Skip to main content

Fall 2019

  1. 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.

  2. 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 THAD-C519; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

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

  3. Art & Law: Speech, Ownership Authenticity

    In this interdisciplinary seminar we will explore the jurisprudence of art, how the law shapes what we understand as art through studies of case law, art, history, and critical theory. We will examine how the law defines art and the First Amendment through study of issues around speech and censorship; art and intellectual property, including copyright and moral rights; art and the protections given to cultural property. The class will also consider how artists have responded to the constraints placed upon them and their work by the law by examining their challenges to legal norms. We will investigate how law is itself a cultural form and how it conforms to interpretive rules and norms.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  4. Biology Of Animal-human Interactions

    This course, taught by zoological medicine veterinarian Dr. Lucy Spelman examines how we interact with animals-both domestic and wild-and how, in turn, these interactions affect us. Each week we focus on a different species, working our way up the taxonomic tree from corals to gorillas. We study the animal's basic biology, including its anatomy, natural history, and ecology. We consider the role it plays in human society, including as companions, as food, and, as sources of medicine and spiritual inspiration. We study how human activity is affecting its health and the ripple effect on our own health. We explore how agriculture, climate change, emerging diseases, habitat loss, hunting, and trade are driving many species to extinction. In the process, we discover that while many human-animal interactions are positive, many more are problematic, and that although we have solutions for most of these negative interactions, we often fail to implement them. Examples include excessive antibiotic use in cows, the continued loss of wetlands threatening frogs, and, the increasing number of coyotes favored by urban landscapes. We explore some of the underlying reasons for this inaction. In their final project, students identify a problematic human-animal interaction and explore solutions.

    This course is designed to encourage you to explore the range of biological complexity in the animal world, the many ways we interact with animals, both domestic and wild, and, the scientific basis of the interconnectedness of health. You will also have the opportunity to explore solutions for problematic human-animal interactions; it is possible to live in balance with animals if we make informed decisions. The material presented will challenge you to learn more about animal classification, zoology, ecology, food animal science, veterinary medicine, public health, and conservation biology. For your final project, you will research a problematic human-animal interaction, explore potential solutions, and create a work of art or design that inspires others to take action

  5. Brown University Course

  6. Buddhism and Society

    This course is an anthropological consideration of Buddhism in its social and cultural contexts. Beginning with an introduction to the historical Buddha and the basic principles of his teaching, the course will briefly examine the main branches of Buddhism that were established after the Buddha's death. With this as our foundation, we will then look at how Buddhist principles are put into practice in different societies. The course will focus on how Buddhism in practice (like all religions) is always part of broader cultural processes, with distinctive characteristics and significance in different societies.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  7. 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.

  8. Climate Futures, Transitions and The Green New Deal

    Climate Futures, Transitions and the Green New Deal is a course that starts from the proposition that the consensus position on the climate crisis, as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, provides a robust scientific basis for thinking about the challenge of deep decarbonization and adaption to life on a warmer planet. The course provides a survey and evaluation of the social science of the post-carbon transition. The course is grounded in environmental sociology and critical design studies, but the social science of the post-carbon transition is necessarily inter- and cross-disciplinary. As such, students will be encouraged to draw from broader historical, scientific and policy literatures in energy policy and urban studies, climate science, political ecology, public policy,agro-food studies and beyond to grapple with the challenge of societal transition. We will critically interrogate the merits of green neoliberal, feminist, Green New Deal and post colonial/post-capitalist proposals for post-carbon futures. We will debate the future of manufacturing, technological innovation, employment, urbanization, and food cultivation in a carbon constrained world. The course will also consider how different visions of transition might contain and enact very different political and ethical assumptions, and open or foreclose very different power relations.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  9. Cognitive Psychology

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to human cognition or the scientific study of the mind. We will take an information processing view of psychological functions. Thus we will spend much of our time discussing information, in the form of mental representations, and how this information is transformed in the mind. We will examine how perceptual information enters the mind, how attention is used to select from the array of available incoming sensory information, how knowledge is encoded, stored in and retrieved from memory, how information is conveyed to others via language, and how information is used in reasoning and decision making. The aim of the course is to become familiar with the tools of research used in cognitive psychology and with questions that motivate researchers in the field. You will be expected to complete several short-answer assignments and labs designed to evaluate mastery of the readings and material covered in class. You will also be required to complete a research paper on any topic of your choice related to the subject matter of the class. In this paper you will be expected to advance a coherent thesis, and support it with evidence from the scholarly literature.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  10. Collaborative Study

    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.

