“Black Gold: Oil in the Global Political Economy” James Allan (Political Science)
Oil fuels the global economy—and our lives—in multiple ways. Worldwide, more than 80 million barrels of oil are consumed every day, with the United States alone accounting for around a quarter of this total. This course examines the past, present, and future of oil as the world’s most strategically important commodity. It begins with a history of oil since the mid-nineteenth century, investigating how and why it gained its vital role in international politics and economics. It then turns to the impact of oil on a variety of countries: developed and less-developed, major consumers and major producers. How does oil affect national and international security? Have some countries become “addicted to oil?” Has the discovery of oil reserves in developing countries been a blessing or a curse for them? What are the social and environmental consequences of oil production and consumption? Finally, the course critically examines the debate over the future sustainability of current patterns of global oil consumption
“Putting the Puzzle Together” Sara Brannan (Education)
Bird Flu! HPV-Induced Cervical Cancer! E-Coli Tainted Spinach! Scared yet? What’s next? These and other public health issues have recently received heightened media attention as health officials address them at the global, national, and local levels. In the relatively recent past, an increase in scientific knowledge and the mounting of significant public health campaigns have resulted in successful efforts to combat many age-old health threats (e.g., cholera, small pox, yellow fever, polio). What new and/or continuing threats must be addressed today? What are the potential impacts of these threats on your health and that of the community? What role can you play in ameliorating them? In this class, we will examine the history and the development of the concept of public health (as opposed to individual health care), the development of government-sponsored strategies to address identified public health issues, and the effects and consequences of implementing public health campaigns. These will be investigated through a liberal arts lens to reveal not only health implications, but also the inducements and limitations imposed by cultural, religious, educational, governmental, and economic factors.
“Why We Believe Weird Things: Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology” Jeff Brookings (Psychology)
“Watching television causes autism.” “Playing Mozart to infants increases their intelligence.” “Prayer cures cancer.” These and other sensational claims are reported daily by the popular media, who usually present them as factual because there is—purportedly—scientific evidence of their validity. But what qualifies as scientific evidence, and how do we distinguish scientifically- supported conclusions from plausible-sounding but unsubstantiated, untestable assertions? In this course, we begin by defining what science is and how it differs from pseudoscience. We then consider the basic perceptual and cognitive mechanisms through which humans gather and process information about the world, emphasizing errors in thinking and reasoning that, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, predispose us to believe “weird” things. Finally, we will use what we have learned to investigate phenomena of particular interest to behavioral scientists, including extrasensory perception, subliminal perception and persuasion, astrology, criminal profiling, faith healing, and repressed memories. Our goal is to be open to novel claims, coupled with the determination to subject those claims to scientific scrutiny.
“Romanticism and Revolution” Robin Inboden (English)
It was the worst of times, it was the best of times (at least from the vantage point of Charles Dickens, writing decades later. But the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution did change the way we think about government, work, class structures, nature, and the place of the individual in the world, even today. During this time of great social change, literature and the other arts responded to these changes and created a few revolutions of their own. We will learn about everyday life as well as (world-historical( events in the late 1700's and early 1800's, and we will learn this mainly through reading and watching historical narratives and the literature of the times. We will also learn about Romanticism in painting and music, about how changing ideas of social class changed ideas about and in literature, and how this period changed our whole concept of the artist in society. The graded work of the course will include an informational presentation, several creative assignments, and several analytical papers. Also plan on communing with nature, watching some great movies, and having an art adventure.
“New Worlds in the Old World,” Ty Buckman (English)
Before films presented us with fantastic life forms and unfamiliar civilizations in distant galaxies, before anyone had thought to write science fiction or fantasy novels, before we had fully mapped our own planet, people were fascinated by the idea of “new worlds,” of places completely foreign to their own experience. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will use the resources of literary criticism, history, and anthropology to study several of these new world encounters and ask the twin questions: What is the appeal of the new world as a concept? How does experience of the old world shape an encounter with the new? We begin our journey with the archetypal travel adventure Homer’s Odyssey, voyage with a small band of Vikings as they “discover” America in the Vinland Sagas, follow Marco Polo on his Travels along the Silk Road in thirteenth-century Asia, debate the merits of Sir Thomas More’s vision of an ideal society in Utopia, and finally visit the magical island on which Shakespeare set his late play, The Tempest. As an epilogue, we will invert the course theme and spend our last few weeks studying an old world in the new world—reading about and visiting an Amish community here in Ohio. Participants will be expected to contribute to the success of the seminar by reading faithfully, writing papers, taking part in class discussions and debates, keeping a reading journal, and eating one very large Amish supper.
