Seminars for the Fall Term 2012
FRS 101 Facebook: The Social Impact of Social Networks SA
Edward Felten and Stephen Schultze
Stuart Family Freshman Seminar
Facebook has become integral to the social life of hundreds of millions of people. What began as a glorified college student directory has grown into a company worth billions of dollars and has become a tool for political change around the world. But with stratospheric growth comes closer scrutiny. Can a company with the motto “move fast and break things” avoid major pitfalls in the eyes of policymakers and the public? This course will explore the myriad social and public policy considerations that Facebook — and the growth of Internet-based social networking — has prompted. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 103 Listening at the Museum: A History of Music Through the Visual Arts LA
Have you ever stood in front of a painting and wondered what it sounded like or closed your eyes at a concert in order to form a vivid mental picture to match the music that you are hearing? In this seminar we will use the rich collection of the Princeton University Art Museum to explore the relationship between the history of music and the visual arts. Our discussion will be organized around a series of topics, including: Devotion and Faith, Domestic Life, Images of Dance, Myth and History, Landscapes and Soundscapes, and Portraits. What role, for instance, do music and objects play in devotional practices? How do music and art figure into the daily life of various societies, and how do artists represent music in the home? How can a landscape invoke a soundscape and vice versa? And how do music and visual arts come together in the theater? Weekly classes will include visits to the art museum where we will go behind the scenes to study objects in the collection that are currently not on view. We will also visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a private tour of the Musical Instrument Collection and a concert. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 105 Music and Animation from Ovid to Disney LA
Walt Disney’s eight-minute cartoon “Steamboat Willie” (1928) is a landmark in the history of cinema. In addition to the debut of Mickey Mouse, it featured a revolutionary new synchronization of image, musical sound and stylized noise — or “soundtrack.” Yet the early cartoon’s fusion of animated pictures or artificial life with sound or music has forerunners throughout Western cultural history. In Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (A.D. 8), the tale of Pygmalion and his animated sculpture is narrated in song by Orpheus, the greatest musician of classical myth; the statue of Hermione is awakened by music. In Giambattista Vico’s “The New Science” (1744) mountain-dwelling giants hear the sky roar and conjure from the sounds an “animated body,” Jove, the first of the human gods.
This seminar will examine some of the theories, technologies and poetics of animation, and the ways in which they configured sound both as a motor of life and as its seismograph. We will read works of poetry and drama that fuse animation and music; listen to 18th- and 19th-century music depicting automata, moving statues and magic pictures; and trace the development of the animated picture soundtrack through to Disney’s early masterpiece, “Fantasia” (1940). (Tuesday, Thursday 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.)
FRS 107 Should the Mob Rule? Democracy, Crime and Punishment EM
Class of 1976 Freshman Seminar in Human Values
Can there be too much democracy? Philosophers and legal scholars have long debated the potential problems of unchecked democratic systems, which Aristotle referred to as mob rule. In the United States there is a deep anxiety about the potential for majorities to produce unfair and even “tyrannical” policies. From this perspective, many critics of the American criminal justice system have argued that the United States has the highest incarceration rates in the Western world — and particularly high rates for African Americans — because of a democratic system that is too susceptible to the demands of popular majorities.
This seminar will address two central questions about democracy, crime and punishment. First, how do democratic countries vary in the nature and degree of influence from mass publics (“the mob”), and what factors might shape the quality and quantity of democratic participation? Second, how do these differences affect the nature and form of democratic responses to crime, violence and justice?
The first part of the seminar will explore the complex variation in constitutional designs of democratic systems as well as some of the key elements of the debate between advocates for mass democratic politics and those who call for systematic limitations on the rule of the people. Then, we will move into discussions of democratic responses to crime and violence, paying particular attention to how the voice(s) of the people influence public policy and law. This portion of the seminar will explore crime and punishment in five democracies as we seek to understand whether widespread participation by the public results in more punitive responses to crime and violence. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 109 What Is Ballet? LA
What is ballet? How is dance set to music — and vice versa? And what does it all mean, if anything? Great ballets like “Swan Lake” challenge easy answers to such questions because they endure less as specific works of art from particular cultural contexts than as evolving, malleable myths. Choreographers and composers have recognized from the start that their art, if it even survived, would change over time. And so famous ballets have been variously re-imagined: each new staging of “Giselle,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Agon” represents a new meditation on the essence of music and dance. But ballet is not just an exercise in high aesthetics. Love and death scenes from classic ballets have inspired Broadway shows (“West Side Story”) and Hollywood films (“The Red Shoes”). In this seminar, we will trace the history of ballet with an emphasis on the interaction of music and dance, and the evolution of scenes, stories and performances. Students will develop a critical vocabulary by comparing solo and group dances and also by analyzing the collaboration of Balanchine and Stravinsky in relation to earlier ballets by Petipa and Fokine. The seminar will include a trip to see a New York City Ballet performance. (Monday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 111 Water: Keystone for Sustainable Development STN
Water is fundamental for human life and the keystone of environmentally responsible development. Indeed the health of any economy and the well-being of any society are intimately intertwined with the functioning of the ecosystems on which they depend. Poverty, disease and political collapse will follow the failure of environmental support systems.
In this course, we will explore issues related to water shortages in different regions of the world and their implications for food, disease and energy. The stress that scarcity of water places on sustainable development will be studied from the perspective of its impact on food production and the health of ecosystems — and the consequences at local, regional and global levels. Emphasis will be placed on the links of those impacts to a changing climate and their expected consequences regarding floods, droughts and biodiversity. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 113 What Makes a Poem Endure? 24 Lyric Masterpieces LA
“What makes a poem endure?” Perhaps most obviously, the will of each generation of poetry readers, reciters and writers is the force that keeps a poem alive. To this extent, the task of this seminar will be to take part in this generational process. We will be choosing, praising, criticizing, analyzing, memorizing and otherwise coming to know well 24 important poems from the past. The works we discuss will be rooted in periods ranging from antiquity to the early 20th century.
As we pursue the question of how masterpieces are made and received, we will study the authors and historical circumstances that gave birth to these particular works. We will focus on the after-lives of the poems as well, following how they came to prominence and, as often as not, how they also entered into periods of obscurity and re-evaluation. We will trace the continuity of many important modes and forms of poetry — and of meters, rhymes and voices — as we consider the relation these works bear both to the traditions from which they descend and those to which they contribute.
At the end of the semester, we will invite a group of Princeton experts on the visual arts, music and the novel to meet with us for a roundtable discussion of “the masterpiece” in a range of forms. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
Shelly and Michael Kassen ’76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences
This seminar focuses on the question of how environmental change, particularly acid rain, affects biological and physical aspects of freshwater systems. Throughout certain regions of the world, atmospheric deposition has been a problem for decades due to emissions from coal burning. The problem is especially severe in the Northeastern United States and in the Midwest, partly due to the general pattern of weather system movement from west to east. The susceptibility of aquatic systems to acidification is related to the interactions among many factors including, soil, vegetation, surface water runoff and natural buffering capacities associated with geological characteristics of areas. For example, in the Adirondack region of New York state, particularly at higher elevations where soils are thin and natural buffering capacities are low, acid deposition and subsequent leaching of metals from soil have had a significant impact on the biota and have reduced fish populations in many areas. Lectures, discussions and problem-solving projects — including a fall break field excursion to the Adirondack Mountains — will focus on the importance of interactions among biotic and abiotic factors affecting freshwater systems, responses to environmental change, recovery of systems and efforts to prevent their potential loss in the future. (Tuesday, Thursday 11 a.m-12:20 p.m.)
FRS 117 Eye of the Tiger: Reading Buildings LA
We all look at buildings every day. But what does it mean to understand them? We look at buildings from the outside as we first come upon them. Later, as we experience them, we look from the inside. We can understand buildings in simple, pragmatic terms, and we can understand them as architecture.
This seminar is about the logic of architectural form: the phenomena, principles, characteristics, geometries and themes at the basis of making and understanding architecture — irrespective of time. We seek to define the “definable” while acknowledging that much of the soul-stirring power of architecture eludes definition. This is a course for anyone interested in understanding architecture.
