Gened Photo Essay Assignment

Below is a list of Temple’s GenEd courses.  They are separated by area.


Analytical Reading & Writing

ENGLISH 0802, 0902
Students explore a single theme from the point of multiple disciplines. Early in the semester, they work on research and the evaluation of sources, moving through a sequence of papers that develop argumentation and the synthesis of materials. Library research is required, and sessions with librarians are part of the course. Individual instructor-to-student and small group conferences will be held several times during the semester. Evaluation is predicated on a passing final portfolio of at least four assignments that are developed through multiple revisions.

English as a Second language (ESL) Analytical Reading & Writing

Designed to accommodate the needs of the ESL learner, this course follows the guidelines for Analytical Reading & Writing (ARW), developing the skills of argumentation and synthesis an in interdisciplinary context, while embracing the cross-cultural implications both of what it means to do academic work and also what it means to share historical and cultural knowledge. Oral participation is encouraged as a way of developing fluency and enhancing comfort with participation in American academic settings. As with ARW, there are sessions with librarians as students work on research and evaluation of sources and multiple conferences with peers and with the instructor.


Critical Reasoning and Problem Solving

MATH 0828
The course teaches students how to deal with and solve complex problems by confronting them with critical analysis. We look at these problems both from an historical perspective and the practical view of how and when these types of problems affect the students’ everyday lives. The course takes students through several key mathematical disciplines, including probability and statistics, including the hallmark of probability – reasoning under uncertainty – as well as set theory and counting techniques and graphing, especially with Venn diagrams, a skill they will find beneficial as the world turns to technology and graphics. For example, when we introduce probability, we cover the first dramatic application of the discipline, Mendel’s discovery of the centuries-old problem of explaining the scientific laws of heredity as he gives birth to genetics. We also cover Mendel’s use of statistics. This leads us to study modern uses of the same concepts in areas such as medicine – how to evaluate statistical studies and how to analyze topics such as false positives – as well as the application of DNA in areas such as how it has significantly changed our justice system.

Digital Mapping: From Mercator to Mashups

From web-based applications like Google Maps, to automobile navigation systems, to satellite pictures of hurricanes, digital maps are widely used to display information about the Earth. This course unmasks the underlying technologies used for computer-based mapping, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), satellite remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We will investigate how computers store and analyze digital maps, and see how mapping technologies can be used to address a variety of societal problems, such as analyzing the environmental impacts of urban growth, tracking the spread of a deadly disease, and planning for earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Investing for the Future

Thinking about investing but don’t know what to do or where to start? Mystified by a 401(k) versus a Roth IRA selection? Confused by the choice of mutual funds, index versus actively managed, load versus no load? And what about exchange traded funds (ETFs)? Want to prepare for your financial future, but not sure how? Learn what it really means to invest in your future, beginning with how to compute what you need for the future such as college or retirement. Then learn how to connect the dots between risk, return, and cost of investing. This class will teach you about seemingly complicated financial topics in a very comprehensible manner that will help you make informed financial decisions to ensure a secure financial future.

Math for a Digital World

How can I tell if an Email message is really from my bank? If I do online banking, can other people see the information? Does playing the lottery make sense? Does it make sense to draw for an inside straight? How can polling results differ so much from the election — or do they? Sometimes the winner of an election in the US gets much less than 50% of the vote. Would it make sense to have a run-off in such cases? How long will the world’s oil last, assuming that we use more each year. How long will a million dollars last you, assuming it earns interest until you spend it? If you bought your text online, could someone tap into the Internet and get your credit card number when it’s transmitted? Why does the VIN on your car have so many digits?

Mathematical Patterns

MATH 0824, 0924
News stories, everyday situations, and puzzling vignettes will be used to illuminate basic math concepts. Learn probability, for example, by discussing the gambler’s fallacy and gambler’s ruin, the drunkard’s random walks, the Monty Hall problem, the St. Petersburg paradox, the hot hand, monkeys randomly typing on a typewriter, and many others. A similar approach involving estimation problems and puzzles will be taken in the units on basic numeracy and logic. Throughout the course, lectures and readings will examine the mathematical angles of stories in the news, suggesting fresh perspectives, questions, and ideas on current issues from Google searches to the randomness of the iPod shuffle.

Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Psychological, political, social, and economic arguments and knowledge frequently depend on the use of numerical data. A psychologist might hypothesize that I.Q. is attributable toenvironmental or genetic factors; a politician might claim that hand gun control legislation will reduce crime; a sociologist might assert that social mobility is more limited in the United States than in other countries, and an economist might declare that globalization lowers the incomes of U.S. workers. How can we evaluate these arguments? Using examples from psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, students will examine how social science methods and statistics help us understand the social world. The goal is to become critical consumers of quantitative material that appears in scholarship, the media, and everyday life.

Statistical Reasoning & Games of Chance

Learn about probability and statistics (combinatorial probability, conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem, independence, random variables, expectation, variance, binomial and Poisson distributions, random sampling, empirical probability, laws of large numbers, central limit theorem, pseudo random numbers, and Monte Carlo simulation) while looking at real-life applications such as blackjack and poker, sports betting, lotteries, pari-mutuels, and the stock market. You will better understand betting systems and their drawbacks, and investigate the social and ethical impact of legalized gambling.

Statistics in the News

Through discussion of approximately 50 news articles, learn basic principles of statistics. This course focuses on the relevance, interpretation and usage of statistics in the news media. It has no quantitative prerequisites and involves more reading than math aptitude. Statistics deals with the study of variability, uncertainty, and decision-making, and has applicability to most other disciplines and everyday life.


Mosaic I

Students investigate the nature of the individual in human society as illuminated by philosophical, psychological, religious, and political texts in dialogue with examples from art and literature. Themes: journeys, self & others, community, faith.

Mosaic II

Students continue to work with texts across cultures, histories and disciplines, extending their investigation of human society to the cosmos, and moving from in-depth textual analysis to broader considerations of scientific discourse, philosophy and ethics. Themes: science, power, money, environment/city.


Art in Cultural Context

ARABIC 0871, HEBREW 0871, KOREAN 0871, RUSSIAN 0871
View the arts as an expression of cultural identity as it occurs across the globe. Each semester, we will focus on a particular world region or country, including but not limited to Russia, Japan, and Latin America. The exploration of cultural identity begins with an overview of the region or country’s historical and religious influences and then studies the culture’s arts, including the visual arts (painting, sculpture), musical traditions, literature (folktales, national mythology), the vernacular arts (crafts, storytelling), film and theater. You will take field trips or have experiences that will allow you to encounter the region’s arts firsthand, and to develop a blended understanding of a people’s cultural identity and the larger world.

The Art of Acting

THEATER 0825, 0925
Whether you have some or no experience in theater, this course will open new doors and provide a firm understanding of the actor’s craft. We will start with improvisatory exercises to explore basic principles of acting, which will help you expand their expressive capabilities, imagination and spontaneity, and give you greater confidence on stage and in front of people. At the same time, you will use your growing knowledge of the craft to analyze the work of actors on stage and film. Finally, you will work on assigned scenes from dramatic literature, giving you the basic tools of text analysis, the principal tool with which an actor figures out a text.

The Art of Listening

MUSIC STUDIES 0802, 0902
Are you an active or passive listener? What kind of music do you enjoy? How do you compare different musical styles, and what qualities make one performance different from another? Be challenged to rethink your entire conception of music by focusing on how to listen to music to deepen your appreciation of what you are hearing, and to ponder the importance of music in your life and to society. You will not be required to become a performer yourself, but you will become a more discriminating consumer of music through attendance at live concerts in the local area, by observation of in-class performances, rehearsals, and music lessons, and through guided listening exercises in and outside of class. Repertoire selected from Classical, Jazz, Broadway, and World Music will engage your intellectual and emotional response as a concert-goer, listener, researcher, critic, and communicator.

Arts of the Western World: The Visual Experience

Philadelphia has extraordinary resources in the arts. This course will give you direct exposure to the visual arts, and help you understand their relationship with music, dance, theater, and the other artistic expressions that also form our heritage. Through visits to museums and performances, guest speakers, lectures, films and discussions, you will be introduced to the great monuments and the major movements that place the visual arts of the western world in a broad cultural framework. You will learn about the concepts that connect the progression of ideas in artistic communication and expression from the ancient world to modern times.

