Hello! I will pay literally any amount of money for someone to answer the questions on this study guide. The course is AMST 301 - america, the frontier, and the new west. If you have knowledge of this subject please fill out the answers on the review sheet.?
Study Questions and Sample Midterm Questions
Note: The midterm quiz is worth 6 points. The quiz will consist of 10
questions. 6 questions will be worth a ? point and 3 will be worth 1 point.
Most of the questions will be multiple choice. A few of the questions will be
short answer. All of the multiple choice questions will be drawn from
questions included in this study guide.
Keynote Methods for Studying ?American, the Frontier and the New West?
--Understanding something by seeing it from multiple points of view, a checking and balancing
of different perspectives
--Giving attention to cultural, social factors and personal beliefs that make us different, unique,
--Analysis by breaking something down by seeing difference and by examining each voice for its
individuality or uniqueness
--Making contrasts between voices that are similar or that appear similar especially because they
belong to the same group based on such factors as living in the same time and place or share
nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender or sexual orientation.
--Listening to the contra-dictions, conflicts and quarrels of this country from different sides and
with an empathy and curiosity and imagination that takes us out of seeing and listening and
identifying and agreeing with what is most familiar to us.
--Understanding something by looking for likeness, similarity, sameness, commonality, unity
amidst that which looks different or separate or unique
--Giving attention to what cultures, peoples, individuals from different times and places or from
different nationalities or hemispheres or from different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations,
social classes, religious beliefs have in common.
--Deconstruction of Us vs. Them binary thinking and a search for the We (such binaries include
Civilization vs. Savage, Cowboys vs. Indians, and USC or USA or Los Angeles or America as
Exceptional vs. other universities, other countries, other cities)
--Seeing the brother in the other
--Making syntheses or finding commonalities among voices that are different or appear different
because they belong to a different group or different time and place or different ethnicity, gender,
sexual orientation, social class,
--Uniting or connecting what is diverse or seemingly different through comparative thinking.
III. Studying Power and Resistance to Power
Studying the USA to understand POWER?.both how to gain it and how to avoid or counter its
abuse, corruption, tyranny, oppression, injustice.
Examining materials assigned for this course to understand:
--Where power has been located in America in the past and where it is located now?
--How has power been obtained?
--How has power been used for corrupt purposes?
--How has power been used for just purposes?
--How have the powerless or those with less power resisted and protected themselves against
those with the most power and gained more power for themselves?
--Question and distrust power and listen not just to those who have had power and voice and say
in this country but listen to those whose voices have been silenced, ignored, misrepresented,
censored, covered-up, or under-represented.
IV. Lenses of Perception in Interpreting History (and Understanding Ourselves and Others)
Studying how people can look at the very same event and interpret it very differently because
they see it through different lenses of knowledge, experience, belief, attitude, value, training.
--No one interprets history or tells the story of history perfectly objectively. No one is a perfect
mind reader (or heart and soul reader) of another person?s beliefs, desires, intentions. But
people can be more or less accurate in interpreting history and understanding the voices of
--What are some of the most powerful lenses through which people view each other, the world,
--How can we study American culture, history, politics to understand these lenses and evaluate
their accuracy and their distortion and correct for their distortion or give us more insight?
V. To a significant degree, we are governed by words. We understand the world and each other
in large part through the lens of language. We also misunderstand the world and deceive others
and are deceived by others through words. Language is at once an instrument of representation
--How and why is the government of the USA a logocracy, a government of words?
--Who has the power to script, define and interpret the words and representations that govern us,
whether it be the words of the Constitution or the words of the media or the words of we the
VI. Stories and Storytelling
In many ways, this is a course about stories, the stories we are told, the ones we repeat, the
ones we believe, and the ones we ignore, forget, or deny. The stories we tell about America
shape us, our culture, and our society.
This course will examine the stories we tell about Columbus, the Puritans, the Revolution,
the Founding Fathers, the American West, the frontier, Los Angeles, USC.
