Special Topics Course Descriptions

Click here for Fall 2014 Special Topics Course Descriptions

Click here for Summer 2014 Special Topics Course Descriptions

Click here for Spring 2014 Special Topics Course Descriptions

Click here for Fall 2013 Special Topics Course Descriptions

Click here for past Special Topics Course Descriptions

Unless otherwise noted, Special Topics courses are each 3 credits.


Fall 2014

AH3202 Special Topics: Comic Book Cinema: Adventures in Film Adaptation
The role of superheroes and other comic book properties in Hollywood seems to increase with every coming year, with the film industry pinning its hopes on big budget spectacles and tent pole franchises that are rooted in a popular imaginary.  Yet the big screen exploits of caped crusaders tells only part of the story of how comics have infiltrated and re-shaped cinema. The proliferation of comic book films has coincided with the growing importance of the global box office, which requires easily relatable narratives and iconic pre-sold properties.  In essence, superheroes have become both our modern mythology and our most reliable media brands. At the same time, the growing reputation of graphic novels has transformed our definitions of literature and, in turn, what is acceptable source material for “quality” and “art” films. Charting the rise of comic books and graphic novels as source material for feature films, this course will explore issues of adaptation and ask pressing questions about the form and function of cinema culled from comics. We will touch on issues relating to narrative, aesthetics, politics, nation, race, gender, difference, and the culture of fandom.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102

GD234 Special Topics: The Design Laboratory
This course promotes to advocate opportunities for students to collaborate with existing organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, allowing students to obtain real world experience. This student-driven course will develop students’ interdisciplinary design and collaboration skills, which are critical skill sets in the field of design. Through various user-based projects, students are expected to explore the role of design in contemporary society. Students are also expected to be proactive in collaboratively developing the infrastructure of The Design Laboratory.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

GD235 Special Topics: Sustainable Design Studio
This course seeks to introduce the fundamental principles of environmentalism and environmentally friendly design and foster awareness about various forms of sustainability through interdisciplinary design activities. This course provides a comprehensive approach to the environmentally and socially sustainable design projects, which may include information design, package design, life cycle analysis map design and guerrilla campaign design.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

HU224 Special Topics: Introduction to African American Studies
This course is a broad historical survey of the systems, movements, and ideas that have shaped the experiences of African Americans — including slavery and emancipation, politics and religion, and culture and identity. The course is interdisciplinary in its aim to introduce students to the complexities of the African-American experience as represented through widespread social and political participation and the creation of a rich body of intellectual work, literature, art, and music. We will examine the intellectual and artistic contributions African Americans have made in response to the struggle for emancipation and self-determination. We will also consider a series of questions including the following: When and how did Africans become “African Americans”? How has race been defined in the U.S. context?
Prerequisite: HU102

HU228  Special Topics: Conversational French
(1 credit)
Conversational French is designed for those students who have some knowledge of French and would like to “brush up” on their conversational skills. The class will focus mainly on listening and speaking with few interruptions due to corrections. The main goal is communication. Various scenarios will be used as the impetus for the “conversation du jour”. Such situational settings will include public transportation, dining out, museum visits, and topical news items. Students will be given the topics one week in advance and will be expected to pre-load the necessary vocabulary and background information for the discussion. All pronunciation practice will be the responsibility of the student using free websites or apps for practice outside of class.
Prerequisites: HU102, HU295 or POI

HU3204 Special Topics: Sexuality in Literature
“Sex, the explanation for everything” (History of Sexuality).
Literature has been a traditional space for exploration of sexuality. This course examines the representations of sexuality and gender, particularly in the twentieth century, through study of theoretical and literary texts. We will look at how these texts construct the relations among sexuality, gender, and identity, and how they place gender and sexuality in relation to other aspects of public and private life, including race and ethnicity.
Prerequisite: HU102, fulfills the Literature (LIT) requirement or a Liberal Arts elective

HU3212 Special Topics: The Art of Storytelling: Discovering the Beauty and Restoring the Connection
This course is designed to deepen the student’s appreciation for the art and power of storytelling to build positive community connections. The students will be encouraged to dig more deeply into their own life stories and to risk being vulnerable with each other as they share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment. Students will improve their observation and listening skills. Students will be introduced to marginalized members of our community, people who have been forgotten or set apart (homeless, incarcerated, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, developmentally disabled adults and chronically mentally ill). The students will be challenged to discover and restore the beauty and significance of the stories of these people. Each student will be given the opportunity to create a scripted performance of the story he or she has restored. The performance will be staged for local audiences at TheatreSouth.
Prerequisite: HU102

