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2017 First-Year Seminars

The following First-Year Seminars will be offered for the Fall 2017 semester. Learn more about the courses below by clicking on the titles for full descriptions and faculty bios.

AAAS 177 - Women With Open Eyes: Feminism, Gender, Culture & Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora*
Cécile Accilien, African and African-American Studies

What does “being a woman” mean? Do you think ‘being a woman’ is perceived the same way across different cultures? How much of gender identity is universal and how much is it tied to socialization and cultural norms? To patriarchy? To education? To the economy? To religion? What does the term “gender” means? Is it the same as feminism? What is feminism? What is womanism? In Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, author bell hooks describes feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” This course will introduce students to the concept of feminism and gender identity in Francophone (French-speaking) West African and Caribbean cultures. Among the various questions that this seminar will address are: How is feminism and gender identity connected to themes such as patriarchy, sexism, violence and stereotypes? How are gender expectations and stereotypes formed and how do they impact development and human rights?  What role does class and education play in empowering women? Through readings and films such as  Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat, So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ and Faat Kiné by Sembène Ousmane we will explore these various questions.

Cécile Accilien was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in Newark, New Jersey. She is fluent in French and Haitian Creole and has conversational ability in Spanish. She has lived in Burkina Faso (West Africa), France, Senegal and Belgium. She is passionate about traveling and discovering new cultures. Her areas of interest include Literary and Cultural Studies, Women and Gender Studies and Film Studies.

*This seminar is part of a Global Perspectives Learning Community and requires dual enrollment in Psychology 104.

ABSC 177 - Evaluating Science, Pseudoscience, and Downright Quackery: An Introduction to Skepticism
Derek Reed, Applied Behavioral Science

People believe all sorts of things. Some beliefs are supported by scientific evidence; other beliefs are held for a host of other reasons. A large number of people also believe unconventional things, such as the existence of the abominable snow man, that walking under a ladder gives bad luck, and that aliens occasionally abduct humans. No matter how irrational the belief, the belief itself is very real to the believer. Many beliefs–such as children believing in the Tooth Fairy–can be harmless. However, believing that vaccines cause autism can result in very serious consequences for the public. This seminar will explore how humans come to believe things and how irrational/unconventional beliefs persist in the face of opposing scientific evidence. First-year students will learn how to consume scientific evidence and challenge assumptions or claims about dubious concepts/ideas. The seminar will meet biweekly; each Tuesday the instructor will introduce and lead discussion on new course material, with students working in team-based critical thinking activities related to that material each Thursday. The seminar will entail group research projects assessing public perception of a dubious–but testable–claim and culminates in a presentation and paper on how this claim (a) came to be, (b) is maintained by pseudoscientific influences, (c) is dangerous, and (d) can be scientifically evaluated.

Derek Reed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science. He started college as an engineering student, but found irrational human behavior far too fascinating to ignore. His transition into psychology led him to study how humans and nonhumans alike make decisions. Unfortunately, pop psychology is full of junk science and sham research on decision making, warranting a healthy dose of scientific skepticism. As a behavioral scientist at KU, he directs the Applied Behavioral Economics laboratory where he experimentally studies decision making in his quest to dispel myths and fallacies regarding why humans do what they do. Outside of his work, he consumes too much caffeine, is fanatical about KU basketball, and tries to enjoy the outdoors with his wife and two Jack Russell terriers.

AMS 177 - On Drugs
Margaret Kelley, American Studies

Check back soon for a description of this course.

ANTH 177 - Re-emerging Diseases: The Media, Zika, Zombies, and Ebola*
Jim Mielke, Anthropology

As world citizens, are we ready to respond to major pandemics? If so, how will we respond? How will the media influence and guide our responses? Using anthropological methods and theories, this course will trace the evolution of human diseases over the past 3 million years. The class will examine and discuss the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that currently threaten the human species. As a learning community course, the class will explore how the media reports and treats infectious outbreaks. We will discuss the relationships between humans and diseases, coupled with interactions with other animals, disease vectors, and natural and cultural environments.

Jim Mielke entered his freshman year at the University of Utah as a pre-med student. During the last quarter of that first year he took an anthropology class and his career as an MD ended suddenly.  As a result, he then earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from University of Utah and a master's degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A member of the KU faculty since 1977, Mielke loves teaching a variety of anthropology classes that complement his research which is focused in the areas of biological anthropology, population structure, historical demography and historical epidemiology. These research interests have taken him to Costa Rica and Finland. Besides academics, Jim really enjoys fly fishing in pristine streams or taking back packing trips in the high mountains of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

*The seminar is part of a Communicating Science Learning Community and requires dual enrollment in Journalism 101.

