College-wide Topics Courses

Cornell College has an all-college topics course sequence.  These topics courses may be used by any department or interdepartmental program wishing to offer courses on an irregular basis.  Courses offered under these numbers may be offered no more than twice.  Further offerings of the same course would require regularizing the course through the established procedures for new course offerings.  Departments or programs may choose not to use these special topics courses.

1__ - 1__  Introductory Topics in __________

2__ - 2__  Topics in _________

3__ - 3__  Advanced Topics in __________

The following descriptions provide information for courses which are not fully detailed in the departmental section of the Catalogue. These are courses with variable content which may change from year to year, or they are courses which are experimental and may be offered only once or twice before gaining approval to be listed along with other departmental or program courses. B.A. distribution requirements satisfied by these courses are shown at the end of each description.


ART 120-1 Great Masterpieces of Western Art. For thousands of years, people have grappled with the question of “what is art?” and in this course, you will begin to create your own definition.  This course looks at a selected number of works and themes from the history of art, from ancient Greece to Andy Warhol.  Through readings, videos, class discussions, and at least one trip to a museum, students will learn about both art and history, and be able to talk and write about art more fluently. (FYS) No S/U option. HOOBLER

ART 223-4 Utilitarian Ceramics. What is the "language" of utility? What details must artists consider and master as they create objects for the purpose of utility? In this course, students will use clay to explore the forms and role of functionality. Students will learn both wheel-throwing and hand-building techniques in order to create utilitarian ceramic objects. Both historical and contemporary notions of utility will be explored through studio projects, art historical readings, and individual research. Students will be involved in every step of the ceramic process from mixing clay, forming and glazing functional works of art, and loading/firing kilns. (Fine Art) No S/U option.

ART 224-5 Sculptural Ceramics. How does ceramics straddle the threshold between craft and high art? How does an artist use a traditional craft medium, clay, in order to explore sophisticated concepts/ideas? In this course, students will focus on clay as a sculptural medium. Students will learn hand-building techniques, including pinch, coil, and slab, in order to create scupltures. (Fine Art) No S/U option. BIONDO-GEMMEL

ART 278-2 Pre-Columbian Art.
Pre-Columbian art & architecture: Provides students with an introduction to major monuments of ancient Mesoamerica prior to 1550 now found in Central America and Mexico. The class will look at stone sculpture, ceramics, codex-style manuscripts, and buildings and urban planning, from cultures including the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs, from ca. 1500 BCE until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Major themes to be covered in assigned readings and discussion include the prevalence of sacrifice (broadly defined), kingship in Mesoamerica, and differing forms of urbanism. (Humanities) No S/U option. HOOBLER

ART 279-4 Museum Studies (FEE).

Held at the McLennan center in Chicago, this course provides a broad overview of the purpose, function, and history of museums, and their role in society. First, students will investigate what a museum is, and examine the various types of museum that address fine art, natural history, and ethnicity through particular cases in the Chicago area. Students will be introduced to all of the disciplines within the museum and will discuss recent issues in the field.

Through focused articles, reading responses, and presentations, students will grapple with the theoretical issues in the field, complemented by hands-on experience in area museums. Additional readings, responses, and presentations will allow students to explore their own interests in the field. (Humanities) No S/U option. HOOBLER


BIO 108-4 Ethnobotony: Plants, People, and Culture. Life on earth is sustained by plants and we are enriched daily by our interactions with them in the form of food, medicine, fuel, fibers, building materials, and other resources.  Plants have significantly shaped the human societies growing in their midst, and this course will examine the relationship between plants and human culture.   We will explore the role of plants in material culture, religion and ritual, nutrition, local and global economies, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and recreational drug culture.  We will also discuss basic plant biology: what is a plant, how do we identify them, and why do plants look the way they do.  Elements of biology, evolution, anthropology, politics, and economics will be discussed in this course. (Science) POULLETTE

BIO 108-6 Topic: Diversity: An Evolutionary Perspective. What is diversity and why should you care? This course is designed to encourage students to read, discuss, and think about diversity—from a biological perspective. We will examine the diversity of life and life histories. Students will learn about diverse patterns of reproduction (sexual and asexual), gender, and interactions among predators, prey, and parasites within biological communities -- including human populations. We will compare patterns from an evolutionary perspective and discuss implications. (Science) CONDON

BIO 285-5 Global Health. What is "health"? How is "health measured? What factors determine "health" of individuals and of populations? What are the most prevalent health issues currently affecting our world? These are just a few of the questions we will ask and discuss in this course. To answer these questions, we will examine disease patterns in populations in both developing and developed countries. We will discuss factors influencing health status such as socioeconomic class, nutritional status, human behaviors, physical environment, access to health services/education, and of course, biology. We will examine the goal to transition developing countries from high to low fertility and mortality, and the shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases. Finally, we will discuss interventions to alleviate disease burdens and the potential for science and technology to improve health. May include a field trip to University of Iowa. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. (Science) CHRISTIE-P