We will examine these stories not just to see what they tell us about the subjects of the
stories, but also what they tell us about the power of stories to shape knowledge and
understanding of ourselves and others whether they be our neighbors, our lovers, or people from
a different time and place who are strangers to us or with whom we have not had no direct,
immediate contact except through stories.
Class 1: Prologue: Listening to the Sounds and Contradictions of America,
the Frontier, and the New West
What is American Studies? How and why does it involve Ethnic Studies?
What is the American character (or what are the multiple personalities of America)?
What is democratic thinking? What is integrative thinking?
What is your relationship to America, the West, California, Southern California, Los
Class 2: In the beginning of America was the word and the contradiction of
I a. Ronald Reagan, Second Inaugural Address (1985)
1. How does President Reagan characterize the ?American sound? in his 2nd Inaugural Address
2. What six adjectives would you select to describe the American sound? Compare and contrast
with the choices of Ronald Reagan.
3. Is the America sound big-hearted, idealistic, hopeful, daring, decent and fair, as Reagan
claimed in his 2nd Inaugural address? Or is the American sound pig-headed, calculating,
sarcastic, irreverent, obscene, biased, arrogant, boastful and unjust? Or is it some combination of
I b. Bill Clinton, excerpts from Commencement Speech, UC San Diego (1997)
1. Compare and contrast the events of American history invoked by Clinton in this
Commencement Address with those invoked by Reagan in his Second Inaugural Address?
2. What six adjectives do you think Clinton would use to describe the ?American sound??
I c. Barack Obama, excerpts from Speech Dedicating San Gabriel Mountains as National
1. What facts about this place and region does Obama cite in his story of this place and the West.
2. What is the phrase that Obama cites about the West by the writer Wallace Stegner? What
phrase might you create as a counterpoint to this phrase given facts that counter an American
myth of the West?
I d. Jimi Hendrix, ?Star-Spangled Banner? (performed at Woodstock, 1969)
4. Listen to Jimi Hendrix?s version of the ?Star-Spangled Banner? that he played at Woodstock
in 1969. How would you characterize the sound of America by listening to this rendition of the
5. What are the sounds we hear as we listen to this song? What is the relationship between the
lyricism of the song and the cacophony, or between its harmonies and its jangling discords?
6. What are the sounds we might associate with American political life, both foreign and
domestic, in 1969? Consider how many assassinations had taken place from 1963-1968.
Consider the context in which F. Scott Key first composed the Star Spangled Banner and
compare it to the context in which Hendrix is playing it in 1969.
7. Do you consider Hendrixs version of ?The Star Spangled Banner? patriotic? Why or why
II a. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (1863)
1. Imagine yourself in an American History class at Harvard in 1860, and you were asked only
one question on the final exam, and that question was: When did the United States of America
begin? What would have have been your answer? Where would have been the correct place
time to locate the beginning or birthday of the USA as a political entity?
2. The Gettysburg Address is composed of three paragraphs. Read this address as a poem
composed of three stanzas. What it the time scheme of the three paragraphs? Where in time is
each paragraph set?
3. What is the key subject of each paragraph? Choose one word to describe this subject for
each of the three paragraphs?
4. How does the time sequence of this address (past-present-future) and the thematic structure
of the address (birth-death-rebirth) replicate the narrative structure of Christianity (birth-deathrebirth)? Whose death in the second paragraph makes possible the rebirth of the last paragraph?
5. How does Lincoln transform a secular, political event?indeed, the hell of war?into a
6. Why does he begin the address with the phrase ?four score and seven years ago?? Why
does Lincoln use the term score rather than 87 years?
7. Why does Lincoln in the second paragraph call it a ?great? civil war? What is great about it?
8. What happens as Lincoln deploys a sequence of words?dedicate, consecrate, hallow?in
terms of the resonance of each term or its spiritual valence as he moves from dedicate to hallow,
and how does that replicate the way the address frames the Civil War itself in terms of its
9. Lincoln?s Gettysburg relocates the birthday of the USA in 1776 and not in 1787 or 1789 (the
date for the ratification of the US Constitution and the beginning of the USA as the USA). Why
does Lincoln relocate the birthday from the 1789 to 1776? Consider what the Constitution
sanctioned. How committed was the USA to freedom and equality in 1860 if the original intent
of the Constitution was to sanction slavery?
