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Cascade! Winter 2011
Course Catalog

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A735: Perspectives on "Art"
Teachers: Bruno Cabral

The word “art” is surrounded by controversy. Huge debates ensue whenever things like graffiti, propaganda posters or furniture get called “art”. A lot of the time, visiting a museum is not only about looking at pretty things, but also about getting a subtle lesson in what should be pretty. In this class we will explore these issues by looking at different works of art from various periods in history and asking the question “Is this art?” in relationship to aesthetics, politics and history. Through discussion and “show and tell” this class will help you develop an appreciation for the variety of issues that are at play whenever the word “art” is used. By the end of the class you should come away with a couple of concepts that will help you appreciate art, as well as make it.

A739: Chicago as Cosmos: Considering the Windy City from an Ecological Perspective.
Teachers: Lindsey McQuilkin

Get to know Chicago beyond the cement. What did Chicago look like two hundred years ago? How about 15,000 years ago? What plants, fungi and animals can currently be found living in the Windy City? This course will explore the natural history of Chicago and its current state as an ecological region through discussions, brief readings, and hands on observations and activities. Each student will learn how to keep a "field journal" and how to ask questions that interest them about their environment. 

A737: Human Rights.
Teachers: Julia Clemons

‘Human rights’ includes a whole range of topics. It can be international. It can be local. It can be personal. It also means a lot for everyone—that’s why people talk about it all the time and the news reports about it everyday. In this class, you will learn and think about what kind of rights we have as a human being, and what kind of problems we encounter regarding our rights. Not only will we learn about the basics of rights, but we will also engage in discussions of how we can solve such issues by analyzing different situations and weighing the various consequences
involved. Come join if you want to discover how politicization of municipal garbage collection in Jerusalem can be relevant to your life!

A730: Self-Defense: Conflict Resolution and Martial Arts in the Modern World.

There are many martial art systems in the world, but when it comes to personal protection in a modern, urban environment, the Israeli Martial Arts stand out. As one of the most effective, intuitive, and comprehensive self-defense systems in the world, Krav Maga trains practitioners to avoid, prevent, and resolve conflicts. In this class, you will learn a number of basic martial arts techniques and defenses against various attacks (such as chokes and tackles). You will also learn theories about non-violent conflict resolution, and how you, as a martial artist, should understand your responsibilities and rights in self-defense. No prior martial art or athletic experience is required, and whether you have taken martial arts before or have never tried one out, you will be at home in this class. Everyone can learn self-defense techniques, and this class will give you tools to protect yourself, your family, and members of your community.

A734: Experimenting with Poetry
Teachers: Gabriel Kalal

When poets are writing poems, what are they trying to do? Why do they use poetic devices? Why is the structure so important? In this class, we will explore some of the tools that poets use to convey their messages, and how we can manipulate those tools to express different things to our readers. We will start each class by talking about a technique, then we will see how poets use it, and finally we will try to apply that technique to our own writing. In-class readings will range from sonnets to modern song lyrics. We will focus on techniques including figurative language, sound, line, and form.

A740: Psychology in Film & Literature: The Psychology Underlying Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Series
Teachers: Liz Majka, Jessica Sim

Most people are easy to read.
– Edward Cullen

Like many of you, social psychologists have an irresistible urge to explain and predict social behavior. Unlike the common misconception, however, psychologists cannot read minds. Rather, we use systematic observation and experimentation to test ideas about how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. What then can a love story between a teenage girl and a vampire tell us about human nature? Why has Twilight become such a pop culture phenomenon? Over the course of five classes, we will explore the first book of the series and its film adaptation to introduce how the research and the theories of social psychology can be applied to real life. Together, we will seek to unravel the nature and causes of behavior – the mystique of love and hate, the riddle of stereotypes and prejudice, and other situations that we encounter virtually everyday in all walks of life.

A733: World Religions

Do you believe in God? (or Gods?) Are you interested in what other people believe in and how their religions work? This course will focus on studying religion in an academic perspective—how the major world religions work, how they are similar/different and just how diverse religion is in our world. As a class, we will engage in an open discussion about the functionality of our belief systems and try to understand why differences occur and how they represent religious people as individuals. There will be guest speakers who will also share their religions and their experiences!

