Special Courses of Interest

American Studies 170 AC Race and Representation in US Culture

  • instructor M. Cohen, B. Piatote, L. Raiford
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 11510

Tuesday 11:00-12:00 3108 Etcheverry CC# 11515

This course will explore the history of race, ethnicity and representation across the 20th century by considering the overlapping histories of African Americans, Native Americans and Whites through the study of film, photography and art, and humor. This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement by combining the following 1-unit courses:
American Studies 181B – Race, Photography, and Art
American Studies 180D – Race and American Humor
American Studies 184I – Race and American Film
mandatory discussion section Tuesday 11:00-12:00 3108 Etcheverry
American Studies 180D – Race and American Humor – MW 300-530, 3108 Etcheverry
American Studies 181B – Race, Photography, and Art – TTh 1200-230, 12 Haviland
American Studies 184I – Race and American Film – TTh 300-5:30, 3108 Etcheverry

American Studies 180 D Race and American Humor

  • day and time MW 3:00-5:530
  • location 3108 Etcheverry
  • instructor B. Piatote
  • 1 Units
  • Class # 11520

In his famous essay, Indian Humor, Vine Deloria, Jr., argued that no social movement could succeed without the use of humor. This course takes up that claim by asking how American comedians have used racial and ethnic humor to advance political claims, mobilize social actions, and create specific vocabularies for addressing social conditions. The production of racial and ethnic humor operates to both include and exclude populations. In addition to asking, Why is this funny?, the course will also explore who laughs and why. Designed to complement the courses on race and American film and race, photography, and art, the materials for the humor component will include satirical writings by Will Rogers; short stories by Sherman Alexie, including his revision of The Searchers in Dear John Wayne; stand-up comedy by Margaret Cho, Charlie Hill, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Maz Jobrani, and others; and Spike Lees film, Bamboozled. Critical writings include selections from Vine Deloria, Jr., David Gillota, Laurie Stone, and Leon Rappoport.

American Studies 181 B Race, Photography, and Art

  • day and time TTh 12:00-2:30
  • location 12 Haviland
  • instructor L. Raiford
  • 1 Units
  • Class # 11525

This course aims to uncover the long history between race, gender, nation and the visual. Our particular concerns are how visual culturemodes of representation, artistic products and ways of seeingproduces meanings about African American, Native American and immigrant bodies. And, what do visual narratives tell us about national identity? Through the specific lenses of visual art (including but not limited to painting, sculpture, and installation art) and photography (both analog and digital), we will ask how have racial meanings and the visual modalities employed to express them changed over time? Readings include selections by John Berger, Michael Harris, bell hooks, and Leslie Marmon Silko.

American Studies 184 I Race and American Film

  • day and time TTh 3:00-5:30
  • location 3108 Etcheverry
  • instructor M. Cohen
  • 1 Units
  • Class # 11530

This course uses film to explore representations of race in American culture across the 20th century. By examining three films Birth of a Nation (1915), The Searchers (1956) and Do the Right Thing (1989) we will consider the cinematic expressions of three different racial formations from White Supremacy, the Civil Rights Era and Neoliberalism. Throughout this course we will consider the basics of film art and meaning, discuss how film has helped shape ideas and attitudes about race, and we will explore the larger history of cinema, looking at a wide range of clips from the silent era to contemporary science fiction.