Sophomore Research Seminar: 2008-2009

Fall 2008

SRS 200-01

Cass, A.

Designing as if People Mattered

SRS 200-02

Feffer, A.

1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism

SRS 200-03

Foroughi, A.

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

SRS 200-04

Ghaly, A.

Artistic Engineering

SRS 200-05

Hodgson, D.

Innovation at Union

SRS 200-06

Lawson, M.

African-American Protest Movements

SRS 200-07

Madancy, J.

Opium, East and West

SRS 200-08

Morris, A.

Japanese Internment Camps

SRS 200-09

Motahar, E.

Rethinking Iran: Images and Realities

SRS 200-10

Newman, J.

The Big Picture: From Particle Physics to the Universe

SRS 200-11

Patrik, L.

Technology, Mind and Media

SRS 200-12

Peterson, B.

Colonialism in Africa

Winter 2009

SRS 200-01

Brennan, D.

19th Century Blogs: The Partisan Press and the Shaping of American Democracy

SRS 200-02

Cotter, D.

Balancing Acts: Gender, Work and Family

SRS 200-03

Cramsie, J.

Britain Meets the World 1500-1800

SRS 200-04

Culbert, P.

History of Theater

SRS 200-05

Gottesman, A.

Law and Society in Ancient Athens

SRS 200-06

Paik, S.

Caste and Gender in South Asia

SRS 200-07

Patrik, L.

Technology, Mind and Media

SRS 200-08

Walker, M.

National Socialism, World War II, and the Holocaust

SRS 200-09

Wells, R.

Salem Witchcraft: 1692

Spring 2009

SRS 200-01

Angrist, M.

Islam and Politics

SRS 200-02

Aslakson, K.

Slavery in the Antebellum South

SRS 200-03

Brennan, D.

Sport and American Identity

SRS 200-04

Cramsie, J.

Britain Meets the World 1500-1800

SRS 200-05

Grigsby, J.

'Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us?

SRS 200-06

Henseler, C.

Generation X Worldwide: Tales of Accelerated Cultures

SRS 200-07

Kennedy, R.

Politics, Civil War and the Fall of the Roman Republic

SRS 200-08

Lewis, B.

The Automobile in American Culture

SRS 200-09

McFadden, T./Fladger, E.

Union College and Higher Education in the 19th Century

SRS 200-10

Meade, T.

Cuba and the Cuban Revolution


Course Descriptions

Fall 2008

SRS 200-01

Cass, A.

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.

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SRS 200-02

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.

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SRS 200-03

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.

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SRS 200-04

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.

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SRS 200-05

Hodgson, D.

Innovation at Union

Since it's founding in 1795 Union College has been the home of many creative and inventive professors and students. In this course students will conduct research on Union innovators and their innovations. In the first part of the course students will investigate how different disciplines define innovation, what characteristics innovators typically share, and what conditions are necessary to stimulate innovation. Students will then work in teams to identify major innovations that have come from the Union community and how these innovations have affected the rest of the world. In the second half of the term each student will pick one innovation and/or one innovator as the subject of his or her research paper.

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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.

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SRS 200-07

Madancy, J.

Opium, East and West

At the beginning of the 19th 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 20th 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.

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SRS 200-08

Morris, A.

Japanese Internment Camps

This research seminar will focus on the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese citizens in the United States during World War II. 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.

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SRS 200-09

Motahar, E.

Rethinking Iran: 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.

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SRS 200-10

Newman, J.

The Big Picture: From Particle Physics to the Universe

This seminar will focus on three of the most exciting and compelling areas of modern science: quantum mechanics of the nanoworld, relativity, and our ideas on the nature of the universe. Readings will include popular books by some of the major players in these areas: Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, and Stephen Hawking, among others. In each area we will discuss the major scientific and philosophical ideas as well as some of their historical context. The scientific ideas include the ultimate quantum mechanical description of matter, the meaning of time and space, the content (including black holes, dark matter and energy), size, age, and future of the universe, and the recent connections between cosmology and particle physics.

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SRS 200-11

Patrik, L.

Technology, Mind and Media

This research seminar investigates how technology can change the human body and mind by surrounding us with a digitized, multimedia culture -- a cyberculture. Specific issues related to the impact of technology on human knowledge, on the modes of communication and on human relationships will be debated to bring out the controversial aspects of our high tech future.

Because the seminar focuses on technology, it will make use of the college's digital technology resource -- specifically, a computerized classroom, online scholarly resources, and hypertext writing software. Our seminar meets in one of the most technologically advanced classrooms on campus, allowing us to view websites, videos and blogs while in class. We will also be posting all student research and writing onto a class blog for viewing by all members of the class. Instead of writing traditional academic papers on paper, students will be writing their term papers as hypertext, using special software that opens windows and creates links, resulting in multiple reading pathways through the term paper and a more complex scholarly structure. These hypertext term papers can also make creative use of graphics, videos, audio files and other computer features available for expression of one's ideas. The hypertext term paper will be structured as a philosophical argument, written in three drafts, that is posted online for other students to read and critique.

