Courses Offered

Engaging Humanities courses are unique and the offerings change each year. The following courses will be offered during the academic year 2021-2022. Fall courses (INT 36 and INT 136) are all Learning Community courses, while the Winter and Spring INT 137 courses are Engaging Humanities Discovery courses. All Fall quarter 2021 Engaging Humanities courses will be held in person, public health guidelines permitting.


For first-year students:
Disease, Ideas, and the Law (INT 36DL, Tue and Thur 12:30-1:45pm)
Kathleen M. Moore and Juan Cobo Betancourt

During the past (almost) two years, the novel COVID-19 virus has travelled through the social body and inflamed many of its fractures. The crisis has prompted important medical and scientific questions, but it has also raised key issues related to society, religion, and the law. These include problems of inequality, the relationship between individuals and the state, ideas about bodies, and the role of ritual and belief — questions that have also emerged in previous crises. This course examines how people in colonial Latin America (16th and 17th centuries) and in the modern United States (20th and 21st centuries) made sense of these questions when their own social bodies were afflicted with disease and epidemics.

For first-year students:
Intersections: Theater Artists and Scholars (INT 36TS, Mon and Wed 12:30-1:45pm)

Risa Brainin and Katherine Saltzman-Li 

This course focuses on the study and production of theater through the lenses of acting, directing, and theater studies. A mix of scholarly research and embodied practice, the course dives into play analysis through reading, discussion, research, writing, and performance projects. Students examine three very different plays, beginning with Naomi Iizuka’s 36 Views, to learn how theater artists and scholars work and where their work intersects. In exploring each play, students create a research notebook, write an introduction to the play that might appear in a program, and participate as actor, director, or designer in a short scene from the play. Finally, students research and write a piece of theatre scholarship on one of the three plays, with the goal of understanding how scholars carry out their investigations.

For first-year students:
Moors, Mongols, and the Monstrous: Race and Racism in the Middle Ages (INT 36MM, Tue and Thur 2-3:15pm)

Debra Blumenthal and Heather Blurton

Until fairly recently, most scholars distinguished the concept of "race" and racism as strictly "modern" phenomena. "Race," in other words, in the estimate of most modern theorists of race, wasn't a consideration in the Middle Ages. Likewise, despite all evidence to the contrary, medieval Europe has been enshrined in the popular imagination as ethnically homogenous and white. At a time when members of the "alt-right" and neo-Nazi groups brandish faux "medieval" symbols while decrying the threat posed by immigrants to European or "Western" identities and expressing nostalgia for a supposedly "lost" past of ethnic homogeneity, this course critically reevaluates these received narratives. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to premodern discourses concerning human difference and ideas of “race,” considering its intersections with concepts such as ethnicity, religion, monstrosity, and epidermal color, as well as looking at the lived experience of people of color in medieval Europe.

For transfer students:
Film, Literature, and the Radical Histories of the Present (INT 136FL, Mon and Wed 1-2:15pm)

Naoki Yamamoto and Glyn Salton-Cox 

What does it mean for culture to be politically engaged? What are the social forms of radical culture, such as anti-Fascism or the Black Panther movement? How might we write a history of such radical cultures that lets us understand the political problems of our own time such as the Black Lives Matter movement or calls for environmental justice? Focusing mainly on literature and film, but with discussion of other media including photography, music, and television, this course will investigate these vital questions about the history of protest. With one eye on the contemporary media landscape, assessment for this course will focus on the production of new media responses including tweets and short video presentations. And with our sights set on the history of the present, we will explore a series of diverse flashpoints of radical culture including anti-Fascist movements during WWII, the Black Panther and student radicalisms of the 1960s, and Punk, Hip-Hop, and other popular forms of music from the 1980s onward.

For transfer students:
Phonetics and Aesthetics of Human Communication: Decoding Engagement in Transmission and Reception in Speech and Art (INT 136PA, Tue and Thur 11am-12:15pm)

Kim Yasuda and Argyro Katsika

This course will explore practices of meaning-making and reception by looking at very different forms of communication: speech and art. Both are embodied, culture-bound activities of human communicative function. Humans learn and engage in speaking naturally as a developmental and integral part of everyday life. We all spend two to three hours a day exchanging short bursts of speech, often referred to as turn-taking, which roughly accumulates to 1200 turns daily. Like speech, art is a sensorial form of transmission, but does not necessarily prioritize communication and comprehension of a specific and concrete message. Thus, art is unconventional communication, leaving an open window for interpretation. Our aim is to decode the process of self-incorporation in the speech and art event, and to study how and to what degree one becomes or can become a dynamic agent in that event. Through the analysis of the structural vocabulary in each of these “transmission systems”, students will have the opportunity to test physical and cognitive “turn-taking methods”, negotiating between flow and breakdown in communication across speech and art that reveal the complexity of human communicative processes. The ultimate goal of the class is for students from different disciplines to work together to explore and shape “toolsets” and “grammars” that decode different forms of engagement and reception.

Recovering Untold Stories: From the First Millennium to Today (INT137, time TBD)
Alicia Boswell and Janet Bourne
The Black Lives Matter movement has shown how structural inequalities in our contemporary US society have created distinctly different experiences for minoritized communities. This problem is not unique to our contemporary world. In our understanding of global history, many voices have been overlooked. This course asks how we can reconstruct and write the untold stories of individuals and communities that are left out of traditional narratives. How can we understand histories of ancient societies that did not leave a written record? With ephemeral experiences like music, how do we know what meanings people had of music a hundred years ago? How can we speculate about how people responded to art? What methods can allow us to contextualize and interpret the forgotten histories of the past, especially when these communities’ records were intentionally neglected? This course will examine the ways in which researchers reconstruct histories of ignored and forgotten communities from the ancient to contemporary world today. Beginning with a global perspective, we also consider what communities have been overlooked in our local Santa Barbara history and what means we have to reconstruct these histories. Students will examine what kinds of evidence scholars have used to try to reconstruct these stories from the disciplines of archaeology and music.

Revolutionary Songs, Sounds, and Stories (INT137, time TBD)

Martha Sprigge and John Majewski

Revolutions have soundtracks. In moments of intense social, economic, and political upheaval, individuals and communities use music in multiple ways: as an expression of dissent, as a way to build momentum, as an expression of individual self or collective identity, as a means to navigate through seemingly incomprehensible changes. This course explores the relationship between music and revolution, focusing on examples from the United States and Europe. We will consider momentous events and periods of dramatic social and economic change from the nineteenth-century to the present: industrialization, the U.S. Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, the upheavals of the 1960s, the Cold War and its end, and the rapid technological changes of the 21st century. Our goal is to compare these historical moments so that we can explore how music simultaneously encourages, hinders, and memorializes transformative change. Taking a musical approach to revolutionary change will allow us to think more deeply about the concept of revolution itself. What do we consider to be revolutionary? Why do revolutions seem so central to the modern world?