Freshman Seminars for Fall 2018
< Courses & Registration

While not required, freshman seminars are an excellent introduction to academic life in the College and are highly recommended for first- or second-semester students. The primary goal of the freshman seminar program is to provide every freshman with the opportunity for a direct personal encounter with a faculty member in a small class setting devoted to a significant intellectual endeavor. Freshman seminars also fulfill College General Education Requirements. Below is the list of the freshman seminars offered in Fall 2018.

Desire and Demand
Marilynne Diggs-Thompson, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Riepe House Dean 
Does consumption shape culture or does culture shape consumption? As even the most mundane purchase becomes socially symbolic and culturally meaningful we can persuasively argue that the concept of "need" has been transformed. Analyzing a variety of physical and virtual consumer venues, the goal of this seminar is to understand and to analyze historical and contemporary issues related to a culture of consumption. We investigate social and political-economic factors that impact when and how people purchase goods and argue that behavior attached to consumption includes a nexus of influences that may change periodically in response to external factors. Readings and research assignments are interdisciplinary and require a critical analysis of global/local linkages. The city of Philadelphia becomes the seminar's laboratory as we ask: how have issues of culture, consumption, and global capitalism become intertwined around the world?
ANTH 086 301
MUNIVERSITY MUSEUM330

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Globalization: Causes and Effects
Brian Spooner, Professor of Anthropology 
Class sessions will be devoted to discussion of the dynamics of globalization with the objective of illuminating the world-historical context of the changes that are happening around us unevenly in different parts of the world today, and developing critical approaches to the available research methodologies and explanatory theories. Weekly readings will be selected from the major researchers in the field, and students will test their ideas in short research projects of their own on questions arising from the discussions. The overall approach will be historical and comparative. Apart from weekly assigned readings and participation in class discussions, requirements for the course include three short research papers.
ANTH 155 301
TUNIVERSITY MUSEUM328

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Architecture in the Anthropocene
Daniel A. Barber, Associate Professor of Architecture 
This course will use architecture and the built environment as a lens to investigate the emerging field of the environmental humanities. Our goal will be to analyze and understand these new intellectual frameworks in order to consider the relationship between global environmental challenges and the process of constructing the built environment. As such, we will oscillate between social and political theory, environmental history, and architectural history and theory. Issues of importance will include: theories of risk, the role of nature in political conflicts; images, design and environmental communication; and the relationship between speculative design and other narratives of the future. These conceptual frameworks will be read alongside examples of related creative projects in art, literature, and architecture, and will be amplified through presentations and discussions with studio faculty and other visitors to the course.
ARCH 111 301
MWMEYERSON HALLB7

Fulfills: Sector IV: Humanities & Social Sciences

Impressionism: Looking, Painting, Modernity
Andre Dombrowski, Associate Professor of History of Art 
As life in the nineteenth century sped up, so did the century's art. Painting in "fifteen minutes," as the critic Jules Laforgue described Impressionism in 1883, characterized a novel kind of picture built of hectic, freewheeling signs. Impressionism thus chronicled the profound cultural shifts of its era; its blurs and unfinished appearance made movement and a particularly modern sense of time and vision its chief subjects. This seminar seeks to understand these developments by establishing an account of Impressionism that fits our current global, multimedia and multidisciplinary forms of humanistic thought. To this end, we will read those recent scholars who place Impressionism within new contexts that include the history of science and technology (visual perception, psychology, evolution, chemistry), political history and theory (republicanism, revolution, empire, nationalism), and consumer culture (fashion, capitalism), among others. This course will of course also survey the movement's major contexts and proponents-Manet, Monet, Degas, Morisot, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rodin-from its origins in the 1860s to its demise in the 1890s, as well as its subsequent adaptations throughout the world until World War I. In short, Impressionism revolutionized the Western easel format, an aesthetic paradigm shift that every art historical generation since the late nineteenth-century has grappled with anew. Continuing this tradition, this course proposes to study the newest and most wide-ranging research on Impressionism available to date.
ARTH 100 301
TJAFFE BUILDING104

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Neurobiology of Brain Disorders
Marc Dichter, Professor of Neurology 
The human brain is clearly the most complicated and magical organ in the body. We don't completely understand how it works, but we do know, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the human brain is prone to failure, either by acute injury, chronic degeneration, genetic flaws in its composition, or unknown disturbances in its behavior. Diseases of the brain can take many forms but are all uniformly devastating for individuals, families, and our society, and are also very costly. This course will explore the ways in which various brain disorders (both neurological and psychiatric) manifest themselves and discuss their underlying neurobiological mechanisms. In addition, the social and economic impact of these diseases in society will be considered, as well as some well publicized political issues surrounding many of these brain disorders.
BIBB 030 301
TR

Fulfills: Sector V: Living World

Structural Biology & Genomics
Dr. Ponzy Lu, Professor of Chemistry 
This course will explain in non-mathematical terms how all biological properties are determined by the physics and chemical interactions of nucleic acids, proteins, and the molecular contents of cells. It will examine how research results, especially those of structural biology, are presented to its various audiences. Students will be given a paper copy of Science each week, and will be expected to read The New York Times on Tuesdays.
CHEM 022 301
TRCHEMISTRY BUILDINGB13

Fulfills: Sector VII: Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Jack Kerouac & Postwar Counterculture
Jean-Christophe Cloutier, Assistant Professor of English 
This course will take an in depth look into the life and career of one of the most influential 20th-century writers (and the original hipster!), Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), as a means of exploring the countercultural forces that emerged in the wake of the Second World War in the United States. Even though the “King of the Beats” was in many ways a misunderstood outsider in America, Kerouac influenced generations of writers, musicians, artists, and a global reading public. The seminar will cover a selection of Kerouac’s works alongside key texts from a slew of other postwar rebels in order to investigate the radical energies that arose during the Cold War: the battles against containment, surveillance, warfare, capitalism, materialism, racism, and prescribed sexual norms. Tracing Kerouac’s journey on the American continent will further lead us through the Great Depression, the atom bomb, the interstate highway system, the rise of the suburbs, the birth of cool, bebop, & rock n’ roll, the emergence of the hipster, of Playboy, of hippie and drug culture, the fight for gay rights, along with the desegregation of schools in the wake of Brown vs Board of Education, and so much more. Course readings will also include those of Kerouac’s immediate counterparts & collaborators like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Amiri Baraka, Diane DiPrima, Herbert Huncke, and others. Assignments will consist of brief responses to the readings, a “spontaneous prose” exercise, a short essay on a related topic of your choosing, and will culminate in a research paper tracing an aspect of Kerouac’s legacy on a contemporary phenomenon, group, text, or individual.
ENGL 016 301
MW

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Climate Fiction
Paul Saint-Amour, Professor of English 
Whether you call it climatological science-fiction or #clifi, speculative fiction about anthropogenic climate change is becoming an important site for thinking, feeling, and warning about earth’s changing environments. In this class we’ll study a cluster of recent cli-fi novels that project a variety of climate scenarios—apocalyptic, utopian, and everything in between—into the future. We’ll also look at earlier fictions that explore humanity’s entanglement with non-human beings and environments, as well as at fictions that connect climate change in the present with scarce-resources, conflict, displacement, and environmental racism. Supplementary readings in the environmental humanities will introduce terms and concepts such as the Anthropocene, deep time, the great acceleration, the nonhuman turn, and climate justice.
ENGL 016 302
MW

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Life After Darwin
Emily Steinlight, Assistant Professor of English 
How has Charles Darwin’s work shaped the concept of life and its representations in literature and art? How have his theories contributed to the way we approach the seemingly simple fact of being alive as well as the demands of living? What kinds of stories of individual and social life does the theory of evolution via natural selection make possible? This freshman seminar will closely examine Darwin’s own writing alongside a variety of other texts that shared a world with his work. Our goals will be not simply to trace the influence of his ideas but also to place them in cultural and historical as well as scientific context. As we read poetry and fiction by Erasmus Darwin, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and Samuel Butler, together with selected works by fellow scientists, social thinkers, and visual artists, we might ask: what did Darwin’s work bring to or draw from aesthetics? What understanding of nature, instinct, sexuality, community, ecology, and economic and political organization can it serve to promote? How did it affect the way his contemporaries and later thinkers would understand such concepts of human difference as race and gender? How did it intersect with or contribute to nineteenth-century ideas about historical change?
ENGL 016 303
TRFISHER-BENNETT HALL24

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

The Fantastic Voyage From Homer to Science Fiction
Scott Francis, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages 
Tales of voyages to strange lands with strange inhabitants and even stranger customs have been a part of the Western literary tradition from its inception. What connects these tales is that their voyages are not only voyages of discovery, but voyages of self-discovery. By describing the effects these voyages have on the characters who undertake them, and by hinting at comparisons between the lands described in the story and their own society, authors use fantastic voyages as vehicles for incisive commentary on literary, social, political, and scientific issues. In this course, we will explore the tradition of the fantastic voyage from Homer’s Odyssey, one of the earliest examples of this type of narrative and a model for countless subsequent voyage narratives, to science fiction, which appropriates this narrative for its own ends. We will determine what the common stylistic elements of voyage narratives are, such as the frame narrative, or story-within-a-story, and what purpose they serve in conveying the tale’s messages. We will see how voyagers attempt to understand and interact with the lands and peoples they encounter, and what these attempts tell us about both the voyagers and their newly-discovered counterparts. Finally, we will ask ourselves what real-world issues are commented upon by these narratives, what lessons the narratives have to teach about them, and how they impart these lessons to the reader. Readings for this course, all of which are in English or English translation, range from classics like the Odyssey and Gulliver’s Travels to predecessors of modern science fiction like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells to seminal works of modern science fiction like Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes, Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts, and Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. Though this course is primarily dedicated to literature, we will also look at how films like the 1968 adaptation of Planet of the Apes and television shows like Star Trek and Futurama draw upon literary or cinematic models for their own purposes. This course is meant not only for SF fans who would like to become better acquainted with the precursors and classics of the genre, but for all those who wish to learn how great works of fiction, far from being intended solely for entertainment and escapism, attempt to improve upon the real world through the effect they have on the reader.
FREN 200 401 | COML 200 401
TRWILLIAMS HALL705

