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From Hitchcock to hobbits: Unusual classes this fall at ASU

Unusual classes at Arizona State University for fall 2015.

Whether a student's interests run to gardening, Hitchcock films, fashion design or oceanography (or myriad other topics), Arizona State University has a course that will appeal.

August 19, 2015

If you ever wanted to take a class about Alfred Hitchcock — or Bruce Lee, or Elvis — you’re in the right place.

Arizona State University offers classes on those (THE 405, APA 394 and MUS 354, respectively) and a whole lot of other interesting stuff this fall semester.

Some classes are historical (BIS 394: Prohibition and the Jazz Age; ENG 430: Victorian Murder), others are technical (EDT 494: Creating and Marketing Mobile Apps), while still others are sports-related (BIS 394: Baseball: Business and Culture; SOC 394: Soccer: The Global Game).

Some could appeal to a wide range of interests (FMP 294: From “Lucy” to “Lost”: Intro to Series Television), but others are decidedly more specific (THP 294: Clown Performance Styles).

And yes, there are zombies (MAS 598: Horror: Zombies, Monsters, Vampires, Cannibals).

To be sure, these classes fit into the more than 300 academic programs and majors offered within the ASU knowledge enterprise. They are intellectually rigorous takes on a diverse array of topics that can help to develop the thinking skills that create adaptable master learners.

It’s worth taking a stroll through the course catalog to explore courses across a variety of fields; after all, education is about broadening your perspective, right?

We’ve compiled a few of the intriguing courses from this semester; students can find many more in the online catalog. Consult the online listings for specifics on prerequisites.

Fall 2015 courses:

ABS (Applied Biological Sciences) 360: Southwest Home Gardening — Multimedia course for nonmajors surveying contemporary topics in Southwest home horticulture, including landscaping, flower and vegetable gardening, citriculture, interiorscaping, and others. (Editor’s note: For more gardening, check out the online course ABS 460: Organic gardening: Applies principles and practices of organic gardening in the low desert, including environmental impacts of modern food production.)

AFR (African and African American Studies) 215: Bob Marley and Reggae: Lyrics of Resistance — Studies political content, influence and impact of Caribbean popular music, in particular the music of Bob Marley.

AME (Arts, Media and Engineering) 130: Prototyping Dreams — How do you build your dreams? Explores the idea of inspirational prototyping across multiple media, including physical fabrication, science fiction, virtual worlds and film. Students create and iterate their own prototypes for visions of the future: new technologies, solutions to challenges and tools or systems that expand the horizon of human potential. These prototypes do not have to be functional tools, but they must be functional stories, effectively sharing the creator's vision with others.

ART 432: Neon Sculpture — Techniques for creating neon in an art context. Glass tube bending and fabrication. Construction of artworks utilizing light-generating gases.

ASB (Anthropology; Social and Behaviors) 210: Human Sexuality: Anthropological Perspectives — Examines the sexual nature and behavior of humans from both a biological and an anthropological point of view across various cultures around the globe.

AST (Astronomy) 111: Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy — History, properties of light, instruments, study of solar system and nearby stars. For nonscience majors.

BIO (Biology) 113: Dinosaurs — Principles of evolution, ecology, behavior, anatomy and physiology using dinosaurs and other extinct life as case studies.

CHI (Chinese) 205: Chinese Calligraphy — Introduces styles and techniques of Chinese writing. Requires no knowledge of Chinese or Japanese.

CPI (Computing and Informatics) 111: Game Development I — Introduces video game design, art theory and concepts as they apply to video game development. Basic art principles used in game development. Hands-on experience by creating 2-D game prototypes belonging to different video game genres.

CRJ (Criminology and Criminal Justice) 417: Cyber Terrorism — Focuses on the specific avenues of terrorism that are perpetuated in the digital world of the 21st century.

ENG (English) 229: Love and Lust in Medieval Literature — The medieval period, roughly 600-1500, cannot reasonably be called the "dark ages." Indeed, the Middle Ages provides us with a corpus of literature replete with complex characters struggling to live and love, dealing with sin and lust, unity and diversity, faith and reason within a tumultuous cultural milieu and religious rigor, all of which are feeling the winds of changes. Explores medieval literature, noting the astonishing differences from our own time, as well as surprising similarities.

