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The College Catalogue

First-Year Seminars – Courses

Africana Studies 1010 {10} b. Racism. Fall 2014. Roy Partridge.

Examines issues of racism in the United States, with attention to the social psychology of racism, its history, its relationship to social structure, and its ethical and moral implications. (Same as Sociology 1010 {10}.)

Africana Studies 1012 {12} c. Affirmative Action and United States Society. Fall 2015. Brian Purnell.

Interdisciplinary exploration of the rise and fall (and reappearance) of the “affirmative action debate” that shaped so much of the American “culture wars” during the 1970s–2000s. Students primarily study affirmative action in the United States, and secondarily a comparative analysis of “affirmative action” systems in societies outside the United States, such as South Africa and India. Examines important Supreme Court cases that have shaped the contours of affirmative action, the rise of “diversity” discourse, and the different ways political and cultural ideologies, not to mention historical notions of American identity, have determined when, where, and how affirmative action has existed, and whom it benefits. Through examination of law, economics, sociology, anthropology, history, and political science, introduces students to different methodological approaches that inform Africana Studies and that field’s examination of the role people of African descent have played in contemporary and historical American society. Writing intensive. Analytical discussions of assigned texts.

Africana Studies 1015 c. Women and the Blues. Fall 2014. Susan Taffe Reed.

An in-depth interdisciplinary examination of historical, social, and cultural contexts of women and blues music of the twentieth century. Focuses on the lives, careers, and social realities of female African American blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and their contributions at the forefront of blues development. Also looks at the influence of blues oral tradition on song lyrics and vocal techniques, from the psychedelic blues of Janis Joplin to women performing jazz, from a socio-cultural perspective. No musical performance background is expected. Involves both analytical writing and creative projects. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 1030 and Music 1015.)

Africana Studies 1019 c. Holy Songs in a Strange Land. Spring 2015. Judith Casselberry.

Examines Black American sacred music from its earliest forms, fashioned by enslaved Africans, through current iterations, produced by black global actors of a different sort. What does bondage sound like? What does emancipation sound like? Can we hear corresponding sounds generated by artists today? In what ways have creators of sacred music embraced, rejected, and re-envisioned the “strange land” over time? Looks at musical and lyrical content and the context in which various music genres developed, such as Negro spirituals, gospel, and sacred blues. Contemporary artists such as Janelle Monáe, Beyoncé, and Lupe Fiasco included as well. (Same as Music 1011.)

Africana Studies 1026 {16} c. Fictions of Freedom. Fall 2014. Tess Chakkalakal.

Explores the ways in which the idea of American freedom has been defined both with and against slavery through readings of legal and literary texts. Students come to terms with the intersections between the political, literary, and historical concept of freedom and its relation to competing definitions of American citizenship. (Same as English 1026 {26}.)

[Africana Studies 1040 {13} c. From Montezuma to Bin Laden: Globalization and Its Critics. (Same as History 1040 {16}.)]

Art History 1010 {11} c. Visual Culture and the Holocaust. Fall 2014. Natasha Goldman.

Since 1945, memorials, works of art in public space, and museums have been dedicated to remembering the Holocaust. Examines works of art and museums produced in, among other countries, Germany, Israel, Poland, and the United States. Addresses Nathan Rapoport’s Warsaw Ghetto Monument in Poland, Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, among other sites. Interprets works through the lenses of historical and art historical contexts, as well as theories of memory and trauma. Explains and explores a range of stylistic approaches of memorials, including representational, abstract, minimal, conceptual, postmodern, and new media art. Two field trips include visits to the Boston Holocaust Memorial and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center in Augusta, Maine.

Art History 1011. c. Why Architecture Matters. Fall 2014. Jill Pearlman.

Architecture is unavoidable: we spend our lives in and around buildings and in spaces and landscapes defined by them. Too often we take built environment for granted, oblivious of how it affects us and shapes our lives. Explores architecture’s critical role in creating a sense of place, settings for community, symbols of our aspirations and fears, cultural icons and political ideals. Investigates the fundamental principles of architecture and studies closely some of history’s great buildings and spaces. Students learn how to talk and write about architecture. (Same as Environmental Studies 1011.)

1019 {19} c. Representing the Modern Artist in Word and Image. Fall 2014. Susan B. Bakewell.

Artists’ experiences as recorded in self-portraits and life writings, and in others’ writings and images, shape this investigation into art-making in Europe. Examines the commonalities and particularities of early-modern and modern artists’ situations within the larger contexts of artistic training, belief, class, economics, gender, geography, historical events, patronage, and politics. Class meetings feature viewings, discussions, and field trips. Sequenced research and writing assignments introduce students to research and resources, develop critical-thinking skills, and offer valuable practice in drafting, revising, and refining written work.

1010 b. Health Care Disparities in the United States—A Public Challenge. Fall 2014. Stephen Loebs.

