Fall 2024

0 Credits
TBA (S/U grade)

Christ College sophomores, juniors, and seniors must register for CC 201 A: Symposium each semester they are on campus. Every CC sophomore, junior, or senior must attend two Symposium events per semester. Failure to do so will result in a “U” on the transcript and may jeopardize standing in CC.

3 Credits
Section A: MWF 11:50 am-12:40 pm – Professor Gretchen Buggeln
Fulfills humanities: fine arts component of the general education requirements.

Human beings are image makers. We represent and communicate what we see, imagine, and understand in words and pictures. This course introduces students to certain problems in the history of visual and literary representation from Plato to the present. The course is divided into three sections. The first focuses on questions regarding the truth and authority of representations. The second section explores aesthetics, especially the rise of modern ways of seeing in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Europe and America. Finally, we will consider the ethical or moral duty of makers of images and texts in the modern world. Among the variety of questions that we will consider this semester are: What is this human practice of representation, and how do words and images operate? Can words claim legitimacy that images may not and vice-versa? What do makers of representations owe their viewers/readers? 

CC215 Section A:  The Christian Tradition
Credits 3
Section A: MW 2:40-3:55 pm – Professor Matthew Puffer
Fulfills theology 200 requirement only.

CC215 Section B and C: The Christian Tradition – WIC
Section B: TR 8:40-9:55 am – Professor Edward Upton (WIC)
Section C: TR 10:45 am–12:00 pm – Professor Edward Upton (WIC)
Fulfills theology 200 requirement and writing intensive course (WIC) requirement.

This course introduces students to central developments in the history of Christianity and to diverse forms of Christianity today. It also explores the nature and purpose of Christian theology and encourages students to reflect more deeply on their own religious convictions and questions. The course focuses on the close reading and discussion of primary texts in the Christian intellectual and spiritual tradition. Readings include selections from the Bible and the writings of various classical theologians, such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as contemporary theologians from a variety of Christian traditions and perspectives.

The course aims to strengthen the student’s: (1) knowledge of Christian theology and practice; (2) ability to read theological texts closely and to think critically about them; and (3) communication and research skills.

Requirements include active participation in class discussions and three papers (5-6 pages each).

Credits 3
Section A: TR 12:15-1:30 pm – Professor Matthew Puffer
Section B: TR 1:45-3:00 pm – Professor Matthew Puffer
Fulfills 3 cr of social sciences requirement.

Continuing the important questions addressed in the First-Year Program–what it means to be human–this course examines the ways that human beings are deeply social creatures that both make and are made by their communities. The class points to the questions of good life and good society–questions that people share regardless of their cultural background and context–but also looks at various ways in which specific cultures answer those questions. The course will draw its theoretical emphases from major figures in the human sciences, including Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, Clifford Geertz, and Michel Foucault. The social thinkers that we study in this course each posit theories and methods for examining the relationship between individuals and their society. We start with the assumption that we are not isolated individuals; our opportunities and even our very identities are shaped by a social environment that we help create.  Thus, we shape our society and in turn our society shapes us.   We end the course by being social theorists ourselves, applying the tools of social analysis that we have honed all semester to contemporary issues of importance in the 21st century–this year, new media and technology. Thus, this class helps students learn how to move from the kinds of big ideas we discuss in our CC classes to critical analysis of the contemporary social events they read about in the news; it is a process of translation for engagement in the contemporary world. 

In addition to weekly discussion and small preparatory assignments, major assignments will include short (5 page papers) and one longer (10 page) paper. 

Credits 3
TR 10:45 am-12:00 pm – Professor Kevin Gary

In this course we will examine seminal texts in educational thought from Plato’s Republic to Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Essential questions we will examine include the following: How does education contribute to human flourishing and the pursuit of justice? What is the role of our schools in helping us live in an increasingly diverse society? How can schools reconcile the individual, from any background, with the good of society? What are and should be the goals of education?

