Freshman Seminars Fall 2009


Desire and Demand
Marilynne Diggs -Thompson, House Dean, Riepe College House
Does consumption shape culture or does culture shape consumption? Does the archaic term “errand running” now fall under the heading of “power shopping”? As even the most mundane purchase becomes socially symbolic and culturally meaningful we can now persuasively argue that the concept of “need” has been transformed. When successful selling must account for differences in age, gender, ethnicity, language and even religion, how is demand created and how are diverse populations “sold”? From Delhi to New York, we ask the questions: Has the process of globalization also homogenized consumption? Has shopping become both entertainment and pop culture and exactly how has it become inextricably bound to issues of self-image, social status and identity? Analyzing a variety of physical and virtual venues in different countries, from the 19th century to the present, this seminar examines the process of shopping in the global marketplace, and the culture surrounding consumption, including social and political-economic facts which impact if, when, why and how people purchase goods. We study the efficiency of the “consumer continuum,” production–promotion–purchase, and examine how culture, consumption, marketing and global capitalism have become intertwined around the world. (CDUS)
anth 086.301 | Monday | 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Native Peoples and the Environment
Clark Erickson, Associate Professor of Anthropology
The relationship between the activities of native peoples and the environment is a complex and contentious issue. One perspective argues that native peoples had little impact on the environments because of their low population densities, limited technology, and conservation ethic and worldview. At other extreme, biodiversity and Nature itself is considered the product of a long history of human activities. This seminar will examine the Myth of the Ecologically Noble Savage, the Myth of the Pristine Environment, the alliance between native peoples and Green Politics, and the contribution of native peoples to appropriate technology, sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity.
anth 133.401 / lals 133.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Risk Communication and the Environment
Kevin Osterhoudt, Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Throughout nature it is evident that life is not risk free. Humans are particularly adept at modifying and shaping our environment, but with each advance in science, technology, and medicine comes an element of risk. Toxicants in our environment such as heavy metals, plastics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and air pollutants pose an exposure risk and are hot topics of concern, but the magnitude of their threat is often difficult to understand and communicate. How should these risks be translated from the academic laboratory to the public? What filters shape the way that we perceive risks? This seminar will promote an analysis of the risks we face on a daily basis, and the determinants which shape our willingness to accept some risks while rejecting others. Students will be asked to identify real environmental hazards, and to study how those exposures affect the public. A goal of this seminar is to nurture skills in critical appraisal and in spoken and written communication, which will be important in lifelong advocacy pursuits.
envs 095.301 | Wednesday | 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Dilemmas in International Development
Richard Estes, Professor, School of Social Work
World social development has arrived at a critical turning point. Economically advanced nations have made significant progress toward meeting the basic needs of their populations; however, the majority of developing countries have not. Problems of rapid population growth, failing economies, famine, environmental devastation, majority / minority group conflicts, increasing militarization, among others are pushing many developing nations toward the brink of social chaos.
This seminar exposes students to the complex social, political and economic forces that influence national and international patterns of development. Particular attention will be given to the development dilemmas confronting the developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Attention also will be given to helping students understand the possible choices that more economically advanced countries can make in helping poorer countries advance their development objectives.
Students will be exposed to the interplay of international forces that inhibit the progress of developing nations and can actually add to their mal-development. They will undertake an original piece of research on an international development topic of special interest to them. They will also be invited to meet with prominent professionals in the international development community.
frsm 106.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

AIDS and Power
Johanna Crane, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum and Health and Societies
Epidemics demonstrate the connections between people and places in dramatic and often tragic ways, with routes of contagion and intervention often throwing social, economic and political inequalities into sharp relief. In the last three decades AIDS has gone from an unknown and localized illness in central Africa to a mysterious gay cancer among young men in California and New York, to a worldwide pandemic that is transforming global health funding, pharmaceutical regulation, national demographics, international science and social movements. It is impossible to study HIV / AIDS without also engaging with questions of power. Since its inception, the epidemic has been said to travel along the fault lines of society, wreaking its greatest impact on individuals and communities already marginalized on the basis of economics, race, sexual orientation, gender, addiction and/or geography. At the same time, HIV / AIDS has given rise to powerful new institutions and personalities in scientific research, humanitarian aid and patient advocacy around the world. In this course we will use readings in anthropology, sociology, history and cultural studies to explore the science and politics of HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and globally. We will learn how power disparities have shaped disease risk, prevention and access to treatment, but also examine ways in which people and communities have become empowered via HIV / AIDS, giving rise to new identities and social movements. We will explore how questions of scientific discovery, credit and ownership have been refracted through aids science, and how the globalization of hiv research is engendering new power dynamics between wealthy former colonial powers and postcolonial nations that are resource-poor but patient-rich. Lastly, we will use HIV / AIDS as a lens through which to think about the dynamic relationship between power, the body, and the production of scientific and cultural knowledge.
hsoc / anth 049.401 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

