Past Courses

Past Courses

2011-2012 2010-2011 2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005 2003-2004 2002-2003 2001-2002 2000-2001

 


 

Spring 2012

IS 201: Power Computing in All Disciplines (Dick Brown)  WRI

Developments in the field of computing now allow undergraduates to create effective and innovative applications of powerful computing techniques in any target discipline, but few non-computer science faculty are aware of these opportunities. This seminar brings computer science (CS) students together with an equal number of students in target (non-CS) disciplines. Together, they will create interdisciplinary software applications involving modern high-performance computing that are useful for teaching and/or research in those target disciplines.

IS 214: Music in Film (Justin Merritt)  ALS-A, ORC

Igor Stravinsky said that film music should have “the same relationship to the film drama that somebody’s piano playing in my living room has on the book I am reading.” Students encounter an art that can have devastating emotional impact while often remaining unnoticed. In this seminar, students will achieve a broad understanding of the history of music in cinema, encounter and critique a wide repertoire, and create new film music in team-based collaborations.

IS 218: Chronicles of the American Immigrant Experience

In this seminar, students will consider how immigrants work through their national, ethnic, or racial heritage to contribute to the creative and spiritual life of their new nation, and ways in which this collection of voices creates harmony and/or dissonance. We will read novels, short stories, and poems, and study private writings (letters and diaries), films, artworks, and other artifacts, in the context of the history of American immigration and of issues facing current immigrant groups. (ALS-L, HWC, WRI)

Interim 2012

IS 219: Collaborative Design

Students in this seminar will use design process as a technique to creatively and efficiently tackle large projects in a group setting. We will focus on the construction of a working Rube Goldberg Machine, a whimsical and creative yet complicated and demanding task, using the design process. Students will examine formal techniques for identifying goals, brainstorming ideas, establishing timelines, prototyping ideas, and creating formal presentations. Hands-on skills will also be taught and utilized throughout the construction process. A background in science is not necessary; it is in fact one goal of this seminar to bring together science and non-science majors in creative collaboration. (IST, ORC)

Fall 2011

IS 204: Ethics and Global Service

Orphans, HIV/AIDS, abuse, poverty; many Oles want to address these global issues directly. Students study and apply ethical reasoning to decisions about serving abroad. Vocations of service invite the examination of motivation, values, needs, faith stances, and privilege. Through the lenses of Christian, multicultural, and feminist ethics and concepts of vocation, students sharpen their thinking about “helping” in another cultural context. Designed particularly for students interested in global careers in health, ministry, social welfare, education and community development. Open to juniors and seniors from any major. (Prerequisite: BTS-T) (GE: EIN)

 

 

Spring 2011

IS 218: Chronicles of the American Immigrant Experience

In this seminar, students will consider how immigrants work through their national, ethnic, or racial heritage to contribute to the creative and spiritual life of their new nation, and ways in which this collection of voices creates harmony and/or dissonance. We will read novels, short stories, and poems, and study private writings (letters and diaries), films, artworks, and other artifacts, in the context of the history of American immigration and of issues facing current immigrant groups. (ALS-L, HWC, WRI)

Interim 2011

IS 219: Collaborative Design

Students in this seminar will use design process as a technique to creatively and efficiently tackle large projects in a group setting. We will focus on the construction of a working Rube Goldberg Machine, a whimsical and creative yet complicated and demanding task, using the design process. Students will examine formal techniques for identifying goals, brainstorming ideas, establishing timelines, prototyping ideas, and creating formal presentations. Hands-on skills will also be taught and utilized throughout the construction process. A background in science is not necessary; it is in fact one goal of this seminar to bring together science and non-science majors in creative collaboration. (IST, ORC)

Fall 2010

IS 204: Global Health Ethics

This seminar seeks a culturally respectful ethical framework for developing health policies for our increasingly interdependent world, a world of widening disparities in wealth and health. In relation to issues of health, how might relationships between individuals, institutions, and nations be structured to reduce injustice and improve prospects for well-being, peace, and security? How might different cultural, political, and industrial conditions around the world affect our western conception of bioethics? (EIN)

