VLPA Courses

Autumn Quarter 2019 VLPA courses

Class times, credits, locations, fees, and course descriptions may change.  Check the time schedule for updates BEFORE registering. If a course is full keep checking the time schedule for an opening and sign up for seat availability notification. 

For more VLPA courses, see the Time Schedule search page at:  http://www.washington.edu/students/timeschd/genedinq.html.

African-American Studies

Afram 214 – Introduction to African American Literature (5 credits)
TTh 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Alys Weinbaum
Diversity credit
Introduction to various genres of African American literature from its beginnings to the present. Emphasizes the cultural and historical context of African American literary expression and its aesthetics criteria. Explores key issues and debates, such as race and racism, inequality, literary form, and canonical acceptance. Offered jointly with ENGL 258.

Afram 318 – Black Literary Genres (5 credits)
MW 8:30-10:20
Instructor:  S. Retman
Diversity credit

Considers how generic forms and conventions have been discussed and distributed in the larger context of African American, or other African diasporic literary studies. Links the relationship between generic forms to questions of power within social, cultural, and historical contexts. Offered jointly with ENGL 318.

American Ethnic Studies

AES 446 – Music in American Cultures (3 credits)
MW 1:30-2:50
Instructor: Shannon Dudley
Compares musical history and experience of selected American cultures that have fed into the American musical mainstream or had significant popularity on its periphery. Case studies may include African Americans, Latino/a Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, or European Americans. Considerations of social identity as well as musical styles. Offered jointly with MUSIC 446.

American Indian Studies           

AIS 170 – American Indian Art and Aesthetics (5 credits)
MW 9:30-11:20
Instructor: TBA
Add code required.
Introduces the aesthetic universe of Indigenous peoples of North America, peoples who are currently known as American Indian, Alaskan Native and Canadian First Nations. Explores multiple examples of North American Indigenous thought, expression, stories, dance, art, film, and music.

AIS 443 – Indigenous Films, Sovereign Visions (5 credits)
TTh 3:30-5:20
Instructor:  TBA
Diversity credit
Explores fiction, documentary, experimental film, and digital media by indigenous artists from around the world. Focuses on personal, political, and cultural expression. Issues include media and sovereignty movements, political economy, language revitalization, the politics of decolonization, and indigenous aesthetics. Offered jointly with COM 443.


Anth 203 – Intro to Anthropological Linguistics (5 credits)
MTThF 3:30-4:20
Quiz W, times vary
Instructor:  Laada Bilaniuk
Linguistic methods and theories used within anthropology. Basic structural features of language; human language and animal communication compared; evidence for the innate nature of language. Language and culture: linguistic relativism, ethnography of communication, sociolinguistics. Language and nationalism, language politics in the United States and elsewhere. Offered jointly with LING 203.

Anth 233 – Language and Society (5 credits)
MWF 8:30-9:20
Quiz Th, times vary
Instructor: Betsy Evans
Diversity credit

Introduces the study of sociolects, the varieties of language that arise from differences in cultural and societal groups, often reflective of power inequalities. Raises awareness of the role that society and the individual play in shaping sociolects via the systematic observation and critical discussion of linguistic phenomena. Offered jointly with COM 233/LING 233.

Art History

Art H 200 – Art in the Modern Imagination: Athena to Lady Gaga (5 credits)
MTWThF 10:30-11:20
Instructor: Marek Wieczorek
$30 course fee
Informs ability to see art as a tool to examine history, ideology, beauty, and ultimately the image-saturated present. Also to distinguish between historical context and modern projection on artworks. Further, to discover how art transcends its context and still speaks in a language in which people can become literate.

Art H 233 – Survey of Native Art of the Pacific Northwest Coast (5 credits)
MWF 11:30-12:50
Instructor: Ashley McClelland
$30 course fee
Surveys indigenous art of the Pacific Northwest Coast from the Columbia River in the south to Southeast Alaska in the north and from ancient through contemporary times. Focuses on the historical and cultural contexts of the art and the stylistic differences between tribal and individual artists' styles.

Art H 270 – Art/Identity Politics: Issues of Representation in Contemporary Art (5 credits)
This is a group start online course. See Time Schedule for details.
Instructor: Kolya Rice
$30 course fee
Introduces participants to various ways contemporary artists and art movements have explored the intersection of visual representation, identity formation, and politics, one of the most persistent themes in art since the 1960s.

