Course Offerings

Fall 2005

Please consult the Fall 2005 Registration Supplement on the registrar's webpage for ExCo CRNs.

ExCo instructors registering for credit, use the Exco-xxxC-01 section on PRESTO.

 The ExCos are split into the following large categories:

Community and Society

Language, Culture, and Religion

Computers, Math, and Science

Media and Literature

Dance and Theater


Arts, Crafts, and Do-It-Yourself

Physical Activities and Games


Community and Society



Bikes for Kids 0-1 Credit
Eric Dorf and Mat Gordon EXCO-110

Antiracist Organizing and white Privilege 0-2 Credits
Eli Conley

Many of us have seen and been part of predominantly white activist organizations on campus that are struggling to analyze the different ways power functions, figure out what it means to do anti-racist/multi-issue organizing, and/or change our work to reflect anti-racist priorities. This course is intended to fill some of those needs. This course aims to build participants' analysis skills and pass on histories of organizing and coalition-building on campus. We hope participants can support each other in thinking critically about activism, and hold each other accountable to making their work more just and productive. Meetings will be based in readings and discussions. This course is designed for white-privileged folks, but is open to anyone.

Grassroots Organizing 0-2 Credits
Rebeca Bell EXCO-125

The goal of this course is to train students to become active and effective grassroots organizers through campaign work with OhioPIRG and class trainings. The course structure is three-fold: theory, training, and practice. The theory will explore philosophies through readings and discussions, which will be complemented by trainings of grassroots activism skills. Finally, students will apply this to hands-on practice as they develop and implement a critical component of a campaign, such as coalition-building, media, grassroots, or research.

History 101: History of the American Indian Movement 0-1 Credit
Robert Roche and Aaron Englander

This course, taught by the Director of the Cleveland American Indian Movement, will introduce students to the history and present activities of the American Indian Movement and facilitate opportunities to get involved. No previous knowledge of American Indian History is required.

Oberlin College Mentors 0-1 Credits
Anna Amelia Graber EXCO 145

Oberlin College Mentors is an opportunity to develop a long-term, mutually rewarding relationship with a local child. This is a fun way to create ties to the city of Oberlin and the community. Note: In committing to this ExCo, you are committing to a child. Serious applicants only, please.

Principles of Community Service 0-1 Credits
Adam Hohl EXCO-155

This course will prepare members of the Oberlin College community to be community service leaders. The course will both introduce its students to the Oberlin and the Lorain County area as well as prepare them to coordinate service opportunities for their peers. The course is a prerequisite to leading an intramural service team.

Roosevelt Institution Fellowship 0-1-Credits
Ezra Temko EXCO-160

Changing the world, one idea at a time. Complete with policy wonkage. We will be developing and partaking of a student public policy think-tank, connecting ourselves to the national network of The Roosevelt Institution, a student think-tank started after the last election and now on over 30 campuses. This course is for those interested in politics and who want to apply themselves towards looking seriously at real political solutions to issues facing our society. You will learn skills to do effective policy research and apply your findings. All welcome, with any political leaning and from any fields of study.

Sexual Information Center: SexCo 0-2 Credits
Julia Haubenstock and Reihonna Frost EXCO-165

This course offers information about sexuality and sexual health issues, including sexual practices, contraception, safer sex, anatomy, common sexual health problems, STIs, pornography/erotica, birth, adoption, abortion, sex work/prostitution, gender issues, and sexual orientation. Class meets once a week for 2 hours, and an optional counseling skills session is offered for an additional 1 hour a week. Students successful in both sessions may apply to be SIC counselors, but you need not want to be a counselor to take the class.

US Labor History 0-1 Credit
Gil Kudrin EXCO-175

This course will cover the movement of organized labor in the US from the inception of the Industrial Revolution to the present. It will explain the contributions by various political and social tendencies, the strategies that led to organized labor's greatest victories, and the frequent clash of interests inside the movement itself that often led to defeats. The instructor has participated in part of this history.

Creating Change within Oberlin: Working for a Peace Studies Major 0-1 Credit
Leslie Bornstein and Alan Caroll EXCO-180

How often do you say "I really wish Oberlin had..." but don't take the initiative to follow up on this desire and make it a reality? This ExCo is designed as a practicum for Oberlin students on what it takes to create change, focusing our efforts on the ultimate goal of developing a peace studies major at Oberlin. Most work will be in-class, but participants will be encouraged to spend additional time outside of class.

