Archive of First Year Seminar Course Descriptions

Spring 2013

Tim Burton
Dr. Mary Mccay, Department of English

Anime, the popular art form pioneered in early 20th century Japan, reveals much about Japan’s historical and contemporary values, politics, technology, and attitudes toward social justice. Students will analyze Anime in its cultural contexts and learn how American adaptations reflect issues in 21st century U.S. culture.

Imagining New Orleans
Dr. Tracey Watts, Department of English

Representations of New Orleans in literature, film, and political discourse offer widely divergent images of our unique city: a site of hedonistic freedom, racial tensions and discrimination, and social redemption after Katrina’s devastation. The course critically examines these representations to uncover the truths, idealizations, and biases that underlie them.

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Dr. C.W. Cannon, Department of English

New Orleans has been richly mythologized throughout its history. Before Katrina, New Orleanians were often bemused by some of the wilder representations of their peculiar culture. After the storm, such conceptions were potentially harmful to the city's recovery. Beginning with journalistic accounts from the aftermath of Katrina, the course moves backwards to trace a genealogy of the myth of New Orleans in American culture.

Ethical Eating
Ms. Kristin Sanders, Department of English

The choices we make about what we eat as well as the production, marketing, and merchandising of food have far-reaching ethical implications. Through books, articles, films, and field trips to New Orleans’ grocery stores, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) sites, the course explores the concept of ethical eating with particular reference to the New Orleans community. Ultimately, each student will answer the following question: What is the most ethical option for eating in New Orleans, and why?

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt, Department of History

New Orleans mixture of African, Caribbean, and European culture, forged through early European settlement, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the revolution in St. Domingue, and waves of international immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries make the city unique. By focusing on the music, food, literature, religious practices, and Carnival traditions of New Orleans, the seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

Disease and Healing in New Orleans
Dr. Christi Sumich, Department of History

On May 28, 1853, a New Orleans paper carried the headline “Disease: an Obsolete Idea.” That same day the first victim of a devastating yellow fever epidemic died. Have you ever wondered what it was really like to live in nineteenth-century New Orleans, complete with mosquitoes, raw sewerage, and smells that defy words? This course will trace the facts and the myths about disease and healthcare in that early era up to the present in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Food, Ethnicity and Culture in New Orleans
Dr. Justin Nystrom, Department of History

Despite the issues that divide New Orleanians, they share a proud culinary tradition rooted in great ethnic diversity. Coming together over signature dishes, from muffaletas to shrimp creole, from rice calas to Banh Pho is a treasured cultural ritual that forges communal bonds. This course explores the ethnic, environmental, and historical forces that have made food a source of community in the Crescent City.

Rebellion and Revolution in China
Dr. Rian Thum, Department of History

China is often mistakenly portrayed as a place of complete conformity. This course shatters that myth byexploring cultures of rebellion and revolution, starting with the China's latest uprisings and tracing traditions of disobedience backward through music, visual art, literature, artifacts, and historical writing. Through comparisons with revolutionary traditions from other parts of the world, the course invites students to examine their own notions of rebellion and revolution.

The Idea of America
Dr. Mark Fernandez, Department of History

Where does America come from? What is liberty? Who and what shaped our conceptions of our country? This course will probe these questions from our colonial orgins to the very recent past by looking at the intellectual history, literature, political, cultural, and religious aspects of the American past and the ideas and thinkers who helped shape our views of who we are.

Images of Latin America in Film
Dr. Leopoldo Tablante, Department of Languages and Cultures

Representations of Latin America in American films reveal much about American attitudes toward the Latin American world. Images of Latin characters as exotic, highly sexualized, and dangerous uncover the fears that underlie discrimination against Latin Americans both inside and outside the U.S. The course explores these themes and the social justice issues implicit in them.

Humor, Power, and Prejudice
Dr. Teri Bednarz, Department of Religious Studies

This course requires service learning.
Humor is a universal human phenomenon that often serves as an instrument of prejudice and power. It effects vary from light-hearted laughter to derision that ostracizes. It can be subversive, and it can reinforce the status quo. This course focuses on the social and political functions of humor with an emphasis on the role it plays in prejudice, marginalization, and social injustice.

New Orleans Religions: Before and After Katrina
Dr. Cathy Wessinger, Department of Religious Studies

New Orleans’ religious landscape is colorful and complex, blending the Catholic churches of its European founders with, the Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, and Voodoo gatherings of those who later populated the city. Through readings, projects, and field trips, this course explores New Orleans’ uniquely rich religious culture, how it changed after Katrina, and what endured.

iBrains
Mr. Brad Petitfils, Department of Psychology

Our lives are becoming more complicated by the barrage of graphics, audio, and video that comes to us through our time online. What’s worse, our attention spans are becoming shortened as we experience more of life through “the screen.” In short, technology is changing everything about the way we live and learn in the 21st century. This course explores the difference between information and knowledge and, in general, the role that technology (reality TV, games, Wikipedia, social networking, YouTube, etc.) plays in that distinction. By the end of the course, we will decide whether traditional theories of learning and human development might need revision in our “hyperreal” present.

Men and Masculinities
Dr. Charles Corprew, Department of Psychology

Why do some men always HAVE to win? Why is it that boys don't cry? Why are Denzel Washington, "The Rock," Benjamin Bratt, and George Clooney the prototypes for ideal masculinity? Through readings, films, and group discussions about sexuality, ethnicity, fatherhood, sports, work, and media representations, this course explores the how masculine identity is achieved, experienced and exhibited in American culture.

