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Honors Seminars

2xxx-level courses are intended for freshman and sophomore students. 3xxx-level courses are typically taken by juniors and seniors. This list is subject to change.

Please note: Details such as LE themes and writing-intensive status are not yet finalized for some fall 2017 courses. Details will be posted as they are available.

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Fall 2017 Honors Seminars

Spring 2017 Honors Seminars

Fragile Subjects: Portraits of Childhood in African World Literature

Fall 2017
HSem 2001H
Instructor: Njeri Githire
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed 11:15am–12:30pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Global Perspectives
Fulfills LE Core: Arts & Humanities

Childhood is a time of intense growth and dramatic change; of rapid physical, mental and emotional development. It is a time of discovering, experiencing, exploring; of exuberant curiosity and creativity. It is a state characterized by play and activity, innocence and wonder, surprise and delight. But childhood can also be a time of great confusion and uncertainty; of doubt, turmoil and anxiety. Through select pieces of short fiction, prose, essays and cinematic works, we will analyze the popularity of the coming–of–age genre (or Bildungsroman) as a primary mode of formative response within the African world literary tradition. We will consider how the autobiographical or semi‐autobiographical story, told by a narrator who is growing up and becoming conscious of their body, their familial and wider social surroundings, their emotions, their very identity, dramatizes the cultural, political, and historical contexts in which it is set. Through our exploration of socialization as a thematic component of the bildungsroman, we will examine how "coming of age" comes to represent something very different for boys and for girls.

Njeri Githire is an Associate Professor in the department of African American & African Studies. Born and raised in Kenya, her research interests include: African literary and cultural production; literatures of the African diaspora; literature of immigration and racial formation in the African diasporic spheres; women's writings and feminist theory; postcolonial theory and criticism; Francophone studies; and food, (non)-eating, and related topics in literature.

Roots Music in America: The Music, the Movies, and the Mysteries

Fall 2017
HSem 2008H
Instructor: Gloria Raheja
3 credits
Meets Wed 3:35–6:20pm

This seminar focuses on "roots music," the early twentieth century southern music that has inspired virtually every genre of American popular music over the last seven decades. Everything from hip-hop to rock to jazz to bluegrass to "Americana" to folk to the singer-songwriter tradition and beyond has been profoundly shaped by the roots music we'll study this semester. The course is divided into three parts. First we’ll examine the meanings the music had for the people who made and recorded it: African-American singers, blues musicians, and "songsters" who labored in the south under oppressive Jim Crow conditions and forged new musical traditions; and Appalachian peoples who were moving from farm work to work in coal mines and textile mills and combining European musical traditions with those of African-Americans to create new sounds and sonic landscapes. In the second part of the course we’ll examine what the music means to us, to contemporary audiences, by analyzing recent films in which roots music is featured and its story told. Finally, we’ll ask what the music has meant to scholars and analyze the ways in which they've gone about the task of learning about its historical context and its mysteries. Here we'll dip into the vast repositories of primary source material now available online (field notes, recordings, photographs, interviews) and try to find new ways to understand and appreciate roots music for ourselves.

Gloria Goodwin Raheja is Professor of Anthropology. Her research and teaching interests are focused in the anthropology of South Asia and in the roots music of Appalachia and the American south. She has carried out extensive field research in rural north India and has written on caste, gender, and oral traditions in contemporary India and on colonialism in nineteenth century India. One of her current research projects focuses on blues music and industrial capitalism in 1920s Appalachia. She teaches courses on anthropological theory, South Asian society and culture, the politics of culture, and on roots music in the United States.

Contemporary Art and Politics: From Marcel Duchamp to Ai Weiwei

Fall 2017
Hsem 2009H
Instructor: Meng Tang
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed 4–5:15pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Global Perspectives

Art has a social role to serve, and the artist has a moral obligation to society. It can engage the social issues and environment of its day, either directly or indirectly. Not every artwork needs to address poverty, famine, war, corruption, and injustice, but an artist should not ignore the pain and suffering of her/his fellow human beings. This course will discuss the subject matters and practices of major contemporary artists all over the world—including Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Ilya Kabakov, Jasper Johns, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ai Weiwei, Shirin Neshat, Chéri Samba, Kara Walker, and more—whose creative work frequently intertwines with commentaries on contemporary politics. As a strategy of being, these contemporary artists seem to use art to engage their audiences in a dynamic dialogue concerning certain aspects of contemporary life. These and other artists want to interpret political reality in order to change it; that is, to bring about social and political transformation through aesthetic means. This course will provide an overview of the ideas, strategies, and work of the artists as a critical lens for viewing the changing cultural and political landscape of an increasingly technological and globalized world. This course will take a comparative studies approach to the development of contemporary art in its historical, its social and political contexts, the increasing influence of the Western art in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world, and the cross-cultural communication customs and protocols of international art practice and art criticism. Methodologically, this course first aims at integrating four major disciplinary approaches in discussing art history from post-WWII to the present day: historical studies, sociological studies, psychoanalytic studies, and cultural studies. Such an integrated approach will provide a framework and a reference point for us to describe and understand contemporary art in certain historical and political contexts.

Born and raised in Tianjin, China, Meng Tang currently works as a media artist, curator, and art educator. Having served for more than ten years on the faculty of the Beijing Film Academy, Tang is now a lecturer in the University of Minnesota's Department of Art. She teaches media-art and art-history courses. Tang's life has given her extensive experience in dealing with the cultural differences that inspire much of her work. As an artist, she works in a wide variety of media, including film, video installation, photography, sculpture, and performance art.

Under Fire: War on the Western Front, 1914–1918

Fall 2017
Hsem 2037V
Instructor: Patricia Lorcin
3 credits
Meets Tue 2:30–5:15pm
Fulfills Writing Intensive Requirement

2014 was the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, one of the two most devastating wars in European history. In 2009, just before he died, Harry Patch, the last surviving veteran of WWI, broke his decades long silence on his experiences during the war to declare that the war had been "legalized mass slaughter." When he died, shortly afterwards, he was given a funeral with full military honors, which was watched by millions on television. Why did this war happen when it did and why, nearly one hundred years later, did a veteran, about whom virtually nothing was known beyond his longevity, qualify for the honors that were usually afforded generals and statesmen? This course will look at the history, literature and ethics of the war that was known in French as the "Der de la Der" (the last of the last) and which marked over three generations of Europeans creating a legacy that was incorporated into the national identity of the nations taking part.

