Introductory Courses

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

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 146 Dwinelle
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 20921

Section 101 Class #: 25037– Th 10-11, 285 Cory
Section 102 Class #: 25319– W 4-5, 259 Dwinelle
Section 103 Class #: 25302 – Th 12-1, VLSB 2030
Section 104 Class #: 25321 - W 12-1, 4 Evans
Section 105 Class #: 25322 - W 4-5, 71 Evans
Section 106 Class #: 25323 – W 5-6, 245 Hearst Gym
Section 107 Class #: 25324- W 3-4, 174 Barrows
Section 108 Class #: 25325 - W 5-6, 104 Barrows

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 Love, American Style

  • day and time TTh 9:30-11
  • location 12 Haviland
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24222

Section 101 M 4-5, 115 Krober
Section 102 W 4-5, 115 Kroeber

On the Private Dancer album in 1984, Tina Turner asked, “What’s love got to do, got to do with it?”—a question that rose to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100.  This course proposes to take the reverberations of Turner’s question seriously as a means of approaching the study of American culture and history.  We will consider how love has been depicted and deployed in the service of: romance and its concomitant lust and attachment; arguments about sex and sexuality; domestic labor and family organization; friendship; ethnic, racial, and generational differences; the wedding industry; consumer culture; ritualized behavior; and the built environment.  By focusing on LOVE as a theory, a fantasy, a place, 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 C Hollywood: The Place, the Fantasy, the Industry

  • day and time MW 4-6
  • location 120 Latimer
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31102

LAB: (Film screenings): T 5-8, 1 LeConte
Section 101, Class #31103 T 9-10, 245 Hearst
Section 102, Class #31104 Th 10-11, 2070 VLSB
Section 103, Class #31105 Th 2-3, 2066 VLSB
Section 104, Class #31106 M 2-3, 106 Wheeler

 You can’t explain Hollywood. There isn’t any such place. It’s just the dream suburb of Los Angeles.

                                                                                                                                                      Rachel Field

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:

(1) We will examine the economic and cultural history of the neighborhood in Los Angeles called Hollywood and the development of the motion picture industry from the rise of the studio system to the “new” entertainment economy of the 1980’s. 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 history of southern California.

(2) We will consider “Hollywood” stories as told by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, Joan Didion and John Sayles and we will discuss the way the film industry has framed its own history in the movies it makes about movies You will be required to see 12 “classic” Hollywood films, plus two contemporary movies about movies.

Our goal is to help students relate primary literary and film texts to historical arguments, social analysis and empirical data. Part of the course will be devoted to analyzing 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.

THIS IS A DISCOVERY COURSE THAT FULFILLS THE COLLEGE OF LETTERS AND SCIENCE HISTORICAL OR ARTS AND HUMANITIES BREADTH REQUIREMENT.

 

Time Courses

American Studies 101 The Ordinary and Extraordinary 1890s

  • day and time MW 10-12
  • location 103 Moffitt
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 20933

This class will closely examine a single decade of American history: the 1890s. These ten years were marked by monumental and often grave events: a crippling economic depression; a lynching epidemic; war in Cuba, the Philippines, and Lakota territory; and massive strikes by steel and railroad workers. Yet in the 1890s, ordinary American men, women, and children also went to the circus, read Cosmopolitan magazine, played basketball, tried bananas, and rode in the first underground subways. In this class we will consider both the extraordinary and the ordinary in this final decade of the nineteenth century, as we grapple with questions about race, work, science, masculinity, popular culture, identity, the body, violence, spectacle, and power. We will explore this history through the interdisciplinary lens of American Studies, analyzing a wide range of textual, visual, and material sources produced in the 1890s, including newspaper articles, popular fiction, photographs, and souvenirs

American Studies 101 AC World War II

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location 155 Kroeber
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 25466

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?

American Studies C 111 E The Harlem Renaissance

  • day and time TTh 3:30-5
  • location 310 Hearst Mining
  • instructor B. Wagner
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 25146

English C136

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement of black artists and writers in the 1920s. Centered in the Harlem neighborhood in Manhattan, the movement extended outward through international collaboration. We will be reading works by writers including Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston and as well as manifestos about the nature and function of black art. Themes include migration and metropolitan life, primitivism and the avant garde, diaspora and exile, passing and identity, sexuality and secrecy, and the relation between modern art and folk tradition.

History 136 A Defiant Women: Gender, Power and Violence in American History

  • day and time TTh 12:3-2
  • location 159 Mulford
  • instructor S. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31649

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED

 

Place Courses

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

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 240 Mulford
  • instructor A. Saragoza
  • Class # 25250

This course examines the California wine industry and the people involved in its production, emphasizing those who do the actual labor, from grape pickers and cellar masters to the vineyard managers and winemakers. The course emphasizes the period since the famous wine tasting competition between California and French wines in 1976, which marks the onset of the “boom” in wine consumption in the U.S. The course takes into account social and cultural trends that impact on the wine industry as well as other key attendant issues: immigrant labor, foreign competition, styles of wine making, and the multiplier effects of the industry, e.g., wine tourism. The course features field trips and guest lectures by farm workers, vineyard managers, wine makers, and winery owners.

