Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1003 - Science Fiction      

Science Fiction
Out-of-control scientific discovery, time travel, aliens, androids, corporate and political domination, reimaginings of race, gender, and sexuality--these and other themes have dominated science fiction over the last 250 years. We will try to understand the ways in which selected writers have seen the world we inhabit and have imagined alternatives to it. Texts and movies include: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; H. G. Wells, The Time Machine; Isaac Asimov, I, Robot; Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness; and Ridley Scott, Bladerunner. CW LIT

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1025 - Chance      

Chance *
A prominent statistician once wrote, “Statistics exists only at the interfaces of chance and empirical data. But it exists at every such interface.” Are most cancers attributable to bad luck, as Forbes recently suggested? Do fluctuations in US News college rankings reflect educational quality? Is texting while driving riskier than drunk driving? You can't follow the news, choose a college, or even get behind the wheel without encountering statistical claims. Which should you trust? Our readings will include your favorite newspaper, Stephen J. Gould's essays on excellence and variability, and Edward Tufte's critique of data graphics in the popular press.. 3 hrs. sem.
CW DED

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1028 - Identity/Difference      

Identity and Difference
How do we use categories of identity and difference? How does culture determine how we perceive and perform gender and ethnic identity: male/female, gay/straight, East/West, black/white? We will look at constructions of gender and sexual identity in various cultures and consider how they intersect with national and ethnic identity. Literature and film will be our primary focus. We will read Euripides’ Bacchae, Forster’s Passage to India, and Hwang’s Madame Butterfly and view films like Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Europa Europa that problematize sexual and gender identity. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1030 - Love & Friendship      

Love and Friendship
We will start with Plato's/ Phaedrus/, to learn about love and its relationship to speaking and writing, and then turn to Aristotle's Ethics, to consider friendship in relation to politics. Then we will read: Jane Austen’s/ Persuasion/; Shakespeare Sonnets; Montaigne's essay, "Of Friendship"; Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Flaubert’s Madame Bovary; Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; and Plato’s Symposium. We will also study The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic
, Grammar and Rhetoric/, by Sister Miriam Joseph, and we will watch two movies: The Philadelphia Story and Anna Karenina. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Spring 2018

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FYSE 1041 - Economics of Social Issues      

The Economics of Social Issues
In this course we will examine current social problems from the perspective of an economist. We will use the tools of economics as a framework for understanding important social issues such as poverty, discrimination, access to health care, crime and drugs, immigration, welfare reform, affordable housing, quality and affordability of childcare, solvency of social security, gun control, divorce, and the environment. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1049 - Myth & Cosmology      

Myth and Cosmology
In this seminar we will trace some of the fundamental concepts underlying ancient ways of approaching the world. We will compare the Chinese, Biblical, Hindu, Navajo, and Maori creation traditions, the divination cultures of East Asian and African nations, and the rich symbolism that emerged out of some of the major centers of ancient civilization. Through our reading of myths, scholarly writings, and literary works, we will explore the ways China and various other cultures understood and dealt with the world around them, from flood myths to astrology, from the Yijing to omens and geomancy. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW PHL

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1056 - The Black Death      

The Black Death
In this seminar we will examine the great plague of 1348, the Black Death, as an epidemiological, cultural, and historical event. What was the plague? How did it affect European society in the short term, and what were its repercussions? Was the Black Death truly a turning point in European history, or have its effects been overrated? Finally, we will look at the role the plague has played as a metaphor in society and will discuss modern plagues like the hemorrhagic viruses and AIDS using fiction and film as well as the works of modern scholars. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Fall 2014, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1062 - Econ/Culture Great Depression      

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Economy and Culture in the Great Depression
The Great Depression of the 1930s changed economics forever. It also brought forth a period of distinctly American, socially-engaged literature and visual art. New relationships were forged between the U.S. government and working people, the arts, and the market. In this seminar we study economics to understand the collapse of the American economy; we study painting, photography, music, drama, and oral history to understand the rapid social change taking place. As a group, students will develop a digital media project representing one or more aspects of the 1930s experience. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1066 - Voices Along The Way      

Voices Along the Way
This seminar designed for international students is an introduction to contemporary American culture via literature and film. Our exploration of the American landscape and mindscape will begin with three topics: a sense of place, family relationships, and the American educational scene. We will conclude with a fourth topic, 'creating an identity," within which we will explore our own potential contributions to a global community. We will respond to each of these topics by writing essays, creating web pages and digital stories, and designing multi-media presentations. We will read stories and essays by John Updike, Amy Tan, Gloria Naylor, Theodore Sizer, James Baldwin, Raymond Carver, William Faulkner, and Jamaica Kincaid; we will consider films including Dances with Wolves, The Godfather, Stand and Deliver, and Dead Poets’ Society; and we will research and compare our own and each other’s cultures as a basis for determining what we consider to be “American.” 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1080 - Mozart Operas      

Mozart Operas: Swains, Countesses, and Magic Flutes
In this seminar we will delve into how opera comes about, its place in our culture, and its aesthetic, with our explorations centering on musical components. We will focus on the text and music of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute. The main work will be viewing, listening to, and understanding these great works, with excursions into operas old and new. Special attention will be given to writing, varying from response and research papers to some creative writing. Assignments will be given throughout the semester in the various disciplines that come together in operas. We will have informal presentations of your creative work in class and, if possible, gather them in a public performance late in the semester. Music background preferred. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW EUR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1081 - Greek Phil., Tragedy, & Comedy      

"The Ancient Quarrel": Greek Philosophy, Tragedy, and Comedy*
In Plato's day there was a “quarrel” between philosophy and poetry, a rivalry for the ethical education of citizens. How do the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles communicate ethical dilemmas? Does Aristophanes in The Clouds suggest a serious critique within his comic satire of Socrates? Why does Plato banish the poets from his ideal city in The Republic, but develop his own philosophical poetry? Why does Aristotle in the Poetics emphasize the catharsis of the tragic emotions? Finally, we will consider Nietzsche's interpretation in The Birth of Tragedy: Socratic rationalism deals the fatal blow to tragedy, yet Plato transforms Socrates into a tragic figure. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR PHL

Fall 2014, Spring 2018

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FYSE 1099 - Cultural History of the Piano      

Piano, Piano: The Cultural History of the Piano
Why do so many people have a piano in their living room? In this seminar we will try to answer this question by exploring the cultural history of the piano. As we study the piano’s special place in our (musical) culture, we will learn about the technical as well as social aspects of this instrument’s developments over the past 300 years. We will hear virtuosos like Franz Liszt and Keith Jarrett, study milestones of the pianistic repertoire, and discuss representations of this instrument and its artists in literature, the arts, and film. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW EUR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1105 - The Poet's I      

CW LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1107 - Shaping the Future      

Shaping the Future
The release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment has great potential for agriculture and industry; however, the consequences posed by the transfer of genetic material from one organism to another on the inter-relationships within an ecosystem remain largely uncertain.  Gene therapy represents a major molecular-genetic advancement for medical science, yet there is much controversy regarding its safety and whether its use for the purpose of “enhancement” constitutes an ethical application for this technology.  New reproductive technologies use genetic engineering to conceive life in a petri dish and select against embryos with inherited disease, which has had considerable social, political, and ethical impacts.  This course will use writing, in-class discussion, and hands-on experiences in the laboratory as tools to explore these and other biotechnological advances and their social implications.  Writing exercises will emphasize the ethical considerations brought about by the Human Genome Project, DNA fingerprinting, and the introduction of edible vaccines to grocery store shelves to name a few. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1108 - Chemical & Biological Warfare      

Science Demonized: Chemical and Biological Warfare
The Geneva Protocol of 1925 called for a halt to chemical and biological warfare. Since that time, creation of new technologies and advances in the fields of chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry have created the threat for even greater devastation. In this seminar we will examine the development and use of these agents, with attention to their chemical, biochemical, and biological mechanisms. Discussion and readings will focus on specific agents such as anthrax, plague, "super" viruses, and chemical nerve poisons. Texts and readings by Camus, Alibek, Miller, Tucker, and others will trace the creation and use of these weapons from WWI to the present. International efforts to prevent deployment and medical strategies to protect military and civilian personnel will also be considered. CW SCI

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1114 - Classic Comedy      

Classic Comedy: Drama, Film, Theory
What is comedy? What are its values and view of life? What makes things funny? Why do we laugh and at what? What should or should not be ridiculed? In this seminar we will consider classic comedies and ideas about comedy from Aristophanes through Shakespeare, Moliere, and Shaw, to Stoppard, with comparisons to classic comedies of American cinema and other forms of comic expression. Having a sense of humor is a prerequisite of this seminar. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1120 - Earth Resources      

Earth Resources: Origin, Use, and Environmental Impacts
The global economy world politics, and many aspects of our daily lives are dependent on the extraction and use of materials taken from the Earth. Unfortunately, within our lifetimes, we will be faced with significant shortages of many of these resources. In this course we will focus on how resources such as oil, coal, aluminum, and even gem minerals are generated by geological processes, how they are extracted and processed, and how these activities impact the environment. Several field trips will allow us to view first-hand the impacts of resource extraction and use in the local area. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1121 - Representations of Urban Italy      

Representations of Urban Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice
Rome, Florence, and Venice are central to the Western image of the city. With ancient Rome as a model, we will enrich our historical knowledge of the cities and their famous sites. We will explore how literature, urban planning, and the arts represent them. Genres to be explored (in English) include poetry and travel memoirs; literature and film of ancient Rome, including toga epics; contemporary novels and films (e.g., Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon; this year’s Oscar-winning The Great Beauty). Research projects will focus on the cities’ distinctive cuisines, and will include culinary practice. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1123 - Encounters with Middle East      

Close Encounters with the Middle East
In the west, few other cultures have evoked such strong emotions or have been so widely misunderstood as the cultures of the Middle East. In this seminar, we will explore alternative understandings of the region by examining various types of historical and contemporary narratives. Rather than focus exclusively on political events and trajectories, we will investigate social and cultural experiences of peoples in the Middle East which have emerged through the intersection of history, identity, modernity, gender relations, and popular expression. This approach allows students to become familiar with the region’s inhabitants and cultures, and to think beyond the static images commonly portrayed in today’s media. In this seminar we will draw on various sources including film, media, literature, music, among others, and will interpret their ongoing significance in today’s world. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1132 - Shakespeare and Music      

Sounds and Sweet Airs: Shakespeare and Music
Shakespeare's plays are the stories we tell ourselves to explain to ourselves who we are. We have told them over and over, and they have proven to be infinitely adaptable to our needs. Composers, too, have been drawn to them from the beginning, adding their music to the music of Shakespeare's language. In this seminar we will study a number of plays, among them Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the operas, ballets, film scores, and symphonic works they have inspired from the 17th century to the present. ART CW EUR

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1133 - Faith and Reason      

Faith and Reason
In this seminar we will explore perennial and contemporary questions in the philosophy of religion: Is there a God? Are objective proofs of God possible, or is religious belief founded on subjective feelings? What is faith? The modern period has been a time of unprecedented crisis for religion, and we will focus in particular on these challenges and responses to them. Is religion, as Freud thought, just wish-fulfillment? Is religious belief compatible with science? Can any religion claim to be the true religion in a pluralistic world? Authors read will include St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Kant, Kierkegaard, James, Freud, and contemporary philosophers. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1134 - Empires      

Empires
Why do empires rise and fall? Are "democracy" and "empire" always a contradiction in terms? Can imperialism be a good thing? For whom? Drawing on classical and contemporary sources, we will explore the origins and fates of empires from Ancient Greece to the present. We will start by reflecting on why Eurasia dominated the world prior to the twentieth century, rather than the other way around. We will then explore the similarities and differences in both the principles and practices of particular empires, as well as how those characteristics evolved over time. Special attention will be given to Rome, Britain, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans, Russia/Soviet Union, and the United States. An overarching aim of this seminar is to view the global power of the 21st century United States in proper perspective. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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FYSE 1144 - Jane Austen and Film      

Jane Austen & Film
Why did a writer born over 200 years ago become a hot property in Hollywood? The explosion of film adaptations of Austen's novels has sent readers scurrying to Austen's six major works: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. We will study these novels and their film and video adaptations, while examining the differences between the language of film and the language of fiction, and while considering Austen's appeal to 21st century men and women. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1145 - Voices Along The Way      

Voices Along the Way
In this seminar—designed for international as well as U.S. students—we will examine American culture, as perceived both in the U.S. and abroad, through the lenses of gender, sexuality, race, class, and migration. Using literature and popular media, we will develop an understanding of the complexities and challenges in American culture, articulating them in inquiry-based writing and oral presentations, and learning how scholarly work has been integral to understanding them. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1153 - Poems, Poets, Poetry      

Poems, Poets, Poetry
In this seminar, we will read a wide range of lyric and narrative poems and explore ways of responding to them, in discussion and in writing. We will contemplate the resources of language and expressive form and structure upon which poets variously depend and draw. We will ask such questions as: can a poem really be "analyzed " or "explicated", and what assumptions lie behind such an attempt? The aim of this seminar is to assist in making poetry accessible and enjoyable without diminishing its complexity or its challenge, and to encourage a sense of poems as companions for life. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Spring 2017

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FYSE 1158 - Passages from India      

Passages from India
In this seminar, we will focus on the literature, politics, and culture of 20th century India. We will discuss writing by Raja Rao, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ismat Chughtai, Mahashweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, and others. Drawing on both popular and documentary films, we will explore this literature in the contexts of colonialism, nationalism, class and caste politics, gender, the state, regionalism, religion, notions of development, and globalization. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1167 - Shakespeare's Characters      

Shakespeare's Characters
Shakespeare’s reputation owes much to his characters. Yet memorable as these are, they abound in inconsistencies. What did they mean in Shakespeare’s time, and how do they still succeed? What explains the charisma of Bottom, the idiot who cannot act, or the appeal of Shylock, the vicious stereotype of Jewishness? Othello’s jealousy renders him a murderer, yet he elicits empathy; Desdemona is first assertive, then submissive. What do these contradictions mean? What do they tell us about attitudes towards race, gender, psychology, and theater in Shakespeare’s time and today? Addressing such questions, we will develop critical thinking and writing skills. Texts will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and contextual readings. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017

