Sophomore Research Seminar: 2007-2008

Fall 2007

SRS 200-01

Toher, M. Alexander the Great: Use and Abuse of History

SRS 200-02

Motahar, E. Rethinking Iran: Images and Realities

SRS 200-03

Baum, D. Anno Mirabilis: The extraordinary year of 1453.

SRS 200-04

Foroughi, A. "A People's Contest": Gender and Race in the American Civil War

SRS 200-05

Meade, T. Cuba and The Cuban Revolution

SRS 200-06

Keat, W. Impossible Missions Design Teams

SRS 200-07

Ghaly, A. Artistic Engineering

SRS 200-08

Cass, A. / Fernandes, C. Designing As If People Mattered

Winter 2008



SRS 200-01

Patrik, L. Cyberfeminism

SRS 200-02

LaBrake, S. / Vineyard, M. Energy and the Environment

SRS 200-03

Spinelli, J. Can you hear me now? The Social and Technical Aspects of Electrical Communication

SRS 200-04

Cotter, D. Balancing Acts: Gender, Work and Family

SRS 200-05

Baum, D. Anno Mirabilis: The extraordinary year of 1453.

SRS 200-06

Lawson, M. African-American Protest Movements

SRS 200-07

Madancy, J. Opium, East and West

SRS 200-08

Morris, A. Japanese American Internment

SRS 200-09

Sargent, S. Scottish Witchcraft Trials, 1590-1660

SRS 200-10

Walker, M. National Socialism, World War II, and the Holocaust

SRS 200-11

Wells, R. 'Many' and 'Few' are too Indeterminate Expressions: Counting in History

SRS 200-12

Mar, M. Human Rights and Human Wrongs

Spring 2008



SRS 200-01

Peterson, B. Colonialism in Africa

SRS 200-02

Brennan, D. Sport and American Identity

SRS 200-03

Aslakson, K. Slavery in the Antebellum South

SRS 200-04

Feffer, A. 1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism

SRS 200-05

McFadden, T. / Fladger, E. Union College and Higher Education in the 19th Century

SRS 200-06

Culbert, P. History of Theater

SRS 200-07

Angrist, M. Islam & Politics

SRS 200-08

Cox, L. Art & Politics of the Modern Era

SRS 200-09

Grigsby, J. 'Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us?

SRS 200-10

Matsue, J. Gender, Sexuality and Music in Cross-Cultural Comparison

SRS 200-11

Sargent, S. Scottish Witchcraft Trials, 1590-1660

Course Descriptions

Fall 2007
SRS 200-01 Toher, M. Alexander the Great: Use and Abuse of History
Despite the fact that Alexander the Great has now fallen victim to an Oliver Stone cinematographic epic, he will remain an important and epochal figure of history. To quote a recent comment of a recognized authority on Greek history who doesn't produce movies but can read the ancient sources, "Alexander is one of those very few genuinely iconic figures, who have both remade the world they knew and constantly inspire us to remake our own worlds." In less than ten years Alexander conquered "the known world", extending his empire from mainland Greece to the western borders of modern India, and yet, most likely a clinical alcoholic and possibly mentally unbalanced, he died at the age of 33 in Babylon. The career and conquests of Alexander the Great influenced the political and cultural development of Mediterranean world for over a millennium. The effects of his legend resonated throughout history down to the early modern era, and until the 15th century he remained the standard of comparison for all generals and most statesmen in the West. To this day, Alexander is still prayed to for aid by fishermen in Greece, he is cursed as a "thief" in Iran, and worshipped as a saint in the Coptic Church of Egypt. After Jesus Christ, no figure from Classical antiquity has had such a wide-ranging and enduring impact on our own culture, and cultures far removed from our own.

