Course descriptions - Spring 2012
AH-361E 001 Topics in Gender and Visual Culture: Asian Art
Focuses on women in South and East Asia, as well as women of Asian descent living in the West, as patrons, as subjects of representation, and as artists across various time periods and regions. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, this course analyzes women’s contributions to and presence in a broad range of visual material, including the built environment, painting, photography, film, and fashion. Throughout the course, we will examine the ways in which notions of identity, power, and politics are embedded in various ways of visually representing and seeing gender in specific Asian societies and communities. (Designated a non-Western culture course)
AH-375B 001 Seminar: Impressionism
Explores the artistic concerns, critical reception, and cultural significance of impressionist painting in 19th-century France. Artists discussed will include Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, and Renoir. Students will explore the relationship between art and modernity; conceptions of class, gender, and sexuality; debates about the practice and social identity of artists; and the shifting understanding of impressionism in scholarship and popular culture after the 19th century.
AM-260 001 Law & American Society:The Influence of the Law in American Culture
This seminar examines the law and the legal system from the outside looking in: investigating thesocietal forces that shape and influence the law, determining how it is applied. It also studies thelaw from the inside out: examining how and to what extent the legal system influences modernsociety and societal norms, probing the interrelationship between the law and modern culture. Thelaw and the legal system will be studied from multiple viewpoints, and with the perspective ofcitizens living in American legal culture: how has the law influenced and shaped modern Americanculture, and in what ways does modern American culture influence the development of the law?What is the role of modern society in the legal system and vice-versa? In this seminar, we will draw on a variety of sources including film and television, court cases/opinions, newspaper & current media, and social science materials. In particular, we will more closely examine depictions of the law and the legal system in several popular films, considering and analyzing each film to further our inquiry and understanding of the cultural perspectives in relation to an associated seminar topic. In this discussion-based seminar, students will develop advocacy skills in classroom discussions, while individual projects will allow students to explore particular topics in greater depth. Films will be shown on alternate Monday evenings.
AN-251C 001 Thinking Through Objects
An exploration of the significance of material objects in social life and the ways in which cultural anthropologists and other scholars have contributed to the study of material culture, a highly interdisciplinary and cross-cultural field of research. In this seminar, students learn to recognize the importance of material objects in the social world as well as in their own lives. How do objects help people define their identity, stabilize their world, remember the past, structure their lives, facilitate action, and tell personal as well as collective stories? Among the types of objects studied in this course are biographical objects, gender objects, touristic souvenirs, collector’s items, political insignia, personified objects, and museum artifacts. Prerequisite: AN-101 or AN-102
AN-252C 001 Political Anthropology
This course takes an anthropological approach to understanding how different cultures live and experience politics. The course will begin by looking at how different societies organize politically, from Big Man societies in Papua New Guinea to international organizations. We will critically examine how different cultures understand concepts such as power, nationalism and the state, and in particular, how power is organized when there is no state. Cases will come from a range of areas including the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and the Americas, taking both a comparative and historical approach. We will in particular scrutinize terms such as democracy and civil society that have been developed from a Western context and ask how useful they are when discussing other cultures. (Designated a non-Western culture course.) Prerequisite: AN-101 or 102
AN-252C 002 Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas
This course provides an introduction to the study of the Prehispanic civilizations of the New World. The curriculum will cover pertinent archaeological, ethnohistoric, and epigraphic data from three of the best known pre-Hispanic states: the Maya of southern Mesoamerica, the Aztecs of central Mexico, and the Inca of the Andes. These three examples provide interesting case studies to understand similarities and variability in the political, economic, and social organization of the complex societies of the New World. While discussion will focus on the specific examples of the Aztec, Inca, and Maya civilizations, the perspective of this course is explicitly comparative. These case studies will be examined within the framework of anthropological theories of ancient states. For each civilization, we will examine several categories of variability, including: environmental context, origins of complexity, political geography and spatial organization, social organization, economy, religion and ideology, and political structure. Examination of each of these variables, in addition to other topics of interest for each specific case study, will facilitate a comparative approach to understanding New World states. (Designated a non-Western culture course; fulfills social sciences requirement.)
