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Term Specific Course Descriptions - Spring 2014
(those not found in Catalog)
AA-351A 001 The Entrepreneurial Artist
Today's business climate presents many challenges to artists of all disciplines. Artists find themselves needing to combine their creative abilities with strong business practices. Whether you are an artist interested in financially sustaining your art making or have a vision to launch an arts-based business, this course is designed to introduce students to the basic principles needed to plan for and launch an arts related business. Through active participation and an interactive classroom format, students will merge practical business knowledge with insight from local experts in the field, to fuel students' entrepreneurial spirit and guide the development of a real-life business plan. Topics to be explored include business planning, legal requirements, budgeting, finance, marketing, branding, and networking.
AA-351D 001 Entertainment Law & Business: Doing Business Deals in the Arts and Entertainment World
Are you thinking of working or managing in the world of arts administration or the entertainment business (theatre, music, film, television, literary or visual arts)? If so, then this course is for you. From visual artists' collaboration with galleries and museums, to musicians' deals with record labels, every kind of partnership in the arts and entertainment world involves fascinating and sometimes complex business, legal, ethical and artistic considerations. In this class, students will explore the roles and relationships of various stakeholders in these industries, both from the creative/talent and business viewpoints: authors and publishers, screenwriters and producers, composers and record labels, networks and unions, artists and agents or managers. Students will develop a practical understanding of the particular legal and business issues and problems that emerge in each case. Other topics which may be explored include: the impact of new technologies and distribution methods, social media and marketing, piracy, privacy, free speech, defamation, celebrity publicity rights and endorsements, as well as issues related to working with large media conglomerates and corporate sponsors. Students will develop and hone their negotiating skills in practical group exercises, contract negotiations and explore issues of creative content control in a workshop environment at this exciting intersection of the arts, entertainment, business and legal worlds.
AH-351A 001 Art Works
Will closely examine works in the Tang collection as case studies for exploring original research on contemporary art. By conducting oral histories with visiting artists students will develop critical art historical skills, enrich the museum's archive and expand the art historical record.
AH-351N 001 The Taj Mahal and Beyond: The Art of Mughal India
Explores the art and architecture of the Mughal dynasty in South Asia, from the origins of the empire in the sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, when the last Mughal ruler was exiled by British forces. Miniature manuscript and album paintings, palace and tomb architecture, lavish jewelry, enameled weaponry, and elaborate textiles will all be interpreted within the context of Mughal political structures, Islamic doctrine, and existing aesthetic traditions in South Asia. The artistic and cultural exchange between the Mughal capital and contemporary, neighboring courts, particularly in Rajasthan and the Himalayan foothills, will also be examined. (Designated a non-Western cultures course.)
AH-361D 001 Topics in Gender and Visual Culture: Arts of Africa
A study of the role of gender in African art and visual culture, including sculptures, masquerades, textiles, paintings, photography, print and digital media, and film. Students explore the construction of gender identities through factors such as artistic training, subject matter, style, patronage, collecting, display, spectatorship, and/or theoretical discourses on art. Artistic response to controversial issues such as women's excision, homophobia, and the problem of AIDS will be among the topics explored in this course. (Designated a non-Western cultures course.)Prerequisites: One Art History course Note(s): May be repeated for credit with permission of the department.
A study of Renaissance fashion and dress in Europe, from its origins in 14th-century France through the 16th century in Italy and the North. Topics concern the meaning and function of dress, for example, the origins of "fashion," constructing class and gender differences via dress, dressing "the Other," production and maintenance of clothing, ecclesiastical dress, head and body hair, Renaissance dress accessories, and "undress" (i.e., nudity or erotic clothing). This course will require significant student engagement in weekly readings and discussions, as well as the development of an in-depth research project that will be presented orally to the class and then expanded into a written paper. Open to Junior and Senior AH and AR majors and minors.
AN-251C 001 Stone Tool Analysis
This course will introduce students to basic techniques for analyzing stone materials from archaeological sites. It focuses on stone artifacts which have been shaped by a process called "knapping." This is where individuals use tools to detach lithic (i.e., stone) flakes from a central mass of stone either for subsequent usage of the flakes or in order to shape the central mass into a tool. Assignments include a combination of readings and the performance of stone knapping by students. It will also provide learners with the opportunity to design their own knapped stone analysis project on archaeological collections housed at Skidmore. This project will help students understand how research designs are developed in a laboratory setting and what anthropological questions can be asked about people from their now discarded stone trash. The course is divided into two sections, with the first half of the term spent learning the basics of knapped stone analysis and the second being devoted completely to a final research project. Both components involve extensive laboratory work. Prerequisite: AN-101 and AN-102.
AN-252C 001 Queer Anthropology: Ethnicity and Sexuality across Cultures
An exploration of the anthropology of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities. Students use conceptual approaches in anthropology and queer studies to understand how people create and express sexual identities in a variety of societies. Case studies focus on same-sex relationships, third gender identities, and queer social justice movements, and we examine how globalization has influenced the meaning of being gay, lesbian, and queer, particularly in non-Western settings. Students examine cultural patterns and variations of gender expression as well as how sexuality intersects with social identities related to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, class, and nationalism. (Designated a Cultural Diversity course.)Prerequisite: AN-101 or 102 and permission of instructor.
AN-252C 002 Archaeology of the Middle East
This course introduces students to early human societies of the Middle East as we know them through archaeological remains. While ancient Mesopotamia is the most famous cultural sphere attested to in the archaeological record of the region, the Middle East has been host to a variety of other important socio-cultural phenomena from the origins of farming to the development of major world religions. Students will learn how the archaeology of the Middle East also has much to tell us about some of the biggest topics in anthropology including the origins of humanity, the development of social inequality, and the state. There are nearly two-million years of human occupation in the Middle East and this course will cover a number of topics beginning with early Hominin dispersals out of Africa and ending in the late Roman Empire. (Fulfills social sciences requirement; designated a non-Western cultures course.)
AN-252C 003 Latin America: Regional Identities
A survey of the diverse geographic spaces and multiple regional identities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Students explore how Latin Americans experience and challenge the creation of nationalism and ethnicities related to a range of topics, such as basketball in Mexico, Japanese in Peru, capoeira in Brazil, and popular music across the region. Through ethnographic accounts and films, students examine broad social groups, including indigenous peoples, Afro-Latinos, and populations with mixed ethnicities. The discussions explore how contemporary "youth culture" and "street culture" influence modern identities related to race, ethnicity, gender, and class. (Fulfills Social Science Requirement; Designated a non-Western culture course.)
AN-252D 001 Caribbean Health and Culture
This course serves as an introduction to cultural and biological anthropology of the Caribbean. We will begin by orienting ourselves to the region and interrogating the boundaries used to define this linguistically, culturally and historically diverse area of the world. Using ethnographic sources, research articles, films and audio recordings, we will investigate how cultural practices influence health-related behavior and health outcomes in several societies including Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Martinique, and Barbados. In this regional tour, we will also explore relevant regional themes including race, religion, class, migration, sex, and gender. Prerequisite:AN-101 or AN-102. (Designated a non-Western cultures course.)
