August 08, 2014

Philosophy Classes

Department of Philosphy. Science, Philosophy, Knowledge, Reality: The Scientific Enterprise (PHL 270)

When: M/W/F 2:30 - 3:20 p.m.

Science is a part of your life every day. The ideas and effects of science pervade our society, yet few people stop to think about the nature of science. Does science reveal a hidden reality, or does it just give us ways to manipulate things we see and touch? Does it give us the truth, or is it a game played for social status? What does it mean to say that some things are "unscientific"? And what are the roles of experiments, theory, and creativity in scientific knowledge? Can the history of philosophy and science give us insight into the nature of reality?

We'll investigate philosophical questions about the nature of science by looking at the history of science, and by looking at some philosophical arguments that set the standard for all subsequent philosophy of science. We'll study deep ideas about the nature of scientific knowledge developed Karl Popper and by the philosophers known as "logical positivists," and we'll investigate Thomas Kuhn's concept of a scientific "paradigm shift." Kuhn responded to the logical positivists by arguing that scientific knowledge in any one area of science depends on other scientific knowledge, as well as on the culture within which scientists develop their ideas. The concepts and arguments that these philosophers of science developed provide the foundation for the deepest, most interesting debates about the nature of science today.

Read more about the course and preview the syllabus here.
Published in Cool Classes

communicationsSocial Media Communication (CMST 493)

Time: M/W/F 4:40 - 5:30 p.m.
(note: this is a blended class. Monday and Wednesday classes will be held in the classroom. Friday classes are held online.)

For many career paths, social media savvy is essential, and in today's job market, your online presence is an digital portfolio accessible to any potential employer.

You use social media every day, but are you using it effectively?

Social media icons. Learn:
  • social media best practices
  • common pitfalls to avoid
  • how to organize your social feeds to find better quality content
  • how to tailor your communication for specific apps
  • which platforms make the most sense for your field
  • how to grow an audience
  • how to stay connected with your audience and earn their respect
  • ways to get more clicks, more likes, more comments, and more shares
  • opportunities for turning negative situations into PR wins
  • techniques for optimizing content for search engines
  • methods to measure your success
  • ways to build yourself as a brand
  • and how to turn your passion into a career

The instructor, Matt Cuthbert, is the main voice for UAB Students social media accounts and advises various UAB departments in their own use of social media. He previously oversaw social media and search engine optimization for

This class will benefit from several guest lecturers, including:

  • Julie McKinney, community engagement specialist at, will speak about making a good situation out of negative comments, anonymous vs. public commenting, etc.
  • Landon Howell, head of strategy and content at Fancred, will talk about developing a social media app as a startup and the role of social media in sports fan communities.
  • Jen West, film writer/director/producer and author of The Jen West Quest Blog, will speak about the use of crowdfunding sites to raise money for projects and social media's role in drumming up support.
Published in Cool Classes
The city of Birmingham is an open book for students in one UAB English course. It serves as both subject and setting for their work, which hones their skills for writing about place for different public and academic audiences. And they quickly find that Birmingham’s story has plenty of blank pages for them to fill.
Published in Announcements
Biology major Quincy Jones and two other undergraduates were awarded prestigious Merck Fellowships for their research on aging and the brain.
Published in Announcements
July 25, 2014

Red Carpet Entrance

College of Arts and Sciences Students have Documentaries Accepted at the Upcoming Sidewalk Film Festival

Sidewalk Film Festival has accepted three films produced by six College of Arts and Sciences students in the documentary shorts category. In addition, one College alumnus, who produced a film as part of a summer environmental filmmaking fellowship, was accepted into the prestigious, Birmingham-based festival.
Published in Announcements
For the past four years a UAB student has been chosen to participate in the weeklong training that focuses on ways to advocate in the global fight against poverty, hunger and injustice. Brendan Rice participated in the Oxfam CHANGE Initiative training in 2011 and set a path that UAB students have followed each year since. Oxfam choses 50 students each year for its program and encourages them to create action on their campuses and in their communities.
Published in Announcements
June 24, 2014

