Fall 2022

  1. This course exposes students to the key figures, texts and concepts that constitute Black Feminism. In this course we will establish a solid understanding of Black feminist thought and related theoretical concepts by exploring the lived experiences of Black women. We will develop a historical understanding of Black feminism and how it supports intersectionality. We will assess new "schools" of thought like hip-hop feminism and trace the influence of Black feminism in critical race theory and Women's Studies as a whole. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  2. From the time Indigenous people encountered the first colonists from Europe in what would become New England, race and racism would begin to shape the cultural and political landscape. Europeans, while ostensibly seeking freedom from religious persecution, began a calculated project of dispossessing Native people of their land, and enslaving people of African descent. Power dynamics, alliances, and relationships were constantly shifting. This course traces often tumultuous, sometimes intimate interactions among Black, white, and Indigenous people in New England through the early nineteenth century. Using secondary and primary source readings, along with reflective writing exercises, we trace these relationships through King Philip's War, the American Revolution, detribalization, and the movements to abolish slavery both inside the region and, later, throughout the country. Learning these stories should help shape our perspective on how central race and racism was to creating the region in which we live today. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  3. A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of independent 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.
  4. Developmental psychology provides an overview of human development throughout the lifespan. The goal of the course is to establish a basis for understanding the processes of developmental change through which humans progress. Physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of human development are explored as well as the methods and philosophies that guide the associated research. Coursework consists of weekly readings with comprehension quizzes, lectures, small group discussions and a final project of student's choosing related to a developmental period. Students pursuing a career that will necessitate working with and being sensitive to people of various ages will find this course valuable. Prenatal development up to young adulthood will be covered in the spring 2021 semester. Middle adulthood to death will be covered in the Fall 2021 semester. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  5. As part of a civics and liberal arts education, the main goal of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of US elections. Leading into election night on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 this course will be organized around the timetable of the mid-term 2022 election cycle. The first part of the course will be devoted to an overview of key Senate and House of Representative races in 2022, an analysis of the demography and geography of important states and congressional districts in the current election cycle, and an overview of image-making in and the visual culture of US political campaigns and elections. Here several themes of this course will be developed including drivers of electoral turnout, the impact of technological developments on US political campaigns and elections, media and candidate image-making, and the impact of geo-political events, cultural moments, and weather/natural disasters on the course and outcome of US campaigns and elections. Emergent political themes in the current electoral cycle will also be addressed including: the role of the Covid 19 pandemic on US elections, present and future; the continued increase in the number of female senate and house candidates; splits in the ideology and posturing of the Democratic and Republican parties; voting procedures, processes, and systems; the impact of the sitting President's involvement and popularity on senate and house races; the geography of gerrymandering, and the changing demography and political outlook of the US electorate, post-Election 2020. In this regard, this course will look forward to and prepare students to analyze and grapple with the run-up to the next Presidential and congressional elections in 2024. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates. Open to sophomores and above.
  6. 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.
  7. This course examines the past and possible futures of land we today know as Providence, Rhode Island. From beneath the Laurentide ice sheet, to river delta, to the city we know and love, this land has been transformed by humans and nature alike, both independently and in reaction to one another. We will journey through time, beginning with indigenous history then progressing to the days of plantation agriculture, industrialization, de-industrialization, and finally the post-industrial landscape that is being reinvented today. As we will see, these changes are rarely, if ever, "natural", but rather are steered by power inequalities related to race, class, and other characteristics as well as human's perceived "exemption" from natural constraints. To cement your understanding, you will conduct independent research on a historical event from Greater Providence that analyzes the event and its aftermath from a critical historical perspective. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  8. This course is a survey of current research in environmental sociology as it relates to climate change, pollution, and other pressing environmental topics. After introducing some core sociological concepts, each week will consist of reading, lecture, and small group discussions of a different key topic of environmental sociological research. You will write a 2-page response paper for four weeks of your choosing and then be asked to write a paper relate/apply one or two topics to your own field of work. For example, if you are pursuing industrial design, you might consider how your new knowledge of unequal exposure to pollution might inform your practice in the future. While we will not dwell long on any one topic, questions of environmental inequality and environmental racism are common themes tying together this body of research. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. The goal of the course is to explore how fundamental questions in philosophy, psychology, and medicine are currently being addressed by research in modern cognitive neuroscience. This course will examine the relationship between the brain and cognition by focusing on topics including perception, attention, memory, language, emotions, decision-making, mental representation, knowledge, and intelligence. Interactive participation will be encouraged as students investigate these topics by actively engaging in experimental design, debates, and demonstrations. Throughout the course, the future of cognitive neuroscience will be discussed including how developments in the field will influence society and the ethical implications of these advancements.
  13. Life confronts us with difficult ethical predicaments. We want to do the right thing but to what authority or set of moral prescriptions can we look for guidance? We are criticized and praised for our values, intentions, and behaviors. We judge our own thoughts and actions and those of other people according to prevailing moral standards that are claimed to be objectively true and universal. Often these standards are internally inconsistent, incongruent with other established moral principles, clash with codes followed in cultures foreign to us, or are impossible to apply to the complex moral dilemmas we face in the modern world. At an ever increasing rate, new and unexplored ethical territory opens with advances in science and technology. This course will examine a variety of ethical theories that were designed to set us on a path of good conduct and evaluate how well they rise to the challenges of daily living in complex and socially varied contexts. The Socratic method will be the prevailing mode of instruction. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  14. 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).
  15. Philosophy engages us by zooming out to discover generalized conditions of human experience and the universe. This discipline also requires us to burrow beneath surface explanations of these phenomena. This course is issue-oriented and will emphasize applications of philosophical theories and ways of thinking to contemporary vexations involving such topics as truth, human nature, the mind-body problem, personal identity, ethics, the free will controversy, and the meaning of life. Investigations into these areas will be supported using readings from prominent philosophers. The Socratic method will be the predominant mode of instruction. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates
  16. As the study of behavior and mental processes, psychology allows us to better understand how people think, feel and act. This introductory course provides a broad overview of the major content areas within the field of psychology (e.g., physiological, developmental, social and cognitive psychology) and will introduce you to the psychological theories and research used to understand human behavior. We will cover a wide variety of topics, including how people learn, process and store information, why people possess distinct personalities, how social situations and cultural norms affect our behavior, how we grow and develop throughout our lives, etc. Throughout the course we will critically evaluate the merit of classic psychological theory and research in understanding people's thoughts, feelings and actions in real world situations. This course will provide a broad knowledge base for those interested in taking upper level psychology classes. HPSS S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  17. 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. Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website.