HU323 Special Topics: African American Literature
This course provides an introduction to twentieth-century African-American literature. We will read writings representative of the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, and Black women’s movement. We will think about how these social and intellectual milieus have created new thematic concerns as well as innovative forms in African American writing.
Prerequisites: HU102, fulfills the Literature (LIT) requirement or a Liberal Arts elective

HU3241 Special Topics: Colonial American History
A study of the development of the American colonies from their discovery to the end of the American Revolution. While emphasis is on the English colonial experience, the influences of Spanish, French, and other European cultures are also examined.  The study includes social, economic, cultural, and political developments.
Prerequisite: HU102

HU655 Special Topics: Intro to Media and Cultural Studies: Focus on the Civil Rights and Power Movement
This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental theoretical concepts that define the field of media studies. Once the basics are established, course discussion and readings will explore several modes of media studies analysis, including feminist, multi‐cultural and political modes. Students will be asked to use these analytical methodologies to interpret a range of cultural texts, including Meridian by Alice Walker, Without Sanctuary online musarium, editorial cartoons from the Black Panther and Gidra newspapers, as well as the National Civil Rights Museum.
Note: Graduate students only. Open to MFA students.

Il230 Special Topics: Dimensional Illustration
Sculpting characters and environments for production as illustrations, stop action animation assets and gaming industry characterizations, focusing on conceptual illustration, craft and building a visual library of gesture, expression, and texture in a concrete form. The processes are informed by basic sculptural or 3D design practices beginning with sketches, the drawing of standard format character sketches (front, back, side) followed by armature building, the use of polymer clay as a medium, along with clay, cardboard, etc.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses.

IL338 Special Topics: Digital Painting
This course is an introduction to digital painting techniques using Wacom tablets and Adobe Photoshop. There is a strong emphasis on visual development, figurative imagery, composition, color theory, craft. Course work includes drawing and painting digitally from a live model, creating master copies, speed painting, portraiture, and concept art such as character and background design.
Prerequisite: Junior standing or above.

MA221 Special Topics: Mathematics in Music
Music and Mathematics are connected in fundamental ways, and understanding these connections helps you appreciate both, even if you have no special ability in either field.  In this course, you will discover how mathematics is involved in making music by learning about harmony, tones and tunings by the ancient Greeks, mathematical patterns in musical compositions, and the artistic attributes of mathematics.
Prerequisite: HU102, fulfills the Mathematics/Natural Science (MA/NS) requirement or a Liberal Arts elective

PM236 Special Topics: Book-Paper Collaborative
This course will focus on designing and developing a book as a three dimensional project from the beginning to the end by manufacturing the paper, printing the contents, and hand binding the book form itself. The students will develop a skill of complex thinking thru the design of individual project works. Through this class students will learn:
-a classical French link stitch book binding technique
-Art portfolio designing
-different fibers for papermaking
-papermaking techniques such as embedding, embossing, and shaped deckles
-how to make editions of paper that are clean, uniform in thickness and size, and    manipulated to fit individual projects
-letter press printing
-polymer plate making
-various alternative print mediums

SS327 Special Topics: Sociology of Marriage, the Family, and Intimate Relationships
A survey of changes in family systems over the years. Areas of study include courtship, love, mate selection, and family problems. The course also examines cross-cultural comparisons and considers alternatives to current traditional family forms. Emphasis is placed on the use of empirical evidence to evaluate popular beliefs.
Prerequisite: HU102, fulfills the Social Science (SS) requirement or a Liberal Arts elective


Summer 2014

Summer Session 1: May 12–30

HU3213 Special Topics: Riding the Rails: A Literary Journey through Doubt to Discovery
Riding the Rails provides an overview of contemporary American literature (i.e. novel, short story, poetry, song, and film) centered on the journey/quest motif, using the symbol of the railroad to examine narrative, setting, character, symbol, and theme. Particular emphasis is placed upon character, theme, symbol (metaphor) and theme against the backdrop of narrative of place. Including the image of the railroad adds both a visual and metaphorical element, seeking to build the analytical capacity of students.

