Catalog: Fall 2007 - Spring 2008

2007-08 Catalog: W

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War: Consequences and Alternatives

Spring quarter

Faculty: Michael Vavrus (political economy), Steve Niva (political science, Middle Eastern studies)

Major areas of study include literature, writing, cultural studies, history, political economy and philosophy/ethics.

Class Standing: This Core program is designed for freshmen.

War has been a defining factor of the human condition throughout history and continues to dominate the international political landscape into the 21st century. War directly and indirectly affects the daily lives of nearly all people on the planet. This program asks students to think about the deeper justifications for and the consequences of war through interdisciplinary sources and explorations. What are the arguments for and against war? What are political, economic, and religious justifications for war? What are the ethical dilemmas surrounding decisions to engage in either war or non-violence? What is it in the human species that has historically attracted us to war? To what extent are humans receptive to alternatives to war and violence? How are war and non-violence represented and supported or not supported in popular culture?

From antiquity to our contemporary era, war's influential role in our lives has been reflected culturally in many ways: through literature, poetry, film, music, economic structures, and political expressions. In this program, we will look at writings and material from a variety of these sources and perspectives: accounts from war journalists, military handbooks, analyses of scholars, revelations from poets and novelists, films like The Battle of Algiers, and perspectives from war veterans and peace advocates, all of which will help us to think about the impact of war on human societies, our psychological well-being, and our purpose in life.

In this one-quarter program, students will explore these multiple perspectives on war with particular attention to the United States. We will examine how war has been ideologically framed, give some focus to previous and current wars in Vietnam and Iraq and also look at how contemporary international institutions such as the United Nations were created with the hope of preventing war among nations as well as examine in detail many movements that have sought and practiced alternatives to war and violence.

Students will regularly engage in writing assignments each week, including writing several academic social science essays, as well as participate in several role-plays and other in-class exercises. The program will be supplemented with a field trip and guest speakers who represent a variety of perspectives on the topic of war.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 46

Special Expenses: Approximately $15 for expenses related to field trip/museum fee.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in literature, writing, cultural studies, history, political economy, philosophy/ethics and education.

This program is also listed under

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2008–09.

Program Updates
Faculty member Bill Ransom (creative writing) has left the program and Steve Niva (political science, Middle Eastern studies) has joined it.
03.06.2008: The program narrative has been revised.


The Wisdom of a Sailor

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters


Faculty: John Filmer (maritime studies, business management)

Major areas of study include history, critical reasoning, writing, navigation, literature, communications, leadership and seamanship. Sea time can be documented toward USCG mariner's license

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Faculty Signature: Students must submit a one-page hand written summary of their goals and objectives as well as their expectations of the program. Acceptance into the program will be based on the student's background and aspirations. For information and to schedule a faculty interview, contact John Filmer, (360) 867-6159 or write to The Evergreen State College, Seminar 2 A2117, Olympia, WA 98505. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

The challenge of sea and sail inspires ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It is truly a metaphor for life and it will open up exciting vistas of opportunity. Wisdom handed down through the generations by ancient mariners, explorers, merchant seamen, fishermen and all those intrigued by venturing out on open waters will provide the "mainstay" for all we do in this year long program. What they did and what you will learn comprise the "wisdom of the sailor" and an incentive to learn even more about the world and about yourself. Our waters define the history, ecology and economy of the region. Placing vessels and students into that environment helps us make a strong public statement about the centrality of the marine environment to our economy, our identity and our future. The excitement of sailing and the challenge of sea and sail focus the talents and energies of the students while building strong learning communities aboard the sailing vessels.

During fall quarter in the classroom, we will study the origins and patterns of world trade and exploration, U.S. and Puget Sound history and an introduction to nautical charts and the use of vector geometry in Coastal Navigation. Emphasis in our seminar discussions and in the writing assignments will be on critical reasoning and an articulate analysis of the issues. Students will be expected to develop and defend detailed responses to a series of sharply focused essay questions based on the readings.

In the winter quarter classroom, we will examine the role of international trade, seaports and the maritime industries as drivers of the economic engine of the Puget Sound region. We will continue our study of the principles of coastal navigation and maritime history. As always adherence to critical reasoning principles will be emphasized in our discussions and essay writing.

Spring quarter's class work will include material on navigational history, the physics of sail and the development and refinement of coastal navigation skills. Reading, seminar discussions and writing assignments will focus on understanding and developing team building and leadership strategies and their application in the teaching of seamanship and boat handling.

Every quarter while on board a well-tuned sail-training vessel, we will "plunge into the past" and learn to apply traditional sailing techniques. This is an opportunity to study power cruise and sail seamanship, become part of a working crew, learn The Rules of the Road, tides and currents, weather, coastal navigation and various sailor's arts including knots, splices, hitches, reefs and the correct use of lines. While hauling down on a halyard or hardening up on a sheet, you will find the ship comes alive and you become a part of her. More importantly, you will learn about yourself, overcome your fear, develop self-confidence, self-discipline, responsibility and self-sufficiency while also learning teamwork, management and leadership skills. You will be challenged both physically and mentally to do things you never thought you could do. All this will be closely coordinated with our classroom work.

Indeed, the title of this program is no accident. A sailor's wisdom covers a plethora of subjects from weather to engineering and from geography to philosophy and marine ecology. A sterling example is how vector analysis is an essential part of the science of piloting (Coastal Navigation). This is a discipline you will actually come to enjoy even if you have previously despised mathematics.

The program will be ambitious and demanding both intellectually and physically. The development of leadership, teamwork and critical reasoning skills will be a constant focus throughout the year. Sailing will likely consume a full day of your time each week. It is on board ship that the work done in the classroom finds practical and sometimes urgent application. Naturally all U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security regulations, as required by law on commercial vessels will be observed for your personal safety and protection. Nevertheless you will not be coddled and must be willing to work hard, study hard and of course, dress warmly.

Total: 16 credits.

Enrollment: 11

Special Expenses: Approximately $500 flat, non-refundable fee each quarter for vessel use.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in education, Northwest history, maritime economics/ sociology, outdoor recreation, journalism, maritime industries, management, business and seafaring.

This program is also listed under Society, Politics, Behavior and Change

A similar program is expected to be offered in 2008–09.

Program Updates
This is a new program offering, not printed in the catalog.
01.02.2008: This program is cancelled for winter and spring 2008.