Works of architecture are supposed to embody inherent relationships between outside and inside. Yet, between inside and outside, between form and system, between idea and realization, there are as many contradictions and conundrums as there are clarities. These contrasts make architecture endlessly fascinating and endlessly challenging. Consider Nassau Hall. Virtually everything about the building’s organization strategy can be inferred from its exterior. It is arranged symmetrically about a single, central axis running north-south from FitzRandolph Gate, across Cannon Green and down campus. Internally, a cross-axis of internal circulation serves all the offices along it. It is crystal clear. Alternatively, consider Whig and Clio halls. They are identical — monumentally symmetrical on the outside, yet radically different on the inside. Neither fulfills the symmetrical promise of its exterior. How do we make sense of this?
The principal question explored in the seminar is: What is the decisive invention that differentiates historic from modern architecture — facilitating the radical break of modernity from the past and enabling the drama of much of today’s architecture on the “cutting edge?” This sets the stage for us to explore and understand the organizational and compositional strategies that have informed architecture through the ages, and to understand the relationships between outside and inside, between space and form.
A secondary theme of this seminar is the development of the Princeton campus, using a number of its buildings as illustrative examples. In a campus of unusual beauty, Princeton’s architecture ranges from (mostly) good to excellent. We explore a quarter-millennium of buildings, tracing how the campus has grown and transformed as different attitudes tied to the cultural ethos of their era have prevailed. And we take a “sneak peek” into the future.
Visual exercises that emphasize both analysis and design and maximize each student’s potential for invention and creativity are a regular part of class discussion. There is limited but challenging reading. Written assignments will emphasize clear, direct, purposeful and “anti-jargonistic” writing. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 119 The Changing Brain: Plasticity and Regeneration During Development and Adulthood EC
For much of modern neuroscience, the dominant view has been that the adult brain does not change, except for the worse (with aging, injury and disease). Despite evidence to the contrary, neuroscientists clung tenaciously to the belief that the production of neurons, a process called neurogenesis, and the formation of new connections, a process called synaptogenesis, occur only during development. In the past decade, however, there has been a complete overhaul of this view, and the field of neuroscience now recognizes and is intensely focused on the phenomenon of structural change or brain plasticity.
This seminar will consider past and current concepts of the brain’s potential for change in an attempt to answer these and other related questions: How similar are developing and adult brains? What role does experience and lifestyle play in brain development and maintenance? Is it possible to maximize the brain’s potential for growth? Is neuronal growth always beneficial to brain function? Can naturally occurring plasticity be harnessed in the service of brain repair? How might stem cells be used to enhance neuronal growth and facilitate regeneration?
This seminar will involve reading, presenting and discussing primary research articles. Although no specific background in neuroscience is necessary, a strong interest in biology is important. (Tuesday, Thursday 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.)
FRS 121 Designing Life: The Ethics of Creation EM
Dean Eva Gossman Freshman Seminar in Human Values
This course examines the following questions: Is genetic enhancement permissible? Is genetic selection permissible? Is genetic selection of desirable traits permissible? Is genetic selection of disabilities, such as deafness, permissible? Is selection against disabilities permissible? Can creating persons harm them? Perhaps creating persons whose lives are utterly miserable harms them. But can creating persons whose lives are worth living harm them? How could it be that a woman, for example, should create a non-disabled rather than a disabled child, if she has both options? Is stem cell research permissible? Do human embryos have moral status? If they do, do they have the same moral status as adult persons? If stem cell research does not require the destruction of the embryo, is it permissible? Is abortion permissible? If we assume the fetus has the moral status of an adult person, does it follow that abortion is permissible? Is procreation permissible? Is all human life so bad (worse than we realize) that it is wrong to have children? Readings will include K.W. Anstey’s “Are Attempts to Have Impaired Children Justifiable?”; Lee Silver’s “The Designer Child”; Matthew Hanser’s “Harming Future People”; Robert George’s “Embryo Ethics”; and David Benatar’s “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.” (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 123 Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble LA
Agnew Family Freshman Seminar
What was Georges Perec thinking when he wrote — and what should we think when we read — his 1969 novel “La Disparition” (“The Disappearance”), which lacks the letter “e”? And what about the continued “e”-lessness of Gilbert Adair’s English translation, “A Void”? All forms of linguistic expression involve constraints (this course description must be under 550 words, for example, and a Shakespearean sonnet must have 14 decasyllabic verses), but some of these are more difficult to manage, more remarkable, and just plain stranger than others, like writing hundreds of pages without even once using the letter that makes up about 14.7 percent of any normal French text and 12.7 percent of any normal English one. (In case you are worried about their fate, be assured that Perec used up every saved “e,” while at the same time abjuring other vowels, in his 1972 novella “Les Revenentes,” which Ian Monk [a.k.a. E. N. Menk] proceeded to render as “The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex.”)
The purpose of this seminar is to bring together interesting reading, thoughtful scholarship, and hands-on revelry in the exploration of the ludic side of language. Linguistic play is part of many people’s normal experience (think of the daily crossword puzzle and the excitement that surrounds the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee) and yet it is widely considered a trivial pursuit, often childish (Dr. Seuss and counting-out rhymes) but sometimes abstruse (James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov). We — ideally a wide-ranging group of adventurers interested in such fields as comparative literature, linguistics, and mathematics, as well as anthropology, computer science, history, psychology, and religion — will spend the semester considering the formal features, aesthetic pleasures, and societal roles of wordplay from as wide a temporal and geographical perspective as possible. Building on my own areas of expertise and the linguistic competence and passions of the participants, which I hope will be broad, we will read lipogrammatic poetry both ancient and modern, think about linguistic games with non-Western scripts, and regularly try to produce decent examples of “constrained writing” ourselves. We will start with David Crystal’s fine introductory book “Language Play” (1998), move on to authors you’ve heard of (Lewis Carroll) and others you probably haven’t (Christian Bök), and arrive in the end at a better understanding of how language works and how these workings can be bent in unusual ways to produce striking effects. Along the way we will watch some movies, challenge one another to games of Scrabble and Boggle, and enjoy the “Princeton dimension” of the whole enterprise. After all (to take just three cases), Paul Muldoon’s poems are legendary for their linguistic virtuosity, French professor David Bellos is the leading authority on Perec, and biophysicist William Bialek has recently applied the concept of maximal entropy to the spelling of four-letter words.
Students will be encouraged to become scholars in interests old and new by seeking out the many resources (both animate and inanimate) on campus, by collaborating with one another, and by sharing their own personal discoveries. All are required to give an oral report and to submit two projects that show evidence of creativity and research: one a (fairly conventional) academic paper, the other an (ideally unconventional) example of ludic verbal art. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 125 Friending, Following and Finding QR
Andrea LaPaugh and Arvind Narayanan
A few years ago, people found information on the Web by using a search engine (usually Google). Enter the social networks. Online social networks, Facebook in particular, have become primary destinations for many Web users. Now, we use social networks as well as search engines to find information, especially information where opinions matter. Social networks hold a wealth of information about users and behaviors, which can be of great value to search engines as well as other online applications.
This seminar will explore how we obtain information in the age of the online social network. We will consider how classic Web search technology works, and the great achievements and failures of the technology. We will examine what social networks can tell us and how these “social signals” are being used to enhance our ability to find information, both in explicit searches and in other applications such as recommendations. We will also consider social and legal issues, such as privacy, and the economics of search engines and social networks.
We will assume no prior knowledge of computer science and technology; the goal is to understand the high-level technological ideas and their importance. We will explore issues through reading selected articles and discussion. The work of the course will include both experimentation with technology and writing. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)
FRS 127 New Media, Old Media, Dead Media: Introduction to Media Archaeology LA
In the rush to understand the ubiquitious media that are so dramatically shaping our contemporary world, we often overlook the fact that much that seems terribly new about new media is in fact very old. For example, the late 20th-century telephone answering machine (today already an anachronism) was actually “invented” by the Danish physicist Valdemar Poulsen in 1898: Why did it take 50 years for the “telegraphone” to catch on? While the long and storied media past in many ways structures our media present, it nevertheless remains remarkably under-examined. What might we learn by studying so-called “dead media”?
