Fall 2017 Topics

Seminar topics are subject to change every term. Courses cannot exceed 16 students.

Expand All
  • Across the Continents: Stories to Explore UR World

    17065
    Abreu, Dixon

    What can a story tell us about the world, about our selves, about others like us, about others different from us, about our roles in the world, about the role of stories in the world? There is no better way to explore these questions than reading stories and discussing their values within our own cultural and multicultural moment. Engaging meaningfully and analytically with these texts, as diverse in time/epoch and medium as they are in style and geographical origin, will provide students with the perfect opportunity to reflect upon our fluid global community as they pertain to the most important story of all: the story of us.

  • A Generation of Cynics

    17384
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will be heavily based in the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. The goal of the framework is to "foster enhanced engagement with the core ideas about information and scholarship within the disciplines."[1] Our main goal will be to help the students apply the Framework to their own practices and expand their understanding of contextual authority and how it applies to their everyday lives and their scholarship. As a class, we will engage with broad ideas related to the function of information from micro and macro levels. Some of the questions we will attempt to answer in the course will include: Can information ever be neutral? What are the advantages and disadvantages of "neutral" information? How do we create, judge, and evaluate the "value" in information? How does authority impact information creation? What are the mechanisms of information dissemination? What systemic mechanisms are in place that act as barriers to access? What are the implications of corporate control of information? How does the process of seeking information create networks? [1] Authority Is Constructed and Contextual Information Creation as a Process Information Has Value Research as Inquiry Scholarship as Conversation Searching as Strategic Exploration

  • American City, American Culture

    15924
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Most Americans live in cities. Yet, Americans have long been ambivalent about the ?American-ness? of urban life. This seminar will explore this paradox by investigating how Americans, past and present, have imagined and debated the place and possibilities of city living. We will study depictions of American metropolises in fiction, film, and art as well as significant debates about how to realize the ideal city?and the lived consequences of those efforts in our daily lives.

  • Anxiety and Ethics

    16181
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Undergraduate students report high rates of anxiety and its distressing impact on their lives.   This seminar approaches anxiety as an existential state that is braided with the experience of freedom.  We will focus on philosophical and spiritual approaches that treat anxiety in the context of ethical formation.  We will consider practical ideas for reducing or countering the impact of anxiety on our personal and collective wellbeing.  In response to shared readings, we will consider the questions:   Is anxiety a meaningful condition of freedom?  How is anxiety responsive to social, environmental, and political contexts?  What opportunities and challenges does anxiety present for responding to those contexts?  Can we identify transcendent or transformative dimensions of freedom that anxiety inspires?  Are their tragic contingencies associated with freedom that inspire anxiety?  We will explore meaningful connections between experiences of anxiety and our formation as free and ethical beings. 

  • Bioethics

    17014
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Experimenting with human subjects. Allocation of healthcare resources, Stem cell therapy. Organs for sale. Physician-assisted suicide. Genetically modified organisms. Human enhancements. Bioethical issues are constantly in the news and at the forefront of political, legal, and religious agenda. How do we make decisions about these critical issues? What information and principles guide ethical decision-making biology and medicine and what are the consequences for humanity? In this seminar, we will study ethical questions in medicine and biomedical research and we will examine our moral responsibilities in a global society. We will learn to approach problems in bioethics from a variety of perspectives, guided by ethical principles and centered on an understanding of relevant concepts in human biology and scientific technology.

  • Changing Consumer Culture

    17022,17023
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Consumers will play an important role in any career you might pursue; you may refer to them as clients, stakeholders, stockholders, patients, patrons. This course offers an introduction to consumer-related theory and practice in international marketing while presenting a socio-culturally inspired analysis of consumption. The course explores consumer culture concepts that confront today's business at all levels of market involvement. Both cases and a term-long project are used to explore the different dimensions of the problems and opportunities facing the firm as it deals with a changing consumer culture. In this course, you will analyze and create business cases, and persuasively write about consumption and culture. The course also addresses the impact of globalization on consumers from low and medium income countries, and their consumption as a consequence of and in tandem with consumption patterns and rituals in high-income countries. The course engages in a critical analysis of global consumerism based on readings from industry and from popular culture sources.

