Society and Culture

BBQ, Racism, And How The South Became America

Section: 1015-73873
Thursdays, 11:30-12:20pm

What does it mean to say that rural America is “the real America”? How does that relate to the idea that rural America and the South are the same? This course focuses on these questions, considering how these concepts influence and revise ideas about race, gender, and class in the U.S.

Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention redefined small town, rural America as “the South,” starting a new phase of the battle in the ongoing war over what “America” means and what it means to be “American.” In this course, we will examine the present-day institution of nationalism in relationship to regionalism, particularly with regard to the South, the Bible Belt, and the Midwest, considering the impact of this narrative on the national political scene and vice versa. The first half of the course will focus on Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and its influence on Democratic and Republican political identities, leading up to Miller’s 2004 speech. During the second part of the course, we will read, watch, and critically analyze texts, from politicians’ speeches to cooking shows to news stories to tweets, as we examine how political, social, and entertainment discourses participate in and resist the process of defining Southern identity as “Americanness.” We will also talk about food a lot and have a cookout.


Jessica Birch

Position: Instructor - Department of Ethnic Studies
Address: 239 Shatzel Hall

Jessica Birch is from Pittsburgh, PA, and is an instructor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies: Theory and Cultural Studies, as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, from Purdue University in 2014. Her teaching and research focus on black feminist theory, critical race theory, contemporary popular culture/cultural studies, critical pedagogy, and the intersections among these areas. She has published research on gender, sexuality, race, nationalism, and neoliberalism in contemporary popular culture.

Multicultural Success: YES!

This course is required for University Tuition Scholarship for Underrepresented Students scholarship recipients and participants in the Office of Multicultural Affairs Summer Bridge program.

Section: 1004-73750
Mondays, 1:30-2:20PM


Section: 1014-73872
Wednesdays, 4:30-5:20PM

The focus is on diverse and international students participating in the course, however, all first-year students who want a multicultural, international, and diverse freshmen orientation experience are welcome to participate. Permission of the Office of Multicultural Affairs needed to enroll.

This course is designed to promote success among first year students at BGSU by developing or strengthening academic skills and creating opportunities for team building, goal setting and persistence for reaching goals in a timely manner. In the process, we will embrace and benefit from the diversity that each student brings to the classroom and out-of-class projects to create a holistic and inclusive learning experience. Students will learn how their identities and cultural backgrounds facilitate the development of their own unique paths.  This interactive class builds academic skills, cultural competency skills, persistence strategies and enhances community engagement.


Ramonda Kindle

Position: Graduate Assistant - Office of Multicultural Affairs
Address: 318B Math Science Building

Welcome To Europe!

Section: 1027-73884
Fridays, 11:30-12:20pm

This team-taught freshman seminar introduces students to contemporary Europe by showcasing two countries in particular: France and Germany. We will consider prevalent myths about the citizens of both nations that are in circulation in North America. Students will then investigate the current issue; the migration crisis.

During the first part of this course, students will receive a crash course on what it means to be German or French today, and how these two nations feel about one another. We will use popular culture to help students explore the diversity of these two European giants. During the second part of this course, students will explore what has attracted so many migrants and refugees to these two countries.


Beatrice Guenther

Position: Associate Professor
Department of Romance and Classical Studies
Address: 215 Shatzel Hall

Beatrice Guenther is an associate professor of French and currently the Director of the International Studies Program. She has taught all levels of French and German language, literature, film, and culture.


Christina Guenther

Position: Associate Professor
German - Russian Department
Address: 111 Shatzel Hall

Christina Guenther is an associate professor of German and has taught all levels of German language, literature, film, and culture at BGSU. She regularly directs the Academic Year Abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Both colleagues are members of the ICS Research Cluster on Migration and have presented and published on aspects of migration on their respective intercultural fields.

Animals In Human Lives: A Sociological View


Section: 1034-73890
Wednesdays, 11:30-12:20PM

This course will explore the complex relationship between humans and other animals. We will explore a variety of topics through sociological human-animal studies and analysis of popular cultural artifacts. Along the way, you will gain insight into the methods and concepts that sociologists apply to understand human behavior.

