Current Offerings

Spring 2024

Queer Theory

PHIL 5170 | Dr. Kent Brintnall | Wednesdays 5:30–8:15pm

Course Description: Queer Theory draws on and speaks to feminist theory, sexuality studies, critical race theory, psychoanalytic theory, disability studies, and trans theory. While often focusing on LGBTQIA experience, it is ultimately invested in understanding the cultural construction and operation of “queerness”–of otherness, of marginalization, of exclusion, of abjection. In this course, we will be particularly interested in tracing the implications of being a self–however that self is named–when being a self requires a “not me” that is often characterized as dangerous, threatening, and anxiety-provoking. In this course, Queer Theory will be engaged as a theory of violence and responses to violence as much as it is a theory of sexuality, race, gender, or embodiment.

Feminist Theory and its Applications

PHIL 6627 | Dr. Emek Ergun | Tuesdays 5:30–8:15pm

Feminist Theory and Its Applications is an interdisciplinary and transnational survey of the diverse body of feminist theories that analyze gender as a performative social construct in its intersections with other structures of power such as race, class, sexuality, nationality, ability, and religion. Conceptualizing feminism as a plural and heterogeneous political platform, this graduate seminar examines the significant conversations and debates in contemporary feminist theory. Students engage with foundational and cutting-edge works by a transnational body of feminist thinkers, analyze the theoretical perspectives they propose, discuss the commonalities and differences between them, and situate them within a wider social/historical/intellectual terrain.

Ethical Theory

PHIL 6110 | Dr. Gordon Hull | Wednesdays 12:20-3:05

Ethics is a form of practical reason, that is, reason about what to do. More specifically, it is practical reasoning about morality. This course will explore select normative ethical theories with a view to understanding both how they think about morality, and how those theories reflect metaethical commitments about the nature of normative thought more generally. This is a course in ethical theory, and so our work will focus on theory, and not its applications.

Health Law and Ethics

PHIL 6220 | Ken Nanney, JD | Wednesdays 5:30–8:15pm

Analysis of ethical and bioethical problems confronting healthcare delivery systems. Selected legal principles and their application to the healthcare field, including corporate liability, malpractice, informed consent, and governmental regulation of health personnel and health facilities

Responsible Conduct of Research in the Biological and Behavioral Sciences

PHIL 6240 | Dr. Lisa Rasmussen | Tuesdays 1:00–3:45 pm

Designed to identify the fundamental elements that characterize not only methodologically grounded but also morally appropriate scientific research. Class discussion and readings focus on key issues in biological and behavioral research including informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, risk-benefit assessments, mechanisms for protecting animal and human research subjects, international research, vulnerable populations, conflicts of interest and data management, publication ethics, intellectual property issues, and the politics of research.

God and Sex in Hebrew Scripture

PHIL 5050 | Dr. Barbara Thiede | Tuesdays 5:30-8:15pm

Discussion of sexual boundaries, narratives of sexual abuse and sexual violence, tales of an apparent erotic eden—it’s all to be found in the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. This course will discuss sexuality and gender in biblical literature and culture. Our topics will include prohibited, apparently prohibited and permitted sexual relationships and explore a range of gender expressions found in biblical narratives. Warning: Some of our class content and literature deals with acts of sexual violence. If you have any concerns about the material, please let me know.

Data Ethics

PHIL 5220 | Dr. Damien Williams | Thursdays 5:30-8:15 pm

This course will pursue some of the most substantial ethical concerns that arise with big data, with attention to the ways that policies and technological developments can either ameliorate or increase them. For example, one of the recurring philosophical questions of the course will be, “Is it better to govern by law or by algorithm/code?” What kinds of people does each envision – what, in other words, is a “moral” person to do in these differently imagined worlds? The course combines theoretical reading with current literature developing that theory as it applies to data analytics. In doing so, we will look primarily at what ethicists call “thick concepts”— values such “privacy” and “equality,” within and through which most of us do most of our moral thinking. The ethical consideration of Big Data is necessarily highly interdisciplinary, and as such we will read articles from a wide variety of sources, ranging from philosophy (both “analytic” and “continental”), law, cultural studies, science and technology studies, sociology, computer science, and the emerging field of Big Data studies, among others.