RCAH112-Writing Research Technologies
Section 001 (Ryan) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
The Nature of the Humanities: Environmental Humanities
It is still a common assumption for many that humans stand somehow apart from nature. This course examines what part the humanities plays in reimagining this relationship between ourselves and our physical environment. We will consider novels, films, audiovisual media, and nonfictional accounts that will help us frame the political, ethical, and artistic stakes of rethinking our relation to the natural world. The focus of this course will be not simply how we problematize climate change, ecological disaster, environmental racism, or the concept of "Nature" itself, but rather the ways each of these issues is shaped by the various forms of media we encounter everyday. Finally, this course will prompt students to begin asking what kinds of objects can we study from a humanistic approach and what kinds of outcomes that inquiry can produce with regards to our evolving understanding of our place on this planet.
Section 002 (Hamilton-Wray) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Black Female Cinema
This course looks at the social, political, economic, and artistic implications of black female-centered cinema. Students become familiar with various feminist writings and film theories to investigate this cinema and to better understand the role it plays in society. Using the media literacy developed in the class, students undertake original research incorporating primary and secondary texts to create in-depth study of alternative cinemas. A series of shorter assignments takes students through the process of formulating research questions, finding appropriate sources in (and outside of) a large, research library, preparing research proposals and annotated bibliographies, and writing an analytical essay based on extensive research. Students also develop skills in doing oral presentations, interviews, and creative presentations.
Section 004 (Sheridan) | M W 12:40 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
The Production of Culture
This class focuses on the ways that the analytical and creative work of the arts and humanities can help to solve real-world problems. The premises of this course are: (1) that forms of cultural expression (such as stories, videos, performances, music, etc.) can be powerful tools of social change; and (2) that all of us are potentially producers of these forms. Accordingly, students will begin by identifying a cultural problem — something they would like to see changed in the world. They will analyze the way the problem is embodied in popular culture (e.g., movies, music, websites). Finally, they will devise their own "cultural interventions": movies, music, websites, and other compositions aimed at addressing the cultural problem in question.
Section 005 (Kaplowitz) | M W 10:20a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
The Personal is the Political: Social Movements in our Local Community
In this section of RCAH 112 we will learn how to use research to deepen our understanding of pressing social issues in our local community. The term, “the personal is the political” was originally coined in the 1960s by the burgeoning feminist and student movements and it was meant both to inspire people to be politically active on the issues that affected their lives and to ensure that politicians paid attention to the issues of personal and local concern. The “personal is the political” highlights the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures.
In this class we are going to hear from local leaders of a variety of social and political movements to learn what personal lived experiences led to them to take broader social action. We’ll hear from folks who are involved in #BlackLivesMatter movement, the LGBTQIA movement, refugee services, the racial opportunity gap and the human trafficking task force. We will explore issues like homelessness, and low-income housing. Depending on student interest, we’ll study the Flint Water Crisis, food security issues, climate change and environmental sustainability issues. The topics covered will, in part, be driven by student interests.
After examining a wide range of possible topics, each student will select an area for action research and will delve more deeply into a particular issue of personal interest. We will spend the second part of the semester focused on social action research and each student will write an in-depth research paper based on your chosen social or political issue.
Section 006 (Yoder) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Researching and Writing about Ethical Issues
While questions in bioethics are often considered to be very personal, they are also at the heart of many public controversies. In this course we will use both public and scholarly reflection on bioethical issues to deepen our understanding of the practice of research and writing in the humanities. We will use this material in order to increase our understanding of 1) what it means to do research in the humanities, 2) how to use writing as a means of inquiry, 3) how to evaluate and construct arguments, and 4) how to conduct and present a research project in the humanities. Each student will produce a thesis-driven research paper on a relevant topic of their choice, a project utilizing an alternative format for presenting the results of their research, and a writing portfolio documenting both these final products and the processes used to produce them.
Section 001 (Halpern) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Proseminar in Design for Social Good
This course is an introduction to design, design thinking, and design research as well as an exploration of what it means to create something that has positive social impact. Many high profile design projects that attempt to do good, like One Laptop Per Child, fall short. Where did these well funded and well intended ideas go wrong? In this course, students will learn the basic principles of design (with a focus specifically, though on exclusively, on technology and interaction design) as well as strategies and methods for engaging with users drawn from user centered design, co-design, and reflective design practices. Throughout the course students will engage in critical thinking about the roles of designers and users, the social and ethical implications of technologies and designed objects, and the larger contexts in which these objects and users exist. Coursework will include a mixture of readings, design exercises, case studies, and a final group project in which students will examine their own college and building to find opportunities for socially motivated design.
