Young Scholars Program
An introduction to the study of culture and human institutions, how they change, and their role in both literate and nonliterate societies.
How did humans evolve? When did humans start to walk on two legs? How are humans related to non-human primates? This course focuses on the scientific study of human evolution describing the emergence, development, and diversification of our species, Homo sapiens. First we cover the fundamental principles of evolutionary theory and some of the basics of genetics and heredity as they relate to human morphological, physiological, and genetic variation. We then examine what studies of nonhuman primates (monkeys and apes) can reveal about our own evolutionary past, reviewing the behavioral and ecological diversity seen among living primates. We conclude the course examining the "hard" evidence of human evolution--the fossil and material culture record of human history from our earliest primate ancestors to the emergence of modern Homo sapiens. You will also have the opportunity, during recitations, to conduct hands-on exercises collecting and analyzing behavioral, morphological, and genetic data on both humans and nonhuman primates and working with the Department of Anthropology's extensive collection of fossil casts.
This course covers the changing society and culture of the United States during the 20th century. It begins with American regionalism in 1900 and traces the rise of mass culture and economic depression in the period from WWI through WWII, followed by the changing conflicts of idealism, realism, and popular culture to the end of the Cold War, the rise of the internet, and the new problems posed by 21st century globalism. The course will emphasize the discussion and analysis of primary source materials, employing material culture, texts, and film as forms of evidence. The concept of culture enables us to treat the changing cultural context as the “natural” environment of Americans during the 20th century.
This course examines the United States conquest of the region from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast, a physically varied and resource rich area incorporating the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, Southwest, Pacific Northwest and California. Each of these sub-regions encompasses a complex of groups, institutions, and cultural systems, which have changed over time as a function of war and conquest, immigration and migration, culture contact, innovation, and revitalization. This has led to a western culture of expansion, individualism, and corporate capitalism that continues to permeate contemporary America. Our task is to describe and explain these developments and values using film, documentary evidence, and material culture.
Human evolutionary studies is a composite product of the fieldwork of both Paleolithic archaeology and human paleontology (or what we refer to as "stones and bones"). This marriage of two subdisciplines of anthropology produces a unique set of data that is intellectually managed and driven by theories within anthropology as a whole and even beyond--to fields such as biology, psychology, and primate ethology--as we try to understand the origins of language, culture, and our unique physical characteristics. In this course, two archaeologists and one physical anthropologist will jointly discuss and debate the actual evidence of human evolution, describing what the actual evidence is and exploring how far can we take these interpretations.
This is a beginner course in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It will introduce you to the speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in the standard means of communication in the Arab world. The course is proficiency-based, implying that all activities are aimed at placing you, the learner, in the context of the native-speaking environment from the very beginning. Evaluation is done by the more traditional testing methods (vocabulary tests, dictations, grammar and translation exercises). We anticipate that by the end of this course (ARAB 042) students will range in proficiency from Novice High to Intermedaite Low on the ACTFL scale; in other words (using the terminology of the government's Foreign Service Institute), from 'incipient survival' to 'full' survival' in the native-speaking environment.
This is a double introduction: to looking at the visual arts; and, to the ancient and medieval cities and empires of three continents - ancient Egypt, the Middle East and Iran, the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Age, the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, and the early Islamic, early Byzantine and western Medieval world. Using images, contemporary texts, and art in our city, we examine the changing forms of art, architecture and landscape architecture, and the roles of visual culture for political, social and religious activity.
A general survey, designed for the non-major, of the facts and theories of the astronomical universe, from solar system, to stars, to galaxies and cosmology. Topics include planets, satellites, small objects in the solar system, and extraterrestrial life; stars, their evolution, and their final state as white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes; galaxies, quasars, large structures, background radiation, and big bang cosmology. Elementary algebra and geometry will be used. This course is not recommended for physical-science majors or engineering students.
This course is designed for students who have little or no previous exposure to Chinese. The main objective of the course is to help students develop their listening and speaking skills. The emphasis is on correct pronunciation, accurate tones and mastery of basic grammatical structures. By the end of the second semester, students will be able to manage many situations that have immediate concern to them, such as relating one's personal life and experiences, expressing preferences and feelings, ordering meals, purchasing goods, asking for directions. Chinese characters will not be taught.
Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last two decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no prerequisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, a final exam, and active participation.
Representations of war are created for as many reasons as wars are fought: to legitimate armed conflict, to critique brutality, to vilify an enemy, to mobilize popular support, to generate national pride, etc. In this course we will examine a series of representations of war drawn from the literature, film, state propaganda, memoirs, visual art, etc. of Russia, Europe and the United States. We will pursue an investigation of these images of conflict and bloodshed in the larger context of the history of military technology, social life, and communications media over the last two centuries. Students will be expected to write two papers, take part in a group presentation on an assigned topic, and take a final exam. The goal of the course will be to gain knowledge of literary history in social and historical context, and to acquire critical skills for analysis of rhetoric and visual representations.
Introduction to economic analysis and its application. Theory of supply and demand, costs and revenues of the firm under perfect competition, monopoly and oligopoly, pricing of factors of production, income distribution, and theory of international trade.
SAFFIE, FELIPE E
Introduction to economic analysis and its application. An examination of a market economy to provide an understanding of how the size and composition of national output are determined. Elements of monetary and fiscal policy, international trade, economic development, and comparative economic systems.
