Compass Courses: Arts & Humanities 10 (HUM 10), 4 units

The Compass Courses offer you an opportunity to explore the division of Arts and Humanities.  They are offered on different themes each year, but they share a unique structure. The class is taught by three professors in three modules of study. You will have a chance to study with each professor, experience a range of approaches to the theme, and learn the methods and structures of different disciplines.  Compass Courses are designed to guide you through various options for study in Arts and Humanities and to serve as a gateway to the rich offerings at Berkeley. They are part of the freshman experience, advancing a common journey of discovery and building an intellectual cohort among students new to Berkeley's expansive possibilities. Compass Courses fulfill the Arts & Literature breadth category for the College of Letters & Science.

Fall 2020

World Cities: Shanghai - St. Petersburg - Berlin

This course explores three world cities, located across the breadth of Asia and Europe, retracing the stories, myths, symbols and fantasies which Shanghai, St. Petersburg and Berlin have inspired. Does each of these cities have its own story? What were its cultural forms? How did these cities come to embody the thrills and challenges of modern life? Were they able to satisfy the hopes and aspirations of a large and diverse urban citizenry? How did urban culture and national history become intertwined? In what ways did each city become a cradle of mass politics, shaping the major political and economic systems of the twentieth century: capitalism, communism, and fascism? Over the course of the semester, we will examine representations of each city and the cultural production of its inhabitants, across two centuries, in multiple genres ranging from literature and cinema to architecture, monuments, and memoirs. "New" cities on "old" continents, Shanghai, St. Petersburg and Berlin speak to us of our modern times, from the everyday life of ordinary citizens of the metropolis to the extremities of war and revolution.

Instructors and Bios:

Prof. Lilla Balint, German

Prof. Weihong Bao, Film & Media; East Asian Languages & Cultures

Prof. Harsha Ram, Slavic Languages & Literatures; Comparative Literature

Fall 2019

Histories of the Self: Inventing Identity 

Did you know that the idea that each person has a “self” is actually an invented concept? Every time you post something on Instagram, you are involved in that long history of self-creation. So, how do we shape selves? What does it have to do with truth, with desire, with performance, with play?  We will explore many forms of self-representation as they’ve changed over time, and ask how different forms of humanistic expression – language, image, and media – have shaped what we’ve come to think of as identity.  Authors include St. Augustine, Charlotte Bronte, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Gertrude Stein, Cindy Sherman, and the world of Instagram.

Instructors and Bios:   

Prof. Kathleen Donegan, English                                              

Prof. Michael Mascuch, Rhetoric

Prof. Damon Young, Film & Media; French         


 Scheduling Information:

MW 10-11, plus a discussion section on Friday

There are three lecture locations to choose from, but it doesn’t matter which one you choose. All three professors will rotate through these locations, teaching all students:

Lecture 1: Moffitt Library 106, course #31582

Lecture 2: Wheeler 222, course #31583

Lecture 3: Haviland 12, course #31584

For the first class meeting, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, and the last two class meetings on Dec. 2 and Dec. 4, all students will meet together in 50 Birge.

Discussion sections will begin meeting the first week of the semester, on Friday, Aug. 30.

If you have any questions about the class and/or enrollment, please email Jane Paris, the Arts & Humanities Advising Analyst: