Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Courses by Semester

2015 First Summer Session: May 14–June 17

Dates to Remember

May 14: Classes begin
May 15: Last day to drop/add
May 16: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
June 1: Last day to drop without academic penalty
June 17: Last day of classes

Creative Expression: Poetry

MLS610    CRN 52727

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for syllabus.

Click here for calendar.

"Making Poetry" is an online workshop class. Students will have the opportunity to write poetry in an informal, constructive atmosphere and to read poetry mindfully. The course only requires that the student has an interest in poetry's language and form, and that he or she enjoys how words are put together to create a sense of the human experience.
No prior experience in writing poetry is required. Please note the word "workshop." Any poetry that the student writes for this course will be considered a work-in-progress when he or she shares it with fellow students. No "finished" poems are expected.
Readings from the required texts will be the basis of many of our discussions and will advance our understanding of how to read and write a poem. It is hoped that by the end of the course, students will have a shared body of knowledge that will help them keep the reading and writing of poetry an ongoing pleasure in their lives.

Deborah Seabrooke (MFA, UNCG) was educated at Cornell University and has taught English at UNCG for almost twenty years. She has published in Best American Short Stories, 1985 and The Virginia Quarterly Review. A chapbook of her short stories, Margins of Error, was published by Unicorn Press in 2005.

The Contemporary World 

MLS610    CRN 52728

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

This course will examine contemporary global issues with a focus on the post-World War II period, from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, to the complex, high-tech, evolving world of today. We will, as much as possible, view changes in the postwar period from the point of view of those undergoing them, including students in this course. Everyone has an "historical consciousness," an understanding of the way the world became what it is today. The main purpose of this course is to introduce students to alternative ways of interpreting history by weighing the merits of differing points of view. We will examine the world by regions, with a number of themes in mind: the Cold War; the rise and fall of communism; nationalism; de-colonization/neo-colonialism; the international economy; racial, ethnic, and religious conflict; the rise of terrorism; gender; class; and environmental issues. You should take from the course the skills to critically appraise varying historical arguments and to clearly express your own interpretation.

Jeff Jones (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of History. His specific area of research is Russian-Soviet history, and he is interested in 20th century global history. Dr. Jones recently received the UCEA (University Continuing Education Association) Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to continuing education.

Rights and Wrongs: Social Justice in Theory and Practice

MLS610    CRN 52729

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for syllabus.

This course asks, “How so?” in the context of American history.

We are going to be looking at American history, our past up to our present, in terms of freedom and civil rights, the franchise, and economic and social welfare, seeing their pursuit as three separate but often overlapping and intertwined stories. (For shorthand purposes, keep in mind the acronym FFW—freedom, franchise, and welfare.) We will trace this pursuit over the course of three centuries, keeping in mind the three (conceptually) separate stages. We will identify the major issues of each stage through the voices of both contemporaries (opponents as well as proponents of change) and modern commentators and scholars. We will watch how and how far we have gone through each of the three stages of progress and try finally to assess just where we are on this journey or arc today.

This is a very important (and ongoing) American story. But it is also, more generally, the story of the modern world, or, to put it another way, the story of the (ongoing) human experience in the modern world.

Stephen Ruzicka (Ph. D., University of Chicago) is an Associate Professor of History. His interests as a classical historian focus on periods of cultural change. He is the recipient of the 2000 Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

Age of Revolutions

MLS610    CRN 52730

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Changes in the Western world over the last 600 years have been so profound as to constitute a series of revolutions. This course examines this "Age of Revolutions," and figures out how each one, from the Commercial Revolution to the Sexual Revolution, helped shape the modern age. In each revolutionary episode, we will look at the institutions, practices, and ideas that were overthrown or radically altered by new developments; examine the individuals and texts that played a critical role; and trace the impact the new institutions, practices, and ideas had on the revolution brought forth.

Susan W. Thomas (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro) has taught in the History Department at UNCG since 2008. Her primary research interests concern the social, political, and economic development of the American South, with an emphasis on the early twentieth century penal system, racial identity, and the working class. Dr. Thomas incorporates a global perspective in her teaching and challenges her students to recognize the close relationship between the past and events in the world around them.

Simple Living in a Complex Age

MLS620    CRN 52733

ONLINE COURSE

With all our wealth, we want more. With all our timesaving devices, we’re out of time. With so many choices, we feel trapped. As long as the stock market rises, we’re secure, when it falls, the Dream fades. That, at least, is how it feels. And if it’s bad for us, what about the less affluent nations and the natural world? What happens to the rest of the world when their fates are wrapped around western tourism and multinationals? Voluntary simplicity, an ancient ideal, is built around the riddle that less is more. In our times it has new applications. It not only is a means to rein in our appetites and nurture inner contentment. It is a practical tool for adapting to change, deciphering societal ills, living within the carrying capacity of the earth, and rebuilding communities. We will read thoughtful books, discuss important issues, try on voluntary simplicity and write.

Books for Simple Living in a Complex Age
For Unit 1:
Article: “How Much is Enough?” by Alan Durning (Don’t buy his book by the same name. The article is available in Canvas when the course begins.)
Article: “Buddhist Economics” by Schumacher, from his book Small is Beautiful. (Available in Canvas when the course begins.)

For Unit 2:
Overspent American Juliet Schor 1999 0060977582
The Ad and the Ego (video) See online at IMDb. Payment required.

For Unit 3:
The Simple Life David Shi 2007 0820329754

For Unit 4:
Seven Lessons of Chaos Briggs and Peat 2009 006093073X

For Unit 5:
The Deep Economy Bill McKibben 2008 0805087222

Charlie Headington (Ph.D., University of Chicago) teaches a variety of courses at UNCG and in the community. Most of them encourage people to examine themselves and society, and make constructive changes in how they think and live. He likes to garden, walk, cook, be with his family, and learn Italian.

Emerging Powers

MLS620    CRN 52734

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen unprecedented challenges and change in the realm of global affairs. As the post-Cold War world, with the U.S. as the sole remaining "superpower," meets the new era of globalization, where billions of interconnected global citizens transcend traditional polictical borders, the concept of global "powers" continues to evolve. Emerging Powers examines the changing dimensions of global power and explores some of the big questions. What constitutes a nation's power? Which nations will shape our world in the coming decades? What role will the U.S. play in the new geopolitical arena? Is the concept of a "superpower" still relevant? Join a team of experts from across the spectrum of international affairs, as we explore the changing face of global power in this course.

Jeff Jones (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of History. His specific area of research is Russian-Soviet history, and he is interested in 20th century global history. Dr. Jones recently received the UCEA (University Continuing Education Association) Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to continuing education.

2015 Second Summer Session: June 18–July 24

Dates to Remember

June 18: Classes begin
June 19: Last day to drop/add
June 20: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
July 3: Independence Day Holiday
July 9: Last day to drop without academic penalty
July 24: Last day of classes

Food and Film

MLS610    CRN 52731

ONLINE COURSE

Course description and syllabus coming soon.

Tony Fragola (MPW from the University of Southern California) is a Professor of Broadcasting/Cinema and has written and directed short films and published scholarly articles on European directors. He has been working on a series of documentaries in Sicily, including A Beautiful Memory: A Mother and Her Sons Against the Mafia. His current project focuses on lands confiscated from the Mafia and turned over to farm cooperatives, especially in the area of Corleone, made (in)famous by The Godfather.

Science Through Nobel Laureates

MLS630    CRN 52791

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for booklist.

Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine are often awarded for research that has transformed both biology and our world. Nobel prize winning scientists have written their autobiographies, and there are excellent biographical accounts of their lives and their work. The goal of this course will be to explore some fundamental biological topics in disciplines such as genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, and virology. This exploration will employ the writings by and about Nobel Prize winners.

Rob Cannon (Ph.D. University of Delaware) Dr. Cannon is a Professor in the Department of Biology where he has been a faculty member since 1972. He regularly teaches general microbiology, virology, immunology, and principles of biology. For fun, he is an avid tennis and racquetball player, and an instrument-rated commercial pilot.

The Global Economy

MLS620    CRN 52735

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for booklist.

For the past decade or so, “globalization” has been the media buzzword used to describe changes in the U.S. and world economies, perhaps second in recent years only to “the New Economy” in frequency of use. For the most part, this discussion of globalization has focused on changes that seem apparent in contrast to the period following WWII. According to one popular version of this story, in the 1970s the barriers to cross-border trade and financial transactions began to come down. By the late 1990s, as one commentator put it, we lived on the cusp of a “borderless world” where people, information, equipment and ideas would flow freely. In this context, it was imagined, the world would prosper as never before.

During the post-war period, global cross-border trade and financial transactions were a fraction of what they are today. For many developed countries, the increased trade of the past few decades has meant a decline in the importance of manufacturing, as production of everything from cars to shoes has moved to places where labor was relatively cheap. For a few developing countries, this has meant increased investment from rich developed nations. But for many—especially countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, to say nothing of the ex-manufacturing sectors of the developed world—so called “globalization” has bought few, if any, of the beneficial effects once imagined. Or so it would seem.

This course begins where the theory of the global economy and its reality meet. In general, the course highlights the theory of free trade, since it is on the back of this theory that the promise of globalization—or we might say, economic liberalization—rests. As we will see, the most recent episode of economic liberalization is but a small part of the whole story, although our recent experiences can tell us a good deal about how free trade might or might not work, and for whose benefit. The course is divided into eight basic units, each exploring an important topic for understanding the global economy.

