Spring 2021 CCA@CCA Courses
“Creative Citizens” courses build students' skills in creative activism and civic engagement. Course topics may include social justice, environmental activism, civic or political engagement, activist movements, forms of protest, social practice, community engagement, design activism, and more.
Bz (Brenda) Zhang and Kevin Bernard Moultrie Daye
“EXTRAORTHOGRAPHICS: Drawing Histories and Futures into Architectural Production” is a retooling of the typical Introduction to Architecture studio to center condition and context not simply as a surface understanding of the surrounding buildings and current environment, but as a deep historical dive into from pre-colonization to present day, and to bring all of the racial, socioeconomic and cultural information embedded in the site to the forefront.
This history/theory seminar will look at the architecture of extraction—the buildings, infrastructures, logistical networks, and landscapes that have driven resource consumption and fossil capitalism.... Across the semester, will be attending to the connections between the fields of architecture, geology, political economy, and ecological thought. How might atmospheric data, settler colonialism, labor struggles, resource geology, racial capitalism, and corporate globalization be read through architectural sites and landscapes? And how might an abolitionist approach to these various modes of extraction help us rethink architecture?
We will focus on four themes and spend three weeks on each to unpack its historic contexts and counter-narratives. “Property” looks at the way land has been parceled and commodified—from the Jeffersonian Grid to what Rem Koolhaas has called the culture of congestion. “Equity” explores systems of racial and class discrimination, from red-lining to gentrification. “Ecology” assesses urbanism’s attitude towards environment across theories of the Garden City movement, sustainability and climate risk. Lastly, “Economy” examines the distribution of wealth and resources by real estate development, Neoliberal planning, labor and work.
This course will be an investigation of art and artists working in communities, working collaboratively, working in partnership with local, national and international agencies, and those who address civil and human rights. This course addresses the need to better prepare art students for active and participatory roles of leadership in a multicultural society.
Critical Ethnic Studies
Melinda De Jesus
Analyzing the entangled histories of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, racism, disenfranchisement, and labor, we will examine how different peoples become "American." We will focus on the racialization of American Indians, African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, and Asian Americans with regard to conceptions of identity and citizenship across multiple categories of difference including gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. We will delve specifically into the histories of Oakland's communities of color, and study their stories of resistance, struggle, and triumph.
This course explores critical Black feminist thought. Using an intersectional approach, we will explore a breadth of work produced by and about Black women who too often lose their rightful place as leaders of revolution and struggle. Upon studying the practice and revolutionary politics of women who not only criticized capitalism but also challenged it, what frameworks of analysis do we gain from them that we can use to make sense of our contemporary moment? What limitations do we still face?
How do Black artists and filmmakers use materials, space, and language to construct the subjective space of storytelling? This course will survey the aesthetics, history, and theories that characterize experimental Black cinema and video art through a comprehensive range of filmmakers and artists that have contributed work to the canon. This course will help to situate you as informed, critically engaged readers/viewers of experimental media works. Emphasis is on the experimental application of the media, and discussions of the history and aesthetics of film and video as an art form.
The course investigates how present day Asian American artists are contesting societal assumptions and subverting stereotypes through their socially engaged art practices and participation in local as well as global social movements. The students will create art projects with strong sociological and political bents, which address the undercurrent problems related, but not limited to, class gender and ethnicity.... Students will learn critical and conceptual framework to examine the body of works of selected artists and will learn to understand the strategies of resistance and empowerment movements.
This course will look at how poetry has been used as an act of resistance in various world struggles. Poems by soldiers, revolutionaries, and abolitionists will be studied. Individual poets who used their poetry as an act of resistance will also be studied. The lines between rhetoric, dogma, and art in "social" poetry will be examined. Students will complete two projects that will, in some innovative way bring poetry and resistance to the larger community (e.g. not a traditional poetry audience).
Noga G Wizansky
How and why have some human bodies and minds been regarded as incompatible with full participation in social-cultural life or competent citizenship? Through wide ranging readings, screenings, conversations, writing and creative work this hybrid course will explore and also unsettle societal constructions of ability and disability. Placing focus on the arts and visual culture, we’ll consider such questions as, which bodies and minds have access to representation, education, reception and creative work itself? ...We will explore deep intersections between disability justice and social struggles in the areas of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class; as well as urgent issues of the environment, labor, and poverty.
This course is an opportunity to think through the ways common communicative tropes are used to promote paradigms rooted in binary thinking, biological essentialism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. As artists, designers, critical thinkers and activists, we will explore our roles in deconstructing, denaturalizing, reclaiming and/or reimagining such tropes in order to build collective cultural narratives rooted in transformative justice.
This design course will investigate deeper origin points in the history of data visualization and design studies. What does it mean to revisit and rewrite the course of design history in a way that centers previously marginalized designers, cultural figures, and—particularly BIPOC and QTPOC people? Through lectures, readings, research, and viewing archival material and contemporary data, the class will shed light on moments of oppression and visibility.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Rivera
Design and visual communication have a direct impact in the creation and development of cultures. Why is it that design has not formally worked towards practices of liberation and sovereignty? How can design and visual communication formally engage with decolonial methodologies and practices? How do we critically approach eurocentric imperatives in knowledge and practice production such as graphic design, ux/ui design, etc? ...As visual communicators and designers how do we define decolonization and how does it relate to our practices? What roles has design played in practices of colonization and decolonization? This seminar course will study decolonization in design and visual communication, particularly design practices and methodologies.
To belong to a whole. To feel that you have a stake in the outcome. To engage in dialogue. To feel your power to influence change. These are essential experiences of civic life and democracy. WHAT should designers and artists be learning in Spring 2021? WHO should we be learning from? HOW can the tools of graphic design help us memorialize, document, and send this knowledge forward? In this course, students acquire the fundamentals of industry-leading software, while embracing and exploring new technologies and up-and-coming design applications.
History of Art and Visual Culture
Karen (Ren) Fiss
This course explores how the visual arts engage with nature and the environment, emphasizing that social, racial and environmental justice are inextricably linked to each other. We will draw from a wide range of practices and strategies, with an emphasis on indigenous voices and activism, in order to learn from their sustained political efforts.
Jewelry and Metal Arts
Jewelry and food: Using our hands to craft our essential, emotional, and physical existence.In this specialty course we will travel the globe virtually investigating relationships and environmental impacts of countries’ cultures through jewelry and culinary arts. ...We will travel to other paired countries to research and compare ethical metalsmithing practices and culinary traditions. We will use food and jewelry to discuss colonization, indigenous populations, and the environment.
Philosophy and Critical Theory
This course invites you to engage with the ideas of some of the greatest original political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Mill, Rousseau, Arendt and Foucault, among others, as they search for comprehensive wisdom about political issues. We will consider how their ideas can contribute to dialogue about contemporary political issues involving free speech, gender, justice, nationalism, use of state coercive power, education, freedom, and political change.
Social Science and History
This course offers a solid overview of the American political system beginning with studying its foundation and its development over time. The course will analyze the increasingly important role of campaign financing, social media, and other modes of representation in elections in contemporary American politics and how civil society as well as political units such as interest groups, political parties, political action committees (PACs), super PACs, and the media influence the policy making process. The course will introduce how Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court operate, both in theory and in practice, and how they work for, and sometimes fail, the interests of the nation.
Social Science and History (SSHIS) courses develop students' critical thinking skills through the study of history and the social sciences (e.g. sociology, psychology, economics, political science, anthropology, geography), as well as through contemporary interdisciplines that draw heavily on these fields (e.g. feminist and queer studies, media studies, urban studies, ethnic studies).
Through various pedagogical tools, students learn to think analytically and systematically about American politics, and the importance of the study of American government. This course has two secondary objectives. First, the course reviews the contours of democracy in contemporary political and civic life and asks these questions: What facilitates democratic life? What is civil discourse and its engagement? ...Second, as the semester progresses, you will be required to not only interrogate political discourses, but also be asked to reflect upon your own positions and how to situate it in the broader context of local, national, and international discourses.
Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio
John de Fazio
This topic based course explores the evolving history of LGBTQ+ iconography translated into physical forms. The Rainbow Flag designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, commissioned by Harvey Milk, is a prime example of a group idea that crossed mediums in forms of graphics, jewelry, fashion, ceramics and public art. Inventing a visual language to symbolize counter-cultural identity was an artist driven responsibility since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The Names Project Aids Quilt still involves thousands of participants sewing memorial quilts to exhibit in public spaces like the Mall in Washington DC. Inter-disciplinary projects will address Queer Representation with assignments to design and fabricate an inclusive platform for non-conformists.
Visual and Critical Studies
Operating in tandem with the VCS Forum visiting artist/scholar/critic series to support pursuit of the M.A. and Dual Degree, the course takes full advantage of our acclaimed VCS Forum programming. The VCS Forum has been a unique feature of VCS since 2000. The Forum guest speaker series enables students and faculty to converse with practitioners shaping diverse scholarly and creative disciplines. Forum speakers include emerging and established artists, curators, critics, theorists, architects, designers, historians of visual culture, and activists engaged with crucial issues on local, national, and global fronts.
This course explores the construction, negotiation, and contestation of identity and difference in visual and critical studies. The theoretical scope of this course includes postcolonial theory, race theory, gender studies, and whiteness studies. Students investigate how theorists and artists address the complex intersections of race, sexuality, gender, class, health, and nationality in light of subjects such as immigration, transnational media, diasporic communities, disidentification, belonging, and desire.