Dean's Seminars

The Dean’s Seminars provide Columbian College freshman students focused scholarship on specific intellectual challenges. They explore significant academic issues under the guidance of distinguished scholars and teachers. Students engage in directed critical inquiry, employing the unique resources of the nation’s capital and the university. Students not only learn to evaluate the scholarship and traditions that have formed our world view, but also create their own scholarship of consequence.

Fall 2015 Courses


The Buddhist Art of Asia

  • Professor Susanne Francoeur
  • G-PAC: Art
  • AH 1000.10
  • CRN: 63851
  • T 3:30-5:00 p.m.

As a major world religion, Buddhism has had a profound effect on the cultures of Asia, not least of all on their art histories. This seminar is organized around the specific theme of the history of Buddhist art as initially developed in India and subsequently reshaped and reformulated in the course of transmission eastward into Central and East Asia. The investigation begins with India, the cradle of Buddhism, and includes the contiguous areas of Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, and Central Asia. This is then followed by East Asia including China, Korea, and Japan. Particular emphasis is placed on the investigation of works of art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution where some sessions are held. By analyzing the stylistic and iconographic properties of these art objects in the museum and through additional reading, discussions, presentations in class, and research papers students familiarize themselves with the major periods of Buddhist art and learn about the key styles, themes, and techniques as well as their development in each culture.

Susanne Francoeur is Professorial Lecturer in Art History. Her primary area of research has been the Buddhist art of ancient South and Central Asia. Most recently she has expanded her interest to the art of the Indianized states of Southeast Asia, focusing on two cultures in particular—Ancient Champa in Central Vietnam and the ancient Khmer culture in Cambodia, both of which regions she has recently visited. She is now analyzing the available sculptural and architectural material, some of which has been recently discovered, to investigate the impact of Hindu as well as Buddhist thought on these cultures.

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Back to the Land

  • Professor Kip Kosek
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • AMST 1000.10
  • CRN: 63848
  • WF 11:10-12:25 p.m.

Can we go back to the land? Should we? This Dean’s Seminar explores the history and ethics of Americans’ persistent efforts to find a closer connection to the natural world. Our subjects of inquiry include: the rise of urban farming in Washington and other major U.S. cities; the ways that business and government shape our food choices; the spiritual and moral values that Americans have assigned to wilderness; the hidden racial and gender politics of getting back to nature; the significance of parks, cemeteries, and other “middle landscapes;” and differing visions of sustainable living. The course’s approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on history, literature, memoir, film, and other sources to discover the connections between nature, culture, and politics.

** This course requires occasional local field trips that will take place outside of class.

Joseph Kip Kosek is associate professor of American studies. His research and teaching focus on modern American history, religion and culture. He is the author of Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy. His current research explores the history of agrarian ethics and politics.​

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Borders and Boundaries

  • Professor Elaine Peña
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • AMST 1000.11
  • CRN: 65515
  • TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.

International borders affect you every day. In the United States and elsewhere, they play a role in determining whether you are a birthright citizen or an unauthorized migrant. They showcase a nation’s ability or inability to guarantee your wellbeing. They factor into comprehensive immigration reform and national security debates that reinforce party lines and determine elections. Much of the food and many of the electronic items that we consume and use on a daily basis cross them en route to our supermarkets and shopping malls. This seminar will draw from the work of anthropologists, political scientists, historians, journalists, and documentary filmmakers to understand those processes. It will use the U.S.- Mexico border as its point of reference but it will also draw our attention to places like Ceuta and Melilla in Northern Africa and the Peten region that links Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize.  

Elaine Peña is an Associate Professor of American Studies (Ph.D. Northwestern, 2006). She joined the George Washington University faculty in 2008 after completing postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois and Yale University. She is the author of Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe (University of California Press, 2011) and editor of Ethno-techno: Writings on Performance, Activism, and Pedagogy with Guillermo Gómez-Peña (Routledge 2005). She is currently completing a manuscript Meeting in the Middle: Negotiating Bi-National Relationships on the U.S.-Mexico Border, which examines festive cross-border cooperation efforts during times of crisis (i.e. drug-cartel violence).

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Do We Need Biotechnology?

