"Keywords Assignment Appendix", Kennesaw State University, Rebecca Hill

Assignment: Keyword Assignment Appendix
Class: American Studies Principles and Methods
Institution: Kennesaw State University
Instructor: Rebecca Hill

Note : This is the structure of the keyword presentation assignment in an asynchronous online class. That class was built around Monday/Thursday discussion board posting assignments, and the Keyword assignment, workshops and responses all followed that pattern, with longer writing assignments due on Mondays and shorter assignments or “quick checks” due on Thursdays.

25 % Keyword Presentation with Q&A: A power point or google slides presentation on one keyword from the Keywords book that was not one of the words assigned on the syllabus. In your presentation, you will summarize key points from the Keyword essay, define the Keyword in your own words, connect your keyword to two different assigned course readings and finally explain how your keyword can help explain something about your chosen place for the “My American Place” project. You are encouraged to do your presentation with a voice-over explanation, but this is not required. You can also provide the printed script to go with your power-point slides. On the day when the keyword presentations are due, there will be an assignment on D2L to ask questions about other students’ presentations, and you will need to answer your classmates’ questions about your presentation

Draft Workshop through Final Keyword project:

I. Keywords project workshop part one (due online Monday)

Note: I assigned partners for each student by email. I gave feedback to every student on the discussion board

  1. Write 4-5 sentences explaining how this week’s readings and the film _Shake the Dust_relate to the Keyword “Globalization.” Choose at least 1 specific example or big idea from each of the readings and the film that connect to specific ideas or themes in the Keyword essay. And now, time to brainstorm and start working on your own Keyword project.
  2. Spend 30 minutes doing the following free-writing, either handwritten or typed: A. Write down some of the examples or ideas from course readings (any course readings from the entire semester so far) that are related to your keyword – this doesn’t have to be in complete sentence
    B. Think about a place that represents America to you – what is that place? It can be as small as a workplace or school, and as large as a city or town, but no bigger. What is that place?
    C. Connect your place and your Keyword: Do you see any examples of how your Keyword works in this place? Can your Keyword help explain something that happened in this place or is still happening in this place? Is there some other connection between your keyword and your place? What is it?
  3. Post here: a photo or typed version of your free-writing in response to questions A, B and C

  4. Post here: one or two paragraphs explaining what you think are the most important ideas in the course readings related to your Keyword, and the most interesting or important way that you can connect your chosen keyword to your place.

II Keywords Draft workshop part two (due online Thursday)

Read your partner’s Keyword brainstorming paragraph from Monday night. Ask them at least 2 questions to help them clarify and develop their ideas. some suggested things you might want to think about as you read their paragraphs: Do they need to clarify any terms, not just the Keyword, but any other terms? Do they need to explain historical events, facts or other examples? Does their connection between their place and the Keyword make sense to you? Is there anything they said that seems really interesting and could they emphasize this more?

III Keyword Workshop Part Three (due the next Monday):

Read the questions you got from your partner and from me on your presentation brain-storming exercise. Write a couple of sentences about what you are doing to deepen or clarify your analysis.

IV Projects Due: Students had an on opportunity to write a quick progress report on Thursday and ask me direct question. The presentations were due the following Monday

V: Q&A assignment after presentations were posted: Note: I assigned a new partner, and asked students to also respond to the final presentation of their partner from the workshop they had done before.

Thursday: Presentation discussion board as a direct reply to the posted presentation -

  1. watch and/or listen to your old partner’s keyword presentation and ask them a question about their presentation. If you are not sure what to ask, you can ask them to clarify something in the presentation, or explain it in more detail; you can ask them about another idea that occurs to you; or you can ask them more about their American place in relation to their keyword.
  2. Watch and/or listen to your new partner’s keyword presentation and ask them a question If you are not sure what to ask, you can ask them to clarify something in the presentation, or explain it in more detail; you can ask them about another idea that occurs to you; or you can ask them more about their American place in relation to their keyword.
  3. Extra Credit: Watch and/or listen to one additional keyword presentation and ask the presenter a question or make a comment on something interesting or confusing about their presentation.

