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January Term

Accelerated learning. Topics that are relevant to our world. 

Loyola University New Orleans has launched a new way for students to engage in their coursework and connect to our community. January term is a two-week, immersive learning opportunity available to enrolled undergraduate students at Loyola. Students will dive deeply into one topic and devote their full attention to learning and engaging in dialogue with classmates about important, timely subjects.

The January term is completely optional. Each three-credit course offered during J-term will be rigorous and have demanding assignments. For some students, this is an opportunity to catch up on credits or get ahead in their studies. For other students, this time may be best used to rest and recharge before the start of the spring semester on January 20. 

Since this is our first January term at Loyola, we’re offering all J-term courses completely free of charge for currently enrolled undergraduate students. The courses span different subject areas and are offered in different modalities—online, HyFlex, and in person. Many are electives and some, where noted, meet core requirements. Given the condensed and intensive nature of these courses, students may only register for one course and spots are available on a first come, first served basis. 

J-Term 2021: Race, Equity, and Inclusion  

All courses for the 2021 January term cover topics related to race, equity, and inclusion. These courses will help live out our strategic plan for inclusive excellence by allowing us to study these issues deeply from the perspectives of different disciplines. It also creates an incubator that quickly adds significant new additions to the curriculum that respond to student calls for more diversity in course offerings. 

Each course was selected by a committee that included SGA Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Cheyenne Williams, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Kedrick Perry, members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and faculty and administrators from across the university. We are especially excited to offer some courses taught by faculty who traditionally only teach in graduate and law programs. More than half of the courses are offered by faculty who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups. 

CRIM-X294-J01, Dr. Christian Bolden (Criminology and Justice), Race and Mass Incarceration

This course explores the social structural processes, causes, and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. Using a social justice lens, we will track the systemic elements and problems of mass incarceration, beginning with the school-to-prison pipeline. We will also explore the criminal justice institutions, the experience of incarceration, and the process of reentry. Critical evaluation of the impact of criminal justice systems and disproportionate representation of marginalized groups will be investigated. The outcome of the course will be student advocacy, ingenuity, or creative solutions for addressing mass incarceration. This course will be offered online and meets the Social Science requirement.

ENGL-A294-J03, Dr. Lindsay Sproul (English), Examining the "Own Voices" Movement in Young Adult Literature

This course will examine the "Own Voices" movement as a whole, and how it progressed through the publication of literature for young readers, and its impact on YA authors from marginalized socio-cultural backgrounds. By reading primary material and essays written by these authors (and the editors who publish them), students will examine both the positive and negative ways this movement impacted the publishing industry for young readers, as well as the lives of the authors. 

Course materials will include books, film, and essays by BIPOC writers, LGBTQIA2+ writers, and writers with disabilities, with intersectionality at the forefront of class discussions and writing assignments. Students will examine the way this movement has elevated marginalized voices, but also the ways in which it has pushed marginalized writers into "boxes," sometimes forcing them to write about one aspect of their identity that they share with their narrator, and occasionally conflating author and character in a hurtful way. One goal of the class, through writing assignments and discussions, will be answering the question: Is there a better solution? How should the publishing industry amplify marginalized voices without exhausting these writers emotionally? How can the "Own Voices" movement be improved, and what impact do readers have? 

Assignments will include both creative and critical writing, as well as class discussions and peer reviews. This course will be offered TBD.

ENGL-N294-J02, Dr. Scott Heath (English), Octavia Butler Now! Reading Race, Justice, and Critical Futures

Octavia E. Butler might be called the patron saint of Black science fiction, a literary genre sometimes classified as Afrofuturism. Recently, her likeness and her ideas—specifically those conveyed in her novel Parable of the Sower—have been trending publicly, proving stunningly resonant and possibly prophetic in these uncertain times. For centuries, Black writers and artists have theorized and continually revised aesthetic modes for the representation of American subjectivity, especially with regard to and in response to conventions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality in the United States. Presently, the country is being met with a set of intersecting, interconnected crises—a global health emergency, an economic collapse, a social upheaval, a climate firestorm, a political spiral—that have required our isolation while simultaneously inspiring monumental collective action. The disproportionately distributed impact of these overlapping catastrophes has driven ongoing conflicts emergent along reliable fault lines of Blackness and Americanness, difference and belonging. Octavia Butler operates as a metacritic, writing herself into a framework not designed with her in mind, transforming the mechanism while intimately illustrating and explicating our own alienation. In this single-author seminar we will examine Butler’s writing along with a cache of screen media, tracing its continuity of themes and discerning its usefulness in our current cultural context. As a blatantly speculative project, we will read her near-future work with a hard parallel to the potential traumas and possible solutions of today. This course will be offered online and meets the Writing About Literature requirement.

ENVA M294-J01, Dr. Aimée Thomas (Environment Program) and Professor Marianne Cufone (Law), Environmental Justice and Equity: Case Study New Orleans 

This course provides an overview of the challenges in environmental justice and equity in Greater New Orleans area communities, particularly those identifying as BIPOC and/or low-income, low-access to resources. Students will learn critical thinking and advocacy, integrating doctrine, theory, and skills. This course will be offered in person with required field trips in the afternoons.