“Acting Up, Acting Out: Culture, Subculture and Dissent” Rick Incorvati (English)
Course description TBA
“Render Unto Caesar,” Warren Copeland (Religion, Urban Studies)
Here in the United States in recent years we have seen larger numbers of our citizens become involved in politics and take positions on political issues on the basis of their religious convictions. Many commentators have attributed the growing divisiveness in our politics to religious differences. As an ordained minister who teaches Religion and is also Mayor of Springfield, the relationship between religion and politics is critical to me (Warren Copeland). In order to think about that relationship, we will need to examine a wide range of views about just what religion and democratic politics are and whether and how they may be mixed. We shall do this by reading what religious and political people think and observing what they say and do. And then we will need to do some thinking ourselves. It should be interesting!
“Portraits of Jesus” Barbara Kaiser (Religion)
This survey of selected portrayals of Jesus in literature, film, art, and modern historical research examines how images and stories of Jesus express central values of various cultures. Organized with the metaphor of a gallery tour, the course proceeds historically through a “hallway” of images and lingers in three “rooms” of special collections on the subjects of Nativity, Temptation, and Passion. The tour includes portrayals of Jesus in the four canonical gospels and the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, Proto-Gospel of James, and Infancy Gospel of Thomas. In the gallery are also meditations on Jesus as Bridegroom of the Soul of medieval mystics and the Jesus of the mystery plays. Other portraits are from the poets T. S. Eliot, William Blake, and Gerard Manley Hopkins and fiction writers Wolfgang Borchert, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Walker. Students also consider the Jesus of modern historical scholars and analyze the ascetic representation of Jesus in Jim Crace’s novel, Quarantine, and the Christ-figure in Matigari by Kenyan novelistNgugi wa Thiong’o. The tour includes a survey of depictions of Jesus in art and the films, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Passion of the Christ. The final portraits in the hallway offer various Asian presentations of Jesus. Besides examining these portraits, students will add another portrait to the gallery, either guiding the class in appreciation of an additional portrayal of Jesus not included in the “permanent collection” or adding their own creative portrait.
“Seen the Book, Read the Movie: Adaptations,” Kent Dixon (English)
How often have we heard: “The book was better than the movie.” Was it really? Is it always; only sometimes; never? Why, why not? In addressing these perplexing questions, the course will explore the nature of the two genres, and the grammar and aesthetics of both film and fiction. The works will range from adaptations ( Cold Mountain ) to ironic quotations (O, Brother, Where Art Thou? ); both of these take off from Homer's Odyssey. We may look at some plays adapted to movies, and certainly some contemporary works like Smoke Signals or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or The English Patient. We may even read a Gospel and look at Gibson's The Passion, examining how movies can take us beyond genre as well. In addition to examining various literary and cinematic genres, students will be assigned several short creative writing projects—exploring dialogue, dramatic structure, and literary vs. visual imagery. In addition, there are several short critical papers, one longer one, a reader's/viewer's log, and two exams. We will also collaborate with another WittSem class to adapt a screenplay from their fictional narratives.
