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Fall '00 Course Guide

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Courses in RC Social Science (Division 877)

This page was created at 4:11 PM on Wed, Dec 13, 2000.

Fall Term, 2000 (September 6 December 22)

Open courses in RC Social Science

Wolverine Access Subject listing for RCSSCI

Take me to the Fall Term '00 Time Schedule for RC Social Science.

To see what has been added to or changed in RC Social Science this week go to What's New This Week.


Most RC courses are open to LS&A students and may be used to meet distribution requirements. In most instances, RC students receive priority for RC course waitlists.

RC sections of LS&A Courses

These sections will be letter graded for all students Math 115 Section 110 Analytical Geometry & Calculus. See Math 115.


RC Soc. Sci. 222/Soc. 222. Strategies in Social Interaction: An Introduction to Game Theory.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Frank Thompson (fthom@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (SS).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course explores human society from the interdisciplinary social science perspective of contemporary game theory, the theory of strategies in social interaction. Game theory is widely employed in several social scientific disciplines, e.g., political science, economics, sociology, as well as in interdisciplinary studies and in evolutionary biology. Game theory facilitates understanding interactions in which agents choose strategies in the light of their expectations of the choice of strategies of others, e.g., much of human social life.

Although the course is not especially technically demanding (requiring nothing more than some high school math), it does require systematic thought and study. Some of the course involves conducting experiments by playing various tried-and-true games which illustrate fundamental social relationships. The main text is Games of Strategy by Avinash Dixit and Susan Skeath (W.W. Norton, 1999). Written work consists primarily of exercises elucidating particular topics. The course provides extensive opportunities for discussion.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 295. Quantitative Approaches to Social Science Questions.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Feldbaum

Prerequisites & Distribution: High school algebra. (4). (MSA). (QR/2).

Half QR

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Students in this course learn to formulate questions from a social science perspective and then seek answers to those questions using a variety of quantitative methods. This is very much a hands-on course: students don't just learn statistical formulas they use them with real-world data to explore the relationships among many relevant and interesting concepts. Each student, working closely with the instructor, designs and completes an empirical research project exploring a topic of their own selection. Learning the language of statistics and empirical social science, and becoming adept at the logic of quantitative reasoning are major objectives of this course.

This course has two simultaneous components. On the one hand, students become competent in the use of several basic statistical methods through traditional means: lectures, textbook, computer manual, homework problems, and extensive in-class exercises. At the same time, as their skills and understanding develop, they select a general topic area, formulate a question, translate it into a data collection instrument (survey or use of previously published data) and prepare these data for computer analysis.

The final two weeks of the course take on a workshop format, with students analyzing their data and preparing it for presentation as an academic poster. Students often find that this opportunity to use statistical techniques in their own work draws together all the material in the course, giving them a new level of understanding and mastery. The major emphasis on the practice of social science research is the feature which distinguishes this course from other statistics courses on campus.

Students have weekly homework assignments requiring the use of a calculator and the use of SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). The instructor provides extensive feedback and individualized teaching with the homework problems. Students' evaluations are based on participation in the classroom exercises, homework, a mastery exam, and a final project.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 301. Social Science Theory I: From Social Contract to Oedipus Complex.

Section 001 From Social Contract to Oedipal Complex: Social Science Theory in Bourgeois Europe.

Instructor(s): Jane Burbank (jburbank@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: At least one 200-level social science course. (3). (SS).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course will examine closely theories about society, political economy, religion, and knowledge developed in Europe from the late 18th to the 20th centuries. We will read texts by Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Engels, Mill, Darwin, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud, and consider their implications for the representation, analysis, and transformation of societies. Students will write short responses to the texts, a detailed analysis of a major theoretical work, and a review essay. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 305. Society and the Environment.

Section 001 Society, Human Behavior, and the Biophysical Environment Meets with SNRE 305.001.

