Freshman Seminars Fall 2004

Sector I: Society

Performing Identity
Julia Offen, Lecturer in Anthropology
What can we read from the stories and images represented or “performed” in popular culture? How do such media enrich our experiences of ourselves, our communities, and our identities? This seminar explores cross-cultural imaginations of identity in cultural performance. We examine collective identities and social inequalities as they are expressed and negotiated through public cultural exchange. Particular attention will be paid to the performance of gender and sexuality in contemporary popular culture. We will consider critical social theories, ethnographic texts and representations from public culture film/video, television, music, web sites, books, museum exhibits, et cetera. (Distribution)
ANTH 069.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30

Writing Multiculturalism
Peggy Sanday, Professor of Anthropology
Diversity is a fact of life, characteristic not only of the U.S. national culture but of the global culture as well. This course introduces anthropological theories of culture and multiculturalism and the method of ethnography. Students will read and report on selected classic readings. After learning the basic concepts, students will be introduced to the method of ethnography. The core of the course will revolve around “doing ethnography” by writing ethnographic fieldnotes on participant/observation of multiculturalism. Students can use their life experience, home communities or Penn as their field of observation. The goal of the course is to introduce beginning students to public interest anthropology. No background in anthropology is required. (Distribution)
ANTH 146.401 or AFAM 146.401 or WSTD 146.401 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30

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. (Distribution)
FRSM 106.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

HIV Prevention in Developing Countries
Barbara Turner, Professor of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine
This course will address approaches to promote HIV prevention in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will start with a discussion of the HIV epidemic in Africa and consideration of the factors that have made it so explosive. We will critically evaluate selected key studies of HIV risk behaviors and interventions to address these behaviors from developed and developing countries. We will consider the interplay of HIV risk reduction and cultural norms in developing countries such as polygamy and a male dominated society. Experts from Penn and elsewhere will present their work on HIV epidemiology, risk behavior and prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as other developing countries. (Distribution)
HSSC 002.401 or HSOC 002.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

The Construction, Prevention and Treatment of Mental Illness
David Mandell, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, School of Medicine
This class is designed to introduce students to research and debates surrounding the concept of mental disorder, and to help them to think critically about these disorders’ biological and social construction. In addition to learning about the presentation and treatment of mental illness, they will also be introduced to concepts in epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry and health services research, and learn about the history of the science surrounding psychiatry and how different beliefs at different times have influenced policy, systems, services and treatment. (Distribution)
HSSC 050.401 or HSOC 050.401 | Thursday | 2:00 - 5:00

Declining Birth Rates: Causes and Consequences
M. Frank Norman, Professor of Psychology
Will an individual try to have children? If so, how many? Such decisions are among life’s most important, and they are strongly influenced by cultural and economic factors, as well as mate availability and preferences. Cultural and economic situations have changed drastically, and, as a result, recent years have seen a sharp worldwide decline in birthrate, and exceedingly low birthrates in contemporary Europe and Japan. This “fertility transition” and its consequences are the central topics of this seminar. In spite of the momentous personal, social, political and economic implications of the fertility transition, psychologists have had remarkably little to say about it, so much of the reading in this seminar is drawn from history, sociology and demography. Special topics are the history of contraception in this country, and contemporary women’s career-family conflicts. (Distribution)
PSYC 006.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30

Introduction to the Social Sciences
Ivar Berg, Professor of Sociology
In an investigation into “nation building,” in accord with the logics of the 17th and 18th Century Enlightenment Project, we will read three short preparatory books and then embark on a very “close reading” of Alexis deTocqueville’s classic, Democracy in America 1835. Our current adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will afford us weekly opportunities to consider a number of recent historical and comparative dimensions of “nation building,” in contrast with deTocqueville’s report, early in the 19th century, as we observe our 2004 federal election and the campaign that brings us another chapter in the story of our own development as a democratic (and economic) republic. Readers of a major newspaper, especially, will enjoy this prospectively measurable experience! This is a Benjamin Franklin Seminar. Non-honor students admitted by permission. (General Requirement)
SOCI 001.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Gender and Development in Asia
Emily Hannum, Assistant Professor of Sociology
This seminar will focus on gendered experiences of socio-economic development in Asia. We will discuss prominent theories about the relationship between gender stratification and development, considering frameworks that emphasize the role of economic growth, state policies, global development agencies, globalization, and national and regional cultures. We will learn about sources of empirical data for research on gender and women in Asia. Finally, we will discuss empirical research about gender and development in Asian countries. We will consider evidence about women across the life course, including gender gaps in children’s health, nutrition, schooling and work, women’s reproductive health and rights, gender and the family, and gender, employment and income. The class will be conducted as a mix of overview lectures, demonstrations of how to access data sources, discussions of academic readings and student research, and viewing and discussion of films. (Distribution)
SOCI 041.401 or AMES 084.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Sector II: History and Tradition

