For more information about a specific instructor, please click on the instructor name, if highlighted.
American Studies (AMST)
Asian Studies (ASIA)
City and Regional Planning (PLAN)
Communication Studies (COMM)
Computer Science (COMP)
Dramatic Art (DRAM)
Information and Library Science (INLS)
Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST)
Marine Sciences (MASC)
Physics and Astronomy (PHYS)
Political Science (POLI)
Public Policy (PLCY)
Religious Studies (RELI)
Romance Languages and Literatures (ROML)
Statistics and Operations Research (STOR)
Special One-Time Opportunities
AMST 53H The Family and Social Change in America
HS, CI, NA
Robert C. Allen
Inspired by successful television program, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and the popularity of such online genealogical resources as Ancestry.com and Family Search, millions of people are taking advantage of billions of digitized public records and publications (census enumerations, city directories, newspapers, military records, etc.) to become online historical detectives. Some are also becoming 21st century family “kinkeepers”: combining digital resources with local archival resources (including the Southern Historical Collection and North Carolina Collection at UNC and State Archives in Raleigh), family memorabilia from “the bottom drawer of grandma’s dresser” and recordings of family stories to create multimedia family archives, which can be shared with far-flung extended family members and passed down to future generations. This course unfolds the process and materials of genealogical research to larger historical issues and contexts; explores how family history can personalize and localize social, cultural, political, and economic history; and asks how the question “Who do you think you are?” can become the basis for examining “Who do we think we are?” as a diverse national culture. Participants will research and document the history of (at least!) the last four generations of their biological/cultural families; gather (and preserve) family history materials from living family members; and explore the complexities of family history in relation to gender, race, and ethnicity. In addition to learning more about your own and your family’s history, we will use the tools and resources that have revolutionized genealogy and family history to ask new questions about the social and cultural history of “ordinary” people in North Carolina over the past 150 years. In the process, participants will also gain valuable experience in using digital technologies to gather and represent historical data; using public records and other primary documents; conducting oral history interviews; and constructing historical narratives. This course benefits from and is designed as an introduction to the work of the UNC Digital Innovation Lab, a campus-wide interdisciplinary center for project-based work in the digital humanities, based in the American Studies Department.
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 63 The Lives of Others: Exploring Ethnography
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.
ANTH 89H Special Topics: Saving the World? Humanitarianism in Action
What happens when people try to “do good,” especially at a global scale? In this seminar we will explore international aid, with an emphasis on its medical end and the set of organizations and institutions that exist to offer assistance to people suffering from disaster, endemic poverty, and health disparities. The current aid complex includes a wide variety of forms and activities, from large bureaucracies to tiny NGOs, massive health campaigns to lonely clinics. We will approach this phenomenon from the critical and comparative perspective of anthropology, focusing on actual human practice. Which forms of suffering receive international attention, and which do not? How do money and services flow and stop relative to inequality? What range of outcomes do different aid projects produce?
ARTH 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?
ASIA 56H Writing Women in Modern China
In “liberating” the nation through establishing the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Chairman Mao famously declared that, “women hold up half the sky.” The Chinese Communist Party considered the elevation of women one of its achievements. After the Party initiated capitalist economic reforms in the 1980s, however, women may have lost ground. 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.
This seminar analyzes the rhetoric of gender in Chinese literature during various stages of feminism: Late Imperial (1890-1911), May Fourth Era (1915-1925), Leftist (1930s-1970s), and Capitalist (1980s-present). Students read (in translation) Chinese fiction and essays, discuss ideas of gender, liberation, and literature, and learn to write short position papers and a research paper. No previous knowledge of China is required.
ASIA 61 India through the Lens of Master Filmmakers
VP, BN, CI
Many people know that India is famous for its extravagant Bollywood musicals with elaborate song-and-dance routines. But less people know that there is also a tradition of art films in India. In this course students will have the opportunity to experience some of the great films by directors like Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, Ismail Merchant/James Ivory, and Deepa Mehta. Students will also be introduced to important themes in South Asian culture and history over the past 200 years, as well as some of the formal elements of filmmaking to help them better ‘read’ and appreciate the text of film. There will be weekly film screenings and reading assignments on Indian cinema, South Asian culture, and film theory. Some of the topics to be considered in the course include British colonialism, Mughal culture, gender issues, language issues, village life, Indian traditions and modernity, terrorism, and communalism.
