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Seminars for the Spring Term 2016

Butler College

FRS 102 CANCELED Utopia at 500: The Promise of Fiction LA
Bradin Cormack

First published in Latin in 1516, Thomas More's Utopia remains an influential text for the history of political thought and for later speculative writing. In its 500th anniversary year (and in the spirit of stories about futures that are never reached and are always unfolding), this seminar considers More's meditation on the place of philosophy in politics and society through a close analysis of Utopia alongside a range of utopian writings from the following five centuries. How does social change come about, and what is the nature of political action? What is the use of fiction for reflecting on historically determined change? Most centrally, where do we locate the history of a political promise that has not been fulfilled and may never be? Among the fictions we will read alongside More's text are Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, a pair of 19th-century novels (one American and one English) with strikingly different accounts of political time, and more recent novels and stories by Octavia Butler and George Saunders. We will supplement these readings with shorter philosophical readings on utopian politics and a unit on architecture and urban planning. (Monday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 104 Philosophical Analysis Using Argument Maps EM
Adam Elga and Simon Cullen
Kurt and Beatrice Gutmann 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 the point of 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? At a fundamental level, what are race and gender? What is the probability that we live in a massive 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.)


FRS 106 Art and Science of Motorcycle Design STL
Michael Littman
Richard L. Smith '70 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 needed, 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 an 90-minute laboratory. Please note that only the precept time is listed on SCORE and Course Offerings. The 90-minute laboratory will follow immediately after each precept. (Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-4:20 PM)

FRS 108 CANCELED Afterlives of The Iliad LA
Karen Emmerich

The Iliad may be a story about war, death, and mourning, but the history of the poem itself is one of continued survival and renewal. This seminar treats many centuries of rewritings of The Iliad from early modern and modern translations of the Greek text (which itself was given stable form only in the 10th century); to classical Greek and early modern English dramatic rewritings of its tales; to modern, politically motivated rewritings, including contemporary poetic versions that focus less on the story than on brutality of the world of war that The Iliad depicts.

Our first few weeks will be devoted to the translation of The Iliad, by Robert Fagles, the former Arthur Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton, as well as a sampling of other English translations ranging from the 17th century to the present day. We will then embark on a grand tour of dramatic, lyric, epic, and novelistic works based on The Iliad, from authors including Sophocles, Shakespeare, Christa Wolf, Derek Walcott, Christopher Logue, and Alice Oswald. These rewritings will give us an opportunity not only to trace the influence of The Iliad across languages, media, and time, but also to ask vital questions about the formation, reformation, and deformation of literary canons; the role of translation in the dissemination and transformation of literary works; and the social, political, and ethical impulses that often motivate the writing and reading of literary texts. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 110 What Is Authority? SA
Seth Perry

What is authority? What does it mean to find a person, or a text, or an institution authoritative? How does a person or a book or an institution get to be an authority? How do different spheres of authority — religious, political, social, personal — interact with one another? What are authority's abilities, and what are its limits? In this course, we will begin by investigating these questions broadly and then narrow our focus to the consideration of religious authority in particular. Religion is both itself dependent on authority and authorities and, across traditions and time periods, has often been an integral part of political and social authority. Moreover, because of the nature of what we generally regard as religious knowledge, practice, and power, the terms of religious authority are particularly close to the surface. Our readings will include both theoretical investigations and case studies of religious authority from the perspectives of religious studies, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, political science, gender studies, and critical theory.

Grades will be assessed based on participation, brief weekly writing assignments, and a final paper applying our readings to a contemporary example or instance of religious authority. (Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 AM-12:20 PM)


FRS 112 CANCELED Medieval Art in America LA
Beatrice Kitzinger
Barrett Family Freshman Seminar
 
