Fall Semester 2015 House Courses

59.01     Reconciling Past and Present: A Christian Perspective on International Relations and the Colonial Legacy between France and Martinique

Mondays, 7:30-9:30pm, Kilgo K-101 Commons Room

Sponsor/Department:           Deondra Rose, Sanford School of Public Policy

Instructors:                              Phenix Byrd                       

                                                  Eileen Chia Wen Lin        

Class limit:  8

This course uses history, theology, public policy and cultural studies to critically evaluate the relationship between France and Martinique.  We will begin studying the historical legacy and political tensions between the two countries that emerged during the colonial era.  We will then move beyond a factual study of colonial history to discussing how European Christians in the age of expansion used the stories of conquest in the Old Testament as justification for their colonial wars.  Subsequently, we will learn about the history of French missionaries in Martinique and the course will delve into a more general study about the ethics of mission and the tension between “Making Disciples of All Nations” and the call towards respecting indigenous cultures.  In order to foster cultural sensitivity, we will introduce an overview of the cultural landscape in Martinique, incorporating languages, literature, and cinema.  More specifically, we will examine the existing strain between French and Creole, reading excerpts from “Texaco” (1997), by Patrick Chamoiseau, and watching the movie “Sugar Cane Alley” (1983) produced by Euzhan Palcy.  We will then focus on the formation of the Martiniquan identity influenced by colonization and its ties with the linguistic tensions and literary and visual art forms that we will have previously discussed.  The next portion of the course is devoted to studying the current political landscape in Martinique.  We will learn about the role France plays in their daily government operations, and the inequalities created by the Martiniquan government.  The class will then discuss biblical perspectives on inequality and the role Christians should play in changing unjust structures in society.  Our final discussions will prepare students for the optional winter break trip to Fort-de-France, Martinique where we will put our course knowledge into action.

59.02     Tools for Financial Coaching

Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm, Wannamaker Common Room 04

Sponsor/Department:                   Kathy Sikes, Program in Education

Instructors:                                      Quinn Holmquist             

                                                           Rachel Louie                   

Class limit:  30

This service-learning course will equip students with the tools they need to be successful financial coaches. Guest speakers from local community groups and service providers will come to teach each week’s topic in depth. Case studies will accompany each topic, and instructors will facilitate discussions and exercises to apply concepts to the practical context of volunteering as an Advocate with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a student-driven non-profit organization which pairs teams of volunteers to work one-on-one with individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

59.03     Personal Finance: Managing Your Money

Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm, Keohane 4D, 201 Seminar Room

Sponsor/Department:                   John Caccavale, Economics

Instructors:                                      Jennifer Garand               

                                                           Emilie Melvin                    

Class limit:  25

The course is focused on teaching students fiscal responsibility and learning about various ways of savings, types of loans, and other topics related to surviving in the real world. This course will teach you how to file tax returns, create a budget, different types of investments, and help you create a sustainable future.

59.04     Know Your Status: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into HIV/AIDS

Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm, Keohane 4B, 402 (Living Room)

Sponsor/Department:                   Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute

Instructor:                                        Jenny (Jingwei) Li            

Class limit:  12

HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic that has affected millions of people worldwide. Traditional study into this subject has largely focused on gaining a better understanding of the science behind HIV/AIDS. This house course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the subject, exploring topics and issues that go far beyond the science, issues that are just as important to comprehending the effect of HIV/AIDS. Topics explored range from faith to gender to contemporary media portrayals, all revolving around HIV/AIDS. This course was created from the Duke University student organization, Know Your Status, and looks to increase awareness about the different issues related to HIV/AIDS within the Duke population.

59.05     Chemistry in Society

Thursdays, 5:00-6:30pm, Keohane 4B, 402 Seminar Room

Sponsor/Department:                   Chris Roy, Chemistry

Instructor:                                        Jeremy Appelbaum       

Class limit:  15

The role of chemistry in society is a fascinating subject. Chemistry has had significant historical implications and is used in our everyday life, but society as a whole understands little of it. In this course, we will be examining significant historical innovations, important chemicals and reactions in our everyday lives, and the use of chemistry in technological applications, such as medical equipment, construction materials, and weaponry. Topics also include the chemistry of cooking, cleaning products, and alcohol.

Besides being exposed to the wide field of Chemistry applications, students will learn to examine the scientific literature behind common Chemistry. We will start with popular science news and blogs and delve deeper into the literature that explains the processes scientifically. We also hope to demonstrate the importance of Chemistry and educate students about the further direction of research. There is both significant interest and material in the role of chemistry in society, and we hope this class of curiosity-driven students can learn to be more aware of just how prevalent Chemistry is.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:
• Be knowledgeable about the applications of Chemistry in Society
• Be able to explain the chemical mechanisms behind many of these processes
• Gain an in-depth understanding of the current scientific literature, and how to explore further topics through research
• Appreciate the rich history of Chemistry innovation and technology

Small level of background experience to Chemistry recommended but not required.

