Check out these unique course selections for fall 2019

Orientation leaders help incoming students during a freshman orientation session.

The fall 2019 semester has just begun. For students still searching for an interesting course to fill out their fall schedule, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has some great choices.

UA Little Rock courses offer students the chance to study how the public interprets archaeology and pseudo-archaeology (Example: Did aliens build the pyramids?) as well as explore major themes found in protest literature written by black authors and the difficulty in finding the truth in a world full of “fake news.”

Students can take an innovative class at William H. Bowen Law School, where they will study constitutional law through the lens of hip hop artists and their critique of the development of the law in areas such as search and seizure law and hyper-policing, free speech law and censorship, copyright law, and the hip hop practices of free borrowing through sampling, mashing, and looping. 

They can also develop practical skills in how to write a successful grant or memoir, how to create beautiful pieces through woodworking and furniture design, and the secrets of the trade from entrepreneurs who have built their business from the ground up.

Check out the following guide for courses that explore interesting and unique topics:

ANTH 4398/5398: Public Archaeology

1:40-2:55 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Krista Lewis 

In general, public archaeology is about how archaeology and archaeologists serve, engage, and work with non-archaeologists. Globally, there are a wide range of ways this happens. Some common forms of public archaeology are heritage education, cultural tourism, archaeological interpretation, museum studies, descendant collaboration, ethics, cultural resource management, community archaeology, and the archaeology of social justice. Archaeologists working all over the world are sharing information about what they do on social media, online videos, blogs, podcasts, and in person. 

In this class, students will also look at hot contemporary issues of how the public interprets archaeology, for example, the portrayal of archaeology in movies and video games, pseudo-archaeology (did aliens build the pyramids?), looting and antiquities markets, and cultural heritage destruction in wars, for ideological reasons, or for development. A special feature of the class will be visits from a number of archaeologists from the Arkansas Archeological Survey and the government to talk about how their work intersects with public needs and interests. 

ARAD 3310: Intro to Woodworking and Furniture Design

1:40-4:20 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Peter Scheidt

This beginning course covers the fundamentals of furniture design and construction. Students will design multiple furniture items and develop working drawings and scale models; learn basic material selection; and employ appropriate wood joinery and finishing. The course will require the use of hand and power tools while constructing a basic freestanding bench and table.   

ARAD 4315: Advanced Woodworking: Form and Function

9:25-12:05 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Peter Scheidt

This course is a continuing exploration of the materials, processes, and technologies of woodworking and furniture design in the construction of creative and functional forms. An emphasis is placed on increased complexity of design and construction while developing the individual aesthetic of the designer-artist. 

ARHA 4307: 18th and 19th Century European Art 

9:25-10:40 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Floyd Martin

This course examines art from the Rococo, Neoclassical, Romantic, Realist, and Impressionist eras. The course covers many favorite artists from about 1700 to 1880. The usual prerequisite is an art history survey class, but students who have done well in Art Appreciation and/or other humanities courses may wish to consider this as an elective.

CPSC 1370: Computer Literacy

6-7:15 p.m. Monday and Wednesday with Mark Barnes

This class covers the fundamental concepts of computing in a personal computer environment and an introduction to hardware and software and system configurations. The focus is on practical problem solving using popular PC application software for word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

ENGL 3330: Approaches to Literature

4:30-5:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays with Laura Barrio-Vilar

This course serves as an introduction to literary analysis and theory. Students will learn various approaches to the study of major literary genres (fiction, poetry, and drama, and become familiar with concepts, critical perspectives, and terminology essential to the study of literature.

ENGL 4350: Black Protest Literature

3:05-4:20 p.m. Monday and Wednesday with Laura Barrio-Vilar

In this seminar, students will explore major themes found in protest literature written by black authors: systemic racism, poverty, sexual violence, nationalism, and genocide, The course readings include a variety of representative authors, genres, and styles, such as Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time,” Alice Walker’s “Possessing the Secret of Joy,” and Anna Deavere Smith’s “Notes from the Field,” among others. This course counts toward both the minor in Race and Ethnicity and the minor in Gender Studies.

HIST 3328: Modern France

12:15-1:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday with Nate Marvin

France is America’s oldest ally, yet many in the U.S. are unfamiliar with the tumultuous history of our “sister-republic.” This course examines competing notions of the French nation, especially as they relate to religion, race, and gender, from the French Revolution to the present day. It also places particular emphasis on France’s global entanglements, exploring the ways in which imperial expansion and immigration have affected the making and remaking of the French nation at every stage of its modern history. 

LAW 6291: Hip Hop and the American Constitution

3:55-5:50 p.m. Thursday with André Cummings

This is a two-credit course for students who are interested in exploring social justice theory and training in the law school classroom and have an interest in representing indigent and underrepresented clients. This course includes the study of Fourth Amendment search and seizure law, First Amendment free speech law, Constitutional Intellectual Property protections, as well as mass incarceration, policing, family law, and corporate law through the prism of hip hop music and culture.  