    Permission of Instructor Required and GPA of 3.0 or higher

    Register by completing the Collaborative Study Registration Form available on the Registrar's website.

  11. 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.

  12. Environmental Justice and Injustice

    Proponents of environmental justice affirm that all people have the right to live in a clean environment free from hazardous pollution or contamination, with access to the resources necessary to sustain a healthy livelihood. This class will examine how and why some people are denied this basic right. We will ask what social, political, economic, and racial processes drive environmental injustice. What material and ideological approaches can be used to undo, repair, or prevent environmental injustice? To answer these questions we will explore how social movement advocates and scholars identify, analyze, and engage with environmental inequalities. We will focus on the rise of the environmental justice movement in the U.S. and globally, paying particular attention to: climate justice, indigenous environmental movements, settler colonialism, the Green New Deal, and local environmental justice issues in Providence, RI.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  13. 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.

  14. Freedom Dreams: Race, Gender, and Resistance

    In this lecture course, we will explore how freedom has been imagined as a critical and creative vision for resistance and social justice. We will examine how the critiques of freedom, democracy, and rights made by artists, activists, and communities respond to and affect social change. Through analysis of different artistic and political visions of freedom, we will study the evolving social and cultural history of African Americans. We will examine how power, resistance, injustice, and collectivity are defined and redefined depending on time and circumstance.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  15. From Opium To Atomic Bomb: The Making Of Modern East Asia

    Based on lectures and in-class discussions, this course provides an introduction to the histories of East Asia since 1800. Student will become acquainted with significant events in the region's history, including the encounter with the West, the rise of imperialism, nationalism, and communism. We will also explore the changes of popular culture, gender relations, and people's daily life within historical context.

    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. ISP Major

    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. 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. Introduction To Psychology

    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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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 THAD-C504; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

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

  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.

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

  23. Nature, Resource and Our Desire: A Global Environmental History

    Based on in-class discussions, this course is an introduction to the field of environmental history and explores how humans, plants, animals, water, climate, and industrialization have shaped our daily life and reshaped the natural environment in world history. As a global citizen, we will go beyond the boundary of nation-states and examine local environmental stories in a global context.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  24. 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.

  25. Research Seminar

    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.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  26. Sem: Gender & The Media

    Representations of gender across media forms (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 shape binary notions of gender by actively promoting specific gender stereotypes and ideals for men and women. Considering media as an economic and capitalist enterprise, we discuss the way media industries produce content (news, entertainment media, and even pornography) to sell products, ideology, and consumerism itself. By discussing scholarly literature and analyzing media representations that reify traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, promote unhealthy and unrealistic notions of beauty, and send harmful messages about notions of romance and sexuality, we will try to understand how media representations of gender 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.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  27. 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.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  28. Social Movements, Backlash & Narrative

    What is a social movement? This course examines how individuals and groups engage in collective activity to change social, economic, political, and cultural institutions. Importantly, we will examine countermovements, backlash, and a range of conservative and progressive movements. We will investigate the ways in which social movements develop narrative frames, art, and imagery to build movement resonance. In parallel, we will examine the strategies movement opponents may use to dismiss, appropriate, or re-frame contentious issues. This course will provide an introduction to major academic theories on social movement formation, tactical strategy, and decline, while exploring the ways in which social movement activism shapes and is shaped by culture. This course will draw on concrete examples from the Civil Rights, Women's, Environmental, Health, Conservative, and Black Lives Matter Movements. Students will be introduced to theoretical perspectives from social movements, embodied health movements, political sociology, and critical race theory.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  29. Social Psychology

    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.

