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Seminars for the Fall Term 2015

Butler College

FRS 101 Drawings Up-Close LA
Thomas Kaufmann and Laura Giles

This seminar introduces students to the practice of museum work in relation to the study of drawings. It will study works of art up-close at first hand. Classes will be taught in the Princeton University Museum, with visits planned to New York City to an auction house, dealer, museum, and collector. The seminar will look at drawings in different contexts, suggesting how they may be treated according to a variety of approaches, including that of art history and scientific examination. No previous knowledge of art history is assumed, but is of course helpful. The class will culminate in an installation to be held in the museum.

The class will consider drawings from various points of view: that of the curator, conservator, scientific investigator, registrar, museum educator, artist, and university professor. It is meant to introduce students both to the direct study of works of art and to the possibilities of careers in universities, museums, galleries, and auction houses, and indeed any occupation (including medicine and the law) that involves close looking and reasoning from what is seen in relation to other data.

Topics included are media and techniques of drawings, function and genres, paper, scientific examination of drawings, and connoisseurship. Some attention will also be given to infrared spectrography as a method of analysis and the role of underdrawings in paintings. Other issues include questions of exhibition, collecting, and the art market. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 103 Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov: A Multidisciplinary Approach LA
Ellen Chances

The seminar examines Dostoevsky's masterpiece from a variety of perspectives: historical, philosophical, stylistic, religious, ethical, and psychological. The novel is also considered within the context of Russian literature and culture and within the context of the evolution of Dostoevsky's life and works. In Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky tackles questions that are crucial to an exploration of why the world is the way it is. He poses questions about the possibilities for a person to change for the better, in deep and essential ways, in order to live a more meaningful life. He poses questions about the role of the intellectual in society. He poses questions about the role of people of conscience in everyday life. He poses questions about the role of love and spontaneity in all aspects of life. Questions addressed include the following: What is justice? What is the individual's ethical responsibility to his/her society? What is the meaning of rebellion? What is freedom? Do people prefer happiness to freedom? Why or why not? Do people prefer conformity to nonconformity? Do they prefer to follow rather than to lead? Why or why not? What is Dostoevsky's approach to the "alienated/outsider" characters in the novel, and what are the reasons for his approach?

The seminar will also explore Dostoevsky's creative process and his ideas at the time of his work on Brothers Karamazov: ideas about Russia and the West; about the individual and the collective; about material vs. spiritual values; about mind and heart; about the purpose of literature (whether it should be entertainment or whether it should have a broader, deeper purpose); and about the writer's role in and responsibility to his/her society and to the world. All readings are in English. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 105 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. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 107 Art, Feminism, and Africana Women LA
Chika Okeke-Agulu
Barrett Family Freshman Seminar
 
Do Africana women — from Africa and the African Diaspora — have anything in common, an Africana sisterhood, legible in the work of women artists? Did colonial and postcolonial socio-political institutions affect women in Africa in the same way racial conditions impacted women in the Diaspora? Are Africana artists feminists or womanists? And how helpful is race to our understanding of the Africana identity and subjectivity? Reframing the classic question "Why have there been no great women artists?" posed in a 1971 article with that title by American feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, could we now ask: Why have there been no great Africana women artists?
This seminar will take on these questions and will examine the work of leading Africa and African Diaspora women artists (UK, US, and Caribbean especially) in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will explore African models of female subjectivity, as well as their usefulness and limitations, in our analysis of the work of modern and contemporary artists within and outside the continent. We shall consider the problem of medium, style, gender, and racial/sexual politics. We shall juxtapose our art-related readings with theoretical and literary texts on feminism, womanism, Pan-Africanism, and Diaspora. Visits to area museums and in-class encounters with well-known artists are anticipated. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 109 Who Was or Is Jesus? HA
Elaine Pagels

What do we actually know about the most famous man in Western culture? What are the sources of our information — or impressions — about Jesus? In this seminar, we'll investigate the earliest sources — both positive and negative, since none are neutral! — first, the four gospels in the New Testament, then what Jewish and Roman historians say about Jesus. We'll also investigate ancient gospels nearly unknown, since they were censored by church leaders; these include the recently discovered Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Then we'll explore the enormous range of ways that various people, Christian or not, have interpreted Jesus: who he was, what he and his message means for them — in art, poetry, theology, fiction, films, video — from the first century through the 21st — including, for example, Leonardo Da Vinci, Dostoevsky, Van Gogh, Nietzsche, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Martin Scorsese — to a variety of contemporary sources. Participants are encouraged to bring in other examples to share with seminar members. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 111 20th Century Poetry: Politics, Love, Religion, and Nature LA
Neil Rudenstine
Class of 1975 Freshman Seminar
 
This seminar focuses on the work of four major 20th-century poets, placing them in the context of their different eras: W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden and Robert Frost. There will be weekly background readings that will suggest some of the ways in which the experience of political divisiveness, or impassioned love, or nature, or religious and spiritual values had a powerful effect on the writers we will be studying.
We will spend three weeks on each of the four writers, reading a rich selection of important poems in order to trace how the work and ideas of each poet developed over time. The seminar will be run as an active participatory discussion group. Writing: one modest-size paper on each poet. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 113 Contemporary Art and the Amateur LA
Joseph Scanlan

This course will investigate the mutual implications of the role of the amateur in visual art. Weekly readings, discussions, and presentations on the topic will be punctuated by studio projects designed to engage the class in several amateur methods of art making — from drawing and performance art to learning a new skill or conducting amateur research.

