1. Good and Evil in the Human Imagination: Ethical Issues in Fiction

This seminar’s topic investigates fictional representations of ethics. It asks what makes epic fantasy sagas such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings so appealing? One reason is that they are morality tales, battles between good and evil, voyages of discovery that can help us in the quest for identity. They help us to think about what it would be to lead a good life, how we can find ourselves, and what it means to be a part of a community, bound to our families, friends, and commitments. In this class, we will explore these issues by considering moral and ethical theory in light of the principles reflected in both epic fantasies and other major works of contemporary fiction, in both film and book version. We will consider the vision of society and of individual responsibility in these works, and ask such questions as, “Was Snape right to kill Dumbledore?” “Did Darth Vader achieve redemption?” and so on. We will apply these examples to major ethical issues  in contemporary society and philosophy, and compare the depictions of ethics in epic fantasy to that in such other major works of contemporary fiction as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the spy novel, and you will have the opportunity to develop a research project on your own favorite recent work of fiction. Over the course of the semester, we will also watch four or five full-length feature films outside class hours, with food and drink provided.

Professor: Toby Reiner, Political Science
Time: MF 11:30

2. The Art and Science of Exchange: A Natural History of Global Markets
Markets, as one of the most fundamental and long-living socioeconomic institutions in human societies, are not just places for buying and selling “things.” They play a crucial role in orchestrating production and consumption, in defining our relations to others, society, and nature, and in shaping who we are as social beings. Without vibrant markets, societies stagnate; yet with unchecked “free markets,” societies fail. In this seminar we are going to explore the forms, logics, mechanisms, and cultures of various markets across space and time. For example, we will consider the boisterous bazaars in the Middle East, the fragrant auction market for fresh flowers in Amsterdam, the first market for things that do not exist (yet)—the futures market for ungrown rice—in seventeenth century Japan, the market for trading emission quotas of greenhouse gases in Europe, the market for auctioning electromagnetic spectrum in the U.S. telecommunication industry, and the Chinese online markets of Taobao, Tmall, and Jingdong (the Chinese counterparts of Amazon) that are increasingly ruled by big data and AI-powered algorithms. Through reading, writing, discussions, simulation games, experiments, and field observations of real markets, we are going to form our own critical answers to the following questions: what are markets? Where do markets come from? How do they work? What are their commonalities? Why do they take on various forms in different times, places, fields, and cultures? Where, when, and why do markets fail? What are the remedies and alternatives? What are the impacts of technology on markets? How are markets related to current issues of environment, sustainability, social inequality, and (de)globalization?  

Professor: Xiaolu Wang, International Business & Management
Time: MF 11:30
3. Bioethics and Bioissues
If you regularly read CNN.com, The New York Times, or use social media to follow the news, the prevalence of science in our society should not be surprising.  However, while science is an essential part of our daily lives, inaccurate, incomplete, and/or biased communication of science often misleads the public.  Furthermore, in the US there is a cultural challenge in that many people wish to benefit from science, but have little interest in trying to understand it, or even willingly ignore scientific data.  (And to be fair, scientists often do a subpar job at communicating the importance of science to the public.)  In this Seminar, we will work together to gain an informed understanding of several past and present bioethical and biological issues.  Topics of discussion may include genetically modified organisms, vaccines and the anti-vax movement, human experimentation and eugenics, human gene therapy, euthanasia and “living wills,” and social and economic consequences of disease.  Additional topics may be discussed as they arise.  It is expected that you will be of open mind as you read, consider, discuss, and write about these multifaceted issues, and that towards the end of Fall term, you will incorporate and relate your enhanced understanding of concepts underlying these issues via a small group final project and presentation that addresses a topic of your choosing not previously discussed in the course.
Professor: Dave Kushner, Biology
Time: MF 11:30
4. Does Finance Benefit Society?
After the 2008 financial crisis, finance has gotten a bad rap – nearly half of Americans think that the financial system hurts the economy according to the Financial Trust Index survey, and 57% of readers of The Economist disagree with the statement that “financial innovation boosts economic growth.” Yet academic studies have shown that finance promotes entrepreneurship, favors education, alleviates poverty, and reduces inequality. In this seminar, we will discuss theories and empirical evidence on the crucial roles played by a competitive and inclusive financial system, as well as its dark side: noncompetitive, plutocratic, and rent seeking. Through a variety of readings, student will broaden their understanding on the issue, and discuss, debate, and defend ideas including one’s own views. Student will read Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis that chronicles his experience as a young bond trader before the 1987 stock market crash. We will discuss major financial innovations such as collateralized debt obligation (CDO), credit default swap (CDS) and high-frequency trading (HFT) using chapters from The Big Short and Flash Boys by the same author. For a different (and more academic) perspective, we will read Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller on psychologically driven asset bubbles and bursts. Furthermore, special attention will be paid to the portrayal of financial professionals in films including American Psycho, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Margin Call. Finally, students will have the opportunity to conduct research on the economic consequences of one recent financial innovation (e.g., bitcoin), and present results in research posters with charts, maps, or infographics.

Professor: Qing Bai, International Business & Management
Time: MF 11:30
5. The Future of Democracy: Can Government Of, By, & For the People Survive and
Flourish in the 21st Century?