AN-252 003 North American Indians
A survey of indigenous peoples and cultures of North America, including the Inuit of Northern Canada, the Navajo of the American southwest, and the Nahuas of central Mexico. A comparative analysis of folklore, ethnographies, contested cultural symbols, and current events will illuminate what being ‘Indian’ means to groups who refer to themselves as ‘the people;’ the roles of government, industry, education, evangelization, the environment, popular culture, and even anthropology in First Nations’ corporate adjustments to contact, ‘conquest,’ colonization, colonialism, and citizenship; and the Native American roots of our notions of community, political consensus and resource stewardship. (Designated a non-Western course; fulfills social sciences requirement)
AN-351C 001 The Anthropology of Violence
This course is a cross-cultural exploration of violence. The course will consider how different cultures understand violence and related issues such as power and sovereignty, and relationships between families, kin groups, tribes, neighborhoods, and countries. In our readings and discussions, we will look at how anthropologists conduct research amidst violence, write about it and address the concept ethnographically. Cases will include studies of colonial violence, interethnic violence, violence within communities and war from a range of geographic areas, particularly the Middle East, South Asia and North America. The majority of the cases will focus on political violence, but will also ask how political violence is tied to other forms of violence. Topics include conceptions of masculinity and violence, torture and international politics, terror and violence, and writing about the Holocaust. Prerequisite: AN-101 or 102
AN-352C 001 Environmental Archaeology
In modern public discourse, we often speak of human impacts on the physical environment in negative terms. In this class we will adopt a different perspective to understand the relationship between human groups and the natural environment, focusing on the dynamic relationship between human societies and the physical landscape in which they inhabit. As the importance of human/environmental dynamics has come to the forefront of public and academic discourse, archaeology will play an increasingly important role in understanding long term relationships between human land use practices, natural and anthropogenic environmental and climatic processes, and the sustainability of socionatural systems. This course will examine a range of issues relevant in the emerging subdiscipline of environmental archaeology, including the theories and methods researchers use to reconstruct ancient landscapes, patterns of environmental and climatic change, and human land use and modification practices. This course adopts a holistic approach that combines paleoclimatic reconstruction, regional analysis, settlement pattern research, sustainability studies, political ecology, and landscape approaches to construct a nuanced and dynamic view of the relationship between human groups and the physical environment. Prerequisite: AN-101, AN-102 or ES-100 or permission of the instructor.
AR-264H 001 Special Topics: Printmaking and Artists’ Books
An introduction to the traditions and methods of the handmade artists’ book in a combination of the critical study of original works and bookmaking processes. The student will learn the expressive possibilities of sequential pictorial information combined with original text. Construction of various bindings, relief prints, and letterpress will be explored. Prerequisites: AR 131, AR 134 or permission of instructor. Lab fee: $65
AR-351G 001 Special Topics: Photography: Imaging the Environment
Responding to the environmental crisis in our world today, students in this studio art photography course will creatively explore themes and genres related to this issue. Each project in this course will focus on a specific theme and photographic technique. This course offers students the opportunity to explore significant environment texts and artists/photographers who have shaped this environmental photography movement. Prerequisites: AR 229 or permission of instructor. Lab fee: $80
AR-351H 001 Special Topics: Advanced Printmaking Techniques
An advanced studio course in printmaking focused on the traditional and contemporary processes with an emphasis on greater mastery of technical skills, personal exploration and growth. This course continues the advancement of the technical aspects of lithography, relief and intaglio as well as processes in collograph, monotype, digital printmaking, color and non-toxic printmaking techniques. Prerequisite: AR341, or AR342, or AR350 or permission of instructor. Lab fee: $75.
BI-251M 001 Topics in Cell Biology
Examination of essential cellular function and cell structure. Students will study cellular functions such as protein structure and function, cytoskeletal organization, cell migration, cellular metabolism, and cell signaling. How these cellular processes are involved in cancer will be explored. In addition, the theoretical bases to cell biological methodologies will be described.
DA-274B 002 Body Mind Integration
An experiential course incorporating lecture, discussion, movement, hands-on learning and research. In the study of Body-Mind Integration, students will experience movement from “the inside out” through structured explorations and physiological research. The last century gave birth to dozens of methodologies that incorporated anatomy, physiology and experiential inquiry, into approaches whereby the dancer, mover, scientist or athlete can conduct activities, movement, exercises from sensation or an understanding of the “inner workings” of the body. Masters of efficient, healthy movement include Lulu Sweigard, Irmgard Bartenieff, Charlotte Selver, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Carola Speads, F.M. Alexander, Joan Skinner, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, Steve Paxton, Elaine Summers, Irene Dowd, Mary Starks Whitehouse and many others. Out of this rich fabric of research came approaches such as Authentic Movement, Ideokinesis, Laban Movement Analysis and Body-Mind Centering® that offer a rich series of sensory approaches to the body in motion and the body in stillness. This class will offer opportunities and techniques for allowing sensation and an inner voice to conduct action and provide information about the body underneath the skin. This foundation will allow natural movement to have priority over appearance or perfect execution. A correlation can be made with Jazz improvisation; when the musician is guided by an inner voice or impulse in expressing sound. This class is about change, expression through the body, release and reeducation of tissue or cemented movement patterns and ultimately a new understanding of how the body works. The guide and teacher is the student’s inner sensation rather than objective directions from outside the body. An overriding understanding of balance and regulating tone in all the systems and the surrounding environment will give students life-sustaining tools to regulate their body-mind. Athletes, dancers, pedestrians will find healthier ways to move and regulate their body mind by accessing power, strength and flow in motion through relaxation and fluidity. The goal is to be aware of one’s body from the inside, creating positive ramifications for performance and wellness.
