VLPA Courses

Autumn Quarter 2018 VLPA courses

Class times, credits, locations, fees, and course descriptions may change.  Check the time schedule or MyPlan for updates.

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 12:30-2:20
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)
TTh 3:30-5:20
Instructor:  Sonnet 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.

Afram 358 – African American Literature (5 credits)
TTh 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Habiba Ibrahim

Diversity credit
Selected writings, novels, short stories, plays, and poems by African American and African-descended writers in or from the United States. Study of the historical, cultural, and intellectual context for the development of literary work by such writers, including attention to identity, power, and inequality.

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 360 – American Indians in Cinema: Native American Film and Media (5 credits)
TTh 9:30-11:20
Instructor:  Daniel Hart
Diversity credit
Studies representations of American Indians in American films from 1900 to present. Examines the foundations of American Indian stereotypes and how Hollywood helped create and perpetuate those stereotypes. Activities include reading critical materials, and viewing, discussing, and writing critically about films by non-Native directors.


Anth 209 – Anthropology through Visual Media (5 credits)
MW 12:30-2:20
Quiz Th, times vary
Instructor:  Daniel Hoffman
Theories of culture and cultural variation, as seen and understood through visual media such as films, video, and photography.

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.


ARCH 150 – Appreciation of Architecture I (3 credits)
TTh 3:30-4:50
Instructor:  Alex Anderson

A broad survey of architectural history from the beginning of written history up until the dawn of the western Renaissance. The course generally focuses on the western tradition, with a few lectures on non-western traditions for a broader view of the built environment.  For non-majors.

Art History

Art H 201 – Survey of Western Art: Ancient (5 credits)
MWF 2:30-3:50
Instructor: Sarah Levin-Richardson
$30 course fee
This course introduces students to the art and architecture of major ancient civilizations of the Bronze and Iron-age Mediterranean, including the Sumerians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In the process, you learn how to describe and analyze art, and begin to study its intricate connections with politics, religion, and social/cultural phenomena (including gender and social status).

Art H 212 – Chinese Art (5 credits)
TTh 10:00-11:20
Quiz W, times vary
Instructor: Haicheng Wang
$30 course fee
Writing credit
Surveys the highlights of Chinese visual arts from the Neolithic to the present. Studies jade, bronze, lacquer, silk, Buddhist sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, painting, architecture, film, and installation art forms at a moment in Chinese history when work in those media was especially innovative and important.

Art H 233 – Survey of Native Art of the Pacific Northwest Coast (5 credits)
MWF 11:30-12:50
Instructor: Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
$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 290 – History of Architecture (5 credits)
MWF 10:00-11:20
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.

Asian-American Studies

AAS 330 – Asian American Theater (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor: Jang Huh
Diversity credit
Covers drama from the 1970's to now, in historical contexts. They study of drama is dialogical, through dialogue. Themes are contested among the characters. Our studies participate, with the plays, in questioning race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Includes students' performances of dramatic readings. No prior experience in theater is required.

Asian Language and Literatures

Asian 203 – Literature and Culture of Ancient and Classical India (5 credits)
MWF 1:00-2:20
Instructor:  Heidi Pauwels
Introduction to ancient and classical Indian literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.

Asian 204 – Literature and Culture of Modern China (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  John Hamm

Introduction to modern Chinese literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.


Clas 122 – Gateway to the Ancient Greco-Roman World (5 credits)
MTWThF 12:30-1:20
Instructor:  Catherine Connors
Diversity credit

Introduction to Greek and Roman ways of understanding and shaping the world. Art, architecture, literature, science, and religion are used to examine ancient ideas about the relationships between man and woman, free person and slave, native and foreigner, civilization and the natural world, mortal and divine.

Clas 314 – Stem in the Ancient World (5 credits)
MTWThF 11:30-12:20
Instructor: Sarah Stroup
$20 course fee

Examines science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine in the cultures of Greece and Rome, from the late Bronze Age to early Roman Empire.