AN-343R 001 Ritual and Religion
For Spring 2014, the course is designated Research in Anthropology. Students carry out a research project on ritual. Prerequisite: AN-101.
AN-352C 002 Ancient Ecosystem Engineers: The archaeology of human-environment interactions
Humans have been shown to consistently transform the environment for their own benefit. However, humans can also frequently be blind to many of the unintended negative consequences of such interventions. This course will look at anthropological case-studies of human-environment interactions in the past to understand how human practices have been shaping ecosystems for millennia. These studies range in time from the end of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago to the ethnographic present and across such diverse regions as North America, the Amazon, the Middle East, and Australia. It will primarily use archaeological methods as well as ethnographic, historical, and paleoenvironmental data to show how new and frequently surprising examples of human ecosystem engineering in the past have been identified. Prerequisite:AN-101 and AN-102, or ES-100 and one anthropology course.
AN-352D 001 Imaging & Imagining the Past: Visual Representation in Anthropology
Peoples, places, and events of the past are frequently presented to the public in visual format: drawings, paintings, photographs, maps, models, tables and graphs, film, recreations, and virtual reality. Representation is readily interpreted as "truth," but accuracy in these images varies widely. This course will examine aspects of representation in anthropological discourse, such as gendered perspectives in images of our Hominin ancestors, changing criteria behind National Geographic's iconic photography, and the ethics of creating virtual realities of past peoples. Through visual analysis, students will survey the historical practice of illustrating the past and critically examine the choices made in creating interpretive images, as well as the meaning they generate (both past and present). In hands-on image making, students will learn the craft of illustration and gain an appreciation for the range of objectivity and subjectivity that are ever-present in image production. By pairing image analysis and image creation, students deepen understanding of anthropological practice through honing observation skills and developing visual acuity. No previous artistic training is required. Prerequisite:AN-101 and AN-102.
AR-264H 001 Print and Book
This course is an exploration and development of monoprint, relief and letterpress processes and how sequential images can be formatted into a variety of books. Discussion will occur around printmaking and book art history as well as, critiques of student's course work. Prerequisite: AR133
AR-351G 001 Themes in Contemporary Photography
This Intermediate studio topics course offers students the opportunity to explore diverse themes present in contemporary art photography. Vicki Goldberg's text, Light Matters will serve as required reading to enhance and generate dialog throughout the course. The first half of the semester is based on three themed projects: Documenting Modern Life, Conceptual Photography and Abstraction. The second half of the course offers students the context to explore a personal photo based project. Each student's independent project will relate to a significant contemporary theme in photography. Prerequisite: Beginning Photography
AR-351H 001 Advanced Printmaking
Further investigation of formal, expressive, and technical aspects of printmaking. This course emphasizes individual exploration of structured assignments, leading toward self-directed studio practice. Readings and discussions complement studio practice. Emphasis is placed upon more individual exploration of assigned formal problems in the studio. Prerequisite: AR228 or AR 341 or AR342 or AR350
An introduction to the basic principles of ecology through the lens of the Adirondacks. We will explore the habitats of the Adirondack region, how organisms adapt to these environments, how they interact with one another, and the flow of energy and nutrients through these systems. Particular emphasis will be paid to the way in which environmental issues such as acid rain, invasive species, and climate change affect the ecology of the Adirondacks. Students will become comfortable interpreting and applying findings from the scientific literature, and analyzing coverage of ecology and environmental issues in the popular media. We will focus on interpreting and presenting ecological data, and communicating research findings to the scientific community and the public. (Fulfills natural science requirement; QR2; and B1 cluster supportive course in Environmental Studies.)
BI-351 001Microbial Biotechnology and Environmental Application
An advanced exploration of the seemingly unlimited variety of microbial metabolic activity and its possible applications. Students will study the metabolic processes in bacteria and how our understanding of these processes can be applied in microbial biotechnology. Linking physiology, basic genetics and microbial diversity, we will discuss the use of microbes in areas like bioremediation, bio-fuel production, plant biotechnology, as well as vaccine and antibiotic development. Prerequisite:BI106 and one 200 level BI or ES course
BI-351 002 Evolution of Flight
Animal flight is one of the most demanding forms of movement. Yet, each time it has evolved in a new group (birds, bats, pterosaurs, and multiple insect taxa), that group has experienced incredible evolutionary success. The hurdles to evolve flight are high: new limb structures, muscles, brain centers, and integumentary structures combine to allow flight. We will review and discuss the old and new arguments for how those hurdles were cleared, and what selective pressures forced animals to take to the skies. Prerequisite: BI-106 and any 200 level Biology course, or permission of instructor; Recommended: BI-324 or BI-252.
BI-352 001 Mammalian Physiology
An in depth study of selected topics in mammalian physiology including respiratory, renal, neural, muscular, and digestive functions. Prerequisite: BI-106 and any 200 level Biology course, or permission of instructor. Neuroscience students: NS-101, BI-105, and any 200 level Biology course, or permission of instructor.
DA-274B 001 Anatomy and Kinesiology: A Dancers View
Learn the tools for improving technique and avoiding dance injuries! Anatomy and Kinesiology: A Dancers View is an exciting and insightful introduction to the field of dance science to enhance the understanding of the human body, reduce the risk of injury, and improve performance. Emphasis will be placed on learning basic anatomy, anatomical analysis, injury prevention, and conditioning for dancers. Material will be presented in online lectures, online discussion boards, with hands-on weekly lab sessions.
In the study of Body-Mind Centering, students will experience movement from “the inside out” through structured explorations and physiological research. The last century gave birth to dozens of methodologies that incorporated improvisation, experiential inquiry, anatomical science into approaches whereby the dancer, mover, or athlete can conduct or initiate movement from sensation or an understanding of the “inner workings” of the body. These masters of efficient, healthy movement include Lulu Sweigard, Irmgard Bartenieff, Charlotte Selver, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Carola Speads, F.M. Alexander, Joan Skinner, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, Steve Paxton, Elaine Summers, Irene Dowd, Mary Starks Whitehouse and many others. Out of this rich fabric of research came approaches such as Authentic Movement, Ideokinesis and Body-Mind Centering® that offer a rich series of sensory approaches to the body in motion and the body in stillness. This class will offer opportunities and techniques for allowing sensation and an inner voice to conduct action. This foundation will allow profound movement to have priority over appearance or perfect execution. A correlation can be made with Jazz improvisation, when the musician is guided by an inner voice or impulse in expressing sound. This class is about change, expression through the body, release and reeducation of tissue or cemented movement patterns. The guide and teacher is the student’s inner sensation rather than objective directions from outside the body. An overriding understanding of balance and regulating tone in all the systems and the surrounding environment will give students life-sustaining tools to regulate their body-mind. Athletes, dancers, pedestrians will find healthier ways to move, by accessing power, strength and flow in motion through relaxation and fluidity. The goal is to be aware of one’s body from the inside, creating positive ramifications for performance and wellness.
