All undergraduates at the University of Denver are required to take an Advanced Seminar, an upper-level course capped at 15 students.
While knowledge and professional skills found in a student's major and minor are important foundations for accomplishment, successful individuals also must be able to navigate a complex physical, ethical, social, political, cultural, aesthetic, and economic environment that challenges more traditionally limited concepts of higher education and competencies. To help students better understand the challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities of contemporary life, instructors teach an advanced seminar based in their area of expertise and passion. The topic will be approached from multiple perspectives in a capstone course designed for non-majors. Studying in this setting, students demonstrate their ability to integrate different perspectives and synthesize diverse ideas, informational sources, and ways of knowing through intensive writing on that topic. This course must be taken at the University of Denver. Students must complete all other common curriculum requirements before taking the Advanced Seminar.
Advanced Seminar courses meet four criteria in terms of writing.
- Students will write a minimum of 20 pages (about 6000 words), some of which may be informal, but some of which must be revised, polished and intended for an educated readership.
- Students will complete a minimum of three writing projects that are distributed over the quarter; exceptions might include a cumulative project completed in multiple stages.
- Students will be required to revise some of their work based on feedback from their professor.
- There will be some instructional time given to writing.
ASEM 2401 'Extreme' Philosophy: Major Philosophical Issues of the 21st Century (4 Credits)
This course involves an exploration and critical assessment of several of the most important 21st century philosophical issues: the "Doomsday Argument," the "Singularity Argument," the "Simulation Argument," and various views surrounding the possibility (and probability) of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). There are no prior knowledge prerequisites; all necessary background information will be presented in the course.
Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2402 Culture and Identity in American Political Development (4 Credits)
This course considers the development of American politics over time, through the lens of struggles over culture and identity. We discuss how political and institutional change around these topics happens in the American political system. The first section of the course reviews broad theories in the field of American Political Development, addressing the role of culture, institutions, and policy. We then turn to closer consideration of the ways in which scholars from multiple disciplines have applied these theories to specific areas of American politics.
Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2403 Versions of Egypt (4 Credits)
This course will study a handful of books that lead up to and study the recent Egyptian Revolutions. We will read Alifa Rifaat’s Distant View of the Minaret, Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land, Alaa al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building, Wael Ghonim’s Revolution 2.0, and excerpts from Peter Hessler’s forthcoming book about post-revolutionary Egypt. The class will attempt to understand both 21st century Egypt and the aftereffects of the dramatic changes in Egypt since the first revolution of February 2011. Students will write both critical and creative essays for this seminar.
ASEM 2404 Music Preference, Identity, Genre, and Recommendation (4 Credits)
Students examine the relationship between music preferences, personality, and identity. Because music preferences are strongly mediated by cultural industries and institutions, students also examine two of the music industry's tools for connecting listeners to their preferred music: genre systems and a more recent tool, automated music recommendation engines. The course includes three medium-length papers and many written responses to scholarly writing drawn from music psychology, musicology, and music informatics.
ASEM 2405 Decision-making and Neuroeconomics (4 Credits)
How do you decide what to buy, who to trust, which job to take, or what you'll want to eat tomorrow? This seminar-style course integrates perspectives from psychology, neuroscience, and economics to understand decision-making, how it is affected by emotions or social contexts, and how it is implemented in the human brain. The course emphasizes active participation, and relies upon primary scientific sources (i.e. peer-reviewed empirical articles). Recommended: a familiarity with at least one of cognitive psychology, human neuroscience, or behavioral economics. Recommended: a familiarity with at least one of cognitive psychology, human neuroscience, or behavioral economics.
ASEM 2406 Myths of Medieval Encounter (4 Credits)
Using three case studies (Vikings, Crusaders, and Conquistadors) this course examines how pre-modern authors shaped the image of Europe by depicting foreign cultures and how we sue the texts of the past to understand not just the cultures they describe, but also the changing face of Europe across the centuries.
ASEM 2407 The Individual in Modern Economies (4 Credits)
This course discusses the role of the individual in modern economies, and the impact that modern economic systems have on individuals and their lives. The course will include objectives that people pursue in societies, and how the structure of the economic system can help or hinder achieving them. To that end, a conceptual understanding of different perspectives on modern economies will be at the center of the class. Those perspectives will be drawn not only from economic concepts in a narrow sense, but also be informed by sociology, political science, and psychology, among other disciplines.
ASEM 2408 Income and Wealth Inequality in the 21st Century (4 Credits)
The work of Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty in the early 2000s revealed that the share of income being captured by the top 1% of income earners has been rising steadily for the past three decades. Their observation was the key stylized fact behind the Occupy Movement rallying cry “We are the 99%!” This seminar on income and wealth inequality takes a closer look at the key empirical discoveries and theoretical insights. In the course of reading Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century and supplemental texts representing multiple traditions and perspectives, students engage critically with these topics and the controversies around them. The objective of this course is for students to leave with an in-depth understanding of issues in income and wealth inequality, the controversies around works like Piketty’s book, and their relevance for the economic and political present.
Enforced Prerequisites: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2409 Performing India: Performance, Ritual, and the Indian Body Politic (4 Credits)
This course explores "performance" as an organizing principle of Indian cultural, political, and religious expression. We delve into the shared poetic and spiritual experience of the performer and spectator as a foundational aspect of performance that fundamentally shapes the Indian body politic. This interaction between spectator and performer functions as a guide trope as we examine the Pan-Indian oral performance tradition through the transmission, rewriting, recasting, regionalization, and politicization of canonical Indian epics, the "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana".
ASEM 2410 Science & Religion in Dialogue (4 Credits)
This course examines the relationship between science and religion. Our key question is “What is the best way to understand or construe this relationship?” We begin by attempting to identify and, then, dispel certain popular “myths” about science and religion. Then we turn our attention to the life, the scientific discoveries, the religious commitments and struggles of Charles Darwin. Darwin’s career is the perfect entry point for considering much broader issues in the relationship between science and religion. Darwin’s evolutionary theory fundamentally shaped modern science. But in so doing it also raised significant challenges to traditional religious belief, particularly in Christian communities of faith. For that reason, Darwin is as controversial today as he was 150 years ago, especially in (tho’ not limited to) America. With that foundation, we shall be in a position to wrestle with a quite recent, thorough-going reassessment of the science/religion debate, one that is both critical and constructive. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2411 Race and the Politics of Punishment (4 Credits)
This course uses perspectives from history and politics to explore questions about race-based practices and policies in contemporary America. One rich lens on these questions is provided by the current of mass incarceration. Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow, argues “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." The course investigates her argument: what would it mean for mass incarceration to be the New Jim Crow? What does that framing reveal, and what does it conceal? Students develop a solid understanding of the origins and consequences of race-based practices and policies (whether explicit or implicit) in American politics, as well as of mass incarceration. Specific examples raise broader questions about racism in American political history, political power, and political change.
ASEM 2412 Emotions in Theatre and the Brain (4 Credits)
This course examines one core aspect of human nature: emotion, exploring its dimensions from the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and theatre.
ASEM 2413 Applied Neural Networks (4 Credits)
Artificial neural networks (ANN) are a set of important technological tools that have a wide array of practical applications, ranging from weather forecasting to engineering. This course defines and explains ANNs and how they have been applied to a wide variety of real phenomena.
ASEM 2414 Wealth, Power & Justice in the European Union (4 Credits)
This course explores the regional integration of Europe in the postwar era. Since the European Union "began" back in 1950, the central question we consider is why states that fought devastating wars for centuries chose to put down their arms and merge their destinies with a common market, single currency, and binding "supranational" legal system. We focus on the evolution of economic and political motivations for integration and the legal pressures that erode state sovereignty today. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2415 Friendships and Communties (4 Credits)
Students will examine traditional understandings of social capital and how we form and maintain relationships for personal, social, and political ends. From this background, students will examine new insights about social capital from an interdisciplinary approach (e.g., evolutionary psychology, philosophy, and anthropology). Finally, students will explore these "new syntheses" in relation to contemporary critical issues that cross race, class, and national borders. Possible examples of such issues include incarceration, homelessness, or the function/effects of social networks like Facebook.
ASEM 2416 France and Germany: From Carnage to Community (4 Credits)
Today, much to the United Kingdom's chagrin, the European Union is dominated by a closely cooperating "dyarchy" of the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Go back a century, however, or two or three, and you find France--whether republic (1909), empire (1809), or kingdom (1709)--preparing for war with Germany (1909) or catching her breath between campaigns against various German states (1809, 1709). Hundreds of years of European history are marked and marred by increasingly devastating collisions between these two proud nations. When we review and appreciate that bloody "back-story," their present harmony, indeed on many important matters their unison, is an astonishing outcome, which this course attempts to explain, examining implications for the future of Europe, of the Western alliance, and of the world.
ASEM 2417 Cultural Dynamics-African American Music (4 Credits)
This course examines the cultural and psychological functions of various genres of African American music both historically and in contemporary society. The course is built around the thesis that various forms of African American music--e.g., the spirituals, the blues, gospel, jazz, rap - have served common functions in the culture historically (even while serving distinctive needs at different points in history), and have all served as core features of both African American culture and, more broadly, American aesthetic sensibility.
ASEM 2418 Innnovation Nation (4 Credits)
An in-depth discussion of the American future, which will be defined for the Millennial generation as one in which a confluence of trends will combine to alter the structure of opportunity. Focus on technological change and who it affects economic and national security, privacy and personal liberty, and employment opportunities. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required before registering for this class.
ASEM 2419 Girl Power: Gender in the Media (4 Credits)
This course employs an interdisciplinary feminist lens to explore the historical construction and meaning of gender and "girlhood" in contemporary American media culture. It explores how the various discourses of girlhood are constructed through media images and stories about female youth in mainstream culture. Students learn and practice different forms of critical writing. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required before registering for this class.
ASEM 2420 The Cultured Ape (4 Credits)
Examines the field of human evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary Psychology examines how human behavior is influenced by our heritage as evolved primates. It challenges the understanding of humans as "blank slates" primarily shaped by their social and cultural environments. The course considers the implications of this perspective for social policy.
ASEM 2421 War and Peace in Japanese Film (4 Credits)
War and Peace in Japanese Film looks at Japanese films of the 20th century as documents of the transformation of Japan from an imperialistic and aggressive state to something quite different. It considers contrasting interpretations of Japanese film, ranging from orientalist stereotyping to postmodern critiques of standard categories. The course examines the work of established directors like Kurosawa and Ozu, but also newer filmmakers and challenges too-narrow cultural preconceptions.
ASEM 2422 Textual Bodies: Discourse and the Corporeal in American Culture (4 Credits)
This course explores how bodies acquire meanings, and how those meanings are created, represented, disseminated, or contested through discursive and embodied means. Course practices include close readings of literary, philosophical and visual texts; creative and auto-ethnographic writing exercises; and in-class dance-based movement drills. Prerequisite: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2423 The American Road Trip (4 Credits)
As Frederick Jackson Turner told us back in the 19th Century, American cultural identity has hinged on the idea of an ever-receding frontier and the possibility of reaching it. We will chart how the road figures as both a promise and a burden, and how it reflects changing social and cultural issues in American life. We will consider documents of fiction, philosophy and history as well as film and aspects of popular culture as we consider the America fascination with the road and the careers of its many and diverse travelers. Enrollment restricted to students in the Honors Program.
ASEM 2424 Poetic Minds (4 Credits)
How do we know who we are? How do we know what is real? How do we decide what is right? In this ASEM, course participants will trace these key questions from Enlightenment philosophy to British Romantic literature and, finally, to their echoes and afterlives in contemporary literature.
ASEM 2425 Humans vs. Machines: When will the Robots Leave Us in the Dust? (4 Credits)
The rise of robotics, automation, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence have widely delivered both positive and negative impacts to our economy and society. On the one hand, robots, machines and complex algorithms have drastically improved production, national outputs and economic growth. On the other hand, they have also displaced jobs, weakened human interactions and substantially altered the nature of work and employer-employee relationship across developed and developing countries. This seminar assesses the rise of technology, the disruptions that it entails and the policies needed to confront those changes. The objective of this course is for students to be informed and engaged with opposing arguments and approaches that characterize the creation, promotion, use and problems created by the current and future waves of technological change. The "replicants" are rising; can the humans fight back?.
ASEM 2426 Narrating Memory, History, Space in the City (4 Credits)
This course draws on a variety of anthropological questions, theoretical approaches, and methodological techniques to examine the city and city life. It begins with the origins and development of cities and the identification of urban areas as sites for investigation in social theory. It next turns attention to exploring how ethnographers link everyday life on the social periphery to larger historical, political, and economic processes. A major course theme is understanding how urban spaces shape identities and communities, and it uses Denver's changing urban landscape to illustrate the theme. The course considers the basic human practice of listening to stories, as well as the meaning of narration in and about the city.
ASEM 2427 Mid-Century Mod, Redrawn (4 Credits)
Studying the art history of the mid-20th Century is not an exercise in nostalgia but a study of the way we think, communicate, and innovate. Artists like Grace Hartigan, Tadeusz Kantor, and El Anatsui illustrate creative labor in a rapidly changing, globalizing world. This course, designed for all majors as part of the advanced seminar common curriculum requirement, takes in part its inspiration from MoMA's initiative Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives, which aims to redraw understandings of modernism within the purview of global art history and larger cultural framework, including social, political, economic, and intellectual. The course reconsiders the 1950s and 1960s and the notion of "modernity" from multiple geographies and identities: Western and Central-Eastern Europe, Latin and North America, and Africa.
ASEM 2428 Religion, Nation, and Money (4 Credits)
Primarily through the lens of Religious Studies, this course, accessible to students from various majors, explores the intellectual history and continued existence of Manifest Destiny in the United States and fosters nuanced perspective concerning the construction of American Identity and U.S. Nationalism. Students examine the relationship between the following: religion and capitalism, religion and national identity, religion and ethnic particularity, religion and race, and religion and armed conflict. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2429 Media Infrastructures and Materiality (4 Credits)
While people often think of the internet as existing over the air and cell phones as untethered allowing fluid mobility, these digital technologies have a physical and material infrastructure. This course examines and interrogates the materiality of digital technology (cell towers, underwater sea cables, data centers, internet cafes, etc.) and explores "the digital" as a feature of the human within social and historical contexts. The course draws on multiple perspectives to examine the intersection of technology and society in everyday lives by using an ethnographic methodology. Participants working in research teams to carry out ethnographic research, media studies research, and interview-based research to produce media products (audio or video documentary, social media campaign, public art installation, website, or so on) to report about a media infrastructure to be shared publicly in Denver. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2430 Romanticism in Germany (4 Credits)
The German Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th-centuries was one of the most exciting and perilous intellectual adventures in the history of western culture. Some of the most daring, creative and prophetic work was done at this time, and it dramatically affected nearly every facet of German culture, inspiring novel, sometimes unprecedented, developments in philosophy, aesthetics, poetry, literature, music and criticism. Nor were these developments limited to German culture, but extended to its politics and efforts to form a unified national front against the deracinating effects of industrialization and modernization. The course traces these developments through an exploration of some of the seminal figures, themes and ideas of the Romantic period, primarily in relation to their intersection with philosophy, politics and art and German history. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2434 American Film Censorship and the Hollywood Production Code (4 Credits)
This course focuses on the evolution of censorship in American cinema and its wider implications. Such focus involves careful examination of the moral, political, and social choices that impact "what" stories can be told and "how" they are told. The course emphasizes critical analyses of how social values and norms influence cinematic storytelling and aesthetics. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2435 Utopia and Dystopia: Brazilian Art & Culture in the Latin American Context (4 Credits)
This course is an interdisciplinary examination of utopia, and its counterpart dystopia, in Brazilian art and culture. “Utopia and Dystopia” traces the history of these concepts through theoretical readings and in-depth analyses of specific projects in Brazilian art, architecture, literature, music, and cinema. Upon successful completion of the course, students understand how these two concepts have shaped Brazilian identities both from within and as imposed by colonialist projects from without. Students develop advanced writing skills by comparing and contrasting different expressions of the utopia/dystopia dichotomy and by analyzing cultural artifacts from several different traditions in Brazil and, more widely, in Latin America.