The primary purpose of this seminar will be to introduce students to the problem of composing a "history" of a famous man and his era. Students will read the existing four accounts of the history of Alexander by ancient authors and analyze how they differ from one another and why they do so. Furthermore, the seminar will examine how modern perceptions affect the reading of ancient evidence in order to determine how leading scholars of different eras have presented widely divergent views of Alexander
Top of Page
SRS 200-02 Motahar, E. RethinkingIran: Images and Realities

The 1979-80 Iran hostage crisis, in which Iranian university students held U.S. citizens in captivity for 444 days inside the American embassy in Tehran, has left an indelible mark on U.S.-Iranian relations. In this course we will study the economic, political, cultural, historical, and other factors that have shaped today's Iran. We will take, as our point of departure, one of the most important events in modern Iranian history: The CIA-sponsored coup that overthrew the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953. We will study this event, and the subsequent 25 years of repression and de-democratization, in the context of Iran's anti-colonial struggles and modernization efforts of the previous 150 years or so. This approach will illuminate the genesis of the 1979 revolution, and the hostage crisis, and the evolution of the Islamic Republic since then.

 

The goal is to enable students to contextualize, and thus better understand, current issues such as the role of petroleum and nuclear energy in Iran's political economy and in its relationship with the rest of the world, the role of Islam in Iran, the position of women in society, and related issues. In this journey, students will develop an appreciation of Iran as a complex, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, modern, vibrant society with an ancient history and a rich cultural heritage.

Top of Page
SRS 200-03 Baum, D. Anno Mirabilis: The extraordinary year of 1453.
Within a few months either side of 1453 the French and English concluded Europe's longest war (and England's longest civil war ensued), Constantinople fell to the Turks, Gutenberg invented the printing press, the Portuguese first explored the South Atlantic, Mantegna finished his Paduan fresco cycle, modern diplomacy was born in the Italian town of Lodi, Pope Nicholas V began the restoration of Renaissance Rome, and future historical greats, Leonardo da Vinci, Columbus, Ferdinand, Isabella, and Lorenzo the Magnificent were born. All-in-all, it was a formidable year. This seminar will examine the year 1453 in detail, focusing on its principal personalities and events as a means to understanding the extraordinary sweep of the Renaissance in Europe during the 15th century. Among our readings will be first hand accounts of both the Hundred Years war and the Siege of Constantinople, as well as the scholarly accounts of these events by Jonathan Sumption and Steven Runciman, Elizabeth Eisenstein's Printing Revolution, Vespasiano da Bisticci's Lives of the Artists, and Garrett Mattingly's Renaissance Diplomacy.
Top of Page
SRS 200-04 Foroughi, A. "A People's Contest": Gender and Race in the American Civil War
On the Fourth of July 1861, President Abraham Lincoln characterized the conflict dividing the North and South as "a people's contest" to determine whether the U.S. would have a government "whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men." In the ensuing 140+ years, historians have studied not only how the Civil War tested the country's political principles but also how people on and off of the battlefield -- women and men, enslaved and free, native and foreign born, northern and southern -- experienced and understood their roles in the war. Students in this SRS will pursue research in printed and on-line Civil War diaries, letters, newspapers, and speeches to explore how gender and race were integral to the "people's contest" and its outcome.
Top of Page
SRS 200-05 Meade, T. Cuba and The Cuban Revolution

The focus of the course is the history of Cuba from the 1959 triumph of a revolution led by Fidel Castro and the 26th of July Movement, through the several decade-long period in which Cuba was the site of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, and into the current decades since the end of the Cold War and emergence of Cuba as an influential, non-aligned socialist state. The course will examine changes within Cuba in revolutionary ideology, problems of scarcity and tensions among different sectors of Cuban society, gender and race relations, economic and political relations with the US, Latin America, and the rest of the world.

 

Seminar participants will present at least one oral report in class, based on an assigned reading, will write a research paper based on both primary and secondary sources, and will be expected to participate actively in evaluating the work of their classmates and in revising their own work based on suggestions from others in the class.

