Autumn 2021 Seminars


Additional seminars will be added; please check this site regularly.

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

A Study of Sin: Moral Psychology (FULL)

Professor Steven Bengal | ARTSSCI 1137.01 | Class # 24366 

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

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.

Listening to Film

Professor David Brewer | ARTSSCI 1137.02 | Class # 36257

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

Life Hacks through (Psy) Pod Casts

Dr. Lisa Cravens-Brown | ARTSSCI 1137.03 | Class # 23145

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

Psychology research has so much to offer us all but reading research can be difficult and feel like a chore.  New college students already have enough difficult reading to do, but there are valuable things that psychology has to offer the new college student.  Enter podcasts!  Employing this useful popular media resource, we will explore a few of the important life lessons psychology has to offer new students.  I have curated a list of research-based popular media sources through which we will explore a number of “life hacks” and their implications for students’ scholarly and personal lives. 

"Headless Body Found in Topless Bar?": Researching Tabloid Journalism

Professor Gerry Greenberg | ARTSSCI 1137.04 | Class # 22315

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

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.

Polar Science: An Introduction to the Earth's Cold Regions

Professor Berry Lyons | ARTSSCI 1137.05 | Class # 23164

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

This course will expose students to many aspects of the polar regions of the Earth. The northern and southern high latitude share extreme climate, but vastly different histories, ecological systems and human interactions. Polar Regions are affected by climate and environmental change, in fact, polar systems are the "canaries in the coal mine" in regards to climate history and change on the planet. The course will compare and contrast the two Polar Regions, and use an interdisciplinary approach to discuss and major physical, ecological, and human features of each polar environment. The course will examine the science and policy that affects our view of these areas. The course will highlight research and scientific findings of many Ohio State faculty and students who have worked in the Polar Regions since the late 1950s. The course will not only examine the scientific questions involving the Polar Regions, but also discuss such topics as the history of polar exploration, the human culture of Arctic peoples, and the impact of polar changes on economic and military issues. Dr. Lyons is the former Director of The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, and has done scientific research in both Polar Regions for over 30 years.

The History of Improvisational Comedy: Not Just Making It Up As We Go Along

Professor Thomas F. McDow | ARTSSCI 1137.06 | Class # 22335

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

What is the history of American improvisational comedy? How did an obscure set of theatre exercises for children and ideas about revolutionary theatre coalesce in the American midwest into improv in the midtwentieth century? And how did improvisational training, by the first decades of twenty-first, become a virtual necessity for aspiring comedic performers? 

In this course we will consider the social, cultural, and intellectual context of the development of improvisational comedy. We will consider the deeps roots in Renaissance-era commedia dell'arte, but the primary focus will be the twentieth century. Studying improv in this way helps us see the myriad historical influences including socialist theatre, the Beats and counter-culture movements, and the rise of political satire in the Vietnam era, among others. As improvisation techniques blossomed and spread, practitioners debated if improvisation was a tool for creating performances, or if improvisation was a performance form in its own right? It has been both, and improv changed and touched so many aspects of popular culture, from Mike Nichols? directorial approach in The Graduate (1967), and the role of Chicago's Second City as a talent incubator, to the emergence of a generation of improv-inspired actors and directors, like Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam McKay, Jordan Peele and Amy Pohler. And this list could be much longer!

Introduction to Bulls**t (FULL)

Professor James Fredal | ARTSSCI 1137.07 | Class # 36998

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

People are flinging bullshit, and the “bullshit” accusation, around a lot these days. But what is bullshit, really? Is it just things that we think are untrue, or deliberately untrue? A lie? Or something devious, insulting, or hurtful in some way? Does the intention of the speaker matter, or their purpose? Or the sensitivity of the listener or the effect on the audience? What’s the difference between bullshit and lying? or bullying or doublespeak? or bluffing or hoaxing or fake news, or trolling or gaslighting? Where does bull come from and how can we detect it? In this version of 1138, we’ll study bullshit by situating it within a range of other kinds of wrong, misleading or unethical language. We’ll look at several theories of bullshit and lying and we’ll learn about a wide range of other kinds of language abuse. We’ll look at examples of it, talk and write about how it works, ask why (or whether) it’s (always) wrong, and how to spot it, defuse it, and produce it.

