Spring 2022 Seminars

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

    TR 4:20-5:45pm (CRN 72171)

    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 12:40-2:10pm (CRN 75557)

    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) 

    MW 12:40-2:00pm (CRN 71811) 

    MW 2:20-3:40pm (CRN 74342) 

    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. 

    Meet Your Professor: 

    Lauren Casella, Ed.D. serves Loyola Marymount University's School of Education as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration. She is director of the Catholic School Leadership academic and Co-Director of the online M.A. in Educational Leadership.

    In her roles as a professor, keynote speaker, school board member, consultant, and parent, Dr. Casella engages in deep work around social and emotional learning and spiritual growth for children and adults. Prior to her service at LMU Dr. Casella served as an elementary school teacher, administrator, and principal in Chicago.

    Dr. Casella holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from University of Southern California, an M.Ed. in Leadership and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago, and an B.A. in Liberal Studies from Loyola Marymount University. She holds a teaching and administrative credential in Illinois and a California Teaching Credential.

  • Art to Art: Visual Art & Literature (Prof. Janelle DolRayne, Core Curriculum) 

    TR 8:00-9:30am (CRN 76636)

    This course explores the intersection of visual arts and literature and the relationship between images and words through both creative and academic writing. We will investigate graphic novels, comics, memes, ekphrastic literature, concrete poetry, book arts, visual interpretations of literary works, as well as scholarly and disciplinary concerns of literature and visual arts—what scholars sometimes refer to as the “sister arts.” This course is as much a course on writing and art as it is a course on writing about art, and students will be expected to write creatively and academically throughout the semester.

    In this course students will examine how artists and writers use images and words to create meaning, challenge ideas, and “grapple creatively” within a cultural, political, and social context. This class will use John Berger’s Ways of Seeing as a central text and guide to understanding how art reveals cultural values, beliefs, obsessions, and “hidden” ideologies. Though Berger’s analysis is focused on visual art, our focus will be two-fold: we will discuss not only how art and literature reveals cultural obsessions and values, but we will also take a historic and analytical look at the disciplines’ obsessions with each other, as well as their shared and conflicting values.

    Meet the Professor:

    Janelle DolRayne coordinates the Core Curriculum and teaches Rhetorical Arts and First Year Seminar. She is a published poet and essayist, and is currently working to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing narrative therapy. Her interests include pugs, pottery, and karaoke. 

  • 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.

  • 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 available to 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 the 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.

  • Black Los Angeles (Prof. Marne Campbell, African American Studies)

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 72305)

    This course will explore the history of Los Angeles by considering the contributions of African Americans in the region from the founding of the city in 1781. We will first consider the Afro-Latino heritage in the making of Los Angeles, and then examine the contributions of other groups of Black Angelenos through the turn of the twenty-first century. The objective of this course is to provide students with a detailed understanding of the crucial role that African Americans have played in the history of Los Angeles by examining both secondary and primary texts.

    Meet the Professor:

    Marne Campbell is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at LMU. She has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • The Blues, Rock, and Authenticity (Prof. David Carter, Music)

    TR 11:20am-12:40pm (CRN 74343)

    Outsiders to mainstream rock ‘n’ roll have repeatedly drawn on the blues in an attempt to reinvigorate and redefine the music of their time. Numerous British bands in the 1960s looked back to American blues music as more authentic than the commercial rock ‘n’ roll of their era, and decades later 1990s female rock artists critiqued and paid tribute to the tropes of these two earlier groups in their own outsider attempts to recapture authenticity in rock. This course will examine popular music and the quest for authenticity in it through the examination of these three groups of artists: Black American blues artists of the 1920s through the 1950s, blues-influenced British rock artists of the 1960s, and female rock artists of the 1990s. Students will see how questions of race, gender, authenticity, and appropriation play out in each of these periods and trace connections between these groups of musicians. In addition to engaging in close musical observation, students will consider broader cultural and social perspectives on the music. Particular artists that will be studied include Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, the Rolling Stones, Cream, the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, P.J. Harvey, Hole, Liz Phair, L7, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

