WELCOME TO FALL SEMESTER >>

Fall classes take a cool turn in exploring current events, new ideas

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Aug. 20, 2014

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Students in Oxford College's "Sociology of Food" course will get hands-on experience at the Oxford Organic Farm, led by farmer Daniel Parson. Photo by Daniel Parson.

The academy meets the outside world in a variety of creative courses being offered fall semester by Emory's outstanding faculty, as service-based learning and academic rigor intersect with current events and new ideas. Here is a sampling of cool classes drawn from across the university.

Many Diseases, Few Causes

Instructors: Michelle Lampl, Director of the Center for the Study of Human Health and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, and Amanda Freeman, instructor in Human Health

Cool factor: Links an emerging, new science of health to modern lifestyles

Course description: While modern medicine focuses on organ-specific diseases, a changing paradigm led by Emory's Predictive Health scholars identifies many diseases as outcomes of common causes and explores specific interventions that can pre-empt chronic diseases.

Department: Human Health, cross-listed in Anthropology

How Things Work

Instructor: Fred Menger, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Chemistry

Cool factor: As they examine scientific and technical features of everyday life, students will never again look at items in their homes, newspaper or on TV in the same way.

Course description: Explores the mysteries of lasers, CD recording, the Pill, photocopying, jet engines, cocaine, genetic engineering, polymers, cooking/baking, pheromones and allergies among many other topics. No scientific background is required for this course that covers chemistry, biology and physics.

Department: Chemistry

Make it New: Modern Art and Literature

Instructor: Amy E. Elkins, PhD candidate in English Literature

Cool factor: In addition to readings, students will make art projects to be featured in an online exhibition. By doing cubist painting, Dada sculpture and modernist photography, students will bring literary and art theories into practice. They will also visit the High Museum's Cézanne exhibit.

Course description: Explores the dynamic world of 20th century art and literature, from decadence and abstraction to primitivism and the Harlem Renaissance. Examines how early-20th century literature and art challenged artistic convention through radical experimentation. Readings include modernist novelists, poets, artists and critics to better understand relationships between literature and the other arts, from painting and architecture to dance and film.

Department: English

Brazil: Country of the Future

Instructors: Thomas Rogers, associate professor of Modern Latin American History, with PhD candidate Maria de los Angeles Picone

Cool factor: After Brazil's 1964 coup, a geographer said the world had accidently discovered Brazil again (Europeans first stumbled ashore in 1500). Attention to the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics has produced yet another discovery. This course explores Brazil's history and culture, evaluating the cliché that it will forever be the country of the future.

Course description: Explores the contrasts and similarities between Brazil and the United States. Focuses on experiences, struggles and debates around identity and diversity, asking how colonialism gave way to the only monarchy in the Americas and why slavery ended after abolition elsewhere. Traces these patterns to examine their legacies in the 20th century and beyond.

Department: History

Politics in Music

Instructor: Courtney Brown, associate professor of political science

Cool factor: Politics is all about influencing the masses. From Beethoven to Hip-Hop, this course covers political ideas that rock.

Course description: Covers a wide range of political content in music, including nationalistic/patriotic music, various styles of political and social protest music, as well as social identity music. Draws from artists/composers from the classical period to current hits, with modern genres spanning the range from Gangsta Rap (unedited versions) to contemporary Pop.

Department: Political Science

Religion of/as Business

Instructor: James Hoesterey, assistant professor of religion

Cool factor: From the "Oprah Effect" to Christian mega-churches to Muslim televangelists, this course explores how religion has become big business across the globe. In turn, we will also learn how companies like Apple and Harley Davidson have cultivated cult-like followings among consumers.

Course description: Teaches how religions provide ethical models for economy and entrepreneurship, beginning with German sociologist Max Weber's classic thesis that the Protestant ethic cultivated a spirit of capitalism. Examines how religious figures become "faith brands" in the marketplace of modernity. In addition to studying the commodification of religion, explores how companies like Intel and Microsoft design and market commodities that meet the needs of religion in the modern world.

Department: Religion

Mapping Memory: History, Culture and the Brain

Instructor: Angelika Bammer, associate professor, Institute of Liberal Arts and Hazel Gold, associate professor of Spanish

Cool factor: Complex issues, such as the past and its enduring impact, require complex approaches. Explores questions about history and memory through a range of diverse materials from the arts, including film, literature, photography, music; humanities, including history, cultural studies; social sciences, including sociology, anthropology; and the biological and medical sciences, including psychology, cognitive neuroscience.

Course description: Explores questions of history (events that happened) and memory (what we recall of those events) to consider the dynamics between present and past. How does the past shape how we live our present and how does the present shape our sense of the past? Why do we remember some pasts and forget others? How are memories passed on and are they still memories when they become stories? Are we responsible for our memories?

Department: Center for Brain, Mind, Culture; crosslisted in Institute of Liberal Arts, Spanish and Comparative Literature

Predictive Sports Analytics

Instructors: Mike Lewis, associate professor of marketing; Manish Tripathi, assistant professor of marketing; and Tom Smith, assistant professor in the practice of finance

Cool factor: Students will analyze real data from professional sports and present to local teams.

Course description: Examines how over the past decade, a professional sports team's decision processes have been transformed from being based mainly on intuition and experience, to being based on copious amounts of data and sophisticated statistical models — a trend highlighted in popular culture through the bestselling book and blockbuster movie "Moneyball." Focuses on the use of analytics and data for improving human capital related decisions in the context of both sports and non-sports. Develops data management and statistical skills.

Department: Goizueta Business School

Listening to Cancer Patients

Instructors: David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry & Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor, with MaKendra Umstead and Jasmine Miller-Kleinhenz, PhD students in cancer biology

Cool factor: In addition to taking an in-depth look at the fight against cancer, students will also make dinner to share with cancer patients and talk with them about their experiences with this disease.

Course description: As a component of the interdisciplinary ORDER (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers) class taught by Emory Graduate Teacher Scholars, this module will provide an opportunity to learn about cancer from its origins, to how cancer drugs are designed and approaches to curing cancer.

Department: Freshman Seminar

The Sociology of Food

Instructor: Deric Shannon, assistant professor of sociology, Oxford College

Cool factor: Students will be involved with the Oxford Organic Farm, helping to grow food as they grow themselves as engaged learners. Discussions about the sociological relevance of food will be paired with a collection of experiences, quite literally, in the field, helping develop a small, local organic farm.

Course description: Centers on the sociological study of food. From social sustainability to inequality, culture and identity, food has a central role in human social organization, as we require food to survive. Invites students to think about the ways that food intersects with objects of sociological study and a variety of questions surrounding food and food systems throughout the world.

Department: Sociology