Dialogues course descriptions

Spring 2016: Dialogues course descriptions

Dialogues of Belief and Reason

DBRA 100 Rude Democracy

This dialogue course will survey the rhetoric and debates that have shaped and formed democratic institutions throughout the history of the West. Represented in the “Dialogues of Learning—level I,” the course will analyze the lives and ideas of historical figures that have contributed to the democratic process, and as a result, have contributed to societal progress. By examining the choices of statesmen in relation to their belief systems, students will understand these major historical figures in the context of their cultural, religious, and political outlook. The course will focus on the students’ ability to recognize the significance of choice and the foundations from which people make rhetorical and political decisions. Students will be expected to examine the consequences of decisions by historical figures and analyze the person’s thought process in light of their worldview. Emphasis will be given on student evaluation and assessment of their own understanding of rhetoric, debate, democracy, and history. In addition, the course will function as an introduction to the main theories of political and social philosophy. We shall examine the ancient flourishing of the Athenian Empire, the Republic of Rome, The Development of Parliamentary systems in Europe and the Americas.

DBRA 100 The Garden of Good and Evil

“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing,” said Edmond Burke. This course will explore good and evil from a moral and civic perspective. It will consider the perception that something accepted in one culture is taboo in another by examining how good and evil affect our perception and cognitive reasoning. It will study the influence these themes have on the persuasive nature of the media from a historical perspective.

DBRA 100 Rhetoric and Western Philosophy

The United States owes its moral and intellectual foundations to the Abrahamic religions and the Western philosophical canon.  This course examines how the fundamental answers to life’s biggest questions have been discussed over hundreds of years and have culminated in the American experiment.  Readings are religious texts as well as philosophical works that engage with those texts.  Students learn to write arguments through essay and refine those arguments into speeches for presenting.

DBRG 200 Emersonian Transcendentalism 

Emersonian Transcendentalism is a Level Two course with an American focus. After focusing on rhetoric, students will write a position paper on Emerson’s Nature, followed by a synthesis of Nature with selections from the reader, all the while working on research, using an annotated bibliography, toward a paper arguing the following thesis: Emersonian Transcendentalism has its roots in classic texts on belief and reason, and the influence of Emerson’s spiritual philosophy can be seen in more contemporary texts on the subject.

DBRG 200 Happily Ever After 

There are many ways to teach people how to be good: commandments, the promise of religious reward, and philosophical reasoning. However, we are also infused with our culture’s morals through folk stories. In fact, for centuries, many children have first learned what is morally right and wrong from fairy tales. Each fairy tale works to reinforce or defy commonly held beliefs and values, with often great rewards for good behavior, and a horrible end for the evil characters. These messages are usually hidden in metaphors. In this course, we will analyze fairy tales from a variety of perspectives, taking our inspiration from the Dialogue readings. We will use the fairy tales written down by the Grimm brothers, compare them to the works of philosophers and religious leaders, and reflect on what these stories teach us about character building, punishment and reward, acceptance, and the potential for change.

DBRG 200 Why Tragedy? 

Why Tragedy will examine tragedy through dramatic expressions of the tragic experience in plays and films, as well as through analysis of tragic events, such as the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, to seek an understanding of the nature and effects of tragedy. Through readings from literary, historical, cultural and philosophical perspectives, the course will attempt to answer such essential questions as the role and purpose of tragedy in our lives, how it is perceived and understood, how it relates to society as a whole and how we can play a part in coping with tragedy. Plays, films and readings will range from the classical to contemporary eras and will possibly include works or selections from works, such as Aristotle’s Poetics, Sophocles’ Antigone, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hegel’s Aesthetics, Miller’s “Tragedy and the Common Man” and Death of a Salesman, Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and Woody Allen's Match Point.

DBRG 300 Sex, Love and Gender 

This course will examine the dynamic s of the male /female relationship from a philosophical perspective through a historical lens. The philosophical/religious beliefs on gender from the Ancients to contemporary belief systems will be analyzed in the context of their influence toward creating attitudes of duality and domination/submission.

DBRG 300 Experiencing Belief Systems 
This course examines concepts of belief and reason through careful theatrical readings and understandings of characters in dramatic plays. Concepts such as the meaning of life, religious philosophical perspectives, moral understandings, and evolution vs. creationism will be investigated. Students will immerse themselves and experience alternative concepts of belief and reason through portrayal of influential characters in dramatic history. 

