Courses Linked to the Inspire TLC

2018-2019

Please note: each of the courses below fulfills the First-Year Integration Core requirement, and most fulfill at least one other core area (see individual course listings for details).

COMM 265: Introduction to Research

TLC Faculty: Dr. Susannah Stern
Core Area: Quantitative Reasoning Competency | 3 units

"3 out of 5 TV characters are male." "40% of Americans teens regret something they have posted online." "College students prefer texting to talking to their parents." Have you ever wondered how people make claims like these, and how much you should trust them? This course will introduce you to *research*, the process of asking and answering questions. Focusing on questions related to communication phenomena, this course will discuss: What exactly is research, and why do it? Who does research, and how do they do it? What are the challenges and rewards of doing research? Understanding the answers to these questions will position you to be a more critical consumer of the claims people make and provide you with the tools to interpret and evaluate research studies you will encounter in other classes.


ENGL 358: Photography and Literature

TLC Faculty: Dr. Marcelle Maese-Cohen
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

By teaching us how to see the world, photographs also teach us a language and way of being in the world. Like literature, photographs provide a virtual space where different people and ideas meet. What are the politics of this encounter? Who is seen? Who is silenced? The authors we will read incorporate photographs within the pages of the books they write. The visual images they include are as an important to creating a narrative as the words they place on the page. As viewers and readers, our study of the relation between photography and literature will ask questions concerned with beauty, power, and desire. We will survey photographs from Walker Evans to selfies.


ENGL 358: Contemporary Ethnic Dystopia

TLC Faculty: Dr. Jason Crum
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

This course will examine late 20th & early 21st Century Ethnic Dystopian fiction and popular culture in the United States. Our sources for this cultural studies course will be varied and will include recent trends in literature, film, digital storytelling, graphic novels, & video games. We will trace the development of imaginings and re-imaginings of utopia, their exclusions and gaps, and seek to examine how ethnic and racial minorities in the United States have contested such ideas as utopia/dystopia, class, race, gender, & sexuality. Readings will include works such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Samuel Delany’s Trouble on Triton, Nedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, Cynthia Khodata’s In the Heart of the Valley of Love. We will also turn to and look analytically at the political, social, and economic climate that allows for the portrayal of ethnicity in recent pop culture titles such as Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and video game productions such as Bioshock:Infinite.


PHIL 335: Death and Dying

TLC Faculty: Dr. Turner Nevitt
Core Area: Ethical Inquiry | 3 units

Everyone dies eventually. Nothing is more common than death, and yet nothing is more mysterious. What even is death? When exactly do we die? Is it when our heart stops, or when our brain becomes inactive, or something else? And is dying good or bad? Does death give our lives meaning? Would an endless life be boring? And what happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? What would we have to be like to survive our death? And is it always wrong to cause death? Is killing ever justified, e.g. in war or self-defense? Is suicide wrong? Should physician-assisted suicide be legal? Should the death penalty be abolished? And how should we make decisions at the end of life? When is it acceptable to withdraw or withhold treatment from dying patients? These are the kinds of questions we will consider in this course. We will reflect on what philosophers have said about them, critically examining their answers in light of our own knowledge and experience.


THRS 110: Exploring Religious Meaning

TLC Faculty: Dr. Joel Gruber
Core Area: Theological and Religious Inquiry | 3 units

This course is a study of the various ways in which multiple religious traditions have defined a meaningful life. Throughout history, peoples of all cultures have attempted to understand why being human can be joyous, but can also seem meaningless and unjust. The course is designed so that we, as a class, can learn from these traditions, as well as from one another. By applying religious insights and socio-religious theory to contemporary issues surrounding "a meaningful life", we address contemporary questions. For example, do "non-religious" Americans enact secular rituals and faithfully believe in secular-scientific truths in ways that appear religious?