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FYSE 1170 - Dealing with Atrocities      

Dealing with Atrocities
Occurrences of atrocities affecting large numbers of people show no sign of ending. How do these atrocities start and why? How do societies rebuild afterwards, and how might this rebuilding conflict with the healing process of individuals? How can the often competing goals of justice and reconciliation be balanced? What do subsequent generations in society owe to victims of large-scale atrocities? To explore these and other issues, a few main cases will be examined in depth – such as events in European colonialism and the Holocaust – as well as students choosing additional examples for comparison and further research. 3 hr. sem. CMP CW HIS

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1175 - The Game of Go      

The Game of Go
Go is an ancient board game which originated in East Asia and is now played and studied by over 30 million people worldwide. The game is intellectually demanding and rigorous as well as highly creative and intuitive. In this seminar we will study the fundamentals of play, record and critique our games, and learn the history of Go and some of its outstanding practitioners. Additionally, we will gain some appreciation of Asian arts and cultures through our readings and writing projects. There will be plenty of game practice, analysis, some film and anime discussion, and a class tournament. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW DED

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1183 - Psychology and Meaning of Life      

Psychology and the Meaning of Life
The goal of this seminar will be to explore what psychology can teach us about the meaning of life. We will start with earlier, more philosophical models (Freud, Frankl, Maslow) and conclude with modern empirical approaches to the study of “happiness” and “meaningfulness” (Seligman, Czikszentmihalyi, Kasser). This seminar will include a substantial service-learning component in which students will volunteer in community organizations and use those experiences as material for class discussion and assignments. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1184 - The Journey Within      

The Journey Within: The Spiritual Pursuit in Literary and Mystical Traditions
A fundamental teaching of the world’s religious traditions is that the source of love, the fulfillment of life, and the treasure of heaven are found within. With texts from antiquity to the present as our guides, we shall explore themes such as the concept of the soul, the discovery of a deeper self, the spiritual awakening, and the nature of the mystical experience. We shall consider questions related to religious and psychological experience such as: Where does the self reside? Why is it important to “know thyself”? What is the state of consciousness described as enlightenment? How does one rise above the sorrows and struggles of the world? Finally, we shall try to understand how turning within does not mean fleeing from the world, but engaging in the world around us in a more profound and meaningful way. Readings will include works from the Upanishads, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, St. Teresa of Avila, Tolstoy, Emily Dickinson, Herman Hesse, and J.D. Salinger. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW PHL

Fall 2013, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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FYSE 1198 - Darwinian Medicine      

Darwinian Medicine
Is it better to fight a fever or let it run its course? Why do pregnant women get morning sickness? In this course, we will look at modern humans and their health from the perspective of evolutionary biology. Students will be introduced to the basics of evolution by natural selection and will learn to interpret morphological, biochemical and behavioral aspects of humans and their pathogens in this context (such as how and why the level of virulence of a disease changes when human habits change). Readings will include Why We Get Sick, Evolving Health, and numerous papers from the primary literature. 3 hrs. sem./disc. CW SCI

Spring 2014

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FYSE 1203 - Beast in the Jungle      

The Beast in the Jungle
In this course we will explore some literary texts in which the practice of exploration itself yields a complex confrontation with, and often breakdown of, identity and will. The westerner’s longing to separate him or herself from home and make contact with a foreign “other” arises from the high purposes that set imperial adventures in motion in the first place. Readings will include Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Forster’s Passage to India, Waugh’s Handful of Dust, Bowles’ Sheltering Sky, Stone’s Dog Soldiers, Duras’ The Lover, Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1206 - French Films/American Remakes      

CMP CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1208 - Cities in Crisis      

Cities in Crisis
“I imagine the American city to be a growing tree,” the historian Sam Bass Warner has written. “As it bursts forth each spring, it is set upon by clouds of parasites.” In this seminar we will expand upon Warner’s insight and explore how American cities have coped in the past with natural disaster, the flight of capital, racial and class tensions, and injurious planning. We will turn to case studies of individual cities in crisis, including New York City, New Orleans, and Detroit, in the quest for an understanding of patterns of vulnerabilities and resilience in urban American history. 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW HIS

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1210 - Global Japanese Culture      

Global Japanese Culture
In this seminar we will examine the construction of Japanese cultural identity as products, ideas and people move across the borders in and out of Japan. Social scientists have been particularly interested in the appropriation of non-Japanese practices and products in Japan, as well as, the great success of some of Japan’s cultural and consumer products from Toyotas to Pokemon in the global marketplace. We will examine the issues of cultural hybridity, identity, and globalization using text such as Millennial Monsters, Remade in Japan, and Japan after Japan. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1211 - Godel, Escher, Bach      

Gödel, Escher, Bach
At the turn of the 20th century, mathematics took an introspective turn when its practitioners attempted to organize reasoning itself into an axiomatic system of theorems and definitions. The results were provocative and ended in a kind of paradox when logician Kurt Gödel proved that all formalized logical systems would necessarily contain some unprovable truths. Reading Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach, we will discover the connections among seemingly disparate fields of mathematics, visual arts, and music. Our journey will pass through the philosophical worlds of Lewis Carroll, Artificial Intelligence, non-Euclidean geometry, Zen Buddhism, and crash head-on into questions about the nature of human consciousness and creativity. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED

Spring 2014

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FYSE 1212 - Mathematics For All      

Mathematics for All
What kinds of mathematical knowledge are necessary for full participation in contemporary democratic society? How well, and how fairly, do our schools educate students in quantitative skills and reasoning? By what measures might we judge success? We will learn about different approaches to mathematics education in light of these questions. Readings will include selections from Mathematics for Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy (L.A. Steen, Editor), as well as recent articles by education researchers. To connect theory and actual practice, students in this class will conduct a service-learning project in a local school. All are welcome, regardless of mathematical background. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1214 - Space, Time, & Measurement      

Space, Time, and Measurement
The ability to precisely measure time and distance is essential to modern science and technology. As measurement technologies developed, they led to scientific discoveries that redefined our fundamental understanding of space, time and measurement themselves. We will follow this process from Galileo’s pendulum through Einstein’s theory of relativity and modern applications in quantum mechanics and cosmology. We will use historical and scientific texts, analytic writing, and a few hands-on activities to understand these ideas and their impact on science and society. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED SCI

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1217 - Animal Cognition      

Animal Cognition
Can animals use language? Are animals self-aware? Do animals try to deceive others? Are animals able to reason and make decisions? Can most of animals’ behavior be explained with simple learning mechanisms, making humans uniquely cognitive beings? In this seminar we will explore similarities and differences between animals and humans with regard to their mental abilities. In considering this issue, we will read and discuss scientific studies as well as popular literature anecdotes that examine various aspects of animals’ ability to think, with the goal of assessing how animals’ cognitive abilities compare to humans’. 3 hrs. sem./disc. CW

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1232 - Making Babies Brave New World      

Making Babies in a Brave New World
In this seminar we will examine the fundamentals of human reproduction and modern reproductive intervention strategies. As rapid discoveries in medical technologies have allowed us to push the limits of the human body, questions remain as to whether we should pursue, permit, or regulate such advances. We will explore scientific, societal, ethical, and individual issues surrounding the control of fertility and infertility, fetal life, birth, and the neonatal period. Through critical review of the literature, writing, and informed dialogues, students will gain an understanding of key topics in reproductive medicine. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1236 - The Malleable Human      

The Malleable Human
How human are you? What does it mean to be human? From a biological point of view, can lines be drawn that define a human? When is appropriate to blur these lines and who may do it? In this course we will investigate what biological boundaries exist that make us human. We will consider this topic by looking at genetic, mechanical, and chemical modifications to the basic human form and how they influence our perceptions of ‘humanness’. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1238 - The Trojan War      

The Trojan War
The myth of the Trojan War exerted a defining influence on Greek and Roman culture, and has played a central role in the Western tradition ever since. In this seminar we will examine the historicity of the Trojan War and how ancient writers used it to explore themes such as the nature of heroism, the workings of the gods, and the relationship between the individual and society. We will also consider how our modern ideals about heroic action compare with those of ancient times. Readings will include selections from Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Vergil, and Ovid. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1244 - The Geology of National Parks      

Geology of National Parks
The collision of continents, the passage of glaciers, and time itself have sculpted our country, creating landscapes that have captivated humankind's attention for generations. This seminar will develop the sequence of events that have led to the formation of many such natural wonders found in our national parks. The seminar will proceed through lectures focused on basic geology and plate tectonic theory; textbook readings about specific parks; in-class and homework exercises that develop familiarity with important geologic materials and methods; and weekly video "excursions" to the parks. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1246 - Race/Difference in 20th-C Amer      

Race & Difference in Twentieth-Century America
In this seminar we will investigate "race" as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon in the United States across the 20th century. By examining a variety of primary source material, including novels, autobiographies, and essays (e.g., Nell Larson’s Passing, 1929; Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets, 1967; Ruth Frankenberg’s White Women, Race Matters, 1993; and Vicki Nam’s Yell-Oh Girls, 2001), and films (e.g., Birth of a Nation, 1915; Imitation of Life, 1959; and Crash, 2004), we will analyze how the concept of race changed over time and how individuals and institutions defined and experienced race. Themes and topics to be covered include race and popular culture, race and identity, and race and social relations. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1247 - Everyday Life in South Africa      

Everyday Life in South Africa, 1948-Present
In this seminar we will explore some of the social worlds of South Africans amid the country's recent decades of turbulent and dramatic change. We will look at how different groups within the nation's diverse population have understood and experienced the rise of the apartheid system, its demise, and its legacies in their "everyday" lives and interactions. We will draw from various sources - non-fiction, fiction, film, music, and other forms of popular culture - to interpret these social dynamics and their ongoing significance in a post-apartheid society. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1255 - Collapse of Complex Societies      

Facing the Apocalypse: How Complex Societies Fade and Collapse
In this seminar we will examine how and why historically complex societies have failed. We will explore the roles of population pressure, environmental degradation, warfare, and other factors in the collapse of such ancient urban societies as the Classic Maya, Chaco, and the Roman Empire. Likewise, we will explore how societies seemingly well-adapted to their geographic environments, such as the Vikings in Greenland, ultimately succumbed to extinction. Reviewing academic and popular explanations for societal collapse worldwide, we will ultimately engage the modern era and investigate the fragility of contemporary societies. CW HIS SOC

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1259 - Science and Science Fiction      

Science and Science Fiction
More than just robots and rocket ships, science fiction frees us from the bounds of Earth’s present condition and allows us to explore alternate possibilities and futures, both positive and negative, for humankind. Often by confronting things decidedly non-human we discover more about what it means to be human. We will read both science fact (i.e., non-fiction) and science fiction literature to try to understand more about our humanity, our present world, and what might become of each in the future. Topics will include space travel, energy and the environment, the nature of the universe, and the meaning of life. We will write both fact-based essays and science fiction short stories. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1260 - Holocaust Landscapes      

Holocaust Landscapes
The Holocaust was a profoundly geographical event that caused mass displacement and migration, destroyed or fundamentally changed communities, and created new places to control, exploit, or kill millions of people. In this seminar we will focus on material and mental landscapes – the places and spaces – of the Holocaust, particularly as victims experienced these landscapes, and how such landscapes have been selectively re-imagined as sites of memory. History, geography, autobiography, and visual sources will provide material for class discussion, research, and writing. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Spring 2014

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FYSE 1263 - African American Migrations      

We Got to MOVE:African American Migrations
In this course we will consider the phenomenon of migration in 20th century African American life. We will draw on texts from fields such as literature (works by Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, and Dinaw Mengestu), art (paintings by Jacob Lawrence and Kerry James Marshall, FSA photos), music (blues, soul, and hip hop), sociology (Cayton and Drake, Black Metropolis), American Studies (Griffin, Who Set You Flowin’), and history (Berlin, The Making of African America). Our objectives will be to understand both the actual impact of the migrant experience on the African American community and African American artists’ creative responses to it. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1266 - Literary Narratives      

Literary Narratives
Beginning with a sequence of related tales from the Arabian Nights, we will focus sharply on a series of works composed of multiple and sometimes radically divergent narratives. We will explore ways in which authors working in a variety of traditions succeed in creating unified literary experiences that exceed their individual parts, paying particular attention to matters of sequencing, pacing, juxtaposition, and repetition, as well as shifts in narrative pattern, perspective, and tone. Among the authors we will consider are Poe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Sherwood Anderson, Hemingway, and Nathanael West. Especially recommended for students contemplating a major in Literary Studies. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1269 - First Language Acquisition      

First Language Acquisition
A normally-developing child can acquire any human language in the right environment, yet it is much more difficult for adults to achieve native proficiency in a second language. Why? In this course we will explore questions such as: How does first language acquisition happen? Is it effortless? Are humans “hardwired” with language? Is it true that after the “Critical Period,” i.e., the onset of puberty, humans have lost this capacity? We will also explore social and cultural constraints on language acquisition, and learn basic techniques for collecting and analyzing data in language acquisition research. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1272 - Lit.& Philosophy of Friendship      

Literature and Philosophy of Friendship
In this seminar we will explore major works of literature and philosophy from earlier centuries on the ideal of friendship. What are the traditional obligations of “true” friendship? Are they different from those of the Facebook age? Is friendship like love? Is true friendship between the sexes possible? Does racial difference affect friendship? Is homoeroticism or homophobia part of friendship? Readings include Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Cicero, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Bacon, Kant, Emerson, and Thoreau as well as selected texts in non-European traditions. Special emphasis will be placed on grammar, rhetorical style, public speaking, and multimedia presentation. 3 hrs. sem. E CW EUR LIT

Fall 2013, Fall 2015

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FYSE 1280 - Breaking the Code: Alan Turing      

