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Course Schedule

FALL15 MALS Course Schedule 


Please, keep in mind the following as you register:

  • MALS courses are not repeatable, and students may only enroll in and take one Introduction to Graduate Libeal Studies during their program.

  • In some cases, MALS core courses will be cross-listed with other programs. Students who would like to have these courses satisfy the core course requirement for their chosen tracks must register for the MALS course number. 

MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies [28838]
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Rachel Brownstein, 3 credits, Room 6494

Graduate students write papers: response papers, seminar papers, term papers, research papers, and eventually a thesis.  This course will prepare students to imagine and to write the kinds of papers they want to write, first of all by reading essays, articles, and other pieces of prose, secondly by analyzing and discussing them, and finally--most importantly--by writing and rewriting their own work.  Students registering for this section of Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies should purchase and bring to class Phillip Lopate's bulky but rich anthology, "The Art of the Essay," which will be the text for the first portion of the semester.  In the second part, each student will locate, photocopy, and introduce to other students an exemplary article by a scholar in a chosen field or discipline.  The final section of the semester will be devoted to conceiving of, outlining, drafting, editing, and revising a ten-page paper. 
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies [28839]  
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Eugenia Paulicelli, 3 credits, Room C419

Starting with Dziga Vertov’s The Man with the Movie Camera (1929) and continuing with directors such as Fritz Lang, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Wim Wenders, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott, Wong Kar Wai, and Paolo Sorrentino, the course will focus on the relationship between cinema and the city. In particular, the course will pose a series of critical and research questions on how the city is mediated through film and is cast as the protagonist in film. How is a city represented? How are the continuous transformations of urban space documented in fiction films? How does film tell a story of contested space in urban settings? How and why are certain cities cinematically significant and chosen by directors? What are the cultural, political and economic reasons that create a city as a “film capital”? Rome (Cinecittà) and New York, both case studies of cities that have become film capitals, will be examined in depth. The course will also include field trips to the Museum of the Moving Image, Museum of Modern Art and elsewhere. 
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: Women, Gender and Fascism in 20th Century Europe [28840]
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Aránzazu Borrachero, 3 credits, Room 4419
Inspired by Foucault’s theories of discursive formation, we will examine the gender discourses that 20th century Spanish, Italian and German fascist dictatorships developed, and their important role within the nation-building plans of those regimes. What can we learn by looking at these discourses from a gender-studies perspective? What comparisons can we make with contemporary gender discourses in the Western world? We will read current scholarship from various disciplines on women, gender and fascism and we will interpret related art, political propaganda, commercial advertising and film. We will begin studying Francoist Spain (1936-1975) and its National Catholicism ideology, a repressive system that predicated the natural subordination of women to men, and pervaded all aspects of women’s lives: education, sexuality, marriage, labor, and citizenship. We will analyze textual, visual and audio-visual representations of Spanish women created by social agents such as the Catholic Church, fascist women organizations, and economic interests. The analysis of gender practices in Spain will prepare students to conduct their own intellectual inquiry of the Italian and German fascist gender agendas. This will be done through independent reading, class discussions, short presentations, journal writing, and a final project. Each student’s research will contribute to the whole group’s compilation of a bibliography for the study of gender discourses and representations under the Italian and German dictatorships. Class readings will be in English, but students will be encouraged to conduct research in Spanish, German and Italian if they know any of those languages.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: Demystifying Technological Environments [28841]
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Joan Greenbaum, 3 credits, Room 3212

Why does the media make it seem like technology drives change?  In particular, social media and social justice are often linked as if new forms of media create social justice. Can big data solve unequal distribution of resources?  This course critically examines technologies in their environmental context including social and political frameworks.  Who uses what, for which purposes and why?   In reflecting on historical interactions of technology and social/political contexts we will draw on a mix of readings, images and methods, including:  environmental psychology; social history; and sociological and economic studies of technologies.  We will look at examples of corporate and governmental surveillance; actions for social justice; issues around environmental justice, immigrant and workplace struggles, racial injustices, and, of course, the central issue of economic inequality. 
Technologies don't drop from the sky, or get invented out of thin air.  We will look at their origin stories and how they get created and what actions people really take in shaping their own lives.