Diversity in Society
Ms. Liv Newman, Department of Sociology

This course requires service learning.
As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

The Landscape of Race in America: Reading Historical Monuments and Landmarks
Dr. Kathleen Fitzgerald, Department of Sociology

The monuments we erect to celebrate our culture expose the values we hold dear. This course analyzes how our historical landmarks celebrate white Euro-American culture while marginalizing the contributions of non-whites and challenges dominant U.S. narratives of freedom, justice and equality.

Mardi Gras and the Performance of Identity
Ms. Carol Leake, Department of Visual Arts

Mardi Gras has interacted with New Orleans’ history in ways that have shaped the structure of its society. This course examines the social stratification and discrimination behind this celebratory festival that so defines the city, as the citizenry assume masks and costumes that reveal rather than conceal their identities and desires.

Romantic Decay or Economic Exhaustion? Walking New Orleans
Ms. Barbara Brainard, Department of Visual Arts

Our fanciful expectations of place often conflict with gritty cultural complexities and this is especially true in New Orleans. By examining local architecture, the complex fabric that is New Orleans will come into focus. Through personal narratives based on on-site photographs, guided research and intensive critique, we will make sense of geographic influences, social and artistic tides, and often incongruous building trends and their contributions to the cities' unique identity.
(Please note that classes may include walking tours up to 2 miles.)

Love, Death, and Opera
Dr. Alice Clark, Department of Music

How does music reflect cultural attitudes? How can it be used to shape those attitudes? This course examines issues such as gender and race, love and death, as exemplified in works such as Carmen, Don Giovanni, and West Side Story. By examining staging and film versions we will further consider how the values embedded in works composed in the past can be reinterpreted when they are performed in the present. No musical background necessary.

Fall 2012

Japanese Anime
Dr. Mary Mc Cay, Department of English
Anime, the popular art form pioneered in early 20th century Japan, reveals much about Japan’s historical and contemporary values, politics, technology, and attitudes toward social justice. Students will analyze Anime in its cultural contexts and learn how American adaptations reflect issues in 21st century U.S. culture.

The World of Tim Burton
Dr. Mary McCay, Department of English
Director and producer Tim Burton is famous for films such as Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and his darkly re-imagined Alice in Wonderland that explore “excitement, mystery, discovery, life, and death.” He is also a whimsical and disturbing artist and a writer of lyrical poetry and prose. Students will view the art, read the writings and watch the films to understand how contemporary culture speaks to the need for imaginative approaches to difficult social issues.

iBrains
Mr. Brad Petitfils, Department of Psychology
Our lives are becoming more complicated by the barrage of graphics, audio, and video that comes to us through our time online. What’s worse, our attention spans are becoming shortened as we experience more of life through “the screen.” In short, technology is changing everything about the way we live and learn in the 21st century. This course explores the difference between information and knowledge and, in general, the role that technology (reality TV, games, Wikipedia, social networking, YouTube, etc.) plays in that distinction. By the end of the course, we will decide whether traditional theories of learning and human development might need revision in our “hyperreal” present.

East of Eden: Exploring the Medieval World
Dr. John Sebastian, Department of English

Medieval Europeans’ encounters with the fabled “others” of the East produced stories of marvels, monsters and miracles, stories that reveal much about notions of identity in the middle ages. Through reading and analysis of maps, epic poetry, travelogues, cookbooks, and other texts and visual documents, students will learn about medieval concepts of identity and re-think assumptions about their own identity, especially with respect to ethnicity, race, gender, class, religion, nationality, and culture.

Ethical Eating
Ms. Kristin Sanders, Department of English

The choices we make about what we eat as well as the production, marketing, and
merchandising of food have far-reaching ethical implications. Through books, articles, films, and field trips to New Orleans’ grocery stores, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) sites, the course explores the concept of ethical eating with particular reference to the New Orleans community. Ultimately, each student will answer the following question: What is the most ethical option for eating in New Orleans, and why?

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt, Department of History

New Orleans mixture of African, Caribbean, and European culture, forged through early European settlement, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the revolution in St. Domingue, and waves of international immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries make the city unique. By focusing on the music, food, literature, religious practices, and Carnival traditions of New Orleans, the seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

Disease and Healing in New Orleans
Dr. Christi Sumich, Department of History

On May 28, 1853, a New Orleans paper carried the headline “Disease: an Obsolete Idea.” That same day the first victim of a devastating yellow fever epidemic died. Have you ever wondered what it was really like to live in nineteenth-century New Orleans, complete with mosquitoes, raw sewerage, and smells that defy words? This course will trace the facts and the myths about disease and healthcare in that early era up to the present in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Food and Food Justice in New Orleans (UHP) (2 Sections in the Fall)
Dr. Justin Nystrom Department of History
Dr. Sue Mennino,Department of Sociology

This course is open to HONORS students only.
This course requires service learning.
Despite the issues that divide New Orleanians, they share a proud culinary tradition rooted in great ethnic diversity. Coming together over signature dishes, from muffaletas to shrimp creole, from rice calas to Banh Pho is a treasured cultural ritual that forges communal bonds. This course explores the ethnic, environmental, and historical forces that have made food a source of community in the Crescent City.

Climate Change Ethics (2 Sections in the Fall)
Dr. Ian Smith, Department of Philosophy

Remember the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused? This deadly hurricane has been linked to global climate change, and most climate scientists say that we can expect more of the same as the world’s seas grow warmer. Drawing on moral philosophy, economics, political science, and climate science, this course examines the global, generational, and individual ethical issues that arise in the context of climate change.

