This course will introduce students to applied anthropology methods for doing research that can change policy and practices. Examples of policy and practice change include clinical practices in health care settings, social welfare policy, and legal advocacy. Students will be trained in multiple anthropology research methods, including brief participant-observation, qualitative interviewing, life story interviewing, and ethnographic content analysis of textual material. Students will also learn how to use NVivo software for analyzing qualitative and some quantitative data from their field notes, interviews, and analysis of popular articles/websites. Finally, students will practice writing products for non-academic audiences, such as policymakers, the media, and the general public. The course will emphasize using anthropology research methods to address real-world problems in policy and practice. Students will each complete their own research project and presentation, on a topic of their own choosing, with support from course faculty. The course will be taught by an anthropologist-physician with experience applying qualitative research methods to address health and policy issues.
Benjamin Franklin Seminars
This course that brings together the recent literature from the social sciences and health sciences as well as other disciplines to explore how philanthropy impacts health care in society at large, and in particular, the health of the donor and volunteer. Furthermore, the course will include an “ideas in action” component. Students will examine philanthropic donations at work in Philadelphia, as well as engage in philanthropic activities alongside the instructor. The course consists of three parts:
Part 1) Philanthropy and Healthcare in Society: The US has a long tradition of channeling philanthropic resources to augment healthcare in society, as the demand for health care exceeds the capacity of individuals or government to fully satisfy the demand. Philanthropic resources, which include both time and money, are emerging as significant means by which the capacity of the healthcare sector is fortified; these include resources for service providers, health care researchers, and health care policy advocates. To understand the heterogeneous impact of philanthropy on healthcare, this part of the course will examine the “who, what, when, where, and how” of philanthropic inputs into healthcare and their impact.
Part 2) Health Effects on the Individual Philanthropist: The second part of the course examines individuals who give of their time and money. From decreased mortality to better health outcomes, researchers have carefully documented the effects on individual givers. Recent findings from the health sciences also show what mechanisms might be involved in an individual’s psychology and physiology that can explain the beneficial health effects of philanthropic behavior. We will examine recent experimental research along these lines provides further evidence along these lines.
Part 3) Ideas in Action: The course will include three specific volunteering events and do so by selecting a healthcare related organization of their choice that uses philanthropic resources. Students will gain first-hand experience as volunteers (and if feasible, as donors) and discuss their experiences with philanthropy in class presentations and relate them to the course content.
Homer's Iliad presents a dark and difficult vision of the world, but one that nonetheless inspires. Casual cruelty, divine caprice, and savage violence test heroes and lesser folk and provoke a reckoning with the stark realities of both human vulnerability and capability. It inspires kind of terror, but still also somehow provides a kind of comfort, albeit one whose character seems almost beyond comprehension. By a close and careful reading of Homer's text, along with some reflections on more contemporary wars, including the current ones, we will try to examine these issues with one eye on the past and one on the present. Our goal will be to achieve some further understanding of war and human experience.
Before the universities established public-service programs in the twentieth century, many Americans prepared themselves for public life by studying Greek and Latin authors in school and college. In this course, using English translations, students survey an eighteenth-century classical curriculum and trace its influence in the political activity of Madison and others who guided the development of American governmental institutions.
An introduction to game theory and its applications to Economic analysis. The course will provide a theoretical overview of modern game theory, emphasizing common themes in the analysis of strategic behavior in different social science contexts. The economic applications will be drawn from different areas including trade, corporate strategy and public policy.
Although Shakespeare's plays are usually studied as high canonical literature, they were originally written as playscripts designed for the entertainment of a disorderly, socially heterogeneous crowd and the financial profit of the players. This course will attempt to resituate the plays in their original theatrical setting. We will study a representative selection of Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies, and histories (to be chosen by the class at the first meeting) along with background material on Shakespeare's theater and his culture. There will be one or two hour-exams, one or two short papers, and a final exam. In addition, students are expected to meet in study groups outside of class and to make thoughtful, well-informed contributions to the class listserv and discussions.
Epistolary fiction is fiction presented in the form of letters ("epistles"). Often epistolary fictions invite readers to take voyeuristic pleasure in reading supposedly personal, even intimate, letters not "addressed" to us. Sometimes an epistolary writer pose as an "editor" without responsibility for the content of the letters he or she makes public. Some epistolary fictions look much like other kinds of novels except for the inclusion of a letter-convention "frame." In all cases, epistolary fictions incorporate specific kinds of distance between tales and readers, suggest the possibility of readerly transgression, complicate the supposedly clear space between public and private, and make peculiar authenticity claims.
