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The American Studies Program explores those seemingly simple, but fundamentally complex, questions of how Americans come to be American. American Studies requires each student to consider American-ness from different core academic disciplines: History, Literature, Political Science, Economics, and Anthropology. Through diverse course options, students develop their own personal definition of the American experience.
“The common thread in American Studies, much like our country, is a student’s desire for opportunity, and the many ways to take advantage of the opportunity to fulfill our individual goals.” – Evan Mitchell, class of 2015.
Matthew McKenzie, American Studies Program Coordinator
Note: as of July 2015, students may need to finish some coursework on the Storrs campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Interdisciplinary majors approach questions or problems from the perspective of multiple subject areas. American Studies considers questions like: what does it mean to be an American? What is America’s role in the world today? What should it be? These are really complex questions, so we need to take several different disciplinary perspectives to really grapple with them. American Studies draws on research and methods from humanities and social science fields like Anthropology, Art, Economics, English, History, Political Science, Sociology, and many others. We need to take several different disciplinary perspectives to deal with such a complex.
History is just one field that contributes to American Studies. It’s crucial to understand history in order to address complex questions about American identity and America’s place in the world, and some American Studies majors choose the History, Culture and Society track within the degree. Others, though, prefer a track that focuses on Literature and the Arts, on Economics, Political Science and the Law, or on The Americas.
Absolutely. Many students choose to double-major in American Studies and a disciplinary field like English, History, or Political Science. This provides them with the opportunity to delve deeply into one methodological approach applied to several areas of study in their disciplinary major and to consider one area of study (America) through several disciplinary lenses. For details of how to double major in American Studies, please click here.
American Studies is an interdisciplinary major, which means it includes courses from a number of different areas, including Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, and many others. To get a sense of exactly which courses students take in the American Studies major and minor, please click here.
To be admitted to the American Studies major, you must complete the regular University of Connecticut application process. To receive a UConn application, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at (860) 486-3137 or download a copy of the application from. For questions concerning general admission to the University of Connecticut, visit the prospective students page, or call the above phone number.
Please contact the Office of Student Recruitment at (860)405-9026 or Lyndsey Neville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do not see your question here, please contact Avery Point’s American Studies Program Coordinator Matthew McKenzie, email@example.com, or look for answers at the American Studies website.
Current American Studies student at Avery Point
The American Studies major at Avery Point equips students with the tools and the knowledge to find their place, no matter where that place may happen to be. This is invaluable to me as a student and as a military brat because my surroundings were constantly shifting and I had desire for some sort of permanence. With the American Studies major, I was able to view America and all of the places I have been in a completely different light. Through the lenses of different disciplinary studies, I am able to approach problems of everyday life and bring solutions into my field of vision. The American Studies major can give a student the bearing necessary to navigate in today’s shaky waters.
Class of 2011 Investment Solutions Representative at Fidelity Investments
The American Studies degree, being set up into “Tracks”, is awesome. It was a great conversation starter when networking, and especially in interviewing. The close communication with professors is also a great aspect of the program. American Studies was instrumental to my success in my career so far. It was not just one class that prepared me, but it was the ability to ask questions of professors and to challenge the status quo. The simple fact of knowing a professor by name and being able to speak to them, one on one, helped craft my communication skills that are needed each and every day in my current job. If I can stress one thing it is for future graduates to be open to all possible career paths. If I thought my future careers had to fit into the Political Science, Economics, and Law track I never would be in the career I am in now. Also when a future employer asks why you chose American Studies you want to be able to clearly articulate the unique experience you were able to have and how the “Tracks” set up allowed you to receive a diversified education all wrapped into one degree.
Graduate Student in American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine.
American Studies is, by its nature, a very interdisciplinary subject – because of that I felt free to take whatever class that I wanted to. I focused on the Political Science track of American Studies because I was already majoring in History. Through the American Studies program I was able to take classes that I wanted to take – across several disciplines- and I was able to get practical experiences through several amazing internship opportunities and was able to study abroad. Because of my connections at Avery Point I was able to intern at Connecticut River Museum, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and Mystic Seaport. Through these opportunities I was able to gain professional contacts, as well as experience the field I wished to work in. I enjoyed all of my classes at Avery Point, but these internship opportunities made my AVPT AMST education mean so much more. In my opinion, experiential education is far more valuable than traditional classroom learning. My internships, as well as studying abroad allowed me to get out of the classroom and experience the American Studies field in a new way.
Current American Studies student at Avery Point
To be completely honest, I did not come into Avery Point planning on majoring in American Studies. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I got here and took the Introduction to American Studies course. What interested me in this major was the approach it took to looking at history. You don’t get the same old “this happened in this year” and “that happened in that year”. In American Studies, you look into the minds of the people in the past and try to imagine what they were thinking as these events, revolutions, wars, etcetera, were occurring. You look at how the environment, animals, and natural resources affected people, and how people’s mind-frames have changed over time. Looking at personal testimonies through journals, books, and movies is something very common in the American Studies major. Overall, you take a multi-dimensional approach to looking at American history that you wouldn’t get in a normal history class, and this is what drew me to major in American Studies.
Early College Experience (ECE)
Information For High School Teachers
Welcome to teaching an ECE course in American Studies. Please feel free to peruse some syllabi that other faculty have taught, and let us know if you’d like to share a syllabus that you’ve designed. For discussions with other faculty about teaching AMST 1201, please contact Laurie Wolfley, firstname.lastname@example.org, to be added to the AMST Faculty HuskyCT page.
For questions about these materials, please contact UConn’s American Studies ECE coordinator, Laurie Wolfley, email@example.com, or Avery Point’s American Studies Program Coordinator, Matt McKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about teaching ECE courses, please see UConn Early College Experience.
Introduction to American Studies:Encounters, Differences, Communities
University of Connecticut at Avery Point
American Studies 1201
This course examines the complex relationships among Native, European, and African peoples and their descent populations in the Americas. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary source material - maps, illustrations, journals, films, poetry, etc. - to capture a sense of how different groups of people viewed themselves and others. We will focus closely on distinct eras in American history, looking at how war, race, gender, and class affected cross-cultural relations, with particular attention to the experiences of Native American Indians. By grappling with these materials, and asking ourselves who and what is “American,” we seek to discover some understandings of the many cultural differences, military conflicts, common experiences, and strategic choices that shaped Americans and American culture over time.
• Colonial cross-cultural encounters • Work and labor relations
• Intersections of race and war • Change, adaptation and survival over time
• Human shaping of, and interactions with, the natural environment
Tools & Methods:
• Introduce students to American Studies as a multicultural, interdisciplinary mode of inquiry.
• Learn how to locate various forms of primary and secondary evidence.
• Practice close reading and analysis of specific historical source materials.
• Develop and demonstrate skills in written and oral communication and critique.
• Understand that there are many different perspectives from which to view specific historical events.
• Consider how culturally-grounded values, practices, and beliefs shaped encounters in America.
• Explore the influence of military conflict on the lives of specific ethnic groups in America
• Draw connections among contemporary issues and past events at key moments in time.
• Gain a more holistic understanding of the role of Native American peoples in American history.
• Discover common experiences and strategic alliances among diverse communities.
Class Format & Reading Assignments: Class format each week will include some combination of lecture, film, discussion, and/or workshop, arranged around specific assigned readings, time periods and themes. You will be expected to actively participate in class: ask questions, offer observations, share ideas, analyze primary sources, etc. We will encourage respectful, lively discussion.
Each week, you will be assigned a series of readings to be completed before the following week. These are listed on the syllabus on the day they will be discussed. Make sure you do the assigned readings before coming to class so that you are prepared to participate in discussions. Each of you will sign up to lead one class discussion on a particular reading at some point in the semester. At the end of each week’s class, we will offer some thoughts and suggestions to guide your approach to the readings for the following week. Some readings will be available through websites, or will be posted on the Husky CT site for this class. A few additional readings will be handed out in class each week. If you miss a class session, you are still responsible for completing the readings for that week.
Attendance: This class only meets once a week, and the one long class session is equivalent to two regular class periods. Since participation counts towards your grade, it is crucial that you make every effort to be present for every class to avoid falling behind.
Writing Assignments: There will be THREE independent writing assignments during the semester. Each of these will consist of a 3-4 page response to specific questions based on the readings – these are due in class on the dates noted on the syllabus.
Exams: There will be two exams: a MID-TERM EXAM on October 8, and an END-TERM EXAM on December 10. During class on October 1 and December 3, we will review the topics to be covered on these two exams.
RESPONSE PAPERS 20 LEADING CLASS DISCUSSION 5
PARTICIPATION 20 FINAL PROJECT 15
MID-TERM EXAM 25 FINAL EXAM 15
A = 94-100 A- = 90-93 B+ = 87-89 B = 83-86 B- = 80-82 C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76 C- = 70-72 D+ = 67-69 D = 60-62 F = 59 or less
Colin G. Calloway, ed. Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England Hanover and London: University Press of New England 1991. (ISBN 9-780874-515947)
Susan E. Klepp and Billy G. Smith, eds. The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press 2005. (ISBN-10: 0271026766)
Norman E. Yetman (ed.), When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection Mineola, New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 2002 (ISBN0-486-42070-1).
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, Norton Critical Edition, 2009. (ISBN-10: 0393930262).
Additional readings will be posted on the “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT website
Week 1, September 3: Introduction to American Studies & Native Studies
Introductions, logistics, mapping the landscape
Week 2, September 10: Colonial Encounters Film: New World
First encounters, resources, trade, and settlement
Required Readings for Week 2:
• Christopher Columbus. “First Voyage 1492-3” and “Digest of Columbus’s Log-Book”, pp. 27-76 in J. M. Cohen, ed. Christopher Columbus: The Four Voyages London: Penguin Books 1969. [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• William S. Simmons, ed. “The First Europeans,” pp. 65-72 in Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, Hanover and London: University Press of New England 1986 [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• Margaret Bruchac. “Native Land Use and Settlements in the Northeast Woodlands” at Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704. 2004. On-line at:
Writing Assignment #1:
What did Europeans expect to find in the New World? What was the reality? How did Native peoples influence colonial settlers and settlement patterns? DUE September 17.
Week 3, September 17: Colonial Encounters
Interactions and change resulting from European settlement of Indigenous territories
Required Readings for Week 3:
• Thomas Morton, New English Canaan (Charles Green: London, 1632), pp. 17-58 [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT].
• Colin G. Calloway. “First Encounters,” pp. 23-56 in Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England 1991.
Week 4, September 24: Race & War Against Empires
Military conflicts and influence of race relations on colonists and Natives during wartime
Required Readings for Week 4:
• Colin G. Calloway. “Captives and Culture Crossings,” pp. 215-251 in Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England 1991.
• John Underhill, Nevves from America . . . (Peter Cole: London, 1638) [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT].
• Benjamin Church “With Awashonks, Queen of the Sakonnets,” pp. 69-81 and pp. 125-127 in Diary of King Philip’s War 1675-1676 Chester, CT: Pequot Press 1975. [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
Writing Assignment #2:
Consider the impact of a single event during colonial warfare on a specific individual; how does this understanding change your perception of American history? DUE October 1.
Week 5, October 1: Dialogue Day
Group Discussions and Mid-term Exam Review
Week 6, October 8: MID-TERM EXAM
Week 7, October 15: Race & War Within Empires
Wartime relations in the new America Film: The War That Made America
Required Readings for Week 7:
• Fred Anderson, “A People’s Army: Provincial Military Service in Massachusetts during the Seven Years’ War,” William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, vol. 40, no. 4 (October, 1983), pp. 500-527 [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT].
• Colin G. Calloway. “War in the Dawnland,” pp. 135-143, 156-175 in Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England 1991.
• Darren Bonaparte “Colonel Louis at Oriskany and Valley Forge” (Originally published in The People's Voice, September 30, 2005). The Wampum Chronicles, on-line at: http://www. wampumchronicles.com/oriskanyandvalleyforge.html.
Week 8, October 22: Labor
Labor, slavery, servitude, debt
Required Readings for Week 8:
• Susan Klepp and Billy Smith Chapters 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 of The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant.
• “Estimates of African Slave Arrivals by Regions” [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• Colin G. Calloway. “Commerce and Coexistence,” pp. 182-188 in Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England 1991.
Writing Assignment #3:
How did race, gender, class, and ethnicity shape work and financial prospects in the colonial context? What opportunities did such conditions offer to masters and workers alike?
DUE October 29.
Week 9, October 29: Westward Expansion
Manifest destiny, westward expansion, race relations of the frontier.
Required Readings for Week 9:
• James Fenimore Cooper. Chapter 1, pp. 1-12, in Last of the Mohicans. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin 1876 . [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• William Willard Howard, “The Rush to Oklahoma,” Harper's Weekly 33 (May 18, 1889): 391-94. On-line at:
• Norman Yetman (ed.), When I was a Slave. (whole book)
Week 10, November 5: Manufacturing Americans
Characteristics of “American” culture
FIELD TRIP: Mystic Seaport Museum
Required Readings for Week 9:
• Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, chs. VI, VII, VIII, XIII, XIV, XX, XXIII.