Art H 290 – History of Architecture (5 credits)
MWF 11:30-12:50
Instructor: Meredith Clausen
$30 course fee

An introduction to the history of buildings and cities throughout the world, emphasizing developments from the 15th century to the present. Emphasis is on developing analytic skills rather than memorization of names and dates. The aim is to introduce students to different building traditions across time and diverse cultures, and to cultivate skills in understanding architecture, the basic elements of structure, the design and purpose of architecture, its meaning and expressive power.

Art H 461 – Gender and Sexuality in Classical Art and Archeology (3 credits)
MWF 9:30-10:20
Instructor: Kathryn Topper

Examines gender and sexuality in the visual and archaeological records of Greece and Rome, with a focus on topics such as the body, clothing, the gaze, homoeroticism, sexual labor, gendered spaces, and transgressive genders and sexualities. Recommended: previous coursework in Greek and/or Roman art at the 200- or 300-level is encouraged. Offered jointly with CL AR 461.

Asian-American Studies

AAS 320
Hawaii’s Literatures (5 credits)
TTh 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Vincent Schleitwiler
Diversity credit
Covers views by Native Hawaiian and multicultural writers and composers, studied within historical contexts ranging from the eighteenth century to the present. Examines how the colonization of a sovereign people redefines culture in ethnocentric, racist, Orientialist ways. Analyzes strategies of decolonization as presented and interpreted in works studied.

Asian Language and Literatures

Asian 225 – Indian Philosophical Literature (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  Prem Pahlajrai

Introduction to various topics pertaining to the vast philosophical literature of India, such as its origins and contexts, dharma; karma and free will; logic and argument. A variety of systems from Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, theistic, and non-theistic schools are covered. Taught in English.

Chicano Studies

CHSTU 466 – Chicano Literature: Fiction (5 credits)
MW 8:30-10:20
Instructor: Lauro Flores
Examines nineteenth- and early twentieth-century fiction, as well as contemporary works in attempts to trace the development of Chicano fiction in the proper historical trajectory. Taught in English.


Clas 320 – Greek and Roman Social Status (5 credits)
MTWThF 9:30-10:20
Quiz Th, times vary
Instructor: Deborah Kamen
Diversity credit
In this course, we will be examining the public and private lives of the ancient Greeks and Romans, with a special focus on status, class, and gender. The diversity of human experience in the ancient world will be explored through the following topics: Greek and Roman social organization (men, women, children, the elderly, slaves, and freed slaves); housing; dress; food and drink; sex and sexuality; health and sickness; death and beliefs in the afterlife; religion and magic; theatres and festivals; politics; law; economics; warfare; athletics and spectator sports; etc. No prerequisites.

Clas 326 – Women in Antiquity (5 credits)
MW 10:30-12:20
Instructor: Olga Levaniouk
Diversity credit
A broad survey of primary sources in medicine, law, philosophy, religious ritual, myth, history, and ethnography, informed by perspectives from literature, art, and archaeology. Provides students the tools to analyze the social roles of women in ancient Greece and Rome.

Clas 328 – Sex, Gender, and Representation in Greek and Roman Literature (3 credits)
MWF 11:30-12:20
Instructor: Stephen Hinds
Diversity credit
Affirmation and inversion of gender roles in Greek and Roman literature, myths of male and female heroism; marginalization of female consciousness; interaction of gender, status, and sexual preference in love poetry. Readings from epic, drama, historiography, romance, and lyric.

Comparative History of Ideas

Chid 480A – Special Topics: Animal Engagements: Writing and Talking with Non-Human Animals (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor:  July Hazard
This course tangles with some ontologies, ethics, and poetics of human-nonhuman writing and rhetorical situations. We will explore frameworks of interspecies relation developed in environmental humanities, critical animal studies, and other theory. Other readings will range from scientific logs to fairy tales, poetry to political propaganda; we will look at the different way of knowing and treating animals in these works. All along, we will also be writing with animals and students will keep journals of animal presences and absences. Our writing will attempt a variety of genres, including field descriptions, case reports, odes, and instructional text. Offered jointly with Comp. Lit 496A.

Cinema and Media Studies

CMS 272 – Film Genre: Martial Arts Film (5 credits)
TTh 8:30-10:20
Instructor: Yomi Braester
$10 course fee
How did martial arts grow into a popular genre in fiction and film, and how did the genre become a worldwide craze? How do martial arts movies comment on East Asian and North American cultures? The course examines the formation of literary and cinematic conventions of martial arts films, the history of their production in countries such as China, Hong Kong and Japan, and their ideological background. In addition to offering an introduction to filmic technique and Asian popular media, the course dwells on the importance of visual and bodily perception, gender constructions, and intercultural translation.