THRS 323: War and Peace in the Christian Tradition

TLC Faculty: Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry
Core Areas: Theological and Religious Inquiry; Ethical Inquiry | 3 units

An examination of the three dominant paradigms for thinking about war and peace in the Christian tradition: holy war, pacifism, and just war. We will consider how these frameworks are employed today in both religious and secular contexts as we apply these frameworks to the evaluation of particular conflicts/issues, which may include: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, humanitarian interventions, the ‘war on terrorism,’ preemptive and preventive war, drones, weapons of mass destruction, and care for veterans. Throughout, students will build skills in ethical analysis and reflexivity. Students may not receive credit for both THRS 123 and THRS 323. There are no prerequisites for this course.


PSYC 346: Evolutionary Psychology

TLC Faculty: Dr. Rebekah Wanic
Core Area: Social and Behavioral Inquiry | 3 units

The goal of this course is to examine and evaluate the evolutionary perspective as it relates to the study of behavior and mental processes. Interdisciplinary evidence will be explored to evaluate the presence of evolved psychological adaptations that characterize human nature. Applications of the evolutionary perspective will be explored in the context of many subfields within psychology, such as learning, memory, cognitive processing, development, personality, social behavior, disorders and more. In line with the Inspire theme, students will engage in coursework designed to explore the practical uses of evolutionary thought in understanding and addressing social problems.


ENGL 363: Spoken Words: Pronouns and Participatory Reading

TLC Faculty: Dr. Atreyee Phukan
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

This course uses the conceptual framework of “spoken word”—performance, word play, and improvisation—to assess the special role of pronouns in fiction, from the slave narrative, post-colonial bildungsroman, to the graphic novel. We will study how a writer’s fictional I or you is a performative gesture in breaking walls between text and audience, thus strategically inviting the reader into new and otherwise unfamiliar imaginative worlds. We will focus on mostly world literature and engage specifically with the aesthetics of participatory reading, a kind of close-reading that attends to the deep interconnections between literary structure, political protest, and reader response. In addition, we will incorporate theoretical writings (including, but not limited to, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Gloria Anzaldua, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o) on literary expression and production, culture and resistance, and the post-colonial diaspora. These will provide important historical, cultural, and political contexts so as to deepen our analysis of the literature and the writer’s world. By integrating these multiple perspectives and disciplinary approaches, we will acquire a vocabulary and conceptual framework to guide our semester-long inquiries into how genre and narrative strategies are employed in the art of storytelling. Writers include Mary Prince, Aphra Behn, Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Diaz, J.M. Coetzee, and Mohsin Hamid.

This course fulfills Diversity and Social Justice global level 1; Literary Inquiry; and Integration Level 1.


BIOL 118: Peoples, Plagues & Microbes

TLC Faculty: Dr. Neena Din
Core Area: Scientific and Technological Inquiry | 4 unit class w/ lab

In this course students will be introduced to the infectious microbes that have caused major plagues throughout human history. They will learn about some of the epidemics that have decimated populations across entire continents and examine the resulting reverberations that continue to shape society. Special attention will be paid to the evolution of pathogenic microbes that cause infectious disease. The laboratory experience will train students to apply microscopy and aseptic techniques that are used to characterize microbes. Furthermore, students will apply the scientific method to examine the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

COMM 265: Introduction to Research

TLC Faculty: Dr. Susannah Stern
Core Area: Quantitative Reasoning Competency | 3 units

"3 out of 5 TV characters are male." "40% of Americans teens regret something they have posted online." "College students prefer texting to talking to their parents." Have you ever wondered how people make claims like these, and how much you should trust them? This course will introduce you to *research*, the process of asking and answering questions. Focusing on questions related to communication phenomena, this course will discuss: What exactly is research, and why do it? Who does research, and how do they do it? What are the challenges and rewards of doing research? Understanding the answers to these questions will position you to be a more critical consumer of the claims people make and provide you with the tools to interpret and evaluate research studies you will encounter in other classes.


ENGL 358: Photography and Literature

TLC Faculty: Dr. Marcelle Maese-Cohen
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

By teaching us how to see the world, photographs also teach us a language and way of being in the world. Like literature, photographs provide a virtual space where different people and ideas meet. What are the politics of this encounter? Who is seen? Who is silenced? The authors we will read incorporate photographs within the pages of the books they write. The visual images they include are as an important to creating a narrative as the words they place on the page. As viewers and readers, our study of the relation between photography and literature will ask questions concerned with beauty, power, and desire. We will survey photographs from Walker Evans to selfies.


