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.

203. Periods in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201 or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration adviser.

Section 001. DEFINING A REGION, DEFINING A NATION: APPALACHIA AND AMERICA, 1965-1987. Since the Civil War, mainstream American culture has thrust upon the people of the Southern Appalachians a large and often unflattering variety of labels, roles, and stereotypes. The mountaineers have been referred to as "our contemporary ancestors," "degenerate hillbillies," and "yesterday's people," among many other labels, and until very recently, the mountaineers have had little opportunity or inclination to articulate their own views of their region. As a result, America's perceptions of Appalachia are often incomplete and misleading. We will spend the first part of the course examining this series of images that outside "experts" have presented to the larger culture as representative of the region. By looking at a variety of sources, including fiction, travel accounts, films, comic strips, and television programs, we will see how they portray the Appalachian people, and we will also explore how the cultural assumptions of the larger culture helps to create these images, and how these images reveal the dominant group's idea of what it means to be "American." So we will consider what these images reveal about America's self-image and about the cultural needs and anxieties of a rapidly changing America. Following this, we will discuss life in the Southern Appalachians, using the work of native mountaineers as the basis for our discussions. There will be the occasional anecdote and aside from the instructors, both of whom are Appalachian, but mostly we will look at oral histories, fiction, films, folk and popular music, folktales, photographs, and academic writings produced by the people of the region, to understand how they perceive themselves and their region. These sources will be grouped around a number of topics central to the social history of Appalachia the land, family, religion, the coal and timber industries, outmigration to discover how native Appalachians describe their values and lives, how they define what it is to be Appalachian and American. This course offers the opportunity (very rare in these parts) to study one of the most distinctive subcultures in the U.S., to learn that while Southern Appalachia is not exactly a bloody and degraded Dogpatch USA, neither is it some entirely isolated backwoods where all the quaint old ways live on. It may be a little of both, it may be nothing of either, but we will have a chance to get at how and why these images come into being and why they persist, as well as a chance to decide for ourselves just what Appalachia is. Materials: we are still settling on a final reading list, but we will surely be reading all or parts of 8 to 10 books and from a course pack as well. Other course materials will include a number of films, both commercial and documentary (and there will be a small lab fee to cover the costs of renting and screening these) as well as recordings of folk and popular music. In-class: students will be expected to take an active role in facilitating discussions and raising the issues they are concerned with. This is not a lecture course, by design of the instructors, and the fact that there are two of us means that students will have twice as many opportunities to offer input. Written work: each student will write a journal throughout the term to keep an ongoing record of his/her responses to the course materials. There will also be two brief and informal response papers due early in the term, and a longer final paper (10-15 pages) due at the end of the term. (Martin and Smith)

Section 002 ONE WAR, MANY VOICES: TEXT AND CONTEXT IN CIVIL WAR LITERATURE. This course examines the social history of the Civil War through a series of contemporary literary and historical texts. The course will not emphasize military history or battle chronology. Rather, it will survey the cultural effects of war on the people who lived through it, observed it at close range, and wrote about it either publicly or privately: politicians and political essayists, slaves, novelists, generals, nurses, soldiers, poets, Southern belles, and diarists. Assessments of life on the homefront and camp life away from the battlefield will constitute an integral part of the course reading. We will study the historiography of the war in an attempt to come to terms with the notion of generational response both to see how perspectives on the war change radically from generation to generation and to understand the complexity of war as a cultural symbol forged anew by each generation. The syllabus includes Faulkner's THE UNVANQUISHED, Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, DeForest's MISS RAVENEL'S CONVERSION, Rita Mae Brown's HIGH HEARTS, poetry by Whitman, Louisa May Alcott's HOSPITAL SKETCHES, and diary excerpts from MARY CHESNUT'S CIVIL WAR, in addition to selected chapters from secondary historical works. Although there are no course prerequisites, students are advised to have taken an American history survey course as background or at least one course in nineteenth-century American literature. (Schultz)

Section 003 POPULAR MASS CULTURE IN AMERICA: 1940 TO THE PRESENT. This critical course will examine, first the shifting theoretical debate since 1940 over what is popular/mass culture and the changing implications associated with this debate. Second, certain areas in popular culture (e.g., popular music, film, photography, sports, popular anthropology) will be studied and one will be selected by the students on which a theoretical paper will be focused. No special background is needed, just a driving desire to understand this unique view of American culture. Evaluations will be based on two short papers, a midterm, final and a large final paper. Texts will include two course packs, one contemporary history text, and occasional short readings. (Shea)

210. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.

