RCAH111: Writing in Transcultural Contexts
Section 001 (Eric Aronoff)
Telling Stories: Composing Knowledge in Transcultural Contexts
In this section of RCAH 111, we will focus on the connection between culture and “storytelling,” broadly conceived. That is, we will examine the ways in which culture shapes the ways we perceive the world around us, and how we organize those perceptions into oral and written narratives – be they what we conventionally would call “stories” like personal narratives, myths or novels, or other genres like scientific, academic or philosophical writing, each with their own generic rules for the “stories” they tell. Drawing primarily on essays, short stories, novels and graphic novels, we will be particularly interested in what happens when different “cultures,” or ways of knowing and writing, collide, clash or mix, in a process we will call “transculturation.” In what ways, we will ask, does “culture” provide us with narratives, patterns, genres – what we might call “stories” -- through which we “shape” our experience into something meaningful? In what ways do we deploy, bend, mix these “stories”? In what ways are cultural “ways of knowing” embodied in (or constituted by, or complicated through) different genres of writing? What do each of these ways of knowing/writing/storytelling reveal or enable us to see, and what might they leave out? Readings may include Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus, among others.
Section 002 (David Sheridan)
Transculturation in Michigan
This class will investigate narratives of transculturation in Michigan, including stories set in Detroit, Benton Harbor, the Upper Peninsula, and mid-Michigan. These stories will help launch conversations about the challenges that emerge when diverse cultural groups come into contact. As a class, we will write about/against/in-response-to these narratives, producing a wide range of compositions, from analytical essays to multimedia projects.
Section 003 (Terese Monberg)
Travel, Migration, & Exile
This course explores what it means to travel, cross borders, migrate, be displaced or exiled. Readings and discussion will focus on the different reasons people are prompted to travel or migrate, allowing us to examine tensions between home and travel, migration and exile, local and global communities, place and memory. Writing projects will ask students to apply concepts to their own experiences and to parallel cases of tourism, travel, migration, displacement, or exile. Students will have numerous opportunities to conceive, draft, revise, and complete writing projects tailored to various audiences.
Section 004 (Austin Jackson)
Race, Rhetoric, and the Arts of Resistance
We will explore the role of language and culture within popular struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. Our task this semester is three-fold: we will 1) explore the intersecting rhetorics of race, class, and gender; 2) examine the role that writing has played in re-inscribing or resisting existing power relations in society; and 3) experiment with various modes of argumentation (from academic essays, dialogic journal writing, individual and group presentations, poetry, and visual art), writing in various genres or styles for multiple audiences and different rhetorical situations.
Section 005 (Katie Wittenauer)
The Writing of Food: Identity, Culture, and Conversation
Throughout this course, we will explore the dialogues surrounding food-centric issues on local, national, and international levels and examine our own understanding of the relationships between food, identity, and culture. Through examining the diverse perspectives in a wide range of genres, including documentary film, non-fiction, food blogs, cookbooks, and advertisements, and by reflecting on and analyzing these conversations through composing in academic, professional and public genres for a range of audiences, we will work toward participating in and understanding the impact of the food-centric writing, activities and conversations that surround us.
Section 006 (John Meyers)
Music, Technology, and Culture
Developments in technology have vastly changed how we listen to music over the past century, from player pianos and the birth of recording in the late 1800s to contemporary controversies over sampling, Auto-Tune, and MP3s. In this course, we will examine how critics, musicians, and listeners have responded to these changes through various kinds of writing. What were their reactions to these changes? What did they hope their writing would accomplish? Whom were they addressing? By responding to a wide range of cases, students will begin to understand how similar issues and themes have played out over a long history, far beyond the latest Youtube viral video. In our own writing assignments, the emphasis will be on constructing arguments about music, technology, and culture supported by appropriate evidence, always carefully considering the audience for whom we are writing.
Section 001 (Scot Yoder)
Private Faith and Public Life.
