10 Great Classes to Fill Out Your Schedule


Welcome back to the Hilltop! (photo © Georgetown University, 2010)

August 30, 2016 — It’s the day before classes, and all through the Hilltop, students are...well, probably busy strategizing how to both get a T-shirt and avoid the longest burger lines at this afternoon’s Welcome Back Jack Barbecue.

Still, we know there are a few of you out there who, for one reason or another, are still looking for one last class to fill a gap in your schedule. The sheer number of courses available in the College can seem daunting, and it can be hard work poring over the course schedule on MyAccess to find a great class with space available.

With this in mind, the College Dean’s Office did some of the work for you.

We tasked our team of advising deans with putting together a list of their favorite fall courses that still (as of Tuesday morning, August 30) have spots available. It covers seven separate academic departments and includes everything from HIV/AIDS politics to Germanic fiction to the study of horror films.

So if you’re on the fence about picking up that fifth class, give this list a look. We expect you’ll find something worth checking out, no matter what your interests. But move quickly — we suspect it won’t be long before some of these fill up!

FMST-230 | Intro to Global Cinema
Faculty: Sitney, Sky

This course will examine the history and theory of global cinema since the Second World War, through the rise of the European art cinema movement of the 1960s and ’70s. It will encompass the growth of Asian cinemas, the consequences of digital filmmaking, and conclude with the more recent transnational blockbusters of today. It will survey major cinematic movements, and their responses to the social, political, economic, technological, and cultural conditions and values that precipitated them. All of the major genres will be represented: comedy, drama, documentary, and experimental film.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

ANTH-279 | Policing in the Contemporary World
Faculty: Ibrahim, Amrita

In the light of public protests against police brutality in the United States, there has been renewed interest in questions of reform and oversight with respect to law enforcement. Numerous stakeholders, from the Department of Justice to scholars and civil rights activists have made police brutality necessary and urgent problem that needs immediate attention. Their attention has brought up again in public discussion the question of the policing function and its limits, what is the role of the police in a democratic society, what are the racial and class structures that produce the powerful inequalities between the powers of the police and the communities in which they are embedded. These important questions are not only salient in the U.S., as protests across the world in recent years have shown us. How then, are we to think about the police as a force of law and order at a time when so much of their own practices seem unlawful, or worse, unjust?

In this course, we will study the police: as an institution, as a set of disciplinary practices, as an agent of state power and monopoly, and as a mode of surveillance. The course will introduce you to some foundational texts that explore the relationship of ‘police’ to notions of authority, legitimacy, violence, private property, and security. We will read texts that undertake in-depth and long-term research on the history, emergence, and contemporary role of the police; the relationship between police and race, class, and gender; and explore how activists and protesters are involved in projects of police reform and even police ban from around the world.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

WGST-246-01 | Transpacific Desires
Faculty: Soon-Ludes, Jeannette

From the lore of Polynesian voyagers to modern militarism and tourism, TransPacific Desires is a course that examines the way that sexualities, identities, and intimacies have constituted and shaped the social life of native and settler communities throughout the Pacific region. We begin the semester with an exploration into the ways that gender and sexuality infuse Pacific Islander understandings of oceanic voyaging and the connection between peoples and islands. We will contrast indigenous voyaging to Euro-American and Asian settlement throughout the Pacific, paying particular attention to the ways that sexuality drove and constrained migration for these settler groups. By paying close attention to varying historical, cultural, political, and social constructions of sexual knowledge, we will broadly examine the multiple meanings of sexuality to the indigenous, Euro-American, and Asian populations that traversed and settled throughout the Pacific.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

FMST-355 | Documentary Film: History and Theory
Faculty: Sitney, Sky

This course surveys the history of documentary film (technological, stylistic, thematic, etc.), while taking up the theoretical debates around cinematic claims to truth and representations of reality. Students will examine how the documentary genre differs from other kinds of filmmaking, how documentaries make ‘truth claims’, and how these claims influence the ways in which these films are received and circulated. Beginning with the actualities of the Lumière Brothers, students will be exposed to multiple genres (e.g. ethnographic, cinéma vérité, experimental, self-reflexive) and filmmakers (e.g. Robert Flaherty, Frederick Wiseman, Albert Maysles, Errol Morris) while addressing the variety of arenas (e.g. scientific, civic, commercial) in which documentary has appeared.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

GERM-024 | The Germanic Christian Hero (taught in English)
Faculty: Murphy, Rev. G. Ronald

The twin purpose of this course is to study the long historical relationship between Germanic and Christian values and imaginations as constitutive both of the dynamic fantasy of German story and of the notion of a hero, as well as to encourage good writing about those stories based on the students’ and the authors’ personal realizations – as derived from engagement in detail with the text. Each work will be studied in the context of its historical and cultural environment. The underlying theme, which is the title of the course, will be examined in the many transformations which it undergoes with the passage of time, the changing of poetic style, and the differing personal realizations of the poets – and readers. Main works: the Heliand, Parzival and the Holy Grail, the Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Credits: 3
​Prerequisites: None

