HSA Departmental Courses

The following courses are taught regularly in the Department of HSA – some annually, and others once every two to four years.

HSA10 Sections

ANTH111 HM Intro Anth Science & Technology

An introduction to science and technology as cultural phenomena and a hands-on initiation into anthropology. While applying basic anthropological methods in the academic environment, students gain an understanding of science and technology as a culturally, socially and historically specific way of constructing knowledge. In other words, rather than taking for granted the ways in which we make knowledge, this course renders those ways of knowledge-making “strange.”

ANTH134 HM Rationalities

What does it mean to be rational? Does it mean anything, to say that you are thinking rationally? This seminar takes an anthropological approach to knowledge and knowledge-making practices; it explores connections between rationality and culture. We will ask how and where, in which kinds of practices, “scientific rationality” – as we will call it for the moment – is “located.” What is it about this kind of rationality that is so compelling? Are other kinds of rationalities thinkable, possible, or plausible? Are such other kinds of rationalities perhaps “at work” even as we speak, in parallel with, or embedded in, the ways in which scientists make knowledge? To answer thee questions, we will examine objectivity and calculatory logic — the elements of “scientific rationality. Are objectivity and logic perhaps values as much as they are practices? We will then mine the anthropological literature for alternate logics than the ones we take for granted, examining magical thinking, belief, and indigenous practices that define for “us” what is “irrational.” Are such practices perhaps less irrational than we assume them to be? Finally, we will take on actual scientific practices of knowledge-making, empirically and anthropologically. We may assume that rationality as we know it imbues such practices. But are they perhaps informed by alternate logics as well? Here is where subjectivity and affect come into our picture of what scientific practices are made of; we will try to give such alternate values a place in how the bodies that “do” science act, think, and make knowledge. Writing intensive.

ARHI131 HM History of Landscape Photography

This course explores how photographic landscape imagery has shaped our experience and ideas of the land. Examining work dating back to the invention of the medium in 1839 to contemporary artists to NASA’s Mars Rover images, we will consider how photographic imagery documents and determines the topography around us.

ARHI179D HM Digital Culture: Architecture and Design

This course examines the use and influence of digital technologies in architecture and design. As these fields utilize access to digital tools, materials research, information sharing, and data analysis, their inventive outcomes profoundly impact how we see, understand, and interact with the world. With readings by authors including Walter Benjamin, Mario Carpo, and Alice Rawsthorn, we will explore the positive effects on society as well as the darker side of technology, including questions relating to security, authorship, manufacturing culture, and social inequity.

ART 033 HM Photography

Approaching the medium from an artistic perspective, students will explore a variety of photographic concepts and techniques. This course emphasizes seeing, thinking, and creating with a critical mind and eye to provide understanding of the construction and manipulation of photographic form and meaning. The fundamentals of working with a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR), including manual controls and lighting, are covered. Students will also explore everything from analog photographic processes, scanners and smart phone cameras as equally legitimate tools for creating art. Assignments, lectures, readings and excursions will build on each other to provide students with an overview of the history and contemporary practice of photography. Fall and spring.

ART 60 HM Workshop in Hand Press Printing

This workshop introduces students to the basic vocabulary and practices of typesetting, typography, and printing for and on an iron hand press.  Work includes a skill-building project and a student-designed semester project.

ART 188 HM Undisciplined Art

Embracing the contemporary idea that art is not grounded in technique or medium, but driven by concepts, this course emphasizes thinking and creating within a context of historical and theoretical concerns. Students will be challenged to re-contextualize skills they already have to address questions central to twentieth and twenty-first century art making. They will be expected to work beyond traditional labels such as painting, sculpture, photography, etc… and use unexpected processes, picking those which are best suited to their ideas and push the envelope as to what is considered art.

ASAM125 AA-01 IntroAsian American Hist: 1850-pres

This survey course examines the history of Asian immigrant groups and their American-born descendants as they have settled and adjusted to life in the United States. We will explore issues such as the experience of immigration, daily life in urban ethnic enclaves, and racist campaigns against Asian immigrants. Throughout the course, we will ask how these issues relate to a larger history of American nation-building and diplomatic relations with Asia.

