Sunday, August 24, 2008

American Society Syllabus

American Society
American Studies 260
3 Credits
American University of Central Asia
Fall Semester 2008
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.

Meeting Time: Monday room 225 and Thursday 312 at 8:00

Course Description: This course will examine the ethnic diversity of the United States within the historical context of colonization and immigration. The course will start with an examination of the core Anglo-Saxon or WASP ethnicity in the US. It will then deal with Native Americans, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe including the Russian Empire and their descendants, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and finally Arab Americans.

Requirements: This course will consist of lectures, class discussion, short writing assignments, an oral report and a research paper. Students will have to write two short reflection papers between 600 and 800 words. The first one should be on differences between the initial British settlers and later European immigrants. The second one should be on the differences between European immigrants and later immigrants from either Latin America, Asia or the Middle East. Finally, students will be required to write a 1500 to 2000 word research paper on the history of one specific ethnic group in the US. Prior to submitting the paper, students will be required to give a short oral presentation on their chosen subject followed by a question and answer session. Late papers will lose one letter grade for each day they are late. Students must come to class on time. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. I will eject any student from class that has a visible cell phone or whose cell phone rings during class. This will count as an unexcused absence. Finally, I have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.

Readings: All the readings are contained in the course packet.

Plagiarism Policy: Policy on Plagiarism and Citations: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them from the course and recommend to the chairman of the ICP department that they be expelled from the program. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying of from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. If I find that more than four words in a row in your paper show up in the same order in a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, endnote or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F for the course and be recommended for expulsion from ICP. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so that it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it with the proper footnote, endnote or in text citation or quote the actual text verbatim complete with the proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of the information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. If you have questions about whether a particular source is legitimate you can ask me. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation in a paper.


Class participation – 30%

Two reflection papers – 30% (15% each)

Oral report on research paper – 10%

Written version of research paper – 30%

Grading Scale:

100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F

Class Schedule:

Week One: Introduction to Course and Review of Syllabus

Week Two and Three: Is there an American Ethnicity?

Eric Kaufmann, “Ethnic or Civic Nation? Theorizing the American Case”, pp. 1-45.

Week Four: Native Americans

William H. Lyon, “The Navajos in the Anglo-American Historical Imagination, 1807-1870,” Ethnohistory, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Summer 1996), 483-509.

Week Five: Eastern and Southern European Immigrants and their Descendants

John A. Kromkowski, “Eastern and Southern European Immigrants: Expectations, Reality, and a New Agenda,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, (Sep. 1986), pp. 57-78.

Week Six: Other European Immigrants: The German Diaspora from Russia

Timothy Kloberdanz, “The Volga Germans in Old Russia and in Western North America: Their Changing World View,” Anthropological Quarterly. Vol. 48, No. 4 (Oct. 1975), pp. 209-222. First reflection paper due on Thursday.

Week Seven and Eight: Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the US

Gustavo Cano and Alexandra Delano, “The Mexican Government and Organised Mexican Immigrants in the United States: A Historical Analysis of Political Transnationalism (1848-2005), Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 33, No. 5 (July 2005), pp. 695-725.

Week Nine: Fall Break

Week Ten: African Americans

Jacqueline S. Mattis, “Religion and African American Political Life,” Political Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 2 (June 2001), pp. 263-278.

Week Eleven: Asian Americans

Helen Zia, “Surrogate Slaves to American Dreamers,” (Chapter 2) in Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (New York: FSG, 2000), pp. 21-52.

Week Twelve: Arab Americans

Elias T. Nigam, “Arab Americans: Migration, Socioeconomic and Demographic Characteristics,” International Migration Review, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Autumn 1986), 629-649. Second reflection paper due on Thursday.

Week Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen: Student Oral Presentations

Week Sixteen: Final Remarks and Research Paper Due.

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