2021-2022 Connections 1 Seminars

CNX 100. What is the Examined Life?
Socrates claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living.  But what exactly is the examined life?  In this course, we examine the many ways philosophers, writers and artists have examined human life in their work, and the consequences this examination has had in their own life, from the ancient period to the current day.
Bastian, Cooper

CNX 102. Thinking about Seeing.
In this seminar we survey some high points in the long history of thinking about vision, optics, and appearance.  We will look at views by philosophers, psychologists, artists, astronomers and others to examine how theories of vision interact with visual experiences across different time periods and contexts. Topics include ancient extramission theories, the camera obscura, perspective painting, retinal images, telescopes and microscopes, Gestalt theories, and contemporary views.

CNX 104. America in the Age of Nixon.
Richard Nixon haunts American culture.  His contentious public life spanned nearly the entire second half of the twentieth century—from Cold War crusades against domestic communism, wars in Korea and Vietnam, political and social upheaval in the 1960s, the conservative resurgence, and Watergate.  This seminar will explore the variety of conflicting stories told about Nixon in non-fiction, fiction, drama, and film during what has been called “the age of Nixon.”  In doing so, we will test the hypothesis that fighting over the meaning of Nixon is more than just a dispute over the significance of one man’s life in U.S. history.  Rather, these reinventions of Richard Nixon provide a battleground for struggle to define a vision of national identity—what the country was, what it is, and what it should become.

CNX 115. Mortality and Meaning.
In this course, we trace attempts to give meaning to human mortality. We explore how poets, artists, theologians, scientists, philosophers, and political theorists have sought meaning in immortal remembrance, eternal life, earthly perfection, or nothingness. We will be working on developing your own voice in your writing as we take an intellectual journey with such authors and artists as Homer, Augustine, Nietzsche, Camus, Munch, and Arendt.

CNX 117. African Americans in Paris.
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson served as American diplomats in Paris in the years between the American and French Revolutions. But who prepared the elegant dinners where deals were made? Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent perfected their craft in the City of Light. What role did it play for Henry Ossawa Tanner? Famous 1920s Americans in Paris include Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald. What about Jessie Redmon Fauset? Jackie Kennedy Onassis spoke excellent French which she perfected during her junior year abroad. Did you know that Angela Davis also studied in Paris in college, a crucial step on her intellectual path? From James Hemings to Josephine Baker to James Baldwin to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Paris has often been a haven from American racism and a source of inspiration. Through close readings, oral and written analysis of primary and secondary sources, and lively discussion, this course considers the various roles Paris has played for African Americans over the years.

CNX 122. Critcal Questions on Technology.
This course will offer an overview of Western modernity with special emphasis on the ways in which technologies have shaped, and been shaped by, human practices, value-systems, and imaginations. Our goal is to acquire an understanding of the principal currents that have shaped Western culture from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Though our primary focus is on technologies and their impact in the world, we will consider the historical and material conditions that provide the necessary context for the machines, systems, and technics in any given period. In doing so, this course introduces students to a range of issues revolving around the significance of technology—historical, philosophical, sociological, phenomenological, and ethical.

CNX 132. Material Culture.
This course explores material culture from a variety of perspectives, and focuses specifically on the relationship between material culture and the development of our species. We will discuss the importance of creativity to the evolution of humans, the relationship between material culture and identity, object biographies, non-western ways of understanding the material world, and the manifold ways that materials shape what it means to be human. Along the way we will practice the close reading, writing, and speaking skills needed to thrive in an intellectual community.

CNX 134. Why Shakespeare?
People around the world read and perform the works of William Shakespeare. How have these words held so much attention for over 400 years? Do they truly animate and illuminate the universal human condition, or is it just a case of superb brand-name marketing combined with colonialism? Examining text, context, criticism, performance, and adaptation, we will try to understand Shakespeare’s powerful position in past and present global culture.

CNX 135. Music and Comedy.  
This course will examine elements of humor in music – surprise, expectation and denial, and extraordinary excess – that provoke emotional response. Students will analyze musical theater, opera, pop, art music, and movies in which the music is vital to comedic reception, including Kanye West’s “Lift Yourself,” Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony, “Worst Pies in London” (Sweeney Todd), and movie soundtracks. Students will develop active listening skills, distinguish personal opinion from empirical evidence, and practice thoughtful verbal and written expression with appropriate citation.

CNX 136. Self in Life and Literature.
What is a ‘self’?  Why do we talk about identity?  Very different, often contradictory, yet intriguing answers to questions like these have been formulated by psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, filmmakers, novelists, poets, dramatists, and choreographers, among others.  In this course, we engage these varying perspectives on identity and the self.  Through discussions, writing assignments, and in-class exercises, we will discover that the notions of the ‘self’ in aesthetic works and in academic disciplines are often interrelated in interesting and surprising ways.

CNX 139. Streets/Walkers.  
In this course we will explore the phenomenon of walking. Using texts from anthropology, literature, sociology, and architectural history, as well Lancaster itself, we’ll consider what it means to walk the streets. How does walking shape our identities and our lives in public spaces? What things can we learn only by walking? Conversely, how might digital technologies such as GIS enhance our understanding? Through written and digital projects, students will develop skills in critical reading, persuasive and creative writing, and visual communication.
Sherin Wright

CNX 140. Who Owns Culture?
Western museums as repositories of global culture are now under fire, with calls to repatriate objects taken as imperial and colonial plunder, challenges from indigenous peoples to return their sacred objects, and more. So-called “heritage debates” reverberate well beyond the museum world, however. They manifest the problematic intersections of capitalism, law, and culture, and are symptoms of much larger political contestations. Who owns culture? Through case studies, critical reading, purposeful writing and discussion, we explore this question and its significance for today.

CNX 141. Democracy and Disagreement.
Western museums as repositories of global culture are now under fire, with calls to repatriate objects taken as imperial and colonial plunder, challenges from indigenous peoples to return their sacred objects, and more. So-called “heritage debates” reverberate well beyond the museum world, however. They manifest the problematic intersections of capitalism, law, and culture, and are symptoms of much larger political contestations. Who owns culture? Through case studies, critical reading, purposeful writing and discussion, we explore this question and its significance for today.

CNX 142. Border Crossings.
The social world is shaped in many ways by borders or boundaries between (seemingly) different states of being.  While borders may seem hard and fast, they are often porous.  People relate to borders in different ways.  Some cross over borders easily, others circulate back and forth, and others still remain someplace in between.  This course examines varieties of border crossing including international border crossing, religious (de)conversion, and gender fluidity and investigates the forces that shape the ways in which individuals experience these and other borders.

CNX 144. World Cup Connections: The Global Game in Context.
The world’s most popular sport, soccer is more than just a “beautiful game.”  As evident in a burgeoning scholarship, soccer reflects and shapes dynamics of empire, gender and sexuality, globalization, international finance and relations, nationalism, popular culture, race, religion, and the psychology of fandom and violence.  This course will rely on case studies from the past and present to frame interdisciplinary analysis designed to hone liberal arts skills of critical thinking, engaged reading, effective writing, research, information literacy, and thoughtful self-expression.

CNX 145. Rights and Representations.
Do words and images injure people? This question has created legal and political controversies in the United States for over 100 years. With a particular focus on race and gender, this seminar explores this core question from several perspectives, including legal studies and history, as well as feminist and critical race theory. This class focuses on how social groups—on the left and right in American politics-- have tried to use the law to suppress “harmful” expression. This course connects several case studies: pornography, racial epithets sexual harassment, and hate speech on campus.

CNX 148. The Story of Troy.
Why do variations of legends exist?  How do different types of evidence tell a story over and over again, but in diverse ways? This course examines the process of storytelling through the lens of one of the most familiar tales from antiquity, the Trojan War. The epic exploits of Achilles, Helen, Hector and Agamemnon have captivated authors, painters, scholars, archaeologists and leaders since ancient times, prompting many to search for the myth's origins and historicity. This course will focus in turn on close readings of different types of primary evidence (i.e. the epics of Homer, archaeological remains in Greece and the Near East, visual representations and ancient practices of ritual and warfare) to consider the development and evolution of the Trojan myth throughout time. Ultimately the course will interrogate the continuous process of storytelling itself through analysis of adaptations and reuses of the Trojan story as they intersect with contemporary values and meanings.

CNX 151. When Black Lives Matter.  
From the seventeenth century Chesapeake, where American slavery began, through the racial terrorism of the post-Reconstruction South (1880s-1960s), extreme physical coercion has been directed against persons of African descent.  In the post-Civil Rights era, police and vigilante violence continue, along with the “New Jim Crow” of mass incarceration. This course will focus on close reading of historical, literary, archival, and film sources. Students will learn to craft essays combining different forms of evidence that answer the following questions:  Why has organized violence against black people been such a consistent feature of U.S. history—why do black lives matter so little, even now? How have black Americans fought back, nonviolently and otherwise, to assert their human and citizenship rights?

CNX 152. Gender, Race and Sexuality in Media.  
This course introduces students to the critical analysis of gender, race, and sexuality in media, from cinema, television, and photography to social media, online videos, and virtual reality. We will consider the ways in which media texts and media cultures are both reflective and productive of normative and non-normative social relations and identities. With an emphasis on intersectionality, students will investigate the ways in which various identity categories, such as race, nationality, class, gender, and sexuality, inform each other and reflect historical and cultural shifts. Topics of exploration include, but are not limited to, global queer cinema, the “transgender tipping point” in mainstream media, the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, and the black feminism of Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video.

CNX 154. Engineering Boardgames.  
Boardgaming has exploded in popularity, moving far beyond well-known classics like chess and Monopoly to a large range of genres, themes, and designs. Modern game creators seek to create fun and sometimes educational experiences by integrating many design aspects such as strategy and mechanics with narrative experience through artwork and storyline, as well as the social interactions among players. In this course, students will play several games and combine this experience with readings from multiple perspectives on game design and community to analyze these complex systems and sharpen their critical academic skills through writing and discussion.

CNX 158. Social Activism: Effective Dialogue.
This class will delve into contemporary issues that motivate social activists. We will examine multiple perspectives, preparing students to engage in dialogue with persons who have opinions, beliefs and ideas that are different from their own. Topics will include inequality and the US economy, the LGTBQ+ rights movement, and racial justice in the US past and present. Students will be exposed to literature from a variety of disciplines and will be challenged to dig into and understand arguments underlying perspectives different from their own.  Skills for engaging in effective dialogue will be developed through writing assignments, student presentations, and in-class debates.

CNX 165. War and Trauma.
Why are wars fought?  Who fights them?  What are the long-term effects? This course explores representations of war from Homer’s The Iliad to Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds (2012). We will also investigate war from the perspective of other disciplines, including Psychology, Political Science, Philosophy, and Film.  Literary texts might include Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and Phil Klay’s Redeployment.  The course is writing intensive.

CNX 168. Forests, Wood and Culture.  
Forests are the largest terrestrial ecosystems on earth and have shaped human cultures worldwide for thousands of years. Forests affect our lives in many ways, but the most powerful impacts have been through the remarkable properties of wood. We will explore ideas across many disciplines, including ecology, history, and philosophy, as we seek to understand (1) how wood and forest geography have affected us, (2) how we have altered forests globally, and (3) what our multi-faceted relationships with trees suggests about our values and our attitudes toward the natural world.

CNX 173. Politics and Culture of Food.
We are what we eat. Our identities are tied up with our food ways.  Food is more than just calories consumed to sustain life: this course explores how food is central to our sociocultural being and the politics of food production and consumption. Throughout, we will read lots of great food writers and do a lot of our own writing about food.

CNX 175. Medieval Urban Life.  
Medieval cities have been hailed as birthplaces of modern capitalism, centers of architectural splendor, and cradles of democracy.  They have also been described as cesspools of pollution, strongholds of economic restriction, and sites of social repression.  Through careful reading of both contemporary documents and modern studies, critical discussion of the evidence uncovered, and frequent writing we will work to find our own way through the conflicting claims.  Topics include urban government, family life, sanitation, business and industry, and public ceremony.

CNX 176. Woman and the Sense of Nation.
What is our understanding of the concept of nation?  How were nations formed in Latin America?  What was the role of Latin American women in shaping their nations?  Are there different perspectives to understand such role?  We will attempt to answer these questions by reading both theoretical essays on Latin America, on the concept of nation, and on feminism, as well as fiction written by Latin American authors.  While approaching these questions, students will also practice critical reading, presentation skills, both in oral and written form, as well as active discussion.

CNX 181. Mountains, Natural Resources and Water.
While mountains hold much of the world’s most valuable natural resources (e.g., metals, coal, water), they are also home to most of the world’s poorest people.  In this course, we will explore the types of natural resources that are found in mountain ranges and why local people do not profit from this wealth generated by them.  We will also explore how this wealth distribution influences the cultural development and perception of people living in mountainous areas.

CNX 182. Gods, Monsters and (Super)heroes.
Cartoon depictions of Zeus. Hordes of zombies. Friendly (and not-so-friendly) dragons. Heroic supersoldiers. Gods, monsters, and heroes have ancient origins, and they still hold a tremendous amount of popularity today. This course will examine some of those origins, and modern-day versions of gods, monsters, and heroes, by examining texts, images, and material objects. We will consider how these three types of figures interact by reading excerpts of the Iliad, one Greek play, and sections of Norse mythology, by examining artistic depictions of the divine, the monstrous, and the heroic, and by looking at material objects, such as reproductions of recovered artifacts of ancient cultures. We will also think about the ways that these figures have retained traction in modern culture by reading John Gardner’s account of the famous monster Grendel, Max Brooks’s novel World War Z, and looking at film, television, and comic book versions of gods, monsters, and heroes. At its heart, this course examines the cultural history of these three categories and, in doing so, considers how these ancient figures are understood in the past and the present. We will explore these issues by way of practicing deep reading, analytical and argumentative writing, critical thinking, and thoughtful dialogue that are essential to the work – academic and otherwise – that students will engage in at a liberal arts institution.

CNX 186. What Aren't We Addicted To?
Have you ever “binge-watched” a TV show?  Do you find yourself checking how many people have “liked” your picture/post on social media?  Some consider these behaviors addictions.  Did you think drugs were the only thing you could be addicted to?  The goal of this course is to examine what it means to become addicted and what can be done about it.  We will build skills crucial for college work, including crafting evidence-based arguments, discussing opposing viewpoints, and understanding the different approaches used to understand addiction by different types of academics.

CNX 191. Con Artists/Frauds/Plagiarists.
This course is about the ways in which people can be deceived by others, but also about how we deceive ourselves. We will discuss how both facts and fictions are represented in documentary films, in the popular media, and in academic work. This course will challenge students to consider the role of truth and deception in their own lives, and to become more careful observers of truth and deception in a variety of social locations and contexts. In order to accomplish these goals, students will practice academic skills that allow hidden ideas and questions to become visible: critical reading, purposeful writing, active listening and discussing.

CNX 193. Performing Bodies.  
Performances take place on stages, in media, and in everyday life. Yet what constitutes a performance and how do performing bodies reflect the culture and society through which they move? Various 20th- and 21st-century examples will help us examine the role of class, gender, race, sexuality, and cultural norms in art works, texts, and events. Journaling, reflections on social media, and short video or photo projects will invite exploration of how our own bodies are subjected to cultural and societal norms in our lives on campus, at home, and online. Throughout, we will practice thinking critically, asking thoughtful questions, reading closely, writing in various genres, presenting and discussing ideas, and selecting sources.

CNX 194. Welcome to the Future.
From the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece to modern-day political pollsters and Wall Street analysts, people have long looked for better ways of knowing what tomorrow will bring. Students in this course will critically evaluate how various writers, artists, researchers, and others throughout history have tried to portray and make predictions about the future. Students will consider multiple, sometimes conflicting perspectives about current social, economic and global trends to help them formulate and defend their own ideas and recommendations about the future.

2021-2022 Connections 2 Seminars

CNX 200. Israel in Context.
The trauma of the Shoah, the Zionist appropriation of the biblically-rooted notion of Jewish “chosenness,” the 1948 conflict, and the sweeping victory of the six-day war in 1967 have contributed to the perception of Israel as a country with an exceptional character and destiny. This course aims to revisit this perception by placing Israel in a historical, cultural, and social comparative context. In addition to exploring the complexities surrounding Israel, this course offers several opportunities to reflect more broadly on the link between language, ethnicity, and nationhood, and provides grounds for a reflection on the nature of migrant cultures and divided loyalties. While engaging in a sustained research process, we will become conversant with key concepts and methodologies current in the scholarly discourse on Israel, and will hone critical thinking skills for evaluating primary and secondary sources from a broad multidisciplinary perspective.
Di Giulio

CNX 201. Progress and Its Critics.
This course begins with a question: why should we expect life to be better tomorrow than it is today?  The idea of progress is embedded in Western life and thought; it informs our politics, economic decisions, educational pursuits, religious beliefs, and personal relationships. We take progress for granted.  Even if we are cynical about the future, we still believe our children’s lives should be more prosperous, easier, and fulfilling than ours.  Why is this?  On what grounds do we hold these expectations?  Is progress a natural thing?  Does if make us freer? We will begin our exploration of progress by considering its historical roots in the Renaissance, Age of Exploration, Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.  Much of our time will be taken up with the words and actions of contemporary critics.  Who are these people, and why do they oppose what most of us believe is progress in diverse areas such as medicine, technology, consumer culture, education, and human rights?

CNX 203. Propaganda and Genocide.
This course attempts to find the root cause that creates killers out of otherwise ordinary citizens.  This course will begin the exploration of mind manipulation through the mass media – first in apparently “harmless” exploits, then in slightly more sinister delivery methods with stronger intentions – resulting in the ultimate crime – genocide.  This course will look at first hand examples of propaganda throughout the 20th and 21st centuries in different parts of the world, including Nazi Germany, Africa and Cambodia. Additionally, the course explores the affective techniques used in the creation of propaganda.

CNX 211. The Future of Public Education in America.
This class will take a careful, critical look at the current state of public education in America, including contemporary critiques of public schools and key reform proposals in four key areas: teachers, curriculum, accountability, and choice.  Drawing from research in psychology and sociology on the factors that affect student learning, and in public policy on the factors that shape effective reforms, we will examine the claims of both critics and supporters of public education.  This is a CBL class; an integral component of our work will be the 2 hours/week students will spend tutoring in the local public schools.

CNX 214. Collage.
The fiction writer Donald Barthelme famously declared, “the principle of collage is the central principle of all art in the 20th century.” In this course, we will use collage to explore such questions as: How does the transformation of raw materials itself constitute meaning? How do ideas become form, and how does form communicate symbolic content? What is the relationship between abstraction and representation? Students will gain hands-on collage experience, and will research, write and present on collage artists. These projects will be supplemented with readings in art history, art criticism, and philosophy; discussion and short writing assignments. The collage work will emphasize visual problem-solving and invention, and the development of thematic materials through multiple revisions, using both paper and digital media. Students will work with Adobe Photoshop; no prior experience is required.

CNX 215. Geographic Boundaries and Cultural Isolation.
What is the role of geographic boundaries on cultural development? We will examine how maintain ranges, in particular, have limited cultural exchange between communities.  We will examine how mountains form, geologically.  We will explore mountain ranges and cultures around the world, but focus on the varied topography and peoples of the Appalachians and western Himalayas.

CNX 220. Childbirth and Midwifery Across Time and Disciplines.
We typically think of childbirth as a most fundamental and universal human experience.  In fact, childbirth and the identities of the people who deliver babies have varied tremendously over time and from culture to culture.  In this course we will explore childbirth and the delivery of infants from the perspectives of history, anthropology, medicine, biology, feminist thought, religion, law, and literature.  Students will have an opportunity to carry out a research project on childbirth and delivery within a particular disciplinary perspective and gain exposure to a wide array of cross-disciplinary approaches as they collaborate with other students.

CNX 227. Chocolate: The Dark Side.
Chocolate:  food of the gods, emergency energy ration for American soldiers, coveted treat for costumed children on Halloween. The dark side of chocolate:  questionable health "benefits", destructive cultivation practices, exploitative marketing campaigns, and child labor abuses in West Africa.  This course will examine the history and culture of chocolate using sources from anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, film, and literature to inform our discussions. We will attempt to understand why chocolate is so popular and how the constant yet changing demand for chocolate has had an impact on civilization throughout time.  Students will continue to develop their writing, reading, critical thinking and research skills by examining the true history of this seemingly harmless sweet and exploring the broader issues surrounding this most decadent of luxury foodstuffs.

CNX 237. What Work Is.
For most people, work is necessary for survival.  However, many societies work well beyond what is needed to provide for material existence, and individuals suffer from hurried and stressed working environments.  The decoupling of work from the provisioning of necessities suggests that work is about culture.  This course explores the cultural dimensions of the activity deemed work.  It explores the role of technology, social organization, religion, class, and consumerism on work effort, forms of work, and consequences of working.  The course also explores reactions against dominant cultural norms concerning work.  In addition students will research and present findings on specific occupations.

CNX 240. The Whale.
This course focuses on The Whale as a focal point for understanding human connections to the natural world, using multiple disciplinary approaches. We will learn about whales’ unique physical/biological adaptation to the environment they live in, as well as how humans have relied on them both directly as a resource, and indirectly/culturally for inspiration.  We will take a 360-degree view of the whale, engaging with biology, anthropology, economics, literature, art, and music. In order to examine these different perspectives, students will engage with a range of readings and media sources, and hone critical reading and writing skills, as well as active listening and speaking.
De Santo

CNX 244. Exploring WWI Thru Literature.
A century ago, World War I transformed the world in dramatic ways. In this course, students will learn about the origins and chronology of the war and the technological innovations that emerged from it. They will explore the war's psychological and embodied effects, as well as artistic and cultural attempts to acknowledge, represent and memorialize its devastation. Students will read history, fiction and memoir, examine newspaper coverage, cartoons, propaganda posters, photographs and films, and analyze material evidence of World War I's destruction and commemoration. Through this work, students will improve their critical reading and discussion skills, practice writing in various genres, and develop their information literacy through a research project focused on a material object related to the war.

CNX 247. Cross-Examining the Witness.
According to Annette Wieviorka, we live in "the era of the witness." Individual testimonies are cultivated and often applauded, whether they be from trauma survivors, bystanders of police brutality, or Nike-sponsored athletes.  We will critically approach this cultural tradition by analyzing historical, legal, and literary testimonies and studying disciplinary differences about how works of witness ought to be approached.  Writing assignments will guide you to closely read archival and contemporary texts, evaluate contrasting works of scholarship, and pursue an informed, nuanced argument.

CNX 251. 9/11 in Public Memory.
“Never Forget 9/11.”  At least once a year, we hear this command.  But what exactly are we being asked to remember?  Using a variety of sources, such as journalistic accounts and government reports, as well as novels, film, and TV, this course will look at the shaping in public memory of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent war on terror.  With this multi-media approach, we will come to understand that the ways in which we remember—and we forget—certain aspects of 9/11 play a role in shaping our understanding of the United States and its place on the world stage.  Writing assignments will include a researched essay, pursued in stages throughout the semester.

CNX 255. Why We Hate.
Why have groups of people targeted other groups of people for hatred, discrimination, and persecution throughout human history? In this course we will use multiple disciplinary perspectives to begin to answer this fundamental question. We will look at a number of historical examples of group hatred; examine some of the root causes of these hatreds; explore modern examples of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, and research and analyze Hate groups in contemporary America.

CNX 258. Object Lessons.
What can we learn from things? From family heirlooms to commodities to stolen goods—the objects filling this world importantly shape our individual and collective identities. We explore this proposition by developing the fundamental skills of close reading and careful looking, and through individual research projects on the exhibitions and collections of F&M’s Phillips Museum of Art. Focusing on connections between objects, collectors, anthropologists, immigrants, thieves, historians and others, students learn to “read” the tangible, exploring the many stories that objects yield.

CNX 259. Elusive Justice.
Justice issues dominate our news. Dictators arrest dissidents on trumped up charges, police kill unarmed citizens, victims of civil war are treated like outcasts.  Is justice really so hard to achieve?  If it is, why?  Doesn't the fact that we seek justice foreshadow a better society? This course examines four thinkers who grappled with these questions from philosophical, religious, and political perspectives. Exploring their ideas helps students develop skills in argumentation, concise writing, and doing scholarly research.

CNX 264. Consuming Extremity: Horror, Sci-Fi, and Metal.
Horror films, extreme heavy metal and fascination with dystopian sci-fi has fostered a sizeable space in global entertainment over the past few decades.  While many view these artistic expressions as mere escapism and fantasy, these vessels of entertainment are often created to provoke the public into thinking about larger overarching issues that affect society.  This includes problems and conflicts surrounding race, political systems, gender and consumption practices.  This course examines the deeper meanings behind many classic and modern horror films as well extreme metal music and sci-fi.  Through close examination of film, music and literature we will study why horror and extreme music are often used as appropriate vehicles for commentary and the ignition of discourse surrounding challenges of the human condition.

CNX 268. Researching Lancaster.
This course introduces students to the natural, social, and cultural histories of the Lancaster region. We will study the transformation of the environment by human settlement, the human communities established here, and the cultural meanings attached to this place. The course will use Lancaster to make connections across the natural, social, and humanities disciplines, and to help students acquire familiarity with the College’s local and regional setting (including through field trips to visit sites of interest). Students will develop their research and writing skills by using a variety of methods to investigate and complete individual research papers about the Lancaster region.

CNX 269. Psychology and Religion.
What can psychology teach us about religion? The course begins with important 19th century philosophers and psychologists, turns to Freud and other psychoanalytic thinkers on religion, and concludes with a contemporary attempt to fuse psychodynamic theory with evolutionary psychology to develop a modern scientific psychology of religion. The course work is geared toward learning skills for doing academic research and combining them in a final research paper on a religious phenomenon of choice analyzed in light of psychological theories.

CNX 271. Islam in North America.
This course will introduce students to the history of Islam and Muslims in North America, and to the contribution of Muslims to the religious, cultural, and political life of the United States and Canada. Particular attention will be paid to the experience and contribution of African American Muslims, a fascinating narrative and topic that often gets left out of discussions on the interaction of race and religion in the region. A key goal of this course will be to highlight the diversity of the Muslim American Community and the challenges it has faced overtime. This course will focus on the development of student skills in close reading, writing, class discussion, and library research. The course will be scaffolded by a semester long research project on the themes of the course.

CNX 277. Unreason.
In this seminar we will explore the philosophical literature that examines human reason as an ideal. We will look at readings from Homer, Plato, the Stoics, and others, and we will look at aspects of unreason in anger, grief, lust, and madness. Students will have the opportunity to recognize, develop, and articulate their ideas by writing analytical papers, giving in-class presentations, and embarking on a sustained research project through creative and independent engagement with the materials.

CNX 278. How Your Hands Think.
Moving the hands while talking is a robust cross-cultural phenomenon: pretty much everybody does it, but not in the same ways or for the same purposes. We will read, discuss, and analyze research in linguistics, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science to explore this dynamic and direct way that bodies think and communicate together. Practicing interdisciplinary methodologies and using the library and other resources, we will work to pose some new questions regarding the diversity of gesturing bodies. Students will conduct a semester-long scaffolded research project and present a final report.

CNX 280. Exile.
In this course students will explore the experience of terror, immigration, exile, and post-exile through narrative fiction from Latin America and through theoretical readings from different disciplines. We will consider some of the individual, familial, and societal consequences of different forms of exile. Students will build-up on the reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills practiced in CNX1. They will also conduct independent research on a specific topic of their interest.

CNX 283. Historical Fictions.
Storytelling about the past lies at the heart of "Historical Fictions." The primary questions we address are what constitutes truth in historical fictions and what constitutes fiction in historical representations, where fiction means a shaped narrative rather than an artful lie. Today's controversies about historical monuments and their significance to cultural identities are emblematic of the complexities this seminar will explore. We will investigate past events and learn to make educated judgments by analyzing conventions of evidence, assumptions about context, and practices of representation. We will read closely across genres, research historical materials, and communicate persuasively and effectively our informed understanding of the issues stories of the past present to us.

CNX 284. Disruptive Technologies.
Technologic changes affect every aspect of our lives. From personal communications, constant digital documentation, to the internet of things modern lives are not the same as those of previous generations. Our lifestyles are continually disrupted by technological change. Individual people, societies, and cultures respond to disruptive technologies in a variety of ways. Students in this course will conduct historical research on the reactions of past groups to disruptive technologies, identify recent disruptive technologies, and discuss how disruptive technologies shape social changes. Students in this course will research an historical disruption and counter social responses, practice respectful academic discourse, and synthesize research findings in papers and presentations; these experiences will culminate with an individual research project.

CNX 289. Race, Gender, and the Law.
This course analyzes the intersectional forces of Race, Gender, and the Law in the United States. We focus on how legal-political and social thought, as well as practice, contribute to and reinforce rigid categories that afford inequalities and domination. Through active participation in the course, students will gain practice with facing difficult social-political problems and cultivate skills to address issues of domination with nuance and care. These skills will be facilitated through critical reading, discussion, writing, and group exercises that invite students to problematize and ethically transform their relations to social-political actors and arrangements.

CNX 292. Music and Emotion.
How does music move us? Why do we turn repeatedly to music in order to regulate and express our emotions? How and why do emotional responses to music vary from person to person and from culture to culture? In this class we will begin to answer these questions by drawing on various disciplinary perspectives, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, and literary and music studies. As students consider different approaches to these basic questions, they will develop reading, writing, and critical thinking skills fundamental to a liberal arts education, and develop their own research projects on the topic of music and emotion.

CNX 297. Landscapes People Water.
Most people live on land, but all people need water to live.  A classroom of 22 students adds about a ton of water to the room, and the water in our bodies must be replenished daily. The myriad ways in which people interact with water include damming, diverting, desalinating, and irrigating. People often build on floodplains, areas under water at times, then rebuild in the same places after a major flood. In this class we examine human-water interactions and the evidence relevant to controversial issues such as urban development in deserts, access to clean water, and both dam building and removal. Students will develop skills essential to understanding complex water-related phenomena in the natural world that matter to human health and well being.  The course also emphasizes oral and written communication skills. An important part of the course is an investigation of how and why streams are restored, with students evaluating the scientific objectives for restoration as well as the socio-cultural context in which it occurs.

Natural Science in Perspective (NSP) Courses

NSP 109. How and Why We Run.
Running is both a fundamental form of locomotion and a popular physical activity. This course will examine the act of running from a scientific perspective, focusing on the physiology and biomechanics of running, as well as the emotional and cognitive effects of sustained aerobic activity. We will also explore reasons why different studies can provide contradictory results, and how research on running is represented in the popular media.  Note that this course will not require any actual running.

NSP 111. Energy Issues in Science and Society.
This course explores the basic science of energy, world energy use patterns and some of the environmental and social consequences of energy use. Statistics on energy use and energy resources around the world are examined. The laws of physics which govern energy production and conversion are introduced and used to quantitatively discuss energy sources. The scientific principles of electricity generation and alternative energies are discussed in some detail. The course touches upon the interplay between science, public policy and economics in dealing with energy issues.

NSP 112. The Nature of Oceans.
The Nature of Oceans will investigate the questions: what constitutes acceptable evidence in science and how do we make rational decisions about issues that affect shared natural resources?  You will confront these questions through a series of case studies of current uses of ocean resources.  Throughout the course you will explore the physiology of marine animals as well as the biology of diverse ocean communities and ecosystems.

NSP 117. Women/Science. 
This course will introduce students to the role of women in science both as participants in the creation of scientific knowledge, and as the subjects of biological study of the female body. Topics will include sexual development, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, as well as education and professional achievement in the sciences. Students will examine the contributions of women scientists through the lens of feminism, with an emphasis on the barriers women have faced historically and those that remain today. Same as WGS 117.

NSP 118. Water, Life and Society.
This course examines the history, development, management, and policy issues associated with one of the most remarkable substances on Earth, water. The storage and flow of water in the natural world are explored to provide a basis for considering how people have rerouted water since the development of agriculture. The association between civilization and the construction of dams and irrigation projects is explored using case studies that include water conflicts and shortages from around the world. As population and consumption grow and water becomes increasingly scarce and/or polluted, water management and policy become more complex.

NSP 119. Biology and Social Constructs. 
This course will introduce students to the fundamental biological processes of inheritance and sex determination in living organisms and examine the interplay of these concepts in our (mis)understanding of two social constructs commonly attributed to a biological basis: gender and race. Topics will include diversity of sexual mating systems, mechanisms of sex determination, concepts of genetic transmission and ancestry, pedigree analysis and human population genetics. Students will critically evaluate studies that apply and extend these concepts and their intersection with social constructs. Same as WGS 119.

NSP 136. Science Revolutions.
This course surveys the question of what constitutes a scientific revolution. Beginning with Thomas Kuhn's famous theory in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970), we survey numerous episodes in the development of the sciences, from the seventeenth century to the present. Using case studies from chemistry, physics, life sciences, and the interdisciplinary field of origin of life studies, we try to determine what it would mean for a scientific revolution to occur, would happen, and how to assess whether such a thing might be underway currently. The course in many ways serves as a broad introduction to history and sociology of science.

NSP 137. History of Space and Time.
This course traces the development of views on space and time, from classical Greece to the modern theory of pace and time, relativity.  Students will gain a conceptual understanding of relativity as well as use algebra to work out detailed problems.  We will discuss some of the revolutionary aspects of relativity such as black holes, the warping of space, time travel and the big bang.  We will explore the philosophical implications of relativity, how our modern view of space and time has changed our view of the world and how it has influenced society, literature and art.

NSP 138. Lakes as Sentinels.
Lakes are considered to be sentinels of environmental change because they respond rapidly to meteorological conditions and are closely linked to the surrounding catchment. The course will focus on basic physics, chemistry, and biology of lakes, as well as the importance of freshwater to humankind. Hands-on experiences in the field and laboratory will be emphasized.

NSP 145. Illuminated: Light and Society.
This course will illuminate the nature of light and how it impacts society. The course will start with a quantitative introduction to light as an electromagnetic wave. We will build on this fundamental understanding of light to explain the origins of vision, our perception of color, and its manifestations in art and nature. Lastly, we will connect light to the development of technologies essential for an environmentally sustainable society, light-emitting diodes and photovoltaics.

NSP 149. Life on Mars.
Is, or was, there life on Mars? What about in our Solar System or galaxy? These intriguing questions will be addressed by examining the origins and evolution of Mars, and by comparing Mars to the geological and biological evolution of the Earth. From Lowell's observations in the 1890's to exciting new discoveries by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Phoenix Lander and the European Space Agency's Mars Express missions, our understanding of the red planet is increasing, but many questions remain. Perhaps human exploration of Mars will provide the answers and at the same time increase our appreciation of the uniqueness of planet Earth.
A. de Wet

NSP 157. History of Natural History.
In this course, we’ll cover briefly the history of man’s fascination with Nature, from cave paintings to Ancient Philosophers to New World Explorers and beyond.  The history of Natural History reflects very closely the evolution of the scientific method: with advances in philosophical and empirical approaches to interpret their observations, naturalists developed into scientists.  The rigor of the scientific method can be understood when current forms of natural history are examined.  From the development of ecology as a scientific discipline to the popularization of nature shows, a rigorous examination of natural history will allow students to visualize the different levels of data collection, analysis, confidence and uncertainty.  As we learn from the past, students will start their own Naturalist journals as a way to appreciate nature and to develop a keen appetite and respect for the complex structure of our environment.  We’ll include a visit to the museum of natural history in Philadelphia, as well as Naturalist-oriented trips to the Millport Conservancy and other locations for exploration and inspiration.

NSP 168. Food, Plants and Nutrition.
As the world population continues to increase, how do we feed the world’s people? Who are the world's hungry and why? Can food be grown in a sustainable way? Is organic, local food production really better? What is the impact of livestock on the environment?  Are genetically-modified crops the answer to world hunger, or do they threaten the ecosystem?  Is there really a global epidemic of obesity?  This course will examine concerns about food and nutrition that influence our lives as individuals and as members of local, national, and global communities.

NSP 185. Impact of Reproductive Technology.
This course will examine how reproductive technology has altered the way humans create and view family. Advances in medicine and manufacturing in the past century have produced unprecedented levels of control in preventing or producing offspring. What are the modern ways to make a baby? How have these options altered our views of family planning and parenting? What is the effect on the legal, social, and spiritual standing of the child (or potential child)? How does the impact of modern reproductive practices vary with different religions and cultures?

NSP 210. Genetically Modified Organisms.
This course is designed for students not intending to major in the natural sciences, and is divided into classroom and laboratory components (there is no additional lab time).  Topics discussed will include the origins and history of GMOs, their present uses in agriculture, industry and biomedicine, current controversies surrounding GMOs, and potential future applications of GM technology.  A key focus of the course will be the use, misuse and selective disregard of evidence in the application of scientific research to policy considerations.  Concurrently in the laboratory students will learn the techniques necessary to identify GMOs in food, and create their own (harmless) GMOs.

NSP 256. Conservation in a Changing World: Human and Animal Behavior.
The goal of this course is to introduce students to research on how humans and animals interact and how those interactions affect conservation and policy. Accomplishing scientifically sound, yet socially and economically acceptable conservation of biodiversity will be a key challenge in the coming decades. People and animals interact in a wide variety of settings, ranging from rural areas in developing countries to urban environments in wealthy countries. In this class, we will consider what types of interactions occur, the impact those interactions have on behavior (of animals and people), and how to assess human and animal welfare in these complex situations. The course will culminate with group research, presentations, and structured discussions on how interactions with humans have influenced a species in recent history, and student recommendations for conservation policies going forward.

NSP 295. Coral Reefs in Time and Space.
This course addresses the history of reefs back through geologic time, and looks to the future in light of ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and coastal development. High rates of anthropomorphic change, from overfishing to global warming, threaten coral reefs in ways unprecedented in Earth’s history and this course offers a view of how interconnected global systems affect this important marine community. We examine interactions and connections between geological, biological, physical and chemical systems as they determine reef composition and stability. We discuss the role of reefs in popular culture, from the discovery of these “cities below the sea”, to modern resorts and eco-tourism, and how reefs are expressed in the visual arts for the public good and private goals.
C. de Wet

NSP 365. Occult Science and Pseudoscience. 
The class will gain a basic familiarity with the history of the occult sciences and pseudoscience. Students will learn about the boundaries between what they define as "bunk" and what they dub "legitimate" science, what is authentic knowledge about nature, and who gets to define what counts as proper science. Likewise, the class will gain skills to understand the nature of science itself and how it operates.  Same as STS 365.
K. A. Miller