The course syllabus may be viewed at the website: rcah192.weebly.com .
Section 002 (Biggs) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
Introduction to Performance Studies-Methods, Theory and Analysis
In this course, students will be introduced to the field of Performance Studies, a relatively new academic discipline that emerged from collaborations between artists and scholars in theatre and anthropology in the 1980s. As one of the founders of performance studies, Richard Schechner, noted, everything is not a performance, but just about everything can be read as a performance. Students will practice the art of interpreting and analyzing dramatic and non-dramatic texts, everyday events, and theatrical performances as an entry point for the study of culture, social roles, and identity. Course work will consist of assigned readings, in-class discussions, improvisational theatre workshops, and opportunities to explore local events and locations as a participant-observer or ethnographer. Student research sites may include sporting events, theatre and dance productions, political rallies, heritage festivals, religious institutions, museums, animal research and exhibition centers (zoos, parks, pet stores), and many more. The course culminates with in-class student performances about their experiences in the field as performance ethnographers. The combination of performance making projects and written assignments will strengthen students’ artistic and critical thinking skills as they investigate the relationship between performance works, performance events, and the performance of everyday life. No previous acting or performance experience required.
Section 003 (Hamilton Wray) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Coming of Age in America
This seminar introduces students to the field of Film Studies through the popular “coming-of-age” genre. The coming-of-age film genre deals with young people going through developmental stages of early youth to adolescence or adolescence to adulthood. Coming-of-age films are particularly valuable in looking at family structure, gender roles, generational conflict, values, and beliefs. In addition, these films aid in the discussion of the historical presence and contemporary issues of various racial, ethnic and other social identity groups in the United States.
Section 001 (Miner) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Transcultural Relations of Food
As you’ve probably heard before, ‘you are what you eat’. In this course, we will use this adage as the basis to analyze and decode the role that food plays throughout various global histories. Accordingly, we will study food as a cultural expression that links the world into an interconnected (although disparate) world-system. The course will include historical, cultural, and sociological inquiries into food and food’s larger meaning. We will actively engage in cooking and eating, as well as thinking and writing about food. Food and the ways humans eat will be the impetus to understand the concept of ‘transculturation’ and global cultural interaction and change.
Section 002 (Plough) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Transcultural Relations: The Globalization of Yoga
After a brief overview of the originas and major schools of yoga, the course focuses on the introduction and spread of the practice and philiosophy outside of India. We will explore possible reasons for and the effects of the worldwide adoption of yoga on the practice itself, taking into consideration the commercialization (e.g., clothing, retreats, publications) of the tradition as well as its integration into western medicine (e.g., pain management, stress relief, improved mobility). Using asana (poses) as a starting point, we will look at the intended physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of specific asana. Among the questions we will address are: What commonalities exist between 'modern' and 'classical' yoga? How has yoga changed since its introduction to populations outside of India? How does the 'same' yoga differ based on where it is practiced? Is there an 'authentic' or 'pure' yoga?
Section 003 (Esquith) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Transcultural Relations through the Ages
We live at a time when different cultures are mixing, resisting, and absorbing each other rapidly. It is a process that has occurred in different ways, at different times, and in different places. Four basic questions tend to recur.
· What happens when cultures and peoples conflict?
· How have history, art, and culture defined the 'known world' and mediated these conflicts?
· Are all cultures the same in value from an ethical point of view, or are there higher and lower cultures?
· What can we learn about the strengths and weaknesses of our own culture(s) through the study of other cultures and encounters with other cultures?
These are not new questions, but they remain deeply contested. We will begin with one of the very first attempts to address them, Herodotus’ The Histories, which chronicles the war between the Persian empire and the ancient Greek city states led by Sparta. Herodotus gives us a big picture of the world as he knew it, and we need this kind of wide-angle lens if we are to understand the process of transculturation.
But there is also the lived experience of transculturation, that is, what the Polish newspaper reporter Ryszard Kapuściński described as “encountering the Other.” In his memoir Travels with Herodotus, he covered much of the same terrain that Herodotus did, but with an eye on the cultural conflicts and wars that shaped the 20th-century, not just Herodotus’s ancient world.
