Fall 2021 Public University Course Catalog

Exploring Race and Allyship

Sundays

1-3 pm CST

Sept. 12, 19, 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 7, 14

It’s hard to talk about racism in the United States. The topic is complex and controversial, and can easily trigger strong emotions. While racism is one of the major causes of economic inequality and social tensions, some are convinced that it ended with the civil rights legislation in the 1960s. 

The protests and civil unrest in the past few years, as well as our ongoing political polarization, provide sufficient reasons to take race and racism seriously. It is clear that we cannot move forward as a nation unless we face the reality of race, develop a common understanding of its impact, and learn ways to have effective conversations so that we can collectively develop strategies to make sustainable changes to how this social system in the US negatively impacts so many lives. 

Amena Chaudhry is a consultant, facilitator, and coach who uses principles of Nonviolent Communication, Circle Process, and other participatory leadership theories to equip people and organizations with the knowledge, skills, and tools to develop deeper and authentic relationships. A nimble and innovate social justice practitioner, Amena’s Equity & Inclusion portfolio is a mosaic of her Learning & Development experience in both the corporate and higher education sectors, Restorative Justice experience in non-profit and government sectors, alongside her consulting practice and focus on C-Suite Executive 1:1 coaching.

What the Hell is Happening?

Thursdays

6:30-8:30 pm CST

Sept. 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28

In recent years, one common question that has been frequently asked by millions: What the hell is happening? This course will seek to answer this question by examining the geo-political, economic, social, and cultural forces driving today's global and domestic disruption. This course will examine the world and United States at this moment. Among the topics that will be examined in this series is the reordering of world power in the 21st century, the rise of China, Russia's challenge to the West, the crisis of confidence plaguing western nations, and the precarious state and uncertain future of democracy abroad and, most concerning of all, here in the United States. 


Jason Matthews is an adjunct political science instructor at Bismarck State College, teaches for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and is a strategic planning and public affairs consultant. He resides in Bismarck.

LGBTQIA+ Affinity Writing Group

Wednesdays

9-10 pm CST

Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Let’s get that creative magic flowing! This writing workshop is for my lovely LGBTQIA+ high school/early college humans, ages 16-19. Open to writers of any genre--poet, novelist, journalist, diarist, songwriter, if you write or want to write, you’re in! Participants will be asked to create and share one short piece for workshop. Learn new craft tricks, make some new writing friends, and enjoy a safe, supportive environment for sharing and nurturing your creative self. 

Tayo Basquiat (Bismarck State College) is a writer, teacher, trail runner, scavenger, and Wilderness First Responder. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wyoming, and his work has appeared in Orion Magazine, Proximity, Nasiona, Superstition Review, Burningword Literary Journal, On Second Thought, among others, and as producer of Wyoming Public Media’s “Spoken Words” podcast.

The Art of Memoir

Wednesdays

7-9 pm CST

Sept. 29 & Oct. 13

Working on a memoir? Think you might like to write your story? This class is for you! We’ll consider memoir as a form, the relationship between identity and memory, key elements of great literary memoir, the connection between the particular and the universal, catharsis and conflict. We’ll dissect a few models and end with generative exercises to get you started on your own memoir.

Tayo Basquiat (Bismarck State College) is a writer, teacher, trail runner, scavenger, and Wilderness First Responder. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wyoming, and his work has appeared in Orion Magazine, Proximity, Nasiona, Superstition Review, Burningword Literary Journal, On Second Thought, among others, and as producer of Wyoming Public Media’s “Spoken Words” podcast.

Fall Writing Workshop

Wednesdays

7-9 pm CST

Oct. 27 & Nov. 10

This workshop is for post-high school writers of any genre--poet, novelist, journalist, diarist, songwriter, if you write or want to write, this is for you! Participants will be asked to create and share one short piece for workshop and in return you’ll get reader-response feedback. Learn new craft tricks, make some new writing friends, and enjoy a safe, supportive environment for sharing and nurturing your creative self.

Tayo Basquiat (Bismarck State College) is a writer, teacher, trail runner, scavenger, and Wilderness First Responder. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wyoming, and his work has appeared in Orion Magazine, Proximity, Nasiona, Superstition Review, Burningword Literary Journal, On Second Thought, among others, and as producer of Wyoming Public Media’s “Spoken Words” podcast.

Constitution 101

Wednesdays

5:30-7:30 pm CST

Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6

A 6-week online adult course on civic education. This course takes you from the philosophical foundations of the U.S. Constitution through the modern interpretation and application of its ideals.  The course follows the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution Level 3 textbook, which has been used throughout the country to further understanding of our government and its fundamental principles.

