Public Monuments in America 19th -21st Centuries
Sarah McHam - SAS - Art History
M 02:50-05:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

pdf Public Monuments in America 19th -21st Centurie Syllabus


What is a public monument?  Why are certain people and events commemorated in large, expensive monuments in key sites sometimes decades, or even centuries, after they lived or the events happened?  Who decides who will be commemorated?  Who decides where the commemoration will be?  Who decides what the commemoration will be? 

This seminar will introduce students to the controversial and difficult world of public monuments. The years of dispute about the World Trade Center Monument show that these monuments touch raw nerves.  People care passionately about commemorating important events, but they often disagree deeply about how.  We will read about and discuss several major public monuments and the disputes behind their construction.  We will also visit important examples in Washington, DC, and New York City, and so begin to engage with these timely and significant issues.

Students will complete a research paper focusing on a monument of their own choosing, whether from their hometowns or a nearby city.  The research, gathered from primary sources such as newspaper files, the records of local historical societies, and libraries relevant to each monument, will be presented to the class and written up as a research paper.

Students should plan on being available for two Sunday trips, one to New York City for the WTC monument and monuments around Central Park, and the other for a trip to Washington, DC, to view the monuments on the Mall from the Washington Monument through to the just unveiled monument to Martin Luther King.  (Two regular seminar meetings will be dropped to compensate for this time.)

SARAH BLAKE MCHAM is a professor in the Art History Department of SAS. She was chair of the department between 1986 and 1990 and between 1996 and 1999. She is the recipient of a Graduate School award for distinguished teaching and of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Geoffrey Marshall Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She has written four books and dozens of articles, primarily concerning Italian Renaissance art, her main area of teaching in SAS.

Intimacy and the City
Nicole Fleetwood - SAS - American Studies
TH 02:15-05:15P
Ruth Adams Bldg Rm 018
Douglass Campus


pdf Intimacy and the City Flyer

Do you like being in a city?  Or do you stay away from cities?  Why?

The city can be experienced as a space of claustrophobia and of anonymity, where we feel there is little room to stretch or breathe, and as an impersonal space where intimacy is hard to achieve – but cities can also be places of possibility where strangers can make contact, and become intimate, quickly and easily.

While we often think of intimacy only or mostly in sexual terms, in this seminar we will push our understanding of what is meant by the term and what types of needs are expressed by its desire and the search for it. Considering intimacy as familiarity and forms of belonging, we will analyze how individuals and groups create and yearn for connections in daily contact with strangers amid the distractions of modern urban living.

In this seminar we will explore human contact and intimacy in urban settings through a range of approaches -- fiction, poetry, memoir, cinema, sociology, popular music, and journalism.  Giving special consideration to poetic and artistic renderings of the city, we will focus on how artists and writers have imagined intimate relations and possibilities in densely populated settings.  We will also consider ethnographic investigations and popular cultural representations of intimacy in the city.

We will analyze theater and performance art; the photography of Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, and Robert Mapplethorpe; the popular television show Sex and the City, and films by Kar Wai Wong, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Steven Soderberg, Lisa Cholodenko, and others.

NICOLE FLEETWOOD is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunsick. She researches and teaches in the areas of visual culture and media studies, black cultural studies, gender theory, and culture and technology studies. She is the author of Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press 2011).  Her articles appear in American Quarterly, Signs, Social Text, tdr: the journal of performance studies, Art Journal, and edited anthologies. Fleetwood has worked as a consultant and has collaborated with a number of arts organizations and programs, including the Ford Foundation’s Artography initiative, New Museum of Contemporary Art’s Visual Knowledge Program, Walker Art Center, Southern Exposure, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Youth Speaks.


The "God Debate": Modern Doubt Past and Present
Lawrence Scanlon - SAS - English
MW 11:30a-12:50P
35 College Avenue Rm302
College Avenue Campus

Declining interest in religion has long been taken as one of the hallmarks of modernity, the result in particular of its skeptical, scientific spirit.  The past three decades or so have seen an unexpected religious resurgence in the United States as well as many other places in the world.  That in turn has prompted a series of attacks on religious belief that has come to be called the “God Debate.” This course will examine this current controversy and seek to provide students with its larger intellectual background.  As works intended primarily for popular audience, these attacks have been noteworthy for their daring, but also for their somewhat reductive account of religion.  Some the most interesting responses have been defenses of religion from other non-religious thinkers.  We will look at both the attacks, from such writers as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and John Paulos; and the contemporary responses, from such writers as Terry Eagleton and Slavoj Zizek.  For broader context we will also look at some classic discussions of religious faith and modern doubt, including those of Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, and two contemporary responses, one by Jacques Derrida and the other by Zizek.  Questions to be considered will include: Can faith maintain itself in the face of scientific truth?  Is “belief” in scientific truth itself entirely rational?  Is faith rational? How should we understand the relation between belief in God or the lack of it and moral, social and political values? Can atheism and faith coexist?  Are they actually as distinct as their adherents take them to be?


