Spring 2012 First-Year Seminars
Last Updated: October 27, 2011
ANTH 59 The Right to Childhood: Global Efforts and Challenges
SS, CI, GL
Do children have special needs and rights distinct from those of adults? Currently there appears to be broad international agreement (expressed, for example, in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) that all children deserve family, identity, education, play, health care, and nutrition and should be protected from exploitation, sexual abuse, military service, and work that is hazardous or interferes with education. In wealthy countries, tremendous resources are devoted to the full development of children’s capacities. Historically, however, in many societies including our own, children have not been accorded a special status and childhood may not even have been recognized as a distinct stage of life. Today millions of children in fact work dangerous jobs, are deprived of education, are separated from their parents, and are even forced to be slaves, prostitutes, or soldiers. In this seminar we ask:
- On what grounds do we base our claims that children should have certain privileges and protections—psychological, developmental, conventional, sentimental?
- What are the forces that work against ensuring what we consider basic rights for all children–political, economic, cultural? Can we assure “human rights” (like adequate health care) for children when most governments only aim to provide “civil rights” (like voting)?
- To what extent does the current global economic system provide privileges for some by enforcing deprivation on others? How are we implicated and what can we do about it?
- What are the most effective ways in particular contexts of improving children’s situation or healing them from past abuses? In what ways is international involvement helpful, in what ways counterproductive? Is there a global solution to this global problem?
ANTH 60H Crisis & Resilience: Past & Future of Human Societies
HS, BN, CI
The goal of this seminar is to encourage you to adopt a long view of human societies and examine responses to crises engendered by political, economic, and environmental forces over the longue durée. Perspectives on societal change—both apocalyptic and transformational—are critically examined in this seminar in light of a suite of case studies that reach back to Mesopotamia (3rd millennium B.C.), Classic Maya and U.S. Pueblo dwellers of the first millennium A.D. and also include contemporary situations such as the Rwandan genocide, nations such as Haiti that are alleged to be “failed” states, and the global crisis of environmental sustainability. You will gain familiarity with evaluating archaeological, historical, and environmental information that is pertinent to social change. The aim of the seminar is to foster critical thinking and the ability to evaluate narratives (in both scholarly and popular media) about societal crises and human resilience.Seminar research materials include books, journal articles, films, and student-run interviews. Class meetings generally consist of a short, introductory lecture followed by discussion headed by class discussion leaders who develop and circulate “talking points” before each class meeting based upon reading material for that day’s seminar. Additionally, each student will select a topic or a case study to research in depth, develop a short class presentation (10 minutes), and write a final research paper.
ANTH 77 Windows of Mystery and Wonder
Who has the right to define what counts as “art”? Both the market and the academy readily claim this prerogative, offering themselves as artistic gatekeepers who hold the rights of definition. Meanwhile, countless folk artists with neither formal training nor affiliation follow their own visions, creating works grounded more in the everyday aesthetics of their communities—and in the wonders of their imaginations—than in the traditions of mainstream art. The market is quick to label these artists “outsiders,” crafting biographies that highlight their presumed eccentricity and oddness. This seminar will turn the tables on this act of imposed definition, exploring the worlds of self-taught artistry by engaging the artists directly, asking questions about meaning, tradition, and the role of creativity in everyday life. It will also explore the manipulations of the market, investigating how stereotypes of race, class, and region affect the commercial valuing of vernacular art. Students in this seminar will work in groups to conduct fieldwork with a self-taught (or “folk”) artist, whom they will interview and photograph over the course of the semester. We will also host artists in class, and visit some in their homes.
ART 53 Art and the Body
From classical Greek nudes to the crucified Christ to the mutilated victims of modern warfare, representations of the human form have always signified essential norms, ideals and aspirations—both personal and communal. This course will examine manifestations of “the body” in Western art. Focusing on depictions of the body in art as well as the use of the body as art, we will explore how such portrayals relate to broad social, cultural and political contexts. We will consider whether particular works of art reinforce or undermine traditional oppositions between normalcy and perversity, attraction and repulsion, nature and culture. Particular attention will be paid to art in which the body functions as a form of dissent, challenging conventions of gender, race or sexuality, or the proscription of certain bodily functions and materials. This course will involve intensive class discussion, diverse reading and writing assignments, and related special events happening across campus.
ART 55H Art, Gender, and Power in Early Modern Europe
What did it mean to be a man or to be a woman in the Renaissance? This seminar will explore the ways in which constructions of gender are critical to understandings of the visual arts in the early modern period (c. 1400-1650). We will discuss and analyze a focused group of representations of men and women: portraits, mythological and biblical paintings and sculptures, and even turn our attention to the buildings these men and women inhabited. We will study the work of artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Holbein, and Rubens, amongst others, to find ways of understanding how masculinity and femininity were central concerns in early modern society and in the art produced in this period.
ART 59 Time, A Doorway to Visual Expression
Visual artists, not unlike writers, communicate through complex structures of elements and principles (e.g., form, space, line, texture, color, light, rhythm, balance, and proportion). Analyzing any one of these components will help illustrate the nuances of visual language. This seminar will study and explore one of the lesser considered, but most intriguing, visual components: the element of Time. From subtle illusionary movement to clearly defined sequences of change, artists have manipulated this element to strengthen their work. We will examine this enigmatic element of time through readings and class discussions of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams and Leonard Shlain’s Art and Physics, Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light, as well as other selected essays. We will also look at films, listen to music, and most importantly express our personal view through the art making process. As a first-year seminar, the course presumes no previous art experience, and students may carry out their projects through a variety of mediums (e.g., drawing, photography, painting, video, and/or sculpture). The projects will be evaluated through class critiques and discussions about the work. Ultimately, our intention will be to immerse ourselves in the subject, and to create personal works of art motivated and inspired by our now enhanced understanding of time.
ART 61 Introduction to African American Art
Focusing on the Carolinas, this seminar explores the many ways African Americans have used art to define themselves and their communities. We will ask how art has been used to maintain cultural traditions, shape American culture, and build political solidarity from the era of colonialism and slavery to the present. We will study the cultivation of artistic practices from Africa; African American painters, sculptors, and craftsmen who earned national reputations for the quality of their work; artists who re-imagined and redefined African American identity through art; and artists throughout the 20th century who represented the daily lives and hardships of rural and working-class blacks. Students will visit campus museums and archives, and conduct original research using regional sources. Persistent questions throughout the semester will include, How does the art of African Americans in the Carolinas provoke us to question our own identities and roles within the region, and what is the contemporary role of art in shaping public discourse?
ART 75 Stories in Sight: The Narrative Image (Canceled)
ART 82 Exploring Personal Histories through Visual Language (added October 26)
This class will investigate the idea of personal histories in visual art. As a studio class, the course will be organized around several art making projects. As a catalyst to our own art making, we will explore the idea of personal history and memory through readings, as well as looking at contemporary artists whose work functions in an autobiographical framework.
ASIA 51 Cultural Encounters: Arabs and the West
This course will question some of the most common Western misconceptions of the Arab Islamic world, particularly the enduring association between Arabs and Muslims on the one hand and violence and eroticism on the other. Why have images of the Oriental despot, the terrorist, the harem or the veil become such powerful modes of structuring the Arab Islamic world? What ideological and economic power structures have contributed to the development and persistence of such stereotypes throughout the centuries? What key literary, artistic and cultural works has the West produced to express both its attraction to and fear of the Orient? This course will also confront Western myths of the Arab world with some of the forgotten “realities” of Arabs and Muslims. We will examine in particular some of the key contributions of the Arab Islamic world to Western civilization, and we will discuss a selection of literary and artistic compositions by Arab authors in response to Western stereotypes. Rather than uncovering a “clash of civilizations,” these counter-narratives will provide us with an alternative literary history through which to view the great diversity of the Arab world and to appreciate the complex relations between the Arab world and the West today.
ASIA 52 Food in Chinese Culture
This course examines the significance of food in Chinese culture and covers mainland China, Taiwan, and Chinese communities in North America. With literary texts, films, and scholarly works, the course combines historical studies with literary criticism. While food practice is connected to such issues as ecological and social changes, close readings is required to examine the relationship between food and word, between the mouth that eats and the mouth that talks. Written test, oral presentation, and term project will be used to evaluate performance and encourage participation.
ASIA 62 Women and Spirituality in Turkey
F. Cangüzel Zülfikar
This course is designed to examine both the historical and the contemporary aspect of women’s religiosity in today’s Islamic Turkey. In the case of Islam, mystical interpretations and practices are fairly common place and come to inform a great many people’s understandings of self, the world, and the nation. We will discuss the various definitions of who and what constitutes a mystic, their social engagement, and the controversies around gendered authority in these communities by examining the lives of spiritual Muslim women. While today women’s participations are more public, these are not entirely new developments, and we will also explore the role of women historically in these communities. Lastly, we will come to examine the ways in which the secular context of Turkey has shaped the ways in which Turkish women can and cannot express their religiosity. Sufi women from Turkey and their leadership will be examined by using primary and secondary sources, including documentaries and movies. At the end of the semester students will prepare final projects and present them based on their research and skits. This course requires students’ active participation in discussions.
BIOL 65 Pneumonia
Pneumonia has had tremendous impacts throughout history, continues to cause many deaths today, and therefore is the topic of a great deal of research. A vaccine for some forms of pneumonia has recently been produced. Using pneumonia to study the 1918 Flu Epidemic, the development of antibiotics, and the discovery of DNA, students will gain an understanding of advances in life science methodologies. Each student will be encouraged to study a particular infectious disease.
BUSI 51 Business Accounting
Corporate financial reporting is the key means that companies have to communicate to their investors, regulators, and the general public who rely on the integrity and objectivity of these reports. Take a company you are interested in (e.g., Wal-Mart, or GM, or any company): How would you interpret the information and evaluate the trustworthiness of the report? In this course, students will develop the skills needed to examine and understand company financial reports. We do not study how to prepare financial reports, which is the topic of other accounting courses. Our goal is to understand the critical elements of these reports, with a particular focus on identifying the potential for misleading and fraudulent information.
CHEM 70 You Don’t Have to be a Rocket Scientist
Science as presented in the mass media is often shallow and misleading. Critical evaluation of news reports and claims by politicians, although daunting for the non-scientist, is not difficult if a few basic principles are applied. The underlying theme of this seminar is the development of the basic tools for critically examining information from, or flaws in, news reports and popular science writing. Additional readings by and about scientists are designed to present scientists and science in a more intimate context. The assigned books may include: Cantor’s dilemma by Carl Djerassi; “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman; and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an Inquiry into Values by Robert Pirsig.
CLAS 55H Three Greek and Roman Epics
LA, NA, WB
The seminar will involve a close reading of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid, and as a transition from Homer to Vergil, we will also read the tragedies of Sophocles from fifth-century Athens. It was epic and tragedy that formulated the bases of Graeco-Roman civilization and provided the models of heroism and human values for the Western tradition—along with raising fundamental questions about the individual’s relationship to society. We will analyze, discuss, and write about these works both as individual pieces of literature in a historical context, and in terms of how they position themselves in the poetic tradition; after reading the Iliad and Odyssey, we’ll see how heroic myth gets reworked for democratic Athens, and then how Vergil combines Homer, tragedy and other traditions to make a new poem for his time. We will look at aspects of structure and technique, questions of overall interpretation and values, and the interplay of genre and historical setting.
COMM 53 Collective Leadership Models for Community Change
In this first year seminar we explore the possibilities for collective leadership involving youth and adults in vulnerable communities. Course readings, guest speakers and class field trips will provide exemplars of collaborative leadership models that engage people across traditional divides of culture, race, economics, and age. Students will work in teams to research, design, and implement community-based change projects focusing on three key strategies that engage youth as leaders and stakeholders in communities: youth media arts, youth organizing, and youth participatory action research. Students will present their projects (orally and through multi-media documentation) in class, and may be selected to present their work at the biennial leadership conference first convened in 2009 and organized by participants in the inaugural class of this FYS. Throughout the semester, each seminar participant will write a series of short essays reflecting on the collective leadership models and their own community engagement.
COMM 63 The Creative Process in Performance
VP, US, CI
Students in this seminar will attend and study the production process of multimedia, music, dance and theater performances in campus venues: The Memorial Hall Carolina Performing Arts Series, the Process Series of the Performance Studies program in the Department of Communication Studies, and others across campus. We will explore the ways that these performances address the theme of human rights and how that theme is powerfully communicated through their various media of expression. Students will research performance pieces, interview the performers, attend rehearsals and performances, and write essays that combine their own experiences of the performances with readings in performance studies. Students will also create their own performance pieces as they observe the relationship of preparation and practice to the spontaneity and surprise of performance.
COMM 85 Think, Speak, Argue
This seminar helps students learn to think more critically, speak more persuasively, and argue more effectively by focusing on practical skill development in reasoning and debate. Students at Carolina learn to sharpen their thinking, speaking, and argument skills in the course of their normal classwork, but this happens more or less indirectly. This seminar will focus directly on improving each of these skills. Students will learn to think more critically by reflecting on the work of philosophers who deal with reasoning and informal logic, to speak with conviction and clarity through hands-on learning about the tradition of rhetoric, and to argue more effectively by debating the pressing issues of our day. The skills that we hone in on in this course will help students become more effective in the classroom, in their chosen vocation, and as citizens in an increasingly complex global public sphere.
