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Spring 2015 Course Summary

The one sentence course summaries on this page are intended for initial guidance into the topics of seminars only. Students are expected to read the full course descriptions before applying for courses. Please click on the name of the course for a link to the full description.

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First Seminar Continuing Semester

FSCS 150 100 Gusztav Demeter TuTh 4.30-5.45
FSCS 150 101 Gusztav Demeter TuTh 2.45-4.30
FSCS 150 102 Gusztav Demeter MW 3.00-4.15
FSCS 150 103 Ana Codita MWF 2.00-2.50
FSCS 150 104 Ana Codita TuTh 4.30-5.45
FSCS 150 105 Ana Codita TuTh 2.45-4.00
FSCS 150 106 Susan Dominguez TuTh 4.30-5.45
FSCS 150 107 Hee-Seung Kang TuTh 2.45-4.00


Thinking About the Natural World

The evolution of scientific ideas Barbara Burgess-Van Aken MW 12.30-1.45 How do new scientific ideas supersede the old? How does the community of scientists within a discipline come to a consensus that it is time to adopt a new paradigm?
Food Farming and Economic Prosperity Mary Holmes TuTh 4.30-5.45 Challenge the conventional thinking about ‘progress’ in the evolution of food production and consumption in the US in the last fifty years.
Time Pete Kernan TuTh 11.30-12.45 Investigate what time is telling us about the natural world and ourselves.
Epidemics in Human History Michael Maguire TuTh 4.30-5.45 Epidemics have shaped and continue to shape human history, usually more than wars and politics. Ebola and HIV are but recent though minor examples.
Designing Urban Green Space Erika Olbricht MW 3.00-4.15 Investigate the history, theory and practical design of green spaces in cities, their relationship to commerce, aesthetics, recreation, ecology, and health in particular.
Bring out your Dead Amy Absher MW 9.00-10.15 Examine the interplay between history and plague outbreaks, revealing how science develops in specific historic contexts.
Bring out your Dead Amy Absher MW 12.30-1.45 Examine the interplay between history and plague outbreaks, revealing how science develops in specific historic contexts.
Genes and Behavior Lee Thompson TuTh 10.00-11.15 Become well-informed and critical consumers of media reports about the influence of genes and environment on human behavior.
Science and Religion Chris Haufe MW 9.00-10.15 In what ways can science and religion be thought of as compatible and incompatible, and what are the implications for science education?
Cultures of Science Michele Hanks TuTh 2.45-4.00 Is science cultural? What does objectivity mean? How are scientific facts produced? Does our understanding of citizenship and the nation have any connection to science?
Animals and Humans Michele Hanks TuTh 10.00-11.15 Through exploring human emotional, practical, and epistemological ties with animals, this course examines what it means to be animal as well as what it means to be human.
Transportation in America Howard Maier MW 3.00-4.15 How have individuals and groups used ego, power and wealth to shape the nation’s commerce, travel patterns and physical appearance?
Human Research Ethics Michael Householder MW 9.00-10.15 Debating the hard choices that medical researchers make when the quest for scientific truth intersects with cultural belief.
Environmental Justice Eric Chilton TuTh 2.45-4.00 Explore Environmental Justice as a political movement and scientific subject, investigate and engage with local community projects and issues.
Gothic Science Brandy Schillace TuTh 8.30-9.45 In what ways were cultural anxieties about scientific discoveries of the 18th century reflected and re-interpreted through fictional narratives?
Conflicts and Controversies in American Science and Technology Peter Shulman TuTh 11.30-12.45 How do we make ethical choices about science and technology in a country with inherent power imbalances?
Energy – The Great Challenge Ahead Daniel Scherson MW 2.00-3.15 This course seeks to raise awareness of contemporary geopolitical issues that are bound to shape the world in the coming decades.
Constructing Ancient and Medieval Knowledge Lisa Nielson TuTh 4.30-5.45 How did people in the ancient world define humanity? What differentiated humans from the rest of the natural world? How did people understand human differences?
Dieting Dogma Facts and Fiction Shannon Sterne TuTh 2.45-4.00 How have misinformation and mythology trumped evidence when identifying strategies for weight and health management? How can we separate hype from scientific fact?
Large Scale Energy Storage Bob Savinell MW 4.00-5.15 In what ways do technology and the marketplace prevent us from storing large amounts of energy efficiently and conveniently?
Simple Harmonies, Complex Meaning Ryan Scherber TuTh 1.15-2.30 Examining neurological findings and case studies to explain why creating and enjoying music is a defining element of the human species.
Facts from Fiction Malcah Effron MW 4.00-5.15 Is fiction like science fiction, or medical and forensic dramas a useful way to disseminate scientific ideas?
The Green Energy Transformation in Germany Peter Yang TuTh 1.15-2.30 The Energiewende policy started by the German Green movement has seen the German government develop renewable energy and conservation. What lessons can be learned?
Physics for World Leaders Ed Caner MW 5.00-6.15 How can business leaders and politicians use scientific knowledge and methods to improve their decision making?
Good Science, Good Writing Al Anderson MW 12.30-1.45 Discuss the implications of poorly thought out or purposely misleading media articles, advertisements, and other presentations that purport a basis in science.
Genetic Testing Implications Rebecca Darrah MWF 11.30-12.20 Study and discuss the ethical and social implications of genetic testing and testing technologies.

