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Choosing a First-Year Seminar

Winter Quarter 2017 First-Year Seminars

The following seminars will be offered in Winter 2017.  Click on the ">" in front of a title to read the course description. When you have identified the ten seminars that interest you most, log in to your dossier and scroll down to First-Year Seminar Selections: Winter 2017. The Top 10 selection process will open at 8am on Wednesday, November 2nd, and close Friday, November at 4th at 7:59am.

TitleDayTime

Instructor(s): Whitney Taylor
English

Description:

Recently, an abundance of heroines has emerged in young adult literature and, in turn, cinema. In contradistinction to the earlier (and slightly concurrent) popularity of the more passive female protagonist of Twilight, the image of a strong female lead, shooting arrows, jumping off of trains, and generally kicking ass, has captured the attention of readers, movie-goers, and the mainstream media. This class asks why the strong heroine is popular in this cultural moment both by analyzing the primary texts that feature them and by reading them in conjunction with analysis of the phenomena from the perspective of cultural studies. Representations of these heroines in the media will also be treated as texts for unpacking the significance of the trend. Does the introduction of these young women in young adult fiction change the way popular culture represents the role of women and girls in society more generally? As a foundation for our investigation, the course will begin by historicizing the notion of what it means to be a "heroine" in the popular imagination and specifically in the narratives offered by literature and film. Traditionally, is the heroine's journey distinct from the hero's? How might the heroine destabilize constructs of gender and sexuality? How does the role of the heroine relate to genre? (Are the genres of fantasy and dystopian fiction, for instance, especially conducive to the emergence of a Katniss-like heroine?) To answer these questions, our readings will engage with gender and feminist theory and masculinity studies. In doing so, we will dissect the traits characterizing recent popular heroines and examine how they might undermine hierarchies and norms of gender and sexuality. At the same time, our inquiry will trouble whether the current era of heroines is actually as subversive as it might seem by investigating what gender roles and stereotypes these characters and their stories might be reinforcing.  

Action Heroines: Gender, Heroism, and the Popular Imagination
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Michael Rakowitz
Art Theory & Practice

Description:

This course will explore the role of the narrative in contemporary visual art practices and the way storytelling has developed across different media. From documentary practices in filmic and installation-based works, to the reenactment of historical events via performance and the creation of para-fictions, we will explore the various methods artists have enlisted in recent years to reinvent a traditional art form and, most importantly, ask why. This class will comprise film screenings, slide presentations of relevant works, guest lectures/story-telling sessions, and readings. You will also be required to visit specified relevant exhibitions throughout the city, as well as three major museums to observe and analyze the curatorial methods that are practiced in setting up the chronology, the cadence and the space through which objects and images receive their meaning and how this influences viewership. 

Artist as Storyteller
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): John Wynne
Classics

Description:

A Greek temple; Mozart’s Requiem; Hollywood stars; sunset in a National Park.  Most of us would agree these things are beautiful.  Are we right?  A mathematical proof; a martyrdom; noise rock; a touchdown; a worm.  Some but fewer people would find each of these beautiful.  Are they right?  What, if anything, do the things we call beautiful have in common? The tradition of western philosophy began in ancient Greece and Rome, where important thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, or St. Augustine (whose phrase is the title of this seminar) thought carefully about beauty.  They tended to think that beauty is a certain order or harmony and that beauty leads us to an understanding of goodness.  They think if you deny that a beautiful temple is beautiful, you’re wrong. In modern times, thinkers like Kant or Hume have reconsidered beauty.  Some have suggested that beauty is more ‘in the eye of the beholder’.  Beauty might have more to do with the delight or calm we take from an object.  Other philosophers and artists have denied that beauty is real at all, or declared that it is only for snobs or for rednecks, or that it is dangerous and deceitful. We shall read selections from these ancient and modern thinkers and consider carefully what things are beautiful according to them.  We shall look for and discuss controversial examples of beauty or ugliness.  We shall put the two together in rigorous, precise critical thought, and writing.

Beauty, So Old and So New
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Jeanne Herrick
Writing Program

Description:

One of the many benefits of attending Northwestern is its proximity to one of the greatest cities in the world: Chicago.  However, with classes and other commitments, it is often challenging for NU students to get beyond Chicago’s front doors: Millennium Park or Wrigley Field or Michigan Avenue. In this course, we will explore a Chicago neighborhood and get to know Chicago better by listening to and learning from some of its residents.  Students will be encouraged to continue their exploration of Chicago by focusing on an aspect that appeals to them, e.g. Chicago politics, theatre, business, education, safety, health, etc.—whatever interests the individual student.

