Fall 2017

  1. *South Korea: Korean Heritage

    South Korea, like many other countries in Asia, has a rich heritage from the past. This course is aimed to examine Korean heritage and tradition by interdisciplinary methods of history, anthropology, and folklore. Passing through foreign colonial rule, wars, and rapid industrialization, many parts of Korean heritage have already disappeared and are forgotten. In this course, students will have a chance to revisit Korean heritage and to develop their cross-cultural ability to better understand Korea and Korean people from global and regional perspectives. The course especially will place the main focus on Korean mentality, folk culture, arts and daily life through various topics of spirituality, status system, gender, fashion, slavery and food culture in traditional and contemporary South Korea. Also, students can learn basic knowledge on how to read Korean folk culture, and can practice basic skills in ethnography. Our class includes various formats such as lectures, individual field research, and music and dance performances.

    This is a 3 credit course taught in English at Ewha University.

    Open to Junior and above from all departments.

    Open to RISD students enrolled in the Seoul program and Ewha students. This course is part of the RISD in Seoul Program. Students must apply through Global Partners. ***Off-Campus Study***

  2. Aesthetic Challenges

    To philosophize about the beauty and aesthetic engagement with art and beyond is to face a landscape of conflicting theories about the nature and experience of beauty and art as well what its role should be in our lives. There has never been a time when these issues have been settled, but it feels like our time is the most challenging. This course invites you into the debates within philosophical aesthetics as they have been waged over the nature of aesthetic experience and appreciation, pleasure, beauty, as they bear on questions of art, and appreciation of nature, and everyday objects. The course involves focused discussion and writing on the readings and engagement with particular works in various media, historical and contemporary.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  3. African Studies: Selected Topics

    The course offers an introduction to the arts of several sub-Saharan African communities. We will explore the creative process and the context of specific African traditions as well as the impact of the African diaspora on the arts of other communities, particularly in the Caribbean.

    Also offered as HPSS-C519; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  4. African Studies:selected Topics

    The course offers an introduction to the arts of several sub-Saharan African communities. We will explore the creative process and the context of specific African traditions as well as the impact of the African diaspora on the arts of other communities, particularly in the Caribbean.

    Also offered as HAVC-C519; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  5. Arts Of The First Nations Of The Americas

    This course is designed to acquaint students with a variety of non-Western traditional aesthetic expressions from the Americas. The course will explore the indigenous contexts, both historical and contemporary, in which these art forms are or were created and function. We will explore the cultural matrix and aesthetics of selected communities from the Americas, particularly from North America, such as the Inuit, the Kwakwaka, the Plains nations, the Eastern sea board, the Southwest of the US, such as the Hopi and Navajo, and Northern Mexico communities, time permitting. We will frame the presentations and discussions from both an ethnographic and an art historical perspective.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  6. Cities Of The Global South

    In this class we compare and contrast various cities of the Global South and examine their relationship to the Global North. We ponder upon the valences and representations of the terms Global South and North, and examine the politics and processes of urban life. We will travel the world to examine the built environment, economies, and experience of cities such as Mumbai, Kunming, Sao Paolo, Cairo, Bangkok, and Bogota. The course will explore the resonances between these cities and the kinds of challenges they face as they encounter rapid urban growth and renewal.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  7. Climate Futures And A Sociology Of The Just Transition

    We have to change. In this course students will learn how to critical interrogate, probe and appraise the diverse visions of the sustainable transition that are now being conceptualized and, in part, implemented in the global North and South. We will draw from emerging discussions of the sustainable transition occurring in environmental sociology, political ecology, critical design studies and energy/technology studies concerned (variously) with ecological modernization, "green growth", degrowth and "the green new deal." We will sociologically evaluate the contributions that organized labor, women, indigenous people, and diverse peoples of color have made to imagining the "just sustainable transition", "redirective practices", plenitude, and buen vivir. We will look at how transition talk is transforming ecology, design and the arts. Finally, students will be encouraged to consider how their own creative and critical practice might generate new reconstructive fusions between environmental sociology and art/design and film that might move us beyond our current impasse and towards a more hopeful vision of our planetary futures.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  8. Collaborative Study

    A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of indepedndent study.

    Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.

  9. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy: Form And Function

    This course examines the form and function of the vertebrate body using a comparative approach. We will study the following anatomical structures and how they work by comparing them across vertebrate animals: eye/vision, ear/hearing, nose/smell, throat/taste, teeth and jaws/chewing, heart/circulation, lung/oxygen exchange, intestinal tract/digestion, kidneys/protein and electrolyte balance, musculoskeletal system/locomotion, lymph tissue/immune system, reproductive tract/reproduction, and the brain and spinal cord/nervous system. Reference animals will include those for which anatomy is best-known, including humans, dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens, bullfrogs, and salmon. Each session will begin with an examination of the structure of an anatomical region followed by an exploration of its function, including movements and processes in example species. For their final project, students will be encouraged to explore a highly developed or specialized form and its function, such how kangaroos jump, how octopuses see, and how giant pandas digest bamboo. Through this course, we will demystify and develop an appreciation for the wondrous complexity of the vertebrate body and its role in art and design. This is a lecture-style course that includes in-class discussion, research and activities. Course work includes weekly readings and written responses, a series of completed anatomical sketches, and a final project.

  10. Consolations Of Philosophy

    Philosophy after Alexander the Great differed from what had gone before. Gone with Alexander were the small, self-governing communities in which each citizen had a place and a role to play. Secure in such communities, citizens had begun to philosophize in a disinterested search for knowledge. The conquests of Alexander brought into being a world-empire extending from Greece to India, Egypt to Kazakhstan. There were not citizens of this empire but unconnected and atomistic subjects of a foreign bureaucracy whose lives had been uprooted from all vital community. In such circumstances, people began to look to philosophy for answers to new questions: questions about their place in the world and the meaning of their lives. This course will examine the alternative communities that philosophy after Alexander offered to a vast, disenfranchised, and multi-ethnic population, preparing the ground for the new world-religions of Christianity and Islam that were to follow.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  11. Democracy: Moving "We The People" Beyond The Average Voter

    This course is intended to provide an overview of the challenges of democracy. Sometimes we think of democracy as something abstruse that has to do with government only, and we forget our role as responsible actors. Throughout the semester, students will work on a civic engagement project where they can relate art with political participation. Class discussions will be divided into three major sections. The first one covers the underpinnings of our understanding of Western democracy spanning from ancient Greece to 18th century England and its colonies. During the second part, we will see how the framework of contemporary Western democracies was cemented in the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution. Finally, we will look at the different challenges we face as the oldest democracy in the world.

