What does it mean to be an American?  The answer to this question often depends on issues such as class, gender, ethnicity, era, place of origin, and socialization. The liberally-educated person in the 21st century should have a critical understanding of the American experience from various academic perspectives; to better recognize the social, cultural, economic, political, geographic and technological interdependence of all persons in the United States.

Courses in this category provide a close look at the United States of America and its people through disciplines that draw on social, historical, political, and literary studies. Students should be able to identify major events, persons, ideas, and circumstances that contributed to the development of American attitudes and institutions.  Students should then be better able to answer for themselves “What is America?” and “What does it mean to be an American?”

The principal areas of study in this category will include Social Sciences in an American Context; American History, Geography, and Government; American Literary Texts and Contexts; American Social Concerns; American Cultural Issues

Learning Outcomes:

  • To identify and articulate the diverse political, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual forces that have given shape to U.S. society, institutions, and culture.
  • To make connections across disciplines to define and critique notions of U.S. identity and culture.
  • To effectively navigate and use the various scholarly resources related to the study of the U.S.

Guidelines for Course Requirements and Assessments

  • Substantial readings of primary and secondary sources applicable to the course.
  • Substantial research and writing is expected.
  • Multiple assessments (i.e., quizzes, exams, reports, presentations).