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Seminars for the Spring Term 2018

Butler College

FRS 102 From Codex to Code: Technologies of Learning EC
Emmanuel Bourbouhakis
 
How does technology change the way we learn and think?
In this course we will examine the historical interdependence of technology and the humanities — patterns of learning, intellectual life, and education. Beginning with the earliest writing systems and materials such as clay tablets and papyrus, and moving through such innovations as the codex (or book), the use of parchment and the invention of minuscule writing in the Middle Ages, the advent of Chinese papermaking, Gutenberg's printing press, Edison's phonographic cylinder, magnetic tape, and digital code, we will consider how the very nature of inquiry, from the questions we ask to the kinds of answers we are wont to give, have been shaped by the technologies which enabled learning. We will weigh both the gains and the losses brought about by such technological revolutions on learning. The seminar will give voice to dissenters who express trepidation about disruptive innovations in the recording and transmission of knowledge. We will end by asking: Is our current anxiety about the epistemological and broadly intellectual effects of new media well-founded? Are "digital humanities" a compromise with the past or a new frontier?(Tuesday 7:30–10:20 p.m.)
 
 

 
FRS 104 Canceled Constitutional Democracy and the Politics of Resentment EM
Tomasz Koncewicz
University Center for Human Values Freshman Seminar (Anonymous)
 
A commentator recently asked: "Is democracy the only game in town?" Democracies are on the defensive, undermined by the populist and anti-elitist movements: Brexit in the UK, and more generally anti-European sentiments across the continent; the rise of the right-wing parties in Germany, Austria, and France; the spread of hate speech and exclusion of the "the other"; Roma expulsion from France; and, more recently, disabling constitutional checks and balances and excluding the political opposition from the politics in Poland and Hungary. What stands out is the new kind of "politics of resentment" and of protest, contestation, and revolt against mainstream politics, elites, and the stabilizing narrative of "in the rule of law we trust," that have swept across Europe and the world leading to the process of so-called democracy backsliding. Commitments entered voluntarily, plurality, diversity, and inclusiveness that are at the heart of people's decision to come and live together, are all called into question and contested. With the "politics of resentment," exclusiveness of representation (only "we" represent the real "we the people"). The exclusion of "the other" (readiness to accept only others who look just like us), "constitutional capture" of independent institutions as a new mode of governance, the challenge of "paddling together" as part of a democratic regime, and doubts as to our commitment to the democratic journey, have never been more acute and dramatic.
It is against this more general background that the seminar will look at how the predictable and stabilizing liberal narrative of "in rule of law we trust" has been debunked by an emotional and unpredictable brand of politics that defines backsliding democracies. The seminar will proceed from the general (theories/models of democracies) to more specific, that is, multifarious challenges facing the democracies in today's turbulent times. By reading and discussing various writings (chapters from books, papers, online reports) and analyzing judicial pronouncements from high courts, we will try to arrive at the constitutional synthesis of various strands in the contemporary debate on the state, crisis, and transformation of democratic regimes faced with the "politics of resentment"; exclusion and distrust; search for causes of the democratic backsliding; and project the possible directions and themes that will define the democracy going forward. (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 106 Art and Science of Motorcycle Design STL
Michael Littman
Donald P. Wilson '33 and Edna M. Wilson Freshman Seminar
 
This is a hands-on seminar and laboratory experience about the engineering design of motorcycles. Students will restore a vintage Triumph motorcycle and will compare it to previous restorations of the same make and model of motorcycle from other years (1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, and 1964). No previous shop or laboratory experience is necessary, and we welcome liberal arts students as well as engineering students. Technical staff members of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering — Glenn Northey, Al Gaillard, and Jon Prevost — will assist Professor Littman in laboratory.
Students will examine, disassemble, model, test, and rebuild a vintage motorcycle. All motorcycle subsystems will be considered with special attention to the power, structural, and control subsystems. Classic and modern engineering tools to be used include computer-aided design (CAD) software for the documentation and prototyping of engine parts, engine simulation software for understanding factors affecting engine performance, and engine brake dynamometer for determination of engine power and torque. Students will assess and restore motorcycle components. Precise measurement, repair, and redesign (where appropriate) of key parts will include the restoration of cylinder, piston, head, cam, valves, transmission, brakes, fork, oil system, clutch, and chain. Students will also inspect and restore all electrical system components as needed and disassemble, clean, repaint, and restore the frame and suspension system.
The class meets twice each week. Each session starts with a 90-minute precept followed by a 90-minute laboratory. Please note that only the precept time is listed on TigerHub and Course Offerings. The 90-minute laboratory will follow immediately after each precept. (Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 108 Being Human EM
Rhodri Lewis
University Center for Human Values Freshman Seminar
 