The Autism Epidemic: Implications from Cells to Society
David Mandell, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, School of Medicine
The CDC estimates that one in 150 children have autism. Three decades ago, this number was one in 5,000. The communities in which these children are identified in ever increasing numbers are ill prepared to meet their needs. Scientists have struggled to understand the causes of this disorder, its treatment and why it appears to be rapidly increasing. Families, policy makers, schools and the healthcare system have argued bitterly in the press and in the courts about the best way to care for these children and the best ways to pay for this care. In this class, we will use autism as a case study to understand how psychiatric and developmental disorders of childhood come to be defined over time, their biological and environmental causes identified and treatments developed. We will also discuss the identification and care of these children in the broader context of the American education and healthcare systems. By the end of this course, it is expected that students will be familiar with the presentation, epidemiology, causes and treatment of autism, understand the strategies involved in advancing science in these areas, understand the organization, financing and delivery of care to children with autism in the United States, be able to critically evaluate related research, and make specific, practical suggestions about the next stages of autism research and ways to improve care.
hsoc 052.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Medical Missionaries to Community Partners: Great Ideas in the Name of Public Health
Kent Bream, Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health
Global health is an increasingly popular goal for many modern leaders. Yet critics see evidence of a new imperialism in various aid programs. We will examine the evolution over time and place of programs designed to improve the health of underserved populations. Traditionally categorized as public health programs or efforts to achieve a just society, these efforts often produce results that are inconsistent with these goals. We will examine the benefits and risks of past programs and conceptualize future partnerships on both a local and global stage. Students should expect to question broadly held beliefs about the common good and service. Ultimately we will examine the concept of partnership and the notion of community health, in which ownership, control, and goals are shared between outside experts and inside community members.
hsoc 059.301 | Wednesday | 4:00-7:00

Milton W. Meyer, Lecturer in Philosophy
Four sorts of questions belong to the study of ethics in the analytic tradition. Practical ethics discusses specific moral problems, often those we find most contested (e.g., abortion). Moral theory tries to develop systematic answers to moral problems, looking for general principles that explain moral judgments and rules (e.g., consequentialism, contractarianism). Meta-ethics investigates questions about the nature of moral theories and their subject matter (e.g., are they subjective or objective, relative or non-relative?). Finally, there are questions about why any of this does, or should matter to us (e.g., why be moral?). We will investigate all four of these types of questions during the course, but a disproportionate part of the course will be focused on discussing two moral problems: abortion and terrorism. The central aim of the required readings and discussion is to develop each question deeply and sharply enough for us to really feel its troublesome character. We will focus on how to read complex philosophical prose in order to outline and evaluate the arguments embedded within it. This will provide the basis for writing argumentative prose.
phil 002.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Politics of Crime and Punishment
Marie Gottschalk, Professor of Political Science
This seminar analyzes the connection between punishment, politics and race in the United States. Questions to be covered include: What explains the country’s extraordinarily high incarceration rate and the fact that one in four black males born today and one in six Hispanic males will spend some time in jail or prison during their lives? What is the relationship between the crime rate and the incarceration rate? What impact does public opinion have on criminal justice policy-making? How do penal policies contribute to or ameliorate social, political and economic inequalities? What role has race played in the development of the criminal justice system, in the politics of law and order, and in the war on drugs? The course will include at least one visit to a local prison. (CDUS)
psci 010.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Planning to be Offshore
Srilata Gangulee, Assistant Dean for Academic Advising
In this course we will trace the economic development of India from 1947 to the present. Independent India started out as a centrally planned economy in 1949 but in 1991 decided to reduce its public sector and allow, indeed encourage, foreign investors to come in. The Planning Commission of India still exists but has lost much of its power. Many in the u.s. complain of American jobs draining off to India, call centers in India taking care of American customer complaints, American patient histories being documented in India, etc. At the same time, the U.S. government encourages highly trained Indians to be in the U.S. We will try to find out how 1991 essentially follows 1949. Students are expected to write four one-page response papers and one final paper. Twenty percent of the final grade will be based on class participation, 20 percent on the four response papers and 60 percent on the final paper.
sast 057.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Sociology of Religion
Herb Smith, Professor of Sociology
This is a course on the sociology of religion. It is planned as a freshman seminar.
If there is room for non-freshman, so much the better; but we are going to run it as a freshman seminar. By which I mean: I assume that participants are new to college and new to sociology, much less to the sociology of religion. So at the same time that we learn something about the social bases of a rather fundamental feature of human life, the practice of religion, we are also going to learn about learning in college and about sociology more generally. The seminar will be organized around reading books, three most likely: one about some general ideas in the sociology of religion; one about the dynamic history of congregations and sects in the United States; and one about evangelicals and race, also in the United States. Sometimes we shall be using sociological ideas to understand the organization of religion. Sometimes we shall use problems in religion to learn about general issues in the social sciences, such as the problem of collective action. This is a fancy-sounding term for something you may have encountered already: How do you get people to work together for a common purpose when any one person can reap the advantages of whatever the group is doing without actively participating. This is as much a problem when you are trying to run a religion as when you are trying to keep a common space in a dorm clean. There will also be an emphasis during the seminar in learning how to read, discuss and think in an organized, productive fashion.
soci 041.302 | Monday | 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Homelessness and Urban Inequality
Dennis Culhane, Professor of Urban Studies
This freshmen seminar in Urban Studies introduces students to many of the major social issues confronting our nation’s cities by focusing specifically on the problem of urban homelessness. The course examines the treatment of homelessness and extreme impoverishment as social problems historically, as well as through contemporary debates. Several areas of intensive study will include the prevalence and dynamics of homelessness, the affordable housing crisis, urban labor market trends, welfare reform, health and mental health policies, and urban/suburban development disparities. Particular attention is also paid to the structure of emergency services for people who have housing emergencies. The course concludes by examining current policies and advocacy strategies. (CDUS)
urbs 010.401 / afrc 041.401 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.


