The Perspective courses have an interdisciplinary focus and are designed to provide students with a better understanding of the contemporary world. Pers 2001 and Pers 2002 count for 2 credits; one of the courses may be used to fulfill requirements of the Core in Area B, Institutional Options.
Pers 2001 Perspectives on Comparative Culture explores our world through the study of different cultures. Each section of the course offered explores a different aspect of our world and of our culture. Some of the recent offerings include Comparative Musical Cultures, Comparative Religious Cultures, Global Business and Society, World Foods, Families in Contemporary Societies, Culture and Poverty, and Latino Literature and Culture in America.
This course explores family systems and functioning within comparative cultural contexts and examines the family as the basic social unit within societies. The course provides additional emphasis on the relationship between family and work, the gender and generational dimensions of family life. In addition, students will review the various tasks assumed by diverse family systems and compare both similarities and differences across different types of families and over the past 100 hundred years as well as the changing portrayals of families in television sitcoms. The course readings consists of theoretical explications as well as recent empirical research and demographic profiles. Students are expected to critically examine and evaluate research on the family and to relate it to policy discourse in the United States and other nations.
In the United States and across the globe, law is a major instrument that shapes and/or reflects public policy. This course will provide an introduction to law and the American legal system and explore the legal systems of other nations. We will examine critically the role of courts in the development of public policy. We will address the similarities and differences in policymaking by American and foreign legal institutions. Specifically, this course offers comparative perspectives on contemporary legal issues and corresponding policies that are implemented to address such issues in the United States and other developing nations. Students will be exposed to a wide range of domestic and international issues and debates — capital punishment, family planning/abortion, immigration, racial sentencing disparities, etc. We will investigate how these conflicts have influenced and informed policy decisions in different nations and across various cultures.
The purpose of this course is to examine how culture contributes to the shaping of a nation’s response to poverty and human need. The course will examine multifaceted perspectives on poverty and human need in comparative social welfare systems in the United States and other developed and developing countries using a range of scholarly and popular resources. Such resources may include the Internet, television, movies, and readings from various sources.
In this interdisciplinary class we will analyze the complexities and nuances of linguistic and cultural identity. We will address issues of language and identity in a globalized society in which political, economic, social, and artistic aspects of cultural identity are fraught with tensions between internal local and regional identities as well as national and global identities. We will study films, cartoons, computer games, and apps in order to understand the connections between language and popular culture, power, and politics. A special focus will lie on the cultural and linguistic relations between English, German, French, and Spanish.
In this course, students are introduced to basic principles of comics theory and encouraged to practice critical thinking skills in the reading of fourteen graphic novels. In turn, these illustrated narratives familiarize students with a number of controversial historic events and global issues. On the whole, the course is designed as a journey through time and space, educating students on the cultural politics of diverse nationalities vis-à-vis American identity.
Perspectives in International Drama provides a cross-cultural view of contemporary drama, particularly as it deals with political and social oppression. Readings, class discussions, play attendance and lectures will consider the various way sin which oppression has been dealt with on stage, primarily by playwrights who have themselves experienced some form of oppression. NOTE: Many of the plays contain adult language and situations and have the potential to disturb students.
An Introduction to Latina/o literature and culture in the United States, with a focus on the artistic productions and experiences of Mexican Americans/Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Niuyoricans, Cuban Americans, and Dominican Americans. A selection of print works (novel, autobiography, short story, poetry, and essay) and films (feature, documentary) from the 1970s to the present will be studied for their aesthetic significance and social impact. Themes of the course include: ethnic and cultural mixture/mestizaje, spiritual heritages, representations of love and familial bonds, Spanish language in art, responses to violence, immigrant experiences, cultural displacement, personal and collective identity in relation to nationality, race-ethnicity-class and gender, biculturalism vs. life in the frontier/margin and Latinos in Georgia.
Perspectives in Multicultural Popular Music will enhance your knowledge, appreciation, and celebration of "difference" and "diversity," as it pertains to culture and music in America's historical soundscape. A comparative and integrative approach will be taken to the study of such diverse musical styles as Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Chicano-Latino Americans.
