COLA 1500 Classes

What are COLA Classes?

COLA 1500 courses are one-credit, graded seminars open to all new first-year students. Approximately 80% of the content will be as described below with 20% of the course devoted to group advising issues. The instructors of the following courses will be the advisor for the students in the class until such time that they declare a major. Click here to read some COLA testimonials.

The Souder Family COLA Classes

With extreme gratitude to the Souder Family for funding the following COLA classes.

2018 Hidden Histories of UVA Kirt von Daacke
2018 Early 19th Century & George Washington William Ferraro
2017 Hidden Histories of UVA Kirt von Daacke
2017 Early 19th Century & George Washington
William Ferraro
2016 Awakening Creative Potential Gweneth West
2016 The Culture of College and the Structure of UVA Richard Handler
2015 Slavery, Jefferson and UVA Kirt von Daacke and Maurie McInnis
2015 The 21st Century Labor Market President Teresa Sullivan
2014   Discovering Jefferson's Academical Village      Kirt von Daacke and Maurie McInnis
2013 Hidden Histories of UVA Phyllis Leffler

Fall 2019 COLA Class Descriptions

Silk Road Travelers: Merchants, Monks and Covert Operatives | Shawn Lyons
Section 001 | 10813 | Monday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

While a general introduction to the history of the silk road, our seminar is mainly concerned with today’s travelers who are following in the footsteps of Marco Polo. Why would a modern biking enthusiast or a food writer travel nearly 3,000 miles through China, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran? Who are the new international merchants eager to wheel-and-deal in the ancient bazaars of Bukhara, Samarkand and Kashgar? Is the silk road, upon which Buddhist and Christian monks once conducted their pilgrimages, still important to the contemporary world’s religions? Does the silk road remain a land of intrigue, in which imperial powers compete for influence and domination, not unlike Britain and Russia who throughout the nineteenth century each deployed numerous spies to Afghanistan in what Rudyard Kipling called the “Great Game”. We will discuss excerpts from a variety of these modern travel narratives.

Memoirs of Jews from Arab Lands | Jessica Hope Andruss
Section 002 | 10814 | Wednesday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

At the turn of the twentieth century, one million Jews lived in the Middle East and North Africa. These "Jews of Arab Lands" spoke Arabic, practiced their trades and their religion in a Muslim-majority society, and navigated the forces of modernization, colonialism, nationalism, prosperity and poverty alongside their neighbors. By the last quarter of the century, these communities had dispersed through large-scale immigration to Israel, Europe, North America and beyond. In these new environments, some Jewish intellectuals wrote and published their memories, publicly reflecting on Arab-Jewish culture and identity through memoir and fictionalized biography.
In this course, we will explore Jewish life in the Arab milieu through literary memoirs and historical documents. Together these sources invite us to consider questions about the culture, politics, and society of Middle Eastern Jewry, as well as the interplay between history, literature, and memory.

Understanding the Early Nineteenth Century through George Washington as Historical Figure and Symbol | William (Bill) M. Ferraro
Section 003 | 10815 | Monday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

The United States emerged as a nation on the global stage during the early nineteenth century while contending with social divisions, political antagonisms, technological advances, settlement shifts, economic upheavals, and identity uncertainties. To give coherence to the study of this period, this class will focus on George Washington as historical figure and symbol in the realms of memory and commemoration, political organization, antislavery protests, civil religion, and education. Besides contemporary books, primary sources considered in the class include eulogies, newspaper accounts, subscription lists, periodical literature, images, and ephemera. The goal is a more tangible and nuanced understanding of complexities during decades that appear rather plain or simple at first glance. Learning how to develop contexts, evaluate evidence, and craft arguments or analyses, both orally and in writing, are principal concerns over the course of this class. Such skills will enhance all aspects of your academic experience and transfer into the working world.

Twenty-first Century Women | Francesca Calamita
Section 004 | 10816 | Monday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

What does it mean to be a woman at UVa in the 21st century? How do the current socio-cultural progression and regression shape the female experience locally and globally? Through pop culture, cinematic and fictional examples from a variety of countries on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, this COLA seminar explores women’s achievements and challenges in current times. Classes will focus on socio-cultural expectations placed on women today, on how such expectations affect their identities and influence them in their private lives and in their careers. Discussions will also be devoted to women’s control over their bodies and on the persistent promotion of unachievable standards of beauty. If cultures around the world have different understandings of womanhood and therefore socio-cultural expectations and women’s rights vary, are there enough similarities that allow us to talk of a global female experience? Over the course of your academic path at UVa, you will meet women from different countries, with diverse abilities, social backgrounds, ethnicities, heritages, races, sexualities, ages and believes, including classmates, professors and staff. Despite these differences, it is possible that you – or someone you know - will experience similar challenges set by expectations on gender roles. What will you do to empower women while studying in Charlottesville?