“Globalization with a Human Face?” Miguel Martinez-Saenz (Philosophy)
There seems to be widespread agreement that globalization is affecting economic institutions, political institutions, the environment and cultures all across the globe. The (apparent) integration of world markets, world political systems, and world cultures is being praised by some and denounced by others. In this class we will consider a variety of perspectives related to globalization and its wide-reaching implications. In order to gain a greater appreciation of the impact of globalization our reading and viewing selections will address a wide range of topics including but not limited to the following: Is poverty expanding or diminishing? Are women being harmed or helped? Is the environment in danger? Are corporations undermining democracy? How are cultures being affected? What does “humanity” have to do with any of this? Students will be expected to write four short critical essays, take a midterm exam and a final exam. There will also be short answer quizzes and Moodle questions given weekly on the reading assignments. In this class students will be expected to engage in dialogue with me and with each other.
"Livin’ la vida loca: Latinos U.S.A.," Chris McIntyre (Languages)
In this class we will examine the largely English-speaking Protestant-dominated north and the largely Spanish-speaking Catholic-dominated south of the Americas through history, politics, art, music and literature in order to better understand the history of connection and conflict between these contiguous geographic regions. We will also explore in particular the geographic zones of overlap where history and politics, north and south, English and Spanish are superimposed layers on the same map. Such zones include the U.S. southwest and southeast and the island nation of Puerto Rico. Readings will include selected translations of Latin American authors, such Cuban Jose Marti, and bilingual/bicultural authors such as chicana writer Gloria Anzaldua. Interest and enthusiasm are the only prerequisites for this class. Spanish language skills are not required, although Spanish speakers and students of the language are welcome.
“Patterns in Nature: From Snowflakes to Galaxies,” Elizabeth George (Physics)
From childhood, human beings are fascinated by patterns in the world around us: striped and spotted animals, one-of-a-kind snowflakes, the songs of birds. In this course, we'll explore how such patterns develop in nature, and how we can describe and understand them. We'll learn how surprisingly complex patterns can be produced from simple rules. We'll also discuss why we find some patterns to be more pleasing than others (making patterns a rich source of artistic inspiration), and ways in which our senses and brain affect how we perceive the world (even causing optical illusions). We'll make connections between nature, art, and mathematics through classroom activities, discussions, readings, and field trips to sites such as zoos, museums, and science centers. A term project will give you an opportunity to apply the ideas learned in this course to a subject that you're interested in. Projects are possible in a wide range of areas, including science, art, music, mathematics, psychology, and economics. This is a math-reasoning-intensive course with a math placement requirement of 22, but the most important prerequisites are curiosity and a willingness to explore.
“The Power of Dance” Ligia Pinheiro (Theatre and Dance)
How does dance influence our understanding of proper social behavior? How does dance help unite people? How does dance help us define gender identity and shape our aesthetic values? This course will explore dance in various contexts and look at how dance affects our perception of self, of society, of religion, and of the world in which we live. In this course, students will view and learn various forms of dance, from the Court of Louis XIV to early 20th century American ballroom. Throughout history dance has had a close connection with religious beliefs, accepted moral and social behavior, and the perception of beauty. By looking at dance in connection with these various contexts we will investigate the power of dance in shaping our identity and attitude towards the dancing body. Embark on a journey of exploration of dance in various settings and places around the world, and discover how our own culture grapples with the Power of Dance.
“Freakonomics and More: Hidden Explanations of Our World,” Lawrence D. Gwinn (Economics)
My WittSem proposes to integrate economic theory with a number of issues not normally considered from the economist’s perspective, using three main books: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science, and The Literary Book of Economics. Each of these books deliberately intertwines economic theory with other disciplines. Freakonomics discusses a variety of topics, ranging from why people cheat to why most crack dealers live with their moms to what makes a good parent. The authors apply economic analysis to show that the conventional explanations we take for granted are frequently wrong. Naked Economics is similar, but it covers some different topics, particularly in the areas of macroeconomics and international trade. The Literary Book of Economics contains a number of excerpts from well-known writers to illustrate economic principles. Milo Minderbender’s entrepreneurship in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 fits well the discussion of incentives, for example. The Joy Luck Club and Cal’s speculative profits in East of Eden provide literary examples to inform our discussion of information in economic decisions. An excerpt from The Black Obelisk illustrates problems with inflation in the section about money entitled “Taking Away the Punchbowl.”
