MLAS 500.001, Seminar on the Human Condition

Instructor: Bill Spellman, Ph.D
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Explores the historical evolution of concepts central to the development of civilization and of the human personality, including freedom and authority, aesthetic sensibility, a sense of self and of social relationships and mastery over the physical environment.

(Required of all MLAS students; must be taken at the first opportunity. May not be repeated for elective credit.)

MLAS 520.001, Seminar on the Human Experience: Southern Literature

Instructor: Tommy Hays
Mondays , 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Writers in the Backyard - Naturally North Carolinians tend to read and study North Carolina Writers. That's true even in Western North Carolina, even though we are geographically much closer to Greenville or Spartanburg, South Carolina than to Durham, Raleigh or Chapel Hill. In this class we will look southward across the state line, reading working writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, who live just down the mountain and who we might have overlooked. Some of the writers we will study are fiction writers Mindy Friddle, Ashley Warlick and George Singleton of Greenville and nonfiction writer John Lane of Spartanburg. We hope to arrange for a few writers to come speak to the class.

MLAS 540.001, Seminar on the Individual and Society: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini - The Totalitarian Temptation

Instructor: Ted Uldricks, Ph.D.
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

This course will examine not only the lives and "accomplishments" of these three notorious 20th century dictators, it will also explore the political, economic and social systems as well as the intellectual environment in which each of these men came to power. A special focus of the class will be the exploration of why various sorts of people from diverse ranks and positions in society supported the destruction of liberal democracy (or, in the Russian case, a less authoritarian form of communist rule) and its replacement by totalitarian dictatorship. Attention will also be paid to social science theories relevant to these developments. This seminar style class will revolve around student discussion of primary source documents and some the most important historical and social science literature, as well as memoirs and fiction by participants in these historical events.

MLAS 560.001, Seminar on Science and Human Values: A Sustainable Culture

Instructor: Gerard Voos, Ph.D.
Thursdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

The global population is predicted to climb to 9.4 billion by the year 2050 from the current 6.5 billion. At current population levels, many of the world's inhabitants regularly experience shortages of potable water, nutritious food, adequate housing and energy for cooking, heating/cooling and transportation. Many health problems result from these shortages and unsanitary environmental conditions. It is expected that the earth's climate will warm significantly during the next century, further exacerbating these problems. "A Sustainable Culture" will delve into the environmental and anthropogenic conditions that caused previous cultures to thrive and falter. We will analyze how we, as an international society, can avoid catastrophic mistakes, improve life for the less fortunate, and sustain as a global culture. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students a holistic view of the global environment, both human-built and natural, and what is required to make each sustainable.

MLAS 600.001, Contemporary Issues: The Luminous Moment: History Through Poetry

Instructor: Holly Iglesias, Ph.D
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Because brevity is at the heart of poetry, one well-chosen detail can convey a constellation of ideas in just a few words. Through the use of metaphor, image, associative language, emotional intensity and emphasis on the five senses, poetry draws a reader in. Because it manifests experience rather than describes it, poetry is a unique tool for understanding history. Through the works of a variety of contemporary poets, the course will examine major topics in U.S. history: the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, immigration and labor unrest, Jim Crow segregation, the flu epidemic of 1918 and the Great Depression. Students will read poetry collections focused on these themes by Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton, Frank X. Walker, Diane Gilliam Fisher, Martha Collins and A. Van Jordan. In addition, attention will be given to critical works that address documentary art and the politics of voice by Eavan Boland, Ben Shahn and Muriel Rukeyser.

MLAS 680.001, The Project Seminar

Prerequisite: Successful completion of MLAS 670
Instructor: Holly Iglesias, Ph.D.
Mondays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

This seminar is dedicated to the completion of a capstone scholarly research project under the direction of a project advisor and project seminar instructor. Typically the project takes the form of a major research paper (40-50 pages), but alternatives, including creative projects in the arts or literature are permitted with the concurrence of the advisor and project seminar instructor. Drafts are presented and defended in the seminar, and final projects are due before the end of the semester. No extensions are allowed; those who do not complete the project must retake the seminar in the following year.