Spring 2014 Benjamin Franklin Seminars
Anthropology of Corporations
BFS Sector I
Modern business corporations can be characterized as having their own internal cultures, more or less distinct from one another. They also exist within encompassing cultures and cultural flows. At the same time, corporations are producers and disseminators, and thus have effects on their surrounding environments, effects that extend from the local to the global.
This course examines modern corporations from these three perspectives through theoretical and ethnographic readings, guest speakers from the corporate world, and independent research conducted by the students. Course requirements include student presentations of their research and readings; one or more take-home exams; and a final research paper.
Globalization and Health
ANTH 273-401, Cross Listed with: HSOC-239
BFS Sector I
In some parts of the world spending on healthcare is astronomical. In others, people struggle to survive amid new and reemerging epidemics and have little or no access to basic or life-saving therapies. Treatments for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poor remain under-researched and global health disparities are increasing.
This interdisciplinary seminar integrates perspectives from the social and biomedical sciences to explore 1) the development and global flows of medical technologies; 2) how individual and group health is affected by medical technologies, public policy, and the forces of globalization as each of these affects local worlds. The seminar is structured around specific case materials from around the world (Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, China, India, for example), each demonstrating how social and technological forces—increasingly global in nature—can influence biomedical processes and disease outcomes and their distribution.
As we analyze each case and gain familiarity with ethnographic methods, we will ask how more effective interventions can be formulated. The course draws from ethnographic and historical writings, medical journals, ethical analyses, and films, and familiarizes students with critical debates on globalization and its local responses.
Benjamin Franklin Seminars (MED)
Juniors and seniors only; all students need permission of the instructor, Dr. Helen Davies. ALL students must send Dr. Davies an e-mail message explaining their background and why they want to take the course.
This course will examine the interactions between human beings, their organs and cells, and various infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The biological, societal and historical factors influencing these interactions will be analyzed and emerging infectious diseases will be particularly studied.
Important infectious pathogenic agents will be surveyed in terms of their physiological functions, properties that permit them to be pathogens, pathogenesis of infections, clinical pictures of the disease states, therapeutic agents, and methods of prevention of infection. Each student will choose an infectious disease, and make an oral and written presentation on it and in this way will learn how to keep up with the topic of infectious diseases.
Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking
CLST 310-401, Cross Listed with: GAFL-510
John J. Mulhern
BFS Sector II
What actually was it that the Greeks were thinking of when they used the expression politeia—an expression which we often translate by ‘constitution’ but which might be translated also by ‘citizenship’, ‘citizen body’, or ‘regime’? What do their thoughts suggest, if anything, about prospects for constitutionmaking today? This course builds on contemporary scholarship to reconstruct what we may call the constitutionmaking tradition as it develops in the main ancient texts, which are read in English translations.
The ancient texts are taken from Herodotus, the Pseudo-Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus,Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, the author of the Aristotelian Athenian Constitution, Aristotle himself, Polybius, Cicero, Tacitus, and Plutarch. The course traces this ancient tradition through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and the great thinkers of the Seventeenth Century, following linguistic and other clues that carry one up to the American colonial documents, the so-called state constitutions, and the debates in the Constitutional Convention; and it continues through Nineteenth Century and Twentieth Century constitutionmaking into today’s constitutionmaking efforts in Europe, North Africa (especially Egypt), and elsewhere.
In its 2014 version, the course draws on recent work which suggests that Aristotle’s Politics was written for an intended audience of people making constitutions and people making laws, either for domestic use or for colonies.
The course is conducted as a group tutorial. In individual tutorials, where instruction is one on one, the tutor typically assigns a paper to a student each week, and the student reads it the next week and takes questions from the tutor. In a group tutorial, the professor offers a prelecture to the students in each session on the text that they will read next to help them understand its historical, literary, and political context. In the next class, the students read short papers on the text, and these papers are discussed by other students and by the professor. The professor then provides a summary lecture on the text just completed, if necessary, and a prelecture on the text set for the next class. At the end of the course, the students have reconstructed the constitutionmaking tradition for themselves from the primary sources.
Literary Theory Ancient to Modern
CLST 396-401, Cross Listed with: ENGL-394 COML-383
BFS Sector III
This is a course on the history of literary theory, a survey of major debates about literature, poetics, and ideas about what literary texts should do, from ancient Greece to examples of modern European thought.
