Identities: Mirrors and Windows

Exploring Identities

Put yourself under the microscope (literally and figuratively!) by exploring the diverse components that factor into the construction of the self. Watch preview video to learn more about this neighborhood.

SRING 2018


Identities: Mirrors and Windows

Who do you see when you look in the “mirror”? How does your self-image relate to the view beyond your own “window”? As the title of our neighborhood suggests, the study of identity is fundamentally the study of context.  In IMW, we will examine the communities and networks that shape the ways that we exist in and interact with the world around us. As we analyze these intersections between self and community, we will come to understand how people of diverse backgrounds impact, and are impacted by, the larger social, cultural, natural, and physical networks of which we all are a part.  What you learn in our neighborhood will ultimately empower you to take meaningful and responsible action as citizens of the world – a goal that is central to our College’s overarching mission.
Lucy Littler
Orlando Hall - Room 102
T. 407.646.2502

B.A. North Carolina State University
M.A. Appalachian State University
Ph.D. Florida State University

Dr. Littler’s field is twentieth-century American literature. Her research and teaching interests include American exceptionalism and the meanings of race in contemporary American culture.


Rachel Simmons

Visual Journals Identity and Memory
Transcript Title: Visual Journals
Course Number: IMW100A2

This course will examine identity and memory through the visual journal, a mixed media fusion of creative writing and art.  Journaling is a practice of self-reflection that helps create meaning in ourl ives.  Students will engage in memory-based writing activities, peer critiques, and mixed media experiments.  Visual Journals: Identity and Memory focus is on identity, its emphasis on defining selfhood and the mechanism of the journal as a tool for self-reflection.  in addition to several others, will be addressing these questions from the neighborhood description:  What does it mean to be human?  Where do I belong?  What can I do to make a posittive impact on the world?


Caitlin Mohr

Songs of the Soul
Transcript Title: Songs of the Soul
Course Number: IMW100A3

This course will examine song literature through the perspectives of the poet, composer and performer.  Elements of song will be examined in repertoire from Copland to Lady Gaga to the musical Hamilton.  Students will reflect on the breadth of their personal experiences and expression of self-identity in relation to a diverse community of artists of the past and present.


Missy Barnes

Identity Through Dance
Transcript Title:  Identity Through Dance
Course Number:  IMW100A_

In this course, we will examine the myriad functions that dance serves beyond the performative. We will explore dance as a reflection of emotional expression and cultural identity, as well as the relationship of dance to gender, ritual, religion, communication, and healing. *This is not a dance technique course - we will study a variety of dance forms but we will not physically engage in dance.*


Robin Gerchman

Moving Stories and Conversations
Transcript Title: Moving Stories
Course Number: IMW200A5

Through dance, reading, reflective writings and conversations, this course will give students an awareness of their authentic voice in society. A synergy of movement, written word and voice is the platform from which this is to be created.  Students will narrate who they are, what they stand for, and what they believe in.  The opportunity to share this with the community will compel the students to create their own personal "moving" story.


Sunni Witmer

More than Telenovelas and Daddy Yankee: The Expressive Arts in Latin America
Transcript Title: Latin American Expressive Arts
Course Number: IMW200A_

This course is an integrated study of the expressive cultures of Latin America, with an emphasis on the role the arts play in social life. Topics include pre-Columbian art; modernist arts; Spanish American and Brazilian narrative; Latin American poetry, architecture, music, theatre, cinema, and popular culture; and Latin culture.


Robert Smithson

Knowledge and Democracy:  Why do we Believe What we do?
Transcript Title: Knowledge and Democracy
Course Number: IMW100H4

Our ethical, political and religious convictions are among our most important and deeply held beliefs. But these beliefs raise many difficult questions.  Do we form these beliefs on the basis of evidence, or do we form these beliefs simply because of our upbrining?  What should we do when we enounter people who seem  just as reasonable as us, but who disagree with us on religious quesions?  Should we trust the testimony of experts or should we view theri testimony as critical scrutiny?  How are our political and ethical beliefs influenced by factos such as gender and race?


Alberto Prieto-Calixto

Spanish identities Through Lens
Transcript Title: Spanish identities Through Lens
Course Number: IMW200H7

In this course we will explore how the Spanish speaking world defines its ethnic, religious, cultural and national identities through film, documentary and other audio visual artifacts. We will consider how the diverse Spanish identities have been created, revised and used.


Mario D'Amato

Mind and Meditation
Transcript Title: Mind and Meditation
Course Number: IMW200H8

This course will focus on accounts regarding how the self is constructed according to Buddhist philosophy, and responses and critiques from the perspective of Western philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and psychoanalysis.  It will also examine what the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault has referred to as “technologies of the self,” i.e., techniques that have been employed by individuals to “transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom,”  etc.  So we will consider the construction of identities, and examine techniques that have been employed to function as mirrors and windows for the construction of self.  To that end, we will also study the theory of Buddhist meditation, and critically examine the ways in which Buddhist meditation has been analyzed in Western philosophy and cognitive science.


