1.    19th Century Founders of 20th Century Discourse: Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Du Bois
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Foundational Thinkers for the 20th Century.”

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, and W. E. B. Du Bois’ account of the importance of race in modern life all contributed to changes in the ways in which people lived and thought in the 20th century.  In this class we will read and critique selected works from these thinkers in order to better understand their relationships to one another and to the ways in which 20th century history unfolded. 

Professor:  Dan Schubert, Sociology
Time: 11:30 MF

2.    Aesthetic Affinities between American and French Poets and Painters

In the beginning of the 19th century, Americans students of the arts, literary, medical, mechanical, and fines arts had few schools to attend, few works to copy.  Many journeyed to Paris, the artistic and commercial capital of Europe, to further their studies.  Like these students, we will cross the Atlantic through our readings and our research.  Once in Paris, we will study the American painters who studied at the Louvre, like Winslow Homer who began by illustrating scenes of Parisian life for Harper’s Weekly and studied the landscapes of the French Barbizon School.  He then returned to the United States to reconstruct the American landscape after the Civil War. 

Once the French Republic was restored in 1870, a new “aesthetic of everyday life” came into fashion.   In 1872, Monet’s Sunrise began the impressionist movement.  Americans were the first to appreciate it.  Mary Cassat left for Paris to copy the masterpieces of the Louvre.   She later established a scholarship for young women at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts--free room and board for a year at the Louvre.  Later, Childe Hassam travelled to Paris for Harper’s Weekly. He then returned to paint New York cityscapes.  Well into the roaring 20’s, American writers continued their “Movable Feast” in Paris, like Ernest Hemmingway.  While the English went to Europe on the Grand Tour, Americans went to study, just as most of you will go abroad to widen your horizons.

Professor:     Catherine Beaudry, French and Italian
Time: 11:30 MF

3.    America in the Eyes of the World

This seminar, as its title indicates, will explore the way America (i.e., the United States) and Americans are viewed in various countries throughout the world. The aim of this seminar is to bring the students to shed their ethnocentric views and opinions and to begin looking at their own country from the perspective of other countries and cultures. We will concentrate on continents and countries in which Dickinson has a program of studies and where our students are likely to spend a semester or a year: Latin America (Mexico); Europe (Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Russia); Africa (Cameroon); Asia (China and Japan). We will adopt a historical and cultural approach to determine why each country holds its specific views about the U.S. The course will involve intensive monitoring of the foreign press through the internet and will therefore introduce the students to the major issues in international relations. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, illustrate how essential it is for Americas to become more keenly aware of how their country is perceived throughout the world and this seminar will initiate that process.

Professor:  Dominique Laurent, French and Italian
Time: 12:30 MWF

4.    American Popular Musics: Styles, Subcultures, Identities

The musical forms that emerged from American subcultures in the twentieth century - blues, jazz, gospel, hip hop, country, bluegrass, and rock, among others - have changed the world's aesthetic and even political landscape. Figures such as Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, Aretha Franklin, Public Enemy, the Ramones, and Lady Gaga have provided some of the aesthetic high points in any art form during this period, and certainly some of the most widely experienced. This course will examine the histories of these forms as subcultural expressions, political discourses, and the source of many moments of beauty, pleasure, challenge, and truth. We will discuss some of the issues they raise with regard to race, gender, and sexuality, and we may also dance, or at least bob our heads in enthusiastic unison.

Professor:  Crispin Sartwell, Philosophy
Time:  11:30 MF

5.    Corporate Governance During the Financial Crisis

Public attention to issues of corporate governance has increased since financial crisis of 2008, especially the unethical behavior of top management of several financial institutions.  In this course, students will learn the historical and economic factors of corporate governance especially during crises periods.  The course will start with some theoretical frameworks regarding corporate governance.  Then, we will apply theories to real examples by investigating several different crisis periods such as the Great Depression, Latin American Crisis, Asian Financial Crisis, and Financial Crisis of 2008.

Professor:  Won Yong Kim, International Business and Management
Time:  11:30 MWF

6.  Culture and Environment in Upland Asia
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Asia: Culture and Environment.”

Upland Asia in this course is the broad swath of rugged terrain running south and southeast from the Tibetan Plateau to the mountains of mainland Southeast Asia.   Historically, it has been a sparsely populated area, relative to Asia’s vast lowland communities dependent on wet rice agriculture.  While by no means isolated from markets and changing technology, people in upland areas developed more sustainable agricultural systems than lowlanders.  Recently these flexible agricultural systems have been radically disrupted, as people have begun large-scale cash cropping and migrating to cities.  Uplanders also differ markedly from lowlanders in their cultures and how their non-centralized societies are organized.  However, all populations in the East and Southeast Asian regions have been affected by long term changes in climate that have impacted the monsoons, population levels, and crops, for example, as well as social phenomena, such as migrations and warfare.   This seminar is mainly concerned with how to understand the relationships between upland communities and the changing environments, both natural and social, that they inhabit.    

Professor:  Ann Hill, Anthropology
Time: 11:30 MWF

7.    Digital Humanities

The digital revolution has transformed many aspects of modern life, including the study of the humanities.  This seminar will explore how digital tools are changing (and challenging) various humanistic disciplines, such as Classics, English, and History.  Students will read and write about these challenges, but they will truly learn by building, as they contribute to selected digital humanities projects at Dickinson and also experiment with developing their own blogs, websites, and different types of data visualization.  No particular digital skills are required in advance, but participants in this seminar should be willing and ready to conquer a host of new skills as they prepare to be good 21st-century humanists.

Professor:  Matthew Pinsker, History
Time: 11:30 MF

8.    Doing What We Should: How to Encourage Environmentally-Responsible Behavior

Everyone knows that lifestyles of people in the developed world are not sustainable. But what do we do about it? How can people be influenced successfully to reduce their consumption of goods and resources that are in limited supply and their production of greenhouse gases and other wastes? We’ll examine both “hard” approaches (such as moral appeals, regulatory tactics, and providing incentives) and more subtle methods (e.g., changing default options, providing role models, linking identity to desired actions, etc.). Along the way, we’ll consider works in economics, philosophy, policy analysis, psychology and other fields that speak to the problem of encouraging people to do the right thing.

Professor: Andy Skelton, Psychology
Time: 12:30 MWF

9.    Energy: Local Production and Consumption

The goal of this course is to learn where our energy at Dickinson comes from, how much it costs (financially and environmentally), how and where we use it, how we measure and track energy consumption, how we compare to other colleges, how we have integrated our energy management into the curriculum in the past, and how we can make positive changes to our systems, policies, and future plans, especially the College’s Climate Action Plan.  We will cover non-renewable and renewable energy sources and the economic and environmental impacts of both.  You will conduct an audit of your personal energy consumption on campus to determine how sustainable you are.  You will calculate your carbon footprint and your own personal contribution to global warming.  Lectures and discussions will be augmented by field trips to on- and off-campus energy production facilities, including a weekend low energy camping trip.

Professor: Marcus Key, Earth Sciences, and Ken Shultes, Campus Operations and Facilities Management
Time: 12:30 MWF

10.    Ethical Issues in Fiction and Fantasy

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 approaches to ethics in contemporary 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.

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

11.    Evil

In this course, we’ll examine the nature and significance of moral evil. The semester will be divided roughly into thirds. For the first third, we’ll address evil as a topic in moral philosophy. So we’ll ask questions like: Is there really such a thing as evil? And if so, what is it about something that makes it evil? The middle third will explore evil as a topic in moral psychology. Are psychopaths, for instance, morally evil or just misunderstood? And for the final third, we’ll consider evil as a topic in the philosophy of religion. In particular, we’ll ask whether or not evil counts as a reason against believing in the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect god.

Professor:  James Sias, Philosophy
Time:  11:30 MWF

12.  Fashioning African American Identities and Social Consciousness
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Styling and Profiling: African American Identity.”

This course explores the ways in which fashion styles and trends may be used to trace the development of African American identities and social consciousness.  Specifically, we will examine the role of clothing in articulating African Americans’ shifts in social status, gender identification, group affiliations, and political orientations, from the enslavement period to modern times.  Moreover, we will analyze the cultural meanings ascribed to particular fashion, such as the head wraps worn by African American women, the dashikis worn by Afrocentrists, and hoodies and sagging pants worn by Black youth. Finally, we will consider the impact that African American fashion houses, particularly those started by hip hop moguls, are making on the mainstream fashion industry. 

Professor:  Lynn Johnson, Africana Studies
Time:  11:30 MWF

13.  Founders of Modern Discourse: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Foundational Thinkers for the 20th Century.”

Marx’s critical analysis of capitalism, Nietzsche’s deconstruction of Christian morality and Freud’s investigations of sexual behavior and neuroses and their connections with the unconscious, represented important stepping stones in the formation of modern consciousness.  In this class we will read selected works by these three thinkers, including The Communist Manifesto, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Totem and Taboo, and see how their ideas influenced our society. 

Professor:  Tullio Pagano, French and Italian
Time:  11:30 MF

14.     From Facebook to Face Time:  Living and Learning in the Digital Age
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Technology and the Future of Society.”

The “Millennial Generation” 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, social practices, and academic tasks have radically evolved in light of these technological advancements.  How we “read” the world, represent ourselves and our ideas to others, and what “counts” as knowledge, have all changed drastically.  Is this generation (and future ones) comprised of more critical creators and consumers of information and resources than previous ones?  Defining literacy as the ability to represent one’s ideas and understanding using multiple media, this seminar will examine what it means to be literate and successful – socially, academically, and professionally – in the 21st century.  Key theoretical perspectives will be explored through the lenses of literature, popular culture, and educational theory. 

Fiction and non-fiction works studied in whole or part will include Brave New World; 1984; Persepolis; Literacy in the New Media Age; Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies, and Practices; New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Learning.  In addition, a selection of digital and multimodal texts will be read and analyzed in this seminar.

Professor:  Elizabeth Lewis, Education
Time:  12:30 MWF

15.  Green Music:  Soundscapes and Landscapes

There is a tremendous body of music that attempts, in various ways, to depict or evoke the natural world. We will listen to musical works ranging from Renaissance madrigals and birdsong imitations, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, to the works of French Impressionist and contemporary American composers, pausing in each instance to link them to contemporary and related works of art, literature, and philosophy. A final unit of the course will be devoted to the emerging topic of soundscape ecology and a class project to "map" the Dickinson soundscape. As we move through these historical and interdisciplinary portraits of nature, what perspectives are revealed? What is nature? Are we a part of it? What does it mean to us as a society and as individuals? Why is nature so important to the civilized world, and particularly to the imaginative lives of its artists? Can we discern, through the arts, a changing relationship between humans and the natural world? What are the historical roots of our current attitudes about wilderness, the land, environment, and how does our current preoccupation with green technology and sustainability fit into this historical picture? And, finally, how is it that music is capable of expressing these various environmental visions and attitudes?

Professor:  Blake Wilson, Music
Time:  11:30 MWF

16.    Ideas That Have Shaped The World

Why do ideas matter? What is the relationship between the individual and 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. Fifteen faculty members from nine different disciplines developed this exciting course.

This year, six professors will join with students to read and discuss the work of authors as diverse as Homer, Plato, Augustine, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Jefferson, Marx, DuBois, Duras, and Achebe. Faculty have focused the seminar reading list 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 yourself. Because all sections of the course will read the texts simultaneously, conversations will extend beyond the classroom. The seminar also features six plenary lectures by guest speakers and Dickinson faculty on themes and issues central to the readings that students and faculty in all course sections will attend together.

Find additional information on the seminar, list of texts and faculty for 2014 on the Humanities Collective page.