Patricia Lorcin is a Professor in the department of History. Her research focuses on Imperialism and Postcolonial Studies, particularly in France and its former territories.

All About Music

Fall 2017
Hsem 2047H
Instructor: Guerino Mazzola
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed/Fri 11:15am–12:05pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Technology & Society

The great philosopher of life Friedrich Nietzsche rightly claims that "without music, life would be a mistake." This does not mean that life is automatically perfect with music. This seminar deals with exactly this problem: What is music doing to us? Why do we listen to it? And how that? What is its meaning in our lives, why does it matter, which realities does it touch, how can it be communicated? In what way is it distributed between intellect and emotions? And why do we go to concerts, since electronic media and the internet provide such an easy access? The answers will be approached via intensive listening to all kinds of music from different cultures and epochs as well as through critical, very open discussions with the students. The instructor being highly sensitive to non-authoritarian music cultures, he may provide a thoroughly dynamic and flexible acces to music.

Guerino Mazzola qualified as a professor in mathematics (1980) and in computational science (2003) at the University of Zürich. He was visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 2005 and has been a professor at the School of Music here at the University of Minnesota since 2007. Professor Mazola has developed a Mathematical Music Theory and the composition software Presto and Rubato. He has published 24 books and 130 papers, 24 jazz CDs, and a classical sonata.

Statistics and Data Science for Everyone

Fall 2017
Hsem 2061H
Instructor: Sanford Weisberg
3 credits
Meets Tue/Thu 9:45–11am
Fulfills LE Core: Mathematical Thinking

This is not a traditional statistics course. We concentrate on the important problems that can be addressed using data: learning about cause and effect, prediction, converting everyday information to learn about important problems, data visualization, and much more. Many of these topics and ideas are usually found only in more advanced courses. You will learn how to do statistical computing using the widely used and free R software, using the RStudio interface that encourages reproducible and defensible research and analysis. Most assignments will be done in groups, and oral and written communication of work is stressed. If you only plan to take one statistics course, this is it, as it covers methods and ideas needed for a literate and numerate person in the 21st century. The only prerequisite for this course is an open mind and comfort with using numerical information. Students with a prior statistics course, such as AP statistics in high school, are invited, as the overlap will be minimal. Most student work in this course will be in groups with oral and written presentations.

Sanford Weisberg is Professor Emeritus of Statistics. In over four decades of teaching and research at the University of Minnesota, he has served on nearly 400 graduate student committees and has also worked with hundreds of students designing and analyzing their research. He has published articles in a wide variety of journals, including most of the main‐line statistics journals and in applied journals such as the Journal of Heart Valve Disease, the Journal of Archeological Science, Crop Science, and the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. His textbook, Applied Linear Regression is currently in its 4th edition, and is widely used in universities around the world. In 2014–15, he was instrumental in a thorough revision of University's Undergraduate Statistics program to meet the needs of the large and diverse group of students now interested in this area. His research has generally been in the areas of regression, diagnostics, graphics, statistical computing and applications.

Tropical Forests: Conservation, Carbon, & Conflict

Fall 2017
HSem 2105H
Instructor: Jennifer Powers
2 credits
Meets Tue 1–2:55pm

Tropical forests are the global warehouses of biodiversity—nowhere else on Earth do we see such a variety of different kinds of plant and animal species. In addition, these ecosystems store a significant amount of carbon in biomass and soils, but land-use changes such as deforestation release this carbon to the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. What are the local and global threats to tropical forests? Why isn’t the conservation of tropical forests a no-brainer? Is a tropical extinction crisis inevitable? In this class we will address these questions by exploring three topics in detail: the origins and patterns of tropical biodiversity, policy mechanisms like REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) that are intended to preserve tropical forests, and barriers to conservation. Classes will blend lectures, discussions of readings, and student participation, and will draw heavily on Dr. Powers's 19 years of experience working in tropical forests.

Dr. Jennifer Powers is an associate professor in the departments of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota. She is broadly trained in ecosystems ecology, biogeochemistry, and plant ecology, and has worked in tropical forests in Central and South America for over 19 years. The long-term goal of her research program is to understand how biophysical factors and human activities shape biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of tropical forests. Her current projects include a long-term study of how changes in land use such as deforestation and forest regeneration affect the balance of carbon on the land and in the atmosphere in Costa Rica, and a study of the effects of woody vines on ecosystem processes and community dynamics in Panama.

Fantasy: A Ghastly Wicked Introduction

Fall 2017
Hsem 2325H
Instructor: Marek Oziewicz
3 credits
Meets Tue/Thu 9:45–11am
Fulfills LE Requirement: Global Perspectives

This seminar is a ghastly wicked ride through main genres and formats of fantasy literature for adolescents and young adults. Fantasy is explored as a literature of possibilities and empowerment. The focus is on eight principal genres and on the role of fantasy in nurturing moral imagination, creative thinking, and the human potential.

Marek Oziewicz is the Marguerite Henry Professor of Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Oziewicz studies the power of stories to nurture empathy and understanding across cultures. His research is focused on speculative fiction and literature-based cognitive modeling for moral education, global citizenship, environmental awareness, and justice literacy. He is the author of One Earth, One People (McFarland 2008)—the winner of the 2010 Mythopoeic Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies—and of Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction (Routledge 2015).

Experiencing Local Environmental Solutions

Fall 2017
Hsem 2515H
Instructor: Paul Capel
2 credits
Meets Thu 2:30–4:25pm

How are environmental problems actually addressed? How do we protect groundwater and surface water from contamination? How we dispose of solid and hazardous waste? How do we track changes on the landscape to protect the environment? How is research conducted to create solutions for the future? This seminar will address some of the solutions to the environmental problems that affect our society by examining the science and by experiencing the solutions that are used on the UMN campus. Each week, we will visit the places on campus designed as environmental solutions, hear from the experts, and discuss the engineering and human aspects of these solutions. The class will involve weekly reading and writing assignments. There will also be a semester‐long, hands‐on project to devise a realistic, potential solution to an environmental issue.

