African and Afro-American Studies (AFRI, AFAM)
American Studies (AMST)
Asian Studies (ASIA)
City and Regional Planning (PLAN)
Communication Studies (COMM)
Computer Science (COMP)
Dramatic Art (DRAM)
Exercise and Sport Science (EXSS)
Information and Library Science (INLS)
Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST)
Marine Sciences (MASC)
Political Science (POLI)
Public Policy (PLCY)
Religious Studies (RELI)
Romance Languages (ROML)
Slavic Languages and Literature (SLAV)
Statistics and Operations Research (STOR)
Women’s and Gender Studies (WMST)
AFAM 51 Masquerades of Blackness
This seminar is designed to investigate how the concept of race has been represented in cinema historically, with a particular focus on, or interest in, representations of race when blackness is masqueraded. Its intent is to launch an investigative inquiry into how African Americans are represented on screen in various time periods, how we as spectators are manipulated by these cinematic constructions of race, and how race is marked or coded other than through visual representation. Students will view films that deal with “passing” from the various historical periods and will utilize theoretical concepts introduced in the assigned reading material to read racialized representations in these visual representations. Films selected for viewing include those from the pre-World War II Era, the Civil Rights Era, and the “Post-Racial” era. Students will be required to write three papers that reflect their ability to apply theoretical concepts to reading racialized representions on screen in these three historical periods and that demonstrate their understanding of how racial masquerades have evolved over time.
AMST 51 Navigating America
SS, CI, EE
This seminar is designed to teach students how to navigate new intellectual terrain and process unfamiliar information from a variety of disciplinary perspectives with an emphasis on discussion, field study, and documentation. Each student will plan, implement, and document an individual short journey. This voyage of discovery on the campus or in the surrounding community will be chronicled with a documentary journal and presented to the class in a multi-media format that conveys the individual’s perspective, journey, and discoveries. Additionally, the class will collaboratively plan, implement, and document a common rail journey. This required field study will be a core aspect of the experiential education connection for the course. Spring 2013 we will focus on mass transit journeys with a special focus on rail in America.
AMST 89 Navigating the World with American Eyes
This seminar is designed to help prepare students for future study abroad opportunities, international work, and understanding the implications of national identity and action in a global environment. Using group projects, individual proposal writing, and collaborative field study within the campus and near-by community, we will explore a wide range of issues including access to work, health care, and education. Differences in religion, culture, gender roles, geography, and more will be considered as students intensely develop individual plans for foreign travel, study, and work using readings, class exercises, documentaries, and interviews. There will be a special focus on transportation systems and other forms of infrastructure that impact navigating places, people, and information.
ANTH 51 Environmentalism and American Society
This seminar uses films and ethnographic case studies to examine the social and cultural roots of environmental issues of our day. Working sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, students will learn to take an anthropological approach to US environmental struggles by studying the clashing cultural meanings and moral stakes of the conflicts for activists versus those of the people and organizations they seek to change. We will delve into energy and climate change, food and farming, consumerism, the role of corporations, and environmental justice. A question, which recurs throughout the semester, is: Why do some people become active in environmental struggles while others seem to have no interest? Students will participate in engaged discussions and organized debates and write short essays to develop their understanding of seminar issues. Ultimately the seminar aims to help students better understand the environmental challenges facing the country, the cultural and social frameworks within which they are rooted, and the motivations/understandings that draw citizens into active response to such concerns.
ANTH 60H Crisis & Resilience: Past & Future of Human Societies
HS, BN, CI
The goal of this FYS 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: Exploring Self-Taught Art
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.
ANTH 89 The Lives of Others: Exploring Ethnography
SS, EE, CI
Can we truly access, understand, and represent the lives of others? In this class, we will take on this question by taking up the practice of ethnography: a research method consisting of entering into a community, interacting with its members, observing social life, asking questions, and writing about our findings. Turning to anthropology and the growing number of disciplines using ethnography today, we will examine the ways ethnographers work to understand the people they work with. Over the semester, we will explore the method by becoming ethnographers ourselves. You, the student, will accordingly venture into the social world to conduct research on a topic and with a community of your choosing–thereby giving you first-hand knowledge of what it means to translate their worlds into your words. These are skills of social understanding that should serve students across their academic careers and beyond.
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 54H Art, War, and Revolution
Focusing on one or a few related works of art per week, this course will explore the complex relationship between art, war and conflict. At the heart of the course lie the tensions between glorifying war and violence and memorializing their victims, between political justification and moral outrage, between political programs (many of the works being commissioned to legitimate a particular view of war) and the malleability of meaning. The focus on single works in a variety of media – painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, graphic arts, and film – will offer the opportunity to study them in depth while also gaining exposure to a range of interpretive methods and the richness of the historical context.
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 89 Embroidering Identity: Theory and Practice
This first year seminar looks closely at embroidering as a culturally-specific practice, and examines the works, their making, use, and circulation as a point of entry into the communities and individuals that engage with them. During the first half of the semester we will read about the power associated with cloth in historical perspective, ranging from the role of textiles in crafting national identity to stitching as shaping individual and collective memory. The second half of the semester will be more hands-on. We will conduct two projects. The first will be auto-ethnographic embroidery projects. Second, we will conduct ethnographic exercises to find out how women in our local community experience embroidery and why they continue to embroider. Through these projects we hope to gain greater awareness of the intensely visceral and phenomenological dimensions of the act of embroidering, its haptic and emotional qualities, and meditational and cathartic value.
