Introductory Courses

African American Studies C 20 AC The 2020 Election

  • day and time MW 10-12
  • location Instruction Mode: Flex
  • instructor M. Cohen and S. Jayaraman
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33927

Sec 101 - Th 8-9, 155 Barrows
Sec 102 - W 8-9, 174 Barrows
Sec 103 - Th 12-1, Location TBA
Sec 104 - W 12-1, Location TBA
Sec 105 - W 4-5, Location TBA
Sec 106 - W 5-6, Location TBA
Sec 107 - W 3-4, Location TBA
Sec 108 - W 10-11, Location TBA
Sec 106 - W 5-6, Location TBA
Public Policy C20AC

During the fall 2020 semester we will have the quadrennial opportunity to study American politics during a presidential campaign. Combining real-time analysis of the election, an in-depth study of the relevant historical and sociological trends that are shaping this moment, and a lively roster of guest speakers from across the Berkeley campus and community, this class will provide students with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction to American politics

American Studies 10 Everyday America

  • day and time TTh 9:30-11
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 23974

Section 101 - M 4-5, 121 Latimer
Section 102 - W 4-5, 121 Latimer

This course will examine significant aspects of the everyday and the ordinary in American life. Through the analysis of multiple forms of folk, popular, and mass culture—from front porches to closets, from board games to playgrounds, from the remembered South to the end of the world, from the mixtape to the music video—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 Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33206

Section 101 - T 9-10, 245 Hearst Gym
Section 102 - T 10-11, 224 Wheeler
Section 103 - Th 1-3, 104 Wheeler
Section 104 - M 2-3, 105 Barrows
Section 105 - Th 5-6, 159 Mulford

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. 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.

Time Courses

American Studies 101 AC Americans and their Stuff: Object Lessons from the Civil War Era

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24933

What can we learn about American people and their culture by studying their stuff? In this class, we will closely examine the objects that were part of everyday life in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century (approximately 1846 to 1877). As tensions between the North and South worsened and the nation descended into a devastating Civil War, ordinary people living across North America continued to live daily lives saturated with objects: they exchanged coins and bank notes, sewed clothing, prepared meals, mailed letters, used tools, purchased medicines and cosmetics, shot guns, and cared for dead and dying bodies. While the objects themselves may have differed, people across the country depended on and drew from meaning from their stuff—whether they were enslaved families in South Carolina, immigrant neighborhoods in San Francisco, white middle-class families in Boston, or native communities on the Great Plains. By combining the methodology and sources of material culture with examinations of history, literature, and popular media, our interdisciplinary study of American stuff will consider what objects can teach us about culture, identity, and community in the shadow of war, and the lessons we can draw for our twenty-first century world. This class fulfills the American Cultures requirement.

History 122 AC Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society

  • day and time MW 5-7
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor D. Henkin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 32006

The Civil War is commonly regarded as the second American Revolution, the grand rupture after which a new modern nation came into being. But many of the institutions, ideologies, and practices that make up modern society and culture in the United States emerged more gradually during the period immediately preceding that war. To understand the origins of such contemporary phenomena as the mass media, corporate capitalism, wage labor, the two-party system, family values, and racism, we need to trace their evolution in the nineteenth century. This lecture course examines a little over half a century of life in the United States (roughly from 1810 until the secession of the South), focusing on everyday life, popular culture, race relations, democratic politics, westward expansion, urbanization, class formation, religious experience, gender roles, sexuality, print communication, and competing claims to wealth, power, and the good life. Assigned readings will consist largely of first-person narratives in which women and men of varied backgrounds and identities try to make sense of their own experiences against the backdrop of major social change.

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

  • day and time TTh 5-7
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S E. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units

Taking as its focus diverse groups of women who have shaped the course of North American history, this class will explore the relationship between gender, power and violence from the colonial period to the modern era. We will discuss how women have challenged conventional notions of “womanhood” through their words and their deeds, how their respective communities understood their behavior, and we will contemplate the ways in which these women simultaneously constructed narratives of power that do not conform to contemporary conceptualizations of their lives.

