Spring 2022 Courses

Japanese Arts and Aesthetics

Arizumi– TR 11-12:15 PM BUI 301-008 CRN 14792

This course will explore various Japanese visual and performing art forms while applying 10 Japanese aesthetic principles (such as mono-no-aware, wabi-sabi, ma, kawaii etc.). Topics include traditional and modern music and dance, sumie painting and brush calligraphy, photography, pottery, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, architecture, poetry and stories, origami, Iaido (sword), Godzilla movies, fashion sub-culture and animation. Students will have hands-on activities to do and there will be live demonstrations and performance. Because the aesthetics can be applied to the arts of any culture, students will develop the ability to analyze and critique any work of art including their own. The goal is to look at art forms through another culture’s eyes, heart and mind to go beyond the superficial.

The course grade will be based on discussion and presentation of each aesthetic and how it relates to different art forms. Students can choose their favorite subjects to analyze, and will write 5 short (4-5 page) papers that they will present to the rest of the class using PowerPoint, video or the actual artworks or performance if they choose.

Although we will be using Japanese terms, students will not have to learn a large amount of Japanese vocabulary.

Race, Slavery and UA

Green– MW 3-4:15 PM BUI 301-010 CRN 14794

This course introduces students to the major themes, issues, and questions related to slavery and emancipation at the University of Alabama and the surrounding Tuscaloosa community. Students will explore this unique and often underappreciated topic of campus history, lives of the enslaved, and consequences for the postwar African American and University communities through readings, in-class discussions, field trips to university archives and museums, written assignments grounded in primary and secondary sources, and a group pop-museum exhibit centered on the postbellum lives of formerly enslaved African Americans and institutions established in the broader Tuscaloosa community.

Sustainability as Relationship

Photo by Zachary DeBottis

McLelland– MW 1-2:15 PM BUI 301-009 CRN 14793

This seminar will introduce students to the breadth of Sustainability as a subject and will serve as a vehicle for further student research into specific topics within the context of Sustainability. Students will become acutely aware of the presence of connections, systems, interrelationships, and flows at all levels, from the very smallest to the very largest scales.

This course is about exploring the meaning of our humanity.  Fundamentally, the course will present and explore the idea that humanity, as species and as idea, emerges from and exists within relationship. Embracing that understanding means coming to grips with a paradigmatic shift that recognizes humanity’s place within the earth system. It means recognizing both that we belong and that we bear enormous responsibilities to all the communities — human and non-human — of which we are a part.

Like every other species on the planet, we are biological creatures. Alone among all our kin, however, we have evolved the kind of consciousness from which civilization emerges. The power of that emergent phenomenon, and the suddenness, in evolutionary terms, with which it developed has allowed us to see ourselves for nearly all of our history as a species apart, masters of a world we live on, not in. The challenges we now face — both the existential threat of climate change and the unprecedented opportunities for transformation that that threat offers — flow directly from the urgent need to understand what it means to be responsibly human.=

The nature of these questions and concerns are fundamental to all of us and cut across all disciplines and all courses of study. This seminar will strengthen students’ ability, regardless of their majors, to recognize and appreciate the power of connection, and will encourage them to be empowered by complexity, rather than overwhelmed by it.

Paleontology & Society

Photo by Alejandro Quintanar

Klompmaker – F 2:00-4:50 PM BUI 301-002 CRN 12908

In this course, we will explore the relationship between paleontology and our civilization. In addition to gaining a basic understanding of paleontological principles and its interdisciplinary nature, we will discuss how the ever-growing knowledge of ancient life is used in society today, why paleontology is important, how it is communicated, how paleontology has influenced society and vice versa, ethical considerations involving fossils, and how paleontology in the media compares and contrasts with paleontological research. An emphasis will be placed on the roles of amateur/avocational paleontologists and museums. Activities outside the classroom or an online learning environment will include a trip the exhibits of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, a trip to the fossil collections of the UA Museums, and a field trip to a fossil site.


Cinematic Time
Lazer – W3:00- 5:50 PM BUI 301-006 CRN 10564

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 Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lynch (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).


The Politics of Travel, Tourism, and Mobility

Hazbun – TR 2-3:15 PM BUI 301-011 CRN 20122

This seminar uses experiences of travel and tourism to explore the politics of modernity and mobility. How does travel impact how we view other people and places as well as ourselves? We trace the rise of modern mass tourism and the changing dynamics of mobility and tourist commodity production. We ask how these global processes shape cultural understanding, economic development, and relationships of political power. We also confront the challenges of overtourism, political violence, mobility justice, and climate change. Seminar readings explore encounters with ruins, cities, beaches, air travel, race, and study abroad programs across a range of cases from Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.