Creative Acts

ENGLISH 0826, 0926
This course focuses on the art of writing, finding one’s voice, and writing for different genres. In a small classroom setting, you will work with the faculty member and other students to improve your writing through work-shopping. Other readings will allow you to develop your craft. By the end of the semester, you will produce a portfolio of your work.

The Creative Spirit: A Multidisciplinary View

THEATER 0807, 0907
Human is the animal who creates, but why and how? Whether we are making art or making dinner, creativity ultimately makes a difference in our lives and the lives of others. In this course we will view creativity through the lens of the arts and explore the broader manifestations of the creative spirit in a variety of related fields and disciplines. Students will learn the fundamental concepts of creativity and engage with artists, performers and working professionals exploring the central role creativity plays in their work. Explore your creativity in weekly hands-on group sessions augmented by periodic field visits to see performances, concerts, galleries, etc. Be creative, follow your bliss and develop a passion for life-long learning!

The Dramatic Imagination: The Performing Arts in Society

Theatre, dance, and opera–our imaginations give us the natural ability to accept the make-believe worlds they create on stage. While it is the imagination that ultimately allows us to enjoy the performing arts, imagination also plays a role in creating these worlds. Take advantage of our rich local arts community as you experience live performances in Philadelphia! We will use our imaginative capacities to deepen our own experience, while learning about the value of the arts, the controversies surrounding them, and differences in people’s perceptions of the performing arts as compared to other forms of entertainment.

Exploring Music

Why do we enjoy listening to music? Besides our own enjoyment of it, what is the purpose of music—not only for us today, but also throughout history? What is so important to humans about music that it exists in every culture on earth, regardless of time or place? How has Western music developed over the centuries? What does music tell us about ourselves? What words should you use to describe the music you are hearing? Explore these and other questions while you are actively involved, participating in listening exercises, viewing video recordings of concerts, operas, ballets, films, and staged productions, and attending at least one live concert.

The Future of Your TV

What is the future of your TV; what kind of programming will you see in the next two years? What role will blogs, vlogs, podcasts, YouTube and other social networks have in transforming television into a medium where consumers drive content? Television is not going away but how, where and when we interact with it is changing. In large lecture you will learn about these changes; in small labs, you will take the driver seat as creator of content. Your assignment: based on careful analysis of readings, lectures and interactions with professionals, determine how you will tell a story that will reach an audience you define.

Greek Theater & Society

Through close readings of surviving texts, through viewings of modern productions of ancient theatrical works, and through your own recreations of Greek performative media, we will examine and experience ancient Greek drama both as a product of its own historical period and as a living art form. We will ask fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of theater in the ancient world: is this art just entertainment or does it engage and comment on the problems of Athens? How and why did this society invent theater in the Western world? We will also investigate the relationship of Greek drama to the modern world: why do new versions of plays about Oedipus, Antigone and Dionysus keep popping up in places as diverse as New York, Utah, South Africa and China? How can ancient drama be staged now in a way that is both responsible to the surviving texts and stimulating to contemporary audiences?

History of Art in Rome (Rome campus only)

Weekly class lectures and on-site visits provide a survey of Roman art from the Etruscan through the Baroque periods, and therefore, from the founding of the ancient city in the 8th century B.C. to circa 1700. Students study each period’s art and architecture and define its place within the general context of Roman civilization. Rome’s position as both capital of the ancient empire and of the Western Latin Church has earned her the well-recognized sobriquet, Eternal City. Consequently, students confront how the idea of Rome had bearing upon the formation of its art and architecture within the chronological context. The course as a whole can be considered an introduction to art history in the field, as each week the class visits a historical site or museum in order to reconstruct through living examples the artistic fabric of the city.

Jazz Century in America

DANCE 0806
What is jazz? Students will explore its roots and reinventions in Ragtime, Hot Jazz, Blues, Swing, Bebop, Free Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Hip Hop throughout the 20th century in America. We’ll experience its manifestations across media, screening dance films, listening to music, viewing visual art works, and reading poetry. Then we’ll move into the studio to experience first-hand its rhythms, moods, dynamics, creative expression and improvisation. A key theme will be how the individual and the collective nurture each other in jazz. Intellectually, we’ll examine the historical and social backdrop and analyze the essential components of jazz.

The Meaning of the Arts

PHILOSOPHY 0847, 0947
As we blend philosophical inquiry into the nature of several of the arts and the roles they play in society with analyses of particular artistic practices, we shall critically examine questions like these: Is the main goal of art to imitate or represent the world? If so, do painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, movies, music, dance, theater, performance art, literature, handicrafts, fashion, bodily ornamentation and the like, provide knowledge about ourselves and the world around us? What is—or should be—the relationship between art and some of the other great domains of human thought, action, and concerns such as religion or the realm of social and political relations, especially matters concerning gender, sexuality, class, race, morality, and community? Do the arts or artistic institutions have specific social functions? For example, is there a connection between museums, imperialism, and nationalism? Are films embedded in networks of commodity production? Are there specifically urban or global dimension to these questions?

Philadelphia Arts & Culture

What and where is the real Philadelphia? How can we get past the clichés to better understand and experience the city’s historic and legendary sense of itself? For more than three centuries, Philadelphia’s unique identity has been defined and redefined by a prodigious and prolific creative community: painters, sculptors, writers, performers, architects, planners, thinkers, and more. We’ll explore Philadelphia’s evolving sense of itself through a broad range of examples of creative works from the 17th through the 20th centuries. And through this prism of expression, and the institutions that present and protect it, we’ll develop a deep understanding of Philadelphia as one of the nation’s most creative cities.

Shakespeare at the Movies

ENGLISH 0822, 0922
Love and political ambition and violence and evil and laughter and wit and racial antagonism and the battle between the sexes and the joy and misery of being human–Shakespeare’s plays are about all of that. Discover how they work in film and video. Learn to read films and understand what actors, directors, composers, set designers; cinematographers, etc. do to bring the bard’s plays to life. We will view Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Othello, Much Ado about Nothing, and Romeo and Juliet and study how these plays got from the page to the screen. We will look at actors of the present day – Pacino, McKellen, Hopkins, Hoskins, Fishburne, Branagh, Thompson, DiCaprio, Danes, etc. and also at giants of the past, like Laurence Olivier, to see how actors create their roles. This course includes group work in reviewing film techniques, innovative writing instruction, and an introduction to research. You will have access to whole plays and to selected clips streamed to your computer.

Shakespeare and Music

What is it about the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon? From the concert hall to the stage and silver screen, no other author’s works have inspired more adaptations than those of William Shakespeare. In this new century, as the “cult of originality” continues to grow at an exponential rate and celebrity is sought as an end in itself (see Hilton, Paris), why have the works of a man whose very identity is shrouded in mystery remained so popular? This course will explore Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and their adaptation by composers and choreographers. Students will then get a chance to “bend the Bard” on their own!

Sacred Space

Where do people go to communicate with the divine? Explore with us where and how people of the many different cultures of the Greco-Roman world communicated with their gods. Why are graves and groves considered sacred space? When is a painting or sculpture considered sacred? Whom do the gods allow to enter a sacred building? Can a song be a prayer or a curse? How can dance sway the gods? Why do gods love processions and the smell of burning animals? The journey through sacred space in Greco-Roman antiquity will engage your senses and your intellect, and will reveal a mindset both ancient and new.

Shall We Dance: Dance as Narrative in American Film

DANCE 0831, 0931
Investigate the role dance plays and has played in informing and acknowledging social trends in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Connections are made between dance and immigration, industry, politics, fashion, social change, class and gender, nationalism, education and popular culture. Dance both perpetuates and challenges social and cultural issues of power, class, gender, sexual orientation, and age, and acts as a mirror of our society. We will study popular perceptions of dance, dance in Hollywood, and dance as a reflection of social change, dance as social ritual, dance and contemporary notions of the “Impossible Body.” Students will learn through movement exercises, dance classes, lecture, discussion and film/videotape viewing.