ASEM 2436 Life and Death (4 Credits)
In this course, students examine several of the moral issues concerning the circumstances under which it is appropriate for humans to bring about life or death. For example, is it morally permissible to bring about, and subsequently destroy, human life in a petri dish? Is it permissible to bring about the death of people who have killed others? We examine and evaluate others' responses to such issues. En route to answering these questions, we pay significant attention to the scientific and empirical factors relevant to which moral responses we should have and to the legal factors determining the actual policies we do have.
ASEM 2437 Rhetorics of Monstrosity (4 Credits)
In this course we will examine how the construct of monstrosity can help us understand societal, political, and cultural meanings around race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Monsters can tell us a great deal about the cultures that produce them, such as their social anxieties and ideological struggles. We will examine monstrosity rhetorically in order to gain tools to critically unpack nuanced and complex issues of power and difference.
ASEM 2438 Music and Language (4 Credits)
Music and language are two of the most complex and powerful communication systems shared by humans globally. Drawing on methods and theories from anthropology, ethnomusicology, cognitive psychology, and literary theory, students in this seminar explore the music-language interface from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives.
ASEM 2439 Music, Politics, and Policy (4 Credits)
Music is often considered a positive, peace-building force in the world. Like all other forms of human expression (e.g., speech, prose), however, music engages with diverse political agendas and ideals, from peaceful humanist ones to violent nationalist ones. This course examines the ways in which politics and policies engage with popular, jazz, folk, and classical musics around the world. Students will explore contemporary and historical cases in which governments and NGOs foster, transform, reject, and otherwise use musics to promote their own ideas about local economies, national cultures, diplomacy, democracy, innovation, cultural diversity, and even criminal law. The course asks how might music and the arts more broadly have a unique role in these contexts? How is artistic expression different from other forms of human expression here? Can music promote peace? Democracy? How? How do governments create local and national music scenes? Which local and national cultures do they promote and protect? To what end? It looks at how the Cuban government has embraced rap music as emblematic of the nation’s revolutionary ethos; how the United States government used jazz as a diplomatic tool during the Cold War; how NGOs in Israel and Palestine used popular and classical musics to promote peace and understanding; how American courts have used rap music as evidence in criminal cases; and how funding and intellectual property laws impact musical ownership, tradition, innovation, and creativity.
ASEM 2440 Traumatic Encounters through the Lenses of Philosophy and Literature (4 Credits)
The course explores the intersection of philosophy and literature in relationship to trauma, art, politics and the modern ecological crisis. The course is divided into three parts, each exploring a way that philosophy and literature address the challenges and dilemmas of our contemporary situation, from questions about human sovereignty, freedom and dignity to questions concerning technology, the natural world and global economic justice. In part one, “Sovereignty and Bare Life,” questions related to state power, love, intergenerational conflict and displacement are explored through consideringShakespeare’s King Lear and Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer. Part two, “Remembering the Future: Trauma and Time’s Remainders,” considers how F. W. J. Schelling’s Ages of the World and Toni Morrison’s Beloved respond to personal and historical traumas, and how these works redefine time, memory and belonging. Part three, “The Ends of the World: Poetry and Philosophy in a Time of Crisis,” confronts the unfolding ecological crisis through an exploration of W. S. Merwin’s poetry and the late, poetically inspired philosophy of Martin Heidegger. The course is multiperspectival in terms of disciplinary and thematic content an in terms of methodology. Readings highlight how concepts, methods and interpretive strategies of philosophy, can augment analysis of literary works, while literature can not only enliven philosophical argument but approach the limits of what can be communicated philosophically.
ASEM 2441 Changing Meaning of Adulthood (4 Credits)
When does a person reach adulthood? Age 18? Age 40? Never? What is adulthood, and how do we measure it? Is it when one's frontal lobe matures, when one starts a family of their own, or simply when one feels "mature"? This class surveys various, competing perspectives on what adulthood means and questions whether adulthood has changed. It approaches adulthood from several disciplinary perspectives, mainly neuroscience, psychology, sociology. Students also engage with the media's angst about Millennials' "failure to adult" by writing Op-eds that draw on academic research. Prerequisites: Completion of all of Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2442 Mental Health from a Public Health Perspective (4 Credits)
This course examines mental health as a public health issue. It addresses a wide range of topics relevant to public mental health care, from the micro-level focus of the psychiatric domain to the macro-level focus of the sociological domain. Particular attention is focused on the structure and function of the mental health care system, the measurement and burden of mental disorder, the social determinants of mental illness, and cross-cultural perspectives on mental health. Also emphasized are the roles that mental health and illness play in un/intentional injury, in the experience of and recovery from disaster, and in the American criminal justice system.
ASEM 2443 "All the world's a stage": Shakespeare Then and Now (4 Credits)
“All the world’s a stage”: Shakespeare Then and Now is an ASEM team-taught by faculty from the Departments of English and Literary Arts and Theatre. It emphasizes close reading, writing and interpretation as well as acting techniques and dramatic performance of selected scenes. The four plays and two contemporary novels based on the plays are chosen to underscore the range and diversity Shakespeare displayed in his choice of plot, setting and character and to demonstrate Shakespeare’s continuing relevance to political, racial, religious and gender issues. Prerequisites: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2444 Colonialism/Race/Decolonization (4 Credits)
This class examines how colonialism and race function as different but interlocking systems that cannot be understood separately. The course examines how the two continue to have an effect on the world and continue to be important to understand global inequalities. The writings of anti-colonial and anti-racist indigenous, black, feminist, and third world intellectuals, along with texts from European figures such as Hobbes, will be used to explore colonialization and racism. Prerequisites: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2445 Freestyle: Technology, Culture, and Improvisation (4 Credits)
This course introduces the recent history of musical and cultural forms devoted to improvisation, including jazz, free music, psychedelic and progressive rock, and jam bands, culminating with a focus on the practice of freestyling within hip-hop. It explores the importance of civil rights and human rights discourses to these musical and cultural forms, as well as the critical role these forms have played in civil and human rights movements. The course emphasizes how diverse subcultures of artists, producers, concert organizers, and audience/listeners form around these types of musical expression. It examines improvisation as a response to emerging technological forms (new musical instruments, recording technologies, concert presentation, accessibility and distribution, particularly those enabled by networking technologies) by which musicians and listeners embody new personal as well as collective identities.
ASEM 2446 Ethics of Creating the Impossible in Modernity and Postmodernity (4 Credits)
In modernity and post-modernity, good intentions have not always led to good results, and even “good” results come with costs. Creating the Impossible turns to ethical studies to analyze the most amazing technological successes--and the social, ecological, and economic costs associated with scientifically and technologically engineering the impossible. Using a case study model covering topics including ecology, biomedical research, enslavement, gender reassignment, urban planning/policing, the technological singularity, internet privacy, contemporary eugenics, and cutting-edge military research and development, this course addresses a central question: “Sure, we can make that happen, but should we?”.
ASEM 2447 Arab Feminisms in Everyday Life (4 Credits)
This course is designed to introduce students to Arab feminism. We use Arab feminism to analyze and reflect on everyday life experiences of Arabs around the world and how they relate to larger political and social structures. Feminism is represented as incompatible with Arab societies. The goal for this class is to engage with texts that privilege Arab feminist perspectives to analyze issues of social and political importance. Further, we focus on texts that resist historical and contemporary Orientalist discourses that directly link Islam to the Middle East and Arab identity. The main objective of this course is to offer an overview of the study of feminism through a non-white and underrepresented positionality taking into account religion, race, class, gender and citizenship. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required before registering for this class.
ASEM 2448 Letters to the History of Photography (4 Credits)
Through presentations, readings and writing assignments, this course advances the multidisciplinary impact of photography and how photography is directly or obliquely linked to all fields of experience and knowledge. The course objectives embrace interdisciplinary learning and promote the premise that absolutely everything is connected. Employing an epistolary approach (wring letters) students respond to weekly assignments by corresponding with a diversity of practitioners and scholars related to the cultural, historical, and scientific evolution of photography. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required before registering for this class.
ASEM 2449 American Material Culture: Honors (4 Credits)
The aim of the class is to engender a richer understanding of everyday life in the United States, both in the past and the present. Material culture around which the course centers is broadly defined and includes settlement structure, architecture, domestic artifacts, art, foodways, and trash disposal. These phenomena are investigated telescopically, as a way to view national structures and trends and, microscopically, to focus on individual actions and lives. Enrollment restricted to students in the Honors Program.
ASEM 2450 Settler Colonialism: Pasts/Presents/Futures (4 Credits)
Informed by work in critical indigenous studies, this course examines settler colonialism as a particular form of colonialism which is not a phenomena of the past but one that is central to the organization of contemporary society. Starting with the theft of indigenous lands, settlers unleashed processes that have had far-reaching impact across several domains. These range from altering the sexual organization of the family and the economic organization of society to the use of technologies and processes developed against indigenous people to oppress non-indigenous racial and other minorities. This class explores all these phenomena starting with the profound life-altering impact that settler-colonialism has for indigenous people and then branches out to explore the place of settlers, non-indigenous people of color, and other minorities in the settler-colonial matrix. Furthermore, the class explores settler colonialism as a transnational phenomenon by looking at other settler-colonial sites such as Palestine/Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. The course ends by considering decolonization as a politics that is committed to indigenous liberation and as an ethic that is both incommensurable with other political projects but can also profoundly transform them. Writing intensive. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2452 Media and Terrorism (4 Credits)
A 2018 Pew national survey showed that Americans rank terrorism as the top priority the U.S. President and Congress should address despite terrorism accounting for 0.05% of deaths worldwide. The media play a role in that disconnect. We live in a world where no single entity can exercise a monopoly over communication channels. Hence, partisan media, ideologically-driven news outlets, social networking sites, and encrypted messaging apps serve as venues harboring polarizing, contested rhetoric that catalyzes fear. This seminar investigates the media-terrorism nexus. The readings, discussions, and writing projects empower students to grasp how the media cover terrorism, violent actors co-opt the media, and various players craft anti-extremism messaging.
ASEM 2453 London and Media: Then and Now (4 Credits)
This seminar explores London's "popular" and "high culture" media in the 19th and 20th centuries. Taking advantage of both the University of Denver's online databases and London library holding, students explore a number of the major 19th century London-based British newspapers and journals that proliferated after the abolition of the Stamp Tax in 1855. Students explore significant differences between popular and high culture in 19th century newspapers and journals that target different audiences. Simultaneously, students read articles from contemporary London newspapers. They have a constant commentary on contemporary issues to counterpoint the 19th century readings. From these parallel readings, students discover not only similarities and differences in key issues but also learn how rhetoric, style, diction and voice differ between 19th- and 20th-century journalism. Class discussions and writing assignments focus on comparisons between 19th- and 20th-century topics, intended readership, style and rhetoric.
ASEM 2454 Psychology of Religious and Spiritual Practices (4 Credits)
This writing-intensive course focuses on understanding religious and spiritual practices integrating multiple sources of information. Examples include meditation, prayer, group worship, psychedelics, and gratitude. Students find and analyze scholarly and non-scholarly information and integrate multiple disciplines and perspectives in understanding these practices. Students communicate and extend their understandings through discussion, writing, and presentation. The goal is for students to gain a deeper understanding of these practices, learn multiple approaches to studying human activities, and improve their writing skills. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2455 Music, Virtuosity, and Value (4 Credits)
This course explores the concept and phenomenon of musical virtuosity across multiple historical and historical contexts. We consider the meanings of musical skill and how debates about virtuosity's merits or dangers reflect aesthetic and ethical values. There are no prior knowledge prerequisites; necessary background information will be presented in the course. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2456 Remembering Medieval Iberia, from 711 to 2020 (4 Credits)
Medieval Iberia was home to Muslims, Christians, and Jews who lived together and interacted in complex ways that were both conflictive and cooperative. This course explores the complexities and contradictions of medieval Iberia by paying particular attention to the divergent ways that the period itself has been understood and instrumentalized in post-medieval times. The course uses a range of disciplinary perspectives, informed by religious studies, literary and cultural studies, history, political science, anthropology, and linguistics, to address some key questions. How has the 'coexistence' of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in Iberia been interpreted in modern times? How do the categories of politics, nationalism, race, language, or faith shape opposing readings of the past? What can medieval Iberia teach us today about the world we live in? Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2457 Bioethics in Today's World (4 Credits)
Bioethics is a field fueled by the need for information, analysis and consultation among policy makers, health-care professionals and institutions. Ethical issues related to scientific research and health care have recently gained much attention, generating significant demand for students and citizens to understand their moral, legal and risk/benefit aspects. This course operates on a cooperative learning basis, using a debate model to inform and involve students in controversies in bioethics. Course readings represent the arguments of leading philosophers and social commentators, treating such topics as death and dying; choices in reproduction; children and bioethics; and genetics. Additionally, the course examines some basic ethics tests: harm/beneficence, publicity, reversibility, code of ethics, and feasibility. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required before registering for this class.
ASEM 2458 Satire in the Arts & Media (4 Credits)
This class explores how satire, in its myriad manifestations, juggles immediacy and universality in the cultures and time periods in which it is born. The course's interdisciplinary nature makes it unique, and its celebration of satire as a discipline that traverses a multitude of forms gives the course an exciting, dynamic quality.
ASEM 2459 Anti-Social Media (4 Credits)
This course addresses the negative effects of our connective technologies. Examining the media landscape of 100 years ago through the lenses of literary analysis, media theory, and history, it presents the 20th-century origins of our concerns with the media "bubble," with the threat that new media pose to democracy, and with loneliness. By grounding the question of media in history and in the disciplined analysis of literary form, this course seeks to generate more effective modes of thinking about the mediated life. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2460 Latina/o Religious Traditions (4 Credits)
This course is organized around the broad question: Is there enough commonality in the texts (including cultural texts) we have studied to organize and name a singular field of social relations we can rightly call "Lainta/o Religion?" This course engages and excites students by enabling them to study religious traditions in an academic place removed from direct faith commitments. Toward this end, we will view art, hear music, watch films and talk to religious leaders.
ASEM 2461 Fairy Tale Morality (4 Credits)
Stories and books for children carry implicit and explicit messages about stereotypes, beliefs and expectations in our culture, and make assumptions about the cognitive, social and emotional maturity of the child. This course explores a range of children's books, examining the cultural messages they send and the assumptions they make about children's development. Selected books will be those written for different ages and cultures, as well as from different historical periods, to highlight how children's literature mirrors and propagates cultural norms. We examine selected works using literary, psychological, sociological and educational perspectives.
ASEM 2462 Psychedelia in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (4 Credits)
This course introduces the history and current status of psychedelic music. In pop, rock, electronic dance music and techno, hip-hop, and other forms, psychedelia is examined as a symptom of and response to emerging cultural, technological, and scientific ways of knowing and being in the world. Particular attention is given to the intersection of contemporary psychedelic research and recent developments in cognitive and computer science, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. Prerequisites: Completion of all other common curriculum requirements.
ASEM 2463 Identity and Politics: Multidisciplinary Approaches (4 Credits)
What is identity? Are some types of identity (e.g., religion or "race") more likely to influence political outcomes than other types of identity (e.g., profession or class)? If so, why? This course introduces three different approaches to the study of identity and politics, including political science, evolutionary psychology (and biology), and comparative historical sociology. We analyze what is useful and problematic about each approach, and use these periods of reflection to hone critical reading, writing, and discussion skills. students walk away from the course with significantly greater insights into the processes by which individuals and societies construct identities, including our conscious social behavior, unconscious cognitive tendencies, and struggles over political institutions and social norms.
Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2465 Environmental Controversies (4 Credits)
This course concentrates on how various political actors and institutions have constructed the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Through important rhetorical texts and controversies in American history, this class critically engages diverse voices and styles of discourse, including those of elected officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, grassroots activists and citizens more generally.
ASEM 2466 When Love Becomes Weapon: Charm in International Relations (4 Credits)
Scholars of international relations have long believed that it is better to be feared than to be loved. However, as America prevailed over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, a new theory emerged: America won simply because it was perceived to be more attractive than the Soviet Union. America won because of its values, not its guns. How might we assess this argument? What goes into the making of American power: missiles or Rock’n’Roll? To what extent has China, among other competitors, challenged American soft power? Where should one draw the line between soft power and propaganda? What is the future of soft power, as countries' pursuits of their national interest often collide with transnational common issues like protecting the environment? This course explores these questions through multiple perspectives drawn not only from political science and history but also from sociology, philosophy, cultural studies/popular culture, and so on. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2467 Queer Memoirs (4 Credits)
The memoir, or the fictionalized autobiography, holds an important place in LGBTQ culture. In some ways it is the most complex and lasting form of coming out, a permanent announcement of the author’s queer identity to a potentially vast audience in a way that allows for intricate explorations of the body, gender, sex, and the self. The course traces the importance and predominance of this queer art form over the past half century, starting with very recent work, such as Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater and Ocean Voung’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and work its way back to earlier work dealing with moments in which homosexuality was still criminalized in Great Britain and the United States, such as James Balwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Quentin Crisp’s Naked Civil Servant.Objects of study will include literary works as well as other art forms, such as the Magnetic Field’s 50 Song Memoir, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Mike Nichols’s adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Such a topic and a trajectory will necessitate an interdisciplinary approach. In examining literary texts, music, film, and other forms of visual arts, the course will approach them with methods drawn from art history, history, legal studies, literature, media studies, music, philosophy, and sociology. Students produce different sorts of writing, including advanced scholarly and creative work. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2468 In Search of Eudaimonia: The Art and Science of Student Wellbeing (4 Credits)
Inspired, in part, by Yale University’s most popular course, “The Science of Wellbeing,” this Advanced Seminar explores current research on health and wellbeing and engages broader questions of how higher education contributes (or doesn’t) to student wellness. The course draws on scholarship from disciplines including health, psychology, philosophy, sociology, and others to explore various wellness approaches. This writing-intensive course includes research-driven projects culminating in proposals to improve student wellbeing. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2469 Imagining the Amazon (4 Credits)
Representations of Amazonia often invoke images of either an earthly paradise or a green inferno. This course begins by challenging students to critically (re)frame their images of the Amazon by underscoring the unequal power dynamics that have come into play whenever outsiders have represented the landscapes and the peoples of Amazonia over the past 500 years. Using a variety of theoretical paradigms, students in this course study representations of Amazonia created both by indigenous writers and activists, as well as several widely disseminated (and critically heralded) novels, films, and journalistic essays created by 'outsider' authors and auteurs from Latin America, the U.S., and Europe.
ASEM 2470 Words, Music and Social Change (4 Credits)
Words, Music and Social Change" examines how critical conflicts in several countries and historical time periods can be understood by studying music and musical performances in those places and time. The course focuses on song performances and videos in relation to societal changes. Among conflicts explored are the American civil rights movement, immigrant issues, the crisis of AIDS, the South African revolt against British diaspora, Russian youth embrace of the Beatles, and the role of singing in Estonian to independence from Russia. In addition to the music itself, primary and secondary source readings articulate the power of songs to elicit societal change. Prerequisites: completion of all other common curriculum requirements.
ASEM 2472 Islamic Art and Mysticism (4 Credits)
This course introduces Islamic art and architecture, focusing on appreciating and understanding formal qualities of works of art, their meaning, and their cultural significance in larger contexts. The course discusses the intimate connections between art, literature, and historical events, with readings that include texts in art history, Middle Eastern history, the rise of Islam, and translated literature. The course includes units in Painting and Literature, Early Islamic Literature and Material Culture, and Islamic Mysticism and the Arts. Like all ASEM courses, Islamic Art and Mysticism is writing intensive. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2473 Climate Science and Policy (4 Credits)
Climate Science and Policy (CSP) addresses the scientific principles and data that show the climate is changing and that humans are causing a significant portion of that change. CSP also addresses the nature of the current American discourse on climate change and climate policy. CSP finally provides students with the opportunity to suggest ways out of our present policy paralysis, with prescriptions that address the current scientific findings and principles, economic realities and American policy practices.
ASEM 2474 Media & Democratization: A Comparative Perspective (4 Credits)
This class treats the media as a crucial linkage institution between state and society. It examines the interactions between the media (as a socially constructed functional group) and their larger political, social and economic environments. It also explores the relations that govern these interactions.
ASEM 2475 U.S. Immigrant Narratives (4 Credits)
U.S. migrant narratives tell a story about nation-building, citizenship, and globalization. This course explores the diverse ethno-racial experiences of migration in the 20th and 21st century through literature and film. Course readings provide a nuanced lens for considering the broader policies and discourses on nativism, immigration law, media representations, and border fortification. What do these stories tell us about the past, present, and future of migration/immigration? How are these narratives encoded with popular and political practices and discourses? How do these stories disrupt, challenge, or consolidate these discourses? Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2476 Capital Punishment (4 Credits)
This course draws on research from multiple academic disciplines to examine the following: (1) the history of capital punishment in America (temporal trends, public opinion, landmark Supreme Court cases and the impact on parties); (2) the case against capital punishment (race, class, gender, cost, juror qualification, juror error and innocence); and (3) the case for capital punishment (deterrence, incapacitation, quelling vigilantism and retribution). Most students have an opinion on capital punishment despite limited knowledge. Regardless of whether a student is in favor of capital punishment or opposed, the course is exciting and challenging because the student is forced to question and perhaps even reconsider her/his opinion in light of the evidence.
ASEM 2479 Environmental Culture in East Asia (4 Credits)
This course explores current environmental and ecological challenges in major East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan through the lens of ancient and contemporary cultural and philosophical traditions. The course examines 1)primary traditional Asian philosophic and religious concepts about Nature, such as Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, as well as traditional literatures and arts that reflect those concepts; 2)contemporary eco-literature and eco-cinema that function as responses to, and critical reflections of, the urgent environmental crises in those countries; 3)cultural practices that are officially, communally, or privately implemented for eco-preservation and environmental-protection. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2481 Witchcraft & Renaissance Drama (4 Credits)
Witchcraft and Renaissance Drama traces how the rise of the witchcraft panic in England is reflected in and fueled by several venues of cultural production in England from 1558-1621. The course takes an historical journey through the laws against witchcraft, the witch trial transcripts, the emerging gender pamphlet wars and the popular drama as all manifestations of how the metaphor of witchcraft served to address several cultural fears of the transition between Early Tudor, Late Elizabethan and Early Jacobean to explore how the drama both responded to and shaped the development of the Witch craze.
ASEM 2482 Africa (4 Credits)
In this course, we study the literature, politics and culture of Africa from pre-colonial times to the present. We begin by examining Africa as the locus of the world's oldest civilization and by discussing some key moments in African history. We then focus on the four regions of Africa, on country- or region-based examples of culture and politics in Africa--such as colonial rule in East Africa, war of independence in North Africa, military rule in West Africa, Apartheid in Southern Africa. We also discuss Africa and the world, or Africa in the context of modern-day globalization. In each case, we discuss historical accounts and literary representations as well as political and cultural contexts.
ASEM 2483 Beyond Play: Board Games as Social Texts (4 Credits)
Since the early 2000s, board and tabletop games have experienced a renaissance of sorts in sales and popularity. These games and the contexts in which they exist and are played provide interesting foci for cultural study and production. This ASEM focuses on possibilities and implications within the realm of physical games. It complicates traditional understandings of understand gaming or “play” in the sense of diversion, a framework in which games are viewed mostly as sold through major markets as tools for fun. This course values that form of cultural meaning but pushes class members to study and make games that serve different purposes. The course examines cultural and psychological studies of games and players, histories of gaming, statistical modeling, rhetoric and other topics and disciplinary lenses. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2484 Culture of Desire (4 Credits)
How does desire shape the identity of a culture or society, how is it expressed, and how is it limited? This course examines four different postulated societies to see how they shape their gendered desire. Using queer theory and its impact on interpreting the body and its limitations and freedom, the course examines questions raised by these future imaginings, testing them in applications to contemporary society and our understanding of ourselves. This course brings together literature, sociology, anthropology, linguistics in queer journey through reality and the imagination. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2485 Sustainable Living (4 Credits)
In light of today's global environmental exigencies, and in keeping with the university's new sustainability priorities, this course challenges students to work out the sustainable provisioning of shelter, power, water and food at the residential level. In this course, students examine the ways in which our current practices are unsustainable, explore more sustainable alternatives (some very old, some very new), and explore the politics and policies that hinder or help the movement toward these more sustainable alternatives. Material is presented in the form of readings, some field trips and campus walks, and some hands-on learning in workshops.
ASEM 2486 Chaucer's London (4 Credits)
This course is a study of the medieval London - the people, customs and social order--by looking through the lens of the great satirist of the fourteenth century, Geoffrey Chaucer. We read a few of the Canterbury Tales and some medieval documents that give a fuller picture of medieval London. Our focus is on seeing the medieval origins of the modern city, and comparing the medieval cosmopolitan city with the cosmopolitan city of the early twenty-first century. In addition to reading original documents and secondary research on medieval London, we take virtual trips to Canterbury, the medieval university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, the medieval cites of York and Norwich, the Museum of London, and learn about the historical significance of the Tower, Westminster Abbey, Guildhall, Inns of Court, and St. Bartholomew-the-Great.
ASEM 2487 Environmental Issues in Italy (4 Credits)
This course explores the geography of Italy from the cities to the coasts with a specific focus on environmental issues. From the more highly urbanized and industrial north to the more rural and agrarian south, Italy's regions display fascinating contrasts in physical geography, population, culture, politics, and economic/social development. Within each of the regional contexts, a focus on the cities reveals insights into the nature of the Italian urban landscape, while discussion of environmental issues in both urban and rural settings highlights the importance of sustainable development in Italy.
ASEM 2488 Exploring Contemporary Art "in situ (4 Credits)
Exploring Contemporary Art "in situ" is an exploration of contemporary artworks situated in galleries, museums, and public sites in greater Denver. Students will closely observe artworks by various living artists and read them as primary texts to which they will respond with their own writings in contemporary social media. The course will meet on location at least once each week to be in the presence of the source art works.
ASEM 2490 Politics of Rights (4 Credits)
This course explores the relationship between politics and rights from a comparative perspective.
ASEM 2491 Art and the Environment (4 Credits)
This course takes an historic approach to a discussion of art and the environment. While certainly we could go back to the integration of art and its environs in the Prehistoric period, this class focuses on the contemporary art world.
ASEM 2492 Animals and Human Societies (4 Credits)
This course considers human-animal relationships from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Focusing on Western Europe and America, we explore the many ways in which people interact with non-human species--killing them for pleasure, eating them, observing them and caring for them--and the effects of these interactions on both animals and people. Thinking about animals sheds light on crucial issues in today's society, with implications for everything from environmental change to the impact of consumer culture to the ethics of euthanasia.
ASEM 2493 Caring in a Capitalist Economy (4 Credits)
How does a good society address the needs of members of that society who cannot fully take care of themselves? Does caring have a place in our capitalist economy? Do we organize the provision of care in a just way? How do we balance our caregiving responsibilities in our daily lives? Through course lecture, discussion and community caregiving, we explore these challenging questions using insight from economists, philosophers, sociologists and others to help us better understand how we provide care within our capitalist economy.
ASEM 2494 Global Ecology of America (4 Credits)
Ecology is the science of interconnections, and "The Global Ecology of America" encourages students to think anew about the ways the United States interconnects with the rest of the world. As the word "ecology" suggests, our primary focus is on environmental interconnection. This class is concerned with both communities and environments. It seeks to make students more aware of the essential links between the two, and it also seeks to shed light on the often unseen or ignored ways our lives, as Americans, shape--and are in turn shaped by--the lives of other people in other places all around the planet.
ASEM 2499 Mountains: Ecology, Imagination, Aesthetics, and Challenges (4 Credits)
Why are people drawn to mountains? What geological and biological features account for our interest, and how might the psychology and philosophy of aesthetics explain why mountains have multiple uses and effects, recreational to religious? How have writers, artists, filmmakers, climbers, skiers, and hikers historically represented mountain experiences? And what are the economic and ecological consequences of all this attention? Can we “ruin” mountains? This writing-intensive course addresses these complex questions through multiple perspectives drawn from the several disciplines noted above. Equally complementing scholarly readings are several popular personal and creative works: films, stories, adventure memoirs, diaries, and so on. Course may include, when circumstances permit, field experiences in the Colorado Rockies and archival work at the American Alpine Club Library in Golden. This ASEM course is open and accessible to advanced undergraduates from all majors, regardless of experience and academic background. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2501 The Addictive Self (4 Credits)
This course examines the interconnections between addiction and the formation of the sense of self or "self-identity." Students construct a working theory of addiction in relationship to selfhood, considering narratives of addiction, and explore the stories not only of alcoholism and drug addiction, but also of food and "process" addictions. The course explores the texts and issues involved from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including especially those of psychology, sociology, psychoanalysis, literary criticism cultural theory and philosophy.
ASEM 2502 Fictitious Ecologies: Envisioning Provisioning Through Science Fiction (4 Credits)
This course uses science fiction to examine some of humankind’s social and ecological ills through multiple perspectives and disciplines. These include environmental science, ecology, ecocriticism, and science fiction, especially its history, genres, and topics, for example, climate fiction (cli-fi), Afrofuturism, cyberpunk, indigenous epistemologies, ecodystopias, and post-apocalypses. The course also includes different paradigms of economic analysis, including ecological, feminist, and institutional. A goal of the course is to envision future provisioning possibilities that are in line with Earth System stabilization and reducing social disharmony. As an ASEM, the course is writing intensive. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2503 AIDS: Then and Now (4 Credits)
HIV/AIDS is for the most part forgotten in the developed world; it has morphed into a manageable chronic disease. But it has not disappeared, and it has had an enormous impact on our lives and identities. This course will examine the ongoing cultural legacy of HIV/AIDS, concentrating on activist movements in the United States, followed by an examination of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa today. This course brings together biology, literature, sociology, and linguistics in a queer journey through the impact of HIV/AIDS. As an Advanced Seminar, this course is writing-intensive, and you will be working on your written expression during the quarter. Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2504 Land and Law in Africa: The Politics of Land Acquisition and Distribution (4 Credits)
In settler colonies in Southern and East Africa, millions of African people were displaced from the land on which they had lived for centuries to make way for European settlement and agriculture. In the postcolonial era, these countries have attempted to redress these legacies by legally redistributing land from the descendants of white farmers to Black farmers and shareholders, with controversial results. Focusing on Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, this class considers the histories of precolonial systems of land tenure and the colonial legal mechanisms enforced in the often-forced acquisition of land, and how contested meanings over land to different communities are articulated in the postcolonial world in considering who the land belongs to today. Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2505 Early Social Experiences and Health Throughout the Lifespan (4 Credits)
This writing-intensive course focuses on how social experiences during infancy, childhood, and adolescence influence mental and physical health throughout the lifespan. It covers social experiences broadly, including close relationships, neighborhood-level factors, policy, built environments, and social stress, among others. It discusses the positive and negative experiences that can shape development directly and indirectly, and students innovate ways to enhance the public good through applying research. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2506 Creativity (4 Credits)
The course inspires students to be creative in all facets of life and provides extensive practice, with feedback, in being creative through daily class activities, outside-of-class writing assignments, and class presentations. Students learn the classic techniques for getting novel ideas as well as how to navigate the obstacles that so often restrict creative expression. Students learn how to be creative in a wide variety of different genres so as to fashion their own personal styles.