Chicago Voices: Learning about Chicago
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Tracy Hodgson
Biological Sciences

Description:

Topics for discussion and exploration will include (but not necessarily be limited to): The history, ecology and sociopolitical impact of cacao cultivation and chocolate production; the biology and psychology of gustation and olfaction (taste and smell); the biochemistry of the components of chocolate, and their physiological and neurological effects; chocolate in fiction/literature.

Chocolate: From the Biochemical to the Geopolitical
TTH3:30-4:50

Instructor(s): Lance Rips
Psychology

Description:

This class looks at the way people think about mathematical infinity. Topics include Galileo’s Paradox, differences in the sizes of infinite sets, and ordinal numbers. The topics also include how children learn about the infinity of the positive integers and children’s and adults’ mistakes in reasoning about infinity.

Concepts of Infinity
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Zachary Sommers
Sociology

Description:

This course examines a variety of topics relating to crime and the social scientific study of crime, or criminology.  Using a wide range of in-class media and interactive activities, we will explore research investigating the effects of crime and what it means to be a criminal.  After a brief overview of the field, we will examine criminological and sociological research on the different stages of the criminal justice system (policing, courts, and prisons) before turning our focus to a few specific substantive areas of research, such as capital punishment, gangs, and crime as depicted in pop culture.  As with all first-year seminars, writing and in-class participation will be the core requirements

Crime and Criminology
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Robert Gordon
Economics

Description:

World War II was clearly the most important single event of the twentieth century. However, the seeds for World War II were laid in World War I, making it necessary to study both wars. We will study both why these wars occurred and why they turned out the way they did. In asking why wars turned out the way they did, we will emphasize the size and performance of the economies involved, and such issues as why the U.S. and Soviet Union produced so much while Germany produced so little. In the last part of the course, students will have a chance to do independent research on any aspect of World War II which interests them, economic, political or military.

Did Economics Win Two World Wars?
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Bernard Dobroski
Music

Description:

This seminar is designed for the general campus student. Students with a music major, or dual degree with music are not permitted to register for this seminar.  The course is designed to provide opportunities for music aficionados to experience music and music theater events from the inside-out. The only prerequisite for the course is a love of the performing arts – you don’t have to read, perform, or understand music notation to succeed in this course. However, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time attending rehearsals and concerts (minimally six to eight hours a week), outside of the two required class sessions. During and outside of classroom sessions, the instructor and invited guests will attempt to nurture a heightened awareness of the challenges that conductors, opera and music theater directors and musicians/actors face when preparing for a performance. Through a series of observations, presentations, interviews, and interactive discussions/seminars, you will be better prepared to listen, observe, and critically analyze performing arts events on and off campus – during this academic quarter, and hopefully for the rest of your life. After Week One’s introduction to the course and the music library, the Week Two class sessions will concentrate on conducting lessons and video observations of concerts and rehearsals. In these initial sessions, you will learn many of the techniques needed to lead the world’s greatest instrumental and choral ensembles (of course, with many additional years of practice). Course participants, using their required conductor’s baton and music CDs will learn a variety of conducting techniques – mastering beat patterns, the expressive use of the left hand, and using the conducting gesture to communicate interpretation, phrasing, dynamic shading. You may never conduct a major ensemble, but after meeting the requirements of the class you should have the knowledge and understanding to critically analyze conductors during your future career as a member of audiences for classical and popular music concerts.

From First Rehearsal to Final Performance
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Lydia Barnett
History

Description:

STEM fields in the 21st century are striving for greater diversity and inclusivity. But the problem of implicit bias – of certain people being perceived as less authoritative, knowledgeable, or capable based on their gender, race, or other bodily marker of difference – is pervasive in and beyond STEM. It also has deep historical roots. This first-year seminar explores the gendering of science since the Middle Ages in order to shed light on this contemporary problem. Through a series of case studies drawn from European and U.S. history, we will explore the many ways in which cultural norms about sex/gender have shaped scientific thought and practice. Topics to be covered include: the science of sex and race; gendered hierarchies in the lab, field, and other sites of science; the invisible work of women as assistants, wives and daughters, and scientific test subjects; and the way that changing cultural assumptions about sex/gender and race have influenced the shifting demographics of STEM fields over time

Gender and Science from the Middle Ages to the Present
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Marion Suiseeya Kimberly
Political Science

Description:

Environmental problems like deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, and ocean and marine resource degradation have emerged as some of the most intractable problems that society faces. They transcend international borders, are scientifically complex, and generally involve large sets of diverse actors and power dynamics from global to local scales. In this seminar we will examine how policies, actions, and behaviors impact the environment and how these politics of the environment play out on a global scale.

