Previous Classes


October 17-21, 2018 at University of Oklahoma  3 credits

Guest scholar:  David Ray, University of Oklahoma

This course will examine the federal budgetary process, and its evolution since 1974, with an emphasis on the rapid increase in federal debt after 1981, the struggle to reduce the budget deficit during the 1980s and 1990s, the brief four-year period of budgetary surplus (Fiscal Years 1998 through 2001) , the tax and spending decisions of 2001 through 2018, including the deficit increases produced by the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the recession of 2007-2009, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the enormous expense of TARP in 2008-2009, the tax cut of December 2017, and the Omnibus spending bill passed in March 2018. The theme of the course is that fiscal conservatism has been largely supplanted by supply-side economics on the right and the domestic spending programs of social democracy on the left, both of which appear to have substantial public support. 

  • Enrollment through your home campus
  • OSLEP provides all required reading materials at no additional cost - NO books to buy!
  • Housing and meals provided

May 21-25, 2018  at the University of Oklahoma 3 credits

Guest Scholar:Gregory Cajete, University of New Mexico

Unlike the Western scientific method, Native thinking does not isolate an object or phenomenon in order to understand and work with it, but perceives it in terms of relationship. In this class we will examine multiple levels of meaning that inform Native astronomy, cosmology, psychology, agriculture, and the healing arts.

  • Enrollment through your home campus
  • OSLEP provides all required reading materials at no additional cost - NO books to buy!
  • Housing and meals provided

March 10-14, 2018 at the University of Oklahoma, Norman 3 credits

Susan D. Blum, University of Notre Dame

What is college and what is the experience of college students? How does it contribute to the development of adulthood or, possibly, to the extension of childhood? How do different types of colleges vary? Anthropologists and other social scientists have been studying higher education and its place within the lifespan, as well as its place in the cultural norms of its surrounding societies. Studies of student life, athletics, drinking, learning, social and racial inequality, and many other topics have been studied for several decades.

In this seminar we will read some of what others have written; discuss methods of analysis and research; generate our own questions; and put our own experiences into the context of the system as a whole.


February 14-18, 2018 at the University of Oklahoma, Norman 3 credits

Jerrold E. Hogel, University of Arizona

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Mary Shelley's original novel -- Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus  -- this seminar, starting with its students reading the original 1818 text, will explore 

  • (a) the symbolic meanings of that original version, given the wide range of cultural ingredients that went into it;
  • (b) the most influential interpretations of the novel itself since its first appearance, with some attention to what each interpreter assumes;
  • (c) some exemplary adaptations of Frankenstein on film across the 20th and 21st centuries, including why they all change the original in their own ways;
  • (d) the ongoing significance today of the issues that Frankenstein raises, from problems involving gender, race, and class to the burning questions connected right at this time to genetic engineering. 

January 3-7, 2018 at the University of Oklahoma, Norman  3 credits

Denis Janz, Loyola University New Orleans

In the chaotic welter of events that has come to be called "the Reformation," one figure towers above all others -- Martin Luther. This seminar re-opens the long-debated question of who precisely he was. And it re-examines his legacy, particularly the dismantling of the medieval world view and the disintegration of Western Christendom.



October 11-15, 2017 at the University of Oklahoma, Norman  3 credits

Barbara King, College of William and Mary


March 4-8, 2017 at the University of Oklahoma

In this seminar, students will learn about and discuss what constitutes significant scientific evidence in assessing claims in social, clinical, and natural science. Extending from his work on assessing what neuroscience can and can’t tell us about human psychology, Scott Lilienfeld will ask students to consider what constitutes evidence and what supports conclusions in a wide range of scientific study. This seminar is suitable for students from a variety of academic majors; participants are expected to take the information covered in the readings and the seminar discussion and apply this toolkit for evaluating scientific claims in their own fields of interest.

Books and readings supplied by OSLEP

Scott O. Lilienfeld is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Psychology (Clinical) from the University of Minnesota in 1990. He completed his clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics (University of Pittsburgh) from 1986-1987. Dr. Lilienfeld is Associate Editor of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Archives of Scientific Psychology, and past President of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. He has published over 300 manuscripts on personality disorders (especially psychopathy), dissociative disorders, psychiatric classification, pseudoscience in psychology, and evidence-based practice. He is especially interested in the application of scientific thinking to mental health. Dr. Lilienfeld is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). He has received the David Shakow Award for Outstanding Early Career Contributions to Clinical Psychology from American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12, the Ernest R. Hilgard Lifetime Achievement Award (for integrating psychology across subdisciplines) from APA Division 1, and the James McKeen Cattell Award for Distinguished Career Contributions to Applied Psychological Science from APS.


February 1-5, 2017 at the University of Oklahoma

Why don't we all drive electric cars? Does it really matter if you don't recycle that plastic water bottle? If the Sun were made of gerbils, would the Earth be incinerated? How can we answer these questions without relying on experts? This course will teach you how to estimate (almost) anything, introduce the "Goldilocks" categories of answers, and then consider some of the big (and small) questions of our time.

Books and readings furnished by OSLEP

Lawrence Weinstein is the author of "Guesstimation: Solving the world's problems on the back of a cocktail napkin" (with John Adam) and "Guesstimation 2.0: Solving today's problems on the back of a napkin", both published by Princeton University Press. He also edits the monthly Fermi Problems column for the journal "The Physics Teacher". Weinstein is an Eminent Scholar and University Professor of Physics at Old Dominion University and a recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. In his spare time, he smashes atoms at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility for which he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society.


