Spring 2021 Seminars

  • Am I Who I Say I Am? (Prof. Deanna Cooke, Psychology) 

    MWF 11:00am-12:00pm (CRN 71798)

    Identity, identity development and how social context impacts identities has been a focus in psychology for many years.  Students will explore how one develops their identity, particularly social identities, and how social context defines and redefines how one understands themselves, their role in society, the meaning of their identities, and the importance of those identities.  We will review general identity theories, and then specific social identities that have great significance in today’s societies.  We will explore how race, class, gender, sexual orientation and communities help shape how we see ourselves.

    Meet the Professor:

    Deanna Cooke, Ph.D. serves as BCLA’s Director of Engaged Learning and is trained as a community psychologist.  Her work includes research on racial identity as well as community based participatory research and evaluation. 

  • Ancient Epics (Prof. Matthew Dillon, Classics and Archaeology)

    MW 2:00-3:30pm (CRN 71804)

    This course examines three of the most important genres of tradition tale from various points of view: historical, literary and theoretical. The focus will be on the myths of Ancient Greece and Rome, with at least one other different culture (e.g., Egypt) for the sake of comparison. We will explore the importance of varying sources, different theories of interpretation, and the lasting influence of ancient stories on the modern world.

    Meet the Professor:

    Matthew Dillon is a professor of Classics and Archaeology in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. He received his BA in Classics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 1974, and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1984. After three years at Smith College, he joined the LMU faculty in 1987. His research interests have grown from early publications on Greek tragedy and comedy to include connections between eastern and western traditions, the pronunciation of ancient Greek and Latin, and, most recently, survey archaeology in Rough Cilicia (southern Turkey). He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Philological Association in 2007. He has also worked in the film and television industry as an advisor and dialogue translator for the Da Vinci Code and the television series Caprica.

  • Animated Spirituality: Japanese Religion in Anime, Manga, and Film (Prof. Eric Swanson, Theological Studies)

    MW 2:00-3:30pm (CRN 75557)

    MW 3:30-4:00pm (CRN 75558)

    This course addresses religion and spirituality as seen through the lens of Japanese popular culture, including anime, manga, and live-action film. It examines how popular culture productions have represented and engaged with religious themes and human dilemmas, and asks students to critically assess the place of religion in the recent history of Japan. After covering the major religious traditions of Japan (Shinto, Buddhism, and Christianity), the course follows a historical approach, ranging from the WWII era to the present, that will introduce students to the religious, social, and cultural issues that have preoccupied the creators of manga, anime, and film, and the creative ways in which these historically specific issues were expressed in their work.

    Meet the Professor:

    Eric Haruki Swanson is an Assistant Professor in the Theological Studies Department at Loyola Marymount University. He is a native of Japan and received a BA in Religious Studies from Indiana University Bloomington, a MA in Esoteric Buddhist Studies from Koyasan University, and PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Harvard University. As a cultural historian who studies the religious traditions of Japan, he takes an interdisciplinary approach that involves analysis of Buddhist scripture, doctrinal treatises, ritual manuals, narrative picture scrolls, and artistic performances. His research focuses on exploring the various ways Buddhist institutions responded to waves of political change and social uncertainty and how historical figures constructed religious identities through the production of texts and ritual practices.

  • The Art & Science of Teaching (Elementary and Secondary Education) 

    R 4:30-7:00pm (CRN 75535) Prof. Darin Early 

    MW 2:00-3:20pm (CRN 75536) Prof. Laura Casella 

    This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the field of P-12 education and aims to provide an overview of the teaching profession.  Students will explore the art and science of teaching.  They will understand how the teaching profession is relevant across multiple disciplines and how the knowledge and skills necessary for effective teaching are applied in everyday experiences.  Students will assess and determine their own beliefs, values and assumptions about teaching and learning.  They will identify their individual learning style and apply those findings to the students they are and the teachers they may become. 


  • Art and Power (Prof. Amy Woodson-Boulton, History)

    MWF 9:30-10:30am (CRN 74342)

    MWF 11:00am-12:00pm (CRN 71799)

    This course focuses on the social role of art and culture in both upholding and destabilizing power relationships in Europe and European colonies, c.1790-1940, as part of the broad First Year Seminar theme “Culture, Art and Society.” The visual arts, architecture, advertising, propaganda, fashion, universities, and museums, for instance, include and exclude people in various ways, some obvious and some subtle. All of these forms of art have been used as tools to uphold the powerful (for example, the palace of Versailles or war propaganda), but art also has the enormous potential to speak truth to power and play a unique role in modern society, as a socially acceptable form of criticism of existing power structures (for example, the works of many novelists protesting industrial capitalism). You will think through the political uses of art and culture, the commercialization of art in the modern period, and how culture continues to differentiate socio-economic classes. (This last point is particularly important as you consider the meaning of, and privilege bestowed by, a university education.) We will consider the social history of art, art disciplines, and art institutions in relation to the leisure necessary for making and appreciating art; in relation to questions about “primitive” art, race, and evolution; and in relation to the question of “progress,” “revolution,” and the “avant-garde.” In addition, we will consider individual works of visual art and literature, as well as the changing nature of time and space in new genres such as photography and film.

    Meet the Professor:

    Amy Woodson-Boulton is associate professor of British and Irish history and recent past Chair of the Department of History. She has published on cultural reactions to industrialization and on the social role of art, including her monograph Transformative Beauty: Art Museums in Industrial Britain (Stanford, 2012). She is currently studying the relationships between anthropology and art in the age of Empire.

