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Six spring 2021 classes to spice up your bookbag

Looking for some variety this spring? 

With registration for spring 2021 classes beginning this week, The Chronicle has compiled a list of interesting courses across a range of disciplines that are offered in the upcoming semester.

Sexuality and the Law

Taughty by Juliette Duara

WF 1:45-3 p.m.

Course Credits: SXL 272S, SCISOC 272S, PUBPOL 277S, ETHICS 272S, GSF 272S (CCI, EI, CZ, SS)

This course will focus on issues in the legal regulation of sexuality in the United States, touching on LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, and the relationship between freedom of religion and sexuality rights.

“It’s exploring who should regulate that and what role the state should play and what is the current state of the law and how is it likely to change,” said Juliette Duara, visiting scholar at Kenan Institute for Ethics.

The course will not only look at early foundational cases addressing contraceptive rights and LGBTQ+ rights, but will also analyze current events and how they can affect the treatment of sexuality in a legal context. 

In light of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation, Duara plans to discuss the changes to the Supreme Court through the lens of originalism and have students read some of Barrett’s work, as well as case briefs that will appear in court in spring 2021.

Duara said the course aims to “look at U.S. law, where we’ve been and where we’re going.” 

Special Topics in Music: Korean Popular Music (K-Pop)

Taught by Jung-Min Mina Lee

TuTh 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Course Credits: MUSIC 190S, AMES 190S (ALP, CZ)

This course will be split into three units: The history of Korean popular music, K-pop as a business and K-pop in the context of sociocultural issues. Jung-Min Mina Lee, instructor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, plans to dive into a host of topics: K-Pop’s visual and musical aesthetics; national identity; fandom culture; use of technology; and questions of genre, gender politics and cultural appropriation. Much of the course will be devoted to analyzing music videos, particularly set design, choreography, sound effects and images.

“This course can be an excellent way to gain a deep understanding of contemporary Korea,” Lee wrote in an email.

Physics of Sports

Taught by Dan Scolnic

MW 8:30-9:45 a.m.

Course Credits: PHYSICS 133 (NS)

This course looks at the physics behind sports like football, baseball, hockey, soccer, track and field, and swimming. Concepts such as force, momentum and energy are applied to further understand the sports, according to the DukeHub course description. 

“Need to learn about projectiles? We have a lot of that in sports. Need to learn about moments of inertia? Look at figure skating,” wrote Dan Scolnic, assistant professor of physics, in an email.

Students will also have the opportunity to analyze their own experiments after learning basic Python programming. They will time themselves doing physical activities like running and jumping and connect their data to fundamental principles of physics. 

Lying in Politics

Taught by Bill Adair

MW 1:45-3:00 p.m.

Course Credits: PJMS 390S, PUBPOL 290S

“The class is about the universal problem in politics of lying – and who does it and why,” wrote Bill Adair, Knight professor of the practice of public policy and journalism and founder of fact-checking site Politifact, in an email. 

Students will first look for patterns in political lies using a “unique database that the Duke Reporters’ Lab helped develop with Google,” Adair wrote, and learn about current fact-checking efforts by journalists. Students will also examine the motives behind political lies and evaluate whether the payoff was worth the price. 

Fairy Tales: Grimms to Disney

Taught by April Henry

Tu noon to 1 p.m., Tu 3:30-4:30 p.m., Th 5:15-6:15 p.m. or Th 7-8 p.m.

Course Credits: ENGLISH 287, LIT 252, GERMAN 262

This course dives into the history of fairy tales including Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. The class aims to answer questions like, “Who created these fairy tales, and to whom were they told? What are they about, and why have they survived to the present day? And what is their hidden, secret meaning,” wrote April Henry, lecturing fellow of German studies, in an email. 

Students will not only “read and interpret several well-known tales from the collection of the Brothers Grimm,” but also examine how fairy tales are told today in the form of Disney movies. Special attention will be given to “literary, feminist, and historical elements of the fairy tale genre,” according to the DukeHub course description. 

Love and Loneliness

Taught by Anne Allison

TuTh noon-1:15 p.m.

Course Credits: CULANTH 240, ICS 250, SOCIOL 240, ETHICS 240 (CCI, EI, CZ, SS)

This course explores the two ends of a social spectrum—love and loneliness—and how interpersonal relations have radically changed in the 21st century. Students will specifically examine ideals for and obstacles to developing intimacy by discussing hook-ups, solitary death, solo weddings, domestic violence, human/non-human attachments and migrancy, according to the DukeHub course description. 

The class will also look “at the circumstances which produce lonely living as well as those producing deeply attached togetherness,” Professor of Cultural Anthropology Anne Allison wrote in an email. 

“We will also consider the proposition whether loneliness is necessarily disagreeable and if love is always desirable,” Allison wrote. 


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