Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Fall 2013 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars


Interdisciplinary Seminars offered under 01:090:295 and 01:090:296 can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in Writing and Communication [WCd].





alt Grasping American Freedom [WCd]
01:090:295:01 Index#38365
Andrew Urban,  SAS - American Studies
TTH 03:55-05:15p
Ruth Adams Building Rm 018
Douglass Campus

As a concept, freedom presents a paradox. In polls and surveys, Americans routinely cite freedom as the principle most important to them personally and for the nation as a whole. At the same time, however, despite the nearly unanimous belief that freedom is essential to Americans and to the United States, no one agrees on how this idea should be enacted, and what it actually means culturally, politically, and legally. Why do Americans cherish and passionately guard freedoms and liberties, yet are unable to reach a consensus on what it is they are protecting? If freedom is a purportedly natural feature of what it means to be human, why is it that this idea only gains concrete meaning when analyzed as part of a complex series of social relationships governed through the contractual language of rights and privileges? Should freedom be a sacred value, or are we better off viewing it as just one value amid many other equally important ones?

Using a wide array of primary sources, ranging from Enlightenment-era treatises drafted by philosophers such as John Locke to the first-person accounts of freed slaves, this seminar will pay close attention to how Americans have articulated freedom during different historical moments and under different circumstances. Engaging with novels and films, we will examine freedom as a question of art and culture. Turning to popular culture, we will explore freedom as a ubiquitous presence in music, advertisements, and in vernacular expressions of American patriotism.  These readings will be accompanied by an exploration of key academic texts that address how race, gender, class, and sexuality have determined the freedom to own property, vote, and to claim other entitlements and privileges tied to citizenship. Finally, broadening our perspective, we will look at how debates about human mobility, “the War on Terror,” and free trade have also made freedom central to how the United States engages with the world.

ANDY URBAN is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies and History departments. He received his PhD in History from the University of Minnesota in 2009. Prior to coming to Rutgers, he worked as a Community Research Fellow at Emory University, where he researched the institutional history of race and missionary work at Emory as seen through the eyes of a Korean international student enrolled there in the 1890s. His current book project explores the recruitment and contract of African Americans, Asian immigrants, and European immigrants as domestic servants, and how immigration policies and laws concerning the freedom of mobility supplied laborers for an occupation that was stigmatized in the minds of native-born, white Americans. In addition to his work on immigration, race, gender, and labor, his research and teaching interests also include public and legal history. In the spring 2013, Professor Urban is collaboratively curating, along with faculty and students at 11 other universities, a traveling museum exhibition that examines the history of the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and how this notorious “legal black hole” came to be.

alt Chemistry in Art and Archeology
01:090:295:02 Index#38366 [WCd]
Kuang Yu Chen, SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
T 03:20-06:20P
Allison Road Classroom Rm 203
Busch Campus

Chemistry as a discipline has a great potential to vastly expand the landscape of archaeology and art history. Considerable progress in nanotechnology, spectroscopic and imaging techniques, have made it possible to perform non-invasive study of archeological artifacts and art work at molecular level. For example, multi-spectral analysis revealed the fingerprint of Leonardo da Vinci on a painting previously thought to be not authentic, boosting its market value from $19,000 to over $150 million; the synchrotron radiation based X-ray fluorescence elemental mapping uncovered another layer of painting underneath Vincent van Gogh's famous painting "Patch of Grass"; and the atomic absorption spectroscopy allows detection of huge amount of mercury inside the Mausoleum of the First Emperor Qin Shihuang (r. 246-210 BCE) confirming the literature record that mercury was used to simulate rivers and seas in an empire model. The amazing progress in DNA sequencing and bioinformatics has now allowed scientists to peek into the genome of Neanderthals who roamed in Southern Europe more than 20,000 years ago and opens up fascinating stories on human evolution and paleoanthropology.The seminar course will use these stories to illustrate how the chemistry is used to enhance our understanding of art history and to advance the field of archeology. The goal is to deepen the appreciation of the tremendous synergy that chemistry can bring to the field of social sciences and humanity.