  • Professor David Morris
  • G-PAC: Natural or Physical Sciences with Lab
  • BISC 1000.10
  • CRN: 63852
  • MW 11:10-12:25 p.m. (Lecture)

W 1:00-3:30 p.m. (Lab)

Biotechnology is a broad set of techniques manipulating living organisms through the use of genetic engineering. The advances of biotechnology in the last twenty-five years have been dramatic, and its proponents trumpet significant benefits for humanity. However, many biotechnological applications have raised serious concerns. This course introduces students to modern biotechnological procedures and allows them to work in the laboratory on projects involving the manipulation of DNA and living cells. They will use their knowledge to critically assess the benefits, pitfalls, and possible consequences that the “Biotech Century” may pose for our world.

David Morris is Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Genetics. He was involved in the invention of novel cloning vectors for the genetic manipulation of yeast. He has also worked on the genetic improvement of crop plants. His current research is concerned with assessing the bacterial contamination of the Anacostia River, particularly by multiple antibiotic resistant coliforms. He teaches undergraduate courses in microbiology, biotechnology, and cell biology, and was the 2007-2008 recipient of the Trachtenberg Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

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Troy and the Trojan War: A Critical Look at Homer, History, and Archaeology

  • Professor Eric Cline
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • CLAS 1000.80 or HIST 1000.80
  • CRN 66598 or 66744
  • W 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Much nonsense has been written about Troy and the Trojan War, and for more than a century, archaeologists and historians have struggled to answer questions about the Iliad, Homer’s magnificent tale.  Did Troy exist?  Where was it located?  Was there a Trojan War or is Homer’s tale simply a good yarn?  Is there any historical truth in a face that launched a thousand ships, or was there simply a ten-year struggle for political hegemony in the Aegean?  This problem-oriented class will focus on the archaeological, historical, and methodological questions surrounding the truth of the Trojan War.  Using ancient sources as well as modern historiography and archaeology, each student will be expected to master the critical methods employed by historians and archaeologists and to reach his or her own conclusions regarding the Trojan War and its legacy.

Eric H. Cline is Professor of Classics and Anthropology and Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at The George Washington University, in Washington DC. A Fulbright scholar, National Geographic Explorer, and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Dr. Cline holds degrees in Classical Archaeology, Near Eastern Archaeology, and Ancient History, from Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania. An active field archaeologist and currently co-director at both Megiddo and Tel Kabri in Israel, he has excavated and surveyed in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, and the United States. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, which have been (or are currently being) translated into thirteen languages, including French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian.

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Coming of Age in Fantasy

  • Professor Patty Chu
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • ENGL 1000.10
  • CRN: 65374
  • TR 3:45-5:00 p.m.

Our course will study the education and journeys of heroes and antiheros who search for truth, love, and recognition.  In addition to kings and demigods in training, we'll consider the coming-of-age of misfits, monsters, musicians, beasts, and bureaucrats, and we'll ask how modern writers use classic fantasy tropes to address questions of identity formation, class and gender boundaries, social dissent, and desire.  We'll read such books as Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Blue Fairy Book, A Winter's Tale, The King Must Die, The King of Attolia, The Sword in the Stone, Graceling, Serafina, Frankenstein, The Golem and the Jinni, Gulliver's Travels, Monkey, 1984, and A Tale for Time Being.

Patricia P. Chu is Associate Professor and Deputy Chair of English at George Washington University.  She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell.  Her book, Assimilating Asians: Gendered Strategies of Authorship in Asian America, explores Asian American novels of education.   An avid reader of fantasy fiction since childhood, she has focused on young adult fantasy fiction since 2001.

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What’s New About Plays

  • Professor Evelyn Schreiber
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • ENGL 1000.12
  • CRN: 63854
  • TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.

This Dean’s Seminar takes advantage of the theatre offerings in Washington and asks the question: What is new about new plays? Are contemporary playwrights reworking classical themes or are their works entirely new entities? What themes reappear and how are they presented? The course also considers how classical plays are re-imagined for modern audiences. For example, is a Shakespearean work staged in a different political or social milieu than the original production? Why would directors make these types of artistic decisions? What does it mean for plays to be culturally relevant? Students will consider who attends the theatre and who will be in the audience in the future. These questions form a large part of decisions about what plays are selected to be produced each year and the nature of those productions. We will read three classical plays and three new plays as well as attend at least one new play.