Fashion and Image in the African Diaspora
Tamara Walker, Assistant Professor of History
This course takes an historical approach to understanding the myriad functions of clothing and material goods in the African Diaspora. We will begin with a comparative analysis of the role of material culture during the period of slavery, by exploring the significance of such items as jewelry, ceremonial costumes and spiritual artifacts to slaves (and slaveholders) in the Americas. As the course moves into the modern era, we will consider several questions. What did it mean, for example, for black soldiers to wear uniforms during times of war? What is the role of fashion in music and expressive culture? How do gender ideals and class aspirations shape attitudes about clothing, bodily display and consumption patterns? Through readings, analyses of visual iconography, class discussions, student presentations and analytical writing assignments, we will gain a more layered understanding of the role of material culture in inscribing difference and signaling belonging. (CDUS)
afrc 107.401 / hist 106.401 / lals 107.401 | Tuesday | 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Historians and Modernity
Julia Rudolph, Assistant Professor of History
How have historians divided up the past? Do accepted historical categories such as the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Progressive Era reflect real periods that have beginnings and ends? What methods do historians use to recover and relate the past, and how reliable are their sources and their narratives? Are different media—text, film, website, and museum—equally suitable for the transmission of historical narrative and analysis? This seminar will consider these and other associated questions about the relationship between present and past, causation and change, and history and myth, through the study of the development of historical writing. We will be particularly concerned with the construction of a notion of modern times in the work of important, and provocative, historians and theorists.
hist 102.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Feith Family Seminar:
America Encounters the Nineteenth-Century World
Andrew Witmer, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum and History
Over the course of the 19th century, the United States began its transition from a marginal player to a major actor on the world stage. This seminar examines the wide range of encounters between Americans and foreign peoples that shaped the nature of this transition. We will study the experiences of explorers, scientists, soldiers, artists, missionaries and merchants, asking how their journeys and reports influenced domestic ideas about foreign peoples, colonialism, the new scientific theories of race and what it meant to be an American. We will also look at the efforts of the world’s peoples to shape the terms of their engagement with the United States and explore the results of increasing immigration from Europe. The seminar will allow students to study and write about the development of competing conceptions of America’s national identity and role in the world, ideas that grew more consequential as the United States rose to world power.
hist 104.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Asian-American Race Relations
Eiichiro Azuma, Associate Professor of History
This course will delve into the continuing process of westward American expansion into the Pacific after the 1890s. Such questions as immigration, race relations and diplomacy will be discussed in the class. Students who are interested in U.S. - Asia relations, Asian immigration, and histories of Hawaii and the Philippines as part of the American Empire are especially encouraged to take this course. (CDUS)
hist 104.401 / asam 013.401 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Indians Overseas: Global View
Surendra Gambhir, Adjunct Professor of South Asia Studies
This course is about the history of Indian immigration into different parts of the world and will consist of readings, discussions, observations, data collection and analysis. Topics will include cultural preservation and cultural change through generations of East Indian immigrants, especially in North America, the Caribbean area, the United Kingdom, the African continent and other countries in the Pacific Ocean. The course will encourage organized thinking, observations and analysis of components of the culture that immigrant communities are able to preserve and components that either change or get reinterpreted. In this context, we will look at entities such as religion, food, language and family. The course will discuss immigrants’ success stories, sad stories, their contributions, their relationship with other groups in the host society and the nature and extent of their links with their homeland. It will also include discussion
about victimization of and discrimination against immigrants in their new homelands. Other issues will include social and cultural needs of immigrants giving rise to new community organizations such as temples, ngos and other cultural centers. The course will benefit from the study of other immigrant communities for a comparative view.
sast 052.401 / asam 012.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Science, Magic and Religion
Henrika Kuklick, Professor of the History and Sociology of Science
Throughout human history, the relationships of science and religion, as well as of science and magic, have been complex and often surprising. This course will cover topics ranging from links between magic and science in the 17th century to contemporary anti-science movements.
stsc 028.401 / hsoc 025.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Text Message: From Telegraph to Cell Phone
Mara Mills, Lecturer, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Sociology of Science
Camera, computer, music player, game console, global positioning system: Is a cell phone still a telephone? This course examines the convergence of different technologies and cultures in telephony since the late 19th century. We will survey the technical development of the telephone, from its roots in telegraphy to the first radio and portable phones to the present era of mobile computing. Through these different formats, we will trace the history and persistence of telephonic principles such as interaction, immediacy and universality. We will also examine the telephone’s exchanges with literature, art and film. Along the way, we will consider telephony in a variety of social contexts: national and transnational telephone cultures; genres of text messaging; and the relationship of communication technology to public, private and virtual space.
stsc 061.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.


