Course Descriptions

Course Attributes

This course introduces and helps students to practice a set of critical skills developed specifically for understanding the socio-cultural impacts of video games. Over the course of the semester we will: 1) survey the history of video games and their industry, paying particular attention to how developers - and the technologies they deploy - shape the game medium; 2) unpack game sights, sounds, and stories, with an analytical eye toward their formal and ideological qualities; and 3) collaboratively examine video games as sites of cultural exchange, that is, as teaching and learning tools, playful companions, and complex social and physical stimuli.

Few claims seem to arouse more interest, evoke more emotion, and create more confusion than those dealing with the paranormal, the supernatural, or the mysterious. "Weird stuff", as it is often called; astrology, ghosts, fairies, ESP, psychokinesis, UFO abductions, channeling, dowsing, near-death experiences, prophetic dreams, demon possession, time travel, and parapsychology, among others clearly defies conventional wisdom and understanding, yet belief in them is a widespread component of human culture, often exerting a profound effect on people's lives. Why are such unusual beliefs part of the human experience for so many? Why do some people find such phenomena to be compelling, while others reject them outright? How do we decide which claims are credible? What distinguishes rational from irrational claims? This course is designed to help students answer such questions, to understand why people believe weird stuff, and through that process become more empathetic and independent thinkers and learners.

From physicians to neuroscientists to poets and songwriters, people around the world have long written about how even brief immersion in nature can improve the human condition. This course will explore these writings and what they have to tell us about understanding human experience and our interface with the natural world. Using applied humanities approaches and a variety of texts, our goal will be to develop real-world applications of insight, perspective, critical understanding, discernment, and creativity about the place and importance of nature in human experience. Over the course of the semester we will: (1) read and critically analyze writing by and about people who have found creative and innovative approaches to express and/or measure how immersion in nature makes humans healthier; (2) engage in reflective projects that open pathways to developing one's own creativity and imagination for personal and community applications of nature immersion; and (3) design an applied project focused on assessing how ideas for nature immersion might be implemented in real-world settings. Students will use project management and planning methods to write a project description, carry out an initial pilot version of the project, report on steps they have accomplished, and write a critical analysis of their project.

The motorcycle is a global icon, an international symbol of a daring, enviable, sometimes even reckless lifestyle of freedom, adventure, and rebellion. This course explores motorcycle culture around the world and is intended for anyone interested in the human experience, motorcycles, or who is keen to consider the implications of their lifestyle choices. Over the course of the semester, we will examine the facts, myths, and legends surrounding the motorcycle, as well as the ideologies of those who love to ride.

Hunting is fundamental to the human experience. Throughout history, humans have viewed hunting as a foodway, a lifeway, and even as a sport. This course considers the concept of hunting broadly and explores the practices of seeking and finding across human endeavor, from sacred acts of harvesting to modern recreation with ethical implications for ecological stewardship. Over the course of the semester, students will unpack their own personal meanings around the act of hunting and interpret the role different kinds of hunting play in conservation and community life. Students eventually plan their own hunt of one kind or another. This does not necessarily need to be a hunt for game, but can be a hunt for a picture of wildlife or any other hunt as defined by the student. Ultimately, hunting will be defined broadly so all students can conduct and engage with the topic in ways that make sense to them. All positions and perspectives related to hunting in all its forms and with all its associated debates and controversies are welcome for consideration.

This course introduces students to the study of play, from ancient games of chance to cutting edge playgrounds like amusement parks, escape rooms, and even workplaces. Students will learn and practice a set of critical and practical skills designed to help them both understand how play regularly changes the world around them, and how to use play as a tool for personal, professional, and political transformation. Over the course of the semester, we will: 1) survey the origins of play, paying particular attention to how the act of play is used to change or solidify the status quo; 2) examine research-informed case studies to learn and practice techniques for theorizing about how and why play does real work in the world; and 3) experiment with a variety of tools and techniques for using play to alter how individuals, communities, and organizations interact.

This interdisciplinary course analyzes myths and cosmologies that reflect various societal approaches to the grand mysteries of life as represented in language, culture, and narratives. Beginning with an overview of myth as a moving force in life, students generate a list of grand mysteries to pursue answers that explore the past, present, and future. Select texts analyzing myth as well as works of fiction and contemporary film and television will round out the course as students work toward analyzing their own cosmology, a chosen mythology, or develop their own unique mythology for the digital age. Particular emphasis will be paid to myths and cosmologies of groups in conflict and an analysis of the clash resulting from competing perspectives.

