Discovery Core II Options for Winter 2013
Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective, continues to build creative and critical skills, and focuses on the relationship between the individual and society.
PLAY: ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES
We play as much as we work, but rarely do we think about play. Why do we play? How do we play? What are the meanings we attach to play, and how does play fit with the rest of what we do as humans? In this class we will explore the question of play. Starting with an investigation of the relation between play and work (and what this reveals about the mind), this class will look at play in a variety of forms: from joking , games, comedy, children's play, horseplay, fantasy, and on through organized sports, play is an everyday activity inseparable from what it is to be human.
DISCOVERY CORE II: ANIMAL BEING
This course will explore the question of where to locate the line between the human animal and non-human animal species. How intelligent are animals? How is their consciousness different from our own? Western scientific and philosophic traditions have defined "animal" to emphasize the differences between "higher" human and "lower" non-human species. Recent empirical research in animal behavior and paleontology, however, consistently challenges the assumption of a stark divide between humans and non-human animals. We’ll learn about what scientists refer to as “theory of mind”; consider indigenous and traditional peoples' views of animals; investigate how artists and poets depict animals; explore current evolutionary theory and recent research in animal tool and language use; love and affection, and human-animal co-evolution and ESP. The class will also feature at least one visit by an 8-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Lily. Classes will be built around daily discussions and activities both inside and outside the classroom, experiential learning, and a variety of writing assignments leading to the final term paper. Readings and other texts will range from poetry to scientific journal articles, paintings, and documentary films. The class will feature at least one visit by a clever and well-socialized 11-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Lily.
HURRICANE KATRINA: MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVE ON A NATURAL DISASTER
August of 2005 will long be remembered for the largest natural disaster in the nationâ€™s history, Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans and numerous other areas of the Deep South continue to attempt recovery from this tragic storm. But how will the aftermath of this event be remembered? Was it a national failure by an ill-equipped emergency system? Was it a demonstration of institutional oppression in action? What about the clean up process? Who was contracted by the federal government and who performed the dangerous and dirty labor of rebuilding? What areas were cleaned up and what areas left in a state of complete destruction? How has the demographic of the Deep South been changed forever by this event? This course will examine the complex systemic failures and institutional oppressions revealed by this national disaster. Through an examination of multiple perspectives on the event students will gain a greater understanding of the multilayered crisis, conflict and the tensions brought to national attention by this tragedy.
REEL RESEARCH: SCREENWRITING & SCHOLARSHIP
Being a good researcher and writer is an integral part of being an effective filmmaker, media critic, and/or scholar. In this course we will focus on strengthening our research and writing skills in a variety of ways using the cinema as our focus. We will be expressing our knowledge through written essays and screenplays. Ultimately, we will tie scriptwriting and scholarship together by incorporating aspects of Classic Hollywood Narrative Structure into more traditional scholarly essays. This class is open to all levels of cineastes: from casual movie goers to serious cinephiles.
COMPARATIVE WORLD RELIGIONS
This course serves as a comprehensive introduction to the world's most popular religions. Here we will study the basic tenets of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism and Confucianism. We will also discuss new developments in religion through movements such as Wicca, Santeria and other New Age religions. Our focus in studying religions in a comparative aspect will be to study the historical, social, cultural and political circumstances that led to the rise of each religion and understand their interaction with existing spiritual practices at that time. We will attempt to outline the basics of each religion, its spiritual practices, its relationship with divinity, rituals and beliefs and values that form the basis of each faith. While this course serves as a broad survey of each religion, we will also focus on understanding religion as a concept from a non-dominant, non-Western perspective. We will use illustrations from diverse faith-practices in the world to discover how, for example, Christianity functions as a minority religion in India or Egypt; or how the history of migration has endowed Judaism with certain religious practices. Our aim, in this course is to understand not only the basics of each religion we study but also how they interact and influence each other. The course will incorporate an important research element through ethnographic discovery of various religions, which will allow students to engage in site-visits, interviews, surveys etc. to understand religions unfamiliar to them. Most importantly the aim of this course is to trace the values of each religion that affect our daily lives. Through such a process we seek to understand how religion continues to influence the mundane aspects of culture, politics, spirituality and human values.
10879 H 5 TTh 845-1045 UW1 010 AMBIKAR,RUCHA P
Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective; builds creative and critical skills of writing, analysis, and quantitative reasoning; and explores, through scientific methods, one aspect of the natural world.
