Classes

    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?

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    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)

    Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution (Gen Ed 1048)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How does intellectual change happen and how do diverse communities respond to new ideas such as evolution, paying attention to different historical forces in social, religious, scientific, and cultural context?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Janet Browne

    Survival of the fittest, nature red in tooth and claw, trees of life, the ascent of mankind, the biological origin of humankind…. Western culture is loaded with evolutionary metaphors and images.... Read more about Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution (Gen Ed 1048)

    Justice: Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning (Gen Ed 1171)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020


    What is a just society, and how should we contend with the ethical choices posed by this moment of pandemic and racial reckoning?

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Michael Sandel

    This course explores classical and contemporary theories of justice and applies them to the ethical issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example: Should we be willing to accept a certain number of deaths to re-open economic activity? Should the state use surveillance tracking of citizens to enforce social distancing? Is it wrong to pay people to submit to certain risks, such as testing new vaccines? What, if anything, does the experience of the pandemic suggest about how our economy and society should be organized? 

    ... Read more about Justice: Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning (Gen Ed 1171)

    Infectious Diseases and Social Injustice (Gen Ed 1129)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Should we have been better prepared to mitigate the inequities that we are witnessing with COVID-19?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Donald Goldmann and Ken McIntosh

    Advances in prevention and treatment of infectious disease have left large segments of the global population behind. This course studies the societal impacts of nine infectious diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, plague, polio, cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, syphilis, and tuberculosis.... Read more about Infectious Diseases and Social Injustice (Gen Ed 1129)

    Ballots and Bibles: Why and How Americans Bring Scriptures into Their Politics (Gen Ed 1062)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Why do Americans’ sacred texts have a close, frequently fraught relationship with their political history?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    David Holland

    In 2018, in a public speech to law enforcement officers, the attorney general of the United States used a scriptural passage to defend tougher implementation of immigration laws. His reference bewildered observers who were unaware of a long tradition of citing Romans 13 in American political controversies, including such formative conflicts as the American Revolution and the sectional crisis over slavery.... Read more about Ballots and Bibles: Why and How Americans Bring Scriptures into Their Politics (Gen Ed 1062)

    Security (Gen Ed 1020)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    How do the moral implications of security, a term with a long and provocatively ambivalent history, continue to be relevant in today’s understanding of community and social responsibility?

     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    John Hamilton

    The term "security" has enjoyed a complex and ambivalent career. Broadly defined as a "removal of care," security leaves its subjects either carefree or careless.... Read more about Security (Gen Ed 1020)

    Moral Inquiry in the Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (Gen Ed 1059)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    How can the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky help us think differently about everyday moral dilemmas that are often seen as the prerogative of religion, politics, or philosophy?
     

    Ethics & Civics icon with text

    Justin Weir

    This course considers how Tolstoy and Dostoevsky take up moral inquiry in their fiction, introduces students to philosophical texts that informed their major fiction, and asks why the novel as a literary genre may be a good forum for the discussion of ethics.... Read more about Moral Inquiry in the Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (Gen Ed 1059)

    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?

     

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    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)

    How Did We Get Here? From Slavery to #MeToo (Gen Ed 1041)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    How can the resistance strategies of women from slavery through today help us critically examine oour current moment from identity and power to racism and law?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Linda Chavers

    Everything we think we know is wrong, right? We get our news through a wide variety of mediums from Twitter to FOX News. The #MeToo movement as we know it came to national fame from a Twitter thread.... Read more about How Did We Get Here? From Slavery to #MeToo (Gen Ed 1041)

    Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    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?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

    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)

    Natural Disasters (Gen Ed 1098)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    What makes our planet so dangerous?

     

    Science & Technology in Society icon with text

    Brendan Meade

    Satellite image of hurriance with text "Natural Disasters" superimposed.

    From Mexico to India, San Francisco to Tokyo, natural disasters have shaped both the surface of our planet and the development of civilizations. These catastrophes claim thousands of lives and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage each year, and the impact of natural disasters is only increasing as a result of human population growth and urbanization. This course uses the methods and skills associated with earth science to help you to develop an understanding of both the causes and impacts of these events.... Read more about Natural Disasters (Gen Ed 1098)