Freshman Seminars Fall 2003

Sector I: Society

Performing Idenity
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, etc. (Distribution)
anth (025) 069.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30

Democracy & Citizenship
Catherine Newling, Lecturer in Anthropology
The fall of the Berlin Wall. The end of Apartheid. Tianenmen Square. Transitions from military dictatorships to civilian rule in Latin America. Events such as these imply that the desire for “democracy” is universal (or nearly so). But does a widespread desire for democracy necessarily mean that it is understood, and practiced, uniformly? This course argues that it does not. As a result, instead of learning about democracy in terms of what we already think we know about it, we will start from scratch by asking, “What is democracy, anyway?” We will use the tools of anthropology (an attention to cultural variation, and to local populations’ definitions of concepts that we assume to be self-evident) to examine the malleability of the notion of “democracy,” and the consequences of such variation. Who receives development aid, who gets to exert power, whose human rights are abused, and who gets to participate in governance as a citizen—these are just a few of the implications of deploying varying definitions of “democracy” for particular ends, by particular groups. (Distribution)
anth (025) 070.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

Money In Society and Culture
Jay Dautcher, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Across history and across cultures, money has profoundly shaped the social world. In its myriad forms and functions, money finds expression as object and idea, as complex technological system and potent psychological symbol. In this course we will consider the meanings that social scientists, cultural critics and popular movements have invested in the objects and practices that surround the use of money in human culture. Topics to be covered include: ideas about the origins and functions of money; the role of money in ancient and contemporary global trading regimes and political formations; diverse and multiple regimes of exchange and money use in different cultures; the impact of money on notions of value, time, social life, and moral order; ritual, magical and symbolic uses of money; and alternate money forms such as community-based currencies and digital/cyber cash. While focusing on objects and relationships associated with economic life, the course will serve as an introduction to basic concepts anthropologists use to think about society, culture and politics. Readings, classroom discussion, and guided research projects will provide the basis for a series of short writing assignments. (Distribution)
anth (025) 120.401 or folk (221) 120.401 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

Amsterdam: Venice of the North or Modern Sodom and Gomorrah?
Robert Naborn, Lecturer in Dutch
This seminar will take you on a virtual canal boat trip through Amsterdam, guided by a Dutch native. Stops along the way include: a peek into the Cum Laude Coffee shop near the Red Light District, looking into how Dutch society tries to cope with drugs and prostitution; the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, witnesses to Holland’s art history; the Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank, also providing insight into European central banking; and the Universiteit van Amsterdam, evidencing the differences between the American and the Dutch educational systems. In-class discussions will include Dutch policies on finance, education, art, health and crime. Through slides, film, texts and the internet you will gather information to engage in these discussions, which will culminate in an essay answering the question in the course title. All readings and lectures in English. (Distribution)
dtch (449) 008.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 10:00 - 11:00

Identity, Intimacy, Maturity
Vivian C. Seltzer, Professor, Human Development and Behavior
Psychological development is ongoing throughout life. Specific age periods are defined as critical periods of development when psychological identity is either resolved or remains unfulfilled as a result of premature closure or identity diffusion. Identity, intimacy and maturity are related concepts, independent but intertwined. A full identity reinforces psychological readiness for intimacy (which may or may not be accompanied by physical intimacy). Possession of identity and the ability it brings to engage in intimate relations profoundly affects attainment of psychosocial maturity. This course examines both the process and content of critical areas of psychosocial functioning. Both the idiosyncratic nature and the interrelated dimensions of each of the three periods are examined as are definitions, positive and/or negative contributing forces, manifestations, irregularities and so forth. Readings introduce the theoretical framework that underpins these three concepts. Class seminars present their theoretical linkages and raise further issues; class projects and assignments allow for pragmatic analyses. (Distribution)
frsm (233) 104.301 | Tuesday | 1:00 - 4:00

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 (233) 106.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 4:30

Unequal Treatment: Health in America
Julie Fisher
This seminar focuses on the tremendous disparities that exist in the health status
of contemporary Americans. Led by a practicing physician who is actively engaged in training family practice residents, the course ask students to explore the current evidence for health disparities that exist in the United States and the role played by such factors as gender, race, geographic area, and socioeconomic status. Students will explore a broad gamut of societal factors—nutrition, literacy, education, role-modeling and mentoring—and the subsequent effects that these disparities have on the health of individuals and communities. Individually and in teams, students will evaluate a set of programs that address these disparities. These evaluations will include site visits to several such programs based in Philadelphia. (Distribution)
hsoc (320) 015.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30

Epidemics in History
David Barnes, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science
Dramatic, deadly and terrifying in their brutal 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 allover the world. Such is the power of their mystery and horror that while thousands die everyday in the United States from mundane illnesses such as heart disease or lung cancer, panic grips the land at the thought of a handful of deaths from seemingly exotic afflictions such as West Nile encephalitis and “weaponized” anthrax. Through a detailed analysis of specific historical outbreaks, this seminar investigates the cause and effects of epidemic disease and examines the ways in which different societies in different eras have responded in times of crisis. (Distribution)
hssc (321) 108.401 or hssc (320) 108.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 – 5:00