Focusing on such themes and conceptual elements as tragedy, spirituality, doubt/fear/alienation, and initiation/discovery, this course affords the student the opportunity for analysis and examination of a variety of literary genres and reflection on such themes. Simply put, reading good literature helps one to understand human nature, and in a course such as this, students are asked to look for the conceptual ties that not only bind these literary works, but also are linked with contemporary living.

The course emphasizes careful reading, analysis, and interpretation of the selected works. Critical thinking, discussion, and writing about these literary works and art will be used as tools of evaluation. This course counts as a Literature credit or as a Liberal Arts Elective.
Prerequisites: HU102

Summer Session 2: June 2–20

PH336 Special Topics: Advanced Large Format Photography
This course is a studio class that investigates advanced techniques using large format cameras.  Students will create photographs within their visual concept and style with a 4×5 camera.  Students will learn complex techniques to control the aesthetic aspects of their photographs such as rise, tilt and shift.  While students will be shooting film that will be printed digitally, a 48 megapixel, 4×5 digital back will rented so that students can have experience working with professional-level technology.
Prerequisites: PH250 or permission of instructor

Summer Session 3: June 30 – July 18

HU225 Special Topics: The Graphic Novel
This Graphic Novel course offers instruction in the reading of the graphic novel as well as writing and thinking about this sequential art form commonly referred to as comics. We will explore the medium’s long and rich history, its storytelling potential, its unique visual grammar, and the cultural, aesthetic and theoretical context of the genre and individual works. This course counts as a Liberal Arts Elective.
Prerequisites: HU102

PM235 Special Topics: Sculptural Papermaking
Students taking this class will learn sculptural techniques using handmade paper and paper pulp. Projects will include work done with wire armatures, vacuum table forming, and pulp spraying. Students will be graded according to proper use of materials, studio cleanliness & safety, attendance & participation, craftsmanship, and creativity of final work.


Spring 2014

AH3201 Special Topics: Realism and Impressionism
This course will survey the history of European art from approximately 1840 until 1880. Students will become familiar with the various schools of mid-century Realism (including Impressionism), and how these movements developed within the context of historical events in France, Britain, Germany, and Italy. Through a close examination of artworks and writings of the time period, students will be able to discuss how Realist artists and thinkers engaged with contemporary politics while laying the groundwork for modernist styles of art.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102

AH329 Special Topics: American Art, 1865-1950
This class examines art in the United States from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to the rise of Abstract Expressionism around 1950. We will study painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, illustration, design, and material culture produced by indigenous, native-born, immigrant, and expatriate American artists. Primary themes include post-Civil War imagery related to the issues of national unity, nativism, and immigration; artistic interchange between America and Europe; the arrival, reception, and subsequent flowering of modernism in America; African American artists and movements, including the Harlem Renaissance; regionalism; government patronage and the Great Depression; art by women and art about women; Abstract Expressionism and the end of American Art.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102

AH428 Special Topics: Curatorial Practicum: The Art of Ed Perry
Edward H. Perry (1947-2007) was a Memphis College of Art alumnus who created a unique, unusual, and virtually unknown body of work. Using discarded architectural millwork and other scraps of hardwoods, spray-painted canvases, and occasionally electric lights, circuit boards, plastics, and other materials, Perry made constructions that combine two-dimensional and three-dimensional ideas. They could be described as paintings with oversized sculptural frames or sculptures that house paintings. In this class, students will work directly with Perry’s art (currently on display at A2H, an architectural and engineering firm in Lakeland, TN, just outside of Memphis). An exhibition of Perry’s work is planned for the Memphis College of Art galleries in Fall 2014. In this class, students will help to curate the MCA show by researching Perry and his art, recommending which works should be in the MCA show and how they should be organized, and writing the text that will accompany the works in the show. Students should be prepared for group work. Occasional trips to A2H to view Perry’s work will be necessary.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102 and permission of instructor

AH621 Special Topics: The Biopic
This graduate seminar will explore an often derided but nevertheless enduring film genre: the biopic. As is the case with literary adaptations, the attempt to summarize a life story within the confines of narrative film is fraught with compromises and controversies. Filmmakers are tasked with condensing the lives of their subjects into a few hours of screen time while also dealing with the political and economic considerations inherent in commercial film production. Focusing heavily on the lives of artists (although not exclusively), we will explore tropes relating to the creative process and definitions of success. Simply put, what makes a subject “worthy” of a biopic? This seminar course will unpack the formal and narrative conventions of the biopic as well as the myriad fissures between popular, personal, and scholarly versions of history.

