98-99 University Bulletin Entry for:

University Seminars in Humanistic Inquiries

(file last updated: [8/10/1998 - 15:28:56])


The University Seminars inHumanistic Inquiries are special courses specifically designedfor first-year students and intended as a foundation for theirstudies at Brandeis. The primary objective is to offer a smallseminar environment where students, under the close guidance offaculty, can engage major texts from ancient times to the present.The topics and texts of the seminars are extremely broad-rangingand come from every school of the University; such diversity allowsstudents and faculty to focus on subjects in which they both havea particular interest. The seminars are also quite consciouslyinterdisciplinary: although taught by faculty from regular departments,the seminars seek to transcend traditional disciplinary boundariesand to address important problems from a much broader perspective.That approach is indeed integral to the mission of humanisticinquiry, which seeks to address fundamental and enduring questionsof human existence.

The seminars are also skill-oriented.At one level, they seek to sharpen analytical skills; seminardiscussions, under faculty guidance, will help students to formulatekey questions and to construct a critical analysis of the author'sassumptions, evidence, and argumentation. The seminars also requiresubstantial and frequent writing. Working in close cooperationwith the attached writing seminar, the seminars will help studentsto become imaginative and effective writers and, thus, to developa skill absolutely essential for their studies at Brandeis andfor their professional careers afterward.

Courses of Instruction

USEM 2a Bad Girls

Enrollment limited to 17.

Explores our fascination withthe bad girl. As a character and a social type, the bad girl turnsup throughout Western culture in a variety of guises and towarda number of ends. Sugar and spice and everything nice?

Ms. Harder

USEM 3a Nature and NaturalLaw

Enrollment limited to 17.

Students in this course willanalyze and discuss material concerning the concept of the natural,its immutability or alterability, and the ethical and religiousquestions posed by the concept of a natural law. Authors to beread include Cicero, Philo of Alexandria, Thomas Aquinas, ClarenceThomas, Pope John II, and Elizabeth Minnick.

Ms. Brooten

USEM 3b What is Color?

Enrollment limited to 17.

Color--visible color and colorimages--"colors" our whole experience. Neurosciencereveals how we see color; psychology--how we perceive color; arthistory -- how color is used to express art; literature and music--howcolor imagery may describe them; and linguistics--how a languagecharacterizes its culture through its description of color.

Mr. Henchman

USEM 4b Becoming an EducatedPerson

Enrollment limited to 17.

We will read texts about educationfrom a variety of cultures, eras, and individuals in an attemptto help students reflect upon the central issues of their experienceat Brandeis. Questions we will ask include: How do we learn? Whatdo we learn? Why? Who teaches us? What is the role of writingand the printed word in different educational traditions? Is thepurpose of education to transmit or to change culture, or both?Students will be asked to define their own educational goals forcollege and beyond within the context of writings from Plato toDewey, and from Australia to Senegal.

Ms. Hale

USEM 5b Conceptions of the"Good Life"

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course explores competingconceptions of the "good life" and of moral right andhow these conceptions vary within different cultural periods inhistory; it also explores standards for what is good and for justifyingclaims that one way of life is better than another. Included areconceptions of the "good life" as pleasure (Epicurus),as virtuous activity (Aristotle), as renunciation, as reason (Kant),as utilitarianism (J.S. Mill), as self-assertion (Nietzsche),as faith (Kierkegaard), as aesthetics, and as spirituality.

Ms. Hayim

USEM 6a Anatomy and Genderfrom Antiquity to Modern Times

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar traces changingperceptions of the body and sexual difference from the ancientsto Freud and Foucault. It examines relations between men and women,notions of gender and sexualities, and the social constructionof decent and indecent behavior in Western culture.

Ms. Kelikian

USEM 7a The Twentieth-CenturyPolitical Novel

Enrollment limited to 17.

Novelists have illumined theethical complexity and the ideological pressures entangled inpolitical choices. Such texts can also be read as showing howpolitical acts are heightened versions of the tragic limitationsembedded in social experience.

Mr. Whitfield

USEM 8a Textual Transformations

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course examines how literatureresponds, internally and externally, to the challenge that changeposes for the individual and society. Metamorphosis, the transformationof one object into another, will be the primary focus within eachtext studied, but considerable time will also be spent in determininghow each text relates to the others with which it shares characters,plots, and themes. As we will read multiple versions of a fewparticular stories, only students with a tolerance for repetitionand an appreciation for variation should consider enrolling.

