Discovery Core II Options for Winter 2014
Course information and descriptions coming soon
I. B CUSP 115 Discovery Core II: IND&SOC( I&S)
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.
CAPITALISM, COLONIALISM, IMPERIALISM & THE BANANA TRADE
This course will examine capitalist, colonial, and imperialist practices of the Global North upon the Global South. We will approach this topic through an in-depth examination of the banana trade and the movement of the United Fruit Company from North America into Central, and South America. We will examine multiple examples though an in depth analysis of the commodity chain of the banana trade in the Americas. The course will engage an application of interdisciplinary approaches including an examination of history, political economy, labor exploitation, and environmental studies. Materials of examination will include primary sources produced by UFC; as well as multiple texts and films that will provide for a close analysis.
10824 A 5 MW 1:15 - 3:15 Redwood, Loren
TRUTHINESS, OR THE BANALITY OF CONSPIRACY
When Stephen Colbert began his inaugural show with a description of "Truthiness," he was tapping into a much larger cultural conversation about the way in which we as a society relate to truth and fact. Our core symbols have lost their stature, our sense of reality has given way, and our adherence (even dependence) on simulacra has never been more pronounced. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the proliferation of recent conspiracy theories, which differ from the conspiracies of previous generations in a number of important ways. This class will explore the rise of simulacra, the character of truthiness, and the incredible ease with which we can conspire, together, about almost anything.
10825 B 5 F 11:00 - 3:15 Rufo, Ken
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.
10826 C 5 MW 1:15 - 3:15 Ambikar Rucha
UNNATURAL DISASTERS: REPRESENTING CRISIS AND CATASTROPHE IN THE AMERICAS
Philosopher Walter Benjamin writes, "the tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule." By this he means that crises are not aberrations that governments must develop special practices to address, but rather central components of strategies of control. Working from Benjamin’s frame, this course will address three recent crises: the events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina of 2005, and the Haitian earthquake of 2010. We will think about how both governments and victims have represented the causes and effects of these disasters, paying carful attention to how these representations mark transformations in understandings of race, class, citizenship, and governance.
10827 D 5 TTh 11:00 - 1:00 Sands, Travis
MASCULINITIES, HEALTH AND PEACE
In every community around the world there are different opinions about who is “really masculine.” And globally, boys and men hurt themselves and each other and die younger than girls and women. Many scholars and activists think that trying to live up to masculine ideals contributes to these patterns. But which ideals? Where? Using media, research and active exploration, this class examines masculinity: what is it, who has it, what are the consequences? How are the answers different in different communities? In our own lives?
10828 E 5 TTh 8:45 - 10:45 Allen, David
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.
CHEMISTRY IN THE KITCHEN
Humans are the only animals that cook their food. Cooking is a chemical process and understanding the chemistry of food and cooking will help you be a better cook. This course will give you tools, pointers, and information about how to apply simple chemical ideas - pH, solubility, equilibrium - to something you do everyday. We'll discuss different foods, cooking techniques, herbs and spices, and kitchen tools. You'll use critical thinking skills to determine what ingredients would could compliment a dish, what tools would be best in a given situation, and how to modify recipes to change the flavor, aroma, and texture of food. In addition to the chemistry, we'll also discuss broader food issues - safety, health, and the politics of food. This class won't make you a chef, but it will give you the tools to make your cooking better by understanding what is happening and how you can influence the cooking process.
10829 A 5 TTh 5:45 - 7:45 Finley, Brandon
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.
10830 B 5 TTh 1:15 - 3:15 Schinneman, Avery
COFFEE: SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND ECONOMICS
This class explores several aspects of coffee, a crop critical to the economy of much of the tropical world and a beverage equally critical to the lifestyle of the developed, northern world. This interdependence is reflected in the fact that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after petroleum. An introductory overview of the history and economic importance of coffee will accompany more detailed discussions of: the biological and chemical aspects of coffee production and processing, the health implications of coffee consumption, the ecological considerations of organic/Fair Trade/sustainable coffee cultivation, and the implications of climate change for coffee production. A connecting theme will be the examination of how the scientific method is used to address this wide range of important and interesting questions.
This course is designed as a Natural World general education course for a wide range of students. As such, it will have considerable emphasis on the scientific method and its application to this topic.
10831 C 5 TTh 1:15 - 3:15 Jackels, Charles
WEAVING CULTURAL & ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
This inquiry course will help students understand the connections between ecosystems and indigenous cultures and ultimately understand that cultural diversity is dependent on ecological diversity. Examples of this connection will be covered, especially in North America. The entry point to the student's independent inquiry will be a cultural item of woven plant (or animal) material. Students will investigate the ecological context and cultural context of the item, identify the key connections between those contexts, and consider the effects of changes that have occurred to ecosystems and indigenous cultures in the last two centuries.