Monday, as part of final discussion assignment for that week: Presenters answer the questions from classmates

Answer the questions you got on your Keyword presentation (please do this on the discussion board under your presentation, not on this discussion board)

American Studies 3700: American Studies Principles and Methods

Online Fall 2020

Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Hill – you can call me Dr. Rebecca

Pronouns: she/her

What is American Studies? And what does it mean to study America? To answer these questions, this reading, writing and discussion based course introduces students to the field of American Studies: the interdisciplinary study of American cultures. The course critically examines the meaning and culture of America locally and globally, using a wide variety of readings and activities from multiple academic disciplines and popular culture

Catalogue Description:


Hi students! Welcome to the first core course in the Comparative American Studies minor. In this course, you’ll learn about the history of the field of American Studies and practice doing some of its most common research methods. The course is organized around three big themes in American Studies scholarship from the past through today: Myths and Symbols of American Culture; Critical cultural history of the United States; and Transnationalism in American Studies. The course concludes with a project that requires you to apply these themes to a local example. You will be reading and writing about many different aspects of American culture using a variety of disciplinary methods and perspectives; from analyzing movies and pop songs, to reviewing archival sources, to interviews and observation. Throughout the course, to give you ideas for how to organize your final project, I’ve assigned several examples of local studies connected to the field’s larger mission under the heading “local studies.” These may be documentary films, podcasts and academic readings. For your final project, you’ll write your own local study about an American place that is important to you.

Learning Objectives – Students in AMST 3700 will:

  • examine various enduring and emerging myths about America and its regions and the impact of those myths on individuals and the larger society;
  • acquire and demonstrate an understanding of American social spaces as sites where shared values are developed, displayed and sometimes highly contested;
  • explore and interpret ways in which race, ethnicity, gender, and social class have shaped American social identities;
  • read and interpret both historical and contemporary American Studies scholarship
  • work collaboratively to develop informed understandings of American history and culture;
  • practice and develop skills for interpreting texts from daily life, the environment, popular culture and material culture in ways that enhance academic analysis.

Course Requirements:

20 % Online Participation: During the class, you’ll have assignments to post on D2L discussion boards, and sometimes to take short quizzes to assess your overall grasp of the course material. Your participation grade is based on your completing these assignments on time, and following the guidelines for the discussion. There will always be at least two discussion post requirements each week: a quick check-in due on Thursday at 6:30 pm, and a response to discussion questions from me due on Mondays at 11:59 pm. There will also be workshop assignments and occasional questions prompting you to give updates on aspects of your “My American Place” project on D2L to help you keep on track. All of these assignments will appear in your weekly modules on D2L. Each week’s D2L posts are worth a total of 7 points. This makes a possible 105 points for the entire semester, building in 5 points of extra credit if you do not miss any posts.

5% Pop Song Project: After each of the four units, you will be posting a link to a video of a popular song that resonates with the reading assignments or discussions from that unit along with a brief explanation of how you see the connection. You will also be discussing and commenting on other students’ video links. See Pop Song Project assignment handout and rubric for more details

20% Name that Myth Paper: (Traditional paper, due 9/21) For this paper, you will write an essay about a common myth or symbol of America as a nation and discuss the myth’s impact on people’s lives. You’ll do some independent research and also draw on the analysis of national myths and symbols in the course readings. See the bottom of this syllabus and individual assignment handouts and rubrics for detailed requirements.

25 % Keyword Presentation with online Q&A (due 10/26): Using a Keyword essay in the book, Keywords for American Cultural Studies, you will do an online presentation using PowerPoint or other accessible presentation software. You must choose a Keyword that is not already on the course syllabus. See the bottom of the syllabus and assignment handouts and rubrics for detailed requirements.

30% Final Project: American Place project ( rough draft due Dec. 7, final draft due Dec 14) For your final paper, you will write about how a single place exemplifies or demonstrates one or more of the themes addressed in course readings during the course of the semester. It should be a place that you know well. For example, it could be the place you live now, a place where you lived in the past, or a place where you work or have worked. The place should be no smaller than a workplace, school, or a neighborhood, and no bigger than a city or county. If you are outside the United States, the place could be one in your country that you associate with American culture (A McDonalds?) or it could be a place that officially represents the U.S. in your own location (such as an embassy, military base, or other state office). In your paper, you will use at least two of the methods you’ve learned about in American Studies (archival research, visual analysis, literary analysis, interviews, participant-observation) to write about your place as a microcosm or example of larger aspects of American culture and history that you read about during the semester. See the assignment description at the end of the syllabus, as well as the assignment handout and rubric.