  • Civic Journalism and Social Justice

    16200
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    In this course, students will learn that journalists don't just report the news - they often have a responsibility to tell stories that inspire social change. This course explores the role and power of journalism in identifying social problems and uncovering ways to resolve them.

  • Crime in America

    16296
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    In this class we will be looking at court cases and media coverage of crimes that have become flashpoints in American history?the foci for popular, political and scholarly discussions about what constitutes a crime and what social meanings the event has, as a way of discussing what it can teach us about race, gender, power and class in America. We will also be examining popular fiction and film as way of asking why crime entertains us?and what these entertainments suggest about our cultural obsessions. Texts will include detective novels, graphic novels, films, and cultural criticism.

  • Death and Commemoration in Antiquity

    17057
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Through literary texts, inscriptions, and monuments from the ancient Mediterranean (including Egypt and the Near East as well as the Classical world), we will explore ancient approaches to death and memorial and what these may tell us about ancient beliefs, social structures, and ideologies. Primary source material will be drawn from: Egyptian tombs and funerary texts; Gilgamesh and Near Eastern funerary monuments; Greek and Latin poetry (works of Homer, Pindar, Bacchylides, Sophocles, Vergil, Propertius, and others); Greek and Roman historical accounts (such as Herodotus, Thucydides, and Suetonius); Greek, Etruscan, and Roman funerary art and epitaphs; and archaeological evidence for burial rituals. Themes to be explored include: death and the ?hero,? the tomb monument as a source of memory, the language of burials, the symbolism of funerary rituals, the significance of funerary banquets, war memorials and communal graves, and beliefs concerning the ?underworld? and afterlife. Questions we will consider throughout the semester include: Who are graves for?the dead, the living, the gods? What can a funeral tell you about the people involved in it? What meaning(s) do grave goods and grave monuments carry? And how does one's approach to death affect how one lives life? There will be a community-based learning component, with field trips to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and historic cemeteries here in Richmond, and participation in the community effort to restore the commemorative functions of East End Cemetery.

  • Documenting 1960s America

    17016
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    The course will focus on the relation between activism and media in the 1960s. Activists turned to a variety of cultural forms - film, photography, underground press and TV - to build their communities, highlight social injustice, and argue for social change. How did corporate media including Hollywood and the major networks represent activism? How did activists represent themselves and for what ends?

  • Education and Society

    16185,16291
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    The student will learn about the history of schooling and education in America. The student will be able to analyze the interaction of citizenship and democracy through American education. The student should have an enhanced understanding of the concepts and practices of education in a pluralistic and diverse society. The student will understand the relationship between school reform and education policy. The student should be familiar with the kinds of questions asked by education scholars, policy makers and practitioners. The student will examine the importance of schooling in the global marketplace.

  • Entrepreneurial Innovation

    16183
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    We?ll ponder several critical thinking-rich questions in our innovation journey. How do entrepreneurs and innovators with ?unceasing drive and incentive to innovate? create breakthrough ideas that meet the test of the marketplace? Why is the nation of Israel itself a role model of a start-up company? How did Thomas Edison lay the foundation for America?s global leadership in innovation? How can non-conformist thinking gain innovators a competitive advantage? Lastly, we?ll explore why unbridled creativity is a dynamic and quintessential part of Google?s corporate culture.

  • Epidemics and Empires

    16179
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, lungsickness and other maladies both spread and have been managed through imperial conquests, colonialism, and new systems of biomedicine and modern public health. And changing diseases remain part of newer global debates over the politics and cultural challenges of cholera, polio, HIV/AIDS and the Ebola and Zika viruses. Using varied case studies, this seminar asks how have illnesses mattered during the years of imperial conquest and globalization? Why did they happen then and what do they mean now? How have people re-make themselves and their societies to cope with the changing disease environments? What are the challenges of today's global public health interventions, and how can new policy benefit from historical insights?

