ENAM 483:
Introduction to American Studies

Syllabus
v 1.0
last updated 12/06/00
 Texts: 
  • Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree.
  • Neil Howe and Bill Strauss, 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Fail?
  • Greill Marcus, Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock'n'roll.
  • Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
  • Neil Postman, Technopoly.
  • Wendy Griswold, Cultures and Societies in a Changing World.
  • Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.

Calendar of Meetings

8/30:Organization and Introduction 
  • Begin working on HTML Tutorial
  • Williams, Keywords
    • Capitalism, Community, Culture, Democracy, Equality, Ethnic, Family, History, Ideology, Nature, Race, Representative, Society.
9/04: Summer Reading I

Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Postman, Technopoly
Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycyle Maintenance
ASLAB #1
9/11: Summer Reading II

Howe and Strauss, 13th Gen
Marcus, Mystery Train
Griswold, Cultures and Societies
ASLAB #2
9/18: Classic Paradigms I: Cultural Maps and Master Narratives 
ASLAB #3
Recommended: 
  • Sacvan Bercovitch, The Puritan Origins of the American Self.
  • Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The Colonial Experience.
  • Michael Kammen, People of Paradox.
  • Perry Miller, Errand into the Wilderness.
Suggested: 
  • Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted.
  • David Potter, People of Plenty.

9/25: Classic Paradigms II: The Middle Ground: Early National Period to WW I 
ASLAB #2
  • George Washington, Farewell Address.
  • Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur,Letter III: What is an American?, and Letter IX: Description of Charlestownfrom Letters from an American Farmer.
  • Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle. 
  • Alexis deTocqueville,

    Volume I:

    Origin of the Anglo-Americans, and the Importance of this Origin in Relation to their Future Condition, Social Condition of the Anglo-Americans, The Necessity of Examining the Condition of the States Before that of the Union at Large, How it can be Strictly Said That the People Govern in The United States, What are the Advantages which American Society Derives from a Democratic Government?, Unlimited Power of the Majority in The United States, and its Consequences, The Present and Probably Future Condition of the Three Races that Inhabit the Territory of The United States.

    Volume II,

    Part I, The Influence of Democracy on the Action of Intellect in The United States: Philosophical Method of The Americans, Of the Principal Source of Belief Among Democratic Nations, Why the Americans Show More General Aptitude and Taste for General Ideas that their Forefathers, The English, Why the Americans have never been so Eager as the French for General Ideas in Political Affairs, How Equality Suggests to the Americans the Indefinite Perfectibility of Man, In What Spirit the Americans Cultivate the Arts, Literary Characteristics of Democratic Times, How American Democracy has Modified the English Language.

    Part II:

    The Influence of Democracy on the Sentiments of Americans: Of Individualism in Democratic Countries, Of the Uses which the Americans Make of Public Associations, That the Americans Apply the Principle of Self-interest Rightly Understood to Religions Matters, How Excessive Care for Worldly Welfare may Impair that Welfare, What Causes Almost All Americans to Follow an Industrial Calling, How an Aristocracy may be Created by Manufacures, How Democracy Renders the Social Intercourse of the Americans Free and Easy, How Democracy Affects the Relations of Masters and Servants, Influence of Democracy on the Family, Education of Young Women in The United States, How the Aspect of Society in The United States is at once Excited and Monotonous. from

    Democracy in America
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar.
  • Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.
  • Walt Whitman, selections from Democratic Vistas.
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History.
  • Andrew Carnegie, from The Gospel of Wealth 
  • Thorstein Veblen, Industrial Exemption and Conservatism,from The Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Henry Adams,Chicagoand The Dynamo and the Virgin,from The Education of Henry Adams.
Recommended: 

10/02: Classic Paradigms III: The American Studies Movement 
ASLAB #3
10/09: From American Studies to American(?) Cultural(?) Studies(?) 
ASLAB #4
Recommended: 
10/16: American Studies/Regional Studies: Professor Ed Ayers 
ASLAB #5
Suggested: 

FALL BREAK: 10/21-10/24

10/25: American Studies/ Public History: Professor Phyllis Leffler 
ASLAB #6
Suggested: 

10/30: Architectural History and American Studies: Professor Richard G. Wilson  Recommended:  Suggested:  Suggested: 
  • John Baeder, Diners.
  • Chester H. Liebs, Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture.
  • J. C. Andrews, The Well Built Elephant and Other Roadside Attractions.
  • Lois A. Craig, The Federal Presence: Architecture, Politics, and Symbols in United States Government Building.
  • John A.Jakle, The Gas Station in America.
  • James Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape.
  • Alan Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol.
  • Sam Bass Warner, Jr., The Urban Wilderness.
  • Richard Guy Wilson, The Making of Virginia Architecture.
  • Richard Guy Wilson,, The Machine Age in America 1918-1941.
  • Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House.
  • ArtSource: Electronic Resources in Architecture.
  • Government/Politics HomePage.
11/06: American Studies and Popular Fiction: Professor Stephen Railton 
ASLAB #8
Suggested: 
11/13: American Studies/Film Studies: Professor Walter Korte. 
ASLAB #9
Recommended: 
  • Andrew Bergman, The Gangster, The G-Man and the Cowboy and The Juvenile Delinquent from We're in the Money: Depression America and its Films.
  • Time Machine: 70 years of Science Fiction
  • In Focus, The Western
  • In Focus, Cliffhangers: The Golden Age of Serials
  • In Focus, Film Noir
  • James Monaco, How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, Multimedia
  • Paul N. Sammon, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner. 
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. 
  • Pauline Kael,Baby, the Rain Must Fall,The New Yorker, july 12, 1982. 
  • Paul Schrader,Notes on Film Noir,Film Comment, vol. 8, 1972. 
Suggested: 
11/20: Photography and American Studies: Professor John Bunch 
ASLAB #7
Suggested: 
Thanksgiving 11/23-11/26
11/27: American Studies/Mass Communications: Professor John Sullivan. 
OPEN LAB
Recommended:  Suggested: 
12/04: Folklife and American Studies: The Commiditization of Folk Culture. Professor Charles Perdue. 
OPEN LAB
Suggested: 
  • Neil Harris, Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum.
  • T. Jackson Lears, Fables of Abundance : A Cultural History of Advertising in America.
  • Charles Perdue, Weevils in the Wheat : Interviews with Virginia Ex-slaves.
12/11: Exams Begin 

Draft conference before 12/15

Final Projects due 12/18

SELF EVALUATION

Vacation Reading: Stephen J. Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World and America.

Vacation Projects:

  • Create a "Web Resources for Studying American Popular Culture" that includes at least 10 significant resources.

  • Prepare a brief critique of your final project from this course. You should include consideration of the following:
    • Organization and navigation;
    • the sense of audience;
    • clarity and coherence of the site's argument;
    • adequacy of materials to support that argument;
    • any additional materials or editorial changes that would make the site more effective.