Syllabus+Spring+2011 - 1 What is America? Radical Visions...

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1 What is America? Radical Visions in American History and Culture AMST 100, Spring 2011 Instructor: Dustin A. Abnet Email: [email protected] Office Hours: Monday 3:45-4:45 Wells Library Cafeteria If you have any questions about any aspect of the course, please feel free to contact me or come to office hours. If you cannot come at the time I have listed, I am happy to schedule an appointment with you. Course Description In this course, we will explore the role of “radicals” in shaping the ways in which Americans have understood their country and its citizens. Beginning with the Revolution and concluding with the modern Tea Party Movement, the course explains how a wide variety of people have challenged and fought over the definition of their country and who was entitled to participate in it. We will analyze this topic in two broad ways. First, we will examine the cultural history of several movements typically associated with radicalism in this country, particularly nativist, racist, feminist, utopian, Marxist, ultra-conservative, and abolition/civil rights groups. Here we will pay close attention to how these groups have understood America and its history, their visions of an ideal America, and their influence on the broader culture. Second, we will explore the role of radicalism in American culture. Here we will try to understand the relationship between radicalism and American nationalism and the place of radicalism within American popular and political culture. Ultimately, by analyzing films, speeches, literature, music, and a variety of other kinds of sources in lectures and discussions, we will try to understand why and how so-called radicals transformed the ways in which people have understood the United States. Goals In addition to helping students gain a better understanding of key themes in American history and culture, this course hopes to assist students in the development of their analytical, writing, and critical thinking skills. All course work is designed to increase students’ abilities to think, read, watch, and listen critically, analyze a wide variety of evidence, and process and explain their thoughts, both in writing and speech, in a sophisticated but concise manner. Course Format This course will achieve its goals through a combination of lectures, discussion, and outside readings and assignments. Rather than designating particular days for discussion or lecture, each day will combine elements of both. Because of this, be sure to come each day prepared to listen and participate. I have designed lectures to convey information and model how scholars ask questions, analyze source materials, and construct arguments. Because these lectures are meant to be interactive, feel free to ask questions or make relevant comments during them. Discussion portions of each class are the most critical for your intellectual development and success in the
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This note was uploaded on 10/09/2011 for the course AMST-A 100 taught by Professor Carter-david during the Spring '10 term at Indiana.

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Syllabus+Spring+2011 - 1 What is America? Radical Visions...

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