The Dalck and Rose Feith Family Freshman Seminar in Jewish Law and Ethics
Barry Eichler, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
How has Jewish law developed over the millennia from biblical times to the present? What insights can this legal tradition offer us today as we seek answers to such issues as abortion, euthanasia, genetic research and business ethics? This course will examine the literary and legal sources of Jewish law within a historical framework, with special emphasis upon the development and dynamics of Jewish jurisprudence. It will also explore the relationship between Jewish law and social ethics. (Distribution)
AMES 152.401 or JWST 152.401 or RELS 127.401 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

The Cultural History of Sleep in Japan
Brigitte Steger, Mellon Fellow in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Growing up, our parents often sent us to bed at a certain “bedtime,” which was always much too early. We were never tired and would have preferred to hang out with friends, read, watch TV or do anything else other than sleep. Teachers got angry when we fell asleep during class. Both parents and teachers passed on the proverbial: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise.” “In the old days,” they would say, “people went to bed when it got dark, and naturally got up with the sunrise,” implying that civilization could have only advanced as far as it had because people had stuck with these virtues. However, this assumption is both ethnocentric and ahistoric. Wasn’t there ever a nightlife? As students of Japanese classical literature soon learn, the shining prince Genji and his friends and lovers (in Murasaki Shikibu’s Genji Monogatari) were usually awake at night. Based on the assumption that sleep, our practice and ideas of it, are deeply embedded in culturally specific belief systems and in cultures, in this seminar we will explore Japanese cultural history by looking at sleeping behavior (co-sleeping, early rising, napping) and concepts of sleep and sleep time that can be traced back through various sources, such as educational literature including house codes and other regulations, belles-lettres (high literature), popular writings and diaries, as well as picture scrolls, woodblock prints and other visual sources. We will also consider material culture of sleep such as tatami (floor mats) and futon and their implications for sleeping behavior. Emphasis will be on the two major waves of cultural influence; from China in ancient Japan, and from Western countries, especially in the second half of the 19th century. We will have a look at how people did or didn’t absorb these influences, and compare developments relating to sleep that are occurring in other parts of the world. (Distribution)
AMES 194.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

India: Ancient and Modern
Gregory Possehl, Professor of Archaeology
This course is intended to be an introduction to the anthropological study of South Asia. It will cover archaeology, physical anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistics, along with excursions into geography, the Indian Census and gazetteers. A second focus of the class will be an investigation of the origins of the caste system. Each student will be expected to complete a significant research paper related to the class, along with one class presentation. The grade for the course will be based upon the instructor’s evaluation of each of these exercises. (General Requirement)
ANTH 024.401 or SARS 024.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:20 - 12:00

Bethany Wiggin, Assistant Professor of German
Although its pages may appear innocuous enough, bound innocently between non-descript covers, the book has frequently become the locus of intense suspicion, legal legislation and various cultural struggles. But what causes a book to blow its cover? In this course we will consider a range of specific censorship cases in the West since the invention of the printed book to the present day. We will consider the role of various censorship authorities (both religious and secular) and grapple with the timely question about whether censorship is ever justified in building a better society. Case studies will focus on many well-known figures (such as Martin Luther, John Milton, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Goethe, Karl Marx and Salman Rushdie) as well as lesser-known authors, particularly Anonymous (who may have chosen to conceal her identity to avoid pursuit by the censor). All readings and lectures in English. (Distribution)
GRMN 003.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Superstition and Erudition: 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 – 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, Superstition, revolves around astrology, medicine and pharmacy. Taking the German Volkskalender, the medieval predecessor of the modern Farmer’s Almanac, as our point of departure, we will gain insights into the ubiquitous role of astrology in the daily life of medieval individuals, for example in activities and decisions concerning farming, slaughtering of animals, personal hygiene, marrying, escaping from jail, conception of a male child, appropriate days to let blood, etc.
Medicine, frequently referred to as astromedicine because of its inextricable dependence on astrology, encompasses a multitude of characteristics. The course will explore the precarious state of medieval medicine and pharmacology, the specific diseases of men and women and their frequently barbaric treatments, the use of so-called wonderdrugs produced by professional physicians and medical charlatans alike from exotic plants, precious stones, animal parts, blood or human excrements. Special topics are also planned on the astrological causes and magical treatments of the Black Death, embryology and the causes of homosexuality/lesbianism, sex as therapy, etc. (Distribution)
GRMN 008.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 - 12:00

