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Signature Courses

The American Dream

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The American Dream

01:050:210 (4 credits) Core: CC, AHp
Professor Louis P. Masur, American Studies and History

Everyone talks about the "American Dream" and everyone wants to live it, but what, exactly, is the "American Dream"? Does it divide us or unite us? Can it still be achieved in the 21st century?

In this dream, America is a special place. A place of self-improvement, upward mobility, and rags to riches. A place in which hard work and education are rewarded with economic security. A place of hope, of opportunity, and of freedom. A place of happiness and belonging. A place where the individual can control his or her lot in life. The “American Dream” is not one dream; it is many.

The American Dream takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture and society. By reading widely and examining sources as diverse as memoirs, essays, novels, images, music, and film, this course probes the meanings and uses of the “American Dream” in the life of the nation as well as in each of our own lives. The “American Dream,” and its meaning, continues to shift as it collides with changing social realities as each generation projects its hopes and anxieties into its fabric. The history of the evolving “American Dream” provides the building blocks of our own dreams, aspirations, and expectations for life in the 21st century.

This course is particularly recommended for students pursuing majors or minors in African-American studies, American studies, anthropology, art history, business, cinema studies, communication, comparative literature, criminal justice, economics, education, English, history, political science, and sociology. It is also appropriate for life sciences and physical science majors seeking Core or elective credit. This course carries credit toward the major or minor in American studies. The American Dream can be used to fulfill the SAS Core Curriculum goals in Contemporary Challenges [CC] and Arts and Humanities [AHp].

Learn more about the Signature Course The American Dream

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