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Fall 2015 Core 2-5 Topics Courses in the Humanities

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Please note:

  • 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: History of Philosophy I           
Instructor: Dr. Patrick Hopkins   MW 2:30
An examination and close reading of the major influential works of Philosophy from ancient Greece to late medieval world with an emphasis on tracing the development of ideas over time. Works studied are drawn from Plato, Aristotle, Epicureans, Stoicis, Skeptics, Neoplatonists, Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Avverroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, Hildegard, and William of Ockham. (class cap 10)
Focus: Philosophy


IDST-1200-02: Did Jesus and the Buddha Really Exist? 
Instructor: Dr. James Bowley  MW 2:30
In this course we get to explore history and ask about two famous people. How do we know anything about the past?  Do you think Cleopatra was real?  Why?  That’s the key: “why?”  Come explore how historians work and whether religion makes a difference in the “how.” (class cap 10) 
Focus: Religion   

IDST 1200-03:  Women in the Ancient World
Instructor: Dr. James Bowley  M 6:30
In this course we will combine historical, archaeological, and literary study, as we investigate the roles of women in Ancient Mesopotamia and Canaan (including Israel), among early Christians, and other ancient societies—how they lived, how they were treated, how they acted and were acted upon in their cultures. We will explore issues of power and authority, and domains of work, and sexuality.   (class cap 10)
Focus: Religion


Core 3: Introduction to the Pre-modern World

IDST 1300-01:  Italian Renaissance Art
Instructor: Dr. Elise Smith  MWF 10:30
We'll explore aspects of the painting and sculpture of the Italian Renaissance in this course, along with a little architecture, with a focus on analyzing key art works that are particularly influential, problematic, or controversial. Works will be set in the context of historical, biographical, literary, religious, and/or philosophical developments in order to enrich our understanding of artistic production and patronage. Our approach will be chronological, beginning with certain early 14th-century artists of the proto-Renaissance and concluding with the late Renaissance movement of Mannerism in the mid 16th century.   (class cap 10)
Focus: Fine Art


Core 4: Introduction to the Modern World

IDST 2400-01:  American Art
Instructor: Dr. Monica Jovanovich-Kelley MWF 9:15
This course examines important works of American art from the colonial period through World War II paying close attention to social, political and cultural contexts. Through investigating the unique character and construction of the United States, we will address issues such as modernity, gender, capitalism, urbanism, identity and class. (class cap 10)
Focus: Fine Art

IDST 2400-02: Survey of Spanish-American Literature (Note: in Spanish)
Instructor: Dr. Ramon Figueroa   MW 12:55
Prerequisite: Span 2000 or permission by the Modern Language chair and instructor.   (class cap 5)
Focus: Literature     


IDST 2400-03: Renaissance Villians and Modern Film
Instructor: Dr. Anne C. MacMaster  MW 2:30
We’ll read five plays of Shakespeare – Richard III, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, and Titus Andronicus – and see their villains brought to life on the screen by Ian McLellan, Kenneth Branagh, and Anthony Hopkins. We’ll also read Milton’s Paradise Lost. (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature


IDST 2400-04: American Gothic: Short Stories of Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne
Instructor: Dr. Michael Gleason   TTh 9:50
Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville adapted European "Gothic" fiction, with its themes of horror, violence, and the supernatural, to their uniquely New World perspectives. This course examines their famous short stories that offer groundbreaking portraits of morbid psychology in an age before Freud.   (class cap 25)
Focus: Literature


IDST 2400-05: Yucatan and Spiritual Conquest (Note:  Millsaps Semester in Yucatan Course)
Instructor: Dr. Eric Griffin   TBD
Moving from the period of initial European contact, through the era of conquest and colonial domination, to the eve of Mexican Independence, the course will explore the Yucatan and its faith communities in both their local and Transatlantic contexts.   (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature 