COMM 89H Countercultures, Politics, and Culture
This class explores the possibilities of a history of the present. Students will analyze the contemporary political and cultural context by comparing it with the counterculture of the 1960s, and understanding the ways in The U.S. continues to play an agenda set out half a century ago.
Using a variety of cultural forms and sources, the class will investigate:
- What was “the 1960s?” Why does it seem to be so significant in the popular history of the US (if not the world)?
- What does it mean to describe it as a “counterculture”? How does popular culture work in such a counterculture? What are the politics of popular culture? How does one measure its impacts, successes and failures?
- What is the status and configuration of popular and youth culture in the contemporary context? What are the possibilities for countercultural formations, and how might one describe their politics?
- In what ways are the possibilities and challenges of the present context still being shaped by the concerns, emergences, successes and failures of the 1960s?
COMP 60 Robotics with Lego
We will explore the process of design, and the nature of computers, by designing, building and programming LEGO robots. In the classroom we will read and discuss key papers from the beginnings of the computer age to help us understand the machine and our system creations. In the lab we will learn how to use computers to read sensor values and to control actuators. At the end of the semester, we will hold a competition to evaluate our robots. Previous programming experience is not required.
COMP 89 The Business of Games
Video gaming is a $10B industry. The business models range from free advertising-funded mobile games such as Angry Birds to the console-based behemoths like Mario and Call of Duty. Games are used for entertainment as well as training, teaching, health and social commentary. Sometimes the game is the product and sometimes it is used to sell a product. In this course we will look at what makes a good game and how people are making a business of gaming.
During the course, students will learn the elements of game design, explore tools available to prototype games, and learn the basic parts of a business plan. They will be exposed to a broad range of games and to people working in the game industry.
DRAM 80H Psychology of Clothes: Motivations for Dressing Up and Dressing Down
Through traditional and innovative teaching methods, this seminar will help students find ways to articulate their own motivations for dress and then apply the ideas they have discovered to the ways in which individuality as well as group attitudes are expressed through clothing. The semester begins with the familiar – observation and analysis of clothing forms on UNC’s campus. Small groups will present their findings to the class with an emphasis placed on not only what the subjects are wearing, but why. Throughout the semester the class will meet “on location” wherever clothing is worn in throughout the community. In the classroom, students will discuss readings from basic texts to create a shared vocabulary. They will also discover common (and occasionally uncommon) motivations for dress, not only in our own culture, but also in others in the world today as well as during selected historical periods.
DRAM 83 Spectacle in the Theatre
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.
Dram 89.001 The Heart of the Play: Fundamentals of Acting, Playwriting and Collaboration
The goal of this course is to get you doing theatre, to spark your creativity, and to connect you with the deeper lessons of this dynamic art form. You will act. You will write. You will work with others. It won’t always be easy, but if you’re willing to stretch yourself, you should have a great time. Each lesson is organized around a principle or virtue inherent in the practice of the art. Participants study a quotation or two that relate to that principle and then engage in drama exercises that spring from that principle. By the end of the course, you have gained skills to make you comfortable to write, stage and perform your own 10 minute plays. You also have gained a more holistic understanding of essential principles in the practice of your life.
DRAM 89.002 Ecodrama
This course will guide students through the process of researching, developing, and producing new works inspired by socio-ecological issues. The course will culminate in the presentation of new works aimed at promoting ecological sustainability.
ECON 53 Costs and Benefits of the Drug War
The basic question examined in this seminar will be the costs and benefits of the U.S policy of drug prohibition. Does drug prohibition decrease drug abuse? Affect violence in our society? Aid terrorism? Diminish our civil liberties? Affect the public’s health? Corrupt public officials? Should drugs be decriminalized or legalized and if so, how? Should different illicit drugs be treated differently? What is the evidence in the United States and in other countries on decriminalization or legalization? Students will write a paper and present it in class, and prepare an interview with individuals who are on the frontline of the drug war, such as police or attorneys. As a seminar, classroom activity will consist of discussions and debates.
ECON 57H Engines of Innovation
This seminar will explore ways that research universities, among our nation’s most affluent and influential institutions, can have even greater impact on solving the world’s biggest problems. Our explorations will be based on a book published in the fall of 2010 and co-authored by Buck Goldstein and Chancellor Holden Thorp. The seminar will explore all of the major themes and issues raised in the book, and for some of our discussions, we will have guests with first-hand knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, each student will gain first-hand experience by working on an entrepreneurial project currently taking place in the university community. Last year the class created and implemented Revupinnovation, a nationally known website designed to foster a conversation about increasing the impact of our nation’s leading research universities. No prerequisites are required for this seminar.
EDUC 65: School Daze: What’s School Got to Do with Getting an Education?
What does it mean to be an educated person? What function do schools serve? This seminar builds on the experiences of schooling that students bring to the university. It invites them to re-consider and de-construct what they know about education and schools as a result of those experiences. The seminar considers traditional schooling along with non-traditional and international approaches to educating youngsters. Included are provocative readings, discussions and invitations to brainstorm schooling as it relates to education. Students will be challenged to re-consider their experiences and notions about school and to examine alternatives. Students’ first-hand knowledge and experiences combined with a critical perspective will encourage innovative thinking about ways and places of learning with the aim of generating proposals for new or reformed schools and new forms of public education for the future.
ENGL 80 The Politics of Persuasion: Southern Women’s Rhetoric
LA, CI, US
Southern belles, mammies, plantation mistresses, field slaves, housewives, steel magnolias—women of the nineteenth and early twentieth century American South were stereotypically portrayed in roles confined to domestic spaces, as figures who did not engage directly in political or public life. Yet UNC’s Wilson Library contains a wealth of documents written by women who went beyond these stereotypical roles. These narratives document women’s exploits as social reformers, spies, missionaries, teachers, blockade runners, abolitionists, women’s rights advocates, and escapees from slavery.
These documents show that southern women of all races have used language and rhetoric to challenge the dominant narrative and the political cultural power that it represented, and in doing so, challenged the many stereotypes created to define and limit them. In this course, we will examine these primary documents to uncover the persuasive strategies that women of the American South used to construct personas that challenge the limited roles to which they were assigned and to exert cultural power. In the process, you will engage in original archival research to identify and catalog the rhetorical strategies common to Southern women’s rhetorics.
The main course project will be researching primary documents available in UNC’s Documenting the American South collection. Your research will culminate in a research paper, a website on your project, and an oral presentation. In-class writing workshops and peer review sessions will provide opportunities to share your work with others. In addition, you will work in small groups to lead class discussions. After completing your project, you will write a proposal to present your research at UNC’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research or a similar venue.
