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University of Texas at Dallas Dr. Dachang Cong, Wed.

7 – 9:45 PM

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

AMS 3302/501 (10107) AMERICAN CULTURES Course Description The goal of this course is to gain a thorough understanding of mainstream American culture (especially the business aspect) and various subcultures from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course focuses on the new realities of American society and economy, such as corporate behavior in the post-Enron era, the dilemma of middle-class and working-class families, and the interaction between wealth and democracy. It studies how American society copes with natural disasters (the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Hurricane Katrina). The course also examines the mania of consumerism and the relentless cost-cutting in Corporate America under the pressure of Wall Street. Other topics include American values, ethnic groups, institutions, culture regions, and social problems. To achieve these learning objectives, the instructor emphasizes both theories and fieldwork methods. Each student is required to write a term paper and complete two exams. The instructor encourages students to display innovation and original research. Students of different backgrounds are also encouraged to conduct cross-cultural conversations. There are no prerequisites. Required Readings

Fradlin, Philip. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906. Phillips, Kevin. Wealth and Democracy. Whybrow, Peter. The American Mania.

Method of Evaluation 1) Two Exams 2) Term Paper 50% of final grade 50% of final grade

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Topics and Reading Assignments I Orientation Jan. 11 Understanding American Cultures: Anthropological and Sociological perspectives Doing Fieldwork on American Cultures Decoding Politics and Capitalism (1) Reading American Cultures (1) Jan. 18

II

Phillips. Wealth and Democracy, pp. 3-107. Kottak, ed. Researching American Culture, pp. 10-38. III Decoding Politics and Capitalism (2) Reading American Cultures (2) Jan. 25

Phillips. Wealth and Democracy, pp. 108-200. Kottak, ed. Researching American Culture, pp. 39-74. IV American Values Decoding Politics and Capitalism (3) Reading American Cultures (3) Feb. 1

Phillips. Wealth and Democracy, pp. 201-316. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 10-13, 361-394. *Prospectus (50 words) for term paper due V The Mass Media Decoding Politics and Capitalism (4) Reading American Culture (4) Feb. 8

Phillips. Wealth and Democracy, pp. 317-422. Kottak, ed. Researching American Culture, pp. 227-258. VI Culture Regions Deciphering the Mania (1) Feb. 15

Whybrow. American Mania, Part I. Garreau. The Nine Nations of North America.

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VII

Social Stratification: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class Feb. 22 Deciphering the Mania (2)

Whybrow. American Mania, Part II. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 23-30, 173-194 VIII Politics and Law Deciphering the Mania (3) Midterm Mar. 1

Cong. "Amish Factionalism and Technological Change." In Ethnology, 31(3): 205-218. Whybrow. American Mania, Part III. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 274-280. IX Economy and Technology Deciphering the Dilemma of Two-Income Families Mar. 15

Warren and Tyagi. The Two-Income Trap. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 234-254. X Family and Kinship Coping with Natural Disasters (1) Mar. 22

Fradlin. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906, pp. 1-47. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 119-148. XI Religion, Education, and Wellness Coping with Natural Disasters (2) Mar. 29

Fradlin. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906, pp. 51-163. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 309-322, 348-353. XII Cultural and Social Change Coping with Natural Disasters (1) Apr. 5

Fradlin. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906, pp. 164-247. Spradley and Rynkiewich, eds. The Nacirema, pp. 405-417.

AMS 3302 XIII Untangling the New Economic Realities Apr. 12

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U.S. in the World Community Coping with Natural Disasters (1) Fradlin. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906, pp. 248-346. **Take-home exam questions to be distributed XIV The Digital Revolution Management Challenges Conclusion Term Paper and Take-Home Exam Due Apr. 19

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Apr. 26