AH622 Special Topics: Scandalously Conservative: William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Painter of exquisite female nudes, scantily-clad Grecian nymphs, melancholy beggar children, and beautifully costumed peasant girls, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905) enjoyed an enormously successful career. Collectors in France and America eagerly paid top dollar for his finely finished, almost photographic works. But even at the height of his fame, more progressive artists—namely the Impressionists—began the assault on his critical reputation. Due to the rise of modernism, Bouguereau was almost entirely forgotten soon after his death, and only rediscovered in the 1980s. This seminar will explore the rise, fall, and rise of Bouguereau through a variety of lenses. In particular, it will consider the artist as related to a variety of complex issues, including: attitudes toward nudity in 19th century America; collectors and collecting; the use of photography; social problems such as poverty and prostitution; religious images for Protestant worship; the rise of Modernism, and the objectification of women.

GD234 Special Topics: The Design Laboratory
This course promotes to advocate opportunities for students to collaborate with existing organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, allowing students to obtain real world experience. This student-driven course will develop students’ interdisciplinary design and collaboration skills, which are critical skill sets in the field of design. Through various user-based projects, students are expected to explore the role of design in contemporary society. Students are also expected to be proactive in collaboratively developing the infrastructure of The Design Laboratory.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

HU228 Special Topics: Conversational French
(1 credit)
Conversational French is designed for those students who have some knowledge of French and would like to “brush up” on their conversational skills. The class will focus mainly on listening and speaking with few interruptions due to corrections. The main goal is communication.

Various scenarios will be used as the impetus for the “conversation du jour”. Such situational settings will include public transportation, dining out, museum visits, and topical news items. Students will be given the topics one week in advance and will be expected to pre-load the necessary vocabulary and background information for the discussion. All pronunciation practice will be the responsibility of the student using free websites or apps for practice outside of class.
Prerequisites: HU102, HU295 or permission of instructor

HU3203 Special Topics: Women’s Literature
Women’s literature as an area of study is based on the notion that women’s social reality, historically, has been shaped by gender. This course will examine how selected women writers explore questions about gender, women’s roles within the family and the community, and how women have been perceived culturally and historically. Special attention will be given to the ways in which race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality shape personal and social realities in literature. The course is organized around conceptual themes. The themes include feminist utopias and dystopias, rewriting fairy tales, sexual violence, and madness. We will read a wide variety of works, including novels, short stories, and essays by British, American, and Canadian women writers. This course fulfills the Literature requirement.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU3211 Special Topics: Trauma in Literature and Film
Can the horrors of war, genocide, and loss be represented? What is at stake in representing experiences often referred to as unspeakable? This course will examine attempts to portray psychological and cultural effects of traumatic events through a variety of twentieth century fictions, films, graphic novels, and short stories. Reading selections from trauma theory, students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary field of trauma studies. Major questions to be discussed include, but are not limited to: what challenges does trauma pose to representation? What are the ethical and political implications of representing trauma in relation to significant historical events and personal past? How do contemporary artists respond to trauma and attempt to represent it? The course will encompass twentieth-century catastrophes such as war and genocide as well as everyday experiences of violence and loss. This course fulfills the Literature requirement.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU3212 Special Topics: The Art of Storytelling: Discovering the Beauty and Restoring the Connection
This course is designed to deepen the student’s appreciation for the art and power of storytelling to build positive community connections. The students will be encouraged to dig more deeply into their own life stories and to risk being vulnerable with each other as they share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment. Students will improve their observation and listening skills. Students will be introduced to marginalized members of our community, people who have been forgotten or set apart (homeless, incarcerated, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, developmentally disabled adults and chronically mentally ill). The students will be challenged to discover and restore the beauty and significance of the stories of these people. Each student will be given the opportunity to create a scripted performance of the story he or she has restored. The performance will be staged for local audiences at TheatreSouth.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU325 Special Topics: The Hidden Life of Letters: A History of Western Writing from Empire to Graffiti
Written language is a key component of any civilization. It is often taken for granted that an enormous history lurks behind each of the letters that facilitate even our most banal communications. Writing in the west, originating in the Phoenician alphabet, has grown and evolved following the material and ideological conditions of European transformation. This class will track that history and development—the hidden lives of our letters. After analyzing the social conditions that initially gave rise to writing (c. 3500 B.C.E.), we will then turn to the progression of writing as it travels from Egypt and Mesopotamia on to the Greek and Italian mainlands (c. 800-700 B.C.E.). The lion’s share of the class will carefully track the Western European use of the Latin script—that is, Latin letters and the forms they take through time (100 C.E. – 1500 C.E.) and their mutations through the development of feudalism, with attention paid to the life and times of the scribes that produced them.

