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Glasscock School of Continuing Studies


Winter 2016 Course Schedule

For a listing of past courses, see our course catalog.

MLSC 547 Profiles from the Past II: Famous Figures in Western History

Humanities Core / Elective
Mondays 6:15 – 9:30pm
September 12 – November 21, 2016

Instructor: Newell Boyd

What has happened during the course of time, regarding culture and human experience that has been transmitted from the ancient to the modern world?  What ideas and concepts concerning subjects such as politics, art, music, and philosophy have been our legacy from the western past? This course will survey the answers to these questions covering the time of the Middle Ages through the eve of the French Revolution. In addition to the study of a selected group of people from these years, there will also be examinations of the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Absolutism. In addition to assigned readings, there will be an exam, an oral presentation, a research paper and a final project involving historical role playing.

MLSC 549 Comparative Imperial Pleasure Gardens: Power and Landscape

Social Science or Humanities Core / Elective
Wednesdays 6:15 – 9:30 p.m.
September 7 – November 16, 2016

Instructor: Lisa Balabanlilar

Just as stone monuments were (and still are) constructed in an effort to awe and impress, the more ephemeral garden came to play a critical role in demonstrations of political identity and displays of cultural prowess. The impulse to create a garden has proven to be nearly universal throughout human history--produced by political and cultural elites, those who were able to craft an influential aesthetic vision or were wealthy and powerful enough to lay claim to large territories, command landscape architects, employ artists and engineers, commit vast sums of royal treasure and demand the labor of untold numbers of humble workmen. Garden history can be understood in many cases as political and imperial history, illustrating the degree to which the culture of designed landscape was used for creating, declaring, and reading social and political claims. This class, while understanding the garden as art form and sacred space, focuses closely on the relationship between landscape and power, in a globally comparative context, emphasizing the complexity and dynamism of the imperial pleasure garden tradition.

Class topics:

  • Introduction: the ancient world and origins of gardening in the west (Ancient Persia, Greece and Rome)
  • Early Islamic gardens in the Middle East, North Africa and Andalusia (Islamic Spain)
  • Chinese Gardens
  • Japanese gardens
  • Medieval Persia and Central Asia
  • Gardens of Medieval and Renaissance Europe
  • Gardens of Ottoman Turkey/ the age of the beloved/ the tulip phenomenon
  • Mughal India: from Babur’s chahar-baghs to Shalimar and the Taj Mahal
  • Early Modern Europe: Le Notre and the gardens of Versailles/the Georgian English garden
  • Colonial gardens and the rise of public parks (the model of Central Park)

MLSC 550 Modern Astronomy and Our Place in the Universe

Science Core/Elective
Tuesdays 6:15-9:30 p.m.
September 6 – November 15, 2016

Instructor: Christopher Johns-Krull

Modern astronomy is a source of inspiration and awe for scientists and lay people alike.  The course will start with a history of mankind's understanding of the cosmos from the Greeks through the Copernican revolution to Newton, focusing on how observations confronted and altered our understanding of our place in the universe.  The course will then survey modern astronomy beyond the solar system, including the life cycles of stars, the formation of planets, the structure and formation of the galaxy, the formation and evolution of galaxies, ending with the origin of the Universe in the Big Bang.  This course is a compliment to MLSC 506 and students who have taken that course are welcome to continue their studies in MLSC 550.

MLSC 600 Introduction to Graduate Research, Analysis and Exposition

Mondays 6:15-9:30 p.m.
September 12 – November 21, 2016

This course is designed to provide students experience with scholarly research, analysis, writing and oral expression at the graduate level. Students will learn the analytical approaches used in reading, performing research and writing in the disciplines represented in the MLS program—the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

The objectives of the course are to develop the students’ abilities to do the following:

  • Perform library or Internet scholarly research at a graduate level;
  • Conduct graduate-level analysis of representative graduate-level readings and topics similar to those they will encounter in their MLS program at Rice;
  • Demonstrate the advanced analytical and critical thinking abilities required inside and outside of the graduate classroom;
  • Express the results of scholarly research and analysis and their original ideas in the written formats that meet the criteria for graduate-level essays, papers, and reports; and
  • Use oral expression, discussion, and presentation techniques at the level expected in graduate classrooms.

We will read several representative texts from the three disciplines and discuss research and writing conventions across all three, with a focus on the structure of argument, the validity testing and use of evidence, the use of effective language, tone, and style in traditional academic and contemporary writing, and the conventions for managing and documenting source materials found in the library and on the Web. We will explore some of the theories, sources, language and the qualitative and quantitative research methods scholars use as they conduct original and secondary research in their fields.

Classes will consist of some lecture and oral and written practice, but will primarily involve interactive discussions based on the readings. Students will write short papers and complete a longer original research project (10 to 15 pages).

MLSC 617 Creative Nonfiction

Wednesdays 6:15-9:30 p.m.
September 7 – November 16, 2016

Creative nonfiction takes many forms, including expository writing, personal essay, narrative story-telling, literary journalism, memoir, nature and science writing, travel and food writing, historical narrative, biographical narrative, and academic and cultural criticism. This course is designed to help students read and write creative nonfiction with a focus on the voice, structure, messages, style, and technique found in contemporary creative nonfiction. The material covered applies to the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.

The course will include critical reading and discussion of modern and contemporary essays specifically selected to demonstrate the breadth of the genre coupled with writing exercises and the respectful criticism of peer work in a workshop format. In addition, we will look at publishing creative nonfiction, including selecting the publication, understanding the process, and editing of their work. Students will turn in short essays to be read and critiqued by their peers throughout the semester and develop and turn in a portfolio as the final project for the course.

The course objectives are to help students—

  • Develop their unique voice and range as writers
  • Address form and style in their writing, focusing on structure, flow, point of view, place, character, and language
  • Engage their readers using a number of writing techniques
  • Express themselves gracefully and demonstrate a writing style that is clear, concise, coherent, and confident
  • Expand their talents as critical readers of published nonfiction essays, their own work, and the writing of their peers
  • Learn to edit their own and the work of others and to accept and provide constructive feedback.

This course may be repeated once for credit.