Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Winter Course: CASL342: CULTURE WARS

Recent U.S. Conflicts & the Role of Culture

Three Weeks, Three Credits, Entirely Online
Instructor: Dr. Wendy Chambers
Period of Instruction: January 3, 2017 – January 23, 2017
Important: Sign up before the 2016 December holidays or this course will not be available!
Questions? wchamber@umd.edu

Required Texts and Technology
Vanessa M. Gezari (2013). The tender soldier: A true story of war and sacrifice (Simon & Schuster). ISBN-10: 1439177392; ISBN-13: 978-1439177396
Anthony Shadid (2006). Night draws near: Iraq’s people in the shadow of America’s war (Picador). ISBN-10: 031246038; ISBN-13: 978-0312426033
See weekly articles/reports/book excerpts on the ELMS website (detailed under Course Schedule).

Course Description: This online course offers a window into the concept of culture, cultural skills, and the varying perceptions of those skills in the context of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). We will explore a combination of academic literature and reports from the military services as well as books and documentaries that explore these wars with an emphasis on the role culture played. While the articles and reports broadly address culture and cultural skills that informed various services, the books and documentaries are focused on either a particular effort (i.e., The Human Terrain System) or a particular time (i.e., early years of the Iraq War) and do not represent a comprehensive review of cultural efforts in either war. The intent is to introduce how culture is variously defined, applied in the field by civilians and service members, and how the civilians and service members are perceived by locals during critical events. Note: Some of the content will reflect the violent, personal nature of war, and naturally can evoke strong emotions – please don’t hesitate to contact your instructor with any concerns. Some of the content will also reflect opinions about the wars themselves, which is not the focus of this course.  
Course Requirements: This course serves as an introduction to the various perspectives of the cultural knowledge and skills that shaped the recent U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Students are responsible for learning material covered in the modules, including the readings, videos, any online lectures/overviews/announcements, and all assignments. The assignments for the class include: 1) Orientation quiz and assignment 2) four literature quizzes available on Canvas and to be completed per the course schedule 3) 10 discussion posts & 10 response posts (readings and videos, excluding extra credit opportunity); 4) one paper (a position paper) 5) A final assignment.  Students are expected to complete the assignments (quizzes, readings, papers, etc.) by MIDNIGHT on the dates for which they have been assigned.