Working List of Courses

Themester 2021: Resilience

Courses offered as part of the College's Themester 2021 focus on Resilience will be listed here.

Learn about our 2021 theme

College Courses

The following courses count toward graduation in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students should consult with their advisors to discuss how a particular course fits individualized plans.

ANTH-A 200 | FOLK-F 253 – The New Social Problems: Expressive and Communal Responses
Instructor: Dr. Jason Jackson

What is a new social problem? Social problems are commonly defined as “conditions that disrupt or damage society” (Best 2019). Some social problems such as slavery, disease, colonialism, war, poverty, hunger, corruption, and racism have been recognized for relatively long periods and thus might be termed familiar or old social problems. Such problems continue to demand our attention, but we live in a time in which unprecedented, new challenges are also arising. This course focuses on such newer problems and it does so from the particular perspective of folklore studies and cultural anthropology.

As a group, we will work to document and assess aesthetic, expressive, customary, and communal responses to a range of emergent and vexing problems. Working together as a research team, we will investigate lay and expert knowledge within such contested and challenging areas as pervasive surveillance, the risks of artificial intelligence, the trade in living human tissues and organs, intellectual property and the right-to-repair, threats to biodiversity, geoengineering and climate change, farmer's rights, cybersecurity, corporate and media concentration, genetic engineering/synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and bioprospecting/biopiracy. Students will choose particular problems of interest to explore and will discover how these problems intersect with, and are being addressed creatively by, particular communities and interest groups in the US and around the world.

For folklorists and anthropologists, common ground between the consideration of old and new social problems can be found in questions of resilience. The 2021 Themester, organized by the College of Arts and Sciences around the theme of Resilience, will provide us with a chance to explore the concept of resilience in social life and to take advantage of Themester programming.

ANTH-E 203 – Stigma and the Expressive Arts: Cultivating Compassion 
Instructor: Dr. Susan Seizer
Cultural value systems in every society rely on sets of mutually defining terms -- for example, normal/abnormal, able-bodied/disabled, free/enslaved, legal/illegal, heterosexual/homosexual -- that largely determine local attitudes of acceptance or ostracism regarding particular categories of persons. Focusing on relations of social stigma in the U.S. allows us to understand how our own cultural value systems inform how we communicate and engage with others. This course focuses on the resilience of those who resist the stigmatizing gaze, and on the range and efficacy of strategies they use to counteract stigma.

AMST-A 399 – North American Indigenous Peoples’ Resilience
Instuctors: Dr. Richard Henne-Ochoa and Dr. April Sievert
This course will focus on North American Indigenous peoples’ resilience defined broadly and in accordance with the Center for American Indian Resilience as individual and collective positive response to adversity and risk. From this definition, the course will build on the central concepts of individual and collective North American Indigenous peoples’ resiliency, which Nick Tilsen (Oglala
Lakota), former director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, summarized as:

  • Social Connectedness: Building strong connections within a community through frequent and quality interactions leading to a positive impact on health.
  • Pro Social Attitudes and Behaviors: The desire to help those in need, to make contributions to one’s community, and to develop respectful and caring relationships among peers.
  • Leadership: Must be shared, comprise a diverse group, responsive and representative of all.
  • Resources: Availability: It is easy to get access, Accessibility: Everyone has access. Quality: Degree of excellence
  • Infrastructure: Essential needs met within the community: quality education, safe environment, etc.
  • Stable economy: Shopping within the local economy to provide jobs, and increase growth rate.

BIOL-L 104 (section 40760)
– Introductory Biology Lectures: Insights Toward Solving Environmental Problems
Co-instructors: Dr. Matthew Houser & Dr. Jen Lau
Addressing and preparing for environmental change requires knowledge about the environment but also must involve shifting the actions of humans. In this course, we develop student’s capacity to be leaders in addressing environmental problems. Specifically, students will learn to see environmental issues as complex social-ecological systems issues; exploring what drives human’s behavior, the factors shaping the health and responses of ecosystems and working to discover the connections between humans and their environments. Students will emerge as socio-ecological thinkers.

ABEH-A 401 | BIOL-L 410 – Avian Conservation: Environmental Change and Resilience
Instructors: Dr. Ellen Ketterson
North America has 3 billion fewer birds than it did 50 years ago, and the downward trends continue. This course will enable you to comprehend the magnitude of the problem and why it should be of concern to you regardless of your prior interest in birds. We will learn how birds provide us with services large and small from pollination of crops to cleaning up road kill. We will address reasons for their decline and potential solutions to the problem. We will also address what individuals and communities can do to reverse the losses.

