"Mutually Assured Destruction": American Culture and the Cold War
The temperature of the early Cold War years via readings of Soviet and U.S. propaganda; documentary film and film noir; fiction by Bellow, Ellison, O¿Connor, and Mailer; social theory by Arendt, the New York Intellectuals, and the Frankfurt School; and political texts such as Kennan¿s Sources of Soviet Conduct, the ¿Truman Doctrine¿ speech, and the National Security Council Report 68. Major themes include the discourse of totalitarianism, MacCarthyism, strategies of containment, the nuclear threat, the figure of the ¿outsider¿ and the counterculture, and the cultural shift from sociological...
10 American Photographs (ARTHIST 57Q)
Preference to sophomores. "The humor, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness of these pictures!" wrote Jack Kerouac of photographer Robert Frank's iconic collection, The Americans. This seminar takes Kerouac's enthusiasm and applies it to ten American photographs, a new one each week. Examples span the medium's history and were taken as art, science, commerce, journalism, or personal mementos. Close study of the photo of the week will address how it looks and why; its history, from initial responses to later reception; and its relationship to the larger American visual and...
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence in Fiction (ENGLISH 106)
From self-driving cars to bots that alter democratic elections, artificial intelligence is growing increasingly powerful and prevalent in our everyday lives. Literature has long been speculating about the techno-utopia¿and catastrophe¿that A.I. could usher in. Indeed, literature itself presents us with a kind of A.I. in the many characters that speak and think in its pages. But how do we classify an intelligence as ¿artificial¿ or not? Is there a clear boundary that demarcates bodies from machines? What, if anything, separates the ¿genre¿ of technology from that of literature? What classifies...
Abstract Expressionism: Painting/Modern/America (ARTHIST 155C)
The course will focus on American abstract painting from the 1930s to the 1960s, emphasizing the works of art at the Anderson Collection at Stanford. We will focus on looking closely at pictures by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and other renowned abstract painters, developing skills of speaking and writing about these works of art. We will also place these pictures in their mid-20th century context: World War II and the Cold War; Hollywood and popular culture generally; Beat literature; and locations such as New York and San Francisco.
African American Autobiography (ENGLISH 53N)
Since the publication of slave narratives in the eighteenth century, the genre of autobiography has occupied a unique position in the history of African American literary expression. By studying classic autobiographical narratives by black writers, this course will explore questions about racial inequality and democracy, the individual and society, and writing and freedom, among other topics.
African American Literature and the Retreat of Jim Crow (AFRICAAM 262C, CSRE 262C)
After the unprecedented carnage of WWII, the postwar era witnessed the slow decline of the segregated Jim Crow order and the onset of landmark civil rights legislation. What role did African American literature and culture play in this historical process? What does this shift in racial theory and praxis mean for black literary production, a tradition constituted by the experience of slavery and racial oppression? Focus on these questions against the backdrop of contemporaneous developments: the onset of the Cold War, decolonization and the formation of the Third World, and the emergence of...
African American Poetics (AFRICAAM 262D)
Examination of African American poetic expressive forms from the 1700s to the 2000s, considering the central role of the genre--from sonnets to spoken word, from blues poetry to new media performance--in defining an evolving literary tradition and cultural identity.
African American Women's Lives (AFRICAAM 54Q, FEMGEN 54Q, HISTORY 54Q)
Preference to sophomores. African American women have been placed on the periphery of many historical documents. This course will encourage students to think critically about historical sources and to use creative and rigorous historical methods to recover African American women¿s experiences. Drawing largely on primary sources such as letters, personal journals, literature and film, this course explores the everyday lives of African American women in 19th- and 20th-century America. We will begin in our present moment with a discussion of Michelle Obama and then we will look back on the lives...
America at Play: A History of Leisure in the United States
What we call "free time" is actually the product of multiple constraints, from economics and gender roles, to trends, moral strictures, and more. This course studies leisure to explore American culture from the late 19th century to the present. We consider, for instance, how new forms of entertainment, such as movies and iPods, altered notions of community and ideals of personal expression. For historical context, the class draws upon popular and critical sources, conversations with guests, and hands-on activities.
American Architecture (ARTHIST 143A, ARTHIST 343A, CEE 32R)
A historically based understanding of what defines American architecture. What makes American architecture American, beginning with indigenous structures of pre-Columbian America. Materials, structure, and form in the changing American context. How these ideas are being transformed in today's globalized world.
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.
American Constitutional History from the Civil War to the War on Poverty (HISTORY 155)
This course addresses U.S. constitutional history from the post-Civil War Reconstruction period through the mid-20th century. Because of the breadth of the subject matter, the view will necessarily be partial. In particular we will take as our focus the way the Constitution has provided a point of political mobilization for social movements challenging economic and social inequality. Topics covered include: Civil War Reconstruction and restoration; the rise of corporate capitalism and efforts to constrain it; Progressive Era regulation; the New Deal challenge to federalism and the anti-New...
