Following are descriptions of the Junior Seminars being offered in Summer 2013 and Fall 2013. In addition to these, please keep in mind that over 20 additional Junior Seminars will be offered in the Spring 2014 semester. If you do not see a course described below that suits your interests, you may want to consider waiting to take a Junior Seminar until Spring 2014, when more sections will be available.
If you need more information about a specific course, contact the professor listed. If you need more information on Junior Seminars in general, contact your academic advisor or Rebecca Watts, Director of Junior Seminars, at email@example.com.
BIOL 373W/JS - A Bionic Human? The Future of Human Health and Wellness
- CRN 2454, MTWRF 10:45-12:55
- Derek Barkalow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Will future technology allow us to replace worn out, diseased, or injured body parts with newly-engineered versions? Current research and development has led to promising starts to bone replacement, robotic limb replacements, brain implants for seeing and hearing recovery, artificially-grown bladders, lab-developed cartilage for knee repair, etc. Yet the immense complexity of the human body means that current body replacements often come with a catch - e.g., lifelong immune-suppressant drugs, corrosion of parts, electronic interference or even remote attacks. This seminar is open to anyone interested in the future of Human Health and Wellness. We will consider both individual and societal perspectives. While our focus will be future technology - we will encourage critical analysis from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, including ethics, the law, business, government regulation, biomedical and drug discovery, clinical testing, economics, global dynamics, genetic engineering, "orphan" diseases, and more. Along the path of pondering future perspectives, an opportunity for self-reflection on your personal and your family's health and wellness will be a natural outcome of our discussions and perspectives. Students will be challenged to express their own understanding of personal and social responsibility regarding issues that affect us now and in the future involving ethical, legal, and political ramifications of human health and wellness. The seminar has no science or technology prerequisites. A learning community of diverse student backgrounds will be appreciated and empowered.
EDUC 374J/JS - Educational Systems Around the World: Promoting or Inhibiting Social Justice?
- CRN 2631, TBA (Innsbruck)
- Mercedes Tichenor, email@example.com
Issues of social justice and equity are closely connected to educational opportunities. In modern societies, educational opportunities are inextricably linked to a person's well-being and status in life. In this course, we examine how issues of social justice are connected to educational structures and systems in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. From rigid tracking systems that identify a student's educational path from an early age to open systems that claim equal educational access for all, this course examines educational structures in order to raise questions about how social justice is promoted or inhibited through educational systems. (Note: This class is being taught in Innsbruck, Austria.)
Diversity (D) Junior Seminars
AMST 359D/JS - Sex, Gender, Sexuality, and Reality in American Media
- CRN 6133, MW 4:00-5:15
- Andy Dehnart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media shapes our lives: our values, our priorities, our politics, and our practices. And messages about sex, gender, and sexuality embedded in our popular culture are especially powerful and prevalent, although their ubiquity means they often go by unnoticed or unexamined. Meanwhile, our culture's increasing attention to reality-based media can have even stronger influence over what we know, think, and feel about ourselves and others. Nonfiction film, television, literature, journalism, and social media explore and explain our world, and from Jersey Shore to The New York Times, Facebook to memoir, they represent their subject matter as real, accurate, and true, however authentic or constructed it may be. That means we frequently give its messages, including those about gender, even greater weight.
In this seminar, we'll examine various kinds of nonfiction media and consider what it communicates, how it is constructed, and how sex, gender, and sexuality are represented. We'll consider what those forms of information, art, entertainment, and expression have to say about what it means to be male or female; how culture uses that media to respond to, and define, subgroups; and how we respond to the media we consume. We'll examine nonfiction texts from different cultural traditions and disciplines as we engage in vigorous discussion and written analysis, and apply these ideas in a capstone project.
Ethical and Spiritual Inquiry (E) Junior Seminars
ENGL 341E1/JS - Dante's Commedia
- CRN 5638, TR 10:00-11:15
- Thomas Farrell, email@example.com
700 years after its completion, everyone from Doonesbury to The Onion assumes that its readers will know Dante's Commedia. It is the backbone of honors programs all over the United States, the masterpiece of "the chief imagination of Christendom" (W. B. Yeats' phrase), a summa or encyclopedia medieval philosophy, politics, linguistics, poetics, science, and theology; it is by turns profound, exultant, grim, funny, startling, a poem that everyone should know, one that rewards as much study as one wants to give it. We will work slowly through Inferno and most of Purgatorio, averaging about five cantos per week and bringing in other readings as appropriate. Students will then complete the rest of Purgatorio and Paradiso, develop their seminar essays, and present them to the class. Anyone interested in philosophy, political science, literature, history, or religious studies will enjoy this course.