On the east coast of America we are well positioned for the study of medieval art — we have the deep resources of many great collections close at hand. While they offer us the opportunity to examine medieval originals close to home, these collections also challenge us to think about how historic art from other places enters the American cultural landscape, and how we encounter works of the past in our own time and place.
In this course, we look at various aspects of what it means to study medieval art specifically in America. We focus on themes related to the collection, display and function of art, pairing concepts from the medieval era with their counterparts in modern times in order to balance the original context of the objects we study against their "afterlife" in American museums and scholarship.
The course encourages students to think carefully about the practice of approaching the past, while introducing them to the material that forms the basis of that study in the medieval field. The course includes attention to our immediate environment at Princeton, and at least two full day trips to New York and Philadelphia will be required to visit collections including the Glencairn Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, the Cloisters Museum, and the Hispanic Society of America. To balance these time demands, in "excursion weeks" we discuss reading on the road in lieu of a regular class meeting. The course reading is designed to ask students to think about the representation of medieval art in a variety of genres and perspectives, including articles, catalogues, and media reports from different eras. The seminar concludes with a group exhibition on both digital and physical platforms, in which students are asked to put their thinking about context, history and display into practice. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 PM)

FRS 114 Environmental Art: Thinking, Making, Dreaming SA
Eben Kirksey
Henry David Thoreau Freshman Seminar in Environmental Studies
 
In the aftermath of ecological disasters — as forests are clear cut, as toxins spill into wetlands — environmental artists are working to generate livable futures. Together we will explore a number of interrelated questions: Which beings flourish, and which fail, when natural and cultural worlds intermingle and collide? How and who should we love in a time of extinction? And, finally, in the aftermath of disasters — in blasted landscapes that have been transformed by multiple catastrophes—what are the possibilities of biocultural hope?
Following Joseph Beuys’s 1973 decree — “everyone is an artist” — you will make art for your final project to create knowledge, build environments, and transform lives. If you have never before imagined yourself as an artist, this course will invite you to play with Marcel Duchamp’s notion of the “readymade,” an ordinary object that can be selected, modified, and staged as a work of art. A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) spirit has become infectious as environmental thinkers are dabbling in new fields as amateurs (de-skilling) and acquiring new specialized training (re-skilling) to responsibly enter new domains. The environmental art works you craft during this course will become conversation pieces, or “para-ethnographic” objects, aimed a facilitating unconventional ways of speaking and thinking about pressing issues of our time. Student projects will be exhibited on campus in a pop-up art show.
Guest lectures from leading artists who work with living matter as their medium — like Adam Zaretsky, Kathy High, and Richard Pell — will be combined with films and digital multimedia objects. Our readings will include Unflattening, a comic book published by Harvard University Press that illustrates how “the verbal and the visual are inextricably entwined in the production of knowledge.” Genre-bending essays, “recipes” for making food art, will give you instructions for reseeding multispecies communities in the aftermath of ecological disasters and also unsettle some of your assumptions about how your own body is situated in the environment. Challenging theoretical texts — by Donna Haraway, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Claire Bishop — will be read alongside essays by artists, anthropologists, and allied intellectuals. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Forbes College

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 definite answers, but evidence from many different areas of investigation (including paleontology, archaeology, 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 will 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? (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)

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 PM)

FRS 120 Hogs, Bats, and Ebola: An Introduction to One Health Policy SA
Laura Kahn

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, history of food safety and security, history of meat production and consumption in the 20th century, 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 Excel and PowerPoint. Readings will come from a variety of sources including medical and veterinary medical literature. Field trips to the Rutgers University agriculture facilities, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and the Mercer County Wildlife Center are planned. In addition to classroom participation, one take-home quiz, one short policy paper, one long final policy paper, and a classroom PowerPoint presentation are required. A strong background in high school biology is recommended. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 122 CANCELED Connection and Communication in the Digital Bazaar SA
Swati Bhatt
Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar
 
This seminar is designed to bring together students with a wide range of interests. Using the acronym Internet to refer to the entire ecosystem of digital communication technology (DCT), we will begin with a lecture exploring the meaning of this technology — how it enables us to be instantly, continuously, and ubiquitously connected by creating a vast, complex digital network.
We will then proceed to explore the major implications of connectivity in a discussion format where students will actively participate. How does connectivity enable and enhance the flow of information between individuals? How has the nature of trade, in goods, services, and information, between buyers and sellers, changed in the digital bazaar, where connections are perpetually being made and broken? Has the supply-demand model become obsolete? Has the balance of economic power shifted from larger groups to individuals? We will discuss network patterns formed by connectivity and ideal patterns from the perspective of business and consumers. In later sessions, we will talk about basic elements of the underlying technology (e.g., the precise definitions of bandwidth, throughput, and broadband).
Students will be encouraged to develop case studies of specific applications of DCT that have impacted their lives. For example, how has the smartphone made a meaningful difference in their choices and decision-making, and how might major policy decisions, such as the recent FCC decision on net neutrality, move that needle?
Students will read assigned articles to explore these ideas as they gain fluency in thinking and writing through discussion, weekly essays, and class presentations. A midterm paper and a final assignment are also required. (Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:20 PM)

