Skip to main content

AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Main Content

Courses

On-Campus Courses

Instructor: Lindsay Dunn

This course will examine how visual representations of authority both shaped and reflected the political and cultural climates of Europe during the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. This investigation will familiarize students with the visual rhetoric of power and help them develop understandings of the ways in which images relate to identity construction and socially and culturally-specific notions of gender power, and authority in a variety of time frames, historical contexts, and geographic locations, Throughout the semester, students will explore how those in power used images to create, maintain, and promote their authority and manage their public personas while exploring the relationships between visual representations, society, and culture. By discussing historical precedents, this course will also raise issues pertinent to current cultural ideologies and visual rhetoric.

Instructor: Johnny Miles

This course examines the phenomenon of superheroes across global contexts. Exploring the representation of superheroes helps students grasp their potential cultural function, how religious themes may factor into those functions whereby to satisfy certain needs, and how those functions and needs may have changed across time.

Instructor: Steven Sherwood

Students will read literature and watch films about the survival of both everyday crises and life-threatening situations. They will write two papers on topics related to survival of such ordinary crises as divorce or job loss, survival in the outdoors, and the prospects of long-term survival of the human species. Students will examine factors, including personality traits, which either impede or enhance a person’s ability to survive a variety of circumstances that put his or her confidence, sanity, or soul in jeopardy.

Instructor: Douglas Ann Newsom

Global communications have created an international community exposed to persuasive campaigns, some advertising and some informational. This course will examine the influence and impact of global persuasive campaigns through an analysis of the structure of the campaign process and the use of images to create familiarity and experience. The ultimate impact and influence of such campaigns are highly variable, depending on the media in which they appear and the cultural context in which they are interpreted.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

What is deviance? From a sociological perspective, deviance is a matter of social definition, interpretation, and reaction. This seminar examines the story of deviance, a story involving the struggle between rule breakers and those who seek to define them as outside normative boundaries. The goal is to introduce students to substantive topics and scholarly work within the sociology of deviance while providing an opportunity for discussion and critique. Special emphasis will be placed on the interactional dynamics involved in defining and managing deviance and the development of deviant career.

Instructor: Michael Butler

Basic concepts and tools used by economists and applications of those tools to analyze contemporary economic and social issues will be discussed. Included among the issues will be drug prohibition, tax reform, Social Security, the minimum wage, and environmental protection.

Instructor: Joan McGettigan

An exploration of cinema as a form of American social expression. As cultural artifacts, films are produced in specific historical contexts by and for cultural groups. Films produced for American audiences reflect American values, myths, and behavior and thus constitute an important form of social expression. We will examine movies which depict specific periods, people, and events of American history, and ask questions such as: How do we see ourselves and our history through films? Who are the “heroes” we choose to portray onscreen? How have our notions of “realism” changed over time?

Instructor: Joan McGettigan

This course examines Hollywood films from a cultural perspective. Genres change over time, both reflecting and affecting the cultural attitudes of filmmakers and audiences. This course will focus on the development of the Hollywood Crime Film from the 1930s through the present day.

Instructor: Michael Slattery

Our relationship with the Earth is changing at an unprecedented rate. The pace of change is accelerating not only from our advancing technology, but also from world population growth, economic growth, and increasingly frequent collisions between expanding human demands and the limits of the Earth’s natural systems. It appears that catastrophe looms ahead unless major changes are made in a short period of time. Or does it? Fortunately, human beings are capable of changing their behavior and values, which are then reflected in changes in national and international priorities. Such changes happen when people are confronted with new information or new experiences. This is a discussion and debate style course. The objective is to introduce students to controversies in environmental policy and science. The readings, which represent the arguments of leading environmentalists, scientists, and policymakers, reflect a variety of viewpoints and have been selected for their liveliness and substance. They are organized topically around major areas of study within environmental studies and include environmental ethics, water resources, energy, global climate change and population.

Instructor: Linda Hughes

An examination of the roots of current American interest in Arthurian legend in Queen Victoria’s reign. Students will read important literary works, including Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, William Morris’s “Defense of Guenevere,” and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and explore the historical and political conditions surrounding the 19th-century medieval revival. The course concludes with a screening of Excalibur (1981) and discussion of its indebtedness to the Victorian era.

Instructor: Edward McNertney

The study of economics involves the learning of abstract theories about the workings of the economic system and the study of various policy tools that may be used to guide the economy toward specified targets. The course will focus on the historical development of the theories developed to explain our major economic issues, on the controversies surrounding these theories, and on the different policy conclusions that arise from the different theories. The major economic issues on which the course will focus include inflation, unemployment, business cycles, economic growth and development, international trade deficits and surpluses, federal government budget deficits and surpluses, income distribution, and globalization.

Instructor: Edward McNertney

Computer simulation models will be used to learn important economic concepts and to analyze current economic problems. Students will assume the role of economic policymakers and as such will initiate policy changes and examine their effects on various aspects of the economy, such as the national output level, the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, and the distribution of income. No prior computer experience is necessary.

Instructor: Michael C. Slattery

Do you have a fascination with the Weather Channel? Are you interested in a non-mathematical treatment of the principles of meteorology and climatology? Students in this course will develop a working understanding of general meteorological and climatological processes, develop an understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of these processes, and begin to understand how these factors influence the climate of a region. Basic information about the earth/energy system will pave the way for an examination of simple dynamic relationships, synoptic circulation, global climate and climate change.

Instructor:  Ralph Carter

What foreign policy issues are on the horizon for U.S. policymakers? What should our foreign policy be as we enter the post 9/11 era? How should that foreign policy be made, and by whom? The domestic political environment facing U.S. foreign policymakers changed first after the Vietnam War and then again after the September 11th attacks. With the demise of the Cold War, the external political environment changed as well. This course will look forward to contemporary U.S. foreign policy on both the domestic and external levels. Domestically, the course addresses the various governmental and non-governmental actors who combine to produce foreign policy. Externally, it examines problems that revolve around specific issues (like terrorism and homeland security, the promotion of democracy, foreign trade, etc.) or around particular countries (Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mexico, Cuba, etc.).

