Courses in American Culture (Division 315)

Unless otherwise stated, the permission required for the repetition for credit of specifically designated courses is that of the student's concentration or BGS advisor.

101. Reading in America, 1776-Present. (4). (Introductory Composition).

This writing-intensive seminar historicizes reading in America through discussion, lectures, and archival laboratories. We will draw upon the history of the book, reader-oriented literary criticism, cultural poetics, historical linguistics, popular culture studies, and the history of education. We will sample the following genres: romance novels, dime novels, sentimental fiction, literary parody, diaries, autobiographies, commonplace books, albums, and scrap books; and the following authors: Louisa May Alcott, Horatio Alger, Frederick Douglass, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Susana Rowson. The seminar concludes with oral presentations and a discussion about reading and mass media. (Gernes)

203(203). Periods in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201 or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 001 – Writing the Great Wave: Literature of the European Migration.
We will examine writings by turn-of-the-century European immigrants and their descendants to discover changing definitions of "ethnicity," "literature," "American," and "ethnic American literature." Issues of language, audience, genre, subject matter, and historical context will be highlighted. Our purpose will not be to construct a water-tight definition of ethnic American literature, but to use novels, short stories, poetry, letters, memoirs, plays, and song lyrics to explore the complexities of defining and expressing American ethnic experience, identity, and culture. Final grade will be based on class discussion, a reading journal, in-class presentation, and an 8-10 page paper. (Majewski)

204(203). Themes in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201, or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.
Section 001 – American Communities.
What is a community? What should it be? This course is an attempt to look at different ways that these questions have been answered. By looking at a variety of texts and their historical situations, our discussions will begin to map out different ideas about what has constituted a community in American Culture. Issues of gender, race, class, economics, and technology and the ways that they construct or obstruct ideas about community will be examined. The relationship of community to individualism, domesticity, and nationalism will also be explored. Readings will probably include Winthrop, "A Modell of Charity"; Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Thoreau, Walden; Jewett, Country of the Pointed Firs; Naylor, Women of Brewster Place; Fitzgerald, Cities on a Hill; and Blasingame, The Slave Community. Requirements include a class presentation, short response papers, and an 8-10 page paper. Course packs are at Michigan Document Service; books are at Shaman Drum. Cost:2 WL:4 (Niklaus)

205. American Cultures. (3). (HU).

American Cultures: A Study of Cultural Interactions is an introduction to concepts of culture, cultural diversity, intercultural relations and dynamics, and their causes, effects, and contexts. The course is based on interdisciplinary American studies, where subjects are interpreted through methods which include historical, literary, artistic, religious and philosophical, popular cultural, and social scientific analyses. Cultural groups to be studied are Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Latino/Latina Americans, and Asian/Pacific Americans. Each of these groups itself constitutes a diversity; the course is a continual questioning of how cultural groupings are conceived, expressed, and interpreted – and why. As the course title implies, the course aims to abstract from specific cultural cases, questions and ideas about what it may mean for a seemingly singular grouping called "American" to be seen pluralistically, as a configuration (a continually changing one) of "cultures." Cost:4 (Sumida)

206(203). Themes in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201, or permission of instructor. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – The End of the World as We Know It: Social Reform and Social Control at the Turn of the Century.
As the excesses of the Gilded Age took their toll, Americans faced the twentieth century with vivid images of a world in disarray. In response, reformers, utopians, radicals and 'just plain folk' took it upon themselves to change fundamentally American society. This course looks at a broad spectrum of reform initiatives, loosely labelled progressivism, in an attempt to understand the sources and directions of this gospel of social reform that gripped America between the 1880s and WWI. We will pay particular attention to the dynamics of race, class and gender which determined who was in a position of social and political power to establish the boundaries between those who reformed and those who were to be reformed. The course will be primarily discussion, based on a wide range of reading materials, with occasional lectures. Class discussion and three 6-8 page interpretive historical essays will be the basis for the course grade. Cost:2 WL:2 (McGuire)

207. Periods in American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201 or permission of instructor. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – Thinking About Money in America.
"Thinking About Money" is an intellectual history of the transformation of the ideas of money and value that occurred in the northern United States before the Civil War. Students will approach the history of the market economy from the perspective of its creators to learn why such notions as efficiency and cash-value became seemingly natural. Special emphasis is placed on the role gender played in the creation of "home" and "work" and on women's roles in shaping the market economy. Readings are divided between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include Alexander Hamilton, Catherine Beecher, Henry Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott. Work requirements include one mid-length paper, several short response papers and a final exam. Cost:3 WL:4 (Randolph)