January 3-7, 2017 at the University of Oklahoma

This class is full

A common misconception is that slavery is a problem of the past, abolished in the 19th century. However, legal slavery existed in a few countries into the 21st century and up to thirty million people remain victims of slavery today, despite the laws that supposedly prevent it. This seminar, led by Kevin Bales, the founder of the international anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves, will concentrate on slavery from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Of particular foci will be the relationship between slavery and multinational trade; slavery and its impact on the environment; human trafficking and sex trade; debt slavery; and the lived experiences of contemporary slaves. Students will have the opportunity to learn about social action and organizing for justice from a world renowned anti-slavery scholar and activist.

Readings furnished by OSLEP

Going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed how modern slavery penetrates the global economy in his Pulitzer-nominated book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. The film based on this book, Slavery: A Global Investigation (TrueVision), which he co-wrote for HBO and Channel 4, won a Peabody Award and two Emmys. His book also inspired a project undertaken by seven Magnum photographers, which he helped to design and write, entitled Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery, which was mounted as a touring exhibition and published as a book by Hayward. Bales was named as the originator of one of “100 World-Changing Discoveries” by the Association of British Universities, and as a “visionary who is changing your world” by Utne Reader.

Disposable People went on to publication in ten other languages and won the Premio Viareggio for the Italian edition. It was followed by ?Understanding Global Slavery?, an edited collection of his academic articles, and by Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves (also published in Japan and Finland). Where Disposable People set out the size and shape of the global slavery problem, Ending Slavery outlines a coherent and achievable solution. After reading Ending Slavery, President Clinton told the plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative: “It tells you that it is a problem we can solve, and here’s how to do it.” In 2011, Ending Slavery won the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Promoting World Order.

Bales is Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, UK. In 2016 the Wilberforce Institute won the Queen's Anniversary Prize (often referred to as "a Knighthood for Research Institutes.") He was also a Co-Founder of Free the Slaves in Washington DC, the US sister organization of Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights group founded in 1787.

He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Antislavery Usable Past project, a five-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, (£1.8 million) including three universities and twenty partners organisations, as well as the lead author for the Walk Free Foundation's Global Slavery Index. Bill Gates described the Global Slavery Index as an “important tool to let governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses take stock and take action against the terrible problem.”

He serves on the Board of Directors of the $100 million Freedom Fund that aims to lead the eradication of modern slavery. For 13 years he served on the Board of International Cocoa Initiative. He also served as a consultant to the United Nations Global Program on Trafficking of Human Beings, and advised the US, British, Irish, Norwegian, and Nepali governments, as well as the governments of the Economic Community of West African States and the European Parliament, on the formulation of policy on slavery and human trafficking. He edited an Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit for the United Nations. In 2004 he completed a two-year study of human trafficking into the US for the National Institute of Justice, and with the Human Rights Center at Berkeley, produced a report on forced labor in the USA. In 2008 he was invited to address the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Paris, and to join in the planning of the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative.

He published To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today’s Slaves with Zoe Trodd; and with Ron Soodalter The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, the first full exploration of contemporary slavery in the United States, an exposé and plan to make America slave-free for the first time in its history. On January 19, 2016 he published Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World - the breakthrough work that identified modern slavery as a major contributor to global climate change.

In 1990, Bales teamed with Simon Pell, then head of Arts for Labour in the UK, to form the fundraising and research consultancy, Pell & Bales Ltd. The firm raises funds for medical charities, human rights groups, environmental campaigns, overseas development, and other charities and voluntary sector groups. In November 2011 fundraising for charities by the company passed the one billion pound mark (£1,000,000,000 or $1.6 billion).

Other awards include the Laura Smith Davenport Human Rights Award in 2005; the Judith Sargeant Murray Award for Human Rights in 2004; and the Human Rights Award of the University of Alberta in 2003. He was also awarded a Prime Mover Fellowship by the Hunt Alternatives Fund in 2009 and a Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, by Loyola University Chicago, in 2010. He is Honorary Professor in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham 2013-2016; and was the Richard & Ann Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights, University of Chicago in 2015.

Bales makes his home on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands.



October 22-26, 2016 at the University of Oklahoma

In this seminar, students will investigate the history of conservatism from the 1960s through the millennium and will learn how important leaders and organizations of the late 20th century helped build a coalition of supporters who transformed the American political scene. The emergence of the divisions in the American politics, and the limitations of established coalitions as reflected in the 2016 elections, will also be considered. In addition, there will be a comparison between US conservative politics and the right-wing political parties of Europe.

Readings provided by OSLEP

RICK PERLSTEIN is the author of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. Before that, he published Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008), a New York Times bestseller picked as one of the best nonfiction books of the year by over a dozen publications, and Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, winner of the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Award for history. A contributing writer at The Nation, former chief national correspondent for the Village Voice, and a former online columnist for the New Republic and Rolling Stone, his journalism and essays have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, and many other publications. Politico called him the “chronicler extraordinaire of American conservatism,” who “offers a hint of how interesting the political and intellectual dialogue might be if he could attract some mimics.” The Nation called him the “hypercaffeinated Herodotus of the American century.” Born in 1969 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he lives in Chicago. In his spare time, he performs jazz piano and vocals and practices yoga.