 [Photo: Matt Herring, as appearing in "The Truly Personal Computer", in The Economist, Feb. 28, 2015.]

MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: Studies of the US in the World, 1898 to the Present [29361]
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Karen Miller, 3 credits, Room 4419

Is the United States an empire? If so, what might that mean? If not, what other metaphors can we use to explain U.S. global relations? This course examines transformations of U.S. global power and international relations from the end of the nineteenth century to the present.

Clearly, the United States does not hold political sovereignty over a broad range of colonies. Aside from the 50 United States, the U.S. holds Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa. But, the U.S. has the largest military in the world, sustains the world*s biggest economy, and has unparalleled political power. That power is constantly shifting, under continuous challenge, and never as complete as U.S. leaders would like. Our task in this class is to interrogate that power, to understand how it emerged and changed over time, to explore the dynamics and contradictions that animate it, to examine limits, and to consider its challengers. We will also explore how global engagements have transformed the United
States* domestic terrain: just as the U.S. helps shape the world, the world also changes the United States. Our interdisciplinary study of these questions will be organized both chronologically and thematically.
Students will be asked to write frequently and to produce a final paper.
MALS 70600 Enlightenment and Critique: The Morality of Inequality [28842]
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Stefan Baumrin, 3 credits, Room 3309
Cross-listed with PHIL 77700
The principal aim of Enlightenment theory was to establish human equality as the goal of civilisation, for examples universal suffrage, universal education.
The principal route to economic success, individual and collective, is to amass capital through savings; so the economic theories of Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus focus on saving and the elimination of waste.
A legacy of the Enlightenment passed on to us is the clash between the morality of equality and the morality of inequality. That is what this seminar will be about.
MALS 70700 The Shaping of Modernity [28843]
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor David Gordon, 3 credits, Room 6494

In 1800 the rhythm of Western life had barely changed since ancient days.  Then, suddenly a new world began to be born. Industrialization and urbanization transformed the lives of millions. A transportation revolution promised to annihilate distance. Traditional beliefs were exploded by the work of Darwin, Einstein and others. Democratic, revolutionary ideologies began to turn the world upside down. Whole populations were suddenly faced with the need to adjust to unprecedented and terrifying economic, political and social change. How they were able to do this is largely the story of the nineteenth century, and a salutary (and necessary) tale for our own time. It is a lesson that can be learned in MALS 70700 The Shaping of Modernity, 1789-1914. 

MALS 70900 Approaches to Life Writing: The Biographical Narrative [29277]
Tuesdays 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Brenda Wineapple, 3 credits, Room 8203

"Biography first convinces us of the fleeing of the Biographied," Emily Dickinson once wrote.  But biography and the biographical narrative are all around us, whether in books as dense as bricks or in the few, quick sentences of a daily obit.

What makes a good biography?  Character, among other things, and to the extent that biography depends on character, this course looks closely at how such characters are created from real people: how a living, breathing person seems to arise out of a mass of sometimes contradictory “facts”; how characters are made to change, that is, if they do; how characters can make a story move; and of course how or if traditional biography can be liberated from its brick-like borders.  These are a few of the topics we'll investigate by investigating various biographical narratives, especially those that raise questions about the meaning, aims, ethics, pitfalls, and possibilities of the genre.  Writers/books may include Plutarch, Suetonius, Lytton Strachey, Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre), Virginia Woolf (Orlando), Richard Holmes (Footsteps), Janet Malcolm (on Sylvia Plath biographies), Candace Millard on the assassination of James Garfield (Destiny of the Republic), Henry James, The Aspern Papers, Adam Phillips on Freud and biography, Julia Blackburn and her biographical inventions about Daiy Bates, Rebecca Solnit on Eadward Muybridge (River of Shadows), and/or Stephan Zweig on Magellan. 
MALS 71300 The Business of Fashion: Culture, Technology, Design [28844]

Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Veronica Manlow, 3 credits, Room 6421