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Jews and China: Views From Two Perspectives
Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages 
Jews in China? Who knew? The history of the Jews in China, both modern and medieval, is an unexpected and fascinating case of cultural exchange. Even earlier than the 10th century, Jewish traders from India or Persia on the Silk Road, settled in Kaifeng, the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, and established a Jewish community that lasted through the nineteenth century. In the mid-nineteenth century, Jewish merchants, mainly from Iraq, often via India, arrived in China and played a major role in the building of modern Shanghai. After 1898, Jews from Russia settled in the northern Chinese city of Harbin, first as traders and later as refugees from the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War. In the first decades of the twentieth century, a few Jews from Poland and Russia visited China as tourists, drawn by a combination of curiosity about the cultural exoticism of a truly foreign culture and an affinity that Polish Jewish socialists and communists felt as these political movements began to emerge in China. During World War II, Shanghai served as a port of refuge for Jews from Central Europe. In this freshman seminar, we will explore how these Jewish traders, travelers, and refugees responded to and represented China in their writings. We will also read works by their Chinese contemporaries and others to see the responses to and perceptions of these Jews. We will ask questions about cultural translation: How do exchanges between languages, religions, and cultures affect the identities of individuals and communities? What commonalities and differences between these peoples emerge?
GRMN 026 401 | JWST 026 401
TRWILLIAMS HALL220

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition  |  Cross Cultural Analysis

Euro Zone Crisis - The EU in a Currency War For Survival?
Susanne Shields, Lecturer in German Language and Culture 
"Let me put it simply...there may be a contradiction between the interests of the financial world and the interests of the political world...We cannot keep constantly explaining to our voters and our citizens why the taxpayer should bear the cost of certain risks and not those people who have earned a lot of money from taking those risks." Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, at the G20 Summit, November 2010. In January 1999, a single monetary system united Germany, a core nation, with 10 other European states. Amidst the optimism of the euro's first days, most observers forecast that Europe would progress toward an ever closer union. Indeed, in the ensuing decade, the European Union became the world's largest trading area, the euro area expanded to include 17 member states, and the Lisbon Treaty enhanced the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union. In 2009, Greece's debt crisis exposed deep rifts within the European Union and developed into a euro zone crisis - arguably the most difficult test Europe has faced in the past 60 years. After two years of a more benign EURO debt situation, the risk of recession, EU sanctions against Russia, and a possible collision of a newly-elected Greek government with its creditors, the euro crisis returned with a vengeance in 2015. In addition, the pressure mounts for European leaders to find a solution to the refugee crisis which reached a peak in the fall of 2015. In 2016 the Brexit delivered the latest blow to the European Union, and the future of the European project without the UK looks bleak. The Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is still fragile, and economic and political developments in 2017 could determine the future of the euro. Does the EU have what it takes to emerge from these crises? Will the European nations find a collective constructive solution that will lead to a fiscal union that implies further integration?
GRMN 027 301
TRMCNEIL BUILDING110

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Books That Changed Modern America
Kathy Peiss, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History 
Why have some books had a profound impact on their times? How have they articulated an issue, focused debate, captured public attention, and spurred action? In this seminar, we will read a group of books that changed the modern United States. The Jungle, Silent Spring, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, The Feminine Mystique, The Grapes of Wrath, Conscience of a Conservative: These are among the books that mobilized Americans to demand food safety and a safer environment, adopt new childrearing practices, redefine traditional gender roles, develop greater awareness of poverty, and rethink their politics. We will do close readings of these and other texts, and examine the history of each book as a book: its place within the author’s life and work, its publishing history, critical reception, and readers’ responses. Finally, we will consider the broader historical contexts in which the work was written, to assess its impact on American culture, society, and politics. This seminar is for Ben Franklin Scholars only.
HIST 104 301
TR

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition

Why College? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education, Graduate School of Education 
This course will explore controversies and dilemmas surrounding American colleges, from their birth into the present. What is the purpose of “college”? How have these goals and objectives changed, across time and space? What should college do, and for whom? And how can colleges be reformed to meet their diverse purposes and constituencies? Topics of discussion will include affirmative action, “political correctness,” fraternities and sororities, sexual assault and safety, online education, and the recent trend towards “college for all.”
HIST 104 302
MWFISHER-BENNETT HALL25

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition

History and Human Nature
Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History Emeritus 
In this seminar, we will take up the topic of human nature as a gambit for establishing common ground and stimulating a deeper intellectual community among incoming University Scholars. Or perhaps we will work the other way round. Perhaps we will draw upon that deeper community as a way of enriching our conversation as we take up the perennially challenging topic of human nature. Either way, we will engage in a wide-ranging reconnaissance of major theories on the topic. We will examine conceptions of humankind drawn from such disciplines as economics, psychology, religion, literature, linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy. Lurking behind all of our endeavor will be questions of time and place, questions, if you will, of history; is human nature best understood as constant or contingent, stable or changeful with time and circumstance? We should have a lot of fun. (Open only to first year students in the University Scholars Program.)
HIST 104 303
W

Fulfills: Sector IV: Humanities & Social Sciences

Africa in World History
Lee Cassanelli, Associate Professor of History 
This seminar examines Africa's connections--economic, political, intellectual and cultural--with the wider world from ancient times to the 21st century, drawing on a diverse sample of historical sources. It also explores Africa's place in the imaginations of outsiders, from ancient Greeks to modern-day development "experts." Whether you know a lot or almost nothing about the continent, the course will get you to rethink your stereotypes and to question your assumptions about the importance of Africa in world history.
HIST 106 301
MWFISHER-BENNETT HALL224

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition  |  Cross Cultural Analysis

Epidemic Disease in Modern History
Alexander Chase-Levenson, Assistant Professor of History 
In this seminar, we look at how human societies have grappled with epidemic disease across the modern world. From cholera, to bubonic plague, to yellow fever, SARS, ebola, and flu, we’ll explore how outbreaks disrupt and devastate communities but also how they can be linked to state growth, medical reform, and cultural change. By looking at specific societies around the world at moments of acute distress, we’ll be able to ask questions about the role of government, about fault lines of class and race, and about how human beings have grappled with fear and systemic collapse at different moments in time and space. Yet we will also examine global trends and consider what the study of past epidemics can tell us about the world we live in today. Sources we will consider include medical treatises, diaries, novels, films, and cartoons. Hypochondriacs and germophobes are welcome. We’ll study epidemics from a very safe distance and (hopefully) without first-hand experience!
HIST 106 302
TRCOLLEGE HALL217

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition

Coca and Cocaine
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Associate Professor of History 
This seminar compares a set of practices that center on coca leaf production in indigenous communities, where coca cultivation has been sustained over long centuries, on the one hand, with a set of unsustainable practices linked to the “drug war” in the Americas, on the other. Participants will read scholarly work in history and anthropology, support one another through a research process, and explore what historians and other scholars might contribute to discussions about drug policy.
HIST 106 401 | LALS 107 401
R

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition

Addiction: Understanding How We Get Hooked and How We Recover
James McKay, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry 
We will investigate the evolution of scientific theories and popular beliefs regarding the causes of addiction in the 20th and 21st centuries, and how they have shaped treatment approaches to these disorders. We will examine the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and the current opioid epidemic, and consider sociocultural and political factors that contributed to the onset of and reaction to these crises. Finally, we will discuss research into the neurobiological, psychological, familial, social, and political factors that initiate and sustain addiction, and the efficacy of various treatment approaches.
HSOC 031 301
WFCLAUDIA COHEN HALL237

Fulfills: Sector IV: Humanities & Social Sciences

Medical Missionaries and Partners
Kent Bream, Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health 
Global health is an increasingly popular goal for many modern leaders. Yet critics see evidence of a new imperialism in various aid programs. We will examine the evolution over time and place of programs designed to improve the health of underserved populations. Traditionally catergorized as public health programs or efforts to achieve a just society, these programs often produce results that are inconsistent with these goals. We will examine the benefits and risks of past programs and conceptualize future partnerships on both a local and global stage. Students should expect to question broadly held beliefs about the common good and service. Ultimately we will examine the concept of partnership and the notion of community health, in which ownership, control, and goals are shared between outside expert and inside community member.
HSOC 059 301
WHARNWELL COLLEGE HOUSEM10

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Italian Drama and the Performance of a Nation
Frank Pellicone, Harrison College House Dean 
Italian Drama and the Performance of a Nation How did political theorists, philosophers, artists, authors, filmmakers, and actors construct an Italian national identity? Through this course, we will trace the evolution of an Italian national identity shaped and reflected by Italian drama and film. We will pay attention to the contributions of individuals such as Machiavelli, Aretino, Bruno, Goldoni, Pirandello, Fellini, and Franca Rame and Dario Fo to discuss how artistic achievement and aesthetic considerations provided the backdrop for the performance of social constructs such as gender roles, class, and ethnicity toward the production of an Italian identity. When possible we will attend local theatrical performances and view screenings of relevant productions. We will read all works in English. No prior knowledge of Italian is expected.
ITAL 100 401 | COML 107 401
MWFWILLIAMS HALL216

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters  |  Cross Cultural Analysis

Proto-indo-european Languages
Rolf Noyer, Associate Professor of Linguistics 
Most of the languages now spoken in Europe, along with some languages of Iran, India and central Asia, are thought to be descended from a single language known as Proto-Indo-European, spoken at least six thousand years ago, probably in a region extending from north of the Black Sea in modern Ukraine east through southern Russia. Speakers of Proto-Indo-European eventually populated Europe in the Bronze Age, and their societies formed the basis of the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome, as well as of the Celtic, Germanic and Slavic speaking peoples. What were the Proto-Indo-Europeans like? What did they believe about the world and their gods? How do we know? Reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language, one of the triumphs of comparative and historical linguistics in the 19th and 20th centuries, allows us a glimpse into the society of this prehistoric people. In this seminar students will, through comparison of modern and ancient languages, learn the basis of this reconstruction -- the comparative method of historical linguistics -- as well as explore the culture and society of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their immediate descendants. In addition, we will examine the pseudo-scientific basis of the myth of Aryan supremacy, and study the contributions of archaeological findings in determining the "homeland" of the Indo-Europeans. No prior knowledge of any particular language is necessary. This seminar should be of interest to students considering a major in linguistics, anthropology and archaeology, ancient history or comparative religion. (Also fulfills Cross-Cultural Analysis.)
LING 051 301
MWWILLIAMS HALL214

Fulfills: Sector II: History & Tradition

Proving Things: Analysis
Jerry L. Kazdan, Professor of Mathematics 
This course focuses on the creative side of mathematics, with an emphasis on discovery, reasoning, proofs and effective communication, while at the same time studying real and complex numbers, sequences, series, continuity, differentiability and integrability. Small class sizes permit an informal, discussion-type atmosphere, and often the entire class works together on a given problem. Homework is intended to be thought-provoking, rather than skill-sharpening.
MATH 202 301
TRDAVID RITTENHOUSE LAB3C6


Experimental Musics in Global Perspective
James Sykes, Assistant Professor of Music 
This course is a broad survey of experimental approaches to music and sound. Some musicians/inventions we consider include: Harry Partch’s instrument creations, which play scales based on just intonation and microtones; Conlon Nancarrow’s compositions for player piano; Maryanne Amacher’s experiments with otoacoustic emissions; Japanoise and noise rock; the new genres of “Black Midi” and glitch; developments in uses of field recordings; the global Maker Movement and DIY music technology; instrument inventions by the MIT media lab and used on Bjork’s “app” album; Chinese electronic music; metal in Indonesia; innovations in sound in some Hindu and Buddhist contexts in South and Southeast Asia; and appropriations of Balinese, Javanese, and West African musical ideas by Western composers like John Cage and Steve Reich. In the process, the course is a survey of the history of electronic musics and the invention of musical instruments in the twentieth century; a survey of the spread of Western styles of musical experimentation outside the West; and a consideration of how some distinct non-Western cultures praise or devalue innovation in their own ways. By exploring the intersections between physiology and culture, the course asks what it means to hear and make music “experimentally.”
MUSC 016 301
RLERNER CENTER (MUSIC BUILDING102

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Music in Urban Spaces
Molly McGlone, Associate Director and Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs 
Music in Urban Spaces explores the ways in which individuals use music in their everyday lives and how music is used to construct larger social and economic networks that we call culture. We will read musicologists, cultural theorists, urban geographers, sociologists and educators who work to define urban space and the role of music and sound in urban environments, including through music education. While the readings make up our study of the sociology of urban space and the way we use music in everyday life to inform our conversations and the questions we ask, it is within the context of our personal experiences working with music programs at Henry C Lea Elementary or the Workshop School, both inner city neighborhood schools serving economically disadvantaged students, that we will begin to formulate our theories of the contested musical micro-cultures of West Philadelphia. This course is over two-semesters where students register for .5cus each term (for a total of 1cu over the entire academic year) and is tied to the Music and Social Change Residential Program in Fisher Hassenfeld. All participants volunteer in music classrooms for about 3 hours per week, are expected to go to at least two concerts in the community during the year, attend the seminar weekly and complete all assignments including a final project or paper building on the research skills learned in the class.
MUSC 018 401 | URBS 018 401
FGOLDBERG CH - FOERDERER BUILD205

Fulfills: Sector IV: Humanities & Social Sciences  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

The Middle East Through Many Lenses
Heather Sharkey, Associate Professor of Modern Islamic History 
This freshman seminar introduces the contemporary Middle East by drawing upon cutting-edge studies written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. These include history, political science, and anthropology, as well as studies of mass media, sexuality, religion, urban life, and the environment. We will spend the first few weeks of the semester surveying major trends in modern Middle Eastern history. We will spend subsequent weeks intensively discussing assigned readings along with documentary films that we will watch in class. The semester will leave students with both a foundation in Middle Eastern studies and a sense of current directions in the field.
NELC 036 401 | CIMS 036 401
TWILLIAMS HALL843

Fulfills: Sector IV: Humanities & Social Sciences  |  Cross Cultural Analysis

Introduction to Ethics
Milton Meyer, Lecturer in Philosophy 
Ethics is the study of right and wrong behavior. This introductory course will introduce students to major ethical theories, the possible sources of normativity, and specific ethical problems and questions. Topics may include euthanasia, abortion, animal rights, the family, sexuality, bioethics, crime and punishment and war.
PHIL 002 301
TRVAN PELT LIBRARY402

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Ancient Chinese Ethics
Kok-chor Tan, Professor of Philosophy 
This course is an introduction to the ethical and moral philosophies of Chinese Philosophers from the ancient period, including Kongzi (Confucius), Mozi, Zhuangzi, Mengzi, and Xunzi. Our basic approach will be comparative. Among other things, we will try to see how well ancient Chinese ethical views fit (or not) with the standard categories of contemporary moral philosophy like utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and modern ideas of justice and political authority. Does this comparative approach provide a useful way of framing the ethical questions and debates in ancient Chinese philosophy? And in turn, how does it help refine and illuminate the standard moral categories? Thus, in addition to reading (modern English translations) of selections from ancient Chinese texts, we will also read some canonical works from western moral philosophy (e.g. Aristotle, Mill, Kant, as well as contemporary authors).
PHIL 010 301
MWVAN PELT LIBRARY402

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
Charles Kane, Professor of Physics 
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 150, at a significantly higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles; conservation laws and symmetry principles; rigid body motion; non-inertial reference frames; oscillations. Students must enroll in both the seminar (PHYS 170.301, shown far below) and one of the labs (PHYS 170.302, 303, 304 or 305, immediately below). PHYS 170.302 (lab) | T | 0300PM - 0500PM PHYS 170.303 (lab) | R | 0300PM - 0500PM PHYS 170.304 (lab) | W | 0300PM - 0500PM PHYS 170.305 (lab) | T | 0600PM - 0800PM
PHYS 170 301
MWFDAVID RITTENHOUSE LABA6MTOWNE BUILDING311

Fulfills: Sector VI: Physical World

The Struggle For America's Soul: Evangelical Christians in U. S. Politics
Michele Margolis, Assistant Professor of Political Science 
In 1992, Pat Buchanan famously said, “There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.” Battles that make up this so-called war have been fought over gay marriage, abortion, Hobby Lobby, and political correctness, to name just a few, and white evangelical Christians have often been on the front lines of these cultural clashes. And the era of Trump has further ignited new religious debates, not about policy, but about evangelicals themselves. Trump critics question the moral fiber of a group who enthusiastically support a president whose personal behaviors and words often seem antithetical to Christian values, while Trump supporters cheer on a leader who fights for Christian values in the political arena. This seminar will start to unpack evangelicals’ role in American politics by exploring who evangelicals are, what evangelicals believe, whether and how evangelicals apply their religious beliefs to politics, the rise (and fall) of the “Religious Right”, and how politicians use religion to their electoral advantage. In doing so, this course will also encourage students to think about whether and how religion should be incorporated into politics and how students’ own religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) influence their political outlooks.
PSCI 010 301
T

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Behind the Iron Curtain
Kristen Ghodsee, Professor of Russian and East European Studies 
This first-year seminar provides an introduction to the histories, cultures, and societies of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and the successor states of Yugoslavia. Through a selection of articles and essays written by anthropologists and sociologists and based on their extended fieldwork in the region, students will explore both the ethnographic method and the experience of everyday life during and after the communist era. Topics will include: popular music under socialism, food and wine, environmental concerns, the status of Muslim minorities, socialist aesthetics, public memory and cultures of commemoration, privatization, advertising, women’s rights, gender and sexuality, emergent nationalisms, and the rise of income inequality and homelessness. All readings and assignments in English.
RUSS 026 401 | ANTH 026 401 | EEUR 026 401
TRWILLIAMS HALL3

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cross Cultural Analysis

Planning to Be Offshore
Srilata Gangulee, Assistant Dean for Academic Advising 
In this course we will trace the economic development of India from 1947 to the present. Independent India started out as a centrally planned economy in 1949 but in 1991 decided to reduce its public sector and allow, indeed encourage, foreign investors to come in. The Planning Commission of India still exists but has lost much of its power. Many in the U.S. complain of American jobs draining off to India, call centers in India taking care of American customer complaints, American patient histories being documented in India, etc. At the same time, the U.S. government encourages highly trained Indians to be in the U.S. Students are expected to write four one-page response papers and one final paper. Twenty percent of the final grade will be based on class participation, 20 percent on the four response papers and 60 percent on the final paper.
SAST 057 301
TRPSYCHOLOGY LABC41

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Doing Research: Qualitative Methods and Research
Lisa Mitchell, Associate Professor of South Asia Studies 
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to qualitative research methods and frameworks in the social sciences and humanities. The goals of the semester will be for each student to develop their own research proposal for a specific project that they could imagine pursuing over the summer or later in their undergraduate career,and to develop a web-based exhibit of one Penn-based research collection of interest. Students will be introduced to a range of textual, archival and media collections and databases available at Penn, with particular attention to South Asia and other specific regions of interest to course participants. The class will visit the Penn Museum object collections and archives, the Art library, the Kislak Center for Rare Books and Manuscripts, Film Archives, and other special collections on campus, and meet with a representative from the Center for Undergraduate Research Funding (CURF). Students will learn how to frame an effective research question, situate it in relation to existing research, select the most appropriate methods for addressing the question, and develop an effective research plan. Each week students will be introduced to a new set of frameworks for analysis, see specific examples of their application drawn from anthropological, historical, and related scholarship and have opportunities to practice applying and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of specific methodological tools. Students will also have the opportunity to identify sources of funding for summer research projects and prepare applications for these opportunities as part of the course. The course is ideal as an introduction to both the excellent libraries and research collections housed at Penn, and to a wide range of intellectual frameworks for engaging with these collections - a great way to kick off your undergraduate experience at Penn!
SAST 058 401 | ANTH 058 401
TRDAVID RITTENHOUSE LAB4E19

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Poverty and Inequality
Regina Baker, Assistant Professor of Sociology 
What does it mean to live in poverty in the "land of plenty" and experience inequality in the "land of opportunity?" This Freshman Seminar explores these questions and others related to poverty and inequality in contemporary America. The first part of this course focuses on poverty. We will examine topics such as poverty perceptions and measurement, poverty trends, causes of poverty, poverty-related outcomes, and anti-poverty policy. The second part of this course focuses on inequality more broadly. We will examine how inequality is defined and what it looks like in the U.S. We will compare the “Haves" and the "Have Nots” and discuss social class, mobility, wealth, and privilege. Lastly, we will explore how different domains (e.g. education, the labor market, health, the justice system) produce, maintain, and reproduce inequalities. Throughout the semester, we will consider the roles of race/ethnicity, gender, age, and place, and how they help deepen our understanding of poverty and inequality.
SOCI 041 301
MW

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Social Inequality & Health
Courtney Boen, Assistant Professor of Sociology 
Eat well. Exercise regularly. Get 7-9 hours of sleep. We have all been bombarded with this type of advice for achieving and maintaining optimal health. But how are our health behaviors and outcomes shaped, influenced, and constrained by social factors? How does where we live influence how—and how long—we live? And how do racism, gender inequality, and other forms of social exclusion, oppression, and domination impact health and well-being? This course provides an introduction into how social forces, broadly, and social inequality, specifically, impact individual and population health. We will begin by learning about how health is more than the product of individual lifestyle choices and genetic factors by exploring the social determinants of health. We will then examine how social inequality—particularly along lines of race, immigration status, social class, and gender—contributes to population health differences. We will analyze how racism, gender inequality, and other forms of social stratification both shape access to health promoting resources and opportunities such as well-paying jobs and healthy and affordable foods and also pattern exposure to harmful stressors and toxins such as discrimination and violence. Finally, we will discuss and debate policy and programmatic approaches aimed at reducing population health disparities. In this course, we will examine concepts related to social inequality and health through a process called "active learning,” which involves activities such as watching and reacting to films, reading about and responding to current events, and active dialogues and debates with classmates.
SOCI 041 302
MWDAVID RITTENHOUSE LAB4E19

