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Autumn 2024 Seminars

Seminars listed under ASC 1137 have letter grades; those listed under ASC 1138 are graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Seminars meet for the full semester unless otherwise noted.

Letter Graded A-E

Racism, Social Justice, and Higher Education in HBCUs and PWIs

Professor Judson Jeffries and Professor Joy McCorriston

ARTSSCI 1137.06

Friday, 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Class #29076

"Why Are You Here?"    

"What will you take from your college experience?"

"Does the university fit the social order, or does it construct one?"

This course will feature prominently the history of universities and colleges in cultural contexts. Together in faculty-led discussions, we will learn about the ways in which higher education both promotes and undermines democracy in the US. Building on a foundational understanding of the value of an education, we will explore the future of higher education and its merits in its global context. Not only will we discuss those US universities considered the most prestigious such as Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, but we will also study Historically Black Colleges and Universities, e.g., Howard University, Fisk University, Tuskegee University.

Hi, Who Are You? An Exploration in Autoethnography

Professor Leticia Wiggins

ARTSSCI 1137.14

Tuesday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

Class #29160

There are so many factors that make a person, right? The places we’re born, the interests we hold, the many lenses in which we see the world (to name just a few). This course explores the artifacts, experiences, and things that make us US. By using the tools of autoethnography, intersectionality, and oral history we will position ourselves in the world. We will challenge ourselves to start documenting our own histories. Each of us will be challenged to ask questions of our friends, family, caregivers, and folks we grew up around to get a sense of our own journey to belonging. The result will be a final project that will express and celebrate our journeys to “today” with the hopes that we can think about what we may want to pursue tomorrow.

What's Love Got to Do With It? Women, Men, and Romance

Professor Linda Mizejewski

ARTSSCI 1137.05

Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Class #30343

What does romance mean in the era of digital dating, hookup culture, and the MeToo movement? Does romance mean different things across gender, racial, and sexual differences? How is romance related to love and long term relationships? This course explores romance as a social, cultural, biochemical, and psychological phenomenon, focusing on its contemporary practices and discourses. Our topics will include wedding culture, intimate-partner violence, college dating practices, and the importance of the rom com as a popular representation of romance. Our ongoing questions will engage issues of race, class, sexuality, and ability in relation to these topics.

What Happens in Small Groups?

Professor David Melamed

ARTSSCI 1137.16

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.

Class #37604

This course focuses on the Group Processes tradition within sociology. This tradition explains individual reactions to group processes and collective outcomes. We will discuss theories of human behavior and explanations for emergent outcomes in small groups, including theories and research on status, power, collective action, emotions, and justice evaluations. Applications of these theories will focus on traditional sociological dimensions of stratification, including race, gender and class (e.g., how do status theories explain gender stratification, for example). Because we will focus on small groups, many of the ideas will be illustrated with small classroom exercises. By the end of the course, you will have a mechanistic understanding of many processes that occur in small group settings, such as organizational committees or other work groups. Additionally, the skills you learn will allow you to be more critical consumers of social science research.

The Arts of Living: Thinking as a Way of Life

Dr. Ryan Helterbrand

ARTSSCI 1137.15

Wednesday, 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Class #37550

Many people assume that philosophy and literature are nice additions to a “real” education. But this is a relatively new perspective on these disciplines. From the time of the ancient Greeks until the Industrial Revolution, the humanities were considered the center of a real education. More, they were understood to equip their students with an “art of living.” This seminar will explore the idea of an art of living from the ancients to the moderns. Some questions we will consider: what did the ancients mean when they described thinking as an art of living? What makes up this art? How can we practice it? How does modernity transform our understanding of what it means to live a good life? And how can we reclaim this ancient tradition with an eye to making it work for us in our current, dizzying, hypermodern moment?

Analyzing Fear: Survival Instincts and Protective Strategies

Lynette Martin

ARTSSCI 1137.13

Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.

Class #29159

Far too many people are walking around in a constant state of vigilance, their intuition misinformed about what really poses danger. There are certainly plenty of reasons to be fearful of others from time to time. The question is, when are those times? How do we identify and evaluate intuitive signals to allow us to respond effectively in these environments and situations, and in so doing, keep ourselves safe? How may cultural and social factors affect the responses that are available to us? This class will explore the survival signals and strategies that can help protect us from threats of violence.

