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Seminars for the Spring Term 2017

Butler College

FRS 102 Spy Stories: Cultures of Surveillance, Espionage, and Secret Agents HA
David Minto

What — in an information age of WikiLeaks, the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning — are the cultural roles of spy stories and how did these develop over time? Spies are a figure of fascination in the contemporary United States, but their paradoxical prominence has a far longer history, deeply enmeshed with such diverse aspects of life, society, and politics as privacy, security, sexuality, and war. This course explores these relations in a 20th-century Anglo-American context through a broad range of texts that include classic spy novels, secret-agent diaries, newspaper exposés, classified state records, histories of intelligence agencies, political philosophy passages, kernels of cultural theory, and films and TV shows.

The formation and development of the spy story will be a central strand that takes us through selected novels by Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, and John le Carré, and into the mass cultural interventions of characters such as Ian Fleming's James Bond and Carrie Mathison in the TV show "Homeland." In tracing this trajectory, however, we'll consider not only internal changes to form, but also how genre intersects with actual espionage and ambient social imaginaries. In what ways did these particular cultural depictions reflect broader worldviews, as well as operative transitions from amateur spies to professional agents to bureaucratic agencies? To what extent did the spy thriller present a diversion from the decline of British imperial position and a cover story for the rise of U.S. global power? Do spy stories tell us something about the way particular populations have been subject to surveillance along lines of class, gender, race, and sexuality? And what are the spy narratives we need, deserve, and tell ourselves today? (Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 104 Philosophical Analysis Using Argument Maps EM
Simon Cullen
Agnew Family Freshman Seminar

What, if anything, do we owe the global poor? Is abortion morally permissible? Is assisted suicide? Is it ever permissible to destroy a human embryo for medical research? Should we massively extend the human lifespan to thousands of years, or perhaps even to biological immortality? Is free will possible in a deterministic world, and if it is not, are we ever morally responsible for our actions? What are the conditions of personal identity? At a fundamental level, what are race and gender? What is the probability that we live in a computer simulation?

These are some of the toughest, most pressing questions in practical ethics and metaphysics. Philosophers have addressed these questions by producing subtle, intricate, and often beautiful arguments. In this seminar, you will assess those arguments and produce your own. You will learn to think like a philosopher — to strip an argument presented in prose to its bare essentials and produce a visual map that displays its structure plainly.

Learning to visualize arguments in this way will improve the clarity and rigor of your own thinking and writing. It will put you in a position to make progress on hard questions such as those above. And it will improve your ability to crisply convey your ideas — an ability that will serve you well not just in your Princeton classes, but also in the political, professional, and civic reasoning you employ for the rest of your life.

Please visit http://bit.ly/phimaps-info for more information about the seminar and argument mapping, and the results from a two-year controlled experiment on the effectiveness of the seminar. (Monday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 106 Art and Science of Motorcycle Design STL
Michael Littman
Donald P. Wilson '33 and Edna M. Wilson Freshman Seminar

This is a hands-on seminar and laboratory experience about the engineering design of motorcycles. Students will restore a 1965 Triumph motorcycle and will compare it to the same make and model of motorcycle from other years (1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, and 1964). No previous shop or laboratory experience is necessary, and we welcome liberal arts students as well as engineering students. Professor Littman will be assisted by Glenn Northey, Al Gaillard, and Jon Prevost, technical staff members of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Students will examine, disassemble, model, test, and rebuild a vintage motorcycle. All motorcycle subsystems will be considered with special attention to the power, structural, and control subsystems. Classic and modern engineering tools to be used include computer-aided design (CAD) software for the documentation and prototyping of engine parts, engine simulation software for understanding factors affecting engine performance, and engine brake dynamometer for determination of engine power and torque. Students will assess and restore motorcycle components. Precise measurement, repair, and redesign (where appropriate) of key parts will include the restoration of cylinder, piston, head, cam, valves, transmission, brakes, fork, oil system, clutch, and chain. Students will also inspect and restore all electrical system components as needed and disassemble, clean, repaint, and restore the frame and suspension system.

The class meets twice each week. Each session starts with a 90-minute precept followed by a 90-minute laboratory. Please note that only the precept time is listed on TigerHub and Course Offerings. The 90-minute laboratory will follow immediately after each precept. (Tuesday, Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 108 Cuisine: Reading, Writing, Cooking, Eating LA
Leonard Barkan

Food is nutrition, culture, and public well-being; and all of these subjects are reflected in the enormous body of writing that has been devoted to eating and drinking, from banquets in Homer to the literature concerning world food supply in the 21st century. In the first half of the term, we will read extensively in food writing. From the ancients, we will consider the Roman cookbook of Apicius, read the satires of Horace against overindulgence and pretension in dining habits, and sample tidbits from Athenaeus' 15-volume narrative of a single dinner party — where most of the conversation was about food. Moving forward in time, we'll look at Renaissance banquets and observe the beginnings of modern gastronomy in the Renaissance; we'll follow the birth of the restaurant as well as the place of mealtime in modern literature and art (think of Proust's madeleine or of the history of depicting the Last Supper). From our own century, we will study the work of social analysis that considers the problems of nutrition in the modern world. In the second half of the term, we will concentrate on cooking and eating. Each of these endeavors will be accompanied by an appropriate writing assignment. Students will learn how to write a recipe, attempt to translate the experience of taste into language, write a restaurant review, and produce a personal reminiscence about the experience of a particularly memorable meal that they have shared with family or friends. There will be field trips for the purpose of collective dining, and class visits from distinguished practitioners of the gastronomic arts and of food writing. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 112 Canceled Jewish American Literature: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? LA
Jennifer Gilmore

American Jewish writing has been shaped as much by social, cultural, and political considerations as by literary ones. In this course, we will consider the Jewish American experience in American literature by focusing on Jewish American texts — fiction, essays, film, and television — that define, revise, and critique "American identity." What is the role of national, personal, and cultural histories, of language and gender, in Americans' self-definitions? What is the relationship of "Jewish American" literature to the American literary canon? How is it shaped by questions of what constitutes ethnicity and how does that reveal itself in these works?
As we examine these multilayered concerns we will also look at the stereotypes that are confronted and upheld in these texts. We will explore the various ways in which the Jewish American experience has been defined and examine its connection to immigration, acculturation, alienation, and the rise of material wealth. We will investigate a fundamental question: Is there such a thing as "Jewish fiction" and, if so, will it continue to evolve?
Students will read and watch texts by writers and filmmakers including Saul Bellow, Grace Paley, Allen Ginsberg, Art Spiegelman, Woody Allen, and Lena Dunham to explore these and other concerns as they gain fluency in thinking and writing about contemporary literature through discussion, weekly essay responses, and class presentations. A midterm paper and a final assignment are also required. (Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)

FRS 114 The Self: What Psychological Science Tells Us About Who You Are EC
Diana Tamir

What does it mean to have a self? When we say "I," what are we referring to? Though "self" can mean different things to different people, in this seminar, we'll explore what the self has meant in the fields of experimental psychology and social neuroscience. Throughout the course, we will consider both theoretical and methodological issues relevant to the study of the self. By the end of the semester, you will have a deeper understanding of the self at three complementary levels of analysis:

  • Brain: How does your neural hardware support your sense of self?
  • Individual: What is the content and experience of the self? How does the self affect how we absorb information from the world?
  • Group: How does the self contribute to our understanding of other people? How do social and cultural contexts influence the self?

