Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Spring 2011 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars




Evolutionary Approach to Social and Economic Behavior

01:090:271 Index#54790
Tomas Sjostrom - SAS - Economics
TTH 01:10-02:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Avenue Campus

Economists study competitive and cooperative interactions in small-scale face-to-face groups, as well as 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. But in 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 can explain such behavior. 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, blindly programmed by evolution to leave tips in restaurants.  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 class handouts and the following three books: The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition by Richard Dawkins; The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley; Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals by Frans B. M. de Waal.

TOMAS SJOSTROM is the first holder of the James Cullen Chair in Economics.  He did his undergraduate studies in Stockholm and received a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1991. He taught at Harvard and Penn State before moving to Rutgers in 2004. His early work was on the topic of Mechanism Design, the mathematical analysis of social institutions.  Currently, he is asking "Why is there war rather than peace" and "How does the brain work"?

The New Animal Studies

01:090:272 Index #51596
Marianne De Koven - SAS - English
MW 01:10-02:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Animals (often called “nonhuman animals”) are increasingly visible in contemporary legal and humane advocacy, and in literature, film, television, and other modes of cultural and political representation. There is a burgeoning interdisciplinary field called “animal studies,” which includes academics (from a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences), animal activists, writers, artists, and other cultural and political workers. Why is this happening? What kinds of animals do we most often read about and see? How are they represented? What kinds of issues do these studies and representations of animals address and raise for us, in addition to the questions of animal rights, the humane treatment of animals, and species extinction? How does the new animal studies expand our understanding of the human-animal relation? Has the representation of animals changed in meaningful ways in tandem with the development of the new animal studies? These are some of the questions we will ask in this course. Readings will represent the wide variety of approaches developed within this complex interdisciplinary field.

MARIANNE DEKOVEN, Professor II of English at Rutgers University (Ph.D. Stanford University, 1976), is the author of Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern (Duke University Press, 2004, winner of the Perkins Prize), Rich and Strange: Gender History, Modernism (Princeton University Press, 1991, Choice Award), and A Different Language: Gertrude Stein’s Experimental Writing (Wisconsin, 1983). She is also the editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives (2006), of Feminist Locations: Global and Local, Theory and Practice (Rutgers University Press, 2001), and co-editor of Species Matters: Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory, forthcoming 2011 from Columbia U Press). She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters, on a range of topics including modernism, postmodernism, gender, feminist theory, and twentieth-century fiction. She is currently working on a book project on cultural uses and meanings of animals in modern and postmodern fiction.

Homer's Odyssey: Mythology Psychology and Politics

01:090:273 Index #48916
Steven Walker - SAS - Asian Languages and Cultures
T 09:50A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Many students may have already read Homer’s Odyssey or parts thereof, but this is one of those books that really are worth rereading and rethinking. There are 24 chapters in the Odyssey, and we will be reading and discussing 2-3 of them each week in the translation by Robert Fitzgerald. We will be using a recent commentary (Frederick Ahl and Hanna M. Roisman, The Odyssey Re-Formed) for initial inspiration and stimulation. But the bulk of our seminar work together will simply be letting our minds and imaginations work on the text through close reading and discussion, and seeing what we come up with. Homer can mean many different things to many different people, as we will surely discover.

The mythological side of the Odyssey is one of the things that have made it fascinating for each new generation of readers. We will look carefully at the rich mythological world of the Odyssey with a special eye for psychological meaning and insight, especially as regards the initiation process of a young man (Telemachus), a young woman (Nausicaa), an older man (Odysseus), and an older woman (Penelope). But there has also been a perennial fascination with the historical subtext: did Odysseus (or someone like him) really exist? Does what Homer tells us about him, his island Ithaca and his society actually correspond to history? The now classic study The World of Odysseus by Moses Finley will give us a look at some of what lay behind the heroic legends of this epic of seafaring and adventure. Finally, the Odyssey turns out to have an special relevance for the discussion and the resolution of one major problem our society is facing today, and it is Jonathan Shay’s book Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming that will lead us from the world of ancient heroic epic to the problems of modern war.

STEVEN F. WALKER, Professor of Comparative Literature, majored in Greek as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, and continued to study ancient Greek literature in his work for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard. The Odyssey has long been one of his favorite books, but, oddly enough, although he has thought about it a lot, he hasn’t written or published much on it—perhaps he wished to keep it a book mainly for pleasure reading and not for academic analysis? In all events, it is his pleasure with the text that he would like most to share with you.

