Descriptions are for Fall 2013 courses only. View catalog for a complete list.
MLS 561M New Orleans Music [1.34]
In this course New Orleans will serve as an example of how American cities respond to disruption and disaster. Students will integrate history and theory to gain an understanding of the components of urban resilience. With special attention placed on music culture as a tool to create and preserve a sense of place, the course explores New Orleans’ music, the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and the ongoing recovery efforts. This course will shed light on the continuing impact of the storm and the community’s resilience in its aftermath. The course will be team-taught by Dr. Julian Chambliss and Fred Lyon, a 2009 graduate of the MLS program. Mr. Lyon’s book, When Not Performing: New Orleans Musicians was inspired by his thesis research on music and urban resilience.
MLS 565 Education and Human Rights 
In general, the academy endeavors to force us to go beyond our ordinary, sometimes unreflective, intuitions and perceptions by subjecting them to scrutiny, thereby leading us to knowledge and understanding. In this course we will subject our everyday intuitions concerning human rights and educational justice to scrutiny using the principles of critical thinking. Part I of the course will examine the libertarian conception of human rights and educational justice. Here, we look at philosophers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Karl Marx. Part II of the course will examine the egalitarian conception of human rights and educational justice, studying how modern philosophy influenced the conception of education as a public good, which sparked the great education debate between Horace Greely and Thomas Jefferson. In Part III, we focus on how the global community came to accept education as a human right and critically reflect on the problems and challenges of achieving educational justice for the proponents of libertarian/egalitarian conceptions of human rights.
MLS 571M Engaged Buddhism [1.34]
In recent years, Buddhist scholars and practitioners worldwide have recognized the need to respond to 21st Century issues and problems arising from globalization and other contemporary social and political concerns, such as structural violence and oppression. Emerging as the fourth major branch of Buddhism, engaged Buddhism concerns itself with weaving peace and justice perspectives into existing Buddhist principles and practices. This course will review the foundations of Buddhism, then move on to examine the emerging discourses in engaged Buddhism, which expand the focus beyond the attainment of enlightenment as an individual or collective process to include ecological and social transformation based on justice-based Buddhist frameworks. Students should be prepared to learn and practice Buddhist meditation, to engage in classroom activities and exercises, and to take one or two field trips. Consistent with engaged Buddhist principles, this course employs a participant-centered, experiential, liberation model of pedagogy.
MLS 581 Designer as Social Critic 
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, members of the Arts and Crafts movement attempted to influence society through their art and writing. In Europe, this movement was largely socialist and reflected reactions against historical revival in design and architecture, as well as the predominance of mechanization in production. To a large extent, the U.S. version of the movement abandoned socialism and anti-industrialism and focused more on developing a new style of design that was simple, honest, and uniquely American. In this course, we analyze critical writings and artistic styles that typified the Arts and Crafts movement in Europe and the United States. Our studies will include the works of John Ruskin, William Morris and the British Arts and Crafts
movement; Elbert Hubbard and the “Roycrofters;” Gustav Stickley and the Mission Style; and Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School.
MLS 602 The Human Order 
The social and political philosophies of the ancient world reflect the effort to shape the human community according to a universal order in which human beings have a natural place and a natural purpose. In this course, students explore the social and political thought of ancient Greece and Rome in the context of the culture in which that thought arose. The course also examines the cosmology and science of the ancient world, with an emphasis on the attempt to direct the powers of reason to the discovery of a natural order.
MLS 604 The Origins of Modernity 
If ancient social and political thought can be characterized by the attempt to fashion a human order that reflected the order of the universe, modern thought must be characterized by the effort to establish order in the human community without the help of a divine being and without knowledge of a transcendent natural order. This course investigates the various ways in which modern social, aesthetic, and political thinkers endeavor to rest human society on purely secular foundations.
MLS 606 Masterpieces of Modern Literature 
This course explores the ways in which literature has come to question and define values in the modern world. As writers have endeavored to come to grips with the social, political, and spiritual dislocations of modern life, they have pursued themes of meaning, identity, community, and communication in order to examine the complexities and perplexities of the human condition.