Professor:  Ted Pulcini, Religion
Time:  11:30 MF

17.  Ideas That Have Shaped The World

Professor:  Siobhan Phillips, English
Time:  11:30 MF

18.  Ideas That Have Shaped The World

Professor:  Christopher Bilodeau, History
Time:  11:30 MF

19.  Ideas That Have Shaped The World

Professor:  Meghan Reedy, Classics
Time:  11:30 MF

20.  Cancelled

21.  Cancelled

22.  Latin American Short Stories: From José Victorino Lastarria to Luis Sepúlveda

This course examines a selection of short stories and novellas written by Latin American authors from the 19th century forward. Through close readings of each text, we will discuss various topics, such as encounter and conquest, colonialism and independence, religion, art, exploitative labor and social protest, the value of poetry, paranoia and madness, labyrinths, ecofeminism, interpretations of “reality” and history, love and betrayed innocence, exile and death, civilization and barbarism, and nature. The socio-historical, cultural, political and literary contexts will likewise be addressed. Additional critical sources related to each piece will be assigned or suggested to broaden the understanding of each work. We will also view and discuss several films that serve as adaptations of some of the texts studied, including Blow-Up (1966) and The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001).

Professor:  Angela Delutis-Eichenberger, Spanish
Time:  11:30 MF

23.  Cancelled

24.    Marx:  Myth or Reality
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Foundational Thinkers for the 20th Century.”

Few figures in history are as polarizing and as misunderstood as Karl Marx despite his continued influence upon the social sciences and humanities. This seminar will sort through the misconceptions surrounding Marx by engaging with his original works to draw out his lasting insights into the underpinnings of our society and compare them to the portrayal of Marx and his ideas found in popular outlets and academic works today. Emphasis will be given to Marx’s economic thinking, namely his incisive analysis of: how the economy works, the class relationships that permeate society, and the economic crises that we consistently experience. Readings will be selected from The Communist Manifesto, The German Ideology, the Grundrisse, Capital, modern writings in the tradition of Marx, and writers who have taken issue with Marx’s work.

Professor:  Jonathan Cogliano, Economics
Time:  11:30 MF

25.  Molecules of Madness

How does the brain function? How does the mind falter? What is the relationship between these two? The field of medicine has greatly benefited from our understanding of the molecular basis of normal human functioning, and we’re now able to treat diseases using this knowledge. But what about mental illness and its treatment? There is a growing public awareness that mental disorders can be inherited, but without a basic understanding of the role that the nervous system plays in mental illness, we cannot begin to find truly effective treatments. 

This course will delve into the field of clinical neuroscience, an emerging interdisciplinary science that attempts to provide a basic understanding of both the human nervous system and the complex behavioral patterns we describe as mental illnesses. We will examine the biological foundations of mental disorders such as addiction, anorexia, autism, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, depression and schizophrenia. We will be reading the text Clinical Neuroscience by Lambert & Kinsley, and each student will read a popular first-person account of a mental disorder and present this topic to the class. Writing assignments will range from reaction papers, poetry (about the brain?), and posters and letters, to research reports on both normal brain function and mental illness.

Professor: Teresa Barber, Psychology
Time: 11:30 MWF

26.  Myth, Religion and the Creative Impulse

This seminar will explore the ways various artists both shape, and are shaped by, religiously and mythically related concepts such as transcendence, immortality, sacred spaces and worship.  The course will construe these terms broadly, investigating examples of “secular myth” in the arts, (such as the “circle of life” in The Lion King, or baseball in Field of Dreams), in addition to more conventional forms of eastern and western religious thought.   Through readings in comparative religion, anthropology and the arts, and by examining films, music, drama, paintings and architecture, we will pursue an understanding of how engaging the infinite inspires many artists’ work.

Professor:  Todd Wronski, Theater and Dance
Time: 11:30 MWF

27.  Nano-Dreams and Nano-Nightmares: Hype and Hope for Nanotechnology in Society  -
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Technology and the Future of Society.”

Nanotechnology is an emerging and growing field that may have profound effects on how we live.  Medicine, energy, computation, weaponry, and basic materials may soon include nano-components.  Nanotechnology could even change what it means to be human.  As with all transformative ideas, nanotech requires us to think about what role it may play in our world.  What is this technology and what can it do for society?  Where can it be abused?  What don’t we understand and how can we come to understand it?  This seminar will explore ideas in the nano-realm and will ask us to consider how nanotechnology can fit into or redefine our lives.

