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)

    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.

    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)

    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)

    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)

    American Society and Public Policy (Gen Ed 1092)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Theda Skocpol and Mary Waters

    In the U.S., compared to other major nations, how have social problems been defined and redefined in recent decades; why do they appear differently to various groups; and how are public policies about problematic social conditions debated, devised, and changed? This course synthesizes various kinds of evidence-demographic, attitudinal, ethnographic, and institutional-to probe the creation and impact of major public policies about social support for families and workers; immigration and citizenship; and access to higher education.

    What Have Athens and Rome to Do with Us? (Gen Ed 1007)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Emma Dench

    Why do we venerate Athens as the birthplace of democracy when it was a culture structured on slavery and gender inequality? Why does the fall of the Roman empire make us nervous when that empire gloried in violence, and judged numerous societies (including large swathes of northern and western Europe) to fall below the standards of civilization?... Read more about What Have Athens and Rome to Do with Us? (Gen Ed 1007)

    Making Memories (Gen Ed 1060)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Stephanie Sandler

    How we make, keep, and lose memories throughout our life is one of our great skills as human beings, and also something of a mystery. Is what we think of as memory ours individually, or is it based on shared experiences – national, communal, familial, and with peers? Also far from decided is how much memories are made and put at risk by biological processes in the brain, and how much by the verbal, visual, and experiential inputs that we call daily life. These questions have broad cultural impact as well as their personal presence in each individual’s life.... Read more about Making Memories (Gen Ed 1060)

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

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    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)

    Artificial and Natural Intelligence (Gen Ed 1125)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Venkatesh Murthy

    What is intelligence? An inquiry into the nature of intelligence can take different forms – philosophical, biological, mathematical or technological. In this course, we will use machine intelligence (everything from voice recognizing smartphones to game-playing computers) as a handle to think about natural intelligence (brains and behavior of animals). Although we will start with big, general questions, we will quickly move to concrete queries about brains and computers.... Read more about Artificial and Natural Intelligence (Gen Ed 1125)

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