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Spring 2018

Special Courses of Interest

African American Studies 142 AC Race and American Film
  • MW 2-4
  • M. Cohen
  • 160 Kroeber
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 21951
Lab (Section 101): Monday, 6-8, 160 Kroeber, Class #: 39422

This course uses film to investigate the central role of race in American culture. Through the study of film history, from silent film of the Jim Crow era to the digitized dystopias of the 21st century, this course explores the relationship between art and politics, race and representation. Looking at both Hollywood and independent cinema, the course charts the continuities and varieties of representations of race in cinema, considering the overlapping histories of African Americans, whiteness and ethnicity, American Indians, Mexican Americans, the “Third World” and Multiculturalism in film. Films screened include: The Birth of a Nation (1915), The Jazz Singer (1927), Salt of the Earth (1953), The Searchers (1956), and Imitation of Life (1958).


History 100 AC American Business History from Cotton to Foreclosure
  • MWF 12-1
  • D. Robert
  • 145 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 32323

NOTE: AS majors have priority for this course. 

When President Calvin Coolidge declared in 1925 that “the chief business of the American people is business,” he was not making a historical argument, though it would have been a defensible one. Nearly a century earlier, French visitor, Alexis de Tocqueville, made a similar observation. Indeed, America was colonized by joint-stock corporations! Understanding the history of American business can therefore unlock a great deal about America itself. How did capital exchange become capitalism and how did capitalism affect American lives? How have capitalist markets been constructed socially and legally? What has been the historical relationship between capitalism and gender, race, freedom, and inequality? We will explore these questions on a chronological journey from seventeenth-century cotton trading to twenty-first century foreclosure.

History of Art 185 B American Architecture: Domestic Forms
  • TTh 11-12:30
  • M. Lovell
  • 106 Moffitt
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39356
Tuesdays 2-4 104 Moffitt

Taking as a point of departure specific exemplary houses, both vernacular and high-style architectural forms are studied from the perspectives of the history of style, of technology, sustainability, and of social use.  We look at space (interior space, the relationship of structure to site, the relationship of site to environmental and economic context), and we look at interior design, decorative arts, and infrastructure.  We consider materials as well as plan, elevation, and expressive form.  Both the class as a whole and the student research projects take a case-study approach.  Considering examples from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as from the 19th and 20th, the class will provide students with a broad background in habitation in what is now the United States, as well as experience in hands-on original research concerning the built environment today.  While much of our attention will focus on unknown builders, we will also study some of the best-known houses (and most widely-dispersed models).  Architects whose work we will consider include Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Henry Greene. One all day Saturday field trip.

Theater 125 Performance and History: The Presence of the Actor - A History of the American Theatrical Avant-Garde
  • TTh 12:30-2
  • P. Glazer
  • 209 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 40838

The place of the actor in the theatrical event has evolved over the centuries, and some of the most revolutionary changes in the US took place in the 1960s, when society itself was undergoing dramatic upheaval. Theater and performance became urgent sites of political and social commentary. The avant-garde and experimental theater movement that began in the late 1950s and extended into the 1970s drastically reconsidered the theater’s role in society, its relationship to the audience, and how acting itself should function. Theater collectives formed, devising works together; rigorous attention was given to movement and voice; theatrical space was re-imagined; minority voices took center stage. Many theater makers were activists for these new approaches, among them Joseph Chaikin, founder of the Open Theater, whose seminal 1972 book The Presence of the Actor, gives this class its name. Though striking and unsettling performances like the Open Theater’s The Serpent, or the Living Theater’s Paradise Now! may have seemed to arrive out of nowhere, seeds had been planted by the politically, artistically and methodologically provocative work of European theorists such as Brecht, Artaud, and Grotowski, who saw acting in entirely new ways. Taken together with American avant-garde experiments beginning in the 1930s by the likes of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, which questioned the nature of art itself, these practitioners laid the groundwork for twentieth century innovation in western theater and performance. They blurred lines between genres, introduced new kinds of voices and techniques, and challenged once comfortable barriers between character and self, performer and audience, stage and street, text and object, narrative and abstraction, art and real life. Collectives, and individual playwrights and performers, such as the Living Theater and the Open Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, El Teatro Campesino, the Wooster Group, At the Foot of the Mountain, Amiri Baraka, Meredith Monk and Rachel Rosenthal – each driven by new and particular priorities on theater, culture, and the performative act – altered our understanding of the theatrical experience and its relationship to the world at large. Weekly readings, screenings, lectures, and group discussions will be used to grasp this fascinating period, and help students understand how the country’s social and political history, and these aesthetic innovations, were inseparable. A mid-term, final exam, and research paper will be required.