IS 216: Ideals to Actions

This seminar explores social change both academically and practically. Through historical analysis, case studies, ethical reflection, and practical application, students investigate local and global social problems contextually and assess a range of approaches to effect change, including community organizing, service projects, public policy, entrepreneurial ventures, and social movements. The seminar integrates a hands-on approach, encouraging students to hone the analytical tools and practical skills needed to cultivate change and engage fully as citizens. (ORC)

 

Spring 2010

IS 204: Public Health Ethics and Pandemic

This seminar seeks an ethical framework for developing health policies with significant population and individual impacts. Which perspective should be taken – that of the population or the individual? When and how might the interests of each balance, trump, or constrain the interests of the other? Students explore substantive and procedural approaches to “fairness” when population interests compete with or compromise individuals’ pursuit of the good as they see it, and consider the challenges of a severe, 1918-type influenza pandemic. (EIN)

IS 218: Chronicles of the American Immigrant Experience

Using the work of Norwegian-American novelist (and former St. Olaf professor) O. E. Rølvaag as a springboard, students will look at the ways in which immigrants have contributed and continue to contribute to the creative and spiritual life of their new nation by working through and with their own national heritage, their racial and ethnic past.  Literary texts by immigrant American writers illuminate the experience of ethnicity and immigration by depicting the process of migration, the meeting with the new, the tension between the old and the new culture, and the break in culture and tradition which comes as the result of exchanging one land, one language, and one culture for another.  In addition to novels, short stories, and poems, we will look at private writings (letters and diaries), films, art works, and other artifacts that reveal immigrant experiences.  These texts will be studied in the context of the history of immigration to America and of issues facing current immigrant groups.  Students will think together about the ways in which different ethnic-American voices create a chorus of harmony and/or dissonance.  The objective of the course is to stimulate reading and discussion of these immigration-focused texts, with the goal of engendering a greater understanding from a humanistic perspective of the issues facing ethnic immigrant groups in contemporary American society. (ALS-L, HWC, WRI)

 

 

Fall 2009

IS 202: Critical Issues in Human-Environment Interaction

This seminar uses global environmental issues to explore the interrelationships between humans and the environment, and develop alternatives for social-political action. Students examine paradigms or ways of organizing environmental issues and their impact on humans; evaluate possible applications of competing paradigms; generate a model for organizing thoughts on a specific environmental issue; and present that model using qualitative and quantitative evidence to illustrate and support this personal paradigmatic response. Possible topics include global warming, water rights, pollution, and disaster vulnerability. (HBS, WRI)

IS 204: Censors and Degenerates: Ethical Issues in the Visual and Performing Arts

In this seminar, we will consider artistic censorship in the 20th and 21st centuries in light of the main moral theories, principles, and approaches in Western ethics. As we explore the recent history of censorship in the arts, we will examine art through the lens of ethics, considering the nature of art and artistic power. Why is art censored? Who censors? Is there an ethics of art? An ethics of censorship? What is an ethical response to censorship? To art? (EIN)

IS 216: Ideals to Actions

This seminar explores social change both academically and practically. Through historical analysis, case studies, ethical reflection, and practical application, students investigate local and global social problems contextually and assess a range of approaches to effect change, including community organizing, service projects, public policy, entrepreneurial ventures, and social movements. The seminar integrates a hands-on approach, encouraging students to hone the analytical tools and practical skills needed to cultivate change and engage fully as citizens. (ORC)

 

Spring 2009

IS 204: Public Health Ethics and Pandemic

This seminar seeks an ethical framework for developing health policies with significant population and individual impacts. Which perspective should be taken – that of the population or the individual? When and how might the interests of each balance, trump, or constrain the interests of the other? Students explore substantive and procedural approaches to “fairness” when population interests compete with or compromise individuals’ pursuit of the good as they see it, and consider the challenges of a severe, 1918-type influenza pandemic. (EIN)

IS 217: Theatre and Science

This seminar explores how the sciences have changed our perception and construction of the world – and humans within that world – and how theatre and theatrical performance both engage in and challenge those perceptions and constructions. Students will examine how plays, performance, and the sciences interact and emerge in Western culture; how theatres, and a critical engagement with text and performance, participate in the methodology of science; and how “science” is performed on stage.

