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Rollins Foundations in the Liberal Arts

Enduring Questions Themed Courses Spring 2020

Jack the Ripper, climate change, Bigfoot, crime scenes, suicide bombers, peacebuilding, pirates, the Third Reich, American politics, and one hit wonders: Examine big questions that do not have simple answers. As we find comfort in what we hold to be true, we remain fascinated by that which eludes us. Explore what we may not know about our world, our community, our friends and families, and ourselves. Through a diverse array of courses, students will examine all kinds of enduring questions — ranging from artistic marvels and scientific wonders to political and cultural blind spots—in order to acquire the skills necessary to unlock the enduring mysteries of the universe… or at least of contemporary college life.

Instructor:  Wendy Brandon

Section 07: T,R 9:30 - 10:45, CSS 226
Section 08: T,R 8:00 - 9:15, CSS 226

An introduction to the global food system and its failings. Through big picture discussions and case studies from the global north and south, students study food cultures and nutrition, their links to global health in both developing and developed countries, global agri-business and food trade, land ownership, land grabbing and other factors affecting food security and food sovereignty, and broader, but connected issues, such as climate change, conflict and hunger, and forced migration. Students will learn about food activism and food justice movements challenging our unjust and unsustainable global food system.


Instructor: Erik Kenyon

MWF 9:00 - 9:50, ASC 243

Philosophy was born in the gyms of Athens. In this class, we will return a body of abstract thought to its original context, in an attempt to understand how training for the body sparked training for the mind. We will use archaeology to reconstruct the reality of ancient athletics and literary texts to critique philosophers’ idealized versions of this reality. We will explore a cluster of questions about the nature of happiness / the best life for a human being (​eudaimonia), the role of virtue / excellence (​arete ) in this life and what forms of education / training may help up secure both. Along the way, we will attempt to define individual virtues (courage, moderation, justice), think about the nature of physical beauty & erotic love, and evaluate concepts of mental “health” and strategies for spiritual “exercise”. We will end on a practical note, competing in our own Greek Olympic Games and using ancient materials to think about the role of gym culture and forms of well-being in our own time.


Instructor:  Anne Zimmerman

T,R  9:30 - 10:45, Orlan 105

How do you tell the story of your life? How do race, class, gender, sexuality, and generational identity contribute to one’s personal story? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions as we consider the concept of memoir as we examine traditional contributions to the genre, as well as non-linear, visual texts. Also, we will discuss the American Confessionalist movement and its impact on this genre. Finally, we will address how memoir is informed by—and informs—other cultural texts, such as television, film, and social media.


Instructor:  Lauren Cushman

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, Olin 319

This course will explore the social and self-identities of what is considered ethical, displayed through the lens of theater and film. We will observe the ethical dilemmas that are present in society by dissecting plays and film throughout time. Why is Blackface acceptable in film in the 1920s but not today? Is one example of many questions you will ask yourself and peers.

Instructor:  David DiQuattro

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, Bush 210

This course will examine several aspects of labor and leisure. Through the works of Josef Pieper, Wendell Berry and others it will raise questions such as the following: What is leisure and what is it for? How is leisure connected to what it means to be a human being? How do modern ideals of ‘busyness’ ‘usefulness’ ‘efficiency’ and others present obstacles to the cultivation of meaningful leisure? Is the vice of sloth connected to boredom and inability to enjoy meaningful leisure more than it is connected to laziness? How is leisure important for stepping back from and critiquing cultural assumptions from within? What does it mean to be connected to a place, and to labor in a way that has regard for preserving that place? Through raising these questions, we will gain insight into modernity and the fundamental changes in the rhythms and shape of human life it has wrought.

Instructor: Margaret McLaren

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, Sullivan House

Daily we are confronted with ethical questions about how to act in our personal lives and in the world as responsible and engaged citizens. In this course you will learn the moral theories and frameworks that justify moral judgments, and how to apply them to pressing social and political issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, human rights, multiculturalism and women’s rights, global poverty, cultural sovereignty, and world hunger relief. ECMP, PHI elective


Instructor:  Ashley Cannaday

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, Bush 165; lab F 2:30 - 5:00, Bush 180

Light is a huge part of everyday life, crucial for vision, phone screens, the pictures we upload to social media, and healthcare.  This course will explore the nature of light and delve into several important applications.  We will "shed light" on many interesting phenomena caused by light to better understand the world around us.

Instructor:  Kasandra Riley

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, Bush 102; lab R 8:00 - 9:15

Why does an egg turn white when you cook it or an avocado turn brown when you cut it? Why are some chocolate chip cookies soft and others crispy? Where do recipes come from? In this course we will discover the inextricable relationship between science and our everyday experiences as humans sustained by food. The class will focus on an understanding of how individual food components, as well as physical and chemical changes, contribute to the overall quality of a food. We will explore innovations in food science (e.g. molecular gastronomy) and how new foods are created as we conduct edible experiments to illustrate the scientific method and physical, chemical, biochemical, and microbiological principles in cooking. Science is always involved in the foods we eat, and an act of creative cooking is truly the same as conducting a science experiment.

Instructors:  Yudit Greenberg and Jim McLaughlin

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, CSS 167

Instructor permission only; registration through International Programs Office; travel dates 3/13/20 - 3/18/20. 

Students will learn about Jewish life in Europe before World War II, the reasons for the rise of Nazism and the persecution of Jews, the different roles that people played during this time, and the outcomes of the Holocaust for people from many backgrounds. We will analyze the diaries of Jewish children who were hidden or forced into ghettos and camps, and hear survivor testimonies, to know more about what those people experienced. A vital part of the course will be a 6-day Field Study trip to Krakow, Poland, which will include a study tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau. We will end by considering how survivors have made meaning from the Holocaust, relating the past to current social issues, and examining the best ways to teach about the Holocaust.

Instructor:  Nadia Garzon

T,R 9:30 - 10:45, 203ELY AUD

This CE course actively explores the use of performing and visual arts in activism and social change. Students will develop and execute a Community Arts project with a community organization. Students will do on-site work (this means you will work outside of class hours with a community partner) and will prepare in class, by doing research and activities related to their chosen project.

Instructor:  Nadia Garzon

T,R 8:00 - 9:15, 203ELY AUD

This course surveys Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, a technique which seeks to give back the means of artistic production to the people. We will explore oppression and systems of oppression in our lives and in our context (racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.) and will use Image and Forum Theater among other tools to investigate and process our experiences. This is a hands-on lab, which means that students will participate in theater games and exercises and may be part of a performance piece.

Instructor:  Sheri Boyd

MWF 9:00 - 9:50, Bush 208

How do different societies choose their leaders? What roles do tradition and ideology play in the structure of government? We will research and compare voting systems and representative legislatures from around the world, applying principles of voting theory and fair division to study the ways diverse groups of people select and empower their leaders.