  • Art in the Age of AIDS (Prof. Leon Wiebers, Theatre Arts and Dance)

    T 4:10-6:40pm (CRN 72116)

    This seminar will examine the AIDS epidemic through theatre, film, art and literature. Using texts such as "The Normal Heart", "Angels in America", "And the Band Played On", and several others, the class will study the artists and their response to AIDS during the first wave period from the early 1980s-90s. Comparing the historical information, the protests of ACT-UP, governmental legislation and popular culture with the artistic work of David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bill T. Jones, Keith Haring and others, the course will focus this investigation of the disease on the often violent personal cum political struggles that forcefully opened the closet door; fuelling massive social change in America and the modern gay movement.

    Meet the Professor:

    Leon Wiebers teaches Costume Design in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. He has designed costumes throughout the US and internationally. He conducts research in various areas of dress, the history of dress and gender studies.  

  • Attraction, Desire, and Pleasure (Prof. Mikki Kressbach, Film, Television, and Media Studies)

    TR 9:50-11:10am (CRN 74347)

    Nearly every major academic discipline has sought to understand the source and meaning of attraction, desire, and pleasure. Are attraction, desire, and pleasure “natural” expressions of human biology and psychology? Are they products of society and culture? Over the course of the semester, we will explore the theories of desire, attraction and pleasure from Philosophy, Psychology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Science and Technology studies in order to examine how these feelings—affects and embodied experiences—shape our understanding of romantic love, friendship, and sex. Written assignments will ground these theoretical discussions by analyzing how popular media--e.g. romantic comedies, popular fiction, self-help books, and lifestyle magazines--translate the unseen feelings and experiences of desire, attraction and pleasure to the masses. In exploring how these cultural objects serve to regulate our understanding of these feelings, we will not only interrogate the norms and expectations for love, sex and friendship, but also non-normative expressions of desire, attraction, and pleasure, including kink, asexuality, and queer desire.


    Meet the Professor:

    Mikki Kressbach is an Assistant Professor in the Film, Television, and Media Studies Department. She received her B.A. in Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching broadly explores how media provoke and interpret bodily sensations, which she has led her to classes on topics ranging from the horror genre, health and technology, and new media. She is currently at work on a book project titled, “Sensing Health: Bodies, Data and Digital Health Technologies,” which examines how popular digital health technologies shape what it means to “feel healthy” in the twenty-first century.


  • Bad Catholics (Prof. Layla Karst, Theological Studies)

    TR 1:50-3:20pm (CRN 75559)

    Religious identity and belonging is complicated, especially when it must be negotiated alongside other identities like race, gender, or nation of origin. What does it mean to be American and Catholic and who gets to decide? Crafting a religious identity is key for many Catholics as they strive to understand themselves and interact with others.  But how do American Catholics discern, perform, and evaluate religious identity and belonging?

    This course will explore the ways that American Catholics have crafted and told their stories from their Spanish, French, and English origins to today’s culturally and theologically diverse contexts. We will examine different markers of religious identity and belonging: voluntary association; assent and dissent to Catholic teachings; liturgy and popular practices; the historical experience of Catholicism and anti-Catholicism; the intersection of Catholic identity and national/racial/sexual identity; and Catholic participation in American public life.

    Meet the Professor:

    Layla Karst is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. She specializes in liturgical theology, ritual studies, and Catholic religious practice. As a scholar of lived religion, she is particularly interested in exploring the relationship (and the friction!) between believing and practicing the Catholic faith. Deeply influenced by the fiercely faithful and independent matriarchs of her own family, she is committed to the integration of critical theory and feminist theory in the work of Catholic theology.


    TR 9:50-11:05AM (CRN 72117)

    There is a growing movement of thinkers and technologists who are advocating for a multi-planetary civilization. Their concern is that our existence on Earth is precarious, and to ensure the continuation of humanity, it is necessary to become a multi-planetary and eventually an interstellar or even intergalactic species.  This course will explore the Past, present and future aspects of space exploration, and the challenges involved to become a multi-planetary species.  The social, cultural, political, and engineering topics will be discussed, as well as the ongoing development of private industry entering space, and the future focus on Mars expeditions.

    Meet the Professor:


  • Bicycle: Art, Ecology, and Culture (Prof. Michael Brodsky, Studio Arts)

    TR 1:50-3:10pm (CRN 71792)

    This course will take a critical look at the past, present and future of the bicycle. It will look back at the history of the bicycle which liberated individual mobility and did much to help emancipate women while making mechanical transportation availableto a wide range of society. We will explore how the bicycle ultimately gave way to a dependency on the gas-powered automobile which is now the cause of such enormous impacts on livability of our cities, the environment and the earth’s climate.

    This class will also look forward towards how the humble bicycle has such an enormous potential to once again liberate us from the domination of fossil fuel powered transportation, provide health benefits and allow for a closer connection to our urban society. We will examine how planning for people centered and equitable transportation can positively impact our health and wellbeing while lowering the impact on our planet. Along the way we will explore how the representation of the bicycle in literature, art, music and film both reflects and contributes to a myriad of diverse bicycle cultures in the city.

    Meet the Professor:

    Michael Brodsky is an artist, educator and environmental activist. He is a Studio Arts Professor and Multimedia Arts Area Head in the Department of Art and Art History at LMU. He received a BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Photographic Fine Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He earned an MFA in Art and Design from CalArts. He is a former Fulbright Scholar to India. His digital art has been exhibited and published internationally.

    Michael Brodsky is a League of American Bicyclists Licensed Cycling Instructor and Ride Leader/Ride Marshall with the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. He is a founding board member of Santa Monica Spoke. He is a Climate Reality Project Leader.