Forming the Self: in the Steps of Ignatius Loyola
Sylvester Tan , S. J., Department of Languages and Cultures

This course requires service learning.
The formation of the self is central to Ignatian thought: that every idea, experience, action, and relationship contribute to forming who we are. The course explores this concept through Ignatius Loyola’s spiritual exercises and writings, the writings of Plato, Augustine and others, and formative experiences that range from Japanese tea ceremonies and music appreciation to ropes course activities and field trips.

Images of Latin America in Film
Dr. Leopoldo Tablante, Department of Languages and Cultures

Representations of Latin America in American films reveal much about American attitudes toward the Latin American world. Images of Latin characters as exotic, highly sexualized, and dangerous uncover the fears that underlie discrimination against Latin Americans both inside and outside the U.S. The course explores these themes and the social justice issues implicit in them.

The Pity of War
Dr. Denis Janz Department of Religious Studies

Why does our species regularly engage in orgies of collective violence and mass killing? Why, when the cost of war is so appalling, have we not discovered a better way? What have the great Western religions said about the morality of war? This course addresses these perennial questions against the background of wars in the history of the West, from tribal war in the ancient near east to today’s “war on terror.”

What Does the Bible REALLY Say?
Dr. Robert Gnuse, Department of Religious Studies

The public arena is rife with religious concepts, opinions, and beliefs, many of which have little to do with the real message of the Bible. This course focuses on popular misconceptions about the Bible and helps students develop a healthy skepticism about popular religious discourse. Emphasizing critical thinking approaches, the course helps students learn what the Bible actually teaches and says.

Social Justice and the Wire
Dr. Boyd Blundell, Department of Religious Studies

This course requires service learning.
The dominant theme of 20th-century Catholic Teaching is the problem of structural injustice. This course examines this theme through the critically acclaimed series, The Wire. Readings from Church documents and contemporary authors support The Wire’s exploration of social justice.

How to Do the Right Thing: Perspectives on Morality
Dr. Kendall Eskine, Department of Psychology

The ability to make moral choices is one of the things that make us human. But what is the source of the moral sense? This course explores the sources of moral judgments and actions from psychological, evolutionary, philosophical, religious, and literary perspectives, highlighting the status of emotions in moral judgments and the connection between moral thinking and moral doing (social justice.)

Gender Play: Becoming Men and Women
Dr. Karen Reichard, Department of Women’s Studies

Though we don’t usually realize it, we perform gender in our everyday lives, through our clothing, gestures, speech patterns, and other behaviors. This course examines how individuals, influenced by society’s institutions, are drawn into the performance of gender as spectators, script writers, performers, and critics and explores how these performances can both empower and control us.

Diversity in Society
Ms. Liv Newman, Department of Sociology

This course requires service learning.
As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

Gender and Mardi Gras
Dr. Sue Mennino, Department of Sociology

Sociologists see gender as a socially constructed set of relations that is not “natural” but instead is reproduced as we go about our daily lives.This course explores the social construction of gender in Mardi Gras celebrations worldwide, from New Orleans to Rio, Sydney, and other locales, focusing on gender differences in participation in Mardi Gras festivities including balls, parades, costumes, krewe membership, art and music.

Political Satire: Speaking ‘Truthiness’ to Power
Dr. Philip Dynia, Department of Political Science

Satire as political protest can be traced to the earliest days of American government. This course traces the uses, power, and historical significance of satire from such famous satirists as Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain to the contemporary satire of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Michael Moore, and others.

Rebuilding New Orleans (Cardoner LC)
Dr. Peter Burns, Department of Political Science

This course allows students to study and participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina through research on issues of policy and politics that this rebuilding has generated. Education, housing and economic development are highlighted from the perspectives of race and class.

Dishing it Up: the Business of Food in New Orleans
Dr. Frankie Weinberg, Department of Management

New Orleans’ cuisine is world famous, and residents are proud of the diverse roots of our food traditions: Creole, Cajun, Italian, Vietnamese, Caribbean and French—the list goes on. Indeed, food is serious business in the Crescent City and an integral part of our sense of community. Through readings, discussions, and field trips, this seminar explores the way New Orleans’ restaurants, markets, food businesses and co-ops organize themselves to serve and build our community.

Media Myths, Cultural Realities
Ms. Lisa Martin, School of Mass Communication

Much of what we know about others, ourselves, and the world comes from the media. And the media in America–newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV, and films—are owned and controlled by a handful of corporations that shape our understanding of reality. The course teaches students to deconstruct the images packaged for us by the media, analyze the ways these images influence our perceptions, and think critically about that influence.

Spiritual Capital
Dr. Nicholas Capaldi, Department of Business

“Spiritual capital” describes the shared religious and spiritual beliefs that shape social, political, and economic policy. The course examines the narratives that have shaped our notions of spiritual capital in the U.S. to uncover the sources of our fundamental values and the tensions within them.

Spinning the Planet
Dr. Robert Thomas, School of Mass Communication

The language we use to talk about the environment shapes our attitudes toward the science, social issues, and politics surrounding environmental questions. The importance of these questions demands that we distinguish responsible commmunications from "spin." This course helps students to think critically about environmental issues and the language in which they are discussed.

