2023 BSP Courses

Dragging Hate: A Critical Examination of Anti-Trans Legislation

Professors Guanyi Yang and Rushaan Kumar

Course Description: In this interdisciplinary course, students will critically examine the cultural and economic underpinnings of the recent sweep of anti-trans legislation across the country. Drawing on insights and concepts from the fields of Queer, Trans, and Cultural Studies, we will explore how neoliberal ideology shapes public policy and contributes to discrimination and hate speech against queer and trans people. The course will also draw on economic concepts and methods to deepen our understanding of how social and cultural factors interact with economic forces to shape public policy. We will evaluate the validity and value of data used to support anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric. Field trips to relevant community organizations will provide opportunities for hands-on engagement with these issues.

Environmental Justice: Past to Present, Local to Global 

Professors Jean Lee and Paul Adler

Course Description:  The United Nations constantly warns of imminent climate disaster. Whole new genres of fiction pop up about life in possible ecologically apocalyptic futures. The problems can feel overwhelming. Often they are. But, people are fighting against the tide, for a healthier, better world. One major framework for doing so is “environmental justice” where the “environment” cannot be separated from human societies and from injustices based on racism, patriarchy, and economic exploitation. 

This class will explore a variety of environmental justice issues, both in the past and present. We will examine these questions across wide geographical spaces – from food access and justice right here in Colorado Springs to the status of global climate negotiations. Some of the topics we will explore include the intersections of human and worker rights with environmentalism and different concepts of indigenous environmental justice. In doing so, we will seek to answer questions including: how can we best define “environmental justice”? How, historically, have different individuals and groups sought to advance the cause of environmental justice? And today, what are some of the principal avenues for pursuing environmental justice? This course will include guest speakers and (hopefully) a visit to a local environmental justice organization.

Strange Fractals: Empowerment through Procedural Generation of Art

Professors Cory B Scott and Jameel Paulin

Course Description: Generative Art – art created by an automated process – is unique in that it blurs the line between process and product. Additionally, generative art queers the boundary between maker and machine. When an artist makes a machine which makes art, a natural question to ask is: is the machine itself creative? This distinction is particularly meaningful in the era of deep fakes, neural networks, and the metaverse. In this course, students will learn to use several computer tools for generating visual art. By exploring how computers store and process images, color, and geometry, we will build a toolset with which students can develop their own generative artistic voices.

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 Past in Popular Culture

Professors Danielle Sanchez and Bryan Rommel-Ruiz

While graphic novels, video games, and blockbuster hits differ significantly from traditional secondary sources, popular culture heavily influence the ways people understand the past. In this course, students will read, watch, play, and analyze a range of historical and contemporary popular media sources to think about not simply the past, but how people construct, consume, and understand history across platforms. We will consider the value of historical inquiry, why stories are presented in certain ways, and how historians think about audience, present information, engage with sources, and get people to think about the past in unconvential ways. 

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: 04/15/2023