MCWP 50 Course Descriptions

All students with more than 90 cumulative units will receive notification from the Muir Writing office before enrolling in MCWP courses.

  • Important Note: Students on the waitlist who miss any class meeting of Muir Writing will be considered NOT ELIGIBLE to enroll in the course. Enrolled students who miss the first two class sessions will be dropped. Responsibility for dropping the class from the Registrar’s records belongs solely to the student.
  • The reading and writing requirements are the same for all sections.
  • Books can be purchased through the UC San Diego Bookstore.

MCWP 50 TOPICS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

 

Texts

The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition

by Booth, Colomb, Williams, Bizup, and Fitzgerald

The Craft of Research

A Writer's Reference Eighth Edition

A Writer's Reference 8th

by Diana Hacker

We use the 8th edition of the Writer's Reference.  Please purchase it from the bookstore, as we have a version that is specific for the Muir College Writing Program.

Photocopied Reader

Each class will have its own required reader that can be purchased through UCSD bookstore.

Winter 2018 

"A Diva Is a Female Version of a Hustler”: Engendering Power, Politics, and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

 920530

001

MW 9:30-10:50

2333B

Jennifer Carter 

 920531

002

MW 11:00-12:20

2333B

Jennifer Carter

 920538 009 T/TH 11:00-12:20 2333B Jennifer Carter

 920539

010

T/TH 12:30-1:50

2333B 

Jennifer Carter

 920540

011

T/TH 2:00-3:20

2333B

Haydee Smith

  920541 

012

T/TH 3:30-4:50

 2333B 

Haydee Smith 

The entrepreneurial spirit is much celebrated in contemporary American culture.  From our latest presidential election to media mogul icons such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Oprah and Jay-Z, the iconicity and perceived authority of business savvy permeates cultural understandings of how power, politics, and popular media interact with and inflect each other.  Considering the processes of gendering, commodification, celebrity formations, and the intersections of power and ideology, students in this course will examine primary sources drawn from popular culture alongside academic arguments situated within political economies, gender and sexuality studies, critical feminisms, film and media studies, and literary analysis. In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.

Camerawork and Cultures of Persuasion

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

 920532 

003

MW 12:30-1:50

2333B

Vince Pham

 920533 

004

MW 2:00-3:20

2333B

Vince Pham

920534

005

MW 3:30-4:50

2333B

Alex Kershaw

920535

006

MW 5:00-6:20

2333B

Alex Kershaw

There’s no doubt that photographing is a predatory act. Scholars often liken the camera with the gun to characterize the power imbalances of ideologically charged images. Conversely, how might photography redress forms of social inequality by demanding justice? As a tool of surveillance, how does photography intervene in our lives in ways that are coercive? This course explores the ways photography represents, enacts, and counteract forms of oppression in contexts ranging from photojournalism, ethnography, war, the visual arts, and policing. Students will develop skills in visual analysis, by analyzing the rhetorical tropes and charged histories that lay dormant beneath the glossy surface of images. In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.

Out There: American Deserts, Land Use, and Spatial Difference

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

920536

007

T/TH 8:00-9:20

2333B

Stephanie Fairchild

920537 008 T/TH 9:30-10:50 2333B Stephanie Fairchild

 920546 

 017

T/TH 8:00-9:20

2333A

Melinda Guillen 

920547

018

T/TH 9:30-10:50

2333A

Melinda Guillen

920548

019

T/TH 11:00-12:20

2333A

Michael Morshed

920550 021 T/TH 2:010-3:20 2333A Michael Morshed

920551

022

T/TH 3:30-4:50

2333A

Michael Morshed

920552

 023

 MW 11:00-12:20

1128B 

 Kelly Silva

920553

 024

 MW 12:30-1:50

1128B 

 Kelly Silva

Deserts are used frequently as signifiers in film, television, art, and literature of everything from prehistory to post-apocalyptic fantasy, all the while, maintaining complicated ties to grand narratives of “The American West.” Desert landscapes are also where militarized weapons testing and nuclear waste depositories are set, despite forever changing the ecological vitality of the land, its natural resources, and all those that call the desert home. We will explore key texts by cultural critics, urban theorists, historians, and artists in the development of original research projects examining how spatial hierarchies and the extended fantasies of Frontierism continue to mark the American Southwest in various and complex ways. In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.

Make up your Mind: Cultures of Neuroscience

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

 920543

  014 

MW 9:30-10:50 

2333A

Sarah Klein 

 920554

 025

MW 12:30-1:50 

 2305B

 Sarah Klein 

 920555

 026

MW 2:00-3:20 

 2333A

 Sarah Klein 

Will brain imaging become the ultimate lie detector? Can a brain scan tell you if you are hungry, depressed, or a criminal? Do “mirror neurons” explain empathy? Neuroscientific claims pervade contemporary culture, shaping our understanding of ourselves and influencing many areas of social life, including law, education, clinical practice, and social policy. This course will examine scholarship on the scope and limits of neurobiological explanations, and how neuroscience both influences and is influenced by culture, by focusing on social and historical studies of how neuroscientific knowledge is made and circulated. In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about a scientific concept, practice, technology, or representation issue relevant to the course topic.

Substance (Ab)use: Contexts and Conversations

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

 920557

  028 

T/TH 9:30-10:50 

2346A

Carrie Wastal

 920560

 031

T/TH 2:00-3:20 

 1138

 Mallory Pickett 

 920561

 032

T/TH 3:30-4:50 

 1138

 Mallory Pickett

Mind-and body-altering substances and prescription medications have a contested history in the U.S. Lysergic acid, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines are a few examples of the substances that are a part of that history. Of particular interest to this class are the shifting attitudes and policies that make such drugs taboo or acceptable, legal or illegal, and sometimes, legal again.
Our class will look at aspects of past and current debates that reflect the changing attitudes of society, including its institutions, toward body- and mind-altering substances. Our readings will look evolving political climates as well as the social and medical contexts for the uses and abuses of mind-altering substances. In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.

Fall 2017

**Every FALL QUARTER, we hold the majority of seats in classes (MCWP 40, 50, and 125) for incoming students.**

A Borderlands Art History: Politics, Performance and Art between Mexico and the U.S.

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

906893

003

T/TH 11:00-12:20

2305A

Sara Solaimani

906894

004

T/TH 12:30-1:50

2305A

Sara Solaimani


Description
In the past three decades in particular, there has been incredible growth and change in art’s response to the political tensions and growing border security infrastructure on the Mexico-U.S. border. The local art histories of different border regions such as Tijuana-San Diego have each made unique contributions to enriching the history of the border and borderlands. There many potential connections between these practices that have yet to be analyzed and understood, especially by residents north of the border. In this MCWP 50 course, we will develop research projects investigating the many different contexts, practices, and artworks by transborder artists in the region, considering in particular the representations of the struggle for social justice for people whom the border marginalizes, or denies entry.

