GE Cluster 66A, B, CW

Los Angeles: The Cluster

Lecture Schedule: Monday, Wednesday 2:00-3:15. – DeNeve Auditorium
Faculty: Jan Reiff, History, Statistics & Digital Humanities
Dell Upton, Art History
Alicia Gaspar de Alba, UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, English, & Women's Studies
Guest faculty lecturers engaged with issues facing contemporary Los Angeles

Los Angeles: The Cluster will provide a three-quarter in-depth look at the city in which UCLA is located. Drawing on the concept of the city as a laboratory and engaging with the different approaches for studying cities that have emerged since then, this course will ask students to investigate and analyze the urban area that will be their home for the next several years. As they do, they will come to understand the peoples, spaces, politics, and cultures of Los Angeles and its metropolitan region in both the present and the past and to see the rich and diverse layers of LA. Five major questions will shape the course: How have the people of Los Angeles experienced and understood their city? How have history and geography shaped contemporary Los Angeles? How is Los Angeles alike and distinct from other cities in the United States and the rest of the world? What is the match and mismatch of the dimensions of the region's problems and the power structures to solve them? What cultural factors have shaped the identities of Los Angeles and which social interests maintain a stake in shaping those identities?

Course Format

During fall and winter quarters, students will attend two lectures weekly for the presentation of key concepts and content. These lectures are linked to weekly two-hour small-group discussion sections with Teaching Fellows, where the course material is examined in depth and integrated with various types of written assignments to enhance writing skills. In Fall quarter, students will also be asked to explore the physical city on the 002/302 Metro Bus Line that runs on Sunset Boulevard, the iconic Los Angeles street that will serve as a primary text for the course. As is appropriate for the study of LA, the first two quarters will also consider Los Angeles on film. Writing assignments have been designed to engage students directly with the city by venturing into it, conversing with its residents, experiencing its cultural products, understanding the critical issues facing it, and mastering some of the important scholarship that makes Los Angeles among the world's most researched cities.

Spring Seminars

A broad spectrum of small-group seminars will be offered in the spring quarter, allowing for close interaction among students and with faculty and teaching fellows. These seminars will also allow for interaction with the spaces and institutions of the city itself. Students are encouraged to select spring seminars that will let them pursue the particular topics and issues confronting Los Angeles that interested them most in the first two quarters.

Foundation Area General Education Credit

Students who complete the three quarter sequence will satisfy 4 GE requirements: 2 courses in the Foundations of Society and Culture – Historical Analysis and Social Analysis – and 2 course in the Foundations of Arts and Humanities– Literary and Cultural Analysis and Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice.


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