Spring Breakthrough 2022 Courses

 

THIS YEAR'S 11 UNIQUE
COURSES FOR THE CURIOUS
TAUGHT BY DUKE FACULTY
 

 

Dr. Edna Andrews

Dolphins and Communication

The bottlenose dolphin has been the subject of a robust body of research for the past 70 years. Through fun lectures and site visits to the Dolphins Plus Research Center in Key Largo, Florida, our study will focus on the specifics of dolphin cognition and how they perceive and produce signals that provide identity information to their communities.

Instructor(s):
  • Edna Andrews , Professor of Linguistics & Cultural Anthropology

Ingrid Byerly

Every Life a Legacy: Considerations not in the Curriculum

This course explores your understanding of your positioning in life, and appreciating the standing of others in theirs. Through creative and intellectual explorations, we review the unique path you have traveled to your current situation, and redefine the route that lies ahead. We consider the strategic approaches, decision-making techniques, intellectual pursuits, and creative ventures that can optimize the life you envision. Focusing on living intentionally, and organizing your behavior to be practical, steady, and thoughtful, we explore the life-lessons most useful to moving from an academic environment into the everyday – both professional and personal - while maintaining your intellectual rigor and emotional balance. We will discover life stories, and through an overview of imaginative processes – whether journaling to become writers, talking to become speakers, sketching to become artists, or singing to become musicians - we explore the avenues of immersion that will elevate us from our seats into our thrones, and from our lives into our legacies.

Instructor(s):
  • Ingrid Bianca Byerly, Senior Lecturing Fellow of the Thompson Writing Program; Director, Humanitarian Challenges Focus Program

Misha Angrist and Barry Yeoman

Finding My Voice: Writing True Stories

Our stories demand creativity, precision and humanity. We are going to spend four intense days figuring out what those stories are, how to tell them and ways to make our readers laugh and cry. This, however, will not be a standard writing course: there will be blindfolds, ice cream cones, and possibly an old bank vault.

 

Instructor(s):
  • Misha Angrist, Associate Professor of the Practice in the Social Science Research Institute; Senior Fellow, Initiative for Science & Society
  • Barry Yeoman, Instructor, DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy

John & Kimberly Blackshear

Forensic Psychology: A Story of Mitigation

Within the field of psychology, forensic psychology has become an important focus of the criminal justice system and the clinical practice of psychology as well as scientific research. Forensic Psychology is the endeavor that examines aspects of human behavior directly related to the legal process and the professional practice of psychology within a legal system that embraces both criminal and civil law and their interactions. An essential component of Forensic Psychology is the utilization of mitigation, which is a factor that might ensure the legal process is informed about details that have both direct and indirect implications for adjudication. This course will explore how psychology, through mitigation, has become an essential tool for helping juries and the courts understand and consider the complex psychosocial, behavioral, neurological and socioe-conomical aspects of a person’s life when dispensing justice.

Instructor(s):
  • John H. Blackshear, Dean of Students, Instructor, Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Kimberly Blackshear, Director, Time-Away Office

Neil Siegel

Law and Ethics in the Movies

This Spring Breakthrough course will consider problems of law and ethics through the medium of film.  These problems include, but are not limited to, racism in the criminal justice system and American society; the proper roles of the lawyer and other leaders; potential conflicts between law and morality; the subordination of women to men and other status hierarchies; sexual harassment in the workplace; and myths about, and perils of, cross-examination, eyewitness testimony, and circumstantial evidence.  Before we gather, we will read short academic commentaries and critical reviews of a number of movies that implicate such problems.  We will then view the films together, after which we will discuss them from diverse perspectives in an informal, non-hierarchical learning environment.  We will engage several dramas (Just MercyRemember the TitansA Few Good Men, and On the Basis of Sex), as well as comedies that teach valuable lessons (My Cousin Vinny and Legally Blonde).   

Instructor(s):
  • Neil S. Siegel, , David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science; Director, DC Summer Institute on Law & Policy

Adriane Lentz-Smith

Modern US History in Popular Culture  

In this course, we will explore U. S. history as informed by media and Hollywood. Students will watch, discuss, and learn from iconic television shows, make their own soundtrack to the timeframe, and learn to treat the arcade as an archive.

Instructor(s):
  • Adriane Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor, Department of History

Mucking About in the Marsh – Salt Marsh Ecology

Students in this field course will spend 4 days at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, exploring the diversity of the coastal wetlands, their ecological functions and the critical services they provide humans.  Students will design and carry out short-term field experiments in the marsh and will compare the biodiversity of the salt marsh to nearby oyster reefs, seagrass beds and sandy beach habits. Students should expect to get their feet wet and their hands muddy as we chase fish, crabs, snails and microbes around the NC coast.   Want a peek at a previous year’s class? Margaret Gaw ’22 and Arianna Agostini ’22  said we could share their video. 

Instructor(s):
  • Emily Bernhardt, Professor, Department of Biology; Professor, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Justin Wright , Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Hare and Woods

Puppies!

Puppies tell us so much about ourselves. They can help us answer important questions like, how should we bring up babies? What makes us attractive? Why do others make us feel good? Puppies also have some startling similarities with children, and have a particular social intelligence that is part of the reason why dogs are now the most successful mammals on the planet besides humans. We will visit a shelter and play cognitive games that might help puppies get adopted. We will go to the zoo and meet other baby animals that help us think about what makes puppies so special. We will meet puppies in training to help people with mental and physical disabilities. Spending time with puppies will allow us to explore concepts in cognitive neuroscience, veterinary science, evolution, behavioral economics and more. Come play with some puppies with us. 

Instructor(s):
  • Brian Hare, Professor, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Vanessa Woods, Research Scientist, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

Charmaine DM Royal

Race, Place, and Compassionate Space

Where we grow up, live, learn, and work influences how we view and experience race. We will explore this idea as we examine the current reckoning with race, race relations, and racism at Duke, in the US, and globally. Through the lens of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation movement underway nationwide and at Duke, we will visualize strategies that facilitate a consciousness shift and optimize well-being for all. Within a compassionate space of sharing and listening, we will model some aspects of the future we envision. In collaboration with Duke Arts and a local artist, we will create a mural to reflect our collective work that will be installed in a designated racial healing space on campus. No prior demonstrated artistic ability required! 

Instructor(s):
  • Charmaine DM Royal, Robert O. Keohane Professor of African & African American Studies; Director, Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation

Eric Spana

The Entertaining Intersection of Biology with Science Fiction

In the Mandalorian, how is the child fifty years old, and behaves like a toddler? How does Sweet Tooth have antlers? How could The Doctor look completely different after regeneration? How did the new (awful) Captain America take a serum and become stronger, but not bigger like Steve Rodgers did? Come explore the entertaining intersection of science with science fiction and research potential biological explanations to your favorite Science Fiction/Fantasy media. Course is aimed for students with an interest in sci-fi/fantasy.

Instructor(s):
  • Eric Spana, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Biology

Kim & Reed

You Can Learn Anything! 

Have you ever thought “I would love to learn how to…”? This is your chance! We are all learning how to learn from the moment we are born. But do we really understand what learning is, how it works, and how it happens for different people? In this course, you will explore the learning process while learning something new. You might learn to dance tango or salsa; play a musical instrument like the guitar or steel drum, act, or learn graphic design. The learning process is similar regardless of the content. This is a chance for you to focus on how you learn best so you can learn how to learn anything! 

Instructor(s):
  • Kimberly Bethea, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education – Student Success; Director, Academic Resource Center
  • Reed Colver, Associate Director and Learning Consultant, Academic Resource Center