Featured Classes

Featured Classes Fall 2018

FRE 431 French Film

Prerequisite(s): At least one French course at the 300 level. Overview of French cinema; discussions will emphasize cultural and socio-historical issues.


HIS 476 Pop Culture

In the early nineteenth century, it was Shakespeare.  In the Gilded Age, it was dime novels.  In the fifties, it was television.  Today, it is YouTube.  Lawrence Levine defined it as the “folkways of industrial society,” but that seems rather pompous.  It is Ronald McDonald and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it is Saturday Night Live and the minstrel show, and it is Hello Kitty and Wolfman Jack.  Popular culture is the stuff that clutters our closets, hangs on our walls, and gets lost under the couch.  It is the stuff we love and the stuff we love to hate.  It is the material culture that defines generations and often provides historians with the best glimpse at what mattered to people in the past.

This course explores the history of popular culture in the United States.  We will examine music, plays, novels, television, film, stardom, advertising, and dance (and we may even study the toys that come in cereal boxes) with an eye to understanding how Americans have for over two hundred years defined themselves and have resisted being defined by others.


FRE 305 French Grammar

Prerequisite(s): FRE 202FRE 282 or equivalent. Intensive study of French grammar taught in context using authentic materials.


FRE 321 French Conversation

Prerequisite(s): FRE 202FRE 282 or equivalent. Development/improvement of listening and speaking skills in French.



HIS 373 Slavery in America

This course encompasses the history of African Americans from the beginning of slavery in the Americas through 1877. It is a history of great courage, endurance, cruelty, indifference, and sadness. This course will not only provide students with an overview of significant events, movements, and people from the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade through Reconstruction, but equally importantly it will illuminate cultural formation and efforts towards freedom and equality within enslaved and free African American communities in North America. We will learn about this history by reading scholarly work about slavery, but also the words of those people—including the enslaved—who lived during this time period.  We will pay extra attention to how larger American society, especially that of white America, has manipulated images and ideas about African Americans from the past to the present.  Finally, we will consider how “memory,” literacy, and access to archival sources affect American and African American historiography.


REL 322 Native American Religions

This class pursues an introductory understanding of the different myths, concepts of the sacred, religious practices, and lifestyles found among indigenous American peoples. Most of the course material is oriented around native North America. Emphasis will be placed on the varieties of traditional religious experience, including shamanism, art, ceremonies, vision quests, and dances, as well as cultural backgrounds of these experiences. Issues arising from contact between traditional forms of religiosity and Euroamerican culture will also be addressed. Readings include secondary academic resources and Native American primary texts.



PHI 450 Existentialism

An examination of the central themes in contemporary European existentialism and phenomenology.



BLKS 301 Black Studies

Though the scope of black studies is broad, this course will examine closely the culture and history of African Americans and the black diaspora using a multidisciplinary approach for critical inquiry. We will survey the development of black studies as an academic discipline, from its student-activist origins of the 1960s to the present. Students will be given a substantive introduction to the discipline in subject areas covering African civilization, slavery and colonialization, political movements, religion, economics, sociology, media, psychology and black aesthetics (i.e. literature, art, music, and dance). A theoretical concern for identity constructions (e.g. race, gender, class, and sexuality) will also be central to our studies.

Overall, BLKS 301 will serve as a required, foundational course for the black studies minor to launch the exploration of other related courses covering black experiences. This course is also open to students of any major and/or minor concentration


HIS 409 Supernatural History of Asia

As a result of exposure to films, manga, anime, and video games among other mediums, the entire world is becoming aware of the rich and varied history of monsters, ghosts, and strange creatures populating the history and folklore of the countries of Asia.  This course will explore the historical context of some of these strange denizens, tracing their cultural and historic significance, and examining their appearance in folk tales, novels, films, and other mediums.  Students will be asked to complete review/reaction essays, in-class essay examinations, and a larger project on a topic of their choice.


ENG 332 Writing About Medicine and Science

How can a writer compellingly describe earthquakes to an audience unfamiliar with seismology? How can a writer explain the impact of a hurricane to people who know little about weather systems or climate change? How can a writer outline the health issues people in Mississippi face to readers who have no medical background?

 This course focuses on texts about scientific and medical topics that are produced for non-specialist audiences. We will discuss what makes for clear and effective—and also what makes for confusing, ineffective, and/or misleading—medical and scientific writing. Students also will practice thinking and writing about scientific and medical topics from multiple angles and for different kinds of general audiences. 

In collaboration with campus and community organizations, students will produce written materials that may actually be used by those organizations. By working in collaboration with these community partners, students will gain deeper knowledge of scientific and medical topics that are especially relevant to our university and local communities, will gain a sense of the human dimensions of medicine and science, and also will gain hands-on experience in producing professional writing.



PLS 382 Civil Litigation

An introduction to civil litigation — the process of resolving disputes between individuals, businesses and government through the court system, with emphasis on procedure.