This course will include a general overview of the greenhouse effect, carbon footprinting, sustainability, and the debate about anthropogenic climate change. We will cover scientific facts about global warming and the methods used to arrive at those conclusions. We will also touch on the climate policy challenges we face in an increasingly modernizing world.
WATER IN THE WEST
This course explores both the physical and social dimensions of the Earth’s water resources, with a focus on the role of water in the development and growth of the western United States. Ensuring safe and sustainable water resources requires not only a firm understanding of the physical-chemical characteristics of water, but also of its social and economic importance. This interdisciplinary course will look at water and the many places it touches our lives, including the unique properties and importance of water for human life and ecosystem function and the ways we use, abuse, revere, ignore and fight over water in human societies. The class will cover the intersections among our scientific understanding of water, our technological developments in controlling water, and our cultural attitudes and subsequent behavior toward this elemental resource. We will focus on case studies of a variety of environmental and human health problems resulting from human impacts on water resources, including power generation on the Columbia River and sewage disposal in Lake Washington, and contextualize them both in terms of their physical, chemical, and biological underpinnings and in terms of the societal needs and pressures that arise from the use of these water resources. Additional topics include floods, droughts, domestic water supply, dams and dam removal, habitat degradation, and climate change. Field studies of local streams and lakes will be used to introduce hydrological field methods and to illustrate fundamental principles and phenomena.
CHEMISTRY AND CARS
The course title is "Chemistry and Cars". We will cover practical chemistry related to cars- metallurgy and plastics, combustion, exhaust and pollution, fluids, friction, batteries, and more. In addition, we will discuss larger issues related to chemistry and transportation such as waste, recycling, mining and production, and social impacts of our car-centered society.
The course relies heavily on applications of chemistry, critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation of information and data. We will focus on academic research and research writing. This includes source topic selection, source evaluation and selection, and organization. We will cover this explicitly and you will practice it by writing a research paper and scientific paper based on experimental work.
There will be a significant reading and writing component to the class. You will also create, interpret, and apply numerical reasoning in the form of tables and graphs. Mathematics will be limited to basic calculations (averages and basic mathematics).
ENGINEERING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Engineering is the art and science of making useful things. More than that, it is turning ideas into reality, solving problems, making the best of the resources at one's disposal, and using human ingenuity to ease suffering and further well-being. Above all, it is a way of thinking, a frame of mind rooted in curiosity about how things work. This class introduces students to the practice of engineering, to what it's like to be and think like an engineer. It is geared for students who are considering a major in engineering, and who wish to learn more about it before making a commitment. Also welcome are students interested in exploring science and mathematics from the engineering perspective, and those wishing to engage the challenge of harnessing the work of the engineer to build socially just, democratic, and sustainable communities. These themes will be addressed through readings and problem-solving activities that introduce the mathematical tools and scientific concepts common to all engineering disciplines, develop ethical perspectives, and foster sensitivity to the environment and human needs in engineering design and deployment of new technologies.
Examines an important social issue such as ecology, art, political change, the power of media, educational reform, or the role of science in contemporary culture through interdisciplinary investigation and the lens of the visual, literary, and performing arts.
PARTICIPATORY MEDIA CULTURE
This course explores digital participatory media (Web 2.0) as socioeconomic and cultural phenomena that are being shaped by (mostly young) people and subcultures. Case studies of social media convergences in diverse cultural communities such as YouTube, Facebook, videogames, and Arab revolutionaries will be researched and critiqued. Students will learn to collaboratively and individually analyze, discuss, critique, and write about new interactive media forms, networks, and systems, and gain an understanding of the potential future trajectories of the expanding media environment.
PERFORMANCE : FROM SPOKEN WORD TO PERFORMANCE ART
n this class we will be exploring different types of performance as it relates to the development and presentation of research. Through readings, experiential activities, guest workshops, screenings and off-campus outings we will learn about different modes of contemporary performance ranging from spoken word, performance art, modern dance, and community-based performance. We will then use these modes as forms of investigation and research in the creation of original performance material to be shared with the class. Students will be expected to work collaboratively and independently in exploring these diverse modes of performance as well as reflect on their learning and personal exploration. Additionally, students will be expected to see at least one performance outside of class over the quarter to be mutually determined by professor and student.
