“France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live! In America they've forgotten all about it. I'm afraid that the American culture is a disaster.” Johnny Depp, American film actor born in Owensboro, KY
Has our culture become a disaster? What does it mean to “know how to live?” We will address how American worldview and popular culture shapes our health, work, consumption, and social behaviors. Is there a common set of values and beliefs that create a unique American culture even though we have multi-cultural roots? We will examine what it means to be a multicultural nation using food as a medium. Anthropological concepts and theories will guide our exploration of American beliefs and behaviors; of what equality means when Americans talk about and express ethnicity, class, gender, and race. Readings, videos, short assignments/discussions, quizzes, and a research paper are required.
Catalog Description: Examination of a series of topics in American culture including the impact of industrialism, the rise of feminism, the current popularity of sports, the role of advertising, and the changes in the structure of the family. Focus on what anthropological culture can tell us about our own culture.
Kristen Borre (3 credit hours)
This course will describe and analyze the cultures of native peoples of North America. The diversity of social, economic, religious life, languages, and arts of representative Indian groups from the various geographic regions will be covered. Established pre-Columbian patterns, experiences with European colonization, culture change, and 20th century reconfigurations will be discussed. This course will be web-based with 3 face-to-face meetings and will use a combination of online topics modules, text readings, formal lecture, topical videos, in-class "hands-on" small group and whole class exercises, and ongoing discussion.
Catalog Description: Description and analysis of the cultures of native peoples of North America. Social, economic, and religious life; languages and arts of representative North American Indian groups.
Judith Calleja (3 credit hours)
This course will discuss key concepts and events in Native American history since the establishment of the United States of America, the changing views of cultural stewardship, museums’ role in artifacts and repatriation, and recent events and case studies. This course will survey cultures of the native peoples of North America, and the contemporary issues of various US laws and statutes. This course will be web-based with 3 face-to-face meetings, and will use a combination of online modules and lectures, text readings, videos, activities, and ongoing group discussion.
Catalog Description: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours. PRQ: Consent of department.
Karly Tumminello (3 credit hours)
The perennial culture wars raging in the USA are expressed in many areas of society. One area of attack is the opposition by the Religious Right to the teaching of evolution in public schools. Since before the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" in 1925, school boards and legislatures have tried to eliminate, add equal doses of creationism to, or water down the coverage of evolution. They have targeted evolution as a cause for many of their perceived "social evils," don't understand science, and cannot separate evolution from "Social Darwinism."
This course will introduce students to the history of the controversy, define the opposition, and explain where each side gets their ideas and what they believe. We will then explore philosophy of science in enought detail to be able to separate a scientific question from a non-scientific question. A preliminary survey of primarily biological evolution will provide students with the necessary information to counter creationist arguments. This course is designed to give students the ability to not only defend evolution but, more importantly, attack non-scientific intrusions into the public school system. It is not a course in biological evolution but complementary, and can be taken by any upper-level undergraduate with an interest in science and society.
Catalog Description: Evolutionary theory and tenets of present-day anti-evolutionists with emphasis on providing students with the skills to articulate the theory of evolution as it applies to the biological sciences. Not designed as a substitute for a formal course in evolutionary theory. Recommended for students pursuing careers in secondary science education.
Ronald Toth (3 credit hours)
This course will examine the theory of income, inequality, discrimination and wealth. It will include an analysis and measurement of welfare, poverty, and an evaluation of the efficiency of public policy.
Catalog Description: Topics of current importance to consumers, resource owners, business, and governement. May be repeated up to 9 hours as topics change and can be taken concurrently. PRQ: ECON 260 and ECON 261.
Sowjanya Dharmasankar (3 credit hours)
We will read a wide selection of poems dealing with love from antiquity to the present and across cultures and traditions in order to expand and enhance our appreciation of this most profound human emotion. We will distinguish between “love poetry” and “the poetry of love” and then examine select poems to see how poetry---in its rhetoric and in its themes---is a unique form of discourse that reveals rather than simply says, or tells, or asserts something about this seemingly ineffable reality of the human condition. As expressed by the poets, love is manifest in all its joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain. From the idealized to the problematic, from the sacred to the profane, from the platonic to the passionate, and from the requited to the unrequited, love inescapably is.