Pamela Brannock

Genetics in Human Lives
Transcript Title: Human Genetics
Course Number: IMW100S1

Discusses the general principles underlying basic genetics and how it relates to humans. Explores issues such as genetic testing, genetically modified organisms, cloning, heritable diseases, and evolution.


Suzanne Woodward

Identity and the Social Self
Transcript Title: Identity and the Social Self
Course Number: IMW200S4

Identity and the Social Self will be an in-depth examination of research and theory in social psychology related to such topics as gender norms rrelated to helping behavior, court  accuracy of eyewitnesses, treatment of stress and illness, role of evolution and culture in attraction, prejudice and social inequalities, and conformity and obedience.  Our sense of self is formed in part by our social interactions.  This course will explore how our social groups inform and create out individual identities.


Pedro Bernal

Science & Culture of Chocolate
Transcript Title: Chocolate Science and Culture
Course Number: IMW200S5

The Science and Culture of Chocolate examines the harvesting of cacao and the production, health effects, and properties of chocolate.  The course also examines the cultural importance of chocolate from the cultures of Mesoamerica to the present day. Chocolate started as a drink and it became a bar fairly recently as a result of technical innovations that eventually made possible the business that chocolate is today. From Bean to Bar, from Maya to Valentine's Day- if you will.


Amy McClure

Conformity and Deviance: Self and Society
Transcript Title: Conformity and Deviance
Course Number: IMW100C1

Who am I? Am I truly unique or merely a product of my environment? How might my personality, values, feelings, and behaviors differ had I been born on the other side of the planet, in another time, or even just in another body? In this course we will address precisely these kinds of questions by examining the complex processes through which identity is formed within society. In particular, we will explore the ongoing tension between human agency and social structure. We will examine the conditions under which people are likely to conform or deviate from social norms. We will employ a sociological perspective to make sense of all these questions and many more.


Vincent Melograno

Sport in Perspective:  Toward a World View
Transcript Title: Sport in Perspective
Course Number: IMW100C8

Sport, an integral part of everyday life, influences and shapes individual identities. Critics argue that the preoccupation with sport distracts people from societal inequities and economic turmoil. Is it better to keep people focused on the World Cup, Olympic Games, and Super Bowl? While sport celebrates human values of freedom, justice, and courage, this assumption is at odds with reality. Sport is intimately related to power, control, and authority. The course will: (1) examine how sport functions in relation to and in conflict with personal values (adult-organized youth sport, school-based sport, worldwide club sport, virtues/exploitation of college athletes, professional sport as a monopoly, and intersection of sport with religion and politics); (2) analyze the interaction between culture and sport, ethical/moral decision making, effects of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, age, sexual preference, and disability on sport access and participation, and deviant rule breaking, violence, performance enhancement, hazing, and gambling; and (3) explore the interplay between sport and society worldwide (sport media revolution connecting countries through technology, international consumer marketing/retailing of sport equipment and apparel, migration from country to country of athletes, coaches, and officials, exchange of values reflecting various cultures, human rights violations, and Olympic economics versus nationalism).


Mattea Garcia

Keeping it Real:   Authentic communication, ethical conversations, and identity
Transcript Title: Authentic Communication
Course Number: IMW200C1

Communicating authentically is critical to our success and well-being, but in a world filled with distractions and hashtags, how can we communicate meaningfully, mindfully, and effectively?  In this course, we will examine how communication helps us make sense of our professional and personal identities and how crucial conversations, while sometimes difficult, pave a path to more successful and mindful lives.  We will explore our diverse identities and the social institutions and norms that shape the construction of identity. We will examine ways to be mindful and authentic communicators.  We will think about communication as a key element in creating and sharing our personal and professional identities and an important tool for understanding our changing social world and our place within it.


Jasmine Alam

Back to the Future:  Economics and Society in 2050
Transcript Title: Back to the Future
Course Number: IMW200C6

This course will provide an introduction to new and emerging communities and institutions that we can expect to see in the future. It examines how these ‘new’ and ‘emerging’ communities and institutions are simply a reflection of early societal constructs and norms.


Missy Barnes

Theatre, Identity, and Difference
Transcript Title: Theatre, Identity, and Difference
Course Number: IMW301

How does theatre reflect our understanding of identity in relation to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, and sexuality? Theatre represents the human condition within the contexts of specific historical and cultural moments. This course will focus on plays that investigate what it means to be human in the face of social conflict and the outcomes that result from intolerance.


Jennifer Cavenaugh/ Meredith Hein

Practicing Social Justice: Power, Oppression, and the Performance of Resistance
Course Number: IMW305

Students will build upon their previous IMW coursework to create an autobiography that explores how their own identity has been shaped by power and privilege (or the absence thereof). The course will then utilize the techniques of Augusto Boal's "Theater of the Oppressed" to empower students to address one aspect of oppression through community based advocacy or activism.


Lucy Littler

Racial Fictions: Identity in American Literature
Transcript Title: Racial Fictions: Ident Am Lit
Course Number: IMW300

In this course we will examine race as fiction—a carefully constructed narrative that draws audiences in and solicits their belief in its “truth.” We will consider how race has been made, revised, and used in American culture. Course texts will include novels, multidisciplinary scholarship, news media, and pop-culture artifacts.