MLAS 500.001 - Seminar on the Human Condition

Instructor: Holly Iglesias (MLAS)
Wednesdays 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11041
Carmichael Hall 232

The gateway seminar for the Master of Liberal Arts Program, MLAS 500 is an introduction to interdisciplinary studies at the graduate level. With the large, overarching theme of "the human condition," the course offers an opportunity to examine topics that address our fundamental human nature from a multitude of perspectives – intimate and immediate as well as analytical and more removed – and to develop scholarly skills (research, writing, analytical thinking).

I've chosen the topic "notions of race at the turn of the 20th century" because it reflects the dreams and anxieties that launched the century and continues to vex the nation to this day; because it addresses how memory is linked to healing and how storytelling shapes meaning; because it exemplifies a deep paradox (i.e. co-existence of a belief in progress and acceptance of brutal oppression); and because it lends itself to examination through a wide variety of disciplines.

MLAS 520.001 - Seminar on the Human Experience: A Prose Workshop: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

Instructor: Tommy Hays (MLAS)
Mondays 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11042
Carmichael Hall 102

This class will provide structure, support and constructive criticism for students who are interested in writing fiction or creative nonfiction. Students may have a project in mind or one they’re already at work on, but that is not required. In fact, part of what students may accomplish is discovering and tapping into creative veins from which to write. In that regard, we will do some in-class writing exercises.

Each student will submit short stories, novel excerpts or creative nonfiction during the semester, which I will respond to at length in writing, and which we as a class will discuss. Over time, as we learn what to look for and how to read like a writer, the class will become a community of supportive and insightful critics. I will also meet individually with students to discuss their writing. And finally, we will read and discuss works by accomplished writers to heighten our awareness of craft so that we might avail ourselves of the many possible approaches to our own work.

MLAS 520.002 - Seminar on the Human Experience: Roots of the American Documentary Tradition

Instructor: Holly Iglesias (MLAS)
Tuesdays 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11043
Carmichael Hall 102

The course examines the confluence of two major influences on the character of the 20th century in the United States – technology (advances in photography and filmmaking fueling the power of mass media) and social unrest (racism, immigration, cycles of economic boom and bust). Because visual imagery became increasingly available at the same time that major social changes were taking place, photography and film were soon utilized as instruments of social change, one of the most powerful expressions created during the Great Depression when the government subsidized photographers and filmmakers in order to "show America to America" and gain support for federal relief programs.

Starting with social documentarians Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine and moving on to the work of the Photo League and the those hired by Roy Stryker for the Farm Security Administration (such as Margaret Bourke-White, Pare Lorenz, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Walker Evans, Willard Van Dyke, Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, Esther Bubely, Marion Post Wolcott), the course will examine the roots of art in the service of politics as well as the challenging ethics of representation.

MLAS 540.EZ1 – Seminar on the Individual & Society: Technology and Global Citizenry

Instructor: Larry Wilson (former UNC Asheville Chancellor and visiting professor)
Tuesdays, 5:00-7:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11006
**This course is offered through UNC Asheville Distance Education and will be taught off-campus at the YMI Cultural Center in downtown Asheville. Students enrolled only in this course will not have to pay student fees, only graduate tuition. Students enrolled in this class in addition to other MLAS course(s) will still have to pay student fees. PLEASE contact the MLAS Office with questions about this pay structure.

Over the last few centuries science and technology increasingly have had a major influence in the determining the quality of life in all corners of the world and, consequently, impact our global societies at many levels. In order to participate knowledgeably in decision-making, global citizens in the 21st Century should have an understanding of some of the fundamental principles and practices in the scientific and technological world and how their applications affect the world in which we live. This course is designed for those who want to understand the role and impact of science and technology upon their lives and futures. The subject matter will be studied from an interdisciplinary approach and will include discussion of and readings on topics such as Evolution of the Universe, Energy and Matter, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, Global Climate Change, Bio-engineering and Technology, Promise of New Technologies, and Sustainability and Limits. Where appropriate, material relating to other countries will be included.

Since science and technology are not restricted by the boundaries of normal academic disciplines, this course will be interdisciplinary in nature and will not assume any particular background in science, technology or mathematics.

MLAS 540.002 – Seminar on the Individual & Society: Political Thought

Instructor: John McClain (Humanities)
Thursdays, 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11045
Karpen Hall 127
*This course is co-listed as an undergraduate Honors seminar

The purpose of this course to study political thought with primary sources that represent literary culture with a “political” intent, broadly and popularly understood. A society’s political ideas can be found and studied in many aspects of its cultural heritage apart from explicitly political and governmental texts.

The course will begin with Machiavelli. He is of course a conspicuously political thinker, but one who communicates his political ideas in a variety of genres: plays ("The Mandrake Root"), history, biography, fable, letters and straightforward political theory, most famously with "The Prince." Machiavelli interweaves his political views with aesthetic (and entertainment) interests across a variety of forms. He educates different audiences under different literary guises: Thus Machiavelli is a model “political culture” thinker.

