This American Life: A Cultural Perspective
Ready to make some sense of American culture? Why do Americans do what they do? During this course, we will explore American culture through popular and scholarly readings, movies, radio and television programs, and extensive discussion. We will critically examine, reflect on, and evaluate important components of American culture, including interpersonal relationships and social structure, food and food ways, and technology. Through engaging texts written by citizens and non-citizens, we will deepen our understanding of what it means to live in America. Students will also actively listen to songs written about America and reflect on song lyrics to discover perceptions and misperceptions of American life. This course is intended to develop awareness, critical thinking, the ability to draw compelling conclusions, and strategies to investigate and discover links between fundamental cultural aspects. Students will also increase their understanding of their own culture as they reflect and share throughout the course. Students will gain experience in the practical application of informal and formal spoken English and study the role language plays in culture. Course assignments and goals include utilizing tools and methods such as the library, citation strategies, argument defense, research writing conventions, and individual and group presentation skills. Students will also learn discussion strategies as they work through course readings and facilitate discussion groups. This course is intended for non-native English speakers only.