Spring 2022 First-Year Seminars

Spring 2022

First-Year Seminars Connected to the "What Now?" Network of First-Year Seminars

This first grouping of seminars are part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars. What Now? courses contain a shared “wellness lab,” offering opportunities to engage with faculty and students in other participating seminars. Register for this .5-credit component of the program by adding Ethics 189 to your schedule. Scroll down for the full range of first-year seminars offered during Spring 2022.

What now? Emotion, Evolution, and Ethics (NS, EI)

Fear, love, anger, pride, regret, envy – the emotions seem to play a big role in our lives, as well as in the lives of certain other animal species.  But what are the emotions?  Are they guides to behavior?  Are they judgments, or perhaps biases of judgment?  Are they motivations? Or maybe they are epiphenomenal – mere side effects of other mental processes, essentially irrelevant to proper mental function.  The course explores what the emotions are, what they are for, and how they evolved.  We begin with readings of some classic treatments of behavior and emotion in certain animal species, including gulls and chimpanzees. We then consider emotions in humans, reading selections from important works in psychology, neurobiology, and ethics. The central issue in the last part of the course will be the role of the emotions in human judgment, especially moral judgment. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Daniel McShea
Daniel McShea, Ph.D. (The University of Chicago) is Professor of Biology. His research and teaching interests include large-scale evolutionary trends, hierarchy theory, and emotions in mammals.


What Now? Why Are We Here: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Education (SS, CCI, EI)

The aims of education in general - and the purpose of college in particular - often remain invisible to and unexamined by students and faculty.  This seminar will examine the multiple functions and purposes college serves - from credentialing to career preparation to finding meaning and purpose in one's life.  We will examine current critiques of higher ed as well as research on emerging identities during young adulthood. Students will examine scholarship on teaching and learning (SoTL) with a particular focus on emerging trends in progressive education such as self-authorship, integrative learning, experiential learning, growth mindset, and digital innovation.  Students will explore theories of identity and emerging adulthood development - including racial identity development. Students will analyze divergent philosophies of education and then develop and articulate their own educational philosophy and statement of purpose.  Ethical issues and inequities in educational opportunities will be explored.  Students will engage in a service-learning experience focused on development of an initiative aimed at changing campus culture to create a more inclusive and equitable campus community. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professors: John Blackshear and Kimberly Blackshear
John Blackshear, Ph.D. (Georgia State University), is Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Students. Dr. Blackshear helps coordinate shared priorities between Student Affairs, the university’s academic deans and the Office of Undergraduate Education and has a private practice where he specializes in forensic psychology, post traumatic stress disorder, sexual identity and development, acculturative stress, psychological assessment, eating disorders, family and couples psychology, and general psychology for individuals ages 13 and up.

Kimberly Blackshear, MSW (Fordham University), is Director of Duke's Time Away Office. She previously served as Program Coordinator for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and as Associate Director/Dissemination and Outreach Coordinator for the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy.


What Now? The Abolitionist Conscience: Education and Great Issues (CZ, CCI, EI)

We live in a time of widespread suspicion—even animus—towards institutions of power, giving rise to calls for radical change. The moral wounds left by legacies of colonization and slavery further excite the urgency of this moment. But what if radical transformation actually comes? What then? This course takes as premise the success of the abolitionist movement against the expansion of the carceral political economy, police brutality, and intervention in affairs abroad while inequality persists at home. If we eliminate some of what is in our foreground, we may be able to survey and critique the range of factors that underpin these issues, such as revolution, institutional legitimacy, dissent and assembly, protest, speech, coercion, territorial sovereignty, and self-determination. How do educational institutions teach students to think about these complex issues? As a class we will learn about the pragmatic context of these questions by examining key figures who wrestled with them: Milton, Wheatley, Garrison, Quincy Adams, Douglass, Wells, DuBois, Newton, Davis. We will examine the purposes and possibilities of education through an exploration of great issues. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Aaron Colston
Aaron Colston, Ph.D. (Duke University) is Postdoctoral Associate in The Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity. His research and teaching interests include comparative and transnational perspectives on issues in education rights, political culture, and societal development.


