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SAGES Courses


USNA 285: The Science of Madness: An Historical Investigation of Mental Illness

Since antiquity the western world’s understanding of mental illness has continued to evolve. This course will examine the trajectory of that evolution, looking at the medical theories that have influenced assumptions about the causes and treatments of mental illness from the early modern era through the twenty-first century. Examples of questions we will investigate include: How we have defined the normal and the pathological in human mental behavior over time? How do we explain the centuries-old correlation that medicine has made between creativity and mental illness? Which past and present psychiatric treatments have been beneficial and which harmful? How did Darwin’s theory of evolution affect theories of mental illness (and how does it continue to do so with the advent of evolutionary psychology)? How have changing philosophies of science affected the research and practice of psychology? How and why do the sciences of the mind–psychiatry, psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, the cognitive neurosciences–claim so much scientific authority and exert influence over our lives today? As a frame work for this inquiry, the class will use the concept of paradigm shifts as Thomas Kuhn defines in his classic work, the Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Prereq: Passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in USFS, FSNA, FSCC, FSSO, FSSY or FSCS. Prereq or Coreq: FSTS 100.

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: TWR 4:00-5:30

Instructor: Barbara Burgess-Van Aken

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSO 289J: Treasure or Trash: Examining Theatrical Credibility

This seminar is a fundamental study of theatre from the standpoint of developing the critical acumen of a potential audience. It covers each ingredient of the theatrical experience-audience, playwriting, acting, directing, theatre architecture, design and technology-and attempts to help students define a reasonable set of standards to judge that part of the experience as an audience member and to clearly communicate their feelings and thoughts regarding that experience.

In addition to class discussions, lectures, and readings, students are also required to attend four live performances-two theater productions offered by Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Theater and two productions at the Cleveland Play House. The students will write critical essays about their experience as an audience member in relation to a particular aspect of the performance.

 

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWF 9:00-10:30

Instructor: Jeffrey Ullom

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

USSO 291J: Narratives of Immigration

As one of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century, immigration has captured the imagination of politicians and authors alike. In this class, we will explore the stories of those who have migrated to the United States. We will analyze how various writers create autobiographical and fictional narratives of migration, addressing issues such as adjusting to different cultures, learning new languages, and adapting to new environments. Through these stories and histories, we will ask broader questions about immigration, including: Is migration a basic human right? Is it ethical to define someone as being “illegal” for peacefully working and living in a different country from where they were born? What are the gender, ethnic, cultural, and racial barriers that exist when migrating between countries? What are the cost(s) of citizenship and embracing a new country as one’s home?

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWF 9:00-10:30

Instructor: Cara Byrne

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSO 291X: “We’re Dying in America”: The History of the U.S. AIDS Crisis

Thirty-seven years have passed since the summer of 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control published a report on the mysterious deaths of five previously-healthy gay men. In that time, more than thirty-nine million people have died of AIDS around the globe. Approximately 600,000 of those people died in the United States; at least 10,000 more Americans will die this year. Why, given the global scope of the crisis and the dramatic impact it has had on US society and culture, do so few students learn about the AIDS crisis in school? Why does it receive less attention than, for example, terrorism? In this course, we will study the first 20 years of the United States’ AIDS crisis, and use what we learn to contemplate the current status of HIV-positive people and people with AIDS. We will examine the origins of AIDS as a biological, political, and cultural phenomenon in the hopes of understanding why the United States experienced the virus as it did. We will also address the myriad responses to the virus by presidents and preachers, artists and activists, doctors and business people. How did this tragedy impact American politics and culture? What lessons did we learn, and what mistakes are we still repeating today? How can (and should) the history of AIDS inform our response to the opioid crisis, or the battle over Obamacare? Are we ready for the next epidemic?

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWF 12:00-1:30

Instructor: Andrea Milne

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSO 292V: Mapping Music Through the Digital Humanities: A Cleveland Atlas

For all its celebrated preoccupation with rock, Cleveland is home to a wide variety of musical genres: jazz, blues, classical, polka, hip hop, gospel, among many others. Cleveland is also a home on the move, a city of immigration and outmigration, a city of waterways, bridges and commuter rails. Then again, Cleveland is a city of enclaves, borders and barricades, social distance despite geographic nearness. In this seminar, we will ask a fundamental question: is music like a bridge that connects different people in the city or is it a border that structures divisions? To answer this question, we will put digital mapping tools to use in better understanding the musical patterns that shape city life over time. We will examine the links between dominant and subcultural music; analyze music’s relationship to socio-economic forces such as segregation, urban decline, suburban flight, and revitalization; and reflect on how music defines Cleveland’s place in the national imagination. In the process, students will contribute to a digital atlas of Cleveland’s shifting musical soundscape. Music, at once rooted in identity and as rootless as radio waves, presents an alternate lens for understanding the routes and rifts shaping urban life.

 

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWR 4:00-5:30

Instructor: George Blake

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

USSO 293E: Gender and War in the U.S.

Major wars disrupt and permanently alter power relations and social systems. This seminar looks specifically at the American Revolution, Civil War, and World War II to examine how gender ideologies and signifiers (and points of intersection with race, ethnicity, and class) were experienced, perpetuated, reconfigured and remembered.
Students will discuss historical articles that analyze the norms of gender dynamics and how they change over the course of war alongside primary materials by Americans experiencing those norms and changes. We will also analyze two feature films and one documentary to examine how Americans use cultural expression to grapple with gender changes wrought by war.

 

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWF 10:00-11:30

Instructor: Renee Sentilles

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

USSY 286U: Puzzled

“Puzzled” will look at the practice of puzzle making and puzzle-solving and explore the meaning of puzzles for different cultures throughout history. We will read works from the disciplines of math, history, anthropology, philosophy, and literature. We will explore why certain types of puzzles became popular and how puzzles have transferred from one culture to another. We will examine the role of code writing and code-breaking in the military and in the world of business. We will read examples of fiction and watch films that adopt the form of the puzzle as a narrative device. We will think about the function of puzzles as instruments to exercise the faculties of reason and logic and as a means of leisure or pleasant distraction.

Students will be asked to both solve and create puzzles over the course of the semester. They will write analytical essays on topics related to the practice and history of puzzle making and puzzle solving, and they will pursue a research topic that revolves around an issue or problem that has “puzzled” them.

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: TWR 12:00-1:30

Instructor: Bernie Jim

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSY 288I: Diversions: Experimental Stories and New Media

Summer ’21 Instructor Comments:

This class focuses on interactive fiction and literature. Our syllabus will include mostly digital literary works, such as choose-your-own-adventure-style narratives, multimedia stories and documentaries, and narrative video games. We will also read popular and scholarly analyses that consider how features like choice, interaction, image, movement, and sound contribute to meaning. In addition to reading and writing about interactive fiction, students will also try their hands at making interactive works.

 

General Bulletin Course Description:

In this course, students will study works in which the authors and artists have experimented with traditional linear forms and created stories that are, for instance, labyrinthine, framed, collaged, geometrical, digressive, and even networked. While both print-based and digital texts offer spaces for diverse and deeply engaging written or visual performances, they also require further critical inquiry into the ways in which they create, reflect, or resist social and cultural values. Our focus in this course will be exploring how stories (and other texts) – in print, on screen, on canvas, in digital formats – that don’t follow or that play with conventional rules of order encourage us to participate in making sense of our contemporary world.

The goals of the course include: exploring the relationship between form and content in written and visual productions, developing a critical perspective from which to enjoy, assess, and respond creatively to traditional print and multimedia presentations, and making excellent use of research resources at CWRU and cultural resources at University Circle. In addition, students will work to develop their writing and presentation skills and to innovate novel models of research writing.

This course has been canceled for Summer 2021. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWR 2:00-3:30

Instructor: Kristine Kelly

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSY 291B: Science (Fiction) Dystopias

In 1927 the German science fiction classic Metropolis showed filmgoers a mechanized dystopian nightmare in which humans took on the roles of cogs and levers in a giant machine. Years later, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four depicted a totalitarian regime reshaping post-war England in a similar way, using surveillance and repetitive activities to turn the population into something less than human. Appropriating science fiction motifs, dystopian narratives have forced us to reconsider how science and technology are used to complicate and at times augment our notion of what it means to be a social animal. In this class, we will consider a range of texts, including novels, short stories, films, and comic books, to explore the interaction between people and the things that they invent. The first half of the course will emphasize traditional utopian texts and readings will include selections from works like Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World (biological utopia), Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (mathematical dystopia), and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (technological dystopia). During the second half of the semester we will discuss utopian and dystopian worlds in popular fiction and film, such as science fiction short stories by Harlan Ellison, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, and Wall-E, to consider how the utopia/dystopia changed in the latter half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: TWR 10:00-11:30

Instructor: Gabrielle Parkin

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSY 292N: Cli-Fi: Addressing Climate Change in Fact, Fiction, and Film

This seminar examines the emerging literary genre of Cli-Fi, or climate fiction, which bridges genres such as science fiction and apocalyptic literature as it depicts imagined responses to the damage wrought by global climate change. In the early 1960s, well in advance of compelling scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change, novelists were already speculating about the effects of global warming. Focusing on fiction, films, and non-fiction writing from the past three decades, we will consider how authors envision the effects of climate change. Specifically, we will read works by historians, journalists, philosophers, scientists, and cultural critics as a foundation for our analysis of several works of fiction. Further, we will consider how visual media, like feature and documentary films, depict the impacts of climate change. Centrally, we will evaluate how climate fiction complements existing popular and academic conversations about our transforming world. Ultimately, responding to the broadening field of narratives about human-generated transformations of the world, we will address climate fiction’s potential to influence ethical paths shaped by those who seek to alter the disastrous trajectory that the genre imagines.

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MTR 4:00-5:30

Instructor: Matt Burkhart

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

USSY 292Q: The Secret Lives of Animals

Animals are instructive. When we study animals, their biological makeups and creaturely habits, we do so with hopes of learning something about them. At the same time, such investigations often betray an interest in our human selves. The study of animals, in scientific and literary laboratories alike, quickly turns to acts of self-discovery: not what it means to be animal, exactly, but what it means to be human-animals. So what more could we learn by cultivating new strategies for listening and new languages for communicating with animals?

This seminar invites students to investigate the secret lives of animals as imagined in a sampling of classical, medieval and modern literatures. Thinking with animals past and present–in fables, manuals, and tales–we will examine human-animal relationships in imagined settings. Over the course of the semester, we will read, view, listen, and perform works in which animals are tasked with teaching moral lessons and testing the ethical obligations of their human audiences. Comparing treatments of companion animals past and present, we will reflect on the many ways literature can guide our evolving relationship to the animal kingdom.

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWR 10:00-11:30

Instructor: Arthur Russell

Credits: 3 credits

Department: SAGES

USSY 294Y: Language of the Suffering Body

“Pounding headache.” “Burning fever.” “Pins and needles.” Such phrases rely on figurative or metaphorical language to convey pain or general not-right-ness in the body. But they are also clichés, or overused metaphors that over time have become worn out and meaningless. What happens when people lack the language to communicate to others what is happening in their bodies? How do they begin to find the words to express what they feel?
In this seminar, we will explore the relationship between language and pain, and the extent to which words have (or lack) the capacity to give meaningful expression to bodily pain experienced. To do this, we will closely read how literary works from a variety of genres use language in new, striking, and even baffling ways. Our analysis will be guided by theoretical and philosophical texts about pain and bodily sensation, as well as linguistics and metaphor. In making this investigation, students will be invited to research and formulate their own claims about how the language of literature gives–or does not give–meaningful expression to bodily pain.

 

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: MWF 12:00-1:30

Instructor: Camila Ring

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

USSY 294Z: The American Musical on Film

While the musical represents a quintessentially American art form, it is film that has amplified and popularized it around the world, entertaining audiences as well as inspiring performers, writers and composers to put their own stamp on the form.

From the very beginning of “talking pictures,” the American musical has enthralled its audience and became the ultimate form to articulate what the “dream factories” represented. The film musical allowed moviegoers to step out of a world of realism as characters danced and sang their way through experiences that were too large to remain earthbound. At the same time, the musical not only provided escapist entertainment: song and dance revealed character, furthering the story and were not merely seen as an “interruption” or “divertissement”. Serious subject matters could be tackled and the popularity of musical films were central to the financial survival of Hollywood during the Great Depression.

While the popularity of the film musical has seen highs and lows, the form remains durable. It’s influence makes it an essential component in the study of film. This seminar will cover a range of film musicals from from the dawn of the sound era to the present day. We will encounter them not only as works of art or popular entertainment but as time capsules that help us to understand the issues of the time. All films will be ones that are easily accessible to the class and the expectation is that the assigned movies will be viewed outside of class time unless we are looking at specific excerpts. Discussion will be central to this class as we share our observation and critical evaluations of these films with respect to performance, art direction, music, direction and themes.

 

For summer 2021, this course will be offered remote-synchronous. For more information, please reach out to the instructor. 

Dates: June 1 - July 27, 2021

Session: 8 Week Session

Time: TWR 1:00-2:30

Instructor: Donald Carrier

Credits: 3 credits

Departments: New 2021 Summer, SAGES

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