IS 216: Ideals to Action: Cultivating Social Change

This seminar explores social change both academically and practically. Through historical analysis, case studies, ethical reflection, and practical application, students investigate local and global social problems contextually and assess a range of approaches to effect change, including community organizing, service projects, public policy, entrepreneurial ventures, and social movements. The seminar integrates a hands-on approach, encouraging students to hone the analytical tools and practical skills needed to cultivate change and engage fully as citizens. (ORC)

 

Fall 2008

IS 202: Critical Issues in Human-Environment Interaction

This seminar uses global environmental issues to explore the interrelationships between humans and the environment, and develop alternatives for social-political action. Students examine paradigms or ways of organizing environmental issues and their impact on humans; evaluate possible applications of competing paradigms; generate a model for organizing thoughts on a specific environmental issue; and present that model using qualitative and quantitative evidence to illustrate and support this personal paradigmatic response. Possible topics include global warming, water rights, pollution, and disaster vulnerability. (HBS, WRI)

IS 204: Censors and Degenerates: Ethical Issues in the Visual and Performing Arts

In this seminar, we will consider artistic censorship in the 20th and 21st centuries in light of the main moral theories, principles, and approaches in Western ethics. As we explore the recent history of censorship in the arts, we will examine art through the lens of ethics, considering the nature of art and artistic power. Why is art censored? Who censors? Is there an ethics of art? An ethics of censorship? What is an ethical response to censorship? To art? (EIN)

IS 214: American Film History

How has American film both reflected and shaped American lives? This seminar explores both classic and contemporary Hollywood in its artistic, cultural, technological and economic contexts. Films studied will range from silent movie classics, screwball comedy, film noir and the Hollywood musical through the work of Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg. In addition to assigned reading and writing, students will be required to watch two films per week, one of them at a formal screening on Monday evenings. (ALS, WRI)

 

Spring 2008

IS 205: Green Roofs – Science and Sustainability (Umbanhowar jr)

Green roofs are being installed on buildings around the world, including on St. Olaf’s new Science Complex. This seminar will introduce students to the science, sustainability, and design of green roofs. We will focus on the impacts green and non-green roofs have on energy and water as well as practical issues associated with installation of green roofs. Students will work on a variety of projects, including energy transfer and heat island effects, stormwater management, and heavy metal contamination. (NST, NSL)

IS 214A: The Art & Politics of the Book (LeBlanc)

This seminar considers the book as cultural artifact, exploring social, political, and aesthetic issues around book production since the Industrial Revolution. We will study books whose making inspired public action or stirred controversy, as well as the biography and art of alphabet books, cartography, the graphic novel, literary ‘zines, fine press books, and a selection of books whose publication engendered significant reactions. Representative texts include Nick Bantock’s “The Forgetting Room”, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Three Incestuous Sisters”, Robert Sabuda’s “America the Beautiful”, Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”, and Art Spiegelman’s “In the Shadow of No Towers”. The seminar also will share in rich local resources to produce artist’s/writer’s notebooks, to initiate collaborative “pass around” journals, to write a biography of a book, and to create books. Guest artists, field trips to area book collections, and visits to online exhibits will supplement our study. (ALS-A, WRI)

IS 214B: American Film History (Postlethwaite)

How has American film both reflected and shaped American lives? This seminar will explore both classic and contemporary Hollywood in its artistic, cultural, technological and economic contexts. Films studies will range from silent movie classics, screwball comedy, film noir and the Hollywood musical through the work of Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg. In addition to assigned reading and writing, students will be required to watch two films per week, one of them at a formal screening on Monday evenings. (ALS-A pending approval, WRI)

 

Fall 2007

IS 202: Sports in Society (Ahrar)

Sports are more than exercise and entertainment – they can be understood as social phenomena, related to the social and cultural contexts in which we live. Sports provide stories and images used to explain and evaluate these contexts and provide a window into culture and society. This seminar will consider ways in which sports may be understood as social constructs: Who plays sports, what happens to them, and why? Do money and power matter in sports – of so, how? How does “playing games” become formalized, institutionalized? What is the role of media in sports? Or religion? Or government? Students will discuss and produce position papers on various issues relating to sports in society. (HBS)

