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.

Previous semesters' courses

Spring 2021 | Summer/Fall 2020 | Spring 2020 | Fall 2019 | Spring 2019 | Summer/Fall 2018 | Spring 2018 | Summer/Fall 2017

Summer 2021

Sitcoms & Social Change


Section 301 Dr. Tamy Burnett Web Conferencing,
MTWRF 11:00am-1:00pm
Three Week Summer Session Hear from Dr. Burnett! ACE 7 or 9 ; ASC CDR C (Humanities); Counts as 300-level English course for English major/minor; Fulfills Major Concentration requriement for English majors
Course description

An oft-overlooked genre of television is the situation comedy, more commonly called the sitcom. Among the many genres of television, sitcoms are often dismissed as “fluff,” suggesting mindless laughter and no cultural value. However, historically, sitcoms offered one of the first vehicles for scripted television to communicate changing cultural norms. As the field of television studies expands, so too must our consideration of sitcoms. Often because of their relationship to humor, sitcoms are especially well-positioned to help effect social change through minority representation on screen, engaging serious social topics through the “spoonful of sugar” approach, or even the clichéd “very special episode.” In this course, we will use theories of humor, comedy, and television studies to explore the history and significance of the genre of the television sitcom. We will focusing on sitcoms at the forefront of social change related to issues of human diversity, such as race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ identity, socioeconomic inequalities, (dis)ability, illness, and addiction. We will ground our study of these sitcoms’ role in creating and sustaining social change through historical framing of the cultural landscapes in which the various series aired, as well as considering how production elements of this art form contributed to their effectiveness as agents of social change.

Fall 2021

Historical & Literary Retellings: Stories of Leadership, Love, and Loss


Section 001 Dr. Carole Levin 11:00-12:15pm, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 ACE 5; CAS CDR C (Humanities);
Fulfills upper diviision European History requriement for History majors
Course description

This course examines certain historical people and works of literature and discusses their significance within a particular historical/cultural context. We will then re-examine the presentation of the person or story written in a different time period to analyze different cultural meanings. The changes in tellings often allow us to focus on specific cultural anxieties. This semester we will concentrate on fairy tales, Elizabeth I, and Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. We will use fairy tales, Shakespeare’s plays, and work on Queen Elizabeth I to gain more understanding of the standards of evidence, historical perspectives and ability to analyze sources and interpretations. Each student will do critical evaluation that allows them to further understand the humanities.

From Presidents to Protests: Leadership and Change in the United States


Section: 002 Dr. Patrice McMahon 9:30-10:45am, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 ACE 8; CAS CDR D (Social Sciences)
Course description

How has peaceful social and political change taken place in the United States? We argue through thoughtful leadership, strong public institutions, and grassroots support. This interdisciplinary three-credit Honors course is designed to encourage students to think about social and political change in the United States through the lens of public service and civil society (or change from official individuals and institutions or through unofficial, nongovernmental channels). This course is specifically designed to allow students to consider different pathways to fomenting change by examining leadership models and the decisions of individuals and groups. In doing so, it draws from different but adjacent disciplines and literatures on leadership development, American history and politics, civil society, and social movements. We use both historical and contemporary moments and issues to help students learn about how public servants (our so-called grass tops) and other leaders and groups in civil society (the grassroots) have come together to inspire peaceful change in the United States. A central goal of this class is to provide students with a both toolbox and a context for understanding why and how leaders make decisions, emphasizing the difficulties of making ethical choices, as well as the range of variables that influence the decision-making process and resulting outcome.

The Beatles


Section 005 Dr. Scott Anderson 3:30-4:45p, Mo/We
Knoll 258 ACE 7
Course description

The Beatles are arguably the most important rock band in the genre. Their music has been at the center of the discussion of popular music and culture for over forty years. The class will be divided into three style periods. The first style period covers the Liverpool to Hamburg experience and the early pre-Rubber Soul albums. The second style period covers Rubber Soul through Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The third style period covers The Beatles (The White Album) through Yellow Submarine, Let it Be and Abbey Road with further discussion of Apple Corp and each of the group’s first solo albums. We will approach their output thematically and trace it through engagement with American Popular Music, religion, politics and fame.

Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century


Section: 006 Dr. Wes Peterson 6:00-7:15pm, MW
Knoll 150 ACE 6 or 9
Course description

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.

The Dark Side of Children’s Literature


Section: 009 Dr. Laura White 9:30-10:45am, T/Th
Andrews 114 Learn about the class from Dr. Laura White! ACE 5; ASC CDR C (Humanities)
Counts as 300-level English course for English major/minor; Fulfills Recent Lit or Concentration requirement for English majors
Course description

This course will explore the origins and development of children’s literature, with an emphasis on the dark and irrational elements of the genre, starting with the punitive tales of Mrs. Sherwood (the father of the family takes the children to see a gibbet with a body hanging on it) and the often ghastly fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Children’s literature is a genre which mostly came into being in the nineteenth century; we will focus on this literature's mirroring of such transatlantic cultural concerns as the nature of childhood, the threats of modernity, gender's obligations, imperialism and "other worlds," the child’s relation to nature and animals, the role of modern science (especially Darwin), and religion. Texts will be mostly British, but we will also read some foundational European texts (e.g., by Hoffmann, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson) and some key American children's literature (e.g., Tom Sawyer, Little Women, The Emerald City of Oz).

Living with Our Changing Climate


Section 010 Dr. Natalie Umphlett & Dr. George Limpert 2:00-3:15p, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 ACE 4
Course description

This course reveals the impact that each of us has on the climate. With this understanding, comes choices and actions for a more sustainable future. Earth’s climate is inherently variable, but is currently changing at rates unprecedented in recent Earth history. Human activity plays a major role in this change and is projected to do so well into the future. By incorporating the latest science, this course elaborates on this human interaction with the climate system along with how climate variations affect humanity. The primary issues examined in this course include the human and ecosystem vulnerabilities to climate change; the role of energy choices in affecting climate; the actions humans can take through adaptation, mitigation, and policy to lessen vulnerabilities and, the psychological, political and financial reasons behind climate change denial.

The course will use on-line sources to acquire the most recent and most accurate information about our changing climate. Students will be given short challenge questions in each class period and then discuss their responses as a group in each of the following class periods. Guest speakers will be invited to bring “real life” climate change research into the classroom. There will be time for the students to discuss climate change issues with these guest speakers as well as within the group itself.

Students will identify, early on in the course, what aspect of our changing climate is of most interest to them. The students will then embark on a semester long research project on their chosen topic. We will set aside time every few weeks to have each student update their research efforts with the rest of the class. Details on the format of the research project will be handed out several weeks into the course. In-class discussion will be a very important aspect of this course as the students learn how to debate the relevant issues, frame scientific arguments and learn to work as a group toward common goals. Although there is no textbook in this course, the instructor will be providing a copy of the book “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change” to each student. Students will be requested to choose a chapter or a topic in this book and then later on in the semester give an “elevator speech” summarizing the key concepts that they learned and hopefully stimulating student discussion and debates on key issues.