Courses

Fall 2018

LAS 101-01: China's Three Teachings

MWF 9:00-9:50      Dan Getz

From its beginning and through most of its history, Chinese civilization has occupied an envied position among its neighbors and global trading partners. In the long trajectory of major civilizations, China’s reputation for transformative technological innovations, gigantic public works projects, exquisite arts and crafts, and sought after agricultural products is peerless in quantity, quality, and sheer endurance.Yet the enormity of these material accomplishments might lead us to overlook what might well be China’s most precious production: its spiritual and intellectual heritage represented by its three major traditions of thought and values. These mainline traditions of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism are the focus of this course. Known to the Chinese as “The Three Teachings,” these traditions created bodies of texts that laid philosophical and religious foundations for Chinese society. While Confucianism and Daoism as indigenous traditions differed significantly from Buddhism, which was grafted onto Chinese culture after its inception and early growth in India, all three systems of thought shared an ultimate objective of individual and societal transformation. We as a community of learners, through a select few classical texts, will explore how not only their thinking about human beings, society, and the larger reality of the universe were intimately bound to methods of ethical and spiritual cultivation.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-02: Sustainability - Planning for Our Future

MWF 10:00-10:50      Janet Gehring

Sustainability is the ability to provide for current human needs without harming the natural environment or Earth’s capacity to provide for the needs of future human generations. In this course, students will learn about human-caused environmental degradation and why it will reduce Earth’s ability to support humanity in the future. Students will learn why energy is the master resource, the costs and benefits of fossil fuels and alternative energy sources, and the uncertain base of our food supply. Students will explore the origins of consumerism and possible ways to reign in our consumer culture. In addition, approaches for how students can converse with science deniers and live more sustainable lives will be discussed.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-03: Islamic Civilization

MWF 11:00-11:50      Jason Zaborowski

Introduction to the full scope of Islamic history with an emphasis on interpreting religion and morality cross-culturally. Through reading primary sources students will be challenged to deliberate, explain, and interpret the meanings and morality that Muslims have found in the Islamic faith throughout history. Students will gain familiarity with the Qur’an and Arabic language concepts.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-04: High Anxieties: Intoxication & Addiction in American Life

MWF 1:00-1:50      Sarah Whetstone

From alcohol, cannabis and ketamine—to caffeine, oxycodone and “krokodil”—this course will challenge students to abandon cultural commonsense in order to think critically about America’s complicated relationship with drugs. Our introduction to the interdisciplinary field of drug studies will draw on perspectives from the social and biological sciences, public health, philosophy, and cultural studies to engage deeper questions about how we form habits, the nature of desire, the limits of “free will,” and the complex forces that shape human behavior. Course topics include: the fuzzy distinction between drugs, food, and medicine; the role of drugs in custom and creativity; the social, economic and political impact of America’s war on drugs; changing trends in when, where and how people use drugs; representations of the addict in popular culture; the growth of addictions in late capitalism; and comparative case studies of innovative drug policies around the world.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-05: Why Are We Here?

MWF 11:00-11:50      Seth Katz

Through reading, writing, and conversation, we will approach multiple interpretations of a set of important questions. For example, why have you come to college? Why are you here, at Bradley University, in Peoria? What is this "education" you speak of? What does it mean to "learn"? And why are you (we, any of us) HERE? What does it mean to be alive, in the company of other apparently living beings? What's the point? And how do you work this thing? Through its focus on large questions that span and concern many fields, ideas, and beliefs, LAS 101 will strive to teach students how to think and talk productively not only across disciplines, but across lives, ethnicities, faiths, and socio-economic divides, and so to talk more productively to each other.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-06: The Good Life: Philosophical and Social Scientific Perspectives

T/Th 10:30-11:45      Ryan Reed

Many students enter higher education in the hopes that a university degree will put them on the path to ‘the good life.’ But what does the good life mean? Is it the same for all individuals? How do happiness, success, wealth, and virtue, among other concepts, play into the good life? The starting point of the seminar will be a consideration of philosophical perspectives on what constitutes a good life. Then, we will consider the question from the vantage point of findings from the social sciences. The aim of the seminar is to give students an opportunity, early in their career at Bradley, to develop and adopt their own conceptions of the good life.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.

LAS 101-07: Journeys through Spain

T/Th 1:30-2:45      James Courtad

Part of the attraction for any journey is discovering new people, places and things. A necessary consequence of the journey is that we learn things not only about the places we visit, but also about ourselves. How do we adapt when faced with new circumstances, new people, new languages and culture? Spain has had an everlasting impact on the western hemisphere and it faces many of the same issues that the United States does today: immigration difficulties, questions about democracy, linguistic conflicts, which direction to proceed as a country in the future. In this course, we will examine the journey Spain has taken and how it has affected the journeys of those who have traveled through the nation. We will approach these discoveries via varying depictions of Spain from American, British and Spanish writers. With the development of critical thinking, research and writing skills, along with class discussion, at the end of the course, students will have the tools necessary to begin their new educational, as well as imaginative, journeys.

This course will satisfy the college out-of-cluster requirement.