Paul Capel is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. His research interests focus on the behavior and fate of chemicals after they are released in the environment. He has taught freshman seminars and courses on environmental engineering and environmental chemistry.

Visualization & Virtual Reality for Social Justice

Fall 2017
Hsem 2520H
Instructor: Daniel Keefe
3 credits
Meets Wed/Fri 1–2:15pm

From interactive web‐based storytelling at the New York Times to analyzing climate change data in virtual reality, data visualization—computer‐based visual depiction and analysis of data—is changing the way that we understand and communicate about the world we live in. This seminar encourages aspiring activists, artists, poets, journalists, engineers, doctors, scientists, and other creative thinkers to come together to study: (1) How information is communicated visually; (2) how to use computers to create effective data visualizations; and (3) how to apply visualization to further social justice and to understand data related to social justice. In this way, the course aims to provide a visually oriented introductory experience with computer science that is applied from day one to real‐world problems of critical importance to today's society. Students are expected to bring their own ideas, causes, and (optionally) datasets to the seminar. Students will study and have opportunities to create visualizations addressing gender and racial inequality, health equity, climate change, gun violence, gender identity, and more. Readings will cover a mix of current scholarly perspectives on these topics as well as technical information, such as computer programming techniques for using color, form, and metaphor to depict data using processing.org, a visual programming environment originally designed for artists. Exciting current research on virtual reality will also be discussed, for example, recent studies on virtual embodiment that aim to foster empathy for people of diverse races and genders.

Daniel Keefe is an Associate Professor in the department of Computer Science & Engineering. He studies virtual reality, data visualization, and other forms of interactive computer graphics. His vision is a world where all human‐computer interactions are created mindfully and where these interactions fundamentally make people better. In addition to being a computer scientist, Prof. Keefe is also an artist, and he has published and exhibited work in top international venues for digital art. He is a winner of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the University of Minnesota Guillermo E. Borja Award, and the University of Minnesota McKnight Land‐Grant Professorship.

"Elementary, Dr. Einstein:" Explanation and Evidence in Science

Fall 2017
Hsem 2529H
Instructor: Michel Janssen
3 credits
Meets Tue/Thu 1–2:15pm

When I run for my bus in the morning and see that there is still a group of people waiting at my stop, I take that as clear evidence that the bus has not shown up yet, because that is the best explanation for there still being people at the stop. If I see a bunch of dejected Gopher fans filing out of TCF Bank Stadium, I take that as clear evidence that the Gophers just lost the game, because that's the best explanation for why their fans look so miserable. In science, this pattern of reasoning tends to be less reliable. Just because a theory explains a range of phenomena does not mean that that theory is true. In other words, we cannot simply take a theory's explanatory power as evidence for it. Yet, scientists tend to put great emphasis on their theory's explanatory power if they want to convince others of it. Which raises the question: What exactly is the relation between explanation and evidence in science?

In this class, we will examine this relation, both in examples taken from everyday and not so everyday life (such as the cases investigated by Sherlock Holmes), and in examples taken from the history of science—such as Copernicus's proposal that the earth orbits the sun, Newton's proposal that the force that keeps the moon and planets in orbit is the same as the force that makes apples fall from trees, Darwin's proposal that different species are descended from a common ancestor, or Einstein's proposal that gravity and acceleration are two sides of the same coin.

Michel Janssen is a Professor in the Program in the History of Science. He is primarily interested in the question of how scientific novelty comes about, and studies concrete examples of this in the history of relativity theory and quantum theory.

Reality 101, or A Survey of the Human Predicament

Fall 2017
Hsem 2624H
Instructor: Nate Hagens
3 credits
Section 1 meets Mon/Wed 9:45–11am; Section 2 meets Mon/Wed 11:15am–12:30pm

Humanity in the 21st century faces an unprecedented list of challenges, among them: climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, poverty, inequality, pollution, addiction, and war. This course will provide students with a broad exposure to the foundational principles central to addressing these interrelated issues. The readings and lectures will cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole. Such a systems overview is necessary to view the opportunities and constraints relevant to our future from a realistic starting point. The class will be equal parts lecture and group discussion and students will be expected to actively participate in weekly discussions. Though the hard science relating to sustainability will be surveyed, few answers will be presented and it is hoped that creativity and group dialogue will lead to emergent ideas on how these big themes fit together. The course material will be synthesized with real world current events in an ongoing student/instructor dialogue about the state of the world. While the subject matter is daunting and intense (reflecting our world situation), the course material will be enlightening and deeply informative, and the class atmosphere, open, engaging, and entertaining.

Dr. Nathan John Hagens worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers and closed his own hedge fund in 2003 to pursue interdisciplinary knowledge about the bigger picture of modern society. Nate was the lead editor of the online web portal theoildrum.com, and is currently President of the Bottleneck Foundation and on the Boards of the Post Carbon Institute, Institute for Energy and Our Future, and IIER.

Battling the Bugs: Anthrax, Ebola, and Everyday Life

Fall 2017
Hsem 2707H
Instructors: Jill DeBoer and Michael Osterholm
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed 1–2:15pm

We share the planet with a myriad of living things. The smallest of those are the ones that may impact our lives the most. These creatures are in the news nearly every day: Ebola virus in Western Africa, measles outbreak among visitors to Disneyland, foodborne outbreaks on cruise ships. This course will focus on the importance of infectious disease prevention, control, and treatment to the health and well-being of the global community. Students will explore the many facets of public health response operations and decision-making which are often behind the scenes and not well understood by the general public.

Jill DeBoer is deputy director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), with responsibility for short and long-term strategic plan development and implementation. She has served as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Homeland Security, and numerous state and local health departments on health emergency preparedness and response, and teaches on this topic as an adjunct instructor in the School of Public Health. Prior to her work in public health, Ms. DeBoer was a member of the University of Minnesota Human Development Psychobiology Lab research team studying stress and coping in infants and young children.

