First Year and Pre-Major Program (FYPP)

Winter 2020 Discovery Core II

WINTER 2020 DISCOVERY CORE OPTIONS, 5-CREDITS EACH

Individual and Societies (I&S) Options:

A Brief History of Time
B CORE 115A, I&S
Instructor: Wanda Gregory
Monday 8:45am - 10:45am

What do the television series Doctor Who, H.G. Wells book, The Time Machine, the Hindu myth Mahabharata, and quantum physics have in common? Each depicts ways people have used to explore time travel.  This Discovery II course will allow students to explore time travel from a variety of perspectives: science, technology, history, philosophy, religion, and popular culture. Our interest in time travel continues to grow not only through books, movies, television and popular culture but through science and technology. What makes the idea of time travel so powerful that it resonates in each of us, and to what lengths are we going today to make it a reality?

In this interdisciplinary course, students will have the opportunity to look at the topic of time travel not only through popular culture (television, film, literature, and games) but through philosophy, psychology and through the sciences (quantum physics, human consciousness and computer science) Students will be able to research and explore one or more of these topics building on the skills and topics learned in DC I.

Course materials will come not only from science fiction but from television (Doctor Who, Black Mirror, Russian Doll, Star Trek), films such as The Time Machine, Back to the Future, Time Bandit, Doctor Strange, and Run Lola Run, along with video games and literature. The course will look at the time travel from a historical and philosophical perspective along with offering students the opportunity to explore how science and technology address this subject.

Students will not only be able to hone their research and communication skills but will address themes through group projects and hearing from with local experts and faculty working in these fields.

The Science and Medicine of Harry Potter
B CORE 115C, I&S
Instructor: Laura Harkewicz
Monday/Wednesday 1:15 – 3:15pm

Have you ever wished for a wand that could make an enemy disappear? Have you dreamed of flying across the sky on your Nimbus Two Thousand seeking the golden Snitch? Have you longed for an Invisibility Cloak so you could eavesdrop on a conversation or get the answers to a final exam? This course explores how the magical world of Harry Potter aligns (or does not) with the rational laws of science and medicine. We will investigate topics as variable as flying cars and broomsticks, time travel, magical creatures, potions, the origins of witchcraft, and how magic became science. In the process, we will learn how many things in science from the experimental method to the theory of gravitation to the ethics of modern science and medicine originated in magical philosophies. We will also learn how the fantastic world of Harry Potter can illuminate some of the most interesting work researchers struggle with today as they continue to produce astounding knowledge about the natural world.

Energy in the Future *50% Hybrid*
B CORE 115F, I&S
Instructor: Matthew Gliboff
Tuesday 3:30 – 5:30pm

Survey of scientific, technological and potential of large-scale renewable energy and barriers to its implementation. Includes discussion of solar, wind, nuclear and other possible energy sources; energy efficiency, large-scale energy storage, climate change; and numerous domestic and international case studies of efforts in sustainability.
Students will engage with the quantitative skills center through quantitative reasoning problems based around basic physics concepts in energy, as well as data related to applications of energy technologies. Students will reflect on their interactions with evidence-based and quantitative arguments for socially relevant issues, including climate change. Informal oral and written presentations will be based on student-led research and evidence gathering in renewable energy technologies. Students will be working in groups consistently during in-class and online activities.
In class interactions will include quantitative problem solving related to energy concepts including efficiency, power and thermodynamics.  Other class periods will be discussion based, with students expected to bring evidence to support their ideas into the discussion through pre-lecture online activities.  

The Functions of Sex: Race and Gender in America
B CORE 115G, I&S

Instructor: Jason Morse
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15-3:15pm

This course will undertake the cultural studies of sex by researching topics and analyzing texts from multiple disciplines and genres to think about the functions of sex in the gendered production of race in America. Sex is had, used, and exchanged for many reasons for reproduction, for pleasure, for building intimacy, and for securing financial and other forms of well-being. Sex is also a form of power, used as a source of control and manipulation, of moralizing and shaming, and as a form of violence and a legitimization of other violences. Sex and sexuality come to mean many things as part of our socialization, as forms of identity, as ways of evaluating people, and as indicators of normativity and even rationality. They are also the modalities through which race and gender are (re)produced and lived in America. We will inquire into the link between sex and gender as well as the various ways that gender frames the sexualization of race and the racialization of sex/uality.

