You are on page 1of 3

The University of Texas at Dallas Dr. Dachang Cong Class Meeting Time: Tues.

: 6 – 10 PM

Summer, 2006 dccong@utdallas.edu 972-883-2297

AMS 3326/521 THE U.S. IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Course Description This course examines the new realities and new challenges in the early 21st-century America after a thoughtful study of the trends and events as witnessed in the late 20th century. The course offers a rethinking of cultural, economic, legal, medical, political, and social institutions. It aims to decode why the bubbles of the 1990s burst soon after the no-show of Y2K. With the stock market meltdown, the 9.11 terrorist attacks, and the Enron scandal, American society started to face a wide array of crises and challenges in the beginning of the new century. Why is the job market still sluggish? How does the digital revolution reshape culture and social order? What is the new financial system? What is the future of social security? How can we balance security with civil liberties? What is the next phase of the computer revolution? How can we embrace the biomedical revolution with prudence? How are we going to afford new medical technologies? How can we reform the health care system for the public good? What is the future of global capitalism? What are the future roles of the U.S. in the world community? And how can Corporate America rise again with higher ethical standards? Those are some of the questions to be tackled in class. There are no prerequisites. Poor attendance and late work will impact on the grade negatively. Learning Objectives Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to: 1. Identify and describe new realities and new challenges in the early 21st century. 2. Offer critical and constructive comment on the crises in both medical care and corporate governing with anthropological and sociological perspectives. 3. Comprehend the dynamic interaction between culture and economy. Required Readings Barlett, Donald, and James Steele. Critical Condition. Fishman, Charles. The Wal-Mart Effect. Levitt, Steven. Freakonomics. Methods of Measuring Learning Each student is required to write a 10-page-long term paper about a crisis in American society and economy. The paper is based on original/ethical ethnography. He or she is also required to complete an exam (two essay questions). 1) Term paper 50% of final grade 2) Exam 50% of final grade

AMS 3326 Topics and Reading Assignments I

Page 2

Orientation May 16 Understanding New Realities with Anthropological and Sociological perspectives Doing Ethnography Shifting from GM to Microsoft Decoding American Corporate Culture (1) Understanding Wal-Mart (1) May 23

II

Fisherman. The Wal-Mart Effect, Chapters 1 - 3. III Shifting from Microsoft to Wal-Mart Decoding American Corporate Culture (2) Understanding Wal-Mart (2) May 30

Fisherman. The Wal-Mart Effect, Chapters 4 - 6. IV Google and EBay Decoding American Corporate Culture (3) Understanding Wal-Mart (3) June 6

Fisherman. The Wal-Mart Effect, Chapters 7 - 9 and Epilogue. *Prospectus (50 words) for term paper due V Examining Health Care (1) Social Security June 13

Barlett and Steele. Critical Condition, chapters 1 and 2. VI Examining Health Care (2) The Bubbles in the 1990s June 20

Barlett and Steele. Critical Condition, chapters 3 and 4. VII Examining Health Care (3) Biomedical Ethics June 27

Barlett and Steele. Critical Condition, chapters 5 and 6.

AMS 3326 VIII Reading American Culture, Economy, and Society (1) Deciphering the Financial System (1) The New Economy and the Digital Revolution 21st-Century Scenarios

Page 3 July 11

Levitt. Freakonomics, Intro. and Chapters 1 - 2. IX Reading American Culture, Economy, and Society (2) Deciphering the Financial System (2) The Job Market and Career Development July 12

Levitt. Freakonomics, Chapters 3 - 5.

** Take-home exam questions to be distributed X Reading American Culture, Economy, and Society (3) Deciphering the Financial System (3) U.S. in the World Community Conclusion July 18

Levitt. Freakonomics, Chapter 6 and Epilogue. XI Term Paper and Take-Home Exam Due July 25