Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Available Courses

Age of Revolutions

MLS 610—Online

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.

Clue: Detective and Mystery Fiction

MLS 610—Online

Who done it, how, and why? Those are the questions that pull us into the mystery. In Clue: Detective and Mystery Fiction, you’ll have a chance to answer those questions about mystery fiction itself. How does the mystery writer draw us in and capture us as readers? And as you investigate the hows and whys of the genre, you’ll have a chance to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the greatest detectives—Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot—and some of the most intriguing mysteries in fiction, including Poe’s "Murders in the Rue Morgue," Conan Doyle’s "Silver Blaze," Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and Dorothy Sayer’s Oxford classic, Gaudy Night. Along the way, you will investigate crimes that have horrified the public (Jack the Ripper) and learn about forensic techniques as well. Come join us online for this "ripping good time" in literary investigation.

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. 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.

Contemporary World

MLS 610—Online

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.

Creative Expression: Poetry

MLS 610—Online

Poetry exists because the human spirit sometimes needs to speak in extraordinary ways. This course—which is intended for those who already have more than a beginner’s understanding of poetry which they wish to deepen and develop—will be primarily a creative writing class, and as such, presents a contradiction in terms: how can creativity be taught? William Butler Yeats says of poetry in Sailing to Byzantium, “Nor is there singing school, but studying / monuments of its own magnificence.” We will take a cue from him and read/discuss/analyze/live with a selection of great pieces of lyrical writing in poetry and prose, focusing on their craftiness and craft, the fine points of their technique, their development of thematic implications and find how far they will take us as guides for our own personal explorations. Above all, we will write, share and discuss our work in an atmosphere of empathy and respect as we engage in the challenge of giving beautiful shape to our words.

Deborah Seabrook (M.F.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) 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.

Current Problems in the Middle East: An Historical Perspective

MLS 610—Online

Many Americans are curious about the Middle East. We aren't exactly sure who "they" are or how our relationships became so troubled. This course explores the complex political and religious heritage of Judaism, Islam, the Arab Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire as the context for today's states and peoples. Focus then turns to the process of modernization in the twentieth century to discover why it created as many losers as winners, as many enemies of the West as friends. Finally, building on this background, we revisit recent crises in the hope that each of us can arrive at more informed opinions.

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.

Design Thinking

MLS 610—Online

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation. It solves complex problems like a failing business, an outdated curriculum, inaccessible health services, launching a new product, switching to sustainable practices, and starting a new enterprise. It is being used by teachers, business people, designers, social entrepreneurs and activists for developing meaningful and useful responses to contemporary challenges. Design thinking is unique among methods of innovation by putting the user first. A New York Times article described design thinking thusly, “You look at problems first through the prism of user’s needs, research those needs with real people and then build prototype products quickly.” Thus empathy or an empathetic understanding of the users is paramount.
In other works, DT upends normal innovation by putting the user in the foreground. They, the users, continue to collaborate with the designers until the product or service is just right for their needs. That insures the user’s satisfaction and the designer’s success.
The process used in this course moves from Inspiration to Ideation to Implementation. And you’ll be introduced to a set of tools that put these concepts in motion. Your main text will remain a trustworthy guide in this course and future innovations.
During these seven weeks you’ll move from user’s needs to entertaining diverse solutions, choosing and developing the best, and finally launching one. You’ll be immersed in design thinking, all the time being in dialogue with others and your professor. Your goal is to bring your project to the implementation stage. There are no formal papers. Text The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design by IDEO. org (978-0-9914063-1-9)

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.

Diverse Identities: Contemporary Non-Western Literature

MLS 610—Online

Today, living as a responsible, informed citizen requires that we think globally. We sense that our own stresses and pleasures in everyday America are connected to what happens in China, India, or the Middle East. We live on a planet united by technology and trade, but too often our news of other lands comes in sound bites. It often sounds tragic and strange. Yet we know on a deeper level that today’s complex world is a web in which we all are caught, a web in which all people find reason enough to be proud, courageous, loyal, and happy.

This course takes the student across boundaries. We read novels, short stories, memoirs, essays, poetry, and view films that show the how and why of cultures far different from our own.

Deborah Seabrook (M.F.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) 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.

