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Liberal Studies

Course Descriptions

Summer Session I (May 19 - July 1, 2014)

LBST-D 502 Social Sciences Seminar (3 cr.) (section 2573)
VT: 21st Century Color Lines
6:00 PM - 9:15 PM, Mon & Wed, DW 2260
Professor Betsy Lucal, Department of Sociology

In this course we will examine the social construction of race from social, cultural, historical, and other perspectives.  Students will write their own narratives about their experiences of race/ethnicity; and the majority of the work for this course will involve alnalyzing those narratives from a variety of perspectives.  Students will better understand race in the U.S. (and to some extent, beyond) as a result of completing this course.


LBST-D 511 Humanities Elective (1 cr.) (section 2846)
VT: How to Publish a Book
6:00 PM - 8:00PM, Tuesday, DW3160
Professor Ken Smith, Department of English

 50 years ago you would have needed a five-ton lithographic press or a stack of $100 bills the size of a box of Grape-Nuts.  Now you only need your laptop and some skills.  This one-credit graduate course is about those skills.  In a twenty-first century democracy, everyone should have publishing skills.  Someday you will want someone's story to get out into the world, a community's history to be preserved, a cause to be argued for.  Before the course ends, you will know how to bring a small book manuscript through editing, page and cover design, copyediting, and printing, using state of the art on-demand printers.  You will be armed for life in a democracy and in the literary arts.  The instructor will supply manuscripts and guide graduate students through the process of preparing and publishing.  You will have published a book before the start of Summer Session II.

Summer Session II July 2 - August 15, 2014)

LBST-D 511 Humanities Elective (1 cr.) (section 14691)
VT: What Was the Enlightenment?
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Saturday, DW 3160
Professor Joe Chaney, Department of English

The historical period traditionally known as the Enlightenment, the main movement of which spanned roughly from 1690 to 1790, brought about important changes in the way Europeans thought about government, science and religion, women, race, social class, and education.  This course aims to provide you with an intellectual map of the Enlightenment.  We'll attempt to define the distinguishing features of this revolutionary way of thinking, and we'll discuss the ways in which this period continues to shape and influence the course of history.  Our textbook will be The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents by Margaret C.C. Jacob.  We'll also read Samuel Johnson's short novel, Rasselas, and Stephen Shapin's The Scientific Revolution.  Studuents will pursue a short research project on a specific, central concept or a representative figure.

SUST-S 620 Sustainable Tech & Energy (3 cr.) (section 14477)
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Tuesday & Thursday, DW3260


This course provides students with an overview of the sustainable technologies and alternative energy sources and systems that are currently available on the shelf and ready for application in the home, workplace, and/or community.

ENG-L 680 Special Topics - Lit Study & Theory (4 cr.) (section 14746)
VT: Problems of Reading and Memory
6:00 PM - 9:15 PM, Monday & Wednesday, DW 3160
Professor Joe Chaney, Department of English

This course focuses on a fundamental problem in the realm of knowledge having to do with our relationship to books, both as readers and non-readers.  The central text for our discussion is How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read, a short , provocative book by the French literary critic and psychoanalyst Pierre Bayard.  Bayard defines and explains the various ways in which we relate to, talk about, and take (or make) meaning from books.  His first observation is that we don't generally know books as well as we may believe, and that we often lie about the extent of our ignorance.  He points, for instance, to the problem caused by the passage of time, which affects our memory of a book's content.  But there are other problems, as well.  Various preconceptions, influences, and purposes cause us to reshape the book in particular ways.  Bayard develops a theory of reading based on such observations.  We shall follow and tests Bayard's argument with regard to a number of texts Including Shakespeare's Hamlet, Soseki Natsume's I am a Cat, Virginai Woolf's A Room of One's Own, and one film, Rami's Groundhog Day (1993).  The subject has implications for teaching and learning in all disciplines, because it addresses ways in which the mind organizes and produces knowledge.

Fall 2014

LBST-D 501 Humanities Seminar (3 cr.) (section 5062)
VT: New Woman International"
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM, Wednesday, DW3160
Dr. Lisa Fetheringill-Zwicker, Department of History

Across the world at the turn of the century, "New Women" challenged existing gender roles. The particular form and timing of the appearance of these "New Women" differed - for example in the US in the 1890s bicycle riding and sports, in German in the 1920s smoking, bright red lips, and bobbed hair - but in general these women were perceived as representing a dangerous challenge to family, morality, and society. This seminar will explore the lives of these women and the context in which they lived through fiction, historical monographs, films, and primary sources. Core assignments include weekly responses to the readings posted in advance on Oncourse, a PowerPoint presentation on a historical monograph that focuses on New Women, and a film presentation. A research project will focus on an individual new woman like Vicki Baum, Amelia Earhart, Mona Caird, or Josephine Baker, with the final product a poster presentation and an annotated bibliography. 

LBST-D 502 Social Science Seminar (3 cr.) (section 4273)
VT:  The Good Life: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM, Thursday, DW2170
Dr. Scott Sernau, Department of Sociology

Education has long been seen as a means to living the good life, although in other times and places this has sometimes been seen more in terms of wisdom and civic virtue than a guarantee of prosperity.  This course will look at the meanings attached to the idea of living the good life along with the types of societies that engender quality of life.  The seminar is highly interdisciplinary: the core questions will come from philosophy and history, while much of our approach will be anthropological in exploring cross-cultural answers to basic questions about what it means to live a good life, personally and cooperatively.   We will consider African, Asian and indigenous American answers to these questions along with classical and contemporary European approaches.  Readings will be drawn from anthropology, sociology, geography, economics, philosophy and political science and will include books and articles by Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh, David Korten, David Suzuki, Jeremy Rifkin, Juliet Schor, Dan Buettner, Christopher Phillips, Yi-Fu Tuan, and John Mohawk.  As our own society debates public virtue in a divided partisan context, we will consider the social and environmental ethics of other cultures in considering what makes a good life.  Seminar participants will be challenged to consider what this means at multiple levels: personal, community, national and global.  We’ll look at aspects of sustainability – economy, equity and ecology – and also what it means to thrive as individuals and communities. Assignments will include a variety of writing, some reflective and some creative, to be shared with the class and the community.