EN-105/105H Course Descriptions can be found here
ES-251A 001 Political Ecology
How does political ecology differ from ecology? Who has power over the environment? How is nature constructed and destructed? How do existing policies and stakeholder interactions affect the use of environment by society? How do resource conflicts arise and become resolved? How is environmental knowledge used and abused? This course will introduce students to the array of broad political and socio-economic forces that shape the human relationships with the environment. These forces are multiple and interact in complex ways over a set of interlocking scales from local to global. We will address these issues by covering several case studies, both from the United States and the world. This course includes Service Learning component that requires a 15-hour commitment to an off campus community project.
The course work includes an exam, a research project on a community project (15 hours/semester commitment and possible travel to outside campus), reflection papers and a presentation.
Prerequisite: Familiarity with social science research methods, permission of instructor
ES-251B 001 The Engineering and Ecology of Energy
Energy is a principle means for providing basic human needs, and it facilitates opportunities for achieving a decent quality of life. Access to and distribution of affordable, adequate, and sustainable energy sources is a prerequisite for sustainable development, and understanding the design, efficiencies, and environmental impacts of different energy systems is critical to our transition to a cleaner, more equitable energy future. We will explore the fundamental physics of energy, the evolving designs, technologies and efficiencies of more traditional and alternative energy production, and the comprehensive ecological impacts of various energy sources and systems such as Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Biomass. Prereqs. ES 100 and QR1.
ES-351A 001 Environmental Art
Environmental art encompasses a range of approaches to connecting art with the environment. In this course, we will study contemporary works of art that explore environmental issues or encourage positive environmental change. Often referred to as eco-art or ecological art, these works are frequently collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature. They ask us to consider public and activist art in connection with environmental concerns. As a counterpoint to our study of these works, we will examine contemporary art made from natural materials. Much of this work emphasizes ephemerality and one’s personal connection with the natural world. Course assignments will include presentations requiring research and interdisciplinary analysis. In Skidmore’s tradition of “hand and mind,” assignments will also include a series of visual studies and a collaborative environmental art project. While this course does not require experience with studio art, it does require an interest in visual art and a willingness to experiment with visual communication and expression. Museum exhibitions discussed will include Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art, Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet, and ecovention. Prerequisites: ES100 or permission of instructor. Lab fee: $25
ES-351A 002 Environmental Legal Issues
This course will entail study, discussion and writing about environmental legal issues at the Federal, State and Local levels. Topics covered will include laws governing air and water pollution, hazardous waste disposal and governmental zoning powers. After initial focus on the “birth” and evolution of environmental regulatory schemes, principally at the Federal level, emphasis will shift to analysis of environmental legal issues of regional and local significance. Class assignments will include analysis of environmental law statutes, regulations and cases, as well as other writings, including current articles, regarding local environmental issues. Students will also learn to find, research and analyze Court Decisions involving environmental law. Discussion group format will enable students to develop advocacy skills in debates among each other and group assignments may include the opportunity to participate in community or regional legal issues of environmental social relevance. Prerequisite: ES 100
ES-351A 003 Environment and Development in the Middle
The Middle East immediately brings to mind religious and political complexities. However, Middle Eastern nations also face distinctive environmental and development challenges. In this class, students will study the natural and human environment in the Middle East, addressing major development and environmental topics such as the impacts of oil and other natural resource use; modernization and large dam projects; population growth and access to water, energy and food; and climate change and transboundary environmental issues. Students will explore the complex and interdisciplinary characteristics of Middle East environmental issues at both the regional and global scales through the examination of case studies from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
The course work includes an exam, a research project, individual and group work on case studies.
Prerequisite: Familiarity with international policy making and world geography; permission of instructor
EX-361 001 Molecules & Medicines in Metabolic Disease
Advanced study in the molecular basis of metabolic disease. Students will acquire an understanding of the biological and environmental mechanisms underlying the current epidemic of metabolic disease, namely type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additionally students will become familiar with the mode of action and efficacy of current pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of metabolic disease. The process of taking discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside will be discussed in the context of current next generation treatments. Readings will be drawn from the primary and secondary literature.
