Who is an "American"? What does mean to be "included" within the collectivities that are eligible to claim "American" identity, or to pursue the "American Dream"? How and why have the answers to these questions changed over time?
Throughout American history, access to the full rights and privileges of American citizenship have been variably conferred, constrained, and—in some cases— denied to members of different groups on the basis of race, socioeconomic class, gender, national origin, or other aspects of identity. This course will explore the dialectic relationship between dominant ideologies concerning "American" identity and citizenship, and the social, political, and economic forces that have shaped and have been shaped by those ideologies throughout American history.
Class readings, lectures, films, activities, and discussions will be thematically focused on how eligibility criteria for inclusion in a collective "American" identity have evolved in relation to selected historical events, legislative initiatives, Supreme Court decisions, military engagements, immigration and migration patterns, economic circumstances, and demographic shifts in the U.S. population. Throughout the course, students will be asked to critically engage with the implications of these processes through the lens of the sociological imagination.
In addition to examining these socio-historical processes in the classroom, students will travel to Washington, D.C., and participate in experiential learning opportunities at sites including, but not limited to: the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Museum of African American History, the Museum of the American Indian, the National Portrait Gallery, the United States Capitol building, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the National Cathedral, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the World War I Memorial, the Jefferson Monument, the Roosevelt Memorial, and the newly unveiled monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
SITE is an ongoing, upper-level interdisciplinary course at Transylvania University, pairing Art with Philosophy and other disciplines in order to generate creative and scholarly responses to specific sites, particularly contested sites and sites which have not been creatively examined and interpreted. Art projects produced collaboratively by the class will be made public in various regional venues and on-line. The SITE course for May 2012 will examine the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Students will travel to Appalachia in Kentucky and West Virginia to hike and intimately experience the living mountains; the class will also visit active mountaintop removal mines, meet and interview people living nearby, watch documentary films, read, debate, make art and engage a variety of class visitors--ecologists, policy-makers, journalists, activists and artists.
Brings writers together for the pleasure of reading and talking about writing (not to mention the joy of actually devoting time to doing it). This course examines the writing life and offers writers a chance to do what they love to do. Students will write and share, and will polish a portion of their writing for the purpose of compiling an end-of-term collection of the workshop's best and most interesting efforts. The 2012 course includes a 5-day residence at the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, KY, as well as a number of day trips.