Classes

    Satire (Gen Ed 1010)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja

    A course on satire, its power and limitations, from Classical Rome, through medieval Italy, to Elizabethan theatre and 19th-20th century American cartoonists. Serving as both a critique of social norms and the oppression of minorities (anti-women, anti-Jews, etc.), satire has been one of the most practiced and effective languages in Western culture.... Read more about Satire (Gen Ed 1010)

    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)

    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 Scientific Critical Thinking (Gen Ed 1024)

    Human Evolution and Human Health (Gen Ed 1027)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How did the human body evolve to be the way it is, and how does that evolutionary history influence how we can promote health and prevent disease?

     

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    Daniel Lieberman

    How and why did humans evolve to be the way we are, and what are the implications of our evolved anatomy and physiology for human health in a post-industrial world? Why do we get sick, and how can we use principles of evolution to improve health and wellbeing?... Read more about Human Evolution and Human Health (Gen Ed 1027)

    The Philosopher and the Tyrant (Gen Ed 1030)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    In a time of rising authoritarianism and polarized debate, what role can the love of wisdom have in tempering the pursuit of power?

     

    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)

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

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    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?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    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)

    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)

    East Asian Cinema (Gen Ed 1049)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Jie Li

    This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of East Asian cinema from the silent era to the present, including films from Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will discuss issues ranging from formal aesthetics to historical representation, from local film industries to transnational audience reception.... Read more about East Asian Cinema (Gen Ed 1049)

    Race in a Polarized America (Gen Ed 1052)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Is the United States a beacon of liberal, democratic, diverse values and practices, that also has a pattern of racial injustice – or is the US at its core a white supremicist society, in which some people aspire to creating a genuinely tolerant liberal democracy?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Jennifer L. Hochschild

    How do we manage issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration in a polarized political era?  What role did race play in the election of President Trump, after eight years of the presidency of Barack Obama? How can we be good citizens of the world when Americans have such mixed views and take such mixed actions in engaging with racial hierarchy, identity, or interaction?... Read more about Race in a Polarized America (Gen Ed 1052)

    Political Economy and its Future (Gen Ed 1054)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    What should we make of the market economy?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    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)

    Poetry Without Borders (Gen Ed 1057)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    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)

    World Health: Challenges and Opportunities (Gen Ed 1063)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of population health by learning to ask the right questions?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Sue Goldie

    Extraordinary changes in the world present both risks and opportunities to health—unprecedented interconnections across borders, rapidly shifting global demographics, and changing patterns of diseases and injuries. This course will challenge your assumptions about the world’s populations, as you discover surprising similarities and unexpected differences between and within countries.... Read more about World Health: Challenges and Opportunities (Gen Ed 1063)

    Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency (Gen Ed 1064)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Can we reconcile the scientific 'brain as a machine' view with our strong experience of moral agency?

     

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

    Steven Hyman

    Advances in brain science have the potential to diminish many forms of human suffering and disability that are rooted in disordered brain function. But what are the ethical implications involved in altering the structure and function of human brains? What’s at stake when we have the ability to alter a person’s narrative identity, create brain-computer interfaces, and manipulate social and moral emotion? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions, and discuss the implications of mechanistic explanations of decision-making and action for widely-held concepts of moral agency and legal culpability.... Read more about Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency (Gen Ed 1064)

    Life as a Planetary Phenomenon (Gen Ed 1070)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Is there alien life beyond Earth?

     

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    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)

    The Celts: People or Construct? (Gen Ed 1081)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Catherine McKenna

    We are exposed every day to terms referring to ethnic groups, and we tend to accept these terms uncritically, assuming that we know what they mean and to whom they refer. These labels help to shape our sense of ourselves, of others, and of ourselves in relation to others. Yet the ethnic identities associated with such terms are in fact ambiguous and malleable, constructed of a shifting array of elements, including genetics, shared history, language, religion, economy, political institutions, music, architecture, and foodways.... Read more about The Celts: People or Construct? (Gen Ed 1081)

    Energy Resources and the Environment (Gen Ed 1085)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2022

    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)

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