AMS 1B American Civilization, Spring Semester 2009 Page 1 of 9
San José State University
AMS 1B American Civilization – Spring 2009
Instructors: Sean Connelly, Maura Daly, Judith Georges
Office Locations: CL 414N / CL 412K / CL 414H
Telephones: (408) 924-1367 / (408) 924-4713 / (408) 924-4780
Email: See seminar syllabus
Office Hours: (SC) T/TH 3:00-4:00 p.m.
(MD) T/TH 10:00-11:30 a.m.
(JG) T/TH 11:15-11:45 a.m. / 2:45-3:15 p.m.
Class Days/Time: Lecture T/TH 12-1:15 p.m.
Seminars T/TH 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Classrooms: Lecture: BBC 004 [Sec. 30]
Seminars: (SC) DMH 354 [Sec. 33]; (MD); SH 238 [Sec. 31]
(JG) SH 241 [Sec. 32]
Prerequisites: American Studies: American Civilization 1A
GE/SJSU Studies Category: Core G.E. (12 credits) in Area C1 Arts, Area C2 Letters, Area
D2 Comparative Systems, Area D3 Social Issues, American
Institutions (all six credits): U.S. History, U.S. Constitution,
Faculty Web Pages
Copies of the course materials such as the syllabus, major assignment handouts, etc. may be
found on faculty web pages accessible through the Quick Links>Faculty Web Page links on
the SJSU home page. You are responsible for regularly checking with the messaging system
through MySJSU (or other communication system as indicated by the instructor). Prof.
Connelly monitors a course blog (firstname.lastname@example.org).
An interdisciplinary overview of the development of American culture and civilization from
the European conquest to the present, featuring analyses of American history, politics,
religion, literature, visual art, and music. AMS 1A covers the period of first contact between
Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans through the Reconstruction era. AMS 1B
continues from the post-Civil War period up to the present. Recurrent themes include race
AMS 1B American Civilization, Spring Semester 2009 Page 2 of 9
and racism, cross-cultural interactions, the use and misuse of power, the impact of rising
technologies, and the social implications of gender ideologies.
The course consists of two interwoven components: a lecture and seminar. Each class begins
with a large group lecture delivered by one of the three instructors or a guest lecturer.
Lectures may also feature films, television shows, and music. After each lecture, students
meet in smaller seminar groups for analytic discussions of selected material from the
lectures and/or weekly readings. Each seminar, led by one of the three professors, has
distinctive requirements and assignments in addition to those attached to the lecture
component. AMS 1B will also require a field trip assignment.
Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives
Upon successful completion of AMS 1B, students will have:
LO1: Traced the development of the complex strands of America’s history. Reading
assignments, lectures, seminar discussions.
LO2: Analyzed the tensions between the ideals and actual experiences of mainstream and
minority groups. Reading assignments, seminar discussions.
LO3: Explored aspects of the evolution of the verbal, visual, and musical culture of America
from the post-Reconstruction period through the present. Lecture and seminar presentations,
field trip assignment.
LO4: Articulated (verbally and in writing) unique interpretations of America’s cultural,
economic, political, and social history. Seminar and lecture hall discussions, midterm and
final exams, papers.
1. Norton, Mary Beth et al., A People and a Nation, 8th edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
2. Lauter, Paul, ed., The Heath Anthology of American Literature, concise edition, Houghton
3. Hansberry, Lorraine, Raisin in the Sun
4. Hammett, Dashiell, The Maltese Falcon
5. Hamid, Mohsin, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Additional readings will be assigned occasionally and access to the Internet and a DVD
player for viewing media assignments is required.
Lectures will begin and end on time. If you occasionally arrive late, slip in quietly, but do
not make this habitual. If you are late or miss a lecture, you must obtain notes from
classmates – not the instructors.
