Fall 2021

Growing Up in America

Moodle site: Course


Elizabeth J. Aries (Section 01)


How do race, ethnicity, social class, and gender shape the experience of growing up in America? We will begin by examining the childhood and adolescent experiences of Justice Sonia Sotomayor as she journeyed from a low-income Puerto Rican immigrant community in the Bronx to an Ivy League university. As we read coming-of-age experiences of other individuals, past and present, fictional and real, our focus will be on understanding identity formation, family relationships, education, the American Dream, courtship, sexuality, and the importance of culture and community. Readings will include sociological and psychological theory as tools for analysis. We will also explore the privileges or disadvantages we have faced growing up due to our race, ethnicity, social class, and gender to understand how they have shaped our own life experiences and perceptions.

The course introduces students to interdisciplinary readings and methods of inquiry from history, psychology, sociology, and literature. The course is designed to advance students’ skills at reading critically, developing strong arguments, and articulating ideas orally and in writing, skills that will be crucial for future coursework at the college.

Fall semester. Professor Aries.


Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021