212(211). Introduction to Latino Studies – Social Science. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – Issues and Perspectives.
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the main issues and perspectives currently being explored in Latina/o studies. Drawing from a range of texts in the social sciences, we will examine the social, political, economic, and cultural realities of Latino populations in the United States. While the course will focus primarily on the variegated experiences of Mexicans, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the U.S., we will attempt to broaden our discussions to include populations from Central and South America and the Caribbean as well. Discussion topics will include issues such as identity formation, immigration, cultural assimilation and resistance, education and language, family, work, sexuality, and political empowerment. A significant goal of this course involves making connections among these issues by placing them in their respective historical contexts. In addition, students will be encouraged to bring their personal experiences to bare on class discussions so that we can continually question and destabilize monolithic and culturally constructed notions of community and self. Assignments will include a short paper, midterm exam, and a final research paper/project. Cost:2 WL:2 (Rangel)

217. Introduction to Native American Studies – Humanities. (3). (HU).
Section 002 – Ain't I A Woman: Ethnic Women Writers.
For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with English 239.004. (Bell)

217. Introduction to Native American Studies – Humanities. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – Native North American Literature: Voices Across Nations.
Twentieth Century American literature includes voices from many nations. Writing now in English for readers throughout the United States, Native American authors draw from the combination of their long past on this land and their recent struggle to place themselves within the surrounding culture. This course will introduce the first, foremost, and emerging authors representing indigenous cultures of North America. Students will be invited to question the way communities use language and stories to speak of themselves and others and the way literature is defined by critics, readers, and writers. (Aerol)

240/WS 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4). (HU). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

See Women's Studies 240.

243/WS 243. Introduction to Study of Latinas in the U.S. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – Contemporary Perspectives on Gender, Culture, and Identity in the United States.
This course is an introduction to the study of gender, culture and identity among Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban American women. In this course we will explore the process of identity formation by examining cultural representations by and about Latinas. We will examine how Latinas act as cultural agents who redefine themselves in the face of dominant cultural constructions. The contestatory meanings of "Latina" will emerge as we read poetry, novels and autobiographies and view films, art, and images. The course will cover five broad themes: autobiography and subjectivity; language, literacy and education; popular culture and art; sexuality, reproductive rights and health care; and religion, theology and spirituality. Cost:2 WL:1 (Hernandez)

301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 – Myths of America: The West, the Indian and their Photographic (Re)Construction.
We will be exploring the myths that have helped to define white America's interrelationships with both the landscape and its first peoples. We will be exploring the ways in which photography, especially, was used to provide evidence of, for instance, the "savage" nature of the American West, in terms of both the landscape and its Native inhabitants. Although the course will concentrate primarily on photographs, painting and other graphic media will also be covered. By exploring the politics of representation – "who gets to make images of whom, and for what reasons?" – we will examine various ways in which "America" was constructed primarily during the period 1865-1920. We will also discuss more contemporary variations of these myths, and the ways in which they have been reconfigured by various Native and non-Native artists. Readings would be selected from authors such as Barry Lopez, Wallace Stegner, Deborah Bright, Jimmie Durham, and Ward Churchill. Cost:2 WL:1 (Campbell & Spriggs)

Section 002 – The Photo Essay. This course will offer students an approach to thinking about and using photographs and text in constructing blended narratives that speak to the relation between personal experience, memory, and cultural meanings. Students do 4-5 assignments in the term, each designed to underscore particular approaches to the possibilities with the notion of photo essay and to the possibilities and difficulties in combining text with imagery. Students must own an adjustable still photographic camera, any format (35mm, 2 1/4, or 4 x 5). Black and white photographic materials are stressed, and darkrooms for black and white work are available for students of this class. Students may work in color if they are involved in a color photo class at the School of Art or otherwise have means of color processing and printing available to them. Classes meet twice a week for 3 hours each meeting. Some classes are lecture, demonstration, discussion, and/or critique. Other class meeting times will be used for in-class lab time. Cost:2 WL:2 (Leonard)

Sections 003-009 – Building Bridges through Intergroup Dialogues. In a multicultural society, discussion about issues of conflict, commonalties and differences is needed to facilitate understanding and the building of bridges between social groups. In this seven-week minicourse students will participate in a peer co-facilitated intergroup dialogue, (a semi-structured form of discussion) with other students from a different social identity group to discuss relevant reading material and explore their own and the other group's experiences in society. The goal is to create a setting in which students will engage each other's intellectual and emotional selves in open and constructive dialogue, learning, and exploration. Students will be required to attend and actively participate in all seven sessions; complete weekly readings and journal entries; and write a final paper that will address the intergroup dialogue experience. Students will enroll in one of the following intergroup dialogue sections:

Section 003 – Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Heterosexuals Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 004 – Blacks and Jews Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 005 – White People and People of Color Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 006 – White Women and Women of Color Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 007 – Black and Latino/a Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 008 – People of Color Intergroup Dialogue;

Section 009 – Women and Men Intergroup Dialogue.