    Meet the Professor:

    David S. Carter is a composer, theorist, and teacher based in Los Angeles, where he is an Assistant Professor of Music (Theory/Composition) at Loyola Marymount University. He earned his doctorate in music composition at Northwestern University, where his principal teacher was Lee Hyla. Prior to his graduate music studies, he completed a J.D. at the University of Southern California and a B.A. in English Literature at Yale University. He previously taught at Northwestern and North Park University. His music theory research focuses on the analysis of form in popular music, and he has presented scholarly papers at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S.) conference, the College Music Society National Conference, and the Nief-Norf Summer Festival. His compositions have been performed or recorded by the JACK Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Court-Circuit, and Ensemble Signal, among others. He won the Iron Composer competition at Baldwin Wallace University, Northwestern University’s William T. Faricy Award, and second prize in the Rhenen International Carillon Composition Competition. He has had works performed at the Northwestern University New Music Conference (NUNC! 3), June in Buffalo (2014 and 2011), the 2008 Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at New England Conservatory, Music07 at the University of Cincinnati, and the 2007 Bowdoin International Music Festival. Examples of his work can be found at davidcartercomposer.com and soundcloud.com/davidscarter.

  • Books About Beasts: Animal Narrative, Human Readers (Prof. Molly Youngkin, English)

    TR 11:20am-12:50pm (CRN 71625)

    TR 1:00-2:30pm (CRN 72257)

    This course will focus on literary representations of animals, or animal narratives, to show how humans understand their own place in the world and responsibilities to the world.  The central questions of the course will be:  How are animals represented by humans?  According to these representations, what is the relationship between humans and animals?  Do animals have rights?  What obligations do we have to them?  Are they our allies or our competitors?  What is the nature of animal consciousness and emotion? Are all animals equal? 

    We will contextualize these central questions by discussing contemporary debates about the animal/human relationship, including the use of animals in scientific research, the role of zoos and wildlife parks in animal preservation, the role of pets in our lives, the ethics of vegetarianism, and other topics of interest to students enrolled in the class.  By reading animal narratives in conjunction with discussion of contemporary debates about related topics, we will better understand the complicated relationship between humans and animals and the ethical issues involved in this relationship.

    Meet the Professor:

    Prof. Molly Youngkin teaches in the English department and specializes in nineteenth-century British literature. She teaches courses in Romantic and Victorian literature, as well as gender studies, periodical studies, narrative theory, and animal studies.

  • The Brain’s Mind’s Future (Prof. Joseph Hellige, Department of Psychology)

    MW 12:40-2:10PM (CRN 74346)

    Why do we make the decisions we make, feel the way we do about them, and then behave the way we do?  These questions are as old as our species, Homo sapiens, and as fresh as tomorrow.  Speculations and explanations have changed dramatically over time, even over the relatively short period of our recorded history.  Added to this in modern times are visions both serious and fanciful about what all of this portends for the future of our communities, civilizations, and even of Homo sapiens itself.  This seminar addresses these questions from the perspective of the many disciplines that shed light on possible answers and offer insights about brain, mind, and possible futures: biology and its many facets, cognitive and social psychology, cultural studies, computer science, philosophy, technology and artificial intelligence and more.  Through readings, video lectures delivered by prominent thinkers, class discussion, empirical exercises, and critical reflection (both written and oral) students will develop a deeper understanding of the best contemporary answers to the questions posed above, the practical relevance for their own lives, their own sense of the alternative futures that humanity might anticipate and how they wish to shape that future.