Vintage Chemistry and Physics: Historically Accurate Reproductions of Notable Scientific Experiments

Professor Nicole Karn | ARTSSCI 1137.08 | Class # 22369

Monday, 9:10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Galileo first pointed a telescope skyward in 1609, making observations that challenged the generally accepted belief that planet Earth was the center of the universe. Have you ever stopped to consider, though, the simplicity of a telescope that could be constructed in 1609? And how such a seemingly crude telescope could redefine our understanding of the universe? This course will explore Galileo's achievements and other notable scientific experiments that produced revolutionary, even controversial, results that changed the course of history.

Political Courage (FULL)

Professor Vladimir Kogan | ARTSSCI 1137.09 | Class # 36912

Monday, 2:20 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

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.

Baseball Economics (FULL)

Professor Ryan Ruddy | ARTSSCI 1137.10 | Class # 21524

Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.

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.

Who am I? What do I want? How might I create the life I envision? (FULL)

Professor Jennifer Patton | ARTSSCI 1137.11 | Class # 20834

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

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 Maya Angelou, Viktor Frankl, and Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans 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.

Social Change: What is it and How does it Happen?

Dr. Leslie MacColman | ARTSSCI 1137.12 | Class # 21526

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

Social change is all around us. Sometimes it occurs slowly, almost imperceptibly. At other times, it occurs in rapid bursts, generating conflict, resistance, or even violence. However, we rarely pause to consider what social change actually is, how it occurs, and how we, as individuals, contribute to it. In this seminar, we will examine the social change from the perspective of sociology and related social science disciplines, in order to understand how changing patterns of human interaction can produce profound societal transformations. We will explore the causes, consequences, and dynamics of large-scale social change, in the US and globally. We will learn about the concepts and theories used by researchers to explain social change and apply them to make sense of the world around us. Among other topics, we will examine phenomena like the rise of global capitalism, the growth of minority populations in the US, vaccine skepticism, the civil rights movement, transnational networks, and international development cooperation. Last but not least, we will consider how our academic, professional, and personal pathways can help us become agents of positive social change. 

Body Image, Health and Popular Culture 

Professor Nancy Rudd | ARTSSCI 1137.13 | Class # 37165

Tuesday, 11:10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ONLINE (synchronous) 7 Week Session 1

An examination of popular culture (media, sports, peers) and messages about our bodies. Various assessments of body image, eating, exercise and self-esteem are discussed in order to develop a life-long plan for health.

Money Can Grow on Trees: Sustainable Development in Costa Rica

Professor Ozeas Costa | ARTSSCI 1137.14 | Class # 21534

Friday, 4:10 p.m. to 5:05 p.m.

Costa Rica, the “Green Republic”, known worldwide for its conservation efforts, attracts millions of tourists to its parks and reserves every year. After accelerated deforestation between 1830 and 1980, the country experienced a remarkable transformation, moving from only 20% forest cover in 1990 to almost 60% forest cover today. This all happened while the country – once considered “the poorest Spanish colony” – became the most prosperous and stable democracy in Central America. Over the last 25 years, the country has tripled its GDP, reached a 98% literacy rate, established a high-quality universal health care system, achieved life expectancy rates higher than the United States, and almost 100% of the country’s energy comes from clean, renewable sources. In this course, we will explore how this tiny Central American country managed to undergo this unprecedented change. Through assigned readings, discussions, and group activities, we will investigate the social, cultural, economic, and environmental drivers of this transformation, and explore how the country navigates the complex relationship between conservation of natural resources and economic development.

