Courses in American Culture (Division 315)

Unless otherwise stated, the permission required for the repetition for credit of specially designated courses is that of the student's concentration or B.G.S. adviser.

202. Community and Diversity in American Life. (4). (SS).

Is "community" in America a state of mind, a point in space, a moment in time, or a system of social relationships? This course will consider these and other questions as it looks at four major topics involving community and diversity in American life: first, the ways that various thinkers have conceived of community in America; second, the structural influences on community and diversity in America such as the economy, race, class, and power; third, the attempts of various sub-groups of the American population (e.g., Blacks, women, workers) to form "communities"; and, fourth, the validity of current diagnoses of American society which locate many of its problems in an assumed "decline" in community. The course is designed as an introduction to these topics and is intended primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Unlike some courses in American Culture, the course will not be taught primarily from a literary standpoint, but from the perspectives of history, economics, and sociology. The course will consist of a large meeting conducted in a lecture-discussion format by the instructor and smaller discussion meetings conducted by teaching fellows. Students will be expected to complete a midterm and final exam and a few very brief "feedback" papers. (McDonald)

203. Periods in American Culture. (3). (HU).
Section 001 The 1840's Culture in the Age of Industrialization.
This course will examine the broad spectrum of cultural changes occurring in America during the 1840's and early 1850's. Historians have come to recognize the 1840's as a crucial period in the century-long process of industrialization, and the cultural impact of that process will form a loose thematic focus for a wide-ranging exploration of the period. Many types of cultural expression will be discussed, including art (mainly literature, but a little painting and music), secular and religious thought, and popular attitudes and beliefs. There are no prerequisites for the course, but a general background in antebellum American history and literature would be useful. Readings will blend secondary works by recent historians and writing from the period by Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Stowe and others. Discussion of the readings will occupy about half of class time, and the other half will be devoted to lectures. Student evaluation will be based on a 5-6 page literature paper, a 10-12 page research paper, a final, and class participation. (Harris)

Section 002 America in the 1990's Speculative Possibilities for America's Future. This course shall investigate different possible scenarios for what society in North America will be like in the last decade of the 20th century. Areas to be covered are: population trends, ecological problems, food issues, energy, family, sexual and personal relations, medical technology, technology use and development, arts and aesthetics, resource allocation, America's relationship to other areas of the world, and the economic and political systems which may or may not sustain and encourage possible developments in all of these areas. This course will, by implication, investigate our present situation, for speculation about the future fundamentally concerns the present. Course work will include short papers and a final paper or project, class participation and group presentations. Books, articles, and other materials to be used include: science fiction, census reports, scientific literature (both mainstream and alternative), films, video, and current newspapers and journals. (Bradley)

Section 003. This course is designed to acquaint students with the general themes of the Asian experience in America and to develop an Asian American perspective with which to analyze these themes. It will cover the historical development of Asian immigration (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast Asians, and Asian and Pacific Islanders) as well as contemporary issues concerning Asian American communities, students, workers, and professionals. In the first half of the term, the focus will be on early immigration and labor patterns, the formation of Asian American communities, the rise of anti-Asian racism, immigration restrictions, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The second half will concentrate on more current issues such as the Asian American movement, Asian American identity, racism, media stereotyping, problems of assimilation and acculturation, Asian American women, and Asians in the arts and the work place. These themes will be pursued through the study of history, sociology, literature, and public policy. Students will be required to take a midterm and final examination and to write either one long paper (10-15 pp.) or two short papers (5-7 pp.). A list of sample readings is posted in 364 Lorch Hall. (Wong)

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

See Women's Studies 240.

