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5 Cool Courses for Autumn 2019

April 2019
Students talking in groups in the classroom.


Autumn quarter course registration opens in a few weeks. Why not sign up for something unexpected? Consider these intriguing offerings in the College of Arts & Sciences, all of which fulfill one or more UW general education requirements. (If you're graduating before autumn quarter, congratulations!)


1. Embrace Your Inner Detective.

Since its invention in the mid-19th century, detective fiction has combined entertainment with sharp-edged social commentary and critique. ENGL 204B: Metamorphoses of Detective Fiction from Poe to the Present surveys the genre’s development, from works by Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Raymond Chandler to Chicana and Cuban incarnations that use the detective genre to explore U.S. minority history. Students will discover how far one genre can be stretched and how much ground it can cover while never ceasing to provide fun entertainment.

Professor Monika Kaup
5 credits, VLPA
MW, 10:30 am – 12:20 pm


2.  A Presidential Perspective.

How does Donald Trump’s presidency compare with the American presidents who preceded him? HSTAA 213: History of the American Presidency examines the American presidency and those who have occupied it, from George Washington to Donald Trump. By exploring how the office has changed over time in relation to broader economic, political, demographic, and geopolitical transformations, students will better understand present day political, economic, and social structures.

Professor Margaret O’Mara
5 credits, I&S
TTh, 3:30-5:20 pm


3. Explore Art with Lady Gaga.

Are you ready for a journey that begins with the discovery of the legendary Lascaux caves and ends with an endurance performance artist enlisting pop star Lady Gaga? Art H 200: Art in the Modern Imagination: Athena to Lady Gaga will ascend the Acropolis in ancient Athens, walk the halls of the Renaissance Vatican, get shocked by the French Revolution, explore modern art of the 20th century, and more. Along the way, students will discover how marvelous art can be as a tool to examine history, ideology, beauty, and our own image-saturated present.

Professor Marek Wieczorek
5 credits, VLPA
MTWThF, 10:30-11:20 am


4. Learn What Makes Problems “Important.”

Why are some problems considered serious social problems and others are not? SOC 270: Social Problems will explore how three major social problems in the United States and other countries have come to be identified as important problems: juvenile and criminal justice, poverty and inequality, and HIV/AIDS. We will learn descriptive and statistical information about these issues, apply different sociological perspectives to them, and explore how sociologists have investigated them.

Professor Alexes Harris
5 credits, I&S, DIV​
TTh, 1:30-3:20 pm, Wednesday quiz sections


5.  It's All About Sex.

Yes, PSYCH 210: Human Sexuality really is all about sex — through an academic lens. Learn about biological, psychological, and socio-cultural determinants of human sexuality and sexual behavior, and how their interaction leads to diverse expressions of sexuality, sexual bonding, gender orientation, reproductive strategies, and physical and psychological sexual development. Topics include cultural appraisal of sexuality, sexual health and reproduction (pregnancy, contraception, abortion), and sexual abuse and assault.

Nicole McNichols, Lecturer
5 credits, I&S, DIV
MWF, 4:30-6:20 pm




Three students writing in Southern Lushootseed on the whiteboard.

Students studying Southern Lushootseed, the language once spoken where the UW is now located. See course description below. Media credit: Colette Cosner

DRAMA 202: Creative Leadership: A Course in Courage

Courage and leadership are core skills for success.  In this course, you will examine sources of fear and the obstacles that keep you from becoming your fullest, most human, most successful self, whatever your chosen field. This is a class aimed at developing, demonstrating, and exercising both courage and leadership's other critical skills: connecting and communicating.

Professor Valerie Curtis-Newton
5 credits, VLPA
check time schedule for details


CMS 271: Perspectives on Film: Great Directors — Werner Herzog

Legendary filmmaker and cultural icon Werner Herzog has produced numerous films, from Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Nosferatu to the documentaries Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. The class will discuss Herzog’s films and related activities — directing operas, appearing in Hollywood blockbusters — as well as the many parodies (and self-parodies) of him and his work, while questioning the very idea of the “great director,” the assumptions on which it is based, and its various effects in film culture.

Professor Eric Ames
5 credits, VLPA
TTh 10:30 am – 12:20 pm


HSTCMP 247: Global Health Histories

Global health is a major focus in health care today, but that hasn’t always been the case. This course traces the roots of the modern global health movement by examining the history of overseas interventions in medicine and public health from the 15th century to the present. Latin America is the central focus of the course, but case studies on Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific are also included.

Professor Adam Warren
5 credits, I&S, DIV

MW, 10:30 am - 12:20 pm


ASIAN 225: Karma and Free Will in Indian Philosophy

What is karma? Is our fate predestined, or do we have free will? This course explores the tensions between the ideas of karma, agency, free will, fate, and predestination in the major Indian philosophical systems. Students will explore the basic ideas of these philosophical traditions, the concerns and motivations of their creators, and their implications and limitations. (Note: official course catalog title is Indian Philosophical Literature.)

Prem Pahlajrai, Senior Lecturer
5 credits, VLPA, I&S
MW, 1:30-3:20 pm


AIS 313: Southern Lushootseed Language and Culture

Have you ever wanted to learn the language spoken by the Native peoples of Seattle and the southern Puget Sound? In this fun and interactive course, you will learn to speak, read, and write in Southern Lushootseed, the first language of this area. The course covers the history of the language, its sound system, and grammar. By the end of the quarter you will be able to read Southern Lushootseed, construct sentences, and speak basic phrases.

Tami Hohn, Lecturer
5 credits, 3-course sequence counts towards foreign language requirement
TTh, 2:30-4:20 pm


DXARTS 200: Digital Art and New Media: History, Theory, and Practice

This course investigates digital art and new media from a creative, theoretical, and historical perspective. Specific topics range from video art and sound art to interactive installations and the convergence of art and science, all of which provide emergent artists, designers, engineers, and theorists with the historical and scientific background to create, design, speculate, and articulate innovative digital artwork.

Professor Afroditi Psarra
5 credits, VLPA
MW, 3:00-3:50 pm, Friday quiz sections


GEOG 245: Geodemographics: Population, Diversity, and Place

How does where you live—even within the U.S.--affect your life? The class will cover topics including immigration policy, the concept of 'race' in the census, fertility and mortality differences, political redistricting, segregation, and internal migration of populations, to explore the geodemographic underpinnings of societal dynamics and the spatial diversity of United States populations.

Professor Suzanne Withers
5 credits, I&S, QSR, DIV
TTh, 12:30-1:50 pm; MW quiz sections