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

    $350

    Keith Sisson

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 8/28 - 12/16

    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.

    450.607.01 - Through a Glass, Darkly: American Film Noir

    $2513

    Melissa Hilbish

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:30; 8/29 - 12/12

    The term film noir, French for "black film," was first applied to Hollywood films by French critic Nino Frank in 1946. Unrecognized by the American film industry as a distinct formula during the classic period of Hollywood (1930-1960), Cinema historians and critics defined the category retrospectively to describe the distinctive style look and feel of many American films made during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The course examines the cultural origins, unique elements, underlying values, and major auteurs of both American noir and international noir filmmakers. Film noir was defined through the general themes of alienation, existentialism, loneliness, cynicism, pessimism, despair, paranoia and entrapment, coupled with a gritty and distinctive visual style and mood. We will screen and discuss select noir films and develop skills of viewing and analyzing them closely. Topics include the emerging field of film theory and criticism in the early 1960s, literary origins and style; male and female roles; film and society in the years after WWII; German expressionism and Nazism in Germany as major influences on early Noir; early gangster films; and the role of the "auteur" in the definition of the form. Among the films considered are Fritz Lang's M (Germany-1931), John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (U.S. - 1941), Orson Welle's Citizen Kane (U.S.- 1941) and Touch of Evil (U.S. - 1958), Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly (U.S.- 1955), and Francois Truffaut?s Shoot the Piano Player (France - 1960). The course will conclude with analysis of neo-noir films like Sam Fuller's Underworld U.S.A. (U.S.- 1961) and John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (U.S. - 1962) among many others.

    450.661.01 - History of Russia

    $2513

    D Cummins

    Saturday 10:00 - 2:25; 9/2 - 10/23

    This course will first address the issue of Geography, which more than history dominated the thinking of the Eurasian Steppe, a centrifugal plain which caused the people to adopt centripetal institutions; it will include study of the region of Siberia--the land of the Shaman east of the sun; the constant stream of foreign invasions throughout Russian history and their indelible marks on the character and culture of the people; the periodization of important leaders (Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, etc) of Russian History;the enormous contribution of its 19th century literature (Pushkin, Dosteovsky, Tolstoy, Chekov, etc); the spiritual influence of the Russian Orthodox Church; the causes and effects of the Russian Revolution in 1917--and arguably the most important world event in the 20th Century; Stalin, Khrushchev and the age of the Cold War; and the Post-Communist search for identity (Gorbachev, Yeltsen, Putin, and Dimitry Medvedev).

    450.734.01 - Rebirth of a Nation:The Harlem Renaissance

    $2513

    Ernest Quarles

    Saturday 10:00 - 12:30; 9/2 - 12/16

    This course will examine twentieth century American history through the lens of the Harlem Renaissance, probing the music, literature, theatre, film, and other visual arts of that era for the key themes and messages that would profoundly influence the twentieth century civil rights movement and radically transform the cultural, social, and political landscape of post-slavery America. This course intends to "humanize" American history by exposing students to a uniquely powerful artistic movement through which ordinary people gave expression to their personal experience of key historical events as witnesses, participants, and agents of change. It is anticipated that the integration of cultural material into the analysis of historical facts will awaken students to dimensions of America's racial past not previously explored and provide a platform from which they may engage in critical and constructive analysis of the sociopolitical landscape of twenty-first America.

    450.791.01 - A Cultural History of New York City II: World’s Fair to World Trade Center

    $2513

    George Scheper

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30; 8/30 - 12/13

    This interdisciplinary course begins with a look at what architect Rem Koolhaas has called “Delirious New York”: the competitive mania of the skyscraper wars, and the rambunctious and over-the-top worlds of Coney Island, Times Square, and Broadway theater in the early 20th century. We then turn to the decisive turning point of the 1930s when, in the face of the Great Depression, New York City witnessed some of its greatest building projects: the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and the monumental projects overseen by NYC’s controversial “master builder”, Robert Moses. The New York World’s Fair of 1939 serves as a fitting symbol for what the Fair itself proclaimed as “The World of Tomorrow”, the world of middle class consumerism, the automobile, the highway and the suburb. A major focus of our study is the unfolding and increasingly controversial career of Robert Moses in attempting to implement this ‘World of Tomorrow’, and the gathering forces of opposition galvanized by the book The Death and Life of Great American Cities written by the Greenwich Village activist Jane Jacobs.

    Dates of this course will be Wednesdays September 6 - December 13, with two NYC overnight field-trips on October 21-22 and November 18-19.