  12. Design Geographies

    Technological change is often considered to be neutral, objective or merely to provide useful solutions to problems, and as outside social, political and cultural processes. However recent work in the social science of technology has sought to contest this model, suggesting that scientific and technological discourses are socially mediated in all kinds of power-laden ways. Geographic perspectives on technological change have drawn from science and technology studies, to explore the ways technologies are always situated in place, as well as linked to other places through relations of power and difference. In this course we will examine the contributions human geography can make to understanding the ongoing and dramatic changes occurring in the collision of technology, design, society and nature. We will begin with a foundation in some of the central theoretical frameworks of technology studies, and follow the ways geographers have taken these up through concepts such as hybridity and assemblage, embodied geographies, relationships to environment, and representation. We will then investigate how these frameworks and related geographical literatures might inform discussions about the geography and politics of design. We'll explore these issues through case studies including critical cartographies and feminist GIS (geographic information systems); surveillance and drones; urban mobilities through sustainable transportation; and the creativity of everyday urbanisms. Of central interest here will be to consider the relations between technology, design, people and place and to reflect on the extent to which processes of technological change and design might be rendered more accountable, sustainable and reflexive.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  13. Environmental Disasters And Design Solutions

    The goals of this course are threefold: (1) to explain how the natural world works, and how humans physically change and are changed by some of its processes, (2) To emphasize how society understands, evaluates and confronts the dangers posed by these natural processes and (3) To encourage students to view the unique sets of problems caused by flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, climate change and other earth functions as challenges demanding intelligent and creative solutions that they are equipped to deliver. Case studies of recent natural disasters and design solutions will be discussed, and students own creativity and concepts for potential design solutions will be employed. No prior science background is required.

  14. Environmental Psychology

    This course offers an overview of the interdisciplinary field of environmental psychology. We will explore the dynamic relationships between people and places in order to understand how our behavior and cultural values shape our environment, and how in turn, our surroundings affect us. Using the lens of environments where we live, work and play, we will examine the everyday experience of different types of places including the home, institutional settings, public space, and play spaces. Attention will be placed upon social and spatial inequalities, local and global relations, and intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and power. We will explore psychological questions of perception, place identity, culture, place attachment, cognition, and the meaning of spaces through readings, film, visual exercises, and environmental analysis.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  15. Global Environmental Inequality, Local Environmental Justice

    In this course we will explore the interdisciplinary subjects of global environmental justice, environmental racism, and other environmental inequalities. The primary goal of this course is for students to comprehend the multiplicity of critical issues, debates, and responses within global and local environmental justice. We will discuss and analyze environmental justice as a movement that involves marginalized communities in diverse ways in a globalized world. Using case studies, this course will consider examples of toxic distribution and exposure, accidents and disasters, regulatory failures, barriers to political participation, and the commodification of land and labor. The course will identify contemporary responses to environmental inequalities including grassroots local and international advocacy, climate justice, food justice, indigenous rights, ecofeminism, and Julian Agyeman's concept of "just sustainabilities." The class will travel to a unique brownfields and envrionmental justice restoration site on a Native American reservation in the Hudson Valley.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  16. HPSS Independent Study

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  17. International Human Rights And Law

    This course explores the development of international human rights norms and international human rights treaties. We explore the origins of human rights as an issue in world politics and examine competing theoretical predictions of the legitimacy and effectiveness of international human rights law. Relying on a body of empirical work in political science, we explore factors that explain the provision and protection of key human rights, seeking to understand the gap between the promises of international human rights law and actual state behavior.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  18. Introduction To Insect Morphology And Ecology

    Has the unfathomable diversity of insects ever fascinated you, but left you wondering where to begin? This is a basic course in entomology for the natural historian and artist. All orders of Class Insecta will be introduced, with both field and lab components whenever possible. Basic insect morphology and ecology will be covered for most orders, with opportunities for artistic rendition and use of both live and dead specimens as models. Students will learn basic insect anatomy and taxonomy for the identification of insects to order-level. Elements of insect ecology will infiltrate everything we look at, in both the field and the lab. Emphasis will be placed on the major orders (beetles, flies, butterflies/moths, etc.); the minor orders will be covered to varying degrees, but this can be adjusted according to the class consensus. Coursework will include field collecting trips, observation and drawing of specimens using a microscope, identification quizzes, and a course project that will emphasize the creation of materials for educational outreach. Additionally, students will finish with their own curated insect collection identified to order-level (or beyond, if student desires).

  19. LAEL Independent Study

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  20. Mind And Language

    This course will introduce students to a variety of topics related to the nature of mind and the nature of language. We'll explore such questions as: What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is there a conscious and an unconscious mind? Is it possible for a computer or robot to have a mind? Can animals think? What are the important characteristics of human language? Are human languages importantly different from animal communication systems? How do children acquire language? Are there important differences between male and female speech? Readings will come from both the philosophical and the psychological literature.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  21. Multicultural Psychology

    Multicultural Psychology is more than just understanding and appreciating diversity, it's about the influence that a multicultural world has on individuals and social systems that exist within it. Together we will explore the social constructs of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability through readings, videos, in-class activities, and class discussion. Informed by psychological theory and research, we will examine the impact that these labels have on a person's identity development, societal positioning, and mental and physical health and well-being. By the end of the class, students will be able to explain the advantages and challenges that individuals and societies face as we become more interconnected in a diverse world.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  22. NCSS Core Seminar

    In the NCSS Core Seminar, students explore key issues in nature-culture-sustainability studies, developing an inter-disciplinary understanding of the need for integrative approaches to issues including mobility and infrastructure, environmental justice and equity, sustainable food and water systems and the very real present and future of climate change. Beginning with definitions of "nature" and natural systems, drawn from environmental literature and history, we will dig into questions of what we mean by "culture" and "sustainability". The vitality of the ecologic and social and built environment upon which we all depend will form the core of our investigations. How and where we live matters; in the present Anthropocene, questions of resiliency and adaptation take on ever greater urgency. We will study contemporary conditions with examples from across the globe, with an eye to understanding how innovation and creative practices in art and design impact future planetary health.

    This course lays the foundation for students pursuing the NCSS concentration. The seminar will include lectures and discussions of readings and case studies. Occasional guests will include scientists, designers and others engaged at the forefront of environmental activism and research. Students may ground their final course project in a topic connected to their own work, relating it to their major or another concentration, in addition to NCSS.

