Topnav_thin
Loading
SEARCH SITE
Subject:
Publication:
Description   |   Syllabus

War Music: Covering Conflict in the Age of Forever War
UC Berkeley
Spring 2019

Description



Syllabus

War Music

Covering Conflict in the Age of Forever War

Spring 2019 / Journalism 294 / Mondays 3 – 6 / North Gate 209

    Mark Danner

 

How to cover conflict when war has become “forever war,” a state of persistent hostility that lurks day after day, month after month, year after year behind the news? When war no longer describes a struggle leading toward victory or defeat but a frozen process that persists indefinitely? This is the world journalists face in the age of the terror, drones and the “light footprint.” In this seminar we will study this age of persistent conflict, analyze its sources, and read the best that has been written about it. We will debate and discuss the War on Terror, the Yemeni Civil War, the rise of special operators and drone warfare in Africa. The class will be organized around reading and discussion. We will screen a film or two and requirements will include a final paper.

 

 

Class Requirements This seminar will be a mixture of lectures and discussion, backed up by a large amount of reading and some writing. The most important requirements are that students

 

*Attend all class sessions

*Keep up with reading and writing assignments

*Participate in discussions

*Deliver at least one presentation to the class

*Deliver a final paper of twelve pages

 

A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion, together with the quality of his or her writing, will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade.

 

 

Schedule Note that classes will meet Mondays at 2 pm in North Gate 106.

 

Reading Our primary reading will draw largely from a number of books of foreign reporting, classic and contemporary. They are listed below. I strongly urge you to obtain these books in your own copies and in the edition specified, either from local bookstores or from online suppliers, so that you will be able to highlight and annotate them.

 

Tracking the News A significant part of the class will be given over to tracking and discussing war reporting and US foreign policy as it takes shape around conflict. Following these events closely in various publications, beginning with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers and websites, and getting to know the work of the leading contemporary war correspondents, is essential. Even if you are not a habitual newspaper reader, you must become one for this class. I also strongly recommend you take account of various periodicals, including Foreign Policy and The Long War Journal.

 

Presentations Each student will make a presentation in class on the work of a given war reporter, ideally one working now. I encourage you to get in touch with the correspondent and conduct an interview. The class will read at least one major work by the correspondent. Use of multimedia and social media during the presentation is strongly encouraged.

 

 

Writing Depending on response to the reading there may be an occasional in-class quiz. There will likely be a final paper of twelve pages on one of the wars or reporters we take up in this class; it is possible there will be a final exam instead.

     To bolster the clarity and vigor of your English prose, I strongly suggest studying two works: George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which can be readily found on the web, and Strunk and White’s little manual, The Elements of Style.

 

 

 

Office Hours I will count on meeting with each of you individually at least once during the course of the term. We will make these appointments on an ad hoc basis. I am best reached via email, at mark@markdanner.com. My office is North Gate 32. My writing, speaking and other information can be found at my website, markdanner.com.

 

 

Grading Students will be graded on their preparedness and their participation in class, the strength of their presentations and the quality of their written work, as follows:

 

Attendance             25 percent

Participation           25 percent

Presentation            25 percent

Writing                   25 percent

 

Those who miss multiple classes will not do well in this course.

 

Films During the semester we should be screening a number of films that bear closely on the subject of covering wars. We will hope to find an evening that works for everyone.

 

Syllabus and Texts Note the list of assignments and books below will certainly change during the semester. Many books we will read in excerpt, not in full. As the semester progresses some articles will replace books or supplement them.

 

 


Required Texts

 

Svetlana Alexievich, Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (Norton, 1992)

 

C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq (Simon & Schuster, 2018)

 

Marie Colvin, On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Harper, 2012)

 

Paul Conroy, Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment (Weinstein, 2013)

 

Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009)

 

Carlotta Gall, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001 – 2014 (Mariner, 2014)

 

Hugh Gusterson, Drone: Remote Control Warfare (MIT, 2016)

 

Tim Judah, In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine (Duggan, 2015)

 

Robert D. Kaplan, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific (Random House, 2014)

 

Jeffrey Lewis, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (Mariner, 2018)

 

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009)


Jason K. Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa (PublicAffairs, 2012)

 

Joby Warrick, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Doubleday, 2015)

 

Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage, 2006)

 

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto, 2016)

 



Tentative Syllabus

 

Note the emphasis here on “tentative” syllabus, for list will change during the semester and likely some books will replace others

 

January 28 – Introduction. The Classroom and the Battlefield. The Current State of Foreign Wars. Wars Coups Revolutions. What’s Been Written. Writing With Your Ears. Long and Medium Form. An Approach to a Format. Long, Medium, Short. Presentations: Getting to Know a Correspondent and Her Work. Work Shop.

 

     Film: Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers

 

 

 

February 4 – Marie Colvin, On The Front Lines: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Harper, 2012)


Paul Conroy, Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment (Weinstein, 2013)

 

 

February 11 – Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009), excerpts.

 

 

February 18 – President’s Day (No Class)

 

 

February 25 –Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage, 2006)

 

 

March 4 – Carlotta Gall, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001 –2014 (Mariner, 2014)

 

vetlana Alexievich, Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (Norton, 1992)

 

 

 

March 11 – Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009)

 

Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009), excerpts.

 

 

March 18 – C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq (Simon & Schuster, 2018)

 

 

March 25 – Spring Recess (No Class)

 

 

April 1 –Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto, 2016)

 

 

April 8 – Joby Warrick, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Doubleday, 2015)

 

 

April 15 – Hugh Gusterson, Drone: Remote Control Warfare (MIT, 2016)

 

 

April 22 – Tim Judah, In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine (Duggan, 2015)

 

 

 

April 29 – Robert D. Kaplan, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific (Random House, 2014)

 

 

May 6 – Jeffrey Lewis, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (Mariner, 2018)




Annotated Syllabus



January 28 – Introduction. The Classroom and the Battlefield. The Current State of Foreign Wars. Wars Coups Revolutions. What’s Been Written. Writing With Your Ears. Long and Medium Form. An Approach to a Format. Long, Medium, Short. Presentations: Getting to Know a Correspondent and Her Work. Work Shop.

 

     Film: Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers


Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2

 

 

February 4Marie Colvin, On The Front Lines: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Harper, 2012)

 

Paul Conroy, Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment  

(Weinstein, 2013)

 

Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2


 

February 11 – Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009), excerpts.

 Class Recording

 

February 18 – President’s Day (No Class)

 

 

February 25 –Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage, 2006)

Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2


 

March 4 – Carlotta Gall, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001 – 2014 (Mariner, 2014)


Svetlana Alexievich, Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (Norton, 1992)

Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2

 

 

March 11 – Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals (Anchor, 2009)

 

Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War

(Nation, 2009), excerpts.

 Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2

 


March 18 – C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq (Simon & Schuster, 2018)

 

 

March 25 – Spring Recess (No Class)

 

 

April 1 –Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto, 2016)

 

 

April 8 – Joby Warrick, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Doubleday, 2015)

 Class Recording, Part 1

Class Recording, Part 2

 

April 15 – Hugh Gusterson, Drone: Remote Control Warfare (MIT, 2016)

 

 

April 22 – Tim Judah, In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine (Duggan, 2015)

 

 

 

April 29 – Robert D. Kaplan, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific (Random House, 2014)

 Class Recording, Part 1

 Class Recording, Part 2


 

May 6 – Jeffrey Lewis, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (Mariner, 2018)


 

 



© 2019 Mark Danner