Courses in American Culture (Division 315)


Spring 1997

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).

Contemporary American values are embedded within national narratives about the past. These national mythologies will be central to our discussions of American values. Throughout the course, we will interrogate historical accounts, not primarily to learn about realities of past events but to discern what these representations tell us about values which are, or are imagined to be, collectively held by Americans. Using a series of categories the family, militarism and national defense, consumerism, immigration and assimilation, borders, individualism, and cultural pluralism - which are central to our understandings of what America means, we will discuss how American values are produced, circulated, contested, and/or ignored. We will ask how we remember the past and how those recollections inform and shape our understandings of the present. What are the political consequences of advancing certain values? How do people engage with the idea of "America" on a daily basis? And finally, how do they incorporate, revise, and/or reject American values? WL:1 (Miller and Pool)

206(203). Themes in American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 101 Immigrants in the American Imagination.
This course will explore how un-American others, particularly immigrants, have been represented in the American imagination. It will focus primarily on immigration policy and popular understandings of immigrants, considering visual as well as written representation. Throughout the course we will pay attention to both contemporary and historical immigration debates, tracing changes and continuities. Although the themes of the course relate to all immigrant groups, our focus will be on Mexican, European and Asian immigrants as well as African Americans. We will consider how the regulation of undesirable immigrants is connected to the construction of the idealized American through discourses of race, responsibility and morality, language, health and mental fitness, labor and citizenship. We will also consider the photographic portrayal of immigrants and the writing of popular immigration histories which exclude such issues as repatriation and return migration. Course materials will include primary evidence such as laws, popular articles and photographs (many of which will be researched on the World Wide Web), as well as secondary works by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and legal scholars. WL:1 (Gordon)

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 101 Hollywood Film Industry and American National Identities. (3 credits).
In this course, we will study how an idealized model of American national identity got established, questioned by the Hollywood film industry between (roughly 1930 and 1980). The Hollywood studio film was distinguished by its ability to project images of normative Americanness and to undercut those notions; in Hollywood, threats and alternatives to that identity were constructed, undermined, and remade sometimes in the very same film. We'll witness how films like Stagecoach, Scarface, It's a Wonderful Life, Shadow of a Doubt postulate models of Americanness and/or the threat to it; then we'll see how more recent films like The Godfather, Chinatown, and Unforgiven extend this process by challenging the rules by which these genres work. We'll also witness Hollywood's treatment of such issues as race, immigration, sexuality, and the family and test the Hollywood version against acts of literary imagination, historical analysis, sociological inquiry. Requirements: journals; one paper; midterm and final. This course fulfills the American Literature requirement for English concentrators. Lab fee $35. Cost:1 WL:1 (Freedman)

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

See Sociology 304. (Honeycutt)

309. Learning through Community Practice. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (EXPERIENTIAL).
Section 101 Advanced Lab Community Based Research. (3 credits).
This course will cover research methodologies that are useful in understanding how communities function. These include community needs assessment, analysis of census and other statistical information on communities, evaluation of programs offered by community organizations, and surveys of community residents. Through readings, lectures, and discussion, the class will consider what is involved in each of these methods and when each is appropriate for studies of communities. Students will use one of these methodologies to carry out a research project in collaboration with a community organization in an ethnic community in Detroit. Requirements include readings, lectures, field work in Detroit, and a write-up of the research project. WL:1 (Gutierrez)

Section 201 Migrant Workers: Teaching English as a Second Language. (3 credits). This course is part of a new and exciting public outreach opportunity! We will have Seminar orientations (1.5 hrs/wk), weekly discussions (2.5 hrs/wk), journal writings, and hands-on teaching English (2 hrs/wk) to the Spanish-speaking migrant worker community in Adrian, MI. Although knowledge of Spanish is useful, it is not a requirement. Students will be required to complete a two hour on site practicum. Students will create teaching plans, prepare weekly journals, and write a final paper. (Madden)

310. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.
Section 101 Native American Peoples of North America.
For Spring Term, 1997, this section is offered jointly with Anthropology 315.101. (Norder)

342/Hist. 368/WS 360. History of the Family in the U.S. (3). (SS).

See History 368. (Morantz-Sanchez)


Summer 1997

 

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.

204(203). Themes in American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 201 The Hollywood Renaissance: American Cinema, 1967-1977.
During the mid-1960s, there was a major shift in the American film industry, the films it produced, and the audiences who went to the movies. This was also a period of social upheaval and a new dominance of youth culture characterized by rock 'n roll, student protests, sexual revolution and hippie counter-culture which grew out of the national experiences of the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the Women's Liberation Movement. This course combines a study of the historical context of the mid-'60s to mid-'70s with close analysis of key movies produced during that period. Films include: Bonnie & Clyde, Easy Rider, Dirty Harry, Taxi Driver, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Super Fly, Klute and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Course requirements include three 5-page papers, in-class writing, and a quiz. Lab fee of $5. (Brent)

210. Introduction to Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated with permission for a total of 6 credits.
Section 201 What is Race?
This course will focus on multiple ways Asian Americans and African Americans attempt to retheorize "American" identity and culture by defamiliarizing the dominant image of America and rethinking different concepts of America. Students will question the paradigms of ethnicity, class, nation and the role of gender, class, sexuality that shape one's racial identity. The 1960s movements will function as a point of departure to discuss the specific experiences and potential linkages between both groups. Although the militancy of African Americans characterized the 1960s, the protests stimulated the political consciousness of Asian Americans. Ultimately, the movements galvanized a multiracial coalition, yet exacerbated racial tensions notably between African Americans and Asian Americans. Texts include Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s, Gary Y. Okihiro, Margins and Mainstreams, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, S.P. Somtow's "The Pavilion of Frozen Women," excerpts from Sucheng Chan's Asian Americans, and Bell Hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Cost:1 WL:1 (Thongthiraj)

216. Introduction to Native American Studies Social Science. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).
Section 201 American Indians of Michigan: People of the Three Fires.
For Summer Half-Term, 1997, this section is offered jointly with Anthropology 298.201. (Jackson)

240/WS 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (3). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

See Women's Studies 240.

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 102 The Fabulous Fifties? A Re-examination of America in the 1950s.
For Spring Term, 1997, this section is offered jointly with History 393.101. (Palmieri)

309. Learning through Community Practice. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (EXPERIENTIAL).
Section 102 Migrant Workers: Teaching English as a Second Language. (2 credits).
This course is part of a new and exciting public outreach opportunity! We will have Seminar orientations (3 hrs/wk), weekly discussions (1 hr/wk), journal writings, and hands-on teaching English (2 hrs/wk) to the Spanish-speaking migrant worker community in Adrian, MI. Although knowledge of Spanish is useful, it is not a requirement. Students will be required to complete a two hour on site practicum. There will be a course pack. Students are required to write weekly journals, and a short paper. (Madden)

336/CAAS 334/Hist. 365. Popular Culture in Contemporary Black America. (3). (HU).

See Afroamerican and African Studies 334. (Theoharis)


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