Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Mark Taper Hall 355
FAX: (213) 740-5002
Director: Susan H. Kamei, J.D., Associate Dean of Advanced and Professional Programs
University Professor: Kevin Starr, Ph.D.* (History)
Florence R. Scott Professor of English: Tania Modleski, Ph.D. (English)
Professors: Judith Halberstam, Ph.D.* (American Studies and Ethnicity, Comparative Literature, and Gender Studies); Peter C. Mancall, Ph.D.* (History and Anthropology); Edwin McCann, Ph.D.* (Philosophy and English); Beth Meyerowitz, Ph.D., (Psychology and Preventive Medicine)*; William G. Thalmann, Ph.D.* (Classics and Comparative Literature)
Associate Professors: Emily Anderson, Ph.D. (English); Roberto Ignacio Diáz, Ph.D.* (Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature); William R. Handley, Ph.D. (English); Lori Meeks, Ph.D. (Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures)
Associate Professor (Teaching): Tok Thompson, Ph.D. (Anthropology)
Master of Liberal Studies
A multidisciplinary degree program, the Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) is designed for motivated, college-educated individuals who wish to further their intellectual growth and pursue graduate work part-time or full-time in the evenings.
The program centers on the major forces that are revolutionizing the way we conduct our professional lives, rather than on the individual liberal arts disciplines. In this way, subjects covered in the program’s courses have immediate relevance to the problems and challenges of contemporary society. In particular, the program emphasizes some of the most fundamental dynamics shaping the contemporary world: urbanization and globalization, changing cultural landscape, and technological and environmental transformations.
The MLS is a year-round program consisting of nine 3-unit courses. The degree requires a core course and a summative project. Seven elective courses are chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser and/or MLS program director.
Admission to the program is based upon possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with a minimum 3.0 GPA. When possible, interviews will be conducted with applicants. Two letters of recommendation, a writing sample and a personal statement of purpose are required.
Course and Summative Project Requirements
Nine courses (27 units), including the core course, LBST 500 (3 units), and the summative project, LBST 585 (3 units), are required.
Courses of Instruction
The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.
Liberal Studies (LBST)
LBST 500 Introduction to Liberal Studies: Methods of Knowing (3, Sp) Introduction to research methods in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences; then methods for applied interdisciplinary research.
LBST 503 Self-Justifying Fictions (3) Theoretical approaches to the study of literature, including formal and cultural analysis and the ethics and social impact of the humanities.
LBST 505 East Asian Humanities: Classics of China, Korea, and Japan (3) Examination of major themes in East Asian culture through primary texts in translation.
LBST 507 Great Western Cities (3) Examination of Western civilization in the urban context, focusing on several great cities in their “golden age” of creativity, accomplishment, and influence.
LBST 510 Cities and Globalization (3) Contemporary urban theory and comparative urban analysis. Emphasis on the role of globalization in shaping urban form and problems.
LBST 512 Language in a Globalizing World (3) Examination of the relationship between language and geopolitical change, endangered and minority languages, and the public policy implications of multilingualism and multiculturalism.
LBST 514 Ideas of Nature in American Culture (3) Examination of how Americans have used nature to think about themselves, environmentalism, American identity, gender/class relations, the American West, and the mythology of Los Angeles.
LBST 516 Urban Conservation Biology (3) Analysis of plant and animal distribution in urban landscapes. Exploration of major threats to urban biodiversity and nature conservation controversies and successes.
LBST 520 Tradition and the Modern World (3) Studies the continuing interplays between tradition and novelty; between locale and globalization; and between heritage and post-modernity with a focus on a specific locale.
LBST 525 The Revolution That Made America (3) Ideas and politics of the world’s first modern revolution, which transformed 13 colonies into a nation.
LBST 527 Information Systems From Libraries to the Internet (3) History and sociology of information systems. Philosophical and literary implications of writing, archives, libraries, printing, and publishing from the ancient world to the Internet age.
LBST 530 Portraits of Leadership (3) Analysis of different forms of cultural leadership in their historical, literary, and philosophical context.
LBST 531 The Hero/Heroine in History (3) Analysis of human agency in history and whether individual men and women are capable of altering the course of history by their actions.
LBST 532 Ideas on Trial (3) Examination of great trials in history as indicators of changing social and cultural attitudes.
LBST 535 Great Works, Great Challenges (3) Analysis of works of literature, drama, and poetry and their relationship to their historical contexts.
LBST 537 Empire and Social Reform in America 1890–1917 (3) Analysis through literary and historical texts of American public life, culture, and social justice during the era of U.S. ascendancy as a world power.
LBST 540 Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise: Dante’s Divine Comedy (3) In-depth reading and analysis of Divine Comedy, in order to develop appreciation for changing values from medieval, to Renaissance and contemporary culture.
LBST 541 Opera, Culture, History, and Thought (3) Analysis of cultural, historic, philosophical, political, and literary movements and themes through the medium of opera.
LBST 542 The Culture of Comedy (3) Historical and synchronic ideas of comedy. Ways in which philosophers, artists, and everyday individuals adapt in our ever-changing world.
LBST 544 Representations of Los Angeles (3) Study of literary, artistic and/or dramatic expressions of Los Angeles and its inhabitants in modern and historical literature, art, photography, film, television, and architecture.
LBST 545 Imagining the American West (3) Explores Western myths and realities through literature, history, film, and painting. Examines why American culture places questions about national pasts and futures in the West.
LBST 547 Acts of Interpretation: Literature, Film, and Methodology (3) Analysis of literature, film, and methodologies for approaching issues of interpretation, readership, and spectatorship. Examination of how interpretation varies across gender, race, class, and sexuality.
LBST 550 Theories and Methods of Analysis in Cultural Studies (3) Development of cultural studies as a fast-growing area of intellectual inquiry. Case study analysis of race/ethnicity, history and memory, space, post-modernism, globalization, censorship, and originality.
LBST 551 Narrative Forms (3, max 6) Study of narrative in literature, film, sociology, psychology and history; how narrative conventions shape humans’ experience and understanding of society, past and present.
LBST 555 Constructions of Childhood (3) Analysis of the concept of childhood from its 18th-century origins. Applications of age studies, language, and cultural construction through fiction, history, film, and other media.
LBST 560 Effects of Traumatic Life Experiences (3) Examination of the psychological and emotional effects of extreme trauma and survivor consequences.
LBST 570 Ecology of Night (3) Explore the world of night. Human perception of the stars and the role of night in history. Impact of artificial lighting on non-human species and habitat.
LBST 571 Food, Fashion and Furniture: Commodities in the Global Economy (3) Analysis of commodities from origin to consumption illustrates the global impact of everyday choices.
LBST 572 Controversies in Science, Medicine and Ethics (3) Focus on how scientific developments drive ethical issues in medicine. Exploration of ethical dimensions of issues such as stem cells, genetic engineering and reproductive technology.
LBST 574 Advances in Genetics and Evolutionary Biology (3) How DNA directs an organism’s development and how our DNA can be “read” to understand human diversity, diseases, defects, and evolution.
LBST 585abz Master’s Project (3-3-0, FaSp) A summative research project completed in consultation with the student’s committee. Departmental approval. Graded IP/CR/NC.
LBST 590 Directed Research (1–12, max 18) Research leading to the master’s degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department.
LBST 599 Special Topics (2–4, max 8) Current issues, trends, and developments in liberal studies.