The 20th century ended on a note of democratic optimism. The number of democracies was at all-time high, and authoritarian regimes were on the defensive. In the early 21st century, however, much of this optimism has waned. Key countries such as China have steadfastly resisted democratization; other countries such as Russia that once seemed to be moving in a democratic direction have been backsliding to authoritarianism; and, despite the fleeting promise of the Arab Spring, democracy has yet to establish roots in the Islamic world. Even the long-established democracies of North America and Western Europe have been plagued by problems of governance and a populist wave that threaten democratic norms and institutions. In this seminar, the questions we will address include: 1) what is democracy? 2) is it really the best form of government? 3) what is the relationship between democracy and civil liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press? 4) what are the current status and future prospects of democracy around the world? 5) what, in 2018, is the status of democracy in the United States? Can we still take the endurance of American democracy for granted? Readings will represent a diversity of viewpoints and are intended to challenge you, to force you out of your intellectual comfort zone (whatever that might be), to stimulate in-class debate, and, in the process, to sharpen your thinking and writing on these questions.

Professor: Russ Bova, Political Science
Time: MF 11:30
6. Bridging East and West: Cosmopolitans and Cultural Mediators in Modern China
This course provides a unique perspective into the myriad cultural and intellectual changes in modern China through the lives of many men and women who not only devoted their work to the deepening of cross-cultural understanding, but also did so by combining cultural resources from China and the Western world. Through reading primary materials written by these historical figures, we will understand the perspectives of a fascinating group of writers, translators, political reformers, diplomats, architects, and artists, many of whom have been previously marginalized in political and social histories that emphasize nationalism and revolution. In addition, by linking these individual lives to the larger framework of modern Chinese and world history, this course seeks to further students’ appreciation of the process of cultural exchange and intellectual innovation. We will have guest speakers who are engaged in the cross-cultural exchange between China and the West in our contemporary world to further students’ understanding of the topic. At the end of the semester students will reconstruct an individual cultural project that has been done by one of the historical figures we study in this course, such as editing pages of the famous pictorial magazine in 1920’s Shanghai to introduce the Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi’s work The Adventures of Tintin, or composing/performing a pop song combining different musical and performance styles of Jazz, Chinese folk songs, operas as what Li Jinhui, the Founding Father of modern Chinese pop music, did in the 1930s.

Professor: Nan Ma, East Asian Studies
Time: MF 11:30
7. Civil Disobedience in History
This seminar will discuss and define the concept of “civil disobedience” based on analysis of multiple historical case studies, including: Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha (non-violent resistance) in South Africa and India; sit-ins organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and the recent occupation of federal land by Standing Rock Sioux and allies to block the Dakota Access pipeline. Our focus will be on non-violent disobedience, but we will explore whether violence is ever justified. Students will visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of the American Indian as part of the process of researching and producing a documentary film about an act of civil disobedience

Professor: Jeremy Ball, History
Time: MWF 11:30
8. Literacy and Liberty
In his autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself (1845), Frederick Douglass calls learning to read “the pathway from slavery to freedom.” In her memoir of Japanese-American internment during World War II (2007), Toyo Suyemoto describes running a library and teaching English as acts of resistance. In her recent book LOOK (2016), poet Solmaz Sharif protests the “war on terror” in part by rewriting the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Drawing on these and other works—including essays by bell hooks, sonnets by Natasha Trethewey, reporting by Nikole Hannah-Jones, and materials in the College archives—this course explores how literacy has historically enabled and delimited political agency in the United States. We will study literacy in relation to struggles for human and civil rights, debates about public education and the “canon,” and the emergence of new communications technologies, among other contexts. Students will create a collaborative course blog, write their own literacy memoirs, and conduct a research-based case study on literacy (broadly defined) and civic life.

Professor: Claire Seiler, English
Time: MF 11:30
9. Where Have All the Wild Things Gone?
We appear to be entering the 6th major extinction of biological diversity in the history of life on Earth.  Unlike the previous five mass extinctions, this fast-paced decline in the diversity of life is largely a result of one species, humans.  In this course, we will explore the varied and complex relationship between people and the diversity of life on Earth.  Through a variety of readings, we will look at how the diversity of life on Earth has changed in recent history and how scientists work to understand these changes and protect the world’s species, communities, and ecosystems.  As we read both popular and scientific literature, listen to podcasts, and read news articles and blogs, we will ask: how do we value the natural world? and how do we decide what species and ecosystems to conserve and protect?  As a class, you will weigh in on debates among leading professionals in the field of conservation biology on how best to protect biological diversity.   This will include a range of topics, including de-extinction, or bringing back extinct species through a variety of techniques also known as “resurrection biology”.  Is this just Hollywood science fiction or a valid scientific and ethical consideration?  This semester’s experience will culminate with a hands-on activity restoring and protecting biological diversity while visiting with a local conservation organization.

