Developing a Christian Mind
IDIS 150 02 Honors DCM: Dramatic Families: Dreams, Dysfunctions, and Occasional Solutions in Shakespeare and Modern Drama. This DCM section will study a number of plays featuring families suffering from maladies such as death, abandonment, and betrayal; these same families have members who each have their own dreams, desires, and aspirations. We will ask questions such as these: How do these families differ from what might be considered God’s design for families? What has brought about these problematic situations? How do characters’ dreams seek to rise above the dysfunction? How are they the cause of it? How is redemptive hope present (or absent) in the different families? How is all of this relevant to our own lives? How can the study of such material glorify God, draw us closer to Him and others as we become increasingly conformed to His image, and help advance His Kingdom? We will study Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Ibsen’s A Doll House, Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, as well as Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World. Students will have the opportunity to view video productions of the plays. Evaluation includes quizzes on each play and on Engaging God’s World, several short integrative essays, a final take-home exam, class participation. D. Urban. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 03 DCM: Eugenics and Personal Genomics. Eugenics (the self-direction of human evolution through the promotion of desirable traits and the elimination of undesirable traits) is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs (including mandatory sterilizations) were vigorously promoted in the United States well before Hitler by prestigious institutions such as the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation and by notable people such as H. G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, and J. H. Kellogg? Would it shock you to learn that the American eugenics movement, American funding, and American technology promoted Hitler’s human extermination program? For obvious reasons, eugenics programs and their support fell into disfavor after WWII. However, the sequencing of the human genome and advanced technology have again made directed modification of the human species probable. Is the genetic modification or selection of embryos to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment”? Is the unprecedented accessibility to personal genetic information leading us again down the slippery slope of hatred, discrimination, and devaluation of subsets of humanity, similar to the original eugenics movement? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this genetic information, who should have access to it, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its original hopes, subsequent fall, and re-invigoration in the genomic era. Students will learn to recognize eugenics in all of its forms and will evaluate its implications in political, socioeconomic, moral, and religious contexts. An all-day course field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center (Farmington Hill, MI) requires a $45 student fee. Students will be graded based on class participation/activities, reflection essays, reading quizzes, and a final exam. Fee: $45. R. Bebej, D. Proppe. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 04 DCM: Eugenics and Personal Genomics. Eugenics (the self-direction of human evolution through the promotion of desirable traits and the elimination of undesirable traits) is a philosophy we most commonly associate with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Would it surprise you to know that eugenics programs (including mandatory sterilizations) were vigorously promoted in the United States well before Hitler by prestigious institutions such as the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation and by notable people such as H. G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, and J. H. Kellogg? Would it shock you to learn that the American eugenics movement, American funding, and American technology promoted Hitler’s human extermination program? For obvious reasons, eugenics programs and their support fell into disfavor after WWII. However, the sequencing of the human genome and advanced technology have again made directed modification of the human species probable. Is the genetic modification or selection of embryos to prevent disorders an acceptable form of “treatment”? Is the unprecedented accessibility to personal genetic information leading us again down the slippery slope of hatred, discrimination, and devaluation of subsets of humanity, similar to the original eugenics movement? What decisions go into obtaining and interpreting this genetic information, who should have access to it, and what values should guide our use of it? This course will evaluate the rise of eugenics, its original hopes, subsequent fall, and re-invigoration in the genomic era. Students will learn to recognize eugenics in all of its forms and will evaluate its implications in political, socioeconomic, moral, and religious contexts. An all-day course field trip to the Holocaust Memorial Center (Farmington Hill, MI) requires a $45 student fee. Students will be graded based on class participation/activities, reflection essays, reading quizzes, and a final exam. Fee: $45. K. DuBois, J. Wertz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 05 DCM: Prison Education, Outreach, and Re-Entry. What programs are available to help inmates grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually during their time in prison, as well as after they are released? What difference can these programs make for everyone involved? In this course, we’ll learn about prison programs across the country, devoting special attention to the Grand Rapids