2008

The following UTeach classes were taught during Spring 2008. Please click on one of the links below to be redirected to the Course Description of each section. Following webreg.uci.edu, you may also find the follow courses listed in Spring Quarter 2008 under the University Studies Department, course number 7, some of which listings may link to class websites.

Censorship and South Park
Imperial Heroes: The Dynamic Individual and the British Empire
American Ghost Stories
Biological Modeling
Media Coverage of the Middle East
Medical Uncertainty
Biology and Harry Potter
The Physics of Dance
Politics of Public Health Policy
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Public Health Implications

Censorship and South Park

Course Description:
Almost from the moment in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified, the interpretation and application of the First Amendment has been called into question. One of those rights, to “freedom of speech,” has grown more and more complex as speech has found more and more media by which to transmit itself. Questions have emerged that the men who penned the Bill of Rights could not have imagined in their wildest dreams. This course will explore censorship and free speech issues through the lens of the television program South Park. The contrasting views of Plato and John Stuart Mill will provide a framework by which students will assess their own opinions on censorship and free speech. By the end of the course, students will be able to clearly articulate their own arguments about the First Amendment’s trickiest phrase, “freedom of speech.” (Warning: Some may find the videoclips from South Park offensive.)

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Imperial Heroes:
The Dynamic Individual and the British Empire

Course Description:
This seminar will interrogate the idea of the ‘imperial hero’ in the British Empire during the late Victorian era, working to situate the dynamic individuals we will encounter in their historical context by examining a number of case studies through the lens of several themes. Reading requirements will be fairly modest, a single 3-5 page paper will be required, and whilst there are no prerequisites, students should be enthusiastic and willing to participate in discussion.

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American Ghost Stories

Course Description:
This class will attempt to present a geographically and chronologically diverse survey of ghost stories by American writers, with the goal of analyzing both the ghost as a literary figure as well as the “haunted” aspects of American identity. By the end of the class, students should have had the opportunity to consider questions such as: Is there a standard American ghost story? What versions of the past are presented, and what is left out? How do different stories deal with the problematic figure of the ghost? What is its literary purpose or merit? And how is a literary ghost different (or is it?) from a pop culture or folklore ghost? Students will hopefully also gain some familiarity with different theories of haunting, and we will discuss the importance of location, memory, and community in all the stories we read. There will be one 3-4 page paper due tenth week, and students will be required to briefly present their paper topic to the class.

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Biological Modeling

Course Description:
Biological modeling is an exciting and rapidly growing field. In this course we will explore the biological, mathematical, and computational techniques used in modeling through the context of a particular process: tumor development. The goal of the course is to provide students with a global picture of modeling that is accessible to students from both the biological and physical sciences. Depending on student interest, we can explore more advanced techniques such as modeling nutrient flow and the graphics programming required to facilitate an effective model.

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Media Coverage of the Middle East

Course Description:
To fully comprehend the world around you, it is advantageous to be familiar with where your information comes from. The Middle East is a hotbed of turmoil; it seems that the media dwells more on that region than any other part of the world. The problem is that much of the coverage of the region, regardless of whether it is produced in the West or Muslim world, features biased and inaccurate information that bombard viewers, listeners and readers. This seminar hopes to help us understand what are the most common of these biases and misperceptions and what may account for them.

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Medical Uncertainty

Course Description:
Why do doctors make mistakes? What ethical assumptions make us put our lives in the hands of medical science? How is our understanding of medicine naive, flawed, or even incorrect? This course attempts to show students a view of medicine through the lens of skeptical inquiry. We will address the characteristically uncertain nature of medicine at the heart of its science, and its direct practice. By attaining a greater understanding of the dubious nature of medicine throughout the past and even today, we may catch a glimpse of the immensely complex, unique, and even heroic feats doctors and others in healthcare must perform every day.

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Biology and Harry Potter

Course Description:
This class is for Harry Potter fans who are interested exploring the extraordinary diversity of biology using the science/magic of the Harry Potter books as a point of departure for the weekly discussions. We will discuss such topics as how Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans work and how werewolves can exist in the Muggle world. We will be discussing such topics through scientific articles and the book, ” The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works” by Roger Highfield. A wide range of scientific topics are covered in an intriguing manner, and it could especially prove appropriate as a means for introducing a Harry Potter-crazed person to the wonders that exist in our own world, without having to take a trip to Hogwarts.

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The Physics of Dance

Course Description:
Physics and dance are two academic topics seldom mentioned in the same sentence. Many people believe that physics and dance are completely unrelated and that a study of the connections between the two would be futile. Is there really a connection between two seemingly opposite areas of study? Why is this connection interesting and how might it be helpful? This seminar will examine the application of physics to technical aspects of dance and to choreography in an attempt to provide answers to these questions. Both the use of Newtonian mechanics to execute and explain movement, enhancing physical capabilities of the body, and the consideration of physics as a creative inspiration will be studied. Time permitting, modern theories in physics such as entropy, special relativity, and quantum mechanics may also be discussed. Class meetings will use a blend of lecture, discussion, and movement to provide a full experience with the material. Students will have in-class opportunities to explore the concepts of force, energy, and momentum in dance and choreography through guided improvisation and movement experimentation. Analysis of physical demonstrations and videos of choreographic works will also enhance the classroom environment. Students will also discuss broader dance theory and evaluate the usefulness of physics for the dancer independently.

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Politics of Public Health Policy

Course Description:
This seminar will examine the various ways politics affects health policy. Policy can improve the health of millions, but it can also result in more barriers to those who are desperately seeking better health. We will critically examine various health policy topics including: access to fresh produce, open parks and spaces in Santa Ana, California healthcare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, trends in demographics changes and policy implications, rise in chronic illnesses, and international health policy topics such as access to clean water, infant mortality, and HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria. Students will gain a better understanding of current and past policy debates through policy analysis. The seminar will include readings, discussions, videos when available, and interactive policy debate activities. For students interested in learning more about public health policy and current topics, this seminar will be an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding of selected health policy debates.

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
Public Health Implications

Course Description:
Through this course, students will gain a basic knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) techniques such as massage therapy, acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga, etc., and the philosophies behind these practices. All topics will be critically examined through recent scientific evidence-based outcomes. A major point of interest will be the implications of CAM on public health policies.

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