Top of Page
SRS 200-06 Keat, W. Impossible Missions Design Teams
This course will explore and exercise the engineering design process as a universal approach for conducting research and designing solutions to tough problems in all fields of endeavor. The philosophical and practical arguments for the universality of the engineering method will be discussed. Student research will be aimed at testing these arguments by contrasting the engineering method with design methods that have evolved in other fields. However the best way to understand any method is to practice it. In this spirit, multi-disciplinary student teams will be confronted with a series of design challenges that will lead up to a culminating project experience.
Top of Page
SRS 200-07 Ghaly, A. Artistic Engineering
Constructed facilities are daily encounters in people's lives. Houses, offices, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, airports, as well as worship, sport, entertainment, and shopping complexes are some of the many examples of structures that people use and expect to perform their functions smoothly. Structures can only perform their functions when their design involves the consideration of all the factors that may closely or remotely affect their intended in-service purpose. Many of these factors are non-engineering in nature but exert a great impact on the final engineered product. Environmental, economical, political, social, budgetary, and climatic factors may significantly impact the design of a structure. History is rich with examples of structures that, in addition to their complex engineering, the wrangling about their construction involved a significant debate about non-engineering issues. Giant structures such as cable bridges, dams, towers, skyscrapers, domes, arches, tunnels, and oil rigs are laden with controversy. Engineering may be a tremendous design undertaking to put together such massive structures, but in reality this is the easy part of it. Because engineers do not operate in a vacuum, and because their conceived technical designs must gain the acceptance of a diverse public and regulatory and financing bodies, they must be receptive to conflicting points of views, and willing to alter their designs to meet many competing criteria. The art of finding a common ground and reaching a compromise regarding hotly contested issues is one of the important attributes designers need to possess.

This course will explore some of the most complicated structures ever built and the engineering and non-engineering challenges that accompanied their planning and construction. After addressing the historical aspect of a given structure, students will use a computer-based platform to virtually build a model of that structure. This process will be similar to solving a jigsaw puzzle. The major highlight of this approach is its hi-tech nature.
Top of Page
SRS 200-08 Cass, A. / Fernandes, C. Designing As If People Mattered
Think about things you use every day: your DVD player. A microwave oven. A restaurant menu. Your iPod. A paper clip. A roadmap. A webpage. These things all have one thing in common -- their designers tried to make them useful. Some succeed. Some don't. This sophomore seminar focuses on good design: how to do it, how to recognize it, and especially how to evaluate alternatives. Using texts such as Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, we'll explore the process of design by drawing on your experience and interest in a wide range of fields. In cross-disciplinary terms, you'll design new usable systems, evaluate systems through hands-on experiments, and present your results in both oral and written form.
Top of Page
Winter 2008
SRS 200-01 Patrik, L. Cyberfeminism

This is an introductory course on contemporary feminist theories that analyze the impact--both pro and con--of digital technology on women. Some of the feminist theories covered in the course promote cyberculture as beneficial, while others challenge technological and biological programs aiming to replace natural humans with cyborgs. Cyberfeminist theories explore our gender identity and personal identity, with specific attention to how women enter cyberspace to express their ideas, to develop connections with other women around the world, to undertake political action through the web, and to create new forms of literature, music and visual art. Some cyberfeminists have even become hackers, promoting revolution through outlaw computer ventures. Drawing upon postmodern theory, communication studies and anthropological theories of human evolution. Cyberfeminism raises philosophical questions about the relation between mind and body, the impact of digital technology on consciousness, and the future of the human species.

 

Four films will be shown and discussed in class: "Hackers"; "eXistenz"; "The Ghost in the Machine"; "Final Fantasy." These films present different images of cyberfeminist heroines--the revolutionary, the programmer, the cyborg, and the cyber-scientist. Combined with the readings, these films will give us an opportunity to discuss specific issues related to women's education, labor, sexuality and mothering.

 

Because the course focuses on digital technology, students will experiment with the possibilities and the drawbacks of this technology. The course will meet in one of the most technologically advanced classrooms on campus; it will be a Blackboard course, with all assignments, course requirements, course policies and communications posted online. Although the writing assignments for this course discuss the reading assignments and require significant, independent library research, instead of the traditional term paper format, the format for presentation of all writing assignments will be digital: students will design a webpage to post the equivalent of a 15-page paper, in 3 stages of drafts; they will debate philosophical issues raised in the reading assignments on blogs; they will experiment with various forms of digital text technologies (e.g., hypertext, TEI, podcasting scripts, etc.). Student webpages and blogs will make creative use of links, graphics, and other digital features available for expression of one's ideas.

