02402/American Studies


Lower Division Courses

C051/H091. American Lives (3 s.h.) F S SS. Core: AC.

This course is an introduction to American Studies through the study of autobiographical writings--life stories--that give us insight into American values, conditions, aspirations, and conflicts. By looking closely at these American lives, students will meet people of various periods and backgrounds and become familiar with the way history has shaped lives, and the way individuals have both created and resisted the forces of change. The conflicting images and realities of American society will be explored.

0055. The American Scene (3 s.h.)

Provides an overview of the anthropological view of American culture. Ethnographic views of particular lifestyle groups based on ethnicity, region, class, age, etc. will be explored. Studies of the historical development of relationships and conflicts between groups will also be included. These will be linked together by the literature on the overarching themes, values, rituals, and institutions which characterize the national culture.

C062/H092. Work in America (3 s.h.) F S. Core: AC.

A broad discussion of work in the United States which takes a historical look at worker-management relationships, the organization of workplaces, the experiences of ordinary workers, and the experiences of different groups of people (e.g. ethnic minorities) in the workplace. The course will provide students with a perspective on major historical and cultural developments in the U.S. from the late nineteenth century to the present, using primary documents and secondary readings on the nature of work in America.

0086/H096. American Music (3 s.h.)

This class is designed as a survey course that looks at the cultural, historical, technological, industrial, artistic, and mythic attributes of American Music, primarily from after the Civil War until the present. The 20th century is highlighted, with special emphasis from the "Tin Pan Alley" era to today by investigating recorded popular music beginning in 1908 and by looking at genres and styles. Definitions of "American" music and "Popular" music will be discussed and analyzed. Movie musicals, soundies, concert films, and videos will be studied as well as audio recordings. Attention will be paid to socio-historical ramifications of American popular music as a cultural force and cultural expression.

Upper Division Courses

0100/H100. Topics in American Culture (3 s.h.) F S SS.

A special topics course, used for special material and approaches to American Studies that are either experimental in nature or not yet a regular part of the curriculum.

Note: Course content varies and students can obtain a description of the current version at the American Studies office. Mode: On-line sections may be offered.

0101. Contemporary Trends in the American Workplace (3 s.h.)

This course will focus on the development of new work arrangements, the attitudes of employees toward their jobs or careers, work expectations and rewards, and issues having to do with the meanings of work in the lives of individuals. "Contemporary trends" is intended to provide students with a clear perspective on what they can expect in their years at work.

0102/H193. Technology and American Culture (3 s.h.) S.

This course explores the way American values have shaped technology and how technology has shaped American life, placing contemporary problems in a historical perspective. Materials are drawn from social history, literature, visual arts, film, advertising, and polemical prose.

0103/H195. American Places: Home, City, Region (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Geography and Urban Studies 0274.

This course explores the importance of place in determining the character of American culture. A variety of materials, visual and textual, are used to examine the way our lives are shaped by the home, the design of the city, and the suburban and regional areas beyond the city. The extent to which places hold their identities in the face of mass culture and megalopolis is also explored.

0104/H194. The Arts in America (3 s.h.) F.

This course will examine the place of the arts in contemporary America, with an emphasis on the politics of culture. We will take a broad view of "art," encompassing popular arts, high arts, and what's in between. And we will look at some examples of how artists and writers have functioned within the contemporary art environment, and within a popular culture and material environment that undermine distinctions between reality and fantasy and between past and present (e.g., Disneyland). Representative figures will be examined from various art forms (literature, music, architecture, painting, photography) within an interdisciplinary context.

0105/H199. Ideal America: Reform, Revolution, and Utopia (3 s.h.)

Examination of some problems raised by key groups at various times, traditions and ideologies, and the successes or failures of each kind of response. Readings, films, lectures, and discussions. Includes the Shakers, Brook Farm, the Oneida Group, progressive reformers, vegetarianism and temperance, the I.W.W. (Wobblies), American Communism, agrarianism, and selected radical movements from the contemporary period.

0108/H198. Immigrant Experiences in America (3 s.h.) F S.

A study of major issues concerning immigrant experiences in the U.S., such as legislation regarding immigration, anti-immigrant social and political movements, immigrant efforts to assimilate (or to resist assimilation, or to accommodate to one degree or another). Students will be provided with basic history of the subject. They will also read accounts of life in the U.S. by immigrants and fiction about immigrant experiences. Most of the course will stress twentieth-century immigration. The main goal is to have students develop a sound knowledge of this crucial, complex subject.

0109/H109. Courtroom in American Society (3 s.h.) F.

This course will examine the relationship between our legal system and American society. Does the law shape social mores or is it merely a reflection of them? What role should the court play in protecting individual rights? We will study the evolution of American jurisprudence in the area of abortion, affirmative action, freedom of expression, separation of church and state, and examine emerging areas of legal debate including the right to same sex marriage, the legalization of prostitution and the constitutionality of Megan’s law.

