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Release: Feb. 16, 2001

UI College of Liberal Arts funds new interdisciplinary courses

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts has awarded funds to 11 faculty members to develop eight new undergraduate interdisciplinary courses that will be offered for the first time during the 2001-02 academic year.

Faculty members will be given $5,000 for each course to be used for equipment, supplies, travel, or student assistance needed to develop the new course. The UI Office of the Provost allocated funds to the College of Liberal Arts to make these awards possible this year and next.

Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the new courses will give both students and faculty the opportunity to study topics of the most current societal and scholarly interest outside the boundaries of the traditional academic disciplines.

"Students in these new courses will explore all facets of the topics and will see the connections between diverse areas of study," she said. "Our future strength depends on our not limiting ourselves to narrow fields of study, but reaching across disciplinary lines to discover the connections that create complete circles of knowledge."

These faculty members have won support to develop the following interdisciplinary courses:

Ashley Dawson, assistant professor of English, for "African Cinema," an intermediate lecture and discussion course that situates African films made since the 1960s in the historical context of Africa's struggle for independence from colonial domination and examines the impact of the continent's subsequent turmoil on film production.

Barbara Eckstein, associate professor of English, and Jim Throgmorton, associate professor of urban and regional planning, for "Storytelling and Urban engagement," an intermediate discussion and fieldwork course that will link the social role of storytelling with the professional practice of urban planning and introduce students to the practice of fieldwork through hands-on interaction with a significant neighborhood in Iowa City.

Patrick Paul Garlinger and Laura G. Gutierrez, both assistant professors of Spanish and Portuguese, for "Sexualities in Hispanic Cultures," an intermediate discussion course addressing the historical, social, and theoretical specificities of sexuality in Spanish, Spanish-American, and U.S. Latino/a cultures.

Craig Gibson, assistant professor of classics, and Ellen Millender, assistant professor of history, for "Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World," an intermediate discussion course offering a thematic survey of gender and sexuality issues in ancient Greece and Rome, drawing upon ancient literature, archaeological evidence and the visual arts.

Stephen D. Hendrix, professor of biological sciences, for "Science and Application of Conservation Principles," an advance lecture, laboratory, and fieldwork course that examines conservation biology and gives students practical experience in the application of conservation principles.

Kevin Kopelson, associate professor of English, for "Queer Theory," an honor seminar in which students will discuss theorizations of how sexualities are shaped by literature, music, dance, film, and other art forms.

Judith Pascoe, associate professor of English, for "Collecting, History, and Literature," an introductory course in which students will consider the appeal of the collection throughout history, the ways in which the activity of collecting has been theorized, and examples of collecting in literature. Noteworthy local collections, such as those found in the UI Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and the Special Collections department of the Main Library, will provide context for discussions.

Scott Schnell, associate professor of anthropology, for "Religion and Environmental Ethics," an intermediate lecture and discussion course examining the various ways humans conceptualize the biophysical environment through their religious beliefs and practices.