Six Great Courses You Should Consider

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Healy Hall in the autumn

As hard as it might be to believe, we’re already nearing the end of the Add/Drop period. After this Saturday, Sept. 9, students’ schedules are fixed for the semester.

Of course, some of you may have spent the week staring at MyAccess with bated breath, hoping to get off the waitlist for your dream class…and if you didn’t luck out, you’re left with an incomplete schedule. Thankfully, the College’s team of advising deans has recommended a number of underrated classes that still have space for more students.

Read on, and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith on a subject you’re unfamiliar with. Each of these courses comes with a College dean stamp of approval — and besides, one of the best parts of being a Georgetown College student is the flexibility to explore new disciplines. Happy class hunting!

Prof. Alison Mackey
Prerequisites: None

Have you studied abroad and want to process and share your experiences? Are you considering studying abroad, but would like to know more about languages, cultures and expectations? Are you wondering how you can build on a study abroad experience for your future career? This new course offered in the Department of Linguistics will allow students to explore these questions while deepening their understanding of the connections between study abroad and learning about foreign languages and cultures.

This exciting new course welcomes students who plan to study abroad in the future as well as students who have already studied abroad and would like to process, share and expound on their experiences. Students enrolled in this course will present a final project on a study abroad region and topic of their choice (involving a new culture, a foreign language, or both).

Prof. Jonathan Ray
Prerequisites: Two-course general education Theology requirement

Many of the defining characteristics of contemporary Jewish civilization were formed during the long Middle Ages when Jews lived under Christian and Muslim rule. This course is will explore some of the central themes in the social and religious history of the Jewish people during this period, with special attention given to the complex relationship that Jews had with their host societies. Topics will include the primary points of conflict and cooperation between the three monotheistic religions, the development of Jewish self-government and communal organization, and the major currents in Jewish intellectual culture.

Prof. Charles McNelis
Prerequisites: None

This course will be a cultural history of Greece and Rome through the lens of athletic competition. Sports were fundamental to ancient thought about mythology, religion, warfare, politics, and even the very structure of the calendar. The course will examine events that took place at religious sites such as Olympia from early periods of Greek history to the “fall” of Rome, and will consider how athletics illuminate, for example, political changes and the role of the athlete as a hero for his (and her) local community. Attention will be paid to actual competitions, but the focus of the course will be on a range of historical and philosophical sources as well as the writings of brilliant poets such as Pindar. Students will leave the course with an enhanced understanding of broad aspects of ancient literature, history, and culture.

Prof. Josiah Osgood
Prerequisites: None

An introduction to the historical figure of Julius Caesar and the stories and debates surrounding the man, in his own lifetime and beyond. We examine his early successes in politics, while also exploring the problems facing the Roman Republic; then look at Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul and the horrific civil war that followed, both of which he recounted in his own spellbinding prose; and, finally, consider his last years as dictator and his assassination. Was Caesar to blame for the Republic’s fall?  Or was he the statesman who saw more clearly than any other that the Roman empire had to take a new shape? Classes are mostly discussions, focusing on the ancient evidence as well as classic works by modern historians of Rome.

Prof. Jo Ann Moran Cruz
Prerequisites: None

This course looks at the wide sweep of British history through legend; it also asks questions as to why some figures become legendary and others do not. The semester begins with the Druids and their legends and ends with King Richard III (his life, legend and the recent discovery of his remains). It focuses on modern and medieval views of legendary figures while also tracing whatever contemporary historical evidence there is for the person behind the legend. The legends examined in this course include King Arthur, King Alfred, Thomas Becket and legends of saints, Robin Hood and outlaw legends, Braveheart (William Wallace) and Richard III. Final papers can focus on legends from other cultures, depending on one’s interest.

Prof. Laura Vilardell
Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of a Romance language

This is a communicatively oriented course designed with two goals in mind: 1) To help the student understand Catalonia and Catalan culture and their role in Spain and Europe; 2) To provide the tools to facilitate the student’s learning of Catalan language, with an emphasis on oral communication and reading skills. The course is a fast way to achieve intermediate proficiency in a minority language and to learn about the role language and identity play in secessionist movements today.