While many Americans profess to embrace a singular (and often simple) value or b

While many Americans profess to embrace a singular (and often simple) value or belief system, in reality
American culture is extremely complex, better described as plural and shifting rather than singular and
stationary. One could persuasively argue that contradictions, ambiguities, and paradoxes characterize much
of American culture. In fact, such contradictions and dichotomies permeate our culture. If we’re so truly
concerned about drug use, why are we bombarded daily by ads for Zoloft, Paxil, Lipitor, Valtrex, Zyban,
Lexapro, and countless others (not to mention alcohol)? How come we are becoming more and more
obese even as we spend more and more money on diet aids and exercise equipment? If finding your “one
true soulmate” is so important to happiness, how come research findings consistently show that most men
choose their mate according to looks and most women generally according to wealth? How is it that so
many people whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on immigrated to America once upon
a time now so vehemently hate and oppose “illegal aliens”?
Task: You will identify and investigate one of the many contradictions that inform and influence life in the
United States. Choose a contradiction that interests you. Why do you think it exists? How do Americans
deal with the contradiction…or do they? Put another way, what are its consequences? Know that you
should not simply choose a “side” and then argue for or against that side of the contradiction. That’s not the
point here. Think of yourself as a researcher/scholar/scientist—an informed intellectual—and not simply
as just (another) person with an opinion. We want to examine how (and why) contradictions exist within
the fabric of American culture.
To encourage steady progress (and discourage last-minute work) on Project #3, several workshops, drafts,
and due dates have been worked into the forthcoming weeks of class. Please pay careful attention to all
Research and Documentation: For Project #3, you will be required to find, evaluate, and use three-five
credible sources. Be sure to evaluate and consider the credibility, accuracy, timeliness, and support for
each source you interact with before you choose to use it towards your research. We will review MLA
documentation in class.
**I’m trying to schedule in-class research days in an on-campus computer lab…stay tuned for more details.
Audience: For each sub-assignment, your audience will be familiar to you (your peers and your instructor);
consider your audience members to be interested in learning more about your topic and open-minded about
perspectives different from theirs. As such, your topic and perspective should be well-researched and
written carefully. We will expect you to follow the forms and conventions of academic research and writing.
We’ll expect strict attention to matters of formatting, as well.

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While many Americans profess to embrace a singular (and often simple) value or b
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