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Fall 2019 Courses

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Sustainability: Circular Economy

This course offers an exciting introduction to the concept of circular economy, as a core component in the making of a sustainable world.  Circular economy means a shift away from the current unsustainable linear economic system, which extracts, produces, and discards all products and resources. Instead, the circular practice closes the loop, stops all degradation of our planet and produces zero waste while producing abundance for all. This course will examine both in theory and in practice how circular economy works in various areas, such as food, fashion, plastics, electronics and many more. The curriculum will also incorporate elements of social entrepreneurship, design thinking and many other elements necessary in making such a transition to circular practices possible. Essentially, the course hopes to prepare students as future changemakers in promoting a sustainable world.

Taught by Han Cai

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Global Health

Lectures in this class are designed to expose students to the many different aspects of public health issues such as economics, culture, biology, geography, anthropology, and politics to better understand those factors which influence health and well-being worldwide. At its core, this class encourages students to critically think of global health events and issues and analyze how health goes beyond medicine and disease. Each class will focus on a case study of a particular public health topic; students and instructors will discuss the many facets of each issue, focusing on the details and specifics of each event, but also connecting different events into major themes of global health. The 80-minute sessions are an opportunity to understand and evaluate important public health crises and learn how to improve current public health measures. The course is to be taught using the Socratic method along with an emphasis on student discussion, humanities, and ethics.

Taught by Lana Bridi and Soroush Ershadifar

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Who, What, When, Where, How and Why: This course will teach students how to answer these questions in one sentence through the basics of journalistic writing along with interviewing skills, media literacy and the ethics of journalism. These skills translate past practicing journalism and provide students interested in a variety of disciplines with knowledge of the media they consume and how to write well and concisely. By learning how to find sources, interview them and quote them, students will have a better understanding of how to choose find sources of information and make sure that they are credible. This also includes learning about how to lawfully protect sources and ethically share sensitive information. We will read and watch award-winning news stories to analyze them, then practice reporting stories ourselves. If you are interested in knowing what news sources are trustworthy and how to tell engaging, stories, this is the course for you! 

Taught by Spencer Petty

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The Impact of the US Supreme Court

Nowadays, with politics everywhere you look, it is important to understand some of the essential entities of the United States government. This course will look at the United States Supreme Court in specific. Over the long and multi-faceted history of the United States, the Supreme Court has played an essential role and has largely led to the country that we live in today. It has both turned the tide toward new and revolutionary laws and views on the constitution, as well as sometimes set the country back a few steps. This course will cover how the United States Supreme Court works, the role that the Constitution plays in its functions, how several important cases have caused vast impacts on the lives of Americans, and how it may affect our lives in the future.

Taught by Sofia Fruet

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Science of Everything

What is love? How do you throw a curve ball? Why does bread rise? Is magic real? This is a course designed to answer any random questions you may have had in life, by providing a biological, physical or even historical reason. Each class will focus on a particular question and we will analyze different case studies until we determine the answer. While the title is “Science of Everything,” this course is not focused on science, but on everything. This course aims to show how everything in life is connected and how what we learn in school is applicable, even though it often seems separate and useless in our day-to-day life. The only requirement for this course is curiosity!!    

Taught by Melissa Xu

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Sociology of Race and Migration

This course will focus on Latinx/a/os through a Sociological lens. We will learn about the ways in which Latinx folks have been racialized, and criminalized. We will also learn about ways in which white-passing Latinx folks have been able to claim whiteness and invariably benefit from white supremacy. Please note that you do not have to be Latinx/a/o in order to take this course. This class explores a wide range of important topics pertinent to all individuals such as the difference between race and ethnicity, colorism, immigration, and citizenship. 

Taught by Rosa Noriega-Rocha


Exploring the Hero’s Journey Through the Ages in Literature

The iconic tale of the hero who rises from nothing to save the day, or vice versa, fails because of his or her fatal flaw, has existed in literature from antiquity till today. In this class, students will explore the Hero’s Journey archetype through classics such as the Iliad to modern blockbusters like Black Panther. Through this discussion-based class, students will be encouraged to share their own opinions regarding the various readings as we explore the various facets of the Hero’s Journey together. By looking at these different characters and analyzing what makes them all heroes, the students of this class will not only gain exposure to a variety of different literature but explore the traits that connect us through the ages, and as a result, define who we are as humans.    

Taught by Advaita Chandramohan

Brain Sketch

The Study of the Mind: Neurobiology + Neuroethics

“The Study of the Mind: Neurobiology, + Neuroethics” is an interdisciplinary course will build a solid foundation in the science of human experience and is therefore both very interesting and personal. The things learned in this course can and should be applied to our own lives! Many neuroethical issues are partly hypothetical and elements of science-fiction, such as neuroimaging and the extent of neuropharmacological drugs, which accounts for some of the intellectual fascination of neuroethics. Considering the field of study is so new, it encourages us to think about the relation between the human mind and behavior and the ethical implications that revolve around them.

Taught by Jessica Wong

Old Globe
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William Shakespeare once wrote in As You Like It, "All the world's a stage." In our daily lives, we usually encounter theatrical arts way more than we intend to—a presentation for a project, an interview for a future your dream school, a group discussion in a class, interacting with people from different communities, or just socializing with your friends. Setting aside the glory on stages and screens, there are simply countless meanings for the word to "act." The art of life is perhaps most evident in how we behave ourselves to convey the message we truly want to convey. In this course, we will, as a collaborative ensemble, have a taste of acting in the purest form. We will appreciate and learn the beauty of theatre together while exploring other perspectives—a unique perspective of your own on personal and societal issues. We will also enjoy the process of making arts with each other. There is no previous experience required, as the beauty of theatrical arts is that it is an art form that is truly for everyone. As Dean David Bridel of USC School of Dramatic Arts said, let us "as individuals and as a society to consider our past, examine our present, and imagine our future."

Taught by Ziming Liu

Poker Table

Behavioral Economics

Why do people make the decisions they do? In this course, we'll discuss how behavioral economics can explain why people make interesting choices  when it comes to continually losing money in gambling, ratting a friend out in prison, cheating on tests and video games, and paying extra money for lower quality coffee. Each new day will bring a fresh perspective to see the world of human decision-making through. 

Taught by Raj Ajudia

Television Sillouhette

Sociology of Television and Cinema

This course aims to foster the ability to analyze television and cinema sociologically to cultivate a discussion about topics regarding social inequalities, race and ethnicity, gender, education, and the family. Film as a medium is influenced by a society's norms and ideology. Television and cinema also have the power to bring underrepresented voices to the forefront and send messages about the state of our current social structure. Through this course, students will be able to analyze films through a sociological lens and apply course concepts to their everyday lives to reflect upon their relationship to the rest of society.

Taught by Olivia Dang

Globalization, Sustainability, and Citizenship

Should we be concerned about the global refugee crisis? Does Brexit matter to Americans? What about climate change? Why should we care? Today, humankind has never been more interconnected. The Internet, social media, air travel and international trade are all part of the relentless globalization narrative; but with so much discourse happening, how do we filter through all these opinions and create our own view of the world? Especially when we’re so busy with our own lives, and the issues at home? This class aims to introduce new perspectives on multinational issues, and reinforce your understanding of globalization, citizenship, international affairs, and sustainability. Classes will be open-house style and highly discussion-based, where all students are encouraged to voice their opinions in lively discussions. If you have any interest in what’s happening outside the United States’ borders or want to find out how we’re affected by it, and maybe improve your public speaking skills at the same time, this class is for you!

Taught by Dustin Wong and Nathaniel Hyman

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