Fall 2018 (un)common reads

Please use the UF Schedule of Courses to find times, places, and other course information.

These courses are discussion oriented, one credit seminar courses centered on a book.

Books are listed in more than one category, but please peruse them all.

Full listing of all courses:

Course Class Number Title Sect Instructor Syllabus
IDH2930 18207 What Makes a Monster 204F Stoyan-Rosenzweig, Nina   
IDH2930 18210  The Nowhere Girls 2144 Adams, Brittany M  
IDH2930 18212  Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao 2160 Phataralaoha, Anchalee   
IDH2930  18213  Medic Culture  2175 Ansell, Magaret   
IDH2930 18324  Unfree Speech 218F Austin, Roger  
IDH2930 18327  Seeing The Other: Martin Buber's I and Thou as a Way Forward   219F Best, Todd  
IDH2930 18315  Stamped! 22BD Black, Joel  
IDH2930 18316  Zoning Inequality 22BE Black, Joel  
IDH2930 18321  The Genesis of Propaganda 22CB Dinnin, Alec  
IDH2930 18235  Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI, and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities 22CD Donnelly, Anne  
IDH2930 18318  Cities in Civilization 22C0 Jawitz, James W.  
IDH2930 18239  A Cuban Novel: Assassination, Revolution, and the Peril of Writing  22D3 Little, William T.  
IDH2930 18306  The Hate U Give 22E5 Cowley, Matthew   
IDH2930 18375 Rigor Mortis 22H6 Waddell, Frank  
IDH2930 18208  European Multiculturalism Today 2141 Svraka, Dragana  
IDH2930 18289  13 Reasons Why 1C16 DiCaprio, Brittany/Pigg, Robert   
IDH2930 18205  Social Justice, Inclusion, Trigger Warnings, Censorship and Intellectual Freedom 1F58 Keith, Brian  

Medic Culture

In this seminar-style course, students will participate and lead class discussions inspired by Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.  Class conversations, supplemented with weekly journaling, will explore the concepts of cultural competency in the practice of Western medicine, as well as topics related to medical ethics, health literacy, and the physician patient relationship, through the lens of the story of Lia Lee and her family.  In addition, larger themes related to immigration, cultural identity, and assimilation into American society will be explored through the exemplar of the Hmong people. 

Seeing The Other

Texts: Martin Buber, I and Thou (132 pgs of reading) and Wendell Berry, The Hidden Wound (160 pgs)

We live in a cultural moment defined by difficult inter-personal terrain. Our public and private discourse is shaped by division, difference, and flat out animosity for whoever is “other” from us. Whether the division is rooted in racial/ethnic identity, religion, gender, sexuality, or political affiliation, the dominant and default posture is one of “us vs. them”. We have our deeply held ideas and beliefs, we read and listen to those who further entrench us in our camps, we draw up boundary lines, formulate our defenses, and launch offensives against those not like us. Is there a different way? Can we overcome this division and seek something else? Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher writing in in the early part of the 20th century, offers an altogether different framework for communicating with and knowing each other in the world. His book I and Thou, originally written in 1923 and translated to English in 1937, has been considered a landmark work of philosophy and religious ethics rooted in Jewish thought, but certainly open to readers regardless of religious background. This course will be an opportunity to carefully explore Buber’s groundbreaking work and imagine his ideas for our current time. Students interested in communication studies, philosophy, ethics, religious thought, social dynamics, business, psychology, and even environmental studies may find this course to inform their own studies, but all will find that Buber’s ideas can apply to our shared existence, how we might move beyond division, and possibly to the effort to forge a common good.

As a case study of sorts, or at least as a focal point, we will also consider Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound on how racism has shaped our identity.

 This seminar style (discussion­-based) course will provide students the opportunity to “slow read” and discuss Buber carefully and reflectively. We will consider this work alongside related short articles, poetry, and film. Most importantly, our reading will culminate in ongoing classroom conversation to work out Buber’s ideas. Additionally, students will participate in reflection through short writing and/or creative assignments as they interact with the course content.

Stamped!

