Course Descriptions

African History Through Film  |  HIST046
Through films, lectures, and short readings, this course will introduce the major themes of African history from the nineteenth century to the present. Through the creativity of African, European, Middle Eastern, and American filmmakers, students will learn how colonial rule, apartheid, global capitalism, and post-colonial political and economic challenges have shaped African lives. The course will foreground the diverse worldviews and experiences of Africans across the continent, and will explore social change through gendered and racialized power relations, ethnic and religious identities, and contending notions of status, prestige, and belonging.

Applied Machine Learning  |  CSCI160

Big Data Analytics  |  MATH189

Brain and Behavior  |  PSYC101
Brain and Behavior is an introductory course that centers on the biological foundations of behavior and is geared primarily for students with limited or no training in the biological and/or psychological sciences.  The course begins with the study of nerve cells, their structure, how nerve cells transmit information, the effects of drugs on this process and the structure and function of the nervous system. We shall then cover the neural systems that govern specific behaviors including appetite and thirst, emotion, learning, memory and sleep, concluding with brain disorders (time permitting).

Contemporary Exhibition & Curatorial Practice  |  ARHI1861
During the recent past the field of curatorial practice has undergone major shifts and revisions and has become an essential component to understanding and articulating the complex and interdisciplinary nature of art and its relationship to the world at large. Informed by art history, critical theory, and an in-depth knowledge of contemporary art, the curator now acts as a critical intermediary between artwork, institution, and audience and is integral to the exhibition experience itself. No longer regarded as a custodian or coordinator of collections, the role of the curator has evolved into an expansive practice encompassing a range of discursive activities and experimental display tactics. These ideas will be discussed in relation to specific case studies on Documenta, Manifesta, and the Venice Biennale.

Intro to Environmental Analysis  |  EA10
This interdisciplinary course introduces and explores some of the environmental issues in the 21st century. Since it is interdisciplinary, we will analyze some selected environmental concerns through the lens of the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. We will discuss basic understandings of some key concepts and investigate the history of and concern for the environment from a few perspectives.  As part of the course, students will be required to review media sources to find articles that pertain to class discussions and topics.  Moreover, we will be reading from both primary and secondary sources.

Intro to Film  |  MS050
This course introduces key styles, techniques and other aspects of film and examines the medium from aesthetic, cultural, social and historical perspectives. We will look at twelve films total and analyze each one in detail. Overall, the course is intended to provide students with a broad introduction to film analysis and to the field of Film Studies.

Intro to the Universe (with Lab)  |  ASTR001
The goal of this course is to investigate some of the biggest questions ever posed by mankind: Where did we come from?  Why does our physical reality look and behave the way it does?  Are the “laws” of nature created or discovered?  What is the universe and how has it become conscious of itself through us.  Astronomy is both the oldest science and one of the newest: it has given rise to mathematics, agriculture, music, religion, philosophy, but also space travel, black holes, nuclear power, climate science and the big bang.  This course intends to introduce you to the mechanics of the night sky, the fundamental laws of matter, light and energy, the diversity of the solar system, the life cycles of stars, the immensity and complexity of galaxies and the origins and evolution of the universe since the big bang.  Emphasis will also be placed on the human context around the development of Astronomy.  Since the beginning of history, every culture on the planet has attempted to find its place in the grand scheme of thing–this is a chance to find yours.

There are no prerequisites for this course and the course includes six evenings of labs in addition to the lecture time.  All the Physics will be taught from first principles with no more than high-school level Algebra and Geometry.  In addition to your daily lectures and discussions, we’ll also be using the planetarium in Millikan Hall, the telescopes at the Brackett Observatory and making an excursion to the desert or mountains for clearer skies.  This is a very accelerated course, where you will be expected to do an entire semester’s worth of work in just two weeks.  Although this may be a difficult prospect, immersing yourself in a subject like this can be extremely rewarding and stimulating.  For this reason, I highly recommend that you dedicate all of your time to this course for these two weeks.

Intro to Video Art  |  MS82
This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of video production and offers an intensive introduction to video production, specifically, digital video cameras, microphones, lighting, digital editing software, sound design and other post-production techniques. This course will examine video production through a series of exploratory projects, contextualizing them historically and formally by other experimental film and video art work. The class is critique-driven, and the discussions that follow the screening of each exercise are the principal method by which the successes and shortcomings of that work are evaluated. Students will be offered the opportunity to produce work of their own choosing, and guided through the entire pre-production, production, and post-production workflows.