Transnational Cinema

As he recently commented on the sad state of globalized affairs in which “the cosmopolitanism of international filmmaking is matched by the parochialism of American film culture,” New York Times film critic A.O. Scott asked, “The whole world is watching, why aren’t Americans?” This course will use Scott’s question as a point of departure to investigate the ostensible reasons why Americans, or in our case, Philadelphians, aren’t watching “transnational cinema”– international films that gain distribution outside of their country of production, and that depict transnational movements of people, capital, and social values. Are transnational films playing at a theatre near you? Perhaps they are, but if not, why not? Which “foreign films” are allowed to cross the border into our country? How, when, and where do we get to “see the world” and why does that matter in today’s globalized, interconnected world? Learn ‘how to see the world”– not as a one-dimensional quaint or exotic representation of the “other”– but instead through the ways in which these films engage critical contemporary issues of nation, transnation, and globalization in an increasingly interconnected transnational public sphere.

World Musics & Cultures

MUSIC STUDIES 0809, 0909
Have you ever wondered why musical compositions from different parts of the world sound so dissimilar? Why does Japanese music employ silence as a structural element and Chinese melodies use only five notes? Discover how an artist’s creative imagination is molded by the cultural values of the society at large. Listen to guest musicians demonstrate different styles of playing and attend a live concert. Examine folk, art and popular music from around the world and discuss the wonderful and strange sounds that are produced.


Asian Behavior and Thought

We incessantly engage ourselves in doing things. We are beings-at-doing. We define ourselves by the kind of actions we perform. How we act or conduct ourselves is shaped by the kind of self we construct for ourselves. And that self is shaped by the society into which we happen to be born. Self-identity, which is socially and culturally constructed by our experiences and Interactions with others, carries a personal as well as an interpersonal meaning. Learn the four Asian paradigmatic cases of self-identity and examine your self in light of them.

Bilingual Communities

What is the relationship between language and identity? How do bilinguals sort between their two languages and cultures to form their identity? In bilingual cultures, is one language always dominant? What happens when a language or dialect is distinct from the dominant language or dialect of the greater society? Why did language resurgence efforts fail in Ireland but succeed in Catalonia, Spain? Why does Guarani enjoy greater protection in Paraguay than Mayan dialects in Guatemala? Is it possible to legislate language behavior? Explore issues of power and solidarity where two languages or dialects are in contact: How are these cultural identities expressed through choice of language? We look at a broad geographical range which might include the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Africa.

Creativity & Organizational Behavior

Being creative is about solving problems or approaching opportunities in novel and valuable ways. This course is designed to help ALL students better harness their full creative potential – whether you think: “I am not creative” or “I already have more ideas than I can handle”, this class will help you come up with more creative ideas that offer more value and have greater impact on the world. Although creativity has been studied by nearly every professional domain, this course focuses on creativity as a driver of organizational innovation – from non-profits to small businesses and large corporations to students’ own entrepreneurial startups, creativity and innovation are critical to providing value and ensuring long-term survival. Throughout this course students will develop important life skills while learning to creatively solve problems through a number of real-world innovation challenges. No matter what career or profession you are going into, being more creative and appreciating how and why modern organizations function the way that they do will help you to be more valuable, more employable, more innovative, and more entrepreneurial.

Criminal Behavior

Although we like to think differently, committing crime is an extremely common human behavior. From the extremes of armed robbery or serial murder to the ordinary failure to declare Income on tax returns or the tendency to speed on the highway, nearly everyone has broken the law and committed a crime at some point. Considering physiological, psychological and pharmacological factors, we explore the influences of family, peers and the effects of alcohol and drugs on the incidence of criminal behavior. And we examine how the urban and social environment encourages (or inhibits) opportunities to commit crime.

Disability Identity

Odds are that each of us will encounter disability at some point in our lives, either directly or indirectly through family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. What is it like to live with a disability, and how does disability intersect with other aspects of personal identity, like gender, race and culture? Is disability socially and culturally defined? Join us as we examine historical perspectives of disability marked by fear and discrimination and fueled by media portrayals. We will then explore most recent indicators of personal, social, and environmental change that support disability identity and result in a more accommodating environment for us all.

Eating Cultures

You are what you eat, they say, but what, precisely, determines our eating habits and what, exactly, do they say about us? How do these habits influence our relations with others in our communities and beyond? Eating is an activity common to all human beings, but how do the particularities and meanings attributed to this activity vary across different times and places? Using literature, visual media, cookbooks, food-based art, and advertisements as our starting point, we will examine how food perception, production, preparation, consumption, exchange, and representation structure individual and communal identities, as well as relations among individuals and communities around the globe. Our focus on this most basic of needs will allow us to analyze how food conveys and limits self-expression and creates relationships as well as delimits boundaries between individuals and groups. Materials will be drawn from a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to, literary and gender studies, psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, and economics.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Using an interdisciplinary approach that looks at the theory of emotional intelligence and the leadership process in diverse personal, cultural, political, and business contexts, you will enhance your own leadership capacity. Develop conceptual thinking, self-awareness, self-management, personal motivation, social skills, and your capacity for empathy within a globalized and interconnected world. Engage in personal reflections, class discussions, small group experiential activities, and collaborate on a case study project as you observe and interview Philadelphia community leaders.

Guerrilla Altruism

According to the UN, more than one billion people do not have adequate shelter and more than 100 million people live in conditions classified as homeless. More than two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water or sanitation, including 400 million children. Almost four thousand of these children will die every day as a result. This course invites you to change these statistics. We will look to renowned thinkers and makers, strategists and guerrillas who have used grassroots strategies to help underrepresented populations affect change, including: Adbusters (Kalle Lasn), Architecture for Humanity (Cameron Sinclair), Pierre Bourdieu, Design Corp, Che Guevara, Michel Foucault, Heavy Trash, Jersey Devils, Kick Start International, Light (Jae Cha), Mad Housers, Carlos Marighella, and Rural Studios (Samuel Mockbee). You will use this research to realize a small-scale project, movement or intervention to aid a disadvantaged person or community group around Temple University, creatively offering your distinct talents to those who need them most.

Human Ecology

Human hunters may have contributed to animal extinctions as early as 10,000 years ago; civilizations in the ancient Near East developed complex irrigation networks that led to some of the area’s permanent deserts. Since pre-history, humans had an impact on the environment, but changes in technology have magnified the scale of human influence. Today, attempts at sustainable land use are often at odds with struggles for indigenous population rights, with population migration and increases in population size, or with desires to preserve areas for national parks or tourism, let alone attempts to exploit natural resources. Study the ecological principles underlying the relationship of humans with the environment and the explosion of conflicts surrounding modern environmental use.

Human Sexuality

Our sexuality is a core part of being human. We often think about sexuality in terms of the physical and reproductive aspects of sex. But our sexuality is complex and dynamic. We will address this dynamic complexity as we explore the physical, psychological, relational, and cultural aspects of sexuality. The goal of this course is to broaden your perspective of human sexuality, and deepen your understanding and awareness of your own sexuality and the many influences on this essential part of yourself.

Identity and Crisis

As we go through life there will be natural changes that we must deal with. For college students this involves for many being on your own for the first time, picking a major, trying to figure a possible work career, dealing with a roommate. There will also be unplanned changes or crises that each of us will face at different times, such as the sickness/death of loved ones; broken relationships; work problems, as well as our own mortality. One goal is to face each crisis in as healthy a way as possible, without physically or emotionally hurting others or ourselves. The Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech tragedies are an extreme example of how someone can lash out violently. The more prepared we are to deal with a crisis and conflict, the better we can come through it, helping ourselves and perhaps others too. Part of this preparation can involve examining our belief systems–including religious/spiritual—and the ways we perceive and think.

Interpersonal Communication

In a reflective, supportive environment, enhance your ability to develop successful interpersonal communication with your family, friends and work colleagues. Assess your own communication skills, develop and set personal goals and an action plan to create the change you wish to see. Investigate how interpersonal communication needs and effectiveness change throughout life, from early childhood, to adolescence, through young adulthood, middle age, and old age. There will be frequent small group discussions, and opportunities to learn through direct observation of real-life situations.

Kids, Community and Controversy

Why does Philadelphia have a dropout rate of roughly 50%? Why have students brought weapons to school and plotted to kill their classmates? Why, despite decades of progress in race relations, do schools remain largely segregated institutions? These questions are derived from three pressing social problems in American society that play out in our schools; high school dropouts, school violence, and segregation. Using these questions and the larger issues to which they are related, explore the multiple and often competing explanations for these and other social problems in American society. Learn about the search for creative solutions at the individual level as well as within our social structure. Guest speakers, observations within the Philadelphia school system, and analysis of films depicting these issues will enrich the course experience.