History of Art 185 D The Transatlantic Gilded Age and Its Discontents

  • day and time TTH 9:30-11
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31553

“The Transatlantic Gilded Age and Its Discontents” considers the arts of the United States, England, and France 1865-1918 looking at the Salon and the Louvre; the École des Beaux Arts; the Arts and Crafts movement; and international expositions in Chicago, Paris, Vienna and San Francisco. Focus is on the arts & institutions of the wealthy and bourgeoisie, as well as on works designed to critique the architecture, manners, & activities of the transatlantic elite. Authors, architects, & artists include Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Thorstein Veblen, John Ruskin, Jacob Riis, Henry James, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, John Ruskin, William Morris, Augustus St. Gaudens, Edmonia Lewis, & more.

Place Courses

American Studies 102 California Food Places

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location Hybrid - In Person and Remote
  • instructor K. Moran
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24766

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE IN BERKELEY TO TAKE THIS COURSE.  INSTRUCTION WILL BE REMOTE AND THERE MAY BE OPTIONAL, IN-PERSON MEETINGS.

This course will discuss the politics, business and culture of American foodways, focusing on California. We will begin with a history of California farms and agribusiness and well as the role of food advertising and food tourism in the development of the west. We will also discuss various forms of food media, the history of California food movements, the rise of Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto,” and popular representations of food, gender and race

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

  • day and time TTh 12:30-2
  • location 108 Wheeler
  • instructor A. Saragoza
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 25315

This course examines the story of the California wine industry, beginning with the early history of viticulture in the state. Most of the attention in the course will be given to the period since the “wine boom” of the 1970s to the present. The Napa/Sonoma valleys will be the focus of that discussion, but the course will take into account state, national and international issues that impinge upon the development of California’s wine industry, e.g., immigrant labor, imports, and market conditions. Social and cultural trends related to the consumption of wine will also be examined extensively, such as gender, class, race and ethnicity.

American Studies C 111 E The Wall: Art, Literature, Performance on and about the U.S.-Mexican Border

  • day and time MWF 2-3
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor G. Padilla
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24705

Cross-listed with English C136

This will be a course in which we will think about the emergence of a distinct border aesthetic, one in which form is often torqued by dispiriting content but which, simultaneously, also finds beauty in the cultural and natural ecologies that trace the border.

We will read The Devil’s Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea, view documentaries like Rebecca Cammisa’s Which Way Home? and Daffodil Altan’s Kids Caught in the Crackdown, and read the poetry of Javier Zamorra, Emmy Perez, Michelle Otero, and Juan Felipe Herrera, among other poets/essayists, and we will consider art as border performance in the work of Ana Teresa Fernandez, Alberto Caro, and Guillermo Gomez Pena.

American Studies C 171 The American Designed Landscape Since 1850

  • day and time TTh 2-3:30
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor L.Mozingo
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 21021

Cross-listed with Land Arch C171

This course surveys the history of American landscape architecture since 1850 in four realms: 1) urban open spaces–that is squares, plazas, parks, and recreation systems; 2) urban and suburban design; 3) regional and environmental planning; 4) gardens. The course will review 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. Students will complete a midterm, final, and a research assignment.

Architecture 179 Americans on the Road

  • day and time Tu 10-12
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor M. Crawford
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33402

Since the publication of Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” in 1856, connections between mobility and freedom have been foundational concepts in American culture. This course will explore the multiple forms and dimensions that mobility has taken since then, including topics such as migration, railroads, road infrastructure, automobiles, tourism, and roadside landscapes, among others. Since the US was the first country to widely adopt cars, automobility will be a major topic. Beginning in the 1920s, the automobile reshaped the built environment, social relations and leisure pursuits in dramatic ways that still affect us. Although Whitman saw the open road as democratic and inclusive, this has rarely been the case. Class, gender, and, most importantly, race have defined access to mobility. While Whitman and later writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg undertook road trips as spontaneous journeys to connect with the nation, African-Americans needed to consult the Green Book to find hotels and restaurants that would serve them. Acronyms such as DWB (Driving While Black) underline important limits to the freedom of the road.

