LONDON In | On | As | Is FILM
Anthropology 439  |  Summer 2007  |  cineTREK™ calendar  |  UK_trip FotoAlbum
William A. Nericcio

Senior Lecturer
Cultural Studies, FIE

Professor & Chair-elect 
English & CompLit
Course Description

When one reads the SDSU catalogue's description of this Anthropology class, it might be enough to make some want to leap on a plane for a London pub to escape. Allow me to quote from our official SDSU fish-wrap:

ANTH 439: (3 units) Cultural Comparisons through Film. Principles of cultural anthropology to include signs and proxemics, cultural prerequisites, kinship and social organization, and law and values. Feature and documentary films. [This course fulfills SDSU upper division explorations under area B - Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as cultural diversity requirements.]

Holy Social Sciences Batman!
"Proxemics" sounds like a new laxative from Bristol-Myers-Squibb!

Yet, truth be told,  Anthropologists of film we will be as we travel the corridors of jolly old London--so we best not be too unkind to an Anthropology Department graciously allowing this professor, this literary and film scholar, to pass as a licenced anthropologist.

Here's the spin: Anthropology and Film: the study of Man meets the glitz and glamour of Hollywood--picture Margaret Mead cross-dressing as Posh Spice or Paris Hilton, and you begin to get the gist of it!

In the weeks that follow, a great and lasting social science will run headlong into the silver screen on the streets of London.  And we will be there to watch the impact. Our six-week long adventure assumes no experience in the field of anthropology, nor does it assume you know the difference between pulling focus, harassing a key grip, or calling “speed.”  Lastly, we most certainly do not not assume a command of the streets of London.

What do we assume? 

A curiosity.  Wait, that’s too lame. Not a “curiosity” but a thirst, a passion, a lust for new knowledge, novel insights, and disturbing spectacles. The films and field trips that will make up our class are a hodge-podge of visual delights--both films that feature London and the United Kingdom, and classic and independent films seen in some of London's amazing movie palaces!

Our course this term is designed as a moveable feast, as we prowl across London in search of cutting edge, classic, and even, in a few cases, older art in order to gauge what drives the aesthetic imaginationof the ARTS metropolis of Europe.  Indeed, the bulk of our seminar on wheels will be taken up with outings to the amazing number of arts altars dotted across the London landscape.  Keep in mind that while we will toe the line and do as the SDSU Anthropology catalogue mandates--attending to "signs and proxemics, cultural prerequisites, kinship and social organization, and law and value," but we will also focus more broadly on the cultural tendencies of film and culture in London. There are no prerequisites for this class and it is open to all majors.  Do please note that several of the cineTREKS™ listed below DO HAVE ADMISSIONS fees and that said FEES WILL NOT BE PAID BY THE FOUNDATION nor by your poor Professor; that having been said, every measure will be taken to assure that this experiment in aesthetics, pedagogy and travel will be no more nor no less expensive than a regular class back in sunny San Diego.


The class is designed in an innovative fashion in order to accomodate your busy schedules in and around London--do note that INTERN students in the past have been able to easily comply with their intern requirements AND take this Anthropology 439 class. 

Here is how it works and how your grade will be determined:

On average, a typical SDSU class rewards students with 3 units; this, in turn, takes about forty-five hours of classroom time (not counting time for homework, readings etc).

SDSU Summer Sessions are no different, and SDSU Summer Session study abroad classes the same.

The difference with this class is that you can PICK your 45 hours of intellectual labor from over 140 hours of field trips, screenings, lectures, plays, gallery chats, etc. that I will come up with during our stay in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea--this gives you utterly ridiculous freedom in selecting which course cineTREKS™ fit in with your busy world-traveling schedule.

These cineTREKS™vary in value--depending on their difficulty, expense, and the time it takes to complete the trip; a trip to the Tate Modern for a lecture might be worth 3 cineTREKS™, while a field trip to Oxford for the day might have a value of 6 cineTREKS™. You will need to accumulate 45 cineTREKS™ to fulfill your course requirements. Note that I have trademarked the term in case someone wants to steal our catchy concept and make a mint off us! Also note that you will be expected to write critical reactions to these amazing cultural junkets--these will be entered online at our own cybercool SDSU London CineTREKblog!

Reading Assignments

1. (optional) WAYS OF SEEING by John Berger (on your right); I recommend FOYLES bookshop--113-119 Charing Cross Road! The best old bookstore in London.   There is a Waterstones as well here and there through London.  Online in the UK, WITH FREE SHIPPING? Try Bookfellas. Buying before you go? Overstock.com has a decent price.

2. Also read these scholarly pieces: an essay, review, and an article.

Writing Assignments (Online!)

All writing assignments will be posted on your online site. All students will be free to offer reviews, commentaries and critiques based on prompts from the Professor as well as random comments you might want to pitch in response to other students' writings. I, too, will be holding forth in this cyberforum and the students are especially encouraged and challenged to submit comments regularly--count on making at least 8 to 10 entries on the blog.  Grades will be assigned for these entries, so quality, of course, will be AS important as quantity.

Grade Breakdown

45 cineTREK™ UNITS                        50%
cineTREK™ Blog Entries                    40%
Semester Term Paper                            10%

Office Hours

Office Hours to be announced via email each week!