DA-274B 003 Entrepreneurship and the Arts
This course outlines strategies for infrastructural survival, creative/entrepreneurial strategy and communications success, and discusses opportunities for artists, creatives, and future arts managers in the coming years. Supplemental texts include Jennifer Homans' Apollo's Angels, 37Signals' REWORK, Michael Kaiser's The Art of the Turnaround, Nina Simon's The Participatory Museum, among others, as well as numerous interviews and articles online. Students will be responsible for completing readings, writing, blogging, and a final collaborative project to enter into/intervene constructively in the dance and culture sector.
EC-361 001 The Ecomonics of Health and Healthcare
This course examines the issues of health and healthcare from an economic perspective. Specific issues to be discussed are the relationship between health and healthcare, demand under conditions of uncertainty, the production and distribution of health services, the role of insurance the government as insurer and provider. We will also study the economics of various sub-markets such as the pharmaceutical market and the market of physician services. Primary focus will be on the United States, though alternative health care systems are also discussed. Prerequisites: EC236, EC237
EC-361 002 Economics of Crime
This course discusses the causes and determinants of crime and vice using the framework of microeconomic theory. Topics include economic theories of crime and addiction, corruption, and the explicit and implicit costs of incarceration. Prerequisite: EC236, EC237
ED-261A 001 Multicultural Education
An introduction to the theories, goals, and history of the field of multicultural education. Course topics will include race, culture and knowledge construction; identities and education; anti-racist and anti-bias schooling practices; and teacher education and identity in classrooms. Within each topic, theory and practice will be combined to understand how multicultural education has developed and how it is currently implemented in educational settings.
English Department Course Descriptions can be found here - http://cms.skidmore.edu/english/courses/index.cfm
ES-252B 001 The Engineering and Ecology of Energy
Energy is at the center of our lives. Although it is a necessity for many of our daily needs such as cooking, heating, and transportation, the excessive consumption of energy is unsustainable. Environmental awareness requires considerations about energy, but it is challenging to understand and quantify the advantages and disadvantages of an energy option, solution or technology. Energy choices should be based on a balance between engineering challenges, cost constraints, and environmental impacts. Keeping this in mind, we'll explore the world of energy, from energy efficiency to sustainable energy sources. This class will introduce students to the fundamental physics of energy; the evolving designs, technologies and efficiencies of more traditional and alternative energy production; and the comprehensive ecological impacts of various energy sources and systems such as Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Biomass. This class will also provide students with the analytical tools to seek and find answers to a myriad of questions about energy, from the big-picture to specific details.
Course work includes a mid-term and final term examinations, individual and group case studies, a final written assignment as well as some workshops, labs, and field trips. The class shall be a dynamic interaction between the instructor and the students. I expect students to come up with their own questions relevant to the subject and seek out the answers (case studies) under the instructor's guidance. Prereqs: ES 100 and QR1.
ES-352C 001 Environment and Development in the Middle East
The Middle East immediately brings to mind religious and political complexities. However, Middle Eastern nations also face distinctive environmental and development challenges. In this class, students will study the natural and human environment in the Middle East, addressing major development and environmental topics such as the impacts of oil and other natural resource use; modernization and large dam projects; population growth and access to water, energy and food; and climate change and transboundary environmental issues. Students will explore the complex and interdisciplinary characteristics of Middle East environmental issues at both the regional and global scales through the examination of case studies from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
The course work includes an exam, a research project, individual and group work on case studies. Prerequisite: ES 100 or IA 101 or GO 103; Familiarity with international policy making and world geography.(Designated a non-Western cultures course.)
ES-352C 002 Human Rights and Development
Human rights and development have evolved largely in separate tracks historically. However, we observe convergence between these fields in theory, applied research and practice. Many bilateral and multilateral aid organizations, non‐governmental organizations and development workers now profess to implement "rights‐based approaches" to development. These re‐orientations have been warmly embraced in some, but not by all, quarters. This course will critically examine the convergence between human rights and development, through a mix of lectures, group‐work discussions and practical exercises. The course will explore the contemporary conceptions and meanings of human rights and development, laying the ground for a more detailed examination of the points of convergence ‐ as well as tensions ‐ between these fields. We will consider how international human rights standards and principles have influenced technical approaches of development agencies, and key public policy debates concerning international aid, trade, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), poverty reduction strategies, climate change and anti‐globalisation critiques. We will closely examine the roles and functions of United Nations development agencies, international development and financial institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, transnational corporations and business entities, set against political debates on human rights and development in inter‐governmental bodies.
This is a separate class from GO 340, The International Human Rights Regime: Promise and Peril. Students who have taken EC316, Economics of Development, and GO 340 are welcome to take the class. Prerequisites: IA 101 or GO 103 or GO 201 or ES 100.
ES-352D 001 Environmental Education
Do you have a deep appreciation for environmental protection and a genuine concern about environmental problems that will affect the Earth and future generations for years to come? Maybe you also feel the need to share this positive passion for the environment with children, your friends, and interested members of the community? Then it's very possible that YOU should explore the field of environmental learning, and how to become an effective environmental educator! This course will especially be of interest to future teachers, non-formal environmental educators and advocates, and students interested in outreach, education, and communications for the non-profit and government sector. Students will learn about the history and current state of environmental learning in the US, as well as the various pedagogical tools, programs, and resources that are available for the global dissemination of environmental learning. We'll explore the innovations and philosophies behind experiential and authentic environmental learning; sustainability education; research on environmental learning (knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors); environmental service learning; earth education; emancipatory education; critical pedagogy; and issues investigation and action training (IIAT), etc. Students will research and critique existing environmental education programs as well as undertake a partnership with a local school, outdoor education center, National, State, or City Park, youth organization, hospital, non-profit organization, etc. in order to design and implement an age appropriate, innovative, and inspirational environmental learning unit. Students will be required to take one mid-term examination, take quizzes, as well as submit various written assignments.
