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Current Course Offerings

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Spring 2020--February 10-May 18

East/West: Moving Beyond Our Cultural Differences (MALS667-013)

The primary theme of this course is to use narratives that explore how cross-cultural study can help us move beyond binary distinctions to consider more nuanced scholarly analysis. So while we will begin with a comparison of Aristotle's "excluded middle" to a Confucian conception of both/and and the inseparability of opposites (yin/yang), an aspiration of the course is to develop respect for multiple perspectives and the power of evidence-based reasoning in the presence of uncertain, ambiguous, incomplete, and conflicting information.  We will compare and contrast basic paradigms of Eastern and Western culture through studying philosophy, poetry, food, art, architecture, sex/gender, ecology, flower arrangements, binary versus multimodal logic, plagiarism/forgery/facsimile, beauty, time, and literature.

NOTE: If you have an interest in the Graduate Community Engagement Scholars Certificate, this class will have an optional component that will fulfill a three-credit course requirment for the certificate. Please contact the MALS director for further information: twkee@udel.edu or 302-831-4130.

Click here for a draft syllabus: East/West: Moving Beyond Our Cultural Differences

Studies in Contemporary Culture: Punishment and Society (MALS626-011)

This course examines punishment as a social institution, understood through (1) social inequality and solidarity, (2) law and society and (3) culture and morality, including contemporary popular culture. We draw upon a rich theoretical toolkit which includes foundational readings in Western Sociology and penality, derived from Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Norbert Elias, Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as from critical, feminist and intersectional approaches. We use these conceptual resources to examine imprisonment as the preeminent form of punishment in modern society and to probe the social causes, functions, and consequences of the turn to hyperincarceration made by the United States and subsequently exported worldwide.  Students will compare and contrast how punishment works in Delaware with other contexts, tailored to their interests.

 Foundational questions include: what is the relationship between punishment and society?  What are its causes, consequences and future trends? What are the functions served by incarceration today?  What effects does incarceration have on penal workers, incarcerated people, their families, and on their communities?

NOTE: If you have an interest in the Graduate Community Engagement Scholars Certificate, this class will have an optional component that will fulfill a three-credit course requirment for the certificate. Please contact the MALS director for further information: twkee@udel.edu or 302-831-4130.

On Becoming Human (MALS660-010)

This course will deal with the biological and cultural evolution of humans and will focus on how we are similar to and different from our closest primate relatives.  We proceed from the understanding that being human both structurally and behaviorally is the outcome of processes that have occurred in nature.  We will deal with areas of important behavioral changes which have taken place over the last five million years of our evolution, specifically, the development of: tool use, hunting, food sharing, division of labor by sex, language, symbolic thought, art, our mode of childbirth, our mode of locomotion, and cooperative childcare.  In these areas, biology and culture have interacted with one another in an evolutionary process which made us become human beings.


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Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Current Course Offerings