The Business of Fashion course explores the complexity of the global fashion industry in a world of rapidly advancing technology, reduced lead times, and increasing availability and dissemination both of fashion products and discourse about fashion.  Fashion occupies a pivotal role in consumer society, as an economic force and a system through which identities are formulated in response to individual and collective considerations.  Brands themselves have become signifiers of certain aesthetics and lifestyles, and skillfully use a variety of means to communicate their distinctive merits.  Referring to classical and contemporary theoretical readings and applied research, as well as to data relating to fashion in practice (from blogs to catwalks, to films, and in stores, etc.) we will consider the full scope of the industry from concept to marketing and communication.  Topics covered include sourcing of fibers/textiles, research, design, manufacturing, labor, distribution, retail, merchandising, marketing, and consumer behavior. From disposable fast fashion to luxury, with many intersections along the way, this course will analyze the structure and the implications of fashion design, branding, merchandising, retailing, marketing and consumer behavior, and will address issues of technology, sustainability and ethics.
MALS 71700 Psychology of Work & Family: An Introduction [28845]
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Kristen Shockley, 3 credits, Room 3209

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the intersection of work and family from a primarily psychological perspective.  The course will introduce the student to concepts that are central to understanding gender and work-family relations, prominent theories and models in the literature, and the consequences of work-family management for the individual and organization. 
MALS 74400 From Alexander to Mohammed: Introduction to the Cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean. Early Islamic Art and Architecture (ca. 632-1250) [28846]
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, 3 credits, Room 6496
Cross-listed with MES 78000 and ART 74000
Since the emergence of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, the world of Islam, which spans continents and centuries, has produced art and architecture that is as remarkable as it is diverse. How to define Islamic art, however, is more complex. Unlike Christian, Jewish or Buddhist art, the art produced in the lands where Islam was a dominant religious, political or cultural force is commonly referred to as “Islamic Art”. This course aims to introduce students to the Islamic art and architecture by framing the emergence of Islamic visual and material culture in Late Antiquity to better understand the monuments, art and architecture produced during first centuries of Islam. The course also introduces the major theoretical and methodological issues involved in the study of Islamic art and architecture, while also focusing on the development of critical visual skills. This course will present an overview of a specific period, dynasty, or region in Islamic art and then focus on an extended discussion of a monument or object in each class. Visits to the MET and other museums may also be planned.
MALS 75400 Introduction to the Digital Humanities [28847]
Mondays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professors Matthew Gold & Kevin Ferguson, 3 credits, Room 6496
Cross-listed with IDS 81620

The dramatic growth of the Digital Humanities (DH) over the past half dozen years has helped scholars re-imagine the very nature and forms of academic research and teaching across a range of scholarly disciplines, encompassing the arts, the interpretive social sciences, and traditional humanities subject areas. This course will explore the history of the digital humanities, focusing especially on the diverse pioneering projects and core texts that ground this innovative methodological and conceptual approach to scholarly inquiry and teaching.  It will also emphasize ongoing debates in the digital humanities, such as the problem of defining the digital humanities, the question of whether DH has (or needs) theoretical grounding, controversies over new models of peer review for digital scholarship, issues related to collaborative labor on digital projects, and the problematic questions surrounding research involving “big data.” The course will also emphasize the ways in which DH has helped transform the nature of academic teaching and pedagogy in the contemporary university with its emphasis on collaborative, student-centered and digital learning environments and approaches. Along the way, we will discuss broad social, legal and ethical questions and concerns surrounding digital media and contemporary culture, including privacy, intellectual property, and open/public access to knowledge and scholarship. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions and online postings (including on blogs and wikis) and to research and write a final multimedia presentation on a key topic in the digital humanities. Students completing the course will gain broad knowledge about and understanding of the emerging role of the digital humanities across several academic disciplines and will begin to learn some of the fundamental skills used often in digital humanities projects.
Note: this course is part of an innovative "Digital Praxis Seminar," a two-semester long introduction to digital tools and methods that will be open to all students in the Graduate Center. The goal of the course is to introduce graduate students to various ways in which they can incorporate digital research into their work. 