The First Crusade and the Crusade Problem
Edward Peters, Professor of History
This research seminar will be devoted to an intensive investigation of the penitential military expedition from western Europe to Jerusalem (1095-1101) that later became widely known as the “First” Crusade. The seminar will also consider the impact (or non-impact) of that expedition and its consequences on other societies, chiefly those of Byzantium, Judaism and the Arab/Islamic world. We will study the original source materials (in English translation) as well as some of the best recent scholarship, including both the military and the intellectual context of the events and their period. In light of the contemporary usage of the term “Crusade” we will also consider the development of the term in later history. (Distribution)
HIST 101.301 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

Religion and Resistance in Colonial Africa
Cheikh Babou, Assistant Professor of History
This seminar looks at the experience of Africans from the era of the European “Scramble for Africa” in the 1880s to the years of African Independence in the 1960s, through the lens of African religious practices and movements. Topics include the role of Islamic brotherhoods in Africa, European missions and African churches, millenarian and reform movements, education and leadership, religion, nationalism, and pan-Africanism. Students will examine colonial documents, African oral traditions, spiritual songs and prayers, and contemporary religious writings to gain an understanding of the meaning of religion in African life during a period of great change on the continent. (Distribution)
HIST 106.401 or AFST 107.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Science, Magic and Religion
Henrika Kuklick, Professor of 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 the links between magic and science in the 17th century to contemporary anti-science movements. (General Requirement)
HSSC 025.401 or HSOC 025.401 or FOLK 025.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Bilingualism in History
Gillian Sankoff, Professor of Linguistics
This course takes a historical approach to tracing (and reconstructing) the nature
of language contacts and bilingualism over the course of human history. Contacts between groups of people speaking different languages, motivated by trade, migration, conquest and intermarriage, are documented from earliest records. At the same time, differences in socio-historical context have created different kinds of linguistic outcomes. Some languages have been completely lost; new languages have been created. In still other cases, the nature and structure of language has been radically altered. The course introduces the basics of linguistic structure through a discussion of which aspects of language have proved to be relatively stable, and which are readily altered, under conditions of bilingualism. (Distribution)
LING 054.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Introduction to Philosophy
An introductory examination of four important philosophical topics: free will and determinism, arguments for and against the existence of God, scepticism and the nature of scientific reasoning, and moral relativism. (General Requirement)
PHIL 001.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30
PHIL 001.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00
PHIL 001.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Religion in Philadelphia
Leslie Callahan, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
This freshman seminar examines the history of diverse religious expression in Philadelphia. Students will explore the contemporary religious landscape of the city with special attention to University City and West Philadelphia. Through readings, site visits, and special projects, students will become familiar with the current manifestation of religiously historic Philadelphia. (Distribution)
RELS 107.301 | Tuesday | 2:00 - 5:00

India in the Traveler’s Eye: Encounters and Discoveries
Aditya Behl, Associate Professor of South Asia Studies
This course is intended to introduce entering students to the motivations and experiences through which travellers have arrived at a knowledge of India, and thereby to interrogate the role of travel, trade, and exploration in the discovery and colonization of India. It is also designed to train students to read texts critically and to produce coherent arguments about them. We will begin with ancient travellers such as the Greeks and Fa-Hsien, then look at the marvellous accounts of Arab sailors and merchants in the India and China Seas, and then examine early European accounts of voyages to the Indies. We will examine the writings of colonial wanderers in search of the Indian picturesque, as well as the complex liaisons and encounters between Indians and Europeans. We will end with accounts of the rediscovery of imagined places, looking at pilgrimages and some post-colonial encounters. (Distribution)
SARS 010.401 or RELS 010.401 | Tuesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Indians Overseas: A Global View
Surendra Gambhir, Senior Lecturer in South Asia 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 of East Indian immigrants, especially in North America, the Caribbean area, the United Kingdom, the African continent and some 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 cultural 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. The course will 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. (Distribution)
SARS 012.401 or ASAM 012.401 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

Sector III: Arts and Letters

Medicine, Literature and Culture in Japan
William LaFleur, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
This seminar is in many ways an exercise in comparison—by looking at how the practice of medicine in Japan differs from that in America. Japan, where people enjoy good health and live very long lives, not only combines “Western” with “Eastern” medical practices but also is a place where questions of medical ethics and biotechnology are often faced differently than they are in America. The fact that in modern times many Japanese writers had medical educations makes Japanese literature, studied here in translation, a rich context for exploring a wide range of such questions. Film too will be a tool for our studies. A comparative look at what we might think about the body, the mind, and healing or dying processes will be the central focus of this seminar. (Distribution)
AMES 197.301 | Tuesday | 2:00 - 5:00

