Lists by apjrtheme
secular institutions of American democracy? Is America "one nation under God"? Who gets to decide what
morality is in this country? How does religion come into conflict with the independent American
spirit? Why? Are there any ways in which this spirit has influenced religious practice and belief in
America? What role does our Puritan history play in our religiosity? Has our national attitude about religion
changed with the many immigrants this country has? What is the difference—if any—between religion and
spirituality? Must religion be organized to be effective? How much do we adhere to "separation of church and
state"? Can religion and a secular state ever coexist peacefully in America? Should they?
the people who live there and to what extent do the people shape the place? How permanent is the sense of
place in American lives? Can one ever really transcend their place of origin? Should they? What really
defines the sense of place? Is it more regional (Texas, California, the South, New England, the Midwest)? Is
place based on the nature of the community (city, suburb, small town, rural)? Is place defined in a cultural
way, based on the values of a place? Or is it something different or a combination of all of these?
family? Have those factors changed over the course of history? What have been the consequences of those
changes? What is the power‐‐if any‐‐of family in today's society? What is your definition of family? Would
other people easily agree with you? Why? Is the American family important to our future national well‐being?
What is the "nuclear family"? How do political parties use the family to reflect their values? How does the
entertainment industry reinforce or challenge prevailing values about the family?
frontier play in shaping modern American life? What are today’s frontiers and how will they be conquered—
or will they be? What are the American and global implications and after‐effects of conquering them? How
has our attitude toward the natural world changed in the last 100 years? How do different segments of
society prioritize the needs people with the protection of the natural world?
such, issues of poverty, wealth, taxation, and free markets are particularly divisive. Originally, the belief of
American exceptionalism argued that everyone was a member of the middle class, ignoring the history of
slavery and hereditary wealth. Now, critics argue that the middle class is disappearing, while others view
some government programs as “class warfare.” Politicians argue over which party best serves the middle
class. How do issues of class define us as Americans? How does work define who we are? Is poverty an effect
of a biased economic system? What role do labor unions play in the history of work in America? What exactly
is class in a democracy? Is class mobility a reality or a kind of idealism? How does class identification overlap,
reinforce or contradict other ways we identify ourselves (race, geography, job, etc.)?
autonomy of the individual, yet we have a very mixed record on accommodating people who seem too
“outside” the mainstream. How much does the role of majority rule impact the life of the individual in society?
What is the proper balance between individualism and democracy? What is the individual's responsibility to
conform to or rebel against the decisions of society? When is conformity a useful response and when is it
merely capitulation? What is the line between individual rights and dangerous radicalism?
yourself in this initial stage. Allow yourself to think about many elements of the world stage and America's
place on it. Consider America's role in the world. How has our position influenced our decisions in foreign
policy? What factors of our modern world have kept us from entering wars? What have been the
consequences of our involvement in wars? How have wars shaped our national conscience? What role have
women played in our military‐‐past and present? How is biological warfare affecting the military today? How
much do individual Americans actually view the world? What is America's place in this century as opposed to
the last? What influences do we exert in the world and how?
America today? What does it mean to say that a man “acts like a woman”? What does it mean to say that a
woman “acts like a man”? Do men and women have equal access to forms of power? Is sexual power “real”
power? How does youth culture (film stars, websites, musicians, etc.) shape or change our ideas about gender
roles? Is equality between the genders possible—or even desirable? How do gender roles differ among
Americans from different racial, religious, cultural or other backgrounds? Is there even a common definition
of a ideal woman or ideal man in our current society? How does the lack of a definition have a positive or a
negative impact on society?
radical rethinking. What is the optimal health care system? Who defines what boundaries separate illness
from health and who determines these boundaries? What is the ethical role of the physician in a patient's
treatment? What is the role of the patient in her/his own treatment? How much does America rely on drugs
as treatment for illness (think about the number of Prozac‐type drugs on the market)? Are Americans too
interested in the "easy way out" with drug treatment? According to statistics from CBS News and the Pew
Research Center, America is 4.6% of the world population yet we consume 42% of the world's prescription
medicines. The average American sees ten pharmaceutical ads each day. 20% of the work done by ad
agencies is in naming syndromes for pharmaceutical companies and every dollar spent on advertising by
those companies results in four dollars for the pharmaceutical company. In light of these facts, how much is
health care driven by pharmaceutical companies? By insurance companies? Are people who don't easily fit in
with society's dictates treated differently by mainstream America?