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Winter Academic Term 2004 Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Winter Academic Term 2004 on wolverineaccess.umich.edu in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in RC Social Science


This page was created at 7:53 PM on Wed, Jan 21, 2004.

Winter Academic Term, 2004 (January 6 - April 30)



RCSSCI 254. Mind and Brain in the Creative Process.

Section 001 — Meets with PSYCH 402.001.

Instructor(s): Jeffrey E Evans (jeevans@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Sophomore standing. (4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this course we explore the creative process in art making, in problem solving, and in human development. We will ask what creativity is, what function it serves in human evolution, and how it works in real lives. We will approach our exploration from three interacting psychological perspectives: the cognitive, the affective, and the life-historical. Cognitive and affective processes blend in the creative imagination; modalities considered include the visual-spatial, auditory, kinesthetic and linguistic. In this regard, dreaming as an autonomous imaginative process is compared with the more deliberate imagining of the conscious mind at work. Life-historical material, including stories of persons with symptoms and syndromes — synesthesia, autism, manic-depression - illuminate ways in which the creative process may be focused or stunted by cognitive or emotional extremes. Persons considered in this context include Vincent Van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Temple Grandin, Frida Kahlo, and Kay Redfield Jamison. Throughout, we will reflect on our own creative processes, and we will create dialogues with theory and with the lives of others. This course is aimed at students who (1) have an interest in psychology or other human science and want to broaden their studies to include creativity, or (2) are primarily interested in their own creative work and want to deepen their understanding of the creative process through applying analytic tools of the sciences.

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

RCSSCI 275(RCNSCI 275). Social Dynamics of Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Howard Markel (howard@umich.edu), Alexandra Stern (amstern@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Sophomore standing. (4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/rcssci/275/001.nsf

This course will provide a rigorous overview of science, medicine, and technology studies. We will explore the interplay between science and society from historical, ethical, and cultural perspectives through case studies. Topics covered will include: genetic enhancement, energy and transportation, human experimentation, public health and epidemics, and reproductive health. You should come away from this course with the ability to think critically about the role of science, medicine, and technology, as knowledge and material practice, especially in the United States.

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

RCSSCI 280. Moral Choice in Context: Social-Psychological and Historical Perspectives.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Ian Robinson (eian@umich.edu) , Henry Greenspan (hgreensp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Sophomore standing. (4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/rcssci/280/001.nsf

This course — jointly taught by a psychologist-playwright and a sociologist-political scientist — examines the contexts in which, and the processes by which profound moral choices are made. It does so through a series of case studies that include both psychological experiments — especially Milgram's famous experiments on "obedience" — and selected historical situations. Examples also come from weekly films, from literature and drama, and from the analytic and creative reflections of course participants about the contexts and consequences of their own moral choosing.

Major topics include:

  • The process of moral choice within extreme situations; in particular,the ways some people became killers and others became resisters during the Holocaust and at the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. We will look at the ways our analysis of moral choice in such extreme circumstances may both inform and distort the ways moral decisions take place in everyday life.
  • The evolution of discrete acts of moral resistance into large-scale social movements; more specifically, the process of organizing sustained commitment within the civil rights movement in Mississippi during the 1960s. Here, we consider the role that social networks, shared participation, and a shared history play in the process and impact of moral choice. More generally, we explore "activism" as a context of moral choice.
  • Finally, in the light of what has preceded, we will consider issues of moral choice in contemporary contexts — the contexts of our own lives. This will include questions about the fate of character and moral commitment in times of war and widespread fear and uncertainty, the relationship between personal moral commitments and those that are national or even international, and the complex relationships between being a moral "bystander" to ongoing events and being, in one way or another, an "activist." One focus here will be moral choice in the context of contemporary genocides — in particular, an exploration of the forces that have shaped U.S. policies toward Rwanda and Iraq over the past two decades, and citizen responses to those policies.

Primary texts include Milgram's Obedience to Authority and later commentary on Milgram's work; Browning's and Goldhagen's Studies of Holocaust Perpetrators; Bilton and Sim's Four Hours in My Lai; Payne's I've Got the Light of Freedom; McAdam's Freedom Summer and Samantha Powers' A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide.

There will be films — both features and documentaries-every Monday evening from 7-9 p.m., so no student should enroll for this course who will not be free during those hours.

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

RCSSCI 290. Social Science Basic Seminar.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Stephen M Ward

Prerequisites & Distribution: (1). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit. Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

Credits: (1).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this one credit course students at the sophomore level or above who are seriously considering a Social Science concentration in the Residential College develop, in consultation with one or more faculty members, a proposal for carrying out such a concentration.

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

RCSSCI 302. Contemporary Social and Cultural Theory.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites & Distribution: Social Science 301 or equivalent (as determined by the instructor). (4). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

After an initial historical orientation, the course will consider some central topics in contemporary social thought which received seminal formulation and development in the enormously influential work of John Rawls. After a close reading of Rawls' Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, these themes will be pursued through the most influential critical responses and elaborations of Robert Nozick, Amartya Sen, Ronald Dworkin, and G. A. Cohen. The course will then take up a range of prominent recent proposals developed by John E. Roemer, Philippe Van Parijs, and Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott offering alternative conceptions of more just domestic social institutions and policies. The course then expands the focus to consider these topics in the context of globalization. (For a copy of the syllabus email the instructor.)

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

RCSSCI 344 / HISTORY 344. The History of Detroit in the 20th Century.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Stephen M Ward (smward@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Sophomore standing. (4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

Theme Semester

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will explore the history of Detroit and the southeast Michigan region during the twentieth century. We will track important social, economic, and political transformations in the city's history: the persistence and impact of racial and ethnic conflicts; the ways in which class conflicts have shaped the urban landscape and the workplace; the impact of immigration on Detroit's social and political development; the interplay between the auto industry and the urban environment; the on-going struggles over political power and for control of the city; and the changing ways the city is represented, both among its citizens and in the broader American consciousness. Our investigation into Detroit history is designed to clarify how the city's past has created the conditions and circumstances of the present. Thus, while the course is organized chronologically and will include an overview of industrial expansion in the early 20th Century, our emphasis will be on the period during and after World War II, when Detroit, like many other American cities, underwent a series of interlocking changes in social structure and political economy that have had a continuing impact on contemporary problems and possibilities. We will examine the wartime economic expansion of the 1940s and 1950s; the patterns of racial conflict that shaped struggles over housing, jobs, public spaces, and political power in the city; the central role Detroit played in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, as well the artistic and cultural production of this era; the patterns of white flight and the strategies of urban renewal deployed from the 1950s through the 1970s; the economic crisis of the 1970s and its impact on the racial configuration of city politics; and ensuing conflicts over urban planning, regional development; downtown revitalization; and community defense during the 1980s and 1990s. The aim of these inquiries is to highlight the relationship between past and present in Detroit and to develop a framework for understanding and interpreting the current conditions and conundrums in the city.

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

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 003 — Mexican Labor and North American Economic Integration: Nogales Field Study. [4 credits].

Instructor(s): Ian Robinson (eian@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (3-4). (Excl). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 12 credits.

Credits: (3-4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/rcssci/360/003.nsf

As a result of the continental economic integration process promoted by NAFTA, the U.S. imports far more manufactured goods, and far more labor from Mexico than ever before. Most of these imported goods are produced in a twelve-mile strip just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, where export-oriented assembly plants called maquiladoras employ at least one million workers. Most of the growing number of Mexican workers who cross the border to work in the United States are small farmers who can no longer support their families with what they can grow and earn on the land. This course examines the rise of the maquiladoras, the decline of small farmers in Mexico, the causes of these developments, and their consequences for workers in Mexico and the United States.

The centerpiece of the course is a one-week field trip to Nogales, Sonora (a maquila city of 300,000, located one hour south of Tucson, AZ) during the Spring Break. In Nogales, we do "home-stays" with people who live and work there, visit factories and talk with managers, and meet community organizers. We also travel to Altar and Sasabe, several hours south and west of Nogales, where we talk with migrant workers planning to enter the U.S. without documentation. These encounters are organized with the assistance of an international NGO, Borderlinks, based in Tucson and Nogales. Before the field trip, our readings provide students with historical background, rival theoretical interpretations of the realities that they will soon encounter, and journalistic treatments of what these realities mean to those who live them. After returning to Ann Arbor, students develop individual or group projects that build on what they have learned. These range from traditional research papers to developing materials for educating high school students.

This is a four credit course, capped at 20. Everyone in the course will be going to Nogales during the Spring Break. The course is open to all LS&A students; Residential College students will have priority for half the spaces. Everyone enrolled in the course will go to Nogales. The Office of International Programs is providing some financial support to students to meet the costs of the field trip.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1, 5: Permission of Instructor

RCSSCI 360. Social Science Junior Seminar.

Section 005 — Urban and Community Studies II. [3 credits]. Meets with CAAS 358.005.

Instructor(s): Derrick I M Gilbert (derrickg@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (3-4). (Excl). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 12 credits.

Credits: (3-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Urban and Community Studies II is the second installment of a two-semester sequence. This course will focus on studying urban communities through participant observation. Throughout the academic term, we will review a number of urban ethnographies — beginning with W.E.B. seminal ethnography, The Philadelphia Negro — originally published in 1899. However, the goal of this course is to train students in qualitative methodologies and to ultimately have them create their own urban ethnography.

