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Great Issues in Science: Geology, Environment & Society

HSP 124 w/ Lab
CRN 2639 & Lab CRN 2640
Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 10:10 -11:00am
Tuesdays – Lab  2:10 – 5:00am
Palenske 123

"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice." – Will Durant
In this course, we will examine the implications of this quote for society and for the environment, by investigating the role of geology in our lives.  Topics considered include the origin of the mineral resources upon which civilization depends as well as the constraints placed by geologic hazards.  Woven through the entire course will be discussion of the nature of science.

Course objectives:

This is a laboratory course designed for liberal arts students.  The specific course objectives for each student are as follows:

  • to be able to describe the major geological processes that have shaped the earth
  • to learn how geologists investigate the earth – what types of geological evidence
    are commonly collected and studied, and how this evidence is interpreted
  • to be able to frame and test hypotheses
  • to understand how geology affects our lives.

Great Issues in Humanities: Early Travelers to the Mediterranean and Near East


Early Travel and Exploration of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds

HSP           CRN
Tuesdays & Thursday
3:10 – 4:30pm
Observatory Classroom
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
Vulgamore 302
Dr. Paul Hagner

Course Description:

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

HSP 155
CRN 2637
Tuesday & Thursdays  10:10 – Noon
Robsinson 300a
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.

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