Clas 320 – Greek and Roman Social Status (5 credits)
MTWF 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 424 – The Epic Tradition (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor: James Clauss
Writing credit optional

Ancient and medieval epic and heroic poetry of Europe in English: the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid; the Roland or a comparable work from the medieval oral tradition; pre-Greek forerunners, other Greco-Roman literary epics, and later medieval and Renaissance developments and adaptations of the genre. Choice of reading material varies according to instructor's preference. Offered jointly with C LIT 424.

Comparative History of Ideas

Chid 250B – Special Topics: Representations of Incarceration in Film (5 credits)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Instructor: Alan-Michael Weatherford
This course examines the relationship between film and representations of incarceration in feature, short, serial and documentary cinematography. How might cinematic apparatus participate in and disrupt carceral violence? Focusing on race, gender, sex(uality), class and indigeneity, the course introduces students to apparatus theory and Marxist feminist approaches to cinema. Students will be encouraged to participate in opportunities with the Social Justice Film Festival and Northwest Film Forum.

Chid 260 – Re-Thinking Diversity (5 credits)
TTh 8:30-10:20
Instructor: Anupama Taranath
Diversity credit
Add code required. Chid majors only period I registration.

There’s quite a lot of talk around equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice, but do you sometimes wonder what these terms actually mean? This class focuses on identity and social differences in a friendly and generous atmosphere that will not shame you for not knowing. We will investigate the meanings and implications of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and other social differences, and discuss how ideas about “difference” and “diversity” play out in society, our campus, and our own lives. This is an introductory course, designed to welcome students of all majors and intellectual interests. Our one requirement: a willingness to engage in productive, generative and collegial conversations.

Chid 480A – Special Topics: Animal Engagements: Writing and Talking with Non-Human Animals (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor:  July Hazard
Writing credit
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.

Chid 480C – Special Topics: From Slavery to Prison: Race, Gender, and the Afterlives of Slavery (5 credits)
MW 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Caleb Knapp
This course examines how cultural, theoretical, and activist texts develop accounts of history that link the prison industrial complex to racial slavery. Course texts engage conversations in history and American studies that collectively challenge the dominant narrative that U.S. slavery ended in 1865 and argue that the logics of race and gender, forms of dispossession, and practices of exploitation endemic to slavery persist in contemporary formations of incarceration. Over the quarter, students will engage course arguments and primary documents in a series of written assignments and digital projects.

Cinema and Media Studies

CMS 304 – Television Studies (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor: Stephen Groening
$15 course fee
Television has become the preeminent communications system in the world. But pervasiveness and ubiquity are not the only reasons to study television. Television calls into question many long-held ideas regarding aesthetics, ontology, and epistemology; terms normally reserved for philosophy, not the mass media. Additionally, television is emblematic of modern industrial society; pointing to the universalization of the commodity form, the paradoxes of individualism, the administration of culture and the ideological control of capitalism as a global system. Television can also be conceived as mindless, entertaining, and superficial even as it creates communities, national imaginaries and seems to bring the world into our homes. This course will examine some of these contradictions. We will explore what television is, what television does, and how television shapes our fundamental assumptions about space and time, image and sound.

CMS 320A – Cinema and Nation: Horror Film in Spain and Latin America (5 credits)
TThF 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Leigh Mercer
$15 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. Check MyPlan for updates to course description.

CMS 320B – Cinema and Nation:  Italian Cinema (5 credits)
MW 3:30-5:20
Instructor: Claudio Mazzola
$15 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. Check MyPlan for updates to course description.

Comparative Literature

C LIT – 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 2018, we will read selections from Selma Lagerlof (Sweden, 1909 laureate), Herman Hesse (Switzerland, 1946), Ivo Andric (Yugoslavia, 1961), Pablo Neruda (Chile, 1971), I.B. Singer (USA, 1978), Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt, 1988), Seamus Heaney (Ireland, 1995), Jose Saramago (Portugal, 1998), Mo Yan (China, 2012), 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 Classics, English, Germanics, Near Eastern, Slavic, Scandinavian, 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? Assignments include online discussion posts and quizzes in section.