Sense and Sensibility: Sensing Information, and Control

Richard Kolacinski MW 2.00-3.15 What is the role of feedback control in technology and the natural world and how have these roles evolved?


Thinking About the Social World


Society and Technology





TuTh 4.30-5.45 Explore the design, use and cultural significance of technologies to assess their integration into all aspects of our society.

Questions of Identity

Gail Arnoff MW 3.00-4.15 By looking at how writers, historians, and philosophers have dealt with the challenges of self and group identity, students will learn more about themselves and how their identity is being formed.

The Art of Fact

Andrea Simakis TuTh 1.15-2.30 Dissect the work of journalists who’ve written stories about complex social problems using many of the conventions employed by writers of fiction.


Deepak Sarma TuTh 10.00-11.15 An introduction to Hindu thought and culture, with a visit to the Shiva-Vishnu Temple in Parma.

Law in the Movies

Terri Mester TuTh 4.30-5.45 Explore themes in the study of law, lawyers, and legal institutions by examining their representations in movies.
USSO 271 Schoolhouse Rocked Kathy Ewing MW 5.00-6.15 Investigate progressive educational theory and connect it with contemporary alternative schools and homeschooling.
USSO 275 Psychology of Creativity Sandra Russ TuTh 1.15-2.30 What are the most important qualities, emotional and cognitive, that are related to creativity? What is the difference between artistic and scientific creativity?
USSO 285D Advertising and the American Dream Bill Doll MW 4.00-5.15 Explore advertising in America, its social and cultural roots, and its impact on our values, tastes, and behavior as consumers and citizens.
USSO 285K The Economics of Global Poverty Joseph DeLong MW 3.00-4.15 Why are the poorest countries failing to thrive, what can be done about it, and can the rich afford to help the poor?
USSO 286F Environment and Civic Culture Paul Schroeder MWF 2.00-2.50 Can the fight against environmental degradation lead to an improved civic culture and political reform in developing nations?
USSO 286L Exploring Nonprofit Organizations Barbara Clemenson TuTh 10.00-11.15 This seminar exposes students to the opportunities and challenges of working in and running non-profit organizations.
USSO 286L Exploring Nonprofit Organizations Barbara Clemenson TuTh 8.30-9.45 This seminar exposes students to the opportunities and challenges of working in and running non-profit organizations.
USSO 286V Management of chronic disease Amy Zhang MW 9.30-10.45 This course covers substance-based, mind-body, spiritual and social approaches used to manage chronic diseases and promote wellness in various cultural settings.
USSO 286V Management of chronic disease Amy Zhang MW 11.30-12.45 This course covers substance-based, mind-body, spiritual and social approaches used to manage chronic diseases and promote wellness in various cultural settings.
USSO 287C Murder in the Jazz Age Amy Absher MW 4.00-5.15 Understand Americans’ fascination with violent crime in the 1920s and it enables us to explore changes in society and advances in forensic science.
USSO 288B Doing Good: How Nonprofits Change Lives Christine Henry TuTh 11.30-12.45 How do non profits operate, influence everyday lives, and what is their role in advancing social change and a civil society?
USSO 288C Green Transformation and Globalization Peter Yang TuTh 11.30-12.45 This seminar introduces students to the recent major green transformation in China, and assesses the impacts of various aspects of green transformation and globalization.
USSO 288S The Second Amendment and Society Joseph Cheatle MW 4.00-5.15 This course will attempt to unpack the sometimes dizzying array of information and misinformation surrounding the Second Amendment debate.
USSO 289C Ethics for the Real World Susan Case TuTh 1.15-2.30 How ethical are you? Explore your own morality as you develop a personal code of conduct through open discussion and exploration of every day ethical issues in today’s world.
USSO 289D Law and Social Change Peter Gerhart MW 9.00-10.15 Think critically about how the law shapes social norms and how social norms shape the law.
