Fall 2015 Seminars

80S Series Seminars

CULANTH 80S:  Urban Futures: Africa   (CZ, SS, CCI, STS, W)
Instructor: Samuel Joseph Shearer
RELIGION 80S:  Christian Sex   (CZ, CCI, EI, W)
Instructor:  Michelle Wolff

89S Series Seminars

US Food Production: What Are We Really Eating?   (NS, STS)

Consumers are increasingly aware of the impacts current agricultural methods have on our environment and the demand for sustainable agriculture increases. The news media covers aspects of climate change on food security (e.g. drought), food contamination, and the role of genetically engineered crops to feed an increasing human population. To understand the nature of current US food production, we will compare large-scale agriculture (agri-business) and local agriculture for sustainability. What effects do monocultures have on the environment? On our diet? What are the ecological consequences of industrialized animal farming? We will examine issues such as the pre and post ‘green revolution’ agriculture and associated pollution, sustainable agriculture, decoupling of food production and consumption. To forecast future agricultural production, we will explore current and projected scenarios. We will investigate these issues through the popular writings of environmental journalist Michael Pollan, nutrition professors Marion Nestlé and Joan Gussow, and writer Paul Greenberg among others, with associated scientific data. We will set the stage with Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Through discussions and role-playing debates, both problems and potential solutions at the ecological and societal level will be addressed.
Instructor: Chantal Reid
Chantal Reid, Ph.D. (Duke University) is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Biology and Environmental Sciences and Policy. Her research and teaching interests include physiological ecology and global change.

Size in Biology     (NS)

How the body sizes of organisms, be they microbes or mammoths, affect their structure, functioning, ecology, and evolution. An exploration, through readings, discussion, and small projects, both of general principles and of case studies.
Instructor:  V. Louise Roth
V. Louise Roth, Ph.D. (Yale University) is a Professor of Biology with a secondary appointment in Evolutionary Anthropology. Her most recent courses have focused on the biology of mammals, biology of bone, and macroevolution. Her research has focused on evolutionary morphology and phylogeny in mammals, and on the functional and ecological implications of evolutionary changes in growth and body size.

The Archaeology of Death: Ritual and Social Structure in the Ancient World   (ALP, CZ, CCI)

Historically contextualized study of how the dead "lived" in the ancient Roman world, in funerary practices and traditions. Topics may include: funerary rituals; ritual distinctions between the space of the living and dead around cities and in the countryside; ancestor cult; monumental and not-so-monumental tombs; grave offerings and grave assemblages; public personae and funerary iconography tied to gender, age, and occupation. Course will compare death-practices between Roman capital and the provinces.
Instructor:  Alicia Jiménez
Alicia Jiménez, Ph.D. (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) is an Assistant Professor of Classical Studies. Her fields of teaching and research interests include Roman archaeology, archaeological theory, and numismatics.

A Gentle Introduction to Creating Mobile Apps

This course explores the creation of apps for mobile devices.  Students will learn how to access the world of mobile services and applications as creators, not just consumers.  They will learn to create entertaining and socially useful apps that can be shared with friends and family.  In addition to learning to program and how to become better problem solvers, students will also explore the exciting big ideas of computer science from the perspective of mobile computing and its increasingly important effect on society.  We will utilize MIT’s open source App Inventor 2 visual programming environment which enables even novice student programmers to create powerful mobile applications that interact with the web and with other phones.
NOTE: Course is for students with no previous programming experience.  It is a gentle introduction to programming in the context of making your own smartphone apps, and we will learn everything you need to know in class.  Students who have taken a Computer Science course or have programming experience should consider taking another Computer Science course.
Instructor:  Richard Lucic
Richard Lucic, M.S. (Stanford University) is an Associate Professor of the Practice and Associate Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Curriculum Director for Information Science and Information Studies.  His fields of teaching and research interests include web technologies and mobile applications.

Music as Mirror, Mediator and Prophet   (CZ, SS, CCI, R)

This course investigates the ways in which music serves as a mirror, a mediator and a prophet in societies undergoing political and social transitions. It explores how history is reflected, the present is expressed and the future is envisioned through music.
Instructor:  Ingrid Byerly
Ingrid Byerly, Ph.D.  (Duke University) is a Senior Lecturing Fellow of Cultural Anthropology. Her fields of teaching and research interest are in cross-cultural communication, video production, cultural anthropology, education and ethnomusicology.

