Upper Level Electives: Arts

PJ 2700-001 Peacemakers and Peacemaking

Eugene McCarraher
MW 3:00-4:15

Classical and contemporary examples and approaches to peacemaking in response to injustice and social conflict. Issues to be considered include the nature and significance of nonviolent struggle, political reconciliation, and the role of religion in shaping moral action for social change.

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EDU 3277-H01 Urban Education

Jerusha Conner
MW 12:30-1:20; F 12:30-3:30

Examines the challenges of urban schooling, the historical roots of these challenges, and the pedagogical techniques and policy tools that are being used to respond to them. A weekly community-based learning lab in an urban school is required.

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HON 3450-001 (COM) Communication and Collective Memory

Gordon Coonfield
TR 2:30-3:45

"We will never forget." This mnemonic phrase embodied in language a collective attitude toward an event that profoundly shaped American identity in the aftermath of September 11.  The memorial practices associated with that attitude also shaped the collective response in ways that continue to have profound consequences not only for the American collective's identity but for others throughout the world.  Collective memory has become an important interdisciplinary area of humanities and social science scholarship. In contrast to history, understood as the reconstruction of the past itself from its traces; or individual memory, understood as the cognitive images we have of past personal experiences; collective memory refers to the shared practices through which a collective makes the past meaningful for the present.  Taking a communication perspective, this course will engage contemporary examples of memorial practices to explore the role of remembering and forgetting in creating and maintaining a collectively meaningful world. In doing so, we will focus on a number of critical questions:  How is the memory of collectives created, maintained and changed?  What can the memorial and ritual practices associated with collective memory tell us about those who enact them? What role do media play in the practice of collective memory? How does collective memory shape identity? And how do these practices mitigate or encourage acts of social injustice?  

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ENG 3290-H01 Revengers, Murderers, and Malcontents in Renaissance Tragedy

Alice Dailey
TR 10:00-11:15

One of the more dominant features of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century drama is its preoccupation with spectacular acts of murder and revenge and with the psychological, social, familial, and political circumstances that motivate and justify violence.  This course will consider both the stylistic and formal traditions of revenge drama and the genre’s place within the framework of Renaissance debates about concepts of revenge, justice, honor, gender, family, and individuality.  We will be especially interested in how violence operates in the plays to construct notions of ideal femininity and masculinity, often through the dramatization of rape, necrophilia, and honor-driven reciprocal killing.  And we will consider how various playwrights makeuse of a shared vocabulary of revenge tragedy conventions that include ghostly appearances, supernatural intervention, madness (real and feigned), language of horror and darkness, plays-within-plays, necrophilia, and counter-revenge.  Our study will include the period’s seminal revenge tragedies, Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet; tragedies that blend revenge elements with political intrigue, such as Macbeth and Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Maid’s Tragedy; as well as so-called “sex tragedies” focused on forbidden desire and jealousy, like Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Middleton’s The Changeling, and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.  Coursework includes a performance assignment, a presentation, and a research paper.

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HON 4040-001 (HIS) Medieval and Early Modern England

Christopher Daly
MW 4:30-5:45

The material of this course is developed around the narrative of English History from the early-fourteenth century until the religious reformations of the sixteenth century.  We will consider the ebbs and flows of royal power, the social dynamics of economic dislocation, the crisis of the plague, the dynastic strife of the fifteenth century, and the convulsive changes in religion and politics precipitated by Henry VIII and his three successors.  In addition to historical primary texts, we will make use of some English literature and religious tracts, as well as music and church architecture.

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CST 4100-001 Cultural Crossroads

Silvia Nagy-Zemki
T 4:00-6:30

Application of different theoretical approaches to the study of cultural phenomena and praxis in a major research project, a senior thesis. Mandatory for CST majors, open to others.

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HON 4550-001 (HIS) The Declaration of Independence: Moral & Political History of an Idea

William Allen
TR 11:30-12:45

An intensive study of the controversies, ancient and modern, surrounding the Declaration.  We will explore the views of John Calhoun and Roger Taney and Alexander Stephens in contrast to John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Herman Melville (Benito Cereno) and Harriet Stowe ("The Two Altars," and Uncle Tom's Cabin), as well as the "exchange" between Harry Jaffa and Carl Becker and the contrast between Martin Luther King and John Hope Franklin.

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HON 4801-001 (THL) Searching for God

Martin Laird
TR 10:00-11:15

How does one search for a God who is, as St. Augustine says, “closer to me than I am to myself ”?  This course is a sustained exploration of this very question from various angles by examining ancient Christian teachings on silent prayer and contemplation all of which reveal startling and liberating relevance.

Like Buddhism and Hinduism, Christianity likewise has a sophisticated tradition of cultivating interior stillness and peace by confronting the sources of anxiety within. This inner noise creates and sustains personal suffering and the sense that God is distant (or doesn’t exist at all).  This interior stillness facilitates the deepening of personal identity and ultimately the overcoming of the sense of alienation from God and others. Union with God is not something we acquire but discover over the course of many seasons to be what is causing us to seek ultimate Mystery to begin with.  The course is both theoretical and practical.

On the theoretical level there will be an interdisciplinary sampling of texts. We will read ancient Christian authors (fourth- fourteenth centuries) who talk about the search for God by first dealing with the sources of anxiety within--what we will come to call the world of “mind-tripping.” In order to highlight the contemporary relevance of this ancient wisdom, we shall look at contemporary authors on such topics as depression, eating disorders, relationship junkies, the process of addiction.  We shall also examine (a) how the timeless practice of contemplation anticipates the discoveries of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and (b) why the cutting-edge research in neuroscience has become so interested in meditation’s impact on the human brain.  The purpose of the reading, writing, and discussion is to cultivate and value an integrated sense of what is involved in that deep spiritual flourishing of what St. Paul terms our life “hidden with Christ in God (Col 3: 3).”

There is also a practical component. The first 13-15 minutes of each class meeting will be devoted to contemplative practice itself, so that the student not only gains a theoretical understanding of the ancient Christian practice of contemplation / meditation, but also knows how to practice it in daily life.

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HON 4801-002 (THL) Science and Religion

Francis Caponi
MW 1:30-2:45

This course provides an introduction to the basic principles and key themes in the study of the relationship between religion and science, with an emphasis on Christian theology. Some of the topics we will investigate are the Greek, Christian, and Islamic contributions to the development of science; Biblical hermeneutics; faith and reason; miracles; historical controversies; and the ethical questions raised by artificial intelligence, “designer drugs,” cloning and genetic engineering, and other contemporary concerns. We will also consider the impact on Christian thought of recent developments in evolutionary biology, neurology, sociobiology, cosmology, and quantum physics. Students do not need expertise in either science or theology to benefit from this course, just a willingness to read deeply, think critically, write carefully, and discuss passionately.

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THL 5999-H01 What would Jesus deconstruct?

John Caputo
TR 1:00-2:15

Select topics on issues concerning the intersection of religion, society, and culture.

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