The first half of the course will focus on early periods: Greek and Roman antiquity, especially Plato and Aristotle; the medieval period (including St. Augustine, Dante, and Boccaccio), and the early modern period (such as Philip Sidney and Giambattista Vico). We’ll move into modern and 20th century by looking at the literary (or “art”) theories of some major philosophers, artists, and poets: Kant, Hegel, Shelley, Marx, the painter William Morris, Freud, and the critic Walter Benjamin. We’ll end with a look at Foucault’s work. The point of this course is to consider closely the Western European tradition which generated questions that are still with us, such as: what is the “aesthetic”; what is “imitation” or mimesis; how are we to know an author’s intention; and under what circumstances should literary texts ever be censored.
During the semester there will be four short writing assignments in the form of analytical essays (3 pages each), and students can use these small assignments to build into a long writing assignment on a single text or group of texts at the end of the term. Most of our readings will come from a published anthology of literary criticism and theory; a few readings will be on Blackboard.
h2. Computer and Information Science
Quantum Computer and Information Science
The purpose of this course is to introduce undergraduate students in computer computer science and engineering to quantum computers (QC) and quantum information science (QIS).
This course is meant primarly for juniors and seniors in Computer Science. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics (QM) is assumed. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor.
Cinema and Psychoanalysis: Stalkers, Gawkers, Psycho Killers, Media, and the State
ENGL 392-402, Cross Listed with: CINE 392
BFS Sector III
This course will introduce you to the psychoanalytic study of cinema and other media, with a special focus on surveillance. Likely films for study will include Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960), Antonioni’s Blow Up (1966), Coppola’s The Conversation (1974), Scott’s Enemy of the State (1998), Wan’s Saw (2004), Haneke’s Caché (2005), Oremland’s Surveillance 24/7 (2008), with additional media from Rebecca Baron, Hanun Farocki, Safaa Fathy, and the state’s mass surveillance apparati.
Readings will include foundational psychoanalytic writings by Freud, Klein, Jung, Lacan, and others, and psychoanalytic film criticism and theory by Copjec, Doane, Metz, Mulvey, Silverman, Zizek, and others.
Advance viewing of the films is required; they will be placed on reserve and also available for purchase just like the required books. Requirements include one short close-reading essay, an in class presentation, and a longer final research essay.
Contemporary European Cinema
ENGL 392-401, Cross Listed with: CINE 392
BFS Sector III
Since World War II, numerous national cinemas have emerged across Europe, offering alternative visions shaped by those different cultures.
This course will examine a spectrum of those cinemas in depth, investigating the cultural and social circumstances that underpin them, the local and global pressures of the film industry at that time, the manifestos that often initiated those film movements, the aesthetic similarities and differences which shaped each, and the evolution that describes the historical paths of each cinema. In the first half of the course, we will examine modern film movements from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, and other European countries as they evolve through the second half of the twentieth century.
In the second half of the course, we will concentrate on the most important contemporary films in Europe today. Alongside a specific focus on the movements and their films, we will consider larger questions of nationhood, globalization, new media, and the purported dominance of Hollyworld as these issues become configured through film and media culture.
The Pamela Craze
ENGL 341-301, Cross Listed with: GSOC-341-401
BFS Sector III
In 1740, a successful London printer named Samuel Richardson published what turned out to be one of the most influential and controversial novels ever written, Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded. It tells the story of a servant girl who repeatedly resists the sexual overtures of her powerful “master,” Mr. B., and of the supposedly happy ending – marriage to a wealthy man – that her virtuous behavior eventually earns.
The questions about power, class, gender, virtue, and meaning that Pamela made visible sparked an enormous amount of writing in its day and ever since. Was Pamela really virtuous, or did she manipulate Mr. B’s desire for her in order to gain wealth and social position? Who is the agent of the seduction in Pamela, and who its object? What is the nature of Pamela’s “virtue,” and what is the quality of her “reward?” Is women’s virtue different from men’s? Is marriage necessarily a form of economic exchange, even of prostitution for women? These are some of the questions that Pamela raised for readers of the eighteenth century, and that continue to this day to be debated in writing surrounding this controversial work.
