Statement of Purpose
This course is designed to introduce students to both the field of American Studies and the use of
computing technology in the location, acquisition, analysis, and presentation of materials relating
to American culture.
The format of this course should, in some ways, seem usual and familiar: we will meet three
times a week in Pavilion VIII, you will be asked to do a significant amount of reading and
writing, and there will be something like a final examination. At the same time, I hope that, in
many ways, it will seem quite unlike any course you've had before.
- 1) Although we will meet together regularly, we are also going to construct a virtual
classroom. Each student will create their own HomePage on the World Wide Web from a self-paced tutorial. Each
HomePage will be the place where student projects are presented and all HomePages will be
linked together to form a Virtual Classroom.
- 2) The reading for the course includes some texts in the usual sense of the term,
printed texts/books/articles that will be available in Clemons Library (R) or (C). But some
texts are also available in The
Digital Reserve Book Room which is accessible from this syllabus.
- 3) Unlike most humanities courses, this course has a lab section, AS
LAB. Initially, we'll meet in Bryan 203 Monday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00. There, we'll
try to get everyone up to speed on the computing, hardware, applications, and html. After we've
done this -- and everyone is feeling comfortable about it -- we'll move into our own lab in Bryan
423. AS LAB will then become a workshop and help session concentrating on the tasks you're
- 4) And much of the work in the course is task-based: e.g.
- a) you will transform an article from print to electronic text suitable for inclusion in the Digital
Reserve Book Room;
- b) you will convert sections of de Tocqueville's Democracy in America to
hypertext by tagging it in HTML;
- c) you will create a hypertext extension to Virgin Land;
- d) you'll create another extension for Democracy in America.
- In addition, e) you will serve throughout the next year as a service librarian, for one of
the existing sections of The
American Studies Yellow Pages, and you will construct a new
- f) you will create a synoptic hypertext of a scholarly journal in American Studies or a related field;
- Each project will be posted on your HomePage by the dates indicated in the syllabus.