FRS 124 The Everglades Today and Tomorrow: Global Change and the Impact of Human Activities on the Biosphere STN
Anne Morel-Kraepiel
Shelly and Michael Kassen '76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences
 
"The Everglades are a test. If we pass the test, we get to keep planet Earth." — Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, an American journalist and conservationist who devoted her life's work to the Everglades.
The Everglades are a powerful case study of how science can reveal current threats to the Earth's ecosystems, and are a remarkable example of how our understanding of and attitude toward nature have evolved over the last 100 years. In this course, we will use the Everglades to explore geology, chemistry, biology, and policy underlying environmental issues that affect ecosystems across the planet. You will design a water quality research project that we will carry out during a seven-day excursion to the Everglades over spring break. Back in Princeton, you will work in a laboratory setting to carry out the analyses required for your project. Your final report will contribute to our existing knowledge of the Everglades, and you will extend those results to explore implications for other ecosystems. Students must plan on devoting their spring break to the class trip and must be able to swim. This seminar is intended for both science and non-science majors. All costs of the field trip are covered by the University. (Monday 1:30-4:20 PM)

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 necessary 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 an empire also 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? (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 128 CANCELED 21st Century Latina/o Drama LA
Brian Herrera

This seminar offers a practice-based overview of theater-making in the 21st century through an intensive study of contemporary Latina/o dramatists, movements, and companies in the United States. Through weekly readings, discussions, and in-class writing exercises, the seminar will investigate the cultural, artistic, and political implications of 21st century Latina/o drama. Each week, the seminar will read and comment upon a wide array of contemporary playscripts, drawing upon the critical vocabularies provided by performance studies, Latina/o studies, and literary studies.

The seminar will also examine the complicated ways that contemporary pressures for certain kinds of critical and commercial success impact Latina/o drama's historic investment in aesthetic experimentation, political advocacy, and community engagement. We will balance weekly readings, writings, and discussions with several excursions to the world of contemporary theater, including class trips to New York City and to theaters in the Princeton area, including McCarter Theatre Center.

The seminar will also be punctuated by in-class visits from one or more of the playwrights studied and discussed in the course. Several short writing assignments will oblige students to explore a range of critical idioms as they reflect and build upon the questions, conversations, and experiences staged by the course, with the culminating assignment inviting each student to rehearse their own critical voice as they author a profile of a contemporary Latina/o theater artist. The seminar is appropriate for a broad array of students, including those who have an active interest in theater as an art, as a vocation, and/or as a business, as well as those who have a personal or intellectual interest in the cultural history of U.S. Latinas/os. All students are welcome and there are no prerequisites for this course. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 130 Creative Exploration of Color in Life and Art LA
Anya Klepikov

This seminar is an active and creative investigation of color. Color is a big part of how we see and experience the world around us, and a powerful tool for the artist. We will examine a variety of sources to learn different ways of thinking and talking about color: documentary research, pieces of visual art, designs for stage and film, and some theoretical texts. We will explore how we perceive color and its sometimes covert influence on our experiences. Finally, we will apply what we have discovered by using color to express and communicate feelings and ideas on paper.

Most classes will be organized around a practical workshop, the Color Lab, where we will set up our own experiments to discover 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 (à la American artist and educator Josef Albers in his legendary course on color at the Yale University School of Art in the 1950s), and sometimes even on Photoshop. It is absolutely 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 interests in the study of color. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 132 What Makes for a Meaningful Life? A Search EM
Ellen Chances
William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar
 
