Middlebury

 

Spring 2010 Sample Courses

AMST 0120 Body Politics: Disability in American Culture

Susan Burch, American Studies

In this course we will address the meaning of disability in America. We will confront the social construction of disability, its representation, and its changing meaning in society. We will consider how ideas about disability-and normalcy-reflect broad and shifting notions of identity across time and place. Our critiques will consider disability as it relates to issues of gender, community, class, region, and race. This line of inquiry invites us to rethink language, the body, identity, culture, power, and the nature of knowledge itself. We will draw heavily from texts such as The New Disability History and Freakery and will view documentary films like Murderball and Through Deaf Eyes. Oral histories, memoirs, literature, and Hollywood films represent core primary sources for this class.

 

AMST 0203 Media Sports and Identity

Hector J. Vila, Center for Teaching/Learning/Research

This course aims to be a first look at the connection between Media, Sports, and Identity--and the discourses that surround them. Part One of the course examines Sports and the Revision of Masculinity; Part Two: Sports, Race, and Representation; and, finally, Part Three: Hollywood Sports Films and the Contested Identities.

 

AMST 0211: Formations of American Culture (1920-present)

Rachael Miyung Joo, American Studies

Foregrounds issues of race in cultural formations of the United States, but also looks at how race, gender, class, and sexuality intersect to shape American cultural productions.

 

BIOL 0225 Human Genetics

Jeremy Ward, Biology

This course incorporates both classical, molecular, and bioinformatics based approaches to study the structure of the human genome, gene function, the effects of mutation, and analysis of the genetic structure of pedigrees and populations.  We examine a collection of human genetic diseases with a focus on their molecular and biochemical basis and medical implications.  Further, emphasis is placed on the study of the origin of Homo sapiens, genetic diversity in humans, and the molecular evolutionary changes that define humans relative to other primates and animals.
In this description we talk about the biological basis for race or lack thereof and the role race vs genetic diversity plays in medical delivery and genetic testing.

 

ENAM/WAGS 0270  Reading Post-Colonial Literature

Yumna Siddiqi, English & American Literatures

The purpose of the course is to examine a cross-section of the literature that has been marked by the experience of European colonialism and its aftermath. In addition to discussing a range of writing from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, we will explore the criticism and the theoretical debates that this postcolonial literature has spawned. Topics will include orientalism, colonial discourse analysis, critiques of colonialism, resistance theories, subaltern studies, nationalism, postcolonial gender studies, diaspora, and globalization. We will discuss novels by Monica Ali, Indra Sinha, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Assia Djebar and others.

 

ENAM/AMST 0252  African American Literature

Will Nash, American Studies

This course surveys developments in African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays during the twentieth century.  Reading texts in their social, historical, and cultural contexts—and often in conjunction with other African American art forms like music and visual art—we will explore the evolution and deployment of various visions of black being and black artistry, from the Harlem Renaissance through social realism and the Black Arts Movement, to the contemporary post-soul aesthetic.  Authors may include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, and Octavia Butler.

 

FYSE 1297 African Diasporas in Americas

Darien Davis, History

In this seminar we will focus on the impact of the African diasporas on American societies. We will begin by comparing and contrasting historical and demographic trends across the Americas, using as a point of reference specific examples of the African legacy in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States. With the help of readings, films, musical texts, and independent research, we will spend the remainder of the semester studying three major themes: (1) trans-national movements such as Pan-Africanism, Negritude, and Black Power; (2) African diasporic religions such as Voudun, Santeria, and Candomblé; and (3) the role of “blackness” in the creation of musical styles from jazz and reggae to tango and samba.

 

HARC 0432 Race, Space, and Place: Identity, Difference, and the Built Environment

Jennifer Hock, History of Art and Architecture

In this course we will explore modern American architecture, landscapes, and urban spaces through the critical lens of race. We will investigate the hidden and explicit ways in which race has structured the American built environment, and we will discuss how we can use the built environment to understand racial formations, identities, and experiences.  Drawing on recent scholarship in urban studies, geography, and race and ethnic studies, we will focus on specific buildings and sites that help us understand the intersections of race, space, and place.