Credits 3
MW 4:10-5:25 pm – Professor Shirvel Stanislaus

‘Nuclear’ is a word that most people fear but very few understand and know the inner workings. This course will introduce students to the science (physics) behind nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Once the students become familiar with how nuclear weapons and nuclear power work, we will explore their effects on society. The discussions will be centered around nuclear disasters/accidents (Chernobyl, Fukushima etc.), nuclear war (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), nuclear waste, nations with nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament etc. Students will also discuss other forms of energy and their impact on society. A question that will be raised and discussed is: “If a nuclear bomb is dropped on Chicago, how safe are we in Valparaiso?” Students will conduct two public debates towards the end of the semester, one on the use of nuclear weapons and the other on nuclear power. If safe and permitted, we will also make a field trip to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where some of the research leading to the building of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was carried out in secret. No prior knowledge of physics is required to take this course. Students in humanities, with no experience in the sciences, are encouraged and most welcome to join the class.

Credits 3
M 6:30-9:00 pm – Professor Thomas A. Howard
Cross-listed with THEO 339 BX
Fulfills upper-level theo requirement.

Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden … but also Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Paul II, Mother Teresa.  The twentieth century witnessed dramatic contrasts with respect to what a human being is capable of–whether for good or evil.  This course aims to give students an overview of some of the century’s major events, beginning with the outbreak of World War I in 1914 until 9/11.  Particular attention, however, will be paid to the larger moral and theological issues raised by these events.  Questions pursued include the following: Can modern wars be just?  What is genocide? What exactly are human rights?  What are we to make of the century’s signature ideologies: socialism, nationalism, liberalism, capitalism? What is the legacy of Western colonialism? Has America been a force for good or not during the century?  How much hope should we place in technology to ameliorate the human condition?  The course is interdisciplinary in nature and will freely draw insights from history, ethics, theology, literature, and more.      

Credits 3
TR 12:15-1:30 pm – Professor Jennifer Prough
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

Over the past three decades, Japanese popular culture has become a global phenomenon; from Power Rangers to Pokémon, Sailor Moon to Spirited Away, a generation of children/young adults/adults have been shaped by images and narratives from Japan. This seminar aims at developing a visual literacy and historical understanding of several key elements of Japanese visual culture past and present. Throughout the semester we will examine moments in Japanese history, literature, and popular culture through texts as well as scroll paintings, woodblock prints, manga and anime, contemporary art, and video games. The class is divided into four units: Heian court romance, Edo period samurai culture, the visual narratives of manga and anime, and the immersive experience of JRPG (Japanese video games). In each of the thematic units we will think about the ways that literature and art shape each other, reflect and effect their cultural contexts, and evolve over time. Along the way, we will ask questions about the international reception of Japanese popular culture and the ways in which cultural styles, norms, and ideas are reconfigured and reinterpreted at sites of reception. Thus, this course addresses fundamental issues of how we take popular culture seriously through examples from Japan. Students will learn, not only about these particular artistic and cultural forms, but also about how to analyze visual media.  

Credits 3
MWF 3:05-3:55 pm – Professor Stacy Hoult
Cross-listed with WLC 320 A
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

The course examines humanitarian service in global perspective. It assesses both the historical and contemporary records of development aid, religiously motivated efforts, human rights modalities, bi and multilateral aid at the government level, and the latest ventures in sustainable development. The course is designed around case studies, group projects, and grant writing—the foundation of humanitarian efforts. The aim of the course is to make students aware of the pitfalls associated with the record of humanitarian aid, but resolute in their determination to improve the world wisely. Prerequisite: WLC 150, or consent of the department chair. 

Credits 3
MWF 9:05-9:55 am – Professor Martin Buinicki
Cross-listed with ENGL 313

Explore how American writers reimagined their art, communities, and identities in the face of multiple wars, rapidly changing technology, and struggles for social and environmental justice. American Dreaming: 1865-Present surveys works by authors ranging from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, writing in the aftermath of the Civil War, to Don DeLillo and Jhumpa Lahiri, interpreting the postmodern American landscape at the turn of the millennium and beyond. Select works of criticism will aid our reading, articles that consider these authors in relation to their context and the larger field of literary study.

