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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. 

Section information text:
Counts for Global Public Health concentration as well as an HSCI elective.



In this course, students will learn how narratives of grief are constructed, experienced, debated, politicized, and pathologized. We will examine various aspects of grief including cultural difference, social policing, media portrayals, and theoretical debates. Students will learn how tragedy and grief are used to sell politics and products and what implications this has on individual and cultural understandings of loss.

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 FOUNDATIONS class. Student leaders collaborate in pairs as co-guides on the development and implementation of curriculum, the project presentation work, and social activities. Student co-leaders work closely with the Director of Honors to develop the skills and materials necessary to lead the assigned groups. The Goals of the HONORS FOUNDATIONS (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 and 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 for social change.

This course will consider the extent to which the mind sciences (including neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, and artificial intelligence) can inform classic topics and issues in the philosophy of religion, especially as globalized beyond the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy of religion. These topics and issues include, though are not limited to, the cause and veridicality of religious/mystical experience, the evolutionary-psychological origins and functions of religious ideas, personal identity and the survival of death, the future of humanity, and the creation of the universe.


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.

What is it to "have" a mind? Are minds, "things"? If so, are they physical things? What is the relationship between your
mind and your brain/body? Can computers think, feel, and be conscious? Might you be a computer? In this class we will
critically evaluate a variety of answers to these questions and the arguments given for those questions. We will start
by examining some traditional approaches to the relationship between mental and physical phenomena, including dualism,
logical behaviorism, mind/brain identity theory, and functionalism. Next, we will consider the nature and locus of intentionality and consciousness and how the phenomena of intentionality and consciousness may bear on theories about the mind/body relationship.

We will also examine the "common-sense" appeal to beliefs, desires, and intentions in explaining human behavior and explore whether and/or to what extent those explanations can be illuminated, supplemented, revised, or undermined by empirical science.
Finally, we will look at some recent work on mind, embodiment and action, and consider the extent to which this work provides an alternative to the traditional accounts of the mind/body relationship. Our discussion of these issues will be informed by the arguments of prominent philosophers, as well as theoretical and empirical developments in psychology, computer science and

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. 

What are the cultural and political dimensions of feelings? Why are some feelings pathologized and linked to “abnormal” states like depression and anxiety? How are such experiences represented in discourse? What problems do states like depression and anxiety pose for conventional political values like rationality, deliberation, and progress? How might feelings trouble accounts of identity, subjectivity, and agency? In pursuing answers to these questions, this course explores crucial facets of feelings as cultural phenomena and political forces, such as the gender dynamics of the body/mind split, the role of pathos in social movements, and the interests benefiting from depictions of the "healthy" and "well-adjusted" citizen. Drawing on recent writing in the "affective turn" in the humanities and social sciences and earlier work on "structures of feeling," this course considers the rhetorical policing of the boundaries between stability/instability, acceptance/resistance, and normality/deviance in specific emotional and political states of being and becoming.

This course aims to understand the history of North American indigenous peoples and to better (perhaps differently!) understand American history. Using primary and secondary sources, we will complicate the "native" experience, explore the historical tensions between peoples and nations, and place Native Americans at the center of the American historical narrative.

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.

In 2017 a poll by the public opinion research company Gallup found that 85% of people world-wide hated their jobs. This poll sparked a flurry of editorials that questioned the exact figures and the definitions of terms. That response made it clear that for many influential people it was scandalous to treat work as a problem, yet many people do. In addition, work is frequently defined as either changing rapidly in the present or as having remained fundamentally the same for ages, and those changes are always potentially Earth-shaking. In all of these depictions, work tends to be treated as in some way problematic - people need to change their relationship to work or prevent that relationship from changing - but there is little agreement about what exactly the problem is. Given current trends in work related to the economy, policy, and technology, it is likely that work will continue being treated as a problem and one about which there is widespread disagreement. What is clear, however, is that we have to work, we’re expected to have a set of feelings and attitudes toward work which others will see as correct or incorrect, and work remains a problem about which our society disagrees deeply. With all of that in mind, in this class we will investigate the ways in which employment is variably treated as a source of satisfaction and dissatisfaction; a matter of personal calling, purpose, and identity; an imposition and a burden; a thing to embrace and a thing to avoid; something we need in order to be happy and free and something we need to escape in order to be happy and free.

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.

Restorative justice is a perspective that views crime as a harm against people and the community, which needs to be addressed through the involvement of offenders, victims, and the community. This course provides an introduction to the principles and practices behind restorative justice. A restorative justice movement has been growing dramatically globally in the past couple of decades. Along with this growth come many challenges, pitfalls, and critics. The course is designed to allow students to struggle along with the experts in trying to navigate the opportunities and challenges, the success stories and the pitfalls that accompany restorative justice programs. In the process, students will explore questions about justice, crime, imprisonment, punishment, rehabilitation, forgiveness, and the purpose of a legal system. The course relies heavily on international perspectives to learn about these issues. 

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.

Explore the meaning of life through films as well as readings in existential philosophy. This class will investigate questions about personal identity, fate and human freedom, moral relativism and universal truth, and finding fulfillment in life through readings by philosophers from a variety of world cultures. These readings will be paired with a selection of films all providing a different perspective on existential themes. All films will be available on reserve at the library, and students should plan on watching movies outside of class as part of weekly homework assignments.

This course investigates assumptions about choice, responsibility, and punishment reflected in our legal system and considers the extent to which our growing knowledge of the brain may support or challenge those assumptions. The course also considers what kinds of changes to existing legal and public policy may be reasonably supported by this investigation.

This course is an intensive study of twentieth-century literature from South Africa. Reading novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poetry, students will consider the ways in which writers use fiction to capture, represent, comment upon, and challenge the complexities of South African life and culture. We will, of course, spend a substantial amount of class time learning about apartheid, and students will view several films. In addition to learning about the not-so-distant historical events that occurred during the apartheid era, we will consider the state of South Africa during the dismantling of apartheid and its present-day struggles.

This class is at the intersection of three disciplines: philosophy, social science and art. The object of this course is the exploration of philosophical ideas, cultural norms and sensory perceptions that turn objects into artworks. We look at how art is at the intersection of these three categories. We will have two main tracks that dovetail throughout the semester: one is the history of visual technologies that enhance perception: instruments such as stereographs, photographs, movies, and virtual reality. The second is how these technologies arose from societal explorations and cultural needs and how they changed society.


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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February 23, 2024