Language in Society

How did language come about? How many languages are there in the world? How do people co-exist in countries where there are two or more languages? How do babies develop language? Should all immigrants take a language test when applying for citizenship? Should English become an official language of the United States? In this course we will address these and many other questions, taking linguistic facts as a point of departure and considering their implications for our society. Through discussions and hands-on projects, students will learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret language data and how to make informed decisions about language and education policies as voters and community members.

Marginalized Citizenship: Disability & Sexuality

This course traces the history of disability and sexuality through the industrial revolution through to the twenty-first century. Students will examine their own, as well as cultural and societal attitudes toward disability and sexuality. Students will be challenged to address questions such as: At what point does the cost to society outweigh the cost to the individual? What are the ethical considerations involved in the quality of life versus the sanctity of life arguments?

Philosophy of the Human

PHILOSOPHY 0839, 0939
What is a human being? How do we become fully human, and how might that humanity be diminished or compromised? This course examines a range of answers to these questions from ancient, romantic, modern, postmodern, and postcolonial sources. Including the thought of Plato on the meaning of love, Emerson on our genius, Freud on our neuroses, and Fanon on our liberation, discussion turns to some of the most influential literary, historical, and cinematic treatments of the human condition as it appears in our own time.

The Photographic Image

Is there more to photography than that single “decisive moment” in the hunt and capture of an image? How do photographers comment on issues that are important to them? How can photographs tell a story? Is there a way one can use the art of photography to elicit change? We will look at photography in its historical context–at the advent of documentary photography and photojournalism, and at narrative photography in its more contemporary form, as photographers use it to chronicle their own lives. Through looking at and making—with your digital camera–photographic images, you will learn several core concepts of social work and human behavior theory. You will learn about the place photography holds in our culture, and about our culture itself, and your place in that culture. We will critically analyze published photographs, as well as photographs you and other students have made. The semester will culminate in a class exhibition.

Quest for Utopia

The extreme version of “the grass always been greener on the other side” has been a vision of a mythical place where all is peace, balance, perfection and happiness. The concept of utopia—somewhere better than this—has been with us for centuries, but what drives it? And why, when the quest is for betterment and maximum benefit for all, do utopias so often go bad? This course will examine what visions of utopia and dystopia have existed in literature from around the world. We will look at it alongside writing from a variety of disciplines to try to understand why utopia resists our reach, and the kind of behavior, for better and for worse, that the quest for utopia brings about.

Teens & Tweens

EDUCATION 0819, 0919
Exuberance, risk-taking, experimentation, breaking away, testing limits. Anxiety, peer pressure, competition, parental pressure, work and school, drugs and alcohol, test scores. These are some of the challenges that make adolescence one of the most intriguing and disturbing stages of life. Although adolescence is only one stage on the continuum of human development, in contemporary society the extended period between childhood and adulthood seems to capture all the attention. Why? This class takes a close look at one of the most confusing, exciting, and critical phases of development, the pre-teen and teen years. Using literature, TV and film, as well as articles and books from the field of human development, the course will explore how children grow into teenagers, how they survive the challenges of adolescence, and how they become productive adults.

Workings of the Mind: The Devil Made Me Do It

PSYCHOLOGY 0816, 0916
A Caucasian is heckled during his night-club act and goes into a rant against African-Americans. A celebrity is pulled over for DUI and goes into a rant against Jews. Both then claim that those behaviors are “not the real me.” They claim that they are not racist or bigoted. If they do indeed believe their denials, then we are left with a question: Why did they behave as they did? Perhaps we are not always in conscious control over what we do. Drawing on disciplines within psychology, including neuroscience and cognitive science, as well as clinical, developmental, evolutionary, and cultural psychology, we explore the possibility that we can process information and behave in response to information in ways that are out of our conscious control.

Youth Cultures

Do you listen to hip hop, spend all your time in Second Life, dress up like a cartoon character and go to anime fairs, or go skateboarding every day with your friends? Then you’re part of the phenomenon called youth culture. Often related to gender, race, class and socio-economic circumstances, youth cultures enable young people to try on identities as they work their way to a clearer sense of self. Empowered by new technology tools and with the luxury of infinite virtual space, young people today can explore identities in ways not available to previous generations. Students in this class will investigate several youth cultures, looking closely at what it means to belong. They will also come to appreciate how the media and marketing construct youth identities and define youth cultures around the world.


African Americans and Law: Weapon or Tool?

LEGAL STUDIES 0803, 0903
Learn about the experience of African Americans through the lens of the US legal system. US law, which first defined African Americans as less than human, eventually declared discrimination illegal, and remains both an expression and an instrument of change at the intersection of race and equality. As you study this evolution, you will reflect on relevant current events, and explore your own responses to the kind of everyday encounters that continually arise in our pluralistic society. Can race be used as a factor in hiring, in college admissions? Is race a factor for you in dating, marriage, adoption? We explore issues like these on both broad social and personal dimensions.

Classics of African American Theater

In part because of its development, initially, as a consequence of enslavement, African American theater is both entertaining and potentially volatile. We will look at some of the most important African American plays from the late 1700′s through to the present, and explore the problems, contestations and the nature of race, class, and gender as exemplified in these dramatic texts. From Ira Aldridge’s The Black Doctor in 1847, through to August Wilson’s Radio Golf (2007), we will investigate the historical emergence and institutionalization of race thinking and practice on the American stage. As we consider this span of performance literature, we will analyze debates about race and social justice, investigate the collaborative nature of theater and develop oratory skills in provocative discussions.

Dimensions of Diversity: What’s Brewing in the Melting Pot?

Are we really living in a melting pot? How important are the differences and similarities among individuals? The purpose of this course will be to focus on a variety of issues related to the nature of personal and cultural identify within a diverse American society. Specifically, this course will explore critical factors that shape one’s place or standing in society (e.g., race, disability, age, gender, and sexuality). The meaning and significance of these dimensions will be explored as they relate to the societal and technological complexities of the 21st Century. The best practice and research in racism, inequality, and social injustice in industries such as sport, leisure, tourism and healthcare will be explored.

Embodying Pluralism

DANCE 0828
Dance and the arts are vehicles of societal change. As you challenge and extend your perceptions of “self” and “other” in a pluralistic society, you will explore aspects of identity, difference, and diversity from aesthetic and ethical perspectives. Race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other social phenomena will be studied as elements that form the fabric of American society. Theory from lectures on historical and philosophical perspectives will be thoroughly integrated in immersive, active studio practices. The purpose of this course is to illuminate personal, social and cultural dynamics of race and diversity in the United States.

Ethnicity and the Immigrant Experience in the U.S.

SOCIOLOGY 0835, 0935
How do immigrants learn to become American? How does living an ethnic identity vary for different groups? When does ethnicity become a chosen identity or an unwanted label? How do we learn to value some aspects of ethnicity but not others? What are markers of ethnicity? How do language, food, music, family and community work to provide authenticity to the American immigrant experience? What happens to ethnicity with assimilation to the American way of life? Can ethnicity combat the tidal social expectations to conform to the dominant culture? Using a variety of written materials including novels that explore the ethnic identity of different groups, this course raises questions about how ethnicity and American identity are connected.

History & Significance of Race in America

Why were relations between Native Amer-icans and whites violent almost from the beginning of European settlement? How could slavery thrive in a society founded on the principle that “all men are created equal”? How comparable were the experiences of Irish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants, and why did people in the early 20th century think of them as separate “races”? What were the causes and consequences of Japanese Americans’ internment in military camps during World War II? Are today’s Mexican immigrants unique, or do they have something in common with earlier immigrants? Using a variety of written sources and outstanding documentaries, this course examines the racial diversity of America and its enduring consequences.

Immigration and the American Dream: Hearing the Immigrant Voice

As a Temple student, you go to school and live in a city full of immigrants. Perhaps your own relatives were immigrants to the United States. But have you ever listened to their stories? With an historical and sociological framework as a basis, we will take an in-depth and more personal look at the immigrant experience as expressed through the immigrants’ own voices in literature and film. Topics explored include: assimilation, cultural identity and Americanization, exploitation and the American Dream, ethnic communities, gender, discrimination and stereotyping.