“Science, Religion, and the Politics of Intelligent Design,” Edward Hasecke (Political Science)
The rise of Intelligent Design in the last decade as a proposed alternative to the theory of evolution has reignited a national debate over the teaching of evolution in high school biology classes. We will use the controversy over teaching intelligent design to explore several different questions: is intelligent design a scientific theory? Can the scientific method and religious belief be reconciled? Does teaching intelligent design violate the establishment clause in the First Amendment? We will begin by reading two books. In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe argues that intelligent design is a scientific theory that has several advantages to evolution. Richard Dawkins, in his book The Blind Watchmaker, argues against intelligent design as a scientific theory and defends the evidence for evolution. We then turn to the broader question of whether science and religion can mix. Using Steven Jay Gould’s Rocks of Ages as a starting point, we will explore this relationship using works of philosophy, fiction, and film. Finally, we will turn to the history of the establishment clause and debate whether teaching intelligent design in public schools violates the First Amendment.
“Christianity: Philosophical Problems and Solutions” Don Reed (Philosophy)
Many smart people have rejected religion, thinking that their childhood faith was all there is to it. If your childhood ideas of God and the meaning of life come undone, you face a choice. Leave the whole religion mess behind, or take your ideas of God and the meaning of life to the next level. All of the discussions in this course will assume Christianity as a shared identity and orienting perspective of everyone in the class, including the professor. The purpose of the course is for students to deepen their worldviews through dialogue with other Christians about fundamental issues such as the following: (a) the nature and authority of Scripture and our interpretations of Scripture, (b) the tensions between biblical worldviews and modern worldviews, and (c) the relation between faith and reason and also religion and science.As a means to exploring these issues, the class will focus on three sets of questions: 1) What are miracles? And are they possible? 2) Does genuine demon possession occur? Are there guardian angels? Is witchcraft real? 3) Who was Jesus of Nazareth? Can the truth about Jesus be represented in film today as well as in biblical texts almost 2000 years ago? We will focus primarily on biblical texts and films for prompting our discussions. This is not a college course about Christianity or even about Christian understandings of God. It is a joint Christian inquiry at the college level, beyond childhood faith, about fidelity to God and discerning the meaning of life.
“Pop Music around the World: Local Flavor vs. Global Domination,” Dan Kazez (Music)
The cultural distinctiveness of non-Western countries is evident to all the senses—in food, clothing, and music, to name but a few elements of culture. Will this distinctiveness decline as the United States increasingly exports its culture to non-Western countries? In this WittSem, we will examine (1) the extent to which the popular music of various non-Western countries has maintained its local flavor, and (2) how and why the music of the West has entered the popular music styles of these countries. The ability to read music is required. We will examine printed music (sheet music), listen to recorded music, and study the music in non-Western feature films.
Magic, Fairies and Culture: Folk and Fairy Tales in the French Tradition (Leanne Wierenga) (Foreign Languages and Literature)
“Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Beauty and the Beast”: we all know the tales that Walt Disney told, but what about the real deal? This course will examine medieval “fairy” tales by Marie de France and 17th century French salon fairy tales like those mentioned above in an effort to grasp some of the most basic preoccupations of these two cultural periods. Our investigations will include the exploration of different critical methods to help us understand the literary expressions of these eras. In addition, we may examine later texts which use fairy tale models, like Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris and Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. Required work: several short essays, two exams, a group project and the creation of a personal fairy tale.
“Globalization in Southeast Asia,” Ralph Lenz (Geography)
Recent increased connectivity of the world’s economies and its accompanying homogenization of ways of life are aspects of the process of globalization. As the internet and other technologies have led to global economic integration, they have also facilitated the movement of ideas. Is globaliza-tion an irresistible process? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Actually globalization is not a new process at all; the opening up of the Silk Road across Central Asia was an earlier example. And Southeast Asia, the focus of this Wittsem, has also been impacted by globalization for a long time. Because they study spatial characteristics of both commercial transactions and the diffusion of ideas, geographers have always been interested in the process of globalization.
