What is a counterculture? What kind of culture does a counterculture counter? Can culture be a space of political opposition? Can culture be revolutionary? Activists and artists have asked these questions for generations, seeking out new ideas and new art forms by struggling to create a new world within the shell of the old.
This class, L&S 25 Thinking across the Arts and Design at Berkeley: California Countercultures, looks at the variety of countercultural expressions in the Bay Area centering around the decade of the 1960s. Berkeley occupies a vital place in counterculture history and mythology, and throughout this class we will consider this confluence of art and politics, community and memory that make the East Bay such a unique place in American culture. Across the semester, in lectures, museum visits, film screenings, musical and dance performances, we will consider a range of California Countercultures including (but not limited to) surrealists, wobblies, beats, hippies, yippies, dopers, Panthers, queers, communes, feminists, punks and occupiers.
This class is designed to introduce students to the full range of art and design resources at UC Berkeley by engaging with the upcoming Hippie Modernism show at the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archives, a showcase of countercultural films at the PFA, and two performing arts events at CAL Performances, Zellerbach Hall. In addition, the class features a lineup of guest speakers including stage and film actor Peter Coyote, poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, artist Fred Tomaselli, author Ishmael Reed, poet Joanne Kyger, Punk historical V.Vale, as well as professors from across the Berkeley campus. Students in the course will be equipped not only to understand and engage individual artistic and design disciplines,but also to connect their ideas and intentions with each other, across a range of creative and countercultural expressions.