Special Topics Courses

Term 1, 4-Week Courses (May 13-June 6)

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290 Global Media Industries. How and why do particular media texts circulate globally? What are the cultural, economic, political, social, and technological forces that impact the circulation of media texts around the world? What impact do these texts have on how people come to see themselves and their relationships with others in the world? This course answers these questions by examining the relationship between media and globalization. Students grapple with and debate the terms ‘international’ and ‘globalization’ as well as how and why studying global media industries from a national perspective is productive, but also limited in scope. The course examines national and global audiences as well as the relationship between media flows, geography, and cultural identities along with media industries’ strategies to succeed in an increasingly globalized world. Special attention is drawn to the power of transnational and global media representations and institutions to bring the world together (and apart). Students have the opportunity to apply concepts and theories through discussion, in-class exercises, regular in-class screenings, in-depth case studies, research-based professional writing, and a final presentation. Timke

Term 1, 6-Week Courses (May 13-June 25)

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290S The Anthropology of Food, Media and Culture. Food shapes communities and is an increasingly important marker of social and cultural identities. In turn, media – and especially film – shapes our connections to food. Tastes are defined; diets and food habits are promoted and demoted; food fortunes and food celebrities are made. This course is about the ways in which food and life experiences are inextricably linked, and the role of film in exploring those linkages. In this course, we will examine the ways in which cinematic representations of food can help us – or hinder us – in understanding the human experience. We will focus on the various symbolic functions of food associated with the images of cooking, eating, drinking, and feasting as presented in cinematic works. Class discussion will be supplemented by the viewing of films about food and eating, and by the reading of secondary-critical material that will help us to frame our discussions as well as expand them toward contemporary food issues (sustainability, food security, ethnicity, national identity, etc.). 
Films will include: 

  • Babette’s Feast, Denmark, 1987, Dir. Gabriel Axel;
  • Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Taiwan, 1994, Dir. Ang Lee;
  • Chocolat, UK/USA, 2000, Dir. Lasse Hallstrom;
  • Il Gattopardo, Italy, 1963, Dir. Luchino Visconti (selected clips);
  • Big Night, USA, 1998, Dir. Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott;
  • Jiro’s Dreams of Sushi, USA, 2011, Dir. David Gelb;
  • Tampopo, Japan, 1985, Dir. Yuzo Itami;
  • Like Water for Chocolate, USA, 1992, Dir. Alfonso Arau.

Alexander

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290S Humans vs Robots: Anthropology of Technology. This course offers an introduction to the anthropological study of technology. It examines the relationship between everyday life and technological developments. The course seeks to explore social and cultural questions regarding emerging smart technologies: How do machines with artificial intelligence change our everyday lives? What does it mean to be living with smart devices? How are humans and robots different? Can robots replace humans? A particular focus of the course is on highly automated and autonomous technologies. The course will discuss examples from artificial intelligence applied products and services in various fields including biomedicine (i.e., surgical robots) and transportation (i.e., driverless cars and VTOL passenger drones). Topics include artificial intelligence, automation, autonomy, energy, and transportation infrastructure, digital media, and military technologies. Mentes

ENGLISH (English) 110S Introduction to Creative Writing: Writing Everyday Life through Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Poetry

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.”  Sylvia Plath

This course will consider how we might respond to, illuminate, and challenge the contours of our everyday lives through creative writing. We will work together through discrete units on non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, with the governing conceit that different genres of creative writing are often cross-pollinating. Though much of our energy will be focused on producing new work, we will also discuss published texts and the techniques that inform varying authors’ writing. From reading poetry that re-creates New York and San Francisco, to short stories that recount everyday life in the U.S. American South, we will contemplate how and why authors have radically (re)constructed everyday life through words. As we work to build a corpus of original work over the term, we will discuss a number of specific skills involved in the process of creative writing—from generating inspiration to fine-tuning the craft of self-editing and preliminary approaches to publication. Throughout our journey we will also acknowledge the tenuous dialogue between standard “rules” for artistry and how or when to break them. Most importantly, we will develop insight together for understanding a wild, untamable definition of the literary in order to cultivate a deeper capacity for human expression and its radical possibilities. The course uses readings, peer feedback, workshops, and collaborative brainstorming to develop and refine texts for the printed page and beyond. There will be a number of in-class writing exercises and short, creative writing assignments that will lead up to and compose the majority of a final portfolio and an end-of-term class reading. No prior experience necessary. Stark

ENGLISH (English) 290S Long Lives, Short Stories. According to Edgar Allan Poe, a short story should take between half an hour and two hours to read. This constraint means that short stories typically explore one momentous event in their characters’ lives. In this class, we will buck that trend. We will read stories that attempt to capture characters’ entire lives. How many words does it take to summarize a person’s life? Which details matter and which can be ignored? What can short stories teach us about how to live a meaningful life? We will read acclaimed short stories from various countries over the past century and a half, though all readings will be in English. Writers we are likely to examine include Edgar Allan Poe, Anton Chekov, Leo Tolstoy, Guy de Maupassant, Daphne du Maurier, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Jorge Luis Borges, Alice Monroe, and Kim Young-ha. The class will also serve as an introduction to narrative theory. We will learn to notice and describe the way stories work, including different forms of narration, plotting, and character development. Grading will be based on daily reading responses (maximum 1 page), weekly writing assignments (2-3 pages each), and one final essay (approximately 5 pages). No tests. Spencer

ENGLISH (English) 290S Who Watches the Watchmen? Superheroes and American Politics and Ethics. In the 1940s, superheroes tended to reflect America’s ideals about itself: this was when Superman represented “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” without irony and when Marvel published a comic with Captain America punching Hitler on its cover. More recent superhero narratives, however, are far less sanguine about America’s politics and America's role in the world. In the 1980s, Alan Moore offered, in Watchmen, a vision of America driven to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Two decades later, Christopher Nolan, in his epic film, The Dark Knight, gave us a post-9/11 Gotham grappling with terrorism and surveillance. Last year, after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his Captain America: Winter in America, wrote a Captain America whose reputation had been damaged by his association with the neo-Nazi organization Hydra. Our class explores the politics and ethics of superheroes—and, by extension, America—through these three texts and other recent superhero comics and blockbusters such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain America: Civil War, and Wonder Woman, among others. Along the way we will supplement our reading and watching with selections from political philosophers Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler, John Locke, and others. The final grade will be based upon weekly short writings and two essays. Fry

HISTORY (History) 390 Beyond Bondage: Race, Gender, and Resistance in the British Caribbean. This course introduces students to the numerous ways in which Africans and their descendants fought institutionalized slavery in the Caribbean. Since the emergence of plantation economies in the fifteenth century to wide scale emancipation in the nineteenth century, slaves engaged in numerous acts of defiance triggered either by specific objections with their masters or by an overall dissatisfaction with the plantation system. Enslaved men and women were a dynamic group people who were neither completely submissive nor rebellious. Hence, the slave experience was not a monolithic one, and the forms of resistance they employed were diverse in scope. Subversive responses reflected a delicate balance between slaves’ urge to resist and their desire to survive. In this class, students will carefully investigate how concepts of race and gender complicate our understanding of resistance in various forms of historical texts. Williams

HISTORY (History) 390S Extractive Economies. In this interdisciplinary inquiry into large-scale natural resource recovery around the globe, we will focus on the increasingly-complex relationships between human societies and “nature,” engendered by the mass recovery of renewable and especially non-renewable resources since the advent of metal tools in the Bronze Age. We will explore the history of such “built” phenomena as boom towns, money commodities, and energy networks as well as examine how overconsumption in the forms of mineral depletion, deforestation, and the spread of radioactivity reshape the “environment,” broadly defined. Some of the specific case studies we will investigate include copper mining in Cuba in the eighteenth century, fur trapping in Russia in the nineteenth century, and logging in the United States in the twentieth century, among others. Throughout, we will repeatedly encounter themes of class formation, gender roles, and empire. We will study the development of natural resource extraction worldwide from three disciplinary vantage points: history, economics, and political science. From history, we will learn how to read and understand primary texts in the terms of their creators, such as annual reports of mining companies. From economics, we will learn how to recognize macro patterns of exchange through models like Cordon-Neary and Heckscher-Ohlin. And from political science, we will learn how institutions constrain as well as enable industry development, such as the “rule of capture’s” key role in the inauguration of the American oil industry in the late nineteenth century. This course is designed around a collaborative research project. No economics or mathematics background is required. Cinq-Mars

LIT (Literature) 190S Financialization and the Novel: Post-1989. This course examines the cultural logics of global financialization, focusing specifically on the novel form. Starting with the intensification of globalization in 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world economy has radically shifted from the production of goods to the circulation of money-commodities – a shift that can be attributed to rapid developments in information and computer technology. What is most striking about the current mode of production is the complete overlapping of economics and culture, of base and superstructure. Culture, today, does not just manage the cognitive dissonance created by financial markets and their technological innovations, but also operates as an active site of value production. In this course, we will look at this interplay of culture and technology, examining novels as financial techniques unto themselves. We will focus, in particular, on the global aspects of finance. How do global novels that have been published in the past thirty years reproduce the ideology of finance capital, both at the level of form and content? How do they assume global homogeneity while also re-inscribing difference? What new financial realities and global imaginations do they create? The novels will include Tom McCarthy's Remainder, Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence, Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World, and Joseph O'Neil's Netherland. We will also study financial technologies such as the derivative and microcredit. Bhattarai

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Writing for Public Policy. This is an online course. Every student of public policy needs to write clearly, succinctly, and with conviction. This course is a writing class designed to teach the basics of the forms of writing that are likely to be used by public policy students when they enter the work world. These include letters to the editor, op-eds, policy briefs, memos, executive summaries, speeches, committee reports, grant proposals, and other relevant documents. Assignments, incorporating editing and rewriting opportunities, include four short (2-5 pages) papers and one long (15 pages) paper. Class members will participate in an online chat room and in online meetings with one another. Everyone will have the opportunity to work on personal strengths and weaknesses and to design a project relevant to work or an internship. Weddington

