Constructing Meaning

Courses in this cluster examine the various ways in which we construct, bridge, and integrate meaning and knowledge in order to make sense of the world around us and our own place in it.

Course Descriptions

CC100: Philosophy as a Way of Life

Instructor: Jonathan Lee
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13927
Block: 1

What is it to lead a meaningful and good life? How can we embrace a way of living that is respectful of others and authentic to ourselves? This course explores a diverse array of thinkers and texts that seek to answer such questions and to help people understand how to live well. The course draws upon and puts into creative and critical conversation the diversity of ways in which philosophers across time and around the globe have grappled with the challenges of living a human life.

CC120: How to Live a More Deliberate Life? Contemplative Practices in Writing

Instructor: Dot Devota
CRN# 13928
Block: 4

In this writing course, we will identify pressing questions regarding how we live our daily lives. Our questions will form a compass, helping us navigate course materials and activities by allowing us to reflect on our own experiences and contemplate how we can exist more purposefully in the world. Through contemplative practices, we will cultivate our attention spans and nurture habits that allow us to build our strongest relationship to our own writing. We will go for walks to increase meditative and sensory function; watch poetic films that reflect more nuanced realities; listen to self-mesmerist music; read essays that center playfulness, joy, and humor as overlooked intelligences; study the intelligence of plant and animal life; and learn from scientific, sociological, and philosophical articles on human consciousness and living through extreme times. Course projects include a student-designed silent retreat and pilgrimage. We will write exploratorily, learn to do our thinking on the page, and write towards discovery and meaning-making—all in hopes of approaching ourselves and communities with more depth and empathy. These immersive studies allow us to contemplate what “living more deliberately” can mean for each of us, how it can increase learning, and encourage us to think interdependently and towards a greater collective well-being.


CC100: Reason

Instructor: John Horner
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Formal Reasoning & Logic
CRN# 13929
Block: 1

What is reason? This course examines the philosophical and psychological dimensions of the various epistemological platforms upon which we believe our capacity to think is based. Logic, science and mathematics are just a few of the paradigmatic examples of reasoning we will explore, along with failures of reasoning, such as conspiracy theories, logical fallacies and mythology.

CC120: Detective Fiction

Instructor: Barry Sarchett
CRN# 13930
Block: 4

A study of the social, political, aesthetic, and philosophical implications of detective fiction since its beginnings in the 19th Century with Edgar Allen Poe. Examination of various subgenres, such as the formal puzzle mystery, the English “cozy” mystery, and the American hard-boiled private eye mystery, which has become a popular vehicle through which women and marginalized groups have interrogated American culture. Authors may include, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Walter Mosley, and Sara Paretsky.


CC100: Translation: Mediating Texts

Instructor: Corinne Scheiner
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13931
Block: 1

The act of translation may appear to be a purely linguistic process by which a text is brought from one language into another. However, we should more appropriately view translation as part of semiotics, not linguistics, for translations are the products of mediation. 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, which Confucius compiled) as well as multiple English translations and adaptations of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. 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: Writing as Translation

Instructor: Aline Lo
CRN# 13932
Block: 2

This course helps you develop your own voice as we explore different approaches to the concept of "translation” Alongside questions of what and who defines the field of translation, we think through larger questions about authority and representation: “How have others established their perspective?, “How do I establish my own perspective?,” and “How do I empower myself to write within an established scholarly conversation?” Thinking about writing as a process and a practice, your work will culminate in a research-driven project that brings together different writing assignments that are creative, reflective, and critical.


CC100: The World of Numbers

Instructor: Stefan Erickson
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Formal Reasoning & Logic
CRN# 13895
Block: 1

People have been writing numbers for as long as they have been writing. This course traces the use of numbers from ancient civilizations to modern times and examines how our view of numbers has changed over that period: natural numbers, prime numbers, rational numbers, Fibonacci numbers, real numbers and complex numbers, as well as the way in which our ability to calculate has evolved.

CC120: Gender and Sexuality in the Study of Religion/s

Instructor: Tracy Coleman
CRN# 13896
Block: 2

An introduction to the discipline of religious studies via the specific topics of gender and sexuality in various religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism. As a writing-intensive introduction to the discipline, the course will acquaint students with different genres of religious writing (such as scripture, narrative, and theology) and with scholarship exemplifying gender studies methodologies, ranging from close textual and historical analysis to ethnographic and sociological approaches. Throughout the course, we will explore how religious writing centers the human body and naturalizes inequities based on sex and gender, thereby establishing “authority” on the basis of assumptions about identity that are increasingly challenged today, sometimes in courts of law. We will thus consider how diverse religious discourses continue to inform contemporary social and political debates on issues such as marriage and reproductive rights. The aim of the course overall is to introduce students to the kinds of questions scholars ask in studying religion/s through the lens of gender and sexuality, and to enable students to improve their writing by learning to assess and analyze sources more carefully, and to position their own perspective among others in a way that is informed, critical, and civil.


Report an issue - Last updated: 08/11/2022