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Choosing a First-Year Seminar

Fall Quarter 2018 First-Year Seminars

The following seminars will be offered in Fall Quarter 2018.  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: Fall 2018 to submit your Top 10 list.  However, you will only be able to submit your Top 10 list after you have completed the other sections of your dossier. You will be placed in your Fall 2018 seminar shortly after the dossier closes on July 31st, 2018.

TitleDayTime

Instructor(s): Will
Political Science

Description:

This course surveys the changing American strategies in the conduct of warfare since the end of the Cold War in 1989. The course opens with a consideration of the massive military buildup and assault on Iraq in 1991. The American military presence in that region never went away. This presence provides us with a framework for analyzing the changing character of warfare. Consideration of the Iraq War (2003-2011) focuses on the development of counterinsurgency and the emergence of multi-domain warfare (i.e., political warfare, information warfare, etc.) and increased reliance on low-profile Special Operations Forces. Our attention then turns to recent challenges of hybrid warfare (i.e., hacking and fake news and their roles in conflicts), and the advent of flexible responses such as increased American reliance on drones and contractors in the conduct of warfare. The course ends with the consideration of several emerging American war-fighting strategies.

The American Way of Way
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Laura Panko
Biological Sciences

Description:

Anatomy is often thought of as simply a series of facts and spatial relationships that must be memorized. In fact, the structure of living things can only be fully understood and appreciated in the context of history (evolution), growth and development (ontogeny), and operation (function). This seminar will explore topics in the evolution, ontogeny, and function of organisms with backbones (vertebrates) that inform the scientific understanding of the human form. In the process of exploring these topics, the main learning goal of the course will be addressed: to practice the variety of writing skills needed by students to successfully communicate science ideas in college courses and beyond.

Anatomy: Evolution, Ontogeny & Function
MWF9:00-9:50am

Instructor(s): Ryan Platte
Classics

Description:

In this course we will examine, and learn how to write about, the role of Ancient Greece and Rome in American film and culture. Preliminary steps in this study will involve introductions to various historic eras of the ancient Greco-Roman world as well as important elements of ancient culture. Our emphasis will, however, not be analysis of antiquity itself but rather of American engagement with that antiquity, particularly in film. From reflections of ancient Rome in Star Wars to the adaptation of Greek comedy in Spike Lee’s Chiraq, we will examine not just how antiquity perseveres in American culture, but how popular art creatively and critically engages with inherited Classical traditions. We will also consider engagement with Classical antiquity in some non-cinematic media as well, such as the graphic novel and even the architecture of the city of Chicago. Through writing and research assignments students will hone their ability to interpret and explain the role of Classical traditions in the modern world.

Ancient Greece and Rome in Modern Film and Culture
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Hilarie Lieb
Economics

Description:

Economists have been studying the returns to formal education for decades.  More recently both behavioral and experimental approaches have been utilized to better understand the benefits of investing in higher education.  Students will reflect both personally and across other individuals to begin to determine what they hope to gain during the next four years both in- and outside of the classroom.   We will use standard economic models, experimental design, behavioral economic concepts, research from other disciplines on this topic and empirical evidence to enable each student to begin to personalize their plans during their time at Northwestern.   The class will visit various functions across the University (Career Advancement, Fellowships, Writing Program, Chicago Field Studies, etc.*) so they can better understand and utilize these during the next four years.

The Art (and Science) of Decision Making: Making Choices in and out of the Classroom During your Time at Northwestern
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Sean Ebels Duggan
Philosophy

Description:

Popular characterizations of Augustine hold that he synthesized Platonism and Christianity. While not untrue, this is too often an unhelpful excuse to dismiss him. And yet the great African bishop offers much more, both to the religious and non-religious (and the Platonist and non-Platonist). For Augustine's project in the Confessions is fundamentally to understand ourselves and the predicament of human life. This attempt at understanding yields a compelling portrait of our place in the universe and the significance of moral deliberation, one that is relevant to anyone interested in his question---whether religious or not.

Augustine for Everyone
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Marcia Grabowecky
Psychology

Description:

In this seminar we will examine the nature of the mind from both Buddhist and traditional Western psychological perspectives. We will employ Buddhist techniques for investigating mental activity by incorporating a brief meditation period into class and homework activities. We will also examine written materials from both traditions, and these will form the primary basis for class discussion and written assignments.

Buddhist Psychology
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Owen Priest
Chemistry

Description:

In The Chemistry of Food we will explore the chemistry and science of nutrition, cooking, food preservation, flavoring, coloring, and aroma. We will explore the science of salt, sugar & high fructose corn syrup, leavening agents, microwaves, proteins, and fats. What is the science behind genetically modified foods and why is it so controversial? What is celiac disease and gluten sensitivity? Is gluten sensitivity real? What does the science say? These questions, and more, will be explored through readings that will include the textbooks listed below. Grades will be based on class participation and short writing assignments, four papers based on the readings, and a final term paper.

The Chemistry of Food
MWF11:00-11:50am

Instructor(s): Kathleen Carmichael
Writing Program

Description:

What makes a writer credible?  In other words, how do readers determine what writers deserve their trust?  Every day we place our confidence in strangers who advise us on matters that range from the immediate (movies and restaurants) to the long-term (our money and our health).  Yet debates over “fake news,” “authentic” experience, and scientific principles remind us that we must not place our faith too casually.  In this course, we will examine the relationship between writers and their readers with an eye to understanding how the style, social context, and unspoken assumptions of a written work help inspire our confidence or elicit our disbelief in both the context of fiction and non-fiction.  Students will be asked to consider the ethical responsibilities both of readers, alert to the possibility of misrepresentation or fraud, and of writers seeking to establish their own credibility and authority.  Course readings will include works of fiction, journalism, and writings from the natural and social sciences.  We will also consider practical topics such as how University library resources and experts can help students locate and evaluate key sources and develop authoritative voices and arguments.

The Credible Writer
TTH2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Sandy Zabell
Statistics

Description:

Discussion of cryptography, classical and modern.  The course will work through the contents of Simon Singh's "The Code Book", and Robert Lewand's "Cryptological Mathematics".  Singh will be used to appreciate the historical background to various cryptographic methods, Lewand to understand the underlying mathematics.