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

RCSSCI 365. Excellence, Equity, and the Politics of Education.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): David Thomas Burkam (dtburkam@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Theme Semester

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course focuses on the broad issue of educational equity, explored within the context of the many goals of American schooling. In particular, readings and discussions will assess: (1) the social distribution of educational resources, opportunities and outcomes; (2) the role of schooling in reproducing and reinforcing prevailing economic, political, and social relationships; and (3) the potential contradictions between the societal functions of schooling and the professed goals of educators. Class time will follow a seminar format with student requirements including (a) extensive readings and active participation/leadership in class discussions, (b) three or four short essays, and (c) a final research project with in-class presentation. Approval for SS distribution pending.

Readings will be drawn from a coursepack and such texts as:

  • Bowles & Gintis (1976). Schooling in Capitalist America.
  • Bowen & Bok (1998). The Shape of the River: Long Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and
  • University Admissions.
  • Entwisle, Alexander, & Olson (1997). Children, Schools, & Inequality.
  • Kozol (1991). Savage Inequalities.
  • Oakes (1985). Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality.
  • Powel, Farrar, & Cohen (1985). The Shopping Mall High School.

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

RCSSCI 460. Social Science Senior Seminar.

Section 002 — History and Politics of Chemical and Biological Warfare Disarmament.

Instructor(s): Susan Presswood Wright (spwright@umich.edu)

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

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The problems associated with biological weapons have achieved a new salience over the past decade, especially in the West and especially since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The discovery of a biological weapons program in Iraq and Russia's acknowledgment of the former Soviet Union's huge biological weapons program demonstrated both continuing state interest in biological weapons and the ease of violating the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention without detection. The Aum Shinrikio cult's attack with sarin nerve agent in the Tokyo subway as well as its unsuccessful attempts to use anthrax suggested the possibility of terrorist interest in and potential ability to use biological weapons. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks came anthrax-laced letters mailed first to major media and then to politicians. While the extent and significance of these events remain unclear, they demonstrate the vulnerability of the institutions of an open society and the psychological impact of use of biological weapons even when the number of casualties is low and the disease can be treated.

In the United States, the principal focus of concern continues to be the possibility of a bioterrorist attack. But it is important to understand the questions associated with biological weapons more broadly in terms of the specific geopolitical contexts in which they have appeared for example, the aftermath of the Cold War and the continuing territorial struggles in the Middle East. It is also important to ask not only how these questions are seen in the West but also how they are seen elsewhere in the world. This course attempts to place the issues surrounding questions of biological warfare and disarmament in these larger contexts. Special emphasis will be placed on the following:

  • approaches to achieving security by the remaining super power and its western allies
  • differing positions on security held in other regions
  • the regional specificity of security problems
  • linkages between biological weapons and nuclear weapons
  • the chaos of post-cold war Russia and the problem of "loose weaponeers"
  • the problem of verifying compliance given national interests in protecting commercial and military secrets
  • the challenge of restraining military interest in "dual-purpose" technologies

Generally, the course emphasizes the importance of using the social sciences (history and political science) and the biological sciences to analyze the issues and events being addressed. It aims to demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary synthesis in addressing policy problems. The course also focuses on developing research skills and participants will be expected to pursue an independent research project during the course.

Required readings will include selections from the following books: Michael Klare, Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws (1995); Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War (2001); Ken Alibek, Biohazard (1999); Susan Wright ed., Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives (2002).

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

RCSSCI 461. Senior Seminar.

Section 001 — Steam Engines and Computers, From Industrial Proletarians to Information. Meets with HISTORY 498.001 and SOC 495.004.

Instructor(s): Thomas O'Donnell (twod@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~twod/steam/

This course covers the history of revolutions in technology and their social-organizing consequences, especially for working people. We start with mid-feudal Europe, whose innovations underlaid the birth of the bourgeoisie and capitalism, and proceed especially through the two Industrial Revolutions and the present Information Revolution.

On the one hand, we will be very factual and practical, covering much about actual technology and organizational innovations, seeing how its introduction by capitalist owners dramatically re-organized the way people interact at work, and reshaped the laboring classes. We also track how technology dramatically changed sections of the owning classes themselves, while undermining the old feudal classes and slavery.

So too, we'll see how unions and political parties, representing the changing self-interests of different classes in each technological age, have come and gone, and big political struggles, including social revolutions, have been fought out.

On the other hand, we will reflect on this history to critically examine various theories of the relationship between the material-economic 'base' and the social-political-cultural 'superstructure' of society. This includes controversies over 'technological determinism', whether technological change is unstoppable or unalterable, the future of work and the working classes, and especially Marx's theory of 'the materialist conception of history,' claimed as the discovery of general principles of the evolution of society analogous to Darwin's discovery of the evolution of species in nature.

This is an upper-level seminar. Active participation in discussions, and a major research paper, as well as several short factual and/or position papers, are required.

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


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