Disability and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

906895

005

T/TH 2:00-3:20

2305A

Suzy Woltmann 

906896

006

T/TH 3:30-4:50

2305A

Suzy Woltmann

906905

015

T/TH 11:00-12:20

1138

Haydee Smith

906906

016

T/TH 12:30-1:50

1138

Haydee Smith


Description
Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

It’s Not So Simple: Complex Ways to Understand Our Complex World

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

906897

007

MW 9:30-10:50

1106A

Matthew Sitek

906898

008

MW 11:00-12:20

1106A

Matthew Sitek

906900

010

MW 2:00-3:20

1106A

Matthew Sitek


Description
This course will utilize the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of complexity science to frame our discussion of the academic research process. We will investigate how researchers from vastly different disciplines use different scales of analysis to identify the interacting networks of agents from which complex systems emerge to form some of life’s most important phenomena. We will explore how the study of one complex system can teach about us the dynamics in other complex systems – what can beehives teach us about people’s decisions in voting booths? Through the lens of complexity we will reframe classic scientific models, such as biological evolution. We will consider how complexity frameworks can inform us about the origins of sociopolitical complexity in the ancient past and socioeconomic inequality in our society today. In this MCWP 50 section students will use course readings and independent research to develop their own academic argument about one of these systems in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Latin America in the United States: Regionalism, Internationalism and the Politics of Cultural Production

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

906899

009

MW 12:30-1:50

1106A

Elizabeth Miller

906901

011

MW 3:30-4:50

1106A

Elizabeth Miller

906902

012

MW 5:00-6:20

1106A

Elizabeth Miller


Description

By the 1940s, New York City had overtaken Paris as the “center” of the art world, but American discourses meanwhile neglected many other influences on U.S. cultural production. Since the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898 (and arguably long before Spain’s evacuation of the Americas), Latin America has had a tremendous impact on U.S. cultural production. This course uses the vantage point of fine arts, architecture and cinema to examine the ways that Latin American subject matter is replicated, represented and repurposed in U.S. contexts. Influences range from ancient archaeological sites like Machu Picchu and Teotihuacán, to modern architectural works like Luis Barragán’s Jardines del Pedregal, to the works of Rio de Janeiro’s Grupo Frente or the Mexican Muralists, among many other examples. The broader aim of this course is to foster a more complex understanding of the unusual and occasionally overlooked relationship between American cultural production and the racial and cultural hierarchies that in many ways define U.S. national identity. How have representations and transpositions of Latin American subject matter in the U.S. reflected changing political relationships in the Americas? In what ways has Latin America influenced U.S. discourses in fine arts, architecture and cinema, and how does this testify to the vital role of Latin America in U.S. cultural production?

Substance (Ab)use: Contexts and Conversations

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

906892

002

T/TH 9:30-10:50

2346A

Carrie Wastal


Description

Mind-and body-altering substances and prescription medications have a contested history in the U.S.  Lysergic acid, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines are a few examples of the substances that are a part of that history.  Of particular interest to this class are the shifting attitudes and policies that make such drugs taboo or acceptable, legal or illegal, and sometimes, legal again. 

Our class will look at aspects of past and current debates that reflect the changing attitudes of society, including its institutions, toward body- and mind-altering substances.  Our readings will look evolving political climates as well as the social and medical contexts for the uses and abuses of mind-altering substances.  In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their structures while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.

Spring 2017

Funny Business: A Critical Reading of Comedy in Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896045

001

MW 9:30-10:50

2333B

Amy Forrest

896046

002

MW 11:00-12:20

2333B

Amy Forrest

896061

017

TTH 8:00-9:20

2333A

Amy Forrest

896062

018

TTH 9:30-10:50

2333A

Amy Forrest

From Shakespeares fools to Key and Peele, from Mark Twain to Mindy Kaling: humor is inextricably connected to culture. When we miss a joke, surely it's not because we lack a sense of humor, but because we lack the cultural assumptions that enable us to understand the punch line. In this course, we will analyze arguments in a variety of comedic texts, critical essays, and scholarly journal articles, examining both how they are made, what they teach us about comedy, and the ways in which comedy engages critically with social, cultural and political issues. Additionally, we will explore comedy's ability to reveal the pettiness and pathos at the heart of the human condition, and how comedians use race, class, gender, language, sexuality, and identity to challenge our assumptions about ourselves and the society in which we live. In Funny Business, you will choose a comedic text (visual, video, or written) and will create an extended academic argument about it with the support of theoretical concepts that we will work with in class and other texts from your own research.

Oppressive Visuality: The Representational Politics of Photography and Film

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAYS

TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896047

003

MW

12:30-1:50

2333B

Alex Kershaw

896048

004

MW

2:00-3:20

2333B

Alex Kershaw

896065

021

TTH

2:00-3:20

2333A

Haydee Smith

896066

022

TTH

3:30-4:50

2333A

Haydee Smith

Subject/Object. Predator/Prey. Mimesis/Diegesis. Camera/Image. Although images seem to be impartial recordings of conflict, encounters mediated via the camera can exacerbate or even placate tensions by demanding justice. This course explores the ways film and photography represent, enact, and counteract forms of oppression in contexts ranging from Hollywood cinema to photojournalism. Students will develop skills in visual analysis—by experimenting with a variety of lenses for reading images within their cultural and political moments.  By taking into account issues like gender, race, sexuality, class, religion or disability, students will argue for how social justice and visual culture are intertwined. Students will develop individualized arguments, through a focused research paper project, and contribute to the ongoing academic discourse related to how film, photos, and cameras simultaneously critique and catalyze forms of oppression in diverse cultural spheres.

It’s Not So Simple: Complex Ways to Understand Our Complex World

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAYS

TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896049

005

MW

3:30-4:50

2333B

Matthew Sitek

896050

006

MW

5:00-6:20

2346A

Matthew Sitek

This course will utilize the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of complexity science to frame our discussion of the academic research process. We will investigate how researchers from vastly different disciplines use different scales of analysis to identify the interacting networks of agents from which complex systems emerge to form some of life’s most important phenomena. We will explore how the study of one complex system can teach about us the dynamics in other complex systems – what can beehives teach us about people’s decisions in voting booths? Through the lens of complexity we will reframe classic scientific models, such as biological evolution. We will consider how complexity frameworks can inform us about the origins of sociopolitical complexity in the ancient past and socioeconomic inequality in our society today. In this MCWP 50 section students will use course readings and independent research to develop their own academic argument about one of these systems in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

The Culture of Work: Why Work Is the Way It Is and Why We Think About Work the Way We Do

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896053

009

TTH 11:00-12:20

2333B

Yi Hong Sim

Where did the 40-hour work week come from? Why do some jobs have paid leave but not others? How does the policy of equal opportunity hiring actually play out in real life? In this course, we will explore the worldviews, ideas, and practices that make the institution of work what it is today. Influential factors we will consider in course readings and through students' individual research include history, law, policy, race, gender, capitalism, economics, technology, and leisure, among other issues. In the final project of the course, students will write a research-based argument on a specific issue of their choice that concerns the culture of work. The issue can be historical or contemporary, and may be focused either on a topic or on explicating the significance of a particular primary document related to the culture of work (e.g. a piece of policy, a law, a TV show set in a work environment, a news event, a court ruling, etc.).

Community and Identity in the Middle East

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896054

010

TTH 12:30-1:50

2333B

Nur Duru

896055

011

TTH 2:00-3:20

2333B

Nur Duru

What is a nation? Does it come from a map, a language, a race or a religion? The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been periods of intense change, as Middle Eastern nations have emerged and states have been broken down by internal and external forces. In this writing and research seminar, we will explore the racial, religious, and political beliefs that bring people together and break them apart both in the Middle East as well as worldwide. Reading historical nationalist works alongside critical theory will allow us to reconsider ideas of communal identity from the nineteenth century through the present day. From these topics, students will develop a research topic and write their own primary source research paper.

Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Space

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896056

012

TTH 3:30-4:50

2333B

Elizabeth Miller

896071

027

TTH 8:00-9:20

1138

Melinda Guillen

896072

028

TTH 9:30-10:50

1138

Melinda Guillen

896073

029

TTH 11:00-12:20

1138

Elizabeth Miller

896074

030

TTH 12:30-1:50

1338

Elizabeth Miller

SPACE: the final frontier? . . . not quite. The idea of space has been widely contested over the centuries, particularly with regard to the built environment and cultural production. This course explores some of the key thinkers and cultural producers implicated in the discourses about public space during the latter half of the 20th century. This topic spans the fields of urban studies, geography, art history, architecture and cultural theory, and the course will engage texts by figures as diverse as urban theorist Mike Davis, Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre and artists Robert Smithson and Suzanne Lacy, among others. We will consider: How do notions of public vs. private mediate our experiences of art and architecture? How do different geographies of the mid- to late 20th century--the modern city, the desert and the ‘burbs--influence our conception of space? What are the political systems that define and control space? And how have artists, architects, urban theorists, and other cultural producers expanded our understanding of space and its tenuous political history?

Translating Monstrosity: Affect and the Making of Modern Monsters

SEC. ID

SEC.

DAYS

TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896063

019

TTH

11:00-12:20

2333A

Jenni Marchisotto

896064

020

TTH

12:30-1:50

2333A

Jenni Marchisotto

896051

007

TTH

8:00-9:20

2346A

Megan Haugh

896052

008

TTH

9:30-10:50

2333B

Megan Haugh

896057

013

MW

8:00-9:20

2346A

Megan Haugh

896058

014

MW

9:30-10:50

1106A

Megan Haugh

What makes someone or something monstrous? Can you tell just by looking at them? Not all monsters have fangs, and they are not always fictional. We will look at vampires, werewolves, and ogres, but also think about how we as a culture apply their characteristics to certain communities. How do figures from myths and fairy tales inform our understandings of people different than us? What makes certain monsters more sympathetic than others? Why do types of monsters, zombies for example, become popular at certain moments in history? Why do news outlets and political figures consistently use language that implies monstrous behavior to describe both individuals and groups, labeling them as deviant? We will read scholarship from different perspectives analyzing the way society marks certain bodies as monstrous, and how those markings delineate social power dynamics. Drawing support from course readings as well as individual research, students will apply their knowledge to a primary text and construct an academic argument that engages the tension between monstrous facts and monstrous fictions.

Borders, Journeys, and Home

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896067

023

MW 11:00-12:20

2305B

Luis Sanchez Lopez

896068

024

MW 12:30-1:50

2305B

Luis Sanchez Lopez

896069

025

MW 2:00-3:20

2152

Ulices Pina

896070

026

MW 3:30-4:50

2152

Ulices Pina

We live a stone’s throw away from the most frequently crossed international border in the world.  How does this border—and the countless reasons why it is crossed every day—contribute to our idea of home?  In this course we will examine theories about displacement, migration and diaspora, and how these theories challenge or support cultural constructions of home.  In addition we will explore the ways in which home becomes mythologized for refugees, those in exile and economic migrants and consider how personal, social, national, ethnic or feminist identity is formed during journeys that take us far away from home or return us there.

Disability and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896075

031

TTH 2:00-3:20

1138

Suzy Woltmann

896076

032

TTH 3:30-4:50

1138

Suzy Woltmann

Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

Imagining the Transborder: Politics, Performance and Art between Tijuana and San Diego

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896077

033

MW 2:00-3:20

2346A

Sara Solaimani

896078

034

MW 3:30-4:50

2346A

Sara Solaimani

In the past three decades in particular, there has been incredible growth and change in art’s response to the political tensions and growing border security infrastructure on the Tijuana-San Diego border. This local art history has many interesting potential connections yet to be analyzed and understood, especially by residents north of the border. In this MCWP 50 course, we will develop research projects investigating the many different contexts, practices, and artworks by transborder artists in the region, considering in particular the representations of the struggle for social justice for people whom the border marginalizes, or denies entry.

Funhouse Mirrors: Constructing Identity through Visual Culture and Hemispheric Relationships

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896079

035

TTH 11:00-12:20

2305B

Jennifer Huerta

896080

036

TTH 12:30-1:50

2305B

Jennifer Huerta

Everyday we are inundated and interact with visual images and media from sharing Grumpy Cat memes to viewing time-lapse videos of Earth from NASA to swiping Tinder profile pictures. We also freely distort, reflect, and refract visual sources depending on our own needs and interests. Yet, how do our interactions with seemingly innocuous products such as videos, television shows, photographs, and paintings, among many other visual mediums, shape deeply ingrained individual, regional, and even national identities? This class looks at global processes of identity construction through the lens of visual culture. Readings will serve as a primer to understand the transmission and communication of visual culture across borders and oceans as well as how its interpretation varies according to the historical context in which it is articulated. The significance attached to such interpretations not only depends on the producer’s intentions, but also by how people consume and manipulate visual sources to make sense of the world around them or facilitate social change. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students will research a specific visual source or trend, providing subsequent analysis from what we have learned in the readings throughout the quarter.

As the World Turns: Social Representations in Prime Time Television

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

896081

037

TTH 2:00-3:20

2305B

Camielyn West

896082

038

TTH 3:30-4:50

2305B

Camielyn West

What makes Scandal so scandalous? Is Modern Family really modern? These are the types of questions scholars ask when studying the relationship between entertainment television and changing social mores, and how we understand the world around us through media. In this class, we will read television as a text to not only analyze the content itself but also examine the historical contexts in which a program’s politics are (explicitly or implicitly) situated. We will explore the ways in which sitcoms and dramas offer a useful point of convergence for discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality during the historical moment that such programs aired. Through reading critical essays, scholarly journal articles, and watching TV shows you are expected to contribute to the academic discussions on television’s powerful reach. Students will apply this scholarship—in addition to selected readings from the course reader—to their own research on a television text with the objective of writing a research paper based on their own argument about representations of social change in prime-time TV.

Winter 2017

Funny Business: A Critical Reading of Comedy in Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

897948

002

TTH 12:30-1:50

2333B

Amy Forrest

887612

005

TTH 8:00-9:20

2333B

Amy Forrest

887613

006

TTH 9:30-10:50

2333B

Amy Forrest

From Shakespeare’s fools to Key and Peele, from Mark Twain to Mindy Kaling: humor is inextricably connected to culture. When we miss a joke, surely it’s not because we lack a sense of humor, but because we lack the cultural assumptions that enable us to understand the punch line. In this course, we will analyze arguments in a variety of comedic texts, critical essays, and scholarly journal articles, examining both how they are made, what they teach us about comedy, and the ways in which comedy engages critically with social, cultural and political issues. Additionally, we will explore comedy’s ability to reveal the pettiness and pathos at the heart of the human condition, and how comedians use race, class, gender, language, sexuality, and identity to challenge our assumptions about ourselves and the society in which we live. In Funny Business, you will choose a comedic text (visual, video, or written) and will create an extended academic argument about it with the support of theoretical concepts that we will work with in class and other texts from your own research.