  1. Regular attendance.
  2. Two short papers (2-3 pp.).
  3. One longer paper (8-10 pp.).
  4. Shorter written exercises.

LARRY SCANLON is Associate Professor of English.  He specializes in Medieval Studies and Literary Theory.

Jung for the 21st Century
Steven Walker - SAS - Asian Languages and Cultures
T 09:50A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

This seminar will introduce students to a system of psychology that, after having been overshadowed by Freudian psychology in the 20th century, is coming into its own in the 21st.  The seminar will present basic principles and paradigms, and will engage students in a number of practical applications in the areas of the psychology of everyday life: the role of mythology in dreams and social life, religion, the analysis of films and literary texts, and self-analysis.  No special preparation is needed, but students should come with an attitude of openness towards what may seem at first to be somewhat uncanny and even disturbing aspects of the unconscious mind.

In the area of the psychology of everyday life, Jungian psychology makes its greatest contribution through its dynamic presentation and analysis of the shadow (the unconscious and repressed personality), the anima and animus (the repressed contrasexual personality), and typology (categories of psychological functioning).  Students in this seminar should be ready for some creative self-analysis!  We will also deal with the disturbing issue of psychopathy/sociopathy as presented by Guggenbuhl-Craig, one of Jung's most original followers. 

Jungian psychology also values the creative arts, and sees them as performing a remarkable role in the psychic life of the individual and society.  Accordingly, we will analyze several narrative and film texts from a Jungian perspective: Toni Morrison's Sula, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jane Campion's The Piano, and other texts chosen as the occasion arises.

The textbook will be my own recent presentation of the Jungian system and its later developments, Jung and the Jungians on Myth: an Introduction (2002).  We will also study Guggenbuhl-Craig's The Emptied Soul and Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

STEVEN F. WALKER, Professor of Comparative Literature, holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin (B.A. in classical Greek) and Harvard (M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature).  He teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate programs in Comparative Literature, and he is a direct descendent (really!) of Henry Rutgers.  He has been reading Jung voraciously since his undergraduate days.

Wonderful Life: Genes and Evolution
Frank Deis - SAS - Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
MW 01:40-03:00P
Allison Road Classroom Rm105
Busch Campus

Life appears to have originated on Earth nearly 4.5 billion years ago when the oceans boiled and the atmosphere had no oxygen.  The changing conditions on our planet have defined the parameters within which life has existed.  An increase in the amount of oxygen in the air from 2.5 billion to 500 million years ago eventually permitted “modern” animals to exist.  Massive extinctions (especially at the end of the Permian Period) have narrowed the spectrum of species on the planet.

One theme of the seminar will be the origin of life, early evolution, implications for life in extreme environments, and possible life on Mars.  Students with an appreciation of chemistry will perhaps better understand the concepts in this part of the seminar than those without, but the readings are intended to be non-technical.

A second theme of the seminar is that science, as a human endeavor, is full of disagreements and political axes to grind.  One of the most controversial areas of evolutionary science is the connection between genes and behavior.  We will try to illuminate this controversy through class readings and discussions.

The reading materials throughout the seminar will be enhanced and complemented by materials in other media, especially video and film.  Books by Stephen Jay Gould and other writers on evolution and paleontology will be assigned.  Professor Deis will also bring in appropriate fossils, shells, and minerals from his collection.

Periodic papers will be assigned.  The factual content of the course will require an occasional short quiz.  Attendance and active class participation will contribute to each student’s grade.

FRANK DEIS studied Chemistry at Rice University and the University of Virginia, and Medicinal Chemistry at the Medical College of Virginia.  He has taught Biochemistry at Rutgers since 1977, and is author of Companion to Biochemistry (W.H. Freeman 2006).