EX-361 002 Exercise is Medicine
Advanced study in the role of physical activity throughout the continuum of chronic disease. Students will investigate the beneficial effects of physical activity as a means to prevent, reverse, or manage various chronic diseases, including cancer, hypertension, metabolic disease, obesity, and depression. Topics include exercise-induced physiological and psychological adaptations and their effect on chronic diseases, normal versus pathophysiological growth and aging, as well as physical, motivational, and public-policy barriers to providing exercise to target populations
FL-263 001 Japanese Popular Culture
This course examines Japanese popular culture as a way of understanding the changing character of media, capitalism, fan communities and culture. Topics include Japanese manga (comic books), hip-hop and other popular music, anime (Japanese animated films) and feature films, sports, TV shows, and popular literature. Emphasis will be on contemporary popular culture and theories of gender, sexuality, race, class, and the workings of power in global cultural industries. This course also gives the students a direct taste of the subject matter.
FS-363 001 Special Studies in Spanish: Contemporary Hispanic Caribbean Literatures
Contemporary Hispanic Caribbean Literatures and Cultures: This course examines some of the discourses of political, racial, and national identities in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic through the study of short stories, novels, poetry, films, and cultural essays. Special attention will be given to the negotiations of these identities in the Spanish Caribbean and the Spanish Caribbean diaspora. Students will analyze texts by writers or filmmakers such as Mayra Santos Febres, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Antonio José Ponte, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Aurora Arias, and Rita Indiana Hernández. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. (Fulfills foreign language requirement)
GO-366 001 Understanding Globalization
A critical examination of globalization as a political, economic, technological, social, and cultural phenomenon, which has wrought fundamental changes to our lives by making the world smaller and more interdependent. The course will explore the meaning, features and impact of globalization on the role of states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and transnational corporations; the transformation of national sovereignty; the expansion of liberal democracy; the changes in international economic relations (trade, finance, investment) and institutions (GATT/WTO, IMF, World Bank); the promotion of social progress and backwardness; the rise and decline of nationalistic, ethnic, and religious confrontations; and the development of cultural diversity and homogeneity. Special attention will be devoted to analyzing the ideologies, actors, and interests promoting and opposing globalization as well as the risks and opportunities associated with globalization from the perspective of different groups.
GO-351A 001 Lincoln as Statesman
This course will explore Lincoln’s confrontation with the problem of slavery and the American regime. It will consist primarily of a close analysis of Lincoln’s speeches and writings. Lincoln’s speeches and deeds have been said by some scholars to constitute a completion of the American founding or a second American revolution. We will explore the origins and nature of Lincoln’s impact, trying to understand Lincoln’s project from the perspective of Lincoln himself. Lincolnreflected deeply on America’s founding ideals as expressed in its public documents, as well as particular historical realities confronting the nation in the 1800s. Our course of study will therefore attempt to mimic these reflections. Recommended preparation GO102 and/or GO236.
HI-217 001 Natural Disasters in Asia
Focusing on the response of state and society to natural disasters in Asia up to the present day, this course will cover changes to relief priorities and capabilities over time; issues of entitlement and the “worthy poor”; the ideological (Buddhist, Confucian and Christian) bases of state and charitable action; rebellion due to ecological crises; and modern or Western perceptions of “Asian” humanitarianism, and how they compare to what can be learned from the historical record. Centered onChina, the course will also touch on the Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese experiences, ending with the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and 2011 Japanese tsunami.
