AMCULT 301 - Topics in American Culture
Section: 005 Detroit Politics and Community Organization
Term: FA 2007
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

  • "How did Detroit get this way?"
  • "Why are the city and suburbs so divided?"
  • "What does it mean to revitalize Detroit?"
  • "Are sports stadiums and events the key to economic development?"
  • "Is gentrification a good or bad thing?"

These are some common questions that are frequently heard in relation to Detroit. Digging below the surface of popular discourse and disagreement, this course seeks to get at the roots of urban social, political and economic issues. It offers students an opportunity to gain an in-depth perspective on racism, poverty, political activism, and community organizing among diverse groups. First, we will study what historian Thomas Sugrue has called the “origins of the urban crisis.” We will examine the effects of deindustrialization and racism in the post-World War II era alongside the emergence of protest movements which sought to promote social justice. Second, we will study the divergent ways that city and suburban residents interpret the “urban crisis,” and we will critically analyze their responses. Third, we will probe the history of radicalism in Detroit and investigate the grassroots solutions to the “crisis” being enacted by community organizations.

Designed to link the study of Detroit’s past, present, and future, this interdisciplinary course should appeal to students in a variety of fields, including history, ethnic studies, urban studies, education, law, business, environmental justice and fine arts. Please note that our definition of politics will be broad. We will study how members of society with competing interests advance distinct visions of Detroit with a particular emphasis on how issues of race, class, and ecology shape positive and negative attitudes of the city. This is not a class that will focus only or primarily on politicians, elections, or public policy.

Class assignments will require you to make several or more trips to Detroit for self-guided tours based on directions the instructor will distribute to students. You will need to secure your own transportation.

IMPORTANT: Read this course description carefully before enrolling. If the class is full, you may sign up for the waiting list. The instructor and GSI will answer any questions about enrollment or course requirements on the first day of class. No overrides or waivers of any kind will be granted before the first day of class. All questions regarding satisfaction of distribution or concentration requirements should be directed to your proper academic counselor or department.

AMCULT 301 - Topics in American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Note: Meets with JUDAIC 317.001.
002 (REC)
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Meets with ENGLISH 317.004.
003 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: Students will automatically be enrolled in lab 004 when they elect lecture 003.
004 (LAB)
Th 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Note: Laboratory section 004 is for film screenings.
005 (LEC)
Tu 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Students will be auto enrolled in lecture 005 when they elect a discussion section (sections 006-008). Meets with HISTORY 393.001 and CAAS 358.004.
006 (DIS)
Tu 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Meets with HISTORY 393.002 and CAAS 358.005.
007 (DIS)
W 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Meets with HISTORY 393.003 and CAAS 358.006.
008 (DIS)
Th 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Meets with HISTORY 393.004 and CAAS 358.007.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for AMCULT 301 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)