For these reasons and more, sex has also been the subject, whether explicitly or implicitly, of a LOT of cultural work. This class will analyze the representations of sex in many American cultural forms including fiction, drama, poetry, film, and the graphic novel. We will investigate how sex is used in literary narratives, including the way it is deployed to theorize, challenge, and reinforce U.S. racial and gender formation in different historical moments. We will question what sex does in and to the narratives we read and the ways different cultural forms represent and engage the subject of sex to make claims about the social world and to intervene in the hegemonic and stereotypical definitions that label people. We will sometimes read literary texts against the grain, looking for the ways that the repression of sex in some narratives results in ruptures and contortions of form and content as the unspoken makes itself known and for the assumptions texts make about the functions of sex in relation to the production of race and gender in America.

Disability Representation in Society
B CORE 115H, I&S

Instructor: Mo West
Tuesday/Thursday 5:45-7:45pm

This course provides students with introductory knowledge of disability studies (DS), a growing multi-disciplinary field that investigates, critiques, and enhances Western society’s understanding of disability. Students will be introduced to a critical framework for recognizing how people with disabilities have experienced disadvantages and exclusion because of personal and societal responses to their impairments. We will explore how disability activists and scholars have re-conceptualized disability from a more empowering social-political and human rights perspective, as an element of human diversity/variation and a source of community.


Natural World (NW) Options:

Hacking Your Brain 101
B CORE 116A, NW

Instructor: Pierre Mourad
Monday/Wednesday 1:15-3:15pm

This class introduces students to various techniques, including engineering principles, that can improve brain function. I will first interleave material on neuroanatomy and associated function with material on non-engineering ways of altering brain function, such as psychotherapy, medicine, education, sleep, art, meditation, etcetera, all readily accessible methods of altering your own brain function. I will then introduce basic engineering principles and associated devices also capable of altering brain function. After sufficient exposure to the brain and means of changing how it works, we will discuss the ethics of doing so and the individual and societal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. The final group project brings all this material together: identify a desired brain-hacking result, justify that choice ethically, then define the neuroanatomical targets and the best means of hacking that part of brain in order to achieve the desired brain hacking result. 

All Things…Crows!
B CORE 116C, NW

Instructor: Ursula Valdez
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-5:30pm

This course focuses exclusively on the life of crows and other corvids (the family of crows, ravens, jays, etc.). This class has been inspired by the thousands of crows that come daily to roost on our campus and by my personal and professional fascination with birds.

This course will cover a thorough exploration of the natural history, ecology and behavior of crows but also will focus on their different associations with human societies. You will learn about the influence of crow species in the PNW and all over the world. We will cover crows’ influence or association with human aspects such as history, literature, culture, mythology, arts and many more.

By the end of the course students should have gained an appreciation for the different species of crows and their natural history and role in human’s life. Along the quarter students will work on specific assignments that will require documentation of issues on crows and other corvids, and develop written and creative pieces about the different topics discussed in class. Throughout, we will analyze information and data on corvids and conduct short projects on behavioral and biological observations. Also, students should become better consumers of scientific information as well as reliable popular sources. Finally, students will use their artistic skills or explore in new ones to produce a creative piece that encompasses what they learned during their research on different aspects of corvids life and their connections with humans.

Our Future as Told in CliFi (Climate Fiction) and CliSci (Climate Scienc)
B CORE 116D (also listed as B CORE 117B for VLPA - Select one only! Course will count toward NW/VLPA according to the course you register for.)

Instructors: Dana Campbell and Miriam Bertram
Monday/Wednesday 11:00am – 1:00pm

Earth is habitable because of its atmosphere. However, over the last 100 years of industrialism, humans have rapidly and dramatically increased the composition of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses allow energy from the sun to reach earth, but prevent heat from escaping from the atmosphere, so act like a blanket swaddling our planet. Trapped heat raises temperatures on land and in the oceans, with enormous and serious repercussions for life on our planet.

Scientists from all disciplines are now working together to understand the complexities of altering earth’s climate system. At the same time, the impacts of climate change are penetrating every aspect of our lives, including food production, water and energy supply, recovery from climate-related fires, storms and other disasters, and many we do not regularly consider. It’s becoming clear that humans will need to adapt our political, societal and educational systems for living sustainably. We are at a crucial time in determining humanity’s future.