ASAM179C Race & US Empire in Pacific Isla/ Special topics-Asian American Studies

Images such as beaches, luaus, and surfing are some of the most common representations of the Pacific Islands (also known as Oceania). However, there are other realities and narratives that exist, which complicate how we understand this region. Using an interdisciplinary historical approach, this course will examine the histories and cultures of the U.S. Pacific. Specifically, this course will focus on the themes of empire, gender, indigeneity, labor, militarization, race, and settler colonialism. By the end of the class, students will be able to challenge common representations of the Pacific Islands through their nuanced understanding of Oceania.

ECON053 HM Principles of Macroeconomics

Provides methods of investigating the individual behavior of people, businesses and governments in a market environment. Topics include elementary models of human economic behavior and resource allocation, and the evolution of market institutions and their impact upon society.

ECON054 HM Principles of Microeconomics

Provides methods of investigating the individual behavior of people, businesses and governments in a market environment. Topics include elementary models of human economic behavior and resource allocation, and the evolution of market institutions and their impact upon society.

ECON104 HM Financial Economics

The principles of money and banking from the viewpoint of both business person and banker. Topics include the operation of commercial banks, related financial institutions, the development of the banking system, international finance, governmental fiscal and monetary policy, and the relations of money and credit to prices. Prerequisite: Economics 53.

ECON136 HM Financial Markets and Modeling

Modern financial strategy seeks to reduce market risk through the use of complex instruments called dirivatives. This course introduces students to the world of futures, options and other derivatives. Topics to be covered include a survey of the markets and mathematical models of risk and volatility. Prerequisite: Economics 104 or equivalent.

ECON154 HM Intermediate Microeconomics

A reexamination of the principles of macroeconomics at a more advanced level. The use of formal models for acroeconomic analysis and application to topical problems. Prerequisite; Economics 54 is recommended but not required.

ECON179E HM Labor Economics / Special Topics in Economics

This course will examine major topics in labor economics to understand how decisions are made by firms and individuals. Weekly topics will explore the influences of leisure preferences, wage differentials, the role of family structure, gender, race and ethnicity, labor unions, income inequality and discrimination. This is a seminar style course that is largely discussion based.

GEOG179A HM Place, Power, and Difference/Special Topics in Geography

This course introduces students to key concepts in social and cultural geography, including space, place and scale, as well as the “cultural turn” that led human geographers to re-think their understanding of what power is and how it operates. The course investigates the difference that thinking geographically makes to the study of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other relations of difference and power.

GEOG179C HM Geographies Disease/Health Justi / Special Topics in Geography

This course, which mixes lecture and discussion, examines the uneven geographical distribution of disease and health; the spatial, social and political processes that shape that uneven distribution; and some of the ways in which differently marginalized people contest health inequalities and the power relations that generate them. The course is divided into two main parts. The first part introduces a set of core concepts and theories around economic inequality, colonialism, identity, difference, and labor, which help to put disease and health into geographical, historical and political-economic context. The second part of the course considers the salience of these concepts in understanding specific disease case studies, and the health justice movements that have sought to address them.

GEOG179D HM Critical Geographies of Communit / Special Topics in Geography

The figure of “community” is invoked by a wide range of social and political actors as self-explanatory and uncontroversially good. This seminar-style course will investigate the contradictory potential of community as both a departure point for emancipatory social transformation, and a site of exclusion, fraught group bonding, and cooptation by the political-economic status quo. Course readings will traverse feminist, antiracist, queer, political-economic, psychoanalytic, and poststructuralist theories that reflect on the limitations and powers of community; ethnographic reflections on the ethics of life within communities; and activist and organizer perspectives. Course assignments will emphasize the value of self-reflexivity, humility, and intellectual rigor in the never-ending work of making sense of lived experiences in community.

