Revised Last Updated: 12/04/2009
Fall, Winter and Spring quarters
Faculty Signature Required: Spring quarter.
Major areas of study include American literature, American history, anthropology, environmental studies, community studies, economics and visual arts.
Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 33% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, without signature. Students should expect to read selections from Fall Quarter during break. Interested students should contact Rita Pougiales at email@example.com or 867-6387 or Matt Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 867-6459.
Accepts Spring Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Admission will be based upon evaluation of student experience and level of preparation to engage in Spring material. Interested students should contact Rita Pougiales at email@example.com or 867-6387 or Matt Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 867-6459.
American culture is hard to see, immersed as we are in it. Like water for fish, culture is simply there as a “natural” reality. In this program we will discover American culture by immersing ourselves in our American stories. American culture resides in the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the institutions and practices we legitimate through these stories, and the persons we have become by listening to, contesting and believing these stories.
The stories we will read focus on themes that have endured over time. Such enduring stories are told and retold, updated as times change but concerned about similar values. We will pursue stories about freedom and democracy, property and wealth, community and work, immigrants and Native peoples, education and morality, race and ethnicity, and production and nature. We will ask what is special and distinctive about American life and culture. How has the way we view ourselves affected how we understand other cultures and other peoples?
In telling a story we not only describe ourselves, we also explain, interpret and justify what we do and believe, and distinguish ourselves from others. Stories thus convey the values of what we want to say publicly about ourselves. For example, recent exhortations about America’s role in the Middle East convey a story of American might and destiny. Yet there are many other forms of rhetoric that question this particular story and create alternatives. Thus stories constantly vie for our attention and acceptance.
In this program, we will read American stories as they have been told in literature, poetry, history, art, photography, politics, anthropology and media. Images of American life, histories of the dramatic and mundane, biography, poetry, ethnography and political science will inform our understandings. We will read the stories written as stories, along with others that we will attempt to extract from our practices and institutions. For example, there are powerful stories about the value and potential of education; the actual experiences of students in American schools, though, tell another story. Such dueling stories tell us much about the tensions in American society – tensions that circulate around our enduring values.
In this program we will not only read and inquire into stories, we will also write stories – in essays that tell the stories of our thoughts, in ethnographic field studies that capture the stories of others, and in in-depth research projects that explore stories in their historic and cultural context. Students in this project will read, discuss and write extensively, and collectively create their “story” of American culture.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Enrollment: 82 Fall, 72 Winter and 72 Spring
Special Expenses: $100.00 for program field trips and retreats
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in American studies, anthropology, community studies, writing, environmental studies, education and humanities.
|December 5th, 2008||Diego de Acosta added to teaching team.|
|March 3rd, 2009||TBA removed from teaching team; enrollment limit adjusted.|
|May 5th, 2009||Winter enrollment details added.|
|June 11th, 2009||This program changed from Lower Division to All Level.|
|December 4th, 2009||Winter enrollment details revised; signature requirement removed.|