Dignitas (DGN 1101-1102)                                 Sections and Course Descriptions 2017-2018
Course Section # Instructor Mentor TA
Dignity in Duluth 1 Shawna Weaver Anna Totsch
Gender, Violence and Dignity 2 Kelly Mullan Brenna Cherro
Art as Expression of Dignity 3 Peter Spooner Catey Swenson
Your Path to Meaning and Purpose 4 Gary Boelhower
Cassandra Dee
Life and Death with Dignity 5 Elizabeth Fait
Michael Moores
Dignity Through the Benedictine Tradition 6 John Bauman Claire Bjorklund
The Guest/Host Relationship 7 Robert Larson Wyatt Helgeson
Shame in a Digital World 8 Sharon Obst Adrianna Bail
Ideas Worth Spreading 9 Sarah Ludwig Richard Scrivener
Social Justice: From MLK to You 10 Sarah Stewart Ramona Tran
Authoring Your Path: CSS and Beyond 11 Jessica Johnston and Lindsey Lindstrom Allen Cruz
All the World's a Stage 12 Merry Renn Vaughan Natasha Wagner
Speaking Truth to Power 13 Steve Schroeder-Davis Francesca Do
Romanticism in Music and Culture 14 Bettina Muehlenbeck Kyle Star
Activism: Change Through Action 15 Ilsa Hoeschen Shayna Schafter
Star Wars and Servant Leadership 16 Joelle McGovern Elliot Kazlauskas
Depictions of the "Other" in Media 17 Steve Schroeder-Davis Gabriela Villarreal
The Dignity of the Past in the Present
18 McCullough, Jess
The Dignity of the Past in the Present
19 McCullough, Jess
Romanticism in Music and Culture 20 Bettina Muehlenbeck Kyle Star
Honors Classes (HON 1111-1112)
Course Section # Instructor Mentor TA
Utopia, Dystopia and Perfection 1 Thomas Morgan Maddie Lozinski
God or Not? Debating Religion 2 Randall Poole DyAnna Grondahl
The Art of the Struggle/The Art of Survival 3 Sarah Brokke Erickson and Ryan Vine Casey Deneen

 

 

 

DIGNITAS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS  2017 - 2018

DGN 1101 001
Instructor: Shawna Weaver
Dignity in Duluth
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
As Duluthians, we live within a beautiful city that has a complex story. The objective of this course is to learn about the environmental, social, historical and many other facets of Duluth. We will explore the complicated web of justice through a local and global framework, and we will learn about how all issues and people are interconnected. With service learning projects and conversations about justice issues, this course is all about learning how to help the larger community in ways that we are really needed. Students can expect to invest emotionally, to develop professional relationships with community members, and to feel empowered as active citizens.

DGN 1101 002
Instructor: Kelly Mullan
Gender, Violence and Dignity
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
What happens to people who defy gender-based social norms and expectations? What forms of violence do they experience, and why? Who has power to enforce gender norms, and how do they use violence to maintain it? This class aggressively begins the dignity-themed process of using intellectual inquiry to challenge stereotypes.

DGN 1101 003
Instructor: Peter Spooner
Art as Expression of Dignity
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Visual art is intrinsically diverse, multi-voiced and interdisciplinary. This course looks at art in terms of the search for self, in terms of social critique and in terms of 21st century community building. By actively investigating artists in our immediate region and around the globe, students learn to appreciate diverse traditions and to entertain new perspectives. Beginning with Duluth's own Sister Mary Charles McGough, we look at artists who intentionally bridge disciplines to engage communities, explore spirituality and walk paths of self-discovery.

DGN 1101 004
Instructor: Gary Boelhower

Your Path to Meaning and Purpose
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
We will explore together how we are called into meaningful work and responsible living by our own interior passions and talents, as well as by the needs, problems and opportunities in society. We will look for the places of intersection between the world's deep needs and our own major concerns and interests. We will explore our strengths and accomplishments with appreciative inquiry as we look for clues to our own selfhood and vision for life. We will study what diverse religious and philosophical traditions have identified as a "happy" or meaningful life and how we are called to a particular life purpose. We will explore a vision statement for our lives that may include personal and professional direction.

DGN 1101 005
Instructor: Elizabeth Fait
Life and Death with Dignity
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This class will look at living and dying, how our human lives on this planet are intertwined with our own death and the death of others close to us. We will look at personal issues of grief and loss, legislative and policy issues (e.g., death penalty, death with dignity, abortion), dealing with depression (in ourselves and others) and suicide. We will learn about various death practices in religions and cultures. We will visit, tour, and learn about places that represent death and life (e.g., birth place, hospice, mortuary, columbarium, cemetery, etc.).

DGN 1101 006
Instructor: John Bauman
Dignity Through the Benedictine Tradition
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Together, we will examine dignity through the lenses of the Benedictine tradition, character development, value-based living, and positive psychology by exploring the narratives generated by our surroundings. Media, family, work, friends, music, art, and environments...they all influence our thoughts, interpretations of events, and actions. We'll work together to recognize these influences, learn ways to shape our lenses, and take actions to both live happier lives and influence others in positive ways.