  30. The Fourth Estate: Mass Media Politics

    As Agenda Setting Theory states, "[t]he press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about." (Cohen, 1963). The press plays an important role in any democracy, and in the case of the United States, it also has a special place in public life, one guaranteed in the constitution by the first amendment. However, in recent times the media has contributed to a polarization of political attitudes by framing stories through an ideologically-driven lens. This has become evident in public opinion polls, and at the ballot box. This course will introduce students to the complex process through which politicians use media to get elected, stay in office, and achieve policy goals. Additionally, we will examine the role that the media plays as the fourth estate, by informing the citizenry on the issues that are crucial to government and the sociopolitical process. Through varied in-class exercises and case studies, students will learn to analyze and assess the trustworthiness and veracity of news outlets.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  31. 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.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  32. Theory Of Mind

    Human social interaction relies upon the ability to correctly attribute beliefs, goals, and percepts to other people. This set of meta-representational abilities-a "theory of mind"-allows us to understand the behaviour of others. Individuals with autism are often thought to lack a theory of mind as they show impairments on tasks testing this ability, as well as impairments on tasks involving language and face processing. In this course we will examine the links between these three domains-language, face processing and social cognition, and the role each plays in helping us navigate the social world. Students will be expected to complete several short-answer assignments designed to evaluate mastery of the readings and material covered in class, as well as a research paper on any topic of their choice, provided it is related to the subject matter of the class. In this paper students will be expected to advance a coherent thesis, and support it with evidence from the scholarly literature.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  33. 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.

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

    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.

  35. 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.

Wintersession 2020

  1. *Australia: Witness Tree Project: Memory, Place and Cultural Ecology

    The Witness Tree Project is a curricular initiative involving Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the National Park Service (NPS). Witness trees, as designated by the NPS, are long-standing trees that have "witnessed" key events, trends and people in American history. The Project arranges for fallen witness tree(s) to be shipped from a national historic site to RISD, where in a joint history seminar and furniture studio, students interpret the history the tree(s) witnessed and make relevant objects from the trees wood. In addition to classroom study, the Project variously involves field trips, guest lectures, exhibition of student' objects and other events that highlight the significance of material culture, landscape and design in learning about American history.

    Witness Tree Project for Wintersession 2020 will be working with Ash trees from the Hampton National Historical Site in Towson, MD.

    This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for HPSS-W732 and FD-1732. Students will receive 3 liberal arts credits and 3 studio credits.

    Applications open in September. Registration begins in October at a time to be announced.

    All students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in the WS travel course/studio. A minimum GPA of 2.50 is required. 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.

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    2020WS Estimated Travel cost: $2,784.00 - airfare not included.

    ***Off-Campus Study***

  2. American History Through Things

    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.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  3. Art Of Communicating Science

    This 3-credit course is half of a 6-credit co-requisite course. This course is not available via web registration.

    Students self-register for ILLUS-3912 or IDISC-3912: Art of Communicating Science via web registration.

    Registration for the co-requisite course, SCI-W912: Art of Communicating Science is processed by Registrar's Office.

    This 6-credit course invites undergraduate and graduate students to improve their skills in communicating and illustrating science. They also discover that science communication is about more than delivering just the facts. It can be entertaining, surprising, and controversial. The general topic is changing biodiversity: how humans impact plants, animals, and their environment. Examples will be presented from around the world. Through a series of exercises students will practice analyzing and interpreting scientific information in order to both understand and present it visually. The science content will be delivered through lectures, readings, videos, and a visit 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, meaningful, visible, and accessible. 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 different audiences and venues, including general interest or editorial publications, art for public spaces such as galleries, educational and peer-to-peer science materials. Class work includes weekly reading and response questions, in-studio exercises, weekly assignments, three completed artworks, and a comprehensive final project, which includes a written paper and a public engagement piece.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Feminist Theory and Activism

    Some complain that feminist theory is "too academic," that it has no ties to social justice or activism. On the other hand, there are those in the academy who accuse gender/women's studies of not being sufficiently academic, of not being intellectually rigorous. With those two stereotypes in mind, we will read a variety of feminist theorists, some generally thought of as "academic," and some generally seen as "activist." Can academic theory be useful to political and social activists? Can activism inform academic theorizing? With those questions in mind, we will look particularly at feminist theories and activism as they seek to counter, contextualize, and respond to war and other manifestations of violence; theories and activism around reproductive rights and justice; theories and activism addressing environmental justice and ecofeminism; and theories and activism around bodies and their relationships to the other issues we will examine. Throughout the course, we will keep in mind art's place within feminist theory and activism.