Molecular View of Human Anatomy: How Do Antibiotics Work?
Helen M Berman SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Shuchismita Dutta SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
W 01:40pm-04:40P
Proteomics Building Room 120
Busch Campus

What do proteins, DNA, and other biological molecules look like? Where do these molecules fit in your body and how do they work? This seminar will introduce you to the basics of structural biology and focus on antibiotics – small molecules produced by specific organisms, to kill or check the growth of other cells and organisms.

In the first half of this seminar, students will learn the fundamentals of structural biology - how proteins and DNA are shaped and how their structures are experimentally determined. Through the second half of the seminar, students will conduct research on molecules related to various antibiotics and how they perform their complex functions. They will learn about a structural perspective of the use of antibiotics as pharmaceutical agents and also learn about how novel antibiotics are being designed. 

Students will learn to critically read articles, in scientific journals and in lay press. This seminar will also provide an opportunity for students to interactively use computers for self-publishing. Students are encouraged to bring in their own laptop to class.

This seminar has no pre-requisites; non-science majors are particularly encouraged to enroll. Students will be evaluated on two written reports and one oral presentation related to structural aspects of the course theme and participation in class discussions/activities. The main aim of the seminar is to encourage research-based learning and to familiarize students with a molecular view of biology.

HELEN BERMAN is a Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University.  Her research area is structural biology and bioinformatics, with a special focus on protein-nucleic acid interactions.  She is the founder of the Nucleic Acid Database, a repository of information about the structures of nucleic acid-containing molecules; and is the co-founder and Director of the Protein Data Bank, the international repository of the structures of biological macromolecules.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Biophysical Society, from which she received the Distinguished Service Award in 2000.  A past president of the American Crystallographic Association, she is a recipient of the Buerger Award (2006).  Dr. Berman received her A.B. in 1964 from Barnard College and a Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of Pittsburgh.

SHUCHISMITA DUTTA is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers. She completed her Ph.D. in 2000 from Boston University and followed it by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. With her background in crystallography and expert knowledge of the Protein Data Bank (PDB), she has taught various audiences about structural biology and the use of structural data archived in the PDB. She has been teaching this honors seminar course since 2006.

Wise Fools
Nicholas Rennie - SAS - Germanic Russian & E. European Lang & Lit
W 01:10-04:10P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

Wise Fools Syllabus

The “wise fool” is a paradoxical figure that has fascinated Western writers at least since the Middle Ages. The fool stands outside of social convention and society’s normal hierarchies, and as such serves to highlight problems and contradictions in society itself. His folly veils a deeper wisdom. To speak as a fool, however, is also to contend with various forms of explicit or hidden censorship, to find ways to defy and circumvent social norms. We will accordingly look both at individual figures of the fool, as depicted in work from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Heinrich Böll; at examples of satire that bring into relief social issues of power, politics, gender, generational conflict, morality, and the relation between the individual and the collective; and at ways in which the language of folly itself serves as a model for some of the world’s most interesting examples of literary experimentation.

NICHOLAS RENNIE is Associate Professor of German and an affiliate in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. As a Humboldt Fellow, he has undertaken research at the Free University Berlin and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, where he also taught. Author of Speculating on the Moment: The Poetics of Time and Recurrence in Goethe, Leopardi, and Nietzsche (2005), he has published articles on these writers as well as on Molière, Lessing and Benjamin. His research focuses on literature of the Enlightenment and the Age of Goethe, aesthetics and intellectual history from the 18th century to the present, and theories of drama. He is currently working on a book project entitled Forbidding Images: Writing and the Visual in German Theory 1766/1939.s

America in Vietnamese Eyes; Vietnam in American Eyes
David Foglesong - SAS - History
T 01:10-04:10P
35 College Avenue Rm302
College Avenue Campus


pdf America in Vietnamese Eyes Syllabus

A nation’s images of a foreign country can have significant impacts on its military actions, political direction, cultural values, and everyday life.  Mental pictures of another land may affirm or challenge the superiority of one’s own nation, reinforce or undermine national unity, explain failures, and justify violence.  Simplified or distorted representations of a foreign country may be more projections of hopes or fears than reflections of actual knowledge.  Yet such images still may have important effects, ranging from the escalation of military interventions to liberation from the weight of cultural traditions. 

In this seminar we will focus on the mutual images of two nations whose interaction, especially in the second half of the twentieth century, was extremely poignant, powerful, and tragic.