Wonderful Life: Genes and Evolution

01:090:274 Index #69628
Frank Deis - SAS - Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
MW 01:40-03:00P
ARC 105
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: Infectious Diseases

01:090:275 Index #49003
Helen Berman - SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Shuchismita Dutta - SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
TH 01:40-04:40P
CABM Rm 010
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? How do molecules from some pathogens cause infectious diseases? How does your body respond to these pathogens? This seminar will introduce you to the basics of structural biology using human anatomy and diseases as themes.

In the first half of this seminar, we will learn the fundamentals of structural biology - how proteins and DNA are shaped and how these structures are determined by scientists. Through the second half of the seminar, students will conduct research on molecules related to various human infectious diseases. They will look at the structures of specific molecules from disease causing organisms - how they are involved in causing the disease and how some of these diseases can be treated or prevented.

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. It will be helpful if the student can 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.

From Lansdale to Petraeus: The Evolution of Counter Insurgency Doctrine (COIN)

01:090:276 Index #49004
Lloyd Gardner - SAS - History
T 1:10-4:10P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Ave Campus

This seminar, "From Lansdale to Petraeus," will consider the recent origins of Counter-Insurgency (COIN) from the Vietnam War until the present, with a brief look back at more distant origins in the Indian Wars and the Philippines.  Probably the most famous, certainly the most controversial, figure in this history was Col. Edward Lansdale, the presumed model for a number of books and films, especially "The Quiet American."  At one point Lansdale was considered a pioneer of irregular warfare, one who out-maneuvered the Huks in the Philippines and saved that new country from Communism.  Then, after his tour in Vietnam, he was considered a proponent of targeted propaganda and violence who did more harm than good.  In recent years, however, in the wake of the so-called "New History" of the Vietnam War, which posits a happy ending -- or there could have been a happy ending if COIN had been adopted earlier in place of search and destroy -- Lansdale has become honored as a prophet of how to win wars against insurgents.  It is now argued that one man, David Petraeus, epitomizes the best thinking in COIN theory, and practice.  But this is not great man history, but rather the story of how paradigms develop, get lost, and are found again, as the circumstances of America's role in the world change and produce attempts to adapt to the altered environment from Vietnam to today in Afghanistan.  We will have several guest speakers uniquely able to address these questions, including, it is hoped, one of the authors of the new army manual on Counter-Insurgency.

Students will be expected to participate in all classes, and vigorously join in the debates the readings and speakers stimulate, and to complete a 20 page original research paper.

LLOYD GARDNER has taught at Rutgers since 1963.  After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin he taught briefly at Lake Forest College, and then spent three years in the Air Force.  His special interests are in 20th and 21st Century American foreign policy, and he is the author or editor of more than a dozen books in this field, most recently, "The Long Road to Baghdad: American Foreign Policy Since 1970, " and "Three Kings: The Rise of an American Empire in the Middle East after World War II."  He has taught a variety of courses and worked with many Henry Rutgers' students over the years.

Troubled Occupations: U.S. Attempts to Transform Foreign Nations Since 1898

01:090:277 Index #49005
David Foglesong - SAS - History
TH 09:50A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

This honors seminar will examine a number of controversial U.S. occupations of foreign nations since 1898, including the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua, Japan, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.  The assigned common reading will focus on how the United States has attempted to remake foreign countries and how the American public has been divided over the wisdom and feasibility of the efforts. We will examine the origins of U.S. involvements, investigate how successful the efforts have been, analyze mistakes that have been made, and consider the responses of foreign peoples.

Each student will be required to make one brief (5 minute) oral presentation to open discussion of the assigned reading and write four short (roughly five-page) essays in response to the common reading.  Each student will have the option to write one longer essay (12-15 pages) instead of two of the short papers.  The longer essay may focus on a country, organization, individual, or theme to be chosen by the student.  This essay should either: (1) develop a critical perspective on much of the scholarship relevant to the topic or (2) make extensive use of primary sources, such as government documents, memoirs, or newspaper editorials.

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

01:090:278 Index #49962
Carol Smith - SAS - English
W 09:50A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave 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.