BIO 385-5/ENV 385-5 Conservation Issues in Chile (FEE). The course will investigate conservation issues in Chile addressing aspects of natural sciences "biology, ecology, chemistry, evolution" and aspects of social sciences "sociology, policy, economics, anthropology". Students will experience the conservation issues firsthand by meeting with park managers, NGOs, environmental activists, interested stakeholders, and spending significant time in Chilean protected areas. Introductory courses (e.g. BIO 142, ENV 101) recommended, and instructor consent required. (Lab Science) GANNES


CHE 108-1 Science, Faith, and Myth: Why do we believe what we believe? (FYS) Being liberally educated means that we recognize that there are many ways to learn about our world.  We will explore the power of broadening our worldview by crossing perceived boundaries such as those between science and belief.  We will start by asking:  What is Science?  How is it really done, and what does it mean to “know something” in science?  Can a scientific truth change with time? How does science depend on history, economics, politics, religion, language, or the pedigree of the scientist?  What standards do we use to decide what is true or false, right or wrong, good or bad, and do we apply these standards consistently?  What does it mean to believe?  Is belief only concerned with matters of faith, or does belief show up elsewhere?  Is it possible to do science without any belief?  How has a misunderstanding of the proper role of science and the nature of science itself led to commonly perpetuated myths? We will explore these questions by using a variety of resources and by considering a broad range of viewpoints. By learning to use the tools provided by the liberal arts we will become academic “myth-busters”. (First Year Seminar) LIBERKO

CHE 108-1 Chemistry of Global Health Issues (FYS). Unsafe drinking water, malnutrition, infectious diseases, industrial pollution - these are all serious global health concerns. What is the chemistry behind these problems? How can an understanding of chemistry help us evaluate possible solutions?  This course will begin with a basic introduction to chemistry and move into an examination of the chemistry behind global health challenges such as the provision of clean drinking  water, the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, and the production of food to feed the world. Intended for non-science majors: no previous experience in chemistry required. (First Year Seminar) STRONG


CLA 275-1 Classics and the Graphic Novel (FYS). The history, literature, and art of ancient Greece and Rome has inspired and influenced the world of comic books and graphic novels almost from the beginning. Jerry Siegel, the creator of Superman, claimed that Hercules was one of the inspirations behind the Man of Steel in the 1930s. Many comic book heroes have had brushes with classical antiquity, and entire works of classical literature have been re-told as comics, including the Iliad and Odyssey which appeared in Marvel's Classics Comics Series. Frank Miller's 300 and the motion picture it spawned has helped usher in a new period of interaction between classical antiquity and the modern world via graphic novels. But it has not been a period without controversy and questions about modern approaches to antiquity and the use of ancient art, literature, and history to refashion old stories and create new ones. This course will introduce students to the culture of classical antiquity through an examination of select graphic novels (Age of Bronze, 300, and The Sandman among others) paired with the material authors and artists have drawn upon: the History of Herodotus, the epics of Homer and Vergil, and the tragedies of Euripides and Aeschylus. Students will investigate modern reception of ancient texts, the use and reuse of myth and history, and the resulting implications. In addition to exams, essays, and in class writing, students will also be asked to research and develop their own graphic novels based on ancient stories, historical events, and myths in groups. (First Year Seminar) VENTICINQUE

CLA 276-2 Greek History. This in an introductory course in Greek history that will cover major social, economic, and political developments from the Archaic period in Greece to the rise of Alexander the Great. Topics to be discussed include the formation of city states, Athenian Democracy, war with Persia, the Peloponnesian War and the coming of the Hellenistic Age.  (Humanities) VENTICINQUE

CLA 376-8 Egypt after the Pyramids. Egypt of the Roman and Late Antique periods (1st-7th centuries CE) is one of the best documented regions in the ancient world, although often not treated in detail in standard historical surveys. This course aims to probe the various approaches to the history of Roman and Late Antique Egypt and also to investigate what the study of Egypt can contribute to our understanding of the Roman and Late Antique world in general by examining primary sources in translation. An emphasis will be placed on major topics in social, economic, legal and religious history, cultural interaction between Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and the ways in which Egyptians themselves crafted ideas about the past. (Humanities) VENTICINQUE


CSC 155-5 Topic: The Beauty and Joy of Computing (W). Computing has changed the world in profound ways. It has opened up wonderful new ways for people to connect, design, research, play, create, and express themselves.  This course will focus on some of the "Big Ideas" of computing that have changed the world and consider where it will go in the future.  We will discuss the challenges and implications of computer technology, including the responsibilities of those who design and use computer systems.  Students will learn a bit about computer programming and a lot about writing at the college level.  The lab portion of this course will introduce students to computer programming using Scratch, one of the friendliest programming languages ever invented.  Students will engage in several different types of academic writing and will conduct their own research projects. Because this is a writing course, significant course time will be spent on the writing process, with a focus on revision. Not open to students who have previously completed a writing course. (Writing) SOWELL