Professor: Kristin Strock, Environmental Studies
Time: MF 11:30
10. Indigenous Education: Native Americans, Schooling, and the Carlisle Experiment
* This seminar is part of a Learning Community called Native American Histories in Carlisle. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
The year 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the closing of the infamous institution, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  This first-year seminar will take up the question of how the United States government has shaped educational policy for Native Americans and how Native Americans have in turn responded, reshaping and reclaiming their own indigenous education.  Drawing from historical accounts, fiction, and art, this seminar will explore the goals of U.S. sponsored Indian education and the experiences of Native Americans themselves.  We will focus particularly on the flagship institution in Carlisle, which became the prototype for boarding schools throughout North America, both in the U.S. and Canada.  Our seminar will benefit from a rich array of visiting scholars and artists and the Carlisle Journeys conference (http://carlislejourneys.org/) , organized by the Cumberland County Historical Association (CCHS).  Students will also dig deeply into the archives of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, held at both Dickinson (http://carlisleindian.dickinson.edu/) and the CCHS, in order to complete their own final research projects.  

Professor: Amy Farrell, American Studies
Time: MF 11:30
11. The Uses and Abuses of Photography
Since its invention in the nineteenth century, photography has raised fundamental questions on the nature of truth. Viewed as a scientific instrument, the camera was often considered a recorder that objectively transcribed what appeared before it. Yet as early as the Civil War, when the bodies of fallen soldiers were ‘staged’ by photographers to enhance the narratives around their deaths, the notion of a photograph as a record of unmediated truth has come under doubt. This class examines key moments in the history of photography when images have been used toward persuasive ends—to support scientific claims on the physical signs of criminal behavior; to justify theories of race and the nature of evolution; to encourage travel to distant lands in the context of an emerging tourist industry; to argue for government subsidies during the Great Depression; and to conceal the disability of a sitting President, as was the case with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These are a handful of the examples we will examine in discussing how photographs have been utilized to legitimate social, medical, economic and political agendas in American culture. As part of the class, students will work with the photographic collections at the Dickinson Archives and The Trout Gallery.

Professor: Elizabeth Lee, Art & Art History
Time: MF 11:30
12. Race in Brazil: Challenging Discourses
This seminar analyzes how Afro-Brazilians have been represented throughout history in Brazil and how they have represented themselves. The seminar aims to question the power play behind discourses that refer to slavery, inequalities, marginalization, “racial democracy,” and mestiçagem. Through poetry, short stories, testimonials, plays, and films, students will consider questions such as, how was racism perpetuated in Brazil? How is it still reproduced? How is it internalized? What are beauty ideals and how do they discriminate against non-white Brazilians?
Professor: Carolina Castellanos, Spanish & Portuguese
Time: MF 11:30
13. Modernity and Its Legacy: Past Ideas and their Contemporary Importance
* This seminar is part of a Learning Community taught by Professors Qualls and Schubert. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
We are dealing with increasing unrest fueled by issues of race, class, technology, and religion, and democracies around the world are turning to more authoritarian tactics of rule. But none of these issues are new. Karl Marx’s critical analyses of capitalism and exploitation, Sigmund Freud’s investigations into the unconscious and our discontent in civilized society, Charles Darwin’s explanations of evolution and species development, Mary Shelley’s attempts to come to terms with technology, W. E. B. Du Bois’ account of the importance of race in modern life, and Hannah Arendt’s explication of the origins of totalitarianism all contributed to changes in the ways in which people lived and thought in the 20th century and continue to do so today. In this class we will read, critique, and write about selected works from these thinkers (and a few others) in order to better understand their relationships to one another and to the ways in which history has since unfolded. By understanding these ideas from the past, we can gain a better understanding of our present.
Professor: Karl Qualls, History
Time: MWF 12:30
14. Modernity and Its Legacy: Past Ideas and their Contemporary Importance
* This seminar is part of a Learning Community taught by Professors Qualls and Schubert. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
We are dealing with increasing unrest fueled by issues of race, class, technology, and religion, and democracies around the world are turning to more authoritarian tactics of rule. But none of these issues are new. Karl Marx’s critical analyses of capitalism and exploitation, Sigmund Freud’s investigations into the unconscious and our discontent in civilized society, Charles Darwin’s explanations of evolution and species development, Mary Shelley’s attempts to come to terms with technology, W. E. B. Du Bois’ account of the importance of race in modern life, and Hannah Arendt’s explication of the origins of totalitarianism all contributed to changes in the ways in which people lived and thought in the 20th century and continue to do so today. In this class we will read, critique, and write about selected works from these thinkers (and a few others) in order to better understand their relationships to one another and to the ways in which history has since unfolded. By understanding these ideas from the past, we can gain a better understanding of our present.
Professor: Dan Schubert, Sociology
Time: MWF 12:30
15. Founding Modernity: Marx, Nietzsche and Freud
In this seminar we will examine several key works by three nineteenth-century thinkers who have influenced the way we think about ourselves and the world we inhabit. We will look at how political activists, philosophers and creative artists around the world have been interpreting their theories to answer questions related to social equality, gender, ethics and religion. During the semester, you will write several short papers and one longer research essay on a topic of your choice.
Professor: Tullio Pagano, Italian
Time: MWF 11:30
16. More Than a laughing Matter: Theories of Humor
There are few things more pervasive in our everyday life than humor. From TV shows, movies, and cartoons to jokes and funny comments that invade our daily conversations, comical references are ubiquitous. The quotidian practice of humor begs a number of questions: why do we laugh? Why is laughter so controversial (or even destructive)? How does humor work in different cultures? What are the boundaries for laughter? In order to address these issues, we will examine different approaches to humor through a series of readings from psychology, literature, and philosophy that will help us to discover concepts such as parody, satire, black humor and incongruity. We will reflect on humor’s linguistic intricacies, logical structure, and political implications in a variety of cultural contexts. Theoretical frameworks will be used to explore short stories, novels, films, and other cultural productions via class discussions and sequenced writing assignments.  By the end of the semester, students should be able to analyze humorous phenomena critically through clear academic writing and understand that humor can be a very serious thing.
Professor: Antonio Rivas, Spanish & Portuguese
Time: MF 11:30

