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ENGLISH 79N: The Renaissance: Culture as Conflict

Focus is on the Renaissance not as a cultural rebirth but as a scene of cultural conflict. Course materials are selected from Renaissance art, history, philosophy, politics, religion, and travel writing; authors include More, Luther, Erasmus, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Montaigne, Shakespeare. Among the conflicts we will explore are: old (world)/new (world), wealth/poverty, individual/collectivity, manuscript/print, religion/secularism, Catholicism/Protestantism, monarchism/republicanism, femininity/masculinity, heterosexuality/homosexuality.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Lupic, I. (PI)

ENGLISH 80N: Modern "Meanings of Life": Aestheticism, Perfectionism, Ecstasy

This course asks about the "meaning of life" in our time, the 21st century, and over the past 200 years. It proposes that some classic reasons for living, and modes of giving value to life, ethics, religion, family are no longer particularly active; while new, poorly articulated and ill-acknowledged systems of life-evaluation rule our senses of meaning. In particular, the course will discover, try to systematize, and then test a few of these covert modern life philosophies: aestheticism; perfectionism; ecstasy. Representatives of more classic systems of meaning Christian experience, and Aristotelian ethics will offer comparative cases. Students will be challenged to articulate and evaluate their own reasons for living and anticipated meanings of life, and to become skillful interpreters of both art and ideas in texts, learning methods from literature, philosophy, and history. They should also develop richer and more precise understandings of those contested terms, modern and modernity. Readings may include Wordsworth, Thoreau, Flaubert, Aristotle, Thomas à Kempis, Theresa of Avila, Whitman, Dickinson, Sontag, plus contemporary sources.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ER
Instructors: Greif, M. (PI)

ESS 86N: The Most Rational People in the World

Humans, broadly construed, emerged as bipedal apes in the African mixed savanna-woodlands approximately two million years ago. From humble beginnings, humans have gone on to be become the ecologically dominant species in most biomes and grown to a global population in excess of seven billion. This dominance arises from a combination of features of the human organism including its extreme degree of behavioral flexibility and flexible social organization. The prima facie evidence of human evolutionary and ecological success raises a paradox with respect to recent work in economics and psychology which increasingly argues for pervasive irrationality in human decision-making in a wide array of behavioral contexts. How is it possible for an organism with such seemingly flawed software supporting decision-making to become the globally dominant species? We will use this contradiction as the launching point for understanding what rationality means in a broad ecological and cross-cultural context. What do we mean by `rationality¿? How do different disciplines conceive of rationality in different ways? Is there such a thing as a rationality that transcends cultural differences or is the very idea of rationality a cultural construction that is used to justify imperialism and other modes of paternalism? Are there systematic factors that promote or impede rational decision-making? The seminar will provide a gentle introduction to the formal approaches of decision theory which we will apply to an unusual array of topics centered on the subsistence and reproductive decisions of hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists, pastoralists, and agrarian peasants, in short, people living in face-to-face, subsistence societies. In addition to doing reading from a broad array of social and natural science disciplines around the topic of rationality, students will regularly engage in exercises to assess their own approaches to decision-making.
Terms: Aut, Sum | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
Instructors: Jones, J. (PI)

FEMGEN 24N: Sappho: Erotic Poetess of Lesbos (CLASSICS 16N)

Preference to freshmen. Sappho's surviving fragments in English; traditions referring to or fantasizing about her disputed life. How her poetry and legend inspired women authors and male poets such as Swinburne, Baudelaire, and Pound. Paintings inspired by Sappho in ancient and modern times, and composers who put her poetry to music.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-Gender, WAY-CE, WAY-ED
Instructors: Peponi, A. (PI)