    Open to sophomore and junior students

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Also offered as LAEL-2403; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  23. Neuroethics

    In this course we will examine many of the ethical, social and philosophical issues raised by ongoing developments in the brain sciences. With improved understanding of how the brain works comes new powers for understanding, monitoring, and manipulating human cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning; such new powers have potentially profound implications for the law, social policy, clinical practice, and personal experience. Topics to be covered will include: moral judgment and decision making, freedom of the will, moral and legal responsibility, use of psychopharmacology for enhancement of mood and cognition, the neural basis of pro-social and anti-social behavior, neuroimaging and privacy, the use of neuroimaging data in courts of law (e.g., to assess truth-telling and the accuracy of memory), brain injury and brain death, the development of neurotechnologies, and the importance of ethical and social guidelines.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  24. Philosophy Of Religion

    Religion has long been a part of human life. Prehistoric burials include utensils and companions (sacrifice) for life in another world. Early writings pray for divine intercession or advise how to win divine favor. Are beliefs such as these in survival after death and in supernatural beings reasonable? Philosophy of religion asks this of these beliefs and others: Is belief based on experience (mysticism) and not argument reasonable? Can the divine be proved to exist by argument, or proved not to exist (or care) by the prevalence of suffering? Does the supernatural intervene in nature (miracles)? These and other questions will be examined through reading classic and contemporary writings, lectures, discussion, and student presentations.

  25. Political Economy Of Global Supply Chains

    How do design objects, transformed into good/products in the production process, get from producers to consumers? In this course, we examine the global supply chains involved in the global system of organizations, people, processes, and resources that transform raw materials into finished products. We will first lay a foundation for understanding global supply chains, drawing from political science, economics, and management. Next, we will engage in critical analysis of the process and network with respect to issues that include human rights, gender, the environment, and labor standards. We will correspondingly examine the roles of actors such as governments, firms, consumers, international organization, and non-governmental organizations involved in global supply chains.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  26. Professional Internship

    The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.

  27. Revolution, Capital & War

    Europe: 1750-1950. This is an introductory survey history course with special attention given to: the Enlightenment; the French Revolution; the Industrial Revolution; the bourgeoisification and masculinization of public culture; liberalism and Marxism; national unification; imperialism; total war; and fascist and communist dictatorships. Midterms, quizzes, and final. Lectures with discussions and student led topic discussions with papers.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  28. Roots Of East Asia

    This lecture course provides a more than 3,000 year historical overview of the cultural and political entities we now know as "China," "Korea," and "Japan," from roughly 1500 BCE until 1800 CE. For most of this period, East Asia developed in isolation from Western influence, and a goal of this course is to uncover what makes "East Asian civilization" unique. Accordingly, we will seek to understand shared belief systems that define the area, such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. At the same time, we will explore how - despite considerable philosophical and political overlap - China, Korea, and Japan each evolved into distinct cultures. By the end of the semester, students will have a clear understanding of the historical trajectory of pre-modern East Asia as a whole, as well as an appreciation for the aesthetic traditions, forms of government, and social structures of each country. They will also, through their engagement with and discussion of primary sources, gain empathy with times and cultures different from their own.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  29. Sem: Gender & The Media

    Representations of gender in film, television, music, print media, and advertisements serve to inform us about the gendered system in which we live. In addition to serving as a reflection of a given society's traditional gender roles and norms, mainstream media forms also shape the gender system by actively promoting specific gender stereotypes and ideals. By discussing scholarly literature and analyzing media representations of gender, we will try to understand how these media representations play a role in gender socialization, the political and economic status of men and women, our day to day interactions with others, and even our self-views. In addition to media that edifies traditional views of gender, we will also consider media that attempts to subvert the traditional gender system and promote alternative views of gender and sexuality.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  30. Sem: Open Seminar In Hpss

    This experimental course offers students the opportunity to seriously explore some topic or question in history, philosophy, or one of the social sciences, which has a bearing on their degree project. Students will be guided through the process of formulating a research project, identifying the relevant literature, critically reading that literature, and working out how the HPSS material (content and/or methodology) can deepen and enrich their studio practice. We'll look at some artists and designers who have made these sorts of connections and but spend most of the time in discussion of student work. Coursework will be tailored to the needs of individual participants. To obtain permission to register for the course, send an email to the instructor with the following information: your name, major, year in school (junior, senior, graduate student), and a description of (a) your studio degree project, as you currently conceive of it, and (b) the area, topic, or question in history, philosophy, or the social sciences that you want to explore.

    Open to junior, senior, fifth-year, and graduate students.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  31. Sem: Philosophy Of Death

    Socrates described philosophy as an intellectual preparation for death. He recognized that how we react to, think about, and cope with finality tells us a great deal of what we think about the core of our existence. Philosophers have been divided between a "bald scenario" that death is nothing but the end of our material existence to which we are limited, and the more reassuring view that death is a door to another personal plane of existence. Death is nothing vs. death is everything. We will examine these phenomena from philosophical points of view through reflection primarily on philosophical works but will include religious sources and literary works. While philosophers have primarily focused understandably on the individual confronting death, we will constantly place these questions and their answers within interpersonal and social spheres of consideration. We will focus on: What is Death? The role of death in the meaning of life; personal survival in various scenarios; ethical issues surrounding suicide, euthanasia, and other voluntary ending of life. We will look at a few of the social practices surrounding death and examine their meaning and functionality. Intensive reading, writing, and participation in seminar format.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  32. Sem:ancient Chinese Art&archa Ancient Chinese Art & Archaelogy

    This course is designed to introduce students to the major historical and intellectual developments in the field of ancient Chinese art, and to the local tradition of antiquarian studies. It will provide a general overview of art of the period of the time spanning from the Neolithic to the Han dynasty, concentrating on crucial research issues on such topics as (among others): the iconography of early settled societies, the art of prehistoric jade carving, the art of the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the political use of bronze and jade in the dynastic period, lacquer and silk painting in the late pre-imperial phase, and the burial customs and architecture of the early imperial period.

    Also offered as HAVC-C63; Register into the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  33. The Middle East: Past And Present

    This course surveys the history of the modern Middle East (1800-present) and is designed to help students contextualize and understand political, economic, and social developments in the contemporary Middle East. Composed of a mix of lectures and discussions, this course begins with a series of foundational lectures on important events and themes in Middle Eastern history prior to 1800 (such as the emergence of three monotheistic religions in the Middle East - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the rise, formation, and expansion of Islamic States in the early-modern period such as the Ottoman and Safavid/Persian Empires). Moving quickly into the modern period, this course focuses in equal measure on the Arab Middle East, Iran, and Turkey. The historical roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict are also addressed.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  34. Topics In Physics

    Advanced and basic topics in the physical sciences are explored in this class. An overview of space-time and the expanding universe is followed by topics in: light quantum, the atom, and quantum physics. Other topics include wave-particle duality, gravity, time, black holes, and the special and general theories of relativity. Then we examine the unification of physics through the emerging result of (super) string theory which in spite of the incompatibility between general relativity and quantum mechanics harmoniously unites (and also requires) these conflicting theories. The already non-intuitive dimensions of space-time beautifully expand in the quantum geometry of string theory.