0110. Museums and American Culture (3 s.h.) F.

This course will look at the historical development of museums in American culture, focusing on four changing "ideological" based patterns: mission-driven museums, standards-driven museums, market-driven museums, and assessment/accountability-driven museums. We will also look at museum "resources," like collections, facilities (the role of architecture), exhibits, programs, media, and personnel and how they are used under each of the four, ideological historically-based patterns. We will then look at the effect that "themed" entertainment industry has had on contemporary museums. Finally, we will examine some of the current issues that are central to the internal and external debate and discourse about museums, such as the role of diversity, museums as agents for community renewal, etc.

R112. African American Experiences (3 s.h.) Core: RS.

A summary of historical, social, political, and cultural developments with regard to African American experience in the U.S. Various themes, such as the enslavement, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, Garveyism, the great migration, depression and labor unions, the New Deal and the WPA, African-American involvement in the nation's wars, Civil Rights, Black Power, black arts movement, and Black Panthers are examined in an interdisciplinary context.

0114. Growing Up in America (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with History 0171.

This course will examine the changing perception and experience of growing up in the United States from colonial times to the present. It will argue that childhood and adolescence are social constructions that change over time. The course will explore the emergence of childhood and adolescence as distinct stages in the life cycle, the evolving role of the family in the process of growing up, and the increasing importance of social institutions other than the family in the lives of the young. Particular attention will be paid to the difference between growing up rich or poor, black or white, male or female, and rural or urban. Finally, it will consider the reciprocal relationship between popular culture and the lives of young Americans.

0116. UFOs in American Society (3 s.h.) S.

American society's reaction to the UFO phenomenon. Analyzes UFOs and the controversy that has surrounded them by studying the attitudes of various groups toward the phenomenon, including the military, the scientific community, the national UFO organizations, the "lunatic fringe," cult groups, charlatans, the entertainment industry, and the press.

W118/H192. The American Woman: Visions and Revisions (3 s.h.) F. Core: WI.

Cross Listed with Women’s Studies W206.

An examination of images and roles of women in American culture. Using fiction, poetry, and autobiography, we develop an understanding of stereotypes and myths and we relate these images to the real-life experiences of American women. The readings include all classes and many ethnic groups, and focus primarily on the twentieth century.

Mode: Lecture and on-line learning sections.

0121/H121. America in the 1950s (3 s.h.) F S SS.

This course explores the effects of McCarthyism and the Cold War on American intellectual and cultural life in the 1950s. It will also examine dissents from the consensus that gave rise to the rebellions and counterculture of the 1960s. Special attention will be paid to McCarthyism and the origins of the civil rights movement. Renewed stirrings of discontent amongst women will be considered, as well as the start of a new left and counterculture represented by the Beat Generation.

0124/H191. Political Protest and Culture in the 60's (3 s.h.) S SS.

Many see the 1960s as a time America fell apart—drugs, sex, anti-Americanism, and the loss of the work ethic. Yet the 60s produced the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War Movement, Vatican II, and the Counterculture. And then there was the music! Martin Luther King, the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, and the astronauts—fame and untimely death. What was it like when America still had hope ? Today, no politician runs as a "sixties person" (though they run away from it). But the world of your mother and father, and of all of us, is a product of those times. This course will explore this forbidden decade in a critical, curious, and friendly fashion. What happened? How did it change us as a society? and not change us? Why are so many still so angry about all that or miss it! What was the energy back then that forty years later still burns?

0125. Photography in America (3 s.h.) SS.

Cross Listed with Anthropology 0332 or Art History 0108.

An introduction and overview of the history of photography in America from its beginning in the 1840s to the present, emphasizing its relation to society and the arts. The course will cover both documentary and aesthetic movements, including such figures as Brady, Muybridge, Riis, Hine, Evans, Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Duane Michals, Cindy Sherman, etc. The impact of the Civil War, of westward expansion, of the Great Depression, of the Civil Rights movement, will be studied in relation to photography. Slides and readings on photography and American culture and on how the camera affects our seeing and thinking.

0126. Documentary Film and American Society (3 s.h.) F.

The last hundred years have seen an increasing effort to get closer and closer to the "reality" of life in the visual media (film, photography, video, and television). This course will examine that effort by looking at a group of works (mostly film) that take as their subject the very effort to record, or document, "reality." A number of issues will be explored: What is the place of documentary within American society, as information and as entertainment? and why are we so attracted to it? How close to "reality" can the visual media come? What forms can be used to document society? What are the social and cultural implications of the documentary mode?

0127. Media and American Popular Culture (3 s.h.)

Cross Listed with History 0174 or Journalism 0352.

