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Future Course Offerings

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A look ahead at upcoming semesters for your planning purposes

Summer 2019

June 10-August 15

Force, Conflict and Change--From Turning Points to Myths: How History Gets Presented  (MALS610-010)

Historians, confronting the confusion and strangeness of the past, try to make it more comprehensible by organizing their narratives around a significant event or personality.  Hence the fascination with "decisive battles", "turning points" and "key figures".  The shapers of popular culture--poets, painters novelists and, in our time, film makers and television producers--take this narrative convenience and spin myths around it.  The end result is that what happened and why becomes obscured and what is believed to have happened is often a literary or cinematic construct.

In this seminar, we will look at three case studies of this phenomenon. 

Click here for a draft syllabus: MALS610 draft syllabus summer 2019.pdf


Fall 2019

August 27-December 5

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


Creating Shakespeare

Today you can buy Shakespeare finger puppets and Shakespearean insult mugs. You can read a choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet and watch Shakespeare's plays reimagined in works like 10 Things I Hate about You and The Lion King. You can even see the Bard's plays performed in a reconstructed Globe Theatre, complete with the only thatched roof in modern-day London. But how did Shakespeare become Shakespeare? How did this man transform from a working actor and playwright to the "be-all and the end-all" (to quote the man himself) of the English literary tradition? And what can Shakespeare-mania, or "Bardolatry," teach us about the ways that we construct a literary canon? To answer these questions, we will study Shakespeare's changing reputation over the centuries. Beginning with the late 17th century, when Samuel Pepys declared that Romeo and Juliet was the "worst [play] that ever I heard in my life," we will study the ways that writers "improved" Shakespeare by adding more music, dancing, and (occasionally) flying witches. As we study these textual adaptations, we will also work to reconstruct their performance histories, allowing us to imagine what these plays would have been like to witness. We will move through the 18th century, which saw the publication of new editions of Shakespeare's plays and first biographies, as well as memorable performances by celebrity actors like David Garrick. During this period, Arthur Murphy declared that Shakespeare had become a "kind of established religion in poetry." Over the course of the semester, students will write papers and make oral presentations, analyzing texts and other material objects that memorialize the playwright. 

Consistency and Change in U.S. Foreign Policy

This course will examine U.S. foreign policy, focusing on the period from WWII to the present.  It will reveal two essentially divergent paths in American foreign policy, the first arguing that commercial and security interests dominate (and should dominate) American foreign policy, the second proposing that furthering democratic and human rights institutions abroad helps to insure security at home while making the world more democratic and less likely to wage war.  Some political scientists believe that these divergent impulses can be traced to concepts of government first embraced and articulated by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.

The course will study specific policies that have emerged over the decades and thus will attempt to define some level of consistency in American foreign policy.  The class will also investigate significant changes in policies as demonstrated by particular presidential administrations, including of course the current one.

Students will read two textbooks related to the course.  Students will also be expected to keep abreast of current international news, notably by looking at sources such as BBC World News and CNN, and also by reading articles in prominent newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times.  All of these sources are available online.

The course will entail a mid-term examination and a final research paper, both of which will be described in detail in the course syllabus.

Click here for a draft syllabus: US Foreign Policy Draft Syllabus.pdf

Spring 2020

February 10-May 18

Encountering 'the Other' in Tourism and Travel

International tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world, and has produced one of the largest population movements in the history of humanity.  In this course, we will discuss tourism and travel as cultural practices as well as globalization phenomena. We will pay particular attention to tourism as an encounter in search for authenticity and otherness. The course will examine topics such as tourism and modernity, sexual and romantic tourism, ecotourism and environmental tourism.

Punishment and Society

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?

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