  35. Topics: History, Philosophy, & The Social Sciences

    Topics in History, Philospohy, and the Social Sciences is an introductory course in which students are encouraged to develop the skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing that are common to the disciplines represented in the Department of History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (HPSS). Sections focus on the topics typically addressed within the department's disciplines; through discussion about key texts and issues, students are introduced to important disciplinary methodologies and controversies. All sections have frequent writing assignments, which, combined with substantial feedback from HPSS faculty, afford students the opportunity to develop the strategies and techniques of effective writing.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for HPSS-S101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.

    For a list of Fall 2017 course descriptions for S101 Click here

    Freshman registration instructors and course descriptions can be found on the Registrar website.

  36. Visualizing The Natural Sciences

    This 6-credit course invites undergraduate and graduate students to improve their skills in communicating and illustrating science. The general topic is changing biodiversity, how humans impact plants, animals, and their environment. Examples will be presented from around the world, as well as from Rhode Island. Through a series of exercises, students will practice analyzing and interpreting scientific information in order to both understand and present it. The science content will be delivered through lectures, visits to research labs, and to a nearby nature sanctuary. The course is designed to introduce students to relevant scientific concepts and challenge them to use their art to make these ideas more concrete and meaningful. In some cases, the goal may be to educate; in others, it may be to raise awareness, stimulate debate, or entertain. Students will explore the use of different media, including 2-D, 3-D animated, and interactive modes. They will also target differentcaudiences and venues, including: general interest or editorial publications, art for public spaces including galleries, educational and peer- to-peer science materials. Class work includes assigned reading, several minor projects, an exam, and a comprehensive final project. Students will choose a recent research study on the topic of human impacts on biodiversity for the subject of their final project, which is a written paper combined with original artwork designed for a public space or public interaction.

    The Departments of Illustration and History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences will teach the course collaboratively.

    Also offered as ILLUS-3912 or IDISC-3912; Register in the course for which credit is desired. Students must plan and register for both SCI-3912 and ILLUS-3912 or IDISC-3912 and will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts elective credits.

Wintersession 2018

  1. Art And Science Of Saving Species

    This course gives students the opportunity to explore successes and failures in conservation. In the process, they will discover that scientific understanding of how to save a species is only part of the process. We also need to understand how interdependent we are, and how our continued success depends on a diverse and healthy animal kingdom.

    Using examples, students will study what we do and do not know about a particular animal (established scientific information and ongoing scientific research) including why it is endangered and what conservation strategies exist for helping it. They will also examine what motivates us to protect a particular animal, including the value we place on it (social, ecological, and economic role), including how it is portrayed in the media, in literature, and in the arts.

    The work for the course would include attendance, readings and written responses, in-class discussion, and completion of a 10-page research paper accompanied by a work of original art designed to engage others in the topic.

  2. Botany In The Kitchen

    While we eat foods from over 60 different plant families, we rarely stop to consider how any of those plants might be related from an evolutionary standpoint, or why we might eat one species of the family (say the potato), but not another (the deadly nightshade). This course will look at the context in which the plants we eat exist among the hundreds of thousands of plants on this planet. Organized around the human culinary uses of plants, the class will explore the evolutionary relationships between foods, and discover what it is, that links them together. We will examine the parts of plants humans consume, and in so doing discover how taste and nutritional value found in leaves, seeds, and roots, is linked to nutrition and protection for plants themselves. The seminar will culminate with a botanical feast, created by the class and featuring unique dishes created from taxonomically related groups of plants.

  3. Cinematic Representation Of The Vietnam War

    Most young people have developed their perspectives on the Vietnam War primarily through the medium of film. We will examine several of the most popular movies about America's longest war, such as "Apocalypse Now," "Platoon," and "Full Metal Jacket." We will explore in particular the following questions. What is the relationship between the history presented in Vietnam War films and the history of the era as presented by professional historians? How might these films shape popular understandings of the war? How might these films act as cultural artifacts offering insight into American political discourse at the time of their production? Assignments will include reading, discussion, and written reactions to the films. You will need no particular background in history, film, or cultural studies to learn from and enjoy this course.

  4. Embodying Feminisms/feminist Embodiments

    For much of its history, feminism has revolved around and centered on the gendered body, whether in terms of the body contextualized within time, space, and culture; in terms of the mind and body as oppositional forces; in terms of health, reproduction, or representation; or in terms of the body as part of or outside "nature." This course will examine feminist relationships to the gendered body in terms of various social and historical locations, as well as in relationship to dis/ability, queerness, reproduction, and the "natural" and built environment.

  5. Generative Sound

    Generative Sound examines historical contexts of algorithmic and generative systems in creative sound practices. Students are exposed to a wide array of generative works by diverse artists in experimental electronic music, sound art, and sound design. Readings from media theory and written responses will allow students to develop an intersectional awareness of the complex histories, relationships and conversations that exist within systems practices, including the origins of organized sound and the first "computers." Using the visual programming language Max/MSP, students will create unique real-time systems exploring randomness and data flow in sound contexts through brief coding assignments. The course culminates in a final paper and creative project. Interested students must come to the first class.

  6. Mass Atrocities, Prevention, And Victimhood: Cycles Of Violence

    This course is rooted in the premise that genocides and other mass atrocities are processes, rather than stand-alone events and that this framing opens up critical space for discussion about prevention. Using Rwanda and Bosnia as case studies, we will begin by exploring and problematizing various legal, sociological, social psychological, and political instruments and frameworks used to explain and address mass atrocities. We will also discuss and deconstruct some of the indicators proposed to assess risk, such as propaganda and hate speech. Following Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr's claim that the number one predictor of a future genocide is a previous one, we will look not only at the cycles of events leading up to mass atrocities, but focus primarily on the aftermath: the mechanisms put in place afterwards to restore order and promote 're'concilation, such as courts, truth-telling bodies, and memorial projects and the treatment of victims. Throughout the course, we will consistently come back to questions involving victims, inquiring into such issues as who counts as a victim and how these designations are made; why recognition is important, and the implications of non-recognition; and the types of material and symbolic redress is available. The course will be a combination of lecture, in-class activities, case studies and a simulation.

  7. Mind, Brain, & Behavior: An Introduction To Cognitive Neuroscience

    This course will address questions of how psychological and cognitive functions are produced by the brain. The field of cognitive neuroscience aims to link the mind, the brain and behavior by trying to understand the biological nature of human thought and behavior. In this introductory course we will discuss several topics including: How is the brain built and how well can it rewire itself? How can we measure the living brain? What functions do various parts of the brain support? In particular we will discuss the neural underpinnings of perception, attention, memory, language, executive function, emotion, social cognition, and decision-making.

