What does it mean to be an American? Who can claim that identity and why? What are the rights, privileges, and obligations that come with it? What kind of a country is the United States, and what is its relationship with the rest of the world? In this introductory, discussion-based class, we will assume that there are not simple answers to these questions and instead will investigate how groups, individuals, and institutions have imagined and debated them in various moments. To do so, we will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a particular moment or issue and analyze cultural products including film, fiction, theater, music, television programs, and practices as diverse as religious celebrations, consumerism, and travel.  We will pay close attention to how ideas about identity – racial, gendered, sexual, economic, and more – have been produced and contested. Along the way, we will practice a range of methods for analyzing culture and sharing our analyses, develop a scholarly vocabulary for American culture studies, and discuss the benefits and limitations of interdisciplinary scholarship and its relationship to more traditional disciplines.