2011

The following UTeach classes were taught during Spring 2011. 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 2011 under the University Studies Department, course number 7, some of which listings may link to class websites.

Environmental Crisis Studies
Globalization and Infectious Diseases
Beyond Play
The Art and Craft of Sewing
Empires and Others
Mind/Man/Machine
Design Narrative in Video Games
South Asian Cinema
Philippine Mythology
Queer Images

Environmental Crisis Studies

Course Description:
Our environmental crisis is a very complicated issue that no one academic discipline can resolve entirely. Utilizing multidisciplinary research to end our environmental crisis has become a new trend in academia worldwide. This course will help students to gain a better understanding of the different disciplines of environmentalism and how they interact with one another. We will also discuss many popular environmental issues through these different disciplines. Eventually students will utilize what they have learned from this seminar to investigate environmental cases from China.
Some students might have an undeclared major but would like to study in an environmental field. This seminar will help those students to find their fields of interest which can ultimately help them to choose their majors. I hope it will be a pure learning experience for the students. There will be no essay assignments, no quizzes, and no exams.

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Globalization and Infectious Diseases

Course Description:
As the world becomes more interconnected through travel, trade, and technology the spread of infectious diseases has changed enormously. This class will examine the role social factors, particularly those related to globalization, on infectious disease transmission. Individual diseases such as tuberculosis and historical epidemics such as the Black Death will be covered to explain how economic, political, and other social forces influenced disease spread and how infectious disease shaped society. No prerequisite knowledge is required, as the course will introduce all necessary information. The biology of various infectious diseases and epidemiological methods will also be touched upon during the course. Class discussion will revolve around controversial issues surrounding the topics discussed such as forced vaccinations, disease eradication and vector control. Students should expect to leave the course with basic knowledge of infectious diseases, public health and globalization that will help them understand current events involving infectious diseases such as the recent H1N1 pandemic and threat of SARS.

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Beyond Play

Course Description:
Games are often viewed as a form of amusement, but if one looks beyond the play activity, something else seems to be communicated. We will examine games as texts as a method to uncover any latent cultural values, skills rewarded, and narratives that play conveys to the participants. The course uses mostly tabletop games as a way to explore concepts that can also be seen in today’s video games. While fun is co-mingled with discussion, the focus is on serious issues concerning the public and ways in which people engage and view the medium. By reading games contextually, we can examine the concerns that arise over genres of play. Critical looks at such types of games will allow one to discuss the skills, cultural values, and narratives embedded in games. To this end, the study begins with very basic games and the fundamental concepts they contain and progresses through games of growing complexity. No gaming experience required.

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The Art and Craft of Sewing

Course Description:
The Art and Craft of Sewing is not just a class that will discuss the history of sewing in its various manifestations. It is a class in which you will be learning basic sewing skills or get the chance to further develop skills you may already have. All levels of proficiency are admitted and encouraged! You will also be learning about three fields within sewing: craft, fashion, and art production. There will be an emphasis on construction in this class as a result of both sewing procedures and our class discussions. What are the steps it takes to construct a sewn project? In the same vein, how does that understanding allow you to conceive the world as a constructed space? We will be investigating the social aspects of sewing while taking part in it. This shall be a place and space for community building and practicing acquired skills. It may be frustrating. It will be fun.

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Empires and Others

Course Description:
Empires and Others is a course that seeks to explore the relationship between Greco-Roman civilization and the barbarians who surrounded it between 500 BCE to 600 CE. Throughout the course, we will ask “Who were these barbarians? In what ways did they interact with the Greeks and the Romans? What resulted from these interactions?” While the class is certainly about ancient history, the importance of understanding cannot be understated. Problems which existed for the Romans still exist today, and looking at the issues which the Romans and the Greeks faced when dealing with outsiders allows us some capacity for better understanding of our own contemporary situation. The class will be delivered with discussions focused around readings from a variety of primary sources, both well known and obscure. In so doing, Empires and Others will not only build an appreciation of ancient history, but also build awareness of source documents and teach how to read them.

