Social Justice Seminar Series 2020

We are excited to be able to offer to continuing Allegheny College students a series of two-credit seminars as part of a new initiative, the Social Justice Seminar Series.  These are offered at no additional cost to students enrolled full-time and for 2020 are clustered around the theme of “Pandemic Summer.”

As President Link noted in her message of May 28, “as the world grows in complexity, it needs the creative problem-solvers that Allegheny prepares — multidimensional thinkers who consider different viewpoints, integrate knowledge across disciplines, and collaborate across vastly different backgrounds and perspectives.” These seminars represent one way which Allegheny students and faculty may come together to consider some of the big problems that we face this summer.

Seats are limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Students may enroll in no more than one Social Justice Seminar. The deadline for completing the form below is noon on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Seminar assignments will be made that afternoon and sent to students’ Allegheny College e-mail addresses.

Please sign up here.

Each seminar will begin with a series of summer meetings that act as preparation for the fall course. The summer meetings will take place online and the course itself will occur in the Fall 2020 semester. Students may register for the Fall course using Self-Service and it will appear on their Fall 2020 transcript. Students must complete the Fall course to earn credit; no credit will be assigned for the Summer meetings alone.

Students must be able to participate in the classes at the times and dates listed below and will need access to reliable Internet. All times below are Eastern Time.


Summary

LS 193 01 COVID Culture SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 am-12:15 pm ET, July 7-July 30

FALL: Monday & Wednesday, 10:00-10:50 am, August 26-September 28

LS 193 02 Cured in 43 Minutes? Medicine Beyond the Small Screen SUMMER: Monday and Wednesday 1:30-2:20 pm ET, July 6 -August 12

FALL: Friday 1:30-2:20 pm, September 4-October 9

LS 193 03 Safe, Effective, and Potent: The race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 SUMMER: Tuesdays 7:00-9:00 pm ET July 7 -August 4

FALL: Sunday, 7:00-9:00 pm, August 30-September 27

LS 193 04 Women and Ethnic Minorities in the Time of Coronavirus SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm ET, July 7-July 30

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm, September 1-24

LS 193 05 The Black Death, Past and Present, or, I’m gonna get medieval on your ass SUMMER: Monday & Thursday, 4:30-5:30 pm, July 6-August 6

FALL: Monday & Thursday, 4:30-5:30 pm, August 31-September 24

LS 193 06 Eating Through the Pandemic SUMMER: Wednesday, 5:00-7:00 pm ET, July 8-August 5

FALL: Wednesday, 5:00-7:00 pm, September 2-October 14

LS 193 07 Big Questions in a Time of Plague SUMMER: 12:00-1:00 pm ET, July 3 & 6-10

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm, September 10-24

LS 193 08 Televising the Revolution: #BlackLivesMatter 2020 SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-4:15 pm ET, July 7-August 4

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 4:30-5:45 pm, September 8-29

LS 193 09 Computation During Crisis SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:30 pm, July 7-August 6

FALL: Thursday, 1:00-2:00 pm, September 3-October 1

LS 193 10 Public Health and Crisis Management during the COVID 19 Outbreak in East Asia SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:00 pm ET, July 7-August 6

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00-2:00 pm, September 1-October 1

LS 193 11 Protest and Policing in a Time of Pandemic SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 4:30-5:45 pm ET, July 14-August 6

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday 4:30-5:45 pm, September 1-24

LS 193 12 Pandemic Psychology SUMMER: Monday & Wednesday 6:00-7:15 pm ET, July 13-August 5

FALL: Wednesday, 12:45-2:45 pm, September 2-30


Details

LS 193 01 COVID Culture
Professor P. Burleigh

The COVID-19 pandemic incited shifts in visual and spatial culture. Physical footprints grow smaller while virtual space expands. Zoom hangouts create orderly gridded spaces for social interaction. Built environments adapt to diminish contagion: Plexiglas dividers and evenly spaced tic-marks proliferate. Partially obscured by masks, faces become more uniform. It is a strange triumph of 1960s Minimalist design. This begs the question, can we find historical precedents to better understand our radically altered surroundings? This seminar examines relevant histories of design to foster a critical and informed perspective on the way COVID has changed our environs and self-presentation. Students also learn about how science fiction authors have imagined pandemic scenarios, and what we might glean from those speculations in art, film, and literature.