Energy Materials and the Environment

01:090:279 Index #49006
Gabriel Kotliar - SAS - Physics & Astronomy
F 11:30A-2:30P
Scott Hall Rm 116
College Ave Campus

In the twenty first century humans are no longer a small perturbation on their habitat. Excess carbon dioxide in the air from burning fossil fuels has been linked to  climate change, ocean acidification and indirectly responsible for drastic reductions in the amount of phytoplankton that make up the bottom of the food chain in the ocean.

We will examine these problems and potential solutions, focusing on the following questions:

  1. How do we resolve the increasing world demand for fossil fuels with the finite supply of economically accessible resources?
  2. As the worlds standard of living and energy consumption per capita increase can we avoid destroying our own habitat?
  3. Is there a technologically viable solution to the current energy crisis, or is the survival of our way of life dependent on technological breakthroughs that have not yet taken place?
  4. If problems with energy, the ocean and climate change problem are so pressing, than why is it so hard to take concerted action?

We will discuss the relative importance of energy and excess carbon dioxide air concentrations from a policy perspective in light of other critical 21st century problems, such as eradication of poverty, warfare and environmental degradation.  Students will be provided with a solid  understanding of the issues and will develop the skills necessary to understand the constraints imposed by the laws of physics when these questions are addressed.

From an interdisciplinary perspective, the seminar will start by asking what energy is and how it is used in various settings. We will then describe the different forms that energy can take, such as nuclear, solar, chemical, electrical, and mechanical as well as the efficiency of converting between the various forms of energy, (solar, chemical, electrical, chemical, a mechanical, etc,) .  We will brainstorm which steps are the most likely to be effective in reducing reliance on fossil fuels as well as what steps are currently being taken .  The physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology that relate to these topics will be presented  at an elementary level, and should be suitable for a motivated non-science major with a good high school science education.

The goal of the seminar is to teach students to think  quantitatively and scientifically  about important problems  and to elicit discussions about the current options that we as a society have in facing the current energy and climate crisis.  Further information will be made available in http://physcgi/user-html/gkguest/CourseContent/index.php

GABRIEL KOTLIAR is a theoretical physicist with interests in materials science. He got his Princeton and is currently a Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers University.  Kotliar received the 2006 Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize for his work on strongly correlated electron materials. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a Sloan fellowship, and a Lady Davis fellowship.  He was a recipient of the Blaise Pascal Chair and has been a frequent visitor at the Physics Departments of Ecole Normale Superieure, Ecole Polytechnique, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  His research interests are in the theory of materials, and his goal is to speed up the discovery of materials with useful properties  For this purpose he uses quantum field theory methods, algorithms, and computer simulations.  He believes that education and scientific research are the key investments that society needs to make to ensure a better future.

Sociology of Trauma and Collective Memory

01:090:280 Index #49007
Arlene Stein - SAS - Sociology
MW 03:55-05:15P
Hickman Hall Rm 132
Douglass Campus

The Holocaust and other genocides, along with war, terrorism, slavery, sexual abuse, AIDS, and natural disasters irrevocably alter the lives of survivors and the societies in which they live. This seminar will consider how social scientists make sense of the impact of these events. Why are survivors often unable or unwilling to acknowledge or speak about them? How do traumatic experiences shape survivors' sense of self over time? How have medical professionals, government officials and social movement activists responded? How does membership in different groups (religious, ethnic, national, gender) shape the ways people remember, forget, and deny traumatic events? And finally, how do descendants of trauma survivors make sense of the past many years later? The course will feature lectures, discussions, films and guest speakers. We will read two memoirs: Saidya Hartman, Lose Your Mother, by a granddaughter of African American slaves, and Alice Sebold, Lucky, by a woman who experienced sexual abuse. We will also read articles by sociologists, psychologists, political scientists and literary critics. Students will be required to complete a 5-6 page take-home essay on the readings. They will work in groups to analyze narratives of Holocaust survivors collected by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive, and prepare a group presentation and paper on their findings.

Arlene Stein is a professor of sociology at Rutgers. She teaches courses on the sociology of sexualities, identities, and culture. Her research interests include the cultural and emotional dimensions of social movements, trauma and collective memory, the social construction of LGBT identities and communities, and conservative social movements. She is the author of three books and the editor of two collections of essays. Among them is The Stranger Next Door: The Story of a Small Community’s Battle Over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights, which won the American Anthropological Association’s Ruth Benedict Award. She is currently writing a book about storytelling and the intergenerational transmission of Holocaust memories.

Human Diversity

01:090:281 Index #49008
Stephen Stich - SAS - Philosophy
TTH 02:50-04:10P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

This seminar will have three components.  The first will look at the anthropological and psychological evidence for human diversity in several domains, including religion, race, gender, moral norms, food preferences and sexual practices.  The goal of this component of the seminar will be to better acquaint students with the extraordinarily broad range of human diversity.  The second component will introduce students to a variety of theories aimed at explaining various sorts of human diversity, including evolutionary psychology and gene-culture “dual inheritance” theory; we will also look at theories about the distinction between normal psychological functioning and mental disorder, in order to assess the hypothesis that some sorts of diversity are to be explained by mental disorder.  Finally, we will consider a variety of views in political philosophy and political theory about how we ought to react to diversity.  Should it be encouraged, tolerated, discouraged or suppressed?  Plausible answers will, of course, depend on the sort of diversity being considered.

STEPHEN STICH is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University and the Director of the Research Group on Evolution and Higher Cognition.  He is also Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.  Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 1989, he taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland and the University of California, San Diego. He has held visiting appointments at a number of universities in the USA, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and has lectured at universities on every continent (except Antarctica).  He has done research on a wide variety of topics and is the author or editor of 18 books and over 150 articles.  In recent years much of his research has focused on human diversity, moral psychology, and philosophical methodology.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of the Jean Nicod Prize and the first recipient of the Gittler Award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences.  Stich was one of the founders of the experimental philosophy movement, and his former students are now among the leaders in the field.

Politics, Democracy and Punishment

01:090:282 Index #49009 (CROSS LISTED WITH 01:202:388:01)
Lisa Miller - SAS - Political Science
M 09:15A-12:15P
Hickman Hall Foom 206
Douglass Campus

Can there be too much democracy? In the United States, citizens often express skepticism of the ability of democratic majorities to produce policy outcomes that are fair and protective of individual rights. Indeed, critics of the American criminal justice system have argued that it is precisely the over-responsiveness of U.S. politics to popular majorities that explains its high incarceration rates, relative to other developed democracies. In this line of reasoning, the U.S. political system is too democratic, creating many opportunities for citizens to translate their desire for vengeance into law and for policymakers to exploit punishment as an electoral issue. Thus, some argue that when it comes to deciding how to respond to crime and violence, too much democracy leads to overly punitive states, particularly with respect to deep disparities in punishment across racial and ethnic groups. In fact, a recent cross-national study of incarceration warned that those who “dislike the recent expansions in incarceration that have occurred in so many of the advanced democracies should not seek political arrangements that give the public greater influence” (Jacobs and Kleban 2003, 748).
This seminar takes this claim as its starting point to explore the relationship between democratic politics, crime, punishment and inequality. In particular, we will pay attention to different understandings of democracy, the role of citizen participation in democratic systems, and the extent to which public influence over crime politics is determinative of the degree of punishment. The seminar is designed to push students to challenge their understanding of democracy, the relationship between democratic politics and crime, and the role that citizens play in determining appropriate responses to lawbreakers. In addition to the empirical questions embedded in these topics, we will also discuss their normative dimensions. The course requires active student participation, a midterm and final exam and a research paper.

LISA L. MILLER is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her interests are at the intersection of law and social policy, specifically the politics of criminal punishment and racial inequality and their dynamic interaction with American political and legal institutions. She has written extensively on the development of crime and justice policy and legal frameworks in the United States and has also published research examining the inner workings of the federal criminal courts. Her most recent book, The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty and the Politics of Crime Control (2008, Oxford University Press), explores the impact of American-style federalism on the politics of crime and punishment and racial inequality in the U.S. She is currently working on a book examining the relationship between democratic politics and punishment in a comparative context. 

