INQ Courses Approved by Faculty
INQ 110: Intellectual Inquiry
People and the Planet.
How have we changed the Earth and our
environment? How has the environment influenced us? In this course, we will explore both directions of
impact: humans on the environment and the environment on humans. Global warming will be
considered in detail, but w
e will also explore the interactions between humans and their environment
more generally, drawing examples from long ago and today. Students will learn some basic science
related to environmental issues and also examine the economic, political, social, and
considerations involved. (1)
Instructor: G. Steehler
. Approved 11/20/2008.
INQ 110: Intellectual Inquiry
Strange Tales from the Bible.
introduction to a scholarly
understanding of the origin and interpretation of the Bible, we will address the questions, Why have
some tales from the Bible been deemed strange, sparking the interest and imagination of believers and
believers of various
time periods? How have these readers responded to these stories? What
significance have they attached to them? This course will center on stories from the primeval stories of
11 (Adam & Eve, the Flood, Curse of Ham/Canaan, the Tower of Babel), t
he Akedah, the witch
of Endor, and Jephthah’s daughter, and Paul’s vision of the Man of Macedonia. (1)
INQ 110: Intellectual Inquiry
The World of Tomorrow.
he course examines the presentation of
rns, debates, and aspirations in the literary genres of science fiction and fantasy. A social
scientific lens is employed to
critically analyze the characterization of the ideal society in literature.
While exploring dystopic descriptions in fiction, the c
ourse examines potential remedies or solutions to
contemporary social problems. A purposeful exploration of both literary and scholarly works will allow
students the opportunity to reflect on their own assumptions about human nature and think about the
ection of society.
(1) Instructor: Sarabi
Cicero, Augustine and the Formation of the Western Mind.
In this course we read, discuss and
work together on the critical interpretation in writing of classical texts from religion
philosophy (Cicero) that significantly shaped the Western (i.e. Latin) cultural tradition at its beginning. In
the process we reflect on how contemporary thinkers (beginning with ourselves!) appropriate, develop or
extend these classical st
ances in modern projects of learning, inquiry, practice and/or devotion. We inquire
into the formation of the Western mind and its bearing in and on our emerging global civilization. (1)
. Approved 1/27/2009.
INQ 110: Classical Athens
What’s so interesting about the Greeks? What was “the high classical
moment” in Athens? Why are so many of our buildings (and ideas) shaped according to the influence of
ancient Greece? And, most centrally, how do we appraise our legacy from Classi
cal Greece? As we read,
think, and write critically, our goals will be: (1) to learn as much as we can about the Athenians and their
way of life, for its own sake, as a topic rich with interest, and (2) to appraise the mixed legacy of Classical
ics of special interest will include democratic politics, the roles of men and women, slavery,
ideas of sexuality, the Athenian legal system, myth and religion, the theatre, issues
of war and peace, and
concepts of heroism, of happiness, and of knowledge.
NQ 110: Faith and Reason.
Is faith a leap in the dark, a commitment unsupported by any rational
considerations? Can a person who is committed to rational inquiry also have faith? For some people, the
theory of evolution poses a challenge to faith, but does it have to be that way?
These are the kinds of
questions that we will consider in this course. Along the way we will explore what it means to have faith,
and examine both criticisms and defenses of religious belief. We will do some work examining
arguments, including the fundamen
tals of logic on which they are based and their use in fields a diverse
as religion, literature and science. (1)
INQ 110: Forensic Science: The Science Behind CSI.
How is science applied to the investigation of crime?
Modern forensic science uses the latest technologies combined with tried
true procedures to
gather, preserve, and evaluate evidence of criminal activities. These investigative procedures and the
science behind these technologies will serve as the centr
al content for our course. (1)
NQ 110: Ghosts and Human Perception.
What do our beliefs about ghosts tell us about our perceptions
of truth? What are the distinctions between beliefs and knowledge? This interdiscipl
inary examination of
ghost lore and research into haunting experiences will range from religious notions of the afterlife to
psychological studies of such phenomena as schizotypal hallucinations to scientific knowledge of how
environmental factors such as
infrasound and electromagnetism affect our perceptions of the world
around us. The class even gives a brief nod to quantum physics. The students will not be sitting around
scaring themselves silly with campfire ghost stories but examining how their beliefs
about ghosts provide
clues to their most basic assumptions about what it means to be human. (1)
INQ 110: Technology and You!
How does modern technology affect your life? We often think of modern
technology as advanc
ing humanity, or as freeing us for exciting new opportunities. But, does it? We will
explore the impacts of modern technology in daily life, in relationships, and in society. Our focus will be on
the last 50 years of history and the future. Our specific to
pics will include television, cell phones, the
internet, and medical technology. (1) Instructor: J. Steehler.
INQ 110: Vikings and Farmers.
How true is the stereotypical image of the marauding, blood
To what degree was l
ife in medieval Scandinavia determined by trade and farming rather than raiding?
This course examines Eddic poetry, Skaldic poetry, the Icelandic sagas, Scandinavian law texts, and
Hollywood depictions of Vikings in order to separate fact from fiction by a
pplying critical thinking to
ancient and modern sources. In addition to analyzing the power and social structures of medieval
Scandinavia, students will dissect the uses to which the modern age puts the image of Vikings. (1)
INQ 110: Who or What is God?
This course asks the question, Who or What is God? We will use
foundational texts from four of the largest religious communities of the world (Confucius’ Analects; the
Buddha’s Dhammapada; portions of the Qur’an; and th
e gospel of Luke), to compare and contrast how
these four texts answer this and related questions. Our principal methods will be discussion and writing. In
the process, students will join a millennia
long conversation, learn to think critically, and improv
writing skills. (1) Instructor: McDermott.
INQ 110: Are Virtual Realities for Real?
Most futuristic, and sometimes even present
scenarios involve computational devices with abilities far beyond what we actually se
e today. Often,
these devices are artificially intelligent beings that can pass off as humans. In this course, we will
encounter several such scenarios in our readings. Are such scenarios simply fantasy, or do they have the
potential of becoming reality in
the future? Is it possible to create an artificially intelligent being that is
indistinguishable from a human being? We will learn as much as we can about computation to try and
answer these questions. (1)
. Approved 2/18/2009.
INQ 110: Cryptography: Secrets and Security.
Every day vast amounts of private information such as
bank account numbers, credit card numbers, medical records, company financial reports, and
confidential emails are sent over networks from one computer to an
other and stored in vast databases.
How secure are these transactions and databases? Cryptography, often called the science of secret
writing, has been used for thousands of years to keep communications and information secure and is
one of the primary tech
nologies in use today. This course will examine the history, mathematics, and
modern day applications of cryptography. We will address the role of cryptography, its limitations, and
some of the political, social, and ethical considerations that come into p
lay as we strive to ensure
security and privacy in our electronic age. (1)
INQ 110: Image/Body/Voice.
In this class, we will read and write about bodies. We all encounter the
world in bodies. Most cultures have very
clear ideas about how bodies should be presented in the world
as well as standards of attractiveness and notions about ideal bodies. Gender norms also shape ideas
about bodies as do age
based, and ethnic groups. Most people care about how
“look” and respond to others based upon how
“look;” and we are constantly working on our bodies
in various ways to achieve a variety of social rewards. Bodies are simultaneously taken for granted and
the focus of a lot of our energy. Listening to th
e voices of others as they explore the significance of
bodies, we will find our own ways of articulating the complex meanings that bodies have for us as
individuals and as members of social groups. (1)
INQ 110: The
Scientific Pursuit of Happiness.
From the perspective of psychological science this course
examines the nature of happiness and explores strategies that have been proposed for the pursuit of
happiness. Critical inquiry will be made into several questions,
including the following: What is
happiness? How happy are people in general? Who is happy, and why? Is it possible to become happier?
What happiness strategies or skills are supported by scientific research and which are not? Students will
examine and eval
uate the contemporary scientific research on happiness and its correlates, and will
evaluate strategies purported to increase happiness. Students will also be asked to apply their
knowledge of skills derived from happiness research in some dimensions of th
eir everyday lives, and to
appraise the outcomes of applying these specific happiness strategies. (1)
INQ 110: You and the Law.
This course introduces students to basic legal concepts and processes. The
purpose is t
o provide the student with a basic knowledge of the structure of the United States and
Virginia legal systems. It will examine the impact of the law on the judicial, executive and legislative
branches of government. We will also examine the actors in the s
ystem, i.e., attorneys and others. Basic
types of law will be scrutinized. We shall also examine litigation and alternative dispute resolution. (1)
Bodies, Corpses & Death Rituals in the World’s Religions
w do the major religious
communities of the world approach bodies and corpses? What rituals are associated with death and
dying in these communities? We will look at how bodies are religiously conceived, how bodies are
treated ritually and how bodies are t
reated at death. We will limit ourselves generally to reading
introductory essays about Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist/Confucian theories and practices from Asia as well
as essays about Jewish, Christian and Islamic theories and practices from the Abrahamic tr
though we will also read limited selections of primary texts from Asia and from the Abrahamic
traditions. In addition to text
critical work, the student will have the opportunity to do “fieldwork” in
places such as churches, temples, graveyards,
a morgue or other similar sites.
Sinking and Swimming: Issues in Success in Higher Education.
For many students college
represents the best four years of their lives. For others the story is rather di
fferent. On a national level,
in 2005 only 54% of the students who had entered college in 1999 earned a bachelor’s degree. What
difficulties must students overcome on their way to graduation? What factors can help determine the
difference between sinking a
nd swimming in the higher learning setting? Through reading and
discussing scholarly and popular literature
fiction and a work of fiction
viewing a set of
documentaries, exploring through writing the academic and social issues, and putting into p
through a service project some of the strategies that have been linked to student success, we will
investigate the college experience. By semester’s end we should have developed a broader view about
what the higher learning experience entails and a
clearer definition of how students can succeed in this
INQ 110: Poetry: What Is It Good For?
it good for? To find out, we will look at what
on the page and in the ear, for the writer and for the reader, in the world and in our own
lives. The theme is poetry, and we’ll spend our time reading, analyzing, and responding to it. (1)
ctor: M. Hill or Katherine Hoffman.
INQ 110: Retold: Stories from the World and their Embodiments
In this course we will study variations
on classic stories from around the world in multiple genres: oral traditions, fiction, film, poet
ry and art. We
will analyze the structure of individual narratives and, using collaborative research and presentation, we
will ask how each of these retellings manifests historical and cultural contexts. How do these stories shift
form and logic as they mo
ve across the world and across genres? Finally, we will construct our own
variation of one of the great stories, being able to articulate how our embodiment of the story engages the
history and cultural context of the narrative. (1)
INQ 110: The Black Death.
