• General Education
    Fax: 202-885-1069
    Leonard, Room 101

    White, Emily R
    Manager, Undergraduate Curriculum and Scholars Program

Mailing Address
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Wildcards are original, timely courses offered on a one-time basis, affording an opportunity to try out new ideas. New courses are often (but not always) offered as Wildcards as a prelude to proposal for a permanent place in the General Education Program.


Fall 2013

GNED-110 The Theory and Performance of Comedy
This course will explore theories of humor and comedy, attempting to identify both what is “universally,” humanly funny and also when humor is more predicated on cultural, social, political, and historical factors – including issues of race, class, and gender. While primarily focusing on a range of dramatic texts and theatrical performances from different genres, countries, and historical periods, the course also will examine literature, film, television, and other media. Meets TF, 11:45am-1pm.

GNED-210 The Artist's Perspective: Printmaking
This introductory printmaking course examines drawing, synthesis, history, and printmaking process as tools of research, discovery, and expression. Students explore traditional and conceptual notions of looking, research, and development and experiment with different historical materials, techniques, and practices in the printmaking discipline in order to examine visual perception. Meets TTh 5:30-8PM. Foundational Area 1.

Past Wildcards

Spring 2013

GNED-110 World Music – Dr. Shalini Ayyagari, Performing Arts
This course will cover a wide array of themes by examining the confluences and divergences of culture that happen in borderland regions – whether geographical, political, or social – through the lens of musical practice. A case study on Umm Kulthum, the queen of a century of Arab music, for example, will open the door to issues of gender, music and politics, nationalism, and pan-Arab identity. Discussing Brazilian samba and West African ceremonial music in relation to each other will reveal themes of colonial nation relations and historical processes of the slave trade, which had deep influences on culture in both Africa and South America. Musical phenomena such as Bhangra music will reveal the role of immigration patterns, diasporic urban community relations, and the confluences of musical practices as diverse as African American hip hop and South Asian folk musics.

Fall 2012

GNED-110 Jane Austen and her World - Dr. Fiona Brideoake, Literature
This Honors seminar will explore the works of Jane Austen in the literary and cultural contexts of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focusing on Austen’s novels and literary and film adaptations, we will discuss gender and the novel; the public and private spheres; sensibility and sexuality; empire, war, and slavery; and revolution and social change. We will also explore Austen’s status as a ‘hypercanonical’ author – a figure whose life and works inspire academic and popular enthusiasm – and the various critical approaches through which her novels have been considered.

GNED-130 Religion and Globalization - Dr. Evan Berry, Philosophy & Religion
Religion and Globalization 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. It has always been the case that religions are best understood as being related to one another in geographic families, as with the Dharmic traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism) or the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). But close dialogue between traditions is not an artifact of ancient history: exchange, convergence, and hybridization still characterize the way religions interact in the modern era. As people and cultures move across the globe, as ideas are mobilized and transported by media technology, and as the market economy stimulates religious innovation, religions find themselves in contact in new and profound ways. Such forms of contact are the focus of Religion and Globalization, which explores these questions by investigating how religion is lived and experienced in today’s pluralistic, multicultural world. The aim of this course is to provide students with both basic knowledge about specific traditions and to equip them with tools for thinking about how they operate in our global age.

Spring 2012

GNED-140 Becoming a Digital Citizen in an Information Society – Executive in Residence Jill Klein
Digital citizens understand the implications of accessing, managing, exchanging and disseminating information electronically. Fair information practices, ethical, legal, privacy, and security issues will be introduced through lectures, combined with virtual lab & discussions employing personal information technologies to improve student performance and contribution as citizens of the AU community and beyond.

GNED-150 The Chemistry of Cooking, Dr. Matt Hartings
Chemistry plays a vitally important role in many aspects of our everyday lives. It may seem that chemistry is not approachable to non-majors, but this is certainly not the case. We are all chemists as soon as we enter a kitchen. There are innumerable chemicals and chemical reactions that are important to the process of cooking and, in turn, to our enjoyment of food. In this course we will discuss some really good (and sometimes bad) food and the chemical principles that are involved in making them what they are.

GNED-210 Cinema and the 20th Century, Dr. Despina Kakoudaki
A historical study of cinema as an art form through the 20th century, covering major cinematic developments in aesthetic, technological and cultural terms. Films are examined both as individual texts and within their historical and cultural contexts.

Fall 2011

GNED-220 The English Language, Dr. Naomi Baron
One-sixth of the world speaks some amount of English. This course provides essential tools for understanding how English works, where it came from, and its current standing on the world stage. Students learn fundamental linguistic concepts, as applied to English. Additional themes include American dialects, gender issues, prescriptivism, and the English-only movement.

GNED-240 Media, Myth and Power, Dr. Joe Campbell
This course offers a sweeping assessment of the news media in the emergence, spread, and tenacity of media-driven myths. These are stories about and/or by the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, prove to be apocryphal. The class considers several war-related myths as well as those about bra-burning, crack babies, and Hurricane Katrina. Assignments include a research paper drawn from primary source material at the Library of Congress.

GNED-150 Why Aren't We Dead Yet? The Role of Public Health in Society, Dr. Lynne Arneson University College section only
Infectious and chronic diseases kill millions of people around the world every year. This course discusses how microbes and lifestyle choices can make you sick, and how the field of public health helps keep communities healthy. Also discussed are global and reproductive health issues, as well as the influence of environmental and public policy on health, by examining specific diseases including cholera, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer.

Submit a proposal

Have an idea for an outstanding, innovative General Education course? We want to hear it! Call us at 202-885-3879, or drop us a line at gened@american.edu if you'd like to run an idea by us. When you're ready, submit a formal proposal using the form available on the Office of the Registrar's website.