|AKE 357 Contemporary Issues in American Society|
Contemporary Issues in American Society
Office hours: TU 9:00 - 12:00
DESCRIPTION and OBJECTIVES
In this class, we will be following the current events, issues and discussions in the United States form a selection of media. We will be keeping track with the mainstream, right- and left-wing media. Our discussions will evolve around the US national issues such as big business corporations, health care, immigration, gun control, drug traffic, war on terror, climate change and education, as well as national/international issues like the war in Afghanistan, and several other involvements. We will see how issues are projected from the right-wing and left-wing channels of information. At this point, the process of disseminating/controlling information and creating an agenda would inevitably become an important topic of discussion. In addition, we will work on developing historical perspectives on the issues by studying the formation of certain perceptions and attitudes, which would at times lead us to theoretical writings and historical documents.
If our immediate aim can be stated as getting familiar with the current situation, our long-term and in-depth goal is to turn the investigative requirements of this class into habits (go beyond the readily available!) and have the students interpret the data rather than just receiving it – preferably from a historical and critical perspective.
REQUIREMENTS and GRADING
Attendance (+10hrs of absence=F1) and participation in class discussions are required. Also be ready when your presentations are due (25%). An essay-midterm will determine 25% of your grade. You are encouraged to develop your presentations into a well-documented research paper of 50% as your final.
(several others might be added in accordance with our discussion&presentations&agenda)
For historical perspective&document research:
Johnson, Chalmers. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of Empire. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004.
---. The Last Days of the American Republic. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006.
Said, Edward. Sarkiyatcilik: Batinin Sark Anlayislari. Istanbul, Metis: 2005.
http://www.democracynow.org/tags/howard_zinn (a number of lectures/talks by the late Howard Zinn)
http://www.democracynow.org/tags/art_politics (intws w/ writers)
For the flow of events:
http://www.juancole.com/ (Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion)