May Term 2016 Courses

May Term Courses 2016

Johnston Handbook of Courses May Term 2016

Community Study: The O-Team Class
*Available for credit, no credit, up-credit. Talk to MG if interested in negotiating 0-2 credits.
Mondays, 6-9 p.m.
Faculty: MG Maloney

In many ways, this class is a community service project for Johnston. By enrolling or auditing this course, you will be giving back to the Johnston community by being on our 2016 Orientation Team. To begin, we will evaluate our own past experiences with university orientations. We will study the Johnston Community, past and present. For an outside perspective, we will also study an external community, to better inform the decisions we make collectively in designing our own O-Week with events, programs, community-building activities, and Buffalo-raising fun. Oh, and there will be a zine. In Johnston tradition, we will write, design, print, and snail mail a zine (re: handmade publication) to the incoming class over the summer. Components of this course include, but are not limited to:
 Print and Graphic Production:
 Zine Production: Writing and Visual Art
 Graphic Design: Logo and t-shirt design
 DIY Screen printing

 Required Reading:
 Wrekk, Alex. Stolen Sharpie Revolution: a DIY Zine Resource (Portland: Microcosm Publishing, 2005)
 Articles, as assigned on subjects decided by class. Past topics included: Johnston history, mental health on college campuses, race on college campuses, community art-making.
Skills to be acquired and/or strengthened:
 Event Planning / Program Curation
 Budgeting: Financial Literacy
 Outreach and Marketing

10 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Bill McDonald

One book, one month: May term at its best.  We’ll immerse ourselves in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final novel, reading and rereading, slowly and carefully, with reflection and passion, this transformative fiction that’s at once a murder mystery and a philosophical/religious journey.  We’ll also study Dostoevsky’s letters and notebooks as they pertain to Brothers, and weave the thoughts of earlier readers of our novel—fiction writers, philosophers, theologians, literary critics—into our discussions.  Brothers compels every reader to wrestle with life-altering questions about evil, rationality, faith, and the inexhaustible mystery of human character.

Required: a print version, not e-book, of the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky ISBN 978-0374528379

May term 2016 – In Salzburg
German Expressionist Film - The Austrian Connection
Prof. Trish Cornez
Prof. Rick Cornez

Course Description:
This course is an introductory exploration of German Expressionist film. Students will examine a cross-match of popular and avant-garde films and analyze relevant elements of mass culture, education, and propaganda as identity and nation-building practices.
The phrase "German expressionist film " is somewhat of a misnomer. The seminal influences both in terms of people and cultural heritage lie in Austria and its position as a member of Central Europe. The folkloric traditions of this section of Central Europe, with gothic undercurrents of vampires and things that go "bump in the night" led to a rich Austrian film heritage that went through several transmutations from Austria to Germany to the US.
The Austrian connection in Hollywood is huge with many emigree directors taking up residence in Hollywood. The rich cinematic lighting and abstract staging techniques of early expressionist film lent elements to film noir. This course will explore the works of directors such as Lang (Metropolis and M), Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), and Lubitsch (Passion) and the influences exerted on them by the popular culture of Austria and Germany during the interregnum of world wars I and II and the fall of the Weimar Republic to National Socialist Rule.
 Possible films (in addition to those above):
 The Student of Prague, 1913, dir. Wegener (The first flush of expressionism)
 The Last Laugh, 1924 dir.Murnau
 Pandora's Box, 1929, dir. G.W.Pabst
 The Blue Angel, 1930, dir. Sternberg
 Waxworks, 1924 , dir. Leni
 The Golem, 1917, dir Wegener (Antisemitic  influences in German Culture)


As a result of the course, within the constraints of the time available, students should be able to:
 Analyze a film scene, in writing or orally.
 Explain how German Expressionist film is related to its historical and political contexts.
 Demonstrate an understanding about unfamiliar works.

JNST 000F 
Interrogating Jewish Literature and Criticism
MTWTH 10 a.m.-12:50 p.m. 
Sharon Oster

There is a debate currently underway over the concept of identity in Jewish Studies.  Benjamin Schreier’s study, The Impossible Jew (2015), for example, asks: is Jewish Studies necessarily the study of Jews?  Why is Jewish American literature contained in a sort of “academic ghetto,” alienated from fields like comparative ethnic studies, American studies, and multicultural studies?  Can the field engage in self-critique about the very meaning of the term “Jewishness,” in relation to “race” and “nation” (i.e., diaspora, Zionist politics, etc.), as other identity-based literary fields do?  Is literary Jewishness “post-ethnic,” as Dean Franco asserts?  Fundamentally, we might also ask: how well do conceptions of race and ethnicity account for Judaism, for Jewish religious experience in literature?

Given the brevity of May term, this course will focus on a limited range of authors we can study in depth, whose literature helps us interrogate the very meaning of “Jewishness,” perhaps not as a given—the culture of a self-evident population to be represented—but something being invented or questioned through literary discourse itself.  Authors may include some of the following: Abraham Cahan, Mary Antin, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, or maybe even Gish Jen.  I’ll be open to suggestions, possibly including film.  Interested students: please get in touch soon!


My scholarship focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary realism, religion and the novel, and Jewish literature, as well as literature of the Holocaust.  I am also interested in spatial and digital approaches to literature.  I teach a range of courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature featuring authors like Henry James, Abraham Cahan, Edith Wharton, and Mark Twain; courses like "Coming of Age in the Gilded Age"; "Holocaust Memoirs: Reading, Writing, Mapping"; "Immigrant Literature"; "American Jewish Literature"; "Autobiography and Graphic Narrative"; “History of Literary Criticism and Theory”; and occasionally courses on satire, time travel, or on the 1960s.

JNST 000G 
The Greeks’ War with Troy:  The Stories and the Evidence
MTTHF 10 a.m.-12:50 p.m. 
Travel Course
Nancy Carrick

This May Term travel course will explore the archaeological, physical, and textual depictions of Helen and the Greeks’ war with Troy, both in their world of the 13th-century BCE late Bronze Age and the classical 5th-century BCE of the great tragedians.   We will read historian Bettany Hughes’s book Helen of Troy and some classical Greek tragedies such as Aeschylus’ trilogy The Oresteia and Euripides’ Helen and Iphigenia at Aulis.  We will spend the first part of the course on campus discussing the history and plays and preparing research questions to guide our time in Greece.  In Greece we will begin in Athens in the National Archaeological Museum (and of course see the major sites on the Acropolis), visit the best preserved classical theatre at Epidaurus to get an idea of the original performances of the great tragedies, visit Mycenae (home of Agamemnon), Delphi (by way of Marathon and Thebes), the mouth of the river where Odysseus quizzed the shades, and then explore the well preserved Minoan site of Knossos on Crete, which yields important information about the Greeks’ and Trojans’ bonze age, and we’ll visit Mycenaean sites on Crete.  Other sites can be negotiated with the group.

We will be accompanied by Greek guide Maria Synodinou, an archaeologist and wonderful host (she led my last May Term student group as well as two University of Redlands Alumni groups).

Internet Afterlife: Virtual Salvation, Consciousness and Personal Identity
M,T,W,Th   10 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Prof. Kevin O’Neill

Course Description: Do you want to live forever? There are serious, consequential people in the public sphere who promise that by 2045 anyone with the means will be able to enjoy digital immortality by uploading their consciousness from its fallible biological home to a more durable substrate – silicon, electronic circuitry, high tech alloys. We will, these people promise, live on indefinitely as android robots, holograms and/or online avatars. And these avatars and robots and holograms will be you, not a replica of you.
Think of this: your robot-self, or your hologram, can deliver its own eulogy and attend the funeral of its biological body.

This seminar will examine the claims of the transhumanists and posthumanists, including the work of philosophers Max More and Nick Bostrom, and transhumanist theorists Hans Moravec, Max Minsky, Natasha Vita-More and Ray Kurzweil.

In aid of testing the claims that these people make we will also review a famous series of philosophical thought experiments that bear on the plausibility of these claims: the Turing test, The Chinese Room Puzzle, Leibnitz’ Mill, Parfit’s Teletransportation experiment, Dennett’s Brain in A Vat, Chalmers’ Zombies and his Hard and Easy Problems.

This is a lot of ground to cover, so we will move swiftly and expect class members to keep up.

Evaluation: This course is open to both grades and evaluations.
Because of the intensity and number of the readings, class members will be asked to complete either a final essay exam or a project that they will commit to during the first week of class.


Everything we read and discuss will be online. URLs will be provided later, as will a reading schedule. If you want to get a flavor, go online and consult the Metanexus Institute, H+, Carboncopies, 2045 Initiative, Terasem, sites as well as Nick Bostrom’s  "Transhumanist FAQ"and “History of Transhumanism”.
Also consult the websites of Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Amber Case, and Katherne Hayles.
By all means, if you can, read Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”.
If you are into scifi, read Gibson’s Neuromancer, Vinge’s True Names and Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
Film buffs see: 2001: A Space Odyssey; Avatar; Surrogates; Her; Lucy; Ex Machina; Transcendence; and my less-known favorite, the South African Film, Chappie.


Week One: What are Transhumanism and Posthumanism?
(Readings from Bostrom, More, Minsky, Hayles)

Week Two: Can Computers Think?
(Readings from Turing, Searle, Parfit, Dennett, inter alia)

Week Three: Can I be uploaded?
(Readings from Kurzweil, Itskov, Rothblatt, Foerst)

Week Four: Religious and Philosophical Objections
(Readings from Dupuy, Fukuyama, Ihde, Thweatt-Bates, Geraci)

Last day of class: Essay exam due. 

Outdoor Adventure:  Australia

Offered by:  Andrew Hollis, University of Redlands Outdoor Programs
April 26, 2016 Date course ends:  May 23, 2016
Course fee:  $3000 (does not include airfare), $4000 (includes flight from LAX). 

Anticipated expenses beyond course fee borne by each student: 
Students will be expected to cover 5 meals throughout the course (lunches while we are travelling/in town).  It is recommended that students bring $75 USD for lunches and any additional money that they want for personal items while on course.

Deposit required:  $1000                                                   Date due: October 15, 2015
Balance of course fee due by:  December 15, 2016         Course enrollment limit:  10

Pre-requisites (if any): An application and possible interview will be required prior to admittance to this program. Applications will be available in late October. Students are highly encouraged to also enroll in the Wilderness First Responder medical certification course offered over spring break.

Course features/descriptions: This course is a hand-on, field experience designed for students who are interested in learning and gaining skills to develop as outdoor/experiential educators.  Students will spend the month of May exploring the mountains, canyons, rainforest, and ocean ecosystems along the Eastern coast of Australia.  This course is primarily a backcountry course, and will teach students how to camp and travel in the extensive bush that Australia offers.  Each day will offer opportunities to engage in classic Australian adventures by hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and simply walking through the bush.  Students will also be completing a community service project prior to the course and practice Leave No Trace principals throughout (see The course utilizes an experiential education curriculum and employs philosophies and models extracted from outdoor education texts. Students will be challenged through physical and emotional situations using the outdoors as a classroom - learning takes place 24 hours a day. Through taking on different group roles and jobs each day, students will not only experience what it is like to be an effective group member, but will learn how to build community and improve their leadership skills. Students will be challenged to think deeply through nightly group reflection meetings, reading assignments and projects to present to the group. From these projects the group will gain interpersonal communication skills, awareness of group dynamics, further self growth, and gain a sense of environmental stewardship not only for themselves, but be empowered to facilitate this experience for others in the wilderness.

Make It Work
May 2016
Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-1p.m.
The description

In this May term course, students interested in pursuing independent work in the manufacture, analysis, or display of visual culture, art, and/or other topics will work with the instructor to plan, process, and complete these projects.  Perhaps a film will be made, or an exhibition planned.  Maybe a question of the philosophy of sculpture will be addressed, or a series of film criticism compiled. You might engage in a wide range of creative or analytical projects, which will be independently negotiated with the instructor.  Students will meet with weekly to address the problems of completing independent work, such as scheduling, focus, and motivation.  Other meetings will involve updates on the work process.  Enrollment in this class is by instructor permission only. 





Do you know the Och Tamale?
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The non-sensical Och Tamale chant was originally titled the "Psalm of Collegiate Thanksgiving."

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