Great Issues in Humanities: Early Travelers to the Mediterranean and Near East
Early Travel and Exploration of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
Tuesdays & Thursday
3:10 – 4:30pm
Dr. Veronica Kalas
This course will explore the practice of traveling for the purpose of gaining knowledge of foreign lands, peoples, and cultures of the ancient and medieval worlds. We will begin by learning about the tradition of traveling from ancient and medieval authors themselves— including Pausanias of Greco-Roman antiquity and medieval Christian pilgrims like Egeria. Our focus however will be with the tradition developed by early modern Europeans in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. The Grand Tour and related forms of investigation through travel to the sites and monuments of the Mediterranean and Near East will be studied. Early exploration of the ancient Americas may also be considered. Students will focus on either a particular theme or traveler, a group of travelers, or a region or site about which our knowledge still very much depends on the first narratives that were developed and created by these explorers. Themes include travel and the development of the disciplines of archaeology, art history, and photography, women travelers, and travel writing.
Great Issues in Social Science: Social Science Theory: A Critical Look
HSP 154 CRN 2368
Tuesday & Thursday
1:10 – 2:30
Dr. Paul Hagner
This course introduces students to the ways in which social science theory explains, predicts, and, in some instances, progresses. The process starts with an overview of social science theory building moving from conceptual understandings to theories and. perhaps, paradigms. The majority of the course will then be devoted to the critical analysis of social scientific theories moving from macro-theories (such as systems theory) to micro-theories such as socio-genetics. Along the way the student will, hopefully, be surprised, and a bit frightened, by the explanatory and predictive power of modern social science theories.
The proposed course offers students critical insights into meta-theory: theorizing about theory. The goal is to improve the students' abilities to describe, evaluate, and predict using established social science paradigms. The ability of students to make comparisons between explanatory and predictive models when applied to commonly identified social problems will be a highlight of this course's goals.
Great Issues in Social Science: Food, Justice & Sustainability
How we and the rest of the world come to eat what we do
Tuesday & Thursdays 10:10 – Noon
Dr. Trisha Franzen
Food is no longer viewed first and foremost as a sustainer of life. Rather, to those who seek to command our food supply it has become instead a major source of corporate cash flow, economic leverage, a form of currency, a tool of international politics, an instrument of power – a weapon. A.V. Krebs, The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness, 1992
Chocolate and corn, sugar and rice, our foods have histories and politics that they bring with them to our tables. From famines to farm bills, the slow food movement to Community Supported Agriculture, "food fights" are increasingly center stage in our private and public lives. This course will introduce students to global and local aspects of some of these debates. We will examine theories from Sen's thesis on famines and democracies to Pollum's critiques of the new corporate organic food industry, analyze U.S. and global food policies and practices, and study efforts for fair food. Among the assignments will be personal food ethnographies, studies of food stories, local food resources and global food movements. We will have some food field trips, and we will cook and eat.
Great Issues in Humanities
HSP 131 CRN 2367
10:10am – Noon
Tuesday & Thursday
Dr. Gene Cline
We focus on discourse about crucial value issues, including the meaning of life, our framing of life-and-death decisions (Who should live and who should die? Who decides? How should we talk about it?), how we talk about the "ultimate" value of human life in a world of finite resources that mandates trade-offs, whether it is better to develop a logic of comparison for answering value questions or whether it is better to insure that our values and actions simply "fit" our reflectively acceptable lives, and the like. Students are encouraged to develop their own philosophy of valuation, comparison, or action on topics of our mutual choosing. The professor is expected to be open to related topics from each student's areas of interest.