HON 2290 (01): Special Topics Seminar; Fall 2000 Mondays, 2:00-3:15, LIB 409; Wednesdays, 2:00-3:15, BB 293 (computer lab) Catalogue course description: A special topics course offered exclusively for students admitted to the Undergraduate Honors Program and designed to examine a single theme or issue from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, providing students with the opportunity to work individually or collaboratively on a cross-disciplinary project. Prerequisite: admission to the undergraduate honors program
Instructor Information: Dr. Sarah Robbins
English Department; Building 27; HU 204 office hours: M 4-5, 8-8:30 p.m.; W 1:30-2:00; regularly online; and by appointment.
Kennesaw State email:
1000 Chastain Road Kennesaw, GA 30144
Course objectives/goals:
Students in this class will explore a variety of interdisciplinary approaches for the study of American communities. Students will read print texts from multiple disciplines, but also form interpretations from a range of non-print sources (including film, public history sites, interviews, observation of "vernacular" public spaces [e.g., shopping malls, bowling alleys, grocery stores, fast food outlets]). In addition, class members will use multiple new technologies (e.g., the Internet, a course WebCT site) to assemble and interpret information about past and current communities in northwest Georgia. Students will collaborate on projects presenting some of their findings. Each student will create an individual inquiry project drawing on personal interests and abilities related to the course theme. Throughout the term, students will reflect on their own learning processes, on the body of knowledge they are creating together, and on the implications of their work for humanities-based study of local communities as participants in global cultures. Through their enrollment in this seminar, students will become members of an interdisciplinary inquiry community being supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This program, Keeping and Creating American Communities, includes university scholars, schoolteachers, community leaders, and students around the country collaborating to develop interdisciplinary models and resources for studying local culture. Students in this honors seminar will be joining that regional and national inquiry group, which is being guided by several core principles derived from American Studies and Literacy/Composition Studies:
1) Local communities continually define and redefine themselves in relation to ideas about national (and sometimes international) communities.
More specifically, communities within Northwest Georgia (e.g., farm towns, suburbs, the city of Atlanta) have had complex yet productive interactions with shifting ideas about how best to be "American" while retaining a strong sense of local culture.

2) Many types of texts contribute to the formation of community culture.
These include literacy-centered social activities (e.g., holding festivals, reading and performing literary pieces, generating public policy texts) and producing material culture (e.g., designing buildings, planning parks, producing public exhibits, constructing neighborhoods).

3) Retrieving and examining a range of community texts can help us better understand both our own local cultures and the larger (imagined) communities with which we are trying to affiliate (or resisting affiliation).

4) To become proactive participants in our communities, we should recover and analyze past and current texts that reflect shared values, because we can use that "keeping" process to guide our own "creating" of new social texts embodying the kinds of communities to which we want to belong.

Required Texts to be purchased by all students
a pdf document (Acrobat Reader needed for viewing): Andrews, The Last Radio Baby; Conley, Mountain Wind Song; Allen, Atlanta Rising: Invention of an International City; Deedy, Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia (audiotape); Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier; Course packet [labeled cp below] of secondary and primary materials (ed., Robbins).

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