C LIT 321 – Literature of the Americas (5 credits)
MW 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Emphasizes connections between twentieth century literature of the United States and Canada and current literature of Latin America. Emphasizes that, despite obvious differences, much is shared in terms of culture and national sensibility across the two continents.

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 204A – Popular Fiction and Media (5 credits)
TTh 10:30-12:20
Instructor: Thomas Foster
No Seniors period I registration
This course will examine the emergence of the figure of the superhero and the superhuman in American popular culture, especially comics, during World War II and the subsequent history of the reworking of this figure.  The course will spend some time on the literary contexts out of which the idea of the superhero emerged, especially science fiction, pulp adventure fiction, and immigrant literature, as well as the intellectual or philosophical contexts (especially Nietzsche’s concept of the ubermensch) and the historical context of the war and fascist rhetorics of the master race (in effect, appropriations and (mis)readings of Nietzsche).  In addition to the graphic novels listed below, we are likely to read some science fiction, including short stories by C.L. (Catherine) Moore and novels or excerpts from novels including Philip Wylie’s Gladiator and possibly Theodore Sturgeon’s More than Human

The course will treat popular culture as a site of critical reflection, and the figure of the superhero as an exploration of the limits of human identity and community.  From this perspective, superhero narratives function as a way to ask a set of questions, including what it means to be different and how we define both being “normal” and more or other than normal; how we define identity, through personal uniqueness or social connection and inclusion; what is the evolutionary future of human development and what are the utopian possibilities for reimagining ourselves; what are the limits of morality and institutions of law and order, and what problems and ambiguities emerge around vigilantism; and how to negotiate the tension between transcending  human community and representing a community, however defined (usually, but not always, nationally).   

The course will therefore examine the early or “Golden Age” superheroes and the sources that their creators drew on, focusing on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  We will then turn to a set of more contemporary graphic novels that explore the potential of superhero narratives and their exploration of the questions associated with such figures.  We will pay some attention to the specific characteristics of comics as a medium and their function in presenting innovative representations of superheroes.  But we will also be concerned with the ways in which superhero narratives encode cultural and historical fantasies; the ways in which superhero narratives play with and mash up other literary and cultural genres; the ways in which the emergence of the superhero “universe” implies the development of new ideas about authorship, collaboration, and textuality or intertextuality; the fragmentation and diversification of the superhero universe into a “multiverse,” through the development of alternate histories of the fictional universe and alternate versions of the superhero characters; and the function and limits of superhero narratives as representations of social diversity, including gender difference as well as racial and ethnic differences.  As time permits, we will consider the adaptation of superhero conventions to media other than comics, especially film, though the focus of the class will be on the origin of superheroes in the comics medium.

ENGL 204B – Popular fiction and Media: Metamorphoses of Detective Fiction from Poe to the Present (5 credits)
MW 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Monika Kaup
Detective Fiction is one of the most popular types of genre fiction; at the same time, since its invention in the mid-19th century by Edgar Allan Poe, it has proven itself capable of combining entertainment with sharp-edged social commentary and critique as well as profound philosophical insights about language and representation. Created by Poe and perfected by Conan Doyle, detective fiction popularizes the modern scientific outlook (forensic science and the hypothetical–deductive method). The “clue puzzle” structure engages the reader’s own powers of detection and ratiocination, inviting the reader to emulate the detective and perform the same activities of mental reasoning. At the same time, detective fiction is also about the relationship between state authority and justice. In classic detective fiction, crime is a transgression of the norms of an essentially just system; the hard-boiled variety of detective fiction was born in the 1920s in the U.S. as disillusionment set in about the equation between justice and the state. The tough, disillusioned U.S. hardboiled detective who takes the law into his own hands and who uncovers crimes within the (corrupt) state (rather than outside the domain of law and order) in turn has inspired the creation of minority detectives—gumshoes of color. Chester Himes’ Cotton Comes to Harlem, for example, traces black-on-black crime in Harlem to structural racism. Finally, postmodern anti-detective fiction, invented by Jorge Luis Borges and perfected by Paul Auster, parodies the rationalist conventions of classic detective fiction, turning the machinery of retrospective clue puzzling inside-out. This course will survey the above-mentioned landmarks of the genre’s development from Poe to the present, as well as more recent Chicana (Corpi) and Cuban (Padura Fuentes) incarnations that use the detective genre to explore U.S. minority history and to memorialize an American cult figure abroad (Hemingway in Cuba).  The course overall goal is to demonstrate how far one single genre defined by four ingredients (a mystery, a detective, an investigation, plus the “puzzle element”) can be stretched and how much ground it can cover—while never ceasing to provide fun entertainment! 