Although many animals are “social”, the “social sciences” have (until recently) focused almost exclusively on human social interaction and social organization. According to the American Pets Products Association (ASPCA, 2015), approximately 37-47% U.S. households keep at least one dog and 30-37% households have at least one cat. Our relationship with animals is complex. While some animals may provide companionship, we keep others exclusively to use them as food and for other resources. A majority of people “consume their flesh and wear their skins” (Kruse, 2002, p. 376). In other words, while we choose to live with some animals, we eat others. What distinguishes a pet from livestock? The difference is most often culturally defined.


Dr. Margaret Weinberger

Position: Lecturer
Department of Sociology
Address: 241 Williams Hall

Margaret J. Weinberger is the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of Sociology and is the undergraduate advisor for sociology majors. Dr. Weinberger teaches cultural anthropology and a number of different sociology courses, including social problems, sociology of gender, and alcohol and public policy. She has extensive experience in animal rescue and is passionate about threats to wildlife as well as the welfare of domestic animals. She shares her home with three dogs and two cats.

French Classics On Stage And Screen

Section: 1024-73881
Wednesdays, 4:30-5:20PM

The Phantom of the Opera. Beauty and the Beast. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Why are these stories so loved by audiences? In this seminar, we will explore the original source material for these giants of stage and screen. Reading short excerpts (in English translation) from Victor Hugo, Gaston Leroux, and more, will lead us to examine their portrayal in movies and musicals.

We will follow their development through various incarnations: for example, from the 18th-century tale of Beauty and the Beast to Jean Cocteau’s ground-breaking 1946 film to Disney’s 1991 and 2017 adaptations. The settings of these classics hold significance, too, such as the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the Paris Opera House. We will discuss themes of love and jealousy, family and community relationships, as well as the notions of beauty and ugliness in spirit and in the flesh. What makes a monster? Seminar students will host film screenings open to the campus community, ideally collaborating with the Gish Theater.


Dr. Jennifer Wolter

Position: Instructor
Department of Romance and Classical Studies
Address: 203 Shatzel Hall

Dr. Jennifer Wolter is the Faculty Director of the French residential learning community (La Maison Française). The idea for this seminar came from last year’s field trip to see The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway in Toledo series) and the enthusiasm shown by students for this musical and the history behind it. Soon came the realization that several French literary classics have been successfully adapted to stage and screen, one of Dr. Wolter’s research interests. Finally, the figure of the monster and the theme of tragic love tie together these prime examples of wildly popular musicals and films.

Sharing Online: Identity And Social Media


Section: 1042-73893
Thursdays, 4:30-5:45PM

Liking a Facebook post, retweeting, posting #NoFilter selfies on Instagram? Are social media networks our new sites for identity construction and political engagement? Or is it just easier to engage with others from behind a multitude of screens? Media literacy is becoming an increasingly important skill in our daily lives, professionally, personally, and politically. Viral social media campaigns like “The Ice Bucket Challenge,” #BringBackOurGirls, KONY2012, and even Harambe memes circulate on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In our ever increasingly mediated lives how do we care for each other? How do we share with each other?

This course critically examines the ways in which people get their information about politics and social justice issues, and how they find or form communities in online spaces. This course gives students a brief overview of viral campaigns circulating in online spaces, “Slacktivism,” file-sharing sites, piracy and downloading, and the reasons why we must be given the tools and resources to interrogate the news stories we share on social media for bias and accuracy. Students will emerge from the course with an interdisciplinary understanding of media production, internet culture, and the ways in which online spaces are sites of political protest and resistance. Reading analyses of media representation, technology, and the democratization of the internet, each week we will discuss a variety of perspectives from blog posts to excerpts from:

  • The Politics of Internet Communication by Robert J. Klotz
  • Tweeting to Power: The Social Media Revolution in American Politics by Jason Gainous and Kevin M. Wagner
  • The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media by Jose van Dijck

Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, students will produce content analyses of hashtags and media impressions from a variety of social media networks using Nvivo software and Tagboard at the conclusion of the semester.