Happiness: What is it and who gets it? (FULL)

Professor Jennifer Cheavens | ARTSSCI 1137.15 | Class # 22395

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

If you ask people what they want in the future, most of them will tell you they want to be happy. New parents will tell you that it doesn't matter what their child does in the future as long as that child is healthy and happy. College students let you know that they want a future career and relationships that bring them meaning and happiness. People nearing retirement say that they want to spend their time doing the things that make them happy. What exactly are we envisioning when we set our sights on a happy future? What do we know about what makes us happy? Is happiness for the few or for the many--can we all be happy? Is it something that needs to "be found" or is happiness something that is accessible to us at any given moment? Do we need to be successful before we can be happy or does being happy increase the likelihood that we will be successful? In this seminar, we will examine the lessons gleaned from the scientific study of happiness and well-being. Each week we will cover a new topic in the study of happiness and will attempt to put these lessons into practice.

Personal Identity and Personality: Why we are Who we are

Professor Nancy Rudd | ARTSSCI 1137.16 | Class # 37166

Tuesday, 1:50 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. ONLINE (synchronous) 7 Week Session 1

We examine the key components of our personal identity (including cultural, gender, spiritual, and other important personal or social identities) and the construct of personality to understand how we think of ourselves as we do and how we present ourselves to others. Using short assessments of these aspects, students will complete a final project in which they focus on personal style (apparel, accessories, hair, social media images) as they compose and present their identities publicly to others.

Graphic Novel and Storytelling

Professor Cathy Ryan | ARTSSCI 1137.17 Class # 37322

Tuesday & Thursday, 11:10 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. 7 Week Session 1

Graphic Novel and Storytelling will be a 7-week one credit course (graded A-E) that provides students an introduction to graphic novels. Students will learn to identify cultural and representational trends and will be introduced to ways to read, interpret, and author graphic texts (topics include cartoons, graphic memoir, documentary and web graphics, film adaptations, Neil Gaiman, and Justice League). Students will gain fluency in the elements of visual narrative and storytelling and learn modes of critical thinking. Field trips include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2019. Students will have fun and complete hands-on activities in class.

Nom-Nomics: The Economics of Food

Dr. Darcy Hartman | ARTSSCI 1137.18 | Class # 23166

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

Eating is something that we do every day, but we don't often take the time to think about how that food gets to our tables. What determines our food choices? Where is our food coming from? Why do we keep making bad choices when we know what we should eat to stay healthy? Are we going to run out of food? In this seminar, we will use the economic lens to discover the answers to these questions and more. We will cover some basic economic concepts to help you digest the readings. Supply and demand, market structures, production possibilities—these are some of the principles that we will apply to bring about a deeper understanding of food.

Chemical pollutants in the environment: Cause for concern or media hype?

Professor Roman Lanno | ARTSSCI 1137.19 | Class # 37340

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

Industrial chemicals cover the planet – from the Arctic and Antarctic to the depths of the Amazon jungles. How did they get there? Is this actually a problem? What can be done about this? We will explore, discuss, and hopefully, answer some of these questions from different perspectives including effects on animal and human ecology and the societal implications and consequences of chemical (mis)management. Topics discussed will range widely from hot button, legacy issues such as lead in drinking water to more recent topics such as environmental microplastics.

This course is not designed to provide a detailed study of environmental chemistry and biochemical toxicology of environmental chemicals, but rather a broad overview and open forum for the discussion of major current topics and questions in environmental toxicology (e.g., bioaccumulation, endocrine disruptors, Are fish from the Great Lakes safe to eat?). All topics will be discussed from the perspectives of very different interest groups (industry, academia, non-government stakeholders, and government) to provide perspectives on the management and regulation of environmental chemicals ranging from corporate America to Greenpeace.

