AMS 310 • Introduction to American Studies
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Partially fulfills legislative requirement in American History.
Daniel Boone. Davy Crockett. Nellie Bly. Uncle Tom. Nancy Drew. Jacqueline Baker. Emma Goldman. Gloria Steinem. Hattie McDaniel. Bessie Smith. Pocahontas. Angela Davis. Bruce Lee. Lucille Ball. Tony Hawk. What makes an American man? What makes an American woman? How do the answers change over time and why? This course will emphasize the nineteenth century roots of contemporary American culture as we investigate the cultural work done by American models of how to be men and how to be women in the nation. We will ask questions about the intersections of race, class, gender, place, sexual orientation, and nation. What work do their words, images, and selves do in the larger social worlds they inhabit? What does it mean to be gendered raced, classed in this country? How do the patterns and models explored in the previous centuries feed our narratives, metaphors, and identities today?
"Introduction to American Studies" will involve both lecture and discussion. Students are expected to engage the day's reading before the class meets, bring the reading materials to lecture, and be prepared to discuss them in the context of the class day. Students in this course will be evaluated on a combination of in-class exams, research, and occasional assigned reading responses; participation and attendance are also important for the final grade in the class.
Possible Texts E. Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era (Basic, 1993). Gail Collins, America's Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines (HarperCollins, 2003) Additional articles and films on reserves