Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Fall 2007 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

How Sex Changed: Biomedical Sex Research in the 20th Century
James Reed, Department of History
W 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

This is a seminar about the relationship between scientists and human sexuality.  We will examine some of the most important efforts to understand and to control sexual behavior.  Who studied sex?  How did was it defined? What methods were used? Why was it studied?  Who paid for the work? What is the relationship between this science, gender systems, and other salient aspects of U.S. society? What can we learn from the immense discourse constructed by sex researchers? 

We will begin with the "crisis in civilized sexual morality" and Freud's visit to the U.S. in 1909, and end with the emergence of the intersexed and transsexuals as self-conscious minorities successfully struggling for civil rights. We will have an Alfred Kinsey film festival and will devote several weeks to the career of John Money, the Johns Hopkins University clinical psychologist who championed the cause of surgical sex reassignment.  Assigned readings include: Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality, Deborah Rudacille, The Riddle of Gender, John Coalpinto, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, and packets of documents provided by the instructor.

All participants in the seminar will be expected to make a presentation about a researcher, novel, autobiography, journal, or website that is relevant to our story but not included in the assigned reading.  There will be two short written assignments (5 pages) and a longer essay that will serve as a final exam.

JAMES W. REED is a professor of history who teaches the survey course in U.S. history as well as courses in the history of medicine, disease, healthcare and other topics in social history, such as The IQ Controversy and Sport in History.  He served as Dean of Rutgers College from 1985-1994, is the author of The Birth Control Movement and American Society: From Private Vice to Public Virtue, and is currently working on a history of biomedical sex research.


Nation Building: American Involvement in Remaking Foreign Countries Since 1898
David Foglesong, Department of History
M 9:50 AM - 12:50 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)
Since the Spanish-American War of 1898, the United States has occupied and attempted to reshape many foreign countries, including the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua, Japan, Germany, and Iraq.  Those efforts have involved American economic advisers, missionaries, educators, and Peace Corps volunteers, as well as soldiers and diplomats.  In this seminar we will examine the diverse American experience with transforming or reconstructing foreign nations.  We will explore the origins and motives for American involvement in the various undertakings, investigate how successful the efforts have been, analyze the mistakes that have been made, and consider the responses of foreign peoples.

Each student will make one brief (five-minute) oral presentation to open discussion of the assigned reading for that week.  Each student will write four short (five to seven page) essays that will develop critical responses to the interpretations presented in the assigned reading.  Students will have the option to write a longer (twelve to fifteen page) research paper on a topic to be developed in consultation with the professor, in place of two of the shorter essays.

The assigned reading will include books and articles by journalists and political scientists, as well as historians, such as: 

Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
Michel Gobat, Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua Under U.S. Imperial Rule
William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American
Thomas Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

Born and raised in northern California, DAVID FOGLESONG has been teaching in the History Department at Rutgers since 1991. He has written two books: America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (1995), and The American Mission and the "Evil Empire": The Crusade for a "Free Russia" (2007).  He has also published articles on different aspects of American-Russian relations in scholarly journals such as Religion, State and Society(1997), The International History Review (1999), and Problems of Post Communism (2002) His current research focuses on American involvement in remaking foreign countries since 1898, with an emphasis on how Americans have thought about and remembered such "nation building" ventures.


The Science and Life of Albert Einstein
John Hughes, Department of Physics & Astronomy
MW 2:50PM - 4:10 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

In this seminar, we will explore the development of 20th century physics and astronomy through the contributions of Albert Einstein. Students will gain an understanding of special and general relativity, the development of modern physics through the 20th century, and the crucial role of Einstein's theories in modern astronomy and cosmology.

We begin with an examination of the state of physics at the turn of the 20th century and the so-called myth of the "end of physics." We contrast the fields of physics and astronomy at this time based on a set of popular level lectures given in the 1920's.  Newton's definition of absolute space and time, taken from the Principia, sets the stage for an in-depth review of Special and General Relativity, following Einstein's popular book from 1915.  We will explore the consequences of these theories, and will look at some of the detailed tests, including the famous eclipse expedition of 1919 that established these theories as among the most important laws of physics.

In the latter part of the seminar, we fast forward to the modern era and reveal why Einstein's theories are at the forefront of astronomy and cosmology. We will cover gravitational lensing, the big bang theory, evidence for cosmic acceleration and other topics according to the tastes of the class.