HI-217C 002 Caribbean History: Hegemony, Imperial Designs, and Identity in the Greater Antilles
The course will focus on the Caribbean relationship with the US from the 1800s to the present focusing on Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico. We will explore different projects of Economic, political, social, cultural, and military control; the variegated responses of Antillean popular sectors and the elite, and the effects of such interactions on national identity and self-perception. Some topics to be considered include: Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, modern racism, The War of 1898, Projects of Nation Building and Assimilation, Intervention and Occupation in the Caribbean, and Revolution and Resistance. (Fulfills social sciences requirement)
HI-217C 003 Turkey: Between Europe and the Middle East
Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, but it is also a candidate for membership in the European Union and has traditionally enjoyed close diplomatic relations with the United States, Europe, and Israel. Supporters have often called it a “bridge” between East and West, Europe and the Islamic world. Recently, however, major media outlets have asked whether the West is “losing Turkey” with Turkey’s election of a party with Islamist roots, its pursuit of closer ties with the Middle East, its relations with the United States and Israel strained, and its EU bid at a standstill. This course attempts to make sense of the contemporary debate over Turkey’s place in the world by examining its place in the histories of Europe and the Islamic world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We examine Turkey’s diplomatic, cultural, and economic relations with the West; the role of religion in Turkish history; the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and formation of the Republic of Turkey; Turkey’s treatment of minorities (Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and Kurds) as well as other issues. Although the focus of the course is Turkey, Turkey will also serve as a prism through which we examine broader historical issues, such as Islam’s role in politics, the evolution of nationalism and national identity, westernization and modernization, the legacy of empire, and ultimately the meaning of “Europe” and “the West.” The course work will include reflection papers, an exam, and a research project. (Fulfills social sciences requirement)
Honors Forum Courses - http://www.skidmore.edu/hf/
ID-251B 006 Style Matters: Stylistics, Rhetoric, and Grammar
"You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being." Taking these words of Katherine Anne Porter‘s to heart, in this course you will go about the tricky business of coaxing the elusive quality of your "being" on to your pages. To state the course goals more practically, you will be studying the ways in which rhetorical devices, grammar and punctuation, word choice, sentence structure, and awareness of audience contribute to tone and clarity—contribute to how and what you write. We will ask you to experiment with strategies for presenting complex arguments in multiple ways, work with methods of analyzing and manipulating sentence shapes, and consider the crucial role of nuanced word choice in precise expression. In these ways, we want to give you a chance to discover what you might need to write effective, readable, maybe even enjoyable prose within a given context.
This course is intended for students in all disciplines who have completed the all-college expository writing requirement. We will assume that if you enroll in this class, you have a solid understanding of grammar basics on which to build. Brief reading and writing assignments, a class report, and a paper turned in at the end of the course.
MA-376 001 Senior Seminar
To paraphrase and summarize the Introduction to their text Continuous Symmetry from Euclid to Klein, William Barker and Roger Howe tell us the following: after Galois, a realization of the relevance of group theory to geometry began to grow, with groups arising from symmetries - transformations which preserve the essential characteristics.
A seminal connection between geometry and group theory was discovered by Felix Klein in 1872, and it has become known as Klein's Erlanger Programm. Klein observed that geometry was about classes of equivalent figures - for example, those equivalent under congruence, which can be achieved by transformations which are rigid motions (isometries). So at the core of geometry is the idea of geometric equivalence via symmetries, and these symmetries form a group under composition of transformations. The analysis of these groups also allows the reconstruction of the geometries (with some limitations).
That is what we are going to study in this seminar. Among the topics we will consider and tasks we will undertake may be a transformational approach to some classical Euclidean geometric results, the designing of a "cookbook" of the planar isometries (probably using The Geometers' Sketchpad software), Leonardo's Theorem (not Leonardo of Pisa, the other one), frieze and wallpaper groups, tessellations, scaling and dimensions.
MU-205 001 Class Study of Taiko
In this course we will examine the origins of Taiko drumming in Japan and consider how the tradition has developed in North America over the past four decades. We will discuss the role of Taiko drumming in the Asian American Movement, explore different styles of contemporary Taiko in Asian America, and gain basic drumming competency. Through the integration of academic and performance study we will consider and experience Taiko drumming as a prominent and dynamic Asian American performing art.
MU-345 001 20th Century Music
A survey of major trends in Western art music during the twentieth century.
PH-230 001 Philosophy of Gender and Race
It seems a matter of common sense that human beings have genders and have races. But just what is it to have a gender? To have a race? Do our gender and racial categories reflect real, objective kinds? Or are our gender and racial categories just human inventions? And, if racial and gender categories are human inventions, should we try to eliminate these categories from our ways of thinking and speaking? Would our societies and world be more equitable if we stopped paying attention to gender and race? What might it take to move towards a society that is both inclusive and diverse? In this course, we will investigate the categories of race and gender, and we will explore philosophical issues around gender and race. We will be concerned with the reality of gender and race, the ways we talk and think about gender and race, and with social justice regarding race and gender.
PH-306 001 19th Century (State, Science, Subject)
In this course, we will look at how 19th century philosophy continued with the problems and methods set for it in the modern period and why and how these methods and problems were subject to change, variation, and philosophical development given the historical context in which they were deployed. We will also look at the way in which 19th Century philosophical ideas went on to influence the way we think in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Given that the 19th Century in Europe, England, and the United States was very fertile and diverse philosophically and witnessed the professionalization of the discipline as well as the wide dissemination of philosophical journals, lectures, and ideas, there is much material from which this seminar might choose. In order to narrow this material down and to look at the way in which the historical context changed philosophy (and how philosophy changed the historical context), we will look at the area where historical changes most inscribed themselves; that is, on philosophers’ ideas about the human subject, on technology and science, and about the way in which this knowledge might be used to regulate society in the best way.
