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Winter Courses

October 15, 2018

Explore how natural disasters shape our world, changing perceptions of mental illness, and the effects of social movements on theories of democracy in these new and noteworthy winter courses.


The Interaction of Science and Religion (AS-I T280.940)
Online Course with spring break travel component (Italy, Germany and Switzerland)
How did science emerge as one of the most powerful tools for gaining new knowledge? What role did religion play in science's development over the past five millennia? What were the major issues in science and religion? What insight can science and religion bring to the issues facing humanity in the 21st century?

The course aims to answer these questions by following an evolutionary progression beginning with the Big Bang, moving through chemical and biological evolution, to the science and religion of early cultures (Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans), exploring paradigm-changing scientists (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein), and concluding with recent advances in neuroscience that impinge on understanding the mind and soul. Religious influences of cultures and individuals will be discussed relative to their influence on scientists and the influence or not on their scientific discoveries.

The course content will come from a combination of lectures, guided readings, journaling, and discussions during the quarter that will be brought alive through visits to historical sites in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Sites visits are designed to deepen the connection between science and religion through guided visits to places such as the Vatican, the Vatican observatory, the Galileo Museum, the Einstein Museum, and the CERN supercollider, to better understand how scientific discoveries were colored by the culture, religion, and politics of many famous scientists.

This course will be taught by Fraser Fleming, PhD, department head and professor of chemistry, and is open to all students above freshman level. An information session is scheduled on October 24 at 5 p.m. in room 208 of Gerri C. LeBow Hall. Students will need to gain instructor permission, register and complete paperwork prior to the start of the course. Please email Tina Lewinski ( for more information.


The Chemistry Behind Drugs: Fundamentals of Medicinal Chemistry (CHEM T380)
This interactive course summarizes the basic concepts of general and bioorganic chemistry that constitute the foundation of medicinal chemistry and biochemistry. We will apply fundamental notions of nomenclature, stereochemistry, reaction mechanisms and physicochemical properties of functional groups (such as electronic effects, water/lipid solubility, acidity/basicity related to ionization and salt formation under physiological conditions, association via non-covalent interactions, etc.). We will also use molecular modeling software to design drugs and predict their i) potential interactions with biological targets; ii) pharmacological action; and iii) bioavailability. Intended as a primer for students interested in pursuing a career in bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, biomaterials, biotechnology, pharmaceutics or health sciences (including medicine), this course also lays the groundwork for a better understanding of CHEM 371 (Chemistry of Biomolecules), BIO 311 (Biochemistry) and BIO 314 (Pharmacology).

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Monica Ilies, PhD, is open to undergraduate students who took at least two different 200-level organic chemistry classes. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 6 p.m. (including 30-40 min of interactive lecture and 40-50 min of recitation, computer lab or student journal club discussions).


Plant Animal Interactions (ENVS 315.001)
Plant-animal interactions provide us with some of the most remarkable examples of adaptation and co-evolution. They are also key determinants of ecosystem functions. This course will provide a survey of the diversity of plant-animal interactions, the multidisciplinary approaches used to understand their ecology and evolution, and their importance to ecosystem services that sustain human societies.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Tatyana Livshultz, PhD, is open to undergraduate students who have earned a minimum of “D” in either ENVS 230 or BIO 126. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 – 1:50 p.m.


Natural Disasters (GEO 111)
This course looks at natural disasters and how they shape our world. Students will learn the science behind what causes and contributes to natural disasters and investigate how our society responds to disasters. We will look at media coverage of various disasters (both past and any events that may occur during the term) and even analyze some “disasters” in popular movies to see if they are true to life.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Amanda Lough, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.

Volcanology (GEO 350)
Every year, an average of 60 volcanoes erupt worldwide, posing a threat to air traffic and presenting a host of hazards to nearby communities. More than 400 million people live in the shadow of volcanoes, balancing immediate risks with long-term rewards, from fertile soils to geothermal resources. Volcanology is the study of the origin, properties and processes involved in the formation and eruption of volcanoes. Students will be introduced to the various types of volcanism on Earth and in the Solar System, methods of volcano monitoring, and human and environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Loÿc Vanderkluysen, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.


Performing History: Historic Character Development (HIST T180)
The goal of this class is to develop the fundamentals to portray and develop historic characters within a public history program. This class combines core public history principles and acting techniques to create first person historical characters. We will examine approaches to Public History, the differences between second person and first person interpretation, ghost interpretation and the critical analysis of all of the above. Historical interpretation is becoming one of the most important ways to interact with the public. Now more than ever, it's important to have qualified individuals who can interpret history in this new and interactive way. In these polarized times, public historians must use careful examination of primary sources to create displays and portray real people.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Sean Connolly, is open to undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 – 1:50 p.m.

Sport and American Life (HIST T180)
This course explores the significance and role of sport in American life. It looks beyond the action on the field, court, pitch, ring, rink, track and velodrome to explore themes of race, gender, class, urbanization, labor, patriotism, politics and inclusion in American history. This course examines how sport has influenced and reflected larger trends in American life.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Seth Tannenbaum, is open to undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 – 11:50 a.m.

Technology & Identity (HIST 283)
In this course, we'll use the lens of identities — historical and contemporary experiences of race, class, gender, LGBTQ identities, physical and mental ability/disability divisions, age and many other taxonomies of personhood — to understand science, technology, medicine, public health and other bodies of knowledge.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Ellen Foster, visiting professor, is open to undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 – 5:50 p.m.