Cryptography and Internet Security
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Donna Jurdy
Earth & Planetary Sciences

Description:

The death of the dinosaurs as well as theories and evidence for other catastrophic extinctions will be examined. Geologic time and the history of life on earth, plate tectonics, dinosaur classification and behavior, periodicities, cosmic occurrences, and the search for Nemesis, the "Death Star" will be included in the seminar. Four papers. First paper is autobiographical. Second and third papers are on assigned topics. Final paper may be fiction or research.

Death of the Dinosaur
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Mark Hauser
Anthropology

Description:

Did astronauts from another planet establish ancient civilizations on Earth? Were the Americas discovered by Columbus, a Ming dynasty fleet or by Vikings much earlier? Did the Maya Aztec build their pyramids to resemble those of dynastic Egypt? Television is replete with stories of ancient aliens and archaeological mysteries. The impact of such alternative realities on society and history cannot be discounted. They have been used to support nationalistic agendas, racial biases, and religious movements, all of which can have considerable influence on contemporary society. In this course, we will study "fantastic" stories, puzzles, hoaxes, imaginative worlds and alternative theories. We will learn when, how and what kinds of evidence these alternative theories have used to fascinate the public and illustrate their hoaxes. We will question such theories by using critical thinking and analytical tools to diagnose what is fact and fiction. We will utilize the surviving evidence that archaeologists find to understand cultural contact and interactions.

Fantastic Archaeology: Science and Pseudoscience
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Jane Winston
French & Italian

Description:

Rising seas, extreme temperature variations, and life-threatening storms: these are among the building blocks of Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi), a new literary genre that takes up the challenge of climate change in the Anthropene, the proposed epoch in which human beings significantly impact the geological and ecological systems of the planet, to imagine the future to which climate change might give rise and the human beings who will confront it. Climate change novels ask: how might climate change transform the world in which we live? What will the world be like in the future, and what will it mean to the human beings who live in it? The alternative visions of the future elaborated in the works of climate change fiction often combine characteristics of science fiction with elements of other genres, including the romance, the thriller, and the adventure tale. In addition to inquiring into the literary issue of how and with what literary means these novels manage to imagine the future, we will seek to understand: if and how literature manages to imagine a process as widely taken to be “unimaginable” as is climate change, whether fiction might further human knowledge or awareness or if it might modify human actions in the world. We will engage in close and detailed reading and discussion of some of the most compelling contemporary Cli-Fi novels and in writing about them critically. This seminar requires active and engaged student participation.

The Fiction of Climate Change
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Tristram Wolff
English

Description:

In 1818, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus was published anonymously, and quickly achieved notoriety. Begun when its author, Mary Shelley, was just 18 years old, the novel has been hailed as the first science fiction novel, a masterpiece of gothic and romantic invention, and the single most influential parable of scientific hubris. More recently, its central concerns have been reframed through the lenses of gender, bioethics, and the reproduction of life; race, revolt, and the slave narrative; wartime dystopia, disability, and posthumanism. The year 2018 marks the bicentennial of the novel’s publication, even as its prescience, cultural impact, and critical prestige seem more expansive with each passing year. This freshman seminar takes one point of departure from the subtitle of a recent MIT edition of Frankenstein: “Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds.” But after we have revisited the original novel and its context, we will consider a multitude of other ways to (re)frame this story. The novel was famously called by its author her “hideous progeny”: this course looks back and forth between Frankenstein and the cultural and aesthetic progeny proliferating ever since from the text and its iterations.

Frankenstein's Hideous Prodigy
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Jeff Rice
Political Science

Description:

Not a day seems to go by without some student protest against a speaker trying to appear on a college campus. Students are deeply engaged in current political controversies such as Black Life Matters, cultural appropriation, multiculturalism, the Middle East etc. In 1964 student protesters shut down the University of California Berkeley demanding the right of free speech on campus. Today some students are demanding what appears to be the opposite, enforced limits on who gets to speak on campuses. We are also watching the emergence of demands for boycotts of groups or people associated with Israel (BDS). What was and is really going on with these protests: historical contexts, the nature of demands, definitions of free speech, political neutrality v. engagement, and the expectations of what the university exists to do. Are students going to far, are universities failing in their responsibility to provide intellectual leadership to guide students through these moments. This class will address these issues from the present as well as the past. We will try and isolate the relevant categories and put aside some of the rhetoric which only confuses the real issues. We will look at some universities in particular (Northwestern amongst them).

Free Speech and Universities in Revolt: from the 60s to the present
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Elisabeth Elliott
Slavic Languages and Literatures

Description:

In this course we will explore some of the sociolinguistic issues in Slavic speaking countries and areas (the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, the former Czechoslovakia, etc.) and in Central Europe (specifically, Turkish in Germany).  We will also look at contemporary issues in Russia and the Ukraine, especially the annexation of the Crimea, anti-gay laws in Russia, and censorship of Pussy Riot.  We will explore language policies, minority language rights, language vs. dialect, language planning, language and identity, and language and nationalism. As the final paper for this course, students will work on any geopolitical area and examine the sociolinguistic issues particular to that region or linguistic variety (e.g., the role of Japanese in Korea; Koreans in Japan and language discrimination issues; the languages of South Africa; the status of African-American English (or African-American Vernacular English, or Black English) in the US and the controversy surrounding it in the 1990s in the Oakland, CA school district; US language change and the Internet and social media; Celtic in Ireland; the successful revival of a dead language, e.g., Hebrew, as the official language of Israel; language rights in the EU; American Indian languages; bilingualism in the US or Canada; Kurdish language discrimination in Turkey; and others.