DGN 1101 007
Instructor: Dr. Robert Larson
The Guest/Host Relationship
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
In this course, we will explore the intricacies of relationships between hosts and guests in the phenomenon of hospitality. Using popular and celebrated film, literature and other mass media, we will develop a deeper understanding of interaction. We will explore hospitality from human and non-human perspectives, through fiction and non-fiction, philosophy, theology, and psychology. What are the pleasures and dangers in the role of the stranger? What are the assumptions and liberties of the host? How do the guest and host roles relate to the designations of ‘the self' and ‘the other'? How do we know when we are the host or the guest? Is it possible to mistake or underestimate one's role? How might diversity, privilege, conflict, and assumption affect the guest/host relationship? From popular game shows and telephone operators to Internet access and the Heavens, we will explore the many associations and ‘callings' of the host body. Similarly, we will explore our unique roles as guests and hosts in life. Our discussion will lead toward a clearer picture of stewardship, intentional being, and the potential for conscious ambassadorship in a complex, multi-dimensional world.

DGN 1101 008
Instructor: Sharon Obst
Shame in a Digital World
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Experiencing shame is a human condition. We will explore how social media contributes to widespread public shaming and victim blaming, how one recovers from a public shaming scenario, and how we all take responsibility for treating others and ourselves with dignity and respect. We will also explore how we can choose to live our lives audaciously going forward.

DGN 1101 009
Instructor: Sarah Ludwig
Ideas Worth Spreading
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Ideas worth spreading explores the elements of Dignitas by examining parallel concepts shared in select TED talks. Through discussion and guided reflection based on these talks, you will apply TED ideas to your own self-realization, interaction with local and global communities, and understanding of impactful leadership. This course goes beyond simply viewing the video format of TED talks by challenging you to engage in activities presented in specific talks. Throughout this course, you will also prepare and present your own TED talks grounded in the five key elements of Dignitas, culminating in a CSS TED talk event.

DGN 1101 010
Instructor: Sarah Stewart
Social Justice: From MLK to You
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This course will allow you to utilize the tools to be a leader in social justice through exploration of your identity as a person of color, study of social justice movements and activists, and chances to practice critical thinking and action in a safe and challenging space. This class will require participation and a commitment to open dialogue. We will be engaging in critical thinking, reading, and discussion concerning social justice. The purpose of this type of engagement is to look specifically at ways in which the construct and lived reality of race intersects with privilege through class, gender, and sexuality, in order to form our identities. There will be an expectation of regular engagement and practice in order to build your community and leadership skills.

DGN 1101 011
Instructors: Jessica Johnston and Lindsey Lindstrom
Authoring Your Path: CSS and Beyond
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This course aims to empower students to explore and develop who they are, their path and purpose at CSS, and who they are in the community by examining the college experience, engaging in the community, and analyzing systemic barriers. Students will author their next chapter - their college chapter - and become professionals in and out of the classroom in preparation for their future career. We will explore how student development is often nonlinear and unique to each individual, including identity, intersectionality between self and systems, and transitions. As students study themselves and others through these theories and practices, they will find and value identity, dignity, diversity, and truth-seeking. 

DGN 1101 012
Instructor: Merry Renn Vaughan
All the World's a Stage
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Peeking Behind the Curtains: Diversity in Theatre. This class explores the contributions of diverse cultures to the fabric of American Theatre. Through class discussion and reflective writing students share reactions to the drama they see and read. Class lectures and discussions will analyze the influence of various cultures with consideration of the historical and political context for the creation of these works. Plus we'll spend some time discussing Hamilton: An American Musical.

DGN 1101 013
Instructor: Steve Schroeder-Davis
Speaking Truth to Power
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
While the origin of "speaking truth to power" is in some dispute, the phrase has now come to represent men, women, and children who possess the moral courage to challenge those who have more authority, power and resources, despite potential loss of career, reputation, freedom, or life. In this course we will examine historical and contemporary examples of those who spoke truth to power as well as reflecting on our own obligations to do so. We will also examine those in power who welcomed and even pursued alternate and sometimes transgressive voices despite risk to their own status and position, and will consider our own behavior if and when we are in a position of power.

DGN 1101 014
Instructor: Bettina Muehlenbeck
Romanticism in Music and Culture

Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
The movement of Romanticism shaped the 19th century to such a degree that it extended well into the 20th century, influencing much of popular culture. In this course we will investigate this long-lasting intellectual and artistic movement and explore how it relates to Benedictine ideas, ethics and social mission. Above all, Romanticism embraced love and compassion with a profound connection to rejoicing in the beaux-arts - particularly music - as a common good, inspiration and refuge. Special attention will be given to the Cecilian Movement with its purpose of promoting expressiveness and the community between diverse people(s) through music and culture.