Work for the course includes three reading responses, two formal essay assignments, and a mid-term and final exam.

Credits 3
TR 8:40-9:55 am – Professor Nicholas Denysenko
Cross-listed with THEO 348
Fulfills upper-level theo requirement.

Christianity and the World in Crisis explores the “big” fundamental questions of Christianity, especially in its relationship with the world. This course invites students to reflect on the application of Gospel values in the arena of global problems. The course engages biblical material but is not a detailed study of the Scriptures. It is also not a course on Church history, although it draws from Christian history on many occasions. A selection of big issues establishes the framework for the course.

Students spend the semester learning how communities and people have engaged public life through active engagement of Gospel values. Assessments for this course include exams, a written analysis of a case study on Christian responses to a specific crisis, and a creative project articulating how Christianity might respond to issues confronting contemporary public life.

In Fall 2024, this course examines Christian responses to illness, death, wealth and poverty, religion and politics, war, racism, and climate change.

Credits 3
TR 1:45-3:00 pm – Professor Edward Upton

“Mastered economics ‘cause you took yourself from squalor (slave) / Mastered academics ‘cause your grades say you a scholar (slave) / Mastered Instagram ‘cause you can instigate a follow (shit) / Look at all these slave masters posin’ on yo’ dollar (get it? Yeah).” In the first verse of “Ju$t,” Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P, joined on this song by Pharrell Williams and Zach de la Rocha) evoke the tragic ambiguities of America’s founding, reminding us that some of the nation’s most influential founding fathers (including some of those on our currency) were slave holders. In these verses, Run the Jewels certainly aim to condemn the unique legacy of slavery whose history of effects continues to disadvantage Black Americans to this day. However, they also mean to suggest that this experience casts light on broader questions of labor, economics, and desire in modern America. This becomes clear in Zach de la Rocha’s concluding verse to the song, where the slave masters on America’s currency, and those who wield it, become the masters of all of us: “So I’m questioning this quest for things / As a recipe for early death threatening / But the breath in me is weaponry / For you, it’s just money.”

Run the Jewels suggest that there is something about contemporary labor practices and technologies of desire that challenge the human dignity of those implicated in them. This course will ask how those labor practices either enhance or estrange us from our dignity as human beings. It will explore how what we do in life expresses that dignity, how contemporary labor practices and technology shape our human loves, and how we can cultivate solidarity with those whose labor is often hidden or who struggle to find meaningful, fulfilling work. Finally, we will ask how aesthetics, the study of beauty, might suggest a role for the arts in validating human making, enlivening our work, and forging those bonds of solidarity and community. Beginning with Run the Jewels 4 and passages from Thoreau’s Walden, we will examine works by Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jenny Odell, Simone Weil, Makoto Fujimura, Elaine Scarry, and Virginia Woolf.

The questions with which this class will engage should concern literally every single CC student who wishes to maintain their humanity amid the economy that awaits them after graduation. See you in the Fall.

Credits 3
W 6:30-9:00 pm – Professor Agnes Howard
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

Do you believe in science? Does medicine make people healthy? This course will examine alternative cultures of health in the United States, diverse traditions and experience with medicine, including that of African Americans, Native peoples, and immigrants to the United States. Minority cultures have shaped their own views of the body and institutions devoted to its care. Approaches offered by these communities have helped to shape mainstream medicine and also have offered critiques to it. With its historical focus, this course will examine each culture during a period–primarily the19th and 20th centuries–when the scope of professional, Western medicine expanded over a greater breadth. Students will pursue particular interests in an interdisciplinary research paper with a presentation.

Credits 3
Professor Samuel Graber
Meeting time TBA

The “TA Course” provides selected CC seniors a unique opportunity for both teaching and learning. As more advanced and mature students, the Tutorial Assistants are well-equipped to introduce first year students to foundational liberal arts texts as well as to the general atmosphere and expectations of Christ College. As students about to complete their undergraduate careers, seniors have an opportunity to return to some texts they read as first-year students, as well as some new texts, and reconsider them in light of their acquired skills and knowledge.  Through the preparation for teaching FYP course materials, TAs engage more deeply with these fundamental liberal arts texts and think more deeply about the overall CC experience.