RELS 358E/JS - Frontiers in Bioethics
- CRN 4949 - TR 8:30-9:45
- Dixon Sutherland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you approve of having a sister who is genetically also your mother? Would you conceive and develop your future child in an artificial womb? Further, would you want to manipulate desired features for your child? More basically, how ought we to define human life? When does it begin and end? These are some of the questions that today's university student faces in the future. This seminar gives maturing students opportunity to inquire deeply into these and other significant issues in the field of Bioethics, and to engage in interdisciplinary learning from the fields of biology, psychology, philosophy, religion, and law. Research and writing will reflect this integration, as well as oral presentation. The seminar will be interactive, with students leading each session with short written papers as a guide. Students will research and write a paper that presents a descriptive understanding, history, philosophical and ethical debates on a selected topic, as well as lead the seminar in an in-depth discussion of the topic. Students completing this seminar should be able to reason critically with an informed knowledge about major issues in bioethics and to articulate the complexities of ethical positions on at least one subject.
Social Justice (J) Junior Seminars
COMM 339J/JS - The Rhetoric of War Films
- CRN 4846, TR 10:00-11:15
- Michael McFarland, email@example.com
War may be hell, as General Sherman said, but war films have been a part of Hollywood since its inception and are often presented in an entertainment format. Entertainment, however, can easily mask a strong point of view. Films on war represent some of the highest (or lowest) forms of rhetorical manipulation and have been instrumental in framing the way people see and ultimately participate in war. The arguments for and against war, in general or particular, are always, or almost always, framed as justice issues - justice issues that are often the ultimate exemplar of the category (the fight to save democracy, the fight to stop genocide, etc.).
The focus of this course will be the way we see the world, and the way war films (high production vehicles as well as independent and documentaries) encourage the viewer to participate intellectually and emotionally in the construction of positions on one of the most significant of human actions.
EDUC 370J/JS - Celebrating Diversity: Examining Populations on the Fringe of Society
- CRN 5383, TR 11:30-12:45
- Kathy Jo Piechura-Couture, firstname.lastname@example.org
This seminar will consider diversity in film, books and literature. In recent years, film and related media have become more aware of the existence as well as the unique gifts and attributes of persons with disabilities. We will investigate how society has hidden, ignored and celebrated different types of disabilities. Varying types of disabilities will be explored: impaired mental functioning and developmental delay, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and physical disabilities. Through class discussions and projects, we will also examine historical and contemporary political and ethical issues related to disability and its impact on social justice.
ENGL 344J3/JS - Vengeance and Paranoia
- CRN 5138, MW 2:30-3:45
- Joel Davis, email@example.com
This Junior Seminar investigates the motif of vengeance in literature. Specifically, we will examine the extent of the relationship between the logic of revenge and the logic of paranoid thought. We will begin with a structuralist approach to revenge as a social phenomenon of the literary imagination, and we will examine its function at three historical moments: the Ancient period, the Renaissance, and the (Post)Modern period. We will also examine revenge as a literary motif that can be expressed in incipient, classical, and decadent modes at any particular historical moment. Primarily we will use literary texts, including films, for our inquiry; secondarily, we will read some brief theoretical formulations of vengeance and paranoia.
POLI 391J/JS - Biographies of the Charismatic: Populist Politics from the Progressives to the Tea Party
- CRN 5453, TR 11:30-12:45
- Eugene Huskey, firstname.lastname@example.org
This course assesses the eruption of populist movements on the American political scene from the 1890s to the present. The course relies heavily on the biographies of leading populist figures, such as Huey Long and George Wallace, to illustrate how social movements designed to represent the interests of ordinary people against elites at times used the language of social justice to advance injustice. The course will conclude with a consideration of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements and how they fit into the history of American populism.