What does it mean to be a human being? How and where to do we locate our identities as human individuals and as members of human communities, cultures, and polities? Should we look within ourselves for answers? To society or nature? Or perhaps to God? This seminar will help you to get a sense of the discussions and controversies to which these questions have given rise. It will also give you a clear and exhilarating sense of the debates that, from the ancient Greeks to the present, have defined the human condition.
Key to all of this is the idea that we must learn to be human in the course of our education and development. We begin with Plato, who urges us to look within for evidence of our true natures, and then turn to Aristotle who instead emphasizes the social feature of human identity. From there we move to ancient Rome, and to Cicero's belief that the only natural forms of selfhood are socially constructed. But then as now, such views were contested, and we will look at Ovid's myth of Narcissus for the pessimistic view that we are animals who can never understand themselves: self-knowledge leads to death. By contrast, St Augustine's Confessions locate human identity within the recognition of God; Thomas More's Utopia sketches some of the potential conflicts between religious and philosophical ideas of human life, and suggests ways in which they can be resolved. This territory is revisited by Michel de Montaigne and by William Shakespeare, who conclude that all previous attempts to make sense of human life have been inadequate. They offer some excitingly novel answers to these problems, as do René Descartes and Thomas Hobbes: Descartes theorizes the rationally thinking individual mind, whereas Hobbes insists that human life can only be meaningful within a reformed vision political order. Two models of human identity shape the last portion of the seminar: David Hume sees human life as social and political; Jean-Jacques Rousseau sees it as natural and individual. We conclude with William Wordsworth's The Prelude, perhaps the most engaging account of the Romantic self. Even as Wordsworth celebrates a "natural" vision of human identity unencumbered by religious convention or social expectation, he emphasizes that it is only through reading and thinking about works like The Prelude that we can determine who and what we are. (Monday, Wednesday 1:30-2:50 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 110 War, National Security, and the Constitution SA
Michael Stokes Paulsen
 
The United States is at war. Indeed, the nation has been in a constitutional and practical state of war continuously since September 11, 2001. This seminar will examine the constitutional law of war, national security, foreign affairs, and individual liberties in historical and contemporary settings. The seminar will serve as an introduction to the fascinating field of constitutional law generally, as applied in the specific context of some of the most important, difficult, and divisive questions of constitutional law and policy in our nation's history — questions of war, peace, international affairs, and national power — that continue to be of enormous importance today.
The seminar will begin with an introduction to constitutional law generally: the formation, structure, and allocation of government powers under the Constitution, and questions of constitutional interpretive methodology. The seminar will then turn to issues of (1) the Constitution's allocation of the power to declare war (or otherwise initiate military hostilities); (2) the President's powers as military "Commander in Chief"; (3) the Constitution's allocation of "foreign affairs" powers generally, and the relevance (and irrelevance) of "international law" for U.S. constitutional powers; (4) the U.S. constitutional war power as applied to persons — that is, matters concerning war prisoners, wartime detentions, torture and the Geneva Conventions, habeas corpus, and the use of military commission proceedings to try enemy combatants for offenses against the laws of war; (5) the constitutional status of "covert operations"; (6) the constitutional status of technological innovations in the conduct of war, including drone warfare and cyberwarfare; and (7) civil liberties issues in time of war — including freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and the constitutional status and rights of "alien" non-citizens under U.S. law.
The seminar requires no prior background in constitutional law — this will be truly an introductory constitutional law seminar — but it will assume as a "prerequisite" a passion for history and an interest in the Constitution. Students will be introduced to some of the classic "great cases" of constitutional law in United States history, and will have the opportunity to read several classic and modern Supreme Court decisions in original or edited form: Ex parte Merryman, The Prize Cases, Ex parte Milligan, Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, Korematsu v. United States, Ex parte Quirin, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Boumediene v. Bush, and others. (Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.)
 

FRS 114 Invention and Innovation: Intersections of Art and Science EC
Catherine Riihimaki and Veronica White
Agnew Family Freshman Seminar

"Science provides an understanding of a universal experience, and art provides a universal understanding of a personal experience." — Mae Jemison, first African American woman in space

"There is no such thing as ... a complete study of a phenomenon." — Harold Edgerton, engineer and photographer

Where are the commonalities and differences between art and science? What constitutes "evidence" and an "argument" in these fields? Are science and art incompatible, or are they two sides of similar thought processes? Historically, scientists and artists have relied on each other, with scientific advances providing the materials and subjects for art, and art finding new ways to present scientific ideas to the public. Art and science both rely on careful observation, description, and interpretation, and depend on some level of abstraction from the complexity of the real world. Nevertheless, the public often views the fields of art and science as distinct and without points of intersection.

While the humanities are currently under pressure to demonstrate their value, science is viewed as both essential for society yet somewhat exclusionary.

In this seminar, we will explore numerous intersections between visual arts-centered humanities and different scientific disciplines, such as psychology, geology, and neuroscience.

