AMCULT 205 - American Cultures
Fall 2021, Section 001 - The Italian Mafia
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
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Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of department.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course incorporates history, anthropology, social theory, literature, testimony, and movies to analyze a social phenomenon viewed by some as typically Italian: the mafia. From its origins in nineteenth-century Sicily to its global reach today, we study the mafia as a business model, a cultural phenomenon, a social structure, a form of terrorism, and a challenge to international policing. Topics covered include representations of the mafia as an indigenous Sicilian movement, protecting the property and the rights of Sicilians; laws enacted to fight the mafia; and the antimafia, a youth movement that works to reclaim land and property from the mafia. We study the spread of mafia crime in the US, from New Orleans in the nineteenth century to New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago in the twentieth century. Students also research the little-known history of the Detroit mafia, who exploited the presence of the auto industry and the Teamsters Union, the proximity of the Canadian border, and their ties in Sicily, between Prohibition and the 1990s.

Class Format:

For Fall 2021: Course will meet MW 3:00-4:00, with one hour per week of asynchronous lectures, in addition to required Thursday discussion sections.


AMCULT 205 - American Cultures
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (DIS)
Th 9:00AM - 10:00AM
003 (DIS)
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
004 (DIS)
Th 12:00PM - 1:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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