Breaking the Code: The Enigma of Alan Turing
British mathematician Alan Turing broke the Nazis' prized Enigma cipher in World War II, created the foundations of computer science, and pioneered the fields of artificial intelligence (“Can Machines Think?”) and neural networks. Turing was arrested for homosexuality and forced to undergo hormone treatments. He died by cyanide poisoning at a relatively young age. His brilliant achievements and tragic death have been the subject of biographies, essays, plays, novels, and films, most recently the Academy Award winning The Imitation Game. We will explore the life and works of this remarkable individual in the context of the war and its aftermath. 3 hrs. sem./screening CW DED EUR

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1283 - Transitional Justice      

Transitional Justice: Reckoning with the Past
In this seminar we will examine how emerging democracies reckon with former authoritarian regimes and their legacies. In contrast to stable democracies, societies in transition that seek to overcome a legacy of large scale human rights violations—and minimize the risks of their recurrence—must search for a delicate political compromise that will bring some justice without undermining the new order. Several case studies from Asia, Latin America, South Africa, and postcommunist Europe will help us understand the forces and factors that shape the dilemma: to prosecute and punish versus to forgive and forget. Course readings will be supplemented by documentaries and fiction films. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1286 - Keys to Dan Brown's Origin      

The Keys to Dan Brown’s /Origin/
In this project-oriented seminar we will seek to distinguish fact from fiction in Dan Brown’s novel, Origin (September 2017), in the context of his previous novels: Angels&Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno. We will explore in greater depth the art, codes, symbols, and secret geography of Amsterdam. We will create and publish electronically a 21st century illustrated annotated guide to the novel using the latest in new technologies, wikis, Google mapping, graphics, and video. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1292 - Cultural Formations of 1980s      

Cultural Formations of the 1980s
In this course we will investigate cultural formations of the United States during the 1980s through a critical examination of fiction, music, television, art, advertising, and film. We will connect texts produced during and about the period with social, political, and economic transformations that began with the so-called “Reagan Revolution.” Social issues concerning race, class, gender, and sexuality will be analyzed through topics including the Culture Wars, globalization and outsourcing, the ascendance of Wall Street, the rise of AIDS, attacks on the welfare state, the emergence of hiphop, and the War on Drugs 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1294 - Making History      

Making History
History is ‘made’ as much by those who write about events as by those who cause and experience them. In this course we will focus on Alexander the Great to consider how people make past events meaningful for themselves in their own historical circumstances.  Using Paul Cohen’s History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth, we will consider how Alexander figures as an event, an experience, and a myth in the ancient world.  Authors including Arrian, Plutarch, and Curtius Rufus will allow us to study how Greeks and Romans explained and emulated Alexander. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Spring 2017

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FYSE 1295 - Visions of Mortality      

Visions of Mortality
In this seminar we will examine the nature, meaning, and implications of our mortality. We will begin by examining historical and contemporary philosophical views on death and by considering questions such as: Can an understanding of death tell us anything about what makes life good? How should the fact of our mortality influence the lives we lead? We will then address contemporary biomedical issues regarding death, considering questions such as: How does technology influence our conception of death? What attitude ought we to embrace regarding increasing advances in life-extending medical treatments? Readings will likely include works by Tolstoy, Lucretius, Nagel, Camus, and Callahan. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1296 - US Constitutional Democracy      

America's Constitutional Democracy
America’s constitutional democracy rests on a foundation of political theory, constitutional law, and historical experience. By examining the writings of John Locke, James Madison, Alexis de Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and many others, and by reading a series of key Supreme Court rulings, we will explore how Americans have grappled with key questions involving liberty, equality, representation, and commerce. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1300 - Ecological History New England      

From the Forest Primeval to the Hardwood Grove: Exploring the Ecological History of New England
The New England landscape has been profoundly shaped by people; the traces of human activity can be seen in even its wildest corners. In this course we will trace the evolving relationship between people and forests, as recorded in literature, historical documents, and the trees themselves. We will use a variety of sources to reconstruct how New England forests have changed over the last 300-400 years, while tracing the simultaneous changes in how people perceived the forests around them. We will end by asking what the past teaches us about the future of New England forests in a time of rapid ecological change. 3 hrs sem. CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1301 - Rome on Stage and Screen      

Ancient Rome on the Stage and Screen
In this seminar we will investigate the long history of Roman drama, from the ancient world to Shakespeare’s plays and contemporary films. As we explore the representation and reception of ancient Rome, we will address the following questions: What is the relationship between drama and history? To what political purposes can drama and film be used? How does the representation of characters change over time? How are women portrayed? Why does Rome continue to influence the modern world? Texts will include Octavia and the Satyricon; Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra; films will include Quo Vadis? and I, Claudius. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1302 - C.S. Lewis Phil/Imagination      

C.S. Lewis: Ecology, Philosophy, and Imagination
In this course we will explore the writings of C.S.Lewis, with an eye to how important philosophical and theological ideas evident in his non-fiction essays and books find expression in his major works of fantastic fiction: The Chronicles of Narnia and the Ransom Trilogy. Particular emphasis will be given to the implications of his views of nature and ecology (including ecological practices). We will focus on Lewis’s own writing, especially his fantasy novels, but will also read a small selection of writing about Lewis, such as Alan Jacobs’ The Narnian. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1304 - Solvitur Ambulando      

Solvitur Ambulando
/Solvitur ambulando/: “It Is Solved by Walking.” The phrase is Latin, but it goes back to Diogenes and expresses the practical and embodied elements of problem solving and the creative process. We will look at the literature and lore of walking throughout history, myth, philosophy and literature, and take three walks of our own, alone, and with partners. Reading will include Wordsworth, Stevenson, Thoreau, Rebecca Solnit, Chatwin, Dr. Johnson, Montaigne, Basho, Hirsch, William James, Gary Snyder, and David Abram. CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1306 - Mountains of the Northeast      

Mountains of the Northeast
The mountains of the northeastern U.S. are an integral part of the cultural and natural history of this region. In this seminar we will consider topics germane to northeastern mountains including the geologic origin of the northern Appalachians, characteristics of mountain environments, changing perceptions of northeastern mountains over time, mountains as resources for modern society, and challenges facing these environments today and in the future. Readings and discussion will be combined with field excursions to enhance our understanding of mountains from a variety of perspectives. 3 hrs sem./disc. CW SCI

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1307 - Fascism & Masculinity, 1919-45      

Fascism and Masculinity Around the World, 1919-1945
In this seminar we will explore how ideas about masculinity shaped the character and goals of fascist movements around the world between 1919 and 1945. We will investigate conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, and nation as manifested in paramilitary organizations, leadership cults, international sporting competitions, and the reorganization of work and domestic life. Texts will include scholarly monographs as well as films by Leni Riefenstahl, narratives by kamikaze pilots, and debates about cultural “degeneracy.” The seminar will provide an introduction to the historiography of fascism, methods of transnational inquiry, and the study of gender and sexuality. CMP CW HIS

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1309 - The True Believer      

The True Believer
When he published The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, social thinker Eric Hoffer sought to explain exactly what inspires people to commit themselves passionately to causes defined by their unyielding belief. Like Hoffer, we will examine not only what has motivated individuals over time to join extremist social, political, and religious movements, but also the psychologies of those who have led them throughout history. We will try to determine precisely who the true believer is, and whether true belief is generally of greater benefit or harm to the believer and to broader society. CMP CW PHL

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1311 - Fellini and the Art of Cinema      

Federico Fellini and the Art of Cinema
In this seminar we will examine some of the films of the great Italian director Federico Fellini (The White Sheik, I vitelloni, La strada, The Nights of Cabiria, Il bidone, La dolce vita, 8 ½/, /Amarcord). We will analyze these films in relation to contemporary Italian society and discuss how the philosophical and ethical questions they present relate to our own reality today. Special attention will be paid to uncovering the artistic underpinnings of Fellini’s cinema through formal analysis of the films. ART CW EUR

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1312 - Boccaccio's Decameron      

Bocaccio's Decameron
The Decameron by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio is a collection of stories ranging from the tragic to the comic, from the holy to the profane. In this seminar we will read Boccaccio’s short stories (novelle), discuss critical studies, analyze in depth the relationship of each novella to the whole work, and study the
Decameron using a variety of theoretical approaches. We will also compare the
Decameron with other famous collections such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Thousand and One Nights. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1314 - The Mathematical Gardner      

The Mathematical Gardner
In this course we will have an “orgy of right-brain tomfoolery” as inspired by the writings of Martin Gardner. For several decades Gardner's contributions to Scientific American, in the form of his column “Mathematical Games,” bridged the divide between professional mathematicians and the general public. He shared with us like no other, introducing or popularizing topics such as paper-folding, Hex, polyominoes, four-dimensional ticktacktoe, Conway’s Game of Life, the Soma cube --- the list goes on seemingly forever. We will examine these mathematical curiosities for pure pleasure. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1316 - The Work of Art      

The Work of Art: Labor in Contemporary Literature and Visual Culture
In this seminar we will examine imaginative accounts of work and workers in recent literature, art, and film. Garment workers, miners, computer programmers, taxi drivers, teachers, and sex workers will take center stage as we consider the shifting meanings of paid and unpaid labor in contemporary culture. Class materials will consist of an international mix of novels, poems, photographs, performance pieces, theoretical texts, documentaries, and feature films. Topics to be considered include women’s work, labor migrations, the rise of service work and other forms of “affective” labor, and the representation of the body at work. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1317 - The Philosophy of Human Rights      

The Philosophy of Human Rights
What are human rights? What duties, if any, flow from them, and who is morally obligated to bear those duties? In this course, we will investigate the philosophical origins and development of the concept of human rights. We will critically analyze both historical and contemporary moral perspectives on the existence and nature of human rights. What does it mean to say that one possesses a human right? In addition to examining the existence and nature of human rights, we will take a closer look at the issue of human rights related to world poverty and humanitarian intervention. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1328 - Elements of Murder      

The Elements of Murder
In this seminar we will use history, fiction, and science to explore the dark and deadly associations of some chemical elements. Mercury, arsenic, antimony, lead, and thallium are notorious as causes of accidental death and as instruments of murder. Readings will include The Elements of Murder, by John Emsley; Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved by Russell Martin; The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie, and Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers. Students will lead discussions of these readings and of films based on the fictional works. We will also spend some time in the lab using forensic techniques to identify and measure toxic elements. 3 hrs. sem./disc./lab/screen. CW

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1332 - Reading Africa      

Reading Africa
What do we know about Africa? In this seminar we will explore this vast continent through novels written about it. African and non-African writers will help us discover the continent’s geographies, histories, cultures, and politics. We will study particular phenomena affecting Africans over the centuries including colonialism, dictatorial rule, humanitarianism, the women’s rights movement, and racism. With the help of films and student presentations, we will focus on Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1335 - Cold War Culture      

Cold War Culture
“Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being American?” So asks Rabbit Angstrom, the main character in John Updike’s 1990 novel, Rabbit at Rest. In this course, we will examine the Cold War’s impact on American culture throughout the period 1945-1991, with a focus on art, literature, television, film, consumer culture, and politics. Texts will include Luce, The American Century; Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking; Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; and Plath, The Bell Jar. Films will include The Thing from Another World!/, /Dr. Strangelove, and Terminator. 3 hrs. sem CW HIS NOR

Fall 2013, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1336 - Tell About the South      

“Tell About the South”: Exploring Southern Cultures*
In William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom!/, Southerner Quentin Compson's Harvard roommate says to him: "Tell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all?" These questions, posed by a Canadian, underpin our class study. In this seminar we will investigate the widespread perception of the South as a distinctive region that may—or may not—be in jeopardy of disappearing into a more homogenous national identity. By examining southern culture through a variety of disciplinary lenses, we will begin to explore why, how, and with what results this regional identity has evolved. Together we will explore the South’s social, economic, and cultural development, focusing on artistic representations of the region in literature, film, photography, music, and popular culture. CW NOR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1343 - The Migrant Experience      

The Migrant Experience
Migration is a powerful force shaping both individual identities and composition of communities. Some scholars have argued that mobility increasingly defines what it means to be modern. In this course, we will explore migration experiences through literary works ranging from The Grapes of Wrath to How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents. We will supplement these works of literature with selections of research articles from the social sciences that engage the questions and situations depicted in the works of fiction. Through readings, class discussions, and an array of writing assignments, we will gain a deep understanding of the migration experience as well as how scholars from different disciplines approach migration as an object of study. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Spring 2017

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FYSE 1344 - Culinary History of Italy      

Time Around A Table: A Culinary History of Italy
Food is a window into the culture and values of any society. In this seminar we will explore the history of Italian culture by investigating the ever-changing issues relating to food, through books, articles, films, recipes, and cooking. How did production and consumption change over time? What did the Ancient Romans eat? What was Italian cuisine like before pasta and tomatoes? What triggered the Italian appetite to change? Such questions allow us to examine what culinary choices reveal about today’s Italy. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1345 - Art & Nature of Contemplation      

The Art and Nature of Contemplation
What would it be like to attend to oneself, to others, and to the world with the concentration and insight of a Zen-inspired poet? How does a forest, a river, a neighborhood, or a city feel to an artist in open attentiveness to the immediate environment? This seminar invites students to experience contemplative knowing of self and surroundings through mindfulness meditation and through daily reflections in words, sketches or photographs. We will learn about the traditional origins of meditation and more recent uses of mindfulness for personal wellbeing. To give context to our own practice we will engage critically with essays, poems, art installations, and films that have arisen from contemplations of nature in ancient and modern times. Our study begins with Japanese poets Saigyo and Basho, the classic filmmaker Ozu, and the anime director Miyazaki. We then explore and compare meditative works by American and international writers and artists Annie Dillard, Andy Goldsworthy, and Maya Lin. We will conclude with the question of the relationship between mindfulness and social awareness in the works of Shigeru Ban. 3 hrs. sem/disc. AAL ART CW

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1347 - Singing Communities      

Singing Communities
Humans have used their voices in expressive communication for thousands of years, singing for work, comfort, love, praise, and many other purposes. In this course we will explore the role of vocal music in community and community building by learning songs and studying why people sing them. Through classroom performance and discussion, group projects, and individual research and writing projects, we will study songs of various cultures and communities past and present to learn how community is created and reinforced by singing. Interest in group vocal music is encouraged. No prior vocal experience required. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1356 - Disability/Difference/Society      

