Freshman Seminars Spring 2001

Sex and Gender in the Traditional Middle East
Everett K. Rowson, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies

Since the Middle Ages, the West has constructed a variety of stereotypes about gender roles and sexual behavior in the Middle East, picturing on the one hand a society of unbridled sensuality, with multiple wives, well-stocked harems, and rampant homosexuality, and on the other a stern Islamic ethic that keeps women behind veils and frowns on anything but the most restrained expression of sexuality. This course will attempt to get behind the myths to the realities, through careful reading of selected primary sources from the medieval and early modern periods in English translation, including religious treatises on marriage and proper gender roles, love poetry, stories from the Arabian Nights, and works of erotica, supplemented by secondary studies. The approach will be historical, although a certain amount of attention will be paid to the contemporary situation as well. The emphasis throughout will be on evaluating the role of culture—whether Middle Eastern or Western—in shaping fundamental sexual attitudes. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
AMES (465) 039.301 Tuesday & Thursday 3:00 - 4:30

The Meanings of Things: Material Culture and Human Experience
Dr. Bruce Routledge, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Human beings live in a world of things made by and for themselves. As tool, product and commodity, material culture is central to economic activity; while as art, symbol and treasure, it is central to intellectual, aesthetic and religious practices. This seminar will explore material culture as something people make and use in meaningful ways, as well as something that “makes” people as part of the setting for their daily lives. Readings, videos, and hands-on demonstrations will form the basis for discussions of topics that range from the role of tool use in human cognitive evolution to the assessment of value in the antique market. This seminar is particularly relevant for those interested in anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, marketing, design, architecture, popular culture, art history or social psychology. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
ANTH (025)127.301 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 11:00 - 12:00

Structural Biology and Genomics Seminar
Ponzy Lu, Professor of Chemistry and Robin Hochstrasser, Professor of Chemistry

This is a continuation of the fall semester seminar for an additional 0.5 course unit. Structural biology is the scientific method of describing, predicting, and changing the properties of living organisms, including humans, based on complete genome structures and 3-dimensional structures of cellular components. It is a direct outgrowth of the intellectual and technical revolutions that occurred during the last decade. It has become a most powerful 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 chemical properties of proteins and nucleic acids. Changes in biological function, such as those that accompany 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 apparent consequence. This selectivity and tolerance provides opportunities for the biotechnology industry to alter biological functions in ways thought to guarantee profits.

A substantial portion of the spring semester will be an introduction to primary processes in a macromolecule, e.g., rates of association, conformational changes, bond breakage and formation. We will also examine how research results in structural biology are presented to various audiences. The broad range of medical, social, and political problems associated with the advances will be considered.

This course is required of Vagelos Scholars. Permit required from Ponzy Lu. (General Requirement VI: Physical World)
CHEM (081) 022.301 8:00 - 9:00

Alexander the Great CANCELLED
Jeremy McInerney, Associate Professor of Classical Studies

Ancient Athletics
David Romano, Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical Studies

The art, archaeology and history of athletics in ancient Greece. Among the topics to be included are: famous Greek athletes, female athletes, the ancient Olympic Games and other athletic festivals, ancient athletic facilities and equipment, the excavation of ancient athletic sites and practical athletics. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
CLST (101) 270.301 Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 - 12:00

Topics in Literature: Reading Contemporary American Autobiography
Michael Awkward, Professor in English

In this course, we will be reading several different types of American autobiographical writings. By reading essays, books, and other examples of authorial self-representations, we will seek to understand the variety of ways in which contemporary American writers describe themselves and their relationships to the communities and national and international events in the contexts of which their self-fashioning—their becoming and inscription of themselves—takes place. Students will be asked to do a variety of types of writing: two to three 3 - 5 page critical essays on the course material; a month-long daily journal; weekly response papers; and a 5 - 7 page description of a significant moment in their own lives. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
ENGL (197) 016.401 or Wednesday 2:00 - 5:00

Architecture Today
Witold Rybczynski, Professor of Urbanism

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 is worlds 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 (e.g. Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Robert A. M. Stern, Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel) both in the United States and abroad. Selected readings will form the basis for written assignments that will include two 5 - page papers and one 10 - page term paper. Affiliated with Writing Across the University. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
FRSM (233) 110.301 Wednesday 1:00 - 4:00

Freshman Recitation
Earth and Life Through Time

This course will consider the origin of Earth, continents, and life. Continental movements, changing climates, and evolving life. Students must register for both the lecture and a recitation. The recitation listed below is restricted to freshmen. (General Requirement VI: Physical World)
GEOL (289) 125.001 (lec) Monday & Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00
GEOL (289) 125.201 (rec) Monday 1:00 - 2:00