Burgett and Hendler, Keywords for American Cultural Studies 2nd edition; New York: NYU, 2014

Philip Deloria and Thomas Olson, American Studies: A User’s Guide Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017

David Roediger, How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon New York: Verso, 2019 (2008 edition is also OK)

Feature Films: With the exception of Smoke Signals, which requires a small rental fee, all the other films are free to view online through links provided in your D2L modules.

Sergio de la Torre and Vicki Funari, Maquilapolis: City of Factories, 2005, California Newsreel

Chris Eyre_, Smoke Signals_, Miramax, 1998 (available for rent) on Google Play, Amazon Prime, I-tunes, and Youtube.

Jane Gillooly, Where the Pavement Ends, 2020. America Reframed

Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer_, Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea_ 2004 Truly CA, KQUED

Marlon Riggs_, Ethnic Notions_ California Newsreel, 9987, available through KSU library- Galileo Films on Demand

Paula Sporn, Detroit 42802: Conversations Along a Postal Route, Grito Films, 2018. America Reframed

Course Schedule:

Principle One: Americanness

Week one: 8/17-8/24 Myths and Symbols


Syllabus and course introduction under “Start Here”

Keywords: Introduction and “Exceptionalism” (both are online)

Deloria and Olson, Introduction and chapter 4

Shirk, “The Real Marlboro Man,” the Atlantic


Start here videos

Power Point – The Myth of the frontier

By Thursday August 22nd 6:30 pm:

Email me at rhill54@kennesaw.edu to check in

Do the D2L introduction and quick check #1: where are you in the reading? (what page number); ask one question and make one comment about this week’s readings

By Monday August 24th at 11:59 pm: answer discussion questions on D2L

Week Two: 8/24-8/31 From Myth and Symbol to Cultural Studies


Deloria and Olson, chapter 5

Kolodny, “Uses of Captivity

Slotkin, “The Myth of the Frontier in American History”

Keywords: Empire

Watch: Power point on Myth and Symbol School in American studies

And video clips from movies in the captivity genre


By Thursday: quick check post: Where are you in the reading, make a comment, ask a question

By Monday 9/2: answer D2L questions and do Captivity narrative workshop

Week Three: 8/31-9/ 7 Myths and Symbols of the Frontier


Deloria, “I Want to Ride Geronimo’s Cadillac”

Deloria and Olson, chapter 6-7

Keywords: Indian, America


movie, Smoke Signals


By Thursday 9/5: quick check post

By Tuesday 9/8: Library 101 workshop due

Week Four 9/7 – 9/14: Symbols


Trachtenberg, “Two Kingdoms”

Keywords: Technology, Culture

Deloria and Olson, Chapter 8


Brooklyn Bridge videos


Local Studies: “Only One Thing Missing” about the Racine, WI prom (link on D2L)


Thursday: Quick Check

Monday: answer D2L questions and do Brooklyn Bridge workshop

Pop song post #1

Principle Two: The Critical Study of American History and Culture

Week five: 9/14-9/21: Race and American Hsitory


Roediger, How Race Survived to chapter 2

Lott, “White Like Me’

Keywords: Racialization, White, Performance


film: Ethnic Notions

PowerPoint: Historical Review and Background for Roediger


Thursday Quick Check

Monday 9/21 at midnight: Respond to discussion questions AND

Paper Due: Name That Myth

Week Six: 9/21-9/28: Race and American Literature


How Race Survived, chapter 3

Melville, “the Gees”

Karcher, “the Gees”