ART 177 - The Artist, Image Making, and Visual Culture in the Digital Age
Luke Jordan, Visual Art

We sometimes lament our role as passive ‘observers’ in the visual culture that surrounds us...have we moved on to become passive "makers" in that same culture?

Is there a role for the “Artist” in our future, or has the proliferation of images (and the ease with which they seem to be made) rendered the artist obsolete? Is everyone an “Artist”?

Images are constantly being created (and recycled) at a rapid pace, created using technologies that have become widely available. Participants in this course will explore the intersection of “looking” and “making” in art and visual culture, examining the use of digital tools and technologies in contemporary art practice. We will attempt to analyze and critique this situation in kind: capturing images with our cell-phones and surfing the Internet for pictures, we will embracelo-fi and hi-tech, and consider how images might be recycled into new “works of art.”

Additionally, we will look back over the last one hundred years to consider the degree to which our current situation was anticipated by earlier artists and thinkers.

Chances are that Luke Jordan is looking at, thinking about, or making photographs at any given moment. To help support this habit (and provide cover), Luke teaches in KU’s Department of Visual Art, works as a Specialist in Photography at the Spencer Museum of Art, and is the staff photographer for the KU University Theatre. Luke is enthralled by 19th Century Photography and Contemporary Art; he is also obsessed with soccer and music (garage, punk, soul, blues, and jazz). Luke received a BFA in Art and an MFA in Photography from the University of Michigan (a long time ago), and he has been an active artist and teacher ever since. 

ART 177 Understanding Contemporary Art in Your Backyard
Michael Krueger, Visual Art

Check back soon for a description of this course.

BUS 177 - Business Today: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Dennis Karney, Business

In this course, we will investigate what Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, said about commerce and why countries should trade with each other. We will compare this to the state of commerce today. Does the rising economic tide float all boats? Is the euro zone headed for collapse? Is China really stealing American jobs? Does economic growth also drive growth in child labor? in human trafficking? in money laundering?... Is this what Adam Smith intended? For us to intelligently address the above as a group, we need to study and understand the theory of trade as well as the institutions, frameworks, treaties and cooperative agreements that govern trade. We need to investigate and better understand the diversity of views and of people in the world and how they choose to govern themselves and lead their lives. We need to examine and understand current events across a broad spectrum of the world and what they imply for trade today. And, we must learn how to examine what is as objectively as possible and not through the eyes of an agenda. Students, working individually and in groups will drive key parts of the course, especially when we focus on the social issues.

Dennis Karney hails from the East Coast of America moving to Kansas in 1984 to teach at KU. While his PhD is in Math, his professional heart is in International Business and teaching. In the classroom, he draws on current events and his experiences from working, learning and teaching across three continents to bring the course content alive. He encourages his students to do the same.

BUS 177 - Culture and Diversity in the Workplace
Dan Galindau, Business

In today’s business world, cultural diversity plays an ever more important role. The understanding of cultural differences is a critical skill for any manger in today’s business world; whether working in a foreign country, communicating with a foreign business partner, or working in today’s increasingly diverse U.S. workplace. Culture matters in every aspect of doing business.

In this seminar, we will examine cultural differences in the workplace using eight aspects of conducting business. These aspects include communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, and scheduling. Students will explore how different cultures view these aspects of the business process in different ways. Students will examine their own cultural values, engage in critical discussions about how cultural context influences business practice, and identify ways that enhanced cultural competency might advance business needs.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, upon graduating from high school Dan Galindau knew exactly where he wanted to go in life; somewhere new. Thus began a 35 year adventure that included moving to LA to obtain degrees from both UCLA and USC, four years of service in the U.S. Navy that found him living in Florida and sailing the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, and a twenty year career with a European company that included 11 years living and working in Seoul, South Korea and Hong Kong. During this time, he traveled and worked throughout 13 countries in Asia Pacific. Returning to the U.S., he settled in Kansas City with his wife (Kansas born and raised), where he now teaches International Management and Cross-Cultural Business both at the University of Kansas, and in China for several weeks each summer in a Chinese University Executive MBA program.