Disability, Difference, and Society
In this seminar we explore the varied and evolving meanings of disability—as condition, lived experience, and analytical framework—and the contexts that shape these meanings. Dominant issues, including representation, education, employment, bioethics, institutions, community, and policies and rights, will serve as our touchstones for research, analysis, and learning. We will pay rigorous attention to the links between disability and other significant social categories, such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation and identification, and age. While the United States is highlighted in this class, transnational and global components will figure significantly as well. Course materials and assignments offer different disciplinary approaches and writing styles, fostering both individual and collective work. Films, on line exhibits, music, advertising, popular media, and the material world reflect the wide range of sources on which this course draws. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1362 - Sophocles and Athens      

Sophocles and Athens
What can we learn from Sophocles, the tragic playwright whose life spans the Athenian 5th century BCE? Why do his tragedies—composed against the background of Athens’ incredible achievements, its radical democracy, but also its ever more aggressive foreign policy—reflect so poignantly on the human condition? In this seminar we will trace Sophocles’ effort to probe the mysteries of the soul, both of the individual and of the community, and to confront the riddle of human existence. In addition to studying his seven surviving plays in their historical context, we will also consider their profound impact on later thought and art, including opera and film. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR LIT

Spring 2014

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FYSE 1370 - Fiction Northern New England      

Fictions of Northern New England
In this seminar we will read recent works of fiction set in northern New England. Our goals will be to develop critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking skills while becoming more familiar with the region where you are attending college. Our focus will be the cultural, social, and economic circumstances that shape character and setting. Readings will include Where the Rivers flow North, by Howard Frank Mosher; In the Fall, by Jeffrey Lent; The Cider House Rules, by John Irving; Olive Kitteredge, by Elizabeth Strout; Affliction, by Russell Banks; Empire Falls, by Richard Russo; The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT NOR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1371 - Virginia Woolf in Context      

Virginia Woolf in Context
In this seminar we will focus on the novels, essays, and short stories of Virginia Woolf, considering them in the light of her social, political, and artistic contexts and commitments. We will explore in particular the tension in her work between Victorian values and aesthetics and the progressive goals of the modernist movement. Our readings will take us from the early novels (Voyage Out, Night and Day) to the later experimental works (To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves). Some of the topics central to the seminar will be Woolf’s engagement with modernism and its key figures (such as James Joyce); her treatment of gender and sexuality in her essays and elsewhere; and her struggles with mental illness. We will intersperse our reading of Woolf’s prose with consideration of some film versions of her work, and we will conclude the seminar with a reading of Michael Cunningham’s 1998 creative homage to Mrs. Dalloway: The Hours. CW EUR LIT

Fall 2016, Spring 2018

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FYSE 1372 - The Personal & the Political      

The Quiet American’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting the Thing around your Neck: The Personal and the Political
If one of the ideas behind the famous 1960s statement “the personal is political” is to suggest that how we conduct ourselves in our private lives can affect structures of power in society at large, the reverse is also true. The political/social/cultural systems in which we live affect, if not determine, the kinds of relationships we have with other people. In this seminar we will explore some of these reciprocities in works of fiction and memoir by Milan Kundera, Chimamanda Adichie, Alexander Maksik, Philip Klay, and others, with occasional complementary readings in political theory and other types of analysis. Emphasis is on collaborative inquiry and various modes of response to the material. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1376 - Postwar Japan in Film and Lit.      

Postwar Japanese History in Film and Literature
In this seminar we will study the history of postwar Japan (1945 to the present), focusing on how literature and film have engaged the defining historical and political questions of this period. The seminar is organized around
specific themes, including: trauma and war memory, the Allied occupation, the cold war in East Asia, high economic growth in the 1960s, political protest, post-coloniality, and a resurgent nationalism. Students will learn postwar Japanese history while also considering the possibilities of persuing historical analysis through translated literature and narrative film. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1378 - American Environmentalisms      

American Environmentalisms After 1960
Environmentalism emerged as a political and cultural force in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. In this seminar we will study the historical development and transformation of contested “environmentalisms” after 1960 through primary documents including books, magazines, photographs, advertisements, and films. We will analyze portrayals of the environment in crisis, as well as criticisms of different strands of environmentalism for their challenges to ideas of economic growth and their struggles to address social inequalities, particularly those of class and race. Student work will include essays, oral presentations, and independent and group research projects. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1379 - Art and the Environment      

Art and the Environment
“The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work.” So did the artist Walter de Maria describe The Lightning Field (1980), a site-specific, environmental work of art built in an isolated part of western New Mexico. In this seminar we will discuss the different ways that recent artists have used, commented upon, and at times altered their surrounding environment. We will take an expansive view of the term "environmental" in our seminar as we explore natural, urban, media-based, and conceptual artistic environments. 3 hrs. sem. AMR ART CW

Spring 2015, Spring 2018

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FYSE 1382 - Wars Within: Civil Conflict      

The Wars Within: Causes and Consequences of Modern Civil Conflict
Why does civil war break out? How does a state return to a ‘civil peace’? What role does the international community play, if any? In this seminar we will explore the cycle of civil war and civil peace through the lens of social science. We will consider the utility (or futility) of state-building efforts and debate the proper role of the international community following an extensive assessment of the effects outsiders have had on civil wars. Prominent cases include such conflicts as Somalia, Syria and the break up of Yugoslavia. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1384 - Reading the Book of Job      

Reading the Book of Job
Why do the innocent suffer? Why do we want to believe that the world is “fair” and “ordered”? The Book of Job asked these questions millennia ago. Framed by a prose tale about the “patience of Job,” with a happy ending, the core of the book is a debate in poetry, between an impatient Job and his “friends”, with no satisfactory ending at all. We will study the book itself and its retellings and interpretations through novels, poetry, drama, philosophy and art, including works by Kafka, Camus, William Blake, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Kant, and Robert Frost. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1389 - Five Novellas      

Five Novellas
An in-between genre, the novella wanders like a novel but narrows in like a short story. In this class we will explore the form and meaning of five novellas by exceptional writers of modern and contemporary fiction. Texts include Toni Morrison’s Sula, Marguerite Duras’ The Lover, Tao Lin’s Shoplifting from American Apparel, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. Students will respond to the literature through informal writing, formal literary analysis, and the art of narrative criticism. We will discuss constructions of race, gender, dis/ability, class, and sexuality as well as investigate notions of home, family, and faith. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1392 - Sociology & Utopia      

Perfect? Utopias, Dystopias, and the Sociological Imaginary
Don’t mess with perfection: this is the promise, as well as the trap, of utopian visions. Utopian literature criticizes existing worlds, offering plans for a better society, with better people to stock it. Since one person’s utopia can be another’s dystopia, this “good society” can intensify tensions it promises to resolve. From Plato’s Republic to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, we will study utopias and dystopias as theories of society and expressions of sociological perspectives. We use sociology to explore the possibilities and limits of utopian thinking, then turn the tables and employ utopias to rethink the uses of sociology. 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW SOC

Spring 2018

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FYSE 1393 - Introduction to Mindfulness      

Introduction to Mindfulness
Basic sitting and walking meditation will be taught and practiced. We will use the breath to foster relaxed attention and to gain perspective on our restless minds. We will emphasize these techniques and learn how to use them in daily life and academic endeavors. We will read texts from the contemporary Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions, but the meditation will be employed in nonsectarian fashion applicable to any belief system. Truth should be verified by one’s experience. Students will write papers, give presentations, and keep journals. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW

Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1395 - Literature on Trial      

Literature on Trial: Banned Books, Dangerous Books, Dirty Books
Some of the best-known works of literature—from Animal Farm to Madame Bovary to The Satanic Verses—have been banned, removed from library shelves, forbidden in schools, or otherwise condemned at the state or national level. The reasons for such censorship vary as widely as the troublesome texts themselves: works are outlawed for obscenity, religious blasphemy, political dissent, or other conflicts with the reigning socio-political system. In this course we will read a range of works banned by various countries; in addition, we will read reports of the legal and political debate which accompanied the censorship of these works. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1396 - Digital Media Literacy      

Digital Media Literacy
From Wikipedia to texting, Facebook to PowerPoint, digital media have dramatically changed how we read, write, and communicate in the 21st century. In this course, we will explore what it means to be “literate” today, considering how we read, research, write, create, and present ideas and information, and how these changes impact our society. We will focus on educational practices, with outreach into local schools to explore how we should teach literacy for the next generation, and prepare students for a 21st century liberal arts education. 3 hrs. sem/lab CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1398 - Speechmakers Studio      

Speechmakers' Studio
Our teachers will be great speeches wherever we find them: from Antiquity and the Elizabethan stage, to Hollywood, the Civil Rights Movement, and TEDTalks gone viral. We will explore various theories of oratory, and, like students of classical rhetoric, we will emulate masterworks in order to sharpen our own persuasive skills. As speakers, we will practice vocal and physical techniques used by actors, as well as their methods for scene preparation. Throughout the semester, students will write and deliver speeches of their own, completing an immersion into speechmaking designed to help them communicate with precision, empathy, and personal conviction. 3hr. sem./disc. ART CW

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1399 - The Ramayana      

The Ramayana/: A Tale of Love, Valor, and Duty*
The Ramayana (‘Journey of Rama”) is an ancient, yet still powerfully relevant, Hindu epic that narrates the story of Prince Rama, a divinely human avatar (descent) of the cosmic deity Vishnu. Rama’s ultimate destiny is to triumph over evil, but his victory is fraught with moral dilemmas about fate, loyalty, duty, gender relationships, the definition of an ideal man and ideal woman, and the conflict between good and evil. Close readings, analysis, and discussions of the epic will be augmented with imagery drawn from different media, both historical and contemporary. Connections will be made to contemporary politics and social issues. 3 hrs. sem. AAL ART CW

Fall 2013, Spring 2014

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FYSE 1400 - The Vermont Landscape      

The Vermont Landscape
The Vermont landscape has changed dramatically over the last 10,000 years. In this course we will systemically examine how geological, biological, and human forces have affected Vermont. In particular, we will explore the role of Native cultures on the landscape; ecological revolutions set off by the arrival of Europeans and the industrial revolution; the growing population of Vermont; and the effects of farming, logging, international trade, transportation systems, and energy development on the landscape. We will conclude by focusing on current themes, such as the rise of the local food movement and climate change. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1401 - Bad Kids      

Bad Kids
Young people are a regular source of panic for adults. Families, schools, medicine, and psychology communicate what it means to be a "normal" young person; reformatories, courts, prisons, and other institutions convey the consequences for rule breaking. The social control of young people depends on the categories created to differentiate them from adults. In this course we will: examine the labels of child, juvenile delinquent, at-risk youth, hyper-criminal, adolescent, teenager, and emerging adult to understand the ideas of normalcy embedded in these socially constructed categories; consider how class, race, and gender intersect with the mechanisms of control exerted over young people who deviate from the norm; and explore social movements and youth cultures that attempt to resist adult pressures to be good boys and docile girls and redefine the experiences of young people. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1402 - The Social Life of Wilderness      

The Social Life of Wilderness
In this seminar we will examine evolving American ideas of “wilderness” from a social science perspective. We will explore how ideas of what wilderness is—or should be—play out in complex cases including the removal of Native Americans from some U.S. National Parks and the establishment of wilderness parks in poor countries that cater to tourists. Through a focus on the nearby Adirondack Park, which contains both land designated in the New York state constitution as “forever wild” and the homes of 130,000 people, we will explore historian William Cronon’s question: “How do you manage a wilderness full of human stories?” 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1403 - Open Class Learning Hisp World      

Open Classrooms: Learning in the Hispanic World
What do children and teenagers need to learn—both inside and outside of the classroom—in order to become adults in Hispanic societies? How does the experience of learning in modern Spain and Latin America compare to our experience here, at Middlebury College? With these questions in mind, we will examine conflicting portrayals of young learners in Spanish-speaking contexts through literature and film. Two extreme definitions of learning will be explored and, if necessary, challenged: learning can be understood as fostering the growth of independent individuals, but also as a disciplinary process that stifles freedom and reproduces inequality. Our reflection will focus on issues of personal identity, affectivity, family relationships, class, gender, politics, and nationhood. This seminar is appropriate for native speakers of Spanish, bilingual students, and students who have scored 720 or above on the Spanish SAT II, or 5 on the Spanish AP. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LNG

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1404 - Language and Identity      

Language and Identity
In this seminar we will explore the multiple ways in which language is used in society to express, create, and perform identities. We will analyze—from a sociolinguistic perspective—how variation in speakers’ linguistic resources (pronunciation, syntax, word choice, language choice, etc.) can serve as tools to shape, stereotype, or subvert national, regional, ethnic, racial, gender, and other types of identities. We will draw examples from linguistic research, literature, film, television (particularly “reality” TV), political discourse, popular songs, internet memes, and other media in the United States context as well as in other societies. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1405 - Language and Social Justice      

Language and Social Justice
In this seminar we will explore questions: What is the relationship between language and power? How does linguistic prejudice contribute to social inequality? Is language a human right, and if so, what are the implications? We will engage with scholarly, journalistic, and artistic works, including writings by Julia Alvarez, James Baldwin, Deborah Cameron, Lisa Delpit, William Labov, Rosina Lippi-Green, Thomas Ricento, Richard Rodriguez, Amy Tan, and many others. Students will develop a range of reading, writing, and oral presentation skills, and will receive frequent feedback on their work throughout the semester. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1406 - Food Battles      

Food Battles: A Critical Look at Food in Our Lives
The development of high yield agricultural practices have allowed people to migrate en masse to cities with the opportunity for different lifestyles. It also meant the birth of “big business food” and some highly unethical practices. In response, the government established the FDA; but does it truly help the health of the nation? In this course we will examine commercial food from field to table, giving special attention to controversies such as genetically modified food, use of pesticides, food additives (including sugar and salt), and animal welfare issues. We will discuss the FDA’s role in safeguarding the public and whether the food industry is anything more than a profit-making business. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Spring 2014

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FYSE 1407 - Gender & the Making of Space      