To explore the moral interior of this encounter with the Other, we will turn to literature. We will compare Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger set in Algeria during the French colonial period and a new novel, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation set during the time of the Algerian Revolution in the 1950s and ‘60s. Camus’ 1942 novel, considered one of the classic works of 20th-century moral philosophy, is told from the point of view of the main character, a French Algerian named Meursault, who kills an unnamed Algerian “Arab”. Meursault is convicted and accepts his capital punishment with no remorse. Daoud’s novel just published last year is told from the point of view of the murdered man’s brother, Harun. The two novels together illustrate how different the experience of encountering the Other can be, depending upon which side of the encounter one is on. Having explored the interior experience of colonial and revolutionary violence, we will conclude with two very different moral interpretations: Pontecorvo’s famous film The Battle of Algiers and two short essays by Camus in which he weighs the relative merits of critics and defenders of the Algerian revolution.
Section 004 (Aerni-Flessner) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Transcultural Relations: African Leisure and Nationalism in the 20th Century
This course examines histories of leisure to interrogate concepts of nationalism and citizenship. How were leaders attempting to harness leisure to create national communities, and how did people respond to these efforts? How did African sport and leisure get so intertwined with international politics that they became venues for protesting apartheid South Africa, fighting racial discrimination, and having African-derived or produced music and films becoming cultural lynchpins in societies across the globe? These questions will drive our examination of particular cases from African History, as we look at how debates over citizenship and nationalism have played out in different national and cultural settings. We will compare these cases across time and space to see how people have defined inclusion and exclusion within ethnic groups, national boundaries, and national citizenship. The course will look at cases across the continent, ranging from the early 20th century to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Section 001 (Skeen) | M 3:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
Creative Workshop: In Pursuit of the Poem
In this workshop we will examine the techniques that poets use to create what surprises, delights, and moves us about poetry, those elements we find as readers and those we create as writers. We will consider the ways that poets use language, how fewer words can make a subject more powerful, how sound devices and structure are special tools for the poet’s use. How to write clearly, how to deepen the meaning of a poem through allusion and imagery, and how to find and explore our best subjects will be at the heart of our discussions. We will read well and lesser-known poets, write poems weekly, and proceed through the semester in a workshop format. This is a workshop for those who have always wanted to write poetry but have been afraid to venture into the Poetry Wilderness as well as those who have already started down the trail.
Section 002 (Claytor) | M W 8:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
Fundamentals of Drawing
Fundamental concepts of drawing. Gain an understanding of how to craft complex objects from simple shapes, create dynamic environments through the use of linear perspective, and achieve a better understanding of the human figure. Emphasis on observational, descriptive and analytical drawing. Practice of drawing skills using common drawing media.
Section 003 (Delgado, G) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Creative Workshop 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 004 (Scales) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Digital Recording and Music Production
This class involves the creation and recording of music through creative engagement with various music technologies including digital recording systems, sound synthesis software, and audio/video production software. We will also examine the effects of new music technologies on the cultures of music making and music listening. Student will also learn about live sound recording and engineering, including the use of various kinds of microphones, microphone placements, and some of the basic principles of acoustics.
Section 005 (Hunter-Morgan) | Tu 3:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
Ever want to print your own poem or story the way it was done 100 years ago? To make your own book? To collaborate on a book? If so, join a writer, a printer, a bookbinder, and a book historian in a semester long workshop where you learn about both the books you read and the books you make. You'll get to spend some time in the Special Collections at the MSU Library looking at, and touching, books that are hundreds of years old at well as learning about the library's collection of contemporary artists' books. Hand set type in the art studio, work with visiting artists who might specialize in anything from papermaking to medieval book bindings, and, in the end, make your own books. Each semester’s course will have a different thematic or structural focus.
Section 006 (Biggs) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riot. In July 1967, Detroit residents took to the streets. Martha and the Vandella’s Motown hit, “Dancing in the Street,” rang out as the rioters’ anthem as block after block went up in flames. The ’67 riots mark a critical turning point in the history of the city, the state of Michigan and the nation. In this intensive performance workshop, students will delve into the history of the city, as well as the catalysts and outcomes of the ’67 riots. Building off oral histories and historical documents, they will generate an original, interdisciplinary performance piece that not only tells the story of the uprising, but illuminates similarities and differences between the past and current conditions of the city, its residents, and the nation. Course work includes assigned readings, field trips to key historical sites, and creative workshops in theatre improvisation, acting, playwriting, directing, and choreography skills. Students will have the chance to act, sing, dance, compose poetry and song, write and perform scenes and monologues. The course culminates in a final performance of the work about Detroit in ‘67 and beyond for invited MSU community members and the public in the RCAH theatre.
