Fall 2022

The English Language Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow (Gen Ed 1183)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How does the English language shape our world, and how does the world shape English?

 

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Daniel Donoghue

How does the English language shape our world? And how does the world shape English? Our “world” includes our most intimate thoughts and feelings, but it also can expand into an ever-widening social network; either way, whether personal or global, the English language has a profound and reciprocal relation with its speakers.... Read more about The English Language Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow (Gen Ed 1183)

Meritocracy and Its Critics (Gen Ed 1181)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

If a society achieved truly equal opportunity, so that everyone could rise as far as their effort and talent would take them, would it be a just society?

 

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Michael Sandel

Suppose a society achieved truly equal opportunity, so that everyone could rise as far as their effort and talent would take them. Would this be a just society? Would those on top deserve their success?... Read more about Meritocracy and Its Critics (Gen Ed 1181)

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

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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)

Life and Death in the Anthropocene (Gen Ed 1174)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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)

Mental Health and Mental Illness through Literature and the Arts (Gen Ed 1144)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How have mental illness and mental health been understood across time and space, and how have literature and the arts both perpetuated and undermined stigmas against individuals with mental illness?

 

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Karen Thornber

Mental health experts believe that globally, more than 1 billion people have a mental illness.  And yet the biases and misperceptions surrounding mental illness, not to mention the dehumanization and abuse in many communities of individuals with a mental illness, remains acute.  This course uses literature and the arts to help students learn about more about some of the prevalent biases/misperceptions/myths/stigmas against individuals with mental illness and how these biases can be (or in the past have been) ameliorated.... Read more about Mental Health and Mental Illness through Literature and the Arts (Gen Ed 1144)

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

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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: 

2022

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)

Moctezuma's Mexico, Then and Now: The Past, the Present and Pandemics in North America (Gen Ed 1148)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How does Mexico's rich cultural past shape contemporary Mexico and the US in the face of today's pandemics, protests and other challenges of the borderlands?

 

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Davíd L. Carrasco and William L. Fash

This course provides students with the opportunity to explore how the study of pre-Hispanic and Colonial Mexican and Latina/o cultures provide vital context for understanding today's changing world. The emphasis is on the mythical and social origins, glory days and political collapse of the Aztec Empire and Maya civilizations as a pivot to the study of the sexual, religious and racial interactions of the Great Encounter between Mesoamerica, Africa, Europe, and the independent nations of Mexico and the United States.... Read more about Moctezuma's Mexico, Then and Now: The Past, the Present and Pandemics in North America (Gen Ed 1148)

Race and Justice (Gen Ed 1146)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

What is racial justice, and through what justifiable means might it be achieved in the United States?

 

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Tommie Shelby

We all agree that racism is wrong. Yet beneath this abstract consensus we find deep disagreements about what to do about it, and even about what racism is. We will address these questions by thinking about some very specific issues, drawing on work in philosophy, law, history, and the social sciences.... Read more about Race and Justice (Gen Ed 1146)

Borders (Gen Ed 1140)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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

 

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Mary Lewis

Two people holding hands and crying on the opposite sides of a metal fence.

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)

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

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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)

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

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

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

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)

Making Change When Change Is Hard: the Law, Politics, and Policy of Social Change (Gen Ed 1102)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How does social change happen?


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Cass Sunstein

How does change happen? When, why, and how do people, and whole nations, come to together to influence large-scale policies and actions on issues like the environment, equality, criminal justice? Why do revolutions occur? This course will try to answer these questions, and do so by exploring a diversity of efforts related to societal change.... Read more about Making Change When Change Is Hard: the Law, Politics, and Policy of Social Change (Gen Ed 1102)

Act Natural (Gen Ed 1050)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How do we draw the line between acting and authenticity?

 

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David Levine

"To thine own self be true,” runs the famous line in Hamlet. But which self? And why? And who’s judging? Does this injunction to be authentic even make sense today, when profiles proliferate online and surveillance is ubiquitous?... Read more about Act Natural (Gen Ed 1050)

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