Intro to American Studies
In this course we will offer an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and identity. Integrating a range of sources and methods, we will examine myths, symbols, values, and social changes that have been used to create and contest ideas of "Americanness." Sources for the course will include movies, fiction, political and religious tracts, advertising, TV shows, video games, music, and journalism. This year, we will focus on American portrayals of crime and violence in a wide range of texts and cultural artifacts that provide us with a larger sense of how these representations function in the formation of categories of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, ethics and religion, as well as socio-economic class in American society. Texts and films will range from True Crime to Pulp Fiction and from street photography to pictures of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. 3 hrs. lect.