Spotlight on AC courses


The AC Center is pleased to share with you a list of our newest course offerings.  If you are interested in AC courses with a community engagement component, please visit this page. For a list of all AC courses, please visit

We have also worked with some instructors to develop promotional videos of their AC courses to spread awareness about their course to the campus community, especially potentially interested students.   In these videos, instructors discuss how their classes bring their research interests, and themes of race, culture, and ethnicity in the U.S. to teach undergraduates. If you are interested in having the AC Center develop a promotional video for your AC course, please email

New Fall 2022 AC Courses


UC Berkeley English Department Logo, text white font on cool background

ENG 31AC, "Literature of American Cultures The Wild, Wild West-- California and the Politics of Possibility"

The Golden State – fast fame, endless sunshine, and gold in the ground. California has long occupied an iconic place in the American and global imagination as the land of limitless opportunity, utopian pinnacle of the promise getting ahead, making it big, and living large. This course takes up the question California as a site of political possibility. We examine the fraught relationship between dreams of economic prosperity and neocolonial violence that underpin a popular cultural fascination with the state and the idea of the “wild west” more generally. From Spanish missions and Anglo settler colonialism to the Gold Rush and Chinese Exclusion, we consider the conflicted origins of racial diversity as well as a variety of political formations that emerged in the 20th century.

Instructor Poulomi Saha
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
TU, TH 2:00 pm - 2:59 pm
Physics Building 3
Class #:30506

Aerial view of forest land

GEOG 10AC 001 - LEC 001, "Worldings: Regions, Peoples and States"

Geography is a way of thinking deeply and expansively about our place in the world and this course is designed to transform how you think about America though understanding its place within a global context. Through concepts central to the field of geography such as space, nature, empire and globalization we will explore the issues of race, culture, ethnicity that pepper the pages of newspapers almost every day in stories of immigration, police violence, global warming, ethnic cleansing, and terrorism. We explore these issues in a way that will change how you understand both America and the world.

Instructor Clancy Wilmott
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
TU, TH 8:00 am - 9:29 am
Stanley 105
Class #:24212

Colored pencil rendering of downtown San Francisco

GEOG 72AC 001 - LEC 001, "The Bay Area"

This course examines the distinct but ill-defined San Francisco Bay Area. Our approach will be neither to simply learn about the individual places that compose the Bay Area nor to study a succession of detached periods of development. Instead, we will think critically about the creations, contestations, and transformations of Bay Area spaces—landscapes, communities, neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, and the metropolitan region.  Topics include indigenous geographies, colonialism, industrialization and economic geography, cities and suburbs, gentrification and displacement, regional racial formation and place-based identities, and resistance and rebellion.

Instructor Seth R Lunine 
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022 

TU, TH 1:30 pm - 2:59 pm 
McCone 145
Class #:32840 

Wax cylinder recordings of Tunica, made by Mary R. Haas in the 1930s

LINGUIS 55AC 001 - LEC 001, "The American Languages"

A linguistic view of the history, society, and culture of the United States. The variety of languages spoken in our country and the issues surrounding them: language and ethnicity, politics of linguistic pluralism vs. societal monolingualism, language and education, language shift, loss, retention, and renewal. Languages include English (standard and nonstandard; African American English), pidgins and creoles, Native American languages, Spanish, French, and immigrant languages from Asia and Europe.

Isaac Louis Bleaman
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
M, W, F 10:00 am - 10:59 am
Dwinelle 219
Class #:33077

THEATER 52AC 001 - LEC 001, "Dance in American Cultures"

Dance as a meaning-making expressive form.  Develop the tools necessary for looking at dance, analyzing it, writing about it, and understanding its place in larger social, cultural, political structures.  We will look at a variety of U.S. American dance genres, understanding them through their historical and cultural contexts, to explore how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class affect the practice and the reception of different dance forms, and how dance might help shape representations of these identities.  Ethnic groups that the course studies include African, Asian, and European Americans, indigenous peoples of the U.S., and Chicanos/Latinos. Accessible to students with no dance experience.  Not a studio-based class.

Instructor Sima V Belmar
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
M, W, F 11:00 am - 11:59 am
Anthro/Art Practice Bldg 160
Class #:25388


Glamor shot of west side of Berkeley School of Education building

Education 155AC, "Asian American Struggles and Collective Learning for Racial Justice"

Through a place-based and community-engaged research approach, we examine the social construction and contestation of race, the historical and contemporary consequences of racism, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice in the United States through the lens of Asian American racialization.

