Classes

    Reclaiming Argument: Logic as a Force for Good (Gen Ed 1051)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Argument and persuasion are features of all of our lives that can be as challenging and fraught as they are unavoidable and essential; what is the best way for us to handle them?
     

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    Edward J. Hall

    Our lives are awash in argument and persuasion. This course aims to teach you how to manage argument and persuasion in your own life – not just with skill, but ethically.... Read more about Reclaiming Argument: Logic as a Force for Good (Gen Ed 1051)

    The Ancient Greek Hero (Gen Ed 1074)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    How did ancient Greek heroes, both male and female, learn about life by facing what all us have to face, our human condition?
     

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    Gregory Nagy

    How to face death? Concentrating on this central human question, we will explore some of the greatest works of ancient Greek literature (in English translation). For the Greeks, a special way to address the problem of death was to think long and hard about what they called heroes in their myths.... Read more about The Ancient Greek Hero (Gen Ed 1074)

    Superheroes and Power (Gen Ed 1165)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    What makes superheroes popular, and how can their stories answer enduring questions about identity, power, disability, symbolism, law, and the state?

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    Stephanie Burt

    What’s a hero? What’s a superhero? Who gets to be one, and who decides? Why are superheroes so popular now? What do their stories tell us—casual viewers and devoted readers, fans and non-fans and aspiring writers-- about how power works, about its social, emotional, material and economic dimensions, and about how we represent power in art?... Read more about Superheroes and Power (Gen Ed 1165)

    Anime as Global Popular Culture (Gen Ed 1042)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    What can anime’s development in Japan and its global dissemination teach us about the messy world of contemporary media culture where art and commerce, aesthetic and technology, and producers and consumers are inextricably entangled with each other?

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Tomiko Yoda

    Banner of anime images

    In this course, students will learn to engage Japanese or Japanese-style animation (sometimes known as anime) through two-pronged approaches. First, the students will learn to evaluate the aesthetic and socio-cultural relevance of anime in relation to the criteria and perspectives developed through the study of more established artistic forms such literature, cinema and visual arts. We will cover topics including, anime’s generic conventions, formal aesthetic, and narrative motifs.... Read more about Anime as Global Popular Culture (Gen Ed 1042)

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

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


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

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    Katherine K. Merseth and Jacob Fay

    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)

    Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    In a time when histories are being contested, monuments removed, and alternative facts compete with established orthodoxy, how do we evaluate competing narratives about what really happened in the past?

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    Jason Ur and Matthew Liebmann

    What happened in the past? How do you know? Even though today we take great pains to document every major event that occurs, more than 99% of human history is not written down.... Read more about Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

    Power and Civilization: China (Gen Ed 1136)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    What does China’s past mean for its and your future as China once again becomes the most powerful nation on earth?
     

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    William C. Kirby and Peter K. Bol

    How is a civilization built and sustained over millennia?  How are political systems supported or undermined by cultural, economic, and ecological challenges?  How does the need for shared values in a nation compete with individual interest and creativity?

    These concepts are common to humankind, but nowhere on Earth are they more in evidence than in the story of the longest, continuous civilization in human history, China, home to one-fifth of mankind.... Read more about Power and Civilization: China (Gen Ed 1136)

    How Music Works: Engineering the Acoustical World (Gen Ed 1080)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    Music and technology are two dimensions of humanity that have been interdependent for tens of thousands of years; what can this intersection teach us about our past and our future?
     

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    Robert Wood and Kelly Miller

    How does Shazam know what song is playing? Why do some rooms have better acoustics than others? How and why do singers harmonize? Do high-end musical instruments sound better than cheap ones? How do electronic synthesizers work? What processes are common in designing a device and composing a piece of music? How is music stored and manipulated in a digital form? This class explores these and related themes in an accessible way for all concentrators, regardless of technical background.... Read more about How Music Works: Engineering the Acoustical World (Gen Ed 1080)

    Disease, Illness, and Health through Literature (Gen Ed 1078)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    As healthcare costs soar and considerable suffering from disease and illness continues despite regular advances in medical technology, what should we advocate for in our communities, our societies, our nations, and beyond to ease the burden of disease and illness on health professionals, family caregivers, and care recipients alike?
     

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    Karen Thornber

    Inevitably, at some point in our lives, most of us will develop a health condition that requires medical treatment and care. We also, regardless of our career, are likely to be called on to provide care for individuals (loved ones and/or patients) whose health conditions make it impossible for them to care for themselves.... Read more about Disease, Illness, and Health through Literature (Gen Ed 1078)

    Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (Gen Ed 1011)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    How do you successfully design and implement solutions to intractable social and economic problems in the developing world?

     

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    Tarun Khanna and Satchit Balsari

    What problems do developing countries face, and how can individuals contribute to solutions rather than awaiting the largesse of the state or other actors? Intractable problems – such as lack of access to education and healthcare, forced reliance on contaminated food, deep-seated corruption – are part of the quotidian existence of the vast majority of five of the world’s seven billion people.... Read more about Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems (Gen Ed 1011)

    Music from Earth (Gen Ed 1006)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    How can music help us in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence?

     

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    Alexander Rehding

    In 1977 humanity sent a mixtape into outer space. The two spacecraft of NASA’s Voyager mission include a Golden Record, featuring greetings in 55 earth languages, 116 images of the planet and its inhabitants, plus examples of music from a range of cultures across the world: from Azerbaijani bagpipes to Zaire pygmy songs, from English Renaissance dances to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and from Louis Armstrong to Chuck Berry.... Read more about Music from Earth (Gen Ed 1006)

    Human Nature (Gen Ed 1056)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    What does it mean to be human, from a biological perspective – and how did we get that way?

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    Erin Hecht and Martin Surbeck

    This course asks: What makes us behaviorally and psychologically human? In what ways are humans similar to other species and in what ways are we different? What are the evolutionary origins of the behavioral and psychological features found across human societies including parental love, sibling rivalry, pair-bonding, incest aversion, social status, war, norms, altruism, religion, language, and cooking?... Read more about Human Nature (Gen Ed 1056)

    Sleep (Gen Ed 1038)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    How does sleep affect your health, safety, and performance, and how has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected your sleep?
     

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    Charles Czeisler and Frank A.J.L. Scheer

    What is sleep? Why do we sleep? Why don't we sleep? How much sleep do you need? What are circadian rhythms? How do technology and culture impact sleep? This course will explore the role of sleep and circadian timing in maintaining health, improving performance and enhancing safety.... Read more about Sleep (Gen Ed 1038)

    The Democracy Project (Gen Ed 1002)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    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?

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

    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)