  18. 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.
  19. What is the popular perception of the indigenous peoples in the media today? How do media constructions of Native people tell us as much, if not more, about American identity than the indigenous peoples they depict? How do these various representations impact the indigenous people whose images are featured in documentaries, films, television shows, and internet media? How are Native American people taking charge of their image and stories through media production? This course explores the construction and depiction of Native American and Indigenous identity, history, culture, and language and some of America's major issues facing contemporary indigenous peoples through film and media. We will examine issues of representation, visual and textual imagery, and aesthetically distinctive but recognizable design choices that often stand in for Indigenous media. We will view award-winning films, theater depictions, television episodes, internet media, social media, comic books, and documentaries to explore these issues. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  20. Native American oral traditions, which include storytelling, teachings, family and tribal history, and contemporary Indian literature, lie at the heart of tribal culture. It is mainly through oral tradition that American Indian cultures have been preserved and transmitted through the generations. American Indian stories, teachings, and oral histories are rich in cultural context. They provide great insight into the worldview, values, and lifestyle, which are an integral part of the heritage of American Indians. This course examines the cultural and historical contexts of Native American and Indigenous oral traditions with a focus in North America and other Indigenous traditions. Open to juniors and above. Also offered as GRAD-253G for graduate-level students and NCSS-253G for NCSS MA students. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates if taken for HPSS credit.
  21. 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 sophomores and juniors. Also offered as IDISC-2403; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  22. This course introduces students to areas of philosophical inquiry pertaining to the status of mental states and how these states have been understood in the context of the physical universe. More specifically, theories about the relationship between conscious states and neural events will be explored in some depth. In furtherance of these goals, the following topics will be discussed: substance dualism, physicalism, mental causation and content, intentional states, the problem of qualia, behaviorism, mind-brain identity theory, and functionalism. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  23. How do goods/products get from producers to consumers? Global supply chains are involved in the global system of organizations, people, processes, and resources that transform raw materials into finished products. Additionally, these complex processes and networks are responsible for delivering finished products to consumers. In this course, 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 organizations, and non-governmental organizations involved in global supply chains. This course adopts the flipped classroom approach, requiring students to spend one class session a week working asynchronously and the second class session in in-person guided hands-on and group activities. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  24. Politics of Violence offers an analysis of the role of the state, its mechanisms, and its structures in perpetuating, legitimizing, and facilitating political, racial and gender-based violence worldwide. We will explore the connections and effects of nationalism, militarism, and heteropatriarchy (as structural and ideological elements of the state) as well as neoliberal assaults and practices in the normalization of violence against dissidents, incarcerated populations, refugees, workers, and indigenous communities. Students will consider historical and contemporary cases of state sponsored and political violence, systematic violations of human rights in the context of genocide, gendercide, racist violence, colonial terrorism, carceral regimes, and the securitization of forced migration. Lectures and readings provide a comparative and transnational perspective through a transdisciplinary lens, drawing on international relations, anthropology, gender studies, political theory, and history. The course requires bi-weekly one-page reflections on the readings as well as two short papers. As always, classroom participation is important. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  25. 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.
  26. What is mental health and mental illness? When is anxiety helpful and when does it start to become unhelpful? Is an existential crisis part of the human condition? How do different internal experiences impact how humans interact and perceive the world? This course aims to examine these questions and many more through an introduction to psychopathology. Psychopathology examines the conceptualization, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various psychological disorders. Through promoting greater awareness and knowledge about mental health and illness, this course hopes to help increase perspective and reduce stigma associated with mental disorders. For this seminar, students will engage in weekly class discussion, as well as complete readings from a textbook and articles. There will be reflective writing assignments and a final paper or creative project. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  27. This seminar course serves as an introduction to qualitative research. During the course students will have the opportunity to develop a potential qualitative research project. This includes skills such as development of a basic research design, research questions, interviewing, and protocols. Students will also practice interactive, experiential data analysis skills both during class time and outside of class, including but not limited to, observation, field note taking, coding, interviewing, memo writing, and analysis. Students will learn to think and read critically about qualitative research. An overarching goal of the course if for students to gain understanding of this mode of inquiry by engaging with theory, review of the literature and practice, especially in writing. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  28. In this lecture (discussion-based) class, we will explore the field of sound studies and examine how race, ethnicity, and gender shape our understandings of what "sound" constitutes as a technology, cultural form, performance, political tool, and more. As an interdisciplinary course, students will cover material across a variety of fields, including history, American studies, music, and performance studies, as well as explore theoretical texts reflecting on sound and culture. In addition to regular writing throughout the semester, students will complete end of the term projects that demonstrate how "sound" impacts our culture in the contemporary moment. This hybrid course will blend in person instruction with online class meetings and assignments. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  29. This course will focus on the centrality of slavery to the development of the United States and the Black-led, interracial movement that led to slavery's abolition. The institution of slavery built the United States as an economic power, and therefore, was the foremost determinant of the direction American politics and culture took up to and after the Civil War. With this in mind, the abolitionists we will look at were not merely altering a facet of American life, and not merely elevating the condition of millions of Black people in the South. They dedicated their lives to resolving the foundational contradiction of a country that professed a commitment to liberty, but one that relied on one of the most violently oppressive systems of labor the world has ever seen. They were pushing visions of an interracial democracy perhaps more recognizable in twenty-first century, #BlackLivesMatter America than at any other time in our history. Readings, class discussions, and reflective writing assignments will help us work through how slavery and abolition have informed our politics, our society, and the struggle for racial justice that continues today. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  30. Have you ever wondered how social situations guide how we think about and act toward others, what determines who we love and who we hate, how we form attitudes about our own and others behavior, what determines whether we will help or hurt others, or how we construct knowledge about the self? If so, social psychology addresses these questions and many more. Social psychology is the science of how others influence the way people think, feel, and act. The aim of this course is to familiarize you with current and classic research and theory in social psychology, help you to develop critical thinking skills about social-psychological phenomena, and stimulate you to think about the implications of social-psychological research for everyday living. For this course, students will complete readings from a textbook and articles. There be will be four quizzes and a final project applying one concept within social psychology to everyday life. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  31. How we die says as much about us as how we live. As a result, much can be learned by exploring America's changing attitudes toward death and dying, funeral rites, burial practices, and mourning rituals. Part personal tragedy, part communal experience, and part political event, our individual and collective responses to death should be treated as socially constructed artifacts, offering valuable insight into complex cultural, historical, and socio-economic forces. Buried within the American way of death are clues to understanding how this nation's physical, spiritual, economic, scientific, and political landscapes have changed over time. Rituals and practices surrounding death reflect the realities of class conflict, gender politics, race relations, and an increasingly diverse population. So often, deathcare has often been at the forefront of major cultural shifts and national debates over who belongs here, the role of government, the shape of our cities and towns, patterns of consumption, and, more recently, the future of our planet. Growing interest in green burials suggests not only a burgeoning concern with the carbon footprint of human remains, but shifting ideas about our individual legacies and what we leave behind. A discussion-based course, student engagement and active participation are key. Each student will be required to select a portion of the assigned reading to present to the class. In addition, students will work in small groups to craft a 20-minute oral presentation that examines and contextualizes the funeralization practices of a particular segment of the American people. Finally, each student will complete a 5 - 7 page research paper using a combination of primary and secondary sources (to be approved by the instructor) that elucidate and interrogate a specific aspect of the American way of death. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  32. This lecture and discussion course presents a history of modern natural and physical sciences from the 16th to 20th century, treating the development of modern physics, chemistry, geology, and biology. By looking at the history of science through the scientists and their ideas the course also examines the methodological, technological, and experimental systems that underpin the scientific fields, and led to the development of techniques still used today. The course also focuses on conflicts in scientific inquiry, the development of a culture of science, and the scientists over time. Examples of special topics include the development of the heliocentric planetary view, the quest for a theory of everything, the age of the earth and its distance from the sun, and how Darwinian evolution compares to 19th century evolutionary theories among others. The requirements for this class include a book review, a ten-page research paper and two tests. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  33. This course is designed to invite students on an exploratory journey to the basics of Buddhist history, culture, philosophy, psychology, ethics, and logic in the part of the world known as Tibet. Through the in-depth study, the students will acquire a more profound understanding of the Buddhist worldview. The course will examine Buddhism's origins, the chronology of its introduction into Tibet, and influential figures and events in its development over the past 1500 years. Students will be invited to explore fundamental Buddhist teachings and practices to achieve well-being, meditation, enlightenment, and happiness. Specific attention will be given to how Buddhist forms of compassion, meditation, and wisdom traditions can contribute to peace and happiness in a chaotic and politically conflicted world. The course will conclude with an analysis of the rapidly growing interest in Buddhism in the west, for example, its potential for neuroscientific research on mind-body connections. Note: Students should understand that this is a course exploring one of the world's great belief systems and should be viewed as a course in religious studies, not a religion course. Therefore, there will not be any form of proselytizing, and there is no expectation for students to adopt Buddhism as their belief system. HPSS-S101 is required for undergradautes.
  34. 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 in History, Philosophy, 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. Freshman registration: see PDF on the Registrar's Office website for instructors and course description information. Transfer students: register for one of the evening sections available to upperclass and transfer students.
  36. This class will provide an overview of models of dis/ability (e.g.: Moral/religious, Medical, Social, Critical theory and Bio-psychosocial). We will explore the schools of thought that these models developed from through theoretical and illustrative readings and movies. Throughout the class we will investigate how these models influenced thinking about dis/ability and the subsequent program and policies that developed from this thinking. A recurring theme of this class will be to understand the intersection of gender, dis/ability, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  37. Set within a transnational and transdisciplinary feminist framework, Writing Resistance will unfold and examine the ways traumatic, lived experiences of gender and structural violence, systematic oppression and precarity, incarceration, racism, and colonialism, have been silenced or submerged in canonical writing and official history making. As an antidote, we will attempt a "queering" of this patriarchal and "colonial archive" (Stoler), by shedding light and focusing on diverse forms of writing, autobiographies and biomythographies, poetry and fiction, and theoretical readings that are either produced by or centered on the lived experiences, psyches and bodies, of women, people of color, dissidents and incarcerated people, queer, transgender, and non-binary individuals, refugees and other historically and systematically marginalized voices and identities. Students will familiarize themselves with various forms of creative and testimonial narratives, feminist and queer theory texts, while being exposed to a series of case studies and various political and historical contexts. The course requires several one-page reflections, one short paper, as well as an individually designed creative final project at the end of the term. As always, classroom participation is important. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

Wintersession 2023

  1. This immersive interdisciplinary RISD Global studies course based on the island of Hawai'i gives students the opportunity to explore the historical and ccurrent connections between art, conservation, and local and Indigenous environmental practices. Students will practice the Hawaiian concept of "kilo" or place-based learning through careful and close observation and examination. The course is co-taught by Dr. Lucy Spelman and artist Professor Andrea Dezsö in partnership with a local (Holualoa) arts and environmental education organization, the Donkey Mill Art Center. Daily activities will include lectures and demonstrations, walks-in-nature, and art-making-in-nature. Students will learn traditional approaches to nature-based crafts, water use, and farming from local experts. They will visit various locations to observe Hawaii's "land division system" and explore several unique natural areas. They will also study the island's unique biodiversity, biogeography and ecology; learn about the forces that have driven many species to extinction and created opportunities for others (such as climate change, deforestation, invasive species, and pollution); and, consider solutions-both actual and potential. Guided by a "Hawaiian sense of place," students will make regular entries in their field notebooks and document their experiences through a combination of writing and art-making. For their major project, students will create an original work of art or design for "Art Exchange Day" at the Center. This is a co-requisite course. Students must also plan and register for ILLUS-W422 or IDISC-W422. All students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in the WS travel course/studio. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course. Also in cases where WS travel courses and studios do not reach student capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession travel course registration. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession travel courses until the course is confirmed to run, which happens within the week after the final Wintersession travel course registration period. Registration begins in October at a time to be announced. Permission of Instructor required. 2023WS Estimated Travel Cost: TBD - airfare not included. ***Off-Campus Study***
  2. This course is designed to introduce students to the study of physical objects. Class readings and discussions of them introduce students to the field of material culture studies and the interpretive tools used by those who study things. Periodically students will be assigned specific objects to study and describe. The class will be hands on and also mobile taking advantage of our location and the variety of object classes nearby. Course requirements will include object analysis papers, reading responses and a final presentation which offers some element of American History through things and the interpretation of it.
