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.

001 DeWitt, DS – Contemporary Geopolitics; Tuesday 4:00-6:30 pm

The 20th Century, under a ‘rise to globalism’ saw a gradual counterbalancing of the historically realist paradigm of international relations and foreign policy. From 1945 the Cold War unified an essentially bi-partisan American foreign policy against an antagonistic, bi-polar international order. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the USSR in the early ’90s, an attempt was made to enfold the new Russian Republic into a liberal, capitalistic, democratic nation-state. Beyond this failure came a retrenchment to an antagonistic paradigm with NATO and EU membership now pivotal leverage in a new push toward Moscow. The liberal democratic order continued to expand through the UN, alliances (security and trade), and the ascendancy of cosmopolitan values until the East reasserted itself by co-opting aspects of capitalism and regenerating authoritarian governments. After the Second Iraq War, Americans reaped the bitter limits of their exceptional role as ‘the world’s policeman.’ Now in 2017, the lingering effects of the bi-polar global system seem to be collapsing it from within. In a planetary examination of ‘world-views,’ we examine prospects and focus theoretical IR lenses upon a potential transformation of the entire geopolitical paradigm.

006 Field, William – Screenwriting; Thursday 3:00-5:30 pm

Learn story structure, three act structure, character development, plot (hint: there is no such thing as plot. Plot is character in action). You’ll learn to write dialogue and pitch a story to a studio boss. And you learn all this in a fun Blount atmosphere where you work with others through active and collaborative learning. Do you like movies? The first requirement of any good movie is a good script. Learn how a good script works. Even if you don’t want to write screenplays, it will make you appreciate movies even more. Taught by a real, live Hollywood screenwriter.

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.

011 Salzer, Rebecca – Dance on Screen; Monday 2:00-4:30 pm

From the first images of Loie Fuller captured by Thomas Edison, to Busby Berkeley’s movie musicals and Maya Deren’s experimental films, the exigencies of capturing dance on camera have inspired the progress of filmmaking. The camera, meanwhile, has helped preserve dance and has influenced dance technique and composition. In this digital age, dance and the camera continue to have a symbiotic relationship. Through practical labs and projects augmented by video-viewing, reading, and discussion, this class will explore screendance and its many possibilities.

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 sexual 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?