Past GLI Seminars
Art of World Civilization: Why Does It Matter? - ARTH 200 H and X
H. Rafael Chacon, School of Art
The course will address the multiple interpretations of visual cultural phenomena in western and non-western contexts from the past and the present. Students will investigate the role and function of visual culture as the way individuals and communities understand critical global issues such as the environment, wealth distribution, freedom of expression, and political liberty.
Exercise is Medicine - HHP 191 S
Steven Gaskill, Department of Health and Human Performance
This multidisciplinary course will evaluate the causes and effects of the global obesity crisis. Students will study and discuss how modern sedentary lifestyles are related to increases in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression and other chronic disease. Included is a unit on the mind-body relationship and how inactivity and obesity decreases learning and cognitive abilities, lifetime earning power, self-efficacy, work capacity and overall life satisfaction. This service learning seminar includes content from exercise physiology, health, sociology, economics, social history and education making the course a great way to explore many areas of potential study.
Global Challenges for the 21st Century - MANS 195 X
Otto Koester, Terry Weidner, Kimberly Maynard, Dane Scott, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center
This course provides an introductory understanding of, and diverse perspectives on, major crises and challenges facing the world today, ranging from concerns about rapid population growth and demographic changes to global food supplies, pandemics and health problems, water and natural resource shortages, climate change, and the latest economic and financial crises as well as unequal distribution of wealth. It will also explore current and impending problems of war, peace and security, nuclear proliferation and arms control, government responses to minorities and ethnic groups, legal frameworks and capacities of international and regional institutions, demands for human rights, and new models of leadership. Readings will consist of selected book chapters, government/NGO reports, “think tank” position papers, video streams, blogs, and thoughtful media treatments from around the globe.
Green Cities for the 21st Century - GPHY 191 X
Ulrich Kamp, Department of Geography
The course is a discussion of “green” and “sustainability” initiative efforts in cities around the world and follows a multi-disciplinary approach by integrating urban-focused concepts from history, sociology, ecology, geography, and architecture and planning. How “green” are the cities of today, and how serious do they take the concept of urban sustainability? How successful were and will be experiments of sustainable urban design such as Arcosanti, New Urbanism, and Masdar? Many of the success stories of “greening” the city were actually initiated by grassroots, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations, and by individuals who took the function of responsible citizenship seriously. However, beyond this, the “greening a city” undertaking must root in workable relationships and interactions between the three fundamental sustainability pillars: social, environmental, and economic.
How Does Literature Engage the Brain? (Introduction to Literature)- LIT 110 L
Ashby Kinch, Department of English
A compelling literary text creates a vast and complex network of brains spread through time, linked together by a common stimulus: a work of literature that has more to say than what it seems to say. This staggering human phenomenon—the brain engaged with a work of literature—is the subject of this course. How does literature engage the brain? What distinctive characteristics of human intelligence are manifest in literature? Can approaching literature through the insights of neuroscience reveal important facets of how we think? We will explore these questions through readings in neuroscience that introduce students to some of the exciting recent research on the capacity and function of the brain, connecting that work with literary texts. We will conduct case studies in novels, plays, short stories and poems that demonstrate astute intuitive awareness of basic brain characteristics, including theory of mind, elastic temporality, narrative modes of consciousness, and the perceptual processes that link us emotionally with the world around us.
Humans (Anthropology and the Human Experience) - ANTY 101 H
Douglas MacDonald, Department of Anthropology
Anthropology 101—Humans— studies people on a global scale and answers the fundamental question: what does it mean to be us? In “Humans,” students will explore the diversity of humankind, but also the commonalities that exist among Homo sapiens. Humans are humans after all, whether you live in Montana or Africa or whether you lived in Upper Paleolithic Europe 40,000 years ago or in the Yellowstone River Valley 5,000 years ago. We will attempt to understand deep concepts, such as why we have religion, spirituality, violence, war, and compassion. The course is anthropological in perspective, using data from prehistoric archaeology and contemporary ethnography as a means of understanding humanity; however, we incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective—through readings and four guest lectures— to enhance course content.