Throughout the seminar, we will look at Einstein as an icon in the world at large.  He was a notorious pacifist, yet he encouraged Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb.  He was also deeply religious, but not in a traditional sense.

The seminar will entail weekly readings and written assignments that are expected to form the basis for extensive class discussion.  One or two longer papers will be assigned for credit as well.

This seminar is for non-science majors, although some background in physics and mathematics will be helpful.

JOHN P. HUGHES grew up in NYC and attended Columbia University.  He was a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory until 1996 when he moved to Rutgers, where he is currently a Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Hughes uses both space- and ground-based astronomical observatories to research various topics in astrophysics and cosmology.  (For more information visit his web site


The World of Post-Colonial Caribbean "Theater"
Camilla Stevens, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
MW 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

Numerous historical and cultural processes have made the Caribbean a distinctive and complex world area: the cultural legacy of slavery; the insular and maritime condition of its geography; the region’s multiplicity of races, cultures, and languages; and its proximity to the United States.  Cultural histories of the Caribbean identify the importance of literature in constructing and defining post-colonial collective identities, but the role of theater and performance in the cultural politics of representing the nation has been less rigorously investigated.  In this seminar, we will read plays from a variety of Caribbean theater traditions and examine performance as a human endeavor that helps imagine communities, and the theater as a space for creating and preserving cultural memory.  Some of the topics that will organize our discussions will include:

Storytelling and the Oral Tradition
Re-Playing European Classics
Ritual and Carnival
The Performance of Race and Gender
Tourism and Migration
Requirements:  Readings (most of which will be available on a site for the seminar) will include contemporary plays by authors from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, as well as texts on history and culture and some post-colonial and theater theory.  All readings will be in English.  To familiarize ourselves with the history and culture of the Caribbean region, we will view numerous videos and listen to music and students will report on select islands and playwrights.  Students will also work in groups and present a reading of a scene of one of the plays we study (no acting talent required!).  If there is sufficient class interest, we may go to New York City to see a play.  Other coursework includes brief analytical homework assignments and an 8-10 page final paper.

CAMILLA STEVENS teaches in the department of Spanish and Portuguese.  Her main research areas include Latin American theater and Caribbean literature.  Her book, Family and Identity in Contemporary Cuban and Puerto Rican Drama (University Press of Florida, 2004) analyzes family as a metaphor for national community in Cuban and Puerto Rican theater from the 1950s to the present.  She is currently working on a Pan-Caribbean project that focuses on the theatrical representation of race.  Professor Stevens attributes her interest in the Caribbean partly to her chilly childhood in Minnesota.


Jung for the 21st Century
Steven Walker, Department of Asian Languanges and Cultures
T 9:50 AM - 12:50 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

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.


The Puzzle Novel
Maurice Charney, Department of English
Th 2:50 - 5:50 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

This seminar will consider the puzzle novel in contemporary fiction.  We will concentrate of esoteric, ambiguous, highly ironic fictions by such writers as Borges, Calvino, Kafka, Barnes, Nabokov, and Perec.  The seminar focuses on literature that students are unlikely to have read before that is difficult, provocative, and original.  The aim of the seminar is to get students to write stories or essays related to the writers we are reading.  Two volumes of collected essays and stories have been published by the class with the help of the Honors Program.  In the past, students have completed non-verbal projects involving art, music, dance, or performance.

Required texts:
Borges, J. L., Labyrinths (ISBN: 0811200124)
Barnes, J., Flaubert's Parrot (ISBN: 0679731369)
Calvino, I., If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (ISBN: 0156439611)
Carroll, A. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (ISBN: 0393099776)
Kafka, F., Complete Stories (ISBN: 0805210555)
Pavic, M., Dictionary of the Khazars (ISBN: 0679724613)

MAURICE CHARNEY is Professor Emeritus of English and began teaching at Rutgers in 1956.  He has written widely on Shakespeare, including Shakespeare's Roman Plays: The Function of Imagery in the Drama (1961) and Shakespeare on Love and Lust (2001) and two books on Hamlet:  Style in "Hamlet" (1969) and Hamlet's Fictions (1988).  He has two comprehensive books offering an approach to Shakespeare:  How to Read Shakespeare (1971, 1992) and All of Shakespeare (1993).  Besides a number of editions of Shakespeare's plays and collections of essays, he has written Joe Orton (1984), Sexual Fiction (1981), and an approach to comedy, Comedy High and Low (1978, 1988).


