-level WS course, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

See Women's Studies 430. (Kineke)

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 001 Medicine and Health in American Culture, 1875-1995.
For Fall Term, 1995, this course is offered jointly with History 396.001. (Pernick)

Section 002 Social History of the U.S. Civil War. For Fall Term, 1995, this course is offered jointly with History 396.002. (Vinovskis)

498. Literary Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
America in the Literature of the Americas.
For Fall Term, 1995, this course is offered jointly with English 417.008. (Mcintosh)

Courses in Spanish

307/Spanish 307. Spanish for U.S. Latinos. Basic knowledge of Spanish language or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). This course does not fulfill the language requirement.

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 midterm 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.