Some of the questions we will investigate are: How have changing Vietnamese images of America – as a revolutionary land of liberty, a counter-revolutionary oppressor, a paradise of material abundance – influenced political, economic, and cultural developments in Vietnam?  How have different American images of Vietnam – as a backward land that needed to be modernized, a domino or pawn in the Cold War struggle against communism, a victim of American indiscriminate violence, a land where tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died – affected U.S. government policies and Americans’ views of their role in the world?  How did Vietnamese views of the United States compare to their views of France?  How did Americans differentiate their roles in Vietnam from the French involvement in the country?  How did U.S. leaders misperceive and misunderstand Vietnam?  How have U.S. soldiers depicted Vietnam and the U.S. war there in memoirs and novels?  How have U.S. war memorials portrayed the American military involvement in Vietnam?  How have American movies revised popular memories of the Vietnam War?  How have images of successful, wealthy Vietnamese Americans undermined nationalism in Vietnam?

We will examine such questions by reading historical studies, memoirs, and novels, by viewing films and documentaries, and by visiting the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel.

Course requirements include: completion of the assigned reading by the dates specified; active, informed, participation in class discussions; short (500-word) essays each week in response to the assigned reading or films; a longer (2000 to 3000 word) paper on an individual who shaped Vietnamese images of the United States or American images of Vietnam; and two oral presentations to the class.

DAVID FOGLESONG is a historian of the foreign relations of the United States.  His research has focused primarily on relations between the United States and Russia.  It has led to the publication of many articles in scholarly journals and two books: The American Mission and the “Evil Empire": The Crusade for a "Free Russia" Since 1881 (Cambridge University Press, 2007); and America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (The University of North Carolina Press, 1995).  Born in California, Foglesong went to Amherst College for his undergraduate education.  At Amherst he earned a B.A. in European Studies, magna cum laude (1980).  He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991.  Since 1991 Foglesong has taught at Rutgers University as an Assistant Professor (1991-1996) and Associate Professor (1996 to 2009).  He regularly teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy, the Cold War, U.S. experiences with “nation building,” and modern Russian history.  Foglesong is currently working on two major projects.  Together with two Russian historians, he is writing a history of American-Russian relations since 1776.  In addition, he is conducting research for a history of the U.S. experience with “nation building” since 1898.

Three Modernist Cities: London, Paris, Harlem
Carol Smith - SAS - English
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

London, Paris, and Harlem have come to known as centers of 20th century modernist culture.  In this seminar we will look at the cities themselves and how they became the urban spaces that drew early 20th century writers and artists.  For each city we will examine a pair of writers, one male, one female, who were part of the city’s cultural debates and who, in most cases, used the cities themselves as a backdrop for the texts we will read.

We will look first at the London that attracted American writers such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, as well as British writers and intellectuals who were part of the Bloomsbury Group, especially Virginia Woolf.  Next will be post World War I Paris and the expatriate literary colony centered on the Left Bank.  We will discuss the painters who attracted and influenced writers like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, as well as the proliferation of experimental presses, bookstores, and literary salons where writers and artists gathered.  Finally we will look at Harlem and the literary movement of the Harlem Renaissance, including the close connections between Left Bank Paris and Harlem.  Here we will focus on texts by Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison, as well as the cultural battles over the way black culture should be presented to the public.  We will end the discussion of each city with a roundtable with short reports on individual student research projects.

CAROL SMITH is Professor Emerita of English.  She has taught many courses on modernism and 20th century literature in the Department of English.  She directed the Graduate Program in English, and served as chair of the Douglass English department and as Acting Dean of Douglass College.  She is the author of T. S. Eliot’s Dramatic Theory and Practice and many articles on American and British 20th century authors.  Her special interests include the cultural backgrounds of modernism and 20th century women writers.

Unpredictable Events in History
Virginia Yans - SAS - History
M 10:55A-01:55P
Hickman Hall Rm 129
Douglass Campus

pdf Unpredictable Events in History Syllabus

How do you think about history?  Do you see the past as an orderly place, where we can observe repeating patterns, linear developments and probable connections between causes and effects?  Or do you believe that some events, including world-changing events, are random and unpredictable, beyond the grasp of conventional historical practice? 

Today there are a group of visionary thinkers, from history, geography, physics, biology, finance, climatology, cosmology and economics who point to unpredictable events, even seemingly random events, that have changed the course of human history. They urge that we pay heed to this new way of thinking about our world.