Physics and Photography
Terry Matilsky, Department of Physics & Astronomy
W 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
CSB 334 (DNB)

Many fundamental aspects of physical theory concern themselves with the interaction and interrelationship of space and time, the infrastructure of our universe.  Yet surprisingly, in a totally different context, these constituents can be observed in many aspects of art as well.  In this seminar, we will explore how the photographic image depends on the control of space and time by the photographer.

We will study physical and geometric optics first, with emphasis on image formation, depth of field, resolution, magnification, and perspective.  These investigations will enable us to visualize the world around us, and to begin to control the visual impact of the final print.  At the same time, we will see how the development of the negative affects other aspects of the process, such as contrast.  Extensive darkroom work is contemplated.  While we study the physical processes involved, we will also discuss the Masters in the field.  Each week you will critique a well-known photograph, and attempt to incorporate various ideas into your own work.

Homework will be assigned dealing with both the scientific and artistic content of photography.  Of course, you will be taking pictures (indeed, we will be taking field trips - yay!! - to further stimulate our imagination), and artistic and technical critiques will be done collectively, so students at all levels can participate in the process.  I hope to have rank beginners as well as already serious photographers in the class.  Even advanced students can benefit from a "beginner's mind."

There are no prerequisites for the seminar, but you must have a desire to learn about the scientific as well as the artistic aspects of the photographic process.  You must also have a focusing film camera in which shutter speeds and f-stops can be adjusted manually.  Automatic and digital cameras are not acceptable!  If you are contemplating buying a camera for the seminar, see me and I can make some recommendations.  Note: All students who enroll will be required to pay a materials fee of $25.00 to help defray the costs of film, photographic paper, and chemicals.

TERRY MATILSKY is a professor in the Department of Physics.  His specialty is in astrophysics.  He served as Director of the Rutgers College Honors Program from 1989 to 1996.  He has taken pictures from rockets from 100 miles in space (no, he hasn't been in them), but enjoys ground-based landscapes (preferably wilderness areas like Yosemite and Yellowstone) best.  He has sold some of his least favorite photographs to ad agencies on Madison Avenue, just to see whether it could be done, but remains almost totally undiscovered as a true artist.


Evolutionary Approach to Social and Economic Behavior
Tomas Sjostrom, Department of Economics
TTh 6:10 PM - 7:30 PM
Murray 112 (CAC)

Economists study competitive and cooperative interactions in small-scale face-to-face groups, as well as interactions in anonymous large-scale markets. The traditional assumption is that people behave rationally, as profit- or utility-maximizers -- that is, people are assumed to act in their own (typically narrowly-defined) best interest.1  But if we look at the real world, individuals often act in ways that economists find hard to explain. Why do tourists leave tips in foreign restaurants to which they will never return? Why do people get angry and do things that hurt themselves more than they hurt anyone else? Why do CEOs, who already earn more money than they can spend in a lifetime, risk everything by engaging in illegal accounting practices? Evolutionary psychology and game theory provide some answers.

Game theory is a framework for analyzing strategic interaction. It is a branch of applied mathematics, so it requires serious thinking (but no particular math background). Evolutionary psychology applies “Darwinian” logic to human behavior. Of course, humans aren’t robots who have been programmed by evolution to leave tips in restaurants. (Anyway, there weren’t any restaurants on the savanna where our ancestors lived.) Behavior is influenced by the social environment, norms, culture, education and many other things. That’s why behavior is different in different parts of the world. But why are we so easily influenced? And there are similarities as well as differences? Ultimately, we are trying to understand the nature of humankind.

The grade will be based on seminar participation (including attendance, discussion, and term paper presentation), several quizzes, and a 10-15 page term paper on any topic discussed in the course. The required readings include research articles, class handouts, and the following three books: The Survival Game: How Game Theory Explains the Biology of Cooperation and Competition by David P. Barash, Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner's Guide by Robin Dunbar and Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives by David Sloan Wilson. A recommended (but not required) reading is A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar.

TOMAS SJOSTROM is a game theorist interested in topics such as arms races, the Grameen Bank, and the internal organization of firms. His most recent paper reports on game theory experiments done in Japan and the US.

1. A hypothetical conversation between two economists: “My cell phone is the best.” “How do you know it is the best one?” “It must be true because if there had been a better one, I wouldn’t have bought this one.”