ENG 475 American Modernism

This class will read some of the most innovative and exciting fiction and poetry published in the United States between 1910 and 1940. We will read such poets as William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, Hart Crane T.S. Eliot, and Muriel Rukeyser and fiction by John Dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson, Willa Cather, Jean Toomer and William Faulkner. Combined these writers changed the forms, the themes, and even the direction of American literature. In this class we will see why and how they did it.


SOC 450 Social Pyschology

Think you’ve learned everything there is to know about social psychology from the Psych department? Think again! There’s a whole other world of social psychology out there for you to explore. In this course, we will consider issues such as: 

What is reality? How do social routines create reality? What happens when we refuse to take part?

Who are you? Where does your “self” come from? Why do names matter? Can language affect how we view the world? How does society affect our emotions? What is self-presentation and why do we do it? How can we coordinate our actions with others? How do social expectations affect and/or constrain our behavior? Come with questions, come with ideas, and definitely come to learn about yourself and others. 


PS 450 Governments of Western Europe

This course is designed to familiarize you with the politics of Western Europe, concentrating on the period since World War II.

The fundamental goal of this course is to question how institutions, parties, and governments influence political and economic developments in Europe. The course is divided thematically into three broad sections: 1) domestic political and economic institutions, 2) country studies of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and France, and 3) the process and politics of European integration. 

We begin by considering the character of democratic organization and party competition in Europe, and explore the institutional and economic fundamentals that underlie outcomes. We will then complement our analyses of these issues with more in-depth investigation of the political history of the four specific countries.

For each country, we will spend considerable time analyzing how social and political forces have shaped economic policies aimed at securing growth and prosperity for all. This emphasis on comparative political economy will allow us to discern how differences in political organization and competition have led to varying policy patterns.  In the last section of the course, we shall consider the development and organization of the European Union.  The dramatic deepening of European integration in the postwar period has had vast implications for policymaking in European states.  We will consider why the EU was formed, how it works, and what it means for member states.



ENG 468 Women in the Country and City

How does female identity vary depending on whether it is depicted in a rural or urban setting? Is one setting more congenial to the heroine—or the woman writer—than another? How does a woman’s experience of the country and/or the city vary depending upon her social status? In this course we will read British poetry, novels, and plays that imagine female characters in an array of settings, from the bucolic English countryside, to the bustling social season of London, to the foreign cityscapes of Constantinople. We will explore whether a woman’s value, and her values, change depending on the familiarity or strangeness of her surroundings.



CMS 320 Business and Professional Speaking

A course that develops student skills in a broad group of special communication settings pertinent to the world of work, e.g., running meetings, making technical reports, and group problem solving.


PS 453 Politics and Protest

Protests can change politics, often for the better; sometimes not. The focus is on nonviolent resistance and theories that explain it.

Some protests are massive, such as Gandhi’s successful campaign against the British occupation of India. Others start as individual protests, such as  Colin Kaepernick kneeling at a football game to protest police treatment of minorities, or women breaking their silence over sexual mistreatment.

Nonviolent resistance against human rights abuses has brought change in countries around the globe. This course will examine how protests are organized and theories that help explain their rise and fall. The course combines lectures with student involvement in creative ways.



ANT 317 Culture and Power in Latin America

This course will introduce students to social and cultural dynamics of Latin America and the legacy of political and economic inequality in the region. We will exam geographical sub-regions; race, ethnicity, class and gender; political economic forces and the historical development of the region. Requirements will include weekly reading assignments, class participation, two exams and short writing assignments.


ENG 400 Toni Morrison

When the 1993 Nobel Laureate in Literature was announced, the press release described Toni Morrison as a woman “who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” In this course, we will read the major works of our Nobel Laureate, in an attempt to unpack and understand her interpretation of “American reality.” We will most of her adult fiction, as well as selected non-fiction and essays. We will be contextualizing our reading with literary criticism, theory, and history. This class is reading and writing intensive.


ANT 331 Archaeological Methods

How do archaeologists learn about the unwritten past? This course surveys field and laboratory methods in archaeology, what can be learned by the broad range of archaeological evidence that exists, and what questions modern archaeology poses about past cultures. Principles are put into practice with a series of field and laboratory exercises.


ECO 444 Economics of Healthcare

This course is designed as an introduction to the field of health economics. It is divided into two general sections. The first section will explore the determinants of health, especially economic factors, and use economic tools to analyze the demand, supply, and market for health care. The second section will cover health insurance in theory and in practice, then look at the role of government and policy in providing health insurance in the US and around the world. 

Broadly speaking, the course will have three types of content. First, there will be theoretical economic models that analyze individual decision making and markets as they relate to health. Second, there will be empirical applications that use data and statistical techniques to better understand issues in health economics. Finally, there will be non-quantitative descriptions of the basic institutions and characteristics of the health care system, such as the important features of different private health insurance plans and the structure of Medicare and Medicaid.