Spring 2013 Courses

M,W,F: 1:00pm-2:20pm
Bill McDonald

Most Johnston courses have a history, and this one is no exception. Several years ago I asked Johnston alums James Boobar and Matt Gray, both prized teachers and counselors, to suggest a course that might be interesting and valuable, especially for new Johnstonians. They quickly proposed a supplement to their team-taught course “Books that Make You Want to Write” that has served so many students well, and suggested “Books that Make You Want to Read.” A splendid idea! So I drew up a list of about a hundred titles, despaired of choosing among them, and decided on two thematic anchors (“freedom” and “reading pleasure”) to narrow the list a little. The first version of the course ran in 2009, with veteran Johnston students Myranda Hunter and Matthew Taylor as co-teachers. It went very well, and thanks to an unexpected postponement of another course, I have an opportunity to offer a second version of the seminar this coming spring.
Here’s my proposal. Risking political incorrectness at Johnston, I’ve chosen the books rather than negotiating possibilities with you. After all it’s my claim, not yours, that these books will make you “want to read.” I chose them first for the pleasure and excitement they generate, and then because in quite different, and enriching, ways they open up our ideas about reading pleasure and our understanding of human freedom. I also didn’t take the easy path of just picking contemporary books, and included two books from the 19th century (Brontë, Flaubert) plus, in Fingersmith, a wonderful pastiche of Dickens and his friend and fellow- novelist Wilkie Collins. My premise is that if you only know the more readily accessible delights of your own time, your experience of pleasure is probably too narrow. Expanding your pleasures, making you a more versatile hedonist (and reader, and thinker, and writer) is my goal. Here they are (order to be worked out together, though we will start with The Magus)

John Fowles. The Magus
Anne Michaels. Fugitive Pieces
Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights
Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary
Garcia Marquez. Chronicle of a Death Foretold
David Mitchell. Cloud Atlas
Sarah Waters, Fingersmith
James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time
Italo Calvino. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler 

Tues.,Thurs. 11:00am-12:20pm
LAR #210 
Prof. Pat Geary

This course is an introduction to Hatha Yoga. We will stretch, breathe, and chant. Hatha Yoga prepares the body, physically and mentally, for meditation and relaxation. In addition to our classes in the Meditation Room, students are expected to maintain journals, read yoga books, and create an independent project of substance. Field trips to other yoga studios are encouraged but not required. 

Hall of Letters #213
W,F 9:30am–10:50am  
Johnston Seminar:Latin Tutorial 
Facilitator: Judith Tschann

This is an intensive beginning Latin class, focusing on grammar and translation, requiring daily homework, memorizing, and an ambitious final project. No previous experience in studying Latin is required, but the pace will be rapid (in a stimulating way, like a brisk walk).

Our goals include acquiring a confident grasp of the grammar of Latin and of English, a bigger vocabulary in English, practical experience in translating as well as an introduction to translation theory, and at least a budding interest in Roman literature and culture. 

LAR 125
Fridays 1:00pm-3:50pm 
GYST The Class (2 units):
Denise Davis

“We invite you to join us in the seminar where we will build our syllabus while practicing and examining the arts of successful organization, time management, and project planning relative to the Johnston academic practice. Seminar participants will dialogue about academic/personal/interpersonal issues, graduation contract building, and our living/learning experiences. Each participant will develop a contract that addresses his or her specific needs.”

Integrated Semester
Julie Townsend

Application Process for Integrated Semester
Due: November 20 at noon in the Johnston Office

This course is for students who want to work on a large project that reaches beyond the parameters of individual courses. Typically students take 8-12 units (4 units = 12 hours of work per week for the semester) of integrated semester in order to complete an interdisciplinary project that combines a variety of learning modes, including research, creative practice, experiential learning, analytical work, etc. Students work independently but in constant consultation with the professor of integrated semester and at least one additional faculty member. Weekly meetings are expected. Candidates for integrated semester must have a graduation contract on file, strong working relationships with the faculty consultants, and the ability to work independently.

Questions: please contact Julie Townsend (Bekins 101;

In a series of short answers or in an essay form, please respond to the following:

Please describe the project in some detail. You might want to include a title and a description of what you want to accomplish. What questions are you addressing and why are they important to you?
Describe the type of integration you plan to accomplish: Is the project interdisciplinary? Does it integrate different modes of inquiry? How are the different aspects of the project related to one another? And, show why you need to do this work in I.S. instead of through existing seminars.
Please describe the research methods and materials you plan to use in order to accomplish the project.
How many units of Integrated Semester are you applying for and how will you distribute those units in relation to the work you plan to accomplish?
How does this project fit into your Graduation Contract and what work have you already done to prepare you for the Integrated Semester?
Describe how you plan to work with faculty members during the I.S. If you have already identified faculty members to help with the project, please include their names; if not, please speak to them about the project as soon as possible.
Finally, include a letter of support from one of the sponsoring faculty members. This letter should be specific about how the faculty member will work with you in the spring semester.