Science in the Jungle: Laboratories, Expeditions and Natives in Global History
01:090:283 Index #54791
James Delbourgo - SAS - History
T 04:30-07:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

What new kinds of knowledge about the natural world are gained and lost when people from radically different cultures meet? This seminar explores the social and cultural histories of science, technology and medicine as a series of encounters in different parts of the world between the 17th and 20th centuries. Instead of seeing science as an isolated western intellectual practice – the lone professional scientist in his/her lab – we will connect the laboratory to the rest of the world and see how knowledge has been made for several centuries through travel, global networks and cultural encounters, involving peoples from western Europe, the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, China, Japan, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. One essential aspect of this global history of science and technology is colonization, empire-building, and ideologies of racial superiority based on technical supremacy. But we will aim as much possible to explore the perspective of non-western peoples in encounters, and the mechanics of exchange between peoples trading plants, animals, objects, maps, germs, tools, guns, and so on. We will also ask about those who move between cultures and act as go-betweens, informants and translators to make knowledge travel. Who are these figures, what are their motives, how do encounters shape their identities, and what roles do they perform to create bridges between cultures? In addition to reading fascinating stories about travel, science and encounter, the course material will enable us to engage in key debates in humanities scholarship in recent years: what is the relationship between knowledge and power in global history? Is western knowledge universal, while non-western knowledge is local? How have so-called western and non-western knowledge systems nevertheless interacted to create the modern world, and what kind of modernity has this interaction produced?

JAMES DELBOURGO came to Rutgers in 2009. He was educated at the University of East Anglia, the University of Cambridge and Columbia University. He researches the histories of science, travel, empire and cultural exchange in the 17th and 18th century Atlantic world. He has published 3 books: A Most Amazing Scene of Wonders: Electricity and Enlightenment in Early America (Harvard, 2006, winner, Thomas J. Wilson Prize); Science and Empire in the Atlantic World (Routledge, 2007, co-editor); and The Brokered World: Go-Betweens and Global Intelligence, 1770-1820 (Science History Publications, 2009, co-editor). He is currently writing a book about collecting, science and slavery in the 17th and 18th century Atlantic world, entitled Empire of Curiosities. His published essays have explored such topics as bodily electrification in the 18th century; experiments with electric eels; spying, dyeing and chemical experimentation with native American dyes; racial anatomy and Newtonian optics in colonial Virginia; botanical investigations of Jamaican Cacao and the invention of milk chocolate; slavery, natural history and medicine; specimen preservation and the material culture of scientific paperwork; treasure-hunting, diving and underwater collecting in the Caribbean Sea. At Rutgers he is actively involved in the seminar series in global perspectives on Science, Technology, Environment and Health (STEH).

Sickle Cell Anemia - The Intersection of Genetics, Biochemistry, Medicine, History, Evolution and Politics
01:090:284 Index #49010
Abram Gabriel - SAS - Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
TH 03:20-06:20P
CABM Rm 308
Busch Campus

As our society becomes more and more specialized, the gaps in knowledge and perspectives separating scientists, physicians, politicians, and consumers from one another, become wider and the consequences more serious.  Although half the American public does not believe in the theory of evolution, advances in molecular biology, genetics and genomics, all with an evolutionary underpinning, are transforming our concepts of health and individual disease risks, with implications for insurance coverage, diagnostic decisions and treatment options. 

This seminar will concentrate on examining medical, biochemical, genetic, evolutionary, as well as historic, political, and sociological aspects of sickle cell anemia (SCA), the most common Mendelian genetic disorder of African-Americans.  SCA has been at the forefront of biomedical research, in terms of understanding its molecular basis and designing diagnostic tests and treatments.  The relationship between SCA and malaria resistance is one of clearest examples of natural selection, while the prevalence of SCA in the U.S. (>80,000 affected individuals) is the direct result of the importation of slaves from West Africa.  Diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of patients with SCA varies among states and countries, and reflect political and cultural priorities.

The class will consist of lectures, guest lectures, as well as class discussions and student presentations.  Students will be assigned readings from journal articles and books.  Early in the semester, students will decide on a research topic of mutual instructor/student interest related to some aspect of SCA or another genetic disorder.  During the semester, students will present their findings to the class.  At the end of the semester, students will submit a term paper on their topic, utilizing primary literature, policy reviews, and/or personal interviews.

This course is designed for students interested in majoring or already majoring in Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, History, Africana Studies, Evolution and Ecology, Anthropology, as well as for students with career interests in medicine, public health, molecular biology, biotechnology, sociology, or the history of medicine.  There are no pre-requisites.

ABRAM GABRIEL is an associate professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Graduate Director of the Joint Program in Biochemistry.  He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.D. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University.  His research centers on mechanisms and consequences of transposable genetic elements.  This is his first SAS honors seminar, and is based on his interest in making molecular genetics more widely understandable to non-scientists and making the societal repercussions of genetics better appreciated by those planning careers in biomedical science.

