Seminars are offered by outstanding members of the faculty from many different departments, on a great variety of topics. Each should provide a group of beginning students with a stimulating introduction to the intellectual life of the University by exposing them to engaging subject matter, instruction by an experienced member of the faculty, and the opportunities for active participation that a small class will afford. Our hope is that students who take a seminar will find in it a sense of intellectual and social community that will make the transition to a large University easier. Some no doubt will discover a subject that they will want to pursue in further courses.
The seminars described below will be offered in the Winter Term. They are open to all freshmen and should be elected along with other courses during the registration period. Each will count toward satisfying the distribution requirements of the College in one of three basic subject areas: Humanities (150), Social Sciences (151), or Natural Sciences (152).
The success of its program of First-Year Seminars has led the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to create a second program of seminars: the Collegiate Seminars. The Collegiate Seminars for winter term are described below.
Like the First-Year Seminars, the Collegiate Seminars are an unusual educational opportunity. They provide an opportunity for the student to personalize his or her education. Each Collegiate Seminars is taught by a regular professorial faculty member, and each is limited in size, usually to 20 students. Interaction between student and teacher, made possible by the small size of the class, facilitates deeper learning and allows the student to get to know a faculty member personally. Moreover, students find that in seminars, they learn much more from one another because a learning community develops, and dialogue among students as well as between student and teacher takes place. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT EACH STUDENT TAKE AT LEAST ONE SEMINAR DURING THE FOUR YEARS AT MICHIGAN.
There are several important differences between the two programs of seminars. First-Year Seminars are open to all freshmen and only to freshmen, while the Collegiate Seminars are open to any student who has completed the Introductory Composition Requirement (either by placing out or by having taken an appropriate composition course). The Collegiate Seminars emphasize critical thinking about important and central topics and feature further instruction in writing.
All Collegiate Seminars count toward satisfaction of the College's distribution requirements.
150. First-Year Seminar. First year students;
sophomores with permission of instructor. (4). (HU). May be repeated
Section 001. Understanding and Appreciating Poetry. The aim of the course will be to help students accurately and sensitively, to work towards an understanding of what the American poet Wallace Stevens means when he says: "In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and the rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all." Class work will center on the day to day discussion of specific poems, supplemented by the writing of relatively brief descriptive analyses of assigned poems (sometimes of poems that the student has shown individually), both in class and outside. Required text will be The Norton Anthology of Poetry, ed. Eastman et al., Third Edition (Complete Edition, not the shorter Edition). Cost:1 WL:4 (Barrows)
Section 002. Creative Writing. A workshop in which the student will obtain practice in writing informal autobiographical essays, short fiction, and poems. The student's work will be read and discussed in class and will also be discussed in scheduled conferences with the instructor. The student should be prepared to submit about six copies of each written assignment for the use of his or her classmates. (Squires)
151. First-Year Seminar. First year students;
sophomores with permission of instructor. (4). (SS). May be repeated
SECTION 001. Totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is conventionally regarded as a system of rule that is novel and unique in our century; it is usually seen as the principal alternative to constitutional government and democracy. In this seminar we will survey various definitions and models of totalitarianism as well as theories concerning its origins. We will then attempt to illustrate, and test the validity of, these theories and models by case studies that will include not only fascist or National-Socialist, Stalinist and neo-Stalinist regimes, but also regimes from earlier centuries that might be classified as totalitarian. Finally, we will examine whether currently democratic societies harbor any potential for a turn toward totalitarian rule. In the first few sessions, the instructor will introduce the main themes of the course. After that, the students will be expected to give oral reports backed up by written essays, to stimulate discussion. The grade will be determined by assessing the quality of these reports, by the intensity of class participation, and by a take-home final exam. (Meyer)
Section 002. Public Education in the South for Blacks and Other Minorities, 1863-1954. The purpose of this seminar will be to trace the development of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education of Blacks and minorities in the southern states of the United States from the Emancipation Proclamation to May 18, 1954. Particular emphasis will be focused on judicial litigations from the Supreme Court decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson, from which the doctrine of "separate but equal" evolved, to the historic Brown vs. Topeka, Kansas Board of Education of 1954, which upheld the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional. Of special importance will be seminar discussions revealing how Blacks and minorities were successful in achieving an education in spite of the barriers confronting them in the states where they resided and resulting from court decisions, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Students will be expected to read a number of the classic writings of Black and minority authors such as W.E.B. DuBois, E.Franklin Frazier, Booker T. Washington, John Hope Franklin, and many others. The writings of contemporary Blacks and minorities will be explored as well as books about Blacks and minorities such as Gunnar Myrdal's, An American Dilemma. Students will be expected to prepare readings, participate in seminar discussions, and develop a research topic preferably centered around one of the southern states under investigation in the seminar. Cost:1 WL:3 (Palmer)
210. Perspectives on Careers in Medicine and Health
Care. (4). (Excl).