Health care occupies center stage in state and national elections. Inequities in health care in the United States have a direct impact on children and adults, especially those living in poverty, as well as on the national economy. Multicultural differences on health care present barriers to improving health status. Introduces the application of different academic disciplines, such as economics, political science, and sociology, to the contours of health care policy and debates, with the following questions forming the core: Why are there inequities in such a wealthy nation as ours? Are health care inequities a fixture of our pluralistic and market based economy? What can be learned from comparison with other, similar nations? Why is so much spent on health care with questionable outcomes? Several written essays and active class participation expected.

1020 c. How to Read a Million Books. Fall 2014. Crystal Hall.

The explosion of digital editions and collections of books offers unprecedented access to rare individual texts and massive bodies of literary and cultural material. What does it mean to “read” a million books? How does it relate to (or obscure) traditional “close reading” of texts? Are computer codes and algorithms something we might read? What kinds of new literary analysis do they make possible? Applies and critiques “distant reading” as a method of making large text collections accessible to human readers. Readings include single texts from different genres, multimillion book collections, and the most recent criticism and theory related to digital texts.

Asian Studies 1006 c. China Encounters the West. Fall 2014. Leah Zuo.

Explores the historical relationship between China and the West through examining a selection of their encounters from the seventeenth through the early twentieth century. Key episodes include: the Jesuit and Protestant missions, the arrival of the Industrial West (imperialism and war), the Cold War, and beyond. Examines such themes as religion and religiosity, science and technology, and the dynamics of cultural accommodation and communication. Draws upon readings of history, the history of science, religion, and political science. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as History 1036.)

Asian Studies 1013 c. Japan in the World. Fall 2014. Tristan Grunow.

Introduces students to the history, culture, and global interactions of Japan with a focus on the modern (post-1868) period through examination of primary and secondary sources, popular literature, and film. “De-exoticizes” Japan, deconstructs the terms “Eastern” and “Western,” and considers how tensions between “Tradition/Modernity” and “Inside/Outside” have propelled modern Japanese historical development. Topics include: differing narratives of modernization; invention of “traditional” Japanese culture; the Western discovery of Japan/Japanese discovery of the West; changes in everyday life; tensions of modernity and tradition; war and defeat; and “Japanese Pop Culture.” (Same as History 1033.)

Asian Studies 1043 {23} c. East Asian Genre Cinema: Action, Anime, and Martial Arts. Fall 2014. Shu-chin Tsui.

Explores East Asian cinema from a genre perspective with a focus on Hong Kong action, Japanese anime, and transnational martial arts films. In the framework of social-cultural history and context of genre theory, examines the paradigms that characterize the form and content of such films; investigates the relations between local-global and national-transnational; studies genre-specific issues such as spectators’ perception or industry practices to discern the role of gender, nation, power, and historiography. Students gain the ability to explain the theoretical concepts of genre cinema, analyze the genre’s visual formation, and comprehend the social-cultural implications of the genre. Note: Fulfills the non-US cinema requirement for the cinema studies minor. (Same as Film Studies 1043 {23}.)

Asian Studies 1046 {20} b. Global Media and Politics. Fall 2014. Henry C. W. Laurence.

Examines the impact of media, including the Internet, newspapers, and television on politics and society in cross-national perspective. Asks how differences in the ownership and regulation of media affect how news is selected and presented and looks at various forms of government censorship and commercial self-censorship. Also considers the role of the media and “pop culture” in creating national identities, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes, and providing regime legitimation; and explores the impact of satellite television and the Internet on rural societies and authoritarian governments. (Same as Government 1026{20}.)

Biology 1023 {23} a. Personal Genomes. Fall 2014. Jack Bateman.

An introduction to the field of genetics and its impact on the modern world. As the cost of DNA sequence analysis plummets, many believe that sequencing entire genomes of individuals will soon become part of our routine preventive healthcare. How can information gleaned from your genome affect decisions about your health? Beyond medical applications, how might personal genetic information be used in other areas of your life and in society as a whole? What ethical, legal, and social issues are raised by widespread use of genetic information? Explores these questions through readings, discussion, and writing assignments.

Biology 1026 {26} a. Adventures in Neuroscience: Aphasias, Auras, and Axons. Fall 2015. Hadley Horch.

Students will be introduced to the basics of neurobiology and begin to understand the challenges inherent to studying the brain. Topics will include basic neuronal function, animal behavior, mutations and mental illness, drugs and addiction, neuroethics, and consciousness. Readings from journal articles, websites, and popular science books will be used. Students will develop critical thinking skills through regular class discussions, debates, and in-class scientific experimentation and data collection. Regular writing assignments will utilize a variety of science writing styles.

Biology 1027 {27} a. Evolutionary Links. Spring 2016. William Jackman.

Seminar exploring our deep evolutionary history from the first multicellular animals to Homo sapiens. Emphasizes the living and fossil species that illustrate important transitions that resulted in the evolution of new anatomical features, physiology, and behavior. Includes an embryo observation unit with data collection and analysis. Readings from online media, popular science books, and primary scientific articles. Frequent writing with an emphasis on styles used in modern biology.