  • Childhood in International Cinema (Prof. Aine O’Healy, Modern Languages and Literatures)

    M 4:30-7:30pm (CRN 71864)

    This seminar introduces students to critical writing through the exploration of international cinema. Our focus is on the representation of childhood in several films produced around the world since the 1940s. In order to engage with these films, drawn from different national contexts and historical periods, students apply the tools of audiovisual analysis to discern the symbolic functions fulfilled by the figure of the child. We will examine how the construction of children in cinema intersects with discourses of nation formation and with the representation of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and social class. The assigned readings, mainly drawn from cinema studies, will guide our explorations and will allow us to place the filmic analyses in a broader context, encompassing issues of globalization, discourses of the border, and discussions about multiculturalism and diversity.


    Meet the Professor:

    Professor Áine O'Healy is Professor of Italian and Director of the Humanities Program at Loyola Marymount University.

  • Cities in Cinema (Prof. Anupama Prabhala Kapse, Film Studies)

    T 4:00-7:00pm (CRN 71807)

    This course introduces students to the intimate relationship between culture, art and society by looking closely at cinema as an urban art form. The rubric of the city will provide a rigorous interdisciplinary framework to think about the city as a location for and producer of cinema.

    A core assignment will be to explore Los Angeles (or any other city of the student’s choice) as a center of film production. Assignments will be based on a visit to or research on a theater, studio or location that engages closely with films based in cities like LA, such as Bladerunner, LA Confidential, or Chinatown. Designed for the intimate setting of a seminar where students work closely with each other, group activities will include a hunt for advertisements, billboards, locations, theater facades and marquees to foster collaborative work.

    Assignments may also include journal posts, as well as written papers that study the cultural and symbolic meaning of locations such as factories, subways, parks, museums, restaurants, cinema theaters, shopping malls or historical landmarks as characteristic features of the city in cinema.

    Students will be required to participate in one group project that includes an oral presentation with PowerPoints and found media (or their own videos). A key outcome will be to train students to research, think and write analytically about their chosen city as an economic, political or artistic hub.

    Meet the Professor:

    Anupama Prabhala Kapse is Associate Professor, Loyola Marymount University. Her research focuses on the materiality, potency and impact of sound and image in early South Asian cinema. She is co-editor of the award-winning Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (Indiana UP, 2014). Her work has appeared in Film, Fashion and the 1960s (Indiana UP, 2017); Figurations in Indian Film (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Framework; South Asian Popular Culture, Film Quarterly and Indian Film Stars (BFI Press, 2019). She serves on the editorial board of Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, The Melodrama Consortium, and has served as jury member for IKFF, NYC, and LAIFF, Los Angeles.

  • Cultivating Empathy (Prof. Patrick Damon Rago, Dance)

    TR  9:50-11:10pm (CRN 74343)

    TR  11:50-1:20pm (CRN 75777)

    The course will engage students in connecting concepts about Empathy found in a variety of texts, rituals, and art works to the themes of the LMU Mission in order to learn and explore how we negotiate physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and psychological situations.  Course activities will be experimental, experiential, reflective, analytical and creative.  Over the course of the semester, we will engage with a variety of texts, videos, activities and interpersonal connections that explore and develop Empathy from multiple viewpoints.

    Meet the Professor:

    Patrick Damon Rago has been a Professor in the Dance Department at Loyola Marymount University since 2000.  He has choreographed and performed modern dance around the country and internationally.  His choreography uses humor, spoken word, theatricality, and hyper physicality to explore human connection and other emotional themes.

  • The Economics of Everyday Life: What We Eat (Prof. Erin Kaplan, Economics)

    TR 7:50-9:20am (CRN 71621)

    Everyone eats. What and how we eat depend on a variety of social and economic influences. In this seminar we will learn a bit of food history, explore contemporary food trends, and study the complex global economic systems that shape what’s on our plates. Topics will include international trade, food labeling, US agricultural policy, food insecurity, the environmental impact of industrial agriculture, and trends in consumer tastes. If you’re fascinated by food and want to learn more, this is the class for you. 

    Meet the Professor:

    Erin Kaplan is a foodie and former food blogger, who also happens to be an economist. Dr. Kaplan received her PhD in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011. Her research focuses mainly on the impacts of US health, labor, and education policy; however, she also has a publication in the Journal of Wine Research. Dr. Kaplan joined the faculty at LMU in 2018, having previously taught at Rhodes College and the University of Pittsburgh.

  • Education and the Public Good (Prof. Bernadette Musetti, Liberal Studies)

    TR  3:50-5:20pm (CRN 71817)

    This course is an examination of the role of education in the U.S. and the purposes and functions education serves in our society. Students will be asked to consider whether education in the U.S. is the "great equalizer" or if it is more likely to serve as a primary means by which our social, economic, and political systems are reproduced. Students will examine a variety of schools and will be exposed to a diversity of material conditions, educational ideologies, and program models.

    Meet the Professor:

    Bernadette Musetti is Professor in the Department of Urban & Environmental Studies in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and serves as Director of the Liberal Studies program at LMU--the teacher preparation program for undergrads wanting to earn a BA in Liberal Studies and a multiple subjects teaching credential. She has taught in K-12 schools in the U.S. and in Mexico and worked in international education for many years. At the university level she has taught undergrads, MA, and doctoral students across several institutions, including Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, University of California Davis, Kennesaw State University, and the University of Georgia. She finds a great deal of joy, fulfillment, and inspiration in teaching. She is keenly interested in the ways in which institutions of education can better serve individuals, communities, and the public good, which is the focus of her First Year Seminar. Dr. Musetti earned her PhD at the University of California Davis in Language, Literacy & Culture.  