Failure: The Culture and History of an Idea   (SS, EI)

Everyone fails. The cost of failure, however, affects people differently. Who and what are considered too big to fail? Who and what are expected to fail? The benefits of failure are rarely explored. How can failure be productive and instructive? Is failure an end or a beginning? This class examines the invention, design, process, and production of failure. We will examine the role of failure in markets, schools, science, engineering, war, humanitarianism, politics, performance and your own personal lives. Students will be encouraged to study how failure is explored (and avoided) in a variety of disciplines and practices, including economics, engineering, anthropology, and art. The division between work and play is as arbitrary as that between success and failure. Thus, as we explore the spaces between success and failure, we will also blur the boundaries between work and play in the learning environment. Students will participate in the development of the International Failure Institute (IFI), an emerging think tank and advocacy group promoting the study of failure in arts, sciences, and technology.
Instructor:  Erin Parish
Erin Parish, Ph.D. (Duke University) is Visiting Faculty in the Department of Cultural Anthropology.  Her research focuses on the physicality of memory and the psychology of place in the aftermath of conflict in Colombia.  She teaches project-based interdisciplinary classes on issues surrounding war and peace, migration, environment and memory, and political participation.

Media, Film, and Facebook     (CZ, SS, CCI, STS, W)

Investigates the function of visual technologies in shaping anthropology and altering how we see ourselves and the world. Explores the role of images as important social documents with increasing reach as they move through digital networks. We explore the shifting relationships between the social meanings of images and advancements in cameras and other reproduction technologies, and trace the evolution of ethnographic film in conjunction with colonial, scientific, and military applications of visual technologies within Western knowledge production. Through film screenings, anthropological literature and theorists of media and visuality, the course analyzes the mutations of the image and the cultural shifts around media technologies. With this historical foundation, we focus on the advent of digital technology with powerful cyber-worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft and social media platforms like Facebook. The course interrogates “new media” and the “real” of image-making through documentary, conceptual art practice, social media, the internet, and “live” footage such as dashboard cams, surveillance tape, and drone video.
Instructor:  Dwayne Dixon
Dwayne Dixon, Ph.D. (Duke University) is Visiting Faculty in the Department of Cultural Anthropology.  His teaching and research interests include youth media, visuality, Japan/Pacific Rim body practices, and urbanism.

The Photographic Essay     (ALP)

This seminar teaches the language of photography through the study of classic and contemporary photographic essays and through the completion of assigned photographic essays by the students themselves. Students will learn to make, choose, sequence, and pace their own images for class discussion and for digital projection. During the semester students will complete three assigned photographic essays of at least ten images each. Each essay will be on a particular theme or subject to be announced. Each student’s final project (or fourth essay) will consist of a compilation photographic essay of at least twenty images combining work from all three assignments.
Instructor: Bill Bamberger
Bill Bamberger (B.A., UNC–Chapel Hill), Visiting Lecturer in the Center for Documentary Studies, is known for the innovative ways he has engaged whole communities in the production of his work. His projects explore large social issues of our time by looking at how they are manifest in our families and communities. Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory with Cathy N. Davidson won the Mayflower Prize in Non-Fiction and was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His photographs have appeared in Aperture, Doubletake, The Washington Post Magazine, Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine. He is currently working on BALL, a grassroots project that explores the democratization of basketball and the intersection of sports and culture in American life.
Sociology through Photography   (ALP, SS)

Documentary photography used as a tool to see the world through a sociological lens. Photographs and the social construction of reality; generic components of social organization (codes of conduct, mechanisms of social control); power relations and social inequalities; and social identities (how they’re formed in relation to structures, experiences, history, and culture).
Instructor:  Katherine Hyde
Katherine Hyde, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University) is a Lecturing Fellow in the Department of Center for Documentary Studies and Assistant Adjunct Professor of Sociology.  She coordinated the Literacy Through Photography (LTP) program at the Center for Documentary Studies for eight years and has been the director of LTP for four years. She teaches several courses on sociology and photography.

Jewish American Literature: Old Worlds and New     (ALP, R)

It has been said that the hyphen in "Jewish-American" is "the cutting edge of a sharp sensibility." In this seminar, through the lenses of fiction and film, we will trace the realities and challenges of being Jewish in this country from the late 1880s to the present. We will explore such topics as the immigrant experience, assimilation and acculturation, anti-Semitism, politics and economics, the influence of Yiddish on American life and art, the evolution of the "Jewish mother" stereotype, various modes of practicing Judaism, relationships between Jews and other minority groups, the role of Israel in American-Jewish identity, and more. We will examine the continuities and differences between the first generation of Jewish-American fiction writers and succeeding generations, in terms of themes and techniques. Above all, we will read and discuss some very good literature. Authors to be studied include, but are not limited to, the household names of Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, and Joseph Heller, along with such less well-known writers of the past as Henry Roth, Abraham Cahan, Michael Gold, and Anzia Yezierska, and finally some representatives of the "new breed" of Jewish-American authors, like Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, and Nathan Englander. You don't have to be Jewish to take this course!
Instructor: Judith Ruderman
Judith Ruderman, Ph.D (Duke University) is Visiting Professor of English. Her teaching and research interests include D. H. Lawrence, modern and contemporary English, and Jewish-American literature.  After the publication of her latest book, Race and Identity in D.H. Lawrence: Indians, Gypsies, and Jews, she is now working on the issue of "passing" in Jewish-American literature.