LS 193 01 Scheduling:

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 11:00 am-12:15 pm ET, July 7-July 30

FALL: Monday & Wednesday, 10:00-10:50 am, August 26-September 28

 

 

LS 193 02 Cured in 43 Minutes? Medicine Beyond the Small Screen
Professor K. Peterson

An exploration of the challenges, myths, and realities of medicine. Students will read essays, articles and short stories on the practice of medicine and reflect on the issues and ideas in written form and through discussion. Topics are arranged around the competencies currently used in medical education, and address both the current pandemic and social justice issues.

LS 193 02 Scheduling:

SUMMER: Monday and Wednesday 1:30-2:20 pm ET, July 6 -August 12

FALL: Friday 1:30-2:20 pm, September 4-October 9

 

 

LS 193 03 Safe, Effective, and Potent: The race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19
Professor B. Dawson

An introduction to vaccinology and clinical trials. This course traces the scientific and pharmacological process involved in the development of a vaccine from preclinical research to global distribution. Students investigate the “fast track” process for vaccine development and learn what it means to produce a vaccine that is “safe, effective, and potent.” Special attention will be given to Allegheny alumnus, Dr. Tommy Francis (class of 1921), who led the polio vaccine clinical trial and coined the phrase “safe, effective, and potent” at the successful conclusion of the Salk polio vaccine trial in 1955.

LS 193 03 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Tuesdays 7:00-9:00 pm ET July 7 -August 4

FALL: Sunday, 7:00-9:00 pm, August 30-September 27

 

 

LS 193 04 Women and Ethnic Minorities in the Time of Coronavirus
Professor R. Scerbo

A study of how women and ethnic minorities have been affected differently by the current pandemic and how their contributions on the front lines and in leadership positions have brought different and controversial outcomes. Students examine how the distorting effects of an epidemic intensify inequalities related to gender, race, culture, language, economic status, and other intersecting factors of our identities. Learners gain an understanding of the intersectional gendered implications of the outbreak, emphasizing areas such as inclusive leadership, challenged stereotypes, women and minorities’ empowerment, and economic security. Students will acquire these skills through engagement with modern and contemporary perspectives focusing on the US ethnic landscape. They are introduced to lectures on popular culture, feminist, and critical race theory under a pandemic lens and the topics are presented in a socio-historical and comparative context. The agglomerate of these issues serves as a platform for open discussions and reflections on social justice and equity.

LS 193 04 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm ET, July 7-July 30

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm, September 1-24

 

 

LS 193 05 The Black Death, Past and Present, or, I’m gonna get medieval on your ass
Professor J. Hellwarth

An exploration of the causes of and responses to the bubonic plague pandemic that ravaged Eurasia and North Africa from about 1346 to 1353. Commonly known as the Black Death, this disease shook the social and religious structures of society and led to radical changes in how the populace of these regions viewed and experienced life. The course will use historical documents, literature, and art to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the changes wrought by the Black Death, and time will be given to discussing the implications of this pandemic for our own time.

LS 193 05 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Monday & Thursday, 4:30-5:30 pm, July 6-August 6

FALL: Monday & Thursday, 4:30-5:30 pm, August 31-September 24

 

 

LS 193 06 Eating Through the Pandemic
Professor P. Runestad

An exploration of food experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will discuss changing behaviors of food procurement, purchasing, preparation, sharing, and distribution related to constraints posed by the pandemic. Topics will include shopping practices, shortages, worker safety, modified holiday celebrations, creativity and new kitchen skills, and stretching meals. These topics will be framed in terms of culture/ethnicity, race, class, and gender. Emphasis will be on putting personal experience into larger social context (through discussion of lay sources like Bon Appetit Test Kitchen videos), and anthropology and sociology sources on food sociality, security, sovereignty, safety, and sustainability.