ENGL 88 Legacy of Japanese American Internment from WWI I to 9/11
The Japanese American incarceration or internment during World War II was a pivotal event in the history of the United States. This course will explore the legacy of the incarceration as a major piece of civil rights history through law and literature. We will study its legal history, from the Supreme Court landmark cases, now known by every lawyer, and the 1980s appeals and movement for redress and reparation. At the same time, we will uncover the human side of the story through memoirs, letters, artwork, and fictional retellings. We will conclude by considering how a nation can memorialize a violation of civil rights, looking at museums and other memorials, and looking at the continuing legal dialogue about racial profiling and the holding of accused without trial. Students will have the opportunity to conduct independent research on topics of interest; there will also be opportunities for creative writing.
ENGL 89.001 The Future
What will our world look like in ten years? Fifty? One hundred? Will the future be a utopian paradise or a dystopian wasteland? Through a wide-ranging survey of popular science writing, novels, films, and manifestos, this first year seminar will examine fictional and nonfictional attempts to imagine the future, from the nineteenth century to the present. We will explore everything from futurology (the science and industry of predicting possible futures) and transhumanism (the movement to radically enhance human beings through emerging technologies) to warnings of imminent environmental collapse and depictions of post-apocalyptic landscapes. Our focus will be less on assessing the accuracy of these predictions and more on determining what they tell us about the hopes and fears of the present. Occasional film screenings outside of class may be required.
EXSS 89.001 Entrepreneurship in Human Performance and Sport
TUTH 12:30-1:45 PM
The appeal of athletics drives many passionate sports-minded persons to take a risk and create a business. Small businesses are critical to America’s economic engine as they represent 99.7% of all employer firms and pay 44% of total U.S. private payroll (SBA, 2010). There is an endless customer base of sports lovers willing to pay for a quality product and/or service. So if you love sports, whether it is a career in athletic training, health and fitness, or sport management, there are unlimited possibilities of entrepreneurship in human performance and sport. This FYS affords those willing to “blaze their own trail” an introduction to fundamental business steps such as marketing plans, technology usage, financing, and leadership strategies. The FYS will use group activities, case study analysis, problem-solving scenarios, videos, and mini-presentations.
GEOG 56 Local Places in a Globalizing World
TUTH 9:30-10:45 AM
Globalization is a word we hear every day, but what does it mean once we focus in on local places? What does it mean for specific human groups in those local places, around the world? In this seminar students will examine globalization–in both its current and historical forms–through the lens of geography, and in doing so come to understand something about the discipline of human geography as well. Interwoven with our look at globalization will be an overview of the world’s indigenous peoples, in global context–examining what indigeneity means, and seeing what broad global forces have shaped the situation of indigenous peoples generally. Student work will then focus in on the specific local circumstances of particular indigenous groups and explore how current and historical globalization is influencing and has influenced these circumstances, and how these indigenous groups are both resisting and selectively engaging with the structures of globalization to further their own goals. Class meetings will involve a good deal of interaction and discussion of ideas, plus some opportunities to get outside the “box” with field trips and guest speakers. We’ll also work together on coming up with creative ways to present student research results.
GEOG 58 Making Myth-Making Memories: Landscapes of Remembrance
Geography’s primary interests include the study of the interactions between humans and the environments in which they live. For example, when a person or an event is thought by society to be especially significant and valued, ways are often sought to sustain what is valued by preserving in the landscape the memory of the person or event. This course will consider memorial landscapes that are created from the impulse to retain some value symbolized by the person or event memorialized. We know, however, that memories can be complex and change over time. How a memorial landscape is interpreted can also change in complex ways. We will ask: What is preserved in memorial landscapes? Are some memorials more successful than others? Can one evaluate this kind of success? What does a memorial tell us about the society that created it, and what does it tell us about ourselves if the memorial’s meaning has changed? What can we learn by thinking about memorials that were never created?
GEOL 71 Bones Back to Life
This course focuses on the paleontology of Mesozoic life, as exemplified by fossil reptiles from the Triassic of North Carolina. Students will learn about the nature and diversity of ancient reptiles, including dinosaurs, and they will collaborate in the reconstruction of one of North Carolina’s most spectacular vertebrate fossils, the Triassic rauisuchian Postosuchus allisonae. Students who choose to take the optional lab can take GEOL 159L during the second summer session.
GEOL 76 Energy Resources for a Hungry Planet
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. We will then explore alternative energy resources and why it is so important for society to understand that fossil fuel reserves are finite, and will be depleted in 40 years (cheap oil) or in 200 years (coal). The course stimulates student participation through class debates (e.g., Can nuclear energy become a viable and safe substitute for coal?, Is the current US energy policy a threat to national security?).
GERM 51 Stalin and Hitler: Historical Issues in Cultural and Other Perspectives
This course deals with critical issues, and in the broadest possible context, that dominated the twentieth century: the rise of fascism out of the carnage of World War One and the Bolshevik revolution to which the war and Czarist Russia’s involvement in it helped contribute. As the semester unfolds, drawing on a variety of historical and documentary films, and literature (memoirs, novels), we will take a comparative look at singular personalities like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler and examine the role played by such key figures in historical events of this magnitude. More towards the end of the semester, we glance briefly at the situation created in Western and Eastern Europe by the defeat of fascism and contemplate the origins and evolution of the cold war. We conclude with a consideration of the dissolution and democratization of Eastern European countries, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, against the tragic background of the past, the general for democracy in the future.
HIST 51 Ideology and Revolution in Latin America
This seminar explores the problem of revolutionary upheaval in Latin American history. Students will develop their interpretive skills through a close reading of English-language primary sources from the wars of the independence to the guerrilla insurgencies of the late-20th century. The seminar begins with an exploration of the various causes, manifestations, and outcomes of revolutionary violence during the independence era (1810-1825). Students will then analyze the twentieth-century revolutions in Mexico (1910-1917), Cuba (1953-1959), and Nicaragua (1979). The course concludes with an exploration of the late-20th century guerrilla insurgencies of the Shining Path (Peru), FARC (Columbia), and Zapatistas (Mexico).
