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

Fall 2007

AMS 310 • Introduction to American Studies: American Identities, American Freedoms

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30320 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PHR 2.108
Nathan Wright

Course Description

Who are we as Americans? This question has been driving the field of American Studies since its inception in the 1930s. Using the interdisciplinary methods of American Studies, this course will explore this central question by considering how various groups of Americans have defined freedom based on their individual and group experiences. We will employ a variety of source materials, such as newspapers, magazines, films, photography, memoirs, speeches, and music, to explore the following questions: What does freedom mean in the United States? Does freedom mean the same thing to all Americans? How has the meaning of freedom transformed as the socioeconomic, political, and cultural landscape in the U.S. has changed? How does one's race, gender, class, sexuality, or geography affect ones experience and conception of freedom? Students should leave the class with at least some tentative answers to these questions and a better understanding of the United States multicultural past and present.

Grading Policy

This course will consist of both lectures and class discussions. Regular attendance is a must, and students are expected to have engaged critically with assigned readings before the class meets, bring the reading materials to lecture, and be prepared to discuss them. Assignments will include daily quizzes, a mid-term exam, a short research paper, and a comprehensive final exam.


Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, eds., Voices of a People's History of the United States


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