Touching on the aesthetic and philosophical conceptions of the amateur in the writings of Socrates, Montaigne, and Arendt, among others, the seminar will begin with the amateur's latter-day exaltation in the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement. In the eyes of the movement's founders, John Ruskin and William Morris, the natural human proclivity for beautiful things was in danger of being steamrolled by the Industrial Revolution. Through their philosophical writings and artisanal production enterprises, Ruskin and Morris implored humankind to rescue itself by rediscovering the imperfect beauty of handmade objects. In other words, through the social mission of the Arts and Crafts Movement, they implored men and women to become amateurs in every aspect of their daily lives.

"Contemporary Art and the Amateur: will look at how this noble personage, the "amateur" or "lover of things," has exerted influenced on and been contested by contemporary art. At various moments over the past 50 years, the amateur has embodied social ambition, democratic freedom, and critical rebellion. Over the same period of time, the term has come to be less about love and more about a willful lack of skill or quality. What issues, what social pressures, have brought about this transformation? Are we no longer capable of — or in need of — love or things? Or do we perceive anyone who acts on their amateur impulses — regardless of their ability (or lack thereof) — as irrational, emancipatory, or debased?

It would seem that a general (over)professionalization of all aspects of society bear on the changing status of the amateur as well. If we accept that visual art is always a mirror and proxy for the social conditions of its making, then the celebrated status of the amateur in contemporary art should question the very idea of professional training, at least as it relates to the making and appreciation of visual art.

As the culminating experience of this seminar, the hope is that our critical discussions of the amateur and the achievements of untrained artists (including those enrolled in the class) might affect how we go about our primary pursuits. As French philosopher Jacques Rancière would implore us, knowledge and beauty are not only achieved by whoever has the best, or the most, training. Inherent in the ideal of the amateur is the possibility that "love" and "not knowing" are capable of producing revelations that reason and knowledge cannot. (Monday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)


FRS 117 Scientists against Time HA
Harold Feiveson
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; the Spitfire  and the Battle of Britain; cryptography and the breaking of the German Enigma code; microwave radar, operations research, and other technical breakthroughs in the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarines; the great advances in medicine — penicillin, anti-malarials, DDT, and others — during the war; amphibious craft, advanced aircraft carriers, and the B-29 Superfortress in the Pacific theater; navigation aids, the proximity fuse, and the Mustang P-51 and the erratic history of strategic bombing; tides, weather, artificial harbors, and deception in the D-Day invasion; and the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 119 Socrates: Moral Philosophy and the Philosophical Life EM
John Cooper
Class of 1976 Freshman Seminar in Human Values
 
Socrates, who lived in the second half of the 4th century B.C., is often regarded as the first philosopher to devote his attention to any of the main questions that we now are familiar with as the subject matter of moral philosophy or ethics: the human good, moral obligation, social and political justice, and the life of virtue and its value for the individual virtuous person. He famously devoted himself to discussing and thinking about these questions entirely through oral discussion in his home city of Athens during the peak of its military and cultural hegemony. He did not write any philosophical works; we know of his ideas only through the writings of those who engaged with him as devoted students in his discussions, the famous philosopher Plato primary among them. In Plato's dialogues Socrates famously insisted that philosophy should not be merely a theoretical study of such issues, but that one ought to live one's philosophy, in fact that philosophy should somehow become one's whole way of life. This seminar offers a concentrated study of the life of philosophy as Socrates proposed and seems to have lived it, together with the philosophical ideas about morality that lie behind the life he led, through a close reading of some of Plato's perennially most engaging works, his so-called Apology of Socrates, and the dialogues Euthyphro, Protagoras, and Crito, as well as a related excerpt from another dialogue, Euthydemus.
The course will be conducted as an intensive student-run seminar. Each student will make at least one presentation to the class, introducing the discussion of one week's reading by summarizing for the group the philosophical issues presented in that week's text and proposing questions for us to discuss in the two class sessions of that week. Students will write two papers of 6-10 pages, the first covering the work of the first six weeks of the course (Apology, Euthydemus, Euthyphro, and the first part of the Protagoras) and the second based on the second six weeks (the rest of the Protagoras and the Crito). Normally, one of the papers could be a revision and reworking of a class presentation, but the option of taking a different topic is open, after consultation and the instructor's approval. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)

FRS 121 CANCELED Family, Friends, and Groups: The Ethics of Association EM
Chiara Cordelli

We live our lives in connection to — in association with — other human beings. This is a fundamental part of human existence and an essential component of human flourishing. We cultivate friendships, we grow up in families, we join social groups and sports clubs, we work for nonprofit associations or businesses, and we participate in political associations with our fellow citizens. This seminar explores the ethical dimensions of association, as well as some of the fundamental moral and political questions that surround the sphere of interpersonal relationships and associational life.

How might we defend a right to freedom of association? How are the obligations we have to our associates — our family and friends and fellow citizens — balanced against the obligations we have to strangers? To what extent is it legitimate for us to favor our kin and friends over strangers? Should private associations, such as eating clubs and religious groups, be left free to exclude whomever they want from their membership or should their right to exclude be limited in significant ways? Should the members of religious and cultural groups be exempted from general laws that happen to conflict with their religious beliefs? Is the state an association? Can a state exclude non-citizens, such as immigrants, in the same way in which a private club excludes non-members? These questions have wide-ranging implications for contemporary political and legal debates, including multicultural policies, educational policies, immigration policies, and foreign aid.

