This course introduces the student to the history, rationale, and focus of graduate Liberal Studies as a doctoral field. It provides a framework for the entering doctoral student in terms of establishing the foundations and interdisciplinary focus of graduate work in the field. There are three stages to the course. (1) It begins with a broad overview of the pre-modern Western tradition, with guest lectures and readings from the classical to the early modern eras, designed to provide historical context for the emergence of modernity in the Western tradition. (2) In the second part, the emphasis shifts to methodology and research as a way of preparing the entering doctoral student for graduate Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. Readings and additional guest lectures help the student develop a fuller sense of how particular disciplines function within the context of interdisciplinary analysis. (3) The final section of the course involves an in-class workshop on research methods and then a final set of round table student presentations on their research topics for the term paper. The research topic will be chosen, in consultation with the professor, so the student can explore some aspect of his/her stated area of interest for the D.L.S
Students in the DLS program are joining a centuries-long series of conversations and heated
debates concerning the deceptively simple questions that lie at the heart of Liberal Studies,
philosophical inquiry, and human values: How do we know? How do we make meaning out of the world and experience? How do we represent reality? How do we interpret reality? How do we form and rewrite traditions of knowledge, language, and power? What does it mean to live a good life?
In the third DLS core course, “Reading through Time” students will continue to explore how
these questions have been posed and answers have been attempted in pre-modern, modern, and postmodern critical contexts, in which positivist, humanist outlooks upon the world have radically shifted to deconstruction and “posthuman” perspectives. We will explore these questions through a series of paired readings in fiction and critical theory, divided into
interrelated thematic units. Our readings will focus on works that question and rewrite master narratives, explore the nature of subjectivity, the limits of self and other, and history and fiction. At the end of the semester, students will be familiar with some of the major currents in critical theory.
This section of DLS Qualifying Exam Prep is intended for students who have enrolled in the program primarily on a part-time basis (3-6 credits per semester) and who intend to complete their DLS Qualifying Exam at a similar pace. This section counts as Half-Time Status.
DLS students only.
36 hrs completed.
Student provides exam checklist to Asst. Dean by Sept. 15th.
Course certifies half-time status
Repeatable course Fall and Spring terms with DLS Director approval
Note: DLS students register for this course after completing all 36 credits of coursework. This course must be successfully completed before students can progress to DLS Thesis Proposal and DLS Thesis Writing.
The Doctor of Liberal Studies thesis is expected to demonstrate a level of competence and academic rigor in the field of interdisciplinary studies comparable to, though distinct from, the equivalent level of competence and rigor expected in a Ph.D. thesis in a disciplinary field.
Topics are limited to the liberal arts and social sciences and must be approved by the DLS Director. The Doctoral Thesis represents the creative synthesis of primary sources and secondary materials. Students must follow the Graduate Liberal Studies Guidelines for Thesis Writers provided each student upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination for steps and procedures in the preparation and defense of the Thesis Proposal as well as the submission, defense, and approval of the DLS thesis. The Guidelines are also online, liberalstudies.georgetown.edu/DLS students/resources/thesis. Additionally, the student must follow the “rules” of manuscript preparation according to the methods provided in A Manual for Writers, 8th edition, Kate Turabian, in particular, the choice of one of the two suggested styles for citations.
Note: This is the final step in the DLS thesis process. Students must register for this course in both fall and spring to remain active while writing the doctoral thesis.
Note: Continuous Registration must be taken by MALS candidates who have an Incomplete in Thesis Writing. No scheduled classes. Final Thesis approval due date is Nov. 1, 2017. Course certifies 1/2 time status.
The history of science and its ongoing discoveries are surveyed, to track methods of empirical inquiry and examine major impacts of scientific theories on the understanding of humans, our capabilities, and our interactions with each other and the world. Scientific and humanistic perspectives upon being human, and on trying to be more human, are often deeply divergent. Yet the methods of scientific inquiry are as cognitively and creatively human as any endeavor we undertake, for better comprehending our humanity and our place in the world. Through the standpoint of science, and innovations in technosciences, it is
possible to reimagine and reinterpret how we experience life and engage with the social world. Scientific advances powerfully interact with the cultural context of moral norms, social institutions, political forces, and legal regulations, which in turn shape the utilization of emerging technosciences. This course examines these engagements from the 1940s to the present day and into the perceivable near-future. The course emphasizes the public understanding of science and technology, ethical viewpoints on important technosciences, and broader social impacts due to technoscience on global scales.
Note: For MALS students only. This is the first MALS required foundational course.
During the MALS Thesis Proposal course, students work directly with the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies faculty director to produce an annotated bibliography (including the state of the question and the 20 most important works on the topic) and thesis statement, which prepare students for thesis writing in the subsequent semester. Students are expected to attend all class sessions, meetings with the University librarians for research consultations and any additional meetings determined by the faculty director.
Note: This is the first required course in the MALS thesis process for students who matriculated during or after fall 2019. Students must successfully complete this course before advancing to the final required course, MALS Thesis Writing (LSHV 801).