ASIA 56H Writing Women in Modern China
In “liberating” China from its traditional cultural practices, Chairman Mao denounced the oppression of women by famously declaring that “women hold up half the sky.” One of the Chinese Communist Party’s achievements was its elevation of women. After the Party initiated capitalist economic reforms in the 1980s, however, women may have lost ground. This seminar compares the rhetoric of equality between the sexes presented during China’s feminist movements by late Imperial, May Fourth Era, and communist thinkers to perspectives by women writers. We examine how several generations of women reconciled themselves to, and resisted, the expectations of women under Confucianism, Communism, and Capitalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students read (in translation) Chinese literature and essays, discuss ideas of gender, liberation, and literature, and learn to write short position papers and a research paper. The evolution of women’s status provides a fascinating perspective on China’s past century of modernization, and insight into its development in the twenty-first century. No previous knowledge of China is required.
ASIA 62 Women and Spirituality in Turkey
F. Cangüzel Zülfikar
This seminar is designed to examine both the historical and the contemporary aspects of women’s religiosity in today’s Islamic Turkey. Mystical interpretations and practices of Muslims are fairly common and 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 Sufi, 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. We will also examine the ways in which the secular context of Turkey has shaped how 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 seminar requires students’ active participation in discussions.
ASIA 89.002 Philosophy on Bamboo: Rethinking Early Chinese Thought
Over the last few decades a large number of bamboo manuscripts of hitherto unknown texts dating to the 4th to the 1st centuries BCE have been excavated from various sites in China. This wealth of new material has led many scholars to rethink longstanding assumptions about early Chinese thought. In order to enable students to engage directly with the recently discovered texts and cutting-edge research on them, this course will briefly introduce students to the received classics of the pre-Qin period, such as the Analects, the Mozi, the Mencius, the Xunzi, the Daodejing, the Zhuangzi, and the Hanfeizi. Rather than merely providing an introduction to these traditional texts, we will study how recently discovered texts challenge traditional readings of pre-Qin works and lead us to question traditional classifications of pre-Qin works into “schools of thought” or isms such as Confucianism, Legalism, Daoism, etc.
ASIA 89H Arab World Photography
This seminar introduces students to the practice of photography in the Arab world. We will begin by studying photography of the Arab world by others: European travelers and missionaries, colonialists, ethnographers, journalists, etc. We will examine and discuss selected images, paying particular attention to the relationship that is created and/or represented in them. This viewing will be supplemented with background readings on the history and/or sociopolitical or cultural contexts in which the images are made. We will then turn our attention to indigenous photography in the Arab world. What types of images do people in the region make for themselves and to what purpose? In what ways are these images similar to or different from the photographs created about them by travelers and colonial administrators, foreign journalists, and academics? We will then consider photographs of war and violence and what effects that have on the world. The final segments of the class will be devoted to selected contemporary photographers from the Arab world and the complex ways in which their documentary and art images engage both with the history of Arab photography and the contemporary Arab world; the relationship between photography and moving images; and photography and the Arab Revolutions that began in January 2011.
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 55 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.
CLAS 65 The City of Rome
This first-year seminar provides an introduction to the archaeology and urban development of the city of Rome from antiquity through to the present day. Students will survey the period from the foundation of the city through to the twenty-first century with an eye toward understanding the urbanism and material culture of the city of Rome. Case studies will highlight key developments and features of Rome’s own urbanism.
COMM 70 Southern Writing in Performance
A performance-centered seminar focusing on the works of North Carolina writers, especially those who write fiction and poetry, and on researching, discussing, adapting, and performing that content.
COMM 82 Globalizing Organizations: Food Politics
SS, CI, GL
“Globalization” is both a hotly contested subject and a central part of contemporary life. This course provides an introduction to key debates by focusing on the politics of the global food system. By the end of the semester, you will gain an understanding of the impacts of various “globalized” and “globalizing” organizational actors within the global food system. We will consider the roles of multinational companies, commodity chains and their labor practices, food marketing and consumption, and community-based social movements. The course also includes experiential activities designed to foster critical reflection about the community-building functions of food, including: sharing a dining hall meal, volunteering at the Carolina Campus Community Garden, participating in Hunger Lunch, and visiting the Carrboro Farmer’s Market.
COMM 85 Think, Speak, Argue
A Joseph P. McGuire First Year Seminar
Supported by the Jeff and Jennifer Allred Initiative for Critical Thinking and Communication Studies
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 89 Surveillance and Society
How are surveillance technologies altering social life in post-9/11 worlds? This course will explore this question by mapping the complex ways that technologies and societies interact to produce security, fear, control, vulnerability, and/or empowerment. Some of the areas covered include the surveillance capacities of social media, monitoring of individuals at schools and workplaces, video surveillance in public and quasi-public spaces, passenger-screening technologies at airports, and a host of other monitoring technologies throughout everyday life. Readings will be drawn from the social sciences, science fiction, and popular media. Several films will be shown to facilitate critical inquiry into the shaping of popular perceptions about the future and our role in its creation. The class is designed to give students freedom to develop and express their own ideas. The course goal is for you to cultivate a technological literacy that will allow you to analyze and critique surveillance technologies as social entities.
COMP 80 Enabling Technology–Computers Helping People
Nearly one in seven Americans has a significant disability; Should they be exceptions? Through readings, guest lectures, videos, and projects we will explore the legal, moral, cultural, and technical issues and opportunities raised by this “minority you can join at any time”. We will focus on ways that computer technology can be used to mitigate the effects of disabilities and the sometimes surprising response of those we intend to help. We will work together with teachers, experts and individuals with disabilities to develop ideas and content for new enabling technologies. Previous computer experience is helpful but not required; creativity, ability to think “outside the box”, and the desire to make the world a bit better are more important. This is an Apples Service Learning Course.
