RCAH111- Writing Transcultural Contexts
Section 001 (Skeen) | M W 10:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
On the Street Where We Live: Place, People, and Possibility
In “Home Burial,” Robert Frost has a farmer say, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” The farmer’s wife replies, “I should have called it something you somehow haven’t to deserve.” Regardless of our experience, we all have had some places we’ve called “home.” What does this term, “home,” mean to people inhabiting different places and different cultures? How important is community for allowing us to feel “at home”? What does “home” mean to you now that you have come to Michigan State? In this course we will study and create essays, stories, poems, and maps that deal with place, with landscape, with community, with the decisions we make to stay home or find a new home. We’ll pay attention to significant details: architectural; geographic; spiritual; regional and local, both familiar and unfamiliar. We’ll hope to discover how the place we come from affects us and helps us to determine the places (both literal and figurative) we ultimately go.
Section 002 (Aronoff) | M W 10:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Telling Stories: Composing Knowledges 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 short stories and 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, through which we “shape” our experience into something meaningful? In what ways do we deploy, bend, mix these “stories”? If culture might be defined as a shared system of meanings through which one interprets the world, in what ways might the classroom constitute “a culture,” and what kinds of “stories” are employed therein? 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? In what ways can certain kinds of writing or storytelling be seen as the mixing of, or struggle between, multiple systems of meaning or cultures? Possible course texts include Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and/or Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
Section 003 (Wittenauer) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Section 004 (Hamilton-Wray) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Romancing the Motherland
In this course, students approach transcultural through an exploration of diaspora, specifically as it applies to people of African descent, but also as it applies to German, Chinese, Irish, Indian, Jewish and other diasporas. Through literature, film, essays and scholarly sources, the course investigates how diasporas are formed and transform, and our connections with those diasporas. Students will learn how to responsibly use various sources in their inquiry of the course material and individual projects on family and ethnic histories. Aside from developing skills in recursive writing, the course teaches how to consider objective, genre, and audience in writing and in the use of technology.
Section 005 (Sheridan) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
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 005 (Livingston) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
The Art & Practice of Consen
RCAH 111 is a core course in the RCAH major. This course will focus on consent across personal, professional, and political contexts. Current consent campaigns on college campuses focus on sexual assault, or non-consent. But consent has much broader implications for how we develop relationships. Relationships are at the core of everything we do—how we treat each other, how we regard ourselves, how we act in community spaces. As you move through the RCAH’s highly collaborative environment, you will work closely with community partners, visiting artists, professors, and your peers. Consent is a way to make sure these relationships are respectful, reciprocal, and accountable.
What does it take to create consent culture? This course offers frameworks for understanding the art and practice of consent broadly, as part of anti-oppression work. Analyzing popular and scholarly discourse on consent, we will study how to practice consent in various kinds of relationships. We will read widely from: queer and feminist nonfiction, art, blogs, and zines; peer-to-peer sex education materials; campus sexual assault and relationship violence programs, policies, and activism; the work of local community organizations; and understandings of informed consent in research. We will also practice consent in low-stakes contexts—especially in your work with your writing group, which you will stay with throughout the semester. The result of our work on consent will be a portfolio of writing, some of which will be public writing projects we negotiate together.
Section 001 (Miner) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Proseminar: Art and Activism
In this proseminar, students will investigate the relationship between art and activism during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing primarily on contemporary issues. We will interrogate the ways that artists work – what many call their ‘practice’ – in provocative and agitational ways. This seminar will give students access to the radical world of socially engaged art. We will concentrate on the activities of artists and collectives who often work at the margins of the mainstream (and capitalist) artworld, paying particular attention to the 'art of social practice', a hard-to-define artistic genre in which artists ‘make things happen’. This amorphous artistic medium goes by many names, including community-based art, social justice art, relational aesthetics, guerilla art, social aesthetics, participatory art, social practice, and socially engaged art, among others.
Section 002 (Aerni-Flessner) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Proseminar—Malcolm X in Greater Lansing
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, moved to the Lansing area when he was about four years old with his parents. By the time he was fifteen, his father would be dead in mysterious circumstances, the family home had been burned down, his mother was committed to a mental institution, and he had dropped out of school. While much of the work that Malcolm is famous for happened outside of the Lansing area, his early years were formative and there is very little trace of his presence marked in the contemporary community. This class will explore the writings of and about Malcolm X to better understand African-American History as well as the local history of the African-American community and how it helped shape one of the most influential Americans of the mid-20th century. In addition to just delving into the history of Malcolm X, this class will think about public history and public memory and will work on an oral history project and think about ways to present our work digitally to a wider community about Malcolm X’s local history in Lansing.