DBRG/DSL 300 Magic, Science and Religion 

This course will examine the similarities and differences between Magic, Science and Religion.  All are part of the human quest to understand, and ultimately, to manipulate and control the natural world. The thought processes and reasoning are similar in all three.  A question or goal is posited; there is then “experimental” intervention to attempt to achieve the goal; the result is observed empirically, and its utility in attaining the goal is assessed.  All three have become institutionalized, and allowed to be transmitted through generations, because they work, or at least are perceived to work, in giving humans better control of the natural world.

DBRG/DQR 300 Logical Reasoning

This course will focus on the basic principles of logic. Students will learn to construct persuasive arguments, avoid logical mistakes, and assess the reasoning in documents such as political speeches, academic articles, social media posts, and product ads. The course will consider informal logic (critical thinking) as well as the formal system of symbolic propositional logic. Since logic is important to almost every academic subject and career (business, law, communication, the humanities…), the skills covered in this course will be widely applicable.

DBR400/HUM 420 Contemporary Ethical Issues
Luttio, Mark

This course explores modern issues in ethics in our global context. After a theoretical foundation, students will synthesize their knowledge of ethics with contemporary issues in order to analyze and critically assess the ethical concepts embedded in these contemporary issues as they relate to their personal lives, academic interests and the world in which they live. Students will be asked to think critically and creatively about contemporary ethical issues as they intersect a variety of areas of academic study. Further, students will be encouraged to develop self-awareness as moral agents in their own day-to-day environments. Historical contexts will be used to establish philosophical perspectives in order to identify, analyze, and ultimately critique contemporary ethical issues—in particular, those issues which are relevant to the student’s chosen career paths and areas of special research interest.

DBRG 400 Culture in Revolt: Reactions to the Enlightenment

Beginning with Nietzsche in the 19th century, the course will examine the revolt against reason that continued into the 20th century and was reflected not only in philosophical writings but also in art. The question the course will ask, what happened to faith, religion, myth, art and culture, as well as trust in reason, technology and science in the modern world in the wake of the Enlightenment. Central to this question are writings in the emerging 20th century field of cultural theory that began with the Frankfurt School and specifically in the ideas of Adorno and Horkheimer in their Dialectic of Enlightenment and Walter Benjamin, specifically in his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Reactions to the absence of religious faith will be seen in Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents and to a world dominated by rationalism, and technology in Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man. As critic Raymond Williams once claimed, the ethos of an era is visible in the artistic “structures of feeling” that represent an age; hence, Culture in Revolt will look at these relevant structures of feeling in film to examine the clash between faith and reason. The seminal works in cultural theory will be used to critique these art films.

DBRG 400 The Enlightenment: Past and Present

This course will examine the characteristics of the Enlightenment period from a philosophical perspective through a historical lens. The Socio-political events of previous eras will be analyzed in the context of their influence toward Secularism which evolved in the eighteenth century.  The ideals of the Enlightenment will also be applied to contemporary society.

DBRG 400 Deviance on Our Doorstep

This course will focus on morals and ethics in action. Students will research deviance from what our culture dictates is moral and ethical behavior, by studying it in the world around them. They will do qualitative research to make clear how individuals and groups come to exhibit behavior that deviates from the moral and ethical norms of society. The entire class will work on one topic, divided up into groups that approach the topic with a different research method. After collecting and analyzing their data, the results will be presented in essays and presentations. Students will also find out where the social morals and ethics we are so familiar with came from in the first place, creating awareness that those morals and ethics are ever changing. 

Dialogues of Justice and Civic Life

DJC 100 Justice and Civic Life

Pursuant to our educational goals of preparing students to be responsible, informed and ethical citizens locally and globally, these seminars focus on the ideas, values, institutions and practices that have defined  civic  life  within  human  societies.    Civic  engagement  is impossible unless  students acquire  the  skills,  knowledge  and  perspectives  that  will allow  them  to understand the political  life. The classes will also examine the nature of society and “The State” as well as the concepts of freedom, equality, justice and power from a historical, American and cross-cultural perspective.

DJCA 100 American Story Telling

How do we tell the story of America and Americans? History is one way to tell our collective story, but there are many other ways, as well. In this section of DJC 100, we will utilize the course iBook, which consists of primary and secondary readings from and about American history, as well as other types of storytelling methods, including short fiction and nonfiction, podcasts and blogs, film and television, to discover how others tell their stories to create and contribute to their communities—and how we can do so ourselves.

DJCA 100 Criminalizing Youth

Criminal and non-criminal offenses of youths that bring them within the jurisdiction of juvenile courts will be explored.

