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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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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Coming to Terms with Past Violence

Embedded in the fabric of every national narrative is the attempt to understand past violence. Words like reconciliation, reckoning, justice, impunity, accountability, and forgiveness all have distinct connotations depending on their specific national context and the actors who employ them. In this course, we analyze localized forms of interpreting violence through regional case studies from […]

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Obesity & Dementia: A Vicious Cycle

Obesity and cognitive dementia are currently among the most pernicious threats to human health and quality of life.  Despite many years of research at enormous financial cost, understanding of the causes of both disorders is limited and preventative and treatment interventions have been largely unsuccessful. Integrating scientific, medical, and social perspectives, students will explore the […]

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Doing Better at Doing Good

Course type: Community Based Learning. As a part of this course, students will actively serve with a nonprofit agency or school in the DC area to apply their course knowledge. This course examines the conversation on poverty in Washington, DC through scholarship, research, and community-based service-learning with an afterschool program. Horton’s Kids is a local […]

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Cities: Destroyed & Reinvented

The turmoil and traumas of modernity have transformed urban spaces into architectural and commemorative battlegrounds. This seminar introduces theories of memory and nationalism alongside controversies over architecture and planning with special case examples from twentieth-century European urban transformations. The dynamic environment of the US capital also informs the course. Intense discussion of weekly readings, short […]

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Fight Club: US War & Peace

This course provides an overview of the history and modern issues of peace and war with an emphasis on the institutions in Washington, D.C. (ie. Pentagon, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Amnesty International, State Department, CIA). Through reading ethnographic and historical case studies, as well as theoretical, journalistic, and polemical works, the course explores why and how the […]

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Education: Problem or Solution

While there is agreement that education is key to individual and community well-being, much controversy exists over education’s goals and how to achieve them. Issues include identifying education challenges and effective solutions, recognizing how social or economic status interacts with education, and examining what role political ideologies play. Students engage with a variety of speakers, […]

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Organizations and World Change

Complex problems challenge your generation. Some persist from prior generations, and others have recently emerged or intensified from rapid social, environmental, technological, economic, and geopolitical changes. The exact solutions to these problems may be uncertain, but they will certainly require ingenuity and innovation – as well as multipronged approaches from diverse perspectives. In this course, […]

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