20th Century
SRS 4003 - Senior Seminar


Survey results - Summer 2003 | Free Will | Chaos Theory | Library research information | The Second Coming | SRS 4003 - Senior Seminar | Words of Wisdom | The Real World of Technology | A Primer on Postmodernism | Einstein Revealed | A Relativistic World | Three Psychologies | Sigmund Freud: Analysis of a Mind | Civilization and Its Discontents | Martin Luther King Jr. | Letter from Birmingham Jail | Science and Faith | Perspectives on Moral Responsibility


SRS 4003 Senior Seminar

Summer II (2003)



Instructor:  Dr. Pam Dennis

Office:  Luther L. Gobbel Library

Phone #: 425-3479

E-mail:  dennis@lambuth.edu


Course Website:  http://lambuthlibrary.tripod.com/20thcentury/


Course Description:  SRS 4003 is one of three interdisciplinary courses required of all Lambuth students.  The purpose of this course is to provide an exploration of some of the major issues and ideas of the 20th century.  The topics of discussion and study will be diverse including education; science; technology; the environment; ethnic, race, and gender relations; economics; warfare; cultural differences and similarities; and others.  Course objectives include familiarizing students with important concepts, ideas, and major problems and issues that have been important during the last hundred years.  Students will exercise their critical thinking and analysis skills by learning to apply course materials both in writing and verbally, in order to improve their ability to communicate thoughts and to work out problem-solving processes.

            Although this course is not specifically about certain thinkers or writers of the 20th century, we will explore relevant themes through the writings of various individuals.  Throughout the semester we will read and examine works and writings from Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and other noted psychologists, Ursula Franklin and other writers on technology, Maynard Keynes and other economists, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, and others.

Some of the ideas dealt with in the course are:


The impact of technology on work and play

Education and socialization of the young

The importance of education a liberal arts education

Human nature are humans good or bad?

Individualism vs. collectivism

Economics and the appropriate role of government



Required texts: 

1.         Ursula M. Franklin, The Real World of Technology, revised edition, 1999. 

2.         Robert D. Nye, Three Psychologies: Perspectives from Freud, Skinner, and

Rogers, 2000.

3.         Stanley J. Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism, 1996


Other required readings include (if accessing articles from off campus, use elvis as the password):

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Relativity.  Time 31 December 1999, 67-81.



Roger Rosenblatt, The Age of Einstein. Time 31 December 1999: 90-95.



Selections (Chapter 1) from Modern Times, by Paul Johnson.  D421 .J64 1983 (reserve).


Selections (chapters 3, 4, and 5) from Civilization and its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud.   BF173 .F682 1962 (reserve).


Selections from John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza, Perspectives on Moral Responsibility (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993) BJ1451 .P47 1993 (reserve).


Martin Luther King, Letter From Birmingham Jail, on-line source, 1-8.



Harry L. Poe and Jimmy H. Davis, Science and Faith: An Evangelical Dialogue (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000), Chapters 13-15 (201-238) (reserve).


Ziauddin Sardar, The Future is Ours to Change, New Statesman 129 (March 19, 1999), 25-28.


Robert A. Frosch, Industrial Ecology: Adapting Technology for a Sustainable World. Environment 37 (December 1995), 16-29. http://web5.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/648/698/25253530w5/purl=rc1_ITOF_0_A17911541&dyn=21!xrn_6_0_A17911541?sw_aep=tel_a_lambuth


Grading:  Your course grade will be based on the following:


Senior thesis 35%

Meaningful class contribution 15%

Technology paper (see attachment) 15%

2nd paper 15%

Midterm exam (journal) 10%

Final exam 10%

A=100-92, B=91-83, C=82-72, D-71-62, F=61 and below


Journal:  Students should record answers to the review questions on the assigned readings and videos.  In addition, you may include any class notes or reading notes you wish.  The journal serves as your only resource for the midterm and final exams, so it is important that you maintain a complete and organized journal.  Journals will be collected on the days of the midterm and final exams.


Attendance policy:  Attendance and class participation are a necessity.  More than two (2) unexcused absences will result in a lowered grade for each future absence.  Excused absences must be discussed with the professor prior to the absence, and all work must be made up immediately.  I will reserve the right to lower a students grade because of excessive absences and/or lack of preparation.  Class participation, measured both through attendance and quality of in-class contributions, will be an important part of the final evaluation.  Therefore, adequate preparation for class is essential.  Assigned material must be read before coming to class in order to be prepared adequately.