Making the Philosophic Film - MAR 195 A
Michael Murphy, Media Arts
Sean O’Brien, Film Studies
Students will enter this course as consumers of film and leave as philosophically informed filmmakers. This class is essentially a philosophy and filmmaking workshop designed to achieve the following goals: First, it will introduce you to various philosophic traditions, and to teach you to analyze and assess films that explicitly or implicitly express these traditions. Second, you will learn the basics of filmmaking, including script writing, shooting and editing. Finally, you will integrate the first two sections of the course by writing and producing a philosophically rich dramatic video short. In effect, you will not only learn how to make a film, but to make one that achieves a certain philosophic depth.
Political Regimes and Societies - PSCI 191 S
Robert Saldin, Department of Political Science
The ancient Greeks emphasized that forms of government influence societal ways of life. The 2012 U.S. presidential election offers a compelling backdrop for considering how democracy influences our lives as democratic citizens. In addition to democracy, we will study communism and religious theocracy and the way these contemporary governing regimes shape citizen behavior, expectations, and aspirations. This analysis will involve considering how religion, literature, the arts, gender dynamics, and civic associations interact with various government forms. Course readings—including philosophical treatises, plays, speeches, contemporary essays, and short stories—will offer diverse perspectives that speak to the fundamental and enduring questions of human life. What is human nature, and what types of societal and political arrangements are most compatible with it? Is there a single “best” form of government, or do standards vary across societies according to culture, history, or other factors? What are the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary government forms?
Robots, Genetic Engineering, and Ethics - CSCI 216 E
Alden Wright, Department of Computer Science
This course will examine the role and social impact of robots, genetic engineering, and related technology. People will interact with some robots as if they were human, while other robots, like driverless cars, will do tasks that were done by humans. Prosthetics based on robotic technology, sometimes controlled by brain interfaces, are helping disabled people. Will this technology be applied to normal people? We are using genetic engineering on our crops and domestic animals, and we are trying to apply it to cure human genetic diseases. How will these technologies change our lives? Will they change what it means to be human? This course satisfies the general education ethics and human values perspective requirement, and a substantial part of the course will be devoted to ethical theory. The course will include a substantial writing component.
Social Media and Global Change - JOUR 191 Y
Henriette Lowisch, School of Journalism
Following the Arab Spring and other protest movements around the world, Facebook and Twitter revolutions have become much touted catchwords. But are social media really the answer to global challenges? How can they be used to foster change, locally as well as internationally? In this seminar, we will take a hard look at the promises and pitfalls of social media. We will analyze recent cases of social media activism around the world, while also probing issues of digital identity, corporate ownership, information poverty, censorship and privacy. Teaming up with students from Berlin, Germany, you will experience how differently societies view the digital frontier. Together, you will test what it takes to use social media to spur concrete action, rather than to just get a couple of your friends to hit the 'like' button when you post a funny video.
Who Am I? Identity and Our Social World - SOCI 191 S
Kathy Kuipers, Department of Sociology
Identities are a part of how we see ourselves and influence our immediate interactions and our perceptions of our social world. But the construct of “identity” is complex, necessarily situated, constantly evolving, and multifaceted. This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on the topic of personal and social identity. We look at how our identities are linked to social groups—families, gender groups, cultural groups, racial and ethnic groups, and occupational groups. And how identities are learned and enacted in a global context. We pose and begin to answer the question: Who Am I? This interdisciplinary course will give freshman an opportunity to explore not only what research has to say about identities and identification, but also personal dimensions of who they are, and how their conceptions of themselves are linked to their social world.
