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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2006

AMS 391 • American Culture: Framing the Problem

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
28685 M
10:00 AM-1:00 PM
EPS 1.128

Course Description

This course engages the provocative and problematic status of American Culture as an object of research and political commentary by reframing this subject in relation to recent theoretical reevaluations of the key concepts of "culture" and race. Broadly, the purpose of this seminar is to assess the advantages and disadvantagestheoretically and politicallyof framing research in terms of American Culture. We will survey a range of historical, anthropological, and literary efforts to objectify a generic stratum or dimension of common American identity, and we will critically gauge what has been left out or mistakenly posited as shared in such constructions. In particular, we will weigh the impacts of whiteness studies on this matter. Then we will consider, in parallel, current efforts 1) to depict American culture as subject to transformation by numerous multicultural influences (latinization, blackening, for instance), and 2) to delineate distinct ethnic/racial identities over and against homogenized forms of identity in the U.S.


Possible Readings (final list will reflect seminar participants interests): Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture, Frances Negron-Muntaner. One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture, Geral Early Exotics at Home: Anthropologies, Others, American Modernity, Micalea di Leonardo Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation, Jennifer Hochschild Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture, Werner Sollors. Racial Americana, special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, John L. Jackson, editor.


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