area and the Calvin Prison Initiative. Our guest speakers will include prison administrators, teachers, pastors, and community volunteers, as well as citizens who have returned from prison and are rebuilding their lives. Through their stories, we’ll develop a better understanding of important social issues such as trends in mass incarceration, the value of higher education in prison, and the challenges of re-entry. If you’ve read scriptural calls to care about prisoners and wondered, “What would that look like?” or “How could I do that?,” this course is an excellent starting point. It also lays a solid foundation for students who would like to serve as Calvin Prison Initiative tutors. The class will include an optional tour of the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson, to learn about Michigan’s prison intake system; and an optional visit to Richard J. Handlon correctional facility in Ionia, to participate in a class discussion with CPI students. Participation in these trips is encouraged, but not required. Open only to transfer students. Fee: $20. K. Benedict. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 06 DCM: Sport Documentaries. This course examines sport and its place in human life and culture through documentary films that feature sport. Students review several sport documentary films such as Hoop Dreams, When We Were Kings, The Boxing Girls of Kabul, Undefeated, and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, identifying and evaluating why people play and watch sports, the interaction between sport and society, and the effects of sport on individuals and culture. In addition, the course explores common psychological issues in sport such as competition, motivation, leadership and aggression as well as sociological themes including race, gender, social class, youth development, and religion. Sport films serve as a catalyst for evaluation and discussion of sport in modern society and stimulate students to dig beneath the surface to explore the meaning of sport, including its intersections and contrasts with Christianity. While interacting with DCM and other sport readings, students work toward developing and articulating a Christian perspective on sport. The students review each film in online forums and comment on each other’s reviews, fostering possibilities for class discussion. Class activities also include participating in some sport forms that are subjects in some of the films. Several films feature sports less known to Calvin students and sports that take place in international locations, which provides an opportunity to explore global similarities and differences in sport practice. Students also pair up to create their own documentaries that are revealed at the end of class. During this process they develop filmmaking and technological skills and learn how documentary films are influenced by the perspective of the directors and producers. B. Bolt. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 07 DCM: Women’s Spiritual Memoir. The vast majority of religious texts have been penned by men. This course will introduce students to a sampling of women’s writings on Christian spirituality, vocation, and discipleship. By examining historical and contemporary writings, the course will explore how women have sought to understand and live out their faith in different times and places, including in the contemporary North American context. Students will have an opportunity to engage their own religious traditions, explore the Reformed tradition, and articulate their personal religious commitments by trying their hand at writing their own (brief) spiritual memoir. The course will include reading, discussion, daily writing, and conversations with select authors. Authors may include Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, Esther Edwards Burr, Pauli Murray, Sojourner Truth, Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans, Austin Channing Brown, Katelyn Beaty, Kate Bowler, Dorothy Day, Alice Walker, Annie Dillard, and Kathy Khang. K. Du Mez. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 08 DCM: Gen Z and the Church: Cause for Concern or Reason for Hope? Gen Z (a.k.a. Digital Natives, iGen, or Post-Millennials) is the youngest generation, yet it is making a huge impact on our culture and changing the course of politics, economics, and education. This generation’s presence, as well as its absence, is forcing the Church to think strategically about its Biblical mandate to pass on its faith to future generations. Through the lens of Generational Theory, this class will review the historical and sociological factors that shaped generations, including the differences and similarities present across cultural and socio-economical lines. The spiritual profile of the multiple generations that are present in our churches will be surveyed. Through discussions with pastors, church visits and case studies, the impact of generational demands for community, as well as GenZ’s demand for diversity, flexibility, and innovation upon congregational life and worship will be explored. Students will develop an understanding of unique characteristics of faith development for each generation, as well as best ministry practices addressing these issues. Evaluation for this course will be based on participation, reflection papers, a presentation and an exam. L. Elliott. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 09 DCM: Thinking Beautifully about Mathematics. Mathematics is typically perceived as a tool for scientific or technological purposes, or as a lofty enterprise, having a sense of living in some Platonic realm of forms. In this course, we will engage with both of these perspectives by viewing it as primarily a human activity engaging with the world as a creation. As such, we will develop the idea that a mathematician’s profession is an example of developing a craft that seeks to view her or his subject matter through the lens of the Transcendentals: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. We will see how this view of developing a craft engages with the Reformed perspectives on Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Vocation. With respect to the craft developed by the mathematician, we will explore various aspects of mathematics in order to investigate such themes as: the distinction between invention and discovery; formal versus contemplative reasoning; the ways beauty is seen in mathematics by mathematicians. Students will engage with these themes through group discussions, exploring various ideas in mathematics, and written papers aimed at developing their own approaches to thinking beautifully. J. Turner. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 12 DCM: The New Urbanism. This course delves into the current cultural debate over the way we build cities. After the Second World War, the US embarked on a historically unprecedented pattern of development: low-density, auto-oriented suburbs. As the limits of that pattern of development became apparent in the 1990s, the “New Urbanist” movement was born—a movement of architects, planners, environmentalists, and citizen activists that has tried to recover more traditional ways of putting cities together, cities that are compact, walkable, transit-oriented, and filled with mixed-use neighborhoods. Students will review the history of city-building in the west; in teams of four or five design a town for 30,000; and read articles and view video documentaries that explore different aspects of urban design. Several guest speakers from the development and planning community of Grand Rapids will address the class. The overall goal of the class is to gain a deeper understanding of our shared built environment. Evaluation will be based on reading worksheets, participation in the design project, two short papers, and a final exam. L. Hardy. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 13 DCM: Music and Politics. This course explores the complex relationship between music and politics: how governments, institutions, and special interests groups have influenced the kinds of music made (or not made) in a given context, the variety of ways music has been used to meet political objectives, and the many different ways music has been understood to carry political meaning. By examining several case studies from the 20th century onward, the course will probe the positive and negative social functions for music in political contexts, considering when and how music can be a tool for expression, teaching, solidarity, identity-formation, and satire, but also oppression, control, dehumanization, and even torture. Case studies will include: worker’s music from the North American labor movement (1920s and 30s), music in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Soviet music during the Cold War, the civil rights movement in North America, music during Apartheid in South Africa, censorship and regulation of popular music in the US (especially the Parents Music Resource Council), and uses for music by American soldiers in the Global War on Terror. Using Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World as a backdrop, we will probe theological and philosophical queries about music that arise out of these case studies: how can music be considered good or evil? how is music implicated in negotiations of power? What factors allow it to act as a redemptive or oppressive force in society? No musical training required. B. Wolters-Fredlund. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 14 DCM: Banning the Imagination. This course focuses on the ways in which North American culture handles books, films, and visual art that many in the culture may find disturbing and problematic. The course will examine the ways that imaginative art has been censored and banned for the sake of “safety,” or as a response to perceived obscenity, or as a rejection of challenges to approved norms, or simply as a refusal to accept a given imaginative approach or work. Thus, for example, we will look at Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time—the novel and the film adaptation—to think about imaginative presentations of theological truth. With M. T. Anderson’s Feed, we will look at issues of language, censorship, and social media. With Sherman Alexie’s Diary of a Part-Time American Indian, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, we’ll discuss issues of gender and sexuality. With The Kite Runner, we’ll discuss the effects “own voices” movement. We’ll consider racial assumptions as we look at To Kill a Mockingbird alongside Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. In all of these areas, our focus will be on how people of faith read and view and interpret imaginative art. To this end, the course is conducted through reading and discussion and debate, through viewing of certain films and works of art, through written response papers, and through projects that engage with the questions at hand. Students will read several required works and will work on projects designed to give them opportunity to make their own explorations of the imagination in art and literature. G. Schmidt, D. Hettinga. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 15 DCM: Seeing Photographs. Why do we take photographs? How do we take them? Are there times when we should put our cameras and smartphones away? How should be think, as Christians, about photography? This class will ask us to become more intentional about the photos we take and more discerning about the photos we view. We will learn to become more imaginative in how we think about and produce photos. Readings and image presentations will inform class discussions, written reflections and photo production assignments form the majority of course work. A smartphone and instagram account are required. Fee: $50. J. Steensma Hoag. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 16 DCM: God Rested: Why Can’t You? Living in a life of a 24/7 world, the notion of rest may come to our mind as an anachronism, a fantasy, or simply unimaginable. While we are created to worship God and rest in Him, we tend to worship our work, and rest in ourselves. These distortions affect our perceptions of ourselves, our relationships with others, and most importantly, our relationship with God. We may wonder, “Do I realize life while I live it, every, every minute?” This class will examine some of the personal and socio-cultural forces that drive us toward living restless life. In addition, this class will assist in developing a new perspective that will help rediscover leisure, work, and rest. Y. Lee. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 17 DCM: Climate Changes: Science, Policy, and Rhetoric. This DCM section explores global climate change. What is the scientific basis? What predictions does the science make? How much confidence should we have in the various predictions? What are the policy options? What are the alternatives to fossil fuels? In this course students practice reasoning skills needed to sift through the predictions to define which issues are pressing and to sift through the policy options to identify what alternatives are feasible. Further, students consider related moral questions, such as stewardship of a common earth or justice when the actions of one group affect the livelihood of another. Finally, students consider the rhetoric of discussing climate change. In what ways are the rhetoric of the media and of interest groups appropriate or misleading? What rhetorical approaches can be used that would be both honest and effective? Students will read in entirety Cornelius Plantinga’s “Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living” and Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” in addition to a variety of short essays. Students will also view several documentaries and dialog with invited speakers. Class discussions will probe all of these things plus occasional lectures. Quizzes and short writing exercises will be used to evaluate understanding of key concepts. A term paper and presentation will assess either a form of renewable energy generation or a means of adapting to rapid climate change. L. Molnar. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 18 DCM: Detroit and the Challenges of Urban Renewal. Since the rebirth of Americans cities in the late 1990s, the debate regarding gentrification and the impact of common forms of urban renewal on economic equity within the city has grown in intensity. While cities increasingly cater to wealthy residents and tourists in close proximity to the city center with more and more amenities, those less fortunate residents needing affordable housing, economic opportunity, and health care appear to be falling further and further behind. This course examines the challenges associated with urban renewal by observing the contours of this process in the City of Detroit. After decades of decline and a recent bankruptcy, Detroit is the beginning stages of a comeback story of sorts. Downtown and midtown have seen considerable investment and redevelopment and certain neighborhoods are becoming increasingly attractive destinations. At the same time, it is difficult to assert that most Detroiters have directly experienced the benefits of this urban renewal. The fundamental question then for Detroit and other rising cities is how can the all residents be served by policy, particularly those at the economic margins that are most susceptible to displacement from the city. This course will explore this question by studying the shifts in urban politics toward the latter half of the 20th century and applying this literature to the unfolding story of Detroit. Moreover, students in this course will understand both the promise and peril of contemporary urban renewal through the Reformed Christian tradition. This course will spend the first two weeks of interim examining theories of urban politics and developments in Detroit. The final week of interim will be spent in Detroit where students will meet with various decision-makers in the city, tour different neighborhoods throughout the city, and observe the contradictions of urban renewal for themselves. Fee: $500. M. Pelz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 19 DCM: Movies and Music: Theological Themes. This course examines the expression of theological themes in select musical works and films. Compositions studied include works by Haydn (The Creation), Bach (St. John Passion), and Mozart (Requiem). Films analyzed include Babette’s Feast, The Mission, The Seventh Seal, and Amadeus. Where possible, the relevant libretto or screenplay is read prior to listening to or viewing the work in question. Prerequisites: interest in theology, the arts, and their intersection; readiness to listen carefully and watch discerningly; and willingness to engage in discussion. Students will: 1) acquire a knowledge of select theological themes 2) become acquainted with certain sacred compositions (and their composers) 3) enhance their listening skills 4) become acquainted with certain films (and their directors) 5) advance their skills in film analysis 6) exercise their skills in discussion and oral presentation. Students will be required to do readings, keep a journal, write a paper, engage in discussion, and participate in a final exam. R. Plantinga. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 20 DCM: Why Did I Do That? Social Cognition in Everyday Life. Why do we do the things we do? How much of our decision making operates at a conscious vs. unconscious level? What factors really decide our level of happiness? These are just a few of the questions that the field of social cognition addresses. This DCM course focuses on factors that influence our everyday behavior and decision making. This course follows three themes: 1) How do we process and utilize social information in our daily lives? 2) How do these processes both benefit us and how might they be distorted and harmful? 3) How can we use this knowledge to make better choices and behave in a more redemptive way? Specific topics include, psychological theories of decision making, Biblical views on human nature and behavior, factors that determine our level of happiness, how cognitive processes impact our relationships, and why humans are predictable. In addition to exams, students are evaluated through reflection papers which will include applications of the themes learned during the course. D. Tellinghuisen, B. Riek. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 21 DCM: The Big Bang Theory. This course will be a scientific and historical account of the progression of humanity’s understanding of the physical universe, from ancient history to the present. Important discoveries will be highlighted along the way, with fundamental scientific concepts introduced as needed in order to provide a clear picture explaining the evidence supporting the big bang theory. In addition, students will explore the varying Christian perspectives on the big bang theory, seeking to understand some of the conflicting scriptural interpretive frameworks and scientific interpretive frameworks that can lead to disagreement over the theory’s plausibility and theological legitimacy. This is not a survey introduction to astronomy but will cover topics pertinent to understanding the big bang theory as a scientific model. It is designed to be accessible to anyone with a high school level education in science and a firm grasp of algebra. Evaluation will be through homework, tests, and participation in in-class discussions and assignments. L. Haarsma. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 22 Documentary Film & the Christian Worldview. Documentary films have become increasingly popular over the last decade with the growth of online exhibition and streaming services. What is it about non-fiction media that compels us? What does this tell us about human nature? What do ideas and values rooted in Christianity suggest? This course examines documentary film as a creative medium to explore the beauty of our world and engage with its sorrows. We explore our own role both as embodied viewers, engaging our senses, and also as co-creators of our own non-fiction narratives. How should the Bible’s call for us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves shape viewing and producing documentaries? Our experience watching documentary films and videos will culminate with the production of our own short videos over the last two days of class. S. Smartt. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 23 DCM: Politics as Christian Calling and Vocation: Possibilities and Tensions. This is a DCM for all who enjoy politics, or who are frustrated by politics but can’t quite let it go because it seems too important. The class will explore whether it is possible to think of work in government and politics, particularly in representative democracies such as the United States, as a Christian calling. Politics involves the authoritative but usually peaceful allocation of power, and is thus a coercive exercise. And the ethical dilemmas in politics are many; involving both individual responsibility for imperfect action as well as the inevitably negative aspect of policy actions, even if mostly unintended. With its highly charged atmosphere, complex morality and ethics, and low public trust, is contemporary politics, particularly in the United States of America, something that Christians should avoid? Or is this precisely the time that calls for engagement? The class will examine the historic Christian understandings of the role of government and its offices and realistic Christian expectations for government and politics today, in the DCM framework of creation, fall, redemption, and vocation. Concepts to be explored include the main Catholic (subsidiarity and solidarity) and Reformed/Protestant (sphere sovereignty) interpretations of the possibilities and obligations of Christian politics, expectations and hope for proximate public justice through politics, the questions of virtue and character by political actors, and other key markers of a thoughtful Christian discussion about politics and its processes and ends. Learning will be through a variety of methods including readings and their discussion, movies and videos, interviews with practitioners, and participation in simulations and games. Evaluation of learning will be from pre- and post-tests of the question of Christian faith and politics, and written responses to readings, interviews, and simulations. D. Koopman. 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 24 DCM: Disability, Community, and Inclusion. This course will explore the history, nature, kinds, and social dynamics of disability. Two interconnected foci of the course will be (i) how individuals with disabilities have been regularly and systematically excluded from their communities, and (ii) how the inclusion of individuals in a community is good for the community itself. The course will thus involve critical reflection on what our practices reflect about our default understanding of community and how we should revise what community ought to be like. This course is open to all students who wish to explore society's and their own perspectives and responses to individuals who live with disabilities. Course requirements include readings, discussions, lectures, media, as well as a two-day conference at Calvin required of all students enrolled in the course. K. Timpe. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 25 DCM: Minecraft Geographies. The Minecraft gaming world allows users to build complex and almost infinitely vast virtual worlds. We will explore the connections between Minecraft’s virtual geographies, real-world geographies, mapping, and Christian faith. Students will explore mapping methods of old (those made with pen & paper) and new cartographies (those made with bits & bytes) in an effort to understand at various geographic scales and connections the challenges of poverty, terrorism, politics, health, water scarcity, population growth, surveillance & slavery, Christian missions, urban development, and refugee movements. Activities engage students in paper mapping, geospatial technology mapping, and the popular game of Minecraft. No previous mapping or gaming experience required. J. Van Horn. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 26 DCM: Utopias, Dystopias, and Apocalypse. Political philosophers have told stories about perfect and imperfect communities and what we can learn from them since antiquity. Utopias offer us a picture of what should be and, perhaps, can still be. Dystopias warn us about how ambitious political and social projects can go horrendously wrong. And tales of apocalypse unveil a vision of a reality that truly lies behind all that we have taken for truth thus far. There is more than a passing resonance between these literary categories and the traditional Reformed emphases on Creation, Fall, and Redemption. In this course we will explore various examples of utopias, dystopias, and apocalypse through both the written word (books) and visual depiction (films), and how these works of imaginative political philosophy relate to the Reformed “accent” and structure that informs the educational mission of Calvin University. M. Watson. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 27 DCM: Reading the Word and the World. Many educators regard Paulo Freire as one of the most influential educators of the 20th –and even now 21st—century for his contributions to literacy studies. His concept of reading the word and the world in particular has ushered in a view of literacy toward socio-cultural perspectives and away from cognitive/developmental ones. Such a paradigm shift has challenged the ways in which educators teach learners how to read basic alphanumeric texts in primary school and content area texts in such subjects as music, math, and Spanish at the secondary level. In this course, we will explore whether and how this concept of reading the word and the world is in harmony with a Reformed perspective. We will look at how the home, church, and social institutions into which each of us is born influence how we communicate and make sense of various academic language and texts we encounter in the K-12 schooling system. We will watch popular movies, tour local schools, engage in small and whole group discussions, participate in literacy activities such as read aloud, and write our way to a transformed understanding of a Christian perspective on reading the word and the world. How might Reformed theology inform our view of the literacy practices of learners? How does Reformed theology help us to assess and ultimately celebrate the ways in which each learner reads the word and the world? Fee: $20. N. Westbrook. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 28 DCM: Nature in Culture. Portrayals of nature are all around us. Ideas about the natural world can be found in music, movies, television shows, literature, and advertisements, as well as in physical spaces such as zoos, aquariums, and theme parks. This course examines how these popular representations influence our own understanding of the environment and our ideas about gender, race, and class. We will explore ideas about Native Americans as portrayed in popular movies like Avatar, how gendered language like the term ‘Mother Earth’ has shaped humanity’s relationship with the natural world, and how these popular representations have influenced and been appropriated by the environmental movement. Throughout, we will pay close attention to how an historical understanding of nature in culture can shape our relationships with God’s creation. N. Cunigan. 8:30 a.m to noon.
IDIS 150 29 DCM: The Church in the 21st Century. Few institutions have undergone more change in the past twenty-five years than the local Christian church. Changes in worship style, music, the visual arts, and the role of lay leadership are just a few of the elements that have driven these changes. These shifts have challenged many Christians to reexamine the question: What is the role of the local church in the Kingdom of God? As we enter the 21st century, society is becoming more pluralistic, more secular, and more materialistic. Local churches must be ready to respond and speak clearly to these and other issues. This course will challenge students to think about their individual roles within the local church, and to think carefully about the nature and mission of the local church within a broad Kingdom context. R. Greenway. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 30 DCM: Exploring France, Quebec, and West Africa Through Film. This course explores French-speaking countries through cinema. Films chosen for the course cover a variety of genres (comedy, drama, animated feature) and include classic films as well as recent productions that earned popular and critical acclaim. The main goal of the course is to study through a Christian worldview how cinema has presented French-speaking societies chiefly in France but also in the province of Québec and in West African countries such as Senegal and Burkina Faso. In considering the ties between French and American cinema, the course also studies how French-language and American directors differ in their use of film narrative to present faith-related and social issues such as race, gender, poverty, power, and violence. The course aims at examining the degree to which our worldview is based on our cultural background and the manner a powerful genre such as film shapes and reflects our vision. Knowledge of French is an asset but not required as all films have subtitles. Note: while great care is given to the choice of films, many present issues, situations, and language are meant for a mature audience. O. Selles. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 31 DCM: Black Girl Magic: Coming of Age Stories by Black Women. Black Girl Magic is a movement created in 2013 by CaShawn Thompson. According to Huffington Post Fashion Editor Julee Wilson, “Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves.” The movement seeks to counter popular images of “beauty and femininity” that frequently place Black girls and women on the margins, according to a 2015 Los Angeles Times article. Former First Lady Michelle Obama stated in a speech in 2013, that Black girls have to hear “voices that tell you that you’re not good enough, that you have to look a certain way, act a certain way; that if you speak up, you’re too loud; if you step up to lead, you’re being bossy.” Thompson stated that she is inspired by Black women who persevere despite adversity. Achievements by Black women are like “magic.” This movement is one that seeks to highlight the inherent human dignity of Black girls and women. This course presents stories by Black women within the literary genre of Bildungsroman, or Coming of Age stories, including those written by Paule Marshall, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Jacqueline Woodson.These stories highlight the struggles, strength, and perseverance of Black girls and women despite societal challenges. As a DCM course, the concepts of creation, fall, redemption form the framework to understand and appreciate these stories. In the course, we will read three such stories by Black women representing the African Diaspora. The format will be discussion of assigned readings. Students will also write short journal entries, and write an integrative examination at the end that brings the various themes together coherently. E. Washington. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 32 DCM: Justice Together: Exploring the Partnership Between Communities and Churches. This course introduces Christian community development approaches and beliefs using theological, cultural, and historical frameworks. Sunday morning has famously been called the most segregated hour in America. How should churches address problems of segregation to more accurately reflect their communities? What should churches do when they discover some of their well-intentioned help has hurt under-resourced communities? How can churches and communities mutually seek justice? We use assigned readings, podcasts, videos, and hands-on experiences to explore these questions. Students meet church leaders and community development workers of West Michigan, visit two local churches who partner with their communities, keep a journal, take a quiz, and write one integrative examination. Fee: $10. K. Carter. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 33 DCM: dis/Ability: Beyond Suffering. Students in this course will investigate a faith-filled view of disability. They will explore stereotypes of disability, definitions of disability, and historical responses to disability. In addition, course participants will develop a theology of disability and will describe a response to disability for both schools and worship communities This course is open to all students who wish to explore society’s and their own perspectives and responses to individuals who live with disabilities. Following completion of this course, students will demonstrate understanding of: what it means to be identified with a disability, society’s typical view and response to disability, schools’ and churches’ responses to individuals with disabilities, ethical considerations of one’s response to individuals who live with disabilities. Readings, media presentations, interacting with those who live with disabilities, and class discussions will form the primary course format. Class participation, including in class discussion and written reflections, will be a primary method of student evaluation. In addition, students will prepare a synthesis project at the conclusion of the course. P. Stegink. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 34 DCM:Know the Bible, Know your World. Why can people take the Bible and seem to make it say whatever they want? In a postmodern context, is it possible to read the Bible as a metanarrative with universal truths, and if so how do we apply them to today’s narratives? Through reading the Bible itself, discussions and written reflections, students will learn the overarching biblical themes of creation-fall-redemption, learn to see them in a variety of biblical genres, and apply them to their own personal narratives. A. Vriesman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 35 DCM: Rythms of Grace: Living out of Rest not Crazy. Life comes at us hard. Pressures abound: pressure to succeed, pressure to measure up, pressure to pick a major... pressure! But what if who you are becoming is more important than what you’re achieving? What if knowing yourself and God is as important as all the knowledge a college education can buy? In this class we’ll ask things like what makes you, you? What experiences, passions, gifts, dreams, personality, etc shape you? What wounds, insecurities, memories, & fears threaten to silence you? How do you see God’s redeeming work extending to even the areas of pain and suffering? What is Grace and what does it look like to live out of it? What does it look like to live a life of worship? What kinds of practices help you live out of Rest? Through reading, journaling, art, music, personality assessments, strength-finders tests, spiritual disciplines, guest speakers, movies, drum circle, and class discussions we will explore the various ways in which God shapes our lives in the context of the larger drama of Creation, Fall, Redemption, & New Creation. The class will culminate in a final project that asks students to look for key themes and threads in their life and represent them in a medium of their choosing (memoir, music, painting, poetry, etc). Grades will be based on class engagement, journal entries, a paper, the final project, and a final exam. J. Bonnema. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 36 DCM: Theatre and Identity: Exploring Race, Gender and Reconciliation. Highlighting the Calvin University arts theme of this academic year—Create, Unite Renew—this course will examine plays that highlight race, gender and reconciliation. Theatre is “the stuff” of human behavior and human interaction. Theater allows us to see that a character can be much like ourselves, fallible and broken, yet searching for who they are in relation to the world around them. The class will examine how theatre texts and performances can help us understand identity both personally and in community. Using Christian practices of testimony, discernment and compassion, students will challenge themselves to see brokenness and reconciliation through a theatrical lens. The class will discuss the issues presented in the plays and contemplate how these plays can stir both understanding and action in its audiences. Dramatic literature studied in this class will include Spinning Into Butter, The Piano Lesson, She Kills Monsters, and Proof. During the course these plays will be analyzed and assessed against the theological material provided in Engaging God’s World. Students will be assessed through quizzes and short response of the readings and lectures. Moreover, in small groups, students will analyze and present dramaturgical research on Spinning Into Butter, the CTC winter production. This research will be on display in the lobby during the run of the production. D. Freeberg. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
IDIS 150 37 Music as Therapy in Everyday Life. Think of the myriad ways one engages with music through the course of a day. What needs in our lives does music fulfill? What needs in the world can be addressed by music? This course will explore the ways in which music can intervene in our lives, transforming us and reflecting God’s redemption of the world. Through readings from contemporary musicology and the social sciences, films, and a variety of musical styles, students will explore the questions, 1) What is music? 2) How does music make us human? and 3) How might different musical forms and practices contribute to the healing of a broken world? The field of music therapy will be looked at as a “case example” of themes and concepts discussed. No formal music training is required, though students will have the opportunity to participate in group music-making experiences. Evaluation will be based on participation, reading responses, journal entries, an oral presentation/research paper, a take-home exam, and a final exam. E. Epp. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
IDIS 150 AC DCM: Truth and Reconciliation: The Artists Response I. The arts hold unique capacity for expressing and exposing complex social situations. In this course, students will explore what it means to be a Christian artist and collaborator responsive to injustice in today’s contemporary, global society. Using the Developing a Christian Mind (DCM) Reformed Worldview as a framework, we will focus on how the arts can help us see and respond to forms to injustice in North America. In particular, we ask “How does an artist see injustice? How does an artist respond to injustice? And how does a Christian artist bring hope in the face of injustice?” We consider the general theme of water to focus on particular injustices related to sustainability, domination, and immigration. Music, visual arts, poetry, dance, film, architecture, & media provide multiple ways to consider how artists “do justice” in collaboration with others. We will create responses, engage in arts explorations, and hold discussions from readings, multi-media texts, film, installations, & guest artists. Collaborative work will anchor course activities and the culminating multi-media truth and reconciliation project. The concepts and learning activities will prepare students for their off-campus interim experience, Truth & Reconciliation: The Artist Response II. D. Buursma. 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
MATH 161: Calculus with DCM, II. A continuation of Mathematics 160. Calculus topics include integration and applications of integration. This course also introduces students to the development of a Christian worldview and a broad, faith-based engagement with the ambient culture using the history and application of calculus as a case study. So topics also include classical methods of optimization as well as modern applications with its sometimes harmful consequences. Readings common to Interdisciplinary 150 sketch out basic biblical themes and help students begin to formulate a Christian frame of reference. This course fulfills the DCM core. Its completion also serves as a substitute for Math 171. Students are responsible for in-class activities (done in groups), daily problem sets, quizzes, a final exam, and final exam essay responses that relate a Christian worldview with mathematics. Pre- Requisite: MATH 160. M. Bolt. 8:30 a.m. to noon.