From Facism to Pussy Riot
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Meghan Costa
English

Description:

Why do we encourage some forms of surveillance (through participation in social media like Snapchat), while fearing and resisting other forms of monitoring and intrusion? In this course, we will examine the historical and ongoing tensions between privacy and exposure, freedom and control, through close engagement with literature and film. We will analyze dystopian surveillance texts (such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Moore and Lloyd’s graphic novel, V for Vendetta) alongside voyeuristic films like Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West. How do imaginative representations of surveillance technologies and voyeuristic pursuits urge us to reconsider the gender politics of “looking,” the boundaries between private and public spheres, and the relations between individuals and broader communities? How do we--as Twitterers, Snapchatters, and Instagrammers--normalize and internalize surveillance? We will pursue these and other questions as we explore the rich literary and cinematic histories of social and political monitoring and evaluate our own personal archives of social media disclosure and self-display

Gawkers and Stalkers: Surveillance and Voyeurism in Literature and Film
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Sara Hernandez
Economics

Description: In this seminar, we will look into the many different facets of the economics of gender. We will learn about economic decisions that individuals and households face from a unique gender perspective and ask ourselves: do women and men behave differently in economic circumstances? The topics we will cover include, among others: the status of women around the world, education, marriage, fertility, labor supply, bargaining power, and discrimination. For each topic, we will study concrete examples emanating from all over the world. Students will learn to use a wide variety of academic and not­so­academic resources (including empirical research articles, ethnographic descriptions, and popular press books).

Why Gender Matters in Economics
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Kim Suiseeya
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 engage large sets of diverse actors, power dynamics, and institutions from global to local scales. For more than five decades the global community has sought to address these problems to varying degrees of success. In this first-year seminar, we will explore the ways in which the global community has sought to address these problems. We will direct our attention to institutions – the rules, norms, principles, and laws – the global community has established in order to understanding how these institutions shape the landscape of possibilities for more effective and equitable global environmental governance.

Global Environmental Politics
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Edward Muir
History

Description:

One of the distinguishing characteristics of western civilization has been its persistent concern to adjudicate disputes and to judge alleged wrong-doers through the process of a trial.  The forms of trials and standards of evidence have changed a great deal since ancient times when Socrates was condemned to death, and yet the trial still remains the principal means through which society makes its most important judgments.  Trials are also exceptionally revealing of the basic values in society.  What distinguishes the great trials has been how they uncover conflicts about those values, how they preserve for prosperity a sensitivity for justice and injustice, how they symbolize conflicting values, and how often they have stimulated great works of philosophy and literature.  In this course we shall analyze a few of the most famous trials from the ancient world to the twentieth century and ask such questions as what is justice and injustice, what is the role of persuasive rhetoric in trials, how have trials constructed evidence for and against defendants, and most importantly how have the trials of certain individuals stimulated a debate about the fundamental values of society?

Great Trials in History
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Robin Bates
History

Description:

How have people tried to explain what their lives mean?How have historical actors come to understand more abstract features of their societies –politics, religion, race, gender, sexuality – in relation to themselves? How do new historical contexts create new self-understandings? To address these questions, we will consider autobiographical primary sources ranging from medieval love letters to memoirs of the Holocaust; experiences of trench warfare, overwhelming celebrity, and spiritual crisis; lives changed by claiming new identities and reinventing old ones.

History of the Self
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Barbara Shwom
Writing Program

Description:

Every day on television and radio, on the streets and in classrooms, we hear people expressing opinions about a variety of topics. The people who are most persuasive, however, are those who are most informed. This course is designed to give students the tools to develop an informed opinion, to present that opinion to others orally and in writing, and to persuade others to consider (and even accept) their point of view. In this seminar, you will have the opportunity to select a topic of your choice and research it in depth, using library resources, the Internet, interviews and surveys. You will also learn a number of techniques for presenting your ideas persuasively, both orally and in writing. By the end of the course, you will be in position to discuss your ideas in a thoughtful, authoritative way. In this sense, you will have earned the right to call yourself an expert on your topic.

How to become an Expert in Roughly Ten Weeks
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Thomas Gaubatz
Asian Languages & Cultures

Description:

The samurai is one of the most recognizable icons of Japanese culture, and with the globalization of popular culture, has been adapted into memorable characters in film, comics, and digital media throughout the world. In this class, we trace the history of these images of the samurai, from the historical origins of the warrior class in feudal Japan, to the use of the idea of a “way of the warrior” in modern Japanese nation-building and militarist imperialism, to the circulation of the samurai in global pop culture. While we will cultivate a healthy skepticism toward the historical content of pop-cultural representations, our focus is not on myth-busting but rather on understanding the evolution and uses of such figures as they circulate between history, cultural memory, and popular fantasy. What values have modern Japanese thinkers invested in the memory of the samurai, and why does the figure appeal so much to Western fantasies of Japan? How has the image of the samurai transformed to reflect the cultural desires and anxieties projected onto it?

Images of the Samurai: History, Memory, Fantasy
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Charles Yarnoff
Writing Program

Description:

We live in a time when hostility towards immigrants has made many Americans forget that, as President Obama said, “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants" and has obscured the complex reality of their lives.  In this course, we will study literary works by immigrants and their children in order to understand that complex reality. We will explore such questions as: How do immigrant experiences differ based on the era and country of origin, and in what ways are they similar?  What happens to the relationships between parents and children through the process of acculturation into American society?  How do social institutions and structures impact the lives of immigrants as they seek to pursue the American Dream? How do differences in national origin connect with other differences, particularly gender, race, ethnicity, and class? We will read novels, short stories, and poetry that were written over the last 100 years and that tell stories of immigrants from Vietnam, Mexico, Russia, Barbados, and elsewhere.

Immigrant Stories
MWF1:00-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Seth Swanner
English

Description:

This first-year seminar in English will challenge the textbook definition of literary setting as the static backdrop of a story’s action. By examining the dynamic (and often dangerous) environs of horror literature, we will understand setting not as a convenient literary tool deployed in order to simply contain the characters but as a thing that creates or destroys them. Hence, the dark and stormy nights of horror literature often become a kind of antagonist in their own right, and, in so doing, they pose challenging questions about what it means to be in the world. It is unclear, for example, what or who is doing the haunting in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. And while we are accustomed to thinking about Dracula as a seductive monster, is it possible to understand his ability to transform into weather as a kind of environmentalist statement? Speaking of seduction, how do humans project their sexual anxieties onto frightening environments, and in what ways do environments project their own right back? By studying texts ranging from King Lear to The Shining and in forms spanning from environmental philosophy to video games, we will explore what it means to be placed in a world that surrounds us, challenges us, and, sometimes, walks among us.