CLSX 177 - Ancient Roman Spectacle from the Colosseum to the Silver Screen
Emma Scioli, Classics

The ancient Roman Colosseum still stands as a prominent landmark, one of the premier tourist attractions of modern Rome, and a structure echoed around the world, including just down the hill at Memorial Stadium! As much a monument as a symbol, the Colosseum brings to mind images of gladiators fighting to the death and the cruel punishment of criminals. Is there a parallel between the spectators at ancient Roman arena games and the fans at modern sporting events? Why does ancient Rome have such great appeal as a subject for modern films and television series, and how much of what we know about public entertainment and spectacle in Rome has been influenced by the depiction of ancient Rome in popular media?

In this class we will explore these questions from various angles: close study of historical texts, works of literature [no Latin required!], and works of visual art will reveal what the Romans had to say about various forms of spectacle in their culture, while exploration of contemporary sports culture and analysis of films ranging from Spartacus to Gladiator will reveal modern views on dazzling audiences with spectacle and blood sport. Finally, you will study a recent film in connection with primary sources to investigate and demonstrate the legacy of ancient Rome on the silver screen.

Emma Scioli is interested in all aspects of ancient Rome: its language, literature, history, and art.  She spent three years teaching and studying in Rome while in graduate school. When she’s too busy to travel to Rome these days, Professor Scioli likes to visit Rome through the movies.  Her favorite films set in Rome include Roman Holiday and Gladiator. Professor Scioli is intrigued by the ways in which Greek and Roman myth and culture have been represented (for better or worse) in modern film and television, and has taught several courses on Classics and film during her 11 years at KU.  Generally speaking, she is interested in the intersection of literary and visual culture, both ancient and modern.  She recently wrote a book about dreams and visual art in Latin poetry.

ECON 177 - The Affordable Care Act
David Slusky, Economics

What were the economics, political, medical, and public health realities that led to passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the greatest reorganization of health care in the United States since the 1960s? What problems was the federal government trying to solve? What were the strengths and weaknesses of these particular solutions? What trade-offs were made? What were the predicted outcomes? How have these predictions fared in the ensuring years? And what are our options for repeal and replace going forward? Answer to those big questions hold great political and policy importance given the current effort to repeal the Act and the many individuals affected. In this seminar, we will answer those questions in the framework of health economics, including the concepts of one’s “health stock”, health care as a consumption good and a production industry, and health insurance as a tool to prevent income and consumption disruptions. We will also explore the public policy analytical concepts of efficiency and equity. We will read, analyze, and discuss sections of many articles and books, including: one by Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economics professor and key architect of the ACA and one by Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and professor of medical ethics and health policy at UPenn and an adviser to the Obama White House on health care reform. Throughout the course I will guide students to develop a policy recommendation for a change that would improve the current situation.

David Slusky is an assistant professor of economics, originally from Philadelphia. As the son of a stroke rehabilitation physician and an executive with an MBA in health care administration, David has always been fascinated by health and health care. Now, he works in both of those areas, with recent work has showing that cutting family planning funding reduces incidence of preventive care and that maternal sunlight exposure during the second trimester reduces asthma. David did his doctoral work at Princeton under Janet Currie and Alan Krueger (former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors), and his undergraduate work at Yale in physics and international studies.

ENGL 177 - Storytelling for a Better World: Literature and Social Justice
Marta Caminero-Santangelo, English

How can literature promote justice? When is a story real enough to move you? Although we tend to think of literary texts as “fictional,” that is, made up, entertaining but somehow divorced from the most pressing social and political concerns of our day, literature has in fact had a great deal to say about issues of injustice and oppression. In fact, it is possible that one of the best ways to generate awareness and empathy for a situation of injustice is to ask readers to step imaginatively into the shoes of someone who has been oppressed. In this class we will examine literature which has addressed situations of political, social, or economic oppression or repression in order to enlist readers’ sympathies in a project of social justice. This class will read some prominent examples of stories dealing with social injustice and the curtailment of human and civil rights, including a 19th- century slave narrative, a late 20th-century Guatemalan testimonio about government repression and genocide, and a 21st- century account of 14 undocumented immigrants who died trying to cross the Arizona desert. We will also consider the issue of oral storytelling as well as stories told on websites, blogs, and so on, as a means of promoting human rights.

