Spring 2012

First-Year Seminars

AWAS0300-S01     Babylon: Myth and Reality
CRN: 26391
Primary Meeting: T R 10:30 am - 11:50 am

From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Tower of Babel to Babylon 5, the city of Babylon in ancient Iraq holds an important place in contemporary culture. But how much of what is commonly known of Babylon is true? In this course we will explore the ancient city of Babylon through its texts and archaeological remains and investigate the ways Babylon has been viewed over the past two thousand years. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT
Professor John Steele

COLT0510F-S01     Che Guevara, The Man and the Myths
CRN: 26372
Primary Meeting: T R 10:30 am - 11:50 am

We will read Guevara’s political and philosophical writings alongside the literary, visual and filmic representations that have made him one of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures and a symbol for vastly diverging interests. From a cultural studies perspective, we will compare the development of Guevara’s theories to posthumous uses of his work and image, particularly in and in relation to present-day Cuba. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS
Professor Esther Whitfield

ENGN0120A-S01   Crossing the Consumer Chasm by Design
Primary Meeting: M W F 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Technologies have shaped human life since tools were sticks and flints to today's hydrocarbon powered, silicon managed era. Some spread throughout society; bread, cell phones, airlines, but most never do; personal jet packs, Apple Newton, freeze dried ice cream. Space Tourism, the Segway, electric cars: Can we predict which ones will cross the chasm to broad application? Can we help them to by combining design, engineering, marketing, communications, education, art, and business strategies?
Student teams identify potential new products, conceptualize, package, and define their business mode. By plotting their course across the chasm, we confront the cross-disciplinary barriers to realizing benefits from technology. Enrollment limited to 24 first year students. FYS
Professor Richard D. Fleeter

ENGN0120B-S01    Crossing the Space Chasm Through Engineering Design
Primary Meeting: M W F 02:00 pm - 02:50 pm

Five decades of human activity in space has provided the world community with benefits including instant global communications and positioning, human and robotic exploration of the moon, planets and sun, and a perspective of earth which continues to inform and influence our relationship with our environment. Unlike other technical revolutions of the 20th century space has not transitioned to a commercial, consumer market commodity. Rather its users and applications remain primarily large and institutional. To experience the challenges of engineering design and of changing an industrial paradigm, we will work in one or several groups to identify a use of space, and a plan for its implementation, that could help transition space from its status as a niche technology. Through the process of design, we will confront the technical, economic, societal and political barriers to obtaining increased benefits from technologies in general, and space in particular, and to making new technologies beneficial to a wider range of users. FYS
Professor Rick Fleeter

GEOL0160I-S01     Diamonds
CRN: 26750
Primary Meeting: T R 02:30 pm - 03:50 am

Examines both the science and human history of diamonds, and shows how they have interacted over the years. Investigates how and where diamonds are formed in nature and what they tell us about the Earth. At the same time, explores the role diamonds have played in our history and culture. CAP course. Enrollment limited to 12 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT
Professor Stephen Parma

ITAL0751-S01         When Leaders Lie: Machiavelli in International Context
Primary Meeting: M 03:00 pm - 05:20 pm

This course examines the writing of Niccolò Machiavelli, a Renaissance author praised and condemned for his insistence on analyzing the realities of politics, rather than the ideals of political behavior. Machiavelli's view of the tenuous relationship of ethics to politics has cast him as the founder of political science and the proponent of "consequential morality" or the notion that the ends justify the means. We will also examine precedents for his ideas in the Greek and Islamic world and conclude by examining the relevance of Machiavelli's insights for understanding political practices and ethics in the twenty-first century. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS LILE WRIT
Professor Caroline Castiglione

PHP0030-S01         Health of Hispaniola
Primary Meeting: T R 06:30 pm - 07:50 pm

Two developing countries, Dominican Republic and Haiti, have widely differing health outcomes despite centuries of shared experience on the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola. This course will examine the history, politics, economics, culture, international relations, demography, and geography, as well as epidemiology and health services, to demonstrate that multiple factors, both recent and long-standing, determine the present health of these populations. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS
Professor Timothy M. Empkie

SOC0300D-S01      Who Am I?
CRN: 26503

A study of self in contemporary society. We examine the structural and situational forces that shape the self and their impact on personal development, orientations to the world, and interpersonal behavior; we investigate the development of the self as a way of being in the world that makes everyday doings and, ultimately society, possible. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT
Professor Gregory Elliott

SOC0300G-S01      Populations in Danger
Primary Meeting: W 03:00 pm - 05:20 pm

Examines populations confronted with dangerous social, economic, political, or health crises. These include small Amazon farmers in situations of environmental degradation, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland in economic and social conflict and under peace agreement, Israelis under threat of random attack with neighbors who demand Israel's extinction, Palestinians under Israeli occupation with a largely powerless and corrupt Palestinian Authority, South Africans under HIV/AIDS pandemic, and undocumented Dominican immigrants in Providence. The seminar will include readings on these populations in danger, lectures by internationally known experts, student presentations and class discussion, and three short essays. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS WRIT
Professor Dennis Hogan

Courses Open to All Students

AFRI0710A-S01     Racial and Gender Politics in Contemporary Brazil
CRN: 21777
Primary Meeting: T R 09:00 am - 10:20 am

Brazil is commonly understood as an example of a "racially democratic" nation, but as scholars have recently shown, racism permeates all aspects of Brazilian society. This course traces the development of the theorization of race, racial identity and race relations in contemporary Brazil. The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary, drawing upon works from anthropology, literature, history, music, and film. Topics will include colonialism and enslavement, nationalism, social activism and popular culture. We will also consider how Brazilian social relations differ from or conform to other racialized patterns in other nation-states in the Americas. Particular attention will be placed on the interrelationship between race, gender, class, and nation. WRIT
Professor Keisha-Khan Y. Perry

BIOL0190H-S01     Plants, Food, and People
CRN: 26702

Examines the selection, breeding, cultivation and uses of food plants. Discusses the effects on agriculture of pathogens, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Considers whether enough food can be produced for a world population of potentially 10 billion, while sustaining biodiversity and environmental quality. Enrollment limited to 40. LILE
Professor Peter Heywood

ENGN1010-S01       The Entrepreneurial Process: Innovation in Practice
CRN: 21486

Entrepreneurship is innovation in practice: transforming ideas into opportunities, and, through a deliberate process, opportunities into commercial realities. These entrepreneurial activities can take place in two contexts: the creation of new organizations; and within existing organizations. This course will present an entrepreneurial framework for these entrepreneurial processes, supported by case studies that illustrate essential elements. Successful entrepreneurs and expert practitioners will be introduced who will highlight practical approaches to entrepreneurial success. Enrollment limited to 35.
Professor Danny Warshay

GEOL0240-S01      Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet
Primary Meeting: M W F 10:00 am - 10:50 am

Introduces Earth's surface environment evolution - climate, chemistry, and physical makeup. Uses Earth's carbon cycle to understand solar, tectonic, and biological cycles' interactions. Examines the origin of the sedimentary record, dating of the geological record, chemistry and life on early Earth, and the nature of feedbacks that maintain the "habitable" range on Earth. Two field trips; five laboratories arranged. Prerequisite: GEOL 0220 or instructor permission. WRIT
Professor Timothy D. Herber

GNSS1700-S01        Iranian Women's Resistance Strategies: Gender Discrimination and the Law Since 1979
CRN: 27577
Primary Meeting: T R 02:30 pm – 03:50 pm

After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the new government targeted women’s legal rights in the name of Islam. Family Law, Criminal Law, and even Constitutional Law were designed or amended in ways that imposed gender discriminations on Iranian women’s public and private lives. Iranian women from both secular and religious backgrounds have employed diverse strategies to resist these laws. Students will learn about the rules and regulations imposed on Iranian women and also the creative and innovative ways through which they overcome these discriminatory laws. Enrollment limited to 20. WRIT
Professor Mehrangiz Kar

HIST0980C-S01     Culture Wars in American Schools
CRN: 27119
Primary Meeting: M 03:00 pm - 05:20 pm

This course examines "culture wars" in American public schools over the past century. It will explore how and why school curriculum has become an arena for cultural conflict and how those debates have changed over time. These debates clashes in schools over religion, values, politics, and educational aims raise important questions about majority and minority rights, the existence and meaning of a common national culture, and the role of schooling in a democratic nation. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students and sophomores. M
Professor Tracy Steffes

HIST1973Y-S01      Children and Childhood in America, 1640-Present
CRN: 24702
Primary Meeting: M W 09:00 am - 10:20 am

This course explores the history of children in America from 1640 to the present. It is organized chronologically, but is also topical in approach. Fundamental questions posed by historians in this burgeoning field will be examined: How has the regard for children changed over time? What is the role of children in the popular imagination? How has children's work evolved? How does gender affect children's development? We will consider answers to these questions through the historiography and primary sources that inform our knowledge of the past as children experienced it. Senior history concentrators will receive priority in enrollment. Instructor permission required. WRIT M
Professor Stephen Lassonde

RUSS1200-S01       Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction
Primary Meeting: T R 10:30 am - 11:50 am

Survey of Russian literature, from fairy tales, utopias, and dream sequences to science fiction, which depict altered states of reality. Readings in English, supplemented with films in March and April. Seminar with emphasis on discussion. Russian concentrators and graduate students expected to cover most of the readings in Russian. Familiarity with Russian literary history is not required.
Professor Alexander Levitsky

SOC1420-S01          Violence and Society
Primary Meeting: T R 02:30 pm - 03:50 pm

The course focuses on the personal and structural sources and consequences of violence in the U.S. We investigate three levels of violence: interpersonal; institutional, wherein social institutions do violence to individuals or groups; and structural, examining the structures of society that tolerate or promote violence, both within the society and toward other societies. Next, we examine the culture of violence that permeates our society, including the mass media and violence. WE focus on specific forms of violence in our society, including gang violence, bullying, violence within schools, sex trafficking, war, religious violence, and terrorism. WRIT
Professor Gregory C. Elliott