Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

Spring 2013 – Special Topics

BLS 3085 DMWA — Art of the Other
This course seeks to use visual arts and music to understand aspects of group identity, and its representation and reinvention. As such, this course is part sociology, part art history, and part history-history, but none of these specifically. The idea is to interrogate questions such as “What is ‘black art’?” “What is ‘Latina’or ‘Latin American’ art?” “Are these ‘arts’ something you immediately know when you see/hear it?” “Are these arts defined by their audiences, performers, both, or neither?” The course focuses on blacks and Latinoamericanos and their 20th and 21st Century arts, and places it in a context of other art communities and times. This semester, we will also focus on Himalayan Arts as well. Assignments include writing two papers, and preparing and delivering an in-class presentation that includes media samples.

CHI 4999 PTRA — Chinese Linguistics

COM 4101 CTRA — Contemporary Issues in Digital Media
This course offers students a survey of topics and issues surrounding digital media. The first half of the course provides an introductory informative and historical perspectives on today’s digital media platforms, from the Internet to Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Google. Through analysis and critical discussions, we aim to discuss the ways each of these technologies changes our understanding of what media are. The second half of the course examines the literature engaging the impact of these technologies across a wide array of issues, including: technopobia, privacy, data mining, digital activism, freedom and diversity of expression, hacking and more. Course materials are drawn from various academic fields spanning law, internet studies, globalization and social theory. The overall aim of the course is to provide a critical media literacy for students through the development of the necessary lexicon and critical framework than can aid them in thinking about these crucial developments and issues that redefine how we understand media and communications.

COM 4101 ETRA — Work-Life Communication
The purpose of this class is to investigate the role language and social interaction plays in personal and organizational constructions of work and life balance the U.S. The course begins with a discussion of how discourses and practices of work and family lives are different today from early U.S. history. Course topics also include discussion of work-life organizational policies and workplace interactions as well as unconventional work-family arrangements. In addition to organizational issues, class discussion also explores family communication processes such as partner decision making related to the division of labor and workforce participation. Throughout the semester, students pursue an independent research project as well as participate in a class presentation.

COM 4101 PTRA — Contemporary Issues in Digital Media
This course offers students a survey of topics and issues surrounding digital media. The first half of the course provides an introductory informative and historical perspectives on today’s digital media platforms, from the Internet to Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Google. Through analysis and critical discussions, we aim to discuss the ways each of these technologies changes our understanding of what media are. The second half of the course examines the literature engaging the impact of these technologies across a wide array of issues, including: technopobia, privacy, data mining, digital activism, freedom and diversity of expression, hacking and more. Course materials are drawn from various academic fields spanning law, internet studies, globalization and social theory. The overall aim of the course is to provide a critical media literacy for students through the development of the necessary lexicon and critical framework than can aid them in thinking about these crucial developments and issues that redefine how we understand media and communications.

COM 4101 UWA — Diversity and Leadership/F2F
What is diversity and inclusion? What is leadership? What happens when you end up blending both of them together? These are the questions that we’ll address this semester in COM 4101. Over the past few decades, this country and organizations have seen a huge shift in how we look at groups and the workplace. Our workplaces are complex, diverse and less traditional. There are several generations working in one place; more women are in the workplace; we work with people next to us and also across the world; technology has changed how we do business. So how do we prepare for this complex system? In this course, students are encouraged to use lessons learned in other courses. The underlying concept is that there are always different ways to approach a task. During this term students will have opportunities to look at how strong leaders communicate; how to ensure that all individuals are fully included in the workplace.

COM 4900 AMWA — Studies in Language and Social Interaction

COM 4900 CMWA — Research Strategies in Communication
This class explores quantitative research methodology and its possibilities for creating insights into the study of communication. Throughout class and lab deliberations you should be asking this question: How do issues of research and methodology connect with the real world issues I confront in processes of intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, small group communication, mass mediated communication, public communication, and intercultural communication? To begin, some general orientations to research methodology within the discipline of communication studies will be discussed. The overall organization gives special attention to techniques of quantitative data analysis and asks: how are interpretive claims theoretically guided and formulated on the basis of empirical data? Whether you are, or hope to be working in a communication related industry, you will need to be competent and professional consumers and creators of information. Data analysis is the art of examining, summarizing, and drawing conclusions from data. Within the discipline of communication studies, knowing the right questions to ask, and how to best answer them, are important features of this research process.

COM 4900 EMWA — Ethics of Professional Communication
This course explores philosophical and ethical issues related to the practice of professional communication. Building on the premise that communicating is a “political act,” class topics encourage the consideration of questions of ethics and values that are likely to arise for professional communicators in the course of their careers. Readings for the course establish an interdisciplinary foundation for exploring these questions, drawing on the disciplines of philosophy, rhetoric, psychology, and communication. The global goal of the course is to motivate individual and collective commitment to best practices.