ASEM 2507 Earth Sound - Earth Listening (4 Credits)
This course is an environmental humanities seminar that takes an art/science approach to the study of ecoacoustics: the relationship between human beings and their environment through sound. The seminar approaches ecoacoustics through sound studies and ecological sciences. It emphasizes transdisciplinary problem-solving and developing proficiencies in critical dialogue. The course introduces ecoacoustic literacy as an exemplary art/science toolkit for understanding noise pollution and acoustic ecology extinction as emerging environmental crises, and it develops the case for preserving personal, societal and biospheric spaces. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2508 The Cinematic Essay (4 Credits)
As an Advanced Seminar, The Cinematic Essay is a creative and critical praxis course which focuses on formal and thematic analysis of documentary films from a wide range of international directors for the purpose of developing new methods of visual written work. Directors include filmmakers like Dziga Vertov, Anges Varda, Farrough Farakzad, Chris Marker, Abas Kiarostami, John Akomfrah, Ari Folman, and Chantal Akerman. Students watch films, read theory related to both cinematic technique and lyric essay, write both critical and creative short assignments, with the goal toward transferring cinematic documentary techniques and cinematic theoretical approach into creative, nonfiction essays, developed in a workshop environment. The course also promotes cultural knowledge, investigates hidden biases, and explores culture privilege. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2509 Communication and Production of Cultures (4 Credits)
Profound changes in the last two decades on the global, national and local scales have brought about a collapse in people’s traditional sources of self-definition, notably those ethnic, racial, geographic, sexual and national bases of group belonging and identity. Given such undermining of the old certainties, answers to the question "Who am I?" have become more tenuous, if not totally "up for grabs." Fragmentation of identities, ethnic conflict, social alienation and a loss of a sense of grounding are only some of the noted hallmarks of the present time. This course is designed to address the implications of this shift in signification--from identity to difference--for the dynamics of identity formation and the search for alternative bases for consensus-formation in the new millennium.
ASEM 2510 India: Caste/race/religion (4 Credits)
India: Caste/race/religion explores the idea that caste is the foundational structure of Indian society and that all the modern problems that plague India—casteism and untouchability, the genocidal treatment of Dalits and Muslims, the degradation of women and queer people, communalism, and the systematic disenfranchisement of a majority of Indian society, to name a few—have their foundations in caste. We will also pay special attention to how progressive movements founded on anticaste values have challenged social exclusion by drawing upon indigenous and other liberatory philosophical traditions.
ASEM 2511 Race, Class and Gender (4 Credits)
Issues of race, class and gender are of salient importance as the population demographics of the United States have shifted dramatically over the last decade. The experience of working and living in isolation from people different from oneself will be increasingly rare in the years ahead. In this course, using a multidisciplinary anthology of essays as the primary text, the focus is on the psychological experience of intercultural discourse that stems from the intersection of race, class and gender in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century.
ASEM 2512 Humor Theory and Application (4 Credits)
Students in this course study psychology of humor and practice skills in comedic performance. Students learn the psychological theories of humor and apply these theories to the work of a variety of comedians and humorists and to satires or parodies, such as mockumentaries. Additionally, students analyze humor from a cross cultural perspective and learn about humor and laughter research in experimental psychology. As the ability to understand and use humor appropriately is a key component of interpersonal and occupational success, this course additionally helps students recognize and develop their own humor styles.
ASEM 2513 Constructing Freedom and Bondage (4 Credits)
Historically, claims about what it means to be free -- or even human -- have been made through discourses about enslavement and imprisonment; some have used bondage as a trope to explore philosophical or artistic projects, while others have used it to interrogate the assumptions of various political and economic paradigms. Others, still, have used these tropes as a means of advocating for social change, notably through slavery and prison abolition movements. This course examines how writers such as Hegel, Frederick Douglass, Angela Davis, and Dylan Rodríguez define the relationship between freedom and bondage, and it examines the stakes of those definitions for an American ethos deeply invested in the concept of freedom. The course uses frameworks of critical discourse analysis to consider peer-reviewed scholarship, political speeches, reality TV, music videos, and documentary films. The course also explores conceptions of civic identity in the United States. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2516 Do the Wicked Prosper? (4 Credits)
This course revolves around a question, which is famously quoted from the Bible, "Why do the wicked prosper?" The quotation presupposes that the wicked do prosper, but many strands of human thought challenge the supposition. This course examines the students' reactions to this question and leads them to approach the question and their reactions to it from a variety of academic perspectives.
ASEM 2517 Prostitutes of the Pen and Novel: 18th Century Women Novelists (4 Credits)
In Seductive Forms (1986), leading feminist scholar Ros Ballaster famously coined the phrase “prostitutes of the pen” to describe the common perception regarding the first English professional female authors of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It encapsulates the cultural conditions with which women had to contend and their ex-tremely limited options for earning a living. We will trace the social, economic, and histor-ical issues with which English society, particularly the women of the eighteenth century, faced. The eighteenth century witnessed the rise of capitalism, trade, the merchant class, and with these various developments also saw “the separation of spheres”—the domestic from the public. This separation of the domestic from the public constructed a division between men and women, whereby men ruled the public world: economy, politics, and education, and women were relegated to the home and excluded from the public sphere. One of the major effects of this division was the lack of professional opportunities for women. Other than acting as domestic servants, there was little chance for financial inde-pendence. Therefore, these “prostitutes of the pen” were true pioneers, women who creat-ed a profession for themselves and a way to survive. Beginning with these early British novelists, this course intends to investigate the history and work of English women writ-ers in the eighteenth century, extending to the end of the century. Additionally, this course seeks to explore women’s history in the eighteenth century—their educational and professional opportunities and the ways in which patriarchy, property, and English law affected women and informed their fictional works. Moreover, this course will assess how novels afforded these women authors a voice of protest as well as at times becoming a voice of consent within popular culture.
ASEM 2518 Exploring Italy (4 Credits)
This class combines a seminar meeting throughout fall quarter with two weeks travel to Italy following exams. Students focus on the art and literature of Rome, Florence and Venice in preparation for their travels. Students concurrently enroll in Excavating Italy (ARTH 2613 or ENGL 2613) as a co-requisite.
ASEM 2519 Music of Southeast Asia (4 Credits)
This course examines traditional, popular, and diasporic musical genres in Southeast Asia, using that lens to explore more broadly how music and culture interact on a critical global scale, drawing on histories of colonialism and power. From Javanese court gamelan, to Thai Luk Thung, and from karaoke among immigrant Vietnamese communities in the United States, to Malaysian shadow puppet theater, the course explores the varied and diverse region that is Southeast Asia. It examines both classical and popular musical traditions, approaching music not from a music theory perspective, but rather from an ethnomusicological standpoint – drawing on cultural studies, history, sound studies, critical theory, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies. Content includes music and performances, academic articles, first-hand accounts, and documentary films, focused on topics in music, dance, genocide, and social and political movements. Students will develop writing, listening, thinking, and oral skills. No formal music training or previous musical experience is required for this course. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2520 Contemporary Theory and Art (4 Credits)
This course examines continually changing theoretical perspectives that have influenced culture, using artworks and artists to understanding those theories and their influences on creation and interpretation. A larger concern is how these perspectives affect contemporary world views and how we have arrived in the current cultural climate; to those ends, the course offers a broad overview from Enlightenment thought through Postmodernism. While these theories circulate among various discourses in philosophy, physics, sociology, psychology and politics, the main focus and example is how art and culture have moved through this epoch. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2521 Representations of Youth: The Case of Italian Fiction (4 Credits)
This class explores broad questions about the representation of youth and adolescence, using the lens of fictional representations of youth in Italian literature and cinema of the 20th and 21st century, especially contemporary Italy. In addition to studying novels and films, the course will feature historical and sociological sources (including from youth studies), and will provide tools for a methodological approach to storytelling. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2522 Social Change and Interview-Based Theatre (4 Credits)
This course is an exploration of the theory, techniques and processes used to create interview-based theatre. This course will explore both the theoretical and practical side of this specific theatre form. Students will read, analyze and reflect on past examples of interview-based theatre in order to gain a stronger sense of the ethics, limitations, possibilities and aesthetics that impact this particular theatre practice. In addition to the theoretical, students will have the opportunity to craft an interview-based play as groups in class, based on an exploration of the theme of their choosing. In a small group, students will craft interview questions, facilitate interviews, transcribe interviews, craft a script and have a staged reading of the final text. Additionally, students will write short reflections and a final paper. The objective of this course is to provide students, regardless of previous experience, with a deeper understanding of how to tell stories using interview as data - through a practical and analytical lens. This course will give students a general and specific understanding of the creative process used to produce an interview-based play as well as give them an opportunity to critique and analyze the form.
ASEM 2524 Paranormal Phenomena (4 Credits)
Whether paranormal phenomena exist is an open and controversial question. "Believers" are convinced the evidence in support of paranormal phenomena is compelling, if not indisputable. "Skeptics" believe that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and that the evidence for paranormal phenomena is nowhere near extraordinary, if it exists at all. This course examines the evidence for and against the reality of paranormal phenomena.
ASEM 2525 Expressive Culture in Everyday Life (4 Credits)
This class examines expressive culture as a site for analyzing the role of concepts like aesthetics, creativity and style in our daily lives. The seminar will explore the importance and meanings of expressive cultural forms, such as music, dance, theater, festival, narrative, in a variety of cultural contexts and which contribute to group solidarity and cohesion.
ASEM 2526 Communication in Close Relationships (4 Credits)
Communication in Close Relationships emphasizes the relationship between the self and others at a personal level. We examine research from a variety of disciplines, including communication, psychology, sociology, family studies and history, to increase our understanding of relationships from diverse perspectives. The three main perspectives we investigate show how relationships affect and are affected by their context, the individuals involved and the relational system. The goals of this course are for students to increase their understanding of relationships from diverse perspectives; evaluate critically the information about relationships that we encounter in our everyday lives; ask and investigate questions about real-life relationships; and communicate insights into communication and relationships in a variety of formats.
ASEM 2527 Life's Aim (4 Credits)
How do our everyday activities and our short-term goals, like graduating from college and finding a job, fit together with some of our less concrete and more long-term concerns like finding happiness and meaning in our lives? Is there some way to understand our daily activities as coherent with and supportive of these overarching goals? Using philosophical, literary, psychological and economic texts, this course consists of an examination of the conceptual dichotomy of means vs. ends and the role that it plays in our analysis of human activity.
ASEM 2529 Analyzing the American Dream - Expressionist Film in 1950's Hollywood (4 Credits)
This course focuses on the output of a few Hollywood directors (primarily Ida Lupino, Nicholas Ray and Douglas Sirk) who seem to reflect the dominant ideologies of post-war Hollywood. On the surface, their films celebrate middle-class success, a simple American can-do attitude and, most important for this class, characters who seem to reestablish pre-war expectations of femininity and masculinity. Rules of femininity, masculinity and sexuality are a constant focus for these directors, and each has his or her own approach to exploring the repercussions of strict gender assignment.
ASEM 2530 Deportation Nation (4 Credits)
The U.S. is engaged in the greatest mass deportation in its history. This course examines the evolution of deportation laws, their functions, and their effects. Controversies related to undocumented migration will be explored from multiple perspectives and through experiential learning activites. Students will develop evidence-based ideas for effective and humane reform.
ASEM 2531 Culture of Desire (4 Credits)
Sex--we talk about it all the time. Talk shows, online, in magazines, in plays and music, sex shows up everywhere. Why do we expend so much energy on something that, in most cultures, isn't really discussed much in public? And what is sex, exactly? How do we define it? How do we legitimize sex, and why have we decided to categorize people as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual..? What structures have we developed to make us conform to those categories, and what discrepancies have we chosen to ignore? Why is it problematic to base arguments about relationships on historical evidence? In this course, students find out answers to these questions, answers that will lead to even more questions and problems.
ASEM 2532 Death & Dying in Hindu Traditions (4 Credits)
This course explores the meanings of death and dying in Hindu perspectives. The inevitability of death has led cultures throughout the world to speculate on what happens to the individual during, at the moment of, and after death. Until the modern period, religions have typically been the first or only place where people turned for answers to basic questions of existence: What happens at death? Will I and the people I love disappear forever? Or will we continue on after death in some way? Is this the only life we have? What is the relationship between the life we lead now and what happens at and after death? These kinds of universal questions have led to culturally specific and conditioned answers and speculations, some of which we will examine in this course.
ASEM 2534 Trade Wars and Agreements (4 Credits)
Trade between nations and its governance are as old as the history of interaction among human beings. But they have gone through major changes throughout the history since changing economic and geopolitical conditions have long challenged the international system of trade governance. This course investigates the evolution of international trade agreements as well as wars. It is about an inquiry of trade wars and agreements in the context of case studies (such as the 2018 US-China trade war) from a political economy perspective. Have the parties involved in trade been (un)fair to each other (e.g., China vs. the U.S.)? Are they (e.g., the U.S. and China) so interdependent that they must resolve trade conflicts? These questions remain valid even when countries reach a trade agreement. The course addresses those questions from the perspectives of various fields such as economics, political science, history, and cultural studies, and it illustrates the effects of trade wars on ordinary citizens. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2535 The Multiracial Individual (4 Credits)
This course explores the historical racial tensions in the U.S. that have made it difficult to acknowledge the reality of multi-racial peoples in its midst, and traces the trends in culture and national consciousness that made it possible for a change to occur in the 2000 census. We survey the varying ways in which multiracial people have been regarded by the larger society in different social contexts, as well as the ways in which the sociological, psychological and political dynamics of multiracial identity have changed over time and have impacted the experience of multiracial people themselves.
ASEM 2537 Politics and Art (4 Credits)
From the political monuments of the Roman Empire to the installation of Kehinde Wiley’s Rumor of War in Richmond, Virginia, near several confederate statues, art and artists have shaped the way many interpret and react to important historical and current events. This course evaluates a broad range of imagery, focusing on the artists’ choices for representation, the cultural climate of the time period in which the art was created, and the political influence of the resulting imagery. The course, drawing on art history/theory, political science, cinema studies, history, and other fields, explores issues of repatriation of artworks, political bans of imagery, photographic manipulation, and political portraiture. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2538 Critical Animal Studies (4 Credits)
Critical Animal Studies will analyze a range of approaches to human and nonhuman animal relationships from the disciplines of philosophy, zoology, literature, art history, and media studies. Students will critically analyze a variety of disciplinary approaches to animal subjects, and reflect on their personal values, lifestyles, and identities as human animals.
ASEM 2539 Health, Media and the Self (4 Credits)
What are cultural beliefs about health, about prevention and about risk? We focus on how culture, media, peers, medical professionals and family influence how we construct and define health and the many key concepts scholars have linked to the notion of being healthy, preventing ill health and pursuing good health. We also examine the impact and function of these definitions on our everyday lives by exploring what health perceptions have to do with one's self concept, identity, self esteem, relationships, expectations, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
ASEM 2540 Culture, Media and Power (4 Credits)
Often, films, television programs (both entertainment and journalistic), print journalism and advertising are viewed as having the inherent power to shape the individual's values and beliefs about the identity of one's self as well as that of others. The cultural studies' perspective of this course takes the position that the power to shape values about identity is not solely the providence of cultural texts, but stems from the complex intersection of media institutions, various social groups and the interpretive process. This class explores how various forms of textual, interpretive, social and economic power come to bear on the production of different kinds of cultural media texts and the range of possible meanings about identity available within them. By the end of the course, students should be able to critically analyze the links between various media texts and messages and the definition of their self-identity.