17. Life in Africa and the Caribbean: Insight into the French Imperialism Narratives

This course examines French Imperialism in Africa and the Caribbean from both chronological and thematic perspectives, in order to provide insight into the imperial relationships, typical of the French Empire. Students will investigate how novelists, essayists, and filmmakers capture the complex destinies of African and Caribbean societies, challenging the subjugation that is inscribed in cultural and social fabrics of their communities, exploring imaginative and unexpected venues that may mobilize energies for people’s liberation.  The course will primarily address notions of multiculturalism, imperialism, national identity, as well as the development of colonial discourse in relation to the French Empire. No knowledge of French or African and Caribbean history is necessary.
Professor: Benjamin Ngong, French & Francophone Studies
Time: MWF 11:30
18. No Strings Attached: The Puppet as Performance Object and Metaphor
Many historians believe that the use of puppets in performance may pre-date the use of actors as the main vehicle for storytelling. In modern performance, puppets are said to have experienced a “rebirth” with the popularity of the work of Julie Taymor in The Lion King or Handspring Theater’s War Horse, but puppetry and puppets themselves are actually almost an archetype of human experience, making their way in to everyday language and metaphor as well as our literature and pop culture references. This class will investigate modern puppet performance, will analyze methods of creation of puppets for performance, and will explore why the puppet can be such a powerful performance tool and metaphor for the human experience. As part of this class, students will be expected to attend performances both on campus as well as off campus in the form of a field trip. This course will culminate with a creative project.
Professor: Sherry HarperMcCombs
Time: MF 11:30
19. Can a Machine Have a Mind?
This course examines the question of whether it is possible for a machine to have a mind from philosophical, scientific and technological perspectives. We will study and debate a variety of arguments both for and against the possibility of machine intelligence and consider that we ourselves may simply be very clever machines. Students will explore the current state of machine intelligence though blog entries and presentations describing current examples of machine intelligence. The exploration of our question and our perspective on the current state of machine intelligence will be reinforced through hands-on activities including chat-bots, mobile robots, neural networks, and Turing machine simulations. Ultimately, students will be expected to combine knowledge and experiences from the course with resources of their own discovery to formulate and justify an opinion on the question of whether a machine can have a mind.

Professor: Grant Braught, Mathematics & Computer Science
Time: MWF 11:30
20. Paying the Game of Life: Balancing Proactive and reactive Financial Decisions Beyond the College Years
Many decisions in our lives have financial consequences.  If we knew the consequences ahead of time, would we make different choices?  We can plan for some financial events in our lives, but we need to learn how to react wisely to events we cannot always control. During this course, students will have an opportunity to choose post college careers, research financial rewards and costs based on these selected careers, and then design and write personal financial plans.  Life, however, is full of surprises!  There will be some detours along the way.   Throughout the course, students will need to modify plans when they encounter “surprise events” during certain seasons of their life journeys. As an additional aid for becoming financially prepared for the future, several guest speakers from Dickinson and the local community will provide financial planning information to consider.

Professor: Joy Middaugh, International Business & Management
Time: MWF 11:30
21. Reasonable Faith: The Psychology of Religion

* This seminar is part of a Learning Community called Understanding God, Understanding Ourselves. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
Skeptics argue that educated, thoughtful people cannot or should not be religious, an argument based on the assumption that faith and reason are inherently incompatible.  And yet, of course, millions of people from all backgrounds profess a religious or spiritual orientation in their lives.  In this seminar, we will explore the apparent tension between religion and rationality by studying the psychology of religion.  In particular, we will examine the psychological strategies (both cognitive and emotional) that people engage with in order to balance reason, faith, and doubt.  How do reasonable people believe in God, when there is no empirical evidence to support God’s existence?  How does God feel real, despite one’s own doubts?  To explore these questions, we will consider the psychological experience of evangelical Christians in the contemporary United States.  Evangelical Christians interpret the Bible literally, believe in miracles, and often have dramatic personal experiences of God in their lives.  As such, evangelical Christianity will serve as an excellent case study of the relationships among faith, reason, and doubt.  Throughout the semester, we will read various genres of writing (e.g., interdisciplinary social science research, first person narrative accounts), and students will have an opportunity to put social scientific research methods into practice by conducting their own participant-observation and interview projects.