 

PSCI 0450 Ethnic Conflict

Erik Bleich, Political Science

In this course, students will examine the phenomenon of ethnic conflict in the modern world. How important is “ethnicity” as opposed to politics, economics, or other factors in generating ethnic conflict? Is ethnic conflict inevitable? Why is it more prominent in some places than others? Can we move beyond ethnic conflict to social integration? We will examine these questions through a mix of theoretical readings and in-depth case studies of genocide, sectarian violence, state dissolution, riots, and racial tensions commonly considered ethnic conflict.

 

SOAN 0103 Selected Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology


David Stoll, Sociology/Anthropology

This course introduces students to the varieties of human experience in social life and to the differing approaches and levels of analysis used by anthropologists to explain it. Topics include: culture and race, rituals and symbolism, kinship and gender roles, social evolution, political economy, and sociolinguistics. Ethnographic examples are drawn chiefly from non-Western societies, from simple bands to great agrarian states. The ultimate aim is to enable students to think critically about the bases of their own culture and about practices and beliefs previously unanalyzed and unexamined.

 

SOAN 0105 Society and the Individual

Rebecca Tiger, Sociology/Anthropology

This course examines the ideas and enduring contributions of the giants of modern social theory, including Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Sigmund Freud. Readings will include selections from original works, as well as contemporary essays. Key issues will include the nature of modernity, the direction of social change, and the role of human agency in constructing the "good society." This course serves as a general introduction to sociology.

 

SOAN 0159 Human Origins, Culture and Biodiversity

James Fitzsimmons, Sociology/Anthropology

This course will provide an overview of the field of physical anthropology. The topics to be addressed include the mechanisms of genetics and evolution, human variability and adaptation, our primate relatives and fossil ancestors (hominins), as well as bioarchaeology. Through a combination of lectures and discussions, we will explore human origins and the overall development of the species through time. Likewise, we will look at how language, art, and religion emerge as well as the interplay between environment and biology in human evolution. The course finishes by examining contemporary issues in human biodiversity, from molecular genetics and biotechnology to problematic categories like race, gender, and sexuality.

 

SOAN 0321 Native Peoples of the Americas

David Stoll, Sociology/Anthropology

This course introduces students to the indigenous peoples of North and South America, from before European conquest to the present. Following a brief look at the mound-builders of North America, we will explore the connection between social stratification, religious ideology and imperial expansion in the political economy of the Aztecs and the Incas.  Ethnographies of Quechua peasants in the Peruvian Andes, Yanomami Indians in the Amazon, and Oglala Sioux in the Dakotas will show how contemporary Native Americans are dealing with the never-ending process of colonialism.  How Europeans have imagined indigenous peoples has had a profound impact on how the latter defend themselves.  The resulting images of authenticity and resistance have always been double-edged.  The course will conclude with the debate over the reservation paradigm in the U.S. Limited places available for students to satisfy the College writing requirement.

 

SOAN 0376 Politics of Identity

Chong-suk Han, Sociology/Anthropology

In this course we will introduce students to social diversity in the U.S. as it is reflected in four master identities: class, gender, race, and sexuality. We will examine what these identities mean for group membership, how group membership is attained or ascribed and maintained. Using both historical and contemporary materials, we will explore how identities have developed over time and how they have been challenged. In addition, we will examine how multiple identities intersect and the implications of these intersections have on individual identities.

 

SPAN 0330 Hispanic Afro-Caribbean Culture

Enrique Garcia, Spanish and Portuguese

In this course, we will examine the development of Afro-Caribbean culture in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic with the goal of understanding its impact on the construction of Hispanic Caribbean identity. We will begin with 19th century colonial narratives by Cuban authors (Gómez de Avellaneda, Cirilo Villaverde) who construct African-ness in the region under slavery, continue with 20th century novels and films that reflect new racial and political ideologies (abolitionism, nationalism, revolution, etc.), and conclude by tracing the influence of Afro-Caribbean musicians (Benny Moré, Don Omar) on the mainstream culture of a region still culturally dominated by white elites

 

WRPR 102/EDST 102 The English Language in a Global Context

Shawna Shapiro, Center for Teaching/Learning/Research

In this course, we will discuss and write about the dominance of English in the global landscape.  The course reader, The Handbook of World Englishes (2006), offers an interdisciplinary approach to the topic.  We begin the course with a geographic and historical overview of World Englishes.  We then examine the impact of English language dominance on individuals and societies, emphasizing themes such as migration, globalization, education, and identity. Throughout the course, we will explore the relevance of these issues to educators, linguists, and policy-makers around the world. (NOTE: Open to freshmen and sophomores only)