In what ways is American law defined by the African American experience? In this course we read Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award winning Stamped From the Beginning, and together we will set out to answer that question.

This term you are invited to explore the ways that law and history shape conflicts arising over African Americans’ claims to citizenship, rights, marriage, and to consider the ways they have also shaped inequality, enslavement, and rebellion. In addition, Stamped! invites us to probe larger questions about law and its social environment. How does law shape society, and how does society shape law? What is the difference between legal aspiration and everyday practices? In what ways can law structure resolution to larger questions of liberty and enslavement?

After reading and discussing the book, we will meet with a Reference Librarian at Levin’s law library. In addition to learning about the facility and its resources, you will assemble materials necessary to complete a ten-minute, in-class presentation. Students’ final grade will be divided between participation, two short writing assignments, and this presentation—on a topic of your choosing that is related to course themes and content.

 

Zoning Inequality

Meet the Author: Zoning Inequality

The Genesis of Propaganda

This class will analyze three historical texts that helped justify and spread the use of propaganda, both in the United States and elsewhere. We will first read Gustave Le Bon’s The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895); then Sigmund Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921); and finally Edward Bernays’ Propaganda (1928). The goals of the course will be 1) to explore why propaganda originally came to be understood as necessary for human societies, democratic or otherwise; 2) to critically examine the political, social, and moral values that motivated these controversial yet influential texts; and 3) to reflect on the extent to which early methods of propaganda, as well as the beliefs that justified their use, are still with us today. Students will be expected to take seriously the claims of the thinkers that we read and to determine their own position with respect to the social value of propaganda. 

Spy School

What do Harvard, Duke, Florida International University, the University of South Florida, and Marietta College have in common? All have been touched by an insidious exploitation of American Universities by both domestic and foreign intelligence services. Sometimes unknowingly, and sometimes with full understanding of what they are doing, these intersections between academia and intelligence have produced theft of intellectual property (think of all of the research projects being conducted at large universities) and have helped train foreign operatives on how to blend in to American culture. Sometimes naivety or patriotism is behind this, and sometimes it’s all about money. And if you are on a study abroad experience and are deemed useful, you too might be recruited by a foreign service!

This is a discussion-based class in which small groups of students take the lead on classroom discussions of the book. Grades are highly dependent on class participation and attendance. Several short reflection pieces are required

IDH2930 Seeing the Other: Martin Buber's I and Thou as a Way Forward

We live in a cultural moment defined by difficult inter-personal terrain. Our public and private discourse is shaped by division, difference, and flat out animosity for whoever is “other” from us. Whether the division is rooted in racial/ethnic identity, religion, gender, sexuality, or political affiliation, the dominant and default posture is one of “us vs. them”. We have our deeply held ideas and beliefs, we read and listen to those who further entrench us in our camps, we draw up boundary lines, formulate our defenses, and launch offensives against those not like us. Is there a different way? Can we overcome this division and seek something else? Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher writing in in the early part of the 20th century, offers an altogether different framework for communicating with and knowing each other in the world. His book I and Thou, originally written in 1923 and translated to English in 1937, has been considered a landmark work of philosophy and religious ethics rooted in Jewish thought, but certainly open to readers regardless of religious background. This course will be an opportunity to carefully explore Buber’s groundbreaking work and imagine his ideas for our current time. Students interested in communication studies, philosophy, ethics, religious thought, social dynamics, business, psychology, and even environmental studies may find this course to inform their own studies, but all will find that Buber’s ideas can apply to our shared existence, how we might move beyond division, and possibly to the effort to forge a common good.

As a case study of sorts, or at least as a focal point, we will also consider Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound on how racism has shaped our identity.

This seminar style (discussion­-based) course will provide students the opportunity to “slow read” and discuss Buber carefully and reflectively. We will consider this work alongside related short articles, poetry, and film. Most importantly, our reading will culminate in ongoing classroom conversation to work out Buber’s ideas. Additionally, students will participate in reflection through short writing and/or creative assignments as they interact with the course content.

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

We will focus on the topic of gender discrimination, men, women and possibly LGBTQ roles in the workplace, and our approach in dealing with these issues. We will also look into what we can/cannot do and our vision of a better society.

The Nowhere Girls

This course will use Amy Reed’s The Nowhere Girls to analyze how sexism, misogyny, and rape culture shape schooling experiences in the United States. We will discuss both the content of the novel and the form. We will also investigate how our own identities and perspectives reflect our experiences in school, both K-12 and postsecondary.

European Multiculturalism Today

This course examines different ways in which European states accommodate ethnic diversity. The course is grounded in the framework of multiculturalism, which is discussed both from normative standpoints and through practical policies addressing diversity around Europe.

The Hate U Give

This course will use the content of Angie Thomas’ gripping 2017 novel The Hate U Give to explore and facilitate dialogue around race, structural racism, racial identity, activism and hip-hop culture. We will employ the students’ intellectual and emotional responses to co-construct an open learning environment that is both a safe and a brave space. Students will investigate their own personal identities in relation to their peers and the broader social context.

What Makes a Monster

“Godzilla, Dracula, the Alien, Kevin Spacey? What is the scariest monster you can imagine?  Ever wondered why some monsters are scarier, or more horrifying than others? This innovative course- team taught by 4 undergraduates in the Honors program- focuses on  discussing monsters and developing a broader conversation. Eventually this conversation will include the University and Gainesville community, and one of the semester’s projects include the creation of an exhibit on Monsters at the Harn Museum of Art.   Because 2018 is the 200 anniversary of a book describing one of the better known monsters- Frankenstein- the course will read and discuss the book “Monstrous Progeny: a history of the Frankenstein Narratives.”  Through the book, and exploring questions about how society fears, defines, understands, and, sometimes, embraces, monsters, students will select materials from the Harn Museum collection and will write the labels for an exhibit that will open in January of 2019.  During this time, enrolled students will explore the history and context of the term “monster” and come to understand what makes a monster a monster, how what we consider monstrous changes over time and, ultimately, consider what is ultimately the most monstrous- is it what something looks like, or how it behaves?”

Unfree Speech

Campaign Finance Reform is an issue much in the news of late, with talk of Dark Money, Super PACs and more. What’s not well known, however, is that campaign finance reform has been an ongoing issue for over a century with the first federal legislation being the Tillman Act in 1907. What is even less known is that the new “problems” of Dark Money and Super PACs (and they are problematic), only became “problems” within the last decade and only as a direct result of the “solution” to campaign finance reform known as McCain-Feingold which passed in 2002.

Like its predecessors – the FECA Watergate reforms of the 1970s, the Hatch Act of the 1940s, the Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1911 & 1925, and the Tillman Act of 1907 – McCain-Feingold was passed both in the midst of Congressional scandal, hailed by the media and elected officials alike as the solution to the problem of money in politics and resulted in the expenditure of more money than ever in politics and often an increased rate of incumbency re-election. What went wrong? 

This course explores all of this, chiefly through the book Unfree Speech by Bradley Smith, law professor and former Commissioner of the Federal Elections Commission. This book looks at the issue of campaign finance reform from a skeptical view – skeptical not in that reform is not needed, but skeptical that each generations reforms closely resemble the long forgotten reforms of the previous generation and have clearly not only not achieved their stated purposes, but have actually resulted in the opposite, or worse.

Social Justice, Inclusion, Trigger Warnings, Censorship and Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual freedom requires free access to a diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.  However, these freedoms may conflict with a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment, especially for underrepresented groups. Just over half of Americans believe it is okay to ban a book in certain circumstances. Challenges to materials featuring characters who are neither white, straight, nor gender normative are growing on college campuses, while conservatives believe their perspectives are under-represented in higher education and mainstream culture.   

In this discussion-based class we will consider important and timely questions. What is intellectual freedom? How does access to historical and literary materials that are offensive affect contemporary society?  Are these materials educationally unsuitable or pervasively vulgar?  What are the implications to society and the academy if creating an inclusive, safe environment leads to forms of censorship?  Spoiler: we may not agree on the answers.  Grades are highly dependent on class participation and attendance. Several short reflection pieces are required.