Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation
Bsp walking in red rocks.jpg


2016 Courses:

Living on the Edge: Risk, Danger, and Decision-making

Professors Manya Whitaker and Pedro de Araujo

In general, people are terrible decision makers, but adolescents are simultaneously the best and the worst when it comes to risk-taking. In this course we will discover the way the brain processes information across development, while simultaneously investigating economic theories of choice under uncertainty. By simulating real-life scenarios such as the stock market and games of chance, in conjunction with developing a theoretical framework around the decision making process, we will learn the influence of developmental stage, social context, and preferences on adolescent choices.

Truth with Curlicues: Comedy and Culture

Professors Heidi Lewis and Scott Krzych

In April 2014, the now defunct @ColbertReport account (run by Comedy Central) tweeted, "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." The tweet stemmed from a segment of The Colbert Report during which the host, comedian Stephen Colbert, critiqued Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for refusing to change the name of his NFL team, despite outrage from indigenous communities, instead opting to develop The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation "to address the challenges that plague the Native American community." In response to the tweet, Asian American activist Suey Park devised #CancelColbert to "critique white liberals who use forms of racial humor to mock more blatant forms of racism." In support of Park, Dr. Brittney Cooper claims, "We never get to tell the harmed group what the proper response to racial injury should be for them." Conversely, the staff at the Indian Country Today Media Network argued that Park's tweets "drowned out the Native voice." This, however, is just one example of the debates that ensue regarding the function and impact of comedy, especially when it is entrenched in discourses about race, gender, sexuality, and other social markers. This course, then, will provide a space for students to engage and participate in conversations that are concerned with comedy, including stand-up, situation comedies, film, and other forms, as a contentious and contradictory space with resisitive, generative, and problematic qualities. 

Power and Protests: Past and Present

Professors K. Elizabeth Coggins and Prentiss A. Dantzler II

Recent media coverage of protesting in response to police brutality and misconduct has shaped the social and political climate of the United States.  These protests have made al of America confront issues of race and inequality.  From its beginnings, #BlackLivesMatter serves in a tradition of social movements - collective efforts to shift power imbalance between the have and the have nots through the use of public actions.  Yet, today’s environment is different with advances in technology and the use of social media.  This course will explore the effects of the media on shaping sentiments around protesting versus the political climate and social conditions which cause such inequalities to exist.

People and the Environment

Professors Jean Lee and Dr. Paul Buckley

Class, race, and gender are contested issues in the United States and abroad.  This course explores environmental issues through the lens of gender, race, and class.  Beginning with an interrogation of the social construct of race and the intersectionality of gender and class with environmental concerns, we will examine topics such as water supply, food security, and toxic waste in various communities.  These case studies will highlight how discrimination is reflected in the ways that environmental issues are conceptualized and pursued.  Students will be asked to keep informal journals and submit written reflection logs.  Additionally, students will have opportunity to strengthen oral communication skills through classroom discussion and oral presentations. 

heidi scott class