HISTQ/ENGLO/MUGNO-294-J01, Dr. Allison Edgren (History), Dr. Alice Clark (Music), and Dr. Elizabeth Watkins (ENGL), (Re)Making the Middle Ages: Myth, Misappropriation, and Reality

White supremacists like to think of medieval Europe as a white, male, cisgender wonderland. It was not. In this course, we will explore various forms of difference in the Middle Ages, as well as modern misconceptions of the period that strive to erase this complexity. To do so, we will engage with questions of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and (dis)ability. We will approach these issues from multiple perspectives, examining areas such as Spain, where Muslims, Jews, and Christians coexisted, as well as travel literature by both Europeans and visitors to Europe. To better explore medieval views of these complex issues, we will investigate a range of sources drawn from across disciplines, analyzing medieval music, literature, and history. This approach will reveal both prejudice and creativity in the “real” Middle Ages, showing us patterns of marginalization that persist to the present day, as well as ways in which medieval people viewed and categorized the world in fundamentally different ways. As ideas about the Middle Ages have also been used to support a variety of modern agendas, we will complement our study of the medieval reality with a consideration of how and why ideas about the Middle Ages are used, and abused, in modern times. This course will be offered online, synchronous. If taken as a History course, it meets the History II requirement. If taken as English or Music, it meets the Creative Arts and Culture requirement. It does not count for both requirements. 

MUIN O294-J01, Professor Courtney Garcia (MUIS/Mass Communications), Reimagining the American Experience

This course will focus on examining and illustrating the unique, multidimensional experiences of people of color through various forms of media. The purpose is to learn how to uncover, interpret, and fully realize all narratives in the diaspora of this nation. Beyond simply incorporating Black or brown characters into storylines or retelling familiar adages and tropes, this course will look at shedding light on untold truths, countering existing beliefs and understandings, and giving a voice to those overcast by hegemonic forces in discourse. This course will cover four areas of media: news and criticism; film and television; podcasts; and digital media. 

The curriculum of this course will center around readings of articles, scripts and works of literature, and multimedia screenings followed by critical discussions and brainstorming sessions. Students will dissect common narratives and look towards expanding dialogue when it comes to the images shown and stories projected of people of color by popular culture. Students will be tasked with creating one or two pieces of work with the purpose of furthering their purview and insight on representing diverse narratives in media. Additionally, they will strategically consider the distribution of their work, and impact of media on politics, business, and social justice initiatives. 

Topics may include: Stereotypical Black characters; Black themes and generalizations; implications of cinematography, sound and messaging; headlines and clickbait; popular culture and Hollywood typecasts; Tyler Perry, Spike Lee and Ava DuVernay; the rise of Black Panther; Donald Glover and the next generation; studio versus independent funding, and creative distribution channels. This course will be offered online and meets the Creative Arts and Cultures requirement. 

NURS/CNSL 294-J02, Dr. T’Arria Belcher (Counseling) and Dr. Amrita Datta (Nursing), Health Disparities

This course is designed to explore the pre-existing disparities and inequities in our society, particularly in healthcare through the magnified lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. This course will set the foundation for creating awareness and knowledge about social and economic determinants of health, and the growing gap in mental and physical healthcare created by the pandemic in communities of color, rural, economically disadvantaged communities, and marginalized communities (including veterans, LGBTQIA+ populations, and those living with disabilities). Students will critically engage with literature by authors of diverse backgrounds and analyze epidemiological health disparity data to find the root causes, symptoms and evidence of health disparities in the context of the pandemic. Students will be encouraged to shift from a top down to bottom up approach to find recommendations and solutions for addressing health disparities starting at their home and community level. This course will be offered HyFlex.

SCIE -A294-J01, Dr. Anat Burger (Physics), Diversity in Science

This course will seek to answer the question, “Why aren’t there more women and people of color in STEM fields?” We will study social science research to examine the evidence on how unconscious bias and stereotype threat can result in marginalizing and discouraging certain groups from pursuing careers in certain disciplines. We will explore how these issues can affect engagement at every age. We will investigate how subtle – and not so subtle – differences in the expectations imposed by the media, parents, and teachers can influence the interest of children and young adults. We will question whether discrimination in hiring, mentorship, and promotion can explain underrepresentation, or if it is because there are not enough qualified candidates in the pipeline.  We will discuss cases when it has been claimed, erroneously, that underrepresentation in science can be explained by biological differences in ability, and the resulting damage that often follows. We will look at what type of solutions exist to promote diversity by looking at case studies that have succeeded in leveling the playing field and creating more welcoming learning and working environments. Finally, we will profile role models, women and people of color throughout history and in the present day who have made breakthroughs and persevered in science despite the challenges they faced. This course will be offered hybrid with HyFlex and online sessions. Required synchronous attendance MTWTF, 2 – 4 p.m.

SPST 294-J01, Professor Heather Malveaux (Student Life and Ministry), Say Her Name

This course will examine the historical and modern-day examples of what makes the Black woman, as Malcolm X famously stated, the most disrespected, unprotected, and neglected person in America. Foundational definitions and concepts on race and racism coupled with critical race theory will be used to guide one’s understanding of the legal and social standing of Black women in today’s society. This course will be offered HyFlex.

SPST A294-J03, Professor Patrick Reynolds (Student Affairs), Our Heroes Would Be Your Heroes Too: A Multidimensional View of Black American Heroes and Black Respectability Politics

Students will explore Black American heroes that have historically experienced erasure due to white-washed narratives in American society. We will examine systemic power structures and the expected need of respectability politics to be presented as relevant. This course will be offered hybrid with in-person synchronous components from 11 – 12:30 p.m. 


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