2013-14 Sophomore Research Seminar Student Preference Survey

  1.   Slavery in the United States

  2.   Mind and Reality

  3.   Imagining the Nation(s): Irish Culture from 1880 to 1922

  4.   Sport and American Identity

  5.   Research Ethics

  6.   Identity and Security in a Technological World

  7.   Music and War: The Link Between Music and Military Conflict from the Middle Ages to Present Day

  8.   Elizabeth I in Her Own Words

  9.   Harlots, Heretics, and Hell-Raisers: Badly Behaved Women in the English-Speaking World, 1500 to the Present

10.   1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism

11.   Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class in the American Civil War Era

12.   The United States and the Post-World War II Economy

13.   Understanding Financial and Economic Crises

14.   'Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us

15.   Europe’s Progress, Problems, Prospects

16.   African-American Protest Movements

17.   Jewish Graphic Novels

18.   Art in Ritual Context

19.   Socialisms

20.   The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII

21.   Time: Changer of Seasons

22.   Colonialism in Africa

23.   Cognition in the Wild

24.   Ethics of Anger, Revenge, and Forgiveness

25.   The Emergence of Sexuality

26.   Witches, Harlots, Saints: Gender, Sexuality and the Body in Late Ancient Religions

27.   Democracy Ancient and Modern

28.   Alexander the Great: Use and Abuse of History 

29.   Nazism


1.  Slavery in the United States (Prof. Ken 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.

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2.  Mind and Realty (Prof. David Barnett)

How do you know that reality really is the way it subjectively appears to you? How do you know that the way the color green looks to you is the way that it looks to other people? Do animals have minds?  Could computers or robots have minds someday?  Could we survive the death of our bodies and brains? What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? In this advanced survey of epistemology and the philosophy of mind, we will address these and other questions about the subjective experiences internal to our own minds and their relationship to the external world.

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3.  Imagining the Nation(s): Irish Culture from 1880 to 1922 (Prof. Claire Bracken)

Imagining the Nation will focus on the historical period of 1880 to1922 in Ireland. This is a time of extraordinary cultural change, which saw the country move from colonization to revolution to independence to civil war. In the course we will engage in a sustained analysis of this crucially important era through an analysis of a variety of historical, literary and cultural texts. These texts will include political speeches, newspaper articles, popular advertisements, documents about cultural institutions (such as the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Gaelic League), in addition to poetry, drama, fiction, and film. The dominant preoccupation during this time period is with the imagining of the concept of the nation, and we will explore this in terms of its variety and diversity, balancing the more official versions of a romanticized, traditional Irish identity with alternative and counter imaginings, particularly as they are refracted through the variables of gender, race, sexuality and class.

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4.  Sport and American Identity (Prof. Denis Brennan)

Three years after the U.S. 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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5.  Research Ethics (Prof. Chalmers Clark)

The course will be focused on the ethics of biomedical research. A short list of the topics to be considered are and the history of biomedical research ethics, the Hippocratic Oath, the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics, medical research as a public trust, and the Belmont Report. Also, we will look closely at cases arguing (pro-con) about the Willowbrook Hepatitis Study, the ethics of Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs), the Tuskeegee Syphilis Study, The Gelsinger Case and Gene Therapy, as well as the ethics of animal treatment in biomedical research for human beings.

(1) To work carefully and deliberately through Chapter 1 of Munson’s Text on “Research Ethics and Informed Consent.” Further topics will be explored as time permits.*
(2)  Supplemental to (1) will be basic logic work (and testing) and basic ethical theory (and testing). 
(3) The course will be further developed by partnering with a librarian who will lead us in developing a fuller appreciation of quality academic research and its methods. (Library course component will take place: TBA [during regular class time]).

*Schedule of topics subject to modification according the interests and progress of the class.

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6.  Identity and Security in a Technological World (Profs. Anastasia Pease and Shane Cotter)

The acquisition and storage of biometric data (fingerprints, face images etc.) are crucial in personal identification and forensic investigations of crimes. In this SRS, students will learn about how biometric and forensic systems currently work, and explore their uses, merits, and limitations.

Students will also ponder a future world where all biometric and personal data, including genetic and healthcare records, as well as shopping patterns, etc. will be easily accessible in real time. The technologies that allow the tracking of individuals anywhere in the world also bring forward questions of security, privacy, and identity. Reading Science Fiction stories, along with news and science articles, students will explore the ethics, the dangers, and the advantages  of a Big Brother world.

