Rather than a survey of any one aspect or period of American history, literature, or popular culture, this course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, a field defined both by the range of texts we read (essays, novels, autobiographies, photographs, films, music, architecture, historical documents, legal texts), and by the questions we ask of them. Those questions include: How have different Americans imagined what it means to be an American? What ideas about national history, patriotism, and moral character shape their visions of Americanness? How do they draw the boundaries that define who belongs within the nation and who gets excluded? What uses have been made of the claim to an American identity, and what is at stake in that claim? How have Americans imagined a national landscape, a national culture, and to what ends? The course will drive toward a consideration of the place that September 11 has begun to assume in American cultural memory.