Top of Page
SRS 200-02 LaBrake, S. / Vineyard, M. Energy and the Environment
This seminar will focus on understanding the role that energy plays in our environment and the effects that energy production and consumption have on the environment. Topics will include energy consumption, fossil fuels, heat engines, nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, energy conservation, pollution, climate change, and environmental spectroscopy. Readings will include Energy and the Environment by Ristinen and Kraushaar, and current articles on environmental science issues. Students will also perform particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) spectroscopy experiments using the Union College Pelletron particle accelerator to do elemental analyzes of soil, water, and air samples.
Top of Page
SRS 200-03 Spinelli, J. Can you hear me now? The Social and Technical Aspects of Electrical Communication
Until the mid-1800s, the speed of communication was the about same as the speed of the transport of goods; sending someone a message involved moving a letter or a messenger from one place to another. Beginning with the telegraph, and continuing with telephones, radio, email, cell phones and instant messaging, we have developed and become accustomed to the ability to contact each other almost instantaneously, anywhere, and at any time. This course will explore both how this technology works as well as how it has affected our lives and the organization of our society. The technology will be studied in order to understand issues such as why some types of communication are easy or cheap while others are hard or expensive, and why privacy is more of a concern with some types of communication than with others.
Top of Page
SRS 200-04 Cotter, D. Balancing Acts: Gender, Work and Family

The shifts in gender roles, and their repercussions for family life and in the workplace are among the most important changes of recent decades. This course will apply the skills and tools of social science to the investigation of change in gender, work and family. The social sciences in general, and sociology in particular, seek to answer questions about the causes and consequences of social change. They deploy a set of skills and tools (methods) that seek to link ideas (theories) with evidence (data) to investigate those changes. We will examine a series of recent articles by social scientists on the issues of gender, work and family and a short book on research methods in the social sciences.

Top of Page
SRS 200-05 Baum, D. Anno Mirabilis: The extraordinary year of 1453.
Within a few months either side of 1453 the French and English concluded Europe's longest war (and England's longest civil war ensued), Constantinople fell to the Turks, Gutenberg invented the printing press, the Portuguese first explored the South Atlantic, Mantegna finished his Paduan fresco cycle, modern diplomacy was born in the Italian town of Lodi, Pope Nicholas V began the restoration of Renaissance Rome, and future historical greats, Leonardo da Vinci, Columbus, Ferdinand, Isabella, and Lorenzo the Magnificent were born. All-in-all, it was a formidable year. This seminar will examine the year 1453 in detail, focusing on its principal personalities and events as a means to understanding the extraordinary sweep of the Renaissance in Europe during the 15th century. Among our readings will be first hand accounts of both the Hundred Years war and the Siege of Constantinople, as well as the scholarly accounts of these events by Jonathan Sumption and Steven Runciman, Elizabeth Eisenstein's Printing Revolution, Vespasiano da Bisticci's Lives of the Artists, and Garrett Mattingly's Renaissance Diplomacy.
Top of Page
SRS 200-06 Lawson, M. African-American Protest Movements
This course will examine the history of African-American protest movements. Students will learn in rough outline about African-American struggles for freedom from the earliest slave revolts to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. We will examine such struggles as Gabriel's Rebellion (considered perhaps the largest slave conspiracy in Southern history), abolitionism (with a focus on the strategies of David Walker, Martin Delaney, Henry Highland Garnet, and Frederick Douglass), the anti-lynching movement, Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute, W.E.B. DuBois and the Niagara Movement, Marcus Garvey, the Harlem Renaissance, the struggle to integrate sports such as boxing and baseball, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 60's, and the Black Power Movement. Students will write a research paper on the movement of their choice.
Top of Page
SRS 200-07 Madancy, J. Opium, East and West
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, opium was consumed in China, India, Great Britain, and the United States for just about every purpose one could imagine. Virtually everyone took the drug at some point to alleviate medical conditions ranging in severity from unsteady nerves to debilitating pain. Parents regularly gave opium to babies for teething pain, colic, and to get a good night's rest. And yet, within a few decades, attitudes changed dramatically. Even before the twentieth century, opium had become the subject of intense concern on the international level, and legal restrictions had severely curtailed its availability and ruined its benign reputation. In this seminar, students will analyze how opium went from panacea to problem in China, England, India, and the United States, and they will explore several rich primary source collections as they compile evidence for their research papers.
Top of Page
SRS 200-08 Morris, A. Japanese American Internment
This research seminar will focus on the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese citizens in the United States during World War Two. This topic offers the chance to explore a variety of important historical issues with contemporary resonance: the tension between national security and civil liberties during wartime, the impact of racism on the shaping of American wartime policy, ethnic identity and assimilation in the United States, resistance and accommodation by minorities facing discrimination, and the evolution of American attitudes toward past injustices. We will address these issues by examining a wide range of types of primary sources, including government documents, newspapers, legal documents, photographs, camp newsletters, oral histories, and memoirs.
Top of Page
SRS 200-09 Sargent, S. Scottish Witchcraft Trials, 1590-1660