Instructor: Cheryl Carithers

From Homer’s The Iliad to Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carry to Kathyrn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, we are given a glimpse into humankind at war. We see the winners and the victors and the death and destruction. We also gain a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those involved, from the military men and women who fight to the family members who love them to the people in the societies in which they live. We see the conflicts they face, hopefully, learning something as a result. Thus, this class will focus on war stories, from the ancient past to the very present, fiction and non-fiction, from epic poems, novels, and modern-day films to narratives from the soldiers themselves. As we read the war stories and watch them emerge on film, we will not only analyze the content but also discuss the impact they have on all those involved and humanity as a whole.

Instructor: Sidney Thompson

This course will examine how American literature from the 1800s to the present has explored the racial divide between African Americans and white authority. We will achieve a broad historical and political perspective by reading a range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry composed by black, white, and biracial authors, with the purpose of using the literary tradition as a lens through which we assess the contradictory nature of American democracy and the vulnerable position of African-Americans within it. Our discussion will address slavery, abolition, segregation and Jim Crow laws, police brutality, “the white gaze,” white privilege, white guilt, cultural appropriation, racial passing, faith as propaganda, and the commonplace assumptions and fears about race, law enforcement, and national identity that have helped perpetuate the constraints of institutional racism in the United States.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

This course introduces students to the central ideas in the field of social psychology and the significance of these ideas in providing explanations for criminal behavior and related phenomena. Additionally, classic social psychological theory and research are examined and utilized to understand offenders, victims and criminogenic environments. The course emphasizes the integration and application of course content to understand contemporary criminological issues such as the use of the death penalty for juveniles, treatment and control of sex offenders, criminalizing drug offenders, and the validity of repressed memory.

Instructor: Manochehr Dorraj

An introduction to the theoretical evolution of the international economy as a subdiscipline within the field of international relations. The course discusses the classical economists, Marxist theory and neo-Keynesian theories of growth and capital accumulation and distribution, then focuses on first, second and third world perspectives on the international political economy. Also studied are the roles of multinational corporations, the International Monetary Fund, the politics of international trade, the role of foreign aid, the third world debt crisis, the impact of the technological revolution, the emergence of a multi-polar world, and the ramifications of Japanese and German economic resurgence for “the new world order.”

Instructor: Gene Smith

Today’s headlines report the failure of revolutions with their civil wars, ethnic massacres, and palace coups. What constitutes a successful revolution? What lessons are there in the American experience? General Washington’s startling words in 1783 express his anxiety for the problems of American state building and give the title to a course that will examine the origins of those problems in the protest to British Imperialism, the War for Independence, and the post-war challenges leading to the creation of the Federal structure under the Constitution.

Instructor: Joanne Connor Green

This class will examine the perennial dilemmas between Freedom, Order and Equality especially as they pertain to political ideology and public policy. To understand the dilemmas, we will examine the basic structure of our government with special attention paid to the structural tensions that augment this dilemma. Next, we will look at how the dilemmas surface in contemporary debate among liberals and conservatives and how the dilemmas impact the definition of policies in the United States. We will be discussing and debating a number of current issues that pit these three valued ideals against one another to better understand the positions presented by advocates on both sides of the policy debates and to illuminate our personal positions and views.

Instructor: Fred Oberkircher

Human beings receive over 80% of their information about the spatial environment through vision. The mechanism by which this visual environment is revealed to us is light. It is the quality of that light, in all of its manifestations, that has inspired mankind for thousands of years. Ranging from the philosophical statement “I see”, which has more to do with the act of understanding than the process of seeing, to the psychological aspects of certain three dimensional visual illusions that work, based solely upon stored mental information on the location of our sun and the resultant cast shadows; light has both inspired and guided our relationships with the world that surrounds us. So strongly interwoven is this relationship that it passes for the commonplace. This course seeks to explore and clarify the inter-relationship between man and light. Individual/team investigations will concentrate on the use of light and color to create sophisticated themed environments. The TCU Center for Lighting Education will be used to support the actual demonstration of and investigations into the use of various types of electric lighting devices, ranging from simple track fixtures to computer controlled fixtures that can change color, lighting position, and pattern.

Instructor:  Joan McGettigan

Time and again filmmakers turn to literature for inspiration; we have become accustomed to seeing favorite works of literature “translated” for the screen. This course will ask you to move past the initial reaction–Is the film better than the book, or vice versa?–to analyze the methods used in adaptation. How does each medium establish characters, develop mood and atmosphere, communicate emotions and thoughts? Furthermore, the course will examine how adaptations have been influenced by factors such as changing cultural attitudes and censorship.

Instructor: John Harvey

One of the least understood features of our economy is the nature of capital (physical and financial). Yet, it plays a vital role in creating present employment and future productive capacity, and it grabs headlines through stock market fluctuations and international financial crises. This course both arms the student to differentiate among the confusing variety of uses of the term capital and explains what it can and cannot do in terms of world and domestic economic growth, social security financing, federal debt financing, and third world development.

Instructor: John Harvey

The ignorance surrounding economic issues in our country is frightening. One regularly sees misstatements in the press regarding such important concepts as Social Security, the national debt and deficit, unemployment, the business cycle, the stock market, and inflation. The goal of this course is to explain these and other economic phenomena in clear terms that the non-economist can easily understand.

Instructor: Ralph Carter

The struggle for control of Jerusalem and surrounding territories has made violence between Jews and Arabs a recurring phenomenon since the 1920s. The 1948 creation of an independent Israeli state only exacerbated this violence. This course examines contemporary conflicts issues between Israelis and Palestinians against the context of a history of past conflicts. Focal points for the course are the underlying reasons for these conflicts, their conduct and resolutions to date, and the various efforts to promote a more lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

Instructor: Michael Sherrod

The course provides an in-depth overview of the challenges involved in identifying and systematically evaluating opportunities for creating new ideas, new models, ventures, and initiatives, across a wide range of contexts, including startups, social enterprises, and large, established corporations.

Instructor: Marie Schein

In this course, we will first ask the question, “What is Native American Literature?” In order to propose an answer, we will begin by examining several examples of the oral tradition, representing selected tribal nations, in order to reach a better understanding of the historical and cultural background that informs creation stories, myths, and legends. Then, we will investigate the relationship between the oral tradition and the written literature of key Native writers and explore the diverse aspects of storytelling in their poems, plays, and/or novels through the lens of identity, community, and survival. At times, we will also consider how films and other visual arts address these themes. In the fall semester, we will have the unique opportunity to meet Lucy Tapahonso, one of the most respected Native poets today and the poet laureate of the Navajo Nation. She will visit our class and give talks on campus in early October.

Instructor: Lindsay Dunn

This class examines social and cultural constructions of the artist and the art world. Through viewing film adaptations of artists’ biographies and films depicting artists’ lives and works, this course offers students the chance to explore art history, the genre of biography, the roles of the artist and art enthusiast in popular culture, and film theory. Throughout the semester, students will explore how authors draw from stereotypical and culturally-specific understandings of artists’ roles when constructing their narratives. In addition, students will improve their ability to critique texts by closely looking at images, written texts, and films. This course also raises issues pertinent to current cultural ideologies, popular culture, and visual rhetoric.

Instructor: Sidney Thompson

Students will read American literary works by and about African Americans that have been adapted into different media, from the written texts of poetry, drama, and fiction to the visual texts of photography and film. Students will assess whether the adaptations clarify, distort, or contribute to the original themes of African Americans surviving in an oppressive culture, and will regard how the conventions of a medium affect a difference. Adopting the critical vernacular of each genre, students will articulate the strengths of adaptation versus the weaknesses of appropriation, as well as scrutinize stereotypical and production-safe representations and tropes in light of unique and daring originality. Our discussions will address sensitive racial issues as diverse as slavery, segregation and Jim Crow laws, the ethical nature of sharing self-deprecating and race-undermining truths, and white privilege.

Instructor: Katherine Downey

Whereas the ancient world played out the problems of philosophy on the public stage, in our day it is on the movie screen where we grapple with the drama of human life. Yet the essential questions persist: What is truth? What is justice? What is freedom? In this course we will learn how each has been addressed in the philosophical tradition and examine how a major film engages with it. From personal reflection, collaborative research, reading, discussion, and film analysis, we will delve into the complexities of each philosophical question in order to compose a sturdy definition for ourselves. Along the way, we will learn how to watch and analyze a film, how to grapple with persistent questions and the ambivalence they engender, and finally how to apply our philosophical study to address the practical problems of our day.

Instructor: Darren Middleton

Participants in this summer seminar will read, discuss, and then appraise how selected creative writers use the “short fiction” genre to probe as well as investigate issues of religious meaning and spiritual significance – what we might call “models of the sacred.” This course will emphasize the history, theology, and practices of various and global religious traditions. Particular attention will be paid to how women and men imagine “myth,” “ritual,” and “sacred power” in the context of personal and social concerns. Students will wrestle with topics such as the meaning and endurance of faith; the problem of evil and suffering; the search for identity and integrity; and, several other themes. Selected authors include: Chitra Divakaruni, Alifa Rifaat, Chaim Grade, David Bezmozgis, William Trevor, Raymond Carver, Tim Gautreaux, Jhumpa Lahiri, Carol Shields, Alice Walker, and others.

Instructor: Johnny Miles

Language is neither innocuous nor value-neutral in the matter of group identity or the process of constructing identities, ancient (e.g. Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Samaritans) and/or modern (e.g. Native, Latina/o, Asian, and African Americans). Integral to this process are stereotypes (image and non-image) that effectively reify the representations of “other(s)” while presuming the superiority of one ethnic group (e.g. Israel and Euro-American) over another. These stereotypes proliferate throughout culture and time via diverse media, including the Bible, itself a cultural artifact. Postcolonial analyses probe the representation strategy of stereotyping to reveal the identity of “self” reflected within “other” while simultaneously ascribing an often-silenced voice to the “other.” This course’s focus on representation will enable students to identify, explain, evaluate, and critique the use of stereotypes while examining diverse media wherein these stereotypes are embedded.

Instructor: Joan McGettigan

Through this course, students will critically examine how movies have helped to construct viewers’ understanding of what journalism is; how it functions in relation to politics, social movements, and public discourse; and, what the role of the journalist is in our society. Specific topics are four-fold. First, how journalism movies have reflected their cultural time and place: for example, how movies in the 1930s depicted the influence of the press on public opinion about politics and the Great Depression; and how the war correspondent of the 1940s was depicted as a liaison between those in the military and homefront audiences. Second, how journalism movies are related to their specific production contexts: for example, which Hollywood stars frequently played newspaper editors and reporters, and how their star images shaped audience perceptions of those professions. Third, how key moments in journalism history have been depicted onscreen: for example, the Washington Post investigation of Watergate by Woodward & Bernstein. And finally, how journalists have interacted with Hollywood to try to influence their onscreen images: for example, how newspaper editors in the 1930s complained to major American studios about movie portrayals of reporting as a profession. Films are likely to include: Citizen Kane (1942), All the Presidents Men (1976), Spotlight (2016), Up Close and Personal (1996), Ace in the Hole (1951), as well as Good Night and Good Luck (2005).

Instructor: Harry Parker

This course will examine the subject matter of the theatre, through the medium of film. Students will view around a dozen movies that treat the mythos and iconography of the theatre – a closely related, but distinctly different art form. Among the topics to be examined are: the blurred lines between reality and the fictive world of the stage; the power of outside forces to contaminate the artistic processes of the theatre; the sense of luck and chance in any artistic endeavor, especially the theatre; the struggle for women to compete in a male-dominated arena; the struggle to allow one’s ego to inform their art, without allowing it to destroy their art; the pressure to understand what innovations must be embraced by artists, and which traditions must be discarded. Assignments will include regular class discussions, short essays about films viewed in class, and take-home exams. Films under consideration for the class include 42nd Street, All About Eve, Shakespeare in Love, and many others.

Instructor: Eric Simanek

Whiskey embodies multiple sciences and engineering. Whiskey has played a significant role in history including that of the United States. The course conveys elementary science concepts from the disciplines of chemistry, plant biology, genetics, neuroscience and engineering along with the historical underpinnings of these concepts as well as the impact that whiskey has had on US history since the colonial era up to and including multinational corporations. Laboratory experiments are linked intimately to lecture content. The discussion, while rigorous, should be accessible to interested students from any discipline.

Instructor: Kylo-Patrick Hart

This course explores films, television programs, and related media offerings of the 1950s in relation to cold-war popular culture and its various aspects pertaining to “containment” (including atomic anxiety, brainwashing, juvenile delinquency, McCarthyism, and the nuclear family).

Instructor: Cheryl Carithers

Government cover-ups? Secret societies? Alien visitation? Although many scholars question the validity of conspiracy theories, we cannot deny that they have become a popular cultural phenomenon, as illustrated by the success of the many novels, movies, and television programs that focus upon them and the millions of websites dedicated to them. Therefore, as a result of this growing societal fascination with conspiracy theories, the class will delve into the mysterious world from which they emerge. In doing so, we will not only explore many theories but also attempt to separate the fact from the fiction. Thus, we will examine conspiracy theories from historical, cultural, and rhetorical perspectives, with an emphasis on analysis of the argumentative techniques used by both conspiracy theorists and alleged conspirators. The end result will be a better understanding of both how and why the theories continue to foster the attention of not only conspiracy theorists but also society at large.

Instructor: Darren Middleton

The English Roman Catholic novelist Graham Greene (1904-1991) was an intensely theological thinker, despite his struggle with traditional forms of Christian doctrine, and such themes as good and evil, sin and judgment, grace and mercy, as well as the problem of suffering and humanity’s yearning to reach God, pervade his literary art. Moreover, his challenging ideas are of special interest to theological efforts at rethinking faith’s meaning in the twenty-first century. The class will meet as a seminar once a week to read and discuss several of Greene’s novels. Attention will be given to identifying the theological theme(s) in the work, situating such ideas in the wider context of Christian life and thought and, where possible, appraising Greene’s theology in light of the readers’ own faith perspectives. Some focus on the filmic adaptations of such works will occur.

Instructor: Cheryl Carithers

Ironman. Spiderman. Batman. Superman. Few people can deny the timeless appeal of these famed superheroes and others like them. With a recent resurgence in popularity, the scrutinizing eyes of more than the traditional comic book fan fall upon these figures from graphic literature. Thus, we might consider, if historically, we have too easily dismissed them as entertainment without considering what they might teach us about ourselves, society, history, and even the world around us. This course will delve into the historical rise, fall, and resurgence of the popular superhero. And, in this exploration through both literature and film, we will investigate the how and why we have, perhaps even need, superheroes in our world.

Instructor: Kylo-Patrick Hart

This course focuses on influential media representations of otherness in its various forms including crime and criminals, disease and disability, and non-heterosexual sexual orientations, in a range of noteworthy films and television programs from the turn of the 20th century to the present day.

Instructor: Kylo-Patrick Hart

This course is designed to guide the student in learning to write a feature-length film screenplay, from concept generation to dramatic structure narrative to the student’s own individual acts. In a workshop environment, participants receive feedback on their efforts from the professor and their peers at every step along the way.

Instructor: Paul Witt

Students will develop their potential to lead others to think and act as ethical, responsible individuals. To help maximize social and professional influence, two key dimensions of leadership will be examined: the cultivation of sound character and the use of persuasive communication.

This course examines the relationship between light and human health. Topics will include: the aging visual system, light and the circadian system, yellow jaundice, vitamin D deficiency. A specific focus of the course will be “hands on” experiences of light as it is used for human health.

A study of distribution of the world’s energy resources and a look at alternative sources of energy such as wind, tides, geothermal, synfuels, solar, and nuclear power. Environmental issues including air and water pollution, solid waste, pesticides, toxic substances, etc., will be addressed as will new techniques for finding and evaluating earth resources utilizing satellite data and the Internet.

This course explores the highly ambiguous relationship between religion and violence. It provides an overview of situations in the world today that are examples of this ambiguous relationship. Ethical teachings regarding violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are examined. Students are exposed to authors who seek to comprehend violent behavior using explanatory theories. Responses to 9/ll/2001 written by a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim are encountered. The goal is to allow students in the course to develop an understanding of various dimensions (ethical, social, psychological, political, and theological) of the relationship between religion and violence.

Instructor: Joan McGettigan

This course focuses on the cultural importance of Frank Sinatra, one of the most influential figures in 20th century entertainment. The course examines the Sinatra of recorded music, radio, Hollywood movies, and Las Vegas, politics, and organized crime. Through music, movies, and documentaries, the course explores the changing cultural landscape in the US from the 1930s through the 1980s.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

Students who take this course will explore not only the theories that purport to explain why people laugh but also a number of practical, social, rhetorical, and psychological uses for wit and humor. The work of the course will revolve around readings of works about humor, analyzing works of humor, and writing essays related to this topic, including one essay in which students attempt to write humorously and then, using several theories of humor, analyze to what extent they have succeeded or failed.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

Students who take this course will write three full-length pieces (8-12 pages each) of creative nonfiction based on incidents that have occurred in their lives. Students will read selected works of creative nonfiction and from three textbooks on writing (Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life , Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, and Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life ), and the work of the course will revolve around writing the three pieces, reading and responding to fellow students’ pieces online, and analyzing reading assignments from the textbooks.