Week 11, November 12: Indian Removals Film: Bury My Heart
Indian removals, reservations, boarding schools
Required Readings for Week 11 “Indian Removals”
• Andrew Jackson, Second Annual Message (December 6, 1830), in James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Vol. II, Bureau of National Literature & Art, 1908. On-line:
• Cherokee Nation Chief John Ross, Letter to the US Senate and House of Representatives (September 28, 1836). On-line: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3083t.html\
• Samson Occum. “A Short Narrative of My Life” pp. 12-18 in Berndt Peyer, ed. The Elders Wrote. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag 1982 . [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• Charles Eastman. “The Way Opens” and “My First School Days,” pp. 1-30 in From the Deep Woods to Civilization. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company 1916. [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• Elaine Goodale Eastman. “The Ghost Dance War” and “Wounded Knee,” pp. 145-171 in Sister to the Sioux: The Memoirs of Elaine Goodale Eastman, 1885-1891. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska 2004 . [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
• Angel DeCora Dietz. “Angel DeCora-An Autobiography,” The Red Man, March, 1911:279. [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
Week 12, November 19: Immigrants Film: Gangs of New York
Waves of immigration, American citizenship, urban Indians
Required Readings for Week 12 “Immigrants”
• Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, chs. III, IV, V, IX, X, XI, XII.
• NationalMuseum of the American Indian, “Booming Out” Exhibit Brochure. On-line at:
• Reaghan Tarbell, Little Caughnawaga: To Brooklyn and Back, National Film Board of Canada 2008, view clip on-line at:
• Plimoth Plantation. “Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth and Meaning” [Online at “Introduction to American Studies” Husky CT]
Writing Assignment #4:
Given the persistence of distinct ethnic groups, can we see America as a “melting pot” of “assimilated” people into a single culture? Who benefits from such a vision? Who loses? How does a belief in one unified American culture affect different peoples?
DUE December 3.
Week 13, November 26: No class – Thanksgiving Break
Week 14, December 3: Civil Rights &Contemporary Issues
Cross-cultural relations in America over time, the resonance of colonial encounters on contemporary American culture, challenges of a diverse multi-ethnic society
Required Readings for Week 14 “Civil Rights & Contemporary Issues”:
Readings to be announced…
Week 15, December 10: FINAL PRESENTATIONS
Engage with one of the five themes, focus on any topic, include the impact of cross-cultural encounters upon the American experience. Must use primary sources. Must use PowerPoint.
Week 16, December 17, 1-3 pm: FINAL EXAM
Intro to American Studies (AMST 1201) Syllabus
Office Hours, Mondays 2PM to 3PM, and by appointment
Many people do not really know what “American Studies” represents. After all, most people in this country, by law or by choice, see themselves as “Americans.” Certainly we see differences between “American-ness” and, say, being a US citizen. On the most superficial level there is a geographical fallacy to equating US citizenship to American-ness, for people in Mexico, Canada, Central America, South America and the Caribbean are “Americans”. On a deeper level, too, there is something different between being an “American” versus being a US citizen. The latter is an administrative category—albeit an important and meaningful one. Being an “American” on the other hand, carries more significance. Perhaps the difference I am seeking to get at is best summed by one British commentator: “There is no idea of Britain. There is an idea of America.”
This course seeks to explore what it means to be an American, what these meanings represent to us and the rest of the world, how those ideas emerged, and how they have changed. Clearly there is no single definition of “American”: similarly, there is no single source for defining “American-ness”. Therefore, we will dig into a wide variety of sources in our explorations—from Native American creation stories to 19th century political declarations to maps and movies, and to my favorite—punk rock lyrics (viva Johnny Ramone). We will also explore our media and the role it plays in defining our visions of ourselves as individuals, as citizens and as neighbors, and how it differs from media in the rest of world. In short, this class will be an exploration of identity formation, actuation, and modification. And because we do not live in a vacuum, we will consider these identities and their development within a global perspective: do our visions of ourselves accurately reflect what other peoples see in us? Why does it matter?
Examination of these sorts can be difficult. To place ourselves under a microscope and identify our strengths and weaknesses represents an uncomfortable and potentially emotional process. Indeed, in the last decade and a half, American self-examination has taken vituperative turns that have turned politics and discussion into shouting matches and personal attacks. In doing so, well-reasoned and well-supported argument—the reasoned and logical laying out of evidence to support a position—has faded in the face of opinion-slinging with little or no substantive positional support. Quite bluntly, Americans have replaced the rational process of changing peoples’ minds and understandings with the personal and painful process of changing beliefs. One is intellectual, the other emotional; one builds consensus, the other plants seeds of division.
I do not want my students to make the same mistakes as my generation has. I have hope that you can see America as a diverse, but not divisive place; where an equal playing field allows individual talent can stand out. Accordingly, I insist that all class-room discussions be mature, reasoned, and well supported—and we will learn how to do this. I expect all students to help create a forum—an equal playing field—where all ideas will be fairly considered, though not necessarily agreed with.
For many, the “discovery” of America took place in the 15th and 16th centuries by European mariners looking for other things. For us, the discovery of Americawill take place in the next few months, where we get to see our nation—our people—in all their diverse and discordant and inconsistent glory. We will explore how we came to be that way, and most importantly, what holds so many different people together. This is an amazing nation we live within, and it is ours to explore.
II. Course Goals:
In pursuing these questions, students will be evaluated on the following goals:
First, students will be expected to identify and apply different analytical tools to assigned sources.
Second, students will be expected to research and critically engage primary sources for the purposes of developing and presenting well-supported and clearly presented arguments.
Third, using tools and techniques from points one and two above, students should construct an understanding of the diverse ways in which American identity has been presented over time, why those definitions change, and how they shape our current society.
These goals will be evaluated according the grading section below.
III. Course Requirements:
A. Weekly Presentations: “American Studies in a Trans-national World.”
In an international age, American-ness is defined as much by the rest of the world as it is by Americans themselves. At times, outside perspectives reveal more clearly who we are than our own internal discussions and considerations. To get at these different perspectives, each student will be required to lead a 20 minute class discussion focusing on the difference between US media and world media coverage of US actions in the world. Students should bring into class print, digital video, or audio news pieces covering the same event, and then lead the class in analyzing the different angles each reveals. How do these stories differ? Why do you think they differ? How is America/Americans portrayed differently in each? What do outside perspectives teach us about ourselves? Are they right, or do either of the selected media outlets overlook key information that needs to be considered.
BBC World Service
The Guardian (British Labourite Newspaper)
The Times of London (more conservative British daily)
(and just for kicks and a French perspective—remember Freedom Fries?)
International Herald Tribune
Other world newspapers in English (select story coverage from around the world)
B. Term Project: “Who do we think we have been? Who are we now?”
This course, in many regards, represents a rapid tour through three centuries of American definition. Based on your readings in class, and on independent research outside of class, what does America represent in the dawn of the 21st century? Do old definitions remain, or have they been modified over time in response to changes at home and overseas? Are we living up to our ideals, or do we need to change those ideals? In short, what is the current “idea” of America, for whom does that ideal exist, and is it realistic? If not, why do we continue to hold onto it?
Students will present their findings at the end of the semester in 15 minute presentations, accompanied by a 10 page formal paper analyzing sources and expanding on the in-class presentation. More details about this project will come in class.
C. Study Questions:
In weeks in which they are assigned, students will be asked to answer study questions based on the readings. Responses must be carefully crafted, well organized and supported, and should be no more than a single paragraph for each question. These will be handed in at the beginning of each class.
IV. Academic Integrity and Late Work:
Quite simply, plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not. If you are uncertain what plagiarism is, please come see me or refer to your student handout. There is no room for negotiation on this issue.
All assignments listed for a given meeting are expected to be read or ready to be turned in at the beginning of class. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, ones that I have been appraised of before the due date, no extensions will be granted. Late work that you have spoken with me about will be penalized ½ grade per calendar day (including weekends) that it is late. That said, if there are circumstances you foresee that might affect your ability to meet a deadline, come speak with me and work something out. Nine AM of the morning of a deadline does not count as prior notification.
Weekly Presentations, Study Questions and Participation 20%
Term Project Paper 20%
Term Project Presentation 10%
VI. Required Texts:
Nina Baym, ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Sixth Edition, Volume A (New York, 2003) [aka NAAL].
Rudnick, Smith and Rubin, eds., American Identities: An Introductory Textbook (Malden, Mass., 2006).
[Various online texts available at web links indicated below.]
VII. Meeting Schedule and Required Readings:
Course Structure, Expectations, Grading, Projects
“What is an American?” How do we answer that question? What tools can we use? What sources do we use? What is our personal relationship to that question?
Discovery and Dispossession: Seeing the Land and Sea
Rudnick, et al. pp. 1-16
NAAL, pp. 3-33
God and Mammon: Defining the meaning of “New” World
Smith, “Description of New England” (NAAL pp. 114-117; Bradford; “Of PlymouthPlantation” (NAAL, pp. 156-162, pp. 179-184, pp. 187-190); Morton, “New English Canaan” (NAAL, pp. 196-205); Pastorious; “Positive Information from America” (NAAL, pp. 366-371); Mather “Wonders of the Invisible World” (NAAL, pp. 392-394).
New Identities: Europeans, Africans, Native Americans
Franklin, “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America” and “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” (NAAL pp. 528-538); Samson Occam, “A Short Narrative of My Life” (NAAL pp. 647-652); Moses Bon Saam, “The Speech of Moses Bon Sàam” (NAAL pp. 652-657).
Mid-Term Examination (1 hour, surprise to follow)
Revolution and Re-Definition: Revolution, Legacies and Uses of Historical Memory
The Patriot Due
Philip Frenau, “On the Emigration to American and Peopling the Western Country” “ To a New England Poet,” “The Indian Burying Ground,” “On Mr. Paine’s The Rights of Man” (NAAL pp. 791-807); Phyllis Wheately, “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” “To His Excellency General Washington,” “To Rev. Samson Occam” (NAAL pp. 810, 819-820, 823); Declaration of Independence: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/declare.htm
Compare your assessment of each author’s understanding of the Revolution with those presented in modern film. How do they match-up?
Frontiers, Europe and American Identities:
Crevecoeur, “What is an American” (NAAL, pp. 657-677); Memorial of the Cherokee Nation (1829): http://www.osv.org/learning/DocumentViewer.php?DocID=2057; Boudinot, An Address to Whites (1826): http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8160/pds/triumphnationalism/expansion/text3/addresswhites.pdf; Turner, Significance of the Frontier in American History: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1893turner.html
Writing Workshop I: Sources, Structure and Thesis Statements in a Research Paper
Turner, Confessions of Nat Turner: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1826-1850/slavery/confes01.htm
Stanton, et al., Seneca Falls Declaration: http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/17.htm
Frederick Douglas, [Three Speeches]: http://www.frederickdouglass.org/speeches/index.html
Writing Workshop II: Outlines and Drafts
Industrialization: Worker, Consumer or Citizen?
Jane Addams, Why Women Should Vote (1915): http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1915janeadams-vote.html
DuBois, The General Strike: http://oncampus.richmond.edu/~aholton/121readings_html/generalstrike
Carnegie, Gospel of Wealth (1889): http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1889carnegie.html
Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1890): http://www.cis.yale.edu/amstud/inforev/riis/title.html
DRAFT TERM PAPERS DUE
America after the World Wars—The New Mainstream
Rudnick, et al., pp. 46-103
Draft Papers Peer Critiques in-class
America After the World Wars—Social Change
Select and read 3 of the following sections from Rudnick and present your synopsis to class. How do the conclusions from the secondary literature match with your readings of the primary sources? Do you agree with what the secondary sources argue, or, do you see other analytical lines that should be highlighted.
Civil Rights Movement, pp. 112-129
The Vietnam War, pp. 138-157
Black and Puerto Rican Power, pp. 158-173
Women’s Lives, Women’s Rights, pp. 174-202
American Indian Movement, pp. 203-208
Gay Liberation Movement, pp. 212-232
New American Right, pp. 233-239
America in an Age of Global Conflict: The “Binarification” of the American World
Rudnick et al., pp. 240-326
FINAL PRESENTATIONS DUE
FINAL TERM PAPERS DUE
Syllabus – Fall 2007
Course: AMST 1201 – Introduction to American Studies
Time/Room: ACD 303 (Computer classroom) 2:30 – 3:45, T/TH
AMST 165 Course Description: As the catalogue posits the question, “What is an American?” How can we place a label on a word that is used not only to describe our nation, but two continents that make up 1/3 of the globe, and an ancient, displaced group of indigenous peoples? As Prof. Matt McKenzie puts it, we can do so by isolating a few moments throughout history that embody “Americaness.” We will trace our way through four different time periods, attempting to isolate the predominant ideas, works of art, instances, and words that define them. It is our hope that this process will reveal commonalities, principles that transcend time and reveal themselves as the true foundation on which our American identity rests.
– Read a diverse selection of texts that stretch across time periods and genres.
– Take an interdisciplinary approach to every issue, incorporating history, literature, politics, and philosophy as necessary.
– Engage in reflective discussions that attempt to get to the root of Americaness.
– Further our understanding of what it is to be an American through a series of short essays and essay-based exams.
– Isolate one particular theme from the course, research it, and develop an expertise by composing a research paper.
Grading: Your grade for this course will depend on a few things. Firstly, you must compose short response essays for most of our readings. These will be worth 10 points and will be graded according to “check” format. There will also be four exams, including
both the midterm and the final. Each of these will be comprised of a few essays and draw from both the texts we have read and our discussions. There will also be one longer research essay based on a topic of your choosing related to the course content. The point system will be as follows:
Response Essays 10 points each
Two Quarterly exams 25 points each
Midterm exam 50 points
Final 100 points
Research Essay 100 points
Total of approx. 400 points
Any essay can be handed in late, but shorter assignments will only be worth ½ credit and longer assignments will be reduced proportionately to how late they have been turned in (1/3 a grade per day, not dropping below 59 points). In addition, I will be grading out of 10 points less than are cumulatively available. In effect, you can miss one small assignment without being penalized. A student passing in all assignments will have one count as extra credit. I will also accept an additional extra credit assignment if you decide it is necessary. It will consist of an additional response essay (ask me first).
Note: All late response essays must be passed in by November 23rd to receive credit.