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SRS 200-12

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 19th 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.

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Winter 2009

SRS 200-01 Brennan, D. 19th Century Blogs: The Partisan Press and the Shaping of American Democracy
By the beginning of the 19th century, the partisanship of the first political party system undermined 18th century support for newspaper impartiality and neutrality. Editors and publishers increasingly saw themselves and their newspapers as more than auxiliaries to the political leadership of the �natural aristocracy� and successfully redefined the meaning of the �free press� guarantee of the First Amendment. By the election of Andrew Jackson, these editors had re-defined the meaning of democracy and contributed significantly to the creation of the United States� modern political party system.
Not unlike the way in which the energy and technology of today has created a variety of �blogs� reflecting the broad spectrum of political debate, early 19th century energy and technology employed a strident and partisan political press to re-shape American democracy. In addition, this modern phenomenon may once again shift our understanding of �freedom of the press� � a consequence which could have serious long-term implications for democracy.

In this course, students will examine these changes through course readings on the origins of the modern understanding of �free press� concepts and the democratization generally associated with the Age of Jackson. Using primary sources available both physically and electronically (especially newspapers, collections of letters, and diaries), each student will construct a research project that will examine a particular personality or aspect of this definitive period of American democratic transformation.
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SRS 200-02 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.
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SRS 200-03 Cramsie, J. Britain Meets the World 1500-1800
Historians have long recognized that the peoples of Britain had a massive curiosity about the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In some cases the curiosity was just that, simple curiosity. At other times curiosity served the interests of commerce, conquest, and colonization -- in other words, curiosity was central to the creation and expansion of the British Empire. In all of these cases, British writers produced a fascinating and diverse array of books describing the peoples whom they encountered. Students in this seminar will study books within the genre of "discovery literature" printed between 1500 and 1800. Students will analyze the authors, interrogate how their works constructed non-Europeans, and assess the impact of those works on British perceptions of and relationships with peoples around the globe.
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SRS 200-04 Culbert, P. History of Theater
An investigation of the cultural development of Western theatre from its roots in Greece through to contemporary theater practices. Special focus is placed on research and review of the works of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni, Congreve, 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 research on the nature of theatre-in-performance including the physical development of theatre spaces, staging concepts, and the artist-audience relationship.
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SRS 200-05 Gottesman, A. Law and Society in Ancient Athens
Does a man who catches a man in bed with his wife have the right to kill him? When does a creditor have the right to enter his debtor's house and seize his property? Should a man who fled his city at a time of war be considered a traitor? These are some of the questions Athenian juries were asked to decide--without the benefit of trained lawyers and judges. Many law court speeches survive from ancient Athens, and they can teach us much about Athenian values and society. Students will learn to analyze these rich primary sources, and will use them, along with select secondary literature, to research the society that created them.
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SRS 200-06 Paik, S. Caste and Gender in South Asia
This course examines caste and gender as an important lens for understanding the transformations of intimate life and political culture in colonial and post-colonial India. Topics include: conjugality; popular culture; violence; sex and the state; and the politics of untouchability. This course draws on the experiences of life and thought of caste subalterns to explore the challenges to cast exploitation and inequality in modern India. Students will read about physical, social, religious, and political limitations on female freedom and also analyze personal accounts to determine subaltern women's triumph.
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SRS 200-07 Patrik, L. Technology, Mind and Media
This research seminar investigates how technology can change the human body and mind by surrounding us with a digitized, multimedia culture -- a cyberculture. Specific issues related to the impact of technology on human knowledge, on the modes of communication and on human relationships will be debated to bring out the controversial aspects of our high tech future.

Because the seminar focuses on technology, it will make use of the college's digital technology resource -- specifically, a computerized classroom, online scholarly resources, and hypertext writing software. Our seminar meets in one of the most technologically advanced classrooms on campus, allowing us to view websites, videos and blogs while in class. We will also be posting all student research and writing onto a class blog for viewing by all members of the class. Instead of writing traditional academic papers on paper, students will be writing their term papers as hypertext, using special software that opens windows and creates links, resulting in multiple reading pathways through the term paper and a more complex scholarly structure. These hypertext term papers can also make creative use of graphics, videos, audio files and other computer features available for expression of one's ideas. The hypertext term paper will be structured as a philosophical argument, written in three drafts, that is posted online for other students to read and critique.
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SRS 200-08 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 20th 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.
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SRS 200-09 Wells, R. Salem Witchcraft: 1692
In 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, 19 people were hung and one man was pressed to death under a pile of stones, all accused, and some convicted, of practicing witchcraft. We will examine a number of interpretations offered by scholars in the past about what happened at Salem and why. Research projects will make use of a variety of sources either to test these explanations or to offer some new approach to the complexities of the topic.
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Spring 2009