MythBusters: An Introduction to Applied Interdisciplinary Research Methods

Professor Lorraine Wallace | ARTSSCI 1137.20 | Class # 24414

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

Throughout our daily lives, we regularly encounter interesting situations that spark our interest and curiosity. For example, have you ever considered questions such as (1) is yawning is contagious, (2) are men are better at following maps than women, (3) can you eat a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking water, or (4) does footwear choice affect driving performance? Common questions such as these have been explored and tested on the longrunning MythBusters ( television series. Throughout the seminar, we will watch and critique select MythBusters clips to enable us to delve deeply into how studies or experiments are designed and executed to reliably answer real-world situations encountered in everyday life. Using MythBusters clips as a foundation, we will critically and comprehensively explore key ingredients in scientific study design, including: (1) proposing a solid and measurable research question, (2) developing sound experimental methodology, (3) meticulous observation and measurement, (4) designing data analysis plans, (5) interpretation and reporting of generated findings, (6) identification of study strengths and limitations, and (7) planning and delivering a dissemination plan. This seminar is geared towards students in all fields of study.

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

Professor Birgitte Soland | ARTSSCI 1137.21 | Class # 37617

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

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). 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?

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Graded S/U

The Mindful College Student

Professor Maryanna Klatt | ARTSSCI 1138.02 | Class # 36985

Monday, 10:05 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. 7 Week Session 2

Mindfulness, the ability to be fully present in your life, can make a critical difference in your college experience. It is rare that we are taught to be present in our lives - in our body, mind, and spirit. Start off your college experience by learning a skill that can enhance the remainder of your life. This course will expose you to the science behind mindfulness (how it impacts the structure and function of the brain, with implications for learning), notions of stress and stress reactivity, and the role that emotion and rumination can play in our daily experience. We will practice various forms of contemplative experience (including meditation, reflective writing, and simple movement practices) providing students with a practical way to apply the theory of mindful awareness to their lives.

One's first year of college is a time of great personal, social, and professional growth. It is the most critical time to begin developing the habits and mindset that will determine who one becomes following graduation. In order to be the best version of oneself, self-awareness must be given adequate attention. The proposed seminar will introduce students to various mindfulness activities that would encourage learning beyond the traditional lecture, memorization, and test preparation format of many college courses. Students will instead become familiarized with practices to help them cultivate compassion and acceptance of oneself and others, all components that are to living a fulfilled life. 

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

Professor Susan Cole | ARTSSCI 1138.04 | Class # 24364

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

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.

Beyond Legilimency: The Psychology of Harry Potter (FULL)

Dr. Melissa Beers | ARTSSCI 1138.05 | Class # 36658

Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. 7 Week Session 2

J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series is the best-selling series of all time. The series is indeed a fine example of captivating storytelling, but it is also rich with examples of critical concepts in the field of Psychology. This seminar will explore concepts in psychological science that are also recurring themes in the Harry Potter series, including adolescence and development, interpersonal relationships, social conflicts, social influence, prosocial and antisocial behavior, resilience, and more. To get the most out of this course, students should have read the Harry Potter series and/or watched the films. You must be familiar with the characters and major plot points. As we discuss relevant literature, we will delve into the Harry Potter world to discuss examples that illustrate these concepts, and we will seek out examples where the book seems to get the research right as well as examples of ideas that are more fiction than science.

Policing, Race, and Space in the U.S.