Politics of Identity in America

Gay or straight. Black or white. Male or female. What do these different group identities mean to Americans? How do they influence our politics? Should we celebrate or downplay our diversity? This course explores how we think about others and ourselves as members of different groups and what consequences it has for how we treat one another. Our fundamental social identities can be a source of power or of powerlessness, a justification for inequality or for bold social reform. Students learn about the importance of race, class, gender and sexual orientation across a variety of important contexts, such as the family, workplace, schools, and popular culture and the implications these identities have on our daily lives.

Race & Ethnicity in American Cinema

FILM & MEDIA ARTS 0843, 0943
Movies have played a central role in how we understand race, racial categories, and ethnic cultural identities. We will study Hollywood’s, evolving portrayal of African-Americans, Asian-Americans and ethnic groups like Latinos and Italian-Americans. From Edison’s early films, through “Birth of Nation,” and to the present, commercial cinema has denigrated Americans of color and stereotyped its ethnic groups. How are stereotypes built up on century-old cinematic traditions and how do they function today? What self-images have minority filmmakers presented as an alternative to mainstream views? In addition to looking at the critiques, we look at more positive aspects of ethnic and racial images and examine the ways that these images speak to the history of the nation as a whole.

Race & Identity in Judaism

JEWISH STUDIES 0802, 0902, RELIGION 0802, 0902
Investigate the relationship between race and Judaism from Judaism’s early period through today, looking both at how Jews have understood their own racial identity and how others have understood Jews’ racial identity. You will explore the idea of racial identity in Judaism in order to examine the complex network of connections between racism and anti-Semitism, as you read primary and secondary texts in Jewish philosophy and history and in the study of race and racism. We hope to illuminate these complex issues as well as to engage with them on a personal and political level, examining the relationship between issues of race, religion, identity, and social justice and injustice, and inquiring into how we, as informed citizens in a global society, can affect change for the better.

Race & Poverty in the Americas

The transatlantic slave trade was one of the most brutal and momentous experiences in human history. Attitudes toward Latino, Caribbean, African, and Asian immigrants in the United States today can only be fully understood in the contexts of slavery and the “structural racism,” “symbolic violence” (not to mention outright physical violence), and social inequalities that slavery has spawned throughout the region. Although focusing primarily on the United States, we will also study the present entanglements of poverty and race in Brazil, Haiti, and other selected nations of “The New World,” placing the US (and Philadelphia in particular) experience in this historical context.

Race, Identity and Experience in American Art

TYLER 0805
Paintings of the New Frontier and 19th century folk art, the Harlem Renaissance and New Deal photography, Chicano murals and the art activism of the Civil Rights Movement, the digital spaces occupied by activist groups on the Internet–in the struggle to understand the relation between self and other, artists have critically engaged with the images that define our common sense of belonging—images that saturate the public sphere via mass media, advertising, textbooks, museums, and shopping malls. While taking a close look at individual artists and movements, we will locate them within their respective contexts, with the ultimate goal of finding ways of adequately imagine and image an American identity today.

Race in the Ancient Mediterranean

Learn about ancient thinking about race and ethnicity and how ancient thinking remains current and influential today. Investigate how categories of race and ethnicity are presented in the literature and artistic works of Greece and Rome. Our case studies will pay particular attention to such concepts as: notions of racial formation and racial origins; ancient theories of ethnic superiority; and linguistic, religious and cultural differentiation as a basis for ethnic differentiation. We will also examine ancient racism through the prism of a variety of social processes in antiquity: slavery, trade and colonization, migrations, imperialism, assimilation, native revolts, and genocide.

Race on the Stage: Social Construction of Identity through Drama and the Arts

A unique taste of artistic diversity, this course combines traditional and interdisciplinary content with the rich experience of “live art.” Learn how conventions of the past contribute to arts production and the dramatic presentation of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability today, and how those presentations continue to inform notions of identity. As you read classic and contemporary dramatic texts and critically analyze actual performances, you will be looking at diversity from multiple perspectives and acquiring the kind of understanding of “difference” and “tolerance” that will prepare you to live and work in a global world.

Racial Inequalities: Global and National Perspectives

This course introduces you to the sociological study of racial and ethnic relationships. In the first section of the course, “Foundations,” we overview racial and ethnic inequalities (and equalities) and basic concepts and theories of race and ethnicity. In the next section, we investigate the origins of racial inequalities, ideologies, and practices: European colonialism, the conquest of Native Americans, and the enslavement of Africans. For the rest of the course, we analyze how social processes, especially struggles between racially dominant and subordinate peoples, have generated changes and continuities in racial inequalities, ideologies, and practices. In the second and third sections of the course (“Colonialism, Conquest, and Slavery” and “From Abolition to Globalization”), we focus geographically on the world, primarily Europe, Africa, and the Americas. In the fourth, last, and longest section, we focus on racial and ethnic relations in the contemporary United States.

Representing Race

From classical Greece and Rome, who saw themselves under siege by the “barbarian hordes,” to contemporary America and its war on “Islamic extremism,” from The Birth of a Nation to Alien Nation, Western societies have repeatedly represented a particular group of people as a threat to civilization. This course will examine a wide range of representations of non-Western people and cultures in film, literature, scientific and legal writings, popular culture, and artistic expression. What is behind this impulse to divide the world into “us” and “them”? How is it bound up with our understanding of race and racial difference? And what happens when the “barbarian hordes” talk back?


Advertising & Globalization

ADVERTISING 0853, 0953
Explore the current global scope and reach of advertising in our connected, digital age. Study major interdisciplinary themes related to the spread of consumerism, self and social identity, global consciousness, and cross-cultural effects as a result of the worldwide spread of advertising as part of the free market system. Particular attention is given to cross-cultural issues related to cultural imperialism, legal and societal constraints, ethical questions, universal values and green marketing. Course work includes comprehensive survey of print and broadcast advertising found in other countries.

Border Crossings: Gendered Dimensions of Globalization

Explore the ways in which gender “works” in different cultural and national contexts, and the impact globalization has on gender relations. “Gender” indicates the ways in which our social lives are organized around categories of male and female – in relation to work, family, sexuality, culture, and nation. “Globalization” describes the transfer of economic and cultural goods between nations and peoples. Questions we will ask include: What is globalization and how do women and men experience it differently? Do women and men work the same jobs in the global labor market, and do they get paid the same wages? How does immigration affect families? Does a growing connectedness between cultures and nations change traditional gender roles? How different are experiences of women in the “Third World” from those of women in the “First World,” and why? Investigate these issues together by reading critical writings as well as Internet blogs, watching films/documentaries, and analyzing popular media.

Confronting Empire: Voices of Resistance

This course introduces some key themes and topics in the study of modern imperialism as well its principal contestants. Carried by a variety of texts and narratives (cinematic included), we will range across the globe (especially the Americas) to explore ideas, activities and institutions that have enabled as well as disabled struggles over the “civilization” promised in the names of empires since the late 18th century. In reconsidering these contests over the legitimacy and terms of government, we pay particular attention to the historical emergence of concepts like “decolonization,” “dependency,” the “Third World” and “Postcolonialism.” These notions, we emphasize, have had great historic significance not only in the “backward” areas of the globe allotted to colonial rule, but also in “advanced” metropoles where colonial investments tend to become exoticized. In this way, our course aspires to comprehend something of world history.

