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 Fall 2019 offerings feature courses in history, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and more. For more details, please consult the University’s course catalog.

STV 10119-01 Evolution and Society

Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biological sciences. This course will highlight evolution as well as ecology and biodiversity. Emphasis will placed on the evolution of animal behavior including human behavior. Sexual selection and its role in shaping many forms of life, including humans, will be extensively covered. Open classroom discussion is a central and required part of the course.

STV 10210-01 The Anthropology of Your Stuff

Have you ever pondered how people live(d) in a world without television, YouTube, smartphones, and automobiles? Why have bellbottoms come and gone twice in the last 50 years? Will we be forced to relive the fashion mistakes of the 1970s and 1980s? What new stuff will people invent and sell next? In asking and answering these questions, we must focus on one underlying query: What does our stuff really say about who we are and who we want to be? This course combines lectures, discussions, and interactive small group activities to explore the nature and breadth of peoples’ relationships with their things. We will investigate why and how people make and use different types of objects, and how the use of these material goods resonates with peoples’ identities in the deep past, recent history, and today. Since everyone in the class will already be an expert user and consumer of things, we will consider how people today use material objects to assert, remake, reclaim, and create identities, and compare today’s practices to those of people who lived long ago. Class members will learn about how anthropologists, including ethnographers (studying people today) and archaeologists (studying past peoples) think about and approach the material nature of our social, economic, and political lives. We will discuss why styles and technologies change through time, and why, in the end, there is very little new under the sun in terms of human behaviors and the way people produce and consume goods. The topical breadth of this workshop encompasses most social science disciplines, including history, economics, psychology, and anthropology, and resonates with classics, art history, and gender studies.

STV 10321-01 Forest Health and Society

How Healthy are U.S forests, and why do we care? Human societies have interacted with forests throughout history, and the way that we have approached forests has impacted our cultural, physical mental, and economic health. In this course, we will examine society through the health of our forests, and how this will continue to change in the 21st century with globalization and emergent technologies. Course topics will include: 1) the status of the diverse ecosystems throughout the United States; 2) the economic effects that forests bring, both to homeowners and industry; 3) how forests shape our cultural identity; 4) the medical impacts that forests have; 5) how these will change in the 21st century and 6) the policies and laws that govern forest heath. This class welcomes scientists and non-scientists alike. Students will be expected to complete readings, write reflections, address case studies and discuss topics in class. Readings will include book excerpts, scientific literature, articles, government policies and legal documents.

STV 20204-01 Global Cultural Worlds

This course introduces students to the field of social-cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropologists are primarily interested in exploring issues of human cultural diversity across cultures and through time. This course will explore key theoretical, topical, and ethical issues of interest to cultural anthropologists. We will examine diverse ways in which people around the globe have constructed social organizations (such as kinship, and political and economic systems) and cultural identities (such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, race, and class) and we will consider the impact of increasing globalization on such processes. Throughout the course we will consider how different anthropologists go about their work as they engage in research and as they represent others through the writing of ethnographies.

STV 20204-01 Minds, Brains, and Persons

This course will treat some central issues in the philosophy of mind, such as freedom of the will, personal identity, and the relationship between mind and body.

STV 20257-01 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 20299-01 Race and Racism

This is not an easy topic and has no easy mode of analysis. Yet, understanding Race and racism is one of the most pressing matters for our society. In order to do this we engage contemporary issues of race and racism through the lens of anthropology. We’ll tackle human diversity via biology, history and contemporary society in order to see what Race is and what it is not – demonstrating why racism matters. Examining the processes, structures and impacts of racism enables us to dive deep into the complexities of systemic violence, and engage the diverse histories and complicated issues and practices of our very problematic contemporary reality.

STV 20306-01 Environmental Chemistry

Discussion of basic chemical processes occurring in the environment, particularly those relating to the impact of humanity’s technological enterprise.

STV 20331-01 Introduction to Criminology

Introduction to Criminology provides students with an overview of the sociological study of law making, law breaking and the resulting social responses. In this class we not only look at a variety of crimes, but we also discuss the varying methods sociologists use to collect, interpret and evaluate data, as well as how we theorize about crime and punishment. We address questions such as “Why are some people or groups labeled as criminal, while others are not?” “Do laws in both their construction and enforcement serve everyone’s interests equally?” “How can the communities in which people are embedded be considered as criminogenic?” “How are poverty, race, gender and other social factors related to crime?”

STV 20502-01 Surviving the Iron Cage

We live in a society populated and dominated by organizations. Throughout our lives we engage with many different types of organizations: hospitals, schools, businesses, government agencies, religious institutions. It has been argued that the very essence of modern society is the rise of large scale formal organizations, which can help us by creating efficiency, predictability, and fairness, but can also trap us in an iron cage of numbing bureaucratic rationalization. The objective of this course is to help you analyze and assess the good, bad and ugly about modern organizations. It specifically aims to provide analytical tools and case studies to help you: 1) understand how different kinds of organizations function 2) assess organizational effectiveness and failure, and 3) evaluate the role of organizations in a globalizing world. Broadening our understanding of organizations can facilitate our ability to both negotiate our way through organizations and, perhaps most importantly, try to change them

STV 20556-01 Science, Technology, and Society

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. Our concern will be with science and technology (including medicine) as social and historical, i.e., as human, phenomena. We shall examine the divergent roots of contemporary science and technology, and the similarities and (sometimes surprising) differences in their methods and goals. The central theme of the course will be the ways in which science and technology interact with other aspects of society, including the effects of technical and theoretical innovation in bringing about social change, and the social shaping of science and technology themselves by cultural, economic and political forces. Because science/society interactions so frequently lead to public controversy and conflict, we shall also explore what resources are available to mediate such conflicts in an avowedly democratic society.

STV 20602-01 Medical Ethics

An exploration from the point of view of ethical theory of a number of ethical problems in contemporary biomedicine. Topics discussed will include euthanasia, abortion, the allocation of scarce medical resources, truth-telling in the doctor-patient relationship, the right to medical care and informed consent, and human experimentation.

STV 20635-01 Theory of Knowledge

The aim of this class is to provide an understanding of the fundamental issues and positions in the contemporary theory of knowledge.

STV 20647-01 Data and Al Ethics

In the last decade, the Big Data revolution and developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have both created promises and raised several ethical issues. Computational emerging technologies have fostered the achievement of apparent benefits, while at the same they seem to exacerbate social inequalities and threaten even our own existence as a species. In this course, we will discuss those ethical and societal issues related to the development of AI and Big Data that have direct and concrete consequences on the way we perceive ourselves as persons, as members of society, and the way we conceive our place as a species on this planet. These issues will be analyzed in light of major ethical theories, but a special emphasis will be placed on virtue ethics. Recent works in virtue ethics are well positioned to make sense of the importance of our place as human beings on this planet, but at the same time they can account for the indispensable roles that machines play in our environment. The course is divided in three main parts. In the first part, I will introduce the main ethical frameworks, and in particular virtue ethics. In the second part, we will discuss AI. Societal and ethical issues raised by AI include the threats posed to the existence of our species; whether we should trust AI or we should find a way to build artificial agents with moral characteristics; whether AI will do most of our jobs in the future and if this scenario is desirable. In the third part, we will focus on selected issues concerning the Big Data revolution, such as how the autonomy of very complex algorithms can shape our lives in opaque ways and whether transparency is desirable; if the design of algorithms may hide bias leading to social inequalities; how algorithms are changing the way healthcare is provided. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: 1. define and sketch focal points of the virtue ethics and other relevant ethical theories 2. identify moral theories in arguments provided in support or in opposition to the use of certain AI-related and Big Data technologies 3. compare different arguments and highlight strengths and weaknesses.

STV 20908-01 Literature &/as Consumerism

Literature is often considered priceless, but books themselves are consumer goods. In this course, we will read a selection of novels in English from around the world to investigate how literature is implicated in a consumerist economy in which readers are also consumers. We will examine not only these novels – representations of consumerism but also their own position as goods to be bought and sold. Whether as cheap entertainment or high art, books are marketed to consumers, and we will contextualize our close readings of texts in this often overlooked exchange. We will interrogate the distinction drawn between art and other cultural products and its implications in terms of class, race, gender, and educational background. We will examine various ways of consuming text – not just reading. Through exploring such content, we will investigate what literature and consumerism are, how people make use of them, and what value they may possess.

STV 23195-01 Media Technology and Good Life

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clark “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” Aldous Huxley The explosion of ever-more electronic devices provides great conveniences, work-aids, and what could be called in a general sense, “play stations.” Clearly there are advantages to being able to communicate instantly, globally, and at little or no cost. You might say: the Skype’s the limit. But what are the disadvantages, not only from automated trading and self-tracking videos of the “quantified self,” but from the more generalized ways these devices can distract us from ourselves and each other in the very process of promising to connect us?From an ever-increasing proliferation of electronic devices, and “enscreening” of daily life, to the increased reliance on automatic and non face-to-face interactions, to virtualizing leisure activities, media and technology have become central players in social relations. This seminar will explore the ways media, and technology more generally, are transforming contemporary society.

STV 23200 Sustainability and Collapse

Humans deeply affect their social and natural worlds. Their impact reverberates across time and space making it difficult to understand the long-term ramifications of our daily decisions and actions. This seminar enhances our understanding of the complex web of relationships between humans, resources, and climate by exploring the concepts of sustainability and collapse from an anthropological perspective. Key questions guiding this exploration include: What do we mean by sustainability? What is it that want to sustain? How can societies be “sustained” when we know societal collapses happen time and again? Through readings, media, debates, and analysis, we will learn how our culture shapes and promotes both sustainability and collapse and assess whether they can be attained or prevent. And, we will all gain a better understanding of our place in the world around us.

STV 29697 How Pharmaceuticals Create Us

In this course we examine how knowledge about drugs – legal, regulated, and patented drugs – is produced, distributed among diverse scientific-technical and social communities, and how it is received and/or consumed by them. As we will learn, the question of how drugs are produced and how they should be consumed is a highly contentious one. We will study how pharmaceutical companies work not just to distribute, but also to shape scientific knowledge about their products, and we will trace the mechanisms used to transfer that knowledge to researchers, physicians, and potential consumers. We will discuss a range of important issues that arise as our lives become more medicalized, for example: what is the nature of the diseases that researchers and companies target – are their characteristics and limits easily fixed? What are, and what should be the bounds of the use of pharmaceuticals for cosmetic purposes? How can society engage and deal with conflicts of interest – profits versus regulated safety; how can one ensure the integrity of researchers and research? What rules should be placed on how researchers and companies enroll research subjects, both in the US and abroad? We will start off exploring the history of pharmaceuticals regulation in the US, and then explore the peculiar history that led to the unique research infrastructure in the area of pharmaceutical research and development. Then we will turn to explore the wider range of implications of our system of drug production for society at larger, exploring the questions above in the context of diverse cases. In this course you will develop a far-reaching understanding of how scientific and technical knowledge in the medical-pharmaceutical world is produced and distributed, an understanding that you can apply to many other areas of knowledge production.

STV 30006 East Asia’s Global Cities

The extraordinary rise of East Asia during the past several decades is in large part a story of the region’s metropolises – from Tokyo and Seoul to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Following decades of booming growth, such cities have emerged as crucial pivots in the global economy, pulsating with the activity of industry, commerce, finance, and innovation. But the very success of such cities has introduced tremendous challenges for urban policymakers, from overcrowding, inequality, and environmental strain to the political balancing act of being at once patriotic and cosmopolitan. To what extent have the governance capabilities of East Asian metropolises kept pace with these cities’ economic growth, and to what extent have such cities emerged not just as global economic hubs but also as policy innovators and political beacons? This seminar-style course examines the rapidly changing economic roles and political identities of East Asian metropolises between the post-World War II period and the present, combining a theoretical look at the political economy of cities with in-depth case studies of some of the region’s most dynamic urban centers. We start by exploring contemporary debates about the problems and the promise of cities in an era of economic globalism and resurgent political nationalism. We then look at the various ways in which the East Asian context for urban growth and governance differs from that of the liberal west. The course then makes a deep dive into the development and governance experiences of eight East Asian cities, using paired case studies (Tokyo and Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Chongqing and Chengdu) to explore how national and historical contexts have shaped the growth trajectories and governance models of different metropolises. During the final weeks of the course, we look at how the distinctive development trajectories of East Asian cities have, in turn, influenced their approaches to international politics and pressing global policy challenges.

STV 30010 Law and War in Asia

This course offers a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts and debates regarding the laws of war with a particular regional focus on Asia. Students will learn about theoretical approaches in political science for analyzing topics relevant to the laws of war. Students will discuss controversial topics surrounding the application of the laws of war, both Jus ad Bellum and Jus in Bello. We will also discuss historical and current issues, including sexual violence, child soldiers, drones, humanitarian intervention in the context of international and internal armed conflicts in Asia.

STV 30109 Experiments in Narrative

This course will explore the narrative potential of photographic media as well as the role of sequencing in the creative process. Projects will use both still photography and video as vehicles for storytelling and conceptual expression. Students will gain competency in image and video editing software and techniques while taking inspiration from cinema, video art, and photography. A combination of production, critique, and readings will advance student understandings of narrative structure and experimental approaches to time-based media.

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 30160 America in the 20th Century

In February of 1941 Time editor Henry Luce urged Americans to defend democratic values, assert influence upon the world, and make the 20th century the “American Century.” This term is now so widely embraced that even gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson subtitled his memoir (Kingdom of Fear) Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century. This course will trace the rise of America’s political, economic, and cultural power from the 1890s through the 1990s, along with the conflicts surrounding labor, race, gender, war, and the environment that accompanied that rise. How has this dynamic historical context, we will ask, served as both the backdrop for and the product of American culture? From muckraking journalism and automobile ads to Cold War films, Hip Hop, and Walmart?from Progressive to Neoliberal Eras?we will examine how 20th century politics, society, and culture mutually informed one another to create the American Century. Assignments will include midterm and final essay exams, as well as shorter written and multimedia assignments on a variety of topics.

STV 30161/30461 A History of Television

Television has been widely available in the United States for only half a century, yet aleady it has become a key means through which we understand our culture. Our course examines this vital medium from three perspectives. First, we will look at the industrial, economic and technological forces that have shaped U.S. television since its inception. These factors help explain how U.S. television adopted the format of advertiser-supported broadcast networks and why this format is changing today. Second, we will explore television’s role in American social and political life: how TV has represented cultural changes in the areas of gender, class, race and ethnicity. Third, we will discuss specific narrative and visual strategies that characterize program formats. Throughout the semester we will demonstrate how television and U.S. culture mutually influence one another, as television both constructs our view of the world and is affected by social and cultural forces within the U.S.

STV 30176 A Social History of Science and Religion

How do we resolve conflicts between faith and reason? When these two means of knowing and understanding the world appear to conflict in such a way that one must be right and the other wrong, what do we do? We will look at this question by examining a series of case studies which have shaped the relationship between faith and reason throughout history. We begin with an exploration of the Greek scientific tradition and then explore the reactions of the Christian and Islamic traditions. Using the resulting historical framework, we then explore more modern controversies between faith and reason. From this, we will endeavor to understand past faith and reason conflicts in their historical context and develop the skills necessary to understand modern ones.

STV 30201 Intro to Clinical Ethics

The focus of the course will be an examination of the advances in medicine over the last 30 years that have challenged traditional values and ethical norms, and the institutional processes and procedures in place that facilitate decision-making in the health care setting. It will include a sketch of the most recent advances in the various fields of medicine, followed by an examination of the clinical and ethical questions they raise and how they have affected the physician-patient relationship. Note: This course counts as a general elective. Fall and spring.

STV 30242 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 30550 Foundations of Global Health

Over the last two decades, there has been a groundswell of interest in global health across multiple disciplines and professional fields. The field of global health recognizes the multidimensionality of health as well as the interconnectedness of everyone living in the world today; its primary goal is to eliminate health disparities to achieve health equity for all. This course will provide foundational knowledge necessary to understand what global health is today; its history and evolution; how social theory contributes to understanding specific global health problems; the importance of understanding health and designing interventions by using a biosocial model that includes a myriad of cultural, social, political, economic factors; and an understanding of the role of various actors on the global health stage including international, bilateral, and civil society organizations.

STV 30557 Africans in a Material World

How does the materialism of the 21st century affect African lives? In this class, we look at what many people on the continent seek in “development”: new houses, cars, clothing, cellphones, and the cash they need to pursue education, obligations, and entrepreneurial endeavors. As we look at each of these, we examine what impact such things have on people’s lives and relationships, what opportunities but also new problems each presents, how such things as dependency and inequality emerge and are mitigated even as they take on new forms. How, for example, do new house forms affect gender and generational relationships? How do cellphones help or hinder kinship and friendship? Does clothing enable people to pursue individualism, or is it a medium of connections? How do people get access to money, and how is debt a positive thing – and how can it destroy people? We explore the contradictions that material development presents to people across a range of material. The course takes students through “thing studies” in anthropology, some classic texts on consumerism, and many studies of cars, houses, cellphones, and clothing in specific African settings. We also look at African media for insight into the lived economic worlds of African people.

STV 30623 Politics of Reproduction

Moving beyond a simplistic “pro-choice versus pro-life” framework, this course invites students to study the complex ways in which reproduction is political – how fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, adoption, parenting, and caregiving are defined by power relations, shaped by material conditions, and linked with the unequal distribution of resources and life chances on a global scale. What factors influence a person’s ability to have children, to not have children, and to raise children they do have in safe and sustainable communities? How do the structural violences of capitalism, racism, ableism, and imperialism shape meanings and experiences of reproduction in the U.S., in local contexts around the world, and across national borders? How have diverse social movements organized to fight reproductive oppression and to build more just futures? Our exploration of these questions will lead us to a wide variety of historical and contemporary sites where reproduction intersects with systems of power and practices of resistance. At the heart of our inquiry will be the understanding, established by gender studies scholars and activists, that reproduction is a key aspect of social justice, and we will focus in particular on the intersections of gender and sexuality with economic, racial, environmental, and decolonial justice. Students will contribute to the course syllabus by sharing their own research on contemporary issues, policy, and activism. Our learning will be discussion-based, collaborative, and exploratory

STV 30626 Medicine and Public Health in US History

This course examines health as a unifying concept in American history. It follows several themes: how class, race, and gender; as well as age; lifestyle; and place have manifested themselves in differential health experience; the ongoing conflict between personal liberty and the interests of the state, the remarkable diversity of American medical systems and their close relation to religious and social diversity; the place of medicine in Americanization campaigns; the changing political economy of American medicine; and finally, the emergence of health as the core concern of the American dream. In short, by the end of the course you should have a good understanding of the uniqueness of American medicine and its central place in America’s history. You should have acquired an historical and critical context that will be of use in your own encounters with matters of health and medicine—as intelligent citizens and about issues of public health and questions of medical ethics, and as creative thinkers about more satisfactory modes of medical practice and health improvement and protection. The course will use three to five texts, and require exams, project, and presentation.

STV 30640 Privacy and Security 

In today’s digital age, people and organizations produce and deal with unprecedented amounts of data. Thus, issues concerning information privacy and security have taken on critical importance. Information privacy and security are fundamentally about data protection. Information privacy refers to decisions around what information should be protected, from whom, why, and issues related to the ownership of information; whereas information security refers to the tactics and technologies to ensure data protection. In this course, we will address questions such as: How should organizations manage privacy and security issues? What are the various privacy and security threats that organizations and individuals face? What are the current advancements in privacy and security technologies and government regulations? We will learn about economics of privacy, biases and heuristics in privacy decisions, privacy ethics, social engineering, and public policy and regulations. Also, we will gain an understanding of security threats and gain insight into managerial best practices for managing information security. This course will involve a number of assignments along with interactive in-class exercises aimed at enhancing your privacy and security decisions.

STV 30900 Foundations of Sociological Theory

Sociological theory is the foundation of sociology. Students in this course will learn two things: first, what theorists do and why and, second, how to use fundamental theoretic concepts – such as exploitation and alienation, social structure and solidarity, bureaucracy and charisma – to analyze and explain contemporary society.

STV 30902 Methods of Sociological Research

Sociology 30902 is designed to provide an overview of research methods in the social sciences. Topics covered include (1) hypothesis formulation and theory construction; (2) the measurement of sociological variables; and (3) data collection techniques – experimental, survey, and observational. At the end of the course, students should appreciate both the strengths and the limitations of sociological research methods.

STV 30983 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 30996 War in Modern History 

This course will explore the evolution of war in modern history from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 through the present. Content will center upon the relationship between war, technology and society. Central themes will include the military revolution debate, the rise of western Europe, the military origins of modern state, and the challenge of technological change to stable international orders. Students will learn how the evolving conduct of war has shaped the structure of modern societies, and vice-versa. Individual class sessions will explore important moments of conflict and technological innovation. Some class sessions will center on paradigm-defining conflicts, such as the Thirty Years’ War or the Second World War. The course will conclude with explorations of new themes in modern warfare, from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the rise of drone and cyber warfare. This course satisfies the university history requirement and is open to all students; no previous knowledge of the topic is required.

STV 33208 Global Visual Culture

Visual anthropology involves the cross-cultural study of images in communication and the use of images as a method for doing anthropology. This course proceeds through a non-linear integration of visual themes including water, earth, light, fire, flesh and blood with analytical themes including aesthetics, poetics, violence, history, materiality and subjectivity. We explore still photography, film, and popular media in domains from ethnography, social documentary, war photojournalism, to high art. Students watch, read and write about, and generate visual products of their own in multiple media.

STV 33951 Soc Con Sem: US Healthcare

U.S. health care policy and reform has increasingly been at the center of public debate and discussion in recent years. Furthermore, the Catholic social tradition invites persons of good will to pursue a health care system that raises the dignity of each person. This seminar invites participants to examine and assess our current and evolving healthcare system, explore the possibilities and direction of the future of U.S. healthcare, and investigate how modifications might move us toward a society that reflects care for the common good. As a point of comparison, this seminar will also evaluate international health care systems and challenges. In preparation, students will look at the complexities of integrating economics, policy, and health-related outcomes into a system that works toward the common good and especially toward those in poverty. Students will travel to Washington, D.C., during Spring Break to spend time with policy makers, health care advocacy groups, medical professionals, and researchers.

STV 33958 Comm Health and the Common Good

This one credit social concerns seminar will follow our community based pedagogy in which we learn from one another, experts in the field, and from folks doing the work in Atlanta. We’ll spend six weeks before spring break engaging concepts around public health, community health, social determinants of health, medical ethics, and Catholic Social Tradition and health. Students will spend semester break in Atlanta engaging questions around health in a particular community but also globally. Time will be spend at the CDC, hospital systems, community health centers, and other organizations (some Catholic) who address from a social perspective. Post immersion we will meet twice to debrief and consider next steps. Apply online via the Center for Social Concerns website: Please note, this course has extra required meeting times and/or events outside of the displayed meeting schedule. Please go to this course’s designated webpage within the Center for Social Concerns website ( for further details.

STV 40151 Psychology and Medicine

This course has two basic objectives. First, it examines from a lifespan and psychobiological perspective the factors that place individuals at different stages of life at risk for illness and assist them in maintaining their health. In addition, it addresses a variety of challenging psychological and social issues that physicians and other healthcare professionals must face in the practice of medicine. The course covers a range of topics dealing with health issues related to different stages of human development (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood), disabled populations, culture and gender, stress, physician-patient interactions, death and dying, professional ethics, and social policies relating to health care. The course is primarily intended for students intending to enter medical school. Most classes will involve brief formal presentations by the instructors and invited guests, followed by discussion of assigned readings pertinent to the day’s topic. In addition, students will be exposed, through a limited practicum, to a variety of medical settings

STV 40469 Cold War Media Culture

From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Red Dawn, this course explores the popular media of the Cold War. The course explores the interconnections between film and television, popular music, foreign and domestic policy, and US social movements. Topics include anti-communism, the Red Scare, invasion films, sub-urbanization and domestic “containment culture”, anxieties about the nuclear bomb, Beats and the counter-culture, the civil rights and women’s movements, and youth culture. The course centers on the ways in which the Cold War was experienced culturally, with particular attention to its impact on everyday cultural practices and identities.

STV 40609 American Transcendetalism

When European Romanticism crossed the Atlantic, it precipitated American Transcendentalism, this nation’s first great literary movement. The Transcendentalists were a loose group of rebels, dreamers, and freethinkers who, inspired by both the American Revolution and the new European philosophies, set about the immodest task of remaking America – and thence, they hoped, the world. Inspired by resistance to their radical ideas, these men and women – including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Orestes Brownson, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa May Alcott -launched a daring movement to renew American religion and philosophy and create a new and genuinely American literature – and, as if that weren’t enough, to reform a nation shot through with the contradictions of slavery, economic inequality, social injustice and environmental destruction. Did they succeed? Was their idealism a noble dream destroyed by the violence of the Civil War? Or did their hard work bring real progress to an American society still indebted today to this band of dreamers? That’s our dilemma: both answers are correct. How are we still living the consequences of their failures, and their successes? Can their dreams still speak to us today, in our own moment – shot through as it is with so many similar contradictions?

STV 40612 International Media Culture

How do we compare the golden age of international art cinema in the nineteen sixties to contemporary art television? In this course we’ll begin by investigating how the category of the art film emerged in the post World War II era as a result of fundamental changes in film style, taste formations, exhibition venues, and How do we compare the golden age of international art cinema in the nineteen sixties to contemporary art television? In this course we’ll begin by investigating how the category of the art film emerged in the post World War II era as a result of fundamental changes in film style, taste formations, exhibition venues, and the film business. We’ll trace the consolidation of that film culture then consider why it began to collapse in the seventies. We’ll then turn to evolution of quality serial television over the past two decades. How did emergent media technologies, new forms of television narrativity, changes in television business models, and radical shifts in taste formations transform what was a guilty pleasure into one of the preeminent art forms of the twenty-first century? Here we’ll look closely at how the “Masterpiece Theatre” phenomenon was replaced by the HBO model, and then move on to the recent explosion in the global quality television market, focusing on the ways in which Denmark, Germany, France, and Italy have moved into the arena, aided and abetted by Netflix and Amazon as they try to develop (and market) new forms of international entertainment. Or, to put it another way, how did we get from Breathless to Peaky Blinders?

STV 40698 Contemporary Concerns in Medicine

In this course, we will read and discuss together several recent books and studies that engage with challenging contemporary issues in medicine and society, from the opioid epidemic, to disability, to the acceptance of mortality. This class will meet every other week, and is directed to students in Arts and Letters who intend to apply to medical school. Over the course of the semester, students will work with their instructor and peers to articulate and to write about their motivations for a career in healthcare, following reflection upon the readings – a process that will be invaluable for crafting their medical school applications.

STV 40825 Gender and Health

This course examines the intersection of gender, health policy, and health care organization around the world. Gender is frequently a central contributing (though sometimes ignored) factor to people’s health. Men and women have different biologies, and it thus stands to reason that their lives; social, economic, political, and biological would have an effect on their health. What causes men to have different illnesses than women? What places one gender at greater risk for illness than the other? How do men and women across the world experience health policies? Are they affected and constrained by similar factors? How do their work lives affect their experiences with health? How is the body medically produced? How do poverty and development play a role in people’s well-being? Through an inquiry-based approach, these and other topics will be addressed in this class.

STV 43207 Landscapes

The human experience is a social and spatialized one. Ever since we appeared on the planet, humans have intentionally and unintentionally shaped the land and spaces around them for a variety of reasons including subsistence, economic, social, political, and spiritual activities. Thus, landscapes and spaces not only reflect, order, and create our cultural identities and worldview, but also they enable and constrain us. In this seminar-style course, we will explore how the way people live and their culture shapes our relationships the natural and constructed environment and each other. The goal is to provide students with a strong foundation in current landscape theory, analysis, and interpretation. We will cover a range of topics that intersect with landscape, including social order, settlement, cosmography and ideology, political landscapes, boundaries, natural places and resources, sense of place, and memory-making. Course organization draws heavily on the instructor’s expertise, but emphasizes a broad and integrative engagement with the anthropological literature.

STV 43302 Population Dynamics

Demography, the science of population, is concerned with virtually everything that influences, or can be influenced by, population size, distrubtion, processes, structure, or characteristics. This course pays particular attention to the causes and consequences of population change. Changes in fertility, migration, mortality, technology, lifestyle and culture have dramatically affected the United States and other nations of the world. These changes have implications for a number of areas: hunger, the spread of illness and disease, environmental degradation, health services, household formation, the labor force, marriage and divorce, care for the elderly, birth control, poverty, urbanization, business marketing strategies, and political power. An understanding of these is important as business, government and individuals attempt to deal with the demands of a changing population.

STV 43313 Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology

This course emphasizes the use of critical thinking skills for distinguishing science from pseudoscience in psychology. Picking up where Introduction to Clinical Psychology (PSY 30314) left off, this course takes up the torch of Popper, Meehl, and Lakatos to cover topics such as: (a) controversial therapeutic, assessment and diagnostic techniques, (b) weak theories , and © myths from “pop” psychology and every day life.

STV 43343 Healthcare and the Poor 

The relationship between health and poverty is complex and challenging. The inability of the poor to maintain adequate nutrition, shelter and have access to preventative medical care can contribute to their poor health status. But even if one isn’t poor, one illness or hospitalization can test their ability to meet both their ability to meet the financial burden of their medical care as well as their other needs. In either case, individuals have to face difficult choices between their health and other material needs. This course examines the consequences of the health risks the poor face and the difficulties that they have in obtaining medical care whether they are uninsured, seek “charitable” care, or utilize public programs such as Medicaid. The course will also examine the impact of the Affordable Care Act that will require all individuals to have at least a minimal level of health care coverage.

STV 43406 Food and Culture 

All humans eat, but the variations in what, how, and why we eat are dazzling. This course examines the many roles that food played in a variety of cultures. We consider food choices and taboos, religious and symbolic meanings of food, dining and social interactions, obesity and thinness, and the political and industrial issues of fast food and the slow food movement. There will be practical and field studies associated with the course.

STV 43659 The Human and Its Others

This course introduces students to core theories and methodologies in the study of humanity, personhood, agency, and animacy. Grounded in decolonial, crip, queer, and anti-racist feminisms, we will discuss humanity’s socioscientific construction and ideological ties. The first part of the course investigates what it means to be a person and what populations have been excluded from this realm through discourses of monstrosity, animality, and madness. The next part focuses on the materiality of the human, the construction of the body, and humanity’s entanglement with nature, non-human animals, and things. The final part asks students to develop their understanding of these frameworks further by applying them to emerging scholarship in feminist science and technology studies that puts non-humans and the inanimate at the center of analysis.

STV 43901 Philosophy of Mind

Dualist and reductionist emphases in recent analyses of mind. Topics covered will include identity of mind and body, intentionality, actions and their explanation and problems about other minds.

STV 43926 Game Theory

This course will discuss how to analyze and evaluate strategic decision making.