As the World Turns: Social Representations in Prime Time Television

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887610

003

MW 11:00-12:20

2333A

Kate Flach

887611

004

MW 12:30-1:50

2333A

Kate Flach

887636

029

TTH 11:00-12:20

1138

Camielyn West

887637

030

TTH 12:30-1:50

1138

Camielyn West

What makes Scandal so scandalous? Is Modern Family really modern? These are the types of questions scholars ask when studying the relationship between entertainment television and changing social mores, and how we understand the world around us through media. In this class, we will read television as a text to not only analyze the content itself but also examine the historical contexts in which a program’s politics are (explicitly or implicitly) situated. We will explore the ways in which sitcoms and dramas offer a useful point of convergence for discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality during the historical moment that such programs aired. Through reading critical essays, scholarly journal articles, and watching TV shows you are expected to contribute to the academic discussions on television’s powerful reach. Students will apply this scholarship—in addition to selected readings from the course reader—to their own research on a television text with the objective of writing a research paper based on their own argument about representations of social change in prime-time TV.

Grimm Retellings: Adapting Fairytales, Adapting Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887615

008

TTH 8:00-9:20

2333A

Jenni Marchisotto

887616

009

TTH 9:30-10:50

2333A

Jenni Marchisotto

887632

025

TTH 2:00-3:20

1128B

Haydee Smith

887633

026

TTH 3:30-4:50

1128B

Haydee Smith

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess, a valiant knight and an evil queen….Fairy tales often begin in much the same way, but they transform with every re-telling over time, reflecting and critiquing shifting cultural ideals. From The Ballad of Mulan to Disney’s Mulan, from the Brothers Grimm to NBC’s Grimm, story tellers offer new versions of old stories in response to contemporary social norms. In their reimagining these stories reflect and question ideas about everything from gender, to race, to disability. In this class we will analyze a variety of academic texts that investigate the different cultural aspects of fairy tales and their adaptations. We will explore the different ways in which values are inscribed through the repetition of themes across different fairy tales, but also how adaptations work to shift those values. Drawing support from course readings as well as individual research, students will choose an adaptation of a fairy tale and construct an academic argument concerning its cultural function.

The Culture of Work: Why Work Is the Way It Is and Why We Think About Work the Way We Do

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887617

010

TTH 11:00-12:20

2333A

Yi Hong Sim

887618

011

TTH 12:30-1:50

2333A

Yi Hong Sim

Where did the 40-hour work week come from? Why do some jobs have paid leave but not others? How does the policy of equal opportunity hiring actually play out in real life? In this course, we will explore the worldviews, ideas, and practices that make the institution of work what it is today. Influential factors we will consider in course readings and through students' individual research include history, law, policy, race, gender, capitalism, economics, technology, and leisure, among other issues. In the final project of the course, students will write a research-based argument on a specific issue of their choice that concerns the culture of work. The issue can be historical or contemporary, and may be focused either on a topic or on explicating the significance of a particular primary document related to the culture of work (e.g. a piece of policy, a law, a TV show set in a work environment, a news event, a court ruling, etc.).

Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Space

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887619

012

TTH 2:00-3:20

2333A

Elizabeth Miller

887620

013

TTH 3:30-4:50

2333A

Elizabeth Miller

SPACE: the final frontier? . . . not quite. The idea of space has been widely contested over the centuries, particularly with regard to the built environment and cultural production. This course explores some of the key thinkers and cultural producers implicated in the discourses about public space during the latter half of the 20th century. This topic spans the fields of urban studies, geography, art history, architecture and cultural theory, and the course will engage texts by figures as diverse as urban theorist Mike Davis, Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre and artists Robert Smithson and Suzanne Lacy, among others. We will consider: How do notions of public vs. private mediate our experiences of art and architecture? How do different geographies of the mid- to late 20th century--the modern city, the desert and the ‘burbs--influence our conception of space? What are the political systems that define and control space? And how have artists, architects, urban theorists, and other cultural producers expanded our understanding of space and its tenuous political history?

Borders, Journeys, and Home

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887622

015

MW 9:30-10:50

1128B

Luis Sanchez Lopez

887623

016

MW 11:00-12:20

1128B

Luis Sanchez Lopez

887634

027

TTH 8:00-9:20

1138

Matthew Sitek

887635

028

TTH 9:30-10:50

1138

Matthew Sitek

We live a stone’s throw away from the most frequently crossed international border in the world.  How does this border—and the countless reasons why it is crossed every day—contribute to our idea of home?  In this course we will examine theories about displacement, migration and diaspora, and how these theories challenge or support cultural constructions of home.  In addition we will explore the ways in which home becomes mythologized for refugees, those in exile and economic migrants and consider how personal, social, national, ethnic or feminist identity is formed during journeys that take us far away from home or return us there.

Disability and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887624

017

MW 12:30-1:50

1128B

Suzy Woltmann

887625

018

MW 2:00-3:20

1128B

Suzy Woltmann

Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

Funhouse Mirrors: Constructing Identity through Visual Culture and Hemispheric Relationships

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887628

021

TTH 8:00-9:20

1128B

Jennifer Huerta

887629

022

TTH 9:30-10:50

1128B

Jennifer Huerta

Everyday we are inundated and interact with visual images and media from sharing Grumpy Cat memes to viewing time-lapse videos of Earth from NASA to swiping Tinder profile pictures. We also freely distort, reflect, and refract visual sources depending on our own needs and interests. Yet, how do our interactions with seemingly innocuous products such as videos, television shows, photographs, and paintings, among many other visual mediums, shape deeply ingrained individual, regional, and even national identities? This class looks at global processes of identity construction through the lens of visual culture. Readings will serve as a primer to understand the transmission and communication of visual culture across borders and oceans as well as how its interpretation varies according to the historical context in which it is articulated. The significance attached to such interpretations not only depends on the producer’s intentions, but also by how people consume and manipulate visual sources to make sense of the world around them or facilitate social change. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students will research a specific visual source or trend, providing subsequent analysis from what we have learned in the readings throughout the quarter.

Imagining the Transborder: Politics, Performance and Art between Tijuana and San Diego

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887630

023

TTH 11:00-12:20

1128B

Sara Solaimani

887631

024

TTH 12:30-1:50

1128B

Sara Solaimani

In the past three decades in particular, there has been incredible growth and change in art’s response to the political tensions and growing border security infrastructure on the Tijuana-San Diego border. This local art history has many interesting potential connections yet to be analyzed and understood, especially by residents north of the border. In this MCWP 50 course, we will develop research projects investigating the many different contexts, practices, and artworks by transborder artists in the region, considering in particular the representations of the struggle for social justice for people whom the border marginalizes, or denies entry.

Community and Identity in the Middle East

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

887638

031

TTH 2:00-3:20

1138

Nur Duru

887639

032

TTH 3:30-4:50

1138

Nur Duru

What is a nation? Does it come from a map, a language, a race or a religion? The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been periods of intense change, as Middle Eastern nations have emerged and states have been broken down by internal and external forces. In this writing and research seminar, we will explore the racial, religious, and political beliefs that bring people together and break them apart both in the Middle East as well as worldwide. Reading historical nationalist works alongside critical theory will allow us to reconsider ideas of communal identity from the nineteenth century through the present day. From these topics, students will develop a research topic and write their own primary source research paper.

Fall 2016

Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Space


SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

875679

005

TR 2:00-3:20 HSS 2333A Miller, Elizabeth

875680

006

TR 3:30-4:50

HSS 2333A

Miller, Elizabeth

875682

010

MW 9:30-10:50

CNTR 204

Miller, Elizabeth

SPACE: the final frontier? . . . not quite. The idea of space has been widely contested over the centuries, particularly with regard to the built environment and cultural production. This course explores some of the key thinkers and cultural producers implicated in the discourses about public space during the latter half of the 20th century. This topic spans the fields of urban studies, geography, art history, architecture and cultural theory, and the course will engage texts by figures as diverse as urban theorist Mike Davis, Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre and artists Robert Smithson and Suzanne Lacy, among others. We will consider: How do notions of public vs. private mediate our experiences of art and architecture? How do different geographies of the mid- to late 20th century--the modern city, the desert and the ‘burbs--influence our conception of space? What are the political systems that define and control space? And how have artists, architects, urban theorists, and other cultural producers expanded our understanding of space and its tenuous political history?