In the U.S. we seem to have a tenuous relationship with religion. On the one hand, officially the U.S. is a “secular” nation with no state religion and a constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state. On the other hand, in many ways we are a deeply religious nation. Surveys consistently suggest that a majority of citizens believe in God and religious institutions play important roles at the local and national level. We try to manage this tension by distinguishing between the public and private spheres of life, relegating religion to the latter, but this solution has been only partially successful as debates about matters such as the teaching intelligent design in public schools, public support for faith-based social services, and same-sex marriage demonstrate. The goal of this course is to explore the intersection of religious belief and public life. We will explore the following sorts of questions: What does it mean to have a “secular” society? How do our religious beliefs shape how we respond to public issues? How should they? Does religious faith improve or harm our public lives? How can we talk respectfully and constructively about religion?
Section 002 (Lisa Biggs)
Introduction to Performance Theory and Analysis
Human beings use performances ranging from the artistic to the cultural to the everyday to affirm their sense of belonging, negotiate identity, transform conflicts, engage in politics, educate, entertain, and much more. In this course, students will be introduced to the field of Performance Studies, in particular the art of interpreting and analyzing dramatic scripts, non-dramatic texts, and theatrical productions as an entry point for the study of culture, social roles and identity. Central to our work will be an opportunity to dive deeply into the annual One Book/One Lansing community engagement text. Group discussions and assigned readings will be complemented by field trips to theatre, dance, and sporting events on campus, improvisation workshops, and opportunities to devise short performance pieces in class.
Section 003 (Donna Rich Kaplowitz)
Social Identity, Intercultural Dialogue and Social Justice
This course examines how various social identity groups in the United States contribute to systems of privilege and oppression. Though the primary emphasis of this course will focus on race and ethnicity, attention will also be given to gender, religion, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation and other social identity markers. Throughout the semester, we will use engaging readings, TED talks, social media, in-class activities, films, campus resources, and guest speakers to foster student exploration of their own social group memberships and multiple identities. Students will also consider how their group membership relates to individual, institutional and cultural forms of oppression and privilege socialization. Students will become familiar with various methodologies for developing understanding across different identity groups. Finally, students will examine their own spheres of influence, and discuss how to be an ally to other social identity groups. Come prepared to challenge previously held assumptions and engage in profound personal and intellectual growth.
RCAH202 The Presence of the Past
Section 001 (Donna Rich Kaplowitz)
What Difference Can a Revolution Make?
The Impact of the Cuban Revolution, Past and Present
RCAH 202 asks us to understand the presence of the past. In this class we will explore how political revolutions are perceived and what the impact of revolution means over time and across borders. This class will use the Cuban Revolution as a case study to learn about the historical meaning and impact of revolutions.
In 1959, 90 miles south of Florida, Fidel Castro and a small band of revolutionaries overthrew Cuba’s US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista. In this section of 202, we will examine how this historic event, now over half a century old, has continued to impact life on the island, and around the world to this day.
This class will examine the political-historical roots of the Cuban revolution. We will study how the Cuban revolution profoundly impacted life on the island and around the world. We will answer questions like: How has the Cuban revolution influenced US domestic policy, foreign policy and world politics? Why is the Cuban revolution still able to influence US and world politics? How did revolution in this tiny Caribbean nation send political tidal waves through Latin America, Africa and Asia? What do human rights mean in a post-Soviet communist country? We will look at how the failed Bay of Pigs invasion led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and why that still matters, 50 years later. We’ll examine poetry, print media, music, film and more and understand how the Cuban revolution’s historic commitment to the arts continues to shape today’s art movement in Cuba and the world. We’ll also explore Cuba’s commitment to educational equity; the revolution’s attempt to address racial inequality; the evolution of the role of religion in public life on the island; how the revolution has responded to sexism and heterosexism over time; and much more! Be prepared to listen Cuba’s latest pop music, eat moros y cristianos, watch Cuban film, and challenge Cuban and US foreign policy!
Section 002 (Dylan Miner)
The Presence of the Past through Comics and Documentary Films
In this section, we will cover three distinct ways of ‘representing the past’: writing, comics, and documentary cinema. Using comics and films as the primary sites of inquiry, this course will investigate how and why the past influences our contemporary cultural, political, and social practices. Throughout, students will begin to see how the past remains important in our everyday activities and how we are active agents in constructing ‘history’ in the present.