Professor: Sarah St. Angelo, Chemistry
Time: 11:30 MF

28.     Order and Chaos in Science and Society

How do fireflies manage to flash in synchrony? Why do we only ever see one side of the moon on earth? How might social movements emerge from the apparent randomness of daily events? Why is it impossible (even in principle) to predict the weather in Carlisle a month from now?

Although these questions seem to be unrelated at first glance, there is an underlying common thread: they all involve the interplay between order and chaos. Sometimes we witness synchronicity that spontaneously emerges out of chaos. At other times, we see the descent of coherent structures into chaos. This seminar will explore such questions and the exciting scientific approaches to addressing them, often placing them in the context of broader developments and paradigm shifts within science. Our examples will be drawn from such diverse fields as physics, biology and sociology, and this diversity illustrates both the cross-disciplinary nature of the subject, as well as the universality of the underlying principles at work. Class projects, some involving basic computer programming, will serve to supplement class reading and discussion.

Professor: Lars English, Physics and Astronomy
Time: 11:30 MF

29.  Science Friction -- Dystopian Visions
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Technology and the Future of Society.”

At its best, Science Fiction can present us with thought experiments about possible future societies, extrapolating from present social and technological trends in order to project visions of where humankind might be going. While some such visions are quite benign—for example, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe presents an Earth that has transcended nationalism, war, and poverty—many are alarming, presenting warnings of disastrous outcomes of existing trends. This seminar will examine dystopian visions in several media, including novels, short stories, films, and graphic novels, alongside historical and social scientific accounts of the phenomena from which science fiction visionaries extrapolate. The structure will be built on three themes: Technology, Society, Ecology; Politics, Media, Institutions; and Identities.  Books studied will include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, He, She and It by Marge Piercy, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, along with short fiction by E.M. Forster, Bruce Sterling, Octavia Butler and others. Films studied in whole or in part will include Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Brazil and Metropolis.

Professor: Edward Webb, Political Science
Time: 11:30 MF

30.     Speaking Out about Sustainability

This course will highlight the spoken word as a vehicle for introducing students to college-level work in the areas of research, writing, reading, critical thinking, and of course, public speaking. Students will have the opportunity to enhance both their ability to deliver prepared speeches and to polish their prowess at extemporaneous academic discussion. The specific focus of the work we do in class will be the subject of sustainability. Good public speaking has always been central to the liberal arts, and it continues to be among the aptitudes most associated with academic achievement and professional success. This course aims to arm you with the confidence and critical thinking skills necessary to convert what you research, read, write, and think into informed spoken presentations that are both persuasive and defensible.

Professor:  Jim Hoefler, Political Science
Time: 11:30 MWF

31.  Speech: How versus What

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 that we will discuss include 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 McNulty, Spanish
Time: 11:30 MWF

32.  Spirituality, Science and the Environmental Movement

Recent scientific findings have moved the stewardship of our environment to the forefront of global political discussions.  Concomitant with the rise of these scientific ideas, political movements that seek to tie our interactions with the environment to ethical, moral, or spiritual considerations have increased in number and influence.  How should the environmental movement engage these various agents and their ideas?  Are there dangers in allowing public policy to be influenced by non-scientifically constructed ethos?  This seminar will examine the potential benefits and pitfalls of the inclusion of spirituality in the broader environmental movement with a discussion on the impacts to public policy.

Professor:  Jeff Forrester, Mathematics and Computer Science
Time:  12:30 MWF

33.  Storytelling in Organizations, Cultures and Families

Stories and storytelling are not simply the way people have entertained each other for millennia. They are, in fact, very powerful forms of knowledge transfer and learning that can maintain and change the four major groups studied in this course: organizations, cultures, families and individuals. This seminar will explore stories from literature, oral narratives and film; that is, we will read some, listen to a lot and tell quite a few.

Stories that reflect cultural differences, frames of reference, and behavior formation will be chosen from cultures around the world to explore themes that cultures consider important and meaningful. Organizational story telling will examine “incidental” or “planted stories” used by organizations to create a public image or reinforce organizational values. Finally, the course will look at narratives, fables and myths we have all heard and examine how they have shaped our understanding of ourselves, changed our perceptions of ourselves and others, created our collective memory and reinforced our culture. We will also spend some time learning how to develop and tell some of the stories of our families and pasts.