Southern Comfort, Southern Soul: A Story of Southern Identities
Dr. April Prince, Department of Music

The South continues to maintain a distincitve set of muscial and cultural identities. The various notions of the "South," however, create a sometimes complicated relationship with those outside of the region. By contetualizing and exploring the diverse muisical and media landscape created within and about the South-- and using New Orlean's musical soundscape as a vantage point-- this course hopes to work through various understandings of Southern identiy and the muscial sounds that have critically defined crucial aspects of the Southern story.

Spring 2012

Living New Orleans

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt, Department of History

New Orleans music, food, literature, religious practices, and carnival reflect the unique mixture of the city’s African, Caribbean, and European roots. The seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

Disease and Healing in New Orleans
Dr. Christi Sumich, Department of History

On May 28, 1853, a New Orleans paper carried the headline “Disease: an Obsolete Idea.” That same day the first victim of a devastating yellow fever epidemic died. Have you ever wondered what it was really like to live in nineteenth-century New Orleans, complete with mosquitoes, raw sewerage, and smells that defy words? This course will trace the facts and the myths about disease and healthcare in that early era up to the present in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Food, Ethnicity, and Culture in New Orleans
Dr. Justin Nystrom, Department of History

Despite the issues the divide New Orleanians, they share a proud culinary tradition rooted in great ethnic diversity. Coming together over signature dishes, from muffaletas to shrimp creole, from rice calas to Banh Pho is a treasured cultural ritual that forges communal bonds. This course explores the ethnic, environmental, and historical forces that have made food a source of community in the Crescent City.

Imagining New Orleans
Dr. Tracey Watts, Department of English

Representations of New Orleans in literature, film, and political discourse offer widely divergent images of our unique city: a site of hedonistic freedom, racial tensions and discrimination, and social redemption after Katrina’s devastation. The course critically examines these representations to uncover the truths, idealizations, and biases that underlie them.

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Dr. C.W. Cannon, Department of English

New Orleans has been richly mythologized throughout its history. Before Katrina, New Orleanians were often bemused by some of the wilder representations of their peculiar culture. After the storm, such conceptions were potentially harmful to the city's recovery. Beginning with journalistic accounts from the aftermath of Katrina, the course moves backwards to trace a genealogy of the myth of New Orleans in American culture.

History of New Orleans Music
Dr. Sandy Hinderlie, Department of Music and Fine Arts

The story of New Orleans is recorded in its music. This course explores that story from 19th century music in Congo Square to contemporary rock, jazz, and rap, with an emphasis on the racial influences and the relationship between musical identity and social identity in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras: the Performance of Cultural Identity
Dr. Carol Leake, Department of Visual Arts

Mardi Gras has interacted with New Orleans’ history in ways that have shaped the structure of its society. This course examines the social stratification and discrimination behind this celebratory festival that so defines the city, as the citizenry assume masks and costumes that reveal rather than conceal their identities and desires.

Film and Media

Japanese Anime
Dr. Mary McCay, Department of English

Anime, the popular art form pioneered in early 20th century Japan, reveals much about Japan’s historical and contemporary values, politics, technology, and attitudes toward social justice. Students will analyze Anime in its cultural contexts and learn how American adaptations reflect issues in 21st century U.S. culture.

Images of Latin America
Dr. Leopoldo Tablante, Department of Languages and Cultures

Representations of Latin Americain American films reveal much about American attitudes toward the Latin American world. Images Latin characters as exotic, highly sexualized, and dangerous uncover the fears that underly discrimination against Latin Americans both inside and outside the U.S. The course explores theses themes and the social justice issues implicit in them.

Hypermedia and Hyperlearning
Mr. Brad Petitfils, Department of Psychology

The fast-developing synthesis of graphics, audio, and video on the internet—known as ‘hypermedia’-- is changing the way we handle information are shaping the very processes by which we learn. This course examines theories of learning and human development and explores how emerging technologies aid (and sometimes hinder) cognitive processes.

Diversity, Equality, and Justice

Diversity in America
Ms. Liv Newman, Department of Sociology

As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

What is a “Person?”: Exploring the Social Control of Identity
Dr. Brenda Vollman, Department of Criminal Justice

Throughout U.S. history, the status of full “personhood” has been denied to many: slaves, women, and various ethnic immigrant groups. The course examines how laws and social policies have regulated notions of citizenship and humanity and influence contemporary debates about terrorism, immigration, abortion and other issues.

Climate Change Ethics
Dr. Ian Smith, Department of Philosophy

This course examines unique ethical issues that arise in the context of global climate change. We will consider issues of global justice, justice across the generations, policy responses to climate change, and individual responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. This course draws on moral philosophy, economics, political science, and climate science.

Politics and Values

The Pity of War
Dr. Denis Janz, Department of Religious Studies

Why does our species regularly engage in orgies of collective violence and mass killing? Why, when the cost of war is so appalling, have we not discovered a better way? What have the great Western religions said about the morality of war? This course addresses these perennial questions against the background of wars in the history of the West, from tribal war in the ancient near east to today’s “war on terror.”

Spiritual Capital
Dr. Nicholas Capaldi, Department of Business

“Spiritual capital” describes the shared religious and spiritual beliefs that shape social, political, and economic policy. The course examines the narratives that have shaped our notions of spiritual capital in the U.S. to uncover the sources of our fundamental values and the tensions within them.