CSC 355-1 Mobile Apps. Students will learn how to write software for mobile devices, including smart phones and tablet computers. TABAK

CSC 356-6 Human-Robot Interation. Students will learn how to write software that controls robots. TABAK


ECB 265 Markets and Social Networks (FYS). Networks pervade our tech savvy society. The people in our social networks influence the books we read, the jobs we obtain, the things we buy, and even the viruses that infect us! This course explores the new science of networks.  The first half of the class will be focus on mastering the common principles that explain the structure of networks and processes that operate upon them. Students will learn basic mathematical models and play with network data. We aim to answer the following: How do networks affect social, economic, and business behavior? How does an agent's position in a social network advantage or disadvantage that agent? The second half of the class will explore social media networks such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. Working in groups, students will initiate their own social media projects and present their findings to the class. (First Year Seminar) HEJEEBU


EDU 265-5 Ecology and Education in Chile (FEE). The purpose of this course is to examine ways aspiring teachers and environmental educators might integrate the science of climate change and the impact of environmental degradation on ecosystems and human populations in their future classrooms. Students in this course will investigate the relationship of international policies on the environment and human rights, and how these relationships might be incorporated into pedagogical practices. Chile, a nation that faces multiple environmental challenges impacting its people, provides a rich opportunity for students to observe first-hand ecological phenomena, interact with populations who are affected by environmental change, and study NGOs who implement environmental educational programs. Upon the culmination of this course, students will present a curriculum that incorporates their knowledge about Chile’s environmental challenges with place- and community-based experiences for elementary and secondary students. KAUPER CANCELED

EDU 365-3 The Great Equalizer? Educational Policy and Practice. This course will explore the nature of school resegregation, the rise of credentialism, the end of educational expansion, and the continuation of inequality of educational opportunity. Each of these phenomena have powerful implications for education policy. Students in the course will be introduced to the history of policymaking in education beginning with the education reform policies of Horace Mann. Students will also examine demographic data on educational attainment, analyze the policies that attempt to alleviate (or reproduce) educational inequality, and describe what assumptions lie behind current reform ideas. We will evaluate the dynamics of current debates by referencing the long-standing tensions among the different purposes of schooling we have in our nation. Finally, students will have the opportunity to examine educational practices from other countries and even other fields (such as business and medicine) to stimulate creative thinking about reform and policy. KAUPER


ENG 111-2A Topic: Exiles, Immigrants and Identity What does it mean to be an exile? an immigrant? Economic uncertainty, climate change, and political conflicts mean that the number of people migrating from one part of the world to another has increased tremendously. But what do these experiences mean for those who move, those who stay, and those who make room for the newcomers? This course will look at the experience of immigration in several countries, including Uganda, India, South Africa, and Nigeria. Texts will include literature by Indian, South African and Nigerian writers and critical articles on immigration and identity. Emphasis on critical reading, writing and revision. Some attention paid to writing style as well. Not open to students who have previously completed a writing course. (Writing Requirement) REED

ENG 111-3, 4. From Esther to Elizabeth I: Queens in Sacred Texts, Literature, and Film. Savvy political power brokers and symbols of patriarchal power or male political alliances, sexualized enchantresses and skillful negotiators, she-wolves and saintly wives to the nation, defenders of their honor, their love, their nation, their faith: from the ancient Hebrews to today, queens have captured the imagination of story-tellers, writers, and film-makers. In this first-year writing course, we will study representations of historical and mythologized women rulers in the Hebrew Bible, Renaissance and Romantic literature, and contemporary film – women such as Esther and Vashti, Mary Stuart of Scotland and Elizabeth I of England, Marguerite (de Valois) of Navarre and Catherine de Medici. Through writing and class discussions of chapters from the Hebrew Bible, Renaissance drama, poetry, narrative fiction, and historical documents, a Romantic novel, and contemporary historical films, you will hone your analytical and critical reading skills. A research assignment will introduce you to the library resources and to research techniques in the field of literary and cultural studies. The course will involve daily writing and will give you multiple opportunities to reflect on the writing process and engage in writing revision. Not open to students who have previously completed ENG 111. (Writing Requirement) STAVREVA

ENG 111-7B. Topic: Virginia Woolf & Book Arts. This course provides an introduction to college writing and literary analysis through an intense engagement with an experimental novel and some essays by one of the 20th century’s iconic writers: Virginia Woolf. Considering the book arts and cultural studies, we will delve into the text and print culture of her day (including her role as editor of the Hogarth Press) and focus on one novel. Throughout the course, students will draft and redraft writings, from in-class writing to critical essays to research-informed critical projects. Students will learn how to search for literary and cultural scholarship, using library resources such as search engines and data bases. Challenging writing assignments will help develop critical thinking and critical writing skills. Not open to students who have previously completed ENG 111. (Writing Requirement) HANKINS