Section 001 (Monberg) | Tu 12:40 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
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. The United States has a “distinct culture” of nonprofit and community-based organizations that depend on volunteerism (Stewart and Casey 2013). And while volunteerism has its place in community-based work, it often privileges a short-term commitment and a short-term understanding of communities. This course introduces students to a deeper understanding of how communities change over time.
Students will work with Asian and/or Asian American communities on campus or in Greater Lansing to build an infrastructure for collecting stories of Asians/Asian Americans in the Midwest. As noted in the recent book, Asians Americans in Michigan, communities of Asian descent have settled in Michigan and grown over time but they are often invisible in the narratives about the Midwest. This course will enact methods for collecting, narrating, and circulating stories about Asian/Asian Americans in mid-Michigan while also working with these communities to further their own movements toward empowerment, greater visibility, and social justice. Ideally, the course will integrate spoken word, writing, and digital storytelling.
Note: Students will be expected to spend time outside of regularly scheduled class time to work with community members on these storytelling projects.
Section 002 (Delgado,V.) | W 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 11:30 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.
Prison Poetry ‘Zine 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 (Brooks) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Health and Wellness in Our Communities
This course on engagement and reflection assists students with developing a deeper understanding of civic engagement and cultivates a fervent commitment to improving personal and community health and wellness. Students will be introduced to issues and challenges affecting the health and well-being of our communities. Using an interdisciplinary approach from the arts, humanities, and social sciences, this course explores the historical, physiological, psychological, spiritual, social, environmental, and occupational forces influencing our health behaviors and lifestyle choices. Topics explored consist of historical and cultural perspectives on health/wellness, psycho-social challenges to healthy living, environmental concerns, chronic diseases, alternative interventions and resources, and health policy studies. The goals of this course are to improve health literacy, draw attention to health disparities, and encourage greater participation in physical activity.
Section 003 (Kaplowitz) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
Intergroup Dialogue: Facilitating High School Students in Racial Dialogues
This Civic Engagement course focuses on how we think and talk about race in the United States. Students will deepen their understanding of the social construction of race in the United States and simultaneously learn techniques to facilitate critical dialogues across racial differences. Students will spend 10 weeks co-facilitating dialogues about race in local high school classes.
This RCAH civic engagement course will be co-facilitated by two professors (Donna Rich Kaplowitz and Jasmine Lee) of different racial identities. It seeks to attract a racially diverse student population who are open to exploring their own racial group memberships and how social identity relates to individual, interpersonal, and institutional forms of oppression and privilege. Students should also have a keen interest (though no experience necessary) in facilitating dialogues about race with high school students.
Students will spend the first six weeks of the semester working intensively in class to examine the social construction of race, different forms of racism, stereotypes, white privilege and allyhood. They will simultaneously develop skills for facilitating dialogues with youth about race. The second half of the term will be spent in both our RCAH classroom AND in East Lansing High School classrooms co-facilitating intercultural dialogues on race. Students will be placed as co-facilitators (preferably in teams of two or three different racial groups) in public school spaces and will facilitate near-peer racial dialogues. The course will culminate with a public reception of visual prompts related to racial understanding developed by the various high school dialogue groups.
Students MUST reserve Saturday January 21st 2017 for a full day retreat.
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).
RCAH310-Childhood and Society
Section 001 (Torrez) | M W 12:40 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Activism and the Academy
This course will be offered alongside a Peace and Justice course offered by Dr. Kyle Whyte.
This course will prepare students in the philosophies (theories), pedagogies (teaching methods) and practices from diverse literatures on scholar-activism. The course will begin with an analysis of the history of ideas—ancient and contemporary—on the role of scholars, especially intellectuals, in social movements. Special attention will be paid to debates about the role of intellectuals in labor and decolonization movements. The course will then shift to discuss specific philosophies of scholar-activism, including Indigenous research methodology, critical theory, feminist research methodology, participatory action research, critical legal theory, Black studies, [more examples]. These discussions will cover case studies of how these philosophies are embodied in advocacy and pedagogy. Both instructors have wide ranging experiences as scholar-activists and will develop case studies based on their own experiences. Students in the course will engage with the course content through reading, dialogue, role play, and engagement outside the classroom. Students will be expected take on their own project over the course of the semester in which they develop and critically evaluate an “action” that integrates scholarship and advocacy.