  • Fairy Tales (Prof. Kelly Younger, English)

    MWF 8:00-9:00am (CRN 71625)

    MWF 9:30-10:30pm (CRN 71811)

    "Once upon a time" promises a "happily ever after." But what can fairy tales teach us in the here and now, and how might they provide hope when happy endings feel few and far between? Even before the Brothers Grimm penned the fairy tales of their childhood, folktales carried widespread cultural messages about survival, morality, growing up, sexuality, violence, anxieties, and about how humans ought to make meaning in an uncertain world. This course examines fairy tales both vertically (how they originated and evolved) and horizontally (how they spread and keep spreading and to what extent they have roots in our unconscious minds). We will look closely at the constructions of both types of evaluation in this seminar, using fairy tales as the focus for our literary analysis, critical writing, and creative projects. We will read modern adaptations of old stories, asking why, in this historical time when so many more realistic stories demand our attention, would a cultural obsession with fairy tales arise? 

    Meet the Professor:

    Kelly Younger, PhD is a literature professor and professional screenwriter. He earned an MA in Classics from Loyola University Chicago and an MA/PhD in Literature from University College Dublin in Ireland. As a writer he spent 3 years at Walt Disney Animation writing a feature project as well as a member of the Story Trust on Ralph Breaks the Internet, Moana, Frozen 2, Raya and the Last Dragon and a participant in the Pixar Brain Trust on Cars 3, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and Onward. He is currently a writer and co-producer for Muppets Now on Disney+ as well as other forthcoming Muppets projects. He is also writing a live action series for Amazon, an animated series for Apple+, and two feature films for Disney and Lion Forge Animation.

  • Your Future Career in the Global Workforce (Prof. Charles Vance, Management)

    MWF 9:30-10:30am (CRN 71793)

    MWF 11:00am-12:00pm (CRN 72257)

    This course addresses personal, professional, and societal imperatives surrounding global career competence and related ongoing developments associated with the dynamic and pervasive process of globalization. In optimizing their preparation for future career success within the context of increasing globalization, students examine current forces contributing to globalization and developing worldwide trends, including increasing global entrepreneurship, more porous national borders supporting increased global trade and migration, and innovations in technology and telecommunications. The dark side of globalization also is examined, and students discuss their responsibilities and opportunities in their future for asserting moral leadership and having a positive impact upon global society. In addition, students explore and begin to develop future strategies (e.g., study abroad, international internships, international humanitarian service, expatriate assignments) for building critical global career competencies.

    Meet the Professor:

    Dr. Charles M. Vance is a professor of management and human resources at Loyola Marymount University, where he teaches at executive, MBA, and undergraduate levels. He is co-author of Managing a Global Workforce, and has been very active at Loyola Marymount in designing and conducting customized training programs for managers, executives, and other professionals. He is a double Fulbrighter, and has had considerable experience as a lecturer and consultant in North and South America, Asia, and Europe.

  • God in All Sounds— World Musics and Local Knowledge (Prof. Paul Humphreys, Music)

    TR 9:50am-11:10am (CRN 71796)

    This course is a survey-by-topic of world music inspired by the Jesuit practice of “finding God in all things.” After a preliminary consideration of music and its relation to language, our attention turns to representative practices and texts selected from Abrahamic (Christian, Judaic and Islamic), South and East Asian faith traditions. The focus of inquiry then turns to consider the methods and case studies of anthropologists who can be said to be seeking “God in all cultures.” Finally, and for a majority of the course, our attention focuses on the methods and findings of ethnomusicology, a discipline that can be said to seek out “God in all sounds.” The choice of topics follows from my own study and practice of ethnomusicology, music composition & performance as well as my study and practice of contemplative spiritualities (please see also bio statement below). Integrated within, and integral to this course is the exercise and cultivating of writing skills and oral expression, known in the Jesuit rhetorical tradition as eloquentia perfecta. Writing and discussion are grounded in assigned readings and listening as well as contemplative exercises in composition, and group performance.


    Meet the Professor:

    Paul W. Humphreys is a Professor in the Department of Music and Director of World Music at LMU. Student ensembles that he directs regularly feature internationally-known artist-teachers from Indonesia and West Africa. As an ethnomusicologist, Humphreys has conducted field work in China, Indonesia, Ghana, Japan, and the Pueblo Indian region of the Southwest United States. His published research addresses non-western compositional practice, music and religion, and comparative music theory. Live performances of Humphreys’ compositions have been featured during the 2008, 2005, and 2002 World Festivals of Sacred Music Los Angeles, with invited screenings in years since at Boston University, the University of New Mexico, and in Wudangshan, China. He has appeared as a pianist in numerous LMU Music Faculty Recitals, NACUSA (National Association of Composers, U.S.A.) concerts in Southern California, and most recently in a solo recital of original works at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Humphreys approaches his calling as a teacher in the spirit of what Parker Palmer calls a “circle of truth.” In the classroom, he integrates presentation and discussion with an intentionality that also holds open to new directions. Experiential learning, another touchstone of his teaching philosophy, includes active participation in performance, composition and occasional instrument making projects. His approach to teaching is shaped, additionally, by longstanding commitments to contemplative inquiry and Jesuit discernment. Humphreys currently serves at LMU as member of the Academic Planning and Review Committee, as well as Advisory Boards of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality and Asian and Pacific Studies Program. Previous University service includes CFA Associate Dean (2013 – 2015), President’s Committee for Mission and Identity (2009 – 2013), and Core Curriculum (Chair of Working Group for First Year Seminar, Fall 2010). Previous to joining the LMU faculty in 1997, Humphreys’ teaching affiliations have included UCLA, California Institute for the Arts, CSU (Northridge), and Kunitachi College of Music (Tokyo, Japan).