Gender and the Making of Space
In this seminar we will investigate the complex relationship between gender and architecture, examining how the design of the built environment (buildings, urban spaces, etc.) can reinforce or undermine ideas about the respective roles of women and men in society, from the creation of masculine and feminine spaces to the gendered nature of the architectural profession. By looking at both visual evidence and textual sources, we will also uncover how the social construction of gender roles and gendered spaces are—and continue to be—inflected by race, class, and sexuality. CW HIS NOR

Spring 2014, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1408 - Environmntl Literature/Justice      

Environmental Literature and Justice
In this seminar we will embark on an exploration of environmental issues in American literary narratives. We will look at the environmental movement in the U.S. and read, analyze, discuss, and write about texts such as: Carson’s landmark work of 20th century environmental consciousness-raising, Silent Spring; Steinbeck’s novel about Dust Bowl migrants, The Grapes of Wrath; Silko’s protest against uranium mining and nuclear testing on indigenous lands in Ceremony; and Callenbach’s vision of an ecologically sustainable world in Ecotopia. By considering these and several other texts, we will also investigate environmental issues through the lens of the environmental justice movement and take a closer look at today’s environmental inequalities, encompassing race, class, and gender. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1409 - Circus Maximus      

Circus Maximus!
In this seminar we will examine entertainment in ancient Rome, specifically the city's festivals, circuses, and games, including theatrical performances, burlesque, acrobatics, athletics, chariot races, wild-beast fights, and gladiatorial contests. We will explore the infrastructure of entertainment, both the 'infamous performers' associated with sport and spectacle—namely, prostitutes, gladiators, and actors—as well as Rome's most famous venues: the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. Lastly, we will investigate the emergence of parallel forms of entertainment in the modern world, most notably the American circus in the 19th and 20th centuries, and more recent circuses, such as Bread & Puppet and Cirque du Soleil. CW EUR SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1410 - Nomadic Cultures in Film      

Nomadic Cultures in Film
In this seminar we will study how filmmakers have channeled sedentary cultures’ apprehension of—as well as fascination with—nomadism. We will explore a selection of films that focus on a variety of nomadic cultures: nomadic empires (Mongol); traditionally itinerant cultures such as the Roma (Golden Earrings) and Native Americans (Dances with Wolves); contemporary global nomads (Eat, Pray, Love); and science fiction nomads (The Road). What makes a nomadic lifestyle both attractive and menacing? What role does the ethnic and social background of nomads play in the way they are perceived by non-nomads? How have concepts such as cultural identity, home, and belonging shifted with the development of new global communications? 3 hrs. sem./screening ART CMP CW

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1411 - Social Class & Environment      

Social Class and the Environment
In this seminar we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC

Fall 2013

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FYSE 1413 - Lyme Disease      

Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is fascinating from medical, public health, and ecological perspectives. In this seminar we will explore the disease in an interdisciplinary fashion. We will look at the history of—and controversy around—its diagnosis, treatment, and control. Because Lyme has a tick vector and animal reservoirs, we will consider how the local environment affects it. Connections to other zoonotic diseases (SARS, West Nile, EEE) will be made. Readings will come from Bull's Eye: Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease by Eldow, Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System by Ostfeld, and primary sources. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1414 - Computing and Society      

Computing and Society
Computing has contributed to tremendous advances in communication, science, medicine, economics, the arts, and many other fields and areas of our lives. We now employ myriad computational tools that enhance our ability to interact and to express ourselves creatively. Our access to vast amounts of information and raw data holds the promise of helping us solve some of humankind’s most vexing problems, from global health and poverty to climate change. In this seminar we will study some of the big ideas in computing that underlie the ongoing explosion of innovation we are experiencing, and will analyze the many ways in which computing affects society. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1415 - Narratives of Identity      

Narratives of Identity
"Who are we,” writes Scott Turow, "but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?” In this seminar we will examine different narrative strategies and literary devices that writers use to construct identity. What are the time-honored conventions and bold innovations used in stories, novels, and memoirs to fashion selves? Can Damon Galgut's daring experiments in his autobiographical novel In a Strange Room create an identity with the power and conviction of that found in The Autobiography of Malcolm X? What insights are to be found in Toi Derricotte’s exploration of racial identity in The Black Notebooks? Always, we will consider ethnicity, class, gender, place, and politics as they shape identity in the stories we hear, tell, and believe. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1416 - Talking the Talk      

Talking the Talk
In this seminar we will discuss literary works that show particular interest in dialogue or that explore difficulties of communication among characters of different cultural, educational, and linguistic backgrounds, and among figures who vie for dominance within conversational and related arenas. We will consider writers’ uses of regional dialects, cant, and slang, and gender (and other) differences in spoken language. Readings will include novels by James, Conrad, Lawrence, Forster; stories by O’Connor; and a play by Pinter. Writing will emphasize the development of a critical stance, precise thinking and use of language, and effective implementation of evidence in supporting an argument. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1417 - Espionage in Film and Fiction      

True Lies: Espionage in Film and Fiction
We will study the depiction of fictional spies in literature (Ian Fleming’s Bond novels), film (The Bourne Identity), television shows (Alias, Homeland), and parodies (Burn After Reading) in an attempt to address the following questions: Why have narratives about spies and spying been so commercially successful since the mid-19th century? How has the genre changed to reflect the development of new technologies and major historical events (WWII, the Cold War, and the War on Terror)? How do ideas of gender and nationalism affect the depiction of the extraction of information in controversial ways, e.g., bribery, seduction, torture, and hacking? 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1418 - Global Youth      

Global Youth
In this seminar we will explore global manifestations of youth culture and politics. We will map connections across time and place, exploring how young people around the world respond to global economic change, unemployment, lack of opportunity, and barriers to education and mobility. We will use key concepts from Human Geography, such as scale, space, place, region, and globalization to explore both everyday experiences and momentous mobilizations of young people. We will work to understand geographies of difference and of interconnection, linking the uses of social media, organizing, and cultural production around the world with those of students at Middlebury. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1419 - Civil War & Civil Rights      

Civil War & Civil Rights
War is a time of national emergency, where the rules governing everyday life often get suspended to meet a more pressing need. What rights of citizens remain protected in these circumstances, and what gets sacrificed? Using scholarly works and historical documents from the American Civil War, we will explore the challenging issues that government leaders faced, including the suspension of habeus corpus, confiscation of private property, profiling of certain social groups, censorship of the mails and the press, and conscription of civilians for service in the military. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1420 - Impressionism      

The Impressionists: Painters of Modern Life
Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cassatt: these familiar names evoke works of art beloved by museum-goers around the world. However, in their own times, these artists were considered radical creators of shocking canvases that threatened the French art establishment. In this seminar we will examine how and why Impressionism emerged as the first important style of modern art by following its evolution from a style that was reviled by the critics to its eventual acceptance. To provide a framework, we will examine works by important writers including Baudelaire and Zola, as well as the political and social situation in France. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW EUR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1421 - Art of Storytelling      

The Art of Storytelling
Epic Asian tales such as India’s Bhagavad-Gita, Iran’s Shahnameh, and China’s Xiyouji have inspired artists for centuries and continue to capture the imaginations of comic book artists today. In this seminar we will delve into the Asian classics and their many painted, sculpted, and printed interpretations in order to understand why artists depicted these compelling narratives in such drastically different ways. In short papers, we will explore themes including racial identity, gender roles, and social hierarchies. For the final project students will create their own one-shot comic based on an Asian short story or folktale. 3 hrs. sem. AAL ART CW

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1423 - The Story of Geometry      

The Story of Geometry
The field of geometry is thousands of years old and over time has undergone a number of revolutionary changes. In this seminar we will study geometry through a historical lens. Beginning with the axiomatic geometry of Euclid, we will trace the development of the subject, learning how the realization in the mid-19th century that one of Euclid’s axioms could be dropped led to the exciting discovery of hyperbolic and spherical geometries. We will learn how these geometries relate to the modern notions of manifolds and curvature, concluding with a discussion of Perelman’s breakthrough proof of the century-old Poincaré Conjecture. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1424 - Science & Democracy      

Science and Democracy
The scientific method has been heralded as inherently democratic, based as it is on observation rather than authority. Yet the relationship between science and democracy is much more complex, with scientists carrying authority based on their specialized knowledge. In this seminar we will explore the challenges of integrating science and democracy, investigating how science can be used to serve democratic goals and where there are tensions. We will consider such questions as whether or not the commercialization of science makes it difficult to serve the needs of a diverse society well, whether or not it is important to have diverse representation within scientific communities in order to produce objective knowledge, and what the appropriate role of scientific experts might be in developing sound public policy on topics such as climate change, health policy, medical research, and food safety. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1425 - Physics of Musical Sounds      

The Physics of Musical Sounds
In this seminar we will study the physical phenomena associated with the creation and transmission of sounds, especially those related to conventional musical instruments (both acoustic and electric, including the human voice). The categorization of sounds according to their harmonic content will be discussed, and we will also consider electronic means of production, transmission, and processing of sound. (This course assumes familiarity with high-school trigonometry) 3 hrs sem./lab CW DED SCI

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1426 - Globalization      

Globalization: So Far, So Good
In the past two decades, we have seen a number of protests against globalization. The most notable of these occurred in 1999 in Seattle, but protests continue to the present day with demonstrations held at, for example, the World Economic Forum in Davos. In this seminar we will explore the history of globalization and study its military, environmental, economic, sociocultural, and demographic dimensions. We will see, among other things, that people talk about different things when they discuss globalization, and that they may be in favor of some aspects and violently disagree with others. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1427 - American Political Tradition      

The American Political Tradition
In this seminar we will study the theoretical ideas that informed the creation and development of America’s political system and consider some of the major contemporary challenges to American democracy. Topics to be treated include the political thought of the American Founders, the place of religion in public life, the nature of written constitutions, American political culture, race in American politics, and the role of America in the world. Readings will include selections from the Federalist Papers, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, John Dewey, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and many other primary source documents. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1428 - The Other in Latin America      

In Search Of the Other in Latin America
Who is the Other? What does the Other reveal about me? How does it shape my beliefs and attitudes? In this seminar we will develop a theoretical, analytical, and practical approach to the concept of the Other, conceived as both an exterior entity and a component of the self. We will examine critical texts by modern thinkers such as Octavio Paz, Todorov, and Levinas. We will also discuss fictional and non-fictional narratives primarily focused on the encounter of civilization and barbarism in Latin America. Students will be required to conduct field research on the topic of Otherness, either on campus or in the local community, and write about their experiences dealing with the Other. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1429 - Matthew: Then and Now      

Interpretations of Matthew: Then and Now
The Gospel according to Matthew was the most quoted gospel in early Christianity, and it remains a favorite today. What is so special about the teachings and stories of Jesus in this text, compared with the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John? This seminar explores how people have read and understood Matthew over time. We will study the book itself and its interpretations in the writings of Augustine, Luther, Teresa of Avila, and Tolstoy, as well as in music and film. We will also examine the text’s changing physical forms and varying translations, especially in Bibles of the European Reformation. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1430 - Cinematic Sociology      

Cinematic Sociology
In this seminar we will develop our sociological imagination by viewing, discussing, and analyzing popular films. Rather than considering them simply as "entertainment," we will explore the various ways that popular films can be a vehicle for social commentary, analysis, and criticism, particularly about controversial topics such as race, gender, and sexuality. Films to be screened will include The Help, 27 Dresses, and The Little Mermaid, among others. 3 hrs. sem. SOC (C. Han) CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1431 - Food, Identity, and Power      

Food, Identity, and Power
Food sustains not only bodies but also national, ethnic, and social identities. Notions of order and transgression, nature and culture, have long affected how and what people eat. Using interdisciplinary approaches, we will examine the practices and politics of food and eating in a range of regions. How does eating, this most basic and universal of human practices, both reflect and create difference? How are symbolic and “real” food systems linked to national and international politics? Finally, how are contemporary food practices influenced by modernization and globalization? 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2014

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FYSE 1432 - Sexuality and Power on Stage      

Sexuality and Power on Stage: Female Trouble, Closet Homos, and Shameless Queers
What do Sophie Treadwell's Machinal, Martin Sherman's Bent, and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America teach us about the history of sexual marginalization? In this seminar we will study a selection of US American plays in which gender, desire, and sexuality constitute a problem for society and the state. Students will learn how to analyze dramatic texts from the director’s and the actor’s perspectives with a focus on action, structure, characterization, and space in addition to genre and larger themes. Cinematic renderings of the plays and in-class staging exercises will help us engage the embodied dimension of performance 3 hrs. sem. AMR ART CW

Fall 2014, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1433 - Biology of Attraction      

Biology of Attraction
Why is one person attracted to another? We will explore both the evolutionary origins of mate choice and the physiological mechanisms that underlie attraction. The process of sexual selection, first proposed by Charles Darwin, shaped the mating decisions and courtship displays in all animal species, and we will consider how the same process shaped human preferences and potentially human intelligence more broadly. Based on recent research with rodents, we will also consider how neural connections and hormone levels influence feelings of love and lust. The Mating Mind and The Chemistry Between Us will be our primary texts, supplemented by journal articles. 3 hrs sem. CW SCI

Spring 2015

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FYSE 1434 - Humans Geological Environment      

Humans and Their Geological Environment: Ancient to Modern
The health and welfare of human populations is intimately connected to the natural environment, ranging from catastrophic phenomena such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods to less-catastrophic yet equally important factors such as soil, water, and climate. In some cases, events that occurred thousands of years ago are recorded in written accounts of oral histories such as volcanism in ancestral Klamath Indian lands and Noah’s Flood. In other cases, geological and archeological studies are required to understand past human-geological connections, and current research into modern problems (e.g., arsenic in groundwater and climate change) may inform public policy. Readings include popular and scientific literature and oral histories. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Spring 2015

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FYSE 1435 - Awe, Happiness, Positive Psych      

Awe, Happiness, and Positive Psychology
When have you felt awe? What makes people happy? Are there clear, predictable explanations for why some people are happy and resilient in life while others are not? How might experiencing awe or being particularly happy relate performance at work or in school or more broadly to general subjective well-being and physical health? In this seminar we will explore what makes us happy and why it matters—not only to us as individuals but also to society. We will read empirical research articles, popular books, and blogs to learn how researchers measure awe, happiness, and wellbeing. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Spring 2015