  7. Fields Of Glory: Sports As Cultural Influence

    In most advanced cultures of the world, the passion for sports has reached into many and unexpected aspects of society. As participants or observers, we all, at one time or another, recognize the power of sports as spectacle, distraction or metaphor. This course will examine the evolution of sport from competition among individual athletes in the ancient world through the rise of team sports in the 19th and 20th centuries. It will then consider the influence of sports on language, politics, gender identity, art and architecture, literature, media, and apparel, among others. Sports inevitably have an interrelation with class, race, and nationalism; and they have developed their own myth & ritual & hagiography, aesthetics, economy, cult of celebrity and statistical idiom. There will be readings, assigned papers, classroom presentations, an exam and field trips to local sports events.

  8. Globalization and Culture

    This course is designed to examine the changing global landscape and its impact on society and culture. The course will draw on analytical tools from the social sciences to make sense of the rapidly changing nature of global society. In the past three decades, the flows of commodities, ideas, people, norms and resources across international borders have accelerated exponentially. Driving these dynamics are not only market forces, but also the media, social networks, cultural diffusions, and institutional transformations. This course focuses on the social structures, institutional and organizational forms, political processes and cultural practices that mediate the encounter of the global and the national systems.

  9. Interpreting Narragansett Bay Socioecology

    In this class we will take a kaleidoscopic view of Narragansett Bay's socioecology. Specifically, we will read literature relating to cultural, social, historical, and ecological aspects of the bay and watershed. We will dedicate a third of our time to reading and discussing the literature, a third on experiential and observational activities, and a third on reflecting on what we have observed. The aim of the course is to instill a fascination relating to Narragansett Bay, and to reflect on the relationship between people and the bay.

  10. Jazz and Urban Life

    What does study of jazz, America's "classical music," and its history tell us about urban experiences of gender, sexuality, and race in the 20th century? In this cultural history course, we will trace the routes jazz has taken from its birth in early 20th century in New Orleans through its migrations across the United States. We are investigating not only the music, but also how those who participated in jazz culture navigated the "city" as an economic, social, and political environment.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Politics Of Harry Potter

    The Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon. Although dismissed by some as simply books for children, the series grapples with real and difficult political and ethical questions. In particular, the author addresses different aspects of racism and its effect on all parts of society, from the treatment of house-elves and goblins, the way some creatures (like werewolves) are ostracized by society, to the ever-present tension between pure-blood wizards and muggle-borns. In this course, with the assistance of philosophers such as Hannah Arendt and Niccolo Machiavelli, we will address these topics through lens of political philosophy to determine what the series can teach us about the nature and purpose of politics and power.

  14. Race, Class and Girlhood

    This seminar provides an introduction to girlhood studies, both historically and theoretically, and positions girls at the center of popular culture analysis. In particular, this course examines the intersections of race, class, and gender in the construction of "girlhood" within the U.S. Through an analysis of different forms of popular culture, 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."

  15. Race, Empire and Colonialism In World War I

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. The Science Of Alternative Energy

    This course focuses on how humans use energy and how our needs can be met using "green" methods. We will briefly cover the energy of the past (wood, coal, water, animal etc.), alternatives to this energy (nuclear, fuel cells, biofuel etc.) as well as the renewing of some old techniques (wind, water, solar etc.) The goals of this course are threefold: (1) To understand how and why humans currently use energy (2) To understand how traditional energy production has been used to satisfy these needs and how alternative energy addresses the same needs (3) To develop innovative alternatives to traditional energy production or uses. This course will include a final project design solution to an aspect of one of the energy issues touched on in class. Two field trips will be scheduled to view alternative energy in action. No prior science background is required.

  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.

Spring 2020

  1. Abolitionist De/signs

    Abolition is a word that has seen a recent resurgence in public discourse over the last ten years. However, in spite of this new fervor, abolition is project with a very long and sustained history within the United States. From the earliest stages of settler colonialism and enslavement, the subjugated have resisted, the subaltern have spoken, and the oppressed have asserted the validity of a different/otherwise future. This course will explicate for students the state sanctioned violence that is embedded in the design of borders, prisons, and schools, as they exist in the United States. Students will be exposed to the long histories of abolitionist resistance to those extensions of settler colonialism and enslavement through the works of scholars, activists, political prisoners, abolitionists, artists, and designers. Students in this course will have an opportunity to imagine alternatives to borders, prisons, and schools as they currently exist using the concepts of care (Christina Sharpe) and remembering (David Scott) as guiding principles. Students will leave this course prepared to make theoretical and material contributions to their fields of study that speak to this topic, a topic quickly becoming one of the most imperative questions of our time.

