Unique Courses to Look Out for this Spring Registration Season
Issue   |   Tue, 11/07/2017 - 23:33

With registration fast approaching, the Amherst course catalog can be daunting, with many fascinating options in each department. In this sea of possibilities, it’s easy to miss some of the remarkable classes this upcoming semester has to offer. In order to hopefully alleviate some of the stress of searching, we’ve put together a collection of what we find to be some of the spring semester’s most noteworthy courses.

POSC-120: Media and the 2016 Campaign
Take a class with Masha Gessen, staff writer for “The New Yorker” and contributing writer for “The New York Times,” as she explores the question of what went wrong in the 2016 election through her spring 2018 course “Media and the 2016 Campaign.” Gessen is a visiting professor, and she brings her wide ranging interests, which include everything from criticism of Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to LGBTQ rights and science journalism to the Amherst College Political Science Department.

ARHA-473: Books that Bind
A cross-disciplinary collaboration between the French and art history departments, “Books that Bind” looks at books as vehicles that prompt “complex exchanges and relations.” Professors Yael R. Rice and Raphael Sigal co-teach the seminar, which culminates with an exhibition to be presented in Frost.

ENGL-321: Tones in Black and White
Join Visiting Professor Peter Kimani as he seeks to answer the questions of “What does re-storying entail?” — a term Chinua Achebe coined to describe the way Black authors use to reclaim identity through writing — and “How do African writers imagine ‘whiteness’?” Guided by these overarching questions, the course explores a range of multimedia works.

ANTH-238/SWAGS-238: Culture, Race, and Reproductive Health
Explore the complexities of sexuality, birth and motherhood and their relationships with race alongside Professor Haile Cole in the Anthropology/Sociology course “Culture, Race and Reproductive Health.” Throughout the semester, students will question why reproductive justice is elusive in United States politics and popular culture and seek ways to change that.

AMST-300: The End of Authority, Politics in Post-Truth America
Who better to explore the way new technologies have opened new channels that complicate how we collect information and determine the truth than experienced broadcast journalist and John J. McCoy Visiting Professor Ray Suarez? His course “The End of Authority, Politics in Post-Truth America” seeks to investigate the change of information flow in 21st century America and how such a change affects our lives and politics.

CLAS-126/THDA-126: Sport and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and Rome
Ever wonder about the origins of theater and sports? The theater and dance department and the classics department are offering a class called “Sport and Spectacle in Ancient Greece and Rome” with Professor Sarah E. Olsen. The course will examine how Greek performance and athletics are reflected in contemporary culture as well as the general perception of theater and sports in modern society.

ANTH/SOC-248: Islamophobia
If you want to sink your teeth into social issues, consider taking “Islamophobia” with Professor Christopher T. Dole. This anthropology and sociology class will explore how anti-Muslim discrimination fits in with larger social inequality issues in both the United States and the world. As the course description says, “By the end of the course, students will have considered how anti-Muslim discrimination relates to histories of white supremacy, racial exclusion, nationalism, settler colonialism and the security logics of US foreign policy and war.”

ANTH-353/SWAG-353: Transgender Ethnographies
If you have taken a 200-level class in the Department of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies, you are eligible to take this brand new course with Professor Sahar Sadjadi on “Transgender Ethnographies.” The class will analyze gendered roles and explore ethnographic studies of gender non-conforming people around the world, focusing on “the role of the body in the production of sex and gender” through academic theory.

BLST-209/HIST-209/MATH-205: ≠ (Inequality)
This triple-cross-listed course will be co-taught by professors Michael C. Ching and Hilary J. Moss. The class will center around issues in K-12 math education in the U.S. and whether or not math is an innate “talent” only certain kids are born with. It will also cover general issues of discrimination in STEM fields and how these issues could be solved.

ENGL-277/FAMS-333: Videogames and the Boundaries of Narrative
This epic English and film course is probably your only chance to apply academic jargon to video games. Professor Marisa Parham, a digital humanities and virtual realities expert, will be teaching this discussion-based course on how “video gaming helps us to conceptualize the boundaries between our experiences of the world and our representations thereof.”