RCAH340-Technology and Creativity
Section 001 (Ryan) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
This course will examine the interplay between audiovisual media, technology and cities. We will ask how we experience the city as more than a point on the map. City life is, after all, more than the city itself. It is comprised of stories, bodies, images, footprints, and memories, much of which comes to us by way of adiovisual media like film, photorgraphy, music videos, or Snapchat. In other words, we will consider how audiovisual media do the creative labor that produces our sense of city. The course will attend to different types of sound/image technologies and what kinds of creativity they have historically permitted - how film constructs urban space, how sound art illuminates invisible soundscapes, or how instagram inscribes place with memory. But of course, not all technology is created equal, so we will interrogate how different forms of audiovisual media - documentary film, music video, investigative photography - produce different modes of representation. Finally, we will read a range of texts about city life, but with the understanding that the city itself is something like a "technology" that gives rise to its own forms of creativity.
RCAH380-Third Year Tutorial
Section 001 (Yoder) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Religion without God? – Topics in Religious Naturalism
“Religious naturalism” is a term that emerged in the 1980s from a wide ranging conversation between theologians, scientists, and philosophers of religion. Though it is an umbrella term used to cover a range of positions, the intellectual terrain included in religious naturalism is roughly defined by two shared commitments. The first is a commitment to naturalism, to the premise that we should look to the natural world, rather than some supernatural realm to explain and give meaning to our experience. The second is the claim that this commitment to naturalism does not preclude religion, that there can be authentic religious responses to the world that do not depend on the existence of a supernatural realm.
Section 002 (Hunter-Morgan) | M W 4:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Once Upon a Time: The Potency of Fairy Tales in our World
“The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
This course will explore the tradition of fairy tales, consider their importance in cultural history, and consider how they have evolved (or not) in contemporary work. We will think about what makes a fairy tale a fairy tale, and why we need, as Tolkien said, “to hold communion with other living things.” We’ll also discuss how fairy tales simultaneously help us understand what it means to be human and offer escape from what it means to be human. In addition to reading traditional tales, we’ll read contemporary or near contemporary re-tellings of old tales, and we will look to other genres. We’ll consider the role of fairy tales in film (Guillermo del Tor’s Pan’s Labyrinth, for example) and poetry (Anne Sexton).
Tolkien distinguished between what he termed the Primary World and the Secondary World. W.H. Auden wrote of these worlds as well, asserting, “Every normal human being is interested in two kinds of worlds: the Primary, everyday, world which he knows through his senses, and a Secondary world or worlds which he not only can create in his imagination, but also cannot stop himself creating.” That quote, of course, establishes these worlds (Primary and Secondary) as binaries, but in this course we will explore how these worlds are inexorably intertwined. We will consider how fairly tales complicate and sometimes blur fixed binaries (nature/culture, beauty/monstrosity, mortality/immortality), and we will consider the importance of dwelling in a space where we can’t, as Auden said, stop ourselves from creating.
Why do we love fairy tales? They enchant, yes. But they do more than that as well. Hans Christian Anderson translator Erik Christian Haugaard said, “I know of no fairy tale which upholds the tyrant, or takes the part of the strong against the weak. A fascist fairy tale is an absurdity.” Angela Carter called the spirit of the fairy tale “heroic optimism.” Tolkien claimed, “It was in fairy-stories that I first divined the potency of words, and the wonder of the thing, such as stone, and wood, and iron; tree and grass, house and fire; bread and wine.” That these tales are full of loss, jealousy, and suffering in addition to stones, wood, and iron, make them real to us. That they generally end with what Tolkien described as sudden and miraculous grace is an assertion of the triumph of desire over dread. During this course, we will divine the potency of these tales.
Section 003 (Aerni-Flessner) | Tu Th 12:40 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
3rd Year Tutorial: Decolonization
What was colonialism? What does it mean to ‘decolonize?’ Was this an event or a process? Is it complete today, or is it an ongoing goal? Must we engage with the colonial frame, or should colonial periods be subsumed within greater narratives of history? How do questions of the indigenous and indigeneity play into efforts to decolonize spaces in the 21st century. This class will take look at 20th and 21st century processes of decolonization through lenses of history, literature, and art in the first part of the class, and engage in the creation of a scholarly work in the second part looking at an aspect of decolonization in particular times, places, and spaces.
