(Re)Presenting Culture

Anthropologists use ethnographic writing and films to present cultures to outsiders. Both inscribe/transcribe social life, but the portraits they create differ. Theoretical considerations as well as stylistic conventions influence both the shape and the content of the final product. In this course we examine closely a body of films to explore how each genre (e.g., observational, realist, non-narrative) serves to inscribe experienced/observed realities. Topics addressed include how do film/video allow for a holistic framework, including historical background? How do visual portrayals conceal or highlight the perspective of the author/film maker? What is the relationship between the audience and the subject? To what extent do the subjects of ethnographies have control over how they are represented? Throughout, comparisons are made with written ethnographies as well as with Hollywood filmmaking influences. Prerequisites: Previous work in anthropology and/or other social science, or previous work in film and video.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4204.01

Anthropological Research Methodologies

This course is an exploration of the basic tools that anthropologists use when conducting participant-observation field research. Students will learn how to use a variety of interview techniques, focus group discussions and surveys. Workshops will provide the opportunity for students to use these techniques on topics of their own interest. Methodological and theoretical perspectives will be examined, as will methods for recording, analyzing, interpreting and writing up qualitative data. Topics including formulating research proposals and ethics will be discussed. This course is particularly encouraged for sophomores and juniors considering either study abroad or advanced work in anthropology. Prerequisites: At least one anthropology course and/or multiple social science classes and permission of the instructor.

  • Noah Coburn | FA2013 | M, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4110.01

Anthropology of Art

This course is an exploration of art as defined and practiced in different cultures. We will look at how peoples of diverse world cultures create, use, manipulate, conceptualize, exchange, and evaluate objects of material culture. We will look at how material items are considered to be artistic or aesthetic in some fashion, and think of how and if we can translate those values across cultural boundaries. Prerequisites: Previous work in anthropology or permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4212.01

Applying Anthropological Research Methodologies

This course is an advanced seminar that will apply skills learned in Anthropological Research Methodologies. The class will work collectively to do a local ethnographic study. Depending upon the skills and interests of each student, the class will design a research proposal and then carry out key research techniques. Finally students will be asked to present this work in a collective piece of ethnography. Note that that students are also required to be simultaneously enrolled in Anthropological Research Methodologies and that significant course time outside of the scheduled class period may be required. Prerequisites:At least one anthropology course and/or multiple social science classes and permission of the instructor. Corequisites: Anthropological Research Methodologies

  • Noah Coburn | FA2013 | Th, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4111.01

Cultural Localities

This advanced research seminar offers the opportunity for detailed study of a society of the world, including its culture, politics, economy, world view, religion, expressive practices, and historical transformations. In the initial segment of the course we will cover shared materials, the second segment is devoted to individual pursuit of a topic, as relevant to a specific peoples or culture. The aim is to explore detailed histories of colonialism, civilization, dictatorships, markets, nationalism, neo-colonialism, and gender relations, as they apply to a specific, contemporary society and the issues that shape it at the beginning of the third millennium. Through readings of literature, colonial theory, anthropology, history, political economy, video documentary, and fieldwork footage, the course provides critical perspectives that form bridges among texts produced by indigenous and exogenous observers. The length of the final paper is expected to be 25-30 pages. Prerequisites: At least two intermediate anthropology and/or social science classes and permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2012 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4377.01

Cultural Localities I: Researching Culture

This advanced research seminar offers the opportunity for the student to design an anthropological research project similar to the type encountered in anthropology graduate programs. The project allows for detailed study of a society of the world, including its culture, politics, economy, world view, religion, expressive practices, and historical transformations. The initial sessions will explore issues central to the concerns of contemporary anthropology. In the second half of the course, students will look at how anthropologists frame their mode of inquiry, how research parameters are developed and how one goes about conducting background research in preparation for fieldwork. Each student will be asked to do a thorough review of the literature applicable to their location and topic and write at least a 25-30 page paper that will frame their future research, as well as commenting on and critiquing each others work. Prerequisites: At least three anthropology and/or social science classes and permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4117.01
  • Noah Coburn | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4117.01

Cultural Localities II: Writing Culture

This advanced research seminar offers the opportunity for the student to implement an advanced study of a specific culture and issue as it is shaped by various social, political, religious and economic contexts. The course will begin with a discussion of contemporary issues in anthropological field research and the writing process, and will include issues such as ethics, the impact of research on public policy, the framing of data and matters of style in the presentation of work. The majority of the course is devoted to individual pursuit of a topic, as relevant to a specific peoples or culture. Students will build on the frame that they constructed in Cultural Localities I by analyzing field research data. Building on work from the previous term, the length of the final paper is expected to be 60+ pages. Students will also work collaboratively to comment on each other's work. Prerequisites: Satisfactory work in Cultural Localities I and permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4136.01

Culture, Environment, and Sustainable Living

In this seminar, we examine how Western and non-Western cultures, both past and present, perceive and shape key environmental and social issues. Through readings, discussions and films we will evaluate the potential of environmental and cultural studies to address some of the most urgent contemporary problems. To work toward an understanding of what is today called environmental anthropology, we begin with an overview of material from fields which have served as antecedents and/or coevolving orientations, including the fields of cultural ecology, ecological anthropology, and human ecology. We will address questions of how people studied and perceived the ways in which human societies and various environments shape one another over time. We will also look at the environmental implications of human adaptations, and how these contribute to the issues of the day, including environmental stresses such as overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, pollution of land, air and water and global warming. Prerequisites: None.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT2117.01

Displaying Culture

This course is a hands-on exploration of how culture is exhibited. How do we move from cultural material to display and what are the consequences of this transition? How do we create ethnography when it is not a text or a film? The course will look at the politics, economics and social impact of exhibiting culture in a variety of ways. It will look at some of the practical and theoretical concerns both with how museums create exhibits of cultural material, but also how other cultures conceive of the display of cultural and ethnographic material. Students will visit a series of museums with the instructor and look at how displays are set up and artifacts exhibited. The culminating project will include working with the instructor and an artist to put together an exhibition that looks at the disruptions caused by international intervention. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Noah Coburn | FA2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT4211.01

Embracing Difference

Why are cultures and societies so different, and simultaneously, so similar? The focus of this introductory course is to examine some of the theoretical and methodological approaches used by anthropologists in their exploration into human culture and society. Various ethnographic examples are studied to develop an anthropological perspective on economy and politics, social organization, kinship and family life, ideology and ritual, ecology and adaptation, as well as a focus on the sources and dynamics of inequality.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2107.01

Ethnography and Writing Across Cultures

This course is an advanced exploration of theory and the history of anthropology by using the most basic of anthropological texts the ethnography. By carefully analyzing a series of classic and more current ethnographies, students will look at the relationship between theoretical approaches, how ethnographic data is presented to the reader and how the shape of the text determines how the material is being understood. Students will explore concepts of subjectivity, the construction of narrative and the relationship between the anthropologist, the reader and the text. Students will be required to participate actively in the analysis of each text as well as analyzing texts outside of class. Prerequisites: At least one anthropology course and/or multiple social science classes and permission of the instructor.

  • Noah Coburn | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4213.01

From an Indigenous Point of View

Using the novel as ethnography, this course examines world cultures through literary works of authors from various parts of the world. We explore the construction of community in precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial times; independence movements; issues of individual and social identity; and the themes of change, adaptation and conflict. Student work includes an analytical essay, contribution to an extensively researched, group class presentation on contextual material, a research based essay, and a final piece of fiction writing. Prerequisites: Previous work in anthropology and/or other social science.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT4205.01

Global Capitalism

We are all familiar with a culture and society dedicated to the idea of consumption as the ultimate source of well-being. Its technology, wealth, and power are monuments to its success. But its spread around the globe has been accompanied by growing social and economic inequality, environmental destruction, mass starvation, and social unrest. Though most members of this society and culture perceive these problems as distant, it may well be that they are intrinsic to the culture itself. This course explores global problems such as the population explosion, famine and hunger, environmental destruction, the emergence and spread of new diseases, ethnic conflict and genocides, terrorism and social protest. It examines the links between these problems and the broad emergence of the culture of consumption. It also explores how the emergence of this culture has led, not to a single concept of "modernity" shared by everyone, but to many different "modernities" produced when capitalism is filtered through the "traditional" ways of looking at the world in other societies. Prerequisites: Previous work in Anthropology or permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT4135.01

How to Study a Disaster

Disasters loom large in the contemporary. In films and front-page news, images of societies splintering apart proliferate. Surely one of the most remarkable things about social life in the present is the ease with which we can conjure up its spectacular destruction. The point of this seminar is to take disaster seriously. We will do this both by reviewing historical and ethnographic accounts of actual events of profound disruption and by reflecting on how knowledge of disaster moves through pubic policy, critical theory, and big-budget entertainment. Taking a close look at the Dust Bowl, nuclear weapon tests, DDT, Chernobyl, Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, Fukushima, and global climate change, we will learn about the technical, ecological, and social dimensions of real disasters. Taking a step back, we will follow images and ideas of disaster as they emerge from such events and move into problems of governance, questions of power, and popular representations of the very fragility of social life. Most readings will be in anthropology with a few fieldtrips into environmental history and science and technology studies. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Bond | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2136.01

Learning from People

Participant observation and interviewing are the hallmark methods anthropologists utilize in studying people, culture and society. In this workshop course we will learn the techniques and nuances of these methods, and use them to explore a particular issue or event. Further, we will assess their limitations, and ways in which those can be overcome. This two-credit course will meet over the entire term, for four hours every other week in order to permit adequate time for completion of hands on exercises and projects between class meetings. Prerequisites: Previous work in social science, permission of the instructor.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4109.01

Many Peoples, One World

Why are cultures and societies so different, and simultaneously, so similar? We explore these questions by reading various ethnographic studies, meanwhile developing an anthropological perspective on economy and politics, social organization, kinship and family life, ideology and ritual, ecology and adaptation. We also focus on the sources and dynamics of inequality. Against this background, we examine some of the theoretical and methodological approaches used by anthropologists in their explorations into human culture and society. Prerequisites: None.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2101.01

Media and Consumer Society

Over the past fifty years, the media has assumed a dominant role as the vehicle and inspiration for ever-changing lifestyle and consumption choices. This course explores the complex and evolving interrelationship between media and consumption. In the first part of the course, we will examine theories and concepts that help explain the cultural mechanisms through which certain consumer objects acquire symbolic value and desirability. We will go on to consider some of the ways in which advertising, new forms of technology, and the cult of celebrity fuel consumption, while also accentuating social inequality and accelerating the current crisis of indebtedness. The course will also look at how globalization shapes consumer practices in different parts of the world and how (and to what extent) media has contributed to the creation of increasingly generic global consumption patterns. Finally, in the context of growing environmental awareness, we will look at contemporary anti-consumerism efforts, including the "no logo" and adbusting movements. Prerequisites: Previous work in social science.

  • Marketa Rulikova | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4209.01

Nature in the Americas

Nature has played a key role in shaping social life in the Americas. Yet nature refuses easy definition. This course reflects on the many presences of nature and their uses across the Americas. In this course, we will learn how the agency of germs, cattle, and sugar shaped the formation of European conceit, how some of the earliest capitalistic ventures were built atop the cultivated abundance of (decimated) indigenous communities, how local entanglements of village life in the Amazon dispute any overarching distinction of what is human and what is nature, and how the state and capital invest heavily in maintaining such distinctions of human and nature at the frontiers of power and profit. The overarching premise of this course is straightforward: the unfolding history of life itself in the Americas has indelibly shaped much of what counts as Nature today and much of what makes the Americas a distinct region. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • David Bond | FA2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4215.01
  • David Bond | FA2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4128.01

Other People's Worlds

In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century a European based world-economy came into existence. Fueled by the philosophy of mercantilism, traders followed, and sometimes were, explorers seeking riches in the lands "discovered" in the search for trade routes. The resulting contact between cultures led to fundamental transformations of all the societies and cultures involved. Drawing on specific ethnographic examples, this course invites students to embark on a journey of exploration of the globe. Through texts and film we will examine the internal dynamics of selected societies on various continents in order to understand how they construct their world, as well as investigate the dynamics which tie them together in a system of hierarchy established over the course of centuries since the age of European exploration. Prerequisites: Prior work in anthropology or another social science.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT4129.01

Participating in Politics: The Anthro of Democracy

This course challenges students to think beyond basic institutional definitions of democracy. It will provide an introduction to some basic anthropological tools that approach political systems more holistically through participant-observation research, studying the ways in which people experience concepts such as civil society. By looking at a series of non-Western political systems it will critique terms such as representative governance and democracy, and ask how political legitimacy is created in different settings. In the first half of the class, examples will draw from the Middle East, the Americas and Oceania. The course will then use these critiques to turn the lens back on our own political systems and ask how we create (or fail to create) political change and more democratic governance. The final part of this class will look particularly at the case of several democracy-promotion projects in Afghanistan. Invited speakers will lead the class through a series of workshops on the role of artists in encouraging more democratic practices. Prerequisites: None.

  • Noah Coburn | SP2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT2204.01

People, Culture, and Society

Anthropology is in essence the comparative study of human societies and cultures. The concept of culture is central to the discipline because it reveals human capacity for creativity and helps in understanding and accounting for the diversity of social and cultural practices found around the world. But nowhere can people live heedless of material constraints. Using ethnographic texts, we examine the interplay between constraints and human creativity to explain the great diversity in the systems of production, distribution and exchange within which people live. We explore the variety of social organizations, gender identities, political systems and religions, and conclude by looking at the impact of the expansion of capitalism on non-western societies and issues of social change and development. Prerequisites: None.

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2184.01

Peoples and Cultures of Africa

Why is there so much famine? Why so many civil wars? Why so much misunderstanding? To place current events in Africa in a meaningful framework, this course explores indigenous African cultures, drawing on ethnographic examples from selected ethnic groups representing major subsistence strategies, geographical and ecological zones, and patterns of culture. We will explore how cultural practices and the ecology influence each other and affect the lives of Africa's farmers, herders, and workers. We will also examine the new social and cultural practices that influence the survival of societies. Consequently, we will locate indigenous coping strategies within their historical context, in order to understand their role in contemporary society, and to answer another question: What are the social strengths of African societies? An evening film series will accompany this course. Six films will be screened over the course of the term. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: Screening, Th 8:30 - 10pm

  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2118.01

Politics and Culture: From Big Men to Big Brother

This course takes an anthropological approach to understanding how different cultures live and experience politics. The course will begin by looking at how different societies organize politically, from Big Man societies in Papua New Guinea to international organizations. We will critically examine how different cultures understand concepts such as power, nationalism and the state, and in particular, how power is organized when there is no state. Cases will come from a range of areas including the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and the Americas, taking both a comparative and historical approach. We will in particular scrutinize terms such as democracy and civil society that have been developed from a Western context and ask how useful they are when discussing other cultures. Prerequisites: None.

  • Noah Coburn | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2125.01

Power and Culture in the Middle East

Since 9-11 there has been an increased focus in the media and in policy circles on the Middle East and Central Asia, and yet, for most Americans this is still a poorly understood area. Much has been written on topics such as Islam and the role of women in the Middle East, but not enough has been done to focus on politics in the region as a lived experience. How do people make political and economic choices? How do they understand power? How do social obligations, religion and culture shape their views of the world? This class begins with the most basic political unit, the family, and then considers political groupings of increasing size: lineages, tribes, religious sects, ethnic groups and states. The class will serve as an introduction to some basic anthropological concepts, such as ethnography and participant-observation research in the Middle Eastern context. It will rely on several base texts along with a series of case studies that will be presented throughout the semester. Prerequisites: None

  • Noah Coburn | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT2106.01
  • Noah Coburn | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2106.01

Reading the Body

Should boys be robust and ruddy? Should girls be wan, lithe and prone to vapors? Unlike the Western scientific, biomedical constructions of the body, a cultural constructionist approach accepts the body, the self, and the person as culturally shaped, constrained, and invented. In this course, we will explore how social values and hierarchies are written in, on, and through the body, the relationship between body and (gender) identity; and the experiences and images of the body cross culturally. Our bodies and our perception of them constitute an important part of our sociocultural heritage, and throughout life we undergo a process of collectively sanctioned bodily modification that serves as an important instrument for our socialization. Alternating between discussion and experiential classes, students will read and discuss texts that address the social construction of the body, and examine the basis for movement, our anatomical structure, and how this is socially modified. Prerequisites: Previous work in anthropology or another social science, previous work in dance.

  • Miroslava Prazak | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT4208.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT4208.01

Studying Culture in the Contemporary World

How do cultural anthropologists examine culture in the contemporary world? This course will consider the practices, behaviors, attitudes, and forms of social organization throughout the globe that anthropologists investigate when conducting research. We will read studies from several ethnographic articles and four books examining topics such as religious practice, language usage, family relations, labor and exchange, maintaining good health/treating disease, and migration. Students will write a three-page paper due at the beginning of the semester, mid-term and final papers (each five pages in length), and prepare written sets of questions for each reading assignment. The outcome of this course will prepare students to view "culture" not just as concept of study for anthropologists, but as a tool people use around the world to survive, adapt, and thrive in their environments under the conditions of everyday life. Prerequisites: None.

  • Nathan Jones | SP2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2110.01

The Anthropology of International Intervention

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and other major powers have used a series of 'international interventions' to re-shape the world system. While having much in common with earlier colonial systems, this era is uniquely marked by a language that focuses on democracy and free-markets, the role of the United Nations and other international organizations, a rising private sector development industry and the dominant role of the United States. But is this somehow a new system or simply a re-shaping of old models? What does this mean for the relationships between countries, cultures and individuals? And what can anthropology contribute to all of this? This course will ask questions about international intervention more broadly while focusing most specifically on the case of Afghanistan. Prerequisites: Previous work in anthropology and/or other social science.

  • Noah Coburn | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4150.01

The Anthropology of Religion

This course takes an anthropological approach to the study of religion. It will look comparatively at how religion is understood in different cultures as well as studying different historical and theoretical approaches to religion. The course takes a holistic approach to religion and asks how religion is tied to such concepts as politics, kinship, gender and nationalism. It will also introduce students to a series of anthropological tools such as participant-observation research in the context of religious studies. Topics covered will include ritual, sacrifice, and expiation. Cases will come from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Prerequisites: None.

  • Noah Coburn | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ANT2108.01

The Anthropology of Science & Technology

This course introduces students to science and technology studies. Studying the laboratory as a foreign culture, technology as a built argument, and objectivity as a disembodied vision, this course approaches science as a history of the present; that is, as an unfolding force that is actively shaping the texture and significance of social life in the present. Readings will describe how scientific practice, whether in the isolation of genetics or the order of statistics, is an effective social author in its own right. Several questions will guide our inquiries: What kind of society is enacted in scientific practice and deployed technologies? Who can thrive and who is thwarted within such societies? What role should expertise play in a democracy? Topics include: the separation of the natural from the social, how science impinges on public policy (and vice versa), formatting the economy, modeling climate change, and techno-science and democracy. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Bond | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ANT2119.01

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Like a pebble dropped in a pool, HIV sends ripples to the edges of society, affecting first the family, then the community, then the nation as a whole. -UNAIDS In some countries entire demographic structures are being altered, decades of gains in womens rights face reversal, and the devastation of orphaned childrens' lives threatens to continue playing out for generations. The slow, diffuse and partly invisible nature of the epidemic makes it all the more difficult to fight, and poses many challenges for those seeking to create policies and mitigate the effects of the epidemic. How is the epidemic best understood, beginning with the experiences of the afflicted and affected in families and communities, or with epidemiology models and policy makers? What are the implications of the mutual construction of those two approaches? What kind of impact is experienced in high prevalence communities and countries? How can the differential susceptibility of some communities over others be understood? What tools can be used, or need to be developed, to enable the best decision making about where to allocate resources to prevent devastation? And how can we understand and build the institutions that will produce the best balance between corporate incentives and access to life-saving treatment; between market and state; between the interests of rich countries and those of the poor ones, with respect to treatment? Our geographic focus will be on the African continent, and throughout the term, we will focus both on the grounded experiences of ethnographic realities and on the role of grassroots activism in the battle against HIV. Prerequisites: Previous work in social sciences and permission of the instructors.

  • Kiaran Honderich | FA2011 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4120.01
  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2011 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4120.01

The Social Life of Crude Oil

Crude oil keeps the contemporary in motion. This basic fact has become as bland a platitude as it is an unexamined process. From plastic bags to electricity, from synthetic fertilizers to the passenger plane, from heat for our homes to fuel for our cars, our world is cultivated, packaged, transported, and consumed in the general momentum of hydrocarbon expenditures. These well-worn facts are so ingrained in our everyday lives that they rarely rise to the level of sustained scrutiny. This seminar aims to change that. Over the course the semester, we will work out a more deliberate, a more vivid, and a more critical anthropology of crude oil. This means taking what crude oil does as seriously as what is done with crude oil. In this course, we will learn about the basic shape of crude oils formation, refinement, and combustion. We will read different perspectives on hydrocarbon development, hearing from company workers, environmental scientists, and impacted local communities. And we will reflect more critically on the social worlds of crude oil: the tangle and tenure of hydrocarbon infrastructure, the ways and means of hydrocarbon pollution, and the technical domains of knowledge and governance authorized by hydrocarbon development like the economy and the environment. Prerequisites: Prior work in anthropology or permission of instructor.

  • David Bond | SP2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4118.01

Transnational Migration

This course approaches the theme of migration from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a special emphasis on examining lives of immigrants. We will first discuss the major theories of migration, their strengths and limitations. While most theories of migration typically focus on one or another cause of migration, we will try to understand the variability of motives in order to explain different strategies adopted by different immigrants in difference places and times. The most widespread causes for migration - economic necessity and political sanctuary - will be discussed at length. The issue of human rights in the context of asylum seekers and war refugees will also be of special interest. We will finally look at developments in immigration policies in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, and will try to make sense of controversies in contemporary political debates over immigration. Special attention in this context will be paid to individual and social consequences of illegal immigration. This course is aimed to provide students with a solid general overview of trends and issues related to people's mobility across national borders. Prerequisites: Previous work in social science.

  • Marketa Rulikova | SP2011 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | ANT4115.01


This course is a cross-cultural exploration of violence. We will ask: What is violence? How do we experience, perceive, think and write about violence as a political concept? The course will begin with the political philosophy of violence. It will then move to ethnographies written about particularly violent societies and look at how other disciplines write about violence. It will consider how different cultures understand violence and related issues such as force, power, sovereignty and resistance. The course will explore violence in relationships between individuals, families, kin groups, ethnicities, neighborhoods, and countries. In our readings and discussions, we will look at how anthropologists conduct research amidst violence, write about it and address the concept ethnographically. Cases will include studies of colonial violence, interethnic violence, violence within communities and war from a range of geographic areas, particularly the Middle East, South Asia and North America. Topics include conceptions of masculinity and violence, torture and international politics, terror and violence, and writing about the Holocaust. Prerequisites: Work in anthropology and/or significant work in other social sciences.

  • Noah Coburn | SP2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4116.01


"Best Practices": Managing the Empire, 1800-1950

Historically, modern empires emerged as "extended polities," in which the problems of governance, rights, obligations and status were continuously contested and negotiated. In this advanced seminar, we delve into the rich scholarship on imperial medical, psychiatric and penal strategies and practices. Weekly readings (200-250 pp.) are combined with weekly write-ups and half-term independent projects. Prerequisites: At least two Social Sciences courses, or the equivalent.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2011 | T, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4250.01

America in the World: Past, Present, Future

Even while responding to recent global and national events that seem unprecedented, the United States continues to confronts the dilemmas running throughout its diplomatic history-national security versus individual liberties, unilateralism versus multilateralism, competing domestic constituencies, and conflicting visions of America's role in the world. Newly declassified documents available from around the world provide us the opportunity to reassess conventional wisdom. In this intensive seminar, we work through primary sources across two centuries, examining the thinking, constraints, and goals of not only the formulators of foreign policy, but of those outside of official power. Prerequisites: At least two social science courses.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | MTh, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | HIS4204.01
  • Eileen Scully | FA2013 | MTh, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | HIS4204.01

Americans in Paris

This course will survey the rich history of Americans' fascination and engagement with the city of Paris and France. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, we will look at succeeding generations of travelers and expatriates: 19th-century tourists who came to complete their cultural education, painters who discovered new techniques and inspiration in artistic circles, African-Americans who found freedoms unheard of in segregated American society, and the expatriate writers of the early 20th century. We will also consider the experiences of American solidiers in the First and Second World Wars and their deep and lasting impact on American society. Finally, we will examine the pleasure seekers' search for sexual freedom, culinary sophistication, and the beauty of fahsion. This course is an interdisciplinary cultural history: we will study letters (Jefferson), novels (Mark Twain, Stein, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Baldwin), memoirs (Julia Child), travel guides, songs, the visual arts, film (An American in Paris, Le Divorce), and television (Sex and the City). Prerequisites: None.

  • Stephen Shapiro | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2114.01

Bennington Past and Present

This is a hands-on workshop in Bennington local history, with attention to the history of Bennington College, and to the wider contexts of Vermont and New England, America, and the world. Intensive readings and discussions, supplemented by guest speakers and field trips, help situate students in the broad political, social and environmental narrative of Vermont history. In the second half of the course, student-run workshops on self-selected topics provide opportunities for more specialized explorations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2012 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2293.01

Christianity & Homosexuality

The Christian opposition to homosexuality is well known and high profile, and lies at the foundation of current American discourse about homosexuality and gay rights. So, why does Christianity have a problem with homosexuality? Or does it? This course aims to explore Christianity and homosexuality in their various historical, social, cultural, and spiritual meetingpoints. Beginning in antiquity and ending in the present day, this course will explore such themes as biblical foundations, the medieval image of the sodomite, gay spirituality and queer theology, and evangelical ex-gay ministries. Fundamental to this course will be the addition of complexity and nuance to a conflict that can often seem so black and white. Prerequisites: None.

  • Stephen Higa | SP2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2115.01

Conspiracies: Past, Present, Always

Conspiracy theories have a long and interesting history in American politics and culture. Indeed, some of today's most interesting and diabolical conspiracy theories actually took hold in the era of the American Revolution. They have persisted across generations and centuries, periodically exploding into epidemic-level mass paranoia. Through select case studies, primary documents, cultural artifacts, films, and declassified dossiers, we will explore conspiracy theories as an enduring but not entirely benign phenomenon of everyday life in America. This is a writing-intensive course, with weekly readings of 150-200 pages. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2112.01

Eighteenth-Century England: History and Literature

An exploration of England in the "long eighteenth century", when the nation lurched through the rapid series of cultural changes that would eventually define its course into modernity. Beginning with the Restoration in 1660, we discuss Empire and Enlightenment, in addition to the South Sea Bubble, the Industrial Revolution, and the culture of the coffee house. The course will be taught in two parts. In the second half of the term we will read the work of eighteenth-century writers such as Defoe, Sterne, and Burney. Carol Pal will teach the first half of the term. Annabel Davis-Goff will teach the second half of the term. Prerequisites: None.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | SP2011 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2213.01
  • Carol Pal | SP2011 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2213.01

Explorations in Public History

This class introduces students to the fundamentals of Public History, that is, history that is generated for wide audiences, through collaborations with communities, stakeholders, and professional academics. Working closely with the Park McCullough House Association, Crossett Library, the independent Village School in North Bennington, and various guest specialists, students in this course will develop a working knowledge of Public History, and gain first-hand experience in creating and using historical materials in educational outreach work with elementary school students.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS4106.01

Gender in Early Modern Europe

We interrogate historical perceptions of gender in the early modern era, and develop a critical approach to our sources. In addition to what was said by major writers and thinkers, we want to know - how did women see themselves? Using letters, court records, journals, art, and published treatises, we see women running businesses, negotiating legal systems, engaging in public debate, performing surgery, and creating art. Going back beyond the Victorian era's celebration of women's domesticity and "separate spheres," we find that perhaps the spheres of early modern women and men were not so separate after all. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Pal | FA2011 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS2102.01
  • Carol Pal | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2102.01


Genesis is the first book in a compilation known collectively as the Bible. It is a text of enormous literary value, and one of our earliest historical chronicles, providing foundational material for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yet how many of us know what it actually says? How did it come together, what is the narrative, and how does it relate to the ideas and events of the ancient world? We closely examine this surprising and contradictory work both as a text, and as a primary source for understanding the world that produced it. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Pal | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS2220.01
  • Carol Pal | FA2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2220.01

Governing America

Who's running America? Is anybody actually in charge? To get at these questions, we will conduct a wide-ranging historical overview of American governance, from the founding generation up through current initiatives to form an even more perfect union. Using case studies--including Tammany Hall, Civil War, Civil Rights, Borders, and Regulation--we will explore the elaborate, often murky workings of the American State, from top to bottom, high to low, sea to shining sea. Weekly assignments will emerge from class discussion. Half-term integrative projects will emerge from our engagement with local, state and federal agencies and organizations.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2257.01

Historical Grievances & Retrospective Redress

Using case studies, we will explore the emerging field of Art and Cultural Heritage Mediation, along with the large politics of history-based grievance claims. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS4214.01

History of Medicine: From Hippocrates to Harvey

How did pre-modern culture understand the human body? How did it work? Where did it fit in the Great Chain of Being, and what differentiated men from women? Medicine has always been a hybrid of thinking, seeing, knowing, and doing. But what defined medicine in the past? Was it a science, an art, or a random assortment of practices? Between the age of Hippocrates and the age of Enlightenment, medicine very slowly detached itself from philosophy to become empirical and experimental. Using documents, art, and images, we follow patients and practitioners from Hippocrates to Harvey. As we trace the history of healing, we chart changing perceptions of the body in early modern culture. Prerequities: None.

  • Carol Pal | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2183.01

Intellectual Revolutions

Between 1500 and 1800, Europe staggered through a non-stop succession of world-changing upheavals. Wars, new world conquests, and the Protestant Reformation brought changes that filtered into the fabric of everyday life for peasants and princes alike. Yet the most enduring and earth-shattering revolutions of those years did not involve bloodshed at all because they were revolutions of the mind. The invention of empirical science, the professionalization of medicine, and the secular discourse of the various Enlightenments (French, Scottish, English, and German) created the intellectual platform on which we are still standing today. We follow this exciting process, and illuminate the assumptions implicit in the intellectual fabric of our world. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Pal | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2229.01

Journey: 1890's

Students sign on to travel the world in the world-changing decade of the 1890s. In early weeks, students each create an historically credible persona, whom they will then lead and follow around the globe, starting out in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2014 | Th, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS2126.01

Making and Breaking International Law

International law is no longer merely "out there" somewhere, relevant only to travelers, merchants and diplomats. International law is being globalized, and glocalized, so that it now covers complex contested areas such as civil unions, health insurance, sexual orientation, migration. This is an introduction to the fundamentals of twenty-first century international law, through an immersion in challenging weekly readings (200-250 pages) and rigorous weekly written assignments. Monday evening sessions intentionally dovetail with the Social Science Colloquium, which in Spring 2011 will feature lectures and presentations on "the new International Law." Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2011 | MTh, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | HIS2130.01

Medieval Europe: The Growth of Christianity

In this class, students will be introduced to the European Middle Ages through an investigation of its most defining religious tradition. Using a variety of primary sources, we will come to understand the lives, thoughts, feelings, and aspirations of medieval people as they used Christian stories and Christian doctrines to approach the Big Questions of human existence. We tackle such issues as the development of doctrine, the exploration of spirituality, the drive for crusade, the call for reform, the growth of mysticism, and encounters with Christianity's Others (pagan traditions, Judaism, Islam). Prerequisites: None.

  • Stephen Higa | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2150.01

Medieval Virginity

In this class, we will use virginity as a window onto medieval constructions of gender, sexuality, and sanctity. From rules for nuns to extended rhapsodies on the Virgin Mary, medieval rhetorics of virginity formed a female (and sometimes male) body as a contested site where sexual, religious, social, and political tensions played out. In this course, students will use primary sources to understand a discourse that still influences the Wests complicated relationship to human sexuality. Prerequisites: Prior work in social sciences or literature.

  • Stephen Higa | SP2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS4210.01

Plague: History and Literature

"Plague" is a term that terrifies. In history, literature, and medicine, it works at a deep and awful level. But what are the component parts of this horror? During the first half of the term, we will read novels that treat epidemics both literally and metaphorically: Maugham, Camus, Saramago, etc. In the second half of the term we will examine the pre-modern precursors for these texts. We read and analyze documents produced during historical episodes of plague, from the Plague of Athens in 430 B.C. to the Plague of London in 1665. Students who have previously taken HIS2111 The History of Medicine to 1800 may not enroll in this course. Prerequisites: None.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | SP2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2157.01
  • Carol Pal | SP2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2157.01

Renaissance and Reformation

This course is a survey of the cultural, social, and religious movements that transformed Europe between 1350 and 1700. These revolutions in Western thought gave birth to the Enlightenment, and the intellectual outlook that still characterizes our culture today. Using primary source materials such as letters, literature, court records, and paintings, we examine large-scale changes and personal stories. We explore Renaissance art and humanism, theories of government, the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic response, explorations of the New World, and the Scientific Revolution. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Pal | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | HIS2110.01

Sound Studies

How do we hear? Why do we listen? From religious chant to village bells to elevator muzak to noise pollution, sound has played a major role in human cultures and human experience since time immemorial. In this course, students will approach and engage critically with sound, listening, hearing, and aurality as categories for the analysis of societies from prehistory to the present day. Readings will be drawn from history, anthropology, philosophy, literature, art, music, environmental studies, and science studies. In addition to weekly readings, students will be asked to write papers, partake in listening/sound exercises, and confect creative projects that engage with the themes of the class. Prerequisites: One course in social science or music.

  • Stephen Higa | FA2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS4108.01

Special Projects

This course is an opportunity for students to pursue individual and collaborative interdisciplinary independent projects, whether in the exploratory phase or already underway. In early weeks, we workshop and finalize project ideas to produce individual contracts. These contracts include arrangements for each student to receive preliminary consultation on proposals and culminating review of completed work by recognized experts here in the Bennington College community or beyond. Class meetings thereafter are opportunities to learn and hone project-centered capacities, to present and discuss work-in-progress, and to consult one-on-one with the instructor. Recent projects have included sixth-term thesis proposals, seventh- and eight-term research papers, historically grounded short stories and animations, curatorial guides, and video documentaries.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2013 | T, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01
  • Eileen Scully | FA2014 | T, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01
  • Eileen Scully | SP2014 | T, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01
  • Eileen Scully | FA2012 | W, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01
  • Eileen Scully | SP2012 | W, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01
  • Eileen Scully | SP2013 | W, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4750.01

Special Projects in History

An immersion in historical reasoning and research, this course is open to all students exploring or already pursuing independent projects that seem directly or indirectly to require such an experience. For some, this might mean incorporating history more fully into their work in other constituent disciplines under Social Sciences, or perhaps laying the foundation for advanced work in History itself. For others, it may provide an opportunity to develop ideas for historically grounded fiction and plays. Interested students are encouraged to inquire. Group discussions and critiques are combined with one-on-one guidance. Prerequisites: Submit by November 1 to Veronica Jorgensen, Program Coordinator for Social Sciences, a brief statement outlining the work that might be undertaken in the course. A list of students accepted into the course will be posted in Barn 247 by November 8.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2011 | W, 6:30PM-10:30PM | HIS4796.01

The Great Nobi Earthquake: 1891

Nobi Daijishin, the Great Nobi Earthquake, hit Japan at 6:38am on October 28, 1891. Also known as the Mino-Owari Earthquake, it remains one of the largest such disasters in world history. Killing thousands, Nobi Daijishin spread hunger, pestilence, fire, and destruction across a 4200-square mile area radiating out from the epicenter in present-day Motosu city, Gifu Prefecture. Using an innovative "one day in history" methodology, we will explore this momentous, traumatic event, through contemporary photographs, maps, reports, literature, art, drama, and witness-accounts. Prerequisites: Prior college-level work in History or related disciplines.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2012 | MTh, 8:30PM-10:20PM | HIS4401.01

The History of Science: From Hippocrates to Newton

History tells us that humans have always wondered about the natural world. For thousands of years, our ancestors gazed in wonder at the heavens, experimented with plants and medicines, and tried to comprehend their own mortality. But when did "science" actually begin to be its own field, separate from philosophy, astrology, or faith? Beginning with human origins and prehistoric tools, we turn to the astronomical achievements of the Mayans and Aztecs, the advanced science of early China and the Islamic world, and the murky intricacies of alchemy and magic. We end with the Scientific Revolution, when the world-changing ideas of Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, and Newton gave birth to our modern scientific method. Prerequisites: One class in History or one class in Science.

  • Carol Pal | FA2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS4111.01

The History of the Book

What is a book? For centuries, our ideas have been shaped by the rhythms and hierarchies inherent in the nature of the printed book. But what constitutes a "book" has actually changed enormously over time - from ancient Egyptian papyri to Mayan glyphs to the first products of Gutenberg's fifteenth-century printing revolution. Moreover, as these technologies have changed, so have their associated phenomena of authorship, ownership, and reading itself. And now, as blogs, wikis, and Google shift the discourse from page to screen, the roles of author and reader are morphing and blurring. But is this revolution truly new? We look at books and book culture from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day, investigating these objects, their content, and the relationships they embody. Prerequisites: Previous work in history or literature and permission of the instructor.

  • Carol Pal | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS4109.01

The Journey III: The 1860s

Look around the world of the 1860s: the United States torn asunder by slavery and expansion, forged into a nation and future world power; German states coalescing around Prussia to become the powerhouse whose ambitions would bring so much ruin in coming decades; Japan, opened by Commodore Perry, hobbled by imperialist treaties, then laying the foundations of its own world-changing, world-destroying empire; China, defeated in successive wars, semi-colonized, and set on a path toward the Communist victory of 1949; Africa, divided and despoiled by the great "scramble"; Victorian England, at the apex of Pax Britannica; Russia under Alexander II, the abolition of serfdom, and the dilemma of modernizing without the loss of indigenous culture and mores. All this, just from a quick glance out the train window-so much more, just beyond the bend. Students sign on to travel the world in this decade, starting out in San Francisco, then each traveler designing a personal itinerary, keeping a substantial personal journal, writing weekly letters to fictive friends and family. Prerequisites: None

  • Eileen Scully | FA2012 | MTh, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | HIS2210.01

The U.S. Constitution in 2025

Its language is sometimes quaint, but the United States Constitution is curiously postmodern in its paradoxical combination of fixity and elasticity. On dilemmas of citizenship, consent, obligation, rights and entitlements, it has been aptly characterized as "a roof without walls." In this seven-week seminar, we delve into ongoing projects to "globalize" the U.S. Constitution. Readings include primary documents, commentary and multidisciplinary scholarship. Writing assignments are weekly and varied. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2012 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2137.01

The U.S. Constitution: Amendments

The United States Constitution is an "invitation to struggle," an arena and set of principles for unending battles between irreconcilable visions of freedom, well-being, consent, obligation, and community. Far from enshrining answers, it defends questions. Battles over constitutional interpretation and amendment have been, at their core, battles to open or close core questions. In this seven-week seminar, we examine these battles at close range. Readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers, and historical commentary. Writing assignments are varied and weekly. When the class convenes, we will work out arrangements for one or two day trips to nearby historically significant locations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | SP2012 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS2136.01

The U.S. Constitution: Ratification

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia produced a creditable document, yet it was the year-long battle over ratification during 1787 and 1788 that transformed their final draft into an enduring, singular civil covenant. Ratification debates were quintessentially American, a mix and match of sacred and profane, treatises and trinkets, high-minded and underhanded. Weekly readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers and historical commentary. Writing assignments are varied and weekly. When the class convenes, we will arrange one or two day trips to nearby historically significant locations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2134.01

The U.S. Constitution: Rough Drafts

The United States Constitution began as a idea and a rough draft. Indeed, when first presented to delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, the draft was a proposed treaty among thirteen erstwhile British colonies. In this seven-week seminar, we delve into the pivotal events, people and debates that produced the final draft, something far closer to a civil covenant than a pragmatic treaty. Weekly readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers and historical commentary. Written work is varied and weekly. Once convened, the class will work out arrangements for one or two day trips to Boston and other nearby historically significant locations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2133.01

The Woman Question in Early Modern Europe

Before the Victorian era's celebration of domesticity and the "separate spheres" of the sexes, women were defined very differently. There was a surprising fluidity to perceptions of gender -- a fluidity that applied not only to women's roles, but to their bodies as well. In this course, we interrogate historical perceptions of gender in Europe from about 1500 to 1800, and develop a critical approach to our sources. In addition to what was said by major writers and thinkers, we want to know - how did women see themselves? What was "woman," and what did she do? Using letters, court records, journals, art, and published treatises, we see women running businesses, negotiating legal systems, engaging in public debate, performing surgery, and creating art. Prerequisites: Previous work in the Social Sciences or Literature or permission of the instructor.

  • Carol Pal | SP2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS4120.01

Witchcraft and Magic in Pre-Modern Europe

What is a witch? Who is a witch? And in the increasingly rational culture of Europe after the Renaissance, how and why did nearly 100,000 people, predominantly women, come to be tried for the crime of witchcraft? In many ways, the investigation of these questions hangs on another question: how do we differentiate science, magic, and religion? In pre-modern Europe, there were no clear boundaries separating these ways of knowing. This course investigates these questions, mapping them onto the interplay of old and new ideas about magic, alchemy, gender, the heavens, and the occult in pre-modern Europe. Prerequisites: One course in History or Anthropology. Permission of the instructor.

  • Carol Pal | SP2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | HIS4104.01
  • Carol Pal | FA2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS4104.01

Women in Science: Ancient Greece to Enlightenment

Long before the existence of a discipline we would recognize as ""science,"" there were women working with men in the pursuit of ""scientia"". Scientia embraced a mixture of philosophy, medicine, religion, literature, and knowledge of the natural world a mixture that would eventually devolve into the separate disciplines we know today. But who were these ancient Greek female philosophers, these medieval ""doctoresses,"" and these Enlightenment lady astronomers? How was it that they were so celebrated in their lifetimes, and yet they are so completely obscure today? What does that say about our understanding of the discourse and practice of ""gender,"" or -- perhaps more importantly our understanding of what we now deem to be the nature of scientific knowledge? Prerequisites: One course in History.

  • Carol Pal | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | HIS4110.01



Why do we care about art? Why and how do artworks move us? What, if anything, do artworks mean, and how do we know? This course takes up these and other questions relating to the philosophy of art and artworks. This course will look at the philosophical tradition of aesthetics, including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel, up to the present day. We will also look at the role of aesthetic theories in case studies of art-world controversies. Prerequisites: None.

  • Karen Gover | SP2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI2253.01
  • Karen Gover | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2253.01

Ancient Philosophy

This course is an introduction to Ancient Philosophy. We will study the ideas and works of the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. Using the course texts, in-class writing practices, class discussion, and group work students will gain familiarity with philosophical ideas from ancient Greek philosophy, some of which are complex and abstract. Many of these ideas have influenced subsequent ages, including ours. Topics include the nature of justice, the soul, death, friendship and love, and early ideas concerning physics and nature. Prerequisites: None.

  • Theresa Morris | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2135.01


Virtue is a habit; To be moral is to choose the mean between extremes; Happiness is not a goal, but a state. In popular culture, Aristotle's ethical views are often represented in slogan form. In this course, we will work on unpacking the meanings of these slogans. We will endeavor in this course to closely investigate Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Throughout, we will consider such questions as: What is happiness and what is a happy life? What is involved in leading an ethical life? How should friends figure into my life? Can I willingly choose what is bad? What am I morally responsible for? How does my conduct contribute or detract from justice in the world? How might we educate for ethical development? Prerequisites: None.

  • Catherine McKeen | SP2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2136.01

Environmental Aesthetics

Environmental Aesthetics is a relatively new sub-field in philosophical aesthetics, though it has roots in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this course we will take a broad look at the different topics that fall under the heading of Environmental Aesthetics: the aesthetics of everyday life, the picturesque, earth art, and the relation of aesthetics to environmentalism. Prerequisites: Prior work in Social Sciences, Visual or Performing Arts, or Environmental Studies.

  • Karen Gover | FA2011 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PHI4250.01

Environmental Ethics

What ethical responsibilities do individuals have towards the environment? What does environmental justice require of national and international institutions? This course examines the philosophical issues and arguments that underlie these questions. Our complex relationship to the environment, as nature, as resource, and as shared world, invites questions concerning our ethical obligations to others, to parts of the world itself, to non-human animals, and to future generations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Paul Voice | SP2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2103.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2103.01

Existentialism and Phenomenology

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of human experience, whereas existentialism is the study of human existence. These two movements intersect and overlap in the history of philosophy. This course undertakes a survey of these movements and their central concepts as they are found in the writings of such thinkers as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, and others. Concepts such as freedom, facticity, dread, nothingness, the absurd, being-for-itself, and being-in-itself will be examined. Prerequisites: None.

  • Karen Gover | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2128.01
  • Karen Gover | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2128.01
  • Karen Gover | SP2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI4127.01

Global Ethics/Global Justice

What do we owe to distant others? What responsibilities do we have to address the misfortunes of citizens of other countries? What, if anything, do we owe future generations? Does the idea of global justice make sense? These and other questions are addressed through a careful readings and analysis of a variety of philosophical arguments. You will be expected to write two papers and present your work to the class. Prequisites: None.

  • Paul Voice | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2110.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2110.01

Kant Seminar

This seminar explores the writings of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) whose work remains at the foundation of much of contemporary western philosophy. The course will focus on 'The Critique of Pure Reason', a text that reshaped the disciplines of epistemology and metaphysics. We will also look at Kant's writings on morality and aesthetics. Prerequisites: PHI2109 Philosophical Reasoning or permission of the instructor.

  • Paul Voice | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4266.01

Kierkegaard and Heidegger

In this course we'll put two highly influential existential philosophers in dialogue. Soren Kierkegaard, considered by many to be the father of existentialism, will be approached with an eye toward the key themes and concepts he originated, which were later appropriated by Martin Heidegger, particularly in his masterwork, Being and Time. We'll explore each philosopher, gaining familiarity with the ways in which their philosophical projects converge and diverge, through our analysis of concepts such as authenticity, despair, anxiety, fallenness, and the moment. Our goal will be to discover how each thinker, beginning with these common themes, arrives at very different claims about the meaning of existence and what it means to be a self. Prerequities: Prior work in philosophy.

  • Theresa Morris | SP2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4256.01

Liberalism: For and Against

This course invites students to critically engage with liberalism, the dominant political theory in Anglo-American philosophy. Students will read some of the main texts in the various traditions of contemporary liberal thought, including libertarianism, Rawelsian liberalism and utilitarian liberalism, and survey some of the central critical responses to the liberal project. The aim of the class is to acquire a detailed and critical understanding of liberal political philosophy and to assess its strengths and weaknesses. Prerequisites: At least two classes in any of the social sciences.

  • Paul Voice | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4104.01

Nietzsche and His Followers

Postmodernism, for better or worse, is often traced back to the thought of Friedrich Nietzche. But what is postmodernism? Keeping this question in mind, we will ground ourselves in Nietzche's thought, with an eye to his critique of the Western philosophical tradition. We will then turn to some of the important and influential philosophers of the 20th century as inheritors of the Nietzschean legacy. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy.

  • Karen Gover | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI4137.01

Philosophical Reasoning

What is the difference between belief and knowledge? What makes me the same person now and in the future? Is there a purpose in life? These are some of the questions this first course in philosophy asks. It has two aims: To introduce you to the methods and procedures of philosophical argument and, second, to engage you in a critical dialogue with three central problems in philosophy - knowledge, personal identity, and meaning in life. Prerequisites: None.

  • Karen Gover | FA2011 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PHI2109.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2109.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2109.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2109.01

Philosophy & Biography: Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most influential and important of twentieth century philosophers and one of its most enigmatic characters. In this course you will read two of Wittgenstein's central works, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations. We will arrive at a detailed understanding of Wittgenstein's philosophy, its themes, arguments and development. Alongside this philosophical journey you will read various biographies, memoirs, and fictionalized biographies of Wittgenstein's life as well as viewing Derek Jarman's film on the life of Wittgenstein. We will examine the connection between Wittgenstien's life and his philosophy. Prerequisites: At least one previous course in philosophy (preferably PHI2109 Philosophical Reasoning).

  • Paul Voice | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4105.01

Philosophy of Art and Language

This course in aesthetics begins with the Ancient Greeks and then follows a predominantly Continental trajectory to contemporary philosophers of aesthetics. While we will investigate thinkers writing on art, music, and drama, our eventual focus will be the philosophy of language and literature, beginning with Plato's Phaedrus and including selections from Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, and Derrida, among others. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy or literature.

  • Theresa Morris | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI4215.01

Philosophy of Love and Friendship

Arthur C. Danto remarks, "How incorrigibly stiff philosophy is when it undertakes to lay its icy fingers on the frilled and beating wings of the butterfly of love." There is something both true and false in this remark. The philosopher cannot, as the poet can, convey the particularities of a love lived, suffered and enjoyed, but romantic love and friendship are an aspect of our practical moral lives and in this respect a proper object of philosophical concern. This course brings together some of the most lively and passionate writings by philosophers on the topic of romantic love and friendship. Students will consider various definitions and descriptions of love and friendship from Plato to Freud. Students will examine the connection between morality and love and between love and the political, reading the writings of philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kant, Marcuse and De Beauvoir. Prerequisites: None.

  • Paul Voice | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2123.01

Philosophy of Mind

There is a 3 lb. grayish-white, fatty organ inhabiting your skull. All of your thoughts, dreams, hopes, beliefs, and memories originate, in some way, in this organ. But how does this meat in your head think? How is your brain capable of having conscious experiences? How does your brain allow you to taste a strawberry or hear more cowbell? How is your brain able to represent the world outside of your skull? In this course, we will investigate the way in which the mental fits into the physical world. We will focus on two philosophical problems: (a) the problem of consciousness - whether or not we can give any plausible account of conscious experience that makes this feature of our mental life consistent with a physical account of the world; and (b) the problem of intentionality - whether or not we can give any plausible account of how physical states can also be representational states. We will explore the attempts of philosophers both old and new to address these two problems. This course will involve close readings of texts, attention to philosophical argument, and analytical writing. Prerequisites: None.

  • Catherine McKeen | SP2011 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI2116.01

Philosophy of Religion

The philosophy of religion asks questions like: What is religion? Why are people religious? Why might a philosophically sophisticated person come to believe or stop believing in the existence of a God? Do believers and nonbelievers really communicate with one another about religion? The course will address those questions and many others. Perhaps most interestingly, the course will explore these questions by engaging a wide variety of philosophical techniques and personalities from the history Western thought. Prerequisities: None.

  • Mark Zelcer | SP2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2142.01

Philosophy of Science

The course in philosophy of science will provide an overview of the central questions that philosophers are asking about nature of scientific inquiry. What is science? How does it differ from pseudo-science or other fields of inquiry? How does science work and how can its history guide us in thinking about it? We will also look at the metaphysics of science: in what sense are we justified in saying that something is real, especially in cases where it can't be seen or measured? The course will also dedicate some time to talking about philosophical questions regarding specific sciences like physics, psychology, and biology. Prerequisites: None.

  • Mark Zelcer | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI2148.01

Philosophy of the Performing Arts

Philosophers of art and aesthetics tend to focus on visual art at the expense of other art forms. In this course we will look at the philosophical puzzles and particularities of the performing arts: dance, music, theater, and "performance art." What is the difference between unique and repeatable artworks? What kind of object is a symphony? Are dancers artists, or just highly skilled craftspeople? How much control should playwrights have over the production of their plays? We will examine these and other questions. Coursework will consist of reading, writing, discussion, and attendance of performances at and around campus.

  • Karen Gover | FA2014 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2131.01

Philosophy Projects

This course is for advanced students in philosophy who want to research and write a thirty to forty page paper on a topic of their own choosing. In addition students will be expected to read and comment on other students' work, to discuss reading chosen by students and to make presentations of their own work. Prerequisites: Advanced Work in Philosophy Group Tutorial.

  • Karen Gover | SP2011 | W, 6:30PM-10:10PM | PHI4220.01
  • Karen Gover | SP2012 | W, 6:30PM-10:10PM | PHI4220.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2011 | W, 6:30PM-10:10PM | PHI4220.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2012 | W, 6:30PM-10:10PM | PHI4220.01

Philosophy Senior Seminar

This course requires students to develop and research a substantial piece of philosophical work based on a previous essay they have written. In addition, students will read a selection of important articles and texts in the analytical and continental philosophical traditions. Prerequisites: At least four previous courses in philosophy including PHI2109 Philosophical Reasoning.

  • Karen Gover | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4401.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4401.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4401.01

Reading Marx

Marx's ideas remain an important source of political and social science thought. This class requires students to engage in a close and critical reading of a number of Marx's essays and to assess his work in the light of critical philosophical responses. Prerequisites: At least two classes in any of the social sciences or literature.

  • Paul Voice | SP2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4106.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4106.01

Rhetoric: The Art and Craft of Persuasion

The ability to speak and write persuasively is an essential skill for everyone. Whether you are writing a plan essay, applying for a job, or running for public office, you need to be persuasive and compelling. This course is a practical workshop in rhetoric. Students will write, deliver, and critique short (two-minute) persuasive speeches in each class. We will learn classic rhetorical terms and techniques, and apply them in our analysis of famous political speeches. At the end of the course, students will compete by delivering a five-minute speech on a topic of their choice to a distinguished panel of judges. Prerequisites: None.

  • Karen Gover | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2112.01
  • Karen Gover | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2112.01

Text Seminar: Plato's Erotic Dialogues

In this course we will study in close detail Plato's two great dialogues on the subject of erotic love. In the first seven weeks, we will focus on The Symposium, and in the second seven weeks we will read The Phaedrus. Our engagement with the primary texts will be supplemented with readings on the history, cultural context, and interpretations of these works. In addition to the readings, writing assignments of different kinds and lengths will be assigned throughout the term, culminating in a substantial interpretive essay. Prerequisites: Prior work in Social Science or Literature.

  • Karen Gover | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI4128.01

Text Seminar: Plato's Republic

Is the history of philosophy nothing but a series of footnotes to Plato? We will put this question to the test by pairing a close reading of Plato's Republic with relevant readings from other primary texts in the history of philosophy. We will give detailed attention to Plato's arguments concerning the nature of justice, community, education, family, and art, among others. Prerequisites: Prior work in philosophy.

  • Karen Gover | SP2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PHI4244.01

Text Seminar: Plato's Symposium

What is love? How does it relate to wisdom? In this course we will undertake a close reading of one of Plato's most celebrated and beloved texts--about the nature of love. In addition to its content, we will also reflect on the form of this text: is it a philosophical work of literature? A literary work of philosophy? Is there a difference? We will supplement our textual work with other readings in philosophy, classics, and psychology. Prerequisites: Prior work in either Philosophy or Literature.

  • Karen Gover | SP2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI4240.01

The Human Condition: Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a major political theorist whose work has become increasingly influential in recent years. A student of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, her extensive writings cover such topics as the nature of power, the meaning of the political and the problem of totalitariansim. This seven-week course is a critical exploration of some of her major works, including The Origins of Totalitariansim, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Prerequisites: One course in social science, literature, languages, or the sciences.

  • Paul Voice | FA2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4101.01

Theoretical Ethics: The Nature of Moral Judgments

Theoretical Ethics aims to uncover the sources of moral knowledge and the foundations of moral obligation. You will engage in a detailed reading of two classical moral theories and study contemporary interpretations and applications of these theories. You will be expected to contribute substantially to class discussion, write two essays and present a draft of your final essay to the class. Prerequisites: At least one previous class in philosophy, social sciences, sciences, languages or literature.

  • Paul Voice | FA2014 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4114.01
  • Paul Voice | FA2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI4214.01

Topics in Applied Philosophy: Privacy

Privacy has long been regarded as important and yet claims to privacy have been frequently challenged and often overridden by political, economic, and technological considerations. Do we have a right to privacy? If so, what is its philosophical justification and what essential human goods and capacities does it protect? In what circumstances and for what reasons can we be asked to forfeit our privacy? This course examines these questions via a close reading of the philosophical literature. Prerequsities: None.

  • Paul Voice | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2126.01

Topics in Applied Philosophy: War

This course examines philosophical debates concerning war. In particular, we will look at the distinction between just and unjust war, as well as moral issues concerning the use of military technologies such as drones, and arguments for humanitarian military interventions.

  • Paul Voice | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2140.01

Political Economy

Communities and the Environment

From the Himalayas to Mexico to New England communities past and present have served as stewards of the forests, fisheries and water resources upon which they depend for their livelihoods. This course will explore how communities retain, regain or form new governance structures for managing critical natural resources. We will begin by introducing a theoretical basis for institutional arrangements for community management. Thereafter, we will reflect on questions such as: What makes community? What role do ethnicity, gender and state play in community management? What are the local heterogeneities in community structures? Throughout the course, we will consider a variety of community management regimes and their broader institutional settings, including the history of community forest management in New England, India's Joint Implementation program and Mexico's government-supported community timber enterprises; fisheries management in Japan and Chile and by First Nations in British Columbia; and acequias in the American southwest. We will assess whether cases achieve ecological integrity, poverty alleviation and equitable distribution. Finally, the course will analyze U.S. policies and international programs that support or inhibit community management. Prerequisites: None.

  • Robin Kemkes | SP2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PEC2112.01

Contemporary Economic Diplomacy

What is contemporary diplomacy? How does the study of diplomacy help us to understand international relations and analyse conflict? How has diplomacy been studied up until now, and how have the particular emphases of diplomatic studies shaped our views of the activity and purpose of diplomacy? What critical theoretical tools can we use to understand diplomacy and how it may have changed in contemporary times? This course seeks to explore these broad questions through readings, lectures, discussion and research. Prerequisites: Another course in political economy or politics/international relations or permission of the instructor.

  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2011 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4237.01

Contemporary Issues in Political Economy

This course examines contemporary problems in political economy at and across diverse spatial scales. Using both Economics and Political Science methods of analysis, we will study the exercise of power and the accumulation of wealth in the world today as well as central public policy debates around these processes. We begin with a brief theoretical discussion of economic policy. Then we move through three sections organized around contemporary problems at three distinct scales: the United States political economy, comparative political economy with an emphasis on the advanced capitalist countries, and the global political economy. We end by taking issues usually studied at a single scale and exploring their innate interconnections through an integrated politicaleconomic and public policy analysis of the family and immigration. Prerequisites: Prior work in social science.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PEC4121.01

Coordination, Conflict, & Competition

What accounts for the divergence of wealth and poverty of nations and people across the world? Aspects of commodity exchange that are non-contractual and involve externalities influence individual and collective behavior and generate problems of allocation and distribution. This course is for students who want to gain an in-depth understanding of how microeconomic interactions produce inequalities and economic inefficiencies, and, in turn, how the design of institutions can help overcome these problems. We will employ a game theoretic approach to explore topics such as how labor power influences wage contracts; why capitalist firms are more prevalent than owner operative cooperatives; and why lending contracts result in wealth inequalities. We will also examine the institutions of capitalism, particularly the evolution of private property in response to historical circumstances, the distribution of surplus in competitive markets, the limitations of the Fundamental welfare theorems, and how incomplete contracts give rise to a well-defined political structure. A strong math background will be helpful but is not required if students are willing to put in the work.

  • Robin Kemkes | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC4126.01

Economic Liberalism and Its Critics

Economic liberalism claims that society is better off if people enjoy economic freedom. Its critics point to what this position ignores or wrongly assumes. This course explores the relationship between politics and economics by surveying influential works of political economy. The first part examines major thinkers in relation to the historical development of capitalism in Western Europe and the US. This includes the classical liberalism of Adam Smith, the revolutionary socialism of Marx, the reformist ideas of John Stuart Mill and others. The second part considers more recent writings that revise and critique liberalism from a variety of perspectives, and the illustrates the contending views with reference to important policy areas. The historical focus of the course facilitates appreciation of the ongoing dialogue between classical and contemporary views of political economy, while classroom discussion involves frequent reference to public policy issues. Students will be evaluated on their class participation, many short (2 page) papers, and a take-home final exam. Prerequisites: One previous social science course and permission of the instructor.

  • Michael Rolleigh | FA2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PEC4150.01

Europeans, Integration and the World (Advanced)

In the summer of 2005 voters in France and the Netherlands firmly rejected a proposed Constitutional Treaty for the European Union. Why does European integration seem so natural to some and so threatening to others? Why does the European Union seem so inevitable and yet so difficult? Who is European and who is not? What sort of polity is the EU, and what is its role in the world? The next global hegemonic power? Specialist in peacemaking and peacekeeping? This course investigates the controversial project of European integration, beginning with identity theory and theories of integration. Prerequisites: At least one prior course in Political Economy or permission of the instructor.

  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2012 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4381.01

Gender & Development

In this course we will apply feminist theory to economics and international development and analyze empirical work that seeks to understand the plight and progress of women in the developing world. We will first explore the link between the social construction of gender and the social construction of the discipline of economics and then reformulate a definition of economics from one based on rational choice and markets into one that values the provisioning of human life. We will analyze the forces that shaped the evolution of patriarchal capitalism and the larger relationship between production and reproduction. Thereafter, we will consider measurement issues that define womens empowerment in the developing world, such as studying the household and accounting for unpaid labor. We will examine evidence of the relationships between development and womens empowerment including gender relations; income equality; the determinants and effects of womens access to labor markets, credit markets and property; and disproportionate impacts of climate change. Finally, we will explore alternative visions and initiatives for engendering development.

  • Robin Kemkes | FA2014 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PEC4218.01

Governing Firms and Financial Markets

In 2007, large numbers of homeowners faced sudden increases in their monthly mortgage payments as their low mortgage interest rates abruptly re-set to much higher rates. Many families, unable to pay the higher premiums, lost their homes and had to move. Many financial institutions, which owned bundles of these sub-prime mortgage obligations, suddenly had to write off billions of dollars from their books as thousands of mortgages went into default. Weakness in large global financial firms like Citigroup, Bear Stearns, and Merrill Lynch triggered a global credit crisis that pushed the global economy into a significant recession. Following on the " boom" and "go-go" business culture of the 1990s, the scandals led publics on both sides of the Atlantic to question how firms do business and how financial markets, that businesses rely upon to raise capital, operate. The recent subprime mortgage crisis, global credit crunch, and collapses of major financial firms have made these questions all the more critical. This course investigates how societies and polities create, structure, and maintain a market economy. How do we make and enforce the rules that businesses and financial institutions must follow? What happens when things go wrong? What are the politics of market regulation? In considering these questions, we shall learn basic processes of investment research, sales and trading, key concepts from economics, money and banking, corporate finance. Prerequisites: None.

  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2012 | Th, 8:20AM-12:00PM | PEC2211.01
  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2011 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | PEC2211.01

Mathematical Underpinnings of Economics

This class will apply advanced mathematical techniques to answer the basic questions of individual, household, firm, and government behavior. How do consumers maximize utility? How to firms maximize profits? How does game theory shape policy and behavior? When does market failure necessitate government intervention? Was Adam Smith right about the selfish actions of many agents arriving at a 'good' outcome? These are some of the questions we will tackle in this class. This class will utilize algebra, calculus, and some real analysis to answer these questions. I will cover the necessary tools in class. The only pre-requisite is a willingness to work hard. Evaluation will be from two exams, problem sets, and class participation. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC2106.01


This course is an introduction to the study of the forces of supply and demand that determine prices and the allocation of resources in markets for goods and services, markets for labor, and markets for natural resources. The focus is on how and why markets work, why they may fail to work, and the policy implications of both their successes and failures. The course focuses on developing the basic tools of microeconomic analysis and then applying those tools to topics of popular or policy interest such as minimum wage legislation, pollution control, competition policy, international trade policy, discrimination, tax policy, and the role of government in a market economy. Students will be evaluated on their class participation, problem sets, writing assignments, midterm, and final exam. This class assumes basic skills in algebra, such as solving a system with two equations and two unknowns. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Rolleigh | FA2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC2110.01
  • Michael Rolleigh | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC2110.01
  • Robin Kemkes | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC2250.01

Political Economy of the Environment

How do we best manage the world's ecosystems to support our economy, livelihoods and well-being? This course will use the tragedy of the commons as a framework to examine pressing socio-ecological dilemmas such as climate change, declining ocean fisheries, water pollution and biodiversity loss. We will explore a variety of policies, programs and governance structures for overcoming the problem of collective action and assess whether they meet the goals of efficiency, equity, sustainability and safety. Concepts such as public goods, common pool resources, scale, definitions of sustainability and decision-making under uncertainty will be covered. Furthermore, different types of power influence environmental decision-making and outcomes. Who benefits and who loses from these decisions? We will discuss how environmental justice populations are impacted in the U.S. and globally using examples of exposure to toxics, disaster vulnerability and food security. Throughout the course students will be asked to analyze real-world examples of socio-ecological dilemmas in class discussions and in small groups. For the final project, students will pair up and choose a topic of interest - either a local issue, a current event or a global concern. Each group will share their analysis of the topic with the class through a final presentation. Prerequisites: Previous work in the social sciences and permission of the instructor.

  • Robin Kemkes | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4215.01

Political Economy of Trade

This course explores the political and economic forces that shape trade in the modern world. We begin by examining trade data and determining how trade has changed over time. We will briefly cover a simple economic model to measure the gains from trade. We next weigh these theoretical gains against the harsh reality faced by some countries when faced with asymmetric trading partners. We will answer the following questions: What does it mean to be a member of the WTO? How does the WTO resolve disputes? How can we level the playing field for less developed countries? We will extend our analysis to migration, cultural issues, and growth as time permits. Methods of evaluation will be homeworks, several short papers, one longer project, and an exam. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC2102.01

Politics of International Trade / Advanced

How do people and social groups in democratic polities decide what should be traded across borders and under what conditions? Why is "Free Trade" represented as a collective good, even as it remains fundamentally contested? The course investigates the political processes through which international trade policies are made and implemented. We will come to understand how the major national, regional and global institutions governing international trade function, with particular focus on the World Trade Organization. We will also explore how the interests of individuals and social groups with respect to trade are formed, and the political processes through which issues are (re)defined as "trade" issues and subjected to the politics of trade liberalization. Indicative readings include Brian Hocking and Steven McGuire, eds., Trade Politics, 2nd edition. Prerequisites: Another political economy, politics or international relations course; or permission of the instructor.

  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PEC4216.01

Redefining Economic Development

Using both theory and empirical analysis, this course will explore the diversity of economic progress across developing nations, confront existing challenges and consider multiple perspectives on desirable policy approaches. We will begin with an introduction to traditional measures of development including income, health and education, followed by a comparison of domestic policies on poverty, inequality, social welfare and trends in rural-urban migration and the informal sector. We will address questions such as: Why have the Millenium Development Goals remained elusive, and what comes next? What role do women play in economic development? How are resource endowments leveraged? The second half of the semester will be devoted to an analysis of the limitations of traditional measures of development, particularly Gross Domestic Product as a measure of progress. From there, the course will explore new views on development, including the capabilities approach, measures of happiness, sustainability and related alternative indicators. This course entails a significant quantitative component. Students will be expected to retrieve, interpret and present economic data on a country of their choice. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Robin Kemkes | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC4103.01

State, Market, and Society

The coalescence of individuals into civil society, the emergence of states and other organs of governance, and the evolution of markets and other structures through which we regulate the distribution of goods and services and provide for our needs and wants, all have been crucial determinants of how we live our lives. Hence developing an understanding of the basic relationships between states, markets, individuals and the civil societies in which they function is an essential basis for understanding international relations, international political economy, and conflict resolution. How do individuals organize to provide for their wants and needs? Do economic relationships define society? What is the role of the state in structuring and regulating markets? What should it be? Is there a natural progression of stages of economic development in a society? What is the relationship between social class, politics, and managing the economy? How is the identity of individuals, societies, and states constituted? What is the relationship between identity and markets? The course will survey major theoretical approaches from classical political economy (Adam Smith, Ricardo, List, Marx, Lenin) to 20th century critics of market society (Gramsci, Polanyi), neorealism (Gilpin), neoliberalism (Krasner), structuralism (Wallerstein, Strange), post-positivism (Harvey, Steve Smith) and social constructivism. Prerequisites: None.

  • Geoffrey Pigman | SP2012 | MW, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC2261.01

The Dangers of Econ 101

Most introductory economics courses represent the economy as detached from history, institutions and the environment and rely on assumptions about human behavior that typically do not line up with what we know about how people make decisions. Strict adherence to the dominant neoclassical model of economics has led us to financial crisis, environmental damage and rising income inequality. In this course we will learn the basics of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory under the neoclassical model to understand concepts such as supply and demand, wage determination and monetary and fiscal policy, while situating our analysis in a variety of contexts and referencing empirical work that challenges the assumptions underlying the theory. What are the historical origins of the capitalist system? How do we conceptualize the economy? What motivates individual decision-making? Do prices reflect value? Does trade always benefit both parties? Is the economy a subsystem of the global ecosystem? Approaching the study of economics in a more comprehensive way will enable us to think critically about current policy issues.

  • Robin Kemkes | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PEC2262.01

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Like a pebble dropped in a pool, HIV sends ripples to the edges of society, affecting first the family, then the community, then the nation as a whole. -UNAIDS In some countries entire demographic structures are being altered, decades of gains in womens rights face reversal, and the devastation of orphaned childrens' lives threatens to continue playing out for generations. The slow, diffuse and partly invisible nature of the epidemic makes it all the more difficult to fight, and poses many challenges for those seeking to create policies and mitigate the effects of the epidemic. How is the epidemic best understood, beginning with the experiences of the afflicted and affected in families and communities, or with epidemiology models and policy makers? What are the implications of the mutual construction of those two approaches? What kind of impact is experienced in high prevalence communities and countries? How can the differential susceptibility of some communities over others be understood? What tools can be used, or need to be developed, to enable the best decision making about where to allocate resources to prevent devastation? And how can we understand and build the institutions that will produce the best balance between corporate incentives and access to life-saving treatment; between market and state; between the interests of rich countries and those of the poor ones, with respect to treatment? Our geographic focus will be on the African continent, and throughout the term, we will focus both on the grounded experiences of ethnographic realities and on the role of grassroots activism in the battle against HIV. Prerequisites: Previous work in the social sciences and permission of the instructors.

  • Kiaran Honderich | FA2011 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4120.01
  • Miroslava Prazak | FA2011 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | PEC4120.01

Politics/Int'l Relations

African Conflict Resolution

The prevention, management and resolution of African conflicts constitute a defining challenge for the international community, including the United Nations (UN), which has mounted multiple multi-billion dollar peace operations on the continent. Despite the peace dividend from these operations and other interventions, large segments of the African population continue to live in deadly conflict zones. This course will explore the African conflict resolution experience. Topics will include the structural roots of African conflicts, the institutions, mechanisms, key players, and performance of the continent's evolving conflict resolution architecture, and positive and negative lessons from intermediation in selected major African conflicts. Prerequisites: At least one class in the Social Sciences or in Mediation.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4254.01

Civil Society in Conflict Resolution

Civil society or the arena of autonomous associational organization and activity has been credited with promoting various virtuous outcomes, including democratization, development and social peace. This course critically surveys civil societys roles in peacemaking and peace building. It will explore theoretical controversies on the nature and roles of civil society as well as specific examples of conflict interventions by civic associational groups. These examples will draw from case studies and experiences from around the world, including Ashutosh Varshneys scholarly work on Hindu-Muslim conflict and civic life in India, and the practical work of The Imam and the Pastor in Nigeria. Prerequisites: At least one course in the Social Sciences or in Mediation.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4248.01

Collapsed States

States that are variously described as weak, fragile, failed or collapsed are a feature of the contemporary international system. Concentrated geographically in Sub-Saharan Africa, these states are more or less severely deficient in the performance of the basic security, political, economic and welfare functions of government. This course focuses on politics in collapsed or collapsing states. Readings and assignments will explore the following themes: various conceptualizations and measurements of state failure or collapse; when and how states fail; collapsed states and the international system; the challenges of rehabilitating failed states; and detailed analyses of political dynamics in past and current collapsed and fragile states, including (but not limited to) Burundi, Cote DIvoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Prerequisites: At least one class in the social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2011 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | POL4205.01

Comparative Democratization

The twentieth century has been described as a century of democratization. This is in recognition of the third wave of democratization that saw the creation or restoration of about eighty democracies in southern Europe, Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa during the last quarter of the century. This introductory course will examine the drivers, patterns, outcomes, and prospects of global democratic political transitions and transformations since the late twentieth century. Readings, lectures, assignments and presentations will explore the following themes: current and emerging academic and policy debates on democratization; commonalities and differences in modes of transitions from non-democratic rule in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the post-communist world; the roles of specific actors and factors in democratization, including the international community, political and civil society, economic development and reform, state capacity, cultural diversity and conflict, and constitutional design; illustrative country case studies of successful, failed, ambivalent and precluded democratizations; and current challenges and future prospects of democratization in the twenty-first century. Prerequisites: None.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2013 | TF, 8:00AM-10:00AM | POL2102.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2011 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | POL2102.01

Comparing Political Institutions

Political institutions are the decision norms and organizations that govern political life. Academic and policy interest in such institutions is flourishing as many previously authoritarian states seek to craft their first democratic political institutions or constitutions. This basic course introduces students to major political institutions and the debates about their relative merits. Readings, assignments, and class discussions and presentations will focus on the alternative institutional structures of contemporary polities, including parliamentary and presidential systems; federal and unitary arrangements; plurality and proportionality electoral designs; formal and informal political institutions; the nature of hybrid political systems; the challenge of institutional design in democratizing and post-conflict states; and illustrative country cases. Prerequisites: None.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2012 | TF, 8:00AM-10:00AM | POL2101.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2013 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | POL2101.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2011 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | POL2101.01

Democracy in America: Tocqueville's Past, Our Pres

Does a strong commitment to social equality undermine individual freedom? What kind of institutions and cultural practices are needed for flourishing of a healthy democracy? Are modern democratic states at risk of producing novel forms of tyranny and despotism? These are just a few of the questions raised by Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," the first empirically based and theoretically sophisticated book to examine the society, culture, and politics of the United States. Claiming to have seen "in America more than America," Tocqueville believed that he had glimpsed the nature of modern democracy itself in his study of the institutions and daily practices of American life in the 1830s. Through close readings of excerpts from "Democracy in America" and consideration of case studies drawn from contemporary American politics, this course will investigate the relevance of Tocqueville's seminal text for the study and practice of democratic politics today. Using "Democracy in America" as a touchstone, we will consider controversies in American politics ranging from the treatment of "enemy combatants" and debates regarding America's role as the dominant global super power to prayer in the classroom and anti-bias speech codes on university campuses. Prerequisites: None.

  • Crina Archer | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | POL2242.01

Democratization in Africa

Since the early 1990s, a wave of democratization has swept the African continent, leading to the unraveling of previously authoritarian (one-party, military, and/or strongman) political regimes. The transition to democracy has unfolded unevenly across the continent, however. Some countries (Benin, Ghana and Mali, for example) have witnessed significant progress towards the institutionalization or consolidation of democratic government. A number of other countries (Cote DIvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola) have experienced the dramatic recession, collapse, or breakdown of democratization. Several other African countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda) are drifting ambiguously and precariously in their democratic journey. This course focuses on the democratization project as it has unfolded in Africa. Assignments and readings will explore African democratization in theoretical and comparative perspective, transitions from authoritarianism, elections, the roles of domestic civil society and the international community, the impact of democratization on governance, democracy's prospects, and illustrative country case studies. Prerequisites: None.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2012 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | POL2250.01

Genocide and Mass Violence

With the recent debates over how the international community should respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syrie, the horrific occurence of mass murder of civilians in war is again brought to the forefront of public consciousness. The phenomenon of large-scale killings continues its plague on humanity, joining a huge list of tragic events that can be considered genocide. This course explores theoretical and empirical research on genocide and mass violence in order to understand its historical and contemporary occurence. We examine the various conceptualizations of "genocide", casual factors ranging from the psychological basis of individual participation to societal level conditions, and a range of historical episodes. Examples of topics include the definition of genocide, psychological and cultural factors, situational factors, political processes, state-sponsored murder, ethnic mass murder, and intervention. Students will research historical cases to present in class and write an analytical paper on their case or a comparison of cases. Prerequisites: Prior work in social sciences.

  • Amy Grubb | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | POL4212.01

Global Politics

Why do countries decide to go to war? What is the purpose of the United Nations? Does trade reduce poverty? Can international agreements help solve environmental problems? Why does genocide occur? This course introduces you to the major theories, concepts, and issues in international politics in order to understand and begin answering vital questions about our world. The course goes beyond examining relations between nation-states to focus on the globalizing aspect of the world system, asking how globalization processes may be changing the nature of politics. Through lectures, readings, discussions and group activities, this course is designed to help you become a more informed citizen of the world, lay a foundation of knowledge regarding the field of international politics, and provide the tools necessary to analyze today's various global problems. Prerequisites: None.

  • Amy Grubb | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL2206.01

Human Rights

This course is designed to study the origins and evolution of the idea of human rights and probe the development of the international human rights movement since World War II. Following a general examination of the concept of individual rights, the course focuses on the history, theory, practice and possibilities of universal human rights standards. Topics include the notion of rights in both Western and non-Western traditions; internationalization of human rights; the question of cultural relativism; national sovereignty and international accountability; globalization and human rights; the United Nations and human rights; the role of non-governmental organizations; human rights in the foreign policy arena; and the challenges facing international protection of human rights. The required readings on these topics provide a range of historical, philosophical, legal, political, analytic, and normative perspectives. Prerequisites: Open to second to fourth year students.

  • Mansour Farhang | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4236.01

International Relations: Theory and Practice

This course examines the major theoretical traditions found within international relations. It focuses on understanding the relationship between states, international organizations, and civil society. It poses such questions as: is there in international society? Is sovereignty conditional? Is anarchy and war the foundation of our world? Once the main theoretical arguments and the core concepts found within the field have been analyzed, the course will seek to explain both conflict and cooperation within international politics. The role of international law, international organizations such as the United Nations, international regimes, and other components of international politics will be explored to determine how these both enable and constrain the international system. Finally, the course will analyze the modern state system with an emphasis on current international debates such as the use of force, humanitarian intervention, and the modern human rights regime in addition to the impact of global justice, global climate change, terrorism and more. Students will be expected to complete a mid-term, final exam, one paper, and several short reflection/discussion essays in addition to the readings and class discussions. Prerequisites: None.

