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Non-credit short courses explore undercurrents of 2012 election

Although the U.S. presidential debate at DU is still months away, the University is gearing up with a slate of short, non-credit Enrichment Program courses to help people understand some of the issues at play in the 2012 election.

Beginning with Moments in U.S. Economic History on Jan. 17, the University College Enrichment Program courses will cover a range of political, historical, social and environmental topics. The program format includes lectures, seminars, weekend intensives and evening classes without exams, grades or admission requirements.

University of Denver employees receive a 20 percent discount and alumni receive a 15 percent discount on most Enrichment Program classes. Find more information and register online at, or call 303-871-2291.



Moments in U.S. Economic History: Déjà Vu All Over Again?

Five sessions: Jan. 17, 24 and 31, Feb. 7; 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Performance: Feb. 12, 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $180

The Gilded Age of the late 19th century was characterized in a political cartoon of the time showing members of Congress as bags of money. Sound familiar to complaints raised by today’s “Occupy” movement? Join Bob Melvin, award-winning economics instructor, to explore moments in history that bear striking resemblance to today’s economic atmosphere. The class will attend a Stories on Stage performance of No Such Thing as Supply and Demand — a “fierce and funny” take on the difficulties of dealing with money.


The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: From Ancient History to Modern Roadblocks

Five sessions: Jan. 25, Feb. 1, 8 and 15; 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Performance: Feb. 4, 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $190

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues to invoke a wide range of emotions and beliefs — both political and religious. Like many before it, the Obama administration set its sights on achieving peace in the Middle East, but the collision of ancient and modern history and opposing beliefs continue to stalemate peace talks. Iman Jodeh, former co-director of DU’s Student Interfaith Peace Project, explores the importance of this small strip of land, from its ancient historical roots to modern roadblocks to peace. Gain further perspective at the Denver Center Theatre performance of Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner, a comical story about a Passover Seder dinner among family and friends that takes a serious turn when the conversation turns to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


The Hidden Population: Uncovering the Problem of Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

Four sessions: Feb. 20 and 27, March 5 and 12; 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Cost: $150

Would it surprise you to learn that more slaves exist today than at any other time in history? That income generated by human trafficking is second only to the illegal sale of drugs worldwide? Or that it may be occurring right in front of you? There are 23 million to 27 million slaves in the world today and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 in the U.S. in any given year. They are the prostitute on the street and the child in the sweatshop. Yet, more often they’re working a legitimate job — a waitress, housekeeper or farm worker. Explore this very real problem with Claude d’Estrée, director of DU’s Human Trafficking Clinic and Center on Rights Development.


The Urgent vs. the Important: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and East Asia

Feb. 21, 7–9 p.m.

Cost: $35

Christopher Hill, now dean of DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, served as ambassador to Iraq from April 2009 to August 2010, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 to 2009, and was an ambassador to Korea, Poland and Macedonia. He also served as special assistant to the president and was senior director for Southeast European Affairs in the National Security Council. Join Hill for a special evening to discuss the direction of U.S. Policy in the Middle East and in East Asia and lessons learned during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.



How the West was Won: Lincoln, Slavery and the Origins of the Colorado Territory

Five sessions: Feb. 21 and 28, March 6 and 13; 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Performance: March 1, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $205

History Professor and Lincoln expert Susan Schulten examines the events, personalities and crises that created the Colorado Territory just as the nation descended into Civil War. Bringing the suspense and drama to life through maps and writings from the era, Schulten leads discussions about the passionate political clashes, how and why western expansion brought the slavery battle to a high pitch, the outcomes that might have been, and the ironies that led to Colorado’s “birth.” Midway through the course, attend the Newman Center Presents performance of The Rivalry, a “radio theater” depiction of the Lincoln-Douglas debates using original texts.



Oil Rush: Getting to the Bottom of Oil and Gas Drilling in Colorado

Four sessions: Feb. 22 and 29, March 7 and 14; 7–9 p.m.

Cost: $140

From the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains, oil and gas deposits are being developed throughout Colorado. More than 46,000 oil and gas wells operate in the state, and 8,100 leases for mineral rights were filed along the Front Range in just the last year. What does this potential drilling boom mean for a resource-rich state that prides itself on its spectacular natural environment and the recreational opportunities that come with it? Explore this complex and sometimes contentious subject with Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.



The Arab Spring: Ramifications for International Intervention, the United Nations and U.S. Foreign Policy

Four sessions: 7–9 p.m. March 19 and 26, April 2 and 9

Cost: $165

The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have seemingly transformed the region. However, beyond the mass protests and, in some cases, the ousting of corrupt dictators and resulting modest reforms, there are broader implications drawing global attention. Join Ved Nanda, professor of International Law, to consider what lies ahead in the wake of the recent revolutions known as the Arab Spring.



Religion and the Election: The Changing Role of Faith in Presidential Campaign 2012

Four sessions: March 28, April 4, 11 and 18; 7–9 p.m.

Cost: $165

Since at least the early 1980s, religion has played an outsized role in American presidential elections. In 1984 the Moral Majority rallied to support Ronald Reagan for the second time, and in 2000 and 2004 Christian evangelicals mobilized behind George W. Bush. After 9/11 conservative politicians played into anti-Muslim anxiety, making faith an integral part of the electoral strategy. Doubts or confusion about Barack Obama’s faith continue to influence how he is perceived, both as a president and a presidential candidate. Yet some believe that religion will play a very different role in the upcoming election. Join Carl Raschke, professor of religious studies, to explore religion’s changing role in a changing political environment over the last five presidential elections with special emphasis on 2012.



The U.S. Constitution: Historical Roots and Modern Realities

Four sessions: April 16, 23 and 30, May 7; 6–8 p.m.

Cost: $165

Today’s hot-button issues — think health care reform, immigration, war and the power of money in politics — may often seem like “signs of the times.” But dig a little deeper and further back in history, and you discover Constitutional interpretations and principles that set precedents for where we are today. Join former Constitutional Law Professor Harlan Abrahams on a guided tour through the U.S. Constitution, the principles that have steered its interpretation from the earliest days of the Republic, and the challenges facing the Supreme Court in recent, current and future years.



The Neuroscience of Ethics: How We Decide

Four sessions: April 17 and 24, May 1 and 8; 7–9 p.m.

Cost: $175

Entire industries and fields have been created in the last decade around the concept of ethics. Even university degree programs offer core disciplines in ethics. But recent advances in science’s understanding of how we actually make decisions are raising important questions with implications for traditional ethical theory. Can humans learn to be ethical? What do neuroscience and cognitive psychology tell us about the brain’s decision-making processes? Join three DU faculty members in thoughtful, tantalizing discussions that link ethics, philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Business Ethics Professor Buie Seawell guides each evening’s conversation, and is joined along the way by psychology professors Kim Gorgens and Courtney Mitchell.



The Edge of a Movement: How a “Hellcat” Saved the Environment from the Conservationists

Four sessions: April 18 and 25, May 2 and 9; 7–9 p.m.

Cost: $140

After John Muir and before Rachel Carson, there was Rosalie Edge (1877–1962), an aristocratic New York socialite, cousin to Charles Dickens and officer in the suffrage movement. Beginning in 1929, Edge exposed corruption and indifference among the era’s major conservation organizations and was considered the nation’s most effective conservationist for the next 30 years. Join award-winning author and Edge biographer Dyana Furmansky to discuss Edge’s achievements, which include founding the first preserve for birds of prey in the world; establishment of Olympic and Kings Canyon national parks; preservation of a portion of Yosemite National Park; and reforming the Audubon Society.


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