Course Descriptions

Spring 2015

From the 2014-2015 Graduate Studies Catalog.

MLS 530M Gandhi's Philosophy, life and Legacy
This course will provide an intensive overview on Mohandas K. Gandhi's (aka Mahatma Gandhi) life, philosophy, and legacy.  Gandhi is best known for his pivotal role in India's independence movement and for his pioneering vision of non-violence.  We will discuss how Gandhi enacted his political and ethical ideals in his life.  And we will discuss his legacy through his grandson Arun Gandhi's work in peace and social justice, and also in other contemporary forms of non-violent social movements and organizations that work for social justice.  Arun Gandhi will be visiting Rollins to give a public lecture during our course in late March, and will be co-teaching part of the course with Professor Margaret McLaren.   Readings will include excerpts from M. K. Gandhi's multi-volume autobiography, essays on key topics by M.K. Gandhi, Arun Gandhi's Legacy of Love, as well as articles and secondary sources.

MLS 542M The Three Marjories
In this course, we will explore the lives and work of three of Florida’s most important environmental women: Pulitzer Prize winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings who opened the nation’s eyes to the beauty of rural Florida; scientist and activist Marjorie Harris Carr who led grassroots efforts to stop the Cross Florida Barge Canal; and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, the patron saint of the Everglades. We will read biographical and autobiographical works by these women and examine how they were part of the environmental movement that arose in the twentieth century. The class will include a Saturday field trip on February 7, 2015, to the Gainesville area to see Rawlings’ home, now a state park, and to view the Rodman Dam, a remainder of the barge canal boondoggle.

(Note:  All students are required to participate in the field trip unless they contact the professor prior to the course to arrange an alternative activity.)

MLS 580 Psychology of Religious Experience
This course is about the scientific and empirically based study of the social and individual religious behaviors of people. From altruism to exorcism, from first communion to fevered visions of a heavenly city, some of humankind’s most interesting behaviors are related to religion. Our topics will include definitions of religion; social sources of individual religious beliefs; religion, mental health, and mental illness; the psychology of conversion; cult membership; the psychology of evil; prayer and meditation; and life-after-death experiences. Students will draw from sources across the liberal arts in completing their individual portfolios on a topic of interest.

MLS 589 The Song of Creation from Walt Whitman to Ernesto Cardenal
While every poem creates its own place and hence implies its own creation account, Whitman’s masterpiece is a new Genesis. It sets the stage for all of the poetry of America and the democratic cosmos that he imagined engendered the new world. So powerful was his song of creation that many poets to follow, in North and South America, took heart and followed his grand score, creating ever new oracular voices of the indigenous spirit of the Americas. This course will explore the scientific, religious, and political basis of Whitman’s own creation and move forward to modern and contemporary poets of his kind.

MLS 603: Religion and Western Culture
The society that emerged from the ruins of the Roman Empire brought together classical, Germanic, and Christian elements to forge a new western European culture. This course traces the interaction of these strands through an examination of religion, social and political development, and changes in the arts. Students will examine the medieval synthesis in which religious concerns predominated, explore the factors that lead to its breakdown, and enhance their research skills at the graduate level.

MLS 605: Milestones of Modern Science
Science has always been concerned with the search for order, whether it be to explain the starry phenomena in the night sky; the diversity of substances like rocks, water, and wind; or the nature of our own origins. This course pursues the pathways of science since the 17th century, concentrating on some of the exceptional ideas in biology and physics, with excursions into chemistry and mathematics. We study how the accumulation of knowledge acquired by technical tools and extraordinary thinking fabricates a new view of the universe and indicates our place in it.

MLS 690: Thesis Project
The culmination of the degree program is the completion of a thesis project. Working under the direction of a faculty mentor and with the support of a liberal studies seminar, students apply the knowledge they have acquired in the program in designing and executing a final project. The project may be a research study or a creative work supported by a critical or theoretical essay. For guidelines and approval procedure, please see page 88 of the Graduate Studies catalog.