AMS 1B American Civilization, Spring Semester 2009 Page 3 of 9
Please mute cell phones and stow all personal electronic equipment (including laptops) at
the start of each lecture. Students registered with the Disability Resources Center will be
allowed devices recommended by the DRC.
Dropping and Adding
Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops,
academic renewal, etc. Information on add/drops are available at http://info.sjsu.edu/web-
dbgen/narr/soc-fall/rec-298.html. Information about late drop is available at
http://www.sjsu.edu/sac/advising/latedrops/policy/ . Students should be aware of the current
deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes.
Assignments and Grading Policy
Each student is responsible for all materials presented in lecture, discussed in seminar, and
assigned in the comprehensive and individual seminar syllabi. Reading assignments must
be completed by the due date indicated on the course schedule.
Students are expected to attend both lecture and seminar meetings each day. Although the
lectures are usually linked to the readings, they enhance rather than duplicate them. Seminar
instructors will presume you have attended the lecture and will not repeat its contents.
All students will take a midterm and final exam; write two papers, and complete a field trip
assignment. In addition, each seminar will have a unique set of participation requirements.
Your instructors are committed to the differential grading range defined as follows in the
SJSU catalogue: A (excellent); B (above average); C (average); D (below average); F
(failure). For seminar- specific grading scales, see your assigned instructor.
Grading percentages are as follows:
Individual Seminar Requirements 20%
Paper 1 15%
Paper 2 15%
Final Examination 20%
Field Trip Assignment 15%
Students should know that the University’s Academic Integrity Policy is available at
Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State
University and the University’s integrity policy, require you to be honest in all your
academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of
AMS 1B American Civilization, Spring Semester 2009 Page 4 of 9
Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The website for Student Conduct and Ethical
Development is available at http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/index.html.
Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism
(presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without
giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this
class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise
specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted,
or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy F06-1 requires
approval of instructors.
Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to
make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an
appointment with your seminar instructor as soon as possible, or see him or her during office
hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting
accommodations must register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a
record of their disability.
Student Technology Resources
Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the
1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs
may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin
Luther King Library.
A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media
Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and
Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound
systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.
Learning Assistance Resource Center
The Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) is located in Room 600 in the Student
Services Center. It is designed to assist students in the development of their full academic
potential and to motivate them to become self-directed learners. The center provides support
services, such as skills assessment, individual or group tutorials, subject advising, learning
assistance, summer academic preparation and basic skills development. The LARC website
is located at http:/www.sjsu.edu/larc/.
SJSU Writing Center
The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall. Professional instructors and
upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges
staff it. Our writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well
trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The
Writing Center website is located at http://www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter/about/staff//.
AMS 1B American Civilization, Spring Semester 2009 Page 5 of 9
Peer Mentor Center
The Peer Mentor Center is located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall in the Academic Success
Center. The Peer Mentor Center is staffed with Peer Mentors who excel in helping students
manage university life, tackling problems that range from academic challenges to
interpersonal struggles. On the road to graduation, Peer Mentors are navigators, offering
“roadside assistance” to peers who feel a bit lost or simply need help mapping out the
locations of campus resources. Peer Mentor services are free and available on a drop –in
basis, no reservation required. The Peer Mentor Center website is located at
AMS 1B Spring 2009 Course Schedule
This schedule is subject to change with fair notice. Changes will be announced at
lectures and/or seminars.