PH-314 001 Philosophy of Law
Philosophy and law were born together in the earliest reflections on the way of the world, both natural and political. This seminar will engage classic and contemporary readings in the philosophy of law to explore the philosophical foundations and content of law and jurisprudence. The nature of law – natural, or conventional, or moral; the nature of legal reasoning – textually based or precedent based; the moral force of the law, the nature of rights – liberty, speech, privacy, religion; the nature of justice and equality --- these and other topics will be addressed in a seminar that will make use of both original and secondary materials, as well as case studies.
PH-330 001 Materialism
Philosophy, as Kant wrote, is only a "Kampfplatz," a battlefield where opposing tendencies confront one another. The fronts change places. The combatants renew themselves and change their names: the war goes on... In the last instance, the nature of philosophy as battlefield can be reduced to two opposing tendencies: materialism and idealism. Louis Althusser, 1967
Taking up Althusser's thesis, this seminar will examine philosophy's perpetual battle from behind the materialist lines. Therefore, it will be animated by such questions as: "What is materialism?"; "How does materialism differ from idealism?"; "What role has materialism played in the history of philosophy?"; and "What advantages do we gain by envisioning the world as material (as only consisting of matter and void) and what do we lose?" In doing so, it will address contemporary and historical problems in metaphysics, epistemology, identity, hermeneutics, value theory and historiography. Philosophers examined include: Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius, Descartes, La Mettrie, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Marx, Dewey, Althusser, and Nagel.
PS-212A 001 Formative Studies in Cognitive Neuroscience
The focus of this course will be on how seminal experiments and keen observations of behavior, both in healthy and lesioned individuals have driven the development of Cognitive Neuroscience. We will explore the reasoning of early and current scientists as we endeavor to understand higher cognitive functions such as memory, attention, language, and reasoning. We will weigh the merits of historical arguments often supporting conflicting theories about topics ranging from the nature of neuronal circuitry and communication to the cognitive abilities of infants and nonhuman primates. Through an examination of the methods used to study cognition and brain function we will seek to understand the major theories and models of fundamental cognitive processes. Prerequisite: PS 101 or NS101
PS-212A 002 Ethics in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
We will review a variety of experimental designs and procedures in Psychology and Neuroscience with consideration to ethics. We will also explore the ethical implications of technological and methodological advancements in the fields. Prerequisite: PS 101 or NS 101, or permission of instructor.
PS-212A 003 Law and Psychology
There is a great deal about the law that is very psychological, and a number of the connections between these two fields have been investigated. This survey course will cover that interface between the disciplines of Psychology and Law. Topics surveyed will include: juries and jury decision making, expert testimony, forensic assessment, civil commitment, eyewitness testimony, psychology of law enforcement, correctional psychology, psychology of criminal behavior, psychology of victims and so on. Format will be discussion, lecture and in–class exercises.
PS-212B 001 Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders
This course provides a clinical overview of the most common developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Students will gain an understanding of each disorder: its etiology, behavioral presentation, and appropriate interventions. There will be an emphasis on how both historical perspectives and current research play a role in the assessment and treatment for various behavioral issues related to developmental disabilities. Students will develop skills in functional assessment and behavior support planning through the use of case studies and their own observations. Students will work together to develop and implement an awareness event on campus focused on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Prerequisite: PS 101 or permission of instructor
PS-302 001 Adult Development
We will explore psychological aspects of human growth and function from young adulthood to senescence, with consideration of research procedures and problems as well as recent findings and relevant theory. Prerequisites: PS 207 and 217, or permission of instructor.
PS-312A 001 Memory and Cognition
This course surveys human mental processes. Cognition involves the ability to store, retrieve, and use knowledge. In-class demonstrations and activities supplement lecture material on attentional processes,memory, imagery, concept formation, language, reasoning, problem-solving, and creativity. Prerequisite: PS 101 or NS 101.
PS-312A 002 Psychological Trauma
Since the time of Freud, psychology has explored the connections amongst traumatic events and subsequent psychopathology. An extensive clinical and research literature has been devoted to discerning the contributions of biological, emotional, cognitive and social factors to the varied responses of those who experience trauma in their lives. This course is designed to explore the contemporary empirical and clinical literature in psychological trauma and trauma pathology. We will look at various types of trauma events that people suffer; war, rape, serious accidents, debilitating disease, childhood physical and sexual abuse, natural disasters, crime. We will explore the ways in which these events produce unique effects as well as more common stress effects. We will explore individual differences in terms of the trauma response including psychological and physiological reactivity, psychological vulnerability and the concept of resilience. We will examine buffers of the trauma response including social and family support, religious affiliation and socioeconomic status. Finally we will look at what types of treatments are effective for people suffering from trauma reactions and what the future holds in terms of new discoveries for trauma victims.
