Sections 1 and 2: Action as Expression - Everyday Dance for Every Body – F. Glycenfer
We move our bodies 24/7, even in our sleep, as we are interacting with the world around us as athletes, dancers, and everyday movers. Yet, we aren’t often aware of how expressive our movement can be as we go through our daily lives. Rather than emphasizing actual physical movement ability, this course focuses on discovering movement forms, applying movement concepts, and stimulating cultural appreciation. Students will have the opportunity to identify the richness of their own kinesthetic sources through personal exploration, viewing everyday dance forms, and class discussion. The act of engaging as we move through everyday life can have a profound effect on the way we view ourselves and interface with the world. Societal change has been driven by many who have harnessed the power of action in relating to others. The power of moving is found in all aspects of life and begins within each one of us.
Section 3 and 14: The Evolution of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science – M. Brown
In part I, we will lay the groundwork for public speaking in preparation for end-of-semester pharmaceutical industry presentations. Part I will also include an historical introduction to drug development, pharmacology and the FDA.
In part II, students will work in groups and research a current drug on the market for either human or veterinary applications. The drug must be produced by a company that is publicly traded. The findings of this research will be used to present an evaluation of the drug, its home company, and the extended portfolio of that company. Evaluations will be presented to a mock audience of potential investors and FDA inspectors. This course will also include discussions on biomedical ethics and health disparities. It will require regular reading, written assignments, participation in a broad range of group discussions, and oral presentations.
Section 4: “Gettysburg: America's Rebirth" – P. Vaughan Knaus
On November 19, 1863, in the wake of the gruesome battle in Gettysburg, PA, President Abraham Lincoln’s remarks cleansed the ground, air, and soul of America. Using fewer than 270 words, Lincoln simultaneously consecrated the soldiers’ sacrifice, purified the country’s mythos, and fostered hope and unity among the American people. Timeless and enduring, the Gettysburg Address provides both retrospective and prospective frames through which to view America’s past, present, and future. What cultural or societal patterns were transmitted between the North and South as a result of the events in Gettysburg, PA in 1863? In what ways did this three-day battle (July 1-3, 1863) provide the blueprint for modern warfare? What were the impacts of the decisions—military, political, and governmental—made in Gettysburg, and how did they spread across the country? In surveying one crucial moment within American history, we seek to capture the nation’s atmosphere during the Civil War, analyze the changing meaning of the speech over time, and recognize the remarkable ways in which it has been garbled, misquoted, and woefully and willfully misunderstood.
Section 5: Tell Me A Story: Finding and Creating Meaning in Our Lives – C. Elkins
Listening to and creating stories appears natural and universal. There is no culture, however “primitive” without its stories about nature and themselves: where they come from, how to behave, and where they are going. As children, we hear stories and learn to repeat them; as adults, we hear, read, write, see and tell stories constantly from others, television, books, films, advertising, and even in our sleep. In stories we order our experiences and create ourselves. In this seminar, we explore the nature and function of stories as they are manifested in such narratives as: myths, dreams, tragedy and comedy, autobiography, and politics. In doing so, we will focus on three general questions: Why do we need stories at all? Why do we need the “same” story over and over? Why do we always need more stories?
Sections 6 and 7: Gender in Our Lives – J. Krafchick
From our family lives and relationships to the way we view people in positions of power, gender shapes our experiences and relationships every day. In this class students will explore the many dimensions of life that are influenced by gender, including our own perceptions of ourselves. Using a feminist theoretical lens, students will learn about historical and contemporary social movements that have influenced the evolution of gender roles, psychological theories of gender identity development, gender in family and intimate relationships, and representation of gender in the media. Students will bring a cross cultural perspective and examine gender related issues in countries around the globe. We will discover the ways that gender influences politics, relationships, and careers through an examination of stereotypes, double standards, and socialization.
Sections 8 and 11: Got Affluenza? Consumerism and the Environment - A. Merline
Affluence is an important part of the cultural understanding of Post Modern America. Today’s generation stands on the shoulders of the generations that have lived in Post World War II America, the beginning age of affluence. This course will examine the questions of over consumption based on global and social history. The first question is how did the United States get to this point of abundance? What are the expectations of American citizens? Do we have too much? What can be done to reverse the trends of over- consumption? What effect do we have on the Earth due to industrialization, continued production, and a collection of wealth?
Section 9: Art is Politics; Politics is Art – C. Elkins
Art is politics; politics is art. Politics is an art, not a science; all art is political. These assertions capture the close relationship between art and politics and suggest the blurring of distinctions between these two institutions. This course explores some timeless themes in politics and, art paying attention not only to the content but the medium and style of politics and art. The central thesis of the course is that politics and art are drama, and we will explore the implications of that metaphor. We will draw on political speeches and documents, literature, music, film, and visual arts to study the relationships between politics and art and art in politics. We will focus on political systems that employ force (coercion and force) and ideology to attain their goals. In doing so, we will touch on the nature of power, law, social and political justice, tolerance, moral relativism, ethics, and resistance, rebellion, revolution, and war. While we explore our subject in a various times and places, we will focus on American politics and art, particularly the era of the Sixties, a decade seminal in American art and politics.