Most everyone is familiar with memes: Gangnam Style music videos, the Success Baby, Rickrolling, Pepe the Frog, and other images, text, and sounds that serve as storytelling shorthand in today's digital world. Memes are not an entirely digital phenomenon, however. On the contrary, they have a deep history within the context of human ideas and expression. In this course, we will explore the concept of the meme and the practice of meming, beginning with pre-digital examples and extending up through the most current instances. We will consider a variety of theories behind this kind of microstorytelling, as well as its craft, leading to the creation of meme portfolios and predictions about future forms of human expression.

This course explores the past, present, and future of urban life by looking at speculative representations of cities. We focus especially on practices of time travel and world building used by futurists and creatives as tools for thinking about how our cities ought to be. In addition to engaging with a range of materials that demonstrate these practices over the course of the term, we will also experiment with using these practices as methods for problem solving, critical study, and the creation of urban futures in the real world, taking into particular consideration markers of identity such as race, gender, or class.

The need for sleep is ubiquitous and part of everyday existence. Like many things that are part of our routine, however, we rarely take time to consider sleep critically: Why do we sleep? Is sleep different from culture to culture? In what ways is sleep made valuable (or not)? And what's with dreaming? These and many other questions are at the heart of this course. Over the course of the semester, we will probe modern and historical humanities archives for artifacts related to sleep. By examining the ways human beings have come to represent sleep through a wide variety of cultural practices (e.g., rituals, popular culture, art, etc.), we will explore the connections between sleep and creativity, the role sleep plays in the formation and maintenance of social and cultural institutions, and sleep's changing relationship to the human condition generally. The goal, ultimately, is to imagine what sleep's future holds.

These courses, offered in a small group setting, are designed to give students insight into the concepts and practices which typify different academic disciplines. First-year colloquia introduce the methods and standards of the discipline for discovering new knowledge, the values which characterize the field of study, advances in the field, impact on society, and career opportunities.

This courses introduces and helps students to practice a set of critical and practical skills developed specifically for understanding and improving the human condition. Over the course of the semester we will: 1) survey the origins and history of the applied humanities, paying particular attention to the intersection of ways of seeing and doing; 2) examine exemplary research-informed and publicly-facing projects for insight into how to theorize and improve life in the community and beyond; and 3) explore tools and techniques for engaging in small and large scale applied humanities endeavors.

This course introduces the common techniques and technologies involved in applied humanities work, providing students with the concepts and skills they need to plan, conduct, analyze, and evaluate conceptually rigorous, publicly-facing, and community-enriching projects. Over the course of the semester we will: 1) survey practical approaches and research methods commonly used in the applied humanities; 2) examine exemplary projects that have employed these ways of doing, and in the process gain insight into how to adapt them for other projects; and 3) explore a variety of tools and technologies that support data collection, sharing, analysis, and implementation, culminating the design of your own applied humanities project.

This course explores how collaborative endeavors are influenced by culture, identity, and diversity. Drawing from the linguistic, cultural, and philosophical traditions of the humanities, we will study what it means to function effectively as part of a diverse collaborative, from small, informal communities to large, formal organizations. In contrast to the largely empirical epistemologies and methodologies of the hard and social sciences, we will approach the concept of collaboration as a subject and reflection of the human condition, considering the different cultural elements that influence cooperation and the meanings human beings derive from cooperation. We will explore how cultural and personal concepts such as power distance, individualism, gender roles, and orientation to time, tasks, and relationships shape collaboration. Course topics include the qualities of diverse collaboratives, the relationship of cultural diversity to collaboration, questions of personality and identity in the workplace, and leadership and assessment in a multicultural context. In addition, the course will seek to enhance understanding of how dominant institutional and cultural forces impose themselves on collaborative endeavors, disadvantaging certain groups such as women, racial/ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and people with a lower-power socioeconomic status.

The course helps students to engage deeply with the habits of mind and an expanding set of critical and practical applied humanities skills developed specifically for understanding and improving the human condition. Over the course of the semester we will: (1) read and critically analyze the writing of people from many cultures who have found creative and innovative approaches to a variety of complex challenges, with particular attention to their applied habits of mind; (2) engage in reflective projects that open pathways to developing students' own creativity and imagination for real-world applications of successful habits of mind; and (3) design a project in which students focus on something in the world that requires personal applications of at least three of the habits of mind they have studied. Students will use project management and planning methods to write a project description, carry out an initial pilot version of the project, report on steps they have accomplished, and write a critical analysis of the project.