Further, in order to grasp the often-nuanced transitions between letter forms, we will learn to reproduce features of specific script forms. In other words, we will learn about writing, in part, by reproducing historical lettering. However, this class will primarily be paleographic (studying the development of writing through time) rather than calligraphic (studying the purely aesthetic production of letters) in character. Finally, we will explore the place of writing in contemporary forms, specifically asemic (nonsense) writing and graffiti culture.

This class will be useful to students in a variety of ways. The history of writing provides a unique lens thorough which to understand the social and historical changes that produced Western civilization. For instance, the transition from the so-called Dark Ages to the high Middle Ages is marked by a shift from local letter forms to standardized, Imperial Carolinian script. This class will argue that the mutation of writing tracks the ebb and flow of power in European history. Further, an enriched historical understanding of letters and lettering provides students with an enormous toolbox for use in other aesthetic applications, from design generally to the lettering of graphic novels, etc. In this sense, the history of lettering will be an interdisciplinary platform for both liberal studies and the practical aspect of lettering.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU328 Special Topics: Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature
Often considered the most imaginative of the genres, this course will provide an overview of fantasy and science fiction’s roots in myth to modern concepts of technology; the course will focus on themes such as dystopian/utopian visions of society, man’s relationship with the divine, alien contact and man’s role in an ever-changing technological landscape. Emphasis is placed on the students’ critical interpretation of the texts. Written assignments will demand critical thinking skills and literary analysis.
Prerequisites: HU102

IL230 Special Topics: 3D Illustration
Sculpting characters and environments for production as illustrations, stop action animation assets and gaming industry characterizations, focusing on conceptual illustration, craft and building a visual library of gesture, expression, and texture in a concrete form. The processes are informed by basic sculptural or 3D design practices beginning with sketches, the drawing of standard format character sketches (front, back, side) followed by armature building, the use of polymer clay as a medium, along with clay, cardboard, etc.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

MA222 Special Topics: Geometry in the Arts
Geometry in the Arts
 is a study of topics in geometry with examples of its historical application to the arts. The emphasis is on geometric concepts. The course is designed to illustrate the relationship between two fields of endeavor: geometry and the arts. The course includes all the topics necessary for a solid foundation in geometry—plane, solid and fractal. It goes beyond the traditional geometry course by delving into the history of geometric ideas, the mathematicians who developed them, the symbolism of geometric figures and the influence of geometry in the arts and architecture.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102

SC212 Special Topics: Metal Studio Furniture
This course will teach students the design, form, function, and construction of traditional and nontraditional metal furniture through a sculptural filter. Wood, plastics, stone, and recycled materials will be discussed as complementary component to the primarily metal construction. Areas of exploration may include tables, lighting elements, outdoor, and indoor seating. Emphasis will be placed on developing sculpturally significant furniture items relevant to contemporary trends.
Prerequisites: SC100 or SC150, permission of instructor

SC236 Special Topics: 3D Printing
This course will address contemporary processes emerging in the fine art industry by familiarizing students with basic rapid prototyping techniques (3D printing). 3D printing is the process of using CAD-rendered objects (computer drawings) to precisely layer extruded bits of molten plastic or other material to create physical three- dimensional objects. 3D printing allows the artist to create objects that otherwise would be incredibly difficult, costly, and time-consuming using the traditional processes. Students will not only be exploring the many advantages that 3D printing has to offer, but also the creative possibilities beyond the printing process.
Prerequisites: FD130, FD170

