AMS 356 • Main Currents of American Culture since 1865
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course will spotlight changing conceptions of American identity and identities from the Civil War era to the present, highlighting major areas of expression and contributions to American art, literature, music and dance, mass media (especially film), religion, and intellectual life. Readings and lectures will grapple with the ways in which basic senses of American identity are constructed and contested in highlighted eras, and how various ever evolving versions of national identity help to shape and in turn are shaped by historical events. While a basic narrative of American political and social history is the backdrop of the course, the focus is on culture and consciousness.
Readings will include either entire works or selections from a variety of American texts, including the follwing and others. The list below indicates merely the variety. THE TOTAL PAGES WILL BE EQUAL TO FIVE OR SIX AVERAGE LENGTH BOOKS: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1st edition) William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race Nathaniel West, The Day of the Locust Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago William F. Buckley, Jr., God and Man at Yale Michael Harrington, The Other America Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique Richard Rodriquez, Hunger of Memory Allen Ginsberg, Howl F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" Bruce Barton, The Man Who Nobody Knows And others Music and Film: There will also be required viewings of one film and study of a variety of classical, popular, and jazz recordings, again mostly selections from more complete works.