The Landscape of Dreams: Sleep, Dreams and Fantasy in the Renaissance
Maria Ruvoldt, Mellon Fellow in History of Art
The must-have book for fashionable Italians in 1499 was the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a lavishly illustrated dream-narrative that recorded the fantastic adventures of Poliphilo as he tracked his beloved Polia through a landscape of classical ruins populated by nymphs and pagan deities. Soon translated into French and English, this immensely popular text testifies to the Renaissance fascination with dreams and dream-imagery. In this class, we will investigate early modern perceptions of sleep and dreams, asking what dreaming meant to a culture that had never heard of Sigmund Freud. We will examine how sleep and dreams were defined by physicians, poets and artists, viewed as tools for diagnosis, indicators of character and occasions for divine inspiration. We will read Renaissance handbooks of dream interpretation, dream-narratives and records of dreams, and look at paintings, drawings and engravings on the subject of dreaming as we explore the links between sleep, dreams and fantasy in Renaissance culture. (Distribution)
ARTH 100.301 | Tuesday | 4:30 - 7:30

The Image of the Absent: The Icon and Visual Revelation
Warren Woodfin, Mellon Fellow in History of Art
Byzantine worshipers in the middle ages might be expected, on entering a church, to be able to recognize a large number of saints from their portraits. Although legend held that images of Christ and the Virgin had been painted in their own lifetimes, most saints depended on revelation through dreams and visions in order that a true likeness be made. In this course, we will examine the interchange between visionary text and visible image in forging the gallery of Byzantine saints. We will look at the debates over the nature of the icon and its connection to the represented subject, its prototype, in the 8th and 9th centuries. We will also examine images that seem to contradict the strict of iconographic likeness settled on by the Orthodox Church in its official theology. (Distribution)
ARTH 100.302 | Wednesday | 4:30 - 7:30

Nero and the Roman Imagination
James Ker, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies
This seminar approaches classical Roman culture through one of its most bizarre historical figures: Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors. How are we to understand the mystique of the actor-emperor, the aesthete-tyrant who played the lyre while Rome burned? What cultural forces came into play to create the cruel but charming persona which impostors around the Mediterranean would seek to imitate even after his death? Because Nero lives on in such a broad set of representations both ancient and modern, he gives us the opportunity to work methodically through the different ways in which our knowledge and fantasies of the profound past are mediated-fantasies about art, power, spectacle, violence, bodies, nature, identity. We will read in English translation the writings of ancient annalists, biographers, poets, storytellers, and biblical writers. We will also compare the different modes of viewing that are made available by archaeology, including Roman coins, sculpture, wall-painting, architecture, and town-planning. But we will devote equal energy to analyzing how the Roman past, and Nero in particular, has been projected in modern times, through opera, fiction, film, and popular culture. Ultimately, we will seek to interpret the ways in which power is performed and transmitted in this compelling myth-from Nero to his Roman audiences, and from the ancient past into the present.
CLST 131.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30-12:00

In the City of Dreams
Eleni Kefala, Mellon Fellow in Comparative Literature
This seminar examines sleep and dreams in important works of Western literature. In Homer’s Odyssey, for example, three normally separate orders of being converge in dreams: that of humans, gods and the dead. Further, for Homer, dreams and reality are parallel planes. But if we jump a few millennia forward to the postmodern tales of Jorge Luis Borges, dreams and reality are indistinguishable, inasmuch as reality is merely the dream of a “god,” the poet, who continually makes and unmakes it with his words. Dreamed reality is the World. In this seminar we will study the meaning and function of dreams in the Odyssey, Borges’s fictions and many fascinating works in between. (Distribution)
COML 011.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