KUANG YU CHEN is Professor II of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. His research group has been interested in the function of polyamines and eIF5A protein, particularly their role in cancer.  His lab has also done research in the area of nutraceutical and disease prevention. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, where his research interest is in Early China (2000-500 BCE), with particular focus on oracle bone inscription and Shang civilization.

alt The Question of the Animal
01:090:295:03 Index#38371 [WCd]
Marianne De Koven SAS - English
TTH 01:10-2:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

What kinds of things do modern literary animals tell us?  In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby of 1925, a millionaire’s mistress buys a puppy from a street vendor, along with other things she picks up for her party.  The puppy, ignored, steadily dies during the course of the ensuing drunken, smoke-filled, violent evening.  In what kind of world does this puppy have such a starkly abbreviated life and casual, unmourned death?  Do we still live in such a world?  But, how do you feel about ASPCA ads, if you’ve seen them?  (They depict wretched-looking caged dogs and cats, looking mournfully into the camera, speaking directly to the viewer of their intense suffering and their plea to be rescued by your donations.)  Is focusing on the suffering of animals a distraction from focusing on the suffering of humans?  Or, on the other hand, does the inhumane treatment of animals, along with the belief that animals exist only for our use, teach us about the human inhumanity that objectifies and uses groups or classifications of people not seen as fully human?

William Faulkner’s 1930’s bear (in his story “The Bear”), on the other hand, inhabits an equally problematic world but achieves superhuman status by embodying an ancient, “wilderness” animal life force that overwhelms human control.  This bear, Old Ben, speaks to our current situation in which wilderness, and the idea of wilderness, are under threat.  How do modern and contemporary animals speak to us, through both literary and filmic representation and also through animal science and philosophy, about the possibility of hope?  Is this animal hope escapism, or deluded anthropomorphism, or does this hope through animals have genuine power?

Literary study is only one approach to raising these kinds of questions.  Philosophers have thought about animals for centuries.  The scientific study of animals has been crucial to human knowledge—think particularly of Darwin, lab rats, and genetic modification.  Animals have appeared in religion and in the arts throughout human time and across geographical space.  The earliest cave paintings depicted animals. 

Recently, there has been a more concerted, interdisciplinary, multi-media focus on animals, which comes together under the loose rubric of animal studies, and which raises what many call the question of the animal. What are the key questions, ideas, and imaginative approaches in the new field of animal studies?  For example, do some animals have capabilities commonly attributed only to humans?  Why do works of literature (like Faulkner’s “The Bear”), film, art, and religion often portray animals as having not only human but sometimes super-human powers?  What are the uses and limitations of anthropomorphism? 

In this course, we will read a selection of essays by animal scientists and philosophers in tandem with central literary and filmic texts.  We will begin with Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which we will use to raise troubling questions of human/animal inter-involvement.  We will then focus on Faulkner’s “The Bear,” in order to introduce key issues in animal studies.   We will read, alongside the story, essays about animal intelligence and emotion, about hunting, about habitat and species extinction, about gender and racial issues in the representation of animals, and about the spiritual powers of animals.  We will then read Virginia Woolf’s short novel Flush, also from the 1930’s, which Woolf comically calls a biography of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel.  We will use this novel to discuss issues surrounding our love of companion animals (“pets”) and the linked idea of anthropomorphism, a crucial term in animal studies.  We will also compare Flush to “The Bear” in order to discuss issues surrounding wildness and domestication.  The film “March of the Penguins” might also figure in our discussion of anthropomorphism.  If there is time, we will screen and discuss it in class.

In the second part of the course, we will jump to recent and contemporary fiction and film.  We will read J.M Coetzee’s groundbreaking early 1990’s novel Disgrace, alongside excerpts from his Lives of Animals.  He uses views of animals to raise broadly relevant questions about interconnections among politics, history, ethics, human hierarchies, and the possibility, or impossibility, depending on how we read the novel, of hope.  We will read Temple Grandin, Jane Goodall, and Dian Fossey alongside Coetzee, all of whom look deeply into the question of animal hope.  We will then read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, which raises fundamental questions about animal spirituality and the possibilities animals might open for a larger scope of life than the one that focuses only on humans.  At the same time, Life of Pi raises very pragmatic questions about how humans and animals interact.

Both of these novels have been made into films.  We will screen these films and discuss them alongside the novels.  We will also screen recent animal docudramas (we will pick up “March of the Penguins” here), including “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” and “The Story of the Weeping Camel.”  We will use these films to discuss animal embeddedness in specific local cultures and histories.

All course texts except the central fiction will be available on Sakai.  Feel free to get the cheapest edition of the fictional texts you can find.  Attendance and class participation will be a major component of your grade.  There will also be written assignments, involving revision and the use of secondary sources, based on student interests and input.  There will be no exams. 