Disaster, Culture, and Society
Lee Clarke, Department of Sociology
Th 9:50 AM - 12:50 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

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 at how society works, and fails to work.  There will be more big disasters, and the consequences from them will continue to be severe.  But the main reasons for these trends is not, as some have claimed, global warming, nor, as others have said, because nature or God are somehow punishing us.  The main reasons have 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, like Katrina, just do that in a big way.

This seminar will 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.

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

LEE CLARKE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology.  His areas of expertise include leadership, culture, disaster, and organizational and technological failures.  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.  Professor Clarke was awarded the Rutgers Graduate School Award for Excellence in Teaching and Graduate Research, 1996-1997, and Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools' 1998 Graduate Mentoring Award. 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 about the professor.


The Breath of Kings: Shakespeare and the Production of History
Emily Bartels, Department of English
TTh 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

To produce "history," whether on the page or on the stage, is indeed to make it.  When William Shakespeare brings Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV, and Henry V imaginatively back to life in the early modern theater, or when Raphael Holinshed chronicles the reigns of these remarkable (in some cases outrageous) kings, they - the playwright and historian alike - are not simply recording a "real" past; they are shaping a vision of that never quite recoverable "reality."  They are also setting their own terms for what history is and does - for what counts as an historical subject, an historical way of representing, and an historical agenda.  Early modern English playwrights and chroniclers were, in fact, deeply engaged with not only the matter but also the question of "history."  For them, to represent the past was to potently politicize the present, to shape the state as well as the stage, to interrogate the all important fault-line between fact and fiction, and to create brave new texts, brave new politics, and brave new worlds.  "Such is the breath of kings," as Shakespeare writes in Richard II.

This seminar will take as its subject the ways in "history" was being produced, on the stage by the indomitable William Shakespeare, and off the stage by chroniclers such as Raphael Holinshed and Richard Hakluyt. In looking at the intersection of dramatic and non-dramatic writers in a period 400 years before our own, our aim will be to "historicize" the notion of what history is and does, to think seriously about how "history" evolves within a particular historical moment, and to understand how the form of an historical story defines its content.  We will learn how to ask questions of dramatic and non-dramatic historically loaded texts, how to account for historical differences, how to read an historical moment through textual lenses, and how to read texts in their history moment.

Our primary readings will include: a selection of Shakespeare's plays (likely among them Richard III, Julius Caesar, Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, Henry V, The Tempest) as well as plays (John Ford, Chronicle History of Perkin Warbeck, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, Bertolt Brecht, Edward II, Aime Cesaire, A Tempest) that provide useful temporal and generic contrasts; and selections from William Warner, Albion's England, Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, John Stowe, Summary of English Chronicles, and Richard Hakluyt, Principal Navigations of the English Nation.

Students will work on one extensive research project of their own design through the term and will keep a reflective critical journal summarizing and analyzing their readings-in-progress.

EMILY BARTELS (BA Yale 1979; PhD Harvard 1987) is an associate professor in the English department and a specialist on early modern literature and culture. Her publications include: Spectacles of Strangeness: Imperialism, Alienation, and Marlowe, an edited collection of essays on Christopher Marlowe, and a number of essays on Shakespeare and questions of race, gender, and cross-cultural contact. She is currently completing a book, Staging the Moor: From Alcazar to Othello.


Romances of the Jungle: Lost Worlds and Last Frontiers
Jorge Marcone, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
MW 7:40 PM - 9:00 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

In the genre of the ‘Romance of the Jungle’ along the twentieth century, the main protagonist, disappointed with the cosmopolitan city for fulfilling his expectations of emancipation and self-realization, attempts a "return to nature" in the wilderness of the tropical forests of the Amazon or the Orinoco basins. Paradoxically, this "return" reveals itself as a search for an alternative modern life style (freedom, artistic authenticity, overcoming alienation from self and others, and the renewal of gender and ethnic identity). This search usually ends in failure, or death, as the environmental, anthropological and historical peculiarities of the jungle shatters previous expectations and assumptions of the protagonist. For the reader, the ultimate consequences of this crisis are not as disappointing. On the one hand, in following the characters’ experience of wilderness, the reader realizes that such experience is interdependent with the social conditions that made it possible. On the other hand, the reader witnesses the process through which the characters reach an awareness of their own embodiment, and embedment into the environment as a condition of personal and social being. In the end, a literary genre that could be used to illustrate the problematic radical split between city and wilderness, carries an awareness regarding the interaction of society and nature that resonates with current notions of political ecology, social “metabolism,” environmental complexity, and sustainability.

