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Inquiry Seminar Course Descriptions (INQS 125)



INQS 125*01: The Tragic Side of Life - What is specifically tragic about a tragedy How is "tragic" different from "very sad" or "dramatic." Through discussion of the ascription of the name "tragedy" to several plays, from "Oedipus Tyrannus" to "Exit the King," students will speculate about what they have to say about suffering, transcendence and fate, as well associety and gender, and more generally, about human self-understanding. Students will also explore the presence of a tragic dimension in other creative venues. 4 credits.

INQS 125*02: Multicultural America - Students will develop a deeper understanding of both the concept of pluralism and multi-culturalism and the impact these ideas have on our lives. Define the term multiculturalism, and negotiate its meaning within the context of our own geographical, sociological, economic, and political frameworks. 4 credits.

INQS 125*03: Meditation: From Monks to Modern Times - What is meditation? How does it affect the brain, behavior, and general well being? And how can we know? Increasingly, techniques for cultivating mindfulness drawn from Buddhism andother religious traditions are being studied scientifically and applied in many different contexts. Focusing primarily on the study of Buddhist techniques, students will explore the topic of meditation, its apparent effects on the brain, and the various contexts in which its practice has entered the mainstream of our modern, globalized culture. 4 credits.

INQS 125*04: Living Well, Living Long -Students will investigate factors contributing to longevity, with an emphasis on culture, lifestyle, and spiritual influences. Examine personal lifestyle choices and behavior change theory as they relate to health and well being in the present and for the future. 4 credits.

INQS 125*05: Rock 'n' Roll - Say rock 'n' roll, and people think of songs, bands, or artists. Rock 'n' roll is also about politics, society, and ways of living. Rock 'n' roll shows people how to talk, dress, and interact with others and the world. Rock 'n' roll showcases free expression, youth culture, and civil disobedience. Rock 'n' roll is also a multi-billion dollar industry that mani-fests cultural conformity and economic dominance. This class examines rock 'n' roll as music, expression, and cultural subversion, and explores how rock 'n' roll products drive the engines of commerce. 4 credits.

INQS 125*06: The Genius of East Asia: An Introduction to the Cultures of China, Korea and Japan - An introduction to the philosophical foundations of East Asian culture and examines the cultural highlights of the three major civilizations in East Asia: China, Korea and Japan. Examine the visual arts, music and literature of these three civilizations. All works will be read in English translation and no background in an Asian language is required. 4 credits.

INQS 125*07: Complementary Healing Methods -In the United States, there is an increasing use of complementary and alternative medical techniques in the treatment of various illnesses. Some of these methods have their origins in other cultures. Examine the efficacy of complementary healing methods such as intercessory prayer, humor, and animals as well as exploring healing methods used in other cultures around the world. 4 credits.

INQS 125*08: Women's Voices: Demanding the Vote - Explore why and how individuals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries created new opportunities for women to speak in public, forged the Woman Suffrage Movement, and campaigned for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees women the right to vote. Investigate the life, work and speeches of Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Abigail Scott Duniway, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and others. 4 credits.

INQS 125*09: Game Theory in Popular Culture -An investigation of game theory through film, television, and fiction. This course explores ideas such as perfect information, prisoner's dilemma, and volunteer's dilemma. Students will learn the basic mathematical underpinnings of game theory and then apply these concepts to societal questions of conflict and cooperation. 4 credits.

INQS 125*10: What to Listen to in the World -Music is the product and expression of all humanity. Is all sound music? Why should we listen to music? How should we listen to music? Where is music performed and for what reasons? What impacts our listening choices? Who makes music and who should support the creation of music and why? What effect does music have on us as we listen? How do other cultures of the world perceive, produce, and organize music and how are their listening choices similar to and different from ours and why? How does music connect us with our friends, family, and the rest of the world? In this Inquiry Seminar, we will explore the sounds and music of our own culture and others in the world. Regardless of a student's music background, this INQS will help to develop a music vocabulary to understand and to convey in both writing and speaking the various properties of music and its impact on diverse cultures of the world. Through thoughtful research and contemplation, students will consider and discuss the human response to music from physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual directions. Through engaged inquiry, students will draw conclusions about the value music has for the connection of people within their own and other cultures. 4 credits.