Climate Change: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions     (NS, STS)

Climate change is one of the defining challenges facing humanity today. The goal of this first-year seminar is to develop a comprehensive and integrated view of contemporary climate change. The first half of the course will examine our current understanding of the science of climate change, and explore the potential societal consequences of a changing climate. The second half of the course will focus on potential solutions, with a focus on technological, political, and social challenges that will have to be overcome to mitigate and adapt to climate change. More broadly, the course seeks to develop intellectual, academic, and learning skills by engaging students in active inquiry, critical analysis, and discussion of competing ideas.
Instructor:  Prasad Kasibhatla
Prasad Kasibhatla, Ph.D. (University of Kentucky) is Professor of Environmental Chemistry.  The overarching theme of his research is to develop a fundamental and quantitative understanding of the factors that determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere. He is particularly interested in delineating natural and anthropogenic impacts on the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and in exploring the potential for these impacts to affect natural ecosystems. His research involves the use of numerical models in conjunction with remote and in situ measurements of atmospheric composition.

Monstrous Births: Coming to Life in Nineteenth Century Literature and Science     (ALP, CCI, STS)

Monster novels like “Frankenstein” were part of a larger European fascination with the origins of life in the long nineteenth century, as people asked what life consists of and how it comes to be. This class will both explore scientific research from the period and will read literature obsessed with artificial life and strange births. We will ask: What did these authors and scientists think of the power of nature to create? The power of human imagination? The meaning of genius? The connection between gender and creativity? How have these ideas influenced the present? We will investigate the differences and intersections between scientific and literary questions and practices, and will ask how each discipline wishes to define itself with respect to society and to truth. We will also trace similarities between the anxieties of this earlier period and contemporary concerns with cyborgs, reproductive technology, and the limits of the human.
Instructor: Stefani Engelstein
Stefani Engelstein, Ph.D. (University of Chicago) is an Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature.  Her fields of teaching and research interests include the significance of the body in literature, science, and social and political theory along with the circulation of questions and methodologies between disciplines.

Gandhi, King, Mandela: A Global History     (CZ, SS, CCI, EI)

What are the political and ethical consequences of refusing to obey the laws and dictates of a governing authority, of being practitioners of what has been hailed as “civil disobedience?” Is it a “dangerous” idea? These are the key questions of this seminar which focuses on the words and actions of three of the 20th century’s most “disobedient” men: “Mahatma” Gandhi of India, Martin Luther King, Jr. of the United States, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. One important goal of the course is to encourage you to think of these figures not as “Indian,” “American,” or “South African” per se, but as “global” thinkers whose ideas regarding willful and conscious dissent were fertilized by influences that were trans-national and trans-historical. We will look at the manner in which each of these men fashioned a “disobedient” self through their writing and their oratory. We will also consider how their seemingly “rebellious” personas were crafted by the artist’s brush, the photographer’s lens, and the filmmaker’s camera. Not least, we will focus on their spectacular public enactments of civil disobedience in order to understand how their global reputations were acquired. Methodologically and conceptually, our goal is to track an “arc” and “archive” of disobedience within which we can place these men—and other individuals like them—and ask why the 20th century appears to have been particularly prone to such acts of willful acts of dissidence, of “sitting apart,” of refusing to comply with unjust and unfair laws.
Instructor: Sumathi Ramaswamy
Sumathi Ramaswamy, Ph.D. (UC–Berkeley) is a Professor of History. Her fields of teaching and research interests include South Asian history; the British Empire; visual culture; and the history of cartography.

Middle Passages     (CZ, SS, EI, R, W)

Middle Passages” offers to first-year students the opportunity to conduct original research about the greatest pre-1870 human migration in history: the forced migration of African captives across the Atlantic to the Americas. The instructor will guide students to ask their own questions about the Middle Passage, then to use primary sources to explore and (when possible) answer those questions. Instructor and students will avail themselves of the wealth of newly accessible on-line primary sources, as well as published sources. Although the seminar stresses primary sources, it will also acquaint students with a range of published scholarship about the Middle Passage.
Instructor:  Janet Ewald
Janet Ewald, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, Madison) is an Associate Professor of History. Her teaching and research interest is in African history.