Evelyn Jaffe Schreiber, Ph.D. is a Professor of English at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her first book, Subversive Voices: Eroticizing the Other in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, examines identity and race via the theory of Jacques Lacan and cultural studies and was awarded the Toni Morrison Society book prize, 2003. Her second book, Race, Trauma, and Home in the Novels of Toni Morrison, is an interdisciplinary study of trauma in Morrison’s fiction and was published in 2010 and was awarded the Toni Morrison Society book prize, 2012. Her articles appear in Mississippi Quarterly; The Faulkner Journal; Literature & Psychology; Style; and Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and she has contributed chapters to Blackwell’s Companion to Faulkner; Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods; A Gathering of Evidence: Essays on William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust; Toni Morrison:  Memory and Meaning; and Toni Morrison: Paradise, Love, and A Mercy.

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Humans and Other Animals: History and Ethics

  • Professor Marcy Norton
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • HIST 1000.10
  • CRN: 66743
  • W 1:10-3:00 p.m.

We live in a paradoxical moment in the history of people’s relationships with animals. Certain species suffer today more than ever due to environmental degradation and modern food production practices. Yet other mammalian species are subject to a degree of sentimental attention (perhaps) unprecedented in history.  This paradox is related to an unresolved tension in Western cultures: do the commonalities that bind humans to other animals unite them more or less than the differences that divide them? Among the questions we will pursue in this seminar: How have (some) non-European cultures resolved this issues? Other questions we will pursue: how does understanding what is “human” depend on what is “animal”? When and how were animals agents of historical change? Topics addressed include the history of (co-)-domestication and taming, hunting, livestock husbandry, pethood, and scientific experimentation in a range of cultures between 10,000 BCE to the present (with an emphasis on the last 500 years). We will investigate these questions through careful reading of primary sources as well as secondary sources produced by historians, literary critics, anthropologists, and philosophers.

Marcy Norton joined the faculty at GWU in 2000 after receiving her PhD from UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of Spain and Latin America before 1800. She is the author of the prize-winning book Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (Cornell University Press, 2008). She is currently writing a book about human-animal relationships in early modern Europe and Native America.

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History of Modern Architecture and Design

  • Professor Stephanie Travis
  • G-PAC: Not eligible
  • IAD 1000.MV
  • CRN: 67169
  • TR 1:00-2:15 p.m.

This course will introduce students to modern architecture and design through the context of small-scale key buildings of the 20th and 21st Century. Students will learn the leaders in architectural history, as well as the cutting edge contemporary designers working today. Incorporating an understanding of the architectural drawings of these unique buildings, as well as information from lectures, readings, and course discussions, this course will focus on creativity and innovation within the built environment.

Stephanie Travis is Associate Professor and Director of the Interior Design Program. She has a B.S. in Architecture and a Masters in Architecture, both from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the studio course in design education, freehand drawing as a tool for seeing, and modern architecture + design.

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The American Museum

  • Professor Kym Rice
  • G-PAC: Arts
  • MSTD 1000.10
  • CRN: 67733
  • W 1:30-4:00

Using Washington, D.C. museums as our landscape, this Dean’s Seminar will introduce students to the history of the museum in the United States, examined both as a particular institutions with a system of practices, norms, and ethics, and as part of American cultural history.  We will then move on to examine the contemporary museum and its functions including exhibition development, collections management, object conservation, museum management, and museums and technology.  The course will end with a look at the most current ideas about museums and communities, and museum involvement in issues of social justice and social change.  Held at the University’s new GW Museum and Textile Museum, the course will be team-taught by professors from the Museum Studies program at GW and will include trips to local museums and discussions with practicing museum professionals.

Kym Rice is the director of G.W.’s graduate Museum Studies Program, among the most highly regarded museum training programs in the United States. Rice who will serve as the lead professor for the Seminar has worked for more than 30 years as a curator and exhibition developer creating exhibitions in museums and libraries throughout the United States.

