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)
Around the world, billions of dollars are spent on health care treatments, public health initiatives, and pharmaceutical research and development. So why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases? And what are the best ways to address these issues? Because these questions are so large, we will focus our discussion around questions like: What steps should be taken to address epidemics? How should the United States reform its health care system? And how should prescription drugs be produced and sold?... Read more about Why Is There No Cure for Health? (Gen Ed 1079)
If you are sick or hurt, whether you live or die depends not only on biological factors, but social ones: who you are and where you are, what sort of healthcare system is available to help you survive, and what kind of care is available to help you recover, if society believes you deserve it. The global coronavirus pandemic illustrates with dramatic urgency the role social forces play in patterning health inequities and determining individual fates. The vulnerabilties of those most likely to get sick and die from COVID-19 stem from the ongoing effects of systemic racism on racialized subjects, the devaluation of eldercare and precarity of low-paid work under neoliberal forms of governance, and material effects of colonial-era power structures that render health care systems dangerously weak or inaccessible for many communities. Now, as ever, it is imperative to develop frameworks and methodologies to identify and to intervene effectively in harmful social configurations that cause illness and suffering.
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?
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)
How should we understand conflict in our own lives and in the world around us? At all levels of society, people tend to approach conflict as an adversarial battle—communities polarize, ethnopolitical groups clash, and nations and international institutions face daily political tensions.... Read more about Conflict Resolution in a Divided World (Gen Ed 1033)
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?
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)
It has become a cliché to say that more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. The speed and scale of urbanization over the past century has been stunning, and we tend to underestimate the extent to which built environments and natural landscapes have become entangled.... Read more about Living in an Urban Planet (Gen Ed 1103)
The relationship between human beings and Earth is the central problem of our time; can an understanding of Earth’s history reveal a place for us in a process of planetary evolution that might influence our behavior?
Is Earth one of many planets in an inhabited Universe, or is it the result of a low-probability accident? And what does the answer to that question tell us about humans’ relationship to our planet? The aim of this course is to place human beings in a universal and planetary context as we investigate the steps of planetary evolution and their significance to our current relationship to Earth.... Read more about How to Build a Habitable Planet (Gen Ed 1018)
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)
Why did Nazi sights, sounds, and propaganda prove to be so captivating and compelling for German audiences of a modern nation and how do we explain the continuing impact of Nazi images and fantasies to this very day, which is to ask, what do “they” have to do with “us”?
As thinking beings we consider the limits of human potential and wonder what is the worst. The Nazis obsess us because they were masters of extremity who brought to the world unprecedented violence, destruction, and murder. They were also masters of propaganda who engineered sophisticated techniques of mass manipulation; in this endeavor cinema and modern media assumed a seminal role.... Read more about The Art and Politics of Propaganda (Gen Ed 1012)
This course explores the complex, formative role of the Caribbean in the development of Western colonialism and capitalism and the consequences for the peoples of the region. Four major themes will be examined. First, the importance of the region in the origin and early development of Western imperialism and capitalism: Why did both Western Europe and America begin their imperial and colonial expansion in this region and to what degree did the region’s slave based economies influence the nature and development of Western capitalism?... Read more about The Caribbean Crucible: Colonialism, Capitalism and Post-Colonial Misdevelopment In The Region (Gen Ed 1019)
How can a globalizing world of differing countries – rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian – best promote inclusive growth and human security by meeting the challenges of inequality, climate change, rising populism, and global disease?
Why is populism becoming pervasive - and is there a revolt against global integration? What is the right balance between national sovereignty and international integration? Is the US equipped to sustain its role as a global leader? How does international trade affect prosperity and inequality?... Read more about The Political Economy of Globalization (Gen Ed 1120)
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)
Painting is an engagement between the self and the world. It is a practice of embodied making, and, as a language outside of words, can think around conditioned understanding. This introductory studio art course proposes learning to paint as a new experience of relating to the world, and through painting we will investigate not only what we have to say, but what we have to see.... Read more about Painting's Doubt: A Studio Course (Gen Ed 1114)