American Economic History (HISTORY 156)
The American economy from colonial times to the present, illustrating the role of history in economic life. Topics: U.S. economic development in global and comparative context; slavery as an economic system; emergence of American technology and business organization; economics of the Great Depression and the New Deal; post-World War II economic performance and social change; globalization, information technology, and inequality. Prerequisite: 1 or 1V.
Cultural, psychological, social, and political dynamics of haunting in American literature, from the early national period to the late 20th century. Sources include ghost stories and other instances of supernatural, emotional, or mental intervention. Authors include Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Charles Chesnutt, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Toni Morrison, and Stephen King.
American Indian Mythology, Legend, and Lore (ENGLISH 43A, ENGLISH 143A, NATIVEAM 143A)
(English majors and others taking 5 units, register for 143A.) Readings from American Indian literatures, old and new. Stories, songs, and rituals from the 19th century, including the Navajo Night Chant. Tricksters and trickster stories; war, healing, and hunting songs; Aztec songs from the 16th century. Readings from modern poets and novelists including N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, and Leslie Marmon Silko, and the classic autobiography, "Black Elk Speaks."
American Intellectual and Cultural History to the Civil War (HISTORY 154)
(Same as HISTORY 54. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for 154.) How Americans considered problems such as slavery, imperialism, and sectionalism. Topics include: the political legacies of revolution; biological ideas of race; the Second Great Awakening; science before Darwin; reform movements and utopianism; the rise of abolitionism and proslavery thought; phrenology and theories of human sexuality; and varieties of feminism. Sources include texts and images.
American Jewish History: Learning to be Jewish in America (EDUC 279, HISTORY 288D, JEWISHST 297X, RELIGST 279X)
This course will be a seminar in American Jewish History through the lens of education. It will address both the relationship between Jews and American educational systems, as well as the history of Jewish education in America. Plotting the course along these two axes will provide a productive matrix for a focused examination of the American Jewish experience. History students must take course for at least 3 units.
American Landscapes of Segregation (AFRICAAM 58Q, HISTORY 58Q)
This course examines various landscapes of segregation in U.S. history from 19th century reconstruction and settler expansion through the contemporary U.S. security state. Each week we consider different histories of segregation including native reservation and boarding school stories, Jim Crow and post-World War II urban/suburban segregation, school integration and bussing, and the rise of the carceral state. We will ask: How have Americans moved through space with different degrees of freedom and constraint over time, and how has that shaped what it has meant to be an American in different...
American Literature, 1855 to World War I
A survey of American writers from Whitman to T.S. Eliot, including Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, and Henry James. Topics include the tension between romance and realism, the impact of naturalism and modernism, as well as race, gender, and the literary evolution of the American language.
American Photographs, 1839-1971: A Cultural History (ARTHIST 159, ARTHIST 359)
This course concentrates on many important American photographers, from the era of daguerreotypes to near the end of the pre-digital era. We study photographs of the Civil War, western exploration, artistic subjects, urban and rural poverty, skyscrapers, crime, fashion, national parks, and social protest, among other topics. Among the photographers we study: Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Garry Winogrand, and Diane Arbus. Emphasis on developing students' abilities to discuss and write about photography; to see it.
American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. (AFRICAAM 68D, CSRE 68, HISTORY 68D, HISTORY 168D)
Martin Luther King, Jr., was the 20th-century's best-known African-American leader, but the religious roots of his charismatic leadership are far less widely known. The documents assembled and published by Stanford's King Research and Education Institute provide the source materials for this exploration of King's swift rise to international prominence as an articulate advocate of global peace and justice.
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...
American Short Stories (ENGLISH 75N)
How and why did the short story take root and flourish in an American context? Early works of classic American literature read alongside stories by women and minority writers, stretching from the early nineteenth century to the contemporary period.
American Song in the 20th Century and after (MUSIC 186B, MUSIC 286B)
Critical and creative exploration of song in the Americas. About twenty-five key examples will guide discussion of the interactions between words, music, performance and culture. Weekly listening, reading and assignments will be organized around central themes: love, sex and romance; war and politics; labor and money; place; identity; society and everyday life. Genres include art song; blues, gospel, jazz and country; pop, soul, rock and hip-hop; bossa nova, nueva canción and salsa; electronic and experimental. Takehome and in-class assignments will include critical and creative writing, and...
American Studies Honors Seminar
*Enrollment Required for American Studies Honors students in their senior year.
American Studies Honors Seminar
*Required for all American Studies honors students
American Studies Honors Seminar
*Required for American Studies honors students
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...
American Women Writers, 1850-1920 (ENGLISH 139B, FEMGEN 139B)
This course traces the ways in which female writers negotiated a series of literary, social, and intellectual movements, from abolitionism and sentimentalism in the nineteenth century to Progressivism and avant-garde modernism in the twentieth. Authors include Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Rebecca Harding Davis, Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Angelheaded Hipsters: Beat Writers of San Francisco and New York (ENGLISH 151F)
Reading of central writers of the Beat movement (Ginsberg, Kerouac, di Prima, Snyder, Whalen) as well as some related writers (Creeley, Gunn, Levertov). Issues explored include NY and SF, Buddhism and leftist politics, poetry and jazz. Some exposure to reading poems to jazz accompaniment. Examination of some of the writers and performers growing out of the Beats: Bob Dylan, rock music, especially from San Francisco, and jazz.
