Introductory Courses

American Studies 10 I’ll Be There for You: Friendship in America

  • day and time TTh 12:30-2
  • location Phys 3
  • instructor C. Palmer/S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 23710

See class schedule

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle described the virtuous friend as “another self.” More than two-thousand years later, The Rembrandts sang of a good friend, “[it] seems you’re the only one who knows / What it’s like to be me.” (And so, they continued, “I’ll be there for you / ‘Cause you’re there for me too.”) This course suggests we take both of these reflections on friendship seriously, and consider friendship as a means to approaching the study of American culture and history. Our interdisciplinary examination of friendship will explore both the lived experience of being a friend and the ways in which popular culture and the media have depicted friendship in the United States, past and present. We will consider, for example, the folklore and anthropology of friendship; the shifting line between friendship and romantic love; consumerism and friendship; ethnic, racial, and generational differences among friendship cultures; institutions rooted in friendship (such as fraternities and sororities); famous friendships on film and television; and how the meaning of friendship has changed over time. By focusing on friendship as a theory, a fantasy, an organization, an event, and a media construct, this course provides an introduction to and a “toolkit” for the interdisciplinary study of American culture.

Letters and Science 40 E Learning from Disney

  • day and time MW 4-6
  • location 277 Cory
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 30047

See class schedule

The word “Disney” refers to a man who died in 1966, a film studio that became a global media corporation, six amusement parks/resorts, an oeuvre of audio-visual texts with hundreds of characters and millions of associated products, and a theory of space and landscape design. The word also suggests a set of ideological messages about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and nationhood. Recently, it has also been made into a verb. According to the Oxford English Dictionary “to disnify” means “to alter in a way considered characteristic of Disney films, cartoons, or theme parks; to romanticize, sanitize, or simplify.” And scholars now use the terms “disneyfication” or “disneyization” to describe the way that the principles of Disney theming have increasingly come to dominate economic sectors and place-making in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. This course will focus on all things “Disney” to introduce students to the study of American history, Hollywood films as cultural representations, and the American built environment. Specific topics will include 1) Americanized fairy tales and theories of childhood, 2)the Hollywood Studio and forms of modern labor, 3) post-WWII urban planning, suburbanization and white flight, 4) representations of race, gender, sexuality, and family, 5) theming, immersion and the experience economy, and 6) hyper-consumerism and branding.

 

Time Courses

American Studies 101 Dust and Chrome: America and the 1930s

  • day and time MW 2-4
  • location 141 Giannini
  • instructor A. Craghead
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 26993

How did the 1930s shape us, and how does it continue to do so? This decade was defined by crisis after crisis, from the economic hardships of the Great Depression, to political protest and deep labor unrest, to vast ecological disaster and the seeming demise of democracy around the globe. Despite this—or perhaps because of this—the period was rich in technological, cultural, and social development. How did this decade of crisis help form a new kind of modernity, one that continues to reverberate in our world today? Our task is to try and answer this question. To do so, we will examine the material and representational cultures of the period, such as new technologies of the era (both imagined and realized), popular entertainments (music, novels, and Hollywood films), the arts (folk arts, handicrafts, and the “fine” arts); and examples of the work of planners, architects, and industrial designers (consumer products, buildings, even whole cities both built and unbuilt). Through these and other examples, we will develop a better understanding of the relationship between crisis and creativity, and how different people used space, place, and representations to attempt to exert power over politics, wealth, and the American imagination itself.

American Studies 101 Speed in American Culture

  • day and time Tu 6:30-9:30 pm
  • location 88 Dwinelle
  • instructor A. Shanken/D. Henkin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 23713

Perceptions of the accelerated pace of life and ideas about the meaning of that acceleration dominate our picture of modern society in the United States. But what is the history of this perception and those ideas? Our interdisciplinary course explores the various contexts in which artists, intellectuals, scientists, consumers, and spectators have found speed remarkable or meaningful. In weekly interactive lectures and discussions, we encourage you to interrogate what it means to speak of things as moving rapidly or slowing down and how celebrations and fears of velocity have shaped society, culture, politics, and everyday experience over the past century and a half.

American Studies H 110 One American Life: Historical Facts—Artistic Fiction

  • day and time M 2-5
  • location Socsci 102
  • instructor M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 27870

Instructor consent required to enroll.

This seminar focuses on the autobiography published in 1850 by an African-American woman who grew up in New England. Born poor but free and resourceful, she spent a decade at the Tsar’s court in Russia observing the urban populace, the military, and the royal family. She also traveled to the Caribbean, eluded those who sought to enslave her, and, safe back in Boston, left us an account of her unique adventures. The first half of the semester we will do intensive research to investigate her narrative, ascertain the backstory to her sometimes enigmatic observations, and create an annotated version of her text. During the second half of the term the class will create a screenplay based on her life. In other words, this is both a research seminar giving students an opportunity to learn about the period 1800-1860 in the U. S., the Caribbean, and Russia in some depth, and an opportunity to turn the facts of a life into art.

