Los Angeles as Artwork: Dia de los Muertos
Covering a broad range of environments and visual cultures, this upper division course explores the history of Los Angeles through a decolonial and borderlands framework. The seminar begins with Tongva/Gabrielino history and traces the transformations and remapping of the land by Spanish, Catholic missionary, Mexican and Anglo-American empires. Relying on the Catholic Mexican Indigenous and Chicano ritual, Día de los Muertos, as a touchstone, the course investigates how aesthetic projects in Los Angeles have resisted the colonization of space, time, and being. We will cover topics including modernity/coloniality, conversion and assimilation, the politics of public art, and the outstanding role race has played in shaping the cultural landscape. Students will learn to analyze a contemporary opera, historic maps, murals, sculpture, socially-engaged art performances and photographs. Students will be tasked with generating small-scale collages and drawings in response to historic and contemporary themes. Local cultural workers and artists will be invited to speak with the class.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.