What images emerge when we hear the words "single mother"? And when we place adjectives such as "white," "minority," "poor," middle-class," "gay," "working," or even "sexually active" in front of those two words, how might the constructed representations change, and why? Finally, how do specific historical and political moments in our semi-recent culture (e.g. the cold war, second-wave feminism, 9/11) shape or influence those representations? Restricting our analytical focus to American culture within the last century, this writing class will attempt to explore and respond to these questions and many more. As we examine a variety of sources - including fiction, several feature films, essays from diverse academic disciplines, episodic television, and advertisements - this course will require active engagement in course material (starting with a 2 page essay, culminating with a 7- 8 page formal paper), and possibly, brief group presentations. In other words, as we interrogate how concepts such as race, class, sexuality, and history locate themselves into what is culturally depicted as the American "single mother," we will also concentrate on college-level (critical) writing and thinking skills that should benefit students throughout their academic careers.