Cultural Identities and Global Consciousness

The Merrill Core course, “Cultural Identities and Global Consciousness,” focuses on developing college-level critical reading, thinking, and writing skills via close examination of the question of “change” in the world. The course examines intersections between what happens elsewhere in the world and how institutions and peoples in the United States respond. Course readings highlight how individuals and groups manage to preserve their cultures and achieve justice in the face of change wrought by political, cultural, social, and economic change. In Fall 2016, students will read two books: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman’s pioneering social and medical ethnography about a Hmong family from Sainyabuli Province, Laos and their interactions with the health care system in California; and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson’s account of his work as part of the Equal Justice Initiative and a meaningful testimony on the effect of confronting injustice. Throughout the quarter, students will also read The New York Times, which will allow them to see the genesis and initial unfolding of stories such as those explored at length and in retrospect in Fadiman’s and Stevenson’s books. A short reader will provide additional primary and secondary readings on cultural identity and related topics, and students will attend films, lectures, and other events related to the main readings for the course.

This seminar course is designed as an introduction to university-level work. We will assign frequent papers, and will work throughout the quarter to improve writing skills. To aid students in these efforts, the course will also require a guide to effective choices in college-level writing (title to be announced).

A summer reading and writing assignment will be announced via students' UCSC email addresses.