Spring 2022

0 Credits
R 6:30-7:30 p.m. (S/U grade)

The Christ College Symposium is a premier co-curricular program of presentations featuring distinguished guests from all fields of scholarship, including religion, the arts, public affairs, and science, and other arenas who present their work and engage in lively exchange with the audience. Christ College sophomores, juniors and seniors must register for CC 201 EV: Symposium each semester they are on campus. Every CC sophomore, junior or senior must attend a minimum of two events per semester.  Students have multiple options from the Speaker Series and Firesides, which feature presentations by faculty members.  Failure to do so will result in a “U” on your transcript and may jeopardize your standing in CC.




3 Credits
Section A:  TR 8:30-9:45 am – Professor Graber
Section B:  TR 10:30-11:45 am – 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: MWF 9:00-9:50 am – Professor Denysenko (Fulfills THEO 200 requirement)
Mixed hybrid: combination of in-person and online synchronous class meetings.
Section B-WIC: TR 1:30-2:45 pm – Professor Howard (Fulfills THEO 200 and WIC-writing intensive course 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).

3 Credits
Section A: TR 12:00-1:15 pm – Professor Jakelic
Fulfills 3 credits 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

3 Credits
MWF 1:30-2:20 pm – Professor Puffer

What are the origins, purposes, and limits of science and technology?  Science and technology (including natural and social sciences, as well as engineering and medicine) have so shaped modern society that we live at a time unprecedented in its potential for human flourishing and its vulnerability to violence and suffering.  Today, human beings can harness atomic and solar energy, edit the human genome, engineer new species, change the global climate, and manipulate society through social media.  As he witnessed the rapid acceleration of society’s scientific and technological capacities half a century ago Martin Luther King, Jr. saw 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 this and similar challenges for the sake of both the common good and future generations.  In this course students will be introduced to historical challenges, influential interdisciplinary studies, and complex ethical considerations that inform the field of Science, Technology, & Society.  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 understandings of vocation and professional responsibilities beyond the merely technical to moral domains encompassing multiple disciplinary perspectives, diverse values, and a range of views about what makes for a good and just society.  

*This course may satisfy the College of Engineering’s GE312 (Ethical Decisions in Engineering) requirement.  

3 Credits – Cross-listed with THEO 321
TR 8:30-9:45 am – Professor Driver
May fulfill upper-level theology or cultural diversity requirement.

Through primary texts and images, students will explore medieval Christianity from a global perspective (5th -15th centuries).  The course will investigate intercultural and interreligious aspects of missions, conversion, monasticism, Christology, worship and devotional practices.  It will also consider the impact of minority status experienced by the majority of Christians in much of this period.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with ENGL 260
TR 10:30-11:45 am – Professor Severe
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

While the medieval period serves as the historical background for modern popular fantasies, such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and most recently The Green Knight, the Medieval world is also the backdrop for contemporary supremist ideology and discrimination as seen in the symbols donned in Unite the Right Rallies, the insurrection on January 6th, 2021 and even the former mascot of Valparaiso University.  As a means of uncovering the deep-rootedness of systemic inequality that is pervasive in current culture, this course will engage participants in critical exploration of various genres that represent how race and difference permeated the social, cultural, spiritual and political aspects of the medieval world.  Together we will interrogate medieval and modern texts, to uncover how discriminatory practices representative in medieval literature, art, history and church doctrine make their way in various aspects of contemporary culture.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with THEO 329 BX
MWF 11:30-12:20 pm – Professor Denysenko
Mixed hybrid: combination of in-person and online synchronous class meetings.
May fulfill upper-level theo or cultural diversity requirement.

This course surveys Eastern Christian theological traditions by studying the history, theology, and practices of Oriental Orthodoxy, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Eastern Catholic churches. This course offers a historical overview of Eastern Christianity in regions such as Palestine, Syria, Armenia, Egypt, Greece, and Eastern Europe, and the establishment of Eastern Christian communities in North America. Topics of more intense study will include the emergence of monasticism and its contribution to spirituality, Eastern worship, iconographic, and ritual practices, surveys of the lives of saints, Eastern views on Christology, engagement with and comparisons to other Christian traditions, and a selection of problems particular to the Eastern Churches. Assignments will include a case study visit to an Eastern Christian community in the greater NW Indiana area with reflection on the dynamics of Eastern Christianity in the West.


