The world is facing unprecedented levels of turmoil and conflict. Commitment to living virtuously, and excellently, is quickly fading. A new Justice League is convening to discuss the fate of our planet, and the future role of the superhero. Superheroes from across the globe, in addition to a number of far off dimensions, universes, and galaxies, are expected to join. Some of the questions this new Justice League will address are:
- How do we define the hero and superhero?
- Can anyone be a (super) hero?
- Where is the line between crime fighters and vigilantes?
- How does a superhero define truth and justice?
- Where do superheroes get their power?
- How are, and how aren’t, superheroes diverse?
- Why are (or aren’t) superheroes good?
- Why should (or shouldn’t) superheroes be good?
- Why be a superhero? Why be moral?
- What’s behind the mask? Identity and the superhero
In addition to these issues, students will more broadly discuss why we value the qualities and characteristics we attribute to superheroes. In a sense, superheroes represent what it means to live excellently. Students will not only analyze what it means to live excellently from the perspective of a superhero, but will apply this analysis to their own lives as well.
Meet Your Professor
Associate Professor of Education
I first came to Simpson College in the fall of 1991, beginning a relationship that has lasted nearly three decades. As a student at Simpson, I majored in History and minored in Secondary Education and Political Science. I was also a four-year letter winner on the wrestling team, qualifying for the Division III National Tournament in 1994. Although I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I arrived at Simpson, I was inspired to be a college history professor after taking one of my first college courses, Western Civilization, with the legend Dr. Joe Walt.
After graduating from Simpson College in 1995 and marrying my high school sweetheart, Andrea (a 1994 graduate of Simpson College), I began a career as a high school history teacher that lasted from 1995-2010. I earned a master’s degree in History from Iowa State University in 1999, then a PhD in Education from Iowa State in 2008. I have been teaching at the college level since 2010, specializing in the history and philosophy of education.
My research interests are wide and varied. I spent four years conducting a qualitative study of a partnership between a grassroots, non-profit, community-based organization and a local public school. This research turned into an article titled “The space between: building liberatory capital in a school–community partnership” and was published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. I am also a member of the Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau where I travel the state giving presentations on two prisoner of war camps in Iowa that housed German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners between 1943 and 1946. My most recent research interests center on the manners in which popular culture in the form of films, television, music, and graphic novels can be used for pedagogical purposes. In other words, how can we use these forms of pop culture as educational tools, helping students to wrestle with complex theoretical and philosophical concepts? To that end I have published essays in the following edited books:
- Stieg Larsson and Philosophy
- Game of Thrones and Philosophy
- Ender’s Game and Philosophy
- Planet of the Apes and Philosophy
- The Hunger Games and Philosophy
- Deadpool and Philosophy
- Hamilton the Musical and Philosophy (in press)
- Doctor Strange and Philosophy (forthcoming)
Because my courses require students to wrestle with educational theory and philosophy, I intentionally incorporate film and television clips, popular music, and graphic novels into my courses. In this way, I take complex and intense academic theory and help make it more accessible and engaging.
Meet Your SC Leader
My name is Cami Schmalz and I am from Muscatine, Iowa. I will be the SC Leader for Dr. Chad Timm’s Simpson Colloquium class. I am a junior here at Simpson, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Resources.
At Simpson, I have a work study job with Media Services, am involved in Dance Marathon, and play for the Varsity Women’s Soccer team. In my free time I like to binge watch documentaries on Netflix and read about things that I will probably never need to know.
This is my first year as an SC Leader and I am here to make you transition from high school to college as smooth as possible. If you have any questions about freshman year or Simpson in general, feel free to shoot me an email at: email@example.com.
I look forward to meeting you all! #RollStorm
Meet Your Writing Fellow