LS 193 06 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Wednesday, 5:00-7:00 pm ET, July 8-August 5

FALL: Wednesday, 5:00-7:00 pm, September 2-October 14

 

 

LS 193 07 Big Questions in a Time of Plague
Professor B. Lewis

A literary exploration of the human questions posed by an epidemic. Through a reading of Albert Camus’s The Plague (in English translation), students reflect on the experiences associated with a period of epidemic disease: facing physical vulnerability and mortality, enduring confinement and uncertainty, and grappling with high-stakes personal and collective choices. Class work asks students to consider their own experiences of the coronavirus pandemic alongside those of the novel’s characters and affords the opportunity for deeper reflection on life in this extraordinary time.

LS 193 07 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: 12:00-1:00 pm ET, July 3 & 6-10

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00-4:15 pm, September 10-24

 

 

LS 193 08 Televising the Revolution: #BlackLivesMatter 2020
Professor H. Moore Roberson

A glimpse into the #BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) movement. In 2013, #BLM formed as a response to police brutality and surveillance violence (e.g. murder of Trayvon Martin). Televising the Revolution introduces students to critical issues in Black communities in America. It is an interdisciplinary course that draws from various fields including Black Studies, Women Studies, and American Studies. Class participants will study the multi-year legacy of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, 21st police brutality, Black identity formation, and discuss Summer 2020 (#BLM) global protests. Students will examine key historical texts which critique Black identity and consider contemporary connections to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

LS 193 08 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-4:15 pm ET, July 7-August 4

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 4:30-5:45 pm, September 8-29

 

 

LS 193 09 Computation During Crisis
Professor D. Luman

During an April 4, 2020 press conference, the governor of New Jersey made an unexpected plea: the state needed experts in COBOL, an over 60-year-old programming language. The request called many now-retired programmers back to work and created new demand for a once-obsolete technology. However, it also resurfaced issues surrounding the impact of computers and computational history in times of crisis. This seminar explores this and similar moments when computational processes and platforms emerged from relative obscurity to influence modern events and what the association between modern life and computation means as life becomes increasingly digital.

LS 193 09 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:30 pm, July 7-August 6

FALL: Thursday, 1:00-2:00 pm, September 3-October 1

 

 

LS 193 10 Public Health and Crisis Management during the COVID 19 Outbreak in East Asia
Professor G. Wu

East Asian societies, mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea, have been responding to the coronavirus crisis in the past month. Each government has its own way of coordinating public health and social wellbeing with individual freedom. East Asian people have accepted facial masks and self-quarantining easily. This seminar examines the cases of East Asian states and societies in responding the challenge of the coronavirus. Students also investigate the deeper public reflections that the crisis and its coping have stimulated in East Asian societies regarding the relationship between the state and society, self and society, and a better model of governance. We also pay attention how the crisis will continue to impact the US-China relations.

LS 193 10 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:00 pm ET, July 7-August 6

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00-2:00 pm, September 1-October 1

 

 

LS 193 11 Protest and Policing in a Time of Pandemic
Professor T. Williams

A study of race, protest, and policing in the United States. In the midst of the pandemic, protesters took to the streets in the US and overseas to protest police brutality. This class explores why distrust exists between police and minority communities and examines the possibilities for systemic change. Students consider how the US developed its current system of policing. Students analyze how protests have influenced policy in the past and consider how current protests can turn their demands and organization into change. Finally, we explore the rationales for and barriers to policing reforms and abolition in the US.

LS 193 11 Scheduling:

SUMMER: Tuesday & Thursday 4:30-5:45 pm ET, July 14-August 6

FALL: Tuesday & Thursday 4:30-5:45 pm, September 1-24

 

 

LS 193 12 Pandemic Psychology
Professor R. Pickering

An application of current psychological research and theory on the response to the global pandemic. Through discussion and written reflection, students will critically examine topics such as the racial inequalities in COVID-19, the connection between pandemics, prejudice and health, behavior change, intergroup conflict reduction, and individual coping strategies/skills. This course will be unique in its consideration of multiple approaches to psychology (social psychophysiology, health psych., clinical psych., etc.) to examine a specific and unprecedented moment in time. {Pending approval by the Curriculum Committee}

LS 193 12 Scheduling: 

SUMMER: Monday & Wednesday 6:00-7:15 pm ET, July 13-August 5

FALL: Wednesday, 12:45-2:45 pm, September 2-30