Spring 2013 Inquiry Seminar (INQS 125) Course Descriptions
INQS 125 Complementary Healing Methods – There is an increasing use of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) techniques in the treatment of various illnesses in the United States. Some of these methods have their origins in other cultures. Examine the efficacy of complementary healing methods with a focus on the effects of intercessory prayer, humor, and animals in the treatment of illness in Western culture, and explore healing methods used in other cultures around the world. 4 credits.
INQS 125 Illness, Healers and the Writing Life – Few fields have transformed contemporary life as much as modern medicine. As the medical capacity to rescue the human body from its frailties has expanded exponentially in the developed world, those who enter contemporary healing professions face escalating moral, ethical and metaphysical challenges. Not surprisingly, a rich literature has been created about the healing enterprise, often written by healers themselves. Explore literary treatments of medicine that range across genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film) and examine how medical personnel function in radically different contexts. Investigate the metaphoric uses of illness, healing, and death as they illuminate central truths of the human condition. In the process we will look closely at own perspectives on the intersections of science, suffering, healing, and culture in our lives. 4 credits.
INQS 125: Literary Adaptation from Austen to Zombies – What meaning do two-hundred-year-old novels hold for us today? How have literary works been adapted to fit the interests of their readers? What do adaptations reveal and what do they conceal? What standards should we use to judge them? We will explore these questions through the case of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a novel that has delighted and challenged readers since it was published in 1813. We will start with a close reading of the novel to discuss the questions it raises for us. Then we will research different ways the novel and its author have been interpreted over the last two centuries. And finally we will consider adaptations of the novel, ranging from Bollywood to chick lit, from detective stories to zombie mashups. 4 credits.
INQS 125 Mathematics as Metaphor – How do we understand mathematics? According to some theorists, our conceptualization of mathematical ideas requires the use of metaphors layered upon one another, where deeper concepts require a greater layering. This naturally leads to the question of whether the act of doing mathematics is one of discovery or one of invention. In other words, is mathematics universal or is it an inherently human creation? In addition to considering this question of the nature of mathematics, we focus on how mathematics and mathematicians are used by authors, playwrights, and screenwriters, and how different aspects of mathematics can provide potent metaphors in novels, plays, and film. 4 credits.
INQS 125 Strangers Among Us – 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. Students will examine both the historical context of this process, as well as contemporary issues surrounding the immigration debate (legal vs. illegal immigration, employment and labor rights, racial and cultural discrimination, education, criminal activity, citizenship, U.S.-Mexico border issues). Emphasis will be placed on helping students understand the historical importance of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. economy and political system, as well as the role Mexican immigrants have played in the shaping of U.S. cultural identity. 4 credits.