 

 

American Studies C 111 E The Harlem Renaissance

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location 112 Haviland
  • instructor C. Palmer/B. Wagner
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 26609

Cross-listed with English C136

This course explores the social, cultural, political, and personal awakenings in the literature, art, and music of the Negro Renaissance or the New Negro Movement, now commonly known as the Harlem Renaissance. This is remembered as a time (roughly 1918-1930) when, in the midst of legal segregation and increasing anti-Black mob violence, Black American writers, artists, philosophers, activists, and musicians, congregating in New York City’s Harlem, reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. At stake: who were, and are, Black Americans? What was distinctive about Black art? What gave it such broad, international appeal? Could art be used to uplift the conditions of a people? Were Black artists obligated to make their art a means of protest against racism? If they were, would they produce art or propaganda? Our task in this course is to explore these and other questions through close analysis of major works by Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and many others.

Place Courses

American Studies 102 Let There Be Light: UC Berkeley in American History and Culture

  • day and time TTh 11-12:30
  • location 240 Mulford
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 23714

The university founded in 1868 as, simply, the University of California is more than just the state’s flagship public institution of higher education. Over the past one hundred and fifty years, UC Berkeley has become a potent and often powerful cultural symbol—a shorthand for academic excellence, transformative activism, radical politics, the institutional exploitation of Indigenous peoples, or the devastating power of nuclear war. In this class, Berkeley students will become Berkeley scholars as we engage in a critical examination of UC Berkeley as a place, and consider how the institution’s cultural meaning and function has changed over time. By combining history, visual culture, material culture, and popular media (including literature, music, and film), our interdisciplinary study of Berkeley will consider what this place can teach us about politics, higher education, race, gender, class, sports, geography, popular culture, colonialism, national identity, and power in the United States. Students will also engage in hands-on research using primary sources from university archives and library collections, and design capstone projects that investigate campus buildings, landscapes, public spaces, and works of art.

American Studies 102 Hands on the Vines: The California Wine Industry

  • day and time TTh 2-4
  • location 141 Giannini
  • instructor A. Saragoza
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 28061

This course examines the California wine industry, where most of the attention will be given to the period since the “wine boom” of the 1980s.  While the Napa/Sonoma region will be at the center of that discussion, the course will encompass state, national and international dimensions of the ascent of that area as a premier site for the production of fine wine. Trends in wine consumption will be extensively considered in light of social and cultural currents.  A field trip visit to a winery will be included in the course among other related activities.

 

 

 

Pre-1900 Historical Requirement

American Studies H 110 One American Life: Historical Facts—Artistic Fiction

  • day and time M 2-5
  • location Socsci 102
  • instructor M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 27870

Instructor consent required to enroll.

This seminar focuses on the autobiography published in 1850 by an African-American woman who grew up in New England. Born poor but free and resourceful, she spent a decade at the Tsar’s court in Russia observing the urban populace, the military, and the royal family. She also traveled to the Caribbean, eluded those who sought to enslave her, and, safe back in Boston, left us an account of her unique adventures. The first half of the semester we will do intensive research to investigate her narrative, ascertain the backstory to her sometimes enigmatic observations, and create an annotated version of her text. During the second half of the term the class will create a screenplay based on her life. In other words, this is both a research seminar giving students an opportunity to learn about the period 1800-1860 in the U. S., the Caribbean, and Russia in some depth, and an opportunity to turn the facts of a life into art.

 

 

English 130 A American Literature: Before 1800

  • day and time TTh 12:30-2
  • location 88 Dwinelle
  • instructor E. Tamarkin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 26450

Lectures on and discussion of the major writers of the early American period.

 

English 130 B American Literature: 1800-1865

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 210 Dwinelle
  • instructor S. Otter
  • 4 Units

Lectures on and discussion of the major texts of the American Renaissance.

 

 

History 123 Civil War and Reconstruction

  • day and time TTh 5-6:30
  • location 129 Soc Sci
  • instructor M. Gudgeirsson
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 30599

This lecture course will take a broad view of the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the United States in the mid-19th century in order to explore both the causes of the Civil War and its effects on American development. Major topics will include slavery and race relations (north and south), class relations and industrialization, the organization of party politics, and changing ideas about and uses of government power.

 

History 125 A African American History and Race Relations: 1450-1860

  • day and time TTh 5-6:30
  • location 206 VLSB
  • instructor S. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 28885

The course will survey African American history from the African background to the outbreak of the Civil War. The origins and development of Afro-American society, culture and politics will be explored from the perspective of African-Americans themselves: slave and free, North and South. Throughout, the enduring dilemma of race relations functions as a central theme.

 

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 12-2
  • location 39 Evans
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 15443

American Studies H 195 Honors Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 4-6
  • location 45 Evans
  • instructor A. Craghead
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 19273

Honors Seminar

American Studies H 110 One American Life: Historical Facts—Artistic Fiction

  • day and time M 2-5
  • location Socsci 102
  • instructor M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 27870

Instructor consent required to enroll.