The cataclysmic plague of 1348
50 was a defining event for the late Middle
Ages. The questions of how medieval men and women dealt with the high death tolls, the disruptions to
trade and commerce, population disl
ocations, and the challenges to their faith are still pertinent today,
particularly in the light of twenty
first century concerns with the spread of infectious diseases (e.g. AIDS,
SARS, Avian Influenza). Using a variety of primary source materials (e.g. a
chronicles, poetry, medical reports, woodcuts), students will examine the following issues: geographical
origins of the plague, symptoms and transmission, medical responses, socioeconomic impact, as well as
religious, cultural, and
artistic responses. With a strong emphasis upon document analysis, this course
will introduce students to rigorous inquiry in the liberal arts while developing critical thinking and
academic writing skills. (1)
. Approved 4/14/2009.
110: Gender and Leadership.
Do men and women lead differently? Do people have different
reactions to male and female leaders? Which company policies and organizational cultures help or hinder
men and women leaders? Why do family responsibilities to childre
n and elders hold both men and women
back from upper management? In this course, we will study gender issues in leadership using an
interdisciplinary approach, by integrating research from psychology, sociology, economics, management,
and related fields. (
INQ 110: The Inward Life and Outward Life: Making a Difference in the World.
How do people create
their positive impact on others? We will explore writings by individuals who have made an important,
positive impact in recent history. We will ask questions about their motivations, concerns, methods of
working, and why they had such
a positive impact. We will look at their original context and the
conversations in writing that they prompted. In the process, we will think about narrative and argument,
autobiography and biography, and the creative ways that people use their energies a
nd change the
All of this is part of what it means to become an educated person
adept at reading, writing,
speaking, and thinking critically about various kinds of texts. (1)
INQ 110: Marriage and Family i
n the 21
An examination of some of the challenges facing
individuals and American society as we seek to maintain and support marriages and families in the 21
century. Course topics covered help students answer the following questions: How will
families be structured in the future? What will it be like to have a marriage, children, and a career? What
are the benefits of being married, having a family, or remaining single? What social policies and laws are
needed to support individu
als and families as they face the challenges of the future? To address these
questions, we review social trends associated with cohabitation, inter
racial marriage, gay and lesbian
partnerships, blended and single parent families, and parenting practices.
Instructor: Kristi Hoffman
INQ 110: The Media and the Supernatural.
The Da Vinci Code
Buffy the Vampire
The Blair Witch Project
, and the
series are only recent illustrations of
Americans’ longstanding fascination with the supernatural and the paranormal. Our course will examine
this fascination within the broader context of the Information Age, with particular focus on New Media.
We will a
lso read and write about implications for current religious and spiritual practices, and for
tendencies toward secularization (i.e., the weakening of the influence of religious institutions). Key
questions: Why do many Americans (especially the young) clai
m to reject religion at the same time that
they readily embrace spirituality? What do media representations of the supernatural reveal about the
broader society, as well as about prevailing religious forces? Many of our inquiries will be assisted by
iques and terminology drawn from semiotics, a formal (but easily accessible) method for studying
signs, symbols, codes, etc. (1)
INQ 110: A Study of American Film.
Have you ever wondered what makes a film a classic? W
what is the “best movie of all time?” How is that decision made? By examining American Film from a
literary, technical and commercial perspective, we will attempt to answer these questions. By viewing
the American Film Institute’s top ten film o
f all time, we will examine film as literary texts and visual art.
You will learn to analyze the formal aspects of films
including scenes, shot selection, and dialogue
and will be introduced to genre and theoretical approaches to film study. You will learn
to discuss films
from a thoughtful and informed perspective, and write critically and analytically about how they work
and what they accomplish as films. (1)
INQ 110: Wild Justice: The Tradition of Revenge.
heme of this class is one of the oldest and still
pervasive cultural practices: revenge. We often think of vengeance as bloody, illicit, and apt to spiral out
of control. Yet revenge is also a course of action associated with those on the margins, who have
access to or have been denied legal recourse, and with the desire to “get one’s due.” The class will
examine the complex and ambiguous relationship between revenge, justice, and the law. Is there an
ethics of revenge? Is there a structure and aesthetic
of revenge? (1)
INQ 110: Cultural Perspective: Finding Ourselves in Folktales
Who are the “folk” in folktales? How are these “folk” constructed by their cultures? Can we, as
modern people, relate to any of t
he issues facing these “folks” from long ago? How has culture
constructed us? How has it impacted the decisions we make in our daily lives? As we read
folktales from a variety of cultures and critical materials that help students engage the primary
ts, we will use class discussion, writing assignments, and research projects to meet our course
goals: 1) to use the knowledge of cultural perspective gained through analysis of select folktales
to evaluate how our own lives are impacted by culture; 2)
to assess how our cultural
perspectives may impact our daily decision
Instructor: Stoneman. Approved 4/21/2009.
INQ 110: First Contact: Native Americans and Europeans
For millennia before Europeans arrived, a variety of Native American cultures flourished in North
America. This course examines how these cultures changed under the impact of European civilization, a
process that lasted for several centuries. Every aspec
t of the lives of natives was disrupted
subsistence livelihood, their political organizations, their religious practices, and their connections to
and the impact of these changes is still visible today. To fully appreciate this compl
dynamic, it is necessary to explore the rich diversity of traditions that existed before first contact. We
will seek to understand how native societies adapted economically, politically, and religiously through
assimilation, accommodation, and resistan
ce. We will then go on to focus this inquiry around specific
religious movements that arose in response. Our course will answer three related questions: who were
Native Americans before Europeans arrived, how were they affected by this momentous meeting,
what is the legacy of this impact today? (1)
Instructor: Marwood Larson
INQ 110: Everything’s an Argument
is it important to recognize that everything is an argument? In this course we will answer that
question by studying specific types of arguments in detail, considering complex argumentation, and
questioning factual assertions made by journalists, scientis
ts, and politicians, among others. As we explore
and examine formats ranging from essays to billboards students will be given a firm grounding in the
central concepts of rhetoric. This course will also help students further develop their skills in critical
thinking, writing, reading, speaking, and researching as well as prepare them for academic and personal
success by awakening their intellectual curiosity. Our classroom will serve as a place to think rhetorically
and with self
awareness about the beliefs
and opinions that inform their actions in the Roanoke College
community and beyond. (1)
Instructor: Whiteside. Approved 4/21/2009
INQ 110: Reading the Landscape: Exploring “Sense of Place”.
We have lifelong interaction with the
we conduct o
ur daily lives in it, we seek both the familiar and the exotic in it, and it holds
our memories and reveals our values
yet these relationships often go unexamined.
What does it
means to know a place? How can we study or “read” it? Does place shape us or do
we shape it? How
does place change over time?
This course will
focus on an inherently interdisciplinary topic,
place,” using a variety of methods (verbal, physical, visual, etc.) and approaches (literature, history,
geography, visual art, etc.)
in an effort to comprehend a difficult but powerful subject
. Our critical
investigation of place/landscape may include the dynamics of insider/outsider, subjectivity/objectivity,
themes that are both personal and universal. By learning to re
ad the landscape, we will
better understand our place in it.
Use your eyes, be curious, seek answers. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk.
Restorative Justice: From Retribution and Punishment to Restoration and Reint
course examines restorative justice, in theory and in practice, and contrasts its basic principles with the
concepts and application of retribution and punishment. From a global perspective, students will
examine the historical and cultu
ral contexts in which restoration, reintegration and peacemaking
criminology are utilized. Practices such as victim/offender conferencing, family group conferencing and
sentencing circles will be researched and critically evaluated. Course material will
provide students with
the tools to debate the following critical questions: What does justice mean? What is society’s role in
responding to wrongdoing? Are restorative justice and retribution mutually exclusive? How can the
harm from wrongdoing most ef
fectively be resolved? Can restorative justice be effectively applied in
large, more complex and individualistic societies? We critically evaluate literature regarding efforts to
utilize compensatory sanctions, collaborative processes and consensual outc
omes to repair the harm to
victims, communities and offenders in the course of offending behavior. (1) Lecture: 3 hr/wk.
INQ 110: Fads, Fashions and Movements.
This course explores two forms of social change in th
States: mass behavior and social movements. Through a close study of fads and fashions, this course will
attempt to understand the emergence and disappearance of fads and fashions and what they say about
a culture. In addition, the course will stu
dy another form of collective behavior, the social movement, by
learning about recent movements in the United States. We’ll ask questions about the conditions that
give rise to movements, who participates in them and why, and social movement ideology, orga
and tactics. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Berntson.
INQ 110: Medieval Mysticism.
This course will survey medieval mystical traditions in the Mediterranean
world and in Asia. We will focus on the life and thought of Maimonedes, Hil
degard, Rumi and Ramanuja
and will imagine ways their thought and practice lives in today's world. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Rothgery.
INQ 110: Global Health Challenges.
What are the largest public health challenges facing the world
y? What causes these challenges to persist, and what steps can be taken to ensure “health for all”?
This course will survey the field of global health by examining three specific global health challenges:
child mortality/under nutrition, HIV and other infe
ctious disease, and heart disease/diabetes. We will
pay particular attention to social aspects of disease causation, studying the cultural, historical, political,
and economic differences that lead to inequities in health. We’ll read notable ethnographic a
scholarly depictions of global health challenges, critically assess past and current attempts at improving
public health outcomes, and, through the use of case studies, research, and inquiry
based writing, learn
to combine both medical and cultural know
ledge in designing effective public health programs. (1) 3
hr/wk. Instructor: Morris.
Visual Culture and Graphic Novels.
This course serves as an introduction to critical methods in
popular culture studies, with a focus on the
graphic novel as cultural product and practice. Together, we
will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre,
as well as some emerging classics. The exploration of visual culture, the image as text and
novel genre will lead us to interesting questions. How do we make meaning out of the image? How do
images speak to us? What is Visual Culture? What is a graphic novel? Where are graphic novels situated
in popular culture? What does it mean to
claim that graphic novels are both marginalized genre and
marginalized subject? How do graphic novels work? These questions and many others will guide our
investigations of the graphic novel. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: McGraw.
INQ 110: My
ths of Musical Genius: An Inquiry into Originality in Music.
What do we mean when we say
a composer was a genius, or speak of musician’s genius, or the genius of singer? How can we say a work
such as an opera or Broadway show is a work of musical genius, w
hen it is essentially a collaborative
project? The term ‘myth’ can refer to any abiding story of human action and achievement. This course
covers four stories concerning originality in musicians and their music: Robert Johnson and the
Mississippi Delta blu
es; Ludwig van Beethoven and the classical symphony; Georges Bizet’s
the jazz singer Billie Holiday. We will consider the repertories, teachers, influences, and collaborators,
with the goal of understanding the “back
story” of music history, wh
ich is all too often eclipsed by the
myths and legends of popular consciousness. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Marsh.
INQ: 110: Reading and Writing the Self in Late
Twentieth Century Women’s Memoir.
engages the author in issue
s of culture and identity as the writer both records and interprets personal
experiences for the reader. This course is a study of the memoir as form. We will explore the memoir
as genre by reading and analyzing the memoirs of contemporary American women
writers, and we will
practice the art of writing memoir. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Hopson.
