From castles to the cybereconomy, here are nine fall 2021 classes you shouldn’t miss out on

Putting off that language requirement and need another class this semester? The Chronicle has you covered. Here are nine compelling courses you should consider bookbagging for the fall 2021 semester.

Global Thought

African Hashtag Activism

Taught by Anne-Maria Makhulu, Friedl Bldg 240, TuTh 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Course credits: AAAS 185S, CULANTH 185S

According to DukeHub, “The technological leapfrogging of the last three decades introduced mobile and smartphone technologies to Africans.” This brand new course explores how Africans, especially women and LGBTQIA+ groups, have utilized these technologies to raise their voices about local concerns as well as global ones, including climate change, resistance to US hegemony and China’s role in Africa’s development. 

A former undergraduate inspired Anne-Maria Makhulu, associate professor of cultural anthropology and African and African American studies, to teach this course.

“During the early weeks and months of the pandemic, [the student] translated that sense of social media community into a fundraising initiative that garnered sufficient funds for her to open a pandemic shelter for LGBTQIA+ young people who felt unsafe staying at home with family. She’s an inspiration!” Makhulu wrote.

Medieval Castles Of Europe

Taught by Edward Triplett, Smith Warehouse 11 A233, MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Course credits: MEDREN 226, ARTHIST 227 (STS, CZ)

This course will explore the transition of Western Europe into a fortified landscape from the mid-11th century until the advent of large-scale artillery in the mid-15th century. To investigate the technological and stylistic changes of castles over time and explore the natural resources and topography surrounding various castles, students will digitally reconstruct a historical or imagined castle in 3D graphics at a specific place and time covered in the course.

Edward Triplett, lecturing fellow in the department of art, art history and visual studies, wrote that this is one of his favorite courses to teach. 

“Castles are my area of expertise as an architectural historian,” he wrote. “I also think that castles are underrepresented in surveys of medieval architecture, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce students to the diversity, history and scale of these amazing buildings.”

Gateway Seminar: Rethinking Asia And Middle East

Taught by Carlos Rojas, Crowell Building 107, TuTh 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Course credits: AMES 195S (CCI, CZ)

In this course, students will explore intellectual concepts and cultural frameworks from Asia at large. They will compare normative European and North American conceptions of East Asia and the Middle East and examine how Asians and Middle Easterners have internalized and negotiated with Eurocentric knowledge.

“From BTS to Pokemon Go, and from Al-Qaeda to the perception of Covid-19 as the ‘China virus,’ many socio-cultural phenomena associated with Asia and the Middle East have a global impact,” wrote Carlos Rojas, professor of Chinese cultural studies. “However, reductive visions of these regions are widely circulated. The objective of this course is to introduce some interpretive and theoretical frameworks that will permit a more nuanced understanding of Asian and Middle Eastern society and culture.”

Denial, Faith, Reason

Taught by Dirk Philipsen, Sanford Room TBA, TuTh 1:45-3:00 p.m.

Course credits: ETHICS 285,  ECON 285, SUSTAIN 276, HISTORY 325, PUBPOL 284, ENVIRON 276 (EI)

Description: According to DukeHub, this course will investigate both the “theory and history of the concept of sustainability” and will explore its various economic and political manifestations over time. Students will wrestle with the historical roots of the sustainability debate and how the various concepts of sustainability inform modern ethics.

Dirk Philipsen, associate research professor of economic history at the Sanford School of Public Policy, says his course is about empowerment. 

“In most of today’s political and educational discourse, sustainability is routinely misused and abused,” Philipsen wrote. He wants his students to have access to the best available knowledge. “Part of this, of course, includes an exploration as to what we might mean by sustainability,” he wrote.

Information and Technology

Digital Feminism

Taught by Lucas Power, Physics 205, WF 8:30-9:45 a.m.

Course credits: GSF 265S, SOCIOL 217S, ISS 265S, VMS 286S (R, STS, SS)

Description: This course will be a critical analysis of digital culture from a feminist and gender studies perspective. The history of digital innovation, including the rise of Silicon Valley, gaming culture and social media will be studied from historical, ethical, literary and cinematographic lenses.

Ph.D. Candidate Lucas Power plans to teach this course in the context of returning to an in-person class setting after a year of isolation. 

“I am very interested in bringing some critical reflection to the ambivalence I think many of us felt when navigating digital interface and mediation as a strict mandate,” he wrote.

Amazon And The Cybereconomy

Taught by Orin Starn, Classroom 114, WF 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Course credits: CULANTH 273, PUBPOL 252, ECON 273 (EI, R, SS, STS)

Description: This course will examine questions and controversies surrounding data harvesting and algorithmic marketing of digital economies, especially in corporations like Amazon. The course will give students a new understanding of how e-commerce is changing the structure of our economy, society and everyday lives. Students will research various aspects of Amazon throughout the semester in order to put together a website called “The Amazon Project.”

“I felt like I was personally helping Jeff Bezos get to his next billion between all my orders plus Whole Foods shopping,” Professor of Anthropology Orin Starn wrote. His addiction to Amazon during the pandemic fueled his curiosity about Amazon's global role and compelled him to design this course.

The Googlization Of Knowledge

Taught by Hannah N. Rozear and Linda Daniel, Crowell Building 108, TuTh 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Course credits: PJMS 112, ISS 112 (EI, R, STS, SS)

Description: This course examines information from different angles within the context of social justice, open access to information and how the Internet and Google affect our lives. Themes include knowledge as a public good, Internet policies, data and visual literacies, social media and artificial intelligence.

According to Hannah Rozear, subject librarian for global health, the course is constantly evolving based on world happenings. “Based on feedback, we’ll be delving a bit deeper into some of the ethical dilemmas related to social media and data privacy, as well as exploring fun aspects of the internet like memes and internet subcultures,” she wrote.


Variety in Language

Taught by Gail Lynn Clements, Languages 211, MW 12-1:15 p.m.

Course credits: ENG 206, LINGUIST 206 (CCI, SS)

Description: This course will explore the social, regional, ethnic, gender, and stylistic-related variations in the English language in the United States, with a focus on North Carolina. Models for describing and applying knowledge about language variation will be used.

Gail Clements, Visiting Professor in the Linguistics Department, hopes students leave this course with an understanding of “fellow Englishes” and of fellow English speakers. “Dialects lie at the heart of identity,” she wrote. “I hope this course begins to unravel the discrimination of people who speak English differently than you or I may.”

Left, Right, And Center

Taught by Michael Collins Hawley, Allen 326, MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Course credits: ICS 275, POLSCI 275 (CCI, EI, SS)

Description: According to DukeHub, this course is an analysis of “liberalism, conservatism, socialism and their diverse conceptions of justice, freedom, community and equality. Exploration of how these political philosophies interpret various social, religious and political issues.” It will also discuss the origins of these ideologies in early modern European thought.

“We use terms like left and right so frequently in talking about politics, but I doubt many people would be able to give an account of what exactly makes an idea of the left or of the right,” wrote Michael Hawley, postdoctoral fellow in the political sciences. “I hope students leave the class better able to think through the political problems that always face us as human beings, and that they are able to regard even their own views more critically.”

Katie Tan profile
Katie Tan | Digital Strategy Director

Katie Tan is a Trinity senior and digital strategy director of The Chronicle's 119th volume. She was previously managing editor for Volume 118. 


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