Required Readings:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (Dover Thrift Edition); Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (Random House/Vintage 1992); Chester Himes, Cotton Comes to Harlem (Random House/Vintage 1988); Lucha Corpi, Cactus Blood (Arte Público Press 2009); Paul Auster, City of Glass (Penguin 1987); Roberto Bolaño, Distant Star (New Directions 1996) and a small course reader.

ENGL 225 – Shakespeare (5 credits)
MW 4:30-6:20
Instructor: Joseph Butwin
Writing credit
Shakespeare: The Last Laugh: In the past I have taught Shakespeare as the solemn prophet of the History plays and the great Tragedies where pompous monarchs are brought down to earth with the rest of us and, incidentally, reminded of their mortality. It may be time to lighten up. Let’s try comedy. We will read (and watch) Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice (yes, it’s listed with the Comedies), As You Like It, Twelfth Night and—just to test the outer limits of the genre—King Lear. 

ENGL 257 – Asian-American Literature  (5 credits)
MW 3:30-5:20
Instructor:  TBA
Diversity credit

Examines the emergence of Asian American literature as a response to anti-Asian legislation, cultural images, and American racial formation. Encourages thinking critically about identity, power, inequalities, and experiences of marginality.

ENGL 319 – African Literatures (5 credits)
TTh 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Laura Chrisman
Diversity credit
English majors only period I. Open to all majors period II registration.
Introduces and explores African literatures from a range of regions. Pays particular attention to writings connected with the historical experiences of colonialism, anti-colonial resistance, and decolonization. Considers the operations of race, gender, nationhood, neocolonialism, and globalization within and across these writings.

ENGL 357 – Jewish American Literature and Culture (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Instructor: Joseph Butwin
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.

ENGL 365 – Literature and Discourse on the Environment: Diversity in the Anthropocene (5 credits)
MWF 12:30-1:20
Instructor: Sabine Wilke
Pays attention to verbal expression; forms and genres; and historical, cultural, and conceptual contexts of the natural environment. Focuses on sites, nations, and historical periods. Forms and genres include: nature writing, environmentalist discourses, the pastoral, the sublime, discourses of the city, fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, dramatic forms, and religious texts. Offered jointly with Envir 495B.

ENGL 452 – Special Topics: Undead: Vampires, Zombies, and the Ruins of Modernity (5 credits)
MW 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Eva Cherniavsky

English majors only period I. Open to all majors period II registration.
Popular culture in the twenty-first century teems with the undead.  No longer the lone infiltrators, vampires build shadow regimes and subcultures from New Orleans to Los Angeles, or reemerge in Victorian London, this time to defeat Van Helsing’s band and seize the reins of a vampire capitalism.   Overflowing the backwoods cabin and the suburban shopping mall, the iconic scenes of an earlier rising, zombies vanquish civilization altogether, provoke the total militarization of human society, or trope the moribund character of late capitalism.  Widely varying in tone, style, and politics, this sprawling cultural output figures modernity as a (literal) dead end: a collection of failing institutions unable to secure the shape of the future, as the death it unleashes consumes the prospects for the living. 

Of course, vampires and zombies are not the same:  Vampires are a late-19th-century phenomenon (Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897), while zombie narrative as a new, cross-media genre of popular culture is usually dated to George Romero’s 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead.  Dracula’s arrival in Victorian London spoke to the effects of urbanization, industrialization, colonialism, and such late 19th-C technologies as the telegraph, the typewriter, and film; by contrast, zombies tell us about suburbanization, de-industrialization, globalization, and the information age.  Vampires are about excess, zombies are about austerity; vampires reproduce; zombies replicate. 