DRAM 80 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 84 The Inherent Qualities of Theatrical Space
What makes a particular space inherently theatrical? This seminar examines the tangible and intangible elements that contribute to the theatricality of space. How do spaces that are not traditional theatres possess or create a sense of theatricality? How does a space inform or affect what goes on inside it? What is the synthesis that happens when certain elements and ideas are brought into a space? Students will visit many of the traditional and non-traditional spaces used for performances and presentations on the UNC campus; will read primary source material discussing aspects of theatrical space; will meet with theatre directors and designers from Playmakers Repertory Company to discuss aspects of performance space. The students will divide into working groups to research a selected scene and choose a non-theatrical space in which they will perform the scene. The exercise will be to gauge the level of “theatricality” of a space and the effect of the space on the performance.
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: the Entrepreneurial University in the 21st Century
Build-Measure-Learn: Constructing Your Own Start-Up. This class will combine some basic principles of entrepreneurship with the newly emerging lean startup methodology. Students will be given background on entrepreneurial thinking and a hands-on workshop involving the latest thinking in executing a successful new venture. They will then be provided with a small grant to execute their idea over the course of the semester. They will interact intensively with the instructor, outside advisors, and guest speakers, and it is hoped that some or all of the projects will become viable by the end of the course.
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 69 Entrepreneurial on the Web
This seminar will explore the current state of computer-assisted composition and help students develop new media writing projects for emerging online cultural and economic spaces. Content will range from understanding the economic dimensions of cultural production on the Web (e.g., viral popularity on YouTube and advertising-supported blogs) to developing new media composition skills necessary for success in emerging online environments, to successfully establishing online domains, and to creating virtual professional spaces.
ENGL 87 Jane Austen, Then and Now (added 1/2/2012)
The focus for this semester will be “Pride and Prejudice: Then, Now, and In Between.” Students will begin with in-depth reading of Austen’s 1813 novel and its treatment of sisters dispersed by the competition for a good marriage. We will then analyze adaptions, parodies, and extensions of Pride and Prejudice itself, in print and on film, as well as cultural migrations of Austen’s themes to other settings like Civil-War America, Tsarist Russia, present-day India, and present-day Utah.
Assignments: Daily quizzes; creative assignment (5 pages) due at midterm; research assignment (5 pages) due at end of term. Each student will begin a class discussion once every two or three weeks.
Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Norton Critical Edition, ed. Donald Gray.
Alcott, Little Women, Norton Critical Edition, ed. Gregory Eiselein and Anne K. Phillips Aleichem, Tevye and His Daughters P. D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley Austen and Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Films to be screened will be drawn from this list:
Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Pride and Prejudice (1995) with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth
Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Romance (2003)
Bride and Prejudice (2004)
Pride and Prejudice (2005) with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen
Lost in Austen (2008)
Downton Abbey, season 1 (2010)
ENGL 89 Literature of 9/11
This seminar will explore representations of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath in literature and popular culture. Following an introduction to the concept of terrorism and to the production of knowledge about political violence in the fields of law, politics, religious studies, and terrorism studies, we will explore a diverse array of themes related to the 9/11 attacks and the “war on terror” as depicted in memoirs, poetry, novels, public art, graphic novels, film, and music: explanations of the causes and consequences of political violence, the role of religion in public culture and state institutions, national security discourse, mourning and public trauma, depictions of the US military in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and the perspectives of detainees and minority communities on the attacks and their aftermath. Students will read and discuss both critical scholarship and literary texts, discuss major controversies in organized debates, compose two papers, and complete group presentations on topics of their choice.
ENGL 89H Publishing, Making Knowledge, and the Research University (cancelled)
EXSS 51 Entrepreneurship in Human Performance and Sport
TUTH 12:30-1:45 PM
Interested in learning the necessary fundamentals of starting your own business in the sport industry? This seminar provides inquisitive students an introduction to Entrepreneurship and its application in the world of human performance and sport business. There is a substantial body of knowledge, concepts, and tools that business owners need to know before “stepping out on their own.” This course explores creativity exercises and introduces entrepreneurial business tools inspiring students to develop and seek out profitable opportunities and/or serve as social entrepreneurs whose goal is to make a difference in the solving of world problems. There is an endless customer base of sports aficionados, customers, fans, patients, and spectators willing to pay for a quality product and/or service. The following course concepts are specifically applied to sport entrepreneurial opportunities: the characteristics of entrepreneurs, writing business plans, developing the business model, entrepreneurial marketing, sales, technology usage, finance and fund-raising, building a successful team, and exit strategies. The FYS will use lectures, group activities, case study analysis, videos, mini-presentations, and lively class discussions. Guest lecturers visit to provide expert real-life knowledge and insight on Entrepreneurship. Our goal is to answer questions such as “What are some of the pitfalls, minefields, and hazards I need to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to?” “What are the contacts and networks I need to access and develop?” How can I recognize when an opportunity is more than just another good idea and if it fits my personal mindset, capabilities, and life goals?”
GEOG 59 Space, Identity, and Power in the Middle East
We often hear about the Middle East in the context of ongoing conflicts, war and violence in the U.S. This focus has shaped the way we think about this region and the people who live there. As crucial these conflicts are to the region, there is much more to the Middle East than revealed by these stories. This seminar raises the questions of how these representations misrepresent the Middle East and what kinds of stories they do not tell, especially stories that concern everyday life. By asking these questions our aim is to develop a deeper understanding of the Middle East and its complex history and geography. Taking a geographical perspective, we will organize our discussions around the examination of a series of spaces, old and new, that have been central to the formation of identity and power relations in the Middle East. Certain spaces, including the harem (family/women’s quarters), hamam (public bath), mosques, street bazaars, coffeehouses, the desert and borders figure prominently in the histories and imaginations of the region. Newer spaces such as check points, shopping malls, gated communities, and cafés have also become centers of social life, but are often overlooked in Western perspectives on this region. In this seminar, we will discuss 1) the role all of these spaces play in representations of the Middle East by insiders and outsiders and 2) how different Middle Easterners use these spaces to construct their identities. Students’ regular participation in class will be key to this seminar. Students will be asked to lead class discussions and to participate in class activities. In addition to two essay exams, students will work on a research project throughout the semester. They will choose a topic related to course discussions, do independent research on this topic, and write a 10-page paper that will be due at the end of the semester.