Section 003 (John Aerni-Flessner)
Going back to the Roman Empire and working toward the present, this class looks at how various forms of involuntary servitude (conveniently all lumped together under the term “slavery”) have served as underpinnings for production of goods and services. We will look at the Atlantic World, but also the Indian Ocean World, and systems on the African continent to compare involuntary servitude across time and space. We will be looking at how these systems of involuntary labor differed and were similar—and debate whether they were all “slavery.” We will also examine how they contributed in ways large and small to the creation of the globalized world in which we live. The forces that led to the rise and fall of slavery have shaped our world in a wide variety of ways, and this course will help you interrogate the ways in which this is still important, and how debates over the legacy of slavery and reparations have been and continue to be contentious.
Section 004 (Joanna Bosse)
As a phenomenon that is bound so deeply to the identity of people and place--one that nevertheless travels through time and space independently of the people who make it--music provides a unique sonic vantage point from which to study the presence of the past. Taking African music as our focus, this course will explore the ways that contemporary African musical practice testifies to the currents of African history and presents listeners with a set of ethical challenges that have implications for our shared future. For over the last centuries, African music has been received with much curiosity, confusion, romanticization, and misinformation among western audiences, perhaps more so than any other type of music. This history informs the way we learn about African music today, in ways that the learners themselves may not even comprehend.
This course will be highly interactive. Throughout the semester, we will listen to, write about, talk about, read about, and perform several musical genres from sub-Saharan Africa. We will also learn about important moments in African (and world) history, gain greater fluency in expressive forms, literacy in musical concepts, while developing a greater understanding of who we are as learners, creators, and citizens of the world. One need not have formal training in music to succeed in this course. Those who do have musical training will find their skills challenged in new and exciting ways.
Section 005 (Lisa Biggs)
Crimes, Rights and Punishments
In this course, we investigate the development of contemporary crime theory and legal practices by asking critical questions how crime is constructed, law enacted, and punishment administered. This is not a legal studies or political science class. Instead, we approach the concepts of criminalization, punishment, justice and law enforcement using ethnographic, historical, and literary sources (plays, novels, short stories, poems etc). These materials, often written from a grassroots perspective, illuminate how U.S. public policies and institutions actually function. What behaviors are criminal(ized)? How was justice and punishment understood and enacted? How have those practices persisted or changed over time? Where is innovation occurring today, and how might MSU students get involved?
RCAH 281 Career Strategies
Section 001 (Niki Rudolph)
Liberal Arts on the Job
This course will help you prepare for a career that engages the arts and humanities on a daily basis. You’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses and how your passions can translate into careers. You’ll build your personal brand, job shadow, hear from arts and humanities graduates and professionals, and gain a better understanding about writing a resume, interviewing and articulating the RCAH degree to potential graduate schools, employers and partners. After completing this course, you will more fully understand the value and marketability of a Liberal Arts degree.
RCAH291 Arts Workshops
Section 001 (Guillermo Delgado)
Possibilities with Paint
In this creative workshop, you will explore the possibilities of paint through a variety of visual mediums. You will experiment and practice painting in a variety of venues and examine the way painting interplays with context. Painting experiences will help us explore topics and genres from the traditional – portraits and landscapes – to the theoretical, such as cultural studies and social justice issues. The objective for this class is to become familiar with painting techniques and art history while also developing an individualized painting practice that will enable you to translate ideas into visual narratives. Watercolor and acrylic paints will be the primary mediums, though your artistic repertoire and exposure to different genres is a key objective. At the end of the semester, you will organize and exhibit your paintings in a group show on campus. No painting experience necessary and all skill levels are welcome. Come join the fun!