ENGL 358: Contemporary Ethnic Dystopia

TLC Faculty: Dr. Jason Crum
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

This course will examine late 20th & early 21st Century Ethnic Dystopian fiction and popular culture in the United States. Our sources for this cultural studies course will be varied and will include recent trends in literature, film, digital storytelling, graphic novels, & video games. We will trace the development of imaginings and re-imaginings of utopia, their exclusions and gaps, and seek to examine how ethnic and racial minorities in the United States have contested such ideas as utopia/dystopia, class, race, gender, & sexuality. Readings will include works such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Samuel Delany’s Trouble on Triton, Nedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, Cynthia Khodata’s In the Heart of the Valley of Love. We will also turn to and look analytically at the political, social, and economic climate that allows for the portrayal of ethnicity in recent pop culture titles such as Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and video game productions such as Bioshock:Infinite.


PHIL 335: Death and Dying

TLC Faculty: Dr. Turner Nevitt
Core Area: Ethical Inquiry | 3 units

Everyone dies eventually. Nothing is more common than death, and yet nothing is more mysterious. What even is death? When exactly do we die? Is it when our heart stops, or when our brain becomes inactive, or something else? And is dying good or bad? Does death give our lives meaning? Would an endless life be boring? And what happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? What would we have to be like to survive our death? And is it always wrong to cause death? Is killing ever justified, e.g. in war or self-defense? Is suicide wrong? Should physician-assisted suicide be legal? Should the death penalty be abolished? And how should we make decisions at the end of life? When is it acceptable to withdraw or withhold treatment from dying patients? These are the kinds of questions we will consider in this course. We will reflect on what philosophers have said about them, critically examining their answers in light of our own knowledge and experience.


THRS 110: Exploring Religious Meaning

TLC Faculty: Dr. Joel Gruber
Core Area: Theological and Religious Inquiry | 3 units

This course is a study of the various ways in which multiple religious traditions have defined a meaningful life. Throughout history, peoples of all cultures have attempted to understand why being human can be joyous, but can also seem meaningless and unjust. The course is designed so that we, as a class, can learn from these traditions, as well as from one another. By applying religious insights and socio-religious theory to contemporary issues surrounding "a meaningful life", we address contemporary questions. For example, do "non-religious" Americans enact secular rituals and faithfully believe in secular-scientific truths in ways that appear religious?


ENGL 363: Spoken Words: Pronouns and Participatory Reading

TLC Faculty: Dr. Atreyee Phukan
Core Areas: Literary Inquiry; Domestic Diversity Level 1 | 3 units

This course uses the conceptual framework of “spoken word”—performance, word play, and improvisation—to assess the special role of pronouns in fiction, from the slave narrative, post-colonial bildungsroman, to the graphic novel. We will study how a writer’s fictional I or you is a performative gesture in breaking walls between text and audience, thus strategically inviting the reader into new and otherwise unfamiliar imaginative worlds. We will focus on mostly world literature and engage specifically with the aesthetics of participatory reading, a kind of close-reading that attends to the deep interconnections between literary structure, political protest, and reader response. In addition, we will incorporate theoretical writings (including, but not limited to, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Gloria Anzaldua, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o) on literary expression and production, culture and resistance, and the post-colonial diaspora. These will provide important historical, cultural, and political contexts so as to deepen our analysis of the literature and the writer’s world. By integrating these multiple perspectives and disciplinary approaches, we will acquire a vocabulary and conceptual framework to guide our semester-long inquiries into how genre and narrative strategies are employed in the art of storytelling. Writers include Mary Prince, Aphra Behn, Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Diaz, J.M. Coetzee, and Mohsin Hamid.

This course fulfills Diversity and Social Justice global level 1; Literary Inquiry; and Integration Level 1.