This paper was written after a presentation at the American Embassy’s 2009 conference in Bonn for teachers of English and American Studies at German High Schools. Its aim is to offer these teachers a look at how young people (in their 20s and 30s) in the author’s home town of Portland, Oregon, are participating in three areas which improve community life: the green/sustainability movement, food culture, and the music scene.
Issue 54 of the American Studies Journal explores a topic particularly interesting for teachers and students of American Studies: What is it like to grow up in urban spaces in the U.S.? Teaching “the city” is a common topic in the EFL classroom, and “youth culture” another. But both are difficult to tackle. There is always the danger of misrepresenting a topic so vast, creating stereotypes rather than questioning them and establishing a limited view on the subject.