Photo By Michael Block

Naturalist Outreach

Abbott – F 12-2:50 PM BUI 301-005 CRN 12716

Scientific outreach is the process of promoting public awareness and understanding of science and science education. This course will focus on how to do effective scientific outreach as well as on learning about the biodiversity of Alabama and the surrounding areas! The course will emphasize developing different approaches to effectively communicate science at different audiences from classroom settings, museum programs, web – based presentations, organizing large outreach events, adult outreach programs and working with the community. My goal is to help you develop skill sets to become scientific outreach leaders in your community.

Mindful Writing

Presnall – TR 2:-3:15 PM BUI 301-004 CRN 13023

In this class, we approach communication as an ecology within which human and non-human actors affect each other. If I speak to a rock and don’t get a response, does that mean it doesn’t affect me, direct my movement? Does it invoke me? Does my cat? If my cat leaves a dead mouse on the step and I interpret it as a gift, have I missed a chance at communication? Rather than starting from a known purpose and thesis and advancing an argument, this class begins by questioning what we know and uses extrahuman relations to promote new thoughts and modes of expression. Posthuman theoretical readings will complement the discussion of literary essays. In class, we will also integrate the contemplative practice of meditation with journal writing to promote creativity, controlled attention, and meta-cognitive awareness. Students will apply concepts developed through reading and discussion to an analysis of literary and cultural texts, develop their own narrative-nonfiction writing projects, and present on their process to the class.

History Strategic Communications

Schwab – TR 9:30-10:45 AM BUI 301-003 CRN 10545

National strategic intelligence for the United States originated during World War II when the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was created, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The OSS was terminated by President Truman in 1945, but by 1948, after relations between the United States and the Soviet Union had deteriorated and the Cold War began, Truman authorized the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. Initially focused largely on covert action and espionage, the CIA gradually developed an analytical capability to inform the U.S. President and other senior policy makers of the significance of key international developments. These subjects will be the main focus of this course.

What is Story For?

White – TR 2:-3:15 PM BUI 301-001 CRN 10464

In this class we will think about storytelling: why we do it, and what we get from it. We will look at ancient theories and practies of story-making, and modern ones. Along the way we will think about different genres of stroy-making: myth, fiction, drama, history, and different species of poem, from lyric to elegy. Authors we will read include Plato, Aristotle, Milton, Shakespeare, W.H. Auden,Lynda Barry, Gloria Naylor, and many others.


Novel Gazing

Photo by Johannes Plenio

Whiting – TR 3:30-4:45 PM BUI 301-007 CRN 14044

What are novels and why do we read them?  In this course, we’ll try to formulate provisional answers to both of these questions by reading several novels as well as a selection of theoretical articles about what the novel is and does.  Our inquiry will be historical in that it will approach the genre of the novel as historically mutable—an entity and its associated practices that change with time and place.  In this instance, our focus will be the United States in the 20th century.  Among the questions we will pursue are:  what are the shifting formal features of 20th century U.S. novels, what cultural work have they been understood to do, and how have they been understood to operate upon readers.  Particular attention will be paid to the relation between literary form and ideology.

Bibliopoesy: History, Form, & Experimental Collaboration in Bookmaking

Sico – T 5-7:50 PM BUI 301-013 CRN 20479

What is a book and when did books begin? Is the book an obsolete form, or will it continue to evolve and adapt as we move further into a digital future? In this hands-on course, we’ll discuss the global history of mark-making, materials, and forms related to books and bookness, from prehistory to our present digital world. We’ll talk about cave paintings, the emergence of cuneiform writing, paper and printmaking in Asia and Europe, Mesoamerican screenfold books, paperbacks, photocopied zines, artist books, kindle readers, and more. At the same time, you’ll get hands-on practice with making a range of different book structures, both historical and contemporary, and will engage in creative ideation and experimental book design as a team. Students taking the course this semester will have the unique chance to work collaboratively on binding a new copy of the Blount Book of Scholars, which will have a 20-year active life in the program. In making the book, you’ll be expected to engage in a thoughtful consideration of how our book will fit into the broader history of the book as well as the contemporary book arts landscape. While artistic experience isn’t necessary for this course, experience working with your hands and/or with creative design will be helpful in getting the most out of this class.