Having the class accustomed to this “politics of culture” approach, we would then switch to the American scene.

Some Themes: The role of government; How to instruct about the role of government; Political leadership; How to teach “leadership,” how to “lead” potential leaders and their potential followers; violence.

MLAS 540.003 – Seminar on the Individual & Society: History of Judaism

Instructor: Rick Chess (Literature)
Mondays, 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11046
Karpen Hall 232
*This course is co-listed as an undergraduate Religious Studies seminar

In this class, we’ll look at the evolution of Judaism in relation to the history of the Jewish people. Because Judaism is largely a text-based religion, we’ll consider some of the primary sacred and cultural texts of the Jews, including excerpts from the Torah, the Talmud, the Zohar and Jewish liturgy. We’ll also read some tales of Hasidim, a novel, a memoir/spiritual autobiography, a Holocaust testimony, and poetry both by some of the great Hebrew poets of Medieval Spain and by some contemporary Israeli and Jewish poets. We’ll also view one or two films and attend the second annual Asheville Jewish Film Festival. We will have several speakers/programs on campus and downtown to support our class, including talks by Dr. James Tabor, Dr. Howard Schwartz and Emily Warn. Through it all, we should gain some knowledge about and insight into Jewish belief, practice and thought as well as into Jewish cultures.

MLAS 560.001 – Seminar on Science & Human Values: Descartes: Mind and Body

Instructor: Greg Boudreaux (Mathematics)
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11047
Karpen Hall 127
*This course is co-listed as an undergraduate Honors seminar

Sure, Descartes thought, therefore he was, but there is a lot more to Descartes than that too often repeated one-liner. Most people do not know that Descartes posited an all encompassing philosophical system that sparked major revolutions in physics, mathematics and philosophy itself. His work even had religious implications because he gave several "proofs" of the existence of God. Students in this class will be studying his major works: "Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy." In addition, we will read a biography of Descartes, some of his lesser known works, some criticism of his works and some criticism of the criticisms. The main objective will be for us to form our own opinion of Descartes based on his own writings while coming to grips with one of his most enduring and controversial legacies – his mind-body dualism. No knowledge of physics or college mathematics is required.

MLAS 560.002 – Seminar on Science & Human Values: Consumerism and the Environment

Instructor: Gerard Voos (MLAS)
Thursdays, 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credit hours
Carmichael Hall 102
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11048

“How much is enough?” That is the title of a book by Alan Durning and the overarching theme of this course. The class will be taught in a seminar format, requiring participation from each student. The first half of each class will include instructor and student-led discussions on subjects ranging from the clamor for constant world-wide economic growth to the impacts of our increasing consumption of natural resources to the belief that the more material goods we possess, the happier (as a society and individually) we will be. These discussions will incorporate information from daily, weekly and monthly periodicals as well as internet-based sources. Four books, written on the above-mentioned and additional themes, will be assigned at the start of the semester. From these, a weekly reading will be selected and discussed during the second half of each class. Course grading will be based on class participation, a multimedia presentation by each student and an end-of-semester written project.

Books that we will read and discuss during the semester include:

"How Much is Enough" by Alan Durning
"The Myth of Progress" by Tom Wessels
"Deep Economy" by Bill McKibben
"The Bridge at the Edge of the World" by James G. Speth

Additional books that will be used as references for the two class projects include:

"Small is Beautiful" by E.F. Schumacher
"Beyond Growth" by Herman E. Daly
"Affluenza" by De Graaf, Wann, and Naylor

All listed books will be on reserve in the library.

MLAS 572.001 – Directed Readings

Approaches to Research
Instructor: Holly Iglesias (MLAS)
Individual meetings
2 graduate credits
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11049
 Prerequisite: Successful completion of 9 credit hours in the MLAS Program

This two-hour course provides direction and focus in research for students who have completed introductory coursework. It is individualized by topic and methodology, providing each student support and assistance in developing a bibliography and narrowing an interdisciplinary theme into a focused thesis. The course is appropriate for students anticipating the creation of a variety of final projects, including research-based papers, community projects and creative writing manuscripts (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama).

MLAS 610: Tutorial Options

Individual study under the supervision of a faculty member, or cross-listing with an undergraduate course for graduate credit (with graduate-level work). Please contact the MLAS Director as soon as possible if you are interested in pursuing a tutorial.

MLAS 670.001: Scholarly Research Seminar

Instructor: Peg Downes (MLAS)
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30pm
3 graduate credits
Carmichael Hall 102
Registration Call Number: (CRN) 11050

This seminar provides a forum for students to develop their individual scholarly interests into a capstone MLAS project. Includes survey of techniques of inquiry in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, as well as practical issues from finding a topic, to final presentation and defense. Students will define a topic for the project seminar and begin preliminary research. Project proposals must be approved by the project advisor, the project seminar instructor, and the Program Director. Prerequisite: 21 hours in the MLAS Program. (Grading S/U).