American Studies | Finding Indiana
A350 | 25543 | Lofton

What is the state Iím in?  How do I begin to understand it?  This
course is an exploration of your present geographic location, the
state of Indiana.  Although any number of strategies could have been
used to explore this landscape (political, economic, sociological,
or anthropological), in this class we will focus on methodologies
traditionally associated with the field of American studies,
including archival research, literary analysis, and intellectual
history.  Topics included in our survey include the Indy 500, the
mythology of Johnny Appleseed, the novels of Booth Tarkington, and
biographical examinations of James Dean, Eugene V. Debs, and Madam
C.J. Walker.  Students will also examine state historical archives,
representations of masculinity in contemporary Hoosier sports,
evangelical expansion, and the globalization of Midwestern
agriculture.  Although our subject is Indiana, our focus will be on
the tactics of scholarship: How do we interpret texts?  What
constitutes historical argumentation?  What are the symbols of a
culture, and what do those signs signify about that culture?  And
what is this state I'm in?