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 IMAGINING THE FRONTIER, 1800-1890. Americans have often projected their hopes and their fears upon the frontier. From the initial invasion the frontier has been both the domain of Satan and the promise of the future. How did people create the frontier, both in their minds and the physical world? Did different peoples imagine the frontier to be different things, and how did that shape the environment in which they lived? We will begin by looking at the various indigenous peoples and their diverse experience in the contact with the invaders. The course will examine the demographics, culture, institutions, and politics of the new settlers of the Old Northwest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin) and the Eastern Great Plains in the 19th century. The course will emphasize the pioneer's own words, from letters, diaries, and publications from the period. Finally, we will end by comparing the frontier within the United States to that in Latin America and South Africa. Throughout the course we will remain aware of what our own imagining of the frontier indicates about the meaning of America we construct. Student work will include a short paper and a final exam, but the emphasis in the class will be on class discussion and a 10-12 page paper, which will examine some aspect of the frontier experience. [Cost:3] [WL:3] (Nation)

Section 002 LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF THE 1850'S, This course examines cultural expression and conflict in the turbulent decade preceding the Civil War. While we will do some background readings in the history of the period, we will focus primarily on fiction, considering how it engages crucial questions of the period including, but not limited to, slavery, women's rights, the decline of religion, and rapid economic expansion. We will read texts traditionally included as part of the "American Renaissance" along with texts by women and African-Americans which have only recently been accepted as part of the literature and culture of the period. Among the authors we will study are: Nathaniel Hawthorne; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Herman Melville; Frederick Douglass; Henry David Thoreau; Harriet Wilson; and Fanny Fern. Requirements for the class include attendance, participation in class discussions, and three medium-length papers. [Cost:4] [WL:2] (O'Connell)

Section 003 THE CONSUMPTION OF CULTURE. This class is designed as an introduction to the study of mass culture and will also acquaint students to the interdisciplinary study of American culture. Beginning with the contributions made by Marxist critics such as Walter Benjamin, we will survey the way in which discussions of mass culture have been framed and re-framed up until the present day. Issues which will inform our discussions and assignments involve: the definition(s) of mass culture, ideology, and cultural studies, the historical development of a consumer society, and the representation of race, class and gender in mass culture. We will examine mass culture in its historical framework and through its specific formations such as the film and publishing industries. Indeed, one of the contentions of the class is that the way we talk about mass culture is as interesting and as revealing as the products of mass culture. The requirements of the class include several brief response papers to the assigned readings, a midterm, and a final paper. The prerequisite is American Culture 201 or permission of the instructor. Students should be prepared for a rather heavy reading load; in addition to several articles we will be reading H. Gan's POPULAR CULTURE AND HIGH CULTURE, L. May's SCREENING OUT THE PAST, and J. Radway's READING THE ROMANCE. [Cost:2] [WL:2] (Spring)

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

Section 001 THE ASIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Asian Americans have been participants in United States life since the 1800's. Systematically excluded from immigration, subject to extremes of violence, and denied equal access to opportunity as racial minorities they have consistently fought for their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this country. Among the least well known of the minority groups, Asian Americans are said by some to be a "model" for others to follow. The course will explore this contention historically and culturally from an Asian American point of view. The readings and lectures will be interdisciplinary in nature, although there will be an emphasis on history and literature. The course does not deal with Asia except as it applies to the experience of Asian Americans in the United States. The course requirements are participation in class discussions, a 10-15 page paper, a midterm and a final. The paper will require students to obtain an oral history from a middle-aged or older Asian American. Using this data, students will locate that person's experience using one or more of the theoretical frameworks presented in class. Roughly half of this paper should be descriptive and half analytical. [Cost:4] [WL:4] (Fujita)

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

See Women's Studies 240.

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

See History 260. (Tentler)

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

Section 001 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 films 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 and 15 page paper will be required. [Cost:2] [WL:2] (Hurtado)

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

Section 001 CARIBBEAN DIASPORA: LATINO IMMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Jamaicans, Haitians, and Cubans have all sought to migrate to the U.S. in search for economic prosperity or less political repression. Upon arrival to New York, they faced major problems, such as impersonal bureaucracies, racial prejudice, unemployment and job discrimination, pressures to assimilate, the disintegration of their family life, and the sudden loss of social standing and personal identity. This course seeks to understand the historical, cultural, geographic, and economic forces behind these migrations as well as the similarities and differences of the migrant experience. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Sfeir-Younis)