Section 001. THE ASIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: TOPICS IN ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY. This course will deal with the history of Asians in America, focusing on the immigration patterns of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and recent South and Southeast Asians to America. We will examine the major issues and events in Asian American history, with an eye on current affairs and future prospects. These issues and events will be explored within the context of Asian and American history, and with a critical approach to the scholarship in the field. Aside from immigration patterns, we will also pay special attention to Asian American literature, identity and stereotypes, anti-Asian legislation and violence, Asian American women, and the Japanese American internment camp experience. For details, contact Scott Wong, (663-0813). (Wong)

Section 002. THEMES IN INDIAN-WHITE RELATIONS: AN INTRODUCTION. The primary aim of this introductory course is to foster a broader and more sensitive understanding of the history and lifeways of American Indians. When cultures meet, intercultural relationships are determined by at least two factors: how representatives of each culture perceive themselves and the assumptions they hold regarding the other. Our focus throughout will be on Indians, especially how they lived, what they believed, and how they acted before and after contact with the Europeans, who later became the Americans. Our emphasis will be on cultural change. We will begin with what Francis Jennings has call the "INVASION OF AMERICA," and trace the themes of Indian-White relations and cultural change through to the present. Our approach will be that of ethnohistory, a blend of the cultural perspective of anthropology and the tools and methodology of history. Selected areas of examination will include the environmental impact wrought by European settlement of the Northeast, and cultural changes resulting from the fur trade. Another area of study will include American ascendancy and expansion during the 19th Century and the policies designed to "civilize and christianize" the Indians via missionization and removal. We will also examine treaty making, the reservation system and eventual reform movements all of which altered the fabric of American Indian life. (Steel)

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

See Women's Studies 240. (Huffer)

260/History 260. Religion in America. Hist. 160 and 161 are recommended but not required. (4). (HU).

See History 260. (Turner)

310. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.

Section 001 RACE and ETHNICITY in AMERICAN CULTURAL ARTS; AFRO-AMERICAN CULTURAL HISTORY. In Winter Term, 1988, this section is jointly offered with CAAS 458.001. (Cruse)

Section 002 LATINOS IN FILM. Numerous movies and TV shows such as WEST SIDE STORY, MIAMI VICE, THE MARK OF ZORRO, and EL NORTE have dealt with Latinos in the United States. This course is a critical examination of the ways in which the visual media have depicted the Americans of Hispanic origin. The class will view shows while also examining the basis for cinematic and narrative analysis. The course examines the images of Chicanos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos for "accuracy" through comparison with the students' own perceptions and with the social science literature on these minorities. The key questions involve the effects of aesthetic, technical, social, and ideological factors on the creation of the images. What are the images and their origins? Why do they persist? How and why are they changing? Film viewings are an integral and essential requirement for the class. A midterm, final exam and 15-page paper will be required. (Hurtado)

334/Dance 334 (Music). History and Philosophy of Dance in the Twentieth Century. (3). (Excl).

This course traces the development of modern dance in America and in Europe during the Twentieth century. Through the viewing of dance films, videotapes, live performances, lectures, guest artists, readings and discussion, the student is exposed to the vital history of modern dance from its rebellious inception to the present day avant garde. Dancers and choreographers are examined from aesthetic, cultural and political viewpoints. This course is usually, but not necessarily, preceded by Dance 333, EARLY DANCE HISTORY (required of dance majors only). Students are evaluated on the basis of class discussions; a ten page research paper or movement presentation; midterm and final exams. (Fogel)

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

In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will 1) explore the major themes scholars have emphasized in trying to understand American culture(s), and 2) analyze the methods they have used to reach their conclusions. We will consider several means for defining the American experience: American exceptionalism, individualism and community, nature and technology, and national character, including issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and class. We will read and discuss some of the classic texts in American Studies, e.g., THE MACHINE IN THE GARDEN and VIRGIN LAND, as well as more recent studies like HABITS OF THE HEART. Those texts will include a wide variety of sub-disciplines in American Studies popular culture, literary criticism, material culture, sociology, social and cultural history, film studies and will encompass several methodological perspectives. Along the way, we will build a set of skills for critical inquiry for analyzing the presuppositions, the implications, the flaws and the potential of these varied approaches. Students will have weekly reading assignments and will share responsibility for leading discussions in a relaxed atmosphere; they will prepare two critical book reviews (approx. 7-12 pages each). Students in the Honors Program enroll for American Culture 398 and will also prepare a prospectus for the senior thesis. (Sies)

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

This course will trace the history of major American technological developments from the late eighteenth century to the present and examine the relationship between the introduction of these technologies and the subsequent effect on American society and culture. The course will also explore contrasting views and the changing attitudes within this country regarding the role of technology in American society. This course does not require a specific academic background and welcomes the participation of students from diverse academic disciplines. Course material will be presented through a lecture format with a bi-weekly reading/discussion period. A series of guest lecturers will also be presented. A field trip to the Edison Institute (Henry Ford Museum) is a course requirement. Student evaluation and grades will be derived from a midterm and final exam, a term paper and classroom participation.