IS 215: It’s About Sex: Gender and Sexuality in 20th Century United States (Titus)

This seminar will explore selected “moments” in the intertwined histories of gender and sexuality in the United States, approaching each from more than one disciplinary perspective. For example, we might begin with George Chauncey’s historical study _Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay male Worlds, 1890-1940,_ followed by selections from the fiction and poetry of Harlem Renaissance figures such as Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, and Claude McKay. We will probably consider the significance of Alfred Kinsey, including his current incarnation in the film, “Kinsey.” We’ll likely read “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, view the film version starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and then read a revision of the play titled “Belle Reprieve,” written and staged by the lesbian-feminist theater company Split Britches. Other moments we might step into and explore together include the birth control pill, the Vagina Monologues and/or performance art, and the contemporary transgender movement. At all times we will draw on historical and cultural studies, sociological and psychological writings, literature, film, and feminist and queer theory to enrich our understanding. Each seminar member will undertake an extensive research project that will contribute to the content of the seminar in the final third of the semester. (ALS-L, MCS-D)

 

Spring 2007

IS 214: The Art & Politics of the Book (LeBlanc)

This seminar considers the book as cultural artifact, exploring social, political, and aesthetic issues around book production since the Industrial Revolution. We will study books whose making inspired public action or stirred controversy, as well as the biography and art of alphabet books, cartography, the graphic novel, literary ‘zines, fine press books, and a selection of books whose publication engendered significant reactions. Representative texts include Nick Bantock’s “The Forgetting Room”, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Three Incestuous Sisters”, Robert Sabuda’s “America the Beautiful”, Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”, and Art Spiegelman’s “In the Shadow of No Towers”. The seminar also will share in rich local resources to produce artist’s/writer’s notebooks, to initiate collaborative “pass around” journals, to write a biography of a book, and to create books. Guest artists, field trips to area book collections, and visits to online exhibits will supplement our study. (ALS-A, WRI)

IS 209: Who Owns the Arts? Sponsorship, Censorship, and Artistic Freedom (Wilson)

What is the relationship of the arts to the rest of society? What art should be publicly funded and who determines this? How does corporate or other sponsorship affect the production of art? What constitutes censorship? How are the arts supported in different countries? A look at the intersection of ethics, money, community values and the arts in today’s society. (EIN, ORC)

IS 215: It’s About Sex: Gender and Sexuality in 20th Century United States (Titus)

This seminar will explore selected “moments” in the intertwined histories of gender and sexuality in the United States, approaching each from more than one disciplinary perspective. For example, we might begin with George Chauncey’s historical study _Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay male Worlds, 1890-1940,_ followed by selections from the fiction and poetry of Harlem Renaissance figures such as Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, and Claude McKay. We will probably consider the significance of Alfred Kinsey, including his current incarnation in the film, “Kinsey.” We’ll likely read “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, view the film version starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and then read a revision of the play titled “Belle Reprieve,” written and staged by the lesbian-feminist theater company Split Britches. Other moments we might step into and explore together include the birth control pill, the Vagina Monologues and/or performance art, and the contemporary transgender movement. At all times we will draw on historical and cultural studies, sociological and psychological writings, literature, film, and feminist and queer theory to enrich our understanding. Each seminar member will undertake an extensive research project that will contribute to the content of the seminar in the final third of the semester. (ALS-L, MCS-D)

 

Fall 2006

IS 207: Ways of Knowing Ecology (Allister, Porterfield)

How do we learn science? What approaches can be used to understand and interpret scientific information? While “ecology” in the strict sense refers to a specific field within biology, the word may also be used more broadly to refer to the interactions that organisms have with both living and non-living components of their environments. This seminar will provide students with natural science experiences in ecology as well as explorations of different methods of learning and knowing science. Field experiments and biography, data collection and aesthetics, scientific analyses and history, will be among the different approaches students take in each of the seminar topics, and in a final group project. (NST)

IS 202: Sports in Society (Ahrar)

Sports are more than exercise and entertainment – they can be understood as social phenomena, related to the social and cultural contexts in which we live. Sports provide stories and images used to explain and evaluate these contexts and provide a window into culture and society. This seminar will consider ways in which sports may be understood as social constructs: Who plays sports, what happens to them, and why? Do money and power matter in sports – of so, how? How does “playing games” become formalized, institutionalized? What is the role of media in sports? Or religion? Or government? Students will discuss and produce position papers on various issues relating to sports in society. (HBS)