Knowledge, Mind, Existence & Science Fiction  |  PHIL029
Using the lens of science fiction (SF) film and literature, this course is an introduction to some of the central issues regarding the nature of knowledge, the mind, and reality. Topics to be discussed include skepticism (Is what we experience a dream or a simulation?), theories of epistemic justification (How do we know what we know?), the nature of consciousness, and personal identity (Would a teleporter just kill me and create a copy of me elsewhere?). We will read and watch works of SF alongside classic and contemporary works of philosophy to explore these and other questions of mind, metaphysics and the theory of knowledge.

Large Format Photography  |  ART126

Microeconomic Theory  |  ECON105
Theories of consumer behavior, demand, production, costs, the firm, market organization, resource use, general equilibrium and income distribution in a modern market economy.

Neurodiversity  |  PSYC171
This course provides an introduction to neurodiversity as a neurobiological phenomenon, a framework for an alternate view on mental health conditions, and a social justice movement. We will explore the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological differences that define a selection of mental health conditions and enrich their deficit-based diagnostic criteria with evidence of special abilities to gain a more comprehensive understanding of each condition. We will discuss socio-cultural influences on our views of mental health and examine their emotional, economic, and ecological impact.   Prereq: PSYC 10.

Organizational Theory  |  ORST100
Our emphasis in this course is twofold. First, we will explore some of the major theories that are used to analyze organizational life.  Think of theory as a lens or perspective that shapes how we understand the myriad ways in which groups, institutions and work settings function. Each theory simultaneously illuminates and obscures, shedding light on certain key features while overlooking other (but equally important) ones. Second, we will practice applying theory to a variety of social, economic, and political institutions, with the goal of ‘seeing’ the organizational world that we inhabit in new ways. Students are encouraged to incorporate course concepts into their own areas of specialty or interest, as well as to draw from their own relevant experiences and interests as a way to contribute to our collective understanding of organizational theory.

(Re)learning Love of the Land  |  IIS85

Social/Media  |  MS120
This course will consider how social media is impacting personal communication, consumption practices, and media industries.  Through case studies of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and related spaces students will theorize the role of interactivity in contemporary popular culture.  This class will consider how social media impacts narrative form, political engagement, performance of self, and cultural conceptions of reading/authorship. In addition to discussing the media industry’s use of social media platforms as sites of promotion, participation, and surveillance, students will produce critical media analyses using these platforms as part of their coursework.

Sociology Through Film  |  SOC081
There are many ways to learn about sociology and there are many ways one can seek to recognize and attempt to formally understand key patterns and significant dynamics at play in the social world. The most common methods for such endeavors are reading books/articles and listening to lectures. But another very engaging and sometimes more memorable way is through watching sociologically rich films. That is what we will do in this class: watch films – mostly narratives, some documentaries – as a way to learn about contemporary social life, to better grasp sociological concepts, and to hone our sociological imaginations. Yes, there will be lectures. Yes, there will be assigned reading. Yes, there will be discussions. But films will be the prominent feature of this class.

Statistics  |  ECON091
An introduction to the statistical tools used in the quantitative analysis of economic and political relationships. Topics include probability theory, statistical estimation, hypothesis testing and regression analysis.
Prerequisite(s): MATH 020 PZ or equivalent. Please also check the current course schedule for requirements.

The Alt-Right & Occult Religion  |  SOC038
This course explores how “alt-right” movements across the US and Europe have re-appropriated occult and pagan mythologies, rhetorics, symbols, and practices to support white supremacist, patriarchal, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and militaristic political agendas. Taught from a critical historical perspective, this class traces the manipulation of these ideologies back to their roots in Nazi Germany, and tracks their evolution throughout the Cold War, into the present era. By the end of the term, students will have familiarized themselves with a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, and will also have completed research projects focused on their individual interests.

Visual Ecology  |  EA144
As humans, our relationship with the world is profoundly affected by the images we use to understand and express our place in nature. This course engages critical investigation and application of ecological concepts and how these are addressed through art and digital media. We experiment with conceptual approaches to art making and develop strategies for how artists can both critique culture and convey effective environmental concepts. In this combined theory & praxis course, we integrate studio art with scholarly analysis and engaged field research as we create socially and environmentally responsible artworks.

Watercolor  |  ART075
This course will introduce the basic language of watercolor painting. An understanding of painting realistically will be developed through work on accurate color matching and attending to common drawing problems.  The class will develop the students understanding of constructing a painting and how to utilize various techniques. Attention will be given to safe studio practice. Students are expected to address and embrace the realistic approach to painting as it supports an overall understanding of perception.