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Civil Rights | Then & Now (Dedicated Semester 2014)

Dedicated Semester Courses


Please note that many of the courses on this list fulfill requirements in majors, as special topics or in a specific area, or as general education courses. For some courses this is indicated by number/letter; for others, students should consult with their advisors during the registration process.

EDU 495 / 594: Special Topics: Exploring Civil Rights through Critical Literacy

Explores both fiction and nonfiction texts that have been and currently are instrumental in the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Students will take a critical perspective when examining texts that have empowered and disempowered individuals and groups tied to the Civil Rights movement. Includes a qualitative research study that investigates the lived experiences of African Americans ages 18-24 who did not graduate from high school.

ENG 255 African-American Literature

An introduction to the literature of African Americans from the slave narrative to the present and an opportunity to analyze and interrogate issues of race, identity, and gender in the works of African-American writers.

ENG 293 / ENG 380: Topics in Literature: Bosnian Literature in Translation

The course introduces students to a wide variety of literature from and about Bosnia, with attention given to the Bosnian war and genocide, which brought about some of the worst human and civil rights abuses in recent history.  By examining novels, short stories, plays, poems, memoirs, and films, students will develop a better awareness of Bosnian culture, of literary responses to the Bosnian genocide, of the cultural impact of the Bosnian diaspora, and of the American Civil Rights Movement as a model for promoting justice in Bosnia.   Topics seen through literary lenses include multiethnicity, war, genocide, gendercide, immigration, acculturation, and diaspora.  The course has special relevance to St. Louis, which has the largest Bosnian population outside of Bosnia. 

HES 395: Foundations of Public Policy and Advocacy in Family and Consumer Sciences

Examines the historical and philosophical foundations central to current FCS public policy initiatives, and the role of professional advocacy in promoting the common good. Utilizing a contextual lens, students will explore and evaluate various types of advocacy and coalition building; strategies employed to promote individual, family, and community quality of life; and research and assessment approaches utilized to negotiate competing social values and resources. Advocacy plans that seek to empower others will be developed and executed.

HES 497: Senior Synthesis in HES

Critical evaluation and discussion of trends and needs in the broad field of family and consumer sciences as it relates to the Civil Rights movement in the United States, then and now.  Course is based on an independent research orientation, but students work in a small group to further explore an overarching theme, drawing conclusions and making future research recommendations as they relate to the quality of life of individuals, families and communities. 

Prerequisites (if applicable): Major Approval and HES395 or HES 397

HON 494 / ENG 494 / COM 494: The Rhetoric and Literature of the Civil Rights Movement

From 1954 (Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education) until 1968 (assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.), the struggle for freedom and justice defined our country’s development. In this course we will consider the ways in which social activists and literary artists have responded to, and incorporated the language of, the Civil Rights Movement.  Rhetorical texts (editorials, sermons, letters, documents, speeches, film documentaries) will help us come to understand the rich and varied nature of the discourse produced by those agitating for change, and the fiction, poetry, drama, film, and music will ask us to consider the varying ways in which literary artists have responded to, and incorporated the language of, the Civil Rights Movement.

HST 293: Introduction to African-American Studies

An interdisciplinary introduction to the social, cultural, political, economic, artistic, and intellectual developments in African-American life and thought throughout American history, including theories on race and racial formation. 

MUS 106: American Popular Music: Voices of Civil Rights

The rise of American popular music (1840-present) reflects the evolution of civil rights, particularly for African-Americans, but also for women, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups. The study of American popular music will emphasize the struggles, influences, and contributions of these composers and performers starting with blackface minstrelsy, through jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley, to the racial prejudice of rock and roll and rap.

SOC 293: Special Topics: Civil Rights Movement Film Series

A five week course, each week devoted to a documentary focused on the Civil Rights. Documentaries selected will have a sociological focus in that they will concentrate on the institutional nature of discrimination during the Civil Rights Movement.  Examples of possible documentaries are as follows: Black Power Mix Tape, Hoxie: The First Stand, The Murder of Emmitt Till, The Loving Story, Sister Selma, and The Pruitt Igoe Myth.

SWK 200: Social and Economic Justice

This course is designed to explore diversity and difference in practice along with advancing human rights and social and economic justice.  Students will be investigating cultural differences, oppression, personal biases, and discrimination as they relate to difference.  Students will start with an understanding of the history of oppression and the influence of culture; then move on to explore how diversity impact experience; and conclude with how to overcome personal biases and advocate for human rights and social justice.  Further, students will be challenged to think outside the box to understand how differences shape experiences; ultimately, students will learn to advocate for change and advance human rights and social and economic justice

WGS 101: Introduction to Women’s Studies

Provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of women's studies. Readings in feminist theory and research, autobiography, and the history of women's rights activism will provide a framework for an investigation of major themes in women's lives. Using contemporary cultures of the United States as our primary field of study, we will also explore dominant ideas about gender, one of the primary terms through which human beings articulate identity, define social roles, and assign status. We will consider as well how notions of gender intersect with other components of experiences such as those related to nationality, culture, ethnicity, race, class, age, religion, and sexuality.

Course Schedule & University Catalog

What IS a Dedicated Semester?

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The tradition of the Dedicated Semester began in the fall of 2007 with a campus-wide exploration of Judaism. Each fall, the Fontbonne University sponsors a different subject for the semester. With cooperation from schools, divisions, departments, and programs across the university, our campus community explores a new theme. Academic departments contribute courses that are the core curriculum of  the Dedicated Semester, which is also supported by a variety of co-curricular activities and events.

Learn more:

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