Spring 2017 First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars (80S and 89S)

African-American Music 20th C. (ALP, CCI)
This course moves through, in seminar format, various dimensions of African-American Music in the Twentieth Century.  Our study includes New Orleans, Louis Armstrong, early jazz, blues, gospel, Duke Ellington, the Swing era, the 1950s. Independent work from students will bring in different genres from the second half of the century.  Various dimensions of the African-American tradition have been selected to show diversity, to draw out cultural and social themes, and to get familiar with some of the greatest musical achievements. 
Instructor: Thomas Brothers
Thomas Brothers, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley), is Professor of Music. His research and teaching interests include southern music, 20th-Century African-American music, and Louis Armstrong.

How Organisms Communicate (NS, STS)

Speech often is cited as a unique characteristic of Homo sapiens, something that that sets us apart from other animals. But how unique is human language? What, if any, precursors to language do we find in the natural world? How do organisms other than humans communicate and what do they have to say? This class will explore the communicative world of animals, from the simplest chemical signals used by slime molds when they aggregate to the complex vocalizations of birds, whales and primates – including humans. We will explore fundamental principles of evolution that shape communication systems, the physics and physiology of different communication modalities, and connections that can be made across very different ways of communicating. This class is not just for scientists – anyone with an interest in how the natural world relates to the human condition will find this class a useful multidisciplinary exploration of how one organism may affect the behavior of another. Students will prepare for class sessions using readings, video lecture segments, and other multimedia materials, with class time reserved for team-based discussion of this material. Other activities include demonstrations, presentations, reading and interpreting primary scientific literature, and short writing assignments.
Instructor: Stephen Nowicki
Stephen Nowicki, Ph.D. (Cornell University), is Bass Fellow and Professor in the Departments of Biology, and in Psychology and Neuroscience in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and in the Department of Neurobiology in Duke Medical School.  He also is Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. His research interests span behavioral ecology and neuroethology, in particular the structure, function, and evolution of animal communication systems.  In his spare time Steve cooks, plays trombone in the Duke Pep Band, and juggles flaming clubs.

Introduction to Physiology (NS)

While anatomy is the study of living organisms’ form, physiology is the study of their function. This course will explore physiology on an organismal level and will look beyond the basic function of individual systems to also emphasize the high level of functional integration of these systems. Discussions will include the “why” of “how” the body functions the way it does.
Instructor: Vickie Eason
Vickie Eason is Instructor of Biology.

The Chemistry of Crime (NS, STS)

Forensic chemistry is a critical component during a criminal investigation, which utilizes advances in chemistry to solve a crime. The course will explore the fundamentals of forensic chemistry with emphasis on 1) the basic science behind analysis and handling of evidence, 2) ethical considerations, and 3) new chemical innovations for the advancement of forensic science and their impacts on society. Topics will include DNA analysis, fingerprinting, blood-typing, odor detection, and explosives investigations.  The course will use both discussion and team-based learning formats. No prerequisites required.  For additional information, please see the course website and the course flyer.
Instructors: Claire Siburt and Chemistry Graduate Students
Claire Siburt, Ph.D. (Duke University), is Assistant Director and STEM Learning Specialist for the Academic Resource Center at Duke. She also holds an Adjunct Instructor position in the Chemistry Department. In addition to supporting undergraduate and graduate students individually with their learning, Dr. Siburt leads the SAGE (Science Advancement through Group Engagement) Program for undergraduate chemistry students and collaborates with the Center for Instructional Technology to offer faculty development opportunities for STEM faculty. Dr. Siburt is serving in a supervisory role for this seminar, which will be designed and taught by a team of Chemistry graduate students interested in teaching careers. This offering is a pilot project collaboration between the First Year Seminar Program and the multi-year professional development program (GAANN/Path to Portfolio Program).

Utopia and Dystopia (ALP, CCI, EI, CZ)

In this course we analyze and interpret classic examples of utopian literature from ancient Greece, and then consider the reception and reappropriation of ancient models in the modern Western world. Starting with Plato, we examine how utopian ideals often ambiguously hold out the promise of human fulfillment but can lead to dystopian oppressive government surveillance, collective misery, and human tragedy. Modern scholarship on utopian theory and classic texts by Nietzsche, Aristotle, Karl Popper, and others help inform our critique of The Hunger Games, 1984, and other novels and films.
Instructor: Carl Young
Carl Young, Ph.D. (Duke University), is Instructor of Classical Studies. His research and teaching interests include Plato; Greek and Roman political thought and ethics; history of political thought.

