Alumni Summer College 2017 - Course Offerings


American Cookbooks in the 20th Century

Many of us use cookbooks to create our favorite dishes or to try new recipes. In this session, we will look at cookbooks as social documents. Looking at all types of cookbooks (community, ethnic, celebrity, product, etc.), we will explore what cookbooks tell us about American culture in the 20th century. We will have hands-on experience with cookbooks from the University Libraries’ Special Collections.

Faculty: Nancy Down and Michelle Sweetser, University Libraries


Blast from the Past: Exploring 45 RPM discs in the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives

Description: A brief overview of the 3-year grant-funded project currently being processed in the Music Library. This will include a description of the process and the staff involved, as well as providing examples from the collection. A tour of the collection will also be provided.

Faculty: Patty Falk, University Libraries


Brainstorming the Novel

Novelist and Professor of Creative Writing Lawrence Coates will give a presentation on writing a novel, from initial conception through to completed work. The presentation will feature an outline of the seven basic plots, some exercises useful for developing ideas, and some of the questions that arise when writing. Dr. Coates has published five books, most recently The Goodbye House and Camp Olvido. 

Faculty: Lawrence Coates, English


Climate Change: Science and Politics

Climate change is perhaps the most serious environmental issue of our time…and one of the most politically polarizing. The purpose of this class is to describe both the science that explains climate change and the contributions of human activity to climate change. We will then focus on the very serious political disagreements that surround climate change and possible explanations for the existence of diverging points of view.

Faculty: Art Samel, Geography


Control and Regulation: By Others, By Oneself, and For Others

Regulation is control of a person’s emotions, thoughts, motivations, behaviors, and environment. We will discuss a) various types of regulation, including by oneself and others; b) how we can help ourselves develop more self-regulation, and c) perhaps aid important others in your lives in developing more self-regulation.

Sherri Horner, Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy


Fashion is Evolutionary, Rarely Revolutionary:  How Marie Antoinette and Christian Dior each Caused a Fashion Revolution.

Throughout time, fashion has changed relatively slowly and without drastic alterations. There are two exceptions: the French revolution, and the post-war era of World War II.  Participants will receive a history lesson through the medium of fashion.  Samples from the University’s Historic Costume Collection will be on display.

Faculty: Marian Zengel, Family and Consumer Sciences


Germany, the EU, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

In the summer of 2015, the news was full of reports of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece on boats from Turkey. German Chancellor Angela Merkel then made additional headlines by announcing that Germany would take in 800,000 of these refugees. Since that time, more than one million Syrian refugees have arrived in Germany; adjustments have been made to the asylum application process in that country; and Merkel’s political fortunes have risen and fallen in tandem with public perception of the refugee presence. In this session we’ll review these events; discuss the drift to the right in Europe in general; and discuss the general issue of asylum as a human right, who has the responsibility to guarantee this right, and security issues that may arise in chaotic situations like the events of 2015.

Faculty: Kristie Foell, German, Russian, and East Asian Languages


Homicide by Firearm at a Drug Deal Gone Bad

Unlike CSI on TV, different investigators and forensic scientists work together to solve a crime. In this course, participants will go to the scene of a “drug deal gone bad” to assist in collecting evidence and then follow the chain-of-custody as the evidence is processed through the different laboratories (tour) at the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratory on the BGSU campus. Following completion of this course, participants will be able to explain the general principles of crime scene investigation, forensic biology, forensic chemistry, latent prints, firearms, and trace evidence.

Faculty: Jon Sprague, Forensic Science


How Far would $20 Go?:  A Shopping Trip through History featuring the Library’s Mail Order Catalog Collection

Direct marketing via mail order is now a billion-dollar industry. What was it like in the late 19th or early 20th centuries? Mail order catalogs were sometimes the only way to buy goods in isolated areas. Fast-forward to the mid-20th century and mail order was a booming business with children eagerly awaiting the yearly holiday catalogs and households set up with goods sold through mail order. Currently, the mail order business is supplemented by store websites and social media outlets to entice buyers to shop from the comforts of their own home. So, how far would $20 go in the 1870’s, the 1940’s, or today?  Find out with a walk through shopping history with the Browne Popular Culture Library’s Mail Order Catalog Collection.

Faculty: Stefanie Hunker, University Libraries


I Love Lucy…and Mary: Legendary Women of Sitcoms

This presentation shall examine the evolving role of women within the situation comedy genre.  We shall focus on Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore to address how female representation on TV changed from the 1950s to the 1970s (and beyond).  In a format often dominated by idealized nuclear families and perfect mothers, both Ball and Moore challenged the restrictive attitudes toward women of their respective eras. Special attention will be focused on how their sitcoms dealt with issues such as feminism, women in the workplace, motherhood, and the “battle of the sexes.”

