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Studio Ceramics: Adventures of the Creative Spirit

Faculty: Ross Hilgers

This studio course focuses on experiential learning and investigates how the creative process unfolds for visual artists. Students will study the creative process through hand building, wheel techniques, and class critiques. In addition to making art, students will do research to define the creative process and explore the mysteries behind creativity. 

Understanding Music in Art: An Exploration of Music Iconography in Painting

Faculty: Dr. Annett C. Richter

This course examines intersections between music and the visual arts. More specifically, it investigates the meanings conveyed by scenes of music-making depicted in painting. Students will be introduced to the study of music iconography and will learn what selected examples of European and American painting from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries can teach us about the social and cultural contexts of European and American art music and vernacular music. Students will become familiar with the basic skills needed to read a painting as well as with selected styles in the history of Western art as relevant to the artists and works chosen for this interdisciplinary course.


Their tummies grumbled. What would they have to eat today? What would their family eat? What is the face and color of hunger in our area? Working with city officials, local agencies serving the hunger and a class of fourth graders we will study the broader face of hunger and its impact in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We will teach the fourth graders what we learn about hunger and they, in turn, will teach the public about hunger with two local presentations. One service-learning project will complement our work.

American Roots Music: Woody Guthrie to Ed Sheeran; Mother Maybelle to Alison Krauss: Robert Johnson to the Carolina Chocolate D

Faculty: Dr. William J. Snyder Jr.

Using the PBS documentary, American Roots Music as an informal guide, the course will trace the evolution of Roots music from it’s origins in the Appalachian Mountains and in the Mississippi Delta, to Roots, folk, and popular music of today. To study this musical heritage, we’ll read books and short articles focused on individual artists: Robert Johnson (for Delta Blues, Blues, Rock and Roll); Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family (folk, country, bluegrass R&R); and Woody Guthrie (singer songwriters, political/protest). We’ll listen to, and write about, this music, and we’ll watch several full-length films.  

Home and Homeless

Faculty: Dr. George B. Connell

The space of human life is not the neutral, even space of Euclid’s geometry. Human space is always shaped by a sense of place. Just as our sense of the present, the now, orients our experience of time, our experience of place, the here, orients our sense of space.  But here can be experienced in very different ways. If we are at home, here is a place of security, rootedness, belonging. If we are away from home, or if we have no home at all, then here is a place of displacement, exile, wandering. In this course, we will investigate home and homelessness both by reading and discussing writings from history, philosophy, religion and literature as well as by engaging people and organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead involved in the housing sector and in working with homeless people.

Local Lives

Faculty: Dr. Karla Knutson

Are you eager to learn about and to meet your new neighbors? Concordia College is located in the vibrant, changing, and growing community of Fargo-Moorhead, and this metropolitan area, once known for its Scandinavian and German culture, is increasingly and excitingly diverse, in terms of its international citizenship, artistic communities, and recreational opportunities. This inquiry seminar will explore written and oral narratives of the people who have lived in the greater Fargo-Moorhead, and through interviews and participation in this community, students will record, reflect on, and research the stories of current residents. To learn about how local people understand the area’s history, their lives here, and their sense of how location influences identity, as well as the conventions of stories about identity, we will read literature written about the region, attend local events, and interview several citizens.

Walking and Talking: Active and Embodied Philosophical Inquiry

Faculty: Dr. Tess Varner

On the face of it, walking doesn’t seem to be the most rigorous intellectual exercise. Some might think of it as a mindless activity—pedestrian, even. But, in fact, there is a long tradition of walking as a form of intellectual inquiry, ranging from Wordsworth, Rousseau, and Thoreau to contemporary thinkers like John Francis and Rebecca Solnit, and even including popular thru-hikers and adventurers such as Cheryl Strayed and Christopher McCandless. These thinkers range not only across several centuries, but also across disciplines. In this inquiry seminar, students will read a wide variety of texts investigating the very concept of walking and its importance as a deeply philosophical practice. Students will also consider walking as a form of cultural critique; walking can be understood to be a subversive activity—one resistant to the expectations of society, which focuses on speed, efficiency, and multitasking. This course will be reading and writing intensive, but the class period itself will be largely conducted on long walks on campus and around campus, including several excursions off campus. Students will need to have comfortable walking shoes and appropriate outerwear for long walks and will have the opportunity to snowshoe toward the end of the semester, if weather permits (~$10 rental fee). Please note that people with disabilities are welcome in this class. Even though there is a physical component to the course daily, students of all levels of ability can be accommodated and are encouraged to participate.

Words Can Save the World: Human Rights and Literature

Faculty: Dr. Amy Watkin

Has a book ever changed your view of the world? Is it possible that human rights were invented by literature? Historian Lynn Hunt says that the invention of the novel opened the door to creating a human community in which people began to feel responsible for themselves and others in new ways. Some of the questions we’ll be asking include: What are human rights, exactly? Is there literature that teaches us about human rights, and do people actually read it? Can we learn about human rights more effectively from literature than other methods? Does some literature matter more than the rest? Do words really matter that much?