USSO 289G Privacy – none of your business Raymond Ku MW 12.30-1.45 Under what circumstances do we have an expectation to a right of privacy that prevents others from accessing information and regulating our behavior?
USSO 289J Treasure or Trash Robert Ullom MWF 10.30-11.20 This seminar is a fundamental study of theatre from the standpoint of developing the critical acumen of a potential audience.
USSO 289L The Arab-Israeli Conflict John Broich W 5.00-7.30 Learn about the origins of the conflict, with a discussion of the histories of engineering and agriculture alongside traditional social and political perspectives.
USSO 289M The Detective Novel Bill Marling MWF 10.30-11.20 You will not only learn the origins of one of the world’s most popular literary genres, but about theories of why you keep reading these stories.
USSO 289Q The Nazis Next Door Ken Ledford TuTh 2.45-4.00 From the beginning of the National Socialist Party until German Unification, how did Germans deal with neighbors and even relatives who embraced Nazi doctrine?
USSO 289S Political Losers Karen Beckwith TuTh 2.45-4.00 Instead of looking at election winners, can we learn more about politics from who loses, why they lost, and what impact defeat has upon candidates, voters and social movements?
USSO 289T Music and Community Lisa Koops MWF 11.30-12.20 Students experience community-building musical events on and near campus, and discuss the role of music in social, cultural, and political settings.
USSO 289U They Laughed Til They Cried Marcus Mitchell MWF 9.30-10.20 How does the brain make cognitive sense of physiological sensation? How do we make sense of others’ emotional experiences?
USSO 289V To Everest and Back Annie Pecastaings MW 12.30-1.45 This course will chart the history of the “conquest” of Everest. Is mountaineering an ethical endeavor and how does its history overlap with that of colonialism?
USSO 289Y Orchestra in Today’s Culture Eric Charnofsky TuTh 2.45-4.00 Using the Cleveland Orchestra as an example, this seminar will ask what symphony orchestras will have to do to sustain their cultural importance.
USSO 289Z China and the World Wendy Fu MW 3.00-4.15 An exploration of China’s long and deep engagement with the rest of the world.
USSO 290A Literature on Trial Joseph Cheatle TuTh 4.30-5.45 How do novels prosecuted for obscenity illuminate the social norms of the periods they were written, and give us a better understanding of our own cultural moment?
USSO 290B Contemporary American Rhetoric Martha Schaffer TuTh 8.30-9.45 Using the lens of classical rhetoric, this course explores contemporary political debates and discourse and asks how effective they are at communication and persuasion.
USSO 290C Marginalization and Health Camille Warner TuTh 11.30-12.45 Why are some individuals and groups at risk of marginalization? How does marginalization produce health inequalities? What can be done about them?
USSO 290D Self Human: informed consumer Matthew Plow MWF 10.30-11.20 This course uses some basic theories and research of human personality and behavior to investigate whether and how self-help works
USSO 290E The Evolution of Running LaShanda Korley TuTh 10.00-11.15 Running has transcended time and provides a rich historical backdrop from which to explore themes of diversity, technology, relationships and community activism
USSO 290F Journalists at War Jim Sheeler MW 12.30-1.45 Hundreds of reporters have been kidnapped, tortured and killed in the last decade. This course explores the experience of the modern day war reporter.
USSO 290G A History of Workers in the US John Flores TuTh 6.00-7.15 Examine the lives of the ethnically and racially diverse women and men, skilled and unskilled, rural and urban, who produce the goods and services that society consumes.
USSO 290H The Social World of YouTube Georgia Cowart TuTh 4.30-5.45 Focus on the cultural significance of YouTube and its reflection of 21st-century values, propensities, and ideas.
USSO 290K Modernizing European Cities Miriam Levin Jay Geller TR 1.15-2.30 We will examine the changes in urban planning, architecture, economics, social relations, culture, and fine art that defined the emergence of the modern, Western city.