Are We Alone in the Universe? | Edward Murphy
Section 005 | 10817 | Tuesday | 09:30AM-10:45AM

Our galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. If only a tiny fraction of those stars have intelligent life, there could be millions of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy. Given that our galaxy is 13 billion years old, some of these civilizations should have been able to fully colonize the galaxy long ago. And yet, we have no evidence that they are visiting, or have ever visited, Earth. In fact, we have no evidence of any extraterrestrial life. All the evidence points to the fact that we are the first, and possibly the only, intelligent civilization in the galaxy. In this course, we will address the Fermi paradox, the belief that intelligent life is common, that they should have colonized our solar system long ago, and yet we see no evidence that they exist. This topic is multi-disciplinary and will include topics from astronomy, biology (evolution of intelligence), chemistry (origin of life), engineering (spaceflight and the difficulty of traveling between the stars), and sociology (do technological civilizations destroy themselves).

God and Nature in America | Heather Warren
Section 009 | 10820 | Tuesday | 04:00PM-05:15PM

This course examines how Americans have viewed the relation between God, nature, and themselves since the founding of the United States. We will examine what selected outdoorsmen and women considered to be "divine," "holy," or "sacred" and why they believed the way they did, among them John Muir and Annie Dillard. Our class will involve some outdoors time, a few short, two-page papers, discussion, and guests from such offices as Career Services, the Writing Center, and the Center for Undergraduate Research.

What Makes Us Tick? | Sandra Seidel
Section 010 | 10821 | Tuesday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

The cardiovascular system works to transport life-sustaining blood to and from the individual cells that compose the human body. Basic principles of transport will be emphasized as we explore the structure and function of blood, blood vessels and the heart. Students will write and speak about illness and disease that affects each component of the cardiovascular system. Advising topics, including career counseling resources, will also be discussed.

The Good Place | Karl Shuve
Section 011 | 13619 | Tuesday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

We will work our way through "The Good Place"—a sitcom about a woman who, having just died, finds herself in "the good place," only to discover that she is there due to a case of mistaken identity and that she really belongs in "the bad place." By watching episodes and reading supplemental texts, we will examine a number of concepts in both Religious Studies and Philosophy, such as the afterlife, moral agency, friendship, love, and justice.

U.S. Politics and Religion in 2020 | Nichole Flores
Section 013 | 13620 | Tuesday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

What role does religion play in US political life in 2017? Framing our conversations with commentary and teachings from diverse religious traditions, seminar participants will discuss rhetoric, teaching, and practice as they relate to the United States political context. In addition to a retrospective on the 2016 elections, seminar conversations will respond directly to issues and debates emerging from that event. Class activities include discussion, exchanging articles on religion and politics via social media, and developing rhetorical skills through preparation and delivery of speeches. Beyond the immediate concerns of contemporary political discourse, seminar participants will address the enduring intellectual and political difficulties of engaging diverse religious beliefs and practices in a pluralistic democratic context.

Ordinary to Extraordinary: How the Arts Transform Life | Ari Blatt
Section 014 | 13621 | Tuesday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

Students in this comparative, interdisciplinary advising seminar will explore the myriad ways in which artists manage to find, and represent, beauty in the banal. While critical readings on the aesthetics of the everyday will inform our discussions of work from the modern and contemporary periods that testifies to the transformative power of art, a series of short assignments will encourage students to become more sensitive observers - and practitioners - of the quotidien. Topics may include, but are not limited to: urban poetics (Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Whitman, Beastie Boys); extraordinary edibles (Manet, Proust, asparagus); shocking Surrealist objects; how to make a good metaphor; photographers of everyday life (from Atget to Gursky); making something from "nothing" (Flaubert, Toussaint, Seinfeld).