In this advanced seminar, we will examine the universe of writings that have emerged since 1740 in response to Pamela, with emphasis on works by Richardson’s contemporaries in the mid- eighteenth century. Starting with the novel itself and with Richardson’s defenses of it, we’ll look at the multitude of “anti-Pamelas” that crowded 18th- century publication lists, and at voices that have sounded since in the debate, either to praise or to attack the novel. Emphasis will be placed on independent library research and on the recovery and interpretation of eighteenth-century texts. Students will learn to use sophisticated research tools — electronic databases, microfilm collections, and rare book libraries, for example – efficiently and critically. Class meets on the 6th floor of Van Pelt Library. Students from disciplines other than English are welcome.
Victorian Action Heroes
Almost every popular fictional genre we consume today – detective novel, spy thriller, ghost story, treasure hunt, imperial romance, invasion scenario, monster tale, science fiction, true crime narrative – has roots in the late Victorian period. During the boom years of 1880-1910, all of these genres took on a recognizably modern form. And those forms have been astonishingly durable; they continue to dominate the popular imagination. This course is designed to investigate several key texts in those emerging blockbuster genres as well as their contemporary adaptations in order to figure out why Victorian Action Heroes still exert so much cultural force. As we go, we will track both the modernization and the Americanization of plots that were conceived and codified in the twilight of Britain’s global influence.
The seminar takes a cue from Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999), and we will begin our inquiry there. What veins of cultural memory and narrative desire are tapped in Moore’s revival of Captain Nemo, Mina Murray, Sherlock Holmes, and Allen Quatermain? With that query in mind, we will then read and discuss the works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker, Baroness Orczy, Robert Louis Stevenson, and John Buchan.
In the last third of the semester, we will explore post-1945 (often American) adaptations of Victorian action plots. Students will play an active role in setting the group readings and screenings during this phase; they will also conduct substantial independent research on a cluster of texts, films, or other media with obvious neo-Victorian elements.
During the semester, I plan to use guided critical readings to train participants in the analysis of popular culture, ideally with the same interpretive intensity we apply to writers like Shakespeare or Dickinson. Collectively we will work to a) generate a map of key primary and secondary works in the neo-Victorian field, including steampunk and other contemporary modes; b) broaden the gender base of our primary materials; and c) develop plausible accounts of the political and social meanings that have adhered to pulp fictions drawn from a relatively distant epoch of British popular culture.
Course requirements will include active weekly participation (including reading journals), a short essay (1500 words), and a long independent research paper (5000 words).
Community Based Environmental Health
ENVS-406-401, Cross Listed with: HSOC-406
BFS Sector VII
The ABCS course will explore a wide variety of water and air health risks that are present in the environment that have the potential to produce significant human health impacts. Both biological and toxic agents will be researched by the students to determine points of exposures, and how these agents produce deleterious effects to an often unsuspecting population.
Emerging topics, such as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in water supplies, pathogens and toxics in our food and water supply, household molds and second-hand smoke, will comprise some of the most relevant topics that will be explored.
The community-based component of the course will require students to work with community organizations to assess a significant environmental health issue(s) in West Philadelphia and to develop practical, cost-effective solution(s) to meet community needs while mitigating impacts to an at-risk population.
FREN 360-401, Cross Listed with: HIST 211
BFS Sector III
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.
We will thus 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 course will be taught in English, and all readings will be in English. Students who wish to receive French credit for the course will do the reading and writing in French.
Books That Changed Modern America
BFS Sector II
Why have some books had a profound impact on their times? How have they articulated an issue, focused debate, captured public attention, and spurred action?
In this seminar, we will read a group of books that changed the modern United States. The Jungle, Silent Spring, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, The Feminine Mystique, The Grapes of Wrath, Conscience of a Conservative: These are books that mobilized Americans to demand food safety and a safer environment, adopt new childrearing practices, redefine traditional gender roles, develop greater awareness of poverty, and rethink their politics.
We will approach these and other works in three ways: We will do close readings of each text; examine the history of each book, including its publishing history, critical reception, and readers’ responses; and consider the broader historical contexts in which the work was written.
History of Classical Liberal Thought
BFS Sector II
This seminar will examine the competing and diverse currents of classical liberal thought that have been a part of the Western dialogue from the nineteenth century to the present.
The course requires active participations in discussion and two papers, one brief and one a longer paper. “Classical Liberal Thought,” in briefest form, is a belief in minimal government and maximal individual choice, consistent with peace and order. Looked at from afar, any movement of thought might seem all of one piece. Studied up close, however, what seemed uniform at first becomes complex and diverse.