Spiegel Freshman Seminar:
Contemporary Art—The 2009 Venice Biennale
Christine Poggi, Professor of History of Art
This seminar will introduce students to major themes and issues in contemporary art through the lens of the 2009 Venice Biennale. This exhibition, the most renowned international contemporary art fair, comprises a large number of national pavilions in the Giardini (the Gardens), an international exhibition in the Arsenale (the old arsenal of Venice), as well as shows in sites scattered throughout Venice. This year the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been selected to represent the United States with an exhibition of the work of Bruce Nauman. We will speak to the curators organizing this exhibition, as well as to others involved in organizing or exhibiting work at the Biennale. Students will travel to the Venice Biennale over fall break to visit the exhibition. Airfare and lodging costs will be covered by the department; students will be asked to meet additional expenses. No prior experience with contemporary art is required. Students wishing to enroll in this class must be available for the fall break trip to Venice. The class will be limited in size. Students wishing to take this class should send a paragraph explaining their interest (hard copy only), to Professor Christine Poggi, Department of the History of Art, 3405 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6208, by July 15, 2009.
arth 100.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Rebecca Bushnell, Thomas S. Gates, Jr., Professor of English, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
Most 21st-century readers find tragic theater alien or stuffy, even while they eagerly consume tragic stuff through television and film. This course proposes to reinvigorate the reading of tragedy for readers who want to understand it and to feel its power. The course will examine the theatrical and the historical conditions that defined tragedy in the past and examine the origins and evolution of the genre’s formal qualities. We will review historical notions of the tragic hero, from Aristotle to the present, and consider how this hero has been understood to stand for his tribe, the common man, or the nation. The class will also think about the role of plot in defining tragedy, and how a tragedy differs from a catastrophe or a merely unhappy event. Finally, we will speculate on the future of tragedy as a genre. This course will not pretend to cover all the manifestations of tragic drama from the Greeks to the present: texts will include plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Racine, Ibsen and Beckett, recent films and relevant criticism and philosophy. Assignments will include a reading journal or commonplace book, a class presentation on a film, a meeting with the instructor and two, five- to seven-page papers.
engl 016.301 | Monday | 3:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Emily Dickinson at Large
Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English
America’s greatest writer of extremity, Emily Dickinson roamed the universe like a devil hungry for souls. Doing so, while remaining, for the most part, at home in Amherst, Massachusett, was a neat trick. To this day, the scary magnificence of her achievement remains unencompassed and unsurpassed. Indeed, even some of the most basic questions about her writing (how much of it is poetry?) have never been satisfactorily answered. And we have yet to take the full measure of her disinhibited contact with the sheer unsparingness of things: God, nature, time, language, idealism, markets, the unconscious. In this seminar, our intensive focus on Dickinson’s writings will be complemented by our research on the world she inhabited, from the most intimate scenes of composition and friendship to the cataclysms that shaped the era. We’ll also explore the history of her reception and edition up to the present moment, from her own correspondence and early publications to the latest variorum edition, the new web-based archives, the poets she influenced and the cutting edge of criticism.
engl 016.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