Southeast Asia is an enormously interesting region. Set between South Asia and East Asia, and influenced by each, it retains its own unique heritage. Among its nations is Indonesia, noted for its physical beauty and cultural distinctiveness, and home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Thailand, with its predominantly Theravada Buddhist religious orientation, has been greatly impacted by global economic integration. Now Vietnam, a cultural contrast because of its historical connection with China, is experiencing the same transition. On the other hand, Myanmar (Burma) has sought isolation, so serves as an example of a place that has resisted globalization. We will study globalization in Southeast Asia in this Wittsem. We will look for evidence of impacts of the process historically and more recently among the people of Southeast Asia. We will also give some consideration to its impact upon our lives.
“Madness and the Media,” Stephanie Little (Psychology)
This course is intended to introduce students to the field of abnormal psychology. Various types of mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, anxiety) will be introduced and compared and contrasted to how they are portrayed in the media (e.g., movies, newspapers, television). Similarly, treatments for mental illness (e.g., behavior therapy, medication) will be explored and compared and contrasted to how they are presented in the media. In addition, evidence for the causal role the media plays in the development of some abnormal behaviors (e.g., alcoholism, eating disorders, violence, multiple personalities) will be examined, along with other potential causes of mental illness, including culture. Exposure to individuals with mental illness and some forms of therapy (e.g., relaxation techniques) will be incorporated into the course.
“Institutional Racism and the Individual—20th Century” Scott Rosenberg (History)
This class will start by focusing on the origins and motivations behind the construction of racially discriminatory systems in the United States and in South Africa. By comparing the institutionalization of racism in both countries we will gain a better understanding of why these systems emerge and how they function. Once the origins of racism are established we will seek to explore what factors contribute to its continuing perpetuation. Through readings and films we will examine the modern manifestations of racism and its impact on daily lives in the 20th century. We will also devote considerable time investigating how individuals respond to institutionalized discrimination. From the material presented in this class on the development and impact of racism, students should be challenged to examine their own notions of race relations.
“All I Ask is a Tall Ship…” Jim Welch (Biology)
For centuries, tall ships were the primary method for moving people and goods around the world. We will first examine some of the technology involved in sailing and navigation: the physics of sailing for both tall ships and modern sailboats, and how sailors navigated in the past with sextants and clocks compared to today with GPS satellites and receivers. We will also learn about John Harrison, who after 40 years of work finally developed a clock that was accurate enough at sea to make navigation possible. We will then explore the South Pacific with James Cook, meeting island peoples and charting new islands. Finally, we will witness the perseverance of Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the HMS Endurance, as they lose the ship in the Antarctic ice and stay alive for rescue almost 22 months after setting out from South Georgia Island. Our focus throughout the course will be on the challenges people faced and the ways in which they surmounted them. The course title is a reference to the poem “Sea Fever” by John Masefield.
“Patterns of Violence,” Alan McEvoy (Sociology)
Despite individual and cultural variations, humans on the whole have displayed a remarkable tendency to be violent toward one another. Some might argue that the history of the human condition is one that is written in blood. Whether the reference point on the continuum is global warfare, civil unrest, family violence, sexual assault, bullying in schools, personal vendettas, or acts of self-destruction, the reality of violence is that it imposes a heavy burden on all of us. Patterns of violence inhibit the goal of forming communities and of deepening our bonds with one another. This course explores the realities of violence in multiple contexts—political, social, psychological, philosophical and religious. Relying on theory and research from various disciplines, we will explore the nature, causes, and consequences of selected aspects of violence. The roles of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders will be examined. Strategies to reduce the likelihood of violence and to minister to victims of violence will be considered. The underlying premise throughout is that violence is a choice—it is not a predetermined and inevitable feature of human nature—and that compassionate understanding has no counterpoint.