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Free Speech, Hate Speech, No Speech: The First Amendment in a Changing Society. This is an online course. Centered upon the fundamentals of understanding the First Amendment in relation to speech, this course utilizes case histories focusing on the evolution of control of speech in American culture. Students will learn what hate speech is and when it is legal and when not.  Students will discuss political correctness in speech especially on college campuses. Students will identify and understand both classic and contemporary examples of free speech through case studies and current literature. Organized around extensive readings, this class will be conducted through online lectures, scheduled chat room, and peer group meetings through a Sakai site. Graded work will include one op-ed (3 pages) and one in-depth analysis of a historical case about free speech (20 pages). Weddington

 

Term 2, 4-Week Courses (July 7-July 30)

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Friends, Enemies, Frenemies: How the Biology of Interactions Shapes Nature and Society. When was the last time you thought about how an apple grows or where we grow all the grains we use to make our breads and cereal? While often ignored, the interactions of organisms shape the world around us. Plants rely on other living things to deliver pollen between flowers, while trying to combat other organisms that eat them. Much of the natural world around us is influenced by positive and negative interactions between living things, as one species tries to outcompete, prey on, or infect another; other reactions of pollination, facilitation, or commensalism determine where organisms can live or how well they can survive and reproduce. Many of these living things are essential for human life, while they can also act as potential causes of harm. This course will explore species interactions and ecology as they shape both natural and urban settings. We will begin by introducing the basic theories of species interactions and ecology. Then, we will examine how these basic concepts affect nature and humans through case studies and specific examples. For instance, timing of flowering for both plants in nature and in agriculture can affect the rate of pollination for individual entities, which in turn affects the number of fruits that can be produced. Class lectures will introduce critical topics followed by a class session with group work and discussion. Each week we will incorporate an on-campus field trip to make observations, collect data, or introduce a topic. Popular press and scientific articles will both be examined for how they present critical scientific lessons. During the first week of class, you will be asked to choose a topic related to species interactions, ecology, or environmental sociology and then to research your topic by researching and analyzing two scientific published articles each successive week. The final class will consist of student presentations, reflecting a synthesis of the articles each individual has discovered and analyzed. The goals of this course include developing the skills to locate, evaluate, and critically read scientific and popular press articles; developing teamwork and cooperation (hallmarks of contemporary scientific investigation and discovery); and synthesizing information into written and oral communications. Morgan

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Seeking Sustainability: Is One World Enough? The term “sustainability” is a common buzzword heard in politics, the media, and product marketing, but what does sustainability mean in a biological context, and is it achievable within our current social and economic framework? This course will examine different facets of sustainability from scientific and societal perspectives. We will begin with an overview of the biodiversity crisis and what sustainability means to the biologist. You will learn fundamental principles from population and ecosystem ecology, and how those concepts apply to human population dynamics and growth. We will then proceed to examine how we obtain the necessities of life – energy, food and water – to support a growing human population. The course will conclude by looking at sustainability as an issue of human rights and social justice. By the end of the course, you will be better equipped to think critically about claims of sustainability and make informed decisions in their daily lives. Classes will be a mix of traditional lecture, discussion, and interactive in-class activities.  In-class work will be structured on the collaborative learning model. You will use publicly available datasets from national and international governmental organizations to examine energy generation, food production, and water use on global and regional scales. Discussions of individual impacts will require you to utilize various calculators and modeling tools to analyze your own consumption habits. Finally, we will consider possible ways to mitigate some of the issues discussed and look at how Duke is tackling them through its campus sustainability programs. Concepts from biological sciences to be covered in the course include the following:

  • Population demographics (life tables, survivorship models, fecundity/fitness tradeoffs, age structure), metapopulations/population fragmentation, population growth models and carrying capacity, natural selection and life history, ecological footprint.
  • Community structure and dynamics (keystone species, disturbance and succession), species richness, species interactions, energy flow through ecosystems (primary productivity and trophic structure).
  • Biodiversity measures, endemics, diversity hotspots, biomes and aquatic ecosystems, biogeography (species distributions), biological magnification, nutrient cycling and biogeochemical cycles, climate change/destabilization, eutrophication.

