Fall 2009

The American Dream

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-11


Carol C. Clark (Section 01)
Allen Guttmann (Section 02)
Karen J. Sanchez-Eppler (Section 03)


More than any other nation, the United States has envisioned itself as a landscape of pure possibility.  From the 17th century to the present, an ever-shifting "American Dream" has been the repository of Americans' longing for a new kind of personal and national life.  In this class we will consider how Americans have imagined this new life as manifested in forms as varied as political action made possible under the Constitution to opportunities for home ownership made possible (or impossible) by the free market.  Since the class introduces students to the field of American Studies, there will be considerable attention paid to different disciplinary approaches to American society and culture.

Although there may be occasional exceptions, texts will consist mainly of whole books such as Frederick Douglass's autobiography, Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Roth's The Human Stain.

Limited to 20 students per section, the course will be conducted principally by discussions in which all students are expected to participate.  Fall semester. Professors Clark, Guttmann, and Sánchez-Eppler.

If Overenrolled: Would like 15 slots saved for first year students, balance of slots can be accommodated with majors given preference then allocated by year starting with underclassmen.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009