Kresge 1: Power and Representation

Beginning a Liberal Arts Journey at Kresge College

Power and Representation is Kresge College's introduction to university learning - a course experience shared by all first-year Kresge students. It lasts only a quarter, but it begins a dialogue that will help us define higher learning throughout your degree: setting in motion the questions and the styles of thinking that shape Kresge as an intellectual community. What begins with Kresge 1 continues in your first two years as you explore disciplines, and possible majors and minors, and as you continue UCSC's liberal arts vision, learning both across disciplines and within them, developing a world view that is empowered not only by diverse knowledge, but diverse lenses and critical approaches through which to view that knowledge.

Kresge 1 prepares you for that journey by introducing you to new approaches to academic reading, textual interpretation, argumentation, and writing — we want the course to be a form of practice for the styles of critical thinking and discussion that contribute to success at all universities , and contribute to the knowledge and understanding that universities strive to cultivate. This set of practices is often called academic literacy; you will often hear the phrase university discourse meant to describe something similar.

We aim to develop these styles of learning with a set of core texts are a range of writing and media that reflect and examine relationships between individuals, communities, and society in the United States. Our texts examine concepts of power available in social practices and institutions, and representation manifested in public discourse and the press, with particular focus on struggles for power and justice in the US, and how individuals and communities in the US represent and constitute themselves through those struggles. 

The majority of our texts examine contemporary problems of power and representation, and on the interplay between them. For us, representation is the way that an individual or community  is seen, heard, and understood in society, and we aim to examine how power—our privileges, responsibilities, and capacity to pursue happiness in the world—is determined through those representations. As one example of representation as a nexus of power, our course focuses on activism, that is, on the question of how individuals and communities can intervene, take action, or advocate, to produce justice. 

Remember, though, that Kresge 1 is not primarily a course about politics, or about social problems; instead, it is a course about dialogue and discourse: how we learn, how we cultivate knowledge and understanding together. Your assignments in Kresge 1 are reflections on reading, interpreting, investigating, and intervening, in justice problems. Sometimes individual and sometimes collaborative, they are designed to deepen your relationship to the literacy we are practicing, and help draw a connection between learning and living. 

 

POWER AND REPRESENTATION ITINERARY 2020

Module 0: SUMMER READING

How do you read, and what is your relationship to reading? What kinds of reading matter to you? What matters to us when we make a transition to college?

Module 1: READING and REPRESENTATION

How do varieties of reading differ; how do they ‘work’? What kinds of interpretation are at play in ‘reading’ different kinds of media—such as video, podcast, print journalism, memoires, and letters. What is active reading—in other words, what do you do with what you read?

October 13 — Plenary Panel: Vilashini Cooppan (Literature, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies) leads a discussion on Frederick Douglas, James Baldwin, and Ta-Nehasi Coates

October 14/15 — DUE Project 1- COMMONPLACE BOOK I / Establishing a Reading Practice

Module 2: Power and Language

What role does language play in my empowerment to participate in society? In an intellectual community? Whose language is academic language?

October 27 - Plenary Panel: Andrea Long Chu on Reading, Gender, and the SCUM Manifesto

November 4/5 - DUE: Project 2- Language and Power DUE

Module 3: Visibility, Audibility, and Voice

What identities are carried, made visible, or empowered, in a text? Whose are hidden? Whose voices are in what you read? How do authors carry voices other than their own?

November 10 - Plenary Panel: Lawrence Bartley, Camilla Hawthorne, Anjuli Verma Panel on Prison Justice

November 17 - Core Faculty Panel: Anna Friz, AM Darke, and TJ Demos on Creative Interventions 

November 18/19 - DUE Project 3- Investigative journalism (collaborative) 

 

Module 4: Activism

How do we intervene in problems of justice? What are the responsibilities of the empowered and the powerful? How do we call them to account? What media can we engage, and how, in the task of reflecting our world views, and those of others, to account for an ethical path forward?

December 1 Plenary: Creative Interventions Redux - Virtual Student Performances & Exhibitions

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Kresge 1 Core Faculty