America Through Foreign Eyes

  • Course StartFebruary 17, 2020
  • Course Duration4-6 Weeks
  • Workload3-6 hours per week
  • Tuition$0

Learn about the perceptions and interactions of the world with America, Americans and Americanization.

Course Description

The United States has always been a source of fascination – both attraction and repulsion – for Africans, Chinese, French, Mexicans, and Russians, as well as for many other people from other countries and regions. “America through Foreign Eyes” is an interdisciplinary, international course that features Rice faculty from a variety of disciplines and area studies. Focused on perceptions of America abroad, the course is a cross between World Cultures and American Studies.

The course features five core modules, each covering the perceptions and interactions of a particular region with America, Americans, and Americanization. An introductory module offers ways to approach cross-cultural study and a concluding module “reverses the gaze” and analyze what Americans said, thought, or perceived of African nations or Africa as a continent, of China, France, Mexico, and Russia.

“America through Foreign Eyes” is a course about the United States and Americans, but also about multiple African nations, China, France, Mexico, and Russia.

The course addresses 4 overarching themes about the United States:

  1. democracy and modernity
  2. globalization and capitalism
  3. racism and immigration
  4. intellectual and cultural life

Our approach is interdisciplinary: we draw from the fields of sociology, anthropology, political science, literature, philosophy, cinema studies, history, art history, archeology, and economics.

Course Trailer


Do I need to speak the languages explored in the course?
No, the course content is presented in English. However, some course material will also be available in other languages.

What resources will I need for this class?
A working computer and internet connection.

What can I earn for completing this course?
You can earn a Verified Certificate by verifying your work. If you choose not to verify your work, you can still participate in the complete course and earn a Statement of Accomplishment.

Can I get credit for this course?
Academic credit for this course is not offered.

Lecture Samples



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Professor Information

Picture of Dr. Julie Fette

Dr. Julie Fette

Julie Fette is a specialist of French studies. Her research interests include gender, xenophobia, immigration, children’s literature, and dance. She published Exclusions: Practicing Prejudice in French Law and Medicine, 1920-1945 with Cornell University Press in 2012. Professor Fette’s current research focuses on representations of gender and ethnicity in contemporary French children’s literature. She holds doctorates from New York University and the […]

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Picture of Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher

Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher

Jeffrey Fleisher is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University, Houston, Texas. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. He taught at Lehigh University before joining the faculty at Rice University in 2007. In 2014, Professor Fleisher was awarded the Charles Duncan Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement […]

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Picture of Dr. Anne Chao

Dr. Anne Chao

Anne Chao holds the title of lecturer in the History department, lecturer in the Poverty, Justice and Human Capability Program, Visiting Professor at the Chao Center for Asian Studies, as well as Adjunct Lecturer in the Humanities at Rice University. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. from Rice University. She is […]

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Picture of Dr. Moramay López-Alonso

Dr. Moramay López-Alonso

Moramay López-Alonso is an Associate Professor of History at Rice University. She is an economic historian of Latin America. Her research focus is the history of inequality. She is author of Measuring Up: A History of Living Standards in Mexico 1850-1950 (Stanford University Press 2012), winner of the 2013 Mexican History Book Prize awarded by the Conference […]

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Picture of Dr. Lida Oukaderova

Dr. Lida Oukaderova

Lida Oukaderova is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Rice University, specializing in the history of European and Russian cinema, as well as Soviet cultural history. She is the author of The Cinema of the Soviet Thaw: Space, Materiality, Movement (Indiana University Press, 2017) and is currently writing a book on ethics in Soviet […]

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