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Theater 117AC - Staging Race in California (4 units): Californians often think of our home state as a kind of “post-racial” space, one free of racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice, but to what extent is this true? This course explores two dynamics: (1) the racial structures of California historically and in the contemporary moment, and (2) how cultural systems of performance help shape social systems of race. We will consider the role a range of performance forms – theater, film, pageants, political protests – have played in shaping California’s unique cultural and racial topography. From the theatricalization of Chinatown in Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song to that of urban riots in Twilight, from the staging of farmworker’s rights to the rendering of California’s indigenous peoples as tourist spectacle, performance strategies have been used by a variety of agents towards a wide range of social and political goals. We will use the histories of play productions and para-theatrical performances to interrogate conceptions of California as a “post-racial” state.
Given this course’s central focus on the histories and processes of racial formation in California, it has been approved to fulfill the American Cultures requirement at UC Berkeley.
Class Number: 15332
Final Exam: Thursday, August 9 from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. (Final exam date is tentative; subject to change by professor)
Register/Add Deadline: TBD (Pacific Time)