Birth, Death, and What’s Between: The Jewish Life Cycle in the Middle Ages and Beyond     (CZ, SS, CCI, EI)

Did Jesus have a bar mitzvah? This course examines the different stages of life of medieval Jews and how they marked passage from one stage to the next. Through a comparative historical approach we will examine how ancient texts and rituals—baby namings, bris (circumcision), bar (and bat) mitzvah, weddings, divorce, and funerals—were performed in new ways by Jews of Christian Europe and the Islamic world (800–1800). A comparison to similar practices in the surrounding Christian and Muslim societies will introduce us to the varieties of cultural influences. Connecting medieval realities to modern practices, the course will explore how people innovate within their cultural tradition without breaking with it and how they can be influenced by a neighboring tradition while losing their sense of identity.
Instructor:  Oded Zinger
Oded Zinger, Ph.D. (Princeton University) is a Postdoctoral Associate in Jewish Studies. His fields of teaching and research interests include Judaism and Islam, women’s studies, religious laws, and medieval culture.

Composers of Influence     (ALP, CZ)

Throughout the history of the arts in Western civilization, certain individuals stand out whose achievements seem to propel the very nature of their respective art forward. They are said to stretch its boundaries by manipulating its raw materials in ways not conceived of prior to their time. These artists end up exerting enormous influence on others—those working in the same field and the culture in general. This course examines the lives and works of specific composers who have had an unusually powerful influence in the process, informing us a great deal about music's path through the ages. It may also yield insights into the nature of influence and progress themselves. Composers to be studied are J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky.
Instructor:  Harry Davidson
Harry Davidson, M.Mus.  (Pacific Lutheran University) is a Professor of the Practice of Music and Director of the Duke Symphony Orchestra. He made his major orchestra debut conducting the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has guest conducted numerous professional and conservatory ensembles, including the Charlotte Symphony, the Akron Symphony, and the Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory orchestras. His teaching and research interests include orchestral conducting, opera conducting, and music history.

Hot Topics in Health

This course will provide an overview of the components of health and wellness, with more specific topics/current trends or issues being explored within each component. Emphasis will be on information, resources, and skills to help students achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as an understanding of the broader health issues facing our current society.
Instructor:  Janis Hampton
Janis Hampton, M.A. (UNC–Greensboro) is Assistant Professor in the Practice of Health, Wellness and Physical Education. Her fields of teaching and research interest center on developing awareness of health and fitness issues for the general population as well as young adults.

Digital Revolution and the Future of News   (SS)

Digital age has brought wrenching transformation for the media. Battered by disruptive forces ranging from Craigslist to the iPhone, newspapers and television stations must reimagine their business models and find different ways to cover the news. Will examine how the news industry reinvents itself and explore the rise of promising forms of journalism to hold policymakers and government accountable. Will study ventures such as ProPublica and Politico, and how they compete with a ferocious partisan media.
Instructor:  William Adair
Bill Adair, Ph.D. (Arizona State University) is Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy. His fields of teaching and research interests include political journalism, political fact-checking, new forms of media, and the economics of new media.

Beyond Reason: Empathy and Identity     (SS, NS, R, W)

Developmental science approach to integrating knowledge across the biological and social sciences and humanities about engaging difference and the nature, development, and enhancement of personal epistemology, empathy, and identity. Videotaped clinical cases and documentary films are used to stimulate reflection and discussion.
Instructor:  Robert Thompson, Jr.
Robert J. Thompson, Jr, Ph.D. (University of North Dakota) is a Professor of Psychology. His research interests include how biological and psychosocial processes act together in human development; the adaptation of children and their families to developmental problems and chronic illnesses, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis; and the assessment of teaching and learning in higher education.

Adaptation: Cinema and Literature   (ALP, CCI)

From Homer’s Odyssey to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” great literary works have influenced films in a variety of ways, providing plots, phrases, background, points of reference and challenges. This course explores texts and films that have fascinated readers and viewers, as well as changed ideas about the meaning of and connections between literature and cinema. Instead of focusing on faithfulness, we discuss the relationships between literature and cinematic adaptations, the competition between the arts, and the works on their own terms. Students watch Apocalypse Now, Throne of Blood, Contempt, and Blade Runner, read works by Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and Conrad, among other films and texts.
Instructor:  Saskia Ziolkowski
Saskia Ziolkowski, Ph.D. (Columbia University) is A Visiting Assistant Professor /Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies. Her teaching and research interests include comparative literature and studies, especially modern Italian and German literature, culture and film, Italian studies, world literature, and translation studies.

