Spring 2021

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

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 two Symposia per semester. Failure to do so will result in a “U” on the transcript and may jeopardize standing in CC.  Once again, this semester attendance (on the honors system) at campus academic events will fulfill Symposium requirements.  The Dean’s Office will send out announcements regarding suitable events.



3 Credits
MWF 1:50-2:40 p.m. – Professor Graber

M Online Synchronous Via Zoom
WF Face to Face/In Person

Fulfills humanities: fine arts component of the general education requirements.

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 8:40-9:30 am – Professor Denysenko (80% Face to Face/In Person, A Few Online)
Section B: TR 8:15-9:30 am – Professor Howard (Face to Face/In Person)
Section C: TR 1:30-2:45 pm – Professor Upton (Online and Synchronous Via Zoom)

Fulfills theology 200 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).

Fulfills 3 credits of social sciences requirement.
3 Credits

Section A: MWF 11:30-12:20 pm – Professor Prough
Section B: MWF 12:40-1:30 pm – Professor Prough

Both Sections:
MW Face to Face/In Person
F Asynchronous Online

We are, every one of us, social beings, from beginning to end. Short of disappearing into the wilderness, we cannot escape society (and even then, much that comes to us from society would continue to persist—for example, the language through which we think and understand things). The individual and their society are inextricably interwoven. On one hand, society has a deep influence in shaping who we are and determining what we can become. Our very psychologies, identities, religions, values and moral beliefs come transmitted to us through our social experience. Society presents opportunities that allow us to flourish, and obstacles that limit our potential and growth. On the other hand, we do not seem to be (and let’s hope it’s not an illusion) merely passive receivers of our social environment. We believe in free thought and free choice and individual talents and quirks. We believe that we can evaluate society and the quality of our relationships therein. We believe we can wrestle with society, rise up and transform it, should its character no longer seem good and just.Sociality and all that comes with it is an essential aspect of the human condition. As such, no education in the humanities—of the sort CC seeks to provide—would be complete without serious consideration of social theory. The goal is to learn from theorists’ past and present in order to examine one of the most pressing issues in our contemporary world—the effects of social media. In this class we will ask: in what ways does our technology shape our lives and even ourselves? Do advances in media and technology merely reflect human concerns, cultures, and capacities in new ways, or do they shape our sense of ourselves and relations to one another more broadly? What are the benefits of social media and challenges does it pose? In order to try to answer these questions we will treat social media as a social object to be studied. To do so we will define the object, engage with theories that highlight material, psychological, structural, and cultural aspects of modern life, and then apply them in analysis of social media today.

3 Credits 
MWF 1:50-2:40 pm – Professor Puffer

Face to Face/In Person

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 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 understandings of vocation and professional responsibilities 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 Stewart on the paperwork once they have enrolled. 

3 Credits
MW 3:00-4:15 pm – Professor Stanislaus

Face to Face/In Person

‘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 the 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 the 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 were 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.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with ENGL 490 AX
MWF 3:00-3:50 pm – Professor Snyder

Two Days, Face to Face/In Person
One Day, Online Synchronous Peer Workshop

We live in an age of diminishing attention. We once wrote books; now we write tweets. We once held long conversations; now we swipe right. We once read the morning paper; now we read notifications. At the end of a day punctuated by posting, snapping, and checking, it is no wonder we may find ourselves asking, where did the time go? In our increasingly frenetic society, how can we slow down? And what benefits can slowing down provide for ourselves, for others, and for the world?

This course examines those questions by exploring how writers have conceived of attention across traditions. In it, we will investigate the many modes of attention including contemplation, wonder, empathy, and revision. But we won’t just study ways of attending: we will apply them. In this case, we will pair literary texts with practices of attention. We’ll read works of contemplation from Trappist monks and Chinese philosophers and then try out contemplation in the form of lectio divina (sacred reading). We’ll learn about how wonder can lead us to greater appreciation of the natural world and then engage in it through a mindful walk in nature. Assignments will also follow this model, culminating in a semester-long project that explores practices of attention in our own lives. By the end of this class, we will not only investigate attention as it occurs across historical and cultural traditions, we will have discovered ways to join literary worlds with everyday experience.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with THEO 392BX and HIST 492AX
TR 11:55-1:10 pm – Professor Rittgers

Fulfills upper level theology requirement.