  • Expansion of Europe and Asia into Afria: The Idea of Otherness

    16196
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    The course will be a critical examination of the main ideas that underlay the expansion, first of Europe into the New World (notably Africa), and then nowadays of China and India into Africa. It will examine the nature of subsequent relationships that resulted from these encounters. The course will look at the main underlying ideas as they evolved from the ideals of the Renaissance (humanism) to the conceptual alterations or pushback in the 19th, the 20th and especially the 21st centuries with the rise of new power centers in Asia. The course will start with Montaigne?s famous essay Of Cannibals, a discourse that ran counter to the main episteme upon which Western society functioned and acted in major global explorations of the Renaissance. The subsequent texts will be read as arguments between two camps pitting, on the one hand, Europe or Asia as the initiator of the direction of the encounter, on the other hand, a more cautious approach on behalf of Africa advocated on the ground of ideals of equality and inclusiveness piloted by the performance on the ground. Mandela?s South Africa will serve as a practical test case of our days. In this seminar, students will learn the main ideas and theories upon which our modern cultures are based and how the notion of individual freedoms gradually took precedence over society?s dictates. Relations between peoples are often launched on the base of such ideals, but are re-directed or altered on the base of the context.

  • Films of the 1940’s: Paranoia, Patriotism or Propaganda

    16206
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Films of the 1940's: Paranoia, Patriotism or Propaganda The students will be asked to ?read? films as cultural reflections of the times in which they are created. This ?reading? will include analysis of narrative as well as cinemagraphic techniques used in the creation of movies. The course will be driven by the question, ?Can a popular medium such as film be a primary source for understanding history??

  • Framing the U.S. Constitution

    16123
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    same as above

  • Friendship, Collaboration, and Convivialty

    17013
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course examines the theme and role of friendship in Early Modern European culture, especially in Renaissance Italy, and the way in which friendship informed and inspired intellectual and artistic collaboration and conviviality. Texts from both Greek and Roman antiquity and the European Renaissance on the value of friendship as a source of love, solace, inspiration and delight form the core of the readings, as will works of art that represent collaborations between artists, poets and humanists. Based in conversation, this course in turn considers how conversation between friends, both serious and comical, inspired artistic and scholarly activities.

  • Friendship, Love, and Desire

    15923
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will explore changing perspectives on the nature of friendship, love and desire from the Early Modern period to our own times. Excerpts from the works of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero will lay the foundation for an inquiry into these notions in literature, as well as in the visual and performing arts. Some of the questions we will ask in this class are: How has friendship been imagined or conceived? What qualities make a good friendship? What is the relationship between friendship and moral obligation? What are the foundational principles of a love relationship, and how have they been seen to differ from friendships? In which ways do different social and/or cultural factors affect friendships or love relationships?

  • Game, Game Theory, and Leadership Studies

    16208
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    The course focuses on the principles of games and gaming; the relevance of game theories to society, history, and geopolitics; and on the importance of these principles to issues of leadership and leadership studies. We will use a variety of games ? board games, videogames, and game theory ? to examine significant concerns and issues relevant to discussions of leadership theories and practices. Over the trajectory of the course, the students will create and develop their own alternate reality games (ARGs) using ARIS software and set on the University of Richmond campus. Students will be asked to consider their role in the creation and development of these games in teams, and will have to implement leadership skills practically in their teams, in addition to studying the principles of both leadership and game theory with relation to game-situations and ?real life.?

  • Heroes and Villians

    16174,16175
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course explores the phenomena of heroism and villainy from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Emphasis is on the critical examination of scholarly contributions from distinguished social scientists on heroism-related topics such as leadership, morality, resilience, courage, empathy, meaning, purpose, altruism, hope, human growth, cooperation, spirituality, health, transformation, and character strengths. The causes and consequences of evil will also receive coverage.

  • Is Jewish-Christian Dialogue Possible?