What Does the Bible REALLY Say?
Dr. Robert Gnuse, Department of Religious Studies

The public arena is rife with religious concepts, opinions, and beliefs, many of which have little to do with the real message of the Bible. This course focuses on popular misconceptions about the Bible and helps students develop a healthy skepticism about popular religious discourse. Emphasizing critical thinking approaches, the course helps students learn what the Bible actually teaches and says.

Identity and Culture

American Dreams
Dr. David Moore, Department of History

The meaning of the “American Dream” has shifted throughout our history. In this course, students examine changing conceptions of this ideal through historical documents, music, and literature, from our founding as a nation up to the present day.

Becoming American, Becoming Latino
Dr. Uriel Quesada, Department of Languages and Cultures

What does it mean to be Latino in the United States? How has Latino immigration shaped American identity and experience? Through readings, films, performances, and service-learning projects, this course explores common myths about Latinos in America as well as issues of cultural identity, belonging, and difference in the American Latino community.

Islam, America, and the Arts
Dr. Aaron Spevack, Department of Religious Studies

This course challenges students to think critically about a controversial religion and its people. Through exposure to the music, film, literature, and the core beliefs and practices of Islam, students will explore the contributions of Islam to U.S history, challenge current assumptions, and advance their own positions on the place of Islam in American society.

Fall 2011

Diversity, Equality, and Justice

The Self and the Good Life
Dr. Mark Gossiaux Department of Philosophy

This course serves as the First-Year Seminar for students in the University Honors Program. It offers an introduction to the Jesuit tradition of liberal arts education by means of a careful and sustained reflection on the nature of the good human life and its ingredients. Questions to be considered include What does it mean to be a good human being? How ought one to live? Is there a purpose and meaning to human existence? Is the human desire for happiness doomed to frustration or destined to fulfillment?

Love, Death, and Opera
Dr. Alice Clark, Department of Music

How can music reflect cultural attitudes? How can it be used to shape those attitudes? This course examines issues such as gender and race, love and death, as exemplified in works such as Carmen, Don Giovanni, and West Side Story. No musical background necessary.

Bought and Sold: 21st Century Slavery
Dr. Laura Murphy, Department of English

Though most people think that slavery ended in 1865, there are nonetheless 27 million people enslaved around the world today, despite vigorous efforts of activists to stamp out this practice. Focusing on the accounts of survivors and activists, both in texts and in virtual classroom visits, this course examines the problem of modern slavery and explores opportunities for students to participate in its eradication.

Diversity in Society
Ms. Liv Newman, Department of Sociology

*Service Learning Required
As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

The Landscape of Race in America: Reading Historical Monuments and Landmarks
Dr. Kathleen Fitzgerald, Department of Sociology

The monuments we erect to celebrate our culture expose the values we hold dear. This course analyzes how our historical landmarks celebrate white Euro-American culture while marginalizing the contributions of non-whites and challenges dominant U.S. narratives of freedom, justice and equality.

Island Voices: The Spanish Caribbean
Dr. Blanca Anderson, Department of Languages and Cultures

This course examines the bridge between Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands –Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic-- through an exploration of ways that the music, religions, food, and literature of these islands have shaped American culture.

All the World’s a Stage: The Performance of Gender
Dr. Karen Reichard, Department of Women’s Studies

Though we don’t usually realize it, we perform gender in our everyday lives, through our clothing, gestures, speech patterns, and other behaviors. This course examines how individuals, influenced by society’s institutions are drawn into the performance of gender as spectators, script writers, performers, and critics and explores how these performances can both empower and control us.

Politics and Culture

Protest and Pop Music
Mr. Robert Bell, Department of English

Social protest has often found expression in popular music, from early English ballads to Mississippi Delta blues, 1960s Rock & Roll, and today’s ‘gangsta” rap. Through readings and musical texts, the course examines the intersection between music and protest in America.

Politics and Reel Life
Dr. Mary McCay, Department of English

How does film shape our political attitudes? How does it perpetuate injustices via racial, religious, and sexual representations? This course examines the impact of film on people’s perception of politics and the way film both supports and challenges the status quo.

Japanese Anime
Dr. Mary McCay, Department of English

Anime, the popular art form pioneered in early 20th century Japan, reveals much about Japan’s historical and contemporary values, politics, technology, and attitudes toward social justice. Students will analyze Anime in its cultural contexts and learn how American adaptations reflect issues in 21st century U.S. culture.

Humor, Power, and Prejudice
Dr. Teri Bednarz, Department of Religious Studies

*Service Learning Required
Humor is a universal human phenomenon that often serves as an instrument of prejudice and power. It effects vary from light-hearted laughter to derision that ostracizes. It can be subversive, and it can reinforce the status quo. This course focuses on the social and political functions of humor with an emphasis on the role it plays in prejudice, marginalization, and social injustice.

Tell It Again: Texts, Adaptation, and Social Change
Ms. Nancy Rowe, Department of English

Revealing and interpreting the “historical moment,” is a key function of the stories we tell ourselves. And we adapt our most powerful stories again and again to reflect changing social, political and cultural realities. This course examines adaptations of classic narratives from fiction to film, visual art to poetry, cultural myths to music, video games and other artistic forms.

Political Satire: Speaking ‘Truthiness’ to Power
Dr. Philip Dynia, Department of Political Science

Satire as political protest can be traced to the earliest days of American government. This course traces the uses, power, and historical significance of satire from such famous satirists as Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain to the contemporary satire of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Michael Moore, and others.