It is of the utmost importance that you understand what plagiarism is. The English department defines it for us:
Plagiarism: Failure to acknowledge properly the source of an idea and/or specific language presented in a paper at any stage in the writing process, including drafts. Plagiarism is a violation of academic codes of conduct and generally results in serious penalty. The severity of the penalty depends on an individual instructor’s assessment in consultation with the Director of Freshman English.
Please visit this link for more information.
In the meantime, always cite any information- even if you change the words – that you have pulled from a source. It can be particularly tempting to cut-and-paste information from a web page or student essay you have found online and pass it off as your own. Please do not do this, or I will be forced to fail you. If you have any questions, just ask!
Schedule of Units (tentative dates)
Unit 1 – The Founding Father’s and Infant America (August 30th – Sept. 18th)
Although a far cry from the beginning of “America,” the birth of the United States is the first definitive historical moment that is accompanied by significant literary production. We will examine a variety of texts, all of which will be available in public domain (for free, on the internet):
Locke – Second Treatise of Government
Jefferson – The Declaration of Independence
Hamilton/Madison/Jay – The Federalist
Franklin – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Unit 2 – Antebellum America and the American Renaissance (Sep. 20th – Oct. 11th)
While the air was dense with pre-war tension and hypocrisy, the mid-nineteenth century unleashed a torrent of genius. The men of that time, most specifically between 1850 and the beginning of the civil war in 1861, knew each other, dined with each other, and helped to create some of the most significant literature and philosophy in the history of our nation.
Matthiessen – American Renaissance…
Emerson – “Self Reliance”
Thoreau – Selections from Walden
Melville – “Bartelby the Scrivner”
Douglass – Narrative of the Life…
Whitman – Selections from Leaves of Grass
Unit 3 – The Turn of the 20th Century – The Birth of Consumerism (Oct. 18th – Nov. 6th)
The turn of the century saw one of the greatest movements of modernity – the industrial revolution – exchange itself for the next historical phase: consumerism. Whether we label our current mode of existence “modernism” or “post-modernism”, a shift has been made from an age of production to an age of availability, of conglomerates, advertising, and mass consumption of goods. We will take a look at both the historical context of the inception of consumerism and the literature it inspired.
Dreiser – Selections from Sister Carrie
Larson – Devil in the WhiteCity
Unit 4 – Outside Looking In – The “Other” in American and International Perspective
(November 8th – 29th)
So far we have tried to understand what it means to be American from the inside. But look at our list: nearly every single person on it is white, male, and American born. Can we really rely on an opinion formed from such a homogenous group of people? Firstly, we will take a look at the marginalized Americans, people who live and have lived in this country for centuries (in one case, millenniums) without proper representation for some or all of that period. Secondly, we will observe the perspective of non-Americans who have the benefit of evaluating our nation from an objective standpoint.
Alexie – Tonto and the Lone Ranger…
MLK – “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
Tocqueville – Selections from Democracy in America
Foreign English Newspapers
Early College Experience American Studies (AMST 1201)
Course Syllabus 2009-2010
FULL SYLLABUS POSTED ON http://drop.io/tvaradannen
General Course Description:
This two-semester course is the perfect meld of American history, literature and culture. These modules reflect four specific epochs: the Present (2008-2009); Puritanism; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and the Harlem Renaissance. In these time periods students will explore themes such as The Individual, the American Dream, Violence, and Pluralism. This interdisciplinary exploration of themes will be set in a chronological framework.
General Course Objectives:
A. To provide an interdisciplinary framework for the study of history and culture of the United States.
B. To promote individual inquiry and small and large group interaction in meeting the course objectives
C. To nurture critical thinking skills
D. To approach the American experience thematically
E. To focus on the analysis of events, movements, groups, and individuals who have shaped and continue to shape American culture and history.
Students in the American Studies course will be able:
A. To interpret historical data
B. To use maps, charts and data tables as an aid to historical study.
C. To evaluate the “cause and effect” relationship between historical events.
D. To defend a personal interpretation of historical data in classroom discussion./
E. To identify the major periods and associated persons in the development of United States culture and history
F. To demonstrate a mastery of effective oral, written and visual communication of ideas related to American culture through art, music, film and other cultural artifacts.
G. To explore through inquiry and research, the interdisciplinary nature of a topic, as well as make a critical response to that inquiry
Methods of Presentation: Lecture; homework assignments (nightly); class discussion; field trips; audio-visual presentation; independent research; work with Oxford University Press and the African-American National Biography (online); National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox (online).
Essays/Tests 50% Most essays will be begun in class; rough drafts will then be peer-edited before students revise essays for tutorial workshops. The student will then self-edit, proofread and type the final product. The research papers will be weighted more heavily than essays.
Participation 25% Participation includes active discussion, thoughtful peer-editing, vocabulary exercises, annotation of texts, all the individual phases of going from rough draft to final paper, and punctuality and class attendance.
Assessments –In each unit, students will be quizzed and tested on reading content, vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical devices. Writing assignments will include personal essays, letter-writing, college essays , persuasive and argumentative essays, compare/contrast, synthesis and analytical essays, with both semesters culminating in research papers.
Key Elements of the Course:
*Acquisition of college level vocabulary so that students will understand the readings and be able to respond with the appropriate subtlety and nuanceof language
*Active student participation in every aspect of class activities and assignments
*Completed, revised and proofread essays every two weeks
*Grammar problems addressed as they crop up in writing
*Daily reading analyses on excerpts from texts
*Occasional creative writing in several genres, inspired by readings
*Daily journal and free writing to encourage fluency
*Daily class discussion of texts
*Writing workshops and tutorials individually and in small groups to teach the skills of careful reading, revision and rewriting in their own work and in the work of others
*Review and/or teaching of the proper use of citations, attribution, paraphrasing and a full understanding of the dangers of plagiarism
*Analytical historical and literary essays written clearly and powerfully with advancing argumentation supported by the text
*Familiar and fluent use and detection of literary devices and advanced vocabulary required for analysis
*By the end of the course, students will have in their writing portfolio thirty pages of their revised and reworked formal prose.
*Both an in-class midterm and final essay will be required, with the final essay written at the time required by the University.
*Students will be required to write a short research paper on a topic of interest to them in order to practice their research, writing, synthesizing, documenting and citation skills.
*This syllabus is taken in large part from the National Endowment for the Humanities, for which I am deeply indebted.
This semester we will primarily concentrate on American culture and history after 1945. We begin with a look at twentieth century material culture and end with the media of the present and the recent past. This period is marked by dramatic shifts in daily life-transformations of family, work, consumption, and ideas about American society. In this class, we want to learn something about how daily life is lived and how scholars have thought about the creation of daily life, and how it has formed American identity. We will look closely at how we portray our American lives, especially in writing, and writing will be an important element of learning in the class. We will examine the reality, the interpretation, and the recording of daily life. You will become familiar with American culture, not only as contemporary Americans, but as writers, readers, and collectors of data.
All Our Kin by Carol Stack
Reading the Popular by John Fiske
The Managed Heart by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Assignments One through Three:
Letters About Literature; Summer Reading: College essays
- Material Culture- Reading a Cultural Artifact
Text 1: “A Match Made in America”
Text 2: “Contemporary Archaeology in Transit”
Text 3: Reading the Popular, John Fiske
Assignment Four: Reading a Cultural Artifact
Method: Participant observation
Writing form: Cultural Criticism
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to interpret a symbol of contemporary American culture. Using John Fiske’s approach as a model, you should interpret an item of clothing (for example, jeans), personal adornment (such as hairstyle or jewelry), or some other “style” by which a person asserts uniqueness and identifies with a group or movement.
Fiske often refers to magazines or advertisements (primary sources) or interviews of people. For this assignment, please interview three different people about the same cultural symbol. These may be brief interviews of thirty minutes or so in which you learn when the person started using the item, why he/she uses it, and what he/she thinks it “represents” about self and society. How do people make the item a statement of uniqueness? Do they use the item for a form of “resistance” to mass culture? If not, how might you understand it?
Cultural criticism often examines popular culture as an important example of how “ordinary” people act back upon society, creating alternative statements through symbols of identity to ones intended by manufacturers or schools or families. Cultural critics write “broadly,” drawing examples from many aspects of contemporary culture. They write with a “point of view,” rather than beginning with “data” which they then attempt to interpret. Their point of view is usually a theory of social experience such as social class relations, or the operation of a mass culture, or the domination of society by the linked connections of ideology and power relations (hegemony). Cultural criticism depends upon the ability to weave together an abstract view of society with the details of cultural and symbolic expressions of ordinary life.
Your papers should, based on your readings in this section and your “data,” state a view of personal adornment and then examine the specific example you have chosen. You should conclude with a broad discussion drawing on readings, data, and other examples you would like to include.
2. Everyday life and why it’s interesting:
Read: “Understanding Popular Culture,” p. 1-13 in Reading the Popular.
Negativland: “Shiny, Aluminum, Plastic, and Digital”
Steve Albini: “The Problem with Music”
**Bring in a CD (or tape) and plan to share one track with the class.**
Assignment Five: Everyday Life
Method: Participant observer
Writing Form: Ethnographic
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to examine everyday life and then to write about it. Anthropologists and sociologists conduct participant-observation fieldwork by observing behavior and interaction, interviewing people, and then inscribing or writing up the process. You should select a setting to observe everyday life in which you are NOT a participant–a restaurant, gas station, store, domestic setting, classroom, etc. Observe it twice. Spend about 1-2 hours each time. You can ask people what they are up to, but you do not have to interview anyone.
In the write up, describe what you see. Description that simply elaborates, details, or lists communicates much less than one that shapes a story or scene. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes ethnographic writing as a “fiction,” a “thing made,” more than something invented. You are to construct an incident of everyday life.
Text 1: All Our Kin, Carol Stack.
In this section we will discuss how families organize daily experience and what constructs and defines families. How do families vary in American culture and in what ways have they changed and why? We will discuss ideas of what a family is and should be and the link between those definitions. We will also examine the significance of the perspective of whether the family member is male or female, young or old, in what social class and culture.
Assignment Six–Historical Readings of the Family
Method: Use of primary historical resources
Writing form: Historical Writing
7 to 10 pages
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to apply some of Carol Stack’s ideas about the family to some examples of images of the family from two historical periods prior to 1960. You will find these images in what historians call primary sources–texts taken from a particular period about which one is writing. Select two popular magazines that are published over a period of several decades. Select three decades, for example, 1920s, 1940s, and 1950s. Read these magazines in order to find images of the family in advertising, articles, fiction, and even advice columns. Define the images. You may find contrasting ones within the same period. Then compare and contrast them to one another. When you choose magazines, consider who the readers were–middle class, white, black, working class, men, women, etc. Compare the images in light of the readership.
Historical writing is widely regarded as the finest writing in the social sciences. It is narrative par excellence, telling a story using detail and rich illustrations derived from primary sources. At the same time, historical writing is never a catalogue of disconnected details. Its narrative force comes from the power of the “story” over the details. Its interpretations of events are woven into the story. Your essay should tell a story about what images of the family are in these two periods and some reasons why they develop as they do. The view of the family held by middle-class Americans in the 1950s and the working-class blacks described by Stack in the 1960s should help you think more broadly about what is meant by the family.
We will devote a portion of the class to reacting to one another’s assignments. Bring to class a draft of some portion of your essay for discussion.
III. Work as everyday life
Read: The Managed Heart, Arlie Hochschild.
*”The ‘Industrial Revolution’ in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century,” Ruth Schwartz Cowan, in Thomas J. Schlereth ed. Material Culture Studies in America.
*” ‘The Customers Ain’t God’: The Work Culture of Department Store Saleswomen, 1890-1940,” Susan Porter Benson in Frisch and Walkowitz eds. Working -Class Americans.
*”Christmas Eve at Johnson’s Drugs N Good,” Toni Cade Bambara, The Seabirds Are Still Alive, Vintage Books, 1982.
In this section we will discuss work from the point of view of the worker. How is work experienced and why? What is the impact of the type of job on the experience of the worker? What happens at work for the workers that is not connected to what is formally produced? What does the workplace mean in the twentieth century?
Assignment Seven–Everyday life of work
Method: Reflection on “work culture” and “marketing emotion”
Writing form: Fiction/Journal
6 to 10 pages
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to write in your own voice or through the voice of a character you create. You should have a narrator who is experiencing the workplace from the “floor.” Drawing on your own experience or fictional or sociological writing, describe an incident of work culture.
The value of first-person writing is to give a close reading of emotion, interaction, interpersonal power and experience. Like for Bambara, small events can be made to stand for far larger and more powerful relations, like racism, dignity, and power. You should aim to write a piece that may work at more than one level, for example, work culture as a subversion of management or work as a setting for emotional autonomy, etc.
IV. Desire–Wanting and Having in Contemporary Society
Read: *From Salvation of Self -Realization: Advertising and the Therapeutic Roots of the Consumer Culture, 1880-1930, the Culture of Consumption. “Shopping for Pleasure,” p. 13-42 and/or “Video Pleasures,” p. 77 -94 from Reading the Popular.
*”The Jeaning of America,” Understanding Popular Culture, John Fiske.
*’Waste a Lot, Want a Lot: Our All-Consuming Quest for Style, “Stuan Ewen, Utne Reader (insert also attached).
*”The Lesson,” Toni Cade Bambara, from Gorilla, My Love, Vintage 1981.
This section will examine the idea of a consumer culture and with it the emphasis on experience and the therapeutic. It will contrast a producer and consumer culture and the impact on everyday life. It will look at how these processes differ by gender/class. The consumer as a “guerilla fighter” in the war against mass culture will also be discussed.