Focusing on a combination of Latin American fiction in translation from Spanish and texts originally written in English, this seminar will explore, first, the variations to the basic narrative outlined above in the past century. Secondly, we will focus on the many ways in which these fictions elaborate on the interaction between the human and the non-human, such as: specific environmental crises and/or conflicts, insertion into unsustainable political ecologies, landscape and border-crossing, the impact of the non-human in the process of self-understanding, the influence of environmental awareness in the way in which literature and art are understood, etc.

Seminar requirements: a 15-20 page research paper to be developed along the semester through short written responses to primary readings, research on secondary sources, an oral presentation, and class participation.
Primary readings:

Green Mansions (1904) by William Henry Hudson (Argentina, 1841-England, 1922).
Short stories by Horacio Quiroga (Uruguay, 1878-1937).
"Los mensú" (1914, "The Contract Laborers," Cuentos de amor, de locura y de muerte, 1918).
"Juan Darién" (1920, El desierto, 1924).
"El hombre muerto" (1920, "The Dead Man," Los desterrados, 1926).
"Anaconda" (1921, Anaconda, 1921).
"El desierto" (1923, "The Wilderness," El desierto, 1924).
"El regreso de Anaconda" (1925, "The Return of Anaconda," Los desterrados, 1926)
Los pasos perdidos (1953, The Lost Steps) by Alejo Carpentier (Cuba, 1904-1979).
Keep the River on Your Right (1969) by Tobias Schneebaum (U.S.A., 1922-2005)
The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History (1969) by V. S. Naipaul. (Trinidad, 1932-).
El hablador (1987, The Storyteller) by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru, 1936- ).
JORGE MARCONE is an Associate Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and a Core Faculty in the Comparative Literature Program. His teaching and research interests are focused on the study of ecological/environmental ideas in literatures and cultures from Latin America and incorporates such diverse fields as political ecology, environmental history, anthropology and philosophy. It also requires an understanding of the texts as responses to specific environmental conditions and changes as much as to the flow of ideas, peoples, goods, and capital across the Americas and the Atlantic. In recent years, Professor Marcone has either directed or developed the Rutgers Summer Study Abroad Programs in Spain and Peru. Additionally, Professor Marcone regularly teaches Introduction to Hispanic Literature, and Advanced Grammar and Composition.


Rethinking American Architecture
Carla Yanni, Department of Art History
W 9:50 AM - 12:50 PM
Brett Hall Seminar Room (CAC)

This seminar will focus attention on the architectural history of American buildings of the latter half of the 19th century.  Architectural history is here broadly conceived to include the entire built environment--individual buildings, city plans, parks, houses, public institutions, and infrastructure.  We will first learn the standard history of the period, and we will then rethink that standard history by conducting original research on local buildings. 

For much of the twentieth century, historians considered the second half of the nineteenth century to be a debased period, marked by stylistic confusion and rampant copying of European fashions.  By studying local buildings in their own historical contexts, by setting aside the Great Man approach to history, students will be able to create a more nuanced and accurate history of the period.  Nineteenth-century journals (many of which are available on-line) tell a rich and complicated story about the second half of the nineteenth century.

Requirements: discussion of assigned readings; short papers; a journal comprised of observations of the built environment; oral presentation; and 10 to 15 page term paper on a single building or landscape.  The seminar will include at least one field trip, probably to New York City.

CARLA YANNI is Associate Professor of Art History and Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Academic Affairs.  Her area of scholarly expertise is nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture; by architectural history, she refers not to the study of great monuments and architects, but rather to the intellectual, social, and cultural meanings of buildings.  She promotes the study of architectural history as a way of understanding a society’s values.  In 2000, Johns Hopkins University Press published her first book, Nature’s Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display.  Her second book, titled The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States, was published by University of Minnesota Press in spring 2007.  During the academic year 2002-2003 she was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.  In 1994 she earned the doctorate in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 1987.  She grew up in Rochester, New York.


How Should I Live?
Ruth Chang, Department of Philosophy
T 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Scott 105 (CAC)

Ethical theories attempt to answer the question, How should I live? Although philosophers have offered many different types of ethical theory, the history of ethics has in large part been a debate between two main contenders, consequentialism and Kantian ethics. In his recent book manuscript, Climbing the Mountain, Derek Parfit argues that this debate, which has occupied philosophers for over two millennia, is misguided; rather than offering radically distinct views about how we should live, consequentialists and Kantians are climbing different sides of the same mountain.