This seminar focuses on the autobiography published in 1850 by an African-American woman who grew up in New England. Born poor but free and resourceful, she spent a decade at the Tsar’s court in Russia observing the urban populace, the military, and the royal family. She also traveled to the Caribbean, eluded those who sought to enslave her, and, safe back in Boston, left us an account of her unique adventures. The first half of the semester we will do intensive research to investigate her narrative, ascertain the backstory to her sometimes enigmatic observations, and create an annotated version of her text. During the second half of the term the class will create a screenplay based on her life. In other words, this is both a research seminar giving students an opportunity to learn about the period 1800-1860 in the U. S., the Caribbean, and Russia in some depth, and an opportunity to turn the facts of a life into art.

 

 

Special Courses of Interest

American Studies 139 AC Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 101 Barker
  • instructor W. Martin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 28887

PLEASE NOTE: Students cannot enroll in this course and there are no seats available. To enroll, please enroll in History C139C. It is the same course as AS 139AC.

Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History presents a top-down (political and legal history), bottom-up (social and cultural history), and comparative (by race and ethnicity as well as region) view of America’s struggles for racial equality from roughly World War II until the present. Beginning with the onset of World War II, America experienced not a singular, unitary Civil Rights Movement as is typically portrayed in standard textbook accounts and the collective memory, but rather a variety of contemporaneous civil rights and their related social movements. These movements, moreover, did not follow a tidy chronological-geographic trajectory from South to North to West, nor were their participants merely black and white. Instead, from their inception, America’s civil rights movements unfolded both beyond the South and beyond black and white. “Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History” endeavors to equip students with a greater appreciation for the complexity of America’s civil rights and social movements history, a complexity that neither a black / white nor nonwhite / white framework adequately captures. Put another way, “Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History” will examine how the problem of the color line which W.E.B. DuBois deemed to be in 1903 the problem of the twentieth century might better be viewed as a problem of color lines. If America’s demographics are increasingly beyond black and white, if “the classic American dilemma has now become many dilemmas of race and ethnicity,” as President Clinton put it in the late 1990s, if color lines now loom as the problem of the 21st century, then a course on America’s civil rights and social movements past may very well offer a glimpse into America’s civil rights and social movements present and future.

 

American Studies C 172 History of American Business

  • day and time TTh 11-12:30
  • location N100 Chou
  • instructor C. Rosen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 26992

Cross-listed with UGBA C172

This course covers an amazing history of creative innovation, growth, structural change, challenge, trouble, travail and more growth, more change, challenge, and trouble. Less than two hundred years ago, the U.S. was just starting to transform itself from a country of farmers and village craftsmen into a nation based on large scale, mechanized, corporate controlled industry. It is now an industrial colossus dominated by huge multinational corporations that operate in markets around the world. Its leaders are experiencing many forms of disruptive innovation. They must manage, find economic opportunities, and politically maneuver in a marketplace that is being constantly shaped and reshaped by international competition, technological and financial innovation, and the ever insistent demands from the investor community for maximal profits every quarter. They must also deal with new forms of financial, economic, social, and environmental regulation, here and abroad, as well as the ongoing rise of new generations of dynamic competitors in China, India, and other parts of the developing world. How has American business gotten to where it is today? How can historical insight help us understand the strategic, organizational, geo-political, economic, social, and environmental problems, opportunities and challenges facing todays corporate managers? The purpose of UGBA AS C 172 is to give you historical perspective on these issues. The course illuminates the parallels and continuities as well as the differences between current and past developments in management problem solving, technological and organizational innovation, and business-government interaction, as well as businesss impact on American culture and its relationship with society as a whole.

American Studies 189 Research and Writing in American Studies

  • day and time Tu 12-2
  • location AAPB 115
  • instructor A. Craghead
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33315
This course is designed to encourage research skills, critical thinking, and effective writing. An intensive reading and research seminar, the course will assist students in the development of skills fundamental to advanced research in the humanities, social sciences, and cultural studies. In addition to examining some topics in current American studies scholarship, students will conduct semester-long research projects. The effort entails identification of research topics, cultivation of interdisciplinary methodologies, compilation of annotated bibliographies, and completion of a literature review, which may serve as the first portion of the American studies senior thesis. The course is strongly recommended for those who have been out of touch with the conventions of academic research and writing or who might wish to pursue a graduate degree in the future.

 

History 125 A African American History and Race Relations: 1450-1860

  • day and time TTh 5-6:30
  • location 206 VLSB
  • instructor S. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 28885

The course will survey African American history from the African background to the outbreak of the Civil War. The origins and development of Afro-American society, culture and politics will be explored from the perspective of African-Americans themselves: slave and free, North and South. Throughout, the enduring dilemma of race relations functions as a central theme.

 

History 137 AC Immigrants and Immigration as U.S. History

  • day and time MW 5-7
  • location 2060 VLSB
  • instructor D. Henkin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 30627

This course examines the coming together of people from five continents to the United States and provides an historical overview of the shifting patterns of immigration. The course begins in the colonial era when servants and slaves typified the migrant to America. It then follows the migration of the pre-industrial immigrants, through migration streams during the industrial and “post-industrial” eras of the nation.