Level 416-445 Course Descriptions

LAIS 416: Film Studies
This course introduces students to the basics of film history, form, and criticism. Students will be exposed to a variety of film forms, including documentary, narrative, and formalist films, and will be encouraged to discuss and write about these forms using critical film language and their knowledge of film history. Students may also have the opportunity to produce their own film projects. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: LIAS 200. Semester hours: 3. 

LAIS 418: Narrating the Nation 
The novel, nationalism, and the modern nation-state share the same eighteenth- and nineteenth-century roots.  Relationships between the works of novelists, local nationalisms, and state politics have however always been volatile.  These tensions have assumed particularly dramatic expressive and political forms in postcolonial Latin America, South Asia and Africa.  This course examines the inspirations, stakes, and ramifications of celebrated novelists’ explorations of the conflicted and fragmentary character their own and/or neighboring nation-states.  Beyond their intrinsic literary values, these texts illuminate distinctive religious, ritual, and popular cultural practices that have shaped collective imaginings of the nation, as well as oscillations in nationalist sentiment across specific regions and historical junctures.  Studies in relevant visual media and music will further our comparative inquiry into the relationships between artistic narrative and critical perspectives on “the nation.”  Alongside the focal creative texts, the course will address major historians’ and social theorists’ accounts of the origins, spread, and varied careers of nationalist thought and practice across our modern world. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3. 

LAIS 419: Media and the Environment
This course explores the ways that messages about the environment and environmentalism are communicated in the mass media, fine arts, and popular culture. The course will introduce students to key readings in environmental communication, media studies, and cultural studies in order to understand the many ways in which the images, messages, and politics of environmentalism and the natural world are constructed. Students will analyze their role as science communicators and will participate in the creation of communication projects related to environmental research on campus or beyond. Prerequisite: LAIS100. Prerequisite or co-requisite LAIS 200. 3 hours seminar; 3 semester hours.

LAIS 421: Environmental Philosophy
A critical examination of environmental ethics and the philosophical theories on which they depend. Topics may include preservation/conservation, animal welfare, deep ecology, the land ethic, eco-feminism, environmental justice, sustainability, or non-western approaches. This class may also include analyses of select, contemporary environmental issues. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3. 

LAIS 423: Advanced Science Communication
This course will examine historical and contemporary case studies in which science communication (or miscommunication) played key roles in shaping policy outcomes and/or public perceptions. Examples of cases might include the recent controversies over hacked climate science emails, nuclear power plant siting controversies, or discussions of ethics in classic environmental cases, such as the Dioxin pollution case. Students will study, analyze, and write about science communication and policy theories related to scientific uncertainty; the role of the scientist as communicator; and media ethics. Students will also be exposed to a number of strategies for managing their encounters with the media, as well as tools for assessing their communication responsibilities and capacites. 3 hours seminar; 3 semester hours.

LAIS 424: Rhetoric, Energy, and Public Policy
This course will examine the ways in which rhetoric shapes public policy debates on energy. Students will learn how contemporary rhetorical and public policy theory illuminates debates that can affect environmental, economic and/or socio-cultural aspects of energy use, transportation and production. 3 hour seminar; 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Pre-or Co-requisite: LAIS200.  

LAIS 426: Scientific Controvercies
 Examines national and international, historical and contemporary scientific and engineering controversies. In particular, the course provides students with a window into how scientific controversies arise, evolve, and are resolved both within scientific circles and in the public arena. By exploring case studies of such controversies, students gain a better understanding about how scientific controversies shape and are shaped by communication as well as by public policy. Prerequisite: LAIS100. Corequisite: LAIS200. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours. 

LAIS 431: Religion and Security
This course introduces students to the central topics in religion and society. It defines civil society in 21st century contexts and connects this definition with leading debates about the relationship of religion and security. IT creates an understanding of diverse religious traditions from the perspective of how they view security. Prerequisite: LAIS 100. Prerequisite or corequisite: LAIS 200. 3 hours lecture and descission; 3 semester hours.

LAIS 435: Latin American Development
A senior seminar designed to explore the political economy of current and recent past development strategies, models, efforts, and issues in Latin America, one of the most dynamic regions of the world today. Development is understood to be a nonlinear, complex set of processes involving political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental factors whose ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for individuals. The role of both the state and the market in development processes will be examined. Topics to be covered will vary as changing realities dictate but will be drawn from such subjects as inequality of income distribution; the role of education and health care; region-markets; the impact of globalization; institution-building; corporate-community-state interfaces; neoliberalism; privatization; democracy; and public policy formulation as it relates to development goals. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: LAIS 200. Semester hours: 3. 

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LAIS 437: Asian Development
This is a seminar course on the recent economic, social, political and cultural transformation of the Asia Pacific region. The course deals with Asian development since World War II, contemporary security issues that both divide and unite the globalization processes that encourage Asia Pacific to forge a single trading bloc. This course will examine Asian development examples with the view to teach the student to recognize and analyze similarities and differences in political-economic systems as well as the roots of different institutional practices. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: LAIS 200. Semester hours: 3.

LAIS 439: Middle East Development
This international political economy seminar analyzes economic, political and social dynamics that affect the progress and direction of states, markets, and peoples of the region. It examines the development of the Middle East from agrarian to post-industrial societies; economic, political and cultural transformations since World War II; contemporary security issues that both divide and unite the region; and the effects of globalization processes on economies and societies in the Middle East. Prerequisite: LAIS 100 and LAIS 200. Semester hours: 3.  

LAIS 441: African Development
This course provides a broad overview of the political economy of Africa. Its goal is to give students an understanding of the possibilities of African development and the impediments that currently block its economic growth. Despite substantial natural resources, mineral reserves, and human capital, most African countries remain mired in poverty. The struggles that have arisen on the continent have fostered thinking about the curse of natural resources where countries with oil or diamonds are beset with political instability and warfare. Readings give first an introduction to the continent followed by a focus on the specific issues that confront African development today. Prerequisite: LAIS 100 and LAIS 200. Semester hours: 3. 

LAIS 442: Natural Resources and War in Africa
Africa possesses abundant natural resources yet suffers civil wars and international conflicts based on access to resource revenues. The course examines the distinctive history of Africa, the impact of the resource curse, mismanagement of government and corruption, and specific cases of unrest and war in Africa. Prerequisite: LAIS 100 and LAIS 200. Semester hours: 3


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