250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – Introduction to Historical Research. Understanding of the past necessarily rests upon the study and assessment of a great variety of records. These range from archaeological finds, official government documents, newspapers, diaries, letters to rare books. Historians depend heavily upon the fact that such materials have been collected and preserved by museums, archives, and even families. Here at Michigan are two well-known repositories of historical materials, one the Bentley Library on North Campus, and the other the Clements Library on South University Avenue. The first collects primarily those source materials that relate to Michigan history, and the second collects primarily materials pertaining to the discovery and early settlement of North America. Early in the term we shall visit each library to see something of the range and texture of their holdings. Then, each student will carve out a modest historical problem or issue that can be addressed from these sources during the remainder of the term. Then the task will be to examine pertinent manuscript collections, take suitable notes, and put together an original work of history. Again, the scope must necessarily be limited by the materials available and the time available to complete it. WL:3 (Livermore)
Section 002 – Integration, Segregation, and Diversity in Contemporary America. The contemporary debate on "multiculturalism" has seemingly drawn nearly equal numbers of supporters and detractors. On one side, advocates of ethnic pluralism and diversity argue that American society must come to grips with the realities of the "new" racial and ethnic diversity if the country is to exist as a genuinely inclusive democracy. On the other side, critics of the recent "fever of ethnicity" argue that such advocacy far too often degenerates into a romantic, uncritical "celebration" of diversity for its own sake, ignoring the positive aspects of the historic ideal of a common culture. This seminar will explore these issues through intense readings and discussion, a portfolio, a short research paper/project, and weekly seminar reports on selected ethnic groups (e.g., Asian Indians, Blacks, Chinese, Germans, Irish, Italians, Japanese, Jews, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans, and Slavic Americans). The central texts are Ronald Takaki, ed., From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, Thomas Sowell's Ethnic America: A History, Mary C. Waters', Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America, Milton M. Gordon, ed., America as a Multicultural Society, and Ralph Ellison's, Invisible Man. First day class attendance is mandatory. Cost:3 WL:1 (B. Allen)
Section 003 – The Discovery of the Universe. This seminar is about the human side of scientific discovery. Using case studies in the history of our attempts to comprehend the astronomical universe in the last century, we will examine a number of topics of current interest: how to educate the imagination, the tension between theory and observation, the changing roles of women in science, the funding of research and outside control, the possibilities of fraud, the rise and fall of science education, role of the media, and the like. This is NOT a science course; it is, instead, an opportunity for us to study the ways in which scientific knowledge advances and the very human face of scientific work. (Lindner)
Section 004 – The Psychology of Social Movements. In this course we will examine social movements through the lens of psychology. We will study potentially illuminative psychological principles including: (a) individual factors like moral development, personality, motivation, defense mechanisms; and (b) group factors like conformity, obedience, groupthink, group polarization, persuasion, and leadership. We will read accounts of four modern social movements: the American student movement of the 1960s, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Jonestown, and the successful anti-Nazi resistance movement enacted by the French village of LeChambon. We will analyze these social movements, asking questions like: Why did people join these movements? Why did they behave as they did as part of these collectivities? What makes social movements go wrong – or right? The first part of the course will use the lecture/discussion format. Mastery of this material will be assessed through an exam or two. The second part of the course will use the seminar format. Class discussions will be based on brief written analyses of the assigned readings. In two longer papers students will analyze: (a) a personal experience as a participant in a social movement or group; and (b) a historical social movement of their choice. WL:3 (Landman)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – The Structure of Inquiry. What do the following ideas have in common?: virtual reality; right to privacy; censorship; intellectual freedom; free speech; information overload; intellectual property; morphing; information ethics, bias in information transfer; cyberpunk; information economics. They are all issues and aspects of our so-called "information age." Designed to provide students with a better understanding of the complexities and implications of our knowledge based society, this course will investigate the ways in which our everyday lives and methods of scholarly investigation have been profoundly altered by technology and the information explosion. Through readings, class discussions and papers, students will have the opportunity to explore selected information issues in depth, and will develop an understanding of the comparative methods of inquiry and knowledge dissemination within and across the sciences, arts, and social science disciplines. WL:3 (MacAdam)