INQ 110: How Did Women Get the Vote?
In this course we will answer the question, “How did women
get the vote?”
Specifically, we will learn the
basic skills of college level thinking, analysis, and writing
through a focused exploration of the American woman suffrage movement.
More generally, this course
will teach students how to think and write by looking in depth at how historians work.
with the origins of ideas about woman suffrage in the eighteenth century, and ends with the passage of
amendment in 1920.
We will mostly read documents that were written at the time by
suffragists and anti
suffragists, supplemented by
readings from historians.
As we work through the
movement’s history we will build skills necessary for reading and analyzing documents, constructing and
defending arguments, and communicating ideas effectively in writing.
Original description published b
y mistake by CC:
This course will introduce first year students to
college level reading, writing, thinking, and research through the discipline of history. As we
explore the ideas and events of the American woman suffrage movement we will learn and
ce essential skills for every undergraduate. Among these are careful engaged reading,
analyzing sources, organizing evidence, understanding cultural context, constructing arguments,
and writing clearly and effectively. As is explained in the above quote,
history is not something
that we receive passively and memorize; history is something that must be constructed. You
will learn the basic skills to construct history in this course. (1) 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Henold.
INQ 110: Medicine i
This course examines medicine in the United States. We will examine
the science behind medical decision
making, including making a diagnosis and choosing between
treatment options. This course also includes an experiential component to give st
udents some first
hand experience wit
h medical settings.
From Fantomina to Fight Club: Literary Representations of Masculinity
This course aims to
trace representations of masculinity in literatures from
the eighteenth century to the present. Current
conceptions of masculinity evidenced through texts and images such as
, John Wayne and
Sylvester Stallone have a historical and literary precedent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
modern theories of masculinity to guide us through the literature, we will analyze men and
masculinity from the perspective of gender instead of a “cultural stand
in for humanity.” Numerous
questions will guide our inquiries such as: How have men and masc
ulinities been defined? How do
representations of masculinities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries resonate with current
conceptions of masculinities? What characteristics make up modern conceptions of masculinity? We
will look at issues that ha
ve defined men and masculinities since the eighteenth century. Issues such as
labor, reproduction, sexuality, remote fathers, and deviant behavior will remind us that we analyze
masculinity as a social construction with a diverse and complicated literary
and historical resonance.
March 30, 2011
INQ 110 Pharmaceuticals in the USA.
Where do drugs come from and how are they evaluated? Are
newer drugs better than old drugs? Why are drug costs “out of control”? Students in this course will
work individually and in groups to use a combination of popular press and scientific sources to
drugs and the drug industry through careful, rigorous analysis of the published claims and evidence
provided by both the drug industry and its critics. The course also includes a five
requirement in which students will gain some
hand experience with the healthcare field.
Instructor: Sarisky. March 30, 2011
INQ 110 Science, Myths, Magic, and Chaos
How do we know what we know? Humans convey
information through stories, which can oversimplify and distort the information.
The resulting myths
may be misinterpreted and modified by those hearing the story. Even our senses are subject to story
telling, as our brains do impressive amounts of computation before sending a story to our conscious
mind. Magic tricks and illusions hel
p illuminate some of the details of the brain’s inner workings.
Physical processes play tricks on us as well. The mathematical field of chaos explores situations in which
seemingly random phenomena are produced by simple mathematical rules. This course exp
boundary between fact and myth and the boundary between the knowable and the unknowable.
Instructor: R. Minton.
March 30, 2011
INQ 110 Ecstasy
. What is ecstasy? An emotion? A mental state? A physiological response to particular
r some, it's simply a drug to be given at a particular moment in order to achieve a desired
effect, while for others it's something to be sought over the course of a lifetime. Is ecstasy a good
thing? Is it separate from our ordinary lives, or part of it
? Can we strive for and achieve it on our own,
or must it be given to us? Should it be a goal in life? Should it be
goal in life? Can it be sustained?
it be sustained? How has it been defined in the past? How is it related to sin? To fea
r? To the
sublime? Students in this class will read widely and discuss actively literary works relating to this topic,
seeking, finally, to answer these questions for themselves and in relation to their own goals in life.
INQ 110 Life and Death in the Streets of Paris.
The streets of Paris, whether as sites of (re)construction
or deconstruction, playground or battleground, play a critical role in the history of 19
century Paris, a
role reflected in the numerous wo
rks by major 19
century writers that foreground the city’s streets.
What can we learn about history, society, and culture by examining how, when, and by whom streets
are used? We will read excerpts from Hugo, Balzac, and Zola that depict street activity
major historical periods: the Bourbon Restoration, the July Monarchy, and the Second Empire. We will
consider these literary texts in counterpoint to other representations, both written (memoirs,
newspaper articles, “objective” histories) and
visual (lithographs, caricatures, photographs), of street
activity over the same historical periods. Using the contrasts we establish, we will discuss the nature of
historical documents and their reliability. What, if anything, can literature communicate t
sources of information cannot?
April 19, 2011
INQ 110 Life in the Ancient City.
The history of city life is of particular interest because of the
importance of the cities in our own lives, as centers of politics, culture and
commerce. Scholars agree
that the emergence of cities was an integral moment in human history. The highly urbanized civilizations
of the ancient Greece and Rome represent a particularly concentrated and intense flourishing of the
urban form. By engaging w
ith case studies from Greece and Rome to illuminate their similarities and
differences, we will ask: How did city living impact and shape ancient societies? How were cities
sustained and constituted socially, economically, and politically? From the start,
we will work with the
archaeological evidence and the ancient textual sources, and learn methods for their analysis. Writing
and research assignments will aid us in formulating our own questions and interpretations as we unpack
f the ancient city.
April 19, 2011
INQ 110 Pilgrimage: The Camino de Santiago.
This course examines the theory and purpose of
pilgrimage with an emphasis on the origins and development of early Christian pilgrimage and its
importance in the medieval world as well as the current revitalization of pilgrimage traditions.
The primary focus will be on Spain’s Camino de Santiago and the relevance of this 1000
tradition to Spain’s and Europe’s self
definition. Other sig
nificant pilgrimage traditions, both medieval
and modern, will also be incorporated. Readings will lead students to critically debate questions such
as: What factors led to the development of medieval pilgrimage? What effect did pilgrimage have on
olitical, economic, and social development of medieval society? Why did medieval pilgrims choose
to walk hundreds of miles to visit a sacred site? Why do modern pilgrims do the same? Does pilgrimage
change the individual?
INQ 110 Truth or Hype: Science in the News.
Climate change. Energy. Alternative medicine. Many of
today’s hottest issues stand at the interface of science and public policy. Most citizens learn about these
complex issues through popular media co
verage. But do newspapers, magazines, documentaries, blogs,
etc. present an accurate view of the issues? What are the real issues? How do we figure this out? How
do we determine if reporting is accurate or fair? Are these the same thing? Who should we trus
does it mean to be an “expert”? We will explore the science behind controversial issues and evaluate
how complicated scientific issues are represented in the media. Instructor: K. Anderson. April 19, 2011
INQ 120: Communication in
An investigation of the traits and behaviors of effective, ethical
leadership and exploration of how one can inspire a values
based organization with different channels
of communication (verbal, non
verbal, written, public, and private). In thi
s sense, an organization is a
“social unit of people, systematically arranged to meet a need or to pursue a goal.” The theories of
leadership and ethics will be explored, and practical applications (teamwork, oral presentations, writing
be utilized to enhance communication and leadership skill development. All topics
discussed have a strong underlying ethical component. To accentuate this, ethical leadership will be
further analyzed through a unique collection of essays by philosophers, l
eadership scholars and
management theorists. Students will analyze how an increased understanding of communication
enhances their confidence and self
image as effective leaders. (1)
INQ 120 The Moral of Our Story.
his course introduces students to ethical inquiry by reading accounts
of slaves, POWs, holocaust survivors, and important events in the 20
century such as the bombing of
Hiroshima. Through these non
fiction narratives we will gain insight into key quest
ions in moral
philosophy such as: Is morality all relative? Why should we be good? How can we know the difference
between right and wrong? (1) Lecture: 3 hr/wk. Instructor: Wisnefske
Approved 4/14/2009, Modified
INQ 120: Living an Examined L
ife: Civic Engagement.
The respective roles of citizens and their
governments have been philosophic, ethical, and practical concerns in the West since the Greeks.
Students will read sources dealing with the responsibility of citizens to obey, sacrifice, cr
serve. The course will emphasize the value contradictions of the “virtue” and “results” civic traditions.
Students will read, discuss, research, and write about citizenship in the past and today. Perhaps the chief
question that permeates the l
iterature on citizenship is whether the molding of virtuous civic character
is the responsibility of government, the community, the individual, or whether public judgments
concerning civic virtue have any place in a liberal society at all. Should governmen
t be judged by its
, measured by the beneficial results provided to individuals, or by what some call
measured by the growth in virtue of its citizens? (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: CW Hill.
INQ 120: Spinoza: The Ethics of Experimentation.
This course understands Spinoza’s ethics as an
“experimentalism.” Despite the fact that Spinoza died over 300 years ago, his writings remain
remarkably prescient for a wide variety of disciplines from religi
on to neuroscience. The source of this
prescience, however, comes from Spinoza’s recasting ethical theory in terms of how we
rather than in terms of how we
live. Freedom in every aspect of life from the personal to the
political to the re
ligious is dependent on a particular way of engaging with the world. This engagement
takes the form of an experiment to see if what we engage with results in an increase or a decrease in
our capacity to affect and be affected by the world. True freedom, fo
r Spinoza, lies in increasing our
(1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: Adkins.
INQ 120: In Socrates’ Footsteps: The Philosophical Quest for Right and Wrong.
How should I live? What is
the good life? How can I gain my highest
potential? These questions were for Socrates the most important
and pressing questions human beings can ask
and must ask
as he believed “the unexamined life is not
worth living.” By following in Socrates’ footsteps, we will embark on the philosophical
quest to grasp the
truth about right and wrong. This means that we will strive to move beyond popular opinions about the
good life, which we too commonly accept without much thought, and toward knowledge grounded in
reasons and evidence. (1) Lecture: 3hr/
wk. Instructor: Vilhauer.
INQ 120: Theologians Under Hitler: Confusion, Collaboration, Resistance.
In this course, we will study the
various stances adopted by Protestant theologians to the rise of Adolph Hitler with his Nazi conceptio
of the ‘good’ life, making note of concurrent responses by Catholic and Jewish theologians. We will
explore how theologians, with their own ideas of the ‘good’ life,’ were perplexed, engaged, enthralled,
and/or alarmed and motivated to resistance by Hitl
erism. We will role play the parts orally of these
theologians and engage in debate with others about how Christians in Germany of the 1930s should
take Hitler and his movement. We will write a research paper on a theologian of our choice from this
exploring his stance in depth and give an oral presentation on it to the class. Finally, we will
generalize from this study to reflect on theological conceptions of the good life and how they ought to
intersect with other conceptions. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk.