The Detective Novel

The detective novel remains the most popular of literary forms since its American origins in Edgar Allan Poe. The form has spread to virtually every part of the world, taking on different perspectives in the different societies where it has prospered.  Our course analyzes the global travels of this prolific literary genre, paying particular attention to the manner in which its formula of crime-detection-resolution has evolved from its classic phase in the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, to its hard-boiled phase in the 1940’s US, to the transformation of the private detective working outside the formal apparatus of the law into the police detective working within the law in places as different as Sweden, Holland, Nigeria, and India.  We will read bestselling detective novels by figures such as Emile Gaboriau, Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Jorge Borges (Argentina), Vikram Chandra (India), Henning Mankell (Sweden), Janwillem van de Wetering (Holland), Kole Omotosho (Nigeria), and Soji Shimada (Japan).  We will pay special attention to the conventions of the form and analyze its evolution as it travels the world.  In exploring its global travels, we will attend to a number of issues, including: the changing definition of crime; the evolving representation of the criminal; the changing methods for “solving” the crime; the ideology of justice the conflicts between community and individuality; and the varying social and national anxieties that the form reveals

Development and Globalization

Use historical and case study methods to study the differences between rich and poor nations and the varied strategies available for development in a globalizing world. Examine the challenges facing developing countries in historical and contemporary context and analyze the main social, cultural, and political factors that interact with the dynamic forces of the world economy. These include imperialism/colonialism, state formation, labor migration, demographic trends, gender issues in development, religious movements and nationalism, the challenges to national sovereignty, waves of democratization, culture and mass media, struggles for human rights, environmental sustainability, the advantages and disadvantages of globalization, and movements of resistance.

Education for Liberation

This course explores educational issues in urban America and indigenous educational traditions in the “Third World.” The course focuses on the connections between education and politics, cultural diversity and economics, and the existence and persistence of poverty in developing nations. Students will critically analyze international films, course readings, and presentations from guest speakers. Culturally responsive, post-modern, and comparative approaches are used to investigate the impact of culture, poverty and development, and the goals of education in each societal context.

Evolution of Culture

The roots of many contemporary cultures around the globe reach deep into human history. This course examines the evolution of these cultures through the use of paleo-anthropological and archaeological data ranging from 2.5 million years ago through the beginnings of written history. Topics include the initial emergence and development of culture, the growth and expansion of human populations, the origins and dispersals of food production (particularly agriculture) and the rise and collapse of early civilizations. In addition we will examine the persistence of hunter-gatherers and other small-scale societies into the 19th and 20th centuries using ethnological data as well as the lessons to be learned from the successes and failures of early civilizations for predicting the future of the modern world.

Gender in World Societies

Learn about the history of feminine and masculine gender roles from comparative and international perspectives. Using case studies from Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, West Africa, Victorian Britain, Modern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and/or Latin America, we will explore certain a themes–The State, The Sacred, Work, The Family, The Body and Sexuality, Modern Revolutionary Movements—to investigate how gender and gender roles have changed over time, and their significance today. Readings include primary sources written both by men and by women, secondary sources, novels, and films.

Global Cities

As globalization accelerates, the world becomes smaller, and is transformed to an extended urban network. Even though there are places and people off the global grid in both rich and poor countries, we live in a single, interdependent urban world. This course seeks to understand this urban world. We ask questions like: How do changes in the global economy affect the lives of people from Cairo to Chicago? As 50 million people per year move into cities around the world how do those cities change? How will the massive rural to urban migration in China and India affect resources and the global environment? What is life like in cities for the majority of the world’s poor? What types of plans and policies could improve cities in this century? Are wages in Philadelphia being influenced by what happens in Beijing and Bangalore? The answers will come from a wide range of perspectives, from geographers, urban planners, sociologists, and economists.

The Global Crisis: Power, Politics and the Making of our Times

Are we living in a time of global crisis? This course will provide you with the tools you need to find out. This class focuses on world politics over the past century, up to today. In this class, we will examine a number of key global problems as they have changed over time. We will adopt an historical approach, which means we will read texts and documents about the past as a way to understand the present. Together we will explore debates like: is America an empire? What is ideology and is it a factor in world politics today? What role do diplomacy, strategy, and military power play in world affairs? How have non-western peoples and states challenged the power of the West, and with what results? What are the roots of ethnic and religious conflict? And what can we as citizens do to address truly global problems? Drawing on examples from 20th Century world history, this course introduces you to world politics and the great debates of our time.

Global Slavery

Investigate global slavery as an historic phenomenon and a current reality. How is it that after the great emancipation movements of the 19th century and the International Geneva Convention (1926) outlawing slavery there are still 27 million slaves and counting? This course argues that any critique of globalization requires an understanding of why it has taken several millennia for anti-slavery law to emerge and why such legislation continues to have limited reach and effectiveness. It argues that there is no modernity and no globalization without slavery. Explore this problem by asking a basic question: By what techniques, abstract and concrete, do masters make themselves as visible by constructing slaves as invisible? With film viewings, carefully selected readings, debates and group projects, you will be led to make your own connections to these themes, and to consider global slavery as part of the past and the present.

Imaginary Cities

FILM & MEDIA ARTS 0869, 0969
Filmmaking is an overwhelmingly urban phenomenon. This class will take you to cities around the world, examining how international cinema has richly depicted and interpreted urban life during the last hundred years. As you respond to film clips, readings, lectures and lively discussions about the increasingly urbanized face of world societies, you will study films texts, and research the contexts in which they were produced and consumed. In a semester-long project you will research and interpret how urban experience is depicted and explored in a specific film or film series.

Latin American Media

From the music of J-Lo and Skakira to the style of the TV show Ugly Betty to Bart Simpson’s bad Spanish (no problemo!), Latin American influences are increasingly evident in U.S. media and culture. The influence goes both ways: U.S. media and culture have had great impact in Latin America. This class focuses on Latin American media as key institutions within the region and also as they interact with the United States. Media systems are so intertwined with society that understanding them requires understanding where they come from, so we will look at Latin America itself first–where is it? what are its characteristics? The class will then examine Latin American media and the ways that Latin American people have reacted to U.S. influence. We will also explore the growing presence of Latino media in the U.S. and in Philadelphia.

Latino Immigration

This course will explore the regulations enacted in Hazelton (followed by those enacted in Arizona, Georgia and other states) that aimed to curb illegal immigration and the reasons for their enactment. It will look into immigration law, the history behind it as well as the emotional and economic impulses that drive it. To understand the complexity of the subject, we will broaden the studies from the local through the cultural and to the global.

Philadelphia Dance Experience

DANCE 0827
Open your eyes to the wealth of culture right at your doorstep. Deepen your appreciation of dance and become an educated audience member about the various styles and layers of meaning present in any one dance. We will attend several live performances, looking at dance from a cultural studies perspective, focusing specifically on European, African, Asian, and Latin influences in the city of Philadelphia. We will be interacting with guest artists and lecturers, observing performances on video, and engaging in guided viewing exercises. Dance concerts are selected from a variety of styles, including classical and contemporary forms from around the world.

Religion in the World

Learn about the major religious traditions found worldwide today: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and several indigenous traditions. Examine the beliefs, practices, and values of these groups in order to understand the worldviews and ways of life of the people who practice them. Our interdisciplinary analysis and interpretation of specific examples of religious experience will help shed light on the overall meaning of religion and human existence. We will carefully consider examples while also focusing on particular thematic issues, like cosmology and ritual. Develop appreciation for the religious vibrancy and diversity that exist in human cultures while you actively engage in the learning process through class presentation, class participation, paper-writing, and a self-selected field trip.

Turning Points: Ancient World Turning Points: Modern World

HISTORY 0871                                           HISTORY 0872
Explore ten of the most significant transformations in human life, from the time we evolved into Homo sapiens to the 21st century. Take either one or both of this two-course sequence. The first course looks at the period from 4 million BCE to about 1500 CE; the second from about 1200 CE to the present. Taking a whole world perspective, each asks how we have become who we are, through our global history. We compare among societies to foster analysis; we look at interaction among societies to foster synthesis. We will analyze primary documents to understand the people of each time period and their issues; and at secondary documents to understand how later commentators and scholars understood and interpreted them. You will write five essays in each of these courses to demonstrate the knowledge you have gained and the skills you have mastered.

War & Peace

Total war, weapons of mass destruction, genocide. These were not solely inventions of the twentieth century nor are they the natural consequences of a violent human nature. Leaders, armies, and the strategies they pursue are rooted in their social and political context. Weapons are the products of not merely technological but also historical and cultural development. Battles occur on a political and historical terrain. Learn how ancient ideology, medieval technology, modern propaganda, and more have changed how humans wage war and make peace.

