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THINK 54: 100,000 Years of War

If you had been born 10,000 years ago, the chance that someone would kill you was more than 1 in 10, but if you were born in the twentieth century AD it was more like 1 in 100, despite that century¿s world wars, genocides, and nuclear weapons. In the 2010s, it is just 1 in 150. This course tries to explain this astonishing shift away from violence. We will look at the history of war from the Stone Age to the robot age, including the conflicts of the 2010s; and we will draw on everything from anthropology and archaeology to biology and psychology, as we try to answer one of the biggest questions of all: will there ever be a world without war? Students learn how to approach a big, complex, and often very politicized question in an analytical manner.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Morris, I. (PI)

THINK 55: Understanding China through Film

How did China move from an imperial and colonized country to an independent modern nation? How did the Chinese people transform its tradition, create new ways of life and values, and move toward modernity? What can the films tell us about the most significant events in modern Chinese culture and history?nWe will learn about major social and cultural transformations in modern Chinese through film. We will analyze films as a window on the ongoing narrative of a people making history and responding to a changing circumstances of revolution, reform, political movements, and modernization. Students will study film images as an art that is intertwined with ordinary people, their lived experiences, cultural habit, moral values, and political consciousness. The course will highlight four major periods: the May Fourth New Culture (1919-1930), the socialist era, the Cultural Revolution, and the reform era of globalization since the 1980s. We will learn to be sensitive to film as a visual and dramatic medium that brings to life Chinese history and culture. Mandatory screenings will be held on Wednesdays 6:30pm-9pm.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Wang, B. (PI)

THINK 56: Health Care, Ethics, and Justice

Is there a right to a basic level of health care? Are there limits to how much should be spent on health care? How should resources, like human organs, be allocated?nWhat obligations does the U.S. have regarding health care in resource-poor environments, such as underdeveloped nations?nWe live in a world of constrained resources. Nowhere are these constraints more controversial and significant than in health care where lives literally hang in the balance of the decisions we make. This course will provide students with the tools to address these questions through the theoretical framework of justice and ethics. We will address the question of allocation at the level of health policy and health economics before applying the concepts to the institutional and bedside level. Using real world examples, you will be asked to actively engage in debating controversial topics such as organ transplants and how to assign scarce ICU beds. Using both empirical data and the framework of ethics, you will be asked to consider how a health care committee, or a hospital, or an individual doctor might make decisions.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Magnus, D. (PI)

THINK 59: Worlds of Sound: Learning to Listen

We live in a world of sound. In ways that we do not always see, our social practices and machines lead us to understand certain sounds as signal and filter out others as noise. Drawing on thinking from linguistics, musicology, science and technology studies, and literature, this class challenges freshmen to become aware of their own listening practices and to learn how to listen actively and critically. We ask students to think about how listening can give them knowledge about themselves; how it relates to memory and identity; and how it is like or unlike reading. We will then introduce issues related to listening and technology: how technology influences the perception of sound; the perceived lack of fit between noise and an individual's perception of it. Finally, we will address varies cultures of musical listening, the classical Western tradition, South Asian musical traditions, and the listening experiences of immigrant and minority communities.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 61: Living with Viruses

By examining this interplay of viruses and culture, this course challenges students to think beyond conventional disciplinary distinctions through questions about the impact of biology on human behavior as well as the potential of humans to shape biology through genetic engineering. The specific goals of this course are to engage students to examine the microbial world and how they interact with it. We will examine three overreaching questions: How do viruses effect our lives? How have they shaped our culture? How will they shape our future? Topics covered will include the question of whether a virus is alive, the importance of immunity, and the role of viruses in not only human culture but what makes us distinctly human.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Baker, J. (PI)

THINK 64: Healing, Illness, Stories

This course focuses on multiple genres of narratives about illness and recovery: memoirs, graphic novels, poetry, fiction, essay, and documentary film. It asks what the power, if any, of narrative is in healing. Drawing upon the fields of literature and the practice of medicine, students will begin to grapple with the power of stories in illuminating the experience of illness and disability and in offering the possibilities for (self) transformation.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 66: Design that Understands Us

What is the nature of design¿and the meaning it holds in human life? Why do we bother to design beautiful things? Is it possible to design truth and conscience into technology? How do we reconcile deep uncertainties brought on by new technology, with the underlying values we hold as humans?nnWhat we make, in turn, makes us. This course examines the nature, purpose, and meaning of design in human life, seeking to understand its underlying universality as an interweaving of engineering, art, philosophy, and a radical synthesis of means-to-ends (things done for the sake of another purpose; e.g., technology) and ends-in-themselves (things valued for their intrinsic worth; e.g., truth, beauty, morality, the idea of play). It explores design as something that both embraces and confronts technology, not purely as means to yet another end, but also in its potential for humanistic meaning, understanding, and poignancy. It examines the idea that we should not always design from practical needs (as we are often taught) but also from the values underlying the needs; that technology should not be only an agent of change, survival, or happiness, but through what we do with it, also a mirror to define our own humanness.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-CE | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: ; Wang, G. (PI)
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