Madness, Mental Health and Psychiatry in the Modern West (HIST T380)
This course will examine the ideas that have shaped perceptions of phenomena variously labeled madness, insanity or mental illness; the changing experiences of those afflicted; the development of professions designed to look after those deemed mad, insane and mentally ill; and the social and cultural assumptions behind treatments, policies and public opinions. Students will increase their knowledge and critical understanding of the social and cultural aspects of the experience of mental illness, the development of psychiatric knowledge and practice, and the creation of public policies related to mental health.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Jesse Ballenger, PhD, is open to undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 – 1:50 p.m.


Rationalism and Empiricism (PHIL 214)
This course is a study of the two leading philosophical movements of the “modern” period (1500-1800) in Europe; British Empiricism in the works of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume; Continental Rationalism in the works of René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz and Christian Wolff; and the critique of Wolff in the work of Immanuel Kant.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Jacques Catudal, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students. It will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.

Philosophy of Law (PHIL 385)
This course addresses philosophical issues in the law. Topics include the meaning of "law," the nature and logic of legal (in contrast to moral) concepts and principles, and competing conceptions of law (Natural Law, Positivism, Realism, Rights-Based, etc.). Authors studied may include Plato, Mill, Rawls, Hart, Dworkin and others.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by James Stieb, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the freshman level. It will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 – 10:50 a.m.

Theories of Sustainability (PHIL T480/SCTS T580)
What is sustainability? What exactly should we sustain, and how should we try to do so? How do the ecological and social crises we face affect how we answer these questions? And how do we face up to the entities and institutions that perpetuate and exacerbate these crises? Over the course of the term, we will wrestle with questions like these and their practical implications.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Andrew Smith, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students above the sophomore level. It will meet Mondays from 6 – 8:50 p.m.

Marx’s Philosophy (PHIL 485)
Karl Marx (1818-1883) revolutionized Western sociology, political economy and philosophy by showing how German Idealism could be understood as providing theoretical keys that would unlock the mysteries of social change and human liberation. We’ll look at some of Marx’s philosophical forebears and trace their influence in selected writings of Marx and how they contributed to Marx’s own philosophical outlook. Fulfills requirement for PHIL431, Seminar in Modern Philosophy.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Peter Amato, PhD, is open to all undergraduate students who have taken at least two 200-level PHIL classes. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:40 – 4:50 p.m.


Civilians in Armed Conflict (PSCI 310/510)
What happens to civilians in times of war? What are the responsibilities of militaries and rebel groups to people under their control — and do they meet them? Who counts as a "civilian," anyway? This course considers these questions and more. We will examine the definition and causes of armed conflict, before turning to key issues such as civilian coping strategies during armed conflict, common patterns of violence against civilians, legal and policy remedies for human rights violations, and the politics of human rights advocacy.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Amelia Hoover Green, PhD, is open to undergraduate and graduate students. It will meet Mondays from 2 – 4:50 p.m.

Politics of Sport (PSCI 374)
This course draws from a variety of disciplines and schools of thought with political science serving as an overarching framework. Issues covered will include ethnicity, gender, race, nationalism, globalism, economics and class.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by William Rosenberg, PhD, is open to undergraduate students. It will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 – 3:50 p.m.


Medicine & Society (SCTS 207/SOC T280.002)
This seminar draws on literature in science and technology studies (STS) to explore the social dimensions of medicine, health and illness. We will explore how definitions and experiences of health and illness are shaped by technology use, cultural contexts, institutional practices, health care policies and inequalities. We will examine social trends in medical technology and science, as well as how illness categories are created, negotiated and resisted. Participants in this course will gain the ability to assess the changing role of science and technology in medicine and think critically about the social dimensions of the experience of health and illness.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Kelly Joyce, PhD, is open to undergraduate students. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 – 5:50 p.m.

Mobilities Lab (SCTS 207)
This course will address the large-scale transitions toward “sustainable” and “smart” technologies in transportation systems with an emphasis on how new information and communication technologies are transforming or disrupting the transport sector. Unlike other courses, it will do so through an innovative problem-based, hands-on, interdisciplinary lab experience in which students collaborate with others to work on real-world problems and solutions.

This 3.0 credit course, taught by Mimi Sheller, PhD, is open to graduate students. The class will meet Wednesdays from 6 – 8:50 p.m. at 3101 Market St., Room 213.


Sex and the City (SOC T280.001)
This 4.0 credit course, taught by Jason Orne, PhD, is open to undergraduate students. The class will meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 12 – 1:50 p.m.

Development and Underdevelopment in the Global South (SOC 330)
This course explores the ways in which the international economy affects the class structure, politics, and development of developing nations. It focuses particularly on multinational corporations and the successes and failures of import-substitution and export-oriented industrialization programs.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Emmanuel Koku, PhD, is open to undergraduate students above the freshman level. The class will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 – 3:50 p.m.

Imagining Multiple Democracies (SOC 410)
This course will explore the multitude of democratic theories and democracies in practice that have developed during the last several decades. There have been profound changes to our conceptions of “democracy” during the past 40 years driven by social movements around the globe seeking to change their societies. What kind of society do we imagine when we talk about “democracy?” We will examine fundamental questions and dilemmas surrounding contemporary democratic culture, and explore several contemporary democratic movements in-depth, including feminist, identity-based, religiously based, radical, environmentalist, anti-globalization and media activism movements.

This 4.0 credit course, taught by Mary Ebeling, PhD, is open to undergraduate students above the freshman or sophomore level. The class will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 – 5:50 p.m.