Dreams and Dream Interpretation in Antiquity: Social Mores and Daily Life

Professor J. Albert Harrill

ARTSSCI 1137.08

Monday, 9:10 to 10:05 

Class #1137.08

All people dream.  But what do dreams tell?  Do all dreams require interpretation?  What light does professional dream interpretation shed on the history of social mores?  This course tackles those big questions historically, from the perspective of the ancient world, by examining the only professional dream handbook to have survived from Greco-Roman antiquity: Artemidorus, The Interpretation of Dreams (early third century C.E.).  Examining Artemidorus moves us across disciplines, thanks to its most notable admirer in modern times, Sigmund Freud, and Artemidorus today continues to find numerous enthusiastic readers--and even practical users.  That is because the book presents a sort of beginner's manual, in which Artemidorus collects dreams from a wide range of people--men and women, boys and girls, free and enslaved people, rich and poor, artisans and athletes--to teach the tricks of the trade.  This primary text is a fascinating entree into the question of how to conceptualize slavery, gender, religion, social mores, and the family in the ancient world.  It teaches us how to do history "from below," beyond the standard textbook evidence produced by and for the aristocratic elite.  We learn a great deal about the ordinary lives of Greeks living under the Roman Empire.  A close reading of this primary source in its cultural context will characterize how this seminar will proceed.

"Headless Body in Topless Bar": Researching Tabloid Journalism

Professor Gerry Greenberg

ARTSSCI 1137.09

Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Class #28341

How do you view the tabloids? Guilty pleasure? Car wreck journalism? Slander and defamation? Why do National Enquirer stories end up in the New York Times? If it's trash, why do so many people care? This course will address these issues and more. Academically, the tabloids have a place in folklore, anthropology, history, and law as well as journalism. We will examine the phenomenon of tabloid journalism as it appears in print and electronic media, and demonstrate the use of research tools for discovering information on the subject.  Readings will investigate the tabs from several academic and popular perspectives. Students will search for, examine and discuss tabloid journalism's place in popular culture.

How to Live a Fulfilling Life

Professor Jennifer Patton

ARTSSCI 1137.07

Monday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

Class #28351


Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. 

Class #36105

Who am I? What do I want? How might I create the life I envision? This First-Year Seminar will serve as an avenue to explore questions critically important to the development of college students as they transition to adult life—questions rarely posed in traditional classrooms: Who am I? What do I want? What do I value? How might I create the life I envision? We’ll examine the work of philosophers and essayists ranging from Epictetus and Montaigne to Viktor Frankl and Maya Angelou in addition to academic theories from life satisfaction and emotional-state theorists. Along the journey, we’ll engage in journal prompts designed to help students better understand who they are, what they value and what type of life they want to build. Finally, students will create a possibility map for themselves based on their semester-long self-discoveries.

Political Courage

Professor Vladimir Kogan 

ARTSSCI 1137.01

Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Class #27745

Politics and public policy shape the lives of ordinary people in profound ways. This course examines how policymakers make decisions and the forces that influence their thinking. In particular, we will examine the case of housing desegregation in the city of Yonkers, New York--as dramatically depicted in HBO's miniseries "Show Me a Hero"--to think about how, and under what conditions, people with honorable intentions succeed in translating their goals into policy. We will also identify the forces that may thwart their efforts and the courage sometimes required to do the right thing in politics.

Spatial Thinking

Dr. Tammy Pareche 

ARTSSCI 1137.03

Tuesday and Thursday, 9:10 to 10:05 a.m. (7-week Session One)

Class #36101

Spatial thinking is something we do in everyday life. We gather information about our surroundings; we process information to analyze and make decisions in a specific moment or overtime. As examples, 1) we evaluate how to navigate our space while conducting activities of daily living; 2) when planning our future - we think about where to live, why to live in certain places, ask how would I get to work, etc. When asked to think spatially in class, students freeze and say, this is why I am taking Geography, to learn how to do this. But spatial thinking does not start with a student's first Geography class, it begins when an infant starts recognizing faces and learning to control their body when crawling and walking, and our spatial thinking evolve over time. This course will explain spatial thinking, review the evolution of this process, and enable student's understanding of how it is an integral part of their daily lives.

Maps don't lie, or do they?

Dr. Tammy Pareche

ARTSCCI 1137.04

Tuesday and Thursday, 9:10 to 10:05 a.m. (7-week Session Two)

Class #36104

Maps are an integral part of society, especially since COVID-19 when the CDC and Johns Hopkins University regularly posted disease updates using maps (which were available to the general public). Maps are not only used in geography but many other disciplines. Open access GIS software has granted the ability to create maps to people with no training in cartographic basics. Most people read a map and believe they are 100% accurate (e.g., are telling a true and perfect story). In this course, we will look at cartographic basics, learn how to read/use and critic thematic maps. Student will learn where biases or falsehoods can be introduced into a map to mislead. Students will ultimately learn to read/use and critique a map just as they would a source when writing an essay or a paper for other courses.