McMillan

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Genetics in the News: An Exploration of the Science Behind the Story. Many of the most exciting and controversial news stories in recent history have roots in the field of genetics, the study of heredity. From stem cells and gene editing to forensic analysis and criminal law, genetics intersects with almost every aspect of our daily lives and societal structures. In this course you will explore a number of these contemporary genetics breakthroughs and news stories, while also taking a close look at the ethical quandaries and international variations in medical, legal, and cultural norms related to genetic technologies. Through discussion, presentations, and use of mixed media, students will understand the basic biology behind the buzz words, leaving this course empowered to be critical and informed consumers of popular media. This course is appropriate for non-biology majors. Prerequisite: one semester of high school biology. Zwemer

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Evolution and Creationism. Through selected readings, short lectures, and class discussions, we will investigate some of the fundamental truths of biological evolution, the consequences of evolutionary biology for society, and the potential conflicts that emerge when evolutionary biology and (American) religion seek to co-exist. Building on Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous statement that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” we will explore why some areas of evolution are easy to accept as factually true and why some areas are much harder to grasp. The course also seeks to broaden the discussion of evolutionary biology to include how societies have historically used and abused evolutionary theory (ancient crop breeding, eugenics, GMOs, etc.). Finally, we will discuss the modes of interaction between modern Western science and traditional Western (Abrahamic) religions, focusing on the rise of Creationism and Intelligent Design in contemporary American culture. This course will present various aspects of evolutionary biology, including phylogenetics, adaptations, natural selection, and genetics, while also drawing on diverse elements of cultural anthropology and theology to address the complexity of societal issues relating to evolution. Students from a variety of backgrounds, scientific and not, religious and not, are invited to engage in a collaborative discourse of one the thorniest scientific topics in modern society. Shreve

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Freshwaters in the Anthropocene. Freshwater ecosystems are important habitat for many species and vital resources for humans. They are threatened on local and global scales by urbanization, human water use, land conversion, and climate change. This course will introduce the basic concepts of freshwater ecology with a focus on human environmental interactions and local waterways. We will cover how biology, chemistry, and physical processes interact to form the ecology of inland waters including biogeochemical cycling of elements, ecology of aquatic organisms, food webs and trophic dynamics, and whole lake and river case studies. Students will have the opportunity to apply their ecological knowledge and learn research techniques through field trips to local bodies of water. Throughout the course we will emphasize the role of humans as components of aquatic ecosystems and address the concepts of ecosystem services, governance, and environmental justice as they relate to water resources management. The aim of this course is to provide students with freshwater science literacy and context as citizens of local and global watersheds. Carter

BIOLOGY(Biology) 190 Common Cold or Cancer Cure? The Discovery and Evolution of Virus based Therapeutics. Historically, viruses are microscopic disease-causing vectors that make headlines around the world as they emerge, spread, and evolve. More recently, viruses are being used as therapeutic agents to treat disease. This course will provide a historical perspective of viruses past to present. Students will learn virus history, molecular biology of viruses and infection, discovery and treatment of emerging viruses, and the impact of viruses on society. Additionally, students will examine modern uses of viruses and the technologies used to create new vaccines, gene therapies, and cancer therapeutics. This student-centered class will provide an environment open for students to expand their communications skills through live discussion with current researchers, and writing activities meant to explore the current scientific literature, discuss viruses in the news, and the ethics of viral treatments. By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss virus biology and current treatment options, how clinical trials work, the ethics of treatment on society (including prohibitive cost and access), and the future landscape of virus-based therapies. Hastie

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 How To Build a Dinosaur: From Genome to Embryo. Transport yourself back in time to 1993, before sequenced genomes, before animals had been cloned, when the summer’s blockbuster film was Jurassic Park. Building a dinosaur for a theme park was purely science fiction in 1993, but how close are we to having the technology to build a dinosaur today? Using today’s technology, we can fully sequence a genome in less than an hour; we have successfully cloned animals such as sheep, horses, and deer; and we have even created “artificial life” in bacteria with fully synthetic genomes. In this course, we will discuss the advances in biotechnology from the time Jurassic Park was released to present day and examine what technology is still needed to successfully build a dinosaur. We will explore how to build a dinosaur from DNA to embryo while learning the basic principles of genomics, cell, and developmental biology along the way. By the end of this course, you will be able to discriminate science fiction from reality in the movie Jurassic Park and critically discuss the technology required to “create” a new life form. Saunders

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Genetically Modified Organisms—Past, Present, and Future. Since the emergence of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, humans have tinkered with the genomes of plants to produce varieties useful for shelter, food, clothing, and medicine. While early attempts at engineering relied on the slow and careful selection of desirable traits, the discovery of DNA and the gene as the basis of heredity has allowed scientists to directly modify plant genomes in ways that are both useful and controversial.  In this course, students will learn how humans have shaped the genomes of plants, from the earliest evidence for domestication to the current generation of modern crops. We will first cover the basics of plant biology, heredity, natural selection, and evolution before learning how human populations around the world have selected and modified wild plants for cultivation. Focusing on key crops like maize and rice, we will learn how domesticated crops have diverged from their wild ancestors in traits like seed retention, fruit size, and nutritional content, and the implications for plant genomic diversity. We will then learn about current technologies used to create “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) for human consumption. Finally, we will discuss the controversies surrounding GMOs and the implications for food security in a changing climate. This course will feature both lectures and class discussions of current scientific literature. Oneal

