Fall '99 Course Guide

Courses in RC Social Science (Division 877)

Fall Term, 1999 (September 8 December 22, 1999)

Take me to the Fall Term '99 Time Schedule for RC Social Science.

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.

After each Social Science course description given below there is indicated (in parentheses) the role played by the course in the RC Social Science Concentration. This role can be Gateway, Theory, Research, Quantitative; or it can be related to one or more of the "areas of focus" in the concentration: global issues (G), social and community issues (SC), environmental issues (E), and health and human development issues (HHD). Non-concentrators are of course welcome to take any of these courses.

Note to Senior concentrators in the Social Science Program: Under the requirements for the Social Science concentration, all seniors must write a graduating essay for which they will receive two credits. They MUST, therefore, register for two credits under RC Core 410 Senior Project during Winter Term. Students will then receive regular guidance and feedback from the faculty. To register, you will need an override from Charlie Bright and a letter of permission from the RC Counseling Office.

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. 290. Social Science Basic Seminar.

Section 001.

Prerequisites & Distribution: (1). (Excl).

Credits: (1).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This seminar is designed for students at the sophomore level or above who are seriously considering a Social Science major in the Residential College. The seminar is a requirement in the Social Science Program; its purpose is to prepare students to pursue a concentration program in Social Science in the RC. Seminar sessions will introduce students to the RC Social Science faculty and upper-level Social Science majors, and discussion will center on how to turn general interests into problems that can be investigated systematically. Early on, students will begin working on their own with guidance from faculty and upper-level students whose interests complement theirs in order to complete the principal goal of the seminar: designing a coherent, indivualized program of study for the Social Science major.

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

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

Section 001 Social Science Theory in Bourgeous Europe.

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

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

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/Reserves/F99/RC301/

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. 306. Environmental History and Third World Development.

Section 001 Meets with History 346.001 and SNR&E 556.001.

Instructor(s): Richard Tucker (rptucker@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Domestication of major ecosystems of the tropics and subtropics since 1500. Exploitation of natural resources and indigenous cultures by colonial regimes and local elites, linked with the global economy. Environmental change under post-independence governments, corporate capitalism, and the subsistence demands of rising populations. The environmental demands of affluent consumer cultures. The rise of modern systems of tropical resource conservation and wildlife protection.

We will survey major patterns of ecological change in the modern world, and the forces which have caused them.. We will focus primarily on the tropical world, and the long-term impact of colonialism and the global economy of tropical natural resources. We will consider how the accelerating domestication of a formerly wild planet has depleted genetic resources and cultural diversity in the name of science and Progress. We will study the environmental impacts of consumer cultures and accelerating population, as two aspects of North/South relations. In the process we will discover various systems of resource management which have been relatively sustainable. An hour's discussion each week will give us the chance to examine the issues and materials critically, and relate them to our broader concerns as world citizens at the turn of the millennium.

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. 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 001 Deconstructing Whiteness: Alternative Perspectives on Race, Class, and Gender in the American Experience. Meets with American Culture 496.005.

Instructor(s): Brown

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. 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 do tend to represent American history in hyper-patriotic, feel-good pedagogy. High school textbooks almost overwhelmingly never present class conflict, urban history, immigrant history, race conflict, women's history, environmental history, or political skullduggery. Publishers in particular, 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 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.

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

RC Soc. Sci. 374. Race, Gender, and Empire in the Nuclear Age.

Section 001 Meets with History 397.007.

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

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

Upper-Level Writing R&E

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: https://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/1999/fall/lsa/rcsocs/374/001.nsf

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: 1

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

Section 001 Meets with School of Information 528.001.

Instructor(s): Paul 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.

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

RC Soc. Sci. 471. Culture as Environment: Worldviews and Cultural Agendas.

Section 001 Meets the research requirement for RC Social Science concentrators.

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

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

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course gives you the opportunity to learn intensively about a particular Native American group in the context of the long and continuing struggles of Native communities on Turtle Island (as the Americas were called) to survive during the onslaught of European and Euro-American conquest and settlement. We will investigate various groups' origin stories, spiritual world views, resource ecology, land struggles, and cultural agendas.

We will use a comparative geographical research method, that of ethnically-sensitive human ecological analysis framed by world view comparison. We will also employ a writing style which includes writing about the data found, the research process, and one's personal engagement with the research. You will be responsible for writing two research papers about a Native American group of your own choosing as well as for participating effectively in class sessions. The course will be taught using collaborative pedagogical methods. This course meets the RC Social Science Concentration research requirement.

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

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