Featuring Your Favorites

COMM/ART 325: Documentary Film
with Dr. Michelle Glaros

Do documentary films pique your interest? This is the course for you! This course focuses primarily on social documentaries; documentaries that construct arguments about the social world, address power relations in society, or aim to raise awareness and motivate action for social justice. Students will examine dominant, experimental, and emergent modes of representation as well as important documentary texts, movements, and filmmakers. Through this examination students will come to better understand how non-fiction media actively works to construct their social worlds.

Participation is key! When questioned as to her favorite aspect of the course, Dr. Glaros had this to say: “Documentary Film is a hybrid course: it is a course that mixes the study of documentary film with some hands-on experience. Less intensive and more exploratory than traditional film production classes, this course allows all students (major and non-majors alike) the opportunity to try new things in a relaxed atmosphere. The course combines a healthy amount of film study with a bit of film production.”

REL 284: African American Religions
with Dr. Spencer Dew

African American Religions gives an introduction to a variety of African American religions and religious movements from hoodoo to Daddy Grace, womanist theology to the Nation of Islam. Students will trace out certain trends in African American religious imagination such as responses to slavery, images of Africa, relations to the narrative of the Exodus as well as major moments in the study of African American religion.

Rather than a course on a specific tradition, this class will be arranged around a historical situation: namely, the importation of Africans to America as slaves; the existence of African Americans as slaves and the stages of post-slave society, from lynching and Jim Crow Laws to the Great Migration and onward. The negotiations of racial identity within a racist society will be a key theme.

MUS 105: Film Music (Musical Explorations)
with Dr. Ross Smith

Have you ever fallen in love with a piece of music from a movie? Music has the power to open a story and reveal its inner life in a way that could not have been as fully articulated in any other way. Imagine a film scene showing a small house nestled at the base of a mountainside, smoke coming from the chimney. Who’s inside—a family happily getting ready for bed? Or has a murder just taken place? The music here could make quite a difference. This course will cover the functional use of music within the film medium, as well as a historical view of the development of film music and significant contributions from leading film composers. Students will come away from this course with an appreciation for and understanding of how film music affects audiences the way it does.

As if you need extra incentive to enroll, this course counts as a Challenge-Expanding, Inquiry into Humanities CORE course. Students will develop and grow in their ability to discern the power of music to manipulate their emotional state.

PSC 329W: Comparative Democratization
with Dr. Matt Murphy

Interested in politics and the structure of democracy? This course is an examination of the challenges and opportunities faced by countries attempting to establish democratic political systems. Topics include the meaning of democracy, factors that may facilitate or hinder it, legacies of authoritarian rule, and obstacles that must be managed or overcome in order for democracy to survive. Students in this class will learn about one of the most important topics in comparative politics, and one that is important for foreign policy, social activism, and human rights. Be prepared to find your voice in this stimulating new course!

PSC 327: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
with Dr. Matt Murphy

Do you ever find yourself wondering what causes conflict? This course investigates two of the most important sources of conflict in the world today: nationalism and ethnicity. What are nations and when can nationalism be a political problem? What are ethnic groups, what is ethnic conflict, and what causes it to become violent? What impact do nationalism and ethnic conflict have on the prospects for democracy? What effect do democratic political systems have on the likelihood and severity of ethnic conflict? Does democracy make the problem worse, or can it be a “solution” to ethnic conflict?

Dr. Murphy describes the course in this manner: “(Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict) focuses on a problem that stretches across all regions of the world. It also concentrates on affiliations that we all have and that can be positive parts of our identity. In this course, students will look for explanations that can account for ethnic and national peace as well as conflict.”

PSY/CHEM 396: Selected Topics: Developmental Consequences of Chemical Expos with Dr. Amy Hammond and Dr. Joshua Lawrence

Students will be able to explore the intersection between two seemly diverse topics—human development and chemistry—and recognize the interactions between these topics. In addition, the student will grow as thinkers, writers, and presenters. This course should also help the student fulfill the objectives of the 21st Century Challenge to “Create a Sustainable World” as identified by the College, specifically:

  • Understanding how some of our current societal behaviors preclude a sustainable lifestyle by: knowing routes of chemical exposure; understanding properties of some toxic chemicals and how those properties affect their behavior in vivo; and analyzing and communicating the properties of a chemical found in our environment as a result of human activity, and

  • Understanding how some of our current societal behaviors compromise the capacity of future generations to satisfy their needs through: knowing the consequences of exposure to some chemicals in human development; understanding the connections between human development, human health, and human societies; and analyzing and communicating the developmental consequences of a chemical found in our environment as a result of human activity.

While this course is not officially a challenge course, students will be able to petition (the professors will help!) for this course to fulfill either a social sciences or a natural science challenge course.

Professionally, Drs. Hammond and Lawrence think this is an incredibly important, and often overlooked, aspect of sustainability. They anticipate that teaching this material will be fulfilling for them and learning the material will be fulfilling for the student.

“Personally, our favorite part is that we get to teach with someone really cool who really knows what the heck she/he is talking about. I think students will appreciate the dynamic between the professors and the excitement they have for the topic,” said Dr. Hammond.