250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (SS).
SECTION 001 – INTEGRATION, SEGREGATION, PLURALISM, and DIVERSITY IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICA. The highly vocal themes of ethnic pluralism and diversity in contemporary American society have drawn nearly equal numbers of supporters and detractors in recent years. On the one hand, advocates of ethnic pluralism and diversity argue that a robust American polity must come to grips with the palpable reality of ethnic diversity if the society is to exist as a genuinely inclusive democracy. On the other hand, critics of the recent "fever of ethnicity" argue that such advocacy too often degenerates into a romantic, uncritical "celebration" of diversity for its own sake, without due regard for the positive aspects of the historic ideal of a common culture. The contending voices of this lively debate are perhaps helping lay the groundwork for a new conceptualization of this perennial conflict between "the one and the many." This seminar proposes looking, first, at the contemporary ethnic revival as one form of an "associative reaction" generated by the socio-cultural dislocations of modernity. In this view the contemporary emphasis on "ethnicity" by Americans of all racial and national backgrounds has come to function as a coping mechanism, to serve as a psychological anchor for those who feel themselves swept up in the homogenizing maelstrom of rapidly changing times. The seminar will explore this phenomenon through a survey of historical and contemporary documents and source materials. The course will then extend its enquiry into the phenomenon by examining the various responses to it by such writers as Susanne Langer, Isaiah Berlin, Thomas Sowell, Daniel Bell, Harold Cruse, Milton M. Gordon, Anthony D. Smith, Thomas C. Holt, Stephen Steinberg, Herbert Gans, Ali A. Mazrui, Clifford Geertz, Erik Erikson, E. Franklin Frazier, David Hollinger, John Higham, Diane Ravitch, and Ralph Ellison. There will be intense critical readings and discussion, two short (five-seven pages) papers and one final paper of approximately 15 pages. [Cost:2] [WL:2] (B.Allen)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (HU).
SECTION 001 – 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 primary 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 in our method of studying; and in the use of Latin, Greek and Sanskrit dictionaries. 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, 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, 1210 Angell Hall. (Hornback)
SECTION 002 – JAMES JOYCE. We will begin by reading A PROTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, for the first three weeks of the term. Then we will take time out, and read ULYSSES – aloud – straight through, together, from 8:00 on a Saturday morning until about 4:00 on the following Sunday morning. After that we will start re-reading ULYSSES as we talk about it. ULYSSES will keep us busy for the rest of the term. (If you're wise, and serious, you'll get PORTRAIT read for the first time over the summer, and you'll get as much of ULYSSES read as you can manage.) For the first half-hour of each class meeting, one of you will be responsible for presenting a report on some aspect of either PORTRAIT or ULYSSES. We will use your work, then, to inform our discussion for the rest of the class period. Prospecti for seminar papers are due by November 10; I would like to talk with you about your plans for these papers before then. The papers are due at the last class meeting. Length, ten to twenty pages. Our object in this seminar will be to understand and enjoy two of the great novels in our literature. We will all have to work hard, at both the understanding and the enjoyment. [Cost:2] [WL:3, This seminar is open to Honors sophomores only.] (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 art (Cezanne, Merleau-Ponty). [Cost:3] [WL:3] (Amrine)
SECTION 004 – WHAT DOES FRENCH LITERATURE (FROM MONTAGUE TO LEVI-STRAUSS) TELL US ABOUT HUMAN DIVERSITY? The "declaration of the rights of man" assumes that it is possible to define UNIVERSAL rights which have the same relevance anywhere in the world; it affirms the existence of truly universal values. And yet we often agree that the extreme variety of races, cultures, ethnic and social groups can not be reduced to one single universal representation and we also know that the presence of different groups in the same territory may generate serious tensions. In other words, the problem of the unity and diversity of the human species is not an abstract problem but a problem we have to deal with everyday. French authors, from the Renaissance to the 20th century have been fascinated by this duality: Are there universal values or only values relative to time and space? By studying writers like MONTAIGNE, LA BRUYERE, MONTESQUIEU, ROUSSEAU, CHATEAUBRIAND, TOCQUEVILLE, RENAN, and LEVI-STRAUSS, we will see how the belief in universal values is often ethnocentric and quite easily leads to intolerance, as does the belief in relative values which leads to negate ethical values. How can one escape this dilemma? Taking this seminar may be your only chance to find out. The class will be in English and the French writers will be read in translation. Everyone will participate in structured discussions and write three essays (abut 1500 words each) during the term. The essays will deal with various authors, and the main themes we will discuss are ethnocentrism, races, nations, exotism. (Carduner)
