Amoshaun Phynn Toft
B CUSP 104
Examines an important social issue such as ecology, art, political change, the power of media, educational reform, or the role of science in contemporary culture through interdisciplinary investigation, and the lens of the visual, literary, and performing arts. Offered: A.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same”, a wise man once said. He meant that change and stability are both a fundamental part of life for individuals and societies. People are born, live unique individual lives, and create paths through the world that will never be duplicated. And yet they do so as members of groups and societies that are often organized according to rules, norms, and patterns of activity that have often proven amazingly durable over time and space. This class will examine this fundamental tension within human social life with a particular focus on how it plays out in ordinary everyday life.
Students in this course will be introduced to key academic skills and socio-cultural concepts by asking them to critically analyze how social structures are produced in and through ordinary activities.
Student learning goals
Pose informed questions about the broader social world and their relationship to it
Identify the broad defining characteristics of social, cultural, and political economic structures in the US and globally
Explain how specific structures (i.e. structures of race, class, communication, governance, etc.) form and change using particular examples
Describe the fundamental relationship between these broader structures and the everyday actions that produce, reproduce, and change them
Move from opinion towards evidence-based critique and analysis of these dynamics
Evaluate academic sources and evidence, as well as what might constitute a “scholarly” source of knowledge
• Consider the different intellectual paths and topical possibilities that are available to them within the IAS program at UWB
General method of instruction
In class discussion supplemented by group work, mini-lectures, individual reflection exercises, and other interactive activities. Some field trips may be included.
No prerequisites needed. Bring enthusiasm and a willingness to pose critical questions.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will span the range of those expected of undergraduates at UWB. There will be a variety of written work as well as group work and a mid-term exam.