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American Studies 10 -  (4 units) - Imagining the Future--Instructor: Christine Palmer --  ***GSI POSITIONS FILLED***

TTh 8-9:30, 141 McCone  

Discusssion Sections:

Sec. 101:    M 2-3, 285 Cory

Sec. 102:    T 11-12, 56 Hildebrand

Sec. 103:    M, 3-4, 25 Wheeler

Sec. 104     W 4-5, 238 Kroeber

 In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,” a stance Adams not only declared “judicious” but also a prophesy that they would “soon meet and be better friends than ever.”  This course considers many of the ways Americans from Jefferson and Adams to a host of writers, photographers, painters, filmmakers, activists, engineers, architects, and city planners have imagined the future.  We will consider how the concept of the future influences and determines American politics, economics, architecture, race relations, social policy, and culture.  The course will pay particular attention to the special relationship between the past, American memory, and imagined futures.  Topics under consideration may include Afrofuturism; robots, robotics, and artificial intelligence; the gleaming city of tomorrow; utopian communities; and dystopia, prophecy, and apocalypse.  By focusing on the future as a time, a place, a theory, a fantasy, and a media construct, this course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of America.


American Studies C111E -  (4 units) - The Age of Noir -- Instructors: Kathleen Moran/Greil Marcus -- ONE READER POSITION AVAILABLE

 TTh 3:30-5, 101 Moffit

 Cross-listed with English C136

 “A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness. It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. I didn't have one. I didn't care.”  --Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye  1953

 Taking shape and definition in the late 1930s and the first years of the 1940s, when the United States was more than ten years into the Great Depression and the Second World War was either imminent or had already begun, and continuing into the early 1960s, noir was a sensibility and a way of being in the world.  It was a critique, an attitude, a mood, a language, and aesthetic of alienation where cynicism was part of a moral code and fatalism a part of democratic faith—and it was expressed, developed, and tested at the margins of legitimate cultural discourse: in low-budget or Poverty Row Hollywood movies, crime fiction, and TV police and detective dramas.  In this course we will discuss such still-stunning films as Double Indemnity, Detour, and Sunset Boulevard alongside such indelible novels as Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely, Ross Macdonald’s The Way Some People Die, Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go, and Jim Thompson’s Nothing More Than Murder, and the prescient as-it-happened film criticism of Manny Farber.  Our goal is to explore, as noir artists did, an America within America—and to illuminate noir within its historical period, to understand why it arose and how it dramatized specific wartime and postwar American traumas about citizenship, gender relations, the reintegration of millions of soldiers into peacetime society, abundance, corruption, and the fear of enemies from abroad and within.  And to explore some of the most provocative and lasting literature and film America has produced. 


 American Studies 102, Sec. 4 – (4 units) Oakland | City -  Instructor: Jon Winet - ONE READER POSITION AVAILABLE

 MW 12-2 , 110 Barrows                           

“Oakland | City” will investigate the unique dynamics of the Bay Area’s third largest city, closest to the Campanile, and home to many Cal students.  In concert with in-class lectures and presentations highlighted by visits from civic and community leaders, students will direct individual and collaborative public digital humanities research in areas to include but not limited to the City’s sports teams, emerging film scene, political activists, cultural organizations, museums, DIY initiatives, galleries and music clubs, library, police department, neighborhood business improvement districts, advocates for the homeless, and city government.

Class activity will also include technical training on audio, video and photography production.

Integral to the class are one or two fieldtrips to Oakland, and final public and online multimedia research presentations.