As one studies such things as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Marxism, Islam, conservatism, or feminism, for example, the more that one reads, analyzes, and compares, the more internal debates and differences one sees in each, whatever the agreements. Our “classical liberals” disagree, often in ways that make them mutually incompatible, about rights, benefits, ethical criteria, safety nets, human nature, and human history.
The function of our discussion will be to analyze individual thinkers and, as we read beyond the first of them, to compare our thinkers, looking always both for agreements and, above all, for disagreements.
Western thinkers from the ancient Greeks to the present have speculated about what the ideal human society would look like. We can study the resultant utopias as works of literature, philosophy, religion, psychology or political science; we must understand them in their historical contexts.
This seminar will take a multidisciplinary approach to utopian thought from Plato’s Republic to the ecological utopias of the 1980s. Works to be examined include More’s Utopia; seventeenth century scientific utopias like Bacon’s New Atlantis; the political theory of Rousseau (Social Contract); essays of the French utopian socialists and Hawthorne’s version of the Brook Farm experiment; Morris’ News from Nowhere; its American counterpart, Bellamy’s Looking Backward; Gilman’s feminist blueprint, Herland; BF Skinner’s psychological utopia, Walden Two; and the utopian science fiction of LeGuin. Huxley’s dystopia, Brave New World, will be set against his later utopia, Island.
Dante’s Divine Comedy
ITAL 333-401, Cross Listed with: COML-333
BFS Sector III
In this course we will read the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, focusing on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, fiction, history, politics and language.
Particular attention will be given to how the Commedia presents itself as Dante’s autobiography, and to how the autobiographical narrative serves as a unifying thread for this supremely rich literary text.
Supplementary readings will include Virgil’s Aeneid and selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Italian or Italian Studies credit will require reading Italian texts in their original language and doing the written assignments in Italian.
Legal Studies & Business Ethics
Corporate Responsibility and Ethics
The purpose of the course is to enhance students’ appreciation for, and ability to deal with, ethical and social dimensions of problems they will face in their careers as managers. The course emphasizes the interplay between the economic dimensions of those problems and their ethical and social aspects.
The course is designed:
• To familiarize you with the recurring ethical problems faced by managers in their dealings with others inside and outside the firm, and the recurring normative problems of public policy and regulation concerning business;
• To develop your capacity for analysis and judgment by introducing you to certain key concepts, principles, and approaches to normative analysis; and giving you practice in recognizing and evaluating arguments;
• To give you practice in formulating, defending, and planning the implementation of solutions to the practical ethical problems faced by managers; and
• To give you the opportunity to reflect on your own values as they apply to the job of the manager.
Introduction to Law and Legal Process
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.
Introduction to Sound Studies
MUSC 018-402, Cross Listed with: URBS-018
This introduction to sound studies course will provide students across the university with both a rigorous conceptual and also a creative, hands-on understanding of the phenomena at the centre of the theme year.
Students will explore how sound and auditory cultures have been theorized, how soundscapes shape and transform built environments and the social relations they underpin or express, how technologies have affected our relationships to sound, and how we might investigate aural phenomena.
The course will focus on sound in urban spaces and will also be structured around a number of themes that cut across disciplinary, historical and geographical boundaries. Creating a transatlantic dialogue with fieldwork investigations into Philadelphia’s soundscape, one central thread will be the changing auditory profile of Paris from the clatter of medieval sword fights through the cultivation of modern urban experience in Haussmann’s boulevards to the contemporary soundscape. This narrative will provide an example of how we might study sound now and in the pas Other topics will include the role of sound-reproduction and mobile technologies, and the consumption and regulation of sound.
The students will encounter a wide variety of materials from literary texts to mobile apps and video games, but chief among them a wide range of sounds. Bringing sound into the classroom is hardly innovative, but making sound—rather than music—the central focus is a more radical step. The rise of sound studies reflects current moves away from the privileging of composition and even performance towards theories of listening.
This demands considering the broad interdisciplinary perspectives at whose intersection urban sound is situated: students will engage with conceptual apparatuses drawn from critical theory and recent Continental philosophy, and will experiment with practical methodologies found in urban anthropology and ethnomusicology, learning how these various approaches might be brought together to ask how sound composes and structures urban space, and how it transforms social bonds and power relations.
