2010

The following UTeach classes were taught during Spring 2010. 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 2010 under the University Studies Department, course number 7, some of which listings may link to class websites.

Anthropology of Tattoos
Artificial Intelligence
The Born Identity
Discrimination and Diversity
Inside the Cypher
Introduction to Guitar
Oceania Art Now
Science and the Media

Anthropology of Tattoos

Course Description:
Tattoos. What comes to mind? Small butterflies on ankles? How about prisoners, sailors, and carnival freaks? What about gangsters, tribal societies or even elite aristocracies? What’s it have to do with feminism, late capitalism and globalization? Have you heard of the “Tattoo Renaissance”? Interestingly enough, the subject of tattoos can illuminate issues pertaining to our physical bodies, our inner selves and how they both operate within society. A theme being the “culture and politics of identity,” we will examine the functions of tattoos within various cultures throughout human history. In addition, we’ll look at different kinds of tattoos, styles of tattoo art, changes in tattoo technology and its historical evolution. We will also examine its cultural fluidity, its contemporary significance and where it may possibly be heading tomorrow…

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Artificial Intelligence

Course Description:
How can an artificial intelligence be conscious or possess ‘genuine’ intelligence? Is there a unique capacity humans have that cannot be replicated by technological means? As the field of A.I. progresses, its theories and results are fueling discussion in neighboring fields from philosophy to biology to medicine, and A.I. research is no longer simply confined to the realm of computer science. This course will acquaint students with how A.I. can and will influence their fields of study, examine A.I. and robotics’ state-of-the-art, engage students with in-class software demonstrations of the concepts we learn, and incorporate student responses into lectures. The content of the course will be approached from, among others, philosophy, literature, current events, and science. In taking this course, students will develop insights enabling them to approach the topic of machine intelligence and human-computer interaction with a diverse arsenal of views. Interested students are encouraged to contact me for the class syllabus and plan, and anyone seeking introductions to building simple, biologically inspired systems is strongly encouraged to consider this course.

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The Born Identity

Course Description:
Your life from day one is defined by what type of family, society, culture, and country you are born into. But how do we define ourselves as we mature and develop? Do we confine ourselves to one ethnic identity, or do we adopt several throughout the course of our lives? This class examines what it means to be an American citizen in relation to the other social groups that we identify with. What does it mean to be “American”? What is the expected behavior of an American? What ideologies should an American believe in? We will look at how people define Americans and discuss the problems or issues of those depictions and representations in two ways: the ways Americans perceive fellow Americans and how people abroad perceive Americans.

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Discrimination and Diversity

Course Description:
This course will focus on analyzing different topics concerning the issue of discrimination in the United States today. Although many acknowledge that the issue of discrimination is still very prominent, continuous efforts to diminish this problem have been made. In this seminar, students will discuss whether there has been improvement in reducing discrimination and promoting diversity in issues such as race, politics, media and gender. This course is facilitated through media, presentations, group discussions, and light readings, rather than lecture alone. Students will be introduced to various perspectives of discrimination and diversity not only through course materials, but also through active student discussion. The ultimate goal of this seminar is for students to formulate a perspective on the current situation of discrimination and diversity in the United States, as well as to raise further questions and instigate interest in this topic.

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Inside the Cypher

Course Description:
Lace up your Adidas and turn up your ghetto Blasters! You are invited to witness the inner workings of a culture almost 40 years in the making and growing strong. Originating in the inner city of one of the world’s most poverty-stricken ghettoes, Bboying has established itself as a globally present subculture as well as a legitimate modern art form. International competitions, TV shows, Youth clubs, Colleges…the reach of Bboy culture has grown exponentially since its inception. “Inside the Cypher” will offer a critical look at the fundamental aspects and history of the culture at a collegiate level. Topics will cover the origin and history of the dance, as well as its place in society right now as a “glocal” entity, a worldwide phenomenon with unique local roots. The course will also emphasize the Bboy dance circle, or “cypher”, as being the physical manifestation of the culture itself. Striving to reveal portions of the culture that still remain a mystery to outsiders, the seminar will take its students on an informative and eye-opening trip “inside the cypher”.

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Introduction to Guitar

Course Description:
The purpose of this seminar is to provide beginning guitarists fundamental knowledge that is basic to playing any style of music on acoustic, electric, classical, or other guitars. Students do not need to come with any prior experience with music or guitar. Those who do, however, will still have much to gain in this course. All students should bring an instrument to each class. During the quarter students will learn 3 songs. In addition students will be guided through playing exercises, evaluated on in class playing, will learn how to tune, theory of practice, correct postures, and to read tablature and simple musical notation for guitar.

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Oceania Art Now

Course Description:
From the urban hip hop scene in Auckland New Zealand, to indigenous filmmakers from Australia and Samoa, to the revitalization of traditional artforms in new manifestations from Hawai’i and Papua New Guinea, this course looks at the contemporary indigenous artists of Oceania. Pacific Island Arts provides the student with new critical thinking inspired by the indigenous arts of contemporary Oceania: the Pacific Islands from Hawai’i to Papua. The course covers Pacific Islander artists and today’s indigenous activism in a globalized Pacific.

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Science and the Media

It can be said that society is often kinder to more physically appealing people, or people who are talented or gifted with an ability of some kind, such as athletics or intelligence. Now imagine this – you are raising a family for the first time. Scientific technology that would allow for the genetic screening of embryos for a variety of physical traits, such as eye and hair color, is available. You have two choices – will you participate in the molding of the physical characteristics of your child? Or will you allow nature to decide? In reality, genetic screening is available for the detection and elimination of detrimental genetic disorders in unborn children, and few clinics participate in the selection of physical traits, the three that one can select for. However, what if more doctors were willing to select for non-harmful genetic traits? What if society was willing to accept genetic screening to select for these non-harmful traits as the “norm”? Similar questions addressing the societal perception of advancing science and technology are seen in the genre of science-fiction. This course will primarily look at how the science-fiction genre in movies, books, and art takes one or more of many opportunities available with the currently developed science technologies, such as the ability to treat previously incurable genetic disorders, and apply it to social reorganization. The goal of this course is to provide enough factual information and create a comfortable environment to facilitate group discussions on these new scientific research fields, such as stem cell research and cloning. Students will be able to share their opinions on these topics and define the set of values they hold that shapes their opinions. Although no prior knowledge is necessary, an open-mind is expected so as to create an unbiased environment.

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