Readings will include a selection of classic and contemporary journal articles, chapters, and book excerpts. These readings will provide important background for weekly lectures. Readings will be made available on blackboard and are listed at the end of the syllabus. Course requirements and grading: 20 percent participation; 20 percent presentations; 20 percent discussion questions and comments; and 40 percent final paper. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)

Forbes College

FRS 110 Atomic-bombing and Firebombing Cities in World War II: Morality, Science, and Race HA
Sheldon Garon
Freshman Seminar in Human Values

This seminar will consider the cultural, scientific, geopolitical, and military developments that led to the massive aerial bombardment of cities in World War II — including the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We will address a troubling question of modern times: How did nations come to accept the bombing of civilian populations as a "normal" part of war?

Among other things, the seminar introduces students to the Japanese side of the story — including Japanese accounts of atomic-bombings and firebombings. We also consider the broader history of bombing cities that predated the atomic bombs. Beginning with aerial bombardment in World War I, we will read about Japanese, German, and Italian bombing of civilians in the late 1930s; European bombing to control colonial populations; the German "Blitz" of London; and the Allied saturation bombing of German and Japanese cities. Readings will be supplemented by British, Japanese, German, and American films about the bombardments and the creation of the atomic bomb.

Seminar discussions will focus on an array of ethical and strategic questions. Was aerial bombardment effective in bringing about the defeat of Japan and Germany? Did the A-bombs by themselves end the war with Japan? Was Japan singled out for atomic bombs because of American racism? Did the scientists who devised the atomic bomb or napalm firebombs bear responsibility? Although Americans and others condemn acts of "terrorism" today, how do we judge the Allies' self-conscious adoption of "terror" to demoralize German and Japanese civilians in World War II? Can the bombing of cities — then or now — be justified if the cause is just? And is it moral or effective to use air power to bomb densely populated areas in order to save the lives of one's own soldiers? (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 116 The Evolution of Human Language EC
Christiane Fellbaum
Louise S. Sams, Class of 1979, Freshman Seminar

When, where, why, and how did human language originate? There are no definitive answers, but evidence from many different areas of investigation (including paleontology, archeology, animal communication, neurobiology, genetics, statistics), when considered in conjunction, sheds light on these old and fascinating questions.

We will define critical concepts such as language and communication, and analyze key properties of human language that distinguish it from animal communication. We will examine the status of proposed universal properties shared by all human languages (in particular, recursion) and the documented birth of new languages like Creoles and Nicaraguan Sign Language. We examine non-linguistic behaviors (sobbing, laughing) with communicative functions that involve brain areas dedicated to language processing.

Research in animal communication shows that chimps, gorillas, and vervet monkeys communicate in sophisticated ways, using some of the same brain regions that are involved in human language processing.

We will ask whether language evolved gradually as a product of general primate cognition or whether it appeared within a relatively short time. We will examine contrasting arguments claiming simple vocalization, gestures, or music as the precursor of language.

At which stage in human evolution were the prerequisites for language given? We will discuss recent fossil evidence with respect to anatomical features (such as cranial volume) that are required for linguistic behavior. We will weigh competing hypotheses regarding a single origin (monogenesis) vs. multiple origins (polygenesis) of language in the light of paleontological, genetic, and statistical linguistic data.

What degree of societal organization was necessary for human language to arise? The earliest known artworks (cave paintings, fertility figurines) were most likely created to fulfill ritual functions; prehistoric tools and beads similarly point to social structures that were unlikely to exist without a well-developed language. Is language in fact primarily a product of cultural development rather than an innate cognitive faculty? (Monday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 118 Life on Mars — Or Maybe Not SA
Edwin Turner and Michael Lemonick
Stuart Family Freshman Seminar

A few years ago, headlines screamed with the news that scientists had discovered evidence of fossilized bacteria in a rock that had come from Mars. Over the next several months, independent researchers examined the claims carefully and concluded that the evidence was poor at best. But that negative assessment, which remains the consensus among experts, was barely reported. As a result, most people still think the question of life on other planets has already been settled. A story in The New York Times in 2006 carried the headline "Cloning May Lead to Healthy Pork." But a careful reading of the story makes it clear that "may not" would probably have made for a more accurate, though less enticing, headline. And virtually everyone is familiar with the endless news stories that declare a particular vitamin, food, or physical activity to be good for your health, inevitably followed a few years later by a story saying that the very same food or activity is, in fact, bad for you.

Most people learn most of what they know about science through the popular media. Yet as these examples make clear, media reports, even in respected national publications, are frequently confusing, incomplete, or even just plain wrong. Moreover, even when they are accurate, they convey an idea of science that Albert Einstein himself skewered a half century ago. From such episodes, he wrote, "the reader gets the [mistaken] impression that every five minutes there is a revolution in science, somewhat like the coups d'etat in some of the smaller unstable republics."

So how reliable is science news? In this seminar, we will investigate this question from the perspectives of both science and the media, led by one instructor from each camp. We will analyze several major news stories that have dominated the media at various times over the past few years: life on Mars, intelligent design, possible cancer cures, the "discovery" that some stars appear to be older than the universe, global warming, and more. We will also address science news as it arises, as it inevitably will, during the semester. In each case, we will work to understand the actual science that led to these reports. Then we will look in detail at the forces at play in shaping media coverage, and how they tend to distort the science. Garbling and oversimplification by reporters is one factor, but this, as we will see, is only part of the story. Other factors include the competition for funding among scientists, the politics that lead universities and government agencies to hype their successes, and the competition between scientific journals — all flavored with plenty of ego on all sides.

Students will not only come to understand why you can't always trust what you read in the newspaper, but also will come to appreciate the satisfactions and pitfalls of communicating science, not only through readings and class discussion, but also by means of visits by and with science journalists, scientists, and public information officers. They will also get a taste of what science reporters are up against by producing several pieces of science journalism themselves, which will be critiqued by both instructors. Although we will focus primarily on the print media, we will also consider the treatment of science by the broadcast media. In the end, students will never be able to see the news in quite the same way. (Monday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 120 Hogs, Bats, and Ebola: An Introduction to One Health Policy SA
Laura Kahn
Frank E. Richardson '61 Freshman Seminar in Public Policy

Without agriculture, civilization would not exist. Surplus food enabled the growth of cities. Cities led to nations and nations discovered the science and technology that allowed our numbers to grow. The United Nations estimates that the global population will increase to over 10 billion in 2050 and possibly over 15 billion in 2100 if high-end estimates prove true. But agriculture comes with costs including environmental destruction and zoonotic diseases (i.e., diseases of animals that infect humans). Meeting the growing world population's demand for meat while ensuring global health and sustainability is a challenge for current and future policymakers.

Approximately 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, and many of them emerge because of our quest for meat. For example, the deadly Nipah virus that emerged from the tropical forests of Malaysia in the late 1990s was preceded by widespread deforestation to clear land for pig farms, inadvertently destroying the natural habitats of fruit bats. The 2011 movie Contagion was based on this virus. When livestock is not available or too expensive, people sometimes resort to eating bushmeat (wild animals), which comes with its own disease risks. The consumption of fruit bats in Africa has been associated with Ebola outbreaks.

