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Junior Seminars

COMM 190 (A00)
Instructor: David Serlin
Title: Touch As Communication

Description: This course explores human touch as a medium of communication and tactility a mode of interactive engagement that challenges forms of sensory communication (such as those organized around vision and sound) typically associated with technology-based media. Students will examine touch within various social, scientific, and political contexts, and develop individual projects that put critical thinking about touch and tactility at the center of analysis and interpretation.


COMM 190 (B00)
Instructor: Olga Vasquez
Title: Communication as Art and the Art of Communication

Description: This course examines community art as communication, its form, its message and its effectiveness in defining and/or empowering a specific community.  Students will select one of a number of pre-selected community art projects in the City Heights community and for those who can absolutely not travel to City Heights—17.4 miles from UCSD, the option will be a pre-approved community art project on campus.  Throughout the quarter, students will be introduced to local artists, community leaders, and architects with the goal of helping the class to artfully articulate the relation between art and community, identifying its most salient message and identifying some of its achievements or limitations.  With almost 70,000 people, 30 languages and 80 dialects, City Heights is a Kaleidoscope of difference and possibility for understanding the diversity and complexity increasingly occupying the global imagination.  Students will work in groups and engage in ethnographic field research to capture the individuality of a specific art form in a community and offer appraisals of their explorations in a course paper and presentation to the community institution of choice.


COMM 190 (C00)
Instructor: Thomas Conner
Title: Music as Social Action

Description: The course provides an in-depth overview of popular music as a medium for ideological and political communication. Students will learn to recognize “socially conscious” music across genres and evaluate its effects as both transmission of information and meaning-making ritual. We will listen to and examine a variety of protest musics — folk, rock and roll, blues, soul, hip-hop, glam, disco, punk, and more — in order to explore the contested relationships with changing social and political contexts during the post-WWII era of recorded popular music, namely political identity, race relations, gender and sexuality, and neoliberal commoditization. Understanding these developments will fortify students’ abilities to comprehend cultural-political messaging and hone their own musically mediated communications.


COMM 190 (D00)
Instructor: Valerie Hartouni
Title: Student Rebellion in the 1960s: Model or Myth?
Description: The 1960's were a particularly turbulent decade in American life whose meaning and legacy continue to be debated.  During this now thoroughly romanticized period of unrest, cultural and political claims, meanings, and practices collided, at times violently, in streets, courts, universities, and legislatures across the land. Whether one sees these struggles as moments of opportunity and democratic possibility or as the moral and political unraveling of a once great Republic, most will agree that the era contributed to reshaping (fundamentally, for better or worse) the understandings, expectations, and shared practices that organize individual and collective life.  This course explores critical events and trends of the decade, especially as they unfolded on university campuses across the country, and also looks at their lasting impact (real or imagined).  Through the use of film, television, autobiography, literature, historical narrative, and music, we will consider the war in Viet Nam and its opposition, the Civil Rights movement, Student Revolt and the Free-Speech Movement, the beginnings of the so-called sexual revolution and the emergence and growth of counter-cultures.


Intermediate Electives - Topics

Instructor: Stefan Tanaka
Title: Ghosts in Japan: Storytelling
Description: This course will examine the transformation of storytelling through ghosts in Japan.  Over the past 1000 years storytelling has changed with technologies--orality, texts and printing, and digital media.  During this period, ghostly tales have also been a common topic for transmitting uncertainty and desires.  Both were denigrated by Enlightenment forms of knowledge, but with the rise of digital media they are regaining popularity and significance.