In this course we explore projections of what life may be like in the next hundred years through a new genre of literature, climate fiction (CliFi). We will discuss how this literary mode allows readers to relate, through the experience of protagonists, to future challenges we face as a result of our world’s shifting climate. To complement these fictional projections, students will analyze and interpret available scientific data upon which these CliFi scenarios are based, to build a holistic understanding of how humans affect the world’s climate, how climate affects humans, what climate change means for our own lives and how might we improve stewardship of the earth and its resources for future generations.

Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) Options:

Front and Center: Images of Women in Theatre and Film
B CORE 117A, VLPA

Instructor: Deborah Hathaway
Monday/Wednesday 11:00am - 1:00pm

How are women represented in dramatic literature? To investigate this question, we will begin with Ancient Greek theatre and continue to explore, discuss, and theatrically represent images of women in theatre and film. Using a feminist theory lens, we will look at several plays, watch film clips, and research on the female experience both on and off the stage. We will have the opportunity to identify and discuss your observations of today's women on the stage and in the media. This course will include active in-class discussions, acting and movement exercises, and performance work. Students will also participate in a community-based learning project to further their research process and connect them as a partner to the Seattle theatre community.

Our Future as Told in CliFi (Climate Fiction) and CliSci (Climate Scienc)

B CORE 117B (also listed as B CORE 116D for NW- Select one only! Course will count toward NW/VLPA according to the course you register for.)

Instructors: Dana Campbell and Miriam Bertram
Monday/Wednesday 11:00am – 1:00pm

Earth is habitable because of its atmosphere. However, over the last 100 years of industrialism, humans have rapidly and dramatically increased the composition of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses allow energy from the sun to reach earth, but prevent heat from escaping from the atmosphere, so act like a blanket swaddling our planet. Trapped heat raises temperatures on land and in the oceans, with enormous and serious repercussions for life on our planet.

Scientists from all disciplines are now working together to understand the complexities of altering earth’s climate system. At the same time, the impacts of climate change are penetrating every aspect of our lives, including food production, water and energy supply, recovery from climate-related fires, storms and other disasters, and many we do not regularly consider. It’s becoming clear that humans will need to adapt our political, societal and educational systems for living sustainably. We are at a crucial time in determining humanity’s future.

In this course we explore projections of what life may be like in the next hundred years through a new genre of literature, climate fiction (CliFi). We will discuss how this literary mode allows readers to relate, through the experience of protagonists, to future challenges we face as a result of our world’s shifting climate. To complement these fictional projections, students will analyze and interpret available scientific data upon which these CliFi scenarios are based, to build a holistic understanding of how humans affect the world’s climate, how climate affects humans, what climate change means for our own lives and how might we improve stewardship of the earth and its resources for future generations.

Another World is Possible: Community Building through Socially Engaged Art
B CORE 117C, VLPA

Instructor: Thea Q. Tagle
Monday/Wednesday 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Can art change the world, our world, your world? How can artists make an impact on problems such as environmental racism, mass incarceration, gender justice, and representation? This course introduces students to artists, ideas and strategies of socially engaged art, defined as an artistic practice that focuses on social engagement, inviting collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the creation of participatory art. Together, we will learn about the history of socially engaged art practices in Seattle, the US and globally. During this course, we will meet and collaborate with practicing artists and engage in thoughtful discussion and dialogue about art and social change. Additionally, students will have several opportunities to express their responses through creative engagement. Ultimately, we will collectively discover how art practice can impact our society’s ideas and ideals of democracy, justice, equality, and freedom. With imagination and action, we dare to dream that another world is possible. 

The Time Traveling Bard: Shakespeare
B CORE 117D, VLPA

Instructor: Louise Spiegler
Monday/Wednesday 3:30 - 5:30pm

How do Shakespeare's plays connect to the history of the early modern world? How have these plays been transformed to reflect and engage with later times that Shakespeare never imagined?

This interdisciplinary class will analyze Shakespeare's plays in their historical context. What traditions governed gender relations in early modern Europe and how did Shakespeare respond to/transform these traditions? What connection did early modern Europe have to Africa and the Islamic world and how did this influence Othello? What was the position of Jews in early modern Europe, and how did this shape The Merchant of Venice? How did the exploration/exploitation of the newly discovered Americas emerge in The Tempest? 

