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The full title of this course is Myth, Ritual, & Magic: Intro to Anthropology of Religion. The seminar explores the social and cultural uses and meanings of religion, ritual and magic from a cross-cultural perspective. The class will examine the category of 'religion' in relation to those of 'magic' and 'science' as well as the use of rituals in groups.


Jesus was the founder of the world's largest religion and one of the most controversial figures in religious history. "Life and Teaching of Jesus" is an analysis of the early Christian writings with the objective of studying the life and message of Jesus. This exploration will use the tools of historical, anthropological, sociological, and literary scholarship to investigate Jesus and the early Christian communities that produced the literature about him within their historical, cultural, and religious contexts.

This course applies sociological principles to health, illness, and health care. In order for students to fully develop an understanding in this context, a variety of perspectives will be explored and critiqued including that of patients, providers and society. This draws on foundational disciplines at the broader level and frames them into the biomedical experience. For example, sociological constructs of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class; psychosocial aspects of personal illness experience, historical and political perspectives of dominance, regulation and governance of providers and health care organizations will be the multidisciplinary topics covered. Other topics may include but are not limited to: history of 'western' medicine, models of illness, stress and well-being, social stratification of illness, health demography, medicalization and de-medicalization of illness, disability, and patient-provider relationships. A combination of reading, discussion, reflective activities, and paper/project composition will be used to facilitate comprehension of the course material. 

This course will examine current ethical discussions that arise in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

This course gives upper-level Honors students the opportunity to craft effective leadership skills to mentor small groups of 12-15 first year students enrolled Honors 001 First Year Practicum. Students collaborate in pairs as co-guides on development and implementation of curriculum, service and social activities for assigned first year groups. Guides will work closely with the Director of Honors to develop the skills and materials necessary to lead the assigned groups. The Goals of the Practicum (subject to mild modification): communicate information about making the most of the Honors Program; foster community within the group; foster connections of the group with the larger Honors community; enhance students understanding of their own learning processes; develop skills necessary for success in Honors courses; nurture intellectual curiosity. Guides must be independent thinkers, thoughtful leaders and effective communicators who are committed to growing in all of these areas.


Rhetoric in Popular Culture critically examines how the signs and symbols we all encounter in daily life work to shape our cultural practices, our political commitments, and even our social identities. By learning to analyze common cultural texts, objects, and spaces through the lens of rhetoric, students will reflect on how particular ideas, values, attitudes, and actions can appeal to publics to become social norms. Examining how these cultural rhetorics operate will also afford students opportunities to consider the consequences of these influences as well as the possibilities of social change.


This course explores the complexities of how immigration impacts urban education. According to Rong and Brown (2002), 1 in 10 U.S. children was born outside of the United States, and 1 in 5 live in a household headed by an immigrant. Approximately 1,000 immigrant children enter schools each day. While immigration is not reserved for urban contexts, the Current Population Report (Lollock, 2001), found that almost half of the foreign born lived in a central part of a city in metropolitan areas (45%), compared with slightly more than one quarter of the native population (27.5%) For many immigrant children and families, schools are the first American institution they must negotiate. In this course, we will review research that centers on immigrant children—in hopes of learning from them how they experience schools. We will discuss challenges that students face including dislocation, cultural disorientation, language learning, and racism. In addition, we will analyze the issue of immigration in the larger context of globalization. Finally, we will explore opportunities for educating immigrant children in urban contexts—with the possibility of schools as sites for humanization and social transformation.


Typically when we think about how to behave, we think about the impact of our behavior, either directly or indirectly, on other people. However, there is a long tradition of thinking about what we owe to those who are not people, that is to animals, plants, ecosystems. While this tradition has, historically, played a rather minor role in larger conversations, since the mid-twentieth century, thinkers have taken up the question of our moral responsibility to non-humans. These questions have ranged from whether (and which) non-humans might have rights to whether we have a moral responsibility to prevent species from going extinct regardless of the impact of their extinction on anyone or anything. Not only are these questions interesting and important in themselves, but additionally by carefully attending to these conversations we are able to think about ethics and ethical reasoning differently simply by engaging less frequently discussed topics.


An introduction to philosophy of language focused on linguistic meaning, the relationship between language and thought, and the relationship between language and the world. Central to our investigation will be the issue of linguistic relativism. i.e., whether languages are significantly different, and if so whether they shape significantly different views of reality. 


This course will be an interdisciplinary investigation of anthropogenic global change, using global warming as a semester-long case study. In this course students will learn to investigate a major environmental issue by first obtaining a strong scientific background in the issue, then applying methods of policy analysis, and finally advocating for effective governmental decision making. Students will also gain a strong appreciation for the complexity and gravity of climate change issues. 



