July 18, 2017, BY Samantha Wallace

Summer sun

What classes? Who teaches them?

Religion 237 01: Judaism in Film

Taught by Professor Rivka Utmer, religious studies

"This course studies and engages with Jewish culture and civilization in film, defining secular versus religious expressions of Judaism. We also explore semiotic, aesthetic and cultural approaches to visual material.

"We analyze award-winning fictional films and investigate their respective religious, literary or sociological backgrounds. We focus on the problems of interpreting films, including the different ways we 'read' films and texts; aesthetic theories; the translation of Jewish culture into visual images; the effect these adaptations of Jewish culture may have upon their audience and how the audience affected the movies; the 'eye' of the camera [cinematography]; and actors, music and sound, scenes, action, narrative and film editing. We also look at several Jewish actors and Jewish directors.

"What makes this class unique is viewing Judaism in film beyond documentaries and engaging with issues such as refugees, gender roles, and traditional and secular Judaism. And there are days when we leave class humming film melodies and still talking about aspects of the films."

Women's & Gender Studies 249 01: Women in Horror

Taught by Lecturer Rebecca Willoughby M'04, English

"The course is a fusion of film genre study and an exploration of women both in front of and behind the camera, seen through the lens (pun intended) of feminist and queer film theory. We're watching three pairs of films, one each week of the course, that are thematically connected with issues of power, mind and body –– and where each pair of films represents a central female protagonist, and where one film is directed by a man, the other by a woman.

"As we watch those films, students are also reading some of the foundational texts in feminist film theory on horror films –– selections from Carol Clover's Men, Women, and Chainsaws, for instance, and Barbara Creed's The Monstrous Feminine, as well as others. Since the class has a significant writing component, we write about these ideas weekly and in longer essays and use them in discussion, and they're the basis for group projects as well."

University 267 01: Re-envisioning Waste

Taught by Shaunna Barnhart, director of the Place Studies Program at the Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment (BCSE)

"This course uses the framework of 'sustainability-thinking blunders' to critically evaluate how we can change our behaviors to move toward a more sustainable world in which human and non-human communities can thrive. Sustainability-thinking blunders are a way of understanding how our thoughts influence action and result in often unintended, negative impacts on communities, economies and environments.

"To be an engaged global citizen in the 21st century, we must understand the interactions between society and environment and understand our impact on people and places near and far. This course provides students with an entry point to considering their role in global waste streams and ways they can contribute to reversing the trends. The course aligns well with Bucknell's sustainability goals in that students critically evaluate pathways to creating abundant futures that enhance and protect environmental quality.

"By framing global problems through personalized sustainability-thinking blunders, it becomes clear that the challenges we face are not insurmountable. Implementing positive change for thriving human and non-human communities begins with changing our thinking. This class sends a message of hope and inspiration."

Geography 101: Globalization, People & Place

Taught by Adrian Mulligan and Vanessa Massaro, professors of geography

"The class introduces students to critical spatial thinking, often for the first time, and utilizes this lens to make sense of globalization. Being a geographer is all about focusing on the spatiality of 'stuff' that happens, and using that insight to better understand the 'stuff' that is happening.

"Almost everything that happens does so spatially, something we often take for granted without analyzing that much. This introductory geography course gets students thinking about how what they're interested in has spatial dimensions; something that produces a unique and insightful focus –– for example, double-majoring in geography in combination with economics, biology, philosophy, environmental studies, management –– you name it. 

"In addition, by 'turning the dial up' in your brain with regard to thinking about places –– how they work, who they work for, what impact they're having on you, without you being conscious of that before –– is quite empowering." 

Are we missing out on a cool class? Send suggestions to coolclasses@bucknell.edu.

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