Classes

    Black Radicalism (Gen Ed 1016)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Robert Reid-Pharr

    “Black Radicalism” is a course designed to introduce students to the main currents of black radical thought in the period stretching from the close of World War II until roughly 1980 and the advent of the Reagan Era.  The course will be divided into three sections: Anti-Colonialism; Black Nationalism; and Black Feminism and will focus on key works of fiction, theory, and criticism by especially prominent black intellectuals including Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth); Richard Wright (White Man Listen!); George Jackson (Soledad Brother); Huey Newton (Revolutionary Suicide); Angela Davis (If They Come for Me in the Morning); and the members of the Combahee River Collective (The Combahee River Statement).... Read more about Black Radicalism (Gen Ed 1016)

    The Science of Happiness (Gen Ed 1154)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Jason P. Mitchell

    Recent research in the cognitive sciences—especially psychology, economics, and neuroscience—has begun to examine the factors that promote personal well-being and happiness. One surprising, but consistent, observation has been that many of the things that are widely believed to be crucial for our happiness—wealth, material possessions, “not missing out”, even good grades—not only fail to make many people happy but can actively undermine the sense of well-being.... Read more about The Science of Happiness (Gen Ed 1154)

    Tech Ethics: AI, Biotech, and the Future of Human Nature (Gen Ed 1058)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Ethics & Civics icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

    Michael Sandel and Doug Melton

    The course explores the moral, social, and political implications of new technologies. Will biotechnology and AI enable us to hack humanity? Should we edit the genes of our children, extend the human lifespan, and genetically enhance our athletic ability and IQ? Can algorithms be fair? Will robots make work obsolete? Can smart machines outthink us? In an age of big data and social media, is privacy over? Is democracy?... Read more about Tech Ethics: AI, Biotech, and the Future of Human Nature (Gen Ed 1058)

    Interracial Encounters in American Literature and Culture (Gen Ed 1135)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Ju Yon Kim

    From depictions of exchanges in the early colonial Americas to efforts to envision alternate and imminent futures, this class will examine representations of interracial encounters in U.S. American culture. We will explore how various texts and performances have conceived, embodied, and reimagined the relationships not only among differently racialized groups, but also between race and nation, individual and community, and art and politics.... Read more about Interracial Encounters in American Literature and Culture (Gen Ed 1135)

    Rationality (Gen Ed 1066)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Steven Pinker

    How can members of a species that discovered symbolic logic and the double helix also believe that the earth is flat and that Hillary Clinton ran a child-sex ring out of a pizzeria? Human rationality is very much in the news, as we struggle to understand how an era with unpreceded scientific sophistication could harbor so much fake news, conspiracy theorizing, and “post-truth” rhetoric.... Read more about Rationality (Gen Ed 1066)

    Designing the American City: Civic Aspirations and Urban Form (Gen Ed 1003)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Alex Krieger

    An interpretive look at the American city in terms of changing attitudes toward urban life. City and suburb are experienced as the product of design and planning decisions informed by cultural and economic forces, and in relationship to utopian and pragmatic efforts to reinterpret urban traditions in search of contemporary alternatives.... Read more about Designing the American City: Civic Aspirations and Urban Form (Gen Ed 1003)

    Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Question of Conscientious Citizenship (Gen Ed 1142)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Brandon Terry

    What does it mean to be a conscientious citizen? What are our responsibilities as civic-minded, morally-engaged members of overlapping communities? This course seeks to answer such questions by exploring the ethical, religious, and political thought of arguably the greatest public intellectual and activist that the United States ever produced, Martin Luther King, Jr. In interrogating King’s body of public philosophy, as well as its leading critics and interpreters, we will pursue a body of questions that remain essential to thinking through the problems of citizenship in the current age.... Read more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Question of Conscientious Citizenship (Gen Ed 1142)

    Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound (Gen Ed 1106)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Eric Heller

    Sound and music are integral parts of all human cultures, and play critical roles in communications and social interactions. In this course, we study the production, transmission, and perception of sound, with the aim of expanding communication, musical, and artistic horizons. The course includes many class demos and hands on tools for students to explore. Psychoacoustics (the study of how we perceive and interpret sound) is a central theme of the course, providing a lens through which we can better understand the generation, propagation, and analysis of sound.... Read more about Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound (Gen Ed 1106)

