Spring/Summer Course Guide

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.

Spring

Summer

Spring/Summer

Spring Half-Term, 1998 (May 5-June 23, 1998)

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201. American Values. (3). (HU).

This course is designed to explore a set of linked but distinct core "American Values," those ideas that have acted as foundational notions and that continue to be reflected in emergent ideas of what "America" and "Americans" are about. It does this by examining the various ways Americans of different races, ethnicities, classes, genders, and religions, living in different time periods and regions, and under specific historical conditions, have formulated, understood, championed, transformed, and contested these values. Drawing on interdisciplinary sources and methods and framed by multi-cultural and feminist theoretical approaches, the course will offer students the opportunities to explore their own relationships to these historically-core American values and will encourage them to articulate their own understandings of them through a variety of in-class and take-home group and individual assignments. As a 200-level survey, it is intended to offer students a broad-based understanding of the place of these core values in American society and to help them understand historical relationships between them, rather than focusing in depth on any one set of values, only one time period, or only one approach. The materials for the course encompass a wide range of primary and secondary sources from every period in American history and from across a number of textual, visual, and audio genres. Course requirements will include attendance at and participation in lectures and discussion sections, one group project, one 5-7 page analytical paper, a mixed-format in class midterm exam, and a take-home-essay final exam. As well, there will be multiple short in-class individual response and group collective writing assignments, and occasional quizzes. (DuPuis)
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204. Themes in American Culture. (3). (HU). Laboratory fee ($10) required. May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 101 Main Street U.S.A.: Small-Town America and its Idioms.
Main Street occupies an important place in the national symbolic order of the United States. In 1920 Sinclair Lewis quipped sarcastically that, "Main Street is the climax of civilization...such our comfortable tradition and sure faith. Would he not betray himself an alien cynic who should otherwise portray Main Street, or distress the citizens by speculating whether there may not be other faiths?" In this we will be faithful cynics by questioning not the importance of Main Street, but its multivalent meaning in the history, literature, and geography of America. In this course we will examine a number of different kinds of social texts from a broad cross section of intellectual traditions, academic disciplines, literary genres, and representational forms. Readings will include Master's Spoon River Anthology, Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, Morrison's Sula, as well as Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. We will explore the American historical archive for representations of life in small-town America of the past and present. Assignments will include at least on short piece of analytical writing and a loosely defined final project, the form of which will be decided upon by students in individual consultation with the instructor. This final project may be a substantial term paper (10-15 pages), although students are encouraged to take some creative license when proposing their particular project. Projects dealing with literature, history, cultural geography, or the visual arts are all strongly encouraged. (Johnson)
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210. Introduction to Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated with permission for a total of six credits.

Martin Luther King, Jr. leading marches in Birmingham; armed Black Panthers patrolling the streets of Oakland; American Indians occupying Alcatraz; Asian Americans protesting the Vietnam War; Chicano students shutting down high schools and colleges. This course will examine the diverse ways that people of color built social movements for racial justice in the United States during the Civil Rights Era. Throughout the course, we will explore questions such as: What were the movements' key ideas, strategies, actions, and demands? How were movements similar to and different from each other, and how did they evolve? We will also examine how these social movements created oppositional cultures that redefined the meaning of "race" in the U.S. Readings will consist of personal, historical, and literary accounts. In addition to readings, we will view and discuss selected videos. Written assignments will include daily reading responses, a midterm essay exam, and a final paper. (Maeda)
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304/Soc. 304. American Immigration. (3). (SS).

See Sociology 304. (Honeycutt)
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332/Hist. of Art 332. Art on Trial: American Public Monuments and Political Controversy. (3). (HU).

See History of Art 332. (Root)
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342/Hist. 368/WS 360. History of the Family in the U.S. (3). (SS).

See History 368. (Morantz-Sanchez)
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345. American Politics and Society. (3). (SS).

As 2000 looms, U.S. voter participation is at an all-time low and political cynicism abounds. Yet, understood as the distribution and exercise of power, politics in fact permeates our private lives as well as our public institutions. Seminar participants will read an extensive course pack of history, social science, and current events. We'll first consider the apparent political "malaise." Subsequent weeks will probe the political dimensions of such issues as poverty and welfare, immigration and affirmative action, homelessness and urban development. We'll also consider how "private" concerns such as health, marriage, and parenthood become politically contentious. The course requires meaty written responses to each week's assigned readings and a longer take-home essay exam. Students will lead some discussions. (Ackermann)
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383. Junior Honors Reading and Thesis. Junior standing and grade point average of at least 3.0. (2). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Reading of selected works on American Culture. Conferences, written reports, and term papers.
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388. Field Study. Sophomore standing. (1-4). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for credit with permission.

Field experience in organizations, institutions, and service agencies under such University of Michigan programs as the Washington and New York Internship Program and Project Community. Students must make individual arrangements with these programs.
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389. Reading Course in American Culture. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.