Killer Locales in Horror Literature
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Sanford Goldberg
Philosophy

Description: In this course we will investigate the nature and significance of, as well as several possible routes to, knowing oneself. The readings will be drawn from various fields (above all, philosophy and psychology, but also from literature). The questions we will seek to answer, above all, will be: (1) What is it to know oneself? (2) How does one attain such knowledge? (3) What are the impediments to acquiring this knowledge? (4) How do the opinions and expectations of others factor in to our knowledge of ourselves? (5) Why, if at all, is it valuable to have this knowledge?

Know Thyself
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Robert Gundlach
Writing Program

Description:

How do children achieve the remarkable feat of acquiring language? Which aspects of the human capacity for language are best understood as biological, as species-wide and species-specific? How do families, schools, and communities help shape children’s development as speakers and listeners, and eventually their development as readers and writers?  How does learning a first language (or more than one language) interact with learning to think, learning to imagine, and developing a sense of identity?  How is early language experience related to opportunities later in life? We will begin exploring these questions by reading I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language by Lydia Denworth and Why We Cooperate by Michael Tomasello. We will also sample firsthand the topics, methods, and forms of argument characteristic of current scientific research, We will then extend our exploration by considering how children learn to read and write and by reflecting on the role of language in children’s development of cultural and individual identity.

Language & Childhood
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Lisa Del Torto
Writing Program

Description:

This seminar will examine the spoken and written language we use and observe in a variety of everyday situations to explore language as part of our social experience. We will consider such questions as: Why do we call some language varieties “dialects” and others “languages?” Why do some people think you have an accent while others think you don’t? Has your own language changed since you came to Northwestern? What patterns govern the conversations we have, and how do we create social relationships, communities, and identities in those conversations? Why do some people mix multiple languages when they speak and write? Is it, like, ok for me to, like, use like so much? What about um or ain’t or ya know? Students will formulate and consider their own questions about language and social life in papers and presentations.

Language and Everyday Experience
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Erin Waxenbaum
Anthropology

Description:

We recently celebrated the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. But what would he think of our world today? We have a sophisticated understanding of genes and the ability to trace our ancestry over generations. Yet despite this knowledge, conclusive and irrefutable proof that we have or are continuing to evolve has not been found. In this course we will address where we might have come from and where we might be going. We will cover some of the major "issues" in biological evolution ranging from those of originating in Darwin's time to the many questions that persist today

Making of the Fittest: Issues in Evolution
MW11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Brad Zakarin
Writing Program

Description:

This course examines the framing of crises, whether real, imagined, or fabricated. Why and how does a sense of urgency upset some prevailing sense of normalcy? What are the stakes? Who are the stakeholders? We will interrogate presentations of discrete events (like the Cuban Missile Crisis) and broader trends (like the Crisis in the Humanities) as crises of some kind. Exploring the theme of crisis in history, media, politics, academia, and elsewhere will set a context for writing, discussion, and research. The course’s fundamental goal is to help students develop the ability to write thoughtfully and effectively by engaging with sources and the perspectives of others, including authors and classmates. Along with assignments related to various crises, there will be readings and discussions about the craft of writing and originality in academic work.

Making Sense of Crises
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Benjamin Gorvine
Psychology

Description:

While those going in to the field of mental health typically think about it as a "helping profession", there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the economics and politics that have defined the development of the field. The purpose of this course is to explore some of the historical and economic forces that have shaped the field as it exists today. The course will begin with an exploration of the role of state mental hospitals in the U.S. in the early to mid-20th century, and examine the political forces that drove the de-institutionalization movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The course will also focus on the evolution of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (now in its 5th edition), and some of the problems that have emerged from the disease-based framework utilized in the manual. The aggressive way in which the DSM has been marketed internationally will be discussed. Finally, the course will explore critiques of the pharmaceutical industry and modern psychiatry. Some of these themes will also be explored through analysis of popular films and other media.

Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment: Political and economic themes
MWF10:00-10:50am

Instructor(s): David Smith
Psychology

Description:

For many, music serves a valuable function in everyday life. Music can serve as a mode of artistic expression, a method of relaxation, a means of influencing mood, and an avenue toward transcendence. This course will focus on the human experience of music by integrating research and theory from cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Special attention will be given to topics such as the perception of music, the development of musical expertise and creativity, the effect of music on cognition, the emotional impact of music, and effective musical instruction.

Music and the Mind
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Mark McLish
Religious Studies

Description:

In developing Middle-earth, Tolkien intentionally sought to create a mythology. In this course, we will read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings as mythology. We will analyze theories of myth, examine how Tolkien\'s scholarship and understanding of mythology shaped his tales, and explore the mythic themes in these works. We will also consider the enduring appeal of these stories as modern myth.

Myth and Legend in Tolkien
MW2:00-3:20pm

Instructor(s): Liz Trubey
English

Description:

Why go to college? To become educated? To stay up all night thinking deep thoughts? To prepare for a career? To party? Is college a straight and narrow path through requirements and electives to graduation, or is the story more complicated, more open-ended? What happens when the story ends (or doesn’t end) at graduation? Does attending college even matter today? The stories we tell about the college experience shape our expectations and our experiences at a university – as do current debates about the value of a liberal arts education. 

Narratives of College
MWF9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Pamela Bannos
Art Theory & Practice

Description:

This course will explore the history and nature of photographic imagery relating to its capacity for misrepresentation. From the work of 19th century daguerreotypists, to conceptual artists of the 1980s and current digital imaging practitioners; from optical lens distortion to post-production manipulation; from re-contextualized art photography to Internet hoaxes; and, from the sophisticated DSLRs and HDR compositing, to Instagram filters, we will investigate the age-old issue of truth and its relationship to photography. With emphasis on photography as a contemporary art practice, students will produce imagery related to discussion topics.

On Seeing and Believing
TTH1:00-2:20pm

Instructor(s): Jorge Coronado
Spanish & Portuguese

Description:

The recent proposal to eliminate virtually all humanities majors from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point (March 2018), one of many such proposals in the last few years, will serve us as an entryway into understanding not just the public university and the humanities, but the modern research university, both public and private, and the mission of the undergraduate liberal arts and graduate education within it. How did the university reach its current manifestation and where does it go from here? Beginning with an overview of its origins in the German Enlightenment, the seminar will then shift to focus on the development of existing departments and programs at the end of the nineteenth century and the disciplinary knowledge which they house nowadays. We will be especially interested in the rise of the research university in the United States after 1945 and its decline some forty years later. We will seek to understand undergraduate liberal arts education and graduate education within the pedagogical and administrative frameworks in which they function. What is their relationship to job markets, and how do different institutions position their students in relation to those markets? We will also study the university’s various members and constituencies, such as students, faculty, and administrators, and their roles. Within this context, we will explore challenges facing the modern research university, including the impact of neoliberal policies and mounting student debt, public vs. private institutions, the high cost of postsecondary education, the growth of contingent labor, the downsizing of tenure-track faculty, the corporatization of university administration, technical training vs. liberal arts curricula, and the introduction of consumer culture into the higher education, among others.

On the Research University: Its Past, Future and Present
MWF10:00-10:50am

Instructor(s): Averill Curdy
English

Description:

In this seminar we will explore the idea of the City as a kind of paradise, where constant change defeats nostalgia, where the spectacle of street-life not only entertains, but also enlightens, and where variety invites experiment. While considering questions of performance, authenticity, and identity, we will also investigate the concept of the flâneur, or connoisseur of the street, and students will be asked to undertake urban explorations of their own. In addition to reading work by a number of poets and other writers, including Patti Smith, Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, and Langston Hughes, we will also look at collaborations between writers, artists, and musicians.

Pickpockets, Poets, & Other Sad Marvels of City Life
MW11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Larry Stuelpnagel
Political Science

Description:

Presidents, politicians and citizens often claim that the press is either "liberal" or "conservative." But many factors drive what the public receives as news. Those factors include: the economics of the business, information biases that come from striving to be "objective," work routines by journalists, and the need to tell a story in a simple fashion so that readers and viewers can easily understand the subject. The media landscape is also now more fragmented than ever and many publishers that are pursuing political issues are also reporting more tabloid stories that are driven by clicks and Facebook "likes." This course will critically examine assumptions regarding how news is reported, how politicians attempt to manipulate the news and how this impacts the outcome of elections, policies and the perception of political players.

The Press and the Political Process
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Claire Suffrin
Jewish Studies

Description:

As the course title suggests, when Jews and Christians get together we expect them to be joking around about practices like wearing prayer shawls, not eating pork, or abstaining from sex. But what happens when Jews and Christians try to talk together in a serious way about the Bible? Or what happens when we die? Or even about the nature of God? In this class, we will consider whether it is possible for people from different faith traditions to learn from one another in a way that is constructive and meaningful while still respecting the differences between them. We will begin with a historical example of an interfaith dialogue gone awry and then turn to examples of contemporary religious thinkers trying to understand the purpose and possibility of interfaith dialogue. While our focus will be on Jews and Christians, our texts will include some Muslim writers as well. In short: this course is a chance to think about how to talk about our highest values and commitments with those who don’t share them.

A Rabbi and a Priest Walk into a Bar...to Talk about God
MW11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Michael Maltenfort
Mathematics

Description:

What are the similarities between the Rubik’s cube, a popular puzzle toy, and square dancing, an offshoot of American folk dancing?  Both involve scrambling things using a small number of operations.  In one case, plastic pieces are rotated by turning faces of a cube.  In the other case, people move from one place to another by executing dance actions.  In both cases, it is important to be able to restore the objects to their original unscrambled state.  How can we understand this process?  In a scrambled state, what patterns persist?  In this class, we use mathematical permutation groups to tie together Rubik’s cubes and square dancing.  Mathematical thinking will allow us to devise and critique both unscrambling strategies and also the ways in which the strategies can be effectively communicated.  Prior knowledge is not expected.

Rubik's Cubes, Square Dancing, and Mathematics
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Gary Fine
Sociology

Description:

This first-year seminar is designed to expose incoming students to the basic approaches that historians, political scientists, and sociologists use to understanding historical memory. In particular, we examine how reputations are constructed by the public and by historians, and how scandals (including contemporary ones) come to be understood. Our primary focus for this course will be American examples, but the historical range will be broad, covering 1700-present. Given the controversy recently uncovered at Northwestern about the involvement of our founder, John Evans in the Sand Creek Massacre, the most significant genocide of native peoples on United States soil, we will discuss how the university should recall Evans' deeds.

Scandals and Reputations
TTH3:30-4:50pm

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, 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 Writing for Non-Tech Audience
MWF10:00-10:50am

Instructor(s): David Meyer
Physics & Astronomy

Description:

The possibilities of extraterrestrial life and intelligence have long fascinated the public imagination.  Recent discoveries of thousands of extrasolar planets and evidence of a watery past on Mars have heated the debate on whether we are alone in the universe.  In this seminar, we will discuss the scientific foundations of this debate as well as the technology and strategies behind current and planned searches for extraterrestrial life and intelligence.

Searching for ET: Science & Strategies
MWF11:00-11:50am

Instructor(s): Eric Mosser
Biological Sciences

Description:

Sleep is both mysterious and essential. Essentially all multicellular animals sleep. People can reject food and abstain from sex, but cannot help falling asleep. The vital need for, and strong evolutionary conservation of sleep indicates that it meets a fundamental need, but what functions sleep serves, and how it is regulated are still open questions. Sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruptions like jet lag and shift work have been demonstrated to affect immune function and may be linked to obesity. Sleep disorders have become so pervasive that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared that they constitute a public health epidemic. This course will examine the neurobiological basis and societal relevance of sleep and sleep disorders.