Spinning the Planet
Dr. Robert Thomas, School of Mass Communication

The language we use to talk about the environment shapes our attitudes toward the science, social issues, and politics surrounding environmental questions. The importance of these questions demands that we distinguish responsible communications from “spin.” This course helps students think critically about environmental issues and the language in which they are discussed.

Living New Orleans

Rebuilding New Orleans
Dr. Peter Burns, Department of Political Science

This course allows students to study and participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina through research on issues of policy and politics that this rebuilding has generated. Education, housing and economic development are highlighted from the perspectives of race and class.

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt, Department of History

New Orleans music, food, literature, religious practices, and carnival reflect the unique mixture of the city’s African, Caribbean, and European roots. The seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

Disease and Healing in New Orleans
Dr. Christi Sumich, Department of History

On May 28, 1853, a New Orleans paper carried the headline “Disease: an Obsolete Idea.” That same day the first victim of a devastating yellow fever epidemic died. Have you ever wondered what it was really like to live in nineteenth-century New Orleans, complete with mosquitoes, raw sewerage, and smells that defy words? This course will trace the facts and the myths about disease and healthcare in that early era up to the present in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Food, Ethnicity, and Culture in New Orleans
Dr. Justin Nystrom, Department of History

Despite the issues the divide New Orleanians, they share a proud culinary tradition rooted in great ethnic diversity. Coming together over signature dishes, from muffaletas to shrimp creole, from rice calas to Banh Pho is a treasured cultural ritual that forges communal bonds. This course explores the ethnic, environmental, and historical forces that have made food a source of community in the Crescent City.

Crime and Culture in New Orleans
Dr. Julia D’Antonio, Department of Sociology

The social impact of crime has long shaped New Orleans culture. This course offers a critical perspective on this impact, exploring such topics as crime and Voodoo, rap and rebellion, crime and Mardi Grace, race and (in)justice, and patterns of crime pre- and post-Katrina.

Technology and Learning

Hypermedia and Hyperlearning
Mr. Brad Petitfils, Department of Psychology

The fast-developing synthesis of graphics, audio, and video on the internet—known as ‘hypermedia’-- is changing the way we handle information are shaping the very processes by which we learn. This course examines theories of learning and human development and explores how emerging technologies aid (and sometimes hinder) cognitive processes.

Violent Crime and the Media
Dr. Rae Taylor, Department of Criminal Justice

*Service Learning Required
A few days of watching tv would make the average American believe that we are all “sitting ducks” in a nation of violent crime. But is this a media fabrication? Has violent crime become rampant in America or merely a powerful archetype of our media narratives?This course compares violent content across a variety of media to actual crime rates, dispelling common myths, and cultivating a habit of critical thinking with regard to media consumption.

Brain and Behavior
Dr. Erin Dupuis, Department of Psychology

How much of our behavior is inborn? How much derives from outside influences? This course examines the biology of behavior, focusing on topics from the functioning of nerve cells to complex behaviors such as religious practice, sexual behavior, and violence.

2011 Spring

Living New Orleans

Food, Ethnicity, and Community in New Orleans
Dr. Justin Nystrom
History Department

Despite the issues the divide New Orleanians, they share a proud culinary tradition rooted in great ethnic diversity. Coming together over signature dishes, from muffaletas to shrimp creole, from rice calas to Banh Pho is a treasured cultural ritual that forges communal bonds. This course explores the ethnic, environmental, and historical forces that have made food a source of community in the Crescent City.

New Orleans: Home of the Muse
Dr. Kevin Rabalais
English Department

New Orleans has long fascinated writers and drawn many into its bohemian orbit. Some have been captured by its dark romanticism. Others have celebrated its unique human comedy. Still others have mourned its recent devastation. Through readings, films, and conversations with local writers, the course explores New Orleans as literary muse.

Crescent City People
Dr. Mark Fernandez
Department of History

Crescent City People will explore the rich culture of New Orleans from a historical perspective. We'll investigate the cultures, heritage, and accomplishments of the people who made New Orleans, starting with the Atlantic perspective of the early eighteenth century and following through to the changes wrought by Katrina.

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt
History Department

New Orleans music, food, literature, religious practices, and carnival reflect the unique mixture of the city’s African, Caribbean, and European roots. The seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

French Connections: New Orleans’ French Heritage and Identity
Dr. Alice Kornvich
Classical and Modern Foreign Languages Department

What does it mean to be “la Nouvelle-Orleans,” an American city with a French identity. What are our French connections and how do they define us? This course studies the French cultural heritage of New Orleans from its founding as a French colonial settlement to the present day through an examination of our history, architecture, art, music, food, celebrations, and language.

Performing Recovery in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Dr. Cynthia Garza
Sociology Department

In the aftermath of Katrina, it seemed that the performing arts would be among the first casualties of New Orleans’ government breakdown, trauma, discrimination and fractured communities. Instead, many performers took on a dynamic role as leaders and community activists, and performance served as a means to healing. This course examines the role that popular music, street parades, carnival celebrations, theater, dance, and costuming have played in the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Politics and Protest

The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Dr. Martin McHugh
Physics Department

By an accident of history, nuclear fission was discovered eight months before Germany invaded Poland in 1939. By 1945, the Manhattan Project had built and detonated three nuclear weapons, one as a test in New Mexico, two on cities in Japan. This course looks at how the atomic bomb has shaped world politics and the enterprise of science through concepts in physics, literary and political texts, and films.

