2014-2015 Sophomore Research Seminar Student Preference Survey

1.   Slavery in the United States

2.    Moral Revolutions

3.    On Death and Dying: Reflections on Death and What it Means in Our Lives

4.    Sport and the American Identity

5.    Analyzing Genders and Sexualities in French Cinema from 1950 to Now

6.    Art and Politics

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

8.    1963: Betty Friedan and the Rebirth of Feminism

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

10.    United States & the Post-World War II Economy

11.    Understanding Economic and Financial Crises

12.    Sex and Gender in Classical Antiquity

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

14.    African-American Protest Movements

15.    Jewish Graphic Novels

16.    Art in Ritual Context

17.    Drugs and Cultures

18.    Imagining India: British Colonialism and Indian Society in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

19.    Socialisms

20.    The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII

21.    Rethinking Iran: Images and Realities

22.    African Migration: Borders, Violence, and Identity

23.    The Self

24.    Time: Changer of Seasons

25.    Identity and Security in a Technological World

26.    Colonialism in Africa

27.    Cognition in the Wild

28.    Computer Simulation and Virtual History

29.    The Emergence of Sexuality

30.    Exploration of the Adirondacks: Environmental, Cultural, and Political Studies of a Unique Community

31.    Alexander the Great: Use and Abuse of History

32.    New Worlds: Revolutionary Discoveries of Moons, Planets, and Solar Systems


1.  Slavery in the United States  (Prof. Kenneth 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.  Moral Revolutions  (Prof. Robert Baker)

A historical-philosophical analysis of successful and failed moral revolutions. This course is designed to give students a chance to develop their research and presentation skills through the interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of a moral revolution. Students will choose a topic and then work in historian-philosopher/political scientist two-person teams to analyze such candidates for a moral revolution as: the abolitionist campaign to abolish Negro slavery in Britain and the US; the abolition of foot binding in China; the WCTUs campaign to prohibit the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, the MADD campaign to prohibit "underage drinking" before the age of 21; the campaign to decriminalize the same of cannabis and opiates in the US; the UN campaign to criminalized female circumcision, the campaign to decriminalize physician aid in dying (physician assisted suicide) or the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. Readings: Common readings for the course will include an essay by feminist Kathryn Pine Parsons (Addelson), THE HONOR CODE: HOW MORAL REVOLUTIONS HAPPEN by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah; and THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS by historian of science, Thomas Kuhn. Teams will develop and present their initial research and their final analysis of a moral revolution in presentations to the entire class.

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3.  On Death and Dying: Reflections on Death and What it Means in Our Lives  (Prof. Robert Baker)

In this course we read the reflections of physicians, philosophers, theologians--and people approaching death--about what the fact of death means for our lives. We also visit a cemetery and write about tombstones and write our own obituaries. We also think about killing and mass killing by terrorists and in war, and by governments in the form of capital punishments. You will read a book that won the National Book Award, HOW PEOPLE DIE, and an Oxford reader on death, dying and killing. In addition to reading about, discussing and debating issues about death, dying and killing, you will also develop a research project and, with the help of the instructor, hone you skills in researching, developing resources (books, data, etc.), and debating, presenting and writing about your position on some topic related to the course.

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4.  Sport and the 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.  Analyzing Genders and Sexualities in French Cinema from 1950 to Now  (Prof. Michelle Chilcoat)

In this course, students will train their eyes on how sex and gender are represented in popular French films (and several US remakes) explicitly concerned with “sexual orientation.” More specifically, the course will be divided into three sections, with the first addressing the “male gaze,” constructions of femininity, lesbian desire, and “heterosexualization”; the second, constructions of masculinity, homosexuality, and the family order; and the third, transgender/sex, intersexuality and “gender dysphoria.” After each section, and informed by readings drawn from a variety of disciplines, including film theory, queer theory, race studies, anthropology, psychoanalysis, feminism, and masculinity studies, students will write a “critical film analysis” paper (for a total of three 5-6 page papers), a form of scholarship integrating research into a film’s context (historical, ideological, social, cultural, etc.) with close film analysis. Students will be encouraged to work toward refining one of their essays for submission to Film Matters, UNC-Wilmington’s high quality peer-reviewed undergraduate magazine now published by Intellect/University of Chicago Press.