  • History of Natural Disasters (Prof. Nigel Raab, History)

    TR 9:50-11:20am (CRN 71794)

    From the flooding after Katrina in 2005, to the Haitian Earthquake in 2010, to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011, natural disasters have become regular news items. This course, drawing on the instructor's own research in Soviet disasters, examines natural and man-made disasters from the eighteenth century to the present. Students will explore how the relationship of human beings to the natural world has changed dramatically. From religious explanations of the Lisbon earthquake in the eighteenth century to Soviet confidence about controlling nature in the twentieth-century, students will see how natural disasters, so much more than scientific phenomena, were categorized according to the mores of specific societies. In all these situations, political and economic interest groups tried to steer disasters and the rescue operations to their best advantage. Since the aftermath of disasters encouraged artistic production, such as the artworks that helped Haitian residents heal in 2010, the course shows humans use their creative impulses to confront the often overwhelming power of nature. In addition, since disasters are not confined to a single part of the world, the class has a global dimension as examples will be taken from many continents. Students will be able to critically analyze these competing interests with respect to specific historical disasters and then compare this analysis with their understanding of contemporary natural disasters.

    Meet the Professor:

    Nigel A. Raab is Associate Professor of History at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of Democracy Burning? Urban Fire Departments and the Limits of Civil Society in Late Imperial Russia, 1850–1914(2011), and The Crisis from Within: Historians, Theory, and the Humanities(2015).


  • History of Television (Prof. Michael Daley, Film and Television)

    MW 2:00-3:20PM (CRN 72894)

    This seminar will trace the history of television, chronicling the impact the medium has had on society. The coursework will cover: the formative years of television, the Golden Age of TV, Variety shows from early live TV to Comedy sketch shows, TV dramas from westerns to procedural (cop, doctor, lawyer) shows, Situation comedies from family shows to workplace shows, anthology series, miniseries and now limited series, Genres from fantasy to sci-fi to fairy tales and Pay TV, original cable, Internet TV (arguably The New Golden Age)

    The course is also designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of college writing, including structure, syntax and style.  Information Literacy will be emphasized, with research projects designed to teach how to find and evaluate sources.  Coursework will entail papers, oral presentations and viewing blogs.

    Meet the Professor: 

    Michael F.X. Daley is an experienced television writer whose five episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation have won him three awards: a Genesis Award, an S.E.T. Award and E! Television’s The Soup Award.  Michael also served as a Staff Writer for the critical and fan favorite CW show Reaper, where he penned the series finale “The Devil and Sam Oliver.”  He’s worked for HBO on The Leftovers, Resurrection for ABC, Murder In The First for TNT, Boss for STARZ, Big Love for HBO, Crossing Jordan for NBC, That’s My Bush! for Comedy Central, and The X-Files for FOX. In addition, he developed a TV pilot with Alloy Entertainment, and is currently shopping that and other TV pilots.

    Michael also served as a Writing Producer for Blindlight, a video game company.  His video game writing credits include Ninja Gaiden for Tecmo, Jet Li’s ‘Rise To Honor’ for Sony, Igor for Legacy Interactive, Shrek 2 for Dreamworks, and Dead2Rights: Redemption for Volatile Games.

    Mike has a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, where he’s now teaching Television Writing as a Clinical Assistant Professor. He originally hails from Syracuse, New York, where he got his Bachelors in English Communication from another Jesuit school, Le Moyne College.


    MW 2:00-3:30PM (CRN 74349)


    The Holocaust has been positioned at the limits of representation -- as the indescribable, the incomprehensible. The impossibility of adequately expressing the atrocities of the Holocaust stands in contrast to the need to transmit knowledge about this event to later generations. Attempts to represent the Holocaust, to describe and understand this event and its implications, are numerous and have occurred across a wide range of media forms (literature, film, photography, art, music, monuments, etc.), and genres (as in documentary, drama, comedy, science fiction). As the Holocaust recedes in time and the numbers of living historical witnesses and survivors decline, these representations increasingly shape our perception and understanding of the event. This course will investigate literary, filmic, and artistic representations of the Holocaust, focusing in particular on questions of ethics, aesthetics and history. We will examine the various debates and controversies surrounding the issue of representation of the Shoah and discuss some of the theoretical texts that have shaped the area of Holocaust Studies. We will explore the ways in which these written, filmic, and artistic cultural artifacts have attempted to narrate the events of the Holocaust, and examine exemplary responses to the Shoah in a variety of media forms and genres. The course will deal with questions such as the meaning of art and the limits of historical representation.


    Meet the Professor:

    Pauline Ebert earned her Magister Artium in German Literature from the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and her M.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Alabama. She received her Ph.D. in German Studies from Wayne State University. Her research interests are in the areas of German collective memory of the Holocaust and the Third Reich, and the literature of the Holocaust. She is trained in the teaching of German as a second language and has a strong interest in language acquisition, current methodologies and media. She also received special training in Holocaust pedagogy.

  • Liberal Education in the Age of Enlightenment (Prof. Jeffrey L. Wilson, Philosophy)

    MW 2:00-3:30pm (CRN 72474)

    The “liberal” in “liberal education” expresses its liberating function, in the three intersecting dimensions of education for ethical freedom, religious freedom, and political freedom. Using texts from the18th century European Enlightenment philosophy of education by Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Mendelssohn, this course prepares students to use the ideas that motivated the French Revolution and the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) to reflect on the emancipatory purposes of their own college experience.


    Meet the Professor:

    Jeffrey L. Wilson is associate professor of philosophy. He holds a Ph.D. from Emory University and teaches courses in ethics, modern philosophy, and aesthetics. His research focuses on the relationships between ethics (especially moral education) and the philosophy of the arts and creativity in the work of 18th century Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant and the 20th century German-Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. He has lectured on his research in Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland, and the United States.