COM 4900 FMWA — Conflict Resolution
This course explores conflict resolution in interpersonal, intergroup, intercultural, and international communication. Topics include causes and manifestations of conflict, the concept of emotional intelligence, effects of violence in the media, interpersonal conflict resolution techniques, non-violence and peace education, sources of intercultural conflict and intercultural conflict management styles, as well as current international conflicts and resolution efforts.

COM 4900 FTRA — Internal Communication
This course introduces students to the role and value of strategic internal communications within today’s global business organizations. The course reviews the evolution of the practice from a one-way internal communications model to a valuable, strategic business function impacting organizational effectiveness. Special topics in internal communications will be explored, such as internal branding, the CEO’s role in the internal communications process, the importance of research as the foundation for communications strategy development, and effective methods of communicating with employees during change situations. We will also discuss challenges and issues communicators face in trying to reach employees at all levels and examine strategies and tools for developing a united, engaged and productive workforce.

COM 4900 PTRA — Conflict Resolution
This course explores conflict resolution in interpersonal, intergroup, intercultural, and international communication. Topics include causes and manifestations of conflict, the concept of emotional intelligence, effects of violence in the media, interpersonal conflict resolution techniques, non-violence and peace education, sources of intercultural conflict and intercultural conflict management styles, as well as current international conflicts and resolution efforts.

COM 4900 UTA — Communication and the Human Community
This course is an introduction to the important concepts and principles of human communication, with a focus on how humans create meaningful worlds to live in through shared language, shared visual perception and interaction processes. Examination of the conflicts and opportunities that can result from communication differences within and among communities, with particular emphasis on gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, class and physical ability.

ENG 3940H PTRH — Honors: National Film Registry: Interrogating Cultural, Social and Aesthetic Value in US Film
Using the National Film Registry as a starting point, this course will offer students an opportunity to critically engage the role of cinema in conceptions of American cultural heritage and to consider the processes and cultural implications of film preservation in the Library of Congress. We will interrogate the notions of aesthetic, historical and cultural significance, the basic criteria for a film’s selection to the National Film Registry. Required viewing will include a broad selection of films on and off the registry and will range from the earliest one-reel silents to avant-garde and experimental films and recent Hollywood blockbusters.

ENG 3950 CTRA — Madness, Media & Culture
What is normal and what is abnormal? Where is the line between these categories? Are the origins of mental illness to be found in a sick society? Or is the problem a chemical imbalance? This course examines theories of mental illness as represented in fiction, film, drama, journalism, autobiography and psychiatric case studies. Among the characters that make appearances are: schizophrenic children, desperate housewives, brainwashed veterans, sadistic asylum staff, and antiauthoritarian rebels. Texts include: Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; Wray’s Lowboy; Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.

ENG 3950 ETRA — Writing New York
“Writing New York” considers the role of New York City as a site and subject of literary and cultural production that is both American and global. Beginning with texts that exhibit the influence of New York’s Dutch origins, through eighteenth-century theater, nineteenth century fiction and poetry, the immigrant tale, memoir, essays and films, students will study New York’s rich history as a means of thinking about the evolution of different literary forms, how they relate to one another and what they meant and continue to mean in this urban and culturally influential city.

ENG 3950 FMWA — Mystery & Melodrama in Gothic Literature
Against a background of haunted castles, demonic predators, and victims who unconsciously collaborate in their own ruin, Gothic literature takes us on a journey into the dark recesses of the human psyche that fascinated Freud, and examines its insatiable appetite for danger and forbidden pleasure. We will read Jean Rhys’s Caribbean Gothic novel, Wide Sargasso Sea about fatal passion, voodoo priestesses, sexual addiction, and mad Creole heiresses, set in the lush islands of Jamaica and Dominica. Other works will include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

ENG 3950 PMWA — Harlem Renaissance
This course will explore the first major intellectual and artistic movement in African American history known as the Harlem Renaissance. It happened at a time when “the New Negro” burst onto the world stage and into the pages of numerous books, when race pride was both an effective and controversial strategy for achieving racial unity. We will read, discuss, and write about figures such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, W.E.B DuBois, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fauset, and Jean Toomer. We will also consider the national and international contexts that stimulated and sustained the focus on this new body of writing.

FLM 4900 MTA — Hollywood Film of the 1970s
This course explores the explosion of creative filmmaking around the 1970s from a new generation of directors, writers, and actors working within traditional Hollywood genres like the gangster film (Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather), the Western (The Wild Bunch, McCabe and Mrs Miller), and film noir (Chinatown, Night Moves). During a period of enormous economic uncertainty for the film industry, studios enlisted fresh creative talent and storytelling forms to reach new audiences at a time of great social and political change. While the focus of the course will be on the major innovative works from 1970s Hollywood, we will also consider the impact of the European art cinema, the role of émigré creative personal working in America, and the influence of documentary and avant-garde filmmaking and critical practices on the wider film culture of the 1970s.