Keywords: Labor, Literature


Power-point on the History of the Civil War and Reconstruction

Youtube videos on close-reading and satire


Thursday: quick check post

Monday 9/28 at midnight: D2L questions and close reading workshop

Week Seven: 9/28- 10/5 Race and Immigration History


How Race Survived chapters 4-5

Pick your own keyword – one I haven’t already assigned


Power-point on Race and Immigration History

PowerPoint on How to do PowerPoint Presentations


Podcast Chris Beam, “Occam’s Razor” from This American Life


Thursday quick check in

Monday at midnight: D2L Discussion posts

Week Eight: 10/5-10/12 Race and Southern History


How Race Survived, chapter 6-end

Local studies: Link, “The New South in Crisis”

Keywords: South

Workshop materials: document workshop


Keywords example presentation from Dr. Rebecca


Thursday quick check, start document workshop assignment

Monday: finish document assignment

Pop Song Post #2

Principle Three: Transnationalism

Week Nine: 10/12-10/19 Theories and Spaces of Transnationalism


Shelley Fisher Fishkin “The Crossroads of Culture”

Local Studies: Aguilar, “La onda sonidera en Chicago”

Keywords: Globalization


PowerPoint on Transnationalism in American Studies (Keyword Presentation model)

Local Studies: Film: Maquiapolis


Thursday: quick check on D2L

Monday: D2L discussion questions – Keyword Workshop Presentation Part 1

Week Ten: 10/19- 10/26 Transnational Relationships between the U.S., Mexico and El Salvador

Local Studies: Comer, “The Politics of Play”

Martinez, “On the Road: Oaxaca”

Keywords: Community, Border


PowerPoint On participant observation

Local Studies:

video: https://www.pbs.org/video/only-in-atlanta-buford-highway-pfe4t6/

video: https://dilac.iac.gatech.edu/dilac-projects/latino-commumity-buford-highway


Thursday quick check: reading check and Keyword Presentation Part 2

Monday Midnight: D2L post including field notes or alternative online exercise

Week Eleven: 10/26 – 11/2 Transnationalism and the Cold War


Molly Antopol, “The Quietest Man”

Nguyen, “War Years” from The Refugees

Lieberman, “It Seemed Like a Very Local Affair”

Kent State Interview for Oral History workshop

Ortiz, “8 Steps”

Keywords: Politics


(oral history example) Kent State Interview for Oral History project


Thursday quick check-in

Monday: Oral History questions AND

Keyword Presentations Due

Week Twelve 11/2-11/9 – Transnationalism after 9/11


Shamsie, “Your Dead, Our Dead” The Guardian 9/11 stories


Moustafa Bayoumi, excerpt “How Does It Feel to be a Problem?” https://nymag.com/news/features/48931/index2.html

Read OR Listen: Transcript of Wendy Pearlman interview with Chuck Mertz on the radio show “This is Hell”: https://antidotezine.com/2017/07/11/syria-retold/


Swet Shop Boys T5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Yb8AWXgLI

Narcy “Phatwa”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtoHCUMpNMY

Listen/or read: Wendy Pearlman interview with Chuck Mertz on the radio show “This is Hell” https://antidotezine.com/2017/07/11/syria-retold/


Thursday quick check

Monday: D2L response

Pop Song Post 3 is due

Week Thirteen 11/9 -11/16


Deloria and Olson, chapter 9

Keywords: Gender, Class

Local Studies: Trimbur, “Gleason’s Gym”

Local Studies: Hirsch, “Que, pues, con el pinche NAFTA?”


Local Studies: Film: Detroit 48202

Link: https://www.amdoc.org/watch/media/968/


Thursday: Quick Check

Monday: Census Workshop

Week Fourteen: 11/16 -11/23: Cities and Towns – Beyond Boosting


Local Studies: Busch, “Crossing Over”

Keyword: City, Environment


Local Studies: Film: Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TjGAWxL23c&feature=youtu.be


Thursday – quick check

Monday 11/25: drafting workshop

Fall Break 11/23 – 11/29

Week Fifteen: 11/30 – 12/7

Deloria and Olson, 10

Your own reading for your final project

Keywords: America (2nd time)


Power point on Interdisciplinary Research and Writing

Local Studies: Film Where the Pavement Ends

Link: https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/america-reframed/where-the-pavement-ends-5eg5k8/


Draft exchange workshop

Thurs Dec. 5 11: 59 pm: Rough Draft of final paper due

Mon Dec 9: Last pop song project post on D2L

Respond to partner’s rough draft

Final Exam Week:

Friday Dec 13: Turn in final paper or project – My American Place

Paper and Project Assignments:

Name that Myth: due 9/21 1200 –1500 word paper (4 ½ - 6pp double-spaced)

In your paper, you must use two or more current popular culture and /or news sources (advertisement, news article, novel, film, television show, political speech, song) that represent a single cultural theme, symbol, persistent idea, ideological structure, or “myth” of America. You must also use at least two assigned course readings and one additional academic source. In your paper, compare how your chosen myth or symbol appears in the two different forms of media that you chose. Using the academic reading and course readings, explain what the myth is, provide some evidence that people believe in the myth, and argue for why this myth matters. The big question here is: What is the influence of the myth in present-day American culture or views of America?

Please note: The use of the word “myth” often makes people want to write a paper disproving a popular false belief about American culture. While this can be a useful exercise, and you may include some evidence of the myth’s falsehood in your paper, the most important task you need to complete in the paper is not disproving the myth so much as explaining the influence and power of the myth despite the fact that it is false.

Keywords Presentation: 7-9 minute presentation (min. 1000 words of text notes to accompany the visuals if not doing voice-over)

For this assignment, you will create a presentation and post it on D2L and participate in class discussion about your presentation. You may not choose a Keyword that is already on the course syllabus.

In your presentation, you must

1) identify central points of the Keyword essay in the Keywords book

2) define the Keyword in your own words,

3) connect the keyword to two different assigned course readings and

4) finally explain how your keyword can help explain something about your chosen place for the “My American Place” project.

5) include relevant illustrations for the Keywords, Reading, and Place.

You may choose to do your PowerPoint with a voice-over explanation, but this is not required. You can also provide the printed script to go with your power-point slides, placing these in the notes portion of each slide. On the day when the keyword presentations are due, there will be an assignment on D2L to ask questions about other students’ presentations and you will need to answer your classmates’ questions about your presentation. You will also be doing a Keywords workshop before the presentations are due.

American Place Project: 1700-2500 words (7-9 pp double-spaced paper – see below for other formats)

The goal of your final project is to apply concepts learned in class about America as well as American Studies as a field to the study to research a single place that represents America to you. This can be a place inside or outside the United States, depending on your own location. This should be an in-depth, independent research project combining at least two of the research methods discussed and practiced in class. I have chosen some documentary films and readings that focus on individual locations within the US as models of the kind of analysis that I am looking for. This assignment can be done in any of the following formats as long as you use a minimum of 1700 words: a traditional academic paper; a series of blog posts including images; a virtual museum exhibit; a podcast or a short video documentary. For the blog posts, exhibit, podcast, or video documentary, you must include a written script. and a works-cited page just as you would for a formal paper.

In your project, answer the following questions

  • How did your place come to be the way it is now?
  • Who lives (or works) in your place?
  • What are the most important current characteristics or qualities of your place? Why are these characteristics or qualities important for understanding this place?
  • How do people in your place describe themselves and why is this important?
  • What theme or concept we’ve studied in class is relevant to understanding your place (you can use a Keyword, including the same Keyword that you used for your presentation)?
  • What larger national historical and cultural patterns or trends discussed in course materials appear in your place?

Sources and methods requirements and guidelines:

  • Your project must include census data. If it is about a neighborhood or workplace, you should give census data appropriate to the place where it is located
  • Your project must include a minimum of 3 academic sources outside the assigned course readings
  • Your project must include at least two newspaper or other reputable news sources about your place – these should not be tourism or PR sources.
  • Your project must combine at least two research methods practiced in the course (historical research, ethnography, literary analysis, visual culture analysis)
  • You must use at least 2 course readings in your paper as you connect your specific place to themes and concepts discussed in the course.
  • You must cite all sources used in your paper, including interviews, websites, advertisements, videos, etc.
  • Tourism and PR sources can be used, but they should be identified as such and evaluated critically in the context of other more critical or objective sources.
  • If you are using visual culture, film, and /or literary analysis, you may include literary, film, and /or visual sources in your paper. These should be discussed using methods for visual and/or literary analysis as discussed in course materials.