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Current Course Offerings

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Fall 2018 (August 28-December 15)

How to Read an Election (MALS667-010)

How do people really make important decisions, like how to vote in an election? Why are lies so often effective, even when they're transparent? How is it possible for two apparently rational individuals to draw the opposite conclusions from the same evidence? How to Read an Election moves beyond partisan politics to delve into psychology, literature, and film for insights into these and other questions that inevitably arise during an election season. We'll read recent best-sellers, such as Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (excerpts), in which he summarizes his Nobel-prize-winning research on how humans make and manipulate decisions; The Secret Life of Pronouns, in which psychologist James Pennebaker offers hints on how to read between the lines to understand what people are really saying; and Weaponized Lies, a primer of critical thinking by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin. We'll also discuss relevant literary works, such as Arthur Miller's The Crucible and George Orwell's 1984; and films like Dr. Strangelove and Wag the Dog. A course website will provide links to lectures and interviews by many of these authors. In addition to the reading, the course will involve two response papers, a personal essay, and a take-home final exam. 

Click here for the reading list: How to Read an Election Reading list.pdf

Interpreting the Past: The Rise of Modern Technology--Industrialization, Culture, and Ideology (MALS622-010)

Tuesday, 6-9p.m., Wilmington Campus, UD Arsht Hall

Instructor: Ellis Wasson

"Modernity" is the outcome of revolutionary technological change - from the steam engine to the computer. How did this arise? What have been the effects? The past two centuries were littered with broken bodies and spirits as technology transformed war and reshaped society. A great divergence arose between the industrialized West and the rest. We have experienced rapid advances in living standards and life spans, increasing separation from the natural world, and release from grinding physical labor. Capitalism shaped the industrial revolution, while at the same time siring mass democracy, fascism, communism, imperialism, nationalism, globalism, environmental catastrophe, and the means to extinguish human life on the planet. Art, literature, and history give us tools to analyze the paradoxes of technological "progress."

Click here for a draft syllabus: MALS622 Rise of Modern Technology syllabus 2018.pdf

Environmental Ethics (MALS648-010)

  • Wednesday, 6-9 p.m., Newark Campus
  • Instructor: Tom Powers

Ethical problems associated with environmental protection, local, national, and international. Relations to social and political movements. Seminar format. Cross-listed with Philosophy and Urban Affairs & Public Policy.

Click here for a draft syllabus: MALS 648 Environmental Ethics Syllabus_draft.pdf

Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies (MALS601)

A gateway experience for incoming MALS students. Students learn the conventions and expectations of graduate-level reading, writing, research, and critical analysis and explore the concept of interdisciplinarity. Topics include documentation of sources, formulation and development of independent research projects, research methods, use of online databases. The content will be interdisciplinary and/or intercultural, and the course methodology will include lecture, discussion, independent research, and varied forms of academic writing.

Click here for a sample syllabus: MALS 601 Syllabus F18.pdf

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