ES-352D 002 Environment and Systems Thinking
Most if not all environmental problems are "complex" in their nature. Air pollution, watershed degradation, waste mismanagement, habitat destruction, and global warming are just some of the problems that typically involve the interaction of many variables, time scales, and even perspectives, frustrating our attempts to understand, let alone address, them using conventional analytic approaches. Ironically, in many cases, environmental policies have compounded the problems they were designed to fix. New environmental governance approaches based on principles of adaptive management are beginning to take into account complexity as they tackle issues such as environmental risk communication and management: systems thinking. This course introduces students to the basic concepts and methods of complex systems thinking which are currently redefining environmental science, policy, and governance. Through readings and classroom discussion of works by some of the field's leading proponents, students will learn precepts of the "systems approach," with its emphasis on relations, and how this approach differs from the more conventional focus on entities and quantities. Applying these concepts, students will then survey problems currently being posed by complex systems research within the field of environmental studies, including socio-ecological systems coupling, cusp catastrophes, resilience, and sustainability. Students will also get a broad overview of systems modeling methods ranging from qualitative techniques (including storytelling) to computational modeling. Case studies will illustrate how systems concepts and methods have been applied to environmental problems, including those afflicting our urban areas. The course culminates with a research project where students will build a rudimentary model of an environmental problem with the aim of identifying potential leverage points for bringing about system change. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on both the advantages and limitations of modeling and the role modeling should play in environmental decision-making. Participation in class discussions is crucial to success in the course. Assignments include weekly reading digests, collaborative in-class exercises, and a research project. Prerequisites:ES 100
FL-255 001 FilmTheory and Criticism
A survey of major developments in film theory and methods of analyzing film from the invention of cinema to today. Working with the notion that cinema is an art form, a commodity, and a form of communication, we examine how historical, commercial, and aesthetic contexts influence film production and reception. Students read key texts in classical and contemporary film theory and criticism to develop an understanding of a film's narrative, visual structure, and place within established theoretical traditions. Subjects to be considered include formalism, realism, auteur theory, feminism, spectatorship, genre and star analysis, narratology, queer theory, cultural studies, post-colonialism, and critical race theory. (Fulfills humanities requirement.)
An exploration of 21st century themes in Italian films. The narrative of Italian film in recent decades follows the development of social, cultural, political, and economic issues. Students view films which explore a series of thematic clusters: social change and urban challenge, work scene and workplace, politics and the media, immigration and integration, cultural revolution and terrorism, and organized crime. Critical materials contextualize the films and provide tools for interpretation and discussion. Students will explore different writing styles: analytical (considering both the visual text of the films and the prose of secondary sources), descriptive (in relation to historical analyses of the periods depicted), and creative (writing or re-writing a movie scene). The final project, a brief iMovie relating to Italy and a theme from the course, puts discussion into practice. In English.(Fulfills humanities requirement)
FL-263 001 ON THE FENCE: a narrative revolution on the U.S./Mexico border
This course explores the writers' response, traditional and alternative, to the swiftly changing condition of the borderlands. The examination of the overreaching geopolitics of exclusion manifested in a 2,000-mile fence of many forms, serves to broaden students' understanding of the emergence of a prevalent, dissident narrative.(Fulfills humanities requirement.)
GO-251A 001 Political Islam
What is political Islam? How did Islamist movements become key political forces in Muslim majority states? This course introduces students to the sources of political Islam. It examines domestic sources, such as poverty, inequality, and government repression, as well as international sources, such as the Iranian revolution, the financing of radical madrasas by Saudi Arabia, and the consequences of great power politics during the Cold War. Special attention will be paid to the various strategies that governments of Muslim majority states have adopted toward political Islam.
The course will provide students with an overview of the rise of political Islam and the main reasons behind its success, or failure. It will then examine how states have responded to Islamist movements, ranging from incorporation to exclusion, and the effects that these state strategies had on the evolution of Islamist groups. Students will debate, among other topics, the role that Islamists can play in governance – both as alternatives to the existing governments in Muslim countries and as elected officials.
GO-251C 002 Freedom of Speech
What types of speech does the U.S. Constitution permit the government to prohibit/regulate? Are we free to produce virtual child pornography? What about burning Old Glory? Can newspapers publish materials informing the nation's "enemies" of the details of upcoming troop movements? And what about those folks who want to make animal "crush" videos for those who derive entertainment from watching stiletto-wearing women inflict pain (and ultimately death) upon helpless kittens? Over time American judges have confronted all of these questions in the context of First Amendment lawsuits. This course will study their answers, and the historical evolution of the theories they have employed to address these controversial and complex issues. Assessment will be writing intensive, and students will be expected to make extensive contributions to in-class discussions focusing on free speech hypotheticals.
GO-251C 001 Politics, Marriage and Family
This course examines the intersection between women's marital and familial role through the lens of American politics and law. We will take a historical approach to examine the role women have played in the home, and in the paid labor force, and how this has changed over time. By looking at the terms dominance and dependence we will examine the ways in which women have shed their subservience to men through the law, and broader political changes in society along with the ways in which women's roles as wives and mothers have become separate and distinct. In other words, we will examine the ways in which conceptions of woman/womanhood and man/manhood have changed over time. Issues we will examine include sexual intimacy, adoption, custody, divorce, alimony and same-sex marriage. The context will largely be based in the American system, but there will be some opportunities to explore women's position throughout the world.
GO-367 001 Media and Government
Nearly everything we learn about politics comes through the media because we experience directly very little of what we "know" about politics. The American media are charged with the dual task of acting as a "watchdog" for government while also existing as a profit-driven industry. The media has changed dramatically over the last half century and to that end we will examine how non-traditional media fit into and compare with classic media and politics discussions. We will consider the connections the media has with the executive, legislative and judicial branch, elections, movements, policy and public opinion. To bring these relationships to life, we will use major historical and current events that underlay many of the controversial discussions in political science related to the role of mass media and government.
GO-326 001 Coasts of Bohemia: The Politics and History of the Czech Lands and People
This course examines the political fortunes of the Czech people from the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the founding of the First Republic after World War I, the periods of Nazi and Communist rule, and the return to democracy in 1989. Students study key figures such as Jan Hus (15th century religious reformer), Tomas Masaryk (founder of the First Republic), and playwright turned communist dissident, who became president of a reborn Czech state – Vaclav Havel. Students read the narrative history of the period and explore relevant political analyses; they also watch films by famed Czech directors such as Milos Forman and Jiri Menzel.Prerequisite: one of the following courses: GO 103, IA 101, HI 104, HI 105 or HI 106.
GO-366 001 Understanding Globalization
A critical examination of globalization as a political, economic, technological, social, and cultural phenomenon, which has wrought fundamental changes to our lives by making the world smaller and more interdependent. The course will explore the meaning, features and impact of globalization on the role of states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and transnational corporations; the transformation of national sovereignty; the expansion of liberal democracy; the changes in international economic relations (trade, finance, investment) and institutions (GATT/WTO, IMF, World Bank); the promotion of social progress and backwardness; the rise and decline of nationalistic, ethnic, and religious confrontations; and the development of cultural diversity and homogeneity. Special attention will be devoted to analyzing the ideologies, actors, and interests promoting and opposing globalization as well as the risks and opportunities associated with globalization from the perspective of different groups.