INQ 120: Landscapes of Evil in Literature of the Fantastic.
Both fantasy and science fiction can tell us
much about the ways in which cultures view good and evil. Perhaps this is because the origins of both
s can be traced to myths, folktales, allegories, and other literature which has been used to transmit
both cultural values and theological principles. In this course , we will read and analyze examples of
literature of the fantastic with a focus on the fol
lowing questions: In what ways have human cultures
defined, located, and rationalized evil? How have they suggested that the various forms of evil should be
met and “remedied”? In the process of answering these questions, students will develop and articula
their own definitions of evil and recommendations for dealing with it in their lives and in our
contemporary culture. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: D. Selby.
INQ 120: Do Unto Others: An Anthropology of Service.
“Service to others
” is a fundamental concept in
all human societies. What drives the human desire to serve? This course focuses on understanding
varying definitions of service by investigating the historical, economic, and social motivations underlying
them. To further unde
rstand motivation for service, we’ll read notable ethnographic and biographical
depictions of service, analyze theoretical positions speaking both for and against attempts to improve
social welfare, and engage in a process of self
reflection about our own
motivations for service. In order
to facilitate self
discovery, this course requires students to engage in service experiences of their
1) Lecture: 3hr/wk; 6 hours of required service. Instructor: Morris.
INQ 120: Marx’s Philosophical Search for the Good Life in Modern Societies.
What is the good life? How
can we live the most meaningful life? How can we fulfill our highest potentials? For Karl Marx our ability
to answer these questions has a direct bearing
on our ability to understand ourselves as participants in a
shared, social world with others. People fulfill and realize their humanity through meaningful work or
creative activity, which allows them to contribute to a wider community. According to Marx,
societies most people are denied such a work activity, which leads to their dehumanization and
alienation from their social world. Marx proposed a system of production, which is based on
cooperation rather than acquisitiveness and self
st to counter the negative consequences of
capitalism. We will follow the early and late Marx’s search for the good life to get a deeper
understanding of key concepts coined by him, such as ideology, alienation, exploitation, exchange
value and cl
ass antagonisms. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: Leeb.
INQ 120: Business Ethics: In Absentia or In Repair?
This course examines business ethics from a historical
and prospective basis. Students will be challenged to evaluate their own
view of business ethics and reflect
on how that preconception has changed by the end of the course. We will establish what is meant by
ethics in the business community, review some examples of ethics violations and what the business world
is doing to addr
ess the concerns that those ethics breaches have uncovered. Throughout the course we
will also look at examples of companies that are doing things the ethical way, and how they should be
emulated. We will analyze case studies, topical readings, films and v
ideo clips to formulate our base of
understanding, and reflect on that knowledge in written papers and in oral debate. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk.
INQ 120: Freedom, Ethics, and the Good Life: Do We Decide?
This course will
explore the possibility of
leading an ethical life and its relationship to a life lived well, “the good life.” This will be accomplished
through an investigation of one of the most interesting and central philosophical and religious issues, the
free will and its relation to moral responsibility. Topics addressed will include a history of the
problem of free will, determinism, freedom, values, responsibility, skepticism, predestination, the doctrine
of karma, reincarnation, and more. The course ma
terial will include readings in western and eastern
philosophical and theological thought
ancient and contemporary, psychology, and cognitive science. (1)
Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: Kelly.
INQ 120: Choosing the Good Life.
of this course is that life, like art, is about making choices,
good and bad. Focusing on several dramas and supplemental, relevant readings, students in this course
will examine choices made by playwrights and by the characters in their dramas and will t
hen reflect on
those choices and their consequences and the relevance of both to their own lives. Students will consider
the choices made by playwrights from Sophocles to Ionesco and from non
dramatic writers from Plato to
Sartre and will be then asked to
reflect not only on their own reactions to those writers but also on the
reactions of their peers. The overarching ethical questions that will form the thematic core of the course
will include: What is the good life? How is the good life achieved? How do w
e connect our choices to our
personal search for the good life? (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: Partin.
INQ 120: The Examined Life: Happiness and Goodness.
This course explores the relation between living a
happy life and leading a mo
rally good life. We will use ancient and modern classics to identify conceptions
of happiness ranging from the pursuit of pleasure to spiritual fulfillment, as well as different ways of
conceiving moral goodness. Some of these deal with discerning and foll
owing our own interests and others
with our relations to others and the bonds of duty that preserve those relations. By examining the
traditions of ethical thought that embody these views and debating their practical applications we can
hope to arrive at a
better understanding of the grounds for our moral judgments. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk.
INQ 120: Human/Nature: Person, Place, Story.
“Human versus nature”: this is the traditional
formulation of one of the central themes a
ddressed in literary works. The phrasing suggests that the
essential character of the relationship between human beings and the natural world is one of conflict.
But is the shorthand “human versus nature” an accurate representation of
the ways writers
understood and represented their own and others’ relationship to nature? We will read various “nature
writers” and philosophers whose texts chronicle and contemplate different human/nature relationships
in order to reflect on our own beliefs and ideas
about place, nature, and environment. What do we
mean by “nature”? Is it possible for humans to live in concert with the natural world, or is conflict
inevitable? What values should guide our relationship with the world around us, and what role do story
nd symbol play in exploring, cataloging and re(creating) our changing relationships with the natural
1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: McGlaun.
INQ 120: Artistic Value/Valuing the Arts: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Community Engagemen
This course is
designed for students interested in studying the relation between society and the arts (literature, music,
poetry, visual art, architecture, etc.). The course examines three broad issues: the power and value of
the arts, the sponsorship o
f the arts and arts education, and censorship of artists and works of art.
Readings include a range of philosophical works from classical antiquity to the Enlightenment and post
Enlightenment, including many writings by contemporary thinkers. A broad range
of art works will be
studied. Students will engage with an off
campus organization of their choosing
an organization that
represents one of four subject populations (school children, retired persons, the infirm, or recently
in order to
explore ways in which they can enrich their personal reflections with
direct observation on how individuals and communities value the arts. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor:
INQ 120: The Meaning of Life.
What is the meaning of l
ife? In order to answer this question, one must
ask many others; for example, why are we here? Who am I? What is the nature of reality and the
universe? How can I find happiness? What is the truth? What is my purpose? In this course, students will
tiple sources on a wide range of topics that attempt to address these “big” questions in life, in a
search for meaning and purpose. The course will move from a broad perspective of historical solutions
to these problems (e.g., religious, philosophical, soc
ial, economical, political) to more contemporary
approaches (e.g., physics, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience) in an effort to understand
“what is the meaning of life?” Ultimately, the course will focus on how the science of psychology can
inform our understanding of how we come to define our own life’s purpose. While there is admittedly
no one answer to this question, the goal of this course is to use reading and writing along with open
debate and discussions to help students critically ass
ess different value systems as well as to
evaluate/reevaluate their own value system. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructor: Buchholz.
Love Religions: Mysticism and Morality in the World’s Religions.
This course will examine some
the ways major religious mystical traditions have thought about love, both as a way of describing the
divine, but also as a way to imagine embodying the divine through examined moral living in the world.
We will limit ourselves generally to reading introd
uctory essays about Hindu, Buddhist and
Taoist/Confucian theories of love and associated moral practices as well as essays about Jewish,
Christian and Islamic theories and practices. We will also read limited selections of primary texts from
Asia and from
the Abrahamic traditions. In addition to text
critical work, we will examine cultural
expressions around the world of love in action, of divine love as a mode leading an examined moral
human life. (1) Lecture: 3hr/wk. Instructors: Rothgery; M. Larson
INQ 120: Exploring Ethics in Communication.
This course will begin with an examination of some major
theorists in normative ethics. We will read selections of important works from Aristotle, Jeremy
Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, and Jürgen Habermas. Additionally, we will read
contemporary sources in feminist and pragmatic ethics. We will then take our knowledge of moral
making and begin exploring contemporary topics in media and communication ethics. These
shall include the topics of free speech, public speaking, polit
ical communication and advertising, public
relations, blogging, journalism, photo manipulation, and organizational communication. Through our
examination of these ethical issues, we will continue to explore the uses and limits of the theories
analyzed at t
he beginning of this course. Students will determine for themselves which ethical system, if
any, largely captures what we think ought to be included in our concept of the person who lives and
communicates with integrity. We will explore the following ques
tions: How ought we to play our part in
all of the interactions we are party to? How should the media cover issues of a sensitive or potentially
harmful nature? How do new technologies and practices impact the ethical situations in
communication? How do ou
r interactions with others reflect and shape who we truly are? (1) Lecture: 3
hr/wk. Instructor: Cooper.
INQ 120: The Art of Madness: Mental Illness in Life and Literature.
This course explores the concept of
madness as it has been hist
orically deployed from the Early Modern Period to the present day allowing
us to see how different philosophical and religious traditions have discussed the issue of mental illness.
By looking at the ways madness has been understood throughout history, st
udents will investigate the
societal marginalization of those deemed mentally unsound, deviant, abnormal, etc. By exploring the
construction of madness and deviance we also question our own conceptions of normalcy and raise
questions of how an ethical soc
iety deals with this issue. The course will further ask students to
investigate their own understandings of madness and insanity as they relate to broader ethical,
philosophical and religious approaches to madness across different historical periods. We
will look at a
wide variety of representations that suggest a philosophical approach to madness demonstrating this
term’s engagement with larger social issues as a reflection and critique of social injustice. (1) Lecture: 3
hr/wk. Instructor: McGraw.
Character at Crossroads: Literature and the Ethical Dilemma.
A story exists because at some
point a decision is made. Something must be done, and consequences will, like it or not, follow. In the
stories of our own lives, similar ru
les apply. How then can we use our understanding of literature to
prepare us to face the transformative decisions of our lives? How will we consider consequences? Where
might we find potential meanings? And what ultimately do we owe to each other, ourselve
s, and the world
? (1) Lecture: 3 hr/wk. Instructor. M. Hill.
INQ 120 Ethical Traditions and the Good Life.
This course will offer a survey of the great ethical
thinkers in a historical context. We will ask the basic questions of human
ethical behavior, starting from
"What is a good life?" We will study how such questions and answers have changed over time, and how
different cultures have dealt with them. A particular focus will be on how western Christianity has
addressed these questio
ns in a rapidly changing world. (1) Lecture: 3 hrs/wk. Instructor: Willingham.
INQ 120 Learning for Liberation.
Students will use a social science / education perspective to analyze
the American educational system, specifically eval
uating how democratic citizenship is facilitated or
impaired by students' educational experiences. Reading topics will include social justice, U.S.
educational policy, democratic principles, and learning theory. Written and oral assignments will ask
ts to make connections between the course materials and their own experiences with an
emphasis on how they might choose to interact with the educational system in the future. (1) Lecture: 3
hrs/wk. Instructor: Stoneman.