  3. Films have shaped popular perceptions of war in the United States arguably more than historians have. This raises questions such as: What is the relationship between the history presented in these films and the history as interpreted by academic historians? How do the positionalities of movie creators shape the product? How do they portray soldiers and civilians, allies and enemies? How might these movies serve as cultural artifacts offering insight into political discourses at the time of their production? Is Francois Truffaut correct that the appeals of battle make a true anti-war film virtually impossible? Prominent directors spotlighted include Stanley Kubrick, F. F. Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Spike Lee, and Kathryn Bigelow. Work involves brief lectures, screenings, discussions, a film journal, and a final project.
  4. 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. It was an American automobile maker, Henry Ford, who invented the assembly line. When he decided to pay his workers a five-dollar-a-day wage, he also invented America's middle class, by providing a wage that allowed autoworkers to enter the ranks of the nation's consumers. Cars have come a long way since those first Model T's rolled off of Ford's assembly line. Through their ever-changing styles, from the streamlined interwar years to the tailfins of the postwar years, we can trace both the evolution of American modernism and its connection to Cold War politics and ambivalence towards the Atomic Age. More compact designs and an emphasis on fuel economy heralded an era of increased foreign competition. For more than a century, the auto industry's need for petroleum and rubber has fueled American imperialism in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. From coast to coast cars created a new cultural landscape, one filled with highways, suburbs, shopping malls, police, and roadside oddities. Throughout its long history, the car has been a shifting symbol of innovation, prosperity, consumerism, and the American Dream; youth culture, rebellion, and sex; both liberation and oppression for women, people of color, and immigrants; and, more recently, environmental degradation, deindustrialization, the decline of labor unions, and America's struggle to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. Now, in the twenty-first century, the rise of Uber and ride-sharing, the advent of self-driving vehicles, a renewed emphasis on public transportation and walkability, and an entire generation that appears uninterested in driving, one cannot help but wonder whether we are witnessing the end of America's long love affair with the open road.
  6. For more than fifty years, from just after World War Two until the early 21st century, television was the most powerful and influential medium of information and entertainment in the world. This course examines how television came to be, how it developed its aesthetic norms, and how it both reflected and shaped the world it portrayed. Through readings and discussion, students will learn about the political and cultural climate -- the racial inequities, gender roles, family structures -- in which television first thrived. Through assigned viewings of significant programs, and reading of a historical text on the postwar era, students will experience the emergence of the medium's defining vision of itself and its world. Readings, viewings, written assignments and an exam are the principal requirements.
  7. How and why does fear motivate human action? In what ways do we try to address the effects of fear, both individually and collectively? How do things like morality and religion inform our solutions to the problem(s) of fear? To what extent do concepts such as virtue or ethics hold up in the face of fear? In this class we will use literature from the horror genre as well as excerpts from select philosophers, to address these questions. In addressing these questions, this course speaks to how both the horror genre specifically and literature more generally aid philosophy in its attempt to help us understand important aspects of the human experience.
  8. Deception, manipulation, reproduction. Life, death, or something in-between. What does it mean when cowbirds move into your neighborhood? Can plants cause animals to have bizarre sexual practices, for their benefit? Are most wasp species pest colonies that torment humans, or parasitoids that benefit ecosystems? This course will focus on the intimate relationships within ecology, morphology and behavior in the evolution and diversification of plants, animals, and other living things. Symbiosis (pl. symbioses) is when different species "live together". Sometimes both benefit (mutualism), but often one benefits at a cost to the other (e.g., parasitism). The focus of this course will be to observe and study examples of the myriad of ecological interactions that involve symbioses. We will examine the structures and relationships that exist in a variety of ecosystems and learn to understand why things look (or act) the way they do. The basic biology of many types of organisms will also be covered. We will consult diverse scientific literature and films, and conduct (solo) forays into nature. Coursework will combine lecture, discussion and presentation; weekly readings; frequent homework assignments; final synthesis.
  9. In this course, we will explore reasons why countries, and regions within countries, appear trapped in relative, and in many cases absolute, poverty. Specifically, we will examine theories of unequal ecological exchange, structural exploitation, and some cultural understandings that legitimize the persistence of global inequality. Topics to be covered may include: World-Systems theory and its relation to the thermodynamic foundations of developed societies; the past and present of the Amazon as a source of raw materials; oil extraction, both whale (incl. visit to New Bedford Whaling Museum) and mineral, as a cause of underdevelopment; mining and other extractive industries' links to despotic regimes; the role of cotton and plantation agriculture in the rise of Europe; and the causes and consequences of the "Green Revolution" for resource use and family agriculture. The final project will require designing and creating a map, broadly construed, that highlights one or more examples of unequal exchange.
  10. This mostly 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. This Wintersession seminar on optics has a section on understanding the physics that makes laser holograms and lasers work. Ideas from familiar phenomena help us see the connections between everyday life and the abstract ideas of optics and physics.
  11. Since Europeans began colonizing the Narragansett, Wampanoag, and Niantic land that would later become Rhode Island, race and racism became central to the development of the state. Indigenous people, Europeans, and people of African descent were thrown into constantly changing, often tumultuous, and at times intimate relationships with each other, as people of color worked to contest the white colonial regime which sought to expropriate Native land and African labor. This course traces the development of these contestations and relationships from Roger Williams's arrival through King Philip's War, the American Revolution, the abolitionist movement - centering the struggles by Narragansett communities for autonomy and integration and by Black Rhode Islanders for full and equal citizenship rights. We will consider articles written by historians, do close readings of primary documents, and learn the stories of Rhode Islanders of color in the state's first two and a half centuries of existence. In-class discussions will help us understand how and why racial ideas developed, how and why they were contested, how and why they helped create the Rhode Island of today, and how and why the push for equity and social justice should continue in the future. Students will be expected to complete three writing assignments (two papers and a final summation) designed to analyze how their perspectives have changed as a result of what they are learning.
