Fall 2017 Seminars

Look below to explore your options.

In addition to your Fall seminar, AU Scholars will also take a 1 credit Experiential Learning course designed to enhance your understanding of the topics and issues in your Fall seminar course through excursions into D.C. to explore research topics by visiting museums, NGOs, embassies, national parks and more.

Prof. Stefano Costanzi

Chemical weapons have the potential to be used as weapons of mass destruction by states and terrorists. Hence, they pose a great threat to national and global security. Understanding the science of chemical weapons, knowing their history, being aware of their current employment, and recognizing the international frameworks for their control is key to identifying effective countermeasures and crafting successful policies for their management. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the subject, this course offers the opportunity to introduce first year students to a variety of scientific concepts from the disciplines of chemistry and biology. Moreover, it offers students an opportunity to analyze and critically discuss historical and policy aspects related to chemical weapons. Finally, due to the topicality of the subject, this course offers an excellent opportunity to introduce students to text mining techniques that will be applied to the identification of current events and issues in the chemical weapons arena through the analysis of social media.

Prof. Kimberly Cowell-Meyers

How different societies, both Western and non-Western, have approached the political problems of order and responsiveness. The relationships, in a cross-cultural perspective, between the individual and the state; social and economic processes; culture and behavior.

Prof. Renee Souris

The course will focus on the theory and practice of the criminal law. We will start by exploring the concept of a crime, and then examine the purpose, constraints, and general principles of the criminal law. We will consider theoretical accounts of what makes us beings who may be fairly called to account for wrongful acts through the criminal law, as well as the conditions under which otherwise wrongful acts are justified and/or excused. To complement our study of criminal law theory, we will also spend weekly lab sessions visiting sites of criminal law practice in the DC metropolitan area. Ideas for labs include: observing arraignment court and (part of) a trial (both at the DC Superior Court), pedagogical visit to the United States Sentencing Commission, and campus talks by individuals from Bureau of Prisons.

Prof. Shawn Bates

Examines the impact of culture on communication, perception, thought patterns, values, and beliefs in order to better understand the behavior of individuals within different societies. Specific concerns include the dynamics of verbal and nonverbal communication; the relationship between dominant cultures and subcultures; ethnic, racial, class and other forms of diversity within countries and organizations; third-culture and multicultural persons; and the dynamics of cross-cultural adjustment.

Prof. Jesse Meiller

This course focuses on the natural world and how humans interact with and affect ecosystem components. The class examines conservation and management, the causes of pollution and potential solutions, and ethical and legal issues associated with environmental issues in order to provide well-supported outlines and justifications for each of the issues covered in the class. Usually offered every term.

Prof. Evan Berry

This course offers a different kind of introduction to the study of the world's major religious traditions. Rather than approaching each religion as an independent tradition that developed in a vacuum, this course looks at the ways that religions develop in conversation with one another. The course provides students with both basic knowledge about specific traditions and equips them with tools for thinking about how they operate in our global age.

Prof. Caleen Jennings

This course provides an overview of the principles of drama. The class draws on theatre history and social context by examining two great playwrights from different cultures and different eras: William Shakespeare and August Wilson. Students will read, research, view live performances, write critical analyses and get hands-on experience in performance, playwriting, dramaturgy, directing, acting and design.

Prof. Sarah Menke-Fish

Visual Literacy introduces you to ways of understanding visual images in art, photography, film, and digital media. You will learn about the aesthetics and production of visual images, immerse yourself in dimensions of seeing, and come to appreciate the influences on visual symbols and communication. The concepts you learn in this course you will put into action by creating public service announcement, short informational films, photo essays and other visual media that will make a positive difference for the non-profit that extends far beyond the American University Campus.