In the process we will take an in-depth look at some of the linguistic schemes and literary devices used by storytellers to make their (and our) stories more interesting and fun to listen to.    

Professor:  Michael Poulton, International Business and Management
Time:  12:30 MWF

34.  Sustainability in German Culture

What is sustainability in Germany? In this course, we explore the theoretical and practical occurrences of sustainable practices and law in Germany as well as their historical developments. The course will begin with a discussion of definitions of sustainability and methods of evaluating and criticizing forms of sustainability. It will then turn to the ways in which sustainability impacts daily life in contemporary Germany. We will explore the opinions of Germans, the public and political discourse on the topic, and ask how these are similar or different to US practices and discourses of sustainability. We will then turn to cultural, political, social, environmental, and economic history to explore how these definitions, daily performances, and discourses developed over time. The course is primarily a cultural studies course, which means that we will approach the topic of sustainability in Germany through an interdisciplinary lens.

Professor:     Sarah McGaughey, German
Time: 11:30 MWF

35.    Tangled: African American Hair in the US
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Styling and Profiling: African American Identity.”

Afros. Dredlocks. Relaxed. Natural. Braids. Straight. Kinky. Curly. In this course, students will learn and examine the history of African American hair practices.  Over the semester, we will consider the meanings of hairstyling as an aesthetic expression. What are the historical and contemporary relationships between African Americans, hair styling, and African American identity?  Is hair political and if so, in what ways have African American used hair styling practices to assert both individual and community agency? What are the global economics of the African American hair care industry and what forces control the industry? The course will include historical and contemporary readings, films, and online exhibits.  Writing assignments throughout out the course will culminate in each student compiling their own hair autobiography.

Professor: Crystal Moten, History
Time: 11:30 MWF

36.    The Art of the Detective in Fiction and Film
 “...when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” ~Sherlock Holmes

Our class will examine the widespread appeal of detective fiction and film.  This is a genre driven by questions and we will focus our attention on questions of identity (Who is it? Whodunnit?), questions of epistemology (How do we know? What do we know?), and questions of hermeneutics (How should we interpret and understand?).  In mysteries, characters and plots are driven by issues of power, crime, and law, but also gender, desire, politics, class, race, individuality, and society—just to name a few.   Over the course of the semester, we will examine short stories, novels, and films, as well as a range of secondary readings.  These secondary readings will provide clues to historical contexts, theoretical frameworks, and rhetorical tactics used to foster audiences’ experiences of mystery and suspense.  Through close reading you will use these clues to become investigators of the cultural constructs presented in this genre. 
Texts may include The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Maltese Falcon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage.  In addition, we will consider noir and neo-noir films such as Rear Window, The Lady from Shanghai, Memento, The Usual Suspects, and episodes from the Veronica Mars series, and the BBC’s Sherlock. 

Professor: Sarah Kersh, English/Writing Program
Time: 11:30 MF

37.    The Human Genome

The human genome project, completed in 2003 and costing approximately $3 billion, provided the first complete sequence of the nearly 3.4 billion base pairs that comprise the DNA in a single human cell.  Now, just 11 years later, technology has advanced such that a human genome can be sequenced for $1000, and scientists are increasingly utilizing information from genome sequences.  This course will begin with an exploration of some of the key findings from the human genome project, and its implications for the individual and society.  Next, we will explore the idea of “personalized medicine,” and discuss the progress toward prevention and treatment of various human diseases.  Finally, we will delve into some of the social, ethical, and moral issues that have arisen from the sequencing of the human genome, including genetic determinism (the “nature versus nurture” debate), eugenics, and access to and appropriate use of genome sequence information.