The Second Sex in the Third Reich: Women in Nazi Germany

Professor Birgitte Søland

ARTSSCI 1137.10

Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Class #37413

Most research on Nazi Germany and World War II focuses on men and male experiences. In contrast, this course focuses on the lives and experiences of German women during the Nazi Era (1933-1945). Based on historical evidence we will seek to find answers to a variety of questions: How did the Nazi Party understand women? What roles were women supposed to play in Nazi Germany? Why did some women support the Nazis? How did Nazi policies impact the lives of women from different backgrounds, including Jewish women? How did World War II impact German women? And, finally, did gender play a role in the Holocaust? If so, how?

Music and Social Justice

Dr. Shaun Russell 

ARTSSCI 1137.02

Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.

Class #36102

In modern history, popular music has traditionally been a form of entertainment, often enjoyed and appreciated passively without requiring serious engagement on the part of the listener. Yet during periods of social upheaval and unrest, some songs have put their finger on the pulse of large-scale societal issues, elevating the passive listening experience to a call to action, with listeners being urged to help right certain wrongs. In this course, we will be exploring a wide range of songs that have engaged with many of the issues our country (among others) has grappled with over the past century or so, including, but not limited to: civil rights, race relations, war, famine, poverty, immigration, sexuality, and inequality. While I will choose many songs for discussion according to weekly themes, each student will also bring in one song and present on how it is meaningful in its intended context. Note that no pre-existing musical knowledge is necessary for this course—only a general awareness of popular music, and an appreciation for how music can help
to aid social change.

Baseball Economics (FULL)

Dr. Ryan Ruddy

ARTSSCI 1137.11

Wednesday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

Class #25619

The popular conception of economists is that we use models to describe monetary transactions. While monetary
transactions are still the bread and butter of economics, many economists have applied economics to unique fields
including dating, crime, and even baseball. Why baseball? The industry has a clear structure. On field decisions are made under a known set of rules. Baseball players are employees whose productivity data has been published for every game played in over 100 years. Their salaries are publicly available and negotiations are often public. We will discuss topics from why more batters get hit by pitches in the National league to the beginnings of the Moneyball revolution.

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Graded S/U

From Apollo to Space X: The History of the U.S. Space Program

Professor John Horack and Professor Caroline Wagner

ARTSSCI 1138.13  (7-week Session One)

Monday, 5:20 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

In the 1960s, the United States of America undertook a great adventure of putting humans into outer space. The epic saga is infused with triumph, tragedy, and intrigue. Many political, social, and technological factors are interwoven in the remarkable achievements tied to America’s space program. This class will explore America’s commitment to space travel, beginning with the Mercury Program, the Apollo Moon Landing Program, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. The course will examine the political reasons for the creation of the space program, the role of the public in providing support, and the technology that succeeded in supporting this monumental achievement. Following the mission to the Moon, America’s space program has taken unexpected turns, and we will discuss the rise of the private sector in plans for SpaceX and others to put both cargo and humans into space over the long term.

George Orwell's 1984 and Political Fiction Now

Professor Tommy Davis

ARTSSCI 1138.08

Wednesday 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Class #37542

Alternative facts, fake news, conspiracy, authoritarianism, political fear, dehumanization, pandemics: our current political climate feels unique and without precedent.  And yet it spurred enough interest in Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 that the publisher reported a 9500% increase in sales since the presidential inauguration, leading some outlets like Amazon to sell out completely.  The novel’s sales soared yet again following the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Why would a novel published in 1948 appear relevant today?  Is this renewed popularity a sign of its explanatory power?  Does it speak to a broader mood of political paranoia?  This class will start with 1984 to tease out how fiction engages in political thinking and examine the ways political interests have employed fiction and the arts to achieve their ends.  We will examine 1984 in its post-WWII historical context and track how it has been used over the last 60 years.  We will then turn our attention to two contemporary political novels: Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower (1993), an early work of climate fiction and Afrofuturism, and Ling Ma’s pandemic novel Severance.   As we move through these three novels we will ask what conceptual tools and consolations fiction offers in times of historical and political distress.