    Meet the Professor:

    Joseph Hellige is a Professor of Psychology at LMU.  He has published research on a number of topics in cognitive neuroscience, including processing asymmetries of the human cerebral hemispheres, interaction of the left and right sides of the brain, and individual differences in cognitive processing (including handedness, age-related changes and differences related to clinical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia).  Current interests also include changes in the way people view experts and expertise, educating people to be more sophisticated consumers of research, and the role of technology in shaping our future.  Dr. Hellige earned his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison and served as LMU’s Provost and Executive Vice President from 2010 to 2017.

  • Capitalism and its Discontents (Prof. Thomas Herndon, Economics) 

    TR 11:20am-12:50pm (CRN 72305)

    This course will study capitalism from the perspective of both its critics and defenders. Our study will engage with longstanding historical critiques of capitalism including inequality, instability, imperialism, racism, sexism, and environmental destruction. Throughout the course we will focus on how engaging with these critiques changes the theories we use to understand capitalism. We will engage the question, how do these critiques require us to change the definitions and categories on which we base our understanding of capitalism, in order to better organize the often difficult facts? This line of inquiry will also require us to study the historical periods these problems were embedded in, and the social movements that worked to change them. In doing so, we will further our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism as an economic system, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas we use to understand it.

    Meet the Professor:

    Thomas Herndon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2016. His research has contributed to the fields of political economy, macroeconomics, and econometrics, and has focused on the topics of public debt and growth, financial regulation, mortgage fraud, and consumer financial protection violations. This research has also contributed to economic policy debates, and has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Economist, Rolling Stone, and the Colbert Report.


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

    T 4:20-7:20pm (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 a Professor of Italian and Director of the Humanities Program at Loyola Marymount University.

  • Contemplative Practice (Prof. Jane Brucker, Studio Arts)

    T 4:20-6:50pm (CRN 71799)

    FYS Contemplative Practice provides a broad cultural, artistic and psychological/physiological understanding of the variety, creativity, process and power of the contemplative experience. A series of interdisciplinary readings and lectures are accompanied by weekly meditative experiences, allowing students to explore the numerous ways one can encounter the numinous or achieve a peaceful state.

    The meditative exercises students engage include principles of mind/body coordination and philosophy including yoga and the Alexander Technique, movement, drawing and sound meditations and exposure to contemplation as part of a faith practice. The professor teaches drawing in the Department of Art and Art History and is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and Vinyasa yoga.

    Meet the Professor:

    Jane Brucker is a Los Angeles artist using installation and performance to engage the viewer through contemplation, movement and ritual activity. By combining found objects and heirlooms with textiles, glass, and cast metals she examines memory, fragility, and death. Her work has been exhibited at venues throughout the United States and internationally in Nepal, Japan, Scotland, France, Germany and the Czech Republic.

    Brucker is a professor at Loyola Marymount University where she is area head in drawing. She earned an MFA degree from The Claremont Graduate University, an MA in Religion and the Arts from Claremont School of Theology and attended Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, where she was awarded a fellowship to study painting with Agnes Martin and traditional buon fresco with Lucienne Bloch. She is a certified teacher of the FM Alexander Technique and incorporates contemplative practice into her teaching.

  • Contemporary Issues in African Economic Development (Prof. Nyema Guannu, Economics)

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 76547)

    TR 11:20am-12:50pm (CRN 76546)

    This introductory seminar course will examine major contemporary issues in economic development and underdevelopment, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Topics discussed include the role of markets, inequality and poverty, international and regional economic processes, domestic macroeconomic policies, economic growth, the role of the state in economic development, civil war and conflict, debt crisis, and other central issues of economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Dao & A Growth Mindset (Professor Robin Wang, Philosophy)

    TR 11:20-12:50pm (CRN 76543)

    Is success about learning or proving you are smart? What is the way to success? This course will focus on the classic Daoist teaching to answer these questions and to construct a Daoist mindset for success in class, college, and life. Success-making is usually believed something deliberate and rational—a planned activity. But Daoist teaching complicates this view with a tension between human calculation and the intervention of unexpected reality. We will identify the differences between fixed mindset and growth mindset and explore the interplay between ability, efforts, and characters to avoid what might be called “gap characters,” the space between our will and our success. A Daoist mindset will open a new horizon and unique mode of human understanding.

