If you look over the current syllabus on the course information page, you’ll see that we’ve leaped and hopped across almost 300 years of history, from the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the Machine Age. The bet here is that Values in American Life have altered, perhaps dramatically, over the centuries– though clearly some of the most venerable ideological commitments of the 17th century persist to this day. Many of those legacies and hold-overs constitute the weaponry of Culture War. Did you keyword “american exceptionalism” in news.google.com as I suggested? Then you know what I mean.
The best preparation for the midterm will have been to have completed the reading assignments, read the course blog, and attended lecture regularly. The midterm is designed for those who have done so. This will not be a soul-killing exercise. For students who’ve done the work it should be relatively simple. The best method of preparation is to go over your lecture notes, paying particular attention to the passages mentioned by me, and to examine the blog entries posted since the last week of August. Here is a recapitulation of information already raised in lecture. Part 2 will follow later this afternoon.
We began the semester with an explication of the title of the course, Values in American Life. The subject of our studies in this class are implicit in that phrase.