Course Number: INQS-125
2016 Fall Semester:
INQS 125 01 Star Wars Philosophy - A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, thinkers confronted the same fundamental questions that philosophers consider today. We will therefore develop philosophical tools and theories through interpretation of the "Star Wars" films. Is Han Solo an empiricist? Should anyone accept Darth Vader's social contract? Does Kylo Ren have a choice to [SPOILER REDACTED]? Join us to find out! 4 credits.
INQS 125 02 The Economics Detective - An economics detective sleuths out economic explanations for events occurring in the world around her. She is a curious person who wishes to understand the causes of financial crises, unemployment, and inequality. She wonders about the future and wishes to understand more about the public policies that might improve people's lives. Contemplating and writing about these and other issues will occupy your time in this course. 4 credits.
INQS 125 03 What to Listen to in the World - Through engaged inquiry, students in What to Listen for in the World will embark on a journey of sound and possibility. We will listen to music of diverse populations of the world and learn what are 'songs' we share in common, and how music and culture are inextricably intertwined. We will explore transformation through listening, reading, thinking, and writing. Questions to be investigated include: Why and how should we listen to music of the world? How do we describe sound and music we hear? Where is music performed and for what reasons? What effect does music have on us as we listen? How does music sustain culture? How can music sustain us in our walk through life? How does music connect us with friends, family, and the rest of the world? This semester we will learn the value of sound and music in connection with the rest of the world. $35 fee. 4 credits.
INQS 125 04 - Votes for Women - 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 05 Meditation: Study and Practice from Buddhist Monks to Modern America - What is meditation? Whence do modern meditation practices originate? How do these practices affect the brain, behavior and general well-being? How can we know? Increasingly, techniques for cultivating mindfulness and other meditative states, drawn from Buddhism and other religious traditions, are being studied scientifically and taught in many different secular contexts, from prisons to schools to hospitals. Focusing primarily on the study and practice of meditative techniques derived from Buddhism, we will engage the topic of meditation, query its history, and explore the various contexts in which its practice has entered the mainstream of our modern, globalized culture. Our inquiry will draw upon several academic disciplines, including the academic study of religion, history, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. The course also encourages an experiential approach through guided and individual practice of meditation, inside and outside the classroom. 4 credits.
INQS 125 07 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 08 Three Novels of the American West- Beyond Hollywood's slick, surface-deep notions of open ranges, mountain men, shady ladies, and wild Indians, we might not think of the American West as having much in the way of cultural traditions - partly because we tend to want to forget about what happened to and was done to indigenous peoples, partly because even now our Anglo-European-US history is not all that deep. Our class will examine and challenge these assumptions as we read three quite different yet also overlapping novels set in the West. We'll also do some research into questions raised by our readings as we form clearer understandings of the cultural history that has shaped and continues to influence those living in the American West. Given that this course focuses on novels and how they work, it's a good fit for those who read and like to read. In sharing our thoughts and responses, our aim will be to make an ongoing and inquiring community. Novels: Fools Crow, by James Welch; The Jump-Off Creek, by Molly Gloss; and Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner. 4 credits.
INQS 125 09 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 10 Path of Wisdom - This course explores the world's "wisdom" traditions through the study of the Biblical Wisdom books (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Psalms). We will bring in other texts from ancient Southwest Asian traditions, other world religions, and contemporary voices that deal with wisdom, suffering, and theodicy. We will consider how these texts continue to have relevance and address the questions: Does the world have order and meaning? What would a "successful" and "happy" life look like, and how might we pursue that goal? How should we make sense of suffering and injustice in the created order? 4 credits.
INQS 125 11 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 25 12 Living Well, Living Long - An investigation of factors that contribute to longevity, with emphasis on cultural lifestyle, spiritual and ecological influences. Examines personal lifestyle choices and sustainability practices as they relate to health and well being in the present and for the future. 4 credits
INQS 125 13 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 14 What is a Good Citizen - 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 US 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.
INQS 125 15 The American Experiment - The United States is an experiment that has lasted over 240 years. As the citizens and innovators of this experiment, Americans have attempted to rethink and reshape every aspect of human experience. In this course, we will read some of the most influential texts produced by our relatively young nation, in its ongoing effort to define itself and its role in the larger world. We will ask questions about our understandings of nationality, citizenship, labor, leisure, nature, and the self, and we will examine some of the key concepts and ideals that have thus far defined American national identity. 4 credits.
INQS 125 16 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 as society 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 17 The Haunting of Modernity - The "ghost story" is one of the oldest and most beloved literary genres. American culture, like so many other cultures, has produced an astonishing array of literary texts and films which use the paranormal (ghosts, vampires, zombies, etc.) to explore its deepest fears and anxieties. In this course, we will analyze some of the greatest "haunted" works of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries in an effort to better understand American culture itself. 4 credits.