  • Literature of Exile and Terror (Prof. Holli Levitsky, English and Jewish Studies)

    MW 4:00-5:30pm (CRN 74346)

    This course will examine the literature of writers who write from and about the position of “outsider,” exploring what such texts have to say about living in an unsettled, diasporic, modern world. In reading these stories, we will investigate how their authors have portrayed the journeys, hopes, and hardships of dislocation and alienation, as well as the role literature might play in creating a sense of community for immigrants, refugees, and people living in various forms of exile.

    Meet the Professor:

    Holli Levitsky is the founder and Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research, scholarship and teaching focuses on Jewish American and Holocaust literatures. She is the author of Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust and the Literary Imagination, The Literature of Exile and Displacement: American Identity in a Time of Crisis, and numerous articles, book chapters and reviews. Since holding the 2001-2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature in Poland, Dr. Levitsky has participated in symposia, conferences, and study trips to Germany and to Poland to advance German-Jewish and Polish-Jewish understanding. She regularly leads workshops for secondary and college teachers in California and in Poland on teaching the Holocaust.


  • Oceans and Empires (Prof. Kevin McDonald, History)

    TR 9:50-11:20am (CRN 75532)

    TR 11:50-1:20pm (CRN 75533)

    What does history look like from an oceanic perspective? This seminar will engage students with the historical development of oceanic empires, with a primary focus on overseas European and American expansion, ca. 1450-1850. The course does not aim at comprehensive coverage but instead develops comparative analyses of maritime empires, including European, British, and American case studies, and the history of ocean basins (Indian, Atlantic, Pacific).

    Meet the Professor:

    Kevin P. McDonald is an Associate Professor of Colonial America and Atlantic World History at Loyola Marymount University, with research interests in maritime history, pirates and piracy, colonialism/empire, and slavery. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz (2008) and the M.A. in History from Rutgers University/NJIT. He was an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University (2011-12). His book, Pirates, Merchants, Settlers, and Slaves: Colonial America and the Indo-Atlantic World, (University of California Press, 2015), explores a global trade network located on the peripheries of world empires and shows the illicit ways American colonists met the consumer demand for slaves and East India goods.

  • Personal Growth & Spiritual Development (Prof. Eric Magnunson, Sociology) 

    TR 1:50-3:20pm (CRN 74344)

    This is a course based in direct experience and community involvement. It is intended for people who are interested in exploring both alternative spirituality and emotional growth. The class is a blend of religious studies, psychology, and sociology. It is a good course for people who are open to new ideas and practices of unconventional and Eastern spirituality. Students should also be interested in emotional exploration and be open to discussing personal beliefs, experiences, and feelings during class discussion. The course will involve meditation and other mindfulness practices. (Note: The class is open to any and all spiritual and religious beliefs and backgrounds and does not require belief in any particular religious ideas.)

    Meet the Professor:

    Eric Magnuson is a tenured associate professor in Sociology. His research interests include social psychology, gender and masculinity, spirituality, social justice, and countercultures. His first book was on the topic of men’s movements, masculinity, and personal growth. He is currently working on a book about Burning Man, alternative spirituality, and personal development.

  • Politics of Race Relations (Prof. Claudia Sandoval, Political Science)

    TR 11:50am-1:20pm (CRN 75530)

    TR 1:50-3:20pm (CRN 75531)

    Projections shows that the United States is quickly becoming a minority-majority nation. U.S. Census data suggests that by 2044, over half of the population will be non-white. Given these projections, it is important that we understand how different racial groups interact with one another socially and politically. Academic research often focuses on white-minority relations, yet given future demographics, it is of growing importance to understand intra-minority relations. This course will focus primarily on Black-Latinx relations, while offering comparisons to their Asian and White counterparts. We will begin by focusing on the important issues and topics that Black and Latinx groups encounter in the US. After grounding the groups in their individual contexts, we will take various political issues to determine how Blacks and Latinx groups work together (or against each other). This course will also ground those arguments around theories of threat, contact, and group positioning, among others. At the end of the course, students will have a nuanced perspective on race-relations that is not easily explained by notions of complete solidarity or discrimination, but rather a complicated relationship that is operationalized through state actors and white supremacy.

    Meet the Professor:

    Claudia Sandoval is a professor in the Political Science department where she teaches courses on Race, Immigration, and Black/Latina/o relations. Professor Sandoval is a first-generation Mexican immigrant who grew up in Inglewood, California and graduated from Westchester High School.  Professor Sandoval went on to receive a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 2006. During her time as an undergraduate, she participated in the McNair Research Scholars program and wrote a senior these on Black/Latina/o Relations in Inglewood. After graduating college, Sandoval left to the University of Chicago for her Ph.D. in political science. During her 9 year stay in the Midwest, Professor Sandoval taught Latina/o Politics at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

  • Popular Culture and Religion (Prof. Corrina Laughlin, Communication Studies)

    TR 9:50-11:20am (CRN 75778)

    TR 1:50-3:20pm (CRN 71801)

    This course will take seriously the Critical Cultural Studies notion that “popular culture”, once considered “low” or trashy is a worthy site for understanding ideology and politics. Students will read scholarly articles and theoretical texts alongside excerpts from novels, films, television series, podcasts, and memes. We will consider and discuss several expansive definitions of religion that will help students imagine the role of religion and religiosity in the construction of media, marketing, fashion, globalization, and digital culture. 

