Courses

Summer 2019 Courses

First Summer Session: May 22 - June 28


EXP-0006 Medicinal Plants: From the Sacred to the Scientific

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:30 pm
May 22, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019
3 semester hours, letter-graded
Cross-listed with Environmental Studies as ENV-196-01.


How can we discern medicinal plant facts from fiction while also honoring the human foundations of drug discovery? This survey course is built on four essential pillars:
anthropology, botany, chemistry, and pharmacology. Non- experts will discover connections between the anthropological foundations and scientific principles underlying plant-derived drugs by looking at representative individual species. Through guest speakers and student-led presentations, plant walks, and simple experiments, students will be introduced to the broad fields of ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and plant biotechnology.

This course has been approved by the Academic Review Board to count toward Natural Sciences distribution credit

John de la Parra is an ethnobotanist and biotechnologist who has brought innovation to medicinal plant research in academia. He has also brought expertise to the cannabis industry as a consultant across the country. He previously taught Medicinal Plants: From the Sacred to the Scientific in the ExCollege, and he currently teaches Environmental Fieldwork in the Tufts Environmental Studies program. He holds a PhD in Chemistry from Northeastern University.



Second Summer Session: July 2 - August 9


EXP-0013 From Koufax to Kaepernick: Sports, Identity, and Protest

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Jul 02, 2019 to Aug 09, 2019
3 semester hours, letter-graded


How are sports reflective of the society in which they are played? How have athletes used their platform to challenge prevailing norms and politics in their communities and around the globe? While sports are usually seen as an “escape from the real world,” athletes have a unique position in society to advocate for social change, either within the athletic organizations in which they play (for integration or equal pay), in society at large (against racism or discrimination), or for a range of international political issues (against apartheid, Cold War). Using primary sources, films, and historical texts, this course reflects on a range of contemporary social, political, and cultural issues that explain how sports cannot be separated from the societal context in which they are embedded. Through discussion and case studies, students will use sports as a lens to understand international history, the sociology of advocacy movements, and the evolution of political protest around the globe.

Debbie Sharnak is a lecturer at Harvard University in the History and Literature Department. She has worked at many nonprofits such as the New Media Advocacy Project and the International Center for Transitional Justice and has remained involved in connecting her research to public policy and NGO work. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
 



EXP-0024: Comics and Graphic Novels: Theory and Practice
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:00 – 8:30 pm
Jul 02, 2019 to Aug 09, 2019
3 semester hours, letter-graded


How do comics work? What kinds of stories can comics tell?

In this course, we'll explore comics from the bottom up, discovering how comics work by discussing established cartoonists' strips and then drawing our own comics. After learning about the form of comics through single-panel cartoon and style exercises, we'll transition into thinking about content by addressing the genre of many famous graphic novels: autobiography. Why do authors like Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) or Art Spiegelman (Maus), use comics to tell their stories? We'll begin to formulate an answer to that question by drawing diary strips and writing about graphic novels. In the final section of this course, we'll turn to distribution and collaboration, exploring the comics community in Boston and beyond. Students will gain a fresh perspective on comics, whether you're an avid graphic novel reader or an incurable doodler. No artistic talent or experience is necessary; all you need is, as the Center for Cartoon Studies puts it, "a fearless commitment to putting images on paper" and a dogged determination to figure out how comics work. To the drawing board!

Anna Christine has been drawing and thinking about comics for almost 20 years. Currently a doctoral student in the English department at Tufts, she has published comics online and in Resist!, guest edited by Françoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman and distributed during the Women's March on Washington. She has also presented academic papers on graphic novels such as Charles Burns's Black Hole.
 



EXP-0005 Podcasting for Change
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:00 – 4:30 pm
Jul 02, 2019 to Aug 09, 2019
3 semester hours, letter-graded


How do we amplify our voices and tell our stories? What is the role of independent media in the current political climate? How can podcasting be a tool for social change? We'll explore all these questions and more in this comprehensive podcast seminar. The course will begin with in-depth analysis of various types of popular (and student- favorite) podcasts: from Serial to Fresh Air to 2 Dope Queens. We'll read academic essays on podcasting (and other relevant topics) to contextualize our responses to the various programs we listen to, specifically as it relates to independent media and social justice digital storytelling. After
getting a sense of the various types of podcasts that exist, students will start working on producing their own podcasts. Students will learn everything from digital recording and editing software, interviewing skills, promotions and marketing, hosting audio files, and creating a supplemental blog. By the end of the class students will have the pilot episode and foundation to continue to record their very own podcast.

Raechel Tiffe is a feminist media-maker and web-based journalist, activist, and co-host and producer of a popular weekly podcast, Feminist Killjoys, PhD. She holds a PhD in Critical Media Studies, with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies, from the University of Minnesota.
 



EXP-0012 Hip Hop Dance: Theory, Culture, and Practice
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:30 pm
Jul 02, 2019 to Aug 09, 2019
3 semester hours, letter-graded
This course is cross-listed with Department of Drama and Dance as DNC-0094-01.


Why did hip-hop dance emerge, and what is its intellectual significance? What are the key elements of hip-hop's aesthetic?

We delve into these questions through readings, videos, and other media. But most importantly, we will learn by physically practicing hip-hop's original dance - bboying/bgirling (“break dancing”). Topics range from the history and unique artistic practices of hip-hop, to controversies within the scene (including the historic introduction of breakin' into the 2018 youth olympics), and centrally to our own senses of personal identity and intelligent movement.

Students will experience this class more as participants in hip-hop dance, than as observers of hip-hop dance. This is the only way to engage genuinely with the principles and practice of hip-hop dance, and look empathetically into the significance of hip-hop dance and culture in the lives of the people who practice it.

Taylor Travassos-Lomba is a practicing b-boy (break-dancer) of over 10 years who has garnered recognition at international hip hop events and features on international hip-hop media outlets. He has taught dance at dance studios, nonprofit programs, and at the middle/high school and college levels, as well as organized formal and informal independent hip-hop community outreach events in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He has a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Philosophy from Brown University.