Ms. Walker

USEM 8b Ancient Lives

(Formerly USEM 9b)

Enrollment limited to 17.

The lives of others hold forus a compelling fascination, perhaps because others seemed tohave solved the problems of identity, of separation from and integrationwith society and of shaping life into a coherent whole. The readingsin this course focus on sharply depicted characters with the dualpurpose of understanding how the techniques of literature informtheir subject and of learning what ancient authors valued in humanity.

Ms. Walker

USEM 9a The Wandering Heroin Ancient Literature

Enrollment limited to 17.

Focuses on the Epic of Gilgamesh.We examine such issues as: friendship, social responsibility,the meaning of life, mortality and immortality, the differencebetween the human and divine. We also read texts from Mesopotamia,Greece, Israel, and Canaan which intersect literally and thematicallywith the epic such as: The Odyssey, Genesis, Aqhat, Ecclesiastes,and selected Sumerian narratives.

Mr. Abusch

USEM 10a Folk and TheirTales

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar provides an introductioninto the realm of folk and fairy tales. Taking the famous collectionof Children's and Household Tales by the Brothers Grimmas a central point of departure, we will survey the riches andvariety of this genre, discussing our reactions to individualstories, tracing the historical development of some of them, andinvestigating their role in the shaping of a cultural and socialheritage and a national identity. In addition to folk tales fromthe Western tradition, samples from India, China, Japan, nativeAfrican, and Native American sources will be studied for comparison.

Mr. Frey

USEM 10b Insiders and Outsiders

Enrollment limited to 17.

The relationship between individualand society, minorities and majorities, the exceptional personand the common people form the major theme as we study literaryand philosophical works from the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasison the careful reading of texts and an appreciation of individualstyles and different modes of thought.

Mr. Frey

USEM 11b The Rise and Fallof Humanism

Enrollment limited to 17.

The emancipation of the humanmind from fear, superstition, and intolerance is at the root ofwhat is called the humanist tradition. The course follows thebirth, development, and decline of humanism. Authors read includeLucretius, Rabelais, Montaigne, Swift, Diderot, Marx, Freud, andmodern critics.

Mr. Gendzier

USEM 12b Not for the Fainthearted

Enrollment limited to 17.

Does "human nature"really mean white, middle-class, and male? How have various writersfrom Shakespeare to Toni Morrison dealt with issues of social,gender, and racial inequality? Authors to be read include Rousseau,Marx, Freud, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Malcolm X. Films arealso used.

Ms. Harth

USEM 13a America in Blackand White: A History of Race in the Workplace.

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar examines the relationsbetween whites and African Americans from the earliest colonialsettlements to late 20th-century postindustrial society. Specialattention is paid to the encounters between black and white womenand men in the work place. Texts include autobiographies, novels,and essays, as well as legal statutes, labor contracts, courtcases, and government reports.

Ms. Jones

USEM 14a Imagining the Other:Encounters in North America from Columbus to the Revolution

Enrollment limited to 17.

Using North America after Columbusas a case study, this course examines the problems of understandingand representing people across cultural frontiers. The seminarfocuses on the various ways authors have explored and definedboundaries of race, ethnicity, and gender.

Ms. Kamensky

USEM 15a Journeys to Enlightenment

Enrollment limited to 17.

Literature often symbolizesthe meaning of existence as a journey from error to truth, fromaffliction to freedom and enlightenment. Works by Dante, Rabelais,Shakespeare, Blake, Baudelaire, Hesse, and Hurston will illustratevisions of human existence that have been entertained from theMiddle Ages to the present.

Mr. Kaplan

USEM 16a Charting the Void

Enrollment limited to 17.

The texts for this seminarhave been selected with the presumption that their authors presenta view of the world that is essentially polar in nature, a viewthat sees humanity as standing between belief and despair andhumans as constantly struggling with themselves and God, and withthemselves and others. The texts further presume the existenceof "the void."

Mr. Szulkin

USEM 17a Mirror of Princes

Enrollment limited to 17.