This course examines Parfit’s argument via study of parts of his book manuscript, still in preparation for publication. The course begins with a nuts-and-bolts explanation of consequentialism and Kantian ethics. We will then turn to the questions central to Parfit’s argument: What is the nature of a practical reason? What is it to have a reason to do something? Do your reasons to do ‘this’ rather than ‘that’ derive from your wanting to do ‘this’ rather than ‘that’? Or do your reasons derive from the value of what you want? With a view about practical reasons in place, we explore how best to understand Kantian ethics and examine how the best interpretation of Kantian ethics might lead us to a form of consequentialist theory.

Since the material for this course will be distributed via email attachment, there are no materials that students need purchase.   Students enrolled in this seminar must have reliable and frequent access to their email and to printing facilities.

Requirements for the course include one term paper (between 20-25 double-spaced pages), one class presentation, and active class participation. The term paper will count for 50% of the final grade, the presentation and class participation will each count for 25% of the final grade. If you take this course, you should be prepared to participate in class discussion. The aim of this course is not only to learn some great philosophy but to develop certain skills of communication, in particular, how to make cogent and relevant remarks in a general discussion of difficult material.

Professor RUTH CHANG has a B.A. from Dartmouth College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. She has taught at Rutgers since 1997. Before coming to Rutgers she taught at Harvard, Oxford, UCLA, and the University of Chicago Law school.  Since coming to Rutgers, she has been a Rockefeller Fellow at the Princeton Center for Human Values, a Fellow in Ethics at the Harvard Safra Center for Ethics, and a Charles Ryskamp Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. She is author of Making Comparisons Count, editor of Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason, and various articles in ethics and metaethics.


Race Matters
Leslie Fishbein, Department of American Studies
M 9:15 AM - 12:15 PM
RAB 018 (DC)

This seminar will examine the ways in which issues of race arising originally from our society’s vexed relationship with slavery have shaped subsequent social and cultural developments with respect to ethnic and racial identity, social mobility, popular culture and sexuality.  The seminar will explore these issues as they arise during the colonial era of settlement and tease out their implications through the establishment of the republic, our nation’s experience with slavery and emancipation, and during the post-Reconstruction Era in which ethnic minorities among immigrant groups also took on racialized identities. Texts may include the following books and book excerpts, essays, and films:

Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812

Eric Lott, Love and Theft

George M. Frederickson, The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914

Mia Bay, The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas about White People, 1830-1925

Peggy Pascoe, “Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of "Race" in Twentieth-Century America.” Journal of American History 83.1 (June 1996): 44-69

Langston Hughes, “Passing” in The Ways of White Folks. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947. Pp. 49-53.

Nella Larsen, Passing

The Jazz Singer (1927): the Al Jolson talkie employing blackface

Ethnic Notions (1986): Marlon Riggs’s documentary film on racial stereotypes

Kevin Mumford, Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004): Ken Burns’ documentary film on the history of the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion

Jennifer Ritterhouse, Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race

J. Guglielmo, Are Italians White?: How Race is Made in America

Renee Romano, Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America

An American Love Story (1999): PBS documentary film on interracial couple

Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (fictionalized memoir of lesbian daughter of Caribbean immigrants growing up in the shadow of the McCarthy Era in the 1950s)

Cornel West, Race Matters

Spike Lee, Jungle Fever (1991): film about love affair between black architect and his working-class Italian secretary

Students will be expected to write an analytical research paper and shorter written work and to participate actively in seminar discussion.

LESLIE FISHBEIN is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Jewish Studies, a member of the graduate faculty of the History Department, and an affiliate faculty member of Women’s and Gender Studies, Urban Planning and Public Policy, and Cinema Studies.  Her book Rebels in Bohemia: The Radicals of The Masses, 1911-1917, a study of rebels and bohemians in Greenwich Village in the Teens, won the New York State Historical Association Manuscript Award. She currently is working on a book entitled Memoirs of the Sex Trade: A Cultural History of Prostitution, which examines the self-representation of American prostitutes and madams.


French: Culture and Community; or Civilization: What's the Use?
01:090:265:33299 (crosslisted with 01:420:317)
Mary Shaw, Department of French
TTh 2:15 PM - 5:15 PM
RAB 109A (DC)

Enrollment in this seminar is by special permission only.  Please contact Professor Shaw at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for permission to register.

