250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (SS).
Section 001; Politics and Letters: That Which the Soul Lives By. There is an interesting moment at the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men. In it, the folklorist and novelist outlines the process whereby her book and her self-awareness were simultaneously created: "I was glad someone told me, 'You may go and collect Negro folk-lore.' In a way it would not be a new experience for me. When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in the crib of negroism...But it was fitting me like a tight chemise. I could't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings, that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spy-glass of Anthropology to look through at that." It is this process that will be the focus of our concern this term. Using the lives, times, and works of Zora Hurston, Jomo Kenyatta, the Frantz Fanon; we will explore the means by which voyages of discovery become devices of self-definition; we will consider the paradox of identity as that which is both given and yet remains to be created. Our thoughts will include the ways in which these authors were both shaped by and were shapers of their historical moments-moments which also contained particular realizations of Black identity. Core readings will include Mules and Men, Facing Mt. Kenya, Black Skin White Masks. Other works such as Rosengarten's All God's Dangers, the Life of Nate Shaw, and Huggin' Harlem Renaissance, will provide insight into the times in which our authors lived, while still other works such as Culler's On Deconstruction, Gate's "The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey," and Said's Orientalism will provide our theoretical spy-glasses. Evaluation will be based upon class participation and two written assignments. (Roberts)
Section 002 – : Cholera Pandemics: Model Systems for Evaluating Societal Attitudes. Cholera pandemics provide model systems for retrospectively correlating societal attitudes with the methods used in eventually providing a solution to a large-scale social problem. These model systems also provide a basis for evaluating the potential validity of current societal attitudes in current attempts to solve large-scale social problems. Two hour seminar periods are used for student reviews of text chapters and class discussion. Guest participants provide additional commentaries. Students are evaluated on chapter presentations, class participation, and papers during the term. There are no prerequisites. The main text will be The Cholera Years by C.F. Rosenberg and A Darkened House by G. Bilson. (Whitehouse)
Section 003 – Becoming a Critical Consumer of Research Findings. Contrary to the standard approach to undergraduate courses where substantive issues in a single content area are studied intensively, this course would introduce students to a variety of problems in several different fields of study (e.g., psychology, education, and health). Students will be expected to articulate the fundamental issues imbedded in the problem areas and to learn to critique the various methods of inquiry which scientists have utilized to study these fundamental issues (e.g., case studies, surveys, experiments, cost-benefit analysis). This course will expose students to articles of increasing levels of sophistication taken from newspapers, magazines, "soft" journals, and "hard" journals encountered by both the instructor and (eventually) by students. Assignments will be logical extension of the peer review discussion of these articles in class and subsequent reading of scientists' critiques of these same articles. Early class sessions will address problems that have been researched thoroughly and where there exists precedent for the method of inquiry; later sessions will address problems that have yet to be discussed extensively by scientists. The emphasis throughout the course will be on identifying the fundamental issues in the various problems, critiquing the methodological approaches taken, pointing out the similarities of these issues across content areas, and teaching students to be more critical consumers of research. Evaluation will be based on class discussion, three-to five-page papers assigned where interesting and relevant issues emerge during class, and individual presentations and a 10-15 page paper in which students will discuss substantive issues contained and respond to questions and comments from the peer review process. (Yeaton)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – Something of Value. We will read and reread a few great books: Oedipus Rex, Plato's Protagoras and Geogias, Shakespeare's Tempest, Dostoevskii's Crime and Punishment, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, G.B. Shaw's St. Joan, and Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Our main concern will be to discuss what we value, and why we value it, and how we arrive at such determinations. For the first half of the term we will prepare one text for discussion each week; in the second half of the term we will use what we have read and talked about to inform our discussion of our main topic. Outlines of seminar papers due March first; seminar papers due April first. Meets one long evening a week, chez moi. Honors sophomores only. (Hornback)
Section 002 – Italian Literature of Power, Politics and Persuasion: 1940-1960. The final years of Fascism, the Second World War, the post-war economic boom and alienation – all these are woven into the fabric of modern Italian fiction with violence and subtlety, harsh polemic and artful allusion. Each with a distinctive style, the major writers of the period reflect the impact of these phenomena, and it is in their works that one finds the crucial cultural implications underlying the enigmatic Italian ethos. A nostalgic prince-astronomer, a family of degenerate upper bourgeois, a Turinese intellectual sent as a political prisoner to the south, a young Ligurian split in half by a cannon ball; these are some of the protagonists whose cryptic adventures inform the serious realities of the world in which their authors, and we, live. Readings will include novels and short stories by Elio Vittorini, Carlo Levi, Alberta Moravia, Ignazio Silone, Guiseppe Tomaso di Lampedusa and Italo Calvino. Introductory lectures, class discussion, individual and group projects. (Olken)
Section 003 – Critical Approaches to Modern Poetry. This course will be concerned with reading and critical discussion of major Contemporary poetry in the English, American, and modern European traditions, supplemented by readings in the work of major critics who have concerned themselves with verse. The special focus of the course will be lyric poetry and we will study, in a comparative manner, different approaches to the perceptive reading and analysis of works of this genre. The level of the course will be determined by the preparation and background of the students who enroll. A broad spectrum of critical approaches will be investigated, including the New Criticism, Interdisciplinary Approaches, Descriptive poetics, and, depending on the level of the students, such recent methods as Structuralism and Semiotics. Readings: Readings will be assigned from various anthologies of poetry and of critical essays, chosen with an eye toward price so that students can afford them. Requirements: At least one major paper and one minor paper will be required. There will also be a midterm and a final examination. (George)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (NS).
Section 001 – History of Biomedical Science and the Art of Humbug. Discussion will center upon the evolution of modern medicine. This will include consideration of what "prehistoric" medicine may have been like, and a description of early Western medical concepts. The instruction of the scientific method altered all those concepts, and of course the methods of prevention and treatment of illness. This will be discussed. In addition, attention will be directed at current day fads: acupuncture, astral projection, chiropractic, ESP, diets of all kinds, etc. The aim is to establish some reliable guideposts to making decisions regarding the health and well being of our bodies. No assigned reading, although recommended reading will be supplied. A term paper will be required. (Malvin)
Section 002 – Pre-Twentieth-Century Revolutions in Physical Science. Twentieth-Century physics has been convulsed by major discoveries such as Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Elementary Particles. All have altered fundamentally the way in which scientists (and non-scientists should) regard the world we occupy. There have been earlier periods of discovery which also radically altered our concept of the physical world. We will study two of them: The first occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and is associated with the names Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. It represented the toppling of the mediaeval conception of the Cosmos, and its ultimate replacement by a mechanistic picture. This period is brilliantly discussed in the works of the historian Alexandre Koyre. The second was the introduction of the concept of a field in mid-nineteenth century by Faraday and Maxwell. It was a development by the post-Newtonians, and fundamentally changed the mechanistic conception of a world of particles and forces. These developments are illuminated in the works of the historian of science, L.P. Williams. We will read selections from the original works, and will investigate the usefulness of the ideas propounded by the Thomas Kuhn in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. (Sanders)
Section 003 – Concepts in Twentieth Century Physics. The revolutionary concepts which have been developed within this century and which are now the basis for our understanding of our 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 or advanced mathematics prerequisites. (Jones)
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