Crossing Cultural Frontiers

Courses in this cluster examine the dynamic intersections of culture, language, and identity. Students will engage with diverse perspectives and experiences to foster a deeper understanding of the complex cultural boundaries that shape our world and learn how to build bridges of understanding and connection. 

Course Descriptions

CC101: Translation: Mediating Texts

Instructor: Corinne Scheiner
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 15362
Block: 1

Translation may appear to be a purely linguistic process by which a text is brought from one language into another. However, translations are the products of mediation on many levels: when we read a translation, we read a rewriting—the translator interprets, adapts, and manipulates the text. More often than not, the translator’s objective has been to remain invisible in their text and thus to produce a text that gives the appearance of being an original. This course aims at bringing the translator out into the open to examine the factors that influence a translator and, in turn, shape the translation. We will explore the different constraints a translator encounters and how these constraints structure multiple English translations of poems from the Shijing (the first anthology of Chinese poetry) as well as multiple English translations and adaptations of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (1915). Ultimately, our inquiries will reveal that no text is transparent (original or translation) and that the questions raised in relation to a translated text may be asked also of an “original.”

CC120: Fairy Tales

Instructor: Chet Lisiecki
CRN# 15363
Block: 3

This class will focus primarily on the fairy tale (“Märchen” in German), a category of folklore containing elements of the supernatural, miraculous, and wondrous. In Germany, the fairy tale is most closely associated with the Brothers Grimm, who collected and transcribed these tales in the early nineteenth century. In 1812, they published the first edition of Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), which they continued to edit and update throughout their lives. This collection contains many fairy tales that are familiar to us today, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Snow White,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Our class will engage with fairy tales and fairy tale scholarship in a variety of ways. We will study the social and political history of fairy tales and analyze their formal structure. We will critically examine how fairy tales represent different aspects of human identity—including gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, and age—as well as how they represent animals, plants, and the natural world. We will also compare different versions of the same tale, including queer, Black, and feminist adaptations and retellings.


CC101: Fields of the Anthropocene

Instructor: Tori Bush
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 15364
Block: 1

What is the Anthropocene? What knowledge and practices led us to this planetary transformation? How does culture effect and how is it affected by the climate crisis? The Anthropocene —a term advanced by Dutch nobel-prize-winning geologist Paul Crutzen to define our current geologic era in which human activity is the dominant influence on the environment—requires collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to solving large-scale problems. This class will investigate the Anthropocene through the lens of writers, filmmakers, visual artists, anthropologists, public health workers, and other lenses to ask the question, how does the Anthropocene challenge the very boundaries of disciplinary knowledge? The very newness of this epoch makes our classroom community scholarly pioneers in largely uncharted territory. Your task is to contribute to the establishment of this new subfield: the study of the Anthropocene.

CC120: Playing & Plays

Instructor: Ryan Platt
CRN# 15365
Block: 2

This course proposes that serious learning depends on a frequently neglected skill: play. Play cultivates our capacity to make new discoveries, to imagine alternative possibilities, and to contend with setbacks, failures, and challenges. The course explores many types of play, including children’s play, rule-based games, improvisation, and combat sports. Reaching across disciplines, we will speak with scholars and scientists about how they experiment with ideas and possibilities in their research. The course also introduces methods and materials that theatre artists use to write plays and hone their skills as actors. While taking inspiration from theatre, this course is primarily a writing seminar and does not require prior experience on stage. Students should expect to play and experiment with writing in daily in-class exercises that draw on an unruly combination of scholarly and non-academic readings drawn from philosophy, sociology, performance studies, literature, and journalism.


CC101: Black and Brown Muslims in White America

Instructor: Peter Wright
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 15366
Block: 1

In this CC101 course, we investigate the often-neglected histories of Black and Brown Muslims as they have negotiated a place for themselves as Muslims in the context of a hegemonic White (Euro-American) Protestant milieu. In the process, we discover how Islam has served minority communities as a site of religious creativity and adaptation, as well as an emblem of a distinctive, if often contested, religious identity—both before and after 9/11.

CC120: Foundations of Radical Nonviolence

Instructor: Evan Weissman
CRN# 15367
Block: 3

The Foundations of Radical Nonviolence examines the theory and practice of radical nonviolence. The course has a cultural and systemic lens, covering a broad range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, art, history, and science, as well as modern day practitioners in order to examine nonviolence as a powerful social force. Students will meet many guests who are practitioners and activists, exploring war and its effects on humans and the planet, strategic nonviolent conflict, prison abolition, civil disobedience, forgiveness, restorative justice, and nonviolent history. This course meets with nonviolence experts that range from anti-war Nobel Peace Prize nominees to Civil Rights leaders, Movement for Black Lives leaders, Immigrant Rights, Environmental activists, and Prison Abolitionist activists. Creativity and independent research are highly encouraged in this course, and there is a heavy focus on connecting theory and practice.

There are a few films included in nightly preparation for the next day's class. There are a couple meetings with guests in the afternoon. All of these will be listed on the syllabus prior to the start of the course.


Report an issue - Last updated: 08/09/2023