English 31AC

Literature of American Cultures: Race and Ethnicity in Hollywood Cinema

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2011 Wagner, Bryan
Wagner, Bryan
MW 4-5:30 + film screenings Thurs. 7-10 P.M. 213 Wheeler (lectures); films in 170 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

T. B. A.

Films: Birth of a Nation (D. W. Griffith, 1915); The Shiek (George Melford, 1921); The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, 1927); The Bitter Tea of General Yen (Frank Capra, 1933); Bordertown (Archie Mayo, 1935); Bad Day at Black Rock (John Sturges, 1955); The Searchers (John Ford, 1956); Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958); Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959); West Side Story (Robert Wise, 1961); In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967); The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)


An introduction to critical thinking about race and ethnicity, focused on a select group of films produced in the United States between the 1910s and 1970s. Major themes include law and violence, kinship and miscegenation, passing and racial impersonation. Each film is paired with a related reading in theory or applied criticism. There will be weekly writing assignments, two essays, a midterm and a final examination.

The weekly films will also be available (on reserve) in the library.

There will be no film screening on Thursday, August 25, inasmuch as the first meeting of the course will take place on Monday, August 29.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

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