HIST082 HM Science and Technology in the Modern World

An examination of several important episodes in the history of chemistry, biology, physics and medicine from the late 18th to mid-20th centuries. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which new scientific theories have been developed and evaluated, to the impact of cultural beliefs about gender and race on science, and to fundamental debates within science and medicine about what counts as good evidence and proper methodology.

HIST179J HM Genetics and Race / Special Topics in History

What does it mean when biologists point to significant genetic variation across human populations? Are they offering evidence for the same racial categories which have enabled horrific and continuing violence and discrimination? Are they providing a framework for more effective medical treatments? This course will provide context for current debates by considering the intertwined development of genetics and concepts of race over the course of the 20th century. We will look at the history of early 20th century genetics and eugenics in North America and Europe, critiques of biological concepts of race following WWII, the controversy over race and IQ re-ignited by the Bell Curve, and recent developments in medicine and personal genomics that seem to be solidifying racial categories. Pre-requisite: BIOL052 HM or BIOL043L KS or BIOL040 PO or permission of the instructors.

LIT 035 HM Fiction Writing Workshop

This course is designed as an introductory workshop focusing on the writing of fiction and the discourse of craft. Through the examination of a variety of literary traditions, stylistic and compositional approaches, and the careful reading and editing of peer stories, you will strengthen your prose and develop a clearer understanding of your own literary values and the dynamics of fiction. Writing intensive.

LIT 117A HM Dickens, Hardy, & Victorian Age

An intensive study of the work and literary development of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Readings drawn from the authors’ works and related critical, biographical, and historical texts. Class travels to England over winter break; travel expenses are the responsibility of the student. Instructor permission is required. (Fall and winter break)

LIT 141 HM Monsters in Literature

Our culture is fascinated by things that are weird, strange, horrifying, and grotesque. In other words, we’re fascinated by monsters, those others that stand at the margins of human, civilized society, threatening us by their very existence. Are monsters only very scary things, or do they have a social and cultural function? In this course we will take up this and other questions as we investigate the nature of the monstrous. We will consider monsters in their non-human, alien, and technological forms as well as some truly terrifying human monsters. Some of the course texts include, Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dracula, Carmilla, Alien, and The Walking Dead.

LIT 179X HM Zora Neale Hurston/Special Topics in Literature

This seminar is designed to introduce students to the interface of the humanities and science through an interdisciplinary approach to Zora Neale Hurston as an  ethnographer and fiction writer. Hurston was the first African American woman to graduate from Barnard College. Born poor in the South, highly educated in the North, a luminary amongst the talents of the Harlem Renaissance, and buried in an unmarked grave in her native Florida, Hurston’s writing and life offer a unique view onto notions of race, science, and art, gender and class, in the aftermath of Reconstruction that reverberate to this day.

LIT 179W HM Global/Digital Shakespeare/Special Topics in Literature

Shakespeare often uses the metaphor of the stage to talk about the transient nature of the human condition; most famously he writes, “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” Shakespeare reminds his audience that they in turn are players on their own stages. In addition, Shakespeare uses world as his stage. It is England, but it is also the world of Europe and the Mediterranean. Because of the emergence British Empire that followed Shakespeare’s period, the world that his plays had access to and were accessed by became much larger, became global. Not only is Shakespeare “not for an age but for all time,” but also for all people, as his popularity in geographies beyond the Anglo-American sphere indicates.

In this course, we will buy into and put pressure on this global construction of Shakespeare. We will read his plays for both their particularity and their abstraction, paying special attention to Shakespeare’s language, the images, tropes, symbols, and themes they utilize and generate, while also considering how those can and are transformed as Shakespeare’s work crosses geographic boundaries. The primary object of our inquiry will be to consider how the Shakespearean text speaks to people for whom it was not explicitly written or performed, and how those cultures speak back to Shakespeare via their transformations of his text. One of the primary questions this course asks is where we locate the “genius” of Shakespeare. In addition to situating Shakespeare within a global milieu, we will also consider how we can further understand his texts and contexts—those texts that adapt and appropriate his work through digital technology. We will incorporate data visualization and network mapping to develop new methods of analysis and facilitate new interpretations.