MALS 75600 Sustainability and Human Ecodynamics [29362]
Thursdays, 4:15-6:15, Professor Sophia Perdikaris, 3 credits, Room 3309

Sustainability for environments, economies, and societies (the triple bottom line) has become a central objective that unites disciplines in sciences, arts, and humanities; engages educators, activists, policy makers, NGO’s and indigenous rights organizations; and is prioritized by multiple international organizations. However, the term and concept have acquired a range of interpretations and understandings–some mutually incompatible–and there is an ongoing need to provide a common knowledge base and vocabulary, and to effectively connect education and activism for sustainability with cutting-edge method and theory in resilience, robustness, vulnerability. This course will provide a grounding in the basic literature and vocabulary of sustainability science and education, expose students to a range of interdisciplinary case studies, and engage them directly with cutting edge resilience and sustainability scholars and ongoing field research and cross-disciplinary integration.
The intensive course will provide students with multi-disciplinary perspective on sustainability (on a variety of temporal and spatial scales), tools for assessing resilience and vulnerabilities in linked social-ecological systems (SES), an extensive set of readings/on-line resources on different aspects of sustainability research and introduce them to scholars and organizations engaged in sustainability science and education. The course will present case studies in interdisciplinary human ecodynamics research as focal points for readings and discussion, and will include interactions (live or virtual) with scholars directly involved in the case studies, NGO representatives, and active field researchers. This course establishes a common vocabulary and knowledge base, bibliography, and scholarly contacts for further work and specialization by students intending to pursue studies focusing on sustainability approaches in biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, environmental history, policy and development studies, environmental activism, and education for sustainability.
MALS 77200 History of Cinema I [28848]
Thursdays, 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM, Professor Marc Dolan, 3 credits, Room C419
Cross-listed with FSCP 81000
This is a course in the history and historiography of the silent cinema, from the zoopraxiscope experiments of Eadweard Muybridge to the reluctant conversion of industries, artists, and audiences to fully synchronized sound.  Much of the course will explore how the foundations of modern filmmaking evolved out of the rudimentary work of the earliest filmmakers--how the Edison and Lumiere “actuality” films led to the explicitly labeled “documentary,” the cinematic tricks of Georges Melies to the fantastic action/adventure film, the early melodramas of Porter, Guy-Blache, and Griffith to the so-called “classical” narrative style, etc.   However, the course will not employ an exclusively auteurist approach.  We will also consider the developments of specific national film industries, particular genres, and the points of intersection between those two sets of developments (e.g., American slapstick, Italian historical epics, Swedish naturalism, German expressionism, Soviet montage).  Moreover, the play between identifiable national cinemas and the syncretic medium of international cinema will be a central theme of the course, especially since the idea of film as a potentially universal language was one of the most powerful dreams of the silent era. Students will view on reserve and in class individual examples of all these types of films. Three classes during the term will be devoted to reconstructed programs (including short subjects, newsreels, cartoons, etc.) of what a typical audience might have seen when they went to the movies in 1907, 1912, and 1927. Readings will primarily be drawn from David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s Film History: An Introduction and Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen’s anthology Film Theory and Criticism, but other readings will be put on reserve to reflect the specific interests of registered students.
MALS 77400 International Migration [28855]
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Pyong Gap Min, 3 credits, Room 6417
Cross-listed with SOC 82800

We have ushered into the global migration period since the early 1990s.  Not only traditionally immigrant-accepting countries, including the U.S. and three former British colonies in the “New World” (Canada, Australia and New Zealand), but also Western European countries and Asian countries have annually received large numbers of formal immigrants or migrant workers/brides over the last two decades. In particular, the U.S. has received the largest number of immigrants annually since the late 1960s, more immigrants than all European countries have received. The influx of immigrants to the U.S. over the last 50 years has changed the face of the U.S., impacting neighborhoods, the economy, the school systems, cuisines, politics, healthcare, and sports. 
This course, focusing on international migration, has three main objectives.  First, it will provide an overview information about immigration patterns in three areas for students: (1) the U.S., (2) Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and (3) Europe.  Immigration patterns include immigration policies, the annual number of immigrants, their national and regional origins, and religious and socioeconomic background.  Second, it will compare two mass migration periods in the U.S. (the classical and contemporary periods) in immigration patterns and immigrants’ adaptations. Third, it will help students to learn about U.S. immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations (settlement patterns, socioeconomic adaptations and racialization) and theories of adaptations, especially regarding second-generation immigrants’ adaptations. To summarize the main objectives, this course aims to provide general information about global migration patterns, but focuses on the U.S. context in examining immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations with special attention the differences between turn-of-the-century white immigrant and contemporary immigrant groups.
Click here to find a detailed course description.

