2022 Course Descriptions

Credit Courses

9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Political Science 210: American Government & Politics

Dr. Chris Baxter

Syllabus to be added later


UT Martin’s typical POSC 210 course focuses on the structure of the American political system, with an emphasis on the following topics: the development of the American Constitution; our system of federalism and how the national and state governments divide and compete for power; and the struggles between competing candidates and interest groups for their share of power in the political system. For GSH 2020, the theme will be “A Government of Laws, or Men? – The Role of the Individual in American Constitutionalism.”


We will examine the usual 210 topics with an added emphasis on the following theme: The U.S. Constitution is said to be based on a series of principles that reaffirm the equality, intellect and worth of the common man. But are the all-too-human men and women in our American political community up to the task of providing “government of the people [and] by the people?” Are the average men and women who comprise our juries effective truth-seekers, or can they be misled by lawyers’ persuasive rhetoric and witness’ imperfect memories? Can justice truly be blind when judges in some states take millions of dollars in campaign contributions from interest groups? Do American voters truly live up to their responsibility to be informed voters, or are their votes determined by sophisticated media campaigns? We will explore the ethical problems that arise when the pursuit of democratic ideals collides with the realities of human nature.


Art History 210: From the Beginning to Michelangelo

Dr. Carol Eckert

Syllabus to be added later


In Art History 210, participants will take a journey from the beginnings of art-making through some of the greatest civilizations' art and architecture. Students will be introduced to the artistic traditions of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas up to the year 1600. We will see spectacular sights from the vivid animals painted on prehistoric cave walls to the likes of Michelangelo's paintings on the Sistine Ceiling. Along the way will be interspersed learning activities and discussions for students to explore their own creative range in both written and visual form.


Philosophy 120: The Adventure of Ideas

Dr. Christopher Brown

Syllabus to be added later


This introductory course in philosophy will address fundamental questions in metaphysics, the discipline that treats—to use Aristotle’s famous phrase—being qua being, and epistemology, the discipline whose practitioners attempt to give an account of the nature of knowledge itself. We will, for example, be entertaining the following sorts of questions: How does knowledge differ from opinion? Is it rational to believe in God without having a proof for God’s existence? Is language itself a form of technology? Does a good explanation of some phenomenon have to be a scientific explanation? How should we characterize the relationship between the human mind and the human brain? Is human being qualitatively or merely quantitatively different from animal being? Why should we answer one way rather than another with respect to any of these questions?

Non-credit Enrichment Courses

Legacies of the “Lost Cause”

Dr. David Coffey

Syllabus to be added later


Recent events such as the horrifying assault on the US Capitol demonstrate the enduring and often corrosive influence of the pro-Confederate ideology known as the Lost Cause Narrative, an intentional distortion of history that romanticizes and glorifies the antebellum South and the Confederate Civil War experience. In “Legacies of the ‘Lost Cause’” we will discuss the origins or the Lost Cause Narrative, its role in underpinning “Jim Crow” white supremacy in the South, and how it became the generally accepted version of Civil War history, not just in the South but across the nation and the world. The embrace of the Lost Cause has prevented a comprehensive understanding of the most destructive period in US history, of slavery, and of segregation, all while limiting progress and deepening racism, inequality and discrimination—issues Americans are clearly still confronting. We will discuss monuments, memory, popular culture and how these became avenues for spreading and sustaining the myths of the Lost Cause. 


Utopian and Dystopian Thought

Dr. Chris Hill

Syllabus to be added later


It’s still a vexing question: How do we create a perfect society--where everyone’s needs are anticipated and provided, where injustice and corruption are unknown, where human potential can be fully realized? We will spend the term studying theoretical and practical answers to this question, using utopian ideas in literature and political science to serve as possible, though debatable, options. We will read widely from a broad range of sources, including Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Bellamy's Looking Backward and Zamyatin’s We. As the course winds into the 20th century, we will also examine how utopia becomes dystopia and ask ourselves to what extent such outcomes are either avoidable or written into the project from its inception.


Roots of Rhythm: The Evolution and Migration of Music through the Slave Trade

Dr. Julie Hill

Syllabus to be added later


Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many different styles of music in the world? Why does music in Brazil sound different from Cuban music? Why does music from the Caribbean have that infectious rhythm that makes humans want to get up and dance? Well, the answer is simple: By tracing the migration of the African slave trade, we can discover how specific rhythms and music styles moved to different parts of the world. In this class, we will examine the essential elements of global music styles from around the world; we will also look at the roots of these styles and examine how they have changed over the past few centuries. By examining the cultural significance of music throughout the world, we may further determine how music may be used as a means of social transformation for the future.

ATTENDANCE: You are required to attend all scheduled classes and events and complete all assignments to the best of your ability. There will be ample free time for you to enjoy the campus and your new friends.


ACADEMIC HONESTY: It is expected that all work completed will be the work of the student, unless properly cited as a reference source. Cheating, in any form, will not be tolerated.


All applications must be postmarked no later than January 15, 2022.

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General Information

The Governor's School for the Humanities is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Education.

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