GEOG 62 The Culture of Technology
It is hard to define “technology”, but we know it when we see it: cell phones; global positioning systems; genetically-modified organisms; the internet; microchips; steam engines; railroad cars, automobiles, passenger jets; x-rays; nuclear bombs; satellites; magnetic resonance imaging. Technological systems and artifacts, as these examples suggest, have shaped our world in critical ways, from our means of dealing with nature to our modes of dealing with each other, and from economic production to political debates to the very dimensions of space and time around which social life is organized. And yet, though technology is arguably among the most human of social processes, its profound effects on social relations, everyday life, and the human environment are too often left unexamined. This seminar uses the lens of culture to explore codes of meaning and values, and relations of social power, that are invested in technologies. Focusing on representations of technology in film, literature, and new media, on one hand, and on the values that go into the making of actual technologies, on the other, the seminar encourages critical thinking and writing about our place in a technological world, and technology’s place in ours.
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 89 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.
IDST 89.002: Evolutionary Patterns
David Pfennig, Instructor of Record
Christopher Dahlie, Hayley Dirscherl, Hanlin Luo
What principles drive evolution? What does evolution mean for different things? Do principles pre-decide results, or can they be modified and channeled? What does this mean for humans and their past, present, and future? In the first half of this seminar we will explore principles of natural selection and entropy (disorder / randomness) in a broad conceptual fashion. We will then examine how these principles, and resulting sub-principles, are manifest in the real world. Various topics will be examined (e.g., animal mimicry, cooperativity and community among organisms, and technological evolution, particularly in materials). In the second half of the seminar, we will apply these principles to human activity and civilization, specifically the evolution of language, culture, and technology, in addition to intersocietal and intrasocietal selection and entropy. This leads in the last quarter of the course to student-led discussion of how the principles examined shape the reality we live in, and how advances in this knowledge can shape our choices, consciousness, constraints, and potential.
IDST 89.003: Happiness
David Pfennig, Instructor of Record
Stevie Larson , Kiran Bhardwaj, and Akinyemi Oni-Orisan
Are we happy? What do we need to be happy? Why is happiness important to us? Most of us still regard happiness as a mystery, yet happiness has been (and still is) one of the most productive sources of inquiry and innovation in human history. This course will provide a window into some of the many dimensions of happiness, and how they continue to resonate today. We ask: (1) What is happiness and how do we assess it? (2) Why do we value it and how is it valued? (3) How does the pursuit of happiness influence our life and society? We will use an interdisciplinary lens to answer these questions, demonstrating how scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences approach happiness with their unique goals and methods. We will practice and develop interdisciplinary thought and communication, concluding with a capstone project of original research on happiness.
INLS 89 Social Movements and New Media
Movements ranging from uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond to “Occupy” protestors in the United States have been using new media technologies to coordinate, to organize, to intervene in the public sphere as well as to document, share, and shape their own stories. Using a range of tools from Facebook to Twitter, from satellite modems to landlines to ad-hoc mesh networks, these movements have made their mark in history. The objective of this seminar is to enhance our conceptual and empirical understanding of the interaction between the new media ecology and social change. We will explore various approaches to studying social movements and social change and look at specific cases. Governments and powerful institutions are also responding to the challenge posed by the emergence of the Internet as a mundane and global technology. From increased surveillance and filtering capacity, to delivering propaganda over the Internet to their own, governments around the world are broadening their repertoire of social, technical and legal tools for control and suppression of—and through—the Internet. We will explore the integration of new media tools within these movements as well governmental and institutional responses to these developments. Materials for this class will include readings, videos (not to be viewed in class but as material to be viewed), and a variety of visiting speakers (both in person and via Skype).
LING 50 Language in the USA
This seminar examines the diverse linguistic landscape of the United States, as it has taken shape since the spread of the English language to North America—with concomitant disruption of an indigenous linguistic ecology—and following successive waves of immigration and settlement. We shall dissect a number of “myths” about American English and language in general, such as “Everyone has an accent except me,” “They speak really bad English down South and in New York City,” “In the Appalachians, they speak like Shakespeare.” We shall seek to arrive at an understanding of language diversity in the United States through an examination of regional, ethnic, and social varieties of American English. We shall also take up such issues as subordination and discrimination based on language and dialect differences, nativism and the English-only backlash, and the maintenance of nonmainstream varieties despite stigmatization and the homogenizing pressures exerted by the education system and by our mass-communication culture.
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 53 The Ends of the Earth: Polar Oceanography and Exploration
What explains the ‘pull of the Poles’? What motivated early explorers to undergo great hardships to investigate the Arctic and Antarctic, and what did they discover about these regions? What have we discovered in the intervening decades, and what do we still not understand about polar regions? Why do the Arctic and Antarctic play such a critical role in global climate? This seminar will combine scientific and historical perspectives to investigate the ‘ends of the earth’, the Arctic and Antarctica. We will begin by surveying the geography and oceanography of these regions, and then step back into the past and follow in the footsteps of some of the early polar explorers by reading their own accounts of their explorations. Modern accounts will help us compare and contrast these early explorations.
MATH 62H Combinatorics
A leading expert in Modern Combinatorics wants to share his vision of the subject with the students. The seminar is a perfect background for future specialists in mathematics, physics, computer science, biology, economics, for those who are curious what statistical physics is about, what is cryptography, and how stock market works, and for everyone who likes mathematics. The course will be organized around the following topics:
1) Puzzles: dimer covering, magic squares, 36 officers
2) Combinations: from coin tossing to dice and poker
3) Fibonacci numbers: rabbits, population growth, etc.