ENG 220-1 Nature Writing: You and Your Environment. In this class, we will examine our place in our environment. How do humans interact with their world? How should we treat our environment? We will read a variety of authors who confront important issues: agriculture, biodiversity, wilderness conservation, etc. and try to formulate our own opinions about these issues. You will be writing personal essays about the material, studying writing strategies to help you think about the issues and to express your thoughts. You will give and receive peer feedback on your writing throughout the class. (FYS) G. FREEMAN

ENG 321-2 Dante’s Divine Comedy in Italy (or, “the journey of our life”). A study of Dante’s epic poem in the poet’s cultural milieu, visiting sites that nourished his creative imagination. The course starts on campus, mapping the intricately woven poem the way we map a city: starting with its overall shape, the principles of its organization, the range of its characters. On site in Italy, we will alternate among 1) Florence-inspired class discussion of the barren expanses, dark alleys, and forbidding fortifications of Inferno, of the civic and artistic accomplishments of Purgatorio, and of the magical civic landscape of Paradiso, 2) visits to major museums and architectural sites (S. Maria Novella, S. Croce, Baptistery and Duomo, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Uffizi Gallery, etc.), and 3) cultural excursions to cities featured in Dante’s poem (such as Siena, Lucca, Pisa, and Rome). There will be reflective work upon return to campus, including the unveiling and public presentation of projects. Costs: Estimated at $4,000 per student, to include airfare and ground transportation in Italy, accommodations, some meals, site and museum visits. Pre-requisites: Sophomore standing and either a Writing (W) course, or ENG 201. Students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and be in good disciplinary and financial standing with the college. No S/U option. (Humanities) STAVREVA

ENG 328-6. From Satire to Snark: 18th Century English Literature. Is satire dead? Several people have proclaimed the death of satire over the years, but the wild success of Jon Stewart and South Park would seem to indicate satire is alive and well and still useful as a political and cultural tool. In this class we will trace the art of satire back to the Restoration and 18th century, reading satirical works by several authors, as well as a fun little essay that may come in handy, “The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting.” We will spend some time examining other Englightenment forms of satire and some contemporary forms (like the Daily Show and Monty Python). We will even find out when and why people have pronounced satire’s death (when a war criminal won the Nobel Peace Prize, or an actor was elected President, for example). Course requirements include formal papers, exams, and an original piece of satire. Prerequisite: W course, ENG 201, 202, or 215. (Humanities) REED

ENG 333-2 Victorian Literature. Charles Dickens, eminent Victorian novelist, was also a newspaper reporter, watchdog journalist, enterprising magazine editor, and publisher. On his own novels, he worked closely with publishers, book illustrators and printers. His career and writings will provide an excellent touchstone for learning about the history of book production, distribution and reception, with focus on the 19th century. The course will include, among other projects, a hands-on printing and book-binding component. Prerequisite: writing-designated course (W), or ENG 201, 202, or 215. Alternate years. (Humanities) MOUTON

ENG 372-8. Film and Film Studies
. The study of films as artistic and cultural texts. The focus may be on the study of an individual director, a broader topic, or a particular period in film history. For the 2013-14 academic year, the topic is Some Women Directors: Germaine Dulac, Maya Deren, Julie Dash and Patricia Rozema. (This is not a film production course.) Prerequisite: writing-designated course (W), or ENG 201, 202, or 215. (Humanities) HANKINS

ENG 411-1. Senior Seminar: Making an English Major, Book Arts & English Studies.
 Advanced, theoretically informed engagement with literary studies, broadly defined, including reflection on what the English major brings to intellectual and creative life beyond the undergraduate years. The scholarly focus will be on transformation. We will read focused theory in addition to fictions such as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Winifred Van Etten’s I am the Fox, and some films, as well as explore the English Department printing ventures at the turn of last century—and speculate about the renaissance in print culture today at Cornell. Students will tell of their own journeys and transformations as English majors through essay, analysis and the book arts, and will prepare a prospectus for their senior research project. Prerequisites: English major and senior standing. No S/U option. (Humanities) HANKINS

ENG 411-5. Senior Seminar: Compassion and Literature. What’s literature good for, anyway? In this senior seminar we will attempt to answer this question, but we will also ask if it is the right question. More specifically, we will focus on defenses of literature that claim our sympathy for characters makes us more compassionate and therefore better people. We will explore this seductive defense by reading theories of compassion and literature and a variety of literary texts that either invite or refuse sympathy for their main characters (possibilities include Nabokov’s Lolita, Coetzee’s Disgrace and some narrative poetry). While the cultivation of compassion offers an attractive answer to that first question about literature, we will also consider its consequences and limitations. Through individual and collaborative assignments, you will work to construct your own questions and answers about literature. Prerequisites: English major and junior or senior standing. No S/U option. (Humanities) REED


FRE 365-1 Sporting Identities.