For Overrides contact the Program on Intergroup Relations and Conflict at 936-1875. Cost:1 WL:3 (Sevig & Zú–iga)

302/Soc. 302. Introduction to American Society. (3). (Excl).

See Sociology 302. (Shively)

308. Conflict and Communities. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 – Conflict and Community.
Conflict occurs at many levels from the interpersonal to the international. Likewise, communities are defined as geographically bound, politically organized, and within and across lines of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation. This course will consider the various approaches to conflict, violence, ethnic and cultural differences, and social justice issues that promote the viability of local, national, and global community. Through lectures, discussions, and group projects, students will learn about the complexity of both conflict and community using theoretical and analytical approaches to specific case study examples. Topic areas to be covered include: constructive outcomes of conflict, community as a process, alternative communities, environmental conflicts, multicultural coalitions, psychological aspects of conflict, violence against women, and the role of social institutions, mass media and technology. Lectures will be offered by UM faculty members and other invited guest speakers. Course requirements include short essays and a final analysis of a case study. (Aparicio, Douvan & Weingarten)

310. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.
Section 001 – Community Practice in Spanish.
This course will be a field course involving two visits per week to a Southwest Detroit community. A neighborhood school, Earhart Middle School, will be used as the site for tutoring and working with the children on Monday and Wednesday 8 to 12. Transportation will be provided. Neighborhood walks will be planned and lead by the instructors, to make students aware of the cultural diversity of the neighborhood, its economic base, and its interesting history. A seminar will be held Mondays 6:30 to 8:00. The students are expected to integrate theory to their practice. (Jose-Kampfner)

311. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.
Section 001 – Race, Ethnicity, and American Cinema.
This course focuses on an analysis of the representation of racial and ethnic groups in Hollywood cinema, followed by a study of the films that members of those groups have made about themselves. We will study how Hollywood developed certain stereotypes or reacted against them. Then we will look at films from recent independent cinema to see how these new films have followed the established pattern of images or, on the contrary, have intended to represent their own communities. The films viewed are examples from Classical American cinema of the '40s, and from the '70s to the present. Most of the films viewed are fictional representations, with the use of some documentaries where it seems appropriate. We will discuss representation of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, looking at both content and form, use of cinematographic language and construction of meaning, from an eclectic choice of theoretical positions. The films are the main texts of the course, with insight from some readings. Students will be required to keep a journal of film criticism, a term paper, and to prepare a class presentation. (De la Vega-Hurtado)

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

This course, designed for and limited to American Culture concentrators, examines American magazines from a variety of perspectives. We will begin with readings on the history and cultural significance of periodical publications; move on to case studies, drawn from a range of disciplines, of magazines from different periods and with different purposes and readerships (mass-circulation glossies, publications produced in communities of color, those with gender-specific audiences, and so on); and conclude with a series of classes in which students present their research. I hope that because magazines are so pervasive and so heterogeneous, students will be able to design projects appropriate to their interests while at the same time our discussions address topics of broad interest in American Studies. Students will be evaluated on the basis of some short writing assignments, class participation, and a research project culminating in an oral presentation and a term paper. (Howard)

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

See American Culture 350.

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.
Requirements: (a) midterm and final paper; (b) class participation; (c) reaction papers; (d) class presentation. The papers will be an exploration of the life of women in prison. Interviews will be scheduled at the prison. Students will explore a different methodology. This approach for writing papers will be Human Science perspective. It is a way of becoming more aware of the world. It is the study of every day experiences of human beings as they participate in their existence. In this approach, abstract categories and scientific constructs of our world are rooted in everyday experiences. (Jose-Kampfner)

430/WS 430. Feminist Thought. Amer. Cult. 240 and one 340-level WS course, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

See Women's Studies 430. (Hackett)

490/Film-Video 451. American Film Genres. Junior standing. (4). (HU). Laboratory fee (approximately $30.00).