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.
PLAN 52 Race, Sex, and Place in America
This seminar will expose students to the complex dynamics of race, ethnicity, and gender and how these have shaped the American city since 1945. It will examine both the historical record as well as contemporary works of literature and film to probe the ways race and ethnicity have contributed to the culture of urban life in the United States. It 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 (urban planning, ethnic studies, sociology and American history), the seminar will examine a broad spectrum of topics, including the social construction of race, the creation of the underclass label, residential segregation, the significance of Hurricane Katrina, sexual identity and space, and immigration. The last portion of the course will focus on planning and policy tools that have the potential to alleviate racial/ethnic and gender inequality in space.
Students may also register for this course under WMST 51.
PLAN 53 The Changing American Job
What will the U.S. labor market look like when first-year UNC students graduate four years from now? How will employment opportunities differ from those facing their parents and relatives a generation or two ago, or even those of recent college graduates? This seminar explores these questions by looking at the changing nature of the American job and the transformative forces—from global trade and outsourcing to corporate restructuring, deregulation and new skill demands—that have influenced this change in recent decades and have added to economic insecurity in recent years and in the aftermath of the “Great Recession.” We will consider how these forces are experienced differently by urban and rural residents, by men and women, and by members of different socio-economic and ethnic groups, including native-born and immigrant workers. We will also consider local and regional strategies for helping workers adapt to this changing economic environment. Class discussions and small group activities will help students think about the larger economic and policy implications of U.S. labor market restructuring. Through a series of research-backed “jobsblogs” and with help from career advisors, students will also reflect on how the forces behind this change might affect their own career goals and advancement opportunities.
PLAN 57 What is a Good City?
A city is many things to many people. It is a place where business is conducted; it is a seat of power; it is where people live and make lives. It is also the place that corrupts migrants. It is a pantheon of great buildings as well as vast slums. Social and technological innovations are pioneered in cities due to innumerable and happenstance interactions; at the same time, anonymity and alienation are common themes in a city dweller’s life. To understand a city, much less to fashion a good city, we need a kaleidoscope of view points. After studying the forces that have produced the urban landscapes, we will explore the city from the normative perspectives of urban historians, planners and architects, social scientists, social critics, and futurists, as a way for each student to develop her/his own perspective about what a “good city” might be.
CLAR 50H Art in the Ancient City
VP, BN, WB
This course offers a comparative perspective on the archaeology of ancient Egypt, Bronze Age Greece and Crete (3000-1100 B.C.), and the classical Greek world (800-100 B.C.), exploring the public art produced by these early Mediterranean societies: the Bronze Age palaces of the Aegean, the territorial state of ancient Egypt, and the classical city-states of ancient Greece.
COMM 61 The Politics of Performance
In this seminar students will critically examine the role of politics in performance. Students will watch live dance and theater performances on campus (The Memorial Hall Carolina Performing Arts Series, Playmakers, the Process Series of the Performance Studies program in the Department of Communication Studies), will view filmed dance and theater performances, and working singly and in groups, will create performances. Through our viewing and performance practices we will explore the role of politics in performance, the ways in which identity (individual and cultural) is represented through performance, how performers and audiences create meaning, and how the power of our performing bodies may contribute to processes of social change.
COMM 63 The Creative Process in Performance
VP, CI, US
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, Playmakers, the Process Series of the Performance Studies program in the Department of Communication Studies, and others across campus. 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
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 89.001 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.
COMM 89.002 Understanding Place-Rhetoric
Every moment of our lives is spent in some “place.” We live in various places; we work in places; we play in places; we remember and sanctify certain places. This seminar will explore how it is that we come to understand what and how these places are meaningful in our lives. In doing so, we will look at such places “rhetorically”—that is, how were they designed to persuade those of us who inhabit them, how we actually experience them, and how we make sense of them in terms of our individual lives as members of families, communities, and as citizens of the nation. We will seek to understand these places through readings from different disciplines, field trips to a number of sites (including the Carolina campus, Franklin Street, shopping malls, commemorative sites, and others), class discussion, short reaction papers and reports, and a group research report at the end of the semester.