Dr. Michael Osterholm is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. From 2001 through early 2005, Dr. Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then–HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. He was also appointed to the Secretary's Advisory Council on Public Health Preparedness. On April 1, 2002, Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Thompson to be his representative on the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He has received numerous honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Luther College; the Pump Handle Award, CSTE; the Charles C. Shepard Science Award, CDC; the Harvey W. Wiley Medal, FDA; the Squibb Award, IDSA; Distinguished University Teaching Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UMN; and the Wade Hampton Frost Leadership Award, American Public Health Association. He also has been the recipient of six major research awards from the NIH and the CDC.

The Sex Talk You Should've Had

Fall 2017
Hsem 2724H
Instructor: Amy Pittenger
2 credits

Reproductive and sexual health is an increasingly important topic in community settings. Pharmacists can play a vital role in promoting safe and healthy practices that will improve the health of their communities and are an important source of reproductive and sexual health information and advice. This course is designed to expand and enhance community‐based reproductive and sexual health knowledge and skills while preparing students to be informed and active participants in ethics driven debates surrounding reproductive and sexual health. This Honors Seminar covers three important sections in sexual health that interface in the community pharmacy setting. These topics include the HPV vaccine, contraception, and Sexually Transmitted Infection/Disease (STI/STD) testing and treatment options. Each of these sections is addressed in weekly modules that provide thorough introduction to the topic, an overview of how the treatments or medications work, and related contemporary topics of debate.

Amy Pittenger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems. Her pharmacy career has included many diverse settings, including basic and clinical research, practice in the critical care setting and with underserved populations, pharmaceutical industry, and academia—specifically distance education/online teaching and now interprofessional education. Dr. Pittenger's research interests include educational research, specifically evaluating the use of language via digital and collaborative virtual spaces as a teaching and assessment tool and interprofessional education.

Think Like a Lawyer: The Art & Adventure of Torts

Fall 2017
Hsem 2801H
Instructor: Bobak Ha'Eri
3 credits
Meets Mon 3:30–6:15pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Civic Life and Ethics

Law is the foundation of modern society. The ability to understand our legal system is invaluable in any profession, ranging from business and health to science or art. This seminar offers an introduction into legal thinking: not merely what the laws are, but why we have them and, more importantly, how we come up with them. As a focus, students will ground themselves in torts, a fundamental area of legal education that covers the civil wrongs. Students will have an opportunity to get a feeling for the law school experience as we use the case method, along with some Socratic method and ample discussion. We will focus on the basics of legal analysis, and learn how to apply that to critical thinking. Students successfully completing this seminar will be mentally armed and dangerous.

Bobak Ha'Eri is an attorney and graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he is an instructor in the lawyering program. His work has covered FDA regulatory issues, torts, copyrights, trademarks and well as business start-ups. He strongly believes in helping students understand law, the legal process, and law school.

Tradition and Defiance: The Literature of Bob Dylan

Fall 2017
Hsem 3073H
Instructor: Ramon Gonzalez
3 credits
Meets Wed 3:35–6:25pm

This course critically analyses and celebrates the poetic achievements of Bob Dylan, America’s most important songwriter and musician and recent Nobel Prize winner in Literature. We will study how his artistic evolution, from folk singer to rock icon and poet, comes from his immersion in American literature and lyrics that range from traditional songs to defiant, political protest. The results are timeless uses for poetry as Dylan’s music redefines how poetry influences and shapes popular culture. The main goal of the course is to come to an understanding of how his unique vision begins within the poetic traditions of the past and, as his songs redefine what poetry is, takes contemporary expression toward new definitions for literature. By the end of the course, the student of Dylan’s work should master a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry in Dylan studies and understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across such disciplines as American literature, folk and rock music, the history of political protest, and the popular artist in society.

Ramon Gonzalez is a Professor in the Department of English. He is the author of 15 books of poetry and teaches the "Literature of Rock and Roll" along with poetry workshops in the MFA Creative Writing Program.

Development: The Power of an Idea

Fall 2017
Hsem 3074H
Instructor: Vinay Gidwani
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed 2:30–3:45pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Global Perspectives

This seminar will take stock of the astonishingly versatile concept of "development." We will critically probe its workings—and of its constellation of affine terms: "progress," "improvement," and "growth"—across a range of geographic and historical settings. We will ask: What is development and why has it come to saturate common sense as an indispensable given of our modern existence? How should we account for the power of development in the lives of rich and poor nations, and rich and poor people? What role did the idea of development play in how the West has thought about itself in relation to the non‐West? Finally, how do emerging economic powers such as China and India, who are now large donors of development aid in Africa and Latin America, imagine development in contrast to their counterparts in the West? In terms of content, the course will introduce students to, both, the classic literature on development as well latest writings on it.

Vinay Gidwani is a Professor in the department of Geography, Environment & Society and is also affiliated with the Institute for Global Studies. He has multi‐disciplinary training in geography, economics, and environmental science and combines these in the study of capitalist development, poverty, urban and rural environments, and social movements in various regions of the world, especially South Asia. By thinking about the constitution of our world relationally, Dr. Gidwani demonstrates how far‐flung places are formed, historically and now, through dynamic and interdependent flows of labor, capital, biota, raw materials, and ideas. In terms of how we come to know our planet, the power of relational thinking allows him to identify the complex of forces—general and particular, global and local, causal and contingent—that shape the uneven, unjust world we inhabit and what we might do to make it more just.

Humans and Rights in Historical Perspective

Fall 2017
Hsem 3075H
Instructor: Sarah Chambers
3 credits
Meets Mon/Wed 1–2:15pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Civic Life and Ethics

In the second half of the twentieth century, in the wake of World War II and decolonization, a language of human rights developed that emphasized rights as individual and universal. Many of us now take this particular notion of human rights as a given. In this seminar we will explore the complicated and multi‐faceted history of how societies in different parts of the world have defined what it is to be human, the treatment owed to humans, and various kinds of rights. Some of these philosophies are grounded in religion and others in secularism. Some identify the nation‐state as the adjudicator of rights, while others would empower international organizations or grassroots movements. For some the individual is sacrosanct, while for others persons are inextricably embedded in social webs. We will study how these concepts have changed over time as the globe has become increasingly interconnected, and consider their relevance and application in our contemporary society. The semester will be divided into five mini units. In the first, we will explore concepts of the human and of rights in major faith traditions. In the second, we will examine the debates that emerged from European colonialism in the Atlantic world. In the third, we will study the emergences of an explicit language of human rights after World War II. In the fourth, we will look at human rights issues in the United States. And in the final unit, you will pursue your own research and collaborate in small groups to make presentations and facilitate discussion around common themes.