American Cosmopolitans
Chiara Cillerai, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum and English
From its inception in ancient Greece, the notion of the cosmopolitan with its language of universal communication and exchange has helped individuals to understand what it means to belong to a place and to leave it, to interact with individuals who come from different cultural backgrounds, to understand social and cultural parameters and their limitations, to justify imperial projects and the taking over of other nations, to cope with migration and displacement, and to develop connections between cultures and ideas. Throughout its history cosmopolitanism has generated a large number of literary tropes. This is particularly true of American literature, a literature begun in the realm of voluntary or forced migration, literary and cultural exchanges. In this seminar, we will examine the literary tropes of cosmopolitanism and explore how literary texts use the language of cosmopolitanism to connect with or to disconnect themselves from the cultures that produced them. We will retrace this history in reverse by looking first at contemporary and modern engagements with cosmopolitan tropes and then explore their antecedents in the American literary tradition. Readings may include recent essays by David Sedaris, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Henry James’s The Europeans, Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man, Philip Freneau’s Tomocheeki, Phillis Wheatley’s poems, St. John de Crevecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer, and selections from Thomas Jefferson’s and Benjamin Franklin’s writings. We will conclude our journey by looking at how the linguistic tropes we found throughout our readings began their history in some of the texts that opened up the history of America in the western world, Christopher Columbus’s Diaries and Richard Hakluyt’s Voyages.
engl 016.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Erudition and Superstition: Daily Life in the Middle Ages
Francis Brevart , Associate Professor of German
Individuals in medieval times lived basically the same way we do today: they ate, drank, needed shelter, worked in a variety of ways to earn a living, and planned their lives around religious holidays. They talked about the weather and had sex. They had to deal with cold, hunger, illness, epidemics and natural catastrophes. Those fortunate few who could afford the luxury, went to local monastic schools and learned how to read and write. And fewer still managed to obtain some form of higher education in cathedral schools and nascent universities and became teachers themselves. Those eager to learn about other people and foreign customs traveled to distant places and brought back with them much knowledge and new ideas. The similarities, we will all agree, are striking. But what is of interest to us are the differences, the alterity (keyword) of the ways in which they carried out these actions and fulfilled their goals. This course concentrates on two very broad aspects of daily life in the Middle Ages (12th to 16th centuries). The first part, Erudition, focuses on the world in and around the University. Taking Paris and Bologna as our paradigms, we will discuss the evolution of the medieval university from early cathedral schools, the organization, administration, financing and maintenance of such an institution, the curriculum and degrees offered at the various faculties, and the specific qualifications needed to study or to teach at the university. We will familiarize ourselves with the modes of learning and lecturing, with the production of the instruments of knowledge, i.e., the making of a manuscript; we will explore the regimented daily life of the medieval student, his economic and social condition, his limited, but at times outrageous distractions, and the causes of frequent conflicts between town and gown. Finally, we will investigate the role of the medieval university in European history. The second part of the course, Superstition, revolves around the complex and inextricable interconnections between medicine, magic, astrology and religion. As our point of departure, we will focus on the theological, sidereal and terrestrial causes of the Black Death according to the writings of scholastic thinkers and medical practitioners. This will be followed by an investigation of the German Volkskalender, a practical guide for everyday activities and an indispensable medical companion for professional physicians and the family caretaker alike. A close reading of those texts will enable us to gain insights into the ubiquitous role of astrology and magic in the daily life of medieval individuals, and into the precarious medieval healthcare system and prevalent medical theories of the time. Special topics on medieval wonder drugs, embryology, gynecology and misogyny will further illustrate diverse aspects of medieval daily life.
grmn 008.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00 a.m.

Painters and Poets
Frank Pellicone, House Dean, Harrison College House
In this semester, as Penn freshmen contemplate the relationship between the arts and the city of Philadelphia, we will consider the relationship between arts and the cities of the Italian Renaissance. This seminar will consider the way that Italian painters and poets mapped the crossroads between artistic expression and civic participation in cities such as Florence, Rome and Urbino. We will consider the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, with particular emphasis on the way that painters and poets often rivaled and surpassed the work of philosophers during the Italian Renaissance. We will put emphasis on the ways that authors chose to represent figurative artists in their writings, as well as the written expression of some of the period’s most prolific painters. Readings will include selections from Plato, Horace, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Alberti, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Cellini, Castiglione and Vasari. All readings will be in English and no prior knowledge of Italian will be expected.
ital 100.401 / coml 107.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Global Pop Music
Sindhu Revuluri, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum and Music
New technologies allow us to hear music from around the world, from flamenco to hip-hop, bluegrass to bhangra. While popular music can have global appeal, its production can also be tied to local identity and regional musical styles. In this course, we consider what happens when local musical styles meet global trends in pop music to create new sounds. What do labels like world and international really tell us about what music sounds like? How are traditional musical styles recreated and reconceived? What happens to the distinctive character of musical styles in the case of fusion or sampling? To address such questions, we read works of scholars in a variety of disciplines, including musicology, anthropology, economics, philosophy and literature; and listen to contemporary musical examples from around the world.
musc 016.302 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Russian Ghost Stories: The Supernatural in Russian Literature
Ilya Vinitsky, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages
In this course, we will read and discuss ghost stories written by some of the most well-known Russian writers. The goal of the course is threefold: to familiarize the students with brilliant and thrilling texts which represent various periods of Russian literature; to examine the artistic features of ghost stories; and, to explore their ideological implications. With attention to relevant scholarship, we will pose questions about the role of the storyteller in ghost stories, about horror and the fantastic. We will also ponder gender and class, controversy over sense and sensation, spiritual significance and major changes in attitudes toward the supernatural. We will consider the concept of the apparition as a peculiar cultural myth which tells us about the “dark side” of the Russian literary imagination and about the historical and political conflicts which have haunted Russian minds in previous centuries. Reading will include literary works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov and Bulgakov, as well as works by some lesser, yet extremely interesting, authors. We will also read excerpts from major treatises regarding spiritualism, including Swedenborg, Kant, Arthur Conan Doyle and Mme. Blavatsky. The course consists of 28 sessions (“nights”) and includes film presentations and horrifying slides.
russ 130.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Theatre in Philadelphia
Jim Schlatter, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts
In the past 20 years, the Philadelphia theatre scene has exploded with the creation of new companies, buildings, converted spaces and productions of all kinds. In any given week one can see American and European plays, both new and old; political pieces; Shakespearean drama; musical theatre; and, puppetry—a full range of both traditional and experimental forms. This course will focus on experiencing and analyzing live theatre in Philadelphia. We will venture into different areas and venues across the city and see numerous plays in production. We will examine the theatre experience in its entirety, considering issues that include: place and space of performance; audience demographics and reception; production elements such as acting, directing and design; as well as the text of the play or performance piece itself. Our readings will provide historical and theoretical background. Student presentations will explore the history and mission of Philadelphia companies such as the Wilma, Arden and Interact Theatres. Our class will meet for one long discussion session each week; students will also be required to attend an assigned production in Philadelphia each week. The course will include tours of local theatres and visits with local artists. No previous theatre experience is required for enrollment in this class.
thar 076.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00 a.m.