Section 002 – Histories of Reading. This seminar will try to give students some perspective on how conventions determine what they look for in reading narrative, and how reading expectations, conditions, and conventions have changed. We will look at some of the different attitudes to reading and interpreting literature in the West, and especially to the reading of authoritative and sacred stories. Beginning with how we are acculturated to reading in contemporary America, we will go back to antiquity and will look at Plato, the allegorical tradition, and Midrash. Also, briefly: the effects of printing on reading in the early modern period and at 18th century reading, and at some reader-response theories. Reading may include Augustine's On Christian Doctrine, Plato's Republic, Genesis Rabbah, Bernard Silvestris on Virgil, Appleyard's Becoming a Reader, and essays by Fish, Darnton, and others. Evaluation: oral repors and a term paper. Prerequisite: Basic familiarity with Homer, Virgil, and the Bible. Cost:2-3 (Scodel)
Section 003 – Translation: Theory and Practice. Much of our knowledge of world literatures as well as a considerable amount of other information comes to us through the hands of translators. We often read a translation with little interest in the translator, his/her theories of translation, or the impact of that particular translator on our understanding of the work or the culture and language from which it came. In this seminar, we will read from the ever-growing corpus of works on translation theory. And we will translate, experimenting with some of the theories and techniques we encounter. Requirements include regular attendance and participation, a number of short exercises and assignments in and out of class, and a final paper probably based on a translation or translations of your own and an analysis of your translation process. The only prerequisite is a command of a language other than English adequate to read short selections of literary works (with dictionary aid, if necessary). (Crown)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (NS).
Section 001 – Numbers, Reasons, and Data. Prerequisites: Biology 152 or Biology 100 and Chemistry 215. While the reading list for the seminar is improvised, the principal themes for discussion are quite predictable from one end of the term to the other. The most general of these is the proper role of quantification in the versions of reality constructed by the various disciplines we shall consider. Specific concerns under this heading include the justifications for claiming that numbers or their relationships somehow represent enduring aspects of the real world, the ways in which numbers provide evidence for "theories" or other sorts of assertions of pattern, and the role of computations and arguments about stability, change, and error in the verification of these schemes. Our approach to our subject will be by various methods, including intellectual history (the study of opinions once thought reasonable). Other themes are more specifically statistical: the logic of least-squares techniques (such as averaging), the reality of the Normal distribution, the nature of numerical evidence for causation. This material will be covered mainly by the chapters of Stigler's History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty to 1900, augmented by notes from me. We are reading Stigler as history and philosophy of science, not as mathematics: you may skip over his formulas (though not over mine) the way you skip names in Russian novels. A final theme cannot be expressed any better than by quoting the titles of a book by Duncan from which you will receive additional extracts: Notes on Social Measurements, Historical and Critical. (Bookstein)
Section 002 – The Nature of Evidence. Seminar discussions will cover some current and classical controversies in science, using examples from exhibited material in the Exhibit Museum. Aspects examined will be human interactions in the search for truth and professional stature, tests of truth and of hypotheses, reliability and independence of "evidence," and ethics, morality, and honesty in science and education. No special background is required, but an interest in scientific method is recommended. No text is required. Evaluations will be based on papers or projects selected jointly between instructor and students. WL:3 (Moore)
Section 003 – Ideas in Molecular Biology. All too often in introductory biology courses, students become so inundated with "facts" that they take little time to see science as a process. In this seminar, we will discuss some of the key experiments and techniques of the past 30 years that have ignited a veritable explosion in understanding of molecular biology, embracing theory and technology. Students are expected to lead and to take part in discussions. Extensive reading will be necessary, both in short and (relatively) inexpensive paperback text and also in original scientific publications. There will be two substantial writing assignments. We may even be able to witness major changes in understanding during the term, as new information is announced and published. WL:1 (Shappirio)
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