2022 BSP Courses

Environmental Justice: From Local to Global

Professors Jean Lee and Danielle Sanchez

This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of environmental justice. Over the course of the half-block, we will create a working definition of environmental justice and apply this definition to historical and contemporary case studies from sub-Saharan Africa and Colorado. We will identify attempts to reconcile economic development with environmental protection, investigate the extent to which the resulting policies reflect systems of power, and connect to current efforts to combat environmental racism locally and internationally.

Traditional Medicine of the Southwest: Culture and Chemistry

Professors Santiago Guerra and Murphy Brasuel

Native American and Latina/o communities in the Southwest have utilized the various plant materials available in the region for alleviating their physical and spiritual ailments. From the mundane use of ubiquitous herbs to treat stomachaches to the more exceptional use of psychoactive plants for spiritual purposes, communities in the Southwest have created a knowledge base and a cultural practice focused on the utilization of plant materials for medicinal purposes. The goal of this course is to allow students to make connections between the cultural significance and the chemical efficacy of these medicinal practices. We explore and research several of the medicinal practices of these communities, and quantify the active components of these substances using simple laboratory techniques.  In the process, students will come to better understand the culture and chemistry of traditional medicine of the Southwest. 

The Stories of Us

Professors Dwanna McKay and Karen Roybal

What's your story? What's the story of your family? Do you see yourself and your family accurately represented in US history books and other narratives? We think of ourselves as individuals, but our identities are inextricably linked to larger social categories like race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. These social categories commonly inform our understanding of the social world and influence our location within it; however, they are often taken for granted or go unrecognized as ways in which inequity is created. Furthermore, because American history uncritically embraces narratives (stories) of "discovery" and "exploration" and myths of benevolent settlers and meritocracy, we learn very little about Indigenous dispossession, African enslavement, and immigrant exploitation as foundational factors of today's society. This course introduces you to concepts of social identity and theories around power and equity. We examine the impact of revisionist American history on marginalized groups in the US and critically analyze the erasure of their significant social, economic, and cultural contributions to American society. This course will develop your college-level reading, writing, research, analysis, and discussion skills. Through digital storytelling and other creative activities, we will create counternarratives by telling the stories of us.

Dyeing to be Purple

Professors Stephanie Kimmey and Annelise Gorensek-Benitez

Why has the color purple been so desirable throughout history? By pairing archaeology with chemistry, this course strives to answer that question. Students will explore the long pursuit of the color though archaeological evidence to piece together the human efforts to obtain both purple stones and natural sources of purple dyes in the ancient Mediterranean world. This will range from artifacts, like jewelry and textiles, to textual evidence recording the expansive trade networks. Then students will follow the color purple through chemical approaches by examining synthetic dyes and modern attempts to recreate the now extinct source of purple dye from the ancient world. Global views will be included to understand the role purple plays throughout human history, chronologically and geographically. Throughout the course, we will have the opportunity to (re)create dyes and weaving, exploring how the fields of archaeology and chemistry overlap through the practice of experimental archeology.

How Did We Get Here? The Intersections of Economic and Education Inequality

Professors Guanyi Yang and Nickie Coomer

We all have gone through years of schooling to be where we are. Reflecting on our journeys, how did we get here? Is it parental support, school district, teachers and classmates, our own effort, luck? In the United States, about 1/3 of the population (aged 25 and older) has a college degree. It is generally accepted that college education raises lifelong earnings and quality of life. But what makes college more accessible to some than others? In this class, we will survey various sources and manifestations of educational inequalities in the U.S. using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Using qualitative methods, we will investigate the ways in which education quality is shaped by student and teacher identities, and assumptions about historically marginalized communities and their relationship to property tax-based school funding models. We will also explore the overall landscape of education inequality as it relates to race, gender, and family background by extrapolating national representative surveys. Through this process, we will learn the complementary ways in which qualitative and quantitative analyses can help us understand our own educational journeys.

Umwelt: The importance of worldviews in ecology, science, & our connections to nature

Professors Juan Miguel Arias and Maybellene Gamboa

In ecological terms, an organism’s umwelt (German for “environment”) is the particular way that an organism senses, makes meaning of, and indeed “exists” in their world. Taking this concept as our starting point, this interdisciplinary course will discuss the importance of “worldview” across fields of animal behavior, ecological conservation, and critical social theory. We will explore how diverse perspectives are essential for human and non-human animals alike, touching especially on Western and Non-Western worldviews as valuable sources of knowledge. 

To enhance engagement with diverse animals, places, and people, this field-based course will provide students with an opportunity to experience different Colorado localities (e.g., Sandstone Ranch, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Denver Indigenous Community Center, etc.,). Students will practice multiple forms of knowledge production including scientific inquiry, quantitative analysis, written and verbal communication, and artistic expression. Throughout the course, we will reflect on our own unique and indispensable ways of contributing to the world and what this means for students as members of the Colorado College community.

Report an issue - Last updated: 04/18/2022

Contact Information

Saúl Maravilla 
Bridge Scholars Liaison
Office of Admissions

Murphy Brasuel
Bridge Scholars Program Director
Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Jim Burke
Director of Summer Session
Office of Summer Session


Block 4, 2022
Block 3, 2022
July 2022
June 2022