    16180
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Anti-Judaism has been a reality for Jews since prior to the emergence of Christianity, but with Christianity a new form of anti-Judaism emerged, i.e., theological anti-Judaism. Through readings and discussions we will seek to understand this phenomenon historically. The period of the holocaust served as a pivotal change of focus. Prior to the holocaust rampant anti-Judaism existed but with little attention given to its curtailment ecclesiastically. The holocaust and its aftermath convinced many Christians of an ecclesiastical complicity with what happened to the Jews during this horrendous period, and thus during the post-holocaust period many Christian bodies have sought to express in formal papers the relationship of the churches to Judaism. Is there light at the end of the proverbial tunnel? To seek answers, we will analyze Biblical and non-Biblical materials, written and artistic, and their impact upon Jewish-Christian Dialogue.

  • Knowing and Changing in the Face of Adversity

    16178
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    There are many lenses through which to analyze the human experience. In this seminar, we will examine knowing on the one hand, and various ways of choosing in the face of adversity and uncertainty on the other, as these concepts play out in selected literary texts.

  • Language, Race, and Ethnicity

    16494
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course studies the origin, development, and use of language as an implement of racial and ethnic discrimination. The central concept of the course is ethnolinguistic nationalism, the phenomenon that configures nativism and national language together as an apparatus that privileges a central, original population and marginalizes others. Central to this study is the illumination of the discourses of native language, native speaker, proper language, and proper pronunciation as displacements of fundamentally race conscious and ethnocentric ideologies. In other words, notions of ethnic purity and propriety become transferred onto language, which then acts as a surrogate theater for the performance of exclusionary nationalism. This course historicizes the problem and describes its origins in the nascent nationalisms of the emergent European nation states of early modernity. It demonstrates the absence of ethnolinguistic nationalism before the development of the modern nation state. It then demonstrates the beginnings of ethnolinguistic nationalism in Italy and its subsequent diffusion throughout Europe, especially in France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany. Comparisons are also made between the forms of ethnolinguistic nationalism in the states that originated from the dissolution of the eastern and western regions of the Holy Roman Empire. The course also studies the rise of standard American English in the United States as a function of race and ethnicity and concentrate on anti-Semitism and the ?English only? movements to marginalize Spanish and AAVE (African American Vernacular English). It also examines the research on the misprisions involved in the biologizing of language and the folkloric location of language in the body.

  • Meaning, Value and Virtue

    16205
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This class is an introduction to central questions of moral philosophy through the study of classic and contemporary writings. Some of the questions we will investigate through these readings are the following: What things are worth pursuing? What constitutes a good life? What constitutes a moral life? What is the relation between the two? Are humans essentially self-interested or are they naturally sympathetic? Is there any meaning or purpose in human existence and can such meaning be found without a faith in God or religion?

  • Modern Masculinities

    16182
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course introduces students to humanistic inquiry through a sustained historical exploration of the question: what does it mean to be ?manly?? Throughout the course, we will situate ideals of masculinity in their broader context. Students will find that they must grapple with ideas about class, race, and politics, among other things, to fully understand what it meant to be manly for specific individuals and groups at particular moments in time. We will also flip this attention to how other social concepts have shaped conceptions of masculinity by asking how conceptions of masculinity have shaped understandings of class, race, and politics.

  • Narratives of Identity & Relationship

    17269
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    ?Who am I, and why am I like this?? In Narratives of Identity & Relationship we will explore these two questions in depth, using the framework of story to guide our exploration. Stories are central to establishing our sense of identity, shaping our relational choices, and defining ourselves within a complex and changing world. All around us we hear others telling their stories of gender and sexuality, friendship and family, faith and doubt, race and ethnicity, desire and satisfaction?and over time we come to understand ourselves in and through what we hear. As we interact with others we catch reflections of our own story, glimpsing ways others define us, and drawing what we see into the stories we?re always writing about ourselves, whether we know it or not.

