Courses

July Experience StudentsStudents participating in July Experience take one morning class and one afternoon class each day, Monday through Friday. Classes meet for 90 minutes, with the possibility of additional laboratory sessions in selected courses.

July Experience courses although taught with college-level rigor, do not carry any secondary school or college credit. This allows students to take risks and explore curriculum without the pressure of impacting his or her permanent record.

Professors develop strong relationships with students and hold daily office hours at the Center for Teaching and Learning at the E.H. Little Library. The average class size is 15 students.

Courses are graded on an Honors/Pass/Fail basis and a detailed written letter to parents/guardians is provided by each professor after the conclusion of the program.

Prospective students will have the opportunity to select classes at the time of application. To ensure small class sizes, students may be assigned second or third choices.

2017 Courses

Hitler and Nazi Germany (History)
This course provides an overview of Hitler and National Socialism. We will follow Hitler's rise to power, examine Nazi ideology, study the organization of the Nazi party and state, and spend a good bit of time on the kind of culture the regime produced (as well as that which it oppressed). The scope of the course is thus interdisciplinary. It ranges from political, social, and economic aspects of Nazi Germany to various forms of cultural production: literature, film, sports, architecture, music, and the fine arts. We will conclude with a study of the Holocaust and its representation.
- Burkhard Henke, professor of German Studies, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine; M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara

"Mom and Dad, Do I Really Need to Get a Job?" (Sociology)
At some point during adolescence, every teen starts to wonder, "Do I really need to get a job?" While some people want to work, the majority has to work. Work is perhaps the most important way in which society impacts our social experiences and life chances, and its social significance extends beyond our personal identities and daily activities. It is closely intertwined with other social institutions, social structures, and social processes, especially social inequality. This course looks at work and occupations at both the macro level (e.g., the occupational structure, the U.S. and global economies, changes of technology and demographics) and the micro level (e.g., the demands of workplaces and occupations on workers' sense of self and identity; the influence of work on families). Topics include: work during and after the Industrial Revolution; major theoretical perspectives for understanding work; work and self-perception; work and self among professionals and managers; and the modern challenges of balancing family and work.
- Gerardo Marti, L. Richardson King associate professor of Sociology, Ph.D., M.A. University of Southern California; B.A. Pepperdine University

Finding Nemo, Finding Culture (Sociology)
What is culture? How would you define it? It is all around us, but it is hard for us to really get our hands around it. We want culture, the good kind.  But there is also the kind that we don't want. When people are poor, we blame it on their culture. When some children don't do well in school, we blame it on their culture. One scholar argues that it is one of the hardest words to define. Our goal in this class is to interrogate how sociologists use culture to understand social problems. After reading various theoretical definitions, we will watch film and television shows that further illustrate our definitions. We will see that Dory (from Finding Nemo) and Frank Underwood (from House of Cards) are operating with different definitions of culture. Our class will be organized around six different definitions of culture put forth by David Harding, Michele Lamont and Mario Smalls. They include culture as values, frames, repertoires, capital, boundaries, and institutions.
- Joseph Ewoodzie, Malcolm O. Partin assistant professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison; B.A. Ithaca College

The Universal Language of Music...or not? (Music)
"Music is a universal language that brings people together." Myth or fact? Let's put that to the test. After familiarizing ourselves with the grammatical rules governing our own musical language and considering the role music plays in our daily lives, we will delve into the probing question of how that language holds up universally. To investigate the validity of this idea we examine a diverse array of music practices from around the globe. Our journey will introduce you to throat singing from East Asia, the Dreamtime and didgeridoo in aboriginal Australian culture, Caribbean steel drum bands, West African drumming, sitar music from India and the ever-popular phenomenon of Bollywood film songs, Haitian voodoo rituals, Islamic chant, and more. Our exploration ends with a few surprises from traditional and contemporary genres in own music culture. What conclusions will we draw? You might be surprised--you will definitely be challenged. Bring your ears, a healthy musical appetite and your curiosity. (No previous musical training required.)
- Jennifer Stasack, professor of Music, D.M.A. University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music; M.M., B.M. University of Hawaii

The Family and Justice (Political Science)
To many Americans the idea of discussing justice and family life in the same breath seems unsettling.  While all agree that justice ought surely to govern public life, it appears a virtue somehow inappropriate to the (ideally) intimate and loving relations that constitute the family. Nonetheless, scholars remind us that the liens connecting family life and public institutions are numerous and close, since families continue inescapably to be shaped by and to influence in turn the broader political world.  Thus progressive and feminist writers highlight the ways in which the allocation of resources within the family is crucially determined by family and divorce law, workplace regulations, and social welfare policies.  And just as vigorously conservatives remind us that families uniquely inculcate those virtues essential to maintaining capitalism and democracy. Within the context of these broader controversies, the course will focus upon the dramatic rise during the last half century of divorce, single motherhood, and cohabitation - and upon their central role in exacerbating ecomomic and social inequality. Of special interest will be three questions: First, to what causes can we attribute these transformations?  Second, who has benefited from these developments, and who has been damaged?  And finally, what, if anything, ought or can the American public do to moderate or reverse these changes?
- Brian Shaw, professor of Political Science, Ph.D., M. A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,  B.A. State University of New York, Stony Brook