Jeff Rotering grew up on a farm near Amidon, North Dakota. After teaching vocational agriculture for six years in Medina, ND, and Hettinger, ND, he practiced law in Hettinger, ND, for 14 years.  Jeff joined the foreign service in 2004.  His overseas assignments included Nassau, The Bahamas; Tallinn, Estonia; Vladivostok, Russia; Georgetown, Guyana; Juba, South Sudan, and Mbabane, Eswatini.  Jeff and his wife, Claire, are retired and living in Mandan.

Call My Agent: Conversations on Contemporary Film and Race

Saturdays

1-3 pm CST

Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27

To what extent has the decolonization of Hollywood race films over the last five years promoted cultural discourse offscreen about colonized male and female agency and advanced the cause of racial equity? During this course we will apply the insights from scholars (Sharpe, DuBois, Memmi, Thiongo) to several contemporary films.

Serge Danielson-Francois is the librarian at Divine Child High School in Dearborn Heights, MI. He teaches AP Capstone in high school and Writing Workshop at Lawrence Tech. He helps youth and adults seek information to make better decisions by making regular, thorough and strategic use of peer reviewed resources. He is an embedded librarian and works closely with faculty in the Science, English and World Languages departments. He is fluent in French and Spanish and has experienced working with multicultural and international audiences. He is committed to promoting civic literacy and digital citizenship.

That's Absurd!: Absurdism in the Arts
(not “funny ha-ha”, “funny hmm”)

Mondays 6-8 pm CST

Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8, 15

We will study the philosophical and performance history roots of absurdism from its comic seeds in Ancient Greece to its embrace by Modern artists to its present-day representations including the works of Samuel Beckett, Rene Magritte, Douglas Adams, Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, Salvador Dalí, the Coen Brothers and others.

Nita Ritzke has taught a variety of courses from Art History to Yeats.  She earned a B.S. in English and Communication Arts, an M.A. in Theatre and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies.  Most recently, her poem “Mucho Gusto” was included in the 2021 N.D. Human Rights Art Festival.

Prophetic Leadership

Saturdays 3-5 pm CST

Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23

The purpose of this course is to provide a space for conversations about “prophetic leadership” and its relevance for the contemporary world. As we shall see, prophetic leadership emerges in response to an acute awareness that things are not as they could have been, or as they ought to be. It is a response, in other words, to a sense of crisis. Today, as we face the numerous overlapping crises of our own time, we are in dire need of prophetic leaders and role models. The prophets of the Old Testament, and all those who have sought to follow in their footsteps, can provide some of the guidance and inspiration we so desperately need today.

Ahmed Afzaal is an associate professor in the Religion department at Concordia College. He holds a PhD in “Religion & Society” from Drew University in Madison, NJ. Ahmed has a wide range of interests and is passionate about life-long learning, values-based action, and collaboration for the greater good.

The Virtuous Life

Wednesdays

3-5 pm CST

Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22

For ancient philosophers, a good life meant a virtuous life: for Plato, virtue was the state of harmony achieved in the tripartite soul; for Aristotle, virtue was both an end-goal of a life well-lived and for every constitutive action along the way, the exercise of prudence determining right action in the right way at the right time. For the stoics, four virtues stood above all others: wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. The course is an invitation to think about virtue: what are virtues? What are the virtues of a good leader? What does it mean to practice specific virtues like wisdom or justice? How did these philosophers aspire to virtuous action and lives in the midst of pandemics, war, leadership crises, fear of death, loss, ugly rumors . . .  sound familiar?

Tayo Basquiat (Bismarck State College) is a writer, teacher, trail runner, scavenger, and Wilderness First Responder. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wyoming, and his work has appeared in Orion Magazine, Proximity, Nasiona, Superstition Review, Burningword Literary Journal, On Second Thought, among others, and as producer of Wyoming Public Media’s “Spoken Words” podcast.

Themes in American Indian History

Tuesdays

6-8 pm CST

Sept. 21, 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2

From creation accounts to modern tribal governments, explore themes in American Indian History. Through lectures, guided readings/videos, and discussions, this course will introduce you to an overview of American Indian History, examining such topics as origins; encounters and exchanges; tribes, confederacies, and identity; land and land use; and political and cultural sovereignty.

Dr. Joseph Jastrzembski (Dr. J.) is professor of history at Minot State University. A native of West Texas, he has taught at MSU since 1997. He received his BA in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. He specializes in United States and Native American history. His research interests include the Southwest and Plains, ethnohistory, folklore, and native languages. He is a former member and chair of the North Dakota Humanities Council and also serves as Executive Director of the Minot Area Council for International Visitors. 

Viva Humanities! Embracing Your Inner Scholar

Mondays

3-5 pm CST

Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1

In this course, you will enrich your humanities experiences and develop personal plans and strategies to experience more of the richness of human cultural history and artistic achievements. Working with humanities scholar/teacher Brian Palecek you will develop and deepen your own Humanities Way.


Activities will include readings, internet explorations, the art of discussion and conversation. Resources will include personal and public libraries; community resources like galleries, theaters, museums; and guest presenters. The major humanities fields such as history, literature, art histories, archaeology, philosophy, and comparative religion will come into play.   Philosophers Socrates and Montaigne will join us in our humanities dance.

 

Brian Palecek is a longtime participant in public humanities programs, since the inception of Humanities North Dakota and its forerunners in the 1970s. He is also a college English, Literature, and Humanities teacher, serving at United Tribes Technical College for 31 years until his recent retirement. His documentary film "Conversations on the Bench" received support from Humanities ND.

A Thousand Poems

Thursdays

6-8 pm CST

Sept. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov, 4

Participants will read dozens of mostly English language poems from Old English to current Rap and everything in between with a focus on the short lyric poem with some longer narratives. The course will emphasize the reading experience, discussion, exploring diversity of styles, forms, and poets throughout history and the contemporary poetry scene.

 

Brian Palecek is a longtime participant in public humanities programs, since the inception of Humanities North Dakota and its forerunners in the 1970s. He is also a college English, Literature, and Humanities teacher, serving at United Tribes Technical College for 31 years until his recent retirement. His documentary film "Conversations on the Bench" received support from Humanities ND.

Wendell Berry: Stories and Essays

Tuesdays

3-5 pm CST

Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26

This course will celebrate a selection of stories and essays by writer-thinker-farmer Wendell Berry. In an ongoing career that has spanned over 60 years, Berry has told stories and penned essays that express his agrarian philosophy of community and the human scale of work. With discussions and readings, students will explore the alignment of Berry’s fiction and philosophy and his belief in humanity’s responsibility to care for each other and for our world.

Jane M. Schreck is professor emerita of English at Bismarck State College, having retired this past spring after 21 and a half years. While teaching at BSC, Jane completed a PhD in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education through the University of North Dakota. The focus of her dissertation research was writer Wendell Berry and an analysis of his work around the themes and issues of education. Since completing her doctorate, Jane has published four scholarly articles on Berry and his work, and her essay “Finding My Place by Finding Wendell Berry” was featured in the 2020 Sense of Place issue of On Second Thought, a publication of Humanities North Dakota.

American Literary Modernism

Wednesdays 

2-4 pm CST

Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10

When we say "modernism," what do we mean exactly, and when we add "American" to the mix, what issues get reflected in the books of writers like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Wharton, Faulkner, Cather, and Steinbeck? How are American cultural expectations explored, challenged, or affirmed in the texts that American authors write during the first part of the 20th century? Come along as we explore some of these amazing books.

Rebecca Chalmers. Rebecca has spent her adult life on the study of literature. A Ph.D. in English (with concentrations in American literature, film studies, and critical theory) led her to a rich and rewarding academic career, the last thirteen years of which were spent with the English program at the University of Mary in Bismarck, and in regular work with the North Dakota Humanities Council. Currently she resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she works as an independent scholar, with occasional university classes, and in freelance editing and writing, all while she continues to pen her own poetry and short stories.

Contemporary Issues of Indigenous Peoples

Wednesdays 

2-4 pm CST

Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10

This course is designed to introduce students to the most important issues facing Native Americans as individuals, communities, and Nations in the contemporary world. Discussion topics will include selected economic, social, political, and educational issues, as well as contemporary cultural revitalization movements of tradition, language, and ceremony. Contemporary Issues of Indigenous Peoples will offer an Indigenous perspective and provide a window into the modern Native American experience. 

 

Brad Kroupa (Arikara) earned his doctoral degree in anthropology and education from Indiana University. After earning his doctorate, Brad began work at the Arikara Cultural Center, located in White Shield, ND on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. From 2013-2017, he led cultural, language, historical, educational, and community building efforts in this role. In 2015, he established the Arikara Community Action Group (ACAG) – now called Indigenous Youth Rising (IYR) – a 501(c)3 with the mission of implementing and supporting educational projects for Native people emphasizing cultural self-determination, community-oriented and directed research projects, and educational enrichment. Currently, Brad is faculty at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND. He is also a research associate with the American Indian Studies Research Institute in Bloomington, IN.