Plagiarism:  Plagiarism is passing off anothers work as your own.  It is a form of cheating and lying.  The plagiarist learns nothing.  Any act of plagiarism will result in failure of the course.  In order to avoid plagiarism, you should avoid those sources most often connected with plagiarism.  Avoid the fraternity or sorority house when writing your papers.  Never ask to see someone elses paper and dont let others see yours.


NOTE:  please turn OFF all cell phones and turn pagers to silent mode!


Format of Class:  This course is a seminar course.  That means that you, the student, will be responsible for presenting material and for leading class discussions about the material to be covered in the course.  The instructor will act as moderator, organizer, guide, and inquisitor.  The study questions that accompany the material should be the guideline for the class discussions, but the student should not simply answer the questions for the class or just ask the class to answer the questions.  The student is responsible for presenting the material by leading a class discussion whereby the study questions are answered by the class.  The student should also be able to answer other questions posted by members of the class or the instructor.  The effectiveness of your role in leading these discussions will be the basis for your class participation grade. 


Students will choose the area they wish to cover and lead the class in discussion by answering the review questions.  As a presenter, your job is to:


Lead classroom discussion

Ensure all review questions are accurately answered

Answer any questions from students or the instructor


Turning in papers:  Papers are due by the class time indicated on the class schedule.  All late submissions are marked down one letter grade for each day they are late. Having to deal with computer failures is a way of life for us all.  Save your paper often as you type and put it on a floppy disk as a back-up copy. 


Style guide The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  It will be sufficient to list the works you are using in a bibliography and to cite particular passages you are referring to in a parenthetical notes.  Thus, if you are quoting or paraphrasing Johnson, your bibliography  should contain:  Johnson, Paul.  Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties.  HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.


And parenthetical notes would follow the quoted or paraphrased words, thus:

In a scientific sense, Einstein was a determinist (Johnson, 4).


Expectations on Writing: The number four in SRS 4003 indicates that this is a senior-level course.  I expect students to write at a college senior level.  Without question, your papers should meet the basic composition criteria of proper grammar, proper sentence and paragraph structure, accurate use of punctuation, and accurate spelling.  Your ideas should be supported with accurate and reliable evidence. .  The readers of your papers should walk away feeling as though they have learned something.  With regard to content four factors will be evaluated:  correctness, coherence, comprehensiveness, and creativity.  Correctness simply means that your statements must be accurate representations of a thinkers position or argument.  Coherence refers to two things;  does it make sense and does it flow in a logical manner does it promote clarity rather than confusion.  Comprehensiveness pertains to the need to say enough about important points in the paper.  In other words, support main points by way of explaining what these mean and providing reasons for accepting or rejecting those points.  Finally, creativity concerns the manner in which you deal with the topic.  In a nutshell, I am looking to see how you demonstrate its importance and how you deal with the topic so as to inculcate interest within the reader.


Essays:  Each student will write two (2) out-of-class papers in response to the study and discussion material.  Incorporate practical or theoretical considerations from any of the course readings, or from outside sources.  The essay must be word-processed and NO LESS than four (4) but NO MORE than five (5) double-spaced pages of text (not including the required title page and bibliography/reference list/endnotes pages) with one-inch margins (right, left, top, bottom).  In addition to the quality of analytical content, grammar, spelling, syntax, etc., will count substantially.


For the first out-of-class paper, the student will choose some form of technology that has been developed in the 20th century and critique that technology.  You should briefly (1-2 paragraphs) describe the technology, explaining its uses or reasons for its development.  Then, the majority of your paper should be a critical analysis of the technology in relation to one or more specific themes, as follows:


Impact on the environment, or on population growth

Impact on individual freedom

Impact on society and the community

Impact on morality and human values

Impact on the economy, whether local, national, or global


For the second out-of-class paper, the student will address the following:  The technology has been available since the 1880s for developing electric and hybrid cars, noted for their savings in petroleum and stress on the environment.  Only a few manufacturers have continued to put these cars on the market.  With our understanding of environmental problems and need for conversation, why has the American public not bought into the concept of the electric or hybrid car?  Find resources (Internet, government documents, reference, etc., that back up your ideas, presenting evidence by the government that these vehicles are better for the environment.  What manufacturers over the past century have worked on this area of research and development?


Senior Thesis:  The Senior thesis is a major paper to be completed according to the following guidelines: 


In writing the thesis, students will choose one thinker from the Junior Seminar course, and two thinkers from the Senior Seminar course.  It should be word-processed and NO LESS than eight (8) but NO MORE than twelve (12) double-spaced pages of text (not including the required title page and bibliography/reference list/endnotes pages) with one-inch margins (right, left, top, bottom).  Students will submit their senior thesis in both hard copy and on disk, written in either Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Works Word Processor.


The topic is as follows:

In its State-of-the World report in May 2002 the United Nations Environmental Program predicted "dramatic and devastating environmental change over the next thirty years" (see other articles at http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/sow/2002/).  This assessment, based on contributions from more than 1000 scientists worldwide, portrays a future world with mass animal extinction and tremendous human suffering.  They conclude that unless firm political/economic action is taken to protect the environment, human development across much of the planet will not be sustainable.


A number of the authors studied in the JRS 3003 and SRS 4003 courses have provided valuable insight into man's political/economic/psychological/moral behavior, and the impact of environmental change on all life.  Using the ideas of one JRS 3003 and two SRS 4003 authors, describe how they would assess mankind's role in this deterioration of the environment and the actions that must be taken to avoid the predicted disaster.


The next 30 years will be defining ones in your adult life.  Describe your assessment of the environmental deterioration that could occur during this time should matters remain as they are and what actions you will feel are necessary during your lifetime to avoid this pending disaster.


Class Schedule (readings should be completed for the first class under each topic)



July 7 - Introduction to the course, 20th century technology


Topic 1 Technology (Readings:  Franklin, Chapter 1; Grenz, Chapter 1)

July 8 Lectures and general discussion of readings

July 9 - library orientation for materials specific to course by Sammy Chapman

July 10 Discussion and Debate on technology subject - We have decided to start our own medical practice.  How would you go about creating the practice from a holistic or prescriptive approach? (6 students, 3 on each side)

July 11 Discussion and Debate on technology subject - Argue for or against the use of chemicals in warfare.  Make sure you give sound scientific and/or philosophical bases for your decisions.  (6 students, 3 on each side)


Topic 2 Science (Readings:  Hawking and Rosenblatt articles; Franklin, Chapter 2; Johnson, Chapter 1)

July 14 and 15 video and discussion of Einstein and relativity

July 16 presentation - How has our day-to-day life been changed by the creation of television? (shared experiences and reciprocity vs. pseudoreality) (2 students)


Topic 3 Psychology (Readings:  Nye pp. 7-25, 35-44, 47-63, 88-93, 97-117, 123-129)

July 17 technology paper due

July 17 and 18 video and discussion on Freud, Skinner, and Rogers

July 21 class lecture by Dean Susan Kupisch

July 22 - presentation - Discuss Hitler as if you were Freud, Skinner, and Rogers.  Could Hitler have been stopped? (2 students)


Topic 4 Identity, ethnicity, nationality, and violence: Martin Luther King and Ghandi (Readings:  Franklin, Chapters 3 and 4; Martin Luther King letter)

July 23 Mid-term (journals due)

July 23 and 24  video and discussion

July 25 Presentation Racism immigration laws, anti-Semitism, War in Iraq, reactions by society (2 students)


Topic 5 - Determinism and Free Will (Readings:  Fischer and Ravizza, Chapter 3; Franklin, Chapter 5)

July 28 Second paper due

July 28 and 29 lecture and discussion

July 30 presentation (2 students)


Topic 6 Chaos Theory and Quantum Mechanics (Readings:  Poe and Davis, pp. 201-238)

July 31 and August 1 lecture and discussion

August 1 rough draft of thesis due

August 4 presentation - The Womens Movement when and why it came about; why it was needed; why is was not accepted (2 students)


Topic 7 Environment Ethics (Readings:  Sardar and Frosch articles)

August 5 lecture, video, and discussion

August 6 presentation - Space exploration history, why it came about, future (2 students)


Topic 8 Economics/Politics

August 7 lecture and discussion


Wrap up

August 8 thesis due in my office by 4:30 p.m.

Final exam