SRS 200-01 Angrist, M. Islam and 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 democracy? In addition to these topics, we will also explore key transnational Islamist movements (e.g., al Qaeda).
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SRS 200-02 Aslakson, K. Slavery in the Antebellum South
This course will examine slavery in the United States with a focus on the 19th 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.
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SRS 200-03 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 19th 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.
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SRS 200-04 Cramsie, J. Britain Meets the World 1500-1800
Historians have long recognized that the peoples of Britain had a massive curiosity about the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In some cases the curiosity was just that, simple curiosity. At other times curiosity served the interests of commerce, conquest, and colonization -- in other words, curiosity was central to the creation and expansion of the British Empire. In all of these cases, British writers produced a fascinating and diverse array of books describing the peoples whom they encountered. Students in this seminar will study books within the genre of "discovery literature" printed between 1500 and 1800. Students will analyze the authors, interrogate how their works constructed non-Europeans, and assess the impact of those works on British perceptions of and relationships with peoples around the globe.
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SRS 200-05 Grigsby, J. Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us?
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. 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.
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SRS 200-06 Henseler, C. Generation X Worldwide: Tales of Accelerated Cultures
In this course we will examine the production of 1990s Generation X literature worldwide. We will begin the course by gaining an understanding of the meaning of “Generation X” since the US post-war period and its various cultural manifestations in the 1990s, from the outcries of the punk-grunge band Nirvana to the pronouncements of Douglas Coupland’s characters in Generation X: Tales of An Accelerated Culture. We will examine how the axis of the “GenX” philosophy plays itself out in a variety of countries, in narrative as well as in film. We will read Coupland’s Generation X, Less Than Zero by North American “brat-pack” writer Bret Easton Ellis, My Brother’s Gun by Spaniard Ray Loriga, and we will view a variety of GenX films from countries like the US, Spain, Mexico, Iceland, and Germany. Each student will also entertain a research project a novel from a select country from around the world. Most importantly, in this course we will cultivate skills of critical and creative thinking, clear and focused writing, convincing argumentation, and a high level of collaborative work and intense individual research.
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SRS 200-07 Kennedy, R. Politics, Civil War and the Fall of the Roman Republic
HBO�s Rome has introduced many students to the complex issues involving the last days of Rome�s Republic -- political intrigues, military expansion, personal animosities and all types of corruption. Figures like Caesar, Pompey, Cicero, Marc Antony and Cleopatra walked the world stage and changed the course of history with a single act. But how accurate is Rome? The last decades of the Roman Republic are some of the most wealthily documented from the ancient world. From the period itself we have histories, private letters, political pamphlets, speeches, great works of literature and political philosophies. How historians make use of this material, however, is not always clear. All of the sources have political and personal biases and any histories we construct using them must be aware of these biases. But more often than not, the use we make of the ancient sources depends on our own biases and desires. When HBO reconstructs ancient Rome, it does so to entertain and accuracy is sometimes an unwelcome bedfellow. The task of the ancient historian, then, is to learn to distinguish not only ancient biases but our own.

This course will introduce students to the tasks of the ancient historian in reconstructing and debating the major issues that contributed to the end of the Roman Republic through a study of a wide variety of source material. Students will read historical accounts by contemporary figures like Caesar and Sallust, political speeches and letters by Cicero as well as later interpretations of the Civil Wars and its participants by Lucan and Plutarch along side of modern scholarship. Our goals will include learning how to think critically about each source and how to integrate different types of source material into thinking and writing about the complicated and fascinating history of the Roman Republic.
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SRS 200-08 Lewis, B. The Automobile in American Culture
Arguably no people in the world are more in love with their cars than Americans. Certainly no country's real estate, livelihood, and life have been more reshaped by the automobile than those of the United States, in the course of little more than a century. Our seminar will consider when, how, and why the automobile came to so dominate our society and examine a few critiques of that dominance. Because the ascendance of the automobile affected so many aspects of American society, common readings and class discussions will use highly varied readings to cover highly varied topics -- the changing science and engineering of cars, the economics of the industry, the rise of mass production and later niche marketing, design and aesthetics, the reshaping of urban and rural landscapes and life, the changing politics of transportation, the rise of General Motors and other large companies, views of the auto by its critics and by mainstream media, and others. Each student will start from these readings and work with the instructor to find a topic for which the 12-18 page research paper is feasible and relevant. Each student will make a brief report on his or her topic around the fourth week of the term and lead a discussion in class based on the first complete draft of the paper sometime during the last three weeks.
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SRS 200-09 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.
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SRS 200-10 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.
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