  8. Musical Theatre As Social Commentary

    This course will examine the ways in which musical theatre from ancient Greece to the 21st century has addressed issues of contemporary social significance. We will consider the political and cultural landscapes of 5th century BCE Athens, 19th century England, and 20th century United States. Students will read and discuss works from each period within its surrounding social context. In addition to dramatic texts, readings will include historical surveys of musical theatre and of the three periods. Students will be expected to produce two 3 to 5 page essays synthesizing the social issue about which a playwright/composer wrote with the resulting dramatic work; a mid-semester exam and a final project. Class meetings will include lecture, discussion and presentations. There will be a two-day field trip to New York to see musical plays and meet with theatre professionals. Lab fee covers theatre tickets, travel to and accommodation in New York.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  9. Optics & Making Holograms

    This Wintersession seminar has a focus on making holograms with lasers and on understanding the physics that makes holograms and lasers work. Ideas from familiar phenomena help us see the connections between everyday life and the abstract ideas of physics. This non-mathematical presentation of optics leads us to an appreciation of the logic and beauty behind the behavior of light. Starting with the fundamental properties of light, we pass through the geometric optics of reflection and refraction, and the wave optics of interference and diffraction to the clarity of particle waves, lasers, holography, and special relativity.

  10. Race Relations In America, From Slavery To Black Lives Matter

    In this course we will look at the role of slavery in New England as an important economic institution. We will also explore the particular role Rhode Island had in the slave trade around RISD, Brown University, and other Providence communities. Slavery had a profound effect on race relations in America and is a key factor to understand the emergence of movements like Black Lives Matter.

  11. Race, Class And Girlhood

    This seminar provides an introduction to girlhood studies, both historically and theoretically, and positions girls at the center of contemporary popular culture analysis. In particular, this course examines the intersections of race, class, and gender in the construction of "girlhood" within the U.S. and transnationally. Through an analysis of film, novels, music, advertising, and other popular culture commodities, students in this course will gain an understanding of the politics of production and consumption and the diverging discourses around what it means to "be a girl." In this course, students will gain experience analyzing and writing about different forms of popular culture.

  12. Science & Social Controversy

    In this course we will examine the institution of science and its relations to the social context in which it is embedded. The idea of "value free science" has been appropriately abandoned as a false ideal. In its wake there have arisen a number of questions concerning how social and moral values ought to play a role in determining the directions of scientific research, the conduct of such research, and the application of research findings to social problems. In addition to examining such topics as scientific objectivity, scientific authority, sources of bias in science, and the social accountability of scientists, we will discuss several case studies including controversies over race and IQ, the safety and efficacy of psychiatric medications, the human genome project, and research concerning gender differences. The course will consist of discussion of assigned readings, several short writing assignments, and a group research project and presentation.

  13. Seminar: Historical Function Of Film

    In this course we will screen and examine narrative, interpretive films that expressly depict a historical event, personality or situation. We will be expressly concerned with ways in which the film can be studied as a historical text and the use of nationalism, mythology or political ideologies in the construction of a particular historical moment. Films to be viewed include: Glory, Potemkin, October Sky, and Nixon.

  14. Spaces Of Possibility: Commons And Commoning

    The concept of commons - shared resources belonging to a community - has become a current rallying point for a variety of social and environmental movements in places around the world. Why? Traditionally understood to be shared natural resources like forests or oceans, commons provided the necessary land and resources to be divided up into individually owned private property, giving rise to capitalism. These processes of enclosure continue today. Commons have also been understood more recently as a way to imagine a range of cultural and intellectual resources - "immaterial" commons. Even the public life of the city itself has become understood as a kind of commons. Social movements have further argued practices of commoning, or the making and maintenance of commons, are central to new possibilities for world-making, including aesthetic practices, community economies, and collective environmental care.

    This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to introduce students to the social and environmental dimensions of commons. We will read about the history and politics of commons from authors such as Peter Linebaugh, J.K. Gibson-Graham, Sylvia Federici, Nicholas Blomley, Ananya Roy and Fred Moten. The first part of the course will focus on ownership/stewardship and environmental politics. The land beneath our feet feels solid enough, but we know it is regulated and bounded by invisible property lines, that land can be a site for conflicting views about how to use it or care for it, and that the meanings of land change with social, cultural, and historical context. We will stay attentive to the ways social difference affects points of access and participation in commons and commoning. The second part of the course will aim to further open up these concepts through a range of case studies exploring the possibilities and limitations of aesthetic practices, alternative and community economies, and diverse world-making.

  15. The Art Of (Nonviolent) Civil Disobedience

    "Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him would wear a somber face. But I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime." (Martin Luther King, Jr., March 22, 1956)

    Civil disobedience is the deliberate refusal to obey laws or commands of the government (or group in power) in order to create enough tension to influence legislation, current policy, and social conditions. In this course, critical examination of theoretical and historical accounts of civil disobedience will afford students the knowledge to understand and develop strategies that allow ordinary citizens to effectively initiate large social change. We will examine a number of nonviolent social change movements that have utilized these strategies in the past, using case studies from around the world, including India's quest for self-rule, Denmark's Nazi resistance, Argentinian resistance of repression, South Africa's campaign against Apartheid, and many other movements from China, Poland, Russia, the Philippines, and United States. By the end, students will effectively know how to create, implement, and critique strategies that affect contemporary social movements that they find meaningful.

  16. The East Is Red: Asian Socialism

    The most popular song in Maoist China was "The East is Red." This wintersession provides an historical and political overview of socialism in Asia from the late 1910s to the present. In addition to looking at the socialist governments of China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, we will examine cases of "unsuccessful" socialist movements in Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, and India. Class materials include memoirs of survival by non-state actors, the writings of socialist leaders, and cultural constructions such as revolutionary theatre, songs, and contemporary films. We will also engage secondary scholarship that deals with Asian approaches to modernity, the use of revolutionary and state violence, and gender relations under socialism. Questions that will be addressed include: Why did Marxism, a European theory, find such resonance in Asia? Twenty-five years after the fall of communism, why have Asian socialist states remained in power? And in the scales of history, how should we judge the effects of socialism in Asia?

  17. The Meaning Of Life

    The question, "What is the meaning of life?" is unclear in large measure because the word "meaning" is ambiguous. The various ways "meaning" can be construed, both objectively and subjectively, in everyday life and in the philosophical arena will be explored. Literature, film, and philosophical texts will be used as vehicles to illuminate how reflection, experience, and transitions through life's stages influence assignment of value to one's existence.

  18. The Sociology Of Business, Organization And Entrepreneurship

    While many tend to think about bureaucracies in emotionally charged terms (for example, Kafka and Orwell) or treat them with sarcastic derision (e.g., Parkinson), bureaucratic organizations are specific social structures possessing well-defined characteristics and following certain logic of behavior and development. They are present in government and business, as well as non-government organizations. Individual entrepreneurs and small businesses have to deal with bureaucracies to survive and thrive. This course will tell you how to behave around bureaucratic organizations. There are four major themes: organizational behavior, organizational boundaries, organizational environment, and interaction between organizations. Each theme will be looked at from the point of view of various types of bureaucracies: government, private, and non-profit. We will have a specific discussion of social entrepreneurship and its ability to navigate bureaucratic structures. Special attention will be paid to interaction between government and private bureaucracies. The course relies on a combination of lectures and in-class discussion. Students will be asked to write four short papers based on case studies and present them in class. There will be a final exam.