Each week, we will explore an encyclopedic collection of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper at the Princeton University Art Museum. We will consider different historic periods in art and science, major events in Earth history, developments in technology, and changing perceptions of the human body. Occasionally, we will add in scientific demonstrations and experiments, making use of the Council on Science and Technology's interdisciplinary StudioLab work space. In addition to our weekly meetings at Princeton, there will be a required Saturday field trip to a museum in New York City. Our goals are to investigate different ways of understanding the world around us, while appreciating different cultures, points of view, and disciplines. (Thursday 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 definitive answers, but evidence from many different areas of investigation (including paleontology, archeology, animal communication, neurobiology, genetics, statistics), when considered in conjunction, sheds light on these old and fascinating questions.
We will define critical concepts such as language and communication, and analyze key properties of human language that distinguish it from animal communication. We will examine the status of proposed universal properties shared by all human languages (in particular, recursion) and the documented birth of new languages like Creoles and Nicaraguan Sign Language. We examine non-linguistic behaviors (sobbing, laughing) with communicative functions that involve brain areas dedicated to language processing.
Research in animal communication shows that chimps, gorillas, and vervet monkeys communicate in sophisticated ways, using some of the same brain regions that are involved in human language processing.
We will ask whether language evolved gradually as a product of general primate cognition or whether it appeared within a relatively short time. We will examine contrasting arguments claiming simple vocalization, gestures, or music as the precursor of language.
At which stage in human evolution were the prerequisites for language given? We will discuss recent fossil evidence with respect to anatomical features (such as cranial volume) that are required for linguistic behavior. We will weigh competing hypotheses regarding a single origin (monogenesis) vs. multiple origins (polygenesis) of language in the light of paleontological, genetic, and statistical linguistic data.
What degree of societal organization was necessary for human language to arise? The earliest known artworks (cave paintings, fertility figurines) were most likely created to fulfill ritual functions; prehistoric tools and beads similarly point to social structures that were unlikely to exist without a well-developed language. Is language in fact primarily a product of cultural development rather than an innate cognitive faculty? (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

FRS 118 Life on Mars — Or Maybe Not SA
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. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


 
FRS 120 Hogs, Bats, and Ebola: An Introduction to One Health Policy SA
Laura Kahn
 
Agriculture is the foundation of civilization. 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. Meeting the growing world population's demand for meat while ensuring global health and sustainability in a warming climate is a challenge for current and future policy makers.
Approximately 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic (i.e. diseases of animals that infect humans). 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). In some cultures, bushmeat is considered a delicacy. Ebola outbreaks in Africa are believed due to consumption of or interaction with fruit bats or their excreta.
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 antimicrobial resistance, sanitation and hygiene, environmental health, 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 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 the medical and veterinary medical literature. Field trips to the Rutgers University agriculture facilities and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association are planned. In addition to classroom participation, two take-home quizzes, one five-page policy paper, one ten-page final policy paper, and a brief classroom Powerpoint presentation are required. A strong background in high school biology is required. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 122 Connection and Communication in the Digital Bazaar SA
Swati Bhatt
Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar
 
This seminar will explore how the Internet — and the rapid communication enabled by it — has fundamentally changed the economy and the way we do business. What impact has the constant connectivity of an evolving and growing digital network had on the structure and speed of the economy? Has the balance of economic power shifted from larger groups to individuals or vice versa? How has the nature of trade changed in the digital bazaar?
This seminar will examine the three powerful forces unleashed by this new technology. First, we will look at the network of connections that enables information exchange and allows businesses to be organized on a smaller scale. Second, we will examine the massive data that can be used to create stories about individuals, and we will explore how we are all affected by this phenomenon. Third, we will consider how our attention has become a scarce resource as a consequence of this connectivity. We are inundated with information, such as advertising, some of which appears to be free. We will explore whether information is truly free.
Our choices and our decision-making strategies adapt to our information environment so we will broaden our inquiry to discuss the shortcuts we take in our daily lives. Students will be encouraged to develop case studies of specific applications of digital technology that have impacted their lives. For example, how has the smartphone made a meaningful difference? Why do we "Venmo"?
Students will read chapters from the assigned text and articles to explore these ideas as they gain fluency in thinking about these issues in class discussion. Grades will be based on a short midterm essay, a final paper, and class discussion. (Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 124 Medieval Globalism: International Trade Before Columbus HA
Alan Stahl
 