II b. Herman Melville, ?The House-top? (1866)
1. Melville composed ?The House-top? as part of a sequence of poems about the Civil War
entitled Battle Pieces that he published in 1866. The poem is about the July draft riots of 1863 in
New York City featured also in the Scorsese movie, ?The Gangs of New York.? The riot began
as a protest of people?many of them Irish immigrants?against being drafted into the Union
army, and must of the focus of the anger of the mob was directed at African Americans.
2. Why does Melville begin ?no sleep?? How and why is the scene he described something of a
living nightmare or dark night for the soul of America?
3. What is the significance of comparing NYC to Libya and a jungle setting?
4. Melville compared several times in his fiction the body politic to a ship of state. For
instance, he made The Pequod in Moby-Dick something of a microcosm of the ship of state.
Who are the ship rats in this poem?
5. How is the riot described? Why is it the ?arson roar of riot??
6. What are the ?civil charms? and ?priestly spells? that late held hearts in awe and kept man
subjected to a better sway than ?sway of self??
7. What are the forces that re-impose order in New York City?
8. What is the vision of human nature we get in this poem? How capable is man of selfgovernment? What is necessary to maintain order? Does liberty without the counter-balance of
order lead to anarchy? Does order without the counterbalance of liberty lead to tyranny?
9. To what degree does the Draft Riot disprove the notion that man is capable of selfgovernment or not in need of a strong form of government or law and order discipline?
10. Compare and contrast the visions of human nature in The Gettysburg Address and ?The
House-top.? Consider how one solemnly celebrates our capacity for service and sacrifice to
create a more perfect union while the other fearfully exposes our unwillingness to subordinate
self-interest to the public good.
III. Emma Lazarus?s ?New Colossus? and Thomas Aldrich?s ?Unguarded Gates?
1. Compare and contrast the poems by Lazarus and Aldrich in terms of how each poem
2. What is the most important metaphor or image Lazarus uses to envision America and what is
the most important metaphor or images Aldrich uses to envision America.
3. Consider how the different visions of these two poems continue to resonate in debates about
IV. Walt Whitman?s ?I Sing America? and Langston Hughes?s ?I Too?
1. Compare and contrast the two poems by Whitman and Hughes.
2. Who are the people that Whitman identifies as composing America or the American sound
and how does he identify these people?
3. Who are the people that Hughes identifies as composing America or the American sound and
how does he identify these people?
4. Hughes invokes the image of a ?table of brotherhood.? Compare the significance of this
image of a ?table of brotherhood? to the symbolism of America?s Thanksgiving holiday and the
call to create a ?symphony of brotherhood? in MLK Jr.s ?I have a dream? speech.
5. Consider the places and songs and speeches in which ?brotherhood? or ?brotherly love? is
invoked as an ideal in American culture and history.
V. Ariana Waynes, Beau Sia, Steve Connell, John Balzar
1. Compare and contrast the slam poetry of Ariana Waynes, Beau Sia, Steve Connell.
2, What is the tone of each poem?
3. What are common themes among these poets?
4. How do each of these poets engage history or invoke the past of America?
5. How do they highlight the contradictions of American politics and culture?
6. How do they envision the role of the artist in American democracy?
7. How does Balzar evaluate or judge ?the American character??
8. Compare and contrast John Balzar?s statement about the paradoxes and contradictions of
American culture and politics to those in the slam poems and in Martin Luther King Jr?s
VI. Martin Luther King Jr. ?I have a dream?(1963)
1. In what year does MLK Jr. give this speech and what is the precise location in which he gives
it? What event happened five score years before this speech? Who and what is MLK Jr.
echoing when he begins this speech with the lines ?five score years ago?
2, How and why does MLK Jr invoke the past in this speech?
3. How does MLK Jr. begin this speech? Where does he take us in time? Where does he take us
in time in the middle of the speech? How does he conclude it?