“Delicious Beautiful Swimmers: The Who, What, Where, When and How of Commercial Fishing,” Kathleen Reinsel (Biology)
Have you ever wondered where the seafood at your favorite restaurant comes from? Who does the fishing? What do they catch, where and when do they catch it, and how do they do it? What does it mean if the fishery is “in trouble'” or “crashes,” and what happens to the fishers if the fishery is “closed”? In this course we will answer these questions and others using the blue crab, whose scientific name means “delicious beautiful swimmer,” as the class example. Each student will also identify a specific commercially important species and use it as a focal point for discussions and exercises throughout the semester. Together we will learn about the life cycles and habitats of these organisms, examine historical and modern methods used for catching them, and learn about the culture of fishing communities and how it has changed throughout recent history. We will discuss potential ecological, economic and social problems that can be associated with commercial fishing, and determine whether they apply to any of “our” species. We will discuss fishery management methods, and identify management strategies that are currently in place for “our” species. We will finish by looking at the impacts of these management strategies on the organisms, their habitats, and the lives of the fishers and the communities in which they live.
"St. Petersburg: Myth and Soul of a Russian City" Lila Zaharkov (Foreign Languages and Literature)
From the cradle of the Russian Revolution to the cradle of Russian Rock Music! From the founding father Peter the Great to the Youth of St. Petersburg today! What other city in the world was founded by the decree of One Man? Became the new capital of the Russian Empire, only to lose it again after 1917 and in the process had three names as well as its mythical ones? Survived a 900-day Siege during World War Two and remains the Jewel of the Russian State today. We will study the history of this unusual, marvelous city, the writers who lived and wrote in and about St. Petersburg,(Pushkin, Dosteovsky, Turgenev to name only a few )as well as its cultural monuments of art, music(including Russian Rock!) and contacts with college students who live there today!
“The Nature of Rivers,” John Ritter (Geology)
Our connection with rivers is “widespread and deep”—or at least it used to be. In many ways, we have lost contact with rivers. We use the word “river” metaphorically to characterize our life experiences—the river of time, the river of life—but we increasingly base these metaphors on the illusion (rather than reality) of rivers. Humans have impacted rivers and streams worldwide to such an extent that it is extremely difficult if not impossible to find an unaltered river system. Though they are the lifeblood of nations, we divert water from rivers to a point that threatens their very existence, treating them as both playground and toilet. Yet as profoundly as rivers have been damaged, they can change and restore themselves over time. In this WittSem we will examine the science of rivers—in their natural setting and in the lab, on maps and from aerial photos, in scientific and creative literature. Our purpose is to understand the nature of rivers, what and where they have been in the past, what they could be in the future, and what their restoration means to our lives.
“High Brow, Low Brow, and No Brow: The New Yorker and the Liberal Arts,” J. Fitz Smith (English)
In 1925, a young college dropout founded a magazine that, eight decades later, has become a touchstone for cultural, political, and artistic discussions: The New Yorker. This course will ask the students to engage with the weekly varieties of intellectual inquiry that the publication: be it an extended essay on the politics of emergency room medicine or a book review of a recent biography, the articles of The New Yorker provide ample means of students to consider the interactions of popular culture with “established” arts. Relying heavily on conversation and short analytical responses, this course will hone the skill fundamental to any intellectual enterprise: critical analysis. Ultimately, the student will leave this course with not simply an appreciation for the debates surrounding our course’s central texts and terms, but also the skills necessary for an engaged exploration of ideas--the hallmarks of a liberal arts institution.
“The World of Tomorrow—in Fact and Fiction,” Stephen Siek (Music)
This is a course about America and its future—or at least the future as envisioned by Americans. Before the days of television or the internet, millions of people journeyed to two magnificent world's fairs to absorb idealistic visions of the future: first the Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and—almost 50 years later—the New York World's Fair of 1939, whose theme was “Building the World of Tomorrow.” We will “visit” both of these fairs in some detail, not simply to immerse ourselves in the technology and gadgets (some of which never came to pass), but to learn what Americans once regarded as idealized utopias. Amid the fictional projections, a few visionaries actually brought their ideals into reality, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, who created a bold new architecture that in its day was often condemned for its futuristic breaks with convention. We will examine many of Wright's buildings, including Springfield 's own Westcott House (1907), which is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar restoration. Two purely fictional and highly contrasting views of the future will also be read: Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and Ayn Rand's Anthem .
