395H Seminars - Spring 2021

Spring 2021

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.

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


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

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.

The Culture of Surveillance


No.: **** Section: 004 10:30-11:20am, MWF
Meets on Zoom Dr. Adrian Wisnicki ACE 5 & CAS CDR C
Course description

What does it mean to be under surveillance? To be part of a surveillance culture? To live in a surveillance state? How have the internet and the rise of big tech companies changed the possibilities for and enactment of total societal surveillance? And, in the modern state, how do factors such as race, gender, and class inflect the practices of surveillance? This course will explore such questions. We will consider how the topic of surveillance has been addressed and represented in literary works from the last hundred years by authors from the US, Britain, and continental Europe. We will engage in theoretical reflection on the practice of surveillance using a selections from a set of touchstone critical works. Finally, we will draw on our primary and critical readings plus articles from the contemporary press to reflect on the evolution of the surveillance state from the early twentieth century to the present. In doing so, we will give particular attention to how a range of contemporary technologies have enabled commercially-led surveillance on a scale never before possible in human history.

Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century


No.: **** Section: 006 6:00-7:15pm, MW
Knoll 257 Dr. Wes Peterson 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.

Art, Activism, and Community


No.: **** Section: 007 12:30-1:45pm, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 Prof. Sandra Williams ACE 7
Course description

The notion of community art evolved out of the idea of cultural democracy. Cultural democracy emerged after the Second World War and describes practices in which culture and artistic expression are generated by individuals and communities rather than by institutions of central power. Cultural democracy seeks to democratize culture in order to bring about an awareness and appreciation of art to as wide a section of society as possible; and to break down the boundaries between high and low culture in order to make art accessible to a wider audience. This course considers recent issues at the intersection of art and activism by both studying artists and creating projects with community partners. Beginning with historical antecedents and theoretical background, the course moves quickly to very contemporary issues and interventions in art and tactical media in formats outside the gallery setting. Over the course of the semester, students investigate forms of art that are, in form and method, process- rather than object or products oriented, and it usually takes place in public sites rather than within the context of art world venues. The class works collaboratively and gives up individual authorship and private expression. No artistic talent or experience is necessary to be successful in the course, just a willingness to engage the public art practices.

Psychological Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood


No.: **** Section: 008 12:30-1:45pm, Tu/Th
Meets on Zoom Dr. Lisa Crockett ACE 6 & CAS CDR D
Course description

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.

Dialogue Across Difference


No.: **** Section: 009 1:30-2:20pm, MWF
Knoll 257 Dr. Jordan Soliz CAS CDR D; No ACE
Course description

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 criticaldialogic 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


No.: **** Section: 010 9:30-10:45am, Tu/Th
Meets on Zoom Dr. John DeLong ACE 6
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.