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Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies 24, Section 1
Documentary Playmaking: School Integration, Little Rock, 1957-58 (1 unit, P/NP)
Professor Dunbar Ogden
Monday 2:00-4:00, 8 Zellerbach Hall, Class number: 21300

This seminar will meet on Mondays for eight weeks, from September 11 through October 30, 2017.


Course Threads On the fateful morning of September 4, 1957, a small group of African-American students walked up to the doors of Central High, Little Rock, to enroll in school–--and were turned away by the armed National Guard. Arkansas State Governor Faubus had called out the Guard to surround the building. "Blood will run in the streets," said Faubus, "if Negro pupils should attempt to enter Central High School." A racist mob seethed out front. Eventually the courageous group of children did enter. The first of them graduated in the spring of 1958. They came to be known as the Little Rock Nine; Central High was the first major integrated public high school in the South. Nowadays many people regard their mentor, Daisy Bates, on a level with Martin Luther King, Jr. Each student in our Freshman Seminar will select a person who participated in the integration of Central High, study historical documents linked with that individual, and develop an original monologue in the role of the person, perhaps as one of the Little Rock Nine or as the Governor or as the principal of Central High. We will encourage each student to experiment with a role different from his or her own gender and cultural background. Daisy Bates' THE LONG SHADOW OF LITTLE ROCK and Melba Pattillo Beals' WARRIORS DON'T CRY will be the required books. This is a Course Threads Theme Seminar.

Professor Dunbar H. Ogden has just published a book entitled MY FATHER SAID YES, about the integration crisis at Central High School, Little Rock. He has developed this civil rights book in conjunction with students in his Freshman Seminars since 2000. Professor Ogden is also the author of books on actors, set design, and theatrical space.

Faculty web site: http://tdps.berkeley.edu/people/emeritus-faculty/

Quotes from Fall 2016 seminar:

We had excellent in-class discussions, not only about the Little Rock situation but about related current events. I felt very engaged and intellectually challenged.

I thought the seminar was incredibly stimulating especially because of the discussions we had in the first few classes.

I thought this class was very stimulating and interactive; Professor Ogden is very engaging and clearly passionate about this subject.

Quotes from students in Fall 2015 seminar:

"We were able to discuss the events and material freely in class, with insight from Dunbar and the other students."

"It gave us an opportunity to put ourselves into the perspectives of people whose situations we might not initially understand."

"I learned so much from the professor, the material, and my fellow students."

"It allowed us to step in the minds of various characters and have insight into the situation."

"I enjoyed every moment of this seminar, especially the personal stories, the theater tours, and our conversations in class."

"Very interactive - we were allowed to present monologues, practice play-making, etc. I learned a lot about events of Little Rock and had historical passion for the subject." - student in fall 2014 seminar

"Everything was valuable. I've learned how to analyze a monologue and discover the timing points/ tones within a speech." - student in fall 2014 seminar

Quotes from students in fall 2013 seminar:
Professor Ogden made me want to pursue studies in both Civil Rights and in Theater. He is so inspiring and caring for his students that it made me wish it was a longer class. VERY intellectually stimulating.

This seminar was intellectually stimulating as we discussed and analyzed the events that occurred at Little Rock High School. It was also interactive as we wrote and performed our own monologues.

"This is one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken. The work and interaction with the class and Professor Ogden was incredibly stimulating. I loved it." - student in fall 2007 seminar

"Amazing seminar! Great professor, good experience, I loved it!" – student in fall 2007 seminar

"I loved this professor! He really cares about the students and made a huge effort to learn about us and our experiences." – student in fall 2006 seminar

“This seminar allowed me to reach a new height in terms of learning and writing. We were able to not only help each other in every step of the writing process, but also provide an environment that allowed us to learn from what everyone had written. This is what classes at Berkeley should be like, a wonderful professor where everyone learns from on another.” - student in fall 2004 seminar

“I felt very lucky that we were being taught by someone so passionately and intimately connected with the Little Rock event. It made it come to life.” - student in fall 2004 seminar

“Professor Ogden is fantastic. He should teach all classes! I hope he offers more classes that I can take in the future.” - student in fall 2004 seminar
Freshman and Sophomore Seminars are co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Division
of the College of Letters & Science and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
For further information about the program,
contact Alix Schwartz (alix@berkeley.edu / 642-8378).

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