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Fall Schedule Shuffle: Open A&S Classes That Rock!

September 18, 2013

Does your class schedule need a tweak? Fret not. There is still space aplenty in these fascinating A&S courses. Get your VLPA, I&S and other required credits taken care of in style with one of the academic gems below:


ASIAN 207/C LIT 272: Asian Martial Arts Films 

Lectures Monday through Thursday, 12:30 – 2:20 p.m. Friday quiz sections. // Fulfills VLPA or I&S credit.

The Matrix. Kung Fu Hustle. Seven Samurai. These are the textbooks of Asian Martial Arts Films, fall quarter’s most gravity-defying course.

In a melding of Asian studies and comparative literature (hence the cross-listing), the course examines the history, ideology and cinematic conventions of the Far East’s most famous entertainment export. More than acrobatic feats and inventive pummeling, martial arts films are a reflection of ancient literary and cultural themes. Their powerful influence on the world’s perceptions of Asia makes the art form a rich field of study.

“What surprises students the most is the variety, complexity and atmospheric variation of the different sub-genres,” says Professor Chris Hamm. “A ‘martial arts film’ might be a patriotic epic, a slapstick comedy, an exercise in macho posturing, a hipster meditation on life, or something else entirely.”

Hamm tag teams the class’s instruction with Professor Yomi Braester, the former supplying the bulk of the course’s historical context and the latter leading cinematic analysis. “We have kind of an Odd Couple shtick,” Hamm muses.

Coursework consists of weekly film screenings, both of major blockbusters and lesser-known gems, content quizzes and a final project. Discussions will range from the films’ production tricks to gender constructions, so expect to juggle a broad arsenal of topics. Bruce Lee-level dexterity not required.


brad-pitt-troyCLAS 210: Greek and Roman Classics in English

Lectures on Mon, Wed, Fri at 10:30 – 11:20 am. Quiz sections on Tues, Thurs. // Fulfills VLPA credit. 

Violence and vulgarity, sex and slapstick—these are the preoccupations of our ennobled intellectual forefathers, along with the grand ideas of heroism, truth and beauty they’re best known for. Their epic Odysseys and Iliads have shaped the social conventions and conversations of today: What determines the worth of a person? Would Thucydides approve of the Iraq war? Did Brad Pitt’s pectorals make for a convincing Achilles?

These questions and more will be answered by CLAS 210 this fall, as the lecture-based class dives into the greatest voices, vices and victories of Western antiquity. (No worries, all the texts are in English—no Hellenic language skills required.)

“It’s a class that not only introduces the students to the past, but uses this past as a way to encourage them to think more acutely about the present,” says Professor Sarah Stroup, one of the course’s ten lecturers.

Yes, ten lecturers. The class is team taught by the Classics Department’s best and brightest professors, aptly accompanying the richness of the material with a diverse array of experts to teach it. So if you are not into Stroup’s proclivities toward Cicero and Seneca, just wait a week till a new lecturer takes the stage, with a different classical blockbuster in hand. Meanwhile, quiz sections, supervised by a faculty coordinator and a team of T.A.s, will keep discussions consistent and expectations clear throughout the quarter.


symbolsJSIS C 201: Introduction to World Religions: Western Traditions

Lectures on Tuesday, Thursday at 1:30 – 3:20 pm. Quiz sections on Fridays. // Fulfills I&S credit. 

“If I went back to college today, I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated [religion] is in everything that we are working [on] and thinking about today.”

So says John Kerry, Secretary of State and former presidential hopeful. Indeed, few can deny that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have evolved to dominate the planet’s political narrative.

Thankfully, Introduction to World Religions is here to unpack their meteoric rise to power. And who better to teach it than Professor James Wellman, chair of the Comparative Religion program and author of six books on the topic (he edited Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective and his latest project is tentatively titled High on God: How the Megachurch Conquered America).

Wellman’s course tracks the Abrahamic faiths from their earliest historical incarnations to the institutional behemoths they are today. Always game to play devil’s advocate, he likes to challenge his students’ preexisting paradigms and never forgets to illustrate how the ethical, traditional and mystical constructs of one faith influence and interact with another’s. But challenging never adds up to unapproachable and course alums rank Wellman a very helpful and good-humored lecturer. (Several recommended dropping in on his office hours for the full Wellman debate experience.)

The class culminates in an opportunity to look at the local forms of these religions and compare how they express themselves in the Pacific Northwest. Students visit a mosque, a church or a synagogue, synthesizing a quarter’s full of learning with their own hands-on experience. Think like a statesman. Take JSIS C 201.

Let’s Get Bilingual!

The time to sign up for one of UW’s huge assortment of foreign languages is now! The College of Arts and Sciences offers over 40 language choices—everything from Italian to Latvian to Urdu. Most are taught in year-long sequences, so if you miss registering for fall quarter’s array of 101 classes, you’ll have to wait till the following academic year to jump in again. Don’t dally! Leave your monolingual self behind.

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