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Future Course Offerings

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A look ahead at upcoming semesters for your planning purposes

Winter 2021 (tentative)

Dates TBD

Contemplation and Technological Change

How do innovations change the nature of humanity and life on earth?  How can individuals prepare themselves ethically to confront technological issues as diverse as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, solar energy, carbon sequestration, clean water, and nuclear terror?  How can contemplative practices lead to better technological policy decisions?  “Contemplation and Technological Change” will integrate mindfulness, psychology, behavioral science, philosophy, and engineering to empower students to solve grand challenges for innovation and society.  The course is co-taught by three faculty from three Colleges, bringing expertise in engineering, entrepreneurship, and mindfulness.  The intensive five-week format will foster an interdisciplinary learning community.

Spring 2021

Dates TBD

Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Elements of Global EcoFiction

  • Instructor: Délice Williams

Through works of fiction that depict disaster, imagine utopia, advocate for environmental justice, and create fantasies of escape, we will explore the ways that contemporary authors from around the world prompt us to imagine and reimagine our dynamic and fraught relationship to "nature" and its elements. As we engage with texts that focus on human interactions with earth, air, fire, and water, we will consider the ways that writers around the world raise, complicate, and contend with serious ethical and political questions that arise in such encounters.

The central premise of this course is that narrative in general, and imaginative literature in particular, plays an important role in our conceptions of and relationships non-human nature. In other words, stories mediate—clarify, complicate, enchant, perhaps even distort—interactions between the human and non-human. Readings & discussions will explore the hows, whys, and so-whats of such mediation.  Another (closely related) premise is one that critic Rob Nixon has made famous:  that imaginative literature plays a role in the crucial ethical and political work of making the "slow violence" of environmental harm both visible and morally urgent. This seminar will explore ways that these authors stage their own interventions in that process.

Why elements?

  • Because the term connotes basics, building blocks, beginnings. "Global Eco-fiction" cannot possibly be contained in a single course, even at the graduate level. The seminar offers starting points for further scholarly and imaginative exploration.
  • Also, because, as the editors of the volume Elemental Ecocriticism note, the term evokes ancient conceptions of a vibrant, vividly animate non-human world with which humans are in dynamic relation.  A number of the texts we will encounter conceive of non-human nature in these terms.

The Arts in Context: Identity, Literature and Society (MALS617-010)

  • Tuesdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Instructor: Santhi Leon
  • Baylor Women's Correctional Institution

This INSIDE/OUT class focuses on deep reading of several form of literature. The class investigates the role of identity in literature vis-a-vis authorship, readership and central characters, and uses literature as a window into social views of identity. Assigned material explores the particular themes of voice, agency, cultural difference and social structure.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (Inside-Out) is an international educational program based in Philadelphia at Temple University. The program provides individuals on both sides of the prison walls the unique opportunity to engage in a collaborative, dialogic examination of issues of social significance. The class will be held at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution with MALS students (and perhaps a few undergrads) from UD and women who are incarcerated at Baylor.

Registration requires permission of instructor: santhi@udel.edu.

Death and Dying

This course will consider a number of responses to the "problem" of death and dying. Our premise is that there is such a thing as a good death, that many traditions consider the good life as the one that ends in a good death, and thus the highest practice in life prepares one for a good death. We will not address the question of an afterlife per se, but rather we will focus on the meaning of death and the meaning of a life that ends in death. We will look at representatives of Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Western philosophical and psychological traditions, and religious viewpoints. Students are invited to form their own conclusions and seek their own coherence.


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