CMS 303 – Genre Studies: Paranoia and Conspiracy in U.S. Cinema (5 credits)
TTh 3:30-5:20
Instructor: Stephen Groening
$10 course fee
What is it about conspiracy theories that are so compelling and beguiling? Why do conspiracy theories continue to persist? What is the relationship between technology and conspiracy theories? Is it paranoia actually a reasonable and sensible attitude in contemporary society? Might it be the only available one? This course seeks to answer these questions by examining tropes of conspiracy and paranoia in U.S. film. The course has a special emphasis on conspiracy films from the 1970s, such as Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View, but we will also analyze more recent film such as The Truman Show, Falling Down, and Get Out.  

CMS 320 – Cinema and Nation:  Italian Cinema (5 credits)
MW 3:30-5:20
Instructor: Claudio Mazzola
$10 course fee

Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied. Jointly offered with Ital 356. See Time Schedule for details.

Comparative Literature

C Lit 200 – Introduction to Literature: World Literature and the Nobel Prize (3 credits)
T 11:30-1:20
Quiz Th, times vary
Instructor: Naomi Sokoloff
credit/no credit only
This course offers a grand tour of world literature as seen through the writings of Nobel Prize winners. Each year, it features a different group of authors from a range of countries, languages, and traditions. In Autumn 2019, we will read selections from  T.S. Eliot (USA, 1948 laureate); Albert Camus (France, 1957); Ivo Andrić (Yugoslavia,  1961); Camilo José Cela (Spain, 1989); Seamus Heaney (Ireland, 1995); Gao Xingjian (China, 2000); Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, 2006); Svetlana Alexieich (Belarus, 2015); and Bob Dylan (USA, 2016). Along the way, this team-taught course also provides a unique view of the many language and literature departments at UW, including Asian Languages and Literature, Classics, English, French and Italian, Germanics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Spanish and Portuguese, as well as Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media. Lectures by faculty from each unit will explore wide-ranging questions of literature and the politics of prizes. Who wins? (Who doesn’t?) And why? What does that tell us about literature and about the world in which we live?

Digital Arts and Experimental Media

DX Arts 200 – Digital Art and New Media:  History, Theory, and Practice (5 credits)
MW 3:00-3:50
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor:  Afroditi Psarra
$20 course fee
Provides a historical and critical overview of artists and scientists pioneering the digital arts. Discusses important digital media issues from aesthetics, creative strategies, emerging trends, and socio-cultural aspirations.


ENGL 265 – Intro to Environmental Humanities: Diversity in the Anthropocene (5 credits)
MWF 12:30-1:20
Instructor: Sabine Wilke
Diversity credit. No Seniors period I registration.
Introduces the study of the environment through literature, culture, and history. Topics include changing ideas about nature, wilderness, ecology, pollution, climate, and human/animal relations, with particular emphasis on environmental justice and the unequal distribution of environmental crises, both globally and along class, race and gender lines.

ENGL 357 – Jewish-American Literature and Culture (5 credits)
MW 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Sasha Senderovich
Diversity credit
Examines the literary and cultural production of American Jews from the colonial period to the present time. Considers ways in which American Jews assimilate and resist assimilation while Jewish writers, filmmakers, playwrights, and graphic novelists imitate and alter American life and literature. Offered jointly with JSIS C 357 and Russ 320.

ENGL 386 – Asian-American Literature (5 credits)
TTh 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Michelle Liu
Diversity credit

Examines different forms of Asian American expression as a response to racial formations in local and global contexts. Teaches critical thinking about identity, power, inequalities, and marginality.

ENGL 466 – Queer and LGBT Studies (5 credits)
MW 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Stephanie Clare

Special topics in queer theory and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) studies. Examination of ways lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer histories and cultures are represented in criticism, literature, film, performance, and popular culture.


French 228 – The Water Crisis in Literature and Film (5 credits)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Instructor: Richard Watts
This course addresses the cultural significance of water with the aim of understanding how water’s meaning is changing as we become more conscious of risks posed by pollution, scarcity/overabundance (as a function of political economies and climate), infrastructure, and other factors. We get at this emergent meaning of water by interpreting a variety of documents and objects—literature (e.g., Masters of the Dew), cinema (e.g., Even the Rain), landscape architecture (from the fountains of Versailles to the Brightwater sewage treatment plant in Woodinville, WA). While no ten-week course could pretend to give a comprehensive and global view of a problem as complex as our relation to water, we will study novels, essays, films, fountains, art installations, and other cultural archives from Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, Asia, the Caribbean, and North and South America with a view to understanding the differential distribution of the water crisis and the variety of aesthetic, cultural, and political responses to it. Offered jointly with Chid 270A and Lit 228.

Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies

GWSS 235 – Global Feminist Art (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Sasha Welland
Introduces feminism as a way of thinking about visual art practice in terms of social hierarchy, aesthetic form, and ideology. Explores how feminist artists working in diverse locations and cultural traditions challenge, at the local and global level, artistic conventions and representations of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nationality. Offered jointly with ANTH 235.

GWSS 451 – Latina Culture (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  Michelle Habell-Pallan
Explores the expressive culture of Chicana/Mexican American/Latina women in the United States. Cultural and artistic practices in home and in literary, music, film, spoken word, performing and visual arts. Focuses on how Chicana/Latina writers and artists re-envision traditional iconography.

History of Modern Europe

HSTEU 274 – European History and Film from the 1980s to the Present (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: J. Bailkin
Writing credit
Introduces the histories of world war, the rise and fall of fascism and communism, postwar migrations, the Cold War and decolonization, and the making of the European Community through film. Historical content unified by methodological focus on the social and political function of film.

Jackson School of International Studies - Comparative Religion

Relig 220 – Introduction to the New Testament (5 credits)
MW 9:30-11:20
Instructor: M. Williams
 The New Testament (= NT) forms the second part of the Christian Bible, the "Scriptures" in which Christians see special testimony to divine revelation.  Though “the NT” is usually referred to in the singular, as a unified document, it is actually a collection of what were originally individual writings composed by various early Christians over a period of many years.  What is now a standardized collection took shape over several generations.

This course is concerned with understanding the NT writings in their original historical settings, long before they were collected into a "New Testament" as we know it. We will attempt to understand:  some of the possible circumstances and purposes for the composition of individual writings; what can be known about the authors; key themes found in various writings, and the background for these; interrelationships among NT writings, and their significance; and in general, the relation between these writings and what can be known about the social history and culture of earliest Christian movements.

A word about the relevance of this kind of study for personal religious beliefs:  In this course we will be trying to learn what it means to ask good historical questions about texts like those found within the NT, and what it means to understand such writings within the history of their religious tradition.  The kinds of questions we will ask are those that anyone with an interest in the writings should be able to explore, whether or not one is a Christian, and whether or not one even considers oneself to be religious.  The point of this course is neither to recruit people to the Christian tradition nor to turn them away from it.  In any event, the tools we will be using in this course are not really capable of either "proving Christianity true" or "proving Christianity false."  This does not mean that none of your present ideas about the history of ancient Christianity or the NT will be challenged.  In fact, it is likely that some (perhaps even many) of them will be.  A study of ancient documents like the NT writings is usually full of surprises, because the documents were composed so long ago, in a culture quite different from our own.  But it is important that the student distinguish between changing one's mind about aspects of the history of a religious tradition, and changing one's mind about whether one is committed or not committed to that tradition.  The two are not the same, nor does one necessarily follow from the other. 

Jackson School of International Studies - Jewish Studies

Jew St. 175 – Holocaust Film (5 credits)
TTh 1:00-2:20
Instructor: Richard Block
Diversity credit
Introduces films about the Holocaust with particular emphasis on popular films. Develops the requisite tools for analyzing films, a historical perspective of the Holocaust, and the problems involved in trying to represent a historical event whose tragic dimensions exceed the limits of the imagination. Offered jointly with GERMAN 195.

Landscape Architecture

L Arch 212 – Designing the Future (5 credits)
MWF 10:00-11:20
Instructor:  Gregory Harris
Ecological/environmental instability and resulting social/cultural disruptions make the world in which spatial designers work increasingly uncertain. Lectures and guest speakers explore diverse ways in which design may create more sustainable futures. Course activities, including in-class design exercises, internet research, group discussions, take home projects, etc. encourage synthetic/integrative thinking.


Ling 200 – Introduction to Linguistic Thought (5 credits)
MWF 2:30-3:20
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor:  Laura McGarrity
Counts as QSR credit
Language as the fundamental characteristic of the human species; diversity and complexity of human languages; phonological and grammatical analysis; dimensions of language use; language and writing; impact of historical linguistics on contemporary theory. Not open for credit to students who have completed LING 201 or LING 400.