Each TA works with a small group of first-year students on Monday mornings, introducing them to the text under consideration. The TAs meet with Professor Graber as a group for discussion of the texts and pedagogical strategies the previous Thursday.  Each TA is responsible for weekly written assignments (discussion paragraphs, lesson plans, etc.) and for a self-evaluation of the semester.  TAs also comment on and grade first-year paragraphs each week.  TAs will receive evaluations from their first-year students at mid-term and at the end of the semester.

Texts will include all First-Year Program Fall Semester texts.

Senior standing required.  Consent of the Dean and Instructor are required; Professor Graber will interview prospective seniors.  (For approved seniors, this course may count as a CC 300 level seminar toward Scholar designation or the major and minor in the humanities.)

Credit 1
Associate Dean Zachary King

Christ College Senior Colloquium provides a capstone, integrative experience for Christ College Scholars.  CC students will gather to reflect upon their college years; integrate academic, practical, social, and spiritual experiences; consider their transition from college; and plan for closure on their undergraduate careers.

Spring 2024

0 Credits

Christ College sophomores, juniors and seniors must register for CC 201 A: Symposium each semester they are on campus. Every CC sophomore, junior or senior must attend two Symposia per semester. Failure to do so will result in a “U” on the transcript and may jeopardize standing in CC.

3 Credits 

Section A: TR 10:45 am-12:00 pm    Professor Graber
Section B: TR 12:15-1:30 pm    Professor Graber
Fulfills humanities fine arts requirement.

What is representation and how do words and images communicate?
What makes a representation “true”?
Can words claim legitimacy that images may not, or vice-versa?
What do makers of representations owe their viewers/readers?

Word & Image introduces students to problems and questions associated with the nature, form, and circulation of images from Plato to the present. The course is divided into four sections. The first questions the ability of images and text to convey truth and justice, with a special focus on what we call “documentary” images. The second considers historical and contemporary problems in the representation of the sacred and the use of images and objects in worship and devotion. The third section explores the rise of modern ways of subjective seeing and representing, with a particular emphasis on the traveler. Finally, we will turn our attention to comics and film, considering contemporary representation in light of course questions about truth telling and subjectivity.

3 Credits 

Section A-Art & Architecture: MWF 11:50 am-12:40 pm – Professor Buggeln – Fulfills theology 200 requirement only.

Section B-WIC: TR 8:40-9:55 am – Professor Puffer – Fulfills theology 200 and WIC (writing intensive course) requirement.

Section A:

This new section will consider the history and culture of Christianity through the lens of its diverse artistic and architectural traditions. We will be reading written accounts of material practices, doctrines, and historical background, but our central “texts” will be the material evidence of two thousand years of Christian belief and global practice. This terrain is vast, from cathedrals to camp meetings, and from catacomb paintings to comic books. The course will flow chronologically, and students will gain a working knowledge of key buildings and works of art, with the opportunity to follow their own interests as well. No prior knowledge of Christianity or art/architecture is required.

Section B:

This course introduces students to central developments in the history of Christianity and to diverse forms of Christianity today. It also explores the nature and purpose of Christian theology and encourages students to reflect more deeply on their own religious convictions and questions. The course focuses on the close reading and discussion of primary texts in the Christian intellectual and spiritual tradition. Readings include selections from the Bible and the writings of various classical theologians, such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as contemporary theologians from a variety of Christian traditions and perspectives.

3 Credits 
MWF     12:55-1:45 pm     Professor Puffer

What are the origins, purposes, and limits of science and technology? Science and technology have shaped modern society such that we live at a time unprecedented in both its potential for human flourishing and its vulnerability to violence and suffering. Today, human society harnesses atomic and solar energy, edits the human genome, engineers new species, impacts the global climate, and reflexively shapes itself through social media. As Martin Luther King, Jr. witnessed the rapid acceleration of society’s scientific and technological capacities half a century ago he observed that moral and social progress were not keeping pace: “We have guided missiles and misguided men.” The interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, & Society emerged in response to such challenges for the sake of present and future generations.