FICTION ON PAGE AND SCREEN
Science Fiction (SF) has long served as a medium for imagining alternative worlds that invite us to think critically about our own, real world, and how we come to “know” it. This course will proceed along two parallel tracks. Firstly, students will get to know the SF genre directly by reading and viewing, in pairs, both printed SF texts and the films based upon them. Secondly, interspersed alongside those texts, we will read popular and scholarly writing about the distinctive characteristics of SF (as opposed to other kinds of literature) and how it works both as cultural critique, and as a “thought experiment” for how we produce knowledge. Taken as a whole, the course invites students to explore the relationship between this popular cultural form, which is mainly consumed as entertainment, and the philosophical and political issues that it engages with. The course will be organized around side-by-side pairings of printed texts with their film adaptations, in order to spark discussion about how the different forms of representation affect the reader/viewer’s experience of the material. Possible text-film pairings include Frankenstein (including scenes from both the 1931 and 1994 film versions); A Scanner Darkly; and V for Vendetta (here, the print text is a graphic novel), though others may end up on the syllabus instead. Critical texts will engage ongoing debates about the SF genre, film studies, and the tension between popular vs. academic SF studies.
CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY AND ITS INFLUENCE
This course examines photography as a contemporary art form and its influences from other mediums. Students will develop technical photographic skills, learn about contemporary photographers, and research influences from art history, and build a photographic portfolio.
This course reintroduces you to the UWB student support services and the library, ensures your continued work on your e-portfolios, and includes a small undergraduate-level research element. It uses “Asian Cinema” as a concrete object of study in order to direct you towards achieving the above goals. The course focuses on Asian cinema from an interdisciplinary perspective and exposes you to a variety of emerging dynamic films being made in this vast geographical region of the world. You will study the cinemas of Central Asia, Hong Kong, China, Korea, South Asia, Japan, Southeast Asia, Asian Australia, as well as the Middle East. You will look at the various forms and genres of this cinema ranging from fantasy fiction, horror, comedy, drama, political, and anime. And finally you will use your knowledge of film language and theory to critically analyze films.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT : JUSTICE IN LITERATURE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY
Entitled Crime & Punishment: Justice in Literature, Religion, and Philosophy, the 117E section of DCII guides students in examining the problems of justice and moral dilemmas across a wide historical range from ancient times to the present. How do we define justice, and from whose point of view? How does it relate to ideas of crime and punishment? To respond to these questions, we are going to broadly survey various texts and several rival theories of justice.
In Unit 1, we are going to draw a dynamic connection between the legal and moral dimensions of justice, in different cultural traditions. Themes include Ideas of Law and Moral Edicts; Mercy & Punishment; Forgiveness and Reflection. Readings include selections from The Bible and Plato's The Republic.
Unit 2 is on Moral Reasoning and Theories of Justice. The central guide is Michael J. Sandelâ€™s book, Justice: Whatâ€™s the Right Thing to Do?
Unit 3 is on Consequences and Complexities with an emphasis on the importance of imaginative literature and imaginative empathy. Two plays are juxtaposed for critical examination: Sophoclesâ€™ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeareâ€™s Hamlet. Additional readings include selected poems from some prominent poets.
While going outbound to identify sources of injustice out there in the world, this course also steers studentsâ€™ critical attention to the role of imaginative empathy and inward self-critique, a fundamental feature that distinguishes this class. What is especially revealing is the transformative nature of seeking justice as exemplified in the two plays.
MUSIC IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Music in Everyday life (Winter 2013): Scholars of music tend to focus on one of two broad areas: either close readings of musical works or studies of the cultures from which these works emerged. Both approaches “center” the musical object and relegate personal encounters with that work to the periphery. Few scholars have studied the ways in which communities and individuals use music in their daily lives. Through readings from the scholarly literature, discussion, and self reflection, this class will attempt to shed light on how music structures our lives and influences our behavior. Simultaneously, we will consider how our daily lives shape our understanding of music. We will consider topics such as workout music, elevator music and Muzak, music in retail establishments, iPod culture, ringtones, and general music listening habits. A semester-long journal project will provide students with an opportunity to study their own individual listening habits.
MUSIC AND PHILOSOPHY
In this class, we will get better at thinking about, talking about, writing about, and playing music. We will take some time to focus on some particularly philosophical issues connected to music, including: What IS music? What is the connection between music and emotion? What is the value of music? We will primarily learn by doing. We will learn how to be more sophisticated and articulate in our thinking and writing about music by doing a lot of writing about it, mostly in the form of music reviews. We will learn how to play music and make philosophy by creating them as we go. One needn’t have any particular musical or philosophical talent, just the willingness to give music, thinking, and writing a try.