    Dissent and Disobedience in Democracies (Gen Ed 1035)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Arthur Applbaum

    Recent political upheavals in several of the world’s established democracies have sparked discussions about dissent and disobedience not seen since the 1960s.  When, if ever, are citizens in a democracy justified in breaking the law to protest or resist what they believe to be bad, unjust, or illegitimate laws or policies?... Read more about Dissent and Disobedience in Democracies (Gen Ed 1035)

    The Art and Politics of Propaganda (Gen Ed 1012)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Why did Nazi sights, sounds, and propaganda prove to be so captivating and compelling for German audiences of a modern nation and how do we explain the continuing impact of Nazi images and fantasies to this very day, which is to ask, what do “they” have to do with “us”?  

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Eric Rentschler

    As thinking beings we consider the limits of human potential and wonder what is the worst. The Nazis obsess us because they were masters of extremity who brought to the world unprecedented violence, destruction, and murder. They were also masters of propaganda who engineered sophisticated techniques of mass manipulation; in this endeavor cinema and modern media assumed a seminal role.... Read more about The Art and Politics of Propaganda (Gen Ed 1012)

    What is Life? From Quarks to Consciousness (Gen Ed 1029)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Are we — wonderful, human us — really nothing more than complex constellations of interacting atoms?

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Logan S. McCarty and Andrew Berry

    This course views life through multiple lenses. Quantum physics involves uncertainty and randomness, and yet paradoxically it explains the stability of molecules, such as DNA, that encode information and are critical to life. Thermodynamics is about the universe's ever increasing disorder, and yet living systems remain ordered and intact.... Read more about What is Life? From Quarks to Consciousness (Gen Ed 1029)

    Global Feminisms (Gen Ed 1036)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    How do we combat global forms of gendered oppression, from patriarchy, racism, to sexual violence?

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Durba Mitra

    Empowered Enslaved Woman

     

    Feminism shapes the world we live in today. Debates about women's and sexual rights define almost every public debate today -- from sexual harassment, to electoral politics, to development, public health, human rights, and political protest. But when, and where, did ideas of women's equal rights and liberation emerge?... Read more about Global Feminisms (Gen Ed 1036)

    Reclaiming Argument: Logic as a Force for Good (Gen Ed 1051)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Argument and persuasion are features of all of our lives that can be as challenging and fraught as they are unavoidable and essential; what is the best way for us to handle them?
     

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    Edward J. Hall

    Our lives are awash in argument and persuasion. This course aims to teach you how to manage argument and persuasion in your own life – not just with skill, but ethically.... Read more about Reclaiming Argument: Logic as a Force for Good (Gen Ed 1051)

    Climate Crossroads (Gen Ed 1167)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Irreversible climate change poses an unprecedented challenge to the stability of all societies:  what are the scientifically viable pathways to a future that is sustainable and just?

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    James G. Anderson and James Engell

    What one thing is changing everything in your lifetime—and for generations to come? It’s changing what you eat; it’s changing buildings you live in; and it’s changing politics, the arts, and finance. The change is accelerating. This course reveals fundamental alterations that climate disruption is bringing to multiple human activities and natural phenomena.... Read more about Climate Crossroads (Gen Ed 1167)

    Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East (Gen Ed 1123)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    What is the role that religion plays in the political life of Middle Eastern Muslim-majority societies today, and how does our understanding of that compare with conventional wisdom, including what we are often exposed to in the news media?

     

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    Malika Zeghal

    Today’s news headlines consistently point to the role that religion plays in the political life of Middle Eastern societies. But do these headlines tell the whole story? This course will challenge simplistic explanations of the dominant role of Islam in Middle Eastern politics by putting it in historical perspective.... Read more about Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East (Gen Ed 1123)

    Finding Our Way (Gen Ed 1031)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    How did/do humans find their way across the planet, and how can we replicate their wayfinding?
     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    John Huth

    How do you navigate our increasingly automated culture? In this course, we will use the theme of primitive navigation to open our eyes to the physical world in a direct and palpable manner. Basic principles include human cognition of physical and mental maps, dead reckoning, direction finding from nature. The course includes the basics of astronomy, including planetary orbits, meteorology, thermodynamics, bird behavior, electromagnetic radiation, optics, waves, tides, ocean currents, and fluid dynamics.... Read more about Finding Our Way (Gen Ed 1031)

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