American Culture: Memory and Identity Politics

lgerm1525  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

American Culture: Memory and Identity Politics
5 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2018-2019
Bragard Véronique;
Level B2 of the Common Europea Framework of Reference for Languages

Main themes
The course studies :

1. the material reality;
2. political and social organisation (forms of government);
3. moral attitudes;
4. Cultural, intellectual, philosophical and religious life;
5. the hopes, failures and achievements of the communities in English-speaking countries.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


The course studies the major developments and structures in politics, social relationships and culture, and introduces the students to contemporary life in the United States.
By the end of the course, students are expected to have acquired in-depth knowledge of the identity and culture of the United States.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This course offers students a survey of American history in its broader conceptualization, taking into account cultural, artistic and memorial aspects. It asks the question why and how America remembers the past through monuments, texts or visual art forms that offer diverse modes of engagement with cultural production and politics. Starting from Nora's concept of "Site of memory" and American national/ethnic holidays, it attempts to understand the construction and Americanness of America.
The class is organized around 10 modules: 1. Introduction. American Icons Contested. 2. Columbus Day & American Beginnings: Plurality & Unity 3. Manifest Destiny and Westward expansion. The Frontier. 4. Kwanza & MLK Day: slavery, civil war and the Civil Right's movement 5. St Patrick’s Day: Immigrants and New Comers. Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, Prohibition Years and the urban experience. 6. Memorial Day & Veterans day: WWI & WWII 7. American comics and politics 8. Apocalypse Now: The cold war, the Vietnam War and 1980s 9. American interventionism, the Gulf War and 9/11. 10. US & Climate change debates.
Teaching methods
Teaching method: formal lectures, personal readings, museum visits.
Evaluation methods
Assessment: written exam.
Other information
Study aids: course book, text syllabus, video extracts of films, documentaries and archives.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures: German, Dutch and English

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Minor in English Studies