SS221 Special Topics: Introduction to Sociology
An introduction to the sociological perspective. Sociology seeks to explain the origin and functioning of social behavior as it appears in such areas as the family, religion, economic structures, political structures, schools, deviant behavior, cultural norms, and other areas of human social interaction. Students will be introduced to basic sociological terms, concepts, and theories.
This class fulfills the Social Science (SS) requirement.
Prerequisites: HU102


Fall 2013

AH328 Special Topics: High Renaissance Italy
This course is a survey of the visual arts of Italy from the late 15th century through the 16th century. Focusing on the conditions in which the artworks were produced and viewed rather than on the distinctions between “fine” and “decorative” art, the course will emphasize painting, sculpture and architecture but will also cover aspects of visual culture in both religious and domestic settings. The classes will be primarily lectures, but student participation in discussions is strongly encouraged.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102

GD234 Special Topics: The Design Laboratory
This course promotes to advocate opportunities for students to collaborate with existing organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, allowing students to obtain real world experience. This student-driven course will develop students’ interdisciplinary design and collaboration skills, which are critical skill sets in the field of design. Through various user-based projects, students are expected to explore the role of design in contemporary society. Students are also expected to be proactive in collaboratively developing the infrastructure of The Design Laboratory.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

GD235 Special Topics: Sustainable Design Studio
This course seeks to introduce the fundamental principles of environmentalism and environmentally friendly design and foster awareness about various forms of sustainability through interdisciplinary design activities. This course provides a comprehensive approach to the environmentally and socially sustainable design projects, which may include information design, package design, life cycle analysis map design and guerrilla campaign design.
Prerequisites: Foundation courses

HU227 Special Topics: U.S. History to 1877
This course examines the economic, geographical and social background of life in the United States from its discovery through its colonization and independence and, finally, to its national crisis and reconstruction. Emphasis will be placed upon vital intellectual, cultural, political and social movements that formed the foundations of the nation. In addition to a general textbook, primary documents will also be examined in order to expose students to firsthand historical sources of American history.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU3201 Special Topics: Rhetoric of Popular Culture
This course provides students with an introduction to rhetoric in popular culture. It is concerned with how rhetoric functions in popular culture artifacts. Loosely translated from Aristotle’s definition, rhetoric is the study of the art of the available means of persuasion. Therefore, this course uses different critical theories (such as Marxist, Feminist, Racial and Queer) to critique the rhetorical dimensions of popular culture. Specifically, it is concerned with how film, television, music, advertising and technology texts are representative of cultural identities of class, gender, race, sexuality and/or disability. Overall, students in this course will be exposed to many realms of contemporary popular culture while also learning the fundamentals of theorizing about and critiquing artifacts in Western culture.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU3202 Special Topics: Women’s Studies: Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality
This interdisciplinary course examines gender at the intersections of sexuality, race, ethnicity and class. Students will think about how these social categories shape women’s lives and how women negotiate these categories to create their own identities. Students will consider differences among women. Students will also consider the ways in which gender, race, class and sexuality intersect to create dynamics of oppression and domination in our society. Readings include selections from feminist theory, cultural studies, and literature. Along with reading about gendered, sexual, ethnic and racial identities/experiences, students will also explore their own gendered/sexual/racial/ethnic identities, through constructing their own autobiographical narratives.
Prerequisites: HU102

SS325 Special Topics: Learning and Memory
Briefly, learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of experience. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview and critical examination of learning theories with some general applications. The course will have a historical/empirical approach to assist students with understanding the basic concepts and principles of classical (aka Pavlovian), instrumental, operant and cognitive learning as applied to human and non-human animals. This course will examine the methods and discoveries from this significant area of psychology. In many ways, these discoveries form the foundation of much of our other knowledge in psychology. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to apply various aspects of learning theory and procedures to address real-life problems and situations outside the classroom to demonstrate a clear understanding of learning and conditioning in animals and humans.
Prerequisites: HU102

SS326 Special Topics: Anthropology of Warfare, Violence and Peace
The discipline of anthropology—and related fields like political science and international relations—has long addressed the causes and manifestations of warfare, violence, and peace. Are human beings naturally aggressive and “hard-wired” for violence and warfare? Or is violence merely one possibility in a range of tendencies that also includes peacefulness and altruism? Why do people engage in violence and wage war? Is peace a utopian vision, a socio-cultural fact or a set of deliberate choices that can be systematically pursued by social groups and governments? How exactly do we define violence and peace? Is warfare always the default position through which we compete for resources and power? What other explanations can we find for why people fight? And how have people in different places and time periods mobilized to both wage war and to promote peace, and at what costs?