Issues in American Democracy
Henry Teune, Professor of Political Science
This course is a discussion of persisting and new issues in American democratic
theory and practice. The topics covered will include not only freedom vs. equality, society vs. government, and local vs. national government but also recent issues shaped by global change. They are the decline in citizenship/voting, global constraints on democratic choice, and global democratic pressures to change u.s. policies on criminal punishment, education, and the environment. Special consideration will be given to the idea of “American exceptionalism.” Readings will be both classical and temporary. (Distribution)
psci (505) 009.302 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

Visual Politics
Anne Norton, Professor of Political Science
Politics can be seen: not only in flags, boundary markers and demonstrations, but also in forms of dress, architecture, and racial classifications. Politics works through, on and in the sense of sight: in what can be seen and what is concealed; in who is visible and what is public. We will look at graffiti, public murals, architecture, film; at practices like veiling, shopping, and gated communities; at monuments and commodities. The object of the course is to see politics more and see it more clearly: to learn how to analyze politics as it appears in places and practices we may not ordinarily recognize as political. (Distribution)
psci (505) 009.303 | Monday | 3:00 - 6:00

Constitution Making
William Harris, Associate Professor of Political Science
This is a seminar in constitutional theory which will focus on the problems of creating or restructuring a political order by writing and adopting the design of that order in a set of words contained within a text. The course will have a large component of political and interpretive theory, as well as American political thought. There may be some materials from other constitutional systems besides the United States. However, the course is primarily a way of looking analytically at the founding of the American Constitution by considering how a new constitution would be written, argued for, and ratified more than 200 years later—then questioning the nature of its authority. After more than two centuries of experience in interpreting the existing constitutional document, how might a constitution-maker draft a new one to take into account the problems that we have discovered? Requirement: Extensive reading and active scholarly discussion; one short analytical paper; one medium-length paper; and a final essay examination. This is a Benjamin Franklin Honors seminar and non-honors students need permission. (Distribution)
psci (505 187.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 5:00

Declining Birth Rates
M. Frank Norman, Professor of Psychology
Although world population continues to grow, birth rates are declining and the “population bomb” is defusing. European birth rates have been declining for over 150 years, and are now somewhat lower than in the usa, in spite of family-friendlier European workplace and social welfare policies. These birth rate declines have major social, political, and economic implications. This seminar considers the extent and causes of birth rate declines in developing countries, in Europe, and in the usa. Special topics are the history of contraception in this country, and contemporary women's career-family conflicts. (Distribution)
psyc (521) 006.301 | Thursday | 1:30 - 4:30

Introduction to Social Sciences
Ivar Berg, Professor of Sociology
An analysis of the major intellectual perspectives afforded by economists, political scientists, and sociologists applied to the growth and development (separate phenomena) of the u.s. This review will involve systematic comparisons of America's contemporary ways and means, as a “growing concern”, with the treatment of the u.s. by Alexis de Tocqueville in his wondrously comprehensive and almost eerily prescient work, Democracy in America (1835). This volume, is arguably “...the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America.” (Mansfield, a senior American political scientist; emphases added). We will read a short work on Shays’s Rebellion, at the outset, and de Tocqueville’s 700-page classic, section by section, for our weekly tete a tetes. This is a Benjamin Franklin Honors seminar and non-honors students need permission. (General Requirement)
soci (589) 001.301 | Tuesday | 4:00 - 7:00

Perspectives in Inequality
Jerry Jacobs, Professor of Sociology
This course will introduce social-science perspectives on inequality primarily in contemporary societies. We will examine both the distribution of social rewards as well as processes for the allocation of these rewards. Topics include the influences on individual success of education, race and gender, and structural and organizational factors. Acquaintance with stratification theory and quantitative methods is not required. Course requirements are a) active class participation; b) locating issues involving inequality in the newspaper (or online); c) a midterm exam; d) a final exam; e) one short essay due before the midterm; and f) a short project report after the midterm. (Distribution)
soci (589) 041.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation
Camille Charles, Assistant Professor of Sociology
This course examines trends in the residential segregation of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians from whites and recent research focused on understanding the causes of persisting segregation. These topics are organized around two broad theoretical perspectives—spatial assimilation and place stratification. The spatial assimilation model emphasizes group differences in social class status, whereas the place stratification model includes explanations placing primacy on persisting prejudice and/or discrimination. As such, residential segregation has implications for both inter-group relations and social mobility. Topics also include a) the emergence of racially segregated neighborhoods; b) the renewed interest in segregation among social scientists interested in better understanding the emergence of the urban underclass; c) the consequences of residential segregation; and d) what can be learned from the minority of American neighborhoods that are stably integrated. The course concludes with a discussion of whether and how public policy might shape the future of America's neighborhoods. This course is designed for students unfamiliar with sociological theory and/or methods. (Distribution)
soci (589) 041.401 or urbs (657) 100. 401 or afam (009) 041.401
Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