Global Environmental Politics
MW11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Patricia Beddows
Earth & Planetary Sciences

Description:

Global warming is more than a media catch-phrase. It represents a massive global experiment with unknown consequences. In this course we will discuss the scientific evidence for modern-day global warming including melting ice sheets, long-term temperature records from ice cores and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. Current trends and the role of human activities will be examined in the context of the geologic record of natural climate variability and the feedbacks inherent in the climate system. Anticipated future impacts include droughts, floods, spread of infectious diseases, drinking water shortages, habitat loss and extinctions. Given these forecasts, strategies for managing the effects of global warming will be assessed.

Global Warming: Scientific Evidence
TTH2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Geraldo Cadava
History

Description: Lin Manuel Miranda called the 2016 Presidential election “batshit crazy.” The American Psychological Association has reported survey findings that the election was a “source of significant stress for more than half of Americans.” Other observers have argued that previous elections were even more bizarre, and that crazy might be the new norm. This seminar aims to explore the historical roots of the most discussed issues of the 2016 election in order to determine what kind of election it was, historically speaking. Where did Donald Trump’s arguments about Mexican immigrants come from, and how do they compare with ideas about immigration articulated by previous candidates, Democratic and Republican? What’s the history of outsiders in American politics; people without previous political experience running for elected office? Is Donald Trump a demagogue, were there others in American politics before him, and what does it mean to be a demagogue, anyway? What’s the history of racism, white nationalism, and misogyny in American politics, and why was Hillary Clinton the first woman to win the nomination of one of the two major parties? What is the role of family dynasties—of the Clintons, or Bushes, for example—in presidential politics? Has the media ever been so maligned by a presidential candidate as they have been by Trump? What’s the history of third parties in America? These are just a few of the questions we will ask and answer in this course. Ultimately, students will gain an understanding of the history of American presidential politics, and will come away with tools for historically contextualizing—and explaining with the tools available to historians—the seemingly inexplicable moment we’re living in today.

History of the 2016 Election
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): James Hodge
English

Description:

This writing-intensive course focuses on a number of classics by cinema’s “master of suspense,” Alfred Hitchcock. Films will likely include Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest. The last third of the class will focus on Hitchcock’s legacy and influence, e.g. Chris Marker’s La Jetée and John Carpenter’s Halloween. Our primary focus, however, will always lie with attending to the ways film style affects the treatment of key themes across Hitchcock’s filmography: from mistaken identity and sexual politics to horror and voyeurism. Assignments will include short essays and several digital editing projects including making animated .gifs and supercuts. No prior technical experience will be presumed.  

Hitchcock & Beyond
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Teri Odom
Chemistry

Description:

Nanotechnology involves the creation and use of small structures at the nanometer scale. This length is around a thousand times less than the diameter of a human hair. The potential of new materials with superior properties has captured the imagination of popular science culture, which has resulted in books that described the use of carbon nanotubes for tethering a space elevator to earth as well as nano-bots repairing damaged human tissue. Currently, nanotechnology is part of a wide range of consumer products, from sunscreen to tennis balls to stain-resistant clothing. This seminar will cover all aspects of nanotechnology, from the science involved to ethics and safety considerations to potential applications. Students will have opportunities to explain an idea in nanoscience to a general audience, assess whether the interest and investment in nanoscience is justified, and propose future prospects for nanoscience based on the present state of research at Northwestern.