COMP 85H The Business of Games
MWF, 10:00 – 10:50AM
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 seminar we will look at what makes a good game and how people are making a business of gaming. During the seminar, 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 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 85 Documentary Theatre
VP, NA, EE
This seminar explores the political and social ramifications of documentary theatre in the U.S. from the 1990s to the present. We will spend the first half of the semester studying interview techniques and reading examples of documentary theatre by playwrights such as Anna Deavere Smith, Heather Raffo, and Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project. In the second half of the semester, students will investigate a local community of their choosing and create an interview-based performance as a final project. The class will perform this play for an invited audience at the end of the semester.
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: Lean Start-up—Making Your Idea a Reality in One Semester
Lean 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.
ECON 89: Special Topic: History of Financial Crisis, 1637-2013
MWF, 10:00 – 10:50AM
Would you like to find out about the financial crisis of 2008? This seminar will discuss the reasons why the crisis happened, examine critically how the government responded to the crisis, and why it has been difficult for the economy to regain its pre-crisis momentum. We will also discuss the similarities between the Meltdown and other historical financial crisis. Students will gain a broader understanding of the global economy in which we live and work. In addition, the historical perspective will enable students to gain a more thorough appreciation of the challenges that lie ahead for their generation. The aim of the seminar is not to concentrate on facts but rather to comprehend the big picture of economic processes in their social and political context in a very long-run perspective. Lots of discussion, lots of audio visual material will make this an exciting way to start your college career.
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 63 Banned Books
In this seminar, we will read Latina/o texts that have been banned in the United States; we will examine the rhetoric surrounding such censorship attempts; and we will focus on the relationship between the banning of the books and the constructions of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality within the works. We will pay close attention to the themes and language within the targeted books. Indeed, the bulk of the course will consist of literary analysis. Given that some of the most commonly cited reasons for censorship attempts revolve around concerns about “excessive” or “inappropriate” portrayals of violence, sexuality, or the occult, the course will be structured around these particular polemics. In the course, we will look to the contexts surrounding the censorship of the Latina/o texts that we will read and discuss. Considering that Latinas/os now comprise the largest minority population in this country, we will ask what the relationship might be between the attempts to remove Latina/o texts from grade school libraries and classrooms and the shifting demographics in the places where these books have been removed. Students will be evaluated based on a combination of written and oral work. The seminar will be organized as a discussion course in which active participation will be key. The class will have large group and small group discussions and debates. Students will write essays during the semester, and, at the end of the semester, they will have the option of writing a research paper or putting together a creative project.
ENGL 70: Courtly Love, Then and Now
How have ideas about courtship changed between the twelfth-century Rules of Love penned by Andrew the Chaplain and today’s men’s and women’s magazines, or1995’s The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right? Just what was “courtly love”? And how has it influenced our own views of romance? Our readings will include literature that defined this influential concept, from The Art of Love by the Latin writer Ovid; to medieval Arthurian romances and troubadour lyrics; to Renaissance sonnets and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. We will trace the influence of these traditions in works by nineteenth-century writers such as Tennyson and Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and in contemporary films, cartoons, and advertisements. In the process we will be exploring the history of Western thought about gender relations, and the political and economic implications of our ideas about beauty, sex, and love.
ENGL 71H Doctors and Patients
Jane F. Thrailkill
When the medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman writes that “illness has meaning,” he reminds us that the human experience of being sick involves more than just an ailing body. In this seminar we will analyze a diverse collection of writers who have taken as their topic the human struggle to make sense of suffering and debility. The seminar is divided into five units that will allow us to explore not just the medical, but the personal, ethical, cultural, spiritual, and political facets of illness. Central texts will include Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Pat Barker’s Regeneration, Alan Shapiro’s Vigil, Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, and Reynolds Price’s A Whole New Life. We will also read shorter selections from an array of authors, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Susan Sontag, Audre Lorde, Atul Gawande, Art hur Kleinman, and Eric Cassell. We will draw on the many talented writers and researchers in the area for a series of guest lectures.