In this Honors Seminar, we will examine what these visionary thinkers say about global and local, long and short-term historical happenings. Those who take the “long view” ponder explanations for civilizations crashing, forms of life disappearing, or climate change. Those who study short-term sequences such as stock and financial market crashes argue that failure to honor the possibility of the unpredictable produces economic disaster. Still others, drawing upon mathematical physics and “chaos theory” propose what is often referred to as the “butterfly effect”: they look to seemingly inconsequential “events” like the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings to explain major weather catastrophes or grave disease epidemics. Historians of medicine call attention to the unpredictable in their narratives of brain death research that produced unanticipated useful outcomes.   Historians’ studies of seemingly inconsequential local events  (Shay’s rebellion) and of unpredictable events (political assassinations or 9/11) also encourage attention to the random and the unpredictable.

Each student will examine and report upon actual examples of unpredictable or seemingly random but consequential historical events.  Readings will include selections from Nassim N. Taleb, The Black Swan; Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Disease or his Collapse; Stephen J.  Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History; Ferdinand Braudel, Memory and the Mediterranean; and articles on brain death, the Spanish flu, chaos theory, the writing of physicists on historical change, and other readings to be determined by student interest.

VIRGINIA YANS is a historian of modern America.   Her interest in visionaries emerges from her work on the anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, both of whom were innovators and visionaries.   It also emerges from her delight in those who think outside the box.

Inequality and Opportunity in America
Patricia Roos - SAS - Sociology
T 01:10-04:10P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

Inequality and Opportunity in America Syllabus

Issues of inequality are central to the research that many social scientists do.  Sociologists have long studied how inequality gets produced and reproduced, and how ascriptive inequalities such as gender or race shape our access to a wide range of opportunities.  These core issues will be the focus of this seminar.

We begin with an overview of why class still matters in contemporary American society.  In a general way, we’ll assess how important class remains in defining our life chances, and our opportunity to pursue the American Dream.  More specifically, with respect to the workplace we'll see how people come to work in the jobs they do and what factors affect the promotions and salaries they earn.  We will examine how inequality has been rising in recent years, and the effects rising inequality has on that quintessential group, the American middle class.  We’ll focus on categorical (i.e., group) inequalities, especially the "big three" (race, class, and gender), but address other forms of inequality as well.

As more overt forms of discrimination have declined, researchers have begun to examine the more subtle ways in which inequality is reproduced, especially in the workplace.  We'll talk about these more subtle mechanisms of inequity, and discuss the ways they are often embedded in interactions among people and in the policies and procedures of our societal institutions.

There are no prerequisites for this seminar. Although many of the readings come from a variety of disciplines, an important goal of this seminar is to introduce you to the sociological perspective and imagination.  

Students are required to attend each class session.  This course is a "seminar" and not a "lecture" course.  The success of the seminar thus depends on active participation, and the small class size should facilitate this goal.  Assigned readings should be completed prior to class meetings, and you should come to class prepared to discuss.

PATRICIA ROOS is a Professor of Sociology.  She received her BA and MA in sociology from the University of California, Davis, and her Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA.  She teaches courses on work; inequalities; work, family, and politics; gender and work; and research methods.  She won both the President’s and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching while at SUNY Stony Brook.  Professor Roos has published widely in gender and work, the feminization of traditionally male occupations, and work and family.  Three projects are currently on her research agenda:  (1) gender equity in higher education, (2) race, class, and gender differences in work/family behavior and attitudes, and (3) a collaborative project with Rutgers colleagues on how to move toward real gender equality among women and men.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Disaster Culture and Society
Lee Clarke - SAS - Sociology
TH 01:40-04:40P
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Campus

Disaster, Culture, and Society Syllabus

Fukushima is a bell-weather event for modern society. Climate change threatens our futures. And Katrina was a bell-weather event for American society. Along with 9/11 it threw into bold relief just how vulnerable we can be. Such events are intellectual opportunities, chances to look into how society works, and fails to work. There will be more big disasters, and the consequences from them will continue to be severe. The main reasons for these trends has to do with how society is organized.

We usually think disasters are special but they are prosaic, part of rather than discontinuous with “normal” reality. In normal reality we must make sense of things. We excel at that, applying familiar categories to organize events, motives, and histories. Generically, disasters are not different from other events that need ordering. It is easy to imagine all kinds of non-disastrous things or times that must be confronted with, “How shall I make sense of this?” Big disasters just do that in a big way.