Jeff Sarbaum (Ph.D., SUNY Binghamton) is Lecturer of Economics at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has specialized in experimental, labor international and urban economics and is an award-winning economics teacher.

2015 First Fall Session: August 17–October 2

Dates to Remember

August 17: Classes begin
August 19: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
August 21: Last day to drop/add
August 24: Deadline for graduate students to apply to graduate December '15
Sept. 10: Last day to withdraw without academic penalty
October 2: Last day of classes

Passion of the Western Mind

MLS610   CRN 88341

ONLINE COURSE

Syllabus coming soon.

Click here for the course's book list.

There are many big stories in the history of western civilization, stories that unfold over centuries and across many periods of western history. This is one of them. It has to do with the formation of an enduring world view that connects human beings in intimate ways to the universe and proves a sense of meaning to human existence. This worldview also furnishes a direction and goal for human activity. Or, to put it another way, gives human existence purpose.

This worldview in its essential elements takes shape in the world of ancient Greece in the late 5th and 4th centuries BC and it lasts for nearly 2000 years in one form or another. We might thus see it as "the western outlook." But for a number of reasons, this worldview collapses—ends up being impossible to sustain by the late 17th century. This collapse produces part 2 of our big story—the quest for a new, equally satisfying worldview with an equally compelling picture of human meaning and purpose. The quest has gone on now for 300 years without success. These are the stories we will explore in this class.

Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is an esteemed historian and professor with a career in publishing and teaching spanning more than 35 years. Dr. Ruzicka has taught history at UNCG since 1980, and his research specializations include Ancient History, Classics, Early Christian Literature, and World History. A contributor to various academic journals and publications, his most recent book is Trouble in the West: The Persian Empire and Egypt, 525-332 B.C.

The Contemporary World

MLS610   CRN 83115

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for syllabus.

Click here for calendar.

This course will examine contemporary global issues with a focus on the post-World War II period, from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, to the complex, high-tech, evolving world of today. We will, as much as possible, view changes in the postwar period from the point of view of those undergoing them, including students in this course. Everyone has an "historical consciousness," an understanding of the way the world became what it is today. The main purpose of this course is to introduce students to alternative ways of interpreting history by weighing the merits of differing points of view. We will examine the world by regions, with a number of themes in mind: the Cold War; the rise and fall of communism; nationalism; de-colonization/neo-colonialism; the international economy; racial, ethnic, and religious conflict; the rise of terrorism; gender; class; and environmental issues. You should take from the course the skills to critically appraise varying historical arguments and to clearly express your own interpretation.

Ann Saab (Ph.D., Harvard) is Professor Emeritus of History at UNCG. She has served as Associate Dean of the UNCG Graduate School and Head of the History Department. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural understanding and misunderstandings.

The Global Economy

MLS620    CRN 83125

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

For the past decade or so, “globalization” has been the media buzzword used to describe changes in the U.S. and world economies, perhaps second in recent years only to “the New Economy” in frequency of use. For the most part, this discussion of globalization has focused on changes that seem apparent in contrast to the period following WWII. According to one popular version of this story, in the 1970s the barriers to cross-border trade and financial transactions began to come down. By the late 1990s, as one commentator put it, we lived on the cusp of a “borderless world” where people, information, equipment and ideas would flow freely. In this context, it was imagined, the world would prosper as never before.

During the post-war period, global cross-border trade and financial transactions were a fraction of what they are today. For many developed countries, the increased trade of the past few decades has meant a decline in the importance of manufacturing, as production of everything from cars to shoes has moved to places where labor was relatively cheap. For a few developing countries, this has meant increased investment from rich developed nations. But for many—especially countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, to say nothing of the ex-manufacturing sectors of the developed world—so called “globalization” has bought few, if any, of the beneficial effects once imagined. Or so it would seem.

This course begins where the theory of the global economy and its reality meet. In general, the course highlights the theory of free trade, since it is on the back of this theory that the promise of globalization—or we might say, economic liberalization—rests. As we will see, the most recent episode of economic liberalization is but a small part of the whole story, although our recent experiences can tell us a good deal about how free trade might or might not work, and for whose benefit. The course is divided into eight basic units, each exploring an important topic for understanding the global economy.

Jeff Sarbaum (Ph.D., SUNY Binghamton) is Lecturer of Economics at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has specialized in experimental, labor international and urban economics and is an award-winning economics teacher.

Reason to Relativity: Revolutions in Scientific Thought

MLS630    CRN 88345

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

For centuries Aristotle's interpretation of the physical world stood as the gold standard. It shaped how generations of scholars and scientists saw and described their own world—until Newton arrived on the scene. Much later, Einstein filled in the gaps that Newton's vision didn't adequately explain. Today, Einstein's theories are being simultaneously verified and challenged by the next generation of scientists. This dynamic process has had its ups and downs since Aristotle's time—both revolutionary and evolutionary—while the search for truth goes valiantly on. Our goal is to view discoveries and revelations in the context of both their historical and scientific importance and discover what prompted great minds to take these leaps forward.

