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1 - 7 of 7 results for: THINK

THINK 3: Breaking Codes, Finding Patterns

Why are humans drawn to making and breaking codes? To what extent is finding patterns both an art and a science? Cryptography has been used for millennia for secure communications, and its counterpart, cryptanalysis, or code breaking, has been around for just slightly less time. In this course we will explore the history of cryptography and cryptanalysis including the Enigma code, Navajo windtalkers, early computer science and the invention of modern Bayesian inference. We will try our own hand at breaking codes using some basic statistical tools for which no prior experience is necessary. Finally, we will consider the topic of patterns more generally, raising such questions as why we impute meaning to patterns, such as Biblical codes, and why we assume a complexity within a pattern when it's not there, such as the coincidence of birthdays in a group.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-AQR, WAY-FR

THINK 12: Century of Violence

What is modern about modern mass violence? This course explores the evolution, varieties, and logic of mass violence from the early 20th century to the present day. You will engage with and analyze primary accounts of such violence by victims, observers, perpetrators, and courts. We will then consider the effectiveness of various efforts to confront genocides and crimes against humanity in international courts and institutions, past and present. We start with the emergence of genocide as a modern, international issue; proceed with colonial massacres in early 20th century Africa; move to the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and WWI; Nazi and Nazi-inspired racial murder; communist-induced mass violence in the Soviet Union and Asia; ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia; and end with an examination of the recent genocides in Rwanda, Sudan, and the Middle East.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SI

THINK 42: Thinking Through Africa: Perspectives on Health, Wealth, and Well-Being

What is human well-being? How do we define it? How do we measure it? What do we mean when we talk about certain parts of the world as "developed" and others as "underdeveloped" or "developing"? How do improvements in human well-being come about? What happens when some people become much better off and others do not? In this course, we will use African experiences, past and present, to think critically and reflectively about concepts whose meaning we all too often take for granted: not only well-being and development, but also wealth and health, equality and inequality. Using the tools and techniques of four different disciplines -- history, anthropology, public health, and engineering -- we will tackle essential questions about the meaning of well-being and the indices by which we measure it, the role of politics in the development process, the importance of historical and cultural contexts, and the sometimes unanticipated challenges that individuals, institutions, and societies face when they seek to promote development and improve human well-being.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

THINK 47: Inventing Government: Ancient and Modern

How might the study of the successes and failures of democratic and republican government in ancient Greece and Rome help us to fix what is broken in our own political systems? Democracy and republic are ancient names for revolutionary approaches to government of, by, and for citizens. Today, almost every state proclaims itself to be a democracy, a republic -- or both. Democratic and republican revolutions transformed ancient Greece and Rome - and later transformed the modern world. We explore how political thinkers, from Machiavelli to Madison and Mill, used the lessons of ancient politics to design bold new systems of government. Ancient politics may still hold lessons for us. We analyze what is broken in modern government (corruption, polarization, gridlock), how it broke, and how the tool kit of ancient political history might help us to analyze and repair the damage.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, WAY-SI

THINK 48: Reading the Body: How Medicine and Culture Define the Self

How have our perceptions of what is considered normal/abnormal; beautiful/ugly; infected/uninfected changed over time? How do these changing medical and cultural representations of the body reflect larger societal shifts? How does illness change our perceptions of our bodies and our identities? Viewed through the lens of medicine, the body is a text that offers clues to health and illness, yet clinical readings are never entirely objective. Culture informs and distorts how we discern, accept, reject, and analyze our bodies. Looking at literary, medical, ethical, and anthropological texts, we ask how representations of the body affects the way we experience illness, embody gender and racial identities, and understand our rights (or lack of rights) to control our own bodies. We will critically examine our perceptions about the body and debate some of the most complex and sensitive issues surrounding the body, from the ethics of medical research trials to end of life decisions.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ED

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: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-CE

THINK 53: Food Talks: The Language of Food

In this course, we examine how the ways we talk about food offers us a window into history, psychology, culture and economics. We ask students to think critically about language and taste as well as explore the hidden meanings and influence of the language that surrounds us. Students will analyze the language of food through menus, recipes, Yelp reviews, TV food shows, as well as the history and etymology of food words. Some of our examples will be drawn from East Asian food and culture in addition to, and as a point of contrast with, foods and cultures that may be more familiar to students.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
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