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6.  Art and Politics  (Prof. Lorraine Cox)

The relationship between art and politics has a long and rich history from Equestrian portraits of Emperors to revolutionary broadsides. Focusing mainly on the 20th century to the present with a geographic focus on the Americas, this course will explore the theoretical underpinnings which structure both the thinking and practice of art of social conscience. We will broadly consider the 'meaning' of political art in modern and post-modern discourse, the relationship of politics to the creative process and the democratic potential of protest art. Weekly topics will cover specific social movements and causes that have produced and inspired artist from the suffragette movement to feminism and AIDS; visual technologies of persuasion from abolition broadsides to WWII recruitment posters; monuments and memory from the Vietnam War Memorial to Oklahoma City; and public murals painted in Mexico and Los Angeles.

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7.  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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8.  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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9.  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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10.  United States & 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 twenty 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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11.  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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12.  Sex and Gender in Classical Antiquity  (Prof. Tommaso Gazzarri)

This seminar tackles modern debates about human sex and gender from a historical perspective, and examines in detail a wide range of different texts that provide us with evidence about sexual practices and ideologies in classical antiquity. Particular emphasis will be given to the thorough study of primary sources, both literary and archaeological, from the Greek and Roman worlds. Major questions addressed will include but will not be limited to:

• What does it mean to be male, female, masculine, feminine, man, woman, boy, girl?

• What can we discover about you from the way(s) you have sex, and with whom?

• How all these things relate to life, love, power?

The student’s progress will be assessed through a series of activities, supervised by the teacher, which include: 1) presenting a reasoned research proposal; 2) providing an annotated bibliography; 3) presenting a structured paper outline; 4) first paper draft; 5) final version of the paper.

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13.  'Unpacking' Hurricane Katrina: What Can Social Science Tell Us (Prof. Janet 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 definitely 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.  In honor of the ten year anniversary of Katrina, this year's class will focus particularly on the city's complex struggle to recover and rebuild.  Each student will research and write a paper on a specific sociological issue concerning the hurricane.

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14.  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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15.  Jewish Graphic Novels  (Prof. Judith Lewin)

Jewish Graphic Novels is a course with a specific focus: reading graphic novels written by Jews on “Jewish” subjects, learning critical analysis and to write either a traditional research paper or a graphic criticism based on your research. 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. 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 orally and textually. We will also present our findings publically in a poster session at Union. You will strive to improve your reading and writing skills and understand what it means to write analytically in general and to make an argument about graphic literature in particular. 

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16.  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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17.  Drugs and Cultures  (Prof. Joyce Madancy)

Virtually every society has its favorite drugs. We all consume them – for aches and pains, for pleasure and recreation, to alter mood, to wake us up, to help us sleep, and to mark important occasions, among other things – but cultural, economic, and political factors determine whether those drugs are considered beneficial or dangerous, are freely obtained or regulated, etc. Our goal here is to examine several drugs over time and in particular geographical and cultural contexts to analyze how and why those factors emerged and interacted, as well as how they affected popular attitudes. We will focus primarily on opiates, but will touch on other drugs such as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

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18.  Imagining India: British Colonialism and Indian Society in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries  (Prof. Rajashree Mazumder)

Aimed at students with no previous knowledge of the Indian subcontinent. Examination of key moments in modern Indian history (c. 1757-1947). The main questions that we will address are: how did the establishment of British rule in India fundamentally alter the nature of Indian economy, polity and society? What are the new identities created in this process? How was India “imagined”? We will read classic pieces of literature written from this period and watch cinematic adaptations (with English subtitles) of many of these works during the term. We will try to understand how contemporary political and social concerns informed the creation of these works. We will try to hear the many different voices in these accounts: the British colonial official, the declining ruling nobility, the rising Hindu and Muslim middle class in the cities, the lower caste leader and the modern Indian woman. By the end of this course, students will trace and question the legacies of many of these developments during the colonial period, which are present even today.

