Summer semester is a rapid-fire blast of academics.

With two sections divided into 5 1/2-week chunks, information must be doled out at lightning speed.

But the semester also offers a chance for courses that may color a bit outside the lines. Subjects can offer something of a breather from the usual heavy academic load but still earn credits.

A look at UTC’s summer class schedule finds several unusual and noteworthy courses available in the second session of summer semester, which begins in late June and runs through early August. Among them are courses that discuss the supernatural, the roots of terrorism, sex, Roman history that’s pertinent in today’s world and energy and climate change,

For more information about summer school, including instructions for applying and registering for classes, go here.

“Magic on the Early Modern English Stage”

Dr. Andrew McCarthy

Dr. Andrew McCarthy is looking at the use of the supernatural in 16th and 17th century plays.

Shakespeare and his contemporaries loved the supernatural stuff.

Shakespeare wrote about witches (“Macbeth”), magicians (“The Tempest”) and ghosts (“Hamlet”). Christopher Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus” featured the devil, demons and the occult.

When these works were written in the 16th and 17th centuries, witches were still being burned at the stake; magic was considered a reality; and the devil walked.

In his class “Magic on the Early Modern English Stage,” Dr. Andrew McCarthy not only highlights the written beauty of such plays, he discusses their connections to today’s society.

“Our core beliefs are constantly being challenged, and what we believed 30 years ago isn’t what we necessarily believe today,” says McCarthy, a UC Foundation associate professor of English.

Admittedly, he says, he trades on his students’ current fascination with supernaturally-tinged entertainment offerings such as the “Harry Potter” books and Disney films. He notes that J.K. Rowling, author of “Harry Potter,” has said she loves “Macbeth.”

“I want them to gain an appreciation for these beautiful works of art that just happen to use something they’re very familiar with,” McCarthy says.


Dr. Ahmet Kule

Dr. Ahmet Kule’s summer class, “Terrorism,” focuses on a subject in the forefront of today’s society.

Two men plow a van through a Saturday-night crowd on London Bridge, then jump out and start stabbing bystanders, killing eight and injuring 48.

A suicide bomber kills 22 and injures 116 on May 22 outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Eighty-four people, including 10 children, are killed on July 16, 2016, when a truck bulldozes through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France.

Fifty people are killed on June 2016 when gunman opens fire in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

An act of terrorism occurs somewhere in the world virtually every day. In May, the only day without some kind of terrorist attack was May 29.

Dr. Ahmet Kule, an assistant professor in the College of Social, Cultural and Justice Studies, hopes to explain some aspects of such acts in his simply-titled course: “Terrorism.” Along with the roots of terrorism, he also plans to discuss the motivations behind suicide bombing, the media and its effect on terrorism, how to fight and prevent such deadly attacks, and the religious underpinnings of terrorism.

Most people don’t have an understand “the dynamics of terrorism,” he says.

“Even most of the researchers in the field of terrorism are one-time researchers; they publish an article and disappear.

“Perceptions of terrorism are more important than reality, and the media plays an important role in terms of these perceptions,” he says.

Hopefully, students in the class will gain a solid understanding of why terrorism actually takes place. They’ll learn who the major players are in worldwide terrorism and methods to try to counteract their plots.

And they’ll discuss and analyze both the short-term and long-term steps that can be taken to deal with terrorism.

“Sexuality and Society”

Dr. Shawn Trivette

In his summer class, Dr. Shawn Trivette examines the many ways that sex is embedded in our lives.

Discussing sex’s place in society doesn’t lend itself to a single, simple explanation.

There are sexual identities, same-sex marriage, sexual violence, sex in advertising and the political aspects of sex, to name just a few.

Dr. Shawn Trivette acknowledges that trying to cover everything sex in a five-week course is pretty much impossible, but just discussing some of its facets can show the many ways it fits into our lives.

“It’s a little bit of a potpourri course, and it’s meant to be an overview to give some understanding of sexuality and the social forces around it,” says Trivette, assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies.

Among the angles he plans to address are:

  • Sexual identity. What does the term mean? How do we define it and deal with it in relation to ourselves?
  • Abortion politics. “How we understand reproductive access and care in the context of broader political issues.”
  • Same-sex marriage and its development. “There may be gay individuals who were opposed to same-sex marriage.”
  • Sexual violence. “Understanding some of the gendered aspects of sexual violence,” and how it just keeps going in generation after generation.
  • Sex as a commodity. Sure, there’s pornography; that’s obvious. But there’s also sex “in advertising for cars, food. Things that have nothing to do with sex.”
  • Sex education and how it’s understood and taught — or not taught — in elementary, middle and high school.

“What I want to do is think less about which is the ‘right’ perspective, but how does power play out in this and how people mobilize resources to accomplish a particular end,” Trivette says. “There’s no: Here’s the ‘right’ answer.”

“Legendary Rome: Epic Founders, Wicked Emperors, Saintly Martyrs”

Kristen Fulton Knopick

The lives of Roman emperors have some lessons for today’s society, says lecturer Kristen Fulton Knopick.

Looking for a hero? Try Aeneas, the Trojan who left his home and traveled to Italy, where he became an ancestor of the Romans. Along the way he encountered war, gods and ghosts, adventures documented in Virgil’s poetic epic, “The Aeneid.”

Want evil? Roman emperors Caligula and Nero focused only on their own wants and desires. If getting those meant killing other Romans, well, you have to break a few eggs for an omelet, right?

Want saints? Writer St. Augustine looked at the myths of Rome but did so through his Christian faith.

Learning about such figures, both fictional and real, and their lasting lessons are part of “Legendary Rome: Epic Founders, Wicked Emperors, Saintly Martyrs.”

“There are many things that Rome can teach us today; learning from the mistakes of our forebears is an important undertaking,” says Kristen Fulton Knopick, a lecturer in modern and classical languages and literature.

“We can learn tolerance and civic responsibility, which includes being cognizant and respectful of all classes and cultures within our society, since Rome suffered the consequences of ignoring and/or oppressing certain segments of its society.”

While Aeneas is fictional, St. Augustine, Caligula and Nero are well-documented reality. But facts about them have been bent through the centuries, Knopick says, and that includes the atrocities of the two emperors.

“The biases in the records distort the stories and make the two leaders seem larger than life, thereby inserting them in the realm of legend,” she says.

“You’ll have to take the class … for the gory details.”

“Design of Thermal Components”

Dr. Prakash Dhamshala

Figuring out how to bring electricity to a remote community is the task in “Design of Thermal Components,” taught by Dr. Prakash Dhamshala, center.

The community is in the hinterlands, too far out to make it economically worthwhile for a power company to run electricity to it. Residents must figure it out on their own.

That’s the challenge graduate students face in “Design of Thermal Components” taught by Dr. Prakash Dhamshala, a professor of mechanical engineering.

Through computer simulations and weather data from the Chattanooga area, students must try to create a system that uses solar energy “to produce simultaneously, electricity, hot water and chilled water,” says Dhamshala.

The plan is to use photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors, also known as PV/T, which can generate both thermal and electrical energy. Such a system circulates water through the solar panels, keeping them cooler and, in turn, more efficient.

As an added advantage, the system also produces hot water. And, in what seems paradoxical, the hot water can be used to power a machine that chills water so it can be used in an air-conditioning system.

“The main attractive feature of this PV/T system is the capability of using hot water produced by it to meet the building space heating in winter and building space cooling in the summer,” Dhamshala says.



Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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1 Comment » for Magic, Mayhem and More: Summer courses offer unusual subjects
  1. Joe Wilferth says:

    Awesome! I’m proud of the opportunities our students have to learn from such outstanding faculty.