American Studies | Comparative American Identities Topic: The North in the American Imagination
A200 | 24813 | Don Maxwell


(3 cr. A & H) On the continent of North America, where is “the
North”?  What roles do boundaries and frontiers play in defining the
North?
Is it a physical space, an imagined place, or both?  What defines
the North?  Is it remoteness from other places?
What words, sounds, materials, images, signs, and symbols do
novelists, poets, musicians, painters, and sculptors employ to
express emotions or impressions of the North?
In this course we will explore the idea of the North in the
disciplines of history, literature, film, art, tourism, popular
culture, cultural studies, gender studies, anthropology, science,
and geography, starting in Guatemala and then moving north to
Mexico, the United States, and Canada.  Topics will include Mexican
immigration to the United States, the Underground Railroad, Vietnam
War–era draft evaders, American views of Canada, Arctic exploration,
travel and natural resources in Alaska.  We will read fiction by
Margaret Atwood and Jack London, view TV programs, films, and Web
sites; and examine art works.  Students will explore the North in a
topic of their choice in a 6- to 8-page paper.  Further requirements
include contribution to group projects, active in-class
participation, short writing assignments, and three exams.