How do sports affect—or how are they affected by—gender, class, and race? How do sports and sports narratives change over time and how does this affect the meanings and messages they propagate or are made to carry? Do the same sports mean the same things for different cultures, or even for different people? Through various literary and cultural texts—photographs, films, short stories, non-fiction, etc.—we will examine the role of sports and sports narratives in creating, resisting, shifting, or maintaining elements of cultures and identities. We will focus our attention on representations of sports in twentieth century French and Francophone contexts, keeping questions such as these in mind. Students do not need to have any familiarity with sports to take this class, but they do need to have met the prerequisites for taking upper-level courses in French. WINES


GEO 360-4 Paleoecology on the Prairie. The global climate is changing.  Understanding and predicting how organisms and their environments will respond to this change is one of the most important areas of study in natural sciences today.  The Great Plains are an ideal natural laboratory for studying how animals have responded to environmental change in the past, preserving a rich and nearly continuous fossil record of life on land over the course of the last 36 million years.  Over this time, the landscape has been home to some of the strangest animals that ever lived, such as bear-dogs, “terminator pigs,” and horned rodents, and to early members of groups such as elephants, cats, and squirrels that still exist today.  Students will be introduced to these animals and the paleontological techniques used to study them as well as to the changing world in which they lived and the analytical tools used to predict their ancestors’ uncertain future. (Lab Science) STAFF


GER 117-2 Topic: Islam in Europe (W). This writing course takes compares a variety of migratory paths from North Africa and the Middle East to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and England. We will look at early migration paths (before 1900) of Europeans into North Africa or the Middle East, as well as North Africans and Ottomans who traveled into Europe. Our second period focuses on the post-World War II migration of Middle Eastern and North African workers into European states. Our final unit will focus on contemporary cultural polemics about the "clash of civilizations" between "Europe" and "The Muslim World" as well as the discursive shifts which take place in depictions and rhetoric of Muslims after the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers. Taught in English. (Writing) SCHUSTER-CRAIG

GER 316-6 Topic: German Literature. Think of your favorite dynamic duo: Batman and Robin, Magic and Kareem, Thelma and Louise or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Now imagine them in powdered wigs, short pants, tights and shoes with buckles. Not the best getup for fighting evil, but perhaps appropriate – even comfortable – for writing poetry and collecting botanical specimens. This course will introduce you to two of the most celebrated German authors of the Classical Age: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.  The “ringleaders” of the group known as the Weimar Classicists, Goethe and Schiller's works form the basis of the traditional German literary canon and span several literary movements (Classicism, Sturm und Drang, Romanticism). These two authors enjoyed an almost life-long friendship and can be partly credited with turning German into a literary language through their novels, plays and poetry. Looking at texts from both the past and the present will help us to observe how these two authors – both literary leaders and fast friends – continue to have an effect on contemporary literary culture and aesthetics. Looking at some of their philosophical texts and their correspondence in letters will provide a more personal look at the dynamism of their friendship. (Humanities). Prerequisite GER 205. SCHUSTER-CRAIG.

GER 387-8 Topic: Marx, Nietzche and Freund. Collectively known as "The School of Suspicion," Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freund are three giants of German culture. This course will explore the writings of each in depth, as well as contemporary use of their ideas in Marxist cultural studies, post-colonial theory, feminism, philosophy, psychology and literary theory. In English. (Humanities) SCHUSTER-CRAIG


HIS 119-3 Declaration of Independence. We often take words like liberty and freedom for granted.  This course will examine three instances in American history when significant portions of the population demanded a more equal place in society.   Substantial time will be spent on the Declaration of Independence and its aftermath.  We will also examine the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention in 1848 and the Emancipation Proclamation. (Writing) LUCAS

HIS 120-1 Abraham Lincoln (FYS). Today Abraham Lincoln is often ranked among the top three presidents in American history.  We often forget that his pre-presidential career was quite undistinguished, and many of his political allies thought he was a failure during the first three years of his presidency.  This seminar will look at the life, political career, and ideas of Lincoln to unravel the mysteries behind the legend. (FYS) LUCAS

HIS 257-6 Reel History: Cold War and American Film. This course will explore Cold War culture through Hollywood film, examining how Americans’ fears of communism and nuclear warfare were expressed in a diverse range of genres from film noir to documentary realism to the science fiction “Them!” (in which giant mutating ants threaten to take over Los Angeles). Yet, despite its production of anti-communist films, Hollywood came under attack from the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and as a result of the ensuing witch-hunt, many involved with the film industry were denied their civil liberties and black-listed. We will also explore this aspect of the Cold War through films which sought to expose this tragic failure of democracy. We will also examine how Cold War ideologies about “race” and gender also played out onscreen and off. In addition to film screenings, there will be a large amount of course readings. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the Instructor. No S/U option. (Humanities) STEWART

HIS 258-4 Leaders of World War II (W). An examination of the wartime leadership of Churchill, deGaulle, Hitler, and Stalin. (Writing) GIVENS

