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Home » sig » courses » Fall 2010 Seminars (UGS 302)

Fall 2010 Seminars (UGS 302)

Courses are listed alphabetically by faculty last name.

Professor Theodore Aanstoos
The Engineered World: Professionalism and Ethics
This seminar course explores what constiturtes a “professional”, and what are the rights and duties of a professional person in today’s global society, from the framework of 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 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 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 Brian Bremen
Hard-Boiled Fictions
This course will explore the genre of the hard-boiled detective, from its origins in The Black Mask and American frontier fiction to its embodiment in film noir and its current multi-gender and multi-cultural representatives. At stake will be an examination of how this genre works to both critique and create American culture.

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 Barbara Bullock
Speaking Two Languages at Once: Bilingual Language Mixing
This course will examine the cognitive, linguistic, and social dimensions of the phenomenon of language mixing (code-switching) between languages to challenge the popular notion that bilinguals switch because they are not competent speakers of one or the other language.

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 David Cannatella
Intelligent Design and Evolution: Are Religion and Science at Odds?
This course examines the historical origins and religious context of Darwinian evolution and the Intelligent Design movement. We will also assess the impact of evolutionary thought with respect to ethical and social issues such as social Darwinism, sociobiology, and the politics of church and state.

Professor Ginny Catania
Disaster Movies: Geosciences in the Media
Hollywood disaster movies are endlessly fun to watch but notorious at getting the facts wrong. We will explore the realities of how the Earth works versus the Hollywood interpretation and will eventually delve into media portrayal of scientific discourse.

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 Craig Cravens
Existentialism in Russian and Czech Literature
The course will introduce students to the philosophical movement called Existentialism through close readings of texts from 19th- and 20th-century Russian and Czech literature including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kafka, and Kundera.

Professor Megan Crowhurst
How Humans Got Language (…and What Happened Then)
This course is about how language first evolved and then continued to develop in humans.

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 Michael Domjan
The Psychology of Music
The course will guide students in discovering how psychological principles are involved in musical experience, learning, and performance and show them how to investigate these issues in a scientific manner.

Professor Wendy Domjan
On the Bright Side: The Psychology of Optimism, Love, and Virtue
This class focuses on the positive aspects of human psychology. We cover the literature and theory in psychology concerning positive emotions, the processes involved in good relationships, and aspects of character and human virtue.

Professor Elizabeth Engelhardt
Fried Chicken, Biscuits, and Barbecue: The Invention of Southern Food
Whether it’s slow-cooked barbecue, homemade biscuits, or fast-food fried chicken, the foods we choose tell stories of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and region in the southern United States. We will use food as a lens into local and regional histories and cultures by exploring the invention of southern food traditions.

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 Lester Faigley
Constructing Nature
“Nature” is a human idea with a long and complicated history. Far from standing apart from humanity, the landscapes and creatures we label as “natural” are deeply entangled with the words, images, and ideas we use to describe them.

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 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 Roberta Greene
Catastrophe and Civic Responsibility: Individual Responses to Political, Social, and Physical Emergencies
This course uses narratives of older adults as a vehicle to learn how people can create a resilient and just society. It presents the narrative accounts of the lives of older men and women, focusing on how they overcame critical events such as racial discrimination, natural disasters/Katrina, and the Nazi Holocaust.

Professor Hossein Haghshenas
What We See, What We Believe
How is our social reality constructed? How does it unfold? Via participant observation and visual media (mainly documentaries), students will de-construct and analyze specific cultural content that is relevant to their world.

Professor Peter Hall
The Art of Mapping: How we Visualize Networks and Territories
This course explores how mapping—the framing, digging, sorting and organizing of information—has become a practice widely used by designers, architects, analysts and planners to reveal potential and make sense of a complex world.

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 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 Edeltraud Harzer Clear
The Culture of Food in India
This course examines the origins, customs, and social, religious, and economic implications of food in South Asia, primarily India.

