AMS 394 • Literature of American Studies
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
This required seminar for American Studies graduate students is designed to introduce students to a number of classic texts in American cultural history and a number of ways of interpreting them. It, like the American Studies methodology itself, seeks to be interdisciplinary on at least two levels. First of all, we will deal with texts from many different media including literature, autobiography, political philosophy, theology, community studies, nature writing, cultural landscape, and philosophy. Secondly, we will attempt to analyze them through the use of a number of different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Throughout, the course will insist upon the need to examine these works through an understanding of their respective cultural context. Among other goals analysis of these works seeks to provide a common basis of knowledge for students from varied undergraduate disciplines. Assignments for the course will include a twenty page analysis of a text of your choice using the strategies and perspectives learned in the course and two informal class presentations and follow-up papers on assigned outside readings.
Benjamin Franklin Autobiography Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Toms Cabin William James Pragmatism Jacob Riis How the Other Half Lives (Dover text only) Robert and Helen Lynd Middletown Rachel Carson Silent Spring Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique Robert Bellah, et. al. Habits of the Heart Michael Sorokin, ed. Variations on a Theme Park Frances Fitzgerald Cities on a Hill Kathleen Norris Dakota: A Spiritual Geography Mitchell Duneier Sidewalk