    By the end of the course, students will have familiarity with common religious discourses embedded in American popular culture and civic life and they will be able to recognize stereotyped, tokenized, and biased media portrayals of religion and religious people. Students will also demonstrate media arts practice by designing and executing a media project of their choosing and will be prepared for this with in-class workshops and peer-review sessions. 

    Meet the Professor:

    Corrina Laughlin, Ph.D. is an Instructor within the college of Communication and Fine Arts in the Communication Studies department. Her first book Redeem All: How digital life is changing evangelical culture (UC Press, forthcoming) focuses on how Christians in America are adapting to the digital age. Her published work and conference presentations have honed in on similar themes of religion and popular spirituality, as well as feminism and technology and she is also a media maker who has worked on ethnographic and documentary films and audio projects.


  • Prisons and Public Culture (Prof. Kyra Pearson, Communication Studies)

    TR 9:50-11:20am (CRN 72305)

    R 6:30-9:30pm (CRN 74348)

    With over two million people behind bars, the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world. How has imprisonment become a defining feature of life in a country touted as the “land of the free?”  What explains the exponential growth of the imprisoned population during the 1980s and 1990s, a historical period marked by decreased violent crime rates? Although prisons and jails are often built in the name of public safety, do prisons keep us safe?  This course pursues these questions by examining prison’s public lives, primarily through stories that circulate in U.S. culture about prisons (and jails) and scholarly research that helps us put those stories in their proper context.

     Using methods of analysis found in critical race studies, communication and cultural studies, we will examine: 1) stories about prisons within political treatises, literature, film, television, and journalism that have played significant roles in shaping the meaning of punishment; 2) stories from prison, including writings by political prisoners, that highlight prisons as nodal points of social movement activism (e.g., Black Power, woman of color feminism, and AIDS activism; and 3) stories that take us beyond prisons in pursuit of re-imagining safety and justice, as demonstrated by the prison abolition movement. Students will research competing viewpoints and narratives about the role of punishment and prisons in our lives and contemplate whether an institution that is so deeply woven into democratic societies as prisons are is now obsolete.  

    Meet the Professor:

    Kyra Pearson is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies at LMU with research and teaching interests in rhetoric, social movements, and cultural studies.  Her interests in incarceration and social movements began when researching the difficulty that battered women have in court using the self-defense law, a project begun in college. She holds a B.A. in American Studies and Rhetoric from the University of California- Davis, and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. Among her favorite teaching experiences has been a research collaboration with formerly incarcerated women affiliated with A New Way of Life, a women’s re-entry organization in Los Angeles. She led LMU’s Alternative Break trip to California’s prisons and jails and introduced students to social justice organizations that pursue alternatives to incarceration. She is developing a book manuscript addressing the intersections of U.S. feminist histories and cultural performances that resist the carceral state.

  • Psychology in Everyday Life (Prof. Ricardo Machon, Psychology)

    TR 3:50-5:20pm (CRN 74345)

    This course explores the science of psychology and its applications in everyday life experience. By critically examining and meaningfully integrating its historical roots— Philosophy and Natural Science— the course will introduce students to the intersection of psychological science, transcendence and contemporary social issues. Students will be introduced to the Biological – Psychological - Social/Cultural model, a predominant lens through which human behavior and mental processes are examined. Students will gain a holistic understanding of what it means to be a thinking, feeling, acting, reflecting, and questioning human being in everyday life.

    Meet the Professor:

    Ricardo Arturo Machón is a professor of psychology and holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California. As a first-generation college student and immigrant, he is also a graduate of Loyola High School of Los Angeles. He has over 30 professional publications primarily in psychopathology and neurodevelopment of mental disorders. His most recent area of scholarship, some of which he has co-authored with his students, includes integration of pedagogy, psychological science, first-generation college experience, and social and developmental issues among emerging adults. He is a recipient of the Daum Professorship 2010-2011, an endowed chair awarded to senior faculty by the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts for excellence in teaching and advising; scholarship.

    Machón serves as Co-Director and Principal Investigator of the LMU McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program for highly promising, first-generation college and underrepresented students in order to prepare them for graduate studies in STEM and social sciences. He is deeply committed to undergraduate student research, and since 1993 has directed and mentored well over 40 research projects and theses, typically presented at national professional and undergraduate psychological conferences.

  • Read and Write Children's Literature (Prof. Stuart Ching, English)

    TR 7:50-9:20am (CRN 72171)

    This course has two emphases:  In one context, participants complete creative writing activities and projects related to children’s, adolescent, or young adult literature. As part of this process, participants study the conventions and design of fiction writing—point of view, plot, setting, description, conflict, and narrative prose style. They also examine the eternal questions—in varied figurations—that inspire children’s, adolescent, and young adult literary plots: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my reason for being? Finally, they practice these conventions and explore these essential questions as they compose original creative prose.  In another context, participants study and write critically about the moral questions that children’s, adolescent, and young adult stories raise—questions about violence, race, culture, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, sexuality, gender, and matters of death and life that currently inform the interdisciplinary study of this literature.

    Meet the Professor:

    Stuart Ching earned his B.Ed. in secondary English at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, his MFA in creative writing at Colorado State University, and his Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

    His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Growing Up Local:  An Anthology of Poetry and Prose from Hawaii, The Best of Honolulu Fiction, and A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter, and his scholarly research on multicultural children’s literature has most recently appeared in International Journal of Children’s Literature and The Routledge Companion to International Children’s Literature

  • Sleep: Your Hidden Superpower! (Prof. Carolyn Viviano, Biology) 

    MW 2:00-3:15pm (CRN 71795)

    Sleep impacts everything. Although good sleep habits are as important to academic success, health, and well-being as eating properly and being active, only 1 in 10 college students get the recommended 7-9 hours of healthy sleep per night, in comparison to 4/10 of all adults.  During this seminar, we will consider the scientific advances in sleep research in the context of society, policy, health, and even fiction.

