In lieu of an earlier post, and now that my second semester in California is in full swing, here are the classes that I’m taking until term finishes at the end of May.
American Cultural History: An examination of recent (twentieth-century) scholarship in American cultural history. I initially assumed this would be a historic study of American culture , however soon found out it is in fact the study of America as a nation through a cultural history interpretation. I hadn’t previously been aware of the study of Cultural History as a separate disciplinary, however it has so far been my most interesting and challenging class, having already studied in depth subjects such as the emergence of consumerism and capitalist industries within modern America.
Urbanisation of Modern America: Again, a modern look at America (from the late nineteenth Century till the present day), this class focuses on the social, economic and political forces that have contributed to the growth of cities across America. Due to America’s relatively young age in terms of sovereign nations, the main themes we are covering (immigration, suburbanisation, segregation, commercial entertainment and globalisation) make this course extremely engaging due to its relevance to current world events.
The Comic Spirit: Part of the Comparative World Literature department (confessedly, a new-one for me) this class examines comedy from historical and cultural perspectives, with course texts ranging from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, to Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch. Though it is a relatively enjoyable module, its dependence on visual media means a lot of film viewings, which I personally find quite disengaging. Nevertheless, as I have found with most, if not all, of the classes I have taken here, it has allowed me to study literature and film in an original manner – definitely differently to how we are taught in England.
Whilst I had to take four classes last term, due to now working on my initial dissertation idea (in preparation for returning to Leicester next year), I am only required to enrol in three during this semester, which means I have even more free time to enjoy this glorious country.