Washington Center

Washington History, Institutions & Rituals: Myth vs. Reality

Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Quarter Dates: 
September 21 - November 30, 2023
Semester Dates: 
August 23 - November 30, 2023
Core Seminar

Much is said about Washington. Much of it is wrong. This course will immerse students in the history, institutions and rituals of nation’s capital. You will learn about Washington’s transformation from a remote federal city to the world’s most powerful capital. We will analyze the accuracy of Washington’s depiction throughout history, how it is represented – and misrepresented -- in modern culture, and why it is ridiculed by politicians who want to work there. We will examine the glorification and vilification of Washington in literature and film and assess the truth behind popular Washington myths. We will probe Washington policy debates and rituals and survey the research tools used to separate fact from fiction. You will have an opportunity to study and visit monuments and museums, as well as iconic institutions as the National Portrait Gallery and Ben’s Chili Bowl.

About the Professor: Professor Marc Sandalow is an Associate Director of the University of California Washington Program (UCDC). He is the author of three books, including “Madam Speaker,” a biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has been a journalist for 30 years, including 21 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and more than a decade as the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief. He is a former columnist and contributing editor for the California Journal, and is a currently a political analyst for Hearst Argyle television stations and KCBS radio in San Francisco. Professor Sandalow has been the UCDC program since 2008.

Requirement for ALL semester students:

The first four weeks of this semester (August 23 to September 13) will be spent in a special topics module taught by Professor Marc Sandalow on Wednesdays from 6:30-9:30p.m. This module will account for 15% of the core seminar final course grade. Please contact Professor Sandalow (marc.sandalow@ucdc.edu) with questions.

Your selected seminar will begin the week of September 18 and your seminar instructor will officially be your instructor of record for the term, responsible for computing and submitting final course grades at the end of the term.

**NO additional registration required.

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