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Mind/Man/Machine

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? What distinguishes human brains and bodies from computers and robots? This course will acquaint students with the studies of biological and computational intelligence can and will influence their fields of study, examine A.I. and robotics’ state-of-the-art, engage students with computer lab 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 and attend the first meeting. This course will prioritize student questions, discussion, and insight and introduce various avenues for investigating the questions of the class, with the aim of students understanding the impact of intelligent systems on society and themselves.

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Design Narrative in Video Games

Course Description:
Video games are amazing. As a format, they’re extremely versatile, as a system, they’re incredibly complex, and as a simulation, they’re eerily life-like, but how well do they work as a story? Video games are just one part of the digital revolution, ushering in a new interactive medium where the possibilities for narrative are endless. Despite the potential, just how far have developers come to crafting stories comparable to ones told in film, television, or novels? We will try to answer this question starting from the very beginning, from the days of Atari to today’s modern next-generation machines. We will see how storytelling can be achieved through gameplay, and how techniques have evolved with each successive generation. The ultimate goal of this course is to change the way you play video games.

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South Asian Cinema

Class Description:
This course will analyze cinema from South Asia and its diasporas. We will examine the films as historical, social and cultural texts that represent a national or a diasporic consciousness. Each specific film will have a topic that will be discussed and analyzed: Topics include: Queer identity, interracial relationships, Religion, and the Indian Courtesan. However, the topic and focus are not exclusive this class urges broad discussions. This course will foster students’ ability to analyze film narrative and its historical context.
The course will look at the diasporic Indo-Pak/family/community and how they deal or try to hold on to traditional Indo-Pak values and traditions outside of India/Pakistan and how they reconstruct ‘home land’ in their lives. Most of the films will take place in the UK, Canada, and US. Further Questions that will be addressed are: How are these films interconnected not only through a diasporic lens, but also through a nationalistic thread. Also introduce a new filmic vocabulary concomitant to South Asian cinema, and its filmic constructions.

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Philippine Mythology

Course Description:
Prometheus, Zeus, Olympus, Ananzi the Spider, Icarus–these are names that you are no doubt familiar with as they have become part of our vocabulary when we use the term “myth.” By the end of this quarter, you will also quiver at the thought of the terrifying fetus devouring Manananggal. You will be charmed by tales of Juan, a pleasant fellow who only seeks to help those around him–only to be tricked by his seductive qualities into giving up your most prized possessions! We’ll retrace the steps of the Santo Nino and the miracles performed in its wake. We’ll visit Mt. Makiling, said to the be the form of a sleeping Goddess whobegan her slumber in times now forgotten. We find our origin in the creation of the first man and woman, Malakas and Maganda–who were created from the splitting of the same bamboo pole. These tales, and many more, await you this quarter.
This class, however, is not just a storytelling exercise. Armed with the aid of scholars on mythology, we will deconstruct these stories and, amid the adventure, use them as a reflection into the societies of those who told them. We will use these insights to answer the final question of this course: Do we have mythologies today? Join me as we traverse diverse landscapes, populated by terrifying demons, benevolent gods and silly monsters. A world filled with magic–wielded by daring heroes and the most vile villains. We’ll start by diving straight into the depths of stories of creation and progress chronologically until we return to the surface with new lenses in our eyes. Welcome to the world of myth!

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Queer Images

Course Description:
Woman. Man. Butch. Femme. Drag king. Drag queen. What images just popped into your head? Why do you think that is? Our society has a history of being saturated with imagery that upholds ideals of being either male or female, feminine or masculine, gay or straight. But are these categories always sufficient modes of representation? How do you visualize being transgender, intersexual, genderqueer, androgynous, and/or sexually fluid? In this class, students will be encouraged to adopt a critical queer perspective of media imagery. We will exercise our abilities to expose, analyze, and ultimately challenge conventionally oppositional binaries of sex, gender, and sexuality within American media culture. Visual content will include cinema, television shows, commercials, music videos, photography, and more. Get ready to deconstruct gender and sexuality through the power of images.
Note: This course will contain graphic material (visual and textual). Do not enroll unless you are prepared to discuss explicit content in a mature and insightful manner.

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