Classes

    One Book, Two Religions, Many Truths (Gen Ed 1149)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How are Judaism and Christianity the same and how are they different?

     

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Shaye J.D. Cohen

    The Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the “Old Testament” and Jews call the “Bible,” are the basis of both Judaism and Christianity, and stand behind many debates in our contemporary culture wars. In this course we shall survey how this work of literature, through interpretation and re-interpretation, spawned and spawns a wide variety of truths.... Read more about One Book, Two Religions, Many Truths (Gen Ed 1149)

    Prediction: The Past and Present of the Future (Gen Ed 1112)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How and why do humans try to divine their own futures?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Alyssa Goodman

    Human beings are the only creatures in the animal kingdom properly defined as worriers. We are the only ones who expend tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources trying (sometimes obsessively) to understand our futures before they happen. While the innate ability of individual people to predict has not changed much in the past few millennia, developments in mathematical and conceptual models have inordinately improved predictive systems.... Read more about Prediction: The Past and Present of the Future (Gen Ed 1112)

    Is the U.S. Civil War Still Being Fought? (Gen Ed 1133)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How and why does the U.S. Civil War continue to shape national politics, laws, literature, and culture---especially in relation to our understanding of race, freedom, and equality?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    John Stauffer

    Most of us were taught that the Civil War between the Confederacy and the Union was fought on battlefields chiefly in the American South between the years of 1861-1865. In this narrative, the North won and the South lost. But what if the issues that resulted in such devastating bloodshed were never resolved? What if the war never ended? This course demonstrates the ways in which the United States is still fighting the Civil War, arguably THE defining event in U.S. history.... Read more about Is the U.S. Civil War Still Being Fought? (Gen Ed 1133)

    Higher Education: Students, Institutions and Controversies (Gen Ed 1039)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    What are the effects of COVID-19 on higher education?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Manja Klemenčič

    Though we may think of universities and colleges as centers of learning and research, they too are subject of teaching and burgeoning research. This course explores contemporary higher education institutions and their students through a number of different perspectives and approaches.... Read more about Higher Education: Students, Institutions and Controversies (Gen Ed 1039)

    Who Do You Think You Are? The Ethics of Identity (Gen Ed 1009)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Who are you, how did you come to be that way and what are the possible persons you could become?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Jay Harris

    Who are you? We typically answer this question with a name and a collection of identity terms. Our identities may be ascribed or chosen; we often experience them as simply given, and we sometimes struggle against them. We use these identity categories, in turn, to structure decisions, negotiate relationships, and otherwise shape our lives.... Read more about Who Do You Think You Are? The Ethics of Identity (Gen Ed 1009)

    Ancestry: Where do we come from and why do we care? (Gen Ed 1014)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How does ancestry affect our opportunities, our rights, and our sense of who we are?

     

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    Maya Jasanoff

    Everyone comes from somewhere. We carry our ancestries in our DNA, genealogy, family stories, and more. What do these forms of evidence tell us about who we are, as a species, as a social group, or as an individual? This course looks at ancestry from a range of perspectives: biology, anthropology, genealogy, history, law, and memory—from the origins of human populations to the origins of you.... Read more about Ancestry: Where do we come from and why do we care? (Gen Ed 1014)

    Nature (Gen Ed 1117)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Saving the planet is necessary and will actually make us happy, right?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Joyce Chaplin

    So, the good news is that we’re already using ethics to define how we can and should do the right thing in relation to the natural world. In fact, all ethics in the western tradition have used “nature” and “natural” as foundational definitions—we’re more than halfway there! But, obviously, we need to be conscious that we’re using those definitions and we must decide which of them to correct or reject. (Ethics from western philosophy have an outsized place in global debates over policy and science, for instance, but should this continue to be the case?)

    ... Read more about Nature (Gen Ed 1117)

    The Challenge of Human Induced Climate Change: Transitioning to a Post Fossil Fuel Future (Gen Ed 1137)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    What can we do now to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change, which poses an immediate problem for global society?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Michael B. McElroy

    Human induced climate change has the potential to alter the function of natural ecosystems and the lives of people on a global scale. The prospect lies not in the distant future but is imminent. Our choice is either to act immediately to change the nature of our global energy system (abandon our dependence on fossil fuels) or accept the consequences (included among which are increased incidence of violent storms, fires, floods and droughts, changes in the spatial distribution and properties of critical ecosystems, and rising sea level).... Read more about The Challenge of Human Induced Climate Change: Transitioning to a Post Fossil Fuel Future (Gen Ed 1137)

    Loss (Gen Ed 1131)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How are we to cope with the inevitability that some of what we most love in life we will lose?

     

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Kathleen Coleman

    Loss is an inevitable fact of human existence. Small losses most of us learn to bear with equanimity. But enormous, wrenching, life-changing losses open voids in our lives for which we can never feel adequately prepared, even if we can see them coming.... Read more about Loss (Gen Ed 1131)

    Creativity (Gen Ed 1067)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Where does creativity come from, how does it work, and how can we deepen its role in our own lives?

     

    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)

    Is War Inevitable? (Gen Ed 1095)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Is aggression inherent in relations between states, or between factions within states, and if so, can it be deterred, stopped, or mitigated?

     

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    Derek J. Penslar

    League of Nations poster

     

    What is war, and why has it been nearly constant throughout history? Why do wars start, how can they be stopped, and what can be done to prevent them? This course seeks to answer these questions. It ranges from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the last 300 years.... Read more about Is War Inevitable? (Gen Ed 1095)

    Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies (Gen Ed 1134)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How does one understand a major global religion in a highly polarized and fragmented world?

     

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    Ali Asani

    People from diverse religious backgrounds are in closer contact with one another than ever before. Yet, without the intellectual tools needed to engage with and understand religious difference, this closer contact often has resulted in misunderstanding and stereotypes.... Read more about Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies (Gen Ed 1134)

    Elements of Rhetoric (Gen Ed 1082)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    How can I use rhetoric to change the world for the better?

     

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    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.

    ... Read more about Elements of Rhetoric (Gen Ed 1082)

    Modern Art and Modernity (Gen Ed 1156)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    What role do artistic practices play in the formation of modern culture and society, and how does art foster critical reflection and debate?

     

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    Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Benjamin Buchloh, and Maria Gough

    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)