Architecture Today
Witold Rybczynski, Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism, Real Estate and Architecture
Why do buildings by different architects look so different? The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, for example, is quite different from the Bilbao Guggenheim; Rem Koolhas’ proposed library in Seattle seems world’s apart from Tom Beeby’s Harold T. Washington Library in Chicago. In addition to site function, and construction, architecture is affected by style, and today there are many different stylistic approaches. Style is neglected in most discussions of architecture yet it is central to the design and appreciation of buildings. The seminar will examine the role that style plays in the work of prominent contemporary architects both in the United States and abroad. Selected readings will form the basis for four written assignments.
arch 102.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

The Mideast Through Many Lenses
Heather Sharkey, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
This seminar introduces the contemporary Middle East by drawing upon cutting-edge studies written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. These include history, political science and anthropology, as well as studies of mass media, sexuality, religion, urban life and the environment. We will spend the first few weeks of the semester surveying major trends in modern Middle Eastern history. We will spend subsequent weeks intensively discussing assigned readings along with documentary films that we will watch in class. The semester will leave students with both a foundation in Middle Eastern studies and a sense of current directions in the field.
nelc 036.401 / cine 036.401 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Myths of Ancient Mesopotamia
Stephen Tinney, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Iraq’s ancient civilizations, Sumer, Babylon and Assyria, have emerged spectacularly from their ruin mounds over the last century and a half. In this class we will read the core myths of these cultures in translation and situate them in their literary, historical, religious and cultural contexts. The cast of characters includes, among others, Enki, trickster and god of wisdom; Inana, goddess of sex and war; and Marduk, warrior son, slayer of the sea, king of the gods and founder of Babylon. Themes range from creation to flood, from combat to the dangers of humans acting in the worlds of the divine, to the heroic peregrinations of Gilgamesh as he wrestles with monsters, fate and the pain of mortality.
nelc 049.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Introduction to Philosophy through Film
Karen Detlefsen, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Education
This course serves as an introduction to the major areas of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, value theory) through the use of movies supplemented by philosophical texts. We shall watch five or six movies especially rich in philosophical themes, and discuss these themes, as well as the movies’ success in treating the philosophical ideas. Movies we shall watch and themes we shall discuss may include the following: The Matrix: What is the relation between appearance and reality? Are the people in the matrix free, and if so, in what sense? Is there anything wrong with being in the matrix? The Seventh Seal: What is the meaning of life, and does the answer to this depend upon whether or not there is an after life? How, if at all, can we reconcile God’s existence with the fact of evil and human suffering? Memento: What makes someone the same person over time? Does someone who undergoes a radical change in personality remain the same person? Can one be held responsible and punished for committing acts she does not remember having committed? Minority Report: Is one free if his future actions are known in advance? Why do we punish people—for their actions or for the intention behind those actions? Battle of Algiers: Can colonialism ever be justified? Is terrorism ever a legitimate way to bring about political change? Can torture ever be justified? Mr. Death: Should speech, especially hate speech, ever be legally regulated? Can we reach certainty about the truth of past events? Are we to be held ethically responsible for the beliefs that we hold?
phil 001.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Gary Purpura, Assistant Dean for Academic Advising
in modern society is triggering a radical alteration to the structure of the human mind. The development of cognitive-enhancing drugs and of devices that interface with nervous systems to restore cognitive functioning in brain-damaged people provides further evidence to some of the transformative potential of technology on the human mind. In this course, we will examine the philosophical hypothesis that the human mind is a product of the interaction between biology, technology (broadly conceived), and culture. We will consider whether technologies that enable or enhance human mental faculties are best viewed as proper parts of the human mind or instead as merely external aids/tools. We will also consider the moral issues surrounding the use and accessibility of such technologies. The questions that we consider in this course will get to the heart of what it means to possess a human mind.
phil 032.301 | Monday & Wednesday| 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Carnival Cultures of Brazil and the Americas
Kirsten Ernst, Lecturer in Portuguese
Carnaval is often seen as synonymous with Brazilian identity, and its celebration is a source of both national pride and valuable income. But for as much as the images of Rio’s samba parades circulate the globe, few of Brazil’s carnival traditions are known or understood outside the cities where they are celebrated. In this course, we will situate the multiple forms of Brazilian carnaval within the broader context of carnival celebrations throughout the Americas. We will examine carnivals, origins and history, and we will investigate the often intimate connections between carnival and the plantation complex in Brazil and the Americas. We will analyze representative music, film and literary texts to understand the influence and role of carnival and the carnivalesque in the national arts and cultures of Brazil and the Greater Caribbean. We will draw on the fields of history, sociology and anthropology to understand the socio-cultural dynamics at play. The course will also consider the role of tourism in carnival celebrations, exploring the ways in which modern carnival’s interplay of arts and industry continues to shape cities like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife (Brazil); Jacmel (Haiti); and New Orleans.
prtg 240.401 /coll 223.401 /lals 240.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00 a.m.