HIS 259-1 Travelers and the Exotic in the Premodern World (FYS). Medieval readers thrilled to the travel tales of Marco Polo, John Mandeville, and others, full of bizarre people, strange customs, and curious creatures. How did these stories influence their ideas about the world around them? What did travelers consider exotic, and how did they explain unfamiliar cultures to their readers? In this course, we’ll read both fictitious and real-life travel accounts from the Middle Ages and the Age of Exploration and examine how such stories shaped the European imagination. (FYS) HERDER

HIS 260    Slavery and the Environment in a Comparative Context: The Bahamas and the U.S., 1783-1838. This course will explore the impact of two different environmental contexts upon the development of slavery as an economic and societal system. We will examine the attempt by British loyalists to establish cotton production in the Bahamas and the ways in which the environmental context of the Bahamas led to significant differences as well as similarities in the evolving relationships between enslaved peoples and slaveholders in the Carolinas and Georgia. Two weeks of the course will be conducted at the Gerace Research Centre, College of the Bahamas on the island of San Salvador. San Salvador is the site of the Farquharson Plantation, which was established by a British loyalist, Charles Farquharson, who left the American colonies after the Revolutionary War. Farquharson was the last plantation holder to remain on the island. The journal he kept from 1831-1832 is the only known surviving text which documents a Bahamian slave plantation, and will be one of our central course texts. We will explore the ruins of the Farquharson site, along with three other slave plantation sites on the island, and use our findings from these field investigations in conjunction with other primary sources, such as Farquharson’s Journal, to develop a deeper understanding of slavery. Throughout we will think about how different historical actors, including slaveholders and members of the enslaved population, “read” and see the environment differently. What types of mental maps did slaveholders and enslaved people make to understand their world, their experience of migration, and the social geography of their known worlds? How did the enslaved acquire forms of geographic literacy essential for their survival? Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Every third year. To be offered in 2014-2015. No S/U option. (Humanities and Environmental Studies) STEWART

HIS 261-4 Introduction to the Modern Middle East. This course examines the history of the modern Middle East from thetwilight of the Ottoman era to the present. The course explores the historical processes which resulted in the emergence of the Middle East as one of the most conflicted regions of the world. Topics include Orientalism, modernization, state-building, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Kurdish question. Today, citizens are exposed to stereotypical images, information, opinion, and commentary about the contemporary ethno-religious conflicts in the Middle East through public media. The ultimate aim of the course is to provide students with an informed understanding of the historical forces that produced the contemporary Middle East. (Humanities) HAGLER

HIS 334-7 Inquisitions in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. The Inquisition's dark reputation is well known. What reality lay behind it? This course examines the development and growth of the inquisition over time, from its origins in the 13th century as a group of largely independent investigators of heresy, through the establishment of its more structured forms in 15th-century Spain and 16th-century Italy. We'll consider the procedures, goals, and motives of the inquisitors, as well as of those who had to defend themselves before inquisitors, and the impact of the inquisitions on European society. (Humanities) HERDER

HIS 336-8 Women of the Renaissance. This course examines the experiences of women during the tumultuous Renaissance and Reformation period (c. 1400-1700). How did women participate in these movements, and how were they affected by them? Did women gain opportunities with the Renaissance, restrictions, or both? Topics to be explored include work, family life, education, political power, and witchcraft. (Humanities) HERDER

HIS-367-7 Sect and Schism in Islam. Like many world religions, the Islamic faith has seen its share of sects and schisms. Starting with the early split between Sunnis and Shi’ites, this class will focus on the historical aspects of the various theological schisms that have affected Islam and trace their impact, from political strife to the creation of new, “offshoot” religions, such as Druze and Baha’i. We will see that these schisms were not purely theological, but had political and social motivations as well; we will also see that, though the initial causes of the splits may be centuries-old, they continue to have real-world impact today. The goal of the course will be an understanding of how, when, and why these schisms occurred. Enrollment in HIS 368-5: The Victory of ‘Surrender’, is recommended, but not required. (Humanities) HAGLER

HIS 368-5 The Victory of ‘Surrender’: Islam from the Prophet to the Ottomans, 570-1517. The world had seen its share of conquerors, but no conquest came from such unexpected quarters as the Arabian Peninsula, long thought to be a mostly empty desert territory, with only a few oasis towns and tribes of (politically insignificant) desert nomads. But the world of late antiquity was in for quite a shock. United by the new faith of Islam, the Arabs of the early 7th century emerged from Arabia and conquered most of the known world--a territory stretching from Spain to the borders of India--in less than a century. This class will cover the story of the birth and expansion of Islam, tracing the religion/empire’s history from its humble beginnings in the mountains outside of Mecca through the height of its cultural, military, intellectual, and political glory. (Humanities) HAGLER


INT 502-4 Academic Performance Tutorial (1/4). College success depends on the ability to organize one's time efficiently and utilize critical thinking skills. This course will teach students the techniques needed to read a textbook carefully, take notes that will be useful, and approach college in a proactive and organized way. This course will encompass three blocks.Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. FASHIMPAUR


KIN 255-5 History of Women's Sports. Exploration of the historical development of women's sports experience from primitive cultures to contemporary American society. Special focus on growth of sports in the U.S. and significant influential events. WHALE