RCAH202-The Presence of the Past
Section 001 (Kaplowitz) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Lots of folks ask, “Don’t ALL Lives Matter?” This class will examine why we still have racial inequality in the United States and why it is important to discuss why #BLM. Using readings, classroom activities, personal experiences, current events, movies, social media and more, we will study why, in fall of 2016, we still have such a deep racial divide in our country. In order to understand this, we need to explore the historic roots of current day racial inequality. We will also 1) deepen our understanding of our own racial identities; 2) develop an understanding of the different forms of racism in the US; 3) discuss the differences between prejudice, stereotypes and racism; 4) understand current events, including how race is playing a role in the current presidential election cycle, and 5) learn how to engage in constructive dialogues across what is often an uncomfortable topic. Finally, we will build a tool box to talk about allyhood and how to be conscious anti-racist leaders in our own communities and beyond.
Please note: Four times during the semester, we will not have class during our regularly scheduled meeting time, and we will meet on a Sunday from 4-6:30 to view a full length feature film together. Please save the following dates: September 25, October 16, October 30, November 13
Section 002 (Bosse) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Performing Memory in African Music
This course explores the contemporary musical practices of a number of cultural groups living across the African continent, with special consideration for how music serves as a sonic testimony to the cultural history of a people. We will learn how performance in any particular moment provides us with a way to perform individual memories as well as a shared history and resignify them with present-day concerns. 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, presenting challenges that the learner herself/himself may not comprehend. For this reason, our own exploration of various musical traditions of sub-Saharan Africa will take a multi-pronged approach. Over the semester we will listen to, write about, talk about, read about, and perform the various genres in question. By moving beyond the more conventional “learning about” to “learning from within, ” it is my hope that each student (and I include myself in this category) can not only learn about particular African music genres, but also something about who he/she is as a learner, as a performer, and as a citizen of the world. This approach also mirrors the processes through which ethnomusicologists approach their work. And so, in the process, students will also learn the intellectual habits of the ethnographic disciplines that they can add to their “intellectual tool kit” for use in any other learning contexts in which you may find themselves in. This course is open to everyone, no matter your level of music knowledge. One need not be a musician to participate and succeed in this course. You will learn all the musical concepts you need. Musicians who feel proficient in basic music concepts will be encouraged to analyze the music at a deeper level, and will be further challenged by ethnomusicological concepts.
Section 003 (Aerni-Flessner) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Starting with slavery in ancient times 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 (Esquith) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Mythic Heroes of War
One way to grasp the presence of the past is through the dominant myths that we live by. What stories do we tell about the past and its development over time? How do these stories – whether they take the form of poetry, theater, film, novels, constitutions, or the everyday rituals of popular culture – structure and guide our lives? In what sense are these stories present to us? In what sense are they myths we live by?
The goal of the course is not to provide an exhaustive catalogue of myths, ancient or modern. Nor is it to search for a universal set of images or mythic archetypes. Our primary goal is to understand how certain myths about heroism have been carried forward, what other possible worlds they may open to us, and how they empower some people while disabling others. We will focus specifically on heroes of war. We will focus initially on the Homeric heroes Achilles and Odysseus, and the main characters in Sophocles's Ajax. We will focus on ideals such as hospitality, friendship, and justice as well as some of the tragic human weaknesses portrayed in these classic texts and their modern adaptations by Margaret Atwood and Kate Tempest.
Section 005 (Biggs) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Introduction to Theatre for Social Change
Theatre artists have long taken up the charge of using performance to do more than entertain the public. Through song, dance, music, poetry, puppetry, monologue and scene work, actors, playwrights and directors have used the stage to engage audiences with important stories about the most pressing issues facing their time. The issues they reveal often have deep roots in historical conflicts that continue to impact the communities where they live. This course will investigate the response of artists from around the globe to pressing social justice issues with roots in the past, such as hunger, homelessness, water and land rights, health and wellness, mass incarceration, immigration, citizenship, gender justice and sexuality. Course work includes in-depth analysis of the history of a particular conflict and the art-making theory and practices of the assigned performance groups. Readings are partnered with regular, on-your-feet, art-making workshops to teach students related performance-making techniques. These may include workshops in American-style theatre improvisation; Native American, West Indian or West African dance; hip hop cyphers; Japanese butoh; Indian classical dance; and other forms as required. The course culminates in an opportunity for students to research, devise, and present short, original, theatre pieces on a topic of their choosing. By the end of the semester, they will be better able to think about human “cultures and histories in global terms,” and, be better equipped to examine “some of the ethical challenges that we now face” through performance (RCAH website). No previous acting or performance experience required.