Homelessness and the Urban Crisis
Dennis Culhane, Professor, School of Social Work
This 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. (Distribution)
urbs (657) 100.301 | Wednesday | 5:00 - 8:00

Sector II: History and Tradition

Magical Science: Sages, Scholars and Knowledge in Babylon and Assyria
Steve Tinney, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
From sympathetic rituals to cure sexual dysfunction to the sages’ esoteric creation of worlds through the manipulation of words, we will learn from the ancient writings of Assyria and Babylonia what knowledge was, what it was good for, and how it was divided. This interdisciplinary course will combine literary, anthropological, historical and cultural approaches to textual, archaeological and iconographic data to bring to life the worlds, words and beliefs of these ancient intellectuals. (Distribution)
ames (465) 047.301301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Jewish Law and Ethics
Barry Eichler, 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 (465) 152.401 or jwst (353) 152.401 or rels (541) 127.401
Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

Meanings of Things: Material Culture & Human Experience
Bruce Routledge, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Human beings live in a world of things made by and for themselves. As too, 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)
anth (025) 127.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 - 12:00

Monsters and Marvels: “Tabloid” Broadsides of Early Modern Europe
Niel McDowell, Assistant Dean for Advising in The College at Penn and Lecturer in German
“Monstrous” creatures—both human and non-human—have fascinated Europeans since the days of the Greek republic. In the late Middle Ages and early modern period, a new communications medium, the printed broadside, opened the door to a flood of “tabloids,” small, cheap texts with lurid pictures and graphic descriptions of two-headed babies, deformed animals and exotic creatures from distant lands. We will read some of these texts firsthand and try to understand from them the ways that Westerners viewed the world around them and beyond the seas. We will discuss the war of words between Martin Luther and the pope, whom he called the anti-Christ, and we will consider the role of women and the increased misogyny that, by the seventeenth century, led to the madness of the witch craze. Most of all, we will discover how to use old texts, historical both in their form and content, as windows into a culture quite different from our own. All readings and lectures will be in English. (Distribution)
grmn (293) 006.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 4:30 - 6:00

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 – 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 (293) 008.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 - 12:00

History and Modernity
Julia Rudolph, Assistant Professor of History
How do historians divide up the past? Do accepted historical categories—“the Renaissance,” “the Enlightenment,” “the Progressive Era”—reflect real periods that have beginnings and ends? Should time, as some historians argue, be measured in a linear, progressive direction, or as others have claimed, should time be charted in other directions—in cycles, in peaks and valleys, backwards as well as forward? This seminar will consider these, and other associated questions about the relationship between present and past, causation and change, through the study of the development of historical writing. We will be particularly concerned with the construction of the notion of “modern times” in the work of historians and theorists such as Petrarch, Valla, Vico, Gibbon, Hegel, Marx and Weber. This course will fall under both the pre and post-1800 designation, and focuses on European history. (Distribution)
hist (317) 102.301 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Consumer Culture
Robert St. George, Associate Professor of History
This seminar will explore the formative impact of the consumption of commodities—their acquisition, possession, and advertising imagery—on concepts of self and society. If American (and, more broadly, western) society is today a “consumer culture,” when and how did it really become one? Why and how does consumption shape culture as a set of interpretive practices that is distinctly modern? How does consumer culture condition our understandings of desire and hedonism, of virtue and restraint? By looking at such activities as advertising, personal refinement, architectural reform, world’s fairs, and shopping, we will attempt to answer these and other basic questions concerning commerce, culture, and civil society. (Distribution)
hist (317) 104.301 | Tuesday | 1:30 - 4:30

Asian Americans in U.S. Race Relation
Eiichiro Azuma, Assistant 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. (Distribution)
hist (317) 104.402 or asam (035) 013.402 | Tuesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Women in the Middle East
Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Assistant Professor of History
This course offers a comparative perspective on the lives of women in non-Western societies, primarily in Asia and Africa. It combines historical accounts with select fictional works to study women’s social and cultural milieu under colonialism as well as the evolution of women’s roles in politics and society with the emergence of independent nation-states in the Middle East and North Africa. By crossing national boundaries, this course highlights the diversity of women’s experiences in the public and private spheres. (Distribution)
hist (317) 106.301 | Tuesday | 2:00 - 5:00

Religion and Resistance in Colonial Africa
Cheikh Babou, Lecturer in 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 (317) 106.401 or afst (010) 107.401 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