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An Introduction to Jewish Philosophy

  • Professor Eric Saidel
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • PHIL 1000.11
  • CRN: 65911
  • TR 2:20-3:35

The old joke tells us that in every gathering of two Jews, there are three opinions.  Elihu (a character in the book of Job) is a good representative of the Jewish people: he is full of words that he must express. With those words come many questions.  This is how philosophy begins: with questions.  Our semester will start with a careful look at the book of Job, perhaps the oldest book in the bible and a surprisingly philosophical approach to the question of theodicy – the attempt to understand the ways of God, especially in the face of the presence of evil in the world.  We’ll spend the semester looking at the questions raised by the presence of evil.  These include questions about what it means to live a good life, and questions about the nature of the world.  Our inquiries will be guided by close readings of the work of important Jewish philosophers (including Saadya ben Joseph, Moses Maimonides, and Baruch Spinoza).  We’ll also try to understand what makes the work of these philosophers Jewish Philosophy, or perhaps it’s just philosophy pursued by thinkers who happen to be Jewish?

Eric Saidel is a philosopher who has always been interested in the interplay between philosophical and religious thought.  His main area of research focuses on the contemporary mind-body problem, although he has also published in the history of modern philosophy. When he’s not working, Saidel can be found riding his bike, running, cooking, or listening to music.  Sometimes he does more than one of these at the same time.

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Constitutional Law for the 21st Century

  • Professor Jill Kasle
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • PPPA 1000.10
  • CRN: 63856
  • TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.

This course analyzes and explains the American legal system, including institutions (courts and the court system), documents (the Constitution) and processes (how the Supreme Court decides a case). The course emphasizes the development of analytic skills and communicational ability and, through the use of law school teaching methods and exams, is useful for people who are curious about what law school might be like.

Jill Kasle is associate professor of public policy and public administration. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Boston University School of Law, and has done almost everything that a lawyer can do; she has been a law clerk to a judge, a prosecutor, a defense counsel, a law school administrator and a professor of law.

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Freedom of Speech and of Religion (The First Amendment in the 21st Century)

  • Professor Jill Kasle
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • PPPA 1000.11
  • CRN: 65177
  • MW 2:20-3:35 p.m.

This course will cover the guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the First Amendment. The course emphasizes the development of analytic skills and communications ability.

Jill Kasle is associate professor of public policy and public administration. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Boston University School of Law, and has done almost everything that a lawyer can do; she has been a law clerk to a judge, a prosecutor, a defense counsel, a law school administrator, and a professor of law.

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The United States at War: WWII to Afghanistan

  • Professor Jim Lebovic
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • PSC 1000.10
  • CRN: 63943
  • F 11:10-1:00 p.m.

This class is designed to help students appreciate the challenges that U.S. leaders and society encounter in war by focusing on the major conflicts in which the United States has engaged since its emergence as a global power. By examining the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan in successive weeks, the class will show that these wars were conducted at two levels: U.S. leaders were concerned both about conducting the war abroad and keeping the U.S. public committed to the war effort. Readings and class discussions will focus, then, on the external dimension of these wars – their origins, U.S. wartime strategy, and the outcomes – and their internal dimensions – public support and perceptions of these conflicts. To give students a better understanding of the societal aspects of these conflicts, the discussion of each war will be paired with a movie (or two) that captures the public sentiment of the period and a trip to a relevant memorial or museum in Washington, DC.

James H. Lebovic is professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on political methodology and national and international security. He has published widely on defense policy, deterrence strategy, military budgets and procurement, democracy and human rights, and international conflict. He is the author of four books including Deterring International Terrorism and Rogue States: US National Security Policy after 9/11 (Routledge, 2007) and The Limits of US Military Capability: Lessons from Vietnam and Iraq (John Hopkins University, 2010). He has just completed a book on the United States and strategic nuclear arms control.

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Political Manipulation

  • Professor Forrest Maltzman
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • PSC 1000.11
  • CRN: 64593
  • M 3:30-5:00

Why do citizens and politicians act and do what they do?  Does the ability of an agenda setter to structure voting order shape the decisions legislative bodies make?  Does the manner in which a military casualty is portrayed influence the public's support for war?  In this seminar, we will explore how sociological, economic, and psychological factors that influence the political decisions that individuals that make.  Based upon this understanding, we will then look at how the preferences and decisions of individuals can be manipulated and understood.  As part of this seminar, we will design a series of experiments to manipulate the decisions and actions individuals take. 