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

For description, see American Culture 350. (Sies)

404/Soc. 404. Hispanic-Americans: Social Problems and Social Issues. Junior or senior standing. No credit granted to those who have completed Amer. Cult. 410. (3). (SS).

Latinos or Hispanics are the second largest minority in the U.S. Comprised of those whose origins however near or far come from the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. Latinos share a basic culture. At the same time, Latinos comprise very variegated experiences in the U.S. Both the reasons for migration from their countries and their processes of incorporation in American society vary widely. Together we will seek to understand both what they share and what is unique. This course explores the experiences of major groups of Latinos in the U.S. Chicanos, Mexican immigrants, Puerto Ricans, Cubans both for what it tells us about them and for the social problems and social issues they serve to exemplify: issues of political versus economic migration, poverty and its impact on the family, immigration law and its consequences, the changing nature of work, the unfolding drama of revolution, the cold war, and the like. Throughout we will utilize a historical and comparative perspective. In addition, we will utilize different theoretical models to help us explain the contrasting experiences. Among the theoretical models we will examine will be the "push-pull" theory of migration, evolutionary perspectives on assimilation, internal colonialism, dual labor markets, the impact of state assistance, immigrant entrepreneurs, the middleman minority, the impact of the ethnic enclave. (Pedraza-Bailey)

410. Hispanics in the United States. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission.

Section 001. THE LATINA. Caught on a permanent confrontation, as a Hispanic and as a woman, Latino women struggle to preserve a voice and an identity within a powerful dominant culture. This course will focus on the experience of Latino women within the broad context of American society. Special attention will be given to Chicano and Puerto Rican women since they comprise the largest and oldest group of Latino women in the United States. An historical background will be presented for a better comprehension of Puerto Rican immigration as well as Chicano's presence in this country. Latino women's participation in the labor force, in education, in social and political movements will be explored as well as her role within the family. The course will also look into the most recent wave of immigration to the U.S.: Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Colombian women, among others, who have a precarious economic situation on the fringes of the U.S. society. This will be considered in close relation to the situation in Central and South America and its impact on women. An interdisciplinary approach will be essential to cover as many aspects of Latino women's experience as possible. This includes poems, short stories and testimonials. A discussion course, knowledge of Spanish is not required, but welcome. (Moya-Raggio)

Section 002 HISPANIC AMERICANS: HEALTH AND DEMOGRAPHY This course is intended for a wide range of students who are interested in learning about population processes with a focus on the Hispanic population. Three Hispanic populations will be of major interest in the course Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. These three groups currently have different demographic characteristics and have followed divergent demographic paths. Areas to be covered in the course through lectures, readings, and class exercises are migration histories, political and economic migrants, illegal migration, family structure, health and morbidity, adolescent fertility, religiosity and contraceptive usage, and the effects of regional concentration on economic status. No special background is required for the course although an average ability to read tables and interpret quantitative materials will be assumed. Upon leaving the course, the student will have a fundamental grasp of demographic and public health issues with specialized knowledge on the Hispanic population. (Neidert)

496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration adviser.

Section 001 MICHIGAN IN THE ERA of INDUSTRIALIZATION. In Winter Term 1988, this course is jointly offered with History 396.003. (Blouin)

Courses in Ojibwa

223(Linguistics 223). Elementary Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 222. (3). (FL).
Class is designed to give the conversational and cultural skills necessary to enable students to use Ojibwa in real life situations. The teaching methods are entirely inductive, and the role of writing is downplayed. There is considerable emphasis on teaching culturally appropriate behavior, and the simple conversational patterns of greetings, leave takings, introductions, table talk, etc. There is no prerequisite for this course. (Mc Cue)

323(Linguistics 323). Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 322. (3). (FL).

This course is designed to improve the basic conversational skills of the student who knows some Ojibwa. The emphasis in class is on increasing the range of situations in which the student can use Ojibwa in real life. Some emphasis is placed on teaching the students to be able to learn more Ojibwa outside of the classroom, by talking and using the language with native speakers. Prerequisite: Linguistics 222 and 223, or some speaking knowledge of Ojibwa, Ottawa, or Chippewa. (Mc Cue)

423(Linguistics 423). Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 422 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course is aimed at giving students with conversational ability in Ojibwa the opportunity to both improve their speaking and listening skills and to introduce them to Ojibwa literature, and the various dialects represented in the literature. Students will work with the original, unedited texts, as well as with edited, retranscribed materials, and thus learn about the problems of working in a language without a widely accepted standard writing system. Prerequisite: Linguistics 322 and 323, or a conversational knowledge of Ojibwa, Ottawa, or Chippewa. (Mc Cue)


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