Professor: Dana Wohlbach, Biology
Time: 11:30 MF

38.  The Red Ribbon

What do the .docx format in which I just saved this course description, actor Matthew McConaughey, two French scientists, and free condoms have in common? The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and its cause, the human immunodeficiency virus—better known by their acronyms AIDS and HIV. The founder of Microsoft (makers of the Word program on my computer) and his wife established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with a global health priority to develop ways to fight and prevent HIV/AIDS. Matthew McConaughey portrays a man with AIDS in the recent movie The Dallas Buyers Club. In 2008 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to French scientists Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier “for their discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus.” And finally, inside these limestone walls, male and female condoms are free at the Dickinson College Wellness Center. Barrier methods, like latex condoms, are the only forms of birth control that reduce the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse. This matching game shows the reach of HIV and AIDS in society and science, globally and locally.

In this seminar we will explore the impact of HIV and AIDS from these perspectives. During the semester we will discuss the origin of HIV and AIDS, the spread in the human population, modes of treatment, and how to prevent further transmission of HIV. In the process, you will polish your skills in critical thinking, information evaluation, and effective communication.

Professor: Kirsten Guss, Biology
Time: 11:30 MWF

39.  Tropical Asia
*This seminar has been designated part of the Learning Community, “Asia: Environment and Culture.”

Nearly one in four human beings today lives in the generally hot and wet region known as “Tropical Asia.”  He or she might live in a giant nation like India or along the southern boundary of that other Asian giant China, or in a tiny country like Singapore or Brunei.  Tropical Asia includes islands with the appearance of paradise like Bali and landlocked and impoverished nations like Laos.  Most tropical Asians are bound by climate, history and culture to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and the monsoon storms, trade routes, wars, migrations, and occasional typhoon or tsunami that plow, sail and roil their surface.  We will explore the complex and dynamic interface between the natural and human worlds in topics like the monsoon season, rice paddy agriculture, rain forests, kingdoms and empires, dangerous and endangered animals, religious pilgrims and proselytizers, global adventurers and tourists, tropical architecture, geopolitical pasts and futures, and the recent rise of what the Singaporean writer Cherian George terms the modern “air-conditioned nation.”

Professor: David Strand, East Asian Studies
Time: 11:30 MWF

40.  Understanding the Academic Community: Scholars, Researchers, and the Creation of Knowledge

As you make the transition to college, there are some fundamental questions about inquiry and research to grapple with on your road to academic success.  What is academic inquiry?  Where does new knowledge come from?  How do scholars and researchers create new knowledge?  How do you join an academic conversation? 
Through a variety of readings across the disciplines, you will examine scholars and researchers whose work has taken them into archives, laboratories, and field sites.  You will read My Freshman Year and follow anthropology Professor Rebekah Nathan as she enrolls in college in order to study first-year students in their habitat.  You will read the biography of ex-slave Harriet Jacobs written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated Jean Fagan Yellin, a scholar whose research quest sent her into the archives to verify the existence of Harriet Jacobs.  You will read Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions to learn how James Pennebaker, a noted research psychologist, made the initial connection between expressive writing and wellness and then shaped a life-long research agenda focused on delving deeper into that connection.   Finally, you will read Masters of Sex, Thomas Maier’s biography of famous sex researchers Masters and Johnson, which dramatizes the risks and challenges faced by these researchers who posed questions that shocked the 1950s medical community.  Along with your classmates, you will consider the politics of research, the individual’s relationship to the broader research community, and the nature and importance of academic rigor.  Through class discussions, guest speakers, and a variety of writing assignments, you will both explore and participate in the academic research community.

Professor: Noreen Lape, Writing Program
Time: 11:30 MF

41.  Water: From Abundant Resource to Scarce Good

Water plays a crucial role in so many aspects of our life: we rely on it for growing our food and enjoy our recreation time fishing; we expect potable water supplies and flush toilets to protect us from disease. Impressive feats of engineering have allowed us to move water to where we wish it to be. 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; we are contaminating and depleting many of our global water resources.

This seminar will explore challenges for achieving water security and sustainable use of our water resources, at the local, national, and international level.