HIST 67 Life Histories from 20th-Century Africa
This seminar introduces students to the history of twentieth-century South Africa from the perspective of individual life histories. South Africa went through a number of changes during this period, from industrialization and modernization to the rise and fall of apartheid. How did individual South Africans experience these changes? How have they expressed these experiences in their own words? To answer these questions, students will read memoirs by figures such as Nelson Mandela, as well as writings by lesser-known South Africans. The seminar concludes with an exploration of the role of personal testimony and history in the construction of post-apartheid South African society, specifically through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
HIST 89.003 African American Music as History
The influence hip-hop exerts on American popular culture today underscores the power of music in African American life. Yet rather than focusing on hip-hop, we will move back in time to examine the social and political significance of African American music from the 1890s to the 1970s. In this course we will consider how black people have rendered music a receptacle of identity and hope. What compelled African Americans to invest their hope in a resource as amorphous as sound? Engaging a broad range of styles, we will consider how black people across time and place used music to nurture a sense of community. Our investigation will consider this process from a range of perspectives: musicians, audiences, and businesses. The music assumed added significance in a society that dismissed African Americans as inferior and relegated them to second-class citizenship. Even as black people enlisted music to cultivate a sense of belonging, the appeal the music enjoyed among whites made it intensely political. Hence we will also consider the variety of ways singers and musicians navigated these racial politics. Throughout the term we will listen to music in the classroom. We will also engage several live musical performances over the course of the semester.
HIST 89H.004 Emperor in the Roman World
A seminar offering the chance to become better acquainted with Nero, Hadrian, Constantine and fellow playboys, maniacs, tyrants among the Roman emperors can only be fun, surely. But it also poses some stimulating challenges which will broaden any freshman’s perspective as well as provide invaluable historical training. It’s necessary to stand back and consider what exactly are the strengths and limitations of our knowledge: some major gaps and grey areas can be identified, which we must seek the means to fill as best we may. Sensitive evaluation of the sources of the knowledge that we do have is also vital: in particular, lurid tales about wacky individuals among Rome’s emperors may make for engaging reading, but who is telling them and why? how reliable are these informants in fact?
IDST 89: The Health of the Nation
Anthony Viera, Diane Calleson
The U.S. is one of the unhealthiest developed nations in the world, yet we spend more than any other country on health care. In this seminar, we will discuss health care reform efforts, but first we will get you thinking about other important drivers of health. Regardless of your field of study, this seminar will be hugely relevant and influential in how you think about health.
INLS 89 Cultures of Online Social Networking
In recent weeks, Facebook and Twitter became the most visited sites on the Internet passing search engines and portal sites from Google and Yahoo! As early as 4 years ago, over 98% of UNC undergraduates had Facebook profiles and used those profiles more than weekly. Yet, many of these sites and technologies are fairly new. YouTube just celebrated their 5th anniversary. Twitter began in 2006. The adaptation and use of these technologies to enhance and extend and maintain social networks has had an impact on all of our lives.Materials for this class will include readings, videos (not to be viewed in class but as readings), and a variety of visiting speakers (both in person and via Skype). While we will be hearing from researchers, we will also be hearing from people using social networking software to support engagement in the arts, international public health, commerce, science, education and politics.
JOMC 61 Sex, Drugs, and Rock’n’Roll: Teen Health and the Media
Jane Brown, Instructor of Record
American adolescents currently spend five to six hours a day on average with some form of media (e.g., music, television, movies, video games, magazines and the Internet). In this seminar, students will examine the research exploring how such media exposure may affect teens’ health (e.g., early, unprotected sex; aggressive behavior, alcohol/tobacco/illicit drug use, body image, obesity and eating disorders). Students will create a media literacy exercise to help teens interpret and/or resist negative health messages. As media consumers and possibly parents of adolescents in the future, it is important for students to know how the media may be influencing their health, that what they do as media producers may affect the health of their audiences, and that consumers can develop healthier media use habits.
MASC 52 Living with Our Oceans and Atmosphere
This seminar will introduce students to the nature of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, with emphasis on developing an understanding of the processes that lead to our weather patterns and global climate. Modern theories of changing weather, severe weather events, oceanic hazards, interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, and oceanic and atmospheric changes that are linked to increasing human activity will be studied. Examples of presently active research being conducted at UNC and other institutions will be used to highlight how the above topics are investigated scientifically. Readings will be taken from: introductory meteorology and oceanography textbooks; modern articles in periodicals such as Scientific American, Nature, American Scientist, and Weatherwise; numerous websites, including those within the UNC Department of Marine Sciences; and video presentations. Classroom presentations in seminar format and group participation discussions and debates will be utilized. There may be a short field trip or two. Visits to active research laboratories involved in marine and atmospheric projects will be made as possible. Grading will be based principally on homework assignments, one student presentation, and two exams.
MASC 57 From “The Sound of Music” to “The Perfect Storm”
We are constantly surrounded by phenomena that are wave-like in nature. We communicate over short distances with sound waves, and we use electromagnetic waves to communicate over long distances. We see waves when we stand at beach, and the weather we experience is controlled very often by wave-like features of the jet stream. In this seminar, we will develop the conceptual framework necessary to understand waves, starting from laboratory observations. The main goal is to explore the common traits of waves, and how these traits can be used to enhance our understanding and to predict the outcome of a broad range of important physical phenomena.
MATH 51 Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly: The Mathematics and the Mechanics of Moving
One focus of this seminar is to address the science of motion of vehicles and living organisms, in fluids such as air and water, using simple physical explanations supported with the relevant mathematical descriptions. Experimental demonstrations will be used to illustrate the concepts encountered in class, as well as to provide an insight into the art of fluid flow visualization. There are no prerequisites, and material from physics and mathematics will be introduced as needed. Understanding of the material will be reinforced with biweekly homework assignments and a final animation project. While this the course is focused on the physics and mathematics, rather than computer programming, an introduction to elementary concepts of scientific computing will be part of the course.
MATH 60 Simulated Life
Mathematical models are increasingly used to guide public health policy decisions and explore questions in infectious disease control. This seminar will introduce students to the thought process that goes into developing computational models of the spread and control of infectious diseases. The class will also expose students to techniques for simulating and analyzing these models and build intuition into the dynamic behavior produced by the models. Throughout this process, students will learn the key features of infections and the reasons for the occurrence of epidemics. Students will also learn how data from the early stages of an epidemic can be analyzed to infer the future number of cases and the level of control required to mitigate an infection.
MATH 89 An Introduction to the Theory of Special Relativity
Special relativity is an important mathematical and physical development of the last century, which has broad implications in the current study of general relativity in both physics and mathematics. However, the concepts can be introduced from basic principles and explored from many perspectives that give insight into the fundamental importance of the ideas without requiring any previous knowledge. This seminar will introduce special relativity in terms of its historical context at the time of discovery and how it has been propagated and evaluated through culture and science since.