 

Spring 2006

Sport & Religion: Inquiry into American Values (Wicks)

Sport and religion are significant social institutions in American culture. Both command a wide following that is passionate in its devotion. Sport has been used to promote religion, and it has been used as a means of enhancing one’s faith. This relationship has evolved over time, through education, the military, churches, and team play at different levels. But is sport actually religious? In this seminar we will investigate the connections between sport and religion, particularly in the U.S., and consider in what ways that relationship affects people’s behavior. (WRI, HWC, HBS-E)

Representing and Responding to the Vietnam/American War (Titus)

This seminar will explore responses to/representations of the War in Vietnam from a variety of perspectives. We will read literature — fiction, poetry, autobiographies, drama — by both Vietnamese and American writers; we will view and discuss depictions of the war in American films from 1965 to the present; we will look at some of the protest writing and political journalism accompanying the war and explore their place in American society; we will learn about the popular music that helped articulate American responses to the war; we will examine the photography of war connected with Vietnam and address philosophical issues related to photography and journalism recording suffering and violence; we will explore the formal and political choices shaping war memorials; and we will think, talk, and write about all of the above — and more. (ALS-L pending)

 

Fall 2005

American Musical Theater (Gisselman)

This course explores the development of a uniquely American theatrical form from the 1850′s to the present. The course cultivates understanding of the form of musical theater itself; it also uses musical theater as a lens through which to view developments in American culture, including the influence of the many cultures either coming to or brought to the United States. The course incorporates study of recordings, films, and scores, as well as popular and scholarly research into musical theater. Students will see and analyze performances, but this is not a performance course. (WRI, MCS-D, ALS-A)

Ways of Knowing Ecology (Allister, Porterfield)

How do we learn science? What approaches can be used to understand and interpret scientific information? While “ecology” in the strict sense refers to a specific field within biology, the word may also be used more broadly to refer to the interactions that organisms have with both living and non-living components of their environments. This seminar will provide students with natural science experiences in ecology as well as explorations of different methods of learning and knowing science. Field experiments and biography, data collection and aesthetics, scientific analyses and history, will be among the different approaches students take in each of the seminar topics, and in a final group project. (NST)

 

Spring 2005

Sport & Religion: Inquiry into American Values (Wicks)

Sport and religion are significant social institutions in American culture. Both command a wide following that is passionate in its devotion. Sport has been used to promote religion, and it has been used as a means of enhancing one’s faith. This relationship has evolved over time, through education, the military, churches, and team play at different levels. But is sport actually religious? In this seminar we will investigate the connections between sport and religion, particularly in the U.S., and consider in what ways that relationship affects people’s behavior. (WRI, HWC, HBS-E)

Life: Biology and Theology (Booth/Cole)

A conversation between the methods and conclusions of Christian theology and those of biology. Field and laboratory investigations, along with accounts of scientific discoveries, introduce scientific inquiry as a way of understanding natural phenomena. Concurrently, we explore both historical and normative Christian theological understandings of how God is related to the natural world. Do methods and results in biology tend to recommend certain ways of speaking about the relationships between God, humans, and nature? Juxtaposing scientific and theological questions, we explore how findings in natural science influence theological doctrine or personal piety, and how religious convictions influence scientific inquiry and our understanding of nature. ( NST-B/NSL, BTS-T)

 

Fall 2004

American Musical Theater (Gisselman)

This course explores the development of a uniquely American theatrical form from the 1850′s to the present. The course cultivates understanding of the form of musical theater itself; it also uses musical theater as a lens through which to view developments in American culture, including the influence of the many cultures either coming to or brought to the United States. The course incorporates study of recordings, films, and scores, as well as popular and scholarly research into musical theater. Students will see and analyze performances, but this is not a performance course. (WRI, MCS-D, ALS-A)

Spring 2004

Geometry and Culture (Allen R)

