250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – "RELIGION, CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION, AND POLITICAL CHANGE." Comparative analysis of religion, culture, and politics, stressing change in the Third World. The seminar will explore change in religion, politics, and in the relation between them in a number of key cases, and consider similarities and differences across a broad range of regions and religious/political traditions. Special attention will go to understanding how change gets under way in religion, and how such change (and resistance to change) can produce values, commitments and organizations with enduring impact on the organization and justification of politics and power. The issues of the seminar include "church and state" (or their equivalents in a given culture) and also more general questions of religion, politics, and power. Since the issues of "religion and politics" join everyday life and local, personal routines with the high politics of power and culture, we will look closely at both popular and institutional religion, and at the changing significance of links between them. The relation of religious change to revolution, to reactionary mobilization, and to the overall capacity for sustained collective political action will be considered in detail. Materials will be drawn from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Readings include contemporary and historical case studies, along with alternative theories and explanations (drawn from different disciplines) which have been advanced in recent years. Requirements include regular short papers on the readings, active class participation, and either a term paper or a take-home final examination. (Levine)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (HU).
Sections 001 and 002 – "WORDS." This will be a seminar on words, and the social and philosophical implications of the best of them. Using the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY (the OED) as our text, we will examine the etymological and historical significance of a number of important words in the English language. The course will begin with instruction, by example, in our method of studying; thereafter the class will first examine together a wide range of assigned words – liberty and religion and justice, freedom and friendship, law and legislation, radicals and radishes, wisdom and happiness, truth and faith, belief and live, thanks and thoughts, etc. – and then explore the dictionary in search of other interesting words. Students will be expected to report in class their findings, and to write up one word per week. The text for the course will be, as we've mentioned, the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY; students will be required to buy their own copies; order forms available from the Honors Office in March. No knowledge of languages other than English is required, though students with competence in any foreign language will find such skills useful. In addition to class reports, a final essay will be required in which students will be asked to discuss what they have learned. "Admission by application only. Application sheets available in the Honors Office. Acceptances will be posted in the Honors Office on 3 April." (Hornback)
Section 003 – IMAGINATION. The Romantics claimed that Imagination was both an artistic and a cognitive faculty; the seminar will begin by considering both the structure of the Romantic literary Imagination and the Romantic theory of knowledge in works by Wordsworth, Blake, and Coleridge. Attention will then shift to more general questions: Does artistic Imagination tell us anything about reality? Can Imagination become a rigorous mode of cognition? What is its relationship to rationality? Does some form of Imagination have a place in science and ethics? The nature of metaphorical thinking will be considered, as will the function of Imagination in scientific revolutions (Kuhn, Barfield, Goethe), ethics (Schiller), the psychology of perception, and the visual arts (Cezanne, Merleau-Ponty). The seminar will end by asking whether Imagination has a role to play in distinguishing between human and artificial intelligence (Weizenbaum). (Amrine)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (NS).
SECTION 001 – "ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICAL IMPACT on HUMAN HEALTH." This seminar will consider the influence of the chemical environment on public health. Retrospective studies of specific incidents of chemical contamination will be used to identify the potential for human disease resulting from the addition of synthetic chemicals to the environment. Attention will be focused on the conflicting political, economic and societal interests which have to be comprised in order to deal successfully with such environmental health issues. Each case study will begin with a member of the faculty, who has expert knowledge of the incident, presenting an historical overview of the event concentrating on the paramount issues involved. Student presentations on the details of the incident, based upon the relevant literature and prepared with the guidance of the faculty member, will follow. Finally, there will be a discussion among all members of the class in an attempt to derive general principles by which to minimize the danger of similar future incidents of human chemical contamination. A background in undergraduate introductory biology and chemistry would be useful but not required for participation in this term. (Bernstein)
Section 002 – NEW REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES. This course will examine several facets of a number of new reproductive technologies: artificial insemination by sperm from partner or anonymous donor; in vitro fertilization, including fertilization of "donor eggs"; embryo transfer and embryo freezing; surrogate motherhood, abortion, sex determination, and ectogenesis ("artificial wombs"). Each of these technologies will be examined from four perspectives: feminist, that of the medical/scientific community, legal, and ethical. The feminist argument that women are being used by the male medical system to develop technologies which will further denigrate the position of women in society will be presented. Original research reports and articles addressing ethical problems from a medical/scientific viewpoint will be considered. Proposed and actual legislation will be examined. A thorough understanding of the underlying biology of reproduction will be developed, including the hormonal control of reproductive cycles, ovulation, fertilization, embryo formation, placental function and pregnancy. A knowledge of how these technologies work, and how they are performed, will form the foundation for an examination of their ethical, legal and social implications. Students will be challenged to thoroughly examine a wide variety of opinions (including their own) thoughtfully and critically. A background in biology is not necessary, but will be helpful. (Thorson)
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