The Art of Crossing: Jazz-Age Americans. Mixing up Races, Genders, Places and Forms
Lydia Fisher, Lecturer in English
African-Americans “passing” as white. White Americans looking for themselves in Harlem. Cross-dressing and gender bending. Hybridity. Expatriates finding home abroad. High class meets lowbrow. Popular culture becomes art. The literature, visual art and music of the early 20th century is full of images and instances of crossing over and trying on difference (a different place, a different self, a different kind of expression), reveling in the mixed-ness of the modern moment in which distinctions and divisions of all sorts came into question. In this course we will interrogate American texts of the modern era as productions of their cultural moment, asking: What were the historical conditions that produced this art of crossing? How were writers and other artists “mixing” their own ideas and artistic goals with those of others? And what sorts of social changes did this age of innovation, exploration, integration, and revolution enable? This was a period of great transformation that produced fascinating works for us to engage with and talk about together. The course is designed to get students involved in exploring modernity through diverse course materials (poetry, short stories, novels, essays, music, visual art), experiencing the intellectual challenges and rewards of literary and cultural study both independently and in collaboration with others. Course texts may include works by Langston Hughes, Anzia Yezierska, Nella Larsen, W.E.B. Dubois, Alain Locke, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. (Distribution)
ENGL 016.301 or AFAM 016.301 or WSTD 016.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

Narratives of the Consumer Age
Patrick Wehner, Lecturer in English
Why do we have such mixed feelings about participating in what is often referred to as our consumer culture? When did we begin to identify ourselves as consumers and what impact has this way of thinking had on our self-definitions? What is the relationship between consumer culture and ideas about what makes life in the United States distinctive? Using literary and cinematic narratives as our guides, this seminar will explore how our habits as consumers can be both sources of pleasure and causes for anxiety, freedoms to be celebrated and compulsions to be scorned, expressions of our individual tastes and the basis for the most far-reaching of our social relationships. We will look at the historical roots of a mass consumer market to see whether some of the concerns and contradictions that we consider unique to our times are part of a larger story. We will consider some of the ways that people use the things they buy to make meaning in their lives. We will consider some of the problems that critics of consumer culture have brought to our attention—including materialism, conformity, and concealed exploitation—and weigh these concerns against the promises and possibilities that others have applauded. Readings will include fiction, memoir, drama, and journalism by authors such as Bruce Barton, Kate Chopin, Don DeLillo, Barbara Ehrenreich, Edna Ferber, Betty Friedan, Lorraine Hansberry, Sinclair Lewis, Anne Moody, Ruth Ozeki, and Sloan Wilson. Films may include portions of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, A Raisin in the Sun, Salesman, Clueless and The Target Shoots First. (Distribution)
ENGL 016.304 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

The Mexican Revolution in the American Imagination
Yolanda Padilla, Assistant Professor of English
Exploring numerous cultural, political, and historical contexts, this course will examine the Mexican Revolution from the vantage point of the American imagination. While most commentators date the Revolution between 1910-1920, the turmoil south of the border would play a part in how the U.S. viewed Mexico—and itself—well into the middle of the century. Such a recent history of revolution enabled the U.S. to conceive of Mexico as a mythic space onto which it could project and possibly resolve various social and cultural questions. As we read an array of texts that imagine the Revolution, we will consider how notions of revolutionary Mexico were deployed in some of the most pressing debates of the day, including those regarding relationships between race and democracy, art and revolution, and the primitive and the modern. Our readings will also include Mexican representations of the revolution, with the aim that we will analyze the influence of such expressions on U.S. thinking about Mexico. Ultimately, we will examine how Mexico and its Revolution inform new debates about an old question: what does it mean to be an American? Possible writers include John Reed, Mariano Azuela, D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Anne Porter, Graham Greene and Sandra Cisneros. Possible films include Viva Villa!, The Old Gringo, Viva Zapata! and the recent HBO film And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself. This is a Benjamin Franklin Honors seminar. Non-honor students admitted by permission. (Distribution)
ENGL 016.401 or LTAM 016.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

Survey of Italian Theater
Frank Pellicone, House Dean, Harrison College House and Lecturer in Italian
This course will look at the origins of theater in Italy from antiquity through modernity. Beginning with the early comedies of Plautus and ending with the works of Dario Fo, we will consider the ways playwrights have responded to social, political, cultural, and aesthetic changes throughout the Italian peninsula from antiquity through the Renaissance, Italian unification and into modernity. Other playwrights to be considered will also include: Machiavelli, Ariosto, Bruno, Goldoni, Alfieri, D’Annunzio and Pirandello. (Distribution)
ITAL 217.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 10:00 - 11:00

The World of Dante
Victoria Kirkham, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
The masterpiece of Italian literature read in the context of Dante’s cultural milieu (the Aristotelian cosmos, contemporary politics, medieval intellectual ideals, the aesthetic of order, symbolism, allegory, numerology and his literary heritage from Virgil to the early Italian vernacular poets). Illustrated manuscripts and the visual tradition of the poem will be shown in slide presentations. Lecture/discussion format. (Distribution)
ITAL 232.401 or COML 234.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