Section 10 and 17: Experience-Seekers: Eco- or egotourists? – J. Raadik Cottrell
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, said Mark Twain. The world is an open book to discover through travel, to learn about other people and places, and about ourselves. It is less important where we travel, but how. Are you a traveler or a tourist, an eco- or an ego- tourist? Are you aware of the impacts of your travel? Responsible travel values and celebrates diversity of natural and cultural heritage as a product of geography and history. Responsible travel is an inspiration and a challenge to the industry. This course provides an overview of the principles and criteria for responsible travel with a broad overview of the challenges and issues associated with the travel industry. Poverty alleviation, gender equity, and nature conservation initiatives through tourism are among the topics discussed from a global to local context. Field excursions will be used to apply and illustrate how planning and management of responsible travel experiences can be facilitated.
Section 11: See Section 8
Section 12: Exploring Sustainable Solutions: A Case-Based Approach – W. Timpson
Exploring Sustainable Solutions: A Case-Based Approach will prepare students to deepen their understanding of sustainability through active involvement in personal, campus and community projects and how these can impact the environments in which they operate, i.e., (1) How critical and creative thinking can be used to design projects that address complex and interrelated issues of sustainability (i.e., the interconnected nature of environmental, societal and economic health); (2) When a commitment to sustainability has challenged conventional practices and nurtured change; (3) How people can learn to work more cooperatively on negotiated solutions to complex problems;(4)Why deep listening can engender empathy and understanding for others and yourself; (5) How anger and emotion can be best understood and managed when confronting the challenges of sustainability; (6) What it takes to stay centered when aggressive or dysfunctional attitudes mix dangerously with ineffective policies and practices.
Sections 13 and 18: Vietnam & America: Lessons and Legacies – P. Vaughan-Knaus
America’s lengthy war in Vietnam was--by most accounts--its most divisive. As U.S. troop levels swelled to more than a half million by 1968, American society split sharply over the legitimacy and efficacy of the war effort. The war’s inconclusiveness and unpopularity spawned not only a broad-based antiwar movement, but also a reexamination of America’s purpose as wrenching as any other since before or after the grueling Civil War. Neither Richard Nixon’s 1969 decision to ultimately eliminate U.S. ground forces, nor the 1975 fall of Saigon did much to resolve the debate or to ease the traumas that it unleashed. Our class explores the larger boundaries of that debate by focusing on questions such as: Why did America intervene in Vietnam; what did America seek to accomplish there? Were these goals attainable? What domestic events played out; often resulting in lasting and compelling change? Who were America’s enemies? Allies? Can U.S. actions there be characterized as moral—or immoral? How did an unindustrialized, rural region ultimately dominate the world’s leading authority? Much reading and even more discussion will allow us to travel back and re-live this conflict and its ascendant chaos, perhaps with new-found appreciation for Vietnam’s American legacy.
Section 14: See section 3
Section 15: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll in the Ancient World – E. Wilson
This class aims to familiarize the student with the broad trends of the Ancient Mediterranean World (Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome) as well as the basic sets of evidence to any Classically-oriented scholar (archaeology, epigraphy, texts, etc.) through the themes of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. We will examine both our own preconceptions about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll and how they could bias the modern scholar, as well as consider how the ancients experienced and thought about these topics, in what contexts (domestic, funerary military, diplomatic, etc.) they appeared, and how each category of evidence should be handled by the modern scholar.
Section 16: Picture This, Read That: Text-Image Relations in Superhero Comics, Graphic Novels, and Children's Picture Books – A. Gollapudi
Disillusioned superheroes, Wild Things, and Jewish Mice escaping Nazi Cats – these are some of the characters you will encounter in this course on image-text interactions in (1)comics, (2)graphic novels, and (3)children’s picture books. Using works from these three genres, the course will explore the nature of words and images, how they create meaning separately, and how they interact in complex ways to tell a story. Do images have a ‘language’ and can the text sometimes function as an image? Do words often seem to colonize and dominate images? And can images function as a subversive element in the book, telling a very different story than the ones told by the words? How do we “read” not just the black marks inside the book but the book itself as a visible, material, object? These are some of the questions we will ask in this course as we consider the aesthetic, socio-historical, and thematic aspects of works such as Watchmen, Maus, and Where the Wild Things Are. To aid in our exploration of these imagetexts – works that use pictures as well as words to tell a story – we will use recent scholarly theories about visuality and textuality, breaking down the divisions between “highbrow” and “low” or “popular” literature. So if you like the idea of writing a formal, academic paper on a childhood favourite such as Wild Things, or a superhero classic like Watchmen, this is the course for you!
Section 17: See Section 10
Section 18: See Section 13
Section 19: Meaningful Mourning: Global Death Cultures – M. Edwards
Death is a sad and unfortunate truth that we face throughout our lives, however, despite its melancholy, fascination and curiosity surrounding death culture exists. The somber funerals and tombstone laden cemeteries are not the only rituals and resting places to honor the dead. In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine the variety and vigor in which death is celebrated, honored, mourned, and awaited across the globe. We’ll see how religion, geography, cultures, history, and even diseases have shaped various bereavement traditions. Beginning with past and present rituals of western civilization, we will demonstrate the richness and breadth of American cultures through such practices as spirit photos, caskets in horse drawn carriages, second lines, and more. Next, we will explore the traditions of European countries through time, from the ossuaries (or bone churches) to the Scandinavian Viking funerals and of course examining how historic plagues shaped tradition. Afterwards, we will explore various Asian, African, and Latin American practices including sky burials, sacrifices, and el Día de Muertos. Lastly, we’ll close the semester on a somewhat lighter note looking at mythological narratives of death. From days-long festivals to weeks long fasting; from obscured mummies to paraded skeletons, we’ll explore the world and its customs through the final celebration of a life.