Achieve a better understanding of Islamic culture through mathematical exploration of the geometry underlying the patterns and images of Islamic art and architecture. We consider the origins of the patterns found in Islamic religious beliefs, and the development over time of this expression of mathematics through culture. Students study and analyze examples of these patterns occurring in the buildings and monuments found in the Islamic world. Students end by applying the acquired geometry and their understanding of Islamic culture by creating new, original patterns and defending them as appropriate representations of Islamic decoration. (MAR, MCS-G)

Life: Biology and Theology (Booth/Cole)

A conversation between the methods and conclusions of Christian theology and those of biology. Field and laboratory investigations, along with accounts of scientific discoveries, introduce scientific inquiry as a way of understanding natural phenomena. Concurrently, we explore both historical and normative Christian theological understandings of how God is related to the natural world. Do methods and results in biology tend to recommend certain ways of speaking about the relationships between God, humans, and nature? Juxtaposing scientific and theological questions, we explore how findings in natural science influence theological doctrine or personal piety, and how religious convictions influence scientific inquiry and our understanding of nature. (NST-B/NSL, BTS-T)

 

Interim 2004

Modern Mexico: Tradition and Change (Lennox/Nordstrom-Loeb)

Off campus course – St. Olaf Band Tour

Fall 2003

Who Owns the Arts? Sponsorship, Censorship & Artistic Freedom (Wilson K)

What is the relationship of the arts to the rest of society? What art should be publicly funded and who determines this? How does corporate or other sponsorship affect the production of art? What constitutes censorship? How are the arts supported in different countries? A look at the intersection of ethics, money, community values and the arts in today’s society. (EIN, ORC)

Spring 2003

Who Owns the Arts? Sponsorship, Censorship & Artistic Freedom (Wilson K)

What is the relationship of the arts to the rest of society? What art should be publicly funded and who determines this? How does corporate or other sponsorship affect the production of art? What constitutes censorship? How are the arts supported in different countries? A look at the intersection of ethics, money, community values and the arts in today’s society. (EIN, ORC)

Life: Biology and Theology (Booth/Cole)

A conversation between the methods and conclusions of Christian theology and those of biology. Field and laboratory investigations, along with accounts of scientific discoveries, introduce scientific inquiry as a way of understanding natural phenomena. Concurrently, we explore both historical and normative Christian theological understandings of how God is related to the natural world. Do methods and results in biology tend to recommend certain ways of speaking about the relationships between God, humans, and nature? Juxtaposing scientific and theological questions, we explore how findings in natural science influence theological doctrine or personal piety, and how religious convictions influence scientific inquiry and our understanding of nature. (NST-B/NSL, BTS-T)

 

Interim 2003

Geometry and Culture (Allen R)

Mathematical exploration of the geometry underlying the patterns and images of Islamic art and architecture. We will consider the origins of the patterns found in Islamic religious beliefs and the development over time of this expression of mathematics through culture. Students will study and analyze examples of these patterns occurring in the architecture of buildings and monuments found in the Islamic world. Students will end by applying the acquired geometry and their understanding of Islamic culture by creating new original patterns and defending them as appropriate representations of Islamic decoration. (MAR, MCS-G)

You Bet Your Life: Rational Risk Assessment in the U.S. (Jackson/Swift )

Life is a risky proposition. How do we determine if an activity or choice exceeds our sense of reasonable risk? How does an understanding of risk, or lack thereof, translate into political policies? Rational risk assessment relies on the application of scientific principles and methodology. We will explore how biology and chemistry play prominent, interdependent roles in understanding the risks associated with daily life. Students will study and apply the principles of science-based risk assessment and compare/contrast the outcomes to the portrayal of risk in the popular press. (NST)

Politics & Science (Umbanhowar)

Are humans predisposed by biology to form political associations? Is politics a natural or a cultural phenomenon? Some socio-biologists argue that human behavior is predetermined by our genetic inheritance. Does this mean that “human nature” can be uncovered by studying evolutionary biology, and that politics is determined by biological nature? To what degree do we have self-determination in our political choices? Must political action correspond to nature in order to be effective, or does good government transcend nature? Students will read, discuss, and write, and explore the nature of politics by playing the simulation game “Monopolity.” (HBS)

 

Fall 2002

The Politics of American History (Fitzgerald)