The western, the musical, the detective/crime film, the screwball comedy, and the science fiction film form a background against which we measure and understand American cinema. These film genres each have their particular conventions – presenting certain kinds of characters and plots, utilizing particular camera styles, mise-en-scene, and acting and they address particular issues and conflicts. As these genres evolve, old patterns are given new twists, surprising the viewer with unexpected departures from the norm, thus turning the genre toward consideration of new social and cultural problems. We will examine four characteristic American film genres. Three films in each genre will be studied, ranging in period from the 1930's to the 1980's, thus allowing us to analyze changes within the genre, and the aesthetic as well as the socio-political implications of these changes. Weekly film screenings will be accompanied by two hours of lectures and one hour of discussion. Students will be evaluated on the basis of three short papers, a longer one, and their participation in discussion. Texts will be included in a course pack: they vary in accordance with the genres chosen for study. Cost:2 WL:2 (De la Vega-Hurtado)

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

Section 001 – Asian American History. This seminar offers students the opportunity to do original research on the varied histories of Asian Americans from the nineteenth century to the present. Major works, theories, and methodologies in the writing of Asian American history will be discussed and dominant themes and issues representing historical periods and processes in Asian American history will be examined. Students are to research and write a 20-30 page paper examining a topic of their choice in Asian American history. Students are encouraged to work with primary sources at the Bentley Historical Library, Clements Library, and the Ford Library located on the University of Michigan campus. (Nomura)

Section 002 – Michigan in the Era of Industrialization. For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with History 396.006. (Blouin)

Section 003 – Kitchen Testimony. This course explores U.S. servants' use of print media in the 19th and 20th centuries. It asks investigators to think about how such variables as class, age, race, gender, ethnic heritage, and place of birth affected domestic workers' access to public fora, and such laborers' "place" within non-kin middle-class families. The course centers on discussion with mini-lectures as needed. Required texts include the historical study Serving Women (1981); first person narratives such as Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861); interviews with servants such as A Lifetime with Mark Twain (1925); and servants' appearances in domestic advice guides, celebrated trials, and unpublished letters and diaries. Students will be graded on participation in discussion, and two papers. The first will be a brief description and plan of work about a servant-written text that is not on the syllabus; the second, rather longer, will analyze such a text. Cost:2 WL:1 (Ryan)

Section 004 – Sexuality and American Culture. This seminar is devoted to critically assessing recent historical, sociological, and autobiographical writings on homosexuality and the diversity of homosexual experiences in the United States. Special attention is given this term to exploring the racial, ethnic, and class underpinnings or twentieth century homosexual identities and the divergent systems of cultural meaning that "Americans" have conferred on their homosexual behavior. We begin by examining historical-sociological literature on the social construction and evolution of "sex-gender systems" in this country. In so doing, we examine the historical emergence of post-World War II "gay" and "lesbian" identities and of homosexual subcultures and communities among European Americans. We then turn our attention to closely interrogating these parallel developments within the African American and Chicano communities. Of central concern here is the way lesbians and gay men of color reconcile their homosexuality with more traditional, ethnically-based gender and sexual prescriptions while also contesting white gay/lesbian culture and identity politics. In addition to these identity issues, this seminar also explores the intimate structuring of homosexual erotic roles and relationships within these diverse communities. The cultural significance of butch-femme, top-bottom, active-passive as well as more "egalitarian" erotic roles in the everyday sexual practices of these homosexual men and women is given special attention throughout the term. (Almaguer)

Section 005 – Social History of the Civil War. For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with History 396.002. (Vinovskis)

Section 006 – History of the Cold War. For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with History 396.007. (Perkins)

Section 007 – "Monumental" Material Culture and American Memory. This seminar will examine a series of nation-building artifacts from the Gilded Age to the present. We will explore the tangle of ideas, technologies, and interests that have shaped and produced American monuments, architecture, infrastructure, cultural institutions, and icons. Close readings of these pieces of "monumental" material culture – material emblems of American nationalism – will open up important questions about the production and operations of public memory in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. We will also explore a series of counter-memorials and the work of counter-memory. (Hass)

498. Literary Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Section 001 – Latino/a Literatures: The Politics of Language and Cultural Identity.
For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with Spanish 485.001. (Aparicio)

Section 002 – Narratives of the Borderland Self. For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with Anthropology 356.002. (Behar)

Courses in Ojibwa

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

222. Elementary Ojibwa. Non-LS&A students must have permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

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. Cost:1 (McCue)

223. Elementary Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 222 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

See Ojibwa 222. (McCue)

322. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 223 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

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. Cost:1 (McCue)

323. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 322 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

See Ojibwa 322. (McCue)

422. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 323 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (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. Cost:1 (McCue)

423. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 422 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (Excl).

See Ojibwa 422. (McCue)

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