Commonalities

Carlos Almaraz, Echo Park nos. 1-4 (1982)

All American Studies sections share a great deal including grading rubric, homework guidelines, grading scale, common textbooks, and major assignment requirements. Starting from a common belief in the value of reading texts closely, analyzing these texts within their historical context, and discussing ideas and questions raised by these texts, each American Studies instructor or instructor team develops their own syllabus and plans their own class activities to leverage their expertise and maximize student engagement. All American Studies sections have common readings at the beginning of the year. The goal of the common readings is to have a shared text that begins the yearlong critical examination of American identity. Because American Studies is a writing-intensive course, all American Studies students are given the opportunity to schedule an individual writing conference with their instructor(s) at least once during the first semester. In addition, students in all American Studies sections use the same textbooks (see below).


Common Textbooks

Core Texts:

  • Binder and Reimers. The Way We Lived, Volumes I and II, Fifth Edition, 2004.

  • Cobbs, Hoffman and Gjerde, Major Problems in American History, Volumes I and II, First Edition, 2002.

  • Gorn et al., eds., Constructing the American Past, Volumes I and II, Sixth Edition, 2008.

  • Lauter et al., eds., The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition, 2004.

Additional Texts:

  • Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, 2005.

  • Hughes, Robert. American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, 1997.

  • Marcus, Greil and Sollors, Werner. A New Literary History of America, 2009

  • Novels, short fiction, and plays such as The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, The Awakening, My Antonia, The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Their Eyes Were Watching God, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Things They Carried.


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