Introductory Courses

African American Studies 27 AC Lives of Struggle: Minorities in Majority Culture

  • day and time TTh 12:30-2
  • location 145 Dwinelle
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 12321


IN FALL 2017, THIS COURSE SATISFIES THE AMERICAN STUDIES 10 REQUIREMENT. The purpose of this course is to examine the many forms that the struggle of minorities can assume. The focus is on individual struggle and its outcome as reported and perceived by the individuals themselves. Members of three minority aggregates are considered: African Americans, Asian Americans (so called), and Chicano/Latino Americans. The choice of these three has to do with the different histories of members of these aggregrates. Such differences have produced somewhat different approaches to struggle.

American Studies 10 Food Culture in America

  • day and time TTh 11-12:30
  • location 3 LeConte
  • instructor K. Moran, M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 22204

Section 201 M 3-4, 115 Kroeber
Section 202 M 12-1, 238 Kroeber
Section 203 M 2-3, 238 Kroeber
Section 204 M 1-2, 106 Wheeler

This course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, taking Food as its central theme. We will explore the social history, political economy and “aesthetics” of eating and cooking in America. Specific topics will include the development and importance of New World agriculture, the design of shopping and eating spaces, eco history, the objects we use in the kitchen, the use of food as a metaphor in literature and in popular culture, food service workers, ethnic foods, food advertising, food photography, fast food, the slow food movement, and food biographies. We will also consider the specific food culture of Berkeley, and explore the rise of the so-called Berkeley “gourmet ghetto.”
Course Goals: This course is meant to enable you to think and do research as an interdisciplinary scholar, specifically to give you the tools to do readings of a literary text, a painting, a common object, a film, a space. You will also learn the basics of conducting an interview, drawing a floorplan, recording and analyzing behaviors. You will practice historical researchgathering and evaluating evidence–as well as practice the skills involved in finding a thesis and arguing it persuasively.

Letters and Science 40 C Hollywood: The Place, the Fantasy, and the Industry

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location 141 McCone
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 44495

Section 101 - M 9-10, 110 Barker
Section 102 - Th 9-10, 115 Kroeber
Section 103 - Th 2-3, 106 Dwinelle
Section 104 - M 10-11, 115 Kroeber

IN FALL 2017, THIS COURSE SATISFIES THE AMERICAN STUDIES 10 REQUIREMENT. This course is about the history of the Hollywood “Dream Factory,” focusing on both parts of that phrase. 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 1980’s, as we think about the way films have constructed powerful and productive fantasies about the boundaries between public and private, work and play, commerce and art, fantasy and reality. Our topics will include the history of labor in the culture industry, the implications of shifts in the spatial organization of film production, and the effects of Hollywood on the larger politics of southern California. We will also discuss the way Hollywood has framed its own history by viewing a number of “movies about movies,” including Sullivan’s Travels, Singin’ in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, and The Player

Time Courses

American Studies 101 The Harlem Renaissance

  • day and time TTh 11-12:30
  • location 20 Barrows
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12339

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, 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 Citys Harlem, reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. This course will focus on the forces that led to this “renaissance” as well as those that fueled it. Primary texts for this course may include Jean Toomer, Cane; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; George Schuyler, Black No More; Nella Larsen, Passing; poetry by Langston Hughes; and works by Claude McKay, Alain Locke, Jessie Fauset, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Anne Spencer, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Augusta Savage, Duke Ellington, and others.

American Studies 101 AC World War II

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location 160 Kroeber
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 67505

Linking the battlefields of Europe and Asia to the factories and movie theaters of San Francisco and New York City, this course takes up the cultural and social history of World War II (1931-1945). World War II was the most destructive war in the history of humanity, killing some 60-80 million people. It also shattered the old European colonial order and transformed the US into the most powerful country in the world. The war remains the source of our deepest fears of genocide and nuclear annihilation. Yet Americans believe World War II to be The Good War and we revere its heroes as The Greatest Generation. This class takes a global approach to WWII by focusing on three primary combatants: Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the United States. Consequently, this course focuses explicitly on the role of race and racism in the origins and conduct of the war. As an American Studies class, we take an interdisciplinary approach to history, reading a range of original sources from propaganda cartoons to oral histories, war photography to experimental fiction. So what was this war? What did Americans see and do there? And what did that doing do to us?