MARIANNE DEKOVEN is Professor II of English. She is currently working on a book project on modern literary animals, from which this course is drawn.  She is very open to student input into her project, and has always benefited from student insight—she acknowledges her students in her books.  These include books on Gertrude Stein, on gender and history in the emergence of modernism at the turn into the 20th century, and on postmodernism in the radical cultures and politics of the American 1960’s.  She has edited and co-edited four collections, the most recent titled Species Matters.  She has published widely in 20th- and 21st-century literary studies.  She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Fellowship (as Director of the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers), as well as the Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Research Excellence Award, both at Rutgers.

alt The Poetry of Slavery
01:090:295:04 Index#38372 [WCd]
Meredith McGill, SAS - English
TF 11:30A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Poetry played a vital role in the late 18th and early 19th century mobilization for the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and the elimination of plantation slavery in the British sugar colonies and North America. The prevalence of antislavery poetry in this period is all the more remarkable because it coincided with the rise of a transatlantic market for cheap print, arguably the first truly mass medium in modernity. What impelled British, American, and Caribbean poets to address the problem of slavery in verse, and what poetic resources did they draw on to express its horrors and argue for its elimination? How did poets exploit the rise of mass print, and how did they use printed verse to supplement and extend more conventional activist strategies such as petition drives and public gatherings built around fiery oratory?

In this seminar we will study the history of the abolitionist movement's ultimately successful attack on the slave system through the lens of poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Wheatley, Horton, Whitman, Longfellow, Whittier, Harper, and Dickinson. Students will do original research with digitized antislavery periodicals, as well as investigating topics such as the problem of slavery for the georgic, the role of the poetess on the antislavery circuit, the promise and perils of sympathetic identification, the problematic vogue for slave songs, the response of proslavery poets, and the difficulties of writing poetry from within the slave system. We will conclude with a unit on the legacy of the poetry of slavery for twenty-first century poetry and poetics, examining both narrative reworkings of key texts and events, and avant-garde attempts to represent the unrepresentable. Contemporary poets will include Thylias Moss, NourbeSe Philip, Evie Shockley, Natasha Tretheway, and Kevin Young.

MEREDITH MCGILL studies the impact of mass print on American literary culture, particularly in the period between the American revolution and the outbreak of the Civil War.  She is the author of American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-1853 (2003), a study of nineteenth-century American resistance to tight control over intellectual property.  (In the nineteenth century, the U.S. was a pirate nation, refusing to sign onto international copyright agreements in order to keep reading matter cheap and widely available).   She is currently working on a book on the circulation of poetry in the antebellum United States.  She is fascinated by resonances between the antebellum book market and contemporary struggles over the architecture of the internet.  Her research interests include the history of the book in American culture, American poetry and poetics, law and literature, literary theory, new media and the history of media shift.

alt New Jersey's Greatest Natural Disaster(s)
01:090:295:05 Index#38373 [WCd]
James Mitchell, SAS - Geography
T 10:20-1:20P
Lucy Stone Hall Rm B-120
Livingston Campus

This seminar sets Super Storm Sandy in the context of New Jersey’s historic disasters. It begins by exploring ways in which humans have interpreted, and sought to protect against, such occurrences since the arrival of European settlers. It then addresses the threshold‐crossing nature of Sandy and its effects on different parts of the state, region and nation. Students will learn about the structure of disasters and the evolution of public policies as well as examining the range of measures that currently exist, highlighting those that have sparked – or are likely to spark ‐ public controversy. Through individual research studies within a general class project they will also have opportunities to explore the disaster trajectories of different New Jersey communities, especially in light of projected climate trends as well as shifts in human vulnerability and resilience. Special effort will be devoted to the role of scientific and vernacular information media in creating awareness of the state’s disaster risks and in facilitating laypersons to develop partnerships with experts. There will be readings from published scholarly sources but also involvement with a range of grey literature reflective of the diverse inputs to policy‐oriented academic research and the communications revolution through which we are now passing.