4. Compare the thematic trajectory of the ?I have a dream? speech to Lincoln?s Gettysburg
5. What is the tone of this speech? How does MLK Jr. sing both the blues and the gospel in this
6. Is this speech easy listening or uneasy listening? How does it harmonize with what has been
called the American creed or American civil religion and how does it offer dissent or dissonance?
7. How does MLK Jr. expose the contradictions and paradoxes of America?
8. What is the moral geography of this speech? How does he go from valley to mountaintop?
Or from an inferno to a paradise? Or from a wicked ground to a promised land?
7. What is the relationship between religion and politics in this speech? How can we regard it
as a sermon? What are the sins or the violations of the American Creed the speech addresses?
8. How and why can we see this speech as a new testament in what has been called the
American Civil Religion?
9. What music or songs does MLK Jr. refer to this in this speech? What additional music would
you use to score or make a soundtrack for this speech? Blues? Gospel? The Rolling Stone?s
?Satisfaction?? Bob Marley, ?Get Up., Stand Up?? ?We shall overcome.?
10. What are the conflicts? What are the ?jangling discords? of America that MLK Jr. calls
upon us to hear? How does he propose to convert the jangling discords into a symphony of
11. What does MLK Jr. say about police brutality in the speech?
12. What constitutes the American Dream for MLK Jr? Material success? Commitment to
freedom, justice, equality?and to a more perfect union or brotherhood.
13. How controversial in America was MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights movement? What major
political leaders voiced opposition to the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 and what major
political leaders opposed a holiday for MLK Jr?
14. What states have an official state holiday for leaders of the Confederacy or a Confederate
15. Do you think leaders of the Confederacy should be honored with a state holiday?
VII. Let Freedom Sing: How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement
1. Create a timeline of the songs given most attention in the documentary?
2. Consider how song and poetry and fiction and film can inspire people to imagine and enact
3. Create your own timeline of songs about freedom and the pursuit of a more perfect union in
the USA or key songs of political protest
Class 3: No Justice, No Peace: Crashing and Burning in the City of Angels,
April 29, 1992
I. Anna Deavere Smith, excerpt from Talk to Me
1. How does Smith, as a dramatist, regard words, language, art in this essay? What are the
potentialities of art for understanding a culture in her view?
2. How does Smith search for the ?character? of a people or the character of a place and time
such as Los Angeles 1992?
3. For Smith, what is it to be a good reader, a good listener, a good citizen and how does that
quality involve developing the capacity to place ourselves in the souls?or in the hearts and
minds?of someone different from ourselves?
4. Why is a capacity for empathy so crucial to be a good reader and student of history?
5. Smith calls upon to look at places in a culture where people are both merged and unmerged?
Where in the USA, the West, California, Los Angeles, USC are people merged? Where are how
and why are they unmerged? Where and how and why in this place and in this nation and in this
world are people united and divided, merged and unmerged, separate and integrated? How and
why do we crash? How and why do we merge?
6. Who represents ?we the people in the United States? How can we consider the USA in its
politics and its culture a ?congress of voices?? Whose voices have power or ampflication?
Whose voices are silenced, ignored or misrepresented?
7. How can we look at our politics and our culture and read history and literature as a conflict
of voices or a checking and balancing of modes of representation?
8. What does Smith mean by a ?safe house of identity? and how and why does she call upon
us to leave such safe houses and enter into the crossroads and intersections of city and talk to
voices that are new and strange to us?
II. Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
1. Langston Hughes, an African American poet, asked in his poem ?Harlem,? which he wrote in
1943 in response to a riot in Harlem: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a
raisin in the sun or does it explode? How does Los Angeles, 1992 provide an answer to that
2. . Can we judge a book by its cover? What is the significance of the images on the front cover
of the book? What is the look in her eye or the emotions on the face? What is the color of Los
Angeles on this cover?
3. Why is it called Twilight?
4. Begin reading the text with a review of the Timeline at the back of the book to get a sense of
the chronology of events. For this story, where else could one begin the Timeline? What else
might be included in a more complete Timeline to create a context for the reading the play and
understanding Los Angeles, 1992.
