Fall 2012 First year seminars HOPR 1953

HOPR 1953, Section 901
How to Change The World: Social Entrepreneurship
Jeff Snell, Special Advisor to the President, Office of the President

This seminar helps students discover the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world of building social enterprises. Through a combination of case discussions, readings, and field work, we explore the underlying concepts that make some social enterprises succeed at higher than expected rates.  We explore the opportunity to engage in some field work to see successful social enterprises in action. 

HOPR 1953, Section 902
The Beatles and the British Invasion
Bruce Cole, Collection Development Librarian for The Jean Cujé Milwaukee Music Collection, Raynor Memorial Libraries

The course explorse musical and cultural change shortly before and for a period of roughly three years after the arrival of the Beatles and their highly anticipated initial appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. We look at how the British Invasion bands came, established a new order in popular music, and changed forever not only rock and roll music, but the business of popular music and popular culture here in America and internationally. They came, they conquered—and they never left.

HOPR 1953, Section 903
Memoirs written by Young Adults: Making Sense of Life

Debra Oswald, Associate Professor, Psychology

There are numerous memoirs written by young adults that have the focus of gaining insight into recent life experiences. In this seminar we read and discuss 2-3 of these memoirs.   First, our discussions focus on the book - examining the author’s motivation for writing the memoir, the ways in which the author attempted to gain understanding of the event, and how the author’s life was changed (or not changed) by the events in the book.  Second, we also read psychology research in order to discuss questions such as “How much influence do parents have on their child’s development?” “How resilient are people when faced with adversity?” and “How do people gain self-understanding and insight?”  By integrating psychology research we should gain further understanding of the events. Third, several of the classes are dedicated to student journaling activities.  These journaling activities are directed and focused on topics related to the book.  For example, in “Falling through the Earth” the author reflects on her life growing up with a father who had severe PTSD.  Similarly, we do a self-reflection writing activity on how much influence our own parents had on our life.  Thus, we seek to gain greater self-insight through written reflection of events in our own lives.

HOPR 1953, Section 904
Our Daily Bread
Susanne E. Foster, Associate Professor, Philosophy

In this course students reflect on the practice of eating. Though a seemingly mundane activity that we share with all living things, what we choose to eat, how we prepare the foods, who we share our meals with - or fail to share them with, and the manner in which we consume food provides riches for significant research and reflection. Issues of social justice, sustainability, aesthetics, animal welfare, sociability, and lifestyle choices are among the topics we cover. The goal of the course is that students should become mindful of their daily bread.  The readings for the course will be drawn from a variety of disciplines. Shakespeare, David Foster Wallace, Peter Singer, Vine Deloria, and the Dali Lama will be among the authors covered.

HOPR 1953, Section 905
Rock and Roll as a Reflection of the American Psyche
Stephen M. Saunders, Associate Professor, Psychology

The seminar examines how rock and roll music has reflected concurrent societal issues. Some examples include the explosive growth of rock and roll in the late 1950s because of the “high school movement” of the previous decades, which led to the daily gathering of teenagers, who naturally developed common interests (including music). The music of the 1960s reflected terrible angst about the war in Vietnam and racial equality, whereas music of the 1970s seemed to reflect a wish to be free of important concerns (hence Disco and "arena rock" acts). The 1980s saw a backlash against the feminist movement, exemplified by salacious rock music that seemed to promote objectifying attitudes towards women. Finally, there are numerous examples from current rock music that reflect many modern concerns, such as domestic violence, the war in Iraq, distrust of authority figures, and violence in our inner cities. The seminar treast the topic chronologically, and it emphasizes listening music and analyzing lyrical content. To bring the topic into the modern era, students make presentations of their favorite music and how it reflects the current American psyche. The seminar entails some brief readings regarding the historical context, listening to legal copies of musical recordings, and assignments intended to get students to discover the socio-historical context of some of their own music.