The Net Effect - JOUR 191H
Lee Banville, Journalism
Mondays and Wednesdays 9:40-11:00am
Would you expect that two different people googling the same term would get two different sets of results? How does Facebook decide what your Top News is? Is the Internet the same in the U.S. and in France? The answers may surprise you. This class will challenge students’ preconceptions of the Internet and social media. Students will read about how the Internet – initially imagined as a way of making all information available to the public (and still thought of by many as a global library open to all) -- has evolved into a media that is both highly filtered but one that also possesses the power to topple governments and empower citizens.
The Power of Numbers - GEO 191N
Rebecca Bendick, Geosciences
Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:10-10:30am
Open today’s newspaper. Watch the news on TV. Read your favorite online source. Regardless of specific choices, three common themes immediately emerge: our modern society and the issues we face are globally integrated, have important quantitative components, and are discussed using the tools of science and mathematics. The strong influence of quantitative information in our lives mandates equally strong numeracy skills. By conveying why numbers and mathematical concepts matter in all aspects of modern life, then providing students with powerful tools to approach these issues and decisions, this course is intended to provide a basis for lifelong learning, both within and outside of the University. This course will also provide foundational skills for students’ more thorough and sophisticated exploration of big and important issues within the Global Leadership framework.
Human Genetics, Your Family, and Global Health Care - BIOB 191N
Sarah Certel, Biological Sciences
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:10-3:30pm
This course addresses two fundamental biological and societal questions; how do genes direct and/or influence our health, and how do cultural, climate, ethical, and political issues affect treatment of genetic diseases? Students will acquire a practical knowledge of the principles of human genetics, which will serve as a basis to understand inherited diseases, application of family information, and genetic testing. Students will learn how the physical, cultural, and political environment impacts treatment of genetic disease. We will also address the ethical issues surrounding costs of genetic testing–-who should pay for such information and does society benefit from the treatment or prevention of genetic disease? The course will provide fundamental genetic-related information including:
- Sufficient background to understand the biology of genes and genetic issues as they relate to family inheritance, genetic test results, and disease conditions.
- Solid foundation in genetic terminology and concept.
- Basic knowledge of complex ethical dilemmas surrounding availability and interpretation of genetic testing.
- Understanding of cultural and economic considerations that influence availability of genetic testing and treatment of diseases with genetic components.
Doing the Right Thing: A Global Strategy for Good Business - BADM 191E
Gerald Evans, Management Information Systems
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:10-3:30pm
This GLI seminar addresses the issues businesses face in doing the right thing. While it is very easy to find examples in the media of corporations and corporate leaders doing the wrong thing and abusing the public trust, it is more difficult to find examples of companies doing the right thing. This seminar encourages students to explore the areas where companies can make a positive impact on global society through the use of practices that promote ethical corporate citizenship. Coverage focuses on current events, drawn from the Wall Street Journal and other publications, and includes specific topics of:
- Corporate social responsibility
- Financial markets and ethical practices
- Developing countries and their developing markets
- Privacy and security in an electronic world
- Corporate philanthropy
- The role of public policy
Issues in Global Public Health - PSCI 191X
Peter Koehn, Political Science
The overarching seminar question is: “What transnational, national, and local policies and skills will help us address current and future challenges to global health?” Public health by nature is multidisciplinary; we cannot achieve positive population health outcomes without collaboration of multiple disciplines and sectors. To function as informed and active citizens in a world suffused by proximate, distant, and transnational health challenges, students must develop awareness and sensitivities about public-health issues of global concern. Big and enduring issues include the impact of social and political inequities on the global burden of illness in general and on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in particular, health impacts of climate change and international development, undernourishment and malnutrition, sanitation and access to clean water, the obesity epidemic, funding disparities, the “fatal flow of expertise” from low-income to wealthy countries, transnational and indigenous health care, health as a human right and development resource, health implications of displacement, migration, travel, and health care, rural and reservation health challenges, armed conflict and health, public-disaster and health-emergency preparedness/response, quarantines and isolation, optimism/fatalism, and academic preparation for emerging transnational challenges. The seminar will engage as well as inform. By confronting issues of global health in their first year, students will become aware of rewarding opportunities to focus their baccalaureate education, to prepare for professional careers, and to carry out personal responsibility as a concerned citizen. The academic foundation is the Institute of Medicine’s 2003 recognition that public-health literacy is an “`essential part of the training of citizens’” and that it “prepares students to contribute to the health of the public through positive decision-making and constructive action in personal, professional and civic arenas.”