Hope & Hype of Nanotechnology
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Micaela di Leonardo
Anthropology

Description:

How the 99% Live: Inequalities in American Cities This course title refers both to the famous 1889 Jacob Riis photo-documentary on poverty in New York City, How the Other Half Lives, and to the slogans of the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011 and of Black Lives Matter today. It does so to underline the return, over the past few decades, of the extreme levels of economic inequality in the United States characteristic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this seminar, students will read about, discuss, write about, and thus gain the intellectual tools to evaluate past and present American urban inequalities-including not only class, but race/ethnicity, gender & sexuality, nationality. We will read across several different academic disciplines and journalism to become familiar with key analytic concepts and methods, such as political economy, the Great Compression, urban regimes, ethnography. Using them, we will explore arenas of inequality: employment; urban space, housing, and neighborhoods; schooling, criminal justice, the public sphere. And we will also consider movements to ameliorate those inequalities

How the other 99% Live: Inequalities in American Cities
T5:00-8:00pm

Instructor(s): Rachel Zuckert
Philosophy

Description:

We will discuss a range of classic philosophical texts, presenting different kinds of realism or idealism (in metaphysics, politics, ethics). We will consider questions such as: what does it mean to be an “idealist” or a “realist”? is mind or matter, both or neither the truly real? What would it mean to claim that the world does not (really) exist? Why would it be an insult – or not – to be called a political “idealist”? Or: if you are a criminal in virtual reality, are your crimes real, or not?

Idealism and Realism
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Deborah Rosenberg
Spanish & Portuguese

Description:

This seminar will examine the cultural legacy of the Jewish inhabitants of Spain. We will take an historical view of the Jews of Spain from the early Roman settlements to the 2014 announcement of citizenship for descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. Alongside this historical analysis, we will look at the cultural production of the Judeo-Spanish population, including the poetry of Judah Ha-Levi (c. 1075-1141), narratives surrounding the 1492 Expulsion, and contemporary Ladino music.

Jewish Voices of Spain
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Daniel Majchrowitcz
Asian Languages & Cultures

Description:

India is home to the second largest population of Muslims on earth. It’s also host to the world’s largest film industry, best known as Bollywood. Little wonder, then, that Bollywood films regularly feature Muslim characters, social spaces, and cultural references that are readily marked or coded as “Islamic.” But in spite of a large coterie of Muslims working within the industry – as actors, song writers, or producers – the representation of Muslims in Indian films has consistently raised complex issues around ideas of identity and belonging in a nation where they constitute a clear minority. This class will introduce students to the various strands of Muslim representation in Indian cinema, including Muslims as kings, as courtesans, as criminals, and as terrorists, among other typologies. We will read these films against the historical backdrop of the search for national identity in post-colonial India, as well as in the context of the so-called “war on terror.”  Students will be given the opportunity not only to learn about Indian (particularly Bombay) cinema, but also to explore how cinematic representations intersect with issues of identity and belonging in the modern nation-state. 

Kings, Courtesans and Khan Artists: Picturizing Islam and Muslims in Bombay Cinema
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Kathleen Carmichael
Writing Program

Description:

Ever since Pentheus’ fatal decision to spy on the revels of Dionysus, audiences have had a guilty fascination with the spectacle of addiction—a fascination which crosses not only centuries but disciplines, captivating scientists, policymakers, philosophers, artists, and laypeople alike. This class will trace the evolution of literary representations of addiction across several centuries, from classical depictions of god-induced madness, through the Gothic narratives of Poe and Stevenson, temperance classics such as Ten Nights in a Barroom (whose impact has often been compared to that of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), to the twentieth- and twenty-first century comedies and confessionals that make the bestseller lists today.  Through these readings and related critical texts, we will examine the ways that such literature provides a staging ground for public controversy and emerging theories about the artistic, cultural, ethical, and scientific significance and ramifications of addiction.

Literature of Addiction
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Domietta Torlasco
French & Italian

Description:

This course will explore the role that exhibitionism and the logic of spectacle have played in Italian culture from the years of Fascism (1922-1943) to Silvio Berlusconi's rise to power in the 1990s and beyond. As the flip side of our desire to see, exhibitionism manifests the desire to be seen, to expose oneself to the look of others¿to turn oneself into a spectacle¿ in both the private and public spheres. While drawing from the fields of cinema and media studies, we will analyze how film, television, and social media have simultaneously reflected and constructed our desire for self-display. We will pay particular attention to questions of gender and sexuality and to the ways in which spectacle and politics have joined forces at different junctures in Italian history. Among the films we will study are Luchino Visconti's Bellissima (1951), Federico Fellini's La dolce vita (1960) and Ginger and Fred (1986), Erik Gandini's Videocracy (2009), Matteo Garrone's Reality (2012), and Paolo Sorrentino's La grande bellezza (2013).