Gary Tomlinson, Professor of Music
One of the most characteristic and pervasive of human activities is the singing of songs. Uniting historical, anthropological and critical perspectives, we will take the general measure of this activity. We will examine songs across historical epochs, in cultural context, and as objects of critical analysis. Examples will be drawn from a wide range of times and places—from Tuvan throat-singing of Southwest Asia to the Beatles, from Schubert’s 19th-century Lieder to the Inca’s ritual song of 1535. Attentive listening (as well as reading and writing) will be required, but no prior musical expertise is necessary. (Distribution)
MUSC 016.001 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

Dreams and Nightmares in Fiction and Film
Sharon Allen, Mellon Fellow in Comparative Literature
This course is devoted to some of the most exciting modern films and novels from Latin America, Russia and Europe—dreams and nightmares that allow us to comprehend the “underground” of human experience. Our approach will be comparative, considering literary works in the context of film and the other arts, with special emphasis on several directors who laid the foundations of modern film: Fritz Lang, Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein. Topics of discussion will include: creativity, deviant behavior, cultural dialogue, dissent, “delirious” modern cities (St. Petersburg, Prague, Rio de Janiero) and death. Works by: Dostoevsky, Gogol, Kafka, Proust, Lispector, Machado de Assis, Mario de Andrade, Saramago, Petrushevskaia, Pelevin and others. All readings and lectures in English. (Distribution)
RUSS 185.401 or COML 185.401 or FILM 125.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Do the Rite Thing: Ritual in American Life
Felicity Paxton, Postdoctoral Lecturer in American Studies and Women’s Studies
Starting with birth and working chronologically through a series of case studies, this course invites students to examine the centrality of ritual in modern American life. We will look closely at rituals that celebrate the human lifecycle as well as overtly competitive sporting and political rituals. We will explore rituals that unfold at the local level as well as those that most Americans experience only via the media. Rituals under examination will include birthday parties, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Halloween, proms, Quinceañeras, graduations, rodeos, homecomings, weddings, Greek initiations, beauty pageants, reunions and funerals. Students will be encouraged to critically examine their own ritual beliefs and practices and to consider these and other theoretical questions: What is the status of ritual in post-industrial culture? What distinguishes popular from official ritual and secular from religious ritual? How do sociological variables such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion shape people’s understanding of, and participation in, modern American rituals? What role does ritual play in family life? How do contemporary rituals bond Americans at the local and/or national level? All students will be expected to conduct original research on a ritual of their choosing. (Distribution)
WSTD 082.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Mathematics Freshman Seminars)

Freshman seminars in the Mathematics Department at Penn aim to give the student an early exposure to the creative side of mathematics, with an emphasis on discovery, reasoning, proof and effective communication. 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. Each seminar meets for one-and-a-half hours per week, and an entire year counts for one credit unit. Students may register for one or both semesters. It is recommended that math majors take 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 the General Requirement; however, virtually all students who take them will also take calculus, which does satisfy Sector IV, Formal Reasoning and Analysis Requirement.

Introduction to Mathematical Analysis
Peter Freyd, Professor of Mathematics
MATH 200.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 3:00
MATH 200.302 | Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Introduction to Modern Algebra
Antonella Grassi, Associate Professor of Mathematics
MATH 204.301 | Tuesday | 12:00 - 1:30
MATH 204.302 | Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Sector V: Living World

Introduction to Evolution of the Brain
P. Thomas Schoenemann, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
An introduction to the study of the evolution of the human brain. Students will review basic concepts in evolutionary biology. The direct fossil evidence of vertebrate brain evolution will then be reviewed, and comparative (cross-species) perspectives on neuroanatomy and behavior will be emphasized. An analysis of the specific changes in the brain during human evolution will then be covered. We will consider possible sources of evidence relevant to brain evolution as well, such as the archaeological record of human behavioral evolution. Current controversies and theories about the causes and consequences of hominid brain evolution will be reviewed, including the possible role of language, tool use, sociality, dietary shifts and other behavioral adaptations. (General Requirement)
ANTH 179.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

Endocrinology of the Skeleton and its Interaction with the Other Systems of the Human Body
Michael Pazianas, Associate Professor of Geriatrics, School of Medicine
The skeleton has acquired the reputation of being a rather lifeless system, designed to last well beyond the normal life span of any other organ or system in the body. Yet a closer look tells us a completely different story. Indeed, the skeleton is under construction and reconstruction continuously and it is this process that determines the strength of the bones and their durability. The skeleton serves as the main storage place for calcium and phosphorus, vital elements for virtually every function in the body. In an amazing way, a number of hormones, systemic and local, “talk” to the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys and bones which in turn fine-tune the absorption (gut), secretion (kidneys) and release (skeleton) of calcium and phosphorus. No biology or science background required.
BIOL 004.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30-12:00