The MALS Thesis Writing course must be taken upon completion of the MALS Thesis Proposal course (LSHV 800) in the subsequent fall or spring semester and is the final curricular requirement for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree. In the MALS Thesis Writing course, students will work directly with their appointed thesis mentor to produce a master’s thesis and participate in a thesis defense. Students are expected to work directly with their thesis mentor and library representatives to actively write and produce the thesis argument. At the commencement of the thesis writing semester, students will develop milestones in consultation with the thesis mentor to ensure consistent progress.
Note: This course is required for all MALS students and can only be taken after all coursework is complete.
Note: Neuroscience is forging new directions and capabilities in the ability to engineer materials and apply discoveries to the brain that enable access and control of thought, emotion and behavior at a rate and level of profundity that has been heretofore unprecedented. Spawned by iterative funding efforts, such as the United States’ Decade of the Brain (1990-2000) and Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnology (BRAIN) initiative, the European Union’s Human Brain Project, and large scale projects including the China Brain Project, Korea Brain Project, and the Japan Brain-MIND initiative, the use of these technologies as tools has allowed equivalently impressive progress in medicine (e.g.- neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry), bioengineering, the daily conduct of public life, and even national security and defense. While such progress might be construed as beneficial, the discovery and development and use(s) of new devices, information and knowledge could incur profound ethical, legal and social issues – both arising in the research itself, and stemming from misuse and/or purloined application of these technologies in ways that negatively impact public health and security. Thus, the neuroethical, legal and social issues spawned by the use – and potential misuse – of neuroscience and neurotechnology will be subject to cultural effects and contextualizations, and will need to be addressed and dealt with in ways that are internationally sensitive and responsive. It is in this light that this course addresses the issues, questions and problems of neuroscience and technology that are the focus, tasks and practices of the relatively new, but ever more important, necessary and growing field of neuroethics. This course begins with a view of how and why neuroscience has ‘evolved’ to become a dynamic force in society. Lectures will depict how key areas of neuroscience and neurotechnology have developed to become potent forces that enable assessment, access and manipulation of brain function (in individuals, groups and perhaps even communities at-large). From this, the field – and practice(s) – of neuroethics will be addressed and discussed, with relevance to the ways that progress in neuroscience compels and sustains both the issues and dilemmas that arise in and from neuroscientific and neurotechnological research and its applications, and the importance of acknowledging and addressing the ethical basis and resolutions of such issues. Next an overview of specific frontier areas of neuroscience and technology will be presented, with emphasis upon (a) the extent and scope of new knowledge and capability that such developments afford to impact the human condition, and (b) key ethical concerns that are incurred by such neuroscientific and neurotechnological progress on the 21st century world stage. Finally, paradigms for neuroethical, legal, and social probity, safety and surety, and a putative “preparatory process” for international neuroethics and neuro-policy will be discussed. **This course also counts toward the MALS FND: Norms and Ethics (LSHV 401) foundational requirement.
There is no question that we are witnessing a revival of political theology as an academic discipline; a theology that has, through the ages, adapted to exigencies like secularization, modernization, globalization, et al. As an academic discipline, political theology addresses questions such as, the relationship between theology and politics; the relationship between Church and State; the role of religion in public life; and, to what extend religious belief might/should shape our political discourse.
Note: This course is fully online. No in person requirement.
This course examines the intersection/symbiosis/clash of law and religion in the United States from Colonial times through the present, to include the most recent Supreme Court decisions. We begin with an examination of the historical antecedents of the two Religion Clauses of the First Amendment -- the anti-establishment clause, which prohibits government action respecting
"establishment" of religion (yet expressly avoids definition of that term); and the free exercise clause, which proscribes governmental prohibition of the “free exercise” thereof (while expressly avoiding definition of that term as well). How can we square these two freedoms? And what exactly constitutes "religion"? The Constitution is silent. We must look elsewhere for guidance – elsewhere is the United States Supreme Court.
Note: This course looks at the geographical, cultural, and political notion of a "Global South" through the lens of literature and film. The term "Global South" is a geographical reference to regions that have large inequalities in living standards, life expectancy, and access to resources. However, should the Global South just be reduced to a metaphor for underdevelopment and poverty? To answer this question, we will explore the ways in which the Global South, especially its politics, is represented and described in literature and film from regions as diverse as the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, and Oceania. We will examine whether literary and cinematic representations reinforce, transform, or disrupt notions of a developing Global South. In doing so, we will also consider and interrogate the idea of a “developed” Global North.
This interdisciplinary course will seek to understand and analyze human visions of our planet’s future. We will move between history, literature, political theory and cinema to explore contesting visions of Utopia. Philosophers, priests and artists around the globe have long speculated about the nature of the “perfect society,” how to achieve it and where to find it. However, it was an Englishman, Sir Thomas More, who coined the name we all use today in 1516: “utopia”. In the 506 years since More’s book Utopia appeared, changes in human history, including enormous advances in science and technology, the spread of liberal democracy and globalization, the challenges of climate change, and mostly recently the paralyzing shock of global pandemics, have all radically altered the deployment of the word. How can we understand the word in the 21st century? How has it been articulated in non-Western worlds? Particular attention will be paid to feminist works, as well as African-American, Russian and Japanese ones.