2015 Courses

January 5 – 16, 2015

AMST 298. Contemporary Issues in Hip-Hop Culture
This cou​​​rse uses Hip Hop music and culture as a lens to explore contemporary social, political, and economic issues that confront us as a society. Through close analyses of relevant essays, music, and videos, students learn to think critically about Hip Hop culture and the diverse contexts in which this dynamic art form continues to reshape itself. Ultimately, this course employs Hip Hop as a powerful means of interpreting and evaluating our modern-day surroundings. Instructor: Nicholas Conway. Enrollment Limit: 15.

BIOL 105. Nutrition: Food and Fads
This course will explore many aspects of nutrition including the science of food, popular diet plans and cultural views of nutrition. We will use scientific texts and primary literature to explore the science of food, nutritional supplements, food intolerance and allergy and the effect of diet on health. Students will work in small groups to explore the strengths and weaknesses of fad diets. As an ongoing project throughout the course, students will design a diet plan based on their own needs, philosophy, preferences, health history and family and cultural history and will follow their plan and reflect on the experience.  We will also incorporate cooking class-selected recipes and dining experiences in relation to nutrition. All levels of college science background are welcome. Not creditable to the biology major. Instructor: Alison Draper. Enrollment Limit: 15.

COLL 207. Data, Knowledge, and Problem Solving
Data can be any information, not just numbers, which is collected and in need of organization and processing. Using real-world case studies, tailored to student interests, this course equips students to recognize information as data and manipulate it to solve problems and answer practical questions. Across many majors and fields, information overload essentially presents us with “data problems, which we must both recognize and solve. In developing strategies for managing this complex influx of information, the course also fosters a sense of creativity as students experiment with software to enhance knowledge and solve problems across various domains. Instructor: Rachael Barlow. Enrollment Limit: 15.

COLL 221. Leveraging the Liberal Arts
Drawing on both traditional and innovative conceptions of the liberal arts, this course examines the social and professional relevance of the liberal arts in contemporary society.  Students will read personal narratives about professional life and critically explore their own intellectual experience in the liberal arts, articulating linkages between and among their academic training, their personal growth, and their career development. Building on this self-reflection, students will practice creating personal narratives and brands that can be communicated to diverse audiences, including networking contacts and potential employers. Students will hone self-presentation skills by creating profiles on professional social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) and practicing informational interviews.Instructors: Violet Gannon and Jett McAlister. Enrollment Limit: 15.

COLL 234. Visual Communication: Analysis & Practical Application
This course introduces principles of universal design and visual rhetoric. Students will learn how design elements make meaning and apply that understanding by developing illustrations and diagrams. Readings will focus on the psychological, social and historical foundations of design. Classes will be devoted to discussion, visual analysis, and peer-to-peer feedback. Assignments will require the analysis of complex ideas and the construction of visual communications that explain those ideas. Instructor: Sue Denning. Enrollment Limit: 15.

COLL 301. Health Care Access and Inequalities in the Americas
This course will explore issues surrounding access to health care comparing two different settings: Hartford and Nicaragua. Looking at the historical contexts of health care delivery systems, we will explore issues of changing political realities and their impact on health care delivery. In Nicaragua, we will meet with policy makers, providers and stakeholders to better understand obstacles to access and equity and attempts to shape health care. While in Nicaragua we will observe health care services provided in maternal child health and we will meet with key members of the health care community and the government who deal with infant and maternal mortality. Students will prepare a report of their experiences with suggestions for change informed by their studies of both countries. Instructor: Sarah Raskin. Enrollment Limit: 10. Additional fees associated with travel to Nicaragua not included; please contact Prof. Raskin for details.

HIST 203. Soccer, Race and Nationalism
In the summer of 2014 Brazil hosted the International Football Federation (FIFA) World Cup of soccer, a month-long tournament that involved 32 nations from across the globe that drew a cumulative television audience exceeding 25 billion. In this context, this course will examine the historical and contemporary interplay between national identities and nationalism in soccer at the national and international levels. Special attention will be paid to issues of race, ethnicity, globalization, migration and transnationalism, topics that have become more salient in recent decades as growing migration flows, particularly from Africa and Latin America to Europe and the United States, have transformed the racial and ethnic profile of both professional and national teams in Western countries. Instructor: Luis Figueroa. Enrollment Limit: 15.