DJCA 100 Ethical Decision Making Through Film

This course will use films to provide students with a foundation for ethical decision making in the contexts of altruistic, individualistic, idealistic, and pragmatic considerations. Students will explore how others have made decisions in various situations through films and readings. Discussion and reflection will provide a basis for forming an opinion as to why the decision was appropriate or not. It is expected that by the end of the course students will have a template for ethical decision making.

DJCA 100 Eternal Struggle For Freedom              

This course will compare and consider how vital national issues are at times reflected in fictional and historical narratives.  The course will draw upon relevant non-fiction and fictional literary and multimedia works to enhance the students’ understanding of the core readings.  These literary, audio, and visual works will facilitate the students’ ability to integrate the core documents and readings into their developing world-view of justice and civic life.

Artistic works, in conjunction with the core readings, will be used to help students better understand how historical documents have been woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Compelling and thought-provoking works, juxtaposed with the core readings, will further demonstrate how discussions of race, community-oriented issues, etc., take place within our national psyche.

DJCAE 100 Free As I Want To Be              

Explore the development of civic life, and the struggle for justice from the origin of American government and society to the present day. These courses examine the form and function of many founding documents of the United States, with a literary, historical, and philosophical focus. These courses are from the American perspective and writing intensive, focusing on writing strategy, academic research and composition. The course uses musical anthems to reflect our cultural traditions of rebellion and revolution.

DJCA 100 Give Me Liberty, Give Me Justice 

This course is an overview of the American Criminal Justice System by examining each of its three components: law enforcement, judicial administration and corrections. Students will be asked to critically analyze the process of the American Criminal Justice System as it unfolds regularly in the streets, in the courtroom and in the correctional facilities.

DJCA 100 Poetry of Protest

The Poetry of Protest will pair selections from the reader with poetry covering topics on war, race, and social/political themes.

DJCG 200 Great Events in History 

Certain individuals and events have shaped history in profound ways.  In this course, you will discover how historians make sense of the past, often with little information and mindful of the biased accounts that are passed down from the winners of history’s wars.  We will uncover how history is often quite different from the version you read in high school textbooks; namely, it is much funnier, chock full of unlikely coincidences, and far more scandalous.  Our main focus with be to explore the causes and consequences as well as the “story behind the story” of one dozen momentous events from history, using the dialogue themes of the long struggle for justice and the challenges of civil society.  So, bring a healthy dose of skepticism and curiosity to class... and be prepared to be surprised.

DJCG 200 International Peace and Justice 
Pickering, Mark

This course will expose students to justice debates in international law (e.g., judicial and non-judicial accountability for international crimes, etc.) The relationship between peace and justice and between politics and law will likewise be examined in an effort to clarify the theory and purpose of remedies that give rise to significant peace processes.

DJCG 200 Justice at the Margins

Justice at the Margins probes the core issues of justice and civic engagement with respect to marginalized, disenfranchised and /or “voiceless” individuals, groups and communities. Human rights provide the context for addressing the topics of discrimination, oppression and denial of justice. Environmental issues and animal rights also are included in our consideration of the ‘voiceless’ – as the Lorax of Dr. Seuss queries: who will speak for the trees. Primary and secondary readings as well as films, documentaries and service learning provided the basis for our dialogue about Justice at the Margins. 

DJCG 200 Revolutionary Justice 

This course probes the core issues of justice and civic engagement with respect to revolutionary thoughts and actions relating to individuals, groups, communities, and governments. The concept of thoughts materializing into actions and when does compromise lead to action provides the context for addressing the topics of justice and civic engagement.

Dialogues of Quantitative Reasoning

DQR 100    Personal Finance 

This course emphasizes a practical approach to problem solving using quantitative reasoning in the context of personal finance. Students will learn, develop, and apply traditional college level mathematics skills to make sound financial decisions. In addition, students will gain an enhanced sense of financial literacy and responsibility to help contribute to their financial success. Topics will include: personal budgets; managing and using credit; housing options; vehicle decisions; time value of money and savings; and investment fundamentals.

DQR 200    Predicting the Future

Statistics has become an accepted part of our everyday lives where numbers surround us and catalog what has happened over time. Whether the numbers tell us how our favorite team or player has performed in the past, or how the economy is doing, we have become accustomed to having the numbers at our fingertips.  In our course, students will learn how to use historical numbers to see what the past infers about the future.  The areas covered apply to our personal lives as well as to professional and business models.  Students will learn to identify and evaluate what the data imply and what the future may bring.  They will discover which data might not produce accurate results.  This is accomplished using theory, tempered with common sense that recognizes statistics as a valuable tool, though not an exact science.