Section 20: Musical Revolutions: From the Turntable to the Turnstile – B. Hull
In many ways music helps define who we are. It marks generational differences, creates modern tribes and subcultures and pushes mass culture in new directions. In the modern world, fresh and innovative artists are prized and sought after. However, we rarely look into the complex elements that stimulate musical evolution. Often it is the risk takers, the musical renegades, whose creative innovations eventually find their way into the mainstream and who change the very notions of what is “musical” and “pleasing to the ears.” But how does this process take place? How do these movements get started and how do they affect our lives? What are the necessary historical conditions that need to come together to launch a new genre and to spark cultural movements? So many questions and the needle has only begun to turn…
Section 21: Redneck Rebellion – C. Keyt
Musicians, artists, businesses, and restaurants in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s began to create products that reminded frustrated and anxious Americans, specifically the white working classes, of “the way things used to be.” For example, Southern rock and country music became popular as emerged as factory workers lost their jobs to overseas plants in the 1970s. The Dukes of Hazzard ran for 7 seasons and pick-up trucks were parked in suburban driveways in the 1980s, as minimum wage retail-jobs replaced manufacturing and parents were forced to bus their children to far-away schools. In the 1990s, football was almost a “religion” - entire towns showed up for high school games, offering prayers and waving rebel flags. In the 2000s, after natural disasters and economic crises, shows like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo became standard nighttime viewing. “Southern” restaurants and “farmhouse” or “Shabby Chic” décor dominated even middle-class options. Through all of this, politicians framed social welfare options as racially charged – that is, they spoke of “welfare queens” and “lazy welfare recipients” as code for impoverished African-American families. White working classes typically voted against such programs that would have helped their own families. Come explore this relationship between anxiety, politics, government programs, and material culture (things that tell us who we are) and white working-class identities across the nation.
Section 22: See Section 15
Section 23: Telling the Story: How Music Influences Society – D. Apodaca
Music is among the many artistic expressions created by society. This course will investigate historical, societal, structural, and stylistic background of many genres of music and how each genre of music connects to one another. The social influence of music is vast. Music gets inserted into almost every group activity. It gets played at large arenas where we gather to watch sports. We have soundtracks for political campaigns, tv shows, movies, stores, elevators, and workplaces. It frames the tv news. Music plays in our cars, on airplanes and in our earplugs. We use it to offset a romantic dinner, to mourn at funerals, to praise our gods, to get married, and to workout at the gym. And then there’s dancing and concert going. These activities define our cultural identity, our happiness, our sadness. It defines our protests. It tells our stories. Its’ social influence is ubiquitous. It frames our mood and tells us how to feel. We live in a social era that is saturated with musical soundtracks, we barely notice them, but we keenly notice their absence and swiftly plug every silence hole. The goal of the class is to explore the impact that music has on society. This course will study music through classical and popular genres and will help the student to thoroughly discuss, intelligently listen, and more completely comprehend all music. We will also visit the University Center for the Performing Arts for a day in the keyboard lab. An introductory keyboard lesson will also lead to final performances and presentations in Organ Hall.
Section 1: Science as a Way of Knowing: Animal Behavior - J. Moore
The ways that non-human animals behave have fascinated and mystified humans since people first made drawings on the walls of ancient caves, and they continue to capture our attention. We watch them and invent explanations for their behavior, often with little evidence. Much as the ancient Greeks anthropomorphized their gods, giving them human traits, we do the same to animals: They are “sneaky,” “wise,” “stupid,” “jealous”. . .and they are, ultimately, dumb—and therein lies the mystery. How can we understand a non-speaking creature on its own terms? Can we know how the birds at dawn begin to sing, all at the same time? How do we understand the intelligence of fish? The map-making of honeybees? Do animals think? How would we know?
This seminar will engage students in the exploration of science as a way of knowing, using animal behavior as a gateway into that world. The seminar considers what counts as scientific knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm scientific knowledge; the values attributed to scientific knowledge; and the ethical and aesthetic implications of what one gains and does with the acquisition of knowledge. Students will integrate the history and philosophy of science with content of, and approached used, in a scientific discipline in discussions and assignments.
The seminar focuses on topics that are particularly relevant to questions about how we know about animal behavior (and by extension, all of science) and to aspects of animal behavior that are accessible and useful to us as fellow travelers in the natural world. Feel free to read all of the text, not just assigned chapters, to devour good videos online, and to generate your own hypotheses about what is going on in the natural world!
Section 2: Science as a Way of Knowing: Ocean Dynamics and Carbon Dioxide - U. Quillman
Why has climate change become the focal point of an increasingly polarized political conversation, whereas the vast majorities of other countries have long accepted climate change as a scientific fact and have accepted that human activities is the foremost cause of it? Climate science has become a pawn in the US political arena, with numerous politicians ignoring, rejecting, or misrepresenting scientific conclusions that conflict with their political views. People who lack authority on climate science are discussing the causes and solutions for climate change.