Sleep
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Mary Pattillo
Sociology

Description:

Chicago is not the largest city in the U.S. by either population or land area, but it is the most studied city in American Sociology. What makes Chicago so interesting to sociologists? What do we learn by studying Chicago, and by studying it sociologically? Is Chicago really a good model for understanding other cities? Chicago has been the laboratory for successive generations of sociologists dating to the turn of the 20th Century. This course will introduce students to both classic and contemporary research on Chicago across a range of sociological methods – from ethnography to demography. It will cover some of the major topics of interest, including: immigration, neighborhoods, racial and ethnic solidarity and conflict, crime, urban politics, education, and let’s not forget the music, literature, and art of Chicago. The two core principles of the sociological imagination are to “make the familiar strange” and to recognize the relationship between individual biography and the historical and social context. With this background, it becomes clear that going beyond our everyday assumptions and routine experiences about Chicago to instead learn about its history, neighborhoods, politics, social organization, and economic structure is the key to understanding its residents and their lives.

The Sociology of Chicago
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Helen Thompson
English

Description:

This first-year seminar will center on the 2018 – 19 One Book, One Northwestern selection, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.  Published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale envisions a near-future American dystopia in which a dwindling population of fertile women are forced into reproductive service for the ruling cadre of men.  As you are no doubt aware, lately we have witnessed a resurgence of interest in The Handmaid’s Tale, from the currently streaming Hulu series to real-life feminist activists wearing the nightmarish Handmaid uniform of red robes and white bonnets.  Why, we will ask, has Atwood’s speculative fiction—her term for her imaginative rendition of catastrophic near futurity—proved so meaningful for us?  How does The Handmaid’s Tale invite us to think about the status of women, in history and today, as a critical index of societal function and dysfunction?  What might Atwood’s book teach us about our own capacities as agents of acceptance and resistance?  We’ll read Atwood’s book closely, with attention to the political and cultural climate in 1985, the year of its publication.  Then we’ll turn to other dystopian visions which imagine women’s key role in social, ecological, ethical, and species catastrophe and possible regeneration.  Along with The Handmaid’s Tale, our reading list includes:  Margaret Atwood’s later dystopia The Year of the Flood; Octavia Butler, Fledgling; Naomi Alderman, The Power; Aliya Whiteley, The Beauty.  We will also add one or two items to the syllabus based on class consensus—another dystopian fiction, novella, or story; and/ or a dystopian feminist film (for example, “Mad Max:  Fury Road”); and/ or a female-centered fantasy comic (for example, Saga or Monstress).   In conjunction with a parallel seminar dedicated to podcasting, students in this seminar will contribute content to student-produced podcasts about The Handmaid’s Tale.  For required writing in this class, you will have the opportunity to generate short analytic essays as well as your own creative visions of near-future dystopia

The Handmaid’s Tale: Women, Speculative Fiction, and Dystopia
TTH10:30-11:50am

Instructor(s): Richard Walker
Economics

Description:

In this seminar we will survey disparate topics in politics, philosophy and economics. Exactly what we end up covering will depend a little on what most interests the group, but provisional topics include the median voter theorem, the Condorcet paradox, Arrow’s impossibility theorem, the trolley problem, Rawls’ theory of justice, Peter Singer and speciesism, the ethics of nationalism, the economic effects of immigration, trade wars, the simulation hypothesis, the normative implications of genetic research, how economists and regular people think about risk and uncertainty, prediction markets and the wisdom of crowds, the pros and cons of a basic income policy.

Topics in Politics, Philosophy and Economics
MW9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Benjamin Frommer
History

Description:

Amidst the Cold War many political leaders and intellectuals in the West came to see and characterize the Soviet Union as a totalitarian regime and a threat analogous to the defeated Nazis.  In that view, the twentieth century had become an inexorable struggle between democracy and a new form of dictatorship that demanded absolute fealty, both physical and mental, to the ideology and dictates of the ruling regime.  Beginning with classic fictional and theoretical works by George Orwell and Hannah Arendt, we will explore contemporary understandings of totalitarianism and seek to understand its origins and application in thought and practice.  We will read and discuss scholarship, memoirs, and fiction that challenge and redefine our understanding of the concept in the twentieth century and its future in the twenty-first.

Totalitarianism
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Elizabeth Smith
Anthropology

Description:

One way people work through trauma—understood as major ruptures in human experience such as mass violence and death, natural catastrophe, or forced displacement—is by visiting its locations and re/creating narratives about it. Representations of fear and suffering serve as forms of therapy, prevention, civic education, and even entertainment.  Memorials to traumatic human experience are often offered as symbols of hope for transformation and the future deterrence of further trauma (“never again”).  In this seminar, we analyze these sites and practices, asking whose trauma is remembered, and whose forgotten?  What power inheres in different forms of remembering through travel, and in the aesthetic and material shape of memorials?  What do culture and heritage mean to those who produce it and for those who consume it as tourists?  How can sites, objects, and histories of trauma simultaneously “belong” to a local community, a nation, and all humanity?  Topics include museums, genocide, colonialism, slavery, the Holocaust, and war, among others.  We examine tourism from an anthropological perspective, using local and global case studies such as: the representation of slavery at Colonial Williamsburg, the role of community museums in post-apartheid South Africa, visiting Holocaust sites in Europe, and genocide tourism sites in Cambodia and Rwanda.

Tourism of Trauma
TTH1:00-2:20pm

Instructor(s): Tracy Vaughn-Manley
African American Studies

Description:

This first-year seminar will be an intensive, multi-genre study of literary and cinematic works that focus on the phenomenon of “passing” and the reinvention of identity from the turn of the 20th through the turn of the 21st century.  Through film, literature and other expository writings, this seminar will explore the various ways in which notions of class, gender, race, sexuality and other identities are socially constructed performances.  Performance covers various modes of human communication—from how we use language to storytelling to cultural rituals.  Some of the questions we will consider in this seminar are:  how do various identities relate to one another or do they?  What are some of the ways in which we perform versions of ourselves daily based on the expectations of those around us?  Finally, when are these social constructions of identity fluid, interchangeable, temporary or permanent?

(Tres)Passing and the Performance of Identity in American Culture
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Elizabeth Lenaghan
Writing Program

Description:

Hoaxes are ancient phenomena, but in our current “post truth” landscape we might wonder if they are more pervasive than ever before. Are they? If so, why? Are today’s hoaxes different in anything other than quantity? What are their historical precedents? And, perhaps most important, what truths can we learn from studying outright lies? This course will allow us to explore these questions—and more—through the examination of several historical and contemporary hoaxes. We will use these case studies to explore topics including ideology, originality, authenticity, identity, memory, and authorship. Additionally, your final paper will provide you with an opportunity to research a hoax of your own choosing in order to argue why it should be added to future iterations of this class

Truth in Representation
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Cristina Traina
Religious Studies

Description:

Dystopian fiction like *The Hunger Games* and *A Handmaid's Tale* describes human survival and subversion in horrible-worlds-gone-wrong. In some ways it's the opposite of utopian fiction that--often on religious premises, like Thomas More's 16th-century novel *Utopia*--spins out a picture of a perfect society. As we explore examples of utopias and dystopias, we'll explore the line between them. Is one person's utopia another person's dystopia? Is religion the saving grace or arch-nemesis of human happiness? Why do people write and read this work and even try their own hands at creating religious utopian communities? Our quarter will involve reading novels, viewing films, and learning about some actual utopian communities that have left their imprint on American society in everything from our music to our kitchen appliances. The focus of the course is writing and discussion. Class Materials: Most materials will be posted. Two or fewer purchased books will be required, in addition to the free copy of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale" provided at no cost to all Northwestern first year students. Course costs will not exceed $40.

Utopias and Dystopias
TTH9:30-10:50am

Instructor(s): Joseph Walsh
Biological Sciences

Description:

One of the major challenges of our changing world is the loss of biological diversity. An overwhelming majority of people agree that we should work to save biodiversity, but their views are largely based on vague, positive feelings about nature rather than concrete justifications. This course investigates those concrete justifications. The first half of the course sketches out the argument for preserving biodiversity (i.e., “thinking globally”). The second half of the course focuses on the practice of ecological restoration in forest preserves a few miles from campus (i.e., “acting locally”) not merely as a way to preserve biodiversity, but as a path to redefining a sustainable relationship between nature and culture. The readings for the course range from classics of environmental writing to recent research papers in the primary scientific literature. Biodiversity also needs to be experienced directly, so we will take a field trip to a local forest preserve where we will roll up our sleeves and help restore a native habitat and see how much biodiversity means to the people with whom we live and work.

Values of Biodiversity
MW3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Sarah Roth
English

Description:

This course will examine depictions of feminine divinity and deviance in nineteenth-century literature and nonfiction. Students will read selected Victorian novels and poetry alongside contemporary newspapers and periodicals in order to frame questions about the way “good” and “bad” identity – and womanhood itself – is understood and articulated.  Using literary texts as a lens, we will explore textual patterns of deviant femininity: not only adulterers and criminals, but activists and spinsters could be framed as problematic, sexualized, or just plain bad for society. Who gets to define these terms, and on what grounds?  How do works of literature reflect or intervene in these debates?  How is the distinction between fiction and nonfiction itself implicated in the conversation about how womanhood works? Can any of the problems and paradoxes of discussing and defining Victorian woman be traced into our own time and culture? In keeping with the course’s focus on archival contexts, students will locate and analyze primary nonfictional sources available through Northwestern’s special collections or digital databases. Using all of these tools, students begin to develop nuanced and thoughtful written arguments around gender and the past.

Victorian_Edition
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): John Paluch
German

Description:

Vienna at the turn of the century was a center of political transformation and cultural innovation.  Both a monument to historical continuity as the seat of the Habsburg Empire, and a vortex of revolutionary cultural production, the city provided an environment that fostered the work of pioneering thinkers, researchers and artists whose works dramatically influenced the 20th century. Political and social developments throughout the 19th century resulted in a dramatic decline in the importance of the aristocracy, giving rise to the establishment of an informed, engaged and empowered middle-class citizenry. Sigmund Freud’s original work in psychology radically changed how people understood themselves and their position in family and society. Karl Lueger was elected mayor of Vienna on an openly anti-Semitic political platform, and Theodor Herzl campaigned for the establishment of a new Jewish state. In the arts, the intellectual and cultural milieu of the period allowed for daring experimentation in literature, painting, architectural design and music.While acquiring an acquaintance with the artistic, literary, historical and political aspects of fin-de-siècle Vienna, students will work on their academic writing and make use of research tools available in the library and on-line.

Vienna at the turn of the Century
MWF9:00-9:50am

Instructor(s): Gerry Cadava
History

Description:

The break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C., which ultimately led to President Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, is widely considered to be the greatest political scandal of the twentieth century. Students in this class will learn about the run-up to the break-in; the political, legal, journalistic, and legal prosecution of those involved, such as the President himself; and the scandal's long aftermath, including its revival in the minds of many Americans with the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the possibility of President Trump's obstruction of justice and collusion with Russia. The Watergate scandal is a fascinating tale of partisan mischief, American institutional integrity, journalistic persistence, and the very difficult decision to impeach a President. We will read Woodward and Bernstein's "All the President's Men," listen to the Slate podcast "Slow Burn," and read contemporary and scholarly accounts about the unfolding of the scandal, its meaning for American history, and its connection with the present.

Watergate
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Oya Topcuoglu
Middle East and North African Studies Program

Description:

In this course we will explore the complex relationships between food, culture and society through a survey of Turkish cuisine and food culture from the early Ottoman period through today. Food represents an integral part of livelihood, culture and identity. Food production, consumption and sharing also have symbolic and ideological meanings. By exploring the ingredients, recipes, and tools that are essential to Turkish cooking, we will take a close look at the different geographical regions, climates, ethnic and religious communities, as well as historical and cultural phenomena that make up this extremely diverse cuisine. Special topics include Ottoman palace cuisine; regional cuisines of Turkey; street food; history of coffee and coffee houses in the Ottoman Empire and Europe; spices and trade routes; Turkish food in world literature; and the effects of wars and immigrants on the formation of Turkish food culture. The course will also include a cooking/food component (either a visit to a Turkish restaurant in Chicago or a hands-on cooking experience for students).