Freshman Recitation
Hermann Pfefferkorn, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science

A study of the two-thirds of the earth covered by water. Composition, structure, motions, and effects of ocean water. The ocean bottom, including seafloor spreading and continental drift. Marine biology and geology. Ocean resources. Web-based recitations use real-time data to solve contemporary quantitative problems.
Students must register for both the lecture and a recitation. The recitation listed below is restricted to freshmen and is led by Professor Pfefferkorn. (General Requirement VI: Physical World)
GEOL (289) 130.001 (lec) Monday & Wednesday 2:00-3:00
GEOL (289) 130.201 (rec) Monday 10:00-11:00

Introduction to Mathematical Analysis
Felix Lazebnik, Visiting Faculty

This seminar is a continuation of math 200. It will provide an introduction to mathematical reasoning and discuss the basic theorems of calculus. It is intended for those students who think they might like to study more advanced mathematics. The course provides an introduction to the basic 300-level courses in mathematical analysis. It carries half of a credit and does not satisfy the General Requirement. There are two alternative sections of this course.
MATH (409) 201-301 Tuesday 1:30 - 3:00
MATH (409) 201.301 Thursday 1:30 - 3:00

Introduction to Modern Algebra
Peter Freyd, Professor of Mathematics

This freshman seminar is a continuation of math 204. It will provide an introduction to mathematical reasoning. Topics include the principle of mathematical induction, the notion of an equivalence relation, and properties of the ring of integers. It is intended for those students who think they might like to study more advanced mathematics. The course provides an introduction to the basic 300-level courses in algebra. It carries half of a credit and does not satisfy the General Requirement. There are two alternative sections of this course.
MATH (409) 205.301 Tuesday 12:00 - 1:30
MATH (409) 205.302 Thursday 12:00 - 1:30

Songwriting in the 20th Century
Anna Weesner, Assistant Professor of Music

Songs are everywhere. The musical world we inhabit is perhaps as open and inclusive as it has ever been, crossing cultures and styles in a way that makes stylistic boundaries once taken for granted no longer viable. At the same time, people make ferocious personal claims for music, singling out a style, a performer, or a composer as representing their music, the music of their generation, of their lifestyle, of their heart. This course will alternate between an analytical approach and a critical approach to the study of a wide range of songs composed throughout the 20th century. We will study musical techniques associated with songwriting from the point of view of the listener, including melody, harmony, form, rhythm, instrumentation, style, and text-setting. We will also pose far-ranging questions, such as, what makes a song a song? What makes a song a good song? What is the difference between an art song and a pop song? This course will occasionally focus on specific composers, such as Cole Porter, Charles Ives, John Harbison, and Liz Phair, and will also consider the musical ramifications of collaboration, covers and re-makes. This course will seek to foster development in listening skills through listening assignments and quizzes; the work of the class will include writing assignments, analytical projects, and class presentation. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
MUSC (441) 014.301 Monday & Wednesday 3:00 - 4:30

Introduction to Philosophy
John Zeimbekis, Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum & Philosophy. Toomas Puhvel, Lecturer in Philosophy and Curtis Bowman, Lecturer in Philosophy

An introduction to such topics as our knowledge of the material world, the relation of mind and body, the existence of God, and the nature of morality. Readings from both
historical and contemporary sources. (General Requirement II: History and Tradition)
PHIL (493) 001.301 Tuesday & Thursday 9:00 - 10:30
PHIL (493) 001.302 Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 - 12:00
PHIL (493) 001.303 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 - 11:00

Toomas Puhvel, Lecturer in Philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy consists in large part of an extended criticism of two central institutions of Western culture: the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the practice of Judeo-Christian morality. This course will examine Nietzsche’s criticisms in detail, and will also consider his conception of artistic activity as the proper model for how human beings should seek to realize themselves. Emphasis will be placed on reading Nietzsche on his own terms, while at the same time holding him to clear and rigorous standards for assessing his claims. The primary focus will be on Nietzsche’s later writings, including Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals and The Antichrist. Other possible topics include Nietzsche’s relationship to Kant and Schopenhauer, and the literary development of Nietzschean themes in writers such as Camus and Thomas Mann. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
PHIL (493) 015.301 Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-4:30

Imperialism: Then and Now
Joao Resende-Santos, Lecturer in Political Science

This course examines the various forms of imperialism in the modern international system, specifically in the context of the relationship between the advanced industrial countries and the less developed nations. In examining the political, economic, and cultural relations between the developed and developing countries, we trace the characteristics of each historical stage of imperialism: first, the classical stage of colonialism and direct imperial control (when Europe colonized over eighty percent of the earth’s land surface); second, the stage of neo-colonialism and dependency; and finally, the stage of “new neo-colonialism” a label used to describe relations today between the rich, industrial countries and the developing world. As the protests against the wto, the imf, and the World Bank in Seattle, Washington, and Prague in the past year illustrate, the present international political and economic system is considered not only unjust and unequal but a system through which the rich countries exercise indirect control over poor countries. The readings for the course will include classic texts covering each historical stage. The course materials will also have country-specific focus, drawing on historical country cases from Latin America and Africa. (Distribution I: Society)
PSCI (505) 009.301 Thursday 2:00-5:00