Why Haven't We Cured Cancer? | David Kittlesen
Section 016 | 11660 | Tuesday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

Nearly half a century ago President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971 into law, an event generally considered a "declaration of war" on cancer. Yet, as every one of us knows, this war is far from over. Is it “winnable”? What, if any, battles have we won? Which are we still fighting? What have we learned over the past decades about the enemy? One objective of this course is for students to acquire a deeper understanding of the characteristics, the biology (cellular/molecular defects), the causes, the treatments, and the prevention of cancer. Crucially related are the human aspects of this disease, including ethical issues associated with clinical trials. Another objective of this course is to promote the development of critical thinking skills. Being a COLA seminar, a significant emphasis will also be placed on advising issues related to all four years of the college experience. Neither an advanced background in biology, nor an intent to major in biology, is required. An interest in the topic and the desire to learn more are the only prerequisites.

The Rustic Fantasy | Sarah Teets
Section 017 | 11661 | Wednesday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

In this course, students will explore how city dwellers imagine rural farmers and their lives as a site of morality, simplicity, and escape from the woes and complexities of urban life. Ancient Greek and Roman poets imagined the lives of rural people in the pastoral genre not only as a form of escapism, but as a commentary on the problems they saw in their own societies. The themes explored by ancient poets such as Hesiod, Theocritus, Vergil, and Horace are mirrored in contemporary iterations of the back-to-the-land movement, whether expressed through homesteading, off-grid living, and communes in the rural landscape, and the surge in popularity of farm-to-table restaurants, urban agriculture, and farmers’ markets in cities. We will examine ancient and modern expressions of the rustic fantasy in order to explore questions and themes such as the tensions between the imagined ideal of the idyllic countryside and the realities of agricultural life. Why is urban life not only associated with the loss of connection to nature, but cast as morally tainted? Is there a connection between the environmental sustainability of "simple" farm life the spiritual/emotional sustainability of life on the farm (real or imagined)? What is the “good life,” and where can we best live our values? In addition to exploring the rustic fantasy, students will be introduced to important resources around the university.

Hidden History of UVA | Kirt von Daacke
Section 018 | 12090 | Monday | 09:30AM-10:45AM

The University of Virginia has a nearly two hundred year history—today, it is not the same school it was in 1825 when the first students arrived. In this seminar, we will do some historical sleuthing into that past. This course represents an exciting opportunity to uncover fascinating details about life at the University during its formative years. We will discuss Jefferson's architectural designs, the role of slavery, and the relationship between faculty, students, and the community. We will make numerous visits to buildings and sites across the University and also delve into the library's rich archival holdings as we explore the people, personalities, places, and events in and around Grounds before 1870.

How to Music | David Flood
Section 019 | 11662 | Thursday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

Music isn’t a thing, it’s an activity. We all music in different ways: listening can be a tool to choreograph and enhance our emotions; songs can be a powerful reservoir for our most treasured or painful memories; background sound can be a distraction to get through a boring shift at work. For some, playing music is a guiding artistic passion and for others, it is simply labor. This course will be a anthropological investigation into the insights we can gain into our own lives by focusing on how we music in everyday life, and what our own musicking practices reveal about life in modern capitalism and the contemporary U.S. We will focus in particular on cultivating an awareness of the many conflicting things we mean when we say the word ‘music,’ and on the different ways we could music. Students will learn about, and be encouraged to attend and participate in, jams, dances, performances, and other aspects of Charlottesville’s varied live music ecosystem. We will also devote significant time to familiarizing ourselves with academic life and resources at UVA.

The Dramatic Monologue | Matt Davis (also offered as Section 31)
Section 020 | 11822 | Monday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

In this COLA course we will read about a dozen and a half dramatic monologues–literary works in which we hear, or overhear, a single speaker speaking aloud to another person. We will ask not only what the speaker is saying, but also what the speaker might be revealing about himself/herself without intending to do so.

Politics of Jewish Histories | Daniel Lefkowitz
Section 021 | 13622 | Wednesday | 09:30AM-10:45AM

This course provides an understanding of our contemporary world through a comparative and historical look at an earlier, and less well-known, global society – the Jewish Diaspora. The centerpiece of the course will be a reading of Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua’s novel, Mr. Mani, which takes the reader on a fascinating reverse-historical tour of the Jewish Diaspora in many of its important locations – Israel, Greece, Palestine, Turkey, etc. – and raises very general questions about the nature of identity, community, history, and nation. Additional readings on the history of Jews, Europeans, and Middle Easterners will be assigned to enrich our reading of Yehoshua’s novel.

