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 Capstone: Portfolio

    Laura DeSisto

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 9/4 - 12/17

    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.

    450.601.01 - Forbidden Knowledge: the "Metaphysical Rebel" in Myth and Literature

    George Scheper

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

    But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat" (Gen. 2:17). This interdisciplinary course explores the theme of forbidden knowledge in the various forms it takes in the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Greek tragedy, folklore and folktale, and in western literary classics ranging from Milton's Paradise Lost through the versions of the Faust story in Marlowe, Goethe, and Thomas Mann, to short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. What do we make of the parallels between the Greek hero Prometheus and the Biblical Satan? How are we to understand the figure of Dr. Frankenstein as "the Modern Prometheus"? Does Faust's pursuit of conventionally forbidden areas of knowledge anticipate 20th and 21st century quests to unveil the secrets of nuclear power, or of artificial intelligence, or of genetic engineering of the human genome? In addition to our literary readings, we will discuss a variety of operas and other relevant musical works; films from Bride of Frankenstein and Dr. Strangelove, to Hannibal; and transgressive visual imagery from Paleolithic cave art to the work of contemporary performance artists ? in a collective quest to find and define the boundaries of "the forbidden."

    450.830.01 - MLA Capstone: Graduate Project

    Tristan Cabello

    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).

    450.850.01 - MLA Capstone: Internship

    Tristan Cabello

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    450.600.81 - Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Methods

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    450.613.81 - British Victorian Women

    Mary Furgol

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    This course embraces the broad sweep of primarily British Victorian women's experiences. It analyzes the emergence of the Victorian stereotype of middle and upper class women and compares that stereotype to the reality of individual case studies. It also explores the variety of expectations and demands on working class women - focusing on geographical, industrial and rural factors and the resulting lives of women working and living across the British Isles. In addition, there is an emphasis on Victorian women as agents of change in the fields of literature, medicine, teaching and social work both at home and abroad, as well as in local and national politics.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.622.81 - The Shape of Things: Embodiment and Sexuality in American Culture

    Kimberly Schisler

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    This course examines theories and experiences of embodiment, sexuality, and bodily difference in contemporary American culture, focusing on understandings, experiences, misconceptions, and marginalizations.

    Drawing on feminist-informed gender, fat, disability, and critical race studies, the course introduces phenomenological, poststructuralist, and new materialist perspectives on the body, and interrogates the implications of diverse embodiments for human subjectivity and social life.

    Myths and misconceptions of differences that circulate throughout popular and professional cultures, and inform public policies and everyday practices are analyzed. Course readings and audio/visual texts emphasize the problematics of normalcy across the life span and among diverse populations, and reflect on issues of sexual experience, gender, body size, disability and difference, illness and disease, aging and racialized bodies, and sexual variance.

    Our bodies and the scrutiny they are under in American culture inform so much of our lived experience. Drawing on a wide range of texts we will examine the scope of sexuality and embodiment in this critical moment.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    450.627.81 - MLA Core: Critical Theory

    Tristan Cabello

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    This course introduces critical theory in the context of struggles for social justice. From Plato to Judith Jack Halberstam, we will trace the history of “Critical Theory” by analyzing perspectives from psychoanalysis, Marxism, the Frankfurt School, postcolonial theory, poststructuralism, deconstruction, feminism, critical race theory, and queer theory. We will pay particular attention to how critical theory has been intimately and contentiously linked with politics and social justice. Among the authors studied are: Plato, Aristotle, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Ferdinand De Saussure, Walter Benjamin, Claude Levi-Strauss, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Toni Morrison, Monique Wittig, Helene Cixous, Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, Paul Gilroy, Judith Jack Halberstam.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    Melissa Hilbish

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    450.643.81 - Leadership and the Classics

    Leonard Bowman

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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: $200.00

    450.646.81 - Religion of Politics, Politics of Religion: Conflict and Convergence in Sacred Authority and Temporal Hierarchies

    Christopher Paris

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    This course examines patterns of authority in religion and politics by exploring the connection between the sacred and the secular. The class will address questions concerning political power and religious influence in order to better understand the complex relationship between the two. Students will consider societies where religion and politics seem inextricable, societies that attempt to separate the two, and societies that attempt to eliminate religion from the equation. The class will recognize the ways in which nations develop their own civil religions. A variety of religious experiences and political ideologies will be considered. Special attention will be given to the role of religion and politics in social change.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

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

    Adam Culver

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

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

    Michael Harding

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

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

    Gloria Gonzalez

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    450.766.81 - Deconstructing Capitalism

    Firmin DeBrabander

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    450.772.81 - MLA Core: Ways of Knowing: Historical and Epistemological Foundations of the Liberal Arts

    Laura DeSisto

    Online 9/5 - 12/14

    This course addresses the philosophical foundations, historical traditions, and contemporary debates associated with liberal arts education. It will explore the underlying theories and principles of liberal education and it will assist students in understanding the different epistemological principles and assumptions that are present within the disciplines that are associated with the liberal arts. Students will compare the interpretations of knowledge, truth, and validity that exist across quantitative, qualitative, and conceptual ways of knowing and conducting research. By the end of the course, students should have developed a greater understanding of the significance of their MLA degree as well as greater clarity concerning the epistemological foundations of their studies.

    Technology Fee: $200.00