Diversity in America
Dr. Liv Newman
Sociology

As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

Protest and Pop Music
Mr. Robert Bell
English Department

Social protest has often found expression in popular music, from early English ballads to Mississippi Delta blues, 1960s Rock & Roll, and today’s ‘gangsta” rap. Through readings and musical texts, the course examines the intersection between music and protest in America.

Technology and Culture

Crime and Punishment in the Surveillance Society
Dr. Vincenzo Sainato
Criminal Justice Department

Society uses many mechanisms to identify, respond to, and control unwanted behavior. Today, more than ever, communities and prisons are part of a circular world where inside and outside are increasingly connected. This course studies how technologies of watching and being watched have evolved to created our modern ‘surveillance society’ and examines the sociological, political, philosophical byproducts of such surveillance.

Hypermedia and Hyperlearning
Mr. Brad Petitfils
Psychology Department

The fast-developing synthesis of graphics, audio, and video on the internet—known as ‘hypermedia’-- is changing the way we handle information are shaping the very processes by which we learn. This course examines theories of learning and human development and explores how emerging technologies aid (and sometimes hinder) cognitive processes.

Virtual Religion
Dr. Boyd Blundell
Religious Studies Department

We don’t often connect technology and religion but, in fact, technology has strongly influenced religious thought and practice throughout history, from the brick and printing press through radio, television, the internet and virtual spaces. This course, conducted largely within the 3D virtual platform of Second Life, explores the influence of technology on religious communities and practices.

Exploring the Past

Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Antiquities, and Cultural Heritage
Dr. John Nielsen
History Department

In the 19th Century, archaeologists filled European and American museum with priceless artifacts excavated in the Middle East, opening a panorama of foreign cultures to millions in the West. Today, questions of ownership rage over these artifacts. This course explores the ethical issues surrounding the ownership of cultural treasures in the light of conflicts in the Middle East today.

Medieval Marvels
Dr. John Sebastian
English Department

Medieval travelers imagined a world of marvels beyond their borders, and the stories they brought back often confirmed these imaginings. The course studies the stories of Europeans’ encounters with the fabled ‘others’ of America and Asia between the Norse ‘discovery’ of North America and Columbus’s voyages—through travelogues, maps, cookbooks, and other sources—to explore notions of identity, stereotyping, and justice.

Supernatural Encounters: Magic and Religion
Dr. Sara Butler
History Department

Faith in magic is universal in human experience, explaining how the world works (why do we have earthquakes? Why does evil exist? How can we protect ourselves from forces beyond our control?). The course focuses on the ancient origins of magical belief, the transition from magic to Christianity, and the way magical beliefs have led to demonization throughout the ages and the world.

Truth and Falsehood

What Does the Bible Really Say?
Dr. Robert Gnuse
Religious Studies Department

The public arena is rife with religious concepts, opinions, and beliefs, many of which have little to do with the real message of the Bible. This course focuses on popular misconceptions about the Bible and helps students develop a healthy skepticism about popular religious discourse. Emphasizing critical thinking approaches, the course helps students learn what the Bible actually teaches and says.

Truth, Lies, & Literature
Dr. Janelle Schwartz
Department of English

In the age of internet dating, conspiracy theories, and fierce politics, the line between fact and fiction often blurs and the notion of truth becomes problematic. This course explores literature that manipulates so-called “truth,” raising questions about why truth in storytelling matters.

Disease and Healing in New Orleans
Dr. Christi Sumich
Department of History

On May 28, 1853, a New Orleans paper carried the headline “Disease: an Obsolete Idea.” That same day the first victim of a devastating yellow fever epidemic died. Have you ever wondered what it was really like to live in nineteenth-century New Orleans, with mosquitoes, raw sewerage, and all? This course will trace the facts and the myths about disease and healthcare in that early era up to the present in post-Katrina N.O.

Global Cultures

Cowboys and Indians? The Construction of Indigenous Identities in the Americas
Dr. Nathan Henne
Languages and Cultures

What does it mean to be an indigenous person in the Americas? As Europeans poured into the Americas in the 16th century—and seized political and economic power— the inhabitants were marginalized as savage “others.” The course examines how the very notion of “indigenous” depends on construction by outsiders, how it is stigmatized, and how it has steered global cultural perceptions for centuries.

Images of Africa
Dr. Laura Murphy
English Department

Africa has been shaped by a history of global networks, significant creative expression and traditions, and a dynamic engagement with modern technologies and life. But our image of Africa is often of a continent wracked by tragedy. Through discussions of film, art, advertising, travel narratives, journalism, and literature, the course tears down this image and explores the diversity and richness of African cultures.

(This course is restricted to students in the Cardoner Leadership LLC)
Rebuilding New Orleans
Dr. Peter Burns
Political Science Department

This course allows students to study and participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina through research on issues of policy and politics that this rebuilding has generated. Education, housing and economic development are highlighted from the perspectives of race and class.

2010 Fall

Social Justice

Performing Activism
Dr. Laura Hope
Theatre Arts Department

How can performance serve as a tool of social justice? How have artists, politicians, community activists, and even nations used “performance” as a tool of propaganda, coercion, and dissent? The course examines the intersection of theatre, performance, and activism on a global scale.

Humor , Power, and Prejudice
Dr. Teri Bednarz
Religious Studies Department

Humor is a universal human phenomenon that often serves as an instrument of prejudice and power. It effects vary from light-hearted laughter to derision that ostracizes. It can be subversive, and it can reinforce the status quo. This course focuses on the social and political functions of humor with an emphasis on the role it plays in prejudice, marginalization, and social injustice.

