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 final exam, as well as brief (1-2 pp.) weekly papers on the required readings. (McDonald)

203. Periods in American Culture. (3). (HU).
Section 001 Individualism and Communitarianism in Ante-Bellum America.
For most, the ante-bellum period signals an increase in the search for extended personal freedom. Contemporary historians have followed d'Tocqueville's thesis on this point: The frontier shaped and extended American individualism; or industrialization and modernization fostered personal independence; or American individualism is the result of a radical Protestantism that forced each person to confront alone both spiritual and material salvation. But how did 19th century Americans perceive and confront their community commitments? We will focus on transcendentalism, first as a philosophy which addressed both issues, and then trace its impact on a variety of social reforms: abolition, women's rights, temperance, educational and prison reform. A variety of sources will be used in discussion historical analyses, contemporary commentary, popular literature, essays, poetry, diaries, the literature of the American Renaissance and a variety of disciplines employed - history, literary criticism, anthropology, psychology, art history - in asking some important methodological questions: What is the relationship between ideology and behavior? What can a text hide from us or reveal to us? Two papers, one, a research paper will be required, along with a class presentation. Classes will consist of both lecture and discussion. (MacFarlane)

Section 002 American Foreign Policy Rationales Since World War II. The course will be a broad survey of American foreign policy rationale(s) over the past forty years. American foreign policy will be neither excoriated nor endorsed. Instead, the purpose will be to discover what dangers to American interests have been articulated, what goals have been sought, what gains and losses have been announced, what broad world-wide trends have been observed, and what terminology has been employed by the eight presidents who have held office since the end of the Second World War. The readings for the course will be documents selected from Public Papers of the Presidents; supplementary reading in manageable amounts will also be assigned. There will be two exams (a midterm and a comprehensive final), and two smallish essays on assigned topics will be required. The course, which will proceed by lecture and discussion, should be useful and interesting to all students of American foreign policy. (Briggs)

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)

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

See Women's Studies 240. (Stevens, Lardner)

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission.

This course combines American history, cultural geography, architecture, and plans to study the history of the American landscape and built environment, from its Jamestown beginnings until the late 20th century. Slide-illustrated lectures will focus on such topics as patterns of settlement, the changing form of the city, the tradition of civic buildings, the development of the commercial architecture, the evolution of the house, world's fairs and urban planning, and the creation of slums and the responses of reformers. In each case the links between design on the one hand and economic, social, and cultural forces on the other will be emphasized. Readings for each class will consist largely of primary sources. Evaluation will be based on a midterm, a final, and a project. For the project, each student will chose a building on the University of Michigan campus to examine at first-hand and research. (Horowitz)

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

See Afroamerican and African Studies 340. (Wilson)

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. History and Literature of the Mexican-American. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.

This course will examine the history and culture of Chicanos in the United States from the mid-19th century to the present. A multidisciplinary approach will be used to focus on the themes of racial domination and its relationship to American culture in the 19th century, U.S. capitalist development of the Southwest, Mexican immigration, the farm labor struggles of the 1930s, the political repression of the postwar period, the Chicano protest movement of the 1960s, Chicana oppression, and cultural nationalism. Also, the course will address such contemporary theoretical issues pertaining to the Chicano as race, class and the state, gender, ideology, hegemony, working class culture, and cultural production and practice. The course will be conducted on a lecture and discussion basis. Course requirements are: a midterm, a final examination, and a fifteen page term paper. The following are some of the readings which will provide a historical and theoretical framework for the course: Barrera, Race and Class in the Southwest; Barrios, The Plum Plum Pickers; Del Castillo and Mora, Mexican Women in the United States; De Leon, They Called Them Greasers; Galarza, Barrio Boy; Mandel, From Class Society to Communism; Reed, Insurgent Mexico; Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle. (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 a midterm and major paper. (Rhodes)

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.
The Ethnic Press.
In Winter Term, 1984, this course is jointly offered with Communication 558. See Communication 558 for description. (Marzolf)


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