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.)

  • Homewood Campus

    450.082.01 - MLA Capstone: Portfolio

    Laura DeSisto

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    450.640.01 - Nature and the American Imagination

    George Scheper
    Dianne Scheper

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/28 - 5/5

    This course offers an interdisciplinary study of the American landscape and the role it has played in shaping American identity. We anchor our study by looking at the way the idea of land has been constructed throughout our history as a kindred spirit by Native Americans, as a “howling wilderness” by the early colonists, as a school for spirit by the New England Transcendentalists, as a precious inheritance in need of preservation by 19th century conservationists such as John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, and in keeping with Manifest Destiny, as a rich resource that was "ours for the taking." Philosophically, we explore the influence on early colonists of Biblical and Enlightenment thought, of the European Romantic movement, the moral ambiguities of the slave experience of the American land, the ideas of Romanticism that gave rise to Emersonian Transcendentalism (America’s first homegrown philosophy), the competing theories behind the national park movement, and more recently the revival of Native American holistic values in ecological paradigms. Beginning with Thoreau, who “went to the woods to learn to live deliberately,” we read primary texts of American nature writing, arguably one of America’s finest contributions to world literature, and we experiment with keeping nature journals. Finally, we discuss the bridging of the two cultures, science and art, in the writings of paleontologist Loren Eiseley and conservationists Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and Al Gore.

    450.830.01 - MLA Capstone: Graduate Project

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/22 - 5/5

    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 - MLA Capstone: Internship

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/22 - 5/5

    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 - MLA Core: Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Methods

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    All MLA students must take 1 core course within their first 3 courses in the MLA program. Any additional core courses they take will count as electives. This course (AS.450.600) is strongly recommended for any students who are planning on completing a Graduate Project as their capstone in the upcoming summer or fall semesters.

    450.651.81 - Western Political Philosophy

    Michael Harding

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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)

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

    Mary Furgol

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    450.669.81 - Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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)

    450.678.81 - Religions of the Emerging World

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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)

    450.710.81 - The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

    Jonathan Pevsner

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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)

    450.738.81 - MLA Core: Why Read the Classics?

    Laura DeSisto

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    450.739.81 - Race and Jazz

    Matthew Belzer

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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)

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

    Christopher Paris

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    450.774.81 - Existentialism: Philosophy and Social Critique

    Adam Culver

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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?