The heated debate over climate science begs the question, what is science? In our seminar we will explore “science as a way of knowing”. Ocean dynamics and carbon dioxide (CO2) will provide the framework for our seminar. Ocean dynamics and CO2 are the crucial players in climate change, regardless whether climate change is natural or caused by human activities. We live on an ocean planet with >70% of the Earth’s surface covered by ocean and >97% of the Earth’s surface water being stored in the ocean. The ocean plays an enormous role in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, thus mitigating the effects of global warming by absorbing approximately one half of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. Scientists fear once the ocean has reached a tipping point when the ocean no longer can uptake any additional CO2 from the atmosphere. We will examine the oceanic processes that make it possible for the ocean to take up excess atmospheric CO2. We will examine scientific tools that are being used to determine past CO2 levels in the atmosphere and in the ocean. We will scrutinize climate models that are being used to predict future climate change. We will also look at the effects a warming ocean has on sea level, ice sheets and glaciers, sea ice, hurricanes, monsoons, and El Nino events. The role of CO2 in warming had been long recognized before the “other” CO2 problem was recognized. The “other” CO2 problem is ocean acidification, often referred to as the “evil twin” of climate change.
Section 3: Science as a Way of Knowing: Scientific Controversies in Agriculture - A. Norton
Food is central to life. Agriculture and food production shape the economic, social and political interactions of communities, states and nations. Food and food availability is a central determinant of human interactions on all scales as well as our interactions with the natural environment. At the same time, food consumption is a highly personal act: it is the primary way we interact with other organisms and the environment and is a major determinant of human health
For millennia, civilizations have sought to increase food production to meet the demands of growing populations. Agricultural science has resulted in dramatic increases in production efficiency and food supplies, yet few areas of scientific inquiry have been subjected to the level of skepticism and critique as those surrounding agriculture. Currently, society debates the value of conventional vs. organic food production, the use of modern breeding techniques or heirloom seeds to grow crops, and the role of transgenic plants in food production.
In this seminar we will explore four areas of agricultural science and food production and examine the approaches to science that have been used to understand these areas. Using the primary literature we will examine the science of: 1) The origins and consequences of agriculture; 2) the process of plant evolution, domestication and breeding; 3) the discovery synthetic fertilizers, the industrialization of agriculture and the development of the organic food movement; and 4) the development of modern molecular biology and the creation of transgenic crop plants and genetically modified organisms.
Section 1: Knowing in Arts and Humanities: Manifest America: Knowing the Roots of Modern America by Looking West – D. Sheflin
The course is formulated around the study of an American identity that emerged with the articulation of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s. The ideology of Manifest Destiny, though not entirely new to Americans in that period, came to work as a justification for American expansion into the North American West largely because it facilitated the sense of exceptionalism that excused the costs of such expansion. In exploring the impact that it had and its influence on American history, we will connect Manifest Destiny to some of the more dramatic and formative events in US history, including the overland migration, the era of the gold rush, the Mexican-American War, and even the Civil War. In looking at how these issues of freedom, democracy, and opportunity play out in the American West and in the nascent American empire, we will look at the construction of race and the racialization of non-white people in the Americas, the promotion of American masculinity at home and abroad, and the balancing of American ideals and self-interest. We can then make broad connections with both the context and the legacies of this period by considering how much these themes remain part of an identity supported by many Americans today.
Section 2 and 5: Knowing in Arts and Humanities – J. Kitchens
The theme for this course is the “social construction of knowledge,” and it engages with the ideas of how knowledge gets produced, by whom and for what purposes. Other considerations include what counts as knowledge and how has it been produced and transmitted in the past (and present), e.g., public schooling? What other institutions are involved in the production of knowledge? And what is the relationship between knowledge and power? Course materials will range in disciplinary perspectives including philosophy, history, education, sociology, literature, and film. Students will also be guided in a self-reflective investigation into how knowledge has been produced in their personal lives, and specifically how such knowledge informs their worldview, i.e., how they interpret and act in the world.
Section 3 and 6: Knowing in Arts and Humanities: Do Non-Human Animals Make Art? – S. Zwick-Tapley
Do non-human animals engage in the arts and humanities? How do we know? How do we know what constitutes the arts and humanities among our own species? This class will look at the definitions, history and current research regarding language, creativity and expression. From the philosophies of Charles Darwin and Renee Descartes to the research by Jane Goodall and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and others we will explore the human identity and the identity we attribute to other species. Be prepared for thinking both inside and outside of the box of what we know and what we imagine.
Section 4: Knowing in Arts and Humanities: Construction of Knowledge – M. Brown
The overarching theme for this seminar is the “construction of knowledge.” Students will be engaged in discussions, readings, written communication, and oral communication to consider ideas of how knowledge is produced, by whom it is produced and for what purposes it is produced. The political construction of knowledge challenges students to consider the potential impacts of manipulating what is known and by whom it is known. Cultural identity, arts, philosophy, literature, film, and social media will be considered for their subjectivity and selectivity in the sharing of knowledge which can ultimately drive election outcomes, perpetuate social injustices, or be used as justification for wars. Students will also be challenged to reflect upon the sources of their own knowledge and to identify gaps that may ultimately impact their views and actions.