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7.  Music and War: The Link Between Music and Military Conflict from the Middle Ages to Present Day (Prof. John Cox)

Art has many functions in society but one of the most controversial is in chronicling historic events. Visual art and music have the ability to crystallize important historical events in a way that basic narrative literature cannot. In this course we will discuss the wide variety of ways in which music has been used to promote, justify, chronicle, protest, and lament the destruction of war.

Topics to include:
1. Music as propaganda in Soviet Russia
2. Anti-war protest music in the American 20th century
3. Civil war ballads
4. Music to commemorate victory throughout the Renaissance
5. The U.S.O.: music to boost morale
6. A history of military brass bands

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8.  Elizabeth I in Her Own Words (Prof. John Cramsie)

It seems there are as many Queen Elizabeths as there are books and films produced about Henry VIII’s youngest daughter and the last Tudor monarch who reigned over England, Wales, and Ireland from 1558 to 1603. Cherished Elizabeths abound: the instinctive politician and feminist who proved a woman could rule as well as reign; the royal virgin who sacrificed love and marriage out of undying fidelity to her people; the Protestant champion that defeated the Spanish Armada and heralded England’s imperial glory; the cultural icon who inspired the greatest portraits of the age and the finest verses in English from William Shakespeare. Unflattering Elizabeths too nudge their way in: the bastard child of the king’s loathsome mistress, Anne Boleyn; the heretic who racked Catholics and slaughtered Irish freedom fighters; the dithering ruler who failed as a woman and a queen by not producing an heir and securing the future of the Tudor dynasty; the vain, selfish queen who created the first cult of personality and compelled the slavish devotion of her subjects. How might we separate fact from fiction with Elizabeth I?  In this Sophomore Research Seminar we will recover the historical Elizabeth by analyzing her own letters, speeches, compositions, translations, and other writings. Following a basic introduction to Elizabeth and her times, you will develop a viable research project using these primary sources – the evidence of Elizabeth I in her own words. Throughout, this course, you will stretch and challenge your intellect as an academic researcher, culminating in an original research paper that takes the form of a scholarly journal article.

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9.  Harlots, Heretics, and Hell-Raisers: Badly Behaved Women in the English-Speaking World, 1500 to the Present (Prof. Angela 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.

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10.  1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism (Prof. Andrew 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 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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11.  Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class in the American Civil War Era (Prof. Andrea Foroughi)

On the Fourth of July 1861, President Abraham Lincoln characterized the conflict dividing the Union and Confederacy as "a people's contest." In the ensuing 150+ 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, rich and poor, 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, class, and race were integral to the "people's contest" and its outcome.

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12.  The United States and the Post-World War II Economy (Prof. Jon Franklin)

In the wake of World War II, American businesses dominated the global economy and seemed poised to enjoy windfall profits for generations to come. Yet just 20 years later anxieties mounted as the American firms' dominant position gradually eroded and gave way to doubts about the future of the nation's economy. How do we explain the apparent reversal in fortunes and what lessons are to be learned? Students in this SRS will contribute to the ongoing discussion of American economic life in the second half of the twentieth century by writing an original research paper that deals with an issue relevant to the course topic. In addition to improving written and verbal communication skills, students will learn how to identify a research goal, manage primary sources, and contribute a scholarly conversation.

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13.  Understanding Economic and Financial Crises (Prof. Jon Franklin)

Although the most recent, the 2008 financial crisis was by no means unique. Societies have struggled to cope with economic and financial crises throughout human history. Why do people appear to make the same mistakes time after time and how have we attempted to break the ruinous cycle of boom and bust? In this course you will engage with these and many related questions as you research and write an original research paper that explores financial and economic crises. Although there will be a common set of readings around which class discussion will be based, you will be free to pursue an appropriate original topic of your choosing. Students in this course will learn how to identify a research goal, manage primary sources, and contribute to a scholarly conversation.

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14.  'Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us (Prof. Jan Grigsby)

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast and devastated the city of New Orleans. For weeks after, the popular media framed the almost total failure of institutions to adequately prepare for and respond to the disaster and raised stark questions about the role of race and class. New Orleans' history of social problems was 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. 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 television representations of the disaster, documenting their key themes. Then we will explore what social science has learned about the adequacy of media images of disaster. How do sociologists define disaster? How does TV news work and what role does it play in disasters? How do our popular myths about disaster compare to reality? How do the existing social structures of race, class and gender in a community make its members more or less vulnerable to disaster? How do communities go about recovering from disaster? How did these issues play out in New Orleans before, during and after Katrina? Each student will research and write a paper on a specific sociological issue concerning the hurricane.