This course is for students considering a career in the health professions. It is designed to help them acquire perspectives to facilitate their decision-making process. Health care professionals visit the class and share their educational and professional experiences. Students become acquainted with the prerequisites for professional and graduate schools and spend time with dental, medical, osteopathic, nursing, and public health students. We consider problems facing the health professions in the 90s: problems of health care delivery, the high cost of medicine and its effect on the uninsured and underinsured. We discuss issues relating to malpractice and death and dying. Students are expected to respond in writing and in class to the visitors, to the reading materials, and to films. Two course packs and one book serve as the required texts. All students are responsible for taking definite steps toward the development of their own goals through a self-inventory of their values, skills, and interests and through a term paper exploring a possible career direction. Evaluation is based on class attendance and participation in and completion of all assignments. The class meets Mon. 3-5 and Thurs. 7-9:30 p.m. at 2130 Dorset Rd., Ann Arbor. A map showing the location of 2130 Dorset Rd. will be available at 1017 Angell Hall. The first meeting will be January 9, 1992. Cost: 2 WL:5 Enrollment by override only: contact Fran Zorn at 1018 Angell Hall (747-3607) or call 662-0682 and leave a message. (Zorn)
250. Collegiate Seminars. Open to any
student who has completed the introductory composition requirement.
(4). (HU). May be repeated for credit.
Section 001. Hamlet in Its Contexts. Hamlet is probably Shakespeare's most popular and familiar play. To get some idea of why this might be, we will start the course by looking carefully at the play itself, as a text and as a dramatic production. Then we will consider some of the contexts of the play, most obviously other plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries (and maybe more recent plays written with Hamlet in mind) but also discussions of relevant bits of history and psychoanalysis and various kinds of literary criticism. Throughout we will try to keep the dramatic nature of the play in mind as reference for the utility of these contextual readings – what help would they be to a director or actor doing Hamlet ? There will be a final exam, an in-term exam, and several short (about three pages) papers. (Lenaghan).
Section 002. The Philosophy of Descartes. The seminar
will be devoted to an intensive examination of the philosophy
of Descartes, based on a careful reading of the Meditations,
and selections from some of Descartes' other philosophical and scientific works. The seminar is intended to serve as a vehicle
for developing skills in philosophical thinking, and in the interpretation
of philosophical texts in their historical context. To these ends, there will be considerable emphasis on student participation, student presentations, and student writing – even if this has the
result that less material is covered, and the material is covered
less systematically, than might be possible in a lecture format.
Students will also be expected to engage philosophical and interpretive
literature related to Descartes' texts. No prior work in philosophy
is required or presupposed. Topics will include Cartesian skepticism
about the existence of the physical world, Descartes' proofs of the existence of God, his attempt to validate reliance on the
cognitive faculties, and his account of the relationship of the
mind to the body. These topics will be discussed in their own
right, and also in an effort to understand the relationships among
Descartes' philosophical religious, and scientific views. Students
will be expected to write a number of short papers, and to expand one of these into a longer term paper. (Loeb)
Section 003. Reading the Everyday. Does the lay-out of your living-room furniture or what you chose to wear to class today matter? Such things are part of our "material culture" and presumably have a lot to do with "who we are," but they are not thought to be especially important or to be worth studying. Is there nevertheless something to be learned from them? This is a seminar in which experiences such as "walking down the street" or "watching TV" are taken seriously. The idea of reading the everyday assumes that, just as there are verbal "texts" (novels, poems, letters, newspapers), there are also cultural texts. Although we don't often bother to "read" them, because they seem to be "just naturally there," such things as a streetscape, a set of clothes, the facade and lay-out of a building, not only "make sense," but also turn out, on examination, to mean more than they seem to "say." In reading things that are normally taken for granted, we will be looking for the ways such everyday things can affect who we are, in ways that we are not often aware of. Alongside of the media, we will examine more traditional forms of everyday communication and knowledge like common sense, gossip and proverbs. In addition to looking at "popular" culture (the politics of styles of dress, for instance), we will track down the presence of everyday modes in "high" culture and sophisticated forms of knowledge (the historian's reliance on storytelling, to lawyer's reliance on "community standards"). We will need to think about the difference between the everyday, the normal and the average, and to enquire whether the everyday is the same for Jane as it is for Jim, for Jose from the wrong side of the tracks and for Jennifer from the big house on the hill. Readings will be drawn from current work in "cultural studies," and class time will mainly be devoted to discussion, the assumption being that because the everyday is by definition something we all know well, everyone can contribute thoughtful analysis of it. I will ask you to keep a journal of your observations of the everyday, and to write out two short (4-5 page) "readings" of everyday phenomena. There will also be a more extended project to be done in small groups, presented in class and written up for posterity. Books to buy: Barthes, Mythologies ; Willis, A Primer for Daily Life; Hebdige, Hiding in the Light; Hodge and Kress, Social Semiotics. Course pack containing extracts from M. deCerteau, M. Morris, D. Haraway and others. (Chambers)