The traditional discussion of world trade, and the world economy in general, has been dominated by the European viewpoint, which focuses on how Europeans acquired the goods they could not produce at home and built markets abroad for their own products. In this seminar, we will seek to examine the actions, motivations, and viewpoints of all of the participants in the medieval commercial network, including members of Islamic, Jewish, Indian, and Chinese trading communities. We will begin with the life and travels of Marco Polo, which can be seen as the personal embodiment of a system of exchange across the Eurasian landmass and Indian Ocean that was a distinctive feature of the 11th through 15th centuries. In addition to examining the intermittent trade contact the Mediterranean world had with the cultures of South Asia and East Asia, we will also study the medieval period, when a regular system of exchange was worked out that spanned the regions of the Old World. Objects of commerce ranged from the luxurious spices and silks of Asia to more mundane commodities such as wood and salt. Trade was chiefly in the hands of merchants operating in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, though in some periods it took the overland form known as the Silk Route. The growing demands for trade goods and for markets led to the opening of the Atlantic routes in the Age of Exploration and ultimately to the inclusion of the New World in the global commercial system.
Readings will begin with a critical consideration of Marco Polo's account, followed by a consideration of the records left by Egyptian Jews and other merchants of the period. Other readings and classroom discussions will be used to fill in the basic political, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the period 500 to 1500 CE. Over the course of the semester, we will examine manuscripts, printed books, maps, and coins relevant to the subject of the seminar. Student presentations, both in seminar and in written form, will focus on the research that each participant will carry out on a specific commodity that served as a link among people of different regions in this period. Each student will deliver four oral reports (three of about five minutes length, one of about 20 minutes) and will write four papers (three short and one medium-length) based on this research. There will be no exams. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

FRS 130 Canceled Land and Power HA
Bernadette Pérez
 
What makes a landscape “American”? When did the land stop being “Indian”? Struggles over the land have defined the relationship between the United States and the hundreds of sovereign Indigenous nations living within its colonial borders. Although Americans have often used Native Americans as symbols of the nation, they have also worked hard to define “American land” in opposition to “Indian land.” Moving from colonial times to the twentieth century, this course will examine the legal and economic mechanisms through which Americans gained control of the land. We will also consider how Native people resisted land loss, adapted to U.S. institutions, and asserted their sovereign right to belong in, and shape the future of, their ancestral homelands. Over the course of the semester, we will interrogate and historicize concepts such as property, wilderness, civilization, and possessive whiteness. Excursions will include visiting the Princeton Historical Society, working hands-on with archival materials at the Firestone Library, and visiting the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. We will also take local walking tours, to think about “place narratives” and to practice “reading the landscape” as a historical artifact. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 
 

Mathey College

 
FRS 132 Behind the Scenes: Inside the Princeton University Art Museum LA
Caroline Harris
Barrett Family Freshman Seminars
 
Would you like to see a Degas pastel or Cézanne watercolor up close and without the frame? Participants in this seminar will go behind the scenes of a major university art museum with an encyclopedic collection of more than 90,000 objects from ancient to contemporary art. Sessions will focus on discussions of connoisseurship and the role of the museum in the 21st century with a special emphasis on collecting practices. Students will study aspects of exhibition and installation planning, from scholarship and education to loans and conservation, through the Nature's Nation exhibition and by studying masterpieces of European art from the Pearlman Collection. Course readings will introduce students to some of the most compelling practical, theoretical, and ethical issues confronting museums.
A team of curators, the director, and other members of the professional staff of the Princeton University Art Museum will lead the seminar sessions, which focus on particular topics. Students are expected to discuss critically issues in acquisitions, conservation, education, and interpretation based on readings and outside projects. There also will be a trip to New York City to visit museums. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 136 Canceled Performing Arts and/as Civic Engagement SA
Erica Nagel
 
How can someone who loves the performing arts but is also committed to civic engagement find a path to combine their interests in meaningful ways? How can they use their artistic gifts in service to their communities? This seminar will explore the many ways in which theater and other performing artists create work as a civic and service practice. We will begin by examining early-20th-century American movements such as the Living Newspaper and the Hull House theater project, then move to more recent examples of performance-based activism such as Larry Kramer's ACTUP, Bread and Puppet Theater Company, Liz Lerman's Dance Exchange, Urban Bushwomen, and Augusto Boal's "legislative theater" model. We will also explore the role of civic engagement and service in theater for young audiences, educational theater, and applied theater practice, and will meet with students and educational leaders involved the Trenton Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Initiative. Finally, we will delve into examples of theater artists and companies currently creating civically engaged work such as the "Every 28 Hours" theater project, the Ghostlight Project, and Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Civic Practice Lab. Students will work toward a final paper or project that asks them to envision and potentially implement service and civic practice into an existing artistic endeavor, or to expand an existing service project to include the performing arts.
Throughout the course, students will be asked to read and think critically about the role of performing arts in society, explore and develop their own notion of civically engaged art-making, and consider the responsibility of theater artists to address questions of civic engagement and service. How do individual, systemic, and policy change interact and how can/do performing arts operate at all three of these levels? How might we as artists and arts lovers consider ways that our work can reflect and affect current sociopolitical conversations? What is our responsibility as art-makers to try to "be of service" or to shape or change civic society? Can/does a social change agenda hamper an artist's creative efficacy? Can/do plays and productions influence civic practice without that being the primary intent of the creators? (Monday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

 
FRS 140 Bioethics and Public Policy EM
Harold T. Shapiro
William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar
 
Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics focused on the study of ethical issues that arise over time by the ongoing advances in the biological and medical sciences and/or by new sensitivities to one's ethical obligations. The seminar will be focused on the relationship between selected issues in bioethics and their implications, if any, for the design of public policies in this arena. Some bioethical issues may be thought of as purely private matters, others may be best dealt with by professional codes of ethics, still others may require a response from public policy, and finally some may be dealt with through the judicial system. This seminar will focus primarily on areas in bioethics that seem to have salience for public policy.
The last two centuries we have witnessed extraordinary and continuing developments in our understanding of human biology and in our capacity to deploy new clinical modalities (biomedicine). Moreover the pace of change in these arenas seems to be accelerating as we deepen our understanding of human biology and our capacity to fight disease and, some would say, to potentially exert control over the evolution of our species. While great progress has been made in our abilities to treat disease and enhance the human condition, many of these developments have raised ethical questions in such arenas as: compulsory vaccination, the use of human subjects in medical research, the ethical treatment of non-human animals, the ethical boundaries of public health initiatives, the ethics of euthanasia and suicide, the appropriate deployment of assisted reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, cloning, and stem cell treatments.
This seminar will consider both the ethical issues raised by these ongoing developments and the appropriate public policy responses to various contemporary developments on the biomedical frontier and/or our enhanced sensitivity to our obligation to others. 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 advisers in heated policy debates where egos, money, and power are at stake. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

FRS 158 So, You Want To Change the World? SA
Martin Johnson
Anonymous Donor Freshman Seminar
 
Governments struggle to address awesome challenges facing our communities, country, and planet. Private sector entrepreneurs increasingly step up to solve them.
These social entrepreneurs (SEs) define a problem (or broken system), and then develop new ways to address it — at the root of the problem. Motivated by social or environmental change, SEs attract others to their cause. They assemble a team, funding, technology, and networks to create a social enterprise — the vessel that moves them forward. SEs often lead by example, shouldering risks and forcing others to think differently.
SEs are not always extroverts, CEOs, or leaders, however. In fact, most SEs will serve in support roles in teams. These "intrapreneurs" are often the unsung heroes of organizations and businesses. How do we nurture them?
SEs must do all that conventional business entrepreneurs do — design effective products, fundraise, manage financials, build teams, persevere, etc. But they also must navigate complex, high-risk, and politically charged settings; underdeveloped success measures; diffused accountability; scarce access to capital; and the ever-present potential for unintended bad consequences, despite good intentions.
Most successful SEs are driven by personal experiences with pain or injustice. They hold a binary mindset, allowing them to master their profession, yet retain enough distance to be able to change the rules of that profession. They remain hopeful, even when evidence of hope may not exist.
Are successful SEs the result of nature or nurture? This discussion-based seminar will explore that question and current research on the psychology and anthropology of SE leaders.
Students will learn to "map" complex social systems, discover "best" or at least "pretty good" SE practices, and explore their own SE options, tendencies, and ideas. In this Community Based Learning Initiative (CBLI) seminar, students will meet, interact with, and write about current social entrepreneurs in the region.
Taught by Martin Johnson, a 1981 alumnus, and founder and CEO of Isles, a 36-year-old Trenton, New Jersey–based sustainable development organization that arose from a student seminar at Princeton, this seminar will also include a case study of his son, Jeremy Johnson, a 2007 alumnus and co-founder of two successful for-profit social impact technology companies, 2U.com and Andela. Martin Johnson also teaches a 400-level course, EGR 498 "Rethinking Social Profit Organizations." (Wednesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)
 

Rockefeller College

 
FRS 134 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, deception in the D-Day invasion; and the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)
 

FRS 142 History and Cinema: Fascism in Film HA
Gaetana Marrone-Puglia

In October 1922, when Benito Mussolini completed his semi-legal seizure of power in Italy, the Fascist era began in triumph and was cheered by the crowds. It ended two decades later in the Piazzale Loreto at Milan, where the bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were strung up by the heels by the partisans as silent evidence that the Fascist regime was indeed over. Between those two historical moments, Mussolini, the ex-socialist, had dominated the spotlight of Europe.

Produced from the post-World War II period to the present, the Italian, French, German, and Polish films we will study in this seminar establish a theoretical framework for the analysis of Fascism, its political ideology, and its ethical dynamics. We shall consider such topics as the concept of fascist normality, the racial laws, the morality of social identities (women, homosexuals), the Resistance, and the aftermath of the Holocaust. An interdisciplinary approach will be combined with learning basic concepts of film style, technique, and criticism. Some of the films we will study are Bertolucci's The Conformist, De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Malle's Au revoir les enfants, Schlöndorff's The Tin Drum, Wertmüller's Seven Beauties, Holland's Europa Europa, Polanski's The Pianist, Rossellini's Open City, and Benigni's Life is Beautiful.