INQS 125*11: Literary Adaptation: Shakespeare and Dickens - What meaning do centuries-old works hold for us today? How have plays and novels been adapted to appeal to changing tastes and times? What do literary adaptations reveal, and what do they conceal? We will explore these questions through the case of two of the most enduringly popular writers in English: Shakespeare and Dickens. We will research, discuss, and analyze how their writings accessible and complex, foundational and controversial have been transformed in sequels, spin-offs, film versions, digital media, academic criticism, and popular culture. 4 credits.

INQS 125*12: Language Matters - Study American English and examine the influence of other languages (e.g. German and Spanish) on the development of the American idiom. Examine the role of dialects and slang in constant linguistic renewal. The course's main text is an informal history of the United States as seen through a linguistic lens, illuminated musically through introduction of American folk songs, the texts of which often shed important light on our social and linguistic past. 4 credits.

INQS 125*13: Four Novels of the American West- In this seminar we'll read and discuss three more-or-less conventional historical novels of the American west, and one science fiction version that - we'll have to decide - may or may not relate to the first three. What novels, you ask? They are, in the order that we'll read them, Fools Crow, a novel immersed in Native American culture just as that culture's way of life is threatened by white settlement, written by Native American author James Welch; Little Century, by Linfield's own Anna Keesey and focusing on an orphaned teenager who journeys from Chicago to her cousin's town in central Oregon; The Jump-Off Creek, Molly Gloss's novel of a woman determined to find her own independence along a creek in eastern Oregon high country; and Ursula Le Guin's classic sf novel, published in 1971 and set in a fictional Portland, Oregon some thirty years later, The Lathe of Heaven. What stories make our cultural history? What does it matter to know some of them? How do such stories inform the present? We'll discuss these and similar questions by paying close attention to the fictional lives we'll encounter in these four quite compelling books. 4 credits.

INQS 125*14: Women Writing War - Going to war has long been considered the foundational initiation rite of manhood, and yet women's lives have been deeply affected by it for just as long, both directly and indirectly. In this Inquiry Seminar we will explore literary and cinematic texts by women that document war and the legacies of war across a wide spectrum of experience: combat itself, familial impacts, civilian trauma, and long term consequences of war both on the home front and in the combat zones war devastates. 4 credits.

INQS 125*15: In Search of the Good Life - What is the "good life?" This is perhaps the deepest human question. It is not only a question we hope recipients of a liberal arts education will ask, it is also a question that permeates film and literature. Looking at thinkers as ancient as Aristotle and novels as contemporary as The Razor's Edge, this class will discuss and evaluate different conceptions of a good life and provide a place for students to engage in their own inquiry. In short, we will ask big questions and answer them through thinking, reading, discussing, and writing. 4 credits.

INQS 125*16: From the Beats to the Beatles -Throughout the 1960s, as the lines between the personal and the political became increasingly blurred, the lines between the nation's artists and activists began to blur as well. By the end of the decade, writers like Allen Ginsberg, Hunter S. Thompson, and Anne Sexton were as famous for their political activism and their personal escapades as they were for their writing. Indeed, it is impossible to fully understand the decade's literature without understanding its activism, and vice versa. The best way of understanding the 1960s is to bear these paradoxes in mind: democracy and separatism; personal and political; art and activism. And this will be the basic method for this course: to write our way to understanding how social movements inform and are informed by literature, song, and oratory. 4 credits.

INQS 125*18: Russian Writes and Political Violence - Explores how Russian writers have represented political violence, with a focus on three forms of violence that have been recurrent features not only of Russian history, but of the history of much of the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the interface between the imperialist state and its colonial subjects, the terrorist campaigns of revolutionaries, and mass murder on the part of the state. 4 credits.

INQS 125*19: History of Mexican Immigration to the U.S. - An introduction to the nature of U.S. cultural, political, and economic relationships with Mexicans and Mexican Americans via an exploration of Mexican immigration to the U.S. Examine both the historical context of this process, as well as contemporary issues surrounding the immigration debate. Explore the historical importance of Mexican immigrants tothe U.S. economic and political system, as well as the role Mexican immigrants have played in the shaping of U.S. cultural identity. 4 credits.

INQS 125*20: What is Good Citizenship - What is a Good Citizen? Explores ideas about and commitments to citizenship. Is being a good citizen more than the occasional paying of taxes and casting of ballots? Has the concept of citizenship changed over time? Are the duties, obligations and privileges of U.S. citizenship peculiar to its borders? Has technology undermined nationalism and dissolved borders? This class will consider these questions and more as well as outline many forms of civic engagement taking insights from philosophy, political activism and history. Using literature, film, and classroom debate, students will be challenged to create their own critical assessments and agendas for wider community engagement. 4 credits.