Faculty: Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


Into the Tweetstorm: Politics, Celebrity, Community and Conflict in Popular Social Media

This course will provide insight and guidance into navigating the quickly emerging world of Internet culture in 2017, as Twitter and other social media have become integral, controversial and culture-defining elements of public life. The discussion will focus on the dynamics of celebrity, politics and journalism, and examine the ways in which beliefs (from rumors and “fake news” to larger cultural values) are transmitted, shared, and contested in the United States and beyond.

Faculty: Montana Miller, Popular Culture


Love in the Afternoon: Soap Operas and Popular Culture

More than 80 years ago, the term “Soap Opera” was coined to describe the serialized domestic radio melodramas that were produced and sponsored by manufacturers of household cleaning products. By 1940, these programs represented 90 percent of all commercially sponsored daytime broadcast hours. By 1950, the genre transitioned to television where it dominated daytime programming for decades with such popular shows as General Hospital, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives.  In recent years the soaps have faced increased competition from other forms of programming with lower production budgets, especially talk shows. This presentation will examine the role and history of the daytime network dramas in American popular culture. Special attention will be focused upon the extensive collection of soap opera scripts and related items archived in the Browne Popular Culture Library.

Faculty: Stefanie Hunker, University Libraries and Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


Marjane Satrapi’s Graphic Novel, Persepolis: Growing Up in Iran

With excerpts from the animated film version of this graphic novel, this session will illustrate how both the graphic text and the film make the recent events of the Iranian revolution and the role of women in Iran in its aftermath readily accessible to Western readers and audiences. You’ll become a fellow traveler with Marjane and identify with her struggles and triumphs.

Faculty: Khani Begum, English


Narratives of Muslim Women Against Fundamentalism

Real stories of how Muslim women are activists and ordinary in different societies around the world and have stood up for women’s rights and human rights. Many of the narratives are drawn from Karima Bennoune’s, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here (2015), which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2015.

Faculty: Khani Begum, English


Principles and Strategies for Enhancing Memory and Learning for Optimal Aging

Although normal aging is associated with changes in thinking and memory, evidence from a several studies suggests that certain activities and behaviors can enhance cognition at any age. This session will summarize some of the neuropsychological changes associated with normal aging and review strategies for maintaining and enhancing learning and memory for optimal aging.

Faculty: Jason Whitfield, Communication Sciences and Disorders


Preventing Scams: The 3 Rs

Distressingly, older adults are more likely to be victims of fraudulent activities and once targeted by the perpetrators, are more likely to lose money compared to other age groups. During this session, attendees will learn about the top 10 scams and the prevention tactics to reduce the risks of becoming the target of identity theft, communication scams, phishing, and fraud. Pre-session assignment: Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting, or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

Faculty: Melissa Burek, Human Services


Risk, Danger, and Security: Exploring Cultural Beliefs and Boundaries

In this seminar, participants will examine the construction and expression of beliefs about risk-taking, danger and security. Dr. Miller, an ethnographer of risk-taking subcultures, is the author of “Playing Dead,” an analysis of drunk driving prevention efforts in high schools; her current book research investigates beliefs and attitudes regarding death among professional skydivers. In an era of heightened anxieties about public and private health and safety (including environmental risks, drug epidemics, gun violence, terrorism, and international conflicts), it is important to look at how the fearful rhetoric in popular and social media may influence personal beliefs and behaviors, and how we negotiate these boundaries in our families and communities.

Faculty: Montana Miller, Popular Culture


So What Really Happens to My Garbage?: A Visit to a Landfill

Learn about the final resting place of our trash as you journey to the working face of the Wood County landfill. This tour is an eye opener for those who have never witnessed the amount of waste sent to landfills every day. (Closed toe shoes are recommended.)

Faculty: Amanda Gamby, Wood County Solid Waste Management District


Star Trek and Fandom

Star Trek began as a science fiction television show in the 1960s and since then has become a worldwide popular culture phenomenon. The original series has been a precursor to popular movies, novels, comic books, fanzines, conventions, and memorabilia. In our session, we will address why Star Trek has been so popular and what impact has it had on American culture. We will examine materials from the Browne Popular Culture’s Star Trek Collection.

Faculty: Nancy Down, University Libraries and Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


Technology Sandbox

Learn about the latest in technology. Explore the world of 3D printing and scanning or create an item on our Laser Cutter/Engraver. Take turns experiencing virtual reality (VR). Participants will use Oculus Rift VR glasses and can download the Google Cardboard App on their cell phones and take advantage of the Google Cardboard glasses located in the Tech Commons to participate in VR.

