Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

UNHO 101 Course Descriptions

Fall 2020 Course Offerings


1794 Scholars–please look through this entire list if you’re still looking for a section of UNHO 101. We have moved some sections online, and added spaces in others. If you have questions about a specific section and aren’t sure if there’s space (as we wait for the timetable to be fully updated), please email Rebekah Page.

Friday 11:45 -12:35  Dinosaurs in Pop Culture – Instructor Stephanie Drumheller-Horton    *this section is online

Dinosaurs capture the public imagination like no other group of extinct organisms. The way these animals are portrayed in movies, TV shows, and other media varies wildly, from fairly accurate to wildly off-base, but these popular portrayals also shape the public views and support of the underlying science. In this seminar, we will be looking at science behind the shows.


Tuesday 1:10-2:00  Film Appreciation 101: Diverse Filmmaker Spotlight – Instructor Alex Pellegrino

This course will explore the basics of how to critically and attentively watch a film. Throughout the semester, we will study the films of directors who do not fit the typical Hollywood filmmaker mold, such as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. Beyond focusing on just character, plot, and setting, we will discuss more complex facets of film such as cinematography, editing, sound, and cultural and industry context. Ultimately, students of this course will learn how to approach the cinematic art form at a deeper level


Tuesday 1:10 – 2:00pm  Pandemics and People: From Smallpox to COVID-19 – Instructor Corinne Tandy

*this section is being moved online

The goal of this course will be to explore and understand the role that infectious diseases, particularly pandemics, have played throughout human history. Pandemics have felled empires, modified economic systems, and influenced human culture and lifeways. We will look at examples of how diseases have changed scientific thought, artistic expression, and social structures. This course will focus on developing an understanding of how pandemics have impacted the lives of humans and their societies throughout history and how they continue to do so in the present.


Tuesday 11:30 – 12:40  Art, Perception, & You – Instructor John Powers

The ways we experience, understand and think about the world are mediated through our senses and our own physicality. This course explores the elements and principals of art and design to discuss the physicality of human perception with a focus on sight and sound. Through examination and hands on experimentation students will learn about historic overlaps between art and science. Class time will include a series of experiential instructor led activities, followed by site visits, reflection and culminating in student production of artwork. Visits to the Knoxville Museum of Art, local galleries, artist studios and public art around the campus and city will supplement the conversation as students reexamine their awareness that the appearance of the world is a result of our physicality.


Thursday 4:30 – 5:20   History of Celebrity – Instructor Matthew Blaylock

PLUS NEW SECTION ADDED – Monday 3:30-4:20

The goal of this course is to explore the role of celebrity in United States history. This will require you to do two things: think about what makes up celebrity and how those characteristics provide a glimpse into what’s happening economically, politically, and socially at the time. We will follow a roughly chronological order as we explore famous Americans from the colonial period to the present day. We will consider what they have in common, what is different about them, why do people care who they are? At its core, this class is a cultural history of the US as it is most often within the cultural realm that celebrity is born. This course will ask you to reconsider U.S. within this wider cultural context by thinking about art, literature, music, etc., and the different types of people who contributed to their development. This class will challenge how you think about history, who and what is included, and why multiple cultural events and objects should be. This course will focus on research and you will learn the difference between a secondary source and a primary source and how that relates to cultural development and dissemination.


Wednesday 8:00 – 8:50am  Great Smoky Mountain National Park: The Peoples’ Legacy – Instructor Sarah Hunter

PLUS NEW SECTION ADDED – Online and Asynchronous

This course will explore the history of the national park and its people.  We will study the campaign and motivating factors that led to the creation of a national park as well as those who were personally affected.  Particular focus will be given to how individual and group advocacy has shaped park growth over the ensuing years as well as its continued impact on park development today.  Learn more about this beautiful park that is in our backyard!


Thursday 8:10 – 9:00  The Magical Moving Image – Instructor Emily Bivens

Moving images are ubiquitous in our current lives but early moving images were seen as magical and met with suspicion and delight. Students in this class will look at the history of moving images and early animation. We will look at the motivations of pioneering practitioners and consider what we might want to animate, why, and how. The subject and content of the animations will be based on students’ interests and require careful observation and research. We will create flipbooks, zoopraxiscopes, zoetropes, and even design our own animation devices. We will move to stop motion animation and conclude with simple frame by frame animations. Our journey will be a hands-on exploration of the history of moving images. No previous experience is needed.


Friday 10:30 – 11:20  The Invisible and Visible in the Built Environment – Instructor Kathy Wheeler

What are the invisible and visible factors that impact our built environment? Using Knoxville as a case study, the class will creatively explore local architecture and urbanism to reveal and analyze some of these elements and systems. We will investigate cultural as well as social and technological influences. Topics will include transportation, utilities, the 1982 World’s Fair, and redlining. Students will use a variety of media for their explorations, including mapping, journaling, collage, photography, short videos, and response papers to creatively analyze and communicate their findings. The class sessions will be mix of workshops, lectures, and discussions. Students will be responsible for a short collaborative project and an individual project (both which are tailored to the student’s individual interests), in addition to brief weekly assignments.