The Fürstenspiegelor "Mirror of Princes" is a literary topos that canbe found in a wide spectrum of societies throughout the ages andaround the world. With the explicit purpose of instructing theleaders of society, this discourse is characterized by implicit,allusive, and even enigmatic messages ostensibly restricted tothose who truly "understand." The purpose of the courseis to show not only how "wisdom literature" teachesbut also how the wisdom learned by heroes in epic and drama inturn teaches us.

Ms. Davidson

USEM 18a Understanding Eviland Human Destiny

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar is designed tointroduce students to some of the Western classics that deal withthe impact of evil on human destiny. Suffering, justice, and deathwill be studied in their relationship with God, the world, andhistory.

Mr. Kimelman

USEM 19a Survival

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar focuses on howindividuals, groups, and cultures survive traumatic events andon the relationship their stories and art have to that survival.Examining personal and collective disruption and violence, wewill consider strategies for overcoming trauma, journeys of redemption,and myths of self-making. The readings include texts from Homer,Euripides, Van Gogh, Morrison, Soyinka, Alexie, MacLean, and Lessing.

Ms. Klein

USEM 20a How Do You KnowWhat You 'Know'?

Enrollment limited to 17.

I am fascinated by what we"know," but more so by how we know it to be true. Webegin with the controversy of creation science versus evolution,two competing "truths." This controversy is all themore interesting because evolution is perceived as confrontingreligion. How did and do people react? We look at attempts toreconcile the two "truths" and to use the courts toforce the issue. We end with what "truth" means.

Mr. DeRosier

USEM 21a Being Asian-American

Enrollment limited to 17.

What does it mean being Asianin America? This course attempts to answer this question by readingand discussing the work of early and contemporary Asian-Americanwriters.

Mr. Maeda

USEM 22a Right and Leftin Europe from 1900 to the Present

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar reviews the mainpolitical families of 20th-century Europe and their 19th-centuryancestries. Using original texts, novels, and documentaries toexamine the ideas and followers of each movement, it introducesthe participants to analytical tools as well as to modern history.

Mr. Jankowski

USEM 23a Opera as Drama

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar explores the literary,theatrical, and musical dimensions of opera. The course may beorganized in one of several ways, e.g., by historical period,by thematic considerations, by composer or group of composers,by librettist or librettists, or by literary sources.

Mr. Keiler

USEM 24a "Know Yourself":Naked Truths from the Ancient Greeks

Enrollment limited to 17.

Offers a metaphorical journeythrough several major literary works of the ancient Greeks todiscover their artistic and philosophical contributions to Westernthought. We focus on humanity, morality, and the enduring significanceof these texts for our own moral consciousness.

Ms. Koloski-Ostrow

USEM 25a Human Nature, Happiness,and the Human Good

Enrollment limited to 17.

Conceptions of human naturedeeply influence conceptions of happiness and the ultimate goodat which human beings ought to aim. This seminar explores theserelations through texts from philosophy, social science, and literature.Texts originate from Eastern and Western traditions, and fromthe ancient, medieval, and modern periods. Participants also considerways in which claims about the "inferior" nature ofgroups of persons have played roles in justifying their subordination.

Mr. Wong

USEM 26b Everyday Activity

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar examines variousframeworks for describing everyday activity. "Everyday activity"refers to such common behaviors as riding a subway, attendinga movie, buying groceries, playing a CD, doing the laundry, andcarrying on a conversation. The course will focus on models ofskill acquisition and problem-solving, the nature of activityand planning, and the role of culture in everyday activity.

Mr. Alterman

USEM 27b Coming into One'sOwn: Sources of the Self in Modern Literature

Enrollment limited to 17.

With the collapse of the oldimagery of hierarchy and harmony, individuals who have been cutloose from their social moorings require new images and symbolsin order to orient themselves in the world. This course exploresproblems of acting in a world where the outward signs denotinginner life are no longer believed to be adequate and where definitelimits and fixed principles are missing.

Mr. Teuber

USEM 28b Exploring the Boundariesof Identity: Family, Society, and the Construction of Selfhood

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course examines the familyas an "embattled paradise": a site for the expressionof love and power. Relationships between family members (parentand child, husband and wife, siblings) are examined historicallyand across the life cycle. Intersections between family and societyin fostering and constraining autonomy are highlighted.

Ms. Antler

USEM 29a The Jewish Family:Past and Present

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines the transformationof the Jewish family in four different settings (Europe, America,North Africa, and the Middle East) from medieval to modern times,focusing primarily on the internal dynamics of family life andinteraction with majority cultures.

