History | American Cultural History
A307 | 2964 | Friedman

A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section open to undergraduates only

Organized both topically and chronologically, the course investigates
several select topics in American cultural life and thought from the
late 19th century to the present.  Above all, we shall seek to
understand the changing sense of personal selfhood in specific ethnic
and religious groups, social classes, genders, and professions in
response to the decline of local communities, the rise of centralized
bureaucracies, and the mechanization and specialization of labor.
Subjective, perceived realities and the ways in which these
perceptions are expressed culturally shall therefore constitute our
central focus.

Among others, readings shall include John Bodnar’s "The
Transplanted," Alan Brinkley’s examination of potential for fascism
in depressionary America ("Voices of Protest"), Ellen Herman’s "The
Romance of American Psychology," and novels by Kate Chopin ("The
Awakening"), Richard Wright ("Native Son"), and David Guterson ("Snow
Falling on Cedars").  Films such as “Modern Times” ("Chaplin")
and “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” shall also be seen.  There shall
be two essay examinations, a mid-term and a final and a term paper.
A paper is also due on modern American culture.