The Science Technology and Policy of Global Climate Change

01:090:285 Index #50070
Frank Felder - Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
T 01:10-04:10P
Civic Square Bldg Rm 243
Downtown New Brunswick Campus

Global climate change is a major international concern involving complex issues in science, technology, economics and public policy. This interdisciplinary seminar brings together these disciplines to focus on the major questions related to global climate change. The goal is to penetrate the major public policy debates in order to assess the issues critically. The seminar will start with the science of climate change, its basis and uncertainties then proceed to investigate various technological solutions, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, biomass, forestation, and geo-engineering options. Next, we will study various economic proposals including cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, research and development subsidies, and command and control regulation. Finally, we will integrate what we have learned into analyzing national and international policy.

FRANK FELDER’s primary research and teaching area is energy planning and policy. Much of his recent work has involved state energy planning, evaluation of renewable and energy efficiency alternatives, electricity markets, and policies to address global climate change.  He is the Director of the Center for Energy, Economics and Environmental Policy at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Associate Research Professor. His center conducts research in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental policies, and economic impacts of energy and environmental policy. Dr. Felder has taught extensively at the undergraduate level.  His undergraduate degrees are from Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and master and doctorate degrees from M.I.T in Technology, Management and Policy.

Sustainable Structural Materials For Heavy Infrastructure

01:090:287 Index #51941
Jennifer Lynch - Engn - Materials Science and Engineering
TH 01:40-04:40P
Allison Road Classroom Rm 203
Busch Campus

People have a love-hate affair with plastic. We often look down on plastic imitations of natural products, yet we all use plastic every day.  Currently, scientists believe the world's largest garbage dump is not on land but in the Pacific Ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches from the coast of California to Japan and is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.  This area of concentrated marine debris, largely composed of different plastics, formed gradually as a result of marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents.  Well, what can we do about all this plastic waste?  Why not recycle it and make useful products?

In this seminar, we will learn about plastics recycling and examine basic materials development necessary to produce sustainable, structural materials for heavily loaded infrastructure from recycled plastic composites.  We will first investigate – “what is sustainable”.  We will then examine plastics recycling, the advent of recycled plastic lumber (RPL), and materials advancements that resulted in structural RPL or recycled structural composites (RSC).  We will investigate several RSC materials developed here at Rutgers and discuss applications for these materials.  We will also investigate the benefit of RPL and RSC on the environment, greenhouse gas reduction, and global warming.  Research and development at Rutgers has resulted in patented and licensed RSC materials used in heavy load bearing applications, including railroad ties, pilings, I-beams, bridge substructure, and decking.  Interested students will be invited to attend a field trip to see a vehicular bridge composed of a RSC developed at Rutgers or a plant where RSC is manufactured.  Students will also have the opportunity to visit our labs in the Materials Science and Engineering Department to see our processing and characterization equipment.

The goal of this seminar is to introduce students to sustainable materials and to show examples of how they may be used as alternatives to traditional materials that will benefit our environment.  The course will be mostly project-based.  Students will be assigned background reading to discuss findings in class and review a particular topic which they will present to the class.  There are no pre-requisites, but a general high school science understanding would be helpful.

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.

Cognitive Neuroscience and Religion

01:090:288 Index #51597
James Jones - SAS - Religion
M 09:15A-12:15P
Loree Hall Rm 131  
Douglass Campus

This seminar will critically explore and evaluate contemporary cognitive neuroscience accounts of religion. Topics will include: evolutionary explanations of the origin of religion, religion and cognition, the neurophysiology of meditative experience in Buddhism and Christianity, contemporary scientific and religious theories of human nature and several relevant and controversial areas in contemporary psychology, psycho-physiology, and religion. The first third will cover general issues in religion and science, especially religious and scientific epistemologies. We will read two of the instructor’s books: The Texture of Knowledge: An Essay on Religion and Science and Waking From Newton’s Sleep: Dialogues on Spirituality in an Age of Science. Then we will discuss evolutionary approaches to understanding religion. We will read Scott Atran’s In Gods We Trust. The remainder of the readings will be from current research reports and papers on the religious and philosophical implications of contemporary cognitive neuroscience.
JAMES JONES has earned doctorates in both Religious Studies and Clinical Psychology, as well as an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He is professor of Religion and adjunct professor of Clinical Psychology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has been a lecturer in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York; visting Professor of Medical Humanities at the Graduate School of Drew University, and a visiting professor at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He is the author of twelve books and over twenty professional papers and book chapters. His books have been published both in the United States and Europe and translated in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese. He serves on the editorial boards of several publications both here and abroad. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and in 1993 at their annual convention, he received an award for his contributions to the psychology of religion. For six years he was co-chair of the Religion and Social Sciences Section of the American Academy of Religion. He is the vice-president of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion. He also maintains a private practice as a clinical psychologist.


