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American Culture Studies

Placemaking St. Louis

American Culture Studies 3602 - Spring 2020

Is Washington University really in St. Louis? The WashU campus and community is connected to St. Louis in profound and subtle ways, yet many students feel disconnected from everyday life in city and county. This course explores how our cultural, historical, and affective relationships with a particular place inform our perceptions and assumptions about who we are, and where we belong (or do not belong). The embodied ways we move through urban and suburban landscapes also influence others' sense of place and well-being in a community. Anthropologists ask how and why people create meaning through the built and natural environment, and we will work to recontextualize "St. Louis" as social scientists. Ethnographic texts will elucidate local placemaking practices that respond to global problems such as economic segregation, environmental racism, the legacies of war, and industrial change. Projects (including field journal, podcast, and story map) will inform and enrich our visits to cultural heritage sites (Cahokia), nuclear waste containment sites (Weldon Spring), and sites of direct political action (Ferguson) to help us understand, experience, and interpret St. Louis in new ways.

Section 01

Placemaking St. Louis
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