What Now? Seeing the Water: Stories of Critical Consciousness (SS, CCI, EI)

Should education be transformative or merely transactional? This course is both an exploration of the desired outcomes of education and an affirmative attempt to move towards education as transformation. We will read a diverse set of scholarly works, including works by thinkers who assert that critical consciousness—a mindset that helps us liberate us from default ways of understanding the world and our place in it—ought to be the ultimate aim of education. Students will explore a growing body of social science research literature on transformational learning and examine the limitations of more transactional approaches in which learners are positioned as passive recipients of knowledge. Students will engage in a self-analysis of their own story of education and reflect on the extent to which it has been transformational, cultivating critical consciousness. In addition to personal stories, students will engage with dance, visual and performing arts, film, media, and literature in which stories of transformation and critical consciousness emerge. Course includes a service-learning experience with campus cultural/identity centers focused on creating greater campus awareness and dialogue around the transformative opportunities presented by a Duke liberal arts education. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professors: David Malone and Michael Kliën
David Malone, Ph.D., (Duke University) is a Professor of the Practice of Education. His research and teaching interests are in educational psychology, school psychology, student-centered approaches to teaching and learning, experiential and service-learning, innovative educational approaches in higher education.

Michael Kliën, Ph.D. (University of Edinburgh) is a Professor of the Practice of Dance. He is a choreographer and artist. His work is concerned with the theoretical and practical reworking of choreography and dance and its contribution to society.


What Now? What We Owe to Each Other (CZ, EI)

What obligations do we have to each other? Do we have different obligations to friends, family, and strangers? Is loyalty a moral value or is impartiality more important? We will consider whether social life is necessary for or an impediment to the best human life. In particular, we will focus on altruism--giving to others with nothing expected in return--and on collective moral obligations. When a moral problem, like alleviating global poverty or remedying climate change, is solvable not by individual action, but by coordinated, collective action, does that morally obligate each of us individually? Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Jesse Summers
Jesse Summers, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles) is Associate Director, Graduate and Professional Programs, The Purpose Project, Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Senior Research Scholar, Divinity School, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy. His research and teaching interests include ethics and morality associated with cognitive enhancement drugs, freedom, and political polarization.


What Now? The Evolution of Human Culture (SS, EI)

Unlike other species, human behavior is the result of two primary inheritance systems – one biological and the other cultural. Many human capacities – like speaking English or playing the guitar – are possible only because we learn them from others. Understanding human behavior therefore requires understanding cultural transmission and change. In this course, we will explore cultural evolution in many domains including technology, gender norms, musical and literary styles, politics, and religion. Students will learn how social scientists use data and models to understand these processes. We will also regularly consider the ethical implications of the fact that our ideas – including our ethical ideas – are the result of an ongoing process of cultural change. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Stephen Vaisey
Stephen Vaisey, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is Professor of Sociology and Political Science. His research and teaching interests explore moral and political beliefs: what they are, where they come from, and what they do.


What Now? Surveillance and Society: Big Brother, Secret Police, and Reality TV (ALP, CCI, CZ, EI)

A study of surveillance in fiction, history, and the contemporary world. Surveillance begins with the erosion of the bourgeois idea of a right to privacy, reaches an extreme in totalitarian states, and resurfaces in the contemporary age of 24-hour digital monitoring and self-display. We will explore the ethical, political, social, and aesthetic dimensions of surveillance. Materials to be examined include dystopian novels (Orwell, Atwood, Kafka), philosophical texts (Bentham, Foucault), films that employ and depict surveillance (Caché, The Lives of Others, The Conversation, Rear Window), and historical and legal documents from the German and American contexts. Considerable focus on contemporary issues such as government spying (Snowden, Greenwald), China's social credit system, and "surveillance capitalism" (Shoshana Zuboff). Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Kata Gellen
Kata Gellen, Ph.D. (Princeton University), is Associate Professor of German Studies. Her research and teaching interests include German modernism, German-Jewish literature, Weimar cinema, and Austrian literature.


What Now? The Beatles Duke Ellington and the Magic of Collaboration (ALP, CZ, EI, R)

This course will explore two of the greatest musical collaborations in music history, The Beatles and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  We will pay close attention to the nature of the collaboration, which was unique in each case, and we will learn about two great periods in the history of popular music, Big Band Jazz from the 1920s through the 1950s and Rock and Roll in the 1950s and 1960s.  Ellington worked with his musicians and with Billy Strayhorn to transform dance music into art music that helped define a modern identity for African Americans.  Similarly, the Beatles turned rock into art.  Without collaboration, these musicians would have been good; with it they make claims to the status of genius. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Thomas Brothers
Thomas Brothers, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley), is Professor of Music. His research and teaching interests include Louis Armstrong, African-American music and rock, as well as in the medieval and renaissance periods. 


What Now? Human Rights and Legal Redress: Seeking Justice Through Human Rights (CZ, CCI, EI)

Analyze through case studies the issues that confront the implementation of human rights ethics down through the layers separated by geography and culture to local implementation and enforcement.  Acquire an understanding of the international, regional and local human rights conventions and structures which propose, cultivate and enforce the ethical norms of the international human rights regime.  Address questions like –  In what respects do enforcement options differ from place to place? When, where and under what circumstances is the human rights apparatus most effective in providing redress for rights violations?  What are the alternatives to the human rights approach to justice? Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Juliette Duara
Juliette Duara is is a senior fellow at Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. She teaches Sexuality and the Law at Duke Law. Her research interests include investigating the viability of human rights as an ethical system for the 21st century, comparing U.S. federal and state governmental responses to perceived conflicts between religious freedom and women’s and LGBTQ persons’ rights to equality, as well as probing gendered implications of human rights violations.  


What Now?: Religion & Humor (ALP, CCI)

Why is so much humor about religion? This course will explore that question in a variety of ways by considering the social and psychological dynamics of humor in relation to the ritual practices and beliefs of several major religions. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: David Morgan
David Morgan, Ph.D. (The University of Chicago), is Professor of Religious Studies. His research and teaching interests include the history of religious visual culture, fine art, and art theory. 


What Now? Composing Oneself: Stress, Identity & Wellness (ALP, W, EI, CCI)

How do we find composure amidst countless stressors in our lives? Answering that question well requires inquiry across disciplines as well as hands-on experience. This course offers exploration into the arts and sciences of stress, identity, and wellness: What are structural causes of stress and how do they impact our sense of self and community ethics? What can arts of wellness, including yoga, mindfulness, and art-based therapies tell us about how we experience who we are, how we function, and how we act with others? How does stress impact us physiologically? This course will employ writing both as a method and object of study for the exploration of stress, identity, and wellness. Composing Oneself includes hands-on experience with stress-reducing wellbeing strategies, theoretical and research-based texts, and nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art, and performance. The writing component includes a semester-long blog (visible only to class members) for reflection on wellness practices, a book review about wellness, and a final project about stress, identity, and wellness. Each student chooses their own final project content (i.e., music and wellness; compassion and race; illness and art therapies; Wall Street and mindfulness, etc.) and format (i.e., a musical composition; a visual artifact such as a scrapbook or photographic essay; a research-based essay, etc.). Course includes opportunities to visit relevant art exhibits, attend related performances, and engage in meaningful interactions with other students, staff, and faculty on campus working in associated areas of research and practice. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.
Professor: Denise Comer
Denise Comer, Ph.D. (University of South Carolina), is Associate Professor of the Practice of Writing Studies. Her research and teaching interests include narrative medicine, new media, travel writing, writing pedagogy, and writing transfer. 


The seminars listed above are part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars. What Now? courses contain a shared “wellness lab,” offering opportunities to engage with faculty and students in other participating seminars. Register for this .5-credit component of the program by adding Ethics 189 to your schedule. Scroll down for the full range of first-year seminars offered this fall. 



Real Science Behind the News (NS)

Cutting edge science discoveries are often covered by journalists and news outlets.  These written publications or videos often use language and explanations that a broad audience can understand.  But what is the real science behind these stories?  The main purpose of this course is to deepen your critical analysis skills in reading scientific journal articles on topics that are often covered by the mainstream media.  We will read news articles or summaries and watch videos to help build background knowledge about the topic.  Then we will delve into the scientific literature.  By the end of this course, you will feel more confident in utilizing primary scientific literature to enhance what you read in the news.  You will feel more confident in reading the scientific literature and presenting the material to the class.
Professor: Jessica Harrell

Jessica Harrell, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is Director of Academic Engagement, Natural and Quantitative Sciences in the Academic Advising Center. Her research and teaching interests include exploring the engagement and persistence of students from under-represented (UR) groups in the biomedical sciences and on scientific career paths, with the ultimate goal of increasing diversity within the scientific enterprise. 