Section 002 (David Sheridan)
Advanced Media Production and Design
This workshop will explore the social and aesthetic potentials of print-, video-, and web-based media. Content is tailored to students who already have a background in one or more of these areas. Students will generate creative and socially meaningful projects in all three media formats and will explore fundamental principles of design in the process. We will also explore strategies for critiquing the work of others. This class will provide excellent preparation for anyone who wishes to work in the RCAH Language and Media Center. Students who wish to enroll in this section should contact David Sheridan (email@example.com).
Section 003 (Dylan Miner)
Art, Ecology and Sustainability in the Great Lakes
This art studio-workshop course is an interdisciplinary and artistic exploration of ecology and sustainability in the transborder Great Lakes region (US and Canada, including numerous sovereign Indigenous nations on both sides). While Prof. Miner’s art uses printmaking and community collaboration at the core, this workshop will allow students to explore their own artistic interests in relationship to the ‘natural world’, while studying the ways that contemporary artists critically reflect upon ecology, sustainability, and the environment. In addition to making art about, with, and in our local environments, final project will be a collaboration with Prof. Torrez’ RCAH 292B to produce a portfolio of screenprints. The portfolio will be based on how Lansing Latino youth see their ‘sense of place’ in the Great Lakes.
Section 004 (Diane Newman)
Dance as Human Experience
Why do humans have an innate impulse to move, to dance? Through observation and exploration, students begin with a personal journey, from noticing ordinary movement to recognizing the extraordinary choices and possibilities that dance offers. Relationships to the broader context of history, culture, communication, social issues, and aesthetics are realized over the arc of experience. Students in this class can expect to move, to discover, to create, to write. They will learn to recognize dance/movement as an everyday tool by which humans experience and interpret life. No previous dance experience necessary.
RCAH292A Engagement Proseminar
Section 001 (Vincent Delgado)
This proseminar on engagement will use hands-on learning to motivate, excite, inspire and sensitize students to deeper reflection and civic engagement activities in the college. Through discussions on the nature of civic engagement, students will engage in discovery of their own community as well as new communities across campus and mid-Michigan. Specifically, we’ll be working with with particular communities, which may include, youth groups, refugees and artists in mid-Michigan to explore the critical engagement concepts of place, passion and imagination. These stories will be archived and disseminated as decided during our engagement with these communities. This activity will provide focus for our work. But we’ll add in texts, multimedia resources and additional hands-on activities to prepare us for higher-level thinking and involvement in engagement course work and community-based activism. An Integrated Language Option may be available for this course.
Section 002 (Terese Monberg)
Serving Versus Sustaining Communities
This proseminar prepares students for civic engagement in the RCAH and beyond by exploring the differences between serving a community and sustaining one over time. As Karen McKnight Casey argues, the United States has a “distinct culture” of nonprofit and community-based organizations that depend on volunteerism. And while volunteerism has its place in community-based work, it often privileges a short-term commitment and a short-term understanding of communities. But communities—and the economic, social, racial, local, and global contexts in which they exist and operate—change over time, meaning that community-based organizations are continually challenged to reassess what work is possible and necessary at different points in time.
This proseminar will introduce students to the RCAH approach to civic engagement by exploring the challenges of building and sustaining community-based institutions, movements, and partnerships and the role that students might play in these processes.
We will listen to oral histories by community activists, explore debates on volunteerism and engagement, and work with local community organizers and partners to gain an understanding of the larger social context in which community partnerships are built and sustained. The aim of the course is to help students appreciate what drives community-based movements, how the context surrounding these movements shifts over time, and how communities adapt and assess what still needs to be done.
RCAH292B Engagement and Reflection
Section 001 (Guillermo Delgado)
Art @ Work
For this civic engagement (and civic creativity) course, you will create art and participate in experiential dialogues with clients at Peckham, Inc., a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training opportunities for persons with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment. There will be opportunities to explore and engage in the creative processes with the Peckham community and other RCAH students, faculty and visiting artists in the co-creation of a 40’X200’ art installation on a concrete wall. You will help organize, participate in, and lead art-making and writing workshops for clients at Peckham, and explore critical topics such as cultural identity processes through interactive personal histories. Ample time will be reserved for creating art and reflecting in the RCAH art studio. You will work to refine community art-making skills and for creating an artistic personal map based on your civic engagement journey. No art skills necessary and all art skill levels are welcome. Come join the fun!