    Meet the Professor:

    Robin R. Wang is Professor of Philosophy and 2016-17 Berggruen Fellow at Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Stanford University. Her teaching and research focus on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy, particularly Daoist Philosophy. She is the author of Yinyang:The Way of Heaven and Earth in Chinese Thought and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and was a credited Cultural Consultant for the movie Karate Kid, 2010.

  • Drama of the Indian Diaspora (Prof. Arnab Banerji, Theatre Arts and Dance)

    MW 12:45-2:00pm (CRN 71798)

    Meet the Professor:

    Arnab Banerji received his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He received his Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Georgia in 2014 where he wrote a dissertation on the Bengali Group theatre in Kolkata. Arnab spent the 2014-2015 academic year as the ASIANetwork Luce Foundation Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Muhlenberg College where he offered introductory and advanced courses on Asian Performance. Arnab’s research and reviews have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, Theatre Journal, TDR, and South Eastern Review of Asian Studies.

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

    TR  11:20am-12:50pm (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.  

  • Effective Personal Ethics (Prof. Arthur Gross Schaefer)

    TR 1:00-2:30pm (CRN 75531)

    TR 2:40-4:10pm (CRN 76538)

    A highly interactive, creative and exciting course dealing with issues of ethics, conflict resolution, core values, decision models, personal and environmental sustainability.  Aspects of spirituality, business and law will be intersected along the way to provide a full integration of one’s personal ethics to complex situations.  You will learn tools to help you make hard decisions, work with difficult people, deal with unpleasant situations and even how to meditate. If you are up for a class that will make you think, provide you with proven tools that will help you throughout your life, no matter what major or profession you choose, then please join us.

    Meet the Professor:

    Professor/Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer’s diverse education is enhanced by his practical experience from practicing both law and accounting. He is a full professor of business law and ethics at Loyola Marymount University where he has taught for over thirty-eight years. He was listed by the Princeton Review as one of the top 300 university professors nationally. He consults with non-profit and profit based organizations on issues of effective ethical decision-making and values audits. He publishes and speaks on a diverse number of topics including academic freedom, professional ethics and burnout, spirituality in the workplace and immigrant education, He is currently the Rabbi for The Community Shul and has served as rabbi for USC, UCSB and LMU. He co-founded the Avi Schaefer Fund in honor of his son. His wife, Laurie Gross, is an internationally known artist and liturgical consultant.  He views his sons as his university. 

  • Empathy: An Antidote to Bullying the Self, Others, and the Planet 

    MW 2:20-3:50pm (CRN 72474)

    This course will engage students in connecting concepts about Empathy found in a variety of texts, rituals, and artworks to the themes of the LMU Mission in order to learn and explore how humankind maps paths negotiating social issues that affect the body, mind, and spirit of humankind and the planet. Course activities will be experiential, reflective, analytical, and creative. Over the course of the semester, students will read a variety of texts that explore authors’ understanding of Empathy from the viewpoints of the Encouragement of Learning; Education of the Whole Person: body, intellect, and emotions; and Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in relation to the self, other, and the planet.


  • Ethnic Los Angeles (Professor Edward Park, Asian Pacific American Studies)

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 71807)

    This course examines ethnic communities in Los Angeles. From its humble beginnings as a Mexican outpost, Los Angeles became home to waves of migrants who transformed the city into one of the most important economic and cultural centers of the world. While every group found its place in the city, complex histories and contradictory impulses resulted in dramatic inequalities and differences in how various ethnic groups were received and incorporated. Contemporary Los Angeles bears the full brunt of this history as racial fault lines and ethnic boundaries organize public space and residential neighborhoods in dramatic topographies of economic and social inequality. While inequality and segregation shaped their formations, the ethnic communities in Los Angeles have always been the city’s source of cultural richness, economic dynamism, political change, and social progress. The first part of this course will study how scholars have documented and interpreted the history of ethnic Los Angeles from 1848 to the mid-1960s. The second part of the course will examine Los Angeles as the preeminent gateway city to post-1965 immigration and provide hands-on opportunities to engage in original research and document the current state of ethnic Los Angeles.  