3 Credits – Cross-listed with THEO 346 AX
TR 3:00-4:15 pm – Professor Holman
Mixed hybrid: combination of in-person and online synchronous class meetings.
Fulfills upper level theology requirement.

In a world of unpredictable disease transmission, complex community boundaries, and religious tensions and disconnects, what role does religion or spirituality (R/S) play in global health—the health of the world as we know it today? This course explores stories of interdisciplinarity that illustrate and invite creative, scientific, cultural and religious action, honesty, courage, and hope to solve and cure. A heavy reading course with occasional invited guest lectures, the course will especially highlight voices that engage R/S to identify and address racial and ethnic health disparities and global health problems from the mid-19th century to the present. Issues for discussion will include R/S as it relates to: public health, infectious disease; environment and climate (including water and sanitation); community health care; humanitarian aid ethics in war and disaster; gender; faith-based missions and health systems; and the role of R/S in health initiatives on human flourishing.

This is an online course with eight required-in-person sessions on campus during the semester.


3 Credits – Cross-listed with NS 490 
MWF 9:00-9:50 am – Professor Zygmunt

Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.

The course objective is to help us better understand the character, scope, and limitations of the scientific endeavor. Readings, discussions, and writing assignments will help us move beyond simplistic notions of the “scientific method” which often do not resemble the way science actually works.

The course will present various philosophical schools of thought along with historical examples.  By examining scientific case histories, we will better understand how and why scientific choices are made. We will try to better understand how competing ideas, models, and theories rise to acceptance in the scientific community, as well as what factors lead to their demise.  These studies will illustrate that science is a very human endeavor, strongly influenced by human abilities and limitations.

Many assume that science is an honest endeavor seeking to discover the truth about the natural world.  Yet since we are human participants who compete for research funding and results, how do we maintain objectivity and integrity?  And how does the scientific community deal with cases of carelessness, mistakes, and misconduct?  These and other ethical issues will be considered. 

It is natural to explore connections between the scientific endeavor and our own lives.  What are our motives for learning more about the natural world?  How does science influence and interact with our faith commitments?  What moral issues arise due to our involvement in and benefit from scientific developments?  We will discuss these issues and attempt to develop as persons whose lives have increasing coherence and unity.

Texts for the course will include Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Del Ratzsch’s Science and Its Limits, James Watson’s The Double Helix, and John Polkinghorne’s One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology, as well as selected chapters and journal articles relating to historical episodes in science.


3 Credits – Cross-listed with HIST 492 AX and POLS 391
T 6:30-9:15 pm – Professor Jakelic

The links between Christianity and nationalism, the American Christian theologian William Cavanaugh contends, reflect “the twilight of gods” and “the age-old sin of idolatry.” His argument seems to be confirmed today. In our time, a major public American university (University of Virginia) became a site for marches of the clean-shaven, torch-bearing neo-Nazi white nationalists who often embody the secularized version of Christian nationalism rooted in modern American history. Elsewhere in the world, the leader of the ruling nationalist party of one EU state (Hungary) built barbed wired borders against refugees and migrants by appealing to the values of European Christian culture.

History also seems to corroborate Cavanaugh’s warning. Anyone familiar with the events of the twentieth century understands the grave dangers of the close bonds between the Christian churches and modern nation-states: the unspeakable tragedy and violence that accompanied links between Deutsche Christen and Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany, or between the Dutch Reformed Church and the apartheid state in South Africa.

In this class, we shall reflect on the historical, theological, and ethical dimensions of past encounters between Christianity and nationalism. We shall ask: When did these encounters involve nationalist politicians who co-opted Christianity to justify exclusion and domination? When did the Christian leaders themselves adopt the mantle of nationalist ideologues to legitimize violence against other national and religious groups? But we shall also inquire: when did the Christian leaders and communities reject and subvert exclusionary, oppressive, and violent expressions of nationalist ideologies? And, even more importantly for our present concerns: When and how did the Christians enact their beliefs and faith commitments to help shape visions of new, more inclusive and more just national communities?

