On Walking

Walking can be the ultimate act of freedom. But walking while black, while trans, or without papers, for example, can often risk a violent loss of freedom. Historically, however, marginalized groups have used walking (i.e. the protest march) to fight for freedom itself. Drawing on fields as diverse as environmental literature and philosophy, feminist studies […]

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Frenemies: Humans and Animals

The nature of the human-animal relationship is complex, pervasive, and paradoxical.  Over the course of human history, we have domesticated, exploited, and protected species — we love dogs, eat pigs, and despise rats. In dissecting this relationship, we will examine environmental issues, race, culture, sexuality, gender, and concepts of selfhood. By the end of the […]

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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 question as a conversation with indigenous voices in different settler states, beginning locally in indigenous […]

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What’s It Worth? How We Determine Value

How do we, as individuals and societies, determine the value of things, services, and experiences? Questions like the value of a national park, a child well-educated, or a life prematurely lost are central to both government policy and individual commitments. Through careful reading, critical discussion, short integrative essays, and interactions with local organizations involved in […]

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Are We All Zombies?

In an episode of The Walking Dead, a zombie has its brain scanned.  The scan reveals that the brain stem, an important, but primitive basis of consciousness, is very much alive.  In this view, zombies have consciousness, and thus consciousness cannot be used to distinguish zombies from humans.  Although human beings have higher cortical functions than zombies, like zombies, we have little awareness […]

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