BIOL-L 326 – Biodiverse-City! The Art & Science of Green Infrastructure
Instructor: Dr. Heather Reynolds
Must cities be disconnected from nature? Or can our cities be greener places, more alive with trees, birds, and other wildlife? Can such greener cities actually be more functional cities, which deliver essential services like food and clean water and air with less pollution and overall higher quality of life? Around the world, biodiverse green spaces are increasingly recognized as “green infrastructure” capable of providing lower cost, more resilient, and often healthier services to humans than can the corresponding energy intensive “gray infrastructure” of the built environment. This course examines urban nature through the lens of ecology and social-ecological systems science, taking a place-based approach to biological diversity and its relationship to creating sustainable and resilient cities.

CLLC-L 210 – Metamorphosis: Art and Politics
Instructor: Anushka Sen

Do we understand radical change of the self as loss or gain, virtue or distortion, punishment or liberation? Why do we rely on the mythic, religious, and supernatural to explain extreme changes in identity? This course will not only tackle these questions but help us understand how the concept of metamorphosis has articulated them through artistic tradition and experimentation, leaving a mark on our historical and political imaginations and on our popular media today.

CLLC-L 230 – Geoengineering and Climate Change
Instructor: Ryan O’Loughlin

In this seminar, we investigate various scientific, philosophical, ethical, and practical issues associated with climate change and geoengineering. Course readings range from accessible scientific sources to philosophical texts and news articles. Some questions we will explore:

  • Why can we trust climate models to tell us about future climate? Can they tell us about a geoengineered climate?
  • In what sense is climate change a wicked problem?
  • Should we oppose the research and/or implementation of geoengineering?

COLL-C 104 – Language Hotspots and Biodiversity
Instructor: Dr. David Stringer
This course examines the links between cultural diversity and biodiversity in the context of the current global experience of large-scale ecosystem destruction. Language hotspots, which are regions that contain a multiplicity of endangered languages, overlap significantly with biodiversity hotspots, similarly defined in terms of a multiplicity of threatened species. We will engage in comparative study of current projects either initiated or managed by indigenous communities that promote resilience in ways that connect language revitalization and biodiversity conservation.

COLL-C 105 – Natural Disasters, Sustainability, and the Future of Civilization
Instructor: Dr. Michael Hamburger
This course presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the most exciting—and terrifying—manifestations of life on a dynamic planet. The class will provide a scientific framework for understanding the processes that produce earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, as well as their implications for society. We will explore the ways that natural disasters challenge the fundamental stability of societies, their impact on social and economic systems, and the ways they are linked with human-induced environmental change.

FRIT-F 225 – French Culture – France during the Pandemic: Resistance and Resilience
Instructor: Dr. Oana Panaïté
In March 2020, French President Macron launched “Operation Resilience” signaling his country’s determination to find a successful response to the challenge. We will examine a variety of cultural materials such as mass-media and social media, literature, film, and visual art to understand and learn from how France has adapted or failed to adapt to the issues of economic and social justice, racism and immigration, political polarization, and the pressures for rethinking group and individual identities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

GEOG-G 185 – Environmental Change: The End of the World as We Know It?
Instructor: Dr. Darren Ficklin
This course is intended to equip students with a foundational understanding of environmental change. To this end, we will work and learn together - addressing along the way the complexity of social-environmental systems, sensitivity of ecosystems and the inherent challenges in understanding and planning for modern environmental change. Each week will focus on 1-2 major environmental change processes and include topics such as: climate change, tropical deforestation, desertification, coastal issues, and natural hazards. Common threads in all of these topics will pervade the whole semester; these include the use of data from observations and models, the consideration of multiple scales of change (temporal and spatial), the role of vulnerability in environmental change, and the interaction of human behaviors and choices with natural systems. Please note that this is not a traditional lecture-based class format. I will typically begin each session with a brief lecture and then students will work on an assignment based on the lecture material. This can either be done during or outside of class time, but certainly before the due date.

GEOG-G 306 – Seminar: Geographies of Resilience
Instructor: Dr. Julio C. Postigo
The origin of the concept Resilience is multidisciplinary. It was developed in psychology, engineering, and ecology. The concept has recently become popular among researchers due largely to the planetary crisis associated with anthropogenic climate change. It is this crisis that has spurred the expansion of the concept into the practitioners arena, whereby it is reaching the status of ‘buzzword’. In this transition from academia to practice, resilience has become normative or a goal to be achieved. Notwithstanding the feasibility or desirability of such a goal, the transition from concept to goal offers theoretical, methodological, and practical challenges to the camps of both thinkers and doers. 

