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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Media and American National Identity

Instructor(s): Joanne Devine, English

What does it mean to be American in the US where ongoing challenges to a unified national identity have come from a range of sources, including domestic politics which often highlight calls for "true patriotism'; the widening gap between rich and poor in this country; demands for social/sexual equality from historically disenfranchised groups (especially the GLBT community); the cultural diversity of immigrant populations; international pressures to conform to world governance; global resistance to perceived threats of Americanization; and challenges to the idea of 'American exceptionalism'? What role do media play in creating, reinforcing and celebrating the idea of a unified American national identity?  In this seminar, we will explore connections between media--television, film, music, newspapers, and the internet--and an American national identity, particularly as this identity emerges in the media treatment of politics, regional character, religion, gender, class, ethnicity & race, and sports & recreation. 

Course Offered