We will address these and other questions by reading and critically assessing important texts written within the field of political and moral philosophy. Readings will include Robert E. Goodin's Protecting the Vulnerable: A Reanalysis of Our Social Responsibilities; Amy Gutmann ed., Freedom of Association; Will Kymlicka's Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights; and David Miller's On Nationality. We will also read famous legal cases concerning freedom of association such as Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale (2000). The seminar requires no prior background and will introduce basic concepts from the relevant disciplines. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Forbes College

FRS 123 Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble LA
Joshua Katz
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 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 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 Culture and the Soul EM
Elizabeth Davis
William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar
 
The American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of its "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in May 2013 — the result of 14 years of planning, research, and debate concerning new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Many psychiatric professionals take the DSM, which is used in clinical settings worldwide, as a definitive shift away from a traditional psychological approach to mental illness, and toward a neurobiological approach invested in pharmaceutical treatment. What exactly does this manual tell us about mental illness today — and what doesn't it tell us? How universal are its categories of symptoms and syndromes? How effective are its diagnostic procedures at comprehending the varieties and causes of mental suffering?
This seminar addresses mental illness as a medical problem, a spiritual problem, and a social problem that has taken on radically different forms and implications in different cultural contexts. The modern western sciences of psychology and psychiatry developed around a complex concept of the psyche, a term that derives from the Greek ψυχη, meaning soul — or, alternatively, mind, spirit, or heart. It is a term that carries medical, social, and moral meanings, indicating a strong resemblance among those traits and behaviors that are considered healthy, normal, and good, as among those that are considered sick, abnormal, and bad.
In this seminar, we will look at how the soul and its ailments have been imagined and treated across a range of cultures. We will ask what the soul is made of, how it develops, how it can be known and evaluated, and how it is intertwined with the body in human experience and behavior. We will examine how the soul is molded into states of robustness and suffering in different societies, and ask why certain kinds of experiences count as medical, social, or moral — including identity, sexuality, communication, motivation, rationality, and emotion. Drawing on ethnographic and clinical studies as well as documentary films from Greek and other contexts, we will consider various cultural and cross-cultural approaches to mental conflicts and pathologies, including psychoanalysis, ethnopsychiatry, biomedical psychiatry, and transcultural psychiatry, as well as religious and "alternative" practices of diagnosis and healing. The readings and films will lead us to interrogate our own "common-sense" ideas about madness, spirituality, and morality. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 127 The Smart Band-Aid STN
Jeffrey Schwartz
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar
 
At some time in our lives we will all sustain a soft tissue injury. Whether it's a simple cut, a torn ligament that requires surgery, or damage to heart muscle, wound healing most often results in a scar, which compromises the function of the native tissue. A common example is that surgical repair of a torn ligament often does not restore its mechanical strength. How can we address the challenge of fostering wound healing to enable recapitulation of native tissue function?
The literature is replete with examples of synthetic "scaffold" materials that promote cell growth, but to create a "smart Band-aid" that will guide cell repair of the wounded tissue requires more: spatial organization of cell growth and surrounding microarchitecture.
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce basic concepts of surface chemistry and cell biology that aim to control cell growth on or in a synthetic environment. It is intended to energize students who are considering careers in medical research to understand how to approach problems of scaffold design from a scientific perspective by considering materials and possibilities for cell attachment and control of their microenvironments. It is also intended to show students who are contemplating careers in materials, chemistry, or biology that interdisciplinary research is an effective way to address major problems in human health: Often, expertise from a single perspective is inadequate.
Important starting points for students interested in careers that are evidence-based are to consider how strong an argument can be created on the basis of data at hand, how to identify "gaps" in the argument, and how to devise tests to close these gaps. We will aim to develop these skills through analyzing a series of talks that are either online or delivered in person and that range, in sequence, from more general to more specific in terms of the claims the speakers make about "tissue engineering" and related areas. In each case, students will be challenged to identify the primary hypothesis of each talk, to suggest scientific gaps that may exist in these presentations (and, as the semester progresses, they will develop an increasing body of knowledge on which to draw), and to propose experiments to obtain sufficient information to close these gaps. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)

FRS 129 Emerging Micro and Nano-Engineered Technologies STN
Janine Nunes
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar
 
Research and development advances in microtechnology and nanotechnology have contributed to myriad high-tech products and electronic gadgets commonplace in our lives today, including laptops with advanced computing performance, e-readers and other hand-held devices, cameras, and ink-jet printers. So, what will be the next new scientific innovation or disruptive technology to have a major impact our lives? As the demand continues to grow for materials, devices, and processes that do more, are more convenient, cheaper, smaller, faster, more durable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and can be more seamlessly integrated into everyday life, there is a constant push for improvements on state-of-the-art devices and processes, as well as for completely new innovations. It is anticipated that alongside the continued advancements to some of our favorite electronics, there will also be an emergence of novel, somewhat unconventional applications of micro/nanotechnology to meet our evolving needs. This seminar explores some of the emerging applications possible from recent advancements in micro/nanotechnology applied in areas such as health care, energy, surveillance, and "smart" textiles.
We will explore some of the basic science and engineering principles behind different technologies and incorporate simple practical exercises to study some of these principles. Using a discussion class format, we will also explore a series of diverse micro/nanotechnology applications and their potential impacts on our lives. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Mathey College

FRS 131 Coeducation HA
Nancy Malkiel

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 University and its Ivy peers; it was also true of a wide range of women's colleges.

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?

We'll begin by studying the early experience of coeducation at such institutions as the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, the University of Michigan, and Oberlin College. We'll read about some of the institutions that participated in the wave of coeducation that swept over American colleges and universities, including Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Harvard University. We'll also read about liberal arts colleges that coeducated, including Amherst College and Vassar College, and those that decided against coeducation, notably Barnard College, Mills College, Smith College, and Wellesley College.