This course critically explores the causes, manifestations, and impacts of warfare and violence on societies, communities and individuals from a contemporary cultural anthropology perspective. The class will examine the above questions through a series of approaches that analyze the reasons why human societies engage in warfare and violence and with what effects. Students will also examine how societies have pursued peace, both as an alternative to conflict and in the aftermath of conflict. Ultimately, the class will help students consider why American history, society, culture and values have often tended to be aggressive and militaristic, and more importantly, how this might be changed in the opposite direction—toward a more humane, compassionate, just, nonviolent, peaceful and sustainable society for the 21st century.
Prerequisites: HU102


Past Special Topics

AH224 Special Topics: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology
This course is a survey of the key artistic and archaeological monuments (tombs, temples, statuary), material culture (burials, daily life) and other art forms of ancient Egypt from prehistory to the late Roman Period (A.D. 642). The purpose of this course is to create a better understanding of the different themes and styles that are found in Egyptian art during the empire’s 3,000 years of history. Class discussion will center around two crucial points: the art forms of the king and those of the elite/ruling class because they were the patrons who determined major artistic production.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU101, HU102

AH327 Special Topics: Science Fiction Cinema
Whether it is imagining the future or allegorizing the past and present, science fiction is adept at reflecting collective fears, political viewpoints, and the ethical dilemmas presented by scientific and technological advances. Sometimes referred to as “speculative fiction,” sci-fi has remained one of the most prominent and versatile genres throughout the history of the cinematic medium. This course will provide an historical framework that analyzes and contextualizes the development and revisions of the genre since 1900, paying special attention to shifts in production, reception and socio-political climate. Through a filter of the broader sub-discipline of genre studies, we will explore the ways Sci-Fi conforms to traditional definitions of genre, while using film theory to complicate and contest the idea of rigid narrative demarcation.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU102

AH424 Special Topics: Museum Theory and Practice
This course is an upper-level undergraduate seminar that explores both the theoretical approaches to museum development and implementation along with hands-on applications in the museum field today. Each week is dedicated to understanding the role of a different museum office, such as Collections Management, Development, Education, Exhibit Preparation, Marketing, Operations, Visitor Experience and Registrar. In addition, some weeks our class discussion will scrutinize the larger role of museums in their communities, museum ethics and social responsibility or the future of museums in a digital age.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU101, HU102

AH425 Special Topics: Curatorial Studies
Introduction to primary methods utilized by curators within the contemporary art world. Through examinations of the major developments in the history of art curation, students will cultivate an understanding of the practices and procedures for producing exhibitions, including fundamentals of curatorial theory, methodologies of design and installation, and audience engagement strategies.
Prerequisites: AH100, AH150, HU101, HU102

HU220 Humanities: Special Topics American History
This course examines the economic, political, geographical and social background of life in the United States from the Civil War/Reconstruction era to present times. Emphasis will be placed upon vital intellectual, cultural, political, and social movements that have shaped and continue to impact the current American scene. In addition to a general course textbook, primary documents will also be examined in order to expose students to firsthand historical sources of American history.

HU221 Humanities: Special Topics Oral Communication
Basic Oral Communication introduces students to the principles and theories of effective public and small group communication as well as interpersonal and interpersonal communication. The course explores the demands on, and effects of, communication in the 21st century and will briefly explore ideas specific to the professional art world. The students’ own artwork and artist statements will be used as subject material for their final projects.

