The following 395H seminars are 3 credit hour classes. ACE credit is noted by each course (in some cases additional ACE credit may be forthcoming; contract Dr. Burnett for details). Some courses also meet College of Arts & Sciences College Distribution Requirements (ASC CDR); specifics are noted with each course. Enrollment in these courses will follow regular University enrollment procedures and occur on a first-come, first-served basis in accordance with your assigned priority registration times. If this is your final semester and you have an unmet ACE need AND you have difficulties getting into a course section with that ACE, contact Dr. Burnett ASAP.

Spring 2022


The Shaping of Modern America

Course description ►

No.: 19640 Section 002 9:30-10:45am, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Tim Borstelmann ACE 5; CAS CDR Humanities; counts as HIST 300-level course for History majors/minors

This seminar explores the development of the contemporary United States in the decades since World War II. We will investigate American culture, politics, and foreign relations, paying particular attention to change over time. The foundation of a seminar is robust, informed discussion involving every member of the class. Each member of the class is expected to participate actively in the discussion of each class session’s readings.


American Film Music in a Suburban Age (1950-present)

Course description ►

No.: 9747 Section 003 11:00-12:15p, Tu/Th
WMB 109 Dr. Tony Bushard ACE 7

The most familiar entertainment icons and storylines from the 1950s and 60s remain potent signs that continue to resonate within contemporary American society and culture. In recent decades, the entertainment industry has capitalized on this trend with films and television shows that take a look back on the 1950s and 1960s with a mixture of nostalgia and criticism. In this class, we will explore how the central concerns of the Fifties and Sixties—and resulting treatment in the motion picture media—can be examined and understood through the music of the time period. Through a focus on the films' soundtrack and scoring (both then and now) as well as engagement with appropriate primary and secondary texts, we will discover that specific television shows and films offer a more nuanced vision of community and conformity than is usually recognized, revealing much about our own current social anxieties.


Literature of the American Civil War

Course description ►

No.: 9738 Section 004 11:00-12:15pm, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Ken Price & Dr. Brett Barney ACE 5; CAS CDR Humanities; counts as ENGL 300-level course for English majors/minors

For American culture, the crisis of Civil War was crucial and remains a matter of current tension as monuments, meanings, and memory are debated anew. Class discussions will explore how various writers analyzed and contributed to fundamental transformations in U.S. society. We will examine how these writers reacted to the implications of a war that (for the north) changed as the war progressed— Abraham Lincoln’s crucial shift in emphasis from the preservation of the union to the liberation of three million people. As Lincoln noted, Southerners and Northerners “prayed to the same God” and invoked the same founding fathers, yet ultimately understood the meanings of freedom and democracy quite differently. For much of the twentieth century the consensus opinion was that no literature emerged from the war commensurate with the magnitude of the human toll. That conclusion is now being critiqued as canonical and non-canonical writers are reevaluated in light of new studies of regionalism, sentimentalism, and realism as seen in both books and the periodical press.


Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century

Course description ►

No.: 9748 Section 006 6:00-7:15pm, MW
Knoll 258 Dr. Wes Peterson ACE 6 or 9

At the end of the Cold War in 1989, Francis Fukuyama concluded that the age-old question of the way in which human societies should be organized had been resolved. Liberal democracy and free-market capitalism had carried the day marking “the end of history.” But history did not end: in 2014, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán trumpeted the glories of “illiberal” democracy and economic nationalism and in 2018, former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright warned of the potential return of fascism. The tension between democracy with its egalitarian emphasis (one person, one vote) and capitalism which is based on differential rewards that lead to inequality has been the subject of much discussion over the past 200 years. The seminar is intended to be interdisciplinary with an emphasis on political philosophy and the social sciences.


Dialogue Across Difference

Course description ►

No.: 9826 Section 009 9:30-10:45am, Tu/Th
Knoll 257 Dr. Jordan Soliz ACE 2; CAS CDR Social Sciences; 300-level hours for Comm majors/minors

Note: this course is combined with COMM 360. To earn Honors credit or the above indicated ACE, students must enroll in the UHON 395H listing.

Due to the ever-increasing polarization in society, it is imperative that individuals learn the skills and gain practice in having open and engaging interactions across different social identities and ideologies. The aim of this course is to provide students with practice in dialoguing across difference as well as understanding the factors that facilitate constructive and positive outcomes of intergroup dialogue that accounts for sociopolitical conditions in communities. As such, through course assignments and dialogue activities, students should exit the course with:

  1. a greater knowledge of the theoretical foundation of a critical dialogic approach to communication across difference
  2. a recognition of the manner in which discourses concerning dialogue and/or civility have been used to marginalize groups
  3. an understanding of how identity and bias (self and others) influence our moral and ethical orientations in interacting with others
  4. an increased familiarity with research on effective intergroup dialogue that gives voice to those in marginalized or underrepresented groups
  5. practical experience engaging in intergroup dialogue resulting in recognition of effective and ethical intergroup communication
  6. identifying characteristics of effective intergroup dialogue facilitators
  7. experience applying the course concepts and ideas to various community and academic settings


Regulating the Global Human Population

Course description ►

No.: 9812 Section 010 12:30-1:45am, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. John DeLong ACE 6

This seminar is designed to foster an understanding of the processes driving changes in the size and age distribution of the global human population. We will strive to understand how predictions about the future size of the global human population are made and how biological, social, geographic, and economic factors combine to influence fertility, mortality, and migration of humans. We will look at historical patterns and processes of migration and population dynamics, cover the demographic transition and questions about its permanence, the role of economic development and energy in fertility and mortality patterns, and how the number of people on the planet might influence the way socio-economic system works.

As we go through these topics, we will learn about fundamental concepts from demography (e.g., life tables), biology (e.g., life history and population dynamics), sociology (e.g., cultural norms), and economics (e.g., development and tragedy of the commons). We will consider the globe as a complex system that must be fueled by energy use and ask how that energy use influences the processes that regulate the human population. Assignments will include weekly readings from the primary literature. Exercises will include making life tables for humans, calculating growth rates, and projecting/forecasting future population size.


When Media & Reality Collide

Course description ►

No.: 18255 Section 011 9:30-10:20am, MWF
Knoll 258 Dr. John Bender ACE 6

What we know about the world comes from either our own experiences or what we learn through media. News reports, television programs, books, social media and other communications inform us about events and issues we are unable to experience directly. How well those media communicate and explain those events and issues affects how well we, as members of a self-governing society, can respond to the events. Usually, news reports try to be faithful to the facts. Even fictionalized accounts often have some factual basis. But for a variety of reasons, media portrayals sometimes distort those events or the significance of the events, leading to public misunderstanding of what is happening. One goal of this course is to understand why this happens and how this affects citizens. Another goal is to understand the ethical principles that guide communications professionals, how well they follow those principles and whether the principles need amending.