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Fall Academic Term 2001 Course Guide

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Courses in RC Social Science

This page was created at 10:43 AM on Sun, Mar 18, 2001.

Fall Academic Term, 2001 (September 5 December 21)

Open courses in RC Social Science
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Fall Term '01 Time Schedule for RC Social Science.

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RCSSCI 220 / Soc. 220. Political Economy.

Section 001.

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

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

The course explores human society from an interdisciplinary social scientific perspective anchored in political economic analysis. The primary focus in on modern capitalism, especially as it has developed in the United States. The contributions of a wide range of social analysis are examined with an emphasis on recent work. Historical and theoretical points are considered in close relation to current affairs and to potential feasible alternatives to prevailing social relations. Students are encouraged to explore their own interests and ideas about policies and institutions as well as to develop their capacities for social analysis. Written work consists of a take-home midterm, a final examination, and a term paper on some political economic topic. The course provides extensive opportunities for discussion.

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

RCSSCI 295. Quantitative Approaches to Social Science Questions.

Section 001 Quantitative Approaches to Social Science Questions

Instructor(s): Merle Feldbaum (merle@umich.edu)

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: No Data Given.

RCSSCI 301. Social Science Theory I: From Social Contract to Oedipus Complex.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Jane R 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: No Data Given.

RCSSCI 305. Society and the Environment.

Section 001 Meets with NR&E 305.001.

Instructor(s): Steven R Brechin

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

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: No Data Given.

RCSSCI 306. Environmental History and Third World Development.

Section 001 Meets with NR&E 556.001

Instructor(s): Richard P Tucker

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

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Patterns of historical change in major ecosystems of the tropics and subtropics, in relation to theories of global environmental history. Transformations of the Third World's natural resources by colonial governments and capitalist economies since 1800, in tropical forests, savanna lands, and mountain systems; especially in the rapid escalation since 1945. the rise of modern systems of tropical resources management and conservation is also discussed.

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

RCSSCI 315. International Grassroots Development.

Section 001 International Grassroots Development.

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

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

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: No Data Given.

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 001 Women's Movements: Globally and Internationally.

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

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In this course we will learn about how women (and some men) are organizing to transform the pressing challenges which the world's women face. This is an advanced overview course a course about the big picture, but one which nevertheless values detail. The urgent premise of this course is that as people and institutions become more tightly connected worldwide through the impact of globalization and the Internet, the PERSONAL is truly POLITICAL. The national policies of sovereign states affect not only their own citizens or subjects but also have ramifications worldwide. The more thoroughly we, as women, understand how individual women and non-governmental organizations (NGO's) are addressing the issues of women worldwide and the dynamic global, regional, and local processes producing these issues, the more equipped we will be to act for our own and others' interests in the decades to come. We will also consider what specific roles women in America are playing in furthering the Platform for Action created at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. There will be one midterm exam to take and two research papers to write using exploratory research methods which follow multiple paths and use a variety of source materials. One goal is to acquaint you with some of the vast library resources at this outstanding research university. In this course we will use the framework of collaborative interactive pedagogy.

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

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 002 Exploring Psychosocial Development In Urban Settings Growing up in the Inner City.

Instructor(s): Jennifer T Myers (jeniferm@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In this course, we will examine the experiences of children growing up in urban environments from a number of perspectives. While the challenges of growing up in the inner city have been fairly well-documented, less is known about the resilience of many youth who live in cities. We will, through the examination of relevant research and literature, examine both challenge and resiliency in urban settings. While much of the focus will be on present day influences and experiences, we will also take a historical perspective. Students will gather qualitative data on the experiences of individuals who have grown up in cities during different eras. In addition, students will critically review and and analyze the potential influence of various aspects of popular culture on psychosocial development. Student performance in the class will be based on participation in class discussion and class projects as well as completion of written assignments.

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

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 003 South Africa Since 1989.

Instructor(s): David W Cohen (dwcohen@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course explores South Africa from the late 1980s to the present, with attention to significant struggles, crises, and development in different areas of South African life, in the transition from a social, political, economic, and cultural system based in apartheid theory and practice.

