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New Spring 2011 Signature Courses Announced

Sherri Somers
 

Signature Courses Provide Common, Fertile Ground for Intellectual Inquiry

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Signature Courses tackle topics of grand intellectual sweep introducing students to questions of enduring importance and establishing a common basis for intellectual exchange among students and faculty inside and outside the classroom.  Designed and taught by great scholars and scientists, each course comprises lectures, presentations, performances, and extracurricular events, and small discussion sections led by graduate students from our nationally-ranked graduate programs.

SAS is pleased to announce the creation of two new Signature Courses for Spring 2011: Sea Change: The Rise and Fall of Sea Level and the Jersey Shore and From Plantation to the White House and the return of four popular, previous Signature Courses.

For more information on the SAS Signature Course Initiative, contact Susan Lawrence.

 

Spring 2011 Signature Course Descriptions


barack and michelle obamaFROM PLANTATION TO WHITE HOUSE  01:512:268   (4 credits)  

Professors Deborah White and Donna Murch
Department of History

The day Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election, November 4, 2008, is certainly among the most significant historical moments of your life time.  But, history is not made in a moment.  How did a people who were, just such a short time ago, on the margins of citizenship move to the center of political power in a land where their color and ascribed status marked them as outsiders?   Has racism disappeared?  When and how did it begin in America; how was it sustained; and what groups have been its victim? 

Michelle Obama’s heritage takes us from American slave plantations to the White House, raising questions about the intersecting histories of slavery, race, women and gender in America.   Barack Obama’s interracial and international heritage prompts us to ask: “who is black in America?” Can someone choose to be black or is blackness thrust upon one? What does it mean to be brown in America today? Can a person choose their race? 

By exploring America’s legal and social history to answer these questions, From Plantation to White House challenges you to rethink American history while preparing you to address contemporary issues of profiling, neo-liberal and neo-conservative politics, immigration, racial identity, and gender in the 21st century. 

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in history, Africana studies, American studies, business, criminal justices, journalism and media studies, labor studies, political science, public policy, social justice area studies, sociology, women’s and gender studies, area studies, and studies of race and ethnicity. This course carries credit toward the major and minor in American history.  This course carries credit toward the major and minor in History.  It can be used to fulfill the SAS interdisciplinary and diversity requirements. 


SEA CHANGE: THE RISE AND FALL OF SEA LEVEL AND THE JERSEY SHORE  01:460:110  (3 credits)         

Professor Kenneth Millershutterstock_576111206_r1.jpgDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences

What do woolly mammoths and the Jersey shore have in common?  How long until your dorm room has an ocean view? 

Why is sea-level rising?  Is it our fault?  Can we stop it?  Should we?  What are the economic, ethical, and political realities of dealing with rising sea level?

Viewing modern sea-level and climate change through a 100 million year geological perspective, in this course you will reconstruct sea-level changes using different geological methods and try to predict the future, the impact on the Jersey shore, and our options to fight back. 

Designed not just for the environmentally conscious, but also for skeptics and those simply curious about where we have been and where we are going, this course employ basic science concepts and builds the scientific literacy non-specialists need for confronting the economic, ethical, and political challenges of sea change in the 21st century.  Leave your preconceived notions behind!

This course is particularly recommended for students pursing majors or minors in the social sciences and in areas of the humanities impacted by changing sea levels, such as anthropology, art history, business, classics, economics, European studies, history, human ecology, journalism and media studies, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean studies, political science, public policy, and sociology.  It is of interest to students in the physical and biological sciences.  It can be used to fulfill the SAS natural science, interdisciplinary and global awareness requirements.


picture 1_r1EATING RIGHT: THE ETHICS OF FOOD CHOICES AND FOOD POLICY  01:730:252  (4 credits) 

Professor Andy Egan
Department of Philosophy 

Thought much about food lately? 

What are the environmental and social consequences of various eating habits?  What moral obligations, if any, do we have toward non-human animals?  Do the answers to these questions generate moral obligations to adopt (or to abandon) particular eating habits?   How are our individual and societal decisions about what to eat expressive of aesthetic, moral, cultural, and religious values?

What’s the moral (and policy) significance of particular cultural culinary traditions, and of the importance of cultural group membership to individual well-being?  What choices should we as individuals make and what actions should we as a society take to influence how our food is grown, processed, marketed, sold, and consumed?

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in the various area studies, anthropology, business, history, life sciences, philosophy, political science, public policy, religion, social justice, and sociology. The course carries credit towards the major or minor in Philosophy.   It can be used to fulfill the SAS humanities and diversity requirements.


