395H Seminars - Summer/Fall 2020

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.

Summer 2020

Quality TV: From Buffy to Breaking Bad

UHON 395H (ENGL)

Section 800 Dr. Tamy Burnett Online + Zoom TWF 9:00-10:30
Second Five Week Summer Session Hear from Dr. Burnett!

ACE 5 or 7 ; ASC CDR C (Humanities)

Will count as 300-level English course for English major/minor

Course description

In this course, we will learn about and apply theories of the critical category of “quality television” in order to reach an understanding about how various production and narrative elements can contribute to the artistic quality of a scripted television show. Using the television show with the largest body of critical scholarship, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as a point of comparison, we will examine exemplar episodes from several television series that scholars generally agree qualify as “quality TV” in order to develop an understanding of this visual media art form and critical approaches to it. We will explore a variety of shows from disparate genres including, The X-Files, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Veronica Mars, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad.

Fall Regular Semester 2020

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

UHON 395H (HIST)

Section 001 Dr. Tim Borstelmann 12:30-1:45p, Tu/Th
Knoll 258

ACE 5; ASC CDR C (Humanities)

Will count as 300-level History class for History major/minor

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.

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

UHON 395H (Political Science)

Section: 002 Dr. Patrice McMahon 2:00-3:15p, 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.

Quality TV: From Buffy to Breaking Bad

UHON 395H (ENGL)

Section: 003 Dr. Tamy Burnett 12:30-1:20, MWF
Knoll 150 Hear from Dr. Burnett!

ACE 5 or 7 ; ASC CDR C (Humanities)

Will count as 300-level English course for English major/minor

Course description

In this course, we will learn about and apply theories of the critical category of “quality television” in order to reach an understanding about how various production and narrative elements can contribute to the artistic quality of a scripted television show. Using the television show with the largest body of critical scholarship, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as a point of comparison, we will examine exemplar episodes from several television series that scholars generally agree qualify as “quality TV” in order to develop an understanding of this visual media art form and critical approaches to it. We will explore a variety of shows from disparate genres including, The X-Files, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Veronica Mars, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad.

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

UHON 395H (POLS)

Section 004 Dr. Tyler White 11:00-12:15p, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 Hear from Dr. Tyler White! ACE 6; ASC CDR D (Social Sciences)

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.

The Beatles

UHON 395H (MUSC)

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.

The Dark Side of Children’s Literature

UHON 395H (ENGL)

Section: 009 Dr. Laura White 11:00-12:15p, T/Th
Andrews 118 Learn about the class from Dr. Laura White!

ACE 5; ASC CDR C (Humanities)

Will count as 300-level English course for English major/minor

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

UHON 395H (GEOG)

Section 010

Dr. Natalie Umphlett & Dr. George Limpert

2:00-3:15p, Tu/Th
Knoll 150 ACE 4; ASC CDR B (Sciences)

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.

Fall December 3-week Session 2020

Sitcoms & Social Change

UHON 395H 

Section 100 Dr. Tamy Burnett Online + Zoom MTWRF 10am-12pm central
Nov. 30-Dec. 18 2020 Hear from Dr. Burnett!

ACE 5 or 7 ; ASC CDR C (Humanities)

Will count as 300-level English course for English major/minor and Option B for Film 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.