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

    Laura DeSisto

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:01; 1/23 - 5/7

    The MLA Portfolio is a zero-credit Capstone option. Students who select the Portfolio option will take 10 courses in the program (one core course and 9 electives), and register for the zero-credit portfolio in their final semester. The portfolio will be completed within the same semester as the 10th course. The portfolio consists of a sampling of the best papers and projects written over the course of the student's graduate career, and it is designed to highlight the intellectual points of convergence in each student's course of study, presenting the student's reflections on knowledge gained and lessons learned.

    This course is open to all MLA students who are ready to complete their capstone and who choose to complete the portfolio option. It functions like an independent study and there are no face-to-face meeting requirements.

    450.609.01 - 1900: The Birth of Modernism in Vienna, Paris, and London

    $2638

    George Scheper

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:40; 1/23 - 5/1

    The year 1900 was the pivotal fulcrum of the turn of the century, that short but crucial era we call the fin-de-siècle, ranging from 1890 to WW I. This explosively creative period of literary and artistic expression witnessed the dramatic transition from the cultural order of old Europe to the new worlds of modernity: Freud's Vienna, Toulouse Lautrec's Paris, and the London of George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. It was an exciting new era of steam, speed and electrification, of the exhilarating cultural life of world's fairs, crowded boulevards, cafes, music halls, art galleries, and photographer's studios.

    New styles of painting by Viennese Secessionists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oscar Kokoschka, along with Picasso's Cubist experiments, would change people's ideas of what art could do and even of what art was for. Colorful posters featured a new world of travel and consumerism, of daring cabaret performers and uninhibited night-life, and of "new women" shown smoking cigarettes, riding bicycles, and claiming public space. Radical performances by Diaghilev's innovative company, the Ballets Russes, could provoke controversy, and even rioting in the concert halls. The excitement of Belle Époque Paris is legendary, but London may have felt the most vibrant polarizations of all: on the one hand, the sternly patriarchal imperial and colonialist culture celebrated by Rudyard Kipling, with comic relief provided by Gilbert and Sullivan; and on the other, the subterranean currents of aestheticism and gender-bending decadence explored by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, who pushed the boundaries of what Victorian London would tolerate, up to and beyond its limits.

    Our interdisciplinary exploration will range from the fine arts and music, through architecture, urban design and city planning, to popular culture and the radical social changes marking this turn of the century epoch.

    450.621.01 - The Self in Question: Readings in Lit & Psychol

    $2638

    Dianne Scheper

    Saturday 10:00 - 2:45; 1/26 - 5/4

    What is a “self” and what is its nature? Is the self discovered or invented? Is it synonymous with character, with personality, with soul? Or is the self primarily a storyline? Thinkers throughout the ages have probed the riddle of our human identity and come to distinctly differing conclusions. Buddha considered the self an illusion, while for Plato, the self is a slumbering sage. For Freud, it is an instinctual hunger; for Sartre, a useless passion; for B.F. Skinner, a machine; for Buckminster Fuller, a verb. Modern literature and psychology have further complicated our conceptions of selfhood, challenging traditional notions of the stable ego and expanding our understanding of personal identity to include race, class, gender, and culture. From ‘selves in the making’ to ‘selves under siege,’ from the lonely, existential self to the transpersonal, communal self, in this class we explore questions of selfhood from the perspectives of literature and psychology –two key disciplines devoted to understanding the perplexities of human nature. We consider the approaches of Freudian, Jungian, feminist, Buddhist, Marxist, and existential psychologists, and we read literary selections by Kafka, Thomas Mann, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, Milan Kundera, Margaret Atwood, and Z.Z. Packer. Our interdisciplinary focus will enable us to see the ways in which psychology and literature illuminate and enrich each other—and also where they are in conflict, both in their methodologies and in their basic assumptions about the “knowability” of human nature and behavior.

    This class will meet for 8 Saturday sessions. The class meeting dates are: January 26, February 9, February 23, March 9, March 23, April 6, April 27, May 4.

    450.635.01 - How the War was Remembered: The Film and Literature of the Vietnam War

