Thursday, December 19, 2013

Syllabus | Summer 2014 | SDSU in London | LONDON EYE/I: The Visual is Viral is Visual {Anth 439, Engl 493, CLT 470, MALAS 600D}

Summer 2014
The Visual is Viral is Visual
Anthropology 439, English 493, Comparative Literature 470, MALAS 600D

William A. Nericcio
Director, MALAS
Professor, English & CompLit

Brace yourself for a Study Abroad class where we will devour as much of the cutting-edge art, film, literature, photography, theatre, and club-life of the planet's greatest city as is humanly possible. We will become curious and savvy 21st century cultural anthropologists as our field work sends us to all parts of London and beyond--in less that four weeks time, we will become one with the flesh and fabric of an incredible urban body, allowing sensual visual/viral elements to infect our minds and change the way we see (and think, and write) in the process. Travel and study abroad is a unique experience--like some sort of psychological tattoo it etches itself into and onto our minds and bodies changing our vision (and our lives) in the process. London will prove no different!

The focus of our class may, at first, strike you as a bit of a surprise as reading the SDSU catalogue's description for Anthropology 439 is enough to make one doze off or run away! 

ANTH 439: (3 units) Cultural Comparisons through Film  
Principles of cultural anthropology to include signs and proxemics, cultural prerequisites, kinship and social organization, and law and values. Feature and documentary films.  
[This course fulfills SDSU upper division explorations under area B--Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as cultural diversity requirements.]

Holy Social Sciences Batman! "Signs and proxemics" sounds like a new medical procedure you might want to avoid! 

Our class will move in a slightly different direction--more 21st-century than medieval as we discover how "seeing" through London's EYE impacts on world visual culture. Using various literary, cinematic, and anthropological tactics, we will merge ourselves with the vibrant circuitry of Europe's greatest city; in the process, we will study and draw conclusions regarding creative communities and individuals performing or filming in the United Kingdom. If it is filmed in London, on film in London, about film, etc, we will pursue it--our field trips will be as likely to check out the screening of hot, new films in cutting-edge locales as it will be to encounter breakout performance art in a pub theatre

In the weeks that follow, a great and lasting social science, anthropology (or Literature or MALAS, depending how you are taking this course for credit), will run headlong into the silver screen on the streets of London. And we will be there to watch the impact. Our four-week long adventure assumes no experience in the field of anthropology or literature or film, nor does it assume you know the difference between pulling focus, harassing a key grip, or calling “speed.” Lastly, we most certainly do not not assume a command of the streets of London. 

What do we assume of students taking this amazing London-based class? Curiosity. Wait, that’s too lame. Not just “curiosity” but a thirst, a passion, a lust for new knowledge, novel insights, and beautiful, sometimes provocative, spectacles.

The films and field trips that will make up our class are a mix of visual delights--both films that feature London and the United Kingdom, and classic and independent films seen in some of London's amazing movie palaces! Our course this term is designed as a moveable feast, as we prowl across London in search of cutting edge, classic, and even, in a few cases, older art in order to gauge what drives the aesthetic imagination of the ARTS metropolis of Europe. The bulk of our seminar on wheels will be taken up with outings to the amazing number of arts altars dotted across the London landscape.

The Tate Modern Museum, one of our destinations in London!

How the Class Works: The cineTREK™

The class is designed in an innovative fashion in order to accommodate your busy schedules in and around London. Here is how it works and how your grade will be determined:

On average, a typical SDSU class rewards students with 3 units; this, in turn, takes about forty-five to fifty hours of classroom time (not counting time for homework, readings etc). SDSU Summer Sessions are no different, and SDSU Summer Session study abroad classes are the same. The difference with this class is that you can PICK your 45-50 hours of intellectual labor from over 140 hours of field trips, screenings, lectures, plays, gallery chats, etc. that I will come up with during our stay in the Royal Borough of Kensington. These field trips are called cineTREKs and they will be listed on our own frequently updated  cineTREK calendar located here

How this works on practical basis is that while there may be anywhere from 20 to 25 cineTREKs available to pick from, you are only responsible for completing 12 of them--this means you can fashion your own schedule and course emphasis AND most importantly, that you can find/make time to travel around Europe while in the UK if you see fit to do that.

{Do please note that several of the cineTREKs™ listed here WILL HAVE ADMISSION fees and that said FEES WILL NOT BE PAID BY THE FOUNDATION nor by your 'starving' Professor; that having been said, every measure will be taken to assure that this experiment in aesthetics, pedagogy and travel will be no more nor no less expensive than a regular class back in sunny San Diego.}

Reading Assignments

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

John Berger, Ways of Seeing (selections)

Primers on Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology

Writing Assignments (Online!)

All writing assignments will be posted on your online site. All students will be free to offer reviews, commentaries and critiques based on prompts from the Professor as well as random comments you might want to pitch in response to other students' writings. I, too, will be holding forth in this cyberforum and the students are especially encouraged and challenged to submit comments regularly--count on making at least 6 or so entries on the blog (basically, you are expected to write about half of the field trips you attend). These critical pieces of writing should be around 500 words or two pages, double-spaced, typed each. Grades will be assigned for these entries, so quality, of course, will be AS important as quantity. Graduate students enrolled in the LONDON ROCKS program will have additional assignments that will be distributed at the first class in London.

Grade Breakdown

cineTREK™ field trips      50%
cineTREK™ Blog Entries  50%

Office Hours

Office Hours to be announced via email each week!

note: undergraduates are welcome to take this course for English 493 (Literature and Film) credit OR for Anthropology 439 (Culture Through Film) credit; graduate students can take the course for MALAS 600D (SEM: Art, Film, & Lit) or ENGL 798 (Special Study), depending on which assists you more on your road to graduation. This class is open to students from all majors and presumes no prior expertise with cultural anthropology, film, literature or viruses!

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