Course Schedule

The courses below are those offered for the term. (To view the course description, class dates & times, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

  • Homewood Campus

    450.082.01 - MLA Portfolio

    $2513

    -STAFF-

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/8 - 4/30

    The MLA Portfolio is a one-credit option within the MLA Capstone. Students who select the Portfolio option will take 10 courses in the program (one IC course and 9 electives), and register for one-credit portfolio in their final semester. The portfolio will be completed within the same semester as the 10th course, and for students not selecting a graduate project or thesis, the portfolio is a degree requirement. The associate chair serves as the portfolio adviser. The portfolio consists of a sampling of the best papers and projects written over the course of the student’s graduate career, and consists of is designed to highlight the intellectual point of convergence in each student’s course of study, presenting the student’s reflections on knowledge gained, on intellectual points of convergence, and and on future agenda’s now made possible.

    450.610.01 - Twice-Told Tales: Classic Texts and their Contemporary Retellings (IC)

    $2513

    Dianne Scheper

    Saturday 10:00 - 2:45; 1/13 - 4/28

    This course offers a comparative study of classic texts and their modern or contemporary retellings—in literature and on stage and screen—with a focus on how these ancient stories, which have endured through the ages and helped define our sense of what it means to be human, have been refashioned to reflect modern realities. Examining “second stories” provides the pleasure of seeing the familiar from a fresh and surprising perspective (e.g., the wanderings of Odysseus seen through the eyes of his stay-at-home wife, Penelope) and also allows us to study the cultural content of the tales through a bifocal lens. How does the political protest of Sophocles’ Antigone change its thrust when it is retold by a 20th-century French existentialist writing during the Nazi occupation of France? Our twice-told pairings are Homer’s Odyssey and Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad; Sophocles’ Antigone and Anouilh’s Antigone; Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Frederick Buechner’s The Storm; and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. Note: This course satisfies the interdisciplinary core requirement.

    The class will meet on the following Saturdays: Jan 13, Jan 27, Feb 10, Feb 24, Mar 10, Mar 17, April 7, April 21.

    450.624.01 - Follow the North Star:Hist,Stories of Slaves Escaping MD

    $2513

    Edward Papenfuse

    Saturday 10:00 - 12:45; 1/13 - 4/28

    The course examines the many ways in which slaves sought or were able to escape from slavery by running away, or by assistance from nature. Included will be an examination of the ads for runaway slaves that appeared in newspapers, the stories of the ship Pearl and the brig Enterprise, the fate of slaves who fled to the British during the War of 1812, and the path to freedom followed by slaves who enlisted in the Union Army prior to Maryland’s abolition of slavery in 1864. The course is designed to broaden one’s understanding of the choices and paths enslaved Maryland residents were able to follow to freedom, from the Declaration of Independence to the case of Elizabeth Turner decided by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase after the Civil War.

    450.724.01 - Science Fiction Film in the 20th Century

    $2513

    Melissa Hilbish

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:40; 1/9 - 4/24

    This course provides a survey of Science Fiction Film from the early part of the 20th century and the very beginnings of film, through 2002. We will look at influential filmmakers including George Melies, Fritz Lang, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg and will analyze the basic components of the genre through science fiction origins (A Trip to the Moon, Metropolis), “classics” (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), cult/fan favorites (Blade Runner) and will conclude with a section focused on the 1990s and the dystopic imagination (The Matrix, Minority Report, 12 Monkeys, Gattaca, Handmaid's Tale, and Dark City among others. The goal is to develop critical analytical skills in understanding the role of science fiction within culture. How is science fiction defined? What is the role of science fiction literature in the creation and development of the formula? What is the “science” that drives the science fiction? What does it mean to be human? What is the view of the future, of technology? How are cultural and social concerns expressed through formula? The films and filmmakers are placed within a larger historical, cultural, and social context as we explore film as an industry, as a technology, as a form of communication, and as an artifact of culture.