With the pressures and frenzied pace of contemporary American life, it might sometimes feel as if there is little time to contemplate the question of what makes for a meaningful life. How does each individual find deeper meaning for him/herself? What is the purpose of my life? What is the relationship of the meaning of my life to some kind of larger purpose? How do our lives fit into the larger world around us? Throughout the ages, writers, thinkers, and religious figures; as well as wise ordinary folks — the person next door, one's parents and grandparents — have grappled with these questions. The course explores, from a variety of perspectives, some of the responses to the "big questions" of life. The readings and films are taken from different cultures, different time periods, and different spheres of human endeavor and experience — for example, from Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov to Kurosawa's Ikiru (To Live); from The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi to Forrest Gump; from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations to A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh; from Taoism to Tolstoy; from Martin Luther King to Anna Karenina; from Pablo Casals to Casablanca; from Martin Buber's I and Thou to Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus to Albert Schweitzer's "reverence for life." The goals of the seminar will be: (1) to investigate the thoughts that others have had; and (2) to examine the students' own questions and responses to the issues raised. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Rockefeller College

FRS 134 Capitalism, Utopia, and Social Justice SA
Marc Fleurbaey
Freshman Seminar in Human Values
 
Financial breakdown, social protests, climate threat, political revolutions — history has not ended and may even seem to accelerate. In this context, it is interesting, perhaps even a duty, for conscientious citizens to reflect on the basic tenets of social organization in the United States and elsewhere, as well as on the basic principles guiding those who want to preserve or to change "the system." Is capitalism fundamentally just, or does social justice require another form of society? But what is social justice?
The objective of the seminar is obviously not to hammer out answers to these questions, but instead to introduce students to a variety of readings, primarily in philosophy and economics (John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Robert Nozick, Milton Friedman, Thomas Pogge), so that they can begin to develop informed opinions about these questions and the basic structures of society. In particular, we will engage in ongoing debates about social justice and the remedies to societal problems; look beyond the implementation of their remedies to consider the underlying definitions of the objectives, which will raise important ethical debates and dilemmas; and finally examine normative theories and discourses about capitalism, old and new "utopias," and social justice. The seminar requires no prior background and will introduce basic concepts from the relevant disciplines.
The seminar will be related to the proceedings of an international panel on social progress, launched after the idea emerged during the 2012-13 session of this seminar, and this connection to the panel will enable the students to follow the works of a large author team and to make contributions of various forms. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)

FRS 136 Architecture and Its Representation LA
Carolyn Yerkes

This course explores major concepts in Renaissance architecture through the hands-on study of original source materials. How do architects design buildings? How have design practices changed over time, and how have those practices determined our built environment? We will consider these questions as we examine the role of representation in architectural history, focusing on the 14th through 17th centuries in Europe and the Americas. Each seminar session will incorporate a visit to a special collection on campus. As a class we will explore Princeton's superb holdings of early modern books, maps, paintings, drawings, and prints and use these objects as the focus of our investigations.(Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 138 Science, Society & Dinner STN 
Kelly Caylor and Craig Shelton
Shelly and Michael Kassen '76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences
 
Food is often at the center of our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. However, food production and consumption have been utterly transformed in the past century as they rapidly expanded, industrialized and globalized into an interconnected and interdependent network capable (though often unable) of feeding 7.2 billion people. This success has come with a host of environmental, cultural, and ethical costs that have changed our relationship with food forever. Now, as we look forward to the next 50 years, we face the challenge of humanely, safely, and sustainably feeding between 9 and 10 billion people by the late 21st century. How we meet this challenge — and how we mitigate the accompanying environmental, ethical, and cultural costs — will largely define our success as stewards and citizens of this planet.
Science, Society, & Dinner is a collaborative, experiential forum for discussing, analyzing and interpreting the complex connections between our food systems, food choices, culture, and human and environment health. Through a series of guest lectures from professors across campus, the course will explore the biochemistry and biophysics of cooking; the environmental biology and ecology of modern food systems; and the limitations of science when divorced from the humanities. The course also will address food literacy, the relationship between food and culture, and the ethics of agricultural production and consumption.
Your time in this seminar will consist of three main activities: weekly hands-on cooking lessons from a five-star chef; a matching series of interdisciplinary lectures that look behind the plate; and outrageously delicious meals that students prepare for each other and eat together. As a participant, you will develop an understanding of the implications of food choices while learning basic (and not so basic) techniques and the philosophy of meal preparation and palate education. You will taste-test the difference between artisanal organic products and industrial counterparts and learn a vocabulary of flavor.
Bi-weekly dinner labs will instruct students on scientific culinary principles, as well as their application to modern cuisine, augmented with discussions rooted in the arts and humanities, the social sciences and human physiology. How does food connect us to our own bodies, to each other, and to our world? To what degree does the future of food play a role in the survival of the species?
Readings will likely include writings by John McPhee, Hervé This, Eric Schlosser, Nathan Myhrvold, Jonathan Safar Foer; and James McWilliams. (Monday 7:30-10:20 PM)
  