The course will not attempt to cover every element and layer of the unfolding of change in South Africa, but rather will bring focused attention to a set of specific topics:

  • The organization of a new government through popular elections: transitions within the transition.
  • The political and cultural constitution of ethnic contest: the making, unmaking, and remaking of group identities and struggles.
  • Housing, land redistribution, and relocation: the heady challenges of economic and social transformation.
  • Welfare and health in the context of change: addressing poverty and disease.
  • Reshaping the rights of individuals: work, gender and the person in "the new South Africa".
  • Truth, reconciliation, and the idea of justice: the unsettled history of oppression and liberation.
  • Trade, investment, and the new internationalism of the S. African economy: "the opening" of South Africa and the course of statism and protectionism in the South African economy.
  • The production of a new South African history: arts, museums, and education in the re-envisioning of a nation.

Some background to the South African transition will be provided and students who feel they need more background or context will be directed to a list of optional readings and sources.

The course will be organized around readings, discussions, several films, and lectures, as well as around presentations by visitors expert in several of the topical areas noted above.

Required work includes maintenance of a journal, writing three carefully crafted short (3 pp), and a longer (8 pp) paper focusing on one of the topical areas noted above and developed in class. Students will be expected to do the readings, attend the lectures and presentations, participate in the discussions, and submit work as required. (G)

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

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 004 Deconstructing Whiteness: Alternative Perspectives on Race, Class, and Gender in the American Experience.

Instructor(s): Ken Brown (krbrown@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course will explore the history of race, class and gender as they are represented and misrepresented in American history texts and in the culture at-large. Many revisionist historians assert that publishers and authors of high school textbooks willfully misrepresent American history in order to increase sales, quell controversy, and manufacture an adult populace that will conform to contemporary standards of "good" citizenship. Authors and publishers have a propinquity to represent American history in hyper-patriotic, feel-good pedagogy. High school textbooks in particular seldom present class conflict, urban history, immigrant history, race conflict, women's history, environmental history, or political skullduggery. Publishers of these texts are extraordinarily sensitive to historical events that may be controversial on a regional basis. The same textbook will represent American history in different ways in different parts of the country. We will examine the "misrepresentations" in popular notions of American history and attempt to determine their political and social ramifications in a society where educators and other scholars "misinform" its citizens. Primary attention will be placed on the deconstruction of our contemporary notions of "whiteness" and how gender is reflected in this notion. Students will be required to read six short books, a few short articles and view videos. Weekly e-mails are required. Students will also be required to lead class discussions based on the prior week's readings. The midterm assignment is an outline and annotated bibliography detailing a final research paper due at the end of the term. (SC)

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

RCSSCI 374. Race, Gender, and Empire in the Nuclear Age.

Section 001 Meets with History 396.002.

Instructor(s): Gabrielle Hecht (hechtg@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing and permission of the instructor. (4). (Excl).

R&E

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

The "nuclear age" is a phrase that defines the new geopolitical order that emerged after World War II. The phrase evokes atomic bombs, nuclear power plants, and white men in white coats. It refers to a techno-political world order, in which the power of a nation was defined by its level of access to nuclear power plants. But this standard vision of the nuclear age leaves out thousands of men and women whose participation in the nuclear age was central to its success: Africans from all over the continent, Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and Pacific Islanders. These men and women mined the uranium used by so-called nuclear nations to fuel their bombs and reactors. They were displaced (or not) by test explosions of atomic weapons. Their participation in the nuclear age, in short, fundamentally shaped not only their lives, but also the age itself. Meanwhile, the technologies and politics of the nuclear age (mining uranium, selling power plants across international borders, and testing weapons) were in many ways closely dependent on colonial structures and cultures.

This course examines the hidden side of the nuclear age. During the first half of the term, assigned readings will help students develop a framework through which to understand how dynamics of race, gender, and empire shaped, and were shaped by, the nuclear age. Class meetings for this first part will be largely devoted to discussing the readings and developing this framework. During the second half of the term, students will choose one particular case study and conduct their own research. Class meetings during this part will largely focus on working through and presenting student research. Students will be expected to produce a total of about 30-35 pages of writing (including the final paper).

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

RCSSCI 379 / Hist. 379. History of Computers and Networks.

Section 001 Meets with Information 528.001.

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

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

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: No Data Given.

RCSSCI 460. Social Science Senior Seminar.

Section 001 Women and Higher Education: The U of M As A Case Study. Meets with Women's Studies 483.005.

Instructor(s): Margaret L Steneck (msten@umich.edu)

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: No Data Given.

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