Faculty: Kim Fleshman, University Libraries


The Amazing Amazon: Wonder Woman’s 75th Anniversary

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman, one of the most iconic super-heroines of all time.  The most recognizable female character in comics, she remains a figure of strength, beauty, and courage.  She has appeared in virtually every form of mass media and pop culture (with varying degrees of success).  This presentation will address Wonder Woman’s creation as an embodiment of feminist ideals and also examine the evolving role of the female heroic figure in comics.

Faculty: Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


The Art, Science, and Business of Beer

This overview of the beer-making process explores the art of malt beverage creation and the science behind producing a desirable beer. Dr. Forbes’ research has revealed why beer exposed to light acquires an unpleasant taste. He also discusses the business of marketing and distributing the beverage in a hyper-competitive, over–saturated market. A tasting of different beer styles is planned for the end of the class.

Faculty: Malcolm Forbes, Photochemical Sciences/Chemistry


The Greatest Generation of Music: Songs of the World War II Era

The 1940s featured wing, blues and country, but, above all, it was the heyday of the seventeen-piece big band. Names like Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington were central to the era and their theme songs define the entire musical period. This class will provide a description of the music performed during WWII, including the big bands and musicians. It will include examples of sheet music and recordings. A tour of the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives is included.

Faculty: Patty Falk, University Libraries


The Hijab Controversy: Oppression or Freedom of Expression

Explore how and why Muslim women’s head gear has become the center of attention both with Islamist fundamentalist regimes and with the West as a means to liberate Muslim Women.

Faculty: Khani Begum, English


To Riverdale and Back: Archie Comics’ 75th Anniversary

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Archie Comics. For decades, Archie and his pals have offered juvenile readers a “parentally approved” perspective on teen culture. In recent years, however, the publisher has aggressively updated the feature by introducing more diversity to its cast of characters and developing more mature plotlines like homosexuality, economic inequality, gun violence, disability and death. This presentation will examine the evolving nature of Archie Comics (and its special connection to BGSU) as the gang from Riverdale, USA adapts to the 21st century.

Faculty: Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


Turkish-German Director Fatih Akin: A Success Story of Integration

Director Fatih Akin, born in 1973 in Hamburg, is the son of Turkish immigrants who came to Germany just as the tide of public opinion was turning against Turkish “guest workers.” Now working on his 18th film, he first gained international attention with Head-On (2004), a cross-cultural tale set between Hamburg and Istanbul. His films frequently explore the dialogue and contrasts between German and Turkish society, often in unexpected ways. This session will film clips from several of his major films and a discussion of those clips.

Faculty: Kristie Foell, German, Russian, and East Asian Languages


What is the Value of a College Education?

We will begin with each of us reflecting upon our college days and, from our current perspective, identifying the things that made attending college valuable for us. We will then identify and discuss those things that the university currently identifies as the educational goals (learning outcomes) for our students. We will conclude by discussing what we think the value of a college education is today.

Faculty: Lou Katzner, Philosophy


What Makes Life Meaningful?

Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Plato, Apology @ 400 B.C.) and John Stuart Mill said, “it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied" (Utilitarianism @ 1871). We will begin by sharing what makes life meaningful to each of us and then discuss the relationship between these things and the views of Socrates and Mill.

Faculty: Lou Katzner, Philosophy


Will Eisner and Jack Kirby, Comic Book Legends

2017 would have been the 100th birthdays of two comic book legends, Will Eisner and Jack “King” Kirby. Eisner created the classic character The Spirit and is known as the father of the graphic novel, and Kirby created or co-created nearly every member of the Avengers. These two men were friends who came up together in the early days of comics books and went on to influence generations of artists, writers and fans. We’ll talk about their history, their distinctive styles, and their continuing influence on today’s comic book industry.

Faculty: Stephen Ammidown, University Libraries, Charles Coletta, Popular Culture


Wind…Powering the Future: A Visit to a Wind Farm

Come and visit the first commercial wind farm in Ohio! As part of a tour group, you’ll be able to walk underneath the spinning blades and go inside one of the towers – an area normally restricted to visitors. (Note: Tour is subject to weather conditions.)

Faculty: Amanda Gamby, Wood County Solid Waste Management District


You and the Universe

See one or more shows in BGSU’s state-of-the-art Planetarium, including an introduction, discussion, and a question-and-answer time. Satisfy your curiosity about the cosmos around us and how we are connected to it.

Faculty: Dale Smith, Physics and Astronomy