Previous Courses

MLAP 46300

Africa and the World: Ancient to Early Modern Times

This class introduces students to ancient, medieval, and early modern African states and societies.

View Details
Statue of a greek philosopher
MLAP 34204

Aristotle and Homer: Ethics, Happiness, and Homecoming

Can a hero catch a break? Yes, but it takes time.

View Details
MLAP 33360

COVID-19: The Social Sciences of Health and Medicine

The perspectives, methods, and concepts of the social sciences of health and medicine are vital in shaping how we understand and concretely respond to pandemics and public health emergencies. This course draws primarily on perspectives from the anthropology, sociology, and history of medicine and health to examine a range of questions raised by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

View Details
Hand pointing and touching burst of light
MLAP 36400

Digital Ethics

The course will pair classic debates in applied ethics with case studies from recent developments in digital technology.

View Details
MLAP 32705

Documenting Blakelock: A Forgotten American Genius in the Gilded Age

This course is related to a film project now underway with documentary-maker Ric Burns about outsider artist Ralph Blakelock, America’s forgotten van Gogh.

View Details
Ancient greek ruins over the hills
MLAP 34205

Epics, Nations, Races, Worlds

The project of nation building, of bringing a national identity into existence, is often regarded as a defining aspiration of many ancient and modern epic poems.

View Details
Film reel on an albums
MLAP 34210

Greek Drama at the Movies

In this course we will study ten of the most powerful classical Greek performance texts as we view and discuss a set of film adaptations spanning more than fifty years of cinema history,

View Details
A summer day in front of the US Supreme Court Building
MLAP 35106

Heritage: Law, Ethics, Policy

What is worthy of preservation, and why?

View Details
Ancient greek statue of Plato
MLAP 36000

History of Ethics

The topic of this course is the question, “How should I live?”

View Details
Vintage city building facade
MLAP 35105

Imagining the City

The rise of the modern city makes possible new modes of experience, new kinds of people, and new kinds of stories.

View Details
Screenshot of an old black and white film
MLAP 45970

India in Film: Imaginations of a Decolonial Nation

Among all film producing countries in the world, India successfully resisted Hollywood’s hegemony. Some Hollywood blockbusters made their way to theaters in big Indian cities; some were adapted into Indian languages. Mostly, however, audiences remained loyal to Indian fare. What was the India that was depicted on-screen? To what extent was India produced by these filmic imaginations?

View Details
Cover of George Eliot's book, Middlemarch
MLAP 35050

Leading Well and Doing Good: Insights from George Eliot’s Middlemarch

What does it mean to have not just a career, but a career that is also a calling, a vocation? How does someone come to realize that they have found their calling? What moral concerns or challenges arise when one becomes committed to pursuing their calling as a leader ambitious for the good, whether religious, political, or professional? How do the demands of a calling affect the way in which someone seeking to fulfill their ambition to do good relates to others, whether those with whom they work, those they are responsible for, or those they love? Is it possible to lead well without having a calling, and if so, what does such leadership look like?

View Details
People writing notes over office meeting
MLAP 34606

Liberal Arts for Business Leaders

This course provides key perspectives on how the Liberal Arts can bring value to business in several classic areas: Leadership development, Organizational Behavior and Management, Advertising and Marketing, and Strategy.

View Details
MLAP 31750

Matter, Energy, Space and Time: The Rules that Govern the Physical World

The instructor will be smiling if the student takes away from the course what science is and isn’t, why it is important, a basic understanding of the fundamental laws of physics and how they have created the physical world around us, and the deep mysteries ahead.

View Details
Abstract image of a crowd of people and city buildings
MLAP 30600

Meaning and Motive in Social Thought

This core course in the Social Sciences studies classic works of social thought that remain foundational in contemporary theory, law, and policy.

View Details
Silhouette of a person from a distant walking with a flashlight over the night skies
MLAP 33200

Models of the Universe

The readings and lectures of this course will trace the development of our view of the universe starting with the Earth-centered cosmology of Aristotle, through the Sun-centered universe in the Copernican revolution, to the modern big bang theory, and recent speculations about a quantum origin of the universe. The course focuses on the ideas as well as the people who shaped our view of the universe. The readings and lectures will not require mathematics or physics, only a curiosity about the universe.

View Details
People working over growing gears towards money
MLAP 30605

Perspectives on Modernity: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Max Weber

The course aims to demonstrate the historicity of various modern attitudes towards work, economy, and society, historicize the lived experience of modernity, and recover the utopian visions (as opposed to the now more commonly dystopian ones) associated with it.

View Details
Close up dry field burning over the hill
MLAP 34001

Some Versions of the Apocalypse

In this course we will explore what is both fearful and alluring about catastrophe on an unimaginable scale, as we read and view some paradigmatic apocalyptic works across a wide historical range. The course will focus on close attention to the aesthetics of individual works, locating those works in their historical contexts, and the theoretical analysis of the texts’ motivating concerns.

View Details
Illustration of of two faces made up of mechanical gears
MLAP 30620

Technology, Science, and Self

Theories about technology and its relationship to society and self are everywhere, even if we don’t always recognize them or articulate them.

View Details
Supreme court building at night
MLAP 30610

The Current Crisis of American Democracy

Our democracy is in crisis, as manifest in unprecedented levels of inequality, abysmal levels of trust in government, political polarization, and the traction of anti-democratic movements to overturn or restrict the vote. How did we get here? (And how do we get out?)

View Details
An old renaissance Medici painting
MLAP 35107

The Florentine Renaissance

This course offers an introduction to the intellectual, social, and political transformations that are reflected in the astounding explosion of artistic creativity that occurred in Florence in the years 1400-1540.

View Details
Statue of liberty
MLAP 34850

The Moral Arc of America: Justice, Morals, and Power in U.S. History

This course examines pivotal issues and moments in U.S. history, where morals, justice and power took on heightened urgency, becoming focal points of public debate

View Details
Plastic diagram of the inside of a brain
MLAP 31215

The Neurobiology of Everyday Life and its Dilemmas

This course will focus on the nervous system, how the nervous system produces behavior, how we use our brain every day, and how neuroscience can explain the common problems afflicting people today.

View Details
Stethoscope around an Apple with a heart beat monitor cutout
MLAP 33350

The Normal and the Pathological: Sickness, Care, and Wellbeing Across Cultures

Taking its title from an important text by historian and philosopher of medicine Georges Canguilhem, this class considers how sickness, care, and wellbeing have been differently understood and embodied over time and between different cultural settings.

View Details
University of Chicago campus building facade
MLAP 37000

The Pivotal Decade: 1970s Literature & The Rise of Inequality

This course will explore the relation of postmodernism and works by major American fiction writers, including Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tom Wolfe, William Gaddis, to the broader political and economic shifts of the 1970s and the rise of economic inequality in the US.

View Details
MLAP 33001

The Problem of Evil

“If God exists, whence comes evil; and if God does not exist, whence comes good?” (Boethius). This course will consider the theological problem of evil, starting with the Book of Job.

View Details
Old portrait painting of a Russian Tsar
MLAP 46400

Tsars, Soviets, and Putin: Modern Russia, 1860-present

This course provides an overview of the history of Russia and its empires, told through original primary sources.

View Details
Collage gallery of writers of short fiction in the 20th century
MLAP 31850

Twentieth Century American Fiction

This course presents America’s major writers of short fiction in the 20th century.

View Details
Artwork of ancient scripts
MLAP 34907

World Wisdom Literature

How to live and how to lead are questions that every human community has sought to answer. The thinkers on ethics and leadership whose writings we explore in this course come from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

View Details