This interdisciplinary seminar will cover subjects such as basic epidemiology, public health and policy, basic microbiology, food safety and security, human evolution and nutrition, history of meat production and consumption, essentials of zoonotic diseases, the politics of antibiotic resistance, and the national and international organizations that oversee health and agriculture. A series of disease outbreaks will be discussed and analyzed including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), avian influenza, Nipah virus, Q fever, and the Ebola virus. Students will learn how to search and download data from government websites and analyze it using Powerpoint and Excel. Readings will come from a variety of sources including medical and veterinary medical literature. A field trip to either the Rutgers University agriculture facilities or to the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is planned, as well as a visit by a representative from the Mercer County Wildlife Center. In addition to classroom participation, two take-home quizzes, one five-page midterm policy paper, one 10-page final policy paper, and a classroom Powerpoint presentation are required. A strong background in high school biology is required. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 122 Connection and Communication in the Digital Bazaar SA
Swati Bhatt
Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar

This seminar will explore how the Internet — and the rapid communication enabled by it — has fundamentally changed the economy and the way we do business. What impact has the constant connectivity of an evolving and growing digital network had on the structure and speed of the economy? Has the balance of economic power shifted from larger groups to individuals or vice versa? How has the nature of trade changed in the digital bazaar?

This seminar will examine the three powerful forces unleashed by this new technology. First, we will look at the network of connections that enables information exchange and allows businesses to be organized on a smaller scale. Second, we will examine the massive data that can be used to create stories about individuals, and we will explore how we are all affected by this phenomenon. Third, we will consider how our attention has become a scarce resource as a consequence of this connectivity. We are inundated with information, such as advertising, some of which appears to be free. We will explore whether information is truly free.

Our choices and our decision-making strategies adapt to our information environment so we will broaden our inquiry to discuss the shortcuts we take in our daily lives. Students will be encouraged to develop case studies of specific applications of digital technology that have impacted their lives. For example, how has the smartphone made a meaningful difference? Why do we "Venmo"?

Students will read chapters from the assigned text and articles to explore these ideas as they gain fluency in thinking about these issues in class discussion. Grades will be based on a short midterm essay, a final paper, and class discussion. (Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 124 State of the Earth: Shifts and Cycles (in France and Spain) STL
Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons
Henry David Thoreau Freshman Seminar in Environmental Studies

In this freshman seminar, you will combine field observations of the natural world with quantitative modeling and interpretation to answer questions such as: How have Earth and human histories been recorded in the geology of Princeton, the Catskills, France, and Spain, and what experiments can you do to query such archives of the past? In the classroom, through problem sets, and around campus, you will gain practical experience collecting geological and geophysical data in geographic context. You will analyze these data using statistical techniques such as regression and time series analysis, with the programming language MATLAB.

During the required one-day trip to the Catskills and week-long spring break trip to France and Spain, you will engage in research projects that focus on the cycles and shifts in Earth's shape, climate, and life that occur now on timescales of days, and have been recorded in rocks over timescales of millions of years. The classroom component of this seminar will have graded (bi)weekly assignments built around on-campus data collection, data preparation or analysis, and scientific programming. A significant part of your assessment comes from writing assignments that teach you to communicate your scientific results, and culminates in an original research paper and an oral presentation for an audience of peers, freshman seminar alumni, and invited guests from the University community.

This seminar is a science class: you should come prepared with an aptitude for, and a willingness to learn, the quantitative aspects of scientific inquiry. Scientific writing and computer programming are integral parts of this seminar and its assessment. We teach and require the use of the document preparation program LaTeX! 
 

Mathey College

FRS 126 Empires of the Ancient World HA
Michael Flower

There were many empires in antiquity, but the three largest and most famous (apart from Han China) will be the subject of this seminar. These are the Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great; the empire of Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persian Empire; and the Roman Empire, which encompassed the entire Mediterranean World. In addition to examining these particular empires as case studies, we will address some important general questions throughout the semester: What makes an empire an empire (as opposed to a hegemony or an alliance)? Do all empires necessarily follow the same trajectory of birth, growth, decay, and death? Or is it possible, through wise polices and good luck, to break out of this pattern? Is an empire always a bad thing for those who are the subjects? The rulers are usually seen as exploiters, but does empire bring negative consequences for them as well? Are some empires more benevolent than others — or is it paternalistic even to speak of a "benevolent" empire? And finally, can something useful be learned from the successes and failures (economic, social, and military) of these ancient empires that can guide today's superpowers? (Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 128 Canceled American Musics LA
Elizabeth Bergman

"I hear America singing," Walt Whitman famously wrote in his epic compendium Leaves of Grass (1855). The poem celebrates the songs of working men and women — mechanics, shoemakers, boatmen, and even young wives, "Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, ... /Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs." A century later, Allison Adele Hedge Coke, a poet of Native American ancestry, raised her own voice in protest, challenging Whitman's congratulatory chorus. "America, I sing you back," she proclaimed. "Sing back what sung you in." She makes clear that she gives voice to a different America.
How might we begin to understand, and appreciate, the many songs and many "musics" of America? How should we begin to interpret how American music can at once reflect and resist its political and social contexts? How can we analyze the musical content of American music along with its cultural significance?
Each week, we will closely and critically read one or two notable scholarly articles plus listen (or watch) some key musical sources. Our goal in discussions will be to relate one to the other: to hear in the music the issues raised by the readings. Students are also encouraged to bring in other music that they might be familiar with that seem to raise issues similar to those at hand in any given week. We will attempt to move freely between the historical and the present, developing the critical thinking skills of both the historian (who seeks to recognize the strangeness of older texts and recover their original meanings) and the cultural studies scholar (who investigates the uses of history in the present, and the way that historical texts change over time and resonate long after their inception).
We will cover a wide swath of American history, dating from first encounters between colonists and indigenous peoples in the 17th century through more contemporary protests against racial and gender injustices in pop music. While we will focus on the United States for most of the course, in their final research papers students will be encouraged to explore broader American musical traditions and practices, from Canada to Mexico, Central and South America, or even to consider American music as received abroad.
No musical experience is necessary to participate in this seminar; together, we will build a basic but powerful vocabulary that enables us to describe, analyze, and interpret music as a form of cultural politics. Readings are mostly short, although admittedly dense, to allow ample time for repeated listening and viewing of a variety of American music — from American Indian song to Broadway musicals, Chicago blues to contemporary hip-hop, Bruce Springsteen to Beyoncé. Ultimately, students will acquire a sophisticated sense of American musical traditions as well as essential intellectual tools to understand current scholarly debates about race, class, gender, and identity in the United States. (Thursday 7:30 - 10:20 p.m.)

FRS 132 Behind the Scenes: Inside the Princeton University Art Museum LA
Caroline Harris

Would you like to see a Degas pastel or Cézanne watercolor up close and without the frame? Participants in this seminar will go behind the scenes of a major university art museum with an encyclopedic collection of more than 90,000 objects from ancient to contemporary art. Sessions will focus on discussions of connoisseurship and the role of the museum in the 21st century with a special emphasis on collecting practices. Students will study aspects of exhibition and installation planning, from scholarship and education to loans and conservation, through The Berlin Painter and His World exhibition and by studying masterpieces of European art from the Pearlman Collection. Course readings will introduce students to some of the most compelling practical, theoretical, and ethical issues confronting museums.