Section 002 (Patricia Rogers)
"It's Great to Be a Girl!"
This course contains both a civic engagement component that takes place in the community and an academic component in the classroom. The class will partner with Mt. Hope School in Lansing to run an after-school program based on the initiative "It's Great to Be a Girl" (IGBG). This civic engagement activity involves working with pre-adolescent (fifth-grade) girls to help build and foster self-esteem at a critical moment in their development. Topics and activities will focus on issues such as body image, media, friendships, bullying, and career goals, among others.
In the classroom, undergraduates will read and discuss scholarly articles centering on gender. Many of the materials will delve into the same issues raised by our themes and topics at Cumberland; issues that confront all females (girls and women) in American society. Through work with pre-adolescent girls as well as the academic readings and discussions, this class will help undergraduates understand their own experience in relation to society as demonstrated through gender roles and stereotypes.
Section 003 (Candace Keller-Claytor)
Students in this course will work with community members on a Photovoice project. Photovoice is an innovative photo essay method that incorporates the process of documentary photography with the practices of empowerment education and civic democracy. It puts cameras in the hands of individuals often excluded from decision-making processes in order to capture their voices and visions about their lives, community concerns, and insights. By sharing their stories about these images, reflecting with others about the broader meanings of the photos they have taken, and displaying these photos and stories for the broader public and policy makers to view, Photovoice photographers are provided with a unique opportunity to document and communicate important aspects of their lives. Over the semester, students in this course will learn compositional and technical aspects of photography as means of visual expression and narrative, while studying the methods, history, and practices of Photovoice as a mode of civic engagement, as they plan and implement a Photovoice project working with members of the Lansing Refugee Development Center.
Section 004 (Estrella Torrez)
Currently, 1 in 5 public school system students is Latino. Meanwhile, recent national studies found that nearly half of all Latino students do not earn a high school diploma. Lansing School District (LSD) reflects these trends. LSD Latino student demographics show that this population has strong English language proficiency, has lived in the area for multiple generations, and continually underperform in the classroom compared to other minority students.
In this course, we will partner with the Lansing School District to create and implement programming meant to bolster the Latino student voice. Highlighting the Latino experience in Michigan, RCAH and LSD students will collaboratively work to tell the story of Lansing Latinos, both past and present. Engaging with elementary students, we will assist in their learning about the importance of their own story and their impact in the community. This course will be linked with Prof. Miner’s RCAH 291 Creative Workshop and engage with issues of community and ‘ecology’. An Integrated Language Option may be available for this course.
RCAH330 Nature and Culture
Section 001 (Scot Yoder)
The Ethics of Being and Becoming Human
In this course we will draw upon material from philosophy, literature, art, and history to explore multiple versions of the questions, “What does it mean to be human?” Is there such a thing as a fixed human nature or is it something malleable that is in flux? How is technology affecting how we think about human nature? Are there moral limits to how we can create and enhance humans, and if so, what are they? The goal of the course is to explore such questions.
Note: Portions of this course will be taught in conjunction with Aronoff’s RCAH 340: Technology and Creativity.
RCAH340 Technology and Creativity
Section 001 (Eric Aronoff)
Technology and Creativity: Fictions of Science and Technology
This course will examine the interplay between scientific philosophies, technology and literature. We will explore this interplay in terms of both content and form: in other words, we will study the ways in which the “subject matter” of science and technology – the theories, discoveries, inventions of science – are explored within novels and short stories to probe their implications for our conceptions of society, the self, and art; we will also think about how scientific “ways of knowing” – rationality, empiricism, linear narrative – have been deployed and resisted to shape the genres of the realist novel, detective fiction, gothic tales and science fiction. Finally, we will also think about how the technology of the book itself shapes the kinds of narratives that can be produced, and how new technologies – the internet, hypertext, etc. – might produce new kinds of narratives. Texts might include: Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles; William Gibson, Neuromancer; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age; H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds.