  • Noble Beasts

    16694
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course explores accounts from history, literature, and science about ways animals have improved our lives by protecting us, working for us, and serving us as sources of comfort, recreation, and entertainment. It also examines the problems and conflicts that can arise with reference to our responsibilities to animals (e.g. in terms of their rights, their welfare, and their health). Our study will be guided by questions such as the following: What do we know about animal nature and intelligence, and how do we know what we know? What do we get from our relationships with animals? What are the relative influences of training, instinct, and intelligence upon animal behavior? What are the implications of this knowledge for our relationships--both with animals and each other?

  • Not just food: US Policy and Social Justice

    16197
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Eating is not just about food, nor is it just about sating one?s hunger. Poet and essayist Wendell Berry once proclaimed, ?Eating is an agricultural act.? Chef Alice Waters took the assertion one step further and declared, ?Eating is a political act.? Eating, in short, binds us to the earth and to one another. It drives how we treat our world and our fellow humans, yet most of us think little about these connections as we sit down to our daily meals. Not anymore. This course explores those connections through an examination of the industrial and corporate food system and its critics in the organic and local food movements. Students read the works of food activists, journalists, and scholars. Students write a research paper on a food of their choice and, at its conclusion, face off in the "Food Fight" debate.

  • Poetry and Music

    16203
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course primarily strives to enhance understanding of the techniques, topics, and evolution of modern poetry. It surveys mostly American poets, from forerunners such as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, to early moderns W.B. Yeats and Robert Frost. It will highlight innovations by Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens. The course concludes with poets such as Langston Hughes, the blues poet, and with post moderns W.S. Merwin, John Ashbery, Jorie Graham and Billy Collins. A secondary idea of the course is to listen to music associated with several of the poets. This music will be presented for comparison both when composed as accompaniment to a particular poem and also when the music is of associative interest in conjunction with a given poem's style, historic context or cultural identity.

  • Refugees

    16121,16122
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    How does contemporary art, literary and visual, represent refugees? Who is a refugee? How is a refugee different from an immigrant/emigrant? What is at stake in defining oneself, and others, as refuges rather than immigrants? How does the experience of having to flee from/to/for something shape people as individuals, as mothers, fathers, children, brothers and sisters, as communities/nations, as citizens/electorates, as private and public selves, as humans? How are people and communities rooted in place shaped by the forced dislocation of others, whether they witness, welcome, or resist such dislocation and its effects? What local and global forces as well as long historical developments shape forced population movements and in what specific ways? In what specific and unique ways does art, as opposed to other forms of public discourse, allow us to approach these questions in novel and insightful ways. This course explores the various dimensions--private/public, individual/collective, psychological/political--of the refugee experience through a study of contemporary literature and film. We will consider recent and historical examples of forced movement of individuals and populations in novels and short stories, such as Mohsin Hamid?s EXIT WEST, Viet Thanh Nguyen?s REFUGEES, Colson Whitehead?s THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, Diane Glancy?s PUSHING THE BEAR, and films, such as SIN NOMBRE.

  • Seeing, Believing, and Understanding

    17024,17025
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course explores how we process and interpret what we see and provides insight to the methods of effective visual display of information. The course covers the display of quantitative data, information that describes maps of buildings, people, or other things and information that has a motion component or shows action, such as the cloud development, dancing, and sports formations. We will illustrate how effective visual displays allow observers to summarize complex thoughts, make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and persuade by visual as opposed to verbal or written argument. We will teach students how to organize information for display, how to use an artistic perspective to make displays more effective, and how to recognize misleading presentations of information.

  • Slavery in Contemp Imagination

    17268
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will explore the history of U.S. slavery and its manifestations in popular culture today. We will not only learn about the historical context of slavery but we also will explore contemporary films, music, art, literature, and public history sites that grapple with slavery and its meanings in our society today. As part of our class activities, we will watch the Oscar winning film 12 Years a Slave, read the science fiction novel Underground Airlines, and visit the Richmond Slave Trail.