POLITICS AND SOCIAL POLICY:  LESSONS FROM EUROPE   01:360/790:290  (3 credits)   

image for politics and social policy signature course

Professor Dan Kelemen
Department of Political Science and Director, Center for European Studies

Welcome to citizenship in the 21st Century!  You’re inheriting an unaffordable healthcare system that leaves millions uninsured, a mounting climate crisis, failing schools, a fractured social safety net, an aging population, high unemployment and growing deficits.   What can we learn from studying the approaches to these problems taken by the economically advanced democracies of the European Union?

On the Left, many believe Europe offers successful models of how to balance capitalism and the pursuit of economic growth with a greater commitment to social justice and sustainable development.  On the Right, by contrast, many warn of the dangers of importing these ideas, arguing that European social democracies suffer under high taxes, excessive state control of the economy and economic stagnation.  What’s fact and what’s fiction?  And, what are the lessons for the US in the 21st Century?

It is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in European studies, political science, public policy, business, economics, education, European languages and literatures, geography, journalism and media studies, life sciences, social justice, sociology, and women and gender studies. The course carries credit towards the major or minor in Political Science and European Studies.   It can be used to fulfill the SAS social science or interdisciplinary requirement and the global awareness requirement


us_navy.jpg

WAR: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES   01:988:270  (3 credits)

Professor Ethel Brooks
Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology                                                  

Has the “war on terror” affected your life?  In the absence of military conscription, do U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, or Guantanamo influence everyday life within the United States?  How are we to make sense of Humvees on the highway or camouflage gear as a fashion trend?  Are there connections between genocide and gang membership, or between war and particular modes of labor and production, or between military bases and sexual violence?  Does “homeland security” make you more or less secure?

This course contrasts dominant accounts of war developed by international relations scholars with analyses of the raced and gendered aspects and consequences of war for both domestic and foreign policies.  It considers the displacement, migration, refugee experiences, nation-building, changing labor regimes, production practices, and rights regimes. 

This course is particularly recommended for students pursuing majors or minors in women's and gender studies, sociology, area studies and studies of race and ethnicity,  colonial and postcolonial studies, criminal justice,  geography, history, journalism and media studies, Middle Eastern studies, political science/international relations, psychology, and social justice.  This course carries credit toward the major and minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. It can be used to fulfill the SAS interdisciplinary, diversity, or global awareness requirements.    Honors section available for SASHP students.


image for Global East Asia signature course

GLOBAL EAST ASIA  01: 098/214:245  (3 credits) 

Professor Paul Schalow
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

It touches your life every day, yet how much do you really know about East Asia -- home to three of today’s most powerful nations and over a fifth of the world’s population? 

China, Korea, and Japan are major economic, political, and cultural players in an increasingly global 21st century.  At the same time, within East Asia the push for globalization is being met with an equally powerful pushback of nationalism and regionalism.   How do social, cultural, and political narratives that posit enduring patterns influence the future of the East Asian peoples?  How have national memories of wartime traumas such as colonization, massacre, and bombing been constructed and used in modern East Asia?  How are the global and regional dynamics in East Asia and the interrelated issues of modernity, war, gender, and the geopolitical balance of power shaping events as they unfold in the 21st century?

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in the various Asian languages and area studies, anthropology, business, economics, geography, history, journalism and media studies, political science, public policy, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.  It carries credit toward the major and minor in Asian Studies and Asian Languages and Area Studies.  It can be used to fulfill the SAS writing intensive, interdisciplinary, and the diversity or global awareness requirements.  (credit not given for this course and 098/214:242)

 

LOBAL EAST ASIA 01: 098/214:245  (3 credits)  
Prof. Paul Schalow, Asian Languages and Cultures  
It touches your life every day, yet how much do you really know about East Asia -- home to three of today’s most powerful nations and over a fifth of the world’s population?  

China, Korea, and Japan are major economic, political, and cultural players in an increasingly global 21st century.  At the same time, within East Asia the push for globalization is being met with an equally powerful pushback of nationalism and regionalism.   How do social, cultural, and political narratives that posit enduring patterns influence the future of the East Asian peoples?  How have national memories of wartime traumas such as colonization, massacre, and bombing been constructed and used in modern East Asia?  How are the global and regional dynamics in East Asia and the interrelated issues of modernity, war, gender, and the geopolitical balance of power shaping events as they unfold in the 21st century?

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in the various Asian languages and area studies, anthropology, business, economics, geography, history, journalism and media studies, political science, public policy, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.  It carries credit toward the major and minor in Asian Studies and Asian Languages and Area Studies.  It can be used to fulfill the SAS writing intensive, interdisciplinary, and the diversity or global awareness requirements.  (credit not given for this course and 098/214:242)

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