HIS 3360 PMW — From Revolution to Republic: France, 1814-1871
This course will cover the history of France from the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy to the founding of the Third Republic. In particular, this course will focus on: the political transformations of the French state; the socioeconomic changes brought about by industrialization; international relations between France and the major European powers; French colonial policy in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; and intellectual and cultural trends in art, literature, and philosophy.

HIS 3460 FTR — The Sixties in America
This course explores the major cultural, social, and political contours of the 1960’s. Topics include the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the rise of the New Left, the challenges and legacies of the Kennedy and Johnson Presidencies, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam war, Second Wave Feminism and movements built by women of color, the movements built by Chicanos and Puerto Ricans, the urban riots and the origins of the contemporary urban crisis, the Counterculture, the Gay and Lesbian Liberations and environmental movements, and the rise of the New Right. The course will focus on what social, political, and economic forces led to political crisis in the Sixties, how the experience of race, class and gender were redefined in the 60’s, and the relationship between formal government policies and social movements.

HIS 3360 QMWA — Identity Construction in Modern Britain Since 1688
This course will explore important events and major themes in British history since 1688, paying particular attention to changing definitions of Britishness. Course readings, both primary sources and scholarly analyses, will allow students to think about how Britain’s relationship with other countries, its empire, and with women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities at home affected beliefs about who was defined as British, and who was not. Course assignments will include analyses of particular readings, as well as a research paper which will allow students to explore an aspect of identity construction in greater depth.

WSM 4900 QMWA — Identity Construction in Modern Britain Since 1688
This course will explore important events and major themes in British history since 1688, paying particular attention to changing definitions of Britishness. Course readings, both primary sources and scholarly analyses, will allow students to think about how Britain’s relationship with other countries, its empire, and with women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities at home affected beliefs about who was defined as British, and who was not. Course assignments will include analyses of particular readings, as well as a research paper which will allow students to explore an aspect of identity construction in greater depth.

IDC 4050H MTH — From Civil Rights to Black Power
The modern civil rights movement, perhaps the most important social protest movement of the twentieth century, eradicated the American Apartheid system known as Jim Crow and catalyzed the passage of some of the most important laws in twentieth-century America. While prominent figures were important in shaping the civil rights struggles, the movement was also influenced by countless numbers of ordinary men and women whose names shall never be recorded in history books. This course examines the social roots and origins of the civil rights and black power movements and their relationship with broader and concurrent political and social developments in American society as a whole.

IDC 4050H NTH — Global Brazil: Critical Perspectives on Brazilian Culture and Society Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars in the Humanities
This course is designed as an interdisciplinary and critical introduction to the history, society, literature, and culture of Brazil, the largest nation of Latin America. Students will learn about Brazil’s colonial experience as the only Portuguese colony in the Americas, its unique experiment with monarchical institutions in the nineteenth century, and the trajectory of its uneven modernization in the twentieth century. The course will examine diverse topics including contemporary race relations, gender, sexuality, religion and spirituality, class conflict, and migration, as well as various aspects of Brazilian cultural production and performance, as reflected in film, music, literature, and other forms of popular culture. Students will engage in the critical analysis of a variety of texts, including films, fictional work, ethnography, and historical accounts, as they also pursue their own areas of intellectual and research interests. Situating Brazil in a global context, the course could be of particular interest to students who intend to pursue study abroad programs in Brazil, who might go into international professional fields (business, journalism, education, etc.), or who are considering graduate school in various disciplines in the humanities or social sciences.

JRN 3900 ETR — Covering the New York City Music Scene
In New York City, leading artists and organizations in the fine and performing arts from all over the world are in residence, joining tens of thousands of New Yorkers involved with music, from composing to performance to management. This course will expose students to the music scene: genres from classical (orchestral, chamber, vocal) to opera (including rock opera) to jazz (old style, new style), country, rock, hip-hop, Latin, Broadway, Off Broadway and more, and venues from neighborhood clubs to grand concert halls. Students will write (and rewrite) feature and news articles, including interviews and analysis of the scene. Occasional guest speakers will add their expertise to the course.

LTS 3085 CTRB — History of Civilizations in Latin America
A survey of the clash, interactive mixture, and development of civilizations in Latin America, from their ancient indigenous origins to the present. Major economic, social, political, and cultural factors are studied to explain the unique original achievements and problems of the indigenous, colonial, and modern evolution of Spanish and Portuguese America.