The course Geographies of Resilience focuses on the ecology-strand of the concept. However, it provides an overview of its development emphasizing the work on social-ecological systems (SES) under global environmental change (GEC) in the last two decades. The course is taught as a discussion-based seminar; therefore, active and engaged participation is paramount. Three major sections structured the course: 1) Thinking resilience: theory, concepts, methods; 2) Case-studies of resilience: analysis of regional or thematic keystone studies; 3) The applied turn: critical perspectives and applications. 

Some of the themes emphasized in the course are: 

  • Social-ecological systems 
  • Telecoupling 
  • Adaptation and vulnerability 
  • Resilience of farming systems 
  • Hoosier Resilience Index 

Keywords: climate change; Anthropocene; vulnerability; environmental crisis; human-environment interactions 

GEOG-G 357 – Urban Alternative Agriculture

Instructor: Dr. Olga Kalentzidou
Are you curious about who grows food in the city? Have you heard about community gardens and guerilla gardeners? Do you care about sustainability and community resilience?

Urban Agriculture (UA) is the growing, processing, and distribution of food and other products through intensive plant cultivation and small-scale animal husbandry in and around cities. As an alternative to the industrial food system and its detrimental effects, urban farmers contribute to the food supply in their cities and promote access to locally grown, nutritious and healthy food. Through discussions, lectures and fieldtrips, we will examine how urban farmers strengthen community resilience and encourage equitable food access.

SOAD-N 110 Introduction to Studio Art for Nonmajors: Shaping Change - A Practice of Art and Community

This course is an introduction to Studio Art for non-art majors. It invites and challenges students to imagine a better future, to shape change, and to build resilience through art and community practices. A variety of art-making processes and media will be used including: drawing, printmaking, paper-making, sculpture, and painting. Students will develop visual literacy, practice technical skills, and learn how to communicate personal and communal ideas through the practice of observing, making, and discussing works of art.

Non-College Courses

The instructors of these non-College courses will utilize Themester 2021 programs and experiences. Courses outside the College can often count in a student's program of study, but students should consult with their advisor to discuss.

SPEA-E 400 – Permaculture
Instructor: Rhonda Baird

Permaculture design is an ethical process of design which seeks to integrate human and natural systems in a manner which restores ecological functions and fosters healthy human communities. The design course introduces and utilizes ethics, systems thinking, technical skills in basic surveying and mapping, design process, research and analysis, group management and effective processes, design of social systems and the intersection of ecological and social systems with an eye toward repairing ecosystems while also strengthening local and regional communities.

The course provides the traditional permaculture design course in which students cover the internationally recognized curriculum culminating in the presentation of team designs and awarding a certificate in permaculture design recognized by the Permaculture Institute of North America. Students will have an opportunity to learn and practice the design process as well as critiques of permaculture and its implementation around the world over the past forty years.

BUS-L 318 – Business & Poverty Alleviation
Instructor: Kelly Eskew
The world's resources are overwhelmingly consolidated in the marketplace. While governments and non-governmental organizations have roles in poverty alleviation, the power of business to radically transform the lives of the world's income-poor communities is exponentially greater. This course explores how business can improve the lives of the poor through innovative business models. But we also consider failures that exacerbate and exploit poverty. Students develop an innovative business plan for poverty alleviation in consultation with communities and experts in poverty alleviation.


Graduate classes

Themester's focus is undergraduate education, but the instructors of the following courses have signified a connection to fall 2021's focus on Resilience.

HISP S678 Continuities and Ruptures: Topics in Mondern and Contemporary Spanish American Literature and Culture
Instructor: Deborah Cohn

Special topic: Social dis/order and plagues in 20th- and 21st-century Spanish American literature and film 

This course will examine representations of plagues and pandemics (caused by disease, insomnia, zombies, and more) in 20th and 21st-century Spanish American, Caribbean, and Latinx literature and film to see how they lay bare questions of power:  who wields it, how they grant or deny legitimacy and structure society and social roles, and the discourses and institutions that support and enforce (the) social order.  We will also explore how these tropes are used as a means of probing questions of imperialism, revolution, toxic masculinity, and migration.  We will further examine the intersections of these phenomena with struggles for social justice, self-governance, and autonomy, as well as what it means to be a survivor and be resilient in these contexts. 

The course will be taught in English, and readings and films will be available in English and Spanish. 

POLS Y673/SPEA P710/LAW B592 – Seminar: Institutional Theory
Instructor: William Blomquist
Institutions importantly guide human decisions and behaviors. This seminar presents an important analytical approach to understanding institutions—the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework associated with the Ostrom Workshop at IU. This framework has influenced theory and research on how institutions develop and change, how they shape people’s choices and actions and human impacts on the world at micro to macro scales, and how those relationships affect the sustainability and resilience of human communities and the natural environment.