    Meet the Professor:

    Edward J.W. Park is a professor of Asian Pacific American Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He received his Ph.D. in ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. His current research topics include migration studies, race relations, urban studies, and economic sociology, and his work has been covered in major newspapers including New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He is the co-author of Probationary Americans: Contemporary Immigration Policies and the Shaping of Asian American Communities (Routledge 2005) and the co-editor of Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, and Political History (Greenwood, 2014).

  • Faith and Media Creation (Prof. Luis Proenca, Production Film and Television)

    MW 2:20-3:50pm (CRN 72119)

    The Faith and Media Creation course is strongly linked to LMU’s mission and identity. The Faith and Media course component offers a chance for students to explore faith issues and the role that media images play in shaping, reflecting, encountering, and articulating faith issues to a larger audience. The Faith and Media Creation First Year Seminar course allows students to explore critically and reflectively, their own faith experience as well as LMU’s identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution. At the same time, they will be exploring their own faith concerns and commitments and express them through oral, visual and writing presentations.

    Meet the Professor:

    Associate Professor Luis Proenca is a Portuguese Jesuit priest involved in directing documentaries and new media art. Pukiki - The Portuguese Americans of Hawaii is Proenca's most recent work in which he served as Producer, Director and Editor. Pukiki was internationally broadcast over five continents on RTPi (Rádio Televisão Portuguesa Internacional) and was an Official Selection of the Hawaiian International Film Festival (October 2003). After Pukiki, he finished the documentary Mo'olelo - Oral Histories of the Portuguese in Maui, Oahu and Hawai'i. He has just remastered one of his earliest works, Hopes and Struggles of Mozambican Refugees for RTPi broadcast.

    His documentary, Touchstone - The Rock Art of Côa Valley concerns rare forms of art produced 20,000 years ago and it has been distributed in Europe. He also produced Rhythms of Mozambique, an African music collection that features The Fonte Boa Choir, published in January of 2001 by Loyola Productions. Luis has directed live television programs for Portuguese National Television.

    Now, he is preparing for broadcast at RTPi (Rádio Televisão Portuguesa Internacional) two documentaries about the Portuguese community in California called Tradition - As Festas e Tradições dos Portugueses na Califórnia and Off the Boat- As Histórias de Imigração dos Portugueses na Califórnia. He is also in pre-production of a documentary about the Missions in California. Proenca is also an advisor for Loyola Productions - a Jesuit media production company. 

  • From Eternity to Here (Prof. Paul Harris, English)  

    TR 2:40-4:10pm  (CRN 71816)

    This First Year Seminar takes a long view of time by examining the history of the universe, earth, and humanity.  We will explore a vision of the universe as an unfolding creative process, in which the emergence of life and humanity on earth plays a culminating and crucial role.  Examining our situation now in the context of this breathtaking history compels us to think cosmically, act globally, and perhaps eat locally.  We will track the stages of Big History, starting with the mystery of how the universe and time began, to cosmic, terrestrial, and human history.  We will then step back and reflect on the Big Historical picture through the lens of the Anthropocene, and study contemporary narratives that project possible futures for humanity on earth.

    Meet the Professor

    Paul Harris, Professor of English, has taught at LMU since 1992.  His teaching and scholarship both emphasize interdisciplinary inquiry, challenging theoretical thinking, and connecting concepts to practice.  He has published in areas including chaos theory and philosophy, topology and fiction, French theory, and concrete poetry, and taught courses on Nothing, Wonder, and Chaos.  His scholarly expertise on The Watts Towers of Los Angeles, constraint-based writing, and contemporary author David Mitchell is reflected in course design and assignments.  He was President of the International Society for the Study of Time from 2004-2-13, and is co-editor of the renowned theory journal SubStance.  His current interest in slow time is evident in campus installations (The Garden of Slow Time, walking labyrinth on the bluff; The Displacement Garden, adjacent to Laband Art Gallery) and further explored through a rock garden and blog called The Petriverse of Pierre Jardin.