Images of Islam and the Middle East, 1798-2002
Kveta Benes, Mellon Fellow in History
Television images of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and of the Islamic fundamentalists held responsible have been forever emblazoned on the American national consciousness. But few realize that there is a long tradition in the West of associating negative images of violence, extremism, and unbridled passion with Islam and the Middle East. This course places the rhetoric and propaganda of the current war on terrorism in the broader historical context of two centuries of European and American representations of what is often termed “the Orient.” It examines a broad range of cultural images that have been linked with Islam and the Middle East in literature, the fine arts, music, architecture, and academic scholarship from 1798-2002. The goal of the course is not to discover the “truth” behind popular representations of Islam and the Middle East. Rather, students will be asked to explore the complex relationships between knowledge, power, and media as they pertain to these areas. Starting with the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt in 1798, the course will ask how the demands of empire building and imperialism encouraged particular depictions of Islam and the Middle East. This seminar will also examine how European and American identities have been defined by the construction of the “Orient” as a cultural “other.” How has the self-presentation of the West as a civilized, rational, and democratic society depended on opposing images of the violent, irrational, and despotic Middle East? (Distribution)
hist (317) 106.303 | Wednesday | 2:00 - 5:00

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 (381) 054.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Introduction to Philosophy
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, the nature of morality. Readings from historical and contemporary sources. (General Requirement)
phil (493) 001.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30
phil (493) 001.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00
phil (493) 001.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Sector III: Arts and Letters

Narrative Journeys: Africa and Asia
Roger Allen, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Have you ever read the Tales of Sindbad and his travels? Do you like narratives about journeys, both ancient and contemporary? The purpose of this seminar is to introduce freshmen to a variety of narratives in different literary genres; to do so through the theme of the journey, whether it be a physical journey from one place to another, a process of change -- a rite of passage perhaps, or an inward psychological quest. Female and male authors are presented, as are different periods in the long history of the Middle East and Africa. All the texts to be read are in English translation. (Distribution)
ames (465) 038.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Origins of Art
Holly Pittman, Professor of History of Art
We are surrounded in our lives with things we call visual art. But what are these things really, what makes them art? And how did there come to be such a thing as art? This class will consider the early beginnings of “art” and of the social practice of making images and symbols, going back to the cave sculptures and paintings, and continuing through the early complex societies in Mesopotamia and the region of the Mediterranean Sea. We will consider many of the distinct forms of visual art as we know it today -- painting, sculpture, and even moving pictures. The class is structured around weekly readings that are discussed and debated in the classroom setting. Much attention will be given to the role of art in social communication and readings in the anthropology of art is emphasized. In these discussions we will engage with some of the fundamental problems behind the production of visual art. (Distribution)
arth (033) 100.301 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

The Symbol, the Icon and the Body: An Examination of Christian Semiotics
Andreas Andreopoulos, Mellon Fellow in History of Art
The concept of symbol is the central importance with Christian worship and thought. It covers concepts as fundamental and diverse such as the Creed (the “Symbol of Faith”), iconography (the icon in Early Church is not a simple representation, but it coveys a sense of the presence of the metaphysical), the liturgical tradition, and even the Communion Body (the Orthodox Liturgy refers to the Communion body and blood of Christ as the “signs of the body of Christ,” at the same time holding them to be of the same essence as the body and blood of Christ). Naturally, the concept of the symbol here indicates a presence that is communicated through the symbol, instead of an absence, usually associated with the modern understanding of symbols and symbolism. This seminar will try to outline the magnitude and the depth of the issue in the main three fields of doctrinal formulation, iconography and liturgies, to propose several ways to address and study it, and examine the thought of the Fathers of the Church who have commented for various purposes on the significance and the role of the symbol.
This seminar will attempt to outline the ways worship and belief are expressed, find common threads among all of them, and point, through them, to elusive meaning of religious thought and expression that can be found beyond languages, theoretical or doctrinal formulations, signs and conventional representations, touching upon the innermost part of faith and belief. (Distribution)
arth (033) 100.302 | Tuesday and Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

Imagined Worlds: Pastoral, Utopia and the Golden Age
Emily Wilson, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies
Fantasy literature runs through the European tradition. Some poets and writers, from Hesiod (Theogony) to C. S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew) have imagined a time before our world, a Golden Age when there was no need of work. Others have contrasted contemporary urban society with an idyllic, pastoral life in the countryside. Others again have described alternative and perhaps more desirable worlds, in far away countries (More’s Utopia) or on other planets, or under an alternative political regime (for instance, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, or Plato’s Republic). Why do people want or need to imagine other worlds? Is this literature escapist? How can the description of an alternative time or place change our perceptions of our own world? The course will include readings from a wide range of classical and later literature. There will be regular reading responses, a mid-term, and a final exam. (Distribution)
clst (101) 116.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00-4:30