Mr. Freeze

USEM 30b Development ofPlay, Art, and Creativity

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar will give studentsa sense of how psychological theory and research can help themunderstand creativity in art. The students will be encouragedto analyze and to integrate principles of human development andintrinsic motivation toward an understanding of how artistic creativitydevelops. Some classic writings regarding the theories and functionsof play, intrinsic motivation, and the development of art willbe included, as well as writings on artistic creativity.

Mr. Watson

USEM 31b Religion and Societyin the Modern Middle East

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines the relation betweenIslam and society in the Modern Middle East through reading anddiscussion of the writings of prominent Muslim thinkers and leaders.We focus on Islam's reaction to modernity and on some mail social,economic, and political issues facing Islamic societies in ourtimes.

Messrs. Levy or Mr. Nakash

USEM 32a Images of War inthe Twentieth Century

Enrollment limited to 17.

War is what young boys glamorize,old men remember, poets celebrate, governments rally around, womencry about, and soldiers die in. We investigate war and the visionof war at the front and on the homefront by looking at oral testimony,contemporary journalism, poetry and novels, still photography,cartoons, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, and music.

Ms. Moeller

USEM 33b Revisioning theClassics: Then and Now

Enrollment limited to 17.

Participants in this seminarwill read works from the canon of Western civilization and thenanalyze how these works have been rewritten artistically and reinterpretedtheoretically from a 20th-century perspective. It is hoped that,by listening to the dialogue that takes place across the centuriesbetween major texts, students will come to a deeper understandingof some of the political, social, and philosophical ideas thathave shaped contemporary thought.

Ms. Ratner

USEM 34a Confronting Poverty

Enrollment limited to 17.

Students will examine how povertyhas been defined, understood, and portrayed over the past 150years. Drawing on works of fiction, history, photography, sociology,psychology, oral history, and autobiography, class discussionwill focus on the nature of generalizations about "the poor,"the various literary and social science techniques used to describepoverty, interactions between the privileged and the disadvantaged,and the moral, ethical, and spiritual dilemmas raised by the conditionof economic deprivation.

Mr. Terris

USEM 35a Don't Get Mad,Get Even: The Ethic and Aesthetic of Revenge

Enrollment limited to 17.

From the Oresteia ofAeschylus to Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd revenge hasbeen the subject of a large body of drama. Not only does revengein the theater raise questions of ethics, morality, and interpersonalrelationships, it has also given rise to conventions that haveshaped the forms of plots and character development in the drama.

Mr. Jones

USEM 36a Equality and Inequality

Enrollment limited to 17.

Most Americans subscribe tothe "self-evident truth" that "all men are createdequal." But how evident is this "truth"? And whatdoes equality mean? This seminar will explore these questionsthrough a careful reading of works by Plato, Aristophanes, Locke,Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, and Nietzsche.

Mr. Melnick

USEM 37a Myth and Prejudice:Social Attitudes about Language

Enrollment limited to 17.

As Henry Higgins and ElizaDoolittle knew well, the minute we speak, we are judged and categorizedas to our social class, competence, and even intelligence. Weexamine the sources of some prevalent beliefs about language andask whether the value judgments that many of us make on the basisof those beliefs stem from valid assumptions about language orfrom destructive myths that perpetuate prejudice.

Ms. Maling

USEM 37b Creation

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course will examine worksof art from diverse cultures that reveal mythologies and legendsof creation of the planet Earth and of the species Homo sapiens.We will then consider works of art that aid us in envisioningthe act of creativity within an individual's accomplishments.

Ms. Scott

USEM 38a Organized Crime

Enrollment limited to 17.

Organized crime has long beenunderstood to have its own identifiable culture. But despite itsenormous impact, the reality of that culture is usually invisible,while fictions about it are enormously popular. This seminar considerswhy that disparity should exist, what its consequences are, inlegal, ethnic, social, and other terms, and what responses, ifany are available to citizens and their governments.

Mr. Luftig

USEM 39a On the Road fromHomer to Ridley Scott

Enrollment limited to 17.

The voyage has always playedan important role in European and American literature and culture.This course analyzes the theme of the voyage as it occurs in writtenworks and in films, pondering questions about why the trip ismade and what the "road" in the trip means. Why, forexample, does Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey embark on histrip? Or why do the title characters in Ridley Scott's film Thelmaand Louise set off on theirs?

