Henigman 3 credits
How and why do we study America? One of the attractions of the field of American Studies has been that its multidisciplinary approach seems to promise a coherent and unitary way of “explaining” American culture. But is such coherence possible or desirable? How have traditionally resonant myths affected how we view American history and society and America’s place in the world, and what alternative paradigms are possible and useful? We will examine three ideas that have tended to be part of the American self-concept: American exceptionalism, the melting pot, and economic self-determination (including upward mobility). What are the origins of these ideas, and how have they worked in culture? What are the costs of their currency in American ideology? Throughout the semester, we will be mindful as well of international perspectives on these American myths and realities. This course fulfills General Education requirement Cluster Two, Group One.
Back to Courses