Marta Caminero-Santangelo was born to Cuban immigrant parents in Canada, grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, went to college in Connecticut and graduate school in California, and taught in Chicago before coming to Lawrence. She has also traveled to England, Scotland, France, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic. Marta’s academic research always involves the question of how literature interacts with the “real world.” She has published a book on literature, women, and insanity, and another on literature and Latino/a identity, and is currently working on a third about literature and undocumented immigration. She remembers sneak-reading in her bed by the light of the bathroom long past her bedtime when she was a girl. In her free time, Marta hangs out with her kids, dog, and/or running group. Sometimes they even run. Some of the things Marta would like to say she does in her free time- but hasn’t actually had time to do yet- include amateur photography and learning to play the guitar

ENTR 177 - The Entrepreneurial Mindset
Lisa Bergeron, Business

Entrepreneurs are passionate, creative, idea people. They ask the tough why not questions, they seek and seize opportunities, they rarely accept the status quo, and throughout history entrepreneurs have developed innovative answers to the most challenging issues in technology, business and society. This course will allow students to become rigorous, versatile and agile thinkers by flexing their own critical thinking muscles through an examination of the entrepreneurial mindset. What made entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mary Kay, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah so wildly successful? Are there common characteristics that you may want to adopt to increase the likelihood of your own success? We’ll look at them, and look at ourselves to see if and how to apply their innovative techniques to our own pursuits. Maybe starting the next Apple Computer company is in your future…

Lisa Bergeron was born in New Jersey but spent the majority of her childhood in Manhattan, Kansas. While her dad was Dean of the School of Business at K-State, Lisa decided to come to KU for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business. She attended her first Capital Budgeting class, taught by her dad, at age 7 when her mom had a last minute meeting and so her dad had to take her with him to class. She knew from that day forward she would be involved with business and finance. Lisa worked at Hallmark prior to coming to KU in the New Ventures Group. She was involved with many new business acquisitions, new product launches and the development and spin-off of She realized her entrepreneurial mindset had been passed on her to son when, at age 4, he had taken several of the items she needed to get ready for work and created a “store” where she could buy them back from him! She now enjoys teaching this entrepreneurial mindset to other young minds at KU. In her spare time Lisa coaches Football and spends time with her family.

EVRN 177 - Making of a Bacon Cheeseburger
Terry Loecke, Environmental Studies

This course explores the profound connection between our food and the environment.  What we eat and how our food is produced is central to many environmental, social, and human health problems and solutions.  Our diet can be the most important component of our individual effects on global climate change as well largely determine our own health.  The ingredients of a bacon cheeseburger will provide the thematic focus for dissecting our food system into conceptually manageable components.  Students will make sense of their food using system analysis tools such as life cycle analysis and simplified models. Topics to be covered include: farm to table and cradle to grave life cycle analysis of our diets, proposals for sustainable alternative food systems, food miles, locally sourced foods, and organic and conventional production practices.  Class will be centered on discussion.  Students will share their understanding of the connections among their favorite foods or ingredients and the environment through a peer-reviewed writing assignment and an in-class presentation.

Dr. Terry Loecke is an assistant professor and ecologist in the Environmental Studies Program and the Kansas Biological Survey.  He is a first generation college graduate from rural Iowa who enjoys thinking about the connections between food production and environmental quality.  His research examines how ecosystem management and environmental variability influences soil, water, and air quality.  This allows him to work at the intersections of food, water, climate, and energy.  Currently, he’s focusing on the causes and consequences extreme biogeochemical events, such as how storms affect water quality and greenhouse gas emitted from soils.  Additionally, he collaborates with scientists from across the county to estimate the role of soil in the global carbon cycle.

FMS 177 - Global Film Festivals
Tamara Falicov, Film and Media Studies

Check back soon for a description of this course.

FREN 177 - Perspectives on the Human and Animal in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Paul Scott, French

What do Beauty and the Beast, Planet of the Apes, and zombies all have in common? These and similar-themed stories have been told and retold over the centuries in different cultures, nations, and circumstances. Story-telling is as old as humanity and is part of our deep quest to understand ourselves, who we are, and why we are here. Paradoxically, we often have looked at animals and non-human characters as part of this process. Fantasy and science fiction and the literature, film, and TV it has inspired, from fairy tales to planetary exploration, are often treated as being of interest only to children and young adults, relegated to a secondary category of importance. This seminar will look at how depictions of the non-human can be used as a means of tackling serious issues such as racism, gender stereotypes, sexuality, and national identity. We will look at some well-known stories involving animals and the non-human involving highly evolved apes, transformed monsters, and the walking dead. As well as dealing with these familiar themes with new eyes, we will look at French and American versions of the same topic to examine how these different variations on the same theme do so a specific cultural and political context, be it France in the Enlightenment before the Revolution, the 1960s in America, or post-9/11, emphasizing the rich potential of fantasy and science fiction to challenge and provoke.