One answer can be found in the following polemical passage from cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling’s 1997 “Dead Media Manifesto: A Modest Proposal and a Public Appeal.” It states: “Plenty of wild wired promises are already being made for all the infant media. What we need is a somber, thoughtful, thorough, hype-free, even lugubrious book that honors the dead and resuscitates the spiritual ancestors of today’s mediated frenzy. A book to give its readership a deeper, paleontological perspective right in the dizzy midst of the digital revolution. We need a book about the failures of media, the collapses of media, the supercessions of media, the strangulations of media, a book detailing all the freakish and hideous media mistakes that we should know enough now not to repeat, a book about media that have died on the barbed wire of technological advance, media that didn’t make it, martyred media, dead media. THE HANDBOOK OF DEAD MEDIA. A naturalist’s field guide for the communications paleontologist.”
Heeding Sterling’s impassioned call, and in the spirit of the resulting Dead Media Project (www.deadmedia.org), which continues to this day to archive and discuss the astonishingly rich and largely ignored pre-history of our contemporary media landscape, our seminar will explore the history and theory of anachronic media. Our archaeological approach will focus on the analysis of the material specificity, the economic and political conditions of possibility, and the sociocultural dynamics of media “fossils” and what this can teach us about how to critically and thoughtfully engage both media and the changing forms of “attention” they engender.
During the first half of the semester we will also visit a number of media museums — including the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) in Manhattan and the Recorded Sound Archive at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, N.J. — to study the different approaches to exhibiting media artifacts. This in turn will inform our own work as a group on a concrete case study — the archaeology of voice mail — that will be the focus of the second half of the term. What most people do not realize is that decades before the advent of telephonic voice mail (recently rendered all-but-obsolete by text messaging), people recorded and literally sent their voices through the mail on privately recorded gramophonic postcards and records. What happens to the voice when it can for the first time be separated from the living body, when one can suddenly hear oneself as others hear you? What happens to the practice of letter writing when the missives are spoken rather than written?
Through our concrete work on a private collection of such rare “voice letters,” with the goal of producing a modest public exhibition and online-archive by the end of the semester, the seminar will confront in a hands-on manner the very real curatorial challenges of media archaeology: How to collect, preserve and render accessible such fragile bygone media artifacts in a way that both does justice to their media-historical specificity while also revealing how they inform contemporary media practices. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 129 Exploring Human Genomes and the Future of Human Beings STN
Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Freshman Seminar
What does the future hold for Homo sapiens and its genome — our genomes? Will our species go extinct like nearly all others that have ever existed; will it survive in essentially the same form as today; or will human descendants evolve into something completely different? This seminar will provide a comprehensive overview of the scientific principles and technological advances that must be understood to speculate in an informed way about the answers to these questions. How did the enormously complex systems of life — and human life in particular — come into existence? As our knowledge deepens, we realize more clearly that the answer flows from the mid-20th-century aphorism, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
Although Darwin depended on fossils to support his theory of natural selection, modern evolutionary research is focused at the level of DNA, where heritable differences are actually encoded. Remarkably, most genetic variations that exist among people across the globe are confined to a limited number of chromosomal positions where one of two letters in the DNA alphabet can occur. These variable positions in the human genome are called SNPs. With analysis of genomic SNPs in thousands of living people, it becomes possible to trace the ancient movements of human populations from an African birthplace across all other inhabitable continents.
Modern biotechnology provides the capacity not only to interpret genomes, but to modify them as well. In the near future, genome modification methodology combined with advances in genetic understanding could provide potential parents with the ability to enhance the genomes of their children, who could augment and pass enhancements down to their own children, generation after generation. The end result could be a self-evolved species that supersedes its own creators. The ultimate question — more philosophical than scientific during our lifetimes — is whether a post-human species will emerge that is as different from us as we are from Neanderthals, chimpanzees or even worms, in ways that our current minds are incapable of imagining. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 131 Constitutionalism 3.0 SA
Professor Amy Gutmann Freshman Seminar in Human Values
Adam Liptak, writing for the New York Times —“‘We the People’ Loses Appeal with People Around the World” (Feb. 6, 2012) — may well be right.
From a global perspective, the American constitution looks pretty quaint and has lost its appeal as a model for constitution drafters around the world. Indeed, what we currently witness is the emergence of a third wave of the constitutionalist project.
Constitutionalism 1.0 is the old-fashioned project to create and sustain limited government. The basic tools thereto are jurisdictional constraints and negative rights. The constitution is understood to be a written document, authored by a people. Its application is to be based upon interpretation. This is the world as created by the American (and the French) Revolution.
Constitutionalism 2.0 accords to the constitution an even more important role. It is supposed to inform the creation of optimal government. Therefore, the constitution does not only limit; it guides. Adjudicating bodies loom large. The fact that the constitution is written matters very little. The constitution is but another name for the precepts of practical reason. With regard to the scope of its authority, the constitution becomes “total.” The paradigmatic case for this type of constitution is post-war Germany.
Constitutionalism 3.0, roughly speaking, stands for the constitution in the process of denationalization. In several respects, the authority of the constitution becomes recast from a cosmopolitan perspective. However, it also denotes the situation in which the constitution — owing to transnational forces — is increasingly confronted with its own limitations and encounters its “other.” The relevant keywords are multilevel systems, pluralism, the rise of executive authority, normalcy of emergency rule, assertion of identity or the emergence of theocracy qua puzzling alternative to liberal constitutionalism.
This seminar will try to identify the core tenets of each type and to make out some pathways of transition. For example, while constitutionalism 1.0 is defined by an unresolved tension between liberalism and democracy, constitutionalism 2.0 appears to revolve this tension in favor of the former. The resulting de-linking of the constitution from the constituent people already prefigures the “denationalization” that is characteristic of type 3.0.
Readings will include classics of constitutionalist philosophy such as excerpts from the “Federalist Papers,” Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Men” or Carl Schmitt’s “Legality and Legitimacy.” Translations of opinions of the German Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice will be complemented by writings on topical issues such as constitutional pluralism and the dominance of the executive branch. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 133 Materials World STL
Materials surround and compose us. Materials produced by natural geological and biological processes find common use in our daily activities. We produce ever more by synthesizing materials not usually found in nature. Entire civilizations have evolved with advances in materials throughout history, and materials have identified the ages of humankind: stone, bronze, iron and, most recently, silicon. Materials: what are they, how are they made and how are they used? What materials are in our future? This seminar will address these questions in class and in the laboratory.
Aggregates of atoms, through specific atomic or molecular interactions that define their structure, evolve into materials of the various forms we know as metals, polymers and ceramics. A material’s properties are determined by the nature of these atomic interactions and structural features. We will begin by examining this interplay among the nature of the atomic interactions, the structures that form as a consequence and the properties of materials. We will continue with a study of the processes used in the synthesis and processing of materials, as different methods are used depending on the type of material, and contrast human and natural syntheses. Man-made materials are typically produced by high-temperature methods, whereas biologically produced ones follow a low-temperature approach. Synthetic materials are designed to satisfy only one or two functions, but biologically produced ones are typically multifunctional and have properties (e.g., self-replicating, self-healing) that have yet to be introduced into man-made ones.
The overall objective of this course is to provide an understanding of the important processes for controlling materials properties through nano- and microstructural design and processing. A specific objective of the course will be to evaluate the possibility of utilizing bio-inspired methods in technological applications. The course provides a hands-on laboratory experience on the topics covered in discussion and is specifically designed for students who have had no background in materials science and engineering. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 135 Education, Freedom and Equality HA
Robert H. Rawson ’66 Freshman Seminar
In the last 50 years, much more philosophical work has been done on the concept of liberty than equality. Consequently, we understand the former idea better. We have ideas ready-to-hand about the danger posed to personal freedom by excessive governmental regulation and the value that lies in autonomy and self-creation. What do we know any longer about equality?