MUS 109-1 Opera goes to the Movies: Opera and Film (FYS). The topic of "Opera and Film" has become one of the “hot” areas of scholarship in the past fifteen or so years.  Both opera and film use a conglomeration of other constituent arts to create what Richard Wagner called a Gesamtkunstwerk or total artwork.  (In fact, many of the first efforts in film were derived from opera and more specifically, Wagner.)  My intention with this course is to explore the intersections between opera and film, using theories and practices of both genres, as well as numerous specific examples of the interplay between them. (First Year Seminar) MARTIN


PHI 361-7 Meta-ethics. An examination of moral thought and practice aimed at understanding its underlying assumptions. The course will be concerned not with debates within morality (whether, for example, waterboarding is morally justifiable), nor with more general theories about the moral justification of actions (utilitarianism or Kantianism, for instance). Rather we will consider philosophically difficult and abstract questions about the nature of morality itself: 1) questions about the meaning of moral language: Are moral utterances (intended to be) statements of fact or to perform some other function(expressing emotions or personal tastes, for example)?; 2) questions about the metaphysics of morality: Do moral facts or moral properties exist? How are they related to other sorts of facts or properties (the facts and properties employed in the natural sciences, for example)?; 3) questions in epistemology: Can there be moral knowledge? How could moral judgments be justified? (Humanities) WHITE


POL 251-3 The Great Equalizer? Educational Policy and Practice. This course will explore the nature of school resegregation, the rise of credentialism, the end of educational expansion, and the continuation of inequality of educational opportunity. Each of these phenomena have powerful implications for education policy. Students in the course will be introduced to the history of policymaking in education beginning with the education reform policies of Horace Mann. Students will also examine demographic data on educational attainment, analyze the policies that attempt to alleviate (or reproduce) educational inequality, and describe what assumptions lie behind current reform ideas. We will evaluate the dynamics of current debates by referencing the long-standing tensions among the different purposes of schooling we have in our nation. Finally, students will have the opportunity to examine educational practices from other countries and even other fields (such as business and medicine) to stimulate creative thinking about reform and policy. KAUPER

POL 351-6 Group Decision-making: Consensus and Coercion. This course will explore the implications of the various methods groups of actors can use to arrive at collective decisions. For example, how does a group of friends decide which restaurant to visit for dinner? How does a club select its officers? How do rival politicians arrive at consensus on a policy choice? There are many mechanisms actors can use to translate multiple sets of preferences into a discrete outcome, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. We will discuss these mechanisms using real-world examples and in-class experiments. This course will also explore the tools actors can use to coerce others into following a certain course of behavior. These methods can be obvious or quite covert, depending on the situation. We will also discuss how preference aggregation mechanisms are translated into the "real world," primarily through a study of political institutions in democratic, quasi-democratic, and autocratic countries. (Social Science) POULETTE

POL 352-4 Education Policy. This course will consist of both positive and normative discussions of the nature of K12 and higher education in the United States and other peer countries. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the highest profile education policy challenges, failures, and successes at different levels of government - national, subnational/state, and local. The primary questions guiding this course include the following: How is K12 education funded in the United States, and is this funding scheme optimal? What is the best way to measure the performance of K12 instructors and administrators? How does the performance of the K12 system in the United States measure up to peer countries, and what factors account for the difference? Why has the cost of higher education increased at a rate far outstripping the rate of inflation? These are only some of the questions we will discuss and attempt to answer. This class will draw from work in the fields of economics, education and public administration. (Social Science) POULETTE CANCELED

POL 359-8 Political Parties and Interest Groups. In Federalist 10 James Madison explained how the new U.S. Constitution would defend against the influence of factions. This course examines the changing role of factions, particularly interest groups and political parties, in American politics. Specifically the course focuses on the role of these groups in elections and in the formulation and implementation of public policy. (Social Science) HASSELL

POL 385-4 Political Activism and Behavior. The course examines numerous ways that people choose to become (or choose not to become) involved in the political process such as voting, protesting, and the volunteering of time and/or money. The course also considers the various factors that influence participation including an individual's social networks, the behavior of political elites, and the information environment. (Social Science) HASSELL


PSY 255-8 Topic: Environmental Psychology. Human behavior is at the root of nearly every environmental problem. If climate scientists are to be believed, the globe is standing on a precipice. So why aren’t people paying attention?

Some people believe that environmental scientists are being alarmist—that the physical world always has and always will adjust to changes and take care of itself. Others may be convinced
that such changes are real and serious, but are confident that technology will come up with a fix (‘the Norman Borlaug for the environment’).

If you consider yourself an environmentalist, such attitudes may make you throw up your hands in despair. Before doing so, consider how psychology may inform our understanding
of environmental issues, and—more importantly—nudge people toward more sustainable behaviors.