PS-312A 003 The Psychology of Well-being: An Experiential Seminar
In this seminar we will explore research in the area of the psychology of well-being. Topics to be examined will include: 1) the nature of happiness; 2) differences between pleasure, positive emotions and positive moods; 3) the experience of joy and the cultivation of present mindedness; 4) the psychology of gratitude and forgiveness; 5) the development of optimism versus pessimism and hopefulness versus helplessness; 6) living the engaged life; 7) cross-cultural differences in happiness; 8) well-being in cultures of consumption; and 9) happiness and the search for meaning. The class will be discussion focused. A variety of experiential exercises will also be included in which students will be given the opportunity for self-exploration and experimentation with a range of methods for enhancing aspects of their personal well-being. Prerequisites: three courses in psychology.
PS-312A 004 Memory in the Real World
This seminar focuses on how memory impacts our everyday lives, both in seemingly harmless ways (i.e., forgetting where you parked your car, or telling a new joke to the person who told you in the first place) and potentially detrimental ways (i.e., testifying that you saw a red car leave the scene of a robbery when you only heard this on the news). Our focus is on autobiographical memory, the memory system that forms a sense of who we are, allowing us to have a past and predict a future. How does autobiographical memory behave across the lifespan? How do memories develop in childhood? Why does life seem to speed up as we age? We will consider variables that impact memory accuracy, such as emotion, suggestion and imagination, including current research on flashbulb memories, eyewitness memory, source monitoring and false autobiographical memories. Students will lead course discussions over articles of their choice and be able to express their knowledge in creative ways. Prerequisite: PS 101 or NS 101
PS-312A 005 Ecological Perception
In this seminar, we will survey the field of Ecological Psychology — a perspective on sensation and perception that posits that we directly use information in the environment to control our behavior. The information in the world specifies this behavior, for example, a rock, depending on its size, may afford throwing, climbing, or even the prohibition of travel. Chairs are things that afford sitting — but we can surely sit on many things that we wouldn’t necessarily classify as chairs. Floors, tables, horses, and each other might qualify. This theoretical framework, advanced primarily by James Gibson, assumes a ‘direct pickup’ of information from the environment, a position that runs counter to many current orthodox theories of the mind. We are not traditional computers, processing input and generating output, but rather we are complicated dynamical systems consisting of levels of feedback. We’ll examine this controversy, survey its history, and attempt to reconcile some of the current findings in perception with it. Recommended prerequisites: PS-325 Perception and/or PS-324 Cognition and/or PS-232 Cognitive Science.
PS-312A 006 Pheromones and Behavior
This seminar will delve into the exciting world of chemical communication (communication by taste and smell) between animals. Animals from fish to fleas and earthworms to elephants rely heavily on chemical signaling to communicate with members of the same species and to attract or repel members of other species. This course will explore pheromones and other chemical signals involved in reproduction, scent marking & territorial behavior, social organization, and recruitment & alarm. We will also thoroughly discuss putative human pheromones. Prerequisite: PS 101 or NS 101
PS-312A 007 Evolutionary Developmental Psychology
An analysis of human development from an evolutionary perspective. This course applies evolutionary thought to the study of development, as well as developmental principles to our understanding of evolution. Through the lens of evolutionary theory, students will discover how adaptive thought and behavior develop, how childhood behaviors serve to prepare children for adulthood, and how cognition and behavior during childhood may facilitate children’s navigation of this unique period of the lifespan. Students will also learn how evolutionary change can be better understood by integrating a traditional understanding of the evolutionary process with our knowledge of how genes and environment interact through the course of development. Additional topics include the evolution of parenting and families, the origins of the extended period of human childhood, and how our development compares to that of our closest primate relatives. Prerequisite: PS-207 or PS-223
PY-251 001 Special Topics: Acoustics
This course is an advanced study of acoustics as it applies to music. It examines how sound is produced and propagated as well as how it is reproduced. Topics include vibrations, transverse motion and the acoustic wave equation. Strings, cavities and pipes will also be examined as they apply to musical instruments. Whenever possible, correlation will be made between acoustical behavior and modern synthesizer techniques. An in depth examination will be done in the context of analog and digital recording and will include a detailed mathematical study of Fourier Analysis and the role it plays in acoustical analysis. Prerequisites: prior physics course and permission of the department
RE-202 001 Christian Scriptures
The New Testament is a collection of texts that mixes deep piety with social critique, in order to proclaim the radical ethic of the coming Kingdom of God. Focusing on the figure of Jesus, these sacred writings address important religious issues -- messiah and miracle, sin and salvation, among others -- in ways that continue to speak to millions of people today. To better understand such important texts, we situate them at the confluence of two powerful literary streams, the Hebrew Bible and Classics. Channeling currents from both types of sources, the first Christians fashioned a rich symbolism and formed their own distinct identities. Our goal in this course will be to understand the spiritual experiences of that early Church, rather than to read the New Testament through the lens of later theologies. So then, “let anyone with ears to hear, listen!”