  • Stephanie Wolfe | FA2011 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | POL2110.01

Managing Ethnic Conflicts

How should states and the international community respond to situations of protracted and/or lethal conflicts involving ethnic, linguistic, religious and/or other identity groups? This is one of the central challenges of politics and governance in places as diverse as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Fiji, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Rwanda/Burundi, Sri Lanka and Sudan. This course will examine contending explanations of ethnic conflicts, alternative political and constitutional strategies for managing inter-group conflicts, the challenges and opportunities raised by international mediation in deeply divided societies, and case studies of relatively successful and unsuccessful ethnic conflict management. Prerequisites: Previous work in social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2013 | W, 8:00AM-12:00PM | POL4101.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2011 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | POL4101.01

Politics and Governance in Africa

Among regions of the world, Africa is more or less unique for its large number of fragile and unstable states, poor governance, explosive social and demographic pressures, and recent hopeful economic and political transitions. This course surveys the big questions, enduring challenges, and leading theories of contemporary African politics and governance. Themes to be explored include contending scholarly perspectives on Africas developmental puzzle, the impacts of Western colonialism and major international actors and institutions, neo-patrimonial personalized rule and the criminalization of state authority, current patterns of state-society relations, the resource curse, the drivers of warfare and political violence, ongoing struggles for good democratic governance, and illustrative country case studies.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2013 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | POL4237.01

Problems of Political Development

Unlike the more stable democracies of Western Europe and North America, many countries of the so-called developing world lack durable, legitimate and effective political institutions or governmental systems. Rather, several developing countries are in the throes of wrenching political transitions and crises that compound weak political institutions with economic malaise, social polarization and/or cultural-territorial fragmentation. This course focuses on some of the basic issues and challenges associated with politics, and the struggles to establish viable political institutions, in the developing world. Topics to be explored include: the concept of political development; the role or influence of non-democratic or pseudo-democratic regimes; democratization; political corruption; decentralization; state and nation-building; and the role of civil society. Prerequisites: At least one class in the social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2012 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | POL4255.01

Research Seminar on U.S. Foreign Policy

This course is a research seminar on U. S. foreign policy toward the Middle East. It is designed to provide each member of the class with the opportunity to undertake an independent research project for the term on a topic of her/his choice. The topic has to be approved by the instructor within a week after the term begins. The class will do some common readings on foreign policy concepts, research methods and use of primary sources. In addition to the discussion of required readings, beginning in the fourth session of the class all students have to make weekly presentations about the progress of their work and be prepared to answer questions relevant to the research. The length of the final paper is expected to be 25-30 pages. Prerequisites: Advanced students with coursework in politics or international relations and prior approval of the instructor.

  • Mansour Farhang | FA2012 | T, 6:30PM-10:10PM | POL4401.01

Seminar on Good Governance

Good governance involves the diverse ways by which governments manage public affairs, institutions and resources for the well being of their citizens and constituents. Largely taken for granted in the advanced industrialized world, good governance is now regarded by the international development community as the single most important factor for addressing conflict, poverty and state fragility and failure in underdeveloped or developing regions. This 7-week seminar will focus on the challenge of promoting good governance. Readings, presentations, assignments and discussions will explore the meanings of good governance, rules-based and outcome-based indicators of governance, major strategies for enhancing governmental quality and effectiveness (including decentralization, liberalization, democratization, anti-corruption reform, fiscal responsibility, and donor policy-level conditionality and selectivity), and illustrative country case studies of robust, mixed and poor governance. Prerequisites: At least one curse in the social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4110.01

So Far from God: A Border Project

Despite the trend towards supposed globalization, the geographical demarcation of national boundaries, though often artificially constructed and the sites of complex, hybrid cultures, tends to be perceived as embodying reality, with real, sometimes violent, consequences for those living through such differentiation. To name but one specific problem, even in the wake of supposedly neoliberal policy prescriptions such as the Washington Consensus and NAFTA, the question of sovereignty continues to burden US-Mexico relations, earning the two countries the suspect distinction of overseeing the most illegally crossed international border anywhere, and arguably criminalizing Mexicans more pervasively in the collective consciousness of the US. In the second seven weeks of Fall term, via linguistic, theoretical, geographical, historical and political inquiry, students will articulate a problem associated with this specific border, proving their expertise in that area, presenting their research to the group, and testing their hypotheses. The latter will be tested again by an optional 2-week field-research visit to the Arizona / Sonora area, eligible for FWT credit. (on-site organization provided by Williams College and Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Jonathan Pitcher | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | POL4238.01

State and Society in the Middle East

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the formation and evolution of modern Middle Eastern states; it explores the foundations of authority, the nature of social order, class structure, and political life. It emphasizes the major sociopolitical events relevant to each state's indigenous conditions and international relations. Topics include the challenge of modernity to traditional modes of thought and behavior; the rise of independent and nationalist movements; diversity of historical and national memories in the region; transformation of political identity and legitimacy; the role of military in politics; regional conflicts and competition; the unique circumstances of oil exporting states; the challenge of radical Islamist narratives to both traditional autocracy and secular modernity; the growing appeal of human rights and democracy discourses to the general public; and the social and political significance of generational differences in the region. These topics will be examined, both conceptually and empirically, in the context of the regions encounters with Western powers and cultural influences. Prerequisites: At least two courses in Social Science.

  • Mansour Farhang | FA2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | POL4209.01
  • Mansour Farhang | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4209.01

The Global Spread of Federalism

A striking feature of contemporary politics is the revival or rediscovery of federal government as a design for holding deeply divided societies together. Originally developed in the United States (1789) as a political structure for the construction and consolidation of a liberal democratic nation-state, the federal solution has recently been more commonly reinvented and applied to prevent the dissolution of multi-national states in countries as diverse as Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Sudan. This course will explore the main ideas, challenges, and prospects associated with the spread of federation in various parts of the world. The course will balance thematic and analytic concerns with country case lessons drawn from old (US, Canada), younger (India, Nigeria, Ethiopia), and emergent (Iraq, Sudan) federations. Course topics and assignments will include: the conceptual distinctions among federalism, federative political systems and federations; different approaches to the study of federalism; comparing constitutional arrangements in national and multi-national federations; the federalism role of constitutional or supreme courts; revenue distribution conflicts, including debates over oil revenue sharing in Iraq, Nigeria, and Sudan; success and failure in federations; and recent political developments and challenges in individual federations. Prerequisites: Previous work in social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2012 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | POL4253.01

The Iranian Revolution

This course is designed to examine the origins and evolution of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Following a brief history of the country with a focus on its 20th century social movements, the course will explore the rise of modern nationalism and competing ideological narratives challenging the traditional autocracy. Topics include class and culture divide, the political economy of oil, Irans relations with Western powers, Western cultural influences on Iranian society, religion and national identity, the Shii clerical establishment, modern secularists and their social base, the 1979 revolutionary coalition, power struggle in the post-revolutionary period, establishment of a theocracy or Islamist state ( the Islamic Republic of Iran), domestic and foreign policy agendas of Irans clerical leaders, gender discrimination in the theocracy, the promises and performance of the Islamist regime, secular dissent in the Islamic Republic and the growing appeal of democracy and human rights discourses to the Iranian public in general and the young generation in particular. Prerequisites: Prior work in Social Science or Literature.

  • Mansour Farhang | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | POL4249.01

The Politics of Freedom

This course examines competing conceptions of freedom in the tradition of Western political thought. Is political freedom about doing what you want, sharing power, or actively participating in political life? Is freedom a quality of individuals or an experience found in collective action? What conditions help to secure freedom and what conditions undermine its possibility? What is the relationship of political freedom to power, authority, community and identity? Why might some who lack political freedom fail to resist? What if people don't want to be free? In this course we will pursue these questions in the context of reading classics in Western political theory as well as more contemporary writings, films, and works of fiction. Prerequisites: None.

  • Crina Archer | FA2014 | MW, 6:30PM- 8:20PM | POL2256.01

US-Africa Relations

US foreign policy toward Africa has been characterized variously as one of indifference, neglect, selective/constructive engagement, disengagement, reengagement, and so on. This course probes the US-Africa relationship in the light of the seeming reprioritization of that interaction by the United States since 9/11. Topics, readings, assignments, and presentations will explore alternative paradigms for analyzing US-Africa relations, the historical evolution of the relationships, the strengths and weaknesses of specific US Africa-oriented policies and programs (including the Africa Command, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation), US interventions in African conflicts, and US relations with selected African states, including the anchor states of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Prerequisites: Previous work in social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4252.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4252.01
  • Rotimi Suberu | SP2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | POL4252.01


(In) Justice and (In) Equality

Distinctions between justice and injustice, and between equality and inequality, underlie some of the most fundamental dimensions of social life. This course will address several questions about the relation between inequality and injustice Among them will be the following: 1. What conditions do people consider (un)just, and what factors contribute to these judgments? 2. What are the emotional precursors and consequences of these judgments? 3. How do people respond to situations they judge or experience as unjust? 4. What decision-making structures and social policies do people consider unjust? How do they respond to these judgments? Students will read relevant social psychological theory and research as well as related work in politics, sociology, and evolutionary approaches to social behavior. Prerequisites: At least one year of work in a social science discipline plus at least one course in psychology.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4208.01

(In)Justice and Conflict Resolution

What conditions do people consider unjust? Do all people consider the same (kinds of) conditions unjust? If so, why? If not, what factors contribute to the differences? How do people respond to situations they judge as unjust? What structures of authority and decision-making, and what social and policies, do people consider unjust? How do they respond to authorities, decisions, and policies they consider unjust? We will examine the role of justice and injustice in the development and resolution of interpersonal and intergroup conflict. Attention will focus on (1) the distribution of scarce and valued resources (distributive justice), (2) the decision-making procedures through which these distributions are produced (procedural justice), and (3) the violation of social norms and laws. Students will read relevant social psychological theory and research as well as related work in political studies and sociology. If time and interest permit, students design and conduct original pieces of research. Prerequisites: One year of work in a social science discipline and at least one course in social psychology

  • Ronald Cohen | SP2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4203.01

Behavioral Diversity and Neuroethics

This advanced seminar will investigate the metaphor of behavioral diversity as rain forest. As we are increasingly able to alter human behavior through psychopharmocological and genetic interventions, we lose behavioral diversity (as a species). If this is our rain forest, do we know what we are losing before we lose it? Is reducing behavioral diversity a bad thing? For whom? We will read and think about related topics, including attention deficit disorders and creativity, court-ordered medications, various mental patients' liberation movements (both historical and contemporary) and ethical issues in genetic manipulations of the future. Prerequisites: Two courses in psychology and permission of the instructor.

  • David Anderegg | SP2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4325.01

Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is the state-sanctioned killing of a person convicted of committing a crime. Its existence as public policy requires the approval or acquiescence of individual citizens and social groups, and its implementation requires the approval, acquiescence, and participation of a wide range of individuals and institutions. Attitudes toward capital punishment - as public policy and as applied to a particular situation - are often strongly held and deeply felt. Debates on the morality and the effects of capital punishment - again, as public policy and as applied to a particular case - are often contentious and divisive. This course will address two related questions: (1) How do people's beliefs and attitudes about capital punishment develop as they do? (2)How do those who involve themselves, or become involved in, the implementation of capital punishment - particularly jurors, attorneys, judges, and prison officials - understand their participation? Prerequisites: At least one year of work in any social science discipline.

  • Ronald Cohen | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4223.01

Cognitive Neuroscience

After learning the basics of a neuron, brain anatomy, and current neuroscience techniques (e.g., fMRI, ERP, MEG, and TMS), we will address student questions about the brain. For example, how does the brain learn new motor programs and can knowing this process improve your ability to learn or teach dance? Or, how does the brain process language and could understanding this process help you become a better or more creative writer? These are just two of the many possible questions that could be addressed, depending on student interests. We will learn to convert these questions into experimental designs that help answer them. Further, we will debate relevant ethical questions that emerge from neuroscience technology. Can neuroscience techniques produce an accurate lie detector and, if so, should it be used for this purpose? Can neuroscience techniques produce a "mind reading" device and, if so, should it be used in this fashion? Prerequisites: None.

  • Anthony McCaffrey | SP2012 | MW, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY2120.01

Cognitive Psychology

We will cover the most reliable and intriguing experimental results from the areas of human perception, attention, memory, knowledge, language, visual imagery, problem solving, creativity, and decision-making. We will address the results that either tell us most about the human person or have important applications. For example, we experience our visual field as continuous and in focus across the continuum, but this subjective experience is an illusion created by our brain. This result has implications for the issue of what is real and what is a human construction. Further, memory research shows how fragile eyewitness testimony is-especially in children-and how eyewitnesses should and should not be questioned on the witness stand. This research suggests that human memory is highly reconstructive and not a copy of experience. These are just two of the many results with important implications and applications that can be delved into and debated, depending on student interest. Prerequisites: None.

  • Anthony McCaffrey | SP2012 | MW, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PSY2130.01


This seminar will examine the idea of how the human experience has been changed by contemporary electronic communications, including cell phones, text messaging and the Internet. We will briefly examine hypothetical accounts (i.e. 'the Singularity') but the emphasis in the class will be on research evidence that supports or does not support the hypothesized changes in the way people are now thinking. Topics to be considered will be online identities and attitudes toward the self; intellectual property, theft, and plagiarism; anxiety management; the place of embodied cognition in a disembodied communication world; and the shortening or lengthening of attention spans as a result of the immediacy of information. Course requirements will include several short papers on course topics and one long culminating research project which will involve collecting research data from real human subjects. Prerequisites: Two courses in psychology, preferably PSY2204 Normality and Abnormality and Research Methods, and permission of the instructor.

  • David Anderegg | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4302.01

Developmental Psychology

This course will focus on theory and research in cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development and its practical application, particularly to education and instruction. Specifically, major developmental theories and theorists will be discussed and analyzed in an attempt to gain a complete understanding of the developing child from infancy through adolescence. These theories also will be examined through the lens of current research in order to understand their full scope and reach. Prerequisites: None.