Animals and the Fictions of Identity (ENGLISH 175E)
In a post-Darwin world, the notion that we might all have an animal alter-ego lurking inside seems quite familiar. But ideas about animals¿how they think and feel, act and react¿involve identity categories such as race, gender, class and ability in surprising ways. This course will trace the relationship between animality and human life in twentieth-century American fiction, from race and indigeneity in Jack London¿s dog stories to the storytelling practices of contemporary animal advocacy groups. The course may also include an experiential component in which students will have the...
Animation and the Animated Film (FILMSTUD 129, FILMSTUD 329)
The fantasy of an image coming to life is ancient, but not until the cinema was this fantasy actualized. The history of the movies begins with optical toys, and contemporary cinema is dominated by films that rely on computer animation. This course considers the underlying fantasies of animation in art and lit, its phenomenologies, its relation to the uncanny, its status as a pure cinema, and its place in film theory. Different modes of production and style to be explored include realist animation, abstract animation; animistic animation; animated drawings, objects, and puppets; CGI, motion...
Art and Social Criticism (AFRICAAM 102B, ARTHIST 162B, CSRE 102A, FEMGEN 102)
Visual artists have long been in the forefront of social criticism in America. Since the 1960s, various visual strategies have helped emergent progressive political movements articulate and represent complex social issues. Which artists and particular art works/projects have become key anchors for discourses on racism, sexism, economic and social inequality, immigrant rights and climate change? We will learn about a spectrum of political art designed to raise social awareness, spark social change and rouse protest. The Art Workers Coalition's agit-prop opposing the Vietnam War and ACT-UP's...
Asian American Art: 1850-Present (ARTHIST 186B, ASNAMST 186B)
What does it mean, and what has it meant historically, to be "Asian American" in the United States? This lecture course explores this question through the example of artists, craftspeople, and laborers of Asian descent. We will consider their work alongside the art, visual culture, and literature of the United States. Key themes will include the history of immigration law; questions of home and belonging; art, activism, and community; interethnic solidarity; and gender and queerness. Artists and authors will include Isamu Noguchi, Grace Lee Boggs, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Theresa Hak Kyung...
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...
Asian Religions in America; Asian American Religions (ASNAMST 281, RELIGST 281, RELIGST 381)
This course will analyze both the reception in America of Asian religions (i.e. of Buddhism in the 19th century), and the development in America of Asian American religious traditions.
ASIAN-AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY/W (ASNAMST 91A, CSRE 91D, ENGLISH 91A)
This is a dual purpose class: a writing workshop in which you will generate autobiographical vignettes/essays as well as a reading seminar featuring prose from a wide range of contemporary Asian-American writers. Some of the many questions we will consider are: What exactly is Asian-American memoir? Are there salient subjects and tropes that define the literature? And in what ways do our writerly interactions both resistant and assimilative with a predominantly non-Asian context in turn recreate that context? We'll be working/experimenting with various modes of telling, including personal...
Baldwin and Hansberry: The Myriad Meanings of Love (AFRICAAM 250J, CSRE 250J, FEMGEN 250J, TAPS 250J)
This course looks at major dramatic works by James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry. Both of these queer black writers had prophetic things to say about the world-historical significance of major dramas on the 20th Century including civil rights, revolution, gender, colonialism, racism, sexism, war, nationalism and as well as aesthetics and politics.
Being John Wayne (FILMSTUD 220, TAPS 220A)
John Wayne's imposing corporeality and easy comportment combined to create an icon of masculinity, the American West, and America itself. Focus is on the films that contributed most to the establishment, maturation, and deconstruction of the iconography and mythology of the John Wayne character. The western and war film as genres; the crisis of and performance of masculinity in postwar culture; gender and sexuality in American national identity; relations among individualism, community, and the state; the Western and national memory; and patriotism and the Vietnam War.
Black & White Race Relations in American Fiction & Film (AFRICAAM 101Q, CSRE 41Q)
Movies and the fiction that inspires them; power dynamics behind production including historical events, artistic vision, politics, and racial stereotypes. What images of black and white does Hollywood produce to forge a national identity? How do films promote equality between the races? What is lost or gained in film adaptations of books? NOTE: Students must attend the first day; admission to the class will be determined based on an in class essay.
Body Politics: Health Activism in Modern America
¿Medicare for All¿ has become a rallying cry for those calling for reform of the American health care system. But this slogan is only the most recent political expression of the conviction that health care ought to be a right and not a privilege, part of an ongoing project to expand access to health care to all Americans. This course will examine key moments in the history of health care reform movements in the twentieth-century United States, considering the successes and failures of advocates, activists, and reformers who have sought to transform the medical system and secure equal access...