  • Storytelling, Identity, and Social Change

    17326
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Does everyone have a story? Do we tell ourselves stories?? Are they true? This course explores the role that stories play in forming our own identity, forming relationships with others, forming community, and forming the structures through which we understand our world.? We will learn about ?the history of storytelling through research, ?critical reading, critical writing, and telling stories aloud. ? We'll consider how??storytelling is evolving with the influence of the internet. Students will also grapple with these concepts by participating in peer mentoring through story-sharing with local incarcerated youth.

  • Telling History

    16187
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    What do fantastical stories of heroes and lovers, travelers and monsters tell us about Antiquity and the Middle Ages? This seminar challenges students to consider the meanings of "history", "fact", "fiction", "literature" when using such texts as Virgil's Aeneid (30-19 B.C.), Beowulf (ca. 8th c. A.D.), The Song of Roland (ca. 12th c.), the lays of Marie de France (ca. late 12th/early 13th c.), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ca. 14th c), Dante's Inferno (ca. early 14th c), and Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini's The Two Lovers (15th c). A central question will be how historians can use narratives to understand the cultures we study.

  • The Double Life of Paris

    16693
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Paris is one of the most idealized and romanticized cities in the world. Even for those who have never visited, Paris easily conjures recognizable images and reliable stereotypes, from the Eiffel Tower to the Arch of Triumph, and from famous fashion houses to the typical Parisian cafe. In this course, we will challenge this first cliched version of Paris by contrasting it with another version: Paris as the space of political unrest, social conflict, and protest. Through literary texts, film, newspaper articles, historical documentation, and essays, we will explore the long history of the double life of Paris.

  • The Philosophy of Freedom

    16195
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Is freedom valuable? Why should we care about it? In this course, we will examine the nature and value of freedom. We will consider the value of different freedoms, such as freedom of expression and economic freedom, and explore the relationship between freedom and various public policy issues, such as immigration, hate speech, prostitution, drug use, and human enhancement. The readings will be philosophical papers on these topics.

  • The Politics of Sexual Education

    16113
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will examine contemporary practices of sexual education in schools, and the controversies surrounding them, in light of a longer history of sexuality as a concept, drawing on biology, sexology, political history, educational philosophy, and feminist and queer studies. We will track the emergence of ?sexuality? as a scientific and political concept in the nineteenth century, and examine how state-regulated institutions?especially the school and the hospital?have operationalized sexuality as a means of regulating the behavior of individuals and the ?health? of populations.

  • The Rhetorical Lives of Maps (Cartography and America’s Rise to International Power)

    16189,16190
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course is a historical and critical interpretation of how maps aided and complicated America's rise to international power. The processes, production, display, and circulation of maps gave way to a "geographic imagination" that constrained both policy and popular culture - in turn, Americans saw their place in the world in very spatialized ways. From a rhetorical perspective, maps gave us specific and partial perceptions of the globe and cartographers from a host of different institutions and with various national and international interests (government institutions like the State Dept., the CIA, the Department of Defense, academic institutions like the American Geographic Society, popular magazines like National Geographic and Time, and corporations as diverse as Rand McNally and Google) sketched the contours of American identity in both longitude and latitude. The course teaches students how to critique maps as systems of visual codes and also contextualizes for them how maps are used as rhetorical strategies by American elites and publics; by both the powerful and those challenging the powerful. Not only then is this a course on cartography; it's a course on the wild world-making processes of U.S. geopolitics and international space.

  • The Search for the Self

    16177
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    The Search for the Self explores what we mean by a "self." How do we recognize or create one; maintain or develop it through changing time, space, and circumstance; and communicate it to others through our interactions with them and our environment? We will explore these questions and others from many disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, sociology, psychology, literature, and neuroscience.

  • The White House said Today

    16212
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course is a semester-long study of the presidency as conveyed by chief executives in their own words, by official utterances from those appointed to speak on the president's behalf, by official public appearances and remarks of first ladies, speechwriters' recollections, mediated interpretations by members of the White House press corps and scholarly analyses of presidential discourse. We will explore foundational rhetorical precepts and introduce the nature and practice of rhetorical criticism via the genre of contemporary presidential speeches and commentary. Course objectives include: providing a rhetorical perspective of language, leadership, politics and media, introducing terms and practices fundamental to rhetoric; to encourage confidence in using them, and demonstrating the epistemological value of rhetorical inquiry.