59.06     Science of Malaria

Thursdays, 6:00-7:30pm, Keohane 4D, 201 Seminar Room

Sponsor/Department:                   Carlos Rojas, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Instructors:                                      Rifat Rahman                 

                                                          Kehaan H. Manjee         

Class limit:  10

The story of malaria goes something like this… so a man, a mosquito, and Plasmodium walk into the world. Sounds harmless enough, right? How did this parasite originally come to infect humans—did it just have a bad day? This class documents the million-year old war between man and mosquito. A major focus is on the emergence of drug resistance in Southeast Asia and its potential to spread to sub-Saharan Africa. We aim to interrogate the biology of infection: How does the malaria parasite ‘outsmart’ our immune system? How does it make us sick? Where has malaria left its fingerprints in the human genome? And, how can we harness our knowledge of malaria biology to improve health? There will be emphasis on the use of genomic techniques, including next generation sequencing and the CRISPR/Cas9 system, in studying infectious disease. Basic introduction to methods in bioinformatics for sequence analysis and protein visualization using Python (no computer science background required). Lastly, a portion of the class will be devoted to the economic analysis of malaria and poverty.  A strong interest in biology is recommended.

59.07     Beyond DukeEngage: Recontextualizing Your Experience for Social Impact

Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30pm, Keohane 4B, 402 Seminar Room

Sponsor/Department:                  Eric Mlyn, Sanford School of Public Policy

Instructors:                                    Taylor Dorsey                   

         Komal Kinger                  

        Suhani Jalota                   

Class limit:  15

The “Beyond DukeEngage” house course focuses on empowering returning DukeEngage students to be agents of social change.  Beginning with the foundations of civic engagement, the course will lay the foundation for the four thematic areas – global health/health disparities, economic development, education policy, and vulnerable populations.  As students become immersed in these issues, they will choose a topic for their final Civic Engagement in Action project and work to refine their ideas with student and faculty mentors.  This course provides a collaborative environment for these projects that may form the basis of a RIPP engage project, grant proposal, or future career path.

59.08     An Ounce of Prevention, A Pound of Cure

Tuesdays, 7:15-8:30pm, Few GG 101 Common Room

Sponsor/Department:                   Wesley Hogan, Center for Documentary Studies

Instructors:                                      Ritika Patil                       

                                                          Surya Ravichandran      

                                                           Preet Patel                      

Class limit:  15

This course will examine current trends in U.S. healthcare initiatives on the traditional, curative side of medicine, as well as those centered on treatment of illnesses burdening the U.S. population.  Furthermore, this course seeks to look at future trajectories of health-care that incorporate methods of prevention and modern-day functional medicine as a more effective alternative to some of the current methods of treatment.

The best form of healthcare is not focused solely on one side or the other, but as a fusion of the two to create a balance for the health of the patient.  This course will help students build an understanding of the necessary components of both prevention and treatment as a foundation for fighting today’s ailments.  Right now, medicine and resources in the United States are concentrated on curing patients who are already ill, but a framework incorporating prevention into existing health structures is proving increasingly important for staving off and dealing with modern ailments.

In this class, we hope to analyze current-day health frameworks and weigh the risks and benefits of incorporating more preventative strategies alongside treatment methods.  We will also be focusing on the ethics, research, and policy surrounding these issues.

59.09     Creating Spaces for Meaningful Conversations

Mondays, 6:00-7:20pm, Keohane 4D, 201 Seminar Room

Sponsor/Department:                   Janie Long, Women’s Studies

Instructors:                                      Tony Lopez, Jr.                 

                                                          Chandler Phillips            

Class limit:  15

This course is based on the idea that having meaningful and deep discussions often requires a certain level of awareness and a specific set of skills. These tools allow someone to question the undertones weaved into the conversation, keep participants engaged and committed, and redirect  or  refocus  things  when  they  aren’t  going  as  planned.  While a majority of the readings, and thus discussions, revolve around social justice, the class is not specifically focused on these topics. This course will provide tips for individuals to actively listen, ask questions that will further the conversation, and genuinely validate participants.

59.10     Does God Exist? Does Morality Depend on Religion? – A Look at Both Sides

Mondays, 6:30-8:00pm, Wannamaker 001R

Sponsor/Department:                   Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Philosophy

Instructor:                                        Jason Guo                      

Class limit:  30

Background: Today, three-fourths of Americans identify as Christian. However, the number of people unaffiliated with any religion has risen steadily over the past decade. As a result, academic dialogue about God and religion would benefit everyone.

Purpose: In the first part of this course, our discussion will focus on whether or not God exists. We will base our discussion on the primary talking points in the book, “God? A Debate Between A Christian And An Atheist,” co-authored by William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Craig presents five arguments in favor of the existence of God and Sinnott-Armstrong presents three arguments in favor of the non-existence of God. Each week, we will discuss an argument from the book in detail.

In the second part of this course, we will look more closely at the relations between religion and morality. We will compare secular morality versus religious morality and ask whether morality makes sense without God as well as whether religious belief makes people more moral. The course will conclude with a class on humanist ethics.

59.11     Intergroup Dialogue: Unpacking Social Identity

Mondays, 5:00-6:30pm, Few GG Tower

Sponsor/Department:                  Frederick Mayer, Sanford School of Public Policy

Instructors:                                     Nadine Goldberg            

                                                          Sarah Du                         

Class limit:  10

This course will use the Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) model to engage participants in authentic, facilitated conversations about issues of identity, diversity, and inequity.  IGD creates a unique learning environment that encourages us to explore these difficult topics while building skill for and commitment to social responsibility and action.  Class activities will include story-sharing, dialogue around “hot topics,” interactive activities, and discussion of assigned readings.


  1. Increased understanding of social identity, diversity, and inequity in society
  2. Enhanced skills of communication and leadership across difference and conflict
  3. Increased understanding of social justice methods
  4. Enhance skills of perspective-taking and complex thinking