[Classics 1011 {11} c. Shame, Honor, and Responsibility.]

Classics 1017 {17} c. The Heroic Age: Ancient Supermen and Wonder Women. Fall 2014. Michael Nerdahl.

The modern concept of the superhero is an enduring vestige of the ancient concept of the “hero,” the ancient Greek word used to describe men of exceptional ability. Looks at heroes and heroines in ancient literature and culture, considering a range of sources from ancient Babylon to imperial Rome. Considers the changing definition of “hero,” the cultural values associated with heroism, the role played by gender and sexuality in the definition of the hero, and analogues to ancient heroes in modern cinema. Examines more nebulous and problematic models for the ancient “villain” and considers how contrasting definitions of hero and antihero can be used to understand ancient thought concerning human nature.

[Economics 1018 {18} b. The Art of the Deal: Commerce and Culture.]

1027 b. The Quiet Revolution: Women, Work, and Family in the Twentieth Century. Fall 2014. Rachel Connelly.

Explores the revolutionary changes in fertility, marriage, divorce, educational attainment, and employment affecting all aspects of women’s lives that occurred over the course of the twentieth century (and on to today). From Lillian Gilbreth (the mother in the book Cheaper by the Dozen, who was one of the first working female engineers holding a PhD) to Rosie the Riveter; from June Cleaver to Murphy Brown; from “Opting Out” to “Leaning In,” these changes are all around us. Focuses mainly on women in developed countries. Students are not required to have any prior knowledge of economics.

[Education 1015 {15} c. Urban Education.]

Education 1020 {20} c. The Educational Crusade. Fall 2015. Charles Dorn.

Why do you go to school? What is the central purpose of public education in the United States? Should public schools prepare students for college? The workforce? Competent citizenship? Who makes these decisions and through what policy process are they implemented? Explores the ways that public school reformers have answered such questions, from the “Common School Crusaders” of the early nineteenth century to present advocates of “No Child Left Behind.” Examining public education as both a product of social, political, and economic change and as a force in molding American society, highlights enduring tensions in the development and practice of public schooling in a democratic republic.

English 1001 c. Gods and Monsters: Medieval Mythology. Fall 2014. Emma Maggie Solberg.

Introduces students to the Celtic, Germanic, and Norse mythologies that flourished in and around the British Isles before (and later, in spite of) the triumph of Christianity—the stories of gods (Thor and Loki), heroes (Beowulf and Cú Chulainn), and monsters (orcs, giants, and dragons) that are the blueprints of so many of our fairy tales and fantasies. Texts include: Beowulf; The White Book of Rhydderch and The Red Book of Hergest; The Prophecies of Merlin; The Tain; Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda; The Völsunga Saga.

English 1002 c. Provocative Art. Fall 2014. Morten Hansen.

Examines the history of avant-garde and experimental literature and art through the twentieth century, from Dada cabarets to Pussy Riot. Can art and literature really bring about political or social change? Can we talk about a tradition of provocative art, or is each new provocation a break with the past? What happens when writers and artists start mixing different media and mixing highbrow with lowbrow? Works include surrealist poems and films; poetry by Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Adrienne Rich, and Kenneth Goldsmith; essays and manifestos by André Breton, Antonin Artaud, John Cage, and Valerie Solanas; visual art by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Robert Smithson; as well as punk and rap.

English 1004 {11} c. Film Noir. Fall 2014. Ann Kibbie.

A survey of film noir from the hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s to later films that attempt to re-imagine the genre. Films include The Big Sleep; Murder, My Sweet; Double Indemnity; Gun Crazy; In a Lonely Place; and Chinatown. Readings include some of the original novels that were adapted for the screen, as well as works of film criticism and/or theory. Includes mandatory evening film screenings: a choice of two screening times available for each film. (Same as Film Studies 1004.)

English 1026 {26} c. Fictions of Freedom. Fall 2014. Tess Chakkalakal.

Explores the ways in which the idea of American freedom has been defined both with and against slavery through readings of legal and literary texts. Students come to terms with the intersections between the political, literary, and historical concept of freedom and its relation to competing definitions of American citizenship. (Same as Africana Studies 1026 {16}.)

English 1048 {25} c. Contemporary Short Fiction in English. Fall 2014. Celeste Goodridge.

Examines some of the formal features of narrative: plot, character development, point of view, the role of the reader, and closure, arguing that short stories have different requirements of economy than longer narratives. Emphasizing Gothic elements and representations of transgression, power, secrets, dysfunctionality, and domestic arrangements, authors may include Tessa Hadley, Alice Munro, Colm Toibin, William Trevor, and Claire Keegan.

English 1049 c. The Literature of Adolescent Sexuality. Fall 2014. Sarah Braunstein.

Adolescents may be too young and vulnerable to withstand life under adult rules, but too smart and full of emotion to stand the rules of childhood. The result can be chaos, passion, drama—especially in expressions of sexuality. Examines artistic representations of adolescent sexual life during and after the great shift in sexual norms of the 1960s. Creative work—novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction, and films—are the primary source material, with scholarly readings supporting study. Students write both analytic papers and creative prose. (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 1049 and Gender and Women’s Studies 1012.)