The Prison from Socrates to Nelson Mandela
Rita Copeland, Professor of Classical Studies
In this course we will draw on many kinds of sources to examine the different functions that prison has played from the ancient world to modern times, with special emphasis on political imprisonment. We will read biographies and autobiographies, histories, fictional writings, legends and eye-witness accounts, and even some trial transcripts. We will view some films (documentaries, biographical films, fictions, and semi-historical films) to think about how prisons and political imprisonment are depicted on the screen. Our subjects will include Socrates’s imprisonment and execution, early Christian martyrs, Joan of Arc, novels about imprisonment, Oscar Wilde’s account of his imprisonment for his sexual orientation, Martin Luther King’s famous prison letter, Nelson Mandela’s account of his long imprisonment for his opposition to the apartheid regime in South Africa, and strikes by political prisoners in Northern Ireland. We will also draw on sources in political and social history, sociology, and philosophy to help frame our investigations. You will have different kinds of assignments throughout the semester, including short papers, short presentations, and a final research paper (about 10 pages) in which you choose a subject and study it closely. (Distribution)
clst (101) 130.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 10:30 - 12:00

The Postmodern Auteur
Christopher Donovan, House Dean, Gregory College House and Lecturer in English
In The Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom depicts the relationship of emerging poets to their literary forebears as one of Oedipal rivalry, deliberate misreading, and an uneasy urge to evade, complete, or obliterate. The concept of cinematic authorship has always been controversial, but there is no question that the filmed century produced a number of father figures, auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick and Billy Wilder, who continue to cast a shadow over new filmmakers in their attempts at self-definition. Beginning with the 70’s “film brat” generation of Brian De Palma and Steven Spielberg, directors have increasingly acknowledged the influence of their predecessors through theft, homage and pastiche; in the work of emerging filmmakers like Baz Luhrmann, Christopher Nolan, Todd Haynes and the Coen Brothers, addressing this influence is often the primary creative stimulus.
This class will discuss such complicated impulses, and the genres in which they often play out, by examining a number of film pairings: Psycho and Dressed to Kill, Double Indemnity and The Man Who Wasn't There, The Big Sleep and Memento, Children of Paradise and Moulin Rouge!, All that Heaven Allows and Far From Heaven, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. In addition to the films, there will be a variety of critical readings; grading will be based on in-class conversation, short written exercises on each pairing, and a longer final paper. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Topics in Literature

Classics of a Liberal Education
Anne Hall, Lecturer in English
In this class we will read central texts that define moral thought before and after the “new modes and new orders” that Machiavelli declared were necessary for modernity. Before the new order, considerations of virtue were part of being a human being. After the new order, virtue is a word we must continue to use while we in fact pursue power and security. We will read three plays by Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound, Agamemnon, Eumenides), two plays by Sophocles (Oedipus Rex and Antigone), three dialogues of Plato (Euthyphro, Apology, Crito), one play by Aristophanes (The Clouds), and, in the modern age, Machiavelli's The Prince and Hobbes' Leviathan. There will be three short papers and a final exam. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.303 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

The Tyrant’s Feast
Barbara Riebling, Lecturer in English
In his Republic, Plato defines the tyrant as a man captive to fierce desires and unnatural appetites. Like their historical and philosophical models, literary texts portray the tyrant as a species of beast—a wolf, wildly feasting on his own people. Naturally, literature about tyrants abounds with savage imagery: butchery, blood feasts, even cannibalism. However, the tyrant’s unnatural appetites are not confined to food. He is also represented as a sexual predator, living out of forbidden desire. This course will examine literary portraits of appetitive tyrants from ancient Greece and Rome, Renaissance and early nineteenth-century England. Among the authors we will read are, Plato, Suetonius, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Percy Shelley. Our analyses of these texts will involve close readings with special attention to images of feasting and desire, and we will conduct these readings within a carefully delineated context of the history of political thought. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.304 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Imitations of White: Jewishness, Blackness and Gender
Lori Harrison-Kahan, Lecturer in English
In American literature and culture, Jews and African-Americans are often depicted as imitating white ways. While much of Jewish American literature addresses questions of assimilation and Americanization, the theme of “passing for white” remains a dominant theme in African American literature, even today. This seminar will examine gendered representations of Jewish and black identity by focusing on narratives of passing and assimilation. We will address questions such as: What are the differences and similarities between the themes of passing and assimilation? How have these themes been revised and adapted by different writers (and by films) over the course of the twentieth century? Do these paradigm shifts also depend on whether the protagonists are male or female (or whether the writers themselves are men or women)? How do the textual strategies of these narratives reflect the theme of American self-invention and how do these works offer alternative views on self-invention that challenge the prototypical model of the self-made man? In answering these questions, we will pay particular attention to the ways that these texts reveal the intersections of racial, sexual, and gender identity. Authors may include Mary Antin, Abraham Cahan, Jessie Fauset, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Arthur Miller, Danzy Senna, Alice Walker, and Anzia Yezierska, as well as a number of films and secondary critical readings. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.306 | 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 examine 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, and journalism by authors such as Kate Chopin, Don DeLillo, Barbara Ehrenreich, Edna Ferber, Betty Friedan, Henry Louis Gates Jr., William Gibson, Sinclair Lewis, Anne Moody, Ruth Ozeki, and Sloan Wilson. Films may include The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, A Raisin in the Sun, Salesman, The Lorax, Clueless, and The Target Shoots First. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.307 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

House: The Ins, Outs, and Undersides of Dwelling in American Culture
Jessica Blaustein, Mellon Fellow in English
Home can be a real place, a fond memory, a skeleton in one's closet, a distant dream, or a glossy image in a trendy magazine. As aesthetic objects, status symbols, expressions of selfhood, and containers of values, houses and homes are dense with personal, social, and national meanings. Bridging American architecture and fiction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course examines many different kinds of shelters - from mail-order homes to McMansions, suburban boxes to temporary cardboard dwellings, urban tenements to unbuilt experiments—to study the cultural and political significance of domestic spaces. We will explore the ideal of the detached private dwelling that powerfully emerges into the nineteenth century and persists today. And we will uncover other living arrangements that were built and imagined alongside and in tension with it. We will pay close attention to the ways in which gender, sexuality, race, and class figure into past and contemporary assumptions about what makes a good home and what breaks one. And we will critically examine divisions that are often taken for granted when we talk about homes: boundaries between private and public, between the personal and the marketplace, between the feminine and the masculine, between the individual and the social, and between one family unit and another.
Course materials include literature, architecture, urban planning, art, social theory, and philosophy. Requirements include “site analysis” and 3 short papers or final project. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.308 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

Literature and National Trauma: Partition and Independence in South Asia
Suvir Kaul, Professor of English
This course will examine the way in which imaginative literature has addressed the difficult sociopolitical issues leading up to, and following from, the independence and partition of British India. Pakistan and India came into being as nation-states in moments of great national trauma: historians have long argued over the process that led up to Partition, and we will study some of these debates, but for the most part we will examine novels, short stories, poetry, and some films to think about the impact of Partition and Independence on communities and individuals in South Asia. In doing so, we will recognize the continuing role played by these events and experiences in shaping the cultural, social, and political realities of contemporary South Asia. We will also learn about the crucial role played by literary and creative texts in making available to us the full dimensions of human tragedy, especially those precipitated when the imperatives of nation-formation redefine the lives of individuals or of sub-national communities. (Distribution)
engl (197) 016.401 or sars (593) 016.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Painters and Poets: Language and Vision in Italian Renaissance Literature
Frank Pellicone, House Dean, Harrison College House and Lecturer in Italian
Both literary and visual artists develop various techniques to bridge the gap between vision and reality. The relationship that develops between images and words, thus, often work together to create history, to share experiences, and to shape the future. Often, however, the different forms of expression conflict in their attempts to reconcile the rational with the irrational. The literature of the period between 1300 and 1600 in Italy readily demonstrates the complex association between these two forms of expression.
Through selections from Dante's Comedy, Boccaccio's Decameron and his Genealogy of the Ancient Gods, Petrarch's Canzoniere, Michelangelo's poetry, Cellini's Autobiography, Castiglione's Courtier, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and Vasari's Lives of the Artist we will explore various ways that authors have depicted the relationship between painters and poets to impart their views on ethics, aesthetics, politics, fame, knowledge and death. Additionally, we will look at works such as Alberti's On Painting, Leonardo's notebooks, and works of philosophers of the period such as Valla and Pico to see how other intellectual forces engaged in the debate. (Distribution)
ital (349) 241.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 2:00 - 3:00

Words, Words, Words
Christine Brisson, Associate Director, College House Computing and Lecturer in Linguistics
There’s a lot more to word meaning than the typical dictionary entry lets on. In this seminar we will explore many facets of word meaning, beginning with the differences between various dictionaries and then opening up our explorations to the sorts of properties of words that dictionaries don’t tell us about.
Consider, for example, the sentences “Kara broke the window” and “The window broke,” versus “Keith read the newspaper” and “Keith read.” Both broke and read show an alternation between transitive and intransitive variants, but the subject of intransitive read (Keith) clearly has a different relationship to the verb than the subject of intransitive broke (the window). Where does this difference come from, and what consequences does it have for our understanding of how language works?
Topics to be covered will also include “how to do things with words” (like promise) and the “Aristotle-Vendler” system of classifying verbs into classes such as “state” (know, love) and “activity” (write, annoy). Finally, we’ll look at some contemporary work on the meanings of words, such as the Word Net lexical database, and how it has applications in computational projects, particularly in the building of specialized and general search engines for the internet. (Distribution)
ling (381) 056.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Songwriting in the 20th Century
Anna Weesner, Assistant Professor of Music Composition
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'll 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'll 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)
musc (441) 014.301 | Monday & Wednesday | 3:00 - 4:30