Killer Viruses: What Threat Do They Pose in Contemporary Society?
Glen N. Gaulton, Professor of Pathology/Lab Medicine, Vice Dean for Research and Research Training, School of Medicine
We are all well aware of the recent emergence of multiple viruses as potential threats to the public health: examples include HIV, SARS and West Nile and Ebola viruses. However, still greater threats may arise by expansion of existing viruses, such as smallpox and influenza, that we more commonly think of as being either eradicated or harmless. Through this course we will examine the general properties of viruses, our capacity to ward off common virus infections using the immune response, the general concept of vaccination, the emergence of new virus pathogens, and the capacity of these pathogens to spread within our population based on regional and global culture and finance. The course will utilize oral and written presentations as the main format for interaction and assessment. General biology background preferred but not required.
BIOL 005.301 | Wednesday | 3:00 - 6:00

Sex Differences: Behavior, Biology and Evolution
Dr. Raquel E. Gur, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology and Dr. Ruben C. Gur, Professor of Psychology, Director of the Brain Behavior Laboratory, School of Medicine
The availability of new methods for studying the brain in humans and other species has resulted in a virtual explosion of studies on sex differences in neurobiology, and not all that has hit the media is based on solid grounds. However, some consistent findings indicate that sex differences in brain structure and functional activity exist in humans and other species and that they relate importantly to behavioral differences in health and disease. For example, men, who are more prone to physical aggression and sexual promiscuity, have less brain tissue in frontal brain regions implicated in the modulation of emotion. This is reversed in schizophrenia, a neurodevelopmental disorder that starts earlier and is more severe in men. These sex differences also have implications for understanding how sexual differentiation plays a role in evolution and perhaps even permit some speculation on their societal and cultural implications. The seminar will combine lecture with discussion of empirical research results with individual and team research projects focusing on aspects of sex differences. The framework will be oriented toward neurobehavioral research, so readiness to understand biological and cognitive concepts and methodology will be needed.
BIOL 007.401 or BIBB 007.401 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30

Language and Cognition
David Embick, Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Humans have the ability to create and understand an infinite number of sentences that they have never heard before. This ability is unique among all the species of the world, although the exact ways in which human language differs from animal communication systems is a matter of ongoing discussion. Correlated with this ability is the fact that children seem to automatically acquire the language spoken in the community they are born into.This ability has led to the hypothesis that parts of the human brain are specifically designed for language, and to the investigation of linguistic ability in a number of related disciplines, such as linguistics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and computer science. The course examines several topics in the study of language and its relation to cognition. Because of its apparently species-specific nature, language is central to the study of the human mind. We will pursue an interdisciplinary approach to such questions in this course, moving from the structures of language as revealed by linguistic theory to connections with a number of related fields that are broadly referred to as the “cognitive sciences.” A number of specific topics will be addressed from these related fields. The structures of language and its role in human cognition will be set against the background of animal communication systems. We will examine the question of how children acquire extremely complex linguistic systems without explicit instruction, drawing on psychological work on the language abilities of children. Additional attention will be focused on the question of how language is represented and computed in the brain, and, correspondingly, how this is studied with brain-imaging techniques. (General Requirement)
LING 058.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Sector VI: Physical World

The Big Bang and Beyond
Vijay Balasubramanian, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
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 Quantitative Data Analysis Requirement. (General Requirement)
ASTR 007.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

Structural Biology and Genomics Seminar
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 structures and three-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.We will also examine how research results in structural biology are presented in various audiences. 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.This is a two-semester seminar that continues in spring 2005 with 0.5 credit unit each semester. The spring 2005 counts as a Writing Across the University course (WATU). (General Requirement)
CHEM 022.301 | Friday | 5:00 - 7:00

Freshman Recitation: Evolution of the Physical World
Hermann Pfefferkorn, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and Gino Segre, Professor of Physics and Astronomy
This course will explore the Big Bang and the origin of elements, stars, Earth, continents and oceans. Students must register for both the lecture and a recitation. The recitation listed below is restricted to freshmen and is led by the professors. It satisfies the Quantitative Data Analysis requirement. (General Requirement)
GEOL 003.401, PHYS 003.401 or COLL 003.401 (lec) | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00
GEOL 003.402, PHYS 003.402 or COLL 003.402 (rec) | Tuesday | 3:00 - 4:00