Water: How We Use and Abuse It | Janet Herman
Section 022 | 13623 | Thursday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

We will explore a broad understanding of water resources within a societal context. The availability and the quality of drinking water will be examined, and the consequences for water of various human activities will be recognized. The intersection of modern lifestyles with the biological and chemical safety of this essential natural resource will be discussed. Perspectives will be developed from the natural and social sciences, and the scientific literacy of the water-consuming population will be questioned. Reflections upon our quality of life and its sustainability will rest upon an understanding of human impact on our environment.

How to Read a Play | Marianne Kubik
Section 023 | 13624 | Monday | 12:00PM-01:15PM

If a play is an artistic work performed for a live audience, how do we read a playscript for the source material it is? Like an orchestral score, a script is only the recipe, waiting for a creative team to combine its ingredients into a living, sensory experience. While traditional scripts clearly outline guides for production, guides by innovative storytellers might be buried, even elusive, on the page. We’ll compare some of these recent award-winning scripts to identify the textural complexities in language, action, rhythm and musicality for clues to understanding the playwright’s intentions, and we’ll set up our own creative teams to bring parts of these scripts to life. This course isn’t just for theatre geeks; it is for anyone interested in discovering how a play can be appreciated as literature but is more deeply experienced collectively in performance.

Knights and Ladies in Stories of the Middle Ages | William McDonald
Section 024 | 12665 | Thursday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

Intended for students with little or no background in medieval literature in general, and tales of knights and ladies at the court of King Arthur, in particular, this class aims to expose readers to literary traditions and rhetorical conventions of the Middle Ages, while sharpening analytical and writing skills. The stories, all presented in English, are an exercise in comparative literature: Latin, French, and German. We rely heavily on online resources.

Slavery and the Racial Legacies of the Founders | Tyson Reeder
Section 026 | 11823 | Tuesday | 12:30PM-1:45PM

How should public commemorations (monuments, art, ceremonies, exhibits) reflect the paradoxical histories of freedom and slavery in the United States? In this course, you will uncover and analyze the complicated legacies of freedom and slavery bequeathed by two founders who lived in the Charlottesville area—James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. You will discover the ways many Americans are using art, music, and museum exhibits to confront or reconcile their seemingly contradictory legacies. In addition to helping you appreciate America’s nuanced past, this course will help you develop essential skills of evidence evaluation, critical thinking, and persuasive writing and speaking.

Learning From Data | Jeff Holt
Section 027 | 11705 | Tuesday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

Data are everywhere. It is incredibly cheap to collect and store large amounts of data. More and more devices are collecting data, including cell phones, web sites, customer loyalty cards, CCTV, and much more. As data continue to accumulate, so does the interest in extracting knowledge from data. This COLA will focus on a single data set made up of information about applicants for admission to an undergraduate program at a large university. (This data set is heavily modified to preserve confidentiality, but has elements typical of admission data.) We will explore different ways to learn about the applicant pool, using the program R as our computational tool. No prior knowledge of statistics or R is required.

Brooklyn's In the House | Connie Smith
Section 028 | 11867 | Tuesday | Th 11:00AM - 12:15PM

The course provides an examination of the rhetoric of two of the most celebrated Hip Hop artist who just happen to be from Brooklyn, NY. The musical work of Shawn Carter, aka, Jay-Z and the late Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., will serve as the launching pad to discuss the messages in the music, the common themes in their music, and their perceptions of their beloved Brooklyn. Students participating in this course will learn: 
•     Hip Hop music's connection to the oral tradition in African American rhetoric and culture
•     How to employ various qualitative research methods used in rhetorical criticism to unearth deep-seated and often subconscious meanings

Revolutions: Past, Present, and Future | Zachary Hoffman
Section 029 | 11707 | Tuesday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

What are revolutions? Why do they happen? Why do we talk about the American, Russian, and Arab Spring Revolutions, but also industrial, digital, and social media ones as well? What makes someone or something revolutionary? This course helps students begin to answer these questions by exploring the history, literature, artwork, and lived experience of revolutions of all types. By examining written and visual artifacts from these disruptive events and processes, this class will familiarize students with revolutionary trends of the past and present and even look toward some  that may lie in the future. From the intellectual and industrial revolutions of the eighteenth century to the Arab Spring and social media revolutions of the 2010s, we will investigate how and why these events began and what were their lasting effects. Throughout, students will get the chance to examine periods of rapid change and develop a deeper understanding of the ways these revolutions continue to shape their world. 