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15.  Europe’s Progress, Problems, Prospects (Prof. Robert Hislope)

The purpose of this course is to survey the contemporary (post-WWII) politics of Europe. What has Europe achieved during this time? What are its current problems? And, what are Europe’s prospects for unity, peace, and prosperity in the 21st century? This course will also examine comparative research methods so that students have analytical tools to construct their seminar research paper.

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16.  African-American Protest Movements (Prof. Melinda Lawson)

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 1950s and 60s, and the Black Power Movement. Students will write a research paper on the movement of their choice.

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17.  Jewish Graphic Novels (Prof. Judith Lewin)

Jewish Graphic Novels is a course focused on reading graphic novels, most of which will be written by Jews on Jewish subjects, but are these criteria necessary to the definition of “Jewish graphic novel’? We will be learning critical analysis of primary texts + images, learning to dig up and assess what critics have written on the genre, and learning to construct our own arguments in college-level research presentations and essays. As a class, we will investigate the creation of the “graphic novel” genre, its terminology and visual and textual logic and why and how it became associated with Jews and Jewish issues. What makes these works so popular? To whom do they appeal and why? Are they a legitimate object of study at the college level? Why might some people think so and some not  The graphic novel offers a special combination of narrative devices and unusual rewards to its readers that this course will help us to appreciate and to articulate. You will strive to improve your reading, research and writing skills and to understand what it means to write “a college-level essay” in general and to make an argument about graphic literature in particular. We will devote class time, library time and individual conferences to this goal.

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18.  Art in Ritual Context (Prof. Sheri Lullo)

Many of the works we see on display in museums, from African masks and Buddhist statuary to Chinese bronze vessels and Egyptian relief carvings, were not simply considered “art” in their original contexts. Though they were often created to be pleasing to the eye—in many instances, the most expensive and precious materials available were used—these works were primarily intended to provoke and activate much more profound feelings or emotions related to the spiritual, and were frequently intended to facilitate communication with participants beyond the human realm. This research seminar aims to explore and restore the use contexts, performative spaces and architectural frameworks that are frequently lost when works of visual culture are hung on museum walls or placed within a glass case. We will read about anthropological and art historical approaches to art and ritual and analyze case studies of the ways in which ritual practice, both sacred and secular, can be integral to our understanding of how the works of art were created, used, viewed and experienced across global contexts. Your research project in this course will focus on an object chosen from Union’s own rich collection of works.

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19.  Socialisms (Prof. Teresa Meade)

This course will examine the history of socialist thinking, and its life as an economic and political practice. To its critics, socialism has been the tragic, and even moral, failure of the twentieth century. Others have argued that the demise of socialism has left in its stead a capitalist era marked by rising inequality, environmental devastation, and war. Widespread protests, spearheaded by the Occupy Movement, have seen the reemergence of discussion around anti-capitalist alternatives, including debates over new forms of socialist planning. Is this a viable alternative? Why does the idea of socialism, despite its obvious failures in Eastern Europe, refuse to die? 

In this course we will read some of the founding texts of socialist thought, including Engels and Marx (although the latter wrote very few pages on socialism), and the main critics of what came to be known as “Marxist” ideology, especially from free-market economists such as Friedrich Hayek. We will look at thinkers who have argued for socialist answers to the problems of sexism, racism, and imperialism, paying particular attention to current debates surrounding the feasibility of capitalist growth. Students will write a research paper on a range of topics, including the relevance or irrelevance of socialist theory, the success or failure of socialist states, the possibilities of post-capitalist alternatives, among other subjects.

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20.  The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII (Prof. Andrew 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.

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21.   Time: Changer of Seasons (Prof. Anastasia Pease)

From ancient calendars to the theory of relativity, humanity has always been preoccupied with Time. And human ideas about Time have changed through the ages. Time has been perceived as linear or cyclical, as a flow or as another dimension of the universe. But what *is* Time really? What is the "space-time continuum"? How did our species learn to measure time? From sundials to hourglasses to cell-phones, how were timepieces invented and perfected? How were they used? How do different cultures view time? Why does time seem to slow down when you're bored? Why does it fly when you're having fun? These and many other questions will be explored in this section of the SRS.  Students will be encouraged to research related topics of particular interest to them.  The SRS will encompass Physics, Astronomy, Sociology, History, Biology, Psychology, Geology, Theology, Philosophy, and Literature.