The Ancient Mind (CZ)

Understanding who we are now demands understanding where we came from. The study of the ancient mind is thus one of the most challenging and fascinating research activities regarding Homo sapiens and human society. This kind of study requires a multidisciplinary approach to involve different disciplines and research backgrounds relevant to understanding how ancient minds thought about the world. This can be possible with a new dialogue between neurosciences and the humanities, and in particular connecting the study of art and material culture with cultural models, cultural patterns and the evolution of the brain. The class aims to open new perspectives in the study of the past and in the interpretation of the ancient and modern mind by approaching research questions at the intersection of the brain sciences, humanities, archaeology, anthropology, art, philosophy, aesthetics and visual studies.
Instructor: Maurizio Forte
Maurizio Forte, Ph.D. (University of Rome), is William and Sue Gross Professor of Classical Studies. His expertise includes digital archaeology, classical archaeology and neuro-archaeology.

Music as Mirror and Mediator (CZ, SS,
This course investigates the way in which music serves as a mirror, mediator and prophet in societies undergoing political and social transitions. It explores how history is told, how the present is expressed, and how the future is envisioned thought music. The course contains relevant readings and a research project through which techniques of effective scholarship are explored as part of the Freshman experience.
Instructor: Ingrid Bianca Byerly
Ingrid Bianca Byerly, Ph.D. (Duke University), is a South African interdisciplinary scholar. She is the Director of the Humanitarian Challenges Focus cluster, and Senior Lecturing Fellow in ethnomusicology and public speaking, with affiliations to the Department of Cultural Anthropology, Music, and the Sanford school of Public Policy. Her research and teaching interests include world music, humanitarian advocacy and techniques of student success.

Race/Sex/Brazilian History and Society (CCI, CZ)

This interdisciplinary course will examine the historical development and connections between race, sex, and gender in shaping Brazilian racial relations from slavery to the present day. We will explore the role of sex, deviance, and the body in shaping national identity and how Brazil is viewed from the outside. This course will include readings from anthropology, history, sociology, and literature as well film. Topics to be explored include slavery and colonialism, miscegenation, sexual tourism, prostitution, plastic surgery, and lesbian, gay, and transgender identities. Conducted in English.
Instructor: Lamonte Aidoo
Lamonte Aidoo, Ph.D. (Brown University), is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Romance Studies and African & African American Studies. His research and teaching interests include 19th-20th century Brazilian literature, Afro-Brazilian cultural studies, comparative Brazilian and inter-American racial formations, the confluence of sexuality and national identity, slavery and abolition in the Americas, miscegenation, and comparative trans-Atlantic studies (Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanic, Lusophone).

Dwelling: Spaces and Cultures (ALP, SS, CCI, EI, W)

What is a home? To what extent do the places we inhabit reflect who we are? And how do different cultures make their environments livable? This seminar explores themes of dwelling, hospitality, sustainability, and their opposites – alienation and exile. Home itself is an elusive concept that shapes identities in obvious and hidden ways. Students read texts that consider homes as both physical spaces and conceptual or imaginary ones. We will discuss contemporary global issues like mass migration, climate change, and development, and how those affect ideas of home. Writing assignments encourage students to experiment with different narrative voices, including academic and first-person writing.
Instructor: Miggie Mackenzie Cramblit
Miggie Mackenzie Cramblit is a graduate student in Cultural Anthropology.  

Race, Research, and Diversity (SS, EI, STS)

By 2050, the U.S. is projected to grow by nearly 100 million residents. Over 50% of this population is estimated to be minorities. However, according to National Science Foundation, less than 30% of current scientists and engineers working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations are non-white. Diversity in the U.S. is increasing, yet minority participation in many STEM fields remains stagnant or has declined. How can science continue to solve complex problems without diversity? The goal of this course is to introduce students to the process of scientific inquiry through exploration of research opportunities while also examining the societal and ethical implications entrenched in the lack of minority presence in science and engineering. This class will facilitate research as an exploratory experience to be integrated with the course material and objectives to offer students the opportunity to survey research opportunities at Duke.
Instructor: Nyote Calixte
Nyote Calixte, Ph.D. (Louisiana State University), is Director of Academic Engagement for the Natural Sciences in the Academic Advising Center. Her teaching and research interests include science-based higher education, STEM education, and underrepresented groups in higher education.

