I will be teaching my very first Winter (also known as January) Term course starting this week. My course, entitled American Jesus, will challenge students to examine this Christ like character. In the process, much of our attention will center around Christ’s impact on nationalism, music and popular culture, politics, as well as gender and sexuality. Furthermore, we will read from various works, review documentaries, interview and listen to guest speakers discuss their perception of Jesus. Ultimately, students should conclude that the notion of Christ is ubiquitous. Even if a person does not believe in Christ, the mere notion of him has shaped our historical development and sense of current complexity. Students will construct various projects, maintain a portfolio, and present a final piece on what and who Jesus is to them. Though the course might seem like a religious one, it is far from it. It is more historical, sociological, and anthropological in nature. It is an in-depth study of the self and the social realities that define the self. In the end, it is a great course.
I love the autonomy of the course too; I set and maintain when we meet and for how long we meet. The expectation is that students should be actively engaged in the course for six hours a day. Now, those hours are not all contact hours. They can be in the form of individual research and study, planning and organizing, or off campus endeavors such as a field trip. In the end, the courses we teach are designed to be in-depth, experiential, interesting, creative, and one that further develops students’ skill set.
I am still mapping out our meeting times, my office hours, and assigned presentation dates.