This seminar will mainly be case-based, which means that I’ll organize the materials around particular events. Examples are accidents (Bhopal, Titanic, Challenger, Columbia) “natural” disasters (Katrina, the threat from near earth objects) and epidemics (1918 flu). The focus will be on the interplay between culture, social institutions, and calamity. We will use video and internet resources throughout.

I will also construct exercises for students to participate in. An example might be giving groups of students a potential disaster scenario and then making them “advisors” to the President: what will you do? What do you recommend? What will be the consequences if you follow one path rather than another? We will run these exercises at key points in the semester, as knowledge about disaster accumulates.

 I will ask students to write one-page “reaction memos” to readings. I will provide examples of what these should look like, but basically they are critical reflections on what you’ve read. Students will email these memos to everyone in the class and we will use them to drive the seminar on any particular day. Students will very actively participate in the seminar, as we weave into and out of key ideas concerning culture and disaster.

LEE CLARKE is a Professor in the Department of Sociology.  His areas of expertise include leadership, culture, disaster, and organizational and technological failures.  Clarke has won two awards for his teaching and enjoys interacting with motivated and interested students. He has written or edited 6 books and over 50 articles.  He has written about the Y2K problem, risk communication, panic, civil defense, evacuation, community response to disaster, organizational failure, and near earth objects; his most recent book, Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  In August 2005 he was honored with the Fred Buttel Distinguished Scholarship Award by the Environment and Technology section of the American Sociological Association.  He has most recently appeared on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, ABC World News Tonight, and National Public Radio's affiliate in Irvine, CA, KUCI.  Visit for more information.

The Globalization of Disability: Gender Sexuality Race and the Critique of Able-ism
Jasbir Puar - SAS - Women's & Gender Studies
MW 04:30-05:50P
35 College Avenue Rm302
College Avenue Campus

In the last thirty years both the disability rights movement and disability studies have grown into legitimate political and intellectual realms of intervention and struggle. Organized through a critique of the notion of a normal or "abled-body" as an assumption or expectation that reasserts social inequities in terms of access to public spaces incorporation into work and educational arenas and stereotypes of diseased failed and inadequate bodies disability rights has argued for the recognition of differently-abled bodies as integral to social justice. Disability studies has likewise proposed a social constructionist model of the body situating disability as something that is produced through cultural values built infrastructure and capitalist accumulation.

This tremendous progress in intellectual and political venues however has ironically resituated certain kinds of privileged disabled bodies over others despite specific efforts to destabilize any kind of normative body. This new normative of disability tends to be white male disabled through bodily (not cognitive or mental) impairment and a middle-class citizen with solid resources such as current technologies caretakers and proper healthcare. Feminist gay and lesbian and queer theories of disability are now emerging to challenge the predominance of certain kinds of disabled subjects. Postcolonial studies has similarly critiqued the Euro-American bias of disability studies noting that colonial violence neoimperial wars and neoliberal economic inequities produced the majority of disabled people in the world.

This course will survey these emergent literatures and the critiques they raise about the developmentalist narrative of progress that disability studies and disability rights activism might claim. We will look at the explosion of representation in popular culture of disabled bodies trace technological and medical advances and debate the acceptance and tolerance of disability especially as it relates to a consumer culture that is phobic towards illness aging disease and deformity. Particular attention will be paid to how disability "travels"--that is how disability rights agendas are being globalized through human rights regimes as well as biomedical and biotechnological operations and what impact these travels has on disabled populations in other parts of the world.

JASBIR PUAR is Associate Professor of Women's & Gender Studies at Rutgers University.  Her research interests include gender, sexuality, globalization; postcolonial and diaspora studies; South Asian cultural studies; and theories of assemblage and affect. She is the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press 2007), which won the 2007 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Professor Puar has also authored numerous articles that appear in Gender, Place, and Culture, Social Text, Radical History Review, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and Feminist Legal Studies. Her edited volumes include a special issue of GLQ titled, "Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization" and co-edited a volume of Society and Space titled "Sexuality and Space". Most recently she edited, with Julie Livingston, a special issue of Social Text on "Interspecies." (Spring 2011).    She is currently working on a new book on queer disability studies and theories of affect and assemblage titled Affective Politics: States of Capacity and Debility.  Professor Puar is also a contributor to the Guardian and The Huffington Post, as well as Bully Bloggers ( and Oh! Industry ( Her op-eds have focused on “pinkwashing” in gay and lesbian activism, queer Islamophobia, and the limits and possibilities of the It Gets Better campaign.

