Spring 2020

Spring 2020

Studies in Modern Palestinian Art and Literature

Irene Williams, John Halaka

During periods of extended political conflict, art can be the best way for a society under stress of cultural annihilation to sustain itself, critique its attackers, and project the culture’s historical identity to the world. For nearly seventy years, the worldview of most Palestinians has been shaped in large part by a sustained military occupation that has defined their relationship with the world and has forced them to become a culture of resilient and defiant survivors. Experiences of displacement, exile, statelessness, occupation, resistance, and sacrifice have dominated the life of the majority of Palestinians; these continue to be recurrent motifs in art and literature since the second half of the twentieth century. Driven by a desire to persevere as an historical culture in the face of extended military occupation, Palestinian visual and literary arts have flourished in complex ways.

This team-taught course will examine the complexity and diversity of Palestinian art and literature and investigate the intersection of its personal and national functions. A primary objective of the course will be to study the works of Palestinian artists and writers who are living or have lived in the occupied territories, in Israel, and in exile. We will focus on artists’ strategies of composition, including dominant themes and patterns of repetition, to see how artists’ practices objectify and dramatize the experience of being a modern Palestinian.

HNRS 362

Irene Williams


HNRS 363

John Halaka


A History of Hate: Christian Antisemitism and Western Culture

Mary Doak, Russell Fuller

The Christian religion is based on Judaism; Jesus and his early followers were all Jews. How then did Christianity develop the deeply rooted anti-Semitic ideas and attitudes that have become embedded not only in Christian belief and practice but also in much of the culture of the West? How did the Western habits of rejecting racial, ethnic, and religious minorities as undesirable and threatening “others” develop from Christian rejection of the faith and people from which Christianity itself originated? This course will employ methods of biblical criticism and historical inquiry to study the development of anti-Judaism and antisemitism in the New Testament, in the early church, and in key moments of medieval, reformation, and modern history.We will also engage theological methods to examine the impact of this history on Christian beliefs and practices, and to evaluate recent Christian efforts (often in dialogue with Jews) to imagine and construct a Christianity that overcomes this deeply rooted antiJudaism, replacing the historic teaching of contempt for the Jews with a consistent attitude of respect and even appreciation for Judaism and other religions. 

HNRS 300

Mary Doak

Constructive Theology

HNRS 301

Russell Fuller

Biblical Studies

International Business Negotiation

Craig Barkacs, Linda Barkacs

Negotiation is a central skill in managing conflict, bridging cultural differences, exploring options, creating value, and distributing resources. Efforts to shape the goals, structures, and the direction of an organization are undertaken by individuals and groups who frequently hold diverse and competing perspectives. People use negotiation to address their differences and to influence outcomes. International law, geo-political considerations, methods and forums for resolving international disputes, cultural factors, and international standards for business conduct are crucial considerations for business people negotiating in the global marketplace. This course will explore the science and the art of negotiation. The science will be learned largely through readings and discussion of the readings. The art will be learned through experience and simulated negotiations.

HNRS 332

Craig Barkacs


HNRS 333

Linda Barkacs


*This course satisfies upper-division elective credit in the Business Administration major/minor.

Theistic and Atheistic Existentialism

Rico Monge, Michael Kelly

Existentialism most recognizable proponent, Jean Paul Sartre, puts existentialism this way: “Dostoevsky once wrote: ‘If God did not exist, everything would be permitted’; and that, for existentialism, is the starting point. Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself. He discovers forthwith, that he is without excuse.” Yet, Sartre also acknowledges, “there are two kinds of existentialists … the Christians … and the … atheists.”

In this course students will engage the foundational theistic and atheistic existentialist works in western culture. While both traditions view humans as without excuses, each tradition thinks differently about the nature of human being(s) and the objects of choice that will make us fully realized, authentic selves (or not). Ranging across religious, literary, and philosophical writings, readings include selections from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Dostoevsky, Camus, Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and others.

The class will be co-taught by theology and philosophy faculty each of whom is directly and deeply familiar with all the readings. The faculty leaders will collaboratively teach every class and will attend and participate in every class; we expect to read the texts collectively and our interdisciplinary contributions will come in the form of emphasis, i.e., our ability to speak, when relevant, to a religious or philosophical reaction to some issue in the text under consideration.

HNRS 324

Rico Monge


HNRS 325

Michael Kelly