“Antlions and Tiger Beetles” Carmen Trisler (Biology)
This course will look at myths, misconceptions, and management of insects in diverse cultures, emphasizing the beneficial aspects of insects over the detrimental ones. We will look at the life history of insects, their remarkable behaviors and ecology as well as cultural attitudes towards them. There will be at least three field sessions in which insects will be observed and their behavior recorded. Students will participate in a field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo Insectarium. Topics across the curriculum will include both art and science, i.e. insects in art, music, film, medicine, forensics, biomonitoring, societal perspectives, and humor. Students will keep a journal of insect observations, write a scientific paper on a simple self-selected insect experiment, and work in a group to present an Insect Appreciation Project. This course is not Fear Factor; you will not have to eat insects!
“The Cosmos as Seen by Science and Faith,” Anders Tune (Campus Pastor)
Science provides a compelling explanation of how the universe came about, and Christian thought, informed by faith, gives a coherent account of what the universe's existence means. And, for many decades, these two views of the cosmos found themselves in conflict with each other. Yet in recent years a dialogue between science and Christian faith has generated intriguing new perspectives, and even some surprising agreements. This seminar will study this dialogue and what these two views tell us about the universe. What are the views of science and faith of the beginning, existence, and future of all things? What can these two views learn from each other? How might they each contribute to the flourishing of human and non-human life?
“African American Economic History,” David Wishart (Economics)
African American Economic History introduces students to the complex history of African Americans in the North American colonies and the United States from an economic perspective. The course explores African American economic history from the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 16 th century through the “Great Migration” of blacks from the rural South to northern cities during the 20 th century. Economic theory and statistical analysis will be used as tools to examine the economic circumstances of African Americans over time. To paraphrase a line from Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, the primary goal of this course will be to “reveal” to students “that part of American history which” represents “the record of black achievement under adversity” (Fogel and Engerman 264). This course is intentionally interdisciplinary. Principles of economic analysis and basic statistical analysis are presented and used to examine the historical record of African Americans. Readings will be drawn from a standard principles of economics textbook and selected books and articles related to African American economic history. The course is both math and writing intensive. The required Math Placement Level for this course is 22 or higher.
"Plugged-in or Tuned-out: Learning in the age of YouTube," Lowell Monke (Education)
There is a growing sense of unease in our society concerning the impact of technology on young people's lives. On the one hand, technical marvels like the Internet make it possible for youth to plug-in to an endless supply of information from anywhere, at any time. On the other hand, many young people are tuning out the physical world around them, no longer feeling that they belong anywhere at any time. Even as parents push for more computers in schools, they are worrying about the disconnection between their children and the real world (especially nature) as their contact with living things is replaced by immersion in video games, Ipods, cell phones and the Internet. In general, there is a growing recognition that technology is a Faustian bargain, bringing both blessings and problems to society in general and youth in particular. This course will investigate that claim in the one realm that is most consequential for youth - education. We will explore questions such as: How do different media shape learning? What is the difference between face-to-face instruction and on-line learning? How does simulated experience educate differently than first-hand experience? How does digital technology change the meaning of such concepts as "community," "knowledge," "experience," and even "education?" Are schools and residential universities even relevant in the age of the Internet?
"Countercultures and Voices of Dissent," Rick Incorvati (English)
While it may not initially seem that groups like the hippies, the Goths, the Amish, and the Quakers have much in common, they do share the intent to live according to values that diverge—sometimes sharply—from those that guide the prevailing way of life in our country. In this WittSem, we’ll focus our attention on writings that articulate unconventional ideas and that have inspired people to travel some unbeaten paths. We’ll read some texts that will strike us as openly radical (including works by an anarchist, a writer from the Beat generation, and some environmental activists), but we’ll also come across ideas that may not initially seem revolutionary but actually are (including those ascribed to Socrates and those that crop up in the New Testament). To get a more intimate sense of how such a countercultural society might actually function, we’ll also take some time to visit and share a meal with an Amish family. This course is writing intensive, and we’ll be addressing our topic from both a literary and a sociological perspective.