Mr. Randall

USEM 41a New Ways of SeeingNature

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar introduces fractalsand chaos theory in a non-mathematical manner as a new languageto describe and emulate the complexities of nature. The oldertraditional language of microscopic reductionism is used as abackdrop to illustrate the revolutionary nature of the new language.

Mr. Canter

USEM 42b Experiencing StatisticalThinking

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course will use reading,writing, and discussion, on the one hand, and experimentation,on the other, to delve into the role of statistical thinking incurrent life. Throughout the semester, we will be experimentingwith materials whose analysis and description will require seminarparticipants to develop statistical concepts for themselves.

Mr. Lange

USEM 43a Evolution and Chance

Enrollment limited to 17.

Participants in this seminarwill explore the ways in which the concept of history has enteredinto explanation in biology, physics, and cosmology. In so doingwe also address the role and meaning of chance in natural phenomena.

Mr. Schweber

USEM 44a I Spy: Ritual,Spectatorship, and Violence

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course focuses on a centralaspect of Western culture: the connection between the I and theeye--the need to watch, to see and be seen; to peek and pry, tobe a voyeur, to seek pleasure through watching.

Mr. Mandrell

USEM 45a Obligations ofSocial Solidarity

Enrollment limited to 17.

Do those who are more fortunateowe support to those who are less fortunate, and should the morefortunate be asked to transfer some portion of their comfort tomitigate the effects of social inequalities and the harshnessof market outcomes? If so, how should these transfers be arranged?If not, why not? This seminar will consider differing answersto such questions from modern literature, social science, andsocial philosophy.

Mr. Ross

USEM 46b Cities and Cyberspace

Enrollment limited to 17.

How are cities and cyberspacerelated? How do anonymity and transiency, characteristics commonto both, shape social identity and social relationships? Thesequestions are addressed in an exploration of urbanism and theworlds of computer-mediated communication.

Mr. Jacobson

USEM 47b Growing Up andGrowing Old: Concepts of Masculinity and the Adult Life Cycle

Enrollment limited to 17.

Using Erik Erikson's theoryof the life cycle, we explore the difficult transitions in adultlife and the various roles men play as they mature from adolescenceinto adulthood and old age. Topics include the creation of theautonomous self; the search for a vocation and success; the patternsof romance, intimacy, and parenthood; the mid-life crisis; oldage; and the confrontation with death.

Mr. Holmberg

USEM 48a Justice

Enrollment limited to 17.

What is the relationship betweenpersonal responsibility and social justice? We will read worksof fiction, drama, philosophy, political theory, and law exploringideals of justice from Plato and Sophocles to Louis Brandeis andJean-Paul Sartre.

Mr. Kloppenberg

USEM 49a Text and Subtext

Enrollment limited to 17.

A close study of eight classicsof Western literature that will explore how their surface contentsconnect with meanings that they convey only indirectly or betweenthe lines. The works to be read are by Sophocles, Matthew, Shakespeare,Racine, Stendahl, Flaubert, Ibsen, and Thomas Mann.

Mr. Binion

USEM 50b Humor

Enrollment limited to 17.

Often thought of as light reading,humor can also be great literature. In this course we read anddiscuss humorous works by writers such as Aristophanes, Shakespeare,Molière, and Mark Twain, among others.

Mr. Gessel

USEM 51a Faces: Understandingthe Influence of Appearance on Social Perception and Social Development

Enrollment limited to 17.

An interdisciplinary examinationof the ubiquity, origins, and consequences of using facial appearanceto judge psychological attributes. Attention will be given toassociations between facial appearance and character in literatureand the arts, and to biological, social, and psychological analysesof these associations.

Ms. Zebrowitz

USEM 52a Race and Representation

Enrollment limited to 17.

As readers of literature andas viewers of film, do we have shared assumptions about the racialand ethnic identities encoded in the texts we receive? How dowe learn to "read" categories such as "white,""ethnic," or "mixed," and how is this relatedto our status as citizens? In this course we will review narrativeand cinematic strategies in 19th- and 20th-century texts, payingclose attention to issues of assimilation and marginality, racializedconstructions of gender, and the politics of interpretation.

