The American Discovery group of courses is designed to give English language students a unique opportunity to improve their academic English skills by studying American culture. These courses bring together ideas from many academic fields and disciplines including, but not limited to: anthropology, art history, economics, environmental studies, gender and ethnic studies, history, literature, and sociology. Students improve their ability to participate in topic-specific academic debates and discussions, as well as their ability to comprehend topic-specific recordings and videos. Ideas and field-specific vocabulary from selected disciplines are used to examine the significance of the American experience for both residents of and visitors to the USA.

    Class discussions raise questions about the American dream and about the lived experience of American democracy which have renewed relevance in the post 9/11 context.

    Students utilize advanced grammatical structures in producing accurate writings, such as essays, book reviews, and research papers.

    Additionally, students improve their critical thinking skills and strategies as they read academic articles. American Discovery students also look outside of the classroom by going on study-tours of sites of significance in the Chicago area.



Prerequisites: Advanced GE700 passing grade or satisfactory score on the placement test.

Check the academic calendar to see when these courses will be available.

This course serves as an introduction to American Literature from its origins to the present. It gives an overview of the most remarkable works of American writers, including writers from the canon such as Whitman, Fitzgerald, Plath, and Updike, as well as writers whose genius has only recently been acknowledged.

The course concentrates on the most prominent authors and literary movements, including the literary works of minorities such as African Americans, Native Americans and women.

Students focus on improving their comprehension of period-specific literary works, as well as incorporating reading strategies and learning literary vocabulary.

A variety of texts are analyzed, discussed, and debated in relation to the context in which they were written in order to equip students with a better understanding of the relationship between world events and the works in each time period.

Students also improve their academic writing skills by producing analytical essays and a research paper.

This course is designed to educate students about issues of race and ethnicity by presenting perspectives on diversity in the United States throughout its history.

Through the content of ethnic diversity, students will be encouraged to think critically and participate in meaningful discussions and debates.

They will also improve their academic reading strategies and comprehension.

Additionally, they will improve their academic writing skills by writing in-depth academic essays and analyses.

Students will complete several activities that allow them to engage in self examination of their own values in relation to the values of various other racial and ethnic communities.

This course is designed to provide students with a foundation of cultural understanding of the City of Chicago.

Students will study local subject matter including, but not limited to: Chicago architecture, local politics, cultural preservation, the Mercantile Exchange, improvisational theatre, and sports.

Through the content of Chicago history and culture, students will enhance their listening skills through various recordings, videos and going on different filed trips.

They will practice increased comprehension by reading topic-specific articles and chapters, focusing on the attainment of new vocabulary.

Additionally, students will participate in meaningful conversations, discussions, and presentations.

Students will also improve their academic writing skills by producing essays with appropriate organization, structure, and vocabulary.

Note: An activity fee of up to $150.00 will apply

This course will examine the history and aesthetics of the motion picture in the United States since the late 1960s.

Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of both the work of major American filmmakers and the evolution of major American film genres from 1967 through current times.

The course will consider the evolution of traditional Hollywood genres as well as the development of new, blended genres, the rise of the blockbuster and Independent films, and the aesthetic changes that have occurred since 1967.

The films will be studied within the context of contemporary cultural and political events, and will be discussed from several viewpoints including aesthetic, technical, social, and economic. The ways in which gender, race, and class are constructed through the movies will also be a major focus of study.

Through the content of American film, students will focus on increasing their ability to recognize advanced vocabulary and slang found in various movie genres.

They will also engage in academic discussions, debates, and presentations.

Furthermore, students will synthesize information from various sources in the production of academic essays, film reviews, and a research paper.

This course will focus on the growing disparity between the expanding consumption habits of many Americans and the declining economic and ecological circumstances for many more in this country and abroad.

Students will explore the social and moral implications and variations of the American dream. The sociological and philosophical roles this concept plays in guiding both our culture and our individual lives will be examined.

The course will also address the question of equal access to the vision for diverse groups of people.

It is through these topics that students will demonstrate academic reading strategies and focus on interpreting numeric information from reports.

They will also participate in academic discussions and presentations, as well as produce academic essays on selected topics.

This course will cover music that has affected the broadest segments of American society from the 19th century to the present in order to provide a greater understanding of the role of culture, society, and politics in shaping our national identity through music.

Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the following: the evolution of popular American music including: influential contributors, styles, songs, events and how each interacts with the others; the roles that race, gender, social inequality, and other social factors have played in the developmental history; aesthetic similarities, differences, and issues among specific genres and artists; differences in genre; and norms in popular music.

Through the content of American music, students will be able to identify specific genres of music by listening to them.

They will also focus on comprehending various types of reading materials and topic-specific vocabulary.

Furthermore, students will participate in academic discussions and debates, as well as produce analytical essays with appropriate organization, structure, and vocabulary.