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

    MWF 8:00am-9:00am (CRN 76635)

    MWF 9:10-10:10am (CRN 75532)

    MWF 10:20-11:20am (CRN 75533)

    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 2:40-4:10pm (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 fieldwork 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 Television (Prof. Michael Daley, Film and Television)

    M 4:20-7:10PM (CRN 71801)

    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.

  • Holocaust Literature and Film (Prof. Pauline Ebert, Modern Languages and Literatures)

    MW 2:20-3:50PM (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.

  • Imagining Lincoln (Prof. Carla Bittel, History)

    TR 1:00-2:30PM (CRN 73480) 

    TR 2:40-4:10PM (CRN 73481)

    Who was Abraham Lincoln? Thousands of books, countless articles, and several generations of historians have explored this question. Today, we are still looking for answers. Why? This First Year Seminar course explores history’s many versions of Lincoln as a case study in historical interpretation and investigation of historical memory. It unpacks the fascination with Lincoln, as Americans search for authentic leaders, construct mythologies, and create meaning about the Civil War. The objectives of the course are twofold. First, students will learn about Lincoln and his times through reading, analyzing and critiquing primary and secondary sources. We will pay special attention to Lincoln’s views on race and slavery, and his handling of southern secession, the Civil War, and emancipation, in order to elucidate broader issues of race, power and privilege. We will also examine Lincoln’s assassination and his legacy in American politics to understand how his memory has been constructed and reshaped over time.  Second, students will use Lincoln to contend with different modes of historical analysis and interpretation. They will engage with the problems and potential of biographical writing, in addition to methods in social and cultural history, gender and family history, political and military history, discourse and cultural studies, psychological history and history of sexuality. Finally, we will also examine the visual and material representations of Lincoln, from portraits to photos, from documentaries to Hollywood films, from postage stamps to action figures, to understand how his image has changed over time.

    Meet the Professor:

    Carla Bittel specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. history. Her research focuses on gender issues in the history of medicine and science; she has examined the history of women’s health, women physicians, and the role of science in medicine. Her new research explores gender and phrenology in antebellum America.

  • Latino L.A. (Prof. Sylvia Zamora, Sociology)

    TR 1:00-2:30pm (CRN 76544)

    TR 2:40-4:10pm (CRN 76545)

    Latinos now represent 50 percent of all residents in Los Angeles, making them the largest racial/ethnic group in the city. This course takes a sociological look at the social, economic, political, and cultural histories and contemporary experiences of Los Angeles’ diverse Latino population. Students will understand how the Latino presence has transformed from primarily Mexican-origin to one that now includes people from all over Latin America, and develop an appreciation of the important role Latino/as have played in the formation and development of Los Angeles and broader U.S. society. The course combines historical perspectives with current events of various topics such as Latino/a migration to Los Angeles, immigrant settlement, family, community social capital and gentrification, racial and ethnic identity, gender and sexuality, media representations, race relations and discrimination, labor organizing, schooling, policing, immigrant rights and political activism. This course makes use of documentary film, social media, student presentations and classroom discussions to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Meet the Professor:

    Born and raised in South East Los Angeles, Professor Sylvia Zamora received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA and a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Smith College. Her research and teaching are guided by questions concerning Latino immigration and how it is changing social, political and racial dynamics in American society; she is also exploring the ongoing manifestations of African American and Latino relations in the context of major demographic shifts. Her work has been recognized with awards from the American Sociological Association Sections on International Migration and Racial and Ethnic Minorities and appears in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Latino Studies and the edited volume, “Just Neighbors?: Research on African American and Latino Relations in the United States.” She is currently working on a book manuscript based on a comparative, multi-site project in México and the U.S. examining how racial ideologies ‘travel’ with migrants across borders, and the implications of this for immigrant incorporation in U.S. society.