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FYSE 1436 - Mystics, Saints, and Shamans      

Mystics, Saints, and Shamans
What is the nature of a mystical experience? Are “mysticism” or “sainthood” phenomena with a universal core found equally across cultures? What is the role of cultural and social contexts in the formation of such experiences and phenomena? How exactly do we define who is a saint or a shaman? This course will be a comparative study of extraordinary experiences and manipulations of reality claimed by charismatic religious figures across time and space. We will discuss a wide variety of examples from traditionally renowned saints of the medieval Islamic world to contemporary New Age leaders in America. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW PHL

Spring 2015, Fall 2015

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FYSE 1437 - Language, Culture, Individual      

Language, Culture, and the Individual
How does language shape our experience of the world? What does pronunciation reveal about cultural identity? What can we learn about language from the way small children speak? How do communicative strategies vary across languages? Why do languages change over time? Through the lens of linguistics, we will explore the structure and usage of language in daily life. We will discuss speech and text samples from conversations, novels, advertisements, anime, children’s shows, and more. Languages discussed will include English and Japanese, but no background in any foreign language is necessary, as translations and transliterations will be provided. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1438 - Vermeer      

Vermeer: Forgeries, Fictions & Films
Since his rediscovery in the 19th century, Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer has received sustained and enthusiastic praise for his refined paintings of everyday life in 17th-century Holland. In this course we will examine how Vermeer’s art and life have been evaluated from the 17th to the 21st century. We will not only contextualize Vermeer in his own time and place, but we will also consider how his work has elicited a range of responses in modern times, including forgeries, novels, and films. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW EUR

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1439 - Language and Ethnic Identity      

Language and Ethnic Identity
Language is a central feature of human identity. In this seminar we will explore the multiple ways in which language is used in society to express, create, and perform these identities. We will analyze—from a sociolinguistic perspective—how variation in speakers’ linguistic resources (e.g., pronunciation, syntax, word choice, language choice) can serve as tools to shape, stereotype, or subvert national, regional, and other types of ethnic identities. We will draw examples from linguistic research, literature, film, television, political discourse, popular songs, the internet, and other media in the United States as well as in other societies. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1440 - Mahatma Gandhi: Myth & Reality      

Mahatma Gandhi: Myth and Reality
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), known as the Mahatma or Great Soul, was both revered and despised. Lauded as the ‘Father’ of independent India, he was nevertheless blamed for its partition. Seen as the champion of Untouchables, he was distrusted by those he called the children of god. Characterizing himself as a Hindu reformer and an Indian nationalist, he was ultimately assassinated by a Hindu nationalist. Who was Gandhi and why was he opposed? In this seminar we will read primary and secondary sources to examine Gandhi’s ideas and actions, paying particular attention to the contradictions in his life. 3 hrs. sem. ) AAL CW HIS

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1441 - The good Body      

The “good” Body
In this seminar we will examine the roles bodies play in defining our public and private identities. What indications of beliefs, access, and cultural values do our bodies provide? What counts as a “good” body? Who has one (or doesn’t), and why? The many different answers to these and related questions impact every body in our Middlebury community and beyond. Topics will include aesthetic and ideological issues relating to the body; course work includes physically based workshops, oral presentations, written analyses and creative responses. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1442 - Fifty Shades of Italy      

Fifty Shades of Italy: an Exploration of Contemporary Italian History, Culture and Society
Italy is the land of a seductive culture that for centuries has inspired undeniable romanticism and continues to capture the imagination of many. But there is more to Italy than beautiful landscapes and world famous cuisine. From the darkness of fascism and terrorism, to the sophisticated colors of Italian fashion and design, to the dramatic tones of illegal immigration, we will explore, discover, or critically revisit the many shades that together compose the complexity of the Italian mosaic. Our interdisciplinary approach will include short stories, essays, newspaper articles, films, music, and images. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR HIS

Fall 2015, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1443 - Plagues, Past and Present      

Plagues, Past and Present
In this seminar we will consider how infectious diseases emerge, why they persist, how they can be eradicated, and why some diseases believed to be “under control” have returned. We will study pathogens and human biology with particular attention to how biological, behavioral, and social factors converge to support endemic and epidemic disease in people. Readings will include books, articles written for the layperson, and primary scientific literature that examine epidemic disease from the Middle Ages to the present, with predictions for the future. We will pay particular attention to the evolution of pathogens and new diseases within populations. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2015, Spring 2017

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FYSE 1444 - Writing Immigrant Lives      

Writing Immigrant Lives
In this seminar we will study, analyze, and write immigrant stories and histories from Latin America and the colonial and post-colonial Caribbean. How do we write the history of a family member, living or deceased? How is history different from biography? We will analyze diverse written, oral, and visual texts about transnational experiences including works by Julia Alvarez, Derek Walcott, Tânia Cypriano, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, and others. Ultimately, with the aid of primary sources, oral history, genealogy, law enforcement records, as well as other, less conventional resources, we will reconstruct and write the transnational lives of immigrants in our families and communities. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1445 - Theatrical Literature      

The Theatrical Literature of Social Change
In this seminar we will begin with the question: how can art, specifically theatrical art, impact the world around us? We will explore a variety of contemporary works for the theatre that examine the possibilities of change (political, cultural, environmental). The seminar will also contain experiential components—students will be required to devise and perform various scenarios designed to impact a specifically targeted issue, and lead a discussion subsequent to each presentation. Authors to be read include American writers Anna Deveare Smith, Eve Ensler, and the Tectonic Project and British writers Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Robin Soans, Lucy Kirkwood, and others. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1446 - Acoustic Ecology      

Acoustic Ecology
Acoustic ecology is the study of sounds in relationship to life and society. An interdisciplinary field, it explores the social, cultural, scientific, and ecological aspects of the sonic environment. In this seminar we will gain auditory literacy by experiencing the world through sound (e.g., noise, speech, music). Topics will include the impact of noise on society; the urban experience through sound (especially Berlin and New York); aural architecture; production and reception of speech; representations of sound in literature and the visual arts; and even emotional responses to certain songs. Sources include texts by neuroscientists, literary scholars, linguists, anthropologists, musicologists, and others; music, and films. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1447 - Capturing Nature      

Mastodons, Mermaids, and Dioramas: Capturing Nature in the Americas
Why did 18th-century museums stuff and mount exotic and domestic animals? Why does the American Museum of Natural History still house dioramas of so-called "native peoples" hunting? How has the study and staging of nature transferred into various kinds of artistic expression? In this seminar we will examine the intertwining of art, science, and ecology in the United States from the 1700s to the present day. Objects of study will include museum dioramas, scientific models, artifacts, and artworks collected during scientific expeditions, as well as the work of Walton Ford and Christy Rupp, contemporary artists whose works engage ecological issues. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW NOR

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1448 - Music, Race, and Place      

Music, Race, and Place
In this seminar we will consider how the rise of urban African America shaped and was shaped by the evolution of contemporary black music. We will examine blues, soul, and early hip hop music in their historical and spatial contexts, beginning with the Great Migration, progressing through the heyday of centers of black life like New York’s Harlem and Chicago’s Bronzeville, and ending with the development and decline of high-rise housing projects. Driven by the recurrent questions of “why here?” and “why now?” we will work to understand what the growth of these various musical forms meant to urban African America. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1449 - Computer Music for Poets      

Electronic Music for Poets and Dreamers
In this seminar students will experience a hands-on introduction to electronic music, designed for those with little or no experience in the medium. No musical or technical background is required. Rather than presenting electronic music as a technological matter, this course will allow students to use creative projects to explore and express their own passions about their lives and the world around them. Written and spoken projects will explore the history of the medium and artists who have created significant work. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1450 - Psychology/Emerging Technology      

Psychology and Emerging Technology
Technology and new media, such as smart phones and social media, are changing how we think, relate, connect, and learn. We will read cultural accounts of the recent changes in our society as well as examine what recent psychological literature tells us about the pros and cons of our wired world. We will review related research on such topics as attention, relationships, video games, the psychological effects of social media, brain and mind, learning and education, and relationships. The seminar will involve critical analysis and understanding of research in a new field, examined in the contexts of our own lives and experiences. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1451 - Power and Petroleum      

Power and Petroleum in Asia, 1890-Present
From Standard Oil’s marketing of kerosene in 1890s China to 21st century conflicts over undersea reserves in the western Pacific, oil has played a key role in Asia’s modern development. In this seminar we will examine the expansion of European, American, and Japanese petroleum companies in East and Southeast Asia, the role of oil in the Pacific War, and China’s present-day efforts to fuel its growing economy. By analyzing novels, films, advertisements, and historical scholarship, we will learn about modern changes to local patterns of resource extraction as well as the emergence of new understandings of nature, illumination, and production. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1452 - 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire      

Urban Disaster: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire
On April 18, 1906, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked San Francisco. Although the trembling lasted only about 60 seconds, its aftershocks – including a devastating fire that leveled much of the city – were felt for significantly longer. Using scholarly readings as well as a mix of primary sources such as photographs, maps, letters, and memoirs, students in this seminar will examine the 1906 earthquake and fire from an historical perspective. We will use this episode of urban disaster and reconstruction as a lens to understand the built and natural environment, Progressive politics, and race relations in America at the beginning of the 20th century. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1453 - Karma      

Karma
Why do things happen to us as they do? For many throughout Asia, the answer is or has been karma, the ancient Indian notion that over multiple lifetimes individuals reap the effects of past actions. We will examine this powerful idea of moral causality in depth, considering strikingly varied versions in classical Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, and the wealth of practices believed to improve future lives (and ultimately lead to liberation). We will also investigate the diverse and surprising consequences of karma in some Asian societies—including the justification of social hierarchy, the mistreatment of some groups, and the emergence of vegetarianism—as well as the role of karma in literature and film, especially in East Asia. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW PHL

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1455 - Teachers and Students      

Teachers and Students, Ancient to Modern
Hillel used to say, “The shy one cannot learn, and the impatient one cannot teach.” Confucius said: “If I lift up one corner and the student can't come back with the other three, I won't do it again." Cultures ancient and modern have reflected on the responsibilities of teachers and students, grappling with what constitutes an effective teacher or a successful student. What are the virtues—and perils—of discipleship? Of charisma? Should a teacher be gentle or forceful? Strict or lenient? Are teachers creators or conduits of tradition? In this seminar we will explore these questions in a range of historical periods and places, using film, literature, religious, and philosophical texts. Texts will include the Bible, Analects, and writings by Plato, Rousseau, and Helen Keller; films will include Dead Poet’s Society. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1456 - Reading Jared Diamond      

Reading Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond is a best-selling author on topics of world prehistory and environmental conservation. In this seminar we will read and discuss Diamond’s work alongside that of his critics. By taking parallel case studies from New Guinea, Mesoamerica, and Greenland (for example), students will learn critical thinking and analysis skills while also undertaking a survey of world cultures. The core questions facing the class are “why has the world turned out this way, and not some other?” and “what are the causes and consequences of environmental degradation?” 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1457 - Sherlock Holmes Across Media      

Sherlock Holmes Across Media
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first created Sherlock Holmes in 1886. Since then, the consulting detective has continued to solve mysteries in literature, radio, film, television, and digital media. Indeed, Sherlock Holmes inspired what many think of as the earliest media fandom. Why has Sherlock Holmes continued to be such a fascinating figure for almost a century and a half? How have Holmes and his sidekick Watson (or Sherlock and John) transformed in their different iterations across media, culture, and history? And what does it mean for contemporary television series Elementary and Sherlock to reimagine Sherlock Holmes for the digital age? 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1458 - Pyramid Schemes & Crashes      

Pyramid Schemes, Bubbles, and Crashes
In this seminar we will study the anthropology of exchange, then use it to analyze ethnographies of financial speculators, labor migrants, microcredit borrowers, and other agents and victims of global capitalism. We will focus on conflicting obligations to kin and to creditors, on how people in different cultures and social classes juggle these obligations, and how the growth of financial debt can turn social relationships into commodities. Studying debt and how it is leveraged in different societies and historical eras will show why capitalism is so vulnerable to speculative booms, swindles, and collapses. 3 hrs. sem. ) CMP CW SOC

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1459 - Money/Morals & Global Politics      

Money, Morals, and Madmen in Global Politics
Non-state actors bring resources (money), new norms (morals), and revisionist aims (madmen) to global governance. In this seminar we will look at how private actors, including corporations, non-governmental organizations, and terrorist groups, have shaped development and conflict around the world. Throughout, we will reflect on how these groups represent societal interests and work to improve or undermine state sovereignty and global governance. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1460 - How Ideas Change the World      

How Ideas Change the World
How can citizens put their ideas into action and achieve social change? For example, how did citizens in the United States prompt politicians to pass a health care law, or protestors in Tunisia force a transition to democracy? In this seminar we will study why policymakers respond to new policy ideas from citizens, intellectuals, and social movements. To answer these questions, we will examine case studies from around the world—including Iran, China, and the United States—involving questions of environmental policy, enfranchisement, and social welfare. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1461 - Fellini and the Art of Cinema      

Film Form, Film Meaning: Fellini and the Art of Cinema
In this seminar we will discover the hidden art of cinematic form. How do movies construct meaning? Why are they often so emotionally engaging? How is cinema related to the other arts (literature, painting, photography, music)? In the first half of the seminar we will analyze six films by Federico Fellini—one of Europe’s most famous auteur directors (La strada, La dolce vita, 8 1/2, among others). In the second half of the seminar, students will analyze films of their choosing (any film by any European director). Armed with the critical skills gained through analyzing Fellini, groups of students will then screen their films to the entire class, complete a major classroom presentation, and engage in original research. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW EUR

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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FYSE 1462 - Animal Encounters in Lit.      