Global Arts: Windows into the Hearts of Other Cultures

MLS 610—Online

Can we appreciate the arts of cultures foreign to us? Is translation necessary? Does a culture's sense of time and space affect its artistic expressions? Global arts provide a helpful window into the hearts of other cultures. In this course we will expand our ways of thinking/sensing/feeling to prepare for a comparative exploration of the arts of four different cultures beyond our own. We survey the past and present arts of these countries for 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.

In Search of the Church

MLS 610—Online

Moved by both the memory of Jesus and the anticipation of the kingdom of God, Christianity always looks backward as well as forward. In fact, over the centuries the changes and reforms which have created new futures for Christianity have always occurred as a result of attempts to rediscover and return to a church past. The roots of the modern church thus lie not only in the reforms and reformers of 16th century Europe but also just as much in the earlier Church as the reformers apprehended and understood it. This course will embark on a similar journey and try to understand better the beginnings of the church present by investigating the church past, moving backward in time from the world of the 16th century reformers to the first century world of Peter and Paul.

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

London's Fictions

MLS 610—Online

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 (Defoe, Burney, Dickens, Stevenson) and dramatists (Wilde, Sheridan, Wycherley). These authors’ images of wealth and crime, entertainment and alienation, spectacle and terror shaped our sense of what it means to inhabit a city.

Jim E. Evans (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) specializes in eighteenth-century British literature and offers seminars in fiction and drama at UNCG. He is the author of Comedy: An Annotated Bibliography of Theory and Criticism, A Guide to Prose Fiction in the Tatler and the Spectator (with John Wall), and numerous essays on Restoration Comedies, fiction (by Fielding, Smollett, and Richardson), and early British periodicals. A contributor to Broken Boundaries: Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama, he is at work on a study of gambling in late Stuart comedy and culture. A piece of that project appeared recently in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Evans was a winner of the 1999-2000 Teaching Competition of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Modern Problems of Belief

MLS 610—Online

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.

Reel World

MLS 610—Online

This course focuses on contemporary global issues in the post-World War II period through film. Although “Contemporary World” is not a prerequisite, we use the lessons and other information from that course as background to examine the issues and themes raised there, using a wide variety of U.S. and foreign films as our source base. This is not a film course per se, as we do not emphasize issues of art, cinematography, or the directing involved in making the films we view. Rather, we use film as our window onto the world, examining the historical context of the films themselves as well as reviews and articles about our selected films to emphasize and critique the varying interpretations of history as presented on the big screen.

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.

Religion and Ecology

MLS 610—Online

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 of earth-care, a means of re-inhabitation, and rituals of sustainability—in short, an 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.

Rights and Wrongs: Social Justice in Theory and Practice

MLS 610—Online

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.

Shakespeare: A Muse of Fire

MLS 610—Online

Why do we still read and study Shakespeare? Every day, somewhere on the planet, a group is staging a Shakespeare play. Every day people all over the world unwittingly, wittingly, and sometimes even wittily quote him: "To thine own self be true." "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." "The lady doth protest too much."

Shakespeare lives on as well in adaptations such as A Thousand Acres (King Lear), My Own Private Idaho (Henry V), and West Side Story and Shakespeare in Love (Romeo and Juliet). Shakespeare lies at the heart of Western Civilization. In fact, it's not much exaggeration to say that Shakespeare IS Western Civilization. To discover Shakespeare's plays is to discover ourselves and our world.

Many people find Shakespeare daunting. After all, his work is "great literature," and his language is so different. This course will (re)introduce you to Shakespeare as the working playwright who used spectacle, great speeches, high drama, low comedy, and even bawdy jokes to entertain the London crowds. Come join us as a "groundling" for a tour of Shakespeare's life and times, and enjoy the rollicking romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, the thrilling Henry VI, and the heart wrenching Othello.

Lord David Cecil, who taught at Oxford, said that the first duty of the student is to enjoy. We plan to have fun as we learn about England's greatest writer.

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.

The Dragon Awakes: Charting the Path of Modern China

MLS 610—Online

Napoleon once famously admonished Europe to "let China sleep, for when she awakes she will shake the world." In recent years the People's Republic of China has certainly stirred, and the whole world has taken notice. However, China's economic stirrings have been accompanied by mounting social and cultural tensions at the heart of Chinese society. In this course we will examine the political, social and cultural roots of modern China and discuss the varied nature of the nation's future challenges. Topics will include state, society, and mass culture in the throes of reform, the global implications of China's economic and diplomatic "Grand Strategy," the widening urban-rural divide, and the role of the individual and individual dissent in modern Chinese society.