This course familiarizes students with historical challenges, influential interdisciplinary studies, and complex ethical considerations that inform the field of Science, Technology, & Society. Throughout, we will examine cases from diverse STEM fields in order to develop ethically-informed approaches to scientific research and cross-disciplinary applied projects. Readings, discussions, and assignments will invite students to broaden their understanding of vocation and professional responsibility beyond the merely descriptive and technical to normative and theoretical domains encompassing multiple disciplinary perspectives, diverse values, and a range of views about what makes for a good and just society.

* This course can satisfy the College of Engineering’s GE312 (Ethical Decisions in Engineering) requirement; if students would like it to fulfill that requirement, they should consult Dean King on the paperwork once they have enrolled.

3 Credits 
M     6:30-9:00 pm     Professor Agnes Howard

You might think you know how babies are made. But you might be surprised. And you might have spent more time pondering your own mortality than your own natality, political theorist Hannah Arendt’s name for the powerful fact that each one of us has a beginning.  Like us, people in the past thought they knew how new humans came to be and they came up with some ideas we now find frankly strange. Some have theorized that babies came from seeds, or that the alignment of planets affected birth, or that a mother’s drinking coffee could leave telltale birthmarks. Those were just the strange theories about life before birth.  Much controversy also attends birth itself, especially around technology and medical treatment, so that historian Janet Golden can argue that babies “made us modern.” Birth, Jennifer Banks writes, “shapes every human life from its beginning to its end,” a fact this course will consider, along with its attendant historical, cultural, scientific, and ethical concerns.

3 Credits 
Cross-listed with ENGL 260
TR     1:45-3:45 pm     Professor Potter
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement

The course will examine queer cinema within a global context from the past to the present. It will also serve as an introduction to theorists, debates, and ideas within queer theory. Possible films may include Girls in Uniform (Sagan, 1931), Victim (Dearden, 1961), Fire (Mehta, 1996), Breaking Fast (Mosallam, 2020), and A Fantastic Woman (2017). Possible theorists include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Jose Munoz, Jack Halberstam, Jasbir Puar, and Eve Sedgwick. Topics of discussion may include queercoding, compulsory heterosexuality, gender performativity, homonationalism, pinkwashing, and AIDS activism.

3 Credits 
Cross-listed with THEO 331
TR    3:15-4:30 pm     Professor Gary

“The old and honorable idea of ‘vocation’ is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.”—Wendell Berry. 

The notion of being called draws inspiration from both secular and religious traditions. We see Socrates in Plato’s Apology heeding a call from his mysterious daemon to be a ceaseless lover of wisdom. In the Gospel of Luke, we witness Mary being called by the angel Gabriel to be the Theotokos (the God-bearer). This notion of vocation, or calling, is linked to human flourishing. It suggests that if we miss or fail to heed our calling we miss out on something very important. Yet how do we discern our calling? What are the sources of wisdom? How does the notion of vocation integrate with the concrete demands of our lives? Does our vocation align with our deepest desires? Does a calling come from God? Is it revealed to us through our emerging talents? Does it come to light through our preferences? Drawing on various sources, this course examines the concept of vocation within a pluralistic context and asks participants to carefully discern their own emerging vocation.


3 Credits
Cross-listed with THEO 367
MWF   9:05-9:55 am     Professor Pati
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

Though love is a universal feeling, it has various idioms, and culture and language play a significant role in defining it. This course explores idioms of love in different literary and visual expressions from different regions of India, mapping the significance of love in religious and cultural contexts, considering South Asian historical continuities.

3 Credits
Cross-listed with THEO 3
Two Week Study Abroad Course, May 12-25, 2024       Professor Puffer
Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.

This two-week study abroad course counts toward 2024 spring semester credits and departs immediately after exams and graduation, May 12-25, 2024.

