HSD 598 – Topic: The Future of the American Dream

Spring 2016, Arizona State University

Instructors: Brian David Johnson, Michael Bennett & Lauren Withycombe Keeler

Stories are powerful tools for making sense of the world and motivating future-oriented action. This class will explore one of the most powerful and resonant stories that people have told themselves about their future: The American Dream.

In addition to considering varied historical versions of the American Dream, the class will ask: What’s the future of the American Dream? How can we change the American Dream? What does a desirable future for America look like? A basic premise of the course is that the future of the American Dream is neither fixed nor accidental. It will be constructed and reconstructed by the actions of and conversations among individuals, families, communities, churches, governments, corporations and other social actors.

Through close readings of seminal texts that express and wrestle with the American Dream, group-based projects and interviews conducted in the Phoenix-area and multimedia platforms facilitating conversations across the country, the course will enable students to begin proactively forming the next version of the American Dream.

Because the experimental nature of its structure and goals calls for disciplinary and perspectival diversity among its students, admission into The Future of The American Dream course is by instructor permission only. To this end, we kindly request that you contact Professor Bennett via an email (mgbenne1@asu.edu) to express your interest. Please also attach your resume to the email.


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