This lecture deals with many aspects of contemporary life in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada. Among the many items on our agenda are family life, religion, education, the relationships between (non-)citizens and the state, class, gender, ethnicity, (im)migration, and culinary delights. In several cases, music and film will be used to help illustrate important points. Some of the major themes in cultural studies will be touched upon so that students might begin to consider what analysis, explanation, and research can include when “peoples,” “cultures,” and “states” are considered, and this knowledge will provide a foundation for the myriad courses one might subsequently take in our department. Students will be urged to take a much more critical look at some German/European stereotypes ― some fairly accurate, some of them woefully inaccurate ― of the U.S., Canada, and their populations. In so doing, it is hoped that students will come to see their own homes/cultures in a different light.