RCAH 281-Career Strategies
Section 001 (Rudolph) | W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
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
Section 001 (Sheridan) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Advanced Media Production and Design
This workshop will explore the social and aesthetic potentials of video- and print-based media. Content is tailored to students who already have a background in one or more areas of media production. Students will generate creative and socially meaningful projects, exploring fundamental principles of design in the process. We will also investigate 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.
Section 002 (Scales) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
The Music of Southern Appalachia
Appalachian communities have a rich and deep musical tradition that has played a unique role in the musical, political, and social life of America. In this class, students will engage with this tradition through the first hand participation in the music, performing “old-time” string band music, ballad singing, shape-note singing, and more. We will also examine the many social functions of the this music in American public life, including its influence on other contemporary musical genres (bluegrass, country, folk and protest music), its connection with American leftist politics in the 20th century, and its central role in the public imagination of “authentic” American identity. Some background in music is recommended (but not required).
Section 003 (Newman) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
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.
Section 004 (Baibak) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Reclamation Studio Project
Reclamation Studio Project is a workshop based on gleaning, reuse, and transformation of found, second-hand, or inherited objects. The course is designed to help alter our perception of objects, so we can see them as an available resource for base materials: plastic, metal, wood, or fiber. We will dissect forms to discover their potential frameworks, cavities, openings, and abstract forms. We will look at connective materials, including bolt, wires, rivets, interlocking tabs, springs, hinges, and lashings. There will be experiments in surfacing objects (the great transformer), through sanding, abrading, eroding, denting, shredding, and re-dressing them in new skins.
In this course, we will work with applied methods of creation, some existing and some yet to be discovered, that will help us investigate and design new forms. These methods will aid us in constructing objects that visually and physically enhance our daily passage. A few of the objects we’ll construct will be abstract, ornaments of pure aesthetics. The abstract becomes a way of exploring material relationships and potentialities without having to conceive a meaning. Other projects will shed light on the use of available resources to create practical objects. We will examine the utilitarian and abstract, and the importance of both. The class will read articles about reusing materials from “our great abundance.”
Reclamation Studio’s goal is to help us to become more aware of available resources and to highlight our own responsibility as consumers.
Section 001 (Brooks) | Tu 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Holistic Citizenship: Living and Working in Engaged Communities
This proseminar is an introduction to civic engagement and explores the concepts of cultural heritage and community, using an interdisciplinary approach. Employing theories and methodologies from the arts and humanities, as well as incorporating methods from the social and natural sciences, students will read and discuss an assortment of written and visual texts (artwork, writings, film, etc.) to facilitate learning and to enhance critical thinking. In addition, students will complete experiential learning exercises that build relationships with civic organizations and work toward improving personal and community health/wellness. More specifically, this course will assist students with developing an understanding of the various types of civic engagement activities in relation to the RCAH model on civic engagement (insight, practice, action, passion). Students will be challenged to critically assess perceptions of community, equity, collaboration, and reflection. Then, students will be asked to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate existing and new ways of performing civic engagement that improves individuals, families, communities, and humanity.
Section 002 (Biggs) | W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Acts of Activism
Because our nation faces many daunting challenges, from poverty and under-performing schools to criminal justice reform and the Flint water crisis, it is important to examine the many reasons for participating in public life, and, the myriad ways people work together to affect social change. Voting and volunteering are familiar forms of civic engagement. However, there are many other ways to promote a higher quality of life for self and others that involve both political and non-political processes. Historically, the arts and humanities have played a pivotal role in the struggle to transform individuals, institutions and cultural practices. For young people and other communities that have been marginalized or prohibited from participating in formal political processes, such approaches have been pivotal to their efforts to enter the public sphere as change makers. This course introduces students to RCAH’s approach to “civic engagement,” meaning how ordinary people participate in the public life and affairs of the community and the nation. It has a special focus on examining how artists and activists work to redress problems related to policing, mass incarceration, gender discrimination and economic inequality. Assigned readings will be complemented by opportunities to engage knowledgeable, local artists and community organizers, and develop projects in support of their initiatives. Particular consideration will be given to humanities-related questions about belonging, identity and community; equity and marginalization; power and social stratification; representation, responsibility, and ethics. By the end of the semester, students will have a better understanding of the dynamics of civic engagement and the importance of the arts and humanities in developing “a more democratic, just, and sustainable world” (RCAH website).
