If you had a month to study anything you wanted to, what would you choose to learn? Would you lose yourself in Shakespeare? Could you learn how to create 4D art or try your shot managing a global crisis as a future world leader? Maybe you’d study the pursuit of happiness, or explore the science behind magic, your choice.

Carthage’s January Term offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in course topics not always available during the spring and fall terms. While many students choose to study abroad during J-Term, most students remain on campus, where they take a single course in a subject of their choosing.

J-Term courses meet for three hours daily, from 9 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 4 p.m. This format allows students to dive deep into their course material and then spend the other half of the day studying, hanging out with friends, or enjoying the Wisconsin winter.

Here’s a look at some of the courses offered on campus during J-Term.

Time, space, and technology are fundamental in contemporary art practice. This course will introduce the process of making art by utilizing technology and transaction among people, objects, locations, and situations. Through studio assignments, screenings, readings, lectures, discussions, and/or workshops, you’ll be introduced to contemporary time-based art practices. 

Instructor: Professor Jojin Van Winkle, Art

Become immersed in the economics behind one of America’s favorite beverages: beer! Learn about the structure of the entire beer industry, from breweries to retail sales. You’ll work in a group to brew several small batches of beer to learn the basic techniques of brewing and how brewing choices affect the costs of breweries. Additionally, groups will assume the role of one of the major types of firms in the beer industry supply chain and explore the economics of their role. Analyze the market structure of the beer industry, applying different models of competition and discussing how the regulatory framework that governs alcohol production and distribution in the United States has affected different types of firms.

Instructor: Erik Johnson, Economics

The traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share accounts of prominent figures and have significantly different interpretations of what they share. Examine the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred scriptures through a comparative reading of shared key personalities. Similarities and differences of interpretation will be analyzed regarding historical and modern forms of analysis of texts, with special emphasis being on developing mutual understanding and cooperation between the religious traditions. The shared key persons include but will not necessarily be limited to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Solomon, Mary, and Jesus.

Instructor: Professor Fatih Harpci, Religion

This course presents a topical introduction to the key principles and concepts of physics in the context of world events and natural phenomena that confront world leaders and that require informed decisions and responses.

Energy, health, counterterrorism, remote sensing, space programs, nuclear proliferation, and a host of other modern challenges have technological and scientific dimensions, the understanding of which is essential to avoiding disastrous policy decisions. Consider the application of physics to these societal challenges.

The material is covered at a level and pace that a future world leader should be able to handle; the emphasis is on the development of physical reasoning skills, and not on detailed, mathematical problem-solving.

Instructor: Professor Kevin Morris, Physics

This course will provide an immersive introduction to the burgeoning psychological “science of magic” with a specific focus on the contributions that stage magic can make to the study of cognition. Explore how magicians exploit the fallibility of the human mind through an examination of experimental work from the world of psychology and theoretical work from the world of magic. You’ll see a variety of magical styles and schools of thought via occasional visits from prominent magicians and scientists interested in magic, as well as field trips to magical performance venues.

Instructor: Professor Anthony Barnhart, Psychology

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! This course will focus on King Lear by William Shakespeare and will include indoor and outdoor embodied/staged readings and reading walks, memorization and presentation of select scenes, and writing informed by our walks with Lear in the classroom and in the storms.

Instructor: Professor Richard Meier, English

In this course, you’ll be exposed to murder mysteries — in novels, short stories, mini-series, movies, television shows, games, and dinner theater. Read and watch several murder mysteries, primarily ones by female authors with female protagonists. The goal is for you to explore a range of mysteries and some of the psychological concepts that arise in them.

Instructor: Professor Leslie Cameron, Psychology

The pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right. Most people say that they want to be happy. What exactly is happiness, and how do we get it? How are suffering and sadness related to happiness?

Examine various theories on what brings happiness and meaning to life. You’ll read several books written on attaining happiness, write about your thoughts on the readings and class discussions, and try various activities described by others as leading to happiness. Possible activities include:

  • Meditation
  • “In-the-moment” activities
  • Improvisational theater
  • Service projects.

Students who enroll should be capable of engaging with deeper life questions in a mature manner and willing to actively participate in class discussions and activities in an appropriate way.

Instructor: Professor Ellen Hauser, Women’s and Gender Studies

Explore the role of cinema in defining societal awareness and knowledge of environmental issues. Students will evaluate the underlying concepts and factual basis of environmental issues as depicted in mainstream movies and documentaries, exploring topics including global climate change, toxicology, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.

Instructor: Professor Tracy Gartner, Environmental Science

In this course, you’ll explore urban communities with mentors in elementary schools, read about current issues in urban education as well as three specific models of urban teaching, learn about schools as social institutions in urban settings, and work directly with a mentor teacher to plan and execute a needs-based urban learning experience within local schools. This course does not follow a standard J-Term schedule — many days begin at 7 a.m. and extend past three hours.

Note: This course requires the permission of the instructor because potential participants will need to fill out a background check for each school or district which they will be visiting in advance of J-Term. 

Instructor: Professor Katherine Hilson, Sociology