This course will be closely coordinated with Prof. Scot Yoder’s RCAH 330: Nature and Culture course on Human Enhancement. While most class sessions will meet separately (and students register for only one of the two courses), the two classes will also meet frequently to discuss issues and texts of common concern.
RCAH380 Third Year Tutorial
Section 001 (Carolyn Loeb)
Women and Art
Do today’s visual arts, from painting to performance art, baffle you, excite you, or leave you cold? Chances are they do all three, depending. Many of the approaches that artists use today have their roots in challenging artworks made by women artists in the 1970s. What did these artists do that led their work to have such a far-reaching impact? Do works created today continue to embody their spirit and insights?
In this course, we will look at innovations and experimentation in such watershed works as the collaborative, site-specific, temporary installations in Womanhouse (Los Angeles, 1972), the collaborative, multi-media construction of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party (1974-79), and the development of Miriam Schapiro’s concept of femmage. Through these pieces, women artists decisively shifted how art was made and thought about.
In the guided project that is the focus of a Third-Year Tutorial, you will then explore how contemporary artists relate to the core of new ideas opened up by these earlier artists: recovery of women artists of the past; development of alternative media; collaboration; interrogation of issues of the body, identity, power, and the media; shaping public space; community engagement; and re-evaluation of dominant aesthetic ideas. How have these emphases changed? How do today’s more globalized women artists relate to them and lead them in new directions?
The guided project can be a research paper, a visual presentation, a study of a local arts venue, or another endeavor developed by students in consultation with me. An Integrated Language Option may be available for this course.
Section 002 (Joanna Bosse)
Social Power and Popular Music
This course will engage students in a critical exploration of the ways that social values, and in particular, social power, are encoded in popular music, with our work centered on the role of class, gender, and race. The centerpiece of the course will be the independent project that may take any form, including (but not limited to) a scholarly paper; a performance or other type of artistic work; a blog or other form of music criticism/journalism; video or other multi-media form; etc.
RCAH390 Language and Culture
Section 001 (Estrella Torrez)
Education in a Multilingual Community
In this course, we will investigate issues of language attrition and revitalization. We will focus on how language is affected by educational policy, particularly through the emergence (and transformation) of bilingual education. Through seminar-style learning we will discuss the following questions: Are languages equal? Why should younger generations learn a heritage language in a globalized economy? Should resource-strapped educational systems expend funds to provide multilingual education? Should we separate students into homogenous linguistic groups? In addition to these questions, students will investigate how schools are working with heritage language communities to become active agents in maintaining language and protecting their community’s way of life. An Integrated Language Option may be available for this course.
Section 002 (India Plough)
Methods of Sociolinguistic Research
Methods of Sociolinguistic Research is a general survey course of sociolinguistics and sociolinguistic research methodologies. Combining lecture and seminar formats, the course introduces students to language variation, pragmatics, and language socialization. The relationships between language and attitudes, identities, and social networks are also explored. Readings of studies on world languages focus on a critical examination of the relationship between sociolinguistic phenomena and research methodology as well as the extent to which verbal behavior varies across languages and cultures. In-class activities are used to explicate sociolinguistic concepts. Throughout the course, research validity is emphasized in preparation for the class project in which students work in groups to conduct an empirical sociolinguistic research study. This requires students to 1) formulate a meaningful research question; 2) identify sources of data to answer the question; 3) determine a suitable method of data collection; 4) collect, analyze, and interpret the data; and 5) report results. An Integrated Language Option may be available for this course.
Section 003 (Austin Jackson)
Black Talk: African American Language, Literacy, and Culture
The African American community constitutes a distinct speech community, with its own organizational and sociolinguistic norms of interaction (Smitherman 1996). African American Language (AAL, also called Ebonics or Black English) is an Africanized form of English forged in the crisis of U.S. slavery, racial segregation, and the Black struggle for freedom and equality. In this course, we’ll explore the social, educational, and political implications of AAL in the 21st century. Using the work of major scholars in sociolinguistics, literacy studies, and 1) examine AAL semantics, syntax, phonology, and morphology, 2) identify underlying historical and socio-economic forces responsible for shaping AAL, and 3) explore the impact of AAL within Black speech communities and U.S. and global popular culture.