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 then-President Shirley M. Tilghman 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." Through original research, students will illuminate aspects of coeducation at Princeton or at other colleges and universities. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 133 Materials World STL
Ilhan Aksay
Donald P. Wilson '33 and Edna M. Wilson Freshman Seminar
 
Materials surround and constitute us. Materials produced by natural geological and biological processes find common use in our daily activities. We add to these by synthesizing materials not usually found in nature. Civilizations evolve with advances in materials, and materials are identified by 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 both 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 consequent properties of materials. We will continue with a study of the processes used to synthesize and produce materials, as different methods are used depending on the type of material, contrasting 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 attain an understanding of the important processes for controlling materials properties through nano- and microstructural design and processing. A specific objective of the course is an evaluation of the possible use of bio-inspired methods in technological applications.
Most of the seminar will be spent in a classroom setting, involving participants in discussions that address the background information essential to understanding the history of materials, whether produced by humans or biological systems. In addition to the time spent in class, students will conduct five laboratory-based experiments on materials processing and characterization, guided by University researchers. The experiments will range from the first materials produced by humans (clay-based), on to metals and polymers, and ending with materials currently being developed for applications such as lithium-sulfur batteries and conducting polymers. In addition to the time in discussion and the laboratory, students will be expected to analyze their experimental data and to organize their information in written reports. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 135 State of the Earth: Shifts and Cycles STL
Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar
 
In "State of the Earth: Shifts and Cycles," 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, 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 a required one-day trip to the Catskills and a week-long fall break trip to 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 biweekly 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 culminate 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 is an integral part of this seminar and its assessment. We teach and require the use of the document preparation system LaTeX. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 137 CANCELED The Lyric, the Long Poem, and the Sequence: 20th-Century British and Irish Poetry LA
Clair Wills

This seminar will focus on close reading and analysis of a range of 20th-century poetic texts from Britain and Ireland. A major concern will be with the relationship between the lyric, on the one hand, and the long poem, sequence, or linked collection, on the other. What strategies have 20th-century poets used for building larger lyric structures, and what lies behind the impulse to do so? We will consider ways in which poets have attempted to respond to moments of historical crisis — the Irish Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Northern Irish Troubles, and environmental disaster — by stretching lyric form towards more open-ended and even "journalistic" and documentary structures. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, the Howard G. B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities and professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, will join us in December for a session focusing on his work. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Rockefeller College

FRS 139 Everyday Enchantment: Blurring the Boundary Between the Arts and Life LA
Barbara White
Professor Roy Dickinson Welch Freshman Seminar in Music
 
A sculpture made of half-chewed lard. A group of commuters in Grand Central Station suddenly and inexplicably stopping, standing still for 10 seconds, then continuing on their way. Song lyrics incorporating the last words of a man who died in police custody.
It is common for artworks to represent everyday life, but more and more, artists in all disciplines take materials directly from their surroundings. Instead of imitating city sounds, a composer might use the actual sounds of bells or traffic or crickets, reshaping background noise into something to puzzle over, wonder at, and even buy. However, the boundary between ordinary and special does not give up without a fight. For example, a Manhattan gallery recently mounted an exhibit of Instagram photos, selected and printed by an established artist. His reproductions sold for tens of thousands of dollars, inciting controversy. Those who initially created and posted the images responded by selling prints of their own originals — for much lower prices.
The repackaging of humble materials is not new. Many artists in various disciplines have smudged the boundary between art and life, as when Marcel Duchamp (in)famously placed a bicycle wheel on a pedestal in 1913. (It is now held by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.) Forty years later, John Cage created an equally mischievous piano piece composed only of silence. In the 1960s, choreographer Yvonne Rainer explored "pedestrian movement," and Yoko Ono instructed performers to make art of the eating of a tuna sandwich, the utterance of a cough, or the removal of clothing.
Earlier generations of experimental artists seemed to revel in mystification and countercultural status, but today we take for granted that everyday experience can be aesthetically invigorating. With ubiquitous digital media and technology, the arts become less distinct from ordinary experience, and individual artistic disciplines get mixed up too. Such blurring of boundaries raises questions about aesthetics, authorship, expertise, spectatorship, commodification, and community.
This seminar seeks enchantment in everyday experience, considering the allure and the danger of mixing up life and art. In addition to studying and writing about historical artworks, students will research current-day practice and will complete open-ended creative projects. Experience in any artistic discipline is welcome but is by no means required; more important is a spirit of curiosity and exploration. For our purposes, "art" refers not only to visual art but to a wide variety of creative undertakings that result in performances, objects, rituals, stunts, and other possibilities we will soon discover. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 141 Modernist Portraits LA
Maria DiBattista
Professor Whitney J. Oates '25 *31 Freshman Seminar in the Humanities
 
The course will trace the emergence of the distinctly and recognizably "modern" portrait, including, of course, the self-portrait, from its beginnings in the mid-19th century to the present day. The primary focus will be on literary texts, especially novels that no longer identified themselves as histories or lives of their main characters, but as portraits of them. We will be particularly concerned with analyzing how this radical shift in the way a novel or a poem "framed" and depicted its central subject depended on corresponding stylistic revolutions in painting and developing technologies in photography and film. This focus will help us decide what distinguishes a portrait from a picture, particularly as that latter word has been transformed and given new meaning by the invention of the hand-held and motion picture camera.
Readings will include Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man, and Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, along with dramatic monologues by Robert Browning and T. S. Eliot.
We will also be studying painters like Van Gogh, Picasso and, later, Andy Warhol and photographers such as August Sander, Bill Brandt, and E.O.Hoppe who created the archetypes and invented a new visual language that would define and distinguish the modernist portrait.
Finally we will explore how innovative filmmakers like Orson Welles and Maya Deren deployed the power and language of cinema to portray characters in "deep focus" and in multiple dimensions of time and space. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 143 Cold War in the USSR: The Life and Times of Nikita Khrushchev SA
Deborah Kaple
Agnew Family Freshman Seminar
 