JAMES K. (KEN) MITCHELL is Professor of Geography at Rutgers. He is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, a member of the International Research Committee on Disasters, and founder of the international journal Global Environmental Change. He has conducted field research on the human dimensions of natural hazards in North America, Europe, East Asia and Australia and is currently leading a National Science Foundation‐funded study of flood risk redefinition in New Jersey after Super Storm Sandy. Professor Mitchell has also served on science and public policy advisory bodies at state and federal levels in the United States and in the United Nations system.

alt The Last Days of Mankind: Modernism in the Interwar Period
01:090:295:06 Index#38374 [WCd]
Fatima Naqvi, SAS - German, Russian & East European Lang&Lit
T 09:50A-12:50P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Avenue Campus

The period between World War I - whose end is marked by the collapse of the Habsburg Empire and the Second German Reich - and the rise of fascism in the early 1930s witnessed a creative explosion in Germany and Austria, and cities such as Berlin and Vienna became the sites of radical artistic experimentation. In novels, dramas, poetry, fine art, architecture, and film, artists responded with formal and thematic innovation to the challenges of war, turbulent politics, technological modernization, increased urbanization, and shifting gender roles.

FATIMA NAQVI is a professor in the German program at Rutgers University, where she teaches courses on 20th century German literature and film. Her publications include The Literary and Cultural Rhetoric of Victimhood (2007) and Deceptive Familiarity: The Films of Michael Haneke (Trügerische Vertrautheit, 2011). Her new book looks at the influence of architecture on the writing of Thomas Bernhard (forthcoming with Northwestern University Press, 2014).

alt Genocide in Comparative Historical Perspective
pdf *Course Syllabus
01:090:295:07 Index#38375 [WCd]
Douglas  Greenberg, SAS - History
M 09:50A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

This seminar focuses upon a comparison of four twentieth-century genocides: the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians (1915-1917), the Holocaust (1933-1945), the Pol Pot "auto-genocide" in Cambodia (1976-1979), and the Rwandan Genocide (1994). Our aim will be to understand the historical roots, immediate causes, implementation and aftermath of these four acts of collective state-sponsored violence and then to attempt to make comparisons among them.

We will begin with an overview of genocide, including the definitional and theoretical problems it raises, as well an examination of the general history of genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will then turn to an intensive study of the genocides of the Armenians, the Jews, the Cambodians, and the Tutsi (in Rwanda). Our focus will upon understanding the origins of violence on this scale as well as its consequences for those who survive it.

The course will make use of secondary sources, as well as of memoirs, testimonies, film, and video created by perpetrators and victims. Our main aim is both to comprehend genocidal violence as a particularly vicious form of state policy and also as a human and personal experience of terror and murder. To do so, we will have to confront not only killers and their victims, but bystanders and survivors.

The course will be writing-intensive, including a series of very brief papers as well as a longer final exercise. Each student will take responsibility for organizing one of our discussions and all students will be expected not only to do the weekly assignments (which will include multimedia sources as well as texts). The course will also include several outside speakers with particular expertise on one of the genocides we will be considering and at least one field trip.

Formerly Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, DOUGLAS GREENBERG is Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences. He graduated from Rutgers in 1969 and holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Rutgers, he was Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and Professor of History at USC. He has also been a museum director and a foundation executive and taught history Princeton and Lawrence Universities.

alt The Formation of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes in the Double-Dark Universe
01:090:295:08 Index# 38376 [WCd]
Rachel Somerville, SAS - Physics & Astronomy
TTH 12:00-01:20P
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Campus

Our current knowledge of the Universe extends mind-bendingly far in both space and time. We believe that the Universe has been expanding for 13.7 billion years -- and we have glimpsed light from galaxies that were born 13.1 billion years ago. We can study in detail the patterns of fluctuations from the cosmic glow arising from just 300,000 years after the Big Bang, long before any stars or galaxies were born. Surveys have mapped the entire sky at many wavelengths. The story that has emerged from the amazing technological accomplishments of modern astrophysics is bizarre and fascinating. We now believe that three quarters of the "stuff" in the Universe is "dark energy", a mysterious force that pushes spacetime apart and accelerates our expansion. Twenty-five percent of the cosmic pie is in the form of "dark matter", almost equally mysterious material that feels the force of gravity but no other forces, and has so far eluded direct detection

in our laboratories on Earth. Roughly five percent is made up of "normal matter", i.e. atoms, but of this only about 10 percent has actually been directly observed.