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22.  Colonialism in Africa (Prof. Brian Peterson)

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.

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23.  Cognition in the Wild (Prof. Stephen Romero)

Students will read two conflicting accounts (Into Thin Air, and The Climb) of the 1996 mountaineering tragedy on Mt. Everest, along with key papers from cognitive psychology regarding human perception, memory, performance and reasoning. Class discussions and assignments will focus on understanding and resolving key conflicts between the two accounts as well as understanding the causes of the tragedy by applying the findings from the key papers from cognitive psychology.

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24.  Ethics of Anger, Revenge, and Forgiveness (Prof. Krisanna Scheiter)

Our attitudes towards anger, revenge and forgiveness are complicated. Anger is generally seen as a volatile and damaging emotion, but when people fail to get angry at atrocities like child abuse or genocide we tend to see their lack of anger as a moral failing. Likewise, personal revenge is often condemned even though many of us take pleasure in revenge stories. Forgiveness is usually seen as virtuous, but sometimes we criticize those who forgive truly monstrous deeds. As we dig into these issues, many questions will arise. Is anger necessarily negative? Is revenge always wrong? What is the difference between revenge and punishment? What is the nature of “evil”?

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25.  The Emergence of Sexuality (Prof. Patrick Singy)

At what time, in what context, and under which conditions have human beings come to identify as “heterosexuals,” “homosexuals,” etc.? Through a combination of primary and secondary sources, this Sophomore Research Seminar will explore the different ways sex has been regulated in the Western tradition, from ancient Greece until the present. The course will focus on the historical emergence of some key concepts of sexuality, in particular “the sexual instinct” and “sexual identity.” We will read authors from a variety of periods and fields, such as religion (St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas), medicine (Tissot), psychiatry (Krafft-Ebing, Freud), philosophy (Marcuse, Foucault), and law (Lawrence v. Texas).

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26.  Witches, Harlots, Saints: Gender, Sexuality and the Body in Late Ancient Religions (Prof. Olga Solovieva)

What kinds of fantasies did people in Late Antiquity construct about sexuality, and what can those fantasies tell us about their society and culture? What conceptions of gender roles, human psyche, cosmos, and deities are reflected in the erotic magical spells? What are the social, cultural and ideological contexts for, and implications of, the practice of sexual renunciation? What images and valuations of the human body appear in late ancient literary works, and how do those variant descriptions relate to their contemporary religious landscape? In this course we will explore these and other questions related to the constructions of sexuality and gender in Late Ancient religions. Our focus will be on the religious traditions that flourished in the Mediterranean world during the first five centuries of the common era (known as Late Antiquity or the Hellenistic Age), including Graeco-Roman mystery cults and magic, “Gnostic” sects, and early Christianity. These ancient traditions present us with a variety of ways of conceptualizing the body and sexuality which continue to inform and to haunt Western culture. The interpretive assumption that will guide our research is that the body and its sexual experiences, however “natural” and basic they may be, are also historical categories  which must be understood within—and help us understand something about—particular societies  and cultures. Our primary sources will range from ancient erotic novels and biographical accounts, to the canonical and extra-canonical scriptures, personal diaries, and epigraphic sources and artifacts such as curse tablets, amulets, and magical papyri. We will also read some of the classic works written by historians of Late Ancient religions.

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27.  Democracy Ancient and Modern (Prof. James Tan)

Democracy is an unquestioned “good” in our society, but we do not always look at democracy from as many perspectives as we might. In this course we will look at modern studies of democracy such as Tilly’s “Democracy” and Diamond’s & Platner’s “Democracy: A Reader,” and compare these modern texts to ancient theorists like Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. We will then look at ancient democracy in practice to see how this form of government operated before mass media. Capitalism and other ineradicable parts of the modern world. The goal is to analyze democracy as a phenomenon both in and out of the modern context, asking how popular representation, leadership, law, participation and justice operate in very different societies.

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28.  Alexander the Great: Use and Abuse of History (Prof. Mark Toher)

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.

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29.  Nazism (Prof. Mark Walker)

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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