  19. Water Emergency: The Science Of Water, Humans And Design Solutions

    "Water is the driving force of all nature" - Leonardo da Vinci. Humanity's relationship with water is fickle - although necessary for life, when it is plentiful we take it for granted. We use water to make electricity, remove our waste, cool our power plants, irrigate our crops and - of course - drink. Sometimes we do several of these at once, leading to unfortunate results. Learn the science behind the planet's water and how humanity interacts with it. We will visit water treatment and sewage treatment plants examine the causes and results of drought, wild fire, salt-water contamination wells, shrinking aquifers, "nutrient pollution" of oceans and more. The goals of this course are threefold: (1) To clarify how water works in earth's systems spanning geology, chemistry, biology and physics (2) To outline how humans interact and leave their mark on every step of these cycles and (3) To encourage students to understand these water issues as challenges in need of the intelligent and creative solutions that they are equipped to deliver. This course will include a final project design solution to an aspect of one of the water problems touched on in class. No prior science background is required.

  20. You Must Be Joking! The Philosophy Of Laughter

    Explain a joke; kill it? We'll keep it alive on life support in this short philosophical survey of what's funny. We will consider a range of theories of laughter and humor, from both analytic and practical perspective. To evaluate these theories, we will apply them to various types of humor, such as comedies, jokes, and especially in visual illustration such as cartoons, and the like. The serious business of analysis will share the stage with our engagement with funny business as well as creating our own. Throughout, we will consider the ethical issues of humor and laughter as they arise in the theories and the practices of humor. Course requires a sense of humor and will involve active participation, even performing humor. Several papers and a project of either analyzing something comedic or developing your own.

Spring 2018

  1. *Ghana: Dialogue Across Diaspora

    This course centers around the idea of dialogue between Ghana and Jamaica, with Rhode Island serving as a hinge. Over the course of the semester, students will be looking at narratives and art emerging from Ghana and Jamaica, enacting a dialogue between the two countries. What insights can be gained into the histories of the two cultures by looking at them side by side? How do their divergent colonial histories speak to each other? Are there ways the narratives born out of the struggles of people in these two places open up differently if thought about in a comparative context? Informing the course will be the reading of poetry, historical narratives, and narrative fiction, as well as an exploration of the visual art created in response to the history of oppression and the celebration of freedom. The tumultuous history of the two countries and the challenges of racial injustice and poverty will be explored in works by Ama Ata Aidoo, Michelle Cliff, Kojo Laing, Andrew Salkey, Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang and Lorna Goodison. Questions we will be asking include: how does one narrate atrocity? What have been called "historical catastrophic" contexts? What is the role of the artist and art in impoverished circumstances? How do socially conscious artists, writers, and performers balance the aesthetic and the political in their work? What is the relationship between aesthetics and politics? How do Ghanaian and Jamaican artists speak to each other through their works? What potentials are there for greater dialogue?

    **This course involves collaboration with students in the Department of Theatre at the University of Cape Coast, and a required trip over spring break to Ghana to collaborate with those students on a project in a slave castle.**

    Permission of Instructor required.

    2018SP Estimated Travel Cost: TBD

    Also offered as LAS-C792 and HAVC-C792; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  2. Art And Cultures Of Ancient Mesoamerica

    The art and architecture of ancient Mexico as well as that of selected neighboring areas, will be examined against the background of the growth of complex cultural systems. The course will consist of readings and lectures including the presentation of visual materials dealing with ancient Mesoamerica (a culture area), and the archaeological and historical research which sheds light on its development. Museum visits to RISD and Brown will allow us to become familiar with real pre-Columbian art and artifacts for a closer association to ancient cultures that produced them.

    Also offered as HAVC-C735; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  3. Combat & Culture: War In Public Consciousness

    War is endemic to human civilization. To some it has been an opportunity for glory, to many more a source of horror. What are some of the ideas and ideals that have precipitated wars? How has the way it has been experienced by both combatants and noncombatants changed over time? What are the legacies of war? War and culture have had a defining influence on each other, most evident in art, language, literature, popular culture, design, and constructs of virtue. This course will examine current wars through the lens of past wars, notably the Spanish-American War and World War One, touching on such topics as nationalism, terrorism, liberation movements, and the cultures that inspired them. Through required readings, individual research and writing, and classroom discussion, students will examine some of the experiences, impacts and artifacts of war through the cultural manifestations that attend them. There will be a field trip to a local military historic site.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  4. Concepts In Mathematics

    Mathematicians are artists of the imagination. This course is an exploration of their abstract conceptual systems which have almost inadvertently yielded spectacularly successful real world results. It also looks at suggested artistic modes of thought and strategies of artistic exploration. Discussions will include imagination as a valid perception of the world (a sixth sense); high orders of infinity; abstraction, idealization and reality; the geometry of vision, other non-Euclidean geometries and the relation of these geometries to our universe. Regular attendance, some assignments and outside reading are required.

  5. Controversial Issues In Abnormal Psychology

    In this course we will examine a number of controversies over various scientific, clinical, and social practices concerning mental illness. Topics include: classification and diagnosis (e.g, Is mental illness a myth?, Can mental health professionals distinguish normality from abnormality?, Is psychiatric classification useful?, Is there a gender bias in psychiatric classification?), the character of specific psychiatric conditions (e.g., alcoholism, depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), treatment issues (e.g., the psychotropic medication of young children, electroconvulsive therapy, suicide prevention), and social issues (e.g., the insanity defense, involuntary commitment, the duty to warn.)

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  6. Design Anthropology

    This course explores the relationship between the fields of design and anthropology. Taking readings from both disciplines we will examine topics such as form, texture, scale, and color to fertilize disciplinary approaches. We will examine design processes and think through them ethnographically. Students will select design objects within Providence and redesign them based on class discussions and activities.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  7. Evolutionary Biology

    Evolution is the process by which living organisms change over generations of time. This course examines how evolution occurs through natural selection, mutation, and genetic drift, beginning with the search for the origin of species (speciation) by artist-naturalists Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, and Henry Bates. Their observations of animal diversity (species variation, island geography, and mimicry) provided evidence for common descent within the animal kingdom, and led to the development of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Studies of the fossil record paleontology yielded more evidence. Eventually, the genetic basis of evolution was explained by Gregor Mendel's discovery of heritable traits, later named genes. Today, studies of evolution continue on a molecular scale with DNA and RNA (genomics) and proteins (protenomics). Students will be graded based upon responses to study questions, participation during class discussion, performance on two written exams and a project on scientific visualization.