A split second (1.0E-36) after the Big Bang, tiny quantum fluctuations grew into subtle variations in the density of both the normal and dark matter, and in the meantime, gravity has amplified those fluctuations into vast mountains and valleys.  At the highest mountain peaks, clusters of galaxies form --- the urban centers where thousands of galaxies dwell -- dense enough to form immense "gravitational lenses". In the foothills, disk-shaped galaxies like our own Milky Way live quiet suburban lives. Like humans, every galaxy is unique, but as populations they show interesting trends that are still not completely understood. And many or perhaps all galaxies harbor a dark secret in their heart: supermassive black holes that can contain the mass of millions or even billions of Suns. We now believe that galaxies and their supermassive black holes lead intricately intertwined lives and that this symbiosis may hold the key to many of the puzzling correlations seen in the galaxy population.

In this course, we will learn about our modern, scientifically-based "creation story", from the Big Bang to the present day. We will focus not on learning "facts" but on understanding the process by which this scientific worldview has been constructed, and how progress in science is made. We will discuss a number of the historical "great debates" in astronomy, from Copernicus and Galileo to the Shapley-Curtis debate on

the nature of "spiral nebulae" (whether they are contained within our own Galaxy or are their own "island universes"), and the Big Bang versus the Steady State theory, to the ongoing debate about whether Dark Matter and Dark Energy are "real" or whether instead a fundamental revision of Einstein's theory of General Relativity is required. We will also discuss the limits of our scientific knowledge, and the fundamental limitations of the scientific approach. The course will be taught so as to be accessible to students with no college level science or math background. However, interested students will be directed to materials that will allow them to explore the course topics in more detail.

RACHEL SOMERVILLE completed her PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and held postdoctoral positions at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and at Cambridge University in the UK. She has held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. She was the head of a senior research group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and on the Science Staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. She holds the George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough chair in Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers. Professor Somerville recently won the 2013 Dannie Heineman prize for Astrophysics, awarded by the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. She is a member of numerous

observational collaborations, including the Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS), the largest project ever undertaken with the Hubble Space Telescope. She has published over 100 refereed journal articles, and is in frequent demand as a keynote speaker at international conferences.

alt How to Do Things with Stories: Narratives in Everyday Conversation
01:090:295:10 Index#38378 [WCd]
Jennifer Mandelbaum, SC&I - Communication
MW 01:10-02:30P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Avenue Campus

Whether they are stories our families tell, stories from books, from the media, or the internet, the influence of narratives on our lives is pervasive and widely acknowledged.  We have come to see narrative as central to such processes as the transmission of culture, the organization of social knowledge, and the structure of experience.  Telling stories has been the object of extensive academic study in numerous disciplines, but ultimately it is generally viewed as a “monologic” literary phenomenon – something produced by an active storyteller for a passive audience.  This seminar proposes to study stories as “dialogic” social objects, dynamically and interactively constructed in communication by teller and recipient(s) working together.  This will bring students a new understanding of narrative in general, as well as insights into how and why particular stories get told.

We examine classic and modern theories of narrative from a variety of disciplines (e.g., literary theory, anthropology, folklore, sociology, linguistics, psychology, communication) and then reconceptualize storytelling outside of a literary frame, as a dialogic, interactive activity through which experiences are shared as a way of undertaking other social activities (such as warning, complaining, joking, explaining, reminiscing, advising, educating, entertaining, etc…).  We do this by examining field recordings (audio- and video- tapes) of naturally occurring interaction in everyday and institutional settings.  Students learn to use techniques for detailed analysis of these conversations, in order to discover the communication processes through which narrative is enacted, and the social activities that telling stories is used to accomplish.  By working inductively on naturalistic materials, students learn how to challenge a paradigm through empirical work, contrasting classic theories about narrative with their own, instructor-guided, empirical research on the phenomenon.

The semester grade will be based on attendance and participation, three short exercises, a midterm, and a final research presentation and paper.  The research project would be done partly as a class project, and partly individually.

JENNY MANDELBAUM is a Professor in the Department of Communication. She received her BA in French and Philosophy from Oxford University in England, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas.  Her research examines the organization of everyday interaction, using video- and audio-tapes as a resource for describing, for instance, how we tell stories in conversation and what we "do" through the stories we tell.  Her findings include accounts of how we "construct" relationships and identity in and through interaction.  Currently she and her students are working on a large database of videotaped Thanksgiving, Easter and Passover dinners.  She looks forward to the continued participation of Honors students in these projects.  She teaches classes at all levels (including Introduction to Communication), and enjoys the challenges of introducing technology into the classroom.

alt Communications and Human Values
01:090:295:11 Index#38379 [WCd]
Richard Heffner, SC&I – Communication
T 09:50A-12:50P
Scott Hall Rm 201
College Ave Campus

Permission to register requires a pre-scheduled interview with Professor Heffner.  To schedule an interview, please contact Professor Heffner directly at 212.799.7979 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This seminar is an intellectual inquiry into the development of American public policy as it relates to mass communications.  It is not a practicum, not a "how-to" seminar about film and television, or not about the media generally. 