How Organisms Communicate (NS, STS)

This course 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. 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.
Professor: Steve Nowicki

Steve Nowicki, Ph.D. (Cornell University), is Professor of Biology. His research and teaching interests include animal communication, asking both proximate and ultimate questions about how signaling systems function and how they evolve. 


Science of Health: Chemistry and Biology of Life (NS, STS)

Chemistry and biology drive key processes in living systems. In learning about these processes, we can understand heredity, development, behavior, aging and disease. This course will present the science of life processes ranging from communication to health. The molecules behind these life functions and how they enable dynamic information flow will be discussed. Further, we uncover disruptions in processes that lead to disease and how to ease these disruptions to fight the disease with medicine. When discussing disease and medicine, we consider discrimination, bias and privilege in the health care system. Concepts of drug discovery and management will be introduced. The final project will involve student presentations on a health topic.
Professor: Emily Derbyshire
Emily Derbyshire, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley), is Associate Professor of Chemistry. Her research and teaching interests include chemical tools and biological methods to uncover novel aspects of malaria parasite biology with the ultimate aim of identifying druggable targets.


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

This course studies the material culture linked to funerary practices and traditions in the ancient world (Egypt, Greece and Rome), although we will also review a series of select cases studies from other regions and periods for comparison. Traces of funerary rituals and commemorative monuments do not simply provide evidence about ancient ideas of the underworld, but also general information about ways of understanding memory and ancestry in Antiquity that illuminate in different ways how we think about the world of the dead today. If death is what makes us all equal, who gets to be remembered, how and where provides insights about power, social structures and different types of identities or social personas (according to gender, age or occupation, for example). Therefore, the course also aims to get a better understanding of the role of the dead in the world of the living. In addition, it includes hands-on activities with artifacts from ancient funerary contexts and a field trip to a local cemetery in Durham.
Professor: Alicia Jimenez

Alicia Jimenez, Ph.D. (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), is Assistant Professor of Classical Studies. Her research and teaching interests include archaeological theory and Roman visual and material culture, specifically in the western and central Mediterranean in the period 218 BCE-200 CE.


The Ethics of Hip Hop (SS, W)

In an age for more and more scholars to push the bounds of ethnography to more broadly encompass the robust human experience, this course studies the ethical positioning of researchers in urban landscapes following ethnographic readings and music. Drawing on Cultural Anthropology, Hip Hop Studies, Performance Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Black Studies tensions between fact and truth, as well as ethnographic refusal and objectivity become resonant. By focusing on Hip Hop in the United States, students will learn the historical assemblages leading to the genre's creation and perseverance while also gaining a robust understanding of body politics, racialization, and affect.
Professor: Sarah Bruno

Sarah Bruno, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, Madison) is the ACLS Emerging Voices Race and Digital Technologies postdoctoral fellow at the Franklin Humanities Institute and in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her research and teaching interests include the intersections of performance, diaspora, and colonialism, Puerto Rico, Blackness, femininity, and affect. 


Under Surveillance: Your Life as Data (SS, CCI, EI)

Surveillance has emerged as fact of everyday life around the world. This course introduces students to the history of surveillance studies; post-911 regimes of surveillance; surveillance in popular culture, biometrics, facial recognition technologies, and data mining. Case studies will be drawn from the U.S. Mexico border, Amazon warehouses, food delivery drivers in China, protest movements in Hong Kong and Black Lives Matter. Finally, the course will examine movements for digital sovereignty, algorithmic transparency, and abolitionist calls for the end of racial profiling and predictive policing.
Professor: Ralph Litzinger

Ralph Litzinger, Ph.D. (University of Washington), is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology. His research and teaching interests include the culture and politics of ethnicity, nationalism, and post-socialism in China, Marxist nationality theory in China, ethnic politics in the post-Cold War global order, gender and ethnic representation, and ethnographic film, photography, and popular culture.


Capitalism’s Successes and Failures: Issues for Modern Economies (SS)

This course will cover the foundations of capitalism (markets, private property, etc.), and outline and discuss failures, successes and the determinants of each. Topics such as pricing and market allocation, inequality, concentration of power, sustainable growth, GDP accounting versus wealth accounting, the changing nature of asset markets and money, deficits and debt, the issues surrounding entitlements, among others. All discussion will give voice to both the issues and the potential solutions. Topics explored through a combination of lecture/discussion and essay/presentation. Assessment based on written work and class participation.
Professor: Lori Leachman

Lori Leachman, Ph.D. (University of South Carolina, Columbia), is Professor of the Practice of Economics. Her research and teaching interests include international trade, exchange rates, fiscal policy, and international macroeconomics. 