A738: EYEBALLS!!! An Introduction to Vision and Perception.

What's the difference between seeing and perceiving something? Why can't humans see well in the dark? What are eyes made of? How did eyes evolve? This class will cover the basics of vision and perception through anatomy and evolution. We can explore how deep sea fish evolved different visual systems, or how sunlight eventually becomes a visual perception, or even learn what happens as a person goes blind. Students will also be able to influence the course topics. Have a question about vision? We'll answer it! Want to know how a real scientist studies vision? Ask me! We will also be able to discuss the process of scientific research, and learn how scientists came up with answers to all these questions, and how someday you could discover answers too!

A736: Dramaturgy: the craft of performing.

You’re probably wondering what dramaturgy is. It might sound like a nasty illness, but it’s actually an important part of putting on any play and will be the main focus of this class. Playwrights leave different types of instructions for directors staging their works, and it’s not always easy to figure out the intentions of the author. The interpretation of plays is a major task in the world of drama—it’s important for directors, designers, and actors alike. So if you have any interest in the dramatic world, you won’t feel out of place in this class! Both seasoned actors and those without any previous experience welcome. But be prepared to show off your acting chops, no matter your skill level!

A729: Computer Programming - the art of breaking things down
Teachers: Damon Wang

Computers have become one of the most important tools of our time, but the science behind computers often seems extremely challenging, even intimidating. This course will show you that the word "programming" doesn't have to be all that scary! We will begin with a very limited subset of Python (programming language) and use it to rediscover three fundamental concepts of computer science: recursion, abstraction, and algorithmic complexity. You will learn that under the veil of intimidating language, programming is nothing more than the idea of breaking problems into smaller ones and switching them around. No prerequisites!

A742: Applied Physics ~ Engineering 101
Teachers: Jay Kopper

Physics. The word can sometimes spark an unpleasant reaction. Fear? Boredom? Indifference? Running-for-your-life? Through interactive activities, you will learn that physics is not all about equations and symbols. In this class, we will be working with paper airplanes: before we learn anything, we will make a first batch of planes and observe their flight behaviors. We will then learn the basic theories of aerodynamics and their application for paper airplanes, and build new models using this knowledge and observe the improvements. Through making and modeling things that fly, and things that fly waaaay better, we will get see how physics ‘works’ in real life.

A732: How do they judge? - The American Criminal Justice System
Teachers: David Showalter

This course will introduce you to the people and institutions that make up our justice system. Each week, we will focus on a different part of the system through critical thinking and discussion around current events and past controversies. If you're interested in pursuing a career in the justice system, we'll help you understand the different roles and responsibilities in the system. If you want to learn more about this hugely important part of America's legal system and society, this is the class for you! We believe that understanding your rights and obligations under the law is a vital part of American citizenship, and we're here to help you do just that!

A741: Exercises in Dreaming: 
An Introduction to Philosophy.
Teachers: Cheyenne Noel

Jumping off the philosophical tradition that understands "reality" to be a dream, I ask that we collectively pinch ourselves. We'll do so by exploring several influential mythologies of this dreamscape, considering the ways in which these accounts are reflected in Western culture, the extent to which they already inform our understanding of the world, and the possibility that they are supported by the new physics of quantum mechanics and relativity. You will practice going down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass--but you'll be doing so in the best of company (think Plato and Nietzsche). Note: No prior knowledge expected. I will not survey philosophy, but instead poke at the beast. We won't hit more than a few spots, but they'll be enough to have our heads spinning!

A731: Tough Topics!
Teachers: Brian Mayer

Gay marriage. Abortion. Terrorism. Affirmative Action. Immigration. Our social and political environment is fraught with tough questions on politics, morality, economics and civil rights. What are the Tough Topics that exist today, and how do we address them? How are these Tough Topics addressed, and is there room for reason among extremism? Students should leave their preconceived notions at the door and be prepared to engage in open, honest and fair discussions on a variety of different issues. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Our goal is not to settle a debate, but understand the fundamental issues confronted by Tough Topics in wealth, power, civil society, economics, politics and religions.