FRS 140 Into the Woods! What Disney Didn't Tell You About Fairy Tales LA
Volker Schröder
Class of 1975 Freshman Seminar
 
There is much more to fairy tales than the simplified and sanitized versions for children that we've all grown up with. This seminar will attempt to explore the complex history of the fairy tale genre and to address the many critical questions it raises: What exactly is a fairy tale? How does it differ from other types of folk tales and, more generally, from myth and legend? Who used to tell those enchanting stories, and to whom? When did they come to be written down and printed, and for what audience? How have their forms, meanings, and functions evolved over time and across cultures?
We will examine issues such as gender roles, family dynamics, social structure, and the relations between humans and animals. While we'll courageously confront the disturbing "darker side" of fairy tales — sadism and cannibalism, incest and infanticide — we won't neglect their humorous, playful, subversive, and utopian dimensions.
The readings for this seminar will revolve around the most famous "tale types" such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, but also include slightly lesser-known but no less intriguing narratives such as Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and Puss-in-Boots. We will study the canonical texts by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault and discover a number of other versions, ranging from Ancient Rome to the Italian Renaissance and the French 18th century. We will also read a selection of diverse and often conflicting interpretations of these stories by historians, folklorists, psychoanalysts, and literary critics. Although the primary focus will be on the European fairy tale tradition, attention will also be paid to its counterparts in non-Western cultures.
The second half of the course will examine the literary fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde and conclude with contemporary Anglo-American retellings of the classical narratives (by Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, Robert Coover, and others). Throughout the semester, we will consider the ways fairy tales have been illustrated over the centuries as well as their presence in opera, ballet, and musicals, and watch various video clips and feature films such as Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête and Neil Jordan's Company of Wolves.
Participants in this seminar will be expected to read thoroughly and critically the texts assigned for each meeting (approximately 100 pages per week), to participate actively in class discussion, and to prepare one oral presentation followed by discussion. Written assignments will consist of weekly responses to the readings (online discussion board), a short midterm paper, and a longer (critical or creative) final paper. The seminar requires the willingness to engage with "strange," non-Disneyfied stories and to question one's notions about the nature and purpose of fairy tales.  (Monday 7:30-10:20 PM)

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 lay 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 AM - 12:20 PM)


FRS 144 How the Tabby Cat Got Her Stripes STN
Shirley M. Tilghman
Richard L. Smith '70 Freshman Seminar
 
If Gregor Mendel, the 19th-century father of modern genetics, were alive today, his head would be spinning. The simple rules of "Mendelian" inheritance, which he painstakingly worked out with garden peas, have had to be substantially expanded and revised in the last several decades to accommodate the fact that genes are not nearly as well behaved as he thought. A pristine gene, free of any debilitating mutations, may or may not be expressed, depending upon parental inheritance, environmental influences, and even pure chance. This phenomenon, in which external factors influence the decision of a gene to be expressed or remain silent, is called epigenetics. The existence of epigenetic effects is right before our eyes: the stripes of the tabby cat; the complex patterns of pigment in petunia petals; the variegated colors in the compound eyes of fruit flies.
The implications for human biology are also widespread. Epigenetics explains why it is only possible to inherit a fetal overgrowth syndrome called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome from your mother, and Prader-Willi Syndrome, a disorder characterized by obsessive eating, from your father. It has also has forced us to revise our understanding of how cancers arise and is responsible for the low success rate of animal cloning. The future promise of stem cell therapy will only be realized when scientists can better control epigenetic changes that occur at fertilization. Altogether the underlying molecular epigenetic mechanisms are revealing a wacky new world of gene regulation, which this seminar will explore, along with the societal implications of epigenetics and its evolutionary benefits. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 PM)

Whitman College

FRS 146 Classical India from Rigveda to Kamasutra through Verbal and Visual Art LA
Nataliya Yanchevskaya

“This work is compiled in chastity and utmost meditation for the sake of worldly practice, not for the sake of passion.” — thus concludes Vatsyayana his Kamasutra. He systematically enumerates arts, laboriously classifies men and women, exhaustively catalogs hugs, kisses, sexual positions, and so on. He extensively quotes his predecessors, engages in logical debates, distills a dignified tradition of scholarly research into a concise textbook. Textbook? Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But this very book is a source of inspiration for religious and – at the same time — love poetry. What connects a dry scholarly tractate, a catalog of sexual positions, an encyclopedia of urban life with religion? How can poetry inspired by such a tractate be religious?

