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Spring 2016 Inquiry Seminar (INQS 125) Course Descriptions

INQS 125 In Search of the Good Life – What is the “good life”? This is perhaps the deepest human question. It is not only a question recipients of a liberal arts education should ask, but also a question that permeates film and literature. Looking at thinkers as ancient as Aristotle and films as contemporary as “Food, Inc.”, this class will discuss and evaluate different conceptions of a good life and provide a place for students to engage in their own inquiry. 4 credits.

INQS 125 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 to the 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 Reimagining the Other – Explore cultural encounters between Spaniards and natives in the Americas and the subsequent (mis)representations of indigenous others in the writings and art of the colonial period. Focus on conquest and colonization as an on-going process. Study the ways in which native peoples strive to preserve remnants of their culture. Sources include film, art, travel narratives, historical accounts, critical essays, and literature. 4 credits.

INQS 125 Russian Writers and Political Violence – This course explores how Russian writers have represented political violence. We will read a variety of fictional and non-fictional texts and focus on how writers have understood, depicted—and, in some cases, experienced—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 bloody interface between the imperialist state and its colonial subjects, which for Russia played out (and continues to play out) most dramatically in the Caucasus mountains; the terrorist campaigns of revolutionary insurgents, which Russian radicals pioneered in the 1870s and to which they turned periodically through the first decades of the twentieth century; and the mass murder perpetrated by a dictatorial state against its own citizens, which took the lives of millions of people in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s. 4 credits.