Cold War. Moscow, March 1953. Feared Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin dies, leaving a legacy of mass terror and an extensive system of slave labor camps full of innocent people arrested on trumped-up charges. This was Stalin's Gulag, a highly secret institution whose name could not be spoken aloud for fear of arrest. The tyrant's death sets off a leadership crisis, and a power struggle ensues between notorious KGB chief Lavrenty Beria, Stalin henchman Georgy Malenkov, and Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. In a surprise one-two, Beria boldly moves to enhance his popularity and distance himself from Stalin by opening the gates of the Gulag, releasing 1.5 million convicts into Soviet society with no warning or preparation. This causes mass chaos. Soon the new government is flooded with petitions from people insisting on the release of their still-incarcerated relatives. In a few months, Beria is arrested and shot, and the unlikely Khrushchev, a peasant from Ukraine with a fourth-grade education, emerges victorious in the leadership struggle. As he battles to gain control over the Soviet Union, it becomes clear that he has to answer to his nation for the repression and the Gulag and all the pain these had cost the Soviet people for 25 years. On February 25, 1956, he makes the speech of his life at the 20th Communist Party Congress, and changes the course of the Soviet Union. In his "Secret Speech," he shocks the world by denouncing Stalin and blaming him for all the terror that had taken place. With this, he ushers in a new era of openness and a lifting of Stalin's repressive controls over Soviet life. Thus begins "The Thaw" in the USSR.
In this course, we will learn about Stalin's repression and life in the Gulag, we will read from actual Politburo transcripts as the leadership contenders decide how to deal with each other and Stalin's legacy, and we will look into Khrushchev's earlier life for clues to his meteoric rise in the Communist Party. Then we will turn our attention to the incredible outpouring of creative energy as a population that had been repressed for decades comes alive. We will experience this unexpected Soviet freedom by reading the new "Thaw" literature, looking at outrageous "non-Soviet" art, fashion, and design; watching "Thaw" films; and listening to the music of the bards. We will also follow Khrushchev as he travels the world as the new Soviet leader touting his new doctrines of "de-Stalinization" and "peaceful co-existence." And finally, we will examine the inevitable disastrous consequences of Khrushchev's new policies on the Socialist bloc, as these countries, one after another, erupt in disarray and revolution, trying to leave Communism behind.
Throughout the course, we will focus on ethical and sociological questions posed by Khrushchev's actions. Was Communism as a form of government structurally repressive? Was Stalin really the only person responsible for the mass arrests and the Gulag that terrorized the nation? As one of Stalin's loyal followers, was Khrushchev guilty, too? Was the Communist Party? Were all ordinary citizens? And if so, what has this meant for today's Russia, a country that still has not come to terms with its complicity and responsibility for Stalin’s crimes? (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 145 Citizenship EM
Dimitry Kochenov
Professor Amy Gutmann Freshman Seminar in Human Values
 
Virtually all the population of the world is composed of citizens of one or more countries or territories. Citizenship is an assigned legal status that the majority of us never choose or consciously think about, and therefore it is prone to being taken for granted: a constant part of our life, a seemingly natural part of our world. Such status appears to affect the most fundamental aspects of life, such as mortality (a Somalian child is 50 times more likely not to survive the first five years of life than a child in Japan or Finland), mobility (a Swede can easily travel to 174 countries, while an Afghani can only manage 21), and often contributes to a sense of belonging or pride. People are often required and not infrequently willing to die for it.
This seminar will focus on the many facets of the notion of citizenship approached in their contextualized evolution — from "a right to have rights" to a "birthright lottery." As the last overwhelmingly important resource distributed in the contemporary world in accordance with purely feudal principles of blind chance and with no regard to personal talents, achievements, or desires, citizenship is in the middle of a global transformation, which we will trace together. We will trace the complex story of citizenship from a pre-citizenship world of classical antiquity and the Middle Ages to the (re-)birth of the idea following the French Revolution and its instrumentalization by the nation-states to the contemporary rise in cosmopolitanism and the fading away of the citizenship-rights link in the post-industrial countries around the world. Although still crucially important, the natural development of citizenship seemingly pushes this status away from the center stage. Access to key rights is increasingly becoming disconnected from the possession of a particular legal status and the cultivation of thick identities is more and more difficult to justify in a world of professed tolerance, multiculturalism, and respect for the other. Also citizenship duties are in decline. This process is significantly amplified by the birth of supranational citizenships, like the citizenship of the European Union.
I invite you to a walk through an assemblage of a number of crucial citizenship ideas and ideologies which, although they still greatly inform the functioning of the world today, are definitely (luckily, as we shall see) past their prime. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)

FRS 149 Ethics in Finance SA
Jean-Christophe de Swaan
John H. Laporte Jr. '67 Freshman Seminar
 