This course will consider what it is that drives the attraction to the figure of the undead in popular culture and the perspectives on capitalism, consumerism, society, belonging, racism, ecology, and futurity that vampire and zombie narrative together and differently explores.  While our focus will be on print fiction, we will also consider a number of films (as well as, possibly, episodes of one or two television series).  Course materials will likely include Bram Stoker, Dracula; Kim Newman, “Red Reign,” the Tod Browning (1931) and Frances Coppola (1992) film versions of Dracula; Jewelle Gomez, The Gilda Stories.  Our zombie narrative may include, Richard Mathieson, I am Legend, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead,” Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s The Walking Dead (the omnibus edition includes the first fifty issues of this long-running comic), and Colson Whitehead, Zone One. 


French 228 – The Water Crisis in Literature and Film (5 credits)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Instructor: Richard Watts
Interprets a variety of texts (literary, cinematic, etc.) that address the water crisis to understand how water's meaning has changed as people become more conscious of risks in supply (pollution and natural/man-made scarcity) and as access to it is increasingly mediated in light of things like privatization and commodification. Offered jointly with Chid 270A and Lit 228.

Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies

GWSS 272 – Gender and Fandom (5 credits)
MW 1:30-3:20
Instructor: Regina Lee
Examines gender, race, and sexuality in transformation of cultural products by online fandoms, in both domestic and transnational contexts, across a wide variety of media.

GWSS 451 – Latina Culture (5 credits)
TTh 2:30-4:20
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.

Ancient and Medieval History

Hstam 330 – Age of Augustus (5 credits)
MTWThF 1:30-2:20
Instructor: Alain Gowing
This course will examine all aspects of the Age of Augustus (31 BC - AD 14), a period of profound political and cultural change that permanently altered the course of Roman history. The history, politics, literature, art, architecture, and religion of the period will all come under scrutiny as we investigate the various ways in which Rome's first emperor sought to repair and redirect a society fragmented by years of civil war -- and the various ways in which the citizens of Rome reacted to the Augustan reforms. The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Augustus' own account of his rule (the Res Gestae); selections from the works of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, and other Augustan writers; Suetonius' Life of Augustus; and numerous inscriptions illustrating various aspects of life in Rome as well as in the provinces. Offered jointly with Clas 330.

Course goals: At the conclusion of this class students will have:
-learned to think critically and knowledgeably about an important period in Roman history specifically and western civilization generally
-acquired the skill to evaluate and analyze a wide variety of historical evidence relevant to the period, from inscriptions to coins to literary texts and material remains
-imaginatively re-created in writing a piece of 'lost' historical evidence
-learned to think critically about and acquired an appreciation for the impressive literary and artistic legacy of the Augustan period.

History of Asia

Hstas 466 – Indonesian Culture (5 credits)
TTh 3:30-5:20
Instructor: Laurie Sears
Writing credit
Examines how Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populous country, with the largest Islamic population, weaves together local practices and influences from India and Persia. Offers ways of understanding modern Indonesian performing arts, religion, and polities. Offered jointly with JSIS A 462.

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: Jordanna 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.

HSTEU 370 – Reading Tolkien (5 credits)
TTh 12:30-2:20
Instructor: Robin Stacey
Writing credit

To the horror of many modern-day critics, J.R.R. Tolkien has several times been selected in national polls in the U.S. and Britain as the author of the twentieth century, beating out such worthy opponents as James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway.  The recent success of Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s best known work, has served to increase his popularity even further. This course takes on the challenge of understanding Tolkien in the context of the many different pasts he negotiated in the course of creating his complex mythology. Tolkien was first and foremost a philologist:  what became Middle Earth had its origins in his habit of inventing complex language systems for which he then felt compelled to construct entire new worlds and populations. He was a medievalist, a specialist in the northern mythologies of early England, Scandinavia, and the Celtic lands; the heroes and monsters of those early tales fired his imagination from his earliest boyhood and continued to animate his scholarly and popular writing throughout his adult life. He was also a devout Catholic who combined complex Neo-Platonic theological notions of good and evil with the fatalism of the Germanic myths. But if Tolkien was a man of the past, he was also a person caught up in some of the most dramatic trends and events of his own day: the trench warfare of World War I, in which he lost two of his closest friends, the battle of the Somme, from which he was himself invalided out, and the various social and economic changes sweeping over his beloved land of England before and after World War II.