4) Arithmetic: designs, cyphers, intro to finite fields
5) Catalan numbers: from playing roulette to stock market
The students will learn about the history of Combinatorics, its connections with the theory of numbers, its fundamental role in the natural sciences and various applications. It is an advanced research course; all students are expected to participate in projects under the supervision of I.Ch. and the Graduate Research Consultant. The grades will be based on the exam, bi-weekly home assignments and the participation in the projects. The course requires focus and effort, but, generally, the students are quite satisfied with the progress they make (and their grades too).
MATH 67 The Mathematics of Climate Change: Can We Predict the Future of Our Planet?
There is widespread agreement in the scientific community that the Earth is warming. But, do we know when critical benchmarks will be reached? Planning and policy-making demand predictions of future climate change and even specific climate events, but these predictions are based largely on complex mathematical models containing assumptions and estimations applied to chaotic dynamical systems. We must ask if it is even possible to make predictions about the future climate. Background on climate change will be covered in this seminar and extensive discussions will be held about what we know and what we do not know. The emphasis will then be on the issues surrounding predictability of climate events and changes and the limitations of mathematical models in relation to making predictions. This is an exciting scientific area where applied mathematics comes together with many other scientific areas in a political context that is of enormous importance to us all. There is plenty of room for different viewpoints and deep thinking about how mathematics can contribute. Considerable time will be given to open discussions in class. There will be readings, and groups of students will make presentations on relevant topics as part of the course requirement. Further, each student will conduct a project and report on it at the end of the semester.
MATH 89 Discrete Fourier and Wavelet Analysis: the Mathematics of Signal (Images, Sounds) Processing
We will examine discrete Fourier and wavelet analysis and some applications. This is the math behind image compression (JPEG), music querying (such as that done by Sound Hound and Shazam), image and sound denoising, etc. The math shall be introduced with a motivating example in mind. MATLAB will be taught and used to code such an example.
MUSC 59 20th-Century Music and Visual Art
This seminar will focus on the relation of a variety of composers’ works to those of visual artists. The compositions to be studied include those of J. Cage, I. Stravinsky, A. Schoenberg, E. Varèse, the Beatles, and others; the visual artworks by M. Du Champ, W. Kandinsky, F. Kupka, P. Klee, G. Klimt, P. Maxx, and P. Picasso. Each class meeting will consider a musical composition and its connections to either a film, painting, building, ballet, or sculpture. Class discussions will be devoted to a range of issues: the correspondence between color, line, and sound; text-based pieces and visual art on the same topic; meanings and styles of music notation; and the aesthetics of multi-media works. Special emphasis will be given to the topic of synesthesia— a neurologically-based condition that allows particular individuals to hear paintings or see colors when experiencing music. The course requires weekly reading and listening assignments, several one-on-one conferences to help develop and feel secure about listening skills, and an in-class presentation on a musical composition and its relation to a work of visual art.
MUSC 89H Digital Isabella d’Este
Digital Isabella d’Este is designed to prepare students for future opportunities in the digital humanities, international research collaborations, and interdisciplinary European studies. Through group work on the on-going development of an open-access digital research forum, we will study the correspondence, music, and history of the most prominent female figure of the Italian Renaissance, Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua (1474-1539). Because Isabella d’Este is the textbook example of a multi-talented Italian “Renaissance woman,” her activities interest researchers in a wide range of disciplines. Our project will aim to assemble at one site a tool for continuing collaborative study of all of her pursuits. Direct access to Isabella’s correspondence, the rooms she lived in, and the artifacts of her aesthetic environment are currently restricted to those who can travel to a small city in Italy where these materials are preserved. Upon arrival in Mantua, one may (with special permission) visit the famous art and performance space Isabella created in the Ducal Palace, her studiolo, but such visits can be disappointing. Except for ceiling decorations and the remnants of a few painted walls, these rooms stand empty today, their paintings, books, sculptures, clocks, and musical instruments scattered in museum collections around the globe, their music long silenced. Digital Isabella d’Este seeks to assemble interactive resources for study of this important figure “in the round.”
PHIL 58 From Vengeance to Mercy: Dealing with Evil
Revenge, resentment, retribution; prosecution, punishment, pardon; justice, mercy, forgiveness; reparation, public truth-telling, reconciliation–these are some of the ways people respond personally and politically to grave wrongs done to themselves and others. Through them we seek pay back, justice, personal relief, or social reconciliation. Our investigation will explore moral issues raised by these responses, considering them not only in the most intimate personal relationships but also in the national and international contexts. In all these contexts certain fundamental moral concepts shape our responses- responsibility, rights, justice, forgiveness, mercy, reconciliation. We will explore the relationships that exist among these concepts and the moral practices to which they give structure and meaning.
Materials that will stimulate our reflection will be drawn from film, fiction, and philosophy. Class meetings will be conducted as seminars-that is, each will be strongly oriented toward discussion in which each participant is expected to teach as well as learn. The course will involve lots of discussion and lots of writing. In addition to preparing the class presentation, students will be assigned two formal papers of 5-7 pages (graded), several informal papers (commented upon but ungraded), and a written final exam.
PHIL 78 Death as a Problem for Philosophy: Metaphysical and Ethical
This course will explore the nature and significance of death by drawing on a wide range of works in philosophy, literature, and film. We will use these works to address the following questions: (1) Do people have souls that can survive bodily death? (2) What is a good life? (3) Why is death bad for the person who dies? (4) Do our lives have meaning? (5) Does our mortality have any implications for the way we should live? Beginning with Plato’s account of the trial and death of Socrates and ending with Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, the course will also include readings by Descartes, Don DeLillo, Margaret Edson, Kazuo Ishiguro, and William James.