his seminar will examine the phenomenon of witch hunting in Early Modern Europe through a detailed study of several Scottish Witch Trials between 1590 and 1660.? Scotland had no medieval witch trials.? Only after the Reformation, when witchcraft became a secular as well as religious crime, did the trials begin.? Course readings will include a general history of early modern witchcraft, two early treatises on witch hunting (the infamous Hammer of Witches [1486] and James VI?s Demonology), a collection of original documents concerning the so-called North Berwick Witches (1590-93), and trial records from several seventeenth-century cases.? Using these resources, the course will reconstruct the political, social, economic, intellectual, religious, and gender context of the witch trials with the goal of understanding why people were willing to burn their neighbors for crimes they not only did not commit, but could not have committed.?

 

Readings consist of Levack, Brian.? The Witch-hunting Early Modern Europe, Summers, M. (ed.)? The Malleus Maleficarum? (1486), Barstow, Anne.? Witchcraze, Normand, L. & Roberts, and Gareth.? Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland.

Top of Page
SRS 200-10 Walker, M. National Socialism, World War II, and the Holocaust
This seminar will focus on the National Socialist (NS) movement in Germany during the first half of the twentieth century. Topics will include: the rise of the NS movement during the Weimar Republic; the establishment of a dictatorship; the NS goal of a "People's Community; the NS policies of "racial hygiene" and autarky (national self-sufficiency) and their consequences; military expansion and war; genocide; and the postwar "denazification" of Germans. Reading will include primary sources--letters, speeches, reports, film and images from the NS period--and selections from secondary accounts--articles and books written by historians. Students will both interpret the primary sources for themselves, and compare and contrast how various historians have written the history of NS.
Top of Page
SRS 200-11 Wells, R. 'Many' and 'Few' are too Indeterminate Expressions: Counting in History
This seminar focuses on using records susceptible to quantitative analysis to understand research in and analysis of the past. The following are some possible topics, not necessarily in the order they will be discussed: demographic data including censuses and surveys; recurring patterns and the "unique"; inherited or constructed data sets; analyses of literary sources, visual materials and pop culture; strategies of presentation including tables, charts and graphs.
Top of Page
SRS 200-12 Mar, M. Human Rights and Human Wrongs
What are our basic rights as human beings? What do we mean when we say that there are certain universal human rights? Who decides? Can we agree on them? Do we need to? Does it matter? Will it make any difference in reducing the wide-scale abuses of rights? This course will center on the concept of human rights in a global world. We will start by examining the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, the debates that led to its conception, and the debates that continue to surround it. Students will then formulate a research question related to human rights, conduct appropriate research, and write a paper integrating research sources in support of their own argument.
Top of Page
Spring 2008
SRS 200-01 Peterson, B. Colonialism in Africa

This course will explore the history of European colonial rule in Africa from the period of exploration and conquest during the nineteenth century to the era of decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s. The course will explore different interpretations of imperialism and colonialism, through a careful examination of case studies drawn from diverse colonial contexts. Topics will include technology and empire, colonial warfare, colonial occupation and African resistance, colonial government and economics, and religious and cultural change under colonialism. The central questions for the course will be: How and why did Africans lose control over their lands following the wars of conquest? What impact did European colonialism have on Africa? How did colonial states manage to stay in power?

 

The course will be structured as a seminar, which means the focus will be on the discussion of readings. Furthermore, we will spend considerable time focused on student research projects.

Top of Page
SRS 200-02 Brennan, D. Sport and American Identity

Three years after the US Census Department announced that a fixed line demarcating the American frontier could no longer be drawn, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered his famous address, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History." For Turner, the existence of the frontier had defined the rugged independence of the American individual, i.e., self-reliant, optimistic, adaptable, and ingenious. Furthermore, he warned that with the loss of the frontier the nation required a new means of defining American character.