As the World Turns: Social Representations in Prime Time Television

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

875683

011

MW 11:00-12:20 CENTR 204 Flach, Kathryn

875684

012

MW 12:30-1:50

CENTR 204

Flach, Kathryn

What makes Scandal so scandalous? Is Modern Family really modern? These are the types of questions scholars ask when studying the relationship between entertainment television and changing social mores, and how we understand the world around us through media. In this class, we will read television as a text to not only analyze the content itself but also examine the historical contexts in which a program's politics are (explicitly or implicitly) situated. We will explore the ways in which sitcoms and dramas offer a useful point of convergence for discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality during the historical moment that such programs aired. Through reading critical essays, scholarly journal articles, and watching TV shows you are expected to contribute to the academic discussions on television's powerful reach. Students will apply this scholarship - in addition to selected readings from the course reader - to their own research on a television text with objective of writing a research paper based on their own argument about representations of social change in prime-time TV.

Funhouse Mirrors: Constructing Identity through Visual Culture and Hemispheric Relationships

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

875677

003

TR 11:00-12:20 HSS 2333A Huerta, Jennifer

875678

004

TR 12:30-1:50

HSS 2333A

Huerta, Jennifer

Everyday we are inundated and interact with visual images and media from sharing Grumpy Cat memes to viewing time-lapse videos of Earth from NASA to swiping Tinder profile pictures. We also freely distort, reflect, and refract visual sources depending on our own needs and interests. Yet, how do our interactions with seemingly innocuous products such as videos, television shows, photographs, and paintings, among many other visual mediums, shape deeply ingrained individual, regional, and even national identities? This class looks at global processes of identity construction through the lens of visual culture. Readings will serve as a primer to understand the transmission and communication of visual culture across borders and oceans as well as how its interpretation varies according to the historical context in which it is articulated. The significance attached to such interpretations not only depends on the producer’s intentions, but also by how people consume and manipulate visual sources to make sense of the world around them or facilitate social change. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students will research a specific visual source or trend, providing subsequent analysis from what we have learned in the readings throughout the quarter.

Grimm Retellings: Adapting Fairytales, Adapting Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

875675

001

TR 8:00-9:20 HSS 2333A

Marchisotto, Jenni

875676

002

TR 9:30-10:50

HSS 2333A

Marchisotto, Jenni

875681

009

MW 8:00-9:20

CNTR 204 

Marchisotto, Jenni

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess, a valiant knight and an evil queen….Fairy tales often begin in much the same way, but they transform with every re-telling over time, reflecting and critiquing shifting cultural ideals. From The Ballad of Mulan to Disney’s Mulan, from the Brothers Grimm to NBC’s Grimm, story tellers offer new versions of old stories in response to contemporary social norms. In their reimagining these stories reflect and question ideas about everything from gender, to race, to disability. In this class we will analyze a variety of academic texts that investigate the different cultural aspects of fairy tales and their adaptations. We will explore the different ways in which values are inscribed through the repetition of themes across different fairy tales, but also how adaptations work to shift those values. Drawing support from course readings as well as individual research, students will choose an adaptation of a fairy tale and construct an academic argument concerning its cultural function.

Oceans

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

875685

013

TR 9:30-10:50 HSS 2346A Wastal, Carrie

The majority of scientists and researchers agree that climate change is one of society’s imminent problems.  This is tied to the idea that climate change is due in some part to human activity.  However, there are still “deniers” who claim that human activity and climate change are not related.  We often conceive of the planet and its oceans as able to absorb whatever humans throw at them whether it is emissions like carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas, which scientists say corresponds to the change in our climate that is global warming, and leads to ocean acidification, coastal flooding, decreased biodiversity, and thermal expansion.

This course will explore society’s view of the need for sustainable energy prompted by climate change. We will look at the different aspects of the current debate surrounding climate change.  We will explore the following questions: Do humans have an ethical or moral responsibility to future generations?  Does that responsibility extend to other forms of life like animals and plants? How widespread are the effects of climate change?  What are the links between politics, climate change, and public policy? And can we develop viable energy  alternatives?  In keeping with the goals and requirements of MCWP 50, you will examine arguments about this topic in an effort to understand their content and structure while introducing and supporting your own informed research-based argument about an issue relevant to the course topic.   

Spring 2016

Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Space

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870262

003

MW 11:00-12:20 2333A Alex Kershaw

870263

004

MW 12:30-1:50

2333A

Alex Kershaw

870289

029

MW 2:00-3:20

1138

Elizabeth Miller

870290

030

MW 3:30-4:50 1138 Elizabeth Miller

870297

037

TTH 2:00-3:20

2305A

Melinda Guillen

870298

038

TTH 3:30-4:50 2305A Melinda Guillen

SPACE: the final frontier? . . . not quite. The idea of space has been widely contested over the centuries, particularly with regard to the built environment and cultural production. This course explores some of the key thinkers and cultural producers implicated in the discourses about public space during the latter half of the 20th century. This topic spans the fields of urban studies, geography, art history, architecture and cultural theory, and the course will engage texts by figures as diverse as urban theorist Mike Davis, Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre and artists Robert Smithson and Suzanne Lacy, among others. We will consider: How do notions of public vs. private mediate our experiences of art and architecture? How do different geographies of the mid- to late 20th century--the modern city, the desert and the ‘burbs--influence our conception of space? What are the political systems that define and control space? And how have artists, architects, urban theorists, and other cultural producers expanded our understanding of space and its tenuous political history?

As the World Turns: Social Representations in Prime Time Television

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870268

009 TTH 11:00-12:20 2333A Haydee Smith

870270

011 TTH 2:00-3:20 2333A Haydee Smith

870272

013 MW 9:30-10:50 2333B Yi Hong Sim

870273

014 MW 11:00-12:20 2333B Yi Hong Sim

870274

015 MW 12:30-1:50 2333B Kate Flach

870275

016 MW 2:00-3:20 2333B Kate Flach
What makes Scandal so scandalous? Is Modern Family really modern? These are the types of questions scholars ask when studying the relationship between entertainment television and changing social mores, and how we understand the world around us through media. In this class, we will read television as a text to not only analyze the content itself but also examine the historical contexts in which a program’s politics are (explicitly or implicitly) situated. We will explore the ways in which sitcoms and dramas offer a useful point of convergence for discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality during the historical moment that such programs aired. Through reading critical essays, scholarly journal articles, and watching TV shows you are expected to contribute to the academic discussions on television’s powerful reach. Students will apply this scholarship—in addition to selected readings from the course reader—to their own research on a television text with the objective of writing a research paper based on their own argument about representations of social change in prime-time TV.