ASEM 2541 Engaged Learning Portfolios: A Pilot Course in Synthesizing Curricular and Co-Curricular Learning (4 Credits)
In this pilot offering of ASEM, students investigate their curricular and co-curricular experiences at DU through the lenses of engaged pedagogy, community engagement, and the public good. They consider the purposes and implications of a liberal arts education in relation to these complex and diverse experiences. Students discover and articulate connections between their various Common Curriculum courses and their experiences beyond the classroom, including study abroad and internships. The main course project requires students to analyze and synthesize artifacts of their learning to create a digital portfolio. This course is conducted primarily in a workshop format.
ASEM 2542 Knowledge and Ignorance in Contemporary Scientific Practice (4 Credits)
Over the last few decades, an increasing number of scientists, philosophers, historians, and sociologists have emphasized that the traditional depiction of science as a progressive accumulation of true - or approximately true - descriptions is an oversimplification. We have come to realize that the right kind of ignorance and failure can truly be a gateway to success, to deeper understanding. But how is this possible? What kind of failure can be turned into knowledge? How does science deal with ignorance? How does one use ignorance to its advantage? This course provides a long answer to these questions. Specifically, it recasts some classic philosophical issues by bringing attention to a widespread scientific practice that can be aptly called "black-boxing." The course examines and illustrates these issues with some prominent episodes in the history of science, from fields ranging from biology and psychology to economics. Beyond completing the Common Curriculum, there are no prerequisites for this course, which is introductory in character, presupposes no previous acquaintance with philosophy, the natural sciences, or the social sciences, and is entirely self-contained.
ASEM 2543 Sound and Music in Early Modern England (4 Credits)
Imagine waking to the sound of bells, getting the latest news and gossip via song, singing bawdy rounds at the tavern, or gathering in a secret location to hear forbidden music. This course examines the profound cultural changes taking place in seventeenth-century England and the English empire and how music reflected and helped create these transformations. It considers religious extremism, colonialism, political and scientific revolutions, and their connection to our own political and cultural conflicts. No prior music experience required.
ASEM 2545 Medievalism in Music and Popular Culture (4 Credits)
This course explores the phenomenon of medievalism—that is, the perception and representation of medieval culture in post-medieval eras—and examines its impact on Western (that is, primarily European-derived and influenced) popular cultures, especially in music. The course examines ways that artists past and present have used images of the medieval past to connote authenticity, spirituality, liberty, virtue, class, gender, race, rebellion, democracy, alienation, horror, romanticism, and magic. Sites of medievalism discussed in the course include novels, films, operas and musical theatre, folk songs, visual art and architecture, politics (including disturbing elements such as fascist and white supremacist movements), hip-hop, new media, and digital cultures that draw on medievalism. As are all ASEM courses, this one is writing-intensive. Enforced Prerequisites and Restrictions: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. However, students may enroll under special circumstances with prior permission of the instructor.
ASEM 2546 Gender and Power in Africa (4 Credits)
This course explores how gender relations are enacted in Africa, including how those relations were (and are) impacted by colonial and post-colonial influences of western powers. The course examines multiple beliefs, attitudes, symbols, behavior and actions that define women and men in various African societies, in ways that are not binary or polar, but rather situational and dynamic. Illustrations of these issues are drawn from ethnographies, movies, novels and so on. The course employs mainly anthropological perspectives and research, but it also includes historical and literary materials. Completion of all other Common Curriculum is required before students can register for this course.
ASEM 2547 Writing About Music in the 21st Century (4 Credits)
Students analyze music from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including historical, political, and sociological approaches, and then learn to write about music in genres ranging from album reviews, musician and/or scene profiles, cultural criticism, liner notes, music blogs, performance reviews, and personal essays. Students read nonfiction about music, attend concerts, and research musicians, their music, and musical communities. With an eye toward broader publication, students craft and share their findings with public audiences. Course texts such as How to Write About Music will be supplemented by historical and theoretical readings and by works from music writers like Lester Bangs, Amiri Baraka, Jeff Chang, Gerald Early, bell hooks, Amanda Petrusich, Ellen Willis, and so on.
ASEM 2548 Critical Consumer Culture (4 Credits)
Students will engage in critical analysis of consumer culture, with a focus on how media, social media, advertising, spectacles/mega-events, and consumption spaces are a part of meaning-making in everyday life. In addition to reading historical and contemporary research articles about many facets of advertising and consumption, students will conduct their own analysis and write about various practices that make up this culture. To the extent possible, students will approach the study of consumer culture in the United States as if they were anthropologist or ethnographers, attempting to 'make strange' a set of familiar spaces and practices around consumption.
ASEM 2550 Music, Gender, and Sexuality (4 Credits)
Can music express gender and sexual identities? When a small group of scholars tenaciously raised this question in the 1990s, it created a contentious moment in the study of music history. Students will trace this lively debate through seminal interpretations of classical and popular music while honing listening and interpretive skills. Prior study of music is not required.
ASEM 2555 India and Historical Film (4 Credits)
This is a course that utilizes films, fiction and writings of professional historians to explore themes in Indian society and culture such as the colonizer 'self' and the colonized 'other', the mechanisms of difference whether based on race, gender or religion, the processes of identity formation through national movements or community ties, real or imagined, and the quest for modernity through economic development and societal reform.
ASEM 2556 Social Media (4 Credits)
Social media enable individuals to create, collaborate, and share messages with networks of all sizes. They are also tools for surveillance that are radically changing how governments and corporations engage with publics, challenging long established notions of privacy, freedom, and civil liberties. This course introduces students to the historical, economic, legal, and cultural context of social media and explores the ways we shape and are shaped by these emergent and ever-changing tools.
ASEM 2557 Body & Sexuality in Religion (4 Credits)
This course examines the unique place of the body in biblical religion. We ask how the Bible and its interpreters have shaped current views on sex and the gendered body in Western society. How has the Bible been (mis)used in relation to current understandings of the physical body? Is the saying that a "human" does not have a body, but is a body as true for the Hebrew Bible as the Christian New Testament? How has Judaism and Christianity (de)valued sexuality, procreation and celibacy? How do the biblical traditions shape our modern opinions about the ideal physical body and body modification? How can we understand "out-of-body" experiences and notions of death and afterlife in Western religion? Students are encouraged to interpret the Bible and their own beliefs from a uniquely embodied perspective.
ASEM 2558 Digital Gods: Media and Religion in the 21st Century (4 Credits)
This course explores the intersections between media, religion and culture in the United States. Religion continues to hold sway in the 21st Century as a social, cultural, and political force. Religion, broadly defined, remains active in the media age and is increasingly mediated through television, film, politics, and consumer culture. This course examines TV, film, sports, social media, and more to explore digital gods of the 21st century and how they influence and inform US culture.
ASEM 2559 Globalization and Film (4 Credits)
This course explores the varying ways that globalization impacts cinema on a national and transnational level. Designed as a seminar, this course is broken down into three units: theories on globalization; implications of globalization behind-the-scenes; and representations of globalization onscreen. Through a selection of assigned readings and filmic texts, you will be encouraged to think critically about what “globalization” means and how it influences films, both behind-the-scenes and onscreen. To reify your understanding of globalization, you will research and write original scholarship on globalization and a select film to contribute to the academic community.
ASEM 2560 America Through Foreign Eyes (4 Credits)
The United States, and Americans, occupy a unique, privileged and powerful position in the contemporary world order. Indeed, according to many scholarly and public accounts, the U.S. has achieved unprecedented status as the preeminent world power. Yet, despite or, paradoxically, perhaps because of its status as what some have called a world "hyperpower," large numbers of Americans are mostly, if not totally unaware of what U.S. global preeminence means to them and to other people around the world. This course aims to inspire critical reflection on the student's part about the role of the United States - its political and economic systems and practices, its culture, and most fundamentally its social actors, meaning its people(s), in a globalizing world.
ASEM 2562 Modern and Postmodern Music (4 Credits)
Students explore multiple musical styles and genres, primarily from the 20th century to the present, as they develop new cognitive pathways for experiencing all music. The course devotes substantial time to developing a vocabulary of descriptive terms that apply universally to music even outside the modern and postmodern subject matter.
ASEM 2565 The Power of Place-Making (4 Credits)
Places are imbued with meaning, functioning as intersections of identity, memory, and power. Through an interdisciplinary critical perspective, students will explore place-making: how various forms of textual, interpretive, social, and economic power affect the production and experience of places, and the range of possibilities for social justice available through them.
ASEM 2566 Society Through Literature and Cinema (4 Credits)
This course will study the interconnection of human societies (or nation states) as evident in different kinds of narratives. Discussing literary and film narratives in particular, we will examine the beliefs and influences that shape relationships within the same society as well as the beliefs and influences that shape relationships between different peoples and societies. Our examination will include an exploration of how these beliefs and influences are generated and modified. Our study will be aided by the interpretive insights of artists and visionaries. Our examples will be taken from different regions of the world.
ASEM 2567 Violence, Law, & the State (4 Credits)
This class is built on interrogating arguably the fundamental issue facing every state: how to deal with violence. Through a mix of academic readings, films, documentaries, and reputable media, we will consider a range of issues regarding violence and the state in the modern world. The three organizing themes for the class are understanding the lived problems of violence, the nature and value of freedom in relation to violence and the state, and the question of how law relates to violence and the state.
ASEM 2568 Outsiders in Italian Fiction (4 Credits)
This class addresses the recurring representation of the character as an outsider in the Italian literary and cinematic tradition of the 20th and 21st centuries. Novels, theatrical plays, and films will be supplemented by a collection of secondary sources on psychology and sociology, providing the tools for a correct thematic and methodological approach to storytelling.
ASEM 2572 Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience, and Free Will (4 Credits)
This seminar introduces students to the topic of human freedom from the perspective of philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology. If everything that you do and have ever done is the inevitable byproduct of the political, social, economic, cultural, familial, psychological, and neurological forces at work within and around you, in what sense could you be free and morally accountable for your actions? In what sense could you be worthy of praise for your accomplishments and blame for your failures? The course will address the topic of free will using contemporary scholarship in philosophy, neuroscience, and developmental and social psychology, and we will ask questions such as: What, exactly, is free will? What can our understanding of causation tell us about free will? What is moral responsibility, and how is it related to free will? What brain processes underlie our decisions? Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements.
ASEM 2573 Violence, Law and the State (4 Credits)
This class will interrogate what is arguably the most fundamental issue facing every government: how to deal with violence. Through a mixture of academic readings, films, documentaries, and reputable media, the course will consider a range of issues regarding violence and the state in the modern world. Prerequisite: completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements.
ASEM 2576 Art, Thought, Spirituality (4 Credits)
This course examines the close and complex relationship between esthetic expression and private religiosity, or "spirituality." The course will examine how theories as well as personal accounts of artistic creativity, experience and appreciation can both broaden and deepen our understanding of the inner life that is otherwise communicated in religious terms and how artistic expression can also have a quasi-religious or "spiritual" character. The central objective will be to illumine the way in which the construction of the individual self and the formation of the personal identity are intimately tied to different quests that are artistic and spiritual at once.
ASEM 2577 Cultural Intersections (4 Credits)
In this course, we explore the dynamics of cultural reception or the translational dimension of modern culture, particularly the reception of narratives within particular cultures and beyond. Our main focus is the principles that integrate and divide people along the lines of race, class, ethnicity and culture. Our journey involves studies of cultural contacts, contexts and narratives from Africa and the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
ASEM 2578 Travel Writing Through the Ages: Exploring Italy and the Self (4 Credits)
A panorama of the evolution of the Travel Writing genre shows how different travelers have interacted with foreign environments for centuries and provides students the model to create their own travel journal. The course focuses on travel narratives to, from, and within Italy. The reading list includes Italian and American writers such as Christopher Columbus, Margaret Fuller, Mark Twain, Carlo Levi, Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco. Excursions to different parts of Italy, visits to historical sites and museums and screenings of relevant Italian films complement the class.
ASEM 2579 From Literature to Film (4 Credits)
In this course, we examine the adaptation of literary works into films. We closely study selected modern literary works and the film interpretations of each work. Focusing on the transition from one narrative form to another, the course enhances the critical skill of students as well as their creative ability with respect to cinematic translations. We, therefore, also have mini scriptwriting workshops as a way of imaginatively highlighting the sort of considerations that go into the making of the film script.
ASEM 2580 Celtic Identities and Nationalisms (4 Credits)
Every March 17th, millions of people around the world engage in invented rituals of drinking, parades, & music in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Summer finds Scottish Highland Games enacted by kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, Celtic-culture aficionados across the English-speaking world. The European Union has funded Celtic-History Trails & sites across Western Europe to link itself to an earlier period of 'unification.' Millions of people claim Celtic heritage and ancestry in the U.S.A. and across the globe. But what does that really mean? Who is entitled to claim such identities? Who is not? How do people reconcile 'Celticness' with other elements of individual, national, and group identities across the globe? This course uses Celtic identity as a means of engaging students in a critical examination of the meaning and process of identity formation. Students identify, compare, and evaluate the methods used to define and claim legitimate and illegitimate definitions of "Celtic" identity espoused by past and current nationalists, musicians, archaeologists, political scientists, historians, governments, film-makers, shopkeepers in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Europe.
ASEM 2581 Forgiveness, Politics and Film (4 Credits)
This course covers a number of reconciliation frameworks that have been employed as transformative and peacemaking strategies in various interpersonal, social and political contexts. We discuss the value (and limitations) of core reconciliation concepts, see how they have been used productively, and consider their possible application to ongoing problems in the world today.
ASEM 2582 Latina/o Identity & Community (4 Credits)
This course analyzes the complexity of Latinos' unique social position, using a interdisciplinary approach to understand the construction, maintenance, and change of Latino identity and community formation over time in the United States. As students will learn, Latino identity in the U.S. has experienced a continual process of negotiation between dominant discourses--regarding gender, race, politics, economics and culture--and the socio-political and cultural histories of their own communities. Accordingly, we explore the variety of ways in which identity and culture are socially constructed and actively contested, with particular regard to the diversity among and within Latino groups.
ASEM 2583 Individuals, Individuality, and Society (4 Credits)
Individual" is a key term in discussions of human life and human interaction, but it tends to be inadequately defined. We often assume that we already all understand what an individual is. In social science, especially, "individual" is typically assumed to correspond to individualism, and, particularly, to methodological individualism, the view that the individual parts making up a whole entirely and exhaustively define and determine that whole; from which it follows that each individual is to be understood as what it is in isolation, unrelated to any other individual. This course, by contrast, starts from the claim that the question "what is an individual?" is genuinely difficult, and that much too little attention has been given to it.
ASEM 2586 Memoirs of Madness (4 Credits)
We examine mental illness from a literature perspective--through analysis of memoirs, and in concert with a scientific perspective--through psychological-based texts and lectures. This unique approach to study mental illness should be inherently interesting for students because of the subject matter and the chance to engage the material through personal narratives. The use of memoirs allows for a rich understanding of a variety of impairments with the added benefit of the firm anchor of clinical science.
ASEM 2589 Thinking (4 Credits)
This course helps students both learn how to think well and to understand why they often don't think well. The course addresses a wide range of topics in which thinking is relevant including creativity, science, argumentation, rhetoric and intelligence. Students come to understand their personal strengths and weaknesses in thinking and students spend a substantial amount of time improving their areas of both strength and weakness.
