LST 470 Descriptions

Spring 2020

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.


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.


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.