The Dramatic Monologue | Matt Davis (also offered as Section 20)
Section 031 | 12091 | Monday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

In this COLA course we will read about a dozen and a half dramatic monologues–literary works in which we hear, or overhear, a single speaker speaking aloud to another person. We will ask not only what the speaker is saying, but also what the speaker might be revealing about himself/herself without intending to do so.

Transformative Storytelling: Sharing Stories of Social Justice | Theresa Davis
Section 035 | 14019 | Monday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

What are some of the most thought-provoking and powerful stories you’ve ever heard or read? When was the last time a story moved you to go out and make a difference in the world such as challenging the strongholds of injustice? This course explores the act of storytelling as it relates to issues of Social Justice and the role of storytellers as agents of change. The course incorporates a variety of intercultural communication styles and mediums of artistic expression, including creative writing, theatre, movement, music and digital media. All students will have the opportunity to craft and present stories for public performance. “I'm really interested in social justice, and if an artist has a certain power of being heard and voicing something important, it's right to do it. It could still be done in such a way that it's not aggressive or overly didactic. I'm trying to find that form.” ―Shirin Neshat

Literature of London | Sarah Cole
Section 036 | 11861 | Wednesday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

Why has London been the setting of so many memorable stories, from Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter and beyond? In British literature and films, London has appeared as a site of quaint nostalgia and gothic threat, of urban adventure and modern social alienation. This course will examine short literary works by major British authors, as well as films, historical documents, and pieces of journalism that seek to capture the life of this historic yet ever-changing city. Probable authors and filmmakers include Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Selvon, David Lean, Stephen Frears, and Hanif Kureishi. Through the lens of their stories, we will examine key issues in London’s history during the past two centuries: urban expansion, technological innovation, social inequality, the changing role of women, the bombing of London in World War II, and the growth of immigration and multiculturalism after the end of the British Empire.

The Name of the Rose | Greg (Bradford) Hays
Section 038 | 11863 | Wednesday | 04:00PM-05:15PM

"I wanted to murder a monk ...". Since its first publication in 1980, Umberto Eco's novel of murder and mayhem in a medieval Italian monastery has delighted scholars and ordinary readers alike. Over the semester we'll explore this labyrinth of a book and look at some of its inspirations, including medieval manuscripts and art, the Sherlock Holmes stories, the parables of Jorge Luis Borges, and the politics of contemporary Europe.

Practices of Discernment | Laura Hawthorne
Section 042 | 11866 | Monday | 04:00PM-05:15PM

The poet Mary Oliver asks, "Tell me, what is is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Whether we are trying to choose a major, a profession, a life partner, or just decide how to spend a Saturday afternoon, discerning what to do with our one wild and precious life can be overwhelming. This course will introduce you to a variety of traditions and resources that will help you cultivate a set of personal discernment practices and begin exploring Oliver's question for yourself.

Olympia to Tokyo: The Olympic Games in History | Bonnie Hagerman
Section 047 | 11881 | Monday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

This class will use the Olympic Games to examine issues important not only in the history of American sport but in society as a whole. We will discuss the role of women in the Olympic Games, the Olympics as the site of civil rights activism, and the fight to control performance enhancing drugs. We will also examine how religion, ability, and sexual orientation have figured into the Olympic experience and how the media frames our view of the Olympic experience.

Griots in West African Societies: History, Music, and Orature | Kandioura Dramé
Section 050 | 11890 | Wednesday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course proposes an exploration of West African societies through the study of griots. What does the word "griot" mean? What do griots do? Are griots members of a corporation? How did they become recognized as the keepers of the historical memory of their communities? What is the role of music in the cultural identities of griots? Why are griots tied closely to the art of oral performance? Why are they called Masters of the Word, of storytelling or Orature in many West African communities? We will explore these and other questions relative to the places and functions of the griots in the past and present, in Africa and abroad, in music and in words.

Life's a Stage: Performance Skills for Every Day | David Dalton
Section 054 | 12000 | Wednesday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

Was Shakespeare right when he wrote, "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players"? This class explores the uses of acting skills in real world situations outside the fields of film and theatre. Students will learn performance techniques for collaboration, active listening, self-awareness, building empathy and speaking with confidence. Exploring basic skills in acting and improvisation, as well as meditation both in and out of the classroom, students will learn performance strategies to manage social and professional environments. No prior performance experience is required.