 

Concurrent with this development, the last decades of the nineteenth century witnessed an explosion of interest in sports. Long distained, especially by those who held Victorian values, athletic activity and sports developed during this period into an important institution with a vital social purpose in American life. In particular urban, middle-class men and women envisioned sport as an activity that taught the values fundamental to American identity, the values of a frontier society, the values of the rugged individual, of free enterprise, of community, of adaptability, of creativity, and of success. The intertwining of sport and American identity (whether by class, gender, ethnicity, or race) only deepened during the whole of the 20th century.

 

The linkage of sport to the development of the distinctive traits often associated with American identity can be researched from a variety of perspectives. In addition to the expansion and acceptance of particular sports (perhaps especially professional baseball and college football) as well as the lives of late 19th and 20th century sports heroes and personalities, social reformers, business executives, and political leaders embraced and popularized this relationship.

Top of Page
SRS 200-03 Aslakson, K. Slavery in the Antebellum South
This course will examine slavery in the United States with a focus on the nineteenth century. In the first half of the course students will read some of the classic works on slavery in order to familiarize themselves with how historians have talked about slavery to this point. They will then spend the second half of the course researching and writing a term paper based on primary sources (newspapers, slave narratives, etc.). Specifically, students will be asked to develop a thesis based on this primary research addressing the topic of slave resistance. They are to not only develop an original argument, but also situate this argument within the existing literature on the topic.
Top of Page
SRS 200-04 Feffer, A. 1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism
This class begins with what some consider the most politically important book published in the U. S. after the Second World War, Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique. After reading and discussing the text in its entirety, the class will work historically through Friedan's sources, in the vast "archive" of popular magazines, TV shows, films and advertising of the late 1940s through early 1960s. The class will then read some of the literature that responded to and elaborated on Friedan's argument and comprised the "Second Wave" of American feminism. We will also look at some of the literature from the era critical of Friedan's approach. Research projects will use Life, Time, Ladies Home Journal, House Beautiful and other magazines in Schaffer and Schenectady public library, as well as other cultural artifacts to reassess Freidan's conclusions about the effects, extent and nature of the "feminine mystique." Work will be evaluated in stages -- research design and proposal, outline of paper, first draft and final draft. Assigned texts for the class will include (besides Friedan's) a collection of selections from magazines and women's literature (as preparatory to the process of archival investigation), a book of oral history and memoire on the early years of second wave feminism and a book of feminist writing of the next generation of feminists.
Top of Page
SRS 200-05 McFadden, T. / Fladger, E. Union College and Higher Education in the 19th Century

Union College was among the wave of college foundations after the Revolution. For much of the antebellum period, Union was ranked among the foremost colleges in the United States, along with Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, the College of New Jersey (Princeton), and King's College (Columbia). During this time, higher education in America moved from an exclusive, classical emphasis to a much more democratic and practical orientation (along with the rise of the research university). According to one historian, American colleges, "perhaps more than any other institutions in the 19th century, were dynamic caldrons where the democratic ideals of a new nation were worked out in practice to address the growing needs of a population that was only beginning to understand and give voice to its many constituencies. " This Sophomore Research Seminar will trace the history of Union College within this context, along with the development of higher education in general as a reflection of American culture, using the important primary resource collections of the Union College Special Collections Department. The course will focus on the discovery, interpretation, and evaluation of a variety of kinds of historical evidence-and on reporting the results in written papers and projects.

Top of Page
SRS 200-06 Culbert, P. History of Theater
An investigation of the cultural development of Western theater from its roots in Greece through to contemporary theater practices. Special focus is placed on a review of the works of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Moliere, Ibsen and Brecht. Connections are made between the styles of theater in the Middle Ages, 16th-20th Century Europe and present day productions of historical play scripts through a concentration on the nature of theater-in-performance including the physical development of theater spaces, staging concepts, and the artist-audience relationship.
Top of Page
SRS 200-07 Angrist, M. Islam & Politics

Beginning in the 1970s, Islamist movements emerged in a huge number of Muslim countries. These movements have challenged (sometimes toppling) governments, cared for and mobilized the dispossessed, and, in some cases, bred terrorism - all in the name of effecting their vision of the "right" mix of religion and politics. Why did these movements emerge when they did? What kinds of leaders, goals, and tactics characterize these movements? How have governments responded to them? What do these movements teach us about the relationships between Islam and terrorism? Islam and women? Islam and democracy? What should it all mean for U.S. foreign policy? Seminar students will explore all these issues, and more.

