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Winter 2021 Courses

American Culture

AMCULT 204 / HISTORY 230.022 / NATIVEAM 204: Themes in American Culture: Indians and Empires in North America

3 Credits
Instructor: Michael Witgen
In this course you will be asked to re-think American history. That is, we will approach the history of America as a continental history.This will require that we think of North America as a New World space, a place that was inhabited and occupied by indigenous peoples, and then remade by the arrival and settlement of Europeans. You will be asked to imagine a North America that was indigenous and adaptive, as well as colonial and Euro-American. This approach to the study of North American history is designed to challenge the epistemology and literature of Borderlands and frontier historiography, which displaces Native peoples from the central narrative of American history by placing them at the physical margins of colonial and national development. Instead we will explore the intersection and integration of indigenous and Euro-American national identity and national space in North America and trace their co-evolution from first contact through the early nineteenth century.

AMCULT 223 / NATIVEAM 223: Elementary Ojibwe II

3 Credits
Instructor: Alphonse Pitawanakwat
Continuation of AMCULT 222. This course represents American Culture's long-standing commitment to Ojibwe language instruction and preservation.

AMCULT 311.10 / RCHUMS 341: American Culture and the Humanities: Empowering Community

3 Credits
Instructor: Deborah Mae Gordon-Gurfinkel
How can the expressive arts triage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and police brutality on Black children and teens living in systemically under-served communities in Washtenaw County? This Engaged Learning course will focus on how the expressive arts are applied as a healing tool in response to the traumas that may have been experienced by school-age youth, whilst recognizing their resilience and strength. Students are offered opportunities to engage with children and youth most likely remotely (details TBD) through an internship with the community-based program, Telling It.

In class and in community/virtually, students will learn how expressive art forms and artists apply their disciplines using the framework of racially and culturally sensitive and, respectful pedagogy. They will examine the impact of traumatic circumstances and events on the healthy development of the brain and body and their amelioration using age-appropriate methods that are playful, creative and pay attention to healing and social emotional learning.

AMCULT 311.14 / NATIVEAM 311 / HISTORY 328.009: American Culture and the Humanities: The Battle for North America: an Indigenous History of the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812

3 Credits
Instructor: Michael Witgen
This course will explore the struggle to control the continent of North America from an Indigenous perspective. After a century of European colonization Native peoples east of the Mississippi River Valley formed a political confederation aimed at preserving Native sovereignty. This Native confederacy emerged as a dominant force during the Seven Years War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. At times Native political interests aligned with the French and British Empires, but remained in opposition to the expansion of Anglo-American colonial settlements into Indian country. This course is designed to engage literature and epistemology as a means of the colonial and post-colonial past in North America. We will explore the emergence of intersecting indigenous and European national identities tied to the social construction of space and race. In this course I will ask you to re-think American history by situating North America as a Native space, a place that was occupied and controlled by indigenous peoples. You will be asked to imagine a North America that was indigenous and adaptive, and not necessarily destined to be absorbed by European settler colonies. Accordingly, this course we will explore the intersections of European colonial settlement and Euro-American national expansion, alongside of the emergence of indigenous social formations that dominated the western interior until the middle of the 19th century. This course is intended to be a readings seminar, but close attention will be given to use and analysis of primary source evidence. Similarly, we will explore the necessity of using multiple genres of textual evidence – archival documents, oral history, material artifacts, etc., -- when studying indigenous history.

AMCULT 323 / NATIVEAM 322: Intermediate Ojibwe II

3 Credits
Instructor: Alphonse Pitawanakwat
Continuation of AMCULT 322.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

CEE 366: Environmental Engineering Laboratory

3 Credits
Instructor: Lutgarde Raskin
Weekly lecture and experimental projects designed to illustrate key analytical measurements of water and air quality parameters, soil properties, and environmental process engineering. Emphasis on data analysis, report writing, oral presentations, experimental design and teamwork.

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EARTH 120 / ENVIRON 120: Geology of National Parks and Monuments

4 Credits
Instructor: James Gleason
This is an introductory course that uses the geoscience context of the National Parks (Hawaii, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion, Pt. Reyes, Death Valley, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountains, Glacier, Shenandoah, Puerto Rico, Isle Royale, and others) to explore the geological history of the Earth, and specifically the tectonic evolution of the North American continent.