This course will explore the role of media in the development of American popular culture, with particular emphasis on the cultural transformations brought about by mass media after 1880. Historical analysis will demonstrate the profound shift in media roles within the past century; from media expressions of popular culture before 1889, to media as generators of popular culture after that point. A by-product of this analysis will be the formulation of a critical definition of mass media in terms of a specific relationship between the media and the audience.

0128. Philadelphia Neighborhoods (3 s.h.) F S.

Cross Listed with Geography and Urban Studies 0065.

Students will be introduced to the development of the city of Philadelphia as seen from a neighborhood perspective. From Colonial times to the present, neighborhood and community are the primary means by which the city's residents experienced the growth and change of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Using archival resources over the World Wide Web, as well as the rich historical legacy of the region's museums, students will explore the development of the city's neighborhoods.

Mode: Lecture and on-line learning section.

0130. Architecture, Urban Design, and American Culture (3 s.h.)

An exploration of ways U.S. cities have been physically shaped over the past 100 years, paying special attention to the leading movements and theories concerning the growth and design of urban space. Readings are from topics such as: Olmsted and the park movement; the city beautiful movement; the modern city and the skyscraper; Lewis Mumford and the garden city movement; the organic city of Jane Jacobs; the postmodern city of Robert Venturi; the dystopian city. In addition to studying the literature of cities, the class explores Philadelphia as a case study, with students developing techniques of observation and analysis, in an effort to understand the city of Philadelphia within the broader framework of thinking about American cities.

0131/H196. American Frontiers (3 s.h.) S.

Reexamined from the perspective of the late twentieth-century, the American frontier becomes contested terrain between diverse groups of settlers and natives. With a geographic focus on America west of the Mississippi, this course looks at elements that were used to construct the myth of the frontier and the many elements that were left out. It incorporates Euro-American women, and persons of Latin American heritage, Asians, African Americans, and especially Native Americans into the story of the frontier of the 19th century and the west of the 20th.

0133. American Culture Abroad: Japan (3 s.h.)

Cross Listed with Anthropology 0272 and Asian Studies 0255.

In this course we will examine versions and varieties of American life that have become a part of Japanese society and culture. We have seen a tremendous curiosity for "things American" in Japanese daily life—but how has American culture taken shape in Japan? What kinds of transformations, reformulations and re-inventions have taken place? We will review Japanese adoptions and adaptations of language, "American" settings, architecture and design, foods and restaurants, clothing and fashions, popular films, television and advertising, and even holidays. Students will review and critically evaluate such films as: The Japanese Version, Mr. Baseball, Black Rain, The Barbarian and the Geisha, Tokyo Pop, The Colonel Comes to Japan.

R134/H134. The Literature of American Slavery (3 s.h.) F. Core: RS.

Slaves, slave owners, and abolitionists, men and women, perceived slavery in distinctive ways and recorded those perceptions in songs and poems, folk tales, autobiographical narratives and novels, speeches and tracts, travel accounts, journals, diaries, and letters. Through an examination of this rich oral and written literature, themes such as the character of slave culture, the relations between slaves and masters, the oppression of women under slavery, and the connection between abolitionism and feminism are explored. Lectures provide historical background and a context in which to read the selections.

R136. Asian American Experiences (3 s.h.) F S. Core: RS.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies R190 and History R163.

An introduction to the varied historical and contemporary experiences of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, South, and South Asian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. Explores economic, social, political, and cultural developments, beginning with the arrival of the Chinese in the 1830s and ending with the experiences of Asian-American immigrants and their communities today.

0137. Italian/American Literature and Culture: Off the Boat, From the Margin. Toward Mainstream (3 s.h.)

Between the earliest memoirs of Italian immigrants passing through Ellis Island and post-modern best sellers of Don De Lillo, Italian American literature and culture have undergone developments not unlike those of other ethnic groups. The focus of this course—which will also incorporate Italian - American films—is the evolution of narrative and lyrical forms and contents over the generations: the first generation wrote in various dialects of Italian with Old World rhetoric; the semi-Americanized second, in its filial piety, honored fathers and mothers in style and substance; the third and fourth, now American, have embraced innumerable tendencies (schools?) and modes of imagining and writing: Beat, italianitá, modernist, feminist, post-modernist. Students will get to meet with a good number of the writers studied.

0138. Historic Preservation in Philadelphia (3 s.h.) S.

This course uses Philadelphia as a case study to show how history can be read from the fabric of a city and why and how we go about preserving these buildings and structures. We will trace Philadelphia history from the counting houses and markets of the Colonial period through the factories of the 19th century, up to the automobile-oriented architecture of today. Students will become familiar with the battles to save our built history with the use of tax credits, easements, and the historic registers.

Mode: The class will include several walking tours of Philadelphia. .

W140/H190. Radicalism in the United States (3 s.h.) S. Core: WI.