LIT 179Y HM Utopias and Dystopias / Special Topics in Literature

This course explores literary utopias and dystopias to uncover not only why such narratives recur across historical time periods, but also to explore how the fears, desires, and anxieties of such work reflect social and cultural anxieties. What does it mean to live the good life; to never experience lack or scarcity and to be surrounded by plenty? Can human societies realize such edenic conditions without the toil, labor, and suffering of others? How can a no-place be an ideal place? Is the ideal place for some people an injurious place for others? In addition to examining these questions, we will consider how political and critical theory bleed into utopian/dystopian texts, while also reflecting on how these texts interrogate and challenge those theories. Readings for this course include: Utopia, The Tempest, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

LIT 179Z HM Fourteen Poems: Intro to Poetry / Special Topics in Literature

The course focuses on fourteen primary poems—one for each week of the semester—and uses a broad array of secondary poems to provide context for the fourteen. We will use these poems to understand the degree to which poetry is a language act distinct from others—that is, we will try to define what poetry is. We will also consider how poetry is used in the world and try to delineate what poetry does.

LIT 179AA HM Pop Up Shakespeare/Special Topics in Literature

In this course we will read, analyze, and perform one of Shakespeare’s plays. We will explore how we “do” Shakespeare as a collaborative and self-directed enterprise. During our course meetings we will do the work of literary analysis and textual interpretation and couple that with theatrical performance training and production. Students will work with course instructors to mount a full production of the play by the end of the semester. Students will be expected to meet regularly in-class during the fist few weeks of the semester, and then work in teams or individually, with occasional full class meetings scheduled as needed.

MS 182 HM-01 Intro to Video Art

This course is an introduction to video art through history, theory, analysis and production. The goal for this class is for you to produce meaningful, creative, expressive, innovative media for an intelligent and broad audience. In order to achieve this goal you will learn the fundamentals of video production in labs, critiques, and exercises: conceptualizing, planning, shooting, sound recording, editing and analysis. You will also learn – through readings and discussions – about pioneers and contemporary practitioners of video art. Prereq: Media Studies 49, 50, 51 or equivalent.

MUS 003 HM Fundamentals of Music

This course covers the basics of theory, notation, and composition of music of the European tradition. It is largely a skills based course, intended to give students tools to help achieve creative goals such as reading music in performance, composing, or analyzing scores. It is a prerequisite to more advanced music theory courses. No prior musical skills or knowledge are required.

MUS 049 HM American Gamelan Ensemble

Rehearsal and performance of new compositions for instruments adapted from the gamelan, a Javanese orchestra of metallophones and gongs. No prior experience on these instruments is required. Prerequisite: Ability to read music, approval of instructor.

MUS 067 HM Film Music

This course is an exploration of the history and aesthetics of the use of music in cinema, primarily the Hollywood film from the so-called silent era to the present. (We will not cover musicals, documentaries, or short films.) The course will include the development of skills of listening analysis and writing about music in the context of narrative film. No prerequisities; no background in music or film history is required.

MUS 081 Intro to Music: Sound & Meaning

This course explores important works of Western art music from diverse historical epochs through listening and analysis. Elements of music, basic musical terminology and notation are discussed. Attention is given to the relation of the arts – especially music – to culture and society. (Carries departmental credit when taught by Alves, Cubek, or Kamm.)

MUS 088 HM Introduction to Computer Music

The basics of using software on a general purpose computer to synthesize and manipulate digital sounds. Neither a background in music nor the ability to read music is required. A background in computers is helpful but not required.

MUS 110A Music in Western Civilization

In the fall semester, this course will be a study of music from the Ancient World through the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. In the spring semester, this course will be a study of music from the Classical, Romantic, and 20th-century periods. Interdisciplinary relationships to other arts will be examined in a historical context.

MUS 110B Music in Western Civilization II

This course will be a study of music from the Classical, Romantic, and 20th-century periods. Interdisciplinary relationships to other arts will be examined in a historical context. The ability to read musical scores and knowledge of the fundamentals of music theory are required (MUS 3 or equivalent).