Animal Encounters in Literature
Animals have haunted literary texts ever since Aesop’s fables. What different roles do they play? In this seminar we will explore the complexity of representing animals in literature by studying novels and short stories that imagine wildlife, revisit the myth of animal metamporphosis, or use animals as symbols for other purposes. We will discuss what specific social, political, and linguistic issues these literary texts address and in some cases, how they complicate our understanding of the human/animal divide. Texts include: Balzac, Passion in the Desert, Kafka, The Metamorphosis, and Darrieussecq’s dystopian novel Pig Tales. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1463 - Scholars Communicate Meaning      

How Scholars Communicate Meaning
Students will explore the texture of the text, learn to identify an issue, research, then organize their findings in oral and written presentations of that work using 21st century means and technologies. Drawing from a palette of creative works such as Pale Fire, S./, /Mission Impossible III, Star Trek IV, Sandrine’s Case, The Woman in White, and TED talks, you will find patterns and meaning in a random, hyperlinked world of associations and interconnections, and then organize and articulate them to an audience. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1464 - Intro Postcolonial Literatures      

The Empire Writes Back: Politics and Literature from Postcolonial Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia
A hundred years ago, Britain ruled about a quarter of the world’s population, and the British Empire covered approximately a quarter of the earth’s land surface. Though most of the colonies have won formal independence, the effects of global imperialism continue to be felt, and arguably Empire has taken on other forms. In this seminar we will discuss fiction, poetry, and drama by postcolonial writers such as J. M. Coetzee, Derek Walcott, Daljit Nagra, Wole Soyinka, Mahashweta Devi, Jean Rhys, Arundhati Roy, Edward Said, and Frantz Fanon, addressing questions about the nature and effects of colonization, anti-colonial resistance, representation, agency, and power. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT

Fall 2015, Fall 2017

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FYSE 1465 - Feasts/Festivals/Ancient World      

Feasts and Festivals of the Ancient World
In this seminar we will examine Greek and Roman feasts and religious festivals through an exploration of mythology, ritual, and sacrifice. While ancient myths revealed tensions between the human world and the natural and divine orders, festivals commemorating the myths offered opportunities to enact and resolve these tensions ritually. As feasts figured prominently in festivals, we will also seek to understand how food and drink, and the contexts in which they were consumed, served as markers of ethnicity, social class, and gender. Lastly, we will investigate the meaning of prohibitions against certain foods, including beans, raw flesh, and human meat. 3 hrs. sem. CW EUR SOC

Fall 2015

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FYSE 1470 - Marxism      

Marxism: Concepts, Texts, Contexts
In this seminar we will study Marxism as a theoretical, cultural, and historical phenomenon. Whether or not one agrees with Marxist approaches to exploitation and inequity, they represent a philosophical and political tradition that has profoundly shaped ideas about society, politics, economics, religion, and art. We will examine Karl Marx’s life and times, analyze some of his writings, and also consider later Marxist theories in the cultural and political environments in which they evolved—including Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, Latin America, and the U.S. Finally, we will test the relevance of the Marxist tradition to current geopolitical realities. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1471 - Light: Metaphors & Models      

Metaphors, Models, and Measurement of Light
We perceive, imagine, explain, produce, use, measure, absorb, and even slow down light. It is pervasive in our human experience and our scientific understanding of the universe. Represented in all kinds of ways, from discrete measurements to evocative metaphors, light appears in literature, in science, and in our daily lives, and we will use each of these contexts as a lens for critical thinking. We will employ methods from the humanities and from the sciences to explore concepts of light in fiction, poetry, essays, and scientific writing, and we will incorporate our own observations and experimental activities into our consideration of this material. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1472 - Fate, Filial Piety, & Passion      

Fate, Filial Piety, and Passion in Chinese Civilization
In this seminar we will study the history of the ideas of ming (fate), xiao (filial piety), and qing (passion) in Chinese civilization. The meanings of these terms have evolved over two thousand years, but the notions of ming (one’s allotment in life), xiao (one’s duty to one’s parents), and qing (one’s sentiments or passions) have retained their central importance in China. We will discuss works of history, philosophy, literature, and film, as we consider ways in which people in the Chinese-speaking world have used these terms to express their ideas about the meaning of life and what it means to be human. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1473 - Search for Life Beyond Earth      

Astrobiology: The Search for Life on Other Planets
“There are two possibilities. Maybe we’re alone. Maybe we’re not. Both are equally frightening.” –Bertrand Russell. The possibility that life may exist beyond planet Earth has captured the imagination for decades. More recently, the ‘search’ became a legitimate scientific discussion. In this seminar we will explore the emerging field of astrobiology by investigating the possibility of life beyond Earth from a variety of perspectives including fictional depictions of space travel, ‘ground-truthing’ efforts in the research of extreme environments on Earth, current space program missions, and a look at the lives of the scientists who legitimized the search for extraterrestrial life. 3 hrs. sem. CW

Spring 2016

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FYSE 1475 - Black Playwrights Represent      

Make Space: Black Playwrights Creating, Claiming, Resisting, and Existing
This seminar makes space for Black playwrights.  We will begin our focus with August Wilson, who despite his critically acclaimed ten-play cycle chronicling the experience of African-Americans remains unknown to many students. We will explore the influence of the blues, artist Romare Bearden, and playwright/poet Amiri Baraka on August Wilson’s work. We will also study playwrights Dominique Morisseau, Susan Lori-Parks, and Katori Hall. We will utilize Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool for understanding the significance of these plays in the larger tapestry of race relations and in understanding conceptions of resistance and representation. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT NOR

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1476 - Homo Economicus      

Homo Economicus
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest,” states Adam Smith, the “father” of economics. We will explore the power and limitations of models of human behavior that posit self-interest as universal motivation. What about seemingly irrational choices? Do we need new economic models to explain philanthropy or procrastination? To explore  these questions, we will study works by early economists like Smith, current works on behavioral economics, writings by Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, and Nate Silver’s writings about data analysis. 3 hrs. sem. SOC (T. Byker) CW SOC

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1477 - FYSE 1477      

Anti-Heroes
How do works of literature persuade us to undertake the difficult work of opening our closed minds, softening our hard hearts, and questioning our deepest unexamined assumptions? Sometimes by presenting us with protagonists whose flaws seem to far outnumber their virtues, and who resemble people we have been taught to avoid and disdain in our actual lives. Keeping our eyes open as we begin to empathize with various monsters, failures, and lunatics, we will engage fundamental questions concerning literature’s persuasive techniques, psychological effects, and social responsibilities. Our syllabus will include novels, poems, and plays from the Elizabethan era to the present day. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1478 - American/Jewish Identity & Lit      

American Identity, Jewish Literature, and Vice Versa
In this seminar we will look at imaginative representations of and by Jews in (mostly) American and (some) European literatures, with the goal of understanding, as broadly and intensely as possible, both the necessities and difficulties involved in writing about hyphenated identity -- any hyphenated identity. Readings will include works by Kafka, Isaac Babel, Bruno Schultz, Henry Roth, IB Singer, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Art Spiegelman, and many others. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1479 - Poetry and Poetics      

Poetry and Poetics
This seminar is an introduction to the formal and generic aspects of lyric poetry in English. We will work to develop sensitivity to the various strategies of meaning available to poets—meter, rhyme, sound, diction, imagery—in order to read poems more closely, thoughtfully, and with pleasure. We will also attend to the historical, cultural, and biographical contexts of poems and poets, but our emphasis will be on lyric poems by a variety of poets from a range of periods and traditions. This is a literature, rather than a creative writing, course; but student poets are welcome to join. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1480 - Geologic Origins of Energy      

The Geologic Origins of Energy
In this seminar we will seek to improve our understanding of where energy comes from and how it is converted into forms useful to humankind. Specifically, we will explore the origins of nuclear, geothermal, fossil fuel, wind, and solar energy and understand how they relate to Earth’s geologic systems and its climate. To explore the social implications of problems involving energy, we will learn basic scientific concepts and compare our findings with information disseminated in the popular media. We will also take several short field trips to observe and experience some of the geologic phenomena we discuss. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1481 - Graphic Novels      

Graphic Novels: How They Work and What They’re For
Graphic novels—sequential art, comics in the last ten years, extended works combining words and pictures have exploded in popularity and reach. In this course we will examine what the graphic novel can do that other media cannot. Using Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Arts as critical foundations, we will explore a variety of graphic texts, discovering the underlying grammar and structure of the form, and surveying the uses to which the form has been and can be put, from the disclosure of the intensely personal to the chronicling of major world events. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1482 - Marx and Marxism      

Marx and Marxism
Is Marxism still relevant in a world that has witnessed the collapse of most self-declared Marxist states? To address this question, we will explore the development of central Marxist concepts (including class struggle, alienation, revolution) both in Marx’s own words and in the writings and actions of those he inspired. Central to our inquiry will be consideration of the historical relationship between Marxist theory and practice (in a range of geographic and cultural contexts) and the adaptation of Marxist ideas for cultural and political critiques in the West. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW HIS

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1483 - The Magic of Numbers      

The Magic of Numbers
Number theory—the study of patterns, symmetries, properties, and the power of numbers—has caught the popular imagination. Youngsters and adults have toyed with numbers, looked for patterns, and played games with numbers throughout millennia. A characteristic of number theory is that many of its problems are very easy to state. In fact, many of these problems can be understood by high school mathematics students. The beauty of these problems is that modern mathematics flows from their study. Students will experiment with numbers to discover patterns, make conjectures and prove (or disprove) these conjectures. 3 hrs. sem. CW DED

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1484 - World Musical Instruments      

World Musical Instruments
Every culture has musical instruments, and we admire musicians who play them well. Yet, musical instruments can tell us a lot more about a society if we have the tools to analyze their sounds, morphologies, functions, classifications, playing techniques, and scales or tuning systems. In this seminar we will develop critical skills for analyzing these elements through a selection of world musical instruments. We will also have the opportunity to construct musical instruments out of recycled materials. Course activities will include intensive reading, writing, discussions, research, oral presentations, and hands-on activities. No prior musical background is required. 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1485 - Vaccines      

Vaccines: History, Science, Society
In this seminar we will examine vaccines and vaccination programs from the perspective of anthropology. First, we will delve into the history of vaccination, from practices in Asia and Africa dating back to the 10th century, to Cotton Mather’s experiments with smallpox inoculation in Colonial Boston, to the development of modern vaccines. Next, we’ll look at global attempts to control diseases using vaccines, from the successful Smallpox Eradication Program to current projects targeting polio and measles. We will use this material to examine the science, politics, and culture of vaccination programs, and to investigate why some people refuse vaccination. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1486 - Batman Narratives      

Batman Narratives
In this seminar we will study Batman comics, animation, live action films, and videogames from different time periods in order to understand how this American character has become one of the most influential icons of contemporary popular culture in almost every medium. Through theories of adaptation, pastiche, and parody, we will explore how Batman narratives reflect the development of nationalism in the U.S., and mainstream perceptions of race, gender, and class throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Texts will include The Killing JokeThe Dark Knight Returns, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the Arkham videogame series, and others. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT NOR

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1488 - European and Asian Opera      

Pavilions, Serpents, and High Cs: European and Asian Opera
Opera is often regarded as one of the highest forms of dramatic art, a product of the creative collaboration between composer and librettist, cultural idiom, and dramatic narrative. When Mozart, Monteverdi, Puccini, and Asian composers came together with their librettist counterparts, provocative operas came into being. In this seminar we will study operatic ventures from the early baroque and Mozart, to traditional music theater pieces from China and Southeast Asia. We will delve into issues of prosody and word painting through analysis. We will also engage in discussions, research, and creative projects in the form of song writing, to explore how opera comes about and its place in our culture. (Ability to read music and perform an instrument or voice recommended). 3 hrs. sem. ART CMP CW

Fall 2016

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FYSE 1489 - Memory Matters      

Memory Matters
In this seminar we will look at Holocaust memory cultures that have evolved in the U.S. and Germany and at the processes that have shaped our collective imaginations of the Shoah across time, space, and genres. Students will develop critical awareness of the power of stories and the importance of memory work in all of our lives. They will also reflect on their own roles in the transmission of memory and the formation of collective and national memory cultures. We will examine documentary and feature films, read survivors' testimonies and fictional accounts, comics, poetry, theoretical and historical reflections, and examine monuments, counter-monuments, and commemorative sites. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT

Spring 2017

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FYSE 1490 - Unplanned Parenthood      

Unplanned Parenthood
In this course we will address a public health puzzle: Why is it that, in an age of safe and effective contraception, roughly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended? We will advise a large reproductive healthcare organization that is designing a new project to reduce unintended pregnancy in New England. Students will study the causes and consequences of unintended pregnancy, consulting existing secondary sources and also conducting a statistical analysis of rich primary data. Our ultimate product will be a set of recommended interventions for the organization to consider. No prior statistical experience is required or assumed. CW SOC

Spring 2017

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FYSE 1491 - Shakespeare's Sonnets      

Shakespeare's 'Nasty' Sonnets
Of the sex triangle that structures William Shakespeare’s enigmatic series of sonnets, Stephen Booth has quipped: “Shakespeare was almost certainly homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual.” Of the 154 poems, most people know only one or two of the most innocent (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), but the series as a whole has scandalized prudish readers for centuries with its confessions of heterosexual lust, homoerotic love, envy, jealousy, misogyny, abjection, pride, and some moping—all in some of the most exquisite verse ever composed in English. In this course we will examine, discuss, and write about the language of Shakespeare's sonnets and their literary historical context as well as the range of critical theories (and sometimes utterly wacky notions) about their mysterious contents, including those from the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and William Wordsworth. This is a feminist, queer-friendly, sex-positive course. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1492 - Ecopoetry: Nature to Environmn      

Ecopoetry: From Nature to Environment
In this course we will read and discuss poems about nature and the environment from a variety of historical periods, cultural traditions, and languages, with an emphasis on modern poetry written in English. As we explore the techniques used by poets to describe the biophysical environment we will also develop critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking skills, bringing multiple interpretive approaches to bear. We will read and write about poems by Christopher Marlowe, Amelia Lanyer, Andrew Marvell, George Crabbe, William Wordsworth, John Clare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Camille Dungy, and others. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1493 - Soviet Espionage-Atom Bomb      

