Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

Hutchins' Upper Division major requirement consists of 40 units and includes the introductory courses LIBS 302 (for new Hutchins Transfer students) and LIBS 204 or 205 (offered in the Fall semester) and LIBS 208 or 209 (offered in the Spring semester). These classes are generally taken in a student's first year in the Hutchins program.

LIBS 320 classes are elective seminars, and are classified in one of four Core sections—A: Society and Self, B: Individual and the Material World, C: Human Experience and the Arts, and D: Consciousness and Reality. Please note that the Core classes are grouped together in this document after all non-Core classes, rather than being listed in numeric order.

Revised 11/08/2016

Upper Division Classes:

LIBS 209: BOLLYWOOD AND GLOBALIZATION (4 units)  

4015

F

1:00-4:40PM

Dr. Ajay Gehlawat

Ives 101

This course will examine some of the major social and economic changes that have occurred in India since the period of liberalization (1990s), and assess the ensuing representations of these shifts in contemporary Bollywood and Bollywood-inspired films.

[Top]

LIBS 302: INTRODUCTION TO LIBERAL STUDIES (3 units)  
1795
W

1:00-3:40pm

Margaret Anderson

Carson 38

An interdisciplinary 'gateway course' examining the meaning of a liberal education, emphasizing seminar skills, oral and written communication, and introducing the Portfolio. It is taken with LIBS 204/205 or 208/209 in the first semester of upper-division study. (These are the prerequisites for all upper-division Hutchins courses.) Successful completion of LIBS 302 is required to continue in the Hutchins program. Students must earn a grade of C or higher to continue in Hutchins.

[Top]

 
LIBS 312: SCHOOLS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY (3 units)  

4019

W

4:00-6:40pm

Dr. Benjamin Frymer

Ives 34

A close inspection of child development and elementary school pedagogy, emphasizing relevant social and cultural factors as well as major theoretical views of physical, emotional, and personality growth. Subjective views of childhood experience will be contrasted with observations. Readings from Erikson, Freud, Hall, Goodall, and others.

[Top]

 
LIBS 327: LITERACY, LANGUAGE, AND PEDAGOGY (3 units)  

2062

TU

4:00-6:40pm

Ianthe Brautigan Swensen

Stevenson 3044

1943

TU

7:00-9:40pm

Ianthe Brautigan Swensen

Carson 68

This course for pre-credential multiple subject students looks at the importance of literacy and language arts in the contemporary world, including the value of wiriting and literature in the classroom, as well as the significance of literacy as a broader educational and social issue. Students will develop a pedagogy of grammar, examine the use of literature and the written word in the classroom, and create and teach a classroom grammar lesson. 

[Top]

 
LIBS 390: INDEPENDENT FILM STUDY (1-2 units)  

2197

Dr. Ajay Gehlawat

1 unit course

2198 Dr. Ajay Gehlawat 2 units course

Students will attend Sonoma Film Institute screenings or other film-related lectures or events on campus. Students will earn 1 unit of credit for every 6 film screenings attended. Students are also required to complete weekly reading assignments and submit a written film analysis incorporating these readings following each screening. Repeatable for up to 4 units. Satisfies GE, category C1.

[Top]

 
LIBS 402: SENIOR SYNTHESIS (4 units)  

1918

TU

1:00-3:40pm

Dr. Janet Hess

GMC 1058

2123

M

4:00-6:40pm

Margaret Anderson

Art 108

The Senior Synthesis is a capstone course that builds upon the work you have collected in your Hutchins Portfolio and provides an opportunity for you to focus upon an interdisciplinary topic of particular value and interest to you. The course will consist almost entirely of group work aimed at helping you focus your thinking and will provide a supportive context for undertaking your senior project, which is a major piece of research, thinking and writing.

[Top]

 
LIBS 403: SENIOR SYNTHESIS - STUDY AWAY (4 units)  

1768

Dr. Eric McGuckin

Consent of department required

A capstone course required for the Hutchins major. Drawing on the papers collected for his or her portfolio, the student prepares a major paper synthesizing aspects of that individual’s own intellectual development. This is done in a study away situation. Also available for students choosing a minor in Hutchins.

[Top]

 
LIBS 410: INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-4 units)  

Contract Course

Must use form to register

Consent of instructor required

Independent Study is an individualized program of study taken for a letter grade with a Hutchins faculty sponsor who is willing to supervise it. A student consults with a faculty member on a topic, develops a plan of study, including number of units, project outcomes, number of meetings with the faculty and deadline for completion. A Project Contract is submitted to Admissions and Records after the beginning of the semester and before the last day to add classes. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: LIBS 302 and consent of instructor..

