For Whom It Stands: Symbolism in American Culture: For Whom It Stands--this upper level course brings together the humanities and social sciences, in particular, theater and history in exploration of multiple, conflicting, and contested meanings of the U.S. flag. We will explore the meanings woven into the flag, artistic and political reimagining of the flag, alongside popular meanings and mobilizations of this treasured national symbol. Our goal is to think deeply and broadly about how symbols shape our lives and to look historically and critically about questions of belonging, citizenship, identity, and power domestically and across the globe. We intend to emphasize creative modes of inquiry that are informed and shaped by archival knowledge, oral history narratives, songs, letters, diaries, and speeches that help map the layered and often competing imaginings embroidered into fabric of the flag.

We want to think about the flag and its attendant sets of meanings. We want to think about how people so-called Americans go about writing their histories and beliefs into this tri-colored fabric. What usage does it serve? What contradictions and ironies emerge.

Though we are privileging creative forms--these should be anchored by sound and thorough research to inform the creative work. Therefore we are CENTERING HISTORY AS the SPINE OF OUR CLASS.