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

    $2638

    Laura DeSisto

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:01; 9/5 - 12/18

    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 more like an independent study and there are no face-to-face meeting requirements.

    450.758.01 - American Literature and the Archive

    $2638

    Gabrielle Dean

    Monday 6:00 - 8:45; 9/10 - 12/17

    Why are some literary works from the past reprinted, anthologized, and considered worthy of study, but not others? Why are some works “lost” and some “rediscovered,” while others simply fall out of favor? What is the relationship between the canon and the archive? Focusing on the relationship between authorship and status in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary history, we will use rare books and archival materials from JHU libraries and digital collections to investigate the writings, publications, archives, and legacies of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes.

    450.761.01 - Documenting Baltimore Through the Photographic Image

    $2638

    Phyllis Berger

    Saturday 10:00 - 2:00; 9/8 - 12/18

    In this course, students will explore and photograph six of Baltimore’s historic areas:

    • Waverly and Greenmount Avenue
    • The East Side: Milton at Preston
    • Druid Hill Park
    • Old Chinatown and Howard Street
    • The Northern Arts District
    • Stony Run

    In the process they will gain proficiency using digital cameras and learn the fundamentals of image processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. There will be a photography field trip and lab each week as well as lectures that concentrate on the documentary image, its history, theory and practice. As the culmination of the course, students will submit a final paper and portfolio of ten images that work together in a series.

    Disclaimer 1: This course requires walking distances of up to four miles. If, for any reason, there may be an issue with this requirement, please contact Student Services Coordinator Manal White at 202-663-5956 or mwhite@jhu.edu.

    Disclaimer 2: A limited number of cameras are available to be loaned, and registered students should inform the professor as soon as possible if they would like to request one.

    This course will meet for 9 sessions total. Sessions will occur from 10-2 on the following Saturdays: September 8, 15, 29; October 6, 20, 27; November 10, 17; December 1. One of these sessions will run from 10-2:30, which will be announced by the professor at the start of the semester.

    450.767.01 - American Civil War and Reconstruction

    $2638

    D Cummins

    Saturday 9:45 - 3:00; 9/8 - 10/27

    The American Civil War and Reconstruction will include an analysis of the origins, interpretations and causes of the conflict, a study of the institution of slavery and its legacy, a review of the ante-bellum culture of the Old South, a comparison of the political leadership in the Confederacy and the Union, a study of the war years, a comparison of military leaders and their strategies, an examination of the outcomes of the war, an introduction to the rise of the new south and a review of the legacy of Reconstruction.

    This course will meet for 8 weeks total. Class sessions will be held on the following dates: September 8, 15, 22, 29; October 6, 13, 20, and 27.

    450.830.01 - MLA Graduate Thesis

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:01; 9/5 - 12/18

    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.

    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 more 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; 9/5 - 12/18

    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 portfolio option. It functions more like an independent study and there are no face-to-face meeting requirements.

  • Online Courses

    450.642.81 - Yesterday's Tomorrows: Utopian and Dystopian Futures in Science Fiction Literature

    $2638

    Melissa Hilbish

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    Beginning with Thomas More’s seminal work Utopia (1516), this course will engage in an interdisciplinary discussion of the construction of utopian/dystopian-cacotopian worlds in science fiction, or more broadly speculative fiction, and the accompanying philosophical issues and concerns raised in these stories. We’ll draw on novels, history, philosophy, graphic novels, and film to grapple with the meaning and importance of utopian and dystopian thinking and writing across the 20th century. The authors react to and against major historical paradigm shifts caused by, for example, the Industrial Revolution, Modernity, War, the Cyber Revolution, and millennialism, along with the overarching “End of Days” stories. Some of the authors under consideration are H.G. Wells, Edward Bellamy, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, Octavia Butler, Marge Piercy, and Neil Stephenson. Through these stories the authors project both possible futures and offer incisive commentary on contemporary realities.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.654.81 - "When the lamps went out”: WWI as history, memory and commemoration

    $2638

    Mary Furgol

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    The centenary of the conclusion of World War One is a fitting moment to re-examine the cataclysmic impact that war had on world affairs at both a micro and macro level. The war ended the “long nineteenth century” and ushered in an era of questioning and doubt for many who survived. It was the first manifestation of total war, made both necessary and possible because of industrialization and advances in transportation and weaponry. The resulting catastrophic loss of life among the military and civilians led to the assumption of new roles. This course looks at the different theaters of war; the social impact of the war on gender and class; the effect the war had on colonies in Africa and Asia; and the overall global political and economic ramifications of the war. There will be scope for students to pursue research on a specialized topic within this framework and within the following themes: World War One and literature, art, gender, medicine, propaganda, music, independence movements.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    $2638

    Susan Zimmerman

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    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. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.678.81 - Religions of the Emerging World

    $2638

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    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: $200.00

    450.694.81 - Philosophy of Beauty

    $2638

    Firmin DeBrabander

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    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: $200.00

    450.699.81 - Great Books in Great Contexts

    $2638

    Ashley Acosta-Fox

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    What makes a “great book” great? In this course, which emphasizes deep reading and discussion of some of the influential writings that have shaped the intellectual and cultural heritage of our world, we will begin to try to answer that question. Along our journey, we will explore seminal texts including Homer’s Odyssey, The Song of Roland, Shakespeare’s Henry V, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In studying these great books and their historical contexts, we will employ elements of literary criticism, identify common and enduring narrative themes, and reflect on the inclusion of each of these texts as part of the Western Canon. Students will select one text on which to write an in-depth research paper (in consultation with the instructor).