    450.830.01 - MLA Graduate Thesis

    $2513

    Keith Sisson

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 8/28 - 12/16

    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

    Keith Sisson

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 9/3 - 12/16

    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

    450.630.81 - "Orientalism" vs. "Occidentalism": A Brief History of Two Illusions

    $2513

    -STAFF-
    Keith Sisson

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    This course examines the evolution of regional attitudes that shape national discourses that create global discourse that influence the ways peoples and therefore nations at both ends of the Eurasian continent perceive and deal or do not deal with each other. Primary focus will be upon the sectarian religious, ethnic, social-economic conflicts that frame popular images, upon competitive power groups, international and domestic, that manage and model leadership polities, and upon the domestic and international press that play a significant role in shaping public perceptions. Students will view documentaries and films, read, weigh, consider and discuss a wide range of literary and media sources, including a film based upon Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King and other films, essays by world leaders, from the 19th-century father of modern India, Raja Rammohan Ray and Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, to the 20th- and 21st-century writers, such as Kishore Mahbubani (Can Asians Think), Steward Gordon (When Asia Was the World), Edward Said (Orientalism), and Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit (Occidentalism, The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies). (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.631.81 - Western Theatre History: The Dynamic Interplay of Social, Economic and Cultural Forces

    $2513

    Jane Peterson

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    Theatre offers unique insight into the development of western civilization by depicting people in their relationships to themselves, to each other, and to society. Theatre history provides a distinctive lens through which to explore the social, economic, cultural, geographical and other forces shaping those relationships over the past 2500 years. Beginning with the inception of theatre in religious ritual up to the present postmodern era, Western Theatre History: The Dynamic Interplay of Social, Economic and Cultural Forces will explore the demographics of audiences, the reasons for attending the theatre, who presented theatre, where theatres were located, what theatre space looked like and why they looked that way in order to track the dynamics of western political and social history. Major works of dramatic literature will serve as the entry point into various periods and as reflections of the historical forces at work. The major periods to be studied are: Classical Greek and Rome, Medieval, Renaissance (Italy, England and Spain), 18th and early 19th centuries, the modern era and the postmodern present.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.651.81 - Western Political Philosophy

    $2513

    Michael Harding

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    This is intended as a broad survey of Western political thought, particularly as it developed in the European historical context from the classical era to the 20th century. The thinkers we will discuss can be thought of as engaged in what Robert Hutchins called a "great conversation" across the centuries on the central questions of political philosophy. These questions include: What are the purposes of government? What is the best form of government? How are justice and liberty best realized in a political system? What are rights - and where do they come from? What is sovereignty and in whom does it reside? What principles make political authority legitimate? Is disobedience to political authority ever justified? In many ways these questions are perennial ones, as relevant in our own time as in the distant past. Moreover the divergent systems of thought developed to answer these questions continue to shape much of contemporary political life - e.g. democracy, constitutionalism, liberalism, socialism, and conservatism. Among the political philosophers who will be examined are Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, and Leo Strauss. (Available online) 450.656 “An American” in Literature (3 credits) What does it mean to be an American? Some scholars have found a national character; others have argued that national character does not exist; perhaps, given our diversity, we have multiple characters. In this course, we will use American fiction (novels) to find (if we can) the answer, an answer, perhaps many answers to this question. Likely, we will raise some questions of our own. Our Americans will be male and female, black and white, young and old, good and evil, rich and poor, and, well, Americans.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.673.81 - Monstrosity & Metamorphosis:Imagining Animals in Early Art & Literature

    $2513

    Susan Zimmerman

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    From man's earliest artistic expressions on the walls of caves, animals have figured centrally in the human imagination. One can argue, in fact, that much of early art and literature does not differentiate fully between the human and the animal, that human self-awareness evolved, in part, through interactions with animals, and through the imaginative fusion of human and animal forms. This seminar will study the representation of animals, and human/animal hybrids, in cave painting, in Sumerian art, in Egyptian mythology, in classical mythology (Crete and the Minotaur, tales from The Odyssey, tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses), in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, in a selection from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and in the monstrous creatures that decorate the margins of medieval manuscripts in the Christian West. The seminar will use a blog for the posting of texts and images, and will require a research paper. This course satisfies the interdisciplinary Core course requirement. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.675.81 - Literary Analysis of the Hebrew Bible

    $2513

    Christopher Paris

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    This course focuses on narrative criticism of the Hebrew Bible, comparing it to similar methodologies (poetics, rhetorical criticism, etc.) and contrasting it with other forms of exegesis (historical criticism, deconstruction, etc.). Students will study key literary terms and discuss the elements that work together to form a story. The class will consider the narrator's voice in relation to the text and the reader, examining narrative omniscience, key type scenes, and themes in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature. This course attempts to discern narrative criticism’s place in the history of Biblical interpretation. Long overshadowed by historical criticism and increasingly seeking to find its place in the midst of a number of reader oriented approaches, narrative criticism can be a valuable partner to both. This class examines narrative criticism’s value as a tool for exegesis by studying its roots and the methodologies incorporated by narrative critics of the Hebrew Bible. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.678.81 - Religions of the Emerging World