Thinking About the Symbolic World

USSY 229 Art mirrors Art Catherine Scallen MW 12.30-1.45 What do individual works of art and subject types tell us about the role of the arts and the changing status of the artist in the Renaissance and early modern period?
USSY 233 Constructing the Self Jennifer Butler MW 12.30-1.45 Explore what we know of the self from historical, sociological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives.
USSY 241 Birth of the Modern Daniel Melnick TuTh 8.30-9.45 A study of what characterizes the new modes of thinking or “language” of modernity, developed in experimental work across the arts, the sciences, and the social sciences.
USSY 250 Medical Narrative Athena Vrettos MW 4.00-5.15 This course examines the narrative conventions that have been used to understand and communicate the experience of illness.
USSY 275 Colors, Capes and Characters Michael Sangiacomo TuTh 6.00-7.15 Learn to approach comic books and graphic novels through critical thinking strategies; that is, questioning what they are, what they say, and where they come from.
USSY 280 Passport to Eastern Europe Narcisz Fejes MW 2.00-3.15 We see how media representation contributed to the invention of East Central Europe and the Balkans and continues to shape our understanding of the eastern parts of Europe.
USSY 284 The Art of Madness Barbara Burgess-Van Aken MW 3.00-4.15 An examination of the relationship between the evolution of social and medical attitudes toward mental illness and fictional representations of madness in literature.
USSY 286U Puzzled Bernie Jim MWF 9.30-10.20 This course looks at the practice of puzzle making and puzzle-solving and explores the meaning of puzzles for different cultures throughout history.
USSY 286V Food Craze Narcisz Fejes MW 9.00-10.15 Television shows and food-related writing worship food and often promote ideas of multiculturalism. What explains such fascination with the viewing of and reading about food?
USSY 287M Literature of 9-11 Suhaan Mehta MW 9.00-10.15 Consider how novelists, poets, and other writers represent September 11th, investigating how American cultural values influence the choices artists make.
USSY 287X Paris in the Arts Annie Pecastaings MW 4.00-5.15 This course will use representation of Paris in the arts as a lens through which the identity and recent history of this major city will come into focus.
USSY 288E Fantastic Voyages Lisa Nielson TuTh 10.00-11.15 Narratives from antiquity to the late medieval era that purport to depict a “real” journey into the unknown are examined to explore the representation of cultural barriers.
USSY 288I Diversions Kris Kelly MWF 11.30-12.20 How do stories that don’t follow conventional rules of order encourage us to participate in making sense of our contemporary world?
USSY 288R Cultural issues in Chinese business Steve Feldman TuTh 4.30-5.45 How can American business people negotiate a Chinese business system so vastly different from the one they are familiar with?
USSY 288W A History of Noise Kelly St Pierre MW 5.00-6.15 Who does ‘Art’ serve? Is it possible to distinguish between ‘Art’ and ‘noise’? Is sound capable of influence at all?
USSY 289J Beauty Myths Today Megan Jewell TuTh 11.30-12.45 Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” has significantly influenced thinking about female body image for over 20 years. To what extent do Wolf’s claims hold true today?
USSY 289O Indian Literature since 1950 Ritu Sharma TuTh 2.45-4.00 Explore how various Indian writers have responded, in both form and content, to India’s post-independence period.
USSY 289X Identity Theft: 1500-1800 Gillian Weiss MW 12.00-13.45 This course examines Europeans who dissimulated religion, gender, race and class to ask: Was 1500-1800 the age of identity theft?
USSY 290C Out of Proportion Bernie Jim MWF 11.30-12.20 This seminar explores the meaning of things great and small, from the largest buildings and greatest distances, to nanotechnology and the smallest viruses.
USSY 290O Everyone’s a critic! The Play Chris Bohan MWF 2.00-2.50 This course examines the role of ‘audience as critic’, professional critics, and the influence each has on the success of live theater.
USSY 290P The heavens in religion and science Peter Haas TuTh 10.00-11.15 The course looks at how Western thinkers have thought about the human condition by observing the larger structure of the cosmos.