  12. Winter is a time of reflection, rest, and quieting. In this course, we will explore ways of embracing this season by considering various practices related to the qualities of wintering. This will include topics related to mindfulness/meditation, self-compassion, reflection, and the stage of growth that comes through pause. Throughout the course, we will visit these topics through the lens of psychological theory and research with readings and in-class discussion. We will also allow for time to engage in practices of wintering.
  13. What does it mean to undergo a "Constitutional crisis"? The United States has grappled with this type of question since its founding. Born in constitutional revolution, the nation soon endured multiple rebellions and serious conflicts over presidential and federal power. From the Civil War era into the twentieth century, Americans witnessed a contested election, political violence, and dramatic clashes over the limits of wartime authority. Despite relative stability after World War II, struggles over civil rights and executive secrecy produced incomplete answers about the very meaning of constitutional law. From Bush v. Gore and the war on terrorism to the 2020 election and recent Supreme Court controversies, constitutional uncertainties have taken on new and urgent importance. Using primary and secondary sources, students will engage major episodes in constitutional history to enrich their understanding of our crucial moment.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Lead in city water, Mercury in fish, "boil water" advisories in Southern RI, PCB's, PAH's, BPA and more. In this class, we will examine a variety of types of water pollution - how pollutants get into the water, what they do there and how they have been traditionally treated/removed. We will examine emerging techniques for finding and mitigating water pollution, and brainstorm design solutions of our own. We will review case studies, and take field trips to water treatment and sewage treatment plants. No prior science background is required.

Spring 2023

  1. 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 understand global connections as we study the built environment, economies, and experience of cities such as Mumbai, Kunming, Sao Paolo, Bangkok, and Lagos. The course will explore the resonances between these cities and the kinds of challenges they face as they encounter rapid urban growth and renewal. We will ask: What do cities of the Global South tell us about urbanism and urbanization today? What formal and economic similarities do cities of the Global South exhibit? What forms of knowledge, activism, and contestation emerge from urban areas in the Global South? Like most courses in the History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences (HPSS) department, this course builds a critical understanding of diverse cultures of the world, raises ethical questions that arise as different groups interact, and develops an analysis of social situations in the world and highlights forms of power and inequity. Class texts will case study different cities and compare experience in cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Modules in the class will discuss planning and the built environment, commodities and capital, informality and body politics, infrastructure and energy, as well as think through theory from the Global South. This is a discussion-based seminar and active in-class participation is required of all students. Class activities will include mapping sessions, group work, and discussions on films. This course will be taught in a hybrid format. The balance of in person and online teaching will be determined by the instructor in order to optimize pedagogy (in response to changing distancing and safety regulations and the COVID-19 comfort and safety levels of members in the course). HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  2. Philosophy, art, and design can all be means to pursue understanding. In this course, we will investigate topics that are of mutual interest to philosophers, artists, and designers. This is not a course in the philosophy of art and design; rather, we will pursue philosophical questions through art and design, in addition to traditional philosophical inquiry. Potential topics include the nature and variety of meaning, the role of embodiment in human experience, what it means for an object or a person to have a purpose, and the metaphysics of personal identity. For each topic we will consider a range of philosophers' views, then we will look to artworks and design objects themselves to see what alternate perspectives, insights, and challenges they offer. Students will be required to complete weekly readings, participate in class discussion, complete three short writing assignments, and present to the class at least once. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  3. The health of the American economy and, at times, the strength of our spirit as a people are measured by how much we spend on consumer goods. Both individually and collectively, we are defined not only by what we purchase, but by the act of shopping itself. How did we become a nation of citizen consumers? What drives consumer demand? Already in the late 19th century, middle-class values were shifting from thrift to indulgence, though we remained a producer nation for much of the 20th century. Nonetheless, the steady decline of manufacturing in the United States and the outsourcing of production in an increasingly globalized context have done little to cool our love affair with consumer goods. Using an interdisciplinary American Studies approach that explores the intersections of history, politics, material culture, gender and sexuality, class, race, religion, immigration and ethnicity, and the built environment, this course examines the nature and expansion of mass consumption, the democratization of desire, the meanings attached to consumer goods and the act of spending, the role of technology and advertising, and the impact of mass consumption upon the built environment. We will investigate consumption patterns over time among women, people of color, immigrants and their descendants, sexual minorities, and youth. Studies of consumption within ethnic communities, in particular, suggest the creation of transnational identities. As a result, we will also explore globalized consumer products and patterns. Finally, the course will look at the various kinds of controls to which American consumerism has been subjected. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  4. The field of sociology was born out of the vast disruptions to traditional social relationships occasioned by the emergence of capitalism. These societal transformations have touched every aspect of human life, and it is also the case that the rise of capitalism has fundamentally transformed humans' relationship with the natural environment. This course focuses on the latter transformations and explores both classical and contemporary sociological literature on the topic with the guiding question of whether capitalism and earth's natural systems can sustainably co-exist. Students will complete four two-page application-focused response papers spaced throughout the semester and will complete an analytical project related to the rise, fall, and toxic legacy of Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, RI. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  5. 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.