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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.  Rethinking Iran: Images and Realities  (Prof. Eshragh Motahar)

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, the hostage crisis, the evolution of the Islamic Republic since then, and the many aspects of the current multifaceted relationship between Iran and the rest of the world. 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, the emergence of the "Green Movement," 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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22.  African Migration: Borders, Violence, and Identity  (Prof. Cheikh Ndiyae)

This course examines the critical terms of home and elsewhere through the lens of African migration to Europe and North America. African youth who are under overwhelming socio-cultural and economic pressures migrate to Europe and North America in search for greener pastures. In the course of these migrations, successful stories are often overshadowed by traumatic and violent experiences and identity crisis. Our study of African migration will be undergirded by an in-depth examination of the notions of border, exile, trauma, violence, and identity. We will use critical texts, works of fiction, films, and documentaries for that purpose. One of the goals for this course is to hone student's critical thinking and writing skills. Thus, students will read, discuss, present, and write about both primary and secondary sources.

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23.  The Self  (Prof. Antoine Panaïoti)

This Sophomore/Scholars Research Seminar (SRS) will focus on the problem of personal identity in the history of ideas, especially in the history of religion and philosophy. We will be examining various doctrines on the soul, the self, the subject, the agent, and the mind, as well as the purported relation between such concepts and that of the “body.” Special attention will be paid to discussions concerning the self in Western Philosophy and Classical Indian Thought. SRS courses integrate skills with content. Our exploration of the self will provide the context for instruction in basic writing and research methods. The entire course is in fact geared toward the production, for every student, of a 4,000-word research paper of his/ her own device.

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24.  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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25.  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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26.  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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27.  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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28.  Computer Simulation and Virtual History  (Prof. Steven Sargent)

This SRS will help students acquire the skills of controlling how computer software works, using software to produce useful data, and analyzing that data to provide insight into how the world works. Students will 1) select an historical event simulated on commercially available software; 2) find out what game parameters are player controlled and become familiar with how changes in each parameter affect the outcome of the game; 3) fully research the historical situation represented in the game and use the game parameters to replicate the historical situation as accurately as possible; 4) use the parameters to drive the simulation into the most counterfactual configuration possible; 5) play trials, collect data, analyze data; and 6) write a research paper examining the results for what they tell us about which parameters were most responsible for the historical outcome and how likely it was that things could have turned out differently. I expect this course to increase students’ interest in computer simulation as a tool to study a broad range of human phenomena.

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29.  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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30.  Exploration of the Adirondacks: Environmental, Cultural, and Political Studies of a Unique Community (Drs. Eddie Summers and Gretchel Hathaway)

Nestled in the Northeast corner of New York rests the majestic mountains of the Adirondacks, a 2.6 million acre wilderness retreat whose history is full of remarkable stories and a deep, sometimes obscure, history. The Adirondack SRS will explore the cultural, economic, political and environmental factors that have impacted the rich and diverse community of the Adirondack Mountains. Students will use this opportunity to research, reflect and report on the influence of the artistic, spiritual, and cultural complexities, as well as the biological, social, and political structures of the Adirondack community. In addition, students will have the opportunity to explore the sustainability efforts, bio‐diversity and environmental concerns of many individuals connected to this jewel of the northeast.

This is a guided research and writing intensive course that will include bi‐weekly summaries of research, research and poster presentations, and visits to the Kelly Adirondack Center and to the Adirondack Park. Some of the materials and readings for this course will be made available before the start of class. The final research paper will focus on a specific topic related to the Adirondacks including but not limited to the following topics: social and economic changes in the park, in and out migration, tension between development and conservation, and sustainability of villages and towns.    

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31.  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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32.  New Worlds: Revolutionary Discoveries of Moons, Planets, and Solar Systems  (Prof. Francis 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.

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