Women in Modern Bengali Film

We will discuss the work of contemporary Bengali film directors, as also that of a few non-Bengali directors of parallel and diasporic cinema, with a particular focus on culturally constructed roles for women in the Indian social context. The several films that we view in class, to analyze women’s movements out of such prescribed spaces into more liberating ones, will focus on assault; incest as taboo; the predicaments of the subaltern, the prostitute, and the widow; and the more recent issue of immigration. How do questions we raise in our course intersect with current international discussions of the treatment of women and class in film? Is the work done by women’s activist groups changing entrenched perceptions of gender worldwide and, thus, representations of women in film? What is the impact of significant events in Indian colonial and postcolonial history on women? How do key concepts addressed by major Western thinkers such as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud affect depictions of women in cinema? You will look up websites on cinema and do group oral presentations to engage directly with these questions.

World Affairs

We live in a global age when events beyond our borders significantly affect our lives. Sharpen your understanding of international developments, including wars, economic globalization, wealth and poverty, the spread of democracy, environmental degradation, and global pandemics. This course offers an introduction to the study of world affairs that gives you the conceptual tools to deepen your understanding of how major historical and current trends in the world affect your life and that of others around the globe. Readings include historical documents, classic texts in the study of international relations, and current perspectives on the state of the world from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

World Performances

THEATER 0852, 0952
Dance, puppetry, theater, opera; these are performance forms that are part of the cultures of the world. From the earliest religious rituals to modern interpretations of ancient traditions, performances are as varied and diverse as the cultures from which they arise. You are probably familiar with performances arising from western cultures, but the Noh Drama of Japan, the Water Puppetry of Viet Nam, the Koothu Patari folk performances of India, the Bejing Opera in China, the Caoperia Martial Arts performances of Brazil–these might be new to you. Explore world performances through live class presentations, lectures, video and attendance at international performances in Philadelphia. You might also have the chance to perform yourself!

World Regions and Cultures: Diversity & Interconnections

How does the process of globalization impact people in different culture regions? Explore this central question through readings, discussions, mapping exercises, field trips to Philadelphia sites and special events that celebrate the international flavor of the city. Focusing on four regions, we will learn how people cope with environmental problems like desertification, population growth, rapid migration to cities, and ethnic and religious clashes. We will investigate why some areas are mired in poverty and violence while others experience a growing economy and peaceful politics. For each region we will read case studies illustrating both cultural continuity and change.

World Society in Literature & Film

ARABIC 0868, 0968, ASIAN STUDIES 0868, CHINESE 0868, 0968, ENGLISH 0868, 0968 FRENCH 0868, 0968, GERMAN 0868, 0968, HEBREW 0868, ITALIAN 0868, 0968, JAPANESE 0868, 0968, JEWISH STUDIES 0868, KOREAN 0868, LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES 0868, 0968, POLITICAL SCIENCE 0868, RUSSIAN 0868, 0968, SPANISH 0868, 0968
Learn about a particular national culture—Russian, Indian, French, Japanese, Italian, for example, each focused upon in separate sections of this course—by taking a guided tour of its literature and film. You don’t need to speak Russian, Hindu, French or Japanese to take one of these exciting courses, and you will gain the fresh, subtle understanding that comes from integrating across different forms of human expression. Some of the issues that will be illuminated by looking at culture through the lens of literature and film: Family structures and how they are changing, national self-perceptions, pivotal moments in history, economic issues, social change and diversity.


The Bionic Human

Can we replace our “worn-out” body parts with space-age materials? Will the day come when an injured athlete buys a tendon for the next big game? Why are your parents spending so much time at the doctor? We are on the verge of building “the bionic human” by repairing many of our body parts indefinitely. Become familiar with bio-engineered technologies for age-, disease-, sports-, and accident-related injuries. Learn why weight bearing exercise strengthens bones, the difference between MRI, CAT scan, and X-Ray, and what the folks at the Food and Drug Administration do. By the time you finish this course, you’ll know how a pig heart could save your life, how stem cell research could affect your future, the purpose of animal testing, and why walking through airport security could be a problem if you have had your hip replaced.

Brain Matters

One of the last frontiers in science is the brain. We know a great deal about the structure and function of the brain and nervous system, but it is challenging to comprehend fully the complexity of a system made up of 100 billion components that are interacting with one another using tens of trillions of connections that can change and rewire during development and aging. Neuroscience is the multidisciplinary field in which brain research falls. Neuroscience is one of the fastest growing domains in all of science – and good bet for a future career path. Neuroscientists investigate brain function from the level of molecular genetics, to cellular dynamics, to brain anatomy and physiology, to relations between brain, behavior, and cognition, to brain development and aging, to diseases of the brain. In this course, we will touch on knowledge about the brain at all these levels, and more. We will also discuss case studies of brain impairment.

Chemistry of Wine

Wine has occupied a central role in human culture since the beginning of recorded history. In our exploration of the science of wine we will learn why wine was the beverage of choice through the ages, why a bottle of wine can range from $2 to $2,000, how wine is made, what makes a good/bad wine, how is white different from red, and how do we know what is in a bottle of wine. The course begins with a large scale fermentation of red and white wine and will continue with team based analysis of the two month process of turning grape juice into wine.

Cyberspace and Society

Cyberspace technology empowers us to do more, but it also has a societal impact. It raises new questions regarding the use and misuse of information obtained from the Internet. For example, what is the impact of the Internet on intellectual property? How far can computer surveillance go to detect criminal behavior without reducing our civil liberties? How can vulnerable groups be protected from predators, scam artists, and identity theft? Does privacy even exist anymore? You will develop an understanding of the technologies behind the Internet, the web and your computer, and then use this knowledge to evaluate the social and ethical implications of this technology.

Digital World 2020

This course covers the fundamental principles of digital information capture, compression, storage, transmission, and management. The course intends to provide an overall view of the information infrastructure both at the implementation hardware and application software level suitable for non-engineering majors.

Disasters: Geology vs. Hollywood

Clips from Hollywood disaster movies will drive our inquiry into geologic phenomena. Can you really drive over a lava flow in a jeep? (Dante’s Peak) Are we foolish not to prepare for a major earthquake in New York City? (Aftershock) Could global warming melt the polar ice caps turning “dry land” into a myth? (Waterworld) Would the impact of an asteroid the “size of Texas” kill half the Earth by heat and freeze the remainder in a nuclear winter? (Armageddon) Learn the fundamentals of plate tectonics, how petrologic properties control volcanic explosivity, how to calculate earthquake locations from seismic data, and prepare a disaster readiness plan for a major U.S. city.

DNA: Friend or Foe?

BIOLOGY 0848, 0948
Through the study of basic biological concepts, expand your scientific knowledge and think critically about questions like: Are there potential discriminatory implications that might result from the human genome project? What are the future implications of genetic testing as behavioral genes become identified? What are the social and legal implications involving the gathering and analysis of DNA samples for forensic analysis and DNA fingerprinting? What implications might arise from genetic testing that may impact other members of that family? What are embryonic stem cells, and why has this topic become an important social and political issue? Will advances in medicine allow humans to live considerably longer, and how will a longer human life span affect life on earth?

The Environment

You can extend your longevity and improve your health by identifying and avoiding the top 10 environmental toxins that enter and persistently stay in your body. Develop connections between the environment and everyday life. Enhance your awareness of current environmental issues by taking part in discussion and debate: Is Global Warming for real? Should the US sign the Kyoto protocol? Are we running out of oil? Learn as you go on campus field trips, try hands-on experiments and hear presentations from experts on the energy crisis, global climate change, acid rain, ozone depletion, resource sustainability, biodiversity and the environmental impact of natural phenomenon. Sharpen your strategies and leave a better environment for future generations.

Ethical Issues in Biomedical Science, Engineering, and Technology

At some point in our lives, each of us will be confronted with difficult biomedical and biotechnological questions that present an ethical dilemma. This course is designed to enable you to critically address important issues in ethics that arise from advances in these fields. We will consider potential advantages of using modern technologies to improve human health, in contrast to the risks associated with their application. Some of the questions we will pose include: Is it acceptable to spend a lot of money on advanced technologies that will benefit only a few patients? Is it acceptable to use technology to restore our bodies to a pre-injury state? If so, what about using technology to enhance our bodies to improve our performance? What are the implications of the use of reproductive technology that results in one child having three biological parents? Can a physician text a picture of an X-ray to another colleague? These questions, and many others, will be explored in detail through class and small group discussions, coupled with analysis of current news events and scientific publications. Evidence-based approaches will be used to investigate issues related to a variety of subjects including use/overuse of imaging modalities, organ transplant, regenerative tissue engineering and medicine, human enhancements, genetic engineering, personalized medicine, reproductive control (e.g. IVF, surrogate pregnancy), cloning, stem cell use, medical privacy in the era of the electronic medical record, texting, and instagram, and animal testing for cosmetics, drugs, or medical devices.