Paul Scott is originally from the UK and has spent 11 years in the US and 7 years in France, which broadened his cultural horizons and helped show him that the unfamiliar has as much to teach as the familiar. He teaches French literature and culture and is interested in science fiction, fairy tales, eccentrics and eccentricity, and the history of male fashion. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU. He enjoys discovering new countries and food, and is a trained barista. His high-school English teacher was J. R. R. Tolkien’s personal student.

This course does not require any previous experience or instruction in the French language.

GEOL 177 - The Scientress: Women, Inclusion, and the Culture of Science
Alison Olcott Marshall, Geology

Why do women earn almost 60% of all of the biological science undergraduate degrees awarded in America, but only 19% of the ones in engineering? Why do women hold only 30% of the jobs in the physical sciences (including geology)? Why is there a notable absence of entries about women scientists on Wikipedia? How did historical views on the roles of women as well as the norms and practice of science in the past exclude women from scientific fields? Does the culture of science as practiced today result in the under-participation and underrepresentation of women? In this course we will investigate the interrelationships of women and science and engineering from historical, statistical, sociological, philosophical, and biological perspectives. We will also examine the process of science, how the impact of scientific research is measured, how the culture of science still results in significant gender gaps in participation, what difference (if any) that women’s participation makes to the construction of scientific knowledge, and, by the end of the semester, you will do your part to add to the collection of entries about women scientists on Wikipedia.

Alison Olcott Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology. Born in upstate New York, her interest in fossils started young; every time she walked with her dad in the woods, he would pick up rocks to show her fossils. Now, instead of just looking at the fossils, Alison and her students use chemistry to explore fossils of all types, sizes, and ages, although she is most interested in figuring out how best to look for signs of the oldest life on Earth, and how to apply those lessons to the search for life on other planets. She also makes sure to take her two little girls out in the woods to pick up rocks and show them fossils.

HA 177 - Visualizing War and Peace in Western Art
Linda Stone-Ferrier, History of Art

The subjects of war and peace have a long and emotionally intense history in European and American art. What choices have artists made in their depictions of the horrors of war and the blessings of peace? Which fictional or historical events have been commemorated and for what reasons? Why do some works of art, such as the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., inspire extremely raw emotions in visitors every day, and other monuments to war or peace do not? Did such works of art ever influence viewers’ attitudes and change the direction of human conflict? This seminar will focus on the theme of war and peace in order to learn how to analyze and interpret the meaning of a work of art. Students will discuss how artwork of diverse materials and size—painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, photography, textiles, posters and so—can powerfully communicate sorrow or propaganda, protest deadly conflict, or honor peace. Seminar participants will discuss their own opinions about the persuasive power of such works of art.

Linda Stone-Ferrier is a Professor in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History. She was born in Pennsylvania, lived briefly in Michigan, and grew up in San Diego, CA. She discovered Art History her junior year of college while studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has also lived in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. She is passionate, in particular, about the study of seventeenth-century Dutch art, including paintings by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer, and loves to share her enthusiasm for Art History with her students.

HEIM 177 - Mobile Health Apps for Chronic Disease Management
Angela Couture and Norbert Belz, Health Information Management

Anyone who has been hospitalized or sick realizes the limitations of the U.S. healthcare system. In a time when services like banking, shopping, and even car sharing are commonly accessed from mobile devices, healthcare is just beginning to emerge into this market. As healthcare in the United States continues to change rapidly, health data will become more confusing and difficult to understand. Health technologies and mobile health apps are a way to engage consumers in managing their care.

This seminar will introduce first-year students to the U.S. healthcare delivery system and explain the uses of healthcare data, types of health information systems and technology, and highlight careers focusing on the management of health data. Through critical thinking assignments, experiential learning, and field trips, students will engage in various aspects of health data.

Angela Couture is the Academic Support Manager in the Department of Health Information Management. As the daughter of a physician’s assistant and a nursing home administrator, conversations about healthcare were interwoven throughout her formative years, but graphic discussions around the dinner table quickly led Angela to know that direct patient care was not for her. Angela discovered the business side of healthcare where her ability to collect, manage, and tell stories with data, along with analyzing and redesigning processes, helped improve patient outcomes without having to touch anything icky.

At a very early age, Norb Belz set his hopes on becoming a physician and following in his father’s footsteps. During his first semester as a pre-med student at his father’s Alma Mater, Norb realized that blood and guts was not for him. His continued interest in healthcare, technology, and business led him to an exciting career in Health Information Management (HIM). HIM professionals manage the systems/technology, processes, and people around health data. As the Department Chair for Health Information Management at KU Medical Center, Norb leads an undergraduate academic program where students learn about health information technologies like electronic health records and mobile apps that utilize health data to improve the health of patients. Norb’s passion is mentoring students to become health care professionals and leaders.

