Updated Friday, August 12, 2011
CHEM 70: You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist (canceled May 5, 2011)
CHEM 73: From Atomic Bombs to Cancer Treatments: The Broad Scope of Nuclear Chemistry (added May 5, 2011)
TuTh, 2:00–3:15 pm
Often the science presented in the mass media is shallow and one–sided. To truly understand whether a presentation has value, one must critically evaluate it. While the non-scientist may find this a daunting proposition, developing the skills to do so is really not difficult. The underlying theme of this seminar is to learn how the Scientific Method can be used to extract information from the mass media and discuss scientific development and interpretation knowledgeably. Readings and discussions will form the basis for developing a questioning mind and an objective attitude toward science. We will study the public’s perception of science and scientists, the Scientific Method, and the peer review process as we address controversial subjects such as homeopathic medicine, chiropractic, cold fusion, polywater, creationism, psychics/ESP, and perpetual motion machines. We will learn to apply healthy skepticism to assess the value of these treatments/theories. Required readings: Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer, Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?: Debunking Pseudoscience by Martin Gardner, and Voodoo Science by Robert L. Park.
Todd Austell received his BS in Chemistry in 1987 and his PhD in Chemistry in 1996, both at UNC. He spent one year working in the pharmaceutical industry prior to graduate school and another year as an assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy prior to returning to his current position. As an undergraduate, he participated in the Department of Energy and American Chemistry Society’s Summer School in Nuclear Chemistry. Topical studies in nuclear chemistry have been a hobby of his since that time. He’s served as a research assistant professor and a major advisor in the Department of Chemistry since 1998 and also works as an academic advisor for all science majors on campus. His graduate research involved separation science, and he is currently involved in both curriculum development within the chemistry department and in a long-term study of how middle school and secondary math education/preparation affects student performances in college general chemistry. His hobbies involve hiking, camping, disc golf, and gardening as well as following all UNC athletics.
DRAM 83: Spectacle in the Theatre (added June 22, 2011)
This seminar will explore the artists, art and technology involved in creating the world of the play. It is intended as an overview for students who want to learn about design but who may prefer to act or direct, or (even) attend or study plays. Several plays will be carefully considered within the context of stage spectacle. Careful historical research, close reading and analysis, text and source material, and collaboration will all be considered. In addition the course will look at theatrical technology and how spectacle has evolved from the Greeks to Cirque du Soleil.
David is entering his first year as the Director of Undergraduate Production in the Department of Dramatic Art. David spends his summers as the Technical Director for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Bloomington-Normal, IL. David has taught at The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Mississippi. David has worked professionally at South Coast Repertory in Orange County California, The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Karamu Performing Arts Theatre in Cleveland, OH. Some of David’s favorite projects were at the Dallas Children’s Theater where he made a dinosaur collapse and pirates walk the plank.
ENGL 87: Jane Austen Then and Now (added June 22, 2011)
TuTh 11:00am – 12:15pm
This course will focus on the fiction of Jane Austen and its representations in film. This author, who never traveled outside England and had the opportunity for little formal schooling, has nonetheless wielded enormous literary and cultural influence across the globe. Austen societies can be found on six continents, and her novels have been the inspiration for films set in contemporary India as well as the California teenager scene. The year 2007 featured the release of two successful feature-length Austen films (Becoming Jane and The Jane Austen Book Club) and in the Spring of 2008, the BBC released new film versions of all six novels. What is the secret of her global appeal? What does she represent to contemporary American society? What is gained or lost in adaptation from novel to film?
In order to address this issue, we will read all of her major novels and selected juvenilia, along with the novel Jane Austen’s Book Club, and many of the most influential film adaptations, considered under different categories, such as “Heritage Adaptations,” “Modern Dress Adaptations,” and “Biographical Adaptations” and “Fan-as-Heroine Adaptations” of her work. Students will also have the opportunity to film their own adaptation of the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice.
Jeanne Moskal specializes in travel literature and in the British Romantic Period. Her current research on the writings of Anglo-American women missionaries has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and by the Lilly Foundation. She has authored a book on William Blake and edited Mary Shelley’ travel books for the standard edition of her works. She was the Founding President of the International Society of Travel Writing and edits The Keats-Shelley Journal, the journal of record about the second generation of British Romantic authors.
GEOL 76: Energy Resources for a Hungry Planet (added June 14, 2011)
The seminar first describes today’s fundamental sources of energy: oil, natural gas and coal, how and where to find them, and the latest statistics on how long the present reserves will last. The seminar then explores alternative energy resources and why it is so important for society to understand that fossil fuel reserves are finite, and will be depleted soon, with some, like cheap oil, in less than 40 years. The course stimulates student participation through class debates in which a controversial topic is argued for and against (e.g., Can nuclear energy become a viable and safe substitute for oil?).
Drew Coleman is the Jaroslav Folda Distinguished Term Associate Professor of Undergraduate Research and Education. His work focuses on determining the rates of geologic processes in an effort to understand how the Earth works. He is currently working on understanding super eruptions, ore deposition in magma systems, sediment transport on the Amazon River, and human migration. As Associate Editor of Geoarchaeology he has come to appreciate how civilization’s ability to exploit geology controls its ability to advance.
GERMANIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES
GERM 58: Love in the Middle Ages (added August 11, 2011)
TuTh, 9:30–10:45 am
This seminar will examine the creation and development of the notion of love in the Middle Ages. In the course of the semester, we will read a selection of love poetry, two courtly romances, a parody of courtly love, and a treatise on love in an effort to understand the roots of one of the most pervasive concepts in the western world today: romantic love. Discussion topics will cover such topical issues as marriage, adultery, violence, power, and gender roles. Early in the semester, each student will select a topic for investigation in consultation with the instructor and will develop a strategy for research. Students will report on their progress in three stages: first a brief written proposal explaining the topic, and the plans for conducting the study; then a more fully articulated class presentation in which the preliminary results of the research are offered; and finally a completed essay.
Kathryn Starkey obtained her B.A. at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, in 1990, and attended graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, where she completed an M.A. in Germanic Linguistics and a Ph.D. in German Literature, concentrating on medieval and early modern cultures. Her teaching and research interests include a wide range of topics in which she approaches pre-modern literature from a cultural historical standpoint. Her courses always include ‘non-literary’ texts such as juridical documents, debates by scholastics and theologians, chronicles or visual narratives, which allows her to place pre-modern studies within a modern theoretical framework. Her other courses address topics such as “Women in the Middle Ages,” “History of the German Language,” and “History of German Literature.”
PHYS 54: Physics of Movies: From the Matrix to Mission Impossible (added May 12, 2011)
TuTh, 3:30–4:45 pm
In this seminar, we will analyze physics concepts by watching scenes from popular movies. The overall goal is to disentangle the complicated interplay of physics ideas in real-life situations and thereby to improve significantly our problem-solving skills. Emphasis is placed on group work rather than on traditional teaching. We will be addressing questions such as: Which scenes from movies are unphysical and which are realistic? How are physicists portrayed in movies? How does physics research influence society? Ultimately, we will gain a more fundamental understanding for physical concepts and how these concepts shape our world view. No prerequisite is required.
Christian Iliadis is a Greek who was born and raised in Germany. He obtained his diploma in physics from the University of Muenster/Germany and then moved to Notre Dame where he received his Ph.D. He spent three years in Vancouver, working in Canada’s largest nuclear physics laboratory. Since 1996, he has been Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UNC–CH, teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. His research specialty is nuclear astrophysics, which is the science of how stars generate energy and produce the elements in the Universe via nuclear fusion reactions. He also wrote a recently published textbook on this subject. His favorite hobby is soccer (or football, as it is called in the rest of the world).
CITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING
PLAN 89: Urban Growth, Structure and the Response to Economic Crises (added June 3, 2011)
T. William Lester
Since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, the US economy has lost nearly 8 million jobs. While the impact is of national concern, these job losses have been concentrated inside metropolitan areas where 87 percent of the US population now lives. As a result, urban policy makers face a host of problems, including fiscal distress and high unemployment while simultaneously facing unique urban issues such as intense concentration of poverty and sprawl. This seminar will study trends in both economic change and urbanization and how they overlap in order to shed light on how planners and policy makers can offer solutions to solve the economic crisis in their communities. This seminar is organized around three themes. The first asks, Why do cities exist, and How do they grow? Next, we will turn our attention on the issues of urban industrial decline and suburbanization and examine how these processes impact the spatial structure of US metropolitan areas and define the ‘problems of economic development’ that policy makers seek to address. Lastly, we will introduce and critique the policy “toolbox” that urban leaders use to address employment decline, including business recruitment, industrial retention, and regionalism. We will conclude by evaluating the merits the most recent and often citied policy solution to the contemporary economic crisis—growing a so-called green economy. This seminar introduces students to the issues of urban economic development, spatial structure, and the policy responses aimed at increasing and improving economic opportunities. While this seminar focuses on a diverse and rigorous reading list, it includes several hands-on assignments that ask students to engage the themes of the course by studying their own home towns. The seminar will be a launching point for students interested in sociology, economics, political science, and geography. However, there are no pre-requisites and due to its structure and the critical thinking and writing skills attained through this course, PLAN 089 will be useful to students from a variety of academic disciplines.
Note: Professor Lester’s biography forthcoming.
PLCY 89.002: Contemporary Policy Issues in American Higher Education (added June 27, 2011)
Higher Education in America has undergone dramatic changes since the founding of UNC-Chapel Hill as the nation’s first public university in 1789. This seminar will provide an introduction to contemporary policy issues in higher education. We will examine how higher education has become more accessible to various groups. We will discuss current challenges to our current models of higher education including public funding, safety and security, and accommodating growing numbers of potential students. Students will have the opportunity to create an original analysis of university policy and make recommendations on real policy issues.
Melinda Manning is an assistant dean of students. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from UNC-CH and spent three years teaching middle school in rural Mississippi with the Teach for America program. In 2010, she received the University Award for the Advancement of Women.