MUSC 52 Building a Nation: The Stage Musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein, 1942-1949
The first three major collaborations of composer Richard Rogers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, ‘Oklahoma!’ (1943), ‘Carousel’ (1945), and ‘South Pacific’, revolutionized the Broadway musical. But they are also important historical and social documents, coming from a decade of tempestuous change as America emerged from war in Europe and the Far East to deal with political and social reform, and deep self-examination. We shall take an interdisciplinary approach to study these theatrical works both for themselves and for what they tell us about their times. We shall also treat them as case-studies for how to study music and popular culture in the context of the humanities.
PHIL 51 Who was Socrates?
PH, NA, WB
Socrates is the quintessential philosopher- a man for all season, a foundational figure of the West. Yet, he was born and lived in a unique time and place- fifth century Athens. The aim of this course is to see Socrates in his historical context, so as to better understand his significance for his contemporaries and for us. The focus, however, will be on the large and perennial human questions that Socrates made his own: What is justice? How should we live? What education should we give our children? What sort of society should we strive to provide for them and for ourselves? Each week we will read a part of one of the primary texts and discuss it carefully in the class. These discussions will serve both a s a testing-ground for ideas and as preparation for the writing assignments. The secondary texts will help explain the primary ones. By learning to talk and write in an engaging but disciplined ways about books and ideas that are both exciting and significant, we will not only be finding out about Socrates but we will be taking up the Socratic challenge to live the examined life.
PHIL 89 Proofs of the Existence of God
Our primary aim in this seminar is to examine attempts by philosophers to prove the existence of God. How good are the arguments? What is the aim of producing or criticizing such proofs? What philosophical and moral issues come into focus as we confront the challenges involved in proving Gods existence? Our secondary aim is to raise and explore some other related issues, such as: What is the relation between knowledge and faith? Is there a conflict between science and faith? What psychological or evolutionary reasons might explain the fact that belief in God is a nearly universal cultural phenomenon? Is God’s existence a necessary condition for the objectivity of ethics?
PLAN 89.001 Landscape, Place and the City in America
The seminar will focus on the growth and development of the American landscape from the pre-colonial era to the present day. In it we will examine a broad range of forces that have shaped American space over the centuries—from religion, politics and economics, to notions of Utopia and advances in technology and engineering. Through a series of focused readings and class discussions, we will unpack the ideals and values that have determined the pattern of settlement on the American land, influenced the design of our cities, towns and suburbs, and shaped the built environments of the United States and the culture identity of the American people. Particular attention will be paid to the perennial American struggle to reconcile rus and urbe—the country and the city—and how the search for a “pastoral urbanism” has come to be a defining feature of the American experience.
PLAN 89.002 Infrastructure and the Modern Metropolis
The purpose of this seminar is to explore the nexus between technology, urban culture and the form and structure of American cities. We will examine key technological advancements in transportation, urban infrastructure, building technology and telecommunications, seeking to understand the ways each altered existing patterns of metropolitan development, or opened up whole new possibilities for urban form. We will also investigate the impacts of certain technologies on perceptions of the urban environment and on the character and quality of urban life. Among the topics considered are the role of the railroad, omnibus and streetcar on urban expansion and suburban growth; the role of world’s fairs and amusement parks in showcasing technologies of an imagined urban future; electrical illumination and the end of urban night; the automobile and expressway as agents of urban decentralization; the “vertiginous city” of skyscrapers and its enabling technologies (elevator, telephone, steel-frame construction); the synoptic perspective on the urban landscape made possible by mechanized flight; and the Cold-War threat of nuclear annihilation and the “urban dispersal movement” it inspired. We will conclude with two sessions exploring the implications of cyberspace and digital communications technology on cities and urban life, and consider the prospects and problems inherent in “virtual urbanism.”
PLCY 50 Environment and Labor in the Global Economy
The recent rapid globalization of manufacturing and finance raises important public policy issues concerning impacts on the environment, labor, and communities. Does the globalization of business harm the environment, working conditions, and human rights, or improve them? Under what circumstances, and what public policies are needed to assure that these values are protected? How do these issues affect us as individual citizens, consumers, and students, and what responsibility do institutions such as universities bear, as well as businesses and governments, in responding to them? This seminar will explore these questions, using as case studies several major companies that manufacture products in less-developed countries for consumers in the U.S. We’ll begin by discussing some of the basic principles and history behind economic globalization (and debating the arguments about them!), and then teams of students will lead discussions of some of the more specific issues – such as energy, climate change and environmental impacts, working conditions and “sweatshops,” women and child labor, human rights, and the recent global financial crisis – and possible responses to these issues to create a global economy that is environmentally and socially as well as economically sustainable. We’ll also compare perspectives on globalization from the viewpoints of people in other countries, and in your own home town.
PLCY 61 Policy Entrepreneurship and Public/Private Partnerships (Canceled)
PLCY 70 National Policy: Who Sets the Agenda? (Canceled)
POLI 53 Politics of Shakespeare
Literature quite often provides insight into political life. Issues such as power, justice, equality, and rights have long been illuminated by authors seeking to capture a wide variety of political relationships. Some of these relationships exist on a domestic level, involving competing factions within government or the connections between governments and their citizens. Others occur on the international stage, where governments engage in both benign and hostile interactions. One author who was particularly adept at portraying the complexities of politics was Shakespeare. In plays ranging from histories to comedies, he had quite a lot to say about topics as diverse as political ambition, executive decision making, and leadership. His work, as one leading scholar argues, “Shows most vividly and comprehensively the fate of tyrants, the character of good rulers, the relations of friends, and the duties of citizens.” In this seminar, we will begin to explore some of these issues. Students will read, view, and critically discuss a number of Shakespeare’s plays, examining them from a political perspective and assessing their contemporary relevance. You will be asked to read and, where available, to view these plays outside of class. (Where possible, we will watch film versions together.) Students will engage in a series of projects connecting Shakespeare’s work to political issues and have a leading role in class meetings, taking turns in leading discussions and generating questions.
POLI 71 Politics and Animal Life
Humans and non-human animals have lived together since time immemorial, our relationships exhibiting a range of qualities, including nterdependence, hostility, indifference, and care. Despite the fact that our form of life is always one lived in close proximity to the animal world, we tend to think of non-human animals as existing outside the boundaries of political life; indeed, animal life has been, at best, a marginal topic in the field of political science. Yet increasingly, political thinkers are challenging commonly held beliefs about the political and ethical standing of animals and attempting to illuminate the ways in which animal life actually animates much of political theory and politics today. In the spirit of these emerging debates, this seminar will shed light on the ways in which non-human animals have been central to the construction of meaning in the history of political thought and to our own self-understandings. Once we get this picture in clearer view, questions concerning our relationships and interactions with animals today will be pressed upon us, and together we will reconsider the view that non-human animals can be legitimately excluded from political life and thought. More specifically, we will explore the implications of including them in political life and thought and how that fact might be brought to bear on particular problems concerning our relationships with animals in late modernity.