Professor Mathew Coleman | ARTSSCI 1138.06 | Class # 21521

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

The Ferguson MO shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, catapulted the problem of racialized police power into the headlines of the U.S. (and global) media, and thereby sparked an intense national--and again, global--conversation on the intersection of police power, race, and urban governance in American cities. However, unlike other well-known and media scrutinized accounts of racialized police violence in the U.S.--for example, Rodney King's beating at the hands of LAPD officers in March 1991, which led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, or Marquette Frye's arrest by a white California Highway Patrolman in August 1965, which prompted the so-called Watts Riot--Brown's killing has directed popular media and public attention towards what we might call the persistent and everyday aspects of racialized police power. In other words, Brown's killing has prompted a widespread rethinking of racialized police power as an exceptional and unusual event. In part this growing awareness is due to the now routine recording of police-civilian interactions by concerned onlookers, and the use of social media to make visible for a broad public police practices that used to be largely invisible outside select communities and populations. This class offers undergraduate freshman a critical introduction to the everyday of police power in the U.S., with a focus on the racialization of modern American policing and the technologies, policies, laws, and practices behind the racialization of policing. The class will emphasize specifically the geography of everyday
racialized police practices--or how racialized police work is fundamentally about the production and management of space.

No background in Geography is expected or required in order to enroll in this course.

George Orwell's 1984 and Political Fiction Now

Professor Thomas Davis | ARTSSCI 1138.07 | Class # 23165

Wednesday, 12:45 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.

Alternative facts, fake news, authoritarianism, political fear, dehumanization: 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. 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: Ali Smith's Autumn (2016), the first post-Brexit novel, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2006), which is widely considered to be one of the most stirring meditations on what it means to be human, and who gets to be human, in the 21st century. As we move through these three novels we will ask what conceptual tools and consolations fiction offers in times of historical and political distress.

Financing Your Future (FULL)

Professor Doug Alsdorf | ARTSSCI 1138.09 | Class # 36901

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

During college and after you graduate, you will have many financial questions.  Is a degree in X a good idea?  How much are my taxes?  What are the risks of investing?  Should I pay off my student loans early?  Should I buy a home or rent? etc.  All of these questions 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. 

Having more money is not the answer for everyone, but understanding the financial consequences of decisions made or not made is important for everyone.  There are two objectives.  (1) After having completed the course, you should have a clearer view of the money matters that await you after you graduate from OSU and move through the next years of your life.  (2) To further develop your confidence in your decision making.

Students will participate in weekly classroom discussions.  The main tool that we will use is Excel and its spreadsheets and plots.  I have already created these, so most of this will involve you entering a few data points followed by assessing the output.  There is a fun group project during the last two weeks.

Why do we travel? 

Professor Gregory Jusdanis | ARTSSCI 1138.10 | Class # 19514

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

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. In this class 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.

Streaming the Middle East: history, politics, and identity in two popular Netflix series

Professor Johanna Sellman and Dr. Danielle V. Schoon | ARTSSCI 1138.27 | Class # 37336

Tuesday and Thursday, 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. 7 Week Session 1

What can two acclaimed Netflix series from the Middle East teach us about the history, politics, and social issues of the region? What might we discover if we took the time to slowly unpack the aesthetic, ethical, and narrative choices being made in these series? In this First Year Seminar, we will watch and discuss the Turkish series Ethos (2020) and the Egyptian series Paranormal (2020). Turkish television is known for its soap operas, which have a following throughout the Middle East and beyond. The mini-series, Ethos (Bir Başkadır), is just as popular but has a unique, fresh premise. It takes place in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, and follows the intersecting lives of several contemporary characters whose very different class, religious, sexual, and ethnic identities reveal deep social divides, but also create the conditions for reimagining them. The Egyptian horror series, Paranormal (ما وراء الطبيعة), is based on a book series by the prolific sci-fi writer, Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq (1962-2018), and is Netflix’s first original Egyptian series. It takes place in the late 1960s, a period seen as a golden age. Its lovable antihero, Dr. Refaat Ismail, battles supernatural creatures while navigating age-old conflicts between science and superstition, logic and the supernatural. As we discuss the first seasons of these two popular TV-series, we will consider the wide range of ideas and topics that they evoke, including modern Turkish and Egyptian history, music, food, nostalgia, folklore, competing perspectives on politics and national identity, gender, and the meaning of solidarity. 