    This is a hybrid course that will meet Tuesday evenings and online. The online segments of the class will be equivalent to 2 hours and 40 minutes of instructional time each week that they occur. On the first night of class, the instructor will give you information about the online portion of the course.

    450.777.01 - Angels in America (The Play)

    $2513

    Joseph Martin

    Thursday 6:30 - 9:10; 2/2 - 4/26

    In the 1990s a work by rising American playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln, Homebody/Kabul, Caroline or Change) captured a period of landmark social change in America, and a shift in consciousness during the latter decades of the 20th Century, with some prophesies about the 21st century. After years of development work the first part of “Andels in America,” Millennium Approaches, premiered in New York at the Public Theatre in New York. It was followed by another epic work called “Perestroika.” The two-part masterpiece became an influential Broadway and International hit. The 2006 HBO television version starring Al Pacino has kept the legacy alive for new generations – and the play is currently being revived around the country. The published play, which the renowned critic Harold Bloom has included in his modern list of “Great Books,” depicts the emergence of LGBT rights, the Mormon Church, the AIDS epidemic, the Reagan-era transformation of both government and business, and finally, the looming figure of Roy Cohn—a man whose influence in American politics ranged from the Rosenberg trial and his work as Counsel for the McCarthy Committee in the 1950s to his legacy as it affects the present day, having been a primary political mentor of the current President.

    450.778.01 - Tonality in the Symphonies of Gustav Mahler

    $2513

    Douglas Blackstone

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:40; 1/10 - 4/25

    Early in the 20th century, composers of the “Second Viennese School,” led by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern, believed that tonality and Romanticism in western music had gone far enough, and their answer was “atonality,” music written to avoid any formal relation to a central key. In this course, students will learn why atonality largely failed, and why the symphonies of Mahler, “rediscovered” some 50 years after his death in 1911, aided and abetted that failure. Through in-class demonstration and listening, students will discover what tonality means and why it is likely an unavoidable force of nature, and that we, as human beings, naturally seek harmonic structure. The class will study each symphony in numerical order, and the course will end with a field trip to New York City in May 2018 to hear a performance of Mahler’s 10th symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle conducting.

    The course will end with a field trip to New York City in May 2018 to hear a performance of Mahler’s 10th symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle conducting.

    450.830.01 - MLA Graduate Thesis

    $2513

    -STAFF-

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/8 - 4/30

    The graduate thesis a second option inis part of the MLA Capstone. Students who choose this option take one IC course, 8 electives, and register for the graduate thesis as their tenth elective. Most students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program with a focus who have on a particular pursued a particular concentration or subject area conclude their degree requirements by writing an independent graduate thesis under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Before registering for the graduate thesis, a student must submit a proposal and receive approval from the faculty sponsor and the MLA program director.

    450.850.01 - Internship

    $2513

    -STAFF-

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/8 - 4/30

    A third option in the MLA Capstone is the Internship; students who choose this option take one IC course, 8 electives, and register for a particular internship, which will culminate in a detailed research report, as the their tenth course. Please contact the program director for more information on internship options.

  • Online Courses

    450.643.81 - Leadership and the Classics

    $2513

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    This course explores constants and changes in leadership over time through a selection of readings that ranges from ancient philosophy to 20th-century fiction, including works by Confucius, Plato, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Hannah Arendt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anne Tyler, and others. Through directed reading and discussion, students gain valuable insights into how leaders can foster creative initiatives and responses to change. A historical perspective enables students to understand and appreciate the challenge of leadership in the 21st-century multicultural world. They can then develop a framework for interpreting and evaluating responses to that challenge. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.643.82 - Leadership and the Classics

    $2513

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    This course explores constants and changes in leadership over time through a selection of readings that ranges from ancient philosophy to 20th-century fiction, including works by Confucius, Plato, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Hannah Arendt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anne Tyler, and others. Through directed reading and discussion, students gain valuable insights into how leaders can foster creative initiatives and responses to change. A historical perspective enables students to understand and appreciate the challenge of leadership in the 21st-century multicultural world. They can then develop a framework for interpreting and evaluating responses to that challenge. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.667.81 - The Bildungsroman as Literary Form – Chronicling Personal Growth in Countries and Cultures

