Meeman Fall 2016 Courses


Prof. Jonathan Judaken

Existentialism was one of the most exciting movements of the twentieth century, inspiring several generations with its philosophy of freedom, responsibility, and political activism. Its concerns are remarkably close to those argued over today, from questions about liberty and purpose to the difficulties of living authentically in a technologically networked world. Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails , explores the lives of the best-known existentialists, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others. This class will explore Bakewell’s book with Jonathan Judaken, Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities at Rhodes College, an internationally renowned expert on existentialism.

Text: Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails
ISBN: 9781590514894
Jonathan Judaken, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities Two Wednesdays*: November 2 and November 16
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., $80.00, .4 CEU

*The class is invited to attend a free Communities in Conversation lecture by Sarah Bakewell on Wednesday, November 9, in Hardie Auditorium of Palmer Hall, at 6:00 p.m. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m.


Prof. Patrick Gray

As one of the most significant figures in the history of Western civilization, Paul has influenced and inspired countless individuals and institutions, but he has also proven to be a thorn in the side of many others. This brief course explores why many people have been wary of Paul and what their criticisms reveal—often unintentionally—about the history of Christianity as well as the broader culture.

Text: Paul as a Problem in History and Culture by Patrick Gray
ISBN:  978-0801048838
Patrick Gray, Ph.D., Emory University, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Two Tuesdays: November 1 and 15.
5:30-7:30 p.m., $80.00, .4 CEU


Prof. Timothy Huebner

This course explores Americans’ debates about the Constitution during the era of the Civil War.  Beginning in the 1840s, Americans hotly debated the issues of slavery and sovereignty that had been left unresolved by the founding generation.  When the Supreme Court sided with southern slaveholders in the Dread Scott decision and voters elected the antislavery Abraham Lincoln as president a few years later (without the support of a single southern state), the nation was on a collision course with itself.  In 1861, the southern states seceded in order to protect what they viewed as their constitutional rights as slaveholders, while the northern states sought to preserve the historic Union.  But within a short time, the constitutional claims of African Americans came to the forefront, as they helped transform the war for Union into a war for emancipation.  By the time the Civil War and Reconstruction had ended, a revolution had occurred, as three new amendments brought the Constitution closer to being a Constitution for all Americans.

Text:  Liberty and Union: The Civil War Era and American Constitutionalism by Timothy Huebner
ISBN: 0700622691
Timothy Huebner, Ph.D., University of Florida, Professor of History

Four Tuesdays: September 6, 13, 20, 27
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., $140.00, .8 CEU


Prof. Sasha Kostina

The novel Demons was conceived by Dostoevsky as a critique of materialist and utilitarian ideology that was gaining popularity in the 19th-century Russia. It is inspired by the true story of a political murder in 1869 that was broadly covered all over Russia and shocked all members of the Russian society. The novel was to serve as a prophecy of future revolutionary disaster, unless the Russian educated elite adapted a different course of action and different philosophical outlook. Demons is a dark novel about conspiracy and assassination; yet, at the same time, it is surprisingly funny.  It can be very easily described as a dark comedy of ideas run amuck.

Text:    Demons (preferably tr. by Pevear and Volokhonsky) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
ISBN:  0-679-42314-1
Alexandra (Sasha) Kostina, Ph.D.,  Herzen State Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Associate Professor, Modern Languages & Literatures

Three Thursdays: November 10, 17 and December 1
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., $105.00, .75 CEU


Prof. Joel Parsons

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. For the past two decades he has developed an extensive body of work in several media. He is a photographer, performance artist, and provocateur. His work highlights the historical struggles toward justice and equality. He first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. President G.H.W. Bush declared his artwork What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? “disgraceful” and the entire US Senate denounced this work when they passed legislation to “protect the flag.” What is the Proper now discussed in art history classes and is featured in Henry Sayer’s “foundations” text A World of Art

His work has been included in exhibitions at New York’s MoMA PS1, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Pori Art Museum in Finland. In 2012, BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, presented his performance Dread Scott: Decision as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival. His work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Akron Art Museum.