GOVT-332 | Campaigns and Elections
Faculty: McGowen, Ernest

Campaigns and elections are the cornerstones of our democracy. Formally, they are the way we select our elected officials; informally they tell us a lot about the American ethos, the preferences of particular demographics, and the future direction of our country. This year’s elections will be no different. This class will examine American campaigns and elections through three lenses: the candidates and voters that participate in them, the consultants that conduct them, and the political scientists that study them. Special emphasis will be placed on the 2016 elections, particularly how it compares to previous campaigns and fits into the canonical political science theories that attempt to explain them.

Credits: 3
​Prerequisites: None

LING-380 | Language and Politics
Faculty: Sclafani, Jennifer

This course examines the complex and multifaceted interplay between language and the political sphere. Taking a broad sociolinguistic approach that incorporates theoretical frameworks such as pragmatics, interactional sociolinguistics, ethnography, Critical Discourse Analysis, and multimodal discourse analysis, students consider the relationship between language and politics from three major perspectives. First, we investigate language use in various genres of political discourse, including speeches, debates, advertising, and print and broadcast media coverage of political events, focusing on how various linguistic features serve to shape political identities and stances. Next, we consider the discursive construction and negotiation of various policy issues (e.g., education, health, immigration), focusing on how these issues are framed by different political parties and stakeholders with divergent interests and ideologies. Finally, we take on the notion of language as a political issue itself, examining topics such as standard and official language movements, the status of language in the construction of national identity, and the role of language planning initiatives in addressing the shifting linguistic ecology of a globalizing world. 

The course assumes basic familiarity with sociolinguistic principles and works toward refining students’ critical and analytical abilities in the study of language in its social context. In addition to theoretical and topical readings, lectures, and class discussions, students take part in hands-on data analysis workshops and group presentations. The course culminates in a final empirical research project, in which students pursue a topic of their choice related to the course in further depth. Findings will be presented in a formal paper and presentation. 

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: LING 001 (Introduction to Language) or prior coursework in sociolinguistics 

ENGL-413 | Horror: Tech & Techniques
Faculty: Benson-Allott, Caetlin

Many scholars, filmmakers, and skeptics have asked why people want their movies to scare them, which is an interesting but perhaps unanswerable philosophical question. This course accepts the enduring popularity of horror movies and asks instead what horror is and how movies horrify us. We often think of horror as a genre, but what is affect—or field of sensations—that genre names? What do we feel watching horror movies, and how do they produce their affect in us? In order to answer these questions, we will examine some of the most effective scary movies of the past eighty years. By studying the history of film technology and film theory, we will study the various mechanical and cultural components that contribute to film horror. By the end of the course, we will be able to articulate how different film cultures understand “horror” and how they have attempted to produce that state in their spectators.

Credits: 3
​Prerequisites: None

WGST-233-01 | Cultural Politics of HIV in the US and South Africa
Faculty: Sizemore-Barber, April

This course explores the affects attached to raced, sexed, and gendered embodiment through a comparative reading of discourse written on the bodies infected/affected in the transnational AIDS epidemic. In focusing on the two populations whose images have come to define popular perceptions of the epidemic—urban Western gay men and disenfranchised African women and children—we examine the shared affects of abjection and narratives of triumph attached to these bodies. Using a transnational feminist lens that pays particular heed to the racing and gendering of these bodies in a global context, we will question the ways in which these narratives of embodiment erase other bodies affected by the disease (such as African American heterosexuals and queer Africans). We will also look at the ways in which people living with HIV/AIDS have crafted a number of transnational links that provide the opportunity for both resistant and complicit performances.

Credits: 3
​Prerequisites: None

ANTH-225-01 | Environmental Anthropology
Faculty: Rizvi, Mubbashir

There is a growing scientific consensus that our planet is about to enter a new geological epoch, “the Anthropocene”, caused by unsustainable industrial production and carbon emissions, which will alter the Planet, as we know it. The most recent indication of such planetary transformation come from climate models predict that massive ice melts in West Antarctic will flood coastal cities in the next hundred years. In this course we will grapple with the implication of this “planetary” changes in our ecosystem by examining how different cultures have examined the relationship between humans and their environment to understand how we have come to this perilous present condition. This course seeks to familiarize students with a set of debates, founding concepts and methods in Environmental Anthropology. To generate an appreciation for Ecological Thought as a study of relations that connects human/ non-human lives to larger political, ethical and ecological processes in the world.

Credits: 3
​Prerequisites: None