Table 1 Course Schedule
Week Date Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines
1/22 Introduction and Course Overview
Film: American Outrage
Norton (N) 17: The Development of the West, 1865-1877
Rolling Up the World: The Ghost Dance Movement
Heath (H): “What I am Going to Tell You Here Will Take Me Until
Dark,” Standing Bear (Ponca) (1881) 1593-1596; Gertrude Bonnin
(Zitkala-Sa), “School Days” (1686-1696)
Film: America 1900
N18: The Machine Age, 1877-1920
H: “South of the Slot,” Jack London, (1581-1593); “The Yellow
Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman, (1596-1609)
Modernity & Alienation: Henry Adams
N19: The Vitality and Turmoil of Urban Life, 1877-1920; H: “The
Dynamo and the Virgin,” Henry Adams, (1609-1618); “The Open
Boat,” Stephen Crane, (1555-1573)
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Seminar Film: Chinese in the Frontier West
Film: Ethnic Notions
N20: Gilded Age Politics, 1877-1900
Scientific Racism and Lynching
H: Charles W. Chesnutt, “Goophered Grapevine (1405-1415);
Paul Laurence Dunbar, ”Antebellum Sermon,” “When Malindy
Sings,” “Sympathy” (1423-1429); “Lynch Law in America,” Ida B.
Week Date Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines
Visualizing Race: W.E.B. Du Bois & the American Negro Exhibit
N21: The Progressive Era, 1895-1920; H: Up From Slavery (Chs.
XIII & XIV), Booker T. Washington, (1736-1747); The Souls of
Black Folk (Chs. I & III), W.E.B. Du Bois, (1747-1762) Paper 1 due
WWJD? The Social Gospel
H: Anzia Yezierska, “America and I,” (2065-2073) Jane Addams,
Twenty Years at Hull House, Ch.8, Problems of Poverty,
Film: Bloody Blundering Business
N22: The Quest for Empire, 1865-1914; H: “Editha,” William Dean
The Brute in the Boiler Room: Eugene O’Neill’s Critique of
Industrial Modernity and Imperialism in The Hairy Ape and
H: Hairy Ape, 1856-1889; Emperor Jones:
“Nothing in Common”: The Wobblies vs. the Bosses’
N23: Americans in the Great War, 1914-1920
N24: The New Era, 1920-1929; H: “The New Negro Renaissance,”
(1984-1987); Langston Hughes, Intro + poems + “The Negro Artist
and the Racial Mountain,” (2006-2014); “Sweat,” Zora Neale
The Other Show in Town: Aimee Semple McPherson
SPRING BREAK / Cesar Chavez Day – no classes
Minting Modernity in the American Roman Noir
N25: The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929-1941; N26: The
United States in a Troubled World, 1920-1941; The Maltese Falcon,
Week Date Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines
Film: The Day After Trinity
N27: The Second World War at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945
Angel-headed Hipsters in a Cold War Golgotha
H: Robert Creely, (2328-2332); various Beat poets (2352-2375);
Handout: J. Kerouac, “October in the Railroad Earth”; A. Baraka,
“Poem for Willie Best” and “Black Dada Nihilismus”
What’s Going On is Not a Question: The 60s from the Days
of Rage to Stax
N28: The Cold War and American Globalism, 1945-1961; A Raisin
in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
Message to McCarthy: The Scopes Trial Revisited
View Inherit the Wind before the lecture
We Love Lucy and Desi
N29: America at Midcentury, 1945-1960; H: “I Stand Here Ironing,”
Tillie Olsen, (2183-2190)
Bewitched by the Feminine Mystique
Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Ch. 1: “The Problem That
Has No Name”
Paper 2 due
Soul Music, WUO, Youth Culture
N30: The Tumultuous Sixties, 1960-1968; H. Denise Levertov
(2560-2563); Yusuf Komunyaka (2579-2583); Handout: Selections
from Prairie Fire
Film: Winter Soldier
“Letter from Birmingham Jail,” M.L. King, 1963
“The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm X, 1964
H: “In the Field,” Tim O’Brien, (2571-2579)
New Reproductive Technologies
N31: Continuing Divisions and New Limits, 1969-1980
Introduction to Intersex: Is it a Boy or a Girl?
“What If It’s (Sort of) a Boy and (Sort of) a Girl?” NY Times
5/12 Roundtable Discussion: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin
N32: Conservatism Revived, 1980-1992; Field Trip assignment due
5/19 BBC 004 12:15-2:30 p.m.