An examination of contrasting models and standards of communication ethics. Students apply these perspectives to specific situations in politics, advertising, interpersonal communication and writing.

Instructor: Manochehr Dorraj

The last two decades of the 20th century ushered in tumultuous changes in the economic, social, and political landscape, these transformations would have an indelible impact on the emerging society of the 21st century. This course is designed to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of some of the most significant issues of global politics in the new Millennium. While the attempt is to dissect these issues primarily on their own terms, we would also discuss the challenges they pose to the United states and the global community.

Instructor: Manochehr Dorraj

Since there is no separation between state and church in Islam, no study of Middle Eastern politics is complete without analyzing the pervasive role of Islam in cultural and political life. This course, however, does not concentrate on Islamic theology, rather the focus is on the politics of Islam and how it molds political discourse and agenda. After the study of the origins and historical development of Islamic political theory, the focus shifts to explaining the use of post World War II Islamic revival. In this connection, the problematics of democratization in the Muslim World and the prospects for Islamic governments are discussed.

 

Online Courses

Prospective distance learning students who will not reside in Texas
The United States Department of Education(USDOE) published regulations in the Federal Register (Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)) that require all institutions of higher education to seek authorization in every state (and territory) in which they operate, physically or virtually, in order to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid. TCU’s authorization status can be viewed by state at http://www.cte.tcu.edu/distance-learning/distance-learning-state-authorization/
We can ONLY accept students from states where we are registered (showing in purple on the state-authorization map).

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

In Reading and Writing Nature, a fully online course, students will explore new and classic works of nature writing in three sections: (1) Backyard Ecology—Describing My Part of the World , (2) Celebrating Nature—Or What’s Left of It, and (3) Intersections of the Wild and the Human: Protecting Nature from Ourselves. Students will sample works by Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, and many other authors, including George Monbiot, whose recent book, titled Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, offers humans some hope for a sustainable life on the planet. In addition to the readings and minor writing assignments, students will write three descriptive and argumentative essays about nature.

Instructor: Abe Mengestu

This course explores what Africa is not and what Africa is by examining the ways in which Africa is constructed and portrayed historically and contemporarily. The perspective one has about Africa (the people, culture, the continent, its politics, economy, etc.,) varies depending on many factors. One of these factors is the image(s) one has about Africa. Images generate perceptions and perceptions in turn serve as foundation for forming perspectives that shape popular narratives. In order to understand what Africa is and is not, this course will examine images and related perceptions of Africa that are prevalent historically as well as in today’s world society—both in Africa (by Africans) and the world at large. It examines images both visual and textual of the way Africa is imagined, depicted and narrated in the cultures and societies of the Global North as well as in African literature, media, and popular culture. It will assess representations of Africa in texts, films, news, literature, media and popular culture, international donors, etc. The course aims to give students opportunity to explore how images and constructions of Africa (both inside Africa and outside Africa) have taken shape over time and what perceptions and narratives these images promoted. In so doing it will provide a context to develop a critically balanced perspective on Africa and things related to Africa, to recognize the role of images in creating popular narratives and perceptions, and to realize the importance of critically examining images, perceptions, and narratives in order to formulate one’s understanding of society and culture.

Instructor: Kurk Gayle

Students in this course will not only study translation but they will also actually translate. For example, they will learn early on how the recent winner of the most prestigious international prize for the translation of a work of fiction is but a translation novice and not even a speaker of the language she was translating from. The course has them go on to investigate theories of translation as applied to a wide range of different genres of texts and communication situations; in addition, it has them review critically the varied and most valued practices of translating. During the course, then, the students will work with one another on individual or group translation projects of their choosing. By the end of the semester, the students will be such experts on translation in society that they themselves will confidently enter their own work in a university-sponsored translation prize contest judged by a world-renowned translator.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

History books and news stories give us accounts of terrorist attacks, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, wars, and threats of possible wars. Many people have a desire to reflect on what they can do to contribute to the cause of peacemaking and conflict resolution. This course will provide readings that will assist students in understanding strategies of peacemaking and will expose them to particular leaders in this area of endeavor.

Instructor: Tim Barth

As a widely used medicinal and recreational drug, there is much debate concerning the legal status of marijuana. Historically, marijuana was considered a dangerous and powerful drug that had the potential to become a public health menace. However, more contemporary thinking suggests it is no more, or perhaps even less dangerous than alcohol or nicotine and has unique medicinal qualities. Over half of the states in America have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, with eight (and the District of Columbia) allowing for recreational use. Despite the current trend, there are still many scientists, sociologists, medical doctors, and government officials who believe that relaxing our laws in the direction of legal usage will be a detriment to the health and welfare of our society. This course will examine the issue of legalizing marijuana from a variety of perspectives and disciplines including pharmacology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and economics.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

This course examines human relationships with animals across a variety of social and cultural contexts. An interdisciplinary approach is employed to explore beliefs, practices, and policies that shape the meaning, role, and status of animals in and across human societies.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

Abortion has been a highly controversial subject in American culture since the 1960’s, and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. This course will examine this complex issue from various angles: medical, psychological, philosophical, legal, and religious.

Instructor: Joanne Green

This class will examine the perennial dilemmas between Freedom, Order, and Equality especially as they pertain to political ideology and public policy. To understand the dilemmas, we will examine the basic structure of our government with special attention paid to the structural tensions that augment this dilemma. Next, we will look at how the dilemmas surface in contemporary debate among liberals and conservatives and how the dilemmas impact the definition of policies in the United States. We will be discussing and debating a number of current issues that pit these three valued ideals against one another to better understand the positions presented by advocates on both sides of the policy debates and to illuminate our personal positions and views.

Instructor: Carrie Currier

This course will examine China’s foreign relations from the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 to the present. We will explore the theories and concepts involved in the study of foreign policy, followed by an in-depth examination of the domestic factors shaping China’s foreign policy goals and implementation.

