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Expo 1113 Principles of Expository Writing: Rebel Music

Instructor: Nick LoLordo

Section 001 T/R 1:30-2:45 BL 102

Section 002 T/R 12:00-1:15 BL 102

"When the mode of music changes, the walls of the city shake.”  Allen Ginsberg wrote these words at the beginning of the 1960s, that famous decade of upheaval—but the revolutionary power of music has been feared since ancient philosopher Plato (whom Ginsberg drew upon) wrote his Republic.  This course invites students to critically examine the long association of music with rebellion, from early rock and roll and the folk revival to more contemporary styles such as hip-hop, punk, reggae and dub, and electronic (dance) music. How have music subcultures informed protest movements? What’s behind music fans’ criticism of “sell-out” artists? When is borrowing music from other cultures an expression of solidarity—and when is it theft? 

From Spirituals to Hip-Hop

Instructor: Timothy Bradford

Section 012 T/R 10:30-11:45 in BL 102

Section 013 (Honors) 1:30-2:45 in PHSC 228

African Americans have created some of the richest, most vibrant musical genres in the world as evinced by spirituals, gospel, work songs, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, and hip-hop. How did a relatively small group of people, who started in such difficult circumstances, survive, innovate, and even thrive in a country that was, and in ways remains, indifferent if not openly hostile? And what can we learn about African American and American history and culture by examining these music forms? 

With these questions in mind, we will explore this music and related literature from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century with an emphasis on their roles in survival, innovation, identity, pride, and leadership. Amiri Baraka’s Blues People, Kevin Young’s The Grey Album, selections from The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, a Spotify playlist and various documentaries will serve as the main texts for the course and as inspiration for asking great questions that we will attempt to answer while developing critical reading, thinking, researching, and writing skills. 

Myth & Hero

Instructor:  Liz Locke

Section 001 MWF 12:30-1:20 PHSC 212

Section 002 MWF 1:30-2:20 PHSC 228

This course will enlist current events on a regular basis. After discussing some of the ways in which scholars define and think about the word “myth,” we meet two classical heroes, Theseus and Luke Skywalker, leading us to discover the iconic American Cowboy Hero. We then explore the significance of comic book superheroes (especially Superman, The Black Panther, and Hancock) in our popular, moral, and political cultures: How do “truth, justice, and the American Way” figure in our current narratives about American identity, power, law, vigilantism, masculinity, heroism, and race? Finally, we look at representations of women superheroes, still asking about how our new and traditional hero myths mold our thinking about power, leadership, individual autonomy, community, suffering, justice, violence, and virtue? How do they influence our behaviors and attitudes about gender, ethnicity, class, citizenship, conflict, and peace?


Science Fact and Science Fiction

Instructor:  Al Harahap

Section 018 MWF 10:30-11:20 PHSC 120

Section 019 MWF 11:30-12:20 PHSC 120

Why are academia and science under attack? Are people less trusting of scientists? How have climate change, round Earth, and vaccinations become so controversial? How is society negotiating science with other truth and belief systems such as religion and the American pioneering, do-it-yourself mentality? Inclusive of social sciences and the arts as human sciences, we will begin by looking at how the idea of "science" has been constructed throughout different cultures and historical periods. We will also read and watch science fiction to consider how scientific imagination can be a source of both innovation and slipperiness of fact. We will then complicate these notions and look at how cultural, economic, political agendas have used a pseudo-science for specific purposes. With instructor consultation, students will design their own final projects to teach the rest of the class on the discourse surrounding a specific subject matter relevant to this theme.

Readings: Introducing Philosophy of Science, 1 scifi novel, 1 scifi short story collection, 2-3 movie nights, daily articles and public online forums where science is being discussed


Political Satire

Instructor: Eric Bosse

Section 014 MW 1:30-2:45 BL 102

Section 015 MW 3:00-4:15 BL 102

According to the columnist Molly Ivins, “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”  Writers, cartoonists, and filmmakers often employ satire to provoke or prevent change by ridiculing the powers that be; and those powers occasionally strike back.  In this course we will examine the traditional and contemporary roles of satire in cultural and political discourse.  Has satire proven an effective political weapon? Can satire change the hearts and minds of audiences?  Where do we draw the lines between funny and offensive, between satire and irony, between satire and reality? And should certain topics be “out of bounds” for satirists? Course texts will include Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer,” George Saunders’ short stories, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Issa Rae’s Insecure, Donald Glover’s Atlanta, and recent articles from the Onion.  



Violence and the Sacred

Instructor: Robert Scafe 

Section 005 MWF 11:30-12:20 BL 102

Section 007 MWF 12:30-1:20 BL 102

Beginning with Biblical human sacrifice and extending to the contemporary phenomenon of suicide bombing, this course examines how human communities have used symbolic violence to forge a common identity and to establish boundaries between themselves and others.  Why do cultures create "scapegoats" in times of crisis?  Why do religions of peace produce prophets of terror?  Why do secular states cloak their wars in sacred language?  We will address these questions by reading first-hand accounts and literary interpretations of violent episodes such as the medieval crusades, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and Jihadist terrorism.

Course texts include Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the legend of Romulus and Remus in Livy’s History of Rome, the accounts of Cain & Abel and Abraham & Isaac from the Book of Genesis, and films such as Hotel Rwanda and Apocalypse Now.


Doppelgängers & Doubles

Instructor: Catherine R. Mintler

Section 003 TR 10:30-11:45 PHSC 228

Section 004 TR 1:30-2:45 PHSC 313

This course explores the mysterious, eerie, and uncanny doppelgänger, or “double walker,” that has haunted western culture, in particular folklore, fiction, horror, science fiction, film, for more than two centuries. In literary texts, the doppelgänger functions as a device used to articulate the experience of self-division, providing a ghostly double for a living person that appears as a twin, shadow, or mirror image, and often represents evil or misfortune. In consumer capitalism, it evolves from the automaton, an early form of robot that approximates human form and function, into a reproducible and, more importantly, commodifiable form of the “self as other,” that is refigured in the clone and department store mannequin. 

We will read, discuss, debate, research and write about the doppelgänger in a variety of its doubling guises—as shadow self, automaton, replicant, mannequin, clone, and avatar—as it has been described and theorized from disciplinary genres like psychoanalytic theory, philosophy, painting, fiction, opera, cinema, and computer games. 

Course texts may include: Sigmund Freud’s essay “The Uncanny,” E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” (Freud's inspiration), Jacques Offenbach’s nineteenth century opera The Tales of Hoffman, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Edgar Allen Poe’s “Ligeia,” Jean Rhys’ “Mannequin,” episodes from the original Twilight Zone, and films such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,  Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Michael Crichton’s Looker, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique, David Fincher’s Fight Club, and Jordan Peele’s Us.