Race, Gender and Economics (SS)

This course studies the differences that emerge between gender and racial groups throughout their life-cycle. First, we analyze the economic mechanisms that lead to persistent differences across individuals from early childhood to end-of-life bequests. Then, we will review current public policy efforts to combat discrimination and expand access to opportunity. This class is a collaborative teaching effort within the economic department. Topics include the achievement gap, higher education, persistent differences in the labor market, housing and urban dimensions and wealth accumulation.
Professor: Modibo Sidibe

Modibo Sidibe, Ph.D. (University of Lyon (France)) is Kathleen Kaylor and G. Richard Wagoner, Jr. Assistant Professor of Economics. His research and teaching interests include the impact of mismatch on economic outcomes in microeconomics. 


Energy & Society (SS, EI, STS)

This course examines how the production, transmission, and use of energy transform our daily lives. By reflecting on the centrality of energy in humanity's interaction with nature, we will explore questions at the very core of the environmental, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of society. Readings, discussions, hands-on activities, and visiting experts will introduce students to subjects and themes that will include power systems, energy access, energy in pop culture, energy and the environment, as well as topics with contemporary salience such as intensive extraction techniques (fracking, mountaintop removal, etc.), microgrids, energy storage, and the current dimensions of energy consumption on Duke's campus. Through this seminar, students will gain knowledge and understanding of the major connections between energy and society, develop skill in the analysis of secondary sources and current events, and begin to explore the landscape of energy scholarship at Duke.
Professor: Tom J. Cinq-Mars

Tom J. Cinq-Mars, Ph.D. (Duke University), is Administrative Manager and Assistant Director for Research Development in the Duke Energy Initiative. His research and teaching interests revolve around questions at the intersections of business, energy, and the environment in terms of change over time, especially in terms of links between modern (Soviet) Russia’s oil industry and economic diversity within the former Soviet Bloc


Environmental Change in the Big-Data Era (NS)

A revolution in how we understand environmental change is underway, from the type and amount of data that are available to the ways in which it is synthesized and interpreted.   The training needed for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and decision makers includes a blend of modeling, computation, and the capacity to exploit large data streams, often accessed through the internet.  Students will be introduced to sources of data, their strengths and limitations, and interpretation through readings and discussions of scientific literature and data exploration.  Examples will introduce basic concepts in R software applied to climate change, human impacts, and biodiversity loss.
Professor: James S. Clark

James S. Clark, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) is Nicholas Professor of Environment Science and Professor of Statistical Science. His research and teaching interests focus on how global change affects populations, communities, and ecosystems, as well as the consequences of climate, CO2, and disturbance on dynamics of forests. 


Gender and Science (SS, STS)

This seminar provides an overview of research that puts science and scientists themselves under the lens to be studied in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism. We consider questions such as: How does inequality affect scientific practice and knowledge? Do colonial, racist, or sexist contexts matter for the science produced? Does the identity of the scientist matter? In addition to scientific papers, our readings center on an interdisciplinary field known as Feminist Science Studies, that draws on sociological, ethnographic, historical and literary approaches to science. We also consider how scientists themselves are creating feminist and decolonial approaches to their research. This course is designed for those interested in combining feminist and other social justice perspectives with careers in STEM as well as students curious about feminist humanities and social-science approaches in general. As a seminar, classes will focus on discussions of readings and participation is required as well as some regular written work.
Professor: Ara Wilson
Ara Wilson, Ph.D. (City University of New York), is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies. Her research and teaching interests include the feminist study of globalization and queer political economy (QPE), Science & Technology Studies (STS) approaches with materialist theories, and empirical research, especially ethnographically informed depictions of life under global capitalism.


Visual Culture of Chinese Medicine (ALP, CZ, CCI, R, W)

This course introduces students, first and foremost, to the history of medicine, and secondly to the medical practices and beliefs in China today. We will examine how those beliefs formed, how the practices have changed over time, and in particular how the challenge of scientific biomedicine forced fundamental changes in Chinese medicine over the course of the twentieth century. As a First-Year Seminar, this course introduces first-year students to the discipline of History, as well as to the topic of medicine in China.