This course introduces students to the comparative study of religion by examining the festival/holiday calendars of the world’s major religious traditions. During the semester, we will explore the religious holidays of South Asian traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism), East Asian traditions (Confucianism, Taoism), and Western traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i). Readings in each tradition will usually be scheduled to coincide roughly with one or more of its respective holidays.
Are humans hardwired for violence? Do we always know violence when we see it? Why are values often considered as positive –such as loyalty, solidarity or patriotism—so often involved in the spread of violence? What alternatives work, and when? This course sets out to respond to these questions, by examining the nature, function and meaning of violence in different cultural contexts, as well as the strategies that societies and individuals have developed to manage or transcend violence. The topics to be covered include studies of the management of violence in “feuding” societies, responses to poverty and other forms of structural violence, the logic of terrorism, and the philosophy of non-violence. While the class readings will be global in scope, we will also address the place of violence in the contemporary world, especially with regard to questions of imperialism, neoliberalism, gender stereotypes and racism that arise in particular out of international relations this century.
We are often told that “young people today” are apathetic – fundamentally uninterested in the world around them. This course will question that commonsense understanding through the interrogation of youth identities in various cultural and national contexts. In order to do so, we will first analyze the category “youth” to understand the ways in which such categories carry a whole host of assumptions involving the young/adult binary. In order to analyze these questions specifically, we will focus on five specific (mythic) identifiers commonly attached to youth: INNOCENT, PASSIVE, OUT-OF-CONTROL, DANGEROUS, and APATHETIC. Through studying texts by and about youth, this course inquires into the ways youth learn to negotiate social, political, and economic situations, including ways youth resist oppressive structures and work for social change.
Pers 2002 Scientific Perspectives on Global Problems examines scientific approaches to important issues on the environment, public health, or technology. Some of the recent offerings include Business and Technology, Drug Use and Abuse, Aggression and Violence, Environmental Impact on Health, Comparative Policy Analysis of Health Care Systems, and Crisis, Leadership, and Public Policy.
Over the past two decades progress in the mind sciences – psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral genetics – has re-shaped many of our views about our selves. For instance, the role of nature and culture in shaping who we are, what choices we make, and what things we do. Our expanding knowledge of the brain not only provides insight into why we do what we do, but also how others can influence our consumer choices and political views. By studying the brain we gain a new understanding of its connection to the mind, romantic love, affection, happiness, beauty, sexuality, gender, empathy, memory, morality, responsibility, pain, mental illness, and more. Finally, new brain modification techniques are promising better ways to treat mental disorders, to help people recover from stroke and traumatic brain injury, to reduce criminal recidivism, and to improve our ability to think, learn, and remember.
This course explores cities (pre-industrial and modern) as the focus for technological, social, and environmental issues. The influence of transportation technology is highlighted in cities at different times and places around the world. This class is meant to introduce students to important questions that guide urban policy and development across different cultures. Thinking about highways, transit, airport, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and rethinking local or indigenous approaches are part of this exploration. Different locations generate different issues and demand different solutions.
This course will explore non-technical aspects of health care from the perspectives of diverse cultural backgrounds. The overall goal of the course is to improve the cultural understanding and knowledge (cultural competence) of students relative to health care in predominately western and eastern cultures. Develop a perspective of the complex health care needs of individuals and families of different social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Compare and contrast allopathic health care practices with complementary and alternative health care practices.
Today’s global problems require innovative solutions from individuals, nonprofits, businesses and governments. This course introduces students to the strategies and processes of social innovation and how each of these sectors contributes to solving persistent global problems. Its focus, however, is the social enterprise as a vehicle for positive social change. Social entrepreneurship is a growing movement in the nonprofit and business sectors that couples the resources generated by business activities with the social ambitions of nonprofit organizations. Students in the class will be exposed to the skills and knowledge necessary to work in and build either a for-profit business with a social benefit or a nonprofit organization with a revenue-generating social venture.
*Please note that some sections may be reserved for Freshman Learning Communities. No overflows can be granted for these sections.
For more information on Perspectives, call 404-413-2052 or come to the Office of Undergraduate Studies on the 14th floor of 25 Park Place.
Faculty members who wish to propose a new Perspectives course should complete the following form .