This course introduces students to the techniques and varying contexts of critically appreciating video games. In addition to studying the ways that digital games, and their creators, play upon consumer's senses, students will develop a working vocabulary of evaluative terms (e.g., taste, judgement, pleasure, style, beauty) that can be usefully and sometimes uniquely applied to objects derived from the video game medium. They will also learn and practice a set of critical and practical skills designed to help them both understand the role of critical judgement in the experience of play, as well as how play itself may be an integral part of a game's overall look and feel. Through the course of the semester, we will: 1) briefly survey the history of media criticism, paying particular attention to how conventional understandings of terms such as "critique" and "effect" may or may not apply to video games; 2) examine research-informed case studies to learn and practice techniques for thinking about how and why game evaluation has developed as it has over the last half-century, as well as how it differs from the judgement of other forms of artistic expression; and 3) generate substantive original critiques of video games past and present.

This course examines the rise and spread of video game cultures from around the world, focusing on the contexts of their origins, proliferation, and (where applicable) their demise. Topics to be covered include arcades, bootlegging and piracy, casual gaming, chiptunes, cosplay, demo cultures, LAN parties, machinima, online fandom, LGTBQ+ gaming culture, BIPOC gaming culture, and videorec cultures. These topics will be considered in light of broader cultural trends, contemporaneous social and political concerns, and relevant technological advancements.

Human and animal lives have always been intertwined, and animals are omnipresent in human society on both metaphorical and practical, material levels. Animals often play a central role in cultural metaphors and myths, but they are also physically present in homes and workplaces, and in local as well as global economies. Both levels in this complex web of relationships structure society in areas as varied as art, economy, entertainment, health, law, media, and science. However, the ways in which human society deals with its coexistence with animals, and the ways it interacts with, uses, and handles them; are complex and embedded in paradoxes that are often affected by structures of power. The purpose of this course is to stimulate critical reflections on different social constructions and the ethical and moral implications of human relationships with animals. Over the course of the semester we will: (1) examine the evolution of human/animal relationships over time, (2) consider the unique roles that different species play in human lives and the ways we treat them as a result, and (3) engage in interviews, personal reflections, argumentative essays, and research reports about human/animal relationships.

From Bruce Lee to Crazy Rich Asians, from General Tso's Chicken to Korean tacos, and from Yuri Kochiyama to Kamala Harris, Asian Pacific American (APA) cultures and public figures have transformed and been transformed by their relationship to other cultures in the United States. We will consider some of these notable examples as models and highlight how they represent public culture, connecting to contemporary debates in the field of Asian Pacific American studies. Course themes will include: the cultural construction of race; representations of APAs in the media; APA gender and sexuality; hybridity and multi-generational diasporas; consumption and APA food culture; politics of the model minority; collective APA action and urban cultures; and the culture of refugees and war. Methods of intercultural competence and public humanities, both key applied humanities approaches to engaging with a globalized world, will be introduced as frames through which these APA Studies themes can be understood and analyzed.

Tucson is a multilingual city, an urban space in which many cultures and languages coexist, interact, and stake claims on inhabitants and space alike. This course seeks to clarify the distinctive characteristics of multilingual cities by focusing on Tucson and its heterogeneous cultural and linguistic context. Throughout the semester, we will use a variety of critical, theoretical, and cultural lenses to expand student understanding of the relationship between the spatial organization of a city and its linguistic profile. The course will balance readings and in-class/online discussions with guest lectures and off-campus field trips to help students develop the necessary tools and competences needed to engage with multilingualism in Tucson and in other large and diverse cities.

This course is about work and what it does for people and to people. It examines the physical, psychological, and philosophical costs and challenges of employment and how they affect people's lives. Students will examine the overall impact of labor on the psyche and character of the worker, considering the key question, "What does the work do to the worker"?

The purpose of this course is to 1) introduce the fundamentals of relationship-based fundraising in the nonprofit sector, and 2) highlight the importance of humanities perspectives to meeting the world's social, economic, political, and environmental opportunities and challenges. Over the course of the semester we will: (1) unpack the concept of relationship-based fundraising through an overview of fundraising techniques, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which U.S. nonprofits in particular raise funds and why; (2) examine how a humanities-focused approach is invaluable to cultivating donor respect, passion, involvement, and dollars; and (3) survey a range of nonprofit organizations, focusing especially on those that seek to improve the public's quality of life at the local, state, national, and/or global levels.

This course introduces students to the structures, practices, and study of the video game industry. Over the course of the semester we will: 1) survey the origins of the video game industry, paying particular attention to its connection to the broadcasting and film industries; 2) examine the video game industry in terms of its major spheres (development, publishing, distribution/sales, paratexts, consumption, and regulation); and 3) explore tools and techniques for theorizing video game business and conducting market analyses for academic and commercial purposes.