    Also offered as THAD-C366; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

    HPSS-S101 and THAD-H101 are prerequisites for undergraduates.

  2. Art & Law: Speech, Ownership Authenticity

    In this interdisciplinary seminar we will explore the jurisprudence of art, how the law shapes what we understand as art through studies of case law, art, history, and critical theory. We will examine how the law defines art and the First Amendment through study of issues around speech and censorship; art and intellectual property, including copyright and moral rights; art and the protections given to cultural property. The class will also consider how artists have responded to the constraints placed upon them and their work by the law by examining their challenges to legal norms. We will investigate how law is itself a cultural form and how it conforms to interpretive rules and norms.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  3. Buying The American Dream: American Consumer Culture

    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 consumers? Why do we spend? What drives consumer demand? Already in the late 19th century, middle-class values were shifting from thrift to indulgence. At the time, however, we were still a producer nation and remained so for much of the 20th century. More recently, the 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, material culture, gender and sexuality, race, immigration and ethnicity, and the built environment, this course examines the nature and expansion of mass consumption, the democratization of desire, types of consumer behaviors, 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. Neither a singular consumer monoculture nor American exceptionalism is assumed, moreover. Different groups consume for different reasons and assign different meanings to the goods they purchase. We will investigate consumption patterns over time among women, African-Americans, immigrants and their descendants, sexual minorities, and youth. At the same time, studies of consumption within ethnic communities, in particular, suggest the creation of a transnational identity. 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. For example, regulation is a control; so are recession and war. Regulation controls the supply side, affecting what goods are available, while recession puts restraints on consumer spending. War achieves both. No less powerful are the internal restraints arising from movements ranging from organized boycotts to visions of simplicity that embrace a more conscious or environmentally friendly consumption in some instances and, in rarer instances, eschew consumption altogether. Fortunately for global manufacturers and American retailers alike, the Spartan practices of radical critics like "No Impact Man" have had limited appeal.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Economics Of Art & Design: How Artists and Designers Define Value Of Art

    Value of any commodity is not fixed by one person or even organization. Once it enters the marketplace, a commodity is being evaluated in the process of interaction between the seller and the buyer. In this course, we will look at the interaction between artists and customers as they the negotiate value of objects of art. The latter, of course, are not an ordinary commodity. Still, when monetary value is in question, it is determined in the course of market or quasi-market transactions. The course, therefore, will pay attention to the market as a specific social institution, with its own well-established patterns of interaction. Concepts of scarcity, demand, rationality, and information are central to the market and will be studied in the course.

    Art is being traded within certain cultural and social structures. We will explore how these structures impact the behavior of actors in the art valuation and trading process and how they shape the marketplace. As the marketplace transforms over time, 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. Historically, the exploration will span a hundred and fifty years, from the formation of market for French Impressionist paintings to the strange economics of the art of Damian Hirst. Historical comparison will be the central method in this course.

    The course will be divided into four parts. In the first part, we will look at different perspectives of art valuation: the economic, the sociological, and the cultural. The second part will discuss transactions between artists and non-market entities, such as guilds and guild-like institutions, patronage chains, and the government. The emergence of artist-entrepreneur and interaction between artists and those groups that participate in the shaping of the marketplace (such as art critics and museums) will be the subject of Part Three. Here we will also discuss the formation of artists' networks, the process that acquired economic significance in the late 19th century. In the fourth part we will investigate the changes in today's arts market, specifically the emergence of corporate structures, such as auction houses, and the use of branding as the main tool of marketing of art. This kind of corporate behavior tends to benefit very few artists, while distorting the marketplace and increasing the power of middlemen. We will finish with a discussion of a possibility of returning to the relatively egalitarian artist networks of the late nineteenth century as a counterbalance to the power of dealers and auction houses. Changes in art marketplace will be discussed within the conceptual framework that includes trust, cultural value, symbol, agency and structure.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  8. Ethnicity and Inequality

    This interdisciplinary lecture course draws on literature in sociology, politics, economics, international relations, and development studies to critically examine the institutions, beliefs and practices that engender ethnic inequality throughout the world. Students will gain an understanding of how ethnicity, identity and religion interact with the institutions of modern societies to produce sustained social and economic disparities along group lines. They will also learn about how ethnic inequality within countries can translate into global threats. The course consists of two parts: (i) theoretical lectures on key texts which examine methodological issues that naturally arise in the study of ethnic inequality; and (ii) empirical case studies focused on ethnic inequality in specific countries. This course will equip students with a rigorous intellectual framework for exploring ethnic inequality in such countries as Nigeria, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, India, Colombia, the USA, Brazil, Israel/Palestine, South Africa, and Sudan.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  9. 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.