Professor: Megan Yost, Psychology
Time: MF 11:30
22. Before Carlisle: Illuminating the native American Histories of our Community
* This seminar is part of a Learning Community called Native American Histories in Carlisle. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
Walking through the borough of Carlisle, visitors are met with numerous markers, plaques, and buildings that commemorate and educate the public about the people and events that shaped the community’s Euro-American history. The history of the Native American communities who lived in this area for over 8,000 years, however, is practically non-existent. One has to search it out in the corners of museums. The few stories told are those of massacres and kidnappings during the earliest moments of European colonization. The most prominent Native American narratives are often those of children brought from other indigenous communities to be “re-educated” at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School between 1879 and 1918. In this seminar, students will learn about the processes that led to the “silencing” of local Native American histories through analytical reading and discussion. They will also develop the research and writing skills necessary to bring indigenous histories of the Carlisle area back to life. Students will conduct research into past Native American lives by learning about the methods and data made available through archaeology, environmental studies, and history both written and oral. This will involve field and research trips to the Pennsylvania State Museum, the Cumberland County Historical Society, and the Dickinson College Archives. Students will share the results of their research through more traditional writing assignments, including short papers; but the final projects will use new digital media to make public and more prominent the histories of Carlisle’s original inhabitants.
Professor: Mario Bruno, Anthropology
Time: MF 11:30
23. Death Penalty
Is capital punishment morally permissible? If so, why, and under what conditions? If not, why not? As we seek to answer these questions in class discussion and writing assignments, we will delve into classic and contemporary philosophical theories of justice and punishment, examine social and political aspects of capital punishment, especially in the United States, and investigate proposed alternatives.  

Professor: Susan Feldman, Philosophy
Time: MF 11:30
24. From Facebook to Face Time: Living and Learning in Digital Times
Generation Z, also known as the post-millenial iGeneration is often lauded and criticized for how intrinsically immersed in digital, social, and multi- media its members are.  In contrast with older generations who experienced the advent of new technologies – including the Internet, “digital natives” can hardly imagine a world without the context of cyberspace.  Cognitive development, literacy practices, academic tasks, workplace responsibilities, and social consciousness have radically evolved in light of these technological advancements.  How we “read” the world, represent ourselves and our ideas to others, foster or resist inclusivity, and what “counts” as knowledge, have all changed drastically.  Is this generation and those to follow comprised of more critical creators and consumers of information and resources than previous ones?  Are iGenners capable of achieving unprecedented civic, socially-just goals predicted of them?  Defining literacy as the ability to decode numerous, diverse modes of communication - as well as represent one’s ideas, understanding and identity using multiple media - this seminar examines what it means to be literate in and able to navigate our ever-expanding, complex global community.  Key viewpoints will be explored through the lenses of critical social and educational theories, literature, and popular culture.  We will read and discuss scholarship on digital literacy and multimodality. In addition, a selection of digital and multimodal texts will be read and analyzed in this seminar.

Professor: Liz Lewis, Educational Studies
Time: MF 11:30
25. Risk and Resilience
Why do some people succeed in life despite experiencing significant adversity such as poverty, child abuse, disaster or war? How do families, schools, and culture put people at risk for behavioral and psychological problems and/or help them overcome these challenges? Are some people just naturally resilient or can we harness what we know about people who overcome adversity to help others triumph against all odds? In this seminar, we will use memoirs, film, and other media to explore the processes and mechanisms that bring about resilience in human development. Simply defined, resilience is the ability of an individual to function well and even thrive despite exposure to significant hardship. In this seminar, we will also examine the role that contexts such as family, school, and culture play in either putting individuals at increased risk for poor life outcomes or helping them to overcome difficulty. Finally, we will examine how researchers and interventionists have applied developmental science to design programs and policies that seek to promote resilience and prevent behavioral and psychological problems. Students will have the opportunity to explore this topic experientially by researching and writing a case study about resilience in either their own life or in the life of another person.

Professor: Naila Smith, Psychology
Time: MF 11:30
26. Cancelled
27. The Divided Mind: Reasoning and Intuition in Our Moral and Political Lives
Is the mind defined by intellect and reason, the proverbial crowning achievement that sets us apart from other animals? Or is it bound up with emotional impulses and gut feelings that lurk underneath our consciousness? Modern science uncovers both reason and intuition as key features of the human mind that work together as much as they contend for influence. We will explore the implications of the profound insight that the mind is divided between the two cognitive systems as we attempt to explain phenomena that range from the tendency to overestimate the happiness winning a lottery brings to the belief that all Trump supporters are racists. We will begin with a story of how mundane judgments and decisions that we make every day reveal the inner workings of the divided mind. We will pay close attention to heuristics and biases that often render our judgments and decisions less than optimal. For the second half of this course, we will consider how such a view of the human mind changes the ways in which we think about morality and politics. Questions to be addressed include: How limited is moral reasoning? Do people have different intuitions about right and wrong? Do different moral intuitions lead to an inevitable clash between good and evil? We will grapple with the all-too-human urge to demonize the moral community that does not sing our tune as we consider how to limit our moral (self-)righteousness.   
Professor: Rui Zhang, Psychology
Time: MF 11:30
28. The Great Recession: An In-Depth Examination of the Recent Financial Crisis, Causes,
and Aftermath