Ms. Smith

USEM 53b Conflict and Concordin Near Eastern Myth

Enrollment limited to 17.

The course explores the themesof chaos and order, war and peace, sickness and wholeness, anddeath and life in various myths and related texts from ancientMesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, and Israel.

Mr. Wright

USEM 54a Ideas of Equality,Systems of Inequality

Enrollment limited to 17.

This seminar examines classicand contemporary accounts of equality and inequality in Westernand non-Western societies. We first read influential philosophicaltexts on equality and inequality, and then confront these speculativeaccounts with empirical evidence from the ancient Near East andfrom so-called "egalitarian" societies. We locate theorigins of an ideology of individual equality in the Western traditionand examine ways that obvious evidence of social inequality isrationalized in contemporary America.

Mr. Parmentier

USEM 55b Music as Text

Enrollment limited to 17.

Is music a kind of text? Weexplore ways in which classical music conveys meaning by consideringcompositions based on other works of art (for example, an autobiography, novel, or painting). We consider the potential of music to narratea story and investigate ways in which film uses classical musicto help tell a story.

Ms. Owens

USEM 56a Utopia in Theoryand Practice

Enrollment limited to 17.

An exploration of utopian societiesas presented in the classical literature, in modern utopian andanti-utopian fiction, and in accounts of experimental utopiancommunities of the United States and Canada. The Israeli kibbutzwill be examined as a functioning socialistic production and consumptionunit.

Mr. Schwalberg

USEM 58a Politics, Principles,and Passions

Enrollment limited to 17.

We will read a set of majorworks of the Western canon that address conflicts between peoplesand that wrestle with questions of what legitimates power. Throughoutwe will be concerned with questions of what constitutes consentto being governed, of what kinds of principles inspire and survivestruggles to govern, and of how passions have been seen to inspireand to threaten the human desire to live in peace in an orderedsociety.

Ms. Staves

USEM 59a Majorities andMinorities

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course explores how politicalphilosophers and practitioners from ancient Greece to the contemporaryera have dealt with the problem of reconciling the rights of individuals,majority groups, and minorities in democratic political systems.

Mr. Burg

USEM 60b Art and the Bible

Enrollment limited to 17.

From prohibition to inspiration,the Bible has had a profound influence on the development of art.This course explores the rich and complex relationship betweensacred text and image in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic art fromantiquity to the present.

Mr. McClendon

USEM 61a Illness Narratives

Enrollment limited to 17.

How do people make sense ofillness and caring for sick people through stories? Beginningwith a historical overview of Western medicine, we analyze illnessnarratives as a coping device and a means to restore one's biography.The different viewpoints of health care providers and patientswill be linked to the broader structural characteristics of themodern health care system.

Mr. Timmermans

USEM 61b Stigmatized Identities

Enrollment limited to 17.

Society creates stigmas whichcan stain one's reputation. We examine sources and forms of stigmatizationand managing stigmatized identities, focusing on deviance, disabilities,and the Hollywood "blacklist." We investigate stigmathrough text, film, and firsthand interviews.

Mr. Conrad

USEM 62b How Science IsReally Done

Enrollment limited to 17.

Science is seen by many asthe "culture of our times," yet popular misconceptionsabout science abound. In this course we examine a variety of discoveriesto learn how scientists actually go about their work and whetherthere exists, in fact, a "scientific method." We alsodiscuss ways in which science as a creative activity is linkedto pursuits in the humanities.

Ms. Cohen

USEM 63a The Work of Citizens

Enrollment limited to 17.

This course will examine themeanings of active citizenship as the foundation of democracyin America. It will examine classic texts, as well as speeches,documents, biblical inspiration, and "stories from the field"of contemporary civic action and democratic empowerment.

Mr. Sirianni

USEM 64a Human Rights inModern Russia

Enrollment limited to 17.

The problem of human rightshas been a central question in Russian intellectual life fromthe 18th century to the present. This course will examine howmajor figures in the intelligentsia have defined human rightsand endeavored to change the existing order.

Mr. Freeze

USEM 65a Eros and Marriage

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines the way love and marriageare reflected in art especially in plays, novels, films, opera,essays, and poetry. Is marriage itself a work of art, unique andoriginal or is it a conventional contract? Does marriage confinethe self and make it socially useful or does it release new creativeenergy? What are the consequences for those who flout conventionalsexual arrangements? These and other questions are explored throughselected works.