ENGL 89.001 Literature of War from World War I to the 21st Century
This is a class about literature and war and what each one of these subjects might teach us about the other. We will consider a range of war texts (including novels, poems, movies, scholarly writings and live and videotaped conversations with veterans) and our work will be oriented around one central question: what, if anything, can a work of art help us see or understand about war that cannot be shown by any other means? A large part of our work in this course will involve close attention to the particular choices that those who write about war make in their use of language and literary form. While attending to the crucial historical, political, technological and logistical differences among the wars we consider, we will also engage broader general questions about the nature of human beings, art, language and war. Themes we’ll address will include:
• the place of reading and writing in the face of death
• the limits of language in the representation of combat, violence and human experience
• moral concerns about aestheticizing and possibly falsifying experience
• post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it shapes (and is potentially reduced by) self-expression and storytelling
ENGL 89.002 Special Topics: From Page to Stage: Artistic Adaptation and Inspiration
This seminar will explore the adaptation of literary and historical materials about minority ethnic experience in the United States into performance works. We will be in dialogue with several exciting new artists whose work will be presented at PlayMakers, the Process Series, and Carolina Performing Arts. What inspires the artist? What are the ethical responsibilities of an artist in presenting these histories? How do they convey the details of an often unfamiliar history to an audience? How does the artist balance accessibility and comprehension with the presentation of a complex history? We will conduct independent research to deepen our understanding of these historical and literary sources and then compare them to the performances, focusing on narrative structure and characterization to see how the sources are taken apart and remade. Students will have the opportunity to do either creative work or research for their final projects.
ENGL 89H Special Topics: Black Gender Studies
LA, CI, US
This honors first-year seminar will use literature and film to explore the relationship between gender identity and racial identity with particular attention to African American and Black diasporic work. The primary goal of the seminar is to introduce students to how artists use gender and sexuality as devices for (1) social and ethical critique and (2) artistic innovation in the Black social imaginary. A set of keywords or concepts will guide our discussions: reproduction, masculinity, femininity, performance, queerness, popular culture, and transnational. These keywords will provide a language to talk about dissimilar texts and will help to illuminate sites of contention within artistic culture regarding gender expression. We will pay close attention to the place of popular culture and new media (blogs, social networking sites, music videos, etc.) in the circulation of ideas about gender. Students will gain a vocabulary for talking about gender and will become familiar with emerging and innovative artists. In addition, students will be given opportunities to enhance their writing and oral communication skills.
GEOG 63 The Problem with Nature and Its Preservation
This seminar explores conceptualizations of nature-society relations, considers how these meanings help create the landscapes and societies in which we live, and evaluates the implications of efforts to transform and preserve Nature. The readings and discussions will look at conceptions of nature-society relations around the world, from food production, to resource extraction, to biodiversity conservation. Through short fieldtrips, readings, writing exercises as well as class viewings and discussions, students will engage in scholarly debates and develop informed perspectives about the interdependence of nature and society.
GEOG 89 Climate Change and the Media
Climate change has been called both the “greatest hoax” ever perpetuated and the “most urgent threat” facing the world. While scientists produce volume after volume of consensus documents on climate change, the popular debate rages on, fueled by print and TV news, blogs, movies, and fiction. Experts, pseudo-experts, and casual observers debate causes, consequences, and remedies in every form of media. In this seminar, we will explore the popular debate on climate change through an examination of its presentation in the media. We will cover the scientific basis of climate change, focusing on how the science is presented, distorted, and debated in the public sphere by alarmists, denialists, and everyone in between. Through reading and writing exercises, class viewings, discussions, and presentations, students will encounter many points of view, explore a variety of media sources, and develop informed perspectives on one of the defining issues of our time.
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 59 Moscow 1937: Dictatorships and Their Defenders
This seminar deals in the broadest possible context with two critical issues that dominated the 20th century: the rise of fascism out of the carnage of World War I 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. Towards the end of the semester, we will 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 will conclude the seminar 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 prognosis for democracy in the future.