MUS 173 JM-01 Claremont Concert Choir

A study through rehearsal and performance of choral music selected from the 16th-century to the present, with an emphasis on larger, major works. Singers will be invited to register after a successful audition. Singers continuing from the previous semester need not reaudition. Half course per semester. Formerly MUS 173A, 173B, 173C, and 173D.

MUS 175 JM-01 Concert Orchestra

The study, through lecture, discussion, rehearsal, and performance, of styles and techniques appropriate for the historically accurate performance of instrumental works intended for the orchestra. Repertoire will include works from the mid-18th century to the present with special emphasis on the Classical and Romantic periods. Class enrollment permitted only after successful audition. Half-course per semester. Formerly MUS 175A, 175B, 175C, and 175D.

MUS 176 HM-01 Claremont Treble Singers

A study through rehearsal and performance of choral music for soprano and alto voices selected from the 14th century to the present. Singers will be invited to register after a successful audition. Singers continuing from the previous semester need not audition.

MUS 179B HM Early Music Ensemble / Special Topics in Music

Study and performance of European music before 1750. Prerequisite: ability to play an instrument and read music. Instructor permission required.

PHIL130 HM Political Philosophy

The major traditions of political thought, with emphasis on the modern era, including natural rights theory, social contract theory, and the philosophic foundations of political liberalism.

PHIL179B HM Contemporary Moral Problems/Special Topics in Philosophy

After a brief introduction to some of the main theoretical approaches in moral and political philosophy, this course explores philosophical debates on a series of moral-political issues of current concern. Topics may include drug laws, euthanasia and assisted suicide, abortion, terrorism and the ethics of war, inequality, hate speech and pornography, and/or others. Throughout the course we will work to see how different theoretical orientations lead to different modes of analysis on the selected issues, and how the issues themselves are often linked. Typical requirements: a group project, a paper, a midterm exam, and a final exam.

PHIL179C HM Freedom of Expression/Special Topics in Philosophy

This seminar explores philosophical and legal arguments regarding the meaning, value, scope, and justification of freedom of speech and other expressive freedoms. We will consider these issues both in principle and as they apply to the current scene in the academy and in the larger world, and from the vantage points of different theoretical orientations. Among other topics, we will examine some of the history of Constitutional jurisprudence regarding freedom of speech in the U.S.; early modern debates over civility and toleration; canonical liberal arguments in defense of broad expressive freedoms, and postmodern (and other) rejoinders to these arguments; to what extent (and in what respects) there are or are not problems about freedom of speech on American campuses today; the effects of expansive free speech on the interests of vulnerable groups; what obligations colleges and universities have to provide platforms for speakers across the political spectrum (and who may reasonably be excluded); the ethical limits of protest; and arguments for and against restrictions on hate speech. About 50-100 pages of reading will be assigned per week, the amount depending on the level of difficulty.

POST179A HM Bicycle Revolution/Special Topics in Political Studies

This course explores the challenge of creating bike-friendly cities, using this as a window into broader themes surrounding the politics of urban change. Each week we will ride along local bike routes, meeting with officials and advocacy groups from nearby cities, in addition to longer field trips on two Saturdays. Course readings will draw on urban planning, political science, comparative public policy, urban sociology, public health, and cultural geography. The course is designed for students from all backgrounds and levels of biking experience. Capstone projects will offer analysis, design proposals, or other original contributions of value to community leaders. Enrollment by permission of instructor.

PSYC053 HM-01 Introduction to Psychology

An introduction to the field of psychology with a special emphasis on overarching themes and methodologies employed in the discipline.

PSYC179F HM Intellectual Virtues/Special Topics in Psychology

3.0 units, 18 seats

In response to rising ideological polarization, tribalism, and hostility, calls have intensified for strategies to depolarize communities and to foster a culture of mutual understanding across differences. How can psychology help? This course (1) surveys psychological theory and research on intellectual humility, curiosity, and perspective taking; (2) explores strategies for cultivating those intellectual virtues; and (3) provides opportunities to practice those virtues through constructive disagreement. Students will be expected to complete all readings and to participate fully in class sessions. In addition, students enrolled in the 3 unit version of this course (179F) will complete informal writing assignments each week and will carry out a significant capstone project of their own design.

