Classes

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?

 

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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)

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?

 

Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

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)

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)

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)

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?

 

Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

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)

Science of Stress (Gen Ed 1162)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Science & Technology in Society icon with text

Katie A. McLaughlin

Stress is a universal human experience. What is stress and why do we experience it? How does stress influence our emotions and the way we think and behave? What are common causes of stress in our modern world? What are the consequences of stress for our health and well-being? Why are some people more vulnerable to developing stress-related illnesses than others? And perhaps most importantly – what are the most effective strategies for coping with stress?

... Read more about Science of Stress (Gen Ed 1162)

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)

If There is No God, All is Permitted: Theism and Moral Reasoning (Gen Ed 1161)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Ethics & Civics icon with text

Jay Harris

For centuries in the West, Jewish and Christian thinkers (among others) have asserted that moral judgment is impossible without some concept of the deity. So convincing were they that one important character created by a Russian author of the nineteenth century was led to express the idea (if not exactly the words), "if there is no God, all is permitted."... Read more about If There is No God, All is Permitted: Theism and Moral Reasoning (Gen Ed 1161)

Consent (Gen Ed 1138)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Ethics & Civics icon with text

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)

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)

Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

How have borders been formed historically, and what are the ethics of border construction, defense, expansion or transgression?

 

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

Mary Lewis

As a society, we pay particular attention to borders when incidents such as children separated from their asylum-seeking parents or tear-gas being used to deter entry throw the legal divide between two nation states into sharp relief. But seldom do we stop to think about what a border is, or when and why some borders are defended more aggressively than others.... Read more about Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

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