V. American Television: The Production of Images and Meanings within Everyday Life
Read: In Country, Bobbie Ann Mason
Is There a Superhero in All of Us? (from The Psychology of Superheroes)
Definition of the Superhero (from Superhero,The Secret Origin of a Genre)
*”The Meaning of Memory: Family, Class, and Ethnicity in Early Network Television Programs,” George Lipsitz, Camera Obscura, January 1988.
“Madonna,” p. 95-114; “Romancing the Rock,” p. 115-132; “Everyday Quizzes Everyday Life”; “News, History and Undisciplined Events”; “Popular News” from Reading the Popular, John Fiske.
*”We Keep America on Top of the World,” Daniel C. Hallin.
*”The Look of the Sound,” Pat Aufderheide.
*”TV’s Black World Turns-But Stays Unreal,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times.
Jane Rosenzweig: “Can TV Improve Us?”
Marco Portales: “Hispanics and the Media”
This section will examine TV as it structures daily life and how it provides a crucial source of information, usually distorted, but still persuasive, about social, political, and interpersonal reality. We will discuss how the TV viewer interacts with the screen, not simply as a passive receptor, but as an activist as well. We will look at various forms of TV and videos. Assignment Five–Analyzing Television
Method: “Textual” analysis
Writing form: Television Criticism
6 to 8 pages
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to closely “read” two television programs or videos. The readings for this section are divided between television criticism and the fictional treatment of the meaning of television in the lives of characters. Television is understood from the point of view of the “script,” and from the viewer who actively interacts with it, often appropriating its meanings in innovative ways. Your paper will focus on the textual aspects of television, and by contrasting programs will allow you to understand contrasting and similar ways that programs communicate information, ideas, and images.
For this assignment you need to select a topic rather than particular programs. Your topic should be an aspect of everyday life–intimacy, the family, the workplace, consumption, or others. Look at two television or video representations of that topic. You might want to examine a sitcom and a news segment, a sports event and a dramatic series. You may choose different types of programs or similar ones for this assignment. If you can video the programs, all the better. The more closely you can analyze the “text” the better for your purposes. As in the examples of criticism you have read, you need to pay attention to the words, their order, commercial breaks, visuals, and every other aspect of representation you can find. In your paper, set up the problem you want to explore and then develop features of the programs that you have selected. What have you learned? How is this topic treated? What are the points of contrast? Why?
Media criticism, like all criticism, depends on the balance of illustration and perspective. Your writing should aim to integrate both well. Bring a draft to class on March 6.
Class members will produce a paper about every two weeks, as well as bring drafts to class for discussion. This schedule requires class members to turn all work in on time and to keep up with all reading. Papers should be typed double-spaced or printed neatly by skipping lines. All papers are due in class on the due date.
1845-1890 – America in Crisis
1. The Culture of the Common Man
Topic Framing Questions
• How did Americans respond to the emergence of a functioning democracy in which the majority of free adult males could vote?
• How did Northerners view the purposes of political rights and power?
• How did Southerners view them?
Text 1. Andrew Jackson
Text 2. Mark Twain
Text 3. Thomas W. Dorr
Text 4. Mechanics/Workers
Text 5. Richard Allen and David Walker
Text 6. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Text 7. James Fenimore Cooper
Text 8. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Text 9. John C. Calhoun
Text 10. Walt Whitman
2. Cult of Domesticity
Topic Framing Questions
• How did women of this period define themselves? What stories did they choose to tell?
• In what ways did these women exercise—and define—power and influence?
• How did the “cult of domesticity” shape the debate over woman’s place in antebellum American society?
• In what ways did this debate reflect the prevailing tensions of race, class, region, and religion in American society?
Text 1. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Text 2. Caroline Gilman
Text 3. Catharine E. Beecher
Text 4. Harriet Jacobs
Text 5. Fanny Fern
Text 6. Godey’s Lady’s Book
Text 7. Rev. Theodore Parker
Text 8. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Topic Framing Questions
• How did American Christianity reflect the nation’s ideals of democracy, individualism, and progress?
• As the nation became more sectionalized, what role did religion play in defining individual and group identity?
• How did religion inform the debate over slavery?
• How did religious groups outside the mainstream of American Protestantism reflect American culture, even in the act of rejecting it?
Text 1. Bryant/Freneau
Text 2. John Mayfield
Text 3. Alexis de Tocqueville
Text 4. Frederick Douglass
Text 5. George Fitzhugh
Text 6. Charles Colcock Jones
Text 7. Henry David Thoreau
Text 8. Mormons
Topic Framing Questions
• How did the various people living in the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century respond to the emergence of a national market economy?
Text 1. Charles Sellers
Text 2. Hezekiah Niles
Text 3. Elias Boudinot
Text 4. Lewis Cass
Text 5. James Glover Baldwin
Text 6. George Fitzhugh
Text 7. Henry David Thoreau
Text 8. Harriet Beecher Stowe
5. America in 1850
Topic Framing Questions
From the perspective of an American in 1850, either Northern or Southern (remember, you don’t know what’s going to happen over the next 15 years):
· How volatile is America in 1850?
· What holds the nation together? What is pulling it apart?
· How serious is the Southern threat to leave the Union?
· Is the Compromise of 1850 a triumph of nationalism or sectionalism?
· Will the Union survive?
Text 1. John C. Calhoun
Text 2. Daniel Webster
Text 3. William Henry Seward
Text 4. Henry Clay
Text 5. Henry David Thoreau
Text 6. Harriet Beecher Stowe
Text 7. Frederick Douglass
Additionally: Edgar Allan Poe
“The Fall of the House of Usher; ” Concepts: Romanticism in Poe, Elements of the Short Story–setting, single effect and theme
“The Oval Portrait”: Concepts: frame story, cause and effect
“The Black Cat”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The American Scholar;” “Concord Hymn”
Concepts: writing about history
Henry David Thoreau: from Walden; from “Civil Disobedience”
Concepts: Historical Context
Anti-Transcendentalism: Hawthorne and Melville
Nathaniel Hawthorne: “The Minister’s Black Veil”
Concepts: Anti-Transcendentalism, parables
Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment;” “The Birthmark;”
Concepts: Anti-transcendentalism, symbolism, theme:* “Bartleby the Scrivener”
Webquest: Romanticism in American Art
Visit The EmilyDickinsonMuseum
Emily Dickinson: selected poetry
Concepts: Style, unconventional punctuation and capitalization, brevity of lines and stanzas; figurative language, quatrains.
Gods and Generals
“Preface to the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass: “Concept: America as the subject of poetry
“Song of Myself:” Concepts: Style, free verse, author’s attitude
“Beat! Beat! Drums!” Concept: symbols.
Mark Twain: Selections
Harriet Beecher Stowe
* Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Webquest: Early Photography/or Songs, Paintings and Photographs of the Civil War
Period-The American Dream and African-American Identity 1860-1920
Topic Framing Questions
• What challenges did the newly freed African Americans face immediately after the Civil War?
• What did freedom mean to the newly freed?
• What resources did recently emancipated African Americans possess as they assumed life as free men and women?
• How did African Americans define and exercise power in their first years of freedom?
Text 1. The Moment of Freedom
Text 2. Booker T. Washington
Text 3. W.E.B. Du Bois
Text 4. Charles W. Chesnutt
Text 5. Citizens
Text 6. Reconstruction
Text 7. Migration
“My Bondage and My Freedom”
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
From Mary Chesnut’s Civil War Journal
“The Gettysburg Address”
“Letter to Mrs. Bixby”
Booker T. Washington: Up From Slavery
Matthew Brady Portraits
Matthew Brady and the Civil War
Civil War Photographs Homepage
Robert E. Lee “Letter to his Son”
Walt Whitman Revisited
“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”
Concepts: Elegy, Free verse
Civil War Journals/Hypermedia Composition
“An Occurrence at OwlCreekBridge“
Concepts: Point of View, Sequence of Events, Irony
* The Devil’s DictionaryI870-1930 –Reconstruction through Harlem Renaissance
Topic Framing Questions
• How did African Americans create personal and group identity after emancipation?
• How did the challenge differ for those who were previously enslaved and those who were not?
• How is Christianity central to African Americans’ search for identity in this period?
• How does a culturally disenfranchised group create a “usable past” that guards truth yet nourishes the future?
Text 1. Charles W. Chesnutt
Text 2. W.E.B. Du Bois
Text 3. Self Image
Text 4. Public Image
Text 5. Racial Identity
Text 6. History
Text 7. Culture
Text 8. Africa
Topic Framing Questions
• What roles did institutions play in African American life at this time?
• In what ways did institutions shape and reflect African American identity?
Text 1. Power
Text 2. Associations (I)
Text 3. Associations (II)
Text 4. Education
Text 5. Leadership
Text 6. Religion
Text 7. Business
Text 8. Family
4. Politics- 1865-1917
Topic Framing Questions
• What forms of political action did African Americans initiate? For what goals?
• How was political action affected by the increase in discrimination and violence during the 1890s?
• How did black leaders frame their political objectives for their white audience?
• To what extent did black political action affect the lives of ordinary African Americans?
Text 1. Racial Politics
Text 2. The Race Problem
Text 3. Segregation
Text 4. The Vote
Text 5. Lynching
Text 6. Goals
Text 7. Action
Topic Framing Questions
• What gains and setbacks mark the period of 1907 to 1917 for black Americans?
• To what extent did African Americans set their own paths forward?
• How were the lives of ordinary black people affected by black and white leadership?
• What identity had African Americans created, as a group, between 1865 and 1917?
• What insights could black Americans take forward into the postwar years and the 1920s?
Text 1. 1913: Fifty Years
Text 2. Two Views
Text 3. The NAACP
Text 4. Protest
Text 5. Popular Culture
Text 6. World War I
Text 7. 1917: Forward
Additionally, some of the following:
“The Story of an Hour”
Concepts: Irony, the role of women in society
O’ Henry Collection
* The Gift of the Magi
Henry James: selected work
* Daisy Miller
** Individual Research Paper: First Draft Due
Webquest: Hypertext: “How the Other Half Lives” Social Reform in 19th century
- · The Gallery of Social Photography
Modernism in American Short Stories: Anderson to Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
Concepts: Symbolism, Allusions, Flashbacks, Point of View, Diction
Parody: The Modern Humorist: Funny parodies of famous poems
The Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes; Paul Laurence Dunbar; Charles W. Chesnutt; James Weldon Johnson; Claude McKay; Zora Neale Hurston
Blue Book of Grammar
Selected short stories
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Norton Anthology of Poetry 5th edition ed. Margaret Ferguson
Merriam Webster Vocabulary Builder
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
A World of Ideas edited by Lee Jacobus
NationalHumanitiesCenter Toolbox Library: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/index.htm
EARLY COLLEGE EXPERIENCE AMERICAN STUDIES
THIS COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT AND IN ORDER TO RECEIVE CREDIT AT THE UNIVERSITY THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA MUST BE MET:
1. PROPER FORM MUST BE FILLED OUT AND FEES PAID BY DUE DATE
2. BOTH THE MIDTERM AND FINAL EXAMS MUST BE TAKEN REGARDLESS OF GRADE. UCONN REQUIRES THESE EXAMS.
3. FINAL GRADE FOR THE COURSE MUST BE AT LEAST A “C” IN BOTH THE ENGLISH AND U.S. HISTORY SECTIONS OF THE COURSE
4. WHEN A STUDENT SUCCESSFULLY MEETS THESE CRITERIA THEY WILL EARN 3 CREDITS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT.
MRS. BARIL WILL TEACH THE ENGLISH SEGMENT OF THE COURSE FOR WHICH STUDENTS WILL RECEIVE AN ENGLISH CREDIT AT THE HIGH SCHOOL. THIS IS THE UNITED STATES HISTORY ASPECT OF THE COURSE FOR WHICH YOU WILL RECEIVE A SEPARATE CREDIT. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL AMERICAN STUDIES IS WORTH TWO CREDITS WEIGHTED ON THE HONORS LEVEL.
THE UNITED STATES HISTORY SECTION OF THIS COURSE WILL BEGIN WITH WORLD WAR II AND PROCEDE THROUGH THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND ECONOMIC ISSUES THAT EVOLVED FROM 1945 TO THE PRESENT DAY. THE OVER-RIDING FOCUS OF THIS COURSE WILL BE TO CONTINUE TO ADDRESS THE QUESTION OF WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS WHICH MAKE THE AMERICAN CHARACTER UNIQUE TO THE WORLD.
IN THE COURSE OF COVERING THIS MATERIAL A SERIES OF FIELD TRIPS WILL BE ARRANGED AND PARTICIPATION IS MANDATORY AS THESE EXPERIENCES ARE IMPORTANT IN ACHIEVING THE GOALS PROGRAM.
GOALS OF THE COURSE:
1. TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THE UNIQUENESS OF THE THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN TERMS OF “WHO AN AMERICAN IS”.
2. STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF PAST EVENTS TO THE WORLD OF TODAY.
3. STUDENTS WILL PRACTICE THE SKILLS OF FORMULATING OPINIONS BASED ON RESEARCH AND PRESENTING THOSE IDEAS IN A PURSUASIVE MANNER.
4. STUDENTS WILL PRACTICE AND IMPROVE THEIR WRITING SKILLS USING THE SCHOOL WIDE RUBRIC.
5. STUDENTS WILL TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THEIR LEARNING PROCESS THROUGH INVOLVEMENT IN CLASS DISCUSSIONS, SELFASSESSMENT OF THEIR STRENGTHS AND NEEDS, AS WELL AS REFLECTING ON THE QUALITY OF THEIR WORK AND HOW IT CAN BE IMPROVED.
6. THE STUDENTS WILL EXPERIENCE A COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE IN A GRADUAL AND EFFECTIVE MANNER AIMED AT BETTER PREPARING THEM FOR THE TRANSITION TO THE COLLEGE CAMPUS.