Leisure and Pleasure in Ancient Greece and Rome
. How the Ancient Greeks and Romans spent
their leisure time and engaged in entertainment can tell us much about the values they had, not only
about leisure and entertainment, but also about society and cultu
re. This class will investigate several
forms of Greek and Roman entertainment
sports, food and dining, and sex
in order to consider these
questions: How did living a good life connect to pleasure and entertainment? What can we learn about
from Greek and Roman leisure activities? And how do the insights we gain from studying
these ancient societies help us to understand how our own values shape and are shaped by our choices
of entertainment? Specific areas of inquiry include the ethics of co
mbat sports and killing for
entertainment, how social rank and/or gender affects access to leisure, and the multiple conceptions of
sexuality. (1) Lecture: 3 hrs/wk. Instructor: DeVries.
INQ 120 The Sectional Crisis & the American Ci
For generations of Americans, the paradox of
slavery and freedom existed as a daily reminder of the inherent flaw within the fabric of American
society. Could or should this country endure, as Lincoln asked, “half slave and half free?” In the dec
between the American Revolution and the Civil War, the moral debate over slavery, the constitution and
States Rights divided this nation like no other topic in our country’s history. (1) Lecture: 3 hrs/wk.
Instructor: M. Miller.
INQ 120 Sustainability and the Land Ethic.
Sustainable management of the earth’s natural resources
requires finding a balance between the often competing goals of environmental integrity, economic
prosperity, and social equity. Our priorities, and the tr
offs that we must necessarily make (both
individually and as a society), ultimately influence our ability to live the “good life”
however you may
choose to define it. This course will explore different conceptions of the relationship between human
ociety and the natural world to address the question of whether a “good life” can also be sustainable.
(1) Lecture: 3 hrs/wk. Instructor: O'Neill
Does Gun Control Save Lives?
Perspective: Western. Does gun control save lives? Such a
politically charged question can be approached from many directions. In this course students will learn
the methodologies of modern statistics and use them to address the issue of measuring the
ectiveness of gun control. Special attention will be given to the importance of being able to set aside
politics, emotions, and pre
conceived notions in order to analyze a difficult question from a statistical
point of view. (1)
Here's to Your Health!
Perspective: Natural World. Newspapers, magazines, television, and
websites frequently announce the latest health findings regarding nutrition, lifestyle, diseases,
disorders, syndromes, treatments, medications, ex
ercise, weight control… the list goes on and on. We
do not lack for health information, but is the information presented to us good information? When
reports are contradictory, what can we reasonably believe? We will learn the methodologies of modern
stics to address these questions. In the face of uncertainty, we must recognize the importance of
basing decisions on evidence (data) rather than anecdote. Care must be taken to construct studies that
produce enough meaningful data from w
hich results can
Instructor: Mathematics Staff
Statistical Reasoning for Social Justice.
Perspective: Global. What is racism? What is ethnic
diversity? Can these concepts, and others like them, be measured quantitatively? If so,
how do we
determine if there is a significant difference between the behavior of one group when compared to
another? What does it mean for a difference to be “significant?” We will learn the methodologies of
modern statistics and use them to address these
questions. Each student will have the opportunity to
select and analyze a potential social justice issue from on campus or
in the surrounding community.
Statistics and Botany.
Perspective: Natural Worl
How does probability theory help us
understand the survival and proliferation of plants?
How can we use statistical inference to grow better
crops? The first component of the course will be an investigation of how plants grow, reproduce, and
e goal of this component is to establish a link between the natural world and probability
theory. The second component will be to report and describe experimental data using statistics. As a
class we will run multiple
experiments in order to understand the fundamental roll statistics
plays in communicating scientific findings. We will also investigate
data collected by botanists
discuss how this statistical analysis of this data can be applied to agricult
ural applications and
explain the behavior of plants.
Statistics and the Weather.
Perspective: Natural World. How accurate are weather
forecasts? What current or past weather phenomena best predict curre
nt weather? What do the
numbers in news articles and reports about Hurricane Katrina or storm chasers really mean? We will
learn the methodologies of modern statistics and use them to address these questions. By recording
data about forecasts and observati
ons of your hometown, we will statistically critique your weather
forecaster. We will also create weather forecasts for the Roanoke area using past history to obtain both
best guess estimates for weather, as well as determining the best predictor variables
weather. A large focus will be
understanding and interpreting what statistics can and cannot tell us.
Statistics and the Sports Industry.
In the western world, the sports industry is a mu
dollar entity that generates some extremely interesting questions about quality assessment, business,
ethics, and health issues. Some of the questions we will ask are: What type data are necessary to assess
the quality of a player and how can w
e use that data to determine the value of a player? What are the
long term health risks associated with playing full contact sports and how do we determine the prevalence
of these injuries and their impact on the player’s lives. The key to answering thes
e questions is putting
aside preconceived opinions and emotion and using statistical analysis to see what the data say. Under
the broad umbrella of statistics, this course will use an abundance of rich data sets to uncover the
enormous impact that statist
ical analysis has on the sports industry.
Western Perspective. Instructor:
Mathematical Reasoning: Government.
This course will be centered on three questions that
highlight connections between mathematics and the U.S. government entities. How are elections decided?
Several voting methods used throughout history will be explored and their fairness will be assessed.
much power do states have in deciding a president? We will cover a history of how seats have been, and
currently are, apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives. An in
depth study of the electoral college
system will include discussing the power
each state has. What is the most efficient way to coordinate
run services such as mail delivery and street sweeping? Strategies for finding optimal routes
will be discussed. This is a mathematical reasoning course. We will use mathematics to ex
interworking of certain government entities.
Prerequisite: INQ 240. Western Perspective. Instructor:
Digital Media: Manipulating for Good and Bad.
Digital pictures, digital music, web pages,
information stored in a computer are all just bits
0s and 1s
as far as the computer is
concerned. The computer's ability to process these bits has led to informative graphics, mind boggling
animations, and creative music on the positive side as well as
, on the negative side, doctored photos and
sounds designed to mislead. In this course students will learn how the information we are surrounded
pictures, sounds, words, numbers
is represented in bits and how to write computer programs (in
amming language Python) that process the bits. Emphasis will be on processing pictures and
sound. Students will examine the social and ethical consequences of this easy manipulation of bits.
Prerequisite: INQ 240 or a Mathematics or Statistics course.
tern Perspective. Instructor: Ingram.
Mathematical Reasoning: Running the World Efficiently.
What is the best way to deliver the
mail? Deliver packages? Assign jobs to employees? Predict stable marriages? A variety of real world
optimization problems will be analyzed using the methodology of graph theory and mathematics,
especially in terms of
how well the “solution” algorithms perform. We will discuss techniques for framing
these and other questions in terms of graph structures and the algorithms used to find solutions. Special
attention will be paid to efficient routes for goods and people, a
ssigning tasks based on qualifications, and
networks designed to reduce cost.
INQ 240 or a Mathematics or Statistics course. Natural
World Perspective. Instructor: Saoub.
Mathematical Reasoning: Voting.
mathematics identify strengths and weaknesses
of voting methods? A variety of voting methods will be analyzed, especially in light of “fairness criteria”
that ideal voting systems would satisfy. Arrow’s Theorem provides an important perspective. Special
ttention will be paid to methods of apportionment, how they affect the power structure of the electoral
college system, and their roles in United States history.
INQ 240 or a Mathematics or
Statistics course. Western Perspective. Instructor:
Astronomy Controversies of the Modern Era.
Natural World Perspective.
and propagates controversy within the Sciences? H
ow do the scientific processes of
theorizing help to create and resolve controversy? Is it healthy to maintain controversy
regarding theories and models in the Sciences; i.e., do the Sciences thrive on controversy? How is
controversy received and interpreted by the larger society and cultu
re? By examining four well
controversies within the astronomical sciences, students will explore both the quantitative arguments and
the historical contexts in answering the above questions. Since physics is the proper background for
dies, the course will also focus on the physical concepts and processes associated with
astronomical objects. Students will also take measurements, observe astronomical objects with
telescopes, and interpret graphically
presented data through a required we
ekly night lab.
hrs/wk Lab: 3 hrs/wk
Chemistry, the Environment, and Society.
Natural World Perspective.
We only have one
earth and we have a responsibility to protect it. The ecosystem of
our planet is threatened by
environmental issues such as global warming, air and water quality, acid rain, depletion of our energy
reserves, and the thinning of the ozone layer. How humans contribute to many of these problems is well
understood. So why not
just halt the activities that damage our planet? Neither the environment nor
our society is that simple. This course presents an introduction to important environmental topics from
a chemical perspective. Fundamental chemical concepts will be used to expl
ain causes and possible
solutions to the major threats that result from man’s activities. The risks to the earth and the costs of
protecting it will also be investigated from the perspective of the indivi
dual and society as a whole.
Lecture: 3 hrs/wk Lab:
Instructor: Chemistry Staff
The Way Things Work: Sky Diving and Deep Sea Diving.
Natural World Perspective.
focus of this scientific reasoning course is to understand the way things work in our natural worl
that effect, fundamental questions that will be addressed are “why study motion, what factors
contribute to the motion of an object and how do these contributing factors produce the observed
motion of a sky diver and a deep sea diver”. The basics law
s of physics applicable to sky diving and deep
sea diving will be understood through a suite of laboratory experiments that are exploratory in nature.
In this course, the focus will be on the process of science as it is motivated through measurements and
nquiry. Cooperative learning groups, computer
assisted activities, and exploratory worksheets will
facilitate the conceptual understanding process. Two group projects will provide opportunities for
further scientific investigations into each of these topic
Lecture: 3 hrs/wk Lab: 3 hrs/wk
Chemistry and Crime.
Perspective: Natural World. How can chemistry contribute to the
investigation of crime? The evening news, the primetime TV lineup, and the local bookstore are all filled
with examples of the work of forensic scientists. This course will emphasize fundamen
principles that allow us to understand the techniques used to analyze evidence from a crime scene.
From bloodstains to drug identification to DNA fingerprinting, commonly employed techniques of the
forensic scientist will be studied. In the la
boratory, students will perform some of these same analyses
used by professional criminologists to solve simulated crimes. Students will also use general chemistry
principles to design
their own analysis methods.
Lecture: 3 hrs/wk.; laboratory: 3 hrs/wk
. Approved 4/14/2009.
How Do Living Organisms Evolve?
Perspective: Natural World. A focus on the central
question “How do living organisms evolve?” and how science works to answer this question.
Components of evolutionary the
ory from the molecular to the ecosystem level will be examined by
comparing predictions of evolutionary theory to empirical findings and the implication on our
understanding of life. The lab component of this course will focus on the role of water in life
interaction of water and humans.
(1) Lecture: 3 hrs/wk.; laboratory: 3 hrs/wk
Just One Billion Microbes Per Gram?
