The Keck Research Program embeds undergraduate research in first-year Cultural Studies Program seminars and advanced research seminars.
Sociology 395: Los Angeles Field Research – KCET Departures
Professor Jan Lin
This course investigates the theory and methods of sociological field research in the setting of Los Angeles. We consider positivist, interpretive, and critical research paradigms. We explore the ethics of field research with respect to issues such as role, authority, and power. We learn interview protocols, how to write field notes, how to analyze data, and techniques of storytelling in ethnographic writing. We explore classic field-based studies of Los Angeles communities. Students will document the work of social actors in cultural, community, environmental, or social movement organizations in Los Angeles. Student field interviews and photographs will be published in online features by KCET-Departures, the Internet media unit of the public television station.
History 345: The Holocaust: History, Testimony, and Memory
Professor Marla Stone
The Holocaust: History, Testimony, and Memory will be a research seminar which confronts the history of the Holocaust through in-depth investigations into survivor testimonies and commemoration and memorialization. The course will examine the genocide of the European Jews by the National Socialist regime, introduce students to the history of Europe from 1919 to 1945, and raise questions about the moral and ethical legacies of the Holocaust. During the semester, we will use a variety of visual and written sources to document and analyze the systematic and bureaucratic murder of European Jews by the Nazis. Using the survivor testimonies archived at the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and the museum installation at the Museum of Tolerance, we will interrogate the emerging fields of witnessing and testimony in relationship to the memory of the Holocaust and the phenomenon of Holocaust commemoration and memorialization. We will ask questions about how individuals and society assimilated the experience of genocide: what narrative choices, what linguistic choices, and what visual choices did survivors and the larger culture make when remembering and commemorating the Holocaust? In this way, the course will be interdisciplinary combining the methods and sources of history, Jewish Studies, cultural studies, and art history.
CSP 9: The Berlin Wall and Its Fall In 1989: Political and Cultural Transformations of a Metropolis
Professor Jürgen Pelzer
Berlin has been a focal point of German, European, and indeed world politics for more than a century. The course will focus on: 1) the post WWII years, when Berlin became a divided city, a fault line in the Cold War, and the wall was a symbol of the irreconcilable differences between East and West, known throughout the world, 2) its unpredicted fall thanks to a powerful grass roots civil rights movement whose motives and expectations will be analyzed, and 3) the aftermath of the re-unification with its consequences, problems, and achievements throughout Germany. The goal is to compare rhetoric and reality of the Cold War, the achievements and shortcomings of the GDR civil rights movement, the expectations of East and West (after unification), the politics of memory, the role of various urban communities, and the changing character of the city. A major component of the course will be the collaboration with the Wendemuseum in Culver City which houses tens of thousands of documents and other items around the wall, its fall, the Wende or "turning point," and everything relating to the GDR world. We will also work closely together with the Villa Aurora--a German cultural institution in Pacific Palisades--which invites young writers, film makers, and artists many of whom come from Berlin.
CSP50.2: Los Angeles: Applied and Engaged Research
Professors Regina Freer, Donna Maeda, Martha Matsuoka, and Leila Neti
As the research companion to “Los Angeles: Moving To and Through the City,” this course explores Los Angeles’ neighborhoods through the lens of community studies. The course will introduce students to tools and methodologies for studying communities and controversies in such studies. Students will learn to think about important concepts such as space, place, the built environment, neighborhood and community. After learning about cultural and political histories of particular neighborhoods (such as Hollywood, Downtown, South Los Angeles, Koreatown, Chinatown and Boyle Heights), students will do community-based research assignments that build snapshots of neighborhoods (demographics, asset mapping, windshield, etc.). Students will then work with a community-based organization (such as the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) in downtown L.A., Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) in Koreatown, and the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) in Little Tokyo) that is focused on a current policy issue. Students will develop research and writing skills, culminating in a final research paper. (This course is linked to Los Angeles: Moving To and Through the City)
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