Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592 - Land of Hopes and Dreams: Springsteen's America

Instructor: Tom Kunz
Office: DePaolo Hall 1009 /
Phone: 910-962-2142

"Our job—yours and mine—whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent, rich, poor, black, brown, white, gay, straight, soldier, civilian—is to keep that hope alive, to combat cynicism and apathy and to believe in our power to change our lives and the world we live in."

--Bruce Springsteen -2012

This course closely examines the impact of Bruce Springsteen’s life and work in American culture over the past five decades. We will study the relationship between “artist” and “environment”, in addition to his writing process and creativity, and an analysis of how his work measures the distance between the American Dream and the American Reality. Weekly activities will include a close listening and critical analysis of Springsteen’s musical works as related to politics, family, work ethic, social class, life and death, and American symbolism.

Assessment Criteria:

Major assignments will include taking the lead on weekly discussion boards, two papers and a research PowerPoint final presentation (first paper: 5 pages, second paper 10 pages)

Criteria for both papers and PowerPoints will be distributed.

Students will also respond to assigned text readings and periodicals from BRUCEBASE ( in addition to handouts provided by the professor.

Required Texts:

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen ISBN-13: 978-1501141522

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin  ISBN-13: 978-1439191835

BOSS: The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies (free online)

Additional articles, critical essays, short works of fiction, and resources will be provided by the instructor.

Last Updated: April 2, 2018