Classes

    Ethics of Climate Change (Gen Ed 1015)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What are individuals, scientists, businesses, and governments morally required to do to prevent catastrophic climate change?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Lucas Stanczyk

    How should governments respond to the problem of climate change? What should happen to the level of greenhouse gas emissions and how quickly? How much can the present generation be expected to sacrifice to improve conditions for future generations?... Read more about Ethics of Climate Change (Gen Ed 1015)

    Evolving Morality: From Primordial Soup to Superintelligent Machines (Gen Ed 1046)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we understand the evolution of morality—from primordial soup to superintelligent machines—and how might the science of morality equip us to meet our most pressing moral challenges?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

    Joshua D. Greene

    In this course we’ll examine the evolution of morality on Earth, from its origins in the biology of unthinking organisms, through the psychology of intelligent primates, and into a future inhabited by machines that may be more intelligent and better organized than humans. First, we ask: What is morality?... Read more about Evolving Morality: From Primordial Soup to Superintelligent Machines (Gen Ed 1046)

    Political Economy and its Future (Gen Ed 1054)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What should we make of the market economy?

     

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    Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Dani Rodrik

    The world’s economic and political order reels under mounting challenges: the global financial crisis, the austerity debacle, a slowdown in economic growth and productivity, the aggravation of inequality and the inadequacy of conventional responses to it, the discrediting of the Washington Consensus, the globalization backlash, the re-emergence of nationalist politics in Europe and the United States, and a contest over the meaning, value, and requirements of democracy. We examine connections among these phenomena and explore alternative ways of thinking about contemporary market economies and their reconstruction.

    ... Read more about Political Economy and its Future (Gen Ed 1054)

    Life as a Planetary Phenomenon (Gen Ed 1070)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Is there alien life beyond Earth?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Dimitar Sasselov

    What is it about Earth that enables life to thrive? This question was reinvigorated with the 2016 ground-breaking discovery of a habitable planet around the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. A decade of exploration confirmed that such planets are common in our galaxy, and the commonality of habitable planets has raised anew some age-old questions: Where do we come from? What is it to be human? Where are we going? Are we alone in the universe?... Read more about Life as a Planetary Phenomenon (Gen Ed 1070)

    American Capitalism (Gen Ed 1159)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What is capitalism and how has it unfolded in American history?

     

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    Sven Beckert

    How did capitalism emerge, expand and transform daily life in North America over the past 500 years? In this course, students will gain an in-depth understanding of how North America turned from a minor outpost of the Atlantic economy into the powerhouse of the world economy, how Americans built a capitalist economy and how that capitalism, in turn, changed every aspect of their lives.... Read more about American Capitalism (Gen Ed 1159)

    LGBT Literature, Politics, and Identity (Gen Ed 1176)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What is the relationship between LGBT literary representation and politics, activism, and culture?

     

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    Linda Schlossberg

    In this course, we’ll learn how sexual identity and desire are understood and represented in different social and historical circumstances, We’ll move beyond the binary of identifying images as “positive” or “negative,” paying attention to how depictions, definitions, and understandings of sexuality are shaped by specific historical moments, as well as the aesthetic traditions and personal experiences shaping these individual works.... Read more about LGBT Literature, Politics, and Identity (Gen Ed 1176)

    Race and Caste (Gen Ed 1126)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

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

     

    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)

    Harvard Gets Medieval (Gen Ed 1160)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How did our world come to be suffused with medieval images and motifs, and what do we learn about the past and ourselves as we begin to explore the fascinating time on the other side of the stereotypes?

     

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    Daniel Lord Smail

    Starting in the late nineteenth century, Harvard got medieval. Through direct purchase and through the collecting activity of numerous alumnae/i, we began collecting all sorts of texts and artifacts generated by the medieval world of Arabic, Greek, and Latin civilizations. The things that arrived in Harvard’s collections came in many forms, ranging from great architectural monuments and motifs to little stuff such as belt buckles, pilgrims’ flasks, and fragments of pottery.... Read more about Harvard Gets Medieval (Gen Ed 1160)

    Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How have perceptions of racial difference shaped US military occupations abroad, such as the Philippines, Japan, and most recently Afghanistan and Iraq?

     

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    Andrew Gordon and Erez Manela

    The United States has launched numerous projects of military occupation and nation-building in foreign lands since the late 19th century. These have been contradictory enterprises, carrying ideals of freedom and self-determination "offered" by force or by fiat.... Read more about Americans as Occupiers and Nation Builders (Gen Ed 1017)

    The Crusades and the Making of East and West (Gen Ed 1088)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How did we come to think of the world as split into East and West?

     

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    Dimiter Angelov

    The course explores the birth of the civilizational categories of East and West during the era of the Crusades, one of the most significant and deeply symbolic events in human history. A series of wars in the Middle Ages fought between Latin Christians and the perceived enemies of Christendom, the Crusades saw the first experiments of European colonization, the rise of Western commercial capitalism, and the emergence of new cultural identities and boundaries across Europe and the Mediterranean.... Read more about The Crusades and the Making of East and West (Gen Ed 1088)

    Pride & Prejudice & P-values: Scientific Critical Thinking (Gen Ed 1024)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we (as individuals and as whole societies) better incorporate into our thinking and decision making the problem-solving techniques characteristic of science at its best?

     

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    Edward J. Hall and Douglas Finkbeiner

    We humans have developed rational and systematic methods for solving problems, ways carefully designed to chart a reliable path to the truth. Yet we as individuals, as groups, as whole societies fail to take full advantage of these methods.... Read more about Pride & Prejudice & P-values: Scientific Critical Thinking (Gen Ed 1024)

    Energy Resources and the Environment (Gen Ed 1085)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we make sound, realistic choices about the ways we produce energy to support our growing global economies while fulfilling our responsibility as stewards of the environment?  

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    John Shaw

    This is a revolutionary time of change regarding how we produce and utilize energy around the world. How will we provide enough energy to support our growing global economy while protecting our environment? This class examines the full life cycle of each energy resource, including where it comes from geologically, how we acquire it, the way it is used in our economies, and the environmental impacts of these activities.... Read more about Energy Resources and the Environment (Gen Ed 1085)

    Tragedy Today (Gen Ed 1168)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can ancient Greek tragedy help us to address some of today’s most pressing sociopolitical problems?

     

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Naomi Weiss

    “It’s a sad tale, it’s a tragedy / It’s a sad song…. We’re gonna sing it anyway.” So sings Hermes at the start of Hadestown, the hit broadway show that deals with capitalism, demagoguery, borders, and climate change. Based on the ancient artform of tragedy, this musical provokes its audiences to reflect on very modern concerns; it also, as the show’s creator Anaïs Mitchell says, “lets us cry.”

    ... Read more about Tragedy Today (Gen Ed 1168)

    Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam (Gen Ed 1087)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

     

    What role do our senses play in shaping our understandings of “religion” and “religious experience”?

     

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Ali S. Asani

    One need only walk into a church, a mosque, a temple, a synagogue or any place of worship to experience the beauty and aesthetic power of religion. For millions of people around the world, understanding of religion is forged through personal experiences, often embedded in the sound, visual, and literary arts. What does it mean to call some art “religious”? How can interpreting an individual believer’s engagement with the arts help us see “religion” in a new light?... Read more about Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam (Gen Ed 1087)

    Poetry Without Borders (Gen Ed 1057)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Why do poems and poets today boldly cross the borders of language, geography, form, and how are those border-crossings charged politically, ethically, and aesthetically?

     

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    Stephanie Sandler

    A stem with berries attached and a curved hand casting a shadow, both resting on a piece of wood.

    Without borders, can there be poetry? The border of white paper surrounds printed poems; national boundaries keep cultural and linguistic traditions distinct; and aesthetic practice and its conventions create genres and demarcate poetry from music or dance or film. How poetry requires but also perversely challenges these limits will be the subject of this course.... Read more about Poetry Without Borders (Gen Ed 1057)

    Consent (Gen Ed 1138)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we recognize the link between ethical acts of consent in personal life (marriage, sexual experience, contracts) and the essential role that citizenship plays in democratic states during both war and peace?

     

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    Elaine Scarry

    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)

    Law, Politics, and Trade Policy: Lessons from East Asia (Gen Ed 1119)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Must the East Asian Growth Miracle always lead to trade wars or can international law bring cooperation?

     

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    Christina Davis

    How do states balance the challenges and opportunities of international markets? Importing ideas and resources while exporting manufactured goods underlies the East Asian growth miracle but also builds conflict with other governments. This course examines the transformative role of trade policy for Japan, Korea, and China. From the “unequal treaties” of the nineteenth century to the World Trade Organization today, trade law binds the interactions between East Asia and the world.... Read more about Law, Politics, and Trade Policy: Lessons from East Asia (Gen Ed 1119)

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