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UC Berkeley Press Release

Array of spring classes at UC Berkeley

– An eclectic array of new classes offered this spring semester at the University of California, Berkeley, includes the chance to study India's prolific film industry, explore Bay Area food production, learn about wealth and poverty from a former U.S. labor secretary, study the symbolism of coffee and cigarettes, and pursue the social history of chairs.

Among the undergraduate classes being offered this semester, which began Tuesday, Jan. 18, are:

  • "Dean's Day Out." Students will spend an entire day following their food from the crack of dawn on the farm to the dinner plate that night. The course explores the nutritional, environmental, and controversial aspects of food production in the Bay area.
    Contact: Professor Lynn Huntsinger, (510) 643-5325, cnrteaching@nature.berkeley.edu
  • "Pleasure, Politics, and Public Fantasy in Bollywood Cinema." Students will watch films from the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s from India's prolific film industry, examining how the films deal with India's emerging modernity.
    Contact: Professor Priya Joshi, (510) 642-2377, pjoshi@socrates.berkeley.edu
  • "Special Topics in Public Policy - About Wealth and Poverty." Robert B. Reich, the former U.S. labor secretary in the Clinton administration returns to the Goldman School of Public Policy. Reich, a popular public speaker and news commentator as well as a prolific author, is teaching a course about wealth and poverty, as he did during spring semester 2004.
    Contact: Professor Robert B. Reich, (510) 643-4266, ext. 2, rreich@berkeley.edu
  • "Zoning and Grinding: The Rhetoric of Games." This class takes a look at video games and explores how they engage individuals and groups, what role they play in advancing a culture, and the boundary of reality and games.
    Contact: Assistant Professor Greg Niemeyer, (510) 642-5376, niemeyer@berkeley.edu
  • "Rethinking Culture, Body and Design." This course offers a social history of chairs -- what's wrong with them and what you can do about it -- with a special promise to give students "personal attention to design a body-friendly strategy for reading and computing that will get you through university life in one piece."
    Contact: Professor Galen Cranz, (510) 642-5910, gcranz@berkeley.edu
  • "The Science and Culture of American Food Practices." Why do you throw pasta against a wall? This class explores the food practices of various American subcultures.
    Contact: Professor George Chang, (510) 642-0603, gwchang@berkeley.edu
  • "Grim Things That Must be Told -- The Graphic Novel in an Era of Human Rights." This class uses graphic novels, or "commix," set amid mid-to-late 20th century human rights abuses from Hiroshima to Bosnia, to sharpen critical thinking skills and refine writing ability.
    Contact: Christine Hong, graduate student instructor, (510) 642-3467
  • "Coffee and Cigarettes: The Literature of Anxiety and Boredom." This course explores the symbolism of coffee and cigarettes as signs of industry and idleness, solitude and sociability, leisure and work, and as symptoms of a modern culture of anxiety and boredom.
    Contact: Professor Anne-Lise Francois, (510) 642-4105, afrancoi@socrates.berkeley.edu