Examples of ethical transgressions in the finance industry 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 finance using a case-based method. Our approach will be grounded on an understanding of the role of a financial system in an economy and society. We will frame the discussion by reviewing the economic development and egalitarian arguments in favor of markets and considering their limits. We will address the seminar's topic from various angles, drawing on financial theory and concepts of behavioral ethics, corporate governance, economic development, and public policy.
In addressing ethical issues, a few themes will be particularly emphasized throughout the semester:
  • An attempt to distinguish ethical issues that are systemic in nature from those that relate to individual decision-making and character.
  • For the systemic issues, a comparison of corporate governance across national financial markets, with particular emphasis on the United States, China, Japan, and India, and how each of these countries' typical corporate governance failings might be linked to the nature of their financial systems.
  • For the issues related to individual decision-making, case studies will illustrate various patterns observed in markets, from outright deceit, fraud, and manipulation to more nuanced mishandling of conflicts of interest. For the latter, 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.
  • A discussion of role models — finance professionals who pursue their self-interest in a responsible manner, in ways that seek to benefit society. We will analyze specific decisions they made that are at odds with the path taken by their peers.
  • An exploration of the economic and social value of investments and which types of investments might create most positive impact beyond financial returns.
This seminar is targeted at a broad group of students, including students who have an interest in finance from an investment, economic development, or public policy perspective, and those who have an interest in concepts of moral reasoning applied to finance. There are no specific prerequisites for the class, although having taken introductory economics will help.
The course will feature several guest speakers, including a regulator and finance practitioners, who will provide a personal perspective on conflicts of interest encountered in the finance industry. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 151 Philanthropy: Can We Save the World Through Generosity? SA
Stanley Katz
Robert H. Rawson '66 Freshman Seminar
 
Thanks to an initiative of the Pallette Foundation, students in this freshman seminar will engage in a very special project. The Foundation has agreed to provide you with $50,000 in order to enhance your understanding of and interest in philanthropy. It will be up to the students in the course to determine the object(s) of our philanthropy, the number and size of our gift(s), the mode of awarding the gift(s), and our plans for evaluating the success of our gift(s). The only limitation that the foundation has placed upon you is that the recipients of the gift(s) must be U.S. 501(C)(3) nonprofit organizations.
This seminar will place its gift-giving effort in the context of philanthropy and civil society in the United States. We will ask how modern philanthropy emerged in America in the early 20th century, how and why the private philanthropic foundation was created to implement the purposes of philanthropy, and what problems in public policy have emerged as a result of philanthropy. We will also examine the functions of civil society, the space between the state and the market, in the United States. Here we will particularly inquire how the nonprofit organizations that form the core of civil society contribute to democracy, and how they are influenced by the actions of philanthropy and philanthropists. We will bring both empirical and theoretical concerns to this inquiry. How does the philanthropic system of the United States actually work? What improvements might be made to the system? How can philanthropy be understood at the level of moral and political philosophy.
But the core of your work will be to organize yourselves as a group to determine how best to act as philanthropists — how to donate $50,000 in the best manner possible before the end of the term. This should be quite a group adventure, and I am looking forward to seeing how you do. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 159 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. Moreover, where appropriate, we will discuss the ethical issues that often arise in these contexts.

The seminar will begin with a lecture/discussion that identifies the interrelationship between science, technology, economic growth, and public policy. We will also identify the tools available to federal and state governments to both invigorate and direct the national scientific enterprise. In this initial meeting we will also consider the specific example of the use of new science and technology to achieve particular political aims (i.e., victory) in World War II, and its impact on the war and on science more broadly. Moreover, this example will help us sketch out just how this formative experience in World War II reshaped postwar U.S. government attitudes both for the support of science and technology ("policy for the support of science and technology") and the reliance of governments on science and technology to achieve particular public policy objectives ("science and technology in support of policy").

All subsequent sessions of the seminar will revert to a more purely seminar format where students share the responsibility for both leading and participating in the discussions.

Once in this more purely seminar format (i.e., by our second meeting) the next three sessions will focus on three case studies of important national issues that involve the intersection of science, technology, and public policy. In particular we will discuss the legal, scientific and policy issues that emanated from the development of: first, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), along with human reproductive cloning and embryonic stem cell research; second, global warming; and third, our national energy policy. In all these cases the focus will be on the new technological options available and the respective role of science, scientists, public policy, ethics, and law in addressing the potential of: a) ART, human reproductive cloning, and stem cell research; b) the domestic and international policy challenges surrounding global warming; and c) the nation's energy challenges.

With this as background, the seminar will consider more carefully the relationship of science and technology to economic growth and the manner by which federal policies can influence these matters. In this context, we will turn to a fuller discussion of the evolving role of the U.S. government in stimulating/directing the growth of science and technology as the government itself becomes more dependent on new achievements on the scientific frontier.

In subsequent meetings of the seminar we will focus on a series of areas in which developments on the scientific frontier raise important additional issues for U.S. public policy. We will consider areas such as: classical and contemporary eugenics, public health policies surrounding vaccines and contagious diseases, the use of human subjects in medical research, and the details of just how government decisions are made in the process of setting public policies in the U.S.

If time permits, the seminar will conclude by considering a few additional issues on the frontiers of science and technology policy such as: globalization, developments in neurobiology, fusion energy, the environment, the science and technology workforce, etc.

Through the course of our discussions, we will come to see the many inherent and potential conflicts of interest that may arise when scientists serve as advocates and advisors in heated policy debates where egos, money, and power are at stake. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 161 Fantasy in the Hold: Black Fantasy from Equiano to Delany LA
Britt Rusert

This seminar will introduce students to a rich genealogy of African American and Afro-diasporic fantasy fiction from the 18th century through the contemporary period. Black fantasy fiction finds its roots, perhaps paradoxically, in the experiences of the Middle Passage and New World slavery, in what Fred Moten, following Frank Wilderson and Nathaniel Mackey, calls "fantasy in the hold." In addition to tracing the forms and functions of black fantasy across three centuries, from Olaudah Equiano's 1789 autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African to Samuel Delany's 1979 Tales of Nevèrÿon, we will also think about the place of the black body in white cultural fantasies (minstrelsy, neo-minstrelsy, plantation romance, toys, and children’s play). Finally, we will interrogate the tropes of colonialism and slavery in popular fantasy film and television (Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones). The seminar will use diverse approaches to think about race and fantasy, including genre studies, Black studies, and psychoanalysis. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Whitman College