Evolution and Extinctions

Did an asteroid impact wipe out the dinosaurs? Can “natural” Earth-based processes also cause mass extinctions? Long before the dinosaurs, another mass extinction destroyed 90 percent of life on Earth, without an impact. Should we be less worried about rocks from space, and more about “down to Earth” phenomena such as climate change, volcanism, or disease? Basic geologic principles and the fundamentals of evolutionary thought combine to bring to life the 4.6 billion year story of our planet and its creatures. Through hands-on experience with fossils and rocks, students investigate changes in life through time, and discover how to decipher past environments from the geologic record.

Gender Issues in Science & Technology

Learn about science and technology through the lens of gender studies. As you are introduced to basic scientific principles and study the contributions of women to advances in science and technology, we will reflect on the many ways in which gender relations affect and have been affected by these advances. What contributions have women made to key aspects of science and technology? How do social spaces, such as Facebook and MySpace, facilitate changing gender identities and interactions? What are the gender implications of the digital divide? Through discussion, reading and with the guidance of guest speakers, we will gain insight into the gendered nature of science and technology and the effects on us all—men and women.

Green vs. Gray: Improving & Sustaining Urban Ecosystems

Explore urban ecology, urban ecological data gathering methods, and methods of improving and sustaining urban environments using Philadelphia as a living laboratory. With the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tender training and tree planting program you will have active involvement and deepened understanding of the funding, planning, installation and maintenance of trees and other living green systems within the city landscape. You will meet with Philadelphia Zoo administrators and Mill Creek Urban Farm directors, and learn about park infrastructure, vacant lot revitalization and community gardens.

How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life

As you observe films, demonstrations and photographic techniques both real and computer-simulated, and as you perform several simple in-home experiments you will gain a basic understanding the laws of nature as they play out in everyday life. In a special project you will compare the science in different science fiction films.

Nature Has No Reverse

Rapid advances in modern science often tend to “conceal the forest in the trees,” but we all need enough familiarity with the “scientific method” to make informed judgments as citizens and voters. This course will take you on a journey through the history of science, with stops at the Second Law of  Thermodynamics, the “revolution” of fire, the rational basis of life, energy as the universal currency and changes in the universe around us. We will end with that most disturbing of paradoxes: the certainty of uncertainty. Each week includes both lecture and hands-on demonstration/practicum.

Powering the Future

PHYSICS 0839, 0939
How can we provide inexpensive, safe, environmentally clean energy supplies for the United States and the world as a whole despite rising population and increasing affluence? Study problems of our conventional fossil and nuclear fuel use, and how they might be relieved; explore the physical and technological possibilities for using energy much more efficiently; investigate various renewable-energy sources (such as solar, hydrogen cells, hydropower, and biofuels) that significantly reduce effects on the environment. In the course lab projects, you will research and develop a sustainable energy proposal for your own home, campus, or community.

The Science of Sound

For living things the ability to hear sounds is an essential tool for survival, and sound is central to speech and languages. In the arts sound also plays a fundamental role, above all in music. The close connection between music, mathematics, and physics has fascinated some of the greatest minds in mathematics and science. Advances in electronics and computing are revolutionizing the composition, production, recording, and transmission of sound. In this interdisciplinary course, you will study elements of physics, physiology, psychology, music, and engineering. The course begins with a four-week introduction to the fundamental physics of sound waves. With this as a basis, we then consider human hearing, the human voice, and speech sounds; scales, harmony, and sound production by musical instruments; architectural acoustics; and the electronic reproduction of sound. The course includes many in-class demonstrations and experiments and occasional short musical performances.

Sustainable Design

What’s the big deal about global warming and how should we respond to it? Explore the issues and underlying causes. See how contemporary designers from Germany, Netherlands, UK and Japan are responding to scientific knowledge with sustainable designs for buildings, cars, towns and parks. Develop your own creative project to reduce the greenhouse effect. Have you ever wondered about what happens to local abandoned factories and degraded streams and rivers? Philadelphia is a national hotbed for sustainable design. Visit local restoration sites, modern “green” buildings, parks that reclaim waste water and transformed industrial parks to see firsthand what is happening in our area. Learn how design is transforming to propel us toward a low waste, energy conserving society in the 21st century.

Sustainable Environments


Your students, if they’re anything like mine, love to communicate through images—photos on Instagram, GIFs shared in a text, photo stories on Snapchat. And yet, so much of our conversation in school revolves around words. Understanding text is critical to students’ success now and in the future. But do we also help students identify, read and understand images in order to become literate in the visual language that is all around us? The photo essay can be a great middle or high school assignment that will have strong appeal and grow your students’ writing skills.

What Is a Photo Essay?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “photo essay,” have no fear. A photo essay, in its simplest form, is a series of pictures that evokes an emotion, presents an idea or helps tell a story. You’ve been exposed to photo essays for your entire life—possibly without even knowing it. For example, you may have seen Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother:

An iconic image of the Great Depression, this picture, along with Lange’s other gripping photos, helped Americans better understand the effects of poverty in California as well as across the nation. Migrant Mother is one of countless photographs that helped persuade, influence or engage viewers in ways that text alone could not.

Photo essays can feature text through articles and descriptions, or they can stand alone with simple captions to give context. The versatility of photo essays has helped the medium become a part of our culture for centuries, from the American Civil War to modern environmental disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This versatility is also what makes the photo essay a great educational asset in classrooms today; teachers can use them in any content area. Math students can use them to show a geometric concept in real life. Science students can document a chemistry process at home. Auto students can photograph the technique—and joys and frustrations—of learning a new procedure.

So, where does a teacher begin? Read further for tips and ideas for making photo essays a part of your teaching toolbox.

Start With Photos

Introducing photo essays as a means of changing lives and changing society can hook student interest in the medium. Begin by simply showing pictures and letting students discuss their reactions. Consider this famous photo of the field at Antietam during the Civil War. Share some of the photos from this collection from CNN of 25 of the Most Iconic Photographs or this list of 50 Influential Photographs That Changed Our World.

Each of these photographs stirs emotion and sends our minds searching for answers. As a warm-up assignment or series of assignments, have students choose (or assign randomly) a photograph to write about. What’s the story? Why did this happen? Who was involved?

DIY Photographs

Before giving a formal photo essay assignment, give students an opportunity to practice and receive feedback. Consider presenting students with several open-ended, ungraded challenges like “For class tomorrow, take a photo that depicts ‘Struggle.’” Other possible photo topics: chaos, frustration, friendship, school. Have students email you their photo homework and share it as a slideshow. Talk about the images. Do they convey the theme?

You can give examples or suggestions; however, giving too many examples and requirements can narrow students’ creativity. The purpose of this trial run is to generate conversation and introduce students to thinking like photographers, so don’t worry if the photos aren’t what you had in mind; it’s about getting feedback on what the student had in mind.

Technique 101

Even though the goal of a photo essay is to influence and create discussion, there is still benefit in giving students a crash course on simple photography concepts. Don’t feel like you have to teach a master-level course on dark-room development. Even a simple overview on the “Rule of Thirds” and the importance of perspective can be enough to help students create intentional, visually stirring photographs.

You can teach these ideas directly or have students do the work by researching on their own. They have most likely seen hundreds of movies, advertisements and photos, so these lessons are simply labeling what they’ve already experienced. Having some knowledge of composition will not only help students improve their visual literacy, it will also help empower them to take photos of their own.

Choose Your Purpose

Are students telling their own stories of their neighborhoods or their families? Are they addressing a social issue or making an argument through their images and text? A photo essay could be a great assignment in science to document a process or focus on nature.

If you are just getting started, start out small: Have students create a short photo essay (two to five images) to present a topic, process or idea you have been focusing on in class. Here’s a Photo Essay Planning Guide to share with your students.

With pictures becoming a dominant medium in our image-filled world, it’s not a question of if we should give students practice and feedback with visual literacy, it’s a question of how. Photo essays are a simple, engaging way to start. So, what’s your plan?

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