How do girls learn femininity from Barbie Dolls? Why does Donald Trump get more media coverage than Stephen Hawking? Why is Bob Marley so beloved by white, middle-class college students? How can we read a 9/11 or an Oklahoma City memorial as a comment on the nature of American Democracy? Why did Andy Warhol's paintings of soup cans change the definition of art? Why is Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrated as a national hero, but not Malcolm X or Huey P. Newton?
The minor in American Culture and Difference will allow you to explore such questions while immersing yourself in the broad diversity of Amereican culture. You will explore a range of cultural traditions and analyze texts drawn from different disciplines, including Communication and Journalism, English, Film, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, and Women's Studies. Along the way, you will become acquainted with a variety of rituals and rhythms in American life.
In American Culture and Difference courses, you will ask new questions in new ways, challenging social, cultural, and political assumptions that are often thought of as "common sense." The minor will help you develop valuable critical thinking skills, enabling you to read the diverse texts that make up our world. And since the minor provides a window into the vast array of American experiences and lives, focusing especially on historically marginalized communities, you will find yourself rethinking mainstream appraisals of American culture.
This is a minor that attempts to connect the reading and research you do in the classroom with the world that surrounds you. It truly offers a way to "challenge yourself" and "change your world."
Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury
Associate Professor, English
Director, American Culture and Difference