Rising Sixth Form – American Studies

American Studies:

All American Studies students must read the following:

1.  The Things They Carried  by Tim O’Brien (978-0-618-70641-9 )

2.  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (978-1-4000-3342-3)

3.  The following short stories:

Finally, here are ten songs we’ll be studying this year.  Listen to them and think about the questions they raise about the American experience:

  • Rhapsody in Blue  by George Gershwin
  • Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
  • My Old Kentucky Home by Stephen Foster
  • 4th of July by X
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream by Bob Dylan
  • Television, the Drug of the Nation by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
  • Back in the U.S.A. by Chuck Berry
  • America, the Beautiful by Ray Charles
  • Jesus, Etc.  by Wilco
  • Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Indigo Girls
  • This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
  • The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
  • Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
  • What’s Going On? By Marvin Gaye

Discussion Questions:

How do each of the authors deal with the connection between history and identity?  What role does the past play in our understanding of ourselves and in creating opportunities for the future?
What role does storytelling play in each work?  Why do we tell stories?  What role do they play?
Each of these works (including the short fiction and the songs) speaks to the American identity in a unique way. You’ve studies ancient, world, and European cultures.  From your reading, what makes the American identity unique or distinctive?


–Objective quizzes offer you the chance to confirm that you have met the baseline expectation of completing the reading
–Essays will assess your use of specific textual references to connect the themes and content of the works to one another
–A Harkness discussion will ask you to relate your reading to essential questions of the course using specific textual support

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