Cultural Explorations RAP
Fall 2014

Students in the Cultural Explorations RAP (previously calleld Exploring Society) will explore the ways in which historical events together with life experiences influence people's perceptions of society from a personal and a broader world perspective.

When you join this program you will...

  • Identify ways to incorporate your interests with your academic studies.  
  • Begin your academic career in an environment designed to foster your creative endeavors and develop your academic skills. 
  • Connect easily with classmates for study groups and class projects.
  • Learn about the various related programs, events and opportunities available to UMass Amherst students.

During your weekly RAP seminar meeting you will:

  • Explore topics from both current and historical contexts.
  • Utilize readings, multimedia, and social media to insprire lively and meaningful class discussions.

The seminar will also provide a supportive environment for personal reflection and critical thinking on the topics generated by the group. These exciting conversations will begin in class and since the students will be living together, you will have the opportunity to continue discussing and debating with friends when class is over.


Specific Course Information

"The American Family", (History 242) course for students living together in Pierpont Hall.

Here is a message about the class from Amy Breimaier, the instructor:

This course will provide an historical and cross-cultural approach to the study of families in America. Beginning in the seventeenth century, we will examine how different groups within America constituted their family units in response to changing political, social, cultural, and religious attitudes. Ending with the family today, the course explores the changing function of families in America, and in particular the role of youth within family structure.


"Social Change in the 1960s", (History 154) course for students living in Gorman Hall.

Here is a message about the class from Brian Comfort, the instructor:

Few time periods in United States history experienced as many fundamental challenges and changes as did the era of the 1960s.

In this class we will explore the various "movement of movements" that collectively accounted for this tumultuous period of change. Not all of these changes are limited to the tidy decade markers of 1960 to 1969, so we will turn our attention to a broader period of time known as the "Long Sixties" (roughly 1954 to 1975) when these various movements emerged in significant forms and agitated for--and in many cases achieved--notable changes in American law, culture and politics.

Over the course of this semester we will take an in-depth look at the movements that shape our popular and historical understanding of the Long Sixties:

  • The African American struggle for civil rights and equality (both the mainstream civil rights and the Black Power movements).
  • The student anti-war movement and the counterculture.
  • The women's movement.
  • The gay rights movement.
  • The Chicano, Asian American and Native American movements.
  • And the rise of the New Right.

In this class we will pay particular attention to how these movements were represented, reflected and shaped in various forms of media including television, film, literature and music. We will trace both the connections among these varied movements and their important differences.


"Culture Through Film" (Anthropology 106) course for students living together in Wheeler Hall.

Here is a message about the class from Christa Burdick, the instructor:

In this course I will introduce students to the theories and methods of cultural anthropology. Using films as primary texts, this course will encourage critical thinking and visual analysis as ways of investigating issues of structural inequality and oppression. Weekly documentary, ethnographic, and mainstream films will provide the basis for discussions of gender, race, reflexivity and representation, modernity and inequality from a cross-cultural perspective.


Be sure to visit the How to Join page on this website to learn about the process and important timelines you must follow to become a member of this fantastic program! 

Classes and Locations

Fall 2014

ALL students in the Cultural Explorations RAP will enroll in the following classes taught in the residential area:

"RAP Seminar"- UNIV 190R
1 credit


Gen Ed class (4 credits) - specific to each location. 

"The American Family"- History 242(Gen Ed HS).
Students will live together in Pierpont Hall in Southwest area of campus.

"Social Change in the 1960's"
- History 154 (Gen Ed HSU).
Students will live together in Gorman Hall in Central area of campus.

"Culture Through Film" - Anthro 106 (Gen Ed G SB).
Students will live together in Wheeler Hall in Orchard Hill area of campus.


"College Writing" - English 112 (Gen Ed CW), 3 credits, a limited number of sections will be offered in the residential area both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.

Spring 2015

  • No required RAP classes.
  •  Small sections of Gen Ed classes will be offered in each residence area.

Pamela R. Marsh-Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost & Dean

This website is part of Undergraduate Advising & Learning Communities. We provide undergraduate students a variety of opportunities and services designed to facilitate the best academic experience possible. 609 Goodell Building, UMass Amherst.

UA&LC Units: Undergraduate Advising, Residential Academic Programs, Domestic Exchange Programs, Five College Interchange