G-LSUD3 AmLit314 Approaches to American Studies

Course type



This course investigates the shifting meaning of and contest over defining “America” and “Americans” from the 17th c. to today while helping students gain experience interpreting, discussing and writing about a wide variety of source materials created and circulated by Americans and non-Americans alike in the process of defining and redefining the contours and shape of these terms. Using an interdisciplinary approach we will take as our focus a set of commonly-held ideas about “America” (including some of the following: “America is a Land of Opportunity”, “American is a Place to Belong”, “America is a New World” and “America as the Land of the Free”) and interrogate the basis and validity of each through close investigation of wide-ranging sets of cultural products as diverse as sociological tracts, genre painting, 17th century houses, popular fiction, maps,  20th century protest music, Supreme Court decisions, and the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. Of particular interest will be the ways in which American identity(ies) are tied to race, ethnicity, gender and class. By the end of the course students will have had much opportunity to analyze sources, debate so-called “truths” about “America” or “Americans”, and construct written and verbal arguments about the same. Throughout the course we will consider Greek ideas about and representations of the United States and “Americans” (not necessarily the same thing!) and we may also share our ideas and questions with university students in the US.


Teaching hours: 3 | Credits: 3 | ECTS: 6

The course is not currently offerred.