The Common Curriculum

Sophomore Research Seminar 2020-2021

Fall 2020

  • The Evolution of Making: The Emergence and Impact of Digital Design and Fabrication | Cole Belmont | TTH 9:00-10:45

    Digital Design and Fabrication tools and technologies have allowed humans to make things in new ways and even to make entirely new things! Digital Design and Fabrication help to shape the world around us and in fact it’s difficult not to see the impacts of these technologies in most aspects of everyday life. Advances in these technologies and tools have also directly enabled advances in a vast array of fields including medicine, geology, astronomy, biology, art, architecture and engineering, just to name a few. In this course Students will research the history and trajectories of Digital Design and Fabrication technologies and the societal and technological impacts they have had and may have in the future.

  • The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence | Professor Bergamaschi-Ganapini | MWF 10:30-11:35 (online)

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving very rapidly and is increasingly becoming essential to many aspects of our lives. This course will ask important philosophical questions about the ethical implications of our evolving AI systems. By the end of the term, students will write one research paper tackling these key questions: Should we build self-driving cars? Can AI systems become moral agents and be held accountable for their actions? Can algorithms be biased or racist? Should our moral principles apply to AI systems and data analytics? Is it permissible to fall in love with robots?

  • Harlots, Heretics, and Hell-Raisers: Badly Behaved Women in the English-Speaking World, 1500 to the Present | Professor Ellis | MWF 10:30-11:35

    In 1976, well-known American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich observed, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Ulrich was writing a scholarly article about funeral sermons eulogizing women in pre-Revolutionary New England. She never intended to coin a female-empowerment catchphrase. Yet, the popular consciousness subsequently has latched onto Ulrich’s statement, or slight variations thereof, and turned it into a feminist slogan that adorns merchandise from bumper stickers to T-shirts, coffee mugs to tote bags, and beyond.

    In this research seminar, we will investigate how women who challenged tradition and authority made history. We will look at various examples of “badly” behaved women in the English-speaking world, 1500 to the present. These include seventeenth-century English witchcraft accuser Anne Gunter, eighteenth-century Irish-American pirate Anne Bonny, and twentieth-century American Civil Rights protestor Anne Moody: three women connected by little but their shared first name and the outraged response, justified or not, that their refusal to be “good” elicited. We will consider, for example, some of the prevailing expectations for women’s behavior over the centuries, the consequences for failing to live up to those cultural norms, and how both have (and have not) changed over the centuries. In sum, we will examine at how badly behaved women continue to infuriate, intrigue, and even inspire us.

  • Arts and Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them | Professor Henseler | TTH 9:00-10:45 (online)

    “Don’t leave college without the arts and humanities.” This is not the advice most-often heard among college students. We all know not to leave college without a plan, a skill-set, a career path, but without the arts and humanities? Why not? This class explores the transformative value of the arts and humanities to your education and to contemporary society. Students in this class will reflect on the role of the arts and humanities in their own lives and careers and in partnership with other disciplines and professional fields. They will get to conduct research on a topic of their choice that explores how artistic and humanistic learnings are transforming the way we think, live, and work in surprising and exciting new ways.

  • Energy and the Environment | Professor LaBrake | MWF 10:30-11:35

    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.

  • African American Protest | Professor Lawson | MWF 10:30-11:35 (online)

    This course will examine the history of African-American protest in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will examine such topics as 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 Great Migration, the struggle to integrate sports such as boxing and baseball, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, the Black Power Movement, and the struggle for reparations. Students will write a research paper on the 20th or 21st century struggle or movement of their choice.

  • Heaven on Earth: the material culture of Christianity | Professor Matthew | TTH 9:00-10:45 (online)

    For all of its attention to the heavenly and the spiritual, Christianity was profoundly engaged with life on earth – from the physical bodies of saints and their burial sites to monks in stone huts on the coast of Ireland to crusading knights on the battlefields of the Middle East. We will be studying the variety of objects made and structures built during 1000 years of Christian history in Western Europe and the “Holy Land”. Your research will be based on an object of your choice from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum. Your object will be the focus of your research throughout the term. You will examine different aspects of the object as the course progresses , including, for example, materials and techniques, geographical and cultural affiliations, including possible ties to non-Christian cultures, relationships to Christian ritual and belief, and the meanings of imagery – all of which will be synthesized in the final paper. Each week we will engage with an aspect of the research and writing process, from choosing a topic, to bibliographical research, creating topic statements and outlines, creating notes and bibliographies, and writing draft papers.