Sarah Chambers is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History. She teaches on Latin American history—as well as colonialism, law, gender, and film more broadly. Dr. Chambers's research (which has taken her to Peru, Chile, Spain, Puerto Rico and Colombia) explores political culture, citizenship, law, and gender during Spanish America’s transition from colonialism to independence (late 18th to mid 19th centuries). She is currently working on migrations spurred by the Wars of Independence in South America, tracing the paths of internal refugees, political exiles, and royalist émigrés, and analyzing how these movements influenced the formation of shifting imperial and new national identities. Both her research and teaching on Latin American history has made Dr. Chambers interested in thinking about the deep history of human rights.

The Intersection of Food, Aging, and Health

Fall 2017
Hsem 3619H
Instructors: Len Marquart and Martin Wera
3 credits
Meets Thu 1–4pm

This course aims to enhance students' ability to critically think and problem‐solve using innovative systems approaches. This course will focus in‐depth on ways to increase access to practical, healthy, affordable, desirable foods for aging populations in the Twin Cities area. This course will focus on the interdependence of food, environment, and community sectors relative to their impacts on health, economy, and environment. Through this course, we will address the following question: How do we create a food environment that enhances public health in the aging population by aligning with non‐profits, industry, academia, healthcare providers, communities, government, and advocacy groups? This course was conceived in collaboration with Martin Wera, a Bush Fellow who is currently examining the intersection of food, aging, and health. Martin has established a framework of interdisciplinary personnel from key organizations, which will help students identify critical points of intervention.

Len Marquart is an Associate Professor in the department of Food Science and Nutrition. His current research focuses on consumer understanding and factors that influence whole grain consumption. Research conducted by his group—introducing whole grain foods into the diets of school children—has been instrumental in establishing approaches for gradually delivering whole grain food through the school meals program. While at General Mills, he led the company's research in the health aspects of whole grains. He received the James Ford Bell Technical Leadership Award and the General Mills President's (Champion) Award for his contributions. Len is the founder and president of the Grains for Health Foundation. The Foundation's focus is to facilitate communication and integration of science and technology into the grains supply chain and to help deliver more grain‐based foods to consumers that more closely meet dietary guidance.

Martin Wera is the Director of Community Relations for Ameriprise Financial and in 2016 was awarded a Bush Fellowship, which he is using to explore the intersection of food, aging, and health. He received his Masters in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from St. John's University.

Doctors Behaving Badly: The Causes and Consequences of Medical Research Scandals

Fall 2017
Hsem 3715H
Instructor: Carl Elliott
3 credits
Meets Tue/Thu 11:15am–12:30pm

This course will take students on a tour of the deadliest and most controversial research scandals in recent medical history. Some of these episodes are well-known, such as the exploitation of poor African American men with syphilis in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the injection of the hepatitis A virus into mentally disabled children at the Willowbrook State School in New York. But such well-known cases represent only a small fraction of ethically contentious medical research. In the 1960s, for example, at the world-renowned Allen Memorial Institute at McGill University, the CIA paid psychiatric researchers to use mentally ill subjects in "mind control" experiments involving LSD, intensive electroconvulsive therapy, and drug-induced comas for up to three months at a time. In 1996, during a meningitis epidemic in Nigeria, researchers for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer conducted a study of an unapproved antibiotic on children without the informed consent of their parents, resulting in eleven deaths. In 2013, two neurosurgeons at the University of California–Davis were forced to resign after authorities discovered that they had intentionally implanted bacteria in the brains of cancer patients. Today, the University of Minnesota itself is under investigation after for the case of Dan Markingson, a mentally ill young man who nearly decapitated himself after allegedly being coerced into an AstraZeneca-funded psychiatric study. In this course, we will explore questions such as: What cultural and institutional forces allowed the scandals to occur? What were the best ethical arguments in favor of allowing the research to proceed? How were the scandals exposed? What was the role of investigative reporters, regulatory authorities, and whistleblowers? Should we have confidence that research abuse is not occurring today?

Carl Elliott is Professor in the Center for Bioethics. Trained in both medicine and philosophy, he is the author or editor of seven books, including White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon, 2010) and Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream (Norton, 2003.) His articles have appeared in popular publications such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly as well as academic journals such as The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has been a Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Modern China: History, Law, and Culture

Fall 2017
Hsem 3801H
Instructor: Chang Wang
3 credits
Meets Thu 4–6:30pm
Fulfills LE Requirement: Global Perspectives

This course will provide a comprehensive overview of law and politics of 20th and 21st-century China, in their historical and cultural contexts. It will introduce undergraduate students to distinctive paradigms and discursive patterns of law and politics in China, with the intention of fostering comparative analysis and critical thinking. Initially, the course will focus upon modern Chinese history since 1840, paying particular attention to traditional Chinese views of the role of law in society, as well as to the legal and political aspects of early Sino-Western interaction. The second part of the course will focus on substantive laws, high profile legal cases, and major political events in the People's Republic of China today. The course will conclude by examining current issues in Chinese law from both sides, and by looking into China's argument for the "Beijing Consensus"—essentially a new type of capitalism, without Western-style rule of law. The classes will progress by way of interactive discussion and critical readings of historical documentation and legal texts. This course is designed to break through the traditional Chinese learning/western learning dichotomy and interpret legal cases, political events, and cultural phenomena from a comparative perspective. It will bring to light the hidden rationales underscoring historical and ideological narratives, and will explain how frequent misunderstandings can occur when comparing cultures. Students will be encouraged to use critical thinking to argue, to test whether the incommensurability of paradigms can be reconciled, and to explore how different political systems and cultures can communicate with each other and exchange ideas effectively.