Face to Face/In Person

Valparaiso University is an institution committed to its Lutheran heritage and also to the importance of social justice. We observe Reformation Day on an annual basis and also celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day each year. But it is not always clear how these two critical and constitutive aspects of our institutional identity are related. How does Valpo’s Lutheran identity relate to and inform its social justice identity, and vice versa? This seminar, which takes its cue in part from recent civil unrest in our country around race relations, seeks to explore answers to this question. It will do so through careful study of key works by and about Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. The two reformers will be examined in their respective historical contexts, but they will also be put in conversation with one another, so that students may see areas where ML and MLK converge and diverge. Attention will be paid especially to the two reformers’ basic theological commitments, along with how they thought these commitments should shape individual and corporate life and behavior. This seminar will thus invite extended and thoughtful reflection on how theological commitments and social justice commitments can be fruitfully related.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with FREN 300 AX
TR 1:30-2:45 pm – Professor Duvick

Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

Face to Face/In Person

In this course we will explore the complicated issue of how West African societies bring together the preservation of their rich traditions with the imperative of change and evolution that marks every culture.

We will do this by studying some of the key characteristics, social structures, and events that formed West African cultures (primarily Senegal, Guinea, and Mali) in the past and some of the challenges they face in the present.  We will also explore this issue by examining French-language writing by West African authors (in English translation).  These authors call on a long tradition of story-telling to explore complex issues of colonialism and independence, the role religion plays in society and the lives of individuals, women’s place and their capacity for self-determination, and emigration to the North.  What does it mean to write works of literature in the language of the colonizer, to have a school system that privileges the language and structures of the colonizer?  How do Christianity, Islam, and indigenous religions meet in contemporary Africans’ lives?  How and why do Africans make the decision to emigrate, and how does that decision affect the home country?   We will view films and discuss texts that help us to understand the historical and cultural context of this region, as well as the intellectual debates that underlie some of its current struggles.

3 Credits – Cross-listed with THEO 346AX and THEO 346BX 
TR 3:05 – 4:20 pm – Professor Holman

Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.

Online, One Day Synchronous / One Day Asynchronous

In a world of toxic connections, boundaries, and disconnects, what role does religion and spirituality (R/S) play in global health—the health of the world as we know it? 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 aim to 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: infectious disease (coronavirus, smallpox, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS); environmental and climate damage (including water and sanitation); gender in public health; Jewish doctors in the Warsaw ghetto; faith-based mission hospitals and health care systems; and the role of R/S in terminal illness and health research on human flourishing.

3 Credits 
MWF 12:40-1:30 pm – Professor Smith

Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.

Face to Face / In Person

What is the life of human flourishing, and how can we best achieve it? What sort of persons and laws constitute a flourishing polis? We commonly associate such questions with Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, but less so with the Apostle Paul’s letters. While Aristotle is focused upon virtue formation and politics, Paul seems preoccupied with otherworldly matters: What must I do to be saved? How do I get to heaven when I die? And yet Paul is continually urging his readers to clothe themselves with virtues such as compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and love (Colossians 3:12-14). And while Paul is keenly interested in heaven, he urges his readers to live their day-to-day lives in the present as citizens of an alternative polis, a terrestrial commonwealth guided by a heavenly hope (Philippians 1:27; 3:20). He urges the church to pursue unity that transcends the divisions of ethnic identity, status, and gender (Galatians 3:28). Paul’s vision of human flourishing is not limited to the community of Christians—the church—but encompasses the whole of creation (Romans 8:18-25). This course seeks to understand Paul’s vision not just for the afterlife but for the everyday life as well. We will seek to understand the life of this formative theologian in his own first-century Mediterranean context, while reflecting on how his vision of the good life might have continuing relevance to our own lives in twenty-first century Northwest Indiana.

3 Credits 
TR 8:15-9:30 am – Professor Graber

Fulfills cultural-diversity or humanities-literature requirement.

Face to Face / In Person

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. Thanks to the efforts of such writers 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, Colson Whitehead and Ta-Nehisi Coates, no sentence now appears more glaringly absurd than Thomas Jefferson’s 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 articulated in perhaps its mildest form, 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 15-page paper on a topic related to African American literature.


3 Credits 
T 6:15-9:00 pm – Professor Jakelic

Online and Synchronous

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 in our time. In the United States, a major public 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 of European Union’s state (Hungary) built barbed wired borders against refugees and migrants while 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 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 Christians enact their beliefs and faith commitments to help shape 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.

1 Credit
Dean Stewart

Face to Face/In Person

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.]