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    $2638

    Adam Culver

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    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: $200.00

    450.739.81 - Race and Jazz

    $2638

    Matthew Belzer

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    The music known as jazz has been celebrated and performed by peoples throughout the world. This course will examine the music itself as well as the role that race has played in the creation of jazz, the perception of its history, and the perceived authenticity of present-day jazz. We will examine the music from a historical perspective through the study of the music and lives of its creators and practitioners beginning with precursors in ragtime and minstrelsy and continuing into the modern era. Students will learn to make aesthetic judgments, identify various jazz styles, and discuss their relevance to their time and to the present. Classes are planned to include guest artists from the Baltimore jazz scene, examples in various media, and live performances by the instructor. (Available online)

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.741.81 - Apocalyptic in the Bible, Religion, and Popular Culture

    $2638

    Christopher Paris

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    This course explores primary sources of apocalyptic literature in the Bible, the ancient Near Eastern world, and various religions and cultures. In seeking to define the term “apocalypse,” the class will study the political, social, and economic forces that contribute to the formation of this rich genre of literature. Utilizing this knowledge, students will analyze manifestations of apocalyptic in movies, television shows, comic books, and other media.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.745.81 - Aristotle and Hobbes: Physics, Psychology, Ethics and Politics

    $2638

    Michael Harding

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    This will be a course focused on two goals: clarifying the importance of foundational principles (in this case, the different teachings on physics we find in Aristotle and Hobbes), and clarifying the distinctions between the ancients and the moderns. We will be concerned with questions about nature, matter, motion, the soul, ethics, politics, philosophy, and human life – both as such, and in their complex interrelationships.

    To address these questions, we will read the works of two extremely important thinkers – the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, and the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Aristotle, writing at the dawn of what becomes the Western tradition of philosophy and science, investigates everything under the sun, writing foundational works in fields as diverse as rhetoric, psychology, biology, logic, physics, and metaphysics. If one understands Aristotle, one can understand much of what comes after. Thomas Hobbes writes after the modern “revolution” – a revolution accomplished in the thought of diverse thinkers, especially Machiavelli, Bacon, and Descartes. One crucial element of this revolution is the rejection of both Aristotle and Scholasticism (Christian Aristotelianism). In this course, we will engage in close readings of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, as well as parts of his Physics and his On the Soul, and Hobbes’s Leviathan. Reading these two thinkers in dialogue with one another will allow us to see how their fundamental disagreements about physics and causality give rise to subsequent differences in how they conceive humanity, psychology, ethics, and politics. In attending to these differences, we can more clearly identify the debts that we owe to both Aristotle and Hobbes for our understanding of ourselves and our civilization.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.746.81 - Deep Ecology: Environmental Ethic

    $2638

    Eglute Trinkauskaite

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    Today, the concerns of Deep Ecology’s movement that started in the so-called Ecological Revolution of the 1960s continue to be debated and addressed as “climate change” with a sense of immediate urgency. Deep Ecology asks deep questions and aims to bring about long-range goals in moving away from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism, calling for a major paradigm shift in perception, values, and lifestyles. Planetary and human survival is at stake due to climate change — this is humanity’s global ultimate concern. Scientists, environmental activists, and representatives of humanities agree that we need a new paradigm shift, that it is unsustainable to treat the living earth organism as an infinite resource of “energy.” Western environmental practices have been based on anthropocentric view of nature where humans occupy the top of the hierarchy in the chain of life. There is an urgent need for a new environmental ethic that will fundamentally reorient humans in their thinking and relating to the natural environment. The course examines cross-cultural perspectives of environmental ethics that are rooted in Western/scientific, Eastern, and Indigenous worldviews and religions. This semester’s readings include current debates concerning climate change, selections from Deep Ecology movement and indigenous perspectives.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.748.81 - The Black Politics of Michael Jackson

    $2638

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    Michael Jackson was a global superstar who reached crossover appeal in the late 20th century. More than a mainstream pop performer, Michael Jackson was musician, singer, dancer and visual artist who transformed his artistic heritage, deeply grounded in the African American tradition, to reach a broad audience, in the United States and globally. This course aims at reframing Michael Jackson’s cultural and social origins to reveal his anchor in the African American musical, philosophical and political traditions. This course will explore the African American historical context of the 1960s, Black vernacular practices, the Chitlin Circuit, the Great Migration, Black Minstrelsy, the intersection of Blackness, Sexuality and Gender in pop culture, Black Globalism, and 1980s Black Hyper-visibility. In this course, students will closely examine Michael Jackson’s music, videos, writing and performances, Jackson’s meta-narratives, in addition to theoretical texts on critical race theory, American History, gender studies, performance studies and African American Studies.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    $2638

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 9/5 - 12/18

    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: $200.00