New Classes for Spring

February 25, 2013 —


English 103 Theme-Based Courses

English 103, the third course in the First-Year Writing Program (FWP) sequence, invites students into an in-depth textual and rhetorical exploration of themes across genres. Each FWP instructor will teach a uniquely themed class with topics ranging from “The Rhetoric of Bob Dylan” and “Magical Thinking,” to “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Apocalypse!” For a full list of course offerings, descriptions and instructors, visit the English 103 Spring 2013 Themes page. Course sections, times and locations can be found in the Term Master Schedule by searching for the corresponding course instructor.

Literature and Black Liberation Movements (ENGL 360.003)

The liberation struggles of people of African descent have produced a diverse array of literary and cultural texts. In this course, students will examine writing by black American, Caribbean, and African activists and intellectuals in order to better understand how they have inspired and reflected on the political mobilizations that have shaped the modern world. Topics will include Black Nationalism, feminism/womanism, Pan-Africanism, communism, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender liberation. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. André Carrington, is open to all students and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM. Location TBD.

Your Immigration Story (WRIT 304.001 ST):

This unique creative writing workshop will give students practice in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction using their ancestors’ immigration narratives and their own personal experiences with immigration both as it relates to identity and as a way of imagining exile, rebellion, travel, immigration, and dreams. This course includes weekly writing exercises, assignments, feedback sessions, and readings from texts such as Marilyn Chin's The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty, Dave Egger's Zeitoun, and Amos Oz's A Tale of Love and Darkness. This course will carry an honors option, is writing intensive, and also counts toward the English department's Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing. This 3.0 credit class, taught by Harriet Millan, is open to students above the sophomore level and will be meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM. Location TBD. For more information, contact Professor Millan at


Human Rights and Armed Conflict (PSCI 472.001 ST)

This course considers a number of dynamics that affect the welfare of civilians and soldiers during armed conflict. Drawing on international relations theory, comparative analysis of civil wars, social psychology, military sociology and a number of other disciplines, students will ask (for example): Are certain types of wars more dangerous for civilians? What causes armed groups to commit lethal and non-lethal violence against civilians? Are there methods (short of ending war) that can limit levels or repertoires of violence during war? And finally, how (and how effectively) do we hold armed actors accountable for the violence they commit? "Human Rights and Armed Conflict" includes bi-weekly class visits from conflict veterans, survivors of human rights abuses, and international human rights workers. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. Amelia Hoover Green, is open to all students above the freshman level and will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 PM to 3:50 PM. Location TBD.

Policing and Prisons (PSCI 472.002 ST)

Nearly 6 million U.S. citizens were not able to vote in the 2012 elections due to felony convictions—and the U.S. locks up a larger percentage of its population than any other country on Earth! In this course, students will analyze the historical importance of policing and incarceration in the United States. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. George Ciccariello-Maher, is open to all students above the freshman level and will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 9:50 AM.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Introduction to Urban Agriculture (AS-I 265.001 ST)

Philadelphia is a center of innovation in urban agriculture; not only is the city host to a number of nationally known farming operations, it is also full of small-scale (but ambitious) projects that are creating and supporting a growing movement for locally produced food. This course will offer a survey of the urban farming scene in Philadelphia, exploring its contexts in policy and culture. Students will hear perspectives from a number of participants in urban farming projects in the city and will have an opportunity to do hands-on project design for a vacant lot. Course readings will include documents like the Philadelphia Greenworks plan, and students will be expected to join site visits to various farm locations in Philadelphia. This 3.0 credit course is open to all students above the freshman level and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 6:20 PM. Location TBD.

Instructor Skip Wiener holds master’s degrees both in science and landscape architecture, and has worked in the public and private sectors as a landscape architect since the 1970s. His non-profit, The Urban Tree Connection, is building a unique, community-driven urban farming coop, Neighborhood Foods, in the Haddington section of West Philadelphia.


Predators and Plagues (MATH 279.001 ST):

This course will provide an introduction to the applications of mathematical modeling in the biological sciences.  Specifically, students will explore mathematical models in population biology, including models of interacting species such as predator-prey systems, and models of the spread of infectious diseases.  No knowledge of calculus will be assumed; the behavior of many models will be studied by computational means, and thus instruction in the use of MATLAB will be provided.  The text to be used is Mathematical Models in Biology: An Introduction, by Elizabeth Allman and John Rhodes, Cambridge University Press, 2004. This 1.0 credit course, taught by Dr. David Ambrose, is open to all students above the freshman level and will meet Fridays from 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM. Location TBD.