A team of curators, the director, and other members of the professional staff of the Princeton University Art Museum will lead the seminar sessions, which focus on particular topics. Students are expected to discuss critically issues in acquisitions, conservation, education, and interpretation based on readings and outside projects. There also will be a trip to New York City to visit museums. (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 134 The Way We Watch Now: "Quality Television," Critical Theory, and Contemporary Culture LA
Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz
Donna '78 and Michael S. Pritula '78 Freshman Seminar

In the last 15 or so years, the status of television within the broader cultural landscape has undergone a radical shift. In the wake of so-called "quality television" programs like The Wire and Breaking Bad, television — once derided as a form of mere entertainment — is now arguably the paradigmatic art form of contemporary US culture. In this sense, contemporary television (at least in its "quality" incarnation) is not only now grasped as "art," but as the very form of art to which we turn in order to understand best the present in which we live.

In this seminar, we will examine the rise of "quality television," beginning with its signature programs — The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad — all of which use the multiseason serial form to bring about an arguably unprecedented degree of conceptual complexity and dramatic intensity. To help us develop an analytical language to discuss these programs, we will sample the fast-growing and highly diverse body of scholarship dedicated to these shows, reading essays from a variety of critical perspectives (formalist, Marxist, psychoanalytic, feminist, etc.); as background, we'll also read some canonical texts in critical theory and media studies from Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Laura Mulvey, and Judith Butler. We will be particularly concerned with the analysis each of these shows sketches out of contemporary capitalism, and capitalism's characteristic institutions and forms of life (the advertising agency in Mad Men, the drug trade in The Wire and Breaking Bad, etc.) with a particular emphasis on questions posed by television's own imbrication within the capitalist culture that it depicts. Gender will also be an ongoing concern, given the persistent suspicion that the label "quality television" may have something masculinist about it, insofar as the term first emerges in relation to a series of so-called "male anti-hero shows." In the final third of the seminar, questions of gender and sexuality will loom particularly large. We will turn to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a program that arguably performs a feminist deconstruction of the very concept of "quality television." We'll conclude the semester by taking up a slew of contemporary programs, all of which in some way engage with feminism, queer gender politics, and/or a critique of traditional masculinity — Girls, Transparent, Louie, and Broad City. (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 136 Law and Politics of Punishment EM
Melynda Price
Paul L. Miller '41 Freshman Seminar in Human Values

This seminar will provide students with a broad survey of the various ways in which punishment has been constructed and implemented in US politics and law. We will begin with a discussion of "what is" punishment and what "is/should be" the role of the state and individuals in policing and punishment. We will draw on the works of Foucault, Adrian Howe, Joy James, and other scholars who have explored the meaning of punishment. We will explore writings on the effects of racial and economic inequality on the legal and political acceptance of punishment and who is subject to punishment. We will also explore past and current interpretations of relevant Constitutional Amendments, primarily the Eighth Amendment. The remainder of the course will be dedicated to a topical survey of various forms of punishments, including the death penalty. The course will also include coverage of incarceration, collateral consequences of felony convictions (i.e., loss of voting rights), corporal punishment by parents and in schools, humiliation, criminalization of child support, and the war on drugs. (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 P.M)


FRS 138 CANCELED Oracle Bones to Smartphones: Reading Media in East Asia LA
Brian Steininger

Media today is in a state of revolution: "old media" such as newspapers are fighting terminal decline, while "new media" is characterized by constant transformation as social media networks explode in popularity and are just as quickly replaced by competitors. It is difficult not to feel as though advances in technology now determine our relationship to information, entertainment, and society. We will place this issue under the lens of historical inquiry: How does technology reshape culture? Or conversely, are the applications of technology culturally predetermined? Tracing the many forms written media have taken in East Asia (primarily China, Korea, and Japan), from the dawn of writing to contemporary digital media, we will examine why cultural responses to new inventions are unpredictable and at times contradictory.

This course examines the semiotics of writing, changes in calligraphy and printing tools, typography and the format of the book, digital media and database structures, and the relationship between word and image. Course readings balance attention to learning the history of East Asia through its changing written culture, the new forms of information and art that successive technological developments enabled, and theoretical frameworks in media studies. To better understand the physical potentials of various media, we will conduct in-class workshops on bookbinding and writing implements, and conclude with a group project producing a multimedia introduction to a book held in a Princeton University collection, to be displayed on the course website. This course places particular emphasis on introducing freshmen to the resources of the University, through visits to several museums, libraries, and computer labs on campus. No prior knowledge of East Asian languages required. (Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 - 4:20 p.m.)

Rockefeller College

FRS 130 Creative Color: Exploration of Color in Life and Artistic Expression LA
Anya Klepikov

What would an active and creative investigation of color look like? Color is an important part of how we experience the world around us, and a powerful tool for the artist. Driven by the desire to understand color better, we will turn to a variety of sources to learn different ways of thinking and talking about color: scientific models, pieces of visual art, designs for stage and film, and theoretical texts. Recognizing the different facets of color — from historical and physiological to economical and psychological — we will explore how we perceive color and deepen our awareness of its sometimes covert influence on our experiences.

Capitalizing on our discoveries, we will then try our hand at using color as a tool of artistic expression to communicate ideas and feelings.

Most classes will be organized around a practical workshop, the Color Lab, where we will set up our own experiments to explore the various properties of color and mine the mysteries of color perception, in an effort to stretch our eyes and begin building our color toolbox.

While empirical exploration is at the heart of the class, drawing skills are not a prerequisite because we will be focusing on color paper as a means of manipulating colors (following in the steps of American artist and educator Josef Albers in his legendary course on color at the Yale School of Art in the 1950s). It is possible to embark on the study of color without being a trained artist — all you need is a pair of open eyes and the willingness to open them wider. Class work and homework will include individual research, group work, class demos, discussions, readings, and a personal journal of "color revelations." Various creative projects will culminate in a final project, which will be tailored to each student's specific interest in the study of color. (Monday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 140 Bioethics and Public Policy EM
Harold T. Shapiro
Robert H. Rawson '66 Freshman Seminar

Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics focused on the study of ethical issues that arise by the ongoing advances in the biological and medical sciences. The seminar will be focused on the relationship between selected issues in bioethics and their implications, if any, for the design of public policies in this arena. Some bioethical issues may be thought of as purely private matters, while others may be best dealt with by professional codes of ethics. Others still may require a response from public policy, and finally some may be dealt with through the judicial system. This seminar will focus primarily on areas in bioethics that seem to have salience for public policy.

In the last two centuries, we have witnessed extraordinary and continuing developments in our understanding of human biology and in our capacity to deploy new clinical modalities [biomedicine]. Moreover, the pace of change in these arenas seems to be accelerating as we deepen our understanding of human biology and our capacity to fight disease and, some would say, to potentially exert control over the evolution of our species. While great progress has been made in our abilities to treat disease and enhance the human condition, many of these developments have raised ethical questions in such arenas as: compulsory vaccination, the use of human subjects in medical research, the ethical treatment of non-human animals; the ethical boundaries of public health initiatives; the ethics of euthanasia and suicide; and the appropriate deployment of assisted reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, cloning, and stem cell treatments.

