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American Movies as American Studies: An Introduction to American Studies
AMST 177
Spring 2015
Section: 01  

Our aim is to see how movies from the 1930s to the present can help us grow as critical (and self-critical) American studies thinkers (and have fun, even as we question this fun, doing it). Talkies appeared as a complex mass-cultural form of American studies--exported all over the world--precisely when the academic field of American studies emerged in the early 1930s. From the get-go, movies involved in mass-disseminating America's inventions of power have shown--in very entertaining ways--that their critical insight can blow the whistle on how the reproduction of Americans and American ideologies are pulled off. Together we will explore the modern Americanization of power and focus our conversations on four intersecting concerns that movies are particularly good at illuminating: (1) how culture industries (including movies) shape consciousness, needs, desires, incentives, and sense of belonging and limit our sense of what constitutes problems and solutions; (2) how social critique (even critiques of movies) can be mass-popularized; (3) how America makes Americans, especially, into workers (even if they hate what they do and wonder about what and who they are working for) and weapons (even if they are frightened and wonder about what and who they are fighting for and against); and (4) how and why America constructs difference (gender, race, individuality, national identity). This seminar is a thinking-intensive and imagination-intensive critical project designed to introduce students to compelling big-picture concerns vital to American studies.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(CSCT)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-13-2024
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