Issues in Women's Health 0-2 Credits
Emily Hansen and Helen Travis EXCO-185

How do different groups of women and individuals interact with the health care system, their bodies, and popular health culture? What can we do about it? Through readings, discussion, and informal research projects, we will address the day to day health concerns of ourselves and different women, and how these connect to larger theoretical and political issues. Themes connecting the whole semester include the ways class, race and sexuality change women's health experiences and options, and the importance of informed choice in every area of health.


Language, Culture, and Religion



Twelve Days with the African Family 0-1 Credit
Priscilla O. Mensah-Bonsu and Marie-Stella Essilfie EXCO 201
This course will be the first of a series of Experimental College courses coordinated by the African Students\'d5 Association. This first course will introduce participants to contemporary Africa through discussion forums and also through the eyes and voices of natives of Africa in the Oberlin Community. For the African students, it is an opportunity to begin a dialogue with the college community. For participants, it will be an avenue to interact with Africa through her children on the Oberlin College campus. The course will discuss contemporary Africa by modeling the continent after a family as complex as ever. We'll take advantage of African students, faculty members and Scholars of Africa on campus to enrich the course. Movies and news items will be used to facilitate lectures.

Letteratura italiana: Novelle 0-1 Credit
C. Maura Smith EXCO-230
Were you disappointed when you found out that there weren't any Italian classes beyond 102? Come read and discuss short studies in Italian. Authors to be covered include (but aren't limited to) Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Luigi Pirandello, and many more. Pre-requisite: Italian 102 or consent of instructor.

Prophecy, Passion, Promise, Paradise: Jesus 0-2 Credits
Sammie Davis-Dyson EXCO-235
This course takes an expositional and exegetical-hermeneutical approach to a study of the Gospels and Old Testament prophecies relative to the Christ and His Passion. The film The Passion of the Christ will be viewed in class and pertinent questions and reactions will be the focus of the semester's lectures and discussions. Discussion and lecture will always be intermingled. The main requirement for the course is there should be an honest curiosity and desire to learn about this most important topic from a fundamental Bible and Christian viewpoint. Bring your own Bible, or the professor will have spares available.

Shamanism: An Experiential Exploration 0-1 Credit
Kathy Abromeit EXCO-245
This course will explore shamanism and its use of ancient techniques to achieve and maintain well-being and healing for ourselves and our community. In addition to shamanic journeying, we will explore art, ritual, and mindfulness meditations as gateways in understanding the profound connection with Self, Nature, and Spirit. By the end of this class, we will have a better understanding of how this awareness helps to develop and enhance our own individual Earth walk. Students need a drum or rattle for the course. Course fee $25.

Essence of Sufism 0-1 Credit
Mary Rhodes and C. Lee Fellure EXCO-248
This course will provide a basic introduction to Sufism, especially as it is practiced in the Chisti tradition. We will begin with definitions of the terms 'Sufi' and 'Sufism' as well as other terms important to the understanding of this esoteric approach to divinity. Students will learn about the origins, history and development of Sufism, as well as its world-wide structural design. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with key Sufi leaders and participate in traditional Sufi dances. In addition, students may participate in a voluntary confidential assessment of their current level of spiritual consciousness.

Storytelling Workshop 0-1 Credits
David Reese EXCO 255
This is an opportunity for students to refine and improve their storytelling abilities. Through weekly assignments and comments from the group, we will identify areas for improvement and effective techniques. We will explore wide variety of styles and genres, from personal experience, to creation myths, to jokes.

The Swedenborg ExCo
Robin Hok EXCO 257
Learn about Emanuel Swedenborg, whose religious writings brought light into the darkness of Helen Keller's world, inspired Johnny Appleseed's legendary wanderings, influenced the teachings of Oberlin College's namesake, and founded a branch of Christianity upon whose alter rests a book instead of a cross. Prerequisites: an interest in life's biggest questions and an open mind. Possible course fee of $5-10 for reading materials.

Turkish Language and Culture 0-2 Credits
Asli Sevinc and Nigar Hacizade EXCO-260
If you want to speak Turkish and learn about Turkish culture and history, this is a unique opportunity to be taught by native speakers and cool Turkish women. We assure that it is going to be lots of fun and serious language instruction a the same time. Gorusmek uzere! Prerequisite: none.

Studies of Neo-Paganism in the New Age Movement 0-1 Credit
Stacey Battles EXCO-265
Do you ever find yourself wishing there were a religion course dedicated entirely to explaining the rise of the newest forming religious movements in the West? Witchcraft, Wicca, modern Druidry, and Neo-Shamanism all fall under the umbrella term of Neo-Paganism, and are mostly misunderstood by the general public. We will explore the New Age movement (and its Neo-Pagan component) from its history to the current issues it faces. Come join us in seeing how new religions are forming community and identity in modern society!


Computers, Math, and Science



Cryptozoology 0-1 Credit
Harrison Demchick EXCO-315
Do creatures, or cryptids, like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Abominable Snowman really exist? Cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, is devoted to studying these and other such mysteries. This class will allow students to analyze the evidence with an open, yet critical, mind to draw their own conclusions. One of only two Cryptozoology classes taught anywhere in the world.

UFO Exco 0-1 Credit
Aaron Clark EXCO-355
This course will explore incredible stories of UFO's and extraterrestrial life. Hear ancient stories of UFO's, learn about the Roswell incident, Area 51, Alien Abductions, Crop Circles, and more. See pictures and videos of reported UFO encounters that you will see nowhere else. We'll also cover government involvement with the UFO subject and how it has affected our society.


Media and Literature



Auteurism: Tim Burton 0-1 Credit
Nicholas Aszling EXCO-403
The films of Tim Burton have been described as being gothic, expressionistic, as live-action cartoons and as evidence of mental disturbance. However they are described, one thing is certain: they are unique, and reveal much about the personality of their creator. This course will analyze Burton's work, from Vincent to Big Fish, with a focus on his unique style and the way that meaning is conveyed in his films. Students will be required to keep a weekly response journal and write a brief paper at the end of the course on a topic of their choosing.

Calvin and Hobbes ExCo 0-1 Credits
Aaron Parker and Lei Zhao EXCO-404
This discussion-based class will cover a number of topics related to Bill Watterson's comic strip. Requirements are one two-page paper and one set of discussion questions.

The Sandman 0-1 Credit
Andy Bartholomew and Matthew Castleman EXCO-410
Neil Gaiman's masterpiece of graphic literature, The Sandman, is the story of Dream of the Endless, a.k.a. Morpheus. It's also about the role that dreams and stories play in our lives. We will read all ten volumes along with a few other comics. Students will lead discussions and write short responses

Indian Cinema 0-1 Credit
Pooja Rangan and Nayeem Mahbub EXCO-422
This class will introduce students to Indian cinema of 1950 to the present, through screenings, readings, and discussions. The focus will be on Bollywood (mainstream) movies, but we will also look at some art films, independent releases, and works of some women directors, with an emphasis on film music. This goal is that students understand and enjoy Indian film by considering cinematic trends as influenced by history, politics, and society. There will be a final research paper, with a draft due in the middle of the term.

Advanced Filmmaking ExCo 0-2 Credits
Adam Tate EXCO-425

The Advanced Filmmaking ExCo is a production practicum. The ExCo is intended for those who have successfully completed the introductory course or intensive filmmaking winter term. Auditions will be held for actors who will also receive ExCo credit. Students will work as crew and editors on a single film for the duration of the semester. Participants will learn how to operate the Arriflex 16mm motion picture camera and Final Cut Pro editing suite. The product will be screened for the public at the Apollo Theater at the end of the course.

Japanese Horror Cinema 0-1 Credit
Oliver Chang and Benjamin Brown EXCO-430

Examination of the genre of horror in Japanese cinema from post-war to modern day. Focus on seminal works and directors, and how they have influenced the genre both in Japan and around the world. Weekly viewings and discussions.

Unresisting Imbecility: Shakespeare's Worst Plays 0-1 Credit
Austin Williams and Joel Heller EXCO-465

Why does nobody perform King John? What\'d5s the deal with Timon of Athens? And what is Cymbeline even about? This course will examine six of the Bard's most obscure, least-performed, downright awful plays. Texts will include the three aforementioned clunkers, plus The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pericles, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. The course will meet once a week for discussion. Evaluation will be based on scene work and brief written responses. Students will be responsible for acquiring play texts.

Spooktacular: The World of Ghosts 0-1 Credit
Beau Mahurin EXCO-470

Do you believe in ghosts, poltergeists, and things that go bump in the night? This course covers the history, philosophy, modern science and cultural connections of all things haunting, culminating in a class ghost hunt at the end of the semester! Come along for the ride, if you dare! There will be a moderate amount of outside reading involved and a course fee of $8, including purchase of the main required reading. Meets Wednesday evenings.

Turtle Power: The TMNT ExCo 0-1 Credit
Phillip Kurs EXCO-490

Why did Turtle Mania sweep the nation in the early 90's? Why did you buy all those toys? Indulge your nostalgia while taking a critical look at the series as a reflection of American culture.


Dance and Theater



VIBE Intermediate Jazz 0-1 Credit
Elizabeth Friedman EXCO-506
This class concentrates on intermediate jazz techniques like isolations, kicks, turns and other stylized movement. Student must have had previous dance experience, preferably in ballet, jazz, or modern, though experience in other forms will be considered. This is not a beginning course, but one for building skill. It is designed to train dancers for ViBE dance company.

Intro to Tap Dance Technique 0-1 Credit
Megan Riso EXCO-518
This course will explore basic tap dance for beginners. No experience is required or expected. There will not be a fee for this course, but you will have to acquire tap shoes if you enroll (this will be facilitated by the instructor). We will meet twice a week for more than an hour, and put on a brief performance at the end of the term.

Israeli Dance 0-1 Credit
Stuart Meyer and Aviva Richman EXCO-525
Introduction to footwork and rhythms of Israeli dance styles, including Yemenite, Greek, Arabic, modern Israeli, and classic pioneer Israeli dances.

Beginning Modern American Swing 0-1 Credit
Amie Patchen and Lincoln Smith EXCO-545

This course will teach students the basic steps of East Coast swing (6-count) and Lindy Hop (8-count), including some Charleston and jazz dance. The focus will be on refining fundamentals, having fun, and learning to put swing dance into its historical and social context.

Oberlin Showchoir (OSHOW) 0-1 Credit
Emily Doubilet

Welcome to OSHOW, Oberlin's first and only show choir, guerilla-theatre style! We aim to provide musical spectaculars for everyday life. OSHOW is about singing, dancing, sweating, and sequin leotards.






Classical Music of North India 0-2 Credits
Hasu Patel and Zak Wardle EXCO-615

The course is offered by a professional musician to give students an introduction to the theory and practice of the classical instruments of Hindustani music: Sitar, Tabla, and Vocal. Students will learn about Raga Sangeet and the context surrounding this sacred music. The course will be taught in traditional style with certain rules regarding the instruments, practice, fellow students, and Guru. Instruments are available for use through the teacher and the Conservatory. Course fee: $130.00 per student.

Introduction to Pipe Organ Building 0-1 Credit
James Leek and Jef McDonough EXCO-630

This is a class for anyone who is interested in the workings and historical development of the pipe organ, or for people who are interested in the science of sound, wood, metal and other fascinating topics. This class has no prerequisites, but is held off-campus and students are required to take two tests and write one paper.

Oberlin College Marching Band 0-2 Credits
Eric Hughes and Margaret Putney EXCO-645

We need musicians, color guard members, drum majors, choreographers and drill designers! If you are interested in practicing or acquiring skills in any of these areas, please join us. All ranges of experience welcome.

Rhythm-a-ning on World Percussion 0-1 Credit
Ben Malament EXCO-665

Students will gain an understanding of techniques and backgrounds surrounding instruments and music from Africa, Peru, Brazil, and North America. The evolution and connection of the music throughout all of these places will be examined rhythmically. There is a course fee of $80.00 for the semester.

Steel Drum Ensemble 0-1 Credit
Paul Drake and Katherine Erickson EXCO-685

Learn how to play steel drums! A portion of class time will also be spent learning auxiliary percussion instruments. The class culminates in a required performance in the Cat in the Cream. For those interested, this performance is the only way to audition for Oberlin Steel.


Arts, Crafts, and Do-It-Yourself



Adventures in Do-it-Yourself Journalism 0-1 Credit
Lee Davis EXCO-704
Zines are self-published magazines about anything, usually personal stories, political manifestos, and do-it-yourself guides. In this course, we will examine zines as creators of subculture, consciousness, and communities of resistance, and we'll make some of our own.

