American Dream

Description Choose a cultural representation of the American dream. You may select almost anything from an advertisement to a video game provided that it is something we have not already discussed extensively in class. Music, movies, paintings, and poems make particularly promising objects of analysis. Whatever you choose, analyze it. Use at least five course readings to do a close reading of this particular representation of the American Dream. Consider the choices the artist(s) made: what image of America is shown and what is left out? Who is the implied audience, and how was it received? Analyze how this cultural text fits into its historic context: what does it tell us about the era when it was made or popular? What image(s) of American identity does it communicate? What is its version of the American dream? Course Reading includes: – Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again” (1935) and Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, “Statement on Visit to the USA” (2017) -Read: Cullen, American Dream -Read: Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick (1863) -Read: Kathryn Schulz, “Citizen Khan” New Yorker (2016) and Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (1883). -Read: Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S. Mexico-Borderlands -Read: Lieu, American Dream in Vietnamese – Read: Coates, Between the World and Me -Read: Mae Ngai, “Immigration’s Border-Enforcement Myth” New York Times (2018).

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