After the Spills: What's Next? (NS, STS)

Uses cases studies as Exxon Valdez and Deep Horizon oil spills to survey basic environmental ecotoxicology, science to remediation applications, and institutions involved.  Examine state, federal and international governance at the time of the events, states and trustees involved, types of environments/habitats affected, weathering of oil and dispersants under different conditions, and the state of coastal ecosystems prior to events.  Discuss how monitoring for baseline data, research efforts and major advances provide possibility of  improvement of short- and long-term effects for recovery in future oil spill.  Engages students through discussions, debates, and focused literature reviews.
Instructor: David Hinton
David Hinton, Ph.D. (University of Mississippi), is Nicholas Professor of Environmental Quality in the Nicholas School of the Environment. His research and teaching interests include mechanistic toxicity in all life stages of small, aquarium model fish and in selected species with particular environmental relevance (freshwater and marine).

Ethical Dilemmas in Philosophy and Literature (ALP, EI)

This is an introductory course in moral philosophy and literature. In the first part of the course we will address questions of moral relativism, moral subjectivism, and moral objectivism. We will then study the three principal theories of ethics current today: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Each of these approaches to ethics presents intuitively plausible answers to the following questions: What is moral goodness? What is justice? What is the morally right thing to do? However, the respective answers differ immensely, and each approach entails fascinating dilemmas, where our initially plausible intuitions seem at odds with what the given approach seems to require.We shall investigate some of these dilemmas through reading selected literary works alongside the different moral theories. A further question will therefore accompany our investigations: what is the relationship(s) between literature and moral philosophy in general?
Instructor: Henry Pickford
Henry Pickford, Ph.D. (Yale University), is Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature and Associate Professor in Philosophy. His research and teaching interests include philosophy and literature, primarily within the German tradition. Areas of interest include German Idealism, Marx, Wittgenstein, and Frankfurt School Critical Theory.

One Person, One Vote (CZ, EI, W)

What does it mean for a government to justly represent its people? What do we mean by “one person, one vote”? In the 2016 Evenwel v. Abbott case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the long-standing principle that each person (including children, felons, non-citizens, and the mentally disabled) rather than each voter should be counted in apportioning political representation. In writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appealed to “history, precedent, and practice” to argue that the appellants “have shown no reason for the Court to disturb this longstanding use of total population.” This course explores the “history, precedent, and practice” of political representation alongside its ethical, political, and mathematical contexts. The course will start by investigating the long (and surprising) history of conceptions of political representation in the West. We will explore how the meaning and importance of the term “representation” changed from the direct democracies of Greek city states to Medieval notions of corporate life to contemporary political theories in order to better understand the relationship between representation and consent. Alongside works of political theory, we will study imagined conceptions of political participation in plays, novels, and film. With this range of notions of political representation in mind, we will study two recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases qualitatively and quantitatively: Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and Evenwel v. Abbott (2016). While Citizens United presents itself as a case about free speech and campaign finance legislation, we will consider its implications for the ethical as well as legal definitions of “personhood.” We will then turn to Evenwel v. Abbott to consider the mathematical problems of fair representation. Central to our investigation will be the quantitative problems hiding behind Justice Ginsburg’s invocation of the well-established practices. How do we divide the U.S. population in order to elect 435 representatives? Is a fair division of districts blind to race, age, gender, or disability status? How good of a “picture of the nation” does the census provide?
Instructor: Astrid Giugni
Astrid Giugni, Ph.D. (Duke University), is Visiting Assistant Professor of English. Her research and teaching interests include political literature of seventeenth-century revolutionary authors, particularly John Milton, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Bagels, Lox & Latkes: The American Jewish Experience (CZ, SS, EI, CCI)
This class will explore how Judaism and Jewish life adapted to American society from the 1840s (when German Jews began to arrive in America in significant numbers) to today from an interdisciplinary social science perspective. We will explore how Jewish practices and traditions have adapted to America, how patterns of communal life and institutions have been transformed, how American society shaped Jewish political affiliations, what the relationship of American Jews has been to other American groups, how Jews have imagined themselves and been understood by other Americans, and how American Jews have negotiated their dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness.  We will also pay particular attention to the experience of Jewish life in the American South, particularly in North Carolina. See also course flyer
Instructor: Emily Sigalow
Emily Sigalow, Ph.D. (Brandeis University), is the Perilman Postdoctoral Scholar of Jewish Studies. She is currently working on a book project about the historical and contemporary encounter between Judaism and Buddhism in America. She is also beginning a new collaborative research project that examines how Ashkenazi Jewish women in the United States who carry a BRCA gene mutation understand the risks associated with their carrier status and make decisions about their health similarly to or differently from Israeli Jewish carriers.

