Sophomore Level Courses


W 4:30-7:00 PM

Description forthcoming.

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MW 1:30-2:45 PM

This course examines the literary and performance aspects of modern African drama. It begins by locating African drama in the context of oral performance—storytelling, mask idioms, dance theatre—and then examines how the genre has been impacted by the infusion of European literary traditions while retaining indigenous forms. Implicated in this literary exercise is a study of how contemporary African drama delineates African pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial history on stage. This course will examine the theory of African drama and the various theatrical practices that operate on the continent.
Attributes: English; Africana Studies minor; GIS: Africana Studies; Diversity 3

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M 4:30-7:00 PM

Did you know that 2,000-year-old Roman road networks set the stage for where wealth concentrates today? That Shakespeare did not invent any more new words than other writers of his era? That before internal combustion engines proliferated across the globe, normal conversations on a typical city street were discernable at a distance of 100 feet? These are all findings of recent research in Digital Humanities (DH), which pursues traditional humanistic questions using computational tools. This course teaches humanists what these tools and how they are used, encourages coders to understand how to customize existing tools and develop new ones, and brings both together in engaging what it means to be human in our networked, digitized world.

If you’re studying arts, this course is for you whether or not you feel prepared for expectations of digital literacy likely in your future workplace or post-graduate education. If you’re studying sciences, this course is for you whether or not you’ve spent much time thinking about the psychological, social, and ideological implications of the ways questions are posed, code is written, and results are communicated. We will come at a variety of basic DH tools from two angles: “how to. . .”, and “so what?” We all use “interfaces” every day, for example. But how often do any of us think about “windows” or “platforms” as metaphors? In this course, we’ll think about that, then look at some different kinds of interfaces and their metaphors to see differences in what they enable or inhibit. What questions do they allow? What communities of users do they call together? What and whom do they exclude? Could they be improved?
The course is designed to systematically support students who feel out of place in any part of the endeavor. You will be ok even if you’ve don’t know what “ideological critique” means, or if you don’t know what “html” stands for. At the same time, the course offers challenging work in the areas that feel more familiar to you, whether arguing with literary theorists or coding with python. You’ll make the acquaintance of dozens of incredibly cool DH projects (reconstructing the sounds of 17th-century cities, collecting word frequencies, tracking the migration of folk tales, mapping 20th-century American social movements), get to know a few deeply, and then contribute to a final class project of making our own. Units will include study of big data and the humanities, datamining and textual analysis, visualization, cultural analytics, network analytics, 3D mapping, and virtual spaces. We also will study some digital art and some movies (like Bladerunner) that engage digital-humanist encounters. By the end of the course, you will comfortably use the essential DH platforms Omeka (exhibiting); Google Fusion Tables (data management); Cytoscape (data visualization); Voyant (text analysis); Geocommons (mapping); ChronoZoom (timelining); Balsamiq and HTML (wireframing).
Because we fully expect some students to feel out of their depth with different aspects of the course, assignments and class meetings will include frequent check-ins on comprehension, comfort, and progress. Short assignments will include informal individual response papers and on-line group thought experiments; medium-sized assignments will often allow students to choose between writing an analytic paper and writing or customizing code. The final undertaking (in place of final exam or paper) is class creation of a DH project.

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MW 1:30-2:45

This course is an introduction to the history of ethics in the Western philosophical and theological tradition. Among the questions we will explore are: What does it mean to live a moral life? Why be moral? What makes an act moral? What aspects of human activity are within the scope of morality? The course will also explore how one’s answers to the “big questions” shape the moral life: Is there a God? What are people really all about? The course will attempt to engage these issues through an extended treatment of the virtues and a close reading of both historical and contemporary authors.


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TR 4:00-5:15

This course will introduce the student to major ethical theories and we will study their application to contemporary moral issues. Ethics asks the questions, “What makes for a good human life, a good human being, or a good human action?” This class offers students the opportunity to make use of the methods practiced in the discipline of ethics to engage the normative vision of the flourishing human life represented in the core curriculum and in the various alternative visions that engage the attention of attentive and reasonable human beings. What students will gain from ETH 2050 is an understanding of, and appreciation for, the real differences that exist between various moral visions that compete for allegiance in the contemporary “marketplace of ideas.” The vision of human flourishing that emerges from Christian, particularly Roman Catholic and Augustinian, sources will be presented as a viable alternative for engaging contemporary moral problems, but it will also be presented as competing with very robust and convincing alternative accounts of the moral life. This particular section of ETH 2050 is part of the curriculum for the Honors Program Medical Humanities Sequence and as such considers contemporary moral issues that arise in medical research, clinical practice, and health policy. All sections of college ethics are writing enriched.

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Jeffrey Morgan
TR 1:00-2:15

This course involves students in the ongoing conversation about what constitutes the good life. That conversation involves ancient and modern thinkers, both philosophers and theologians, as well as people alive today, struggling with questions that each generation seeks to answer: What is the good life? What does justice demand of me? Of us? Does it matter what I believe about human nature, or about God, or about society when it comes to how I live my life? Is being happy the same thing as being a good person? One goal of the course is to provide students with “toe holds” into this longstanding conversation. Another goal is to enable students to engage these resources as they might bear upon some contemporary moral challenge and/or reality. These goals will be accomplished through a combination of the following: reading challenging texts, examining some contemporary moral challenges, and writing essays designed to synthesize the insights of the first two activities.

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TR 4:00-5:15

Course description, forthcoming.


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TR 11:30-12:45

We all have multiple intersecting identities and ones which yield different lived experiences, opportunities and visions of our world. We are all "raced", but the experiences affected by that generalized identity may be dramatically impacted by the interactions of other embodiments: gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc. We live at a time when the nature, functioning, and justice around the constructions of differences are more salient and contentious than ever: “Black Lives Matter”/”All Lives Matter,” “Everyone should have access to healthcare/”The market should dictate access,” “There should be bathrooms for Transgender people”/“People should not be forced to make such accommodations,” “Same-sex marriages are now legal”/”People should not have to recognize that if it violates their religious beliefs,” and “As undocumented people who bring their children to the US are illegal, it is appropriate to separate children from their parents/Separating children from their parents is totally inhumane and unconscionable.” The course will examine many of these issues from the philosophies and ideologies from which they come. Using material from different disciplines (philosophy, sociology, literature, critical race, and queer theories, etc.), we will analyze the complex machinery of unjust inequalities that arise from these socially constructed differences in US culture. The emphasis here will be on those texts which showcase the lived experiences of people most affected by structures of oppression. We shall end the course with an examination of possible strategies and practices for challenging and disrupting the systemic and interpersonal injustices that separate and divide us one from one another with an aim at what our society might look like if privilege, power, and oppression did not occur.




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Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405