Although the course will not be team-taught throughout, guest lectures will be given by experts in ethnographic research methods and sound technologies to give students an in-depth perspective on these two important elements of sound studies.
The course activities and assignments include reading thought-provoking texts on auditory culture and learning how to construct responses in closely-argued prose, a significant component of the course will involve fieldwork on the streets of Philadelphia. The course will provide the students with access to equipment that permits high-quality digital audio recordings to be made in a noisy, outdoor urban setting. The equipment will be put to use again in a final project designed to stimulate the students’ creative impulses in which they will devise a means of presenting or reflecting upon urban sound through a medium of their choice, whether that be, for example, a musical composition, an installation or a soundwalk app. A more sophisticated microphone is also sought in order to give in-class demonstrations of sound’s spatial qualities and to prepare sound materials for study.
Near Eastern Language & Civilizations
Food in Islamic Middle East
BFS Sector II
In the tenth century, a scholar named Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq produced an Arabic manuscript called Kitab al-Tabikh (“The Book of Cooking”.) This volume, which compiled and discussed the recipes of eighth- and ninth-century Islamic rulers (caliphs) and their courts in Iraq, represents the oldest known surviving cookbook of the Arab-Islamic world. Many more such cookbooks followed; in their day they represented an important literary genre among cultured elites. As one food historian recently noted, “there are more cookbooks in Arabic from before 1400 than in the rest of the world’s languages put together”.
This course will take the study of Ibn Sayyar’s cookbook as its starting point for examining the cultural dynamics of food. The focus will be on the Middle East across the sweep of the Islamic era, into the modern period, and until the present day, although many of the readings will consider the study of food in other places (including the contemporary United States) for comparative insights.
The class will use the historical study of food and “foodways” as a lens for examining subjects that relate to a wide array of fields and interests. These subjects include politics, economics, agricultural and environmental studies, anthropology, literature, religion, and public health. With regard to the modern era, the course will pay close attention to the social consequences of food in shaping memories and identities – including religious, ethnic, national, and gender-based identities – particularly among people who have dispersed or otherwise migrated.
Reading Ancient Mesopotamia
NELC 244-401, Cross Listed with: NELC-544
BFS Sector III and CCA
The literature of ancient Mesopotamia flourished thousands of years ago in a culture all of its own, yet the survival of hundreds of thousands of written records challenges us to read it and make sense of it without simply approximating it to the realm of our own understanding. How can we learn to do this?
Situating our understanding of how we read and how we understand culture within an interdisciplinary range of literary-critical and analytic approaches, we will approach this question by immersing ourselves in the myths, tales and mentalities that made Mesopotamian literature meaningful. To give us a measure of our progress we will bracket the semester by reading Gilgamesh which is never less than a great story, but which will take on new layers of meaning as the semester develops and we learn to read the text in more and more Mesopotamian ways.
As we journey through these mysterious realms we will reflect not only Mesopotamia and its immortal literature but on what it means to read and understand any cultures other than our own.
The Binding of Issac
NELC 252-401, Cross Listed with: ANTH-129 JWST100 NELC 552 RELS 129
The Akeidah, or the Binding of Isaac, as told in Genesis 22, is one of the great Biblical stories and the foundation for one of the great themes of Western religion, the near-sacrifice and restoration of the beloved son.
The story is also one of the most problematic texts in all Biblical literature and a source for countless later tales and re-imaginings in later Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature. In this course, we will study the history of this tale and its theme from the Bible through the modern period in order to show how a Biblical tradition develops and changes in response to historical change.
The focus will be on Jewish tradition but we will also consider Christian and Islamic parallels because, as we shall see, no religious tradition in Western culture has ever developed in a vacuum. In this way, we will also attempt to understand the very nature of Tradition—the process by which the past is received and handed on to future generations—as it figures in Judaism and Western culture in general.
Honors Physics II Seminar
Sector VI all classes QDA
Registration required for lab sections 302 and 303.
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 151, at a somewhat higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Electric and magnetic fields; Coulomb’s, Ampere’s, and Faraday’s laws; special relativity; Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic radiation.
Power Sharing and National Ethnic Communal Conflicts
BFS Sector I
This is a course on power-sharing in deeply divided places. Modes of power-sharing are examined, followed by investigations of the circumstances in which federal and consociational institutions are proposed and implemented to regulate deep national, ethnic, religious or linguistic divisions.