ASEM 2590 Interpreting the Holocaust Through Film (4 Credits)
This course takes students on a journey from Nazi Germany to the present day through the lens of the camera. We examine how the Nazis used film to convey their messages, explore the varied experiences of those who lived during the time of the Holocaust as depicted in films, view movies that address various ethical dilemmas presented to Jews and Gentiles as a result of these trying times, and discuss the ways that the Holocaust has been represented and memorialized through films in more contemporary times.
ASEM 2591 Latina/os in Popular Culture (4 Credits)
This course examines trajectories of representations of Latina/o identities in popular culture (i.e. film, music, television), both produced by the dominant culture, as well as self-produced. Students first work to understand the complexity that comprises Lainta/o communities by reading some foundational works on Latina/o identities (i.e. Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Fontera: The New Mestiza). Following this, through a historical perspective we trace the emergence of Latina/o images in popular culture and how those images are tied to contemporary events of the time.
ASEM 2594 Memory and Memorialization (4 Credits)
This course focuses on how social groups represent, experience and commemorate the remembered past. We explore issues of construction of memory, particularly addressing issues of how the representations of the past--and its materialization through monuments, ruins and landscapes--are connected with issues of institutionalized perceptions of national, ethnic, racial and religious identity. Memory and its material representation are addressed through interdisciplinary readings and case studies from different geographical areas, and as much as possible, we use the city of Denver and Colorado as our study site to apply our observations and readings.
ASEM 2596 Politics of Reconciliation (4 Credits)
This class addresses the national and international efforts to seek justice and achieve reconciliation. It examines how state and non-state actors reflect on an unfortunate or hostile past with a designated "other": how did their relations and interactions with this targeted "other" go wrong? What were the material, philosophical and emotional grounds to breed such hostilities? What were the consequences? Has the memory of the "past self" and "past others" shaped the way the two groups interact today? Why do some actors refuse to say "sorry," and why do some victims refuse to forgive? What are the similarities and differences among various reconciliation projects? In this class, we lead students to explore these challenging yet exciting questions.
ASEM 2597 Unwrapping the Rhetoric of Consumption (4 Credits)
Unwrapping the Rhetoric of Consumption: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Communication, Consumption, Shopping, and Identity is a writing intensive course that offers an introduction to the study of consumption as a communicative phenomenon. People often use consumption to demonstrate who they are, their worth/importance, their relational ties, their gender, etc. The course will examine the socially positive and negative implications of these practices of consumption. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2599 Sport, Deviance, Social Contrl (4 Credits)
This course explores four broad themes: sociological theories of sport, sport identities, sport deviance and the confluence of sport, media and social control. It examines timely real-world examples and draws on a range of disciplines that have investigated sport in society, including cultural studies, sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology and kinesiology. Completion of all other Common Curriculum is required before students can register for this course.
ASEM 2602 The Black Spiritual (4 Credits)
This course examines the role of traditional black, or "Negro," spirituals (the songs created and first sung by African Americans in slavery) in the evolution of American ideals of freedom, justice and grounded spirituality. A history of the spiritual as folk and concert music is paralleled by an examination of the very concept of "American" that evolved, both from the perspective of those excluded and those included in that concept.
ASEM 2603 Indigenous Approaches to Gender and Sexuality (4 Credits)
This course introduces various ways that indigenous communities in the U.S. and Canada have understood and attempted to navigate issues gender and sexuality in a religious context. It introduces foundational understandings of gender and sexuality that inform both Western and Indigenous cultures, and it explores the fundamental differences between those understandings. The course also presents emergent theories that challenge assumptions common within the Euro-American tradition. Through research and writing, students add to the contextual breadth of the class.
ASEM 2604 Russia: Revolutions & Utopias (4 Credits)
This course examines Russian culture and society from the late 1800s to the 1930s, when Moscow and Saint Petersburg/Petrograd were synonymous with cutting-edge and avant-garde, staging revolutions--and dreaming of utopias--in politics, art, sex and science, to name but a few areas. The course compares the ideals of those times with Russia today as well as with developments in Western Europe and North America.
ASEM 2605 Society, Nature and Animals (4 Credits)
Society, Nature and Animals examines the enormously engaging and complex relationships between human communities/societies, on the one hand, and the natural world and nonhuman animals on the other. The course focuses principally, through not exclusively, on the United States, where these relationships have been imbued with special significance, and prominent political and intellectual figures have cast the country as "nature's nation." The course also considers how different social groups, particularly those structured around gender, race/ethnicity, cultural/national identity and social class, are connected to the natural world and nonhuman animals.
ASEM 2606 Japanese Film (4 Credits)
This course examines some of the most iconic films in the Japanese cinematic tradition in order to identify and critically engage in narratives of Japanese aesthetics and cultural identity, especially ones that take culture as the site for locating tradition and/or modernity. No previous knowledge of Japanese or film required.
ASEM 2609 Literature of Nature and Apocalypse (4 Credits)
Concern about the declining state of the environment has been a topic of longstanding interest, from Henry David Thoreau to John Muir, and writers like Edward Abbey, Ernest Callenbach, Louise Erdrich, T.C. Boyle, Octavia Burtler, Cormac McCarthy and others. This writing intensive course examines questions relating to environmental activism and social structures predicated upon technological and materialist culture. It considers how American writers have reassessed the relation between religious beliefs and notions of utopia and apocalypse. It examines and analyzes timely and relevant historical, literary, and philosophical issues relating to the current state of the environment.
ASEM 2610 The Politics of Bilingualism (4 Credits)
While more and more college students are required to take a “foreign” language and bilingual programs grow in popularity in the K-12 systems, formal education in languages other than English in the US has often been at the heart of fierce debates claiming it is impractical, irrelevant and even “un-American”. This course addresses a variety of concerns around the perception and manifestations of bi- and multilingual policies in the US. We examine how the perception of English as a “national language” and a “language of opportunity”, contrasted with other languages (and the people who speak them) as a “distraction” or “threat” contribute to personal and public policies surrounding language use in the US.
ASEM 2611 Being Human: Sex and Sexuality (4 Credits)
Relationships are the greatest thing in the world--until they end. Many people have experienced both the exhilaration and the misery of a romantic relationship. The same can be true for other types of social relationships. How do you make sense of the relationships around you? To navigate better our complex human landscape, understanding the basis of human sexuality and sexual expression is important. This course examines behavior and emotion by introducing the results of high-quality scientific studies of sexual behavior and its evolution and expression. Prerequisites: Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2615 Disease in World History (4 Credits)
This course examines the social and political impact of disease in global history, and also considers how understandings of disease have changed over time. We will focus on the modern period (roughly the past two hundred years) and examine demographically significant diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and smallpox. Themes that we'll explore together include how the distribution of power and wealth in the 19th-20th centuries helped determine global distribution of diseases today; how our ideas about a disease influence how willing and able we are to deal with it effectively; and the notion that disease is as much as socioeconomic problem as a biotechnical one.
ASEM 2616 Globalization and its Discontents (4 Credits)
This course examines the expansion of the world economy in a comparative historical perspective and draws on the disciplines of economics, history and political science. The course begins by introducing the current popular/journalistic debates using social science and historical arguments and evidence. The purpose is to provide the students with tools for critical analysis and a conceptual map to understanding the debate.
ASEM 2620 Inventing America (4 Credits)
This class introduces students to exemplary public documents, primarily in the form of speeches, which address the promises set out in the preamble of the U.S. Declaration of Independence: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The course traces how these promises have been articulated by a succession of public actors ranging from U.S. Presidents to members of radical political factions. The course always addresses three major political movements: (1) the movement for political inclusion of Blacks, beginning with early abolitionists and extending to the struggle for civil rights, including the black power movement; (2) the movement for the political inclusion of women, beginning with the suffragists and extending to include feminism, including the fights over sexual freedom; and (3) the struggle over economic rights, beginning with early U.S. socialist and anarchist movements and extending into the contest over the creation and pruning of the U.S. welfare system.
ASEM 2625 Rough Draft History: Film and Video Documentary (4 Credits)
This course presents a historical study of documentary film and video, from the films of the Lumière brothers in the 1890s to several contemporary examples. We will explore such issues as the nature of documentary and what distinguishes it from fiction, the development of various documentary modes or styles, propaganda and ideology in documentary film, documentary ethics, borderline forms that combine documentary and fiction, and documentary's role in supporting established institutions and regimes and/or promoting social change.
ASEM 2626 Politics, Policy and Economics of Healthcare (4 Credits)
This course takes an intensive look at American history from 1945 to 1955 in order to investigate the
relationship among international relations, domestic politics and American culture. While anticommunism
was perhaps the preeminent influence over American politics and culture, this course also investigates
other related cultural developments, such as the moral and cultural anxiety resulting from the
revelations of the Holocaust and Stalinism, the anguish represented by the height of existentialism in
American thought, the exploding popularity of abstract expressionism, the gradual growth of
consumerism, and the effects of the baby boom.
ASEM 2629 Truth and Treason in the Cold War (4 Credits)
This course takes an intensive look at American history from 1945 to 1955 in order to investigate the relationship among international relations, domestic politics, and American culture. While anticommunism was perhaps the preeminent influence over American politics and culture, this course also investigates other related cultural developments, such as the moral and cultural anxiety resulting from the revelations of the Holocaust and Stalinism, the anguish represented by the height of existentialism in American thought, the exploding popularity of abstract expressionism, the gradual growth of consumerism, and the effects of the baby boom.
ASEM 2633 Literature of Trauma (4 Credits)
This course examines the relation between memory, trauma and history in postwar American literature and culture, as those have become major themes in novels and films. The works examined in this course provide us a window into experiences of victims of trauma, while extending the possibility of forming a more sensitive and inclusive conception of American history and culture. Readings include literary works and a selection of secondary critical and historical texts. Completion of all other Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this course.
ASEM 2637 James Joyce's Ulysses (4 Credits)
This Advanced Seminar will focus on James Joyce’s famously difficult—but in many ways not all that difficult—modernist masterpiece Ulysses, which will in turn be the subject of three writing assignments that will allow you to explore the roles and responsibilities of the reader, the writer, and the critic. There are many reasons to devote an entire quarter to James Joyce’s Ulysses, which turned 100 years old on 2/2/2022, but here are two: 1) its reputation as a “difficult” book often overshadows the fact that it’s beautiful, funny, and in many ways quite accessible, and 2) it’s a useful book for thinking about being with (and without) other people. In this course, we will try to find out both what this book can teach us and what we can teach one another about it.
ASEM 2640 New England: Myth and Memory (4 Credits)
The subject of this course is historical memory or, to put it simply, the relationship of the present to the past. Historians take for granted what has been called "the invention of tradition," but most people do not appreciate the constructed nature of the past and do not recognize the possibility that there have been (and continue to be) contests over which version of key historical events or movements is to be disseminated to the public. This course focuses on region--New England--and its racial history as a case study of the process of fabricating historical memory. New England's history is particularly useful for this purpose because the region has had an inordinate impact on our national history.
ASEM 2641 Globalization from Above and Below (4 Credits)
This course provides a unique and challenging opportunity for students to clarify the concept of globalization by exploring parallel and interesting forces "from above and below." This course draws widely from international studies, economics, political science, sociology, environmental studies, and feminist theory to examine processes of global social change and conflict. Through academic theorizing and activist writings, the course familiarizes students with some of the landmark debates on globalization. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2642 Between Persecution and Revolution (4 Credits)
This course will investigate how women in America, France and Iran have written their way into and beyond male power structures. Ranging from the 17th to the 21st centuries, we will study literary, religious, political, psychological, and biological writings that probe the vexed power of female voices in the public sphere. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2643 Comparative Democratization: East and West (4 Credits)
The purpose of this course is to examine the contested meanings of revolution and to clarify its paths and goals. To advance these purposes, this course highlights the experiences of a variety of revolutionary projects in different regions, eras and cultures. It also explores the weights that different actors (state, society, global orders, charismatic leaders, etc.) hold in shaping the processes of radical political changes. The course will conclude by exploring new thinking on the politics of revolution for the twenty-first century. We will ask how issues of ecology, gender, changing values, indigenous movements (to name just a few) can liberate our imagination about revolution in specific and political change in general in a post-modern world.
ASEM 2646 Dance in India (4 Credits)
As a discipline in which the body is trained to become "naturalized" in very specific ways, dance tells us much about the culture in which it is a part. Dance movements and meanings also become sites of conflict during periods of cultural transition, and yet because of dance's ephemeral nature, its relative adherence to tradition, or lack thereof, is difficult to ascertain, and thus often hotly contested. This course explores the tension between change (innovation) and continuity (tradition) in four different forms of dance from the Indian subcontinent: Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form from South India; Kathak, a classical dance form from North India; Bhangra, a folk dance form from Northwestern India; and the mass-mediated, syncretic form of dance predominant in the Bollywood film industry.
ASEM 2648 Good Vibrations - Electronic Music: Technology and Culture (4 Credits)
This course hopes to supply the answer to the question, "How did we get here?" To answer that question, we need to look at the phenomenon from many different perspectives. History frames the topics of the course. In order to understand characteristics of electronic instruments, we start with traditional mechanical-acoustic instruments. Their characteristics are the model for many modern electronic instruments. Although in the experimental years early in the 20th century, all traditional models of music were questioned; those included musical notation which has been in place since Charlemagne's rule in A.D. 800, the number of notes within an octave, the number of notes within a span of time, and dynamic range (loudness and softness). We look at the anatomy, physiology and perception (psychoacoustics) of human auditory response in order to frame the limits of the characteristics of electronic music and the means to produce them. Of course, the "electronics" are presented at a higher system level to promote understanding of the electronic instruments themselves. (NOTE: No human subjects will be harmed or subjected to any inhumane treatment by presentation of analog or digital circuits during the delivery of this course.).
ASEM 2651 The Peopling of the Western Hemisphere: Science, Evidence, Controversy (4 Credits)
The migration and colonization of North and South America is analyzed based on data and observations made from the archaeological record. While it is evident that people did arrive in the Western Hemisphere in the distant past, there is a great deal of dispute about where they came from, when they arrived, and how they adapted to the new environments they encountered. The course evaluates various claims about all these important aspects of human migration. It tests conflicting models about which people arrived first, where they first landed, and what they did when they got here. The primary tools for this analysis are archaeological materials, but the course also draws on recent DNA and linguistic evidence of living Native American groups.
ASEM 2652 Conspiracy Theories and Contemporary Culture (4 Credits)
What have become called "Conspiracy Theories" (CTs) have been around since some of the earliest human narratives but have only quite recently been studied as a distinctive phenomenon. Underlying this explosion of popular interest in CTs are a number of intriguing philosophical, psychological and socio-political issues that reveal a great deal about how social discourse is pursued, formed, circulated and empowered (or disempowered) in the contemporary world. In this course, we will view this broad phenomenon of CTs from three different perspectives: (1) philosophical, (2) psychological, (3) social and political.
ASEM 2653 Law & Politics of Reproduction (4 Credits)
This course engages issues by examining them from multiple perspectives, using analytical tools from multiple disciplines. We explore historical and cultural changes over time, tracing them through historical and political writings, U.S. Supreme Court cases, legislation, statistical data, memoir, and sociological, philosophical and anthropological analyses. In drawing on these multiple sources, we examine past and present while also considering the relationship of these issues to the future.
ASEM 2657 Harry Potter and Esotericism (4 Credits)
Today's students have grown up with J. K. Rowling's seven Harry Potter books. This incredible publishing phenomenon has inspired children and adults alike to devour 500-page books within days of publication, at a time when statistics seem to indicate that people are no longer reading. Why would these tales of English school children learning a curriculum of magical skills have so captured the imagination of a generation of young people living in a post-modern world?
