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Spring 2016 Core 2-5 Courses

Download PDF Version of Core 2-5 Course Descriptions for Spring 2016

Information to please note regarding Core 2-5:

  • Current students must complete the Core Topics sequence (Cores 2-5) by the end of the 2015-2016 year.
  • Students do not need to take Core 4 and Core 5 in sequence (i.e. you may take Core 5 in the fall, Core 4 in spring).
  • Students may only register for either Core 4 or Core 5 in a single term.  They may not take Core 4 and Core 5 in the same term.
  • All students must take three different foci in the Core 2-5 sequence.  The foci are: literature, fine arts, history, religion, and philosophy.
  • Only courses with IDST course numbers will fulfill Core requirements.

Core 2: Introduction to the Ancient World

IDST 1200-01: Greek Legacy          Instructor: Dr. Holly M. Sypniewski          TTh 8-9:35AM

Democracy, political satire, theater, philosophy, and athletic competition all originated in ancient Greece.  In this course we explore the rich and diverse culture found within mainland Greece and the Greek islands and colonies from 13th to the 4th c. BCE.  We will use a range of sources including literature, art, archaeological evidence, and historical texts to study the key developments in the history of Hellenic civilization.  

Foci: Literature and History          Cross Listed: CLSC 2010-01 and HIST 2750-01

Core 4: Introduction to the Modern World

IDST 2400-01:  18th and 19th Century Art          Instructor: Dr. Monica Jovanovich-Kelley          MWF 9:15-10:20 AM

This course will cover selected examples of 18th and 19th century art.  We’ll discuss key stylistic shifts during this period through various art movements such as the Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism. This will lead us into broader conversations in which we place the visual arts in their cultural and historical context, which will include the Industrial Revolution, rise of the middle class, and challenges to traditional gender roles for women. 

Focus: Fine Art          Cross Listed: ARTH 1300  

IDST2400-02: Modern European Survey          Instructor: Dr. Amy Forbes          MWF 9:15-10:20 AM

This course surveys European history, 1700 to 1989, analyzing how the nation state became the most important locus of power, and a modern, secular bourgeois culture came to dominate society.  Eighteenth-century political and cultural revolutions challenged old thinking and governing.  Developing enormous industrial capacity in the nineteenth-century, European powers intensified imperial relationships with the rest of the world with great consequences to the colonial powers themselves.  Twentieth-century Europeans seemed perpetually at war with themselves and others, all the while changing culturally and socially.   

Focus: History          Cross Listed: HIST 2350                                      

IDST 2400-03: Shakespeare and the Play of Genre          Instructor: Dr. Eric Griffin          MW 12:55-2:25 PM

This special 2016 edition of "the Play of Genre" focuses on the dramas written during the final years of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and the early reign of King James I (1566-1625). While satisfying the Core 4 “Modern World” requirement, we will explore some of Shakespeare’s most important plays, including representative comedies and tragedies, a history and a romance. By analyzing key elements of the playwright's aesthetic practice, we will discover how he develops character relationships, experiments with received forms, delights in wordplay, and otherwise pushes the boundaries of theatrical convention.

Foci: Literature, History          Cross Listed: ENGL 3310  

IDST 2400-04: History of Philosophy II          Instructor: Dr. Patrick Hopkins          MW 2:30-4:00 PM

In this course we will look at the canonical texts of Western Philosophy, including some texts now considered classics of science. We will be reading and discussing primary texts from the 1500s to 2000, including major texts dealing with knowledge, politics, ethics, the mind, science, and religion. We will trace out the powerful ideas that have influenced culture, including body/mind dualism, social contract politics, the concept of natural rights, the role of reason versus emotion, the issue of whether time and space are real things, free will and determinism, whether the ends justify the means in morality, and relationship between truth and language.

Focus: Philosophy          Cross Listed: PHIL 3020  

IDST 2400-06: Islamism, Imperialism and Violence          Instructor: Dr. Rahel Fischbach          T 6:30-9:30 PM

This course explores the phenomenon of “Islamism," examining the political, economic, intellectual, and social factors that led to its invention, especially colonialism and the resistance movements that emerged in response to European and American imperialism. How do those factors play out in the contemporary context? In particular, we will look at developments in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and India to tease out the various rationalities of the different Islamist movements and ideologies.

Focus: Religion          Cross Listed: RLST 2750-02

Core 5: Introduction to the Contemporary World

IDST 2500-01: Hinduism in America          Instructor: Dr. Lola Williamson          MWF 9:15-10:20 AM

After surveying the beliefs and practices of the Hindu tradition, we’ll explore innovations that have occurred as Hinduism intersects with American culture. We’ll first examine immigrant Hinduism, including both devotional life and political mobilization. We’ll then move on to explore convert Hinduism, including popular meditation movements that both Indian and “homegrown” gurus have proffered to the American public from the 1960s to the present.

Foci: Religion and History          Cross Listed: RLST 2750-03            

IDST 2500-02: Contemporary Art: Murals, Memorials, and Monuments          Instructor: Dr. Monica Jovanovich Kelly          MWF 10:30-11:35 AM

This course will examine the many forms public art has taken from the 1970s through to today. Looking at examples of graffiti/street art, murals/wall painting, and monuments/memorials we will ask questions such as: What makes these works public and who constitutes that public? Who is responsible if a work is controversial or vandalized? Can a mural be a billboard and vice versa? Where are all the women street artists?​

Focus: Fine Arts          Cross Listed: ARTH 2760

IDST 2500-03: Slavery: Narrative and Film          Instructor: Dr. Laura Franey          MWF 11:45AM-12:50 PM

Will anyone pay to see a film satire/comedy/Western about slavery? Director Quentin Tarantino thought so, and he was right. Django Unchained was a huge hit in 2012. But a film with a different approach to slavery was also a big hit a year later—Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave. We’ll analyze these films--along with the classic Gone with the Wind--and study the escaped slave narratives that they draw from, including Solomon Northup’s 12 Years a Slave to Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life . . . to Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  We'll also read Toni Morrison's Pulitzer-Prize winning fictional slave narrative, Beloved.

