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)
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.
What makes art modern? What role has modern art played in the constitution of the modern subject? This course traces art’s transformation from tool of aristocratic and ecclesiastical elites into instrument of broad public instruction and civic debate on controversial topics.... Read more about Modern Art and Modernity (Gen Ed 1156)
The course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Islam and the role that religious ideas and institutions play in Muslim communities around the world. Its main concern is to develop an understanding of the manner in which diverse notions of religious and political authority have influenced Muslim societies politically, socially and culturally.... Read more about Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies (Gen Ed 1134)
Song—the combination of music and words—is arguably the most prominent musical soundtrack of our lives and has been for centuries. This combination seems to accomplish something that neither the words nor the music can achieve on their own. Yet, writings about vocal music are often preoccupied with aesthetic, philosophical, religious, and political debates over which of the two art forms deserves primacy: music or poetry.... Read more about Music and Poetry (Gen Ed 1157)
You have spent much of your life since kindergarten (and perhaps earlier) reading books; and you will spend much of your time at Harvard continuing to read them. But do you even know what a “book” is? Is it merely a conveyor, a platform, for presenting a text?... Read more about What is a Book? (Gen Ed 1090)
Consent will be studied in four domains: Part I-the relation of consent and the body in marriage, in medicine, and in state citizenship; Part II – the act of consent and dissent in war (beginning with the dissent of Achilles in the Iliad and including readings up to the present); Part III – freedom of movement, freedom of entry and exit in citizenship (including contexts where right of movement has been denied); Part IV – consent as the basis of cultural creation.... Read more about Consent (Gen Ed 1138)