  • Time and the City of Seville

    16201,16202
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    Seville is an ideal site to study the ebb and flow of Western and Eastern Mediterranean cultures, as well as the Atlantic expansion of the Spanish Empire or, more broadly, the history of Western navigation and Western expansion. Today?s Seville bears clear traces of its historical and cultural importance through the centuries, from the Roman Empire to the Muslim Almohad Empire to the Spanish Empire. In the sixteenth century, it became the capital of the New World. This fascinating history will serve as the springboard to grasp the transcendence of Seville in early Modern fiction, particularly in the development of the new genre of the novel. Readings for this course will be in English, including translations from the original language (Castilian, Mozarabic, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin...)

  • Touching the Past: The Purposes and Strategies of American History

    16295
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    History lives all around us: on television, in music, in movies, online, at historic sites, in video games, in classrooms, at reenactments, in family lore, and in personal memory. This course will explore that presence of the past, focusing on American history. The class will engage with emerging technologies, current controversies, and popular representations of history. It will address a series of challenges and opportunities that currently confront us, looking for students to contribute fresh ways of thinking.

  • War Reporting: 1776 to 2017

    17319
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    In this course you will read contemporaneous newspapers accounts of battles from the American Revolution through the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By the end of this course you will have an understanding of the impact news coverage has had on the decisions to go to war and on how the wars were conducted. You will also learn about the colorful characters who covered these wars. Finally, you will have an understanding of the historically antagonistic relationship between those who wage war and those who report on them. The professor who teaches this course covered the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • What does sound say?

    16204
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course is an introduction to listening, broadly conceived, from a variety of philosophical and cultural perspectives. Just as does architecture, the soundscape of a place both reflects and influences human behavior and thought. How can we be more fully aware of our soundscape, its meanings, and implications? What do privilege, poverty, and capitalism (for instance) sound like? Students will have the opportunity to study the traditional musics (on authentic instruments) of several cultures to help illustrate the ways in which the aesthetic and philosophical ideals of a people are embodied (and occasionally resisted) in their music. instruments etc., we will also discuss music?s relationship to social life through its capacity to shape and be shaped by social structures and customs. We will study music as culture?music as a symbol of social values and of cultural, group and individual identity?through conducting original ethnographic projects.

  • What is a scholar?

    16582
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will ask students to think about themselves as scholars within a larger context of scholarship in the 21st century. We will explore scholarship in the digital age, as well as question what it means to be a scholar. How is new knowledge constructed? What is an academic conversation? How are writing and research distinguished across the disciplines? We will take a broad look at the education, research, and commitment required for sustained scholarship and read examples of scholars' work, as well as memoirs and autobiographies by scholars that provide narratives of their research lives. Through all of our reading and discussion, students will focus on recognizing how their research and writing can be part of larger scholarly conversations.

  • Why do we build? Why should we care?

    15922
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course will explore the various roles building and design play in shaping how we live, work, play and interact with one another. We will read ancient, modern and contemporary texts and view/analyze documentaries devoted to the built environment. As students learn to read buildings, plans and even cities as primary texts they will appreciate the impact design can have on our experience of place. Questions we will address include: Can design fix a broken society? What is the role of the architect or planner in civilization? Is one kind of design better than another? Can design overcome government policies?

  • Wrongful Convictions in Modern America

    17015
    Cunningham, Sojourna Guss, Samantha

    This course is an examination into the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions in America. It delves into how race and poverty impact our criminal justice system at a structural level. We spend time thinking and writing about how a democracy should conceive of punishment and crime control when faced with limited resources and when citizens have different abilities to access the resources needed to navigate the criminal justice system. We study high-profile cases of wrongful convictions and make efforts to understand forensic science, the role of the prosecutor, police practices, and other elements of the criminal justice system.