Instructor: Tim Barth

The field of parapsychology includes phenomenon such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, ghosts and hauntings, spirit communication, and near-death experiences. The claim by many parapsychologists is that these paranormal occurrences have been studied with rigorous research methods and that there is considerable evidence to support their existence. This course will weigh the evidence for parapsychology by tracing the history of psychical research from the dawn of spiritualism to the present day use of the ganzfeld technique. We will discuss the careers of famous psychics as well as the contributions of many noted parapsychologists. The methods and results of parapsychological studies will be evaluated in the context of the approaches used by researchers in the natural sciences. This course will address the following important issues: are testimonials useful evidence to support the existence of these phenomena; do fraudulent claims preclude acceptance of the field; can parapsychological research findings be replicated; do probability and chance help explain paranormal events; how have magicians and skeptics affected the perception of parapsychology in the scientific community and the general public. The objective of this course is to present perspectives from both “believers” and “skeptics” such that in the end, each student can make up his/her own mind as to the strength of the evidence.

Instructor: Donald Jackson

“The Supreme Court’s Greatest Hits” is an online course featuring student/professor analyses of selections from the most important decisions of the United States Supreme Court in the last fifty years. The topics to be covered during the term include: 1) Freedom of expression, 2) Freedom of religion, 3) Reproductive Freedom, 4) Discrimination based on gender, 5) Discrimination based on sexual orientation, 6) Pornography and the legal test for obscenity, and 7) Highlights from the criminal justice system. Student discussion leaders will be assigned to lead threaded discussions for each of the 27 cases we study, depending on enrollment, this will amount to four times during the term that a student will lead threaded discussions. Topics will run for one, two or three weeks during the term. The course will utilize a CD-ROM disk developed by Professor Jerry Goldman of Northwestern University. Installation of the disk on the hard drive of your computer will bring you the recorded oral arguments made before the Supreme Court of the United States and the oral announcements of decisions for the cases included by Professor Goldman on the disk. The disk also contains the full text of the opinions issued by the Court on the included cases.

Instructor: Todd Kerstetter

Well…was it wild? When? To whom? What tamed it? This course wrestles with these questions by surveying the history of the trans-Mississippi West from earliest human settlement to the present (possibly into the future) and considering the significance, or insignificance, of frontiers in American History. Students will read a textbook (Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher’s The American West: A New Interpretive History) and analyze the West through extensive use of websites and representations in popular culture, especially films.

Instructor: Charles Lord

This course will teach students how to think critically about psychological research on sex, violence, and aggression. The course goal is to educate intelligent consumers of media information and misinformation, teaching them to separate scientifically valid from invalid claims that such factors as genetics, biochemistry, socialization practices, sex differences, ambient temperature, alcohol, television, movies, and video games affect interpersonal violence and aggression.

Instructor: Suzy Lockwood

The course examines the various aspects of health care delivery in the United States and other countries. The course will provide the student with a critical analysis and overview of health care delivery focusing on factors impacting it’s access, quality, and cost.

Instructor: David Buyze

This course focuses on the music and cultural icon David Bowie. Bowie’s career spanned more than fifty years in the 20th and 21st centuries and his impact on music and culture is indelible. We will consider the personas or alter egos and eras of David Bowie in the interpretation and analysis of his music through text, screen, stage, fashion, art, and other cultural dynamics. In the early part of Bowie’s career, such personas as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Major Tom, and The Thin White Duke are easily recognizable, yet in the latter part of his career it is much more difficult to ascertain a distinct persona or alter ego that he is inhabiting through his music and in the genres that he is working in. In this course, we will closely analyze Bowie’s music in the interpretation of his personas and eras in considering the impact and meaning of his music on culture and the human condition.

Instructor: Katherine Polzer

In this course, we will learn why we have the largest prison population of any developed country and also the highest recidivism rate per capita. Along the way, we will see how harsh mandatory sentences and the War on Drugs has affected the prison population and how this carries over upon release back into society. We will also explore how other countries incarcerate and release inmates. Finally, we will look at what we can do in-prison and post-prison to ensure the success of these men and women.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course will introduce students to the field of comparative religious ethics, which compares and contrasts the ethical teachings of the major world religions. The central textbook engages this field, with a focus on the subject of peace and war. Traditions covered include ancient Greek thought, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern feminism. Further readings will focus on the relevance of the Ten Commandments for contemporary society, and secularist critiques of religion. Each student will choose one additional book to review at the end of the course, on a subject of interest to them, from a bibliography prepared by the instructor.

Instructor: David Buyze

This course focuses on British music and memoir as contemporary experiences from the edge in the interpretation and analysis of music, text, and multimedia as cultural and artistic production. We will focus on music artists that have arisen from marginalized or edge areas of existential and cultural, social, national angst and that have given acute expression to the human experience. We will also contemplate how British music artists have provided very different expressions on issues of social oppression and ostracism within creating a voice for personal, cultural, social, and national liberation. We will consider the primary impact of Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Everything But the Girl, Massive Attack, and Portishead through written memoirs. Through the mediums of film, documentary, and video interviews we will simultaneously consider the importance of such artists as David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and U2. We will also examine the influence of many other artists during this course.

Instructor: Katherine Polzer

This course examines the policy and legal controversies surrounding the application of capital punishment (i.e., the death penalty) as a punishment for homicide. Topics include capital punishment through history, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and contemporary problems with the application of the death penalty, focusing on race and gender. The course will also analyze the troubling nature of wrongful convictions in regards to death row inmates.