The Great Recession, a term coined to describe the recent recession from December 2007 to June of 2009, has transformed the political, economic, and social environment in the United States and worldwide. The vulnerability of a previously secure asset, housing, and the foundation of the “American Dream,” has been called into question. This seminar examines the causes, events, and consequences of the recent financial crisis and recession. We will carefully consider the main catalyst of the Great Recession, the housing bubble, and investigate the mechanisms through which the housing crises spread to the financial sector. Furthermore, the responses of monetary policy, fiscal policy, and regulatory agencies will be analyzed. Students will read The Subprime Solution by Robert J. Shiller, House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, and Getting Off Track by John B. Taylor. These three books present a variety of perspectives on the causes of the Great Recession, giving students the chance to critically evaluate and reflect on the different schools of thought. In addition, special attention will be paid to the portrayal of the financial crisis in the popular media, including an examination of films such as Inside Job, The Big Short, and Margin Call.

Professor: Emily Marshall, Economics
Time: MF 11:30
29. Science and Sci-fi: Fictional Earth Is and Isn’t as Strange as it Seems
Could dinosaurs be cloned from paleo-DNA? Can the San Andreas fault produce tsunami? What is Superman’s carbon footprint? In this class, we will use knowledge derived from earth sciences to explore fictional worlds presented in literature and film. From early twentieth century novels to modern Hollywood disaster movies, this course will examine how scientific knowledge and discovery inspires fiction and vice versa. In our exploration, we will journey from the far reaches of Earth’s atmosphere to the center of the Earth in order to distinguish scientific fact from fiction. This course will also compare Earth’s future as dramatized in large-budget disaster movies with that predicted by scientific models. Additionally, we will examine the societal impact of science fiction in promoting and hindering scientific literacy. Students will elect science fiction material for writing assignments, examples include Jurassic Park, The Core, and Supervolcano. Our analyses will be informed by books, films, expert interviews, scientific articles, and field trips. 

Professor: Jorden Hayes, Earth Sciences
Time: MF 11:30
30. Conceptions of God
* This seminar is part of a Learning Community called Understanding God, Understanding Ourselves. Students who choose this seminar agree to live with a roommate who is also part of this Learning Community.
The way God has been conceived, even within relatively stable traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is remarkably various. God is the creator who made a universe, then left it to tick on by itself; or he's a constant presence who can be swayed by prayer; a friend, a judge, a force; a person, or something completely incompatible with personhood; a power that will bring all things to the good, or something utterly incomprehensible to us. This is a course in comparative spiritualities, and we will examine a remarkably diverse set of texts and ideas drawn from many traditions and philosophical approaches. We will read the Sufi poetry of Rumi, the Christian mystical text The Cloud of Unknowing, and philosophers such as Augustine and Hume. We will ask whether Taoism and Buddhism have a conception of God at all and, if so, what it is. We will read contemporary philosophers and theologians such as Janet Soskice and ask questions, for example, about God and gender. We will address, too, the ways that atheists conceive God as they gear up to attack the existence of such a thing. Through a series of shorter writing assignments, students will work all semester toward a substantial paper in which they grapple with these questions out of their own biography and their reflections on some of the remarkably rich and complex ideas we will encounter.
Professor: Crispin Sartwell, Philosophy
Time: MF 11:30
31. The Secret Life of Language: Reasons We Speak the Way We Do
What does it mean to speak “American”? As speakers of English, we will investigate and learn the aspects of language and expression that unite and divide us. We will learn that language is a complex, intricate and living process that is often founded in identity expression, history and socioeconomic factors. Key issues discussed are language policy, prescriptive English, language prejudice, language change, slang, pronunciation, vocabulary, regional speech varieties and style shifting among others. Learn that how you say something can tell listeners more about you than what you say!

Professor: Erin Diaz, Spanish & Portuguese
Time: MWF 11:30
32. You Mean You Burned ALL the Oil? Energy in the Time of Trump
Everyone talks about converting to sustainable and renewable sources of energy, but for now we continue to burn oil and gas as the primary methods of energy generation. Can we find common ground on what it means to be sustainable? Can we think critically about the tradeoffs that are necessary to commit to a world powered by sustainable energy? Is it even possible to create such a world? We will examine these issues in the context of an administration with ideas that are much different than those of previous administrations. We will use the unique power of various social media formats such as Snapchat and Instagram to create video reports for a world in which we get our news and information increasingly on our phones. Students will be tasked with studying the sustainable energy field based on information rather than on emotion: how much oil is there to be had? How efficient is wind energy? Based on answers to questions such as these, each student will be challenged to develop, articulate, and defend a personal viewpoint on the direction of our energy future. We will scour government reports on energy sources and study the physics of different types of energy generation. Written work will start with short “Letters to the editor” and progress to formal papers.