Perspective: Natural World. An introduction to the
principles and processes of the
science of microbial ecology and agriculture. Designed to provide students
with a focus on the fundamental properties of soil, leading to a better understanding of the critical
importance of soil conservation. The course offers a focused approach on how t
he science of discovery
assists scientist’s understanding of life through hands on laboratory activities. Topics include organismal
diversity, use of energy, genetics, disease, and soil chemistry, structure and ecology. Application to current
nding agriculture and soil sci
ence will also be discussed.
Lecture: 3 hrs/wk.; laboratory: 3
Biology on a Changing Planet.
This inquiry course addresses the complex question of
ical advances are changing the conditions for living organisms across the planet
including human and non
human life. The course first focuses on how environmental changes are
affecting biological diversity. The course then shifts its focus to effects on th
e human species, including
what we can do to prevent the worst impacts. Understanding these issues is important for all
participants in societies who are contributing to or being affected by these global changes. The course
activities include student
iscussions of a diversity of readings, background lectures, and
field/laboratory exercises. Students will gain biological literacy in topics ranging from genetics to
ecosystem ecology. Students will be equipped to critically assess claims made by scientist
and bloggers. Through the lab portion of the course, students will gain hands
on experience with the
scientific method and environmental
Lecture: 3 hrs/wk, Laboratory: 3 hrs/wk. Natural
World Perspective. Writing, Quant
itative Reasoning. Instructor: Wise.
Resources and Risks: Humans and the Physical Environment.
We live on a finite planet.
Many of the environmental problems that we currently face arise from the interaction between two
complex but interdependent systems: the human ecosystem and the physical resources that sustain it.
This course draws upon the earth and biological sciences
to explore interactions between humans and the
physical environment, with an emphasis on the natural and human forces that shape features and
processes at the earth’s surface. Students will use spatial and aspatial datasets (e.g., digital maps, Google
th, computer simulations, and the Internet) to critically evaluate (1) how the physical environment both
supports and constrains human activity, (2) how these human activities, in turn, impact natural processes
occurring at the earth’s surface, and (3) how
we might begin to manage the earth’s systems to meet our
own needs without compromising those of future generations.
Prerequisite: INQ 250 or a laboratory
course in Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Natural World Perspective. Instructor: O’Neill.
Plague and Pestilence.
Throughout history, the human population
as with all populations
has had to deal with infectious (and sometimes deadly) diseases. In many instances, these infectious
diseases have had a significant impact on t
he development of modern society. In this course, we will
study the biology of the causative agents of several major infectious diseases with the goal of
understanding how these agents make us sick (and sometimes kill us) and then consider the impact
e diseases have had on past societies and, consequently, on the development of modern society.
Prerequisite: INQ 250 or a laboratory course in Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Natural World Perspective.
Looks at Art and Archeology.
Is that painting real or a copy? Why did the Iron Age
come after the Bronze? Is this fabric ancient or modern? In this course, we will explore how the natural
sciences can contribute to our understanding of art, artifacts, and
the cultures that produce them.
Specific topics we will cover include light, color, pigments, pottery, precious metals, art forgeries and
restorations. Natural World Perspective. Instructor: G. Steehler. Prerequisite: INQ 250.
science, and Nonsense.
In modern society we are inundated with all kinds
of information: the Internet, TV, the radio, the newspaper, magazines and books, and in our daily
contact with others. Unfortunately, much of this information is inc
omplete, biased or just outright false,
and since we base many of our actions on what we learn from these sources, it is important to have
skills to critically evaluate this information. We will discuss and apply the main kinds of deductive and
rguments, and be able to recognize them as they are used to influence all of us every day.
Students will also understand the role of evidence in rational inquiry and be knowledgeable of the many
pitfalls of human “common sense” intuition, as well as the pr
oper interpretations of probabilities, in the
evaluation of such evidence. We will utilize and explore many popular mysteries, such as ESP, Astrology,
the Bermuda Triangle, visitation by extraterrestrial beings (UFOs), etc. in our discussions. Prerequisite
INQ 250. Natural World Perspective. Instructor: Grant.
Cloning: The Science of Making Copies
. Cloning is the process of making genetically identical
copies of organisms. Whether it occurs in naturally or is induced in the
laboratory, cloning has been used
as a valuable method for producing identical copies for agriculture and scientific applications. The
concept of producing copies has been explored in literature and film evokes impressions that clones are
al and dangerous. But with the achievement of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned
mammal, the possibility of cloning humans has moved from fiction to reality. In the course, we will
explore the biological basis for cloning, starting with the fundamental prin
ciples of the cell and DNA. We
will examine major achievements in developmental biology and stem cell research that resulted in the
technology necessary to clone multi
cellular organisms like Dolly. We will conclude by discussing the
biological, legal and
ethical concerns regarding the possibility of human cloning.. Natural World
Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: Ramesh.
You Are What You Eat:
The Chemistry of Food and Nutrition. Why do eggs become solid
when heated? What makes browned meat so tasty? Should you eat a low carbohydrate or a low fat diet
to lose weight? Is salt really that bad for you? If you find these or similar questions interesting, then this
class is for you. Through reading, writing,
lectures, discussion, and in class culinary experiments, we will
investigate topics such as the science behind cooking the perfect poached egg, making bread rise, and
wine making. We will also learn skills that will help us sift through the mountains of co
information on which diets will best contribute to a long and healthy life. You will be challenged to
rigorously apply the principles of chemistry to cooking and nutrition, an effort that your taste buds and
your body will thank you for in the ye
ars to come. Natural World Perspective. Writing, Quantitative
Reasoning. Instructor: Johann
Love, Lust, Limerence and Love
Sickness: The Cross
cultural study of the Etiology and
Course of Romantic, Pair
d and Marital Relationships
“Love makes the world
go ‘round” as lyricists proclaim. With the development of fMRI brain scans cognitive neuroscientists now
have a window into minds as persons enter an altered state of consciousness calle
d “limerence” or
love.” Love is now a scientifically describable phenomenon. Cross
culturally, romantic love is
questioned as a valid basis for socially sanctioned marriage. Examined will be the biological and
psychosocial variables of proceptivi
ty that determine the definition of beauty, flirtation, attraction,
love and pair
bond establishment. Are these factors universally human or culturally and
socially specific? Examined will be at least six species of love and various psychologica
l theories on love.
How can pair
bonds and marriages endure? Need marriage always be monogamous or can it be
successful in alternate forms as is seen in other cultures? What is jealousy and is it helpful or d
Humans are primarily social animals and the
human brain evolved in the context of a social environment. Social cognition is an area of psychology
that focuses on how our
thoughts, attitudes, and emotions are affected by an individual’s social context.
In this course, students will read original works of scientific research in order to better understand social
cognition and, in turn, to learn how to think like a social cogn
itive researcher. In addition to reading
research reports, students will complete several lab exercises that will help teach research skills and
scientific writing in the form of lab reports and several short papers. Also, students will complete an oral
esentation and participate in a week
long simulated society game.
Elite Deviance: Crime in the Suites.
Perspective: Western. An examination of elite
deviance, which refers to the criminal and deviant
behaviors of those with power, privilege, and wealth in
society including both individuals and organizations within the corporate, governmental, and political
realms. Students analyze case studies, examine theoretical perspectives, and research the social
elite deviance. Questions addressed in this course include: What is the nature of elite deviance and its
consequences for society? What social arrangements contribute to this social problem? How does the
unequal distribution of wealth and power in
ociety allow elite deviance?
The Nonprofit Sector.
This course examines the nonprofit sector
through a sociological lens. Students will learn to apply basic sociological concepts, research methods,
and theories to the current nonprofit sector in the United States. We will examine how nonprofits relate
nd impact social movements, public policy, and the workforce. The necessity of mission statements,
community engagement, and program design and evaluation will be covered; the analysis will be macro
while stressing that there are many micro components that
impact nonprofits in any given place, time,
or focus. Students will be required to complete 10 hours of community service outsi
de of class for this
Instructor: Sociology staff
Political Participation and Repr
The tenets of the US form of democracy are built on political participation and representation, yet
few citizens vote regularly and fewer still run for elected office. Is democracy dependent on the
participation of al
l citizens or can democratic institutions survive with the participation of only a
few? Students will use the methodologies of political science to explore the relationship between
democracy, participation, and representation in the context o
f US polit
Instructor: Brown. Approved 4/21/2009.
Humanistic and Positive Psych.
Two perspectives of psychology have focused
predominantly on what Abraham Maslow called “the farther reaches of human nature”: humanistic
psychology and positive psychology. This course will examine the major concepts of humanistic psychology
functioning persons), will examine the contributions and shortcomings of this
approach, and will explore the more recent positive psychology movement with its stronger research
based emphasis on human strengths and civic virtues and hu
man flourishing. A thorough investigation of
one construct from humanistic psychology will be undertaken (involving an inquiry into reliability and
validity studies, adequacy of support for proposed applications, and critiques). Students will then address
questions concerning the quality and adequacy of assessment techniques and of empirical studies in such
areas in positive psychology as love, empathy, happiness, and self
esteem; each student will select one
narrower area for further inquiry and will write
a literature review on their chosen research
Western Perspective. This course may serve as an elective in the Psychology major. Instructor: Whitson.
Human Rights in Comparative Politics.
An examination of the
politics of human rights in a
global context. The course employs the comparative tool for analysis and focuses on case studies ranging
from torture and human trafficking to civil rights and political repression. Global Perspective. Instructor:
How Does Technology Impact Us?
This course will use multiple methods to examine how
modern technology impacts human cognition and behavior. Students will engage in a critical examination
of current empirical research and
will work together to investigate new questions using various research
techniques. Students will be required to engage in critical thinking, scientific writing, quantitative
reasoning, and oral presentation assignments. Western
Perspective. Instructor: Adk
In Pursuit of Social Justice.
Because debates on social problems occur in a socio
context, this course examines how ideology shapes both perceptions and realities of justice, inequality,
and exploitation. A major focus is the importance of culture and power to definitions of j
ustice. What is
justice? Who gets to decide its definition? Is justice the same for all? In today’s global society, we are
witnesses to ideological movements that shape policy debates, electoral politics, and discussions on
societal ills. Drawing on socio
logical concepts, methodologies, and theoretical frameworks the course
addresses the causes and reactions to environmental and social problems while considering visions for a
just or compassionate society. Global Perspective. Instructor: Sarabia.
Social Science and the Supreme Court.
How do Supreme Court justices decide cases?
Students will explore and test legal and extra
legal theories of decision making through the use of pre
existing quantitative data on the Supreme Cou
rt as well as judicial biographies. Western Perspective.
Global Politics, Globalization and You.
This course will focus upon the nature and
dynamics of contemporary globalization. How globalization im
pacts both the conduct of international
politics and the lives of individuals will be examined. Political science methodologies and perspectives
will be used to study the continuing evolution of the nation
state system. We will examine what factors
lobalization; whether the effects of globalization are positive and/or negative as well as why they
would be so judged; and what students, as either individuals or members of communities, might do to
affect the course of globalization. Focus will be not on
ly on how global, macro level processes impact
people, but on how micro level action and thinking influences the nature and understanding of global,
systemic trends and behavior. Global Perspective. Instructor: Warshawsky.