Freshman Recitation: Introduction to Geology
Gomaa Omar, Instructor of Earth and Environmental Science
Earth is a unique place. No other planet yet discovered has the same delicate balance between its multiple systems that 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 System and Human Impacts. Students must register for both the lecture and a recitation. The recitation listed below is restricted to freshmen and is led by the professor.This course counts as a Physical World course and satisfies the Quantitative Data Analysis Requirement. (General Requirement)
GEOL 100.001 (lec) | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 - 12:00
GEOL 100.201 (rec) | Monday | 1:00 - 2:00

Honors Physics I
Paul Heiney, Professor of Physics and Astronomy
This course parallels and extends the content of the introductory physics course for students in engineering and in the physical sciences, at a higher mathematical level. It is the first semester of a small-section two-semester sequence recommended for well-prepared students, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles, conservation laws and symmetry principles, rigid body motion, noninertial reference frames, oscillations. Prerequisites: MATH 104 and 114. Students must register for the lecture and the lab. This is a Benjamin Franklin seminar. Non-honors students admitted by permission. (General Requirement)
PHYS 170.301 (lec) | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 10:00 - 11:00 | Monday | 2:00 - 3:00
| Tuesday | 5:00 - 6:00
PHYS 170.302 or 170.303 (lab) | Wednesday | 1:00 - 3:00

Sector VII: Science Studies

Crystals: The Science and Power Behind the Realities and Myths
Krimo Bokreta, House Dean, Kings Court English House and Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Science
From the daily vitamin supplements to the cosmetics we wear, crystals are prevalent in our life. 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, in 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, the impact on health and the environment, as well as the development of legends, folktales and today’s pop culture. (General Requirement)
ENVS 097.301 | Tuesday | 7:00 - 10:00

Freshman Seminars with an Emphasis on Writing

The following seminars fulfill the Writing Requirement for all undergraduates. Please note that the freshman seminars with special emphasis on writing do not fulfill the General Requirement.

Writing Seminar in German
Translating Cultures: Literature on and in Translation

Kathryn Hellerstein, Ruth Meltzer Senior Lecturer in Yiddish and Jewish Studies
“Languages are not strangers to one another,” writes critic and translator Walter Benjamin. Without translation, most Americans would be unable to read the Bible or Homer or learn of the cultures of Europe, China, Africa, South America and the Middle East or the diversity of cultures within America. Other cultures would know little about the U.S. The very fabric of our world depends upon translation between people, between cultures, between texts. With a diverse group of readings—autobiography, fiction, poetry, anthropology and literary theory—this course will address some fundamental questions about translating language and culture. What does it mean to translate? How do we read a text in translation? What does it mean to live between two languages? Who is a translator? What are different kinds of literary and cultural translation? What are their principles and theories? Their assumptions and practices? Their effects on and implications for the individual and the society?
GRMN 009.401 or JWST 009.401| Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

Writing Seminar in History and Sociology of Science
Epidemics in History

David S. Barnes, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science
Dramatic and terrifying in their deadly immediacy, outbreaks of epidemic disease have devastated and transformed human societies since the beginnings of recorded history. From the Black Death to cholera to AIDS, epidemics have wrought profound demographic, social, political and cultural change all over the world. They provoke such powerful fear that while thousands die every day in the United States from mundane illnesses such as heart disease, panic grips the land at the thought of a handful of deaths from seemingly exotic afflictions such as West Nile encephalitis, “weaponized” anthrax and SARS. Through a detailed analysis of specific historical outbreaks, this seminar will investigate the causes and effects of epidemic disease and will examine the ways in which different societies in different eras have responded in times of crisis.
HSSC 009.401 or HSOC 009.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Writing Seminar in Urban Studies
Homelessness and the Urban Crisis

Dennis P. Culhane, Professor, School of Social Work
This course examines homelessness from scientific and policy perspectives. Contemporary homelessness differs from destitute poverty that occurred during other eras of our nation’s history. Advocates, researchers and policymakers have all played key roles in defining and measuring the current problem, raising issues we will examine in terms of how they affect our understanding of the scale and composition of the problem and the merits of various explanations that ensue, such as the role of affordable housing. We will also explore the dynamics of homelessness through ethnographic studies of how people become homeless and experience homelessness as well as review quantitative research on the patterns of entry and exit from this condition. Finally, we will consider approaches taken by policymakers and advocates to address the problem and the efficacy and quandaries of such policy strategies. The course concludes by contemplating the future of homelessness research and public policy.
URBS 009.302 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

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