Focus: Literature           Cross Listed: ENGL 3500-01           

IDST 2500-04: Generation of 1898 (taught in Spanish)        Instructor: Dr. David Wood                                         MW 2:30-4:00 PM

This course seeks to define the principle characteristics of a stable of writers and intellectuals from Spain coming of age around 1898, a decisive time for Spanish, Spanish American and U.S. relations.  The course also seeks to put these same writers into a broader literary and cultural context to avoid treating this generation of writers as an isolated movement but rather as the culmination of a series of tendencies that are seen in Spanish and Spanish American societies and literatures since the seventeenth century in Spain and since the nineteenth century in Spanish America.  Taught in Spanish.          

Focus: Literature          Cross Listed: SPAN 3790  

IDST 2500-05: Spiritual But Not Religious          Instructor: Dr. Lola Williamson          MW 2:30-4:00 PM

Although the terminology is new, the phenomenon of “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) in America goes back to our foundation as a country. This course will begin with an exploration of the history of SBNR in the United States. We will then read a contemporary ethnographic study of SBNRs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The course will culminate with students’ own ethnographic research of an SBNR group in Jackson (of which there are many).

Focus: Religion          Cross Listed: RLST 2750-04                            

IDST 2500-06: History of Jazz          Instructor: Dr. Lynn Raley          TTh 9:55-11:30AM

This course is designed to provide skills necessary for a deep understanding of “American Creative Music,” from its humble beginnings to its status as an international art form. With roots in Africa, jazz is the history of a people and an entire music-culture. Called “the purest expression of American democracy,” jazz is unique among musical art forms for its ability take in other forms and genres, transforming them for its own expressive purposes. Its story is the American story.

Foci: Fine Arts and History          Cross Listed:  MUSC 2100  

IDST 2500-07: The 40s and 50s          Instructor: Dr. Bob McElvaine          TTh 12:55-2:25PM & W 6:30-9:30PM                     

The two decades between 1940 and 1960 witnessed dramatic changes in American history. Conformity and women and minorities “knowing their place” were dominant. A rebelliousness in youth began to be heard—quite literally, as Rock ’n’ Roll burst on the scene. This course will explore a multitude of aspects of the era, through politics, novels, films, music, plays, television, poetry, sports, and other avenues.

Focus: History          Cross Listed: HIST 3220  

IDST 2500-08: Aesthetics          Instructor: Dr. Ted Ammon          TTh 12:55-2:25PM

Aesthetics is Philosophy of Art, and thus, art is taken to include most anything that provokes the special experiences deemed ‘aesthetic’.  We will concern ourselves far less frequently with the delineation of art and non-art than with what provokes aesthetic experiences and what doesn’t (or shouldn’t).  The goals of the course are to heighten your awareness of the realms of aesthetic pleasure, to sharpen your ability to recognize those moments and objects which deserve philosophical analysis and to appreciate the theoretical underpinnings of aesthetic judgments.

Focus: Philosophy          Cross Listed: PHIL 2210  

IDST 2500-09: Intro to Modern Theatre and Social Change          Instructor: Peter Friedrich          TTh 2:30-4:00PM 

This class explores theatre as a tool to communicate hard-to-discuss ideas on sexuality, violence, corruption, identity, and community. In addition to performing an original theatre piece, students will study the workd of groundbreaking twentieth-century theatre artists Augusto Boal, Luis Valdez, Susan Lori Parks, and Tony Kushner, among others.

Focus: Fine Arts          Cross Listed: THEA 1000  

IDST 2500-10: Cultures of Peace, Cultures of Violence          Instructor: Kristen Golden          TTh 2:30-4:00PM

Do humans choose violence or is it inevitable?  Whatever position one adopts, it is hard to deny that the types of actions (or lack of action) taken when conflicts arise have consequences for relationships--interpersonal, intergroup and international.  This course will use a range of selected readings attempt to explain why violence erupts and how peace is sown.  Students will also collaborate with one another and with the local community on one of three projects: Radical Islam versus Golden Age Timbuktu; Violence and Nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement; and Power and Poverty in America’s Prison System.  The goal of this course is not to solve the problem of violence, but to clarify your views about the extent to which alternatives are possible.

Foci: Philosophy and Religion         Cross Listed: PHIL 2750-01/RLST 2750-01  

IDST 2500-11: History of the Media          Instructor: Henry Svec          T 6:30-9:30PM

Pundits and entrepreneurs in the field of new media love stories of revolution. Think of Apple’s famous “1984” Macintosh commercial, which promised color, flexibility, and personalization; this new device seemed to fall from the sky and to make an entirely new world possible. Yet, where do such ideas come from and what do they conceal from us? This course will pursue a longer and more complex view of media history by situating new media of communication in their social, cultural, political, and economic contexts. We will study the emergence of writing, print, sound recording, film, radio, television, and digital computers, and we will consider both how media are products of their time—and how times are products of their media.  

Focus: History          Cross Listed: COMM 2100