Religion and the Brain
Andrew Newberg, Associate Professor in Radiology and Psychiatry
This course is designed to present students with an introduction to the relationship between the body and spirit in an attempt to break down the traditional dualism between them. Information in the course will be derived from research articles and books that encompass the scientific, medical, psychological, pastoral and religious disciplines. Students will explore the many aspects relating the body and the spirit. They will learn how to critically review research reports on topics related to body functions and spiritual experience. Thus, they will learn what scientific modalities are currently available to study the relationship between the body and the spirit. They will also learn the limitations of these modalities and consider ways in which to improve them. The course will explore the relationship between the brain, the mind, and spiritual experience and will consider the most up-to-date theories on their relationship. The course will challenge students to develop new approaches to their own interests so that they may utilize such knowledge in their future endeavors. Lectures will explore the many aspects of the relationship between the body’s functioning and spiritual experience. Class interaction and interpretation will be encouraged. Further, students will present journal articles that they have critically analyzed in order to consider the data in more detail and also to interpret the findings more accurately. Students will work on preparing a research proposal of their own choosing throughout the course on this topic.
rels 102.301 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.


Lateralization of Sensation and Emotion: Do we really have two brains?
Richard L. Doty, Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, School of Medicine
It has long been believed that the two sides of our brains interpret the world in different ways. The left hemisphere is commonly viewed as the verbal hemisphere, whereas the right hemisphere is viewed as the spatial or orientation hemisphere. In this class we will explore the history of how such concepts have come about and examine, in both humans and animals, whether and how the two sides of the brain diverge in interpreting sensory information. We will review the classic studies of patients whose connections between the two hemispheres have been cut to control epilepsy seizures that cannot be controlled by medication. We will explore the idea that each hemisphere has a life of its own, looking at such neurological conditions as the “alien hand syndrome.” Numerous questions will be posed. For example, do the brains of left handers differ form those of right handers? Can the brain explain such concepts as right = good (e.g., righteousness) and left = bad (e.g., sinister). Do left or right brain lesions outside of the language areas alter the human personality? This seminar should be of particular interest to those students going into psychology or the medical neurosciences.
bibb 020.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Sleep: What is it, why do we need it, and how can we get more?
Lee Brooks, Professor of Pediatrics
Sleep is not unique to humans. All animals, from the mosquito to the cat, switch between phases of sleep and phases of activity. As the brain and neurologic activity increased in complexity during evolution, so too did sleep. A trait that is conserved through these millions of years clearly has some special importance. In this course, we will explore the development and manifestations of sleep from the simple daily rest triggered by the biological clock in the fly to the complex brain wave changes in higher mammals, especially humans. We will study our own requirements for sleep, and how it changes through the lifespan as we grow, mature, and age. We will study the impact of sleeplessness on daytime performance. We will discuss psychological and medical issues that may impact human sleep, and strategies that we may employ to insure that we get enough good quality sleep to insure that we are performing at our best during wakefulness. The course will likely include demonstrations of hypnosis and visits to laboratories on campus that study sleep and its effects on performance. Students will be expected to prepare oral and/or written reports that will be used in their evaluation. The target audience will be students interested in biology, neuroscience, psychology, or anyone who would like to improve the quality and quantity of their own sleep.
bibb 040.301 | Tuesday | 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.

From Darwin to DNA: The Rise of Genomics
M. Susan Lindee, Professor of the History and Sociology of Science
In this freshman seminar, we consider the history of genetics and genomics, from the Darwinian theory of evolution (1859) to the completion of the mapping of the human genome (2004). We will look at how Darwin thought about heredity; how Mendel’s work was interpreted; how ideas about heredity changed in the early 20th century; how experimental organisms like mice and flies became important to genetics research; how technologies for manipulating genes opened up new possibilities and new ethical questions; and, how mapping and sequencing human genes facilitated the rise of genomic medicine and consumer genomics today. This course will help students understand the importance of genetics and genomics in our contemporary world by providing them with critical historical perspectives.
stsc 021.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.


NOTE: ASTR 007, The Big Bang and Beyond, was incorrectly listed as a Sector VI: Physical World course. The course actually belongs to Sector VII: Natural Sciences & Mathematics. However, for the spring 2009 semester only the College will honor requests for ASTR 007 to fulfill either Sector VI or Sector VII (but not both).