Having studied the way in which Shakespeare was embedded in the history of his times through guided research projects, students will also investigate how his works have been transformed in later times.

Through critical reading, analytical and research writing, and performance, students will appreciate the historicity of "timeless works of art“ as well as what allows them to remain vital through the ages.

How to Swim, not Sink, in an Age of Disinformation and Misinformation*50% Hybrid*
B CORE 117E, VLPA

Instructor: Katherine Voyles
Thursdays 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Welcome to a class on navigating the perils of the (dis)information age. Today we are awash in computing power that delivers huge amounts of information to our hands whenever we want, a capability that comes with consequences for how we digest, contextualize, trust and share information. The Victorians, who lived through the explosion of cheap print and the rise of a mass reading public, experienced the disruptions and excitement of information revolutions. The first part of the class examines the nineteenth century to set the stage for today. We’ll read a realist novel, the form the Victorians developed to show as a way to express, but also to make sense of, new ways of creating, sharing and processing information. The second half of the class is about today’s forms of information delivery, from 240 characters to extended serial narratives; from fake news to viral videos. Through presentations, reading and small group work we’ll dive into today’s information environment in a manner that buoys us.

Creative Activism: Inspiring Social Change through the Arts *50% Hybrid*
B CORE 117F, VLPA

Instructor: Gary Carpenter
Thursdays 8:45 - 10:45am

This course explores a range of research methodologies through the arts and how to utilize them to re-imagine social and personal belief systems and to begin to bridge current social divides.   The arts allow us to actively engage in dialogue with diverse communities in ways that the written or spoken work often cannot.  The arts empower us to create unique spaces for re-thinking beliefs, considering new perspectives and navigating difficult, polarizing issues; they enable us to find our shared humanity.    Empathy, creative inquiry, mutual respect and thoughtful social interactions within the classroom, on campus and with the larger local community will deepen our learning in this intensive community- based learning experience.

An examination of the distant and more recent history of tribalism will highlight how it has served our species well at times but also how it more recently threatens our ability to function as a cohesive society of free-thinking individuals.  This course inspires to employ collaborative, socially engaged arts practices to increase compassion and understanding, and to create new paths forward.    

Low stakes group projects will accelerate learning and equip students with the confidence to participate in community based collaborative art projects before designing, creating and implementing projects of their own.   A variety of research approaches will fuel their projects deepening students’ understanding of this rapidly growing creative field and its’ applications in strengthening our communities both locally and globally in ways we have yet to imagine. 

Music and Philosophy
B CORE 117G, VLPA

Instructor: David Nixon
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15pm - 3:15pm

About half the class will be hands-on: playing music on guitar, learning the basics of music theory and improvisation, learning to use audio recording and engineering software.  Obviously, active participation will be an essential component of the class. You don't need to have any musical ability to take this class.  But you do need to be willing to try new things.  For example, every student will learn to play the guitar.  We will also create, record, and mix a number of original compositions throughout the quarter.  

The other half will be philosophical, and involves a fair amount of reading, writing, and discussion. As philosophers we will ask, What is creativity? And what is music? Does John Cage's infamous 4'33" (a piece comprised of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence) count as a piece of music? Why or why not? What makes bad music bad? What's the connection between music and the emotions? We will also talk about popular music history, trends in music business, and the ways that the internet and the availability of recording technology has shaped music in the recent past.

Civic Technologies: Exploring Democracy & Digital Culture

*50% Hybrid*
B CORE 117H, VLPA

Instructor: Ian Porter
Tuesdays 8:45-10:45am

This course explores how digital media technologies channel and shape how we participate in public life in democratic communities. We will deepen and complicate our understanding of democracy as a form of government that, in theory, gives power to the people, and we will analyze the ways that digital media and networked computing become the means, materials, and milieux of public expression and civic engagement in democratic communities. In keeping with the DCII theme of research and inquiry, students will participate in (online) civic action of some kind, and they will conduct research on a topic that relates to the course theme and communicate that research to an audience.

TBD
B CORE 117I, VLPA

Instructor: Gavin Doyle
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15-3:15pm

TBD

 

Area of Knowledge Key:

VLPA - Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts
I&S- Individual and Societies
NW- Natural World
W- Writing
C- Composition