  • Colonialism in Africa | Professor Peterson | MWF 10:30-11:35 (online)

    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. 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.

  • Food for Thought | Professor Singy | TTH 9:00-10:45

    Whether we eat to live or live to eat, food is at the center of our lives. Our ordinary days are punctuated by meals and snacks and we feast or fast on holy days. And yet, we rarely give food the serious thought it deserves. For the most part, we chow down like automata, guided at best by our taste buds, traditions, medical fears, or desired body image. Using the tools of both history and philosophy, this research seminar will examine critically a few of the many issues related to food.

  • Navigating Maps | Professor Tennant | TTH 9:00-10:45 (online)

    Maps enable us to not only represent information about the world around us, but also to orient, navigate, conceal, persuade, and lie. From the earliest navigational aids to modern GPS apps and devices, maps have helped chronicle human history and serve as a vital primary source for researchers. This course will explore how we use maps, how maps are made, and how maps can reveal far more than what is represented on their surface. We will investigate historic maps, including those held in Union College’s Special Collections, and we will see how maps are employed by a variety of disciplines and industries in numerous ways. In the process, you will develop and practice critical research skills, including developing and original research topic, identifying relevant print and digital resources, and composing an evidence-based argument.

  • Neanderthals | Professor M. Walker | MWF 10:30-11:35 (online)

    The Neanderthals were a type of human, indeed the one closest, but not quite the same as Homo sapiens, modern humans. In a real sense, they represent the “other” and have functioned as a sort of mirror, reflecting our humanity back at us. The study of Neanderthals includes the fields of archaeology and anthropology (fossils, artifacts), art (both by early humans, and modern representations of them), biology (genes and DNA), geology (putting fossils and artifacts in geological/historical context), literature (in particular, science fiction), physics (radioactive dating), and prehistory. Students are welcome to do a research project in any of these fields, and will start out with a basic research question: what does [the subject of their project] tell us about Neanderthals and/or about our perceptions of them? There is a historical current underlying almost all of these fields, because they have roots well back into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and have changed profoundly over time. Readings will include scientific papers, science fiction, visual art, and historical texts.

Winter 2021

  • Gender Trouble at the Movies | Professor Chilcoat

    Hollywood overwhelmingly creates, reinforces, and promotes “hetero-normativity,” meaning films with storylines made for central characters who are usually white; display biology-appropriate gender; have “opposite sex” relationships only. Our job is to become skilled in identifying the specific cinematic elements a filmmaker puts into their film to communicate “hetero-normativity” to viewers. We learn why this skill is so valuable as we go along. To accomplish our goal, we focus on a selection of French thrillers, dramas & comedies, plus some US remakes, from the 1960s to now. I divide the course into three sections: Part 1 centers on the “male gaze,” a key concept in film theory thought to unite director, actor and spectator (all male) in the construction of “femininity” as pure surface, “only-to-be-looked-at”; Part 2 analyses how masculinity and homosexuality are made to come together to preserve the traditional family order; and Part 3 looks at gender nonconforming children in main protagonist roles, whose very presence forces conventional heterosexuality “out of the closet” and into the light of reason—where it doesn’t quite hold up. After each section, using a group of films, and informed by interdisciplinary readings in film analysis, queer theory, anthropology, psychoanalysis, masculinity studies, and trans studies, among others, students learn to develop their writing with three 5-6 page “critical film analysis” essays (plus three rewrites), a form of scholarship combining cinematic context (i.e., historical, ideological, social, cultural, etc.) with close film analysis.

  • 1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism | Professor Feffer

    This class begins with Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, considered by some the most politically consequential book published in the U.S. after the Second World War. 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 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) selections from magazines and women's literature (as preparatory to the process of archival investigation) and other texts from the period.

  • The American Civil War Era: "A People's Contest" | Professor Foroughi

    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 160 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, soldier and citizen, 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, speeches, and images to explore how gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and geographic location were integral to the "people's contest" and its outcome.

