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UNHO 101 Course Descriptions

Fall 2019 Course Offerings

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Fall 2019 Course Descriptions

So You Want to Be an Event Planner

Stefanie Benjamin

For this course, I will immerse students in the event planning world. As a former event planner in NYC, I know the reality of being an event planner. In this course, we will learn the soft skills required to being a good event planner through in-class presentations and on-site walk-throughs by event planners and other folks in the industry. We will also volunteer and critique events throughout Knoxville on field trips to see first hand what it looks like to be involved in the event industry.

History of US Celebrity

Matt Blaylock

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, and why people care who they are?  At its core, this class is a cultural history of the U.S. 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.  You will learn the difference between a secondary source and a primary source and how that relates to cultural development and dissemination.  As we go along, pay close attention to main themes that will reoccur throughout this course:

  • Belief Systems
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender Relationships
  • Movements of People and Ideas
  • Human Advancements

Impostors, Despots, and Reformers: The Experienec of Russia’s Governing Contradictions

Maria Gallmeier

Torn between the East and the West, socialism and capitalism, progress and reactionism, Russia has as an unusually colorful and vivid history. This course covers a broad sweep of Russian history and makes the acquaintance of the long succession of reformers and reactionaries who occupied Russia’s leadership positions. We will explore how myths and reality surrounding these extraordinary leaders are presented in literature, film, and media and examine how cultural perspectives and political orientations influence our point of view. Through reflection, role-playing and simulation, you will develop an awareness of how your own experiences and worldview influence your perception and interpretation of these controversial personalities/ figures.

Hands On the Past: An Introduction to Greek & Roman Archaeology through Artifacts

Reema Habib

This course will introduce students to the field of Mediterranean Archaeology through the hands-on study of ancient artifacts and museum-quality replicas from Classical Greece & Rome. Throughout the semester, students will be assigned a curated series of artifacts in a simulated laboratory environment, where they will learn to analyze, document, map, and situate their objects within relevant historical contexts. Periodically throughout the semester, the students will present the results of their findings to a scholarly audience (i.e. their class), during which they will illustrate the ultimate contribution that each artifact makes to our modern understanding of ancient societies and cultural values. At the same time, students will learn how to relay their findings to lay audiences through service-learning projects spear-headed by the Department of Classics, such as International Archaeology Day at the McClung Museum.

Earthquakes & Earthquake Hazard in Tennessee

Bob Hatcher

Large earthquakes most commonly occur along plate boundaries, like the San Andreas fault in California, and other large faults around the Pacific Ocean, southern Europe, and Asia. Ironically, west Tennessee has had some very large earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, and our research has shown that east Tennessee has had several large, prehistoric earthquakes in the last 10,000 years. We will discuss the problem of earthquakes, prediction, and future hazards in Tennessee., and look at several exposed ancient and modern faults within a short drive of Knoxville.

Access to Justice

Joseph G. 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.

Argentine Tango 101

Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes

Argentine tango is a social dance form growing in popularity that promotes physical well-being, social skills and emotional consciousness. Learning Argentine tango increases cultural diversity awareness and inspires self-confidence and poise as students become adept at a new skill and learn to interact with others following the rules or “codigos” of the dance. The goal of the course is to provide a platform for students to learn and experience social Argentine tango, allowing them to better relate to the culturally diverse UT community. 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 styles, and its practice. Typically, class time will be devoted to learning about a moment in the history of tango and its associated music, practicing the social rules of the dance, and dancing in a supportive social environment. The course will also include opportunities for formal social Argentine tango dancing.

July Crisis, 1914

Marina Maccari-Clayton

This course employs a role-playing format to examine the international crisis that, historically, resulted in the outbreak of the First World War.

Students take on the role of political and military leaders of the European powers, who must decide how they (and their governments) will respond to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. The roles do not have a fixed script and outcome (it’s not a play): students will need to adhere to the beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, but they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, and their own strategy to “win” the game. Will World War I be averted?