THE GRADING SYSTEM THAT WILL BE USED IS MADE UP OF TWO MAJOR SEGMENTS; EVALUATIVE EXERCISES AND HOMEWORK.
1. A MAJOR WRITTEN EVALUATIVE EXERCISE WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE END OF EACH UNIT. EACH EXERCISE IS ANNOUNCED AHEAD OF TIME AND THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EXTRA HELP BEFORE EACH TEST.
2. THE TEST WILL BE MADE UP OF THREE SECTIONS: SHORT ANSWER, IDENTIFY & GIVE IMPORTANCES, & AN ESSAY
3. THE ESSAY WILL OFTEN BE GIVEN IN ADVANCE AND SHOULD BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE TEST DAY.
4. ALL TESTS COUNT TWICE.
1. ALL HOMEWORK IS GRADED AND WILL COUNT ONCE. YOU MAY EXPECT ASSIGNMENTS ON A REGULAR BASIS AND THEY WILL ALWAYS BE GIVEN IN WRITING WITH THE DUE DATE ON THE BOARD. NATURALLY I’M ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR EXTRA HELP.
2. TYPES OF HOMEWORK WILL INCLUDE:
- PERSUASIVE ESSAYS
- VARIOUS TYPES OF PROJECTS
- GEOGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION
- CASE STUDIES
3. RESEARCH USING PRINT SOURCES
4. RESEARCH USING ON-LINE RESOURCES
5. STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO MEET DEADLINES, HOWEVER, SHOULD YOU NEED AN EXTENSION PLEASE SEE ME PRIOR TO THE DAY THE ASSIGNMENT IS DUE. THESE EXTENSIONS WILL BE HANDLED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS.
IN THIS CLASS WE WILL PARTICULARLY ADDRESS THOSE ACADEMIC PARTS OF THE MISSION STATEMENT WHICH FOCUS ON THE STUDENT BEING ABLE TO WRITE EFFECTIVELY, PRACTICE RESEARCH SKILLS, INTERPRET AND UTILIZE DATA, AND BE ABLE TO CONVEY IDEAS AND FELINGS THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS.
THE RULES OF THIS CLASS WILL REFLECT THE SOCIAL ASPECTS OF OUR MISSION STATEMENT WHICH REQUIRE THAT STUDENTS WILL UNDERSTAND THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH INDIVIDUAL WITHIN OUR CLASSROOM, RESPECT INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, AND WILL REQUIRE A STUDENT TO FUNCTION AS A POSITIVE PARTICIPANT IN THE GROUP. ALL STUDENTS WILL BE EXPECTED TO EXHIBIT APPROPRIATE STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR AND PRACTICE EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
American Studies II
Content Theme: America in Conflict
I. The Origins of the Cold War
A. Growth of Communism
1. basic philosophy of communism
a. theory of history
b. theory of value of labor
c. theory of bloody revolution
d. theory of dictatorship of the proletariat
2. Soviet Union & People’s Republic of China
a. Lenin & Stalin
b. Mao’s defeat of the Nationalist Chinese
3. Expansion of Communism
a. Iron Curtain of Europe
b. spread into southeast Asia
B. The Truman Administration
1. Foreign Policy
a. Domino Theory
b. Truman Doctrine (containment policy)
c. Berlin Airlift
d. Origin of Korean conflict
e. The Korean War
f. support of Israel
2. Domestic Issues
a. racial unrest
b. labor unrest
c. civil rights proposals
d. Taft-Hartley Act
e. desegregation of the military
f. The Fair Deal
C. The Eisenhower Administration
1. International Situation
a. nuclear arms race
b. repercussions of Korean Conflict
c. origins of Viet Nam
d. Arab nationalism
e the Cuban situation
f. rise of Khrushchev
2. Foreign Affairs
a. U2 Incident
b. NATO & SEATO
c. Eisenhower response to Viet Nam’s situation
d. invasion of Lebanon
3. Domestic Affairs
b. Desegregation – Brown vs Board of Education
c. Gov. Faubus and Little Rock
d. young generation’s perception of change
e. rise of the military-industrial complex
D. The Kennedy Years
1. The Cold War
a. Bay of Pigs
b. Cuban Missle Crisis.
c. growing crisis in Viet Nam
d. detente with Soviet Union
2. The Domestic Front
a. Martin Luther King
b. Space Race
d. James Meredith & Medger Evers
e. First wave of Cuban immigration
f. Assassination of John F. Kennedy
E. The Johnson Administration
1. Foreign Crisis
a. Latin America – Dominican Republic
b. Viet Nam
2. The Great Society
a. Riots in America
b. rise of black militancy
c. war on poverty
e. changing cities
f. affirmative action
h. changing role of women
i. Robert Kennedy Assassination
F. The Nixon Years
1. Foreign Affairs
b. Invasion of Camodia
c. the Paris Accords
d. Exiting Viet Nam
e. rise of nationalism in 3rd world countries
f. recognition of China
h. U.S./Soviet relations
i. Arab-Israeli relations
2. Domestic Affairs
a. Formulation of OSHA
c. Executive Privilege & Presidential Power
d. Silent Majority
e. KentState crisis
f. Conservative Supreme Court
g. Watergate Crisis
h. Nixon Resignation
G. President Ford
1. Intermediate Presidency
a. pardoning of Nixon
b. restoring of faith in presidency
a. rising oil crisis
b. Mayaguez Crisis
H. Presidency of Jimmy Carter
1. Foreign Affairs
a. Human rights issues
b. Helsinki Accords
d. full diplomatic relations with China
e. Russian invasion of Afganistan
f. American Reactions to invasion
g. Camp David Accords
i. Central American Diplomacy
j. Iranian Crisis
2. Domestic Affairs
a. Political realignment
b. role as a response to the Nixon years
c. economic inflation
d. worsening gas crisis
I. Ronald Reagan – counter revolution
1. Foreign Affairs
a. renewed nationalism & concept of Am. exceptionalism
b. Military buildup
c. Soviet/American Relations
d. Arms race
e. rise of Gorbachev
f. Central America
g. Reagan Doctrine
h. Iran/Contra Affair
2. Domestic Affairs
c. New Federalism
d. Native American Relations
J. George Bush Presidency
1. Foreign Affairs
a. the collapse of the Soviet Union
b. Central American relations
c. Desert Shield & Desert Storm
2. Domestic Affairs
a. the changing American
b. revisions in immigration policy
c. Native American gambling
d. Women’s rights
e. The Aging American
f. culture vs counter culture
g. economic crisis
h. environmental crisis
i. rise of the computer culture
j. Rodney King/Los Angeles Riots
k. Rise of 3rd parties
K. America of Today
1. The Clinton Years
2. The George W. Bush Years
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies/English Curriculum- American Studies II
Unit: Unit 1 – America in Conflict – The Cold War
|Students will be able to identify the basic concepts of communism||Students will read 1984 by Orwell in English & discuss the 4 theories of Communism in History||Novel – 1984, excerpts from the Communist Manifesto, excerpts from current publications||Will include essay, using the rubric,reader responses, objective tests, and participation in discussions|
|Students will be able to discuss the significance of the American Response to what is seen as the threat of communism||Research and discussion of the Domino Theory and the Containment Policy||Related excerpts from the National Experience and the Social Issues Resources System||Will include discussion, written responses, thought papers using relevant writing rubrics|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies/English Curriculum- American Studies II
Unit: 2 – Americans In Conflict – Racial, Labor & Artistic Changes
|Students will be able to identify causes for racial and labor unrest||Various readings, the novel Light in August, film study using “Little Rascals”||Light In AugustLittle RascalsClip of Gone with the Wind||Written responses, journal entries,essay writing using the writing rubric.|
|Students will analyze the effects of the unrest on the political climate||Discussions on the causes of the unrest, both racial and labor, research political responses to these causes||Political cartoons of the period, readings of specific incidents of labor unrest, the Taft-Hartley Act||Written Open ended question responses,Written summation of the political responses, Using the rubric, a written analysis regarding the effects of the responses|
|Students will identify the changing trends in art and music||Museum visit, Playing music from previous period and Compare to examples from this period, Art teacher(s) will present a lesson on Abstract Impressionism, Students will create their own Impressionistic work or compose a piece of music representative of this time period||Art of Jackson Polluck, & William deKooning, music of Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as others. Art materials for student use, samples of music from previous periods||Socratic seminar on significant changes which took place in art and music, presentations of student work and discussion of how they reflect the new art|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies/English Curriculum- American Studies II
Unit 3: America in Conflict – Changing American Family
|Students will analyze the causes and effects of the changes in the nuclear American family||Read Catcher in the Rye, view clips from American television from the 50’s depicting “ideal” family life, viewRebel Without A Cause, read Man in the Gray Flannel Suit||Catcher in the RyeLeave it to Beaver episodesFather Knows BestRebel without a Cause, Man in the Gray Flannel Suit||Presentation, Journal entries, essays using the writing rubric|
|Students will be able to discuss the Concentric Theory of Urban development||Lecture on The Concentric Theory,Field trip to New York||Teacher notes, photographs relating urban, suburban changes||Written analysisbased on rubric|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies/English Curriculum- American Studies II
Unit 4: Changing American Character – The Eisenhower Years
|Students will be able to evaluate the conflicting issues related to the developing arms race and growing nationalism||Library research on developing nations,Discussion on results of research, developing political cartoons reflecting these issues||Media center resources both printand on-line.||Rubric based research paper, complete political cartoons|
|Students will analyze the changing roles of America in the international scene||Lecture & note taking, research on Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the growing problems of Viet Nam||Teacher notes, media center resources, both print and on-line.||Formal Testing including both objective and open ended questions, essay|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies Curriculum – American Studies II
Unit 5: The Changing American Character – The Kennedy Years
|Students will practice decision making strategies regarding international events of the Kennedy Administration||Use of Case studies involving actual incidents such as the Cuban Missile crisis allowing students to determine what would be appropriate responses.Role playing of a mock Cabinet meeting||The film; 13 Days in October, research articles relating to the incidents included in the case studies||Presentation of policy briefs with supporting rationale for decisions, preparation and presentation of arguments during mock cabinet meeting|
|Students will identify and analyze the changing nature of the American Civil Rights||Research & readings on the role of NAACP, research the philosophies of King, Malcom X, Betty Friedan,.Write a comparative essay on the philosophies of King vs Malcom X.Discussion on implications of Friedan’s role of women.||Media center access,both printand on-line. Excerpts from autobiography of Maxcolm X and the Femine Mystique. Profiles of Courage, film – “Malcolm X, excepts from Martin Luther King’s speeches||Correct comparative essays, assess the preparation & presentation during disussion on role of women, journal entries|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies Curriculum-American Studies II
Unit 6: The American Character – The Johnson Administration
|Students will compare the practices of the Great Society to the conditions of the Eisenhower years and analyze the significance of the differences||Research the policies of Johnson’s Great Society, review the Eisenhower conditions, small group work, large group discussion, creative project illuminating values of either generation||Library mediaFilm: Berkeley in the 60’s.Excerpts from texts by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Huey Newton, Gloria Steinam, Native AmericansEssays on poverty||Using the appropriate rubric, Compare/contrast paperJournal entriesPresentation|
|Students will identify cause and effects of Southeast Asian Policies of Johnson Administration||Library researchHawks and Doves debateProtest speechesSmall/large group discussions||Library mediaFilm: VietnamdocumentariesText: Tim Obrien,Vietnam poetry||Student preparation & participation in the debate, grading of protest speeches according to the distributed rubric, journal entries, creative project|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies Curriculum-American Studies II
Unit 7: The American Character – The Nixon Years
|Students will analyze the changing view of America as seen by selected foreign countries||Lecture, note taking, small group research, large group discussion, case studies||Library/media center, news articles,essays on related topics||Objective & essay evaluative exercise,Journal entries, using the rubric, written responses to case study issues|
|Students will practice skill of identifying cause and effect relating to the issues of civil unrest||Readings on Kent State, lecture and discussion on the role of the changing Supreme Court, readings and discussion on Watergate & Nixon resignation||Film: “All The President’s Men”, readings on selected topics, Protest songs||Persuasive essay, based on rubric,formulate a class newspaper, film analysis, debate on assessment of Nixon as an American President|
Montville Public Schools
Social Studies Curriculum-American Studies II
Unit 8: The Changing American Character – The Transition Years
|Students will analyze the causes for the selection of Gerald Ford as the replacement President||Research the appropriate Constitutional requirements regarding the line of succession, research the actual process used to replace Nixon, research the selection of Ford||Library/media center, news films of the period, the U.S. Constitution,||Analytical paper using the writing rubric|
|Students will assess the presidency of Jimmy Carter in terms of his goals as compared to the results||Lecture, student presentations on various incidents of Carter’sadministration, discussion on the assessment of the value of these incidents||Readings, news film, notes, excerpts from Carter’s book, essays on human rights||Objective and subjective evaluative exercise, presentation and reading responses|
The Course: Welcome to American Studies! In this course, you will be learning about the political, economic, and social developments in America through literature, cultural studies, and historical inquiry. Upon completion of this course, you will earn credit for two courses, one credit for social studies on the honors level and one credit for English at the Honors level. You will also receive credits from the University of Connecticut. We will tell you more about this very soon…. Instructors: Ms. Amanda Lister American Literature Ms. Heather Wohlgemuth American History email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org AmandaLister@yahoo.com or email@example.com HeatherWohlgemuth@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Schedule: A Days: 1 Prep (185)/Team meeting (289) 3 Room 225 American Studies 5 Prep 7 Room 185 Freshman English B Days: 2 Room 185 Freshman English 4 Room 225 American Studies 6 CAFÉ duty waves 3&4 8 Room 185 Freshman English Schedule: A Days: 1 Prep 3 Room 225 American Studies 5 Room 229 US HISTORY 7 Room 229 US HISTORY B Days: 2 Prep 4 Room 225 American Studies 6 CAFÉ duty waves 3&4 8 Room 229 US HISTORY After school: Room 185 (2:10-2:50) Most days I will leave my classroom promptly at 2:50 and will be in the drama wing until some godforsaken hour. After school: Room 223 (2:10-2:50) Tuesdays and Thursdays work best for me. Please let me know in advance if you are coming in for extra help. Theme for the Year: “The American Identity.” What does it mean to be an American? Who defines national identity? How is that identity perceived differently amongst different groups of Americans, and in different periods of America’s history? Course Breakdown: The Course is divided into thirteen units, which are approximately three weeks in length. At the end of each unit, you will be called upon to formulate an essay that assesses your knowledge of the literature, culture, and historical information provided in the unit. You will use the essential questions below to provide you with a conceptual focus for the unit. These questions will also help you to formulate your unit essays, so it is a good idea to begin thinking about the “EQ” at the beginning of the unit. Unit One: Colonial America Essential Question: What colonial American values most contributed to shaping an American identity? Unit Two: The Revolutionary Period Essential Question: Who were the true patriots? The loyalists or the revolutionaries? Unit Three: American Romanticism Essential Question: Why is there always a conflict between society and the Romantic sentiment? Unit Four: Slavery, Division, and Reunion/Realism Essential Question: Was the Civil War the second American Revolution? Unit Five: The American Frontier Essential Question: Could Native American and Western European cultures have co-existed in America? Unit Six: Industrialization, Urbanization, and Immigration Essential Question: To what extent was industrialization beneficial to the development of America? Unit Seven: Imperialism/WWI/Aftermath of the War Essential Question: To what extent did WWI alter the American psyche and, as a result, American culture and literature? Unit Eight: Progressivism/Modernism, American Reform Essential Question: How did writers and artists respond to the social, political, and economic changes prior to and after the crash of 1929? Unit Nine: WWII (1941-1945) Essential Question: Was WWII a “good war?” Unit Ten: The Cold War and Conformity/Non-Conformity in the 1950s Essential Question: To what extent did Americans in the 1950s succeed in creating “their” utopian vision? Who was neglected from that vision? Unit Eleven: Civil Rights Movement Essential Question: Conflict or Compromise-what was the better strategy in the Civil Rights movement? Unit Twelve: Upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s Essential Question: Did activism in the 1960s and 1970s lead to dramatic economic and social changes? Unit Thirteen: Material America- 1980s-Today Essential Question: Are we at a historical pinnacle? Is the American Empire solid or on the verge of collapse? Grading Rationale: Writing 25% Quizzes 20% Tests 25% Homework 15% Class work/Participation 15% National History Day and the Junior English American Author Paper Importance of History Day By the end of the first quarter, you will have completed a successful National History Day project. History Day is also a Manchester High School graduation requirement, so it is absolutely essential that you submit a quality project. History Day Theme History Day calls upon students to research and interpret a historical topic related to an annual theme. The theme of History Day this year is “Innovations in History- Impact and Change.” History Day Topic You will formulate a thesis, find data and evidence to support your thesis, and present your findings in an appropriate format. You will work individually to find primary and secondary sources on your subject in libraries and museums, interviews, and visits to historical sites. You will be responsible for following all rules outlined in the NHD rulebook. We will be going over how to craft a thesis statement as well as how to conduct historical research within the next few weeks. We look forward to a wonderful year with all of you!