Instructor(s): Steve Brechin (sbrechin@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Background in social sciences and environmental studies helpful. (4). (SS).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2000/fall/snre/nre/305/001.nsf

Together we will investigate the interplay among society, human behavior, and the biophysical environment. We attempt to accomplish two related objectives: (1) a better understanding of how society functions and of how humans behave by looking at our interactions with nature, natural resources, and the larger biophysical environment; and (2) a better understanding of our present environmental situation and futures by investigating the forces that shape our society.

This is an introductory, overview course in environmental sociology designed primarily for upper-level undergraduates. No formal course work in sociology or other social sciences or environmental sciences is required, but students will likely find it helpful to have a background in these areas. Topics discussed include sociological theory and the environment; environmental values, beliefs, and behavior; the environmental movement and protests; environmental discrimination, equity and justice, the role of organizations in both creating and managing environmental problems; population-environment dynamics; the social impacts of resource use and conservation practices; environmental issues in developing countries and internationally; economics, public policy and the environment; the limits to growth debate; and possible society-environment futures. Weekly discussion of assigned material will be an integral part of the course. Discussion of current events will be encouraged. Assignments consist of take-home examinations and a final term paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 306. Environmental History and Third World Development.

Sections 001 through 003 meet the Upper-Level Writing requirement. Meets with History 346.001 and SNRE 556.001.

Instructor(s): Richard Tucker

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (SS).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2000/fall/snre/nre/356/001.nsf

See History 346.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 315. International Grassroots Development.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Helen Fox (hfox@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (SS).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hfox/igrd.html

What does "development" really mean in the Third World? Do people need Western education? Business know-how? Provision of basic services? Gender equality? A national consciousness? Something to believe in? Liberation? To just be left alone? In this course we will look at how different definitions of "the problem" drive different solutions proposed by governments, aid agencies, religious groups, and grassroots organizations. Besides posing some heavy questions, this course will give you an idea of what it's really like to work in the field of international "development", either at home or abroad. Be prepared for lively discussion, a deep, personal examination of your own beliefs and values, lots of writing and lots of help with your writing. Some previous courses in economics, political science, third world area studies and/or lived experience will be very helpful, though not required.

The instructor is a writer for Peace Corps and has been involved in international development in Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific and in training programs for foreign nationals in the U.S.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 357. A History of Crime and Punishment in the U.S.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Charles Bright (cbright@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (Excl).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course seeks to put contemporary issues of crime and punishment in historical perspective. Rather than attempt a sociology of crime, or engage in philosophical debates about the nature of human depravity, we will focus on the concrete means of policing and punishment as these developed over time and attempt to build on this basis an analysis of the interaction between the political economy of crime and the means of state retribution. We will explore the pairing of law with order and their opposites in theories of social disorganization; we will unpack the themes of reform and reinclusion that are embedded in American punishment systems and study the crisis of these assumptions in recent years; and we will attempt, through a study of the policing and punishment of crime to access questions of power how it is organized and operates over time.

The course will be organized in three general segments: we will begin with recent debates about crime and its causes, examining underlying assumptions about who criminals are and what makes them misbehave; we will then read some of the major theoretical formulations of the problem of punishment (Foucault, Radzinowicz, Rushe, and Kirchheimer) and assess their relevance to current debates; we will then develop an historical treatment of crime, policing, and punishment in the United States, focusing on the twentieth century and seeking to understand the roots of the contemporary "crime problem" and the current crisis of the criminal justice system, especially its prisons and regimen of punishment. While the course will involve lectures, guest talks, and films, students will find that considerable emphasis is placed upon reading and participation in class discussions. Everyone will be required to do a seminar presentation, a book review, and a term paper.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 001 Women's Movements: Globally and Internationally. Meets with Women's Studies 342.002.