This course surveys the major critical/cultural approaches to the study of video games. Areas of emphasis include industrial analysis, formalism, critical race studies, ludology/narratology, critical discourse analysis, archivalism, fan studies, and gender/sexuality studies. Each approach will be analyzed in terms of its main principles, the sorts of arguments it facilitates, and the opportunities and problems it presents to the game scholar, maker, and player. In the process, we will conduct a series of micro-analyses of specific games, technologies, companies, and playful practices, all for the purpose of developing a deeper sense of games many meaning-making processes and their connection to the human condition.

This course explores how tabletop and board games both reflect and influence the cultures they arise from. We begin the course by examining some of the earliest tabletop games and how they relate to the cultures from which they emerged. From this foundation, we then explore how modern tabletop games employ aesthetics, rules and mechanics to represent and shape relationships between players, as well as allowing players to take on different identities and master new skills. Throughout the course, we pay close attention to how game design choices communicate cultural values, histories, and beliefs and how we might redesign games to create new possibilities for players.

We are all participants in receiving and interpreting healthcare. This course will encourage and support the development of participants' abilities to gain expanded knowledge and to engage actively as critical, discerning, humane participants in the present and future delivery of healthcare and of health and wellness in any context. The course provides theory and practice in an inclusive and applied approach to humanities-based ways of thinking and knowing. We are all participants in receiving and interpreting healthcare, so all students are welcome. For students with the goals of advanced study in the health or other related professions: this course will enable you to provide healthcare, shape policy around it, or engage with health and wellness in other capacities in our globally connected world. As participants in the course you will engage with an inclusive, outward-facing, and applied discipline. You will be offered tools to improve transcultural communication skills by deep reading and reflection on core humanities approaches to the world of health and wellness and their interaction with global cultures.

We will use a mixture of discussions and small and whole group activities. Course activities may include active engagement in discussions online and in class, and critiquing a range of written texts, from those written by classroom peers to academic papers, literary texts of various kinds, or film narratives on health, wellness, and global understandings of those issues.

This course introduces students to the basic concepts and foundational elements of the interculturally competent person. The short course (1 credit) provides students with a background and reading to engage in a reflective process about culture, its role in their lives and in their interpersonal interaction in limited, short-term cross cultural situations or in preparation for study abroad.

This course provides students with an in depth discussion of the key concepts and factors that have led to the development of the field of intercultural competence and provides students with extensive background and reading so as to take a critical perspective on intercultural competence and its future for them in a globalized world.

This course provides students with the knowledge and skills to search for, secure, participate in, and reflect on an internship in their chosen profession. The course is designed to help students both prepare for and maximize the undergraduate internship experience, as well as to bolster their confidence and understanding of the job market and careers that await them upon graduating from the university.

This course will equip students with the skills to use the humanities intellectual and analytical traditions to identify and pursue strategic responses to opportunities for innovation in the human condition. Over the course of the semester, students will draw on a range of humanities-based ways of seeing and doing to: 1) identify opportunities for improving the human condition at the community level and beyond; 2) analyze the cultural, political, and economic conditions that influence such opportunities; 3) design technological, industrial, and socio-cultural innovations that are directly responsive to these opportunities; and 4) develop strategic storylines that effectively convey the merits of these innovations to relevant stakeholders. We will begin by forming small teams of student innovators. Each team will engage, experience, and internalize the course content through a series of activities and tasks that include: 1) identifying a community-based issue or opportunity that warrants an intervention; 2) analyzing the issue or opportunity through secondary research; 3) formulating an innovative strategy that is data-driven and based in the principles and concepts central to the humanities intellectual and analytical traditions; 4) refining and enhancing said innovative strategy through primary research; and 4) developing and delivering a multi-faceted presentation (visual, oral, written) of the strategy to a panel of experts.

The course investigates ways in which humanities engage in the global creative economy. It examines key concepts such as creativity, aesthetics, and contemporaneity in humanities, and examines how they become inseparable to the rise of the global creative economy, whether through culture industries, digital media, creative spaces, artistic activisms, or urban development. It focuses on the connections and intersections between aesthetics and art, knowledge and information, and creative economies around the world. Examples of the creative economy include cities from Asia, America, Europe, and Africa. This course is suitable for students who are interested in humanities, global studies, media arts, e-society, visual culture and media studies, urban planning, economics, business, and even those dealing with intellectual property laws.

Specialized work for University Honors students on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

The Senior Capstone is a culminating experience for the BA in Applied Humanities, and focuses on helping students synthesize the learning and experiences they have accumulated while working on the degree. The course emphasizes broadly comprehensive knowledge about life skills and personal self-knowledge practices, and is intended to bolster student confidence for, and understanding of, possible life paths and careers that await them upon graduating from the University. Senior is standing required.

Qualified University Honors students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.