Borders, Journeys, and Home

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870279

020 TTH 9:30-10:50 2333B Luis Sanchez-Lopez

870281

021 TTH 11:00-12:20 2333B Luis Sanchez-Lopez
We live a stone’s throw away from the most frequently crossed international border in the world.  How does this border—and the countless reasons why it is crossed every day—contribute to our idea of home?  In this course we will examine theories about displacement, migration and diaspora, and how these theories challenge or support cultural constructions of home.  In addition we will explore the ways in which home becomes mythologized for refugees, those in exile and economic migrants and consider how personal, social, national, ethnic or feminist identity is formed during journeys that take us far away from home or return us there.

Community and Identity in the Middle East

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870264

005 MW 2:00-3:20 2333A Nur Duru

870265

006 MW 3:30-4:50 2333A Nur Duru
What is a nation? Does it come from a map, a language, a race or a religion? The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been periods of intense change, as Middle Eastern nations have emerged and states have been broken down by internal and external forces. In this writing and research seminar, we will explore the racial, religious, and political beliefs that bring people together and break them apart both in the Middle East as well as worldwide. Reading historical nationalist works alongside critical theory will allow us to reconsider ideas of communal identity from the nineteenth century through the present day. From these topics, students will develop a research topic and write their own primary source research paper.

Consciousness

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870282

022 TTH 12:30-1:50 2333B Matthew Piper

870283

023 TTH 2:00-3:20 2333B Matthew Piper
What is the single greatest scientific mystery?  Dark matter?  String Theory?  Many scientists and philosophers actually have an infinitely more intimate mystery in mind: consciousness.  How can your brain – just a collection of neurons – create your mind?  How can electrical events in your head create the flavor of chocolate, the feeling of pleasure, or free will?  The difficulty in answering this question – how to naturally explain, in full, your experience reading this now, for example – has motivated many to think that the mystery of consciousness is beyond human understanding.  This MCWP 50 course examines various aspects of this mystery, from both scientific and philosophical perspectives.  Designed to help students do research on the nature of their own conscious experiences, this course provides students with multiple lenses to consider the very phenomenon that allows them to do research – or be aware of anything at all – in the first place!

Disability and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870260 001 MW 8:00-9:20 2346A Suzy Woltmann
870261 002 MW 9:30-10:50 2346A Suzy Woltmann
870291 031 TTH 8:00-9:20 1138 Jennifer Marchisotto
870292 032 TTH 9:30-10:50 1138 Jennifer Marchisotto
Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

Funny Business: A Critical Reading of Comedy in Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870293

033 TTH 11:00 -12:20 1138 Amy Forrest

870294

034 TTH 12:30-1:50 1138 Amy Forrest
From Shakespeare’s fools to Key and Peele, from Mark Twain to Mindy Kaling: humor is inextricably connected to culture. When we miss a joke, surely it’s not because we lack a sense of humor, but because we lack the cultural assumptions that enable us to understand the punch line. In this course, we will analyze arguments in a variety of comedic texts, critical essays, and scholarly journal articles, examining both how they are made, what they teach us about comedy, and the ways in which comedy engages critically with social, cultural and political issues. Additionally, we will explore comedy’s ability to reveal the pettiness and pathos at the heart of the human condition, and how comedians use race, class, gender, language, sexuality, and identity to challenge our assumptions about ourselves and the society in which we live. In Funny Business, you will choose a comedic text (visual, video, or written) and will create an extended academic argument about it with the support of theoretical concepts that we will work with in class and other texts from your own research.

Iconic Identities: Star Wars, Cosplay, and the Performance of Identity

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870295

035 TTH 2:00-3:20 1138 William Given

870296

036 TTH 3:30-4:50 1138 William Given
Cinema allows us the possibility to escape every day life for a couple of hours by immersing ourselves in the world of our heroes.  What happens though when the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur?  What happens when we want so much to be part of the fiction that we start allowing it to shape our own identity?  In our class, we will engage with debates over how identity is being performed, and in some instances manipulated, in the hypermediatized 21st century.  Using popular science fiction films such as Star Wars and the practice of cosplay at comic conventions, we will engage with issues such as the dangers of groupthink and questions of who ultimately has control over the representation of the self in order to develop an argumentative research paper that will ultimately shape the academic discourse on the performance of identity.

Revolutions and Social Movements in 20th Century Latin America

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870269

010 TTH 12:30-1:50 2333A Ulices Pina

870271

012 TTH 3:30-4:50 2333A Ulices Pina

During the twentieth-century Latin America experienced a cycle of revolutionary upheavals and insurgencies—from the Mexican, Cuban, and Nicaraguan revolutions to guerrilla movements, such as the ‘Shining Path’ in Peru, the FARC in Colombia, and the Zapatistas in Mexico. In this course, we will examine the relationship between revolutionary and counterrevolutionary developments in Latin America and explore how they unfolded within the context of struggles for democracy, industrialization, and the United States’ hemispheric and global domination. Students will apply this scholarship—in addition to selected theoretical and substantive readings from the course reader—to their own research on a social movement and/or revolution in the region with the objective of writing a research paper based on primary and secondary sources.

Funhouse Mirrors: Constructing Identity through Visual Culture and Hemispheric Relationships

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870287

027 MW 11:00-12:20 1138 Jennifer Huerta

870288

028 MW 12:30-1:50 1138 Jennifer Huerta
Everyday we are inundated and interact with visual images and media from sharing Grumpy Cat memes to viewing time-lapse videos of Earth from NASA to swiping Tinder profile pictures. We also freely distort, reflect, and refract visual sources depending on our own needs and interests. Yet, how do our interactions with seemingly innocuous products such as videos, television shows, photographs, and paintings, among many other visual mediums, shape deeply ingrained individual, regional, and even national identities? This class looks at global processes of identity construction through the lens of visual culture. Readings will serve as a primer to understand the transmission and communication of visual culture across borders and oceans as well as how its interpretation varies according to the historical context in which it is articulated. The significance attached to such interpretations not only depends on the producer’s intentions, but also by how people consume and manipulate visual sources to make sense of the world around them or facilitate social change. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students will research a specific visual source or trend, providing subsequent analysis from what we have learned in the readings throughout the quarter.

Imagining the Transborder: Politics, Performance and Art between Tijuana and San Diego

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

870266

007

TTH 11:00-12:20

2346A

Norell Martinez

870267

008

TTH 12:30-1:50

2346A

Norell Martinez

870284

024

TTH 3:30-4:50

2333B

Sara Solaimani

In the past three decades in particular, there has been incredible growth and change in art’s response to the political tensions and growing border security infrastructure on the Tijuana-San Diego border. This local art history has many interesting potential connections yet to be analyzed and understood, especially by residents north of the border. In this MCWP 50 course, we will develop research projects investigating the many different contexts, practices, and artworks by transborder artists in the region, considering in particular the representations of the struggle for social justice for people whom the border marginalizes, or denies entry.

Winter 2016

As the World Turns: Social Representations in Prime-Time Television

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853386

003

MW 12:30-1:50

2333B

Kate Flach

853387

004

MW 2:00-3:20

2333B

Kate Flach

What makes Scandal so scandalous? Is Modern Family really modern? These are the types of questions scholars ask when studying the relationship between entertainment television and changing social mores, and how we understand the world around us through media. In this class, we will read television as a text to not only analyze the content itself but also examine the historical contexts in which a program's politics are (explicitly or implicitly) situated. We will explore the ways in which sitcoms and dramas offer a useful point of convergence for discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality during the historical moment that such programs aired. Through reading critical essays, scholarly journal articles, and watching TV shows you are expected to contribute to the academic discussions on television’s powerful reach. Students will apply this scholarship - in addition to selected readings from the course reader - to their own research on a television text with objective of writing a research paper based on their own argument about representations of social change in prime-time TV.

