New Courses for Spring

January 7, 2014 —  


Archaeology of the Aegean (ANTH 380.001)

Many of the core social and political influences that make life in the United States what it is today originated 5000 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In ancient times, a totally new way of life traversed from the “Cradle of Civilization,” through the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean, into the region of Europe that would become Classical Greece, and from there to Macedonia and Rome.

This course begins its archaeological exploration in prehistoric Egypt and Mesopotamia before “the birth of civilization.” With the stage set, students will witness the formations of the first “states,” and then track the movement of the phenomenon of the state through the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is “mixed” with proto-European culture on the Aegean island of Crete. From there, it’s on to Europe.

Throughout, students will explore a line of thought that questions whether this was the advantage for humankind that most of us see as a given.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Robert Powell, PhD, will meet on campus Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 – 3:50pm, location TBD.

Criminal Justice

Race and Justice (CJ 380.002)

It is virtually impossible to adequately understand a racialized institution such as the criminal justice system without understanding the significance of race. This course explores major and current themes of race and justice such as: 1) What is the extent of race- and ethnicity-based discrimination in the criminal justice system? 2) What accounts for race differentials in criminal offending? 3) What’s so “racial” about intra-racial crime? 4) What is the current evidence regarding the effectiveness of tactics such as Stop and Frisk? and 5) How do colorblind ideologies shape the execution of justice? Through a series of interactive discussions, guest speakers and lectures, students will gain an understanding of the social dynamics that explain why justice must viewed through a race-based paradigm.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Lallen Johnson-Hart, PhD, will meet on campus Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 – 3:50pm, location TBD.


Business Journalism (COM 380.002)

Who doesn’t like money? Like it or not, the old cliché “money makes the world go round” is a fact. Everyone’s life is affected by money but few people really understand how pervasive its influence is in their lives. That’s where business and financial journalists come in: their job is to tell us how money affects every part of daily life, from sports to courts and education too. This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of reporting and writing about money including personal finance, corporate and economic news, as well as the movement of markets. Whether you are planning a career as a journalist or simply want to increase your personal finance savvy, learning to write about business and money is more fun than you might think!

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Richard Forney, will meet on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 – 3:20 p.m., location TBD.

Promoting Health and Wellbeing (COM 380.003/ SOC 380.001)

Don’t drink soda. Eat more vegetables. Exercise more. Cut your salt intake. Low-fat, non-fat, sugar-free. Super foods. Reduces the risk of cancer by 30%. These are all probably messages that you hear in your daily life, in your supermarkets and on the subway but what do they mean? Even if the message is clear—who should be paying attention to these messages anyway? Do people make meaningful changes to their lives from a message they read on a billboard?

This class will explore health promotion campaigns: what the messages are, who they are aimed at and whether or not they work. By the end of this class, students will create their own health message aimed at a variety of target audiences. So whether you are a communication major, a graphic designer or just want to learn more about health promotion, this class will be an informative, exploratory experience.

Part of the side-by-side model at Drexel, this class will take place off-campus with members of the West Philadelphia community. Students will learn alongside members of LIFT—an organization that works to combat poverty by pairing rigorously trained advocates with committed community members to build the strong personal, social and financial foundations they need to get ahead. (This is not volunteer work, though students are welcome to volunteer at LIFT at any time.) Together, the class will create a meaningful group project and share it to the broader community, whether digitally or at a health fair.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Danielle Greenwell, will meet off campus, Wednesdays 2 – 5 p.m., at the LIFT Office West, 5548 Chestnut Street.

For more information, contact Danie Greenwell, By signing up for this class, you commit to traveling to the LIFT offices every Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. during the Spring Term.