After 1950, more people on the move produced a uniquely American roadside landscape that generated such negative responses as Peter Blake’s 1964 diatribe, God’s Own Junkyard. Later, in Learning from Las Vegas, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown argued for a newly positive and analytical perspective on mobility and the commercial vernacular. Today, with widespread criticism of automobility, these roadside strips have become objects of nostalgia. Looking into the future, proponents of autonomous vehicles predict that mobility will take new and unprecedented forms.

This research seminar will explore the cultural, social, and spatial contexts and significance of mobility and its outcomes.  The format will be based on lectures, reading and discussion. Students will select and present their own topics for research. Topics can range widely, including historical, cultural, architectural, urban and non-US subjects.

Pre-1900 Historical Requirement

American Studies 101 AC Americans and their Stuff: Object Lessons from the Civil War Era

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24933

What can we learn about American people and their culture by studying their stuff? In this class, we will closely examine the objects that were part of everyday life in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century (approximately 1846 to 1877). As tensions between the North and South worsened and the nation descended into a devastating Civil War, ordinary people living across North America continued to live daily lives saturated with objects: they exchanged coins and bank notes, sewed clothing, prepared meals, mailed letters, used tools, purchased medicines and cosmetics, shot guns, and cared for dead and dying bodies. While the objects themselves may have differed, people across the country depended on and drew from meaning from their stuff—whether they were enslaved families in South Carolina, immigrant neighborhoods in San Francisco, white middle-class families in Boston, or native communities on the Great Plains. By combining the methodology and sources of material culture with examinations of history, literature, and popular media, our interdisciplinary study of American stuff will consider what objects can teach us about culture, identity, and community in the shadow of war, and the lessons we can draw for our twenty-first century world. This class fulfills the American Cultures requirement.

English 130 B American Literature: 1800 to 1850

  • day and time MW 12-2
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S. Otter
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24407

We will read the extraordinary fiction, poetry, essays, and speeches of this period, including works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Fanny Fern, Herman Melville, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. We will pay particular attention to literary form and technique, to social and political context, and to the ideological formations and transformations of these decades, especially the urgent debates about democracy, slavery, race, gender, sexuality, individuality, theology, economic system, social reform, the role of writers, and the power and limits of words. Two midterms and one final examination will be required. See also https://english.berkeley.edu/courses/6482

History 122 AC Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society

  • day and time MW 5-7
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor D. Henkin
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 32006

The Civil War is commonly regarded as the second American Revolution, the grand rupture after which a new modern nation came into being. But many of the institutions, ideologies, and practices that make up modern society and culture in the United States emerged more gradually during the period immediately preceding that war. To understand the origins of such contemporary phenomena as the mass media, corporate capitalism, wage labor, the two-party system, family values, and racism, we need to trace their evolution in the nineteenth century. This lecture course examines a little over half a century of life in the United States (roughly from 1810 until the secession of the South), focusing on everyday life, popular culture, race relations, democratic politics, westward expansion, urbanization, class formation, religious experience, gender roles, sexuality, print communication, and competing claims to wealth, power, and the good life. Assigned readings will consist largely of first-person narratives in which women and men of varied backgrounds and identities try to make sense of their own experiences against the backdrop of major social change.

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

  • day and time TTh 5-7
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S E. Jones-Rogers
  • 4 Units

Taking as its focus diverse groups of women who have shaped the course of North American history, this class will explore the relationship between gender, power and violence from the colonial period to the modern era. We will discuss how women have challenged conventional notions of “womanhood” through their words and their deeds, how their respective communities understood their behavior, and we will contemplate the ways in which these women simultaneously constructed narratives of power that do not conform to contemporary conceptualizations of their lives.