M,W 1:00pm-2:20pm
Prof. Julie Townsend

This course will look at the role of Paris in the artistic, political, and social imagination of American writers. We’ll look at a variety of genres (memoir, journalism, fiction, poetry, letters, and more) from writers as diverse as Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, David Sedaris, and more. We will consider the ways that Paris serves as a second home for ex-patriots, as a model for political theorists, as a haven from segregation for African Americans, and as an impenetrable linguistic labyrinth for non-French speakers.

Class Space: Bekins Lawn
Beginning Indonesian Self Defense: Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen (Credits: 2)  
Instructor: Mas Nick Lowe (Blue Sash and Cun Tao Black Belt in PTT) 

“Poekoelan (Pu ku lan) is an Indonesian word, which means ‘series of blows with returning hands and feet;’ Tjimindie means ‘beautiful flowing waters;’ Tulen means ‘original.’ Together, this describes the movement of this complete martial art, which flows gracefully and is effective in both combat and healing. The art is symbolized by the flexible, supple, yielding bamboo and an individualistic, beautiful rose that has thorns to protect itself. These symbols are set upon a black background, which signify the secrets and mysteries of the art.
The systems movements are of a nature akin to water and bamboo, fluid and circular, spiraling and continuous, graceful and whip-like. Movements are derived from four animals; the tiger, the crane, the monkey, and the snake. The use of these animals provide a set of dynamic dualities: soft/hard, fast/slow, small/large, fierce/playful, circular/angular and high/low.
All of this is combined with a meditative, dance-like form, called the ‘crawl,’ a movement that is completely unique to each practitioner.
Martial techniques for self-defense are joined with breath and energy for union of the body and mind. The purpose is to waken and connect with the body, seek clarity of self and learn to strengthen, protect, and secure the human spirit core by developing calm, compassion, and a high level of internal energy for use in healing. The advanced levels of training in the Tulen art inspire the student to develop not only physical skills but mental and spiritual skills as well. The three advanced phases of the Tulen System are White Dragon, Silver Dragon and Gold Dragon.
Students begin by bowing with empty hands and open minds to our teacher. The cleansing spirit of the art pours through them, and with each step, it washes and purifies them. The training drum rhythms guide the students to their own movement. To fully understand the essence of training, students are encouraged to ‘accept, breathe, flow and not be concerned with outcomes.’ Compassion-based Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen offers a calm and fluidly beautiful art of self-protection and cultivation of the inner spirit.
Cun Tao is the first phase of training in the Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen art. It’s a comprehensive self-defense course developed by Mas Goeroe Agoeng.
Beginning Poekoelan: students are taught effective self-defense skills, basic animal movements, kicks, punches, parries and the initial forms. Students also learn rolling, falling and a prescribed series of 108 quick releases, which can be used to defend against both empty handed attacks and attacks with weapons, including guns, knives, and clubs. Once the 108 attacks or ‘Holds’ are mastered, promotion is made to ‘Third Phase’ training. Throughout all phases of Poekoelan training, students practice meditation and train in the spirit of compassion.” ( 

JNST OOOR: From Hippocrates to Antibiotics
M,W 2:30pm-3:30pm
Prof. James Krueger  

One of the striking facts about western medicine is that, despite the dramatic technological developments of the past century, practitioners still look to truly ancient sources to guide their understanding of how it should be practiced. To this day we talk about the Hippocratic oath and regard it as defining important guidelines for medical practice. Thus we can see that medicine has sought to maintain continuity with its past even amidst the breathtaking changes taking place at present. This suggests that to understand medicine, we must understand something about its history.

In this course, we will survey the history of western (largely but not exclusively European) medicine. We will begin where western medicine is often though to begin, in ancient Greece, and work our way up until just prior to the most dramatic technological breakthroughs of the more recent past. Our aim will be to understand what medicine was prior to the discovery of truly effective and transformative remedies in the early 20th century.

Wed. 1:00pm-3:50pm
Norms, Liberation and Danger
Prof. Sara Schoonmaker

In this class, we explore the dynamic relationship between individuals and society through theory and practice. We engage in a range of desocialization exploriments, breaking social norms to probe the connections between society and self. We analyze our experiences with the exploriments from a range of theoretical perspectives, highlighting the prospects for danger, liberation and environmental sustainability involved with accomplishing and resisting social norms. In the process, we analyze the ways that our worldviews are multiple and constructed. We apply our awareness of the complex, socially constructed nature of social norms to understand the lingering effects of the Protestant ethic; the contemporary construction of norms for cell phone and Internet use; the norms for interactions in racialized spaces; and the effects of consumption norms on environmental sustainability. We end the course by exploring the prospects for liberation through transforming norms, society and self.

