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Fall 2009 Seminars

Please review our course offerings for current and upcoming class descriptions.

Professor Theodore Aanstoos
The Engineered World: Professionalism and Ethics
The course covers theoretical and practical engineering ethics, workplace and product safety, intellectual property, technical standards, and environmental regulations in an effort to examine the professional expectations within the engineering profession.

Professor John Bartholomew
Physical Activity and the Environment
This course is designed to introduce students to the relationships between physical activity and public health.

Professor David Beaver
Mind and Reason
We will study contemporary views of how the mind works, how we reason, and how are thought processes are reflected in the language we use.

Professor Lance Bertelsen
Representing War
In this course, we will read various historical and literary works and view various visual media from the last 500 years in an attempt to understand better what happens when human beings try to represent warfare to an audience—or perhaps only to themselves.

Professor Susan Boettcher
Religion & the State: Historical, Legal, Political, and Religious Perspectives
In this course we will understand how the religion-state relationship has been conceived of in thought, politics, and religion, and discuss the effect of the church/religion-state relationship on political change in the United States and elsewhere in the past and present.

Professor Randy Bomer
Education and Democracy
Students will think about the enterprise of educating the young in a democracy through discussing school and classroom arrangements that bring out dimensions of democracy and current controversies in education policy.

Professor Pascale Bos
Reel Horror: Holocaust Film
This course takes a critical look at film representation of the Holocaust from the earliest representations (made by the Nazis and later the Allied liberators of the concentration camps) through a variety of international productions, which cover the Holocaust in both documentary and fictional fashion.

Professor Carolyn Brown
Health in Multicultural Populations
This seminar will focus on health-related cultural concepts and their effects on health promotion and disease prevention among ethnic-minority populations in the U.S.

Professor Douglas Bruster
Shakespeare and the Pursuit of Happiness
This course takes up some of Shakespeare’s best comedies with an eye toward understanding the rules of the game for dramatic form, character and romantic relationships.

Professor Erika Bsumek
Imagined West/Real West: History, Memory and Far West
This course will place the production of visual and literary representations of the West in historical context, exploring the ways in which real events, people, and places experienced the West and compare the realities of life in the West with the “imagined” West.

Professor James Bull
The Future of Biofuels
This course will look at the prospects for biofuels as renewable, self-sustaining energy sources. Issues such as impacts on food-crop production and pollution will also be covered.

Professor Jerome Bump
Leadership, Ethics, and Animals
In our study of practical ethics we will be focusing on making real-life ethical choices concerning our use of animals (for food, clothing, pets, etc.). In addition, we will focus on three values of the university– leadership, discovery learning, and diversity — and we will expand our sense of this state, this town, and especially this university, as your place, your Alma Mater (nurturing mother).

Professor Rosemarie Came
Philosophy of Earth Science
This course provides an introduction to the discipline of Philosophy of Science, but from an Earth Science perspective, drawing from works by thinkers such as Aristotle, Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos.

Professor Gary Chapman
Digital Transformations of Society
This course will examine the dramatic changes the Internet is bringing to organizations, social groups, politics and world affairs.

Professor Eli Cox
Ethics and Business
This course draws on literature from theology, philosophy, economics, social psychology, and evolutionary biology dealing with ethical issues.

Professor Patrick Davis
Really Bad Bugs: Historical and Emerging Infectious Disease Case Studies
This course will address selected historically important infectious disease in terms of their impact on human history, including social structure, government, and religion.

Professor Lesley Dean-Jones
In this course we will read Sophocles’ “Antigone” and consider the immediacy and the timelessness of this play within original and contemporary contexts.

Professor Sharon Dormire
Dimensions of Adolescent Sexual Health
This seminar will challenge students to employ critical thinking skills to evaluate the physiological, psychological, and cultural factors affecting adolescent sexual health and social responsibility.

Professor Carlton Erickson
The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment
In this course, we’ll discuss what science tells us about the nature of addiction.

Professor Wallace Fowler
Space Exploration
We will review the past 50+ years of space exploration and examine how past and future exploration might affect our lives in the 21st century.

