Liberal Arts and Management Program | Making It In America: Myth & Reality
L216 | 12036 | Wendy Gamber


Is America a “land of opportunity?”  Has it always been? How have
Americans of different races, classes, ethnicities, and genders
defined the “American dream?” What roles have beliefs regarding
opportunity, success, and personal initiative played in making of
American national identity and in individual lives? To what extent
have these beliefs been beneficial?  To what extent have they been
harmful?

We’ll examine these questions by reading and discussing books and
articles by scholars and public intellectuals as well as various
primary sources including novels, autobiographies, and success
manuals.

This course begins with a historical perspective; exploring the past
helps us to understand the present and appreciate change and
continuity over time.  But we’ll also devote significant time and
attention to exploring the present and thinking about the future.
Our key goal will be to think critically about the “American dream”—
and its possible alternatives.