Identity in American Society
This introductory course explores the collective foundations of individual identity within the American experience. In what sense is the self essentially social? How are changes in identity attributable to the organization of experience throughout life? What are the effects of gender, race, and social class on consciousness? How have changes in American industrial capitalism shaped the search for self-worth? In what ways have science and technology altered our relationship to nature? What challenges to identity are posed by emerging events in American history, including immigration and the African Diaspora? How has the very advent of modernity precipitated our preoccupation with the question: "Who am I?" Situated as we are in a farming community, we will consider these questions of identity through an examination of local rural society. Students will conduct group research projects to connect our ideas to everyday life. Prerequisites: first- and second-year students only. Offered every year.