    $2513

    Kathleen Burke

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    The bildungsroman, often referred to as the Novel of Adolescence or Coming of Age novel, is one of the world’s most fascinating literary forms because of its manifestations in the literatures of many cultures and countries. The development of the form closely parallels the development of nations, the emergence of philosophical, social, and literary movements which have defined the world from the Eighteenth Century onward. Many major writers of the Romantic, Modern, and Post-modern periods have experimented with the form in compelling works such as Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, Mrs. Dalloway, Madame Bovary, Great Expectations, Native Son, Catcher in the Rye, and The Famished Road. The illusiveness of the form derives in part from its ubiquitous nature. The classical German bildungsroman differs significantly from its English, French, American, African American, Asian, and African counterparts. This course examines the bildungsroman in several of its manifestations: the rise of the form in Eighteenth Century Germany, its adoption among French and English writers, its adaptation in Joyce’s Ireland, its popularity among American and African American writers, and its unique presentation in Asian and African literatures. Students will read several major bildungsromans and discuss the constructs of the form as well as the ways it differs among countries and cultures, races and ethnicities, and between genders. Some attention will be paid to the social and societal contexts associated with the form, as well as the ways in which it has been shaped by prevailing philosophies. Students will be encouraged to participate in The Bildungsroman Project, a Digital Humanities project designed to catalog and explore the form (http://bildungsromanproject.com/). (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.669.81 - Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective

    $2513

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    This course examines the family from various cross-cultural perspectives. Throughout the semester we will examine the family as a social institution through the lenses of race, gender, age, social class, and sexual orientation. First we will explore how the notion of family has changed over time in the United States. Next we will explore the social processes that take place within the context of the family such as dating, courtship, marriage, and parenting. We will also look at other issues that affect families such as immigration policy, work inside and outside the home, poverty, and domestic violence. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.683.81 - The History of the Book from the Ancient World to the Digital Humanities

    $2513

    Earle Havens

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    "What is the future of the book?" This course will tackle that question in two distinct ways. First, we will delve into the distant historical past together and explore the circumstances governing the transmission of knowledge itself, from its origins in Bronze Age cuneiform, hieroglyphic and Semitic-language manuscripts, up to the Greco-Roman period, in the form of inscribed tablets, papyrus rolls, and epigraphic fragments. The next portion of the course will address the medieval “manuscript revolution,” marking the epochal technological transition to the codex book-form still in use today. Here we will address the progress of paleography—the forensic development of Western handwriting over time—and the proliferation of book illustration and illumination alongside the parallel development of traditional sacred and novel secular textual genres, partly made possible through these same innovations in book production. In the interest of presenting an especially focused study over the final half of the course, we will then move from the late Middle Ages to the “Printing Revolution,” from the middle of the 15th c. up to the close of the 17th c. We will hone in on the first era of “information overload” (before our present-day digital revolution) and its broader cultural impact on the cultures of book history and the reception of knowledge over time. (Available Online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.689.81 - Introduction to Digital Humanities in the Liberal Arts

    $2513

    Tamsyn Rose-Steel

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    This introductory course in the MLA program’s digital humanities concentration is designed to familiarize students with digital encoding tools, web platforms, assorted search engines and other methodologies directly relevant to a wide range of research agendas in the liberal arts. In the course of the semester, students will receive a comprehensive introduction to selected tools and methodologies, such as the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and text mining software (e.g. Voyant and Collatex). Assigned text encoding projects will guide students in identifying appropriate textual markup strategies, resolving issues generated through digital research, and finally in selecting appropriate tools for edition making. The semester will conclude with group critiques of these assigned projects from the standpoint of both content and user experience. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.694.81 - Philosophy of Beauty