PHYS 53 Handcrafting in the Nanoworld: Building Models and Manipulating Molecules
What is nanotechnology anyway? Scientists of all stripes are now actively exploring the wonderful and bizarre world of the nanoscale (one nanometer equals one billionth of a meter).This is the scale of molecules, DNA, carbon nanotubes and a host of other fascinating nano-objects. At this scale, nature has different rules, some of which are beautiful and unexpected. Scientists have only begun to learn these rules. We have also only begun applying this new knowledge to technology. Can we make computers using single molecule transistors? How do viruses and other bio systems “assemble” themselves? Can we build molecular machines that cure disease or clean up the environment? In looking at these questions, we will try to distinguishing the true promise of nanoscience from the hype. We will study the strange objects and properties of the nanoworld through class discussion and hands-on activities that include model building (with model kits, Lego etc.), scientiﬁc journal composition, and actual nanoscale experiments.
PHYS 54 Physics of Movies
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.
PLAN 52 Race, Sex, and Place in America
This seminar will expose students to the complex dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender and how these have shaped the American city since 1945. We will examine both the historical record as well as contemporary works of literature, film, and music to probe the ways race, sex, and ethnicity have contributed to the culture of our cities and popular perceptions of urban life in the United States. We will also explore the different ways women and men perceive, understand, occupy and use urban space and the built environment. Drawing upon the scholarship of several disciplines (sociology, political science, urban planning, women’s studies, and American history), the seminar will examine a broad spectrum of topics, including ghettoization and the inner city; the Harlem Renaissance and its inﬂuence; “redlining” and restrictive covenants; suburbanization, “white ﬂight” and the “urban crisis” of the 1960s; sexual identity and space; immigration and ethnic enclaving; the multiple meanings of “the hood” and “the ghetto” and hip hop culture. Assignments are self-directed and could include a film review, a discography, a critical essay and a group project.
Students may also register for this course under WMST 51.
PLAN 89.001 Landscape, Place and the City in America (added November 2012)
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 89.063 Infrastrcture 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 61 Policy Entrepreneurship and Public/Private Partnerships
Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative
The theme of this seminar is to define “policy entrepreneur” and examine strategies used by policy entrepreneurs to achieve policy change or innovation in the policy-making process. We will also explore models of innovative public-private partnerships in the delivery of public goods. The seminar will examine nonprofit policy entrepreneurs within policy advocacy organizations who push innovation and change in public policy. We will evaluate the ways policy and non-profit advocacy entrepreneurs advocate for their ideas causes and attempt to achieve lasting policy change. Students will write mock grant proposals for funding to develop a model public-private partnership or new policy innovation. We will host several leaders of successful public-private partnerships and other key innovative non-profit organizations in North Carolina.
PLCY 70 National Policy: Who Sets the Agenda? (cancelled, 11/30/2012)
PLCY 80 Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth
Subtitle – Innovative Places: RTP and Beyond
This seminar provides an introduction to entrepreneurship and innovation, and considers their relationship to economic growth. The focus is on historical examples of entrepreneurs who created enduring innovations, emphasizing the context that set the stage, the strategy employed by the entrepreneur, and the public policies that supported the opportunity and the growth of the enterprise. The objective is to recognize the potential of new technologies, changes in consumer taste and shifts in the external environment as economic opportunities. The course emphasizes entrepreneurs as part of a larger societal system that both determines what is possible and also changes in response to entrepreneurial actions. The role of public policy in providing incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation and setting social priorities is discussed.
POLI 55 Democracy and the Civic Ideal
William C. Friday Award for Instruction in the Civic Arts
This seminar explores the development of modern democratic sentiments and values in the history of the civic ideal in the West. We begin by examining the theory and practice of classical Greek democracy, then moving through Roman republicanism, early modern republicanism, the liberal revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries (England, U.S., and France), and finishing with contemporary American democratic politics. We will use a variety of approaches and resources: simulations, films, re-enactments, panel discussions, and, of course, texts. Our goal will be to meet the challenge of marshalling good arguments and compelling evidence in political analysis. Students will put these skills to work by developing research projects on democratic politics.
POLI 61 The United States and Cuba: Making Sense of United States Foreign Policy
SS, CI, GL
This introductory seminar is designed for students who would like to understand U.S. foreign policy – what the United States attempts to accomplish in its relations with other countries, and why. Rather than approach these two questions on a global level, this seminar is focused upon one country – Cuba –and upon the enduring values and beliefs that underlie U.S. foreign policy. In addition to a research paper, students will prepare for twice-weekly discussions by reading primary documents drawn primarily from the U.S. Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Congress.
POLI 63 Social Movements and Political Protest and Violence
This seminar focuses on explaining and understanding social movements and the collective political behaviors that they promote (e.g. demonstrations, riots, strikes, and eco-terrorism). Our theoretical focus will be interdisciplinary, drawing on research in political behavior, social psychology, sociology, political theory, and the law. We will discuss when and why collective action occurs, who participates, what forms it takes, and how governments respond. Substantively, we will study a variety of movements including: the Environmental movement, the Animal Rights movement, the America Militia movement, the White Nationalist movement, and the Anti-Globalization movement. We will use a variety of approaches and resources: class discussions, films, wiki writing, online discussions, novels, and texts. Grades will be based on class participation, a writing project, and a group research project that studies a social movement organization.
POLI 65 Pressure and Power: Organized Interest in American Politics
Bank of America, the Sierra Club, the National Rifle Association, UNC, and the Allied Underwear Association–what do they have in common? They are all interest organizations that employ lobbyists in Washington, D.C. As social scientists, we can use a common framework to analyze these and other organized interests: Why are there so many of them? Where do they come from? Are they ruining democracy? Can there be democracy without groups? What can we do about groups? Each student will select an interest group to track throughout the semester, and a series of web-based assignments will culminate in an analysis paper. Other assignments will involve participating in debates and group generation of reform proposals.
POLI 66 The United States and the European Union: Partners or Rivals?
