Featured Classes Spring 2018 - Page 3

Featured Classes

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 ENG 400 Britons At Home and Abroad

This course explores the meaning of ‘Britishness’ in both domestic and foreign settings. We’ll read poetry, selected private letters, and several novels that depict the uneven development of British imperialism, and its eventual (partial) dissolution. Within an imperial context, we’ll focus specifically on questions of British identity, and how it emerges through encounters with non-Britons and foreign terrain. Is Britishness portable? (How) does it change when transplanted to new soil?

Readings cover an array of literary historical periods (e.g., the Restoration, Romanticism, Modernism) and geographical locations (e.g., Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, China).

Readings include:

  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (1689)
  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (written 1717/18)
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  • Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto I (1812)
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928)
  • Jane Gardam, Old Filth (2006)

HIS 458 Modern Russia

For anti-capitalist intellectuals, the Soviet Union was a savior society that promised non-exploitative economic development and classless international cooperation. For its many conservative and liberal opponents, the Soviet Union was a militaristic monster that exemplified godless atheism, aggressive expansionism, social repression, and brutal state terror. In this class, we will look at the Soviet Union from all its angles – both good and bad. We will look at a state that dragged Russia from rural idiocy to industrial modernity, eliminated illiteracy, equalized gender opportunities, achieved enviable scientific accomplishments and instituted a generous cradle-to-grave system of state-supported social welfare. On the other hand, we will also look at a state that slaughtered and starved to death millions of its citizens and imprisoned millions more in the service of its utopian ideological ideals. Topics to be explored include: the causes and consequences of the 1917 Revolution, Stalinism, the war of annihilation against the Nazis, the Cold War era clash of civilizations, the Gorbachev reforms, and the collapse of communism.


IDS 350 Patriotism



PS 455 Women and Human Rights

Women comprise 70% of the world's poor. Eighty percent of the world's refugees are women and children. And as stated by Her Excellency Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Bonded labour and the traffic in women and children have become our modern day versions of slavery." More than 1 million children, mostly girls, are forced into prostitution every year. Another 2 million girls worldwide disappear each year because of gender discrimination. In this course, we will examine the issue of women's rights within the context of global human rights with case examples from the developing world, including Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and others. We will do so in the context of a critical analysis of what conditions and practices need changing. And we will examine efforts by women to improve human rights for women.


BLKS 491 Service Learning in Black Studies

BLKS 491 is designed to examine how knowledge and community are intertwined by theoretical and practical means. Students will have classroom instruction in addition to a required service-learning project in which they will create an academic product that reflects their effort. BLKS 491 satisfies the Application of Knowledge requirement that students must satisfy as part of the Black Studies minor.


ENG 772 Latino Literature

“Acentos Latino : Contemporary Latino Literature” will explore the multiethnic, multiracial, and socially diverse dimensions of contemporary Latino-American literature. Keeping in mind that Spanish was the first language of the Americas (North and South!), the class will read a range of works in different genres by Hispanic American writers as we unpack the monolithic term “Latino” that has come to represent a diverse set of communities from across the full spectrum of American life, experiences, and geography. At the same time, we will seek to locate those moments – literary, aesthetic, and/or experiential – that define “Latino” identity in the U. S. that emerges from this rich (and prolific) body of writings.


REL 326 Religions of India

India, one of the great cradles of religion in the world, offers an unrivaled environment of religious diversity and intensity. This course studies this environment by examining ancient Indian religion, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. Topics include studies in ritual, philosophy, theology, and history from ancient times to the current day. Effort will be made to place the various religions of India in socio-historical context. Students should finish the class with a much better understanding of the varieties of religious contributions that India has made to world cultures.


PHI 253 Logic

Enhance your reasoning skills! In this class, you will learn about different reasoning patterns: deduction and induction, and we will focus on the nature of arguments. We will cover the parts of arguments and learn how to evaluate arguments—what counts as a good argument? We’ll also cover some of the many mistakes which people make when they make arguments.You will be able to represent ordinary language arguments in symbolic notation and demonstrate the validity of deductive arguments using natural deduction. And, perhaps most importantly, you will gain skills required to appreciate and engage in practices requiring procedural order both in logic and in everyday living, as well as the role of inductive reasoning in science. This class will make you a detail person!


ART 324 Workshop in Painting

Experience the joy of painting and explore the creative potential of the medium. This course is for beginners and intermediate level students, and anyone interested in the art of painting. For non-art majors. May be repeated.

Questions: contact Janet Gorzegno, janet.gorzegno@usm.edu


ART 251 Workshop in Ceramics


A hands-on ceramics course for non-art majors, exploring traditional methods for working with clay. Students will create a body of work in ceramics, and learn a variety of creative techniques for forming, glazing, and firing both functional and sculptural ceramic works of art.  All experience levels welcome. Course may be repeated. Questions: contact Mark Rigsby, mark.rigsby@usm.edu



HIS 479 History in the Digital Age

The recent rise of the digital humanities in general and of digital history in particular has transformed the ways that historians disseminate and produce their work. The basic definition of digital history as the application of digital tools and methods to historical study belies the complexity of the ways in which “new media” has reshaped historians’ work from the moment they enter the archive to the publication of a finished article or monograph. While data mining, digitization, and geographic information systems have changed the ways historians have gathered and analyzed data, Wikipedia, blogs, open-access journals, and social media have challenged traditional publishing. This new course engages with this cutting-edge development by introducing students to both sides of this process, with an emphasis on the latter. Students will gain a new understanding of how technology has transformed the production of human knowledge. Topics include databases and searching, crowdsourcing and Wikipedia, blogging and podcasting, data mining and textual analysis, and presenting audio and visual forms of history.


HIS 479 Youth in America 

Whether they were knee-high to a toad (the original 1814 idiom) or to a grasshopper, children have been at the very center of the American experience.  They color the way their parents view the world and, through their own work, play, and politics, have shaped American history.  This class examines the role that kids--from infants to teenagers--have played the history of the United States from the founding of the nation to the present day.  Topics addressed will include parental anxiety about child raising, child labor, toys, babysitting, children and politics, and children in the mass media.

Students taking the class will read Miriam Forman-Brunell’s Babysitter, Jacobson’s Raising Consumers, Ritterhouse’s Growing Up Jim Crow, and Kidd’s Making American Boys, as well as a broad selection of historical and primary-source writings.  You will also have the opportunity to view some landmark films that provide a window into the life of children.  Class participation is essential.  Throughout the semester there will be several in-class quizzes.  In addition, you are required to write a paper incorporating primary source research.


HIS 479 Mark Twain's America

Mark Twain defined late nineteenth-century America and it defined him. This course will use Twain’s writings and more recent studies of the age to help students to better understand the United States as it grew into a wealthy, imperial power while still embracing its rebellious colonial roots. Twain, who lived from 1835-1910, was the most popular writer and humorist of his day, celebrated and feared for his acerbic wit on issues that included race, war, economics, politics, gender, religion, and popular culture. His fame and his talent for reflection make him an outstanding lens through which to study “Mark Twain’s America.” Students will leave the class with a deep understanding of nineteenth- and early-twentieth century America, the country’s complex tradition with social reform and responsibility, and Twain’s writings, some writings by his contemporaries, and scholars’ reflections on this quintessential American.


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