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1 - 8 of 8 results for: THINK

THINK 24: Evil

What is evil? Are we naturally good or evil? How should we respond to evil? There are many books and courses that focus on the good life or the virtues. Yet despite their obvious apparent presence in our life and world, evil and the vices are rarely taken as explicit topics. We will read philosophical and literary texts that deal with the question of evil at a theoretical level, but will also focus on some practical implications of these issues. By exploring evil, we will confront larger questions about the nature of human beings, the appropriate aims of the good society, the function of punishment, and the place of morality in art.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 31: Race and American Memory

How have Americans remembered the Civil War - what it meant, what it accomplished, and what it failed to accomplish? How did Americans reimagine the United States as a nation after the war? Who belonged in the national community and who would be excluded? In 1865, the peace treaty was signed at Appomattox and the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, but the battle over memory and national identity had just begun. The questions that the Civil War addressed - and failed to address - continue to affect our lives today. We will focus on how Americans negotiated issues of cultural memory and national identity through a close analysis of historical texts, novels, poems, films, paintings, cartoons, photographs, and music. Our interpretations will foreground the particular themes of race and nationhood, freedom and citizenship, and changing notions of individual and collective identity. Our assumption in this course is that history is not available to us as a set of events - fixed, past, and more »
How have Americans remembered the Civil War - what it meant, what it accomplished, and what it failed to accomplish? How did Americans reimagine the United States as a nation after the war? Who belonged in the national community and who would be excluded? In 1865, the peace treaty was signed at Appomattox and the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, but the battle over memory and national identity had just begun. The questions that the Civil War addressed - and failed to address - continue to affect our lives today. We will focus on how Americans negotiated issues of cultural memory and national identity through a close analysis of historical texts, novels, poems, films, paintings, cartoons, photographs, and music. Our interpretations will foreground the particular themes of race and nationhood, freedom and citizenship, and changing notions of individual and collective identity. Our assumption in this course is that history is not available to us as a set of events - fixed, past, and unchanging. Rather, history is known through each generation's interpretations of those events, and these interpretations are shaped by each generation's lived experience. What stories get told? Whose stories? And in what ways? The stories we choose to tell about the past can shape not only our understanding of the present, but also the kind of future we imagine and strive to realize.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 40: Sustainability Challenges and Transitions

What are the most critical sustainability challenges facing us in this century? How can natural and social sciences, humanities, and technology fields interact to contribute to their solution? How do we balance the needs and desires of current generations with the needs of future generations? The term sustainability seems to be everywhere. Businesses, cities, non-governmental organizations, individuals, and universities such as Stanford use the term to characterize decisions that make sense for the well-being of people as well as the environment. Beyond the popular use of the term is an emerging field of study that focuses on the goals of sustainable development - improving human well-being while preserving Earth's life support systems (air, water, climate, ecosystems) over the long run - and explores how science and technology can contribute to the solution of some of the most critical problems of the 21st Century. The goal of this course is to engage you in critical thinking and anal more »
What are the most critical sustainability challenges facing us in this century? How can natural and social sciences, humanities, and technology fields interact to contribute to their solution? How do we balance the needs and desires of current generations with the needs of future generations? The term sustainability seems to be everywhere. Businesses, cities, non-governmental organizations, individuals, and universities such as Stanford use the term to characterize decisions that make sense for the well-being of people as well as the environment. Beyond the popular use of the term is an emerging field of study that focuses on the goals of sustainable development - improving human well-being while preserving Earth's life support systems (air, water, climate, ecosystems) over the long run - and explores how science and technology can contribute to the solution of some of the most critical problems of the 21st Century. The goal of this course is to engage you in critical thinking and analysis about complex sustainability challenges and to encourage you to consider the need for integrative solutions that draw on different disciplines. We will examine some of the major problems of sustainable development (including issues related to food, water, and energy resources, climate change, and protection of ecosystem services), grapple with the complexities of problem solving in complex human-environment systems, and participate in the design of effective strategies and policies for meeting sustainability goals. You will learn to develop policy briefs addressing sustainability issues in the university, local communities, state and the nation as well as work on team projects with decision makers that address real-life challenges in your local area.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 43: What is love?

Is love a spiritual or a bodily phenomenon? Is the concept of love timeless or ever changing? How does thinking about love lead us to ask other important philosophical and social questions? In this course we will examine the classical roots, medieval developments, and contemporary permutations of Western ideas of romantic love. With an eye to thinking about representations of love in our own culture, we consider some of the foundational love books of the Western tradition. From Plato's Symposium to Chester Brown's graphic novel Paying For It, we ask the fundamental question of whether and how we might distinguish between spiritual and physical desire. We consider how medieval and contemporary writers dealt with the relation of love to sex, power, money, marriage, and gender. We discuss these works of the past, for example the illicit love in the courtly romance Tristan, in tandem with representations of clandestine love from the present day, such as the portrayal of same-sex love in Brokeback Mountain.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 49: Stories Everywhere

Do we perceive the world through stories? Are we made of stories? Can we make sense of the world without narrative? The telling of stories is not just a form of entertainment but an essential human activity that moves and persuades us, compelling us to action and reflection. In this course, we will probe how moral, cognitive and historical forces give stories their power. You will be introduced to the basic theory and art of storytelling, enabling you to understand and master the fundamentals of narrative structure, plot, and character. This will allow you to practice producing your own stories through both interpretative and creative writing assignments. The class will also give students the chance to participate in various story-making activities and work with the Stanford Storytelling Project, San Francisco StoryCorps, School of the Arts and the Stanford Innocence Project to create assignments that would be useful to both private and nonprofit organizations.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-CE | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 50: Empathy

This course will introduce freshmen to a range of ways of thinking about empathy. How do we know and understand the other? How does knowledge of another's experience and circumstances enable us to make moral decisions and take moral actions? It will take students on an intellectual investigation of the topic of empathy from the Buddhist emphasis on compassion in the fifth century BCE to Jesus' teaching of parables in the first century CE to Enlightenment philosophy to Silicon Valley¿s adoption of empathy in the twenty-first century. The main focus will be on the modern period (from the 18th to 20th century) and students will be asked to approach different genres of text through the lens of empathy. The course will culminate with a one-week creative workshop on the question of empathy.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-CE, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 51: The Spirit of Democracy

This course provides an overview of the challenges and aspirations facing ideals of democracy. It deals both with competing visions of what democracy might be, and their actual realization not only in the US but around the world. It will begin with the debate over the American founding and move eventually to the ¿third wave¿ of democratization around the world in the late 20th century as well as its more recent retrenchment. The problems of democratic reform are continuing and recurrent around the world. Democratic institutions are subject to a living dialogue and we intend to engage the students in these debates¿at the level of democratic theory and at the level of specific institutional designs.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SI | 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: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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