  • Knowledge and Reality | Professor Friedell

    This course will introduce students to investigations into both the nature of reality and our ability to have knowledge. We will address a wide range of questions on these topics. What is knowledge? Do we really know anything? Can beliefs harm people, or only actions? How can we know if we are in an echo chamber? Does God exist? Do we have free will? What does it mean to say that races and genders are socially constructed? What is the nature of personal identity?

  • The Vikings | Professor Grayburn

    From a young age, we learn that the Vikings are the arch-villains of medieval Europe, that they were a plague that swept down from Scandinavia to destroy Christian villages and monasteries. In popular culture, Vikings are instantly recognizable as warrior men, complete with blonde hair, beards, and horned-helmets. But who were the Vikings really? Did they, as we think we know them, even exist in the Middle Ages? Do their art and records tell us another story? This course will follow the Vikings as they journeyed from North America to Russia, exploring the adaptability, creativity, and diversity of these long-denounced villains. Along the way, we will grapple with many controversies of the Viking Age, including the possibility of female warriors and the forgery of Viking discoveries in North America. In the process, you will practice critical research skills, including the development of a Vikings-related research topic, identification of relevant print and digital resources, and composition of an evidence-based argument.

  • Arts and Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them | Professor Henseler

    “Don’t leave college without the arts and humanities.” This is not the advice most-often heard among college students. We all know not to leave college without a plan, a skill-set, a career path, but without the arts and humanities? Why not? This class explores the transformative value of the arts and humanities to your education and to contemporary society. Students in this class will reflect on the role of the arts and humanities in their own lives and careers and in partnership with other disciplines and professional fields. They will get to conduct research on a topic of their choice that explores how artistic and humanistic learnings are transforming the way we think, live, and work in surprising and exciting new ways.

  • Your Writing Life | Joseph Johnson

    This seminar is an opportunity to reflect upon our life as writers, and enhance our ability to talk with others about their writing. We'll think deeply about HOW we write and WHY, and we'll spend significant time sharing our writing and writing practices. Students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary field of writing studies, which is founded upon the idea that writing is not just something we do—it's something we can research, study, and learn more about. To this end, students will choose a key concept from the field of writing studies, and compose a final research paper that explores how the concept relates their own writing life.

    If you're a writer—or if you just want to learn something about writing—this course is for you!

  • Love and Revolution in the Latin American Cold War | Professor McGrath

    In 1953, a young Fidel Castro delivered a four-hour speech entitled, “History Will Absolve Me,” defending his vision of revolutionary Cuba to an unsympathetic, and soon-to-be overthrown government. This class is your chance to decide if he was right. Between 1946 and 1989, the global Cold War was very hot on the ground in Latin America, erupting into violent struggles between competing visions of the future. The Latin American Cold War featured not just guerrillas fighting against military dictatorships and communists fighting capitalists, but the growth of new social movements of women, young people, LGBT activists, indigenous communities, and Afro-Latin Americans struggling to gain rights and defend their communities. In this class we will learn how to find and amplify their stories by asking good research questions, collecting and reading primary sources, applying different research methods to different kinds of archives, and following your investigative impulses. As you complete your own 12-18 page research paper on a topic of your choice, we will explore how to effectively communicate findings and support arguments with persuasive evidence in written, visual and oral form.

  • The Incarceration of Japanese-Americans During WW II | Professor Morris

    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.

  • Rethinking Iran: Images and Realities | Professor Motahar

    The 1979-80 Iran hostage crisis, in which some 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. We will also study the watershed June 12, 2009 presidential election and its aftermath, and the recent agreement between Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany. 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 highly complex, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, modern, vibrant society with an ancient history and a rich cultural heritage.

  • New Worlds: Revolutionary Discoveries of Moons, Planets, and Solar Systems | Professor Wilkin

    This course gives an introduction to research and writing on scientific and science-related historical topics, built upon the exciting discoveries of new worlds: moons, planets and asteroids in our solar system, and other solar systems. No background in math or science is assumed beyond a high school education, but students are expected to immerse themselves in the discoveries and discovery techniques, resulting in a broad understanding of our solar system and other solar systems. This is a seminar and students will be expected to participate in discussion of assigned readings, as well as to lead the discussion on a topic of their choosing from an extended list provided by the instructor. The final outcome of the course will be a term paper examining the chosen topic.