History of Art 185 D The Transatlantic Gilded Age and Its Discontents

  • day and time TTH 9:30-11
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor M. Lovell
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 31553

“The Transatlantic Gilded Age and Its Discontents” considers the arts of the United States, England, and France 1865-1918 looking at the Salon and the Louvre; the École des Beaux Arts; the Arts and Crafts movement; and international expositions in Chicago, Paris, Vienna and San Francisco. Focus is on the arts & institutions of the wealthy and bourgeoisie, as well as on works designed to critique the architecture, manners, & activities of the transatlantic elite. Authors, architects, & artists include Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Thorstein Veblen, John Ruskin, Jacob Riis, Henry James, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, John Ruskin, William Morris, Augustus St. Gaudens, Edmonia Lewis, & more.

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 10-12
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 15145

American Studies H 195 Honors Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Th 12-2
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 19289

Special Courses of Interest

American Studies 110 The Secret History of America

  • day and time Th 2-5
  • location TBD - In person
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33147

What are the origins of the present crisis? Who writes the secret history of America? Any of us and all of us. Some can, some do, and in this class we will try. And we will do this against the backdrop of a presidential election and a world in crisis. Combining real-time analysis of the election, and an in-depth study of the relevant historical and sociological trends that are shaping this moment, this seminar will take up an interdisciplinary analysis of American politics in a time of unprecedented crisis and possibility. Designed with a dual purpose of providing a history of the present moment while serving as an active laboratory for generating new knowledge about how students engage with US electoral politics, this class will be both discussion seminar and writing workshop. We will start by reading extensively in the fields of contemporary history and politics before publishing two articles on-line, one before the other after the election.

American Studies 189 Research and Writing in American Studies

  • day and time F 2-4
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor S. Gold McBride
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 31215

This class is designed to provide a solid foundation for American Studies majors preparing to write their senior thesis next semester or next year. Through weekly seminar meetings, one-on-one conversations, and regular research and writing assignments, we will work together to strengthen your skills as an American Studies scholar, and to develop thesis project plans for every student. We will focus on both the creative and practical aspects of producing American Studies scholarship: we will read examples of excellent cultural studies writing, practice key skillsets like writing a strong research question, and discuss the logistics of tracking down library resources. By the end of the semester, you will have a thesis topic, a solid list of primary sources to investigate, and a plan for a thesis project that will help you feel confident when you enroll in AS 191 or AS H195.

Architecture 179 Americans on the Road

  • day and time Tu 10-12
  • location Remote - Synchronous
  • instructor M. Crawford
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 33402

Since the publication of Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” in 1856, connections between mobility and freedom have been foundational concepts in American culture. This course will explore the multiple forms and dimensions that mobility has taken since then, including topics such as migration, railroads, road infrastructure, automobiles, tourism, and roadside landscapes, among others. Since the US was the first country to widely adopt cars, automobility will be a major topic. Beginning in the 1920s, the automobile reshaped the built environment, social relations and leisure pursuits in dramatic ways that still affect us. Although Whitman saw the open road as democratic and inclusive, this has rarely been the case. Class, gender, and, most importantly, race have defined access to mobility. While Whitman and later writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg undertook road trips as spontaneous journeys to connect with the nation, African-Americans needed to consult the Green Book to find hotels and restaurants that would serve them. Acronyms such as DWB (Driving While Black) underline important limits to the freedom of the road.

After 1950, more people on the move produced a uniquely American roadside landscape that generated such negative responses as Peter Blake’s 1964 diatribe, God’s Own Junkyard. Later, in Learning from Las Vegas, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown argued for a newly positive and analytical perspective on mobility and the commercial vernacular. Today, with widespread criticism of automobility, these roadside strips have become objects of nostalgia. Looking into the future, proponents of autonomous vehicles predict that mobility will take new and unprecedented forms.

This research seminar will explore the cultural, social, and spatial contexts and significance of mobility and its outcomes.  The format will be based on lectures, reading and discussion. Students will select and present their own topics for research. Topics can range widely, including historical, cultural, architectural, urban and non-US subjects.