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 '...
Church, State, & Schools: Issues in Education & Religion (EDUC 293, RELIGST 234X)
This course will examine interactions between religion and education, focusing on both formal and experiential sites in which people and communities explore, articulate, encounter, and perform religious ideologies and identities. The class will focus on different religious traditions and their encounters the institutions and structures of education in American culture, both in the United States and as it manifests in American culture transnationally.
Colonial and Revolutionary America (HISTORY 150A)
(Same as HISTORY 50A. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for HISTORY 150A.) Survey of the origins of American society and polity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Topics: the migration of Europeans and Africans and the impact on native populations; the emergence of racial slavery and of regional, provincial, Protestant cultures; and the political origins and constitutional consequences of the American Revolution.
Comparative Fictions of Ethnicity (COMPLIT 51Q, CSRE 51Q)
We may "know" "who" we "are," but we are, after all, social creatures. How does our sense of self interact with those around us? How does literature provide a particular medium for not only self expression, but also for meditations on what goes into the construction of "the Self"? After all, don't we tell stories in response to the question, "who are you"? Besides a list of nouns and names and attributes, we give our lives flesh and blood in telling how we process the world. Our course focuses in particular on this question--Does this universal issue ("who am I") become skewed differently...
Constructing Race and Religion in America (AFRICAAM 236, CSRE 246, HISTORY 256G, HISTORY 356G, RELIGST 246, RELIGST 346)
This seminar focuses on the interrelationships between social constructions of race, and social interpretations of religion in America. How have assumptions about race shaped religious worldviews? How have religious beliefs shaped racial attitudes? How have ideas about religion and race contributed to notions of what it means to be "American"? We will look at primary and secondary sources, and at the historical development of ideas and practices over time.
This course will examine consumerism in the United States, first focusing on the rise of advertising, mass market goods, catalogues, and department stores at the turn of the 20th century. We will then examine post-WWII suburbia and the rise of the "good life" and the ensuing backlash in 1960s counterculture anti-consumerist movements. Our topics will include the annual no-shopping day, back to nature movements, urban homesteading, thrift, slow food activism, and the efforts to resist mass production in food, clothing, and housing. Sources include novels, films, magazines, music, and...
Contemporary Novel in U.S. Perspective (ENGLISH 177)
This course investigates a selection of novels from 2001 to the present, either authored in the United States or strongly and meaningfully received here by critics and gatekeepers. In the absence of a fixed academic canon or acknowledged tradition of exemplary works, this course includes evaluation as one of its central enterprises. Students help to make arguments for which works matter and why. Students consider topics including the demotion of the novel to a minor art form, competition from the image, transformations of celebrity culture (in literature and outside it), relevance or...
Critical Family History: Narratives of Identity and Difference (AFRICAAM 118X, ASNAMST 118S, CSRE 118S)
This course examines family history as a site for understanding identity, power, and social difference in American society. Focusing in particular on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality, we approach the family as an archive through which we might write alternative histories to the ones that dominate the national historical consciousness. To do this, we examine memoirs, oral histories, and first-person documentaries as historical texts that can be used to foreground marginalized historical voices. Students will then be asked to apply course readings and theories to their own...
Culture Wars: Art and Social Conflict in the USA, 1890-1950 (ARTHIST 145, ARTHIST 345, FEMGEN 145)
This course examines social conflicts and political controversies in American culture through the lens of visual art and photography. We consider how visual images both reflect and participate in the social and political life of the nation and how the terms of citizenship have been represented¿and, at times, contested¿by artists throughout the first half of the 20th century. The class explores the relation between American art and the body politic by focusing on issues of poverty, war, censorship, consumerism, class identity, and racial division.
Curating Experience: Representation in and beyond Museums (CSRE 226X, EDUC 226)
In an age when some 50% of museum visitors only "visit" museums online and when digital technologies have broken open archival access, anyone can be a curator, a critic, an historian, an archivist. In this context, how do museums create experiences that teach visitors about who they are and about the world around them? What are the politics of representation that shape learning in these environments? Using an experimental instructional approach, students will reconsider and redefine what it means to curate experience. (This course must be taken for a minimum of 3 units to satisfy a Ways...
Dance in Prison: The Arts, Juvenile Justice, and Rehabilitation in America (DANCE 197, TAPS 197)
This class works collaboratively with a local juvenile hall to use civic engagement and performance to explore the aesthetic, cultural and legal issues in the lives of incarcerated youth. In the process students gain an understanding of incarceration on an immediate and personal scale. Taught jointly by a Dance Studies scholar and a lawyer specializing in Juvenile Justice, we will consider what unique understandings are possible if we position the arts as central to an exploration of punishment, rehabilitation and recidivism in America. The course will examine case studies, historical and...