Section 5: See Section 2
Section 6: See Section 3
Section 7: Knowing Our World through Other Worlds: Science Fiction and Social Criticism – J. Brown
In 1978, literary scholar Darko Suvin famously described science fiction as the literature of “cognitive estrangement.” It was, he argued, the tension between the known reality of the reader’s empirical world (cognition) and the imagined alternative world of the text (estrangement) that gave Science Fiction a privileged role in encouraging the kind of critical thought about one’s own society and circumstances that could disrupt the blinding nature of ideology. This seminar will explore the rich tradition of the science fiction short story by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, and Frank Herbert alongside select critical essays. Finally, the course’s ultimate goal is to investigate the ways that our attempts to know the imagined future affect our ways of knowing our present world.
Section 8: Knowing in the Arts and Humanities: Memoir and Non-fiction Graphic Novels – A. Davies
How do we know our own story? Which stories are ours to tell? How do we make sense of different views of the same events? To understand these question and explore possible answers, we'll start the semester with 5 weeks considering the philosophy of knowing. The seminar will engage students in the exploration of different ways of knowing - and their purposes, values, and limitations - in the arts and humanities. The seminar considers what counts as knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm knowledge; the values attributed to knowledge; and the ethical and aesthetic implications of what one gains and does with the acquisition of knowledge. Understanding how we come to know will help us consider how we come to tell our own stories and the stories of those around us. To understand how others have grappled with these issue, we'll delve into non-fiction graphic novels, both memoirs and histories. We'll consider how visuals and text function together to tell true stories and whose truth they represent. We'll also consider whose truth they leave out and the implications of those choices. During the semester students will not only critically analyze these texts, but they will also craft non-fiction works of their own that will combine language and visuals. Writing our own stories will bring new awareness to the limitations of our knowledge and the value of questioning our interpretations.
Section 1: Knowing across Cultures: Refugees in a Global Era – M. Lopez Ramirez
The seminar will engage students in the exploration of different ways of knowing across cultures by understanding different cultural perspectives and analyzing how cultural values differently inform research methodologies. The seminar considers how cultural values inform what counts as knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm knowledge; the values attributed to knowledge; and moral implications of how knowledge is constructed, evaluated, and reproduced. Specifically, this course will provide experiences for students to critically and analytically reflect on how power, privilege, cultural identities, historical frameworks, social systems, and cultural backgrounds influence what we know about self, others, and the world. These reflections will involve examples of how social and historical gaps, omissions, and shifts in knowledge, including what is not known, what cannot be known, and what is un-known (which may have been disregarded, discarded, or forgotten) often reflect competing cultural perspectives and values. Students will also learn to understand the effects of cultural bias on the interpretation of facts, empirical data, observation, and experience, and how this shapes understandings of the possibility for certainty and objective knowledge. In this way, students will explore how cultural values inform and influence which research methodologies are used for knowledge production, construction, and acquisition. By analyzing contemporary case studies or issues on a theme, students will further integrate and evaluate different ways of knowing.
There are around 60 million people in the world who have been displaced by war, persecution, natural disaster or conflict. Migration has become a big issue, especially after multiple terrorist attacks in Europe and the US over the last few years. As a consequence of the current immigration narrative, right-wing movements and parties, xenophobia, a fear for diversity and a lack of tolerance are on the rise around the world. This course will inquire into the nature, causes and consequences of contemporary refugee waves in our globalized world. We will set aside the current narrative and have a more open dialogue. To that end, we will debate personal social identity construction and stereotypes, and analyze the positive side of immigration to create a more open, respectful and tolerant society. Particular attention will be paid to the recent EU crisis, integration and segregation processes, racism, and cultural diversity.
Section 2: Knowing Across Cultures: Encounters with the Other in Literature and Film - E. Brinks
Literature and film give us a unique form for experiencing what it is like to interact with cultures different from our own and with what we consider strange and/or foreign. As recent studies of cognitive science have demonstrated, fictional texts are paradoxically more successful at developing empathy in readers than nonfictional ones are, despite nonfiction’s claims to truth. In a world where collaborative work with people from diverse cultures will prove essential to our collective survival as a species, it’s essential that we engage imaginatively with perspectives culturally distant and distinct from our own. Literature and film are two media that uniquely bring such experiences to the fore, even if their stories are “made up.” Through their representational worlds, we can see human life through others’ eyes, and, valuably, we can “see ourselves seeing the other,” allowing for critical insight into the cultural determinants that shape our understanding of self and other.
To examine how the foreign is represented in literature and film, three sites of encounter between self and other are chosen as representative and valuable permutations on the theme: 1) the colonial encounter between colonists and indigenous peoples; 2) travel and touristic encounters; and 3) the encounters arising from diasporas and the emergence of global identities. These vividly imagined narratives foreground discrepancies in economic, political, and social power, the shaping role of historical events, and the diverse ways of we are ignorant of and misunderstand others from cultures different from our own. Students will grapple with how we construct what we claim to know about people from other cultures and the vital necessity of self-awareness. Literary works and film from the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries are chosen with regard to how they illuminate how coming to terms with difference or otherness is an essential, inescapable and enriching point of reference for living humanely in the world.
