Featured Classes Spring 2018

Featured Classes


The College of Arts and Letter is excited to present just a sampling of the classes we're offering this Spring.

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ENG 473: Black Abolitionists

Enslaved, fugitive, and free-born African-Americans collaborated with other freedom fighters to abolition the “peculiar” institution of slavery in America. A tradition of protest writings attest to their courage and tenacity, as they struggled to make America uphold its democratic values of freedom and equality. This course will examine the corpus of two major writers—Frederick Douglass and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper—along with a few of their contemporaries. We will read slave narratives, poetry, fiction, journalism, and speeches that document the resistance movement during the antebellum era. A particular focus also on the development of an American print culture as it intensified abolitionism will be foundational to our study.


ECO 401: Law and Economics

Economics studies how decision makers use scarce resources efficiently to satisfy unlimited wants. Law, on the other hand, is a discipline that is concerned with justice and fairness. it may seem that these disciplines have a little in common. Law and Economics develop students’ ability to explain the effects of legal rules and to assess which legal rules are economically efficient


PS 473: Race, Class and the Criminal Justice System

There are currently over two million people behind bars in the United States, making up the largest prison system in the world. Racial minorities and the urban poor are disproportionately sent to prison, causing some to argue that the problem of mass incarceration is one of the greatest social injustices of our time. How did we get to this point? What effect does mass incarceration have on inmates, their families, and society generally? What strategies exist for reversing the tide of imprisonment? In this course, we will draw from a wide range of sources to analyze the role of race and class in explaining the rise of mass incarceration and to debate different approaches to solving this social justice crisis. Issues of race, class and the criminal justice system are increasingly central to the field of political science. Through this class we will explore larger questions about political institutions, policymaking, political culture, social movements and the history of American political development.


ENG 345: Intro to Children's Lit

This introduction to children’s literature will survey important genres—domestic fiction, fantasy, fables and moral tales, poetry, and picture books—all in terms of how they are also adventures. In fact, we will start with two adventures: Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Each class member will report on an additional work of children’s literature and thus expand our knowledge of the genre. We will also be reading an adventure in dramatic form, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, along with a play derived from Barrie’s mythos, Peter and the Starcatcher, which USM’s Theater Department will be staging toward the end of the semester. Course requirements: thoughtful reading of texts, regular class attendance and participation, blog posts and/or responses on Canvas, an oral presentation on an additional text, a short paper, midterm, and final.


ANT 423: Economic Anthropology

The concept of “the economy” pervades much of our understanding of human cultures and lived reality. But how does something that appears so fundamental vary so widely both within cultures and among them? This intensive course examines broad topics of production, exchange, and consumption from a cross-disciplinary perspective that includes archaeological perspectives and present-day ethnography. Major debates in economic anthropology will be discussed and scrutinized in regard to materiality, human decision making, and non-capitalist systems. By doing so, this course reveals how economic anthropology is embedded in archaeological and ethnographic inquiry, and contributes to theory. Mastery of course material is demonstrated through three research papers, the leading of in-class discussions, and informal presentations of papers to peers.


ANT 333: Archaeology of North America

This course surveys the archaeological record of Native Americans of North America, from their migration to the western hemisphere to first contacts with Europeans in the 16th century. Key archaeological sites, artifacts, and cultural trends are highlighted.


ENG 345 Digital Literacies

Is technology changing the way we write or talk or think? How can social media “influence an identity,” both of the poster and the follower? What does your digital footprint say about you? How have digital archives changed the way we write and conduct research about writing and literature? How does digital media allow us to reach new audiences with new ideas? Is being a “digital native” really a thing? Is the traditional essay dead? 

In this course, we will investigate the relationships between writing and technology and pay special attention to how these relationships influence our understandings of written communication, literature, and identity. Coming from the premise that “mediality, in all its forms, is a central concern of the twenty-first century,” we will consider scholarship about the ways digital literacy has changed how we approach writing, analyze our own digital footprints, craft and manage online identities, and create multimodal lines of inquiry and research projects that enable us to re-see the ways writing and even canonical literature is made available to the public. 

This course will survey the history of writing as a technology and the role of technology in the humanities while also paying special attention to modern technologies and how they influence our understandings of literature and written communications. We need to understand the strengths of essayistic traditions as well as the strengths of digital media, and this course will provide you with the opportunity to examine, analyze, and produce texts for public consumption that make use of textual, aural, visual, and video modalities.  


IDS 492 Field Landwork

One of the fundamental careers in the domestic oil and gas industry is that of the landman. Although the term “landman” encompasses a wide range of positions and responsibilities, essentially the purpose of a landman is to determine the ownership of minerals and to secure the rights of individuals or companies to drill those minerals. Many people who find work in Mississippi’s oil and gas industry will work as landmen. A landman may work in-house for a company, or he or she may work “in the field.” The field landman, being self-employed, will contract himself or herself to various companies and work in various locations depending on the project assignment, which may include courthouses, mineral owners’ homes, and government offices, among other places.  

This course was assembled because it is our belief that an overview of field land work is long overdue as a course to be taught on the college level. W. Tingle Savell, J.D., CPL No. 515, Adjunct Professor, has worked over forty years as an owner and manager of an oil and gas lease brokerage service, and during that time has had the privilege of training many brokers to be field landmen. Most were successful and many remain in the industry today. A high percentage of those who have been successful hold a college degree. Therefore, it seems that combining the general benefit of a college education with the specific benefit of a focused course would generate even more successful field landmen.


ANT 431 Zooarchaeology

This class teaches the identification of animal bones recovered from archaeological sites and examines the research by zooarchaeologists on the roles played by animals in prehistoric subsistence and other aspects of culture.


ENG 458 Milton Donne and Bunyan

This course on seventeenth-century literature will focus on three major figures that represent both the scope of the period and the height of its achievement. John Donne (1572-1631) was the “wittiest” of the metaphysicals, John Milton (1608-1674) was the author of the greatest epic poem in English, Paradise Lost, and John Bunyan (1628-1688) created the immensely influential allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. Besides looking at these three very different authors, we will also have reports from seminar members on other seventeenth-century figures of their choice. I also hope to involve students in “Milton for Mississippi,” my program during my tenure as Charles W. Moorman distinguished professor for 2017-19. For instance, I will encourage seminar members to contribute to the program’s permanent website and link that contribution to their own c.v. I am also happy to work with students who want to turn seminar papers into conference papers and/or publications.


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