Bob Miller (Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology) is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry. As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences he was instrumental in the founding of the MALS program in 1985.

2015 Fall Ten Week Classes: September 8–November 18

Dates to Remember

September 8: Classes begin
September 10: Last day to drop/add
October 12-13: Fall break
October 14: Last day to withdraw without academic penalty
November 18: Last day of classes

London's Fictions

MLS610   CRN 88342

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

From the Restoration until the death of Queen Victoria the development of London as a metropolis, a national capital, and a center of empire made it the first truly modern European city. Writers in two “new” literary forms – the novel and manners comedy – described vividly the pleasures, perils, and problems of London life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This course will look at London’s growth, as interpreted in Roy Porter’s London: A Social History, in relation to its fictional representations by novelists (Dickens, Fielding) and dramatists (Wilde, Sheridan, Congreve). These authors’ images of wealth and crime, entertainment and alienation, spectacle and terror shaped our sense of what it means to inhabit a city.

Joseph Rosenblum (Ph.D., Duke University) grew up in Connecticut in a family where the greatest sin was raising one’s voice, though buying retail ran a close second. Since 1980, he has taught at UNCG. Among his books are “Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography” (1992), “A Reader’s Guide to Shakespeare” (1998) and “The Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare” (2005). In 1990, he won second prize in the Oxford University Press English Detective Fiction contest with a story about a thief who leaves Shakespearean quotations in lieu of the objects he steals.

2015 Second Fall Session: October 7–December 3

Dates to Remember

October 7: Classes begin
October 9: Last day to drop for tuition/fees refund
October 14: Last day to drop/add
November 4: Last day to drop without academic penalty
November 16: Portfolios due
December 3: Last day of classes
December 10: December Commencement, Greensboro Coliseum

Global Arts: into the HeARTS of Other Cultures

MLS610    CRN 90125

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Can we appreciate the arts of cultures foreign to us? Is a translation process necessary? Does a culture's sense of time and space affect its artistic expressions? Study of global arts provides a helpful window into the hearts of other cultures. In this course we will expand our understanding of our ways of thinking/sensing/feeling to prepare for a comparative exploration of the arts of four different cultural contexts beyond our own. We will survey the past and present arts of these countries in search of clues to common themes and ideas while attempting to discover the distinct world views represented.

Larry Lavender (Ph.D., New York University) is a Professor of Dance at UNCG. He holds an M.F.A. in Choreography from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in Dance Education. Prior to coming to UNCG in 2002, Larry was Head of Dance and Director of the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate degree program at the University of New Mexico. Larry's primary areas of teaching are dance criticism, choreography, writing about art, and creativity studies.

Modern Problems of Belief

MLS610   CRN 90127

ONLINE COURSE

Syllabus coming soon.

How do you see the world? A hostile place, full of threat? A natural and complex machine? A place of wonder held in God's hands? Philosophers and scientists agree that "the world" is a place both "out there" and "in here"— that our ideas about the world shape how we experience it. This course looks at modern western views of the world and at new ideas that are challenging the ways we traditionally view, understand, and indeed create the world. We will explore religious and philosophical models of nature and human nature, the self and its environment, the supernatural, psyche, and spirit.

Ben Ramsey (Ph.D., M.Div., Union Theological Seminary in New York) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UNCG. His current research interests are in spirituality and politics.

Religion and Ecology

MLS610   CRN 83103

ONLINE COURSE

Click here for TENTATIVE syllabus.

Religions are commonly viewed as ways to transcend nature, not abide in it. Religious people often describe themselves as pilgrims "just a-passin' through" rather than at home on the earth.

Yet, the current environmental crisis has motivated many people to re-examine their traditions and to align themselves with the earth. Whether Buddhist or Christian, Jew or Hindu, they discover a religiously based eco-theology, an ethic or earth-care, a means of re-inhabitation, and rituals of sustainability—in short, and eco-spirituality.

A dialogue about the fate of the earth has begun. We will enter a discussion with Christians, Buddhists, Native Americans, Taoists, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, as well as with new voices of eco-feminism, deep ecology and sustainable design. Emphasis will be placed on what people and communities practice, and on new forms of Christian theology, and on the design of a sustainable future. This class is discussion oriented with readings and reflection papers. We will talk to each other through a discussion forum, post our papers for our peers' responses, and take advantage of relevant websites.

Charlie Headington (Ph.D., University of Chicago) teaches a variety of courses at UNCG and in the community. Most of them encourage people to examine themselves and society, and make constructive changes in how they think and live. He likes to garden, walk, cook, be with his family, and learn Italian.