Section 004. Bhagavad-Gita: A Text in Context. Bhagavad-Gita is a very important Hindu religious text, read widely by the Hindus and non-Hindus alike. The University does not currently provide a systematic course dealing with this important text. This course will deal with the Bhagavad-Gita from a particular critical angle, to study it in its changing context. It will explore the following dimensions: (1) Bhagavad-Gita in its historical textual context. The Bhagavad-Gita is part of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata. This epic is the largest known epic poem of about 100,000 verses, and its composition and evolution raise important textual and historical issues. How and why a religious text such as the Bhagavad-Gita came to be incorporated into the epic is an important question. (2) Bhagavad-Gita as a philosophical synthesis of previous religious-philosophical traditions. A product of post-Buddhist Hindu India, the Bhagavad-Gita represents a conscious attempt to bring together divergent philosophical traditions and create a new synthesis. It synthesizes the traditions of actions and renunciation, and polytheism and monotheism. (3) Divergent interpretations of the Bhagavad-Gita. The text as handed down became an important religious document of great authority, and every susbsequent philosophical-religious tradition had to interpret it in a unique way to find support for its own doctrines. We will investigate some of the divergent interpretations of this text and the reasons for these divergent interpretations. (4) Bhagavad-Gita in the context of divergent political philosophies. In recent times, the text has again become important for various reasons. Nationalist leaders like B.G. Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi used this text to derive inspiration for their nationalist struggle against the British. In this process, they interpreted the text again in divergent ways to suit their own political purposes, one deriving a message of justified violent struggle, the other deriving non-violence from the same text Reading materials for this class will include a variety of approaches to this text. Students will be expected to select particular dimensions of the text and do focused reading and writing. There will be greater emphasis on trying to understand how and why a religious text gets interpreted so differently by different people at different times, than just the contents of the text. There will be weekly discussions, short papers, a longer term paper, and a presentation. Such an exercise will help students in their reading, writing, and thinking processes and will prepared them to study other texts in their context. (Deshpande).
251. Collegiate Seminars. Open to any
student who has completed the introductory composition requirement.
(4). (SS). May be repeated for credit.
Section 001. Literature, Western Colonialism, and the Third World. The purpose of this course is to consider the contribution the literature of the colonial encounter can make to our understanding of modern history. It will treat North Africa, the Middle East, and India in the age of imperialism, and will seek to employ literary text in the study of the mentalities of colonizer and colonized. Literature not only entertains and instructs, it also expresses attitudes and feelings that reflect its historical and social context. The Age of Imperialism, stretching roughly from 1882 to 1962, witnessed a widespread European colonial domination of Afro-Asia. Even in the period 1962 to the present, the continued unequal relationship of Afro-Asia with the Northern Hemisphere has created the phenomenon often referred to as neo-imperialism, a factor in such upheavals as the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. Neo-imperialism also has much to do with the furor over Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. Scholars have sought out the history of this vast historical movement in archives, looking at diplomacy, colonial administration, economic history, and movements for national liberation. Yet the political and economic domination of Europeans over Afro-Asian populations, and the cultural encounters it entailed, also left a vivid mark on the subjectivity of the peoples involved. Authors of fiction, both in Europe and in Afro-Asia, recorded this subjectivity with unusual sensitivity. Readings for the course will include novels by Joseph Conrad, T.E. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, Naguib Mahfouz, Amos Oz, and Salman Rushdie. A course pack of short readings that will set these works in historical context will also be assigned. Students will participate in seminar discussions, and will team up for in-class debates on central issues in the texts. The grade will be based on class participation and on two short term papers. (Cole)
Section 002. Travelers East: From Beowulf to the Cosmos. A good way of learning about changes in ourselves is to measure our changing perceptions of "foreigner." In this seminar we will read, look at, and compare descriptions by adventurers, explorers, and tourists, men and women, who traveled to what they called "exotic" places. Beginning with Beowulf, readings will include crusader chronicles, reports on the Mongols, dialogues with Muslims, Lawrence of Arabia, an Agatha Christie commentary on Iraq, depictions in art and on film of "the mysterious east," and accounts of "contacts" with aliens. Our goals will be to understand the difficulty of cross-cultural contact and to gain a better insight into the historical analysis of literature. (Lindner)