Professor: Mike Holden, Chemistry
Time: MF 11:30
33. Music and Soundscapes in Everyday Life

What role do music and sound play in structuring the experience of everyday life? How do you listen to music, how do you consume it? What is public about music listening and what is private? How do institutions and social groups use music to shape experiences of belonging or of exclusion? This seminar calls on students to open their ears to the music and soundscapes of the everyday at Dickinson, in Carlisle, and in communities that are temporally, geographically, or demographically remote. We start with understanding our seminar as a specific community of listeners, examining our practices and experiences. We then move to examine soundscapes and everyday music at Dickinson, in Carlisle, and through deep dives into specific case studies from different parts of the world. We will take local sound walks, conduct interviews, visit the Dickinson archives, listen to recordings, read deeply, discuss widely. Through a series of short and structured writing assignments, students will learn to use writing as a medium to sharpen their listening, to narrate the musical experiences of themselves and others, to read critically, and to give and respond to productive peer review. A collaborative and tightly narrated multi-media project will form the final assignment.

Professor: Ellen Gray, Music
Time: MF 11:30
34. Water: From Abundant Resource to Scarce Good
Water plays a crucial role in so many aspects of our life. We expect potable water supplies for drinking, cooking, bathing and flushing. We need water to grow our food and fight our fires. We enjoy water for recreation: from fishing to whitewater rafting. Impressive feats of engineering have allowed us to move water to where we wish it to be. Innovations and improvements in water delivery and treatment have delivered large increases in life expectancy. Yet, it has become increasingly evident that we are not managing our water sources well. Water-scarce countries grow food to export to regions with more abundant supplies while some people remain without improved water supplies, and we are contaminating and depleting many water resources. Through this seminar, you will explore how we use water resources at the local, national, and international level. We will explore water use at the College Farm, test water quality in the Yellow Breeches, and visit the Carlisle water and wastewater treatment plants. You will learn how domestic water supply has improved over time, about institutional rules and water rights in different locations, and pressing challenges facing policy makers today. Working in small groups, you will have the opportunity to research a water management challenge of your choice.
Professor: Nicola Tynan, Economics
Time: MWF 12:30
35. Daddy, What Did YOU Do in the Great War? How Societies Mobilized for Modern
Looking at three modern wars – the American Civil War, WWI and WWII – this seminar will explore how societies tried to convince soldiers and civilians to support the war efforts.  And we will consider who the most enthusiastic or at least committed citizens were, and who remained unconvinced.  In particular, we will focus on how new inventions in media or modes of communication represented the mission and how they may have changed views of war, especially with the increasing attention to propaganda.  The Civil War relied heavily on texts such as newspapers and letter writing, while the 20th century wars enlisted brightly colored posters and films. This course will take full advantage of the wealth of images and documents now on-line as a result of efforts to commemorate these conflicts.  Students will have the opportunity to come up with their own topic for the final project.

Professor: Regina Sweeney, History
Time: MF 11:30
36. Eating the Text: Tasting Food Through Literature, Film, and…the Mouth

All human beings are connected to food; some are growing it, others preparing or cooking it, and all are eating it. Food is essential for life, but it is also a source of pleasure, a celebration of the senses and the spirit. Food is also knowledge. The biblical story of Eve eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden tells us “knowledge might begin with the mouth, with the discovery of the taste of something, knowledge and taste go together” (Hélène Cixous). Food is also a culture. It represents diverse traditions of societies, communities, and families. In this seminar, we will “taste” food through literary works of art, films, and theoretical texts. We will explore the diverse cultural traits and traditions of various cuisines by reading and writing about them, as well as tasting them. As part of the seminar, we will visit and work at the Dickinson Farm, and prepare and cook meals together. We will share traditional family recipes and explore their historical backgrounds. “To write about food is to write about the self”, claims Anne Goldman. Students will have the opportunity to write about food and to discover new aspects about themselves. Our First Year Seminar will serve as a small community of diverse cultures that mirrors our Dickinson community and the world.

Professor: Nitsa Kann, Judaic Studies, Religion
Time: MF 11:30
37. Gender and Food Culture
How does the food you make or eat reflect and shape your identity? How does it reflect and shape the way a particular culture defines gender, in particular? Why does it matter how various ways of procuring, preparing, and consuming food are presented as masculine or feminine—and how does race, class, and sexuality affect these presentations? This course will examine novels, poems, advertisements, and other cultural artifacts to consider how ideas about gender intersect with the practices surrounding food. Our several “case studies” will focus mainly on work from the U.S. in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, though we will consider the longer heritage and transnational connections involved.
Professor: Siobhan Phillips, English
Time: MF 11:30
38. Who Owns the Past? Illicit Trade, Appropriation, and Repatriation of Antiquities

Who owns the past – individuals, groups, nations, or humanity? What is cultural property? Why do modern states historically claim ownership of cultural heritage? Can illicit trade of antiquities be stopped? Do museums and private collectors contribute to the looting of antiquities? What are the UNESCO conventions for the protection and return of cultural property? These are some of the questions and issues that we will be wrestling with in this course. We will read, write and debate about archaeology ethics, museum acquisition policies and practice, the thriving illicit trade of antiquities worldwide, the international law protecting cultural heritage, the global dynamics and national politics involved in “constructing” and legitimizing their own versions of the past through manipulation of history and appropriation of ancient cultural property. In the course of our research, we will examine several case studies of looted, disputed, and repatriated antiquities, focusing on the most notorious and controversial case of looted cultural property, the Parthenon Marbles (the so-called “Elgin Marbles”). A field trip to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC will complement student activities, while guest lecturers will enrich classroom learning experience. At the end of our course, after having thoroughly examined all the available evidence and documentation, the students will be divided into two litigant parties to prepare and present the argumentation and proposals of both sides (in favor of and against repatriation) in a mock arbitration trial before an academic tribunal of students and faculty on campus; the jury’s verdict and mediation proposals will be formally communicated to the British Museum and the government of Greece.

