Classes

    Forced to Be Free: Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Andrew Gordon and Erez Manela

    The history of the United States in the 20th and 21st century world is marked by a number of significant military occupations of foreign lands, all of them framed as nation-building projects carried out with the intent of delivering democracy. These episodes include (but are not limited to) the Philippines in the early 20th century, Japan and Germany in the years after World War II, Vietnam in the 1960s, and Iraq and Afghanistan most recently.... Read more about Forced to Be Free: Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

    Finding Our Way (Gen Ed 1031)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    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)

    Res Publica: A History of Representative Government (Gen Ed 1032)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Daniel Carpenter

    “A republic, if you can keep it.”  So did Benjamin Franklin characterize his hopes for American government. What did Franklin and others mean by republic, and why did he and so many others worry that it might be something hard to hold onto? This course will give you the theoretical basis and historical evolution of republics so that you can understand the American system of a democratic republic, now spread widely around the planet even as it is considered under threat.  You will read Hamilton alongside Jefferson, Machiavelli alongside Montesquieu, and Angelina Grimké alongside Frederick Douglass.... Read more about Res Publica: A History of Representative Government (Gen Ed 1032)

    Creativity (Gen Ed 1067)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    David Atherton

    Geniuses are said to possess it. Self-help books offer to teach it. Both the arts and the sciences celebrate it. It sits at the heart of some of our oldest myths and is the subject of up-to-the-minute neuroscientific research. Some say it comes in momentary flashes; others call it a way of life. Some identify it as the key to deep fulfillment; others claim that it entails intense suffering. Many agree that it sets us apart as a species—but does it? What is creativity?... Read more about Creativity (Gen Ed 1067)

    Elements of Rhetoric (Gen Ed 1082)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    James Engell

    Rhetorical theory, originating with Aristotle, in contemporary applications. The nature of rhetoric in modern culture; practical examples drawn from American history and literature 1765 to the present; written exercises and attention to public speaking; the history and educational importance of rhetoric in the West; stresses theory and practice as inseparable.

    Living in an Urban Planet (Gen Ed 1103)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Bruno Carvalho and Neil Brenner

    It has become a cliché to say that more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. The speed and scale of urbanization over the past century has been stunning, and we tend to underestimate the extent to which built environments and natural landscapes have become entangled. If we consider, for example, the flow of resources (and refuse), energy systems, and the circulation of culture, where do our cities actually end? In contrast to established urban/suburban/rural distinctions, we explore the possibility that the urban today represents a worldwide condition in which nearly all political-economic and socio-environmental relations are enmeshed.... Read more about Living in an Urban Planet (Gen Ed 1103)

    Adam & Eve (Gen Ed 1075)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textEthics & Civics icon with text

    Joseph Koerner and Stephen Greenblatt

    For most of history, humans expressed ethical ideas in the form of stories, and of all these the story of Adam and Eve has been perhaps the most powerful and enduring.  For almost three thousand years, in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds, people practiced ethical reasoning through the seedpod of this—even to early audiences—unreasonable tale: the first man, formed by God at the culmination of the world’s creation and followed soon by the first woman, disobeys his creator by eating a forbidden fruit, is punished by sickness, hardship, and death, and passes his curse to the entire future human species.... Read more about Adam & Eve (Gen Ed 1075)

    Music from Earth (Gen Ed 1006)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Alexander Rehding

    In 1977 humanity sent a mixtape into outer space. The two spacecraft of NASA’s Voyager mission include a Golden Record, featuring greetings in 55 earth languages, 116 images of the planet and its inhabitants, plus examples of music from a range of cultures across the world: from Azerbaijani bagpipes to Zaire pygmy songs, from English Renaissance dances to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and from Louis Armstrong to Chuck Berry.... Read more about Music from Earth (Gen Ed 1006)

    The Art and Politics of Propaganda (Gen Ed 1012)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    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)

    Power to the People: Black Power, Radical Feminism, and Gay Liberation (Gen Ed 1130)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Michael Bronski

