2001-2002 House Courses

House Course Descriptions 2002-2003

Bridging Perceptions: The Inter-dynamics of the U.S. and India
How do those in the United States come to grips with the important realities of India? Similarly, why should those in India be concerned with the policy decisions, cultural shifts and religious movements of the United States? While not overt, a strong and lingering presence of each country can be found in the other. For example, news of India continues to demand coverage from the media in the U.S. The tenuous relationship of India and Pakistan are continually examined since it represents a significant U.S. interest. As a leader in globalization, the U.S. is heavily involved in India's marketplace and technology industries.

Policymakers and citizens of the United States and India share a complex relationship. Through an intellectual community, this course will contribute to current dialogue on a number of critical issues of concern in each country. Important aspects of politics, culture, religion and society will be explored through several mediums, including local field trips and guest speakers.

The class will aim to provide a breadth of understanding of important issues in the U.S. and India. Given the broad nature of inter-dynamics of each aspect, the course will be structured in a manner to encourage students to recognize how perceptions in both countries are intertwined. Each class will focus on a pre-selected topic, but exploration of a major crisis facing the U.S. and/or India may be substituted.

The Drug War in America
This course looks at the War on Drugs in the United States from a variety of disciplines. It begins with a history of the Drug War, beginning with the prohibition of alcohol and moving on to present day issues. Throughout the semester, we will discuss topics including the pharmacology of drugs, the effects of the Drug War on U.S. foreign policy, racism, enforcement, treatment, economics, the current actions of the War on Drugs, and finally the effectiveness of this policy.

Hip Hop: Analysis of Art and Economy
This course is designed to give students a better understanding of the aspects of hip hop music that often go unnoticed. We will explore the economic implications of the music as well as analyze the artistic value of an art form rarely seen as art. In this course, students will be introduced to information about the hip hop industry that goes beyond the end musical product. One of the goals of the course is to make students aware of the economic realities of the industry that the average fan has no knowledge of. The class will also engage in an in-depth analysis of the evolution and artistic value of the music. Another goal of the course is to enable students to see the true artistic value of the music rather than view it as a simple form of frivolous entertainment. Also we will analyze the factors behind much of the lyrical content of the music with a focus on how the economics of the music industry effect what artists say in their music.

Issues Facing America's Children
This course will take a look into the many issues affecting children's lives in America. Subjects to be covered include education, foster care, teen pregnancy, poverty, HIV/AIDS, youth violence and others. Class discussion will evaluate the problems through readings and guest speakers, and then look at possible solutions. Emphasis will be placed on creative solutions to truly impact children and the ever-increasing number of problems they face. There will be a Spring Break Trip to Philadelphia which is optional but highly recommended.

Queer Revolutions
This course will use a popular education framework to explore the history of activism in the LGBT community in the United States from the 1960's until today. We will explore the queer rights movement of the 60's and the key events that propelled the movement forward during the 1960's and 1970's, including the Stonewall riots and the founding of the Gay Liberation Front, as well as the interrelationships between the queer rights movement, the black civil rights movement, and the women's movement. We will explore modern efforts to secure equal rights for queer Americans and compare and contrast the efforts of different queer activist organizations.

Major topics to be covered in discussion include the use of sexual identity as a tool for organizing against oppression, the race/class/gender politics of sexual minority communities, the intersections of different identities and oppressions, the way the queer rights movement handled these issues, and queer activist organizations. We will be concerned with determining the benefits and disadvantages of using identity as a political tool and will explore the ways in which this orientation both fueled the queer rights movement and marginalized some of it's most influential members. At the end of this class we will develop an agenda for queer rights activists and each member of the class will write a paper about the issues they feel the movement most needs to address and the way in which to best address them.

Rural Healthcare and Community Action
This house course will examine the roots of health and political problems in rural North Carolina and the "Black Belt." We will examine rural public health as a means to understand the interconnectedness between social problems and health care delivery. Through analyzing the historical and present-day racial and economic relations throughout the Black Belt, we will learn about barriers to healthcare access faced by many poor people of color living in the region. Students will be challenged to discuss how race, class, and history affect our present society, and we will question our present healthcare system in terms of equality and rights to adequate healthcare in rural North Carolina.

In this course we hope to provide an educational experience which promotes community involvement, self reflection, and social action. Specifically, we will explore community education and action as modes of intervention in rural communities. Readings vary from historical pieces to journal articles to internet selections and even popular local newsletters. Though we will be covering several topics and issues throughout the course, each class meeting will be designed around creating a community environment where we can push ourselves to think beyond the reading assignments. We will explore a wide range of activities ranging from debates to role-plays, speakers and more.

Sex, Lies, and Politics: A Global Look at AIDS
This course is intended to survey the AIDS pandemic from an ethical, scholarly, and social approach. The aim is to foster intelligent, informed discussion on issues such as AIDS in Africa, misconceptions, AIDS and politics, and more. We hope that students -- given the opportunity to interact with AIDS patients, agencies, and organizations, will have a greater appreciation and understanding for the impact of AIDS on our global community.

Sweatshops at Home and Abroad
All around the world, nations and local communities alike are experiencing the effects of a phenomenon known as globalization. In recent years, the use of sweatshop labor, particularly by multinational corporations, has captured attention through widely publicized scandals and exposes of corporations accused of employing workers with sub-standard wages and working conditions with no process allowing for worker empowerment. Student activists across the nation have united to pressure their administrations to adopt codes of conduct that would enforce labor standards in the factories that produce university goods. This interdisciplinary course will incorporate aspects of history, economics, sociology, philosophy, political science and public policy as students and facilitators analyze the issues of sweatshop labor in its historical and present forms, the ethics of our global and local society, and the ways in which citizens can respond. This discourse shall be a critical inquiry into the larger questions of globalization, development, human rights, and the roll of activism in impacting social and economic issues.

United States of Immigrants
The US is a land of immigrants. Through historical, theoretical, and personal discourse this house course will attempt to deconstruct the myths the US holds as truth. The course intends to be multidisciplinary and therefore present a varied approach to the history of immigration in the US. Based on the principle of peer education, with an emphasis on student experiences and involvement in the subject, we will encourage the class to continually reflect on our positions and roles in the context of immigration in the US, and on the situation of immigrants and immigration in today's world.

Following the spring break trip to New York City we will focus on contemporary issues concerning immigration. We will explore various forms of advocacy and methods of organizing, especially drawing on the spring break experience. We will end our semester with a series of individual or group projects that allow for critical thinking and create expression.

The U.S., Israel, and the Palestinian
This house course will examine the roots of conflict in the Middle East. We will examine the conflict in Israel/Palestine using historical and theoretical texts. Through analyzing the historical and present-day situation, we will work to build a base understanding followed by an investigation into current U.S. policies and implications throughout the world. Students will be challenged to discuss how race, class, and the media affect the conflict and we will question our roles and responsibilities regarding Israel/Palestine.

In this course we hope to provide an educational experience that promotes debate, self-reflection, and activism. Specifically, we will explore our own roles as college students and possible modes of intervention regarding this conflict and international politics in general. Readings vary from historical pieces to journal articles to internet selections and writings from a variety of organizations that are doing work around these issues. Though we will be covering many topics and issues throughout the course, we will also focus on providing an in depth understanding of the conflict. Additionally, each class meeting will be designed around creating a community environment where we can push ourselves to think beyond the reading assignments. We will explore a wide range of activities including debates, role-plays, speakers, films and more.

Violence, Women, and Trauma
This course aims to look at and analyze the systems in place that promote violence against women, commit violence against women, and enforce silence about issues of sexual violence. The course will look at several themes in order to be able to recognize all the systems and actors in place that create an environment conducive to violence against women. The forms of violence against women to be covered include, rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. The course will progress from theories about masculine socialization to political and international issues, women's experiences of trauma, and then end up with feminist therapies and action and advocacy methods.