DQR 200    Statistics in the Real World

This course emphasizes a practical approach to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and analysis, probability   theory, and exponential and logarithmic modeling. Relevant applications are discipline specific for a particular major or specialization and engage students while underscoring the essential uses of these mathematical concepts in   everyday life.

DQR 200    Numbers in the News

This course emphasizes a practical approach to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and analysis, probability theory, and exponential modeling through the analysis and discussion of current news reports in both the print and television media.  Relevant applications engage students while underscoring the essential uses of these mathematical concepts in every-day life and as expressed in the media.

DQR/DSL 300    Environmental Sustainability

This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to environmental issues, problems, and policy, with a focus on an economic perspective.  A unified and integrated treatment of science and policy is emphasized in order to be informed and active participants in designing and implementing policy solutions to local and global environmental problems. The unifying theme of this course is that of transforming cultures from a state of consumerism to that of sustainability. Readings will draw from a variety of disciplines emphasizing said theme and include the following: management priorities; the role of education for sustainability; cities of the future; the role of religion in shaping world views; media literacy, citizenship, and sustainability; as well as the power of social movements.

DQR 400    Investing in the Real World

This course emphasizes a practical approach to problem solving, statistical analysis and using quantitative reasoning in the context of investing in today’s world economy.  Students will learn, develop and apply colleges mathematics and principles as they relate to the different forms of real world investments to enrich their financial future. Topics will include: retirement planning, stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds, international investments, mutual funds, real estate, and many other real world information.

Dialogues of Scientific Literacy

DSL 100 Scientific Literacy

This course introduces the student to scientific discovery, and through that, the history, the inner workings of science, the interrelation between science and society, and the state of current scientific knowledge about a wide array of phenomena in the natural universe.

DSL 200 Scientific Literacy

This course uses a study of the physical environment and the history of science to introduce students to the scientific method.  Students explore the relationship between science and technology, the collection and analysis of scientific data, and the ethical issues relating to science.  As we explore this topic, we study the relevant science and exam our actions and their consequences. 

Dialogues of Self and Society

DSSA 100 Breaking Bad

The course will give students the opportunity to view characters from the television series Breaking Bad through the lens of the following perspectives: Developmental, Social Learning Theory, Humanistic, and Sociological. We will focus on the evolution of the characters themselves as well in relation to one another. Further, the course will emphasize how each character’s representation of self reflects and defines their identity.

DSSA 100 Crossfit: Discover Yourself
Cooper, Macey

Crossfit has taken the world by storm with is high intensity workouts and diverse community, which other may see as a cult. Yet it is a culture that challenges one’s beliefs by pushing them to their limit and working hard in achieving their personal goals. The essence of this course revolves around self-awareness, specifically one’s self-efficacy, values and ethics, resiliency, leadership, and change in relationship to the Crossfit culture. The crossfit way in 50 words: “Pursue virtuosity in functional movement. Believe unconditionally in yourself and the ability of others. Learn new skills, teach them to a friend. Forge an indomitable body and spirit. Apply character traits learned I the gym to life perseverance, honest integrity, resilience, courage, loyalty, respect, and service. Be humble. Encourage others” - Greg Amundson. 

DSA 100 Everyone Gets Knocked Down
Knight, Melissa

This class will focus on you, the development of self and building the champion inside of yourself. This class will further explore the many facets of society and how it influences the way we view ourselves to ultimately come out as a winner. Life is filled with ups and downs, but it’s how we react that determines if we stay down or get back up. Becoming a champion doesn’t occur overnight. It is a journey. This class will provide you with the tools of awareness and understanding to create your own journey.

DSSA 100 Modern American

This course will focus on issues of self and society in modern America. We will examine the history of American culture, how modern American culture reflects changes from the past, and how we might expect culture to change in the future. We will explore the development of self in the context of these changes, focusing particularly on the way that individuals interact with popular culture through various outlets, such as the internet, television, film, art, and media. Students will develop an understanding of psychological and sociological theories of the self in the framework of modern culture and society.

DSSA 100 One Person Can Make a Difference

This course will focus on how one person can truly make a difference.  Throughout the semester students will explore how the experience of having just one special person made a difference in their lives. This course will empower students to discover their own passion and endeavor to become a person who makes a difference for someone else. Through research students will learn the significance of how ordinary individuals can influence one person or the impact they can have on society. This course will inspire students to be that one person who can make a difference. “Being a man or woman is a matter of birth.  Being a man or woman who makes a difference is a matter of choice.” - Byron Garret

DSSA 100 Game of Thrones

This course will allow students to explore various theories on the self (developmental, humanistic, sociological, and social learning theory) through the characters in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice and the HBO series Game of Thrones. Students will explore how the characters in Martin’s fictional world develop by examining how they relate with one another, their individual histories, their prejudices and purposes, and how the events – both political and social – in their society have shaped their identities. Martin’s stories are set in Westeros, a society not unlike present day America, rich in history, culture, and political divisions. Although it is not necessary for students to have read all five books in Martin’s novel series, students will need to watch all episodes in Game of Thrones Season 1-5.