USSY 290Q Great 19th Century Novels Bill Siebenschuh MWF 11.30-12.20 Study the continental novel of the nineteenth-century, the Golden Age of the genre, with the chance to read some of the great European novels of the time.
USSY 290R Religious Pluralism Tina Howe TuTh 1.15-2.30 An exploration of interactions between religions in the US, analyzing pluralism and religious engagement, including interfaith initiatives, theological debates, foreign policy and conflict.
USSY 290S The art of Medicine Andrea Rager TuTh 1.15-2.30 Discover the history of medicine in Europe and the United States through a series of case studies in the visual arts from the early Renaissance to the present.
USSY 290T Media Responses to 9/11 Thrity Umrigar MW 12.30-1.45 Explore how the discourse around 9/11 has shifted over the course of a decade, from the urgency of screaming headlines, to the more elegiac responses shaped by novels and films.
USSY 290U Poetry for People who Hate Poetry David Lucas MW 4.00-5.15 What can our individual attitudes about poetry reveal about what and whom we value on a cultural scale?
USSY 290V Experiencing Mathematics Joe DeLong MW 6.00-7.15 Math has the reputation of being dry and inaccessible, but for some it is tantamount to love. How might we ‘experience mathematics’?
USSY 290W Sports and Art Wells Addington TuTh 4.30-5.45 Focus on the relationship between aesthetics and athletics, examining both sporting events and artistic representations of them as aesthetic phenomena.
USSY 290Y Ecotopia Josh Hoeynck TuTh 10.00-11.15 Examine possible futures as ways of thinking about the ethical obligation to leave behind a planet fit for future generations.
USSY 290Z Secularization and the Culture of Belief Scott Dill MWF 9.30-10.20 Explore the events and ideas that have informed, and misinformed, what we mean when we talk about secularization and the experience of belief.
USSY 291A Latino Metropolis Matthew Feinberg TuTh 11.30-12.45 Consider how the Latino experience in the United States has physically, culturally, and linguistically shaped American cities.
USSY 291B Science (Fiction) Dystopia Gabrielle Parkin MWF 10.30-11.20 How do dystopian narratives complicate our notion of what it means to be a social animal? How have dystopian visions changed in the last fifty years?
USSY 291C Chemistry’s Fictional Elements Will Rogers TuTh 4.30-5.45 Can we study chemistry as we would literature, acknowledging its use of the imagination to create and catalogue the world?
USSY 291D Ethics of Insolvency Anne Van Leeuwen TuTh 2.45-4.00 Why do we have an ethical obligation to pay our debts and why do we think that it is self-evident that we do?
USSY 291E Alternate and Secret Histories: Steampunk Kurt Koenigsberger TuTh 1.15-2.30 Why has a retrofuturistic form of science fiction found the Victorian and Edwardian era so compelling, and what can alternative history tell us about the present day?
USSY 291F Literary Arcadias: Idealized Landscapes and the Intrusion of Reality Denna Iammarino TuTh 2.45-4.00 How has the pastoral genre evolved over time, how have depictions of Arcadia responded to various cultural, commercial, and political changes?
USSY 291G Revenge, Violence, Laughter John Higgins TuTh 8.30-9.45 Why has so much art, from Shakespeare to Tarantino, depicted laughter as being the natural response to tragedy and violence?
USSY 291I The Illness Narrative Mary Assad MWF 10.30-11.20 Why do so many individuals diagnosed with a serious illness write memoirs? What is the role of storytelling in the healing process?
USSY 291J Lessons of Jazz Paul Ferguson TuTh 10.00-11.15 How might a deeper understanding of improvisation and specialization in jazz be applied to performances in other fields?
USSY 291K Risk and Decision Making Behnam Malakooti TR 1.15-2.30 How can a better understanding of risk help us improve our decision making, both at the individual and public policy levels?
USSY 291K Risk and Decision Making Behnam Malakooti TR 4.30-5.45 How can a better understanding of risk help us improve our decision making, both at the individual and public policy levels?
USSY 291L Art and Violence in Ancient Rome Maggie Popkin TR 11.30-12.45 This course examines how ancient Romans represented violence in their visual culture, and why.
USSY 291M Race and Sexuality in American History Cookie Woolner Th 1.15-3.45 Learn how the two potent categories of race and sexuality are often intertwined; analyzing this can help us understand American identity and the trajectory of the nation.


Page last modified: October 21, 2015