The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were the great age of English-language epistolary fiction. The form proliferated starting in the late 1660s, but by the beginning of the nineteenth century its popularity had dwindled markedly. Epistolary fiction was considered largely atavistic for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, though it never really disappeared. Remarkably, it is making something of a comeback today.
This course will consider the functions and appeal of epistolary fiction. We'll concentrate largely on texts from the form's hey-day between the mid-seventeenth and late-eighteenth centuries, but we'll also look at examples from the 19th and 20th centuries and consider some recent works. We'll ask what is at stake -- in aesthetic, political, moral/religious, and market terms -- in writing and publishing novels that pretend to be collections of private letters. Why did the epistolary form take off to such a spectacular extent during the "long eighteenth century" and why did its appeal dwindle when it did? What might account for the strong eighteenth-century association of epistolary fiction with women's voices and experiences? What part does epistolary fiction play in later British and American literary history, including contemporary fiction? Authors will include Aphra Behn, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Samuel Richardson, Nick Bantock, and Lydia Davis, among others.
This seminar has a bold aim: it seeks to understand better what has happened in our world since the era of decolonization, by considering the term “politics” in its very broadest and most dramatic connotations: as the dream of social change and its failures. Another way of describing its subject matter is to say that it is about revolution and counterrevolution since the Bandung Conference. Together we will investigate the way in which major historical events, including the struggle for Algerian independence, the coup in Indonesia, the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, the Vietnam War, Latin American and African dictatorships, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the Iranian revolution, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, 9/11, the Iraq War, and its aftermath, have been represented in some of the most innovative and moving films of our time. Attention will therefore be paid to a variety of genres: including cinema verité, documentary, the thriller, the biopic, animation, the global conspiracy film, hyperlink cinema, and dystopian science fiction.
The ongoing and fraught question of race in America, as well as the American fixation on elections (which sometimes seems the be all and end all of politics here) may also come under scrutiny; but the idea is to have a more global reach. We will study 12 to 15 of the following titles (here grouped in terms of thematic connections), along with a rich collection of critical essays: Battle of Algiers, The Year of Living Dangerously/The Act of Killing, The Motor Cycle Diaries/Y Tu Mama Tambien, Lumumba/The Last King of Scotland, The Official Story/Missing/!No, The Lives of Others/Goodbye, Lenin, Persepolis, A Very British Coup, Invictus/ Endgame/ More than Just a Game, Mississippi Burning/American History X/ Crash, Caché, The Fog of War/W, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Ghost Writer, In the Valley of Elah, Waltz with Bashir, The Edukators/Die Welle/ Election, Children of Men.
Note also that this course will be taught in a way quite similar to my earlier seminar on Cinema and Globalization: students will view the set film on their own in advance and read the accompanying critical articles; occasional and voluntary in-class presentations are possible. Requirements: a midterm paper of around 8-10 pages and a final paper of around 8-12.
Childhood Lead poisoning can lead to cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, behavioral problems, and at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death. Children up to the age of six are especially at risk because of their developing systems. They often ingest lead paint chips and inhale dust particles while playing in their home and yards in pre-1978 housing. In ENVS 404, Penn undergraduates learn about the epidemiology of lead poisoning, the pathways of exposure, and methods for community outreach and education. Penn students collaborate with middle school and high school teachers in West Philadelphia to engage school age children in exercises that apply environmental health research relating to lead poisoning in their homes and neighborhoods.
The goal of the course is to explore the interconnection between conceptual thinking and material form—how can visual representation inform and structure your thoughts.
Students will choose their topics, and then both write and make a book, though not necessarily in that order.
By devising and self-directing a long-term personal project, the students will gain an insight into the concept of authorship. They will become aware of the challenges posed by the open-ended nature of any creative process and learn how to address these challenges. They will learn how to give—and seek—meaningful input, and how to navigate the line between one’s intuition and the advice of peers.
By the end of the course, each student will have produced an original book.
This course will explore the vitality and range of photography as a discursive practice by analyzing the way images are structured and deployed in contemporary art and wider media culture. Students will be introduced to the key issues surrounding photography now- led through these questions by lectures, readings, group discussion and project-based work. A series of photo-assignments challenge the students to integrate critical thought with practice, exploring a range of formal strategies and thematic frameworks that affect the meaning of their images. Students should have a strong interest in philosophy and art histories (especially the history of photography.) They should be motivated to work independently & experiment creatively. There are no prerequisites for this course. It is intended for all different levels of technical experience, but the minimum requirements are a digital camera, a basic familiarity with Photoshop and access to a computer with imaging software.