Forrest Maltzman is Professor of Political Science and the Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Planning.  He has written extensively on both the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court.  He is the author of Competing Principals: Committees, Parties and the Organization of Congress (Michigan 1997) and co-author of Crafting Law on the Supreme Court (Cambridge 2000), Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary (Brookings, 2009) and The Constrained Court (Princeton, 2011).  He recently published a piece on how presidents use presidential pets to manipulate the public during periods leading up to war.  See: .  Links to much of his work can be found at

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Science in the District: Cognitive Psychology in the Real-World

  • Professor Stephen Mitroff
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • PSYC 1000.10
  • CRN: 67720
  • T 12:45-3:15

Academic theories are the foundation of research, and often theories can be best understood and tested when viewed in practice. Applying theories in the “real-world” can advance scientific thought, can improve everyday activities, can inform policies for highly important occupations, and, most simply, can be fun. In this course we will explore the interplay between theory and practice by examining how cognitive psychology theories can be applied to real-world problems that arise both locally and globally. Luckily, here in Washington DC we have access to agencies and institutions that play a major role in policy, and we can directly examine how cognitive psychology principles can be implemented to aid their efforts. For example the core ideas of cognitive psychology (e.g., perception, attention, memory, language, decision-making) underlie practices at the Department of Transportation, National Institutes of Health, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Drug Administration, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and more.  We will discuss basic cognitive psychology principles, real-world instantiations of the principles, and the interplay between the two. We will visit several DC institutions to see the implementations in action.

Stephen Mitroff is an associate professor of psychology who has just joined George Washington after spending the past nine years at Duke University. His research combines basic science and translational applications to advance both academic theory and real-world practices. For example, he has worked with the Transportation Security Administration to inform theories of visual search (how we find targets in a visual display) and to improve national security. Dr. Mitroff has been funded by the US Army, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, DARPA, NIH, and Nike. He also serves as a Sports Vision and Performance Advisor to Nike and is on the advisory board for Senaptec LLC, a start-up focused on assessing and training vision performance.

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Religion Upsidedown: Gnosticism

  • Professor Paul Duff
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • REL 1000.10
  • CRN: 65333
  • TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.

What if the hero of the Adam and Eve story was the serpent? And what if the deity was really the villain? Curiously, some Gnostics—erudite Christians of the second and third centuries CE—read the biblical text this way. They claimed that the deity in the story was not really God. Instead, he was an inferior deity who tried to keep Adam and Eve from knowing about the true God.  He knew that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes would be opened. The serpent, a messenger from the real God, intervened to make sure that the pair tasted the fruit.

 It will come as no surprise to learn that mainstream Christianity attempted to destroy all Gnostic texts after it gained political power.  Several dozen of these texts nevertheless emerged from the sands of Egypt in the mid-twentieth century.  In our seminar, we will read some of these fascinating texts. We will explore the strange worldview of the Gnostics and examine how these groups subverted the mythology of proto-orthodox Christianity. 

Paul B. Duff is a Professor of Religion who teaches courses on early Christianity. He is the author of numerous articles on early Christianity as well as two books: Who Rides the Beast: Prophetic Rivalry and the Rhetoric of Crisis in the Churches of the Apocalypse (Oxford University Press) and Moses in Corinth: The Apologetic Context of 2 Corinthians 3 (Brill). He is currently completing a book focused on early Christian adaptation to Greco-Roman culture. The book is tentatively entitled We Dwell as Sojourners.

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Cultural History of Russian Rock

  • Professor Rich Robin
  • G-PAC: Humanities
  • SLAV 1000.10
  • CRN: 67211
  • MTWR 5:10-7:00 p.m.

In early 1990, Russian rock star Yuri Shevchuk asked his audience “How long will it take for this damn Soviet government to fall?” The answer, it turned out, was eighteen months. And Russian rock performers and their fans played no small role in the tumultuous changes that were underway. Now, even after three decades of commercialization, Russian rock performers find themselves on the barricades of resistance to an ever increasing clamp-down on expression in Russia. This course looks at how Russian rock, a child of the 1980s, came to be the social force that it is today and what changes is has brought to Russia and what fate might await it in the future. Students will have access to over a hundred recorded performances, as well as interviews with the main figures in the world of rock and their critics. All materials are translated/subtitled in English. No language knowledge is required.

Richard Robin is a Professor of Russian and International Affairs. His main interest is listening comprehension for foreign language media, but his passion is interviewing people in the world of Russian Rock.

