2009

The following UTeach classes were taught during Spring 2009. 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 2009 under the University Studies Department, course number 7, some of which listings may link to class websites.

Atwood’s Dystopian Worlds
From Irvine to Developing World: Access to Essential Medicines
Film and Gender
YouTube Culture
Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Society
Korean Unification
Louder than a Bomb: 20th Century Music and Politics
Environmental Reporting

Atwood’s Dystopian Worlds

Course Description:
Dystopian literature creates visionary, corrupted worlds that often comment on society. This seminar will consider Margaret Atwood’s two dystopian novels, The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake, and if and how they relate to our current world. We will discuss the implications that arise in the dystopian worlds Atwood creates, comparing and contrasting the novels’ themes, narratives and protagonists. Our lens of examination will be the self and how it is defined by context and construct. Topics of discussion will include: government, religion, sexuality, gender roles, commodification, social hierarchy, biological-engineering and more. Overarching themes that may emerge are the self and the other, art versus science, restriction versus freedom and the creation of society and belief. Relevant secondary materials will allow an outside perspective of Atwood’s work. The ultimate goal of this course is to inspire serious consideration on what a dystopian future entails, hopefully raising questions and further interest in the subject.

Back to Top

From Irvine to Developing World:
Access to Essential Medicines

Course Description:
How many times have we become frustrated with the lines extending from our local pharmacy especially during the holidays? How many times do our health insurance policies fluctuate to the point of defeat? How many hours have you wasted at the emergency room for a minor but immediate injury or ailment? Unfortunately, the majority of people living in developing countries do not have even the chance to make such complaints. Ten million people die each year from diseases that have available cures. Nearly a third of humanity does not have regular access to essential medicines, and in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia this figure rises to over 50%. No market currently exists for these essential medicines in developing countries, and pharmaceutical companies in the United States are hesitant to begin making drugs more accessible for these regions with the greatest need. What kinds of solutions can we formulate to solve perhaps one of the most pressing moral issues of our time? During such economic strife, is it an appropriate approach to reach out internationally when our own domestic healthcare plans are uncertain? Theoretically, if medicines are made available to developing countries, who would regulate the proper distribution of these drugs considering the different political systems of each nation and country? This course will address the economical, political, and ethical issues surrounding essential medicine access in developing world nations. We will demystify the role of intellectual property policies, as well as the importance of the pharmaceutical industry and its effects today. Some topics that we will cover include the basics of intellectual property, drug development and delivery, and proposed solutions to the access gap. Class meetings will consist of differential media with an initial lecture followed by discussion. For students interested in learning more about medical ethics concerning developing countries, this seminar will be an excellent opportunity to become well-informed about increasingly pressing international health issues and to apply this knowledge towards future pursuits.

Back to Top

Film and Gender

Course Description:
The “Film & Gender” seminar provides an introduction to the detailed study of cinema and its social influence in relation to the rise of mixed gender identities within the visual narrative. It is designed to teach students to analyze film not merely in terms of story, but the stylistic devices of cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene, and sound. Examining a range of different films, from blockbusters to documentaries, this course introduces students to the basic methods and terminology of filmmaking and its social commentary upon the world in which we live. Therefore we will address, what are the cultural implications / consequences of gender misrepresentation amongst the world of the media? The course will focus on how such influential figures as Marylyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Angelina Jolie have defined the female sex on film as either frail or masculine. Where such actors as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Keanu Reeves have assimilated to stereotypical masculine identities, associating themselves either with violence, war, or dual personalities thus splitting the male sex into two distinctive spheres: the muscle-bound die hard versus the conflicted superhero. Seeing as though the movies play such an influential role upon our lives, students will learn not only how to identify stylistic approaches but the cinematic process through which film addresses modern-day society. Ultimately the goal of this course is to motivate students to take film as a serious artistic medium concerning gender, race, and sexuality.

Back to Top

YouTube Culture

Course Description:
This course covers the effects of YouTube.com as a social medium in our culture. We will examine the types of social, political and cultural changes that have occurred over the past several years. For being a fairly new program for streaming content, YouTube has changed the way in which videos from television programs to amateur productions are being uploaded, watched, and shared through access to the Internet. In doing so, we will discuss the issues of copyright, censorship and privacy that have resulted from the creation of YouTube. We will learn about such subject matters as politics, autoethnography, and visual education. We will also look at examples of self-exploitation and fandom found on YouTube. The main requirement of this course is for students to put into action what they have learned from lecture. Students will search for videos on YouTube to represent the weekly discussion topic. The purpose of this seminar class is to enlighten students on the positive and negative implications of YouTube as a cultural influence both on new media and society. We will then connect ways in which YouTube can serve as an educational tool for improving our visual literacy.

Back to Top

Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Society

Course Description:
Can an artificial intelligence be conscious or ‘genuinely’ intelligent?
Can it have its own identity or free will? The answers to these questions, and others, do not only reveal our philosophy about computers; they reveal how we think of ourselves. The rapidly expanding possibilities of technology are and have been changing society in apparent ways and transforming the way people approach science and the humanities. The core purpose of this course is to introduce students from all departments with an understanding of why questions of technology and machine intelligence are important, and students will leave the course able to research such issues informatively. We will approach the material from the perspectives of philosophy, literature, science, mathematics, politics, and current world events. Students can expect to learn as much about their own views as they will about technology and its evolution.

Back to Top

Korean Unification

Course Description:
Korean Reunification will explore the causes and consequences of a divided and unified Korea. With the use of two very short monographs from the RAND Corporation (a policy think tank), students will discuss and debate the likelihood and importance of the four most probable scenarios for unification on the Korean peninsula. Other topics will include a brief history of Korea, a comparative study of the German and Vietnamese unifications, and during week 10, students will take part in a mock debate that will resemble a multilateral negotiation undertaken by both Korean countries and major international actors. Any student who is interested in Korean affairs or international politics in general will enjoy this class.

Back to Top

Louder than a Bomb:
20th Century Music and Politics

Course Description:
When the external forces of the world collide with the internal forces of the individual, music results. As with all art forms, music is the cultural byproduct of governmental systems, social movements, and major political events – as well as being the personal byproduct that these external forces exert on an individual’s emotions. In this class, we’ll be investigating three still relevant branches of American popular music: Jazz, Rock, and Hip Hop. Additionally, we’ll be looking at the social trends and political events that helped inspire and create these genres of music, as well as important academic questions about how to interpret these genres in light of these “external factors.” The class is not reading intensive, but it will be discussion intensive. Expect a 4-5 page paper at the end of the class, and pizza. Lots of pizza.

Back to Top

Environmental Reporting

Course Description:
In recent years, technological advances and new discoveries have helped us learn and understand the impact we have on the Earth and our environment. As a result, environmental issues have been thrust into the spotlight and have become the main beat or “story theme” for many journalists today. Environmental journalism has a rich history starting with Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and can be reported on in an international, national, and local level, as well as political and arts/entertainment. In this course, students will pick their own “Environmental Beat” to report, whether they choose to follow the story of the endangered Polar Bears or talk about the latest Environmentally conscious designs major labels are debuting. This course is highly individualized with a lot of feedback. Students will learn reporting and story developing techniques specific to reporting the environment and by the end of the quarter have produced one short narrative about the environment.

Back to Top