HIST 177 - Searching for Sustainability: The Past and Present of an Idea
Sara Gregg, History

Check back soon for a description of this course.

HIST 177 - From the Locomotive to the Smartphone: Culture, Space, and Time in the Machine Age*
Nathan Wood, History

How does the introduction of new machines affect the way we understand ourselves, as well as our conceptions of space and time? Additionally, how can the historical study of this process of adaptation help us understand our current relationship with technology? This course will investigate humans’ relationship with technology over the past two centuries, paying particular attention to the ways that machines such as locomotives, artificial lighting, telephones, telegraphs, watches, bicycles, automobiles, and airplanes have been constrained by historical precedent while challenging and altering our attitudes toward spatiality and temporality. By studying these and other examples from the past, students will develop and practice skills that will help them in future college courses.

Nathan Wood was born in the West, grew up in the South, and did his graduate work in the Midwest, at Indiana University. He has also spent a tenth of his life in Poland, where he lived in the early nineties, 2001, and most recently, as a Fulbright scholar from August to December, 2011. His major research interests include modernity, identity, cities, and technology in East Central Europe from the 1880s to 1939. His current research on bicycles, automobiles, and airplanes in Poland before WWII intersects well with his passion for cycling and learning about fast machines he’ll never be able to afford. As befitting his last name, he also really likes trees.

*This seminar is part of a Building a Better Future World Learning Community and requires dual enrollment with Urban Planning 200: Sustainability and Society.

HIST 177 - 100 Years of Arab Spring: A Century of Protest in Egypt
Marie Grace Brown, History

In January 2011, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rose up to protest the brutality and corruption of their government. After just 18 days of demonstrations, Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt for the past thirty years, resigned. But popular uprisings in Egypt are not new. Indeed, many of today’s protesters, politicians, and soldiers carry vivid memories of revolutions past. Using pivotal moments of protest as our guide, this course traces Egypt’s recent history through the eyes and voices of the individuals who took to the streets. We will meet brave feminists who threw off their veils at a train station; an idealist teacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood; a group of young, disillusioned officers intent on overthrowing the monarchy; and teenage garbage collectors who dreamed of getting out of Egypt. This class is about much more than stringing events together to learn “what happened.” We will examine each revolution in-depth in order to uncover alternative narratives, contradictions, and parallels. We will debate whether revolutions are ever truly finished and question how one should measure “success.” At the end of the semester, students will be able to situate today’s “Arab Spring” within a century of popular protest in Egypt.

Marie Grace Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. She travelled to Egypt for the first time when she was a junior in college and didn’t speak one word of Arabic. It was the best foolish decision she’s ever made. She ate hundreds of pounds of hummus, got lost in an oasis town, and slept under the stars in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The last time Marie travelled to Egypt, she left just one week before the demonstrations in Tahrir Square began. She’s eager to go back to see what’s changed and what has stayed the same. When Marie’s not reading or writing history books she can be found in and around Lawrence knitting or kick-boxing.

HUM/EURS 177 - How World War I Changed the World*
Dale Urie, Humanities and Western Civilization

World War I, which began 100 years ago, is largely responsible for shaping the way we understand ourselves and creating the world we inhabit. The Great War accelerated changes in technology, transportation, art, fashion, food, science, religion, gender and social relations, leisure, and other aspects of everyday life in Europe and the United States. From Downtown Abbey (PBS) to War Horse (Spielberg), even today, we find it necessary to make sense of this catastrophic event in modern history. This course will try to do just that.

Dale Urie grew up in Florida, part of a family that took vacations to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and many parts of Europe. A family vacation as a teenager launched her interest in understanding the connections between the past and present, between peoples of one region and another and between religions. As a modern European historian she has taught classes on the development of civilizations and on both World War I and World War II. Most recently she won a Fulbright to continue examining the role that Muslim immigrants in Europe are playing in redefining what it meant to be European and what it means to be Muslim in traditionally non-Muslim countries. She is currently in Florence, Italy with a group of KU students directing a semester-long study abroad program for the Humanities and Western Civilization program. The semester ends in Paris, France where she hopes to do some research that will be included in this course on World War I.