HIST 225. Downton Abbey in Historical Context
This seminar approaches British history through the television series Downton Abbey, which chronicles dramatic social and political change in the early twentieth century through the residents of a stately home. We will examine the construction and role of the "big house", the British class system, and the role of domestic service in the British economy. This will lead to further discussion of opportunities and constraints for women and the suffrage movement. We will then consider British involvement in World War I and the wars impact upon British society, class and gender. Classes will be divided into short taught sections, in-depth discussions of primary and secondary literature, and two field trips. Students will write two short reading-response papers and a longer paper based on a primary source. The seminar will have two field trips. Instructor: Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre. Enrollment Limit: 12.

LACS 233.  The Godfather: The Art of Hard Choices
The Godfather films (I and II) are narrative masterpieces that provide many insights into the interplay of character and culture in decision-making in high-stakes situations outside the law. We will interpret the films as illustrations of strategic interaction in stylized mafia settings. Specific topics are the relationship between narrative fiction and reality; motivations and behavior; the mafias code of honor; private protection and extortion; vice markets; corruption; and the prisoners dilemma. The course has an experimental hybrid format: 8 seminar classes (50 minutes each) and 12 online class units. Assessment is based on three assignments: 1) a paper (1,500 words) on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructor; 2) a seminar report; and 3) seminar participation. The paper and the report require analysis of film clips in the spirit of the syllabus. Instructor: John Alcorn. Enrollment Limit: 14.

MUSC 183.  Music in the 1960s
This is a survey course that explores the kaleidoscope of music in the 1960s. We will consider the following music and performers: the Beatles, Motown, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and music in the protest movements of the period. Students will listen to a lot of music, both in and outside the classroom, read a range of articles that situate the music in its social and political contexts, and write short responses to the assigned reading and listening.Instructor: Gail Woldu. Enrollment Limit: 15.

POLS 244. Envisioning Yourself as a Leader
Leadership means different things to different people. To some the idea of leadership centers on elective office. For others, the term suggests activism around specific social issues, business advancement, or holding influential positions in the non-profit sector. Various theories about leadership and the skills necessary to be a leader will be analyzed throughout the course. Carefully selected readings will guide our discussions about leadership. We will consider the challenges and opportunities for groups trying to achieve new leadership positions. Issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality will also be considered as they pertain to leadership trends and norms in the US and abroad. Outside speakers, fieldtrips and consultation with career development experts will help each student set goals and create a strategic leadership plan. Instructor: Stefanie Chambers. Enrollment Limit: 15.

RHET 227. Writing and Mindfulness
What happens to writing when writers slow down and listen to their inner experiences?  Can mindfulness help us become better writers?In this course we will experiment with contemplative practices: mindful silent exercises, contemplative reading, walking meditation, reflective freewriting, and close observation of places and objects. Satisfying on their own, these techniques can enhance writing of all sorts, from academic genres to writing in the workplace. With the overall goal of improving students' writing, assignments will include daily contemplation/writing exercises, readings on mindfulness and writing, and writing/revising two short essays. Instructor: Irene Papoulis. Enrollment Limit: 15

SOCL 256. Women and the Underside of Globalization
The costs and benefits of globalization are not evenly distributed across nations. Moreover, the international women’s movement highlights the systematic exploitation of women as a source of cheap domestic and migrant labor under globalization. Topics in this course will address the marginalization of women under development in contexts such as the sweatshop factories of Bangladesh, China, and Latin America, the maid trade from poorer to richer countries, global chains of care, mail-order or Internet brides from Russia, and surrogate motherhood in India. Utilizing a sociological approach, this course will explore the commodification of women and also their reproductive and productive labor, thereby revealing multiple and often interdependent economic linkages between the exploitation of women in the economic south and globalization. Instructor: Tanetta Andersson. Enrollment Limit: 15.​​​​