In this seminar we will return to the Declaration of Independence in order to explore the conception of political equality that is central to its argument. We will deepen our understanding of the different features of equality that it identifies — non-domination, equal opportunity, epistemic egalitarianism, equality of agency and co-creation — by spending time with work by thinkers such as Philip Pettit, John Locke, Plato and Aristotle, and W.E.B. DuBois. Then, by drawing on work in social science and public policy, we will explore how what we have learned about the connections between freedom and equality might help us answer some challenging current questions in educational policy, particularly having to do with the relation between education and income inequality, civic education and segregation. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 137 Soccer and Latin America: Politics, History, Popular Culture LA
William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar
The Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini famously claimed that “there are two types of football, prose and poetry. European teams are prose, tough, premeditated, systematic, collective. Latin American ones are poetry, ductile, spontaneous, individual, erotic.” Latin Americans have often been defined by others — and represented themselves — in terms of the performance of their soccer teams. In this course we will explore several facets of the game’s role in the region, approaching them from a historical, cultural and aesthetic perspective. Literary texts will range from short stories and poetry centered on the sport, to the narratives of prominent chroniclers who elevated soccer to “epic” status, projecting national teams as the embodiment of collective identities. Other sources such as essays, film and photography will complement our approach. In the process of engaging this material, we will investigate interplays between soccer and politics, including its uses during dictatorial regimes of the 1960s and ‘70s, as well as its role in different countries’ assertions on the world stage. Reflections over the place of soccer in the social landscape are bound to invite questions of how, in a region of deep economic inequalities, the sport can function both as a congregator and as the proverbial “opium of the masses.”
Throughout the semester, we will attempt to understand how soccer captivates the imaginations of so many, viewing its popularization in the context of wider developments like radio, technology to build massive stadiums, European immigration and globalization. At the same time as the sport provides us with a window onto the study of Latin America and beyond, our discussions will account for its more “spectacular” aspects, considering some of the intersections between soccer and dance and theater. Although the course is structured comparatively, it focuses primarily on Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 139 The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy EM
The Supreme Court claims authority to interpret the United States Constitution. It has asserted jurisdiction over some of America’s most controversial political issues, such as school prayer, abortion, affirmative action and healthcare regulation. Most Americans take this practice for granted and many other democratic nations have developed their own versions of it. Nevertheless, judicial review raises fundamental questions of political theory. Why should unelected judges be able to overrule elected legislatures? To what extent should judges draw upon their own personal moral judgments when construing the Constitution? How should we conceive of the relationship between the Supreme Court and other political institutions? And, most radically of all, why should a democratic nation resolve moral and political debates by reference to ambiguous language in a 225-year-old document, rather than on the basis of its own best current judgments about justice?
This seminar will explore these questions in the context of both historical and contemporary debates about the American Constitution. Topics addressed will include slavery and the Dred Scott decision, economic liberties and the New Deal, and the ongoing controversy about privacy rights and abortion. Though the course will delve into some questions of law, history and policy, its primary focus will be on the theoretical questions raised by constitutionalism and judicial review. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 141 Forgiveness EM
Richard L. Smith ’70 Freshman Seminar
How to respond to wrongdoing is a complex issue, and one on which human coexistence depends. For millennia, forgiveness has been the domain of religious and philosophical thinkers, but recently it has also attracted the attention of sociologists, historians, political scientists, legal scholars, psychologists and even medical professionals who are interested in reactive attitudes that foster individual and collective well-being. In this seminar we will explore how creative artists and thinkers from a broad variety of cultures struggle with translating the ideal of forgiveness into real-life settings. The narratives of forgiveness around which the seminar is structured serve as points of departure for discussing how forgiveness works (or doesn’t) in diverse contexts, including personal relations, want of due process, social injustice, retributive justice and restorative justice in the aftermath of historical wrongs (e.g., war and colonialism).
As we study narratives of other times and places that offer different perspectives on forgiveness, we will reflect on the pertinence of the questions they raise to our own world: How is “forgiveness” variously defined? What generates the need for forgiveness? Are there wrongs that cannot be forgiven? What consequences does forgiveness have for the forgiver and the forgiven? Is forgiveness contingent on repentance and atonement, or can it be unconditional? Who can rightfully extend forgiveness? What motivates someone to seek forgiveness? What constitutes apology? What sort of moral or ethical obligation is placed on those of whom forgiveness is asked? These and many other questions that a study of forgiveness opens have no single, unequivocal answer and must be revisited time and time again in the course of working out a good and just course of action that can help rectify past wrongs and forestall new ones. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)
FRS 143 The Soviet Gulag SA
Louise S. Sams, Class of 1979, Freshman Seminar
The Gulag — what do we know about this except that the word conjures an abstract horror? The word Gulag refers to the extensive, far-reaching system of slave labor camps that dotted Soviet Russia and claimed millions of lives. Gulag, an acronym for the words “glavniyi upravlenie lagerei” in Russian, simply means “main administration of camps.” In this course, we will attempt to make sense of the context for the development of this slave labor system. We will try to understand how the Gulag came into existence, why it endured for so long and what the possible consequences are for civil society.
We will first examine the ideology that led to the formation of a communist state in Russia. Then, in an attempt to understand how and why a relatively new government could set up what would become an enormous slave labor system, we will study the Soviet state, including the dynamics of Stalinist political, cultural, economic, international and social state policies, and the Stalinist use (and abuses) of power. To see how the camps functioned as a part of the Soviet state, we will read about the organization of the Communist Party and about its subordinate organization (precursors to the KGB), which ran the camps. We also will look at the Gulag from the inside, by reading camp memoirs by survivors and former employees.
Throughout the course, we will ask the age-old question of how “ordinary people” could participate in such a system. What are the ethical and sociological questions posed by the Gulag? To what extent was it a distinct product of Soviet communism? Over time, many millions of people have found totalitarian philosophies appealing. This course will help us understand how it happens and why. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 145 What Is Modern? LA
This seminar will explore what we mean, historically and visually, when we say “modern” — a vague concept that is nevertheless part of our daily discourse. When does “modern” start? What does “modern” look like? How does it manifest itself in film, painting and literature? How is the modern way of looking, reading and even being different from before?
In an attempt to provide insight into these questions we will take a snapshot tour, changing geographical locations as we seek some defining artworks and concepts of the “modern.” We will begin in London to discuss industrialization and urbanization, then move to Paris to discuss the beginnings of cinema and the underlying notions of spectacle. We will investigate such themes as sex, psychoanalysis, decadence, speed, mobility, space and displacement. A special emphasis will be placed on Russia, its culture and its relationship to the rest of Europe as the exotic “outsider” that is simultaneously an “insider.” We will also examine the cultural significance of the Russian Revolution, as well as the condition of exile that it forced onto some artists. Our snapshot tour will end in America, in the grid-like structure of Manhattan, perhaps the most well-known emblem of the modern.
Interdisciplinary by design, this seminar will offer a taste of the “modern.” It will provide a critical introduction to some foundational artworks, concepts and texts, interweaving art history, history and literary studies. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 147 Discovering “Don Quixote de la Mancha”: Then and Now LA
“All prose fiction is a variation on the theme of ‘Don Quixote,’” said the American critic Lionel Trilling in an attempt to articulate the pervasive universality contained in this book. From the time Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra published his masterpiece (Part I in 1605, Part II in 1615), “Don Quixote de la Mancha” has remained one of the most widely read and referenced books in the world. With the exception of the Bible, no other book has been translated as often and into so many languages. Most literate people, at the least, recognize the figure of the disheveled old man wearing a knight’s garb — along with his unseemly squire — and the stubborn idealism he represents. Why has “Don Quixote” been so appealing to such a wide range of cultures? It is commonplace to call it the first “modern novel,” but what do we mean by that phrase? And what do readers find in this book that goes beyond what might be put in a movie version or on Wikipedia?
This seminar is fundamentally dedicated to tackling these questions. For this purpose, we will briefly survey critical views on the novel. More specifically, we will explore the interpretations of “Don Quixote” as a “funny book,” a narrative of a morally and artistically superior protagonist who is tragically doomed by a callous society, a philosophical treatment of the individual searching for selfhood, and as a de-centered rewriting of Spain’s multicultural “history.” Among other themes that will reverberate throughout the course are social issues relating to class, race and gender in the context of early modern Spain. The relevance of Cervantes’ novel to our “now” will become relevant as we consider his treatment of universal issues — such as friendship, love, good and evil, and idealism and pragmatism — that have defined modern Western societies. In the last few weeks of the semester, furthermore, we will explore more explicitly how “Quixotic” motifs emerge in contemporary cultural productions and films such as “Taxi Driver,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Toy Story” (1, 2 and 3) and “Pleasantville.” (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 149 Coeducation HA
For many years, coeducation has been the norm for American higher education. But that is not the world you would have experienced if you had enrolled in college during the 1960s, when there were almost 250 all-male colleges and more than 200 women’s colleges. Beginning in 1969, so much of that changed. Institutions that had been single-sex since their founding embraced coeducation. That was true of almost every all-male institution, including Princeton and its Ivy League peers; it was also true of a wide range of women’s colleges, including Connecticut, Goucher, Skidmore, Vassar and Wheaton.