Professor: Nicole Barnes
Nicole Barnes, Ph.D. (University of California, Irvine) is Assistant Professor of History. Her research and teaching interests include public health and medicine in twentieth-century China from a gendered perspective, incorporating the changing life stories of men and women into my analysis of how health regulations and medical practices reflect Chinese society's principal values as well as the assumptions and political goals of state actors. 


HISTORY 89S / Chemistry 89S
Making and Knowing the Material World: Exploring the History of Chemistry (CZ, CCI, STS)

This course introduces students to the history of the chemical sciences: the rich and diverse ways of knowing, using, and making material substances that have shaped human societies and environments. Emphases are on understanding the chemistry of the past in its own terms, situating chemistry within history more broadly, and appreciating how historical perspectives can contribute to present-day chemistry. Topics may include alchemy, the Chemical Revolution, the development of the periodic system of elements, non-Western chemistry, the rise of theoretical chemistry, chemistry and the environment, and the relationship between chemical sciences and chemical industries.
Professors: Evan Hepler-Smith and Patrick Charbonneau

Evan Hepler-Smith, Ph.D. (Princeton University) is Assistant Professor of History. His research and teaching interests include the history of modern science and technology, specializing in the global history of chemistry, computing and information technology, and environmental health.

Patrick Charbonneau, Ph.D. (Harvard) is Professor of Chemistry and Physics. His research and teaching interests mainly focus on the theory and simulation of soft materials, such as glasses, proteins, and colloidal suspensions. He is also a food and science history enthusiast.


Telling the Great War Story (CZ, W)

This course examines experiences of participants in World War I, known as the Great War: why did they go to war willingly at first, and how did they come to terms with its absurdity and horror? We examine what the war means to us, 100 years later. Students read letters, poetry, novels and memoirs and see films made by participants in the war and from later eras. Serves as an introduction to historical thinking and writing. Includes a variety of writing tasks, both formal and informal, which enable students to engage with the work of others and articulate a position with regard to historical interpretations.
Professor: Kristen Neuschel
Kristen Neuschel, Ph.D. (Brown University), is Professor of History. Her research and teaching interests include the history late medieval and early modern France and Europe, war and culture in northern Europe between 1400 and 1600, the history of war, gender relations and the history of medieval and early modern Europe.


Shalom, Y'all: The Jewish Experience in the American South (CZ, CCI, W)

Course explores the history, culture(s), and lives of Jewish southerners in the American South from the arrival of the earliest European Jewish immigrants to the present, with attention paid to regional and religious identity formation via negotiations of race, class, gender, ethnicity and more. Folklife, literature, music, architecture, and material culture are important doorways to understanding the complexity and texture of the Jewish South. This course draws on significant archival resources in the region, film, exhibits, historic sites, digital resources, and conversations with scholars and documentarians of Judaism in the American South.
Professor: Marcie Cohen Ferris

Marcie Cohen Ferris, Ph.D. (The George Washington University), is Professor Emeritus in the Department of American Studies at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching interests include the history of the Jewish South and the foodways and material culture of the American South.


Applications of Mathematics to Medicine (QS, R)

Data science and mathematical modeling are playing an increasingly central role in biomedical research. In this course, we undertake an excursion into the fascinating world of modern medicine and explore how (big) data are essential for effective prevention, detection and treatment of disease. Based on a series of concrete research topics, ranging from precision oncology and cardiology to infectious disease control, we will learn how mathematical and statistical approaches can be harnessed to improve human health. This course is very interactive and hands-on, preparing students for future research endeavors in the health sciences.
Professor: Marc Ryser
Marc Ryser, Ph.D. (McGill University) is Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences and Mathematics. His research and teaching interests include Multi-scale modeling, early carcinogenesis, cancer evolution.


Political Liberty in Film (SS, EI)

Notions of political liberty contest conceptions of order and convention, often in ways that are intentionally subversive. This course examines films in four areas (Individualism, Classical Liberalism, Resistance to Capitalism, and Science Fiction), and matches the films being considered with literature in political theory and political economy.
Professor: Michael Munger

Michael Munger, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis), is Professor of Political Science. His research and teaching interests include the functioning of markets, regulation, and government institutions.