CANTONHIGH SCHOOL AP HUMANITIES
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION
Open to juniors, AP Language is a college-level course designed for serious students willing to commit a considerable amount of time and energy to developing powerful reading skills, informed analytical thinking, and polished, persuasive writing. The course is taught in conjunction with A.P. U.S. History and offers a survey of American literature beginning with the Puritans and ending with contemporary writers. Students are expected to take both AP exams in May.
GOALS & METHODS
The framework of the course rests firmly on two goals – analysis and argument.
Students entering the course are expected to be proficient readers and will develop more powerful reading skills as we read a wide variety of. texts throughout the year. Students will learn to carefully unpack a piece of writing for audience, intent, tone, figurative language, and will become proficient with rhetorical devices and strategies and frequently practice prose analysis in preparation for the AP exam. Moving beyond comprehension and analysis, students will expand concepts from their reading to formulate sophisticated connections between texts, amid historical context, and within the world around us. Emphasis is on higher order thinking, and students receive a Bloom’s Taxonomy chart to evaluate their own progress and set future goals (see p.6).
Major fiction texts are arranged chronologically to compliment U.S. History units. Students read a wide variety of nonfiction speeches, essays and articles within each time period (frequently primary sources). In addition, AP preparation includes prose from other nations and eras and from contemporary writers.
Discussion and oral presentation are also emphasized in the course. Students will have the opportunity to work individually and in small groups for formal class presentations. In addition, upon the completion of each novel, students will participate in a graded discussion based on the Harkness philosophy. Discussions are completely student-driven. Material must be well prepared in advance, and all must participate (see p.6).
Students will also gain visual and auditory analysis skills (again, employing higher level thinking) by exposure to primary sources including original documents, artwork, speeches and films from various eras of American history.
Students are expected to move far beyond the five paragraph essay. Working on various types of writing assignments, they will be encouraged to develop individual voice. The writing process is emphasized. Each formal paper will entail planning, drafting, revising, and peer editing. Students will be required to use Power Outlining to plan their writing. A major goal for the year is that students will objectively view their own writing and will carefully edit for a polished finished product.
Regarding technical command, students will be required to regularly visit Diana Hacker’s website for grammar and usage practice (http://www.dianahacker.com/). MLA conventions are mandatory for all typed work and all typed work must be submitted to Turnitin.com by the end of the marking period.
►Weekly, issue-oriented journals, 1-3 pages, MLA. Mini-Op-Eds. Topics can range from world affairs to neighborhood altercations. Writers should briefly explain the issue, then argue their opinion. Due every Monday.
►Formal papers about each major work.
►Timed writings (2-3 times/month) – argument, rhetorical analysis, synthesis – to prepare for the AP exam.
►Research based group projects for various history/English units during the year
►Reflections on writing progress and higher level thinking,.
►Writing portfolio – best work, revised, edited and compiled at the end of the year,
SAMPLE TIMETABLE FOR FORMAL ESSAYS
(Whole class and teacher conferencing)
Day 1 thesis development (begin with questions, formulate answers
Day 2 working thesis & Power Outline
Days 3-7 draft
(Whole class and teacher conferencing)
Day 8 Individual revisions for content and organization, peer input (2-3 other readers)
Days 9-12 Revision
(Whole class and teacher conferencing)
Day 13 Individual final editing/proofreading, peer editing
Day 15 Final paper submitted
Formal papers 30%
Timed essays 20%
TIME LINE PROJECT
What events, discoveries, novels, poems, essays, speeches, treaties, battles, cultural trends are important to us today? What has shaped our country and made us the people we are?
Over the course of the school year, we will construct a Time Line that includes what you consider to be the most important things. A standard text book will help, but it will be up to you to research a given time period and come up with what you believe profoundly impacted America in the past and continues to be important today.
The class will be divided into 4 groups. The 4 areas of consideration are: Political, Scientific, Social/Cultural, Economic. Your group will have a chance to focuson each of the areas (we’ll rotate each marking period). Additionally, one group will be responsible for creating a Power Point summary of the Time Line.
Note on your calendars when Time Line days occur. You are each responsible for turning in a list of your top 10 items, 3-4 lines of explanation for why each should be included, plus a citation for each item. As a group, you will meet and agree on the top 5 to 10 items per category. You must be prepared to argue and support your viewpoint. The whole class will vote on a maximum of 15 per time period. You will receive a history quiz grade for your individual Time Line submission and a group test grade in English for the Power Point. The Power Point should include a brief explanation of the item, an illustration, and a citation (if necessary).
When you research, be sure to keep in mind the major themes of the course:
►Building new worlds: exploration, expansion & constitutionalism
►America’s struggles with war & peace
►The American Dream: myth versus reality
►America’s “us vs. them” attitudes: sexism, racism & immigration
WITCH TRIALS PROJECT
Many factors contributed to the Salem Witch Trials. Which were most significant?
Work with your group to read the background material and build a case for your assigned factors. Be prepared to present your case verbally and turn in a summary (bullet points) of your key arguments (with sources noted). You will receive both a history and English grade.
1. SOCIOLOGICAL/HISTORICAL – those factors related to any conditions caused by the creation of, history of, and actions of societies, particularly the history and conditions of Salem.
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL/BEHAVORIAL – those factors related to the motivations and resulting behaviors of both individuals and groups (i.e. related to what we think of as “human nature”).
3. WITCHCRAFT/RELIGIOUS – those factors related to the religious beliefs, customs, and practices of people, including those actually defined as occult arts (white/black magic, etc.).
4. SOCIO-ECONOMIC/POLITICAL – those factors which are related to the financial and political conditions of the people of Salem at the time.
5. SCIENTIFIC/BIOLOGICAL – those factors related to the actual scientific explanations of what happened, generally factors which are more clearly seen now than then.
Five Historical Perspectives on the Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692.
Chronology of Events Relating to the Salem Witchcraft Trials (original doc)
Map 1 The Geography of Witchcraft: SalemVillage, 1692
Franklin, Benjamin. A Witch Trial at MountHolly
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (film)
AP US History Lesson Plans and Lecture Notes – Witch Trials (charts)
The Examination of Sarah Good, March 1, 1692 (original doc)
Examination of Tituba, March 1, 1692 (original doc)
The Examination of Rebecca Nurse, March 24, 1692 (original doc)
Warrant for the Arrest of Elizabeth Proctor & Sarah Cloyce (April 4, 1692) (original doc)
The Examination of Bridget Bishop, April 19, 1692 (original doc)
Two Letters of Gov. William Phips (1692-1693) (original doc)
LOWELL FACTORY NEGOTIATIONS
Reading – “Lowell Sixty Years Ago” – diaries of life in the mills
Scenario: The factory owners of Lowell have decided to cut wages to become more competitive with other factories in the textile industry. When notified of a pay cut, the young women ofLowell decide to confront their employers and make their demands. The women have threatened to strike and, as a result, management has decided to meet with them. Present conditions:
girls’ average salary $6/week
working hours 5 A.M. to 7 P.M., ½ hour for breakfast & dinner
room & board $1.25/week
management pays $.25/week to the boarding houses
every girl pays $.37/month to support the church
Management – Your goal is to maximize profits by making the factories as efficient as possible. Decide upon a wage and five sensible rules for the young women which will lead to increased productivity.
Labor – Your goal is to improve your pay and working conditions, including hours, breaks, leisure opportunities, etc. Decide upon a wage you’ll accept and five benefits.
The Task – Each group will prepare a proposal. The labor group that manages to get the most money and best benefits package gets an A, second a B, the rest a C. The management group that negotiates the least amount of money and the most productivity=enhancing package gets an A, second a B, the rest a C. Failure to reach an agreement in 15 minutes gets both teams, labor and management, a D
Huck Finn Synthesis Essay
Reading Time: 15 minutes
Suggested Writing Time: 40 minutes
Directions: The following prompt is based on the accompanying eight sources. This question requires you to integrate a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Refer to the sources to support your position; avoid mere paraphrase or summary. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument. Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.
Mark Twain and his novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have faced consistent criticism since the original day of publication. The novel is regularly near the top of any banned book list. Critics agree that Twain and his story of a young boy’s adventures on the Mississippi richly deserve the controversy.
Read the following sources carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least four of the sources, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that Huck Finn deserves its controversy. Refer to the sources as Source A, Source B, etc.:
Source A Beckett
(Jamie Beckett, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/17/95 (African American Parent Coalition rationale for pressing to ban the novel)
Source B Twain
(Twain, Mark. “Only a Nigger.” Buffalo Express, August 26, 1869)
Source C Chadwick-Joshua
(Chadwick-Joshua, Jocelyn. The Jim Dilemma, Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn. University of Mississippi Press, Jackson, 1998 – excerpt on “benevolent slavery”)
Source D Hearn
(The Annotated Huckleberry Finn. Edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. Norton, New York, 2001 – copies of original illustrations of Jim and Huck)
Source E Hemingway
(Hemingway, Ernest. The Green Hills of Africa. Scribner’s, New York, 1935.
“…all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.)
Source F Kennedy
(Kennedy, Randall. Nigger.The Strange Case of a Troublesome Word. Random House, New York, 2003 – excerpt on Aunt Sally “Killed a nigger” conversation)
Source G Concord
(Boston Globe, “No “Huckleberry Finn” for Concord” March 17, 1885 – original article on Concord Library’s decision to exclude the book from its shelves)
Source H Brown
(Brown, J.D., “Racism and Huck Finn”, http://www.wesleyan.edu/~jdbrown/worddocs/racismhf.html Feb. 27, 1994 – opinion essay)
THE GREAT GATSBY ESSAY ASSIGNMENT
Using The Great Gatsby and the excerpt from the Prologue of The Real American Dream, A Meditation on Hope by Andrew Delbanco as your focus, write a 5-7 page essay on the American Dream. Develop a thesis that includes your explanation of what you believe has happened to the original, bright, shining, optimistic dream. Include at least 3 other novels that we have read this term (including summer reading). Do not research this topic. Write using only the novels themselves, your understanding of Delbanco, your knowledge of history, and your own ideas.