  6. In this seminar (discussion-based), students will explore the field of critical race theory, paying particular attention to its origins within the study of the law and race, as well as its influence on other fields of inquiry, including ethnic studies, cultural studies, sociology, and education. Throughout the course students will develop an understanding of the intellectual history of critical race theory and develop facility with applying its principles to issues around structural racism, inequality, police brutality, and difference, among other topics. Students will write several short essays, give oral presentations, and complete a final project. This course will primarily meet in person. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  7. This seminar looks at images and representations of black women in American films. Students will trace, discuss, critique, and analyze films that feature black female leads and tell stories of Black womanhood to interrogate how these representations reinforce and/or defy stereotypes. Students will learn the common tropes placed on Black women (Mammy, Sapphire, Jezebel), situate them historically, and learn how they affect how Black women are portrayed. Students will assess aspects of film such as director's gender and race, camera angles, script choices etc. Students will consider issues including, but not limited to, who is writing the scripts, who is directing/producing the films, whether or not the film is based on a true story or novel, when the film first premiered (and the social/cultural climate), etc. A minimum of 7 films will be watched during the course and each film will be supplemented with required reading to help contextualize the film. Written film reviews and screening sketches will be required throughout the course. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  8. It is often assumed that once a country achieves a certain level of economic and political development, democratic consolidation is permanent. Recent trends in global politics combined with the devastating effects of the global pandemic, have led some commentators to question this assumption. In this course we will explore the causes and consequences of democratic erosion in comparative and historical perspective. We will start by looking at the roots of the idea of democracy with a quick stop at the United States, but we will mostly focus our discussion on Latin American case studies. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to choose a country, not listed in the syllabus, to apply research tools and theories discussed throughout the semester. Importantly, this course is an undergraduate-level introduction to the ideas of democracy and democratic backsliding. It is designed to provide an opportunity for you to engage, critically and carefully, with the claims you have doubtlessly already heard about the current state of democracy; to evaluate whether those claims are valid; and, if they are, to consider strategies for mitigating the risk of democratic erosion. This course is a cross-university collaboration. Faculty at dozens of different institutions will teach elements from the same syllabus at roughly the same time. Students at all participating universities will collaborate on a number of assignments, and will be expected to engage not only with their own classmates, but with students at other universities as well. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  9. Developmental psychology provides an overview of human development throughout the lifespan. The goal of the course is to establish a basis for understanding the processes of developmental change through which humans progress. Physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of human development are explored as well as the methods and philosophies that guide the associated research. Coursework consists of weekly readings with comprehension quizzes, lectures, small group discussions and a final project of student's choosing related to a developmental period. Students pursuing a career that will necessitate working with and being sensitive to people of various ages will find this course valuable. Prenatal development up to young adulthood will be covered in the spring 2021 semester. Middle adulthood to death will be covered in the fall 2021 semester. Open to sophomores and above. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  10. Value of art is a social phenomenon. It is not determined by one person. Instead it emerges as a result of social interactions between the artist and the buyer. The latter can be an individual, a private corporation, or a government organization. In this course, we will look at the interaction between artists and customers as they the negotiate value of objects of art. The course will treat both markets and bureaucracies as specific social institutions, each with its own well-established pattern of interaction. Concepts of scarcity, demand, rationality, and information are central to the market and will be studied in the course. As markets transform, fail and re-emerge, control over the valuation process shifts between three main groups: the artists, the middlemen, and the government. These power shifts will be at the focus of our inquiry. We will investigate how art was supported by politically powerful patrons, from Renaissance monarchs to modern government bureaucracies. We will investigate the changes in today's arts market, specifically the emergence of corporate structures, such as auction houses, which establish dominant market position by controlling the process of branding as the main tool of marketing of art. This benefits very few artists, while distorting the marketplace and increasing the power of intermediaries. We will suggest ways to allow artists greater control over determining value of their work. The course is taught remotely and, where possible, synchronously. Students are expected to write four short papers and take part in class discussion. There will be no final exam. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  11. Feminist writers and filmmakers have used their utopian/dystopian fiction and films to comment on the politics of gender and to imagine worlds where the standard systems of male/female (or even human/machine) do not work. In this course we will examine feminist utopias/dystopias across historical periods and within the context of feminist and queer theories about gender, "race," sexuality, environmental justice, reproductive rights/justice, colonization, capitalism, and the connections between humans and other animals. The course will be primarily discussion based. Students will be asked to keep and hand in informal journals, give occasional presentations, and produce two research papers/projects. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  12. In the 1860s and 1870s, the post -Civil War United States underwent Reconstruction, occasioning some of the most radical changes in race relations and civil rights in the modern world. The collapse of Reconstruction gave way to retrenchment for equal rights, and eventually to the rise of Jim Crow, a modern form of codified racial separation that persisted into the middle of the twentieth century. At the same time, the contested memories of Reconstruction helped define national politics and identity, electoral contests, and partisan realignments. This course will examine one of America's most critical eras, the tumultuous aftermath, and how changing understandings of the nation's past carry high stakes for the present and future. Students will have the chance to deepen their knowledge of racial, political, legal, and social history as well as develop a new appreciation of the limits and instability of historical study itself. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  13. 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. Also offered as GRAD-438G and NCSS-438G for graduate-level students.
  14. Cape Town, South Africa is predicted to be the first major city to run out of water. Day Zero, when the taps will run dry, is expected in Spring 2018. How did we get here, and how do we fix it? Learn the science behind the planet's water and how humanity interacts with it. We will examine the causes and results of drought, salt-water contamination of wells and streams, shrinking aquifers and more. The goals of this course are threefold: (1) To clarify how water works in earth's systems (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. No prior science background is required. Open to sophomore and above.
  15. 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.
  16. In this course, we examine the world's most important zoonotic diseases and their impact on human society. Also known as zoonoses, zoonotic dieases are infections (bacterial, fungal, parasitic, prion, viral) that originate in non-human animals and move to humans, and vice versa. We begin by studying two important concepts: the "infectious disease triangle" (pathogen-host-environment interactions) and the "stages of emergence" (introduction, spread, establishment) using older well-known diseases as examples. These include Ebola, Influenza, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Rabies. We continue by exploring the impact of our actions - farming, hunting, urbanization, trade, resource extraction - on disease emergence using more recent examples, such as HIV-AIDS, SARS-Cov2-Covid 19, and West Nile Virus. We also study the factors that determine how severely a zoonotic disease affects its host, including genetics and epigenetics (chemical exposure, nutritional status, immune system status, and stress level.) Finally, we consider what can be done to prevent or mitigate existing, as well as future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. For their major project, students choose a disease not covered in the lectures or readings, study it, write a literature review paper, and create a work of art designed to raise the general public's science literacy about it. Open to sophomores and above.