RE-225 001 Religion and Ecology
An exploration of the critical connections between religion and the natural environment.
How do religious beliefs, symbol systems, and ritual behaviors shape human perceptions of, and interactions with, the nonhuman environment? How might the primary models provided by western, eastern and indigenous religious traditions help us to address specific local and global environmental concerns? For answers to these questions we’ll look to a variety of sacred traditions, drawing on primary and secondary resources in ecotheology, deep ecology, ecofeminism, nature mysticism, new age religious movements, bioregionalism and social ecology.
RE-330 001 Kabbalah
In this course we will explore Jewish Mysticism from its earliest sources in the Torah and the Talmud to its manifestations on the self-help literature in the present. We'll focus on the development of its symbols, where they came from, and how they signify. We'll look at the role that bodies play- how much does it matter what its practitioners do, and how they do it? In that same vein, we'll look at gender categories, and how they organize thought and action in a kabbalistic cosmos. Finally we'll consider the notion of authenticity. Who has a right to claim its symbols, its texts, its cosmological models, and its powers as their own? By the end of the course students will be familiar with the core texts in kabbalah, they will have a good grasp of its cosmological models, knowledge of the range of ideas about how the texts work, for whom, and why people think so.
RE-330 002 Feminist Theologies
A critical exploration of the various ways in which feminist theory is transforming discourse about religion. Topics include the feminist critique of conventional theological methods and assumptions, womanist theology, liberation theologies, goddess-oriented “theology”, lesbian spirituality and ethics, ecofeminism, radical or “cosmic” feminism, and neopaganism. This is not an introductory-level course; it presumes some prior acquaintance with the study of religion and/or women’s studies.
SO-251 001 Sociology of Sexualities
What comprises a "sexuality?" Using a sociological lens, students examine the development and social construction of sexual identities and desires. This course provides an overview of a variety of theories of sexuality, as well as an exploration of the ways that sexuality intersects with other social identities such as gender, race, and age. Other topics include sexual subcultures, sexuality in the media, sexuality on campus, sexual violence, pornography, and sex work.
SO-351 001 Transgender Lives, Identities, and Experiences
"Transgender" is increasingly used to describe a multiplicity of identities as well as a particular politic and a growing community. We will examine multiple theories that have been used to explore transgendered persons’ lives and experiences, including feminist theory, queer theory, and gender theory. A primary goal of the course is an understanding of the multiplicities of the masculine, feminine, and queer identities that have emerged under the category "transgender," particularly in terms of the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
SO-351C 001 Family Violence
This course examines current topics in family violence, clarifying the concept of family violence, reviewing applicable theories, discussing different forms that family violence takes, and examining family violence's social consequences and the current interventions used to stop it. Topics to be discussed will include physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse of intimate partners and children, abuse of the elderly and other family members, responses from the criminal justice system, and relevant law and social policy. Additionally, this course will use a collaborative learning approach, which will richly incorporate the readings into class discussions and assignments, promoting a more comprehensive understanding of concepts.
SW-219 001 Community Engagement
A course designed to provide students with opportunities to engage with the broader community beyond Skidmore through service and to encourage critical reflection on their experiences. Students volunteer their services in local nonprofit agencies for six to eight hours a week and learn to assume the role of a volunteer to: understand the history of the non-profit sector; research client needs; and demonstrate skills that promote effective and sensitive community service.
TH-251B 003 TRANSLATION and PERFORMANCE
This course seeks to creatively engage students in broader questions of linguistic and cultural transmission by focusing on the challenges of translating for the stage. Students will explore translation theory in practice and performance by completing an independent translation project of a dramatic text into English. The class will read and discuss various texts in translation studies covering topics such as globalization, adaptation for the stage, the translator’s role, gender in translation, and postcolonial approaches to translation. The culminating experience will be a public staged reading of the students’ creative work. Prerequisite: Successful completion of a foreign language writing course or proficiency in a non-English language.