The Way We (Never) Were: Conflict in the American Family

Historically American literature and film, when compared to its European counterparts, has been said to focus on the family unit, on domestic matters rather than larger political and social situations.  We are also a nation that, during a major election year, is likely to hear tirades about how the American Family is being threatened by our radically changing culture.  Why is it that we are so concerned with the family unit?  Has our literature, film, and media always accurately represented the American family?  Is the traditional American family unit at risk, and does the threat come from the outside or from conflicts within the family? 

Students in this course will examine the American Family as represented in various types of literature, in film, and on television and the conflict that so often is exists within those family units, as well as between the families and their larger communities.  Exploration into resolutions for internal familial conflict, and the ways in which the larger community tries to “fix” the American Family, will also comprise a component of this course.

Suggested integrated semester course paring with GER-235; THR-181; PHL-130; MUS-255