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; contact Tamy 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 Tamy Burnett ASAP.

Spring 2023

sitcom on tv screen with blank quote bubbles


Sitcoms & Social Change

Course description ►

No.: 18812 Section 001 12:30-1:45pm, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Tamy Burnett ACE 7 or 9; ASC CDR C (Humanities); Counts as 300-level English course for English major/minor; Fulfills Major Concentration requirement for English majors

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.

diversity hands reaching up in front of globe


Race, Nation, and Genocide in the Modern World

Course description ►

13160 Section 002 9:30-10:45am, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Bedross Der Matossian ACE 5; CAS CDR Humanities; 300-level course for History majors/minors

The aim of the course is to introduce students to one of the darkest phases of modern world history: the systematic annihilation and extermination of indigenous populations around the globe. Genocides are not only modern phenomenon pertaining to the modern world; rather they have existed in some fashion in the pre-modern period. What distinguishes the genocides of the modern period from other incidents of mass violence is that they have become more organized, intense, and lethal by using the tools of modernity. With the development of ideas of race, ethnicity, and nationalism in the 18th and the 19th century, genocides became more ideological in their attempt in justifying the annihilation of indigenous populations. We will explore a number of cases, beginning with the Armenian genocide; the genocides of the indigenous populations of Africa, Australia, and North America; the Holocaust, and ending with more contemporary genocides such as the case of Cambodia, Rwanda, ex-Yugoslavia, and Darfur. The course will end by discussing the development of the idea of Human Rights in response to these mass atrocities.

film strip and musical notes


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

Course description ►

No.: 13061 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.

cartoon portrait of  William Shakespeare with no eyes and pages flying out of a book


The First Folio and the Making of William Shakespeare

Course description ►

No.: 13053 Section 004 2:00-3:15pm, Tu/Th
Andrews Hall Dr. Stephen Buhler ACE 5; CAS CDR Humanities; 300-level course for English majors/minors; pre-1800 lit/early lit course for English majors

The year 2023 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio, which contains as many of his plays as fellow actors and partners in the King's Men could bring together. Without the First Folio, half of the plays that Shakespeare wrote might have been lost forever. In this course we will examine the material and economic factors that defined the First Folio and consider the volume's role in establishing Shakespeare as England's premier playwright. We will also explore how the recovered plays shaped Shakespeare's reputation as a writer and how even the format of the Folio added to that reputation. We will focus on four of the recovered plays and their contributions to history, media, and social understanding. We will conclude with stories of the Folio as a collectible item (there is one in Love Library's Special Collections) and as a performance script. Along with lectures and regular discussion, the course depends on intense engagement with very rich materials. This is not a course about the “Authorship Question” where Shakespeare is concerned: his contemporary friends, fellow theater artists, rivals, and readers had no question about the man from Stratford-upon-Avon being the creator of this (at least partial) body of work. It is, however, a course about how factors and forces beyond the works themselves can shape – or even create – our image of a pre-eminent literary and dramatic artist.

vote signs on a pile of coins with dollar signs and hands raised in the air


Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century

Course description ►

No.: 13062 Section 006 3:30-4:45pm, 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.

a diversity group with a light bulb, brain and gears above their heads


Psychological Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Course description ►

No.: 18800 Section 008 2:00-3:15pm, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Lisa Crockett ACE 6 & CAS CDR Social Sciences

Adolescence is a time of dramatic changes in physical, psychological, and social development. In the U.S., this period offers important opportunities for growth as well as challenges and risks to healthy development. Development continues into early adulthood when young people begin to assume the roles and responsibilities of adults. To broaden our understanding of development during adolescence and early adulthood, this course will explore the experience of youth in this country as well as in other geographic and cultural settings. We will start by considering the “discovery” of adolescence as a stage of life and the boundaries of that period, especially the boundaries between adolescence and adulthood. Next, we will examine major developments in the physical, cognitive, and social domains that begin in adolescence and continue into early adulthood. Then, we will turn to some of the health risks of adolescence and early adulthood as well as opportunities for positive development. Finally, we will critically evaluate the need for a separate stage (“emerging adulthood”) to adequately characterize development in early adulthood. Throughout the course we also consider variations in development and experience by considering adolescents and young adults growing up in diverse circumstances including U.S. minority youth and youth from non-western cultures. This seminar will consist of short lectures and class discussions based on designated book chapters and scientific articles.

a diversity group with a light bulb, brain and gears above their heads


Regulating the Global Human Population

Course description ►

No.: 13122 Section 010 11:00am-12:15pm, 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.

Racial Reckoning and Sports Culture


Racial Reckoning and Sports Culture

Course description ►

No.: 13156 Section 011 9:30-10:20am, MWF
Knoll 258 Dr. John Shrader ACE 9

Sport is one of the few places in American society in which we find a confluence of race, gender, class, economics, politics, commerce, and popular culture. To study sport is to take a close examination of who we are and what we stand for as Americans and citizens of the world. We will use this broader context to study race and sport, in its historical and contemporary understanding. We will examine issues among a variety of institutions, including college and professional sports, the media, the sports business, and fans.