Introduction to Geology with Freshman Recitation
Gomaa Omar, Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Science
Earth is a unique place. No other planet yet discovered has the same delicate balance between its multiple systems which include the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. Understanding each system separately and the interaction between systems is crucial to prevent or lessen the relentless abuses of Earth’s environment and the preservation of life on the planet. To make wise decisions about social, political and economic issues that will affect Earth’s environment, present and future generations will have a tremendous need for scientific literacy in general and an understanding of geology in particular. This conviction is brought alive in this course. Topics covered include, but are not restricted to: building a planet, minerals, rocks, volcanism, earthquakes, oceans, groundwater, glaciers, deserts, Earth’s interior, the plate tectonic theory, geologic time scale, rock deformation, and earth systems and human impacts. GEOL 100.201 is a recitation section for the lecture GEOL 100.001. This particular recitation section is for freshmen only, and unlike the other recitation sections, it is taught by the course instructor, Dr. Omar. Students must enroll in both the recitation and the lecture.
geol 100.001 (lec) | Monday, Wednesday, & Friday | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
geol 100.201 (rec) | Monday | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
Larry Gladney, Professor of Physics and Astronomy
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 150, at a significantly higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in Physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles; conservation laws and symmetry principles; rigid body motion; noninertialreference frames; oscillations.
phys 170.301 (lec) | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Monday | 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
phys 170.302 (lab) | Tuesday | 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
phys 170.303 (lab) | Thursday | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Sector VII: Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The Big Bang and Beyond
Vijay Balasubramanian, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
This is an introductory course for freshmen who do not intend to major in a physical science or engineering, covering theories of the Universe ranging from the ancient perspective to the contemporary hot big bang model, including some notions of Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity. Topics will include the solar system, stars, black holes, galaxies, and the structure, origin and future of the Universe itself. Elementary algebra is used. Fulfills the Quantitative Data Analysis Requirement.
astr 007.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Structural Biology and Genomics
Ponzy Lu, Professor of Chemistry
Structural biology is the scientific method of describing, predicting and changing the properties of living organisms, including humans, based on complete genome chemical structures (sequence) and three-dimensional structures of cellular components. It is a direct outgrowth of the intellectual and technical revolutions that occurred during the latter part of the 20th century. It is today’s approach to understanding biology and solving problems in medicine. We will discuss how macroscopic biological properties, such as reproduction, locomotion and viral infection, are determined by the physics and chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. Changes in biological function, in hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, result from minute changes in individual proteins. Much larger changes in genome and protein structure are often tolerated without consequence. Understanding and exploiting these phenomena at the molecular level is the basis of new technology in the agricultural, energy and drug industries. The broad range of medical, social and political problems associated with the advances will be considered. We will attempt to distinguish real progress from fads and fashion. The weekly reading assignment will be Science and the Tuesday New York Times. This is a two-semester seminar, fall 2009 and spring 2010, with 0.5 credit unit each semester. Enrollment in this seminar requires permission from the instructor. Interested students should send email to or call 215.898.4771.
chem 022.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 8:00 - 9:00 a.m

Crystals: The Science and Power Behind the Realities and Myths
Krimo Bokreta, Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Science and College House Dean, and Jorge Santiago-Aviles, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
From the daily vitamin supplements we take to the cosmetics we wear, crystals are prevalent in our lives. They are present in the water we drink, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. They are the topics of myths and legends, the rise and downfall of civilizations. They are at the core of our current technological revolution and the centerpiece of frontier science. This seminar will explore the basics of the scientific principles underlying the architecture and design of crystals, their properties and applications. We will examine the environments where they are formed: in rocks, at the bottom of the oceans, in space, in the human and animal body, in factories. We will also take a look at the relationship, through time, between man and crystals and the impact on health and the environment, as well as the development of legends, folk tales and today’s pop culture.
envs 097.301 | Tuesday | 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.

Field Approaches to Understanding the Earth and Environmental Science
Fred Scatena, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science
Understanding landscapes and the relationships between the natural world and society is fundamental to the natural sciences, architecture, medicine and public health, real estate and finance, urban studies and a range of other disciplines. The primary goal of this course is to expose students to the science of reading landscapes and disciplines that are founded in observation and hypothesis testing in the field. In addition, the course will orient incoming students to the physical environment in which they will be living while they are at Penn.
geol 096.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Freshman Seminar with an Emphasis on Mathematics

Proving Things: Analysis
Jerry Kazdan, Professor of Mathematics
This course focuses on the creative side of mathematics, with an emphasis on discovery, reasoning, proofs and effective communication, while at the same time studying real and complex numbers, sequences, series, continuity, differentiability and integrability. Small class sizes permit an informal, discussion-type atmosphere, and often the entire class works together on a given problem. Homework is intended to be thought-provoking, rather than skill-sharpening.
math 202.001 (lec) | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
math 202.101 (rec) | Monday | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
math 202.102 (rec) | Wednesday | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

A freshman seminar in algebra will be offered in the spring. Students may register for one or both semesters. One or the other of these seminars is required for the Math major, but both are open to all students interested in mathematics. The best time to take these seminars is in the freshman or sophomore year. These courses do not satisfy a General Education Requirement. Virtually all students who take them will also take calculus, which does satisfy the Formal Reasoning and Analysis Requirement.

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