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290 Global Media Industries. How and why do particular media texts circulate globally? What are the cultural, economic, political, social, and technological forces that impact the circulation of media texts around the world? What impact do these texts have on how people come to see themselves and their relationships with others in the world? This course answers these questions by examining the relationship between media and globalization. Students grapple with and debate the terms ‘international’ and ‘globalization’ as well as how and why studying global media industries from a national perspective is productive, but also limited in scope. The course examines national and global audiences as well as the relationship between media flows, geography, and cultural identities along with media industries’ strategies to succeed in an increasingly globalized world. Special attention is drawn to the power of transnational and global media representations and institutions to bring the world together (and apart). Students have the opportunity to apply concepts and theories through discussion, in-class exercises, regular in-class screenings, in-depth case studies, research-based professional writing, and a final presentation. Timke

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290S Humanitarianism. This course is about the genesis and transformation of notions of humanitarian engagement across time and cultures and societies. As such, students will trace the ways in which humanitarian thought and action develop in particular civilizations and is refined in others. Course materials ask students to consider humanitarianism in the space of encounter between civilizations, and these engagements will be deeply contextualized across historical periods. This course also focuses on the social structures that underpin humanitarian organizations, practice, and thought in the historical and contemporary world. It examines the "social" encounter of humanitarian intervention in order to tease out how such interventions function in diverse global contexts. Readings will be drawn primarily from anthropology and other ethnographic accounts but will also include work in political science, sociology, conflict studies, and others. A primary goal of this course is to de-naturalize assumptions about what humanitarianism is, what it does, and what it looks like. This class is deeply comparative and includes readings on humanitarian engagements in France, Haiti, Finland, Palestine, Uganda, Tanzania, Georgia, Guatemala, Ghana, Mozambique, Somalia, the United States, and others. Students will be asked to compare how and why cultural forms carry different and often contradictory beliefs about humanitarianism. Lastly, there will be a focus on tying global processes to local contexts and vice versa. Students will therefore leave the course understanding how both local difference and overarching global phenomena interrelate in distinct cultural communities. Note that a major focus of this class will the ethical and moral formulations of "help," aid, and assistance in the contemporary world. Students will investigate the many contexts out of which humanitarian policy is developed and evaluate the ethical dimensions of the decision-making process. These decisions are deeply complicated politically and otherwise, and so the course will attend to these by looking at how implementing and recipient communities navigate and make sense of humanitarian interventions through an ethical lens. Sebastian

ECON (Economics) 190 Game Theory. The interactions of human beings with other individuals, within groups, and with the earth lead us to ponder many questions concerning the ways in which people coordinate and structure their actions. It is to these questions that we turn, in trying to understand the strategic decisions that people make on a daily basis. Will it make a difference if I throw my candy wrapper in the street instead of waiting to find a trash can? How much should I pay for a used car? How will our family decide who cooks dinner? Is it feasible for a firm to enter the market for a new product? Under what conditions would a union go on strike during labor contract negotiations? In this course students learn the basic tools of game theory in order to analyze these various economic and social situations. We start by providing a background and introduction to both game theory and economics. We then proceed to define the terminology used in both fields. Our section on games begins with an analysis of normal form (strategic form) games in which we have a static setting and players move simultaneously. Concepts such as a player’s best response, dominant strategies, and the Nash equilibrium are presented, along with various examples of applications. The three classic games of chicken (hawk-dove), coordination (battle of preferences), and the prisoners’ dilemma are introduced, with an extension to the mixed strategy Nash equilibrium. Next we turn to extensive form games in order to analyze dynamic games in which players move sequentially. The notion of a sub-game perfect Nash equilibrium is discussed, and the technique of backward induction is taught. Repeated interactions between players are then considered as we discuss both infinitely repeated games and finitely repeated games. Topics in public and environmental economics are introduced in order to apply these game theory concepts to situations pervaded by free-riding and collective action problems. Evolutionarily stable strategies are also discussed, allowing us to understand how repeated games can lead to the stability of social inequalities by class, gender, race, and ethnicity. The role of institutions (such as norms, customs, traditions, beliefs, and property rights) in maintaining these inequalities is discussed from a game theoretic standpoint. Lastly, we study situations of asymmetric information between players. We give specific references to issues of principal-agent problems, moral hazard, and adverse selection as applied to monitoring, signaling, and “lemons” markets. We will also discuss bargaining models. The course concludes with a critical analysis of the theories and assumptions used in game theory. In particular, students debate the usefulness of concepts of “rationality.” Miller