Instructor: Marie Schein

What is the American West? Is it a myth or a reality? Is it a place or a construct? This course will first explore key writers and filmmakers that have attempted to define the ideal of the American West in the 19th century. We will first examine frontier narratives and classic Western novels and representation of the old west in films. Then, we will study contemporary voices of the 20th century, including Native American writers, regional authors, and filmmakers and determine to what extent they have complicated the construct of the American West. Although this course focuses primarily on literature and film, students will be invited to explore other representations of the American West for their individual research project. These other representations may stem from photography, paintings, and/or sculptures as well as the cowboy culture.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course examines the many and varied interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth in American history, from the colonial period up to the present. Attention is given to conservative and liberal forms of Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, feminism, the black religious experience, and others. Theological and philosophical perspectives are considered, along with popular culture treatments such as paintings, literature, and films.

Instructor:  Kurk Gayle

This course examines the development of the concept of “female” in the West. We will review the female as the ancient Greeks and the earliest Romans did, re-constructing as best we can their notions of womanly sex, gender, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, theology, language, and literature. Furthermore, we will use our own anachronistic lenses of “feminism” and “sexism” to de-construct ideas and ideals of key figures of history who have formed our contemporary concepts of female; in other words, we will assess the feminisms and sexism of individuals such as Sappho, Helen of Troy, and Cornelia, as well as persons such as Euripides, Aristotle, and Cicero. Students engage with readings, discussions, and writing to map and to evaluate critically the concept of female in the ancient West and our contemporary relationship to that concept. Course requirements include (1) active class participation in online threaded discussions about the readings and (2) reflective academic projects to imagine positive change to the constructs of “female.”

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

After an overview of the major world religions and the historical process of secularization in the modern West, this course will address certain key topics, such as: How have religious thinkers responded to the modern critiques of religion? What is the relationship between religion and science? . . . religion and morality? . . . religion and violence? . . . religion and human rights?

Instructor: Benjamin Tillman

In recent years several studies have refuted the “pristine myth” or commonly held view that indigenous societies in the Americas had little impact on their natural environments. Rather than “living in harmony with nature” indigenous peoples typically altered their environments, often extensively. In some cases, the results of these modifications are still visible today. This course will examine the multiple ways indigenous peoples of the Americas modified their natural environments past and present. Specific themes include urbanization and settlement impact on the environment; the role of population growth and decline; environmental perception through place naming; indigenous mapping of their environments; and, environmental modification through agriculture (the creation of Amazonian dark soils, terracing, raised fields, chinampas, slash & burn, etc.). Finally, the course will analyze and evaluate current efforts in the Americas to preserve the environment by protecting indigenous lands as biosphere reserves.

Instructor: James W. Riddlesperger, Jr.

During the 20th Century and now into the 21st, Texas provided a large share of national leadership in the United States and had some groundbreaking participants in the political change of that century. In this class, we will examine ten of those political figures, including the five chamber leaders of the House from Texas (Speakers Garner, Rayburn, and Wright, and Majority Leaders Armey and DeLay), the three presidents from Texas (Johnson, Bush, and Bush), and Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark. We will also examine the politics of the 1960s and early 70s as Texas made the transition from a one-party Democratic state to a Republican-dominated state. The focus will be on techniques of political leadership and how they changed over the course of the 20th Century and into the 21st.

Instructor:  Johnny Miles

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Words do hurt as we well know because language is neither innocuous nor value-neutral, especially when it comes to the matter of group identity or the process of constructing identities, ancient (e.g. Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Samaritans) and/or modern (e.g. Native, Latina/o, Asian, and African Americans). Integral to this identity construction process are stereotypes that effectively reify the representations of “other(s)” while presuming the superiority of one ethnic group (e.g. Israel and Euro-American) over another. These stereotypes proliferate throughout culture and time via diverse media, including the Bible, itself a cultural artifact. The postcolonial perspective of this course probes the representation strategy of stereotyping to reveal the identity of “self” reflected within “other” while simultaneously ascribing an often-silenced voice to the “other.” This course’s focus on representation will enable students to identify, explain, evaluate, and critique the use of stereotypes while examining diverse media wherein these stereotypes are embedded.

Instructor: Todd Kerstetter

This course will examine events from the perspective of the complex relationships between humans and their environment from pre-literate times through the 21st century. Geographically, the course will be bounded by the limits of the present United States. During the term, we will address the following questions: How did the environment shape American history and influence various American societies? How have conceptions of the environment changed? Do humans interact with the environment any differently now than they did 600 years ago? Do some groups have better ways of interacting with the environment than others?

Instructor: Suzy Lockwood

The course will examine the state of health care in the United States and explore how quality is defined in light of it. A brief overview of the structure and processes of health care delivery will be presented followed by a review of the various methods for defining and establishing quality in health care in our society. The role and influence of health care providers (medical and insurance companies) on individual choices will also be examined. Specific issues facing society related to health care decision-making will be reviewed and then related to how and who interprets the concept of quality.

Instructor: Charles Lord

Teaches students how to think critically about psychological research on romantic attraction and close relationships. The course goal is to educate intelligent consumers of media information and misinformation, teaching them to separate scientifically valid from invalid claims about the causes and consequences of initial romantic attraction, deepening close relationships, sex differences, problems that occur within close relationships, and effective versus ineffective strategies for resolving conflicts in close relationships.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

This course is for students who have wanted to write a novel for a long time (or who have recently come up with an idea for a novel) and who want to stop dreaming about it and start writing. Students who take this course will compose three chapters (15-20 pages each) of a first novel and do a detailed outline of the remaining chapters. Students will read selected works about creative writing, particularly about novel writing, including Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, John Rember’s MFA in a Box, and John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist.

Instructor: Michael Slattery

Our relationship with the Earth is changing at an unprecedented rate. The pace of change is accelerating not only from our advancing technology, but also from world population growth, economic growth, and increasingly frequent collisions between expanding human demands and the limits of the Earth’s natural systems. The course introduces students to controversies in environmental policy and science. The readings of leading environmentalists, scientists, and policymakers, reflect a variety of viewpoints and are selected for their liveliness and substance. Major areas of study include environmental ethics, water resources, energy, global climate change, and population.