Section 3: Knowing Across Cultures: Wildlife Conservation Issues – N. Vieira
Fish and wildlife conservation requires more than just scientific studies to be successful. In reality, it requires a balance between science and advocacy -- a balance which is mediated, in part, by how different cultural groups perceive the role of fish and wildlife in their lives. We will define wildlife conservation in scientific terms, and will also learn how our forward-thinking “North American Wildlife Conservation Model” is unique in the world. Then, we will highlight global wildlife conservation issues and tackle controversial topics related to differences in cultural values, world philosophies (religion and ethics), poverty and subsistence living. For example, is wildlife conservation a luxury of an affluent society? Are fish and wildlife here for human use, or do they have inherent value and rights that we are obligated to preserve? Is recreational (vs. subsistence) hunting considered ethical and useful in conservation? Should we kill one species to save an endangered one, or let nature take its course? How do different cultures react to regulations on commercial fishing and whaling? We will explore these themes through readings, discussion, movies and videos, guest speakers, and some time outside to learn about wildlife in our very own “Colorado culture”!
Section 4: Knowing Across Cultures: Garbage, Waste, and Trash in Global Cultures and Societies – D. Johnson
Concepts of garbage, waste, and trash create a nearly ubiquitous theme around the world for a surprising number of cultures and peoples. And, quite literally, diverse, geographically-separated societies often share the same trash—from the large garbage island in the Pacific Ocean to the trails of garbage that mark migrations and connect the US-Mexico border. The concepts of garbage, waste, and trash operate as cultural metaphors that place value—lack of value—as well as prescribe action (throw it out!). Trash, for instance, has no value to the person throwing it away—and, it must be thrown away, removed from the realm of valuable things. By extending this metaphor of trash, we can see it applied not only to things (plastic bottles, medical refuse, toxic elements), but also to places and peoples. In this class, we will explore various cultural artifacts—nonfiction, fiction, including science fiction, film, digital media—that highlight the literal and metaphorical concepts of garbage, waste, and trash. We will use these concepts to explore and dialogue with issues such as global invasive species, environmental justice, refugee crises, race and ghettoization, class conflict, and, of course, global garbage.
Section 5: Knowing Across Cultures: The 14th Amendment and a History of Race in the United States – J. Kim
Our U.S. society and history are unlike any other. We are a nation founded on the lofty ideals of freedom, equality, and rule of law. The ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution affirmed these principles immediately after the divisive Civil War and established higher standards in regards to the meaning of equality and fairness regardless of one’s group membership. The central idea that everyone is equal before the law, if taken seriously, holds the promise for us to work towards a more fair and equitable society. However, our history is simultaneously replete with examples that significantly deviate from such principles. As a nation, we have long struggled with this contradiction, and, the persistence of inequalities continues to pose challenges for us today. Race (relations, conflicts, identities) is one such area where the tension between the promises of these ideals and the lived realities seems to be an enduring feature of an American experience. But, is race, as a concept and reality, so impermeable and complicated that we collectively feel powerless to find a path out of an historical impasse? A part of the solution that this course will propose lies in our commitment to understanding the historical origins of race, its mechanisms and legacy, and the ongoing impact in shaping institutions, social relations, and identities. This seminar-course seeks to uncover how the concept of race originated, surveys key historical moments when race took the center stage, and commissions us to struggle together to figure out ways to move forward as a society.
Section 1: Coming to America: The Immigrant Nation – M. Elkins
The story of America is the story of immigrants -- their problems and contributions, their struggles to assimilate or to resist assimilation in their new country. In this course, we will begin with an overview of this issue, particularly focusing on the 19th and early 20th Century immigration from Europe to the northeastern section of the United States. Other immigrants have their stories as well. We will move on to look at West Coast immigrants. We will conclude with an in-depth look at the immigration reform debate that is swirling around us today.
Section 2: Why Do They Hate Us? Understanding the Myths, Realities and Limits of the American Empire – K. Jaggers
In “Why Do They Hate Us?” we will explore the tension between how Americans perceive themselves and how, and why, the rest of the world perceives us in a different, and often less flattering, light. At its core, this course will focus on the uneasy relationship between America’s liberal political culture and institutions and the power-centric and nationalistic ideals that have traditionally governed our country’s foreign policy. Particular emphasis will be placed on the motivations and tactics that have fueled America’s expansionist ambitions over the past 200 years and the forces, both domestic and foreign, which have sought to limit both the size and scope of the “American Empire.” In this course we will also examine both the political and moral implications associated with being the world’s first global “empire” as well as the social, economic and political forces contributing to the rise of anti-American sentiment and political action throughout the Islamic world.
Section 3: Beat Generation – A. Merline
The Beat Generation is a term used to describe both a group of American writers who came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the cultural phenomena that they wrote about and inspired. This class will explore the influence of the legendary group of American writers who came to prominence during this era who challenged the values of American society after World War II, and paved the way for the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. We examine the lives and literature of Neal Cassady (Collected Letters), Allen Ginsberg (Howl, Kaddish, America), Jack Kerouac (On The Road), and William Burroughs (Naked Lunch) and other minor poets and poetry that exemplify this generation of writers.
Section 4: Abraham Lincoln: What’s Up With That Hat? – P. Vaughan Knaus
Abraham Lincoln once described his life story as “the short and simple annals of the poor. That’s my life, and that’s all you or anybody can make of it.” We know differently. Yet, America’s sixteenth president remains an enigma: both beloved and despised, depending upon where one’s sympathies lie. Did he unduly exceed the boundaries of Executive Privilege, alienating nearly half of the country? Was he a devout humanitarian possessing a genuinely ethical nature, yet still able to justify taking the United States to unspeakable devastation? The truth, as is generally the case, lives somewhere in the middle. Let us explore the man, the myth, the legend. Our task is to discover for ourselves just who was Abraham Lincoln? What forces guided his decisions and educts? Was he a man of faith? Of uncommon intellect? Of tremendous self-doubt and physical shortcomings?