ENGLISH (English) 290S Introduction to Digital Humanities. What can we accomplish when we apply digital and quantitative methods to humanistic questions? This is the inquiry that digital humanities (DH) as a field pursues. Recent applications of DH methodologies include, for instance, exploring how large-scale analysis of news media might indicate incipient mass genocide, thus enabling faster and more effective response prior to humanitarian crisis; or examining why major social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo started as Twitter hashtags, and analyzing how social media has shaped the conversations around these issues. This course introduces students to the history, theory, and methods of DH, an interdisciplinary area of inquiry whose definition and applications are hotly contested. The course will be conducted in two modes each week. Half of our class sessions will be seminar-style discussions of short readings on trends and current debates in DH. The other half of our sessions will be lab-style training and collaborative practice in specific tools and methods of DH. We will develop skills in mapping, network analysis, digital publishing and content management, data visualization, social media analysis, digital storytelling, data cleaning, and virtual and augmented reality. At the end of this course, you will have gained both a theoretical orientation to DH and a practical toolkit in its methodologies. This introductory level course welcomes students in any discipline. There are no prerequisites, and no previous experience in humanistic, digital, or quantitative methods is required. Assessment will be based on class participation, one guided DH project, and one final research-based project geared towards the interests and skills of the individual student. Davenport

HISTORY (History) 190S Debates in the History of Capitalism.  What is capitalism, and why does it inspire so much debate? This four-week course introduces students to a handful of major debates in the history of capitalism, organized by week. The first week explores the question ‘what is capitalism?’ Week two surveys writings by a handful of capitalism’s major advocates and opponents. Week three examines the relationship between capitalism and slavery in the Americas. Finally, the fourth week explores the relationship between gender and capitalism, paying particular attention to feminist theorizations of gendered labor. Rather than an exhaustive ‘history of capitalism’ survey, this course prompts students to engage in focused readings of key texts—supplemented by lecture and in-depth discussion—in order to understand what, exactly, capitalism is, and why it is so controversial. Materials with which we will engage include works of classical political theory, critiques and defenses of capitalism from a number of vantage points, selections from historical monographs, newspaper articles and podcasts, and primary source historical documents. Though primarily focused on the history of capitalism in the Western hemisphere, the debates it covers are broadly applicable to the study of capitalism in the modern world and are essentially ethical debates. Is capitalism good or bad? How do we historicize capitalism in terms of gender and race? By reading arguments from a variety of vantage points – Marxist, reformist, and so on – students will gain a sense of the major defenses and critiques of capitalism, and the issues at stake in these debates. Allain

MATH (Mathematics) 190 Mathematics of the Universe. This course will survey, in precise mathematical terms, what is known and not known about the universe, from special relativity, the big bang, and black holes to dark matter and theoretical astrophysics. Einstein's idea that "matter curves spacetime," which is the fundamental principle behind general relativity, requires a field of mathematics called differential geometry, for example. Students will learn special relativity and gain an introduction to general relativity. We will also study and discuss theories of dark matter, which makes up most of the mass of galaxies. Students will work problems in class and for homework, from calculus problems to performing boosts in special relativity. Boosts are linear transformations of the t-x spacetime. Students will relate the information presented in one person's frame of reference to another observer's frame of reference, and understand how to interpret both sets of information. All of the problems that we solve, in class and on homework, will be related to facts about the universe. Students will be able to explain the relationship between what is observed in the universe and the results of computations that they do. The pace and emphasis of the class will be highly influenced by the questions asked by the students. Mastery of single variable calculus is highly recommended. Bray

MATH (Mathematics) 190 Democracy and Game Theory. What is democracy? Using preferential ballots in elections is a natural idea since it allows voters to express a first choice, a second choice, a third choice, etc., on each ballot, thereby collecting more information from each voter and creating the potential for an outcome which better represents the voters. However, there are many ways to determine the winner of a preferential ballot election, and each “preferential ballot vote counting method” has its own game theory, both for the candidates and the voters, some better and some worse, and often very different from the game theory of the single vote ballot. So which preferential ballot vote counting method is the best? Does there exist a vote counting method which incentivizes politicians to seek out centrist, consensus building positions and to focus on issues important to voters, more than game theoretic tactics meant to manipulate the electorate? Or is there another goal we should be pursuing? In this course, we will use game theory and mathematics to study these questions. Bray

PSY (Psychology) 390S Cultural Psychology. This course will serve as an introduction to cultural psychology. Specifically, this course provides an overview of theory and research on cultural variation in human development, social behavior, and physical and mental health. This course introduces various topics spanning the concepts of intersectionality of visible/invisible identities, degrees of social privilege, historical social oppression, modern social oppression, implicit bias, microaggressions, structural barriers to health care/health disparities, and cultural competence/cultural humility, among others. This course is intended to provide students with a broad overview of some the key issues involved in approaching psychology from a perspective that is mindful of the diversity in today’s society. While part of this course requires some self-exploration and application to personal experience, students are advised that the emphasis of the course is primarily on critically examining the theory and research in cultural psychology as a science. Students will be asked to engage with both seminal works in the field, as well as cutting-edge lines of research. The overarching aim is to gain an increased understanding of the multifaceted inter-play between culture and psychology. Nagy