We will examine language attitudes towards AAL, especially representations and misrepresentations of AAL within media and the Internet, and consider how such portrayals influence efforts to incorporate AAL within language and literacy instruction for Black children. Additionally, we will give considerable attention to three major cases of U.S. language policy: Students’ Right to Their Own Language Resolution (1974), the King Ann Arbor “Black English” federal court case (1979), and the Oakland School District “Ebonics Decision" (1996-1997).
Assignments will include conducting linguistic and rhetorical analysis of AAL in literature, film, and popular culture (especially Rap music and Hip Hop culture). Beyond the classroom, we will conduct participant-observations of AAL within predominately Black churches, campus student organizations, and other local African American speech communities.
RCAH395 Special Topics-Arts & Humanities
Section 001 (Vincent Delgado)
Cultures of Creativity in Action
This special topics course will deepen interdisciplinary scholarship developed between freshman RCAH and College of Engineering students during a summer 2014 study away in Detroit. Through readings, discussions, reflection, design labs and active and applied collaboration, students will work in teams to develop their own “cultures of creativity” in designing, testing and implementing technological solutions meant to address regional challenges. With assistance from the Ford Community Fund, the result will be robust, useful and something that no one has ever seen before. While we will review current organizational scholarship on the idea of interdisciplinary creativity and innovation through the process, we will also use an anthropological lens to look at how teams, including ours, work.
Section 002 (Laura DeLind)
Food Sovereignties: What do they mean & how will we know them when we eat them?
Food connects human beings to their bodies, histories, aesthetics, ideologies, natural and built environments, and economic, sociocultural, and political systems. As a connector, it provides a lens through which we can explore our relationships to one another to non-human life forms and to the earth itself. What we know (and don’t know) about our food and our food system has life-sustaining and life-threatening implications.
“Food sovereignty” is a term that has grown increasingly popular within today’s food movement. Its fundamental principles – food as a basic right, agrarian reform, fair trade, the elimination of corporate domination, social justice, democratic control, and harmony with nature – have been adopted in whole or in part by many farmers, laborers, consumers and corporate traders. But what does all this actually look like and taste like?
This course critically explores the concept of “sovereignty” as it applies to the contemporary food system. We begin by discussing its historic roots, political rhetoric, and legal protections as a foundation for recognizing issues of power and domination. “Who has sovereignty, individuals or collectives?” “Who gets to say who is sovereign?” “What are different forms of sovereignty and do they conflict?”
Next we explore different “cases” that bring food sovereignties into greater personal and contemporary focus. We consider a) labor rights (e.g., Coalition of Immokalee Workers), b) indigenous peoples’ rights (place-based knowledges), c) consumer rights (e.g., GMOs), d) domestic and international fair trade (e.g., terroir), and e) human rights (e.g., Gates Foundation).
Students are responsible for leading class discussions, for several short essays and a final research paper.
NOTE: This course can be used as a Nature and Culture Pathway course. It also is being offered as (and concurrent with) PHL 353, Core Themes in P/J Studies; Instructor: Kyle Powys Whyte firstname.lastname@example.org. It serves as a core course for the P&J Studies specialization.
RCAH492 Senior Seminar
Section 001 (Anita Skeen)
Geographies, Journey and Maps: Where we are Going, Where we have Been
“To ask for a map is to say, ‘Tell me a story,’” writes Peter Turchi. In this seminar we will consider various geographies that we inhabit/have inhabited and various journeys that we and other writers have undertaken. We will examine and create maps, both literal and metaphorical, that tell important stories about who we are as individuals and as a culture. We will look at the writer as cartographer and how through exploration (premeditated searching or undisciplined rambling) and presentation (creating a document meant to communicate with and have an effect on others) we lead both writer and reader on a journey into worlds both real and imagined.