1.5 units, 18 seats

In response to rising ideological polarization, tribalism, and hostility, calls have intensified for strategies to depolarize communities and to foster a culture of mutual understanding across differences. How can psychology help? This course (1) surveys psychological theory and research on intellectual humility, curiosity, and perspective taking; (2) explores strategies for cultivating those intellectual virtues; and (3) provides opportunities to practice those virtues through constructive disagreement. Students will be expected to complete all readings and to participate fully in class sessions. In addition, students enrolled in the 1.5 unit version of this course (179F1) will complete informal writing assignments approximately every other week.

RLST112 HM Engaging Religion

This advanced-level seminar uses case studies to explore what counts as religion in a variety of contexts; media, law, academia, economics, politics, etc. How do people recognize religion? What consequences are there for recognizing or denying the legitimacy of religious practices or beliefts? How is that legitimacy judged? How is it narrated? By approaching a few case studies from multiple perspectives, students gain insight into how the lenses used to assess religion can enable, deepen or limit understanding.

RLST113 HM God, Darwin, Design in America

Course examines the relationships between science and religion in the United States from the early 19th century to the present. Starting with the Natural Theologians, who made science the “handmaid of theology” in the early Republic, we will move forward in time through the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Andrew Dickson White’s subsequent declaration of a war between science and religion, into the 20th century with the Scopes trial and the rise of Creationism, the evolutionary synthesis, and finally the recent debates over the teaching of Intellignet Design in public schools.

RLST114 HM 2038: Prophecy, Apocalypse

This course looks at American configurations of the End Times, including, but not limited to, the ending of the Mayan calendar in 2012, Ghost Dance religions, Y2K predictions, The Church Universal and Triumphant, Heaven’s Gate, the Left Behind books and movies and varied interpretations of the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Students taking this course will become familiar with various forms of American apocalyptic thinking as well as literature from “new religious movement” or “cult” scholarship in order to explore the enduring appeal of End Time scenarios and to question what makes these scenarios persuasive to individuals at varied points in American history.

RLST168 HM Activism, Vocation, Justice

The histories of social change activism are filled with individuals who understand their call to fight injustice, to work for community rights, or to alleviate suffering as grounded in their philosophical, religious, or spiritual practices. In this course, students will combine community engagement work with their class work; learning about diverse thinkers and reformers, who have either found religious meaning in their activist or service work, or who have interpreted philosophy, doctrine, theology, or liturgy as demanding action from them. Each semester, readings will be grouped around a particular theme such as: Engaged Buddhism; interfaith activism; violent vs. non-violent protest; the Direct Action years of the Civil Rights Movement; education as activism; theological and philosophical theories of justice; socialisms and social change; queer and Christian communities; and Hindu environmentalism. The class will meet once a week, every other week.

RLST183 HM Ghosts & the Machines

An exploration of the interrelations between occult mediumship, modern media and technology in Europe and the United States from the nineteenth-century through the present. The aim of the course is to explore how the Enlightenment, and it offspring, modern technology, in their seemingly stark material and rational promises of progress, have never rid themselves fully of the paranormal and irrational. To explore the multiple relations between ghosts and the machines, topics for the course include: ghostly visions and magic lantern phatasmagoria; American spiritualism and the telegraph; phrenology and the rise of the archive; psychical research and stage magic, radio’s disembodied voices; spirit photography and light therapies; psychic television; and magic on film.

SOSC147 HM Enterprise and Entrepreneurs

Concepts and practices applicable to working as or with the manager of an enterprise. Some emphasis on enterprise formation and on management in high-technology firms.