Developed through the university-wide CASE program, this seminar combines a study of the evolving themes of community and education in French literature with service in a particular community -- in this case, students teaching French language and culture to children at the Lord Sterling Elementary School in New Brunswick.  Readings reflect a wide range of historical periods and genres, including such authors as Rabelais, Montaigne, La Fontaine, Perrault, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and folktales from Haiti.  Participants also gain familiarity with various aspects of French and francophone popular culture through their participation in puppet theater, and in musical, artistic, and other projects around which the curriculum is planned.

REQUIRED READINGS (selections to be purchased in xerox packets)
Comhaire-Sylvain, Le Roman de Bouqui

La Fontaine, Fables
Montaigne, De l'institution des enfants
Rabelais, Gargantua
Rousseau, Du contra! Social, L'Emile
Perrault, Contes
Tessonneau, ed., Conies créoles d'Haiti
Tocqueville, De la democracie en Amerique
Barber, Benjamin R., The Civic Mission of the University
Bloustein, Edward J., Community Service
Clinton, William J., Address on National Service. March 1, 1993
Dewey, John, The Democratic Conception in Education
King Martin Luther, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Stimpson, C.R. Meno's Boy. Hearing his Story-and his Sister's
Principal Assignments

Student-teachers will meet with me during the Tuesday and Thursday class sessions to discuss required readings and to plan our collective cultural projects to be done with 4th-5th-grade students from Lord Stirling's After School Program French Club on Tuesdays from 3:15:-4:15. From our regular class sessions will also be drawn the French Language Lessons to be delivered by student-¬teachers in regular teaching sessions (Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:45 - 3:15) in fifth-grade classes at Lord Stirling School. Our first teaching session will be on Tuesday, September 18.

Our first Afterschool Program session will also be on Tuesday, September 18. By the end of the second week of class (September 8), each student--teacher will submit a plan (1 -2 page proposal) for a collective project (literary, theatrical, artistic, musical, scientific, culinary, geographical etc.) to be implemented during the term.  The projects proposed will form the basis of your term papers, (approx. 10 pages) which will constitute the major written assignment for the class. The term papers must in some way connect your cultural project (a description of what you did, how you did it, and why) with your teaching experiences, and with ideas from the required readings. They must also include some independent research.

There will also be a midterm focused on the required readings.

Professor MARY SHAW focuses most of her research on 19th- and 20th-Century French poetry, particularly Mallarmé, but her work explores poetry's relations with other genres (theater and various types of fictional and non-fictional prose) and with disparate art forms (music, dance, and the visual arts). She often works across centuries as well.   Much of her teaching has revolved around the Zimmerli Art Museum's fin-de-siècle illustrated book and journal collection, and she has been especially invested in the French Department's CASE program, which involves undergraduates in teaching French language and culture to children through puppet theater and other means. In recent years, she has also published poetry and a bilingual children's book. You will also find her teaching some of the beginning French literature courses. 


Communications and Human Values
Richard Heffner, Department of Communication
T 9:50 AM - 12:50 PM
SC 201 (CAC)

This seminar is open only to first-year and sophomore students.

This seminar assumes that much of what it means to be an American at the dawn of the 21st Century derives from the power of the mass media, with particular emphasis on their socializing and value-legitimating content.  To deal effectively with such power, to be sure, is now a major task before organized society, and students will first be asked to identify their own respective approaches to the proper relationship between the individual and the State through discussions based on 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, as well as a variety of relevant articles and speeches.

Seminar emphasis will then be placed on such value-laden 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?); and media self-regulation (can there in fact be meaningful voluntary self-discipline in a free market, free speech, mass media-driven society?).

Professor RICHARD D. HEFFNER is University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers, where he began to teach History and Political Science in 1948.  He was Founding General Manager of New York’s Public Television Channel 13 in the early 1960’s, served as chairman of the motion picture industry’s voluntary film ratings board from 1974 to 1994, and continues, after nearly 50 years, to produce and moderate “The Open Mind,” the longest-running conversation program in public television.  He recently published A Conversational History of Modern America (retitled As They Saw It in its paperback edition), which brings together interviews he has conducted over the years with Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Robert Redford, Bill Moyers, Malcolm X, Donald Rumsfeld, B.F. Skinner and hundreds of others. Rutgers Magazine describes reading A Conversational History of Modern America “like being invited to the dinner party of the century.”  Professor Heffner’s A Documentary History of the United States and his edition of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America are classics of their kind.