Social Innovation: The Business of Doing Good
Matt Matsuda - SAS- History, SAS Honors Program
W 04:30-07:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

Too many students in the arts and sciences still graduate asking, “what can I do with my degree?” The socio-economic “reality” of their generation tells them that they must either make a meaningful difference in the world or make a living with a paycheck.

One of the most striking trends of the current generation has been the phenomenon of young people taking matters into their own hands by starting their own businesses or assisting in the development of a business.

Within this group is a dedicated subset with experience in humanitarian work, volunteerism, and activism, committed to integrating social justice and global change-making priorities with basic business and finance models. They come from backgrounds from literature and political science to math and design, from history, sociology, psychology, public health, and economics to philosophy.

Today we call them social entrepreneurs, or leaders of social business. Many are the creators of small start-ups, some have well-known global support from Echoing Green, the Acumen Fund, the Skoll Foundation, or the Ashoka group. Famous examples include the microfinance work of or the legendary Grameen Bank under Muhammad Yunus.  They aim to make a difference and make a living around the world.

Not a business class (the Rutgers Business School runs its own fine social entrepreneurship courses), this seminar is an overview of the history and fundamental principles and issues that drive this new-generation phenomenon. We’ll study the ways that local projects integrate with the United Nations Millennium Goals, and look at classic case studies of success and failure. We’ll connect our social business learning with Big Questions by analyzing works like Nobel prize-winner Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom, Yunus’ Building Social Business, and journalistic accounts of social entrepreneurship around the world. We’ll review basic business terminology and planning approaches.

Most critically, the main challenge of the class will be for participants to work in small teams to develop social enterprise plans. This will require assaying a major global issue, understanding how it manifests itself in a local context, surveying the community to determine actual needs, and developing a logical “business plan” to make a difference. We’ll explore support and funding possibilities for the most viable projects and have connections and critique from our own colleagues at the Intersect Fund and other social business development firms. Opportunities can include field visits and having face time and feedback from experts in the field.

MATT MATSUDA is the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program as well as College Avenue Campus Dean.  He teaches and researches Modern European (particularly French) and Asia and Pacific comparative questions in the History Department.  He has written books about memory and historical thinking, empire and emotions, and is working on a general study of civilizations and encounters in the ocean-world of the Pacific.  He is a recipient of undergraduate teaching awards, and, as College Avenue Campus Dean, works regularly with social action, global rights, and environmental and activist groups. He is also developing teaching in social entrepreneurship: the crossover of business and social justice initiatives. A guitarist and performer on the Los Angeles scene during the post-punk, indie, New Wave era, he is happy to discuss all of the creative, fun, and unusual ways we can learn together.

A Place in the World
Paul Blaney - SAS - English, SAS Honors Program
TH 2:50-5:50P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Avenue Campus

A Place in the World Syllabus

How do we, as individual humans, describe or define ourselves? To a great degree, our sense of who we are comes from our connections to the world. That world might be a social world—I am part of this family, of this religion, of this social class or profession. Or it might be natural—I am defined by my connection to the natural world, the Earth. Or geographic—I am from this place (house/village/town/city/state/country). Modern life with its movements and migrations tends to undermine all of these connections—to use French novelist Michel Houellebecq’s term, as individual human beings we are ‘atomized’. In a post-religion, post-agrarian, post-class, global society that’s defined by the speed with which it changes, many people are afflicted with a sense of rootlessness.

This seminar will consider the importance of connecting oneself to a specific place as well as to the natural world as a whole. Do we really need to be rooted? (Some have argued that we have more to lose than to gain by the connection.) And, if so, how to attach oneself to a particular place (other than by birth)? By buying/building a house or creating a garden—a human space in nature? By working and caring for the land? By creating art or literature that reflects and deepens one’s connection to (and love for) a place or landscape? By exploring, getting to know a place intimately, by walking?

Principal texts will include works of fiction, poetry and film by Bruce Chatwin, W.G. Sebald, W.H. Auden, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Ann Segrave, Michelangelo Antonioni, Laurie Lee, and others. Critical and theoretical reading will include essays by Virginia Woolf, Edward Said, Henry David Thoreau, William Cronon, and Robert Pogue Harrison. Students will be expected to respond critically and creatively to each week’s material. We will also undertake at least one field trip.