This seminar focuses on the advent of coeducation in the late 1960s and 1970s. Why did it happen? Why then? Why was the opposition so fierce? What was the experience of men and women in newly coeducational institutions? How did it compare with the experience of students in institutions that had always been coeducational, like the University of Michigan and Stanford?
We’ll begin by reading some classic accounts of undergraduate life at Yale and Princeton to get some sense of what it was that students and alumni so valued about single-sex education. We’ll then read accounts of coeducation at a variety of institutions, ranging from Brown, Dartmouth and Georgetown, to Michigan, Rochester, Rutgers and the University of Virginia, to West Point and the Virginia Military Institution. We’ll also read accounts of experiences at liberal arts colleges, including Amherst; Middlebury; Hamilton and its coordinate college Kirkland; Vassar; and William Smith, the coordinate college of Hobart. Drawing on a rich array of primary sources, we’ll focus especially on Princeton and Yale: Why and how did these universities decide to admit women? What happened when women arrived? Has coeducation been successful? What have been the results? And we will address the critical question that President Shirley M. Tilghman most recently put to Princeton’s Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership: “whether women undergraduates are realizing their academic potential and seeking opportunities for leadership at the same rate and in the same manner as their male colleagues.” (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 151 Ethics in Financial Markets SA
Jean-Christophe de Swaan
John H. Laporte Jr. ’67 Freshman Seminar
Examples of ethical transgressions in financial markets continue to abound, despite the slew of high-profile scandals exposed over the past two decades. The global financial crisis arguably highlighted the extent to which we seem to have made little progress in stamping out unethical behavior in markets. This seminar will explore ethics in financial markets using a case-based method. We will discuss and debate case studies illustrating various patterns observed in markets, from outright deceit, fraud and manipulation to more nuanced mishandling of conflicts of interest. We will pay particular attention to the concept of “bounded ethicality” and the gray areas in which financial actors have to balance a complex web of duties and incentives. Many of these discussions will center on the conflicts that arise from agent-principal relations such as corporate executives acting on behalf of shareholders and investment managers acting on behalf of clients.
The seminar will address the topic from various angles, drawing on financial theory and concepts of behavioral ethics, corporate governance, economic development and public policy. An important focus of the course will be to compare patterns of transgression across national financial markets, with particular emphasis on the United States, China, Japan and India. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 153 Things Come to Life: Explorations in Modern and Contemporary Art LA
Professor Whitney J. Oates ’25 *31 Freshman Seminar in the Humanities
“What is art?”
In “Must We Mean What We Say?” (1969), philosopher Stanley Cavell argues that the answer to that question “will in part be an answer which explains why it is we treat certain objects, or how we can treat certain objects, in ways normally reserved for treating persons.” Cavell’s question — why do we treat certain objects, or how can we treat certain objects, namely works of art, in ways normally reserved for treating persons? — will occupy us throughout our work together as we explore a range of responses that have been offered, since the 19th century, to the question “What is art?”
From the aesthetic contemplation of a carcass in Charles Baudelaire’s poem “Une Charogne” (1856) to the radical self-transformation of a performance artist’s body in Don DeLillo’s novella “The Body Artist“ (2001), the works of art and literature we will study involve aesthetic complexities at stake when things (seem to) come to life in art, as well as ethical complexities at stake when works of art come to be regarded as (virtually) animate objects.
Literature is rich with examples of persons experiencing works of art as things come to life. Recall, for example, Pygmalion and his ivory sculpture animated by Cupid’s kiss in Book X of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” or think of the predicament of the subject of the painted portrait in Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1890). Using a series of case studies ranging from the mid-19th-century poetry and art criticism of Baudelaire to the contemporary art of Rosemarie Trockel, which we will view in person at a major exhibition of the artist’s work at the New Museum in New York, this seminar will investigate how engagements with longstanding artistic traditions, changing socioeconomic conditions and new technologies and media in Western modernity since the 19th century have shaped the formal procedures of art and literature and the aesthetic theories developed to comprehend them.
We will pay special attention to relationships between art and literature, and to attempts to conceptualize those relationships in philosophical terms. Artists and writers to be studied include: Charles Baudelaire, Auguste Rodin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, Jeff Wall, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, Gerhard Richter, Don DeLillo and Rosemarie Trockel. Additional readings will include works by Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze and others. The seminar will include at least one full-day field trip to a museum in New York City. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 155 Health Concerns in the 21st Century SA
Frank E. Richardson ’61 Freshman Seminar in Public Policy
Despite unprecedented increases in life expectancy for most of the world over the previous century, many health concerns remain prominent. The AIDS epidemic has led some countries to revert to mortality levels not seen in rich countries since the 1800s or earlier, and Russia and several other Eastern European societies have experienced significant downturns in health, particularly among men. The United States, despite its wealth and enormous health expenditures, fares more poorly than virtually all other wealthy countries in terms of infant death rates, and the health of middle-aged and older Americans — especially women — is falling behind that of their peers. At the same time, inequalities in health between the rich and the poor have widened in the United States and elsewhere. Additional health disparities persist: For example, in the United States, whites live considerably longer than African Americans, married people live longer than the unmarried, and women live longer than men.
What can we expect to happen in the next few decades as most countries experience rapid aging of their populations? Will overall health expenditures continue to skyrocket in the United Sates? Will we be able to eliminate ineffective but costly health procedures? Are we reaching limits to human life expectancy or will genetic and other scientific advances result in further huge gains? Perhaps people will live longer but spend more time sick or disabled. Or, perhaps the epidemic of obesity — currently higher in the United States than anywhere else — will counteract medical advances and lead to shorter lives, as many experts predict.
This seminar will examine how and why these diverse patterns of health and survival have emerged and what current research suggests will transpire over the ensuing decades. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 157 Philanthropy: Can We Make This a Better World Through Generosity? SA
Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Freshman Seminar
Our seminar has been granted $50,000 by a philanthropic foundation established by a Princeton graduate who is interested in encouraging college students to become philanthropists by enabling them to act as philanthropists. The goal of the seminar will be to donate these funds to one or more beneficiaries in a thoughtful, well-informed manner. So we will study the historical development of the modern idea of philanthropy, especially in relation to its near-cousin, charity. We will examine the historical origins of the private philanthropic foundation, and the development of philanthropic giving in the 20th century. We will investigate what constitutes “civil society” in a democracy. We will examine the relationship between private philanthropy and state-provided welfare, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world, where this relationship is frequently quite different than in the United States. We will examine how philanthropists decide to whom they will give, how much they will give, and what their expectations should be of their donees (those who receive gifts). All of these considerations will inform your decisions, as philanthropists, as to how to distribute your $50,000. This will be a complex, daunting and fascinating task for freshmen, and I look forward to engaging in it with you! (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 159 How Does She Do It? Joyce Carol Oates: Fiction and Essays LA
We will explore Joyce Carol Oates’ vast oeuvre of short stories, essays and novels, focusing on shorter selections. We will discover how she enters into the minds of her diverse characters with empathy, distinctiveness of voice, drama and intensity, by drawing on the details of her contemporary world to portray, especially, adolescent girls. This will be a fellow writer’s view of one of the most remarkable women of letters of our time. We will use these examples to explore questions about the fine balance between the precise portrayal of a time and place and its transformation through the unique viewpoint of Oates’ own inner life. A visit from the author is anticipated. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 161 When Adolescence Goes Wrong: What They Didn’t Tell You SA
Shelly and Michael Kassen ’76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences
Have you ever taken the time to examine the complex variables that make up the period between ages 11 and 20? Why is it that adolescence can be so traumatic for some and a relatively smooth period for others? How do we transition from childhood to adulthood? Why is that period of time so often filled with “storm and stress” and why do so many teenagers suffer from emotional meltdowns and personal trauma? In essence, what goes wrong? What happens to our bodies, brains and environment that can result in serious psychopathologies? Is it nature? Is it nurture? Adolescence can be so unpredictable, filled with frustrations, rebelliousness, personal failures and inconsistencies.
This course will take a three-pronged approach to the study of normal and abnormal human behavior between the ages of 11 and 20. First, we will spend some time each week discussing and examining what most might term “normal” adolescent behavior from biological, emotional and sociological perspectives.