Cockfighting, Lip Discs, and Dog for Dinner: Understanding Cultural Relativity
are the product of a particular historical trajectory and their achievements cannot be ascribed to racial
differences; cultures must be studied holistically and no on
e belief or behavior can be studied out of
context; and cultures produce in their members a tendency to see the world from a naively self
centered viewpoint that proclaims what they do to be “natural” and “right”. Only by a systematic and
y of cross
cultural data (ethnology), is it possible for individuals to derive any
generalizations about the tremendous range in human variation globally. If ethnographic fieldwork
taught early anthropologists just one thing, it was that to know yourself
now the other. By living with
others for extended periods of time, anthropologists learn to take other people’s cultural patterns
seriously whether it be cockfighting in Bali, wearing lip discs in Brazil, or eating dog for dinner in India.
diversity we encounter in the field, in turn, prompts us to reexamine the assumptions
we, all too often
, take for granted.
Global Perspective. Instructor: Leeson.
Sport and Culture.
What does sport reveal about culture? B
y turn, how does awareness
of culture contribute to our understanding of sport? What are the relationships between sport and
religion, between sport and social inequality, between sport and social change? How are subcultures
and countercultures expressed
by and embedded in sport? These and related questions are explored
from the perspective of the Sociological Imagination (C. Wright Mills), an approach which emphasizes
social structure and critical theory. Specific topics consider sport in contexts of c
innovation, cultural contradiction and cultural resistance, and ever
predominating media spectacle.
Case studies will draw from documentaries on basketball recruiting (“Hoop Dreams”) and soccer
hooliganism (“Green Street”), as well as
from an in
depth ethnographic study of baseball in the
Dominican Republic (
Western Perspective. Instructor: Dunn.
Women in Politics.
This course will explore the ways that women have worked to
increase their po
wer and influence in elections, government, social movements, and public policy. This
course will compare the experiences of women in American politics to that of women in other parts of
the world. We will study how women become involved in politics and th
e role they play in policy
making. We will explore whether women form a social or political collective, and if so, what their
interests are, what issues are important to them, and whether or how women in power represent such
erests and issues.
Perspective. Writing, Quantitative Reasoning. Instructor: Berntson
Traveling Without Leaving.
Why do people take their shoes off when they enter a home in
Japan? Why do some Egyptian women
to wear the veil? Why are many marriages around the
world still arranged by parents? These questions focus on practices that most Americans would find
unusual. Yet, studying these practices in a meaningful way will help students question their
ns about others. Students will take a comparative global approach to study topics such as
culture, gender relations, and family. This approach will facilitate a critical reflection on the central
question this course focuses on: how do social forces sha
pe the lives of individuals? Cross
examinations of similarities and differences will help students investigate the ways in which social
practices and institutions influence the trajectory of individual lives. Students will do a service
project that requires them to volunteer with an agency in the Roanoke Valley, and reflect on their
experiences in course assignments.
Service: 15 hrs/sem.
Global Perspective. Writing, Oral
Presentation. Instructor: Mehrotra.
Things in Contact: From New France to Old Hawaii.
This course offers students an
introduction to the study of material culture
“things.” In their social life, “things” do more than
communicate meaning, they also create meaning by shaping the lived
experiences of the people who
make, use, and exchange them. Using the material culture of new France in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries and Old Hawaii in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we will explore the ways in which
natives and newcom
ers alike crafted a social persona using the “things” circulating between and among
them as gifts and commodities. To fully understand how things made people in a complex and changing,
colonial economy, students will grapple with several related questions
How do objects acquire value?;
How do things
motion make reputations and memories?; How do they respond to historical
transformations?; and lastly, How do they develop their own form agency?
Perspective: Global; Critical
Thinking: Oral Communication;
Public Opinion in Virginia.
How do we know what percentage of the people approve of the
job being done by the Governor? What are the important issues in Virginia today? What positions are
held by citiz
ens in these debates? This course examines contemporary political, social, and economic
issues in Virginia. Students will explore these important topics by conducting a statewide public opinion
Perspective: Western; Critical Thinking: QR; Instru
The Maya World.
The Classic Maya (250 AD
800 AD) had a perception of social structures, the
relationship of humans to nature, time measurement, astronomy, mathematics, and writing that differs
ctly from our own. This course attempts to synthesize the many known elements of the society into a
cohesive world view and to draw conclusions that help explain the Maya collapse. The primary tools of the
course include hieroglyphic texts, Maya calendric
s, and the history of relations among the mega
, Palenque, Tikal, and Copan).
Perspective changed from Western to Global 10/27/2010
Ancient and Classical Heroes and
Achilles’ heel, Trojan horse, Oedipal complex,
figures from ancient and classical literature continue to play an important role in our
lives. Through reading original tales of Mesopotamian, Greek, and Roman heroes and heroines
with considering more modern treatments in film and literature, we will explore types of heroism, the
relationship of heroes and heroines to their societies, the personal costs of heroism, and the reasons
women so rarely were portrayed heroically
. Who were these heroes? What did they represent? Why
were they admired by their producing cultures? How do they compare to our modern ideas about
heroes and heroines? How and why do they constitute such a significant role in human cultures
our own? And why do their stories continue to engage, entertain, and even shock us?
Western Perspective. Instructor: Rosti.
Enlightenment Cultures of Indo
Tibetan Civilizations and Our Continuing Quest for Freedom
When did the quest for enlightenment and the alleviation of human suffering begin in
India? What was Buddha’s response to human suffering? How did Buddhism begin? What is Tibetan
Buddhism? Why are so many Westerners drawn to the practice of Tibetan
orientation of ancient Indian culture and its transmission, in Buddhist form, to Tibet as early as the 7th
century C.E., was the alleviation of human suffering. Beginning with Vedic culture and manifesting in the
concerns of Buddhis
t, Jain, Upanishadic, and Tantric culture and literature, a preoccupation with the
enlightened life is evident. This course will examine the origins and development of this quest in India and
its migration to Tibet where the quest will manifest in unique f
orms of Buddhist traditions. We will also
examine the contemporary interest on the parts of many western practitioners and academics through
literary and other forms of expression Tibetan Buddhism is taking in the West. Global Perspective.
Greek and Roman Theatre.
The ancient Athenians and Romans developed the foundations
of what we know today as “theatre.” This course explores the traditions of Greek and Roman theatre
and popular entertainment. It examines
the importance of myth, ritual, religion, art, politics,
collaboration, and the profound impact theatre had on their society. By scrutinizing Greek and Roman
play scripts, myth, artwork, and other writing, we endeavor to answer the questions: What value d
ancient Athenians and Roman give to theatre? What place did theatre hold in their lives?
Perspective. Instructor: Ruhland.
Men, Women, and Monsters: Gender as Identity in the Ancient World.
In this course we
will examine the formation of gender identity and anxiety through a variety of works representing pre
modern cultures. Fields of study represented include literature, music, religion, philosophy, art, and
history, and the cultures we will
encounter include ancient Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as
medieval Europe, Japan, and India. Our studies will focus on how the works we examine use gender to
create and express categories of social and sexual identity yet at the same time bot
h emphasize and
distort those categories with the addition of the monstrous. Students will be asked to confront and
evaluate the questions and conundrums raised by these works, consider ways the artists tried to answer
these questions, and determine why th
ese questions are relevant to
their lives today.
Perspective. Instructor: Whiteside.
Myth, Philosophy, and Nature.
This course will look at different ways in which people have
approached the natural world, ranging
from mythological accounts of the world and its origins to
rationalistic attempts to understand natural processes in early Greek philosophy and in the tradition of
thought it inspired. We will consider what mythological approaches to the world have in com
more rationalistic approaches developed in the western world, and how they differ, as well as ways in
which contemporary understandings of the world differ from views articulated in earlier mode
Natural World Perspective. Instructor:
Gender in Early World Literature.
What is gender? How can it be used to help us understand
human experience in early societies? In this class we will explore how gender roles were articulated and
reinforced, how sexual
ity was related to gender or social position, and how deviations from the norm
were regarded. Using a Global Perspective, we will study literature (and some visual art) from the Near
East, China, Japan, India, Greece, and England (ranging from 1000 BCE to
the 12th Century CE), in order
to observe a wide range of gender constructions and norms. We will also examine the role artistic
expressions have played in communicating, reinforcing, rejecting, or modifying understandings of
gender, and gain some insight
into the construction of gender in our
own time and place.
Perspective. Instructor: W. Larson
Gods, Ghosts, and Monsters in Asian Literature
. Asian literature abounds with supernatural
beings of all sorts
who hold grudges, monsters with 12 heads, hungry ghosts that wander the
earth, and spiritual masters who can conquer all of them. These tales offer an excellent window into
Asian religion and literature, because while they are fantastic (and fun to read),
they make sense when
read in the context of Asian belief systems. This class will survey Indian, Chinese, and Japanese religious
and ethical world views as a foundation for reading the many genres of Asian literature. The class will
consider the following
questions: What ethical and religious beliefs help explain the nature of these
gods and monsters? Why are people, gods, and monsters punished under these belief systems? What
do the human protagonists learn about themselves? What do the supernatural chara
cters teach us
about the human c
Global Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: M. Larson
In Search of the Goddess
This course explores Goddess religions and notions of the sacred
feminine from prehistory to the “pagan” Near East and Mediterranean, Western monotheistic religions,
pluralistic religions of Asia, and, limitedly, revivals of Goddess spirituality in conte
America. We will address the question of the fate of goddess traditions worldwide not just as sacred
texts, ideologies and religious traditions, but as active and living ritual and social c
Perspective. Writing, Oral Pre
sentation. Instructor: Rothgery.
The Silk Road: East
West Contact and Globalization in Pre
. Did globalization
exist in the pre
modern period? How did people travel, exchange ideas, and manage business two
and years ago? Can contemporary globalization be traced back to the ancient and medieval
period? We will approach these questions through the examination of the Silk Road across Eurasia. The
Silk Road was the first transcontinental trading route between Ea
st and West, connecting the eastern
end of the Asian continent (China, Japan, and Korea) to the Roman Empire as it passed through
Mongolia, Central Asia, Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean area. Through this
on channel, people not only traded luxury goods and commodities, but also
exchanged ideas, religious beliefs, artifacts, various foodstuffs, and forms of entertainment.
Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: Xu.
: Christian Music Traditions.
As it seems nearly impossible for music of any consequence to
come from an intellectual or cultural vacuum, this course asks the question, “How did such a variety of
musical expressions come about in Weste
rn culture since 1500 in response to a single theology?” In this
course the student will examine the beginnings and development of musical genres such as the chant,
motet, mass, passions, requiems, hymns and chorales, spirituals, jazz vespers, cantatas, o
contemporary Christian music, etc used in liturgical and non
liturgical settings. It will also explore the
music that has accompanied Christian
themed movies and Broadway shows. The origins of each
composition selected for the course will be sc
rutinized as a set of interactive musical, philosophical,
political, cultural and environmental relationships.