A study of issues and traditions in the history of radical thought and behavior. Emphasizing the twentieth century, the course focuses on major social contexts and ideologies such as anarchism, militant unionism, socialism, and communism each of which has had a long and vibrant history in the U.S.

0148. Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia (3 s.h.) S.

Cross Listed with Latin American Studies 0148.

Puerto Ricans constitute the second largest Hispanic group in the country. This course examines the specific community of Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia and its relationship with other racial and ethnic groups and the social, political, and economic situation of Puerto Ricans in the city.

0151/W151. Asian American History (3 s.h.) Core: W151: WI.

A survey of the historical experiences of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, South, and Southeast Asian immigrants in the United States from 1849 to the present. Includes the processes of migration, family and community establishment, continuity and change in images of Asians in the U.S., and the impact of wars and recessions on the experiences of Asians settling in the U.S. Instructional methods include lectures, video screenings, discussion, and written assignments.

0152/W152. Asian Diaspora (3 s.h.) S. Core: W152: WI.

Cross Listed with History 0111.

Spurred by pressures of colonialism, economic change, nationalism, political repression, and war as well as individual needs and adventurism, Asians have migrated from their homelands to new regions of the world--within Asia as well as into North America, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, and Europe. In considering Asian diasporas, familiar terms such as Asia, American, Community, and Nation are called into question by the multiplicity of experiences and identities of those who have ventured out from Eastern regions of the globe. This course examines the social experiences and cultural productions of South Asians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Japanese who have journeyed to far-flung lands and the terms that can be employed to analyze their experiences and culture.

0153/W153. Asian Women in Transition (3 s.h.) S. Core: W153: WI.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0317 and History 0215.

This course introduces and compares the experiences of women in Asia and Asian women in migration to the United States in the modern period, including rural and urban women and ordinary and elite women in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Major topics include women and the family, women and work, and women as creators and activists.

0154. Introduction to Asian American Literature (3 s.h.) S.

This course surveys Asian American literature from its conception in the 19th century to its most recent developments. The course includes a close reading and critical analysis of prose, poetry, and plays from writers such as Sui Sin Far, Carlos Bulosan, Toshio Mori, Mary Paik Lee, Frank Chin, Bharati Mukherjee, Amy Tan, and Sara Suleri. Principally, the course identifies its subject matter as complex and eloquent cultural expressions reflecting unique, as well as ubiquitous, national experiences.

0155/W155. Asian American Topics (3 s.h.) Core: W155: WI.

A special topics course, used for presenting material and approaches to Asian American Studies that are either experimental in nature or not yet a regular part of the curriculum. Course content varies and students can obtain a description of the current version at the American Studies office.

0156. The Vietnam War (3 s.h.) F.

Cross Listed with Asian Studies 0256 and History 0183.

An attempt to probe in-depth one of the most significant and controversial episodes of recent American history. The history of Vietnam since the 19th century with equal emphasis on the First and Second Indochina Wars. The impact of the war on the domestic and international scenes and its multiple legacies. Television and film from the period and guest speakers.

0194. Field Work in American Studies (1-4 s.h.) F S SS.

The Field Study internship offers students the opportunity to relate academic interests to a variety of cultural and civic institutions in the Philadelphia area. Each three credits earned normally require ten hours work per week (during the summer sessions the number of hours is doubled) under faculty and institutional supervision. Individual readings and a final report or research paper provide a perspective on American culture.

Note: Special authorization required for all students.

H197. Quest for the American Dream - Honors (3 s.h.) F S.

This class examines the quest for the American dream among the many populations of America by looking at its consequences for the Native American, for the African American, and for the immigrant Chinese, Italians, and Puerto Ricans. Members of all these ethnic groups will be interviewed to try to understand their perspectives. We will take trips to Ellis Island and ethnic neighborhoods of New York and Philadelphia.

0200. Topics in American Culture (3 s.h.) F S SS.

A special topics course, used for presenting material and approaches to American Studies that are either experimental in nature or not yet a regular part of the curriculum.

Note: Course content varies and students can obtain a description of the current version at the American Studies office.

0294. Independent Study (1-4 s.h.) F S SS.

The student devises a program for independent study with his adviser and an instructor. Designed for those students whose research interests are not met in any established course.

Note: Special authorization required for all students.

W393. Senior Seminar in American Studies (3 s.h.) F S. Core: WI.

The capstone class required of all American Studies majors. Open to others with permission of instructor. A single topic is explored in an interdisciplinary context. Students write a major paper.

Note: This is a Capstone W course. Special authorization required for all students.

0394/W394. Senior Independent Study (1-4 s.h.) F S SS. Core: for W394: WI.

Prerequisite: American Studies majors only.

Provides the option of writing a senior essay on a theme or topic related to student's program of study.

Note: W394 can serve as the capstone W requirement. Special authorization required for all students.