From there we will proceed to the most significant part of the course, which will focus on many of the psychopathologies from which some adolescents suffer. These may include (based on student interest but not limited to) anxiety, depression, sexuality, bullying, eating disorders, substance abuse, gender identity, several personality disorders, bipolarity, attention deficit disorder (ADD), Asperger’s syndrome, adolescent suicide, compulsions and phobias. Through class discussions and individual presentations, students will be encouraged to pursue in-depth study of particular areas of interest augmented by texts, journal articles, movies and DVD segments that demonstrate certain psychopathologies.
The third prong of the course will be a cross-cultural study of how adolescence differs in North America, South America, Asia, parts of Northern (predominantly Muslim) and sub-Saharan Africa, and why there are so many differences. As the world “shrinks,” do we see significant changes in these differences and what can we predict for the next generation of adolescents? This seminar will offer students an opportunity to gain insight into their own adolescence and to compare and contrast it with other students in the course, in the nation and around the world. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 163 Science, Technology and Public Policy SA
Harold T. Shapiro
The overall objective of this seminar is to understand and assess how American scientists and U.S. science policy have served the interests of the nation, the U.S. government and the scientific community. We will begin with the controversies and competing interests currently surrounding energy policy in the United States, focusing on our technological options and the role of scientists and public policy in addressing the mix of national security, environmental and economic issues that swirl around the energy sector. This will be followed by an explanation of a number of open policy questions on issues related to global warming, cloning and stem cell research, and reproductive technologies. With this background, we will then examine the relationship of science and technology to economic growth and living standards, and the history of U.S. policy formation from the establishment of the Constitution to the present day, giving particular attention to the period following World War II.
The seminar will then focus on the historic and policy issues being faced in the area of eugenics, and the current policy dilemma in high energy physics. Through the course of our discussions, we will come to see the many inherent and potential conflicts of interest that may arise, for example, when scientists serve as advocates and advisers in heated policy debates where egos, money and power are at stake. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 165 Work SA
Donna ’78 and Michael S. Pritula ’78 Freshman Seminar
Is work the curse of Adam that all humans have suffered since expulsion from Eden, condemning them to endure the continuous pains of labor if they are to survive from day to day? Perhaps work is the necessary but benign white line down the middle of the road that brings discipline and order to our lives, even though we may be resentful at times. Some think that work is a divine calling that offers the only true path to divine salvation and so gives meaning to our earthly strivings and endeavors. Which of the above or other routes are you following — or slave to — whether you know it or not?
Here is your chance to explore the meanings of work and your own relation to its disciplines, rigors and satisfactions through close examination of some classic texts from political economy, sociology, English literature and film. You will be asked to understand and take sides in raging contemporary debates: whether automation and globalization are bringing an end to work as we know it in the West; whether forms of “digitally distributed working” are ushering in welcome new and creative ways of working from home or new forms of exploitation and/or further domestic entrapment for whole swathes of the population; whether the gigantic powers of corporations are “branding” not only products but workers, dragging everything into the money-making circuit of the all-consuming capitalist economy; and last but not least, why do Princeton students generally work so hard? (Monday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 167 Narratives of Identity in the Other Europe: Reading Culture in the Balkans LA
The Balkans, the quintessential “Other” of Europe, conjure up a faraway realm on the edge of civilization — the proverbial crossroads between East and West. For Westerners, it is often an exotic, even mysterious, corner of the world, rich with ethnic, religious and especially cultural diversity. In this seminar, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Albania and Greece will provide the backdrop for examining a multitude of narratives in which voices of ethnicity, religion, gender, class and place all speak forcefully and poignantly. Through literature, language, music, folklore and popular culture, we will explore how these frames of identity inform contemporary Balkan culture. We will investigate how the past has sometimes been imagined and the present constructed to accommodate deeply held national, local, ethnic and religious convictions. Moreover, we will view how attempts to perceive the Other, coupled with associations of the Orient, have often been critical to the West’s recognition of southeastern Europe and, in turn, itself.
Southeastern Europe is marked, as a prominent Balkanologist has aptly noted, by a “baroque complexity” that both charms and bewilders us. On the one hand, the Balkans boast Nobel-Prize-winning novelists and some of the most daring literary innovations in all of Europe; world-class musicians; complex oral epic songs the length of Homer’s “Odyssey”; rich collections of folk lyric, ritual songs and tales; and sensual traditional and popular music and dance (much of it performed by Gypsies). On the other hand, the region has had a complicated and troubling past — and present. Fought over (and conquered) at one time by three multinational empires, later ruled by fascist dictators and then communist ideologues, the Balkans also have generated peasant uprisings, local and inter-ethnic civil wars, and revolutions. How do we understand a world that resonates simultaneously as familiar and foreign, endearing and brutal, cultivated and parochial? And how does culture reflect these many different narratives?
Balkan culture from the mid-19th century to the present will comprise the main focus of this course. Narratives of nationalism and their cultural manifestations — the development of languages, literatures and discovery of folklore — along with inventive recollections of history and the use of historical consciousness will anchor our explorations. We will be concerned with how ethnicity and religion have spawned both conflict and creative diversity and how they are realized in narratives and cultural productions. How patriarchal structures and traditional gender roles characterize Balkan society and permeate everyday life — past and present, as well as public and private — will also engage us. Ties and tensions between urban and rural society likewise inform culture in the Balkans; the village as icon has permeated inventions and reinventions of national collectives, while the 20th-century city eventually brought modernity and urbanization to burgeoning industrial societies. All of these approaches will enable us to explore the meaning of Balkan identity in the context of contemporary culture. We will aim to understand the dynamics of how culture on the border between East and West is formed and how it functions. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own particular interests during the seminar as we read and bring meaning to the many rich and multilayered narratives of identity in the Balkans. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 169 The University: Patron of Architecture or Rapacious Developer SA
Mark Burstein and Ronald McCoy
Universities such as Princeton are some of the most enduring and impactful institutions in the history of civilization. Created by their pasts and illustrating their futures, campuses provide the physical and metaphysical home for these institutions. The university campus is often conceived as an idealized social and physical entity interconnected with, but often set apart from, the surrounding context. This perceived distance has fostered a public view of universities through opposite perspectives. Many in society believe that institutions of higher education remain the last great patrons of architecture and urban planning — bolstered by their public purpose, their extensive resources and their large, publicly accessible campuses. Some even go further and expect universities, as leaders of the knowledge economy, to generate needed economic development and jobs for their surrounding communities. Others assert that with their tax exemption and local authority, colleges and universities have become the worst examples of real estate developers because they focus on selfish goals over public needs, destroy neighborhoods in the name of urban renewal, and drain public resources rather than generate needed economic activity. Public and private universities can be lauded for their mission and public spaces yet criticized for creating what Davarian Baldwin, a social theorist and historian of urban America, has called “distrustful, colonial social order.” These tensions play out in ways that are unique to each campus setting, whether it is New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia or Princeton.
This course will provide an understanding of the physical design as well as the economic and political context that shape the American university campus. Through this seminar we will investigate this dichotomy of perspectives through the lenses of architecture, economics and public policy. The course will provide an opportunity to consider questions such as: How has the force of the American research university changed the nature of cities and suburbs? What economic impacts, if any, do educational institutions have on local economic activity? Do physical planning and architectural design influence the quality of college and university intellectual communities? Can institutions uphold excellent design objectives and still meet the growing needs of teaching, research and student life? Do institutions have a special responsibility to provide leadership in the creation of a sustainable environment? (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 171 Scientists Against Time: The Role of Science in WWII and Its Legacies HA
Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Freshman Seminar
This seminar will explore some of the critical contributions of (mostly Allied) scientists, engineers and mathematicians during World War II. Topics will include radar and the Battle of Britain; cryptography and the breaking of the German Enigma code; radar, cryptography, operations research and the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarines; rockets, missiles, airplanes and the erratic history of strategic bombing; science and deception in the D-Day invasion; and the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. This will all involve historical analysis and an introduction to some realms of science and technology. The seminar will also look at some of the legacies of the WWII scientific and technical developments in the post-war world. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 173: Language Acquisition: What Not to Say EC
How do speakers learn not to use certain semantically sensible and syntactically well-formed expressions? For instance, examples (1a)-(4a) below are perfectly interpretable and the syntactic patterns involved are all licensed in English, as is clear from the closely related expressions in (1b)-(4b).