  8. Gender In East Asia

    This is a seminar course on East Asian gender identity from ancient times to the present. Employing the rubrics of Gender History and Cultural Studies, we will examine the ways in which Chinese, Japanese, and Korean conceptions of "masculine" and "feminine" have evolved in relation to a myriad of political and economic forces, as well as through the self-directed endeavors of people in this area to discover and express their "true" selves. After first going over the conceptual and social underpinnings of traditional East Asian gender roles via close readings of representative primary sources, the remainder of the course will engage recent scholarship to uncover how these roles have developed in the modern and contemporary eras. Particular emphasis will be placed on how national conceptions of gender identity are formed within a broader environment of transnational cultural consumption. The course will conclude with student presentations on a self-selected research topic.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  9. Gendered Global Political Economy

    The study of international politics assumes gender neutrality, which tends to render women invisible in the global political economy order. In this course, we question the assumption that international politics should be gender neutral, deconstruct the role of gender in the field, and view the role of gender in transformative global change. Particularly, we employ a gendered and intersectional lens to study global and domestic political and economic processes.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  10. Global Environmental Change

    Most scientists agree that humanity is changing Earth's environment and consuming natural resources at rates that are unsustainable. These changes are more problematic or immediate for some regions or socioeconomic groups than others. An understanding of the causes, magnitude, geography and time scales of environmental change prepares us to consider socially just and sustainable solutions, whether through design, analysis, communication, expression, or governance. This course will focus on perceptions of environmental change arising from the so-called natural sciences: ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, oceanography, climatology. Smaller portions of the course will consider environmental justice and the social consequences of histrionics in both climate activism and denialism. Course time will be divided between lectures and group discussions, the latter being motivated by readings, observational exercises, and local field trips. Scientific background is not required but critical thinking and participation are essential.

  11. Indigenous Knowledge

    The course will examine why indigenous knowledge systems have been portrayed as more effective ways of addressing pressing environmental challenges: sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity conservation, energy, sustainable agriculture, and the negative effects of globalization. We will demonstrate how art and design can make visible the often marginalized knowledge systems and practices of indigenous communities.

    Open to Undergraduates only.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  12. Infrastructure & Society

    Infrastructures are all about the movement of people, ideas, and things across time and space. In addition to the functioning of basic needs such as water delivery, transportation, and waste removal, infrastructures also play key roles in the production and maintenance of particular political institutions and publics. Infrastructures are sites where state power, social difference, market forces, technology, and the material natures of resources all intersect. Contestations about infrastructure projects such as water and oil pipelines have made visible some of the ways infrastructures order space. There are also diverse social movements trying to reimagine how infrastructure might be built, maintained, repaired, and adapted. In this seminar we will first build a conceptual foundation based on key readings from geography, anthropology, and the field of critical infrastructure studies. These will enable us to examine the social and political dimensions of infrastructure. Then we will use urban water as a lens into the design, construction, maintenance, repair, adaptation and experience of infrastructure. The recent shift in emphasis on the part of designers and planners towards emerging green infrastructures such as permeable paving, green roofs, bioswales, rain gardens, and habitat corridors demands rethinking the capacities of our urban landscapes. We will ask: How do emerging green infrastructure plans and projects intersect with sociopolitical differences across often starkly uneven geographies? What kinds of cultural, political and social relations are enabled by the material properties of water, as well as of these green infrastructures? For example, adapting infrastructure towards more sustainable goals in rustbelt cities of the global North is different from building or maintaining infrastructure in rapidly urbanizing areas of the global South with high levels of migration to burgeoning mega-cities. Coastal towns grappling with rising sea levels are rethinking infrastructure, as are drought-stricken areas of the US. Though this range makes it impossible to examine equally all such contexts, the seminar will introduce students to critical perspectives on infrastructure.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  13. Leadership Of Social Change

    Reflecting on historical and contemporary models of leadership, this course is designed to engage an active dialogue with the ways that collective social problems are both enabled and addressed by leaders. It also examines individual leadership potential by exploring how personal affinities can be focused and developed into effective strategies for solving problems, advancing ideas, and making change. Finally, it considers ethics, especially looking at the ways leadership can solve human problems. While primarily focused on public issues, this course will consider leadership in all economic spheres, and will look at the ways artists and designers practice leadership. In addition to reading, classroom discussion, and writing assignments, students will complete a community-based project in Providence.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  14. Myth-making/image-making

    This course is designed to explore the relationship between sacred "texts" (including those that have been transmitted verbally for generations) and the images that are associated with them and/or inspired artists in their traditional contexts. We will look at the cultural context of sacred narratives in such communities as the Kwakwaka, the Hopi, the Maya and other Mexican communities, the Dogon, Australian traditional aboriginal groups, and other Pacific communities, time permitting. Topics will include sacred texts and landscape, sacred narratives and the notion of a person, sacred texts and contemporary arts, and other related topics. The course will require a final research project.

    Also offered as HAVC-C504; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 as a prerequisite if the student desires HPSS credit.

  15. NCSS Core Seminar

    In the NCSS Core Seminar, students explore key issues in nature-culture-sustainability studies, developing an inter-disciplinary understanding of the need for integrative approaches to issues including mobility and infrastructure, environmental justice and equity, sustainable food and water systems and the very real present and future of climate change. Beginning with definitions of "nature" and natural systems, drawn from environmental literature and history, we will dig into questions of what we mean by "culture" and "sustainability". The vitality of the ecologic and social and built environment upon which we all depend will form the core of our investigations. How and where we live matters; in the present Anthropocene, questions of resiliency and adaptation take on ever greater urgency. We will study contemporary conditions with examples from across the globe, with an eye to understanding how innovation and creative practices in art and design impact future planetary health.

    This course lays the foundation for students pursuing the NCSS concentration. The seminar will include lectures and discussions of readings and case studies. Occasional guests will include scientists, designers and others engaged at the forefront of environmental activism and research. Students may ground their final course project in a topic connected to their own work, relating it to their major or another concentration, in addition to NCSS.