Chang Wang is an associate professor of law at the College of Comparative Law, China University of Political Science and Law, the largest law university in Asia. He is also chief research and academic officer at Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. He is adjunct professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School and William Mitchell College of Law in the United States; guest professor of law at the University of Bern Faculty of Law and University of Lucerne Faculty of Law in Switzerland; visiting professor at the University of Milan in Italy and the University of Vienna in Austria; Guest Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University Law School and Guest Lecturer in American Law and Culture at Beijing Royal School, an elite private high school in China.

The Politics of Legal Policy

Fall 2017
Hsem 3803H
Instructor: Bert Kritzer
3 credits
Meets Wed/Fri 1–2:15pm

This seminar will focus on several controversial issues involving courts and/or the types of issues they deal with. The goal of the course is to understand the factual reality behind some major issues confronting the courts, and the challenges of making policy changes to address these issues. Most topics will be dealt with over two sessions of the seminar with the first session examining the issue from a policy perspective and the second session examining the issue from the perspective of differing political interests. Some of the sessions on policy change will involve students in the seminar debating the issue drawing upon the policy discussions from the previous week as well as their own research into the issue; other sessions may involve a guest speaker. In addition to the five topics pre‐selected—access to legal services for noncriminal matters, noneconomic (e.g., pain and suffering) damages, sexual predators, the use of scientific evidence, and judicial selection—students will be required to prepare a background memo (due week 8) and policy brief (due week 12) on another legal policy issue, and then to present a brief discussion of their brief in class during the last three weeks of the semester.

Bert Kritzer holds the Marvin J. Sonosky Chair of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota Law School and is also an affiliated professor in the department of Political Science. He is a leading scholar on the legal profession, the work of lawyers and other aspects of the American civil justice system, and other common law systems. His primary research and writing interests are U.S. and comparative judicial process topics and the legal profession.

Documentary Filmmaking: From Moving Image to New Media

Spring 2017
HSem 2010H
Instructor: Meng Tang
3 credits

This course will focus on documentary film production which includes research, examination of social/ethical issues, cinematic field work, editing and peer critiques. Through this course, students will gain knowledge of documentary filmmaking theory and practice including the multiple stages, levels, and systems involved in the process and develop an understanding of acting as a member of a video production team involved in planning, scheduling, and crewing. Students will also obtain fundamental understanding of the basics of digital film production and post-production, including: video technology (including shooting digital video), camera techniques, lighting, audio, non-linear editing (including sound editing), titling, voice-over narration, and music. Students will create, direct, and edit their own short documentary film over semester.

Meng Tang is an internationally recognized video and installation artist and a lecturer in the Department of Art, where she teaches digital filmmaking, introduction to art, and art and politics courses. Her life has provided her with almost daily experiences in dealing with the cultural differences that inspire much of her work. She works in many different media—including film, video installation, photography, sculpture, and performance art. For each project, she selects the medium with which she can most clearly express her concept. Drawing upon her own life and cultural experience, Meng currently creates works primarily on the topics of gender and communication.

IAS Thursdays: Across the University and Beyond

Spring 2017
HSem 2039H
Instructor: Susannah Smith
3 credits

In this seminar the best of the University’s research and creative work is brought to you. Every Thursday afternoon, the Institute for Advanced Study offers a presentation—a lecture, discussion, performance—by leading scholars and artists from around the world and within the University. Seminar participants will attend the Thursdays at Four series and meet on Tuesdays to discuss the presentations, which will draw upon disciplines across the University. Students will do supplemental readings related to the presentations and talk with presenters as their schedules allow. This semester's presentations will explore visual representations of time, the music of Schoenberg performed by the Bakken Trio, human rights in post-Stalinist Europe, spirituality after Darwin, the future of the Mississippi River, how to understand mass images, and more—see the IAS calendar for the complete schedule. This is the perfect seminar to introduce students to the rich variety of work done at the University.

Susannah Smith is a historian and the Managing Director of the Institute for Advanced Study. Her research is on Russian and Soviet music and national identity in the Stalin period. In her spare time she studies and performs Javanese gamelan. Her position at the Institute allows her to exercise her curiosity about a wide set of subjects, from physics to art, animal behavior to human psychology, and archeology to foreign policy.

Linguistics and Biolgy

Spring 2017
HSem 2046V
Instructor: Jeanette Gundel
3 credits

Connections between linguistics (the scientific study of human language) and biology (the scientific study of life and living forms) have a long history. Most contemporary linguists view language as part of human cognition, rooted in biologically determined predisposition to acquire language and constraints on the properties of what can be acquired. Before the Chomskyan revolution in the early 1960s, the connection was largely restricted to anatomical properties of the human vocal tract involved in articulation of speech sounds and the role of evolution of the vocal tract in making human language possible. Other connections included metaphorical borrowing of terms from biology, such as "genetic" relationships among related languages grouped into "language families," whose members shared the same "ancestor language." More recently the focus has turned to the biological basis of human language, the existence of "language genes" and connections between the evolution of language and the evolution of the human brain. There has also been some influence of linguistic methodology on the field of biology, with researchers proposing similarities between generative models of linguistic codes (grammars) and the genetic code. This course will examine the relationship between linguistics and biology, and how it reflects the development of the field of linguistics and cross-disciplinary influences in general.

Jeanette Gundel is professor of linguistics and has been teaching at the University of Minnesota​ for over 30 years. She has always been interested in how language interacts with other cognitive systems and in its biological basis. She has published over 60 articles and is currently associate director of the Center for Cognitive Sciences.

The Psychology of Paranormal Phenomena

Spring 2017
HSem 2053H
Instructor: Charles Randy Fletcher
3 credits

Research has shown that most Americans hold one or more supernatural, paranormal, or pseudoscientific beliefs. These include beliefs in mind reading, fortune telling, psychokinesis, remote viewing, therapeutic touch, out-of-body experiences, alien abduction, and cryptozoology (Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, etc.). This course has two goals. The first is to introduce students to critical thinking and behavioral research methods, and the second is to critically evaluate the evidence for a variety of supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific claims. Students will design and carry out their own experimental tests of these claims. The course will also include a guest lecture and demonstration by a local psychic.

Charles Randy Fletcher conducts research on the psychological processes involved in reading and language comprehension. He teaches the Psychology Department’s Honors Research Practicum and a course on The psychology of language.