Application of Mathematics to Physiology and Medicine (NS, QS, R, W)
This seminar, open only to freshmen, will be offered in Spring 2016. Topics include: the heart and circulation, heat and temperature regulation, oxygen uptake in the lungs, the immune system and infectious diseases, nephrons and the kidney, ovulation number in mammals, chemistry and cell metabolism, sensory neurobiology. Other topics may be substituted depending on the interests of the students enrolled. The structure of the course will be as follows. During the first half, the instructor will lecture and students will do background reading and work in groups on problem sets, often presenting their group work to the class. Before Spring Break, each student will choose a research project from a list of about 30 possible projects presented by the instructor or create a project based on their own interests (with the approval of the instructor). During the second half of the semester, each student gives two 25-minute lectures to the seminar on his or her research project and writes a 20 page paper. There is no midterm. The final exam covers the problem sets from the first half of the semester and requires long essays on the research papers of two other students. Recent student research topics were: "Mathematical Models of the Control of Ovulation," "Mathematics and Physiology of the Human Eye,'' "The Vestibular System: the Center of All Balance,'' "Mechanical Heart Valves and Models of Stenosis,'' Mathematical Epidemic Models,'' "Diabetes and a Mathematical Model of the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test,'' "Information Theory and Molecular Biology,'' "A Biological and Mathematical Analysis of HIV,'' "Mathematical Modeling of Muscle Crossbridge Dynamics,'' "Information Theory and Molecular Biology,'' "Two-step Chemotherapy, a Mathematical Model.''
Instructor: Michael Reed
Michael Reed, Ph.D. (Stanford University), is Bass Fellow and Professor of Mathematics. His research and teaching interests include the application of mathematics to questions in physiology and medicine and questions in analysis that are stimulated by biological questions.

Creation and Re-Creation (ALP, R)

Students will examine a primary source material, Shakespeare's Othello, and trace the influence of interpretations in different media. How does the "language" of the medium affect our understanding of the text? We will examine different stage versions of the play, operas, a ballet, a Japanese Noh version, movies, and visual art inspired by Othello. There is a field trip to The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, to see a live play in a reproduction Elizabethan theater. Final project, no term paper.

Instructor: Barbara Dickinson, Harry Davidson, and Susan Dunn

Barbara Dickinson, M.A. (American University), is Professor of the Practice of Dance. Her specialties include Modern Technique, Repertory, Performance, Choreography, and Dance History.
Harry Davidson, M.MUS (Pacific Lutheran University), is Professor of the Practice of Music. He has led numerous symphonies and orchestras around the world.
Susan Dunn, M.MUS (Indiana University, Bloomington), is Professor of the Practice of Music. Her specialties include German lied, Italian and German opera, Broadway and art songs in all languages, directing opera and popular song performances. 

Musical Shakespeare (ALP, CCI)

Considered by many to be the greatest writer in English of all time (if not any language), the works of William Shakespeare have exerted a powerful influence, not only on literature and drama, but on the other arts as well.  Composers of every age from the Renaissance to present day, have created music expressly for the performance of his plays and sonnets as well as music inspired by and based upon his canon. Our interdisciplinary seminar will explore this repertoire by examining masterworks of music in relation to the Shakespearean works which spawned their creation. We have chosen four works:  "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Romeo and Juliet," "Othello" and "The Tempest." These plays will be read and reviewed in relation to compositions by Purcell, Mendelssohn, Britten, Berlioz, Bernstein, Verdi, Mozart, Sibelius, and others with an emphasis on how these composers sought to capture in their medium of sound, the essence of the Shakespearean dramatic work under consideration. Relationships between works will be explored as well as between the genres they represent.
Instructor: Harry Davidson
Harry Davidson (Pacific Lutheran University), is Professor of the Practice of Music. He has led numerous symphonies and orchestras around the world.

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.S. (University of North Carolina, Greensboro), is Professor of the Practice of Health, Wellness and Physical Education. Her research and teaching interests include Tennis, Fitness and physical activity, especially in relation to women’s health, and Visual technology for skill acquisition.

Connected by Sound 

Synopsis Forthcoming
Instructor: Dewey Lawson
Dewey Lawson, Ph.D. (Duke University), is an Adjunct Professor of Physics. His research and teaching interests include phonon scattering in solid helium-4, zero sound propagation in normal and superfluid phases of liquid helium-3, restoration of human hearing through direct electrical stimulation of the inner ear and brainstem, the psychophysics of music perception, and musical acoustics.