Professor Oliver Freiberger
Comparing Religions
The course introduces students to the academic comparison of religious beliefs and practices in different religious traditions.

Professor Diane Ginsburg
Drugs in the Media
With direct-to-consumer advertising, consumers are bombarded with drug information through various channels. How credible is this information, and what influence does it have on prescription and over-the counter medication use in this country?

Professor Norval Glenn
Family & Work through the Adult Life Course
This course will deal with the realms that dominate adult life (family and work), the tasks that persons must accomplish within each realm, and the ways the two must balance in relation to one another and in relation to other aspects of adult life.

Professor Ian Hancock
The Price of Identity: Romani Reality and the Gypsy Myth
This course examines of the world’s 12 million Romani people as a means to explore challenges of ethnic/linguistic maintenance for diasporic peoples, the vulnerability of stateless populations to discrimination, and the contemporary efforts on the part of such populations to address these challenges.

Professor Barbara Harlow
Responsibility to Protect: Stories from Humanitarian Aid Workers
Our readings of the personal accounts of aid workers and advocates will attempt to address some of the challenges, crises, contradictions, recriminations and rewards entailed by the “responsibility to protect.”

Professor Louis Harrison
African Americans in Sport
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the historical development of the African American sport experience. The course will critically analyze research on physical differences, racial stereotyping, identity development, social influences and how they impact ethnic participation patterns in particular sports.

Professor Mary Kay Hemenway
Astronomy and the Humanities
Astronomy, one of the original seven liberal arts, has been integrated by countless generations of artists, authors and musicians into their works. We will explore examples in the visual arts, fiction, poetry, music and drama.

Professor Lori Holleran Steiker
Young people and Drugs: Who, What, Why, When and How?
The course addresses physiological, psychosocial and cultural aspects of psychoactive substances I relation to adolescents, adolescent assessment and special characteristics of adolescents in diverse population groups, particularly those at high risk.

Professor Thomas Hubbard
Child Sexuality
Few topics provoke more discomfort and emotion in our society than child sexuality and child sexual abuse. Students will be challenged to evaluate contemporary attitudes against the background of how historical societies, including ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, and Ming dynasty China handled the issue.

Professor Stephen Hursting
You are What You Eat: Diet, Health and Disease Prevention
This course focuses on the impact of nutritional and other lifestyle factors in promoting health and preventing chronic diseases.

Professor Ross Jennings
Corporations in Society—From the Industrial Revolution to Globalization
This course provides an historical perspective on the influence of corporations on society and individuals, and how societies try to constrain corporate behavior to maximize benefits and minimize negative effects.

Professor James Karboski
Contemporary Topics in Pharmacy-Based Healthcare
This seminar will focus on contemporary issues in healthcare, including medicine, pharmacy and nursing.

Professor Ernest Kaulbach
English Words and Their Origins
In our exploration of English etymology we will start with English words and move back into German, French, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit words.

Professor Sean Kerwin
From Herbs to Drugs and Back Again: An Historical Perspective on Pharmacy
This course will consider the current state of pharmacy and drug discovery research from an historical perspective, beginning with the use of herbal medicines, to the proliferation of patent medicines beginning in the 17th century, to the reforms of the Pure Drug and Food Act, to the current state of both high-tech and natural/organic drugs.

Professor Karen King
France in Popular American Culture
This course deals with American perceptions of France through popular literature and movies, concentrating on the 20th and 21st centuries from Hemingway and Fitzgerald to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Professor Robert King
Spies, Espionage, and Treason
The topics are espionage and treason throughout history, focusing especially on the 20th century. We will read books, articles in the daily press and long essays, watch documentaries and movies, and talk about real-life versus fictional espionage.

Professor Nancy Kwallek and Professor Luanne Stovall
Living Color: Science, Art, Architecture, & Culture
We will investigate the interdisciplinary nature of the color field, including color as wavelengths of light, biology of color vision, psychology of color perception and the function of color and light in art, architecture, film, branding, and popular culture.

