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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. Readings include work by Michael Omi & Howard Winant, Patricia Hill Collins, Jodi Melamed, Stuart Hall, Lisa Duggan and bell hooks. Films to be discussed include Moonlight, Mosquita y Mari, Kumu Hina, Hustlers, and Crazy Rich Asians. To enroll in the course, please fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/RKqURW6niyB1LRyEA
Last offered: Winter 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

AMSTUD 117R: Christianity, Race, and Gender in 21st-century America (RELIGST 117)

As the largest religion practiced in the United States, Christianity not only shapes the private lives of a large number of Americans but also plays an important role in public discourse, policies, and debates. This course investigates Christianity's place on the shifting religious landscape in America, with special attention to present-day movements for racial and gender justice in the era of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Students explore reasons for declining numbers of Christians in the United States, the polarization of Christian conservatives and religious "nones," and Christian constructions of social relations. How do Christian beliefs and practices shape attitudes about race and gender roles? How is contemporary Christianity acting as a force for as well as a barrier to social justice? This course assumes no background in the study of religion, race, or gender and is open to practitioners of all faiths or none.
Last offered: Summer 2021 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

AMSTUD 120B: Superhero Theory (ARTHIST 120, ARTHIST 320, FILMEDIA 120, FILMEDIA 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: comics, film, animation, TV, games, toys, apparel. This course centers 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 digital.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 123: Getting the Picture: Photojournalism in Russia and the U.S. (COMM 123, REES 223, SLAVIC 123, SLAVIC 323)

The vast majority of photographs printed and consumed around the world appeared on the pages of magazines and newspapers. These pictures were almost always heavily edited, presented in carefully devised sequences, and printed alongside text. Through firsthand visual analysis of the picture presses of yesteryear, this course considers the ongoing meaning, circulation, and power of images as they shape a worldview in Russia as well as the US. In looking at points of contact between two world powers, we will cover the works of a wide array of authors, photographers, photojournalists and photographed celebrities (Lev Tolstoy, Margaret Bourke-White, Russian satirists Ilf and Petrov, John Steinbeck and Richard Capa, and many others). We will explore the relationship between photojournalistic practice of the past with that of our present, from the printed page to digital media, as well as the ethical quandaries posed by the camera¿s intervention into/shaping of modern history. No knowledge of Russian is required.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

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, FILMEDIA 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.
Last offered: Winter 2020 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 133: Technology and American Visual Culture (FILMEDIA 133B)

An exploration of the dynamic relationship between technology and the ways we see and represent the world, with a focus on American visual culture from the 19th century through the present. We study the history of different tools from telescopes and microscopes to digital detectors that have changed and enhanced our visual capabilities; the way technological shifts, such as the introduction of electric lights or train travel, have shaped our visual imagination and aesthetic sensibilities; and how technology has inspired or responded to visual art. Special attention is paid to how different media, such as photography, cinema, and computer screens, translate the visual experience into a representation; the automation of vision; and the intersection of technology with notions of time and space.
Last offered: Winter 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 134C: The Western: Imagining the West in Fiction and Film

The Wild West: a mythical place seared deep into the American imagination. Its familiar tropes lone riders on horseback, desert sunsets, saloon fights, train robberies echo through countless Western stories, novels, films, radio programs, and television series. Both formulaic and flexible, the Western has endured as a popular genre in American culture for more than a century, embodying and responding to many of the nation's broader anxieties surrounding its colonial history, its notions of masculinity and gender roles, its fascination with guns and violence, and its ideals of self-reliance and individualism. In this class we'll examine the Western genre through a selection of its central works in fiction and film, from the first dime novel Western, Ann S. Stephens Malaeska (1860), to Cormac McCarthy¿s acclaimed Blood Meridian (1985); and from the first silent film Western, Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903), to the mid-century Hollywood films of John Ford, to Maggie Greenwald¿s feminist Western, The Ballad of Little Jo (1993). Along the way we'll examine the Western as both a literary form and a cultural phenomenon, probing the history of its enduring appeal as a genre. How do these novels and films construct, adapt, and subvert the form and expectations of the Western, and how do they both perpetuate and challenge the broader cultural problems of their, and our, time? Finally, as Californians and inheritors of the nation's westward expansion, what does the Western tell us about national myths of the West, and the place in which we live?
Last offered: Summer 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II

AMSTUD 142: The Literature of the Americas (COMPLIT 142, CSRE 142, ENGLISH 172E)

This course will focus on identifying moments of continuity and discontinuity in the literatures of the Americas, both in time and space. We will look at a wide-range of literatures of the Americas in comparative perspective, emphasizing continuities and crises that are common to North American, Central American, and South American literatures, from the colonial period until today. Topics include the definitions of such concepts as empire and colonialism, the encounters between worldviews of European and indigenous peoples, the emergence of creole and racially mixed populations, slavery, the New World voice, myths of America as paradise or utopia, the coming of modernism, twentieth-century avant-gardes, and distinctive modern episodes¿in unaccustomed conversation with each other.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-AmerCul, GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
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