This innovative course reviews important Constitutional Law principles through the lens of hip hop artists and their critique of the development of the law in areas such as search and seizure law and hyper-policing, free speech law and censorship, copyright law, and the hip hop practices of free borrowing through sampling, mashing, and looping.  Additionally, the course reviews other areas of the law such as family law and domestic violence, Corporate law and entrepreneurship, and Criminal Procedure, prison policy and mass incarceration. In each of these areas, hip hop artists have openly critiqued the top-down development of the law and this class gives students the opportunity to explore the law from the bottom up, imagining what form the law might take if hip hop artist’s critiques and contributions were taken seriously and adopted.

From its origin, hip hop music and culture have specifically critiqued U.S. law and policy from the perspective of the underrepresented and oppressed. Very specific lyrics and album themes criticize and debate Constitutional law protections that are enforced disparately and/or unfairly.  This course will examine those critiques and challenge students to imagine a less disparate, more fair enforcement of Constitutional rights and liberties. This course provides students an opportunity to explore topics of race, inequality, misogyny, and oppression in the law school classroom.

MCOM 4384/5384: Crime and the Media

 9:25-10:40 a.m. Monday and Wednesday with Chris Etheridge

Studies have shown that people who watch a lot of crime shows such as “Law & Order” or “CSI” tend to be more supportive of the death penalty and broad criminal justice policies, such as mandatory minimum sentences, the war on drugs, and harsh prison experiences; and have a higher fear that they will be a victim of a crime.

Through telling stories about crime and criminality, the media contribute in important ways to how viewers construct their worldviews, and this class will explore the social, political, and legal impacts of how media represent topics of crime and public safety. This course considers the relationship between mass media, crime, and criminal justice in the United States through discussions about television crime dramas, real crime novels, and so-called reality television shows such as “Cops” or “Live PD.” In the class, we will watch some examples of crime dramas, read some “true crime” journalism, and listen to podcasts about organized crime such as “Crimetown.” As a class, students will get to hear from police officers, entertainers, and journalists about their perceptions of crime and the media, and then design and execute research on the topic.

MGMT 4383: Entrepreneurial Perspectives

6-8:40 p.m. Tuesday with Joseph Bell

This class represents a significant exposure to the entrepreneurial process, where students will hear from nearly a dozen guest speakers covering a range of entrepreneurial experiences. Interaction with real-world entrepreneurs will enhance the entrepreneurial decision-making abilities of the students

MUAP 64974: Piano for Non-Majors

11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Naoki Hakutani

This course is specifically designed for non-music majors who want to gain some musical skills. Students will learn foundational skills of piano playing in a group setting. Topics addressed include basic piano technique, music reading, and elemental repertoire. 

PHIL 3315: Philosophy and Narrative

1:40-2:55 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday with Jan Thomas

This is a unique course with an interdisciplinary focus combining the study of literary fiction with philosophical questions about that literature. Is it a fact that Sherlock Holmes lives in London? Can fiction convey truths? Are there some dimensions of our lives that can only be expressed through literature? What do we learn from metaphor? What are the rules of effective storytelling? How do we know the difference between good and bad books? In this course, students will look at philosophy in literature as well as philosophy of literature.

PHIL 4180: Fake News

6-8:40 p.m. Tuesdays with Jan Thomas

In this short but wide-ranging course, students will use the current controversy of “fake news” to explore what it is to have knowledge, the difference between truth and what is true, and the complicated role of education in response to fake news. Although participants will discuss some of the most perplexing and provocative ideas in philosophy, no prior philosophical knowledge will be assumed. Examples from current media from across the political spectrum will be used to fuel discussions of philosophical questions about knowledge, truth, and education.

POLS 4375: Politics of the Middle East 

12:15-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm

The course covers the politics and political dynamics of the Middle East, introducing students to the main issues and actors (state and non-state) of the contemporary Middle East. The course explores the nature of contemporary politics in the region, including the impact of the complex relationships among great power intervention, economics, ethnicity, nationalism, and religion. 

POLS 4340: International Relations

Online course with Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm

Students will complete the course with a conceptual understanding of the international system and an ability to analyze how it shapes, and is in turn shaped by states and other actors like multinational corporations, transnational activists, and extremist groups. Throughout the semester, students will discuss a range of theoretical approaches to the study of international relations and apply them to a variety of contemporary political, economic, security, and environmental issues. The class will include will do a 10-week simulation of a fictitious international system. 

RHET 4318/5318: Memoir

6-8:40 p.m. Tuesdays at UA Little Rock Downtown with Greg Graham

This course introduces students to the study and practice of memoir as a genre with an emphasis on narrative structures, techniques, and research methods appropriate to extended nonfiction. Students will join a community of writers at UA Little Rock Downtown on nine Tuesday nights (Sept. 10 – Nov. 5)  and receive coaching from a professor who will engage and respond based on each student’s level of writing.

RHET 4375/5375: Grant Writing for Nonprofits

6-9 p.m. Mondays with Barbara L’Eplatteneir 

Students in this grant-writing classes have raised $535,517 for non-profits in local communities over the past 17 years and have continued on to successful grant-writing careers, both as grant writers and grant managers. Topics include, but are not limited to, finding and researching a foundation, resources for each stage of the grant writing process, developing a problem statement, creating objectives and goals, creating a budget, and working with foundations.

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