RCAH390-Language and Culture
Section 001 (Torrez) | M W 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Reclaiming Language and Schools
Many heritage language communities have endured colonization through practices of forced relocation, boarding schools, English-Only policies, or genocide in the pursuit of societal progress and economic stability. Individuals have countered oppression through assimilation or by hiding traditional sociolinguistic practices from dominant culture. Oftentimes, these acts of ‘survivance’ have left younger generations curious about their ancestors’ knowledge and buried knowledge systems. As communities continue to reclaim schools as spaces to teach younger generations ‘traditional’ ways, young people are creatively imagining practices that bridge traditions with new forms of cultural expression.
Section 002 (Plough) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 p.m.
This course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts of intercultural communication. Examples of verbal and nonverbal exchanges in diverse international settings are discussed to build an understanding of varied ways of communicating and of the processes of intercultural communication. An awareness of communication behavior – including one’s own – and its consequences are increased through readings of relevant literature and through an examination of intercultural encounters. Reflective tasks are used to view one’s own communication style from an external perspective.
Section 001 (Monberg) | Tu Th 10:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.
The Art(s) of Public Memory: Collective Geographies of History in Literature, Film, and Other Stories
If public memory both remembers the past and ensures that we will further that remembering into the future, then how do literature, film, and other forms of storytelling prompt us to both remember and further that remembering? By narrating multiple, diverse, and sometimes competing versions of the past, these storytelling forms often highlight a view of history as a form of knowledge that is carried, narrated, and performed in everyday spaces and places (including the university). In this seminar, we will ask, what histories are these storytelling forms remembering or retelling? What methods do these works use to juxtapose stories and counterstories of the past? How do these representations of the past complicate common understandings of time and place? In what ways do these stories position the reader/viewer not just as a passive recipient of these histories but also as an active agent of history, a person who can further the remembering?
Section 002 (Keller) | Tu Th 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
Power of Photography
It is said that a photograph is worth a thousand words. But which or whose words remain open questions, as meaning is never constant and is capacitated by boundless interpretations. Perhaps Roland Barthes said it best, “Such is the photograph: it cannot say what it lets us see” (Barthes 1981: 100). Contrary to the notion that pictures hold universal power, therefore, a photograph can be read and understood in a variety of ways, provoking multiple possible connotations that bear unequal weight. Mediated by individuals—creators and viewers—its message is unfixed, fluctuating through time, space, and social contexts.
Originally hailed as a mechanical science, free from human bias, photography was foremost a dispassionate method with which to accurately record material appearances. Overwhelming faith in this perspective provided the photograph with authoritative power. Thanks to the critical work of numerous artists and writers in the twentieth century, however, we have come to learn that photographs do not record the real as much as they signify and construct it. Nevertheless, unlike any medium before it, the photograph continues to straddle the boundaries of art and document, fact and fiction. As such, it occupies an ambiguous and flexible, yet powerful, position in the world of visual information—informing much of what we know, value, and imagine.
This seminar asks students to critically examine the power photography holds in our individual and collective lives. It begins with an overview of the history of the medium, including its technological and critical developments, delving deeper into social, ethical quandaries as the semester progresses. Although each student will work on an individual research project, over the course of the semester, the class will discuss common readings, visit the photographic collections at the MSU Museum and Kresge Art Museums on campus, and peer review work in a supportive environment.
Section 003 (Halpern) | M W 3:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
This senior seminar is open to both RCAH and Lyman Briggs students. During the first weeks of the course, students from the two colleges will form interdisciplinary groups. Over the course of the semester, they work together to develop a project that represents their combined academic interests. Their process will follow Dr. Halpern’s design-inspired work facilitating artist/scientist collaborations through playful engagement. Final projects may take the form of websites, artifacts (designed objects, paintings, sculptures), stories, plays, histories, or other ways of sharing ideas and knowledge. Students will reflect on the collaborative process through individual journaling and group writing and reflection activities. While working in these collaborative teams, students will read canonical works that reflect on the nature of art and science, and on the relationship between the two. They will be encouraged to use these writings to reflect on their process, and on how the work they are doing with their groups fits into the broader scheme of knowledge production in the arts, sciences, and humanities. The aims of the course are be to help students develop their ability to work in diverse groups; to better understand their own field(s) in relation to other disciplines, and to deeply reflect on the challenges of and reasons for working across disciplines.
This section of LB 492 is open to RCAH students and can be used toward the RCAH 492 requirement. To get permission to enroll, please email Pam Newsted (email@example.com).