English Classes


Introduction to African American Literature (EH 324)

Time: T/TH 11:00 a.m.- 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Jessie Dunbar

Langston Hughes. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. Langston Hughes. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. This course will examine the significance of the African American literary tradition in shaping both the identities and the histories of people of African descent in the United States. The fiction of the writers featured in this course spans such periods as the New Negro Movement or the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s; the fiction of post WWII or the "indignant generation"; The Black Arts Movement of the 1960s; and contemporary African American fiction which is defined by what some scholars term a Renaissance in fiction by African American women. Throughout the course we will focus upon the historical and cultural contexts that shape the artistic development of African American writers as well as the manner in which they experiment with forms of fiction. The purpose of the course is not only to serve as an introduction to the fiction of major writers within the African American literary tradition and the eras which in part defined them, but, equally as important, to provide the skills and background that will enable you to identify and examine the most salient themes, forms and patterns that define their fiction. Together these themes, forms and patterns constitute a shared symbolic geography from which emerges the dynamic and evolving tradition of African American literature.

Gender, Literature, and Medicine (EH 327)

Time: T/TH 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Margaret Jay Jessee

In this course, we will read both fictional literature about and memoirs by women working in western medicine. We will begin this course discussing women's entry into "legitimate" medical practice through school training and entering the American Medical Association. Not surprisingly, as women gained more influence in the medical community, they faced opposition to their attempt to regain what had once been theirs: social authority in the area of care giving and health. The AMA deemed their role parasitic in nature, and the resentment toward these women led the Boston Gynecological Society to call them "the third sex." We will analyze representations of women healers in literature, tracking the development of the initial "third sex" figure through more contemporary, multi-national literary representations of women in medicine. Our class discussions will primarily focus on how the figure of the woman healer changes with time and place, how cultural representations of women relate to literary representations of women in medicine, and how cultural differences between women affect those representations.

Our assignments for this course will be various contributions to a course homepage where we will hold discussions about readings, curate research, and write reviews of the texts we read.

Black Cinema (EH 425/545)

Time: TH 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Melissa Asher Daniels

The collective African American experience, as it is depicted in mainstream movies, is really nothing more than a constellation of racist stereotypes. Beginning with D.W. Griffith's silent drama, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which portrayed blacks as savage monsters, modern film has consistently and predominately framed blackness in destructive and marginalizing ways. Pimp, prostitute, drug kingpin — these are just a few of the pathological tropes that most frequently define the black image in film. Independent black cinema emerged in response to these visual discourses. As a creative, expressive, and critical formation, independent black cinema debunks and deconstructs these filmic representations by providing alternative visions of blackness that are self-directed.

This class traces the development of independent black cinema, from its origins in the Blaxploitation era to its flowering in the 1990s, ending with recent additions to the canon. Central to our study will be an ongoing engagement with the aesthetic and cultural politics involved in film production, spectatorship, and representation. We will discuss the critical roles that questions of ancestry, migration, urban warfare, sexuality, class, and race regularly play in depicting the complexity and diversity of African American life. Our goal is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the power and function of the cinema. Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, and screenings of specific scenes. Students are responsible for viewing films outside of class. Films include: Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971); Charles Burnett, Killer of Sheep (1979); Spike Lee, Do The Right Thing (1989); Jenny Livingston, Paris is Burning (1990); Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991); Leslie Harris, Just Another Girl on the IRT (1992); Cheryl Dunye, The Watermelon Woman (1996); Barry Jenkins, Medicine for Melancholy (2008); Tina Mabrey, Mississippi Damned (2009); and Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station (2013). Readings will consist of scholarly essays on film and popular culture.