The purpose of this class then is to examine the role of esoteric themes that pervade the Harry Potter books and to investigate the history of those subjects from the Middle Ages to the present, by focusing on the visual traditions they inspired. Areas discussed include the history of magic and witchcraft, classical and Celtic mythology, alchemy, astrology, fantastic beasts, "books of secrets" and their healing potions, the mythic lore of botany, divination and various esoteric paths of enlightenment.
ASEM 2658 The Long Civil Rights Movement (4 Credits)
This course explores the Long Civil Rights Movement--focusing on the ongoing struggles for racial equity in education. While the course is broadly historical in scope, covering debates about public education over the last century, it explores historical and cultural changes in education by focusing on three primary struggles: (1) the African American quest for equal education; (2) the Mexican-American fight for bilingual education; and (3) the Native American pursuit of self-determination through education. Throughout the course we consider how these historical struggles echo in contemporary debates of race, education and equity.
ASEM 2660 Cinematic Storytelling (4 Credits)
The course acquaints students with basic concepts and methods used in the analysis of stories, the theoretical assumptions and models describing and justifying those concepts and models, and practical applications of story analysis in cinematic and script form. We begin with Aristotle, provide an interdisciplinary and historical overview of narratology, move to literary narrative analysis, and then focus on film-theoretical approaches while gaining practical skills in analysis of the elements of storytelling in fiction, film and television. In this way, students gain some historical perspectives on the form and function of story - its timeless prevalence as well as its more current iterations.
ASEM 2661 The French Revolution (4 Credits)
This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the French Revolution. Students learn about the many ways in which the Revolutionary decade of 1789 to 1799 marked a significant break with the French past - politically, socially and culturally. Yet these profound changes could not occur without some continuities. Students reflect upon political, sociological and philosophical questions that make the Revolution relevant today: How do democratic values take root in a traditionally monarchical society? Can these values be exported to societies without democratic traditions? Are liberty and equality compatible? How are nations defined? Can people thrive in a strictly secular--or fundamentalist--society? What is the role of violence and war in effecting political and social change?.
ASEM 2662 Testimony, Memory and Allegory: the Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (4 Credits)
This course investigates how the Cultural Revolution serves as a critical link of the Revolutionary Era (1919-1980) and Reform Era (from 1980 on), via closely and critically examining various representations and surreal fiction, melodramatic and avant-garde cinema, lyric poems, music and visual arts. Although much of the material discussed is socio-politically oriented, the focus of the course is within the realm of literary and cultural criticism. This course explores complicated and often interwoven relationships between testimony, memory, signs, meanings of both writing and reading about traumatic events of the Cultural Revolution, ethical (personal and communal) commitment to memory and the engrossing historical, literary and artistic representations of the past expressed in different media. By doing so, the course reveals how each representative account copes with its producer's distinctive memories of the Cultural Revolution and, more importantly, responds to the cultural and political contingencies of the producer's time, as well as the artistic conventions of the producer. As such, it functions not only as a connection to the past but also a reconfiguration of the present.
ASEM 2663 The Dark Knight Exposed: Exploring the Complicatedness of Superheroes (4 Credits)
The 21st century has seen a rebirth of interest in fictional superheroes, and this course will explore how such characters can be seen as representing aspects of contemporary society. Especially noteworthy are conflicts between good and evil that so many superheroes embody. As Batman character Harvey Dent explains, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” The course uses readings from psychology, literary studies, and popular culture to explore figures from the X-Men, Superman, the Avengers, and other comics and movies, with a central case study focus on Batman. The goal is for students to come away with a deep understanding of and appreciation for the complexities of superheroes and what they represent: what conflicts hide below their surfaces and our society’s?.
ASEM 2664 Contemporary Issues in Africa (4 Credits)
Through the study of a variety of literary, visual, and oral cultural artifacts, this course will investigate contemporary issues of gender identity, education, development, and political culture in different areas of the African continent.
ASEM 2665 Occupied France in Perspective (4 Credits)
This course deals with the Occupation of France during World War II. Students, throughout the course, learn to understand, describe and articulate selected crucial aspects of this four-year period of military occupation. This course examines the question of the image of the Resistance and Occupation in cultural memory; this is a much studied and debated issue today, and forms the conclusion to the course. Forms of collaboration and resistance are very much in question in historical, cultural and literary debates today.
ASEM 2666 Murder in America (4 Credits)
This course draws on research from several perspectives in order to examine: (1) the definitions, scope, consequences and historical trends of homicide in America over the last century, including a case study investigation of why the murder rate dropped dramatically in New York City by the late 1990s; (2) past and current sociological/cultural and psychological explanations for lethal violence, including an in-depth look at serial, mass and spree killers; (3) crime policies and techniques aimed at reducing lethal violence, which entails a critical look at Three Strikes and You're Out laws aimed at violent offenders; and (4) media representations of homicide defendants and victims.
ASEM 2667 Magic and Religion (4 Credits)
The course examines, first, magic and witchcraft described in the Hellenistic world, India, and Medieval Europe and, second, magic and witchcraft in twentieth-century settings in the Upper Nile and rural France. The course also includes a study of twentieth and twenty-first century esotericism and occultism. Magic practices include pragmatic rites that cause effects ranging from love to murder, astrology-based medicine, conjuring and transacting with invisible creatures, creating power-bestowing diagrams, consecration of amulets, deploying and removing curses and disease, and weather control. Witchcraft includes sorcery and counter-sorcery rites, divination, and folk medicines. Magic is usually described as opposing religion, but the religious lives of most religious people contain magic practices; therefore, studying magic is a tool for studying cultures in both theory and practice. Research projects engage a magic practice to garner insights into the culture or cultures that circulate such lore.
ASEM 2669 American Religious Movements (4 Credits)
This course explores the history and contemporary relevance of religious movements in the United States, coupling that knowledge with selected social scientific perspectives on how social movements generally emerge, succeed and die out. Topics may include the Great Awakenings of American Protestantism in the 16th through 19th centuries; the array of religious transformations of the 20th century, such as the heightened religious pluralism shaped by the "new immigration"; sectarian divides; social activism that draws upon religious ideologies, resources and discourses; and struggles for change within religious groups themselves.
ASEM 2670 Development in Latin America (4 Credits)
This is a writing-intensive course centered on examining in a critical manner the continued efforts made by several countries in Latin America throughout the 20th century in promoting different projects of national economic and political development. Among other topics, we analyze the incorporation of Latin American countries into the international economy and the consolidation of its local oligarchic regimes (circa 1880s to 1930s); the importance of populism and elite pacts (of the 1940s and 1950s) for the promotion of industrial programs; the process of radicalization of the left, the democratic breakdowns and the ensuing military rule (of the mid-1960s and 1970s); the transitions to democratic rule (1980s); the implementation of market-reforms (1990s); and the current challenges for democratic consolidation.
ASEM 2672 The Berlin Republic: Germany since 1990 (4 Credits)
For roughly two decades, Germany, a once divided nation in the heart of Europe held responsible for World Wars, has been re-united. Forty years of division between West- and East-Germany--a division exacerbated by their respective geopolitical roles in the Cold War--left its mark on what many intellectuals considered a 'cultural nation' in spite of their political separation. This class examines the pains and gains of twenty years of unity, a process that has repeatedly been described as an attempt to "normalize" Germany's complicated history. We analyze various political, historical, but mostly cultural developments (and debates) that have accomplished and, at times, questioned this unification.
ASEM 2677 The Sixties: Swinging London (4 Credits)
Most of us are familiar with the main images of the 1960s in Britain, miniskirts, Mods, scooters, hippies, free love, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and James Bond. Considered the great decade of change, students' parents and other baby-boomers look back on it with nostalgia and the media continues to romanticize the period as being more innocent than today. Yet scholars continue to argue about the degree to which the Sixties really changed British society. While popular culture was clearly departing from that of the pre and immediately post-war era, many scholars from various disciplines assert that these changes, including the rise of the music industry, the teenager and youth culture, consumer-oriented society, spy literature, gender and racial issues found their roots in the post-war experience. Other scholars assert that the decade was dominated by contradictory impulses and that the major changes were uneven and often on the surface. This course traces the major themes of the period, including the rise of popular youth-based consumer culture, an unfettered media in Fleet Street, the center of world fashion-Carnaby Street, espionage literature on the page and on the screen, race and immigration issues, challenges to gender norms and sexual 'liberation', Britain's changing position in the world, the end of the British Empire, and the redefining of British national identity. These themes are investigated using a variety of sources including popular and documentary films, personal memoirs, novels, primary documents, secondary literature, fashion, poster art and other non-traditional sources.
ASEM 2679 Thinking, Eating, and Writing: Food History (4 Credits)
Nearly everything related to food and drink has a fascinating history: origins of dishes, food habits, customs, traditions, manners and modes of consuming food. This course integrates academic and some popular histories of food with student-created histories based on research, experience, and observation. Students read widely to understand the production of knowledge in food history and its vast scope, from a range of approaches, including theoretical, geographical and topical. Students engage in exercises to strengthen skills as historians and produce original archival research.
ASEM 2680 Jewish Latin America (4 Credits)
This course examines Jewish presence in Latin America from colonial times to the present, focusing on Jewish writers in Spanish America throughout the 20th century and considering Jewish-Brazilian and Jewish-Latino writers, Jewish themes in non-Jewish Latin American literature, and the various waves of Jewish immigration to Latin America. This course considers how they helped shape their specific communities and their responses to assimilation, state-sponsored anti-Semitism and Aliyah. Topics to be discussed include assimilation vs. integration; the construction of Jewish and national identities; and anti-Semitism in literature, film and political discourse. The course integrates critical readings alongside the literature, specifically in the areas of trauma and representation. No knowledge of Spanish is required, as the language of instruction is English and all required texts are available in English translation.
ASEM 2682 Strange Beasts: Nuclear Japan (4 Credits)
This course is a critical examination of literary and popular culture from Japan's experience of the Atomic bomb, through the "economic miracle" years of the 1960s to the present, focusing on the paired themes of humanity and monstrosity in nuclear experience during the acceleration of technological change.
ASEM 2683 Bad Girls, Riot Grrrls and Misbehaving Women (4 Credits)
This course introduces women who subvert mainstream expectations of femininity and explore misbehaving as a means of self-definition and empowerment in popular culture. From "Bad Girl" artists and the Riot Grrrl movement in the 1990s, to current day roller derby skaters and burlesque queens, the course traces the intersections of feminist art, DIY (do-it-yourself) approaches, creative production, performative outlets and socio-political consciousness. Unladylike behavior is explored as a strategy to articulate personal, social, political and cultural identity.
ASEM 2685 Religion and Filmmaking (4 Credits)
This course examines film and television representations of religions from around the world in an effort to understand the goals of the media makers and the effects of their productions. The techniques, theory and rhetoric of the films viewed are dissected and discussed. The course enables students to participate in critical, yet respectful debates about the cinematic mediation of religious concepts.
ASEM 2687 Sex and Globalization (4 Credits)
This course examines the complex phenomena of "globalization" within the framework of critical gender, sexuality and race studies. Topics range from sexual dimensions of war and empire building to the ways in which sexuality and gender shape global migration, tourism and commerce. In addition to consulting scholarly readings, we also examine and research representations of these phenomena as they occur in the media, online, and in popular culture.
ASEM 2688 Music and Consciousness (4 Credits)
This course explores ways of framing and defining individual and collective responses to musical arts, and, in turn, how understanding these responses can lead to a broader view of human consciousness. Through studying different musical cultures (and subcultures), students critically examine their own musical preferences and respond to other's aesthetic positions. Students explore 20th-century musical writings and compositions; examine themes of development, change, unity and variety in different musical genres; entertain musical manifestos written by various composers and musicians; and write their own "musical constitution.
ASEM 2692 Philosophy of Migration and Global Citizenship (4 Credits)
The 21st century is already being described by many as "The Age of Migration." This course explores the implications of mass global migration for the political philosophies of citizenship on which sovereign states are founded. Is something like a global citizenship possible? This seminar offers a cross-disciplinary perspective on this and other related issues. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2693 The Unfathomable Russian Soul: Identity and Self-Perception in 19th Century Literature and Culture (4 Credits)
This course explores Russian identity and the idea that it resides in the "unfathomable Russian soul" that defies rational explanation. Students examine how classic Russian authors (Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev) imagined and shaped "Russian soul" in their dialogues with Western European cultures and Russia's native traditions (folklore, Orthodox Christianity). Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2694 The Golden Age of Musicals (4 Credits)
This course maps and analyzes the developments, constructs, creators and canonical works of the musical theatre genre up to and through its formative, formidable period known as the "Golden Age" (c. 1943-1964) as well as the genre's wider social/cultural implications and contemporary relevance. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2695 Religion and Politics in China (4 Credits)
This course explores the concept of "religion" in the political history of modern China. Students gain new insight into two concurrent and divergent historical processes--state-driven secularization and religious revival--in China and Taiwan. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2696 Communication and Adoption (4 Credits)
This course explores the communicative dynamics of adoptive families. This course focuses on issues surrounding identity, cultural context, race, sexual orientation, loss and ethics. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2697 Muslims and Identity in Europe (4 Credits)
This course introduces students to the diverse Muslim populations across Europe, taking a case study approach that focuses on the histories, national politics, and societal contexts that help form Muslim European identities. Students gain exposure to anthropological, historical, political science, and religious studies techniques and perspectives, while writings focus on real-world genres that support students' professional development. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2698 Justice, Legal Obligation and Judicial Decision Making (4 Credits)
This course provides students with an introduction to the major theories of judicial decision-making and the basic philosophical problems involved in understanding the concept of how law binds citizens, especially judges, in a liberal democracy. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2710 Free Form Film (4 Credits)
Unlike Hollywood studio films, the works of video artists, experimental filmmakers and avant-garde auteurs almost never make their way to a theatre near you. Instead, many media artists find they need to make work for a culture that is already prepared for something other than mainstream filmmaking. How does this "fringe" film culture function and how do critics, curators and "underground" media-makers define their world of film festivals, gallery exhibits and grant proposals? Exploring aesthetic, critical, economic and technical aspects, this course features visits from influential filmmakers and others within the art-film community as we assess and critique groundbreaking ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with Hollywood. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2712 Participatory Culture and Fandom (4 Credits)
Students explore practice and theories of participatory culture. From writers to fan fiction to grassroots activists to proponents of Web 2.0, those who consume culture are also those who produce it, and this state of affairs raises critical questions about taste, intellectual property, subcultures, and globalization.
ASEM 2713 Food Culture: Foodies, Foragers and Food Politics (4 Credits)
Culture, history, identity, sustainability, power: food is the bridge that connects us. Food is used to nourish and heal, mark celebrations, build community, and symbolize identity. This seminar investigates the connections between our food choices and political and cultural power. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2714 Framing the Debate (4 Credits)
This seminar conducts a bipartisan, multimedia, interdisciplinary investigation of historical and contemporary presidential debates. In addition to following campaign and debate-related news, we read studies from multiple fields – history, political science, communications, sociology, psychology, rhetoric – and apply their insights and methods to analyze debate performances and research debate effects.