MALS 78100 Issues in Urban Education [28849]
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Susan Semel, 3 credits, Room 6494
MALS 78800 Introduction to Childhood and Youth Studies [28850]
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Roger Hart, 3 credits, Room 4419
Cross-listed with PSYC 80103
MALS 71500 Critical Issues in International Studies [28851]
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Chiseche Mibenge, 3 credits, Room 3309
This course examines the origin of contemporary human rights standards and more specifically, how this impacts the interpretation and enforcement of norms at an international, regional and domestic level. This inquiry will raise questions about the universality of human rights and how particular traditions interpret the adoption and implementation of instruments. The inquiry will be guided by the major critiques of the human rights movement(s) and will be framed by political, justice and security preoccupations of the day, including: counter-terrorism measures post 9/11; the criminal justice processes of international tribunals;  and the ‘mainstreaming’ of ‘marginal’ subjects, for example transgender, indigenous and disabled populations.

MALS 73100 American Culture and Values [28852]
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor David Humphries, 3 credits, Room 3207
Cross-listed with ASCP 81000

Drawing on the interdisciplinary methodologies of American Studies, this course will look at diverse groupings of texts that enact, represent, and interrogate American cultures and values and how they are formulated, understood, and contested. Among the authors that enact or address these issues directly, we will consider Crèvecoeur, Jefferson, de Tocqueville, Emerson, Douglass, Adams, and other more recent commentators, such as Janice Radway; among authors that represent American culture and values, we will look at works by Hawthorne, Cather, Hurston, Mailer, and Alice Walker; among texts that reflect on how culture and values are assessed, we will look at seminal works, such as those by Charles Beard, Leo Marx, and F.O Matthiessen, as well as more recent studies, such as Susan Hegeman’s Patterns for America:  Modernism and the Concept of Culture and The Cultural Return and Siobhan B. Somerville’s Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture. In defining culture and how the term is “valued” in American studies today, we also consider its appeal and limits.  One way to do this – and to incorporate more popular culture and multimedia texts – is to focus on the idea of “an American Icon,” an individual who is said to encapsulate a certain era or set of values, and we will have short units on such figures as Billy the Kid, Annie Oakley, Lucille Ball, and Jimi Hendrix. 
MALS 78500 Practical Criticism [28853]
Mondays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Greil Marcus, 3 credits, Room 3307
Cross-listed with ASCP 82000

With a grounding in critical classics (Herman Melville, D. H. Lawrence, Constance Rourke), this seminar focuses on criticism actually practiced by people writing regularly about popular or everyday culture—movies, music, restaurants, books, political speech, the media (including Pauline Kael, Manny Farber, Dave Hickey, A. O. Scott, Sarah Vowell, Edmund Wilson, Lester Bangs)—and moves into imaginative, even fictional criticism, where the limits of what criticism might be are tested if not torn up altogether (Geoff Dyer, David Thomson). 
The course will take up criticism as a vocation—with the premise that intellectual engagement with culture constitutes a form of discourse that leads people to achieve both a sense of history and a sense of the peculiarity of their own time and place.  At the same time, practical criticism—most often addressing cultural artifacts or events that people actually care about, but which are presumed even by their enthusiasts to be of transitory significance at best and, much of the time, no significance at all—raises questions of inventing a language, creating a career, identifying an audience, and discovering the possibilities and limits of a shared sensibility as intensely as anything else in the domain of contemporary writing.  “Criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply—just because you must use everything you are and everything you know,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1963.  That is a manifesto about democratic speech, and it can contain both Melville’s 1850 call for a national literature in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” and serial killer Patrick Bateman’s schizophrenic but pitch-perfect critical monologues on the most banal varieties of 1980s rock in the 2000 film version of American Psycho.
Extensive reading with short papers at least every other class.  With class visits by writers whose work is part of the course.   
MALS 78500 Music and Democratic Speech [28854]
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Greil Marcus, 3 credits, Room 3491
Cross-listed with MUS 82600
“Poor boy, long way from home” . . . “The cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird, she warbles, as she flies/ And she never, hollers cuckoo, til the fourth day, of July” . . . “Sun gonna shine in my back door, someday/ Wind gonna rise up, blow my blues away”—those lyric fragments and thousands like them are part of a pool of floating lines and verses, melodies and cadences, that form the raw material of the commonplace, commonly-held American song.
Throughout American history people excluded from or ignored by the story the country teaches itself have seized on music to make money, escape work, attract women or men, and to make symbolic statements about the nature of the singer, the country, and life itself.  These are big words for ordinary, anonymous songs like “The Cuckoo Bird” or “John Henry”—but it is in songs that seem to have emerged out of nowhere, and in songs that are self-consciously made to reclaim that nowhere, where much of the American story resides.
This course examines commonplace, authorless songs as elemental, founding documents of American identity.  These songs can be heard as a form of speech that, with a deep foundation, is always in flux—especially in the work of Bob Dylan across the last fifty years.  In that work, a single performer can be seen to have taken the whole of this tradition and translated it into a language of his own.
Extensive reading, with Dylan’s memoir Chronicles, Michael Lesy’s photo-history Wisconsin Death Trip, critical essays from the anthology The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, and, read in full, novels including Colson Whitehead’s John Henry Days, Lee Smith’s The Devil’s Dream, and Percival Everett’s Erasure, with short papers at least every other week.