Food and Culture | Lisa Shutt
Section 061 | 12161 | Friday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

Food is much more than a biological need for human beings. People are meaning-makers, inseparable from the cultural frameworks in which they find themselves enmeshed. What we eat, the way we eat, and whether or not we prepare or provide food for others is every bit as much symbolic as it is rooted in biological survival. We create self identity, claim ethnic and national affiliation and affirm our maleness and femaleness with the foods we purchase, prepare, select or order from a menu. This course will help students to investigate the way the foods people eat—or don’t eat—hold meaning for people within multiple cultural contexts. We will explore perspectives on food from a selection of disciplines represented in the College of Arts and Sciences, touching on the differences between the methodologies, research topics and histories of different disciplines. Finally, this course will also enter the practical arena, focusing on a number of topics related to advising and opportunities available to students in the College. These topics include advice on selecting and declaring a major, exploring the library system, critical thinking and writing, understanding undergraduate research opportunities, seeking out scholarships and grants, understanding the range of study abroad opportunities, and more.

Aztec, Maya, and the Conquistadors: Rethinking the Conquest of the Americas | Abigail Holeman
Section 065 | 12292 | Tuesday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

COLA classes provide an opportunity to bring together academic content and academic advising. In this class we will assess and reevaluate common myths about the conquest of the Americas. Using examples from central and South America, we will look at evidence from different fields of study (archaeology, history, ethnohistory) that paint a different picture than what is commonly told about one of the most fundamental moments in human history. We will discuss the implications of these commonly held narratives for the lives and perceptions of Native American communities today. While students work on critical thinking skills, we will also discuss advising topics such as advising, research, and career resources available to you. We will reflect on the college experience, both the perceptions and the realities.

Global Islam | Ahmed Al-Rahim
Section 069 | 12294 | Monday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course traces the religious development of Islam from the 7th to 13th centuries C.E. Students are introduced to the (1) the biography of Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, and to the history of his successors, the caliphs, and of the major Islamic dynasties; (2) the themes of the Koran, Islam’s scripture, and their relationship to the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Gospels; (3) the Hadith, or sayings attributed to Muhammad, and the development of Islamic law; (4) the history of Islamic theology and philosophy; (5) Muslim sectarian history, the Sunnis and Shias, and Islamic mysticism; and (6) the daily life and rituals of Muslims and their relationship with the “People of the Book” (Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians).

Performing UVA | Elizabeth Ozment
Section 070 | 12295 | Monday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

What does it mean "to perform," "to present," "to stage"? This seminar will examine UVa from a performance perspective. When considering a wide range of practices and environments, we will discover that practically anything can be studied as performance.

The Good Friend | Cliff Maxwell
Section 074 | 12326 | Wednesday | 12:30PM-1:45PM

In the context of college life and beyond, what does it mean to have and be a good friend? What is the nature of friendship, and how can it be integral to a successful and happy college experience? We will explore the qualities needed to be a good friend in Eastern and Western philosophical contexts, and how developing those qualities can lead to wisdom and compassion—skills that can assist us in our interactions with others, to all become "better" human beings.

How to Live a Good Life (in Ancient China)  | Natasha Heller
Section 076 | 12328 | Tuesday | 09:30AM-10:45AM

In this course, we will look at how philosophers of China defined what it meant to live a good life—and what insights their writings might hold for today.  Through the writings of Confucius, Zhuangzi, Mencius, along with other thinkers, we’ll consider the importance of social roles, the value of ritual, and joy of spontaneous action.   We will also discuss innate moral impulses, the function of education, how we should relate to the past, and what counts as “natural.” No prior knowledge of China or Chinese thought are expected. 

Arts and Community | Deborah McGrady
Section 083 | 12433 | Tuesday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

Too often we think of the creative act as a private affair. Yet, artistic creation also has the power to create community. Shared culture and sharing culture have long been foundational to cultivating a sense of belonging, an appreciation for difference, and a means of bridging social divides. This class will explore the role of the Arts in the US from the governmental to local level. We will debate the role of government in the arts as well as the politics of multi-culturalism, the purpose of public art, the university’s role in promoting cultural activities, and the conceit that art can heal neighborhoods and bridge cultural divides. Our discussions will be informed by exploration of the presence of the Arts at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville. Students will be introduced to the vibrant artistic scene of their new community and will be made aware of the many avenues for supporting the arts in their own backyard.