Origins of Democracy: The Game

Professor Tom Hawkins

ARTSSCI 1138.12

Monday 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Class #29165

Free Speech – Immigrant Rights – Navigating Polarization – Spreading Democracy – Voting Rights

Travel back in time to ancient Greece, where the foundations of democracy were laid, and join in a role-playing adventure built around replaying key debates that would determine the future of democracy. As we work through this experience together, we will have three primary aims:

-To study the earliest history of democracy in ancient Greece 
-To understand the democracy as a flexible principle by studying a democratic system vastly different from the norms of the modern US.
-To become better informed citizens capable of analyzing, critiquing, and participating in political debates that are shaping our shared future.

We will work toward these goals by playing The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BCE, a role-playing game that assumes no prior familiarity with ancient Greek history or role-playing games. We will learn everything we need along the way. 

In this presidential election year, join a collaborative and interactive course, in which you will learn about the history of democracy by role playing foundational democratic debates that continue to resonate around us today.

Graphic Storytelling: Writing Pictures, Drawing Words

Dr. Cathy Ryan

ARTSSCI 1138.09

Monday 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.

Class #37018

Graphic Storytelling: Writing Pictures, Drawing Words, is a one-credit (A-E) seminar that meets on Mondays during the term (see Schedule of Classes). Students will get hands-on experience creating, reading, and interpreting graphic stories (e.g., comics, short-form graphic fiction). Students will learn storyboarding, how to read, and ways to compose visual stories. Discussion topics include precursors to the graphic novel and Pixar's "22 Rules of Storytelling." Lessons include "Storyboarding," "Graphic Arts and Adaptation," "Social Activism and Documentary," and "Autobiography/Memoir." Short readings, video clips, and animated films will be principal course texts. New in 2023 will be lessons from Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (on making comics, manga, graphic novels, and beyond). Students will share, explore, and create original compositions. Class activities include touring the Galleries in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, presenting in a project showcase, and attending Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) on Ohio State's campus and downtown Columbus. This seminar will appeal strongly to all-level students interested in telling stories (pictures and words), English studies, digital literacy, art and visual design, and film studies.

The Creative Habit

Professor Ashley Perez 

ARTSSCI 1138.06

Wednesday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Class #30358

Do you think you're too busy to be creative? Have you let yourself be fooled by the myth that some people are creative but others are not? What if you learned that creativity is a habit that you can develop? For you, this habit might create resonant words, splashes of color, bursts of music, the first strokes of your graphic novel, or a surprising sense of tranquility. Or maybe it will lead to something else altogether. In this seminar, we will explore big ideas about creativity and experiment with hands-on strategies for building creative practice. No two paths through the course will be the same, but what's sure is this: when you commit a few minutes each day to cultivating the creative habit, your well being increases, your perspective on the world shifts, and your insight deepens. What will your creative habit look like? Come find out!

The School to Prison Pipeline

Professor Mary Thomas 

ARTSSCI 1138.03

Wednesday, 12:40 p.m to 1:35 p.m.

Class #37224

The surveillance of youth and the policing of their behaviors pervades the US education system so systematically that the phrase “school to prison pipeline” reflects its ubiquity. This course examines the causes and practices of the pipeline.  We will consider how the pipeline is gendered, sexualized, and racialized, and how it affects young children and teens alike. We will also pay attention to the racial disproportionality of the pipeline, the ways that youth sexuality has been criminalized (especially for girls and gender non-conforming youth), the relationship between bullying and violence and the pipeline, and alternatives to incarceration and criminalization for youth behavioral issues.  While the US has seen a drop in the number of youth incarcerated in recent years, the course considers whom this drop prioritizes and the challenges in undoing the prison nation’s impact on gender non-conforming girls, youth of color, and LGBTQ youth. Finally, we will explore the concept of abolition and alternatives to punitive approaches.

Global Climate Change and Earth's Future

Professor Joel Wainwright

ARTSSCI 1138.02

Tuesday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

Class #36100

An examination of global climate change through an interdisciplinary lens combining the natural sciences, history, film, decision science, and contemporary political discourse. We attempt to connect the dots linking our knowledge of the natural world with the actions, or lack thereof, being taken in response to this purportedly existential threat.