Diana Depasquale CCS

Diana DePasquale

Position: Instructor
Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Department of Ethnic Studies
Address: 229 Shatzel Hall

In addition to being an instructor in the Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies departments located within the School of Cultural & Critical Studies, Diana DePasquale is also a doctoral candidate in BGSU’s American Culture Studies program. Her doctoral dissertation “Stealing or Sharing: Gender, Politics, and Perceptions of Digital Piracy” examines the experiences of those who upload and download television shows as acts of political resistance, bringing media studies into conversation with cultural and gender studies. Opportunities to steal, alter, and mashup digital content are  increasing, and online spaces are emerging as sites of political resistance and alternative informal economies. It is important for feminist and cultural studies scholars to better understand how gender, race, and class impact participation in digital media, including file-sharing and piracy.  

Immigration To Ohio In The 21st Century

Section: 1032-76103
Thursdays, 2:30-3:20PM

Using the state of Ohio as a migrant destination, this class draws attention to questions of immigration policy and migrant settlement to the US.. Who are the immigrants migrating to Ohio in the 21st century? What nations are the immigrants coming from, and what are their reasons for settling in Ohio? What issues do immigrants confront in their daily lives as they settle in Ohio? During the semester, students will learn about various groups that migrated to Ohio as well as the reasons for their migration.  

This is an active learning class. There is no text book for this class.  Students will explore the relationship of the state’s economy and immigrants, and ask the question if immigrants contribute to local economies? Through interviews students will focus on the daily lives of immigrants. How do immigrants adjust to life in Ohio/US? What are the changes that occur in immigrants as a result of migration? What are the institutions that immigrants build in the US? Do immigrants face discrimination?


Dr. Vibha Bhalla

Position: Associate Professor
Department of Ethnic Studies
Address: 227 Shatzel Hall

Dr. Bhalla is an immigrant historian who is attempting to introduce students to immigration to Ohio. Her research is based in Detroit and analyzes the ways gender shapes migration and the settlement of Asian Indians. In addition, her work also explores the ways local economies intersect with immigrant labor.

Salem Witchcraft 1692: Sociological Explanations


Section: 1005-73867
Tuesdays, 1:00-1:50PM

What caused the infamous Salem Witch Hunt in Colonial New England? Using actual texts from 1692, each class member will research a key representative figure from the Salem episode. Together as a class we will comprise the complete composite Salem “cast of characters".

We will study the progression of the examinations, trials and executions. We will also study aspects of Puritan New England culture (spirituality, gender, magic, justice, power, fanaticism, marginality, education) that are often clouded in myth or misrepresented by popular media portrayals of Salem. Then you will construct your own explanation by testing the effectiveness of each causal explanation that scholars have proposed to explain this event and other similar “witch-hunt” or scapegoating activity: such as Social Strain Gauge, Rumor Panic, Moral Crusade, Social Pyramid Structure, PTSD, Imaginary/Scapegoat Deviance, and Ergotism poisoning.


Madeline Duntley

Position: Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Address: 216 Williams Hall

Madeline Duntley is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department. Her field is the sociology of religion and her specialty is North American Religions. She is currently writing on metaphysical and esoteric spirituality in the Cascadia region of the American West. She has taught Witchcraft in America in various forms for 20 years, and has published research on conflict and excommunication at Salem.

BG's Scary History


Section: 1071-74944
Wednesdays, 9:30-11:20AM

Don’t let Bowling Green’s bucolic landscapes fool you. Beneath that veneer of respectability, there awaits a rich history of crime and controversy to reveal. Would you be surprised to know that a public hanging in the town center drew thousands of spectators in 1883? OR that BG had its own Lunatic Asylum, one that you can still visit? Did you know that the gangster Pretty Boy Floyd shot his way through downtown BG in the 1930s? This course will introduce you to the basic methods of historical research by exploring some of the more disturbing events and trends in Bowling Green’s past.