*This seminar is part of a Global Perspectives Learning Community and requires dual enrollment with WGSS 101: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

JOUR 177 - War Stories: The Media, the Military, and News Narratives
Barbara Barnett, Journalism

The media and the military may not seem to have much in common, but both institutions are essential in a democracy. The military fight to protect freedoms, while the media tell the stories of the fighters, their families, and their communities. Because less that 1 percent of Americans currently serve in the armed forces, news and entertainment media are a primary way U.S. citizens learn about the military. What stories do media tell us about the military, about war, and about war’s impacts abroad and at home?

This seminar will examine the stories mass media tell about the military. In particular, students will explore how journalists have reported on combat, from Stephen Crane’s accounts of the Civil War, to Ernest Hemingway’s work at the Kansas City Star, to Margaret Bourke White’s photojournalism in World War II combat, to John Hersey’s story of war’s aftermath in Hiroshima, to veterans’ accounts of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to Tina Fey’s portrayal of a New York Times combat journalist in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Students think critically about the stories media tell, to consider the stresses journalists encounter in telling stories, and to examine the larger messages these stories tell about the military.

Barbara Barnett is a professor at the University of Kansas. She’s a former journalist, and she grew up in a military family in a military town, surrounded by people who were always coming and going to their job assignments overseas. Her father, a career Marine, was not initially thrilled with her decision to become a journalist, but he adjusted, and Prof. Barnett came to appreciate the fact, that even though her father was gone a lot when she was growing up, his work protected her First Amendment rights. At KU, Prof. Barnett has served as the co-director of a project designed to improve relationships between the media and the military. She worked with the Command and Staff College at nearby Fort Leavenworth to develop a class that brought together KU students and officers; to develop a week-long workshop that allowed journalists to “embed” at Fort Leavenworth; and, to plan a national research symposium on post-traumatic stress and how journalists can better cover this issue – and learn to cope with their own reactions to combat. She conducts research on media and gender, and she teaches courses in journalism and public relations.

JOUR 177 - Social Media and Social Change
Hyunjin Seo, Journalism

How confident are you in identifying fraudulent product reviews online or “fake news”? What about phishing scams? How do you deal with Internet trolls? As our lives become ever more dependent on social media and other digital communication technologies, deliberate attempts to harm or mislead users have been on the rise. In this seminar, we will examine societal changes brought about by digital technologies and what types of social media literacy are essential in this rapidly changing communication environment. We will also explore what those changes mean for organizing for positive social change. Participants will develop informed perspectives on topics including social media literacy, cybersecurity and privacy, net neutrality, and social media-facilitated activism. Experiential and service learning is a key component of this seminar. That is, if you want to do good while taking a course, this is for you. During the semester, we will work with a nonprofit organization and develop a social media plan aimed at supporting the organization’s mission and goals.

Hyunjin Seo is associate professor of strategic communication and Docking Faculty Scholar in the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Born in South Korea, Dr. Seo traveled around the world as a diplomatic correspondent and then international public relations consultant before coming to the U.S. for graduate studies. A “strong” early adopter of technology, she likes to experiment with new gadgets and you may find her filming with her Spectacles sunglasses on campus. Most of all, she is fascinated by how people use communication technologies to mobilize for social causes and tries to play a small part through her Digital Inclusion Project aimed at enhancing digital access and literacy among underserved populations in the greater Kansas City area.

LING 177 - Word Mysteries and Histories—Say What?
Clifton Pye, Linguistics

Words surround us every waking moment of our lives and yet we seldom stop to consider the nature of words and how they function. Words have a fleeting existence, and yet many of the words we use today have histories that are thousands of years old. How do words reflect the way we think and perceive the world? How many words for snow does Eskimo really have? How do words derive the power to direct human action? Where do words come from and where do they go? How do words reflect your identity and place in a social world? This seminar will explore some of the mysteries about words that have puzzled philosophers for millennia. The class will introduce students to linguistic research on how the brain processes words, the structure of words in the world’s languages, documenting the words we use, and variation in the use of words in English.

Clifton Pye directs the Mayan Language Acquisition Laboratory and is an associate professor of linguistics. He researches how children acquire their first words in Native American languages spoken in Canada, Mexico and Guatemala. He teaches courses on child language acquisition, Mayan languages, Mayan hieroglyphic writing, word structure, semantics, and computational linguistics. He is currently researching how children living in San Luis Potosí, Mexico acquire the Mayan language Teenek.

