Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Film
This course is designed to investigate movies with a critical eye. We will look at how society is portrayed and expressed in film. There are several questions we will seek to answer. What story is being told? Who is telling it? What role does money play in the process of filmmaking? How do movies mirror or mock mainstream society? In short, by taking a philosophical approach, we will investigate the impact of movies.
Instructor: Jimmy Whited
Ghosts, Psychics, and Astrology: The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
A recent Gallup poll indicates that 3 in 4 Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Despite much disconfirming evidence, people continue to believe that houses can be haunted, that people can communicate with the dead and foresee the future, and that the alignment of the stars at birth can influence a person’s life course. In this class, we will investigate these phenomena, as well as the reasons why we continue to believe.
Instructor: Dr. Kim Baranowsky
Racial Identity in Context
Kenneth B. Clark, the psychologist whose studies on racial identity helped shape America’s historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, analyzed the role of racial identity relative to the struggle for equality. Despite progress toward said equality, race continues to define United States culture and—in the view of many—prevents the development of the “just society” envisioned by Clark, Martin Luther King, and others. Through research, debate and other class interactions, students will explore specific questions relative to this ongoing debate—a debate intensified in the presidential election of 2008.
Instructor: Dr. Jerry Jones
Controversy and the Theater
There are certain plays in our recent history we have marked as “great,” whether it is by honors such as Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes, or by repeated performances. In many cases these same plays are the most controversial, as they get to the heart of our nation’s feelings towards race, gender, religion and sexuality. In this course we will look at some of these plays and ask ourselves: Does great theatre need to be controversial? Is there something about the theatre that lends itself to controversy? Should tax dollars be spent on these plays that spark such heated debate? How can a play be popular, and polemic at the same time?
Instructor: Dr. Kelly Bremner
Citizenship in a Scientific Age
You will be faced with numerous decisions in your life involving issues beyond your expertise. Should I vaccinate my kids? Should I vote for the candidate that denies humans are dangerously warming the planet? Should I let them aggressively treat that slow growing prostate cancer, despite the nasty side effects? Are you in danger from the fracking operations on your neighbor’s property? How does a non‐expert sort through all the bluster and hype to make sensible decisions about his or her own future and that of our shared community? Join us as we try to sort out how to make decisions about complex and contentious issues where science plays a significant role.
Instructor: Dr. Mike Duffy
The Religious Right in America
For nearly the past three decades, the Religious Right has come to play an important role in American politics and society. At the national level it maintains it helped elect Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes to the presidency. While the Religious Right has its detractors, some argue that its devotees—just because they had a life-changing religious experience—should not have to relinquish their right as American citizens to participate in politics. This leads to one of many questions that may be explored in the course: to what extent can the sacred and secular really be separated in the American political realm?
Instructor: Mr. Robert Vejnar
The Frontier in Fact and Fiction
This course examines the central place that the frontier has held in shaping American society and the American character, from the earliest periods of settlement up through the twentieth century. Employing literature and film, as well as historical analysis, this course examines the development of the geographic frontier and such manifestations as cultural contacts, economics, diplomacy, social character, and intellectual formulations, with an emphasis on how those factors have been portrayed and embraced in American society.
Instructor: Dr. Michael Puglisi
Motown: Music and Meaning in the Middle of the 20th Century
Motown means many things: good, solid music; black entrepreneurship; a voice for African Americans at the height of the Civil Rights Movement; a voice for young Americans in the throes of adolescence and young adulthood; the cradle of hip-hop; and, much more. This course introduces students to the music and the musicians of Motown, but also looks at the American cultural, social, and political scene in the tumultuous middle of the 20th Century.
Instructor: Rev. David St. Clair
What are myths? What distinguishes myths from other kinds of stories? What questions were myths designed to answer? Why do myths remain relevant today? In this course we will explore these questions through a survey of a few myths taken from ancient Greece and Rome. We will take a look at the Greek story of how the world was created, the battles between heroes and gods at Troy, and the founding of Rome by descendants of Trojan exiles.
Instructor: Dr. Jack Wells
Will explore the history of the concept of self-motivation. Will analyze barriers to self motivation and apply strategies for assuming greater personal responsibility toward what is of value.
Instructor: Dr. Eric Grossman
Baseball: More Than a Game
“Whoever would understand the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” (author and historian Jacques Barzun). Baseball is deeply rooted in American history and culture, reflecting issues of morality, race, and class. We will use the study of baseball as a vehicle for writing, discussing, researching, ethical reasoning, and critical thinking.
Instructor: Dr. Joe Reiff
Hip Hop Culture and Music
This course will examine the current trends in hip‐hop music and culture with an emphasis on the role that hip‐hop plays in our everyday lives. The creative forces, originality, and uniqueness of hip‐hop will be examined while looking at the cultural stereotypes and the problems that may accompany the idea of a hip‐hop generation.
Instructor: Dr. Matt Frederick
The Psychology of Spirituality
This course is intended to examine faith and spirituality through the lens of psychology. At first glance, it may seem that psychology and spirituality have little in common but in delving deeper we find significant intersections. An investigation of these intersections allows us to ask interesting questions such as can spirituality be studied scientifically, is there a “faith center” in the brain, and does spirituality influence one’s physical or mental health. We will examine these and other topics in our discussions of how psychology can help us better understand spirituality.
Instructor: Dr. Chris Qualls
Genocide in Modern Times
On August 24, 1941, Winston Churchill publically addressed the “methodical, merciless butchery” of the Germans against the Russians. At the conclusion of his radio broadcast, he said, “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” In 1944, Raphael Lemkin found a name to describe this crime – genocide. Yet, since this declaration, the term genocide has been used to describe mass killings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Burma, the DRC, Sudan/South Sudan, and Syria. We will use the proficiencies to critically discuss the causes, means, and impacts of such atrocities as well as possible solutions to never again witness such a crime.
Instructor: Ms. Krista Clark
The Ethics of Westeros: Morality and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones
We will read the first volume of Martin’s series and a supplemental text to talk about ethics, worldview, governance, religion, violence, patriarchy, and preference.
Instructor: Rev. David Jackson