Welcome to the course site for American Conflict & Culture in the 1980s in the American Studies Program at Trinity College. This introductory seminar will expose to you to interdisciplinary approaches to defining that most exciting, important, and powerful decade of recent American history and what it reveals about the social construction of culture, politics, economics, art, and literature: the 1980s.
During the 1980s, understandings of sexuality and gender in the United States were radically redefined not only in the bedroom but also by what happened in local and national news, in boardrooms and classrooms, and on the streets. These shifts played a huge role in the cultural, political, geographical, and economic transformations of the decade, from the rise of the Religious Right to the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the Iran-Contra Affair and Challenger Space Shuttle accident to the launch of MTV, from the plague of AIDS and the crack epidemic to the fierce debates around the sex-porn wars and the “welfare queen.” This class will use gender and sexuality as a lens to explore these key events and issues as they play out in books, music, music videos, photography, laws, plays, movies, documentary, television, and newspaper articles, as well as in material objects like the IBM personal computer, Super Mario Brothers, and Cabbage Patch Kids. Through a diverse selection of focused discussion topics, students will learn to interpret and contextualize cultural objects in relation to America and the world in the 1980s by connecting the intimate and global topographies of these events and identifying the ways that they still affect our daily lives. In this core American Studies course, you will become skilled in reading and describing how the context of events shapes culture, geography, politics, and economics, and vice versa.
Feel free to explore the site before class starts.
The Class Breakdown page is where you will find the class readings and other media you will be assigned, along with assignment due dates and brief descriptions of the assignments.
The About page contains all of the info on the course description, learning goals, assignments, required and recommended texts, evaluation criteria, statement on academic integrity, and course GIS software.
The Blog page will include all of the course announcements and links we feel like sharing, as well as your five blog post and commenting assignments for the course.
The Assignments & Grading page lists the course assignments and grading schema. Prepare in advance!
While we will post course papers and embed our shared 1980s on this WordPress site, you will share content that you find exciting and thought-provoking by or about the 1980s on our Facebook page: http://bit.ly/fb_amst1980s.
See you soon!