We also will have the opportunity to examine and discuss many magnificent works of art---all revealing love in its multifarious forms---in the color plates reproduced in our book and from the web pages of museums around the world.
Catalog Description: Topics announced. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours when topics varies.
Stephen Franklin (3 credit hours)
Let’s explore the surface of the planet we live on. Have you ever wondered why Chicago is a world class city? Well it has everything to do with physical geography - glaciation, wind systems, soils, tallgrass prairie, and the location of Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. In this course we will explore human-environment interactions occurring at Earth’s surface in northern Illinois, throughout the midwest and across the world. We will learn how plate tectonics, glaciation, river systems, coastal processes, and wind systems have impacted Earth’s surface. We will also explore the distribution of vegetation systems, soils, and water resources today as well as examine how these systems have changed over human and geologic time. Throughout the semester we will be exposed to technological advances like geographic information systems and remote sensing that are used to study the environment. Lectures and homework will be delivered online with face to face exams.
Catalog Description: Elements of the physical environment, with emphasis on hydrology, vegetation, landforms, and soils; processes involved in their interactions, their spatial variations, and interrelationships between these elements and humankind. Three hours of lecture. Not available for credit to students with credit in GEOG 101A.
Michael Konen (3 credit hours)
Though maps have been used by civilizations for well over 5,000 years, practically all aspects of mapping today involve computers - from the collection of real-world data by GPS or satellites, to drafting and printing. Rather than study the history of maps and mapping, we will instead study the concept of maps as tools of modern communication and visualization. This course is also the starting point for NIU's certificate of undergraduate study in GIS (in addition to applying toward the B.G.S.) and is required for several further courses in geography. Mandatory introductory face-to-face class meeting.
Catalog Description, GEOG 256: Introduction to maps as models of our earth, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Use of satellite and aerial imagery, land surveying, and geographic information systems in map production. Thematic maps and how they are used. Map design for informational and persuasive purposes. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory.
Catalog Description, GEOG 556: For graduate students with little formal background in mapping. Maps as models, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Processes of map production, including imagery and surveying. Principles of map design.
James Newman & Andrew Krmenec (3 credit hours)
This course in intended to provide the student with a broader understanding of water and its importance to our lives and earth’s complex environment. We will consider issues facing water such as whether the supply of water will continue, how man-made developments have altered water availability, how pollution has eroded this natural resource, and where/how we can restore our water resources. Relevant video clips, online tutorials, and supplemental readings will be used throughout the course to provide examples of water-related issues affecting northern Illinois, other regions of the U.S., as well as various countries around the world.
Catalog Description: Evaluation of water as a resource; its availability, distribution, use, and quality. Operation of the hydrologic cycle and relationships between surface water and the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere. Human impacts on water resources and the management of water-related hazards, including flooding, drought, and the spread of disease. Lecture and field experience.
Sharon Ashley & Walker Ashley (3 credit hours)
Examination of fundamentals of atmospheric phenomena with an emphasis on understanding concepts and processes behind severe manifestations of weather and climate. Physical aspects of extratropical cyclones, winter weather phenomena, thunderstorm phenomena, tropical weather systems, and large-scale longer-term weather events are analyzed. Case studies are employed to investigate human, economic, and environmental consequences of extreme weather and climate events.
Catalog Description: Examination of fundamentals of atmospheric phenomena with an emphasis on understanding concepts and processes behind severe manifestations of weather and climate. Physical aspects of extratropical cyclones, winter weather phenomena, thunderstorm phenomena, tropical weather systems, and large-scale, longer-term weather events are analyzed. Case studies are employed to investigate human, economic, and environmental consequences of extreme weather and climate events.
Walker Ashley (3 credit hours)
This course is an introduction to geographic issues in various regions of the United States and Canada. You will be introduced to some major patterns and processes that dominate the major physical and cultural realms of this region. We will first go over some basic physical and social features common to the United States and Canada. We will then explore the historical evolution and unique physical, cultural, and environmental features of fourteen sub-regions, following your textbook. Rather than just describing each region, we will examine the various regions in an attempt to understand and explain regional differences. Ultimately, our exploration of these regions should help us all reach a deeper understanding of the diversity and complexity of life in the United States and Canada. A final project, map quizzes, and exams will all be utilized to increase your knowledge of this diverse and fascinating region.
Catalog Description: Regional analysis of two countries. Cultural, economic, and political patterns. Geographic perspectives applied to current issues and problems.
Sharon Ashley (3 credit hours)
Have you ever asked yourself, "Where in the world am I?" GEOG 359 may help you answer that question with an introductory study into the principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In this online course, we develop skills in GIS, its components, and how it applies to our surrounding environment. This course is a primer for those who are interested in learning more about the dynamic and ever-changing world of GIS and its career applications.
Catalog Description, GEOG 359: Study of the fundamental principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Emphasis on the development of these systems, their components and their integration into mainstream geography. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 256 or GEOG 352 or consent of department.
Catalog Description, GEOG 557: For graduate students with little formal background in GIS or computer mapping. Principles, components, and uses of geographic information systems. PRQ: GEOG 552 or GEOG 556, or consent of department.
Phil Young (3 credit hours)
A Geographic Information System (GIS), composed of multiple map layers of a place, can facilitate problem-solving in a variety of social, environmental, and business settings. This course will apply GIS to examples from these different settings. Methods of integrating land, environmental, demographic, and business information will be demonstrated. In addition to applying to the B.G.S., this class also counts toward NIU's certificate of undergraduate study in GIS.
Catalog Description, GEOG 459: Study of the conceptual framework and development of geographic information systems. Emphasis on the actual application of a GIS to spatial analysis. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 359 or consent of department
Catalog Description, GEOG 559: Study of the conceptual framework and development of geographic information systems. Emphasis on the actual application of a GIS to spatial analysis. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 557 or consent of department.
Richard Greene (3 credit hours)
This course covers utilization and characterization of earth materials for geotechnical and environmental engineering. Specifically we look at methods of assessing rock quality, soil classification, elastic and strength limits of soils, geotechnical testing, compaction and consolidation of soil, as well as geostatic stresses cause by construction, drainage and dewatering. Assessment of geologic hazards, such as unstable slopes, erosive seepage, liquefaction and earthquake hazards form an important part of the course. Case histories involving slope stability, landfill siting, ground subsidence and earthquake damage are examined. The course includes extensive problem solving and review of current literature/new advances.
Catalog Description, GEOL 425: Utilization and characterization of earth materials for geotechnical and environmental engineering. Assessment of soils and rock quality, Atterberg limits, soil and rock mechanics, geotechnical testing, compaction theory, dewatering, slope stability, and seismic hazards. Case histories and problem solving. PRQ: GEOL 325, MATH 211 or MATH 229, and PHYS 210 or PHYS 253, or consent of department.
Catalog Description, GEOL 525: Utilization and characterization of earth materials for geotechnical and environmental engineering. Assessment of soils and rock quality, Atterberg limits, soil and rock mechanics, geotechnical testing, compaction theory, dewatering, slope stability, and seismic hazards. Case histories and problem solving. Students should be competent in mineralogy and structural geology prior to enrollment.
Phillip Carpenter (3 credit hours)
From ancient ruins to its ruinous experiment with democracy and recent thaw, Burma manages to hold the world’s interest and attention. In our course, we will look closely at the history of and scholarship on Burma to make sense of this fascinating and diverse Southeast Asian country. Through primary and secondary source material, our focus will be on two main periods/events: the British colonial era and the democracy struggle as epitomized by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Catalog Description: History and culture of Burma from prehistoric times to the present.