Monday 10:30 to 11:20   Observation – Instructor Chad Hellwinckel

Observation is the first design principle of permaculture, an ecological design approach that can be applied to all disciplines.  Living can be busy; Between school, work, and endless amounts of entertainment we have little time for observation, which is essential to open creative space. This course intends to develop students’ abilities to observe by reviewing observation techniques, practicing them in-field, and documenting observations in journal. We will read and discuss a few writings from authors such as Herman Hess, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gary Snider, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rebecca Solnit, and others. The majority of class sessions will be field-time where the students will practice the art of observation.


Monday 10:30 – 11:20  Understanding Popular Culture: How to Watch Reality TV  – Instructor Ryessia Russell    *this section is online   

Popular culture is often dismissed as trivia and condemned as a tool of mass deception. Furthermore, popular culture is just categorized as just entertainment. Because of this negative perspective of popular culture, consumers of popular culture are labeled as cultural dupes, fashion victims, and couch potatoes. In this course, we will take a step back from simply consuming popular culture, or judging it, to investigate how popular culture, specifically reality television, influences the ways we act and perceive the world. Because this course is designed as an introduction to communications as the study of culture, we will examine a specific artifact of popular culture–reality television. Using different critical perspectives, we will begin to unpack the underlying assumptions of popular and consumption culture. Furthermore, we examine the instruments or means by which we are influenced by reality television.


Monday 11:45 – 12:35  Access to Justice – Instructor Joe Jarret    

Each day in Tennessee, people confront desperate circumstances that threaten to unsettle their lives and livelihoods. Some find themselves on the verge of eviction. Some lose access to needed benefits. Others have difficulty securing employment because of a criminal record. The list goes on. In many instances, there are legal solutions to these problems that can help people regain control of their situations. Unfortunately, though, there is a wide gulf between those who need that help and those who actually get it. Contrary to popular belief, people are not guaranteed access to an attorney when they encounter civil legal issues. As a result, people who cannot afford an attorney are left to handle a variety of legal issues on their own, most often with less than desirable results. This course will expose students to the various  aspects of providing free legal assistance to Tennessee’s poor through observation, field studies, and classroom lectures. Student will interact with attorneys and support persons seeking to assist Tennesseans access to the civil justice system.


Monday 1:00 – 1:50pm  American New Wave Cinema: From Easy Rider to Rocky  – Instructor Bradford Case          *this section is online     

In the late 1960s, there was a sea change in American Cinema. A “New Wave” of Directors – many of who studied film in Universities – took over Hollywood; A creative coup whose influence was profound and lasting. Young talents such as Francis Coppola, Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorcese and George Lucas became household names, and their neo-realistic cinematic style redefined the way audiences viewed movies. Through analysis of selected seminal films between 1967-77, this class will cover one of film history’s most fertile and important periods.


Tuesday 8:10 – 9:00  Is Science Anti-American?: Identity, Values, and Science in American Culture – Instructor Karmen Stephenson  

In spite of scientific consensus on issues such as evolutionary biology, climate change, and vaccines, these issues remain socially controversial in the United States and anti-science viewpoints and advocacy remain popular and prominent in American culture.  In addition to exploring these controversies in terms of religious, social, and political differences and agendas, in this course we will investigate how anti-science movements achieve and maintain influence and power in American society through alignment with cultural values and components of American identity–such as democracy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, common sense, and individualism. Topics of discussion will include the history of anti-science movements in the United States as well as anti-science in contemporary religion, politics, education, and popular culture.


Tuesday 9:50 – 10:40  Gaming the Past – Instructor Marina Maccari-Clayton

*this section is being moved online and has a capacity of 20. Email Rebekah Page to add this course if you’re interested!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an agent of change at a pivotal time in history? Do you have what it takes to ignite the imagination of others, to inspire and to lead, or to be a poet of revolutionary change? In this course, you may find yourself in the shoes of an ancient Athenian citizen or a Renaissance Pope, George Washington or a newspaper editor in Victorian Britain, Fidel Castro or J.F. Kennedy. You will learn about the past through a series of short role-playing games, but also practice persuasive writing, public speaking, problem-solving, collaboration, quick adaptation to fast changing circumstances, and work under pressure with deadlines to meet, learning important skills to succeed in college and in life.


Tuesday 9:50 – 10:40  East Tennessee Landscape – Instructor Natalie Stepanov     

Explore East Tennessee through the study of landscape painting, artifacts, and other representations. The course utilizes the collections of the Knoxville Museum of Art, the McClung Museum of Natural History, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to examine the history and culture of this dynamic region. The course will include excursions to all of these locations to understand why the landscape is important, how it is represented, and perhaps even how it’s changing. We will look at art, artifacts, and other cultural tableaux in our exploration.