Thesis and Power Outline Monday, April 2
Draft Thursday, April 5
Final draft Tuesday, April 10
Final paper Friday, April 13
Grading for Harkness Discussions:
A Full class participation. No interruptions. No side conversations. Students build on one another’s ideas. Questions & responses at Bloom 5 or 6
B Full class participation. Minimal interruptions No side conversations. Students build on one another’s ideas. Questions & responses at Bloom 4 or 5
C 90% class participation. Several interruptions. Minimal side conversations. Students build on one another’s ideas. Questions & responses at Bloom 3 or 4
D Disjointed. Ill-prepared. Little focus. Bloom level 2 or 3.
(For an explanation of the Harkness Philosophy visit the Phillips Exeter website: http://www.exeter.edu/admissions/147_harkness.aspx)
BLOOM’S TAXONOMY (Student handout)
- 1. Knowledge – factual answers, recognition, testing recall
who where define identify
how name select numerate
why label choose describe
what omit specify recount
tell when match memorize
know list record recall
- 2. Comprehension – translating, interpreting, extrapolating
cite show discuss indicate
tell explain classify translate
infer identify describe recognize
report locate summarize paraphrase
- 3. Application – to situations that are new, unfamiliar, or have a new slant
use determine solve transfer
produce select exhibit establish
teach predict develop stimulate
collect experiment relate demonstrate
compute discover illustrate dramatize
- 4. Analysis – breaking down into parts, forms, identifying motives or causes, making inferences, finding evidence to support
probe identify correlate diagram
survey compare illustrate differentiate
dissect examine prioritize distinguish
outline discover combine categorize
contract organize separate investigate
- 5. Synthesis – combining elements into a pattern not clearly there before
make initiate rearrange plan
generate assemble adapt collaborate
invent compose create propose
hypothesize develop predict formulate
translate integrate incorporate design
- 6. Evaluation – according to some set of criteria, and state why
rate justify criticize appraise
judge decide support conclude
revise assess validate interpret
choose contrast determine critique
support recommend defend compare
Bartholomae, David, and Anthony Petrosky. Ways of Reading. An Anthology for
Writers. Fifth Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.
Comley, Nancy, David Hamilton, Carl Klaus, Robert Scholes, and Nancy Sommers.
Fields of Writing, Readings Across the Disciplines. New York: St. Martin‘s, 1984.
Dean, Nancy. Voice Lessons. Gainesville: Maupin House, 2000.
Eschholz, Paul, and Alfred Rosa. Subjects /Strategies, A Writer’s Reader. Ninth Ed.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.
Lanham, Richard. Analyzing Prose. Second Ed. New York: Continuium, 2003.
Lunsford, Andres, John Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument.
Second Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001.
Peterson, Linda, John Brereton, and Joan Hartman. The Norton Reader. Tenth Ed. New
York: Norton, 2000.
Ravitch, Diane. The American Reader. Words That Moved a Nation. Second Ed. New
York: HarperCollins, 2000.
Mind the Gap: Seminar in American Studies
This class seeks to understand the origins of American racial inequality and the factors that sustain it today. Our essential question: why is there racial inequality in America? We begin by considering the achievement gap, a present-day manifestation of American racism and the civil rights issue of our day. We then step back and use an historical approach to probe the political, social, and cultural origins as well as the ideological underpinnings of American racial inequality. By investigating the mechanisms that buttressed and sustain inequality, we hope to better understand the problem of the achievement gap. We will consider the agents and structures of inequality, as well as the agents of equality and resistance.
Our focus skill areas will be annotation (reading for evidence), seminar (arguing with evidence), and argumentative essay writing (evidence-based writing), and these three items will comprise a significant portion of your grade.
Students will take this class concurrently with Seminar in Academic Writing, which will culminate in an independent research project related to the essential question and the focus on the achievement gap. Both courses are for-credit UConn Early College Experience courses. Students benefit from all the library resources that UConn has to offer and earn seven transferable UConn credits.
Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
Roberta Fiske-Rusciano and Virginia Cyrus, Experiencing Race, Class, and Gender in the United States
Jonathan Kozol, Shame of the Nation
Chester B. Himes, If He Hollers Let Him Go
Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi
In addition, I will regularly provide you with articles, primary source documents, and a variety of other texts.
(1) Classroom Binder – You will need a three ring binder (at least 1 ½ inches) to keep handouts. I WILL GIVE YOU MANY, MANY, MANY HANDOUTS which you will need to keep organized. You need to bring this binder to class every day.
(2) 3-inch Binder – You will also need a larger binder to keep at home. This is where you will transfer handouts after we’ve finished each unit. Since exams are cumulative, it’s super important that you keep all your notes and handouts throughout the year.
(3) Three-hole Punched Spiral Notebook – You will need a spiral notebook for note-taking during classroom lectures and discussions.
(4) At least 2 blue or black pens – Come to class each day prepared with an appropriate writing utensil.
Optional/recommended items: a highlighter, post-it notes
|Homework/Reading Responses||20%||Each week, students will be required to (1) actively read the assigned reading in preparation for Monday’s class, (2) write discussion questions based on the assigned reading in preparation for Wednesday’s class and (3) write a brief reading/discussion response after Wednesday’s discussion.Active reading will be checked each Monday. (This should look like margin notes in the text or notes taken in a separate notebook.)The weekly discussion questions are due each Wednesday.
The weekly reading/discussion responses are due each Friday. Occasionally, additional or different HW may be assigned.
|Class Participation/RIGOR||20%||Students will be graded daily on participation and RIGOR (see rubric below).In addition, each student will lead one Wednesday discussion section during the course for a grade. Before his or her assigned discussion section, each student-leader will meet with me to plan the class. Other grades in this category include: class work (independent or group), short presentations, notebook checks, etc.|
|Summative Assessments||45%||Each quarter, students will participate in at least one formal, graded seminar. Seminar performance will be graded according to the AECHS seminar rubric and count as a summative assessment.After each seminar students will be required to write a formal essay. The essay question will require the students to tie together the unit’s reading assignments and connect them to the essential questions of the course: Why is there racial inequality in America? Why is there an achievement gap? How accurately has AF defined the problem? How promising is the solution it proposes? Students will receive specific parameters for each essay. One or more of the essays may require students to do a limited amount of additional research and reading.Other summative assessments might include essays, research papers, and exams.|
|Formative Assessments||15%||Quizzes, exit slips, shorter writing prompts. Students will take regular reading quizzes to ensure preparation for and full participation in class.|
RIGOR is essential for your success in this class and for the success of this class. Class discussion is stimulating when participants come prepared and participate generously with probing questions and critical insights. The expectation is that every student will be mentally prepared and present. There are no desk-potatoes allowed.
|Raise your hand to speak|
|Inquire and interrogate
|Grit through challenge and confusion
|Open to new ideas
|Respect the speaker
READING ASSIGNMENTS: All students when beginning a college-level course find the reading assignments challenging. The assigned texts are college-level. This course is a wonderful opportunity to prepare to be successful in college. But this will require an extra dedication of time, effort, and grit. I will help you through this process; you must be patient with yourself, stick to it when it is difficult, and commit to always completing reading assignments, including full and careful annotation. SUCCESS IN THIS CLASS REQUIRES FULL AND CAREFUL COMPLETION OF EVERY READING ASSIGNMENT.
INCOMPLETE /LESS THAN TOP QUALITY WORK: I only accept neat, complete, top quality work. If you find that you do not understand a homework assignment, you should take steps to contact a classmate or me for help before it is due. As should be assumed, I have zero tolerance for academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.).
MAKE-UP WORK: It is your responsibility to find out what you missed, obtain notes, handouts, etc., and schedule make-up quizzes, exams, etc. in the unusual event that you are absent from class. Please refer to the AECHS late work penalty system for maximum credit guidelines for late work.
APPENDIX 1: PROCEDURES
We have much to learn in a brief period of time. The following procedures are designed to maximize instructional time and ensure your success.
Beginning Class – The beginning of class is “sacred time” during which we will conduct a whole host of important activities including: warm up activities, quizzes, submit HW, address the agenda, and frame the entire lesson. With such important business, it is imperative that you arrive quickly, go directly to your assigned seat, place your homework on the corner of your desk to be checked, and get to work on the Do Now. Please do not wait for instructions each day; begin as soon as you enter the room. Have a college-ready start.
During Class – Our goal is to minimize disruptions.
- · RIGOR – It is important that you display RIGOR at all times in our class. While SLANT posture is still important, high school requires more than just sitting up and tracking the teacher. I expect that you will be asking difficult questions of me and your classmates, and really wrestling with the challenging topics we study. There are no “desk potatoes” in this class.
- o A note about cold-calling: Remember that cold-calling is a method that teachers use to encourage participation. Try to avoid this prompting by the teacher by taking the initiative to raise your hand. You don’t want to be reliant on this crutch in college – professors don’t cold-call. When students don’t participate, college professors assume that they are unprepared, unengaged, incompetent, or all three. I want to see most hands up every time I ask a question.
- · Submitting Work – I will check or collect HW and other assignments in class. If you are handing in an assignment late because of an absence, be sure to hand it directly to me, preferably during class while I am checking or collecting current HW. Do not put assignments in my mailbox, slip them under the door, leave them on my desk, or send them via e-mail.
- · Trash, Sharpening Pencils, other Disruptions – Please do not interrupt class by getting out of your seat to dramatically walk across the room to the trash barrel or to sharpen your pencil. Use your discretion to find the appropriate and least disruptive time to throw something out, etc. Class participation is more than encouraged, it is required. But be sure that you participate appropriately, raising your hand and speaking to classmates respectfully.
- · Bathroom – Use the bathroom during transitions. In the rare case of an emergency, please seek permission to go during class and have your pass filled out and ready to be signed.
- · Food and Drink – Food and drinks are not permitted in class.
- · Other Prohibited Items – Along with food and drink, I do not want to see lip gloss, Vaseline/moisturizer, electronic devices, or toys of any sort. If I see or hear them, I will take them away. Gum is not allowed in school. I will report every instance of gum chewing. Remember that repeated gum offenses will result in Friday detention.
- · Ending Class – Refrain from “packing up” your belongings or lining up at the door before the official end of class – as indicated by your teacher and not the clock. You will be dismissed ONLY when the following conditions are met:
- · All students are seated.
- · All students are quiet and tracking the teacher.
- · All desks are in place.
- · The room is neat and clean. Any materials or books from the classroom are returned to their homes, not stashed under desks, on the floor, or on the heaters.
APPENDIX 2: DAILY PARTICIPATION RUBRIC
Did the student:
- Have a college-ready start?
- In his/her seat at the start of class with materials, HW, and Do Now out.
- Begin the Do Now without reminder.
- Show urgency overall.
- Generously participate in class discussion?
- Hand is up in response to most questions.
- Take class notes without prompting?
- Illustrate that he/she is prepared for class?
- physically (assignments, notes, etc. complete and accessible)
- mentally (carefully prepared the reading, jotted down questions, ideas, areas of confusion)
- Show RIGOR?
- Raise his/her hand to speak
- Inquire and interrogate
- Grit through challenge and confusion
- Open to new ideas
- Respect the speaker
Class participation points are a way to reward you for your hard work in school (and a way for us to prepare for the expectations of a college seminar). They are not meant to be a corrective to negative behavior in class. However, it should go without saying that a student’s participation score will suffer if he or she has to be asked to pick up his or her head, stop chit-chatting, or pay attention.
APPENDIX 3: SCOPE AND SEQUENCE
Students will also receive shorter articles and documents regularly.
|Mind the Gap: The Achievement Gap and its Consequences||In this unit, we will establish the problem of the achievement gap. In addition to reading the assigned text, students will conduct their own research on the problem and its consequences for racial minorities.||
|Achievement First: One Approach to the Achievement Gap||According to Achievement First, the non-profit charter school management organization that founded our high school, why is there an achievement gap? Students will use interviews, AF’s website, its promotional materials, and other sources to define this approach. The AF approach will serve as a working theory for our class.||
|IDEAS 1: Defining America Racially||This unit will focus on three topics:
|IDEAS 2: Race in Modern America||This unit will explore the interconnections between immigration, progressivism, and imperialism, and seek to understand how ideas about race, including social Darwinism and “scientific racism”, played into all three areas of American life and policy.||
|STRUCTURES: Race and Power||In this unit, students will identify the ways in which social, political, cultural, and economic structures have maintained racial inequality. At the conclusion of this unit, students will make an historical assessment of AF’s theory as defined in Unit 2. Based on the historical evidence, why is there an achievement gap?||
|AGENCY: Black Culture and Resistance||In this unit, students will sample historical texts that position black culture as a force of resistance to slavery and racial inequality. Texts speak particularly to the passive black role implicit in the structural approach of the previous unit; white, social scientific critiques of the black family (Moynihan); and the elevation of singular male figures in the Civil Rights Movement (Dr. King especially).||
|Legislating Civil Rights: School Desegregation and Resegregation||This unit will begin with a study of Brown v. Board of Education. After examining and discussing several analyses of the case, students will be asked to assess its significance in the long histories of American racial inequality and the achievement gap.To what extent does AF operate segregated schools? Will this ultimately help or hinder AF as it works toward the mission of closing the achievement gap?||
AMST 1201: Introduction to American Studies
Professor: Dr. Pamela Bedore
Office: Academic Building 114D
Office Hours: Tu 8-9:30AM & Th 11AM-Noon, and by appointment
Phone: (860) 405-9135
This course is designed to be both challenging and practical. We’ll focus our intellectual energies on the question: what does it mean to be an American? We’ll approach this question from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach, starting with an interdisciplinary unit on the meaning of 9/11 ten years later that culminates in a campus-wide symposium on the topic. We’ll then do four units, one on each of the tracks that make up the American Studies major: I) History, Culture, and Society; II) Literature and the Arts; III) Political Science, Economics, and the Law; and IV) The Americas. As we consider the complex issues at stake in each track of the American Studies major, we’ll also discuss the various academic plans of study you might want to pursue, considering the possible configurations of majors and minors available to you.
