Saturday, June 13, 2009

SDSU Anthropology 439 | NAKED LONDON EYES | Summer 2009

Naked London Eyes: Film, Theatre, Art, Photography in the UK Now!
Anthropology 439 | Summer 2009 | cineTREK™ calendar | UK_trip FotoAlbum
Chair, Professor, & London Cruise Director |

Brace yourself for a Study Abroad class wherein we will voyeuristically devour and existentially channel as much of the cutting-edge literature, art, film, photography, theatre, and club-life as is possible in a 6-week period. 21st Century Anthropologists of the world's greatest city, our field work will send us to all parts of London and beyond as we become part of the flesh and fabric of an incredible urban body!

The direction for this class may, at first, strike you as a bit of a surprise as reading the SDSU catalogue's description Anth 439 might be enough to make you want to leap off the nearest high-rise. Allow me to quote from our official SDSU fish-wrap:

ANTH 439: (3 units) Cultural Comparisons through Film

Principles of cultural anthropology to include signs and proxemics, cultural prerequisites, kinship and social organization, and law and values. Feature and documentary films. [This course fulfills SDSU upper division explorations under area B - Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as cultural diversity requirements.]

Holy Social Sciences Batman! "signs and proxemics" sounds like a new laxative from Bristol-Myers-Squibb!

Should my joke offend, do calm down my beloved Anthropology colleagues and sponsors this summer and forgive the glib sarcasm of this English professor cum Anthropology maven! Because, truth be told, Anthropologists of film we will be as we haunts and survey the confines of jolly old London.

Here's the Hollywood spin regarding our adventure: Anthropology and Film: the study of Man (in the UK) meets the glitz and glamour of Hollywood--picture Margaret Mead cross-dressing as Posh Spice or Paris Hilton, and you begin to get the gist of it! Using various and sundry literary, cinematic, and (shhhhh! anthropological) methodologies and tactics, we will be submerged into the cultural life's blood of Europe's greatest city; in the process we will study and draw conclusions regarding the cult/culture of seeing/performing/filming/etc in the United Kingdom.

In the weeks that follow, a great and lasting social science will run headlong into the silver screen on the streets of London. And we will be there to watch the impact. Our six-week long adventure assumes no experience in the field of anthropology, nor does it assume you know the difference between pulling focus, harassing a key grip, or calling “speed.” Lastly, we most certainly do not not assume a command of the streets of London.

What do we assume? Curiosity.

Wait, that’s too lame. Not just “curiosity” but a thirst, a passion, a lust for new knowledge, novel insights, and beautiful, sometimes provocative, spectacles. The films and field trips that will make up our class are a hodge-podge of visual delights--both films that feature London and the United Kingdom, and classic and independent films seen in some of London's amazing movie palaces! Our course this term is designed as a moveable feast, as we prowl across London in search of cutting edge, classic, and even, in a few cases, older art in order to gauge what drives the aesthetic imagination of the ARTS metropolis of Europe.

Indeed, the bulk of our seminar on wheels will be taken up with outings to the amazing number of arts altars dotted across the London landscape. Keep in mind that while we will toe the line and do as the SDSU Anthropology catalogue mandates--taking note of "signs and proxemics, cultural prerequisites, kinship and social organization, and law and value," but (more importantly) we will also focus on the cultural tendencies of film and culture in London.

There are no prerequisites for this class and it is open to all majors.

Do please note that several of the cineTREKS™ (our name for our fieldtrips) listed below DO HAVE ADMISSION fees and that said FEES WILL NOT BE PAID BY THE FOUNDATION nor by your poor Professor; that having been said, every measure will be taken to assure that this experiment in aesthetics, pedagogy and travel will be no more nor no less expensive than a regular class back in sunny San Diego.


The class is designed in an innovative fashion in order to accomodate your busy schedules in and around London--do note that INTERN students in the past have been able to easily comply with their intern requirements AND take this Anthropology 439 class. Here is how it works and how your grade will be determined:

On average, a typical SDSU class rewards students with 3 units; this, in turn, takes about forty-five to fifty hours of classroom time (not counting time for homework, readings etc). SDSU Summer Sessions are no different, and SDSU Summer Session study abroad classes the same. The difference with this class is that you can PICK your 45-50 hours of intellectual labor from over 140 hours of field trips, screenings, lectures, plays, gallery chats, etc. that I will come up with during our stay in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea--this gives you utterly ridiculous freedom in selecting which course cineTREKS™ fit in with your busy world-traveling schedule.

These cineTREKS™vary in value--depending on their difficulty, expense, and the time it takes to complete the trip; a trip to the Tate Modern for a lecture might be worth 3 cineTREKS™, while a field trip to Oxford for the day might have a value of 6 cineTREKS™. You will need to accumulate 50 cineTREKS™ to fulfill your course requirements. Note that I have trademarked the term in case someone wants to steal our catchy concept and make a mint off us! Also note that you will be expected to write critical reactions to these amazing cultural junkets--these will be entered online at our own cybercool SDSU London CineTREKblog!

Reading Assignments

Your first reading is optional and available online--it is a consideration of the connection between performance studies and intercultural learning in London.

Writing Assignments (Online!)

All writing assignments will be posted on your online site. All students will be free to offer reviews, commentaries and critiques based on prompts from the Professor as well as random comments you might want to pitch in response to other students' writings. I, too, will be holding forth in this cyberforum and the students are especially encouraged and challenged to submit comments regularly--count on making at least 10 or so entries on the blog. Grades will be assigned for these entries, so quality, of course, will be AS important as quantity.

Grade Breakdown

50 cineTREK™ UNITS 50%
cineTREK™ Blog Entries 40%
Semester Term Paper 10%

Office Hours

Office Hours to be announced via email each week!