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

    TR 9:40-11:10am (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.


  • The Making of Global Los Angeles (Prof. Sean Dempsey, History)

    MWF 9:10-10:10am (CRN 76541)

    MWF 11:20-11:20am (CRN 76542)

    This course ts into the Globalization theme for FYS and will bring together both primary and secondary resources that reflect a transnational approach to Los Angeles’ history. Students will learn to analyze and interpret a number of different kinds of texts-- journalistic sources, historiography, etc.—from a perspective that challenges strictly national frames of historical understanding. Moreover, this course will sharpen students’ oral and written communication skills by requiring in-class responses to readings, several short reflection papers based on the course material, and a final research project that will give students an opportunity to explore an aspect of Los Angeles’ global history. For this final project, students will be strongly encouraged to access historical resources available in the greater Los Angeles area.

    Meet the Professor:

    Rev. Sean Dempsey, S.J., is a Jesuit priest of the California Province. He received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in American Studies from Saint Louis University, and an M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He completed his doctoral studies in History at the University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation titled, “The Politics of Dignity: Social Christianity and the Making of Global Los Angeles,” under the super- vision of Professor Thomas J. Sugrue. His research focuses on the historical and global intersections of religion, social thought, and urban politics in the twentieth-century United States. During his Jesuit formation, he worked at LMU from 2003-2005, teach- ing part-time in the American Cultures Program and serving as Direct Service Coordinator at the Center for Service and Action.

  • Mothers and Daughters (Prof. Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson, Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies) 

    MW 9:40-11:10AM (CRN 71625)

    This seminar centers on the representation of mother-daughter relationships in literature, film, and television. Race, class, gender, and sexuality are all structures of power that build are expectations for those relationships. We will examine how those expectations shape our reading of those literary and visual representations, as well as how our experiences differ from those cultural expectations of that relationship. Most importantly: what can we learn from examining this powerful and often taken-for-granted dyad in the lives of women in contemporary society?

    This highly interdisciplinary course sits at the intersections of gender and sexuality studies, race and ethnic studies, literary, and media studies.

    Meet the Professor:

    Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson teaches courses on Latina/o/x literature, cultural studies and feminist theory. She has written extensively Latina/o/x literature and theories of identity and resistance, as well as Chicana/o and Latina/o cultural politics in television, film, and popular culture.

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

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 75530)

    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.  

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

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 71793)

    TR 2:40-4:10pm (CRN 76632)

    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.

  • Rhetoric, Media, and Civic Responsibility (Prof. James Bunker, Communication Studies)

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 72305)

    TR 11:20am-12:50pm (CRN 72258)

    TR 1:00-2:30pm (CRN 71794)

    This course introduces students to the rich history of civic engagement and the importance of becoming involved in their communities and nation.  It seeks to develop students' civic voices as well as an understanding of the values that guide them.  Democracy depends upon the willingness of learned citizens to engage in the public realm for the betterment of the larger good. Taking as its starting point the work of John Dewey who understood democracy as a way of relational living in which the decisions and actions of one citizen must be understood in terms of their influence on others, this course introduces students to the responsibilities associated with civic engagement.  Civic engagement is a rhetorical act and it is important to understand the persuasive nature of arguments in public discourse and the media. Students will   engage and examine how different spheres of influence (families, friends, school, professional environments, and the media) both contribute to and provide rhetorical barriers to active civic engagement.  Specific topics to be addressed in this course include:  (1) values such as ethics or virtue in relation to self, family, nation, and the public and how they shape the rhetorical foundation for political identities; (2) the public's responsibility to be informed and engaged in political processes; (3) problems associated with credibility and the evaluation of political information in media environments; (4) role of the library and new media in fostering civic knowledge; (5) how technology both contributes to and takes away from interest in public affairs; and (6) how to lead lives of civic engagement in a complex and interrelated world.