Section 5 and 6: You’d Be Murdered for This: Art, Political Regimes and Morality – S. Zwick-Tapley
Imagine a painting so scandalous you’d be imprisoned. Imagine a play so threatening you’d be tortured. Imagine a book so controversial you’d be exiled for life. Imagine a film so revolutionary you’d be killed. Throughout history art has challenged dictators, religion and sexual norms and has been blamed for the destruction of morality and civilization. What are these works of art and what made them so threatening? And did these works of art succeed in bringing about the change so feared? This class will explore controversial art from around the world (Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America) and look at the political, sociological, and psychological frameworks specific to each culture. Art forms covered will include theatre, dance, the visual arts, film and literature. (Warning: The material in this class may be offensive to some students)
Section 6: See Section 5
Section 7: Contemporary East Asian Cinema – H. Chung
This course examines representative and remarkable examples of both contemporary art cinema and commercial filmmaking in Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Students will explore how the global/local geopolitics specific to the post-Berlin Wall era (the dismantling of Cold War institutions; the passing of authoritarian regimes; the boom and bust of the Asian economy; the canonization of Asian films in the film festival circuit) have influenced the reshaping of New Asian cinemas across borders. The first section of our course will investigate the ways in which historical traumas (wars, massacres, revolutions, and uprisings) have been revisited and redressed in the post-Cold War cinemas of Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. What is the relationship between history and national cinema? How do such concepts as imperialism, nationalism, postcolonialism, guilt and trauma play a role in films that shoulder the “burden of history” and represent the “unrepresentable”? The second section provides insights into selected auteurs and stars familiar to international cinephiles (such as John Woo, Chow Yun-fat, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Gong Li, Tsai Ming-liang, Kim Ki-duk, Bong Joon-ho, Oshima Nagisa, and Kitano “Beat” Takeshi). In the process, we will identify the themes, styles, genres and ideological/cultural content of East Asian film canons in the West. Are there specific aesthetic trends and thematic echoes among these auteur films from different nations? Is canon-making itself an Orientalist act of cultural imperialism? The final weeks be will devoted to border-crossing films such as Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2003), works that highlight such critical concerns as diaspora, hybridity, transnationalism, and globalization.
Section 8: Friendship in the Western World: Ancient Greece, Modern and Contemporary Perspectives - A. Archie
The purpose of the seminar is to critically analyze the ancient Greek conception of friendship (i.e., Plato and Aristotle) in relation to modern and contemporary conceptions of friendship. According to Aristotle, friendship has to do with the self. Thus, in reflecting on friendship we enter upon self-discovery. In contrast to the ancients’ preoccupation with the self, modern and contemporary reflections on friendship tend to focus on rules and acts. The main question of the seminar is, “Which position on friendship is more compelling: the ancient Greek, modern or contemporary position?”
Section 1: Philanthropy in Action- Passion to Serve – F. Glycenfer
We often wrestle with how to put our good intentions more fully into action in ways that will benefit our community as well as enhance our individual lives. Volunteering in America is at an all-time record high; however there can often be challenges between making the world a better place and actually achieving it. This course empowers students to maximize their potential to serve others through the lens of assisting the underserved by investigating theoretical constructs, viewing film documentaries, incorporating fiction reading and practical hands-on experience. The call for aid in our world is great – our passion to serve must be greater.
Section 2: Freedom in Focus – K. Jaggers
This course is organized around the idea, and practice, of freedom. While freedom is said to be "on the march" in the world today, what, precisely, does this mean? What does it mean to have free will; to live in a free society; to express oneself freely? Moreover, is the march of freedom inevitable? Is it desirable? Should it be unbridled in both its promotion and construction? While there is a temptation in our society to uncritically accept the idea of freedom as an unalloyed "good," by viewing the concept of freedom through the analytical lenses of philosophy and the social sciences we are better able to understand the "bounded" role of freedom in human society. The objective of this course is to think critically about the idea of freedom and, in the process, to evaluate the political, social, theological and ethical arguments both for, and against, its promotion. In this course we will examine the idea of freedom by reading the works of classic social theorists and commentators (e.g., Plato, Mill, Kant, Freud, Sartre, etc) and by interpreting these works through the lens of modern cinema (e.g., The Seventh Seal, The Matrix, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, etc). Note: students who register for this course will be required to attend weekly screenings of films that fall outside of scheduled class meetings.
Section 3: America and the Civil War – M. Elkins
“Any understanding of this nation has to be based on an understanding of the Civil War….it defines us.” These are the words of the eminent Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, and they form the premise for this course. Who we are as a nation, how we see ourselves, what we value and how we conduct our national and international life all have their roots in this great 19th Century catastrophic upheaval. This is not a history course although we will be reading James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. Rather, it is a course on the ways in which the Civil War has seeped into our consciousness and been revised and reinterpreted over generations. In particular, we will look at its influences in art, both popular and elite. We will look at fiction dealing with the Civil War, such as The Killer Angels and The March, films ranging from Gone with the Wind through Glory and Gettysburg . We will read some poetry from the time, such as the work of Walt Whitman, from the 20th Century, such as Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead” and from the 21st Century, the poems of Kevin Young ( To the Confederate Dead). We will consider such issues as the image and reputation of Abraham Lincoln over the years, the relationship between slavery and contemporary racism. The consequences of the Civil War, both good and ill, are all around us. And the interest in the War and its iconic cast (Lincoln, Lee, Frederick Douglass, to name only three) is manifested in the amazing amount of research, of a very high quality, that appears on bookshelves on an almost daily basis. In the words of William Faulkner, “The past is not dead. In fact, it isn’t even past.”