A Rhetoric of Style (COM 400.001)

Both rhetoric and style are often contrasted with substance, especially in the contexts of politics, public relations and advertising. Such was not always the case, however. The venerable tradition of rhetoric, which goes back to the ancient Greeks, includes not only the use of style as embellishment, but also the acknowledgment of important parallels between style and substance. According to many ancient and contemporary rhetoricians, styles of speech can both reflect and inform styles of thought. This course will try to rehabilitate our commonly misunderstood notions of style by examining the relationship between figures of speech and figures of thought.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Lawrence Souder, PhD, will meet on campus Thursdays, 6:30 – 9:20 p.m., location TBD.

Gender and Media (COM 400.002)

Advertisers and consumers alike often claim “sex sells!” What else are we buying into when we’re sold “sex” in the media? COM 400 Gender and Media will engage in a wide range of media content— film, television, advertising, as well as YouTube and tumblr—to analyze the representations of gender, race and sexuality that saturate the American media landscape. This class is highly interactive, discussion based and includes a lot of media viewing!

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Nora Madison, will meet on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am – 10:50am, location TBD.


The Great War, 1914-1918 (HIST 235.001)*

This course examines the global causes, conduct and consequences of World War I, which fundamentally altered our century's political, social, economic and cultural institutions.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Eric Brose, PhD, will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 – 10:50 a.m., location TBD.

*As a companion to this course, Brose will host an 11-day seminar tour to England, France and Belgium over the 2014 fall break for students to experience the First World War centenary.  This travel course weaves together visits to many war museums, several battlefield tours, battle reenactments, a WWI stage play, three classic WWI films, as well as traditional lectures about the soldiers who fought in these battles.  This 3.0 - 4.0 credit travel course is also open to students who have taken HIST 235, HIST 259, HIST 267 in past terms.  Students who choose to participate in the travel component must pay additional fees to cover the cost of the trip.  Applications are available at the Study Abroad website.

History of Disability (HIST 298.002)

Normal. Healthy. Fit. These are words we use every day to describe our bodies and minds without a second thought. But each of these words carries a powerful message about its opposite, defining who is abnormal, sick or incapable.  The history of "disability" is a history of perceived differences, of judgments about ourselves and others, and this class asks how those notions of difference have emerged in American society and how they have shaped all of our lives. Students will explore: How have wheelchairs, hearing aids, cosmetics, prosthetic limbs and definitions of schizophrenia developed over time? What societal priorities lie behind the origins of Ritalin and the phrasing of the Americans With Disabilities Act?  What is a beautiful body, a dangerous personality disorder or an inclusive society and, crucially, who decides? Using original sources (including texts, images, objects and visits to buildings and streetscapes) along with historical analyses, students will study 19th century medical ideologies, 20th century laws, and 21st century fashion trends as each reflects American ideas about ability and disability. Students will also study their own standards of health, beauty, competence and fairness, and their own beliefs about difference.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Amy Slaton, PhD, will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 – 4:50 p.m., location TBD.


Special Topic: Cognitive Neuroscience (PSY 480.001)

This course will provide a basic overview of the neural basis of perception, memory, language, attention and action. Cognitive neuroscience is the bridge between cognitive psychology and neuroscience: how the “hardware” of our brains produces the “software” of thought. From movies like Memento and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to eye-catching headlines like “Men and women's brains are wired differently” (BBC, 2013-12-03) and “A neuron with Halle Berry’s name on it" (NY Times, 2005-07-05), cognitive neuroscience is all around us. The goal of this course is to immerse students in the research behind the splashy stories, so they can become better consumers (and perhaps creators) of the growing knowledge of the human brain.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dan Mirman, PhD, is open to all students and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 – 3:20 p.m., location TBD.

Political Science

Special Topic: Latin America's Left Turn (PSCI 472.001)

Beginning with the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Latin America has undergone a radical leftward shift, of which a string of elected leaders in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras and Ecuador is only the most obvious indicator. This course will approach this leftward turn as a response to neoliberal reform efforts in the 1980s, and through the lens of the popular social movements that made such elections possible in the first place.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by George Ciccariello-Maher, PhD, will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:50 p.m., location TBD.