The seminar's purpose is to analyze how much of our sense of what it means to be an American early in the 21st century has been molded by the media -- first print and now increasingly electronic -- with particular reference to their socializing and value-legitimating content.  To learn then to deal appropriately and reasonably with such media power, students are asked first to identify their own respective approaches to the role of the state and its proper relationship to the individual through class discussion of such readings as Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion, Robert Merton's Mass Persuasion, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Herman Melville's Billy Budd, and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death; of such films as Hearts and Minds, JFK, and Fahrenheit 9/11; and of the increasingly unfair and unbalanced rants and raves of America's newer communications outlets.

Finally, class emphasis is placed on analyzing and resolving such contemporary media issues as a Fairness Doctrine (the real or imagined "chilling effect" of a requirement for media fairness and balance); cameras in the courts (do televised trials enhance justice, or instead create a "mobocracy", with trial by a new jury of public opinion?); the importance of journalistic "privilege"; and media self-regulation (can there in fact be meaningful voluntary self-discipline in a free market, free speech, mass media-driven society?).

RICHARD D. HEFFNER is University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he began to teach in 1948.  Trained as an American historian, Mr. Heffner is the author of A Documentary History of the United States and the editor of Alexis de Tocqueville's classic Democracy In America.  His most recent book, a collaboration entitled Conversations With Elie Wiesel, derives from The Open Mind, the prize winning television program which he began in 1956 and which he still produces and moderates each week on public broadcasting stations around the country.  In 1961, after serving on-the-air and as an executive at CBS, ABC and NBC, Professor Heffner played a leading role in the acquisition and activation of Channel 13 in New York, becoming its Founding General Manager.  For twenty years (1974 to 1994), he also commuted to Hollywood, serving as Chairman of the Board of the motion picture industry's voluntary film classification and rating system.  Professor Heffner and his wife, Dr. Elaine Heffner, live in New York City.  They have two sons -- Daniel, a filmmaker; and Andrew, an Assistant New York State Attorney General -- and four grandchildren.

alt Anti Apartheid and Civil Rights Movements: King and Mandela - Lessons In Leadership
01:090:295:12 Index#38380 [WCd]
Ronald Quincy, School of Social Work
TTH 04:30-05:50P
390 George Street Room 515
College Ave Campus

This seminar will examine the strategic ways in which leaders have sought to institutionalize their activism and public dissent. The class will utilize an interactive discussion format. On a macro-level, the focus will include founders of civil and human rights organizations and other social change pressure groups. On a micro-level, we will contrast leadership roles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his co-founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Nelson Mandela and his leadership role in the African National Congress (ANC).

Students will explore a combination of readings of great social movement thinkers such as David Thoreau and draw from original case studies to provide comparative and contrasting ideas of King and Mandela, along with other influencers. The important role of interracial and interfaith groups during these time periods will be explored along with issues pertaining to self-sacrifice and the ethics of movement leadership will also be addressed. Students will conduct as a group an original social scientific research project on aspects of leadership, consisting of on-line survey research, interviews or focus groups.

Utilizing real world interactions with former ANC and civil rights activists, the instructor will facilitate student-led interactions with selected leaders. Students will form in-class role-play debate teams.  The Students will develop a comprehensive annotated leadership chronology; and leadership decision analysis matrix for a selected historical figure, or of the students.  Students will prepare mock contemporary conversations between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela as they reflect on their historical figure’s political and social change best practices and leadership lessons learned.

