Summer 2018 Course List

The 2018 summer semester of the Scholars Program at the DC Jail consists of 11 courses and a weekly lecture series that features different guest speakers and topics.

We will read Herman Melville’s 1850 masterpiece, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, slowly and carefully. In the process, we will unfold the novel’s nineteenth-century literary-historical context as well as the world of Melville’s own literary, religious, philosophical, technological, commercial, and scientific citations and allusions. We will seek to understand the multiple significances of Melville’s experiments with the novelistic genre and their relationship with his construction of “Americanness.” 

New technologies are impacting every sphere of life, from education and media to work and the environment. In this course we will examine cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence, complex algorithms, and robotics, as well as the implications of widespread devices like smartphones, drones, and mobile apps. How do these technologies reflect power dynamics in society, political perspectives, and economic systems? Who has access to the benefits of these technologies, and who bears any burdens from them? What are the potential impacts on areas such as criminal justice, communications, and environmentalism? In discussing these topics, we will use shared readings from books and articles, as well as podcasts and other media artifacts (for example, Ear Hustle), and explore options for producing our own class projects focusing on the impacts of technology in contemporary society. 

In this course, we will explore key themes in social and political thought by reading and critically analyzing philosophical texts that have shaped our world and that inform our ideas of justice, truth and social change. The course will combine lecture with group discussion to arrive at a shared understanding of the key themes under consideration. 

Introduction to journalism, newspapers and politics. A veteran journalist will lead a seminar that explores principles and practices of journalism. Focus will be on newspapers, with discussions of how to read and analyze articles of various kinds. 

William Shakespeare’s plays explore the complex and rich inner lives of villains, heroes, and ordinary people. In this class, we will examine some problems in moral philosophy through the lens of four Shakespeare plays and their characters. The philosophical problems are: deception; envy; vengeance; and weakness of will. The Shakespeare plays we will use to explore these topics are: Measure for Measure; Much Ado About Nothing; The Merchant of Venice; and A Winter’s Tale.  

In this workshop we will read and discuss short stories and plays written by a diverse group of award-winning writers. We’ll analyze the basic structure of works of fiction, focusing on plot, character development, setting, and style. Class members will complete short assignments related to the writing techniques we discuss.

We will study with this contemporary book which contains philosophical, psychological, and spiritual principles designed to relieve unnecessary suffering. Through living in the now we may experience greater joy, and escape mental hells of our own making. 

In this course we will explore the research methods used to create social scientific knowledge, as well as exploring research ethics in depth. Our goal will be to create a cohort of student-researchers capable of producing their own rigorous findings. 

Three sessions on inclusive mediation and conflict resolution. These sessions will introduce the techniques and make participants familiar with the language of conflict resolution.  

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.