 In this course we will draw on facets of cognitive, social, and behavioral psychology to understand how people develop (and cling to) particular attitudes; why education is often ineffective at changing behavior; how social systems sustain “business as usual” and make behavioral change difficult; and the kinds of things that are effective at changing attitudes and behaviors. The course includes a mix of theoretical and applied psychology; utilizes a problemsolving approach; and will incorporate an analysis of a local environmental problem/issue. (No prerequisites.). (Social Science) GANZEL

PSY 265-8 Topic: Multicultural and Community Psychology in Chicago (FEE). Description to come. (Social Science) ENNS


269-2. Topic: Asian Religions in Global Context. This course explores Asian American religions in the context of global cultural flows and transnationalism. Early theorists of globalization paid particular attention to the transmission of ideas and technologies from West to East. In contrast this course argues that the traffic flowed both ways. We will move back and forth between twentieth-century religious communities in Asia and their American counterparts and occasionally look at other regions. This course focuses on India, China, Japan, and Korea, and will concentrate on four main subject areas: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and new religions. (Humanities) EICHMAN

366-6. Advanced Topic: Israel, Egypt, and the Religion of the Nile (Chicago) (Fee). This course will provide an introduction to the modern academic study of the Hebrew Bible, Egyptian Religion and the role of Egypt in Israel’s religious imagination. On the one hand, we will familiarize ourselves with the history, form and contents of the Hebrew Bible, and investigate the essential issues which confront the student of Israelite literature. On the other, we will work comparatively in order to examine the relationship between Israelite and Egyptian religions and cultures, as much as we explore the mythic or theological idea of Egypt in Israel’s own self-conception. (Humanities) SACKS

370-2. Advanced Topic: Chinese Religions. This course explores what Western scholars call “Chinese Religion.” We will pay particular attention to the concept of filial piety, gods, ghosts, and ancestors and to morality books and temple cults. This course further delves into the relationship between these ideas and popular Buddhist and Daoist rituals. We will also extend our study to several new religions invented in the twentieth-century. And finally, we will end by examining how these traditions have impacted the reception of Christianity and Islam in China. We will look at both contemporary and historical periods wherein such groups and practices are to be found.  (Humanities) EICHMAN


SOC 101-1 Studying Society through Everyday Consumerism. Victor Lebow asserted:   “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life... The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today is expressed in consumptive terms.” 

 Life, as we know it, is dependent on the everyday consumption of goods and services; however, our consumptive practices can also have negative social and environmental consequences.  Sociology allows us to examine the changing meanings, practices, and social implications of consumption.  In this course we will explore the social context surrounding these processes and examine the ways that social forces influence our individual ideas, behaviors, relationships, and place within the social world as well as the ways that we, in turn, impact the world around us.  In addition we will meet and work with students in the first-year geology class in order to examine the connections between the social and physical world and to gain scientific insight into the physical processes and environmental implications of consumption.

SOC 246 Gender Diversity (Starts in the 2014-2015 catalogue). This course will focus on diverse gender identities, bodies, and social presentations. Social practices and pressures of gender will be examined in order to gain insight into the larger contemporary social meanings of gender. We will explore how individuals interpret and present their gender identities, the constraints on such interpretations and presentations, and the larger social implications of gender diversity and gender regulation on cultural ideals. (Social Science) DAVIS [Identity]

SOC 362-6 Criminal Justice. Description to come. (Social Science) STAFF


SPA 109-1 Topic in Hispanic Literature and Culture (in English) (FYS). This course is an interdisciplinary study of Latino/as in the United States (the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group).  The course will provide a foundation on Latino/a identity though a survey of works of US Latino/a writers, thinkers, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, etc. We will discuss the Latino/a experience as a group and as individuals from different perspectives, studying issues of history, race, politics, and culture. (First Year Seminar) OCHOA-SHIVAPOUR


THE 310-4 Acting Studio: Art of Auditioning. Description to come.

THE 316-4 Devised Theatre. Devised theatre is created by a group of artists (actors, directors, designers, technicians, stage managers, playwrights, etc.) working in collaboration, as opposed to a playtext written by a single playwright. A devised theatre work is defined only by the structure imposed by the group creating it and may or may not have a narrative line. It may include music, movement, and objects as well as text. It can deal with an infinite range of ideas, themes, and concepts, limited only by the desires and plans of the group. This class will explore techniques of devised theatre by making a work that will then be produced at the end of block 3 on a workshop basis. (Fine Arts) STAFF

THE 320-4 Advanced Dance Workshop. Intermediate study of dance building upon foundation of jazz and modern styles with choreographic practice introduced. (Fine Arts) STAFF

THE 376-8 Advanced Directing. This course is designed to build upon the skills developed in Directing I and will offer students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of concepts, challenges and theories of stage directing. Special attention will be paid to the study and application of various approaches taken by directors throughout history. The course will culminate in the direction of a one-act. (Fine Arts) WEST

Off-Campus Courses Taught by Cornell Faculty

These courses involve additional costs and require advance planning. Consult the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies webite for course descriptions, prerequisites, deadlines, and costs.