Instructor(s): Anne Larimore (annevans@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (4). (Excl). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In the ten years between the 1985 Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, "the women's movement has grown into a global force for change, a force working at multiple levels."
Vivienne Wee, DAWN, Singapore

"The Beijing Platform for Action though not perfect is the strongest statement of consensus on women's equality, empowerment, and justice ever produced by governments. The Beijing Platform is a consolidation of the previous UN conference agreements, in the unique context of seeing it all through women's eyes. It is an agenda for change, fueled by the momentum of civil society, based on a transformational vision of a better world for all.
Bella Abzug, WEDO, United States

"The Platform for Action is an agenda for women's empowerment. It aims at accelerating the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and at removing all the obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural, and political decision-making."
Mission Statement, the Platform for Action

What prospects does the world hold for women in the coming century? In this course we will explore the progress that the international women's movement, revitalized by the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, People's Republic of China, has been making in the world regions of Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. We will examine key issues such as women's human rights, women in economic development, the empowerment of women for democracy and citizenship, women in poverty, and women and violence. Necessarily, we will need to examine the current status of women in the states which make up these regions as a context in which particular issues arise. We will read to acquaint ourselves with the pressing challenges which the world's women face.

We will also consider what specific roles women in the United States can play in furthering the Platform for Action. You will also write a three part term paper using exploratory research methods which follow multiple paths and use a variety of source materials. A goal of this course is to acquaint you with some of the vast library resources at this outstanding research university.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 002 Women's Health Awareness Collaboration. Meets with RC Core 334.002.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Myers (jeniferm@umich.edu) , Janet Hegman-Shier (jshie@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (4). (Excl). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

See RC Core 334.002.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 379/History 379. History of Computers and Networks.

Section 001 Meets with Information 528.

Instructor(s): Paul Edwards (pne@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing. Familiarity with computer concepts helpful but not required. (4). (SS).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://www.si.umich.edu/~pne/rc379.htm

This non-technical course covers the development and use of computers from the ancient world to the present. We will discuss automatic calculation from the abacus to the integrated circuit; logic machines from Boole to neural networks; and the evolution of programming languages from assemblers to Ada. Our primary focus will be the social, political, and cultural contexts of post-1939 digital computers and computer networks. We will explore such topics as how early computers cracked the Nazi Enigma cipher during World War II; how the Cold War changed computer research (and how computers changed the Cold War); why digital computing replaced well-developed analog methods in the 1940s and 1950s; computing in Europe, the Soviet Union, and the developing world; how hackers helped shape minicomputers and the Internet; how amateur hobbyists invented the personal computer; and the story behind the World Wide Web.

The course assumes that new technologies and their social effects evolve together along a variety of dimensions. Some of these are technical: innovation, design, and opportunity. Some are social: funding sources, societal values, and organizational structures. Yet others are macro-scale economic, political, and social forces. The major questions that motivate our study of computers will concern "why" issues. Why were computers invented? Who wanted them, and for what purposes? How have computers changed the shape of society and culture and how did society and culture shape them? The course is relevant to anyone interested in the history, politics, and culture of technology. Several films will be screened, and the class will take at least one "field trip" to a historical site.

Course assignments include a research paper, group projects, and a midterm exam. Prerequisites: none. Familiarity with basic computer concepts is helpful, but not assumed.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RC Soc. Sci. 460. Social Science Senior Seminar.

Section 001 Women and Higher Education: the U of M As a Case Study.

Instructor(s): Steneck

Prerequisites & Distribution: Senior standing. (4). (Excl). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

As the first university of national importance to admit women, the University of Michigan provides an ideal vehicle for exploring the history of women and higher education within the context of the long-standing debate over the place of women in American post-secondary education. Beginning with the colonial era and continuing to the present, this seminar will explore the experiences, problems and challenges encountered by women in seeking gender, racial and ethnic equity in American higher education. Primary and secondary sources will be used to delineate the cultural and historical context of women's education nationally with particular attention given to the history of women at the University of Michigan. McGuigan, A Dangerous Experiment, Bordin, Women at Michigan and the novels, biographical and autobiographical works of University of Michigan alumnae will be read in order to further understand this experience. Students will do independent research on a self-selected aspect of women's education utilizing the materials available for research in campus libraries and archives, particularly the Bentley Historical Library, the Center for the Education of Women, Women's Studies and CAAS.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

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