    $2638

    Melissa Hilbish

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:40; 1/24 - 5/2

    The Vietnam War continues to be one of the most controversial and deeply divisive events in U.S. history. The seeds for the war began early in the 20th century, intensified within the Cold War emerging in the years after 1945, and tore the country apart when boots hit the ground in 1965 to fight a war with no clear objectives or enemies. The legacy of Vietnam is difficult to understand but it is clear that the lessons of the war have been most “remembered” through the films and the powerful perspective of the veteran’s voice in the literature of the war. We will ask how writers and film makers presented the experience of those on the battlefield and the home front; how very public and symbolic battles were fought over how the war should be interpreted and remembered; and how these artifacts help to illustrate the construction of a mediated cultural memory of the war. Particular attention will be paid to the "veteran's voice" and the role of autobiography. The course will consider the war from both liberal and conservative perspectives, and we will add an often-missing voice from the story; that of the Vietnamese. Ken Burn's new documentary series, The Vietnam War will anchor the class. Other films to be considered may include The Quiet American, The Green Berets, Apocalypse Now, Rambo, The Deer Hunter and Platoon, The Little Girl of Hanoi _(_Em bé Hà Noi) as well as other documentaries including Why Vietnam, Peter Davis' Hearts and Minds, and Four Hours in My Lai. Important literary works by veterans of the war may include those by Michael Herr, Philip Caputo, Bao Ninh, Le Ly Hayslip, Tim O’Brien and Ron Kovic among others. Please note that most of the films are readily available from multiple streaming sources (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Public Library, etc..). Students will be required to have watched a particular film in advance of class as noted in the syllabus.

    450.830.01 - Graduate Project

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:01; 1/23 - 5/7

    The Graduate Project allows students to conclude the MLA degree by completing a project of their own design on a topic of their choosing. Students complete this project under the guidance of a faculty member. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that a student has discovered through the MLA program. The project provides the opportunity for the student to apply the concepts and knowledge gained through the program to an independent project of his/her design. The project should be thirty to fifty pages and can include a range of multimedia materials. The final project is generally in the form of a research paper, though it may be in a creative format as well (such as a play or visual arts project).

    This course is open to all MLA students who are ready to complete their capstone and who choose to complete the graduate project option. It functions like an independent study and there are no face-to-face meeting requirements.

    450.850.01 - Internship

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:01; 1/23 - 5/7

    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.

    This course is open to all MLA students who are ready to complete their capstone and who choose to complete the internship option. It functions like an independent study and there are no face-to-face meeting requirements.

  • Online Courses

    450.600.81 - Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Methods

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This seminar will introduce students to current trends in interdisciplinary research in the liberal arts. It is recommended for any students who plan to complete a thesis as their Capstone Graduate Project. This course will lead students through the process of designing original scholarly research for the MLA Program: from developing a research question to identifying primary sources and defining current debates concerning their chosen topic. In each session, in addition to weekly discussions, students will be guided through a writing exercise or a new step in the research process. In this course, students will learn how to critically examine sources, define a theoretical framework, use standards of logical demonstration, and develop a comprehensive thesis project proposal.

    Technology Fee: $200.00 This course is recommended for any students who plan to write a thesis as their Capstone Graduate Project during either the summer 2019 or fall 2019 semester.

    450.606.81 - Ethics for a Multicultural World

    $2638

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This is a course in applied philosophy, a practical approach to ethical thinking based principally on the Discourse Ethic of Jurgen Habermas. Using a “Moral GPS,” the course works through the basic steps of a discernment and decision process that takes into account the particular ethical challenges of the 21st-century multicultural world. Through the work of this course, Students will:

    • analyze the principal ethical theories and their relation to each other;
    • evaluate their own ethical assumptions and those of others in relation to those ethical theories;
    • be able to validate ethical claims in ways compatible with cross-cultural dialog;
    • be able to guide ethical dialog toward consensus for effective action

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.611.81 - Social History of Medicine

    $2638

    Mary Furgol

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course focuses on major developments in modern medicine from the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment to the late 20th century and considers those developments within their social, political, cultural, and economic contexts. The focus is on the growth of scientific/bio medicine. However, the parallel growth of lifestyle choices and holistic medicine is also important. Some of the themes of the course are: the development of the medical profession and institutions; changing concepts of insanity; the impact of industrialization and the linking of dirt with disease; drug discoveries and their consequences; the impact of eugenics theories; gender and medicine; war as a catalyst for medical innovation; growing government involvement in health care provision as well as socialized medicine and its relevance today.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    $2638

    Jane Peterson

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    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: $200.00

    450.651.81 - Western Political Philosophy

    $2638

    Michael Harding

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    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)

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    $2638

    Ashley Acosta-Fox

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    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: $200.00

    450.669.81 - Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective

    $2638

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    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: $200.00

    450.675.81 - Literary Analysis of the Hebrew Bible

    $2638

    Christopher Paris

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    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: $200.00

    450.697.81 - All in the Family: Power, Scandal, and Fall

    $2638

    Janet Gomez

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    From the Roman Empire through today, ruling families have had a profound effect on the social, political, and cultural lives of their people. It was believed wealth, power, and nobility from birth formed the perfect formula to rule over the lower class. However, the rise of humanistic study, merchants, explorers, revolutions, and colonialism threatened and ultimately destabilized their wealth and power. As a result, the rise of the middle class, emerging political systems, and development of national identities gave way, arguably, to the dissolution of absolute power predominately in the Western world. We will consider the following ruling families: the Julio-Claudian, Ptolemaic, Ming, Hoehnstaufen, Habsburg, Medici, Aragon-Castille, Tutors, Capetian, Romonovs, and current House of Windsor.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.766.81 - Deconstructing Capitalism

    $2638

    Firmin DeBrabander

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    After the fall of the Communist regimes 25 years ago, it was assumed in the West, and throughout much of the world, that the Capitalist economic system is the best possible economic system, indeed, the best by nature, and our destiny as a species. This was of course not always the preponderant view. For most of its history, Capitalism was not supreme, and its supremacy was not self-evident, but rather, it knew significant competition.