HF-200 004 Music & Mao
In this Honors Add-On, students will apply their own particular disciplinary expertise and interests to the parent course (MU205-002) topics for a more advanced study of the subject. The course will comprise of individually designed research projects including an annotated bibliography and class presentation, small group discussion, and regular participation in the add-on course.
(ADD-ON to MU-241 or 242 Materials and Structures of Western Music)
This course can be added to any of the three required 200-level music major theory courses. The students will learn that writing is, like music, a craft that requires continuous, thoughtful practice, and that writing can deepen and enrich their understanding of music theory. Assignments will be weekly or bi-weekly short essays, as well as peer critique and revisions. The order of topics will follow the syllabus for the accompanying music theory course.
HF-215 001 Peer Health Education
This course builds on concepts covered during Peer Health Education by guiding students through the process of promoting health and wellbeing among the Skidmore student body. The course is student-driven and allows the opportunity to further delve into specific areas of study that are of particular interest to each student. Students will design, implement, and evaluate programs and outreach education in a variety of topics relevant to the lives of college students including alcohol and substance use and abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders, stress, mental health, sexuality, and other topics commonly addressed by peer counselors and health promotion professionals. In addition, students will continue to build on leadership and communication skills by serving as peer counselors on the Skidmore campus. Not for liberal arts credit.
HF-273 001 Sex, Gender, and Civic Engagement: A Group Independent Study
This group independent study provides an opportunity for students to obtain intensive training in the areas of sexual misconduct, sexual health, sexuality, and gender and to apply their knowledge and skills through service learning experiences. The semester will begin with a weekend-long training designed to prepare students to work within the Center for Sex & Gender Relations and to serve the campus community as anonymous peer-to-peer sexual misconduct reporting resources. Additionally, students will build their knowledge related to sexual health, sexuality, and gender identity and will develop the skills necessary to begin the service learning component of the course. The course adds to the Honors Forum offerings with its challenging material and leadership opportunities. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
HF-300 002 The Mughals & Modern Mass Media
(ADD ON to AH 351N The Taj Mahal and Beyond: The Art of Mughal India)
Explores the varied and numerous references to Mughal India in contemporary popular culture. Students will examine and question the ways in which Mughal art, architecture, and culture has been adapted into a variety of mass-produced art forms, questioning the veracity of modern depictions. The course is designed to encourage students to think critically about perceptions of Mughal India in South Asia, the United Kingdom, and America today. Although the class focuses on contemporary pop culture, British descriptions of Mughal India from the colonial period will also be considered.
Bollywood films will figure prominently in the class, particularly the films Jodhaa Akbar and Mughal-e-Azam. Advertisements and prints featuring the Taj Mahal, moralizing folk tales starring the emperor Akbar and his advisor Birbal, and comic book depictions of Mughal leaders will also be explored. Weekly writing assignments and creative projects will allow students to examine these topics in greater depth.
HF-315 001 Adv. Peer Health Education
An expansion of concepts covered in Peer Health Education by allowing students to fine tune their health promotion and peer counseling skills. Students will select specific areas of interest and will work closely with other Peer Health Educators and the instructor to plan, implement, and rigorously evaluate outreach programs on campus. The course will focus on building leadership and communication skills and on deepening the expertise of the students on college health related issues.
Prerequisite:HF 215 and permission of the instructor. Not for liberal arts credit. May be repeated for credit.
HI-217 001 The U.S. and the Nazi Holocaust
"The United States and the Nazi Holocaust" offers students a chronological, thematic, and integrated look at how the US government, general public, and Jewish communities responded to the rise of Nazism in Germany and to the assault on European Jewry. It examines the various legacies of the Holocaust, beginning with the immediate post-war period and the reception of Holocaust refugees through present day attempts at memorialization and commemoration. This course also introduces students to the numerous and competing historiographical interpretations of this period.
Alexander the Great, the so-called "world's first rock star" and "fantastic freak of nature," is the focus of this History and Classics course. Who was this king of Macedon, champion of the Greeks and conqueror of the east? He has come to symbolize worldly glory and conquest, and modern critics have viewed him either as a dashing adventurer, a ruthless tyrant, or a superhuman living god with feet of clay and a drinking problem. Why does this fascinating figure continue to captivate us, as evidenced by the films Alexander with Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie, and John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, and music by the likes of Iron Maiden? We will trace Alexander's life from his education at the feet of Aristotle, to his defeat of the Greeks at the age of 18, to his conquest of Asia and his untimely death at 32, and along the way encounter cultures stretching from southern Europe to the Himalayas. Counts towards the History and Classics majors. (Fulfills social sciences requirement.)
HI-217 003 Resisting Hitler
This course introduces students to interdisciplinary perspectives on the German and European resistance to Hitler from 1933 to 1945. We'll explore a number of general questions about resistance, including: What forms did resistance take within Nazi Germany and how did resistance in Germany differ from resistance in German-occupied countries? What types of behavior can be called resistance? How did Jews resist? How does resistance differ from opposition, dissent, and non-conformity? How do we know what we know about the resistance to Hitler? How can one distinguish between the myths of resistance and the realities of the resistance? How has the resistance been memorialized? We begin to try to answer some of these questions by exploring how Germans resisted the Nazi dictatorship from within. In particular well look at the resistance and opposition by high school and university students, Communists and Socialists, Jews and Christians, and the military opposition portrayed in the movie Valkyrie. We'll then expand outward to see how people living in nations occupied by the Germans resisted Nazi policies, such as in Poland, France, Denmark, and Bulgaria. The third unit of the course will explore the revolts and uprisings that took place in some of the extermination camps and ghettos, such as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And we'll conclude by considering how the resistance has been remembered and memorialized.
HI-217 004 Age of Atlantic Revolution
This course aims to rethink the "enlightened" revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the Atlantic World by placing the Haitian revolution at the epoch's analytical center. That is, using the experience of the Saint-Domingue slaves, we will revisit some revolutionary movements in England, France, Spain and Portugal and their colonial possessions—like the American and French revolutions and Spanish America's war for independence—looking for clues about a different type of revolution: a peasant revolution with minimal or no links to the Enlightenment. (Fulfills social sciences requirement).
HI-217 005 Skin Color and Politics in the Americas
This course looks to compare the ways in which skin color has been construed as race throughout the Americas since the eighteenth century. It will pay attention to the political context that made the formation of different, and seemingly contradictory, racial regimes in the United States and Latin America possible—the Spanish American caste society, the Franco-British middle ground, Mexican mestizaje, Brazilian racial democracy, and U.S. segregation in particular. (Fulfills social sciences requirement.)
