Revs Courses

On the Road: Cars and the Auto-Mobility of Race, Gender, Class, and Age in American Literature
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The car in American literature, history, and culture, provides hope and makes it possible to relocate, transcend social status, and reinvent oneself. In this class we will examine how the car allows Americans to navigate identity in new ways. Readings include: Fitzgerald, Stein, Steinbeck, Escovedo-Colton, Nabokov, Barrett, Walker, Murray, Simpson, Wolfe, Kerouac, Davis, Freeman, Gilroy, Lucasi, Hamper, Moore, and Nass.

The Automotive Imagination: The Visuality of Car Culture and the Automobile in Visual Culture
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Explores the central role the automobile has played in art, design, and everyday life across Europe and the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century. Lectures and class discussions focus on topics such as the road movie as a vehicle of national identity, the influence of the automobile upon city planning, the rise of the avant-garde artist-engineer, and custom car culture both as an independent design movement and as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists. Readings for this course introduce methodologies drawing from art history, visual studies, and the philosophy of technology. Course made possible by REVS grant.

Re-Make: Design Restoration: Cadillac Design Restoration
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A new installment in the Design Theory & Methodology series for Spring Quarter. We will explore topics in design, engineering and manufacturing in the process of restoring a classic American car (1962 Cadillac DeVille). We will consider questions such as:

  • What defines a "classic" car? What makes a product classic?
  • What makes a "luxury" product? How has the notion of luxury changed over time?
  • What does the design of the car say about American identity? How has this identity changed over time, and how is it expressed now?
  • Who was the user then, and why did it appeal to them? What about it appeals to us now?
  • How does the car appear from the mechanic's perspective?
  • How does the engineering of the machine influence the design of the car, and vise-versa?

Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to perform a 'design restoration' investigating the object and its history as a design inquiry while contributing to the technical restoration of the engine and other critical systems. Every student can expect to get their hands dirty; prior automotive experience is not required but everyone is expected to be motivated to learn. Our goal is to have the car operational again by the end of Spring Quarter.

Tales to Design Cars By
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The feature of storytelling facilitates iterative project work in an evolving collaborative development and experience in the class designed to use a variety of narratives-verbal, non-verbal, cinema, and sound- to consider what people do in cars. Personal action and affect is examined through a parallel of real, non-fiction, fiction, fantasy and other narrative depictions of car behavior to in-class experiments and design challenges, with implications for car design and user interface. Stories attached to an idea or a discovery, are considered through movies, design challenges, short prototypes, and media presentations with a new web application.