Tolstoy and Dostoevsky     (ALP, CCI, EI)

Students will read novels and selected short works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, considering the Big Questions and their vivid dramatization in the light of the authors' irreconcilable approaches to the human condition, culture, artistic goals and narrative technique. The course examines the role played by aesthetic forms of expression within the unique cultural environment of nineteenth-century Russia, focusing on the ways these writers formulate questions of right and wrong, and of the place of the individual within an oppressive political system.
Instructor: Carol Apollonio
Carol Apollonio, Ph.D. (UNC–Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Slavic and Eurasian Studies. Her teaching and research interests include 19th-century Russian literature, language pedagogy, translation and interpreting theory and practice, Russian post-glasnost prose fiction and Japanese language and literature.

Race and Education: Understanding Achievement Gaps   (SS, CCI, EI)

This course will focus on the role of education in both the production and amelioration of social inequality. Particular attention is given to racial achievement gaps. By engaging both quantitative and qualitative studies, students will acquire 1) knowledge of the historical trends and understanding of racial differences in achievement, and 2) a broad understanding of the current issues/debates in the literature.
Instructor:  Angel Harris
Angel Harris, Ph.D. (University of Michigan) is a Professor of Sociology and African and African American Studies. His teaching and research interests include social inequality, policy and education, with a focus on changing the way people think about the academic achievement gap across racial and ethnic groups.  

Performing in Argument   (ALP)

We often think of oral arguments as performances, but can we understand written arguments in similar ways? This course focuses on exciting examples of experimental writing, literary non-fiction, and sophisticated argumentation to think about how the written word can be moving, persuasive, and transformative. We will look at a wide range of compelling texts from the humanities, on subjects including acting, kitsch, blackness, opera, feminism, musicals, Scottish kilts, the avant-garde, painting, and anthropological ethnography. Despite the eclectic subject matter, we will stay focused as we think together about the ways in which experimental arguments make it possible for us think in ways that we never have before.
Instructor:  Bradley Rogers
Bradley Rogers, Ph.D. (University of California–Berkeley) is an Assistant Professor of Theater Studies.  His teaching and research interests include theories of acting, argumentation, musical theatre, and performance theory.

Theater Skills for Business Communication  

Communication skills and presence for leadership in the global business world through empowerment of others. Use of theater techniques (presence, voice, body gesture, text presentation and listening) to teach methods of leadership, action, and self-expression that motivate for results, enhance collaboration, and heighten confidence in oneself and others.
Instructor:  Ellen Hemphill
Ellen Hemphill, M.Ed. (Wake Forest University) is an Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies of Theater Studies. Her teaching and research interests include acting, directing, voice, gesture, solo performance singing, and business communications.  She is the Artistic and Managing Director and co-founder of Archipelago Theatre, Inc.  www.archipelagotheatre.org.

Girls Go Global     (ALP, CCI, EI, R)

An exploration of how girlhood is imagined, represented, and lived around the globe. Looking at modern and contemporary film and literature in which girls play a central role, as well as aspects of visual and material culture (fashion, dolls, and video games) designed with girls in mind, we will think about the cultural meanings attributed to girls. What kinds of images, stories, and objects have girls from the United States, West Africa, Japan, and Iran been given to imagine themselves in the world? How have girls created cultures for themselves? How do representations of girls reflect culturally specific ideas about traditions, morals, and ethics? What do representations of and by girls tell us about the possibilities for and limitations upon freedom and gender equity in a world increasingly shaped by consumer culture?
Instructor:  Kimberly Lamm
Kimberly Lamm, Ph.D. (University of Washington) is an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies.  Her research fields include contemporary feminist art, contemporary poetry, feminist theory, and 19th- and 20th-century US Literature. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled: “Poetics of Address: Imagining the Other Woman in Contemporary Art.”  Increasingly, her research and teaching interests are drawn to the styles, objects, and practices that can be identified by and through the term "femininity," which has led to her interest in girl cultures and fashion.

Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East

This is a survey seminar focused on gender and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Assignments include fiction and film, as well as scholarship from anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, history, and other fields. The seminar addresses sex, embodiment, and masculinities/femininities and challenges static and racist representations of histories, communities, and peoples in the region.
Instructor:  Frances Hasso
Frances Hasso, Ph.D. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies. Her specialties include gender studies and transnational studies. Her research has focused on the intersections between states, social movements, and individual subjectivities and identities, especially in the Arab world.