Case studies will include such places as Iraq, Switzerland, Canada, India, and Belgium as federations, and Northern Ireland, Bosnia Herzegovina, Lebanon and Macedonia as consociational systems.
Introduction to Experimental Psychology
BFS Sector V and QDA
All students need permission of the instructor, Dr. Paul Rozin. ALL students must fill out the linked form (Rozin Application Form) and mail it to Linda Wiedmann.
Introduction to the basic topics of psychology, including learning, motivation, cognition, development, abnormal, physiological, social, and personality.
The course is in lecture/discussion format, with a number of written projects exploring issues in psychology. There will be a focus on critical thinking and the process of acquiring knowledge in psychology. To this end, we will design and execute a research study in psychology, as a class.
Psychology of Food: Psychological, Cultural, And Biological Perspectives
BFS Sector V and QDA
All students need permission of the instructor, Dr. Paul Rozin. ALL students must fill out the linked form (Rozin Application Form) and mail it to Linda Wiedmann.
Food is a biological essential for humans, but one that has been elaborated and transformed in many ways through history, and given a variety of cultural signatures. This course will consider food from a variety of perspectives. In doing so, it will emphasize how food can only be understood when examined from the point of view of different disciplines. It will also serve as medium for promoting critical thinking and quantitative skills, particularly through exercises in data collection, basic statistics and interpretation of results.
Topics considered will include: the measurement, origin and development of animal and human food preferences; the history of food production (particularly agriculture and domestication) in humans; basic human nutrition; taste, smell and flavor; the cultural history of specific foods, including meat, milk, chocolate, chili pepper, tomatoes, potatoes and corn; the function of food in daily life in a range of cultures including hunter-gatherers, and contemporary India, France and the USA; famine and the modern food distribution system; the cultural evolution of cuisine; food marketing; the epidemiological evolution and its effect on the diet-health link and the way people think about food and health; basic statistics and the evaluation of clinical trial and other forms of evidence for a link between diet and health; the challenge of nutrition and food choice in American inner cities; developed world concerns about long term effects of diet; attitudes to natural foods and genetic engineering; the regulation of food intake; body image, obesity and eating disorders; aspects of the politics and economics of food; evaluation of how food functions as a symbol; ambivalence to food; the emotion of disgust; and vegetarianism.
Most reading will be from secondary sources, but a number of original empirical articles from the diet-health, historical, psychological, and anthropological literature will be included.
Living Deliberately: Monk, Saints, and the Contemplative Life
Justin Thomas McDaniel
BFS Sector IV
Students must gain permission from instructor to enroll in this course.
This is an experimental course in which students will experience monastic and ascetic ways of living. There will be no examinations, no formal papers, and very little required reading. However, each participant will need to be fully committed intellectually and participate in the monastic rules in the course involving restrictions on dress, technology, verbal communication, and food.
The course subject matter is about ways in which nuns, monks, shamens, and swamis in various religious traditions (Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Jain, Taoist, Hindu, Animist, among others) have used poetry, meditation, mind-altering chemicals, exercise, magic, and self-torture to cope with pain and suffering, as well as struggle with spiritual, ethical, and metaphysical questions concerning the nature of the soul, the afterlife, and reality. Through monastic and spiritual practice, this course hopes to provide students with an opportunity to struggle with these questions themselves.
BFS Sector III
The course will explore major works of Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881). It will place the author within the literary, intellectual and political contexts of nineteenth century Russia and will involve a close reading of several of his novels.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of their class performance (questions posed at the Blackboard, 2-3 short presentations), a mid-term quiz, and a final paper (about 4,000 words long).
Urban University Community Relations: Faculty/Student Collaborative Action Seminar
URBS 178-401, Cross Listed with: AFRC-078 HIST173
One of the goals of this seminar is to help students develop their capacity to solve strategic, real-world problems by working collaboratively in the classroom, on campus, and in the West Philadelphia community. Research teams help contribute to the improvement of education on campus and in the community, as well as the improvement of university-community relations.
Among other responsibilities, students focus their community service on college and career readiness at two West Philadelphia High Schools: Sayre High School and West Philadelphia High School. Students are typically engaged in academically-based community service learning at the schools for two hours each week.
A primary 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 caring, contributing citizens of a democratic society.