The goal of this course is to trace both manifest and subtle connections among major narratives, myths, ideas, and images that permeate Indian culture and make it a unique whole. Through attentive reading and critical analysis of major texts of classical India, through studying them in comparison with traditional and modern art forms — music, dance, theater, cinema, painting — we will be witnessing historical development of a living canon. We will look at Indian culture at different historical stages, and at every stage we will observe how the insiders built their relationship with the world, how they understood their place in it, their moral and religious duties, and the right organization of society.

We will see a god who is absolutely devoted to his lover and at the same time has a personal intimate relationship with an unlimited number of women. We will read the most popular epic in Asia, the Ramayana, a story of an ideal man who burns his wife in a fire and still remains an ideal husband. In the Mahabharata, the longest epic poem in the world, that includes one of the most influential scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita, we will encounter a perfect warrior, a devout son and a loyal member of his family, who kills his closest relatives and still remains true to his duty. There we will also meet a perfect wife who has five husbands. By reading the Upanishads, traditionally understood as a book of profound wisdom and mysteries, we will learn that the Self and the Absolute are the same, and God is one and there are 33,330 gods.

Our journey into this magnificent ancient culture will begin at the pinnacle of the Indian religious and literary tradition, a text that from the traditional perspective encompasses all: all the worlds and all the words — the human and the divine. It was created by a nomadic people who had no writing, whose material culture has left us no images and almost no objects. What has reached us is their Word, 1028 poetic hymns of exquisite complexity and sophistication that elaborate a highly refined system of mythology and a unique worldview. It has been orally passed from generation to generation word by word, sound by sound; it is most certainly being recited somewhere in India as you are reading this introduction. This text — preserved through centuries and outlived the religion that begot it — is the Rigveda.

Throughout this course students are expected to read fully the assigned texts and actively participate in class discussions. Requirements include a short midterm image paper and a final paper. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 148 CANCELED What Does It Mean to Be Free? EM
Jan-Werner Müller

Freedom is held to be a prime political value in the modern world — not only, but especially, in the United States, land of the free. But what is freedom exactly? Can anybody be free? Are certain conditions required to make freedom a reality? What are the greatest sources of "unfreedom" in the world today? Are alienation and conformism signs of unfreedom, as some social theorists have argued? What is the relationship between different social and political institutions and freedom and, in particular: Does the market make us free or enslaved? And is there a necessary trade-off between liberty and security, as many people have argued in the aftermath of 9/11? Finally, are there external material and inner psychological obstacles to freedom? If so, who should be authorized to try to remove them?

This seminar encourages students to ask fundamental questions about freedom — and to look to major writings in social and political theory, as well as the history of ideas. Beyond such theoretical texts, the seminar will also feature selected pieces of fiction and films.

There are three goals to the seminar. First, students will be introduced to normative political theory and learn to craft and present arguments in political theory, both in writing and in class presentations. Second, the course will be writing-intensive; students will receive extensive feedback on their writing and will have an option to try their hand at independent work. Third, the seminar will show students how literary texts and films also present arguments relevant to normative theorizing — without being reducible to mere illustrations of philosophical claims. In other words, by the end of the seminar students will ideally have a sense of what it means to do work in three genres: political theory, literary criticism, and film criticism. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 PM)


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

Last spring, 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, cohosted 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. 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. We will also examine the current and historical patterns of military, economic, and political conflict between Russia and Ukraine through a 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 guest speakers from the Russian and Ukrainian embassies, and experts with firsthand experience in Ukraine. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 PM)


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 work. 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?
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 appropriate for both non-science and science concentrators who are interested in the future of health care. Each student will choose a disease and then identify a path toward a new way to treat it. (Monday, Wednesday 3:00-4:20 PM)

Wilson College

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 will 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. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)

FRS 160 CANCELED Bodies in Cultural Landscapes LA
Patricia Hoffbauer
Evaldo dal Poggetto Freshman Seminar
 