Environmental Responsibility (R) Junior Seminars
FINA 391R/JS - Collapse or Abundance: Prospects for the Environment, the World's Poor, and Accelerating Technology
- CRN 5788, TR 10:00-11:15
- James Mallett, email@example.com
In this seminar, we examine whether economic growth is sustainable in terms of the environment, natural resources, and being able to support the world's population at a level above mere subsistence living. We will explore the debate from the time of Thomas Malthus in 1798 to current debate on sustainable economic growth and the planet. Discussion will center on whether accelerating technology will read to abundance or misery for the majority of the world's population. In this course we will use books like Collapse: Why Civilizations Succeed or Fail (Diamond), Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (D. H. Meadows, Randers, and D. L. Meadows), and Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think (Diamandis and Kotler).
GESS 310R/JS - Cultural and Political Ecology
- CRN 5118, MW 4:00-5:15
- Tony Abbott, firstname.lastname@example.org
Humans are part of the environment, both controlled by and controlling their surroundings. Rituals, government, social power, art, and survival strategies differ throughout the world. These differences can often be explained by human adaptation to natural resource constraints. At the same time, humans impact their environment as they build livelihoods embedded in social norms. The human-environment interaction is ever changing, dynamic, and human capacity to adapt proves simultaneously advantageous and problematic. To what extent are culture and politics drivers or reactions to environmental conditions? In this course we assume an ongoing dialectic among sociocultural, purely biotic, and abiotic systems, and I will assert that social factors are currently dominant.
POLI 316R/JS - Environmental Politics
- CRN 5729, MW 2:30-3:45
- James Buthman, email@example.com
Environmental politics and policies are vital to the future in terms of human development, social justice, economic systems, and more. Confronting environmental challenges requires realistic, proactive, and thoughtful analyses of the institutions, processes, and public discourse encompassed by the realm of politics.
This course examines the political forces affecting environmental policy decisions from the local to the national level, and sets those decisions within a global context. We will study governmental structures and processes, analyzing how politics influences specific cases relating to public land use, fishing, energy, and climate change. How we make choices affects what direction we, as individuals and as a society, will head into our future.
Health and Wellness (W) Junior Seminars
BIOL 372W/JS, Microorganisms: Bane or Boon?
- CRN 5444, TR 8:30-9:45
- David Stock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Microorganisms are bombarding us constantly every moment of our existence. They are ubiquitous, being found far below the Earth's surface, in the stratosphere above the Earth, in the deepest oceans, and in the hottest, coldest, wettest, and driest places on Earth. Should we fear them or cheer for them? Or maybe we cheer sometimes and fear other times.
We shall explore the idea ―Microorganisms: A Bane or A Boon? by examining a series of case studies beginning with the discovery of microorganisms by Leeuwenhoek, Pasteur, and Koch. We shall explore vaccines and antibiotics. How should we use them and when? Should we follow advertisers' advice and use lots of antibacterial soaps? What does it mean when you read on a product label, "Kills 99.9% of all germs in your toilet bowl or on your kitchen counters?" Should we leap for joy or say, "So what!?" As we explore each of our cases, we shall find that there is much beyond just the science. Those individuals involved in these cases were influenced by the economics, ecology, cultures, and religions around them. How did these aspects affect their interpretation of their observations and their recommendations?
Hopefully, at the end you will be able to formulate some response to: Microorganisms: A Bane or A Boon?
IHSC/COMM 336W/JS, Food and Nutrition in the Media
- CRN 5860 (IHSC) or CRN 5673 (COMM), MW 12:00-1:15
- Tara Schuwerk, email@example.com
Do the communication messages about food and nutrition portrayed in the media shape how we define and make choices for our health? Food in the media is often associated with fun and good times and being hip or cool. However, media consumption, and TV viewing specifically, is a strong predictor of poor nutritional eating habits. Through critical analysis of the media and cultural performance (gender, race, class, sexuality, age, etc.), this seminar is designed to explore possible influences on our perceptions of food and nutrition and how, in turn, this may affect our well-being. This class will examine communication and media as they pertain to these ideas, with emphasis on discussion, writing, oral presentations, and experiential learning. In addition to being a junior-seminar course, this class also counts as a class for Journalism and the Gender Studies program.