STS 010 HM Introduction to Science, Technology and Society

Do you know how science “works”? Have you considered the many different ways in which technologies are made, used, and distributed — how technical objects acquire cultural meaning, shape the social and natural environments in which we live, and carry the signs and symbols of the cultures in which they are produced? What roles do various kinds of knowledge play in our daily lives; what are the conditions under which such knowledges emerge; why do we trust in numbers; how is it that we care so much about the differences between fiction and fact? STS — which stands both for “Science and Technology Studies,” and for (the Study of) “Science, Technology, and/in Society” — is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to answer such questions from a variety of social science and humanistic perspectives. This course provides an introduction to the field: we visit the cultures and practices of science and technology, their institutions, their habitats, and modes of knowledge-making – in order to find out how these are informed by, and in turn affect, the social world that we share.

STS 179G HM Microbial Geographies/Special Topics-Science, Tech & Society

Recently, scientists, social scientists and humanists have declared it is time to rethink the relationships between human and non-humans. In this class we will grow our own microbial companion species, working with cheese, kombucha, and kimchi, to think about how bodies relate to microbial life. Through hands-on fermentation practice, microbiological culturing and analysis, readings, discussions, writings, and tastings, students will gain familiarity with the basic concepts and practices of microbiology and will engage ongoing debates in cultural geography, anthropology, and science and technology studies, about our human responsibilities in a more-than-human world.

STS 179H HM Technology & Human Reproduction /Spec Topics: Sci, Tech, Society

Advances in reproductive technologies are rapidly changing the ways we think about kinship and families, the reproductive process, and the limits of human reproduction. The global reach of the fertility industry has leveraged differences in the policies governing these technologies across the world to develop markets for gametes, surrogates, and experimental procedures. Although these technologies have made fertility and reproduction to be accessible to new populations, they also raise concerns about the potential consequences they will have on both present and future generations. In this course we will explore the social, cultural, and ethical implications of reproductive technologies, while analyzing these considerations using sociological, bioethical, legal, and reproductive justice frameworks.

HSA 10 Sections

01. Minimalism (Alves)

The idea that less is more swept the art world in the 1960s. Since then the term minimalism has become attached to styles of painting, sculpture, music, and fiction among other fields. This art challenged preconceptions of what art is and should do, and these styles are a nearly maximal influence even today. No background in music or art is required, only a willingness to critically engage artwork that is possibly more than it appears.

02. English with an Accent: Voyage and Recreation in Language (Balseiro)

This course samples literary varieties of English from Europe, Africa, India and the Americas. Thematically, many of the works we will read – from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Nourbese Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue – concern voyages and the centrality of language in cultural transformation. Most of the texts we will study were written by masters of English prose such as Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe, for whom English is a second or third language. In a world increasingly divided by a common language, this course consists in an examination of the varieties of English and of the meanings and forms of its use in literature.

03. The Graphic Novel: Beyond Heroes and Villains (Dadabhoy)

Although graphic storytelling precedes the twentieth-century, for example, in prehistoric cave paintings, it has, in the twentieth century, evolved into a critical and intellectual genre that tackles subjects as varied as the crisis of costumed heroes in the modern world to the culture clash of the immigrant experience in the United States. In this course we will explore the way in which this form allows creators, writers and illustrators, to tell deeply personal and political stories. One of the primary questions guiding our inquiry will be how the form (the use of words and pictures) complements the content (the story).

04. What Would Animals Say? Animal Fables & What They Teach Us about Technology and Science (de Laet)

Can animals teach us anything about technology and science? The animal fables we discuss in this course cover a range of human-animal interactions – from apes making art to dogs on leashes; from delinquent vervets to decision-making cows. The stories suggest that animals take uncanny and perverse pleasure in setting us – experts, care-takers, keepers, experimenters, trainers, humans at large – on the wrong foot. And they offer lessons about the ethics and the methodologies of science, inviting reflection on the means, moralities, and modes at work in the making of knowledge. Consider this section of HSA10 a foray into the world of responsible and responsive science and engineering – an introduction in the study of Science, Technology, and Society.