An independent study course available to undergraduates who are interested in designing a reading list for the purpose of exploring new areas in the field of American studies. Each student makes individual arrangements with a faculty member in the student's area of interest.
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489. Senior Essay. Senior concentrators and Amer. Cult. 350. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

This course is designed for concentrators who desire a more directed research experience with individual faculty at the end of their undergraduate career. It allows a senior concentrator in American Culture the opportunity to write a research paper under the direction of a particular faculty member.
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493. Honors Readings and Thesis. Senior standing and a grade point average of at least 3.5 in Honors concentration. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

Independent interdisciplinary study supervised by two or more tutors leading to an original paper. This is a two-term course with 3 hours of credit each term; a grade is not posted until the end of the second term.
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Summer Half-Term, 1998 (June 29-August 18, 1998)

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100. What is an American? (3). (SS).
In this lecture/discussion course, we will investigate key episodes of this perennially contentious debate. One hundred years ago, for example, politicians and social activists strove to "Americanize" the "new immigrants" from southern and eastern Europe, often while ignoring the second-class (at best) status of Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, and African-Americans already present and rationalizing the near-total exclusion of Asians. Today, we struggle over a common definition of national identity since programs affecting millions of people, Americans or not, depend on it. Course readings will emphasize autobiographical narratives, both contemporary and historical, by Americans who claim or disown - such an identity; we will also study legal documents, popular magazine articles, songs, photographs, and films, as well as critical works exploring the values at stake in this controversy. Assignments will include two short (2-3) page reaction papers, a midterm exam, and a 5-7 page term paper. (Daligga)
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206. Themes in American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 201 Are Cities Obsolete?: Detroit and the Politics of History and Culture.
Detroit is notorious for its image as an urban disaster. Words like "tragedy" and "decline" have come to characterize the city in the national imagination while near-by towns and suburbs have worked to distance themselves from their neighbor. How does a city assume such a powerful national persona and what are the consequences of this kind of characterization? Clearly, Detroit is a far more complicated place than this image of urban decay would have us believe. Residents consistently contest the meanings of the city, some by simply living their multi-faceted lives inside of its borders and others through public art, music, community organizations and blatant acts of defiance. Detroit is home to over a million people and to a unique political culture. In this class, we will examine this political culture, paying careful attention to its historical roots. We will read sociological, historical, anthropological, fictional and poetic accounts of the city, and will watch movies and documentaries about Detroit. This class will provide students with an interdisciplinary study of Detroit and of urban space more generally. (Miller)
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240/WS 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. (3). (HU). (R&E).
See Women's Studies 240.
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301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 201 Hollywood Renaissance: American Cinema, 1967-1977. (3 credits).
Hollywood Renaissance focuses on the "New American Cinema" which emerged in the late 1960s in the context of the Civil Rights Movement, Women's Liberation, Anti-War protests and an emergent counter-culture. A primary pedagogical goal of the course is to challenge students to make historical arguments about popular cultural texts. The syllabus integrates discussion of cinematic technique, film theory, the film industry, and historical contextualization in approaching this popular cultural medium. This is an interdisciplinary course in which students will be asked to engage with approaches to American culture drawn from film studies, gender studies, African-American studies, and history. Readings include primary and secondary sources. Course themes include: the myth of the West; American notions of "freedom"; violence in cinema; masculinity; religious iconography; gender theory; gender and "gaze" theory; ideology and star images/acting styles; documentary-style cinema; heroism; rock music and the new cinema; the "carnivalesque"; and spector identification. (Brent)
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304/Soc. 304. American Immigration. (3). (SS).
See Sociology 304. (Dickerson)
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309. Learning through Community Practice. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (EXPERIENTIAL).
Section 001 Farmworker Outreach. (3 credits).
For Summer Term, 1998, this section is offered jointly with Psychology 305.202. (Nerenberg)
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383. Junior Honors Reading and Thesis. Junior standing and grade point average of at least 3.0. (2). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
Reading of selected works on American Culture. Conferences, written reports, and term papers.
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388. Field Study. Sophomore standing. (1-4). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Field experience in organizations, institutions, and service agencies under such University of Michigan programs as the Washington and New York Internship Program and Project Community. Students must make individual arrangements with these programs.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

389. Reading Course in American Culture. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.
An independent study course available to undergraduates who are interested in designing a reading list for the purpose of exploring new areas in the field of American studies. Each student makes individual arrangements with a faculty member in the student's area of interest.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

489. Senior Essay. Senior concentrators and Amer. Cult. 350. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
This course is designed for concentrators who desire a more directed research experience with individual faculty at the end of their undergraduate career. It allows a senior concentrator in American Culture the opportunity to write a research paper under the direction of a particular faculty member.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

493. Honors Readings and Thesis. Senior standing and a grade point average of at least 3.5 in Honors concentration. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Independent interdisciplinary study supervised by two or more tutors leading to an original paper. This is a two-term course with 3 hours of credit each term; a grade is not posted until the end of the second term.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

Spring/Summer Term, 1998 (May 5-August 18, 1998)

Take me to the Spring/Summer Time Schedule

383. Junior Honors Reading and Thesis. Junior standing and grade point average of at least 3.0. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
Reading of selected works on American Culture. Conferences, written reports, and term papers.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

388. Field Study. Sophomore standing. (1-4). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Field experience in organizations, institutions, and service agencies under such University of Michigan programs as the Washington and New York Internship Program and Project Community. Students must make individual arrangements with these programs.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

389. Reading Course in American Culture. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.
An independent study course available to undergraduates who are interested in designing a reading list for the purpose of exploring new areas in the field of American studies. Each student makes individual arrangements with a faculty member in the student's area of interest.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

489. Senior Essay. Senior concentrators and Amer. Cult. 350. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
This course is designed for concentrators who desire a more directed research experience with individual faculty at the end of their undergraduate career. It allows a senior concentrator in American Culture the opportunity to write a research paper under the direction of a particular faculty member.
Check Times, Location, and Availability

493. Honors Readings and Thesis. Senior standing and a grade point average of at least 3.5 in Honors concentration. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Independent interdisciplinary study supervised by two or more tutors leading to an original paper. A grade is not posted until the end of the second term.
Check Times, Location, and Availability


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