New Course! REL 305/ MLS 488 Topics in Culture and Religion: South Asia

Spring 2011
W 6-9:15
Dr. Kalyani D. Menon

This seminar will focus on the cultural politics of religion in three countries in South Asia – India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Clearly distinct in many ways, these three countries, like others that make up this region, have also interacted with each other, and shaped one another’s religious, cultural, and political worlds for centuries. These interactions have often led to political conflict and violence – both historically and in the current political moment. Yet, importantly, they have also enabled the creation of shared religious, cultural, and political worlds, albeit shot through with unequal relations of power and hierarchy. Both these historical currents are central to understanding contemporary politics in these countries.

Students will study how religion is central to understanding this region since religious identities, interpretations, texts, hierarchies, and indeed the politics of belonging and difference that these enable, have often been central to conflicts in and between these countries. At the same time, students will learn that religious discourse and practice have also been central to contesting hierarchies and imagining new and alternative political worlds. Paying close attention to the complexities of gender, class, ethnicity, and nationality in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, in this course we will examine the cultural politics of religion in South Asia.

For more information please contact Dr. Kalyani Menon at or (773) 325-4998

Access DePaul’s Entire Research Collection Online with Via

At last Saturday’s Winter Tune-up event Heather Jagman, Coordinator of Library Instruction, showed our students and staff the amazing online research capabilities of Via,  Officially, Via brings together all of the university’s research under one umbrella, with an aim to preserve and provide access to that research.  We encourage our MALS and IDS students to look at the dissertations available as examples when constructing their own theses.  Students may also want to cite research from DePaul faculty and alumni to strengthen their own work.

For more information on using Via, you can always Ask a Librarian.

Spring Courses – MLS 490: The Street and Urban Planning and CMNS 529: Environmental Rhetoric and Politics

MLS490: Special Topics: The Street and Urban Planning (SQ2011, M 6 – 9:15 pm)
Instructor:  Heather Smith

The City of Chicago has 4,456 miles of streets and  2,131 miles of alleys.  How do these outdoor rooms shape the neighborhood character of neighborhoods?  What are the ideologies that have shaped these streets over time? What urban design characteristics make these streets successful? Who is responsible for caring for all of the complex functions that happen in these spaces? Who are the audiences and users?  These are some of the questions we will explore in this course while tackling hands on field work analyzing Chicago streets.


CMNS 529 Environmental Rhetoric and Politics (SQ2011, T 5:45 – 9 pm)
Instructor:  Barb Willard

The idea of nature and the way in which we relate with the environment are intertwined with human communication.   Our social constructions of nature and environment ultimately result in a material reality when these ideas directly influence environmental policy (e.g. the Endangered Species Act) and environmental practices (e.g. recycling).  The purpose of this course is to analyze the discourse that has influenced environmental policy and practice.  We will explore both the more formal aspects of environmental communication (federal, state, and local policy) as well as the less formal (representations of nature in mediated contexts, social movement rhetoric, and corporate communication about the environment).  Students should leave this course with a heightened critical sensibility about the ways in which our language not only shapes our understanding of the environment but also influences political and personal action.

Present Your Work At The Midwestern Graduate Liberal Studies Conference


Saturday, April 2, 2011
10:00am – 4:00pm
Hosted by Indiana University Kokomo

The Graduate Liberal Studies programs of Indiana University invite you to participate in the first annual Midwestern Graduate Liberal Studies Conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is Communities and Beyond. “Community” can be defined in many ways as we all find ourselves citizens of many different communities throughout our lives. Many of us hope to have an impact on our communities and graduate liberal studies programs often provide a means for achieving that goal.

 The conference is designed to allow both formal and informal interactions among students and faculty from graduate liberal studies program in the Midwest. Conference schedule will include:

10:00 – 10:30

Registration (light breakfast provided)

10:30 – 12:00

Student Presentation Sessions

12:00 – 1:00


1:15 – 2:15

Keynote Speaker

2:15 – 2:30

Break (light snack)

2:30 – 4:00

Student Presentation Sessions

Students from graduate liberal studies programs in the Midwest region are invited to present their work at the MGLSC. All types of work will be considered: empirical research, literature reviews, case studies, works of fiction, multimedia works, etc. Work that reflects the theme of the conference, Communities and Beyond, is especially welcome.

Confluence, the journal of the Association for Graduate Liberal Studies Programs, is underwriting an award for the best student presentation. The award winner will receive $50 and the paper will be published in an edition of Confluence.

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2011
Please follow this link ( to submit a 250 word abstract.
Notification of abstract acceptance will be distributed via e-mail by March 15.

Registration Deadline: March 20, 2011
All presenters and attendees (other MLS/MALS students and faculty) must register for the conference. Registration fee of $25 and registration information can be submitted after March 1 at the link above.


Please contact one of the members of the MGLSC organizing committee if you have any questions:
Local Host: Eva White, IU Kokomo (
Joseph Chaney, IU South Bend (
Deborah Finkel, IU Southeast (
Michael Kauffman, IU/PU Ft. Wayne (