05. Natural Religion/Religious Naturalism (Dyson)

Can we access the sacred through science? Can we find the Divine in Nature? Why might we want to or not? In this course, we will explore these questions, starting with a critical reading of The Sacred Depths of Nature by cell biologist and author Ursula Goodenough, and moving through both contemporary and historical treatments of the questions offered by scientists, theologians, and philosophers. We will examine our preconceptions about what counts as religion, nature, and science, and consider how relationships between these three categories have shifted at particular historical moments.

06. Seeing (Fandell)

Seeing comes before words. We are born into a sea of images. The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the meanings of images and words alike. But many of us take images at face value, as naturalized occurring phenomenon that need no interpretation. This course focuses on how meaning is constructed in our visual world, how to make sense of it and how to use this knowledge in our everyday experience. We will be analyzing everything from 15th century paintings to selfies to NASA images of our world and beyond to figure out how they shape our seeing and, in turn, our thinking.

07. Unreality (Plascencia)

Your nose has left you. Your lover is experiencing reverse evolution. A filthy angel has crash-landed on your yard. You, a Neanderthal, have had it with caveman puns. These are the dilemmas of the unreal. Through a wide selection of short fictions, we will explore the aesthetics and politics of unreality. The readings will include works by Nikolai Gogol, Jorge Luis Borges, Rosario Ferré, Gabriel García Márquez, Aimee Bender, and George Saunders.

08. Star Trek and Social Theory (Seitz)

While artists have long turned to science fiction to address social conflicts that can prove difficult to confront directly, the Star Trek franchise has garnered both considerable praise for its at times quite thoughtful social critique, and formidable mainstream cultural and economic success. This course will use Star Trek as point of departure and return for engaging important introductory texts in critical social theory, with a focus on issues including economic exploitation, cultural domination, geopolitical conflict, ecological transformation, and the politics of technology. The course will support students in identifying connections between theoretical text and televisual/cinematic narrative, and in developing original, synthetic and critically informed arguments in essay form. Familiarity with the Star Trek franchise is not a requisite for the course.

09. Political Analysis (Steinberg)

Politics has a profound influence on our daily lives. This course provides an opportunity to analyze complex political problems, to debate the merits of competing worldviews and policy proposals, and to communicate your views through high-impact writing and public speaking. Drawing on insights from political science and related fields, we will consider contemporary controversies as well as long-standing debates and will explore the links between the two

10. Making Sense of Humanity (Thompson)

This course explores ways of thinking about what it means to be human—that is, to be morally-minded animals who share in some history and some future, as well as certain values, cultural experiences, and narratives. As we continue to influence and be shaped by our globalized, technology-driven world, and as scientific research influences how we understand ourselves and our environments, it is more relevant than ever to contemplate and potentially redefine what it means to be human and behave humanely. We will draw from perspectives in philosophy, psychology, and cultural studies to address the core questions of the class.

11 & 12. Creative Disruption (Wirthlin)

Often when we see writers in movies or on television, they’re shown waiting for inspiration, and when it strikes, the words flow rapidly. Most often this isn’t what really happens. In this section of HSA 10 we’ll explore the ways in which a number of writers have worked against the traditional notion of inspiration to create texts. We’ll read works by writers who rely on chance, writers who use restrictive formal constraints, conceptual writers and writers who steal, recycle, erase the work of others and use all manner of techniques in the name of producing work that exceeds the limits of inspired production. Some of the authors we’ll read are Robert Coover, Christian Bok, Raymond Queneau, Jen Bervin, Jonathan Lethem, Roland Barthes, Vanessa Place and many others. Through these critical and creative works, we’ll be concerned with questions about why someone might want to create this way, what happens when they do, and what happens to the idea of literature itself in light of this creative disruption.

13. Intellectual Freedom and Intellectual Virtue (Wright)

In this section, we will explore conceptions of the nature and importance of intellectual freedom and of the virtues appropriate to intellectual life. Reading selections may include (in whole or in part): Plato, Apology and Euthydemus; John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration; Tzvetan Todorov, In Defense of the Enlightenment; Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind; Glenn Loury, “Self-Censorship in Public Discourse”; Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, Free Speech on Campus; Jason Baehr, The Inquiring Mind; and Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.