The American Experiment – The United States is an experiment that has lasted over 235 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.
INQS125 Coming of Age in Literature – How do you go from being a child to being an adult? What are the key stages and conflicts in this process? How does your older self relate to your younger self, to your parents, to your peers? We will explore how authors represent this transformation in a range of recent American literature, opening with a fictional memoir, and then focusing on contemporary drama from a variety of perspectives. We will also explore insights about coming of age from psychology, anthropology, and sociology, and even try writing original coming-of-age stories. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 Demons in Our Midst: The Dead and the Un-Dead: The Rise of the Literary Vampire from Folklore to Stoker – Study the evidence presented in folklore descriptions of the dead who were assumed to be Vampires. Trace the evolution of that folklore creature through several Romantic and Victorian incarnations, and consider the rise of this figure in the enlightened West and our continued fascination with its descendants. 4 credits.
INQS125 Dinosaur Philosophy – An introduction to logic, critical reasoning, and conceptual analysis through the study of dinosaurs. Topics include: What is a dinosaur? Did Velociraptor have feathers? Did Brontosaurus exist? Can dinosaurs be resurrected? 4 credits.
INQS125 The Economics Detective – What is an economics detective? An economics detective sleuths out economic explanations for everyday events. She is a curious person who wonders why there seems to be a coffee shop on most busy downtown corners; why imposing a tax could help control climate change; and why some countries are rich and some are poor. Contemplating and writing about questions like these will occupy your time in this course. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 Globetrotters – Students will explore a variety of ways that people encounter, and experience, other cultures: in their own families, through study abroad, international travel, immigration/ emigration, pioneering, business, love, etc. Students will read travel writing, journal articles, a historical novel, and other texts; create oral histories (including family interviews), and host international guests. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 The Iraq War Across the Genres – This course focuses on the history of the Iraq War and the discourse emerging from it: blogs, memoir, fiction, poetry and film. Special attention to the pre-war national debate, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the experience of U.S. soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and U.S. and Canadian Muslims. 4 credits.
INQS125 Isaiah: The Prophet – An introduction to prophecy in Ancient Israel with a special focus on the biblical prophet Isaiah. Tradition suggests the School of Isaiah spans a period of 200 years, which gives us an opportunity to explore the turbulent period of the fall of both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah. We will examine the role of prophets and their efforts to make sense of why God would allow such events to happen to God’s chosen people. This also lays the groundwork for an exploration for what resources are available from the Isaiah tradition to deal with wilderness experiences. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 Life on a Changing Planet – Socially, culturally, economically, and environmentally, the very systems that guide and support life on our planet are changing in rapid and profound ways. Anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change has contributed to the quickening pace of environmental change in Inquiry Seminars Fall 2015 Director of Writing David Sumner, Ph.D. At the center of Linfield’s general education program stands the Inquiry Seminar, which is taken by all new first- and secondyear students. Each Seminar provides an in-depth exploration of a compelling topic chosen because it is of passionate interest to the instructor and prompts significant questions for which there are no clear or absolute answers. Discovering the complexity of such topics is the essential mission of the Inquiry Seminar, which initiates students into the dynamic, collaborative exchange that is college learning at its best. 35 a world with rising disparities in wealth and exposure to environmental risk. How do we begin to understand these complex, interconnected problems? Can and will modern societies make the necessary transitions to stave off catastrophic climate disruption? What solutions are needed at the global, local, and personal levels? Will humanity survive? We will explore these urgent questions through an interdisciplinary investigation of life on our changing planet. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 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 and other 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.
INQS125 Multicultural America – Students will develop a deeper understanding of both the concept of pluralism and multiculturalism 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.
INQS125 Nuclear Society – Nuclear technologies are ubiquitous, and they influence energy policies, foreign policies, religious debates, pop culture, film, fiction, and contemporary medicine. An understanding of the underlying science and history of nuclear technology is useful for framing the complex nature of nuclear science into an informed context. From the discovery of radioactivity, the creation of the atomic bomb, the development of nuclear power and other modern nuclear technologies, students will explore the fundamentals of nuclear science and investigate its societal impact. 4 credits.
INQS125 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 manifests 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.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 Three Novels of the American West – In this seminar we’ll read and discuss three novels of the American west as we seek to understand some of this region’s historical and cultural roots. 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; 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 Wallace Stegner’s ambitious and well-loved novel, Angle of Repose. 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 compelling books. And you will have the chance to research some of the stories that may well inform your own cultural and familial present. 4 credits.
INQS125 The Shock of the New – Virginia Woolf once asserted that “human character” itself had changed “on or about December 1910.” Walter Benjamin, thinking of the First World War, similarly observed that “a generation that had gone to school on horse-drawn streetcars now stood under the open sky in a landscape where nothing remained unchanged but the clouds and, beneath those clouds, in a force field of destructive torrents and explosions, the tiny, fragile human body.” The modern age brought with it mechanized war, mass production, crowded cities, dazzling new commodities, and a whole set of new experiences both thrilling and shocking. The generations of artists and authors who experienced the intoxicating excitements and intolerable miseries of the modern age broke with many old traditions and invented new ways of thinking, feeling, and seeing which were adapted to the realities of modern life. In this course, we will measure the distance, culturally speaking, between their experiences of life and our own, and in doing so, we will find new ways of questioning and analyzing daily life in our own time. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 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 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.
INQS125 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. We will Listen to music of diverse cultures of the world and learn what are the “songs” we share in common Experience “songs of the earth” through mindful listening of soundscapes in remote and local environments and develop awareness of the great biodiversity in nature’s music Explore the connections of music, culture, the environment, and their interdependence towards a sustainable future. Questions to be investigated include: Why and how should we listen to music of the world? 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 increase awareness of environmental issues? How does one’s environment and culture affect their music making, music listening, and quality of life? How can music be used to sustain us collectively and individually in our walk of awareness through life? How does music connect us with our friends, family, and the rest of the world? Through thoughtful research, discussion, writing, film analysis, sound walking, mindful listening, and engaged inquiry, students will draw conclusions about the value of music and its connection to cultural and environmental sustainability. Students will learn What to Listen for in the World in order to foster awareness and action towards a sustainable future for all the world’s cultures and environments. $35 fee. 4 credits.
INQS125 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.
INQS125 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.