Place Courses

American Studies 102 California, the West, and the World: From Gold and Guano to Google and the New Gilded Age

  • day and time TTh 9:30-11
  • location 2060 VLSB
  • instructor M. Brilliant
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12350

Room-shared with History 128AC

This course surveys the history of California and the American West from the mid-nineteenth century to the dawn of the twenty-first century. It will situate this state and regional history within the relevant currents of global history, which have profoundly shaped and been shaped by California and the American West. We will pay particular heed to those elements of Californian and western history that are typically associated with the states and regions distinctiveness as a shifting region on the national map, potent and protean symbol in the national (and, often, international) imagination, and catalyst of world historical developments from the Gold Rush and the global guano trade it sparked in the mid-nineteenth century, to the rise of Hollywood in the early twentieth century, to the development and deployment of atomic weapons in the mid-twentieth century, to the emergence of Silicon Valley technological innovation and New Gilded Age income polarization in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

American Studies 102 Writing on the Walls

  • day and time F 9-12
  • location 270 Wurster
  • instructor A. Shanken
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 46611

Cross-listed with Architecture 179

We all pass by ugly buildings everyday, often in silent, unconscious protest, or register beautiful ones fleetingly, alas, through a windshield. This turning away leaves us unprepared to judge, and more importantly, to demand better. Yet architecture is the most public of arts. We all use it everyday and this makes us all arbiters of it. The course aims to empower students to seek out their own critical voices in writing about their surroundings. It will help students sharpen their eye and to show them how to lay out plainly, but with sophistication, the ramifications of various kinds of interventions in the built environment. The campus will be the course’s quarry. Students will tour Berkeley’s buildings and landscape and read them against both architectural criticism and essays by authors such as John McPhee, John Updike, Christopher Hitchens, Sue Allison, Wendell Berry, and Patricia Hampl.

American Studies C 111 E New Orleans

  • day and time TTh 2:30-3
  • location 140 Barrows
  • instructor B. Wagner
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 46298

Cross-listed with English C136

We will consider the representation of New Orleans in four related formats: (1) historical monograph, (2) folklore collection, (3) jazz autobiography, and (4) cinematic documentary. Our premise is that New Orleans is stranger than fiction. Weekly writing, two essays, two midterm exams, final exam.

American Studies C 171 The American Designed Landscape since 1850

  • day and time TTh 2-330
  • location 88 Dwinelle
  • instructor L. Mozingo
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 12404

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.

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time M 2-4
  • location 262 Dwinelle
  • instructor J. Walker
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12392

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Th 2-4
  • location 121 Latimer
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12391

American Studies H 195 Senior Honors Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Tu 8-10
  • location 115 Kroeber
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 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.

Honors Seminar

American Studies H 110 From SFMOMA to Ghost Ship: Exploring Bay Area Art Ecosystems

  • day and time F 2-5
  • location 425 Doe
  • instructor J. Winet
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 46190


The Bay Area is home to a vibrant and diverse art scene, fueled by thousands of creative artists working in a wide range of media and with an impressive array of interests. At the same time local and national pressures present formidable challenges to artists. This course will explore the range of environments artists inhabit and animate.

Working collaboratively, students will conduct public digital humanities research creating online multimedia mobile websites that highlight artist-centered organizations vital to the Areas culture. Hands-on technical demonstrations and workshops will focus on audio, video and photography production using smart phones. Central to the class will be discussion of best practices for engagement including the art and craft of interviews and approaches to documentary.

Seminar activities will include reading and writing assignments, media screenings, field trips to artists organizations, artist studios, museums and galleries, and in-class and on-site presentations by arts activists and civic leaders.

A culminating public launch event is also planned.

There are no specific prerequisites for the class.

Special Courses of Interest

History 139 C Civil Rights and Social Movements in the U.S.

  • day and time TTh 12:30-2
  • location 277 Cory
  • instructor W. Martin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 46370

Section 101 - Tu 5-6, 283 Dwinelle
Section 102 - Wed 6-7, 179 Dwinelle
Section 103 - Thurs 5-6, 183 Dwinelle
Section 104 - Thurs 6-7, 183 Dwinelle
Cross-listed with History C139C

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.


Lower Division Courses of Interest

American Studies 24 Hamilton and the Federalist

  • day and time M 10-11
  • location 204 Dwinelle
  • instructor R. Hutson
  • 1 Units
  • Class # 46771

The idea for the Federalist papers was Alexander Hamiltons, and he wrote most of the papers, 51 of the 85. Hamilton invited James Madison (who became the fourth President of the U.S.) and John Jay to write the others. Hamilton and Madison offer various arguments to try to convince citizens that the newly designed Constitution for a federal government should be accepted and ratified by the state of New York and beyond. Do they convince you? As Jay notes in #2, this new constitution is to be recommended and debated. Such a plan for a federal constitution for a free people who understand the need of a government has to be argued for, because there was already a government of the Continental Congress that seemed to some as working very well. Discussion and debate belong intimately to such a republic, esp. a liberal republic. We cannot read and discuss all of the 85 papers, but we can look carefully at a few of them and engage in discussion and debate. Obviously, the papers deal with serious and controversial issues. I want and expect discussion all of the time in every class. Students will be evaluated on attendance and participation in the discussion. There will be a short paper (5 pages) due at the end of the class.