Deliberative Democracy and its Critics (COMM 135, COMM 235, COMM 335, ETHICSOC 135F, POLISCI 234P, POLISCI 334P)
This course examines the theory and practice of deliberative democracy and engages both in a dialogue with critics. Can a democracy which emphasizes people thinking and talking together on the basis of good information be made practical in the modern age? What kinds of distortions arise when people try to discuss politics or policy together? The course draws on ideas of deliberation from Madison and Mill to Rawls and Habermas as well as criticisms from the jury literature, from the psychology of group processes and from the most recent normative and empirical literature on deliberative forums...
Disability, Gender, and Identity: Women's Personal Experiences (FEMGEN 260, FEMGEN 360)
This course explores visible and invisible disabilities, focusing on issues of gender and identity in the personal experiences of women. The course emphasizes psychological as well as physical health, the diversity of disability experiences, self-labeling, caretaking, stigma and passing, and social and political aspects. Disabilities covered include blindness, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, emotional and learning disabilities, and conditions requiring wheelchairs and other forms of assistance. The readings draw from the disability studies literature and emphasize women's personal...
More and more of the best American fiction, plays, and even comics are being created out of documentary practices such as in-depth interviewing, oral histories, and reporting. Novels like Dave Eggers' What is the What, plays like Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, and narrative journalism like Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, all act as both witnesses and translators of people's direct experience and push art into social activism in new ways. In this course students will examine the research methods, artistic craft, and ethics of these rich, genre-bending works...
Doing Oral History (HISTORY 200J)
Students explore exemplary historical works based on oral histories and develop a range of practical skills while completing their own interviews. Topics include oral history and narrative theory, interview techniques, transcript preparation, and digital archiving. Students also learn how to analyze interviews using both qualitative and quantitative methods, practice writing history using oral evidence, and experiment with digital humanities approaches for disseminating oral history, including the Stanford Oral History Text Analysis Project. This course forms part of the "Doing History"...
Dystopian California: Imagining the Golden State in Disaster and Science Fiction Film
Dystopian California examines the ways the Golden State has been popularly imagined both historically as the Land of Promise and more recently as the land of apocalypse in science fiction and disaster films. Through this lens, we¿ll be exploring anxieties articulated through images of natural disaster, environmental degradation, urbanization and urban decay, invasion (both viral and ¿alien¿), societal collapse, overpopulation, and nuclear holocaust ¿ as well as the tenacity of the human spirit. We¿ll be discussing conceptions of survival and the ways these films both articulate societal fears...
Education, Race, and Inequality in African American History, 1880-1990 (AFRICAAM 116, CSRE 216X, EDUC 216, HISTORY 255E)
Seminar. The relationship among race, power, inequality, and education from the 1880s to the 1990s. How schools have constructed race, the politics of school desegregation, and ties between education and the late 20th-century urban crisis.
Ethnicity and Dissent in United States Art and Literature (ARTHIST 178, ARTHIST 378)
The role of the visual arts of the U.S. in the construction and contesting of racial, class, and gender hierarchies. Focus is on artists and writers from the 18th century to 1990s. How power, domination, and resistance work historically. Topics include: minstrelsy and the invention of race; mass culture and postmodernity; hegemony and language; memory and desire; and the borderlands.
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...
Exploring American Religious History (CSRE 91, HISTORY 260K, RELIGST 91)
This course will trace how contemporary beliefs and practices connect to historical trends in the American religious landscape.
Family Drama: American Plays about Families (TAPS 40N)
Focus on great dramas about family life (Albee, Kushner, Shephard, Vogel, Kron, Nottage, Parks). Communication in writing and speaking about conflict central to learning in this class.
Fashion and Photography
Preference to sophomores. Seminar on the history of 20th and 21st century fashion photographs, with a focus on American examples. Topics include: the relationship of fashion and photography to modernity; interplay between mass consumption and luxury; intersection of art and commerce; the role of designers, photographers, editors, and models; studio v. street photography; and the place of mass media, alternative magazines, and online publications. Photographers covered: Edward Steichen, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, and others. Readings on American culture,...
Food and American Culture
This course introduces students to the cultural history, politics, and aesthetics of eating in America, exploring topics that have fueled debates about what Americans should eat over the last hundred years. Discussions of American cuisine will lead directly into larger concepts of American identity, culture, and politics. We will ask questions such as: What role does food play in national identity? Have restaurants shaped American social life? What is modern American cuisine?nnCourse goals include fluency in the key terminology and theoretical frameworks of American Studies and a deep...
Food and Popular Culture
This course introduces students to the social history, political economy and aesthetics of eating in America, paying particular attention to representations of food in popular culture over the last hundred years. Though firmly grounded in American Studies, an interdisciplinary perspective draws from the material and methods of anthropology, cultural studies, art history, and history. Topics include the California citrus industry, competitive eating, food art, utopias, and edible landscapes. Students will actively engage with primary sources including cookbooks, paintings and art installations...