Violent Crime and American Media
Dr. Rae Taylor
Criminal Justice Department

A few days of watching tv would make the average American believe that we are all “sitting ducks” in a nation of violent crime. But is this a media fabrication ? Has violent crime become rampant in America or merely a powerful archetype of our media narratives? This course compares violent content across a variety of media to actual crime rates, dispelling common myths, and cultivating a habit of critical thinking with regard to media consumption.

Race, Ethnicity, and Freedom

Social Equality through Artistic Expression?
Ms. Jennifer Jeanfreau
English Department

In the early twentieth century, a group of African-American artists believed they could achieve social equality—or at least get closer to it—through their creative enterprises. This course considers whether or not they were successful and how their experience is relevant to the contemporary American notion of racial equality.

Bought and Sold: 21st Century Slavery and Abolition
Dr. Laura Murphy
English Department

Though most people think that slavery ended in 1865, there are nonetheless 27 million people enslaved around the world today, despite vigorous efforts of activists to stamp out this practice. Focusing on the accounts of survivors and activists, both in texts and in virtual classroom visits, this course examines the problem of modern slavery and explores opportunities for students to participate in its eradication.

Imagining America

Becoming American, Becoming Latino
Dr. Uriel Quesada
Modern Foreign and Classical Languages Department

What does it mean to be Latino in the United States? How has Latino immigration shaped American identity and experience? Through readings, films, performances, and service-learning projects, this course explores common myths about Latinos in America as well as issues of cultural identity, belonging, and difference in the American Latino community.

Diversity in America
Dr. Liv Newman
Sociology

As Americans, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation. But what do we really mean? With our commitment to diversity as an ideal, how do we reconcile the inequities around us? This course challenges you to think critically about how diversity shapes our identities, our beliefs, and our daily lives.

American Heroes
Dr. Mark Fernandez
History Department

What constitutes an American hero? What roles have they played in American history and in the shaping of our national identity? This course examines these questions and explores why we need heroes to survive and progress as a people.

New Worlds, Imagined Worlds: From Columbus to Avatar
Dr. Hillary Ecklund
English Department

For Europeans, the ‘discovery’ of the New World was almost unimaginable—Columbus died thinking he had visited Asia on four trips across the Atlantic. Through readings and films, this course examines how Europeans interpreted discovery and conquest in the age of exploration and how these representations provide a cultural inheritance that continues to stimulate the imagination.

Living New Orleans

New Orleans: Home of the Muse
Dr. Kevin Rabalais
English Department

New Orleans has long fascinated writers and drawn many into its bohemian orbit. Some have been captured by its dark romanticism. Others have celebrated its unique human comedy. Still others have mourned its recent devastation. Through readings, films, and conversations with local writers, the course explores New Orleans as literary muse.

Creole Crossroads
Dr. Judith Hunt
History Department

New Orleans music, food, literature, religious practices, and carnival reflect the unique mixture of the city’s African, Caribbean, and European roots. The seminar traces the historical threads that converged in this cultural crossroads to create a city like no other.

New Orleans Religions: Before and After Katrina
Dr. Cathy Wessinger
Religious Studies Department

New Orleans’ religious landscape is colorful and complex, blending the Catholic churches of its European founders with, the Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, and Voodoo gatherings of those who later populated the city. Through readings, projects, and field trips, this course explores New Orleans’ uniquely rich religious culture, how it changed after Katrina, and what endured.

War, Peace, and Politics

Politics & Reel Life (two sections)
Dr. Mary McCay
English Department

How does film shape our political attitudes? How does it perpetuate injustices via racial, religious, and sexual representations ? This course examines the impact of film on people’s perception of politics and the way film both supports and challenges the status quo.

The Pity of War
Dr. Denis Janz
Religious Studies Department

Why does our species regularly engage in orgies of collective violence and mass killing? Why, when the cost of war is so appalling, have we not discovered a better way? What have the great Western religions said about the morality of war? This course addresses these perennial questions against the background of wars in the history of the West, from tribal war in the ancient near east to today’s “war on terror.”

Political Shakespeare
Dr. Roger White
Political Science Department

Shakespeare was not only history’s greatest playwright. He was also a shrewd political thinker of continuing relevance. Through a discussion of several plays (both text and film versions), the course explores Shakespeare’s treatment of enduring moral issues and recurring political themes

The Self and the Environment

Truth in Numbers
Dr. Maria Calzada, Mathematics Department
Dr. Lynn Koplitz, Chemistry Department

Every day, we’re bombarded with claims about our environment and our world—assertions by politicians, co-workers, corporations, neighbors. How can we decide which information to accept as true and accurate? This course explores topi cs of current global and national importance—such as climate change, energy policy, sustainability and others—and shows students how to use quantitative reasoning as the foundation for ethical decision-making in these areas.

Spinning the Planet
Dr. Robert Thomas
Environmental Studies Department

The language we use to talk about the environment shapes our attitudes toward the science, social issues, and politics surrounding environmental questions. The importance of these questions demands that we distinguish responsible communications from “spin.” This course helps students think critically about environmental issues and the language in which they are discussed.

All the World’s a Stage: the Performance of Gender
Dr. Karen Reichard
Women’s Studies Program

Though we don’t usually realize it, we perform gender in our everyday lives, through our clothing, gestures, speech patterns, and other behaviors. This course examines how individuals, influenced by society’s institutions are drawn into the performance of gender as spectators, script writers, performers, and critics and explores how these performances can both empower and control us.