Spring 2021

  • Slavery in the United States | Professor Aslakson

    The topic of this course is Slavery in the United States, but its primary objective is to teach you to become fully versatile in conducting research and fully competent in writing long research papers. In the first few weeks of the course you will become familiar with the issues and debates that have driven the scholarship on American slavery. This will provide the necessary context for you to conduct primary source research on the topic. The course will then turn its attention to research and writing. To this end, you will be responsible for a research project which defines a topic related to Slavery in the United States, locates sources, analyzes these sources in an appropriate way, and presents the results in an accessible fashion.

  • Global Discontent(s) in the 21st Century | Professor Bouhet

    From public opinion to street protest to rioting, how do people express their discontent individually and collectively to demand change? What makes individuals voice their opinions in ways other than conventional political actions? While the traditional street protest still exists in a globalized 21st century – with movements such as Occupy or the Women’s March- social voices of discontent have found ways to reinvent themselves with the rise of technologies and instant media access as the #MeToo movement illustrates. This seminar examines the state of discontent at a global scale across cultures. From the local to the national to the global, to what extent do movements inspire each other and resonate? Moreover, this SRS will assess the elements and circumstances at the roots of discontent. Through specific examples of movements and protests around the globe (French riots of 2005, Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, to name a few), we will consider the correlation between cultural diversity and global trends to question what determines and defines this young century. At the end of the term, students will write and submit a research paper (12-18 pages, double spaced) demonstrating skills in research, analysis, critical thinking, coherence, persuasion, and academic writing conventions.

  • Harlots, Heretics, and Hell-Raisers: Badly Behaved Women in the English-Speaking World, 1500 to the Present | Professor Ellis

    In 1976, well-known American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich observed, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Ulrich was writing a scholarly article about funeral sermons eulogizing women in pre-Revolutionary New England. She never intended to coin a female-empowerment catchphrase. Yet, the popular consciousness subsequently has latched onto Ulrich’s statement, or slight variations thereof, and turned it into a feminist slogan that adorns merchandise from bumper stickers to T-shirts, coffee mugs to tote bags, and beyond.

    In this research seminar, we will investigate how women who challenged tradition and authority made history. We will look at various examples of “badly” behaved women in the English-speaking world, 1500 to the present. These include seventeenth-century English witchcraft accuser Anne Gunter, eighteenth-century Irish-American pirate Anne Bonny, and twentieth-century American Civil Rights protestor Anne Moody: three women connected by little but their shared first name and the outraged response, justified or not, that their refusal to be “good” elicited. We will consider, for example, some of the prevailing expectations for women’s behavior over the centuries, the consequences for failing to live up to those cultural norms, and how both have (and have not) changed over the centuries. In sum, we will examine at how badly behaved women continue to infuriate, intrigue, and even inspire us.

  • The "Wild West": From Frontier to Empire | Professor Foroughi

    "During its first century, the United States transformed itself from an embattled new nation to an imperial power extending "from sea to shining sea." In "The Wild West," students will explore how the frontier ideal, "manifest destiny" and imperialism shaped Americans’ conceptions of themselves, their nation, and "others" during the nineteenth century. This includes examining policies and practices intended to facilitate the pursuit of economic success, to extend law and land systems, and to transplant "American" values – all of which would cause incalculable losses for American Indians across the continent. Topics might include: western exploration, reform movements, Indian Territory, the Oregon Trail, slavery, the U.S.-Mexican War, gold rushes, prostitution, immigrants, the Plains Wars, cowboys and cattle drives, railroads, and/or US imperialism in the Caribbean and Pacific.

  • Jewish Graphic Novels | Professor Lewin

    Jewish Graphic Novels is a course with a specific focus: reading graphic novels on “Jewish” subjects, learning critical analysis and writing a research paper employing at least one Jewish graphic text as part of your research. As a group we will investigate the creation of the genre “graphic novel”, learn about its terminology and visual and textual logic and how and why it became associated with Jews and Jewish issues. The graphic novel offers a special combination of narrative devices and unusual rewards for its readers that this course will help us to appreciate and to articulate orally and textually. In addition to a final paper, we will also present our findings publically in a poster session at Union. You will strive to improve your reading and writing skills and to understand what it means to write analytically in general and to make an argument about graphic literature in particular. Please elect this course if you have a particular interest in researching the combination of word and image. This course is not designed for those who simply want “less reading” or who are “Spiderman/Marvel/DC” fans — graphic narrative involves new ways of reading and new types of heroes/anti-heroes.