|1a. The magician vanished the woman.||1b. The king banished the woman.|
|2a. She explained him the news.||2b. She told him the news.|
|3a. She considered to go to the store.||3b. She wanted to go to the store.|
|4a. the asleep boy||4b. the absurd/sleeping boy|
Yet native speakers of English recognize examples (1a)-(4a) to be decidedly odd. In fact, although native speakers of English eventually avoid errors like these, adult learners of English as a second language often do not. Nor is it the case that native speakers simply avoid producing novel types of utterances. Consider the following attested examples, which are highly novel yet fully acceptable:
|5. She tried to pray her boys home.|
|6. She winked her way through the debates.|
|7. She smiled herself an upgrade.|
|8. Tim sneezed the milk out of his nose.|
Clearly, the language that speakers hear does not come overtly marked with question marks to indicate unacceptability. And we know that children are not often corrected for producing ill-formed utterances. That is, it is the rare parent who would say anything like, “Don’t say ‘the asleep boy,’ dear, say ‘the boy who is asleep.’” Parents and caregivers are generally much more interested in the content of children’s utterances than the form. The issue of exactly how children learn to avoid certain semantically sensible formulations is at the heart of current research in linguistics and language acquisition. We will read the latest research on this topic with the goal of finding a satisfactory solution by the semester’s end. En route, we will discuss many fascinating aspects of our subtle and complex knowledge of language. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 175 From Berlin to Hollywood LA
Professor Roy Dickinson Welch Freshman Seminar in Music
In the aftermath of World War I, political and economic upheaval and the rise of totalitarian and fascist repression produced waves of immigration that included a disproportionately high number of artists and intellectuals, Jewish for the most part, many at the height of their careers. Among the most prominent of these refugees and exiles were members of Germany’s flourishing film industry, including leading actors, directors and producers. No less significant were a number of gifted opera, stage and film composers, who, after a difficult period of adjustment to a new cultural environment, made contributions that would transform American popular culture.
In this course, we will take a close look at the links between the cinematic and theatrical legacy of Weimar Germany and American film and theater of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. We begin by exploring key aspects of Weimar culture and examining two of the pioneering film composers from the silent era, Gottfried Huppertz and Edmund Meisel. German film music was highly influenced by 19th-century operatic and symphonic idioms (especially the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss) that would in turn inspire the early classics of Hollywood cinema, including the scores by Max Steiner (“King Kong”), Franz Waxman (“The Bride of Frankenstein”) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (“The Seahawk”), scores whose influence is still heard today in the works of John Williams and Hans Zimmer.
In the next section we focus on Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler, composers whose politically engaged works and acerbic style proved a sometimes uneasy fit for American audiences, but whose association with Bertolt Brecht (another Weimar exile) prompted both to write in detail about the theoretical underpinnings of their work. Finally, we examine the influence of the German and Austrian avant-garde, embodied in the works of Arnold Schoenberg, himself an exile in California, which found its way into cinema through students such as Leonard Rosenman, whose bold film scores of the 1950s introduced atonality and 12-tone serialism into popular culture.
In this course, we will first develop a critical vocabulary to analyze how music functions within film. Through our discussion of selected films and stage works, in conjunction with readings in film, music history and aesthetic theory, we will explore the role film and stage music played in a cultural exchange that shaped key aspects of the American identity. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 177 Bad A$$ Asians: Crime, Vice and Morality in East Asia EM
Gangsters, sex workers and heavily armed fighters rule much of East Asia’s pop culture, even though they tend to be comparatively rare in much of contemporary life in the region. And therein lies much of the paradox in views from abroad of East Asia. On the one hand, we have the East Asia of economic growth and stable if occasionally troubled governance described in the news media and scholarship about China, Japan and Korea; smoke-belching factories, nuclear families and gray-suited bureaucrats dominate these reports. On the other, we have the unrestrained gangs, the serial killers and the violent and dark mysteries of much of the region’s popular culture. Can these images be reconciled? Should one be considered reality and the other fantasy? And what do these coexisting images tell us about views of justice and punishment, as well as right and wrong?
This course examines themes of crime and punishment in the past and present — and even the future — in East Asia. Ranging from premodern history to contemporary politics, the sources in this class will include ancient documents; recent films, novels and anime; and scholarly accounts of the region. Our goal will be to consider not just moral principles and their place in political action, but also the venues in which they are articulated and debated. In doing so, we will aim to examine East Asia from a new perspective, by thinking about what has been criminalized in Asia, why these prohibitions have taken place, and how we can understand what these limits have meant to residents themselves. And we will also consider how crime and violence inhabit literary and cultural genres that shape how people in Asia might consider the world around them as well as the ways in which people outside of Asia discuss and interpret the region. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 179 The Law of Democracy and Elections EM
This seminar will introduce students to several themes in the legal regulation of elections and politics. We will cover all the major Supreme Court cases on topics of voting rights, reapportionment/redistricting, ballot access, regulation of political parties, campaign finance and the 2000 presidential election controversy. Particular attention will be given to competing political philosophies and empirical assumptions that underlie the Supreme Court’s reasoning while still focusing on the cases as litigation tools used to serve political ends. (Monday 1:30–4:20 p.m.)
FRS 181 Rhetoric and Politics SA
This seminar will explore the basic features of political communication from a historical and theoretical perspective. The seminar is divided into four sections of three meetings each. The first section will be dedicated to the study of the foundations of political rhetoric, focusing on classical texts on rhetoric such as Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” and Cicero’s “Of the Orator,” as well as on masterpieces of classical eloquence like Pericles’ “Funeral Oration” and Thucydide’s dialogues in the “History of the Peloponnesian War.”
The second section of the seminar will investigate Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous pair of frescoes “Of Good Government and Bad Government” in the Palazzo Publico in Siena, Italy, to guide students to an appreciation of the theory of republican self-government that the artist expressed through his allegorical images. We will next analyze the rhetorical structure of Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” which has been and still is studied as a scientific text. The last meeting of the second section will be dedicated to the debates for and against rhetoric in modern political philosophy, focusing on Thomas Hobbes’ attack on eloquence.
The third section will consider political communication in totalitarian regimes such as Italian Fascism, German National Socialism and Communism. We will use texts such as Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” Primo Levi’s “Survival in Auschwitz” and Emilio Gentile’s works on political religions. To offer students the opportunity of grasping the power of totalitarian eloquence, we will study Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 propaganda film “The Triumph of the Will” and other videos of speeches and rituals.
The fourth section will explore political communication in democratic states focusing on the political speeches of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and other great orators. Special attention will be dedicated to the differences between political rhetoric in democratic states and in totalitarian regimes. (Wednesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 183 The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: Stories and Storytelling LA
Sarah M. Anderson
“This tale grew in the telling . . . ” wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in his foreword to the second edition of “The Lord of the Rings.” In this statement, Tolkien exposes the problem that stories grow and sprout and ramify, just as does his tale, so that it comes to include “glimpses” of the “more ancient history” that preceded the Great War of the Ring. Tolkien's model for the subject matter and for the modes of his modern fantasy may be sought in the medieval literature of the West. There we find the prototypes of his monsters, his valkyries, his philosophy of the music of the spheres. Tolkien is one of the most successful modern re-writers of medieval plots and protagonists, but he is not the only author who revises and rehabilitates the stories told and retold in the long period from the fifth to the 15th centuries. Narrative aspects of the Middle Ages still pervade both the high and the popular cultures of the English-speaking world, contributing key components to the fantastic worlds our stories create. Knightly combatants joust eternally in today’s computer-generated tournaments, and King Arthur’s court appears in comics, romance novels and as a marketing gimmick for everything from restaurants to garage-door openers. Our new stories rest upon plots right out of medieval literature, and these stories are populated by roles derived from medieval tales of Tristan, Arthur, Guinevere and the Lady of the Lake. Our period, and many previous ones, turns and returns to fantasies of a time like the Middle Ages, a time long past but imagined as recoverable through writing out our fantasies of it. And all these statements raise wonderful questions to ponder.