Brazil, Race, Sex, The Body (ALP, CCI)

Brazil is commonly understood as an example of a “racially democratic” nation, but as scholars have recently shown, racism permeates all aspects of Brazilian society. This course examines the development of the theorization of race, racial identity and race relations in contemporary Brazil, and will explore very closely the role of sex, and sexuality in the construction of race relations. We will attend to questions such as: how is desire racialized? How is racial difference produced through sex as a material practice and what is the function of sex in racial (self)formation? How do we reconcile questions of pleasure and desire and the structures of power and national identity? The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary, drawing upon works from literature, music, film, anthropology and history. Topics will include colonialism and enslavement, abolition, nationalism, social activism, and popular culture. We will also consider how Brazilian social relations differ from or conform to other racialized patterns in other nation-states in the Americas. Particular attention will be placed on the impact of the interrelationship between race, gender, class, and nation on the lives of black Brazilians. Conducted in English.
Professor: Lamonte Aidoo
Lamonte Aidoo, Ph.D. (Brown University), is an Assistant Professor of Portuguese Studies. He teaches courses on 19th-20th century Brazilian literature, Afro-Brazilian cultural studies, comparative Brazilian and inter-American racial formations, the confluence of sexuality and national identity. His research interests include slavery and abolition in the Americas, miscegenation, comparative trans-Atlantic studies (Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanic, Lusophone).


Special Topics in Nutrition: Analysis of Dietary Trends

In this course you will get an overview of the basic components of nutrition as well as skills to evaluate your own eating patterns in addition to current popular dietary trends.  You will also be introduced to several current topics in nutrition in order to develop a deeper awareness of dietary patterns.
Professor: Sheri Branson

Sheri Branson, M.A. (Meredith College) is a full-time Instructor. Her teaching interests include Promotion of lifelong fitness and wellness; Exercise performance, recovery, and restoration; and Sports Nutrition.


Feminisms Past and Present (ALP, CZ, CCI)

What is feminism? How are feminist ideas expressed in different forms? Does the meaning of the term change across centuries? Can “feminism” exist before the word was first used in the 1800s? This course explores these questions by analyzing feminist thought produced in the Western world – from fourteenth-century letters to twenty-first century Instagram posts. We won’t isolate the study of feminism to particular time periods or decades; instead, we will explore the genealogies of feminism and their relationship to the present by pairing texts and images from various time periods. Through letters, poetry, novels, theoretical essays, and film, we will explore what kinds of expression have been considered “feminist” or not and why. This will allow us to analyze themes in feminist thought more broadly, such as sexual difference, the woman writer, and the tension between theory and politics. Our study, rooted in works from French, Italian, and Anglophone traditions, will include authors from diverse backgrounds.
Professor: Alyssa Granacki
Alyssa Granacki, Ph.D. Candidate (Duke University) is a Postdoctoral Associate in Romance Studies. Her research and teaching interests include medieval Italian literature, gender studies, Dante, Boccaccio, feminist thought, and women writers.


The Psychology of Student Success (SS, STS)

What does it mean to be “successful” in college? How can students become more successful, be it academically, socially, and/or emotionally? In this first-year seminar, students will discover what psychology—the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes—can teach us about how to succeed in college. This course is designed to help students approach their Duke career with greater knowledge and intention, as well as develop useful skills in scientific literacy, critical thinking, self-reflection, written and oral communication, and teamwork. Students will discuss the science behind topics that are relevant to academic performance, belonging, and well-being, such as learning, motivation, self-control, culture, relationships, health, and happiness. In addition to completing readings and reflection exercises that apply course concepts to their own lives, students will work on a project to share their newfound knowledge with fellow Duke students.
Professor: Bridgette Hard

Bridgette Hard, Ph.D. (Stanford University), is Associate Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience. Her research and teaching interests explore the intersection of psychology and pedagogy, using data from the classroom to extend psychological theories and insights from psychology to inform new classroom practices.


Beyond Reason: Empathy and Identity (SS, NS, 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. Seminar discussions focus on selected readings and Ted Talks. Students continue the discussion and dialogue between sessions through Forum postings to the seminar discussion board. As a writing course, the focus is on both learning-to-write and writing-to-learn through feedback and revision.  Students write three, 3-8 page, synthesis/reflection papers based on the assigned readings and a 15-20 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. Grade is based on the quality of papers and participation in class discussion. Each synthesis/reflection paper accounts for 15% of the grade, the research paper accounts for 40%; and class participation accounts for 15%.
Professor: Robert J. Thompson, Jr.
Robert J. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D. (University of North Dakota), is Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. 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.