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

Professor Jeffrey Haase | ARTSSCI 1138.28 | Class # 37337

Tuesday 12:40 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

The issue of mental health on campuses continues to eclipse almost everything, which is especially concerning to incoming freshman. 2020 increased the instability of our physical and mental capacity. Knowledge and expression are two ways of addressing the collective issues facing this ever-increasing complex topic. This class begins with the book, “Learning How to Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell that explores ways of resisting the attention economy. The course will dive into the rabbit holes about mental health and campus life through a series of articles, podcasts, videos, and topical research gathering techniques. We will take a broad look at examples and structures of creative expression and innovative storytelling. The final assignment will ask each student to create a story covering 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.

The Unruly Woman: Contemporary Women’s Comedy

Professor Linda Mizejewski | ARTSSCI 1138.13 | Class # 21522

Tuesday 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.

Why study women and comedy? Asked about the scarcity of women comedians in the past, Lily Tomlin said: “A woman couldn’t stand up and tell jokes because it was too powerful.  To make an audience laugh meant you had control of them in some way.” As this suggests, comedy is about bodies, power, and social relations.  While Tomlin reminds us that women comics were once an anomaly, women who write and perform their own comedy have become increasingly visible in a number of venues in popular culture: stand-up performances, concert films, internet videos, and television sitcoms and skit shows.  Also striking about this new generation of comedians is their diversity, and this course will use intersectional analysis to explore how these women use their identities to connect not only with their own social group but with audiences across the spectrum.

For each class session, students will watch a comedy performance online and read a scholarly article about the performer or about a comic strategy or theory.  Students will post on Carmen two discussion questions, one about the performance and one about the reading, and we will use these as entry points for our class discussion.  In our final two sessions, students will do group presentations on comedians not covered in the course in order to demonstrate analysis skills gained in the previous classes.

Students in this course will a) learn cultural and feminist theories of women’s comedy, b) apply these theories to the work of contemporary women comedians, and c) learn intersectionality as a feminist approach to analysis.

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

Professor Fabio Leite | ARTSSCI 1138.14 | Class # 36997

Monday 10:20 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Psychological science’s knowledge may seem removed from “the real world” for a reader trying to connect the dots from laboratory findings. In this course, we will see that sound questions about human mind and behavior we ask 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. During the semester, you will be asked to read sections of the required textbook (or other assigned related reading) before coming to class meetings each week and to participate in conversations about that content. In doing so consistently, by the end of the semester, you are expected to have gained a better understanding of the kind of research performed in the field of judgment and decision making within psychology, the relationship between psychology and other fields (e.g., philosophy and computer science), and the inherent relationship between scientific research and our daily lives.

The School to Prison Pipeline

Professor Mary Thomas | ARTSSCI 1138.15 | Class # 37026

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

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 for the pipeline in the roots of the juvenile justice system. 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 severe challenges in undoing the prison nation's impact on gender non-conforming girls, youth of color, and LGBTQ youth. We will also review some new policy initiatives in the City of Columbus and the State of Ohio seeking to reduce school push-out and the school to prison pipeline.

Science and pseudoscience: Why do so many people believe nonsense?

Professor Donald Terndrup | ARTSSCI 1138.16 | Class # 37048

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

Most science education up through high school focuses on the results of science, meaning the facts we have uncovered about the physical universe. Often missing is a careful look at the process of science. How do we make reliable, repeatable observations? How do we learn about the way physical processes operate? How do we resolve scientific disputes, and how are new results accepted by the community? In this seminar, we will explore these issues by focusing on three case studies of pseudoscience, broadly defined as topics which sound scientific but aren’t. These case studies will come from the discipline of astronomy and will concentrate on three ideas with large communities of believers: the Flat Earth, astrology, and UFOs. While we will spend some time on the evidence that these belief-systems are factually incorrect, our focus will be to understand how people holding these beliefs think about evidence, and whether they follow thought processes that are similar (or not) to those employed in science.

The Creative Habit

Professor Ashley Perez | ARTSSCI 1138.17 | Class # 37049

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

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!

Droppin’ Science: Rap Music Research

Professor Leta Hendricks | ARTSSCI 1138.18 | Class # 37104

Friday 1:20 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Droppin’ Science will instruct students on the use of modern innovative research methods and resources. The course focuses on how to find, identify, evaluate, and manage information. The theme of rap music research will encourage students to explore the subject matter and develop research skills for lifelong learning.

Know Your Recreational Drugs

Professor Gopi Tejwani | ARTSSCI 1138.19 | Class # 21535

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

Have you ever used illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines? If yes, you are one of every three Americans who have used these drugs. In addition, millions of Americans abuse legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco/nicotine and narcotics. Do you know how these drugs change your physiology, mind and behavior? We will explore the physiology of drug addiction as well as scientific procedures employed to treat drug abuse. We will focus on five drugs in detail: Alcohol, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana and Opioids.

Designer Babies? Gender, Race and the New Reproduction

Professor Mytheli Sreenivas | ARTSSCI 1138.20 | Class # 37289

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

Forty years after the world's first "test tube baby," how have reproductive technologies transformed human life?  With gene editing, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or gestational surrogacies, are we close to creating "designer babies" with pre-selected traits? What are the ethical and social justice implications of these practices? How might they challenge, or perpetuate, existing social inequalities in our world? How do race and gender matter in our analysis of the new reproduction?

This first-year seminar explores these questions and more. We will work with a variety of course materials, including scholarly research, journalistic articles, and film. Along the way, students will be introduced to methods of interdisciplinary analysis, and will practice skills of critical reading and discussion that are essential in the college classroom.

Engineering in Film & Media

Professor John Schrock | ARTSSCI 1138.21 | Class # 37290

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

This course evaluates Engineering portrayed in various media formats, including movies, books, television clips, professional talks, short videos, news, and social media.  Students will provide analysis of their experience with these media, and track their connectedness to engineering through this process.  Students, especially freshman, often feel disconnected from engineering courses, engineers, and the field of engineering.  Students will make connections of their coursework to their passions and to the real-world through thoughtful analysis and creative engagement with engineering topics.

Trauma: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Professor Neil Tennant | ARTSSCI 1138.22 | Class # 37291

Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. ONLINE (synchronous)

What sorts of awful experiences cause trauma? What are the somatic and psychological effects of trauma on those who have suffered and survived it? How might (certain kinds of) trauma be prevented? How might it be treated and alleviated? How can we understand, and be compassionate towards, and protect the interests of, those who have suffered trauma? How might one develop resilience to trauma? One can think about and discuss trauma from a multitude of disciplinary perspectives. There are philosophical issues about self, identity and free will; epistemological issues about narrative memory, repression, and self-understanding; metaphysical conceptions of the mind/body relationship; moral issues about agency, responsibility, and normative support for victims. There is neurobiological theorizing about disruption to the neural structures involved in both emotion and cognition. There is psychoanalytic and psychiatric theorizing about etiology and symptomology. There is also socio-political theorizing about the systemic oppression (of various groups) that can be a serious source of trauma; but this broad topic will be reserved for a follow-up seminar that will study some works of protest literature, and memoirs of survivors.