    Meet your Professor:

    Carolyn Viviano received a BA in Biology from Amherst College and a PhD in Genetics and Development from Columbia University. After several years in the US and UK researching the mechanisms of embryonic development and limb regeneration, she became increasingly interested in science and environmental literacy issues. The opportunity to work with future teachers at LMU motivated her to make the career change into science education. Dr. Viviano is a member of the Biology Department and the Director of the Secondary Science Education program. Her work at LMU is driven by the core belief that it is vital to instill in others an appreciation and respect for the world around them, regardless of their intended profession, and the goal of creating a challenging and stimulating atmosphere for students at all levels. 


  • The West and the American Imagination (Prof. K.J. Peters, English)

    TR  11:50am-1:20pm (CRN 71800)

    The Westward Imagination examines American westward expansion driven by the entwined concepts of continentalism and Manifest Destiny. These two concepts provided justification for massive land acquisitions, war, the decimation of first nations peoples, the importation of foreign labor forces, and the expansion of slavery. Symbolically, westward expansion relocated American energies, social identity, and the American imagination from the eastern seaboard, across the mid-west, to the west coast. Using westward expansion as a lens, this course examines the human expression of the evolving American imagination in novels, short stories, poems, and Film. The horizon of this course will begin with the founding of these concepts (1818-1823) and will be focused by three critical questions: (1) What impelled continentalism and the westward pursuit of destiny? (2) How were American sensibilities, ambitions, and institutions changed in the movement west? (3) Are contemporary manifestations of westward expansion and manifest destiny still discoverable in the American imagination?

    Meet the Professor:

    K. J. Peters was born and raised on a cattle ranch in Hamilton county Nebraska. He took is Doctorate at the University of Nebraska specializing in critical theory and interrogative rhetorics. Prior to his current position at LMU, Dr. Peters was a professor at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Among his publications are articles addressing the thematics of Hemingway, the rhetoric of privacy, Levinasian phenomenology, and academic freedom. His current research includes the rhetorical tradition of Jesuit education and a re-imagining classical rhetorical concepts for the contemporary, multi-media classroom. He is completing a textbook entitled The Argument Handbook forthcoming from McGraw-Hill. Dr. Peters directed the Freshman English Program for 12 years and has twice served as the president of the LMU faculty senate. He served as the chair of the Bellarmine Forum focused upon the traditions and charism of LMU’s founding and designed as a guide for LMU’s next 100 years. He is currently the faculty representative for the trustees’ facilities and IT committee and the faculty athletics representative. In addition, he has served as the President of the Board of Directors for St. Marks School, Venice, CA.

  • Women Warriors- Who's Telling the Story? (Prof. Kennedy Wheatley, Production Film and Television)

    TR 9:50-11:10am (CRN 72258)

    This course explores stories of American 'women warriors' who refused to accept limitations on their lives as women -- changing the course of history.     We will study artists and activists, farmworkers and businesswomen, judges, politicians and athletes from past and present. Using documentaries, essays, news articles, books, and fiction films, we will examine how each of these women changed our world, all through the FYS lens of Power and Privilege.

    Together, we will ponder: How is the rebellion of these women warriors in 1848, or 1963, or 2019 still reverberating in our society today? Whose stories have been widely told and who has been ignored?  Who do we believe when there are conflicting stories about the same woman, and why? What do these stories tell us about what it means to be female in the U.S., and how has that changed over time? 

    We will explore and practice different genres of storytelling: biographical storytelling, dramatic storytelling, stories framed by critical analysis, and the intriguing grey area in between.  

    This course may be particularly relevant for students whose majors involve storytelling, but all students are welcome, and a diverse group will create a richer, more engaging experience for all.   Students of all genders and non-gendered students are invited to bring their perspectives to this course.  All voices are equally honored, and everyone is respected for their own lived experience.  My goal is to share some thought-provoking ideas with you and for our shared listening to help us all grow.

    Meet the Professor: 

    Kennedy Wheatley is interested in how the power of media can be used for social change.  She directs documentaries, fiction films and PSAs for non-profit organizations and international NGOs.  She is currently working on a series of videos about reversing climate change.  As an artist and activist, she strives to tell stories through innovative narratives, images and sound.  She has taught in the School of Film & Television at LMU since 2000.  She earned her M.F.A. in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California, and an B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the Michigan State University. She lives in the foothills of LA, and is an avid swimmer and gardener.

  • Zombies, God, and Empire (Prof. Tracy TiemeierTheological Studies) 

    MW 2:00-3:30pm (CRN 72624) 

    MW 4:00-5:30pm (CRN 71805) 

    This course examines the relationship between zombies, theology, and power. The representation of zombies in popular culture often legitimizes racial and religious claims of superiority. However, zombies have also served as profound indictments of the status quo and undermined unjust structures of domination. The course first situates zombies in African and African diasporic religious thought and practice. The class then assesses the representation of zombies and Voodoo/Vodou/Vodun in Western literature, film, and scholarship. Finally, the course explores religious and social implications of contemporary narratives of zombie infection for building a more just world.

    Meet the Professor:

    Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. She specializes in Asian/Asian American theology, comparative theology, feminist theology, Hindu-Christian studies, and interreligious dialogue. A mixed Japanese-German American Catholic background full of saints and ancestors, a Midwest upbringing, and an abiding love of science fiction/fantasy/horror/dystopian worlds make her particularly interested to integrate critical theory, feminist theory, multiracial theory, and popular culture studies into her Catholic theological work.