Soviet Espionage and the American Atomic Bomb Project
Only in the past several years has the public learned the full extent of Soviet espionage activities against the United States during World War II. Documents released from Soviet intelligence archives and wartime Soviet diplomatic cables decrypted by the National Security Agency's Venona Project detail the extraordinary success of Soviet intelligence in obtaining information about the American atomic bomb project (Manhattan Project) and other wartime secrets. Why were so many Americans willing, even eager, to spy, or serve as agents of influence, on behalf of the Soviet Union? We will read various secondary texts on this subject and use the Venona documents themselves as primary texts. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1494 - Protest Music Around the World      

Protest Music in Politics Around the World
In this course we will examine how marginalized populations around the world use music to interpret, explain, and respond to political, racial, socioeconomic, and gendered inequities. Because music is produced for a wide audience, it is important to the construction of group identity, and a useful means of protest. We will discuss the domestic politics of countries such as Nigeria, Jamaica, the US, and Brazil, primarily through comparative politics literature, but also with scholarship in sociology and critical race and gender theory. We will compare how power in various forms is used to repress, and how music challenges existing hegemonies. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1495 - Beethoven's Ninth      

Beethoven’s Ninth
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is one of the great artistic achievements of the Western world. With that masterpiece as our focal point, in this course we will explore the composer’s life and music, the broader musical culture of early 19th-century Europe, and the social and political context of the symphony’s 1824 premiere. Moreover, we will trace the changing meanings of the symphony’s climactic “Ode to Joy” in various historical contexts from Beethoven’s time to ours, including German nationalism, the Japanese tradition of New Year’s performances, and the adaptation of the “Ode to Joy” theme as the anthem of the European Union. ART CW EUR

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1496 - Reason Morality Cultural Diff      

Reason, Morality, and Cultural Difference
Different cultures have different standards of what counts as true, rational, and moral. Are all of these standards equally good? Which considerations could possibly support this position? Furthermore, should we accept the consequences that follow from the claim that all of these standards are equally good—for example, that the structure of the universe changes in accordance with a culture’s commitments to modern science, or that it is morally acceptable for some cultures to engage in genocide? By reading, discussing, and writing about contemporary philosophical readings on these topics, we will address these questions. CW PHL

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1497 - Bibliotherapy      

Bibliotherapy: Reading and Writing for Psychological Well-Being
An inscription over the door of a library in Ancient Egypt purportedly read, “Medicine for the Soul,” and the modern practice known as “Bibliotherapy” similarly claims that reading and writing can have powerful psychological benefits. How can reading books improve your mental health? Can writing about trauma help to heal psychic wounds? In this course we will explore contemporary theories of the therapeutic value of literature; readings will include novels, poems, short stories, memoirs, and psychological articles. Students will write analytical essays, research-based essays, and scholarly review articles as well as creative works, which will be shared with classmates in a writing workshop setting. CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1498 - Religion and State in China      

Religion and State in China
To explore the perennial question of the relation between politics and religion, we will examine the long, rich history of this issue in China. How did the imperial state draw on religion for legitimacy and set itself up as the arbiter of religious life? How did religious communities respond? We will consult primary sources on the emperor’s role as the Son of Heaven, the imperial state’s varying views and treatment of Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, and folk religious practices, and religiously-inspired rebellions. We will conclude with attention to the cycle of persecution and revival of religion under the current regime. CW NOA PHL

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1499 - Witnessing Collapse      

Witnessing Collapse: The Soviet Union and the End of the Twentieth Century
A half century ago, in the midst of the Cold War, few envisaged that the Soviet Union would soon be no more. How did those living under Soviet rule experience the surprising collapse of their seemingly unchangeable world?   How did their lives change for the worse, how for the better, between 1970 and 2000?  How do people today, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, remember the upheaval? In this course we will explore, from the bottom up, the demise of the Soviet Union, focusing on lives, dreams, and beliefs of ordinary individuals living through times of extraordinary economic, political, and cultural change. CW EUR SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1500 - Apocalyptic Representations      

Apocalyptic Representations in the Culture of the Americas
The apocalyptic book of Revelation is one of the most influential books in Western culture. In this course we will study how the Biblical text has impregnated culture, from Canada to Patagonia. By focusing on theories about the apocalyptic imagination (e.g. Padilla, Baudrillard, Žižek), we will concentrate on different cultural discourses: e.g. political, economic, environmental, literary, and ludic (gaming). Some examples include literature (e.g.  John Barth, Homero Aridjis, Pedro Palou), cinema (e.g. Brazil, The Matrix, The Book of Life), art (e.g. Apocalyptic Virgins, vanitas painting, Chicanx art), TV series (e.g. The 100, The Walking Dead), and video games (e.g. The Last of Us, Rock of Ages, Inka Madness). Students will also be encouraged to explore the apocalyptic narrative in other genres (e.g. music, cuisine, cartography, and virtual reality). This course will be taught in Spanish. AP in Spanish, placement exam at the 300 level, or by permission from the instructor. This seminar is appropriate for native speakers of Spanish, bilingual students, and students who have scored 720 or above on the Spanish SAT II, or 5 on the Spanish AP exam. 3 hrs. sem. AMR CMP CW LNG

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1501 - Adirondack Mind      

Adirondack Mind
The Adirondack Park, six million acres of protected public and private wildland in northern New York State, has a distinct and influential intellectual history. In Adirondack Mind, we will trace that history from the precolonial to present day, focusing primarily on the stream of thought moving from Emerson through William James and Felix Adler to Bob Marshall and the Wilderness Society, including the philosophy of Pragmatism and the Abolitionist movement. Together we will visit Follensby Pond, site of the 1858 Philosopher's Camp, and make at least one other individual trip to hike or visit an important site. The readings will emphasize how the writers had their insights through the direct experience of Adirondack geography. By researching and writing our own stories, we will come to see how our sense of self arises from the elements and demands of the immediate environment, and perhaps begin to view all our places in the world as vehicles for conscious awakening. Readings include works by W. J. Stillman, Emerson, William James, Theodore Roosevelt, Amy Godine, Russell Banks, Chase Twichell, Jeanne Robert Foster, David Abram, George Prochnik, Bill McKibben, Maurice Kenny, and Christopher Shaw. 3 hrs. sem CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1502 - A Feast for the Eves      

A Feast for the Eyes: representations of food in cinema
Food and the actions that surround it (procuring, preparing, consuming, communal sharing) are essential for life and have always been used in art and literature to fulfill emotional, visual, intellectual, and narrative functions. We will focus on how food and eating acquire and provide cultural meanings through cinema. We will watch films where food plays a central role, read critical essays about cinema, and write several pieces analyzing relevant cinematic texts. Our goal is to understand how cinema constructs our understanding of something as concrete and indispensable as food ART CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1503 - Funny Love in Chinese Lit      

Funny Love: When Eros Meets Humor in Chinese Literature
In this seminar we will read and critique “erotomantic” poems, plays, jokes, and stories from imperial China. They struck and amused the Chinese as both funny-strange and funny-haha. We will ponder: Why does such literature often involve humor? Does its eroticism entail it? Does its strangeness make it risible? What purposes does its humor serve? What does its funniness say about premodern Chinese conceptions of love, attitudes toward sex, sense of humor, and worldviews? What does it say about us today who may or may not find it outlandish and/or titillating? And what about the human condition at large? CW LIT NOA

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1504 - Theater and Mathematics      

Stages of Uncertainty: An Exploration of the Intersections of Theater and Mathematics
During the previous century, a handful of avant-garde playwrights took inspiration from the various revolutions in geometry, logic, and theories of the infinite to challenge the artistic norms of their respective eras. This unexpected synthesis of mathematics and theater eventually found its way to the mainstage with critical successes such as Arcadia (1993), Proof (2000), and A Disappearing Number (2007). Adopting a bold interdisciplinary spirit, we will fearlessly engage the mathematical ideas with the goal of understanding how they contribute to the mission of the artists. Likewise, we will engage the theater in an authentic way, regularly performing scenes in class and, at the semester’s conclusion, mounting a small production. 3 Hrs. Sem. ART CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1506 - College and the Common Good      

College and the Common Good
Why attend a liberal arts college? The traditional purpose of a liberal arts education is the cultivation of virtuous citizens. In this seminar we will identify virtues necessary for democratic citizenship and ask how the arts and sciences can help develop them. We will explore ways in which residence on a liberal arts campus provides opportunity to practice civic virtue, shaping how we think about aspects of college life like distribution requirements, the Honor Code, internships, and financial aid. Finally, we will consider how these virtues prepare us for lifelong investment in the common good by examining the relevance of liberal learning to a range of contemporary social issues. CW PHL

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1507 - The Women of /Game of Thrones/      

The Women of /Game of Thrones/
In this seminar we will examine the representation of women in George Martin’s Game of Thrones book series and its popular television adaptation. Introductory theoretical readings on gender, sexuality, race, and class, as well as on audience reception and fan culture will inform our discussion of the major characters in the show. In what ways does the role of women in the show’s fictional socio-political structure shed light on real-world issues of patriarchy, oppression, and violence? What aspects of the HBO series’ representation of women are defined by genre conventions and audience expectations? 3 hrs. sem. CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1508 - Playing Dead: TV Crime Drama      

Playing Dead: Feminist Readings of TV Crime Drama
In this course we will explore the cultural beliefs and biases implicit in TV crime dramas.  Our television screens are populated with these shows, some focusing on the independent investigator, others on the police, and still others on the technicians who help secure evidence. Using a feminist lens, we will explore the grammar of this genre in terms of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Who gets defined as the criminal, who the victim, and why? What makes crime dramas pleasurable, and why do we watch them even when they are formulaic? How have they changed over time? 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1509 - Computer Music Programming      

Introduction to Computer Programming Through Music Applications
This course is designed to introduce students to computer programming, starting at the very beginning with basic concepts, and leading to the creation of web-based music applications, and virtual reality soundscapes. Computer programming can seem intimidating, but there are ways to get started that are fun and exciting, and not too scary! The class will also have a chance to research, and write about the use of computers in music past, present and future. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1510 - Free Speech/Racist Speech      

What Can I Say? Free Speech v. Racist Speech in the United States and Europe
In this course we will delve into the politics and law surrounding issues of racist speech in the United States and Europe. We will look at the development of speech doctrines in the post-World War II era, drawing on well-known case studies from American constitutional history, as well as European examples such as the Danish Cartoon Controversy and Holocaust denial cases. Through comparison across time and countries, we will debate the appropriate limits on racist speech in different contexts. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1511 - Folk Fairy Tales of the World      

Once Upon a Time – Folk Fairy Tales of the World
Tell me a story! We will examine the complex, inter-connected folk fairy tale traditions found in every society. Comparing fairy tale variants from around the world, we will explore their convoluted and fertile relationships as observed in the rise of fairytale collections in 15th Century Europe, reaching a culmination in the Brothers Grimm collection, often synonymous with the fairy tale itself. To attain a more dispassionate critical stance we will explore theoretical approaches to the fairy tales by such authers as Jack Zipes, Ruth Bottigheimer, Maria Tatar, and Kay Stone, and conclude by examining modern variants in prose, poetry, and film. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1512 - Your Connected World      

Your Connected World
It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. In this course, we will examine how social networks—our links to other individuals and groups—form and why these networks matter. Do birds of a feather flock together? How do social networks shape our most personal decisions like who we fall in love with, the music we listen to, or the way we vote? How has the Internet, through virtual communities and social media, affected our ability to make, break, and transform our connections to others? We will answer these questions drawing from theories and research in the social sciences. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1513 - Reading & Writing Contemp. Art      

Reading and Writing Contemporary Art
How do we understand art produced in the present day? How does this art help us understand the world? In this course we will consider multiple objects designated by the term “contemporary art:” a global industry, an art-historical discourse, a set of cultural practices evolving in dialogue with technology, a symbolic arena for the consideration of political values. We will familiarize ourselves with notable works in contemporary art’s unfinished canon, and pursue the challenge of writing about the visual. Goals include: writing and revising college-level essays, learning effective research techniques, and analyzing the culture of the contemporary art world. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1514 - Refugee Stories      

Refugee Stories
“Stories are just things we fabricate,” says a character in Viet Nguyen’s The Refugees. “We search for them in a world besides our own, then leave them here to be found, garments shed by ghosts.” In this course students will find stories by and about a paradigmatic modern figure: the displaced refugee seeking asylum in unfamiliar lands. Highlighting literary and visual representations, we will also draw from history, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, and feminist critique. Beginning with the Syrian refugee crisis, we will circle back to the Vietnam War and the lingering questions it poses to today’s social justice movement. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Fall 2017

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FYSE 1515 - Literature and Moral Choice      

Literature and Moral Choice
Literature’s subject is almost always morality; that is, how human beings treat one another. We will read and discuss difficult moral and ethical decisions made by characters in fiction and poetry, including works by Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky among others. We will also acquaint ourselves with major theories of moral development and moral reasoning, and through reading, writing, discussion, and preparing oral presentations, we will explore how human beings, including those portrayed by writers who are great students of the human spirit, try to do the right thing in a complex modern and postmodern world. CW LIT

Spring 2018

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FYSE 1516 - Cartography and the City      

Cartography and the City (Spring)
Maps have helped shape the material and social forms of American cities. At the same time, cities have inspired cartographers to develop new forms of maps. In this seminar we will investigate maps as instruments for understanding the past, navigating the present, and shaping the future of American cities, while also considering how the past, present, and future development of cities influence the design of maps themselves. Major themes will include geography, environmental history, social justice, spatial cognition and wayfinding, and cartographic design. Students will gain skills in critical map reading, computer-based cartography, and integrating pictures in both printed and spoken narratives. AMR CW SOC

Spring 2018

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FYSE 1517 - Animals in Lit and Culture      

Animals in Literature and Culture
In this course we will engage with the representation of animals in novels, children’s books, poetry, philosophy, the visual arts, and popular culture to explore the role animals play in our aesthetic, ethical, and emotional lives. We will examine how animals have been represented historically and across various cultures in our attempt to gain insight into the ways humanity uses animals to make meaning for ourselves. CW LIT

Spring 2018

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