The Family Drama: Dysfunctional Families and the History of Tragedy

Professor Hannibal Hamlin | ARTSSCI 1138.23 | Class # 37298

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

It is no accident that Freud drew his theories of the Oedipus and Electra complexes from his reading of tragic drama. He also has interesting comments to make about some of Shakespeare's plays (Hamlet especially). In fact, the title of this course, though it seems straightforward enough, is actually the name Freud gave to the complex psychological interrelationships among the members of a family: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters (you can work out the rest). We will read a representative sampling of the history of drama focusing on the dysfunctional family as a dramatic subject. Many of the great plays in Western literature center on family crises, and one of the questions we will ask ourselves over the next weeks is why this should be so. What is it about the family that provides so much material for the playwright? Is the family inherently dramatic? Are family relations inherently tragic? Why are so many great plays about family breakdowns? Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina opens with one famous explanation: "All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion." Is Tolstoy right that unhappiness is simply more diverse and interesting as a literary subject? Why do we enjoy watching other people's families implode? Is this part of what tragedy is all about? We will attempt to answer these and other questions over the next fifteen weeks as we read about, discuss, and write about many of these unhappy families. In so doing we will learn about the history of drama, the nature of tragedy, and many other important aspects of literature, as well as perhaps something about families. Above all, we will read some great plays.

Shakespeare, Three Ways: History, Literature, Performance

Professor Sarah Neville | ARTSSCI 1138.24 | Class # 24400

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

This S/U course on Julius Caesar will teach students three ways of approaching Shakespeare’s plays: as historical documents that tell us about the time and place of their creation; as literary texts that explore themes or ideas; and as sets of instructions for the creation of a live performance. Over the course of the semester, we will talk about what Shakespeare thought he was doing in writing a play about Roman history; about how old books were made and preserved; about staging violence and insurrection; and about how a play written more than 400 years ago comes “alive” in performance to speak to current events.

Global Climate Change and Earth's Future

Professor Joel Wainwright | ARTSSCI 1138.25 | Class # 23213

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

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.

Body of Knowledge 

Professor Susan Petry | ARTSSCI 1138.26 | Class # 37331

Monday, 3:55 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

This course surveys body awareness, grace in action, and holistic approaches to health and wellness, especially useful in this era of COVID-19. We will meet in a dance studio, with our shoes off, but no dance training is necessary. You will learn strategies for increasing ease and comfort in your body, combat college stressors with greater body awareness, and inspire your imagination and body-confidence with movement games and improvisations. Each week you will apply body awareness techniques to every-day situations, and by the end of the semester we will consider how your body can be a part of your journey in college and beyond.

Our Ten-Dollar Founding Father: Poetry and Politics in Hamilton's World'

Professor Elizabeth Hewitt | ARTSSCI 1138.29 | Class # 37347

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

This seminar will use Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical and Alexander Hamilton's own writing as a lens to study the early political and poetic history of the United States. We will read early American political writing (including the Declaration of Independence and parts of the Constitution) and early poetry and fiction in tandem with the romantic story that Miranda spins in his musical. Our project will be to think about how writers constructed an American political mythology in the 18th century, and to think about how the popular musical of the 21st century responds to that mythos. We will also think about broad intellectual questions involving the intersection of politics, economics, history, and literature. How is literary writing different than historical, political or economic writing?  Why do certain stories about American founding get retold while others are forgotten? Why do we focus on biography in telling the story of a nation? What kinds of stories about the early nation do we discover when we turn to the popular media of the 18th century?

Quantum Mechanics: Uncertainty, Measurement, and Entanglement 

Professor William Putikka | ARTSSCI 1138.30 | Class # 37600

Friday, 12:40 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. 7 week session 1

Quantum mechanics is the "lingua franca" of modern physics. Students taking an introductory physics course, however, typically only experience a limited introduction to quantum ideas at the end of the year. This one credit seminar will provide an introduction to the ideas of quantum mechanics at a mathematical level suitable for first year students without requiring calculus. Conventional intuition about measurement does not apply to quantum systems, as captured in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This course explores this issue through the electron's magnetic moment. Furthermore, entanglement describes what happens when multiple quantum particles interact, leading to profound changes in our thinking about objective reality. This point bothered Einstein and led to his belief that quantum mechanics is incomplete. We will consider the issues that bothered Einstein through interacting magnetic moments. Our approach permits us to do the quantum mechanical calculation and compare it to a common sense analysis favored by Einstein and show that the two disagree. Recent experiments agree with quantum mechanics, not Einstein.