Media and Exhibitionism
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Guy Elgat
Philosophy

Description:

This course offers an overview of the work of one of the most important late twentieth century French philosophers, Michel Foucault. Focusing on his studies of madness, the medical gaze, incarceration, prisons and other institutions, gendered, sexed and confessing subjects, subjects seeking truth, knowledge, freedom or liberation, students will have the opportunity to consolidate their understanding of Foucault’s use of the terms: archaeology, power, biopower, discipline, interiority, resistance, strategy, dispositif, governmentality, genealogy, truth, knowledge, ethics and aesthetics of existence, through close reading of his main texts. The course is reading intensive: you should plan to read several of Foucault's major texts throughout the quarter.

Nietzsche
TTH5:00-6:20pm

Instructor(s): Hosanna Krienke
English

Description:

In the modern era, audiences can immerse themselves in their favorite fictions in many ways outside of simply watching the film or reading the book. Audiences may inhabit a story through trading fan theories online, dressing up for comic-book conventions, or buying branded products. This course examines the history of such strategies of audience participation, beginning with the rise of a mass reading public in nineteenth century and tracing such collective reception today. In the Victorian era, sensation and detective fiction pioneered new relationships with audiences through such strategies as the suspense of serialized episodes, the pacing of shocking cliffhangers, and the consumption of spin-off merchandise. We will examine how texts manipulate mass audiences through formal structures in order to surprise readers or subvert their expectations. Conversely, we will also study how mass audiences help produce the texts they read—for example, when famous characters like Sherlock Holmes take on a life outside their original texts. By theorizing a dynamic relationship between audiences and texts, this course will prepare you for your own role as a thoughtful participant of popular culture, one who can craft close-readings, amass evidence, and interact with diverse interpretations. 

No Spoilers! Reading in the Age of Mass Audiences
MW12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Michelle McDonough
Biological Sciences

Description:

In the late 1970s, approximately 15% of US Americans aged 20 to 74 were obese.  These rates have been gradually increasing and last year that figure was over 34.9%, or approximately 100 million Americans!  Many efforts have been made to decrease the number of Americans that are obese.  Discussions in this course will focus on factors influencing weight.  We will briefly review historical trends, touch upon biological influences on weight, and evaluate how psychology and economics may contribute to our eating behaviors and affect public health policy.  Questions that will be explored include: What factors influence obesity?  What realistically, can be/should be done to reduce the "obesity epidemic"?  Have recent actions been effective in regulating weight?  Is there a simple "cure" for obesity?  There are no textbooks required for this course but there will be assigned PDFs posted on Blackboard.

Origins of American Obesity
MWF2:00-2:50pm

Instructor(s): Kate Amato
Anthropology

Description:

In the movies, lemurs dance, capuchins slap people in the face, and apes take over the world. We are faced with images of our closest living relatives everyday. But how accurate are these images? How do they affect our perspectives on primates and their place in the world? In this course we will explore the intersections between human and primate lives in an effort to understand how we view primates, what factors influence those views, and how both humans and primates are ultimately affected. Using writing and discussion, we will consider primates in the media, primates as pets, primates in research, and primate conservation, among other topics. At the end of this course you will be able to evaluate how accurately primates are portrayed in a range of contexts and understand the consequences of those portrayals. You will have a stronger appreciation for the complex relationship between humans and primates worldwide and how it affects our everyday lives. And most importantly, you will have challenged and enriched your own perspectives on primates.

Perspectives on Primates
MWF10:00-10:50am

Instructor(s): Steve Nelson
Political Science

Description:

Debt and credit are central features of national and global capitalism. When debt and credit markets function well they can be engines of growth; when they malfunction, as in the 2008 financial implosion in the US and the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis, they generate severe crises. In this course we will explore the evolution of instruments, relations, and categories that underpin debt through a political lens. In this seminar we will read and discuss work that examines the politics of debt at three different levels: personal, national, and global. 

Politics of Debt
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Cristina Traina
Religious Studies

Description:

The terms gay, lesbian, and queer are fairly recent in Western thought, but Christian authors have written both positively and negatively on same-sex relationships since the religion’s early days.  Learn how changing visions of gender, marriage, and culture have shaped Christian thinking on these topics in different places and times. Our interest in this class is not to defend or defeat a particular perspective on sexuality but to use critical and analytical skills to learn how Christian thinking on sexuality has evolved over time. The course will involve daily readings as well as several short papers, leading up to a final longer paper.

Queer Christianity: Sexuality in Christian Thought
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Reuel Rogers
Political Science

Description:

The election of Barack Obama, the country's first Black president, marked a historic watershed in American race relations.  His presidency prompted both heady expectations for greater racial tolerance and inclusion as well as grim worries about racial backlash and conflict.  This course will examine shifts in American racial politics during the Obama presidency.  We will consider Blacks' political fortunes, racial attitudes across groups, reactions to demographic and economic change, and racial dynamics in party politics and specific public policy areas over the course of the Obama era.

Racial Politics in the Obama Era
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Martin Tanner
Statistics

Description:

We will discuss the design and analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT), primarily with human subjects.  Class meetings will consist of student led presentations of the assigned reading materials.  Students will prepare summaries of selected in-depth topics on the design and analysis of RCT's. As a final project, each student will prepare their own statistically designed protocol for an investigation of an intervention of their choice.

Randomized Controlled Experiments
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Cristina LaFont
Philosophy

Description:

This seminar focuses on the future of democracy under current conditions of globalization. Since the end of the Cold War it has become apparent that individual countries cannot achieve the democratic ideal of a society of free and equal citizens in isolation. Current threats such as global warming, terrorism, global economic crises require global solutions that no individual country can provide on its own. Thus the main political challenge of the 21st Century is to figure out whether necessary conditions for democracy, such as citizens' political equality and participation, public deliberation, etc. can be reproduced at the global level. Can citizens have a say on political decisions that affect them even if they are reached outside the domestic borders of their own society? Is it possible to design a new international order in which global political decisions are made in a democratic way? In the seminar we will analyze this difficult set of questions by discussing some interesting recent proposals for a new international order with a focus on how they handle issues of international human rights standards, the global economic order, world poverty, etc.

Rethinking Democracy after Globalization
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Mira Balberg
Religious Studies

Description:

The notion of sin is one of the most central facets of religion in the Western world. Thinking of religion as a system that orients human beings to certain beliefs and actions, we naturally assume that a critical part of these beliefs and actions has to do with questions of right and wrong, and that the “wrong” in religious systems is often classified as “sin.” But what is “sin,” exactly? What constitutes a sinful act and what makes one a sinner? In this seminar, we will approach these questions from a critical point of view and delve into the very rich and complex concept of sin so as to understand how it has evolved through time and how it shaped and continues to shape our own world. At the center of the course will stand “the seven deadly sins,” an idea that started to develop around the fourth century C.E., according to which there are seven major sins that essentially generate all possible sins: gluttony, lust, anger, envy, greed, sloth, and pride. We will see how the “seven deadly sins” have emerged against the background of earlier notions of sin (Greek, Jewish, and Christian) and we will look closely into each one of those “deadly sins,” considering why and how it came to be viewed as a sin and how it resonates in the world in which we live. 

The Seven Deadly Sins
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Leslie Cherry
History

Description:

This course will introduce students to the history of modern Southeast Asia, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, as it appears in well-known works of Western fiction.  Students will read novels by Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, Graham Greene, and Christopher Koch, as well as works of literary criticism and historical contextualization.  They will examine how images of Asia have been constructed in Western fiction and the ideological work those images have performed.

Southeast Asia in Western Fiction
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Phyllis Lassner
Writing Program

Description:

This seminar will explore the many entertaining and serious meanings embedded in detective and spy novels and films.  We will discuss and write about such topics as suspenseful action, elusive characters, deception, and challenging endings. To discover these many meanings, we‘ll address such questions as: What makes detective and spy fiction so riveting?  Why are questions of disguised personal identity, mysterious legacies, political loyalties, treachery, and heroism suspenseful, chilling, and so popular? How do the historical settings and imagined political conflicts affect the shape and meanings of popular thrillers? There will be occasional film showings on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. 

Spies, Sleuth & Suspense
MWF11:00-11:50am

Instructor(s): James Druckman
Political Science

Description:

Sports and politics have become increasingly intertwined over the last half-century. Local, state, and federal governments as well as other governing bodies (e.g., the NCAA) regulate who can participate (e.g., eligibility, equality) and what standards athletes must meet (e.g., drug testing, academic performance). These organizations also oversee economic (e.g., resource distribution) and symbolic (e.g., mascots) issues. Ideally, governing policies would be responsive to the wishes of their constituents (players, owners, voters), but are they? How would we know? How do we gauge their opinions? Alternatively, how do sports affect public opinion? Do citizens prefer politicians who engage in sports? Do media portrayals of sports affect what citizens think about race and/or gender? These are the kinds of questions we will consider in this class. This involves learning the science of public opinion polling and applying it to study opinions about public policies relevant to sports.

Sports, Politics, and Public Opinion
T3:30-6:20pm

Instructor(s): John Bushnell
History

Description:

The seminar will grapple with the way in which Soviet citizens tried to make sense of what went on around them during the 1930s, a decade in which several million peasants died after their farms were collectivized, millions of innocent people were sentenced to forced labor in the Gulag prison camps, and another million or so were executed for political crimes they had not committed.  We will read documents, diaries, and memoirs written during the 1930s but not published until much later.

Stalinism
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): David Schoenbrun
History

Description:

A long-standing stereotype of Africa as a place of violence exists. A definition of violence may seem obvious-violence is bodily harm and its aftermaths wrought by one or more persons against one more others. But the definition masks the moral struggles over questions of the legitimacy of violence.  Because violence involves at least three, sometimes overlapping, perspectives: perpetrators, victims, and witnesses, explaining its causes and consequences of violence must address historically specific dimensions of motivation and constraint. With this approach to violence we can think about the ways in which struggles over the morality and legitimacy of force shaped both new and enduring forms of violence in African history. We'll work our way toward answers--actually, better questions are better than answers-by considering slavery and slave trading in West Africa, imperial conquest and colonial power in East Africa, and genocidal violence in Rwanda.

Violence in African History
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Rebecca Zorach
Art History

Description:

In 1967, the Organization of Black American Culture painted a huge mural “guerrilla-style” on the wall of a decaying building on the South Side of Chicago. They called it the Wall of Respect. This mural, which grew out of the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s, was controversial from the start and only survived a few years—but in that time it inspired a community movement that went on to paint vivid colors on walls across the city and beyond. The Wall of Respect’s 50th anniversary is 2017, and many events in the Chicago area will commemorate it this coming year. Using photographs and documents relating to the Wall of Respect and other murals, students in the seminar will—as their final project—collectively curate an exhibition to be held at the Block Museum in the spring. Each student will also create an individual digital mini-exhibition of their own. We will explore the mural movement in Chicago in its historical context, studying how race and class have intersected with the spatial politics of the city. Students will gain skills in the analysis of works of art, learn digital tools for mapping, image presentation, and storytelling, and develop an understanding of how exhibitions are created. No prior knowledge is expected, but students must be willing to engage with all aspects of the class (including a Saturday or Sunday field trip).

Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Benjamin Page
Political Science

Description:

This seminar explores the nature of economic inequality in the United States and the role of government in dealing with it. Special attention is paid to the political power of wealthy Americans, as opposed to that of other citizens: how much power they have; how they exercise it; for what purposes; and what public policies result.

Weath and Power in America
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Penny Hirsch
Writing Program

Description:

What creates community, why is community important, and who is considered a member? In a democracy – or on a college campus – does diversity enhance community, or challenge it? And how have the community or communities where you grew up affected your sense of identity? In this course, we will explore these questions by examining (a) the different ways that people collect information about community and identity and (b) how they express their ideas through various genres, such as personal narratives, academic studies, and news articles. As you hone your skills in writing, research, and critical thinking, we will consider the impact that histories and institutions have had on communities and individuals, particularly with regard to the US criminal justice system. Finally, you will complete a project related to community and diversity in a field of your choice, such as law, medicine, music, religion, public policy, higher education, or others.

Writing about Diversity, Identity & Community
MW 3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Larry Trzupek
Chemistry

Description:

In this course we will read and discuss works on technical subjects written for a general audience with no special scientific training; the authors we’ll be reading include Sam Kean, John McPhee, Don Norman, Richard Rhodes, Nate Silver and Lewis Thomas. Although the course is not targeted exclusively to science majors, students enrolling in it should have enough of a background in the fundamental sciences to feel comfortable writing about technical topics.

Science and Technology Writing for a Non-Technical Audience
TTH11:00am-12:20pm
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