Fall 2021

Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Can vaccines solve the problem of infectious global pandemics?

 

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Galit Alter, Allan M. Brandt, and Ingrid Katz

Vaccination is among the oldest and most effective of medical interventions, yet paradoxically, it is also one of the most controversial. In its modern form, it has been used for centuries to prevent some of the most virulent infectious scourges of our time. Today, immunization is one of the most successful and effective interventions available to medicine and public health, reducing morbidity and mortality across the world.... Read more about Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

Language in Culture and Society (Gen Ed 1177)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

How are language, culture, and society related?

 

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Nicholas Harkness

Clearly, ideas about what language is and what it does shape scientific inquiry well beyond the discipline of linguistics. Language serves not only as a primary medium for formulating and communicating scientific ideas, but also, and very often, as a paradigm for generating these scientific ideas. Where do these ideas about language—whether they be intuitions, assumptions, popular beliefs, rumors, trends, or theoretical models—come from?... Read more about Language in Culture and Society (Gen Ed 1177)

Life and Death in the Anthropocene (Gen Ed 1174)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

What does it mean for us -- both as a society and as individuals -- to live in a world radically remade by the human hand?

 

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Naomi Oreskes

In 2019, geologists voted to make the Anthropocene a time unit in the Geological Time scale. For scientists, this means that future geologists will be able to see the effects of human activities in the stratigraphic record and thereby distinguish this epoch from the ones that came before.... Read more about Life and Death in the Anthropocene (Gen Ed 1174)

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?

 

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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)

Pluralism: Case Studies in American Diversity (Gen Ed 1166)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

How does our society deal with religious, ethical, and cultural diversity, and what challenges do we face as people of different faith communities encounter one another in cities and public institutions, schools and businesses, neighborhoods and families?

 

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Diana Eck

Who do we mean when we say “we?” How does a society deal with religious, ethical, and cultural diversity? What challenges do we face as people of different communities encounter one another in cities and public institutions, schools and businesses, neighborhoods and families? These are urgent questions in many nations today, but in this course we focus on the United States.... Read more about Pluralism: Case Studies in American Diversity (Gen Ed 1166)

Deep History (Gen Ed 1044)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

Who are we, how did we get here... and how far back in time do we have to go to start asking the question?

 

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Matthew J. Liebmann and Daniel Lord Smail

When does history begin? To judge by the typical history textbook, the answer is straightforward: six thousand years ago. So what about the tens of thousands of years of human existence described by archaeology and related disciplines? Is that history too?... Read more about Deep History (Gen Ed 1044)

Dark Satanic Mills: How the Factory Made Our World (Gen Ed 1143)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

How have changes in the way that things are manufactured and made transformed the world beyond the factory and other sites of production?

 

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Victor Seow

From spam to smart phones, much of the stuff we consume in our daily lives are factory-made. In the process of producing for our endless needs and wants, the factory has mobilized and motivated some of the latest advances in science and technology, defined and redefined the nature of work, and, through its polluting presence, pushed against the limits of our planetary boundaries.... Read more about Dark Satanic Mills: How the Factory Made Our World (Gen Ed 1143)

Global Japanese Cinema (Gen Ed 1145)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

What can film from Japan tell us about the strange pair of intensifying global interconnections and rising nationalism in the world today?

 

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Alexander Zahlten

Global Japanese Cinema introduces some of the masterworks from the rich history of Japanese cinema as a way of exploring the global language of film. Participants will learn how to analyze moving images and the ways they influence us – a basic media literacy that we all need for life in a media- saturated society.... Read more about Global Japanese Cinema (Gen Ed 1145)

African Spirituality and the Challenges of Modern Times (Gen Ed 1071)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

What can African spiritual traditions contribute to human flourishing in the contemporary age?

 

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Jacob K. Olupona

Taking the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” as a starting point, the course will explore the African spiritual heritage both on the continent and the diaspora communities (Black Atlantic diasporas). We will begin by spelling out the features of African indigenous religious traditions: cosmology, cosmogony, mythology, ritual practices, divination, healing ceremonies, sacred kingship, etc. ... Read more about African Spirituality and the Challenges of Modern Times (Gen Ed 1071)

Power and Civilization: China (Gen Ed 1136)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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: 

2021

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)

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