  17. Philosophy and art are intertwined. For many philosophers, understanding art is essential to understanding the human condition and even the nature of reality. For many artists, philosophical reflection is essential to understanding the nature and value of art. Ideas originally introduced by philosophers are deeply embedded in the contemporary artworld: much art writing assumes some familiarity with a number of philosophers. This course is an introduction to the philosophy of art for students of art and design. As such, we will focus on philosophers who are frequently discussed in art and design contexts. Students will become familiar with some major strands of philosophical thought about the nature and value of art, and will gain new frameworks for thinking about their own creative projects. Students will be required to complete weekly readings, participate in class discussion, complete three short writing assignments, and present to the class at least once. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  18. China has been undergoing tremendous changes in the modern era. This course explores the Chinese political and social transformations from the beginning of the Qing Dynasty until today. After a broad survey of modern Chinese history in the past four centuries, including the Manchu conquest, the Nationalist Revolution, the Communist Revolution, the Great Famine, the Cultural Revolution, and the Reform and opening-up era, we will take a closer look at the political and social structure, one-child policy, frontier/ethnic issue, urban/rural discrepancy and other issues in modern China. Through readings and discussions, this course will deepen our understanding of China from a critical as well as an empathetic perspective. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  19. 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.
  20. 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 sophomores and juniors. Also offered as IDISC-2403; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  21. In the twenty-first century, we are used to seeing our politics through the lens of the two dominant political parties - the Democrats and Republicans. There is a deep, complicated, and important history as to how and why we channel issues through the two-party system, how the two parties developed, how they became what they are today, and why it has been so hard to break up the two-party system. Readings and discussions will center on important elections that determined the directions each party tacked toward, third parties that were absorbed by one or the other party, and how the issues of race, gender, identity, economics, religion, immigration, foreign policy, and other sociopolitical factors shaped the parties into what they are today. Importantly, all of this will be done with the aim of enhancing our perspectives on the two-party system, determining its utility (or lack of) today, and discussing ideas about how to reshape or alter it - and our politics - in the future. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  22. The course will examine ways that many media, especially film, respond to the great social forces of their time and their culture. Some films, and other creative expressions, reflect an inherent endorsement or criticism of the politics contemporary to them. We will examine social critics' roles in some of the influential movements of the West in the 20th century--the Russian Revolution, German Nazism, the New Deal, World War Two, the Cold War and Third World Liberation movements. Requirements include readings and screenings from each of the eras covered, written assignments and exams, and participation in class discussions. In addition to three hours of class each week, there will be evening film screenings.HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  23. Evil has long been a topic of study for theologians and philosophers, but has only recently been studied by psychologists. Although evil is an inherently subjective topic, we will attempt to take an objective, scientific approach to understanding why people engage in evil behavior. Thus, we will begin by attempting to suspend the notion that we can divide the world into good and evil, and instead understand the situational and psychological factors that could lead anyone to harm others. Specifically, we will focus on classic psychological studies that show how everyday people can be led to act in deplorable ways by manipulating the situational circumstances. We will also discuss how inter-group processes can lead to conflict and large scale acts of violence like war and genocide. Finally, we will study the nature of the psychopathic personality in order to better understand those individuals who feel no guilt or remorse for harming others (e.g., brutal dictators and serial killers). This is a very interactive class and will require you to contribute in discussion and prepare an in-depth presentation on an area of your own interest related to the psychology of evil.HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  24. What is mental health and mental illness? When is anxiety helpful and when does it start to become unhelpful? Is an existential crisis part of the human condition? How do different internal experiences impact how humans interact and perceive the world? This course aims to examine these questions and many more through an introduction to psychopathology. Psychopathology examines the conceptualization, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of various psychological disorders. Through promoting greater awareness and knowledge about mental health and illness, this course hopes to help increase perspective and reduce stigma associated with mental disorders. For this seminar, students will engage in weekly class discussion, as well as complete readings from a textbook and articles. There will be reflective writing assignments and a final paper or creative project. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  25. By examining the role of European colonies and colonial soldiers in World War I, this course offers a corrective to the standard narrative that the Great War was primarily a conflict between (White) Europeans. In addition to the material resources that the Europeans plundered from the colonies to support the war effort, at least four million colonial subjects from Africa and Asia fought under European rule. This class addresses WWI as a global conflict, thinking about how understandings of "difference" such as race, ethnicity, gender, and religion were constructed through transnational encounters, and how those constructs figured in to ideologies of culture and civilization. Contributing to this discussion will be an examination of the Russian and Ottomon Empires, including the Armenian genocide; the American Infantry Division called the "Black Rattlers" comprised of African American and Puerto Rican soldiers; and the restructuring of the Middle East. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  26. In the wake of the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine, this seminar course is designed to equip students with the historical and geo-political context required to analyze and grapple knowledgeably with the past, present, and future of Russian-Ukrainian relations. The question of Russian and Ukrainian "national" identity (both historically and today) and the dynamics of the relationship between imperialism and nationalism will be over-arching themes of this course. As part of an introduction to the history of medieval Russia, Imperial Russia, and the Soviet Union, this course will pay particular attention to the evolving understanding of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people within and in relation to the Russian imperial narrative. The main themes that will be developed in this course include: the spatial dimension in Russian history; the historical process of imperial formation, transformation, and collapse; the incorporation and assimilation of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional groups into an imperial polity; Islam in Russia; pan-Slavism; and political violence and revolution. This course is organized around assigned readings, a representative sampling of primary historical documents relating to the history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and in-class discussions designed to isolate and illuminate the core themes and topics of the course. In combination with engaged reading of the assigned textbook for the course and the content provided through "mini-lectures", films, videos, and literary works will be mobilized to extend the imaginary and visual dimensions of the course. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates/