Readings will focus primarily on historical essays, interviews with filmmakers, and critical reviews. Students are expected to view one film per week. Students will be required to write three 3-page papers based on the weekly readings and the films and a final paper (6-8 pages). All books will be available for purchase at the Labyrinth bookstore or can be consulted at Firestone Library. All other materials will be distributed by the instructor in class. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 144 Cancel Democracy Under Stress SA
Ezra Suleiman

The United States was the first nation to embody Enlightenment ideals in democratic form, and has been an exemplary, if imperfect, model since. Following the Civil War, the country experienced a calm unimaginable on the old continent. There were no military coups, no crises during transfers of power, and no ongoing contestations of the Constitution. No one growing up in America thought in terms of regime change, foreign invasion, or insurrection. Experiments with autocratic rule in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal created long periods of instability and suffering. Following World War II and the Cold War, spectacular economic "miracles" in most of the European countries ushered a period of quiet democracy unknown to the Continent. The fall of the Berlin Wall ended the separation of East and West Europe, and one political scientist famously spoke of a Utopian "end of history.” Yet history did not end and the nations of Europe, and now the United States, seem dangerously close to questioning their democratic institutions. Americans today no longer inhabit the culture of compromise to which Tocqueville attributed the nation’s success in the 1830s.

This seminar will examine (1) the ancient discourses on democracy, (2) the historical development of democracy in the major countries of Europe and the United States, and (3) the threats they face today. It will seek to understand the conditions of a democratic order, of a consolidated democracy, and of democratic collapse. Historic cases of fascism, communism, and generally tyranny will be examined through changes to immigration, globalization, the work force, inequality, and polarization. How do we detect such changes? Are there signs that warn us of the impending danger of democratic collapse? Are any of these signs discernible on the horizon in Western democracies? (Wednesday 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.)


FRS 146 What Is a Great Experiment? STN
Shirley M. Tilghman

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

Each week I will pair a foundational paper with more recent ones that illustrate the impact that the original discovery has had on biology and human health. Students will be asked to read the original scientific papers before class, aided by a glossary and a set of questions that focus on the design of the experiments.(Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 148 Speech, Text, and Sacred Tradition EC
Erin Vearncombe

What does it mean to call a text "sacred" or "holy"? How is a text read or interpreted as "scripture"? What classifies as "text," and who names text as authoritative? How have the answers to these questions influenced the way in which religious communities define themselves? This seminar will examine texts from the "religions of the book" — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — from both historical and theoretical perspectives. Placing texts in context, we will see how shifting ideas, changing languages, and transformed social and political realities led interpreters to ask different questions about sacred texts.

This seminar will also encourage reflection on our own reading practices: the assumptions we bring to the reading of scriptural texts, and how context and culture shape interpretation and meaning. We will also ask questions about the nature of sacred text and speech, examining language and translation. Why is the Qur'an read primarily in Arabic, for example, while Christian Bibles are read in translation, rather than in Hebrew and Greek? What is the relevancy of reading practices? How can we understand the embodiment of sacred text in material artifacts like scrolls, books, amulets, and other objects? Could a contemporary text, such as Harry Potter, be considered "sacred"? (Thursday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

Whitman College

FRS 112 Consuming America: Five Critical Food Puzzles SA
Tessa Lowinske Desmond

Everybody eats. Yet, food varies widely across cultures and the implications of our food choices have rippling—and often disparate—effects across people groups.  More than just a basic need or matter of preference, food is a web that connects people to each other.  While food can be a bridge to comfort, community, and notions of home, it can also be contested terrain where issues and assumptions of access, morality, and entitlement are played out.  This course considers such moments of contestation and uses food as a lens to examine American inequality. 
  
This seminar will examine closely five persistent puzzles in the American food system and provide students with an opportunity to brainstorm, discuss, debate, and evaluate possible solutions to issues of food insecurity, food-related disease, farm labor, regulation, and the environment.  Through these sets of puzzles and problems students will consider class, race, and gender disparities as well as themes of paternalism and judgement, food as a human right, and concepts of freedom. This interdisciplinary seminar will draw on material from history, sociology, literature, government sources, journalism, and other media.   Students will discuss current events, policies, and issues; examine their historical roots; and get involved in our local community.
 
Consuming America is a Community-Based Learning Course in which students are expected to serve in local food-related outreach initiatives.  Students will choose from a list of possible activities including work with food pantries, soup kitchens, and school lunch programs. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)

FRS 150 Russia and Eastern Europe: Conflict and Interdependence SA
Marzenna James

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

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

In an effort to understand this momentous global conflict, students will look at the history of Russia's relations with Central Europe during the Soviet period and consider how that legacy shapes the region today. Our seminar will examine the current and historical patterns of military, economic, and political relations through a variety of theoretical lenses. We will apply theories of international relations, including realism, Marxism, liberalism, economic power, rational choice, and theories of domestic politics as well as analysis of individual leaders. We will read Alexander Dugin, Zbigniew Brzeziński, Czesław Miłosz, Serhii Plokhy, T.G. Ash, Andrew Wilson, Randall Stone, Karen Dawisha, and other key texts. Using some of these theoretical foundations, students will investigate contrasts and continuities in Russia's relations with Central and Eastern Europe.