One of our texts for the course is a book that I am writing with Bernard McGrane, a sociologist from Chapman University. The book includes excerpts of student papers where they apply social theory to understand their experiences with the exploriments. We will engage in a collaborative process of critique, writing and revision of the book as part of our work for the class.

Wed. 1:00pm-3:50pm
Portraits and Profiles: Master Class 
Prof. Leslie Brody

In this advanced seminar We'll read and write profiles and portraits of fascinating subjects; meet and learn about craft and process from visiting writers and teachers; and look at artistic, professional and academic options for writers after college. This course is designed for students with a strong focus in creative writing who have had experience in previous writing workshops.

T,TH 1:00pm-2:20pm 
Television History Culture
Prof. Tim Seiber

The statistics of television viewing are astounding: 99% of US households have at least one TV, which is on for an average of almost 7 hours per day, and 66% of people watch TV on a daily basis. Often derided as a vacuous way to kill time, or worse as way of actively becoming less intelligent, television nonetheless persists as part of national culture, as a means of advertising, and as a vehicle for the development of new modes of entertainment and education. Much more than simply “programs,” television has an industrial structure, a particular means of organizing time and money, and narrative capacities that cannot be achieved in other mediums (such as film, novels, or radio.) Moreover, television has its own history and culture. This class will examine the social, industrial, narrative, and political development of television as a “radio with pictures” to the contemporary digital moment.

We will think about the constant flow of sound and images, the aesthetics of the sitcom, the use of fashion and set design to create meaning, and the role of the TV set in bringing public and popular culture into the family home. Popular shows such as Mad Men, genres such as science fiction and soap opera, and recent phenomena like reality TV will be analyzed alongside less popular subjects such as science and nature documentary, one hit wonders (shows lasting a season or less), and television from the 1950s and early 1960s. We’ll think about Roseanne and Don Draper, but also about what it means to have the local news and major events like the Olympics beamed into your home.

M,W 1:00pm-2:20pm and Mon. 6:00pm-9:00pm for film seminar
Science Fiction in Film and Television
Prof. Tim Seiber

This course is designed to engage a broad interest in science and science fiction, especially as it is depicted in film and on television. It asks us to consider not only the various forms of otherness that are often at play in science fiction (sexual others, alien others, genetic and biological others, etc.), but also the means and strategies through which film and television display and treat scientific spaces and subjects, including the laboratory, robots, scientists, and computers. The ways in which fantasy plays a role in the visual depiction of science, including the use of robotics, animation, and special effects, will be addressed. Further, we will think about science fiction in relation to the question of genre, considering how melodrama, horror, the western, fantasy, and comedy become embedded, either through their use or disavowal, within science fiction film and television.

To do this, we will watch films and TV from 1951 to the present, covering the classical, New Hollywood, and independent/international uses of science fiction narratives, visual techniques, and themes. The course requires screenings of film and television, popular and academic readings, and discussion/participation in class.

T,TH 2:30pm-3:50pm
Interdisciplinarity: Thinking through Writing
Prof. Priya Jha

Many of us engage daily in intellectual activities that seem to be bound not to any one specific discipline but rather to a whole host of them. Interdisciplinarity and its application is challenging and it is all to easy to fall into the trap of “cut-n-paste” theoretical frameworks. While these collages may be aesthetically pleasing, the shallowness of the intended meaning is revealed as the glue begins to tear from the seams of the paper on which diverse and, at times, conflicting theories are applied. With this as the spine of the class, we will attempt to reach two goals in the class: 1) to study the definition and formation of interdisciplinary studies; 2) to develop your own theoretical framework for a researched, critical analysis paper. Our readings will consist of fiction, literary criticism and theory, film and cultural studies, among others on which we will focus the first half of the semester. We will spend the second half working on your research projects in graduated steps. 

Johnston 000F
Mon/Wed 2:30pm-3:50pm
Women in Comedy
Instructor: Denise Davis

It has been said (repeatedly) that “women aren’t funny.” In fact, a Google search of the phrase yields about 143,000,000 results. This course will deconstruct the “women aren’t funny” theory through in-depth and thorough feminist analysis…and then will prove it wrong. We will accomplish this by studying some of the pioneers in the field such as Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and Phyllis Diller. We will then study various contemporary female comediennes including: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kathy Griffin, Mindy Kaling, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, Ellen DeGeneres, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Lena Dunham, Melissa McCarthy, Chelsea Handler, Rashida
Jones, Zooey Deschanel and many others. This course will explore the history, landscape, theories, and techniques of comedy, with a keen focus on feminist perspectives relative to the comedy world. We will examine various forms of comedy from stand-up to sitcoms, to women on the big screen The course structure will incorporate media viewings, guest speakers, field trips, as well as discussion of readings.

Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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