Three American Cultures: Jazz, Hollywood Cinema, and Border Music
General Catalog Course Title:
Three American Cultures
Terms Offered:
Fall 2011

The course will examine 3 specifically quintessentially American, twentieth-century cultural forms: (1) jazz- (2) Hollywood cinema- and (3) what I’m calling (for brevity’s sake) "border music" – the music, that is, that stretches from Cajun and Zydeco music in Louisiana to Tex-Mex music in Texas and conjunto, corrido, Frontera music from Texas to California. The focus of the course is to be comparative- readings will center around first-person accounts, written by members of the ethnic groups most immediately involved in each of my three selected enterprises. The theme is that of identity, seen politically as well as culturally- we shall examine how the various ethnic groups involved – African Americans in the case of jazz- Jews, Germans and other Europeans in the case of Hollywood- French-speaking Americans in the case of Zydeco- and Spanish-speaking Americans in the case of conjunto and similar musical forms – came to forge a collective identify for themselves in and through the process of cultural production they were, and are, engaged in. May be repeated for credit with a different instructor and subject matter.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.