Western Perspective. Instructor: Blaha.
Description later modified.
This course asks the question,
“How did such a variety of musical
expressions come about in Western culture since 1500 in response to Christian theology?” In
the present day there are still performances and recording sessions of compositions that are
centuries old being made right alon
g with the newer works in more contemporary styles. In this
course the student will examine the beginnings and development of musical genres such as the
chant, motet, mass, passions, requiems, hymns and chorales, spirituals, jazz vespers, cantatas,
ios, contemporary Christian music, etc used in liturgical and non
liturgical settings. It will
also explore the music that has accompanied Christian
themed movies and Broadway shows.
As it seems nearly impossible for music of any consequence to come from
an intellectual or
cultural vacuum, the origins of each composition selected for the course will be scrutinized as a
set of interactive dynamic relationships. Those relationships consist of the composer to the
subject matter, the musical genre, the compos
er’s training, the composer’s teachers, family, the
patron, political climate, performers, intended audience, available technology and the
environment. From this inquiry assertions may be possible as to the role of the patron as well as
that of the compos
er in the making of a religious work. What is the motivation for both the
composer and the patron? For the composer, is it an expression of faith, a good business deal, a
worthy artistic challenge or some combination of any of these? For the patron, is
commissioning of a work a matter of an opportunity for enhanced religious devotion, a show of
prestige and political allegiance, a matter of simple appreciation of musical artistry, or some
combination of any of these? These are the questions that cou
ld be asked of any human
Western Perspective. Instructor: Blaha.
: Henry VIII: Histories Within Histories.
This course is about Henry VIII, his wives, ministers,
and the rest of the people in his kingdom(s). The cour
se is about us too. It is also about some Victorian
authors; and about some twentieth
century authors; and even some twenty
century authors. We
will examine how texts have represented different events from Henry’s reign. Historians writing in the
e Victorian period, the modern era, and the post modern era have presented the period and the main
historical figures in strikingly different fashions. In order to comment upon how contemporary concerns
have influenced the “image” or “construction” of Henr
y VIII, his wives, and ministers, we will compare
and contrast these representations in our search for a wiser understanding of historical me
Western Perspective. Instructor: Gibbs.
: History and Literature: Chicano
Novel in Action
This course examines the relevance of
historical events in the fusion of Mexican and American culture and how this amalgamation created an
entirely new cultural identity: the Chicano. Using literary texts and historical documents, the cour
points out the significance of Chicano culture in the United States and how it evolved to find its own
voice and place within the larger American society
Western Perspective. Instructor: Flores
: Women Playwrights in Context.
This class will examine select works of female playwrights
from different eras and analyze the characters, plots, themes, and concerns to see if there are any
patterns in these that represent a standpoint that is uniquely a
woman’s. We will ask if the playwright’s
experiences as a woman offer us a perspective of the world that is somehow different than a male
playwright might show us. The course introduces work from the first known female playwright and then
focuses on sele
ct plays from the 17
, and 21
Western Perspective. Instructor:
Central Europe Twenty Years after Communism.
In this course we will read, discuss and
work together on the critical inte
rpretation of Communism and its impact on the societies of the Central
European countries. We will focus on the situation in these countries 20 years after the collapse of
communism, examining the changes on the social, political, and economic levels. We w
ill also notice the
struggle for renewal of the Christian churches and the role they have played in the rebuilding of the
Western Perspective. Instructors: Valcova and Valco.
: Images of Power.
This course explores th
e subject of “power”
political and social
as it is
visually manifested in a variety of western cultures at various points in the modern period. Specifically,
we will be looking at works of art (including painting, sculpture, photography, and mass media
along with architecture) to uncover ways in which power is constructed, reflected, imposed, and reified
within the objects and products of western societies. The broader aim of this course is to alert students
to the way in which the material pro
ducts of human civilization do not simply passively reflect who we
think we are, but actively and sometimes manipulatively, instill and reinforce a broad spectrum of ideas
that serve the agendas of individuals
and or societies.
Western Perspective. Instr
Testimonial Literature and Film.
During the period of military governments in Guatemala, El
Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1970’s to the 1990’s, testimonial literature became a vehicle of
expression for the
oppressed, marginalized, and “disappeared”. The literature and films we study in this
course question the official historical accounts to give form to a collective memory to confront the
unsettling aspects of a traumatic experience. We will analyze and w
rite about texts drawn from
different genres: poetry and narrative. We will take into consideration the specific social, political, and
philosophical ideas that shaped testimonial literature and film during the 1980’s. Liberation Theology
and Marxism are
among the philosophical ideas that students can extract from the readings and films
we will study. Testimonial literature and film also questions the notion of nation, identity, imperialism,
and capitalism in Central America during the 1980’s as a way to
include the marginalized sectors of
society in the political, social, and cultural pro
Global Perspective. Instructor: Bañuelos
The Beats and India.
When Allen Ginsberg was twelve years old, he heard a lectur
e on the
philosophy of yoga in Paterson, New Jersey. This was his first exposure to Indian culture, and it made a
lasting impression on him. By the time Ginsberg was traveling to India in 1962 with plans to explore the
country with poets Peter Orlovsky, Ga
ry Snyder, and Joanne Kyger, he and his fellow
travelers had read
many Indian texts, including the Bhagavad Gita, some Bhakti poetry, and works on religious figures like
Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharishi, and Krishnamurti, in addition to many Buddhist scriptur
es. This course
will explore how this encounter with India impacted the Beat Generation. In addition to analyzing
literature produced by Ginsberg, Snyder, Kyger, and Kerouac, we will examine some of the significant
philosophical and literary texts from Ind
ia that intrigued and inspired this group of writers. Global
Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: Mallavarapu.
How High the Fence?
How and why do nations around the world build immigration policies
n change them? Students will address this central question by focusing on immigration over the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries from a global perspective. Through a variety of resources
documentaries, poetry, guest speakers, and movies
ill examine causes of immigration and
the experiences of immigrants from Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central America. Students will examine the
origins, maintenance and alteration of national immigration policies, concentrating on the U.S. case.
They will al
so compare U.S. policy with other national policies like those of Mexico and Germany. In
addition, students will consider responses to immigration from a diversity of perspectives ranging from
organizations like the UN to anti
immigrant groups like the U.S
. Minutemen. The course will conclude
with an examination of current immigration policies and debates.
Global Perspective. Writing, Oral
Presentation. Instructor: Hester.
Why study the history of the Inca? Nearly five hundred years after a bedraggled
band of Spanish conquistadores stumbled into the Andean world in the 1530s and conquered the Inca,
their history may seem a remote and specialized topic. The conquest was e
ssentially two young and
expanding empires colliding and creating a colonial world broadly pattered along Spanish ideas and
based on indigenous labor. This course explores how this world was created and how the people who
lived in it
both Spanish and i
imagined and interpreted their lives. This course will also
defend the study of the history of peoples long past and times so different as to be hard for us to
imagine. The Inca developed a society very different from anything that evolved e
lsewhere. Trying to
capture, understand, explain, and perhaps learn from this other way of being human they created is
ultimately one of history’s most important and exciting tasks.
Global Perspective. Writing, Oral
Presentation. Instructor: Wallace
Rabelais as Standardbearer of Late Medieval and Early Print Cultures.
An investigation into
the evolution of thought and culture of the late Medieval and Early Modern humanist
François Rabelais as seen through his major literary works. Using
knowledge of a work of literature to reconstruct a worldview, evaluate that worldview/contrast on
grounds of realism/utopianism/literary value. What is unique about this author’s world(view)
Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: Scaer.
Radical Movements in America.
This course is a study of social, cultural, and political
movements including and following the Civil Rights Movement in
the United States
decades between 1950 and 1970. How do we as a twenty
first century audience looking and reading
back comprehend and relate to these far
reaching movements? Our primary means for exploring the
various movements will be literat
ure, but we will also look to contemporary personal essays,
philosophical writings, music, art, film, and documentary for additional insight. Part of the work of the
course will be to explore the relationship between the movements, and their co
. Western Perspective. Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructor: Hopson.
INQ 271W Science vs Religion?
Does science make religion obsolete? This course examines the clash
between modern science and religion in th
e Western world. It will focus on the debates between the
natural sciences and Christian thought over questions such as evolution, the nature and destiny of the
physical universe, and the status of our knowledge of nature. The rise of modern science set of
revolution in thinking which religion and philosophy are still adjusting to, and it has largely been
responsible for setting Western life and thought on its distinctive course. We will examine in particular
how contemporary physicists, biologists, and
theologians understand the controversies that arose
during this time, and what room for compatibility they see between science and religion today.
Perspective: Western; Skills: Writing, Oral Presentation; Instructor: Wisnefske.
March 30, 2011
Dear Old Roanoke: A Comparative Examination of the Past, Present, and Future of
. What gives a college its identity? Is it the college’s history and traditions? A college’s
curriculum and planning? The success of its members and alumni in a
cademics, sports, business, service,
and professions? Or is it a mixture of these elements, in a special and distinctive manner? This course
will explore answers to each of these questions in a historical and contemporary study of Roanoke
College as a nati
onal liberal arts institution of higher learning. The course will focus on this history of the
college in particular and the history of higher education in general in the past 170 years. Students will
form into groups to analyze issues confronting the coll
ege. Perspective: Western. Critical Thinking
Skills: Writing, Oral Presentation. Instructors: M. Miller and J. Selby. April 19, 2011
Politics and the Passions: Beyond the Rational Political Subject.
Is politics governed by reason
alone? Traditional theories of politics sought ways to govern rationally. The goal was to mitigate the role
of emotions in politics as much as possible. More recent theories, however, have sought to show the
ways in which human activity is thoroughly embod
ied. The result of this theorizing has been the
destruction of the stark dichotomy between reason and the emotions. Furthermore, recent advances in
cognitive science and complexity theory have lent support to rethinking politics as a complex affective
em, rather than the imposition of reason on the unruly passions of the masses. This course will
explore some of these recent advances in an effort to facilitate a research project directed at some
ete facet of political life.
Instructor: B. Adkins.
March 30, 2011
INQ 300 Contemporary Literature, Torn from the Headlines.
The course looks at contemporary issues
through the lens of literature. It is not a literature course but a course that uses literature to talk about
issues of immediate concern to
all of us. While we use novels to help identify current issues, the
approach in the course will be interdisciplinary, drawing on each student’s training and interests in
culture, history, political affairs, science, psychology, and human relations. The rea
ding list includes
novels set in countries across the globe such as Cuba, Nigeria, Ukraine, Pakistan, China, and the U.S.
Each book is a response to a set of specific social and political events, which we will explore. In so doing,
we will see how history
and current events shape lives in relation to family, social standing, community
values, and traditions. Instructors: Kuchar. April 19, 2011