This course introduces students to the European Union and its relations with the United States. Why is there a European Union? How does it operate? How has it developed? What difference has it made in the lives of Europeans? What kind of polity is emerging at the European level, and how does it differ from federalism in the United States? What are the main tensions in the US-EU relationship? Why have they arisen? Are they temporary, or do conflicts run deeper? What do elites on both sides of the Atlantic believe? And what do American citizens think? Is European integration the beginning of the end of the national state in Western Europe, or will states harness the process within their current institutional structures? The course will include a day long intensive examination of the causes and consequences of the Euro-crisis and what it means for the United States. This will combine guest lectures, debates, and role-play.
POLI 89 The Political Economy of American Hegemony
Conventional wisdom suggests that the United States as a global power is in decline. This seminar examines whether this proposition is reasonable and what might result from the decline of American hegemony. The seminar approaches American hegemony from an historical political economy perspective. We trace the emergence of American hegemony in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We explore how the US used its power to shape the global economy. We consider how and whether this global economy has redistributed power to Asia and the global south. We conclude by considering the implications, for the US and the world of a redistribution of global power.
PSYC 56 Human Infancy
The goals of this seminar are to explore the psychological development of human infants, evaluate the research procedures that inform this topic, and develop new procedures for describing and explaining infant psychological development. We will frame these general goals within the context of an overarching question: When does a human infant have a mind? We will first discuss what it means to have a mind and then examine research on neural development, behavioral abilities, and acquisition of social skills. Class discussion will be based on readings and personal experience, particularly the direct experience that each student will acquire by volunteering a few hours each week in an infant room in a day care center located near campus. The internship will also help students gather insights into how infant behavior can be studied, leading to an in-class presentation describing a potential research project that would help advance our understanding of when an infant has a mind.
RELI 65 Myth, Philosophy, and Science in the Ancient World
This interdisciplinary course explores various, often conflicting ways of shaping reality in the ancient world – religious, scientific, and philosophical. The course is organized around a series of case studies: 1) the formation and makeup of the cosmos; 2) the origin of mankind and its sexual differentiation; 3) the invention of the ‘self’; 4) the origin and nature of dreams; 5) foundations of law, justice, and culture. Short papers, in-class discussions, and oral presentations will be used to reconstruct the complex intellectual world of natural scientists, philosophers, oral story-tellers, ethnographers, and cultural historians throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. Readings include Near Eastern mythical narratives and Homeric poems and hymns; selections from the earliest Greek philosophers and from Plato’s dialogues; works from the famous Hippocratic corpus and Galen’s medical treatises; and a number of religious texts from ancient Greece and Rome, early Christianity, and late antiquity.
RELI 73: From Dragons to Pokémon: Animals in Japanese Myth, Folklore, and Religion
LA, BN, CI
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 and subjects 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 films that deal with animals and environmental issues, such as Pompoko, Gojira, and The Cove.
ROML 58 Writing a Woman’s Life: Mexican Women Across Borders and Genres
This seminar, subtitled “Mexican Women across Borders and Genres,” explores various narratives by which Mexican women expect and are expected to live. Participants read letters, stories, and short novels by Mexican women of the twentieth century whose writing transgresses several genres and challenges traditional notions of gender and marginality. Taking into account the negative impact that religion, colonialism, nationalism and modernization have had on the representation of Mexican women, the course addresses, among other themes and topics, the role of memory and discourse; the inevitable formation of otherness; identity construction; gender ambiguities; moral subversions and inversions; textual experimentation and performance; and the long-lasting effects of gender violence and its portrayal as a psychological trauma. We will read in English or in English translation works by Elena Poniatowska, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina Rivera Garza, Ana Clavel, Margo Glantz, and Ángeles Mastretta, among others.
ROML 60 Spanish and Entrepreneurship: Language, Culture, and North Carolina Communities
Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative
SLAV 86 Literature and Madness
This seminar considers the relationship between literature and madness through the works of major Russian writers (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov). We will examine how these artistic texts differently construct representations of madness. Students’ reading, writing, class discussions and presentations will be directed by a series of topics, such as the origin of madness, awareness or unawareness of madness, the theme of the mad artist, and madness as a literary device.
SOCI 68 Immigration in Contemporary America
SS, CI, GL
Contemporary international migration is transforming politics, economics, social relations, and ethnic identities in societies throughout the world. This seminar is designed to introduce students to the fascinating and ever-changing study of immigration in contemporary America. We will cover the great waves of European migration at the turn of the 20th century, review the emergence of Latino and Asian migration flows to the United States after 1965, and the contemporary movement of migrant agricultural workers to North Carolina, a state that until recently had experienced little or no migration. We will look at why people migrate, how citizens respond to that migration, how the federal government regulates migration, how local communities manage the settlement of its newcomers. Through a variety of methodological approaches, ranging from fieldwork to content analysis to interviewing to research, students will be actively engaged in each of the topics examined throughout the course.
SOCI 69 Human Societies and Genomics
The seminar 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. The seminar does not focus on technical details of genomics, but on the main ideas. Students will be reading book chapters and mainly original articles published in contemporary scientific journals before classes, and presenting and discussing these articles in class.
SOCI 89.001 The Pursuit of Happiness: Social Science Approaches to Well-Being
Despite being elusive for many people, happiness remains a fundamental goal in most societies. In recent years, social scientists have become increasingly interested in the subject of happiness and its causes and consequences. This course will examine the interplay between individual and social happiness by exploring the nature and meaning of happiness in the contemporary United States as well as in other countries. We will seek to answer questions such as: What is happiness? Can we measure happiness, and if so, how? Does money buy happiness? Does happiness vary among diverse groups (racial, ethnic, religious, gender, age, social class)? How does happiness differ among cultures and nations? What is (and should be) the role of happiness in formulating public policies? We will address these and other questions by: reading books and articles; class discussions and debates; viewing films; and collecting information using the internet and other sources.
