Feb. 19, 2021

New topics courses for spring and summer 2021

Explore philosophy and digital games, gender and pop culture, aesthetics and beauty, and pandemic ethics

You may have noticed over the years that we like to explore new topics in our spring and summer courses in philosophy and women’s studies. We’re typically only able to offer these specific topics this one time, so if you’re intrigued this is your chance to take the course.

Register soon! All of our spring and summer courses are online, and spots are filling up quickly.


Gender and Popular Culture (WMST 305.3)

It’s easy to dismiss popular culture as low culture, devoid of taste and insight. The challenge is to take pop culture seriously, shifting the debate from issues of taste and value to issues of power and agency.  We’ll engage in this struggle over cultural meaning, drawing from a variety of cultural forms, including: books, film, video, music, television, advertising, and the internet. We’ll attempt to acquire an extensive understanding of the intersections of pop culture, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, (dis)ability, and race/ethnicity through feminist critical practice.

Let’s Play: Philosophy and Digital Games (PHIL 399.16)

Is Candy Crush a real game?
Why can’t we resell our Steam games?
What are "clunky" game mechanics?

Why do we like watching streamers on Twitch?

We’ll focus on themes of digital games as art, digital games as social reflections, and digital games as technology. We’ll think about the questions above, and consider the nature of digital games and the importance of play in our modern lives.

Course posters for Philosophy and Digital Games, and Gender and Popular Cultures


Cute, Beautiful & Sexy (PHIL 399.15)

A survey of the philosophy of beauty (aesthetics) with a particular emphasis on the beauty of human beings. We’ll consider questions such as: What is beauty? What makes someone beautiful, sexy or cute? What is the relationship between these traits? Are there problems with our attitudes towards the beautiful?

Pandemic Ethics (PHIL 399.17)

We’ll address the various philosophical and ethical ramifications of pandemics. We’ll discuss diverse topics, including: whether viruses are alive, the ethics of herd immunity strategies, the ethics of vaccine trials, first and third world disease priorities, lessons from history (specifically colonial history), the relevance of environmental disregard, and the relevance of racism.

Course posters for Cute, Beautiful and Ugly, and Pandemic Ethics