POLI 73 Politics of Race, Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender
In many parts of the world, race, ethnicity, language, religion and gender are explicitly linked to politics. In the United States, we tend to link these identities to politics through political parties. In this seminar, we will explore the concepts of race, ethnicity, language, religion, and gender in a comparative context in order to gain a better understanding of their application in the United States. From there we will consider the relationship between race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender and politics, from the perspective of citizens, candidates, policies, and institutions. We will use scholarly texts as the foundation for the course, but we will couple those with newspaper articles and narratives to gain a first-hand perspective as needed. This course will not have a final exam, but students will be asked to work on a group project and make a presentation to the class.
PSYC 53 Talking About Numbers: Communicating Research Results to Others
This seminar introduces the many ways that research results are reported to the public in our everyday lives-through advertising and mass media, the Internet, research-based policy statements, oral presentations, and scientific journal articles. Students learn how to use graphics programs, design computer presentations, and analyze data reporting in the media, in government forums, in the courtroom, and on the Internet. Emphasis is on developing a critical eye for how findings are disseminated and how computer use and the Internet landscape fit with issues of data access and reporting.
PSYC 66 Eating Disorders and Body Image
We all have bodies, we all eat; some people have a healthy relationship with both and do not give much thought to either. For some, however, intense body dissatisfaction and disordered eating infiltrate their lives and can lead to an eating disorder. In this seminar we will learn about the eating disorders of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, and explore factors related to these disorders from a psychosocial perspective. Some of the questions we will examine include: What messages do we get from the media about our bodies and eating, and who is most susceptible to these? What role can family and peers play in contributing to risk for eating disorders and in helping an individual out of an eating disorder? What do we know about how women of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and men experience body image and disordered eating? Can we prevent eating disorders? What treatments work? We will explore these issues though class discussion, readings, videos, guest speakers, experiential assignments, and writing assignments. Both male and female students are encouraged to enroll.
PSYC 89 Stress and Health: Understanding the Relationship between Body and Mind
We all experience stressful situations. Our response to stressors includes a wide range of bodily changes that are commonly believed to be an adaptive mechanism, which serves to maintain stability of the body’s overall functioning. However, the stress response can also lead to detrimental health consequences, such as psychiatric disorders and immune dysfunction. This seminar will explore the behavioral and physiological mechanisms through which psychological stress affects physical and mental health. We will also investigate the role of stress in various diseases, explore approaches for coping with stress, and examine how behavioral strategies such as relaxation therapies and exercise may reduce stress responsivity and promote well-being.
RELI 64 Reintroducing Islam
PH, BN, GL
This course is an introduction to the Islamic faith tradition, focusing on religious thought and practice in both their historical and contemporary dimensions. We will approach the study of Islam thematically and with several core questions in mind: what is the role of scripture and interpretation in Islam, how is religious authority constituted, and how has Islam been studied? The course aims to engage with popular and media representations of Islam and Muslims, and to think critically about their dynamics, politics, and utility, thus students will be “re-introduced” to the Islamic tradition in its varying and changing contexts. Major themes include religious practice, ethics and Islamic law, beliefs, artistic expressions, intellectual production, and politics.
RELI 73H: From Dragons to Pokémon: Animals in Japanese Myth, Folklore, and Religion
LA, BN, CI
TUTH 11:00AM–12:15 pm
This seminar examines the cultural construction of animals in Japanese myth, folklore, and religion. We will discuss various kinds of animals: those that occur in the natural world (insects, snakes, foxes, badgers, monkeys), those that are found in myths (dragons, tengu (goblins), oni (demons)), and those that have appeared in popular media such as science fiction and animation (Godzilla, Pokemon). We will explore how images of various animals were culturally constructed as tricksters, gods, monsters, or anthropomorphic companions; how animals were ritualized as divine, demonic, or sentient beings in Buddhism, Shinto, and folk religion; and how animals could serve as metaphors that embodied collective ideals or nightmares. Most of our readings will focus on primary and secondary texts from the Japanese tradition (in English), but we will also read theoretical texts on human-animal relationships and historical studies on animals in premodern Europe and China. We will also view and analyze several Japanese animated films that deal with animals and environmental issues, such as The Princess Mononoke and Pompoko.
RELI 76 Money and Morality: Religion and Life
What is the relation between money and morality? Both are forms of value tied to broader philosophical and practical systems. And both reach deeply into other social domains. This first year seminar explores the many ways that different religions and cultures have imagined spiritual wealth, secular riches and the appropriate modes of interaction between them in different places and times. Is there a special relationship between Christianity and capitalism? Why are Thai Buddhists enjoined to gamble at funerals? How did Iroquois wampum function as a means to facilitate trade, advance diplomacy, and also make peace in colonial North America? What do ordinary Indians make of media-savvy gurus who build multimillion dollar spiritual enterprises despite having “renounced” worldly life? How do ordinary Americans understand it when Christian evangelists do the same? Using diverse sources including films, theater, and editorials as well as scholarly articles and books, the course challenges students to question conventional assumptions about money and morality in favor of richer understandings of the ways that value is represented and operates in the spiritual and material economies that define human social life.
RELI 89.002 Reading the Bible
An introduction to the varying forms the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament assumes as Scripture within the early formative periods of Judaism and Christianity. We will explore how this collection of an ancient Near Eastern people’s writings first came to be preserved and seen as sacred literature. What purposes did such scripture serve, and how did it come to be interpreted?
ROML 59 Courts, Courtiers, and Court Culture in 16th-and 17th-Century Europe
What was an early modern Spanish court like? Who and what were the key components that contributed to the making of the court in 16th- and 17th-century Spain? How did literature, the visual arts, clothing, food, gifts, buildings, theater, and etiquette make up the court culture of that time in Spain? This course aims to engage students in discussions about the making of the fascinating Habsburg court world in early modern Spain. We will embark on a shared intellectual adventure exploring how and where monarchs and courtiers lived, their education, what cultural milieu they contributed in fomenting, how literature and other cultural forms represented them, and the politics and reasoning behind these projections. Most of our readings will be selections from translated texts by Vives, Juan de Mariana, Cervantes, and Calderón de la Barca, among others, but several key historical and critical readings will also be used in class to enrich discussion and to encourage a deeper engagement with the theme. To keep the performing and visual dimension of early modern court life alive and to encourage discussion, we will also visit the Ackland Museum and the Rare Books Collection of Wilson library, we will view and analyze two films that deal with early modern courtiers and their lives, and we will conclude the semester with presentations of students’ research projects.
