Geography X50AC: “California”

About the Course Assignment

California is a broad, introductory course that explores the material places and social spaces that create both astonishing wealth and intractable inequality in California.  Created by Dr. Seth Lunine and Chancellor’s Public Fellow Sophia Fenn, the American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) / Creative Discovery component of the course enabled the Fall Program for First Semester (FPF) students to extend and contextualize topics related to gentrification and the Bay Region housing crisis.  Specifically, students worked with several community partners who address issues of homelessness and housing insecurity, particularly among UC Berkeley students.  Small groups of students developed collaborative research projects with community partners and learned Adobe applications, including Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Premier.  Students designed and produced an array of “deliverables”—infographics, maps, creative art, a short film, and more—that our partners will publish and disseminate.  All 61 students enrolled in the course participated in the ACES / Creative Discovery component, resulting in more than 20 projects.  The entire class is grateful for the generous time and guidance provided by our partners.  

Basic Needs Center Story Art

“There’s never a bad time to just say ‘I need a helping hand’ - it’s just being okay asking for help because you need to know there will be people there to help you and reach back out for you.” -Ryan 

Basic Needs Fee Infographic

The Basic Needs Fee Infographic was developed by students in Geography 50AC, and local artist Evan Bissell to discuss housing and food insecurity needs of students at the UC Berkeley campus and how the Basic Needs Center can assist them with some of these needs. 

Legal Services Infographics

What are your basic rights as a tenant? Students in Geography X50AC developed these series of infographics as a legal resource to help explain landlord obligations and the rights one has as a tenant, especially concerning habitability.

This project allowed me to interact with my surrounding community, targeting and helping to fix problems that are prevalent due to issues such as housing insecurity, gentrification and more.
Head shot of Seth Lunine

Seth Lunine

Lecturer, Geography

Multiple students had first-hand experience of housing displacement and eviction....I think our projects helped give them a meaningful way to articulate and understand their experience within an academic context.
Seth Lunine