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Spring 2021 CCA@CCA Courses

Last updated on Jun 13, 2022

“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.


MARCH-6020-1: M'Arch Studio 2

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.

MARCH-6500-2: HT: Spaces of Extraction

ARCHT-5500-1: HT: Spaces of Extraction

James Graham

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?

MARCH-6800-1: UR: Urban Imaginaries

ARCHT-5800-1: UR: Urban Imaginaries

Janette Kim

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. 

Community Arts

DIVST-2000-8: Art & Society

DIVST-3000-15: Art & Society

COMAR-3700-1: Community Practice Workshop 2: Art & Society

COMAR-2700-1: Community Practice Workshop 1: Art & Society

Aaron Gach

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

DIVSM-2000-10: A History of US People of Color

DIVSM-3000-12: A History of US People of Color

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.

DIVSM-2000-3: 'Tryin' to Get Free': Foundations and Futures of Intersectionality

DIVSM-3000-13: 'Tryin' to Get Free': Foundations and Futures of Intersectionality

SSHIS-3000-7: 'Tryin' to Get Free': Foundations and Futures of Intersectionality

Rekia Jibrin

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?

DIVSM-2000-4: Black Experimental Narrative

DIVSM-3000-5: Black Experimental Narrative

Leila Weefur

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.

DIVST-2000-4: Catalyst for Change

DIVST-3000-6: Catalyst for Change

Pallavi Sharma

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.

DIVST-3000-13: World Poetry of Resistance

Devorah Major

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).

DIVST-3000-14: Non-Conforming: Disability and the Arts

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.

Critical Studies

CRTSD-1500-7: FiCS: The Sound Body Politic

Annah Anti-Palindrome

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.

Graduate Design

DESGN-6720-3: DC: Topics: Black Data: A history of oppression within data visualization and design

Silas Munroe

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.

DESGN-6720-2: DC: Topics: Designing Our Way Out: Imagining Liberation

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.

Graphic Design

GRAPH-1080-1: Graphic Design Tools

Sara Raffo

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

VISST-3000-10: Environmental Art/Environmental Justice

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

METAL-2080-1: Specialty Course: Hand to Mouth: Questioning Consumption

Curtis Arima

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

PHCRT-2000-12: Politika

Amy Sims

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

SSHIS-2000-1: American Politics

Maxwell Leung

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.

SSHIS-2000-5: Power of Evil: Nazi Germany

Amy Sims

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).

SSHIS-3000-6: Social Problems

Maxwell Leung

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

UDIST-3000-9: Queer Super Objects (Hybrid)

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

GELCT-6800-1: VISCR: Methodologies

VISCR-6100-1: Methodologies 1

VISCR-6120-1: Methodologies 2

Vanessa Chang

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.

GELCT-6800-2: VISCR: Theories of Identity, Difference, and Power

VISCR-6220-1: Theories of Identity, Difference, and Power

Mia Liu

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.