250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students.
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" seems to have 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, Puerto Ricans, and Slavic Americans). The central texts are From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America (2d ed.), Ronald Takaki, ed., and Thomas Sowell's Ethnic America: A History. First day class attendance is mandatory. Cost:3 WL:1 (Wacker)
Section 003 – Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. Guest lecturers will share insights into critical thinking and problem solving in their own academic and professional specialties. Students will prepare two term papers – the first on critical thinking and problem solving, and the second on an article appearing in the Skeptical Inquirer. Students will present a formal critique of one of these two papers. The section does not fulfill a writing requirement. Students will bring to class current written accounts of news which illustrate flawed critical thinking for discussion. (Whitehouse)
Section 004 – Freedom of Information or FOIA Laws: Are they a help or hazard? In modern democratic society, legal experts argue a free press results in a so-called marketplace of ideas where conflicting notions compete for attention and acceptance. This course will examine the history and operation of information access laws, so-called "Sunshine statutes," and analyze their impact on the public and private sectors. Particularly, we'll pay attention to whether FOIAs (Freedom of Information Acts) promote open accessible government as is intended, or lead to a more secretive, inaccessible system. Students will explore the different facets of the topic through short research papers, presentations, case studies, including an examination of UM's search for a new president, readings and personal FOIA requests. (Hall)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students.
Section 001 – Knowledge and Society in the Information Age. From cyberspace to virtual reality, our contemporary society is redefining a host of social, economic, and political structures as part of the so-called "Information Age." In this course we will explore the issues and implications of our knowledge-based society, including the ways in which both everyday lives and knowledge creation have been profoundly altered by information technology and the global network. Through individual World Wide Web projects, readings, class discussions, and writing, you will have the chance to investigate selected information issues in depth and will develop an understanding of how knowledge is created within and across disciplines. We will each create and "publish" a project on the World Wide Web. There are no prerequisites, and the class is designed to accommodate both students new to the information technology and the Internet and more experienced students. Cost:2 WL:3 (MacAdam)
Section 002 – Coming of Age Novels and Caribbean Music. The goal of this seminar is to offer space for independent work that integrates the novel and the research of music. Using novels and poetry of the Caribbean written by women, we introduce unheard voices, other ways of seeing and knowing, secretive inheritances disclosed from women's voices. In addition to the artistic value of the pieces to be handled we read these works as anthropological ethnologies and as informed backdrops to the musical landscape that distinguishes each culture. The modules are organized weekly by country during which a major work and related papers will be prepared and discussed by members of the class. Each discussion is led by a class leader. Participants of the seminar will have a turn as discussion leader and will develop a paper on the chosen subject that elucidates the writings, musical allusions, and ritual base of the artist/ethnographer. The "coming of age" novels of Erna Brodber, the analytical voice of Ramabai Espinet, the prophetic poetry of Lorna Goodison, the comic up-dated "dub" of Louise Bennet, and the anthropological works of Paule Marshall are among the pieces that introduce us to traditional and contemporary Caribbean musics. Cost:2 WL:1 (McDaniel)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students.
Section 001 – Numbers and Reasons. Measurement in the natural sciences typically deals with true values (constants); measurement in the behavioral and social sciences, with problems of managing social systems. Measurements in sciences on the boundary, like neuropsychology or medicine, attempt with variable success to capture stable latent aspects of individual hidden states or histories. In this course we try to untangle some of this confusion by careful attention to the proper role of quantification in the versions of reality constructed by the various disciplines we consider, from astrophysics through, perhaps, literary history. Our approach is by various methods, including logic, arithmetic, history of science, and the careful analysis of instrument readings, answers to questions, and various visual representations of same. Three specifically statistical themes are covered in brief lectures, but there is no associated "homework." The most extensive reading this year, I think, will be Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve. Assignments: four short papers and a term paper. Cost:1 WL:5 (Bookstein)
Section 002 – Introduction to Global Change: Human Impacts. Global change encompasses any of the processes of biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, oceans, and human societies which affect, and are affected by the global environment. The term global change includes both the causes as well as the impacts of change on human populations and the environment. such impacts may directly alter global processes, as with climate change, or they may accumulate indirectly at discrete and local levels, as with the growth of deserts. The human systems and the non-human environmental systems meet both where humans directly alter the environment and where environmental change directly affects and alters human activities and values. Course grade will be based on midterm exam and final exam, plus successful completion of the required weekly laboratory exercises. There are no prerequisites for this course and no science background is assumed. The course is appropriate for all first year students, irrespective of intended major. NOTE: This is a three (3) credit course. Students must also add Honors 290 for one (1) credit for the computer lab. (Killeen)
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