In seminar discussions and excursions in London and Cambridge, the course will explore the emergence of “science” and “religion” in some of the most significant sites of scientific and religious revolutions in the modern world. Students will examine how the relationship between science and religion has evolved from the ancient to the present day, looking not only at controversial issues but also at the positive dialogue between scientists, theologians, and their respective traditions of inquiry. Seminar discussions will consider cosmology, creation, evolution, and ethics as students explore places of historical, theological, scientific, and natural interest, including influential research laboratories, cathedrals, conservatories, and museums that have been instrumental in changing the way humans have understood themselves, nature, religion, and science. Exploring the history, sites, people, and ides that have catalyzed continuous scientific and religious innovation and reformation, discovery and dialogue, students will consider how discoveries in physics, geology, chemistry, biology and genetics shaped 2000-year-old religious traditions, including the Protestant Reformation, modern theology, and interfaith dialogue.

Students will stay in Valparaiso University’s Study Centre in Cambridge and will have opportunities to interact with faculty and students at the University of Cambridge through the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and the Woolf Institute for interreligious dialogue, both housed on the campus of Westminster College. Students will interact with university faculty, students, and local residents during the planned visits to local sites and museums, academic lectures and seminars, evensong services, and various outings.

Four sessions during the spring semester will provide: a general orientation session for all students going abroad overview of sites to be visited, a pre-departure orientation to the trip logistics co-led by Global Education, and two preliminary discussions of the course subject matter led by Dr. Puffer.

3 Credits
Cross-listed with THTR 390 SA3
Spring Break 2024     Professor Orchard

The 3-credit seminar is CC 300 SA2X: The London Stage–and it will include excursions to Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, The British Museum, and Stratford-Upon-Avon; tours of the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Westminster Abbey; and tickets to 10 plays and musicals performing at a wide variety of theatres throughout Greater London.

3 Credits
Spring Break 2024     Dean Prough

This seminar on the road will focus on urban life in Japan in both the past and present.  The bulk of the class will be a 10 day trip to Kyoto/Tokyo during spring break, where we will experience and think together about history and culture, space and place, in contemporary Japan. Select readings from literature, popular culture, and history will guide us through the issues inherent in urban life in Japan tacking back and forth between historical accounts and contemporary incarnations in Japan. The focus of class will be to learn about, experience, and reflect on urban life in Japan with a focus on Tokyo and Kyoto. 

3 Credits
TR   1:45-3:00 pm     Professor Upton

Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Ahmaud Arbery. The deaths of these Black Americans, most at the hand of police officers, has brought to national consciousness yet again the danger with which Black Americans live on a daily basis. Some white Americans have reacted with outrage, others with moral embarrassment at the continuing trauma they either would like to forget or that they would prefer not to reach their daily awareness. Black Americans would be justified in cynically expecting these reactions to wane when the media cameras direct their attention elsewhere.

In literary criticism and philosophy, one way to describe this horrifying state of affairs is to say that Black Americans lack the recognition of their humanity, the awareness and respect accorded to other human persons with their own histories, concerns, projects, and desires. This course will explore this idea of recognition through a close reading of Ralph Ellison’s major novel, Invisible Man. Ellison’s narrator is a black man who grows up in the South and migrates to New York after college. He is a character whose suffering constantly flies beneath the conscious awareness of his fellow citizens; he is “invisible” to them. This prompts him ultimately to take residence underground, where he becomes truly, physically invisible to others. Ellison’s exploration of his narrator’s suffering gives birth to a real ethics of recognition, an ethics which his literature incites for the reader. Ellison’s narrator may be invisible in the world of the novel, but he becomes shockingly visible, indeed inescapable, to his readers.

This course will complement its reading of Invisible Man with reflections on recognition by such figures as Frantz Fanon and Simone Weil. It will also put Ellison’s work in dialogue with other works of modern literature that explore this issue, such as texts by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and E.M. Forster.

3 Credits
TR   3:15-4:30 pm     Professor Graber
May fulfill cultural diversity requirement or humanities-literature requirement.

