Worldings: Regions, Peoples, and States
"Heck, my major is math, and I've barely taken any humanities classes in my life, but this sure was worth it." So states one student reflecting on their time in Dr. Jake Kosek's American Cultures course, Geography 10AC. Drawing students from across the disciplinary spectrum, and for many their first experience of a Geography classroom, the unifying theme of the class is the contested relations, practices, and processes in the making of central geographic concepts (empire, space, nature, and dispossession), concepts that often go unexamined and yet are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives. Geography's central concepts pepper the pages of newspapers almost every day –in stories of structural racism, immigration policies, international finance capital, the military industry, genetic engineering, global warming, natural disasters, surveillance, poverty, and terrorism. The conceptually capacious and literally global scale of the course is grounded in the intentional relationships created by Jake and the teaching team. A 'politics of care' pervades the student experience, fostering close listening and the unicorn of safe and brave spaces for deep study. Dr. Jake Kosek, a faculty member at UC Berkeley's Department of Geography, was honored in November 2021 as one of the recipients of the 2021 American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award.
November 23, 2021
Transforming Tech: Issues and Interventions in STEM and Silicon Valley
Bringing to the fore massive surveillance networks, playful apps, police checkpoints, and social media campaigns, Professor Abigail De Kosnik's 'Transforming Tech' American Cultures Course (New Media 151AC) takes a critical lens to a collection of high-profile issues within an industry of daunting influence, exposing the underpinnings of the power dynamics at play across issues including border enforcement, algorithmic bias, tech worker activism, misinformation, and more. It culminates in a call to action through creative digital assignments that raise the question of what possible interventions could be introduced to address these issues, the firms’ concentrated control over our futures, and how new media technologies might facilitate alternative collective imaginaries. Reflecting on their experience in 151AC, one student shared their advice for future students, "lean into this incredible learning opportunity. It will teach you to create and thrive in sustainable, inclusive futures." In November 2021, Professor De Kosnik was honored as one of the recipients of the 2021 American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award.
November 23, 2021
Dance in American Cultures
In the midst of frozen lives, students in Professor SanSan Kwan's Theater Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) 52AC course danced, studied dance, and created dance, connecting the meaning-making of dance to the everyday. Chiefly concerned with embodiment and how identity is seen and felt through the body, the dance pedagogies of 52AC have taken on even greater relevance in the past year, from understanding the choreography of street protest to analyses of how the AAPI body has recently been the object of harassment and violence - connections that students felt respected their experiences and interests inside and outside of the classroom - or in one student's words, "To be in the company of someone, right now in this difficult time which is so knowledgeable, passionate, respectful. Just plain awesome." For SanSan, the classroom is deeply linked to her scholarship and practice as an artist. She introduces students to the concept that dance is more than just steps, styles, and physical techniques - it is a window into culture and identity. SanSan Kwan is a Professor from the Department of Theater Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. In November 2021, she was honored as one of the recipients of the 2021 American Cultures Excellence in Teaching Award.
November 23, 2021