5. What events in history get invoked by various voices in this play such as Rudy Salas and
6. Could you begin the Timeline in 1492?
7. What is the genre of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992? Drama? Documentary? Tragedy?
8. What is the relationship between drama and democracy?
9. Read carefully the Introduction to Twilight. How does Smith explain her purposes for
creating this work of art? What is she trying to show and do through this work of art?
10. How and why do her purposes for this work of art coincide with or challenge your
understanding of the purpose of art.
11. Who are the three people Smith calls upon to help her develop the play? What are their
ethnicities and professions? Why does she feel a need to call upon them?
12. How does Smith open the play? What voice does she have us listen to first? What issues,
concerns, perspectives are presented in the first words of the play? Why the ?enemy? according
to Rudy Salas?
13. Who is the second voice in the play? What is the relationship between the first voice (Rudy
Salas) and the second voice (Stanley Sheinbaum)? Or why does she follow the voice of Rudy
Salas with that of Stanley Sheinbaum?
14. Whose voice concludes the first section, ?The Territory.? Why does Smith end this section
with this voice? What is the timeline of Cornel West?s perspective on Los Angeles 1992? In
what context does he locate the conflicts of Los Angeles and America? How does West invoke
the ?frontier myth? and what does West mean by this myth?
15. Who offers the explanation during an interview in Anna Deavere Smith?s Twilight: Los
Angeles, 1992 that the civil unrest that began on April 29, 1992 can be seen in the context of
America being a ?gunfighter nation? whose major myth is that of the ?fronteer, the way in which
you expand the fronteer?is by being a gunfighter?because you wanna expand possibilities for
the market, extract resources from the land, even as you subordinate the peoples who are on that
land?.on another level, it?s a deep machismo ethic, which is gangsterous?.??
16. Why does Smith gives us ?nobodies? as voices to hear? How many of the voices in the play
are somebodies and how many are so-called ?nobodies??
17. What is your opinion of the one voice from USC? How representative of USC is this voice?
How many voices of USC students would need to be heard to get a fair sampling of how USC
students responded to LA 1992?
18. Note carefully Tom Choi?s interview and how he interacts with people? What can you learn
from Tom Choi that could be helpful in obtaining strong interviews for the interview project?
19. Why does she give the last voice to Twilight Bey?
20. Does Smith have an agenda for this work of art in terms of how she selects and arranges and
orchestrates the voices she includes?
21. Who are the most compelling voices to you in this play? What two or three interviews do
you consider the most important?
22. For me, the voices of Cornel West, the USC sorority student, Tom Choi, and Twilight Bey
are among the most important? Why do I believe this?
23. Plato in his Republic, one of the first significant work of political philosophy in Western
culture, argued that to create an ideal republic, people need a shared vision of justice of what is
right and wrong. What are the visions of justice articulated or embraced by various voices in this
text? To what extent does LA 1992 prove the slogan that emerged from the riot/rebellion: ?No
justice, no peace.?
24. How does Smith in Twilight give us a congress of voices or an anthology of voices to listen
to in his play?
25. To what degree does Smith gives us the voices of somebodies and nobodies in this play?
26. What are the demographics of voices in this play in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, social
class, age, and profession?
27. Are there any under-represented voices in Twilight? Who would you add to the mix of
How and why do the different voices respond differently to the events of the riot/rebellion?
29. Consider the key factors that led different people to see the same event in different ways
30. Does the play clarify or complicate your understanding of what happened
31. What are the emotions you feel as you read these interviews
32. Who are the voices or characters in this play who anger you the most? How do you respond
to their anger? Can you respond in some way other than fight or flight?
33. In his speech on issues of race in March 2008, during his campaign for the Democratic
nomination for President, Barack Obama called upon the American people to have empathy in
for both the voices of black anger and white resentment? To what degree can we see such
empathy or lack of such empathy in our politics and culture?
34. How might the method of Smith?s Twilight and the interview project for this course be
applied to other situations including but not limited to historical or social inquiry. Imagine
yourself for instance assuming a position of leadership or management of an institution or
organization or company for the first time. Consider how a process of creating a rubric of
questions and then interviewing a wide rang...
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