  27. This course will investigate the leadup to, fighting of, and rebuilding after the revolution that was the Civil War in the U.S. As the question of whether the United States could survive being both a slaveholding oligarchy and a representative republic exploded in 1861, the war became, at the same time, one to save the union, one to save democracy, and one that might decide the fate of white supremacy. Although the union was saved and slavery abolished by the North's victory, the period known as Reconstruction began, and the whole country had to grapple with slavery's legacy. For a brief moment, the abolitionists' vision of an interracial democracy materialized, but as we know, this period was followed immediately by a century of Jim Crow segregation. How did the United States come so close to living up to its professed ideals of equality and liberty, for which millions of people perished on the battlefield, and yet fall so far backwards in the decades immediately following? What lessons can we learn from the successes and failures of the Civil War and Reconstruction? This class will examine the consequences of this crucial turning point in our history - consequences that have defined who we are and the problems we are still living with today. Students will be expected to complete three writing assignments (two short papers and a final summation) designed to analyze how their perspectives have changed as a result of what they are learning. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  28. 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. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  29. Richly varied and dynamic, the New England landscape has been remade many times over, by indigenous peoples, by European colonists, through successive waves of deforestation and reforestation, industrialization, the development of leisure and tourism, and today's post-industrial economy. This course explores the different elements of New England's cultural landscape as well as the complex social, cultural, economic, political, and natural forces that have shaped that landscape over more than four centuries. While examining what different places look like and how they have changed over time, we will pay close attention to the various meanings assigned to them by those who possess and inhabit them. We will also ask what different landscapes can tell us about who holds power, how power is expressed and resisted, who and what are seen, and who and what are erased. We look at the built environment because it is a valuable primary source in the work of cultural historians, but also because "place" is in itself an important player worthy of exploration and understanding in its own right. By observing and analyzing cities and suburbs, farms and forests, beaches and burial grounds, mansions and mills, townhouses and triple-deckers, colleges and casinos, parks and ports, ski slopes and shipyards, tourist destinations and transit systems, we will attempt to mine the landscape for insights into what makes New England distinctive and what forms our regional identity, keeping in mind the ways in which New England's cultural landscape is also a reflection of the landscape of the United States. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  30. Violence threatens and impedes human civilization. As the world becomes more connected through high-speed internet, artificial intelligence, and the global economy, people's peace of mind and inner connection may get less attention. Someone who lacks the understanding and practice of peace and nonviolence may resort to violence when conflict arises in our competitive world. Above all, even a single act of violence may cause long-lasting harm to society. But, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, we can choose: "nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation." Unlike outbursts of violence, peace and nonviolence require creative study, practice, effort, and courage. Thus, the study of nonviolence and peace is emerging as a critically important field of scholarship, research, and training in both academic and non-academic settings. This course aims to provide introductory but crucial knowledge in the field of Nonviolence and Peace Studies. The course focuses on philosophical, social, and psychological factors contributing to violence and the creation of peace and nonviolence, particularly relevant to personal, interpersonal, and global mental health and well-being. Students will learn about ancient and modern nonviolence and peace philosophies and well-known thinkers, including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Maha Ghosananda, and Aung San Suu Kyi. We will also explore nonviolent strategies and tactics applied to social change movements, and contemporary research studies on nonviolence and peace. Course assignments will include applied learning opportunities to personal and community settings of violence and peacebuilding. Students must demonstrate comprehension of fundamental philosophy and practice perspectives of nonviolence and peace. This course employs a cooperative group study format focused on a problem-based learning approach to peacebuilding. The semester will conclude with a group presentation by the students on a selected personal or social issue and its remedy through nonviolent interventions. HPPS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  31. Topics in History, Philosophy, 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. Freshman registration: see PDF on the Registrar's Office website for instructors and course description information. Transfer students: register for one of the evening sections available to upperclass and transfer students.
  32. 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.
  33. The field of Visual Anthropology has sustained necessary and formidable conceptual and paradigmatic changes over the last twenty-five years. The development of easily accessible technologies, the changed positioning of indigenous cultural communities, and the self- and reflexive representation by filmmakers have contributed, not only to an increase in global perspectives but also to dramatic alteration of genre classification. The differentiation between what is an ethnographic documentary and a fiction film, or the use of "real" images vs. animation in documentation techniques are re-inventing cinema globally. In this course, will look at the history of these visual "hybrids" and shifting perspectives by screening films from a number of filmmakers from around the globe. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  34. In this course we will examine the major psychological theories of color, form, depth, and motion perception. To this end, we will explore the nature of light and optics, the structure of the eye and visual pathways of the brain, and the sensory and cognitive processes which mediate visual perception. The roles of learning, memory, imagination, as well as social and cultural factors will be explored. There will be weekly class discussions of readings as well as individual presentations on various topics, some quizzes, a final paper and final class presentation.
  35. This course is designed to acquaint students with some of the basic methods and tools that are part of the discipline of ethnography, and learn to feel comfortable in settings that might be unfamiliar to them. Apart from using the technology available to anthropologists and ethnographers, such as cameras and audio recording equipment, many ethnographers find themselves engaged in "fieldwork" in communities where their very presence is questioned, and the use of equipment such as cameras/cell phones is unacceptable or logistically difficult. In such circumstances, ethnographers turn to tools that are easily available, learn to respect cultural norms, allow for the sharing of viewpoints, and work through the ethical considerations of our discipline. Artists and designers might find equally challenging contexts in cultural settings in which they wish to engage in dialogue in a more participatory manner. We will explore some of these basic "fieldwork" tools, concepts, ethics, cultural and contextual considerations, interviewing skills, the use of sketching and other ways of learning about new settings. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.
  36. For many of us, the planted and cultivated landscape of urban environments captures our attention. However, the city greenscape is so much more than that. All around us seeds have found their way into spaces created in the cracks and crevices formed within seemingly impermeable urban surfaces. If ignored, and left undisturbed by human activities for any length of time, they transform the soil and set in motion processes of succession which eventually can create urban woodlands. Through this course, we will discover what those species are, and discuss how their growth habits and life cycles are particularly well suited to growth and reproduction in urban environments. What benefit these plants could potentially provide has long been ignored, and we will assess the ability of various species to sequester carbon, filter air, slow stormwater runoff, and provide the cooling effects of shade, as well as habitat, cover, and food for wildlife. Students will learn to identify common urban plants, and create a personal herbarium collection of 15 species. Through a combination of sketches and photographs, the class will document where species are growing within the urban environment. To highlight and bring attention to the ecological role these tenacious wild plants play, students will be asked to explore ways in which plant growth habits can be applied to their own work. The class will be organized around a combination of independent outdoor field work in all weather, and remote synchronous lecture. Students studying remotely will be required to identify and locate wild plants growing in urban contexts within their own communities. Support for plant identification will be given to all students through shared photographs and the use of localized plant identification apps and field guides. HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.