    Meet the Professor:

    Dr. James C. Bunker is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. He earned his B.A at the University of San Diego, his M.A. at San Jose State University, and completed his doctorate degree at the University of Utah while simultaneously obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution.

    Dr. Bunker’s research explores the relationship between rhetoric, public advocacy, deliberative theories of civic engagement and how to facilitate democratic deliberation for the benefit of the public interest.  Dr. Bunker is concurrently working on several manuscripts that discuss the role of textual silences in political deliberation, the critic’s role in facilitating public deliberation, as well as how new media archival research can both contextualize and improve the credibility of civic discourse.  Central to both his research and teaching is an underlying commitment to civic engagement and the importance of establishing civic responsibility

  • Sense & Synderesis (Prof. Catherine Peters, Philosophy) 

    TR 9:40-11:10am (CRN 76549)

    TR 11:20am-12:50pm (CRN 76550)

    Sense & Synderesis explores the central characters and themes of the novels of Jane Austen. The seminar will consist of a careful reading of her works, class discussions, presentations, and reviewing some adaptations of her work. Austen is noted for her ironic observations of English society in the 18th century and her keen insights into human nature and behavior. Consequently, we will read her novels with an aim towards appreciating her depiction and assessment of human character, especially her view of virtue and vice. Despite a lack of recognition during her own lifetime, Austen is now regarded as one of the most popular and beloved novelists of the English language. In this seminar, we intend not only to realize why her novels have exerted literary influence and sparked extensive popular appreciation, but also to appreciate what insights her works offer us today.

    Meet the Professor:


    Catherine Peters is an assistant professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in medieval philosophy, with a particular focus on Latin and Arabic thought. Peters completed her PhD at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas in 2019. Her current research centers on the intersections of natural philosophy, metaphysics, and natural theology. An overarching theme in her work is the consideration of how medieval thought might inform and advance our attempts to answer fundamental questions such as “who am I?”, “what do we know?”, “what should we do?” and “is there a God?” She is passionate about translating the insights of medieval philosophy into modern terms. She regularly teaches PHIL 1800: Philosophical Inquiry and PHIL 3520: Medieval Philosophy and has also taught Honors Philosophical Inquiry and a Graduate Seminar on “Medieval Science.” When not in the philosophy department, Dr. Peters can usually be found in local coffee shops, at a dog park with her goldendoodle, or in a CrossFit box.



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

    MW 11:00am-12:30pm (CRN 76692)

    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 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 9:40-11:00am (CRN 71800)

    TR 11:20am-12:40pm (CRN 71792)

    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.

  • Writing the World Around Us (Prof. Elizabeth Wimberly Young, ORCA & BCLA

    TR 1:00-2:30pm (CRN 76633)

    TR 2:40-4:10pm (CRN 76634)

    This seminar explores creative nonfiction prose as an ultimately persuasive form, with a particular emphasis on how creative nonfiction essays are utilized to interrogate and interpret facets of American culture and society. This seminar will focus on reflective non-fiction prose writing with an emphasis on the study, research, and composition of literary journalism essays. By the end of the course, students will critically examine various essays to explore how they use research, technique, and persuasion, will further develop information literacy techniques through evaluating and completing research through various methods, and will practice the above techniques through two major essays of their own. 

    Meet the Professor:

    Elizabeth Wimberly  has over 14 years teaching experience in composition and creative writing, and her creative work has appeared in several publications. She is a professor, writer, and administrator with experience in core curriculum and student research program development, reform, implementation, and assessment. In addition to her teaching, she currently serves as Associate Director for LMU's Office of Research & Creative Arts.

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

    MW 2:20-3:50pm (CRN 72624) 

    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.