10832 D 5 MW 11:00 - 1:00 Crandell, Caren
THE GENETIC HERITAGE OF OUR SEED
In this course, we will journey from DNA to table investigating the needs, implications, and complexities of stewarding the seeds that sustain us. We will explore the genetics involved in growing our food, the biodiversity of our food supply, and related issues currently under debate. We will investigate questions such as: How are seeds the foundation of our food system? What are the current trends in biodiversity, and their possible implications for our future? What are crucial issues that our political system faces regarding seed? How can we participate in sustaining our food system in the future? Students will learn basic plant biology with a focus on seed. Students will apply the scientific method to investigate biodiversity of our food supply and probe crucial issues that our communities face to keep our food system and seed supply sustainable.
10833 E 5 MW 8:45 - 10:45 Kraemer, Sue
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.
IMAGE POWER: INVESTIGATING VISUAL CULTURE
This class is all about “ways of seeing” –literally and metaphorically. We’ll be exploring different ways of looking at (and making sense of) the everyday world of images, design and visual culture. We’ll be learning to see this world in a new light by looking at it more carefully and from different angles. In particular, we’ll be learning to understand contemporary visual culture by viewing it through different scholarly perspectives (e.g. semiotics, visual rhetoric, cultural studies). We will also examine a series of different everyday sites of visual production (e.g. advertising, fashion, fine art) as well as a number of different modes of visual communication (e.g. typography, color, space). A critical understanding of visual culture enables us to make sense of the role of images and design in our everyday lives. We are better able to see beyond the image – to recognize that there is always more than meets the eye. For many of us, knowing how visual communication works also enables us to do it better ourselves. This is why advertising execs, public relations officers, political campaigners, charity and social justice organizers are often required to take classes like this one. They know that these days the people who control the symbols are often the people with influence. It’s all about image power.
10834 A 5 MW 1:15 - 3:15 Thurlow, Crispin
A THOUSAND WORDS: CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY AND ITS INFLUENCES
Homage, tribute, borrowing, copying, ripping-off - however you label it, art photography draws inspiration from and is influenced by many different mediums of art. In this course we’ll examine contemporary photography and its influences. Students will explore and research different works of art ranging from the 14th Century paintings of Bosch to the present-day photographs of Joel-Peter Witkin. Students will also develop technical photographic skills, discover contemporary photographers, learn to write a research paper, and build a photographic portfolio.
10835 B 5 MW 11:00 - 1:00 Hsu, Howard
MUSIC & 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.
10836 C 5 TTh 11:00 - 1:00 Nixon, David
CRIME & PUNISHMENT: JUSTICE IN LITERATURE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY
Entitled Crime & Punishment: Justice in Literature, Religion, and Philosophy, the 117F 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.
10837 D 5 MW 11:00 - 1:00 Gao, Wei
SCIENCE 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.
10838 E 5 MW 1:15 - 3:15 Crowley, Sharon
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.
10839 F 5 MW 1:15 - 3:15 Kurian, Alka
PARTICIPATORY MEDIA CULTURE
This course explores 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 subcultural communities such as YouTube, electronic games, and Arab revolutionaries will be researched and critiqued. Students will learn to collaboratively and individually analyze, discuss, write about, and critique new interactive media forms, networks, and systems, and gain an understanding of the potential future trajectories of the expanding media environment.
10840 G 5 TTh 8:45 - 10:45 Oppenheimer, Robin
THE TIME-TRAVELING BARD: SHAKESPEARE
In this course we will examine the real story behind the greatest poetic dramas ever written in the English language. How do Shakespeare’s plays connect to the world of early modern Europe, Africa and even the Caribbean? How have these plays been transformed to reflect later times?
This interdisciplinary study will put the plays in historical context, revealing how they emerged from the world-view of the early modern world. We will look at questions such as: What were traditions governing relations between men and women in early modern Europe? Why are there witches in Macbeth? Had Shakespeare ever met a Jew when he created Shylock in The Merchant of Venice? How did relations between Europe and Africa and Europe and the Islamic world influence Othello? What concept did early modern Europeans have of the newly discovered Americas and the way they should be settled/exploited and how does that emerge in The Tempest?
Having studied the way in which Shakespeare was embedded in, yet transcended, the history of his times, students will have a chance to investigate how his works have been transformed to connect with later times and will even do some of the transforming themselves.
10841 H 5 MW 8:45 - 10:45 Spiegler, Louise