Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Film
This course is designed to investigate movies with a critical eye. We will look at how society is portrayed and expressed in film. There are several questions we will seek to answer. What story is being told? Who is telling it? What role does money play in the process of filmmaking? How do movies mirror or mock mainstream society? In short, by taking a philosophical approach, we will investigate the impact of movies.
Instructor: Jimmy Whited
Racial Identity in Context
Kenneth B. Clark, the psychologist whose studies on racial identity helped shape America’s historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, analyzed the role of racial identity relative to the struggle for equality. Despite progress toward said equality, race continues to define United States culture and—in the view of many—prevents the development of the “just society” envisioned by Clark, Martin Luther King, and others. Through research, debate and other class interactions, students will explore specific questions relative to this ongoing debate—a debate intensified in the presidential election of 2008.
Instructor: Dr. Jerry Jones
Controversy and the Theater
There are certain plays in our recent history we have marked as “great,” whether it is by honors such as Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes, or by repeated performances. In many cases these same plays are the most controversial, as they get to the heart of our nation’s feelings towards race, gender, religion and sexuality. In this course we will look at some of these plays and ask ourselves: Does great theatre need to be controversial? Is there something about the theatre that lends itself to controversy? Should tax dollars be spent on these plays that spark such heated debate? How can a play be popular, and polemic at the same time?
Instructor: Mr. Jeremiah Downes
The Religious Right in America
For nearly the past three decades, the Religious Right has come to play an important role in American politics and society. At the national level it maintains it helped elect Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes to the presidency. While the Religious Right has its detractors, some argue that its devotees – just because they had a life‐changing religious experience – should not have to relinquish their right as American citizens to participate in politics. This leads to one of many questions that may be explored in the course: to what extent can the sacred and secular really be separated in the American political realm?
Instructor: Mr. Robert Vejnar
The Frontier in Fact and Fiction
This course examines the central place that the frontier has held in shaping American society and the American character, from the earliest periods of settlement up through the twentieth century. Employing literature and film, as well as historical analysis, this course examines the development of the geographic frontier and such manifestations as cultural contacts, economics, diplomacy, social character, and intellectual formulations, with an emphasis on how those factors have been portrayed and embraced in American society.
Instructor: Dr. Michael Puglisi
Motown: Music and Meaning in the Middle of the 20th Century
Motown means many things: good, solid music; black entrepreneurship; a voice for African Americans at the height of the Civil Rights Movement; a voice for young Americans in the throes of adolescence and young adulthood; the cradle of hip-hop; and, much more. This course introduces students to the music and the musicians of Motown, but also looks at the American cultural, social, and political scene in the tumultuous middle of the 20th Century.
Instructor: Rev. David St. Clair
Will explore the history of the concept of self-motivation. Will analyze barriers to self motivation and apply strategies for assuming greater personal responsibility toward what is of value.
Instructor: Dr. Eric Grossman
The Psychology of Spirituality
This course is intended to examine faith and spirituality through the lens of psychology. At first glance, it may seem that psychology and spirituality have little in common but in delving deeper we find significant intersections. An investigation of these intersections allows us to ask interesting questions such as can spirituality be studied scientifically, is there a “faith center” in the brain, and does spirituality influence one’s physical or mental health. We will examine these and other topics in our discussions of how psychology can help us better understand spirituality.
Instructor: Dr. Chris Qualls
The Ethics of Westeros: Morality and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones
We will read the first volume of Martin’s series and a supplemental text to talk about ethics, worldview, governance, religion, violence, patriarchy, and preference.
Instructor: Rev. David Jackson
Unheard and Unknown: The Peopling of American Memory
Using the stories of ignored and forgotten people, places, and events, students learn the political and cultural dynamics of collective memory and the various means and purposes for restoring the stories of unheard and unknown people and places to American memory.
Instructor: Dr. Tal Stanley
Happy Talk & the Politics of Doom: Framing the Partisan Message
How are liberal and conservative issues framed to elicit support from voters? How is language crafted to move the public in a particular political direction? How does the media shape our political views and choices? What is the difference between persuasion and propaganda? Through exploration of political rhetoric in print, TV, and electronic media, this course explores the political tactics and strategies used to persuade the public, guide our policy preferences and candidate selection, and stir up controversy among Americans.
Instructor: Dr. Anne Shumaker
Food and Place
What is the food culture of college students today? What are the pros and cons of eating locally‐grown food? Organic food? Different kinds of meat? No meat at all? Eating is an agricultural act, said poet‐farmer Wendell Berry. This course explores the social, geographic and moral questions surrounding what we eat and how our food system can be sustainable in multiple globalizing, urbanizing and commodifying American cultures.
Instructor: Dr. Ed Davis
The Human Animal in Literature
We live in a time of smart phones and in vitro fertilization, and though human scientific understanding and technological mastery of nature has enabled marvelous achievements, it has exacted a price: Our instinctual, emotional identification with nature has diminished. In this course, students will explore a variety of literature that ponders what is still wild and instinctual in our nature. Students will also document a personal outdoor experience and then engage the creative process, constructing an artistic project that explores their own connection to nature.
Instructor: Mr. Jim Harrison
The recent deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice (among others) have spurred productive conversations about race and racism in modern American life. Is racism still an issue today? If so, how does it affect American society? How does it affect Southwestern Virginia and Emory & Henry College in particular? This course will examine racism, racial identity formation, white privilege and fragility, and other related issues. Multiple guest speakers will share their experiences of racism.
Instructor: Dr. Adam Wells
A Starbucks Society
What began as a single coffee house in downtown Seattle has grown into a global phenomenon that has changed the way the world views and consumes coffee. This course will bring an in-depth analysis to what's behind the now everyday phrase: "Meet me at Starbucks." We will approach the topic from a variety of perspectives, such as the powerful business strategies used to build a global empire; the socioeconomic and environmental impact of the company and its products; health factors and other issues related to coffeehouse fare; and the use of space and visual stimulation to produce an atmosphere for relaxing, socializing, and retailing.
Instructor: Dr. Tracy Lauder
Contemporary Issues: Facts versus Perception
The way we receive information is shaping our understanding of the world. This course will take a deeper look at important current U.S. and world events. In today’s society, complex issues are summarized into headlines and 30 second news clips. What is the rest of the story? What is the truth? Students will be asked to think critically about the true power of the voice of the media, film and network television. We will examine these and other topics regarding politics, power and persuasion.
Instructor: Mr. Kyle Cutshaw