Don't Bet on the Prince: Fairy Tales and Their Retellings

Spring 2017
HSem 2326V
Instructor: Marek Oziewicz
3 credits
Fulfills LE Requirement: Diversity & Social Justice in the United States
Fulfills Writing Intensive Requirement

The fairy tale is the toughest, most adaptable narrative species we have created. Told and retold in countless versions, the fairy tale enjoys a profound formative influence on modern culture. In this seminar we will study fairy tales from around the world, compare multicultural variants of selected tale types, and discuss their modern retellings. Our focus will be on the cultural role of the fairy tale and on how fairy tale retellings break old patterns to create hope for a world of diversity and equality.

Marek Oziewicz is Marguerite Henry Professor of Children's and Young Adult Literature. Dr. Oziewicz studies the power of stories to nurture empathy and understanding across cultures. His research is focused on speculative fiction and literature-based cognitive modeling for moral education, global citizenship, environmental awareness, and justice literacy. He is the author of One Earth, One People, the winner of the 2010 Mythopoeic Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies—and of Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction.

Number Theory from Scratch

Spring 2017
HSem 2534H
Instructor: Ian Whitehead
3 credits

This seminar is an exploration of the deep and surprising properties of whole numbers. Topics will include the axioms of arithmetic, modular congruences, and quadratic forms. One central theme of the course is a famous theorem of Fermat, describing exactly which whole numbers can be expressed as a sum of two perfect squares. Unlike in most math courses, lectures will be minimal -- students will frequently work in groups and present their discoveries to the class. Students will learn to gather data, seek patterns, formulate conjectures, and prove theorems. The goal is for students in all fields to experience how mathematicians actually work and think, with minimal prerequisites.

Ian Whitehead is an analytic number theorist. His research is on the properties of prime numbers and their relationship to symmetries in infinite-dimensional spaces. He is a graduate of Columbia University, and has taught at the University of Minnesota for two years.

Social Justice and Health

Spring 2017
HSem 2716V
Instructor: Debra DeBruin
3 credits
Fulfills LE Requirement: Diversity & Social Justice in the United States
Fulfills Writig Intensive Requirement

This seminar explores matters of social justice related to health. Class sessions predominantly focus on discussion of specific practical issues such as the promotion of race-specific therapies as an approach to ameliorating health disparities, the inclusion of homeless persons in research providing free access to healthcare, and the allocation of HIV medications in impoverished developing countries. Readings from multiple disciplinary perspectives ground the examination of these social justice issues. Discussions incorporate consideration of the institutional and broader social contexts of these issues.

Debra DeBruin is Associate Professor in the Center for Bioethics and has also served as a Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate. She has worked as a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She has been a member of a number of working groups relevant to public health in Minnesota, and co-directed the Minnesota Pandemic Ethics Project. She teaches and conducts research on the ethics of research and public health policy; her scholarship focuses on social justice issues.

Human Disease and Environmental Factors

Spring 2017
HSem 2722H
Instructor: Richard Nho
3 credits

This seminar aims at understanding whole organisms and cellular functions in response to various macro-environmental events (such as radiation, food carcinogens, global warming, pollution etc.) that promote the disease process. Cells are consistently exposed to changing conditions, and they are programmed to effectively respond to diverse stimuli or insults under normal physiological conditions. However, when such conditions exceed the cell's inner capacity, cells can change in ways that lead to the progression of various human diseases. In particular, environmental changes can significantly affect human health and ecosystems, and there are growing concerns about emerging new diseases that threaten human health. In order to understand the concept of disease process, students in this seminar will examine the development of several human diseases as study models and explore how cells have acquired "abnormal" from "normal" in response to environmental conditions, eventually promoting the disease process. Students will acquire a better understanding of how various environmental conditions affect micro-organisms, cells, and our body's defense system, as well as an advanced knowledge of human diseases caused by gene and environment.

Richard Nho is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. His major research interest is to elucidate the mechanisms by which the extracellular matrix regulates human lung fibroblast proliferation and viability, and to cure Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

Cinematic Representations of American Law

Spring 2017
HSem 2802H
Instructor: Chang Wang
3 credits
Fulfills LE Requirement: Diversity & Social Justice in the United States

The artistic representations of American law in 20th century American film offer unique perspectives to understand the greater context in which the legal order operates and a visual angle to supplement the case method and blackletter laws. This course will discuss how cinematic interpretations of American law were and are perceived and accepted in the United States and elsewhere, both inside and outside the legal community. The class will progress by teaching and discussing some fundamentals of American law using legal films to illustrate the doctrinal concepts and rationales in civil procedure, criminal law and criminal procedure, the jury trial, evidence, contracts, torts, constitutional law and the First Amendment, legal ethics, and professional responsibility. Legally sophisticated concepts can and will be visualized and discussed using illustrations drawn from filmic clips selected from masterpieces of cinematic productions. This interdisciplinary approach—teaching law through film—will engage students in a more visually literate way to understand and discuss legal concepts; it will also provide a broader context in humanities and arts in which legal discourse evolves, especially in a global era.

Chang Wang is currently an adjunct professor in the Law School. He is also Associate Professor of Law in the College of Comparative Law at the China University of Political Science and Law and Chief Research and Academic Officer at Thomson Reuters. He is an elected member of the prestigious American Law Institute, a member of the Central Civil and Judiciary Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, and serves on several steering groups for the American Bar Association. Professor Wang received his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School and also holds advanced degrees in American Art History and Comparative Literature and Comparative Cultural Studies, not to mention a BFA in Filmmaking. He is licensed to practice law practice in Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and in the United States Federal Courts, and has published widely on law, critical theory, and history.

