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.

201. American Values. (3). (HU).
Section 101 Imagining America: Stories That Have Defined a Nation.
How does a diverse group of people with different histories, beliefs, and interests come to understand itself as a nation? In this course, we will explore the multiple strategies of nation-building that construct U.S. history, and those stories that have critically shaped our understanding of what it means to be an American. Such stories have been historically organized around the themes of the frontier, immigration, the free market, the family, the color line, consumerism, and individualism. Using current films, magazines, newspapers, and music as well as historical narratives, autobiographies, and novels, we will critically investigate how these stories are developed, how they relate to economic, political, and social realities, how they have changed over time, and how they continue to be meaningful today. Class requirements include a midterm, two papers, and a group presentation. Cost:3 WL:4 (Theoharris & Marchevsky)

206(203). Themes in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201, or permission of instructor. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 101 Working Out in America: A Modern History of Exercise and Physical Fitness.
This course examines concepts of health and fitness, ideals of strength and beauty, and considers how athleticism may reinforce or challenge contemporary cultural values. After reviewing the physical fitness movement of the 1960s and the "fitness boom" of the 1970s and 1980s, the course follows a topical approach and discusses athleticism in terms of femininity, masculinity, aging, drug use, moralism, advertising, and the appeal of "holistic" approaches to sport. Required reading includes selections from athletic autobiographies, such as Samuel Fussell's Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder, along with a course pack of essays which interpret exercise and ideals of fitness from various critical perspectives. Evaluation is based on (1) class discussion, (2) analysis of a current health & fitness periodical, and (3) either a final exam (essay) or a research paper (10-15 pp.). Class format is lecture followed by discussion. Cost:1 WL:2 (Black)

340/CAAS 340. A History of Blacks in American Film. (3). (Excl). Laboratory fee ($15) required.

See AAS 340. (Boyd)

342/Hist. 368/Women's Studies 360. History of the Family in the U.S. (3). (SS).
Section 101 Searching for Ozzie and Harriet: The American Family in Historical Perspective.
We hear a great deal of discussion today about family values and the nostalgic longing to return to the golden age of the family presumably the 1950s. This class will examine the fifties family and attempt to understand how myths of the fifties family were created, why they endure, and how they were/are used to set policy, political agendas, and images which remain in popular culture. We will use historical and sociological texts as well as film and television to help us analyze the family. Students will be evaluated on the basis of several short papers and a final exam. Classes will focus primarily on discussion of assigned texts. An optional community service component for additional credit available to interested students. See instructor first day of class for details. Cost:2 WL:2 (Bass-Rivera)


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