HI-217C 001 East Asia and the West
An introductory survey of the civilization in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) from its earliest history to the end of the Mongol empire in the 1300. Key themes include the formation of Confucianism as an ideology, the changes in social and political institutions across East Asia, ideas and practices concerning gender and family, religion and beliefs of elites and ordinary people, and the intercultural exchanges and conflict among East Asian countries
HI-363 001 The U.S. – Mexico War in Context: 1800-1860
Simply put, this course seeks to provide a non-simplistic answer to the question, why did the United States win the war of 1846-1848? In order to do so, we will explore the larger geopolitical framework in which the conflict took place, as well as the social, cultural, political, and military conditions that shaped the experience and possibilities of both countries and societies in the first half of the nineteenth century—in particular the history of capitalism and liberalism in North America. Courses at the 300 level are open to sophomores only with permission of instructor. HI-363C 001 Public History
Most people encounter the past every day without setting foot in a history classroom, whether through reading a placard in a historic city center, updating a family recipe, or watching "History Detectives" on TV. Much of this past is mediated by public historians, people who apply historic writing, research, and presentation skills to engage a popular audience. This course considers the distinctive practices of history 'on the hoof' both within Saratoga Springs, as well as in national and international settings. We will read relevant literature and discuss how public historians craft different versions of the past; how governments and institutions construct and disseminate historic narratives' portrayals of the past in popular culture, including newspapers, television and film; and how private groups including families and museums, preserve individual and collective heritage and memory. Students will evaluate museum exhibits, historic sites, events, and archives. In addition, they will work in teams on a larger public history project in conjunction with the Saratoga National Historical Park (the Battlefield). The Saratoga National Historical Park preserves the history of the 1777 battles at Saratoga. The National Parks Service is currently revising the visitors' experience at the battlefield, and students in this course will have the unique opportunity to participate in that work and to shape how the visiting public engage with this battle (that was the first major American victory in the Revolutionary War and that has been called the most significant battle of the last 1,000 years) for years to come.
IA-351 001 Faces and Phases of Global Capitalism
What does it mean to live and work in a capitalist society? Is capitalism the ideal socio-economic configuration for out times or is it a super-exploitative one? Is Capitalism the same at different times and in different places? Are we really experiencing a crisis of capitalism? What do capitalism's ardent admirers and equally ardent detractors have to tell us about it? This class will attempt to address these and other questions about "free markets" and their effects by examining major theorists of capitalism (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Hayek, etc.) and tracing the history of capitalism from pre-modern times to the global financial crisis of 2008.
An understanding of the term "global manager" can be elusive. What is a "global manager"? The primary objective of this course is to expand awareness, enhance understanding and facilitate development of a set of skills that are essential for a successful career as a global manager and negotiator. Since studies show that managers spend up to 90% of their time interacting with other people, emphasis is placed on a variety of "people-intensive" competencies that are grounded in behavioral science theory and research. These competencies include cultural sensitivity and empathic capacity, adaptive ability, stress management, creative problem solving, establishing supportive communication, motivating others, managing conflict, and improving group decision making.
The course also examines theories and processes of negotiation, with an eye to how they should be modified in the face of the many and increasingly complex forms of cross-cultural interactions today's managers encounter. But, while negotiating is a critical skill for a global manager, it is far from easy. Consider the derivation of the world itself from the Latin: neg (not) + otium (leisure)! Negotiation is the art of securing agreements between two interdependent parties. Indeed, all managers negotiate continually. Being a "global manager" merely adds additional complications. Please note: There will be a requirement for students to attend one full-day exercise on a Saturday (precise date to be negotiated in class!).
MU-205 001 Taiko Drumming II
This course continues the combined academic and performance study of Taiko drumming. We will continue to investigate Taiko drumming in both Asia and Asian America. Academic study will include a focus on place (Taiko as a transnational performing art), community (civic engagement), and outreach (music as an expressive therapy and music in education); performance study will include advanced drumming with attention to soloing, composition/arrangement, and teaching. In addition to listening, reading, writing, and drumming we will also offer 1-2 community Taiko workshops. Prerequisite: permission of instructor (Designated a Cultural Diversity course; fulfills humanities requirement.)
MU-205 002 Music & Mao: Music & Politics in Communist China
In this course we will examine music in post-1949 China with particular emphasis upon cultural and political trends of the 20th and 21st century. We will consider cultural policies of the Communist Party of China and influential interactions with other Asian and non-Asian cultures. Though focusing primarily upon music, discussion will also include visual arts, literature, and theater. No prerequisites and open to all students. (Designated a non-Western cultures course; fulfills humanities requirement.)
MU-205 003 Music, Culture, & Performance of Indonesia
This course is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of the music and performance styles of Indonesia. Through a survey of traditional, popular, and diasporic musical genres in the Indonesian archipelago, the course material covers selected musical practices and types of performances. Taking an ethnomusicological approach, students will learn about the history and culture of Indonesian music traditions while also studying basic performance skills. No previous musical experience is required. There will be a midterm and final exam. In addition, students will complete several short, and one longer, papers and be responsible for presenting material and contributing to course discussion.Open to First Year Students. (Designated a non-Western cultures course; fulfills humanities requirement.)
MU-205B 001 Film Music
Selected themes in the history of film music. Topics will include live music for silent films, classic Hollywood film scores, cartoon music, music and experimental animation, film music and visual art, French New Wave scores, postwar jazz scores, electronic musical scores, and compilation soundtracks.
Neurophysiology is simply the physiology of the nervous system. This course will offer an in depth analysis of fundamental topics related to the physiology of the nervous system. We will focus on signaling in nerve cells, ion channel properties and structure, as well as ionic currents that establish the resting membrane potential and are responsible for action potentials. We will also focus on ion transport across the phospholipid bilayer, including the Na+/K+ pump, Ca2+ pump, the Na+/ Ca2+ Exchanger, chloride transporter, and the transport of neurotransmitters across the cell membrane. We will also explore synaptic integration and neural coding in depth. There will be regular textbook readings and student presentations of empirical research articles. Prerequisite: NS101, BI105, BI106.
PH-230C 001 Philosophy of Social Sciences
Whether social scientists realize it or not, they cannot conceive and pursue their research without already tacitly committing themselves regarding a host of philosophical questions. In this sense philosophical assumptions and commitments are inescapable for any social scientist. Social scientists who are self-conscious about these underlying assumptions and commitments not only enrich their research, but become equipped to recognize and avoid the potential pitfalls, fallacies, unjustified assumptions, and undesirable implications in their research programs, and, indeed, perhaps even how such programs may indirectly contribute to injustice in the world. For philosophers, philosophical reflection on the nature of the social sciences is an ideal way to connect some central concerns of different areas of philosophy such as: the philosophy of the natural sciences, of mind, of language, of psychology, of action, of interpretation, and social ontology. Philosophical reflection on the nature of the social sciences also serves as an ideal way to connect different traditions in contemporary philosophy (e.g., the analytic and “continental” traditions) by bringing them into critical and fruitful dialogue.
Some central questions we will consider are: the relationship between the natural and social sciences; conceptions of an adequate philosophy of social science; explanation, prediction, laws, and mechanisms in the social sciences; interpretation, meaning, and understanding; the role of rationality in the social sciences; reductionism, individualism, and holism in the social sciences; objectivity and value judgments; the idea of critical social science; and issues and problems in particular social sciences.