LTS 3085 DMWA — Art of the Other
This course seeks to use visual arts and music to understand aspects of group identity, and its representation and reinvention. As such, this course is part sociology, part art history, and part history-history, but none of these specifically. The idea is to interrogate questions such as “What is ‘black art’?” “What is ‘Latin@’or ‘Latin American’ art?” “Are these ‘arts’ something you immediately know when you see/hear it?” “Are these arts defined by their audiences, performers, both, or neither?” The course focuses on blacks and Latinoamericanos and their 20th and 21st Century arts, and places it in a context of other art communities and times. This semester, we will also focus on Himalayan Arts as well. Assignments include writing two papers, and preparing and delivering an in-class presentation that includes media samples.

PSY 3040 CTRA — Positive Psychology
Course Description: This seminar offers an introduction and exploration of the principles, research, and application of positive psychology. Topics covered from this emerging field include happiness, self-esteem, empathy, friendship, goal-setting, love, creativity, mindfulness, spirituality, and humor. Through primary source reading, integrated media (e.g., movies, music, web), and experiential activities in and out of class, students will have the opportunity to integrate and apply the material to their present life. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the production of a WBMB radio show based on Positive Psychology

PSY 3040 FMWA — Psy of Stereotypes
This course will focus on the social and psychological experience of stigma, particularly from the perspective of the stigmatized individual. In discussing the experience of the stigmatized, we will focus on how they understand and interpret their stigmatization, how they cope with it, and how it affects their psychological well-being and cognitive functioning. As an example of stigmas negative consequences, the second half of the course will focus on stereotype threat the psychological discomfort felt by stereotyped individuals (such as women in male-dominated fields) when they are at risk of fulfilling a negative stereotype about their group.

PSY 3040 PMWA — Psy of Stereotypes
This course will focus on the social and psychological experience of stigma, particularly from the perspective of the stigmatized individual. In discussing the experience of the stigmatized, we will focus on how they understand and interpret their stigmatization, how they cope with it, and how it affects their psychological well-being and cognitive functioning. As an example of stigmas negative consequences, the second half of the course will focus on stereotype threat the psychological discomfort felt by stereotyped individuals (such as women in male-dominated fields) when they are at risk of fulfilling a negative stereotype about their group.

PSY 3042 MTA — Forensic Psychology
Forensic Psychology is the professional and scientific study of psychology in the context of issues pertaining to the law or legal questions. Contemporary incidents of violence often leave people asking about the perpetrators mental health functioning, rendering the undeniable importance of forensic psychology. Forensic psychologists have proven that this practice is an irreplaceable asset to our community safety and system of justice. The primary focus of this course is to review current forensic psychology issues and Family Court, Criminal Court (State cases), and Federal Court cases. Additional components of this specialty course include reviews of landmark clinical forensic case studies and a trip to the Court.

PSY 3043 ETRA — Delusions of Gender
In this course, students will be writing weekly reaction papers in which they reflect upon the week’s readings, and compare/contrast each week’s readings to the previous readings. In addition, they will be making weekly oral presentations of the assigned readings to the class. All examinations will be essay in which students are expected to synthesize the readings. Finally students will write a final paper in which they pull together the entire semester’s content to support an argument either for or against gender differences.

PSY 3046H - Madness, Media & Culture
What is normal and what is abnormal? Where is the line between these categories? Are the origins of mental illness to be found in a sick society? Or is the problem a chemical imbalance? This course examines theories of mental illness as represented in fiction, film, drama, journalism, autobiography and psychiatric case studies. Among the characters that make appearances are: schizophrenic children, desperate housewives, brainwashed veterans, sadistic asylum staff, and antiauthoritarian rebels. Texts include: Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; Wray’s Lowboy; Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.

REL 3085H BTRH — Writers and their Spiritual Searches: Remembering and Looking for Meaning
Even in the ancient period, writers reflected on their own experiences, their tragedies, joys, and realizations—their lives—as spiritual journeys. Augustine’s Confessions is an early such effort. Elizabeth Gilbert’s is a contemporary blockbuster bestseller. The others are somewhere in-between. Among these there are some very funny, very disturbing, and some very beautiful efforts. In this semester we will sample a selection, listen carefully to these stories, then together reflect on and connect them to our own stories and journeys both in class and in some writing.

SOC 3085H BTRH — Writers and their Spiritual Searches: Remembering and Looking for Meaning
Even in the ancient period, writers reflected on their own experiences, their tragedies, joys, and realizations—their lives—as spiritual journeys. Augustine’s Confessions is an early such effort. Elizabeth Gilbert’s is a contemporary blockbuster bestseller. The others are somewhere in-between. Among these there are some very funny, very disturbing, and some very beautiful efforts. In this semester we will sample a selection, listen carefully to these stories, then together reflect on and connect them to our own stories and journeys both in class and in some writing.



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