Joel Parsons, M. F. A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Assistant Professor of Art and Director, Clough-Hanson Gallery

One session, Thursday, September 1*
5:30-7:30 p.m. $45.00, .2 CEU

*The class is invited to attend a free Communities in Conversation lecture by Dread Scott and a reception in his honor on Friday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. in Blount Auditorium of Buckman Hall prior to the opening of his art exhibition in the Clough-Hanson Gallery.



Prof. Lynn Zastoupil

This course follows the life of Gandhi, tracing his evolution from shy, insecure youth into self-confident leader of India’s independence movement.  His famous, influential ideas on non-violent resistance will be examined, along with key examples of how he employed the strategy. The course will also explore aspects of British imperialism in India, Gandhi’s formative experiences in London and South Africa, and his impact outside India, especially on the Civil Rights movement in the U.S.  Prof. Zastoupil has been teaching a Gandhi course at Rhodes for over twenty years.  This course is a condensed version of the course that he is offering to Rhodes students during fall semester 2016.

Texts:   Hind Swaraj  by M. K. Gandhi (edited by Anthony Parel)
ISBN:  978-0521149143

Gandhi:  The Traditional Roots of Charisma by Lloyd Rudolph & Susanne Hoeber Rudolph       
ISBN:  978-0226731360
Lynn Zastoupil, Ph.D. University of Minnesota
Professor of History

Three Tuesdays, October 4, 11, 25 (no class on October 18), $105.00, .75 CEU

Prof. Vanessa Rogers and Prof. Zak Ozmo

Since the beginning of the Jewish exile two thousand years ago, following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, Jewish music has flourished in many corners of the world. The course will begin with examining musical culture in ancient Israel/Palestine and music in Jewish thought.  We will learn about the traditional liturgical and non-liturgical music of the various Jewish communities worldwide (Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and Ethiopian Jews), and examine (and listen to) the multifarious contributions of Jewish musicians and composers in European and American culture in our own time.

Text: The readings will be provided.

Vanessa Rogers. Ph.D., University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Associate Professor of Music History

Dr. Zak Ozmo, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Performer, scholar of historical music and the director of the early music group L’Avventura London; Adjunct Instructor, Department of Music at Rhodes

Four Thursdays, September 8, 15, 22, 29
5:30-7:30 p.m., $140.00, .8 CEU


John Rone

Explore three films from the remarkable 50-year career of Woody Allen and discover the appeal of the only writer/director who can credibly cite both Ingmar Bergman and Groucho Marx as formative influences. Allen got his start in show business as a television writer for The Ed Sullivan Show and other comedy specials in the 1950s, and reinvented himself as a stand-up comic before his film debut in What’s New, Pussycat? (1965). A director, writer, and actor, his films range from insightful dramas to screwball comedies, and he remains one of the few filmmakers who maintain complete creative control over their work. The three films chosen will represent Allen at different phases in his career.

Sleeper (1973) on September 24, a hilarious absurdist romp starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton;
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) on October 1, a nostalgic romance starring Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels;
Match Point  (2005) on October 22, a gripping suspense drama starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson.

Each film will be shown in class with an introduction by the instructor and a discussion with the class afterwards.
John Rone, M. A., University of Memphis
Director of College Events and Director of the Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning

Three Saturdays, September 24, October 1, October 22

1:30-4:30 p.m.    $105.00     .75 CEU

Individual classes $45.00 each, .2 CEU per class


Prof. Kim Gerecke

Biotechnology is moving fast. In the coming decades, advanced pharmaceutical, bioelectronic, and genetic technologies will be used not only to heal the sick but to boost human physical and mental performance to unprecedented levels.  The results will no doubt be mixed. People will live longer, healthier lives, enjoying a wide range of radically new capabilities, but these technologies also threaten to blur the boundary between “person” and “product,” widening the rift between rich and poor and forcing people into constant upgrades merely to keep up.  The class will discuss the ethical questions raised by human performance enhancement, exploring the space for human agency in dealing with the many societal challenges that these technologies will present.

