395H Seminars - Fall 2019

Fall 2019

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.

How Did We Get Here? From the Enlightenment to Donald Trump


No.: **** Section: 001 12:30-1:45p, Tu/Th
Knoll 258 Dr. Tim Borstelmann ACE 5; ASC CDR C or F

Course description

This course will provide a one-semester overview of the historical development of the contemporary United States. We will first explore the pre-history of the country, focusing on the Enlightenment, the Protestant Reformation, European colonialism, the African slave trade, and the American Revolution. Next we will examine the creation of the powerful modern American state, digging into the processes of continental expansion, industrialization, immigration and the two World Wars. Finally, we will wrestle with key contemporary challenges, most notably the Cold War, struggles for social justice, globalization, climate change, and technological innovation. Students will write three brief papers, co-lead one week's discussion, and give an oral presentation on a research topic of their choice. This seminar offers an opportunity to examine the most important historical themes and issues of the past 500 years-a foundation for an educated citizen.

"You MAD, Bro?": Mutually Assured Destruction, Deterrence and Assurance: The Politics of Nuclear Weapons


No.: **** Section: 004 12:30-1:45p, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 Dr. Tyler White ACE 6; ASC CDR D or F

Course description

The nuclear weapons enterprise is unique in that it appears to be the only human endeavor that, if used, could wipe every living thing off the face of the earth. Yet nuclear weapons themselves and the doctrine that dictate their use have been credited with the dramatic drop in interstate war since 1945. States with nuclear weapons demand an unparalleled level of respect, yet obtaining and maintaining a nuclear arsenal is expensive and hazardous. Why do states seek nuclear weapons? What role do they play in the maintenance of international peace and security? Are they an effective tool or war or diplomacy? And should states have them at all? This course will dig into the history of the nuclear arms race and dissect the theories of deterrence, assurance, and mutually assured destruction. We will learn by reading, discussing, and participating in simulations.

Bob Dylan: American Music & Culture


No.: **** Section: 005 3:30-4:45p, Mo/We
Knoll 258 Dr. Scott Anderson ACE 7  

Course description

Bob Dylan and his music have been at the center of the discussion of American Music and Culture for over forty years. The class will be divided into two sections. The first section will approach his output thematically and trace his writing and engagement with American Popular Music, religion, politics, fame, and his work as a songwriter and performer. The second section of the course will analyze his landmark albums to examine the artistry of his finest studio accomplishments. The landmark albums will include The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963), Bringing it All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965), Blonde on Blonde (1966), The Basement Tapes (1967:1975), Blood on the Tracks (1975), Infidels (1983) and Love and Theft (2001).

Regulating the Global Human Population


No.: **** Section: 008 9:30-10:45a, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 Dr. John DeLong ACE 6 or 9

Course description

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.

Extraordinary Women Writers: Writing Against the Grain


No.: **** Section: 009 11:00-12:15p, T/Th
Knoll 150 Dr. Steve Behrendt ACE 5; ASC CDR C or F

Course description

In this discussion-oriented and student-interest-driven seminar we’ll consider some particularly noteworthy women writers whose work challenged conventional gendered attitudes about subjects, themes, and “propriety” held among historically masculinist cultures. What sort of challenges did these authors face, and from whom or what? How did they handle those challenges? And why have their works become classics both of literature and of social activism? We’ll read and discuss fiction by authors like Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Flannery O’Connor, and Eileen Change, poetry by Sappho, Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou, and drama by Iowa-born Susan Glaspell. Everyone will choose presentation topics and writing projects based on their individual interests that we will share and discuss as we think together about what these extraordinary writers still tell us about literature, social culture, and gender.

Living with Our Changing Climate


No.: **** Section: 010 2:00-3:15p, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 Dr. Kenneth Dewey ACE 4; ASC CDR B or F

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.