Classes

    The Democracy Project (Gen Ed 1002)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    At a time when democracies are collapsing all over the world and when American democracy lies in a state of crisis, what, of its future, can be learned from its past?

     

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    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)

    Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What can thinking about race and caste together tell us about identity and inequality?

     

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    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)

    Medical Ethics and History (Gen Ed 1116)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    Why have debates about medicine and public health (e.g., vaccination, abortion, etc.) become so polarized and contentious in the United States?

     

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    David Shumway Jones

    'The Doctor' painting by Luke Fildes

    Students will encounter the ethical dilemmas of medical practice throughout their lives, whether with their own health, or with the health of their families and friends.  This course will equip them with the tools of moral philosophy so that they can recognize, critique, and craft arguments grounded in appeals to utilitarianism, deontology, or rights.... Read more about Medical Ethics and History (Gen Ed 1116)

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

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    What is a democratic republic, and can such a regime — one that trusts citizens to capably choose and monitor those in power, and one that trusts those in power to restrain themselves and each other while attending to the public good — survive and protect us from tyranny?

     

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    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.... Read more about Res Publica: A History of Representative Government (Gen Ed 1032)

    Making Change When Change Is Hard: the Law, Politics, and Policy of Social Change (Gen Ed 1102)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How does social change happen?


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    Cass Sunstein

    How does change happen? When, why, and how do people, and whole nations, come to together to influence large-scale policies and actions on issues like the environment, equality, criminal justice? Why do revolutions occur? This course will try to answer these questions, and do so by exploring a diversity of efforts related to societal change.... Read more about Making Change When Change Is Hard: the Law, Politics, and Policy of Social Change (Gen Ed 1102)

    Human Trafficking, Slavery and Abolition in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1115)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023

    Why do slavery, human trafficking and other forms of servitude thrive today globally, including the USA, and what can we do about it?

     

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    Orlando Patterson

    We often think of slavery as being a dark chapter in our past, but this is a tragic oversimplification. What defines slavery in the modern world, and what are the moral, political and social implications of its continued existence? As we explore its underpinnings, we discover that all of us may be in some way complicit in its survival.... Read more about Human Trafficking, Slavery and Abolition in the Modern World (Gen Ed 1115)

    The Political Economy of Globalization (Gen Ed 1120)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can a globalizing world of differing countries – rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian – best promote inclusive growth and human security by meeting the challenges of inequality, climate change, rising populism, and global disease?

     

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    Lawrence Summers and Robert Lawrence

    Why is populism becoming pervasive - and is there a revolt against global integration? What is the right balance between national sovereignty and international integration? Is the US equipped to sustain its role as a global leader? How does international trade affect prosperity and inequality?... Read more about The Political Economy of Globalization (Gen Ed 1120)

    Equity and Excellence in K12 American Schools (Gen Ed 1076)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How does the U.S. K12 education system reflect, reinforce, and reshape American society?

     

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    Katherine K. Merseth

    Each year, between September and June some 52 million students attend public schools in America.  But why?  Why do we have K-12 schools in America? What is their purpose? What we do expect schools to accomplish?  Headlines decrying the failed state of our nation’s schools and clarion calls for the improved quality and reach of American schooling in the 21st century are commonplace.... Read more about Equity and Excellence in K12 American Schools (Gen Ed 1076)

    Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How have borders been formed historically, and what are the ethics of border construction, defense, expansion or transgression?

     

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    Mary Lewis

    Two people holding hands and crying on the opposite sides of a metal fence.

    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)