Upcoming Courses

Please find additional information concerning upcoming courses in the 2016-2017 academic year. If you’re interested in learning more about the following courses, including a tentative course schedule, please email me: mckeeki (at) gvsu (dot) edu.

Fall 2016

LIB/HRT/HIS 319: Human Traffic and Trafficking
Human traffic – people on the move either migrating voluntarily or being forced by others – has shaped history for many centuries. While the majority of people believe that slavery and the slave trade are institutions of the past, human trafficking and modern-day slavery have increased dramatically in last few decades. Similar to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which allowed European countries to accumulate tremendous amounts of wealth, human trafficking today is a very profitable but illegal trade. In fact, human trafficking and enslavement is the second most profitable illicit economic activity after the drug trade with $150 billion profit per year and the fastest growing transnational crime. With globalization and its subsequent developments of fast worldwide transportation and communication networks, the increase of regional conflicts after the Cold War ended, and the never-ending demand of the sex industry and consumer markets in Western countries has led to the dramatic and continuing rise in the trade of people.

This course will address human traffic and trafficking both in historical and current perspectives, analyzing the economic, political, and social implications not only for the victims and their families but also for societies at large and for the source, transit and host countries in particular. Human trafficking brings tremendous trauma to its victims, perpetuates poverty and exploitation, finances conflicts, and undermines civil society, including those of established democracies. As a transnational crime, it presents complex and difficult challenges for law enforcement, immigration/border control, and the medical profession. While human trafficking has increasingly received the attention of the public and the media, most countries lack the political will or the capability to seriously combat human trafficking by rigorously prosecuting traffickers and assisting victims and their families.

Winter 2017

LIB 311: Meaning (Draft Syllabus)
This interdisciplinary and theoretically engaged course is designed to understand, theorize, analyze, and experience meaning—or lack thereof—in our world, including our individual, social, economic, cultural, spiritual, and creative lives. Throughout the semester we will ask and address a cluster of interconnected questions related to our critical interrogation and examination of meaning itself: What is meaning? Or what is the meaning of meaning? Is meaning given and fixed? Or is meaning always created and produced? Can we create meaning out of nothing or beyond history? Whose meaning is it anyway? Is meaning ideologically, politically neutral and innocent? Also, does the production of meaning—or a meaning-making activity—have class, race, gender, and cultural implications?

We will investigate meaning through exploring the concepts of racial violence and social justice. We will grapple with issues concerning whose lives hold value and meaning, using #BlackLivesMatter as a case study. We will explore the way in which systemic violence and racism continue to impact communities of color disproportionality. Students will also investigate how #SayHerName and Beyonce’s Lemonade video and album reinsert the experiences of Black women in discussions of violence and Black lives. We will consider whether victim typology matters and what it means when lives are not equally valued.

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