[Top]

 
LIBS 480: TEACHING ASSISTANT - SEMINAR FACILITATOR (1-3 units)  

Contract Course

Must use form to register

Consent of instructor required

This course provides students with an opportunity to enhance their facilitation skills through serving as a seminar leader in large lecture/discussion courses. Requires the consent of instructor.

[Top]

 
LIBS 499: INTERNSHIP (1-4 Units)  

Contract Course

Must use form to register

Consent of instructor required

All students develop an internship working outside the classroom. Students also prepare a portfolio project based upon a larger topic implicit in their internship. They participate with other interns in an internship class once a week to discuss their internship experience and issues related to the larger society. Grade only.

[Top]

 
CORE A OFFERINGS 
 

Courses in this area address the following issues and themes:

  • Problems and possibilities before us at the start of a new century as we move toward a genuinely global culture.
  • The relationship between the individual and all kinds of human groups, the context of human interaction in which the individual finds many of the dimensions of the self.
  • Ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that flow between society and the individual and which result in the political and economic arrangements that make life-in-common possible.
  • Historical and economic developments, geographical facts, analytical models, and moral questions necessary to understand the dynamics of individuals and their communities.
  • Moral and ethical underpinnings of our patterns of social interaction and how these affect issues such as race, gender, and class.
  • Questions concerning whether the goals of human dignity, political justice, economic opportunity, and cultural expression are being enhanced or destroyed by specific historical developments, cultural practices, economic arrangements, or political institutions. For example: How, in the face of that compelling force, do we shape the kind of society that values and protects the individual? How do we become the kinds of individuals who understand and help foster the just society?
 
LIBS 320A.1: SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP  

2069

TU

4:00 - 6:40pm

Dr. Stephanie Dyer

Carson 44B

This seminar will examine interdisciplinary perspectives on consumer culture from the late 19th century to the present. We will explore different theories of consumption; the major structures of consumerism such as “economies of scale,” cheap labor, discount pricing, credit, branding, advertising, and retail spaces; and the lived experience of consumer culture in terms of its impact on our families and communities, our environment, and ourselves. Special attention will be paid to how race, gender, age, and class have affected the experience of diverse peoples in American consumer culture. As seminar participants, we will also reflect about our own place in the American political economy, examining our own experiences in comparison to those we have read about in seminar and considering how to achieve more ethical forms of consumption.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320A.2: ALCOHOLIC REPUBLIC  

4370

W

4:00 - 6:40pm

Dr. Stephanie Dyer

Carson 44B

This course will examine alcohol consumption in American culture, past and present. We will examine the production, distribution, and marketing of alcoholic beverages to the consuming public; the changing political-economic context of alcohol consumption before, during, and after national Prohibition; evolving social practices around alcohol, including addiction, binge drinking, moderation, and sobriety; alcohol's role in status consumption and food tourism; and the effects of alcohol consumption on individuals, families, communities, and institutions.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 321A.1: RACE & NEIGHBORHOOD  

4016

W

1:00-3:40pm

Staff

Carson 44B

How are neighborhoods (de)valued? And what does this have to do with the contested and changing geographies of social difference -- race, gender, sexuality, and economics? In this course we will consider space, the myths and histories of ethnic and racial separations, and the political and economic arrangements that make life-in-common possible across a range of real and imagined communities, neighborhoods and blocks with names like Clybourne Park, and Ferguson and Osage Avenue, to perhaps, the place where you live or grew up. We will think across a range of communities and creative literary, visual, and cultural texts, including: plays, documentary film, public policy, poetry, and music. Our readings question social exclusion and the social constructions of race, status, place, and contemporary life, and focus particularly on the poetics and politics of social unrest, housing segregation, public transportation, safety, policing, and racial terror. This is a writing intensive course (WIC). Your successful completion of this course (a final cumulative grade of a C or above) will grant you a WEPT exam waiver.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
CORE B OFFERINGS
 

Courses in this area address the following issues and themes:

  • Science and technology and their relationships to the individual and society.
  • The methods of science and important information that has been discovered through their applications.
  • Some of the crucial issues posed by our culture's applications of science and technology and, adversely, the cultural consequences of a materialist world view.
  • How science and technology impact all areas of our lives.
  • How, for better and for worse, as inheritors of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, we intervene in our material world technologically.
  • Scientific aspects of particular social issues, or an issue of personal concern, the sense of science as a social endeavor.
  • The values implicit in a particular technology.
 