IDST 2400-06: The Greater Lyric
Instructor: Dr. Michael Pickard   TTh 9:50
This is a course in the history of lyric poetry from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. Our discussions will turn on such questions as the following: what is a lyric and what makes it different from other kinds of poems? How has the idea of lyric poetry changed over time? How can we use poems to think critically about the world we inhabit and communicate what we have experienced to other persons? (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature


IDST 2400-07: Philosophy of Religion            
Instructor: Dr. Steve Smith   TTh 12:55
A study of some of the most important arguments made by philosophers and other writers concerning the nature of religion and religious truth during the revolutionary modernizing of Western culture in the 17th-19th centuries, with some consideration of parallel non-Western developments.   (class cap 10)
Foci: Philosophy and Religion 


IDST 2400-08: Nature and Culture in 19th Century America
Instructor: Dr. Anne C. MacMaster  TTh 2:30
We’ll read works by Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson in the context of the build-up to the Civil War, and we’ll view the films Last of the Mohicans and In the Heart of the Sea.   (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature    


Core 5: Introduction to the Contemporary World

IDST 2500-01: Contemporary Hispanic Culture  (Note: in Spanish)            
Instructor: Dr. Judith Caballero   MWF 10:30
This class explores the representation of Hispanic culture through film. Many cinematographers have used film to lend a voice to marginalized groups; likewise, the government has also utilized this medium to propagate its agenda. Our aim is to understand what the films reveal about the culture. Class taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: Span 2000 or permission by the Modern Language chair and instructor. (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature


IDST 2500-02: Meaning of Work
Instructor: Dr. Shelli Poe   MWF 10:30
In this course, students learn about the mutual influences of economic life, ethical theories, and religious traditions. At the end, students apply what they’ve learned through readings and discussions to their own working life. Students who take this course are eligible to minor in Vocation, Ethics, and Society. (class cap 10)
Foci: Religion and Philosophy


IDST 2500-03: U.S. Immigrant Literature
Instructor: Dr. Laura Franey   MWF 10:30
The imaginative literature written by immigrants to the U.S. has been rich and varied. We will read a range of novels, including examples from the early 20th century such as The American Diary of a Japanese Girl and The Rise of David Levinsky (by immigrants from Japan and Belarus, respectively) and more recent acclaimed novels (including The Kite Runner) by immigrants from India, the Philippines, and Afghanistan. (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature 


IDST 2500-04: Twice Promised Land            
Instructor: Dr. David C. Davis   MWF 11:45
This seminar explores the implications of the peculiar characteristics of the 100-year conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis. Can the historian assess the legacy of injustice and suffering claimed by all affected parties and arrive at a defensible explanation for what lies at the heart of the conflict?   (class cap 10)
Focus: History 


IDST 2500-05: The Great Depression
Instructor: Dr. Bob McElvaine   TTh 9:50 and W 7 pm
An interdisciplinary examination of American history and culture during the era of the Great Depression (1929-1941), utilizing literature, film, music, painting, and photography, as well as more traditional historical sources. (class cap 10)
Focus: History 

IDST 2500-06: The Making of Modern Africa
Instructor: Dr. David C. Davis   TTh 9:50
To help us understand the hopes and impediments that affect the lives of Africans today, this course will focus on several novels of the late Chinua Achebe, a gifted writer and outspoken critic of his own Nigerian leaders. In his novels, Achebe will raise issues which will be the focus of our investigations: the legacy of colonialism, the clash of global and local cultures, nation-building, political instability, and individual responsibility and accountability. (class cap 25)
Foci: History and Literature 


IDST 2500-07: South of the Border (Note:  Millsaps Semester in Yucatan Course)
Instructor: Dr. Eric Griffin   W 7 pm             
The course will examine the ways Mexico is represented 20th and 21st century narrative fiction, drama, film, and popular music, measuring these popular artifacts against our own experience of living "South of the Border" in Yucatán.   (class cap 10)
Focus: Literature