SECTION 005 – PLAY, WORK, AND CAREER. Readings and discussions in this seminar will be directed toward examining the ways in which individuals, communities, and cultures organize those activities directed toward the necessities of life as well as those engaged in for the intrinsic satisfactions they offer. Among the kinds of writings to be reviewed are Huizinga, HOMO LUDENS; Marcuse, EROS AND CIVILIZATION; Turkle, WORKING; Freud, PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF EVERYDAY LIFE. Discussions will be led by the instructor or by class members. Students will be required to make written reports on readings and in response to the take-home examination question. [WL:5, Contact the Honors Office, 1210 Angell Hall] (Bordin)
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 human 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 compromised in order to deal successfully with such environmental health issues. The scientific basis for risk analysis and the political aspects of benefit analysis will also be considered. The format of the seminar will be as follows: An historical overview of an incident concentrating on the paramount issues involved will be presented first by an individual - faculty member, government official, newspaper reporter, etc. – who has expert knowledge of the incident. Each student will then WRITE a short report which includes a critique of the actions taken by participants in the incident, possible remedies for any actions that were inadequate, and procedures which, if implemented, could have prevented the occurrence of the human contamination. Each student will also give a short oral presentation or submit a short written paper on some general principle that applies to environmental chemical impacts on human health. Evaluation of student performance in the seminar will be based upon these written and oral reports. [WL:5, Contact the Honors Office, 1210 Angell Hall] (Bernstein)
SECTION 002 – THE GREAT IDEAS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE. This seminar may be viewed as a physical science equivalent of Great Books. Its aim is to examine the great ideas of the physical sciences from the 13th century to the present, to see them in the context of their own time, to gauge their impact upon succeeding generations and to access their role in the cultural development of this century. The main prerequisite is a curiosity about scientific ideas and a willingness to put as much reading time into the course as would be expected foreith the Great Books or one on the history of the novel. A background in introductory physics, chemistry, astronomy and calculus will be helpful. There will be two ninety-minute discussions per week, together with such other modes of discourse as seem possible and appropriate. Grades will be based upon three papers and, to a lesser degree, in-class contributions. [WL:5, Contact the Honors Office, 1210 Angell Hall] (Dunn)
SECTION 003 – THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE AND THE ART OF HUMBUG. In this seminar we will discuss the history of medicine in the light of changing attitudes towards science. Some of the topics to be covered are present day fads such as: ESP, chiropractic, astrology, acupuncture. The class is invited to add topics for discussion. When possible advocates on non-traditional medicine will be invited to present their views. [WL:5, Contact the Honors Office, 1210 Angell Hall] (Malvin)
SECTION 004 – CONCEPTS IN TWENTIETH CENTURY PHYSICS. The revolutionary concepts which have developed with this century and which are now the basis for our understanding of the physical world are presented and discussed. Following a brief summary of older definitions and physical principles, relativity and quantum mechanics will be studied. Other topics will include the quark model, parity and time reversal non-conservation, and some aspects of cosmology and of unified field theories. There are no college physics nor advanced mathematics prerequisites. The course will follow the format of the book by R.K. Adair THE GREAT DESIGN: PARTICLES, FIELDS, AND CREATION (Oxford, 1987). The course will be mostly conducted as a lecture course with adequate opportunity for discussion. A field trip to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will be arranged. Two book reports and a term paper will be required. There will be a midterm and a final exam. The course grade will be based on the papers and the examinations. [Cost:1] [WL:1] (L. Jones)
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