Ethics of Human Enhancement (PHIL 322.001):

Is human enhancement ethical? Is it ethical to go from human to superhuman? What would it be like to be “enhanced?” In this class, students will discuss developments in healthcare with the potential to not only treat disease, but also to improve human performance and cosmetically change the human body, thereby creating ethical considerations about the nature of health and disease and the proper scope and goals of healthcare. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. Stacey Ake, is open to all students above the freshman level and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 6:20 PM. Location TBD.

Philosophy of Law (PHIL 385.001)

This course focuses on fundamental topics associated with jurisprudence, many of which figure prominently in moral and political theory.  Students will address three broad themes, beginning with questions of analytic jurisprudence, by which the nature of law and legal interpretation is assessed.  Chief among these questions are: what is law; what is a legal system; and what is the relationship between law and justice/morality? Students will then take up critical theories of law, which challenge the prevailing Anglo-American understanding of the nature and function of law and adjudication.  The class will assess issues such as whether law should be understood and determined by the actual practices of courts, and whether law and legal systems perpetuate social hierarchies. Lastly, students will look at issues of normative jurisprudence: assessments not simply of what law is, but of what it should be.  Participants will evaluate under what conditions one should obey the law; how one should understand an individual’s rights before the law; questions associated with the scope of liberty, privacy, and freedom of expression; the legality of torture; justifications for punishment; and questions concerning tort law. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. Andrew Smith, is open to all students above the sophomore level and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 PM to 3:20 PM. Location TBD.

Philosophy of Religion (PHIL 391.001)

The modern worldview, which tries to reduce human experience to purely mechanistic terms, leaves little room for religion—or spirituality, more generally. This has led many to reject the modern worldview in favor of much older and, in many instances, simplistic worldviews. This reflects what some have referred to as the spiritual crisis of modernity. Fortunately, religion is far more complex than its various fundamentalist instantiations would lead one to believe. There are many sophisticated interpretations of religion that can answer the contemporary spiritual crisis without requiring a rejection of modernity. In this course, students will explore some of these more promising and challenging interpretations. The objective will be to come to a better and richer understanding of both religion, in particular, and the spiritual dimension of human experience, in general. This course will teach students that the effort to understand existence and one’s place in it is inherently rewarding. It will expose participants to the wealth of sophisticated and challenging versions of religion and spirituality that have preoccupied philosophers and theologians throughout history. Ultimately, the course will help students to appreciate and respect the spiritual dimension of human experience, thus helping them along the path to full humanity. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. Marilyn Piety, is open to all students above the sophomore level and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 PM to 4:50 PM. Location TBD.

Applied Aesthetics (PHIL 475.002)

Public art is a living entity that is composed not only of physical objects, but also achieved through meaningful experiences.  In the last few decades, public art has moved to the center of academic and public debate. This class will look at all forms of public art and experience including memorials, public architecture, alternative museums, art as pilgrimage and the art of entertainment.  Significantly, it will look at recent trends in participatory experience—how and in what way public participation can be generated. A final class project will be developed for the lobby area of the new URBN Center, incorporating the large screen display. This is an interdisciplinary class that benefits from the various backgrounds of its participants.  Students will examine the issues of “publics” and “art” through a blend of aesthetics, architecture, media, mobility and public life. This 3.0 credit course, taught by Dr. Hana Beth Iverson, is open to all students above the sophomore level and will meet Wednesdays from 3:00 PM to 5:50 PM. Location TBD.


Military Psychology (PSY 480.002 ST):

Military psychology examines the psychological contexts and the psychological needs of today's service members and how to meet those needs effectively. Best practices are reviewed for conducting fitness-for-duty evaluations, treating frequently encountered clinical problems including PTSD, responding to disasters, and promoting the health and well-being of all military and law-enforcement personnel. This class also examines the role of mental health professionals in enhancing operational readiness, hostage negotiation, understanding terrorists, and the interrogation of terrorists. This 3.0 credit class, taught by Dr. Eric Zillmer, is open to all students and will be meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 AM to 10:50 AM. Location TBD.