Intelligence Analysis | Jeb Livingood
Section 085 | 12444 | Wednesday | 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course briefly examines some of the U.S. intelligence community’s greatest failures—such as failing to adequately warn of the attacks on 9/11 and incorrectly assessing Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction program—as well as some of its successes, like locating Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. Students will examine some of the common analytical biases and blind spots that have led to national intelligence failures, as well as learn some of the structured analytical techniques that help reduce bias. While this course cannot promise to train its students for the next “Mission Impossible,” it might help them understand how their thinking can become impaired—and be improved upon—no matter what major they eventually choose.

From Digital Typography to Blockchain and Cryptography: Transnational Aspects of Information Technology | Zvi Gilboa
Section 089 | 12666 | Tuesday | 05:00PM-06:15PM

Since the early days of the web and with the advent of search engines, social media, data mining and deep learning, as well as hardware affordability and increasingly faster network connections, the notion of a "global village" had not only dominated contemporary discourse, but had also been widely considered a done deal and a fact, and thus a reality which should no longer be questioned. To that effect, the idea that “we all live in a global village” had been coupled by a view of the nation-state as an anachronistic entity of the past, and similarly the belief that at its very core and by its very nature, technology is not only culturally blind and culturally neutral, but also possesses egalitarian powers.

What Makes Creativity? | Kathryn Densberger
Section 093 | 13905 | Wednesday | 3:30PM-04:45PM
Bringing something into being that was not there before: Businesses do it to make money. Artists do it as their life’s work. Researchers have tried to measure creativity. Everybody seems to want to teach it. In this class, we’ll learn how people in different fields think about creativity and have attempted to create more of it. We’ll also focus on how you can create your college experience.

What is History? | Jennifer Lafleur
Section 094 | 13906 | Thursday | 02:00PM-03:15PM

How does a history differ from other narratives we create about the past? What are the barriers to an accurate understanding of something that happened ten, four hundred, or two thousand years ago? Does what we think about historical events matter more than what actually happened? Using as our starting point excerpts from translations of the earliest “western” historians—writers in Greek and Latin whose work has had an immense influence on history as a field of study—we will explore how historical knowledge is crafted, its limitations, and its significance. Everyone is welcome! You don’t need any previous knowledge of the ancient Mediterranean and you will design your final project around an account or moment of your choice.

Study Abroad in the 19th Century: The Allure of Paris | Gladys Saunders
Section 095 | 13969 | Wednesday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

In this class we will explore together David McCullough's latest work, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris from 1830-1900. The book contains a wealth of interesting information about Americans of diverse backgrounds who sailed to Paris to work hard, learn the skills and expertise of the French and then return to America to make their professional lives better.

Let’s Commence | Bo Odom
Section 096 | 13970 | Thursday | 03:30PM-04:45PM

“We might have the right intentions, but instead of acting, we decide to wait.. We keep waiting until we run out of ‘untils.’ Then it is too late.” Given at Wellesley College, Madeline Albright’s graduation speech of 2007 underscores the purpose of this course – why wait? Why should we wait until your final exercises four years from now to hear words of wisdom from a laudatory (yet still undecided) commencement speaker? Rather than wait, we will consider a number of the greatest commencement and graduation speeches of all time, and we will begin to ask how we might prepare during our four years at UVA to heed the challenge of our future commencement – one that will undoubtedly ask us to challenge the status quo, seek good over evil, or right the wrongs we see around us. We will consider commencement messages from the likes of Barak Obama, C.S. Lewis, Conan O’Brien, Hillary Rodham (Clinton), Salman Rushdie, and many others. What we may find, should we have ears to hear, are threads of wisdom that may help us better understand how we might milk every last moment out of our time at UVA, and in the process discover who we are, both as individuals and a commonwealth.

Stories Beyond the Wall: The Southern Border through Music, Art, and Literature | Melissa Frost
Section 098 | 13973 | Thursday | 12:30PM-01:45PM

This course considers the social, political, and cultural space of the southern border based on representations in art (including literature, fine art, performance, and music) and reflects on how media (both traditional and social) shapes our perspective of the border, the topic of immigration, and the many Spanish-speaking communities that live in the United States. Students will develop a more nuanced understanding of the many historical factors that have contributed to the current popular discourse surrounding these topics while they work towards a final project aimed at shedding light on a lesser-known cultural or social aspect of the southern border.