Cascade! Winter 2014
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A1263: Longform Improv
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Joshua Harris

Harold. Armando. Follow the Leaver. 5-4-3-2-1.
In this class, you will collaborate with your peers to make up stories. We will learn some of the standard structures of Longform Improv, and the tools of the trade for putting together longer improvisational stories. This class will focus on developing a tightly knit group of improvisers, who together are able to construct longer, impromptu narratives. Sometimes there will be improv monologues, sometimes there will be music, and sometimes there will be notes of seriousness, but the common thread is working together to make up stories as you go.

A1261: From Garbage Wars to Food Deserts: Environmental Justice in Chicago
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Clare Everts

Is a “garbage war” being waged in Chicago? Why has Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared a war on food deserts? Who is winning the tug of war between communities, business, and government over the distribution of pollution and other environmental hazards? Why are communities susceptible to environmental inequities?  In this class, we will explore the link between the roots of environmental inequalities, ongoing social and environmental justice movements, and the direction of their future in Chicago.

A1260: Myth and Reality in Language
Difficulty: None

Kids don’t know how to talk these days, right? For example, ever had someone tell you that you can’t say “they” to mean a single person? Probably. But did you know that even Shakespeare used “they” this way? He wrote: “one knocks! Hark, how they knock!” in Romeo and Juliet over 400 years ago, so why do we have rules like this, if great writers (including Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, and more) don’t follow them? Who decides what’s “right” in a language? Should there even be rules? In this class, we will talk about how languages really work, using historical examples of language change, formal linguistics, and modern-day examples of dialects and language use to get to the root of why differing opinions about language exist.

A1270: Survival: Making Economic Decisions
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Alan Zhong

Imagine yourself stranded in a foreign land. What do you bring? What will you eat? How do you get home? How do you survive? Welcome to the Survival game! Together we'll travel across the world, learn about different cultures, customs, and regional economies. We will begin on a stranded island and learn about fundamental economic principles, and then build more principles as we travel from location to location. If you're interested in learning about economics through participating in this game, then this is the class for you.

A1268: The Science of Happiness
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Ingrid Yin

Fuzzy slippers, friendship, cookies, money. We've heard it all. Humans have been obsessed with finding the secret to happiness for ages. And today, with the growing popularity of positive psychology--a field of psychology that focuses on human happiness--the number of these happiness theories has exponentially increased. But if we have discovered so many more "scientifically proven" ways for us to increase our happiness, then why aren't we any happier than before? In this class, we are going to explore the validity of these theories. We will start briefly with the ideas of the ancient world and then move on to new research from current prominent psychologists. Hopefully, you will leave the class with an understanding of what makes us truly happy, as well as some easy ways to become happier in your life.

A1266: Venture into the Brain: Understanding How Your Mind Works
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Brandon Rayhaun

The human brain is truly one of the most mysterious and complicated systems we know about. It controls our thoughts and emotions and it stores our memories and everything we've learned. It gives us our personalities, processes information about the world around us, and even changes in response to the environment. To this day, scientists are arguing over how the brain works--we're also constantly discovering new explanations for these phenomena, and sometimes even realizing that our old explanations were wrong! In our class, you'll learn about the role of neuroscience in figuring out the mind, how the brain works, how it developed, and even how we can hack into it to create all kinds of technology you thought only existed in Sci-Fi movies. From caveman neurosurgery to futuristic robotic cyborgs, from evolution to optical illusions and split-brain patients, join us as we venture into the brain!

A1264: The Psychology of Shakespeare
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Miles Morgan

Reading Shakespeare can often feel like entering an unfamiliar world, but Shakespeare explores themes that transcend language barriers and generational gaps. Guilt, betrayal, jealousy, pride, and revenge are present in the psychology of the human condition abundant themes in Shakespeare. Through extremes and abnormal cases, Shakespeare asks, "Why are we susceptible to mistrust and jealousy?" and "What happens to us when we push our minds to their breaking points?" If we look closely enough, Shakespeare’s iconic character of the Bard provides us with answers.

A1259: Morality and the Holocaust: What Would You Have Done?
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Jonathon Catlin

We often think of the Holocaust as part of history that could never happen again, but many of the moral questions the Holocaust raised remain relevant today. Through movie clips and short readings related to the Holocaust, we will bring questions of human rights and moral action to life: how did so many ordinary German people become killers? If you were forced to select one of your children for the gas chambers, how could you choose? If you were a Jewish victim and a Nazi criminal on his deathbed asked for forgiveness, would you forgive him? Would you do what you are told, even if it hurt someone? We will engage with such topics like psychology, moral philosophy, history, and literature through the context of the Holocaust.

A1265: Always Offside: Understanding Racism, Sectarian Violence, and Feminism through Soccer
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Walter Quintanilla

During February 2006, Samuel Eto'o, one of soccer's most prolific goal scorers, decided to walk off of a live game. After months of monkey chants, fascist salutes, and fans throwing banana peels onto the field, Eto'o said "no más" (no more). Soccer is so much more than a game. It encapsulates some of society's biggest questions of racism, feminism, and violence. This class will look at how we can view society through the lens of soccer where African players are often subject to extremely racist and conservative groups, where soccer rivalries represent some of history’s bloodiest gang wars, and where women players and referees challenge the status quo. The otherwise beautiful game does not seem so attractive through the blood, fights, and racism, through which groups always seem to be offside.

A1269: Behavioral Psychology: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Daniel Spiegel

Do you ever wonder why children sometimes obey or, alternatively, disobey their parents? This class will investigate the influence of nurture (as opposed to nature) on behavior through the the lens of a number of 20th century experiments performed on rats, pigeons and people alike. We will look at many elements of behavior, from how we learn to how we respond to responsibility and authority. We’ll also look at a couple of psychological disorders and examine the psychology behind riots and protests. In the end, you can hope to find out why people act the way they do.

A1262: How Computers Work and Network
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Bill Geraci

Do you ever wonder why your computer freezes for apparently no reason? Computers have problems. They all do, at least eventually…. Buffering issues, slowness, crashes, and more. Come learn how a computer guy sees problems—and how to understand different symptoms—to get you to “the usual solutions”. For example, this class will teach you what steps you can take to fix a hardware problem and how you can figure out whether the problem comes from hardware or, say, the operating system. Come learn all this and some history, too!

A1267: How to Be Wise: Philosophy 101
Difficulty: None
Teachers: Nicholas Saffran

How do we know life isn't just a dream? Do we have control over our actions? Is it right to push a large man off a bridge to stop a speeding train careening towards helpless track workers? These are the types of questions that we'll be asking--and maybe even answering--in this philosophy class. Philosophy, which literally means “the love of wisdom,” is unlike any other subject you’ve taken in school. When we study it, we don’t simply learn concepts; but rather, we question everything we’ve previously taken for granted and try to give an account of our own answers to the most basic, fundamental questions. We do so with the hope that all this thinking, questioning, and arguing will help us lead better, happier lives. In this class, we'll start by thinking about what philosophy is exactly, and then we'll engage with some “central questions” of philosophy. By the end, you'll have learned how to ponder “philosophical” or fundamental questions, and maybe you'll even learn how to be wise.