Fall 2017 Course Offerings

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  •  McShain Lounge is in McCarthy Hall (#19 on campus map); entrance is off of Library Road
  •  Murray Room is on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library (#12 on campus map)

William L. Licamele, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics

Former Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and former co-director Tourette Clinic Georgetown University Hospital and Medical School

Development in Children and Adolescents from Tics to Illness, Hospitalization, and Divorce

Wednesday, October 11 and 18: 10:30–12:00 p.m.

Note: This course has two sessions that meet in two different locations

Oct. 11: McShain Lounge, small
Oct. 18: Murray Room, Lauinger Library, 5th floor

First session: We will focus on Tourette’s Syndrome and its associated disorders, including ADHD, OCD, Learning Disabilities, Reaction to having a chronic neurological illness. This disorder is much more common than previously thought and studying it and its associated disorders covers many common issues seen in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We will view a teaching DVD on the disorder.

Second session: We will cover a developmental approach to two common issues: (a) children’s reaction to illness and hospitalization and (b) children’s reaction to divorce. We will view a DVD which shows some of these developmental issues. There will be time for class discussion about these and any other Child Psychiatry issues the class would like to bring up.

Bonnie B. C. Oh
Distinguished Research Professor of Korean Studies Emerita, School of Foreign Service

Myth and Reality in the Division of the Korean Peninsula

Thursday, Oct. 12 and 19: 11:00–12:30 p.m.

Note: This course has two sessions.

McShain Lounge, small

At noon on 15 August 1945, Koreans poured out into the streets, waving long-hidden Korean flags and crying, “Long live Korea.” Japan had unconditionally surrendered to the Allies, and Korea was free and independent. In less than a month, however, the jubilant cries had changed into shouts of anger, frustration, and despair. Korea would not become free and independent –immediately. Instead, two Allied Powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would occupy the country in two separate zones, south and north, with the 38th parallel as the demarcation line.
Why was Korea, which had been one country for nearly 13 centuries, 1273 years to be exact, divided? What was the rationale behind the division? Could it have been avoided? Why did the “temporary” division become “permanent”? What were the immediate and long-term consequences of this division?

In two-90 minutes sessions, this course will attempt to answer these questions by going beyond the established historical narrative, examine the roles of the FDR administration and the Soviet Union, and investigate new theories on the subject.

A power-point presentation may accompany the talk. Q&A, greatly encouraged.

Barbara Mujica
Professor Emerita, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Teresa de Avila for Today’s World

Tuesday, October 10, 17, 24: 10:30–12:00

McShain Lounge, small

Although Teresa de Avila was a sixteenth-century Carmelite nun, she speaks to today’s men and women. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Teresa, and not just among scholars and religious professions. Novels, self-help books, and popular manuals on spirituality have contributed to the popularization of Teresa. In fact, in 2009, Publisher’s Weekly called Teresa “a saint for our times.” In this course, we will discuss Saint Teresa’s Jewish background and how it may have influenced her approach to prayer, the beginnings of the Discalced Carmelite Reform, the fundamentals of Teresian spirituality, Teresa’s feminism, the spread of the Reform, and the reasons for the new interest in Saint Teresa.

John B. Brough
Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy


Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8, 15: 10:30–12:00 noon

Note: This course meets in two different locations.

Nov. 1, 15: McShain Lounge, small
Nov. 8: Murray Room, Lauinger Library, 5th floor

Alfred North Whitehead once said that all of Western philosophy “is a series of footnotes to Plato.”  We will approach Plato’s seminal thought through the lens of the Meno, one of his most intriguing dialogues. The Meno unfolds in a lively conversation between Meno, a powerful mercenary general, and Socrates, whose influence was immense but who never wrote anything. We will follow the course of their discussion, which, within its compact space, raises fundamental questions about what it is to be virtuous, what it is to know something, and what it means to be human and rational. We will supplement the reading of the Meno with a few short passages from Plato’s Phaedo and Republic. (All three dialogues are available in The Great Dialogues of Plato translated by W.H.D. Rouse and available through Amazon at a very low price. We will use Rouse’s translation in class. For anyone who might want to read ahead, in the first session we will try to cover the first 14 pages of the Meno in Rouse, pp. 28–42.)

Wesley Mathews
Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics

Exoplanets, the Habitable Zone, and Greenhouse Warming

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 8, 15: 2:00–3:30 p.m.

Murray Room, Lauinger Library, 5th floor

This course is intended to be accessible to anyone; no advanced knowledge of astronomy, astrophysics, or mathematics is required. The course begins with a discussion of the search for planets around stars outside of our own Solar System, i.e., exoplanets. As of early August 2017, there are over 3500 confirmed exoplanets and nearly 4500 candidates from the Kepler spacecraft. We will discuss the techniques used to find exoplanets and the nature of the exoplanets so far discovered. We will also consider why the search for exoplanets is such a ‘hot topic’ and how it relates to the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life. We will then explore the concept of the habitable zone, the region around a star in which life as we know it might be found. This will require a brief and comparatively non-technical introduction to the concepts of stellar luminosity and brightness and blackbody radiation. We will carry out fairly detailed calculations of the habitable zone for two or three simple models; no mathematics beyond basic algebra is required. We will conclude with a discussion of greenhouse warming, how it affects the determination of the habitable zone, and how it is likely to affect life on Earth. (Interested students might wish to consult Astronomy Today, Ninth Edition, by Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan (Pearson, 2018), particularly chapters 6, 15, and 28. This is a superb astronomy textbook and a beautiful coffee-table book that I recommend highly. The online Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia and the NASA Exoplanet Archive are also very informative.)

Anthony Tambasco
Professor Emeritus, Department of Theology

Psalms of Lamentation: Dealing with Suffering

Monday, Nov. 13, 20, 27:  2:00–3:30 p.m.

McShain Lounge, large

It is reflective of human life that there are more Psalms of Lament than there are Psalms of Praise. The authors of these many biblical verses are realists about life. The course will see how psalmists dealt with causes for lament in their own lives and those of the community and will see what these authors teach our world today.

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