Professor Susan Heinzelman
Representing Justice: Stories of Law and Literature
Great literature can be the means of understanding as well as creating our world—by teaching and reinforcing society’s laws, articulating its values, and enforcing the social contracts that unite us as a culture. What if literature itself generated our ideas and feelings about justice, marriage and family, property, authority, race, or gender? How do law and literature influence or reflect one other? And what lessons might we draw from their symbiotic relationship?

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 Clement Henry
Civil Society in Postcolonial States
This freshman seminar will critically examine the concept of civil society both as it developed in the West and as it has traveled, more recently, to the Middle East.

Professor Wayne Hickenbottom
A “Flatworld” and “Freaks”: How High is the Media’s Economics IQ?
Books like “Freakonomics” and “The World is Flat” becoming best sellers show that there is more talk and interest in Economics than ever before. However, is all this information consistent with the way economists view the world? This course will try and teach you to be a better consumer of economic information and help you sort out the useful from the useless.

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 in relation to adolescents, adolescent assessment, and special characteristics of adolescents in diverse population groups, particularly those at high risk.

Professor Michael Kackman
The Popular Past: History & Memory in Everyday Culture
This course explores the interplay between media, history, memory, and nostalgia. Topics discussed will include the narrativization and fictionalization of past events, the role of memory in interpreting those fictional narratives, and the relationship of popular culture to official historical accounts.

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 Eileen Kintner
Growth and Development of Children and Adolescents Living with Chronic Conditions
This seminar will challenge students to employ critical thinking skills to increase understanding of physical, physiological, cognitive, psychological, social, behavioral, and quality of life aspects of growth and development of older school age children and adolescents living with chronic conditions.

Professor David Kirk
Neighborhoods and Crime in the Modern Metropolis
Why do some neighborhoods have drastically more crime than others? This course will address this question through an examination of the following topics: the characteristics of neighborhoods that promote criminal activity, the feedback effects of crime on neighborhood communities, and those features of neighborhoods that inhibit crime.

Professor David Kornhaber
Theories of the Theatre
In this course, we will take a broad look at the ways in which philosophers, playwrights, directors and many others have tried to formulate theories of what it means, for the individual and for society, to write, produce, or attend a play — as well as plays that writers have crafted to reflect the viewpoints of each theory.

Professor Nancy Kwallek
Living Color: Science, Art, Architecture, and 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 Randolph Lewis
Cinema of Subversion: Film and Politics in American Culture
This course will examine the collision of film and politics at specific points in U.S. history. At its heart is a fundamental question: can movies push us to re-think the ways in which we imagine the world?

Professor Debra Lopez
Practical Skills and Topics for Healthcare Professionals
From blood pressure testing to fingersticks on a glucometer, this course will introduce students 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 Susan Marshall
Conspiracy Theory
From who killed JFK to who caused 9/11 and from Michael Moore to Rush Limbaugh, conspiracy theories and their advocates span the ideological spectrum. What does the abundance of conspiracy theories reveal about American culture and politics? We will examine explanations for their popularity and access campus resources to evaluate the data and logic behind the theory.

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 Leslie Moore
Identity Development in a Multicultural World
We will examine personal narratives in contemporary movies, autobiographical essays, poetry, and literature using the dual lens of critical theory and psychological theory as a backdrop for understanding our own identity.

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 which in turn forms a part of larger social movements.

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.

Professor Russell Poldrack
Reading the Brain: The Philosophical, Ethical, and Legal Implications of Brain Imaging
Brain imaging techniques have become increasingly powerful, and with this power have come questions about how they can and should be used. This course will start by discussing how to understand and interpret the findings of brain imaging research.

Professor Gabriela Polit
Honor, Death, and Drugs
During the semester the students will explore the codes of honor, and rules of violence in some narratives dealing with the culture of the traffic of illegal drugs in Colombia and the U.S.