Environmental Studies 1004 c. A Global History of Food. Fall 2014. Thomas Fleischman.

Examines the shifting relationship between people, food, and the environment that ties them together. How have distance and space between the sites of production and consumption affected the economic and social relations of food? How has geography influenced the types of food people eat? How do views of scarcity and plenty shape approaches to farming? What is the role of governments and markets in agriculture? How does food refract and transform social divisions, cultural attitudes, and daily life? Topics include rural development; subsistence gardening; famine; histories of sugar, corn, pork, fish, whales, ice cream, and anything else that fits on a plate. (Same as History 1004.)

Environmental Studies 1011 c. Why Architecture Matters. Fall 2014. Jill Pearlman.

Architecture is unavoidable: we spend our lives in and around buildings and in spaces and landscapes defined by them. Too often we take built environment for granted, oblivious of how it affects us and shapes our lives. Explores architecture’s critical role in creating a sense of place, settings for community, symbols of our aspirations and fears, cultural icons and political ideals. Investigates the fundamental principles of architecture while studying closely some of history’s great buildings and spaces. Students learn how to talk about architecture and write about it. (Same as Art History 1011.)

[Environmental Studies 1015 {15} c. Frontier Crossings: The Western Experience in American History. (Same as History 1020 {15}.)]

Environmental Studies 1026 b. Landscape, Energy, and Culture. Fall 2014. Shaun Golding.

Explores current controversies in energy, giving particular attention to debates surrounding the implementation of renewable energy in northern New England. Through both popular and scholarly readings and one mandatory field trip, engages with critical perspectives on consumer-oriented culture and identities and on tensions between urban and rural visions of landscape. Contemplates the social structures governing regional development and planning in which renewable energy strategies are framed. (Same as Sociology 1026.)

Film Studies 1004 c. Film Noir. Fall 2014. Ann Kibbie.

A survey of film noir from the hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s to later films that attempt to re-imagine the genre. Films include The Big Sleep; Murder, My Sweet; Double Indemnity; Gun Crazy; In a Lonely Place; and Chinatown. Readings include some of the original novels that were adapted for the screen, as well as works of film criticism and/or theory. Includes mandatory evening film screenings: a choice of two screening times available for each film. (Same as English 1004 {11}.)

Film Studies 1043 {23} c. East Asian Genre Cinema: Action, Anime, and Martial Arts. Fall 2014. Shu-chin Tsui.

Explores East Asian cinema from a genre perspective with a focus on Hong Kong action, Japanese anime, and transnational martial arts films. In the framework of social-cultural history and context of genre theory, examines the paradigms that characterize the form and content of such films; investigates the relations between local-global and national-transnational; studies genre-specific issues such as spectators’ perception or industry practices to discern the role of gender, nation, power, and historiography. Students learn theoretical concepts of genre cinema, analyze the genre’s visual formation, and comprehend the social-cultural implications of the genre. Note: Fulfills the non-US cinema requirement for cinema studies minors. (Same as Asian Studies 1043 {23}.)

Gay and Lesbian Studies 1016 {16} c. Christian Sexual Ethics. Spring 2015. Elizabeth Pritchard.

An examination of the themes, varieties, and conflicts of Christian teachings and practices regarding sex and sexuality. Source materials include the Bible, historical analyses, Church dogmatics, legal cases, and ethnographic studies. Topics include celibacy and marriage, the development and status of sexual orientations, natural law, conversion therapy, reproductive rights and technologies, and comparative religious ethics. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 1017 {17} and Religion 1017 {16}.)

Gay and Lesbian Studies 1049 c. The Literature of Adolescent Sexuality. Fall 2014. Sarah Braunstein.

Adolescents may be too young and vulnerable to withstand life under adult rules, but too smart and full of emotion to stand the rules of childhood. The result can be chaos, passion, drama—especially in expressions of sexuality. Examines artistic representations of adolescent sexual life during and after the great shift in sexual norms of the 1960s. Creative work—novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction, and films—are the primary source material, with scholarly readings supporting study. Students write both analytic papers and creative prose. (Same as English 1049 and Gender and Women’s Studies 1012.)

Gender and Women’s Studies 1012 c. The Literature of Adolescent Sexuality. Fall 2014. Sarah Braunstein.

Fiction shows us the rules of life: how these rules confine us, free us, shape us, threaten us, and make us who we are. There’s one set of rules for children, another for adults, that much is clear. But what about adolescents? Whose rules do they play by? Adolescents may be too young and vulnerable to withstand life under adult rules but too smart and full of emotion to stand the old rules of childhood. The result can be chaos, passion, drama, and great discovery. Examines artistic representations of adolescent sexual life during and after the great shift in sexual norms of the 1960s. Creative work—novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction, and films—is the primary source material, with supporting scholarly readings. Investigates such topics as subject/object dichotomies, LGBTQ identities, violence, virginity, pleasure, health education, narrative ownership, and the politics of empowerment. Students write both analytic papers and creative prose. (Same as English 1049 and Gay and Lesbian Studies 1049.)

