Short Course Description
Introduction to American Culture
Full syllabus is to be published
This course will introduce American culture through a variety of written and visual texts spanning the colonial era to the present. The course will emphasize how America is not just a juridical but an imaginative and narrative construct, asking how this construct arose from and transformed the pre-national and pre-colonial landscape. Among the broad issues we'll explore are the relationship of the individual to the community; the imaginative function of the frontier in structuring American identity; the persistence of racial division across U.S. history; America's fraught relationship to imperialism as both a post-colony and an imperial power; and the eventual globalization of American culture. We will also consider the term 'America' as a signifier for both the U.S. nation-state and the entire hemisphere ('the Americas'), emphasizing the hemispheric relations that helped determine national development. We will interpret U.S. novels, poems, speeches, autobiographies, and films in acquainting ourselves with the country's rich culture and history.
Evaluation Method: Short Essay (20%); Term Paper (40%); Final Exam (30%); Participation (10%)