Instructor Thomas M Philip
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
TU 4:00 pm - 6:59 pm
Genetics & Plant Bio 107
Class #:30966

Glamor shot of North facade of School of Public Health Building

PUBLIC HEALTH 155E, "Seeing People: Understanding Homelessness' Roots, Stigmas, Systems and Solutions"

The goal is to support you as an informed citizen who understands homelessness, its roots, the multilevel systems & services that exist to address it, & the levers at each level to effect change. We will focus on developing skills to be a changemaker by working together to address homelessness & “housism” in our community. “Housism” is the belief that people experiencing homelessness are intrinsically less worthy/human. We will be informed in our growth by counter-narratives by people experiencing homelessness & by theoretical frameworks, such as the Social Determinants of Health, Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, the Ecological Model, & theories of stigma. Students who have experienced homelessness or unstable housing are welcome.

Colette Leslie Auerswald
Aug 24 2022 - Dec 09 2022
TU, TH 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm
Cory 277
Class #:33327

Video Spotlights

Social Movements, Organizing & Policy Change, African American Studies 182AC & 197

Social Movements, Organizing & Policy Change, African American Studies 139AC & 197

In a time of a global pandemic, the 2020 election - the most historic election of our lives - was taking place in the fall.  Months prior, Freedom Summer 2020 was a program that gave students a chance to be part of a nationwide virtual movement for voter engagement before the historic 2020 election.  Students of Berkeley, along with students from across the country in helping build the power and voice of low-wage worker voters who have been the most impacted by COVID-19... Read More

image of statute of liberty and symbols of major religions

History 132C, American Religious History,

History 132C, American Religious History, taught by Professor Ronit Y. Stahl, surveys religion in the land that became the United States from colonial contact with indigenous people to the present with an emphasis on how religion has shaped and been shaped by, the American experience. It addresses enduring tensions between the presence of religious diversity, the ideals of religious pluralism, and the desire for religious power. What are the relationships between various American religious traditions and American society, politics, and culture? How have religious groups articulated their values to address questions of law, politics, culture, and economics?

firefighter lights fire on open field during a controlled burn to manage and conserve area

'Fire' - Anthropology C12AC/ESPM C22AC

Most Californians today fear catastrophic wildland fires that each year scorch millions of acres of land, cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fight, and destroy human lives and property. Yet people have not always lived in dread of conflagrations. This class emphasizes how our interactions with wildfires in California have changed dramatically over the centuries, and that there is much that can be learned from earlier fire management strategies—some of which may be applicable to our contemporaneous world.

Life, Practice, and Reflections from the Central American Diaspora

'The Southern Border' - Education 186AC / Ethnic Studies 159AC / Geography 159AC

In spring 2019, Dr. Diana Negrin offered the 'Southern Border,’ an AC course that examines how histories and geographies of the US southern border and how geographies have influenced migration, urbanization, activism, and racial and ethnic identity formation within the U.S. and countries along the southern border including Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

khalid kadir

'Engineering, The Environment, and Society' - Engineering 157AC / International and Area Studies 157AC

Every spring, Dr. Khalid Kadir, will offer the ACES course, Engineering 157AC / International and Area Studies 157AC: Engineering, The Environment, and Society at UC Berkeley. The course will challenge students to look beyond the technical elements of their work and recognize the deeply social and political nature of engineering questions. Dr. Kadir has established partnerships with local and regional African-American, Asian-American, and Latino community groups, through which students will have the opportunity to engage in multiple real-world projects affecting these diverse communities.

Black and white image of a man writing "Evolution" using both hands on a piece of paper on a wall using both hands, man is able to write with right hand due to assistive technology

American Cybercultures: Principles of Internet Citizenship

American Cybercultures: Principles of Internet Citizenship examines how the growth of online participation influences the development of and intersects online and residential communities. Students participate in online discussions surrounding internet culture or cyberculture within a modern context as well as categories of personhood that make up the UC Berkeley American Cultures rubric (race and ethnicity), as well as to gender, nation, and disability.

Picture of Integrative Biology 190 students and Professor Leslea Hlusko

'Human Biological Variation' - Integrative Biology 35AC

'Human Biological Variation,' Integrative Biology 35AC, examines the cultural and historical relevance of biology through larger contexts. Students will learn how biological variation plays a role in day-to-day life - including interactions on the street, governmental policies on healthcare and food stamps, and doctor-patient relationships.

several players on the floor of a gym playing goal ball

'American Sport Culture and Education' - Education 75AC

Education 75AC focuses on sports culture in the U.S. through an intersectional lens. This course highlights the ways in which sports have contributed to our society as well as how they marginalize certain communities through the bases of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability.

'Social Movements, Urban Histories, and the Politics of Memory' International & Area Studies 158AC

"Social Movements, Urban History, and the Politics of Memory" examines the extensive multi-racial social movement history of the San Francisco Bay Area. The primary assignment of the course is a student-defined research project where students, in collaboration with local activists and community partner Shaping San Francisco, carry out original research and writing to contribute to the dynamic Bay Area social history website FoundSF.