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Want to reward and engage your mind this summer? Enroll in a Maymester course: where academic innovation and intensive engagement meet student success. 

What is Maymester?

Maymester is a three-week session taken in May for students who would like an alternative to taking courses during the summer and regular academic year. WIth Maymester, students can earn up to three credits in three weeks only.

Why Maymester Courses?

  • To re-develop existing or to develop new courses which are intellectually focused and/or immersive for a consolidated time frame and format.
  • To provide an educational experience that is rewarding, engaging, compelling, creative and rigorous.
  • To engage tenure and tenure-track faculty and students in an intensive, high-impact educational experience.
  • To enable students to make progress toward degree requirements, to expand their intellectual life, and/or to prepare for study abroad, research or other academic experiences.

Maymester 2023 Course Offering

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • GEP: Humanities, US Diversity or CHASS Literature II 
  • Instructor: Dr. Marc Dudley (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 11:40 – 2:40 
  • Location: G113 Tompkins Hall 

This special Maymester version of the ENG/AFS 248 offering will afford students the opportunity to explore the  African American experience through the community’s literature (from the 18th century to the present moment), but through the lens of the “American Dream.” America has long been touted the “land of opportunity”; we are, arguably,  a nation of dreamers. With the help of several seminal texts, we will engage in an examination of African American literature in terms of its relationship to a national culture at large and that coveted “American Dream,” ever-revisited, often revised.

  • GEP: Humanities, Interdisciplinary Perspective or CHASS Literature II 
  • Instructor: Dr. Timothy Stinson (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 1:40 – 4:40 
  • Location: G117 Tompkins Hall

This course surveys some of the great works of literature focused on heaven, hell, and the afterlife, including classical works such as Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, European works from the medieval through modern eras,  including Dante’s Divine Comedy, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and diverse accounts of the afterlife from world literature, such as “The Descent of Inanna from the Great Above to the Great  Below” (Sumer) and “The Feather of Maat” (Egypt). These will be paired with films and visual depictions of the afterlife, such as renderings of The Last Judgment (showing both heaven and hell) by Giotto, Bosch, and  Michelangelo and Egyptian and classical funerary art. We will make virtual excursions to museums worldwide to view artworks from a variety of world cultures related to the afterlife.

  • GEP: Interdisciplinary Perspective or CHASS Literature II 
  • Instructor: Dr. Paul Fyfe (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 9:50 – 12:50 
  • Location: G115 Tompkins Hall
  • Introduction Video: YouTube

This course explores the long literary history of artificial intelligence from Frankenstein’s monster to contemporary machine learning. We investigate how the genre of science fiction develops as a way of defining (and often redefining) boundaries of humans, animals, machines, computers, and artificial consciousness. Students will gain an understanding of the genealogy of science fiction, explore key works in its 200-year history, analyze how sci-fi evolves through different mediums, pursue sci-fi’s creative insights into futures thinking, and reflect upon the ethics of science, technology, and engineering in representations of AI.

  • Instructor: Dr. David Rieder (
  • Day & Time: Weekends and Evenings (Email instructor for exact schedule) 
  • Location: TBA

What is (rhetorical) style, and how do the rhythms, cadences, and singsonginess created by artfully-deviant, syncopated rearrangements of words communicate feeling? How do great speakers and writers elicit feelings from us through the ways in which their words seem and sound? And how do the stylizations of life related to the postmodern ‘experience economy’ in which we live and work relate back to a study of syncopated style in spoken and textual traditions? You will be able to answer these and many more questions in this seminar. Style is not just about ‘flowery’ or figurative uses of language. When it is done well, style taps into the deep, affective rhythms to which we live our lives. To study and reflect (rhetorically) on the power of style, on the page and in the street, is to understand some of the underlying structure that defines our emotional connections to the world in which we are engaged.

  • GEP: Humanities or CHASS Philosophy 
  • Instructor: Dr. Catherine Driscoll (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 9:50 – 12:50 
  • Location: 209 Poe Hall

One of the main aims of Philosophy is to use a rigorous, logical approach to understand some of the big questions of  “Life, the Universe and Everything”. In this course we will see how philosophers have applied their logical tools to inquire about the existence of God, the nature and content of morality, justice, science, human minds and the very existence of a real external world. We will learn how arguments work, how they should be evaluated, and how they have been used by real philosophers to answer each of these “big questions”.

  • GEP: Social Science, US Diversity, or CHASS Social Science 
  • Instructor: Dr. Sarah Bowen (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 9:50 – 12:50
  • Location: TBA

This course will use North Carolina barbecue as a lens for examining how food is produced, sold, consumed and understood. As sociologist John Shelton Reed stated 20 years ago, “I don’t think you can really understand the South  if you don’t understand barbecue—as food, process, and event.” This course aims to do just that. Barbecue will serve as a gateway for our sociological exploration of such topics labor in food systems, agriculture and environmental justice, race and food history, and food and community traditions. Class may include field trips.

  •  Instructor: Dr. Kim Stansbury (
  • Day & Time: MTWThF 12:30 – 3:30 
  • Location: 124 1911 Building

As LGBTQ+ identities sit at the forefront of social and political discourse, this course aims to foster practical skills in students through real-world experiences and storytelling surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals and groups. Going beyond concepts of rainbow capitalism and allyship, this course will arm students with the necessary skills needed to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and its intersecting identities across all spaces of life. Rooted in practical, in-community education, students will get the opportunity to listen to and engage with activists, leaders, and community organizers in micro, mezzo, and macro LGBTQ+ spaces.