Uncanny Architecture and the Modern Imagination

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853388

005

MW 3:30-4:50

2333B

Elizabeth Miller

853389

006

MW 5:00-6:20

2333B

Elizabeth Miller

The “uncanny” describes a number of phenomena, from the surreal and eerily familiar to the bizarre and supernatural. In this course, we will examine uncanny architecture in history, including not only domestic spaces and archetypal haunted houses, but also places of entertainment like haunted theatres and institutional architectures like penitentiaries and asylums. Haunted spaces predate the modern era by hundreds of years. However, this course will focus on the ways that uncanny architecture has taken on new life since major historical developments like the scientific revolution, the rise of capitalism, and the advent of secularism. How have modern intellectualism and literature—typified by the writings of figures such as Sigmund Freud or Edgar Allan Poe—dealt with uncanny architecture? Students will be free to approach this and other questions from a variety of perspectives. Using selected articles from the course reader and a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will write a research paper on a subject related to the course topic.

Consciousness

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853392

009

TTH 2:00-3:20

2333B

Matthew Piper

853393

010

TTH 3:30-4:50

2333B

Matthew Piper

What is the single greatest scientific mystery?  Dark matter?  String Theory?  Many scientists and philosophers actually have an infinitely more intimate mystery in mind: consciousness.  How can your brain – just a collection of neurons – create your mind?  How can electrical events in your head create the flavor of chocolate, the feeling of pleasure, or free will?  The difficulty in answering this question – how to naturally explain, in full, your experience reading this now, for example – has motivated many to think that the mystery of consciousness is beyond human understanding.  This MCWP 50 course examines various aspects of this mystery, from both scientific and philosophical perspectives.  Designed to help students do research on the nature of their own conscious experiences, this course provides students with multiple lenses to consider the very phenomenon that allows them to do research – or be aware of anything at all – in the first place!

Disability and Popular Culture

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853394

011

MW 8:00-9:20

1138

Suzy Woltmann

853395

012

MW 9:30-10:50

1138

Suzy Woltmann

853402

019

TTH 11:00-12:20

2305A

Haydee Smith

853403

020

TTH 12:30-1:50

2305A

Haydee Smith

853414

031

TTH 8:00-9:20

1138

Jenni Marchisotto

853415

032

TTH 9:30-10:50

1138

Jenni Marchisotto


Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

Funhouse Mirrors: Constructing Identity through Visual Culture and Hemispheric Relationships

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853396

013

MW 11:00-12:20

1138

Jennifer Huerta

853397

014

MW 12:30-1:50

1138

Jennifer Huerta

Everyday we are inundated and interact with visual images and media from sharing Grumpy Cat memes to viewing time-lapse videos of Earth from NASA to swiping Tinder profile pictures. We also freely distort, reflect, and refract visual sources depending on our own needs and interests. Yet, how do our interactions with seemingly innocuous products such as videos, television shows, photographs, and paintings, among many other visual mediums, shape deeply ingrained individual, regional, and even national identities? This class looks at global processes of identity construction through the lens of visual culture. Readings will serve as a primer to understand the transmission and communication of visual culture across borders and oceans as well as how its interpretation varies according to the historical context in which it is articulated. The significance attached to such interpretations not only depends on the producer’s intentions, but also by how people consume and manipulate visual sources to make sense of the world around them or facilitate social change. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students will research a specific visual source or trend, providing subsequent analysis from what we have learned in the readings throughout the quarter.

Performance and Technology

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853398

015

MW 2:00-3:20

1138

Samara Kaplan

853399

016

MW 3:30-4:50

1138

Samara Kaplan

Should computer avatars be held to ethical standards? Are flash mobs a form of art? What is performance in today’s mediated society? The past century has seen a rapid development of technologies, from the Machine Age to the Age of Information. Looking specifically at how humans perform through these innovations, this course will focus on technology as a platform for cultural production. While the course will pick up in the 1960s with early conceptions of the effects of media on society, students will have the opportunity to conduct scholarly research on any of the conversations surrounding performance and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries, including photography, video games, and social media.

Borders, Journeys, and Home

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853401

018

TTH 9:30-10:50

2305A

Luis Sanchez-Lopez

853410

027

TTH 2:00-3:20

2305B

Nur Duru

853411

028

TTH 3:30-4:50

2305B

Nur Duru

853416

033

TTH 11:00-12:20

1138

Luis Sanchez-Lopez

853417

034

TTH 12:30-1:50

1138

Sara Solaimani


 We live a stone’s throw away from the most frequently crossed international border in the world.  How does this border—and the countless reasons why it is crossed every day—contribute to our idea of home?  In this course we will examine theories about displacement, migration and diaspora, and how these theories challenge or support cultural constructions of home.  In addition we will explore the ways in which home becomes mythologized for refugees, those in exile and economic migrants and consider how personal, social, national, ethnic or feminist identity is formed during journeys that take us far away from home or return us there.

Iconic Identities: Star Wars, Cosplay, and the Performance of Identity

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853404

021

TTH 2:00-3:20

2305A

William Given

853405

022

TTH 3:30-4:50

2305A

William Given

Cinema allows us the possibility to escape every day life for a couple of hours by immersing ourselves in the world of our heroes.  What happens though when the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur?  What happens when we want so much to be part of the fiction that we start allowing it to shape our own identity?  In our class, we will engage with debates over how identity is being performed, and in some instances manipulated, in the hypermediatized 21st century.  Using popular science fiction films such as Star Wars and the practice of cosplay at comic conventions, we will engage with issues such as the dangers of groupthink and questions of who ultimately has control over the representation of the self in order to develop an argumentative research paper that will ultimately shape the academic discourse on the performance of identity.

Photography and the Cult of Celebrity

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853408

025

TTH 11:00-12:20

2305B

Melinda Guillen

853409

026

TTH 12:30-1:50

2305B

Melinda Guillen

 How can photos be utilized to not only construct an individual’s identity, but to also create a following of fans who worship that person based on his or her image alone?  How can a single image become iconic?  In this class, we will examine the role photography has played in creating celebrity, both famously, in the examples of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, as well as with the more infamous figures ranging from Bettie Page to Charles Manson.  Our work will lead to the development of a research paper that can approach this subject through many different lenses.  Whether it is arguing why particular photos should or should not be labeled as controversial, why gallery exhibitions by artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe have generated outrage in certain communities, or why groups have attempted to ban books by photographers like Helmut Newton or Steven Meisel, you will be free to explore these issues from various perspectives and ultimately contribute to the academic discourse on the power dynamics involved with issues of identity construction as shown through photography.

Propaganda's Ploys: What Are You Selling?

SECTION ID

SECTION

DAY/TIME

ROOM

INSTRUCTOR

853390

007

TTH 11:00-12:20

2333B

Amy Forrest

853391

008

TTH 12:30-1:50

2333B

Amy Forrest

853412

029

TTH 2:00-3:20

1138

Alan Ward

853413

030

TTH 3:30-4:50

1138

Alan Ward

Every day we face a bombardment of propaganda. It ranges from political campaign ads to the constant affirmation of consumerism within U.S. society and it comes in a variety of mediums including advertisements on television, the radio and print media.  In this class we will explore various theories of argumentation and apply them to different pieces of propaganda. Instead of focusing simply on whether or not the specific piece of propaganda convinces us, the goal of this class is to explore the different ways that various forms of propaganda make their arguments. It is important to contextualize each of these arguments and as a class we will investigate different types of propaganda and interrogate how each one utilizes social norms, including constructions of femininity/masculinity, “family values” and patriotism to persuade, entertain or inform the audience. Each student will choose a specific type of propaganda as the basis of their analysis and illustrate the different ways that it uses different argumentative tools to construct an argument.