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Hollywood and Politics

  • Professor Pat Phalen
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • SMPA 1000.10
  • CRN: 64295
  • MW 12:45-3:15

In the 1950s, Senator McCarthy had film and television writers with the “wrong” political views blacklisted in Hollywood. Fifty years later, Michael Moore produced a film that attacked President Bush for having the “wrong” politics. These are just two of the more obvious connections between the world of Hollywood and the world of Washington, D.C. Pop culture and political culture in the United States share a long and complex relationship. Congress convenes hearings to uncover anti-American sentiment in the media. Actors run for, and win, political office. Celebrity endorsements or condemnations affect national elections. In this course we will explore the history and political effects of these connections. Students will study the personalities, organizations, products and principles of political and pop culture and assess the benefits and costs of their symbiotic relationship.

Patricia Phalen is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs. She has a Masters and Ph.D. in Radio/Television/Film from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Boston College. Her research focuses on the socioeconomics of mass media organizations, particularly the relationship between media and audiences. She is co-author of The Mass Audience: Rediscovering the Dominant Model and Ratings Analysis: The Theory and Practice of Audience Research.

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Poverty, Place and Race: The Sociology of Urban Inequality

  • Professor Greg Squires
  • G-PAC: Social Sciences
  • SOC 1000.10
  • CRN: 65874
  • MW 2:20-3:35

Conflicts between the police and local residents in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore and elsewhere testify to the ongoing reality of racial tensions in urban and metropolitan areas. Today scholars debate whether race or class is more important in accounting for the conditions of racial minorities in the U.S.  Many scholars, including prominent minority scholars, point to the “victim focused identity,”  “anti-intellectualism” and other shortcomings of racial minorities to account for persisting disparities.  Others point to unconscious or implicit bias on the part of virtually all Americans as being at the heart of the issue.  Throughout U.S. history the causes and consequences of poverty and racial inequality have been intricately linked to urban development patterns and the quality of life for diverse groups that reside in the nation’s metropolitan areas.

The primary objective of this course is to increase students’ understanding of the nature of poverty and racial inequality in the U.S., particularly within urban communities.    Scholars, policymakers, and advocates from a range of professions and perspectives have offered divergent analyses and recommendations for how to cross the schisms of race and class in the U.S.  Our job is to understand and critically analyze these varied viewpoints in order to make sense of the significance of race and poverty in our nation’s cities and throughout American society.

Gregory D. Squires is a Professor of Sociology, and Public Policy & Public Administration at George Washington University.  Currently he is a member of the Advisory Board of the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center in Chicago, Illinois, the Fair Housing Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Social Science Advisory Board of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council in Washington, D.C.  He has served as a consultant for civil rights organizations around the country and as a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council.

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Global Dress and Culture

  • Professor Tanya Wetenhall
  • G-PAC: Arts
  • TRDA 1000.10
  • CRN: 67338
  • MW 11:10-12:25 p.m.

Where did the practice of wearing a shirt under your suit jacket come from?  When did women REALLY start wearing pants? Why do you paint your face in team colors for a football game? Dress is a manifestation of mankind’s continuous migration and intellectual interchange over the past two thousand years. Dress responds, adapts or dictates to shifting social mores and emerging technologies. Global dress in particular reads as a history of a people:  the silhouettes and textiles inform of travel and trade; the construction and motifs reveal spiritual and cultural customs. Global dress can further define or blur definitions of gender, and also divulge a political climate.  Being “dressed” in many world cultures requires no clothing at all. Discussions centering on historical and contemporary dress practices, trade, geography and textile production will enrich our studies. Lectures are supplemented with guest speakers, local collection visits and the opening of The Textile Museum at The George Washington University.

Tanya Wetenhall is an Assistant Professor of Design. Her career spans the performing arts, costume studies, museums, and diplomacy. She has managed US tours of foreign dance companies, as well as individual artists touring Europe; directed fashion shows; worked as a cultural liaison for special interest groups visiting Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe; and was a Specialist for the government of The United States at the US embassies in Moscow and Rome. Her recent projects include researching and designing museum exhibitions pertaining to costume history, design and the performing arts, in the US and abroad, as well as consulting for museums. Wetenhall holds an M.A. in Fashion and Textile Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) and has taught in FIT's graduate program and in the graduate costume studies program at New York University. She has developed and taught courses on period styles, the history of the performing and visual arts of Russia, ballet history, and has lectured and written on elements of Russian costume. 

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