ROML 61 Language in Autism and Developmental Disorders
Language is the most complex human behavior, yet it is acquired relatively effortlessly and rapidly by typically developing children. At the same time, in the US, 17% of children are diagnosed with a developmental disability. How do children with neurodevelopmental disorders (for instance, autism) learn and use language? How do their disabilities impact their communication, their socialization, their sense of identity, their success in achieving societal and personal goals? How do we study children with disabilities? How can we improve their language skills? How do we protect their rights as research participants? How has our view of disability changed over time and what are the most pressing challenges that lie ahead? This course examines all these questions and gives students tools to understand, design, and carry-out research with children in special populations.
SOCI 54 Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, No Jobs: Work and Workers in 21st-Century America
We will examine the nature and meaning of work in America at the beginning of the 21st Century. We will seek to answer questions such as: What are the main changes that are currently taking place in work and jobs in the United States? Why are some jobs “good” and others “bad”? What explains the growth of temporary work, and why do so many people work as temps? Why are so many companies downsizing their workforces? What are the consequences for workers being laid off and employed? We will try to answer these questions by reading books and articles, by collecting information using the internet, and by interviewing workers.
SOCI 89.001 Society and Genomics
The course focuses on how advances in molecular genomics over the past decades benefit sociology and other social sciences. Topics include an introduction to traditional biometrics (inferring genetic influences using genetically related individuals without using molecular information); an introduction to basic principles of molecular genetics; joint influences of social contexts and genetic heritage to human behaviors; history of human evolution and contemporary race/ethnicity; evolutionary psychology; sex, gender, and genomics; ethical, legal, and social issues in genetic studies (ELSI); genetic testing; and epigenetics – the potential links between genes and environment. To make the course accessible to students in social sciences, the course does not have prerequisites, but familiarity with basic genetics or a social science field is helpful.
SOCI 89.002 Introduction to Applied Social Theory
To what extent do values influence the theories and methods of sociology? What common assumptions about human personhood underlie common concepts in sociology, such as power, structure, culture, and agency? In this reading, writing and discussion-intensive class, we will first review classical arguments about the role of values in sociology. Next we will discuss Aristotelian and neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics and apply them to contemporary social theories. Then we will explore competing visions of the human person contained in some examples of current thinking in anthropology, psychology and economics. Finally, we return to recent sociological theory about human persons and human communities, focusing on developing a critical, yet realist, perspective on the production and application of social science knowledge. Throughout the course, outside speakers from the academy and community institutions will be invited to reflect on how their work informs and critiques dominant theories about social relations. Students will be required to conduct interviews with professionals whose work relates to the social theories we discuss and use those interviews to better understand and critique those theories.
SOCI 89.003 Difficult Dialogues
In public life today there are many areas of intense disagreement. People disagree about moral issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and end-of-life care. They disagree about economic matters like how high taxes should be and what government should do with taxes. They disagree about America’s role in the world and in military actions around the world. They disagree about religion, corporate responsibility, education, and more. But most of the time the disagreement is either buried or ignored. Professional disagreers in the media—and their audiences—trumpet talking points and angry rhetoric without considering their opponents’ concerns much at all. Meanwhile sober voices champion “civility,” all too often preferring good manners to serious engagement. In this seminar, we will learn rules and practices for talking about, and listening to, big issues that inspire passionate disagreement. We will tackle three such issues during the semester: probably one economic, one moral, and one foreign; and for each we will learn enough to have a vigorous, frank, and smart conversation. Each conversation will result in one or more collaborative discussions, to be posted online, that detail the contours of the issue, the remaining points of disagreement and agreement, and one or more conclusion(s).
STOR 62: Probability and Paradoxes
Did you know the following? Among 40 randomly chosen people, it is very likely that two of them will have the same birthday, and even with only 23 people, the chance of a match is better than 50%. A test for a disease may be 99% accurate, and yet if you test positive, your probability of having the disease may be only 10%. It is possible for baseball player A to have a higher batting average than player B for the first half of the season, and also for the second half of the season, but for player B to have a higher average for the whole season. In mathematics there are either true statements that can never be proved, or false statements that can be proved true, or both. There are competitive situations in which it is in everyone’s advantage to act selfishly, but everyone does better if all act cooperatively. Mathematics and logic, in particular the theory of probability, are powerful tools for understanding the world around us, but they lead to some surprising conclusions, as in the examples above. Studying such surprises adds to our understanding of randomness, logic, and behavior. In this seminar, we will look at these and other seeming paradoxes, and learn how thinkers in various fields try to explain them. No previous knowledge of mathematics beyond basic algebra is required.
WMST 66: World Literature by Women
“Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to Communion…” (Purple Hibiscus 1).So begins Chimamanda Adichie’s novel about growing up. Bildungsroman, or the coming of age novel, asks us to reflect on terms such as “grown up,” “childhood”, “adult”, and the incidents/traumas that move us from the moral and psychological understandings of a child to the next developmental stage. Have you ever considered the joys and pitfalls of girls coming of age globally? And how their experiences might intersect with your own? In this class, we explore what surviving and/or enjoying adolescence looks like in different cultural, political, social, and economic contexts. In the end, you are asked to compare your experiences of emerging adulthood with those around you and from our texts. We will be using films, graphic novels, and other mediums to explore these themes.
Please be advised that this class will expose you to ideas, themes, language, etc. of an explicit nature, which may be uncomfortable to you.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Collaborations
PSYC 190.01 Eating Disorders and Body Image
We all have bodies, we all eat; some people have a healthy relationship with both and do not give much thought to either. For some, however, intense body dissatisfaction and disordered eating infiltrate their lives and can lead to an eating disorder. In this seminar we will learn about the eating disorders of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder and explore factors related to these disorders from psychosocial and cognitive perspectives. Some of the questions we will examine include: What messages do we get from the media about our bodies and eating? What role can family and peers play in contributing to risk for and recovery from eating disorders? What do we know about how women of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and men experience body image? What kind of personality characteristics and patterns of thinking are related to eating disorders? Can we prevent eating disorders? What treatments work? We will explore these issues though class discussion, readings, videos, guest speakers, experiential assignments, and writing assignments.
PSYC 190.002 Exploring Infancy and the Development of a Mind
This Science Seminar will focus on the multiple and broad domains of development that occur from prenatal stages throughout the first year of life. The course will consist of brief lectures on a specific domain, discussion based on empirical articles and scientific research paradigms, and evaluation and synthesis based on the student’s observations in an infant daycare setting. The goals of this course will be to inform students about infant research, current findings, and how to critically analyze and evaluate human development and a sophisticated mind through the challenging task of studying infants. Students will be required to participate in observation of infants and to propose a study on a domain of development that would be informative concerning the emergence or existence of a mind.