The Multicultural American Cultural Landscape

Course Description: Today the American landscape is a hybrid, composed of many different types and models that have been physically transformed by cultural practices and institutional bureaucracy; these hybrids are exclusively American. This course introduces students to the American cultural landscape and the social processes that shape it. Students are first familiarized with the idea of landscape as a way to see, describe, and ultimately understand socially constructed environments (as both physical and mental spaces). Through this conceptual framework, students then examine the morphology of the American cultural landscape, from its early landscape typologies (i.e. streets, parks, and yards) to its contemporary social practices (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender). Throughout the course, students will learn to more critically interpret the heterogeneous cultural practices that come together to define the contemporary American landscape; pluribus unum.


Course Purpose: The course is designed to introduce students to the idea of landscape in order to better understand the everyday environment. The course exposes students to various landscape philosophies. It also introduces students to the social, economic, and political forces that have profoundly shaped the American landscape. The course explores both historic and contemporary features of the American cultural landscape through examining both human place making patterns (architectural typologies) and social practices. 

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