01. Kid Power: The Politics of Childhood. TTh 1.00pm-2.15pm
What makes children powerful? Is childhood a period of biological development or an idealized and unrealizable fiction? Keeping our experiences in mind, we will investigate childhood through books, toys, food, and social media.
02. Black and Indigenous Ecologies. MW 11.35am-12.50pm
Through readings in anthropology, geology, critical race studies, philosophy, literature, and poetry, this course explores the perspectives of indigenous peoples and communities of color in crafting new modes of anti-colonial and anti-racist ecological thought from 1492 to the present.
03. The Secret Life of Food. MW 11.35am-12.50pm
Focusing on the contemporary United States, this course examines how food shapes our cultural and social identities by examining ordinary and celebratory rituals around food, different aspects of food science, historical movements around agricultural labor, and the food entertainment industry.
04. What Even Was High School? TTh 2.30pm-3.45pm
Is there really such a thing as “The High School Experience”? In this course, we will explore theories and depictions of high school through both text and film in order to address this question.
05. In the Wake of Neo Soul. MW 2.30pm-3.45pm
What is neo soul? Is it really new? How does it relate to other genres of black music? We will explore these questions by listening to neo soul albums and considering the artists’ politics of sound, music-making, self-expression, and performance.
06. Bad Art: Camp, Trash, and Failure in Pop Media and Culture. TTh 11.35am-12.50pm
Why do we love works of art that are widely accepted to be bad? Who decides what’s good and bad art? Who is bad art for? We’ll explore how gender, race, and class inform critical assessments of popular media.
07. Sedition and Dissent. MW 2.30pm-3.45pm
What do we risk when we speak out against those in power? Should governments, corporations, or universities be able to reasonably restrict speech? Students will interrogate their ideas on free speech with a focus on the consequences of deliberate provocation.
08. Mysteries, Puzzles, and Clues. MW 7.30-8.45pm
From Sherlock Holmes to Sudoku, mysteries and puzzles pervade contemporary life. This course examines their perennial appeal and what they say about the world around us, drawing from scholarly studies of mystery fiction, crosswords, logic puzzles, board games, and more.
09. Who Is an African American? TTh 4.00pm-5.15.pm
Is it clear who counts as “African American”? How have different U.S. Black ethnic groups related to this label over time? Through interdisciplinary reading, this course explores the shifting meanings and applications of “African American” as a political identity category.
10. Hope. TTh 4.00pm-5.15pm
What is hope? What may we hope for? What is the use of hoping? Is hoping hardwired into our biology or a socially constructed behavior? Could hope help us confront climate change and social injustice? Together we’ll search for answers.
11. Magic, Shamanism, & Complementary Medicine. TTh 7.30pm-8.45pm
Why are some healing practices considered more legitimate than others? Is modern science the only way to heal? This course will explore diverse modalities of non-allopathic (non-mainstream) medicine in four units: Far Eastern medicine, Shamanism, music-based therapies, and Medieval magic.
12. Tin Foil Hats: Panics, Conspiracies, and their Outcomes. MW 1.00pm-2.15 pm
Why are conspiracy theories and fake news so compelling and hard to dispel? How are these stories spread and who believes them? From early modern witch trials to Satanic Panic, this course investigates paranoia, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories.
13. World Language Politics. MW 9.00am-11.15am
In the modern world, do we value linguistic unity or diversity more highly? Is a ‘universal’ language the logical conclusion of globalism? This course seeks to interrogate such questions by examining the complex relationships between language, culture, nationalism and globalism.