Professor: Nicola Tynan, Economics
Time: 12:30 MWF

42.    Where Art & Politics Collide: The Visual Artist as Provocateur, Social Critic and Commentator

The course examines the intersection of Art and Politics with respect to contemporary visual artists working today.  Artists play an important role in society beyond the art world community.   They consider the complexities of unfolding culture and in this process continually reconsider their own artistic practice.  The artist activist frequently pushes work into uncertain terrain besides aesthetic realms, confronting the viewer and provoking responses.  How the artist and public navigate this controversial landscape is the subject of the seminar.

The artists considered in the course personify the explorers and risk takers within all disciplines, those thinkers, scientists and others who ask big questions and sometimes defy conventional wisdom.  Their paths sometimes up-end accepted conventions in favor of new models and unimaginable invention.  How the spectator and audience digest these new found discoveries is cause for great discomfort and ambivalence. Writings by artists and scholars and interviews by critics will shed light on the relationship between creative enterprise and the larger world. Our investigations will be informed by artist videos, reviews, studio workshop projects and discussions about the consequences of artist “actions.”  The seminar will erase models of the artist as lone object maker.  Instead, we will explore the artist probing beyond the studio, connecting art to activism that may challenge individual identity, body politic, sex, gender, and art and commerce.  We will thus consider the artist as commentator, social activist, critic, curator, blogger and defiant player.

Professor: Barb Diduk, Art and Art History
Time: 11:30 MF

43.   Mediated Realities

We are all constantly targeted by groups that seek to shape our view of reality to serve their own economic, social or political purposes. Whether through advertising, public relations or propaganda campaigns, these groups aim to exploit our desires, weaknesses and prejudices to get us to think and behave in certain ways. The spend multi-billions of dollars crafting their messages and distributing them through the mass media (television, magazines, radio, the Internet and so on),  hoping to lure us into buying a certain brand of toothpaste, or voting a certain way, or viewing ourselves or others in a certain way. In this seminar we will examine the techniques employed in these campaigns, techniques rooted in years of marketing and psychological research. Images, music, packaging, slogans, logos, and celebrity endorsements are just a few of the tools in their kit. As citizens and consumers, we all want to make free and informed decisions about what to do and what to believe – and an important part of that is learning to see through the “mediated realities” that can so easily lead us astray.

Professor:  Richard Lewis, Interdisciplinary
Time:  11:30 MF

44.   Tell Me Why:  The Role of Information in Society

Who are you? Which came first: the chicken or the egg? What’s love got to do with it?

In this seminar, we will witness the power of the question, and we will study the methods used throughout history to answer questions. We will examine the history of recorded information from the oral traditions of ancient philosophers through the age of the Internet, and how different methods of communication affect the circulation of information. We will learn how to ask questions, and how to answer them. We will address all kinds of questions, from the inane to the intellectual, and from the practical to the theoretical. We will engage in such activities as telling stories from different points of view, building personal histories for posterity, and verifying the information others present to us. We will discuss issues critical to the dissemination of information such as censorship, plagiarism, and the true cost of information. Emphasis will be placed on how to properly and ethically engage in research, and how to skillfully and creatively report the findings of that research. In this seminar we will learn to develop our intellectual curiosity by becoming proficient seekers, finders, and reporters of information.

Professor:  Christine Bombaro, Library
Time:  12:30 MWF

45.  Autobiography and its Discontents

Why are we compelled to tell our life-stories and to craft a narrative that connects the distinct events in our lives? Are autobiographies merely the vanity projects of people at the end of their lives or an essential expression of self-consciousness? As published works, why are autobiographies such a successful and beloved genre and what do readers expect to gain from reading the true accounts of an other person’s life? In reading canonical works by Augustine and Rousseau, we will consider how autobiography has evolved and what it meant to be a narratable subject in different historical periods. This theoretical knowledge will help us understand contemporary ‘autobiographical discontents,’ i.e., authors who play with the genre’s conventions or who cynically exploit its stamp of authenticity. For example, does a text such as Binjamin Wilkomirski’s Fragments, a fake autobiography about surviving the Holocaust, expand our idea of autobiography or undermine its identity as a genre? Through a broad selection of texts from antiquity to the present, this first-year seminar will seek to answer these questions and to uncover many more.

Professor: Edward Muston, German
Time: 11:30 MF