All of these aspects--combined with his popularity as an author, of course--make Tolkien an ideal figure through whom to introduce students to the importance of myth as a way of understanding the challenges we face as humans living in the modern world.  The themes of this course are the themes with which Tolkien and his contemporaries were so fruitfully preoccupied: the relationship between language and myth, religion and the existence of God, the nature of good and evil, the possibility of heroism in an age of total warfare, the age of the machine and its impact on the environment.   At issue also are the ways in which Tolkien and his work have been received and interpreted. Was he, as many have argued, a racist whose only terms of reference for the depiction of evil were black and white? Was he a sexist, unable to imagine women in positions of real independence? An ivory tower sort, complacently divorced from the realities of the world? How can one possibly explain the appeal of a work like The Lord of the Rings in an era of feminism and sexual liberation, racial integration, popular anti-war protests, and the rise of technology? All will be important issues for us as the class progresses.

Jackson School of International Studies - Comparative Religion

Relig 220 – Introduction to the New Testament (5 credits)
MW 9:30-11:20
Instructor: Michael 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
Freshmen, Sophomores only period I registration.  Open to all students period II.
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.

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:  Gary Martin
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.

This lecture course describes the development of Near Eastern civilization from its ancient origins in Mesopotamia, including Anatolia and Central Asia, until the present day. This course is organized and managed by one faculty member (Dr. Gary Martin) and will be taught in the form of a series of lectures by experts from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. This course invites students into the world's earliest civilizations, the diversity of its peoples, and their contributions to contemporary society. Each professor teaching the course will examine various cultural communities and momentous historical events in the Near East.

In this class, students will learn about history of major languages, communities, and cultures that developed in this important region. They will survey a wide range of topics and acquire a better understanding of historical, religious, and literary movements in Jewish, Arabic, Persian and Turkic cultures (both ancient and modern).

Near E 268 – Introduction to the Silk Road (5 credits)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  Talant Mawkanuli
writing credit optional
Introduces students to the Silk Road as a site of cultural exchange between peoples, and of political, economic, and intellectual exchange between regions and continents. Themes include ecology, empire, ethnicity, language, religion, and the arts. Considers the Silk Road as a forerunner and symbol of modern globalization. Offered jointly with JSIS A 268.

Near E 334 – Culture of the Arab World (5 credits)
T 1:30-3:20
Instructor:  Susan Benson
Course has significant online content.

General survey of the linguistic, geographical, historical, social, religious, and cultural aspects of the modern Arab world, including the Arabic language, family, and the Arab experience in the United States. Examines Arab American relations, the role of the past and of social change, and Arab art and music.


Phil 102 - Contermporary Moral Problems (5 credits)
MWF 8:30-9:20
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Paul Franco
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment.

Phil 242 – Medical Ethics (5 credits)
TTh 1:00-2:20
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 12:30-1:20
Instructor: Barbara 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.

Russ 427– Russian Jewish Experience (5 credits)
MW 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Sasha Senderovich

Examines the experience of Russian Jews from the late 19th century to the present through fiction, films, memoirs, graphic novels set during the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, the Holocaust, the Cold War, the post-Soviet era. Explores issues of identity, gender, class, place of Jews as individuals and as a minority within Russian & Soviet society, as well as Jewish-Russian emigration to USA, Israel and elsewhere at the turn of the 21st century. Jointly offered with Jew St. 427.

Scandinavian Studies

Scand 100 – Introduction to Scandinavian Culture (5 credits)
MTWTh 1:30-2:20
Instructor: Kristian Naesby
The Scandinavian experience from the Viking Age to the present day; the background for contemporary Scandinavian democracy, with major emphasis on the cultural, political, and religious development of the Scandinavian countries.

Scand 200 – Scandinavia Today (5 credits)
TTh 2:30-4:20
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 12:30-2:20
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.