LIBS 320B.1: ECOLOGY AND CULTURE  

1716

W

4:00-6:40pm

Dr. Mutombo Mpanya

Carson 37

Environmental issues such as the loss of rain forest and biological diversity, the depletion of the ozone layer, and toxic waste are related to the use of modern technology and to a certain sense of human and economic progress. A discussion of these issues is essential to a new understanding of the relationship between the physical environment, the cultures of the world and the modern development project. Equally important is the question of how some traditional cultures around the world have related to their ecological environments in ways that were less destructive, with a sense of balance and sustainability.

This course will provide an overview of the basic elements of ecology and cultural strategies used by traditional societies in their relationship to their environmental contexts. We also examine the impact of modern technology on these societies and discuss the cultural value of “progress.” The focus will be on specific case studies from a variety of cultures involving different sectors such as hunting and gathering, animal husbandry, agriculture, and housing in different areas of the world. Students will learn about the impact of modernization on diverse societies. The class will engage in lively discussion with a view towards understanding the ecological context of the 21st century. Students will address the issues of sustainability from a diverse range of cultural and ecological perspectives. Topics will include ecological principles, environmental ethics, technological practices, and development policies.

Prerequisite:LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320B.2: SCIENCE AND STORYTELLING  

1717

M

4:00-6:40pm

Dr. Mutombo Mpanya

Carson 37

The application of science to technology has a significant impact on the evolution of modern societies. Often this impact can be perceived as positive and even liberating, with a perception that scientific methodology guarantees ultimate and universal truth. Some claim that science is neutral and cannot be blamed for the lack of human wisdom which leads to negative social and ecological consequences. Others react to science with a deep sense of distrust. In this course, students will explore the relationship between specific scientific theories and the sociohistorical contexts from which they were generated. We will examine the observations behind these theories and discuss existing popular beliefs surrounding them.

Students will learn about scientific methodologies and the problems and issues that led to the formulation of current scientific thinking about classical physics, relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, genetics and evolution.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320B.3: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?  

4371

TH

9:00-11:40am

Russell Scarola

Carson 60

In recent centuries human technology and ingenuity have so rapidly reshaped the surface and atmosphere of the Earth that anthropologists have now declared the arrival of a new epoch, a new age! Welcome, my friends, to the Anthropocene!

Our mission will be to investigate what pathways of technological advancement may yet lay ahead and how best for humans to approach their adoption? Which should we pursue? Which should we relinquish? What hopes can be found? What fears? How will a rapidly changing relationship with the natural world continue to not just shape the planet, but our own identities? Each week we’ll read several (approachable I swear) essays by various experts in specific technological fields about what the future may hold. These short readings will help us frame our techno-ethical dilemmas, but our analysis of the possible won’t stop there! Alongside each topic will be parallel opportunities to explore works of speculative story-telling. Cinema and short stories, stage plays and novels— the decisions we make in the future involve more than just technical “can we or will we do something”— they also require us to examine (often through the power of art) what effects these choices may have on human identity and indeed the future of Earth. While dystopias will have a place, the primary selections will be those that are in many ways even harder for artists to create—ones that explore both the pros and cons of what we are capable.  Opportunities for individual student and group creative responses will also be provided.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
CORE C OFFERINGS
 

Courses in this area address the following issues and themes:

  • Why humans create literature, epics, poetry, drama, and other literary forms, the visual arts, languages, architecture, music, dance, the writings of philosophers, and the thought and literature of the world's religions.
  • The inner world of creativity and individual values as well as the questions about how we arrive at a sense of meaning and purpose, ethical behavior, and a sense of beauty and order in the world.
  • Deep and significant aspects of ourselves which may otherwise remain obscure and therefore troubling.
  • Important questions - and occasional answers - about life and death, about feelings, and about the ways we see things.
  • The metaphors that help us recognize and become aware of the interrelations of all the areas of inquiry humanity has developed.
  • Images from which we may learn about our reality or realities of other times.
  • Creative and intuitive thinking processes that lead to an understanding of the aesthetic experience.
  • How the arts can be an end in themselves, as well as a means to an end.
 
