American Culture (AmCult) 335 Arts and Culture in American Life Colin Gunckel AMCULT 335 is an advanced and reading intensive introduction to artistic and cultural history of the United States in the 20th century. After briefly establishing cultural contexts of the late 19th century, the remainder of the course will be dedicated to examining an array of cultural phenomena including vaudeville, cinema, radio, modern art, rock music and television. While providing an historical overview of entertainment and mass culture of the last century, this course will attend particularly to the debates and controversies that surrounded each cultural form and the commercialization of leisure in general. In particular, we will be investigating notions of taste and “culture” as constructs, categories that are subject to contestation and often change over time. In this respect, the course will focus on analysis of these debates, the categories reinforced or resisted, and the stakes of battles over culture. In addition to analyzing the various discourses that shaped the terms of cultural debate, we will also pay close attention to the ways these were informed by issues of class, gender, race and ethnicity. Accordingly, AMCULT 335 is also designed as a survey of cultural thought and criticism, and the ways in which social, technological and political changes have been negotiated through cultural products. By approaching cultural production and consumption in these terms, students will learn key frameworks through which to engage U.S. culture through the contemporary period.