L384 2093 SPERBER
Studies in American Culture

1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3 CR.

Topic: “College Life in Historical Perspective”

This course focuses on literary, journalistic, scholarly, and visual treatments of undergraduate college life in America. We will use Helen Lefkovitz-Horowitz’s Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present as a textbook for the course. We will also use an IMU Reader that will include excerpts from Ernest Boyer's College: The Undergraduate Experience in America, Anne Matthews' Bright College Years, Michael Moffat's Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture, and the instructor's book, Beer & Circus. In addition, we will read a variety of fictional works about college life and college sports, including stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Irwin Shaw, and Frank DeFord. We will also view such films as Animal House, Breaking Away, PCU, School Daze, Legally Blonde, and Where the Boys Are (1960 version).

We will spend part of the course on the sub-topic of intercollegiate athletics, particularly its meaning to regular undergraduates. For this sub-topic, we will read various articles and view such films as Blue Chips, The Program, Rudy, and Everybody's All-American.

Our ongoing concerns will be: What is the nature of undergraduate student life, and how has it evolved and changed during its history? What are the past and present connections between undergraduate student life and intercollegiate athletics? How have undergraduate student life and college sports been portrayed in literary and visual works, and what are some of the cultural, economic, and social reasons for these portrayals?

Student responsibility in the course includes a class presentation on student life at Indiana University during one decade of the twentieth century; a number of short papers; and a final exam. Students will have the option of doing a major project instead of the final exam. The major projects can consist of a research paper on any topic connected to the course, or a creative project, e.g., a short story or script or a short film or videotape on any topic prompted by the course.