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Spring 2017

Honors Seminar

American Studies H 110 Bay Area in the 1970s
  • TTh 12:30-2
  • S. Saul
  • 371 Bancroft Library
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 31951

NOTE: Honors seminar. Requires consent of instructor and/or approval of faculty advisor to enroll.

This project-based course is three courses rolled into one. First, it delves into the history of the 1970s Bay Area, which was an unusually fertile cultural seedbed: so many features of contemporary life, from the cappuccinos we drink to the laptop computers we use to write and think, were incubated in it. The region was ground-zero for the technological utopianism represented by the Whole Earth Catalog and the computer clubs that produced the first desktop computer; ground-zero for the revolution in cooking known as “California cuisine”; ground-zero for new forms of spiritual practice and religious organization; ground-zero for the spread of women’s liberation, black liberation and gay liberation, and for the evolution of “movement cultures” that stood behind such new cultural forms as disco, punk, and ‘alternative comix’; and much more.

Second, the course offers students an introduction to the practice of archival research. The course will be meeting at the Bancroft Library, and students will work in collaboration with one another to explore specific archives at the Bancroft, such as the Chez Panisse Collection and the Disability Rights and Defense Fund Collection. Students will approach these collections with the open eyes of historians looking at fresh documents, and with the goal of plumbing these documents for the insights and stories that they yield.

Third, the course will give students the experience of creating a digital history project of their own. Students will work towards creating both a digital exhibition and a multi-media essay that springs out of the primary research they do. As a point of reference, students might look at Prof. Saul’s “Richard Pryor’s Peoria” at http://www.becomingrichardpryor.com or the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project at http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/.

No experience with digital humanities is required for this course, but students should be ready to engage with a course that is more collaborative and project-oriented than is customary in humanities seminars.

American Studies H 110 The Road in American History
  • W 2-5
  • D. Henkin
  • 104 GPBB
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 31952

NOTE: Honors seminar. Requires consent of instructor and/or approval of faculty advisor to enroll.

This seminar takes seriously the idea that paved roads and well-worn paths have been powerful material forces in the historical formation of U.S. society, culture, and politics, while simultaneously offering resonant symbols of national identity and personal transformation throughout that history. Starting around 1800 and moving to the end of the twentieth century, we will study selected sites, moments, and artistic works that illuminate this rich topic.  Requirements include extensive reading, regular participation in discussion, and three written assignments (but no term paper or research project).