Immigration and Ethnicity
has often been said that America was built by immigrants. Between
1820 and 1979, more than 49 million immigrants came to the United
States, attracted by reports of great economic opportunities and religious
and political freedom. The influx of such a heterogeneous population
created a tremendously dynamic society as well as a number of problems.
This course intends to outline the history of immigration to
the United States with special emphasis placed on the social and political
implications of this central issue in American culture. Course work
will be based on readings from textbooks, historical documents, literary
texts, and, to provide a context for the understanding of issues underlying
the historical phenomenon, selected theories of ethnicity.
To facilitate the study of American immigration, prospective participants
are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves in advance with
the general aspects of this complex subject. Students wishing to sign
up for this class should be aware that a significant amount of reading
will have to be done during the entire semester. Since the individual
sessions will be based on short oral presentations and an exchange
of knowledge and viewpoints, active and informed participation is
a basic requirement. Depending on the number of participants, an essay
or a final exam may be required for a "Schein."
to American Studies
This class is designed as a general introduction to the study of American
culture. Drawing upon a variety of cultural expressions such as literature,
art, film, theater, architecture and music it aims at presenting a
wide spectrum of American culture, including such issues as immigration,
ethnicity, religion, gender, regionalism, and popular culture. Moreover,
the course will introduce students to basic techniques of scholarly
work. Course work will be based on Malcolm Bradbury and Howard Temperley,
eds. Introduction to American Studies. 3rd ed. Harlow, Engl.,
etc: Longman, 1998.
Great American Plays
Compared to other genres of American
literature, American drama took a relatively long time to establish
itself as a serious and artful contribution to world literature.
When it reached its first climax, however, it did so with an impressive
line of first-rate playwrights. This course is devoted to the classics
of American theater, including such well-known plays as Eugene O'Neill's
The Hairy Ape, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman,
and Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. The purpose
of the course is to familiarize students with significant American
playwrights and their work as well as to introduce fundamental techniques
of literary analysis. The texts to be studied will be made
available by the beginning of term.
Although Jack London was one of the most popular
and highest paid writers of his time, literary critics have mostly
disregarded him in their studies. His range of themes seemed to
be too limited, his writing style appeared to be artless, and his
socialist tendencies made him suspect in a country that liked to
think of itself as a classless society. In recent years, however,
a new scholarly interest has revealed that the work of Jack London
deserves attention for its psychological insights, its philosophical
interests, and its effective literary style. A detailed look at
three novels and a selection of short stories will provide students
with an opportunity to appreciate the literary achievement of Jack
London. Students interested in signing up for this class
should be willing to devote time and effort to the study of a significant
amount of reading material. Moreover, participants will be required
to work on a number of oral and written assignments, and to participate
actively in in-class discussions.
The required reading, The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf,
and The Iron Heel, is available in affordable paperback editions.
Considering that the combined tasks of reading the novels and completing
various assignments during the semester will put a significant strain
upon prospective participants it is advisable to read the texts
during the summer break. A selection of short stories will be made
available in the course of the semester.