HIST 51 Latin American Revolutions
Miguel La Serna
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 53 Traveling to European Cities: American Writers and Cultural Identities 1830-1930
This seminar examines two key themes in modern cultural and intellectual history: the importance of travel in the lives and cultural identities of American writers and the important role of European cities in the evolution of modern American cultural identities. We shall focus on a historical era in which American writers were especially drawn to Europe as an alternative to the social and cultural life in the United States; and we’ll discuss how the encounter with Europe influenced these writers as they defined their national identities as well as their views of politics, social relations, gender identities, literature, art, and Western cultural traditions. The seminar is based on the assumption that travel has become one of the most influential personal experiences in modern times. In short, we shall explore the connection between travel, writing, and personal identities. This is a class for people who like to read about personal experiences and are intrigued by foreign travel. The assigned texts include works by women and men such as Margaret Fuller, Mark Twain, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway; and the cities we’ll discuss include Paris, London, Rome, Venice, and Athens.
HIST 79 Coming of Age in 20th Century America
HS, NA, US
In this seminar we will employ coming of age autobiographies to explore developments in the United States during the 20th century. “Coming of age” refers to autobiographies in which the author focuses primarily on the periods of childhood and adolescence into young adulthood. We will read books by people who lived during the Great Depression, Segregation in the South, World War II, Japanese Internment, and the Civil Rights Movement. Texts for the course include: Russell Baker, Growing Up; Richard Wright, Black Boy; Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter; Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi. We will also screen relevant films and visit the Ackland Art Museum. Through engagement with these autobiographies we will consider issues such as race, racism, immigration, religion, social class, and gender. The final project will be an autobiographical essay.
HIST 84 Monster, Murders, and Mayhem in Microhistorical Analysis: French Case Studies
In recent years the field of French history (long a trendsetter within the discipline) has witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of microhistorical works covering a range of phemonena from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. “Monsters, Murders, and Mayhem” will explore at length the distinctive features of microhistorical approaches to the past. After beginning with a brief overview of the history of microhistory, students will read a range of recent French microhistories that use the particular in an effort to make claims about the general. The instructor’s own experience in writing and publishing Monsters of the Gévaudan will be used to facilitate discussion of microhistory’s strengths and weaknesses—from the point of view of authors, readers, and publishers alike. Students will also try their hand at conceiving and writing microhistory, both in group projects that will be presented in class and in individual papers. Other written work will include a journal recording the experience of group work and brief write-ups that prepare for discussions of the microhistories addressed in class. By the end of the term students will have experimented with all of the activities that make up the professional life of the historian: conceiving and defining a new project, thinking through the methodology that frames one’s research, evaluating the published work of other historians, enduring (vicariously) outsiders’ critical treatment of one’s work, engaging in purposeful historical research, and writing up one’s results in the clearest style possible. They also will have acquired a certain expertise over the burgeoning sub-field of French microhistory.
IDST 89 Special Topics: Our “Modern” Culture of Drugs
Nelson Brunsting, Jenna Clark, Matthew Haynes, David Pfennig
Jenna Clark is a third-year MA/PhD student in social psychology and a Royster fellow. She received her bachelor’s degree from New College of Florida in 2008. Her research interests include narratives in persuasion and the outcomes of online social interaction. In graduate school, she has published in Addiction and the International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies.
David Pfennig is the Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Professor in the Department of Biology. He is broadly interested in the interplay between evolution, ecology, and development. Specifically, he studies the consequences of environment on development, the role of competition in biodiversity, and Batesian mimicry.
This seminar will explore the social, psychological, and economic impact of drug effects, perceptions, and outcomes on contemporary American society. Extensive in-class discussion will further cultivate a reasoned analysis of perspectives beyond the typical overt extremes. Topics will include the health care costs and pharmaceutical development, drug legality and societal portrayals, psychopharmacology of addiction, and will culminate in the consideration of antidepressant efficacy. A prior understanding of the underlying biology is not necessary; however, an openness to such material is recommended.
INLS 89 Special Topics: 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).