Food in America
This course examines the history and culture of food in the United States, exploring topics that have fueled debates about what Americans should eat over the last hundred years. We will examine the rise of restaurant cuisine and celebrity chefs; of the nation¿s concern about the obesity epidemic and its long-standing obsession with fitness and the quantified self; and controversies about diet politics, fast food, food processing, and the importance of the iconic `home cooked meal. Sources include historic cookbooks, food writing, food literature, advertisements, and film. Course activities...
Free Speech and Inclusion on Campus (SOC 122D)
How do we balance norms of inclusion and respect with norms of free speech? This seminar course utilizes readings from sociology, political science, and legal/ethical reasoning to elucidate the larger structures and ideals that are at stake in the debates over what kind of speech is tolerable, or more normatively speaking, desirable, at colleges and universities. The expected learning outcomes are: a greater understanding of the free speech's role in American society and democracy, how America's position on free speech compares to other countries, and how speech restriction and liberties can...
From Freedom to Freedom Now: African American History, 1865-1965 (HISTORY 164C)
(Same as HISTORY 64C. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for 164C.) Explores the working lives, social worlds, political ideologies and cultural expressions of African Americans from emancipation to the early civil rights era. Topics include: the transition from slavery to freedom, family life, work, culture, leisure patterns, resistance, migration and social activism. Draws largely on primary sources including autobiographies, memoirs, letters, personal journals, newspaper articles, pamphlets, speeches, literature, film and music.
From Gold Rush to Google Bus: History of San Francisco (HISTORY 252E, URBANST 150)
This class will examine the history of San Francisco from Native American and colonial settlement through the present. Focus is on social, environmental, and political history, with the theme of power in the city. Topics include Native Americans, the Gold Rush, immigration and nativism, railroads and robber barons, earthquake and fire, progressive reform and unionism, gender, race and civil rights, sexuality and politics, counterculture, redevelopment and gentrification. Students write final project in collaboration with ShapingSF, a participatory community history project documenting and...
Geography, Time, and Trauma in Asian American Literature (ASNAMST 187)
The notion that homes can be stable locations for cultural, racial, ethnic, and similarly situated identity categories. Tthe possibility that there really is no place like home for Asian American subjects. How geography, landscape, and time situate traumas within fictional Asian American narratives.
Global Flows: The Globalization of Hip Hop Art, Culture, and Politics
This course consists of film screenings, dialogues, and performances that examine and engage Hip Hop Cultures and artists from around the world. We will explore diverse scenes and artists, from the formation of new musical genres such as hiplife in Ghana, to the impact of the first Hip Hop concert in Morocco, to comparative investigations of race and citizenship in Japan, Cuba, Palestine, France, and the United States (including Black, Mexican and Arab-Americans).
Hamilton: An American Musical (AFRICAAM 5I, CSRE 5I, HISTORY 3G)
"Hamilton" is one the most popular and most celebrated musicals in American history. It has received 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, and 16 Tony nominations, the most nominations in Broadway history. It won the Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Award. The musical draws on the language and rhythms of hip-hop and R & B, genres that are underrepresented in the musical theater tradition. "Hamilton" has redefined the American musical, particularly in terms of sound, casting, and storytelling. What explains the deep cultural impact and acclaim for this play?n nThis interdisciplinary course...
History of Education in the United States (EDUC 201, HISTORY 258B)
How education came to its current forms and functions, from the colonial experience to the present. Focus is on the 19th-century invention of the common school system, 20th-century emergence of progressive education reform, and the developments since WW II. The role of gender and race, the development of the high school and university, and school organization, curriculum, and teaching. Class meetings will typically end around 1:50pm.
History of Higher Education in the U.S. (EDUC 165, EDUC 265, HISTORY 158C)
Major periods of evolution, particularly since the mid-19th century. Premise: insights into contemporary higher education can be obtained through its antecedents, particularly regarding issues of governance, mission, access, curriculum, and the changing organization of colleges and universities.
History of Prisons and Immigration Detention (CSRE 264, HISTORY 264, HISTORY 364)
This course will explore the history of the growing prison and immigration detention systems in the United States. They will pay particular attention to how they developed and how they affect different populations.
Horror Comics (FILMSTUD 256)
This seminar will explore the vast array of horror comics. How does horror work in comics, as distinct from prose and cinema? How and why are non-moving images scary? The different narrational strategies of short stories, self-contained works, and continuing series will be explored, as will American, Japanese, and European approaches. Special attention will be given to Frankenstein, in novel, film, illustration, and comics. Example of such sub-genres as literary horror, horrific superheroes, cosmic (Lovecraftian) horror, ecological horror, as well as the horrors of bodies, sexuality, and...
In Sickness and In Health: Medicine and Society in the United States: 1800-Present
Explores the history of medical institutions, ideas and practices in the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. How are ideas of illness and health historically rooted and socially constructed? How did scientific and medical discoveries lead to the rise of scientific medicine, and how were these innovations adopted within the American cultural landscape? Topics include the transformation of therapeutics and technologies, medicine and the scientific ideal in the U.S., gender and race and medicine, the history of public health, and the professionalization and...
Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Change in the North American Wes
This course explores the dynamic relationships between indigenous communities and the continuously changing environmental landscapes of the North American West from before European contact to the present. In particular, it examines how specific indigenous communities of the region have navigated and adapted their relationship with the natural world amidst the challenges of colonialism, globalization, climate change, and an increasing national dependency on the natural resources of the North American West.
Interfaith Dialogue on Campus: Religion, Diversity, and Higher Education (CSRE 136A, EDUC 436, RELIGST 336X)
How are we to talk across religious and spiritual differences? What is the purpose of such dialogues? What do we hope to gain from them? How do such dialogues take shape on college campuses, and what do they indicate about how students cultivate spiritual, political, and civic commitments? This course will explore these questions and others through seminar discussions, fieldwork, and writing that will examine the concepts, assumptions, and principles that shape how we think about interfaith dialogue.
Intro to Asian American Studies (ASNAMST 100)
What is meant by the term Asian American? How have representations of Asian Americans influenced concepts of US citizenship and belonging? What are the social and political origins of the Asian American community? This course provides a critical introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies. Drawing on historical, creative, and scholarly texts, the course examines the history and possibilities of Asian American community. To do this, we place the Asian American experience within a transnational context, paying particular attention to the ways that Asian American lives...
Introduction to American Art (ARTHIST 103S)
How do images tell stories about the people who made them and the places they depict? How can we encounter the histories of America in works of art and why should we care about encountering them? This course will explore such questions by surveying some of the most compelling paintings, sculptures, films, photographs, prints, and decorative arts produced in the United States from the Colonial period to our present moment. In class lectures and discussions, our goal will be to articulate how pictures from the past shape and construct our sense of American history. Works by important artists...
Introduction to American Law (POLISCI 122, PUBLPOL 302A)
For undergraduates. The structure of the American legal system including the courts; American legal culture; the legal profession and its social role; the scope and reach of the legal system; the background and impact of legal regulation; criminal justice; civil rights and civil liberties; and the relationship between the American legal system and American society in general.
Introduction to American Politics and Policy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (POLISCI 102, PUBLPOL 101, PUBLPOL 201)
This is a course about American politics, which means this is a course about individuals, identities, and institutions. How do Americans come to think andnreason about politics? What is the role that identities play in affecting the political judgments that individuals make? How do our political institutionsnrespond to the demands of a diverse public that disagrees about issues related to race and justice, income and wealth inequality, climate change, gunncontrol, reproductive rights, the power of the executive, and the role that government ought to play in the lives of the governed? And how...
Introduction to Asian American History (ASNAMST 261, HISTORY 261E)
This course provides an introduction to the field of Asian American history. Tracing this history between the arrival of the first wave of Asian immigrants to the US in the mid-nineteenth century and the present, we foreground the voices and personal histories of seemingly everyday Asian Americans. In the process, the course disrupts totalizing national historical narratives that center the US nation-state and its political leaders as the primary agents of historical change.
Introduction to English II: American Literature and Culture to 1855 (ENGLISH 11B)
(Formerly English 23/123). A survey of early American writings, including sermons, poetry, captivity and slave narratives, essays, autobiography, and fiction, from the colonial era to the eve of the Civil War.
Introduction to English III: Introduction to African American Literature (AFRICAAM 43, ENGLISH 12A)
(Formerly English 43/143). In his bold study, What Was African American Literature?, Kenneth Warren defines African American literature as a late nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century response to the nation's Jim Crow segregated order. But in the aftermath of the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights movement, can critics still speak, coherently, of "African American literature"? And how does this political conception of African American literary production compare with accounts grounded in black language and culture? Taking up Warren's intervention, this course will explore African American...
Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (CSRE 108, FEMGEN 101, TAPS 108)
Introduction to interdisciplinary approaches to gender, sexuality, queer, trans and feminist studies. Topics include the emergence of sexuality studies in the academy, social justice and new subjects, science and technology, art and activism, history, film and memory, the documentation and performance of difference, and relevant socio-economic and political formations such as work and the family. Students learn to think critically about race, gender, and sexuality from local and global perspectives.
Islam, Race and Revolution: A Pan-American Approach (CSRE 218, RELIGST 218, RELIGST 318)
Taking a pan-American approach to the study of religious traditions, this upper-level course traces the history of the critical intersection between race, religion and revolution among Muslims from the turn of the nineteenth century until the present day. Moving from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to the United States, to the decolonizing Third World, and then finally to the contemporary Middle East, this class will emphasize that Islam and race together have been used by many groups in order to challenge existing power structures, agitate for...
Jewish American Literature (ENGLISH 145D, JEWISHST 155D, REES 145D)
From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of...
Language as Political Tool: Feminist and LGBTQ Movements and Impacts (FEMGEN 157, FEMGEN 257)
How does a social or political movement gain traction? For example, how did 20th-century movements of the disenfranchised, such as the Civil Rights movement, LGBTQ movements, or feminist movements, gain a voice and eventually enact change? In the mediascape of today, where everyone with access to a computer could have a voice, how does a movement change the national conversation? How do written and verbal choices of the movements impact their success and outreach to supporters? In this course, students will write and revise their own arguments in order to best understand the rhetorical...