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


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

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. New, really frightening strains of bacteria and viruses, resistant to old treatments, arrive every day. What are we to do?

This seminar will be an optimistic (I promise) look at the ways that medicines are created and tested. Participants will gain an appreciation for the complexities and risks of drug discovery — and a glimpse into what the next decade promises to bring. Topics will include: immunotherapy for cancer, teachings from mother nature, unmet medical needs, target selection, toxicity, clinical trials, neglected diseases, economic models of drug discovery (and drug pricing), along with how to address pandemics. Class time will be a blend of lectures and discussions on the basics of drug discovery coordinated with case studies. Guest speakers will range from experts in oncology to business development.

This seminar is appropriate for both non-science and science concentrators with an interest in the future of healthcare. Students will choose a disease and then identify a path toward a new way to treat it. (Monday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)


FRS 156 Canceled Public Leadership and Public Policy SA
Nathan Scovronick

This seminar will review key presidential policy decisions on domestic and foreign policy issues. It will examine the President's role as both chief executive and commander-in-chief, and will consider cases such as the passage of civil rights legislation, the management of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the interventions Cuba, Vietnam, and Iraq. It will consider the ethical, legal, and operational frameworks for effective, responsible public leadership. Students will review literature from history, psychology, and politics; discuss the central policy issues in each case; and evaluate the decision-making process in view of these frameworks. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 160 Canceled Politics and Religious Action in U.S. History HA
Bolek Kabala

The debates we have over the role of the Supreme Court, and the impact of values, voters, and religious liberty have only intensified in recent years. Yet behind these issues larger questions loom: What have been the contributions, both positive and negative, of religious Americans to U.S. politics? Is the U.S. a secular nation or a religious project? And how have politics and religion intersected at crucial junctures of our history?

The course proceeds chronologically, examining religion in politics from Puritan beginnings, through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention, and into early debates over whether individual states could establish state churches. We consider how religion fueled the great abolitionist movement of William Lloyd Garrison and Charles Finney, as well as the most explicit defenses of slavery in the South. We also consider counterintuitive aspects of belief in the Progressive era — with respect to working conditions, eugenics, and race.

Rather than trying to tell a single story, the course seeks to better understand a number of different and contingent stories, all of which have to do with the relation of politics to religion in key eras of U.S. political history. Looking at the 20th century, we consider also against the backdrop of religious ideas the Cold War, civil rights, and grassroots movements of the 1960s and 70s. Throughout, the emphasis is on unsettling assumptions brought to the table — whether these have to do with religious actors in American history standing in the way of a more perfect Union, helping to bring it about, or some combination of the two.

Towards the end of the course, we move into theoretical territory. First, how did theorists of secularization, or the idea that religion will fade over time, make their case? And how have their predictions been borne out by social trends in the U.S.? Second, what is the normative status of religion in politics, or do policy positions articulated on the basis of a comprehensive view of the world deserve a hearing in the public square? Theorists who will inform the discussions towards the end of the course include Max Weber, Peter Berger, and John Rawls.

The course will close with a consideration of voters who identified as religious in the 2016 Presidential election. The level of support for Donald Trump among them was, to many, a surprise. What explains the numbers? And what, if anything, do they suggest about the interplay of politics and religion in the U.S. going forward? (Monday, Wednesday 3:00-4:20 p.m.)

Wilson College

FRS 162 Reading Love and Friendship LA
Sarah Anderson
Anonymous Donor Freshman Seminar

Love and friendship are biosocial, widely distributed, and perhaps genuinely universal human phenomena. Medical science asserts that both can be good for you. Yet thousands of years of writing, picturing, and singing about these states of mind and body expose not just the world-altering bliss they put us in touch with, but also the madness, fury, and gloom they turn loose. The formidable irrationality of love can make a lover everything but human. And where do love and its many effects stand in relation to the powder keg of sex and other key human acts and emotions?

This seminar asks what the claims of literature are about the loaded and polysemous terms love and friendship. Each term evokes stories. At a drinking party where the subject is love, Aristophanes tells a creation myth about how creaturely spheres were cleft by a jealous Zeus, causing the divided pieces to ever search for that other half. Lovers and friends run amok through a tangled greenwood on a Shakespearean midsummer's night, finding both what they want and don't want. Ilana and Abbi, sodden with bad choices in bar and boudoir, stay friends no matter what in the television series Broad City. Love and friendship are legible to us, and infinitely tellable and telling stories of us.

