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These are the 10 nominated ideas of 2022

UvA Create a Course Challenge

Here you can find, in alphabetical order, the 10 course ideas that have been selected by our curriculum developers. All UvA students and staff can vote once on their top 3 until 16 November. The five ideas with the most votes will proceed to the grand finale on Thursday 24 November.

1. ‘Academic Publishing: An Interdisciplinary Introduction’ 

by Elton Högklint, second-year Bachelor's student in Sociology 

While many courses focus on the production of academic literature within one’s discipline, few focus on producing interdisciplinary work, and even fewer delve into the next step in academia: publication. In the first half of this course, students will work with a small group of students from different disciplines, and even different faculties, to produce an interdisciplinary paper. During this time, they will learn how to approach writing, not just as a summation of the knowledge from their respective disciplines, but working to synthesize their contributions, and build on one another, in pursuit of a coordinated whole. In the second half of this course, students will learn about the ins and outs of academic publishing. They will then apply this knowledge by taking up the roles of peer reviewer for the papers published in the first half of the course.  

2. ‘Apocalypse Is Not the End of The World’  

by Alina Ovcharova, third-year Bachelor's student in Psychology 

In this day and age, nothing feels more certain than the coming of climate change. It seems like every year countries set sustainability goals and then fail to meet them; companies roll out new "green" products that cause more harm than good, and the doomsday clock ticks closer and closer to midnight. Five short years, and climate change will be irreversible, and then...and then what? How does one survive the Apocalypse? This is a course about deconstructing climate anxiety and nihilism, and why anyone would choose to keep going. By the end, you will be armed with practical tools to stay sane and stay hopeful, to understand who will be impacted and how, and then to fight for yourself and others. This course will say no to climate nihilism and give students tools to prepare themselves and their communities for the ever-approaching reality of climate change.  

3. ‘Black Male Studies 101: Post-Intersectionality, Phallicism and Racism as Misandric Aggression’  

by Thomas Baruzzi, Research Master's student in Philosophy 

Black Male Studies is a data-based, post-intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to the study of race, gender and patriarchal oppression, focused on the disproportionate structural vulnerability of Black (and other racialized) males in the West to intra- and inter-racial violence, including sexual abuse. Through a complete, chapter-by-chapter reading of Prof. Tommy J. Curry’s (2017) The Man-Not and accompanying readings, this course represents the first attempt at UvA to explore and consider multiple theories on the historical violence befalling racialized, subordinate-group males, repeatedly setting them at the bottom of almost all demographic markers; namely, Curry’s concept of Phallicism and Theory of Racism as Misandric Aggression. In the process, this course will investigate the underlying assumptions of modern gender theory, considering their direct and documented ties to racist and misandric caricatures of the Black male from 19th century ethnology, into 20th century criminology and feminism. 

 

4. ‘Demystifying "The Algorithm": the Tech behind the Buzzwords’ 

by Clara Martens Ávila, fifth-year Bachelor's student in Informatics

Every aspect of society is influenced by technology, and every discipline has its own approach to discussing technological issues. This course aims to strip off the marketing, buzzwords, and scary black boxes, and provide students with an understanding of the building blocks underneath. For something as important as the effects of technology on society, it is not enough to know that something happens, it is important to understand why and how. In a crash course in computer science (but without the programming and math) the students will combine their own disciplines with each other to reach a new understanding of the role of computer science in the world. 

 

5. ‘Food Forestry: Experiencing the Future of Nature and Agriculture’  

by Wytze Walstra & Sacha Brons, Master's students in Political Science - track Political Economy 

How should we produce and consume food in a world where trees talk, soil fungi trade nutrients like stockbrokers and humans are a crucial part of natural ecosystems? Revolutionary insights from forest ecology, soil science, philosophy and political economy highlight the deep interconnectedness of two worlds currently separated in the Western world: nature and agriculture. Can we solve crises we face in global food systems today, such as the Dutch nitrogen crisis, with a paradigm that bridges this separation?  In this course, students experience first-hand   how   this   new   paradigm   looks   and   feels   by investigating and engaging in food forestry, a modern farming system rooted in indigenous practices that mimics natural ecosystems to produce abundant food with little to no inputs. To   personally   experience   the current paradigm   shift   and study   its   interdisciplinary consequences, students take field trips to several food forests, workshops on botanical gastronomy and classes in food ethics. 

 

6. ‘Health Neuroscience: Protocols for Improving Physical and Mental Health’ 

by Filip Mimica, Bachelor's student in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)  

The course will teach students about neuroscience and the brain and provide practical applications from this knowledge. It will first give a broad introduction to neuroscience, focusing on brain anatomy and function. Then it will dive into more specific topics based on this general introduction. The focus of these topics will be to provide practical knowledge which students can use in their daily lives. These topics will include things such as sleep, meditation, exercise, and any knowledge that is related to the brain or body and can have a practical impact on people's lives. The course aims to show students that the brain and body are intrinsically connected and to provide protocols for improving both physical and mental health. This course will also be interdisciplinary in nature as these topics will cross the intersections of psychology, neuroscience, biology, and health science.  

7. ‘Propaganda, Power and the Psychology of Persuasion’ 

by Kate Shavrova, third-year Bachelor's student in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)  

We've all heard the term ‘fake news’, but how often do we critically examine the media we are presented with daily? In a time where communication technologies have made it easier to exploit, weaponize and disseminate ideas, information literacy is an invaluable asset.  

This course aims to present a strategic overview of the origins, methodology, and effects of political propaganda. Both historical and more contemporaneous examples of propaganda will be presented, with an added option for students to collect their own empirical material to study. The proposed course will conclude with a brief section on the normative implications for the future of political propaganda in the cybernetic age. By its end, students will be able to identify, assess and counter misinformation efforts.  

8. ‘Sensationalising Murder; the Phenomenon of True Crime’ 

by Maggie O’Gorman & Sophia Hieker, third-year Bachelor's students in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)

The phenomenon of true crime is the trend of the decade, with new forms of media such as podcasts and documentaries highlighting the most prolific and bewildering murders. This growing interest is not just changing the media space, but highlighting the legal systems behind the cases, because as any true crime fanatic knows, it only begins with murder. This course aims to provide insight into why so many people are fascinated by these crimes and the impact this media form has. With recent cases such as Adnan Syed’s, investigated by the podcast series “Serial” being reassessed by prosecutors, highlighting the real-world impact of true crime podcasts. Through the lens of multiple disciplines such as criminology, law, media and psychology, using a variety of teaching methods such as podcasts, academic papers and the cases themselves, this course aims to break down the phenomenon of true crime.  

9. ‘The Science of Success’ 

by Magda Matetovici, Research Master's student in Psychology  

Everyone wants to be successful. We spend a lot of time and energy developing ourselves and our ideas. But, in the end, is success all about luck or not? Can we predict who and what will become successful? What is success anyway? In this course, you will explore the answer to these questions and more. You will use the knowledge and tools of psychology, sociology, economics, and complex science to understand one of the most sought-after outcomes of human actions: success. You will think critically about three societal challenges related to success, conduct three interviews to find out what other people think about success, and replicate a study to learn what predicts success in an artificially created market. Are you ready to zoom into success and use this knowledge to your advantage? Join The Science of Success!  

10. '”Where do I end, and you begin?”: An Exploration of the Self’ 

by Pika Ivana Kostanjšek & Filippo Bianchi, second-year Bachelor's students in Psychology & Sociology  

“Where do I end, and you begin?” course is a multidisciplinary exploration of the Self through branches of psychology, sociology and philosophy. It deals with one of the most profound questions one can ask themselves: “Who am I?” The course provides building blocks for a framework of understanding the Self and its boundaries, as well as how the individual Selves merge to build a society. Besides the social sciences’ perspectives, it also delves into non-western approaches and prompts the students to connect what has been studied with what has been taught outside the walls of the scientific method. With this course, we hope the students gain clearer awareness and deeper understanding of the forces acting on themselves and on others from within and without, and the ways in which we become who we are.