We Are What We Eat: Turkish Food Cutlture
TTH11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Ian Hurd
Political Science

Description:

From whales to nuclear weapons to genocide and beyond, much of what people and governments do is defined, regulated, shaped, or otherwise influenced by international law. International law consists of binding commitments made between governments. This seminar examines the key concepts and practices of international law and looks at their connection with politics. The class will cross the line between political science and legal scholarship, and draws cases, readings, and debates from both. The seminar also invests in cultivating good research skills and critical thinking for college and beyond. It develops over several assignments a research project that results in a paper on politics and international law. We also address citation style, avoiding plagiarism, research strategies, and paper structure.

Whales, Bombs and Genocide: the Politics of International Law
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Axel Mueller
Philosophy

Description: In this seminar we will examine some of the fundamental ideas and questions behind democracy and provide a reading of their "inventors". Some of the questions are: What is democracy? Is it a form of government, a value, an ideal, a political system, a form of life, a bit of all this? Is democracy always the best political solution (in wartime? general starvation?)? Why should the whole of the people decide and not the specialists in the respective questions? Are all democratically taken decisions automatically legitimate (what about minorities\' rights?)? How should all citizens in a democracy participate in politics? By direct self-government of the people or by voting representatives? Is everything democratically decidable or does the individual have unalterable rights? Is tolerance and/or free speech necessary for democracy and how far can it go?`

What is Democracy?
MW10:30am-11:50am

Instructor(s): Peter Civetta
Writing Program

Description:

A pastor always started each service with ‘The Lord be with you.’ The people would respond, ‘and also with you.’  But, one Sunday the PA system wasn’t working so the first thing he said was ‘There’s something wrong with this microphone.’ The people responded, ‘and also with you.’  I think this joke is kind of funny.  I mean, it doesn’t make me laugh out loud, but I still think it’s amusing.  OK, well, this example teaches us two things: 1) I may have a suspect sense of humor, and 2) it is difficult to describe why something is funny.  In this seminar, we will tackle this problem (assuming my sense of humor is a lost cause).  I believe this goal goes hand-in-hand with the fact that this course focuses on writing.  We will seek, in this class, to develop our ability to express ourselves through the medium of writing.  How can we say what we want to say clearly and coherently?  How can we push ourselves to explain in a written form that which we understand through instinct or emotion?  How can we showcase our knowledge, our creative thoughts, and our inspired interpretations in our writing?  Writing and comedy will be mutually supportive in these questions, helping us to better understand the one through an examination of the other.  In our foray into comedy we will encounter theories of comedy, historical re-occurrences of comic forms as well as influential performers, such as Dave Chappelle.  In our writing projects, for example, we will explore argumentation as you re-cast one of the plays we read with contemporary performers.  My overall goals are that we will all leave this class with a stronger ability to express our own views and ideas through writing, a better understanding our own sense of humor, and, hopefully but most importantly, we will get to hear better jokes and laugh together.

What's so Funny? The Art of Comedy
TTH12:30-1:50pm

Instructor(s): Daley Kutzman
Economics

Description:

Economists believe in the power of markets to lead us to optimal and efficient outcomes. In this seminar, we will examine at an introductory level when markets work well, but then explore why and how they fail. We will apply this framework to a variety of contexts for debates about the role of policy in economic issues, such as education, social welfare, climate change, and health insurance, among others.

When Markets Fail
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): Leslie Harris
History

Description:

This course will provide students with a way to explore the history of Northwestern University and Evanston, IL.  Often when students and faculty arrive at a campus, they think very little about how the campus came to be.  Who lived on the land before the university existed? What were the goals of the university at its founding? How did the university relate to the town within which it exists? How has the university changed over time, and how does that reflect changes in higher education--in the case of Northwestern, from the Pre-Civil War period to the present?  For whom were universities created, and who do universities serve today? When and why did it become important for non-elite people to attain a college degree? This course will provide students with a way to think about these topics generally, and within the specific context of Northwestern and Evanston.In addition, students will learn about archives--one of the sources of raw material from which history is created.  In addition to the University archives available at Northwestern, students will visit the Evanston Historical Society and Northshore, a community archive. Students will also do a campus tour; and a tour of the town of Evanston. These experiences will give students a sense of public history: how historical narratives are shaped by institutions for the general public. Some of these tours may take place on Saturdays early in the quarter.

Where Am I?
TTH3:30-4:50pm

Instructor(s): James Mahoney
Sociology

Description:

Why are some countries richer than others? Why have some countries witnessed repeated industrial transformations, whereas others have economies that remain significantly non-industrial and agricultural? When and how did certain countries “get ahead” of others in the global economy? To what extent can less-developed countries “catch up” with more developed ones? How does “globalization” affect these chances? These are some of the questions that we will explore in this class. The goal of the seminar is to enhance our understanding of differences in levels of development among countries of the world, and to explore competing hypotheses designed to explain those differences. We will examine both the contemporary global economy and the historical processes that brought the current situation into being.

Why are Some Countries Richer than Others
MW11:00am-12:20pm

Instructor(s): Penny Nichols
Spanish & Portuguese

Description:

Immigration has become one of the ‘hot’ buttons of contemporary social and political dialogue. Through the prism of the Latina experience in the United States, this class will explore causes and consequences of global migration in the 21st century, analyze the marginalization of third-world immigrants in first-world society, and seek to develop an understanding of the evolving ‘face’ of America.  Students will further examine how their own ancestral experiences have helped shape their perceptions of this new world order. Latina immigrants to the U.S. often leave intolerable circumstances and brave life-threatening border crossings in pursuit of the American dream. Yet, those who succeed in crossing the geographic border almost inevitably find that the marginalized existence they hoped to leave behind takes on an equally powerful form in their new world as they confront economic, political, racial, and cultural barriers ‘north’   of the border. 

Women at the Border: The Marginalization of Latinas in the U.S.
MWF2:00-2:50pm
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