American Studies 102 AC 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 145 Dwinelle
  • instructor M. Brilliant
  • Class # 26057

History 128AC

This course will survey the history of California and the American West from the mid-19th century to the dawn of the 21st 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 state’s and region’s 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-19th century, to the rise of Hollywood in the early 20th century, to the development and deployment of atomic weapons in the mid-20th century, to the emergence of Silicon Valley technological innovation and New Gilded Age income polarization in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

 

American Studies C 171 The American-Designed Landscape Since 1850

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 101 Wurster
  • instructor L. Mozingo
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 20983

Cross-listed with Land Arch C171

This course surveys the history of American designed landscapes 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 101 The Ordinary and Extraordinary 1890s

  • day and time MW 10-12
  • location 103 Moffitt
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 20933

This class will closely examine a single decade of American history: the 1890s. These ten years were marked by monumental and often grave events: a crippling economic depression; a lynching epidemic; war in Cuba, the Philippines, and Lakota territory; and massive strikes by steel and railroad workers. Yet in the 1890s, ordinary American men, women, and children also went to the circus, read Cosmopolitan magazine, played basketball, tried bananas, and rode in the first underground subways. In this class we will consider both the extraordinary and the ordinary in this final decade of the nineteenth century, as we grapple with questions about race, work, science, masculinity, popular culture, identity, the body, violence, spectacle, and power. We will explore this history through the interdisciplinary lens of American Studies, analyzing a wide range of textual, visual, and material sources produced in the 1890s, including newspaper articles, popular fiction, photographs, and souvenirs

History 136 A Defiant Women: Gender, Power and Violence in American History

  • day and time TTh 12:3-2
  • location 159 Mulford
  • instructor S. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31649

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED

 

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Th 2-4
  • location 238 Kroeber
  • instructor Sarah Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 15038

American Studies H 195 Senior Honors Thesis

  • day and time Th 12-2
  • location 134 Dwinelle
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 19252

Consent of instructor or American Studies Faculty Advisor is required to enroll in this course. 

**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 ADVISER’S AGREEMENT MUST BE SUBMITTED TO COURSE INSTRUCTOR NO LATER THAN THE 2ND WEEK OF CLASSES.

Honors Seminar

American Studies H 110 Mapping America

  • day and time Th 2-5
  • location 107 Mulford
  • instructor K. Moran/D. McQuade
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31076

NOTE: ENROLLMENT REQUIRES CONSENT OF AMERICAN STUDIES FACULTY

Ranging from a fictional rendition of California in the 16th century (Las Sergas de Esplanndian /The Adventures of Esplandián, 1510 by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo) representing it as an island, blessed with gold and populated by Amazon-like women whose trained griffins feasted on surplus males to exploring contemporary renditions of sites in the landscape of the mind, “Mapping” will examine various processes of imagining and representing space as well as consider maps as cultural objects. We will also explore a range of contexts and contingencies which have helped shape acts of visualizing, conceptualizing, documenting, representing, and creating spaces graphically — as prescriptive space and imaginative possibility as well as space to be navigated.

Special Courses of Interest

History 133 A History of American Capitalism

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location 105 North Gate
  • instructor C. Rosenthal
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 30754

What is capitalism? And when did it come to characterize the American economy? This course will explore the economic history of the United States, from the colonial period to the present. We will analyze the dramatic changes that catapulted a chain of colonies from the fringe of the global economy to its center. As the semester progresses, we will seek out the sources of this dramatic transformation, exploring a variety of overlapping and sometimes conflicting explanations. Is this primarily a story about ideas and economic outlook? Is it about entrepreneurship and innovation? Or about exploitation and expropriation? What role did the government play? What role the individual? Major themes will include the rise of the factory system, slavery and emancipation, immigration and labor, the development of banking and finance, and economic inequality. In addition to building their knowledge of American history, students will gain theoretical familiarity with three subfields of history: business history, economic history, and labor history. We will explore the ways each of these fields has generated different narratives that celebrate and/or critique American capitalism. And at every turn we will consider how these different narratives alternately highlight and minimize the important roles played by business elites, enslaved people, laborers, women, and immigrants. Rarely was the “invisible hand” colorblind or gender neutral. The course will discuss both famous businessmen and largely-forgotten workmen, women, and slaves. We will examine capitalism both from above and from below, seeking to understand the causes and consequences of economic change for different groups of Americans.

 

Lower Division Courses of Interest

American Studies 24 Tommy Orange

  • day and time M 1-2
  • location 279 Dwinelle
  • instructor R. Hutson
  • 1 Units
  • Class # 25285

Tommy Orange’s novel “There There” depicts a relatively small group of contemporary Native Americans living in Oakland, California. The novel is complex, depicting characters of all ages.  I would like to engage us in a careful, close reading of the novel, and try to expand our knowledge to think about the city of Oakland also.  As one of the characters says, “’I feel bad sometimes even saying I’m Native.  Mostly I just feel like I’m from Oakland.’” We can look at some other stories about Oakland, such as the recent film “Blindspotting.”  Class discussion will be expected.  A short paper, 3-5 pages, will be due during finals week