PHMD 177 - Picturing Place: Photographing Lawrence
Elise Kirk, Photo Media

“Among the few positive things we humans may do that other species don’t is to create places. . .physical version[s] of memory. In the visible traces of their passage I read the investment of desire, hope, ambition, sweat, toil, and love of people who set this location apart from raw space.” Frank Gohlke, Thoughts on Landscape

What sets your new location (be it KU, Lawrence, or even the Midwest) apart from “raw space”? Would you like to know your new home better? The act of photographing—observing, participating, and being present—can accelerate a connection to place. In this digital photography class, each student will identify a specific environment within the Lawrence area to photograph repeatedly and meaningfully over the course of the semester. Class time will be spent reviewing and refining the work, discussing the context, introducing research methods for deeper understanding of the chose topic, and gaining inspiration from relevant historic and contemporary models of photographic inquiry. Through the process we will address critical questions about the image maker’s relationship to the work: What subjective preconception does the photographer bring to place? What access is being granted or denied and why? What observations or investigations are being expressed and how? Students will strengthen their visual literacy skills and their ties to their new surroundings. The course will culminate in an exhibition of student work. No prior photography experience needed.

Originally from Missouri, Elise Kirk spent the last fifteen years on the East Coast as a nonfiction television producer and photographic artist before returning to the Midwest to join KU’s Design Department as an Assistant Professor of Photo Media. She is very happy to be back in her new home. Her personal research and photographic practice investigate regional identity, representation and mythologies of Place in the Midwest, while her television work has appeared on National Geographic, Discovery and Viceland. She loves exploring Lawrence and the various roads that lead out of town.

POLS 177 - Seeing Red and Blue: The Polarization of American Politics
Patrick Miller, Political Science

American politics feels more divided than ever. Our leaders seem obsessed with scoring political points and incapable of governing effectively. At worst, Americans themselves seem divided into two alien camps - one “red” and one “blue”- fundamentally opposed in their values and increasingly intolerant of each other. Is America really this broken, though? This course will examine the polarization of American political life from a variety of perspectives. How do institutions such as Congress, political parties, media, and elections fuel partisan divides? How do changes in American society, especially its growing racial diversity and religious cleavages, foster political division? Looking at public opinion, are there really two Americas? Is it really all the fault of politicians, or are Americans themselves guilty of enabling a crippled political system? How can the political system be reformed to deal with our polarized politics? Students will develop an understanding of how social scientists think about these questions. The course will culminate in students doing their own research to address questions about polarization.

Patrick Miller grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. After college he taught fifth grade through Teach for America in Atlanta, then moved up I-85 for graduate school at the University of North Carolina. He has taught at KU since 2013 and researches political civility, emotion, and group conflict. His non-academic interests include coffee, college basketball, and all varieties of Southern barbeque. He also collects political memorabilia from antique stores and 1980s Transformers. Politically, he has correctly predicted the winner of every US Senate election since 1998. His favorite president is his fellow William & Mary graduate Thomas Jefferson.

SPLH 177 - Out of the Mouth of Babes
Holly Storkel, Speech, Language, Hearing

Children have an amazing ability to learn language. By 12 months, infants produce their first word. From this entree into word learning, vocabulary growth rapidly accelerates from learning 1-2 words per day in infants and toddlers to learning 3-4 words per day in preschool children to learning 6-12 words per day in school-age children. How do typically developing children learn words so rapidly? Why do children with language impairments learn words so slowly? Can children easily learn more than one language at the same time? In this seminar, we will work together to read research articles that address these questions. We will then apply our understanding to generate ideas for supporting word learning. For example, reading a book to a child is an excellent way to support word learning but which books should you read? What words in the text should you focus on? What if you don’t have access to books or your child doesn’t like books? What other activities could be used to support word learning? We will communicate what we learn to others who struggle with these same questions (e.g., parents, teachers) through a class blog.

Holly Storkel grew up in Willis, Texas (a small town near Houston) and attended Indiana University and the University of Washington in Seattle. Holly spent one year as a psychology major before taking an introductory speech-language-hearing course to discover the field of speech-language pathology: a perfect blend of language, psychology, and neuroscience applied toward helping others. An undergraduate research experience in her senior year further convinced her to pursue a PhD and a career at a research university. Holly’s current research is aimed at helping kindergarten children who have specific language impairment (SLI) learn new words through an interactive book reading treatment. In her spare time, she likes to pick out recipes for her husband to cook, watch Star Wars or Harry Potter movies (again and again) with her 10-year-old son, or ignore her family completely and read mystery novels with her 4 cats on her lap. Holly has been contemplating starting a blog so she is looking forward to gaining blogging experience with the SPLH 177 class this fall.

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