Our approach to these topics will emphasize “hands-on history” where you will be able to examine original documents, artifacts, and buildings. It will include field trips to local archives and museums where evidence, including criminal evidence, is held. We will see that the work of the historian is, in fact, much like the work of the detective; you must ask the right questions, search for sources, and make some sense of the evidence you find. Who created historical sources? What, or who, is valorized in documents, and who is criticized? In what ways are the interests and values reflected in these sources similar to or different from our own? And what does our fascination with the sinister side of history teach us about the lives of the powerful and the vulnerable?

Through research activities, readings, short written responses and discussions, you will come away with improved critical thinking and analytical skills, and with enriching new perspectives on our town’s past as well as its present.


Eric Honneffer

Position: Conservator - William T. Jerome Library
Address: William T. Jerome Library

Eric Honneffer, document conservator and manuscript specialist at Bowling Green State University’s Center for Archival Collections, has lectured and conducted workshops on the care and handling of historic documents for libraries, historical societies and organizations, including the Ohio Preservation Council, Ohio Genealogical Society, the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute, the Society of Ohio Archivists and the Ohio Association Of Historical Societies and Museums. He is former Chair of the Ohio Preservation Council.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Ashland College and a Master of Arts degree in History and Archives Administration from BGSU. His research interests concentrate primarily upon public entertainment, amusement and the arts during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. He is the author of an Arcadia publication on Bowling Green, Ohio and retells the town’s colorful history at any given opportunity.

Toledo's Great Migration

Section: 1018-73875
Thursdays, 6:00-8:00PM

From the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries, streams of Southerners abandoned the South searching for improved economic and social opportunities elsewhere in the country. Settling in urban centers like Chicago and New York as well as emerging cities such as Kansas City and Los Angeles, these migrants brought with them a desire to work and take advantage of the “American Dream” as well as the food, music and other cultural signifiers which defined their Southern roots. Chief amongst this population were African Americans who, post-emancipation, began to redefine their place in the country that they helped build. The history of the Great Migration is an integral part of the making of modern American history, socially, culturally and politically and an important part of the country's immigrant and migrant past. Attempts will be made to connect the African-American migration specifically to urban Ohio. Much of the history about this movement of people has focused on New York, San Francisco or Chicago in the Midwest. But Ohio specifically, including Toledo, attracted a number of settlers who found a home in the region. This course will uncover the traces of this significant migration in American history.

Students will use local and oral historical methodologies, to engage with the various kinds of migrant stories in the region. We will also consider traditional archival material, especially local Black newspapers held in the library as well as some material in the CAC about Toledo’s African American community.

nicole jackson

Nicole Jackson

Position: Assistant Professor - History Department
Address: 128 Williams Hall

Nicole Jackson is an African American and African Diaspora historian with a particular training in history since emancipation. The migration of Black people in the 20th century is a particular focus of her research. She teaches about the Great Migration each semester as part of her History 2060 courses and, when applicable in her African American courses as well. 

Searching for Memories: Mexican (Im)Migration to Northwest Ohio

Section: 1012-77592
Tuesdays, 1:00-1:50PM

The U.S. Census has projected by 2060, that the Latina/o population will reach 119 million, more than double what it is today. This demographic shift will challenge our understanding of Mexican (im)migration into the United States, especially the Midwest. Likewise, this shift will raise critical questions about their important impact on society, culture, and history. This seminar will focus on educating students about the historical and contemporary histories of Mexican (im)migration by exploring counter-narratives and archives.

The seminar focuses on a critical dialogue between students and the instructor. Students will read, discuss and analyze selected articles on Mexican (im)migration. These articles focus on the past, present, and future histories of those communities. In addition, students will conduct research through the local and university archives on the histories of working-class Mexicans in Northwest Ohio to develop a local history digital project. 


Luis Moreno

Position: Instructor - Department of Ethnic Studies
Address: 228 Shatzel Hall

Dr. Moreno is an instructor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies teaching Latina/o Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of labor, migration, and activism among the Mexican working-class communities in the United States, especially the Southwest & Midwest.