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Past Theme Semesters

Fall 2014

Sport in the University

Have you ever wondered:

  • Why as a culture do we care about sports so much?
  • How did intercollegiate sports become part of university life?
  • How did women break barriers in playing sports and reporting on sports?
  • Can statistics really help athletes and teams improve?
  • How does sport benefit and harm our bodies?

If so, you’ll want to be involved in this theme semester. Sports are a vital, fun, and often passionate part of culture in the U.S. and around the world generally, and on the University of Michigan campus specifically. Sports are often categorized as “extracurricular,” but that description misses a lot of what happens at universities in relation to sport. This theme semester highlights the ways that sport intersects with issues we address across the university, from psychology to physics to literature to engineering, from race to gender to economics to medicine. Come understand your everyday experience with sport in new ways.

Winter 2014

India in the World

India has emerged on the world scene in new and exciting ways in recent decades:

  • As one of the world’s most vibrant economies
  • As a key player in geopolitics; as the world’s largest democracy
  • As home to the world’s largest “middle class”
  • As the site of one of the world’s largest and most vibrant film industries
  • As a contributor to global trends in art and aesthetics
  • As “home” to well-established and significant immigrant communities around the world, including the United States

India in the World seeks to underscore this, as well as to emphasize the ways that India is a part of everyday life in our increasingly globalized world.

Winter 2013

Understanding Race

Race plays a huge, and sometimes unseen, part in our lives. The Understanding Race Project is engaging three overlapping audiences in an exploration of race, using a tour of Race: Are We So Different? a dynamic exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. The goals of the Understanding Race Project include an exploration of the idea of race as a social construct that has no biological basis, and as an idea that grows in meaning when examined at the intersections of other identities, such as gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and religion. The Understanding Race Project offers myriad opportunities for conversations about race, emphasizing student engagement, highlighting local experience and expertise, and looking beyond the black/white dichotomy.

Past Theme Semesters: 1980–2012

Fall 2012 | Translation

Coordinated by the Department of Comparative Literature.

Winter 2012 | Language: the Human Quintessence

Sponsored by the Department of Linguistics, together with faculty from several departments.

Winter 2011 | Water

Led by the Program in the Environment, the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, and the Michigan Society of Fellows.

Fall 2010 | What Makes Life Worth Living?

John Chamberlin, Professor of Psychology and Public Policy and Director, Center for Ethics in Public Life and Chris Peterson, Professor of Psychology and Organizational Studies and Director, Michigan Center for Positive Psychology

Fall 2009–Winter 2010 | Meaningful Objects: Museums in the Academy

Led by the Museum Studies Program and the Museum of Art in celebration of the renovation and reopening of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the Museum of Art earlier in the year.

Winter 2009 | The Universe: Yours to Discover

Organized by the Astronomy Department and the Exhibit Museum of Natural History as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, marking the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei.

Fall 2008 | Energy Futures: Society, Innovation, and Technology

Organized by the Center for the Study of Complex Systems

Fall 2007–Winter 2008 | China Now

Sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies

Fall 2006–Winter 2007 | The Theory and Practice of Citizenship

Organized by the Dean's Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Winter 2006 | Explore Evolution

Sponsored by the Exhibit Museum of Natural History

Fall 2005 | 100 Years Beyond Einstein

Sponsored by the Department of Physics

Winter 2005 | Cultural Treasures of the Middle East

Sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies

Winter 2004 | Brown vs. Board of Education: Fulfilling the Promise

Sponsored by the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, the Program in American Culture, and the Departments of History, Psychology, and Sociology

Fall 2003 | Celebrating St. Petersburg: 300 Years of Cultural Brilliance

Sponsored by the Center for Russian and East European Studies

Winter 2002 | Women Who Ruled: Gender, Power, and Representation

Sponsored by the Program in Women's Studies in collaboration with the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Fall 2001 | Detroit 300

Sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts with additional help from the Arts of Citizenship Program, the Edward Ginsberg Center for Community and Service Learning, and the University Library

Winter 1999 | Diversity: Theories and Practices

Sponsored by the Office of Dialogues on Diversity

Winter 1998 | The Environmental Theme Semester: Rethinking the Relationship

Sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Fall 1997 | Genders, Bodies, Borders

Sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Women's Studies Program

Fall 1996 | Food Throughout Global History

Winter 1996 | Death, Extinction, and the Future of Humanity: Approaching the Millennium

Sponsored by the Program on Studies in Religion

Winter 1994 | The Theory and Practice of Evil

Sponsored by the Program on Studies in Religion

Fall 1993 | Working in a Multicultural Society: The Changing Face of Labor

Sponsored by the American Culture Program and the Center for Research on Social Organization

Fall 1992 | The Americas, Then and Now: Beyond 1492

Sponsored by the American Culture Program

Winter 1992 | The Comedy Semester

Sponsored by the Department of English and the School of Music

Winter 1984 | Patriarchs, Prophets, Demons: The Major Victorians Revisited

Sponsored by the Departments of History and English and the Center for Western European Studies

Winter 1980 | Experiment in Education: The Eighteenth-Century Semester

Sponsored by LSA and the School of Music