Text: Michael Bess, Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Bioengineered Society of the Near Future                                                                                                                                                                            
ISBN-13: 978-0807052174
Kim Gerecke, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham; Associate Professor of Psychology and Director, Neuroscience Program

Two Thursdays*: October 20 and November 3
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  $80.00 .4 CEU

*The class is invited to attend a free Communities in Conversation lecture by Michael Bess on Thursday, Oct. 27th, in Hardie Auditorium of Palmer Hall, at 6:00 p.m. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m.



Prof. Shira Malkin

In his Paris : A Literary Companion (1987),  Ian Littlewood wrote: “Paris comes to us second-hand.  Our imagination has been there first, worked upon by the imagination.” This course examines the different ways Paris has been mythologized from 1789 to the present. Incorporating art, photography, fiction, and film, we will chart the material and visual signifiers that have contributed to make Paris the capital of modernity for the French and the world.

Text: The readings will be provided. Plan to watch at least one film outside of class.
Shira Malkin, Ph.D., SUNY-Buffalo; Doctorat, Université Paris-Diderot; Associate Professor,
Modern Languages & Literatures

Five Wednesdays: September 7, 14, 21, 28, and October 5
5:30-7:30 p.m., $180.00, 1.0 CEU



Prof. Esen Kirdis

The relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East is neither simple nor uniform: Saudi Arabia is ruled by an Islamic monarchy wherein a particular form of Sunni Islam, “Wahhabism,” serves as the binding glue between the Saudi state and its people; Iran is ruled by a theocracy of Shia clergymen since the 1979 Iranian Revolution; and Turkey is a secular democracy ruled by a democratically elected Islamic political party for the last fifteen years. These complex relationships between religion and politics, however, are not stable today, because women and youth movements are challenging them bottom-up: in Saudi Arabia, Islamic feminists are calling for a feminist reinterpretation of Islam; in Iran, youth movements are calling for a democratic and international opening of the Iranian regime; and in Turkey, women and youth movements are calling for a “liberal” and thus all-encompassing democracy. To address these issues, this course will address the following four themes in each class session:

1-Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Monarchy
2-Iran’s Shia Theocracy
3-Turkey’s “Muslim” Democracy
4-Islamic Feminism & Youth Movements

Texts: Professor will provide readings online 
Esen Kirdis, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Assist. Professor of International Studies

Four Mondays:  November 7, 14, 21, 28
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., $140.00, .8 CEU


Prof.  Ernest Gibson

With her tough, tense and taut tale of one rural family’s bitter and bloody fight for survival in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, 2011 National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward has secured herself a place among such other great Southern writers as Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee and William Faulkner. Ward’s second novel, Salvage The Bones, takes us into the heart of one Southern family struggling for both survival and identity.
With prose both powerful and poetic, Ward, who grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi, has imagined an unforgettable family, including the novel’s narrator, a young woman named Esch, who serves as both the voice and conscience of a close clan of motherless siblings, haunted by a father drenched in alcohol.  
Ward’s brilliance is her ability to illuminate both the isolation and darkness that permeates the 12 days leading up to when Katrina makes landfall. The novel’s ultimate victory is the depiction of a poor Southern family in crisis, depending on one another as well as their own individual sense of dignity, as they stumble through adversity towards redemption.

Text: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage The Bones
Ernest Gibson III, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Assistant Professor, Department of English

Two* Thursdays, September 22 and October 6
5:30-7:30 p.m., $80.00, .4 CEU

*As part of the Communities in Conversation series, the class is invited to attend a question and answer session with Jesmyn Ward at 6:00 p.m. on September 29 in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center at Rhodes. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m.


Prof. Scott Garner and Prof. Lori Garner

This course will be taught by faculty drawn from the Search Program and will introduce Meeman students to some of the texts and cultures at the heart of Western liberal arts education.




September 7: Epicureanism

Text: Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, translated By Frank O. Copley. 1977.
ISBN: 9780393341362
Required reading: Book I lines 1-429, Book II lines 1-293, Book III lines 1-160 and 417-614,
Book IV lines 1011-1287, Book VI lines 218-450 and 1090-1286.             

September 14: Stoicism

Text: The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters, translated by Moses Hadas. 1958.
ISBN-13: 9780393004595
Required reading: “On Providence” (pp. 27-45); “Letters” 3, 5, 41, 70, 124 (pp. 168-171, 188-190, 202-207, 256-261).