This seminar will consider both the ethical issues raised by these ongoing developments and the appropriate public policy responses to contemporary developments on the biomedical frontier. (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 142 Freud on the Psychology of Ordinary Mental Life EC
Susan Sugarman

When we laugh at an incredibly funny joke, what, exactly, are we laughing at, and why is it laughing we do? How do we come to be engrossed in a novel? Given that the characters are nothing to us — they are neither relatives nor friends, and they are not real — why do we care what happens to them? How does it come about that perfectly rational people sometimes succumb to moments of magical thinking, and which aspects of our psychological makeup might explain both the pervasiveness and tenacity of religion in human society?

Although he is best known for his elucidation of the unusual in human mental life, Sigmund Freud also attempted to illuminate ordinary human experiences and values, such as people's susceptibility to humor, their capacity to become engrossed in fiction, and their susceptibility to superstition and religion. His insights into the everyday and his sense of where the productive questions lie reveal an incisiveness of argument that defy both earlier and subsequent thought on his topics. The seminar will consider both Freud's accounts of ordinary mental phenomena and his method of inquiry, with the aims of coming to understand some of his seminal thought, learning a powerful method of critical inquiry, and honing fresh ideas about the nature of ordinary mental life and human values.

Readings include original works by Freud and a few brief selections by other authors whose work provides useful material for comparison. The seminar, which will meet in two 80-minute classes per week, is organized to allow for maximal play of students' own ideas and their development of Freud's technique of identifying and unpacking anomalies as a method for investigating human mental life. (Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.)


FRS 144 Archaeology in Egypt: Reconstructing the Past LA
Deborah Vischak
Barrett Family Freshman Seminar

How do we learn about the lives people lived thousands of years in the past? Ancient civilizations enter the present through the gateway of archaeology. Digging in the sand to uncover long-buried objects and recording the form and details of the monuments that have survived through millennia give us fragments of information that are then carefully examined, sorted, and fit together like so many pieces in an infinitely expansive puzzle. All the while, the shape of the modern world frames the picture we create, by providing ever new knowledge and technologies to aid the process, as well as determining the places we excavate, influenced by the needs of modern populations, environmental concerns, economic challenges, and social and political contexts including, as we've so vividly seen, wars.

In this seminar, we will examine the practice of archaeology in Egypt. Each session will be devoted to a different aspect of archaeological practice and its influence on the writing of ancient history. Topics will include the origins of "Egyptology"; the early treasure-hunters and the beginnings of scientific archaeology; the historiography of Egyptology as reflective of changing social and cultural perspectives; the role of politics and economics in driving archaeological fieldwork and conservation; the legal and ethical issues surrounding the international trade in antiquities; current archaeological practice in Egypt and the wider Middle East; debates in current Egyptological and archaeological scholarship, and the changing (or unchanging) vision of archaeology in Egypt in our popular culture.

Class sessions will be devoted to discussion and debate, utilizing readings, images, archaeological field reports, web resources, and documentaries. Each student will select a topic to investigate in greater depth, leading to a paper (8-10 pages) and an in-class presentation. The interdisciplinary nature of the class is meant to encourage all students to engage in a field that interests him or her, be it archaeology, history, art history, sociology, economics, or politics, among others. We will utilize the Princeton University Art Museum, and we will also take a trip to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, one of the best archaeology museums in the country. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 146 What Makes a Great Experiment? STN
Shirley M. Tilghman
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar

What constitutes a great experiment? Is it the importance of the question posed? Is it the cleverness of the design? Is it the certainty that the experiment will provide a definitive answer, irrespective of the experimental findings? Does it challenge the current dogma? This freshman seminar will explore these questions by examining in detail foundational experiments in molecular biology. We will begin with the original writings of Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin, the two pillars on which all of modern biology rests. What were the observations that led to their deep insights into the natural world, and how did they convert those insights into the theories of the inheritance of traits and natural selection, respectively? We will then fast forward into the 20th and 21st centuries, and examine papers that have changed the way we think about biology, many of which have been recognized with the Nobel Prize. We will analyze the elegant experiment that definitively established how cells are able to accurately replicate genetic information. Great scientists are always prepared for unanticipated findings, such as RNA acting as an enzyme and the infectious nature of a simple protein, but they must persuade a skeptical scientific community with unimpeachable experiments. Sometimes a scientist approaches a longstanding problem by using an innovative approach no one has considered, as was the case in the discovery of the large family of proteins that sense odors or the discovery of genes that cause cancer. For decades it was believed that the developmental decisions that cells undergo from the fertilized egg to the embryo were irreversible, until two great scientists proved they are not.

Each week we will pair a foundational paper with a more recent one that illustrates the impact that the original discovery has had on biology and human health. Students will be asked to read the original scientific papers before class, aided by a glossary and a set of questions that focus on the design of the experiments, and to write a short essay about their impression of what makes the experiment "great." (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 148 Underworlds LA
Esther Schor
Class of 1976 Freshman Seminar in Human Values

From Homer's Odyssey to Breaking Bad, no epic is complete without a journey to the underworld. It is a rare mythic tradition that is without one. Why does a world require an underworld? Is the underworld a world unto itself, an alternative universe, or does it acquire significance chiefly in relation to the world "above"? Or might it be the other way around — that our world acquires its deepest meanings in relation to a world in the depths? Are the very worlds that are spatially and morally "inferior" actually the foundation upon which our world rests?

The underworlds we'll encounter in this seminar — whether Hades, Hell, or the underworlds of slavery, prison, and crime — are all recognizably versions of the world above. We will explore the writing of underworlds as a revisionary, as well as visionary enterprise, sounding the depths for satires of the quotidian and revelatory distortions. But underworld narratives are also stories of the dramatic, extreme experiences of those who pass into — and sometimes out of — the depths. After an introduction to the figure of Orpheus, we will focus on journeys to the underworld. We'll consider the ordeals of both visitors and denizens, whether they be the epic heroes of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton; Primo Levi, navigating the inferno of Auschwitz; Carroll's Alice, having to learn anew in the underworld what it is to learn; or Austin Reed, the first African American to write a prison memoir (c. 1859).

In the first half of the course, we will ponder the classics of the pagan and Christian underworlds in the epic tradition; in the second half, we will consider the ethical legacy of these epics for modernity. How do visits to the underworld shape ethical choices? Illuminate social norms and conventions? Promote, delay, or corrupt the workings of justice? How do "letters" from the prison-underworld demand that we rethink ordinary social practices from the perspective of racial injustice? Our final adventure will be to explore the postmodern underworlds of late 20th- and 21st-century America: Don DeLillo's epic novel Underworld and Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad, which leave us with the chilling recognition that the underworld is all around us. (Tuesday 7:30 - 10:20 p.m.)