How do we know our past? A look at how history intersects with the public sphere in contemporary America, in current politically-tinged debates over interpreting periods or episodes in American history. In the 1990s several major historical issues garnered a great deal of media attention. What does this mean for how historians do history, historical revisions, and historiography? (HWC)

The Sociology of Sports (Myers)

Are organized sports good for children? Is the use if performance-enhancing substances in sports out of control.? Is violence in sports a problem? How do we acheive gender equity in sports? How important are race and ethnicity, or money and power, in sports? Could sports and the media survive without each other? How do politics and globalization influence sports? Do sports programs contribute to education? What is the sociology of sports? This seminar will consider the role of sports in contemporary society. (HBS)

 

Spring 2002

Performance Studies (Sonnega)

This seminar explores whether the formal terms and concepts with which theater critics analyze dramatic performances can also be employed to analyze behaviors outside of theaters. In particular, legal and political practices, cultural rituals, activities of family life, and perhaps other interactions, may be construed as performances, and interpreted through models traditionally used to analyze theatrical performance. How many of our activities follow more or less explicit scripts? How many of our activities require us to play a role? Is “real life” something like a theatrical performance? (WRI, MCS-D)

 

Interim 2002

Politics & Science (Umbanhowar)

Are humans predisposed by their biology to form political associations? Is politics a natural or a cultural phenomenon? Some sociobiologists argue that human behavior is predetermined by our genetic inheritance. Does this mean that “human nature” can be uncovered through study of evolutionary biology, and that politics is determined by biological nature? To what degree do we have self-determination in our political choices? Must political action correspond to nature in order to be effective, or does good government transcend nature? This course investigates a premise of political philosophy that human beings are political animals who fulfill themselves only by action in political society. In addition to reading, discussing and writing, students will explore the nature of politics by playing the simulation game of “Monopolity.” (HBS)

 

Spring 2001

Performance Studies (Sonnega)

This seminar explores whether the formal terms and concepts with which theater critics analyze dramatic performances can also be employed to analyze behaviors outside of theaters. In particular, legal and political practices, cultural rituals, activities of family life, and perhaps other interactions, may be construed as performances, and interpreted through models traditionally used to analyze theatrical performance. How many of our activities follow more or less explicit scripts? How many of our activities require us to play a role? Is “real life” something like a theatrical performance? (WRI, MCS-D)

Intro to Neuroscience (Dickson/Walter)

This is one of the fastest-growing fields in natural science. The seminar will focus on fundamental approaches to studying the nervous system. A combination of lecture, discussion, and laboratory experiences will begin with the structure and function of the nervous system, including a detailed examination of neurons and their synaptic connections. Behavioral, physiological, genetic, and neuro-chemical research will be explored. The senses, mobility, integration, emotion, learning, and some disorders will be examined. Our goal is to begin to see the basic behavioral and biological mechanisms that underlie organismal activity, and to provide guidance for future thinking about issues related to the brain and mind, be they in linguistic, philosophical, psychological, social or political domains. (NST, NSL)

This is an introductory course intended as a foundation for further study. Seniors may not register except with the permission of the instructors. (NST, NSL)

 

Interim 2001

Ethics and Embodiment (Booth)

This seminar introduces resources in theology and ethical theory through which to explore the interplay between embodiment and the determination of the moral self.  The course particularly  considers Aristotelian, Kantian, Augustinian, and Foucauldian theory about how our bodies figure in moral reflection.  The course also considers moral problems about embodied living, ranging from reflection on war and peace stimulated by narratives of the soldierâs body and the maternal body, to reflection on race and gender stimulated by analyses of commodified beauty standards.  Prerequisites: BTS-T.  Open to juniors and seniors, and to sophomores by permission of instructor. (EIN) Fall 2000

 

Fall 2000

Environmental Justice: Alternative Perspectives (Judge)

As environmental quality becomes increasingly perceived as a scarce good, questions arise regarding how environmental quality is allocated among communities and groups both within this country and across the world, and whether the resulting allocation is indeed just.  This course uses material from economics, sociology, philosophy, and political science to consider the issue of environmental justice as it is perceived and debated in national and international arenas. (HBS-E)

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