ENG (English) 320: Vikings, Hobbits & Ragnarok: Tolkien Medieval Sources — Studies the representation of Medieval narratives, characters, themes, myths and images in modern culture.

ENG (English) 375: Fender Musical Instruments — Explores leading CEOs and corporations from a humanities perspective.

FIN (Finance) 123: ASU Financial Literacy — A practical approach to financial challenges faced by ASU students. Emphasizes financial choices likely to be encountered while at ASU, as well as issues to be encountered immediately upon graduation. Topics include credit cards, student loans, credit scores, saving, investing, insurance, transportation, housing, taxes, goal setting and budgeting.

FOR (Forensics) 286: Principles of Forensic Science — Introduces and surveys the practices and procedures used by forensic scientists in the modern crime laboratory. Students apply lecture topics to forensic-themed laboratory activities.

GLG (Geological Sciences) 325: Oceanography — Introduces marine geology, chemistry and physical and biological oceanography. Methods of oceanic exploration, environmental and social aspects of oceans.

GPH (Physical Geography) 267: Extreme Weather — Introductory survey of extreme weather and climate processes and the often-disastrous consequences at the intersection of human operations.

HDA (Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts) 225: Fashion Design II — Expands upon fashion design fundamentals learned earlier to encompass additional aspects of the fashion industry, which includes fashion as business, and as a sociological and cultural phenomenon.

HST (History) 361: Witchcraft and Heresy in Europe — Background, origins, and development of the Inquisition; persecution of women and marginal groups.

ITA (Italian) 420: Italian Cinema — Major trends of Italian cinema from the post-war period to the present.

JPN (Japanese) 115: Japanese Popular Culture: Anime, Manga, and Film — Examines different media of Japanese popular culture such as comics (manga), animation (anime) and film for evidence of how the Japanese express their self-identity in Japanese society.

MUS (Music) 231: Laughing to Music — Modern-day comedies like “Spamalot,” “Avenue Q” and “Glee” are part of a comic tradition extending back to the Renaissance. Looks at funny in music from commedia dell'arte to the present. Studies works including the comedies of Mozart, Gilbert and Sullivan, the Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Mel Brooks and many others.

PSY (Psychology) 394: Your Brain on Drugs — Ever wonder what really happens to your brain cells when you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or use an illegal drug? Why is it some people can stop using drugs while others continue to use them despite the worst of consequences? Is addiction a disease or lack of willpower? Learn about the many classes of addictive drugs, how addictive drugs interact with nerve cells, how they essentially "re-wire" the brain to produce addiction, and the mechanisms underlying biologically based addiction treatment approaches.

SES (Earth and Space Exploration) 106: Habitable Worlds — Are we alone in the Universe? If so, why? If not, where are our cosmic cousins? Such questions, once the domain of science fiction, are on the verge of being answered with science facts. Astronomers are discovering planets around other stars. Planetary scientists are exploring the worlds in our solar system. Biologists are unlocking the secrets of metabolism and evolution. Geoscientists are determining how the Earth supports life. And as we struggle to build a sustainable future for ourselves, all of us are finding out how technologically advanced civilizations rise and how they might fall. This course surveys these topics. In the process, students master basic concepts from across the major areas of science and learn what makes the Earth a habitable world.

SHS (Speech and Hearing Science) 101: American Sign Language I — Basic receptive/expressive conversational skills; basic grammar and syntax rules. Orientation to deafness and deaf culture. (Editor’s note: ASL satisfies the foreign-language requirement.)

WST (Women’s Studies) 449: Hate Speech, Manifestos, and Radical Writings — Examines writings, speeches and texts that provoke radical or even revolutionary social change. At its core, this course asks: What is the radical and what does it do? How do radical writings function as texts, speech acts, inspirational documents, testimonies, accounts of madness, frightening moments, calls to arms, peacekeeping entities or speaking truth to power? Examines injurious speech and provocative writings that span a range of social movements and topics, including radical feminism, radical queer, Black power, indigenous rights, art and performance, anti-technology, animal rights, violence, madness and revolutionary resistance.