How do we read what they tell us? Can we understand or even recognize the emotions of other cultures and other time periods? Literature reveals the processes by way of which love and friendship afflict, enrich, and confound: the text exposes the perceptions, evaluation, and response of the characters in its orb to the dynamics of love and friendship. Writers invent architectural and emotional spaces in which lovers attain at least a fantasy of privacy, plot the endurance of friendship and its pleasures, and reveal us looking at ourselves and each other, thus creating readable subjects and objects, and perhaps forms of subjectivity itself.

Reading deeply and systematically will reveal the social and political functions of love, sex, and friendship, too. For example, friendship could be more important than kinship ties in medieval Scandinavia, and it served as a model for a king's relationship to his subject or for an individual's to his gods. A culture's ethics and social hierarchy are implicated by way of what kinds of love it values, how it controls sexual behavior, and where it places friendship. A course about these crucial terms should offer the student what love, sex, and friendship may: not just what one thinks one knows already, but rather a semester-long investigation of the uncertainty that these terms point toward through reading some spectacularly good literature. (Tuesday 7:30-10:20 p.m.)


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

This seminar will study the history and nature of myths — traditional as well as urban myths — particularly in regard to the way that they reflect the concerns and fears of all cultures. We will examine the ways in which myths differ from folk tales, fairy tales and superstition, and the means by which entire communities, seized with conviction often for generations, disseminate and fortify them. The collective unconscious is often manifested in metaphor, particularly in literature and film, and the legitimate anxieties, fears (and guilt) that it reflects will be the subject of our study.

We will discuss urban myths through history (witchcraft; alchemy and the philosopher's stone; prophecies of the end of the world) as well as contemporary myths (Ponzi schemes; alien abductions), and the technological, religious and cultural shifts that cause them.

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

Students will read from Grimm's Fairy Tales, Charles MacKay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Bruno Bettleheim's The Uses of Enchantment, as well as works by Joseph Campbell, and the books Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, White Noise, The Road, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. We will watch the films I Am Legend, Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau), Metropolis, and ET. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


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

This seminar investigates the nature, causes, and consequences of economic inequality. We pose five big questions: Who is unequal; what is unequally distributed; what causes inequality; what are inequality's consequences; and how does inequality affect justice?

Who is unequal? Inequality discussions often focus on differences within countries: American women earn less than men, African Americans earn less than whites, rural workers earn less than metropolitan workers, the bottom 50 percent earns less than the top 1 percent. But we also will explore economic differences across countries, and across individuals globally, where inequality is greater still.

What is unequally distributed? Some measures, such as wealth, are more unequally distributed than income, while other measures, such as spending, happiness and life expectancy, are less unequally distributed. Which measure is most meaningful? And are measured inequality trends the same everywhere?

What causes inequality? Many factors. We consider several causes of the growth of inequality since 1980: politics, technology, rising returns to education, globalization, changes in family formation, skyrocketing housing costs, and corporate governance failure.

What are inequality's consequences? Some economic inequality is desirable; it spurs innovation, hard work, and investment in people. But economic inequality is also associated with adverse social outcomes, political corruption, racial resentment, and consumption arms races. How much inequality is too much inequality?

How does inequality affect justice? Is poverty or inequality the more serious problem? 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 also a matter of the process that leads to that distribution? Do moral obligations to reduce inequality extend beyond national borders or stop at the water's edge? (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 p.m.)


FRS 170 The Mathematics of Secrecy, Search, and Society! QR
Jonathan Hanke

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 email, 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 172 Alexander Hamilton: The Life, Thought, and Legacy of an American Original HA

Bradford Wilson

It seems to have taken a hip hop musical to reintroduce Alexander Hamilton to the American consciousness.  In this seminar, we shall undertake a through engagement with Hamilton--the man, the thinker, the statesman.  Who was he, really, and what did he contribute to the making of the American Republic?  He was a proponent and architect of a strong central government.  But why?  What was his defense of the Constitution and his understanding of how it should be interpreted? How did Hamilton understand himself, and how was he understood by his friends and his enemies, as well as by later writers and politicians?  And, if he was so politically and intellectually gifted, how and why did he come to be despised by three other outstanding thinkers and statesmen: John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson?
 
We wish to contemplate the intimate relationship between “biography” and “politics” by examining how one extraordinary man’s life shaped his nation and how his nation shaped his life.  We want to consider the life of the mind, how different types of thought – say, Hamilton’s practical or prudential reason and Jefferson’s theoretical or speculative reason – result in different ways of judging the world and different plans of action.  Are there axioms or first principles of politics from which one can deduce policies and right action?  Or should political thought operate inductively, through an examination of history and experience?  Perhaps above all, we desire to know the nature of statesmanship, and what distinguishes it from and elevates it over other forms of political engagement.
 
Our inquiries will be guided by texts of many kinds: biography; intellectual, political, and economic history; speeches and writings of Hamilton and his contemporaries; and, time permitting, the recording and libretto of a Broadway musical. (Monday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.)