FILMSTUD 211N: Childish Enthusiasms and Perishable Manias

This course has a simple premise: Effective scholarship need not suck the joy from the world. College is serious stuff. Serious questions need to be asked in serious fields; serious meanings need to be derived from serious texts. College and graduate school are sites of gravitas; weighty work is expected. But what of levitas -- a lighter, more playful category? Does such a concept have a place at such institutions of higher learning as Stanford? Gravitas and levitas can co-exist; one need not preclude the other. Writers and artists have long sought to incorporate a playful spirit, recognizing virtue in levity. Encountering Times Square in 1922, the British writer G. K. Chesterton reflected, ¿If a child saw these colored lights, he would dance with as much delight as at any other coloured toys; and it is the duty of every poet, and even of every critic, to dance in respectful imitation of the child.¿ What does it mean to do scholarship that respects a child¿s engagement with the world? To retain (or recover) the pleasurable relation to particular objects or habits that we were allowed when younger? Does intellectually credible work depend upon ¿critical distance¿ between the scholar and the object of study? Can we take something seriously without imposing a seriousness that it may not possess (or want)? Do you have to be serious to be serious? This seminar will try to answer some of those questions. We will explore such ¿unserious¿ media as amusement parks, comics, cartoons, musicals, and children¿s books, and encounter modes of critical engagement that stress experience over meaning, and investment over critical distance.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Bukatman, S. (PI)

FRENCH 87N: The New Wave: How The French Reinvented Cinema

Focus on the French New Wave's cinematic revolution of 1959-1962. In a few years, the Nouvelle Vague delivered landmark works such as Truffaut's 400 Blows, Godard's Breathless, Chabrol's Les Cousins or Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour, and changed forever the way we make and think about movies. Why did these films look so radically fresh? What do they say about France's youth culture in the early 60s? How is the author's theory behind them still influencing us today? Focus is on cultural history, aesthetic analysis, interpretation of narrative, sound and visual forms. Taught in English. NOTE: Class meets Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:20pm; film screenings Monday 6:00-8:50pm in room 540-108
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Alduy, C. (PI)

GEOPHYS 54N: The Space Mission to Europa

Jupiter's icy moon Europa is a leading candidate in the search for life in our solar system outside of Earth. NASA's upcoming Europa Clipper mission would investigate the habitability of the moon using a suite of nine geophysical instruments. In this course, we will use the mission as a central text around which to explore the intersection of science, engineering, management, economics, culture, and politics involved in any modern big science enterprise.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA

GEOPHYS 60N: Man versus Nature: Coping with Disasters Using Space Technology (EE 60N)

Preference to freshman. Natural hazards, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, and fires, and how they affect people and society; great disasters such as asteroid impacts that periodically obliterate many species of life. Scientific issues, political and social consequences, costs of disaster mitigation, and how scientific knowledge affects policy. How spaceborne imaging technology makes it possible to respond quickly and mitigate consequences; how it is applied to natural disasters; and remote sensing data manipulation and analysis. GER:DB-EngrAppSci
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-SMA

GERMAN 75N: Famous Last Words

What would you say if you knew it would be the last thing you would ever say? Who would you want to hear your words? Would you want to inspire somebody? Terrify them? Shout your defiance or your love in their direction?nThis is a course about last words the final utterances left as legacies for the world in the face of revolution, war, betrayal, heartbreak, or that simplest of endings, death. We will look at a wide variety of last words, including last words codified as genres¿quotations, suicide notes, epitaphs, dying declarations, Japanese death poems, confessions, and the like as literary devices (last sentences, envois, punch lines, epilogues), and as forms of social or cultural practice (the making of heroes, idols, and martyrs in religious, political, and popular culture). We will look at fictional last words, real last words, last words spoken by heroes, gods, and ordinary people. And we will end the course, each of us, by writing out our own last words imagining what we each would write, if we had to sum up what mattered most to us, and if we wanted some small selection of signs to stand in, as it has for many of the authors we will read, for our life and the legacy of it.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Pao, L. (PI)

HISTORY 3N: Terrorism

Why do we categorize some acts of violence as terrorism? How do the practitioners of such violence legitimize their actions? What are the effects of terror on culture, society, and politics? This course explores these questions around the globe from the nineteenth century to the present. Topics include the Russian populists, Ku Klux Klan, IRA, al Qaida, state terror, and the representation of terrorism in law, journalism, literature, film, and TV.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Crews, R. (PI)
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