Columbia College Chicago

LAS Core Curriculum

First-Semester Experience

All first-semester freshmen students are required to enroll in a First-Semester Experience “Big Chicago” course. These courses are designed to help students connect with the city of Chicago in fundamental ways, work and learn with each other, engage in student activities, and access courses led by some of the top scholars and practitioners in their fields.

Course Goals

Although individual courses have course-specific learning outcomes associated with understanding Columbia College Chicago’s urban setting, all of the courses share the same expectations for the student learning experience. In the first-semester experience course, students will:

Students are encouraged to explore new ideas in the First-Semester Experience course and, if possible, should not select a course that appears to be connected to their designated major areas of study.

Courses

Chicago – The Global Metropolis (48-1101)

The course will introduce students to Chicago's economic, ethnic, racial, cultural, and political development. Students develop knowledge concerning the impact of technological change on Chicago and the economic and demographic forces that have helped shape the city's history. In addition the class will help CCC freshman to gain access to the various cultural institutions and neighborhoods of the city. Taught by Dominic Pacyga, Humanities, History and Social Sciences.

Music & Media in Chicago (48-1103)

Music & Media in Chicago will provide an overview of the past, present, and future of the many genres of music thriving in Chicago. It will examine how this city put its stamp on the development of these sounds as they spread around the world, as well as introducing the tools of the historian, sociologist, musicologist, and cultural critic via lectures, video, film, online and dead-tree readings, and vibrant discussions. The class also will review the past, present, and future of Chicago media-newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the blogosphere-examining the city's journalism culture and infrastructure, and, as with music, providing an understanding for an informed and critical reading of these texts so that the student can become an active and involved citizen participating to the fullest extent in everything this extraordinary metropolis has to offer. Taught by Jim DeRogatis, English.

Curiosity in the City: Monsters, Marvels, and Museums (48-1104)

Freak shows, serial killers, medical oddities, and flesh-eating beetles are all part of the Chicago experience. This course is an interdisciplinary study of curiosity and wonder, incorporating philosophy, science, and history to investigate the threshold between shadow (the unfamiliar) and light (the known). Celebrating the marvelous and the macabre is part of a long history of collecting, reaching back to the wonder-cabinets of the late Renaissance. Chicago museums were leaders in the post-Darwinian transformation from sideshow to legitimate science. In this course we will explore three categories of strange Chicago (monsters, marvels, and museology) as case studies to understand the nature of curiosity. Themes will include the nature of knowledge (e.g., credulity, skepticism, collecting and constructing nature, etc.), the borders of human and inhuman (natural and moral "monsters"), and the hidden oddities of urban natural history. Taught by Steve Asma, Humanities, History, and Social Sciences.

Curiosity in the City: Monsters, Marvels, and Museums: Honors (48-1104HN)

Freak shows, serial killers, medical oddities, and flesh-eating beetles are all part of the Chicago experience. This course is an interdisciplinary study of curiosity and wonder, incorporating philosophy, science, and history to investigate the threshold between shadow (the unfamiliar) and light (the known). Celebrating the marvelous and the macabre is part of a long history of collecting, reaching back to the wonder-cabinets of the late Renaissance. Chicago museums were leaders in the post-Darwinian transformation from sideshow to legitimate science. In this course we will explore three categories of strange Chicago (monsters, marvels, and museology) as case studies to understand the nature of curiosity. Themes will include the nature of knowledge (e.g., credulity, skepticism, collecting and constructing nature, etc.), the borders of human and inhuman (natural and moral "monsters"), and the hidden oddities of urban natural history. Taught by Steve Asma, Humanities, History, and Social Sciences.

50 Years of Civil Rights in Chicago (48-1105)

Fifty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. embarked on his "northern campaign," which brought the civil rights movement to Chicago. In your freshman year, 2015-16, the 50th anniversary will be commemorated by the key players in that struggle who are still working for change - Rainbow/PUSH, the Jewish Council for Urban Affairs, the Community Renewal Society (including The Chicago Reporter and Catalyst Chicago) - activist organizations that made history in 1965-66, and are still wrestling with issues of racial, economic and social justice, half a century later. It is true today, as it was then, that "The Whole World is Watching". Students in this course will work in teams to interact with the people and institutions that made our city an international focus for social change. They will use public relations techniques to document and communicate the past and current state of civil rights in Chicago. The ultimate course deliverable will be an online website that tells this story, in words and pictures, from our students to other youth aged 18-20 - filling a niche that might otherwise go undeveloped in the city's 50th anniversary celebration. Taught by Alton Miller, Communication Media and Innovation.