Topics include plate tectonics of large continental units and smaller displaced terranes, global volcanism, large explosive volcanic eruptions, Earth’s depositional environments, the history of life (fossil record), meteorite impacts, earthquakes, mountain building, the origin of the Great Lakes, and records of extreme climate throughout Earth history.


ENGLISH 322.002: Community Journalism: Literary Journalism and the Detroit River

3 Credits
Instructor: Jaimien Delp
This course combines two components: an internship position in community journalism and a writing seminar that supports students as they produce written work related to their internship positions. Students will complete 50-60 hours as interns and participate in a seminar in which they workshop their writing and study journalistic techniques.

Program in the Environment

ENVIRON 326 / ARTDES 312: Green Building – Engagement

3 Credits
Instructor: Joseph Trumpey
This course explores the history and contemporary context of green building with a specific emphasis on design and planning. During the semester, students will research the history of green building, understand its modern context in sustainable culture, become familiar with various green building technologies, and understand the green building certifications commonly used in North America. Students will complete two significant design proposals, one will create a proposal for a UM Green Dorm. Students will familiarize themselves with the Campus Farm Straw Bale Building and other UM campus green buildings. During the second half of the semester, if the current UM COVID policy will permit site visits, the class will finalize a few details on the Campus Farm Strawbale building, and experiment with earthen plaster and adobe brick making in the studio. If permitted, the class will tour the Trumpey Homestead and other regional green buildings.

ENVIRON 391 / RCIDIV 391: Sustainability and the Campus

4 Credits
Instructor: Sara Soderstrom
This “hands-on” interdisciplinary course explores sustainability in higher education generally and at the University of Michigan specifically in a dynamic, interactive way. Drawing upon theory and practice in sustainability, environmental management, organizational change and social advocacy, students conduct a substantial, hands-on group project in conjunction with a university sponsor. Past projects have led or helped lead to the creation of the “Welcome to Planet Blue” guide, the planting of a campus garden, formation of the UM Sustainability Foods Program, planning for a Waste-Free Big House and many other direct outcomes. Through guest lectures, discussions, simulations, lectures, and the group project, this course addresses the real-life challenges of campus environmental sustainability. The focus is on active, participation-based learning; students leave the course with an understanding of the campus as a lever for environmental change and with the personal tools to act as change agents. Beyond directly impacting the campus, this course helps develop professional skills in sustainability project management.

ENVIRON 475 / EAS 475 / EHS 588: Environmental Law

3 Credits
Instructor: Noah Hall
Environmental Law provides an overview of the protection of environmental interests and needs in the American legal system, from a stable climate to safe drinking water. The course begins with brief introductions to constitutional law, property law, tort law, and administrative law as they relate to environmental governance and disputes. The course then surveys the major federal environmental regulatory statutes, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and laws regarding waste and remediation. Finally, the course looks at environmental rights, including the public trust doctrine, state and federal constitutional rights, and the human right to a healthy environment. Students will explore not only how environmental law works but why it has failed to address climate change or provide environmental justice in the United States, with potential improvements and solutions. The course will include a detailed case study of the Flint water crisis and the opportunity to visit hearings and trials in court.


HISTORY 272 / AAS 262: 20th Century African-American Social Movements

4 Credits
Instructor: Matthew Countryman
This course traces the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from World War II through the 1960’s and to the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement . What strategies have activists pursued to press for racial equality? How have activists working for racial justice organized their efforts in the past and present? The course focuses on organizations that have emerged to press for racial equality and the strategies they have pursued to achieve their goals, from litigation and legislation to mass protest, economic self-help and racial separatism. Attention will be paid to well-known movement leaders from Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X to W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Jesse Jackson and Alicia Garza. But as importantly we will examine the efforts of unknown rank-and-file activists—women, workers, and young people, in particular—in local communities from the rural South to urban North. Finally, the course examines debates over police violence, mass incarceration and educational inequality in the post-civil rights-era.