Law and Popular Culture (LAWGEN 105Q)
(Same as AMSTUD 105Q) This seminar focuses on the interface between two important subjects: law and popular culture. Before class, students will see a series of films or television shows relating to law, lawyers, and the legal system. There is also a weekly homework assignment based on materials in the assigned text and the assigned film or TV show. We will discuss the pop culture treatment of subjects such as the adversary system, good and bad lawyers, female and gay lawyers, the work life of lawyers, legal education, ethical issues, the jury system, and criminal and civil justice. The...
Learning Religion: How People Acquire Religious Commitments (EDUC 231, JEWISHST 291X, RELIGST 231X)
This course will examine how people learn religion outside of school, and in conversation with popular cultural texts and practices. Taking a broad social-constructivist approach to the variety of ways people learn, this course will explore how people assemble ideas about faith, identity, community, and practice, and how those ideas inform individual, communal and global notions of religion. Much of this work takes place in formal educational environments including missionary and parochial schools, Muslim madrasas or Jewish yeshivot. However, even more takes place outside of school, as people...
Los Angeles: A Cultural History (CSRE 148R)
This course traces a cultural history of Los Angeles from the early twentieth century to the present. Approaching popular representations of Los Angeles as our primary source, we discuss the ways that diverse groups of Angelenos have represented their city on the big and small screens, in the press, in the theater, in music, and in popular fiction. We focus in particular on the ways that conceptions of race and gender have informed representations of the city. Possible topics include: fashion and racial violence in the Zoot Suit Riots of the Second World War, Disneyland as a suburban fantasy...
Madwomen and Madmen: Gender and the History of Mental Illness in the U.S. (FEMGEN 41Q)
This seminar explores the ways that gender and historical context shaped the experience and treatment of mental illness in U.S. history. What is the relationship between historically constructed ideas of femininity and masculinity and madness? Why have women been the witches and hysterics of the past, while men experienced neurasthenia and schizoid conditions? Why have there historically been more women than men among the mentally ill? How has the emotional and psychological suffering of women differed from that of men, and how has it changed over time? Among the sources we use to explore...
Mark Twain and American Culture (ENGLISH 68N)
Preference to freshmen. Mark Twain defined the rhythms of our prose and the contours of our moral map. He recognized our extravagant promise and stunning failures, our comic foibles and tragic flaws. He is viewed as the most American of American authors--and as one of the most universal. How does his work illuminate his society's (and our society's) responses to such issues as race, gender, technology, heredity vs. environment, religion, education, art, imperialism, animal welfare, and what it means to be "American"?
Mark Twain: A Fresh Look at an Icon and Iconoclast, 100 Years after His Death
The vitality and versatility of a writer who has been called America's Rabelais, Cervantes, Homer, Tolstoy, and Shakespeare. Journalism, travel books, fiction, drama, and sketches by Mark Twain; how Twain engaged such issues as personal and national identity, satire and social justice, imperialism, race and racism, gender, performance, travel, and technology. What are Twain's legacies in 2010, the centennial of his death, the 175th anniversary of his birth, and the 125th anniversary of his most celebrated novel? Guests include actor Hal Holbrook.
Martin Luther King, Jr. - His Life, Ideas, and Legacy (AFRICAAM 267E, HISTORY 267E)
Using the unique documentary resources and publications of Stanford's King Research and Education Institute, this course will provide a general introduction to King's life, visionary ideas, and historical significance. In addition to lectures and discussions, the course will include presentations of documentaries such as Eyes on the Prize. Students will be expected to read the required texts, participate in class discussions, and submit a research paper or an audio-visual project developed in consultation with the professor.
Media, Culture, and Society (COMM 1B)
The institutions and practices of mass media, including television, film, radio, and digital media, and their role in shaping culture and social life. The media's shifting relationships to politics, commerce, and identity.
Mexican Migration to the United States (CHILATST 173, HISTORY 73, HISTORY 173)
(History 73 is 3 units; History 173 is 5 units.) This class examines the history of Mexican migration to the United States. In the United States we constantly hear about Obama's immigration plan, the anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, and the courage of DREAM Activists; in Mexico news sources speak about the role of remittances, the effect of deportations, and the loss of life at the border. Unfortunately, few people truly understand the historical trends in these migratory processes, or the multifaceted role played by the United States in encouraging individuals to head there. Moreover, few...
Mexicans in the United States (CHILATST 171, CSRE 171H, HISTORY 271)
This course explores the lives and experiences of Mexicans living in the United States, from 1848 to the present. Themes and topics include: the legacies of colonialism, the Mexican-American War, transnational migration, the effects of economic stratification, race and racialization, and the impact of sexual and gender ideologies on the lives of Mexicans residing north of the border.