Dr. James A. Anderson (Ph.D. University of Washington) is an Associate Professor in the History department at UNCG. His fields of study include Late Imperial China, Modern China, Pre-modern Southeast Asia, and High Medieval Europe. He is the recipient of several awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship for the 2006-2007 academic year in Beijing and a Luce Fellowship at the Library of Congress in 2004. His new book is The Rebel Den of Nung Tri Cao: Eleventh-Century Rebellion and Response along the Sino-Vietnamese Frontier.

The Islamic World: Perceptions and Realities

MLS 610—Online

September 11, 2001, obviously changed the world, and one of the ways this is apparent is with the increased interest of Americans in the Islamic world. This course seeks to place the modern Islamic world in an historical context, with an emphasis on how people in the West perceive Islam, as well as how Muslims see themselves. We will begin by tracing the roots of Islam to the era of the prophet Muhammad and charting the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, but our primary focus is the contemporary history of several countries within the Islamic realm. We will not focus on Islam as a religion. Themes for the course include the Islamic world’s relations with the West; the differences within Islam as well as within and between Islamic countries; gender relations within the Islamic world; the Arab-Israeli conflict and its significance to the broader Islamic world; and the rise of modern terrorism in the Middle East. We will finish the course by focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict and its general significance for the Islamic world. Students will come away from the course with an understanding of the historical roots of Islam and of the contemporary Islamic world.

Jeff Jones (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Assistant 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.

Passion of the Western Mind

MLS 610—Online

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.

Voices from Latin America: The Modern Period

MLS 620—Online

"Voices from Latin America: The Modern Period" aims to educate students about contemporary Latin American society and culture from the perspective of historical memory. After brief explorations of Latin America's modern history and historiography, the course delves into the study of historical memories of the Cold War period in two Latin American countries: Chile and Guatemala. The course looks at the relation between history and memory through documentary films, a classic novel, and some scholarly sources. For the final project students will have the opportunity to create an electronic portfolio based on one of the Latin American countries using the online service WordPress.com.

Booklist:
John C. Chasteen, Born in Blood in Fire, 3rd edition (WWNorton, 2011)
James A. Wood, Problems in Modern Latin American History, 4th edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, any paperback edition will do (recommend Harper Perennial reprint edition of 2006 translated by Gregory Rabassa).

James A. Wood (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is professor of Latin American history. He teaches courses in Latin American history, modern world history, and historical research methods at NC A&T University. His book, The Society of Equality: Popular Republicanism and Democracy in Santiago de Chile, 1818-1851, earned honorable mention from SECOLAS’s Alfred B. Thomas Award Committee in 2012. Wood’s most recent publication is a new edition of the popular reader, Problems in Modern Latin American History: Sources and Interpretations, 4th edition.

Dangerous Minds: Terrorism, Political Violence, and Radical Orthodoxies

MLS 620—Online

We live in dangerous times. Violence, mischief, and mayhem have long characterized criminal behaviors that represent humanity’s dark underbelly. While it may be possible to isolate certain psychological types susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations, it is simplistic to profile individual terrorists and religious extremists without understanding the true nature of the systems that spawn them. Because we cannot separate individuals from the societies they belong to, it is essential to understand the cultural, political, and economic conditions that encourage terrorism and violence. In response to pervasive frustrations or manifold abuses, violence can transcend the individual to become governmental policies or social movements, propelled and justified by revolutionary ideology or religious beliefs.

The course asks hard questions not only about the perpetrators of political and religious extremism around the world, but also about the social, economic, and political structures that give rise to violent acts against perceived enemies. The dangers we face in a liberal democracy are not imagined. The lesson of 9/11 is that our enemies are real. While we may easily identify one strand of radical Islamic orthodoxy as a legitimate enemy committed to our destruction, we must also ask what, if any, real differences separate a Christian fundamentalist who terrorizes abortion clinics in Florida from a Muslim suicide bomber intent on our destruction.

More than an analysis of individual personality types, the course examines the premise that all social, political, and economic systems have their darker sides. It seeks to engage those contradictions through films, readings, and dialogue to imagine creative solutions that enhance our lives as well transform the structures that encourage terrorism.

Carrie Levesque (Ph.D., Duke University) is a Lecturer in Liberal Studies at UNCG. With a background in Russian literature and Women’s Studies, she has a wide variety of teaching interests, from women’s memoirs of war and terror to social and economic issues in American motherhood. She spends her free time studying Norwegian (and Norwegians) after moving with her family to Bergen, Norway, in fall 2012.