William Butler Yeats. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. William Butler Yeats. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. The Literatures of Ireland (EH 427/592)

Time: TH 7:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Kieran Quinlan

The Literatures of Ireland examines writing from that country from the heroic period of the Celtic heroes, through the monastic poetry of the early Christian centuries, to the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish texts of later times, the Irish Literary Renaissance of the 20th century, ending in modern times. Emphasis on the complexity, variety, and contradictory nature of what all-too-often is seen as a unified tradition.

Flash Fiction (EH 429/592)

Time: T 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Adam Vines

In this course, we will read flash fiction, will write critically about flash fiction, will discuss approaches, techniques, and vehicles for flash fiction, will write flash fiction, and will workshop flash fiction. You will write flashes of various lengths from 250 words to 500 words to 750 words — some following my draconian prompts, some following your own dictates.
Published in Cool Classes
June 18, 2014

The Write Stuff

High school students spend three weeks at the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop

More than two dozen area high school students recently participated in The Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop, hosted by the Department of English. Students competed for the spots and were chosen by application in the spring; their recognition ceremony will be held on Friday, June 20 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Spencer Honors House.
Published in Announcements

Art students experiment with alternative materials in a special summer course

Contemporary works of art are often made with alternative materials and found objects. But what makes these pieces art, and not just a pile of stuff?
Published in Announcements
June 13, 2014

History Classes


Ruins of the Temple of Minerva, Tebessa. Ruins of the Temple of Minerva, Tebessa. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.History of the Roman Empire (HY 218/318)

Time: M/W/F 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Instructor: Walter Ward

Survey of Roman history, society, and culture from the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE to the reign of Constantine in the early fourth century CE, with an emphasis on how the Roman empire ruled.

Social History of Crime (HY 259/359)

Time: T/TH 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Carolyn Conley

This course examines the various approaches historians have made to the social and cultural history of criminal violence. While the topic is one that applies to every human society, most of the material deals with Europe and the United States.

George Wallace: Hero or Pariah? (HY 291/391)

George Wallace resisting the integration of the University of Alabama. George Wallace resisting the integration of the University of Alabama. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.Time: T/TH 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Pamela Sterne King

To some he was a hero, to others he was an outcast and stain on the United States. Find out why this man so provoked Americans and why his legacy remains controversial to American politics even today.

Spain and the Spanish Inquisition (HY 459)

Time: M/W/F/ 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Andrew Keitt

Spain and the Spanish Inquisition explores Spain's fraught history with the Other, from the medieval period during which the Spain experienced an uneasy coexistence, or "convivencia" among Christians, Muslims, and Jews, to the encounter between Spaniards and the indigenous peoples of the New World.

1492 marked both the end of the medieval convivencia, with the fall of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in southern Spain, and the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian peninsula. It also marked the beginning of the Spanish global empire, with Columbus's chance discovery of a new (to Europeans) continent. At about the same time, the Spanish Inquisition was established to protect a newly purified Spain from what were perceived as the corrupting influences of crypto-Jews and Muslims who were thought to be practicing their ancestral faiths in secret. By the middle of the sixteenth century, the Inquisition had been transplanted to the Americas where it adjudicated cases of idolatry among the newly converted Indians.

During the second half of the semester we will play and develop a Reacting to the Past game. Reacting to the Past consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Teams pursue a series of "victory objectives" which are attained by persuading fellow students via written work and oral presentations. This game pits defenders of the indigenous peoples of the New World against conquistadors eager to secure their territorial claims and crown officials and churchmen struggling to administer a far-flung empire.

Ancient and Medieval Britain (HY 460)

Time: T/TH 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Carolyn Conley

Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Roman, and Viking influences and evolution of kingdom from Norman Conquest to reign of Edward III.

Terrorism in Modern History (HY 472)

Time: M/W/F 10:10 - 11:00 a.m.
Instructor: Stephen Miller

The history of terrorism from its advent during the French Revolution of 1789 to the global war of present time reviewing three main instances of terrorism in history — the French Revolution, 1793-1794; Russia in the 1870s and 1880s and their civil war between 1918 and 1921; and the present-day conflicts involving the United States and the Middle East.
Published in Cool Classes
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