    $2513

    Firmin DeBrabander

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    Since Plato, "Beauty" has proven to be a crucial topic in Western Philosophy. Philosophers have seen fit to address numerous questions surrounding the topic: what is beauty, what distinguishes and constitutes it, who can create it, who can discern and appreciate it? Is it subjective or objective? We will consider a variety of other critical questions via the prominent thinkers we will read in this class, such as: what is the point in creating art? Who or what is it for? What is its desired or intended impact on the audience? What are the germs of creativity, or what is the critical environment for its emergence? Is creativity and artistic inspiration an individual privilege, or can it be shared broadly in society, or in a community? What is the political role or place of the artist and his/her work? Philosophers read in this class may include Plato, of course, but also Aristotle, Augustin, Aquinas, Hume, Burke, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, among others. If time permits, we will also look at more recent philosophers writing on the topic--and why beauty might no longer be a concern for art and artists.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.695.81 - American Political Theory and Practice

    $2513

    Michael Harding

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    Our purpose in this course is not to provide an account of the mechanics of American government, but to examine the principles that underlie those mechanics, and the way in which those principles change over time. In other words, we are going to examine the political philosophy that serves as a basis for the American regime (or regimes, if one is so inclined). This means that in addition to questions of justice and right we will examine how the thinkers of the Founding era understood the human being, and the sort of governmental structures that are built on this understanding. We will also consider the revolution in American politics that occurs in the 20th century. The progressive movement of the 20th century builds on a different view of human nature and metaphysics (originating in, but ultimately transcending, Hegelian Idealism), and therefore finds itself in tension with the principles of the Founding. This tension is one of the animating forces of American political partisanship today, so an understanding of the development of American political theory will help us to better understand political disagreements in our own day. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.697.81 - The Rise and Fall of Empires: From Rome to Brexit

    $2513

    Keith Sisson

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    This course will examine what correlation can be traced between the rise and fall of empires, ranging from the ancient Roman to the modern British, and their relative effects upon other societies. It aims to acquaint students with the events, traditions, ideas, and values that have shaped the modern world. Students will gain a perspective on the position of these empires among the nations of the world, and on the controversies and agreements concerning the desired attributes of government, culture, and ideals. It will focus on central themes and issues in the development of political, economic, and religious institutions, and will raise questions about human values, economic growth, institutional change, cultural development, and political democracy. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.738.81 - Why Read the Classics?

    $2513

    Laura DeSisto

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    There are three questions that rest at the heart of this course: What is meant by the term “classic” when we refer to works of literature and poetry? Why is it worthwhile to read the classics? and What would you include in your personal library of the classics? We will turn to authors, poets, and philosophers for their wisdom and guidance on the topic, and we will read a number of works to help refine our understanding of what the classics mean to us. In doing so, we will engage in close readings of each text, find ways to bring them into dialogue with one another, contemplate the insights they give into the human experience, and explore their relevance in our everyday lives. Students will be asked to write analytical, creative, and reflective responses to these works and to consider the classics that are meaningful to them.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.749.81 - Exploring the Liberal Arts

    $2513

    Keith Sisson

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    What do we mean by the "liberal arts" and why are they more important today than ever before? How do the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and arts compare and contrast in terms of their methods of acquiring, analyzing, and conveying knowledge? Are the "ways of knowing" for each discipline incremental or sudden and why or when? The course is taught using a thematic approach. Previous versions of the class have included a focus on "The DaVinci Code," "Time," "The American landscape and the American Imagination," "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Fifties," "Seeing." "Memory," and "Nature and the American Imagination."

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.749.82 - Exploring the Liberal Arts

    $2513

    Keith Sisson

    Online 1/8 - 4/30

    What do we mean by the "liberal arts" and why are they more important today than ever before? How do the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and arts compare and contrast in terms of their methods of acquiring, analyzing, and conveying knowledge? Are the "ways of knowing" for each discipline incremental or sudden and why or when? The course is taught using a thematic approach. Previous versions of the class have included a focus on "The DaVinci Code," "Time," "The American landscape and the American Imagination," "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Fifties," "Seeing." "Memory," and "Nature and the American Imagination."

    Technology Fee: $175.00