Pages de Jean Kempf — Université Lumière - Lyon 2 — Département d'études du monde anglophone

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Introduction to the Cultural History of the United States
DELUSA  -  IEP de Lyon

This course addresses the two meanings of "culture" (see lecture 1): the practices that bind a group/people together, and the cultural artifacts/productions of a group/people. We will deal with ideas, values but also with "cultural" places such as museums or cultural issues such as intellectual property.
It is intended as an introduction to a complex field and one which is often caricatured. The approach will be that of cultural history (see Ory below).

Students are expected to prepare for class by reading the assigned material (see links to relevant pages in the syllabus).

The final written exam will consist in one or two essay questions on the issues discussed in class.

Basic bibliography:
  • Pascal Ory, L’Histoire culturelle, Que-sais-je, PUF, 2007.
  • Frédéric Martel, De la Culture en Amérique, Gallimard, 2006.
  • Denis Lacorne (dir.), Les Etats-Unis, Fayard, 2006.
Also for those interested in American literature:
  • Pierre-Yves Pétillon, La Grand-route. Espace et écriture en Amérique, Seuil, 1979.
Syllabus (title of lectures may change slightly)
  1. Jan 20: Culture, values, stereotypes.
  2. Jan 27: Situating American culture. Readings
  3. Feb 3: Situating American culture.
  4. Feb 10: American exceptionalism.
  5. Feb 24: American exceptionalism. Readings
  6. Mar 3: Freedoms. Readings
  7. Mar 10: Freedoms.
  8. Mar 17: Freedoms.
  9. Mar 24: Memory, commemorations and civil religion.
  10. Mar 31: Memory, commemorations and civil religion.
  11. Apr 7: Culture and the State.
  12. Apr 21:  Final Exam (written, 2h)

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