PH-230 002 Philosophy of Disability
This course is an introduction to a newly emergent, interdisciplinary field of disability and diversity studies. We will analyze various definitions of “disability” and explore the social constructs of disability that give rise to a rich philosophical discourse. After gaining a firm understanding of the various individual, medical, and social models of disability, we will explore related topics, such as: how disability issues mirror race and gender issues; whether disabilities ought to be embraced and accepted versus cured and eradicated; whether and when justice demands anything in particular for disabled people; and deconstruction of social constructs such as “normal,” “neurotypical,” and “normal human functioning.” This course will be of interest to philosophy majors/minors, those interested in psychology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, and anyone who has been touched by disability or questions, “What is ‘normal’ anyway?”
PH-327T 001 Leibniz
This course will investigate the prodigious and innovative philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716).
Leibniz had a hand in everything: he was a legal counselor to the royal court in Hanover, an engineer, a mathematician and logician, a librarian, an historian, a theologian, and a philosopher (among other things!). His philosophy reflects this broad interest, developing a philosophical system that, he believed, would lead to the resolution of many Early Modern controversies and an ethic of action in light of the world's obvious evils.In this course, we will focus especially on Leibniz's philosophy of mind. Leibniz tried to chart a course through the many philosophical and theological controversies about the nature of the mind and to establish a fully natural theory. But Leibniz was sensitive to how his conclusions about the mind affect other issues, and so we will also explore how his philosophy of mind connects to other areas of concern, such as his accounts of freedom and justice.
PH-330D 001 Psyche and Self In Ancient Thought
This course explores ancient theories of psychê (usually translated as "soul") and of human identity from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic philosophers, with special emphasis on Plato and Aristotle.
Greek thinkers engaged in a continuous dialogue on core questions concerning the soul, such as: Does psychê belong only to human beings, or is it something that we share with everything that is alive? Is there a fundamental affinity between our soul and the cosmos? What is the relation between psychê and body?
In the Phaedrus Plato compares the soul to the natural union of two winged horses, one obedient and one unruly, and a human charioteer. This image illustrates the range of questions that are central to Plato's, as well as Aristotle's, reflection on our identity. Are we in charge of our best and worst impulses? Is there a necessary tension between emotions, on the one hand, and reason, on the other, or is it possible to harmonize our values and our desires? Who am I and what is the relation between my identity and the structure of my soul? Am I responsible for who I become and for my happiness or unhappiness?
This course provides a clinical overview of the most common developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Students will gain an understanding of each disorder: its etiology, behavioral presentation, and appropriate interventions. There will be an emphasis on how both historical perspectives and current research play a role in the assessment and treatment for various behavioral issues related to developmental disabilities. Students will develop skills in functional assessment and behavior support planning through the use of case studies and their own observations. Students will work together to develop and implement an awareness event on campus focused on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Prerequisite: PS-101 or permission of instructor.
PS-312A 001 Psychological Trauma
Since the time of Freud, psychology has explored the connections amongst traumatic events and subsequent psychopathology. An extensive clinical and research literature has been devoted to discerning the contributions of biological, emotional, cognitive and social factors to the varied responses of those who experience trauma in their lives. This course is designed to explore the contemporary empirical and clinical literature in psychological trauma and trauma pathology. We will look at various types of trauma events that people suffer; war, rape, serious accidents, debilitating disease, childhood physical and sexual abuse, natural disasters, crime. We will explore the ways in which these events produce unique effects as well as more common stress effects. We will explore individual differences in terms of the trauma response including psychological and physiological reactivity, psychological vulnerability and the concept of resilience. We will examine buffers of the trauma response including social and family support, religious affiliation and socioeconomic status. Finally we will look at what types of treatments are effective for people suffering from trauma reactions and what the future holds in terms of new discoveries for trauma victims.
PS-312A 002 Child Clinical Psychology
This course will explore the practice of clinical psychology with children and adolescents. In this discussion-based course, students will learn about childhood psychopathology risk and protective factors, empirically validated treatments and the impact of government mental health policies. Particular attention will be paid to how working with children in clinical settings differs from working with adults. Prerequisite: PS-214 or PS-308
PS-312B 004 Ethics of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
In this course, we will explore a variety of topics in the brain and behavioral sciences from an ethical perspective. Topics will include:
Questionable studies performed by individual researchers and by government entities
Advances in research methodology and technology
Diagnosis and treatment of conditions currently (or at one point) thought to be disorders
The role of personal responsibility in the actions of individuals with neuropsychiatric conditions and/or abnormalities in brain structure or brain chemistry.
We will also examine the findings from functional neuroimaging and behavioral studies to better understand how human morality develops and works as a function of the brain. As a reminder, this is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: PS 217 OR PS 202. Students who took the 212A course with the same name before should be excluded from signing up for this course.
PS-312B 005 Real World Remembering
This seminar focuses on how our memories shape and guide our 'real world' experiences. What is memory, and how do we 'make' it? What functions do our memories serve? If memory making is so amazing, warranting systematic investigation by a vast number of cognitive scientists spanning decades, why do we forget? We will explore answers to these questions and more. To quote from Luis Bunuel, "You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing".
PS-312B 006 Cognitive Neuroscienceof Adult Development and Aging
In this course we will review current literature to examine how recently discovered developmental changes in the brains of post-adolescent young adults may relate to cognition. We will also review both seminal and current literature that details how region-specific neurodegeneration and changes in brain activity may underlie the cognitive deficits observed in healthy and diseased aging.
Aspects of cognition that we will focus on include:
- Social cognition
- Impulse control
- Resting state processes
An exploration of the critical connections between religion and the natural environment. How do religious beliefs, symbol systems, and ritual behaviors shape human perceptions of, and interactions with, the nonhuman environment? How might the primary models provided by western, eastern and indigenous religions help us to address specific local and global environmental concerns? Using primary texts drawn from a variety of sacred traditions, and writings from a broad spectrum of historical and contemporary naturalists, poets and theologians, the course will cover such topics as ecotheology, deep ecology, ecofeminism, nature mysticism, new age religious movements, bioregionalism and social ecology.RE-230C 001 Mormonisms
This course investigates how Mormons have gone from an upstart, persecuted sect to participants in the conservative mainstream of American religion and culture. Topics for discussion include the Mormon creation of new scriptures; the role and evolution of prophets; religious violence; conflict between church and state; the dynamics of religious schism; temple spaces and the politics of secrecy; polygamy and the family; constructions of race, gender, and sexuality; missions and evangelism; modern pilgrimage; and the globalization of an American religion. Along the way, we will encounter the ever-changing public faces of Mormonism(s), from Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney.(Fulfills humanities requirement.)