Know Your Recreational Drugs

Professor Gopi Tejwani

ARTSSCI 1138.11

Wednesday 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

Class #29161

Have you ever seen anyone using a drug such as marijuana, cocaine, or amphetamines? One of every three Americans has used these drugs. In addition, millions of Americans presently abuse legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco/nicotine, and narcotics. Every day more than, 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids (more than 800 a week), thanks to over-prescription of painkillers and use of cheaper forms of heroin and synthetic opioids. More than 841,000 people in the USA died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2019 according to the CDC, 70% of them due to opioid overdose. In 2020 at least 5,215 Ohioans and 93,331 people died in the USA from unintentional drug overdoses; a 29.4% increase from the previous year. Many people who become hooked on prescription opioids go on to use heroin, or worse illicit fentanyl, which is many times potent. Fentanyl overdose, which can occur almost instantaneously when the drug is taken, is the main reason for rising deaths in America. According to CDC data, fentanyl was involved in more than 60% of overdose deaths in the USA in 2020. The total economic burden in 2017 with opioid abuse alone was about 80 billion dollars alone healthcare costs, lost productivity and legal costs.

Do you know how these drugs change your physiology, mind, and behavior?

Mediocrity: a Critical Inquiry into Truth, Beauty and Busting the Curve

Professor Mark Rudoff 

ARTSSCI 1138.07

Wednesday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

Class #30367 

One way to puzzle out an idea is to study its opposite. I propose that the opposite of "excellent" is not "bad," the opposite of excellent is mediocre. You are probably confident you can tell when something--a meal, a movie, a song--is bad. Mediocrity is more elusive, harder to pin down. And for an ambitious, creative scholar, mediocrity is our worst fear: we create a thing we believe is original, beautiful, meaningful, but we fear the harsh light of day will show it to be just ordinary. To be honest, I struggle constantly with and against mediocrity; you are going to help me figure it out. This seminar will conduct a conversation aimed to position you to critique work you encounter in your college life, and more confidently recognize when your work is excellent.

Songs in My Head: From Tapping the Beat to Feeling the Blues

Professor Eugenia Costa-Giomi 

ARTSSCI 1138.04

Monday, 1:50 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. (7-week Session One)

Class #36378

Does music makes us smarter, fall in love, get the chills, cheer-up, dance, drink, and think of suicide? We will discuss the scientific basis (or lack thereof) of some of these and other intriguing effects of music on our lives. By reading and criticizing research studies and the media that disseminates their findings we will gain a better perspective of what seems true and what is questionable about research on the benefits of music listening and music learning. By the end of the course you will have gained a better understanding of why music is an intrinsic component of our culture.

Why do we travel?

Professor Gregory Jusdanis

ARTSSCI 1138.01

Wednesday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

Class #30356

People travel more today than they ever have in history. They visit penguin colonies in Antarctica, hike through Tibet, and go on “Lord of the Rings” pilgrimages in New Zealand. Travel has developed into a billion-dollar industry.  Yet, there is a dark side to travel with millions of people dislocated by war, famine, disease, and climate change. For refugees, languishing in camps and slums, travel is a forced rather than a voluntary experience. 

A couple of years ago we all experiences how travel could be restricted by a virus. 

In this seminar we will analyze the reasons people have traveled through the ages.  We will begin with travel in antiquity, and then read from the accounts of Marco Polo and of Ibn Battuta, and then we will look at the writings of modern travelers.  Our aim is to explore travel in all of its manifestations from leisure cruises, modern resorts, to study abroad, migration and exile. 

Each week we will read from some of the best writing in the world to see how people have experienced travel as a form of exploration, personal odyssey, leisure, and forced dislocation. 

CARE AND COUNSEL: Taking Care of Ourselves and Others

Professor Michelle Herman

ARTSSCI 1138.05

Monday, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Class #29116

This seminar’s focus is on a practice of self-care, the processing of our experience (day to day as well as big picture), problem-solving (including time-management and others challenges of college life), and exploring strategies to keep oneself on course—as well as learning best practices for helping those around us. We’ll also use movement of various kinds--including relaxation techniques and improv—at the start of every class session.

Financing Your Future (FULL)

Professor Doug Alsdorf 

ARTSSCI 1138.10

Wednesday, 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Class # 30587

After you graduate and enter the working world, you will have many financial questions. How much are my taxes? Is an advanced degree a good idea? Am I investing enough money? What are the risks of investing? Should I pay off my student loans early? Should I buy a home or rent? And so on. While all of these questions are practical, they are real life tests of your thinking skills. Learning how to thoughtfully address problems is a hallmark of a college education. Because your personal finance has a measurable balance, e.g., the amount of money in your account, you can assess the decisions that you will make.