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

When we speak of an American culture, or cultures, what do we mean from an American Studies perspective? How does one go about interpreting ideas, artifacts, and social groupings in terms of "Americaness" and cultural representation(s)? Readings and seminar discussions will explore these questions in relation to such topics as values and ideals; popular and material culture; social class and ideology; ethnicity and gender; mass and other communication theories, symbols and myths, etc. Each student will be expected to participate in the weekly seminar discussions and to write two brief papers and a longer one applying the readings and class discussions to the interpretation of aspects of past and present day American society and culture. Those in the Honors Program who enroll for American Culture 398 will substitute the preparation of a thesis prospectus for the third paper. Students must see instructor for an override. [Cost:4] [WL:3] (Berkhofer)

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

This course will trace the history of major American technological developments during the period from the Revolutionary War to pre-World War II and examine the relationship between these technologies and their effects on American society and culture. The course will also explore the contrasting views and changing attitudes within this country regarding the role of technology in American society. No specific academic background is required and the participation of students from diverse academic disciplines is welcome. Students will be required to participate in CONFER for the purpose of class discussion. A field trip to the Henry Ford Museum is also a course requirement. Grades will be derived from a midterm and a final exam, a term paper, and classroom discussion of required readings. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Doyle)

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

See American Culture 350. (Berkhofer)

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

Section 001 WOMEN IN PRISON: GENDER AND CRIME AMONG BLACKS AND LATINAS. This course focuses on understanding which women go to prison. We will attempt to analyze how the criminal system perpetuates the socially disadvantaged lives of Black women and Latinas, both as women and as minorities. A related issue will be the fate of their children, as most inmates are single mothers with very young children. [Cost:2] [WL:3] (Jose-Kampfner)

Section 002 This course will give an overview of the historical and current background of both U.S. Hispanics and newer immigrant groups. Class members will discuss this overview and look at possible effects of this on both populations. Course will examine links between status in "older" groups and social and economic advantage, and look at emerging patterns of newer immigration groups. The course will examine the traditional role of schooling in the United States and its current role, and how schooling has or has not served the Hispanic population. Census data such as birth rates, school enrollment rates, graduation rates, employment rates and college enrollment rates will be reviewed both for the general population and for Hispanic groups. In addition to examining the outcomes of schooling, the course will review several test cases in public school law which will give further insight into existing trends and to emerging trends as they are related to outcomes of schooling/education. The intent of schooling will be contrasted to the results of schooling and an analysis/projection of what the future impact of this will be to the general population will be presented by students themselves based on their perception and analysis of course content. [Cost:4] [WL:2] (Garcia-Roberts)

430/Women's Studies 430. Theories of Feminism. Any of Women's Studies 341-345; or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

See Women's Studies 430. (Stewart)

492/Hist. of Art 492. The White City: The Drama of Urban-Industrial America, The Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 492. (Huntington)

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

Section 001 URBAN CULTURES IN 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY AMERICA. This course will explore the cultural history of urban life in the United States from the urban-industrial boom of the mid-19th century until the present. During that period, cities have played a special role as places of cultural experimentation and conflict on the one hand and places of cultural policing and reform on the other. At the same time, the sheer size and diversity of American cities have made them the home of a rich variety of (sometimes conflicting) sub-cultures and communities, defined by class, ethnic, racial, sexual, neighborhood, and other differences. The seminar will explore these themes of cultural conflict and diversity in urban life, paying special attention to the ways the stresses and changes in American urban cultural life reveal larger patterns of social change and conflict. The course is intended to be participatory, based on discussion and informal journal writing as well as formal expository writing. The assignments will mix primary historical sources, films, and visual materials with more conventional scholarly books, and they will explore such topics as prostitution, ethnic neighborhood life, urban design, racial violence, popular and mass amusements, and avant-garde intellectual life. There will also be some theoretical readings and discussion about different ways of interpreting the history of "culture." No special background is required for this course, but it is designed for upper-level students, particularly those with a basic grounding in American history or cultural analysis. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their formal (not journal) writing and their classroom participation. [Cost:5] [WL:3] (Scobey)

Section 002 This section is offered jointly with History 393.001 for the Winter Term, 1990. (Berkholter)

Section 003 This section is offered jointly with History 396.001, for the Winter Term, 1990. (Clubb)

Section 004 This section is offered jointly with History 396.002, for the Winter Term, 1990. (Mackaman)

Courses in Ojibwa

A full sequence of Ojibwa cannot be guaranteed. Students should consult with the American Culture Program Office before undertaking Ojibwa to satisfy the College language requirement.

222. Elementary Ojibwa. (3). (FL).

This course 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 the course. (McCue)

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. (Mc Cue)

322. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 222 and 223 or permission of the dean of LS&A. (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. (McCue)

323. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 322 or permission of the dean of LS&A. (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. (Mc Cue)

422. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 322 and 323, or permission of the dean of LS&A. (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 standard writing system that is widely accepted. (McCue)

423. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 422 or permission of the dean of LS&A. (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. (Mc Cue)


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.