LIBS 320C.1: LATINO/A LITERATURES  

2162

M

1:00-3:40pm

Staff

Carson 44B

In this seminar we will study short fiction, poetry, performance, and film. We will focus on how these contemporary literary and visual texts negotiate the boundaries of language and genre to imagine diverse Latino/a experiences in the hemispheric Americas, as well as shared histories of colonialism and racialization. Of particular interest are health, disease, and the disruptions of migration at their intersection with race, gender, and sexuality.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320C.2: BARBIES  

1987

TU

9:00-11:40am

Dr. Janet Hess

Carson 52

In Western society the Barbie is an icon of feminine sexuality, a site simultaneously of innocence and desire, commodification and psychological projection, the fetishization of gender ideals and the construction and perpetuation of the feminine "mystique." What is the power of Barbie? Why do we adore her? How do we resolve the apparent conflict between damage and play/desire? Does Barbie reveal, as her creator Ruth Handler argues, "the endless possibilities available [to young girls] . . . encouraging them to actively use their imagination" to interpret the adult world and "work through growing up to explore their dreams and their future?" Or do Barbies replicate an oppressive gender hierarchy?

In this class we will explore these and other questions, using Barbie as an opportunity to explore the manner in which gender is constructed, commodified, and disseminated, the role of play in indoctrination and social formation, and the power of individual agency and resistance discourse in interrupting fixed social and political narratives. We will also consider the possibility of Barbie as a phenomenon beyond assessments of "good" or "bad"--as a performance phenomenon beyond irony, open to our own interpretation, objective, and desire.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320C.3: INTRODUCTION TO FILM STUDIES  

4372

F

9:00-11:40am

Dr. Ajay Gehlawat

Art 102

This course will explore film as a storytelling medium, as well as the unique ways in which this medium has been and continues to be used by filmmakers around the world. Moving chronologically, we will examine a variety of narrative film forms, including the classical Hollywood style, innovations within this form, as well as multiple, international alternatives from the 1960s up to the present. Through frequent film screenings and readings in film theory, psychoanalysis, semiotics and cultural theory, students will develop a basic understanding of film language as well as a deeper understanding of how films operate, how they create meaning, and how we, as viewers, participate in this process. This course fulfills part of the Core requirement for the new Film Studies minor. Students taking this course may also concurrently enroll in an Independent Film Study (LIBS 390) for 1-2 additional units, if they so desire.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
CORE D OFFERINGS
 

Courses in this area address the following issues and themes:

  • Reality as a result of many factors, some of them psychological, some biological, some philosophical, some social and the many aspects of being or existence as reaching from the physical to the metaphysical.
  • Consciousness as, somehow, the result of our gender, our ethnicity, our health, the ways in which we were reared, the social stratum in which we find ourselves, the beliefs that were engendered in us, and other factors.
  • Consciousness as occurring across a spectrum of potentials (conscious/unconscious, rational/irrational, egocentric/transpersonal, masculine/feminine) that influence our personal and collective realities.
  • Human needs at various levels of emotional, religious or spiritual, intellectual, and transpersonal or universal disciplines, practices, and experiences.
  • One of the major concerns of people in all places at all times has been: what are the components of being human?
  • The range of answers which are sometimes perplexingly inconsistent with one another, and yet their very divergence itself suggests something about the powerful complexity of the human individual.
  • The study of biology as it relates to psychology, and consciousness as it affects and is affected by perceptions of reality.
  • Meaning-making as a necessary human achievement, and identity formation as it is understood in the light of developmental psychology and the nature-nurture controversy.
 
LIBS 320D.1: THE COEN BROTHERS: FILM NOIR & ALIENATION  
2172

M

4:00-6:40pm

Dr. Benjamin Frymer

Stevenson 2079

This course will explore the films of the Coen Brothers in the context of the American tradition of Film Noir.  We will read about key philosophical and existential themes pervading their work, such as alienation and absurdity, and attempt to situate their neo-noir as both a commentary upon and complex illumination of contemporary American society.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320D.2: SEX / GENDER / POWER  

1808

TH

1:00-3:40pm

Dr. Eric McGuckin

Carson 61

This course examines sexualities and genders through a variety of lenses including evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology, politics, feminism, and “sexology.” We will pay particular attention to personal, collective, and institutional power differentials between the sexes, confronting traditional assumptions of the natural, normal, and moral. We will investigate contemporary challenges to established gender roles and sexual expression, the commoditization of sexuality, and the complex relationships between biology, culture, and sexual preferences and gender identities.

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]

 
LIBS 320D.3: ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMOR  

1915

M

1:00-3:40pm

Dr. Eric McGuckin

Carson 61

We will explore the evolution, psychology, sociology, politics, and structure of humor in satire, jokes, standup comedy, film, television, and social media. Through reading, writing, discussion, shared viewing, research, creative process, and general hilarity, we will explore what humor is and how it functions in our lives and society. 

Prerequisite: LIBS 302 or LIBS 101-202
[Top]