Section 003 (Delgado,V.) | Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Great Lakes Water: Engaging in Sustainability and Equity
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, mid-Michigan and Detroit. We will explore the critical engagement concepts of place, passion, imagination, peace and justice in structured dialogue and simulated role play on Great Lakes Water issues with groups that may include youth groups, refugees, people with disabilities, activists and artists in mid-Michigan. These dialogues will result in works of art, reflection and narrative that are meant to affect positive social change. This activity will provide focus for our work. But we’ll add in texts, multimedia resources and additional hands-on activities throughout to prepare us for higher-level thinking and involvement in engagement course work and community-based activism.
RCAH292B-Engagement and Reflection
Section 001 (Delgado, G.) | Tu 1:50 p.m. - 5:40 p.m.
Free Verse Arts Project
This civic engagement course uses prison arts as a way to help create positive social change in our prison system and beyond. Through weekly visits to a prison, we will explore poetry with inmates and collaborate in creating and publishing a poetry ‘zine. We will investigate and gain an understanding of the power of poetry and its impact on the incarcerated by immersing ourselves in the works of poets who wrote while in prison, including Jimmy Baca Santiago and Etheridge Knight. We will plan a culminating event that allows the poems and ‘zine to be heard and shared outside the prison walls.
Section 002 (Keller) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Photovoice (or Artvoice)
Students in this course will develop and facilitate a Photovoice/Artvoice project with members of the Refugee Development Center. (The specific community within this space is yet to be determined, but will likely include a group of 15 middle school students at Gardner Academy in Lansing). It includes a collaborative exhibition and documentary video project that will be displayed in the LookOut! Gallery at the end of the semester.
292C courses are unique, independent engagements of variable credit negotiated between students, community partners, and RCAH faculty. They assume that the student and the community have established a relationship of mutual respect, trust, and benefit. They also assume a high level of passion and experience. These courses focus heavily on the action and insight areas of the RCAH Civic Engagement model. Students select and work with a specific faculty of record and community partner to develop and implement the syllabus and the engagement program for the course. For more information about the courses, pre-requisites and how to enroll, contact Vincent Delgado, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement (firstname.lastname@example.org).
RCAH320-Art and Public Life
Section 001 (Loeb) | Tu Th 1:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.
Space & Race/Class/Gender
Why do inner city areas look different from suburbs? Why are some neighborhoods – in towns as well as in cities and suburbs – seen as more welcoming to some groups of people than to others? Are the US patterns of inner-city poverty and suburban wealth universal? Do other differences separate people in cities in other parts of the world, and what do their spaces look like? What’s needed to create change?
Space matters. How it is shaped and defined affects relationships among races, classes, and genders. In turn, these relationships affect the way space is constructed and distributed. We explore these dynamics and their impact on people’s lives in this course. We look at a wide range of urban settings -- from Detroit, Chicago, LA, and Ferguson and St. Louis, MO, to Jerusalem and beyond – to examine how spatial practices and social relationships interact. We also look at how artists and architects intervene in these practices to challenge existing patterns and provide openings to alternative arrangements.
This multi-layered exploration draws on writings by architectural historians, landscape historians, art historians, designers, anthropologists, geographers, urban historians, sociologists, and scholars of ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and African-American studies. We also look at artwork and works of design by artists, architects, landscape architects, and others.
RCAH330-Nature and Culture
Section 001 (Aronoff) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
This course begins with the question, what is “natural” about “nature”? That is, in this course we will see the category of “nature” -- and a host of related categories, like “wilderness,” “landscape,” -- not as something “out there,” a set of objects that can be studied and “known” by the observing human eye, but rather a category that is continually constructed and reconstructed across cultures and historical periods. Moreover, in each construction of an idea of “nature,” a host of other categories emerge – of “human nature,” of ethics, art, knowledge, and of culture. In this way, one might argue, “nature” is always an “art-ifact,” a representation embodied in a particular “text,” be it a poem, a painting, a scientific report or a photograph.
In this class, then, we will focus primarily on American traditions of thinking about nature, and take for our case studies a variety of genres, especially literature and film. We will ask: what do we mean when we use the term “nature”? What is “wilderness”? How do these terms construct, implicitly or explicitly, our ideas of “the human,” and the proper relation between the human and the non-human world? How does this relation in turn produce ideas of knowledge, technology and “art”?