Section 4: Construction of Self in Philosophy, Literature, and Medicine – G. Callahan
Construction of Self will explore three views of this most essential of human traits -- the biological, the philosophical, and the literary. Literature and philosophy have for centuries probed at the surfaces and the cavities of self. Biology, our teachers have told us, couldn’t care a whole lot less about the nature of the human self. But as we will see in this course, biological and medical sciences, though less overtly, are also steadily changing the way we view our selves. Three pillars of self. However, since there is no single aspect of this universe that is not in some way relevant to the process of self-definition, we might as easily have picked any of several other perspectives, including things like art, religion, sociology, archeology, cosmology, and so on. But we only have one semester. And biology, philosophy, and literature offer a reasonable sampling of how we have struggled with our pictures of our selves since we first noticed we had selves and wondered just what we ought to do with them. Furthermore, the consideration of these seemingly disparate subjects and their intersections will allow us to explore the process of self-construction and the ways in which our images of self are synthesized from the seemingly discontinuous fragments of our experience.
Section 5: Globalize This! Fear and Loathing in the Age of Progress – K. Jaggers
In "Globalize This!" we will explore both the perils and promise of globalization. For better or worse, the process of globalization is fundamentally transforming the economic, cultural and political foundations of the globe. While globalization holds out the promise of progress providing significant opportunities for the emancipation of the much of the world's population from the tyranny of poverty, ignorance and political repression it simultaneously evokes a sense of fear and loathing throughout the globe. Globalization has become a popular buzzword which serves to crystallize disagreements concerning the speed and direction of change in the world at large. Globalization is a contentious process; its meaning almost entirely dependent on who is talking about. Neo-liberal economic reformers, environmental and human rights activists, security experts and cultural nationalists, to name a few, all compete for the right to stake claim to the idea of globalization and shape public perceptions about its potential impact on the world in which we live. While both the meaning and merits of globalization have become highly politicized in recent years, with intellectual debate about this topic transforming itself into contentious political action with increasing regularity, in this class we will seek to evaluate the origins, nature and impact of this process in the modern world using insights and analytical tools from history and the social sciences.
Section 6: Women and Early American Psychology – V. Volbrecht
This course explores the cosmic forces that pushed the study of mind from the boundaries of philosophy to its own field of scientific inquiry in the United States. The early days of this new field of study are studied by examining the influences from other countries in its evolution and the research guiding the field in its genesis. The growth of a new field also requires the education of its future leaders and often during this time period it meant the education of males. Often forgotten are that woman contributed to moving the science of psychology forward. This course will explore the societal and discipline norms faced by women seeking advanced degrees and how despite the obstacles and challenges these early female pioneers were able to move the discipline forward.
Section 7: Change - Social, Environmental and Economic Perspectives – J. Raadik Cottrell
There’s only one thing for sure in life and that’s Change. We as individuals change (i.e., beliefs, attitudes and behaviors) throughout our lifespan and so does the world around us. In lieu of today’s rapid societal, environmental, economic, technological, etc. changes, the need for more balanced development is acute. Bold and transformative steps are necessary to shift global societies on a positive course of change to a more sustainable and resilient path. Today’s young generation is undoubtedly one of the most influential agents of change for a more sustainable future. Changing worldviews and the ability to take advantage of the advancements of today’s science and technology create endless opportunities and pose challenging ethical responsibilities. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development currently adopted by the United Nations is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity for poverty alleviation, universal education, health and well-being. The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. This course through a tourism studies perspective examines how sustainable practice, livelihood change and travel and tourism may help realize human rights for some and to achieve gender equality and empowerment to mention the few. Through the lens of a holistic sustainability framework, the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability along with institutional mechanisms are used to examine the role of travel and tourism in achieving the SDGs. Students will be engaged in classroom debates and discussions, explore different scenarios of change through case studies and field trips. Interdisciplinary and multicultural viewpoints are encouraged to gain an understanding how flows of information, people and knowledge can make a meaningful change.
Section 8: Food and Power - M. Van Buren
Why do we eat what we eat? Most of us assume that our diet is based on individual choice, but by refocusing our lens to capture a longer historical perspective and a broader range of social forces we can see that our personal preferences are shaped by a web of economic and political relations that extends from families to transnational corporations. The goal of this course is to encourage students to address the question of why you eat what you do by considering your diet as a product of historical and contemporary conditions that extend far beyond consumer choice. The course begins with a discussion of what we eat and why, briefly examines nutritional requirements from an anthropological perspective, broadens to consider national and global issues related to food production, then circles back to the individual student. Topics to be considered include the development of agriculture, the globalization of food production, local and sustainable as well as industrial agriculture, hunger, the politics surrounding dietary recommendations, and food activism.