  • Daniel Schoenfeld | SP2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY2107.01

Developmental Psychology After the Grand Theories

Comprehensive theories in developmental psychology posited relatively abrupt structural changes in children's thinking in the course of childhood. These theories have been supplanted, in large part, by basic research (largely from brain imaging techniques), documenting gradual changes in children's development. In this course the grand theories (Piaget, Freud, and Vygotsky, as well as attachment theory and evolutionary psychology) will be reviewed along with current findings which challenge their scope and reach. Topics will include cognitive, emotional and social development from infancy through adolescence. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Anderegg | SP2011 | MTh, 8:00AM-10:00AM | PSY2207.01
  • David Anderegg | SP2013 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2207.01
  • David Anderegg | SP2014 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2207.01

Discourse, Deliberation, and Democracy

Most conceptions of democracy imply something more than merely the registering of preferences. What they imply is that citizens deliberate about the issues they consider important, and that they do so by talking with others. Some of this talk occurs in informal settings and without an explicitly political agenda, for example, conversations in coffee shops or at family gatherings; some occurs in more formal settings explicitly structured for political discussion, such as public debates, political party meetings, and community hearings on matters of public policy. Recently, a great deal of attention has been focused on conceptions of democracy that emphasize such deliberation, theories of deliberative democracy. Few of these theories examine how citizens actually talk about politics, or avoid doing so, and why. This is what we will do in this course. Prerequisites: At least one course in Social Psychology, at least one in Politics, and permission of the instructor.

  • Ronald Cohen | SP2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4239.01

Experimental and Survey Methods in Social Research

This course will examine the research process as it is practiced in several of the social sciences. We will focus on the logic of experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational methods as they are currently practiced in various areas of psychology and sociology, though these methods are also employed frequently in politics, economics, sociology, and anthropology. Methodological, statistical, and ethical issues will be examined through the lens provided by both classical and contemporary pieces of research. This is not a statistics course. However, the methods we will be examining, and the research we will be reading and doing, will require familiarity with several of the statistical techniques employed in research of the kinds we will study. Prerequisites: One year of work in a social science discipline and a course in statistics, or permission of the instructor. This is not a statistics course. However, the methods we will be examining, and the research we will be reading and doing, will require familiarity with several statistical techniques.

  • Ronald Cohen | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4377.01

Human Nature(s)

This course will address recent developments in several fields (evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology among them) which have reinvigorated fundamental questions about humans, their conduct, and the cultures and societies they produce. We will examine several of these questions in detail: what is the nature of altruism? of aggression? of conflict? of reconciliation? What can be learned about human manifestations of these processes from examining them in non-human animals? What constraints does our evolutionary history place on current and future development, on individual persons and the societies they inhabit? What are the advantages, and what are the risks, in posing these questions? Prerequisites: One 4000 level course in psychology, one 4000 level course in biology, and permission of the instructor.

  • Elizabeth Sherman | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4209.01
  • Ronald Cohen | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4209.01

Normality and Abnormality

This course is an examination of the idea of normality as a central organizing principle in psychology. We begin with an effort to define normality and/or psychological health, and then move on to examine the limits or borders of normality. The course examines the value-laden, historically determined, and political nature of psychological normality. Topics discussed include: psychoanalytic contributions to the study of psychopathology (Freud and Erikson); normality and creativity; contemporary psychiatry; and the politics of mental illness. Students write one medium-length paper on issues raised in the course and participate in one small-scale research effort related to course topics. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Anderegg | FA2011 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2204.01
  • David Anderegg | FA2012 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2204.01
  • David Anderegg | FA2013 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2204.01
  • David Anderegg | FA2014 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PSY2204.01

Personal & Social Interaction

This course will provide an introduction to microsociology (also called social psychology) and various theories of interpersonal behavior. In general, the purpose of this course is to help you build an understanding of the relationship between the individual and society. Attention will focus on the dynamics of interpersonal interaction, small groups (such as couples, families and social movements) and subcultures. You will also become familiar with the sociological analysis of seemingly personal phenomena such as cognition, perception, emotion and sensation. Many of the readings for each topic area will be drawn from social scientific studies of religion and spirituality; therefore, students with an interest in religion may find this course particularly appealing. The goal of this course is to provide students with a set of intellectual tools they can use to investigate and theorize about the micro-social dimensions of various situations, events, and social problems they encounter. Students will write three papers (approximately five pages each) in which they are required to apply a theoretical perspective we learn in class to an assigned or self-selected case. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all classes, complete weekly readings and (short) written assignments, and submit three papers. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in class discussions and the quality of their written assignments. Prerequisites: None. Students who have taken Social Psychology (PSY2205.01) or Persons, Groups and Environments (PSY2141.01) may not register for this course.

  • Erin Johnston | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2150.01

Persons, Groups, and Environments

We spend much of our time in the presence of others, and all of our time in particular spaces. In this course we'll examine several psychological and sociological perspectives on social interaction, that is, how people think, feel, and act in the presence of others, and how the particular spaces in which interaction occurs affect social interaction. Attention will focus on issues such as obedience, disobedience, and authority; social perception and cognition; attributions of causality and responsibility; conformity and resistance; social and commons dilemmas; interaction as exchange and performance; and the consequences of various forms of social organization. Students write four papers on selected topics, one that analyzes original data they have collected. Students are expected to attend all classes, participate in occasional class based research (both in and outside of class), complete reading assignments for each class, conduct research for their papers, and submit four papers, three of approximately five pages and one of ten pages. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in discussions and the four required papers. Prerequisites: None. Students who have taken Social Psychology (PSY2205.01) may not register for this course.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY2141.01
  • Ronald Cohen | SP2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2141.01
  • Ronald Cohen | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2141.01

Psychological Experimentation

Psychologists collect data about people and do so systematically. This course will use the history of psychology and look at classic psychological experiments as a way to think about experimentation itself: how do we answer the questions we really want to ask? Historically important experiments in social, developmental, abnormal and cognitive psychology will be read and critiqued, and a few will be replicated by the class as a group. Students will be expected to write short reaction papers on the theme of historical experiments, and to design their own extensions of these classic experiments. We will also address ethical issues in psychological experimentation. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Anderegg | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2109.01

Psychology of Creativity: Making & Using Metaphors

This course will address two large areas in the psychology of creativity: (1) special creativity, that is, the study of creative persons and the specific characteristics of high-level creative thinkers. We will look at how creativity is measured, what personal characteristics or life circumstances seem to foster creative achievement, and the contributions of history in making decisions about who is creative and who is not. (2) general creativity, or the ordinary experience of creativity in everyday life. We will look at metaphoric and figurative language, how it is used and understood, and other experiences of normal creative leaps made by all human thinkers. Prerequisites: One course in psychology, preferably PSY 2204 Normality and Abnormality.

  • David Anderegg | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4226.01
  • David Anderegg | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4226.01

Seminar in Clinical/Developmental Psychology

This course serves as a platform for senior work in clinical or developmental psychology. Students will work together as a group and also independently under supervision of the instructor. The final product will be a research paper or other project which demonstrates critical thinking and research in psychology at an advanced level. Projects may be one-term projects or the second term of a two-term project. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • David Anderegg | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4106.01
  • David Anderegg | SP2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4106.01

Seminar in Social Psychology

This seminar is intended for students undertaking senior theses or senior projects in social psychology or related disciplines in social science. Each student will work on her or his own project and will contribute to others work through discussion and written feedback throughout the term. A complete, final version of a paper will be due at the end of term. Prerequisites and description of work: 1. Students in the first term of a faculty approved two-term thesis will craft a question, review relevant literature, and produce a final draft of a research proposal including a description of the method of data collection-- by the end of term. On satisfactory completion, as judged by the faculty tutor and reader, the student will complete the thesis in Spring Term, 2013. 2. Students working on a one-term faculty approved senior project will craft a question, review relevant literature, and complete a paper by the end of the term. 3. Others may be admitted by permission of the instructor. Interested students must submit a proposal (approximately 3 pages) describing the question they want to address, the relevant literature they will review, and the form they expect a final paper to take. Satisfactory completion will indicate the ability to advanced work. This proposal must be submitted by May 1, 2012. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4125.01
  • Ronald Cohen | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4125.01

SHHH! The Social Construction of Silence

Silence is a central element of social life, but it has rarely been the focus of explicit research and theory. This may reflect a conception of silence as "absence," or mere ground for figures of speaking, utterance, and noise. This course reverses these conceptions: Silence is a presence, and a figure emerging from grounds of speech, utterance, and noise. It is also the result of a complex social process--silencing-- whose antecedents and consequences we will examine as well. Much of the reading will be drawn from work in social psychology, psychology, and sociology. Other material will come from the anthropological and historical literature, and the mass media. Students write either one or two papers, and each paper must present the results of original research. Students will also maintain a journal on: (1) annotated bibliographic references; (2) specific examples of "noticeable silences"; and (3) specific examples of "broken silences". Prerequisites: One year of work in a social science discipline, preferably including "Social Psychology," and permission of instructor.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4205.01

Social Interaction: Game, Gift, Green Room

Whether between two people, or among several in a gathering or a small group, people usually manage to coordinate their activity with others. The rules that underlie, create, and maintain orderliness and permit people to carry on their activities are usually out of immediate, conscious awareness, and their existence is recognized only when they are violated. We will examine social interaction and the rules which govern it. Among the perspectives developed for this purpose are interaction as game, gift exchange, and theater. We will examine game theory as originally developed by economist and explore its relevance in contemporary research on the prisoners' dilemma, commons dilemma, and other social dilemmas. We'll then examine exchange theory, originally developed by economists and anthropologists, and apply it to contemporary work on such topics as gift-giving and revenge. Finally, we will examine some examples of dramaturgical approaches to interaction, primarily work by Erving Goffman. Prerequisites: PSY2205 Social Psychology and at least one other course in Social Science, and permission of the instructor.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4207.01

Social Psychology

An examination of various psychological and sociological perspectives on the person, social interaction, social structure, and the relationships among them. Attention will focus on issues such as obedience, disobedience, and authority; social perception and cognition; attributions of causality and responsibility; influence and resistance; social and common dilemmas; interaction as exchange and performance; and the social consequences of various forms of social organization. Students write four short papers on selected topics, including one which discusses data they have collected. The class meets for two 110-minute periods each week. Students are expected to attend all classes, participate in occasional class-based research (both in- and outside of class), complete reading assignments for each class, conduct research for their papers, and submit four papers, three of approximately five pages and one of ten pages. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in discussions and the four required papers for the course. Prerequisites: None.

  • Ronald Cohen | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2205.01
  • Ronald Cohen | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2205.01

Spaces, Places, and Identities

"Spaces" have geographical coordinates, "places" are territories of meaning, and "identities" are the senses we have of ourselves and others. This course will examine links among these through (1) reading theory and research in several social science disciplines, (2) writing short essays, and (3) completing one or two research papers. Prerequisites: One couse in social psychology, one course in environmental studies, and permission of the instructor.

  • Ronald Cohen | SP2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4190.01
  • Ronald Cohen | SP2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4190.01

Theories of Psychotherapy

This course addresses the history of the "talking cure" with a systematic look at the links between psychological theory and therapeutic technique. The practice of psychoanalysis and analytic therapy is investigated through a reading of some of Freud's papers on technique. The historical development of psychotherapy, including later developments in analysis, behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and hypnosis, is also investigated. The course concludes with a look at other forms of behavior change, including 12-step programs and meditation, with an emphasis on the theories of behavior change invoked by practitioners of therapeutic arts and explanations invoked by practitioners of the social sciences. Students will complete a short mid-term paper and an oral presentation of a psychotherapy case from the published literature and an extensive final paper on course topics. Prerequisites: One course in psychology, preferably PSY 2204 Normality and Abnormality.

  • David Anderegg | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4108.01
  • David Anderegg | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4108.01
  • David Anderegg | SP2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY4108.01

Thinking Like a Social Scientist

This course introduces the method and materials of social science disciplines and focuses on how social scientists make arguments. The disciplines differ in their methods (for example experimental data analysis in psychology versus observational data in anthropology) but share a commitment to rigorous, non-prejudicial argument and a sometimes successful effort to transcend the personal biases of the scholar. Students will learn to read scholarly papers and practice making their own arguments by writing short papers in the style of various social science disciplines. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Anderegg | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PSY2108.01

Transformations of the Self

This course investigates the phenomenon of self-transformation from a variety of angles and theoretical perspectives. We will examine common forms of self-change (including religious conversions, political transformations and lifestyle changes), how individuals construct stories of personal transformation, as well as popular and academic understandings of if, when and how self-changes occur. In addition, we will interrogate historical and cultural variations in how we understand and approach the self and its development. Students will write three papers. The first (approximately 5 pages) will require students to apply a theoretical perspective we learn in class to an assigned case. For the second (10-12 pages), students will collect and analyze original data on a contemporary or historical example of self-transformation (of their choosing) such as Whittaker Chambers leaving Communism, immigrants becoming American, transsexuals changing sexes, or meat eaters turning to veganism. In the final essay (2-3 pages), students reflect on a self-transformation of their own. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all classes, complete weekly reading and (short) written assignments, and submit three papers. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in class discussions and the quality of their written assignments. Prerequisites: At least three courses in social science including at least one in anthropology and one in social psychology (preferably PSY2205.01); or three classes in social science and permission of the instructor.

  • Erin Johnston | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PSY4130.01

Women in Psychoanalysis

For a discipline with a reputation for oppressing women, psychoanalysis has always welcomed women as theoretical pioneers. This advanced seminar will investigate the contributions of prominent women analysts in shaping the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. We will study biographical and theoretical material of Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Helene Deutsch and others. Students will also interview women analysts working in today's mental health milieu. Prerequisites: Two courses in psychology one of which is PSY4108 Theories of Psychotherapy and permission of the instructor.

  • David Anderegg | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | PSY4109.01