Rethinking How We Live: Making Sustainability Happen

Michael McKinney

This course serves as 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 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.

Sustainability and Social Justice

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?

Experiencing and Aiding the Urban Wilderness

Robin Nicks

Students in “Exploring and Aiding the Urban Wilderness” will study the conceptualization, history, and science behind urban wilderness areas. Our course will partner with Ijams Nature Center to learn more about Knoxville’s urban wilderness and its benefits for our citizens, wildlife, and flora. Through a variety of volunteer and service learning projects, students not only will study and learn about Ijams’s history and impact, but also will create materials for marketing and education, help maintain trails, and/or create programs or activities that use and showcase the trails and gardens. Of particular interest will be how the Ijams model and others we read about are or can be implemented elsewhere to reap similar benefits.

Italy and the USA: Relationship and Legacy

Rosario Pollicino

This course aims to introduce students to the strong relationship that links Italy and the USA. Beginning from the waves of immigration between and after the World Wars, the course will analyze the legacy of a relationship that is often overlooked. To that end, we will examine what is Italian and Italian-American in the USA today, and above all, what we already know and can discover together of this fantastic relationship.

This is an eclectic course which is for anyone interested in one or more of these topics: fashion, automotive industry, tourism, food, sport, non-profit, entrepreneurship, and more. The course will also offer a reflective perspective on the question of language and identity in our society and how this enriches and makes unique the USA.

It’s Just a Game, Or Is It?

Jason Smethers

The video game industry is one of the fastest growing sources of entertainment across the globe. While you sit there and play Mario, Halo, or Angry Birds, you may not realize the thousands of people and billions of dollars that went into creating your favorite games. Video games capture the imagination of everyone from age 3 to age 103. They are a part of every industry from education, to marketing, to health care, broadcasting, architecture, and even the automotive industry.
This course will examine the many different components of the gaming industry. We will examine each piece of the industry and how a student can apply one of the various majors available on campus to pursue a career in gaming. The capstone of this course will be the planning of a gaming event for all of campus to enjoy.

Narrative, Image, Performance: Media Literacy in the Digital Age

Maria Stehle

This seminar explores the challenges of media literacy in the digital age. We will focus on how young people today use digital media and how different media talk and write about young people’s media use and habits. Course materials will include examples from news (compare and contrast news sources), film (for example the film “Eighth Grade”), social media campaigns and activism (for example #metoo), and media circulation and performance. We will discuss what is politically at stake when we teach media literacy: What is the connection between media and democracy? Media and social justice? Media and gender? Media and race? What does it mean to come of age in the digital age?

The East Tennessee Landscape

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.

Is Science Anti-American? : Identity, Values, and Science in American Culture

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.

Shakespeare & The 90s

Virginia Stormer

The 90s saw a proliferation of Shakespeare adaptations on the big screen–both films using the original language and films based (however loosely) on Shakespeare’s plots. This course will explore 3 90s Shakespeare films in the context of both Elizabethan drama conventions and important historical events and cultural movements in the 90s. Through our exploration, we’ll seek to answer questions like, Why was Shakespeare so popular in the 90s? What makes a film a “faithful” adaptation? Where do we drawn the line between “adaptation of” and “inspired by”? As their final project, scholars will have the opportunity to work in groups to analyze an adaptation of their choice and present their research and analysis to the class.

Who’s Sacrificing the Pig? Introducing Philosophy via Role-Immersion Gaming

Ryan Windeknecht

This course introduces students in the 1794 Scholars Program to the study of philosophy through playing the “Reacting to the Past” game The Threshold of Democracy. In this course:

“Students learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in elaborate games set in the past; they learn skills – speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork – in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. That is because Reacting roles, unlike those in a play, do not have a fixed script and outcome. While students will be obliged to adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations; and students must also pursue a course of action they think will help them win the game.”