RE-230C 002 Native American Religions
This course explores Native American religious experience in diverse contexts, from the American Southwest to the Great Plains and from the far Pacific Northwest to the American Southeast. In the first half of class, we will explore specific religious rituals practiced by groups like the Lakota, the Diné (Navajo), and the Yupik. We will analyze how historical experiences, such as cultural genocide, dispossession of tribal lands, and the wider legacy of colonialism, have affected ritual practices over time. In the second half of class, we will switch to topics, such as Native American struggles for religious freedom, Native American access to sacred spaces, Native Americans and Christianity, and the commodification of Native American spirituality. We will consider both Native and non-Native perspectives on these topics. (Fulfills humanities requirement.)
RE-230C 003 Global Christianities
In this course, we will deconstruct - and with any luck, destroy - the idea that Western or "first world" Christianity is "normal" Christianity and other churches are "ethnic." There are Christians all over the world today, and while Christians consider their faith to be universal, that universality manifests in an incredible diversity of practices and beliefs. We will be looking at the Christians of Korea, China, Uganda, South Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean and considering questions of globalism, "universal" belief, and acculturation.(Fulfills humanities requirement; contributes to the cultural cluster in the International Affairs major.)
RE-330C 001 Spiritual Autobiography
An exploration of the inner life as personally remembered and recorded by important religious, cultural and political leaders and writers from St. Augustine to the present. A fascinating genre because of the glimpse it gives into the personalities of important figures, the spiritual autobiography is also a philosophical and theological exercise intent upon articulating the truth about oneself and one’s relation to the world and God. But the writer must contend with conceptual challenges like time and memory, fact and fantasy, myth and history. With the help of selected secondary sources, we will be asking such questions as, How trustworthy a narrator is the author? When is retrospection reconstruction? How does gender and culture affect the definition and practice of autobiography? Are collaborations still autobiography (e.g., Black Elk Speaks)? Can autobiography successfully be written fictionally (Jane Eyre, Go Tell It on the Mountain)? Or, conversely, is autobiography a form of fiction? Are slave narratives (Frederick Douglas) and captivity narratives (Mary Rowlandson) forms of spiritual autobiography? Is spiritual autobiography just another way of doing theology?
Every student will read Augustine’s Confessions plus one other autobiography selected from the list below or by arrangement with the instructor. The course will be conducted in seminar style, with one class per week being devoted to a close reading of Augustine and the other class to be used for a comparison of the modern texts with the issues raised by our reading of Augustine. Two 10-page papers: one on Augustine’s Confessions and your chosen author, and the other being an oral history of a living person’s spiritual journey. Midterm exam and FinalRE-330D 001 Wealth, Poverty, and Belief
This course combines Poverty Studies and Religious Studies, and has two main parts. First, we will consider the ways in which various religions depict and respond to the poor. Then, we will explore the ways in which those views and actions are involved in cycles of poverty, variously as cause, effect, or cure. The final project will be a specific, case study of poverty and religion – historical or current, any faith tradition, any geographic location. Studies of the possibilities for the integration of religious groups and individuals into existing or contemplated charitable, social justice, or development endeavors will be welcomed, as will more traditional historically or religiously focused studies. (Contributes to the cultural cluster in the International Affairs major.)
RE-330D 002 Goddesses and Amazons
An investigation of culturally encoded ideas about female power—physical, intellectual, spiritual and moral—as they play out in myth and history. Our exploration will be far-ranging: from ancient Greece to contemporary goddess spirituality, from the warrior priestesses of the Siberian steppes to modern hunter-horsewomen in Kazakhstan, from the Virgin Mary to the seer/soldier Joan of Arc to the poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz to that "positively revolting hag" Mary Daly. The Western "dark goddess" Artemis will be played off against her Eastern counterpart, Kali. In every case, our focus will be on the interplay between the patriarchal drive to contain or control these manifestations of female self-assertion, and the liberating potential these mythical and historical figures hold for women, and men too, in contemporary society. Prerequisites: At least one course in either Religion or Gender Studies.
RE-375 001 Senior Seminar
In this year's senior seminar in Religion, we will be considering social memory and identity construction. Religious identity does not simply emerge when a group of believers comes together, but must be constructed, and that construction is accomplished by remembering and retelling the group's history. Martyrdom, the act of dying for one's beliefs, is understood by many groups to be the defining characteristic of their history; we will be looking at how these groups came to see themselves in this way, and what that sort of self-representation accomplishes for them.
An exploration of the changing relationship of gender to sports in contemporary North America. Using a feminist sociological perspective, this course examines how men and women socially construct gender through everyday interactions related to sports, through the structure of sports institutions, and through the images associated with American sports. The course focuses on a few of the many gender issues that have shaped the opportunities for men and women in sport as well as the societal view of men and women engaged in sport, including race and class differences in men's and women's involvement in sports, and the role of sexuality.
SO-251 002 Cultures of Cities
Culture is an essential property of cities. In this course, we will look at the role culture plays in classic sociological theories of the city, and at specific aspects of culture in contemporary global cities. We will investigate what might be distinctive about "urban culture," as well as analyzing the relationship of various conceptions of culture to the built environment, the social environment, and the city as a whole
SO-351 001 Incarceration and the Family
The number of incarcerated persons in the United States has increased dramatically, almost tripling over the past twenty years. According to the Bureau of Justice, as of 2007, 762 per 100,000 United States residents are in custody, an incarceration rate higher than any other nation in the world. The penal system has, almost without public acknowledgment, become a central feature of our social order. Given this, the ways in which the penal system has become linked to and intertwined with other central institutions, not the least of which is the family, in our society has become increasingly important. We will examine policies and practices within penal institutions dealing with motherhood and fatherhood, as well as the connection between the penal system and the welfare system, in order to consider the following questions: How are fatherhood and motherhood constructed in penal facilities? In what ways do cultural assumptions about masculinity and femininity filter in, and out of, the penal system? What are the consequences for such assumptions?
SO-351 002 Sociology in Public: Marketplaces, Main Streets, and Meanings
What do we learn about society based on public interactions and observations of strangers? This course focuses on theories of social interaction, the public realm, and principles of qualitative fieldwork to investigate some of the meanings we construct in marketplaces, on main streets, and beyond. We will discuss the ethics of researching social life in public: what can we learn, and why would we condone what could be construed as spying? In addition to reading about sociology and social life in public, students will conduct fieldwork in public locations around Skidmore College and Saratoga Springs.
SO-351W 001 Queer Theory and Politics
We will examine the historical, theoretical, social, and political understandings of queerness, beginning with an exploration of sex, gender, and sexuality and the role of identity politics in previous social movements. A discussion of key texts related to identity and structuralism as well as post-structuralism will follow, with a focus on the notion of deconstruction. We will then explore the emergence of queer political strategies and identities and end with a discussion of the implications of queer theory in both academic and political settings.