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The Power of the Zoot: Race and Youth Culture in World War II

Professor Luis Alvarez

Flamboyant zoot suit culture, with its ties to fashion, jazz, and swing music, jitterbug and Lindy Hop dancing, unique patterns of speech, and even risqué experimentation with gender and sexuality, captivated the country's youth in the 1940s. The Power of the Zoot gives national consideration to this famous phenomenon. Providing a unique history of youth culture based on rare, in-depth interviews with former zoot-suiters, Professor Alvarez explores race, region, and the politics of culture in urban America during World War II. He argues that Mexican American and African American youths, along with many Nisei and white youths, used popular culture to oppose accepted modes of youthful behavior, the dominance of white middle-class norms, and expectations from within their own communities.

Instructor: Luis Alvarez is Associate Professor of History, Director of the Institute of Arts and Humanities, and Director of the Chicana/o Latina/o Arts and Humanties Program at UC San Diego. His research and teaching interests include comparative race and ethnicity, popular culture, and social movements. He is the author of many publications on these subjects and is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, teaching, and service.

Coordinator: Candace Gietzen

Course Number: OSHR-70115   Credit: 0 units

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Upcoming Sections

Dates Class Type Section ID Fee
08/14/2017 In-class 125159 $0.00  

Day and Time: Monday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 129, UCSD Extension Complex, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla