Flexible Curriculum

The STV minor boasts an extensive course catalog that enables our students to design a program of study tailored to their interests.

Our course offerings feature options in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and more.

Courses with STV attribute count towards minor. For more details, please consult the University’s course catalog.

University Course Catalog

STV 20257 - Our Cosmic Stories

Since the dawn of history, human beings have been telling stories about their origin and destiny. From the Dreamtime of Aboriginals to the gods of the Hellenes, Norse tales to Abrahamic revelations, our ability to weave imagination and reason, tradition and experience, has underpinned our collective identity and shaped our history. Today, we are increasingly turning to science to tell these stories of origin and destiny. Concepts like entropy and evolution are giving us cosmic and biological arrows of history, one inexorably tending to disorder, the other to ever-increasing complexity. Unfolding across a series of identifiable thresholds, the budding field of Big History combines our nature as storytellers with our skill as scientists to provide a coherent narrative of life and the universe from the big bang to the present, offering what has been called a new creation story for our time. What tale does Big History tell, what sources of knowledge does it draw on, in what ways does it challenge traditional beliefs, and what futures does it imagine? Bridging the chasm between C.P. Snow's Two Cultures of the sciences and humanities, this interdisciplinary course engages big questions about religion, nature, science, culture, and meaning through great books in popular science with the help of theoretical contributions from science and technology studies. The class welcomes non-scientists who are interested in acquiring scientific literacy as well as scientists seeking to acquire religious and social science literacy. We will look for the best descriptions of nature available to us today (the "is") to draw inspiration for unique insights on how to be (the "ought"). The readings and discussions of this class will provide global citizens in the twenty-first century of diverse religious, theological, or philosophical persuasions a common framework of the past, a sense of presence in the Anthropocene, and conceptual tools to imagine a shared future.

STV 20450 - Tech Revolutions & Env. Change

How should we address the environmental impacts of new and emerging technologies such as Bitcoin, artificial intelligence, or electric cars? To answer this question, and others like it, we must first remember that technology does not exist in a vacuum; just as technologies impact the environment, social systems shape and are shaped by technological development. In this course, students will gain an understanding of these interrelated systems by reading a variety of historical and scientific sources with an emphasis on the impacts of technology upon the environment during history's three Industrial Revolutions (i.e., the rise of the steam engine, the emergence of mass production, and the development of computing technologies). These revolutions were times of rapid technological development with especially dramatic impacts on politics, economics, the environment, and society. Discussions of these readings in conjunction with individual research projects will allow students to incorporate the lessons of the course into a critical analysis of the impacts of rapid technological change, culminating in a discussion of what the future (and present state) of technological change may be. By the end of this course, students will have developed writing, research, and communication skills which will help them craft well-developed research questions and present evidence-driven arguments in their respective fields of study.

STV 20627 - Science and Catholicism

A historical and philosophical examination of the relations, if there are any, between science and religion with particular reference to the Catholic intellectual tradition. Through the use of historical materials the course will attempt to isolate and examine philosophical difficulties that might be thought to obtain between the claims made by Christian revelation and various scientific theories about features of the world. Emphasis will be placed upon distinctive ways in which the intellectual tradition of the Catholic church has faced the issues raised. Figures to be considered may include Augustine, Aquinas, Galileo, Bellarmine, Darwin, Huxley, Dawkins, Newman, Leroy, Zahm, LeMaitre, and Hawking, as well as others. Topics to be discussed are Language, Meaning, and Revelation, the Nature of Science, Theory, and Hypothesis, Evolution, the Big Bang, Soul and Body, Creation versus Making, Providence and Chance.

STV 20983 - History of Food

Food feeds culture. It nourishes societies as well as bodies. No discipline is intelligible without it. It provides economics with products, physiology with sustenance, social sciences with classes and relationships of power. and intellects with food for thought. Food's also essential in ecology. Our most intimate contact with the environment occurs when we eat it. From interdisciplinary perspectives, we'll approach the history of food in all cultures (including, by the way, those of non-human cultural creatures) in all periods that we can say something about, from the origins of carnivorism and cannibalism through famines and fushion to the food-related environmental problems of the future. There may even be time to explore cuisines.

STV 30005 - Connecting Asia

"East Asia" has never been a clearly defined place so much as a contested web of spatial and social relationships. What can the experiences of major cities—as nodes in networks of control, commerce, and culture—tell us about the regional and global connections that have defined East Asia and driven its contemporary rise? This course focuses on Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, and Shanghai to explore how hegemonic power structures and bottom-up social forces have tied different parts of East Asia together and linked the region to other parts of the world. Using materials from history, political science, geography, anthropology, and literature, we will build an understanding of how cities and the diverse actors within them have both assisted and resisted colonialism, nationalism, and globalization. All majors and backgrounds are welcome. No prior knowledge of Asian languages or topics is required.

STV 30111 - Green Japan

Around 1600, Japan closed itself off for 250 years, neither importing food nor exporting people. It was, in short, an almost hermetic ecological system, and yet, instead of outstripping their natural resources, Japanese people managed to attain a level of well-being above that of most other people. Some scholars have acclaimed this era an "eco-utopia" while others point to problems with this view. This course explores the interplay between political, social, economic, and ecological forces asking whether Tokugawa Japan modeled resilience.

STV 30306 - The Geopolitics of Energy

This course examines how oil and natural gas have shaped international relations from the early twentieth century to the present, with a particular focus on conflict. It begins by introducing students to the fundamentals of global energy production, consumption and trade, and then briefly surveys the political history of oil as it relates to the great powers. The course then moves on to contemporary issues, including the political significance of "fracking" technology, the role of the United States in protecting Persian Gulf oil, and the extent to which Russia's dominant natural gas position might translate into political influence in Europe. These and other topics are examined through numerous theoretical lenses, including theories of resource conflict, economic interdependence, political coercion, and petro-aggression.

STV 30725 - Sustain Food, Bev, & Agricult

This course will use Food and Beverage and Agriculture industries to unpack a wide range of topics to provide a broader view and understanding of the sustainability challenges faced by the companies today, the innovative approaches to address sustainability as they work toward future sustainability goals, and how companies make short/mid/long term business decisions as they strive to make sustainability a part of the company's values and long-term strategy. A deep dive into the consumer evolving mindset toward sustainability will expose consumer motivations, needs, and "demands" the consumers place on the business and how business can effectively communicate their commitments, track the progress, and communicate back to the consumer to gain their trust.

STV 33330 - Jap Monsters & Magic Film/Lit

Vengeful spirits, foxes that turn into alluring women, green and red ogres, Godzilla, and Pokémon: these are some of the monsters that have spooked and beguiled Japanese people across time. This course explores how medieval legends and local histories of monsters and gods play an important role in identifying and resolving social anxieties throughout Japan's cultural history, from the 8th to the 21st century. The materials we will examine include literature, manga, film, and anime, in addition to scholarly essays and historical texts.

STV 33996 - AI for Good

Traditional strategies to fight against poverty, inequality and climate change have proved ineffective in the last decades. New and creative solutions are required where cutting-edge technological innovation and multidisciplinary work serve the common good. In this course, you will explore the state of the art in AI business development and its ethical implications in relation to current global societal and environmental challenges. You will reflect on your individual role in society and develop critical thinking about the current socio-technical value system. Our readings will include original works of philosophers, economists and computer scientists as well as examples of state-of-the-art AI supported business and institutional projects. As a result of the readings and class discussions, you will acquire well-informed understanding about the implications of the AI Trustworthy principle of justice and fairness, including non-discrimination and avoidance of unfair bias. You will become aware of the potential for AI to contribute, if well managed, towards fairer and more sustainable societies as well as the dangers it entails to widen inequalities and aggravate the discrimination suffered by vulnerable communities. This is a hands-on course where you will be ideating and planning projects for the social good. I will accompany you in the development of business plans where ethics is the driver and AI is the key instrument. I will help you define your project idea in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Therefore, your projects will be designed to work towards mitigating poverty, reducing gender and race inequality, combating climate change, improving the sustainability of cities and communities, ensuring affordable and clean energy, achieving responsible consumption and production, improving the quality of education, providing better health and well-being services, ensuring decent work and economic growth or promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. The goal of the course is to encourage and support you, as new entrepreneurs and future leaders, to work in multidisciplinary teams and develop interdisciplinary skills, being able to take advantage of new technology to create and manage projects for ethics in action.

STV 40534 - Economics of Climate Change

Human induced climate change is one of the major problems facing society. Economics provides a powerful intellectual basis for understanding, analyzing and correcting these problems. This course will cover basic science of climate change, the associated market failure and tragedy of the commons, cost-benefit analysis of climate mitigation, computation of the social cost of carbon, empirical research on economic effects of climate change, adaptation, and carbon taxation.

STV 43334 - New Readings in Trans Studies

In this seminar, students will engage with texts published within the last five years in the field of transgender studies. Along with academic writing, we will work with literature, memoir, film, and popular culture. Together, these texts expand our shared understanding of what trans* means; pose challenging questions about Western transgender studies and its canon; and link the field of transgender studies with global movements for justice. Students will have opportunities for collaboration and community engagement, and to create their own theory and creative work.

STV 43810 - Explaining an Unequal World

This is an advanced undergraduate economics course that will provide a broad introduction to development economics, with an emphasis on the application of modern econometric techniques to questions in development. This course will survey recent literature that examines the factors that explain poverty in the developing world. In particular, we will consider the relative roles of government failures, market failures, history, geography, culture and technology among others. This course will briefly survey 'classic' theories in development and then focus on understanding recent journal articles in detail. We will explore these questions primarily from a microeconomic perspective, paying careful attention to understanding, evaluating and applying econometric techniques. The goal of this course is to introduce students to modern research in development economics and produce an original empirical research paper