Autumn 2023 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 

Friday, 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.01 | Class #29215

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.

Music and Social Justice

Dr. Shaun Russell | ARTSSCI 1137.02 | Class #37530

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

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.

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

Professor Linda Mizejewski

Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.03 | Class #28632

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 longterm 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.

Listening to Film

Professor David Brewer 

Tuesday/Thursday, 3:00 to 3:55 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.04 | Class #37553 | 7 Week Session 2

It’s so obvious that film is a visual medium that it’s presumed in our slang: we talk about “movies” (short for “moving pictures”) and “flicks” (a reference to the flickering optical experience produced by the projection speed of early film).  But at least since the late 1920s (and arguably before then), film has also been a sonic medium and that’s what this seminar will investigate.  We’ll consider how dialogue, voiceovers, music, sound effects, and silence interact with one another. We’ll explore how sound is used to tell stories, and how crucial it is (in some ways even more than images) to creating the experiences that draw most of us to film again and again. As we do this, we’ll cross back and forth between the ways that the academic discipline of Film Studies thinks about sound and the ways in which ordinary viewers and auditors do, in the hope that the combination will enhance both your future movie-watching (and listening) and your ability to think about film in an intellectually rigorous way.

"Headless Body in Topless Bar": Researching Tabloid Journalism

Professor Gerry Greenberg

Tuesday, 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.05 | Class #37557

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.

A Study of Sin: Moral Psychology (FULL)

Professor Steven Bengal 

Monday, 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.06 | Class #31082

A runaway trolley is steaming towards five incapacitated people on the tracks, but with the flip of a switch, you can divert it off of this track! However, it will be diverted into a second track, where another person lays incapacitated. Modern moral conundrums, like the trolley problem, are the center of a debate about what people SHOULD do: is it morally correct to pull the switch, or not? But how people SHOULD make moral decisions, and how they actually DO, are often quite different. This class is an exploration of contemporary moral psychology: the science of how people come to their moral decisions. It will consist of reading and discussion on psychology research into guilt, moral dumbfounding, taboo, emotion, psychopathy and more. Of what makes a saint, and a sinner, and everything between.

How to Live a Fulfilling Life (FULL)

Professor Jennifer Patton

Monday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.07 | Class #29960

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.

Graphic Storytelling: Writing Pictures, Drawing Words

Dr. Cathy Ryan

Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.08 | Class #37813

First-Year Seminar 1137.08, 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.

Political Courage

Professor Vladimir Kogan 

Monday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.09 | Class #29947

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 

Tuesday/Thursday 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.10 | Class #37643 | 7-week session 1

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.

Baseball Economics (FULL)

Dr. Ryan Ruddy

Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.11 | Class #26846

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.

Maps don't lie, or do they?

Dr. Tammy Pareche

Tuesday/Thursday 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.12 | Class #37889 | 7-week session 2

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

Wednesday, 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1137.13 | Class #31231

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?

The Arts of Living: Thinking as a Way of Life

Dr. Ryan Helterbrand

Wednesday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.  | ARTSSCI 1137.14 | Class #31232

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?

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Graded S/U

The Space Behind Our Eyes: Mental Health, Campus Life & Creative Self-Expression

Professor Jeffrey Haase

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.01 | Class #37608

The issue of mental health on campuses continues to eclipse everything, which is especially concerning to incoming freshman. The pandemic increased the instability of our physical and mental capacity. Knowledge and expression are two ways of addressing the collective issues facing this complex topic. This class begins with the book, “Learning How to Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell exploring ways of resisting the attention economy. The course then dives into researching mental health and campus life through a series of articles, podcasts, videos, and topical research gathering techniques. We then take a broad look at examples and structures of creative expression and innovative storytelling. The final assignment asks each student to create a “story” that addresses learnings, experiences, and feelings of what is important to know about mental health and campus life. These can take the form of videos, audio recordings, poetry, drawings, comic strips, short stories, and installations. In addition, students will post weekly in a coordinated effort on an Instagram page that visually journals our findings and conversations.

Uh-oh, are our thoughts and actions reasonable? [Checking on what Psychology has had to say about that.]

Professor Fabio Leite

Wednesday, 12:40 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.03 | Class #37609 | 7-week session 1

Interested in seeing psychological science's knowledge applied to "the real world"? Enroll in this course and see that questions about human mind and behavior asked in labs have a straightforward connection to how we think (e.g., evaluate evidence) and behave (e.g., make decisions) in our daily lives outside labs.

The Creative Habit (FULL)

Professor Ashley Perez 

Tuesday, 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.04 | Class #29214

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 (FULL)

Professor Mary Thomas 

Wednesday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.05 | Class #31146

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.

Financing Your Future (FULL)

Professor Doug Alsdorf 

Wednesday, 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.06 | Class #37610

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.

Know Your Recreational Drugs

Professor Gopi Tejwani  | ARTSSCI 1138.07 | Class #37644

Wednesday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. 

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 

Tuesday 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.08 | Class #37712

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 

Monday, 10:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.09 | Class #37713 | 7-week session 1

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.

Transgenes and Stem Cells and Clones, Oh My! Exploring Biology Through Fiction (FULL)

Professor Susan Cole

Thursday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.10 | Class #38041

Can we learn anything about biology through fiction? How accurately is science portrayed in writing and in television? Can we really clone people? Live forever? Make zombies? What are the methods and ethics behind our genetic manipulation of the world around us? In this course we will investigate biological science using fiction as our starting point. We will read stories and watch television programs or movies addressing important questions in biology. In addition, we will discuss the real science behind these questions, using scientific literature to understand and interpret the science you see in television and fiction. Class discussions will explore how close the relationship is between real science as practiced in the lab to its depictions in fiction. In addition, we will discuss how the fictional depictions of biological sciences affect societal understanding of these important issues. Scientific background will be provided, and non-science majors are encouraged to register.

Why do we travel?

Professor Gregory Jusdanis

Wednesday, 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.11 | Class #31234

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.  

These past few months we all have experiences how travel can be restricted through a virus.  We have all been affected, not least in the fact that this class if being offered online. 

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. We will also consider the impact of the corona virus on travel today. 

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

CARE AND COUNSEL: Taking Care of Ourselves and Others (FULL)

Professor Michelle Herman

Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. | ARTSSCI 1138.12 | Class #31241

Starting college is starting a new life, filled with new challenges (and surprises). This seminar’s focus is on a practice of self-care, emotional and physical well-being, problem-solving, and exploring strategies to keep yourself on course—as well as learning best practices for helping others through difficulties. Professor Herman is a novelist, memoirist, and advice columnist as well as a dancer with experience in many kinds of movement practice. She will introduce a wide range of activities that will help you learn to take care of yourself—and be a good friend to others—including journal-keeping and other kinds of writing as a form of self-care, exercises in empathy and compassion, brainstorming solutions to problems, insight-based problem-solving, somatic (movement) practices, and better understanding of the mind-body connection.