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.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 51 Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly: The Mathematics and 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 58 Math, Art, and the Human Experience
This seminar is designed to engage students in an exploration of the relevance of mathematical ideas to fields typically perceived as “non-mathematical” (e.g., art, music, film, literature). Equally important will be an exploration of how these “non-mathematical” fields influence mathematical thought. Course activities and assignments have been designed to illuminate the fact that even the most complex mathematical concepts grow out of real people’s attempts to understand their world. By the end of the seminar, students should be able to
- Identify and assess how mathematical ideas influence and are influenced by ideas expressed through art, music, literature, religion, etc
- Compare and contrast different philosophies concerning the nature of mathematics
- Articulate their own well-reasoned ideas concerning the nature of mathematics
- Discuss the evolution of fundamental mathematical concepts in a historical as well as a cultural context
- Discuss the work and lives of important mathematicians in relation to the “non-mathematical” work of their contemporaries
- Identify and assess how their own understanding of mathematical ideas influences the way they interact with the world
Course assignments and activities will include weekly readings and short homework writing assignments (2–3 paragraphs), quizzes, and a portfolio of mathematical art (e.g., painting, origami, poetry, music). No prerequisite is required.
MATH 89 Special Topics: Literate Scientific Computing
Computational modeling of natural phenomena has become a cornerstone of scientific inquiry, completing the traditional methods of theory construction and experimentation. The distinctive feature of scientific computation is exhaustive testing of our understanding of well-defined theoretical models, to an extent that is not possible without machines to rapidly carry out arithmetic operations. This seminar will introduce students to the art of successful scientific simulation. Simple models from the physical, biological, and social sciences will be introduced, given correct mathematical formulations, implemented in computer code, and analyzed. Concepts from the sciences, mathematics, and programming will be introduced as needed with no formal prerequisites beyond typical high school material. The objective will be to produce ‘live’ computational documents that serve as virtual experiments for some field of scientific inquiry.
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 89.001 Special Topics: 50 Years of the Audio Cassette
On September 13, 2013, the audio cassette turned fifty years old. This seminar marks the occasion with a focus on the tape in cultural history. The portable recording technology has inspired the way musicians compose music, served radio documentarians, transformed the written word into audiobooks, and facilitated the dissemination of musical subcultures. It has also consistently caught the attention of DIY enthusiasts because of the relative simplicity of recording and the low financial cost of its peripherals. We, too, will take advantage of the cassette’s accessibility: the course includes workshops with magnetic tape, during which students will have the opportunity to splice their own compositions and mix their own tapes. We survey the tape in a variety of contexts: from Paris in the 1960s to 1980s northern India to Durham, NC in 2013. The audio cassette ’s half century guides a reflection on the relationship between music, technology, and creative cultures.
MUSC 89.002 Special Topics: Music in America during World War II
This seminar will examine the various roles of music in America during World War II. Composers such as Samuel Barber, Marc Blitzstein, and Aaron Copland were active as soldiers and civil servants, contributing their music to the war effort with works such as Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Blitzstein’s Airborne Symphony. Jazz, film music, and other popular genres similarly responded to the war. The Double-V Campaign related civil-rights issues to the war effort, with such activist musicians as Lena Horne to Paul Roberson. Musicians themselves were involved in the propaganda and diplomatic activities of the Office of War Information, the State Department and United Services Organization. In this seminar we will explore these and other war-time roles of music and musicians through listening, research-based encounter, and readings. No prior musical knowledge or abilities are required.
PHYS 53 Handcrafting in the Nanoworld: Building Models and Manipulating Molecules
Michael R. Falvo
The nanoworld is a strange and captivating place. It is a world of molecules vibrating trillions of times a second, quantum dots emitting rainbow colors, DNA encoding information in molecular bonds, and protein motors driving the complex machinery of the cell. At this scale, nature has unique rules and behaviors, some of which are amazing and unexpected. We are still uncovering these rules, and are only beginning to apply this new knowledge to technology. Can we build molecular machines that cure disease or clean up the environment? Can we make computers using single molecule transistors? How do viruses and other bio systems “assemble” themselves? In this seminar, we dive into the basic physics, chemistry and biology that describe the nanometer scale world. We will also try to distinguish the true promise of nanoscience from the hype. Students will engage in class discussions informed by their weekly reading of selected scientific literature. They will also participate in small group projects building physical models of nanoscale objects and phenomena, and perform calculations to gain a quantitative understanding of the physics underlying the nanoworld. No prerequisite is required for this course, but a spirit of adventure is.
