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AMSTUD 109Q: American Road Trips (HISTORY 69Q)

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." --Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957. From Jack Kerouac's On the Road to Cheryl Strayed's Wild, this course explores epic road trips of the twentieth century. Travel is a fundamental social and cultural practice through which Americans have constructed ideas about the self, the nation, the past, and the future. The open road, as it is often called, offered excitement, great adventure, and the space for family bonding and memory making. But the footloose and fancy-free nature of travel that Jack Kerouac celebrated was available to some travelers but not to all. Engaging historical and literary texts, film, autobiography, memoir, photography, and music, we will consider the ways that travel and road trips have been represented in American culture. This course examines the following questions: How did men and women experience travel differently? How did the motivations for travel change over time? What role did race, ethnicity, class, relationships, and sexuality play in these trips? Students will work together to plan a road trip of their own which the class will take during the quarter.
Last offered: Autumn 2017 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

AMSTUD 114X: Reading Comics (FILMSTUD 114, FILMSTUD 314)

The modern medium of comics, a history that spans 150 years. The flexibility of the medium encountered through the genres of humorous and dramatic comic strips, superheroes, undergrounds, independents, journalism, and autobiography. Innovative creators including McCay, Kirby, Barry, Ware, and critical writings including McCloud, Eisner, Groenstee. Topics include text/image relations, panel-to-panel relations, the page, caricature, sequence, seriality, comics in the context of the fine arts, and relations to other media.
Last offered: Autumn 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 115: Asian American Film and Popular Culture (ASNAMST 115, COMPLIT 159)

Tracing the evolution of Asian American cultural representations from the silent film era through the first generation of Asian American YouTube stars, this course examines the economic, political, and cultural influence of Asian American screen images on U.S. society. Through a focus on both mainstream and independent productions, we discuss the work of Asian American actors, audience members, media producers, consumers, and activists. Possible films and TV shows to be discussed include The Cheat (1915), Shanghai Express (1932), Flower Drum Song (1961), Chan is Missing (1983) Fall of the I Hotel (1983), Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1989), Sa-I-Gu, (1992), Saving Face (2004) Crazy Rich Asians (2018), To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018), TV episodes of the Mindy Project, and work by early Asian American YouTube stars including Michelle Phan, HappySlip, and KevJumba.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Gow, W. (PI)

AMSTUD 117: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary American Film (AFRICAAM 117J, ASNAMST 117D, CSRE 117D, FEMGEN 117F)

This course introduces students to the theoretical and analytical frameworks necessary to critically understand constructions of race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary American film. Through a sustained engagement with a range of independent and Hollywood films produced since 2000, students analyze the ways that cinematic representations have both reflected and constructed dominant notions of race, gender, and sexuality in the United States. Utilizing an intersectional framework that sees race, gender, and sexuality as always defined by one another, the course examines the ways that dominant notions of difference have been maintained and contested through film in the United States. Films to be discussed include Coco, Get Out, Moonlight, Mosquita y Mari, and The Grace Lee Project.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Gow, W. (PI)

AMSTUD 117R: Christianity in 21st-century America (RELIGST 117)

As the largest religion practiced in the United States, Christianity not only shapes the lives of a large number of its citizens but also impinges on public discourse, policies, and debates. This course investigates the ways in which Christianity in America is changing and what these changes bode for its role in the public and private spheres. Issues include shifting demographics lead to declining numbers in 'mainline' denominations; the polarization of Christian conservatives and religious 'nones'; interfaith toleration and cooperation alongside interreligious conflict; the rise of 'spiritual, not religious' young adults; the effects of immigration; religion and science.
Last offered: Spring 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

AMSTUD 120B: Superhero Theory (ARTHIST 120, ARTHIST 320, FILMSTUD 120, FILMSTUD 320)

With their fantastic powers, mutable bodies, multiple identities, complicated histories, and visual dynamism, the American superhero has been a rich vehicle for fantasies (and anxieties) for 80+ years across multiple media, including comics, film, animation, TV, games, toys, and apparel. This course will center upon the body of the superhero, as it incarnates allegories of race, queerness, hybridity, sexuality, gendered stereotypes/fluidity, politics, vigilantism, masculinity, and monstrosity. They also embody a technological history that encompasses industrial, atomic, electronic, bio-genetic, and the digital.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Bukatman, S. (PI)

AMSTUD 124A: The American West (ARTHIST 152, ENGLISH 124, HISTORY 151, POLISCI 124A)

The American West is characterized by frontier mythology, vast distances, marked aridity, and unique political and economic characteristics. This course integrates several disciplinary perspectives into a comprehensive examination of Western North America: its history, physical geography, climate, literature, art, film, institutions, politics, demography, economy, and continuing policy challenges. Students examine themes fundamental to understanding the region: time, space, water, peoples, and boom and bust cycles.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

AMSTUD 124B: European and North African Visions of the American West

This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of the rewriting of the American West in the Mediterranean context through the transnational lenses of filmmakers and artists of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, through primarily cinema, but also graphic novels, novels, and murals. How do these films and novels adopt and adapt the Western genre? How do these artistic endeavors tell us about the enduring aura and stereotypes of the American West mythology? Films: Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers, Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, David Oelhoffen, Far From Men, Karl May, Winnetou, Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist, Agnès Varda, Mur murs. Special guest: photographer/street artist JR. Readings: Mark Twain, Joan Didion, Romain Gary.
Last offered: Winter 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 127: American Style and the Rhetoric of Fashion (ARTHIST 165B, FILMSTUD 165B)

Focus on the visual culture of fashion, especially in an American context. Topics include: the representation of fashion in different visual media (prints, photographs, films, window displays, and digital images); the relationship of fashion to its historical context and American culture; the interplay between fashion and other modes of discourse, in particular art, but also performance, music, economics; and the use of fashion as an expression of social status, identity, and other attributes of the wearer. Texts by Thorstein Veblen, Roland Barthes, Dick Hebdige, and other theorists of fashion.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Kessler, E. (PI)

AMSTUD 132: American Art and Culture, 1528-1910 (ARTHIST 132, ARTHIST 332)

The visual arts and literature of the U.S. from the beginnings of European exploration to the Civil War. Focus is on questions of power and its relation to culture from early Spanish exploration to the rise of the middle classes. Cabeza de Vaca, Benjamin Franklin, John Singleton Copley, Phillis Wheatley, Charles Willson Peale, Emerson, Hudson River School, American Genre painters, Melville, Hawthorne and others.
Last offered: Autumn 2013 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II
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