Professor Chiu-Mi Lai
The Good, Bad, and the Ugly in Chinese Literature
This course will cover topics from the Chinese tradition that are thought provoking and even bizarre: the Good (what is the Dao?), the Bad (“love” and social politics in Chinese society), and the Ugly (exotica).

Professor Donald Levin
Biodiversity, Dynamics and Crises
This seminar is an introduction to biodiversity, which refers to the diversity of living organisms. We will also examine the crises species face due to human activities and global warming.

Professor Debra Lopez
Practical Skills and Topics for Healthcare Professionals
From blood pressure testing to fingersticks on a glucometer, this course will introduce the student to practical skills and topics needed for anyone interested in a healthcare profession.

Professor Brad Love
From Gutenberg to Your iPod: Mass Media and its Influence on Society
The course will emphasize the power and possibility of the mass media’s activities. The goal is to help students become critical consumers capable of understanding past, present and, most importantly, future media operations.

Professor Michael Mackert
Health Communication in the Media: Theories and Problems
The course will cover health communication theories and issues related to health communication in the media, including concerns surrounding low health literate audiences, gender and intercultural issues in health communication, and agenda-setting in health marketing.

Professor Christine Matyear
Foundations of Speech and Hearing
This course focuses on many aspects of speech and hearing, from historical debates to current deaf issues, all while developing students’ speaking and presentation skills.

Professor Mohammad A. Mohammad
Al-Jazeera: The Voice of the Voiceless
Al-Jazeera has generated a great deal of controversy, and has been described as “a Zionist agent,” “an American agent,” “an anti-Semitic station,” “a Bin Laden station,” and “anti-American.” The course will explore these charges in detail.

Professor O. Christene Moore
Society, Technology and the Environment
This seminar will focus on the economic and environmental impact of technology and what it means to be a producer, a consumer, and a citizen.

Professor Lisa Moore
Feminism Now
Through reading, research, reflection, design, and action, we will discover ways that feminism can be put to everyday use as well as be a source of ongoing intellectual challenge.

Professor Chandra Muller
Community Politics and Leadership
After learning the principles of community leadership, the cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the class will study different types of communities in the Austin area that have organized around political issues.

Professor William Nethercut
The Art of Interpretation
This course is an introduction to the ways through which we understand works of art in four media: literature, cinema, visual art (painting and sculpture), and music.

Professor Joan Neuberger
Art and the Public
In this seminar we will explore the ways public art creates communities and the ways communities talk about public art.

Professor Yolanda Padilla
How to Change the World: The Art of Advocacy
The purpose of this course is to provide hands-on exposure to a variety of advocacy approaches to social change, beginning at the local community level but forming part of larger social movements.

Professor Lorraine Pangle
Human Nature and Ethics in Classical Thought
This course will study major works by three seminal Greek authors (Homer, Plato, and Aristotle) with a view to discovering what they have to teach us about human nature and the character of human excellence

Professor James Patton
Disability and the Media
This course will examine media portrayal of persons with disabilities, including representation in print media (books, newspapers, magazines, children’s literature, textbooks), movies, television, radio, music and performing arts and the Internet.

Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy
Separating Fact from Fiction in Mental Illness through Film and Literature
Students will explore the myths and realities of emotional disorders and critically analyze works of literature and film in terms of the perpetuation of stereotypes in our society.

President William Powers
What Makes the World Intelligible
Some of the great works of philosophy and literature raise the basic question of how we explain and understand why things happen as they do. This seminar will examine classic and contemporary works to examine how we understand the world.

Professor Karen Rascati
Issues in Health Care and Pharmacy
We will consider insurance plans (HMOs, indemnity, Medicare, and Medicaid), how pharmacy fits into the picture, and debatable health care issues, including health care as a right in the U.S., right-to-die, insurance coverage, physician extenders, role of nursing, and other issues.

Professor Elaine Rich
Mirrors on Ourselves
The goal of this course is to explore our attempts to build artificial people, starting with early legends and ending with modern artificial intelligence.