Top of Page
SRS 200-08 Cox, L. Art & Politics of the Modern Era
The relationship between art and politics has a long and rich history from Equestrian portraits of Emperors to revolutionary broadsides. Focusing mainly on the 20th century to the present with a geographic focus on the Americas, this course will explore the theoretical underpinnings which structure both the thinking and practice of art of social conscience. We will broadly consider the 'meaning' of political art in modern and post-modern discourse, the relationship of politics to the creative process and the democratic potential of protest art. Weekly topics will cover specific social movements and causes that have produced and inspired artist from the suffragette movement to feminism and AIDS; visual technologies of persuasion from abolition broadsides to WWII recruitment posters; monuments and memory from the Vietnam War Memorial to Oklahoma City; and public murals painted in Mexico and Los Angeles.
Top of Page
SRS 200-09 Grigsby, J. Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us?

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the US Gulf coast and New Orleans, Louisiana. For weeks after, the popular media framed the almost total failure of institutions to adequately respond to the disaster and raised stark questions about the role of race and class. And, New Orleans' history of 'social problems' were painted in ugly terms. Katrina was a social as well as a natural disaster.

 

Since then, social scientists have been studying the many issues raised by these events and some good studies are now becoming available. In this seminar, we will attempt to unpack the Katrina disaster by examining this research and by doing some of our own. We will use content analysis techniques to examine media representations of the disaster, documenting their key themes. Then we will ask what social science can tell us about the adequacy of these media images: What, after all, is a disaster? How do people usually react to disasters? How do social scientists study such fluid social phenomena? What are the ethics of studying people in crisis situations? How does the existing social structure of a community make it more or less vulnerable to disaster? What issues do relief activities raise? What do we know so far about how these issues played out in New Orleans before, during and after Katrina? Each student will research and write a paper on a specific issue concerning the hurricane's impact.

Top of Page
SRS 200-10 Matsue, J. Gender, Sexuality and Music in Cross-Cultural Comparison
In this course students will critically engage with a selection of writings, which explore the concepts of gender and sexuality in the context of world music, while developing their own writing skills through a series of assignments. Readings will introduce topics in both traditional and popular music from various cultural areas in several different writing styles, ranging from popular journal articles to scholarly work. Students will consider such seminal works as Ellen Koskoff's Women and Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Philip Brett's Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology and Susan McClary's Feminine Ends: Music, Gender, and Sexuality. Additional materials will focus on particular genres, such as Gillian Gaar's She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll, Angela Davis's Blues Legacies and Black Feminism and Robert Walser's Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Writing assignments will also include a variety of styles, such as a concert review, a book review, short essays, and a research paper. Students will thus develop their knowledge of gender and sexuality in music of the world's people while also developing their argumentative skills as writers.
Top of Page
SRS 200-11 Sargent, S. Scottish Witchcraft Trials, 1590-1660

his seminar will examine the phenomenon of witch hunting in Early Modern Europe through a detailed study of several Scottish Witch Trials between 1590 and 1660.? Scotland had no medieval witch trials.? Only after the Reformation, when witchcraft became a secular as well as religious crime, did the trials begin.? Course readings will include a general history of early modern witchcraft, two early treatises on witch hunting (the infamous Hammer of Witches [1486] and James VI?s Demonology), a collection of original documents concerning the so-called North Berwick Witches (1590-93), and trial records from several seventeenth-century cases.? Using these resources, the course will reconstruct the political, social, economic, intellectual, religious, and gender context of the witch trials with the goal of understanding why people were willing to burn their neighbors for crimes they not only did not commit, but could not have committed.?

 

Readings consist of Levack, Brian.? The Witch-hunting Early Modern Europe, Summers, M. (ed.)? The Malleus Maleficarum? (1486), Barstow, Anne.? Witchcraze, Normand, L. & Roberts, and Gareth.? Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland.

Top of Page