SOCI 89.002 Introduction to Applied Sociology
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 89.004 Race and Ethnic Relations in the U.S.
It is impossible to understand the structure of American society, or the lived experiences of its people, without understanding both the meaning and consequences of race and ethnicity. Yet, while examples of what race does are well known to students interested in questions of social justice and inequality, the question of what race is receives considerably less attention. Any student familiar with U.S. society can identify myriad, often striking examples of racial inequality—from highly disproportionate rates of poverty, unemployment, and disease to racially disparate treatment at the hands of police, teachers, and neighbors. But what, exactly, is “race?” The geographic origins of our ancestors? The social categories that others perceive from our appearance? The identities we claim based on a sense of belonging or attachment to a particular culture or community? Or can race be any and all of these things, depending on the context in which individuals perceive and react to one another? These are just some of pressing questions with which students will grapple in this seminar, as we delve into the meaning and measurement of race in society, how it changes over time and space, and what it signals for the future of race/ethnic relations in the United States. In pursuit of these aims, we will incorporate a variety of instructional strategies and active learning techniques, including primary data collection and analysis, critical examination of race/ethnicity in popular culture (including music, literature, and film), and in-class group activities.
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 51 Race, Sex, and Place in America
This seminar will expose students to the complex dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender and how these have shaped the American city since 1945. We will examine both the historical record as well as contemporary works of literature, film, and music to probe the ways race, sex, and ethnicity have contributed to the culture of our cities and popular perceptions of urban life in the United States. We will also explore the different ways women and men perceive, understand, occupy and use urban space and the built environment. Drawing upon the scholarship of several disciplines (sociology, political science, urban planning, women’s studies, and American history), the seminar will examine a broad spectrum of topics, including ghettoization and the inner city; the Harlem Renaissance and its inﬂuence; “redlining” and restrictive covenants; suburbanization, “white ﬂight” and the “urban crisis” of the 1960s; sexual identity and space; immigration and ethnic enclaving; the multiple meanings of “the hood” and “the ghetto”; and hip hop culture. Assignments are self-directed and could include a film review, a discography, a critical essay and a group project.
Students may also register for this course under PLAN 52.
WMST 64 Plantation Lullabies: Literature by and about African American Women
Have you ever had historical déjà vu? Were you ever struck by historical images in contemporary places? If not, you might be surprised to know how much of the past is hidden in plain sight. This seminar offers analytical strategies for understanding different ways that plantation culture was represented metaphorically in the 19th and 20th centuries with a view to understanding how it continues to manifest itself today with a particular emphasis on women’s experiences. We will explore the idea of the plantation as a physical place, an often-nostalgic idea, and a lasting economic system. We will journey through poetry, film, literature, and music to see how these echoes appear in various women’s texts from the US and the Caribbean. We will consider how our own identities inform our reactions to these texts and our broader environment. The final project for the course asks students to create their own plantation narratives—an engaging assignment that brings together history, storytelling, and analytic ability.
WMST 68 Assumed Identities: Performance in Photography
Uses photography and its aspects of role playing, performance, and documentation to understand the construction of identity. Looks at historical and contemporary photographers who use assumed identities to explore their changing identity roles and challenge society’s stereotypes. Individual and group performance/photography projects working with still photography, video, and the Internet.
BIOL 190 The Life Sciences and Biotechnology in a Globalized Era: Beauty and Benefits
The last century has seen enormous leaps in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of life. In order to maximize the potential benefit that this understanding can bring, we must broaden that awareness and promote the intellectual processes that brought us to this knowledge in the first place. Whether you are motivated by saving lives, the beauty revealed in the elegance of biological forms or curious about the next big idea in biology, you can engage in the inquiry process that is an essential ingredient in the creative research engine. Specific course topics will include: personalized genomics, genetically modified organisms, DNA forensics, alternative fuel production, reproductive technologies, performance enhancing drugs, biodefense, and more. This course is about understanding fundamental principles in biotechnology, the latest advances, ethical questions these technologies raise and new possibilities they suggest. The format will give participants space to discuss experts’ perspectives, engage in research, and formulate questions rooted in their own instinctive curiosities.
IDST 190.001 Health of the Nation: From Epidemiology to Policy
Our nation spends 17% of its gross domestic product on health care, yet our nation’s health ranks near the bottom of developed countries. Health care reform is a critical issue, but few American citizens truly understand its context or what is needed to improve the health of the nation. This seminar is therefore extremely issue-oriented, and the topic is hugely important. Further, the issues we will discuss cut across multiple disciplines— public health and medicine, politics, law, economics, sociology, epidemiology—to name a few. No prerequisite is needed. We will assign readings and expect students to come prepared to think deeply about the topics.
IDST 190.002 Childhood Language Disorders
In this introductory course, students will learn about childhood language disorders. We will answer questions like: How can we tell if a child has a language disorder? How do we improve children’s language? We will discuss a range of disorders associated with language difficulties, such as autism spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome. Students will gain introductory research experience by exploring areas of interest, participating in class discussions, and completing group assignments related to language disorders. This course is ideal for students interested in working with children in either medical or educational fields.
MATH 190 Cracking the Code: Explorations in Number Theory
This course will introduce the participants to number theory, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. In short, number theory is the study of the whole numbers 1, 2, 3, … and their properties, including the grand mysteries of prime numbers. Despite its apparent simplicity, the subject has challenged great minds for centuries. To this day it continues to offer a host of unsolved problems, including the tantalizing Riemann Hypothesis. In addition, number theory serves as the theoretical foundation for modern cryptography, the science of encoding information. The course will cover the fundamentals of number theory and some of its applications to cryptography. Along the way, students will develop valuable methodological skills applicable to any form of scientific research.