Professor Stephen Ross
Comparative Value
This course encourages students to move beyond merely static “authoritative” and “programmed” learning in ways which will develop students’ individual and ever-emerging personal authority and critical consciousness vis-à-vis what has been pre-established in their world as credible ‘status quo’ official legitimate knowledge.

Professor Stanley Roux
Hidden Treasures of Plants: Fuel, food, meds, and money
Plants have been used as treasures by civilizations for eons, but this course will focus on surprising, undervalued treasures of plants in today’s world, including their increasing use as biofuels, their little-known value as wild sources of food and medicines, and their potential as money makers for entrepreneurs.

Professor Michael Ryan
Sex in the Wild
This course considers the biological underpinnings of sexual behavior in animals, including humans

Professor Sahotra Sarkar
Biology and Creationism
This seminar is an introduction to the debate between creationism and biology, especially evolution as it focuses on historical antecedents and the contemporary Intelligent Design movement.

Professor Scott Stroud
Narrative, Morality, and Knowledge
Stories play an important role in our lives, including many of the films, myths, political anecdotes, and examples we use or consume. Many believe that we learn things from such narratives, important things such as truths about morality and the world. Can we really learn anything about such serious matters from literally false objects? This course will examine issues revolving around narrative and its use in argument. Of particular interest to us is the way that narrative can be used to persuade an individual to change her orientation toward time and the present, as well as her self-conception in general.

Professor Philip Schmidt and Michael Webber
The Engineered World – Energy
Topics of this course include global and regional energy supply and demand, energy conversion and power production, energy use in buildings, transportation and industry, outlook for global energy resources, environmental impacts of energy production, energy policy, and socio-economic implications of energy choices.

Professor Beryl Simpson
Plants and Culture
This course will introduce students to plants by showing the importance of plants to, and interactions with, society from prehistoric to modern times.

Professor David Springer
The Art of Being Human: Constructing Meaning out of Life
This interactive seminar will explore how individuals overcome life’s challenges in order to create meaningful and happy existences. Critical reflection on selected readings and films will cover a range of topics such as happiness, discipline, compassion, humor, balance, suffering, power, conflict, love, and grace.

Professor Cathy Stacy
Truth and Consequences of Medical Uncertainty
This course investigates how probability and decision theory can help us make decisions in medical care and delivery while understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these methods.

Professor Christopher Tucker
Indigenous Music and Dance of the Americas: Performance, Power, and Social Transformation
This seminar course is designed to help students understand the central role that music and dance have played in imagining, projecting, and redefining indigenous identities throughout the Americas, in the period since the European invasions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Professor Janet Walkow
Contemporary Drug Development – Innovation and Issues
We will explore the process, challenges and issues in developing and commercializing pharmaceutical products.

Professor Peter Ward
Mexico “There”/Mexico “Here”: Society and Change Among Mexicans in the US
Building upon an introductory overview of the society of modern Mexico, this class will focus upon Mexican immigration to the US, contemporary transnational relations, and the process of social change as Hispanics forge a new vision of multiculturalism in the US.

Professor John Weinstock
Peoples & Politics of the Circumpolar Arctic
This course is an introductory examination of a large, yet often overlooked, geographic region ⎯ the Arctic, or circumpolar north ⎯ through political, geographical, and cultural perspectives.

Professor Kristin Wood and Professor Richard Crawford
The Engineered World – Products
Our focus will include hands-on studies of everyday technologies, the translation of societal needs into specifications for new products, and the study of how to bring together the elements necessary to design and manufacture products, including which are effective, efficient, economical and ecological.

Professor Stanislav Zimic
Literature of the Hispanic World
The fundamental aim of the course is to acquaint the student with some of the most notable Hispanic literary achievements and, more fundamentally, to enable him/her to better appreciate the complex, often controversial, artistic and ideological nature of Hispanism.

Professor Leo Zonn
Re-presenting LA
The purpose of this course is to examine various representations of Los Angeles as they are manifest in a variety of media, including cinema, the novel, cyber cultures, music, advertising, and tourist practices, among many.