FRS 163 "Once Upon a Time …" Magic Tales and Their Meanings LA
Margaret Beissinger

In this seminar, we will explore classic magic ("fairy") tales from around the world, focusing our attention on traditional narrative patterns and their meanings. We will view magic tales as stories that reflect significant moments and experiences of the life cycle (e.g., coming of age, marriage, etc.) and will explore symbolic journeys (often of initiation, both male and female), representations of the Other World (forests, faraway kingdoms, the land of the dead, etc.), and family relationships (between parents and children, siblings, etc.), to name a few. Topics we will examine include oral composition, variants and multiforms, storytellers and performance (including storytelling as a revived art form), the major critical approaches that have influenced the study of the genre (oral-traditional, historic-geographic, structuralist, myth-ritual, psychological, symbolic, socio-historical, and feminist), and how magic tales inform other types of narrative (in literature and film).

Most of the seminar (weeks 1-10) will focus on traditional magic tales and how they function not only in Euro-American but also non-Western cultures. During the last two weeks of the course (weeks 11 and 12), we will examine how magic tales are adopted and adapted in Western literature and film. We will seek to understand how and why magic tales are composed and performed — how and why they resonate so profoundly and evoke such intriguing layers of cultural, social, and psychological meaning. Our goal is to "read" the "texts" of magic tales and to understand how and why they so vividly express the human experience. (Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)


FRS 165 Self to Selfies EC
John Borneman

In 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries declared "selfie" the Word of the Year. It grows out of new forms of technologically enabled communication, which includes new games, such as chat roulette, and new forms of public exposure, such as sexting. What is this about? This course will explore theoretical and practical understandings of the self in science and popular culture. In many cultural traditions, from Buddhism in Asia to psychoanalysis in the West, the "self" is an important object of speculation, analysis, and power. The course focuses on anthropological and psychoanalytic perspectives to examine three questions: How is the self formed? Under what conditions can the self change? What is the self's relationship to modern capitalism and to different social formations? We will explore these questions through written and visual material: ethnography, psychoanalysis, literature, philosophy, television serials, and film. The goal of the seminar will be to arrive at a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the self as an object, and of the ethical and social implications of this understanding. (Monday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.)


FRS 167 Neuroethics EM
Charles Gross
Peter T. Joseph '72 Freshman Seminars in Human Values
 
Neuroethics is the study of ethical, social, and political issues arising from discoveries and practices in contemporary and earlier brain sciences. These include the use of animals and human beings in experiments; scientific misconduct (fabrication, distortion, and stealing of data and ideas); the use and overuse of drugs to make us happier, smarter, loved or "better" behaved; and the ethics of "big pharma." We will consider the differences between the brains of men and women and between the brains of individuals who identify themselves as straight and gay, as well as the origins and relevance of such differences. We will take up such controversial issues as stem cell research, whether consciousness can be detected in a "comatose" person, and whether thoughts (and lies) can be detected by brain imaging. We will also consider questions such as: What impact does neuroscience have on ethical and legal responsibility? What are the neural bases of ethics? When does ethical behavior appear in the life of the human child and in the course of animal evolution? We will examine psychosurgery in the past and today. How do older eugenic ideas compare to contemporary and future gene modification possibilities? We will consider how neuroscience was used to support sexism and racism in the past and, perhaps, in the present.
We also will discuss scientific and popular articles and films (e.g., "Project Nim," The Stanford Prison Experiment). We will observe a brain imaging experiment and visit other neuroscience laboratories. Student debates and presentation of two half-hour talks will constitute a major part of the course. A background in biology is helpful. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 169 Asian Urban Horror EM
Erin Huang

This seminar examines the comparative aesthetics and politics of "urban horror" as a transnational cultural phenomenon in contemporary China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. From forest fires, dilapidated ruins of construction sites, giant factory cities, and toilets, to tiny spaces such as the fish tank, this course begins by thinking about the emergence of a new species of urban sites in contemporary Chinese film, literature, architecture, and visual cultures that are at the same time mundane and yet utterly incomprehensible.

Looking at representations of the "urban" in post-1980s Chinese and Sinophone societies, the course introduces students to the uniqueness of select Asian city developments that challenge the limit of Western urban theories and critical theory based on studies of Euro-American cities. As the course juxtaposes "urban" and "horror," a combination of "space" and "affect," we are not only interested in a history of urban expansion, but more importantly, how the friction between rapid economic development and the lived experience of globalization is (un)translated into the textures of cultures psychologically. By working through "urban horror" as a theoretical paradigm, we will think about the evolution of urban horror as a unique kind of philosophy used to confront the unthinkable in the age of global capitalism, and the fact that contemporary horror is no longer containable within visible, monstrous bodies. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 173 Mother Tongues: Language and National Identity in the 21st Century SA
Mariana Bono
Professor Whitney J. Oates '25 *31 Freshman Seminar in the Humanities
 