Music and Christian Worship in Comtemporary Culture
Sidney Boquiren, Mellon Fellow in Music
The principal goals of this course are to examine the numerous ways that Christians today worship through music; to study how these differences express and formulate identity, serving to unite as well as articulate boundaries among Christians; and to learn, develop, and apply methods of critical analysis to work and experiences within as well as outside the classroom and beyond this course. During the course of the semester, students will develop a critical ear through listening to and aurally analyzing a variety of musical examples examined in different contexts. This course is not aimed only at musicians and Christians. Indeed, prior musical knowledge is not required for this course. Additionally, non-Christian students will enrich class discussions by providing a perspective that allows for questioning and even challenging practices and beliefs regarding the role of music in worship that are commonly, perhaps blindly, accepted by Christians. And while Christian faith will be the principal focus of the course, there will be opportunities for forays into other religious and spiritual traditions as they intersect with the practice of music. (Distribution)
musc (441) 016.001 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Religion and Children’s Literature
Ann Matter, Professor of Religious Studies
Is the story of Pinocchio a creation myth? Did Heidi convert the Frankfurters to nature religion? Could the Swiss Family Robinson have survived without their Christian faith? Was Kim's journey really a spiritual pilgrimage? This seminar will consider some beloved children's stories in their historical and literary contexts and with a special interest in the religious ideas they express. Readings will include literary theory and historical, biblical and theological background. Most of the texts will be from Christian culture, but no religious background is assumed. (General Requirement)
rels (541) 003.401 or coml (113) 242.401 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00
Belief and Imagination: Religion in Russian Art and Literature
Elliott Mossman, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
This course will investigate the role of religion in the creation of Russian national identity through an examination of works of art and literature. These include Russian religious icons, important works of Old Russian Literature that defined the Russian nation, and well-known works of literature by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn. (Distribution)
russ (557) 126.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:00

Introduction to Acting
Rose Malague, Senior Lecturer of English and Theatre Arts
Acting “looks” easy. Audiences see actors portraying characters, but often remain unaware of the intellectual, emotional, physical, and technical skills required to create vivid theatrical behavior. What makes an actor effective? This course is an introduction to acting theory and practice, with primary emphasis on Stanislavsky-based techniques. Combining practical experience (exercises, improvisations, scene work) with intellectual exploration (theoretical readings, script analysis, writing assignments), the class culminates in the performance of a scene from the modern repertoire. Introduction to Acting also serves as an ideal introduction to the practical aspects of Penn’s Theatre Arts major, with guest artist/teachers and trips to theatrical productions. Students considering a theatre major are especially encouraged to enroll. (Distribution)
thar (641) 120.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 12:00 - 1:30

Sector IV: Formal Reasoning and Analysis

Freshman seminars in the math 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. This course does not satisfy the General Requirement; however, virtually all students who take it will also take calculus; which does satisfy the Formal Reasoning and Analysis Requirement.

Introduction to Mathematical Analysis
(This course has a more calculus flavor)
Herman Gluck, Professor of Mathematics
math (409) 200.301 Tuesday 10:30 - 12:00
math (409) 200.302 Thursday 10:30 – 1200

Introduction to Modern Algebra
(This course has a more algebraic flavor)
Peter Freyd, Professor of Mathematics
math (409) 204.301 Tuesday 1200 - 130
math (409) 204.302 Thursday 1200 - 130

Sector V: Living World

Intro Evolution of the Brain
P. Thomas Schoenemann, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
This course is 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 (025) 179.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 9:00 - 10:30

Sector VI: Physical World

The Big Bang and Beyond
Licia Verde, 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. It counts as a physical world course and satifies the Quantitative Data Analysis requirement. (General Requirement)
astr (037) 007.301 | Monday, Wednesday & Friday | 11:00 - 12:00

Structural Biology
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 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.
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.
This is a two-semester seminar that continues in spring 2004 with 0.5 credit unit each semester. A portion of the spring semester will address current fads/fashions in molecular research. (General Requirement)
chem (081) 022.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 8:00 - 9:00

Freshman Recitation
Introduction to Environmental Analysis

Yvette Bordeaux, Instructor in Earth and Environmental Science
This course is an introduction to a broad spectrum of disciplines that relate to environmental problems. Students learn about the four spheres on planet earth: atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. How do the four spheres interact, where and how does energy move between the spheres, and how does the human impact on one sphere effect the others. They then examine the more complicated environmental issues of our time, such as global warming, air and water pollution, El Nino, population growth, and human energy use.
The Freshman Recitation parallels and extends the content of the other recitations for envs 200.001. Regular course material will be supplemented with additional reading from the primary literature leading to discussions with the instructor in a small class setting. Hands-on projects and/or field trips will be determined according to the students' interests. (General Requirement)
envs (201) 200.001 (lec) Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 – 12:00
envs (201) 200.201 (rec) Monday 1:00 - 2:00

Freshman Recitation
Evolution of the Physical World

Hermann Pfefferkorn, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and
Gino Segre, Professor of Physics
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 counts as a physical world course and satisfies the Quantitative Data Analysis requirement. (General Requirement)
geol (289) 003.401 (lec) Tuesday & Thursday 1:30 - 3:00
geol (289) 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 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. It counts as a physical world course and satisfies the Quantitative Data Analysis requirement. (General Requirement)
geol (289) 100.001 (lec) Monday, Wednesday & Friday 11:00 - 12:00
geol (289) 100.201 (rec) Monday 2:00 - 3:00

Honors Physics I
Paul Heiney, Professor of Physics
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 140 and 141. Students must register for the lecture and the lab. This is a Benjamin Franklin Scholars course and non-honors students need permission. (General Requirement)
PHYS (497) 170.301 (lec) Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 – 11:00; Monday 2:00 – 3:00; Tuesday 5:00 – 6:00
PHYS (497) 170.302 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 and Jorge Juan Santiago, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Faculty Master, Kings Court English House
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 (201) 097.301 | Tuesday | 7:00 - 10:00


Freshman Seminars in the Critical Writing Program

The courses listed in this section fulfill the College Writing Requirement and cannot, therefore, be counted toward the College General Requirement.