Human Rights Issues in Contemporary Latin American Literature and Film - MCLG 191L
Clary Loisel, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:10-3:30pm
The course is multidisciplinary in nature, integrating literature, film, and history. The literature and films are varied, but they have much in common. All respond to an understanding that collective history is an experience that affects citizens dominated by authoritarianism and fear. They share an ethical and artistic vision born of the peculiarities of political violence and social injustice. The understanding that the personal is political and historical is one of the principal components of this course’s subject matter. Thus, we observe how the language that the authors and film directors use bears direct witness to a period of repression and is capable of defying censure. Perhaps the most important outcomes of this course will promote understanding of human possibilities and offer faith and hope.
News Literacy: Truth v. Truthiness - JOUR 110Y
Ray Fanning, Journalism
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:10-3:30pm
Every day we're bombarded with an avalanche of information. But how do we decide what to trust? In News Literacy, students will develop the skills to become smarter news consumers and more active citizens, locally, nationally and globally. The emphasis is on building critical thinking to deconstruct the news and get to the truth, to separate assertion from verification and to look for fairness and balance in print, broadcast and Internet-based reporting.
Music, Meaning and Manipulation - MUSI 191L
James Randall, Music
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:40-2:00pm
Although we are inundated with music in our everyday lives—via iPods, radio, advertising, soundtracks of TV and film—most of us never learn the critical listening skills necessary to decode how music influences beliefs and behaviors. Music sells us products, political candidates, and systems of thought in increasingly sophisticated ways, yet most are oblivious to music’s specific role. Key to becoming an informed and responsible citizen in the 21st century is an appreciation of how music shapes understanding of the world, particularly in an age of media saturation. This course is an experiential investigation into how advertisers, filmmakers, politicians, and religious leaders use music to shape ideas, what we buy, and the groups to which we belong. How does music communicate meaning? We’ll take an interdisciplinary approach with primary readings drawn from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, musicology, communications and film to explore how music influences and constructs personal identity and group affiliations. Assignments include written analyses of music’s role in media, politics, and advertising, as well as creative projects in which students use music to generate messages in the form of mock advertisements, short film collaborations, and other creative works. No prior musical experience is required.
Food and Society in a Globalized World - SOCI 191S
Teresa Sobieszczyk, Sociology
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:40-2:00pm
Drawing on materials from Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, Economics, Environmental Studies, and Political Science, this interdisciplinary course will give freshman an opportunity to explore various dimensions of the global food system, from production to consumption. As we examine where our food comes from and how it gets to our table, we become aware of how little knowledge we have of the processes involved in producing, trading, and distributing our food. How do food production and distribution relate to structures of power and inequality nationally and in the global system? How is our disconnection from food production, distribution, and consumption impacted by and reflected in our disconnection from the communities within which we live?
Global Climate Change: Science, Society, and Ethics - BIOB 191N
Art Woods, Biological Sciences
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:40-2:00pm
Climate change is an extraordinarily important, multidisciplinary topic, with broad interest and appeal for students. However, most students understand climate change, at best, superficially. All students have heard of climate change, and most have opinions about the validity of climate science—but few can discuss it in any depth. This is in part because the science is complex and in part because scientists often do a poor job of communicating their findings and perspectives. The proposed seminar will prepare students from all backgrounds to participate in ongoing local, national, and global conversations by: (1) laying out the basic science in lay-person’s terms; (2) discussing the structure and validity of climate models; (3) discussing how projected changes in climate will affect both human populations and the ecology and physiology of plants and animals; (4) and analyzing current and past efforts to legislate energy and climate policy.