HOPR 1953, Section 906
Generation Why
Matthias A. Seisay, MAPS, Academic Counselor/Recruiter, Educational Opportunity Program

This seminar is designed to create an opportunity for students to take a mental journey into the lives of their peers in Africa, particularly those that live in conflict regions. Emphasis is placed on an intellectual assessment of social issues that may be considered “normal” here in the United States. Considering the diversity in African cultures, political and social lives, a good number of current issues will be discussed, and analysis will be based largely on individual understanding and perspectives. Contributions from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Robert Graf, Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Angela Davies, etc.; alongside their African counterparts Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Ahmad Kathrada, Robert Sobukwe, Winnie Mandela, Mkhsuli Jack, Dr. Ken Saro-Wiwa, etc. will be discussed, to find out what similarities and or differences exist in their fight for global citizenship and social justice. Students will be encouraged to get into groups and research issues relevant to the seminar, and give perspectives on what it would look like if those issues happened here in the United States.

HOPR 1953, Section 907
Feminism at Home and in the World
Amelia Zurcher, Associate Professor, English; Director, University Honors Program

What is it about the f-word that generates so much controversy?  Are we really “post-feminist” now?  What does feminism have to teach us about gender and the ways it organizes our experience and  shapes our ideas – men and women, straight and not-straight, mainstream and “other”?  And, how do people in other parts of the world understand and use feminism?  How does feminism build bridges across spaces and cultures?  In this seminar we will engage with a variety of voices, from college students to performance artists to international activists, to begin to become familiar with the extraordinary diversity and richness of feminist movements and the changes they seek to bring to the world.

HOPR 1953, Section 908
Why We Laugh
John Su, Associate Professor, English

In this course, we explore the social function of laughter. That is, why do people laugh at certain events or portrayals that would potentially elicit very different responses if they occurred outside of the genre of “comedy”? We try to combine sources that students find elicit their laughter with sources from people of different generations or different cultural backgrounds to explore the extent to which laughter has specific functions in a time and place. To help our understanding, we counterpoint these primary sources with secondary sources on laughter taken from research and creative nonfiction. Ultimately, we try to investigate the notion that laughter provides a socially sanctioned space for exploring potentially transgressive ideas. For example, what does it mean for a largely white audience to listen to an African-American comic talking about race? Is it genuinely true that comedy enables us to confront issues we would otherwise avoid, or is it also true that laughter enables us to avoid confronting our own anxieties? And when does comedy cross the line to become offensive or even terrifying?

HOPR 1953, Section 909
Thinking Philosophically with Joss Whedon

James South, Associate Professor and Chair, Philosophy

Popular culture surrounds our lives, but how should we think about popular culture and what resources for thinking does popular culture provide? By examining various examples of the work of Joss Whedon—movies, TV shows, music, comic books, etc.—, we try to answer these two questions. Such topics as self-knowledge, authenticity, appearance and reality, the uses and abuses of technology and the role of power in society will figure prominently in our discussions.

HOPR 1953, Section 910
Leadership and Service: The Dynamic Duo

Felissa Paris, Graduate Academic Advisor, College of Professional Studies

This seminar is devoted to an intellectual exploration of leadership and service.  Student reflect on their personal leadership style and identify strategies that promote and maximize their individual leadership and service styles. Students explore current leadership literature and current issues to identify leaders who are making a difference through their leadership practices. We discuss the leadership similarities and differences between local and world leaders (ethics). What can we learn from these leaders and how can we apply what we learn? We discuss the connection between leadership and service. Is service a requirement of effective leadership?  Why or Why not?

HOPR 1953, Section 911
Global Health as Part of Your Future

Terry Tobin, Retired Associate Professor, College of Nursing

The seminar commencse with the students developing a dynamic definition of health and how it impacts their own lives.  Introducing the Healthy People 2020 document of the U.S. Government we explore the broad range of issues involved in the health of the nation and how they are being addressed on national, state, community and personal levels. Current events in varied media introduce the role of health in politics, economics, religion, and culture throughout the world.  Major health issues in developing countries require the student to focus on the plight of poor, disenfranchised peoples.  Issues include malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria, HIV/AIDS, immunization, TB, and maternal child health.  The status of women in other cultures impacts the state of their health.  Poverty, sanitation, water supply, and food sources are all part of the equation that dictates the quality of life for people wherever they live. While this is broad and encompassing content, the objective is for the students to begin to think on an elevated plane and share ideas of world issues as they work toward their professional and life goals.


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