    This course is an introduction to the cultures of radical American social change movements of the 1960s and 1970s. We will examine the specific historical conditions that allowed each of these movements to develop, the interconnections and contradictions among them, and why – even as they changed the world – they ultimately lost political power.... Read more about Power to the People: Black Power, Radical Feminism, and Gay Liberation (Gen Ed 1130)

    Outside Looking In: Sex, Race, and (Not) Belonging in the U.S. (Gen Ed 1065)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Caroline Light

    For most of us, sex is intensely private. Few of us want our hidden, innermost desires and erotic practices made available for public scrutiny. But when we look at our contemporary world’s most divisive public debates – over reproductive rights, public health resources, immigration, marriage equality, even people’s access to public restrooms – we can’t help but notice that sex comprises a vital part of public discourse that shapes systems regulating people’s access to the rights, privileges, and protections of citizenship.... Read more about Outside Looking In: Sex, Race, and (Not) Belonging in the U.S. (Gen Ed 1065)

    The Philosopher and the Tyrant (Gen Ed 1030)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textEthics & Civics icon with text

    David Damrosch

    Philosophers and politicians alike struggle to set the terms for living a good life in a world of conflict. Rulers seek guidance from their counselors, and philosophers have often dreamed of wielding real-world influence. Reading a series of masterpieces of philosophical thought and literary expression, we will examine some striking cases of relations between the pursuit of wisdom and the pursuit of power, from the extremes of conflict (the executions of Socrates, Han Fei, Jesus, Sir Thomas More) to the opposite dream of the philosopher king.... Read more about The Philosopher and the Tyrant (Gen Ed 1030)

    Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Mary Lewis

    As a society, we pay particular attention to borders when incidents such as children separated from their asylum-seeking parents or tear-gas being used to deter entry throw the legal divide between two nation states into sharp relief. But seldom do we stop to think about what a border is, or when and why some borders are defended more aggressively than others.... Read more about Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

    Money, Markets, and Morals (Gen Ed 1109)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Michael Sandel

    What should be the role of money and markets in our society? Are there some goods that should not be bought and sold? Do market practices and incentives sometimes erode or crowd out non-market norms worth caring about? We tend to assume that a deal is a deal; people should be free to choose for themselves what value to place on the goods they exchange. On this view, all voluntary market exchanges are just.... Read more about Money, Markets, and Morals (Gen Ed 1109)

    Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Ajantha Subramanian

    Race and caste are two of the most enduring forms of social stratification. While their histories date well before the advent of political democracy, they have taken on new forms in the context of democratic social transformation and capitalist development. In this course, we will grapple with the meanings, uses, and politics of race and caste historically and in the contemporary moment.... Read more about Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

    The Democracy Project (Gen Ed 1002)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Jill Lepore

    The history of the United States is the story of a struggle to realize two ideas: that all people are created equal and that people can govern themselves. “Our great experiment,” generations of Americans have called the United States, and with good cause. Democracy has always been, at heart, an inquiry, a question: Can the people rule? In 1787, when Alexander Hamilton asked whether it’s possible to establish a government ruled by reflection and choice rather than by accident and force, that was a hypothetical question.... Read more about The Democracy Project (Gen Ed 1002)

    Africa and Africans: The Making of a Continent in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1096)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Caroline M. Elkins

    There are contradictory reports coming from Africa from news outlets, academics, entrepreneurs and businessmen, artists, and countless ordinary Africans. For some, there is an optimistic “Africa Rising” narrative that gestures to the continent being a trend-setter for the 21st century in the realms of entrepreneurship and investment, arts and culture, and innovation and design, among other things.... Read more about Africa and Africans: The Making of a Continent in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1096)

    Madness and Medicine: Themes in the History of Psychiatry (Gen Ed 1040)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Anne Harrington

    Psychiatry is one of the most intellectually and socially complex and fraught fields of medicine today, and history offers one powerful strategy for better understanding why. Topics covered in this course include the invention of the mental asylum, early efforts to understand mental disorders as disorders of the brain or biochemistry, the rise of psychoanalysis, psychiatry and war, the rise of psychopharmacology, the making of the DSM, anti-psychiatry, and more.

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