LST 470 Descriptions

Fall 2020 

Creating Meaning Through Design

Instructor: Matt Rodgers

This course will explore how everyday design – including graphic, interactive, architectural, interior, industrial and urban – creates meaning in a globalized world. We will investigate cross-cultural design elements, as well as how meaning is interpreted between cultures and if design has the ability to transcend geographical, political, religious and other boundaries.

Social Activism Through the Arts

Instructor: Isabelle Petersen

This course explores major social movements through the lens of artistic expression, offering insights into the interrelationship between culture and social change within the United States and globally. By examining cultural texts (music, film, poetry, painting, etc.) engendered by resistance movements since the 1950s, students will analyze how these expressions have influenced contemporary views of social justice and contributed to social change.

 

Tokens, Taverns & Tactics: Tabletop Game Analysis

Instructor: Nick Maddox

Want to learn the history of games through the ages, and how games evolved? This course will take an in-depth look at why we as people play games and how people in different cultures experience play. Students will also explore topics in modern boardgame design focusing on Mechanic, Dynamics, and Aesthetics. By the end of this course, students will design and implement a tabletop game prototype.


Touring Renaissance Florence

Instructor: Melanie Pitts

Students will study the art, literature, philosophy, and politics surrounding Florence, Italy from 1265 to 1513. Numerous virtual field trips to museums, architectural landmarks, and other points of historical interest will supplement class readings.

 

Spring 2020

Seeking Self and Identity

Instructor: Melanie Pitts

We will be using a transdisciplinary approach to question and study the pursuit of identity. Issues relating to identity and the formation of the self are certainly complex. If asked the question “who are you?” there might be several answers: an ASU student, a woman, an American, an Asian-American, a man, a husband, a mother, a business major, etc. As the above quote from the Bard suggests, we play many roles during the course of each day and during the course of our lives. Selves are multiple, fluid, constantly on the move, and even virtual these days. Nevertheless, individuals typically possess a stable sense of self; that is, we feel there is something coherent and unified that defines us. But, where does that sense of coherence come from? What is the role of social and cultural identity in our overall sense of self? How do external forces and circumstances shape the individual? And, how do we best seek and express our identities? 

Our exploration of identity will employ the critical lenses of psychology, social psychology, life writing, art history, and philosophy. The course will be divided into two main units. For Unit 1, we will work under the umbrella of social sciences to examine various definitions, theories, and models of identity. We also will discuss categories of social identity (including gender, race, and ethnicity) and how “difference” impacts the development of stereotypes, power struggles, and group relations. In Unit 2, we will “seek identity” from a humanities perspective by examining poetry and art. Students also will be introduced to the process of life-writing as means of establishing “self,” and will be given the opportunity to test this theory by writing a memoir.

 

Social Activism Through the Arts

Instructor: Isabelle Petersen

This course explores major social movements through the lens of artistic expression, offering insights into the interrelationship between culture and social change within the United States and globally. By examining cultural texts (music, film, poetry, painting, etc.) engendered by resistance movements since the 1950s, students will analyze how these expressions have influenced contemporary views of social justice and contributed to social change.

 

The Three Cultures

Instructor: Brian McCormack

The Two Cultures, a lecture given by C.P. Snow in 1959, was an influential critique of the Humanities – the most notable recent example in a long tradition of conflict between the centers of Western knowledge.  In our course, “The Three Cultures,” named after Charles Kagan’s recent book of the same name (which adds the Social Sciences to the Sciences and the Humanities), we take Snow’s critique to task, and determine ways in which the three cultures can be mutually supportive.  Through innovative experiments (notably, looking at clouds as a source of metaphor for the best chance for unity between the sciences and the humanities; creating neologisms in the service of our own research and revision; and group screenplay writing on current issues), we challenge ourselves to think well past the limits ascribed to us in these debates over knowledge.  The benefits of the course include the development of an acute awareness of the high stakes of our university education, an opening of the mind to the possibilities of thinking in more than one academic register, and a chance to express ourselves both with rigor and imagination.

 

Tokens, Taverns & Tactics: Tabletop Game Analysis

Instructor: Nick Maddox

Want to learn the history of games through the ages, and how games evolved? This course will take an in-depth look at why we as people play games and how people in different cultures experience play. Students will also explore topics in modern boardgame design focusing on Mechanic, Dynamics, and Aesthetics. By the end of this course, students will design and implement a tabletop game prototype.

 

Understanding Place

Instructor: Lori Eshleman

This version of the Liberal Studies capstone seminar looks at transdisciplinary approaches to the experience, uses and meanings of Place. Place is something we tend to take for granted. We live in it, look at it and travel across it throughout our lives. It shapes our experience, our thoughts and memories, our sense of identity, our social relations, and our values in profound and complex ways. Throughout the course we will examine, evaluate and synthesize approaches to Place from the Social Sciences (including Anthropology, Human Geography and Sociology) and from the Humanities (including Art and Art History, Literature, and Religious Studies). Our course will be organized by modules into the following themes: Place and Identity, Sacred Place and Pilgrimage, Contested Place, and Boundary-Crossing.

While this topic has global applications, a number of the readings and visuals will focus on the American Southwest. The issues the topic raises include preservation; historic designation; development; land use; sustainability; reintroduction of species; travel and tourism; sacred space; land rights; diasporas, immigration and borderlands; place as a marker of personal and ethnic identity; and personal and collective memory and history.