RONALD L. QUINCY, PhD (Michigan State University) is currently Director, Center for Nonprofit Management and Governance, and Lecturer (Professor), School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Quincy teaches courses in the nonprofit and management concentration. His research interests are organizational leadership, governance, community empowerment, and diversity in the human services sector. Dr. Quincy is formerly an associate vice president at Harvard University, where he also served as assistant to the president of Harvard. Dr. Quincy has served two governors as a state cabinet officer in Michigan, Special Assistant to the Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Executive Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, President of the White House Fellows Foundation, Executive Director/President Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Foreign Affairs Advisor, US State Department, and Director of the Office of Human Resource Policy, State of Michigan. Ron has served on special advisory boards for a number of institutions including MIT, Harvard, and Michigan State. He also served on the governing board of Egleston Children's Hospital (Emory University), Michigan Criminal Justice Commission, Governor's Task Force on School Violence and Vandalism, among others public service agencies. Earlier in his career, Dr. Quincy served as a White House Fellow.

alt Complementarity in Physics, Biology and Philosophy

01:090:295:14 Index#38900 [WCd]
Sungchul Ji, Pharmacy- Pharmacology & Toxicology
TTH 01:40-03:00P
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Campus

Recent developments in molecular and cell biology indicate that Bohr’s principle of complementarity originally derived from quantum physics may play a fundamental role in living processes in the form of information-energy complementarity.  Complementarity-like concepts also occur in psychology, philosophy, semiotics (the study of signs), and world religions.  The universality of Bohr’s complementarity may be traced to the complementary neuro-electrophysiological functions of the human brain, including the dichotomy of the left and right hemispheres.  These findings motivated the formulation of a new philosophical framework known as complementarism in the early 1990’s, the essential content of which being that the ultimate reality perceived and communicated by the human brain is a complementary union of irreconcilable opposites [S. Ji, “Complementarism: A Biology-Based Philosophical Framework to Integrate Western Science and Eastern Tao,” in Psychotherapy East and West: Integration of Psychotherapies, The Korean Academy of Psychotherapists, Seoul, Korea, 1995, pp. 518-548].

In the latter half of the 1990’s, it was found that living cells use a language (called cell language) whose design principles are very similar to those of human language [S. Ji, BioSystems 44: 17-39 (1997)].  This finding further strengthens the link between biology and philosophy, in agreement with the philosophies of Aristotle (384-322 BC), Spinoza (1632-1677), and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1907-1961). Thus, complementarism, which is rooted in both modern biological sciences and classical and modern philosophical systems, may provide a powerful new philosophical framework for integrating not only science and philosophy on the one hand, but also apparently irreconcilable philosophies and religions of the world on the other.

During the first half of the semester, students will be introduced to the essentials of complementarism, and their physical and metaphysical supports derived from physics, chemistry, biology, linguistics, philosophy, and semiotics.  The second half of the semester will be devoted to students’ presentations consisting of short talks (10-minute long) and final seminars (30-minute long) on topics related to some aspects of complementarism or to its application to solving practical problems in contemporary life.  The final grade will be based on classroom participation, including short talks (30%, two short talks per student), final seminar (30%), and a written version of the final seminar (10–15 pages, single spaced, including figures, tables, and references; 40%) due one week after the oral presentation.

Pre-requisite:  A college-level introductory course (or equivalents) in biology, chemistry, or physics.  

DR. SUNGCHUL JI received a BA degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 1965 and a Ph.D. degree in physical organic chemistry in 1970 from the State University of New York at Albany. After a series of postdoctoral research and teaching experiences in enzymology (University of Wisconsin, Madison), biophysics (University of Pennsylvania), systems physiology (Max Planck Institute, Dortmund, West Germany), and toxicology (University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill), Dr. Ji has been teaching pharmacology, toxicology, and computational/theoretical cell biology at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University since 1982.  Dr. Ji founded the Theoretical Aspects of Pharmacology course in 2000 at Rutgers and is the author of Molecular Theory of the Living Cell: Conceptual Foundations, Molecular Mechanisms and Applications, to be published by Springer, New York, in 2010.

alt Philosophy of Cosmology
01:090:295:15 Index#38901 [WCd]
Barry Loewer, SAS - Philosophy
W 11:30A-2:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

This seminar is about issues in the philosophy of cosmology. We will present developments in cosmology at a non-technical level and then delve more deeply into philosophical issues about cosmology. In the last hundred years there have been astonishing developments in cosmology. Among these are that 13.7 billion years ago the universe was very small, dense, and hot (the “Big Bang” state) and then expanded at an enormous rate resulting in billions of galaxies.   The Philosophy of Cosmology concerns philosophical issues and questions that arise concerning cosmology. Central among these questions are “Can the existence of the universe be explained? What, if anything, existed prior to “the Big Bang”? What are space and time? What is the nature of fundamental laws? Is determinism true?  What is the relationship between mind and cosmos? What are the relationships between cosmology and theology?