Whitman College

FRS 150 Soviet-Satellite Relations and Russia's Conflict with Ukraine SA
Marzenna James

In the spring of 2014, Russia’s longstanding conflict with Ukraine erupted into a war that shows little sign of abating. Thousands have lost their lives in brutal urban warfare among the ruins of once gleaming modern buildings in eastern Ukraine.  The Donetsk airport has become a symbol both of the destruction within Ukraine and of the weakness of Ukraine’s ties with the European Union. Constructed for the Euro 2012 football championship, co-hosted with Poland, at a cost of nearly one billion dollars, the airport has been reduced to a pile of smashed concrete and warped steel. Online videos posted by Ukrainian army soldiers, nicknamed “cyborgs,” have become gruesome memorials to those who posted them, but have since fallen in battle.

Officials on both sides blame their opponents. The Ukrainian government accuses Russia of sending, under the cover of secrecy, thousands of troops and weapons across the border as well as recruiting, funding, and training Ukrainians to overthrow the government. Western media portray the Russian government as systematically using cyber trolls to shape the outcome of “non-conventional war.” Russia denies the charges and says that NATO has infiltrated Ukraine and marshaled forces against Russia in a revival of the Cold War conflict of East versus West, and that Ukrainian propagandists have systematically distorted the reporting of eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Can we discover the truth of these claims?

In an effort to understand this momentous global conflict, students will look at the history of Russia’s relations with Central Europe during the Soviet period.  Our seminar will also examine the current and historical patterns of military, economic, and political conflict between Russia and Ukraine through theoretical lens. We will explore how theories of international relations can be applied in the case of the Soviet Union and its satellites in Central Europe, including realism, Marxism, liberalism, economic power, rational choice, and theories at the level of domestic politics as well as analysis of individual leaders. On this theoretical foundation, students will investigate contrasts and continuities in Russia’s relations with Ukraine.

The current conflict and its historical context also illustrate fundamental methodological problems in the study of international relations, namely the challenges in collecting and evaluating data. To help us think critically about these crucial issues, we will hear from experts with first-hand experience in Ukraine, including Russian and Ukrainian diplomats. (Tuesday 7:30 - 10:20 p.m.)


FRS 154 Religion and Politics: Conflicts of Public and Private Values EM
Stephen Macedo
Professor Amy Gutmann Freshman Seminar in Human Values

The distinction between public and private spheres of life is foundational to the politics of modern diverse liberal democracies. We will focus on problems arising at the tense interface between public values and religious conscience and practice. How broad are the claims of private liberty and what is the nature and extent of legitimate public authority when it comes to activities claimed to be private?

Religious questions are nowadays regarded as paradigmatically private in liberal societies — left up to individual consciences, churches, and other free associations, per Thomas Jefferson's famous metaphor of a "wall of separation" between church and state. But what happens when the law requires things at odds with some people's religious beliefs?

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution requires equal recognition of same-sex marriages in law, but some business owners dissent on grounds of conscience: may they refuse to provide services (cakes, photography, etc.) to same-sex weddings, in spite of general anti-discrimination laws? Suppose such business owners object on religious grounds to interracial marriages? Or, if religious parents object to aspects of a public school curriculum, do they have a basic right to withdraw their children from offending classes? Can religious considerations be brought to bear in deciding political questions such as the permissibility of abortion, or is it always illegitimate to invoke religious reasons in deliberating about the law that applies to all? In general, must the law accommodate the private consciences of believers, or do special exemptions undermine equal treatment and respect for law and democratic authority? Should we extend special consideration to minority religions or seek to treat everyone the same? 

This course will examine such conflicts in the context of political theory, ethics, law, and public policy. We will examine some classic texts in political theory (such as John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration) and some court cases and policy debates in the US and abroad.

The course aims to deepen students' ability to reflect critically on, and write and speak clearly about, their own deepest values and the values that should shape our law. Each seminar (or most sessions at least) will be organized on a debate format, with teams of students presenting different sides of a core question in light of our readings. Students will write three papers on course materials, laying out their own thinking on the questions before us, with a rewrite option on the first paper. A reading guide and questions will be provided each week for the following week's material. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 156 CANCELED Transformative Questions in Biology STN
Angela Creager and Michael Levine

This course seeks to teach core principles of the life sciences through a set of key historical questions that biologists have sought to answer. Each week, we will focus on a different major idea as an answer to longstanding problems in understanding life. Readings will focus on the primary publications that answered these questions. We will discuss both the basic biology at stake and what enabled each scientist to see something new. In addition to our seminar discussions, we will have several hands-on sessions to allow students to examine the materials used or see the kinds of results obtained in the historic experiments. By situating key findings in their historical setting, we aim to depict science as an inquiry-based, concrete, and ongoing activity, rather than as codified and unchanging. Topics include cell theory, evolution, experimental embryology, genetics, recombinant DNA, and molecular development. (Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.)

FRS 158 Discipline SA
Miguel Centeno and Rachael Ferguson
The Stansky Family Freshman Seminar

What could a European medieval bestseller have to do with contemporary American 12-step programs? What might link a Benedictine monk and a player on the University of Alabama football team? What is the connection between playing a Bach fugue and ice skating? The critical relationship between these unlikely pairs can be examined through the notion of discipline.

This course will begin with an introduction to the general concept of "discipline" and continue according to a set of subtypes of discipline (spiritual, aesthetic, martial, organizational, industrial, iterative). These subtypes will be examined using historical and ethnographic evidence, short weekly readings, and by students performing their own ethnographic observation.

By exploring the origins, techniques, and results of discipline in practice, we may better understand the ways in which society operates. The purpose of the seminar will be to identify and examine the set of practices that seem to lead to orderly, disciplined behavior. We will read articles and excerpts from books for each of the subtypes, and students will perform ethnographic case studies that reveal the practice of discipline in its different forms. Students will produce short reaction memos throughout the semester, and a more extensive final paper and presentation. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 160 Canceled Remapping Princeton SA
Aaron Landsman and Alison Isenberg

This course combines historical research and studies of the built and planned environment, with strategies in contemporary live theater. Together, students and instructors will research the history and current cultural and political life of Trenton and Princeton, and create alternative campus and city walking tours using the results of our investigations. Seminar participants will be able to draw upon a new archive of primary sources and oral history interviews documenting the impact of 1960s social and political mobilization in Princeton and Trenton, including the civil rights movement, urban renewal, protest, and campus/city upheavals. Students will experiment with performance-making as a way of producing knowledge through collaboration. Their fresh scripts will revise the understanding of Princeton’s complex history in the region around race. Course assignments bring together performance theory, history, and artistic practice to produce cogent, site-specific artworks (the walking tours), with the potential for long-term impact.
Core questions will include: What are the imprints of various, even conflicting histories, on the built environment? Can we reconcile those contradictions as we move through a space? Can the borders between the campus and surrounding communities be more porous through shared journeys? Why are some “distances” separations, while others are connectors? How can historical research and artistic interpretation work collaboratively to make a deeper, more affective, physical presence of history possible, even desirable? What is rigor when it comes to artistic interpretations of history? What is our responsibility to history, when creating art? How is Princeton's status as a community informed by the temporary nature of many of its residents, by the university's history, and by its interconnections with neighboring cities and towns? How does manifesting knowledge of the past in the built environment shape plans for the future? We are especially interested in exploring how physical engagement with space can alter our understanding of history and allow empathic responses to complex narratives. Student experimentation with the forms of “tours” will also address what is gained from the intersections between guided walking, and scripted exhibition or device-driven representations of the past/present in photographs, films, documents, and other sources.
In addition to seminar discussions of shared readings and viewings, class sessions include workshops on historical methods, performance, ethnography, and mapping; fieldwork in Trenton and Princeton; and collaborative "studio" sessions. (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)

FRS 164 The Idea and the Reality of Justice EM
David Forte

The United States Constitution declares as one of its purposes: "To establish justice." What did the Framers mean by that? How has the term "justice" been defined, contested, and implemented in history? What can poets, philosophers, playwrights, and great figures in history tell us about justice as a theory and as a practical guide to human action?

