Friday, November 18, 2011

Syllabus | Summer 2012 | SDSU in London | Anthropology 439 and English 493: LONDON ROCKS: 21st Century UK Visual Culture

LONDON ROCKS: UK Visual/Viral Culture Now!
Anthropology 439 or English 493 | Summer 2012
Director, MALAS
Professor, English & CompLit
'Film Director,' London

Brace yourself for a Study Abroad class wherein we will devour and existentially channel as much of the cutting-edge art, film, literature, photography, theatre, and club-life of the planet's greatest city (sorry Paris, too bad NYC) as is humanly possible. We will become curious and savvy 21st century cultural anthropologists as our field work sends us to all parts of London and beyond--in less that four weeks time, we will become one with the flesh and fabric of an incredible urban body, allowing sensual visual/viral elements to infect our minds and change the way we see (and think, and write) in the process.

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 the official SDSU catalogue:

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! Our class will move in a slightly different direction--more 21st-century than medieval.

Here's a 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 Lady Gaga or Jude Law, and you begin to get the gist of it!

Using various literary, cinematic, and anthropological) methodologies, we will merge ourselves into the vibrant circuitry 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. If it is filmed in London, on film in London, about film, etc, we will pursue it--our field trips will be as likely to check out the raddest film in the most cutting-edge locale as it will be to understand how "seeing" works differently in London. In the weeks that follow, a great and lasting social science, anthropology, 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.

note: Students are welcome to take this course for English 493 Literature and Film credit OR for Anthropology 439 credit; graduate students can take the course for MALAS 798 or ENGL 798 credit as well your choice, depending on which assists you more on your road to graduation).

What do we assume of students taking this amazing London-based class? 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 mix 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.

The Tate Modern Museum, one of our destinations in London!

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 visual 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 field trips) 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.

How the Class Works: cineTREKS™

The class is designed in an innovative fashion in order to accommodate 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/English 493 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 at our own cybercool SDSU London CineTREKblog!

Reading Assignments

To be determined on the ground in the UK (aka, coming soon).

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!

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