Globalization and its Alternatives (SS, EI, W)

"Globalization" enjoys a special status as one of the most fashionable TED Talk buzz-words of contemporary social and political discourse. Indeed, we often hear that the purpose of a proper university education, such as that provided at Duke, is to prepare students to successfully navigate a "globalized" world economy. Yet for all of the ubiquity and hype surrounding this term, a serious understanding of the phenomenon itself remains elusive. The purpose of this special freshman seminar is to remedy the superficial manner in which "globalization" is often discussed by considering the phenomenon in light of an eclectic array of important texts reflecting philosophical, economic, and historical perspectives. Our attempt to make sense of---and critically engage---globalization will make use of classic works by Kant, Marx, and Polyani as well as more recent and contemporary works by Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and Peter Thiel.
Instructor: Darren Beattie
Darren Beattie, Ph.D. (Duke University) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science. His research and teaching focuses on political theory.

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

Leadership in the knowledge-based economy and globally interconnected world of the 21st century requires that students develop their abilities to constructively engage ethnic, religious, and political differences and generate and apply knowledge in the service of society. The premise is that developing the capacity for critical reasoning is necessary but not sufficient. It is also necessary to develop a personal epistemology that is, beliefs about knowledge and its justification, and the capacities of empathy that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings, perspectives, intentions, and mental states of another person, and identity, the integrated experience of oneself as a unique individual that includes one’s goals, values, and commitments. This seminar takes a developmental science approach to synthesizing and applying the knowledge and understandings generated across the biological and social sciences and humanities about the nature, development, and enhancement of personal epistemology, empathy, and identity.  Selected readings are provided for each session.  Clinical cases, in the form of videotape, and narratives from literature are utilized to reflect salient issues and processes.  Students write three, 3-8 page, synopsis/application papers based on the assigned readings and a 12-15 page research review paper on a topic of their choice. In individual meetings with the instructor, feedback is provided on the rough drafts of each paper and students submit revised papers as their final product.
Instructor: Robert J. Thompson, Jr.
Robert J. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D. (University of North Dakota), is Emeritus 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.

Justice in the Bible (CZ)

How is the human obligation to pursue justice in the Hebrew Bible (OT) related to the expectation that God is just? Does “justice” mean the same thing in the divine and the human sphere? What notion(s) of justice do different biblical texts embody? Given that the Bible was written within the ancient Near East, how does biblical justice relate to concepts of justice in ancient Mesopotamian texts? These ancient concepts have frequently been appropriated in American society—is it proper to appropriate ancient religious conceptions of justice into modern, secular American society?
Instructor: Marc Zvi Brettler
Marc Zvi Brettler, Ph.D. (Brandeis University), is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor in Judaic Studies. His research and teaching interests include the use of religious metaphors in the Hebrew Bible, the nature of biblical historical texts as "literary" texts, and gender and the Bible.

U.S., China and the Asian Pacific Region (SS, W)

The Asian Pacific region is the major center of economic growth in the 21st century.   We can expect a major shift of power and wealth in the world toward this region in the decades ahead.   How the United States and China interact with each other in this region will determine not only peace and prosperity in this region, but also the future of the world. 
Instructor: Bai Gao
Bai Gao, Ph.D. (Princeton University), is a Professor of Sociology. His research and teaching interests include economic sociology, political economy, comparative historical sociology, Japanese society, Chinese society, and East Asian capitalism.

First-Year Acting: Acting Basics (ALP)

"It’s a common misperception many beginning actors make: acting is pretending. Action, by definition, is based in reality but we rarely see that on the stage, in television, or on film. “To act” means “to do” yet most performances seem to be self-involved, shallow, forced, and self-conscious as a result of this belief that we have to PRETEND to react to what’s going on in front of us. It is possible to marry your imagination to the reality of actually doing something authentic on stage. By inflating your awareness, sensibilities, and listening skills, we can gain ease and purpose on stage and act within an imaginary circumstance with a reality that you can identify with. We will begin to find this through physical group exercises and games. We will use ACTION as the basis of our technique and work with one another in a close and responsible way, considering our partner's/partners' safety above all. EXPECTATIONS: To understand the history of acting and the relevance of Stanislavski’s “System”; exercise attention, concentration, memory, and listening skills through acting exercises & games; proficiency of beginning acting technique through memorized scene work."
Instructor: Kristen Marks
Kristen Marks, M.F.A. (Moscow Art Theatre School), is Visiting Lecturer of Theater Studies. Her research and teaching interests focus on acting.