HISTORY 717 / AMCULT 601.003 / LATINOAM 601.002: HistoryLabs: Collaborative Research Seminar

3 Credits
Instructors: John Carson, Anthony Mora
This graduate-level HistoryLabs course is a research seminar that seeks to help students develop research, critical analysis, and writing skills beyond the traditional framework of solitary scholarship emphasized in HIST 715/716. This year, the course will be offered in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Students will learn to work collaboratively with peers in small research teams, guided by the instructors in conjunction with input from the staff at the DIA. The research content of the course will focus on developing a digital teaching tool of curated primary and secondary sources for the K-12 classroom focused on helping to enhance student understanding of and appreciation for Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals in the DIA. The class will be divided into teams, and each team will be responsible for putting together a collection of documents related to one of the themes identified by the DIA and appropriate for various grade levels in the K-12 audience. Together, teams will collaborate on all tasks –from drafting an initial proposal, identifying primary sources, and writing document descriptions to presenting the collection to the museum stakeholders. The class as a whole will present their work to museum stakeholders, meet with staff, and use the museum’s archive and collection of material objects as part of the process of creating the collection if visits become possible this term. Rather than the usual article-length, primary source-based research paper, the final product of this course will be the content for the DIA Diego Rivera mural teaching project.



EAS 731.002 / ECON 741.002 / EDUC.002 / HS 741.002 / LAW 741.002 / PUBHLTH 741.002 / PUBPOL 710.002 / SI 605.002 / SW 741.002: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

3 Credits
Instructors: Ryan Fielder, Bridgette Carr, Bonsitu Kitaba-Gaviglio
Police use tools like facial recognition and predictive algorithms to track, identify, and arrest people despite evidence the technology is flawed and disparately impacts people of color. Use of such tools poses a danger to privacy and contributes to mass incarceration of Black people. Multi-disciplinary teams will meet stakeholders, learn how police use technology to monitor and target, acquire problem solving skills, and apply insights from social work, law, policy, information, and other fields to develop solutions to reduce targeted surveillance of Black Detroiters.


PSYCH 325 / AMCULT 321: Detroit Initiative: Empowering Families and Communities

4 Credits
Instructor: Rona Carter
This course is an experiential field course involving one visit per week to an African-American, Arab-American or Latino community in Detroit. Students are assigned to work with community-based organizations on projects to improve the well-being of children and families.

Projects involve such activities as tutoring, developing outreach activities, assisting in child care settings, and working in community education projects. Internships are supervised by the instructor and program staff.

Residential College

RCIDIV 350.003: Special Topics: Detroiters Speak

1 Credit
Instructor: Craig Register
In this 8-week course, Detroiters Speak, students will learn about the city from listening to and engaging with its people through a virtual public class. The theme for the Winter 2021 series is still in development. This community classroom (anyone is welcome to attend classes) is connected to the UM Semester in Detroit program and is a collaboration with the General Baker Institute and Wayne State University faculty.

RCSSCI 360.003 / ARCH 409.003: Social Science Junior Seminar: Egalitarian Metropolis: Urban Studies, Urban Design & Social Justice in Detroit

3 Credits
Instructor: Angela Dillard
What does/can/should an egalitarian metropolis look like? And how does a focus on Detroit allow us to ask and answer these conceptual -- and practical -- questions in ways that draw on a variety of disciplines including architecture, history, urban planning, and the urban humanities? This course offers an interdisciplinary perspective on urban studies, urban design and the ways that concerns around social justice and equity can influence how we think about cities in the past, present and future. Drawing on a range of faculty expertise in LSA and Taubman, this team-taught course also incorporates the voices of practitioners and community members involved in current attempts to revitalize Detroit and “Detroit-like” cities in the United States and elsewhere. By “Detroit-like cities” we mean urban areas that have experienced negative population growth, deindustrialization, economic disinvestment, racial stratification, environmental injustices and concomitant crises in housing, health care, policing, criminalization, and education. At the same time, Detroit and Detroit-like cities offer opportunities to conjoin critical humanistic inquiry, urban design, and policy solutions for building more equitable and sustainable cities.


SOC 225: Project Community: Sociology in Action

4 Credits
Instructor: Rebecca Christensen
SOC 225 is an experiential course that is designed to help students participate in and reflect on community-engaged learning experiences through a sociological lens. Students are able to gain new perspectives on social inequalities through their experiences at a variety of sites, including elementary schools, after-school programs, health clinics, correctional facilities, social services agencies, advocacy centers, and other community organizations in Southeast Michigan.