    In recent years, important criticisms of Capitalism have emerged. It seems the Capitalist system may not be so ‘inevitable’ after all—there are many unhappy with the way it has been rolled out globally, and how it has progressed (or regressed) in the US and Europe. Some critics argue that we just have not been capitalist enough; the key to more widespread prosperity is to embrace capitalism more fully, and a purer version thereof. Some argue that the economic system is not engineered correctly, at the moment, to share its fruits. As a result, we are mired in ever worse inequality, which may prove to pose major political problems in the near future. And then some critics still argue—in light of the environmental damages due to market expansion, for example—that capitalism is incompatible with our furtherance as a species. In this course, we will visit a number of authors and theorists making such cases.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.771.81 - Black Queer History

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course explores the history of black queer cultures in America. In continuous dialogues with mainstream black and LGBT cultures, black queer discourses have unceasingly redefined the boundaries of sexuality, class, color and gender through history. Starting from slavery, this course will explore black queer struggles, desires, imaginations and victories to understand present-day discourses on race and sexuality. Topics explored include: cross-gender behaviors in slavery, same-sex sexualities in slave narratives, homoerotic sadism and lynching, sexological categories and scientific racism, intimate friendships, Drag Balls, The Harlem Renaissance, rent parties, black-and-tan clubs, Jazz, black queer religious leaders, black queer DC, black nationalists and sexuality, Disco, House music, HIV/AIDS, trans identities and TV black queer characters.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.774.81 - Existentialism: Philosophy and Social Critique

    $2638

    Adam Culver

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Alienation, ambiguity, anxiety, absurdity, authenticity, belief, despair, dread, death, freedom, joy, and responsibility—all of these are concerns associated with existentialism and its pursuit of what it means to exist, to be a self, to be a being. This course is structured around a series of critical engagements with some of the most prominent and profound thinkers who contributed to the formation, development, and extension of existentialism; together we will trace trajectories of existentialist thought from early articulations in the 19th century (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky), through prominent European pronouncements in the wake of the First and Second World Wars (Jaspers, Sartre, De Beauvoir), to the works of Afro-diasporic writers (Fanon, Wright, Baldwin) who explore the complex relation between being and being black. Through these engagements we will approach existentialism not just as a series of abstract claims, questions, and concerns, but also as a critical method for interrogating issues related to the embodied, interpersonal, and historical dimensions of human life. What critical resources can we find in existentialism for illuminating questions of identity and difference and for making sense of contemporary struggles regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality?

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.774.82 - Existentialism: Philosophy and Social Critique

    $2638

    Adam Culver

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Alienation, ambiguity, anxiety, absurdity, authenticity, belief, despair, dread, death, freedom, joy, and responsibility—all of these are concerns associated with existentialism and its pursuit of what it means to exist, to be a self, to be a being. This course is structured around a series of critical engagements with some of the most prominent and profound thinkers who contributed to the formation, development, and extension of existentialism; together we will trace trajectories of existentialist thought from early articulations in the 19th century (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky), through prominent European pronouncements in the wake of the First and Second World Wars (Jaspers, Sartre, De Beauvoir), to the works of Afro-diasporic writers (Fanon, Wright, Baldwin) who explore the complex relation between being and being black. Through these engagements we will approach existentialism not just as a series of abstract claims, questions, and concerns, but also as a critical method for interrogating issues related to the embodied, interpersonal, and historical dimensions of human life. What critical resources can we find in existentialism for illuminating questions of identity and difference and for making sense of contemporary struggles regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality?

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.781.81 - The Global Cold War

    $2638

    Aaron Bell

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    The Cold War was anything but for much of the so-called Third World. Although the United States and Soviet Union did not come to blows, millions of lives were lost throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia as the superpower struggle fueled local and transnational conflicts over decolonization and modernization. This course will examine the Cold War’s effects across the globe and, conversely, the ways in which conflicts and actors in the global South shaped the outcome of the US-Soviet standoff and shaped the contemporary geopolitical landscape. Sources will include works of scholarship such as Conflicting Missions, Hanoi’s War, and The Last Colonial Massacre; primary works like Discourse on Colonialism and essays from Jawharlal Nehru, Fidel Castro, and Ché Guevara; and films such as The Battle of Chile and The Act of Killing.

    Technology Fee: $200.00