Tuesday 6:10 – 7:00  Social Argentine Tango – Instructor Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes    

Argentine tango is a social dance growing in popularity that promotes physical well-being, social skills, self-awareness and emotional consciousness. The goal of this course is to provide a platform for students to learn and experience social Argentine tango, allowing them to better relate to a culturally diverse  community and appreciate the personal growth opportunities provided by this social activity. The course will focus on different aspects of Argentine tango as a social dance, including its evolution and history, the impact of societal changes on the dance, its music and musicians, its cultural influences and its practice. Class time will include learning and reflecting about a moment in the history of tango and its associated music, followed by learning and practicing the dance in a supportive social environment. The course will also include opportunities for leadership and participation in the social Argentine tango student club and formal social Argentine tango dance parties (milongas).


Wednesday 11:15 – 12:05 (flexible)  Behind the Scenes at Local Nonprofits – Instructor Robin Nicks       *this section is online  

In this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and research what happens behind the scenes at several Knoxville nonprofits. Much of the public-face of many nonprofits shows the events and the fundraisers, the fun work volunteers and staff do. The work that staff and volunteers must do to prepare for those events, to get everything looking good for the public-facing platforms, and to simply keep the doors open is work about which many people outside the nonprofit sector are unaware. We will read texts that explain and illustrate this work, and students will have opportunities to help nonprofits perform such work–from helping maintain a natural playground to painting to filing to reading to those who want company and stories to creating templates for written communications and more. Projects will include weekly blogs about readings and experiences, reflection pieces about our service learning and volunteer activities, writings that our partners can use in their facilities and for their clients or donors or volunteers, and a campaign to attract donors and volunteers to a nonprofits of the students’ choice.


Wednesday 1:00 – 1:50  Climate Change, Sustainability, and Social Justice – Instructor Sam von Mizener

The primary focus of this course is to investigate and explore the many links between sustainability, consumerism, and social justice. We will begin by asking what these concepts mean and then look at some of the ways they are connected. The context of this analysis is a concern for Earth and all of life. Here are a sample of some of the questions students will explore: If one takes sustainability seriously, why should one think that the issue of consumerism is unavoidable? Given that we are all consumers, what is the difference between conscientious consumption and unbridled consumption? Are people who are on a sustainable path really sacrificing anything? If so, what is being sacrificed? Why should one think that living one’s life according to sustainable practices is connected to issues having to do with social justice at all?


Wednesday  2:15 – 3:05  Rethinking How We Live: Making Sustainability Happen – Instructor Michael McKinney    

An introduction to the exciting and rapidly growing field of sustainable living, which emphasizes reducing the environmental footprint of individuals and cultures. Topics include: environmental footprints, green living, green consumerism, ethical consumption, voluntary simplicity, green technologies (renewable energy, green roofs) and many other ways for people to actively reduce their impact on the environment. Classes will focus on interactive discussions and experiential learning using the UT campus as a “learning lab” for sustainability efforts, discussed below.


Wednesday 4:45 – 5:35  Energy Choices and Consequences – Instructor H.L. Dodds Jr.

*this section is being moved online and has a capacity of 20. Email Rebekah Page to add this course if you’re interested!

With the world’s population increasing from approximately seven billion currently to approximately nine billion by the year 2040, achieving a healthy lifestyle for all people on earth will depend, in part, on the availability of affordable energy, especially electricity. This seminar course will focus primarily on the various options for producing and using electricity, and the consequences associated with each option.  The options include fossil, renewable, nuclear, and conservation. All energy options are needed, but some options may be better than others when compared in the following subject areas: economics, environmental effects, public health and safety, sustainability, and politics. Thus, a primary goal of this course is to provide the students, many of whom will become important national and international leaders in the future, with a sound basis for making informed decisions about the path forward for electricity production and utilization. Another goal is to help the students make the transition from high school to the university.


Thursday 9:50 – 10:40  Sources of Your Self: A Map-Making Game about  Personal Identity – Instructor Ryan Windeknecht  *this section is online

This course introduces students to philosophy. Specifically, it introduces students to the ethics and metaphysics of personal identity, as found in Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self. Throughout this course, we will consider two interrelated questions: (1) What do you value and (2) How does it make you, you?


Friday 4:45 – 5:35  Outside the Game – Instructor Jason Smethers 

The games industry is one of the largest and fastest growing entertainment industries in the world. Board games, card games, video games, you name it and at some point in your life you have probably played one. What most people forget is the massive industry that revolves around getting games into the hands of children and adults around the globe. This course will explore the ways in which any major on campus can be utilized to work in the games industry. Each week we will meet a professional from a sector of the games industry, everything from designers and artists, to programmers, marketers, producers, journalists, accountants, educators, and lawyers.  We will also explore how gamer’s give back to their community by planning and participating in Extra Life, a program which raises money for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.