This seminar explores the intricate history of Western fascination with non-white bodies in motion, from representations recorded in early ethnographic films to contemporary portrayals of the moving body in Hollywood films, videos, documentaries, and concerts. We will examine how expectations projected onto these bodies have shaped contemporary discourses on gender, race, and culture. Finally, the seminar will expose students, with or without prior experience, to the joy of watching, analyzing, creating, and presenting their own performances.
Our approach to a wide variety of cultural materials and readings will be divided into three units. The first unit, Body as Culture, will focus on representations of "otherness" as recorded by European ethnographers since the late 1890s. The second, Body as Commerce, will focus on the implementation of FDR's Good Neighbor Policy in Hollywood musicals featuring Brazilian performer Carmen Miranda as well as other Hollywood musicals. The final unit, Body as Art, will explore the rich New York dance field from the early days of modern dance to trends of contemporary dance and performance today.
We will also travel to New York City to visit galleries and dance studios and to see evening performances. During these trips students will interact with artists working in the field and observe their creative process. A guest artist who was involved with the beginning of "voguing" will visit our class to discuss his experiences as a voguer and his days at the Harlem Balls. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 162 Human Rights in China SA
Rory Truex
Frank E. Richardson '61 Freshman Seminar in Public Policy
 
In the past three decades, China has witnessed one of the most impressive periods of sustained economic growth in human history. Estimates suggest that 500 million citizens have been lifted out of poverty. At the same time, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has done very little to liberalize politically, and the country continues to rank in the bottom of global rankings of political freedom. Efforts of international and domestic actors have failed to spur meaningful improvements in human rights.
The goal of this course will be to explore these contradictions. How can we define human rights? How does China's definition differ from that of the international community? What exactly is the nature of China's human rights abuses? And most importantly, what can be done to improve China's human rights record?
Our class discussions will draw on a range of materials and sources, including close readings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Constitution of the People's Republic of China; human rights reports from the U.S., China, and international NGOs; and academic research articles. We will also have guest lectures by human rights experts and, if possible, Chinese political dissidents. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 164 Improbable Journeys: Travel in Time and Space in American Science Fiction LA
Alfred Bendixen

This course is an exploration of 20th-century American science fiction with a focus on its capacities to take us to new worlds, to transcend the bounds of time and space, and to challenge our notions of what is possible. The seminar begins with a voyage to a feminist utopia (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), then shifts to a prison where a straight-jacketed inmate has learned to free his soul to travel in time (Jack London), then to a world in which an African American scientist finds a way to eliminate the issue of race (George Schuyler), and then to an America that becomes a fascist nightmare (Sinclair Lewis). The remaining novels feature eight of the most acclaimed writers of speculative fiction who will take us on other journeys that engage the meaning of freedom — the ways in which it can be gained or lost — while also confronting the specific realities of race, gender, and politics. In their imaginative engagement with transformative technologies, these novels both expand our awareness of what is possible and insist that we come to terms with injustice, political corruption, and systems that debase human life. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)


FRS 166 Listening In: Sonic Culture in American History HA
Emily Thompson

This course will explore the meaning and significance of sound, music, and noise in American culture. We will consider not just what people heard and how they listened in the past but also how we attune ourselves to the role of sound in our own lives today. The course will combine readings on historical aspects of sonic history with listening exercises that will enable students to comprehend their own aural culture.

Historical subjects will include: the sonic characterization of Native Americans by European colonists; the meaning of sound on slave plantations; noise and the modern urban environment; the role of the phonograph in musical culture; the meaning of Muzak; the construction of motion picture soundtracks; and the rise of "the mix" as a musical practice and aesthetic.

How can we reconstruct the sounds of the distant past when they have long since vanished into thin air? What do such considerations of sound add to our understanding of American history? Can recordings from the past function as sonic time machines? How can we analyze our current sonic environment in order to understand more fully American culture today? Students will attempt to answer these questions through reading, discussion, writing, and especially through listening. (Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-2:50 PM)


FRS 168 Divided We Stand: Economic Inequality and Its Discontents SA
Thomas Leonard

Economic inequality is today a topic of vital debate in American political life, 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 upon 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. 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 is 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 a distribution or is it a matter of the process that leads to that distribution? Is 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 PM)