In this course, we will study philosophers, thinkers, and writers who have investigated the idea and the reality of justice. Using plays, novels, speeches, and motion pictures, among other sources, we will examine the idea of justice and how various figures and societies have historically conceived of and applied justice. We will also apply notions of justice to our own understanding of real problems of human law and action. For example: Are some kinds of inequality unjust while other kinds are just? How can our understanding of justice be applied to the treatment of animals, abortion, capital punishment, suicide, and war? What is justice in relation to God and the family? What are the cures for injustice?

Course materials include selections from Hobbes, Aristotle, Lincoln, and King, among others, and motion pictures such as "A Man for All Seasons" and "Justice at Nuremberg." There will be two short written reflections (3-5 pages) based on the readings and issues debated in class, and a final paper (10-12 pages). The final paper will be on a topic of the student's choosing in consultation with the professor. It may deal with a question of justice in the contemporary world, or a study of the ideas of justice presented by a writer not covered in the course. (Monday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.)


FRS 170 The Mathematics of Secrecy, Search, and Society! QR
Jonathan Hanke
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar

Mathematics is quietly present in many aspects of our daily lives, and is becoming increasingly so as the world becomes socially connected by the Internet and other electronic networks. It is often difficult to tell where your life ends and the electronic world begins. In this hybrid world, mathematical algorithms and their applications are the new currency.

Every time you perform a web search, "like" something on Facebook, send an e-mail, make an online credit card purchase, or check something on your smartphone, you are both quietly using mathematics and also contributing to the vast electronic database of humanity that is logged and analyzed for social insights.

This seminar is meant to explore both the mathematical ideas and algorithms in the tools that we use everyday, and also the technical and social limits of what can and cannot be done with them. Many of today's mathematical algorithms are only learned and used by specialists — however their basic ideas are simple and easily accessible, and they have many implications for society as a whole!

We will focus on both the ideas and applications of mathematics in the modern world, with an emphasis on understanding the mechanics and meaning of mathematics in a social context. (Monday 7:30 - 10:20 p.m.)

Wilson College

FRS 152 Drug Discovery: From Snake Venoms to Medicines STN
Paul Reider
Shelly and Michael Kassen '76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences

Over the past few decades, we have seen the discovery of some amazing medicines with dramatic benefits to the quality of human life. To many, however, the firm belief that science will triumph over disease has been replaced by doubt, frustration, and fear. Where are the new medicines? HIV, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease are not yielding after years of research. Tuberculosis and malaria are coming back, long after we declared them solved problems. Frightening new strains of bacteria and viruses, resistant to old treatments, arrive every day. What are we to do? Viruses we never heard of before now make it risky to travel. Drug pricing has become a front-page story.

This seminar will examine how medicines are created and tested. Students will gain an appreciation for the complexities and risks of drug discovery. Topics will include: learning from mother nature, unmet medical needs, target selection, toxicity, clinical trials, neglected diseases, and economic models of drug discovery. We will also discuss how to address pandemics.

This seminar is especially appropriate for non-science concentrators who are interested in the future of health care. Working in teams, students will choose a disease and then identify a path toward a new way to treat it. (Monday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m.- 12:20 p.m.)


FRS 162 The Invention of Romantic Love LA
Sarah Anderson

Hormones? Culture? The preservation of the human species? A divinely authorized act? A universal that defines the human? Or something a lot more specific that can be linked to a cultural practice? Where does this huge and important engine of romantic love that drives humans come from in the West? How does romantic love relate to marriage? To friendship? Let the debates begin!

With many other questions besides these yet to be formulated, one certainty is that we write a great deal about love, as centuries' worth of texts demonstrate. This course will track some of the most important representations of, and suggest the origins of, romantic love in the Western literary tradition. Though Dante famously puts the lovers Paolo and Francesca in Hell among other carnal sinners for reading, and perhaps imitating, some elements of a romance of Lancelot du Lac (Inferno 5, lines 100 ff), it is to such medieval romances that we ourselves will turn in order to expose this "crazy little thing called love." Was romantic love invented in the Middle Ages? As we outline some responses to this question, we will also explore the transformations of the social roles of men and women, the concept of "lovesickness," and the immense power that representations of romantic love formed early in the Western tradition have had in putting romantic love at the center of all emotional expression in the popular imagination.

This course is designed to help students analyze literary texts by acquiring the following skills: learning to discuss literary problems and negotiate with their peers in a seminar, adopting multidisciplinary and comparative points of view when reading a literary text, developing a critical attitude toward reading, formulating a research question about a literary text, and using bibliographic resources and documentation when writing an essay. Multidisciplinary approaches to reading the literature of love will be fostered by in-class events that will include musical performance, visual arts, and the scrutiny of medieval illuminated manuscripts. (Tuesday 7:30 - 10:20 p.m.)


FRS 166 Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Wisdom of Crowds LA
Susanna Moore

In this seminar, we will study the history and nature of urban myths, particularly in regard to the way that they reflect the concerns and fears of society. 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 often for generations, disseminate and fortify them. The collective unconscious is often manifested in metaphor, particularly in literature and film, and the legitimate anxieties, fears (and guilt) that it reflects will be the subject of our study.

We will discuss urban myths through history (witchcraft; alchemy and the philosopher's stone; prophecies of the end of the world) as well as contemporary myths (Ponzi schemes; alien abductions), and the technological, religious, and cultural shifts that cause them. We will examine why urban myths are invariably terrifying, and why they play a part in appeasing collective anxiety with their vivid and sometimes humorous imaginative force (as in the myths The Hook, The Kidney Thieves, and The Dog in the Microwave), and why myths are more effective in conveying collective fears than rational warnings or lessons. If urban myths spring from the need to convert the sources of terror or guilt into tales of irony and horror, they also serve a practical purpose of entertainment, instruction, and warning. Thanks to the Internet, urban myths based on real fears are now spread very quickly, often taking the form of alarms (false e-mails bearing the logo of the Los Angeles County Fire Department warned that acid rain from the Fukushima Nuclear plant was fast approaching the west coast of America, resulting in "burns, alopecia and even skin cancer").

Students will read from Grimm's Fairy Tales, Charles MacKay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Jack Zipes and Marina Warner, as well as the books White Noise and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Students will also create their own urban myths and cautionary tales. We will watch the films Contagion, Let the Right One In, Dr. Strangelove, Metropolis, and ET. (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 168 Divided We Stand: Economic Inequality and Its Discontents SA
Thomas Leonard
Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar

Economic inequality is a topic of vital debate in American political life today, as exemplified by the Occupy movement. This seminar aims to help students better understand the causes, nature, and consequences of economic inequality. We will take up five big questions: Who is unequal and when; what is unequal; what are the causes of inequality; what are the consequences of inequality; and how does inequality affect justice?

