This course takes as a premise that "nation" is a cultural product and that, as such, nation is marked (always) by cultural identity matters (race, gender, etc.). If the premise holds, "nation" can be traced in the work of culture on a daily basis (like how we advertise cars), as well as in spectacular acts (like building border walls). We will spend time working to understand the status of "nation" and its production. We will read, watch television and films, examine other popular culture artifacts, and talk. The primary research activity in the course is called "A Trace of Nation." Students will choose a point of entry into the work of culture and trace the production of nation from that point. In the past, students have examined "American sneaker culture," beer, the "got milk?" campaign in America, and denim, as well as more obvious texts, like television series, films, and music. The piece that needs to be attended to more than in the past now is social media as popular cultural work (especially Facebook and Twitter).
MW 2:00 – 3:15