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Augustana professors lead CommUniversity courses

Augustana's Dr. Heidi Storl will open this year's CommUniversity with the talk "Bio-medical Ethics: Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time" at 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

CommUniversity, a series of Sunday classes taught by area experts, will begin its 36th year in February. The annual non-profit event is coordinated by a board of directors from local colleges, churches, libraries and other community organizations. Six other Augustana faculty will teach classes at CommUniversity this year.

Dr. Storl, professor of philosophy, will talk about how how values inform decision-making in clinical and research settings. She will take the audience on a brief tour of five top dilemmas in bio-medical ethics and offer some suggestions.

CommUniversity classes meet from 2-4 p.m. every Sunday. Subjects include everything from arts to philosophy to personal development. On the first Sunday all participants meet in St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center at 1 p.m. for the annual keynote address and official kick-off. After the keynote, everyone proceeds to the first class session.

Registration for CommUniversity has begun online and by mail.

Augustana faculty and their CommUniversity classes include:

• Dr. Cyrus Zargar, "Islam and Violence." Description: "This class will consider the historical and contemporary implications of jihad. By analyzing scripture (especially the Quran), early Islamic history, as well as important political and religious movements in the past two centuries. We will try to answer an important question: Can claims linking Islam with violence be substantiated?

• Dr. Jason Mahn, "The Death and Resurrection of Jesus: What in the world do they mean?" Description: "Christians believe that Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem but then rose from the grave on Easter. But what does this belief mean for people of faith? Why do they believe it? How have they made sense of it? This course explores the many biblical, theological, and popular meanings of Jesus' death and resurrection."

• Dr. Stephen Klien, "Advertising, Consumerism and Cultural Identity." Description: "Each of us is exposed to over 600 advertising messages everyday--ads on television, in magazines, and on the internet sell more than products. They sell us the identity of consumerism that defines our culture, and their "reality" influences the assumptions we make about youth, race, gender and sexuality.

• Dr. Kirsten Day, "Greek Mythology through Art, Ritual, and Literature." Description: "This course looks at the myths surrounding the most important gods and heroes of ancient Greece. We will learn the stories of Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, Hercules, and others, with an emphasis on their appearance in art, archaelogy, ritual, and literature. (Warning: contains material not suitable for children)"

• Dr. Umme Al-wazedi, "Women Writers of Indian Diaspora." Description: "In this course we will read short stories written by an Indian woman author living in the U.S., Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She writes about how women negotiate a path between two very different homes: home in the U.S. (diasporic home) and the homeland."

• Sarah McDowell, "Much Ado about Shrew." Description: "Compare conflicting depictions of the battle of the sexes in these two brilliant comedies by William Shakespeare: 'The Taming of the Shrew' and 'Much Ado about Nothing.' Does Petruchio really tame Kate? Do Benedick and Beatrice really banter about nothing? In the end, who wins?"

Dr. Storl joined the Augustana College faculty in 1989 after completing a Ph.D. in philosophy at The Ohio State University. She holds the William Freistat Chair for Studies in World Peace at Augustana.

Her research and teaching interests occur at the intersection of the arts and sciences; studies of the German phenomenologist Martin Heidegger coincide with her inquiries into the philosophy of mind, with special interests in neurophilosophy and neuroethics. She is the author of numerous articles that highlight the interdisciplinary nature of her work.

She also directs Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program for students, a 10-week, multidisciplinary student internship program based in Houston.

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