[Gender and Women’s Studies 1014 {30} b. Mothers, Sisters, and Facebook Friends: Is Feminism a Dysfunctional Family?]

Gender and Women’s Studies 1017 {17} c. Christian Sexual Ethics. Spring 2015.
Elizabeth Pritchard.

An examination of the themes, varieties, and conflicts of Christian teachings and practices regarding sex and sexuality. Source materials include the Bible, historical analyses, Church dogmatics, legal cases, and ethnographic studies. Topics include celibacy and marriage, the development and status of sexual orientations, natural law, conversion therapy, reproductive rights and technologies, and comparative religious ethics. (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 1016 {16} and Religion 1017 {16}.)

Gender and Women’s Studies 1020 {20} c. In Sickness and in Health: Public Health in Europe and the United States. Fall 2015. Susan Tananbaum.

Introduces a variety of historical perspectives on illness and health. Considers the development of scientific knowledge and the social, political, and economic forces that have influenced public health policy. Topics include epidemics, maternal and child welfare, AIDS, and national health care. (Same as History 1010 {20})

Gender and Women’s Studies 1030 c. Women and the Blues. Fall 2014. Susan M. Taffe Reed.

An in-depth interdisciplinary examination of historical, social, and cultural contexts of women and blues music of the twentieth century. Focuses on the lives, careers, and social realities of female African American blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and their contributions at the forefront of blues development. Also looks at the influence of blues oral tradition on song lyrics and vocal techniques, from the psychedelic blues of Janis Joplin to women performing jazz, from a socio-cultural perspective. No musical performance background is expected. Involves both analytical writing and creative projects. (Same as Africana Studies 1015 and Music 1015.)

Gender and Women’s Studies 1033 c. Sexuality and Imperialism: Race and Gender in Colonial Asia. Fall 2014. Frances Gouda.

Examines how East and West clashed over competing notions about sexuality, gender relations, and family structures. In colonial societies such as British-India, French Indochina (Vietnam), and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), institutions like polygamy, the harem, temple prostitution, widow burning, and child marriage were shocking to civil servants and settlers from Europe. White-skinned Europeans felt surrounded by alien cultures because of their subjects’ skin color as well as their peculiar, even abhorrent, sexual practices. Viewing Asian cultures as inferior bolstered a Western sense of racial superiority and vindicated Europeans’ so-called natural right to occupy and rule large territories in South and Southeast Asia. By exploring nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ethnographic accounts, travel literature, scientific texts on racial hierarchies, and colonial novels—in addition to analyzing several films set in colonial India, Vietnam, and Indonesia—students explore the evolving power relationships between European settlers and the native inhabitants of colonial Asia.

German 1026 c. Memories, Secrets, and Lies: Autobiographical Texts from Rilke to Spiegelman. Fall 2014. Kathryn Sederberg.

Autobiographical texts are all around us, from the bestseller table in the bookstore to movie theater marquees. Although the tagline “Based on a True Story” is summoned to indicate a faithful relation between “real” events and their representation, all texts rely on the techniques of storytelling. Investigates how people tell stories about themselves, looking closely at issues of identity, subjectivity, memory, and representation. Explores various forms of life writing, including autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries. Readings include works by authors and artists (Goethe, Rilke, Spiegelman), as well as texts by “ordinary” people who write to explore, manage, and represent themselves. Close work with texts as well as critical and creative writing assignments. All course readings in English.

[1027 {27} c. From Flowers of Evil to Pretty Woman: Prostitutes in Modern Western Culture. (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 1027 {27} and Gender and Women’s Studies 1027 {27}.) ]

Government 1001 {25} b. Representation, Participation, and Power in American Politics. Fall 2014. Janet M. Martin.

An introductory seminar in American national politics. Readings, papers, and discussion explore the changing nature of power and participation in the American polity, with a focus on the interaction between individuals (non-voters, voters, party leaders, members of Congress, the President) and political institutions (parties, Congress, the executive branch, the judiciary). Not open to students who have credit for or are concurrently taking Government 1100 {150}.

Government 1002 {27} b. Political Leadership. Fall 2014. Andrew C. Rudalevige.

We talk about political leadership all the time, mostly to complain about its absence. Leadership is surely one of the key elements of politics, but what does it mean? Do we know it when we see it? What kinds of leaders do we have, and what kinds do we want? How do modern democratic conceptions of governance mesh with older visions of authority? Of ethics? Looks both at real world case studies and the treatment of leadership in literature. Offers a wide variety of perspectives on leadership and the opportunities and dangers it presents—both for those who want to lead, and for those who are called upon to follow.

Government 1011 {26} b. Fundamental Questions: Exercises in Political Theory. Fall 2014. Jean M. Yarbrough.

Explores the fundamental questions in political life: What is justice? What is happiness? Are human beings equal or unequal by nature? Do they even have a nature, or are they “socially constructed?” Are there ethical standards for political action that exist prior to law and, if so, where do they come from? Nature? God? History? Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Shakespeare, the American Founders, Tocqueville, and Nietzsche.

Government 1012 {28} b. Human Being and Citizen. Fall 2014. Paul N. Franco.

An introduction to the fundamental issues of political philosophy: human nature, the relationship between individual and political community, the nature of justice, the place of virtue, the idea of freedom, and the role of history. Readings span both ancient and modern philosophical literature. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the American Founders, Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche.

Government 1025 {18} b. NGOs in Politics. Fall 2014. Laura A. Henry.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are thought to play a crucial role in politics—monitoring the state, facilitating citizen participation in politics, and articulating policy alternatives. Yet the activities of NGOs vary significantly from one political system to another, most notably differing among developing and developed states and democratic and authoritarian states. In addition, NGOs’ role in the political process is being transformed by globalization and the increasingly transnational nature of political activism. Explores the following questions: How do factors such as a state’s level of economic development, its political culture, the nature of the political regime, and the arrangement of its political institutions shape NGOs’ role and influence in the political process? When and where have NGOs been successful in influencing political developments? How do the growing transnational linkages among NGOs affect their role in domestic politics?

Government 1026 {20} b. Global Media and Politics. Fall 2014. Henry C. W. Laurence.

Examines the impact of media including the Internet, newspapers, and television on politics and society in cross-national perspective. Asks how differences in the ownership and regulation of media affect how news is selected and presented, and looks at various forms of government censorship and commercial self-censorship. Also considers the role of the media and “pop culture” in creating national identities, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes, and providing regime legitimation; and explores the impact of satellite television and the Internet on rural societies and authoritarian governments. (Same as Asian Studies 1046 {20}.)

[Government 1030 {10} b. The Pursuit of Peace.]

Government 1031 b. Weapons of the Weak. Fall 2014. Barbara Elias.

Despite enjoying a preponderance of resources, the rich and mighty don’t always win in life, or in war. Why? How do peasants and insurgents impose their will on more “powerful” organizations? How do wealthy armies at times lose wars to impoverished rebels? Whereas money and material can be measured, divided, and counted in a spreadsheet, less quantifiable factors in conflict such as ideas, identity, legitimacy, willpower, and fortitude are also important in determining war outcome, perhaps providing surprising opportunities for political forces that are traditionally considered “weak.” Exploring the American experience in WWII and Vietnam for context, texts include declassified US national security documents and strategic documents from insurgent leaders.

[Government 1037 {11} b. The Korean War.]

History 1004 c. A Global History of Food. Fall 2014. Thomas Fleischman.

Examines the shifting relationship between people, food, and the environment that ties them together. How have distance and space between the sites of production and consumption affected the economic and social relations of food? How has geography influenced the types of food people eat? How do views of scarcity and plenty shape approaches to farming? What is the role of governments and markets in agriculture? How does food refract and transform social divisions, cultural attitudes, and daily life? Topics include rural development; subsistence gardening; famine; histories of sugar, corn, pork, fish, whales, ice cream, and anything else that fits on a plate. (Same as Environmental Studies 1004.)

History 1006 {10} c. Monsters, Marvels, and Messiahs. Fall 2014. Dallas Denery.

Examines how Europeans have sought to understand themselves and the world around them through travel and travel literature. Particular attention paid to the fascinating ways in which Europeans have used travel narratives to define and distinguish themselves from their “others.” Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

History 1010 {20} c. In Sickness and in Health: Public Health in Europe and the United States. Fall 2015. Susan Tananbaum.

Introduces a variety of historical perspectives on illness and health. Considers the development of scientific knowledge, and the social, political, and economic forces that have influenced public health policy. Topics include epidemics, maternal and child welfare, AIDS, and national health care. (Same as Gender and Women Studies 1020 {20})

History 1014 {12} c. Utopia: Intentional Communities in America, 1630–1997. Fall 2014. Sarah McMahon.

An examination of the evolution of utopian visions and utopian experiments that begins in 1630 with John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill,” explores the proliferation of both religious and secular communal ventures between 1780 and 1920, and concludes with an examination of twentieth-century counterculture communes, intentional communities, and dystopian separatists. Readings include primary source accounts by members (letters, diaries, essays, etc.), “community” histories and apostate exposés, utopian fiction, and scholarly historical analyses. Discussions and essays focus on teaching students how to subject primary and secondary source materials to critical analysis.

[History 1018 {11} c. Memoirs and Memory in American History.]

[History 1020 {15} c. Frontier Crossings: The Western Experience in American History. (Same as Environmental Studies 1015 {15}.)]

History 1022 {14} c. Science and Society. Fall 2014. David Hecht.

Focuses on twentieth-century science, technology, and medicine. Uses a number of seminal events and ideas—evolution, nuclear weapons, environmentalism, genetics, climate change and public health—to examine changing meanings of “science.” Science is neither as objective nor as detached from society as is commonly assumed; but is deeply intertwined with the political, institutional, and cultural history of modern America.

History 1033 c. Japan in the World. Fall 2014. Tristan Grunow.

Introduces students to the history, culture, and global interactions of Japan with a focus on the modern (post-1868) period through examination of primary and secondary sources, popular literature, and film. “De-exoticizes” Japan, deconstructs the terms “Eastern” and “Western,” and considers how tensions between “Tradition/Modernity” and “Inside/Outside” have propelled modern Japanese historical development. Topics include differing narratives of modernization, invention of “traditional” Japanese culture, the Western discovery of Japan/Japanese discovery of the West, changes in everyday life, tensions of modernity and tradition, war and defeat, and Japanese pop culture. (Same as Asian Studies 1013.)

History 1036 c. China Encounters the West. Fall 2014. Leah Zuo.

Explores the historical relationship between China and the West through examining a selection of their encounters from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries. Key episodes include: the Jesuit and Protestant missions, the arrival of the Industrial West (imperialism and war), the Cold War, and beyond. Examines such themes as religion and religiosity, science and technology, and the dynamics of cultural accommodation and communication. Draws upon readings of history, the history of science, religion, and political science. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as Asian Studies 1006.)

[History 1040 {16} c. From Montezuma to Bin Laden: Globalization and Its Critics. (Same as Africana Studies 1040 {13}.)]

History 1044 c. The Historical and Contemporary Maya. Spring 2015. Allen Wells.

Examines the historical and contemporary Maya from pre-Columbian times to the present, with special attention paid to the Maya of Guatemala and the Yucatán peninsula. Readings include Spanish chronicles, Maya testimonies, travelers’ accounts, scholarly monographs, and ethnographies. Among the topics explored are: the importance of family, community, and spirituality; resistance and adaptation to the conquest; the challenges of acculturation; and the importance of the environment in shaping material life. (Same as Latin American Studies 1044.)

Interdisciplinary Studies 1010 {10} b. Health Care Disparities in the United States—A Public Challenge. Fall 2014. Stephen F. Loebs.

Health care occupies center stage in state and national elections. Inequities in health care in the United States have a direct impact on children and adults, especially those living in poverty, as well as on the national economy. Multicultural differences on health care present barriers to improving health status. Introduces the application of different academic disciplines, such as economics, political science, and sociology, to the contours of health care policy and debates, with the following questions forming the core: Why are there inequities in such a wealthy nation as ours? Are health care inequities a fixture of our pluralistic and market based economy? What can be learned from comparison with other, similar nations? Why is so much spent on health care with questionable outcomes? Several written essays and active class participation expected.

Interdisciplinary Studies 1020 c. How to Read a Million Books. Fall 2014. Crystal Hall.

The explosion of digital editions and collections of books offers unprecedented access to rare individual texts and massive bodies of literary and cultural material. What does it mean to “read” a million books? How does it relate to (or obscure) traditional “close reading” of texts? Are computer codes and algorithms something we might read? What kinds of new literary analysis do they make possible? Applies and critiques “distant reading” as a method of making large text collections accessible to human readers. Readings include single texts from different genres, multimillion book collections, and the most recent criticism and theory related to digital texts.

Latin American Studies 1026 b. The Borderlands of US Empire: Puerto Rican Histories and Identities. Fall 2014. Melissa Rosario.

Examines the Puerto Rican experience on island and in mainland US Begins with a review of the history of US–Puerto Rico relations in political and legal spheres. Explores the theory of borderlands (Gloria Anzaldúa) and considers its connections with this history. Next, focuses on language, migration, and settlement in the diaspora and explores the role of these processes in gendering and racializing Puerto Ricans. Creative writings and forms of cultural production on identity by Puerto Ricans examined at various intervals over the course of the semester to supplement historical and ethnographic texts. (Same as Anthropology 1026.)

Latin American Studies 1044 c. The Historical and Contemporary Maya. Spring 2015. Allen Wells.

Examines the historical and contemporary Maya from pre-Columbian times to the present with special attention paid to the Maya of Guatemala and the Yucatán peninsula. Readings include Spanish chronicles, Maya testimonies, travelers’ accounts, scholarly monographs, and ethnographies. Among the topics explored are the importance of family, community and spirituality, resistance and adaptation to the conquest, the challenges of acculturation, and the importance of the environment in shaping material life. (Same as History 1044.)

Music 1011. Holy Songs in a Strange Land. Spring 2015. Judith Casselberry.

Examines black American sacred music from its earliest forms, fashioned by enslaved Africans, through current iterations, produced by black global actors of a different sort. What does bondage sound like? What does emancipation sound like? Can we hear corresponding sounds generated by artists today? In what ways have creators of sacred music embraced, rejected, and re-envisioned the “strange land” over time? Looks at musical and lyrical content and the context in which various music genres developed, such as Negro spirituals, gospel, and sacred blues. Contemporary artists Janelle Monáe, Beyoncé, and Lupe Fiasco included as well. (Same as Africana Studies 1019.)

