Washington Center

Washington Focus

Core Seminar
Seminar 317

Spring Quarter-based Seminar: 3/28-6/8/2012 (Open to UCI and UCR students ONLY) This course will introduce students to the political culture of the nation's capital. Our thematic approach will examine how Washington has evolved into one of the world's great capitals; how the city has been represented in American literature and film in recent times; and how Washington assumes center stage in debates about politics, policy and culture in a 24-7 media environment. This course will also help students think more analytically about their internships as key elements of their Washington terms; and it should deepen their understanding of how their internships intersect with Washington's cultural life. Several themes will tie this course together. Students will analyze and discuss, for example, a handful of crucial moments that altered the capital's history and culture ? from the British invasion of Washington in 1812 to the sixties? race riots to the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. Students will examine why Washington has become the object of rage in modern American politics: Why has virtually every presidential candidate decided to run ?against? Washington? Why has the city become synonymous with scandals, skullduggery, hubris and East Coast elitism? Do Americans really loathe Washington and if so, why? The course will draw on an array of primary documents and secondary sources -- with the goal of understanding Washington?s shifting position in broader debates about America's identity and self-image. Assignments will include scholarly readings, journalistic accounts, fiction and films related to the broad theme of Washington politics and culture. In addition, walking tours, class presentations, internship-related memos, and robust discussion sections will help round out the course's requirements.

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