RCAH380-Third Year Tutorial
Section 001 (Scales) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Studying Popular Music
Popular music is often dismissed in North America as “mere entertainment,” yet pop music plays a central role in countless aspects of our social life. In this course we will grapple with this paradox in an attempt to answer some of the many questions raised by the role and power of popular music in North American society and around the world.
Section 002 (Hamilton-Wray) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Identities and Cinema
The cinema emerging from a nation, community, or artist movement can provide a rich site for investigating dominant and contested ideologies within certain societies. This course sets out to investigate the historical, social, political, and economic factors impacting film production within specific contexts, and how those films impact audiences and popular culture. This course will specifically look at the history of marginalized populations in cinema, with particular focus on blacks in the United States, but it will also explore particular examples in global cinema.
This student driven tutorial will allow students to explore the relationship of various cinemas and film movements to how identities are resisted, contested and constructed on a community, national and global level. This tutorial culminates with students conceiving and implementing a film series, and producing a film series booklet containing articles on the filmmakers and works featured in the film series.
RCAH390-Language and Culture
Section 001 (Jackson) | M W 4:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
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.
Section 002 (Monberg) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Language, Literacy, and Culture
This course introduces students to critical perspectives on how we think about literacy with a specific focus on underrepresented forms and legacies of literacy. We will explore how ideas about literacy have changed (or not changed) over time and how literacy has often been used to contain linguistic, cultural, and racial differences. We will consider the following questions as we move through the semester: How is literacy defined? How are these definitions used and mobilized and for what purposes? How are forms of literacy used, fostered, and sustained over time? How can we not only recognize diverse and emergent forms of literacy but also help them thrive in our classrooms and communities? What does it mean to study literacy? Where and how do we look for literacy in action? And, finally, what would it mean to (re)define literacy given the RCAH emphasis on stories and knowledge-making in multiple forms and places?
RCAH395-Special Topic-Arts & Humanities
Section 001 (Baibak) | Tu 3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m., Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Cultures of Creativity
The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the College of Engineering, have developed a hybrid program to work collaboratively on community-based projects that require innovcation and creative solutions. they will be teaming up with Peckham Industries to work on a project that started in Spring 2016 and will continue into the fall semester. It will be a sustainability course that will take place both at Michigan State University and the Peckham farms. MSU students and Peckham team members will ahve the immersive and transformative experience of constructing a straw bale building/form, using earth materials gleaned from MSU farms, Peckham farms, and/or surrounding farms of Mid-Michigan. They will work with Doug Delind, and also have the opportunity to learn from one of MIchigan's leaders in the practice of straw bale construction, Deanne Bednar, of Oxford, Michigan (www.strawbalestudio.org).
Section 002 (Shapira) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
The Mount and the City: Religion, Politics, and Architecture in Jerusalem
The Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif is both a sacred site for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and a site of conflict. This course uses this site as a lens through which to examine the complex urban and architectural development of Jerusalem, itself important as the modern capital of the State of Israel, a focus of the Palestinian-Israeli national conflict, and an arena of international political concerns. It considers the question of how religious and political ideas shape space and the built environment. This course examines the city’s urban history, the political-religious perspectives represented there, and how these are expressed in the built environment, from competing claims derived from archaeological excavations to the way space shapes everyday life in the city. Using visual images and drawings, habits and rituals, literary sources, oral histories, and other texts, the course enables students to develop their own critical approaches toward the complexities of conflicts in which architecture and place play important roles.
Section 001 (Esquith) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Immigrants and Refugees
From the very first semester, as RCAH students you have been engaging serious moral and political issues. In this senior seminar we will address one of the most contested issues we face today: the living conditions of immigrants and refugees globally as well as within the United States.
What are the living conditions of immigrants and refugees today?
What factors have caused these conditions?
How have immigrants and refugees coped with these conditions?
What can and should be done about this situation, and by whom?
These are the questions that will guide us in this seminar. We will be reading Mary Pipher, The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community; Joseph Carens, The Ethics of Immigration; and selections from Peter Gatrell, The Making of the Modern Refugee; Howard W. French, China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa; and Susan F. Martin, Humanitarian Crises and Migration: Causes, Consequences, and Responses.
In addition to reading about the lives of immigrants and refugees today, we will spend part of our time working with the families at the Lansing Refugee Development Center (RDC) to create a local dialogue forum on immigration and the lives of refugees. RCAH has had a long relationship with the RDC, and our work this semester builds on this partnership.