Music 1015 c. Women and the Blues. Fall 2014. Susan M. Taffe Reed.

An in-depth interdisciplinary examination of historical, social, and cultural contexts of women and blues music of the twentieth century. Focuses on the lives, careers, and social realities of female African American blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and their contributions at the forefront of blues development. Also looks at the influence of blues oral tradition on song lyrics and vocal techniques, from the psychedelic blues of Janis Joplin to women performing jazz, from a socio-cultural perspective. No musical performance background is expected. Involves both analytical writing and creative projects. (Same as Africana Studies 1015 and Gender and Women’s Studies 1030.)

Philosophy 1035 {15} c. Altruism. Fall 2014. Lawrence Simon.

What is altruism? Does it really exist, or are all our actions really self-interested? Are self-interest and altruism in conflict? How do we understand altruism from an evolutionary perspective? Can other animals act altruistically? Does morality require that we be altruistic? Are there limits on the amount of altruism morality can require of us? Examines these and related questions concerning the nature of altruism and its role in human life from biological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives.

Philosophy 1039 c. Existentialism. Fall 2014. Sarah Conly.

Does life have meaning? If so, what is it? If not, how should we proceed? What is the nature of human existence, and how can we understand this? Existentialism is the name given to a diverse group of thinkers who have tried to answer these questions both through philosophy and fiction. Readings include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir.

[Philosophy 1040 {14} c. Personal Identity.]

Religion 1014 {14} c. Heresy and Orthodoxy. Fall 2014. Todd Berzon.

Writing intensive, with a focus on readings in heretical texts, orthodox creeds, and scholarly treatments of the religious-ideological construction of heresy and orthodoxy. Fundamentally, heresy is dangerous precisely because of its proximity to orthodoxy. Examples focus on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions; attention given to categories such as dogma vs. freedom, pure vs. impure, society vs. individual. Facets of present-day debates on fundamentalism included.

[Religion 1015 {15} c. Religion, Violence, and Secularization.]

1017 {16} c. Christian Sexual Ethics. Spring 2015. Elizabeth Pritchard.

An examination of the themes, varieties, and conflicts of Christian teachings and practices regarding sex and sexuality. Source materials include the Bible, historical analyses, Church dogmatics, legal cases, and ethnographic studies. Topics include celibacy and marriage, the development and status of sexual orientations, natural law, conversion therapy, reproductive rights and technologies, and comparative religious ethics. (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 1016 {16} and Gender and Women’s Studies 1017 {17}.)

Russian 1022 {22} c. “It Happens Rarely, Maybe, but It Does Happen”—Fantasy and Satire in Russia and East Central Europe. Every other fall. Fall 2014. Kristina Toland.

Explores the fantastic in Russian and East European literature from the 1830s into the twenty-first century. Studies the origins of the Russian and East European fantastic in Slavic folklore and through the Romantic movement and traces the historical development of the genre from country to country and era to era. Examines the use of the fantastic for the purpose of satire, philosophical inquiry, and social commentary, with particular emphasis on its critiques of nationalism, modernity, aesthetics, and totalitarianism. Authors include E. T. A. Hoffman, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Bulgakov, Karel Capek,Vladimir Sorokin, Victor Pelevin, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Stanislaw Lem, and Franz Kafka, among others.

[Anthropology 1013 {13} b. Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes.]

Anthropology 1026 b. The Borderlands of United States Empire: Puerto Rican Histories and Identities. Fall 2014. Melissa Rosario.

Examines the Puerto Rican experience on island and in mainland United States. Begins with a review of the history of US–Puerto Rico relations in political and legal spheres. Explores the theory of borderlands (Gloria Anzaldúa) and considers Puerto Rico’s connections with this history. Next, focuses on language, migration, and settlement in the diaspora and explores the role of these processes in gendering and racializing Puerto Ricans. Creative writings and forms of cultural production on identity by Puerto Ricans examined at various intervals over the course of the semester to supplement historical and ethnographic texts. (Same as Latin American Studies 1026.)

[Anthropology 1027 {27} b. Understanding Ourselves in the Digital Age.]

Sociology 1010 {10} b. Racism. Fall 2014. Roy Partridge.

Examines issues of racism in the United States, with attention to the social psychology of racism, its history, its relationship to social structure, and its ethical and moral implications. (Same as Africana Studies 1010 {10}.)

Sociology 1026 b. Landscape, Energy, and Culture. Fall 2014. Shaun Golding.

Explores current controversies in energy, giving particular attention to debates surrounding the implementation of renewable energy in northern New England. Through both popular and scholarly readings and one mandatory field trip, engages with critical perspectives on consumer-oriented culture and identities and on tensions between urban and rural visions of landscape. Contemplates the social structures governing regional development and planning in which renewable energy strategies are framed. (Same as Environmental Studies 1026.)


Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.