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Spring Courses


January 4, 2019

Explore celebrity philanthropy and activism, identify birds in local parks and reserves, and examine the media’s portrayal of environmental issues in these new and noteworthy spring courses.


Video Games & Game Culture in COM (COM T380.001)
Video games have been part of our media landscape for decades. Once thought of as a niche hobby, the video game industry is now one of the largest media industries in the world, with millions of players and billions of dollars in revenue. This course explores video games through the lens of communication studies, examining various theoretical, cultural and political concepts and implications. We will discuss theories of interaction between people and technologies, the online and face-to-face cultures that have emerged, and cultural and political flashpoints in the video game media and the industry. During this course, students will also be asked to play a game of their choosing, take notes based on their experience with the game, and write a paper based on the course readings and their experience.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Alexander Jenkins, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:20 p.m. Location TBD

The Popular & The Populist (COM T380.002)
More than ever, celebrities and wider representatives of the media and creative industries raise their voice in social, cultural and political debates. Celebrity philanthropy and activism is omnipresent to the point that “the celebrity without a cause” seems a thing of the past.

American actress Angelina Jolie’s involvement in humanitarian work led to her being awarded a visiting professorship by the London School of Economics. NGO and activist groups today consider celebrity endorsement a self-evident aspect of their PR and marketing mix, as part of the commodification of philanthropy and resistance. Hollywood women, aided by investigative journalists, were the key instigators in what is now a worldwide #metoo movement. The world over — singers, actors, TV personalities, celebrity gamers and even grime artists — are vocal about and rally around political issues, encouraging people to vote or speaking out in favor or against political candidates. Interestingly, this phenomenon can be observed on either side of the political spectrum, suggesting similar mechanisms at play.

Based in theoretical conceptualizations and empirical work from a range of sub-disciplines in the field of media and communication studies, this seminar course explores this convergence, analyzing the role of various actors in the media/creative apparatus; their intersection with the political and the social; as well as the processes at play.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Hilde Van den Bulck, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays from 11:00 – 1:50 p.m. Location TBD

Environmental Science

Global Warming, Biodiversity and Your Future (ENVS 289)
Human-induced global warming is changing the physical environment, ecological systems and human systems around the world. We will explore causes, effects and consequences of global warming using NASA satellite information and current scientific and semi-popular writings. Students will understand the implications of global climate change for their futures.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Mariangeles Arce H., is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays from 6 – 8:50 p.m.

Environment in the News (ENVS T280)
This course is an examination of how environmental topics are covered by popular news media. Students will learn the science that is discussed by current news outlets.  Topics may include natural disasters, environmental policy and regulation, global warming and climate change, habitat loss and species extinction. Students will review and discuss current news articles and relevant scientific publications (including the source article where appropriate).

This 2.0 credit course, taught by Amanda Lough, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 – 1:50 p.m.

Field Ornithology Lab (ENVS 353)
The Delaware Valley is the cradle of North American ornithology. This course aims to give students a hands-on lab and field experience in identifying birds found in the Delaware Valley. Half of the classes will be held outside at local parks and refuges and the remainder will be in the lab, where specimens from the world-renowned collections housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will be studied.

This 2.0 credit course, taught by Jason Weckstein, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.


Rationalism and Empiricism (PHIL 214)
This course is a study of the two leading philosophical movements of the "modern" period (1500-1800) in Europe; of British Empiricism in the works of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume; and of Continental Rationalism in the works of René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz and Christian Wolff. Critique of Wolff in the work of Immanuel Kant.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Jacques Catudal, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m. Location TBD

Theories of Sustainability (PHIL T480)
What is sustainability? What exactly should we sustain, and how should we try to do so? How do the ecological and social crises we face affect how we answer these questions? And how do we face up to the entities and institutions that perpetuate and exacerbate these crises? Over the course of the term, we will wrestle with questions like these and their practical implications.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Andrew Smith, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the freshman level. It will meet Mondays from 6 – 10:50 p.m. Location TBD. This class is cross-listed with SCTS T580.

Marx's Philosophy (PHIL 485)
Karl Marx (1818-1883) revolutionized Western sociology, political economy and philosophy by showing how German Idealism could be understood as providing theoretical keys that would unlock the mysteries of social change and human liberation. We'll look at some of Marx's philosophical forebears and trace their influence in selected writings of Marx and how they contributed to Marx's own philosophical outlook.

This 3.0 credit writing intensive course, taught by Peter Amato, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students with at least two 200-level or higher PHIL classes. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m. Location TBD