Obedient Pony ExCo 0-1 Credit
Allison Katz and Eric Zibbel EXCO-710
Not a rock star? Want to be the next best thing? Learn how to record, promote and distribute an album for local bands, using Oberlin as your playground!

Basic Bicycle Mechanics 0-1 Credit
Paul (Gus) Visscher and Alexander Mandel EXCO-715

Learn to know, love, maintain, and rebuild your bike. We will teach you how to identify the parts of your bike, basic maintenance skills, names and functions of all the tools in the Bike Co-op, and all the basic bike systems. Students will also be required to join a shift at the Bike Co-op (3 hours once a week). No bike knowledge required, only enthusiasm for bikes and learning.

Intro to 16mm Film Production
Yasamin Ghanbari EXCO-726

We will teach you how to make 16mm films. There will be a $60.00 course fee.

Drag Ball: the ExCo 0-1 Credit
Andy Monk EXCO-735

During the course of this ExCo, students will learn to plan large-scale parties through active participation in the planning of Drag Ball. After the course is over, some students will be offered paid positions as core members of the Drag Ball committee.


Physical Activities and Games



Aikido 0-1 Credit
Ian VanderMeulen and Jon Myers EXCO-805

The Aikido ExCo is an introduction to the basic principles and techniques of Aikido, a Japanese martial art that employs circular motion and blending in order to control and subdue an opponent without necessarily causing injury. Aikido is built around concepts of openness, relaxation, and being able to respond to any attack. As Aikido is not dependent on strength, it is suitable for all ages and physiques.

Beginning Fencing 0-1 Credit
Anna Leinberger and Alexander Gluck EXCO-810

Come learn the beautiful and sexy art of fencing! We will be teaching beginning foil, so no experience is required. Next time you need to defend your honor, you'll be ready.

Contact Improvisation 0-1 Credit
Lee Fogel and Elizabeth Johnson EXCO-820

Come learn and play the art/dance/sport of Contact Improvisation in a safe and open atmosphere! Share weight as you move through space and levels, using one another as dance surfaces. Study through dancing concepts of movement and social proximity to other people. No dance background required. Come exactly as you are, we are open to all. Body work included. Fun included. Energy, smiles and spirals included too!

Isshin-Ryu Karate 0-1 Credit
David Jackson and James Ashenhhurst EXCO-835

Training for mind, body, and soul, this class is open to beginners as well as those with martial arts experience. Taking the class makes one eligible to join the Oberlin Karate Kai. There is no class size limit, so everyone who is interested will get in.

Rock Climging Fundamentals 0-1 Credit
Alex Nichls and Alia Kate EXCO-850

This class is designed to train the next generation of climbing wall supervisors. The emphasis will be on how to teach proper climbing safety. In addition, we will cover everything from basic technique to bouldering, lead climbing, route setting, and how to 'crank down hard!' There will be an outdoor climbing expedition to practice our new skills.

Tae Kwon Do 0-1 Credit
Peter Collopy EXCO-860

This is an introduction to the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do, beginning with basic techniques, including stances, strikes, blocks, and kicks. There will also be one-step and light-contact sparring, forms, some basic Judo, and simple English and Korean terminology. Class will meet twice a week for 1.5 hours. There will be an optional test for the rank of yellow belt at the end of the course. The class is primarily for beginners, but those with previous training are welcome to join.

Taijiquan 0-1 Credit
Carl Schreep EXCO-862

This class is an introduction to t'ai chi ch'uan, a Taoist martial art famous for its health benefits and a means of spiritual cultivation.

Water Polo 0-1 Credit
Gabriel Golden EXCO-865

We will learn all the basics of Water Polo, focusing on treading, ball skills, and some swim conditioning. All levels are welcome. We will be practicing with the Water Polo Club and drawing from their collective knowledge and resources. There will be at least three women's intercollegiate tournaments and two co-ed tournaments. Practice will be 2-3 afternoons a week.

Vinyasa Yoga 1 0-1 Credit
Lance Westendarp EXCO-876

This course will focus on learning the basics of yoga postures with the aid of props. We will begin work on meditation and pranayama breathing techniques. Depending on how the class progresses, we will slowly start introducing the vinyasa style of yoga.

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