This interdisciplinary seminar will seek to develop both theoretical and empirical (historical and sociological) appreciation of the connections between Christianity and nationalism. It will be reading/writing/discussion intensive, and will include two papers, a group research project, and class presentations.


3 Credits 
Study Abroad – Professor Howard, T.

This course takes as its theme moral inquiry or “ethics” in the classical and Christian traditions, with a focus on their co-mingling in late medieval and early modern Europe (ca. 1200-1600). Participants will have an opportunity to read various classical authors, such as Aristotle and Cicero, and then later medieval/Renaissance authors such as Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena.  Some key questions that will be explored include (but are not limited to): What is a good life? What is a good society? What is virtue and how does one acquire it? What is vice and how can one avoid it? What is the relationship between the pursuit of virtue and the pursuit of salvation? What is the relationship between individual virtue and public/social responsibility? We shall also ask to what extent medieval and early-modern moral philosophy might still be relevant (or not) to religious institutions, society, and government today.  In addition to readings and discussions, field trips will be taken within the city of Orvieto and to Rome, Siena, and Florence.  Throughout, we shall attempt to make connections between the past and the present as well as between the writings discussed and on-site art and architecture.


3 Credits 
TR 3:00-4:15 pm – Professor Smith
Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.

All of us live on earth, but there are alarming signs that we are not living well. Climate change. Ozone depletion. Deforestation. Poisoned waterways. Hypoxic zones. Soil erosion. We are in the midst of a crisis that is not merely environmental, as though the problems existed solely within the environment in which humans happen to live. Rather the problem is ecological, since everything on earth exists in a complex web of interdependence. This means that the crisis is also one of human culture. Until fairly recently, human societies were closely involved with agriculture and were thus guided to varying degrees by an agrarian ethic that enabled humankind to live in ecological balance with the land that sustains us. As a result of globalization and industrialization, however, agrarian communities and their characteristic virtues have faded nearly out of existence. Today, the vast majority of urban and suburban dwellers not only contribute to the ill health of the planet, but we lack a coherent and compelling vision for how we might live differently. Some have argued that a Christian anthropocentric worldview is to blame for this catastrophe, while others insist that the Christian tradition possesses a wealth of theological resources that can in fact help us better care for the earth. This course engages with a variety of approaches—philosophy, literature, theology, ethics, biblical studies, conservationism—to better help us understand and respond to the present ecological crisis. Assignments include an interdisciplinary research paper (12-18 pp). Major readings will include: Wendell Berry, The Memory of Old Jack; Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace; Steven Bouma-Prediger, Earthkeeping and Character; Ellen Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture; Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac; Norman Wirzba, From Nature to Creation.



3 Credits 
TR 1:30-2:45 pm – Professor Graber
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

If the America of our patriotic imagination is, as Francis Scott Key would have it, “the land of the free,” it has also been the home of the slave. Indeed, understanding American freedom is difficult without reference to the various forms of bondage that have been captured in our classic and popular literature. From the captivity narratives of European colonials, through the landmark slave narratives produced by African American writers, to modern tales of imprisonment, impressment, and institutionalization, American writers and readers have displayed a consistent fascination with the various ways in which freedom can be denied, lost, redefined, and recovered. In this course we will explore the paradoxical literary tradition of American enslavement as a means to reflect more deeply on the nature of American freedom. We will examine classic texts but also more contemporary and popular materials, including several films that draw on those earlier traditions in powerful and surprising ways. In all our readings and discussions of these stories of bondage, we will actually be reflecting on what it means to be free. Students will write several short responses and a final 15-page research paper.

3 Credits 
MWF 12:30-1:20 pm – Professor 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., Dorothy Day, Mother Maria Skobtsova, 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 Spring.

1 Credit
Meeting Time TBA – Dean Stewart

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.]