ASEM 2715 Belonging in America (4 Credits)
Who belongs in America? Who is on the inside/outside, and why? How do we define, experience, maintain, reject, and embrace our own insider/outsider status? Finally, how do American novels and dramas conceptualize and dramatize the many negotiations involved in belonging? This course explores the social, cultural, and experiential aspects of belonging in America. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2716 Tango: Border Crossings in Art, Race, Gender, and Politics (4 Credits)
This course is a study of the appeal of Argentine tango and why a dance so closely linked to one culture appeals so intensely to people with such different cultural identities. We consider competing answers from academics in many fields – from gender, film, and rhetorical studies to art, politics, and dance – as well as testimonies of dancers and teachers, in Buenos Aires and from around the world. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2717 Pursuing Equality: Gender, Politics and Law (4 Credits)
This seminar combines theoretical and empirical insights from law with sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and women's studies to introduce students to the conceptual frameworks, legal mechanisms, and practical realities affecting gender equality primarily in the United States, but with some cross-national comparisons. Completion of all common curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2719 Presidents, War, and the Constitution (4 Credits)
The United States government is based on the idea of limited power. In this course, students analyze the kinds of power presidents have claimed in wartime, how courts have responded, and the consequences for individual rights with a study of the Civil War, World War II and the War on Terror. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2720 Nazi Germany: History, Literature, Culture (4 Credits)
This course explores Germany's Nazi era. It focuses on themes like redemption, temptation, national community, conflict and memory while analyzing both texts and visuals from and related to the period. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2722 Freaks: Stigma and Resistance (4 Credits)
The "freak" exists in a system of mutually reinforcing cultural categories: normal/deviant, masculine/feminine, white/nonwhite, civilized/savage, heterosexual/homosexual, able-bodied/disabled, and so on. The course examines how these categories arrange societies and cultural practices in ways that reject the heterogeneity of human experience. Using films, images, and texts from a wide range of fields, the course asks, "How do people become stigmatized?" More importantly, "How do stigmatized people resist marginalization?" Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2723 Contemporary Art in Context (4 Credits)
This course examines key trends that have shaped contemporary art and considers how artists have turned to traditional media such as painting and photography and created new forms of art through performance, social media, and digital technologies to produce aesthetic and physical experiences that reflect on contemporary life. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2724 Jammin: Technoculture and Improvisation (4 Credits)
This course introduces students to the recent history of musical and cultural forms devoted to improvisation, including jazz, free music, psychedelic rock, funk, jam bands, and electronic dance music. Improvisation is examined as a response to emerging technological forms by which musicians and listeners embody new personal and collective identities. The course includes perspectives from cultural studies, philosophy, history, media studies, sound studies, and critical theory. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2725 The Female Outlaw (4 Credits)
This course examines female outlaws and renegades in politics, art, literature, and popular culture. Students assess how women intervene in the masculine mode of transgressive art and fiction, engaging themes of violence, difference, and empowerment. The female outlaw provides a model for writing with conviction, and challenging boundaries. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements. Course open to Colorado Women's College students only.
ASEM 2726 Belonging: State and Family in our World (4 Credits)
This course examines the state regulation of belonging in families and the international ambiguities of rights and belonging to states. It develops concepts by looking closely at histories and stories of adoption and of people who have been caught in-between in the regulation of citizenship: people who lose or mistrust the value of their citizenship, or can't claim the rights of citizens, or flee their countries. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements.
ASEM 2728 Identity, Power, and Media Culture (4 Credits)
In our contemporary cultural landscape, information is delivered in many formats, through various mediums, to global audiences. Understanding media systems as information delivery is often tied to journalism and/or financial institutions; “news” and “data,” have become synonymous with what we officially learn from media culture. However, those same images and messages that help us understand our social condition are also delivering important meanings about ourselves and those around us. This course focuses on this branch of inquiry within media studies—highlighted by the work of cultural studies—and focuses on the intersections of identity and power. As a fundamental source of the signification of identity, media culture becomes a social tool, and therefore must be understood as a system that shapes our relationships to individuals and communities. This course will explore the importance of this process, will equip students with the means to critically analyze media texts and production, and will sharpen awareness to dominant norms and values in our society. Overall, this course provides students an opportunity to directly confront the questions: How do media shape our understandings of intersecting identities such as gender, race, ability and class? How can we critically identify stereotypes and misrepresentation, including our own privilege? How do dynamics of identity operate at the production level(s)? What are the implications of these representations and how are they related to power dynamics in contemporary culture?.
ASEM 2729 Seduction and Satire in British Women's Novels of the 18th Century (4 Credits)
This course explores how fiction by 18th century British women relates to larger themes of gender (and genre) construction. What is the gender of the novel in the eighteenth century? Why do these female authors make sustained use of the seduction narrative, and how do they work to combine it with more traditionally “masculine” forms such as satire? Are they conforming to or subverting received notions of femininity with such use?.
ASEM 2730 Queer Lives in Musical Theatre (4 Credits)
Musicals are one of the most popular forms of American theatre, commonly considered family friendly and mainstream. However, since its beginning musical theater has also been strongly connected to queer culture. Through watching and listening to musicals as well as studying queer theory, students identify and analyze depictions of queer life throughout musical theatre history.
ASEM 2731 Postcolonial Lit and Performance (4 Credits)
Postcolonial studies investigates contemporary cultures as an embodied consequence of historical power struggles. The major questions covered in this course are: What is colonialism and what are its lingering effects on society? How do we collectively experience, record, and resist dominant modes of oppression through artistic expression?.
ASEM 2732 New Media, Conflict and Control (4 Credits)
This course explores the increasing role of new media tools in conflict and surveillance. Examples from recent conflicts illustrate how citizens and regimes use new meida to communicate, report, mobilize, monitor, and/or control. Students utilize new media as they research instances of democracy and control.
ASEM 2733 Media, Culture and Globalization (4 Credits)
This course explores the importance of understanding media as it relates and impacts globalization, and equips students with the means to critically confront the ways that globalized media impacts culture, and sharpens awareness through written assignments that highlight connections between theory and lived experience.
ASEM 2734 Music and Spirituality (4 Credits)
At a time when "spiritual" music appears in a wide variety of contexts such as churches, yoga studios, raves, and radio broadcasts, "Music and Spirituality" explores individual and collective perspectives on music and transcendence, and teaches how a deeper understanding of those perspectives can lead to a broader view of meaning in human experience.
ASEM 2735 Perspectives on Climate Change (4 Credits)
This course explores the complex, controversial issue of global climate change from multiple perspectives and using multiple types of sources. The goal is for each student to develop an educated perspective on this issue and be able to advocate for her perspective. Students write at least twenty pages in the class, including short weekly online posts, an op-ed piece, a film review, and a position statement based on knowledge acquired during the class. Writing intensive. Prerequisite: Completion of all other Common Curriculum Requirements or permission of instructor.
ASEM 2736 Spirituals and the Blues (4 Credits)
This course examines spirituals and the blues, two song forms from the canon of African American music. A multifaceted approach (both historical and analytical) reveals the ways in which the music is transformative, healing, and liberating, as well as providing a vehicle for agency. The course also studies the music's larger sociopolitical landscape.
ASEM 2737 Experiencing the Future (4 Credits)
This course introduces students to the study of the representation and evaluation of possible futures. Students observe the mechanisms impacting future-oriented thinking, and trace the ways that our thoughts about the future shape our day-to-day living. Students draw on insights from literature from a wide array of disciplines--including Sociology, Psychology, Economics and Public Policy--to explore the many ways in which the future is being visualized, colonized, calculated and produced in the society where they live.
ASEM 2738 Brands, Culture, and Identity (4 Credits)
Brands have become ubiquitous in every aspect of life in contemporary culture. How has this come to pass and what are the social, political and cultural consequences of living in a culture saturated by brands? This course explores critically the roles and meanings of brands in the making of cultures and identities.
ASEM 2739 Can College Teach Reasoning? (4 Credits)
In the last several years, colleges and universities have made national news with a series of controversies over diversity, inclusivity, and free speech. Many commentators see free speech at odds with diversity and inclusivity. Those who stress the importance of free speech on campus often embrace an idea with a long philosophical history: the “thinking cure.” According to this line of thinking, a principal task of education— particularly higher education—is to teach critical thinking. A well-functioning university (not to mention a well- functioning democracy) is a marketplace of ideas where participants are free to rationally debate the issues of the day. The best ideas will eventually win out. People need the skills to debate rationally, which education should provide, and the freedom to deploy those skills in arguing for their versions of the true and the good, which educational institutions and the courts should protect. This course aims to understand and critically analyze this line of thinking through the lens of philosophy, empirical psychology, and contemporary journalism. Can we really be trained to reason in the way that this line of thinking requires? The course considers arguments that emphasize the limitations on our ability to reason, arguments that we are frequently subject to (sometimes insuperable) biases. We examine how these arguments bear on the aims of education generally, and on free speech provisions in particular.
ASEM 2740 Rhetorics of Belonging (4 Credits)
This course explores how particular uses of language shape and convey historical and current understandings of American citizenship. Students examine how language creates, reinforces, and challenges the idea of "belonging." What is at stake in accepting or denying identities for certain groups? The course analyzes the role literacy has played in constructions of citizenship, pertinent relationships between culture and language, and the rhetorics of belonging. The course uses both primary and secondary texts to examine the complicated, dynamic, and nuanced history of immigration from multiple perspectives.
ASEM 2741 Music in Science Fiction Film (4 Credits)
This course examines music and sound design in science fiction film 1895–2015, exploring key concepts and practices in music, and placing films studied in social and political context, as well as the aesthetic and technological trajectory of the genre. The course addresses recurring themes in science fiction, as well as the impact of new sound technology, non-traditional orchestration, and sound effects on the development of the film genre. The course presumes no prior specialized knowledge of music or film.
ASEM 2742 Media and Marketplace Feminism (4 Credits)
This course tracks the historical trajectory of marketplace feminism—also known as commodity feminism, lifestyle feminism, or white feminism—through its dynamic relationship to media culture. In an effort to highlight the complexities surrounding both feminism as political praxis, as well as feminism as a commodity, multiple perspectives are offered for classroom discussion and critique, including readings from feminists, pop culture/literary critics, media studies scholars and feminist media studies scholars.
ASEM 2743 Bad Words: The Ideologies of Profanity (4 Credits)
Students explore bad words in all of their variations (e.g., expletives, obscenities, profanities, etc.). The course combines an historical study of bad words with an examination of current usage and issues, looking at bad words through a range of readings from history, neurology, ideology, psychology, and other fields.
ASEM 2744 The Academy Awards & Academia (4 Credits)
This course introduces students to the history and politics of the Academy Awards, through weekly film screenings and a variety of scholarly texts from across the disciplines. From war sagas and romantic comedies to horror flicks and musicals, the films covered represent the best of the best, at least according to members of the voting Academy. The course's scholarly lenses will range from statistical analyses of features of Best Picture winners to historical, political, sociological, and cultural interpretations of how the Oscars have reflected shifting societal values.
ASEM 2745 American Jews, Zionism, and Israel (4 Credits)
It is often taken as a given, by both Jewish and non-Jewish Americans, that American Jews have always supported Zionism and, since its creation in May 1948, supported the state of Israel’s actions. However, the historical relationship between American Jews, Zionism, and the state of Israel has been complex and multifaceted. This course examines and analyzes this historical relationship from multiple perspectives, beginning approximately fifty years before the creation of the state of Israel, while also paying attention to recent shifts in the ways in which contemporary American Jews relate to and view the state of Israel.
ASEM 2746 Music and Disaster (4 Credits)
This course examines the role of music within the context of disaster. Understood to be catalysts for artistic expression, disasters produce musical expressions related to trauma in myriad forms. Following an historical overview of large-scale natural and man-made disasters and the kinds of music produced in relation to them, we examine how disaster figures into the production and consumption of music in Haiti, New Orleans, Indonesia, South Africa, Cambodia, Uganda, and in the Post-9/11 world. The course additionally examines music as a tool in social justice, considering how music provides social commentary, critique, and a form of social activism. Students understand how music and disaster are historically intertwined, and how music shapes understandings of conflict and catastrophe. No previous musical experience is required.
ASEM 2747 Complexity in the Social Sciences with a Focus on Economics (4 Credits)
The course introduces basic approaches for the analysis of complex systems and their applications informing policy decisions, drawing particularly from an economics perspective. It addresses how complex systems approaches can be used to analyze and understand issues in the social sciences, and explains how a complexity view can change perspectives on situations that are often viewed only from a linear understanding. To illustrate characteristics such as emergence and self-organization, different theoretical methods are introduced. Key issues are addressed without extensive mathematical background. Theoretical issues as well as applications in policy are included in the class. The course introduces basic approaches for the analysis of complex systems and their applications informing policy decisions, drawing particularly from an economics perspective. It addresses how complex systems approaches can be used to analyze and understand issues in the social sciences, and explains how a complexity view can change perspectives on situations that are often viewed only from a linear understanding. To illustrate characteristics such as emergence and self-organization, different theoretical methods are introduced. Key issues are addressed without extensive mathematical background. Theoretical issues as well as applications in policy are included in the class. Completion of all Common Curriculum requirements is required prior to registering for this class.
ASEM 2789 Deviant Bodies (4 Credits)
Students will explore the meanings of deviant bodies. They will examine narratives of fatness, illness, disabilities, sexualities, femininities, masculinities, race, and contamination from sociological, historical, anthropological, and feminist perspectives. Discussions and intensive writing about deviant bodies will be prompted by scholarship on embodiment, gender, and social inequality, through examinations of popular culture, social media, film, and students' own social interactions.
ASEM 2860 Critical Disability and Culture (4 Credits)
This course explores how the concept of disability (physical, developmental, cognitive, emotional, psychosocial and so on) is constructed through a variety of lenses. Topics may include biomedical discourse of disability in everyday life; relationships and the workspace; the discourse of normalcy as it is constructed by persons with disabilities; and meaning-making process of disability in various cultural and contextual spaces. Utilizing academic research, popular culture references, visual media and writing, students deconstruct, critique, and analyze the different discourses of disability through basic character-driven gaming, using standards of Universal Design.
ASEM 2861 Taboo Tales: Cultural Literacy through Fairy Tales (4 Credits)
Cultural literacy requires that we grapple not only with social boundaries, but also with what lies beyond them – the taboos that frighten us, and the taboos that intrigue us. In this course, we will explore the topic of taboo through the lens of storytelling, with a particular focus on the unsettling themes represented in folklore. We will approach the study of taboo in a multi-disciplinary manner, using a blend of folklore, history, psychology, film, and textual studies to examine various tales of taboo from diverse cultures, including Native American, Chinese, Indian, European, Russian, and African fairy tales. Please note that this course will cover unsettling and violent topics; be prepared to read about these themes.
ASEM 2862 Racism, Schooling, & Development (4 Credits)
This course will focus on ways everyday school practices can perpetuate racial inequity in school and society as well as impacting racially minoritized youth development. Specifically, we will explore how various school practices (e.g., discipline) disproportionately impact Black and Latine youth schooling experiences as well as their social, emotional, and cognitive development. Students will read empirical and popular press articles and engage the literature with in class and out of class written assignments.
ASEM 2863 Religion and Science Fiction (4 Credits)
Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? What happens when we die? How do we define what it means to be human? What do we do when others look at us as Others? These are some of the questions that human communities have explored through philosophy and theology. Science fiction (SF) and fantasy represent a massive amount of cultural production, creating a space in which we collectively explore many of these same questions. In this course we will examine novels, short stories, film, and television programs in order to analyze the production of popular culture, meaning making, and modern-day mythology, all with an eye towards resonances with these vital questions about what it means to be human.
ASEM 2864 Ethics of AI (4 Credits)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and technology, including robotic technology, are already widespread and only becoming more so. As these technologies are developed and integrated into human life, what are the ethical implications? In this interdisciplinary course, we will read work by philosophers, feminist and critical race and ethnic studies scholars, computer scientists, engineers, and military professionals in order to acquire a detailed, nuanced perspective on the ethics of AI. Using these multiple perspectives, we will focus several topics, including: bias in algorithms, privacy and data rights, whether we should be trying to create machines that represent and act on moral values like humans, the social impacts of AI and technology, and AI and Robotics in Warfare.