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. 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 brief weekly papers on the required readings. (McDonald)

203. Periods in American Culture. (3). (HU).
Section 001 Social Networks in Turn-of-the-Century America.
The course will examine social networks in turn-of-the-century America with particular emphasis upon the role of women. The lectures will encompass the history of American social reform movements which carried over into the twentieth century and which profoundly affected the development of the nascent social sciences. The course reading will center on social problems encountered by urban and rural folk, natives and immigrants, Blacks and whites, and Americans of regional descent. Through a study of social documents, modern and contemporary historical analyses, photographs, architectural renderings, magazines and newspapers, popular songs, and novels written about the period, the student will become familiar with the interdisciplinary approach to American culture. A partial list of required texts includes Wiebe's The Search for Order, Addams' Twenty Years at Hull House, Perkins Gilman's Women and Economics, Chopin's The Awakening, Glasgow's Barren Ground, and Wharton's House of Mirth. Students will complete a 5-page essay during midterm and a 12-page essay by end of term. Students will also be asked to present a 10-minute biographical sketch on a literary or historical figure on which the course reading concentrates. (Schultz)

Section 002 Post-War America, 1945-1960. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to a number of the themes which mark the social, political, and cultural patterns of the late 1940's and the 1950's. These themes the Cold War and domestic anti-communism; the "affluent society" and suburbanization; the religious revival; "consensus" social theory; the Beat generation will be presented in a framework centering on the dominance of the United States as a military and economic power in the years after the second World War. Readings and lectures will be drawn from sociology, history and literature. A lecture/discussion format will be followed, with a great deal of importance attached to active student participation through colloquium-type presentations. Along with these presentations, there will be a midterm examination and a final paper. The course is open to all undergraduates with an interest in modern American society and culture. (Burke)

Section 003 The Asian/Pacific American Experience in the United States. This course will provide a critical overview of the literature on Asian/Pacific Americans (A/PA) (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, East Indian, and Indochinese). We will (1) explore what A/PA have written about their experience in the United States, (2) discuss the dominant social institutions and social thoughts that confronted A/PA, and (3) examine the impact of events in the home country on the overseas A/PA communities and vice versa. The course will combine lectures with guest speakers and films. Specific topics include patterns of immigration to the United States by the various A/PA groups, Asian Women, Literature, the Model Minority image and A/PA Identity, and other contemporary community issues. Students will be evaluated based on their performance on several short papers and midterms. (Tachiki)

Section 004 America, 1965-1975: Visions of America in Landscape and Rhetoric. Though this period (1965-1975) was seen as a time of innovation and creativity, many of its precedents went back as far as the founding of the colonies in the New World. We will examine the use of landscape and rhetoric as part of such a tradition. One theme will be the literal and metaphoric journey and its translation in the 60's literature into an emphasis on the car (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Play it as it Lays). In conjunction with this fixation on movement and speed, we will look at the formation of the student, Black and women's movements. Their use of language will be contrasted by those who come from a more conservative tradition (Buckley, Nixon) in order to illuminate both oppositions and similarities and to give a more balanced historical perspective. The class will be in a discussion format, though I hope to bring in lectures and films. Students will be required to take two exams, write a long research paper, lead a class discussion, and participate in class. This class fulfills the periods course requirement needed by American Culture majors. (Cherry)

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

See Women's Studies 240.

340/CAAS 340. A History of Blacks in American Film. (4). (HU).

See CAAS 340. (Wilson)

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

The course will look at various methods which historians have used to write about American "culture." We will examine these methods the psychoanalytic, the social, the literary, to name but a few and at the same time we will attempt to learn some substantive history of American culture. The course will move from one historical method to another to give a sense of the different approaches men and women have taken to understand the American past. And the course will move chronologically from the seventeenth century to the present to give a sense of the "flow" of historical events. We will look at American Puritanism, at Salem witchcraft, and at the Great Awakening; we will read of men and women on the Overland Trail; we will study American "pastoralism"; we will think about the "feminization" of American culture. We will read a study of folk-housing in Virginia; we will debate a psychoanalytic interpretation of the Civil War. We will ask, above all, whether it makes sense to speak of America as a "culture," and if it does, how persons might go about doing so that is, what method they might use. (King)

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

American Culture 398 is offered jointly with American Culture 350. See American Culture 350 for description. (King)

402. American Folklore. Junior standing. (3). (HU).

What does talking about worms in McDonald's hamburgers have in common with discussing the abolition of University departments or the poisonous lacing of Tylenol? Themes of American life and their folkloric components will be the focus of this course with special attention given to Michigan folklife and occupational culture. We will examine verbal, nonverbal and material arts, their social contexts, and different interpretive methods. The relationship of folklore to other disciplines, such as history, literary criticism and psychology, will also be considered. By focusing on the here and now, this course demonstrates that despite (or, perhaps, because of) technology and religion, folklore is alive and well. The method of instruction will be lectures, films and discussion. Evaluation will be based on a final and midterm examination, a major course project, and several mini-projects. (Lockwood)

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

This course consists of nine units delving deeply into the past and present of the Mexican-American. Pre-Columbian literature will be carefully examined: Mayan, Aztec. Interpretations and comprehension of the Aztec Calendar will give the student a view of the religion, life and myth of one of the greatest Indian empires of Mexico. History will be presented through literature. Main historical points affecting the life of the Chicano will be discussed, such as: the Monroe Doctrine, the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, The Mexican Revolution. Class attendance and participation will be crucial in this course. The main Chicano authors will be read: Anaya, Rivera, Hinojosa, Navarro, Elizondo, etc. The Chicano literature is written in English and Spanish, therefore this course will be adjusted to the need of the student. Explanation and standard translation of either language for the American and Latin American student. Evaluation will be based on term papers, compositions, poetry, short stories, recordings and presentations to other classes and organizations. Note : The Time Schedule listing for this course is incorrect. Check the updated Time Schedule outside 1213 Angell Hall for details. (Davila de Calhoun)

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)

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 American Social Values.
The course will be an inquiry into some dominant values and ideals Americans have entertained since early settlement. We shall read and discuss, among others, works by Puritan divines, Franklin, Jefferson, Tocqueville, Thoreau, Lincoln, Dewey, Lippan, Reisman and Galbraith. Students will write two or three papers over the term, describing and assessing a value theme. (Livermore)

Section 002 Women and the Media. During Winter Term, 1983, this section is offered jointly with Communication 500.007. See Communication 500 for description. (Marzolf)

533(577)/CAAS 533/Hist. 572. Black Civil Rights from 1900. (4). (SS).

See Afroamerican Studies 533. (Cruse)


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