HU225 Special Topics: Graphic Novel as Literature
This graphic novel course offers instruction in the reading of the graphic novel as well as writing and thinking about this sequential art form commonly referred to as comics. We will explore the medium’s long and rich history, its storytelling potential, its unique visual grammar and the cultural, aesthetic and theoretical context of the genre and individual works.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU324 Special Topics: Latin American History
This course examines Latin American history from European encounter through colonialism, the independence movements and the struggles of nationalism, to the present-day problems of globalization. Emphasis will be placed upon vital intellectual, cultural, political and social movements that have shaped and continue to impact the current Latin American scene. In addition to a general course textbook, a supplementary reader will be used to expose students to important primary and secondary documents, providing more depth into topics such as race and slavery, gender, liberalism, conservatism, revolution and globalization.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102

HU326 Special Topics: Queers in Space: LGBTQ Geographies in the United States
“Whose street? Our street!” This phrase was a rallying cry of the gay and lesbian rights movement in the 1970s. The movement’s focus on visibility and on access to public space, stood in marked contrast to the secrecy and repression that activists felt had characterized gay and lesbian life for the past several decades. In this and many other historical moments, the politics of space—who had access to it, the terms of its use, and how it shaped and was shaped by the people who occupied it—has been crucial to the formation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer sexualities and identities in the United States.

This combined lecture and discussion class will explore people’s travels in and across spaces as diverse as homes, farms, bars, city streets, military bases and international borders to reveal how LGBTQ people have formed individual identities, created varied and diverse communities and challenged social and political oppression through the spaces that they claim and those from which they are excluded.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102

HU327 Special Topics: Poetry Writing and Performance
Building on the traditional poetry workshop model, this course will also add a significant emphasis on the oral poetry reading and the live spoken word performance. Like a traditional poetry workshop, students will develop their poetic technique through extensive writing, close reading and active discussion of student work. We will also place strong emphasis on the art of reading poems aloud—through in-class performance, listening to recorded performances and through a consideration of theoretical approaches from critics and poets alike. We will also devote a period of each class to critical analysis of poetry and theory by established writers. In each case, close attention will be paid to form, language, sonic elements, and the relevant poetic traditions. The culmination of the course will be a final portfolio of revised work and an in-class performance.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102

HU329 Special Topics: Telling the Story: Critical Approaches to Storytelling and Mythmaking
Many scholars have argued that human beings conduct their lives in a landscape of stories of our own creation. There is a storytelling impulse that teaches us how to live and how to bond as members of a community. We are inundated with stories via our upbringing, religion and cultural backgrounds as well as prominently through our media. It stands to reason that we should step outside of this landscape of stories momentarily to ask ourselves what exactly are these stories doing, how are they operating, what are they teaching us and how can we become agents in their creation? Creative people in particular can benefit from a better understanding of the human drive to create and perpetuate story. In this course we will explore several theories and processes of storytelling. Readings from authors such as Joseph Campbell, Kirin Narayan, Linda Seger and Zora Neale Hurston teach us how stories can facilitate a creative practice that resonates with audiences on a deeper level and promote the creation of new knowledge, works of art, ideas and ways of being.
Prerequisites: HU102

HU387 Forms of Fiction: Horror
This course traces the evolution of the modern horror novel from its roots in the Gothic and examines its enduring popularity. The reading list will consist primarily of novels, but some short stories will also be included.

HU420 Humanities: Special Topics Black on Film: Race and Cinema
Close analysis of the metaphor of race in cinematic texts, including American, European, AFrican, Caribbean, and Latin American films. The class will be structured around daily viewings with films augmented by a variety of other textural and contextual sources: literary, musical, philosophical, and historical. Students will write 3 short essays that develop class discussion.

NS221 Special Topics: Human Evolution
This course provides a broad perspective on what it means to be a human being and how our species fits into the wider biological framework. Evolution theory (including common misconceptions), modern human variations and adaptations and the range of human behavioral and biological diversity will be covered.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102

SS320 Social Science Special Topics: Government
Students will learn about the history, development, and structure of the federal and state governments and outside forces that influence government. Students will analyze the role and the interaction between the three branches of government, concepts of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the impact of individual participation in government.

SS324 Special Topics: Campaigns and Elections
Through both discussions and lectures, this course will examine the dynamics of elections in contemporary American politics. We will explore how political scientists study electoral politics, what we have learned and how these academic endeavors apply to political conduct. To this end, we will examine why candidates, voters and others think and behave the way they do; the rules that govern their behavior; and who wins elections and why. Our analysis will focus on the ways in which factors within the candidate’s control (e.g. strategy, fundraising, advertising) interact with factors largely outside the candidate’s control (e.g. regulations, gender, race, partisanship), in order to assess what difference (if any) campaigns actually make in election outcomes. Finally, we will explore how we might use what we know about campaigns and elections to make them better.
Prerequisites: HU101, HU102