PSY (Psychology) 390S Nature and the Brain. The course presents the new science describing the influence of time spent in nature on child cognitive and emotional development and adult mental health and creativity. Course readings will include landmark interdisciplinary empirical studies covering experimental psychology, observational epidemiology, and neuroimaging as well as the accessible 2019 book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by journalist Florence Williams. Students will learn what the new science says about the relationship between nature and the brain, how critically to appraise findings from experimental and observational studies, and how to place psychological findings into context to inform public policies around public health and urban design. Connections will be made to important trends now underway, including climate change and the aging and urbanization of the global population. Reuben

Term 2, 6-week Courses (June 29-August 9)

CULANTH (Cultural Anthropology) 290S Humans vs Robots: Anthropology of Technology. This course offers an introduction to the anthropological study of technology by examining the relationship between everyday life and technological developments. It also seeks to explore social and cultural questions regarding emerging smart technologies: how do machines with artificial intelligence change our everyday lives? what does it mean to be living with smart devices? how are humans and robots different? can robots replace humans? A particular focus of the course is on highly automated and autonomous technologies. We will discuss examples from artificial intelligence applied products and services in various fields including biomedicine (i.e., surgical robots) and transportation (i.e., driverless cars and VTOL passenger drones). Topics include artificial intelligence, automation, autonomy, energy and transportation infrastructure, digital media, and military technologies. Course readings bring examples from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Mentes

ENGLISH (English) 110S Introduction to Creative Writing: Hybrid Writing Animals.
     “Technically we are all half centaur.” Nick Offerman
This course is an invitation to the hybrid, bookish-beasts of writing: flash fiction, the prose poem, the lyric essay, and some of the many glittering forms of writing that fall between. Structured like a studio art class, we will begin each class by looking at several models of writing (on the page, in audio, and video). Through discussion and a variety of creative exercises, we will then explore and create our own hybrid forms of writing. In terms of content, we will begin with writing (and reading!) lists and journal entries—daily, familiar forms of writing that nonetheless invite collage and experimentation. From there, we will turn to the paragraph writing forms of flash fiction/creative nonfiction and prose poetry. After workshopping these building-block genres and developing our recognition of different genres and hybrid forms together, we will bring our composition skills and inspiration to shaping a mixed-medium final portfolio of publishable-quality writing. Class mini-trips include visiting Duke Gardens for a nature writing class and the Nasher Museum of Art to write about visual and material art objects. Our final class includes a desert tasting paired with writing reviews of a local bakery/creamery. Assignments include weekly written reflections (350-500 words) in response to class readings and workshop participation. The final project consists of a 10-page mixed-medium writing portfolio of your best work. Since at least a class or two will be held out of doors at Duke Gardens, please let the instructor know ahead of time if you have allergies or accessibility concerns.
     Required Texts:
     Woodland (Entre Rios Books, 2019) by Knox Gardner
     Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (FSG, 2015) by Joy Harjo
VanderHart

ENGLISH (English) 290S I, Robot: Is Intelligence Artificial? We claim a clear qualitative difference between human beings and artificial intelligence. Humans have sentience and free will. As humans we form meaningful relationships on the basis of an internal sense of right and wrong. We work together to care for the environment, and to protect each other's basic human dignity. So, what explains our fascination with the possibility that artificial intelligence will outpace us? Is it horror, or anticipation? At the end of the day, what makes us human and keeps us that way? In this course we will engage with a range of fictionalized projections about the future of AI in the form of short stories, television, and film. From I, Robot to Ex Machina, human creators have imagined our artificial counterparts as both benevolent to malevolent—and have passed judgment on human nature in the process. As our coexistence with AI becomes more real than imagined, we will interrogate closely what hopes or anxieties about being human shape the way we imagine and design robots to solve our problems. By looking carefully at the way we think about technofutures, we will better understand the challenges we face in the here and now. With science fiction as a primary source, we will supplement our discussion with secondary sources drawn from science, philosophy, and current events. In lieu of a final exam, students will research a position paper about the development of artificial intelligence to solve a contemporary problem of their choice. McDowell

LIT (Literature) 190S Machinic Visions/Visions of the Machine. The course explores how cinema as a medium reflects our cultural and philosophical views about technology. We will start by discussing cinema as a symptom of modernity and will explore how it manifested both the utopian revolutionary aspirations (Dziga Vertov, Jean Epstein) and dystopian anxieties about industrialization (Fritz Lang, Charlie Chaplin). We will then trace how cinema registered and reacted to different technological transformations, such as the advent of television as a new medium (David Cronenberg), cybernetics, information technologies, and biotech (Stanley Kubrick, the Wachowskis, Harun Farocki). Throughout the course we will consider key media and philosophical debates about the problematic man-machine relation (Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Marshall McLuhan, Friedrich Kittler, Gilles Deleuze, Donna Haraway). The major aim of the course is to explore complex entanglements between humans and machines and to see how the perennial question “What does it mean to be human?” gets new and unexpected inflexions in the era when technology starts to blur the distinction between social and technological, natural and artificial, to the point of indiscernibility. Lukin