Why are we so fascinated by the Middle Ages? Why has its texts so many after-lives? What material does this period offer us by way of which we create alternative worlds and marvelous characters? What do we see, or think we see, in this age, and what does it mean to us to fashion fabulous stories in a medieval mode? In what ways do medieval fantasies offer ways for us to resist or reform what is modern? In examining these topics, we’ll also consider the properties of medieval and modern fantasy literature and discuss what sort of place we’re escaping to when we slip back into a re-envisioned Middle Ages. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
FRS 185 Bodies in Cultural Landscapes LA
This seminar/studio course explores the intricate history of Western fascination with non-white bodies in motion, from representations recorded in early ethnographic films to contemporary versions of the moving body framed in Hollywood films, dance videos and urban dance documentaries. The aim of the seminar is to examine how the expectations projected onto those bodies have been crucial to the construction of contemporary discourses on gender, race and culture.
Students will be offered an interactive seminar atmosphere where they will view and discuss class material. In the studio component they will engage physically with theater games, writing exercises and composition problems to generate performance work inspired by and drawn from course material and class discussions.
The seminar is designed for any student interested in dance, theater, sports and performance art. It is organized as three different units covering early ethnographic documentaries, Hollywood musicals, urban dance documentaries, dance videos, critical theory and cultural studies texts as well as anthropological essays.
The first unit, Body as Culture, will focus on representations of “otherness” as recorded by European ethnographers in the late 1890s. The second, Body as Commerce, will focus on the implementation of FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy in Hollywood films featuring Brazilian performer Carmen Miranda as well as other Hollywood musicals. The final unit, Body as Art, will explore the relationship between current trends in contemporary dance and performance and how these forms relate to general ideas of self and other and technique and rejection of skills.
This seminar also will include two field trips to New York City where students will spend the day in a combination of gallery/museum visits, rehearsal/studio visits and evening performances. During these trips, students will have a chance to interact with a number of different artists working in different genres of performance and witness their working process, as well as attending evening performances of dance, theater and/or performance art depending on the offerings of the upcoming performance season. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 187 Earth’s Environments and Ancient Civilizations (in Cyprus) STL
Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons
In this seminar, we will combine field observations of the natural world with quantitative modeling and interpretation in order to answer questions such as: How does environmental change alter the course of civilization, and how do civilizations modify their environment? How have Earth and human histories been recorded in the geology and archaeology of Cyprus, and what experiments can we do to query such archives of the past?
In the classroom, through problem sets and on-campus excursions, we will gain practical experience collecting geological and geophysical data in geographic context and analyzing these data using software and programming languages such as ArcGIS and Matlab.
During the required weeklong fall break trip to Cyprus, we will engage in research projects that focus on the interplay among active tectonic landscapes, changing climate and ancient civilizations. (Note that the Cyprus field trip is the lab, and there are no additional lab periods during normal class weeks.) We will help you turn what you learn into three research papers. Scientific writing is an integral part of this course and its assessment. Students must plan on devoting their fall break to the class trip and have a valid passport. All costs of the fall break trip are covered by the University.
http://geoweb.princeton.edu/people/simons/FRS-EEAC.html (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 189 Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Wisdom of Crowds LA
In this seminar we will study the history and nature of urban myths, particularly in regard to the way that myths reflect the concerns and fears of society, particularly in literature. We will examine the ways in which myths differ from folk tales, fairy tales and superstition, and the means by which entire communities, seized with conviction, disseminate and fortify a myth. We will discuss urban myths through history (witchcraft, alchemy and the philosopher’s stone, and prophecies of the end of the world) as well as contemporary manifestations (Ponzi schemes; alien abductions; the conviction, popular on college campuses, that emails and cell phone messages are monitored) and the technological, religious and moral shifts that cause them. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 191 Network Society: Global and Local LA
Donna ’78 and Michael S. Pritula ’78 Freshman Seminar
Life today is fully networked: social media, finance, desire and play emerge out of digital connections with others, mediated through algorithms, codes and bits, and regulated by a host of visible and hidden forces — even as states continue to enforce borders, information and goods, and bodies flow at ever-greater speeds. How do these networks reflect and shape contemporary ideas about selfhood, relationships, love, work, creativity and society? How has knowledge gone from meaning the acquisition of facts and a belief in individual genius to information management and an open-source culture? Is the Internet a site of unlimited promise and freedom or a system of unprecedented control and surveillance? What does it mean to write, produce music or make art in an age of YouTube, digital libraries and an embattled print industry? Who makes the iPad, under what conditions and why should we care? How do literature, film and art engage and represent this new reality?
This seminar examines aspects of what sociologist Manuel Castells termed the Network Society. We will read across a number of fields, considering histories of digital media, new forms of being together, who or what structures and monitors the Internet, and how the global economy and labor have changed in the past decades alongside new technologies. Particular attention will be given to how art, literature and entertainment are changing in response to these new realities. What do video games and “mashup” music suggest about contemporary sensibilities? What does it mean to write poetry in the Google era? How can novelists represent such a networked world?
The seminar balances the necessarily global dimensions of such change with a regional emphasis, periodically focusing on cultural production from Latin America and Latino America. Specific examples may include Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges’ prefiguration of the Internet; a visit by Brazilian bio-artist Eduardo Kaç; readings from Cuba’s leading independent blogger Yoani Sánchez; and dialogue with itinerant performance artist Tania Bruguera. Several weeks will be dedicated to Chilean author Roberto Bolaño's best-selling novel about the globalized world, “2666.” Readings and films may be complemented by class visits by invited artists. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)
FRS 193 City of Gold: Archaeology and Exhibition HA
Barrett Family Freshman Seminar
“City of Gold: Tomb and Temple in Ancient Cyprus” opens at the Princeton University Art Museum on Oct. 20. This exhibition features the art and archaeology of the ancient cities of Marion and Arsinoe, the focus of Princeton excavations since 1983, and provides a rich opportunity for a study of archaeology and exhibition. The importance of context in archaeological research is rarely included within museum and gallery displays that emphasize the object, often as an isolated work of art. This seminar will allow students to experience both practical and theoretical aspects of museum exhibition, using “City of Gold”; field trips to area museums that have different approaches to the display of objects found through archaeological excavation; as well as readings and class discussion. Students will have visits to the Princeton University Art Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia; and Morven Museum, the 18th-century former Princeton home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Projects will not only involve students in museum display, but also in the theory and criticism of the relationship between archaeology and public exhibition. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
FRS 195 Global Environmental Change: Science, Technology and Policy STN
Eric Wood and Justin Sheffield
Donald P. Wilson ’33 and Edna M. Wilson Freshman Seminar
Humans have always played a role in shaping Earth’s environment. However, since the start of the Industrial Revolution the human imprint has expanded to global scope and is accelerating to levels at which a sustainable future is uncertain. The human impact is now clearly seen in increasing global temperatures, ocean acidification, shrinking ice sheets, retreating glaciers, deforestation, freshwater scarcity and loss of species. At the same time, a burgeoning and increasingly urban population requires more food and water, and is competing with the environment for finite resources, usually at the expense of environmental quality. At the start of a new millennium, these issues are coming to the fore of science and government policy in an increasingly connected world, where regional changes may have global ramifications.
This seminar will explore the science, technology and policy issues behind global environmental change. We will ask searching questions about how humans impact and react to environmental change, such as: What are the environmental consequences of a global transition to a meat-based diet? To what extent have humans modified the land cover over the last 200 years, and what are the implications to changes in climate? Who will be the winners and losers at the end of this century as a result of climate change?
We will cover the science behind global change (climate variability and change, natural weather disasters such as floods and droughts, environmental degradation); human aspects of change (water crises and conflict, agriculture and food security, energy sustainability, climate and health); and technology and policy issues relating to mitigation and adaptation (renewable energy, carbon trading, carbon storage, geo-engineering, water resource engineering, agricultural development).
The class will include a seven-day field trip to Costa Rica during fall break (Oct. 27-Nov. 4). Costa Rica is an ideal location for exploring the science, technology and policy issues of environmental change, because of its strong push toward reaching its Kyoto Protocol goals. Half our time will be based at Earth University, where we will have the opportunity to study sustainable agriculture, alternative energy and carbon policy. The remainder of the trip will involve travel to various national parks and reserves, where we will be able to delve further into issues related to agriculture, water resources, waste management, biodiversity, energy production and related policy. Students must plan on devoting their fall break to the class trip and have a valid passport. All costs of the fall break trip are covered by the University. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)