350. Approaches to American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201, junior standing, or concentration in American Culture; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course emphasizes the influential works and theories used by pioneers in American Culture study, as well as those making an impact on the field in more recent years. First examined: myth and symbol, national character and cultural approaches. Next: non-elitist studies of American life working class, minorities, women. Last: influences from other disciplines or research methods - the arts, anthropology, oral history, the documentary, and the non-fiction novel. Students will write 2-3 page thoughtful reactions to the weekly reading assignments in time for seminar discussion. They will write a 10-15 page final paper discussing one approach to American Culture and its potential applications to a specific topic of their choice. Honors students WILL ALSO present a 5-8 page thesis proposal with a preliminary reading list, plan of research and names of thesis advisers by the end of the term. There is no final exam. Grades are based on attendance and participation in the seminar, weekly papers and a final paper. (Marzolf)

372/Hist. 376/Eng. Hums. 372. American Technology and Society: Historical Perspectives. (3). (SS).

An intensive study of the nature and development of American technology and its relationships to American society. The course will examine, among other topics, the process of industrialization, the ideology of social progress through technological progress, and the changing roles of men and women in industrial and post-industrial society. The course presupposes no technical or historical background and welcomes the participation of persons from diverse backgrounds. The format is combined lecture-discussion. The principal bases of students evaluation are three short papers. Required texts: Hughes, Changing Attitudes Toward American Technology; Layton, Technology and Social Change in America; Kasson, Civilizing the Machine; Smith, Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology; Montgomery, Workers' Control in America; Flink, The Car Culture. (Segal)

398. Junior Honors Seminar. Permission of a concentration adviser in American Culture. (3). (Excl).

Offered jointly with American Culture 350. See American Culture 350 for description. (Marzolf)

410. Phenomenology of Chicano Experience. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.

This course will examine the history and the varied forms of Chicano culture in the context of United States race and class relations since 1848. The first half of the course will focus on Chicano life and culture before the Mexican-American War; U.S. capitalist development of the Southwest; the relationship between race, class, and the state; cultural hegemony; Chicano opposition and struggle against the dominant culture; U.S. imperialism in Mexico; and Mexican migration labor. The second half of the course will examine Marxist aesthetics, cultural and literary criticism; forms of Chicano cultural production and practice; and the import and efficacy of Chicano culture in mediating Chicano consciousness and reality. The course will be conducted on a discussion and lecture basis. Requirements are: a short term paper (10 pages) and a midterm and final exam. The following readings will provide background and a theoretical framework for the course: A. Boal, The Theatre of the Oppressed; P. Baird and E. McCaughan, Beyond the Border: Mexico and the U.S. Today; M. Barrera, Race and Class in the Southwest; L. Baxandall and S. Morawski, Marx and Engels on Literature and Art; N. Candelaria, Memories of the Alhambra; E. Galarza, Barrio Boy; D. McLellan, The Thought of Karl Marx; R.D. Ortiz, Roots of Resistance; A. Paredes, With His Pistol in His Hand; R. Williams, Marxism and Literature. (Vargas)

460. Algonquian Culture. (3). (HU).

This course is designed to provide students with an exposure to the history, culture, lifestyle (both ancient and modern), and thought of various Algonquian peoples: the Chippewa, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Menominee, Cree, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, Delaware, Mahican, Abnaki, Micmac, Cheyenne, et al. The course has two parts. The first covers the material from the perspective of anthropology, ethnohistory, and archeology, while the second half of the course explores Algonquian life from the legends, stories, and personal reminiscences, using the methods of folklore and oral history to hear the Algonquians' own view of themselves and their world. The class is organized as a lecture and discussion class; grades are based on two major papers. (Rhodes)

499/Hist. of Art 499/College Honors 499. The Arts in American Life. Senior concentrators, seniors in any Honors curriculum, or graduate students with permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.
Section 001 The American Portrait.
The course will focus on developments in American portrait painting from 1885 to 1930, the period in which American painters often studied abroad and directly absorbed the techniques and styles of modern European art. However, we will also examine as background the history of American portrait painting from colonial times and will consider for comparative purposes the work of important European portraitists. The subject will be examined in the light of historical and social, as well as artistic change, and with reference to shifting patterns of taste and patronage. (Coles)

 


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