PAUL BLANEY is Writer in Residence in the SAS Honors program at Rutgers University. He also teaches courses in Creative Writing and Creative Non Fiction in the English Department. In 2011 he led Rutgers’ first Creative Writing Study Abroad Program to Lewes, England. Publications include poems, short fiction and a novella, Handover, that’s due out in 2012. When not at his desk or in the classroom, he’s happiest out of doors, walking or pottering in the garden.

Bodies in Social Interaction
Galina Bolden - SC&I - Communication
M 02:50-05:50P
Alcove Lounge
College Avenue Campus

Bodies in Social Interaction Syllabus

Our bodies play a central role in how we construct meaning and actions through social interaction with each other in the diverse settings that make up a society’s social worlds. In this seminar, we will analyze embodied behaviors not as an isolated, self-contained code but in relation to language, processes of human interaction, and the rich settings where people conduct their lives. We will examine the role of different kinds of embodied behaviors (i.e., body orientation and posture, eye gaze, gestures, laughter, prosody, etc.) in carrying out fundamental human activities in talk-in-interaction, including establishing joint foci of attention, coordinating turn-taking, repairing interactional problems, negotiating meaning, and constructing and negotiating interpersonal relationships. We will also consider embodied communicative behaviors in a variety of professional settings, such as courtrooms, archeological sites, and doctors’ offices. This seminar is interdisciplinary and will incorporate materials from the fields of communication, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology.

Videotapes of actual, everyday interactions will be used as a primary source of data, and ordinary face-to-face interactions will be treated as a prime site for studying embodied communicative conduct.  We will inspect videotaped recordings of interactions to discover how people assemble the actions that make up ordinary social life and will produce empirically-based analyses of some of those practices.

You will be engaged in a guided semester-long research project that will involve video recording, transcribing, and analyzing a naturalistic face-to-face interaction. The goals of the project are to develop technical and analytic skills for conducting empirical research on social interaction and to produce a detailed, original analysis of an embodied interactional phenomenon.

GALINA BOLDEN received her BA in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and her MA and PhD in Applied Linguistics from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines naturally occurring, video/audio-recorded social interactions in a variety of settings: ordinary conversations between family and friends, doctor-patient interactions conducted with the help of language interpreters, and conversations among co-workers at workplaces. She has conducted research on talk in Russian and English languages, as well as bilingual Russian-English conversations. Her current project focuses on communication in Russian immigrant families in the US.A Sustainable World

A Sustainable World
Jennifer Lynch - Engn - Materials Science and Engineering
TH 01:40-04:40P
Allison Road Classroom Rm203
Busch Campus

From the use of oceans and forests, to concerns about energy consumption and climate change, all of our lives are directly impacted by the challenge of "sustainability." What does "sustainability" mean for our world and our daily existence? Can an entire civilization actually outstrip the natural resources it needs to survive? We'll begin with grand scale cautionary tales like Collapse by Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel), and analyze the challenges posed by trying to simultaneously make use of and limit the materials we need every day in studies like Plastics: A Toxic Love Story. From the global vision of the rise and fall of  great cultures, we'll look at the real importance--and costs—of consumer items like combs, chairs, Frisbees, IV bags, disposable lighters, grocery bags soda bottles, and credit cards.

From the theoretical, we'll move to the directly practical, examining in detail the professor's own work maintaining the environment and saving forests by repurposing plastic materials into heavy load bridges and other structures. The class will also feature a hard-hat, guided field trip to a high-tech recycling and processing plant. Study the driving issues behind "sustainability" debates and learn about the intersection of environmentalism and innovative engineering with one of the experts in the field. Participants from all majors welcome.

JENNIFER LYNCH received her MS and PhD degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers University.  She is currently research faculty in the Materials Science and Engineering Department and is part of the Center for Advanced Materials via Immiscible Polymer Processing (AMIPP).  Her research interests include advanced materials development for structural and functional applications; processing, properties, and characterization of polymers, polymer blends, composites, and nano-composites; and prediction of long-term viscoelastic properties of polymers, blends, and composites.


Nelson Biological Labs
Room A-110
P 848-445-3912


Milledoler Hall
Room 12
P 848-932-1406


Ruth Adams Building
Suite 108 
P 848-932-2011


Lucy Stone Hall
Room A-201
P 848-445-3206


100 Rockafeller Rd
Rm. 1031
P 848-445-3206

CAC Main Office

35 College Avenue