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Work, Technolology and Society
Benjamin Shestakofsky, Assistant Professor of Sociology 
This course draws on sociological and social scientific research and theorizing to conceptualize the complex and dynamic relationship between work and technology. Rather than viewing technology as an immutable force that sweeps across societies and leaves social change in its wake, we will examine how the design, implementation, and outcomes of technological change are imbricated in political, economic, and social forces. We will mostly, though not exclusively, focus on developments in and case studies of work and technology in the United States. We will begin by examining theoretical perspectives on the historical interplay between work and technology. Then, we will consider contemporary issues, building dialogues between our theoretical groundwork and empirical evidence to trace continuities and disjunctures. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to interrogate the role of technology in capitalism’s past, understand its relation to our present age of digital disruption, and imagine the possibilities for our uncertain future.
SOCI 041 303
W

Fulfills: Sector I: Society

Diversity, Technology and the Penn Experience
Janice Curington, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs and Advising 
Penn is diverse in many ways. Let us explore this diversity together and understand its subtleties. How has the word “diversity” evolved over the years? Why is it (at times) such a loaded concept? When, where and how does diversity change within various contexts? What does the concept mean in a university context? How might it change in the future? We will explore different constructions of diversity at Penn. Have new technologies changed the ways in which we perceive culture, communicate and share ideas? Increasingly, we construct notions of ourselves and of others using video and social media in addition to personal experiences. How do such technologies define who we are, and the boundaries we draw to define “us” and “them”? Do sub-cultures thrive now in new ways? How does each student’s journey to Penn bring in new perspectives on the university? Reflections on personal experiences in the context of theories (cultural capital, social capital) will be a core part of this seminar. Readings and research assignments are interdisciplinary and will require critical analysis of both classic and contemporary perspectives. In addition to other assignments, small weekly response papers are due before each class meeting to encourage engaged discussions.
SOCI 041 305
MW

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Theatre in Philadelphia
Rosemary Malague, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts 
This course will investigate the state of the contemporary, non-profit theatre culture of Philadelphia by examining the history, artistic mission, and current production work of selected city theatre companies. This course will also explore the creative process of theatre-making as undertaken by these theatres through the reading of plays being produced by them this fall, through an analysis of the collaborative contribution of the playwright, director, actors, and designers to the creation of a production, and, finally, through attendance at those productions mounted by the theatre companies under investigation. The members of the class will write individual essays responding to these productions, do research and give group presentations on other Philadelphia theatre companies, and participate daily in a spirited dialogue about the vitality, level of artistic accomplishment, and cultural/social value of contemporary theatre in Philadelphia
THAR 076 301
TFISHER-BENNETT HALL323

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Introduction to Acting
Brooke O'Harra, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts 
Great acting is not just a question of talent. It is an advanced art form that requires discipline, skill, and technique. This course aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of acting through an exploration of classic techniques, script analysis and relevant vocabulary. Over the semester students are introduced to three acting disciplines: 1 - improvisation, 2 - Stanislavsky's system and scene work, 3 – movement-based acting. Students will study script analysis, acting technique and will rehearse and perform scenes. This course is an “on your feet course”; it requires active participation in all exercises and regular out-of-class meetings with classmates to rehearse and prepare scene work. Students will also attend a professional production together in Philadelphia.
THAR 120 301
TRANNENBERG CENTER511

Fulfills: Sector III: Arts & Letters

Homelessness & Urban Inequality
Dennis Culhane, Professor of Social Policy 
This freshman seminar examines the homelessness problem from a variety of scientific and policy perspectives. Contemporary homelessness differs significantly from related conditions of destitute poverty during other eras of our nation's history. Advocates, researchers and policymakers have all played key roles in defining the current problem, measuring its prevalence, and designing interventions to reduce it. The first section of this course examines the definitional and measurement issues, and how they affect our understanding of the scale and composition of the problem. Explanations for homelessness have also been varied, and the second part of the course focuses on examining the merits of some of those explanations, and in particular, the role of the affordable housing crisis. The third section of the course focuses on the dynamics of homelessness, combining evidence from ethnographic studies of how people become homeless and experience homelessness, with quantitative research on the patterns of entry and exit from the condition. The final section of the course turns to the approaches taken by policymakers and advocates to address the problem, and considers the efficacy and quandaries associated with various policy strategies. The course concludes by contemplating the future of homelessness research and public policy.
URBS 010 401 | AFRC 041 401 | SOCI 041 401
FMCNEIL BUILDING167-8

Fulfills: Sector I: Society  |  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research Seminar II
Andrew Rappe, Professor of Chemistry, John Vohs, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 
This is the second part of the two-semester seminar designed to introduce students to the VIPER program and help them prepare for energy-related research. In this semester we will continue to discuss research articles on various energy-related topics, best practices for library research, presentation of data, basic research methods, research ethics, data analysis, and funding options. A large focus of the course will also be on presenting (in both written and oral form) the work from the students' summer research internships.
VIPR 121 301
WCHEMISTRY BUILDING514