W.E.B. DuBois' Global Vision
Robert Vitalis, Associate Professor of Political Science

During World War I, DuBois began to develop an analysis of America’s tradition of ascriptive hierarchy—the Jim Crow system—in a global context. His repeated evocations of the idea of the color line—in his 1900 speech to the first Pan-African Congress, in the essay “On The Dawn of Freedom” in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), and in his “The Color Line Belts the World” (Collier’s, Oct. 20, 1906)—mark the grounds of a challenge of historic importance to dominant American constructions of race, to international relations theory and to development practice. He continued to deepen this analysis, at significant personal costs in the years after World War II, as part of an anti-racist and anti-colonial movement that was branded by postwar U.S. administrations as a threat to national security. This towering figure in a vital current of black internationalism was subject to harassment. DuBois died in exile in Ghana. We hope to build the semester’s work in significant part around the question of what it means to analyze DuBois using the same global view that he brought to the analysis of race in America and that informed his politics of transnational solidarity in defense of peoples’ rights. DuBois has been canonized in a particular way in the academy, as a subject in southern history and African-American studies, and, to a lesser extent, in the history of urban sociology. We want to build on the canon to explore what it means to think about him as a theorist of international society. (Distribution I: Society)
PSCI (505) 009.302 Thursday 1:30-4:30

The Politics of Labor
Calvin Chen, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science

This seminar explores the relationship between work and politics at two different levels. First, since the incorporation of labor has been historically linked with the broader process of nation-building, we will examine different patterns of working-class formation, political mobilization, and union politics in comparative perspective. Second, we will evaluate politics within the workplace, focusing on the impact of technological change, gender, methods of labor organization, and management philosophy on how authority is structured. We will also use the experiences of different geographical regions to shed light on labor relations. (Distribution I: Society)
PSCI (505) 009.303 Wednesday 2:00 - 5:00

Indians Overseas: A Global View
Surendra Gambhir, Senior Lecturer of South Asia Regional Studies

This course is about the history of Indian immigration into different parts of the world. The course will consist of readings, discussions, observations, data collection and analysis. The topics will include cultural preservation and cultural change through generations, especially in North America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and the African continent. (Distribution II: History and Tradition)
SARS (593) 012.301 Monday & Wednesday 3:00 - 4:30

Spanish American Literature in Translation: Latin American Travel Narrative
Persephone Braham, Visiting Assistant Professor in Romance Languages

From its origins in the fantasies of Christopher Columbus, Latin America has materialized as an artifact of the touristic imagination, the objectives of the scientific voyage, and the conditions of exile. This course will examine many genres of travel writing, both fiction and non-fiction, including the captivity narrative, the picaresque journey, the taxonomic expedition and the travel guidebook. Readings will represent foreign travelers to Latin America as well as Latin Americans abroad. In English. (Distribution III: Arts and Letters)
SPAN (601) 251.401 or COML (113) 252.401 or
ROML (549) 251.401 Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 - 12:00

Urban Analysis with Computers
Robert C. Douglas, Director, Social Science Computing

The objective of this seminar is to introduce students to team building, while developing their inductive research skills through the analysis of factors influencing the spatial structure of U.S. metropolitan areas.
Students form metropolitan area research teams and learn to use computers to:

1. Collect data on the socio-economic characteristics of people in 200 zip codes in the U.S.
2. Map and graph these data searching for patterns in population density, income, educa tion, and housing.
3. Test hypotheses.
4. Make team PowerPoint presentations of research results, and
5. Write individual research reports.

This course fulfills the Quantitative Skills Requirement. (Distribution I: Society)
URBS (657) 100.302 Tuesday & Thursday 3:00 - 4:30

Crime & Punishment
Eric Schneider, Adjunct Associate Professor of History

How have definitions of crime and forms of punishment changed over time? What have been the uses and legacy of extra-legal violence? How have the forms of crime and punishment reflected the structure of American society? Using both historical and contemporary texts, this seminar will explore these and other questions and in the process analyze the development of juvenile justice, the organization of corrections, the application of the death penalty, and the rise of the drug economy. (Distribution ii: History and Tradition)
URBS (657) 110.301 Tuesday & Thursday 3:00 - 4:30

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