Mr. Dowden

USEM 66a Meditation, Religionand Art

Enrollment limited to 17.

Using art as a touchstone,the development of religious practices and meditation from Prehistoryto now are explored. Emphasis is given to Egyptian, Greek, Roman,Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian traditions of contemplationalong with exercises in meditation for reading, writing and drawing.

Ms. Bosch

USEM 67a Politics as Seenthrough Fiction

Enrollment limited to 17.

How modern fiction helps usunderstand the dilemmas of politics, the tensions between ideasand actions, social change, leaders and followers, societies intransition and decay, revolution, law, bureaucracy, and ethnicity.We read Koestler, Twain, Sartre, Oz, Solzhenitsyn, Kafka, andGreene. Format will be a highly interactive seminar with severalshort writing assignments.

Mr. Levin

USEM 67b Political Biography

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines political leadership as seen throughworks of biography, autobiography, and biographical fiction. Usespolitical biography as a source of political ideas and picturesof political and social life.

Mr. Levin

USEM 68a Heaven, Hell, and the Space inBetween

Enrollment limited to 17.

Western art and literature has long usedheavens and hells in a variety of ways: as symbols for theologicalbeliefs, as expressions of metaphysical truths, as depictionsfor the individual's psychological ecstasies and agonies, andas allegory for social and political commentary. Spanning antiquityto the present, we examine such heavens and hells as they areviewed from the "space in between," in literature, art,and music.

Mr. Swensen

USEM 69a Political Liberties,Individual Freedoms, and Choice

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines conceptions of politicaland individual freedom. Readings from political theory, theology,drama, artistic manifestos and fiction: Thucydides, Sophocles,Augustine, Jefferson, de Tocqueville, Mill, Dostoevsky, Sartre,and Isaiah Berlin. We trace the influence of ideas of politicaland civil liberties on conceptions of free individual agency.In what does free choice consist?

Ms. Rorty

USEM 70a Aliens! Foreigners!Immigrants!: Conflicts and Resolutions

Enrollment limited to 17.

What conflicts are experiencedby immigrants and their children? Are these conflicts resolved?How does our society respond to the issues of immigrants? Howare these conflicts reflected in the literature of our time andin the popular culture? Through selected texts and interviewswith immigrants, we explore the conflicts of language and culture,of generational differences, and of economics. We also study theways in which people and our society struggle with these conflictsand how they are portrayed by these texts.

Ms. Older

USEM 71a Unnatural Mothers

Enrollment limited to 17.

What makes a bad or "unnatural"mother? We examine the representation of deviant motherhood ina range of texts, contemporary and historical, drawn from literature,art, film, new media, law, and medicine in order to analyze themother as a focus for anxieties about social relations. Topicsinclude motherhood and cultural identity; technology and reproduction;and media representations of maternal failure.

Ms. Buck

USEM 72a Victorianism

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines the myths and realitiesof a cultural concept in its 19th-century and more recent usage.We shall examine aspects of Victorian society and institutions;beliefs; science, thought, and education; literature, art, architecture,and music; and humor.

Mr. Black

USEM 73a Thinking AboutInfinity

Enrollment limited to 17.

Explores the attempts of thefinite human mind to think about infinity. Readings in mathematics,history of science, philosophy, literature, and art, includingEuclid, Plato, Cantor, Poincare, Einstein, Pascal, Kant, Hegel,Wordsworth, Shelley, Joyce, Beckett, Leonardo, Michaelangelo,and Raphael.

Mr. Flesch

USEM 74b Population Sizeand Human Welfare

Enrollment limited to 17.

A debate on the relationshipbetween human population size and human welfare has been in processsince at least 1798. Food supply is a major component of welfare,and so we pay special attention to the production and distributionof food.

Mr. Hunt

USEM 75b Nature, Art, andIllusion

Enrollment limited to 17.

How the physical stimulus,its representation on the eye, and our phenomenal image of itare related has challenged philosophers, scientists, and artists.We will explore this problem historically and in laboratory experimentsexamining visual illusions in nature and art.

Mr. Morant

USEM 76a Law and the Searchfor Authority

Enrollment limited to 17.

Examines how societies seekto justify their basic legal rules. Readings drawn from political,historical, and philosophical works that search for ultimate legalprinciples in written constitutions, totalitarian authority, customand tradition, or the fallible capacities of human reason.