Heard in the Hood: Social Media Storytelling from Chicago’s Neighborhoods (48-1106)

This course gives students the opportunity to tell stories from Chicago's 77 neighborhoods, using mobile apps such as Instagram and Vine to document the community. Students in this course will learn basic smartphone photography and video and best practices for using social media. We will look at how journalists and storytellers use social media to report and to engage because social media without engagement is just media. Students also will learn how to verify information and to find credible Tweets in a sea of Tweets. What does a politician's social media account really tell you about what's going on in a neighborhood? We'll use our investigative skills to find out. This course is for students who love telling stories with the latest mobile technology. Everyone in the course is a storyteller and journalist, and at the end of the semester, students will have a small body of work to show for it. Taught by Jackie Spinner, Communication Media and Innovation.

Chicago Film History (48-1108)

Chicago Film History is a screening, lecture, and discussion course with a two-fold purpose. It explores Chicago's formative role in the creation of the Hollywood system and analyzes how Chicago has been represented in American narrative and documentary features. In particular, it's divided into four units. Unit I uses Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S Film Industry to review how Chicago functioned as the center of American film production pre-Hollywood. Unit II explores images of Chicago in genres such as gangster films, film noir, and romantic comedies. Unit III covers Chicago documentaries. Lastly, Unit IV contains in-class presentations where students synthesize their own analyses and research in front of their peers. Taught by Karla Fuller, Cinema Art + Science.

Big Chicago: Dance, Sex and Popular Culture (48-1111)
Did You Just Flip Me Off?? Deaf People and Linguistic Diversity in Chicago (48-1112)

This course introduces the cultural, educational, artistic, and linguistic aspects of the vibrant Deaf community in Chicago and around the world. Students in this course will explore, analyze, and come to understand the historical roots of the Deaf cultural and educational experience both locally and globally. Additionally, this course will survey the topics of local and global Deaf artistic expression, signed languages and their structures, the role of interpreters and assistive technologies, and will introduce laws that impact accessibility for all. Taught by Diana Gorman Jamrozik, American Sign Language.

Chicago: Creating a Cinematic Diary (48-1114)

The city provides a dynamic space to experience immediate methods of personal inquiry, creativity, sharing, experimentation and self-expression. Using focused observation through image and sound acquisition and curation, students will set, articulate and re-examine artistic goals through intentional self?reflection about their emerging creative process through making increasingly sophisticated cinematic diary entries. The course employs two types of expression and exploration: writing using images and sounds and writing using text and voice in ways that require students to explore thought and expression that are metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual and personal. Activities are grounded in a number of needed future skills: design sense, novel and adaptive thinking, media and digital literacy, information literacy, transdisciplinarity, social intelligence, collaboration and connectivity. Taught by Don Smith, Cinema Art + Science.

Chicago: City of Stories (48-1115)

The spirit of a place is most aptly captured by its artists. Writers in particular have long been fascinated with the city of Chicago. The literary tradition in Chicago is rich and varied. From the politically conscious poems of Gwendolyn Brooks, to the fantastic imaginings of L. Frank Baum and Ray Bradbury, to the blue collar portraits and tales of Studs Terkel, Nelson Algren and beyond. Chicago's contribution to the pantheon of storytelling goes without question. The city is at the forefront of the modern graphic novel renaissance, and was the birthplace of the poetry slam. In this lecture hall class, students will survey the history of Chicago literature and storytelling from the Great Fire of 1871 to the present. The course will examine the literary history of the "City of Big Shoulders" and learn to understand the profound impact the city will have on their own sense of story and development as artists. The course will not only place the city in literary context, but will help students discover the many voices at the center of this complex, vigorous, beautifully paradoxical city. In doing so, students will begin to discover the most important voice of all-their own. Taught by Sam Weller, Creative Writing.

Death and Desire in Chicago (48-1116)

In this course we will use texts in literature, science, and the arts, in the context of the City of Chicago, to frame an exploration of human representations of the relationship between death and desire. Walking the city and on excursions to locations such as the The Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, Chicago Museum of Sex, The Cambodian Memorial Museum, Cook County Forest Preserves, and Chicago city parks and cemeteries, students will be invited to consider the visual, physical, and spatial manifestations of theoretical concepts such as: the abject, decay, ancestry, legacy, fetish, jouissance, the erotic, evolution, and symbiosis. Texts, visits, and events range from the murders during the 1893 World's Fair to deaths caused by the 1995 heat wave; from Chicago's identity as the "slaughterhouse of the world" to its current reputation as a world class food city; from its geologic history as a site of widespread destruction and extinction to its reputation as having one of the more vibrant queer cultures in the United States. Students will create a working artist/design journal as a site of artistic and academic observation and reflection to explore their experiences, research, and ideas presented in the class. Students will also use social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to aggregate personal observations and data to be analyzed in a final course reflection. Taught by Robin Whatley, Science & Mathematics, and Ames Hawkins, English.

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