The American Cultures Center Summer 2015 Newsletter
With the new academic year beginning next week, it is time to share upcoming events, as well as some of the extraordinary work of AC faculty, students, alumni and community partners. But first a little reflective context for our AC curriculum.
One year ago, the world turned to Ferguson, Missouri. And last semester we began with the workshop, 'Teaching to and Beyond Ferguson'. By the size of that January gathering, many were beginning Spring 2015 asking how their classrooms might broach the deep questions and histories raised by recent protests. The workshop was of course, a response to the condition of systematic racial injustices within the U.S. given fresh light by the death of Michael Brown. The temper of national conversations since then has been felt from courthouses to school rooms, all the time fostering new debate on the meaning of equality and justice in America today.
In this climate, the AC classroom has continued to provide a venue for reflection on what is known, what is thought and what is felt, of our complex society, its antagonisms and joys. And in turn, our faculty, students, academic and community partners alike continue to inspire endeavors in and outside of our classrooms for a more just and equitable nation. We applaud the hard effort and creativity of the AC community! Supporting these efforts into the curriculum's third decade, is a host of new events and workshops where the AC community can gather, and also the release of the 2016 ACES call for submissions.
We wish you well in these last days of summer, hope to see you at and event or two, and look forward to our Fall 2015 work together.
Director, The AC Center
American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) Applications for 2016
In the 2016 proposal cycle, several priorities have been emphasized to support community engaged scholarship directly benefiting undergraduate education. Including the ongoing support for AC courses which engage students directly in community-based projects, the ACES programexpands its consideration of community-based teaching and research. Proposals are therefore welcomed in ONE of five categories (ACES 2016 Application).
Applications Due by 5pm on October 23, 2015
ACES in Summer
Summer 2015 was the first occasion for two exciting ACES summer courses. One in, Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) entitled, 'Reflections of Gender Culture and Ethnicity in American Dance'; and the other in the Department of Music, entitled, 'Hip-Hop Music in Urban America: from the Bay to the Universe'.
Krista DeNio, TDPS 52AC
Working from the premise that the context, content and form of any dance event serve as a window on culture, we focus on dance associated with multiple racial-ethnic groups. As part of an on-going research partnership, students in the course worked with multiple campus and student organizations supporting formerly incarcerated students their families and veteran students. In particular, the Underground Scholars Initiative and The Urban Scholars Initiative worked closely with the students.
Sarah Lappas Ford, Music 74AC/139AC
The title of the course borrows from the name of a sold out global tour of Bay Area artists including E-40, G-Easy and Kehlani. "From the Bay to the Universe" also honors the Bay Area's site as the birthplace of hip-hop slang production styles and dances including the hyphy movement and turf dancing. The class featured collaborative workshops for UC Berkeley students and RYSEparticipants with Bay Area hip hop legends including Mistah F.A.B. and DJ Pam the Funktress from The Coup, as well as emerging hip hop educators and performers.
Featured Community Partnership Project
Over the past three years, Pat Steenland, faculty in the College Writing Programs (CWP), and instructor of CWP 50AC/150AC, has been working with Paiute tribal elder, community scholar and water activist, Harry Williams. Together, Pat and Harry have developed multiple research projects, using The Bancroft Library archives, which have been integrated into Pat's teaching. 'Researching Water in the West' (CWP 50AC/150AC) excavates the fascinating and pertinently timely histories of water management over hundreds of years by the Paiute peoples of Owens Valley. And impressively, these histories are now the subject of a new film, 'Paya', by UC Berkeley and CWP alumnus, Jenna Cavelle...Read More.
Awarded since 2008, the AC Student Research Prize recognizes the high standard of research work created in an AC course. This year's recipients for excellence in the AC curriculum, are Sarah Trail and Oliver Zerrudo.
