Complex Problems Seminars

Complex Problems seminar descriptions are listed below. You can filter the seminars by clicking a course tag on the left or choosing a semester.

Assessing Textbooks for Truth

In high school, American history and social studies students may or may not be learning the truth about the world in which they live. Through the study of textbook evolution, the study of textbook criticism, the close reading of curricular […]

Korean Wave: Local to Global

K-pop and K-drama have become more popular these days. For example, BTS, a seven-boy K-pop group, has become the biggest K-pop icon (75 million views for their new song) with their Army, a globally networked fan club with millions of […]

Meaningful Connections

This course is about the complex terrain of close relationships, specifically friendships and romantic relationships. What drives our desire to connect with others? Why do some connections last and others do not? What are some of the common problems in […]

Becoming Sentient Scholars

The rich intricacies of modern life have supersaturated our senses in a manner that has set our authentic selves afloat while obfuscating the bases for rational thought and civic discourse. While this obstacle has been generated by the senses, it […]

Identity and Intergroup Conflict

This course explores the dynamic and complex relationship between identity and post-modern intra-state and international conflict with the emphasis on the role of different forms of identities both in the emergence of conflicts and in processes of conflict resolution and […]

The South Got Sumn To Shake

“Often devalued for being too simplistic and focused on dance, southern hip hop is criticized as making a mockery of “real” hip hop, or lacking “lyricism”—calling into question the authenticity and intelligence of southern hip hop artists. Its defenders, however, […]

Money Matters

This course is designed to teach students how individual choices directly influence future earning potential, long term financial well-being and personal happiness. It integrates economics, accounting, psychology and personal finance concepts to help students of all majors make informed financial […]

Black is Beautiful

When 1960s civil rights activists chanted “black is beautiful,” they were placing the beauty of black people and black culture at the center of their pursuit of justice. Why would they do such a thing? In this course we will […]

Responding to Atrocities

Although many prefer to view the modern age as one of progress and enlightenment, it has also witnessed some of history’s worst atrocity crimes; that is crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. What makes these crimes so horrific is […]

Genetics in Sci Fi and Modern Society

Many science fiction novels and movies have used aspects of genetics as plot devices, including cloning, genetic engineering, species hybridization and the production of better human beings by selective breeding (eugenics) often linked to a genetic accident with disastrous consequences, […]

Being Indigenous

Indigenous peoples persist in spite of concerted efforts to exterminate them across many centuries to the present day. What does it mean to be an indigenous person in a society that is built on your erasure? This course explores this […]

Is Feminism Dead?

Donald Trump shocked the political establishment, the pollsters, and the pundits when he defeated Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College in 2016. The loss would have been demoralizing in its own right for people excited by the possibility of breaking […]


Everyone wants to be happy, but what exactly is happiness and how is it attained? In our relativistic age, many people think that happiness is purely subjective and entirely relative to each individual. Moreover, our awareness that different cultures and […]

Living as a Digital Citizen

 Digital citizenship broadly describes what it means to live in our networked world. The Internet fundamentally improves the economic and social life of those who gains access, but every click also leaves a trace of our digital footsteps. This course […]

Visual Identities

Drawing on museum collections in D.C., this course explores how visual images constructed, claimed, and sometimes contested identities across the geohistorical spectrum. Students consider how images convey identities tied to cultural conceptions about politics, religions, race, gender, disability, and sexuality […]

Act Like a Man

This course examines the search for and performance of ideal models of American manhood on theatrical, political, and social stages. Through investigating gender theory and masculinity studies, reading and analyzing plays, viewing theatrical productions and films, unpacking political posturing, and […]

Jihad: From the Caliphate to ISIS

No Islamic concept has generated as much disagreement and as many questions as jihad, a concept that is now in common use in Western media and literature. What exactly does jihad mean? Jihad has been often equated with arbitrary violence, […]