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.
PLCY 61 Policy Entrepreneurship and Public/Private Partnerships
Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative
Asher D. Hildebrand
This seminar will examine what it means to be a policy entrepreneur in contemporary society and identify successful strategies for achieving change and innovation in the public policy process. Taking a broad view of the subject, the seminar will explore the role of “public-spirited” entrepreneurs within government, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, and non-profit advocacy and research organizations, drawing on real-world case studies and hosting in-class discussions with leaders of each type of organization. The seminar will also examine models of innovative public-private partnerships in the delivery of public goods. To apply the concepts learned, students will develop and write a proposal for advancing a policy innovation at a “public-spirited” organization, such as a grant proposal for a non-profit.
PLCY 80 Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth
Jason Marc Cross
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.
PLCY 85 Reforming America’s High Schools
It has been estimated that 10 percent of the high schools in the U.S. produce over 50 percent of the nation’s drop-outs. Transforming these schools that have been referred to as “Drop-out Factories” has been a high priority for the federal government and here in North Carolina. Indeed, North Carolina had more of these schools—both rural and urban—than most other states in the nation. Indeed, the federal government recently committed to investing $400M over four years to transform the lowest achieving schools and improve students’ test scores and graduation rates in North Carolina. In this seminar, we will examine the reform strategies that have been developed to address problems of chronically low performing high schools. The class will analyze data to find the underlying problems in these schools, examine research on the effectiveness of various strategies that have been used in North Carolina and elsewhere, and design a reform plan for high schools in North Carolina. Students will hear from high-level officials who are engaged in reforming high school and influential educational policymakers.
POLI 54 The American Worker: Sociology, Politics, and History of Labor in the United States
Michele M. Hoyman
The face of the American worker is changing and the challenges American workers face are ever evolving. In the wake of recent events like the Occupy Wall Street protests, the public in general is becoming more aware of issues like income inequality, living wages, and the role of unions in the workplace. This seminar will explore the American worker from a legal, economic, and social justice perspective. Additionally, the legal framework Americans operate within in respect to labor law will be compared and contrasted with international standards and labor rights. The seminar will also feature an analysis of the American worker through classic film and fictional literature.
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 Tea Party movement, the Environmental movement, the Animal Rights movement, the America Militia movement, the White Nationalist movement, and the Occupy Wall Street 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 several group wiki papers.
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.
PSYC 58H The Psychology of Mental States and Language Use
Adults constantly make judgments about other people’s beliefs, desires, goals, knowledge, and intentions from evidence like eye gaze and inferences from their words and actions. These judgments together can be called mentalizing, mind-reading, or theory of mind (where “theory” refers to the theory an individual might hold about another’s mental state, not a scientific theory). This information is known to guide some aspects of language use — for example, you wouldn’t ask someone to hand you “that book” if they don’t know it exists. But some of the finer processes of language comprehension or production may proceed independently of these judgments, especially if they are too complex to happen quickly. This seminar examines a set of phenomena known as mentalizing, or theory of mind, and how mentalizing affects the development of language, adult language use, and the language of autistic individuals, who are known to have difficulty reasoning about others minds. This seminar will use a discussion format in which students will read papers, participate in experiment demonstrations, and design a small-scale original research study with their classmates.
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 Special Topics Racism, Racial Identity, and African American Mental Health
Enrique W. Neblett, Jr.
This seminar examines the connections among racism experiences, racial identity and African American mental health with a focus on African American children, adolescents, and young adults. We begin the seminar with an overview of foundational themes and theoretical perspectives that inform the study of racism and racial identity as they pertain to African American youth mental health. In the second part of the seminar, we use film, debate and personal reflections to inform an in-depth study of racial identity – the significance and meaning that individuals ascribe to being African American – as a protective factor in the link between racism and poor mental health outcomes for African American youth. Finally, we conclude the seminar with a discussion of current topics, controversies, and recent advances in the field. Throughout the seminar, a primary objective will be to consider diverse perspectives regarding how our knowledge and understanding of racism and racial identity has evolved over time and how the psychological experiences of African Americans can be used to promote African American mental health and wellness.