Books have many powers. All too rarely, however, do they shape public opinion and change history.
The greatest works of the Enlightenment are perhaps the most striking exception ever to this rule. Our seminar will attempt to understand what the Enlightenment was and how it made its impact. We will read above all the works of the three individuals who, more than anyone else, defined the age of Enlightenment: Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. We will see, for example, how Voltaire used his works to teach Europeans to believe in such concepts as brotherhood and the fraternity of man. We will retrace Rousseau’s invention of autobiography and his redefinition of education. And we will explore the construction of perhaps the most characteristic of all Enlightenment masterpieces, the Encyclopédie edited by Diderot and d’Alembert.
We will pay particular attention to the risks each of these authors ran in making such controversial works public: they were constantly threatened by censorship from both church and state; Voltaire was exiled; Diderot was sent to prison. The seminar will meet on the 6th floor of Van Pelt Library so that we can have access during our meetings to the original editions of many Enlightenment classics. We will thus be able to discuss both ways in which these works were shaped by the fear of censorship and techniques devised by their authors to elude censorship.
We will also consider topics such as what the Enlightenment meant for women and the Enlightenment’s global influence in the 18th century, particularly on the founding fathers of this country. We will thus read works by the greatest women authors of the age, as well as the most read author in the colonies, Montesquieu.
The seminar will be taught in English. Students who wish to receive French credit will do the reading in French.
"Jewish woman, who knows your life? In darkness you have come, in darkness do you go." J. L. Gordon (1890)
This course will bring into the light the long tradition of women as readers, writers, and subjects in Jewish literature. All texts will be in translation from Yiddish and Hebrew, or in English. Through a variety of genres -- devotional literature, memoir, fiction, and poetry -- we will study women's roles and selves, the relations of women and men, and the interaction between Jewish texts and women's lives. The legacy of women in Yiddish devotional literature will serve as background for our reading of modern Jewish fiction and poetry from the past century.
The course is divided into five segments. The first presents a case study of the Matriarchs Rachel and Leah, as they are portrayed in the Hebrew Bible, in rabbinic commentary, in pre-modern prayers, and in modern poems. We then examine a modern novel that recasts the story of Dinah, Leah’s daughter. Next we turn to the seventeenth century Glikl of Hamel, the first Jewish woman memoirist. The third segment focuses on devotional literature for and by women. In the fourth segment, we read modern women poets in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English. The course concludes with a fifth segment on fiction written by women in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English.
Underneath the grandeur of empires, war, revolutions, history eventually is about people’s life. This seminar explores how the boundaries of private life in China intersect with the public arena and how such an intersection has significantly re-shaped Chinese private life between the 16th century and the present. The first half of the seminar will explore how the private realm in late imperial China was defined and construed by Confucian discourses, architectural design, moral regulation, cultural consumption, and social network. Moving into the twentieth century, the remaining part of the seminar will examine how the advent of novel concepts such as modernity and revolution restructured the private realm, particularly in regard to the subtopics outlined above.
Organizing questions include: How did female chastity become the center of a public cult which then changed the life paths of countless families? How did the practice of female foot-binding intersect with marriage choices, household economy, and social status? How did print culture create a new space for gentry women to negotiate the boundaries between their inner quarters and the outside world? What was the ideal and reality of married life in late imperial China? How did people’s life change when the collective pursuit for Chinese modernity placed romantic love, freedom to marry and divorce at the center of public debates? How was “Shanghai modern” related to the emerging middle class life style as evidenced in advertisement posters? How has the ideal of gender equality been re-interpreted and realized under the Communist regime? How have the current market reforms reformulated the contours of private life in China?
This course is designed to introduce students to the religious experiences of Africans and to the politics of culture. We will examine how traditional African religious ideas and practices interacted with Christianity and Islam. We will look specifically at religious expressions among the Yoruba, Southern African independent churches and millenarist movements, and the variety of Muslim organizations that developed during the colonial era.
The purpose of this course is threefold. First, to develop in students an awareness of the wide range of meanings of conversion and people's motives in creating and adhering to religious institutions; Second, to examine the political, cultural, and psychological dimensions in the expansion of religious social movements; And third, to investigate the role of religion as counterculture and instrument of resistance to European hegemony.
Topics include: Mau Mau and Maji Maji movements in Kenya and Tanzania, Chimurenga in Mozambique, Watchtower churches in Southern Africa, anti-colonial Jihads in Sudan and Somalia and mystical Muslim orders in Senegal.