Fall 2015

The Real-World Multiverse: Photoshopping a New Reality

Secion ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842584 001 MW 8:00 - 9:20 HSS 1106A William Given
842585 002 MW 9:30 - 10:50 HSS 1106A William Given
Image manipulation is becoming more commonplace in today’s society.  Whether we simply use a filter to make our sunset photos more dramatic on Instagram, or utilize a more powerful tool such as Photoshop to remove an unwanted item (or person) from a photograph, we have become accustomed to having the power to control the images we create and share with others.  What happens though when the manipulated image becomes regarded, even subconsciously, as real?  What happens when we begin to believe that the models and celebrities adorning our favorite magazine covers actually look the way they do in their photographs?  In our class, we will examine what happens when the lines between reality and fantasy begin to be blurred and when notions such as truth begin to have multiple meanings.  Our work will lead to the development of an argumentative research paper that can approach this subject through many different lenses.  Whether it is arguing how new standards of beauty are being created in magazines to perpetuate unrealistic and unobtainable body images, or arguing what happens when individuals start to emulate the reality they believe exists within images such as found in extreme cosplay or body modification examples, you will be free to explore these issues from various perspectives and ultimately contribute to the academic discourse on the power in, or subsequent dangers of, creating our own forms of reality.

Photography and the Cult of Celebrity

Section ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842587 004 MW 12:30 - 1:50 HSS 1106A Melinda Guillen
842588 005 MW 2:00 - 3:20 HSS 1106A Melinda Guillen
How can photos be utilized to not only construct an individual’s identity, but to also create a following of fans who worship that person based on his or her image alone?  How can a single image become iconic?  In this class, we will examine the role photography has played in creating celebrity, both famously, in the examples of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, as well as with the more infamous figures ranging from Bettie Page to Charles Manson.  Our work will lead to the development of a research paper that can approach this subject through many different lenses.  Whether it is arguing why particular photos should or should not be labeled as controversial, why gallery exhibitions by artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe have generated outrage in certain communities, or why groups have attempted to ban books by photographers like Helmut Newton or Steven Meisel, you will be free to explore these issues from various perspectives and ultimately contribute to the academic discourse on the power dynamics involved with issues of identity construction as shown through photography.

Disability and Popular Culture

Secion ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842590 007 TTH 8:00 - 9:20 HSS 2305B Jenni Marchisotto
842591 008 TTH 9:30 - 10:50 HSS 2305B Jenni Marchisotto
Upwards of 43 million Americans are currently experiencing some kind of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment, and that number is on the rise. And yet despite the pervasiveness of these kinds of disabilities among the U.S. population, and despite the fact that disabled people comprise one of the largest U.S. minority groups, disabled figures are often stereotyped in movies, comic books, commercials, novels, and on television shows, as being deserving of the viewer’s pity, or as being excessively courageous because of their ability to overcome what is often portrayed as a troubled or difficult existence. These stereotypes mark disabled people as ‘other’, thus marginalizing an already marginalized population. In this course, we will examine popular representations of disability to uncover assumptions about the normal or ideal body. We will read scholarship from a variety of perspectives that consider impairments in relation to history, nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. In the process, students will apply this scholarship—and their own independent research—to a popular cultural form with the objective of making and defending an argument about disability in a research paper.

Borders, Journeys, and Home

Secion ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842592 009 MW 9:30 - 10:50 HSS 2333A Sara Solaimani
842593 010 MW 11:00 - 12:20 HSS 2333A Sara Solaimani
We live a stone’s throw away from the most frequently crossed international border in the world.  How does this border—and the countless reasons why it is crossed every day—contribute to our idea of home?  In this course we will examine theories about displacement, migration and diaspora, and how these theories challenge or support cultural constructions of home.  In addition we will explore the ways in which home becomes mythologized for refugees, those in exile and economic migrants and consider how personal, social, national, ethnic or feminist identity is formed during journeys that take us far away from home or return us there.

Consciousness

Secion ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842594 011 TTH 2:00 - 3:20 HSS 2305B Matthew Piper
842595 012 TTH 3:30 - 4:50 HSS 2305B Matthew Piper
What is the single greatest scientific mystery?  Dark matter?  String Theory?  Many scientists and philosophers actually have an infinitely more intimate mystery in mind: consciousness.  How can your brain – just a collection of neurons – create your mind?  How can electrical events in your head create the flavor of chocolate, the feeling of pleasure, or free will?  The difficulty in answering this question – how to naturally explain, in full, your experience reading this now, for example – has motivated many to think that the mystery of consciousness is beyond human understanding.  This MCWP 50 course examines various aspects of this mystery, from both scientific and philosophical perspectives.  Designed to help students do research on the nature of their own conscious experiences, this course provides students with multiple lenses to consider the very phenomenon that allows them to do research – or be aware of anything at all – in the first place!

Propaganda's Ploys: What Are You Selling?

Secion ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842596 013 TTH 11:00 - 12:20 HSS 1106A Stacey Trujillo
842597 014 TTH 12:30 - 1:50 HSS 1106A Stacey Trujillo
Every day we face a bombardment of propaganda. It ranges from political campaign ads to the constant affirmation of consumerism within U.S. society and it comes in a variety of mediums including advertisements on television, the radio and print media.  In this class we will explore various theories of argumentation and apply them to different pieces of propaganda. Instead of focusing simply on whether or not the specific piece of propaganda convinces us, the goal of this class is to explore the different ways that various forms of propaganda make their arguments. It is important to contextualize each of these arguments and as a class we will investigate different types of propaganda and interrogate how each one utilizes social norms, including constructions of femininity/masculinity, “family values” and patriotism to persuade, entertain or inform the audience. Each student will choose a specific type of propaganda as the basis of their analysis and illustrate the different ways that it uses different argumentative tools to construct an argument.

Uncanny Architecture and the Modern Imagination

Section ID Section Day/Time Room Instructor
842598 015 TTH 2:00 - 3:20 HSS 1106A Liz Miller
842599 016 TTH 3:30 - 4:50 HSS 1106A Liz Miller
The “uncanny” describes a number of phenomena, from the surreal and eerily familiar to the bizarre and supernatural. In this course, we will examine uncanny architecture in history, including not only domestic spaces and archetypal haunted houses, but also places of entertainment like haunted theatres and institutional architectures like penitentiaries and asylums. Haunted spaces predate the modern era by hundreds of years. However, this course will focus on the ways that uncanny architecture has taken on new life since major historical developments like the scientific revolution, the rise of capitalism, and the advent of secularism. How have modern intellectualism and literature—typified by the writings of figures such as Sigmund Freud or Edgar Allan Poe—dealt with uncanny architecture? Students will be free to approach this and other questions from a variety of perspectives. Using selected articles from the course reader and a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will write a research paper on a subject related to the course topic.

Office & Contact Info

Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) 2346
Mon-Thurs, 9am-noon & 1-3:30pm 
Fri, 9am-noon & 1-3pm 

Phone 858-534-2522
Fax 858-534-3219

E-mail:
muwritehelp@ucsd.edu 

Drop Box

A black drop box is available outside of the office for your convenience when the office is closed.