Section 003. Alternative Realities: Science and the Study of Human Perception. This course will investigate a number of questions about the nature of human perception, about the nature of science, and about the relationship with them. A number of broad, highly subjective, inherently interesting questions about the nature of perception will be investigated. The broadest of these questions will be the question of cultural relativism: Do people from widely different cultures experience immediate reality in fundamentally different ways? However, these questions will provide a vehicle for introducing more fundamental questions: How can such questions be meaningfully investigated? And, especially, can such questions be asked from within the framework of modern (positive, operational) science? The goal will be to expose the students to the philosophy of science in a palatable manner, with an emphasis on the discussion of the limitations of scientific investigation and an introduction to alternative modes of inquiry. The alternative realities to be explored will be those attributable to cultures, subcultures, cults, historical eras, substances (i.e. drugs), and mental illness. Most importantly, the scientific enterprise itself, as one mode among others, of establishing an order of reality, will also be presented in this context. The readings for the course will be broad and eclectic. Selections will be assigned from Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, Allison Lurie's Imaginary Friends, Owen Barfield's Saving the Appearances, Walker Percy's Message in the Bottle, Thomas Szass' The Myth of Mental Illness, Helen Keller's The World I Live In, and Theodore Roszak's Where the Wasteland Ends. We will also focus some discussions on a number of contemporary movies which will be viewed in informal, supplementary classes held at the instructor's home. These will include Do the Right Thing, Koyaanisqatsi, Field of Dreams, and Dances with Wolves. Finally, an MTS Conference will be established in which the students can have continuing interactions among themselves, and with the instructor. The students' grades will be entirely determined by writing papers. The students' writing will be individually developed and evaluated through individual, tutorial meetings held every three or four weeks at the instructor's office. Cost: 3 (Pachella)
252. Collegiate Seminars. Open to any
student who has completed the introductory composition requirement.
(4). (NS). May be repeated for credit.
Understanding Organic Diversity – The Evolutionary Framework. The theory of evolution by natural selection will be examined as an example of how scientists approach a question which has a strong historical element. First, we will become familiar with some of the diversity of organisms (past and present) and specific examples of apparent adaptations. This will involve a combination of readings, slide presentatons, and museum trips. We will then compare alternative explanations for this diversity and for the `fit' of organisms to their environment. We will consider the nature of the scientific process in discussion of special creation versus natural selection. The evidence and the nature of the evidence for these ideas will be discussed. Finally, the impact of the ideas derived from neo-Darwinian evolution on philosophical thinking will be considered. The course will involve two meetings a week, each for 1 1/2 hours. A combination of a few lectures, slide presentations, and readings will lead to discussion and debate as the primary means of learning. The writing of a series of short essays will also allow exchange of ideas and viewpoints. No background in biology is required, although some exposure to elementary chemistry would be helpful. (Hazlett)
262/RC Interdivisional 262.
AIDS: The Challenge to Society. (4). (Excl).
This multi-disciplinary course on AIDS will emphasize the biomedical and psychosocial aspects of this worldwide epidemic. Fundamentals of the immune system will be covered, as well as virology, etiology, and epidemiology. The course will further emphasize the cultural, political and ethical issues that surround societal responses to the epidemic. Topics include: immunology of AIDS, fundamentals of viruses and retroviruses, the epidemiology and natural history of HIV infection, AIDS drug development and history, ethical and legal issues in drug and vaccine development, AIDS in minority communities, AIDS in women and children, cultural issues in AIDS research and treatment, the challenge of behavioral change, AIDS prevention and education, and local and international impact. Throughout, students can expect to gain insight into how the scientific enterprise interfaces with the larger society and its prevailing values. The course will meet for two 1-1/2 hour lecture periods per week; in addition, students will meet for a two hour discussion period per week. Short commentary papers, an individual or group research project/paper, and mid-term and final exams will be assigned. This course is open to students who have taken at least one college-level natural science course, and is especially intended for those considering careers in the biomedical, public health, or psychosocial fields. (Sloat and Ostrow)
325. Introduction to Cognitive
Science. Sophomore or junior standing. (3). (N.Excl).
Intelligent thought and action have been studied in many scientific disciplines, including cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, and neuroscience. As researchers from these different disciplines begin to interact, a new field called Cognitive Science is emerging. This course is an introduction to this interdisciplinary study of the mind. The primary goal of the course is to introduce the student to both the need for studying intelligence from a variety of disciplines and the methods used within each approach. We will discuss general concepts in the field, and explore selected topics such as perception, language understanding, and problem solving. Course work will include readings, assignments, and exams. There is no official prerequisite for this course, but previous courses in psychology or computer science may be helpful. This course is Not Excluded for LS&A distribution requirements. Any questions about the course should be addressed to either instructor, Colleen Seifert 763-0210 or Edward Smith 764-0186.
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