The school year is coming to an end, but before it's over, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite classes of the semester-- American Popular Culture and Politics: 1940 to the Present. I took this American Studies course to satisfy some of my liberal education requirements: the 4-credit course fulfills the 'Civic Life and Ethics' and 'Historical Perspectives' themes, and is also a writing intensive requirement. I was thrilled to find a class that fulfilled three requirements and was also very interesting.
In this class, we study the history of America beginning with World War II. This is done through reading approximately 50 pages each week, as well as viewing a film each week that is related to the topic we're discussing. Through experiencing the popular culture itself and listening to a lecture about the historical context, we are able to see how history has changed the way Americans think and act, and how it has affected what we are exposed to on a daily basis. Some of the films we've watched include Gran Torino, Thelma and Louise, Rambo, and Fight Club. Through this class, I've learned a great deal of new information about important topics in American history, such as the baby boom, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, consumer culture, the aftermath of 9/11, and many more.
I find the workload very reasonable for an upper-level, writing intensive class (but perhaps that is because I like it so much!). The course culminates in a 10-12 page term paper discussing the themes of the class, a popular culture item of your choice, and how it relates to a domestic or international issue in the history of America. We meet for lecture twice a week, as well as discussion once a week. There are four quizzes and final. The quizzes consist of short essays related to the themes and popular culture items of the class, and the final is a take-home essay. This may sound like a lot of writing, but the content is interesting, and you don't realize how much you have learned until you look back on what you have accomplished. The work is enjoyable!
I have looked forward to attending this class each week throughout this semester and I highly recommend it!