Ms. Gaskins

USEM 78a Varieties of ReligiousExperiences in Modern Fictions

Enrollment limited to 17.

Dilemmas of religious beliefin the modern world as reflected in novels and short stories.Themes include: the secularization of consciousness, personalsalvation and messianic ideologies, art as a usurper of religion,the metaphysics of radical evil, religious authority, and personalautonomy.

Mr. Mintz

USEM 79b Midrash and theReligious Imagination

Enrollment limited to 17.

Interspersed with some briefintroductions to the Midrashic process, the course will examineclassical and modern Jewish readings of four moments in the Biblicalnarrative: Cain and Abel, the binding of Isaac, the wrestlingof Jacob with the "angel," and Ruth and Naomi.

Mr. Green

USEM 80a Wisdom, Story,Ritual, and the Fate of the Earth

Enrollment limited to 17.

Explores the wisdom of theworld religions through stories, rituals, and meditation. We examinehow wisdom stories and science stories about the origin, nature,and destiny of life and the universe influence our lives and thefate of the Earth.

Mr. Stein

USEM 81b Witchcraft in Westernand Non-Western Societies

Enrollment limited to 17.

Witchcraft is social realityfor some persons, evocative metaphor for others, and developingor virtual reality for still others. This course explores allof those possibilities in selected Western and Non-Western societies.

Mr. Saler

USEM 82b War in World History

Enrollment limited to 17.

How has war affected the courseof world history? How different does war look across the ages?How has technological innovation influenced the conduct of warand the evolution of societies? These are the broad questionswe address.

Mr. Art

USEM 83a The Social Historyof the Detective Story

Enrollment limited to 17.

Traces the development of detective,emphasizing how changing ideas of justice and morality are reflectedin the character of the detective and the evolution of the "hard-boiled"mystery story. Writers such as Poe, Doyle, Chesterton, Freeman,Post, Christie, Chandler, and Heyer will be studied.

Mr. Petsko

USEM 84b The American Immigrant

Enrollment limited to 17.

The story of America, fromcolonial days to our day, is the story of immigration. This seminarexplores that story using letters, memoirs, fiction, and film.Through these sources, we accompany selected immigrants as theyleave home, journey to a new land, secure a job, interact witha new culture, and clash with their Americanized children.

Mr. Sarna

USEM 85b Breaking the Rules:Deviance and Non-Conformity in Pre-Modern Europe

Enrollment limited to 17.

Explores the ways in which'deviant' behavior was defined and punished by some, but alsojustified and even celebrated by others in pre-modern Europe.Topics include vagrancy, popular uprisings, witchcraft, religiousheresy, and the status of women.

Mr. Sreenivasan

USEM 86a What Happened tothe American Dream(s)?

Enrollment limited to 17.

Explores complex goals andparadoxes of American aspirations through four centuries of literatureand legal expression, including case law and film. Fromthe "I" of autobiography to the "we" of oratory,it analyzes immigrant dreams, dreams of liberty, individualism,and personal success.

Ms. Davis

USEM 86b The Art of SeeingThings Invisible

Enrollment limited to 17.

Our world is largely a creationof vision's capacities. To learn what vision could tell us aboutourselves and about other lifeforms, we explore a variety of perspectiveson vision from psychology, art, biology, speculative fiction,comparative zoology, philosophy, and computer science.

Mr. Sekuler

USEM 87b Time

Enrollment limited to 17.

The approach of a new millenniumoften causes us to reflect upon our understanding of "time."Through readings of ancient and contemporary literary and non-literarytexts we explore the ways in which humans develop, express, research,and project their concepts of "time."

Ms. von Mering

USEM 88a Islands

Enrollment limited to 17.

Islands are worlds unto themselves,capable of developing singular ecologies and singular "formsof life," yet vulnerable to invasion and swift destruction.We study the wealth and the fragility of islands, as mythicaland as actual places.

Ms. Quinney

USEM 89b What Does It Meanto Be Conscious?

Enrollment limited to 17.

What does it mean to be conscious?How is being conscious different from being intelligent? Couldcomputers be conscious? Animals? We consider aspects of the theoryof consciousness, based on traditional and contemporary philosophy,psychology, and neuroscience.

Mr. Jackendoff