  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. Global Water Crisis

    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.

  12. Introduction To Political Philosophy

    This course examines the evolution of influential political concepts and theories from ancient cultures to the present day, by those writing in/from/to the West. Through textual analysis, students will explore the historical and contemporary understandings of key terms such as authority, legitimacy, liberty, republicanism, democracy, revolution and "the good." Through an application of political theory methods of analysis and critique, we will also address the manner and extent to which these ideas are relevant today.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  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. Lifespan Development

    Developmental psychology provides an overview of human development throughout the lifespan (from conception through death). The goal of the course is to establish a basis for understanding the processes of change through which humans progress. Physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of human development are explored as well as the methods and philosophies that guide associated research. Students pursuing a career that will necessitate working with and being sensitive to people of various ages will find this course valuable.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates

  15. Meaning and Message: Introduction To The Theory Of Signs

    We live amid a world of signs without which we could scarcely communicate or find our way through life. The theory of signs, or semiotics, seeks to understand the nature of signs as vehicles of meaning in our perceptions and messages we send and receive in our spoken, textual, and visual communications. This course moves from the analysis of signs and communication to a critical examination of the extension of semiotics to the surface and hidden meanings of dreams, handwriting, literary and art works. At each step, we will endeavor to test the theories "in practice," to carefully evaluate their merits and limitations. Through this, semiotics will emerge as a humanistic discipline that underwrites our critical and creative understanding of the world as well as funds our creative efforts to make the world anew. Problem-based, discussion and lecture oriented with quizzes, practice-assignments, and short papers.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  16. Media Culture & Theory

    This course introduces theoretical concepts that have influenced our understanding of media and modern culture. Our aim will be to interrogate the relationship between representation and modernity, exploring how various media structure perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Students will read a collection of texts from various critical traditions including semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, social theory, feminism, queer studies, post-modernism, critical race studies, and post-colonial theory.

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

  17. Modern China: Culture, Politices and Society

    Based on in-class discussions, this course explores the Chinese cultural, political and social transformations throughout the twentieth century. The student will engage key issues in the recent Chinese past, including the Communist revolution, the Great Famine, the Cultural Revolution, One Child policy, state censorship, ethnic conflicts, and China/Taiwan relations. This course will help us better understand China today and how it will change in the future.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  20. Politics Of Latin America

    This course presents a broad summary of some of the relevant issues about the political and economic development of Latin America since the colonial times to the present. Latin American countries are rich in natural resources, yet poverty and inequality are endemic. Political instability has been a common denominator in the region. Latin American countries have experienced dictatorships followed by democracy, and in some cases the return to authoritarian governments with coup d'états and violent revolutions. Students will learn about the main theories on democracy and development. They will use these theories to better understand why economic inequality and political instability are persistent in Latin America. By the end of this course students will also be able to answer other related questions: why are Latin American democratic institutions weak? What are the factors that explain migration (mostly to the United States)? How has the media contributed to a stereotyped construct of Latin America? Among others.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  21. Rhode Island and The Re-memory Of Slavery

    This course provides an examination of the tangible and intangible intersections of the history of enslavement, trafficking, rebellion, power and the creation of race in America. Students will investigate primary source documents, oral histories, little known narratives, prints, sculptures and the local built environment for evidence of this nation's collective slave trading past. Along the way we will explore both the peculiar and the familiar in search of our own reflections in the lives of distant others.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

  22. The New England Landscape

    Richly varied and dynamic, the New England landscape has been remade many times over, beginning with the arrival of 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 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, and how power is expressed and resisted. 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. We shape places, but they also shape us. 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. Finally, we will consider the ways in which the New England landscape continues to be shaped by new forces, both local and global, as well as an increasingly volatile climate.

    HPSS-S101 is a prerequisite for undergraduates.

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

    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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.