Each student must take three BUI 301 courses for the Blount Minor. Each class is different and the student can choose which one(s) they would like to take in any given semester.
Seminars Offered for Fall 2017 Semester
002 Lazer, Hank – Zen Buddhism and Radical Approaches to the Arts; Monday 2:00-4:50 pm
The first part of the course will involve an introduction to Zen Buddhism, relying on Shunryu Suzuki’s classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. We’ll learn and practice zazen (sitting meditation). Through the lens of Zen practice, we will explore a range of experimental arts/artists, with particular emphasis on improvisational jazz, performance art, environmental art, dance, conceptual and found art. Artists we might consider include George Quasha, John Cage, Andy Goldsworthy, Linda Montano, Claes Oldenburg, Marcel Duchamp, Anthony Braxton, and Kazuaki Tanahashi. Students will both discuss the art we examine and make some related art works of their own.
003 Ehret, Dana – Cryptozoology; Monday 3:00-5:30 pm
Cryptozoology refers to the study of cryptids, mythical creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Cryptids are beings that are derived from folklore and the fossil record. This course studies the mythology/writings and fossil record behind the stories of cryptids. It will investigate the first stories of popular mythical creatures and investigate the fascination with them. With the advent of television shows like ‘Bigfoot Hunters’, it is evident that there is still much human interest in these myths. The paleontological collections at the Alabama Museum of Natural History will be utilized to demonstrate how fossils have been misinterpreted in mythologies to create beings like the Cyclops, Polyphemus, of Greek literature. The course will also investigate modern wildlife management techniques and how they could be used to disprove claims of cryptids being sighted worldwide.
006 Field, William – Cinema of the 70s; Thursday 3:00-5:30 pm
This course is focused on American Cinema of the 1970s. Though few would dispute that great films continue to be made, many critics agree that this decade’s film production constitutes the zenith of American cinema. While thinking about why this might be – and whether or not we agree with such a claim – will be one of the goals of the course, we will focus most of our attention on understanding what sets this decade of cinema apart from that which came before and after it. What are its themes? How is it shaped by its historical context? You cannot understand art without understanding the history from which that art was born. This course will explore how the turmoil of the 1960s–the Vietnam war, the anti war movement, the Civil Rights movement and the women’s movement–impacted the films of the 70s.
009 Jacobi, Keith – The Anthropology of Horror; Monday 1:00-3:30 pm
This class will focus on all things anthropological that give us the creeps. Many of our nightmares come from actual cultural beliefs. Different cultures supply us with their own spooks and chills. Science helps us understand some of these nightmares. So if you don’t mind reading about and discussing the following then this class is for you: Voodoo, Zombies, Vampires, Ghosts, Shrunken Heads, Severed Heads (and arms, hands, legs and feet), Mummies, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magicians, Diseases, Reanimation, Divination, Cults, Psychotic Individuals, Murder, Death, Warfare, Punishment, Solitary Confinement, Being Buried Alive, Night, Madness, Snake Handlers, Parasites, and of course Yeti.
010 McKnight, Utz – The Politics of Social Justice; Tuesday-Thursday 2:00-3:15 pm
Students will study recent advances in criticial race and feminist social justuce theories. Several case studies will be explored to develop the students’ understanding of the importance of the issues of voting rights, incarceration, violence, and wealth accumulation in contemporary US society. The emphasis will be on using our knowledge of popular culture and the everyday to nuance the sense of the political.
320 Lazer, Alan – Cinematic Time; Wednesday 6:00-8:30 pm
What is time? We use it, we measure it, we never seem to have enough of it. But what is it? Does it flow, does it run in a certain direction, does it even exist? We will attempt to tackle these questions and more by delving into the medium of film, a medium perhaps uniquely equipped to answer these questions. Film captures moments gone by, making them both acutely defined and nebulous at the same time. So join me, and help me see what Marty McFly and Andrei Tarkovsky (among others) can teach us about time. I promise it won’t be a waste of your time, if only because we don’t know whether time is a thing you can waste, or if it exists (tardies still count, though).
012 Whiting – Pathological Man; Tuesday-Thursday 3:30-4:45 pm
If monsters are a persistent feature of nearly all societies and historical periods, their features and shapes are profoundly variable. Contemporary America finds its most compelling form of monstrosity in a figure that emerged in a variety of literary, legal, scientific, and popular discourses somewhere around the first third of the twentieth century: the psychopath. In this course, we’ll read a selection of 20th Century American works of fiction, as well as a selection of historical, philosophical, legal, and scientific texts, to see what this distinctively American monster can tell us about the culture in which he was produced. Among the issues we will take up are: What are the defining characteristics of the monsters these texts contain? In what ways are these creatures incompatible with the existing social order? In what ways do they function (or fail) to help establish the boundaries of “the human?” How do they complicate abstract and universalizing notions of personhood in terms of class, race, gender and other social and political structures?