SARA TRAIL, American Studies Major Research paper: The Impact of Race, Culture and Consciousness for Black Students at Berkeley High (Education 190AC)
Sara’s paper, The Impact of Race, Culture and Consciousness for Black Students at Berkeley High, demonstrates how a culturally conscious curriculum strengthens minority students' sense of race, culture and ethnicity... Read Selection
OLIVER ZERRUDO, Ethnic Studies and Political Science Major Research paper: Framing Resistance
(Ethnic Studies 181AC)
‘Framing Resistance’ is a series of five poems and reflective statements Oliver created in the Ethnic Studies 181AC Course ‘Prison’ during Spring 2014. These poems explore Oliver’s immigration to the Bay Area, his politicization/criminalization as an urban youth of color, the juxtaposition of his American and Filipino identities, as well as his transition to UC Berkeley... Read Selection
Honoring the Work of AC Faculty
The Innovation in Teaching Award recognizes faculty who have created teaching environments that enhance both the goals of the American Cultures requirement and students’ learning. Yet again, the applicant pool was highly competitive, so much so that awards were presented by the selection committee to two faculty.
SEAN BURNS, International and Area Studies (IAS) and Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS)
Dr. Burns received the Innovation in Teaching Award for his course IAS 158AC/PACS, 148AC, Social Movements, Urban History, and the Politics of Memory. This course examines the diverse history of movements for social justice in the San Francisco Bay Area with a focus on how these movements have engaged with social, economic, political and ecological changes in the region from 1769 to present... Read More
BRIAN POWERS, Sociology
Dr. Powers received the Innovation and Teaching Award for his courses, Sociology 3AC, Principles of Sociology, Sociology 113AC,Sociology of Education and Sociology 190, Senior Seminar in the Theory and Practice of Inclusive Schooling: Racial Diversity, English-Language Learners, and Students with Disability.
Covering a wide range of issues, these sociology courses are linked in the way they explore American racial disparities in education and other areas of life, examining the purposes served over time by the construction and enforcement of taken-for-granted, customary, and legally defined racial categories... Read More
Featured Faculty Book: 'Party Music' by Rickey Vincent
Well known radio presenter, music scholar and instructor of multiple AC courses, Rickey Vincent this year released his new book, 'Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music' (Lawrence Hill 2013). Party Music is both social movement analysis and radical music history. Party Music tells the story of The Lumpen, the short lived R&B band comprised of rank-and-file members of the Black Panther Party in 1970. The interaction of soul music aesthetics and black power politics is illustrated vividly through first hand narratives of members of the group. Rickey presented his new book in discussion with Professor Waldo Martin to a packed house.
Inspiration from students enrolled in this year's ACES courses; assessment by community partners; and the ongoing enthusiasm voiced for the ACES curriculum by our faculty, inspired The AC Center to consider how to best represent the aspirations and impact of the ACES program. Below is the new graphic representation. We hope you approve!
Upcoming AC Workshops
The AC Center invites you to attend the following workshops. Each is open to the public and light refreshments will be available.
Gender, Sexuality and Identity Workshop
September 2, 10:00am-12:00pm
360 Stephens Hall Conference Room
In partnership with the Gender Equity Resource Center, The AC Center will host a workshop on gender, sexuality and identity on Wednesday, September 2 at The AC Center in 360 Stephens Hall.
Book Event – Dan Berger, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
September 24, 4:00pm-5:45pm
Boalt Hall South Addition Room 132
On Thursday, September 24th, Dan Berger, Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell, will present, 'Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era' (UNC Press, Nov. 2014) . Recent recipient of the James Rawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians, this book explores a bold reconsideration of twentieth century black activism, the prison system, and the origins of mass incarceration. Grounded in extensive research, Berger engagingly demonstrates that such organizing made prison walls porous and influenced generations of activists that followed.
Are you interested in getting paid to research what's new in AC? Do you have strong writing skills and experience with social media sites? The AC Center is currently hiring an Undergraduate Reporter for the 2015-16 year...Read More