DGN 1101 015
Instructor: Ilsa Hoeschen
Activism: Change Through Action

Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Do you want to change a system? Are you secretly excited about politics? People 16-24 years of age rank the lowest number of volunteer hours in the country and are the least likely to vote!  Why is this? What makes people take action? What do we want to change and how do we go about doing that? This course will work to answer these questions, while engaging in our community though service learning. Students will learn to identify the systemic and cultural challenges within a community and should be available for volunteer work one day a week from 2-5 pm. Students should expect to participate in class discussion, service learning and class work that will make them active and politically aware citizens.

DGN 1101 016
Instructor: Joelle McGovern
Star Wars and Servant Leadership
Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:00-5:40 p.m.
Star Wars and Servant Leadership will examine the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and discuss the importance of forgiveness and redemption as well as explore the universal concepts of agape love and Servant Leadership. To draw deeper connections among the key principles of Servant Leadership and Star Wars, students will be required to read and discuss Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith along with various scholarly articles and texts related to Servant Leadership. Through group projects, personal reflection, and class discussions, we will explore how servant leadership upholds human dignity. Students can expect to reflect on some of the more meaningful moments in their lives and discover how self reflection and personal responsibility call all of us to become servant leaders.

DGN 1101 017
Instructor: Steve Schroeder-Davis
Depictions of the "Other" in Media
Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:00-5:40 p.m.
The "Other" is an individual who is perceived by a group as not belonging, as being different in some fundamental way. Being pronounced the "other" is a requisite step to losing status, legal rights, and often, much worse. In this course we will look at literature, film, and television to explore how media can reflect and amplify negative images of the other by reinforcing (and sometimes helping create) negative stereotypes. We will also examine groundbreaking exceptions: authors, directors, actors and others who have created authentic, multi-faceted characters and narratives that depict "others" as worthy, vibrant, and dignified human beings.

DGN 1101 018
Instructor: Jess McCullough
The Dignity of the Past in the Present
Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:00-5:40 p.m.
The past is a battleground. How we remember the past and whose stories we tell deeply affect the world we live in today. Historical narratives often change over time to reflect current cultural values. In this course students will study popular representations of the past (i.e. T.V., film, and literature) and will critically examine the ways in which these inform (and are informed by) our current cultural context. Students will study the ways in which history is not a set narrative, but rather a means of interacting with the past. Our predecessors, just like our contemporaries, are to be regarded with dignity.

DGN 1101 019
Instructor: Jess McCullough
The Dignity of the Past in the Present
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
The past is a battleground. How we remember the past and whose stories we tell deeply affect the world we live in today. Historical narratives often change over time to reflect current cultural values. In this course students will study popular representations of the past (i.e. T.V., film, and literature) and will critically examine the ways in which these inform (and are informed by) our current cultural context. Students will study the ways in which history is not a set narrative, but rather a means of interacting with the past. Our predecessors, just like our contemporaries, are to be regarded with dignity.

DGN 1101 020
Instructor: Bettina Muehlenbeck
Romanticism in Music and Culture
Tuesdays/Thursdays 4:00-5:40 p.m.
The movement of Romanticism shaped the 19th century to such a degree that it extended well into the 20th century, influencing much of popular culture. In this course we will investigate this long-lasting intellectual and artistic movement and explore how it relates to Benedictine ideas, ethics and social mission. Above all, Romanticism embraced love and compassion with a profound connection to rejoicing in the beaux-arts - particularly music - as a common good, inspiration and refuge. Special attention will be given to the Cecilian Movement with its purpose of promoting expressiveness and the community between diverse people(s) through music and culture.

Honors Sections 

*Students must have successfully interviewed for the Honors Program at CSS prior to enrolling in these sections.

HON 1111 001
Instructor: Tom Morgan
Utopia, Dystopia and Perfection
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This course will explore the idea of human perfectibility in Utopian and dystopian literature. We will concentrate on the dystopian critics. Some of them have seen that human perfectibility is unfeasible or at least difficult in view of the "dark side of the human condition." Others have depicted, often brilliantly, the dangers of external, coercive approaches to human perfectibility. This course will help students approach great books (philosophy and fiction) and to think, speak and write critically about what they read and hear.

HON 1111 002
Instructor: Randall Poole
God or Not? Debating Religion
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
The past ten years or so have witnessed new, highly contentious debates over religion and secularism. On the one side is the so-called "new atheism," championed by a series of best-selling books such as Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Sam Harris's The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future, and Christopher Hitchens's God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. On the other side are new works in defense of religion, including Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, Anthony Flew's There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, and David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. Related to but distinct from the issue of the rationality of religious belief is the debate over secularism, separation of church and state, the place of religion in public life, and whether religion has contributed more to violence, war, and terrorism or to peace and justice. This course will explore these debates and their relation to human dignity.

HON 1111 003
Instructors: Sarah Brokke Erickson and Ryan Vine
The Art of the Struggle/The Art of Survival
Tuesdays/Thursdays 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This course examines art and poetry as basic responses to human experience. We will use these fundamental forms of human expression, both ancient and contemporary, to frame our considerations of human dignity and existence. Throughout the year we will wrestle with the questions of our time, uncovering methods to connect the ideas that we--as humans--struggle with in our heads, in our hearts and in our actions.