Language is inextricably linked to social value and national identity. In his well-known work on imagined communities, Benedict Anderson argues that nations are imagined and narrated into being, and stresses the role of language in this process. A language is a system of communication, but it is also a social institution, an ideological battleground, and one of the instruments used by nation-states to homogenize populations, define citizenship, and create social hierarchies. From the individual to the community to the state and its institutions, each of these defining features bears on the choice to speak, teach, or learn a particular language. But language is also part and parcel of our daily lives, so much so that its use remains largely unconscious and unnoticed. This seminar aims to develop novel ways of thinking about languages not so much as ontological but as sociopolitical entities, to raise critical awareness of the ways in which language creates and perpetuates power in society, to deconstruct well-established notions such as linguistic authority, nativity, and foreignness, and to reflect on the role of language in identity building.
Theories of the development of nationalism in relation to "national" and other languages will be examined in order to promote understanding of language as a political instrument, particularly in the colonial enterprise, and to introduce postcolonial readings of linguistic policies and practices. This historical overview includes topics such as the rise of vernaculars, the link between language and nationhood, linguistic ideology, and the one-nation-one language premise. We will then turn our attention to language dynamics in the 21st century and the issues of regional and non-territorial languages, hybrid identities and multilingualism, the myth of the mother tongue, linguistic allegiance, and language shift. Linguistic attitudes and norms will be scrutinized and students will explore the ways in which language maintains or changes power relations, shapes culture and identity, and impacts schooling and citizenship in a transnational, interconnected world.
This seminar is designed for students who are interested in learning about language as a social practice. No previous knowledge in the field of linguistics is required. Class readings and discussions will be grounded in specific geographical and historical contexts and cases, with examples drawn from Europe and the Americas. In order to connect theoretical insights with local practices and personal narratives, students will be asked to look around them for evidence of language contact situations — in the urban landscape and the media, and in their own families and communities. They will use ethnographic research tools to build a digital portfolio about the ways in which identities are negotiated in multilingual contexts. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Wilson College

FRS 171 Playing Games in the Middle Ages LA
Sarah M. Anderson

Dutch historian Johan Huizinga emphasizes the huge problem of human "play" and of what it consists when he declares: "Culture arises and unfolds in and as play." How do we define "play"? What roles does it have in forming culture? The seriousness of "play" is raised as a central query in many disciplines other than history: philosophers, child psychologists, anthropologists, mathematicians, and psychoanalysts all make important claims about how crucial "play" is and how central it is to shaping us as human. "Play" is deep within the human, not only making us the adults we become, but also forming the larger communities to which we belong. But what is "play" and its processes for us humans, and how is it different from what animal behaviorists tell us occurs when birds conduct elaborate courtship rituals or young stags lock horns to learn to defend their herds? The breadth of the function of "play" in human culture opens up this seminar to students whose interests are wide-ranging, who bring the single important quality of curiosity to the class.

This seminar will examine questions such as these by focusing on a wide range of literary texts, largely from the Middle Ages. We will strive to identify and analyze "play" in alien and interesting early modern texts, using "play" as a theme through which to read medieval tournaments, courtly games of wit and flirtation, dangerous martial challenges, and the outrageous burlesques of marketplace drama. We will follow the idea of "play" as it is represented on the carved scenes of elaborate medieval boxes and in the wonderfully goofy marginalia in medieval manuscripts, where an "armed" snail jousts with a butterfly just along the edge of a page. New questions emerge. Does the concept of "play" reveal historically different periods and people? Do we still recognize the games people played in the past? Is wordplay is a tool for serious thought? Is chess a war game or a board game? Play is jesting, performing, and just plain having fun. Yet, of all the elemental ways in which we humans interact, no acts are more fundamental than play-acting. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 175 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 planning, from scholarship and education to loans and installations, through the exhibition Cézanne and the Modern: 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 177 The World of Noir LA
William Howarth
William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar
 
Noir … is the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. It's the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad. — James Ellroy
In the 1940s, pulp magazines and B-films created a new cultural genre, eventually called Noir. On page and screen, hundreds of these thrilling "gangster" stories — stark, vivid, and ambiguous — shaped the imagination and self-concept of a world beset by depression and global change.
As the post-atomic world shifted from hot to cold war and grappled with civil rights and urban decay, Noir depicted a dream-like world where morality turns fluid, crime undermines justice, and capitalism sours democracy.
Although today the political outlook of Noir ranges from liberal to libertarian, its core tension remains: crime and justice are mirror analogues, shadow selves of each other. We will map Noir's rise and spread, relate it to the rise of postmodern thought, and study its triumph as a global style.
We will raise questions including: Why do law-abiding viewers so enjoy crime stories? What are crimes against society, and why should we care? How does the work of criminal investigation benefit social good? Is crime natural to our species? Why do we admire outlaws yet condemn them? What can we say to the transgressor within ourselves?
The seminar is fast-paced and demanding. Each week, you will view and discuss films plus read many pages on film history, methodology, and criticism. You will also take notes on our discussions and analyze them in journal entries. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 179 Crime in the Great Novel LA
Sheila Kohler

Why are we fascinated by violence? Why does the murder mystery have such a considerable readership? Why have some of our greatest novelists taken up this form? Is it because the well-structured crime novel contains and controls violence in a cohesive form? Is it because the repetitive, familiar narrative structure like the fairy story with its neat beginning, middle, and end, makes it less frightening? Or do we all have violence within some dark part of ourselves and are able to express this in the crime novel with impunity?

We will read five novels (and view some film versions) from different places and times where crime plays a major role: Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Russia, 1866 (in three parts); Camus' The Stranger, France 1942 (in two parts); John Fowles' The Collector, England, 1963 (in two parts and film); Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Colombia, 1981; and Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, America, 1955, and the two film versions: Purple Noon, 1960, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 181 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 emails 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. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 185 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, and 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 every day, 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.)

FRS 187 Philosophical Analysis Using Argument Maps EM
Adam Elga and Simon Cullen
Paul L. Miller '41 Freshman Seminar in Human Values
 
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? Do non-human animals have rights? 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? 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. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)