This is a course about the invention of religion as a category of scholarly inquiry. It tracks the genealogy of "religion" and religions from ancient Rome to the present; it explores the various ways in which religion is constructed and studied by scholars of religion; and it reenacts the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, the first ever dialogue of practitioners and scholars of the world's diverse religions.


Investigation of the philosophical questions regarding moral rights. Assuming that we have them, what are they? Why do we have them? Does the obsession with rights lead to a problematically individualistic culture? As we look at all of the questions, we will also be looking at the extent to which rights are connected with responsibilities.


This semester Digital Religion will analyze the Peoples Temple movement and their agricultural project in Jonestown, Guyana. This group, led by Jim Jones and an inner circle of devoted socialists, rose to prominence in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970's, working on radical political issues, establishing communal living facilities, and emphasizing racial and economic equality. The group left the Bay Area for Guyana where it established a communal agricultural project. Ultimately, the group committed what they called "revolutionary suicide" in late 1978. In cooperation with the "Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and the Peoples Temple" project hosted by the San Diego State University, students will assist in the analysis and annotation of an online selection of documents originally produced by Jim Jones and members of the Peoples Temple.



The course raises questions about what violence is; what it does; whether it is necessary, legitimate or illegitimate; and what its' constitutive and destructive qualities are. We investigate the main theories of violence from philosophy and political science but also explore ethnographic cases from across the globe, looking at significant occurrences of violence in history and their reverberations in the present. The course also looks at representations of violence in rituals, art, and movies, as well as how art and poetry are often the only way through which the brutal experience of violence is elaborated, revered, and possibly reworked.


The immense growth of slavery and slave trade research in the last quarter century has made examinations of unfree labor a major issue for world research. Studies of Atlantic slavery have generated the bulk of that research, and as a result have challenged many traditional perceptions of that trade and its associated system of slavery. However, despite the unquestioned value of these recent analyses, most of these studies have looked at Atlantic slavery from the American side of the ocean. Consequently, the African nature of Atlantic slavery has often lacked close scrutiny. This course has two goals: 1) to root Atlantic slavery and its trade in its African context, and 2) to help incorporate recent research findings into popular understandings of the Atlantic trade. The major argument of this course is that one cannot know why the Atlantic trade happened as it did nor how Atlantic slavery developed as it did without understanding the context which produced the people who were sold into slavery. Therefore, the course looks at the influence political, social, economic, and cultural factors in Africa had on the making of slavery and the slave trade both in Africa and the Americas. In doing so, the course will challenge students to rethink their own notions of Atlantic slavery as they analyze and critique the ideas encountered in this course.


The History of cities cannot be understood without the physical world. This course introduces the ways that the environment has shaped human experience, as well as how humans have in turn shaped the environment. Themes include the interconnectedness of people and nature, public health, ecological health, and the link between local and global. The course balances environments that are both physical (geology, rivers, trees and concrete and cultural (society, ideas and design).

This course meets in person and outdoors.


The environmental history of the continent and nation stretches from geologic time to the present. This course begins by defining different aspects of environmental history and introduces ways that the environment has been influential in shaping past human experience, as well as how humans have in turn shaped the environment. While surveying the sweep of American history through the lens of environment, special attention will be paid to historicizing present-day topics. Themes include the interconnectedness of people and nature, health (ecological and social health is an environmental issue), and the link between local and global. The course balances the physical (rocks, conservation and ecology) and the cultural (ideas, perceptions and images) environment.


Eighty years ago a pioneering historian asked what U.S. history would look like seen "through women's eyes." In recent years historians have tackled the project, producing a dynamic new history of women and transforming our understanding of the past in the process. This course pursues three related questions. How does our vision of U.S. history change when we place women at the center of analysis? How has gender shaped, and been shaped by, developments in U.S. history? And how can we explain the differences among women's experiences? In this seminar, we will examine historical experiences common to American women while paying close attention to differences and divisions among them. We will also explore how individuals and groups have contested and perpetrated the ways Americans think about and experience gender in family life, education, sexuality, work, marriage, and politics. The course is designed for upper-division students to deepen their knowledge of U.S. history, to learn about important themes in women's and gender history, and to provide a structured opportunity to conduct historical research and analysis in this field.


This seminar reviews how sex role understandings have affected various aspects of the law including criminal law; employment credit and insurance discrimination; abortion and fetal protection; family law; and lesbian and gay rights. Standards of review for laws that discriminate on the basis of sex as opposed to other kinds of discrimination also are discussed, as is the issue of how women are treated in courts today.


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