Introductory Courses

American Studies 10 Frontiers in American History and Culture

  • day and time TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • location 50 Birge
  • instructor M. Brilliant/C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02003

Sec. 101: CC# 02006Tu 12:00-1:00, 587 Barrows
Sec. 102: CC# 02009Tu 1:00-2:00, 179 Stanley
Sec. 103: CC# 02012W 3:00-4:00, 385 LeConte
Sec. 104: CC# 02015W 4:00-5:00, 75 Evans

Few, if any, concepts in American history and culture resonate more powerfully and reverberate more persistently than the frontier. This course will explore multiple manifestations of the frontier in United States history and culture, from the nineteenth century western frontier, to the early twentieth century overseas frontier associated with U.S. expansion abroad, to the mid-twentieth centurys crabgrass (or, suburban), atomic, and final (space) frontiers, to the late twentieth centurys digital / electronic frontier. Each of these frontiers will serve as a lens through which we will introduce students to the concepts and methods of American Studies.

Letters & Science 40 C Hollywood: The Place, The Fantasy, The Industry

  • day and time MW 12:00-2:00
  • location 3 LeConte
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 52020

Sec. 101: CC# 52023M 3:00-4:00, B51 Hildebrand
Sec. 102: CC# 52026W 9:00-10:00, 102 Latimer
Sec. 103: CC# 52029T 8:00-9:00, 103 GPB
Sec. 104: CC# 52032W 4:00-5:00, 101 Wurster

***We will accept this course to fulfill the AS10 requirement

You cant explain Hollywood. There isnt any such place. Its just the dream suburb of Los Angeles.

Rachel Field, To See Ourselves

This course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, taking the Hollywood Dream Factory as its central theme. Focusing on both parts of that phrase, the course will proceed along a double path: We will examine the historical and geographical development of the motion picture industry from the rise of the studio system to the new entertainment economy of the 1980s and we will examine ways Hollywood is represented in literature and film. Our topics will include the founding of Los Angeles and the history of labor in the culture industry, the implications of various shifts in the spatial organization of film production, and the effects of Hollywood on the larger politics of southern California. We will also consider works by Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion, and discuss the way Hollywood has framed its own history by screening movies about the movie industry. You will be required to see 12 films. Part of our project will focus on helping students relate primary texts to historical arguments and empirical data. We will also examine the ways that films create meaning and how the medium works to construct powerful fantasies about the boundaries between public and private, work and play, commerce and art, fantasy and reality.

Time Courses

American Studies 101 The Short American Century: America from WWII to the New Frontier, 1942-1963

  • day and time TuTh 3:30-5:00
  • location 310 Hearst Mining
  • instructor S. Saul
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02024

Sec. 101: CC# 02027W 9:00-10:00, 221 Wheeler
Sec. 102: CC# 02030 W 10:00-11:00, 300 Wheeler

This course delves into the history of America in the years between WWII and the New Frontier the era that invented the nuclear bomb, the nuclear family, the car with tailfins, the blacklist, the sit-in, the mall, Disneyland, film noir, TV, the CIA, rockabilly, the mass-merchandized paperback novel, and much, much else. On the broadest level, the class will investigate the large-scale social and political transformations of the ’40s and ’50s: the fracturing of FDR’s New Deal coalition, the rise of suburbia and the nuclear family ideal, the American military’s assumption of a larger role in global geopolitics, the surge of the Civil Rights Movement and the beginnings of second-wave feminism, among others. But it will do so primarily through the lens of culture, by zooming in on the new forms of writing, film, visual art, music and theater that were produced in the period. Class assignments and discussions will focus on the interpretation of the period’s rich documentary sources its literature, film, music, art and cultural commentary while secondary readings will suggest how historians and cultural critics have made sense of the period. Possible primary texts: the fiction of Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, J.D. Salinger, and Hisaye Yamamoto; the poetry of Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg; the plays of Thornton Wilder and Adrienne Kennedy; the nonfiction of Henry Luce, Whittaker Chambers and Betty Friedan; the films Double Indemnity, The Best Years of Our Lives, Kiss Me Deadly, and Imitation of Life.

American Studies 101 AC World War II

  • day and time MW 12:00-2:00
  • location 390 Hearst Mining
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02033

This class will focus on the military, cultural, and political history of World War II in the United States and around the world (1939-1945). Linking the battlefields of Europe and Asia to the factories and movie theaters of San Francisco and New York, World War II transformed the US into the most powerful country in the world. In this class we will consider the history of American involvement in World War II through oral histories, war photography and propaganda, African American fiction, Hollywood films, the writings of European intellectuals who fled the Nazi’s, the stories of Rosie the Riveter in Oakland, incarcerated Pacifists and interned Japanese Americans, Chicano Zoot-Suiters in LA, as well as consider the memory of the war’s twin atrocities: the Nazi Holocaust and the Atomic Bombings. Readings include Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go, Hans J. Massaquoi’s Destined to Witness, Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke, Studs Terkel’s The Good War, Art Spegelman’s Maus, and PK Dick’s The Man in the High Castle; films include Casablanca, Why We Fight, and Best Years of Our Lives. This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement.