DSSA 100 Psychological Theory Through Film

For decades audiences have lost themselves in the stories and characters portrayed in films. Students will discover how psychological theories are represented in various films such as, but not limited to, American History X, Crash, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Through the required readings, the cinematic experience, and class discussion students will learn how we develop a sense of self, values, ethics, and an overall feeling of belonging within our communities.  

DSSA 100 Hip-Hop Music and the Discovery of Self 

“We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves.” - Biggie Smalls

This course will explore the student’s understanding of themselves, and important national events, through hip hop music, reviewing and reflecting on the work of influential artists such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. From reflecting and analyzing song lyrics to learn critical thinking skills, to using the pillars of hip-hop to express personal values and strengths, students will use hip-hop music as the central instrument to investigate and develop their sense of self. 

DSSA 100 Trailblazers

This course will be an exploration of leadership and self-understanding through examining leadership personalities, behaviors and situations. Themes of awareness, emotional intelligence, motivation, resilience, values, ethics, cognition, perception, and power will be examined through reading, discussion, and activities. Leadership and personal development inventories will used to explore strengths, values, and beliefs. Identifying influential leaders and teams in our society provide context for understanding change and development in an individual society. 

DSSA 100 What Does This Have to do With Me?

This course will focus on the individual and their place and role within society. The students will further discover how they identify with various psychological and educational developmental stages, such as Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and Bandura’s Learning Theories. They will also be required to use critical thinking skills to understand each theory and be able to prove their learning through writing essays and presentations. At the end of the day, students will be exploring the unanimous questions: What does this have to do with me and how in the world did I get here?

DSSA 100 Would You Break Bad

This course will focus on the TV series Breaking Bad. We will take an in depth look at the characters in the series and utilize theories such as Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development, Erikson’s Psychological Theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and Bandura’s Learning Theories to explain characters’ behavior. Specifically, we will look at how all of these theories work together to explain how the de-moralization of the main character Walter White occurred. The students will be required to use critical thinking skills to understand each theory and apply them with various writing and presentational requirements.

DSS 200          Genocide, Film and Memory

Genocide, Film and Memory is a course focused on analyzing genocides in history through the use of popular films, while at the same time delving into the aspect of memory through the analysis of institutions. How do the institutions of family, education, and government help the conservation of these tragic memories? How do they hinder it? Through the use of a theoretical approach, we will break down the aspects that led to mass violence and analyze how the structures played a part in the demise of these nations. For this purpose, we will use sociological theories that apply to the conflicts at hand.

DSSG 200 Global Crises: Individual Response

Food, fuel and water are essential goods and necessary for daily life yet dwindling access is placing each and every global citizen in grave jeopardy.  Discover the geographic importance of accessibility and the differences in resource access and use, trace the trade routes and uncover the roots of the food, water and fuel crises.  Close examination of the ongoing global impact on the environment will be included as this has played a significant role in the perpetuation of the food, fuel and water crises.  Incorporation of key concepts and theories from development, geography and International Relations will further perspective.  Recognizing the difference in resource use by individuals living in the world’s regions will provide a better understanding of one’s role as a consumer perpetuating the food, fuel and water crises.  Gaining an appreciation of one’s previous role in furthering these crises will lead to individual action and response.  Students will devise an action plan to make a personal impact on these crises.

DSSG 200 Where Do I Belong: Emerging Myself

This course examines how the communities we live in influence social and individual development and emergent concepts of self and society. The course will focus on the characteristics of communities, and how these impact social relationships, participation, and meaningful connections. It will introduce students to both a historical and contemporary understanding of the structure of communities and relate this to their understanding of how their communities reflect personal values and belief systems. 

DSSG 400 Curtains Up: The Self on Stage

Students will consider theories, make emotional connections, and enhance their understanding of the self and society by exploring fictional narratives. This course will explore the transformative power of theater on an individual’s life. Students will read and analyze diverse short and full-length theatrical works to examine how societal customs and family traditions coalesce to shape one’s individual identity. This will be accomplished by closely considering relationships within various dramatic works, utilizing supplementary materials related to the works, and through critical textual analysis.