MALS 78800 Introduction to Childhood Studies [28850]
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Roger Hart, 3 credits, Room 4419

This seminar offers an introduction to how childhood and youth is explored and investigated across the different disciplines of the social sciences and the humanities. Beginning with the recognition that concepts of childhood and adolescence are socially constructed and vary across culture and historical periods, we will examine how our shifting conceptions of childhood both align and clash with the way children actually live. This will include childhood experiences that challenge the historically recent notion of a “protected” and “innocent” childhood: child sex, child labor, child soldiers and child criminals. We will examine how different institutions, discourses and systems shape how childhood is experienced: including family, school, the juvenile (in)justice system, media and consumer culture.  But while attending to the force of structural inequalities in cultural and economic arrangements, we will not risk rendering children passive or invisible; we will recognize the methodological strides that have been made in recent years by researchers in working with rather than on or about children. 

MALS 78800 Research with Children and Youth: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives [29381]
Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Roger Hart, 3 credits, Room 6114

This seminar is designed for students who have identified a research question involving children, childhood or youth and who wish to critically explore alternative ways of conceptualizing it and investigating it. It is designed in line with the growing interdisciplinary field of child, childhood and youth studies. Students from psychology, the social sciences, education and the humanities are invited to participate. We will rotate discussion around each participant’s developing conceptualization of their research and work collectively to interogate it from the perspective of different disciplines. Even when we believe that we have clarity about a research question there is value in thinking about it from across disciplines. This may result in enriching the research by combining different disciplinary perspectives within a single study or even transcending disciplinary knowledge through a new integration of theory. Either way, it is likely to deepen our research endeavor. An additional component of the seminar will be to ask how our research might be differently conceptualized given different possible audiences and end goals, including research that is primarily focused on theory-building, on influencing policy or on action and more immediate change. Again, this is based in the belief that a research project need not be limited to only one of these orientations. Throughout the course the seminar participants will share written commentaries with one another as they explore alternative perspectives on their research question and what this might mean for the design of their research. 

MALS 79600 Thesis Workshop [29391]
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Mark McBeth, 1 credit, Room 6421

In this thesis writing workshop you will practice strategies of composing, drafting, and crafting that will help you complete an extensive piece of academic research project.  Prior to enrolling in this class, you have taken courses where you have gathered information and ideas about your subject of interest. You’ve learned different knowledge sets, rehearsed various methodologies of research, and practiced techniques to compose your ideas; now you will show that you can analyze and synthesize your know-how so that you can identify a scholarly topic and express that new knowledge in logically framed and rhetorically convincing graduate-level prose.  Not an easy task, but a doable one.

As a means of achieving this end goal, we will:
·       read about and explore varying composing and research strategies,
·       produce a number of drafts for your projects,
·       consider the best organizational form to use,
·       hone the appropriate tone and voice for the project topic and the perceived audience,
·       participate in peer review (inside and outside of class), and
·       self-reflect upon our individual research/writing practices.

While this class demands intellectual labor and focused attention upon your expressive abilities, it can also induce pleasure if you allow yourself to engage in the sometimes challenging/sometimes magical process of pursuing an intellectual project.