  • Bourgeois Virtues and Growth | Professor Lewis

    In her 2010 book Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (one of a three-part trilogy on "bourgeois virtues"), distinguished scholar Deirdre McCloskey offers an unusual and controversial view of why we have had large changes in the standard of living since 1800 in much of the world: "A big change in the common opinion about markets and innovation, I claim, caused the Industrial Revolution, and then the modern world." Countries in northwestern Europe, she says, "began talking about the middle class, high or low—the 'bourgeoisie'—as though it were dignified and free. The result was modern economic growth." I eagerly seek students from a variety of disciplines and with diverse opinions for this class: McCloskey's aim is "engaging the educated reader," which you are already at least starting to be! We will spend time understanding basic arguments in the book and abundant topics for research papers will cover everything from the humanities to engineering.

  • Music and the Holocaust | Professor Liu

    This seminar views multiple aspects of the Holocaust through the lens of music. The period beginning in 1933 in which many musicians were gradually dismissed from orchestras and mainstream musical life in Europe is a rich subject of musical study. Music played a variety of roles ranging from bringing comfort to victims to providing material for Nazi propaganda videos. The diverse roles that music played in the lives of the victims of the Holocaust will be examined during the time stretching from the rise of the Third Reich to 1945, with a special emphasis on the organized events of the Jüdischer Kulterbund, Eastern Ghettos, and Concentration Camps. The ability to read music notation is not a prerequisite for this course.

  • Media Critique | Professor Mafi

    Most people agree that the media play an increasingly important role in the management of public opinion and perception. A Gallup’s study shows that “Americans' Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low”. The mainstream mass media have been problematic when it comes to informing people about important issues. People who rely on the mainstream mass media, as the only source of information, are at a disadvantage when it comes to important issues that affect their lives, rights, health, and pocketbooks, while they are kept busy with trivial issues.

    In this course, the students will learn how to become critical thinkers who can intelligently analyze the effects of ownership, consolidation, advertisement, advertisers, special interest groups, logical 1-Fallacies, and other aspects of the media trade. They will become better informed citizens that won’t be easily bamboozled by the mainstream mass media sound bites. They can defend or refute a claim by logical arguments and can support the reasons for their claims with evidence.

  • Heaven on Earth: the material culture of Christianity | Professor Matthew

    For all of its attention to the heavenly and the spiritual, Christianity was profoundly engaged with life on earth – from the physical bodies of saints and their burial sites to monks in stone huts on the coast of Ireland to crusading knights on the battlefields of the Middle East. We will be studying the variety of objects made and structures built during 1000 years of Christian history in Western Europe and the “Holy Land”. Your research will be based on an object of your choice from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum. Your object will be the focus of your research throughout the term. You will examine different aspects of the object as the course progresses , including, for example, materials and techniques, geographical and cultural affiliations, including possible ties to non-Christian cultures, relationships to Christian ritual and belief, and the meanings of imagery – all of which will be synthesized in the final paper. Each week we will engage with an aspect of the research and writing process, from choosing a topic, to bibliographical research, creating topic statements and outlines, creating notes and bibliographies, and writing draft papers.

  • Theories of Human Nature | Professor Wegter-McNelly

    Theories of Human Nature is a seminar addressing some big questions that have occupied religious thinkers, philosophers, writers, and scientists over hundreds (well, thousands, really) of years. Discussion of ‘human nature’ touches on questions such as: What does it mean to be ‘human’? Are there certain capacities that only human beings have and that are common to all humans? (Suggestions such as: rationality; a ‘soul’; the propensity to relate to the divine; and more generally the question of whether humans are only an animal species or more than animals.) Do human beings have a purpose, and does human life (and society) have a goal? Are understandings of human nature socially constructed? How does one go about answering a question such as ‘what is human nature?’

    The seminar reviews a variety of theories on the topic of ‘human nature’ selected from various religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism) and from ancient, early modern and modern European philosophical and scientific perspectives (Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Sartre, as well as recent neuroscience and feminist approaches). Students will develop their own research topic and situate it in the broader conversation about human nature.