LIT (Literature) 190S Troubled Pleasures. In his theory of the pleasure principle, Sigmund Freud posits the centrality of pleasure-seeking to psychology and civilization. Yet, capitalism tends to disable pleasure by making the body an instrument of labor. At the same time, progressive democratic and utopian social movements envision a world governed by the ethical enjoyment of goods. This course focuses on the widely influential study of pleasure in modern society conducted by the traditions of psychoanalytic and critical theory, with attention to representations of pleasure in the arts, especially modern literature. Issues include: emerging critiques of capitalism in modernist literature, the experience of pleasure and imperialism in the modern novel, and the interpretation of such objects in postcolonial literary theory and postmodern philosophy. In-depth examination will be given to the origins of consumer culture in modern Europe; the subjective experience, in the modern novel, of global conflicts generated by imperialism; and postcolonial responses to European globalization. Sarfan

LIT (Literature) 190S Contemporary Television: TV Technology and Form in the Post-1999 United States. “Contemporary Television” provides an introduction to the field of television studies through an overview of current TV programs and recent TV scholarship in the United States, approaching the study of contemporary TV from historical and formal perspectives. The course commences with seminal texts in TV studies and classic TV programs to provide context for recent developments in TV technology and form. We then continue by exploring episodes from exemplary programs and representative TV research since 1999. Classic and contemporary series may include: I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, Bojack Horseman, Black Mirror, The Sopranos, Transparent, and Dear White People. Our focus will be upon three main domains of inquiry: (1) the technological conditions and medium specificity of contemporary TV (for example, the competition between broadcast, cable, and streaming TV; and contemporary TV's relationship to cinema and new media); (2) transformations in television genre, storytelling, and aesthetics; and (3) problems of spectatorship as they relate to contemporary political developments in under-represented populations such as queer, trans, and black. Additionally, students will be asked to consider how contemporary TV's political address provides forms of pleasure and identification for marginalized populations viewing these programs. In this way, the cross-cultural component of this course emerges most strongly when thinking about the relationships between mainstream culture and various under-represented subcultures in the post-1999 United States. Students interested in contemporary television technology, aesthetics, spectatorship, and politics will find this course invaluable. Beaver

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Writing for Public Policy. This is an online course. Every student of public policy needs to write clearly, succinctly, and with conviction. This course is a writing class designed to teach the basics of the forms of writing that are likely to be used by public policy students when they enter the work world. These include letters to the editor, op-eds, policy briefs, memos, executive summaries, speeches, committee reports, grant proposals, and other relevant documents. Assignments, incorporating editing and rewriting opportunities, include four short (2-5 pages) papers and one long (15 pages) paper. Class members will participate in an online chat room and in online meetings with one another. Everyone will have the opportunity to work on personal strengths and weaknesses and to design a project relevant to work or an internship. Weddington

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S The West Wing: A Political Primer. This is an online course. Students will use the popular series The West Wing to examine the realities of how politics operate in Washington, D.C. A new aspect will be examined each week. Topics will include: the role of the White House Press Secretary; how to conduct a campaign for a second term; limits and powers of the President; responses to international crises; and other selected issues.  There will be no exams. Graded work will include five short reflection papers (1 page each) and one in-depth analysis of one issue (25 pages). At least one chat room will be scheduled during the term, with the possibility of additional sessions if students’ schedules can be coordinated. Weddington

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Whistleblowing & Anonymity. This is an online course. Whistleblowing, a phenomenon practiced throughout American political history, is an established and legally protected way for employees or other concerned parties to bring social injustices and disparities to public light. The course explains this aspect of the legal system and its relationship to labor, economics, and politics. Attention will be given to investigating the history of whistleblowing by examining key cases, particularly those that have resulted in political change. We will also examine whistleblowing in different cultures and why it is not always in the context of white corporate America. We will also examine and ponder why whistleblowing is increasingly anonymous. By the end of the class, students will identify and understand what whistleblowing is and is not by reading case studies and current literature. The question of whether and when to be a whistleblower is an ethical issue that will also be given consideration. This course is set in professional, historical, and policy contexts. Graded work will include papers, journals, and participation in a chat room; no final exam will be given. Weddington

THEATRST (Theater Studies) 290S Creating Arts Access. This course will focus attention on the opportunities for the arts (theaters, museums, galleries, concert venues, school programs, etc.) to increase the participation of persons with disabilities and to include persons with disabilities as part of the discussions for increasing diversity. The course will explore the changing societal values with regards to including access for persons with disabilities and examine arts access as both an ethical/societal obligation as well as an opportunity. The course will study the various ways in which arts presenters have improved arts access since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990; similar to the concept of "universal design," the course will explore concepts and means of providing universal arts access. The service learning component of the course will include working with local arts organizations or venues (or arts components of broader organizations) to assess their accessibility and assist with developing programs to improve their accessibility. The course is a service-learning course. Students will work with the DADA project – Durham Audio Described Art – a project designed to provide some arts accessibility for people who are blind or with very low vision. Students will learn audio description skills and draft and then record audio descriptions of visual art In Durham.  https://www.acb.org/adp/articles/dadaproject.html. Ellison