State Formation in the Middle East—Ancient and Modern

Spring 2017
HSem 3018H
Instructor: Eva von Dassow
3 credits

Current events in the Middle East not only threaten the structure of nation-states established during the 20th century, they call into question what states and nations are. Is the Islamic State a state? How about Rojava, the self-declared Kurdish state? If Kurds are a nation, should there be a corresponding state? Why is Syria a state? Commentators tend to trace present-day conflicts to the poor fit between national or sectarian identities and the new states created after the Ottoman Empire's demise. But these political developments also raise the question of how states form to begin with—and the place where states first formed was the Middle East, five millennia ago. This seminar will consider two poles of history: the origins of states in the ancient Near East and the transformation of states in the modern Middle East. We shall inquire into pristine state formation in ancient Mesopotamia and its vicinity, examining theories of the development of civilization and the state in light of archaeological and textual evidence. We shall examine the creation of present-day Middle Eastern states and look into the laboratory of counter-state formation that has developed there in the 21 st century. It is often supposed that there is a categorical difference between ancient and modern states; we shall consider whether and why that should be so. We shall inquire what makes a state, what kinds of states there are, and what are the alternatives. In antiquity as well as in the present, anti-states or non-state communities have emerged alongside states. The revolutions of the Arab Spring—mostly thwarted—promised reformation of the existing political order; rebel organizations seek to join or change it; and violent transnational insurgencies aim to sweep it away, even as they too may adopt the garb of statehood. What qualifies a state or its opposition as legitimate, and in whose terms? What aspirations for governance and political status do these various movements represent? By the time the course begins, the political situation of the Middle East as well as the United States will already have been altered, and during the term things will change before our eyes. Our comparative investigation of the origins of states and anti-states, ancient and modern, will help us understand what transformations are underway.

Eva von Dassow is Associate Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies. Her research examines how ancient states formed, functioned, and failed; conceptions of freedom and rights in ancient Near Eastern societies; and the nature of writing as an interface between language and reader. Professor von Dassow was interested in this field of study specifically because one must learn many extinct languages and scripts in order to study it. She can read some of the world's oldest written records and wants to show you how to read them, too.

Giving: Global Philanthropy, Charity, and Power

Spring 2017
HSem 3036H
Instructor: Rachel Schurman
3 credits
Counts toward major requirements for Global Studies

Philanthropy plays an increasingly important role in the economy and society, on the national and global levels. Americans gave away $358 billion dollars in 2014, or a little over 2% of our country's GDP. A few "mega-philanthropists" -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, and others -- gave away mind-boggling sums of money. These individuals and their foundations are having an significant impact in specific sectors, changing the way public education is carried out, how global health priorities are defined, how public policies are made, and how African agricultural systems are organized. Forbes magazine reports that there are 1,645 billionaires in the world today, 80% more than a decade ago. While some observers look very positively on this philanthropic outpouring, others are more circumspect (or even critical), suggesting that it may be eroding our democracy. In this course, we will study the "new philanthropy," looking at it from a variety of angles.

Rachel Schurman is Professor of Sociology and Global Studies. She is broadly interested in food and agriculture, social movements and technological change, and the political economy of biotechnology. Her 2010 book, Fighting for the Future of Food, analyzed social activism against agricultural biotechnology, exploring how the contending "life worlds" of anti-biotech activists and the biotechnology industry shaped the development and deployment of GMOs at a global scale. She is currently working on a new book project, "Science for the Poor": Foundations, Firms, and the New Green Revolution for Africa, which focuses on the efforts being made by philanthropic, corporate, state and other actors to catalyze a new green revolution in Africa. She is very excited about teaching an honors course on the new philanthropy!

Dangerous Voices: Mysticism, Evil, Musical Power

Spring 2017
HSem 3048H
Instructor: Matthew Rahaim
3 credits

A sinner is converted upon hearing the voice of a saint; a courtesan's song induces obsessive love in a the heart of an otherwise upstanding citizen; a protest song binds a demonstration together into a powerful political weapon; a Sufi singer brings a spiritual aspirant into a rapturous trance state at a ritual gathering. A rich cluster of texts, from 12th century sufi apologia to 20th century marketing materials, testifies to the power of the voice. Even in the age of the mp3, we know that the voice has capacities beyond mere entertainment—to move us to tears, to rouse us to action, to elevate us spiritually. This seminar explores the power of the voice from many points of view. Students will be grounded in historical and anthropological readings about voices from many places and times, from 18th century Venice to 19th century South Africa to 20th century Egypt to 21st century India. We will learn to digitally map out vocal acoustics, and we will delve into the philosophical and theological traditions of making sense of the voice's power in a larger universe of sound, morality, spiritual striving, and political ambition. No background or training in music is required; all are welcome.

Matt Rahaim is Associate Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology and specializes in Indian music. He has been performing Hindustani vocal music both in India and North America since 2000. His musical life includes playing oud, Afro-Cuban drumming, simulogue, shape-note singing, experimental vocal performance, chamber rock, free improvisation, and Javanese gamelan. Matt teaches undergraduate World Music and Indian Vocal Music courses, as well as a range of seminars that are open to graduate and undergraduate students, including Sonic Ecology, Indian Music History, Ethnography and Performance, Disciplines of Listening, and What do Voices Do?. Matt believes in the liberal arts, and he believes in going slowly.

Incarceration and the Family

Spring 2017
HSem 3308V
Instructor: Rebecca Shlafer
3 credits
Fulfills Writing Intensive Requirement

It is now estimated that more than 2.7 million children have a parent currently behind bars. When parents are incarcerated, there are collateral consequences for children, families, communities, and society. Children of incarcerated parents are at risk for a number of adverse outcomes, including behavior problems, academic difficulties, substance abuse, and criminal activity. In this class, we will use an interdisciplinary perspective to explore the issue of mass incarceration in the United States, with a specific focus on the impact of incarceration on children and families. Students will have opportunities to visit local correctional facilities and engage with community-based programs serving families impacted by incarceration. Topics will include parent-child contact during incarceration, intersections between incarceration and child welfare, systemic disparities by race and class, programs for children impacted by incarceration, public policies related to incarceration, and intergenerational cycles of incarceration.

Rebecca Shlafer is Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and has regularly taught courses through the Institute of Child Development. Dr. Shlafer's research focuses on understanding the developmental outcomes of children and families with multiple risk factors. She is particularly interested in children with parents in prison, as well as the programs and policies that impact families affected by incarceration. Dr. Shlafer is currently the research director for a prison-based pregnancy and parenting support program and is leading an initiative for young children with incarcerated parents in partnership with Sesame Street.

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