Who is unequal and when? Discussion of economic inequality conventionally focuses on income inequality among families or households within a nation. We also want to consider economic differences across nations, among families worldwide, and inside families — income inequality among siblings is surprisingly high, for example. To whom we compare ourselves is not merely a definitional choice; it also embeds our view of the appropriate moral community.

We will also examine changes in inequality over time. Inequality trends allow us to interrogate the relationship between inequality and economic growth, and to consider an important concomitant, income mobility.

What is unequal? The technical issue concerns how best to measure inequality. The conceptual issue concerns what is unequally distributed. Some alternatives, such as wealth, are even more unequally distributed than income, while other measures, such as happiness, are less unequally distributed. Are all gaps with economic consequences — for example, the very unequal distribution of status, height, beauty, or life expectancy — morally significant, and if so, when should policy aim to shrink them?

What are the causes of inequality? We will investigate some leading accounts of the causes of growth in inequality: increased globalization, polarized politics, increasing returns to skilled labor, the rise of "superstar" labor markets, growth of the financial industry and its notoriously outsized compensation, and an aging and better-educated population.

What are the consequences of inequality? Some economic inequality is desirable: it spurs innovation, hard work, and investment in human capital, all of which create more wealth and the good things wealth affords. But greater economic inequality is also associated with adverse health outcomes, political capture, slower economic growth, and, if people want to keep up with the Joneses, increased inefficiency. How much inequality is too much inequality?

How does inequality affect justice? Is inequality intrinsically bad or bad chiefly in its consequences? Is distributive justice solely a matter of the structure of distribution or is it a matter of the process that leads to that distribution? Was Wall Street occupied because bankers are too rich or because bankers became rich unfairly, for example, by luck, fraud, or harm? And, do obligations to the poor cross national borders or stop at the water's edge? (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 172 Humans and Machines: Work and Technology in the 21st Century SA
Nick Nesbitt

This course will examine the historical relation of humans and machines from the Enlightenment to the present. The exponential transformations in machine intelligence and power that have occurred in the last decade force us to ask: Do humans no longer wield prosthetic tools to increase their power over nature, but are instead becoming, as Marx famously predicted, the mere prostheses of machines? In a contemporary context in which by current estimates some 47 percent of all human labor — material and immaterial, low- and high-wage, "first" and "third world — may be automated in the next two decades, how must we reconceive the human itself?

We will proceed on the hypothesis that the problem of humans and machines is specific to the conjuncture of Western and now global modernity: capitalism. The human species is today subject, as the foundation of social existence, to the imperative to valorize value (to "make a profit"): What will happen, however, when human labor and the wages that accompany it disappear? Can man live on credit alone? (Monday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.)


FRS 174 Dreamkeepers: Education Reform and the Urban Teaching Experience SA
Kathleen Nolan
L. Richardson Preyer '41 Freshman Seminar in Public Service

Currently, urban education reform is one of the most heated and divisive issues in the United States. Debates center on issues such as how to close the so-called racial achievement gap, the efficacy of neoliberal education reforms, the Common Core State Standards initiative, and teacher evaluation. The debates also bring attention to urban poverty and social inequality and illuminate the impact of macro-structural forces on classroom life.

In the midst of the maelstrom of political rhetoric, we find the "Dreamkeepers" (borrowed from leading educational scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings) — hardworking urban public school teachers who are often left feeling discouraged and unsupported. Yet, some have provided inspiring examples of what works in the classroom. And still others have emerged as dynamic and innovative school leaders and beacons of hope.

With a critically analytical and empathetic eye on the dreamkeeper, or the urban teacher, this seminar will explore the daunting challenges and possibilities of urban teaching in the current policy context, placing the experience of the urban classroom teacher at the center of our inquiry into the problem of urban education. Some of the central questions students will explore are: What is it really like to work in an urban public school? How do the political economy and current educational policies shape those experiences? What key policy initiatives appear to be most promising, and what makes for a successful teacher in an urban school? Readings will include an overview of several of the most important trends in urban education; foundational studies exploring the tensions between teacher autonomy and social and institutional constraints; current research documenting the perspectives, attitudes, and experiences of teachers working in low-income urban schools; and research on effective urban teachers.

This seminar is designed for any student considering making a short- or long-term commitment to urban teaching and/or students interested in the study of urban inequality and urban schooling as a major contemporary social problem. (Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 176 Canceled When Is Art? LA
Irene Small

Debates in modern and contemporary art have often revolve d around the question, "What is art?" This was the polemic, for example, when Marcel Duchamp sent a urinal to an art exhibition in 1917, when Jackson Pollock debuted his infamous drip paintings in 1947, when Andy Warhol displayed a pile of replicated Brillo soap pad boxes at a gallery in 1964. The query bedevils the historiography of art as well: Are ephemeral objects used in ritualistic practices art? What about quotidian, yet designed implements such as tables and chairs? What about objects that were spiritual rather than aesthetic in function? Or images never intended for public consumption, such as unfinished works or notes for making?

What if, however, we resisted legislating the criteria for art and instead shifted the underlying assumption in order to ask, following the philosopher Nelson Goodman, not "What is art?" but "When is art?" How might our categories, questions, and approaches to aesthetic objects and experiences shift in turn? This freshman seminar uses Goodman's provocation as a point of departure to explore issues related to the temporal boundaries of works of art. Does art inhere in preparatory sketches, a discrete physical object, the event of making, the residue of production, or even posterior documentation? Does a work's meaning stabilize at the moment of its conception or its reception? Can works subside from the category of art into that of mere document or vice versa? What kinds of ethical and philosophical problems are posed by the conservation of ephemeral works? Case studies will range from pre-modern to contemporary works of art. The class will make frequent visits to the Princeton University Art Museum in order to test, challenge, and elaborate assigned readings in relation to actual works of art. We will also engage in experiments about " what " and " when " is art as a group.  (Tuesday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)


FRS 178 Statistics, Journalism, and the Public Interest SA
Samuel Wang

Modern life is complex, and so is the news. News organizations contend with many pressures, including the need to present information in a story-like manner even when reality is quantitatively nuanced; the presence of competing chatter from other information sources, which are often inaccurate; and a culture in which individual citizens believe themselves to be in possession of a "better" truth. Math and statistics provide tools to solve these problems. This seminar will introduce students to the practice of journalism using math. Students will study the basic tools of data analysis, and apply those tools to telling stories in an interesting but also quantitatively honest manner. Examples of problems to be considered include: opinion poll analysis (for example, see http://election.princeton.edu); assessment of autism risk; how people form false beliefs; the replication crisis in social science; and the use of Big Data in reporting.

We hope to assemble a mix of students to participate in this seminar, each of whom has some experience in one of the following three domains: (a) statistics, (b) computer programming, or (c) journalism or storytelling. No special math background is assumed — it will be provided to you. Conversely, you will help others in domains where you are strong. Participants will explore how statistical analysis — and not just the reporting of a statistic — can guide good journalism. The class will divide into teams of two or three students each. Each team will pursue a project for the semester. The project can be the writing of an original article, the design of an interactive app for consumption by news readers, or some other project that illustrates the intersection of data with the public interest (for example, see http://gerrymander.princeton.edu). (Thursday 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.)