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Course Descriptions

GS 110
Global Seminar: Water (3 credits)

While water is the origin and sine qua non of all life on Earth and, perhaps, of all possible life in the universe, Adam Smith was, in 1776, able to note the paradox that while water is invaluable, it is ubiquity and plenitude makes it essentially valueless in the marketplace. While water has been taken for granted in the past, retrospect allows us to see the essential and irreplaceable role that water plays in both the development of civilizations and the functioning natural processes. In twenty-first century looming water scarcity, degradation, and emerging ideas about the management and value of water allow us to reassess the nature and value of water from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. In this Global Seminar we will broadly investigate the nature of the local, regional, international water systems, and we will examine the roles that water plays in sustaining life on Earth. By understanding the interconnections between the ecological, economic, agricultural, scientific, ethical and life-sustaining aspects of water, students will develop their ability to engage in interdisciplinary analysis of hydrological issues that are of both contemporary and perennial importance.

GS 120
Global Seminar: Food (3 credits)

Why do we eat what we eat? What are our food traditions? Where does our food come from and how is it produced? What are the institutions, policies, and cultural dynamics that shape our eating habits? What are the costs and benefits—human, environmental, social, economic, political—of food production and consumption today? Are our methods of food production and distribution sustainable? What are positive solutions to the global food crisis? This course introduces students to food in relation to culture, science, psychology, history, politics and socioeconomics. This global seminar will include national and regional guest speakers, documentary films, and experiential/service learning. The course is oriented around guest led topics and small group discussions. Student requirements will include reading, journal writing, and collaborative final projects.

GS 130
Global Seminar: Energy (3 credits)

Where does our energy come from? What are the impacts and costs—human, environmental, social, economic, political—of extracting different forms of energy? What happens to the waste products and by-products of energy extraction and use? How should we plan for energy-related environmental disasters? For energy scarcities? What are the options for alternative energy sources? What are the factors that influence energy consumption? This course introduces students to the chemical and atomic bases of the major forms of contemporary energy generation: coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fission. Students learn about the drilling, mining, and refining processes involved in various forms of energy extraction, as well as discussing some of the pressing contemporary economic and political debates around the production and consumption and conservation of energy. This global seminar will include guest speakers, documentary films, and field trips. Antioch is pursuing a geothermal energy project and students will also study and document this ongoing project.

GS 140
Global Seminar: Health (3 credits)

One of the central ethical questions in Philosophy is “What is the good life?” But before there can even be a discussion of the good life, there must be life itself, and that raises the question of health. What constitutes health, both for human beings and for the rest of the ecosystem, and how are those two related? In other words, how do we even define “health”? This course introduces students to the many-sided perspectives and questions involved in the issue of health from its very biological and chemical make-up to the global issues of the health (or lack thereof) of entire populations, including the central question of the ownership and distribution of health care. The course will especially draw from disciplines in the social sciences and natural sciences and will relate to subject matter covered in courses from the health sciences to the political economy of health and wellness. This global seminar will include national and local speakers, documentaries, field trips, experiential learning, and projects. The ultimate goal of the course is to provoke reflection on, and insight into, not just the questions of personal health and health care, but how the entire issue of health in the individual, society, and the world, is related to questions of justice, or the “good life.”

GS 150
Global Seminar: Governance (3 credits)

What are some of the ways in which democracy has been defined and practiced? How should ordinary people participate in political decision-making? What constitutes a fair and legitimate decision-making process? What are some effective mechanisms, strategies, and recipes for creating participatory governance? This course will draw from political philosophy, political theory, postcolonial studies, and globalization studies. The course takes up influential meanings and applications of the concepts of democracy and participatory governance. Beginning with the history of the “term” democracy in the West, we will explore some of the major problematizations and expansions of this crucial political concept. We then move to examine numerous case studies in participatory governance and deliberative democracy from around the world. Students will complete critical papers and research projects; they will also pursue practical local projects in community building, community governance, and the development of community policies.

GS 160
Global Seminar: Education (3 credits)

What is the purpose of education? What does it mean to be educated? What knowledge, skills, abilities, customs, and values are deemed important enough to pass on from one generation to the next? What are the institutions, policies, and cultural dynamics that control the shaping of minds? In what ways do race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, geography, social desirability, access, costs, and benefits inform who is educated, and how? This course introduces students to education in an interdisciplinary context by exploring education’s relationship to culture, politics, socio-economics, social science, and/or practice. Students in this course will become familiar with basic theories and practices of education, varieties of learning styles/modalities, and be introduced to a range of educational systems in the U.S. and across the world.