American Studies 10 Our American Life: Stuff, Place, and the Passage of Time
- day and time TTh 9:30-11
- location Remote - Synchronous
- instructor C. Palmer/K. Moran
- 4 Units
- Class # 22005
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies exploring a number of ways to approach “America.” We will begin by examining the social history, political economy and “aesthetics” of consumerism in America. Specific topics in the first module will include the language and visual rhetoric of advertising, the development of consumer spaces such as department stores and the meaning of “stuff” in consumer society. The second module will examine how place—landscapes, architecture, and the built environment—both shape, and are shaped by, the tensions between “high” and “low” American cultures. Finally, we will consider various forms of American popular culture (movies, TV, popular music) as symptoms and reflections of specific historical moments, in particular ideologies about race, technology and gender. This course is designed to enable you to think and do research as an interdisciplinary scholar, specifically to give you the tools to do readings of a literary or visual text, a common object, a film, a space. You will also practice gathering and evaluating evidence–as well as practice the skills involved in finding a thesis and arguing it persuasively. You will strengthen both your research skills and cultural understanding of American society.