Instructor: Charlotte Hogg

This is a course in fiction writing, where students will be expected to produce two full-length short stories (about 35-50 pages of writing). Given the time parameters of a course, our focus will be short fiction, but if anyone is working on a novel, they can submit those pages as well. Our primary goal will be to provide each other-virtually-with a rigorous, supportive audience for our writing. To get to and through our fiction, we’ll read contemporary fiction writers and do shorter, focused exercises on setting, characterization, etc. to help us generate prose and understand how stories are put together. In addition to reading and writing fiction, primary responsibilities of this course will involve careful reading and responding to texts we read, student writing, and attending a reading in your community. While I will respond extensively to drafts and revisions, as a member of the class you’ll assume the responsibility of responding to writing by your classmates.

Instructor: Edward McNertney

The study of economics involves the learning of abstract theories about the workings of the economic system and the study of various policy tools that may be used to guide the economy toward specified targets. The course will focus on the historical development of the theories developed to explain our major economic issues, on the controversies surrounding these theories, and on the different policy conclusions that arise from the different theories. The major economic issues on which the course will focus include inflation, unemployment, business cycles, economic growth and development, international trade deficits and surpluses, federal government budget deficits and surpluses, income distribution, and globalization.

Instructor: Timothy M.Barth

Contemporary approaches to the study of mental health emphasize disorders of the brain as the source for abnormal thinking and behavior. This course examines the ethical considerations inherent in this approach as it applies to the development of new treatments. The major objectives of the course include: an understanding of the journey from basic to clinical research; a familiarity with the ethical issues surrounding animal and human clinical research; the challenges that come with industry-sponsored research; and the ethical concerns with proposed treatments for psychological disorders in the future that may include cloning, gene-therapy, and stem cell research.

Instructor: Michael Slattery

Do you have a fascination with the Weather Channel? Are you interested in a non-mathematical treatment of the principles of meteorology and climatology? In this course, you will be introduced to the excitement of weather as it happens, by working with current weather data delivered via the Internet. The course objectives are to develop a working understanding of general meteorological and climatological processes, develop an understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of these processes, and begin to understand how these factors influence the climate of a region. The course covers the composition and structure of the atmosphere, the flows of energy to, from, and through the atmosphere, and the resulting motions produced from small to planetary scales. The physical principles of atmospheric phenomena are stressed in the understanding of weather’s impact on humans, particularly with severe weather, as well as climate change.

Instructor: Peter Worthing

This course examines the causes and consequences of war and revolution in 20th century Vietnam . Concentrating on major events such as the Vietnamese anti-colonial movement, the 1945 August Revolution, Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Communism, the Franco-Viet Minh Way, the roots of U. S. involvement and the American War in Vietnam , students explore modern Vietnamese history from a variety of perspectives: Vietnamese, American, and French. Course requirements include assigned readings, book and film critiques, a webliographic essay, and participation in threaded discussion.

Instructor: Carol Thompson

This course introduces students to the central ideas in the field of social psychology and the significance of these ideas in providing explanations for criminal behavior and related phenomena. Additionally, social psychological theory and research are examined and utilized to understand offenders, victims and criminogenic environments. The course emphasizes the integration and application of course content to understand such contemporary criminological issues as punishing and controlling juvenile offenders, treatment and control of sex offenders, victim recovery, the media violence connection, serial and mass murder, and the validity of repressed memory.

Instructor: Steve Sherwood

Students will read literature and watch films about survival of both everyday crises and life-threatening situations. They will write three papers on topics related to survival of such ordinary crises as divorce or job loss, survival in the outdoors, and the prospects of long-term survival of the human species. Students will examine factors, including personality traits, which either impede or enhance a person’s ability to survive a variety of circumstances that put his or her confidence, sanity, or soul in jeopardy.

Instructor: Gene Smith

Today’s headlines report the failure of revolutions with their civil wars, ethnic massacres, and palace coups. What constitutes a successful revolution? What lessons are there in the American experience? General Washington’s startling words in 1783 express his anxiety for the problems of American state-building and give the title to a course that will examine the origins of those problems in the protest to British Imperialism, the War for Independence, and the post-war challenges leading to the creation of the Federal structure under the Constitution.

Instructor: Charles Bellinger

This course explores the highly ambiguous relationship between religion and violence. It provides an overview of situations in the world today that are examples of this ambiguous relationship. Ethical teachings regarding violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are examined. Students are exposed to authors who seek to comprehend violent behavior using explanatory theories. Responses to 9/ll/2001 written by a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim are encountered. The goal is to allow students in the course to develop an understanding of various dimensions (ethical, social, psychological, political, and theological) of the relationship between religion and violence.

Instructor: Steven Sherwood

Students who take this course will write three full-length pieces (8-12 pages each) of creative nonfiction based on incidents that have occurred in their lives. Students will read selected works of creative nonfiction and from three textbooks on writing (Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life , Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, and Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life ), and the work of the course will revolve around writing the three pieces, reading and responding to fellow students’ pieces online, and analyzing reading assignments from the textbooks.

Instructor: Dr. Paul King

An examination of contrasting models and standards of communication ethics. Students apply these perspectives to specific situations in politics, advertising, interpersonal communication and writing.

Instructor: Dr. Manochehr Dorraj

The last two decades of the 20th century ushered in tumultuous changes in the economic, social, and political landscape; these transformations would have an indelible impact on the emerging society of the 21st century. This course is designed to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of some of the most significant issues of global politics in the new Millennium. While the attempt is to dissect these issues primarily on their own terms, we would also discuss the challenges they pose to the United States and the global community.

Instructor: Dr. Carol Thompson

This course examines the relationship between legal institutions and social processes. Course readings and discussion will focus on the social and political nature of law; the creation and organization of law in modern societies; social functions of law; the limits of law as an instrument of social change; the legislation of morality; democracy, individualism and law; criminal behavior and individual rights; and the use of scientific information in law.