    $2513

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    The emerging world of the 21st century is globally interconnected: Al peoples are now neighbors. In this world, competing religious claims to unique truth pose a serious threat. Yet abandoning such claims can reduce religions to quaint cultural relics. How can religious believers maintain the vitality of their spiritual heritage while fully appreciating the faith/wisdom traditions of others? This course explores the insights of one man who has sought that balance of religious consciousness—philosopher Huston Smith—as he reflects on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Rather than competing, he found, the world’s religious traditions can greatly enrich one another. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.700.81 - “The Souls of Black Folk”: Evolving Conceptions of Leadership in African American Literature and Culture

    $2513

    Adam Culver

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    Equal parts historical study, sociological investigation, and cultural analysis, W. E. B. Du Bois' classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, exemplifies the type of interdisciplinary and multidimensional approach employed by political and social theorists in their efforts to make sense of the fundamental conditions, contours, and characteristics of political life in modern societies. Paying particular attention to Du Bois’ account of race, the role political leadership, and the relationship between leaders and the masses, we will put Du Bois’ seminal work in conversation with a number of other prominent Afro-American voices, including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Cornel West, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. By attending to Du Bois’ political engagements as well as literary representations of political leadership that have been influenced by him in one way or another, students will have the opportunity to explore the premises and implications of racial politics as well as some of the creative ways in which African Americans have sought to overcome racial domination. What are the appropriate roles and responsibilities of political leaders? What is the nature of their relationship to the community? What are the foundations of legitimate leadership and authority? What form should black politics take in order to overcome white supremacy? How should we understand the relationship between class, gender, race, and sexuality? (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.710.81 - The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

    $2513

    Jonathan Pevsner

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was one of the most fascinating individuals in history. He is the creator of what are arguably the world’s two most famous paintings: the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. He was also a brilliant scientist and engineer; he made dozens of original anatomical discoveries (for example, he injected hot wax into an ox brain to demonstrate the shape of the ventricles), and he invented hundreds of devices (from ball bearings to a steam cannon). He was well-known as a musician, court entertainer, and even as a practical joker. Who was Leonardo? What do we know of his personal life, including his thoughts on religion, sexuality, or politics? What personal traits shaped his genius? This course explores his thousands of pages of manuscripts; his paintings and other artistic projects; his scientific projects (including anatomy, physiology, botany, and geology); and his civil and military engineering projects. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.731.81 - History of the Papacy: Pope Francis in Context

    $2513

    Keith Sisson

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    This course will cover the history of the papacy from Late Antiquity until the present day. It will pay particular attention to the growth of the papacy as an institution, its ideological expression, and the historical roots of today’s Pope. The acclaimed historian, Thomas F.X. Noble, has noted that the papacy is the “world’s oldest continuously functioning institution.” Its longevity alone has prompted curiosity and interest, inspired scholarly works and attracted popular attention; to many, it has been the model of tradition for two millennia. But upon closer inspection, another story, one of transformation, also emerges. The approach of most papal histories, beginning with the Liber Pontificalis in the sixth century up to and including many twentieth-century accounts, is to weave a seamless narrative. These histories attempt to reinforce the notion that the papacy was (and still is) moving inexorably toward some preordained end. Most historians today disagree with this approach, and prefer to acknowledge far more contingency: the papacy as an institution has witnessed periods of monumental transformation over its 2000-year history. This course will highlight these developments, place them within their proper historical context, and demonstrate that perhaps no institution has witnessed more change and continuity than the papacy. This course satisfies the interdisciplinary core requirement. (available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    450.762.81 - America's Cultural Diversity: the history of race and ethnicity in the United States

    $2513

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 8/28 - 12/16

    This course examines the historical, cultural, and structural dimensions of race and ethnicity in the United States. We will examine key theories about the ways race and ethnicity are constructed and influence intergroup dynamics; engage in debates regarding definitions of race and ethnicity and forms of prejudice and discrimination; and review and analyze empirical evidence related to racial and ethnic disparities in economic status, educational attainment, health, employment, and the criminal justice system. The course will examine the racial and ethnic experiences of a range of individuals and communities, including intersections with gender and immigration status. We will begin by reviewing a series of key readings in racial and ethnic studies that establish central concepts, theories, and historical contexts. Using a variety of sources, this course will examine the racial diversity of America and the enduring implications of racial and ethnic pluralism. Throughout the course, students will work to expand their critical thinking and reflection skills, make meaningful connections between ideas and everyday experiences, and better understand how the personal experience of race and ethnicity interacts with larger social and historical forces. We will also discuss the ways people work to mitigate and overcome racial and ethnic disparities. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $175.00