2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Playing Politics


Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 quarters

Mark Harrison theatre, opera, film, performance studies , John Baldridge geography
Fields of Study
cultural studies, geography, media studies, political science and theater

With the US presidential election season as backdrop, we will engage with American politics, both local and national. We will delve deeply into the use and construction of political power—how it leverages cultural trends and reflects the geography of the electorate. We will examine how tactics of performance are employed to create images that have purchase on the political stage. Rhetoric, "spin," appeals to values, the invocation of class struggle, portrayals of the Constitution, bi-partisanship, race relations, gender rights—all of these will be part of our curriculum. What roles do citizens play, particularly in relation to changing social and environmental realities, the Internet, popular culture and the media? We will develop a set of critical questions, issues, and case studies that will guide our program. We will critique the campaigns as they unfold in real time—political ads, talking points, debates and damage control. And we will analyze plays, narrative and documentary films, and other forms of art and entertainment to determine how they have historically reflected or shaped political action and thought. In fall quarter we will follow the campaigns as they develop and culminate in the election. We will analyze what the election results tell us about the state of American politics. In winter quarter we will analyze and track the Inaugural Address of the next president and the start of a new US Congress. What do "lame duck" politicians hope to accomplish? How do continuing politicians frame their plans for the future? What can we, as an informed electorate, anticipate from the next political cycle? Students who enroll in this program should expect to do independent research on the elections, participate in political rhetoric and events, conduct statistical analyses of polls and election results, and dig into the elections cycle and results.

Academic Website
Advertised Schedule
6-9:30p Wed, 10a-6p Sat (fall: Oct. 6, 20, Nov. 3, 17, Dec. 1; winter: Jan. 12, 26, Feb. 9, 23, Mar. 9)
Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$25 for tickets to theatrical performance
Offered During
Evening and Weekend

Program Revisions

Date Revision
October 17th, 2012 Winter Quarter required fee added.
September 26th, 2012 Winter Quarter Saturday dates added.
September 11th, 2012 Program will now allow freshmen enrollment.