Professor: Christofilis Maggidis, Archaeology
Time: MWF 11:30
39. Ideas That Have Shaped the World
Why do ideas matter? What is the relationship between the individual and the community? How can we define human nature? What is justice? Are there universal moral principles? Or are our actions considered moral according to the moment and place in which we find ourselves? Explore these and other fundamental issues of humanistic inquiry through a series of compelling and influential texts. Students will read and discuss the work of authors as diverse as Homer, Plato, Augustine, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Jefferson, Marx, Du Bois, Duras, and Achebe.  The reading list is focused around the question, “How do the ideas of these authors – all from different cultures and eras -- resonate across time and help us to understand our present experience within a global community?” Furthermore, studying carefully the work of outstanding thinkers, readers, and writers is one of the best ways to learn to read, think, and write well. The seminar also features six plenary lectures by visiting speakers and Dickinson faculty on themes and issues central to the readings.

Professor: Marc Mastrangelo, Classical Studies
Time: MF 11:30
40. In the Society of Machines: Human-Technology Relationships in their Cultural Context
We live, we are told, in a uniquely technological age. Increasingly, devices mediate friendships, machines pick food in almost deserted fields and make goods in "dark factories," and "bots" debate with real people on Twitter or flirt with them on dating sites. Using historical, sociological, and literary scholarship, this class will examine the effects of these recent developments. We'll trace the changing forms of social media and do experiments allowing us to reflect on social media’s effects in our own lives. We'll ask if the robot revolution has already occurred and, if so, if it was a success. We'll challenge and expand the definition of technology and ask what old technologies still shape our lives in ways that we fail to recognize. Finally, we'll discuss some of the age-old stories of the future that shape our expectations of the future of our machines.
Professor: Emily Pawley
Time: MWF 11:30
41. Where is the Electron? The Strange and Fascinating Theory of Quantum Mechanics
The late Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate in physics, famously quipped that “nobody understands quantum mechanics.”  Was this comment merely an attempt to be facetious, or was it a sobering declaration of the current scientific consensus?  Quantum Mechanics describes nature on the very small scale of atoms and molecules and is the most accurate theory ever proposed.  However, this fascinating theory has some very peculiar features that run counter to the way scientists have been describing the world for centuries.  One of the greatest scientific minds of our time, Albert Einstein could not accept quantum mechanics and devoted much of his life to trying to disprove it.  In this seminar, we will investigate this intriguing theory, both theoretically and experimentally, and try to understand whether there is any seriousness to Feynman’s famous quote.
Professor: David Jackson, Physics & Astronomy
Time: MWF 12:30
42. The Science of Competition
Why is competition such a part of our human existence?  Is it good?  Or bad?  This course will explore competition in our lives from various perspectives.  We will begin by discussing games we play for entertainment and what makes them fun and fair.  While we explore strategy and game theory, we will discuss how our bodies and minds respond to playing, winning, and losing.  Next, we’ll see what happens when game theory is applied to “real life”, when the stakes are very high.  For example, we’ll consider historical and present-day examples of the prisoner’s dilemma, games of chicken, and mutually-assured destruction.  Can we use hidden knowledge to tilt the odds in our favor?  Can we manage conflict, or prevent it altogether?  Finally, we’ll explore one of the oldest competitions in all of human existence: winning status in a group and selecting a mate.  Through the lens of evolutionary psychology, we’ll debate the roles of fashion, music, crime, advertising, life-long loyalty, cheating, and subterfuge in determining status and attraction.  Many believe that it was this very competition, played over millions of years, which fueled the evolution of our large powerful brains. We’ll seek to understand competition as one of the most powerful forces shaping life on Earth. 

Professor: Tom Arnold, Biology
Time: MWF 11:30
43. Precision Medicine: Promises and Pitfalls
In 2015, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, which seeks to “enable a new era of medicine in which researchers, providers and patients work together to develop individualized care.” Personalized or precision medicine has always been a part of medical care, but new methods generating big data on individual patient’s health status are now available, transforming how medicine will be practiced. This course will introduce students to the principles of precision medicine across the care continuum and will engage students to think critically about how precision medicine will change the medical and public health landscape.  Students will learn the context of precision medicine through an introduction to the precision medicine initiative, the techniques being employed and developed, and the evolution of the precision medicine era. Students will examine current examples of precision medicine in prevention and early diagnosis, as well as treatment and disease surveillance. Finally, students will identify the challenges to incorporating precision medicine into our health care system, and debate whether precision medicine objectives can complement those of public health.  This course will employ multiple formats to promote student learning and to introduce different tools for research. These may include lectures, case studies, in-class discussions, small group activities, and a debate. In addition, a tour of the National Institutes of Health is planned, to allow students to experience the nation’s premier biomedical research facility and learn more about the clinical research projects in progress.

Professor: Mike Roberts, Biology
Time: MWF 11:30