American Studies C 111 E GIlded Age

  • day and time TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • location 30 Wheeler
  • instructor R. Hutson
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02045

Cross-listed with English C136

Mark Twains and Charles Dudley Warners collaborative novel of 1873, The Gilded Age, has given a name to the American historical period of the post-Civil War era (roughly 1865 to 1890). It is a period of great changes in the countrythe rise of monopolistic industrial capitalism in powerful corporations with consequent urbanization and the rise of cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, etc., and the struggle of a rural America against these new powers. It is a period of great economic unrest, with regular depressions (known as panics) and labor strikes. With Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1865), we glimpse the failed Reconstruction of the freed men and women from slavery as various forms of oppression are invented in the nation to re-subjugate African Americans. And, this is a period of a certain intellectual turmoil as writers try to understand what is going on in the country. There will be two midterm exams and a final exam.
**This course satisfied the pre-1900 historical requirement for American Studies majors.

Place Courses

American Studies 102 The Suburbs

  • day and time TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • location 180 Tan
  • instructor J. Gomer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02039

This course is about the American suburb. We will begin with an historical overview of the development of suburbs in the 19th and 20th centuries. From there we will proceed with an examination of the politics of the suburbs. We will use specific metropolitan areasOrange County, Atlanta, Oakland, Detroitas lenses to explore issues including white flight, urban blight, the making of modern conservatism, racial inequality, gender roles, and taxes. We will also explore the discourse of suburbia in popular culture–literature, music, and film Ultimately, our goal in this course is to begin to construct a complex understanding of the suburbs as a place in American life.

American Studies C 171 The American Designed Landscape since 1850

  • day and time TBA
  • location TBA
  • instructor L. Mozingo
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02063

Cross-listed with Landscape Architecture C171

This course surveys the history of American landscape architecture since 1850 including the rise of the public parks movement, the development of park systems, the establishment of the national parks, the landscape of the Progressive Era, suburbs, and the modernist landscape. The survey encompasses urban open spaces, conservation landscapes, urban design, environmental planning, and gardens. It reviews the cultural and social contexts which have shaped and informed landscape architecture in the United States since the advent of the public parks movement, as well as the aesthetic precepts, environmental concerns, horticultural practices, and technological innovations of American landscapes.

Pre-1900 Historical Requirement

American Studies C 111 E GIlded Age

  • day and time TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • location 30 Wheeler
  • instructor R. Hutson
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02045

Cross-listed with English C136

Mark Twains and Charles Dudley Warners collaborative novel of 1873, The Gilded Age, has given a name to the American historical period of the post-Civil War era (roughly 1865 to 1890). It is a period of great changes in the countrythe rise of monopolistic industrial capitalism in powerful corporations with consequent urbanization and the rise of cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, etc., and the struggle of a rural America against these new powers. It is a period of great economic unrest, with regular depressions (known as panics) and labor strikes. With Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1865), we glimpse the failed Reconstruction of the freed men and women from slavery as various forms of oppression are invented in the nation to re-subjugate African Americans. And, this is a period of a certain intellectual turmoil as writers try to understand what is going on in the country. There will be two midterm exams and a final exam.
**This course satisfied the pre-1900 historical requirement for American Studies majors.

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Th 12:00-2:00
  • location 4 Evans
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02072

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time M 10:00-12:00
  • location 385 LeConte
  • instructor J. Gomer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02075

American Studies H 195 Senior Honors Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 10:00-12:00
  • location 4 Evans
  • instructor J. Gomer
  • 3 Units

***NOTE: In order to receive honors in American Studies, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.51, and a GPA of 3.65 for all courses taken in completion of the major (upper and lower division). Students should discuss with their major faculty adviser the preparation of a bibliography and a brief description of their proposed honors thesis and their eligibility to enroll in honors, based on GPA, the semester before they plan to enroll in H195. They also must secure a faculty adviser from an appropriate field who will agree to direct the honors thesis (the “honors thesis adviser”). THE FACULTY ADVISERS AGREEMENT MUST BE SUBMITTED TO COURSE INSTRUCTOR NO LATER THAN THE 2ND WEEK OF CLASSES.

Special Courses of Interest

African American Studies 137 Multicultural Communities

  • day and time W 2:00-5:00
  • location 54 Barrows
  • instructor M. Laguerre
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 00644

Description forthcoming

American Studies C 134 Information, Technology, and Society

  • day and time M 2:00-5:00
  • location 140 Barrows
  • instructor M. Laguerre
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02057

Cross-listed with African American Studies C134

This course assesses the role of information technology in the digitization of society and focuses on the deployment of e-government, globalization of e-commerce, telecommuting practices in Silicon Valley, organization of the virtual office, racial and gender ramifications of the digital divide, geography of cyberspace, and privacy, security, and surveillance. It examines how IT has contributed to the mobility of agents, tools, and social structure. It discusses the role of IT in the governance and transformation of the American metropolis with a specific focus on the social production of digital neighborhoods and networked homes. It explains the phenomenon of virtual migration, the rise of digital diasporas, and how IT is a conduit through which the globalization process is deployed.