Ling 430 – Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (5 credits)
MW 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Alicia Wassink

Explores aspects of the linguistic structure, history, and social context of pidgin and creole languages. Creolization as one possible outcome of language contact. Examines theories of creole genesis, similarities and differences between creole and non-creole languages. Prerequisite: Either ANTH 203, LING 200, LING 201, LING 203, or LING 400. Offered jointly with ANTH 439.

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Near E 101 – Gateway to the Near East (5 credits)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor:  Stephanie Selover
From the Egyptian pyramids to the contemporary coffee houses of Istanbul, from the Quran and the great Shahnameh to the modern Hebrew novel, the Near East is a region of fascination, historical reach, and political importance. This course offers an introduction to the peoples, places and cultures of the some of the world’s oldest and most enduring civilizations.

Near E 230 – Muslim Beliefs and Practices: Shi’a Beliefs and Practices (5 credits)
TTh 3:30-5:20
Instructor: Terri DeYoung
In Autumn Quarter 2019, this course will focus on the Shi’i branch of Islam in the context of the larger Muslim community. Shi‘is comprise the second largest group of Muslim adherents, approximately 150-200 million, or 10-15% of Muslims world-wide. Shi’is form the majority of the Muslim population of Iran, Iraq and Bahrayn. They are a substantial portion of the population in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Pakistan, India. Saudi Arabia and several of the Gulf States.

After an inquiry into the general framework of Islam as a religion, in the second half of the course, we will explore what the basic beliefs of Shi’ism are today, and how they developed over time The last two weeks of the course will also look at the three groups of Shi’is who have been most widespread and influential in the history of Shi‘ism: Ithna ‘Asharis, Zaydis and Isma‘ilis. These groups have used both Arabic and Persian to spread their ideas, but all the materials for the course will be IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION. No knowledge of Arabic or Persian is required for the course. There are no pre-requisites.

Near E 386 – Middle East through Cinema (5 credits)
TTh 6:00-7:50pm
Instructor:  Terri DeYoung
Analyzes the function of cinema in shaping communal and individual identities in Middle Eastern cultures. Examines topics including religious transformation, violence, identity, gender, immigration, and exile through film screenings, discussions, and supplementary readings. May not be taken for credit if credit earned in NEAR E 410.


Phil 242 – Medical Ethics (5 credits)
TTh 11:30-12:50
Quiz MW, times vary
Instructor:  Sara Goering
Introduction to ethics, primarily for first- and second-year students. Emphasizes philosophical thinking and writing through an in-depth study of philosophical issues arising in the practice of medicine. Examines the issues of medical ethics from a patient's point of view.


Russ 110 – Intro to Russian Culture and Civilization (5 credits)
MTWTh 2:30-3:20
Instructor: B. Henry
Introduction to Russian culture and history from pre-Christian times to the present, as seen through literary texts, music, film, visual art, and historical works. All lectures and written materials in English. No prior knowledge of Russian necessary. Offered jointly with JSIS A 110.

Scandinavian Studies

Scand 100 – Introduction to Scandinavian Culture (5 credits)
MTWTh 12:30-1:20
Instructor: Lauren Poyer
This course is an introduction to the Scandinavian countries and the greater Nordic-Baltic region. We will explore key events, ideas, and works in Scandinavia from the Viking Age to today, and zoom in on several hallmark works of literature and film, cultural and historical moments, and political and social developments. Our discussions will include: Why are the Vikings such and enduring and popular cultural image in Scandinavia? How has art been used as a tool for social change? What is a welfare state, and what cultural values underpin it? What is the Nordic model of sustainability, and whom does it benefit? How does the Nordic history of colonialism compare to the American? We will examine a variety of media produced in or about Scandinavia: literature, film, journalism, music, podcasts, television series, and more.

Scand 200 – Scandinavia Today (5 credits)
MTWTh 1:30-2:20
Instructor: Christine Ingebritsen

Examines the distinctive policies, institutions, and social norms, and cultures of contemporary Scandinavian societies. Topics include: the development of a "middle way" between capitalism and socialism, the welfare state, social policy, Scandinavia in the international system, and contemporary debates about market deregulation and immigration. Course uses examples from policy debate and culture as objects of study.

Scand 345 – Baltic Cultures (5 credits)
MTWTh 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  Guntis Smidchens
Cultures and peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Baltic literature, music, art, and film in social and historical context. Traditional contacts with Scandinavia and Central and East Europe. Offered jointly with JSIS A 345.