Fall 2008

Growing Up in America


Elizabeth J. Aries (Section 01)
Carol C. Clark (Section 02)


How do race, social class and gender shape the experience of growing up in America? We will begin by examining the life of a contemporary African-American male on his journey from the inner city to an Ivy League university. We then look back historically at some nineteenth-century lives-male and female, black and white, real and fictional-to understand how the transition from an agricultural to an urban industrial society has influenced the experience of coming of age. The remainder of the course will center on coming of age in the twentieth century. Our focus will be on the formation of identity, relationship with parents, courtship, sexuality and the importance of place. In addition to historical, sociological and psychological texts, the class will discuss autobiographies like those of Douglass and Jacobs and fiction by Baldwin and Salinger. Fall semester. Professor Aries. Professor Clark.