RELI 64 Reintroducing Islam
PH, BN, GL
This seminar 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 89 Special Topics: 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 58 Writing a Woman’s Life
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 59 Courts and Courtly Culture in 16th– and 17th-Century Spain
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.
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 89.002 Special Topics: 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.
SOCI 89.003 Special Topics: Women, Work, and Family: Past and Present
This seminar involves an up close analysis of how women establish and interweave their work and family lives in two different generations—those who came of age in the early 1900s and those who came of age in the early 2000s. One hundred years apart, what are the similarities and differences in women’s expectations, opportunities, and experiences? We will address these questions through a sociological lens, learning to synthesize existing research in the area, evaluate social theory on the topic, and propose and conduct new empirical research that contributes to the field.
SOCI 89.004 Special Topics: 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.
STOR 72 Unlocking the Genetic Code
J. Scott Provan
On June 26, 2000, scientists announced the complete mapping of the human genome. While this is an achievement of enormous historical importance, there are daunting technical, biological, and ethical questions and problems still to be addressed in understanding and using this information. This seminar is intended to be an introduction to the world of DNA – its structure, function, and importance. The students will discuss and try to understand the immensity and complexity of organizing knowledge of DNA and protein structure, and the resulting sizes of the genomic databases. This will be accompanied by examining some of the questions that might be asked in connection with obtaining full knowledge of the human genome, and addressing some of the problems that arise when trying to answer some of these questions. No previous computer skills or knowledge of mathematics beyond basic algebra are required.
STOR 89 Special Topics Adventures in Statistics
The aim of this seminar is to show that contrary to the common belief, statistics can be exciting and fun. We will focus on the big picture ideas. Instead of memorizing confusing formulas, many of the technical ideas will be demonstrated by computer experiments. We will view some recent movies and discuss the role statistics plays in sports, gambling, medicine, politics, finance, etc. Then we will study randomness and discover why casino always wins. Finally we will discuss the basic principle of statistical reasoning “if it is unlikely do not believe it”, get to understand why a relatively small sample can carry a big punch and learn how to lift ourselves by our bootstraps. This seminar is not a replacement for an introductory statistics course.
BIOL 190 The Life Sciences and Biotechnology in a Globalized Era: Impacts and Perspectives
The last century has seen enormous leaps in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of life, which have yielded dramatic changes in medicine and agriculture, and may provide novel energy alternatives like more robust biofuels in the future. At times, these rapid advances have provoked controversy and have met resistance on global, regional and local scales (vaccines and GMO’s are recent examples; stem cells received abundant attention in past years). We will start by learning the fundamental biology underlying the biotech revolution and then take an interdisciplinary approach to current life science and society topics. We will see examples of how biotechnology challenges deeply felt beliefs about life’s beginnings and endings and how life itself is valued. We will examine how the life sciences are shaped by political, ethical, economic, and environmental considerations, and how research in the life sciences can impact policy perspectives.
GEOL 190 Past and Present (ab)use of North Carolina’s Geologic Resources
The discovery, development and exploitation of geology has been an important part of North Carolina’s history and will continue to be in the future. This Science Seminar will introduce fundamental geological science skills and concepts so students can critically examine the use of the state’s geological resources. North Carolina has a long history of mining and agriculture that continue today; current issues include the development of wind power, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), and the potential impacts climate change may bring to the state, including landslides, drought, sea level rise on our coasts and its affect on coastal life and resources. Students will work on a group-based research project that will include collecting samples in the field, using laboratory facilities at UNC-Chapel Hill and presenting their results at a poster session at the end of the semester.
PSYC 190 Infancy and the Development of Mind
The goal of this Science Seminar is to expose students to the many facets of development that occur during the prenatal stages and through the second year of life. This seminar will progress through a variety of topics relevant to these stages, with an emphasis on the analysis of current research. Each class will include a lecture on a specific domain of development, but will focus heavily on the discussion of relevant research articles and paradigms. Students will have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom as they spend time in a daycare setting. This internship will allow students to provide valuable contributions to class discussions and help students better understand the topics covered. This experience, along with class discussions, will assist students in developing their own research proposals for a potential study on the development of infant mind.