September 21: Empire and Excess: Petronius

Text:  Petronius, Satryica translated by R. Bracht Branham and Daniel Kinney. 1996.
ISBN: 0-520-21118-9   
Required reading: “Trimalchio” (pp. 23-73); Optional reading: All other sections of the epic.
R. Scott Garner, Ph.D., Princeton; Assistant Professor, Greek and Roman Studies

Three Wednesdays, September 7, 14, 21.



October 12 & 19: “And pilgrimes were they alle” -- Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Reflecting Chaucer’s own deep knowledge of European literary conventions as well as the culture and folklore of his native England, the Canterbury pilgrims offer readers memorable performances across a vast spectrum of medieval genres—chivalric romances, bawdy fabliaux, didactic allegories, beast fables, and more. In the first session we will discuss the General Prologue as well as tales and prologues of the Knight, the Reeve, and the Franklin. The second session will cover tales and prologues of the Wife of Bath, the Pardoner, the Prioress, and the Nun’s Priest. The recommended edition, Bantam Classics Canterbury Tales (edited by Peter Beidler), includes engaging modern translations of these selected tales alongside the original 14th-century Middle English, as well as helpful notes and contexts.

Text: Canterbury Tales, Bantam Classics, edited by Peter Beidler
ISBN: 13: 9780553210828
Lori Garner, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Associate Professor, Department of English

Two Wednesdays, October 12 and 19.   


All Search classes are Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
All five classes:   $180.00     1.0  CEU
Three classes:  $115.00    .75 CEU
Two classes:        $80.00           .4 CEU
Single class:         $45.00           .2 CEU


Prof. Stephen Wirls, Prof. Leslie Petty
The World of Literature course presents an array of literary works from around the world.


Fyodor Dostoevsky was a master psychologist in the sense of a knower of the mind or soul, and this long novel involves us so deeply in the tortuous thoughts and feelings of Rodion Raskolnikov that you might sometimes wonder whether the narrator is discussing events in the material world or mere figments of Raskolnikov’s fevered imagination.  Who, we must ask, is the narrator?  How and why is this young man so very troubled and confused?  Why does he murder?  How is all of this related to love, ideas, God and nihilism?  So much to think about together.

Text: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky)
ISBN: 978-0679420293
Stephen Wirls, Ph.D. Cornell University; Associate Professor of Political Science

Five Mondays, September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 10
5:30-7:30 p.m.    Tuition for Crime and Punishment: $180.00, 1.0 CEU



Set in seventeenth-century New England, Hope Leslie (1827) by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, portrays early American life and celebrates the role of women in building the republic. A counterpoint to the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, it challenges the conventional view of Native Americans, tackles interracial marriage and cross-cultural friendship, and claims for women their rightful place in history. At the center of the novel are two friends. Hope Leslie, a spirited thinker in a repressive Puritan society, fights for justice for the Native Americans and asserts the independence of women. Magawisca, the passionate daughter of a Pequot chief, braves her father's wrath to save a white man and risks her freedom to reunite Hope with her long-lost sister, captured as a child by the Pequots. Amply plotted, with unforgettable characters, Hope Leslie is a rich, compelling, deeply satisfying novel.  During the 1800s, Catharine Sedgwick was considered one of the founding authors of American literature; unfortunately she was relegated to obscurity in the 20th century and only recently rediscovered. But there's more to Catharine Sedgwick than historical interest. She was a writer who considered political and ethical questions through marketable, often fast-paced literature, in the process producing some of the most spirited women in fiction.

Text: Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Rutgers UP edition
(Contact Cissy Whittaker at the Meeman Center to order from the Rhodes book store.)
Leslie Petty, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Associate Professor and The Charles R. Glover Chair of English Studies

Two sessions: Monday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 26
5:30-7:30 p.m.    Tuition for Hope Leslie: $80.00, .4 CEU


Tuition for both classes, Crime and Punishment and Hope Leslie:   $250.00, 1.4 CEU

Tuition for Crime and Punishment: $180.00, 1.0 CEU

Tuition for Hope Leslie: $80.00, .4 CEU