Eric Jones (3 credit hours)
The main purpose of this course is to explore the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church from the beginning of Christianity to modern times with an emphasis on the period after the Council of Trent (1545-1563-Present). In this couse, religious belief, worship and liturgy will be discussed only marginally; instead we will be focused on the development and evolution of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution.
During its more than 2000 year history, the church has come near complete destruction twice, once during the Reformation and again during the French Revoltion. Today, during the regin of Pope Francis, we can see that the church is probably facing its greatest crisis ever with deep divisions among the faithful over such issues as the role of women, reproductive rights, centralization and the role of bishops, the laity etc. etc. The church also faces a serious moral and financial crisis as a result of widespread proven charges of sexual abuse in numerous countries. How well, or badly, has the church dealt with the crisis of the past and how is it dealing with this present crisis? How is the present pope dealing with the major issues facing the church? Can the church survive at all and in what form? These and many other questions will be taken up in this course. This course is taught in a blended online/face-to-face format with the emphasis on online work and student projects and assignments oriented around the modalities of the online environment (social media, search, website evaluations).
Catalog Description: Selected themes or problems. Topics announced. May be repeated when subject varies.
Stephen Haliczer (3 credit hours)
This is a course on the United States Congress and is intended to familiarize students with practical aspects of the functioning of Congress, but also acquaint students with some of the major modern academic debates about the effectiveness of the U.S. legislature. Students successfully completing the course will gain an appreciation for the multifarious institutions that make up the U.S. Congress; pros and cons of specific institutional arrangements; will improve their social science related vocabulary; and become more familiar with the way laws are made (or not made) today.
Catalog Description: Principles, organization, procedures, and activities of the U.S. Congress. Topics include elections, legislators and their districts, legislative committees, party leadership positions, and legislative-executive relations. Recommended: At least sophomore standing.
Scot Schraugnagel (3 credit hours)
This course explores whether there is a tension between actual legal practices in the “real world” and their portrayal in popular culture—specifically motion pictures. We will ask whether cinematic practices and imperatives give rise to a “reel-world” view of the law. We will focus on a number of related themes which may include: the concept of justice, the relationship between economic status and the law, official v. unofficial law enforcement including the quasi-law enforcement of private detectives, legal education, the practice of law, legal ethics, women in law and politics, discrimination and the law, the role of both civil and criminal courts in a political system, the role of the mass media in relation to law and politics, and law and social change. Students should expect to develop a more in-depth understanding of the issues covered as well as a better appreciation of the cultural and political significance of the way that law and legal actors are depicted in the movies. Students are required to view full-length, feature-films ranging from classics such as The Big Sleep (1946) and Adam’s Rib (1949) to more recent pictures like Thelma & Louise (1991) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003).
Catalog Description: Analysis of feature films to explore topics such as law school and the legal profession, criminal and civil law, civil rights and liberties, and justice as it relates to race, gender, and class. (NOTE: POLS 312 used to be taught as one of the topics under POLS 141.)
Artemus Ward (3 credit hours)
This course will focus on major forms of atypical development in childhood and adolescence. These include developmental and learning problems (e.g., autism, mental retardation), disorders of behaviors (e.g., ADHD and oppositional disorder), and disorders of emotion (e.g., anxiety and depression). You will learn about the defining characteristics, associated features, possible causes, theoretical formulations, research evidence, and current approaches to intervention and prevention for these disorders. The course will be experiential in nature and involve engaging class discussions relating to present topics concerning childhood psychological disorders.
Catalog Description: Disturbances in children involving intellectual, emotional, and expressive behaviors as well as selected therapeutic procedures and their relationship to psychological theories and research. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.
Phil Krasula (3 credit hours)
This class will use a feminist lens to examine the development of the domestic space in western culture, comparing the realities of women’s experiences with representations of the domestic space in literature, art and scholarship. We will also examine economic, demographic, psychological, and political consequences of the changing domestic sphere.
Catalog Description: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours as topic changes. PRQ: Junior or senior standing or consent of director.
Lise Schlosser (3 credit hours)