    Open to sophomore and junior students

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    Also offered as LAEL-2403; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  16. New Sonic Identities

    New Sonic Identities investigates the work and identities of today's diverse artists working in experimental electronic dance music, ambient and noise cultures, and sound art. Readings from critical race and sexuality studies provide necessary framing for class discussions and creative projects. Course participants will be introduced to experimental approaches to various audio technologies. All majors, backgrounds, and levels of technical experience (including none) are encouraged and welcome.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  17. Psychology Of Gender

    This course starts with the premise that sex, gender, and sexual orientation are all distinct, yet intertwined, conceptual categories with contested meanings and definitions. We discuss how socially constructed binaries of male/female, masculine/feminine, and gay/straight create status laden social categories and associated roles, norms, and stereotypes that shape people's experiences of gender and sexuality. By exploring the biological, socio-cultural, cognitive, and evolutionary roots of gender development, we will see that gender and sexuality emerge from a complex interaction of factors that are rooted in historical legacies, but are continually maintained through contemporary social, political, and economic practices. We will explore research on gender differences and similarities, and how small differences often get magnified through biases in reporting and publishing. In addition, we will examine how gender and sexuality operate in the "real world" by examining research on family and workplace dynamics, intimate relationships, legal and economic examples of inequality and sexism, as well as how gender and sexuality are represented in media.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  18. Racial And Ethinc Poverty And Inequality In The Us

    This course is intended to provide the students with a general overview of the complexities of three major social problems: poverty, inequality, and social mobility. The course is divided in three sections. The first part explores the different notions associated with poverty and inequality. In the second part, we focus on the United States. By looking at America's history, with race and ethnicity as central elements, students will better understand how our perspective has been shaped in regards to who should be considered poor, and what should be the role of government in addressing this issue. Finally, in section three we make a comparative analysis by looking at differences across groups in terms of race and ethnicity.

  19. Sem: Matrix Of Wisdom: Philosophy & Sci-fi

    Philosophy, the quest for wisdom, seeks answers to life's deepest and most enduring questions. How should we live? What is the truth? What is real? What and who are we in a universe of things unlike ourselves? At its core, philosophy is a discursive, argumentative probing that pokes at our fundamental assumptions about the world. The philosophical mind, of course, welcomes the challenge. In addition to philosophers raising these questions, fiction has been a vehicle for raising these issues and challenging the status quo mindset of its readers. Science fiction in particular, has long been occupied with questions regarding man's place in the universe and the limits and potentials of science. While such philosophical probity rarely makes for great television viewing, there are a few shows, such as Star Trek, The X-Files and others, that are distinguished by their consistent philosophical texts in conjunction with the study and discussion of selected episodes from these extraordinary television series. Participation, several short papers and group presentations are required.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  20. Sem: Open Seminar In Hpss

    This experimental course offers students the opportunity to seriously explore some topic or question in history, philosophy, or one of the social sciences, which has a bearing on their degree project. Students will be guided through the process of formulating a research project, identifying the relevant literature, critically reading that literature, and working out how the HPSS material (content and/or methodology) can deepen and enrich their studio practice. We'll look at some artists and designers who have made these sorts of connections and but spend most of the time in discussion of student work. Coursework will be tailored to the needs of individual participants. To obtain permission to register for the course, send an email to the instructor with the following information: your name, major, year in school (junior, senior, graduate student), and a description of (a) your studio degree project, as you currently conceive of it, and (b) the area, topic, or question in history, philosophy, or the social sciences that you want to explore.

    Open to junior, senior, fifth-year, and graduate students.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  21. Sem: Witness Tree Project

    Witness trees, as designated by the National Park Service, are long-standing trees that have "witnessed" key events, trends, and people in history. In this joint studio/liberal arts course, students have the unique opportunity to study and work with a fallen witness tree, shipped to RISD from a national historic site. The course will involve three components: 1) a field trip to the tree's site at the beginning of the semester; 2)classroom-based exploration of American history, memory, landscape, and material culture; and 3) studio-based building of a series of objects from the tree's wood, in response to both the site and students' classroom study. Overall, the course will explore both how material artifacts shape historical understanding and how historical knowledge can create meaningful design.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for FURN-2451. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits for a total of 6 credits.

    A single fee of $100.00 will be charged for your registration in HPSS-S732 and FURN-2451.

  22. The Civil War

    It killed more Americans than all other wars combined before Viet Nam. Why was it fought? Why did the South lose? What is the meaning of the war and its legacy? In this history course, structured around Ken Burns' video series, we seek to understand the conflict itself as well as its antecedents and contexts (slavery, Federalism, industrialism, the "home front", international diplomacy). Lecture, student debates and much discussion with short papers, quizzes and a term project.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  23. The Middle East: Past And Present

    This course surveys the history of the modern Middle East (1800-present) and is designed to help students contextualize and understand political, economic, and social developments in the contemporary Middle East. Composed of a mix of lectures and discussions, this course begins with a series of foundational lectures on important events and themes in Middle Eastern history prior to 1800 (such as the emergence of three monotheistic religions in the Middle East - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the rise, formation, and expansion of Islamic States in the early-modern period such as the Ottoman and Safavid/Persian Empires). Moving quickly into the modern period, this course focuses in equal measure on the Arab Middle East, Iran, and Turkey. The historical roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict are also addressed.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  24. The Psychology Of Time

    This course is an introduction to the psychological concept of time. We will examine the psychology of time from a range of different viewpoints including history, religion, philosophy, physics, literature, visual art, music, and cinema. Throughout the class we will look at the way time interacts with our own subjective experience of reality. We will also explore the literary and artistic expressions of the mystery of time. This class is heavily discussion-based, so completion of the readings and participation during class is critical. Assignments are comprised of written reflections on the material as well as a final project.

    HPSS S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  25. Topics: History, Philosophy, & The Social Sciences

    Topics in History, Philospohy, and the Social Sciences is an introductory course in which students are encouraged to develop the skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing that are common to the disciplines represented in the Department of History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (HPSS). Sections focus on the topics typically addressed within the department's disciplines; through discussion about key texts and issues, students are introduced to important disciplinary methodologies and controversies. All sections have frequent writing assignments, which, combined with substantial feedback from HPSS faculty, afford students the opportunity to develop the strategies and techniques of effective writing.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for HPSS-S101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.

    For a list of Fall 2017 course descriptions for S101 Click here

    Freshman registration instructors and course descriptions can be found on the Registrar website.

  26. Urban Ecology: How Wildlife Interacts With Urbanizing Landscape

    We frequently hear about animal (and plant) species that become common nuisances in urban areas, and we hear about how natural habitat loss leads to the disappearance of other species-not to mention the emergence of new diseases. This course will approach the area of urban ecology from a natural science perspective. We will learn about a broad variety of North American organisms (vertebrate, invertebrate, plant and pathogen), from diverse habitat types, and their ecological patterns and processes with regard to urbanization. We will also conduct field experiments to evaluate certain patterns in our greater Providence landscape for ourselves. Ultimately, how do urban wildlife patterns affect the lives of our species, Homo sapiens? Coursework will include frequent readings, outdoor field trips, observational chronicling and group discussions.

  27. Visual Anthropology

    Anthropologists have used a number of techniques to document "other" cultures - the course will explore visual documentation techniques, from early explorers' drawing to contemporary filmmakers. Research tools and methods will be evaluated from several points of view, including the artistic, the anthropological and the ethical.

  28. Visual Perception

    In this course we will examine some prominent psychological theories of color, form, depth, and motion perception. As much as possible, we will experience specific examples of visual processes through a number of in class experiments. The roles of learning, memory, imagination, and other cognitive processes will be explored.

Departments

Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History of Art + Visual Culture History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles