Professor Mark C. Long | | 206 Parker Hall | 358.2695 | Office: W 12-1, R 11-12, F 9-10 and by appointment

Course Description
This course explores the conceptions of place and identity, legacies of colonialism, and cultural norms, ideals, and representations that feed into the “California dream.” Students will use print and digital materials to explore the historical myth and material reality of the Golden State through immigration and demographic change; racism and multiculturalism; water, orange groves, and agribusiness; cities and suburbia; political corruption and capital crimes; money and Hollywood moguls; technological booms and busts; film, fiction, and fashion; music and poetry; sex, drugs, rock and roll; self-actualization and alienation; surfing and skateboarding; television, sports, and celebrity culture.

Required Texts
Phillip L. Fradkin, The Seven States of California: A Natural and Human History. Berkeley: U California P, 1997. ISBN 9780520209428. Gary Soto. New and Selected Poems. San Francisco: Chronicle, 1995 ISBN 0811807584

Course Expectations and Responsibilities
Attendance. Come to class. Every day. Absences have a devastating effect—on the quality of your thinking and writing as well as on the educational experience of other students in the course. The project-based method the course will also require that you be present. If you must miss a class, please let me know in advance. If you miss more than six classes you will be asked to withdraw from the course

Preparation and Participation. Read. Talk. Successful students read carefully and thoughtfully and come prepared to discuss the readings in class. I encourage you to speak with me if you are having difficulties preparing for class, or if you would like to work more closely with me to become a more active participant in our work together

Writing. Required written work will include a sequence of shorter essays and a longer end-of-the-semester project. You can expect to be writing during every week of the semester. All written work must be appropriately documented and submitted on the due date. The MLA Handbook will serve as our common reference source for citation although I am happy to work with any common citation system (APA, Chicago).

Learning Outcomes
Students in American Studies 140 will demonstrate the ability to

  • cross disciplinary boundaries to reveal new patterns and connections that reframe knowledge
  • analyze the assumptions and actions of society from multiple perspectives
  • examine national and international issues through artistic, philosophical, cultural, scientific, technological, economic, social and political lenses
  • assess their own roles and responsibilities as members of diverse communities.
  • recognize how differences shape approaches to identity, knowledge, and power

Students in American Studies 140 will also demonstrate the ability to

  • read closely and analyze complex texts
  • identify productive questions or problems in the reading
  • select and evaluate different forms of research sources to support critical ideas
  • use MLA style of citation and documentation correctly

Evaluation and Grading The final course grade will be determined by engagement (attendance and participation, including reading the required material, 100 points); the sequence of five short essays (100 points); and the writing project (200 points)

Here is a break down of the things you will need to accomplish to receive a passing grade in the course. (Please note that you are control of earning your grade):

Engagement To receive a passing grade in the course you will 1) attend class and contribute to our collective intellectual work through careful listening, thoughtful comments and questions, and engaged conversation and 2) demonstrate a commitment to developing more complex thinking and professional presentation of your thinking in writing

Short Essays: Each of the five essays will receive credit or no credit. To receive credit for each exercise you must do the following:

  • complete and submit your work in class by the due date
  • be composed thoughtfully and written with care (as opposed to hastily or mechanically). We will go over the expectations and conventions for the short essays in class

You must complete all of the essays to pass the course. If you meet the specifications above you will receive 100 points. Each late essay will receive a 10 point reduction in your overall grade.

Writing Project: The Writing Project is worth 200 out of 400 points and will determine 50% of your final grade. To receive a passing grade you must turn in the following:

  • 2-page “What Explains California? Project Proposal
  • 2-5 page Research Notebook
  • 5-10 page Project Draft
  • 10-page Writing Project

You must complete all of these stages of the writing project to pass the course. Each late essay will receive a 10 point reduction in your overall grade. The project description I will hand out before spring break will provide a grading rubric for the final essay.

I welcome questions at any point about your progress in the course. Please make an appointment during my office hours. I will review your learning goals and your progress meeting those goals at the midterm and I will post a provisional midterm grade on Web Advisor.

If you are a student with a disability The Office of Disability Services (ODS), Elliot Hall, 8.2353, is available to discuss eligibility requirements and appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. So all arrangements can be made, requests for academic accommodations need to be completed during the first two weeks of the semester. You are responsible for making an appointment with ODS for disability verification and determination of reasonable academic accommodations

Emergency Operations In the event the College closes for a major disaster, students are responsible for regularly checking their e-mail, voice mails, and this blog for information on alternative course delivery procedures and course work submission. Students will be responsible for completing their assignments and ensuring that they have completed all of the core requirements for their courses before they will receive a final grade for the course

Course Schedule This course is designed around print and digital archives and resources that will be available on this course web site. The web site has a complete course schedule with readings, writing assignments and project due dates, and links to digital archives