Global Human Rights

MLS 620—Online

The setting of this course is a grassroots, intensely focused, and highly respected human rights organization. MALS students will join the organization as trainees to become human rights monitors (investigators). The highly interactive training program will require new monitors to learn by exploring human rights issues around the world. The research requires virtual travel to sites of current conflict to investigate allegations of genocide in Darfur, sex slavery in Thailand, detainee abuse in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and growing threats to civil liberties.

Students will develop critical familiarity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its historical antecedents in the U.S. Bill of Rights and the French Rights of Man, and explore their cultural and political foundations. Most required readings will be available online, but students will be expected to view documentaries and films as well as read additional materials that inform their human rights research.

Students will become proficient in research methodologies that encourage investigative independence and creativity while maintaining academic rigor in order to understand complex issues and recommend achievable solutions in their reports to the agency director.

Alexandra Schultheis Moore (Ph.D., University of Rochester) associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, teaches postcolonial studies and human rights in literature and film. She is the author of Regenerative Fictions: Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis, and the Nation as Family (2004) and co-editor, with Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, of Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature (2011). They are also co-editing a volume onTeaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies. Moore has published essays in journals including Genders, Humanity, Peace Review, South Asian Review, and Twentieth-Century Literature as well as in various edited collections. Her current monograph project, Between Mourning and Advocacy, examines human rights as a mode of framing and reception for contemporary literature.

Livable and Sustainable Cities

MLS 620—Online

This course asks students to learn a language composed of interlocking patterns that connect the people and buildings of a city with their history and natural ecology. We begin with an overview of the historical and social roots of the problem in James Kunstler's Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-made Landscapes. Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language, the main text of the course, provides us with a catalog of 100 urban patterns with which we can analyze any city landscape and design a better one. With this new language, each student conducts a study of what works well in their neighborhood and city. After several weeks a clear picture of the problems and possibilities of each urban space will become evident.

We will add to our pattern recognition by incorporating the latest thinking of the leading theorist of sustainable places, William McDonough, in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. He shows how to effectively integrate the economic necessities of life with the surrounding environment. Finally, we conclude with a study of patterns of sustainability in Timothy Beatley's The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy and Community. Students choose their own patterns that enhance a community's sustainability and apply them to a particular case study in their own community.

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.

Simple Living in a Complex Age

MLS 620—Online

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.

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.

The Global Economy

MLS 620—Online

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.

Global Perspectives in Biology

MLS 630—Online

Biology affects us on a global scale. It touches our lives every day, and understanding biological principles and concepts is vital for all citizens of the 21st century. In this course, you think and learn about some of the smallest organisms on the planet: bacteria and viruses that cause human diseases. Diseases caused by microbes have had an enormous impact on human health throughout history, and they continue to challenge us today. Although the Germ Theory of Disease was recognized in the 19th century and antibiotics were discovered in the 20th, we have not been able to eliminate the worldwide scourge of infectious diseases, especially in developing countries. In this course, we focus on several diseases caused by bacteria or viruses, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, influenza, and cholera. These diseases become models for understanding basic biological principles. In addition, we'll learn about their global consequences (past and present) and about the approaches used today to try to control infectious diseases.

Janne G. Cannon (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where she worked for more than thirty years, teaching microbiology and doing research on infectious diseases in humans. Her particular research focus for most of that time was on the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. Since 2009, she has been an Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies at UNCG where she has taught courses for the MALS program, including "Emerging Issues in Biology" and "Global Perspectives in Biology." She also teaches a seminar course entitled "Plagues" for undergraduate Honors students. Dr. Cannon is also a volunteer mediator and community mediation instructor for Alamance County Dispute Settlement & Youth Services in Graham, NC.

Reason to Relativity: Revolutions in Scientific Thought

MLS 630—Online

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.

John Young (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy. He also studied at the University of London and Yale. He is Dean Emeritus of UNCG's Division of Continual Learning and has served on the MALS Advisory Board since the program's inception in 1987.

Science Through Nobel Laureates

MLS 630—Online

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 Emeritus in the Department of Biology where he has been a faculty member since 1972. He regularly taught general microbiology, virology, immunology, and principles of biology. For fun, he is an avid tennis player who is also learning to play golf. Also, he is a mediator as well as a private pilot.