Narrative Journeys: Africa and Asia
Roger Allen, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Have you ever read the Tales of Sindbad and his travels? Do you like narratives about journeys, both ancient and contemporary? The purpose of this seminar is to introduce freshmen to a variety of narratives in different literary genres; to do so through the theme of the journey, whether it be a physical journey from one place to another, a process of change—a rite of passage perhaps, or an inward psychological quest. Female and male authors are presented, as are different periods in the long history of the Middle East and Africa. All the texts to be read are in English translation.
ames (465) 009.302 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Origins of Art
Holly Pittman, Professor of History of Art
We are surrounded in our lives with things we call visual art. But what are these things really? What makes them art? And how did there come to be such a thing as art? This class will consider the early beginnings of “art” and of the social practice of making images and symbols, going back to the cave sculptures and paintings, and continuing through the early complex societies in Mesopotamia and the region of the Mediterranean Sea. We will consider many of the distinct forms of visual art as we know it today—painting, sculpture and even moving pictures. The class is structured around weekly readings that are discussed and debated in the classroom setting. Much attention will be given to the role of art in social communication and readings in the anthropology of art is emphasized. In these discussions we will engage with some of the fundamental problems behind the production of visual art.
arth (033) 009.303 | Monday | 2:00 - 5:00

Consumer Culture
Robert St. George, Associate Professor of History
This seminar will explore the formative impact of the consumption of commodities—their acquisition, possession, and advertising imagery—on concepts of self and society. If American (and, more broadly, Western) society is today a “consumer culture,” when and how did it really become one? Why and how does consumption shape culture as a set of interpretive practices that is distinctly modern? How does consumer culture condition our understandings of desire and hedonism, of virtue and restraint? By looking at such activities as advertising, personal refinement, architectural reform, world’s fairs, and shopping, we will attempt to answer these and other basic questions concerning commerce, culture and civil society.
hist (317) 009.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 3:00 - 4:30

Contemporary American Jewish Culture
Beth Wenger, Associate Professor of History
The last ten years have witnessed the publication of a host of critiques and commentaries about the state of American Jewish life. While some authors describe a community in decline, others point to signs of diversity and vitality. In this seminar, we will read some of the recent, often controversial, works about American Jewish life and follow the debates they elicited. The course focuses on understanding the dynamics of contemporary American Jewish culture.
hist (317) 009.401 or jwst (353) 009.401 | Wednesday | 3:00 - 6:00

Epidemics in History
David Barnes, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science
Dramatic, deadly and terrifying in their brutal 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. Such is the power of their mystery and horror that while thousands die everyday in the United States from mundane illnesses such as heart disease or lung cancer, panic grips the land at the thought of a handful of deaths from seemingly exotic afflictions such as West Nile encephalitis and “weaponized” anthrax. Through a detailed analysis of specific historical outbreaks, this seminar investigates the cause and effects of epidemic disease and examines the ways in which different societies in different eras have responded in times of crisis.
hssc (321) 009.401 or hsoc (320) 009.401 | Wednesday | 2:00 – 5:00

Visual Politics
Anne Norton, Professor of Political Science
Politics can be seen: not only in flags, boundary markers and demonstrations, but also in forms of dress, architecture, and racial classifications. Politics works through, on and in the sense of sight: in what can be seen and what is concealed; in who is visible and what is public. We will look at graffiti, public murals, architecture, film; at practices like veiling, shopping, and gated communities; at monuments and commodities. The object of the course is to see politics more and see it more clearly: to learn how to analyze politics as it appears in places and practices we may not ordinarily recognize as political.
psci (505) 009.303 | Monday | 3:00 - 6:00

Religion and Children’s Literature
Ann Matter, Professor of Religious Studies
Is the story of Pinocchio a creation myth? Did Heidi convert the Frankfurters to nature religion? Could the Swiss Family Robinson have survived without their Christian faith? Was Kim’s journey really a spiritual pilgrimage? This seminar will consider some beloved children’s stories in their historical and literary contexts and with a special interest in the religious ideas they express. Readings will include literary theory and historical, biblical and theological background. Most of the texts will be from Christian culture, but no religious background is assumed.
rels (541) 009.301 | Tuesday & Thursday | 1:30 - 3:

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