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 Adam Rabinowitz
Trojan Wars: From Bronze Age to Silver Screen
This course will focus on the story of the Trojan War and the city of Troy, both in history (specifically in terms of archaeology) and in ancient and modern attempts to make sense of war, heroism, violence, loss and community.

Professor D’arcy Randall
Reading and Writing Contemporary American Poetry
This course aims to develop skills in writing criticism and poetry.

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 Cory Reed
Cultures In Contact: Spain, Mexico and the American Southwest
This course will study elements of contemporary Hispanic culture in the American Southwest and Texas that can be traced historically through Mexico to the pluralistic cultures of medieval and early modern Spain, with occasional comparison to North Africa.

Professor Ann Repp
The Development of Moral Action
The development of moral thinking, moral emotions and a moral self concept in children and adolescents will be considered as we try to understand what leads some people to help and others to harm.

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 Glenn Richter
The Business of Music Performance
This is a survey course designed to introduce the forces that drive the music business. The topics include: technology and its effects on business models; songwriting and intellectual property issues; contemporary publishing of IP; copyrights, licensing, and ethics; content issues in performance (recording, broadcast, and print); censorship issues; and music in the media.

Professor Keith Robinson
Intimate Relationships
Among the topics covered in this course will be communication, mate-selection, power and conflict-resolution, relationship roles, love, and relationship quality.

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 Arthur Sakamoto
Poverty and Rising Inequality in the U.S.
Our objective is to understand how social science can inform debates about poverty and inequality in contemporary America, and hopefully promote the formulation of more effective public policy.

Professor Rosa Schnyer
The Mind-Body Connection in Modern Medicine
This course will explore the mind-body relationship in sickness and health from an interdisciplinary perspective. It will provide a contemporary critical overview of the many influences that shape our beliefs about what the placebo effect really is and the implications of these beliefs in health care delivery and health care available choices.

Professor Michael Scott
Impact and History of Electronic Entertainment
Traditional forms of electronic entertainment such as games have gone from oddity to commonplace in a few short decades. This course will examine the history and impact of electronic entertainment and the digitization of other media.

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 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. Can we really learn anything about such serious matters as truth and morality from literally false objects? This course will examine issues revolving around narrative and its use in argument.

Professor Janet Swaffar
The Nobel Prize, Politics, and Literature
Starting with the most recent, and moving backwards in time, this course will introduce various Nobel-Prize-winning authors.

Professor Christopher Tucker
Popular Music and Social Change in Latin America
This course is designed to illuminate the many ways that popular musicians shape, and are shaped by, the broader social milieu within which they act, focusing largely on twentieth-century case studies from Cuba, Brazil, and Peru.

Professor Deborah Volker
Ethics of Health Care
This course focuses on ethical issues in health care. Particular emphasis is given to the resolution of ethical dilemmas through ethical reasoning, ethical obligations in health professional-patient relationships, and just allocation of scarce health care resources.

Professor Michael Webber and Professor Philip Schmidt
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 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 Alexandra Wettlaufer
Cultures in Context: Caribbean Literature, Music, Film
We will examine novels, plays, essays, films, and music from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean cultures and reflect on the aesthetics and politics of post-colonial identities in the diaspora. We will analyze the ways in which art engages with representations of history, politics, memory, and the self.

Professor Karin Wilkins
Privilege and Prejudice
In this seminar we will explore the complexity of contemporary power dynamics in terms of privilege and prejudice.

Professor Kristin Wood
The Engineered World: Products and Innovations
The intent of this signature course is to explore the exciting world of engineered products, from the perspective of history, current markets, and future forecasting. We will focus this exploration on innovations as they have changed the landscape of nations and cultures, especially the United States.

Professor Mary Worthy
The Importance of Interest in Learning
This course will focus on the importance of interest in project-based learning, an educational approach designed to engage learners in active, effortful learning while they explore real-world challenges and problems in collaboration with peers.

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.