Intertextuality in Popular Music
01:090:289 Index #51969
Christopher Doll - MGSA - Music
MW 02:15-03:35P
Marryott Music Building Room 207
Douglass Campus

From the unconscious borrowing of established pitch and rhythmic patterns, to the deliberate sampling of fragments of older songs, intertextuality is ubiquitous in the world of popular music. This seminar will focus students’ attention to musical details that raise issues of reference, quotation, similarity, and influence. Readings from literary theory and musicology will set the stage for the exploration of songs from all over the popular-music repertory. We will listen to artists such as Elvis, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, Spinal Tap, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Public Enemy, Danger Mouse, and Coldplay; and we will also watch musically intertextual films such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Moulin Rouge”.

Assignments will include listening to a large body of music, watching videos and films, and reading scholarship. Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, and student presentations. The semester will culminate with students’ writing a substantial research paper. No musical training is required.

Christopher Doll specializes in the analysis of recent popular and art music (especially in regard to tonality), the analysis of film music, metatheory, and composition. He teaches graduate and undergraduate harmony, counterpoint, analysis, and composition in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, and is currently writing a large music-theoretical treatise entitled “Rock Harmony Revealed”.

Analyzing the Post-Cold War Arena of Conflict & Economic Warfare

01:090:290 Index #54139
Jack Jarmon - DIMACS
W 05:00-08:00P
CoRE Building Rm 433
Busch Campus

The seminar will delve into questions regarding the definition of national interests, security strategies, and understanding the risks and defenses of asymmetrical attack - be it the actions of a state or non-state actor.  These issues will be explored and discussed in the context of how they relate to national defense, the emerging new order in global governance, and the current financial crises.  Students will gain an understanding of the interconnectedness and tensions of globalization and what contributes to the inner rhythms of international relations, political conflict, and economic competition.  The seminar will require an independent research project on a relevant topic, and participation in a war game simulation.

JACK JARMON is currently Associate Director of the Command Control and Interoperability Center for Advance Data Analysis at Rutgers University.  He is also a Lecturer in the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chief Research Officer of New Era Associates in Dallas.  His research focuses on the private/public sector partnership and issues of governance within the context of national security imperatives and frictionless trade.  His research also involves the analysis concerning the basilar societal, economic, political and cultural elements, which beget tension, and trigger and influence terrorist events.  His Ph.D. is in Global Affairs, from Rutgers University.  He was a Mid-Career Fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.  His Masters is in Soviet and Russian Affairs, from Fordham University, and his BA, in Russian & Eastern European Area Studies, is from Rutgers College.  His current book project is a core text for courses and students of security studies and international relations, to be published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.  The book is an analysis of the current arena of conflict and the competition over political and economic control by state and non-state actors.

Shakespeare and His World

01:090:291 Index #54792
Maurice Lee - SAS - History
T 09:15A-12:15P
Voorhees Chapel Room 005
Douglass Campus

This course will deal with England as Shakespeare saw it during his active years as a playwright, the last decade of the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the first years of that of her successor, James I. Shakespeare wrote about two things: love and marriage and the family, and power and kingship and war, and sometimes both at once. We’ll read ten plays, for about love and marriage, four about kingship and power, and two about both, more or less in the order in which Shakespeare wrote them. And since I’m a historian and not a literary scholar, we’ll tackle them as evidence of what English politics and society were like, and what Shakespeare thought about political and social issues, rather than as the creative masterpieces many – not all – of them are.

You’ll be asked to get two books, the Oxford Press edition of Shakespeare’s works, and L.B. Smith, This Realm of England, for the necessary historical background. There will be three papers, two shorter ones during the semester, and a longer one at the end.

MAURICE LEE is Margaret Judson Professor of History Emeritus. He taught at Rutgers for thirty years before retiring. He is a specialist on the history of early modern Britain and has written a number of books on the period.