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. Rebels, Outcasts, and Heretics. MW 11.35am-12.50pm
What inspires rebellion? How do discourses of resistance legitimate marginalized national, racial, sexual, or gender identities? Examining topics that include colonialism, civil rights, and contemporary social movements, this course investigates the relationship between dissent and the formation of identity.
03. 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.
04. The Rhetoric of Revolution. TTh 4.00pm-5.15pm
This course investigates the link between rhetoric and radical politics. We will study the art and activism of militant communists, radical feminists, queer activists, anti-racists and Black Nationalists, and decolonialists to understand how they utilized various media to incite revolution.
05. 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.
06. Food Politics and Consumer Citizenship. MW 9.00am-10.15am
Is the only way to change how we grow, distribute, eat, and dispose of our food to “vote with our forks”? This seminar examines different conceptions of political agency by analyzing our globalized food system.
07. Living History. MW 4.00pm-5.15pm
History books will describe 2020 as a time of pandemic and protest, of forced isolation and newly forged connections. How will you remember this year? And how have people of past eras borne witness to other periods of unprecedented change?
08. Travel Writing/Writing Travel. MW 1.00pm-2.15pm
What does it mean to travel well? Is there such a thing as a good traveller and a bad traveller? In this course, we examine the possibility for self-transformation that accompanies thoughtful journeys to new lands.
09. Gossip, Scandal, and Celebrity. TTh 4.00pm-5.15pm
Are celebrity gossip and scandal fundamentally frivolous? Or do they protect the less powerful? And what are the ethics of using gossip to police human behavior?
10. Virtual Environments and Human Bodies. MW 9.00am-10.15am
Is anything not virtual? This class engages with the absent/present body in virtual environments. We will read scholarly work on video games, avatars, and virtual reality and use Google Cardboard to go on virtual field trips.
11. What Even Was High School? MW 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.
12. Telling Stories. TTh 1.00pm-2.15pm
What makes stories a universal way for human beings to order and interpret experience? This course considers how narratives shape our thinking, and, in turn, our history, politics, culture, and science.
13. Life Writing. MW 11.35am-12.50pm
How and why do we tell stories about our lives? Defining “life writing” broadly (auto/biography, diaries, letters, scientific/historical writings, fiction, and digital forms), we’ll explore what shapes a self and reflect on how having a “self” is or came to seem important.
14. Languages in Motion. TTh 11.35am-12.50pm
What meanings get lost in translation? What new meanings might take shape? The root of the word “translation” literally means “to carry across a threshold,” but what is it that we bring with us when we attempt to convey writing from one language to another, and what gets left behind?
15. Shelter and Place. MW 1.00pm-2.15pm
Last spring, millions of Americans discovered a new passion for raising chickens, baking sourdough, and living the simple life. This course explores the complexities of making home, asking how radical homesteading movements survive and thrive in the modern era.
17. Anthropocentrism, Ecocentrism, and Ecological Crisis. TTh 9.00am-10.15am
Are humans the center of the universe (anthropocentrism?) Or are humans only a small part of a more significant whole, nature (ecocentrism)? Do anthropocentric belief systems lead to climate disaster? Do ecocentric belief systems lead to the oppression of minorities?
18. On Beauty. MW 1.00pm-2.15pm
How do we “see?” What forces shape our perception of beauty and why does beauty matter? What is its place? This course will explore how society’s desire for certain kinds of beauty may distort our conception of beauty’s truth.
19. World Language Politics. TTh 2.30pm-3.45pm
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.
20. Racial Capitalism and Black Revolt. TTh 11.35am-12.50pm
What is racial capitalism? Why does it persist? And how do we envision a world in which everyone is free to flourish? This course explores those questions through the words and deeds of black militants in the US.
21. Neo Soul. TTh 11.35am-12.50pm
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.
22. Chaos, Instability, and the Anthropocene. MW 2.30pm-3.45pm
Chaos, instability, uncertainty, and crisis have become uncomfortable fixtures of our daily lives, and they’re not going anywhere fast. We’ll chart the discursive trajectories of these Janus-faced notions through natural science, literary criticism, philosophy, and into contemporary environmental conversations.
23. Medicine and the Humanities: Certainty and Unknowing. TTh 1.00pm-2.15pm
24. Writing the Emotions. MW 1.00pm-2.15pm
This class examines the role of emotion in critical writing and theory, as an object of study and expressive device. We’ll consider how emotion shapes moral and political thought, and the racial and gendered dynamics of writing about/with emotion.
25. How to Love Bad Art. TTh 2.30pm-3.45pm
This course explores how our society consumes artworks frequently dismissed as bad. From cult-classic films, reality TV, and romance novels to aesthetic modes like camp and kitsch, we’ll explore how gender, race and class inform critical assessments of popular media.
26. The Modern Metropolis TTh 1.00pm-2.15pm
Big cities afford opportunities for creativity, resourcefulness, and community on a grand scale. They are also sights of sweeping inequality and division. What does modern city life tell us about ourselves and our world?
27. Telling the Truth. TTh 9.00am-10.15am
What do we mean by “the truth” in America today?” Drawing on political philosophy, journalism, history and ethics, this course looks at the idea of objectivity and the ways we determine what sources of information or opinion are trustworthy.
28. History’s Histories. TTh 4.00pm-5.15pm
How do historians write history? Is it an art, a science, or neither? Does it progress towards an end? This course examines how history as a discipline has been used and abused in the 20th- and 21st-century West.
29. Censorship and the Arts. MW 9.00pm-10.15pm
What right does any authority have to control expression? This writing seminar will treat legal and critical debates from recent times, as well as various arguments concerning politics, artistic freedom, and religion, ranging from those of Plato to contemporary media.
30. Mysteries, Puzzles, and Clues. MW 4.00pm-5.15pm
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.
31. 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.
32. The Real World of Food. TTh 11.35am-12.50pm
Ever wonder how the food we eat in this country is produced? This course will answer this and other important questions as we study the impact of the Farm Bill on our food and the environment in which we live.
33. Magic, Shamanism, & Complementary Medicine. TTh 2.30pm-3.45pm
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.
34. Disappearing Act: Ghosts, Spies, Shadows. MW 7.30pm-8.45pm
This course considers “disappearance” and “hauntedness”: spies, surveillance, cryptography, disappearing messages (Snapchat, Instagram), illusions, camouflage, ghosts, occultism, phantom limbs, disappearing languages and species, ghost towns, magicians, whispers, shadows. We are fascinated with disappearance—but can we really hide anything anything anymore?