Legal Studies & Business Ethics
This course presents law as an evolving social institution, with special emphasis on the legal regulation of business. It considers basic concepts of law and legal process, in the U.S. and other legal systems, and introduces the fundamentals of rigorous legal analysis. An in-depth examination of contract law is included.
This course introduces students to important legal and ethical challenges they may face in business. Its focus includes theories of ethics and their application to case studies in business, including current business ethics events. We begin with questions about individual value, purpose, and responsibility. We then look at concrete questions about the obligations of corporations, managers and employees. Do corporations have any obligations besides making money for their shareholders? If a multinational operates in a country where child labor is the norm, does that make it acceptable for the company to hire children? The material covered is intended to help prepare students to recognize and manage ethical issues as they arise. Class sessions will consist of collaborative case discussions, exercises, debates, and discussions of theoretical frameworks for interpreting ethics. An emphasis will be placed on class discussion.
This multidisciplinary course surveys the history of American health care through the multiple perspectives of race, gender, and class, and grounds the discussions in contemporary health issues. It emphasizes the links between the past and present, using not only primary documents but materials from disciplines such as literature, art, sociology, and feminist studies that relate both closely and tangentially to the health professions and health care issues.
Discussions will surround gender, class-based, ethnic, and racial ideas about the construction of disease, health and illness; the development of health care institutions; the interplay between religion and science; the experiences of patients and providers; and the response to disasters and epidemics. Skills for document analysis and critique are built into the course as is the contextual foundation for understanding the history of health care.
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 150, at a significantly higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles; conservation laws and symmetry principles; rigid body motion; noninertial reference frames; oscillations.
All classes. Prerequisite(s): MATH 104 or permission of the instructor. Corequisite(s): MATH 114 or permission of instructor. Benjamin Franklin Seminar.
Credit is awarded for only one of the following courses: PHYS 008 PHYS 101, 150, or PHYS 170. Students with AP or Transfer Credit for PHYS 91 or PHYS 93 who complete PHYS 170 will thereby surrender the AP or Transfer Credit.
Advances in cognitive science have enlarged and challenged traditional concepts of mind, will, and self. This seminar explores the nature of mind as embodied without sacrificing respect for the significance of immediate experience, personal agency, and social responsibility. The seminar takes its name from a foundational text published twenty five years ago (Varela, Thompson & Rosch, MIT Press, 1991).
Working from their combined expertise in neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology, these authors provided a framework including principles of phenomenology and Buddhism. Because the book is now 25 years old, its technical presentations are no longer current. But the framework it established remains sturdy, and has been elaborated by Thompson in his recent book Waking, Sleeping, Being (Columbia U. Press, 2014), which we will use as a primary text.
The seminar will allow students to comprehend this framework and contrast it with alternatives both traditional and novel. Students will have the opportunity to practice meditations with guidance.
This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the "inner world(s)" of his characters. Dostoevsky's psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), "Inside" Dostoevsky's World (the author's technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky's "spiritual realism."
Theatre began as a form that excluded women entirely. The plays of ancient Greece and Elizabethan England were written and performed only by men, beginning a long tradition of theatre that represented women only from male perspectives. Has that tradition been so dominant for so long that women's voices on stage are still a novelty? This course focuses on a wide range of plays and performances by and about women; the work we read (and view) will evidence artistic attempts to represent women's lives, experiences and perspectives on the stage. Among the issues encountered and examined in these works are the roles of love, sexuality, friendship, career, community, marriage, motherhood, family, and feminism in women's lives - as well as the economic and political position(s) of women in society. The course will also offer contextual background on feminist theatre history, theory, and literature, as well as the diverse (and divergent) creative efforts of female artists to use use live performance as a means of creating social and political change.
One of the seminar’s aims is to help students develop their capacity to solve strategic, real world problems by working collaboratively in the classroom and in the West Philadelphia community. As members of research teams, students identify how Penn can help to contribute to solving universal problems (e.g., poverty, poor schooling, inadequate health care, etc.) as they are manifested in the university’s local geographic community of West Philadelphia.
Additionally, seminar students are expected to work approximately 2 hours/week at one of the Netter Center’s partner high schools (Sayre or West Philadelphia). They will be matched with juniors or seniors at the high school and work one-on-one on issues of college access, including the application process and financial aid.
Another goal of the seminar is to help students develop proposals as to how a Penn undergraduate education might better empower students to produce, not simply “consume,” societally-useful knowledge, as well as function as lifelong, active, contributing democratic citizens of a democratic society.