Media Effects (Communications)
This course focuses on the major theories and trends in media effects research in the discipline of communication studies, specifically in mass mediated/disseminated contexts of television, radio, print, internet, and convergent new media. We discuss the complex cause and effects debates that drive media effects scholarship. We strive toward a deeper understanding of media portrayals and representations, processes and effects, and how to assess and understand the complicated impacts on diverse audiences in an increasingly media-saturated, connected yet fragmented world. Students in the class will help build the syllabus by choosing among the following media effects topics we will cover in our 3-week course: media and politics, media and health campaigns, advertising, edutainment, (racial, ethnic, gender, and sex) stereotypes, violent content, sexual content, popular music and videos, video games, news programming, new media literacy and social media advocacy.
- Amanda Martinez, assistant professor of Communication Studies and Sociology, Ph.D. Texas A&M; M.A. University of Houston; B.A. St. Mary's University

Understanding the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Did we not learn...2007-2010?? (Economics)
This course will look at the underlying causes of the Great Depression of the 1930s. We will discuss the philosophy of recovery, as well as the specific measures introduced. Many of these initiatives were unique and, even to this day, remain controversial. We shall discuss the premier and debated role played in recovery by President Franklin Roosevelt. Finally, we shall consider some similarities between the Great Depression and the economic problems and malaise of the 2007-2015 period.
- Clark Ross, professor of Economics, Ph.D. Boston College; B.A. University of Pennsylvania

Economic Policy Debates (Economics)
The famous economist Keynes once said, "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood." Indeed, economic theories form the basis of various policy recommendations of various politicians.  Why, then, is there so much disagreement among policy makers and so much disparity between different policy positions? Is it because different economists have different goals, is it because they base their models on different assumptions, or is it because some are just wrong? In this course we will examine current macroeconomic issues through multiple perspectives and discuss the assumptions, implications, and basic mechanics of alternative economic approaches. Ultimately, this course will help you identify and understand your own favored model while increasing your appreciation for competing models as well.
- Shyam S. Gouri Suresh, assistant professor of Economics, Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin; B.S. Trinity College

What is Race/Gender/Sexuality? (Gender and Sexuality Studies)
Did you know that scientists in the nineteenth century argued that the white race was physically and morally superior, but that contemporary scholars find no scientifically verifiable definition of race? Did you know that U.S. women began to organize for the right to vote in 1848, but it was not attained until 1920? Did you know that the words "heterosexual" and "homosexual" were first used only in the mid-nineteenth century, and that the ideas we associate with these words were not popularized until decades later? This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to how social scientists and humanities scholars have understood and defined three identity categories central to human experience in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries: race, gender, and sexuality. Students will lean to assess and engage the arguments of scholars who trace the evolution of racial categories, the historical changes in our conceptions of what it means to be a man or woman, and the ways that heterosexuality and homosexuality emerged as both words and concepts in the past century and a half. We will also consider how race, gender, and sexuality intersect with ideas about body image, health, family, violence, and politics.
- Melissa Gonzalez, assistant professor of Hispanic Studies, Ph.D., M.S., B.S. Columbia

Blood in the Streets: Political Protest in Latin America (Latin American Studies)
What would it take for you to march in the streets, risking arrest, injury, or worse, in order to make your political views known? This course takes the region of Latin America as a lens to study how politics have emerged outside of traditional government and electoral systems. The course opens with
two famous late colonial examples (the Tupac Amaru Rebellion in Peru and the Haitian Revolution) of oppressed groups protesting colonial rule. We use these historical examples to create working definitions of politics, political discourse, political action, and political protest. The course jumps
ahead the past thirty years where we will use texts, films, photographs, and other sources to consider urban transport strikes in Brazil, the student movement in Chile, the so-called "water wars" in Bolivia, and the Mexican protests of 2015 around the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa. We study the existing political frameworks in modern Latin American nations as we analyze how and why people use protests, strikes, marches, and other tactics to make their politics known. After studying the Latin American cases in-depth, we conclude with a comparative discussion of race and class in
protest politics throughout the Americas.
- Jane Mangan, professor of History and Latin American Studies, Ph.D., M.A. Duke; B.A. Vassar College

The American Short Story (English)
This course will examine the history and evolution of the American short story. By reading major American writers, we'll explore questions about literary history, including: Why did the short story emerge at a particular time and in certain cities in the United States? What were the precursors to the modern genre of the short story? And how has the genre changed or evolved across American history? We will explore these questions through short fiction by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Charles Chesnutt, Jack London, Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, Paul Bowles, and George Saunders. In addition to learning more about the genre of the short story and the college-level methods for studying American literary history, this course will also provide students an opportunity to produce their own creative writing and participate in a creative writing workshop.
- Ben Mangrum, visiting assistant professor of English, Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; B.A. Mississippi College

Three Pounds, One Quadrillion Synapses: Discovering the Frontiers of Neuroscience (Biology)
Beginning with the proclamation of the "Decade of the Brain" by Congress in 1990, the last 25 years have seen an explosion in our understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction. In this course, we will explore some of the most exciting questions in neuroscience, all of which are currently active areas of scientific investigation. We will discuss recent discoveries in a variety of topics, including cognition, learning and memory, addiction, sleep and circadian rhythms, development and neurogenesis, sensory systems, neurodegenerative disease, and aging. We will focus on the critical questions researchers ask in these areas and on the data being generated to provide the fascinating answers. The format of the course will be mostly discussion and group work, with some lecture.
- Mark J. Barsoum, assistant professor of Biology and director of the Math & Science Center, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego; B.S. University of California, Davis