African American literature includes some of the richest and most innovative writing in the English language. Black writers have produced works that bent and reinvented literary genres to express the truths of black experience in the United States—from spirituals to hip hop, from essays to epic poems, from slave narratives to surrealist novels. Writers such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Jesmyn Ward, and Ta-Nehisi Coates have exposed the glaring absurdity of Thomas Jefferson’s white supremacist declaration of 1781: “Never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration.”  In this course we will explore together how black writers have been transcending “the level of plain narration” since before the nation’s founding. We will examine a body of literature remarkable for its ingenuity, emotional depth, and multi-layered complexity, crafted in spite of monstrous impediments—mandatory illiteracy, terrorist violence, slavery, and bigotry. We will discover how, in the face of a deeply racist ideology that Jefferson only partially articulated, African American writing has carved out a space for liberty with the tools of literature. In addition to engaging in a lively and enlightening semester-long conversation, you will also each have the opportunity to design and carry out a major interdisciplinary research project, which will culminate in a 12-15-page paper on a topic related to African American literature.

3 Credits
T   6:30-9:00 pm     Professor Jakelic

From the United States to Poland to South Africa, from France to Australia to India, one reads about confrontations and clashes between religions and secularisms. The whole world—and this includes our own campus—seems to be caught in the net of what sociologist James D. Hunter calls “culture wars” over moral values that ought to guide our public life and politics surrounding the issues of marriage, abortion, or gender equality. In this power-struggle, the religious and secular points of view often appear to be irreconcilable, while the individuals and societies emerge as incapable of articulating some shared notions of the good life and good society.

In this course, we shall attempt to move beyond the described culture wars and an impasse shaping our individual and public lives. We shall counter the usual focus on religious-secular conflicts by exploring religious-secular relations as productive sites of truth-seeking pluralism and collaborations. We shall inquire whether one way to think of religious-secular pluralism as a platform for alliances is an understanding of both religions and secularisms as the grounds for humanisms—ethical, intellectual, and practical concern with the capacity of human beings for self-cultivation, for envisioning and enabling individuals and communities to flourish in their pursuit of common ideals of just societies.

The course will have three parts:

In the first part of the class, we shall explore the multiplicity of religious and secular humanisms as they have been articulated by ethicists, theologians, philosophers, social thinkers and activists who draw on the African tradition of ubuntu, Confucian humanist perspectives, the humanist legacies of Renaissance Europe, and Marxist humanist thought. We shall engage thinkers standing in the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as the secular humanists such as Frantz Fanon and Edward Said who affirm the insights of decolonial practice and postcolonial thought.

In the second part of the class, we shall undertake group projects to collaboratively explore three historical enactments of religious and secular humanisms, or three models of religious-secular alliances, which all resulted in the transformations of the political landscape of the twentieth century: the American civil rights movement, the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the Polish Solidarity movement. We shall ask: What practices enabled the American, South African, and Polish religious and secular humanists to act passionately in the name of their moral commitments as well as to develop “a sane relationship to power”—all the while working together for the betterment of their societies?

In the third part of this course, we shall take part in the work of one local organization and participate in one of their projects (details TBA). In this context, we shall practically probe and reflect on the questions about the meanings and implications of religious and secular humanisms when they are enacted toward the concrete and shared goals.

This is an interdisciplinary seminar that will be reading/writing/discussion intensive; it will include two papers (one short and one longer essay), a group research project, class presentations, and a practical component.

1 Credits
TBD             Professor Ruud

This internship is designed to provide credit for upper-level students who would like to coach a debate team for CC-115-L Debate Lab. Students enrolled in CC-487 will work with the Debate Coordinator to gain experience organizing debate teams, shepherding research, and speech writing. S/U Grade Only

1 Credit
Associate Dean King

Christ College Senior Colloquium provides a capstone, integrative experience for Christ College Scholars. Through conversations, readings, and written work, students will be led to give shape to the substance of their lives through autobiographical narrative, and they will be led to reflect upon the character and meaning of their future work. The practical dimensions of these reflections will include attention to the transition from college.  [For seniors who were unable to take this in the fall.]