Attendance: We’ll be doing a lot of exciting discussion in class, and I hope to see each of you every day. Of course I understand that you may have to miss a class occasionally. The key is to keep in touch. If you need to miss a class, let me know what’s going on; you can still get some points by completing the HuskyCT reading quiz before class begins.
Cancelled Classes: I have only cancelled class unexpectedly a few times in my career as a professor. However, I like to be prepared. Therefore, on the first day you will fill out a questionnaire letting me know how you would like to be reached (email or text message) in the unlikely event that I need to cancel our class. Make sure you check this medium every day before heading to class. I will not notify you individually if the campus is closed due to inclement weather.
Academic Integrity: I like the statement of a colleague, Tom Deans, so much that I am citing his policy on Academic Integrity. He writes: “We will conduct ourselves as a community of scholars, recognizing that academic study is both an intellectual and ethical enterprise. You are encouraged to build on the ideas and texts of others; that is a vital part of academic life. But you are obligated to document every occasion when you use another’s ideas, language, or syntax. Please note that ignorance of academic conventions or of UConn’s policies never excuses a violation; therefore, please consult with [me], the Writing Center, or a reference guide if you have questions at any point during the semester. I encourage you to study together, discuss the readings outside of class, share your drafts freely during peer review and outside of class, and go to the Writing Center with your drafts. In this course, those activities are well within the bounds of academic honesty. However, when you use another’s ideas or language you must formally acknowledge that debt by signaling it with a standard form of academic citation. Even one occasion of academic dishonesty, large or small, on any assignment, large or small, will result in failure for the entire course and referral to Student Judicial Affairs. For an articulation of University policy on academic honesty please see UConn’s Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code: http://community.uconn.edu/the-student-code-appendix-a/.”
Academic Center: The Academic Center, in ACD 315, provides tutoring and group study from Monday-Thursday 8AM-7PM and Friday 8AM-12PM. It’s a great place to talk about various academic disciplines, to discuss a specific reading you’re having trouble with, or to get peer feedback on an assignment. I would strongly encourage you to make use of this welcoming work space and the free tutoring available there.
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. 1985.
DeLillo, Don. Falling Man. 2007.
Radway, Janice, et al, Eds. American Studies: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).
You must bring your book to class every day. The Co-op has all books in stock in new and used paperback editions. You may choose to use a different edition, although pagination may vary by edition, so using a different edition may be a little frustrating during class.
Online Quizzes (20%): You will have open-book online quizzes due before most of the readings in the class; these quizzes will be available at least 24 hours before class, and will become unavailable at 9:25 AM on the day of class in which the reading is due. These are intended to help you understand the key points of the readings and will be graded on a curve. The length of quizzes varies and the time allotted will be two minutes per question. Please work alone to complete these quizzes.
Discussion Postings (10%): Because we only meet twice a week and we encounter American culture in our lives much more often than that, we will conduct out-of-class discussions through our HuskyCT page. Every week your contributions to online discussions will be graded out of 10. One long (200+ words) and insightful posting will earn you 10 points, as will two or three shorter and yet still insightful postings. You should post every week, but you may post on readings from the past, present or future. You may also choose to post in response to other students’ News Updates. For the purposes of discussion, the week ends Sundays at 11:59PM.
Class Participation (10%): Your participation grade will be based on the quality of your contributions to class discussion. Obviously, you need to be present to contribute, so make sure you come to class every day. If you have to miss a class, send me a quick email to let me know that.
News Analysis (1000 words) (10%): During our first class you’ll sign up for a date for your news analysis. You’ll be submitting two different documents by the date you’ve chosen. Find one news story that’s covered on three different sources (these can be newspaper, magazine, radio, or TV news). All your sources should be freely accessible online. Prepare a 1000-word paper to be submitted to me in which you identify and analyze the main controversies surrounding the news story. Prepare also a 300-word summary of your analysis (along with your online sources) to be posted on HuskyCT.
The Impact of 9/11 Paper (1200 words) (10%): This assignment will allow you to do some data collection and analysis. It’s in three parts.
Part 1: Design: Create either an interview script or a short survey designed to learn more about the impact of 9/11. You can pursue any of the questions that have arisen in class or follow up on an interest of your own. Please feel free to work with a friend on data collection if you’d like. We’ll peer review the data-collection instruments in class on 9/8.
Part 2. Data Collection: Conduct the interview or distribute the surveys. For the interview, you’ll be doing it at a time that’s convenient for you and your subject(s). For the survey, we’ll use surveymonkey and treat each other as subjects. Therefore, you’ll be filling out lots of surveys for your classmates.
Part 3. Data Analysis: Please write a 1200-word paper making an argument about the impact of 9/11, using the data you’ve collected as evidence.
Handmaid Paper (1700 words) (20%): Write a 1700-paper on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Your task will be to identify an interesting topic, find three or more scholarly sources on this topic, and write an argumentative paper. We’ll talk about developing good literary theses in class, and you’ll get lots of support at every step of the way, including the option of handing in a draft ahead of the due date if you’d like early feedback from me.
Final (Individual or Group) Research Project and Presentation (20%): We’ll spend the last few days of this class working on final presentations, which can be on any subject you’d like. You may work individually or in groups of 2 or 3 (no larger groups, please). Your task is to develop a research question that links to American Studies in some way. You will then do research to answer this question, and present your answer to the class in a presentation in which each person has 3-4 minutes. You will also prepare a 750-word summary of your research. The presentation and paper are both very short, but that makes this task harder, not easier. You can include overflow information in HuskyCT discussions, of course. The final presentations will occur in lieu of an exam in our regular classroom in our assigned exam slot:Friday, December 16th, 9:30-11:30AM.
Bonus: You can earn up to 20 additional points (on a grading scheme in which the course comes to 1000) by attending events on campus that relate to the theme of this course. These events are listed as part of the syllabus, but do let me know if other relevant campus events come up. You’ll get 4 points per event you attend.
8/30. Introductions and Welcome
- Syllabus review
- Class Activity: 9/11 Retrospective
- News Analysis Sign-Up Sheet
- In-class Writing: What does it mean to be an American?
9/1. Introduction to American Studies as a Discipline
- Read: “Introduction” (Anthology pp. 1-6)
- Discussion: After having read about American Studies, is this the right class for you? What do you think you’ll gain from this class? Was the article hard or easy to read? Do you think this introduction is welcoming, intimidating, or something else entirely?
- Presentation: An interdisciplinary approach to Detective Fiction
- Remember that the online reading quiz is due by 9:25 AM today and before all classes. [If you haven’t used HuskyCT quizzes before, you may want to do the Practice Quiz just to get some practice with the mechanics of online quiz-taking.]
Interdisciplinary Investigations: 9/11 Ten Years Later
9/6. Falling into 9/11
- Read: Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (pp. 1-153; chapters 1-8)
- Discussion: How are the main characters introduced? To what degree do the events of 9/11 shape these characters’ lives, relationships, selves?
9/8. Falling (cont)
- Read: Falling Man (pp. 155-246)
- Discussion: To what degree do you think a work of fiction is useful in addressing big questions around 9/11? What other types of written, visual, or auditory approaches to dealing with 9/11 have you seen?
- Due for Peer Review: Draft interview questions or surveys
9/8. 12:15-1:15PM Learning Community Event: Join students and faculty members for a discussion about our cultural memorials and responses to 9/11 including the variety of responses from the Arab American community. What do these aesthetic responses express about us as a collective community? (Lynne Rogers, facilitator)
9/12. 7-8PM Student Affairs Event: Haider Hamza, an Iraqi journalist, will be speaking in the Branford House.
9/13. Falling Man Retrospective
- Please come to class with your favorite sentence from the novel in hand for our final day of discussion on this novel.
- Surveymonkey tutorial
9/14. Survey Links
- Due (by midnight by email to Pamela.email@example.com): the link to your survey.
9/15. Redefining Citizenship after 9/11
- Read: Leti Volpp. “The Citizen and the Terrorist” (78-88)
- Discussion: Volpp is a big fan of air quotes. What assumptions do you think underlie her use of quotations with “common sense” (79), “Arab terrorists” (78), etc.? What impact might these quotations have on the reader?
- Academic Center Workshop: Academic Integrity scenarios
9/16. Survey Completion
- Due (by midnight): Please make sure you’ve completed the surveys of all your classmates (which you received by email yesterday). Thanks!
9/20. Intersections of Religion and Culture after 9/11
- Read: Moustafa Bayoumi. “Racing Religion” (99-108)
- Due by midnight (electronically): 9/11 Data Analysis Draft (optional)
9/22. Rethinking Guantanamo
- Read: Amy Kaplan. “Where is Guantanamo?” (445-457)
9/27. The Meaning of “PATRIOT”
- Read: Donald E. Pease. “The Patriot Acts” (550-557)
- Due in class: Individual Presentations
- Due by midnight (electronically): 9/11 Data Analysis
9/27. 12:15-1:15PM Learning Community Event: Join students and faculty members as we discuss Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (Pam Bedore, facilitator)
9/29. Symposium Attendance
- Today our class will meet at the annual American Studies symposium, whose theme this year is 9/11 Ten Years Later. Please attend as many symposium sessions as you are able throughout the day. You’ll get 4 bonus points for each session you attend.
Track I: History, Culture, and Society
10/4. Thinking about War Memorials
- Read: Marita Sturken. “The Wall and the Screen Memory: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial” (540-549)
- Discussion: What function does a war memorial serve? Have you ever visited the Vietnam Memorial or any other war memorial? If so, what impact did it have on you? If not, would you visit one in the future?
10/5. 5PM-Midnight Academic Center Event: Join other writers for a write-a-thon at the Academic Center to work on whatever writing you’re doing, whether it’s academic writing for this or other classes or creative writing for Avery Point’s The Barque or for upcoming creative writing contests. Pizza will be served at 10PM.
10/6. Forced Removal (literally and metaphorically)
- Please Note: We will not meet in person on this day, as I am unavoidably out of town. We will therefore forcefully remove our discussion to a different sphere and conduct the entire class online. I expect each of you to contribute at least three comments to our online discussion.
- Read: Tiya Miles. “Removal.” (41-48)
10/6. 12:15-1:15PM Learning Community Event: Join students and faculty members for a discussion of “The bad science and fallacies of global warming naysayers” (Moshe Gai, facilitator)
10/11. Construing Surgery
- Read: Virginia L. Blum. “The Patient’s Body” (365-371)10/13. How History is Made
- Read: Michel-Rolph Trouillot. “Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History” (558-566)Track III: Economics, Political Science, and the Law10/18. Political Resistance
- Read: Yoko Fukumura and Martha Matsuoka. “Redefining Security: Okinawa Women’s Resistance to US Militarism” (49-56)10/19. 12:15-1:15PM Learning Community Event:Join students from Hist 1206, Living Through War, for a short presentation and book discussion of Children at War, which is about child soldiers in recent conflicts (Margaret Robinson, facilitator)
10/20. Advising, Registration, and Higher Education
- It’s almost time to sign up for spring classes. Bring your registration and advising questions. We’ll talk about the American Studies major and minor, and about any questions you might have in general about whatever plan of study you’ve set up for yourself. We’ll also check in on some issues in higher education, including the gender gap in retention.
10/25. Thinking about Shopping Centers
- Read: Lizabeth Cohen. “Commerce: Reconfiguring Community Marketplaces” (476-485)
- Discussion: Where do you do most of your shopping? Does this article provide you with new tools for thinking about your own consumption habits? What is gained/lost by thinking intellectually about such an everyday activity as shopping?
10/27. The Prison Problem
- Read: Ruth Wilson Gilmore. “The Prison Fix.” (486-491)
11/1. What is Money?
- Listen to: “The Invention of Money” on This American Life at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/423/the-invention-of-money
- Discussion: Did this program reveal anything about money that you hadn’t known before? In what ways, if any, does this program provide information that helps understand the current economic crisis? American culture in general?
11/3. Final Projects
- We’ll use this class to start preparing for our final projects in the class.
Track II: Literature and the Arts
11/8. Dystopian Literature
- Read: Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale (1-147, or Parts I-IX)
- Discussion: What are your predictions for the second half of the novel?
11/8. 12:15-1:15PM Learning Community Event: Join students and faculty members as we discuss Harry G. Frankfurt’s On Bullshit (Hans Dam Guerrero, facilitator)
11/10. Handmaid Complete
- Read: Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale (151-End, or Parts X-End)
11/15. Handmaid Discussion and Writing
- Bring at least three sources you’ll be using for your argumentative paper on The Handmaid’s Tale to class.
11/16. 5PM-Midnight Academic Center Event: Join other writers for a write-a-thon at the Academic Center to work on whatever writing you’re doing, whether it’s academic writing for this or other classes or creative writing for Avery Point’s The Barque or for upcoming creative writing contests. Pizza will be served at 10PM.
11/17. Handmaids and Reflections
- Discussion: Final notes on Handmaid and time to continue working on final presentations
- Due: Optional Draft of Argumentative Paper on The Handmaid’s Tale
Track IV: The Americas
11/29. Thinking about Globalization
- Read: Robyn Wiegman. “Romancing the Future: Internationalization as Symptom and Wish” (578-587)
- Due: Argumentative Paper on The Handmaid’s Tale
12/1. Global Cities
- Read: Saskie Sassen. “Global Cities and Survival Circuits” (185-193)
12/6. Case Study of Miami
- Read: George Yúdice. “The Globalization of Latin America: Miami” (493-505)
12/16. Final Presentations
- We’ll be doing final presentations instead of a final exam. We’ll be meeting on a Friday from 9:30-11:30.