CONNELL, ALYSSA L
Jane Austen lived and wrote at a certain moment in time, in a particular culture. This course will consider her works in that context. We will begin by the semester by looking briefly at writings by some of Austen’s predecessors, authors like Samuel Richardson and Frances Burney, whose works shaped her own writings. We will then turn to Austen’s novels, our main focus. Alongside each novel, we will read short related texts published at the same time – selections from Gothic novels with Northanger Abbey, instructions for household management with Emma, abolitionist poems with Mansfield Park, and wartime newspaper reports with Persuasion, for example. After thinking about Austen’s relationship to popular culture of her own time, we will conclude the semester by considering how Austen’s novels have been interpreted in contemporary adaptations such as Clueless, Bride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Students will also engage with various critical perspectives via brief presentations on trends in Austen criticism.
A look at various manifestations of the gothic in fiction and nonfiction prose.
We’ll begin with Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights, both of which make us consider the relationships between monstrous behavior and family dynamics. Moving across the ocean, we’ll look at American Gothic, which is dramatically different from its British parents. We’ll read tales by Hawthorne, Melville and Poe, and then venture into the ghost story with Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. We’ll meet another ghost in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, explore nonfiction prose with Capote’s In Cold Blood, then conclude with Dracula. We’ll also see clips from the many film versions of some texts.
Requirements include brief weekly reading responses, a mid-term and a take-home final.
This course fulfills the Arts and Letters requirement in the College and in the School of Liberal and Professional Studies.
The oceans cover over 2/3 of the Earth's surface. This course introduces basic oceanographic concepts such as plate tectonics, marine sediments, physical and chemical properties of seawater, ocean circulation, air-sea interactions, waves, tides, nutrient cycles in the ocean, biology of the oceans, and environmental issues related to the marine environment.
A first semester elementary language course for students who have never studied Italian or who have had very little exposure to the language. Students who have previously studied Italian are required to take the placement test. Class work emphasizes the development of the oral-aural skills, speaking and listening. Readings on topics in Italian culture as well as frequent writing practice are also included. Out-of-class homework requires work with the Internet, audio and video materials.
An introduction to the Latin language for beginners. Students begin learning grammar and vocabulary, with practical exercises in reading in writing. By the end of the course students will be able to read and analyze simple Latin texts, including selected Roman inscriptions in the Penn Museum.
COOK, TONI RACHEL
A general introduction to the nature, history and use of human language, speech and writing. Topics include the biological basis of human language, and analogous systems in other creatures; relations to cognition, communication, and social organization; sounds, forms and meanings in the world s languages; the reconstruction of linguistic history and the family tree of languages; dialect variation and language standardization; language and gender; language learning by children and adults; the neurology of language and language disorders; the nature and history of writing systems. Intended for any undergraduate interested in language or its use, this course is also recommended as an introduction for students who plan to major in linguistics.
Introduction to concepts and methods of calculus for students with little or no previous calculus experience. Polynomial and elementary transcendental functions and their applications, derivatives, extremum problems, curve-sketching, approximations; integrals and the fundamental theorem of calculus.
Brief review of High School calculus, applications of integrals, transcendental functions, methods of integration, infinite series, Taylor's theorem. Use of symbolic manipulation and graphics software in calculus.
Functions of several variables, vector-valued functions, partial derivatives and applications, double and triple integrals, conic sections, polar coordinates, vectors and analytic geometry, first and second order ordinary differential equations. Applications to physical sciences. Use of symbolic manipulation and graphics software in calculus.
Topics from among the following: logic, sets, calculus, probability, history and philosophy of mathematics, game theory, geometry, and their relevance to contemporary science and society.
FRANK, LLOYD J
We know that we like music and that it moves us, yet it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly why, and harder still to explain what it is we are hearing. This course takes on those issues. It aims to introduce you to a variety of music, and a range of ways of thinking, talking and writing about music. The majority of music dealt with will be drawn from the so-called "Classical" repertory, from the medieval period to the present day, including some of the "greats" such as Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi, but will also introduce you to music you will most likely never have encountered before. This course will explore the technical workings of music and the vocabularies for analyzing music and articulating a response to it; it also examines music as a cultural phenomenon, considering what music has meant for different people, from different societies across the ages and across geographical boundaries. As well as learning to listen ourselves, we will also engage with a history of listening. No prior musical knowledge is required.
Development of jazz from the beginning of the 20th century to present. Analysis of the stylistic flux of jazz, such as the progression from dance music to bebop and the emergence of the avant-garde and jazz rock. Attention will be given to both the artists who generated the changes and the cultural conditions that often provided the impetus.
This course will cover basic skills and vocabulary for reading, hearing, performing, analyzing, and writing music. Students will gain command of musical rudiments, including notation, reading and writing in treble and bass clefs, intervals, keys, scales, triads and seventh chords, and competence in basic melodic and formal analysis. The course will include an overview of basic diatonic harmony, introduction to harmonic function and tonicization. Musicianship skills will include interval and chord recognition, rhythmic and melodic dictation and familiarity with the keyboard. There will be in-depth study of selected compositions from the "common practice" Western tradition, including classical, jazz, blues and other popular examples. Listening skills--both with scores (including lead sheets, figured bass and standard notation), and without--will be emphasized.
Philosophers ask difficult questions about the most basic issues in human life. Does God exist? What does it mean to live a good life? How should I treat non-human animals? Do I have free will? How do I know that the world I see is really there? This course is an introduction to some of these questions and to the methods philosophers have developed for thinking clearly about them.
The explosion of scientific knowledge in early modern Europe cast doubt not only on the medieval worldview but also on its assumption of a theological guarantee for the possibility of human knowledge. Thus modern philosophers had to begin the project of establishing standards and foundations for human knowledge without a divine guarantee. The Reformation and the growth of secular states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries presented a similar challenge for modern moral and political philosophy, which thus faced the challenge of establishing norms for human conduct and their foundation without divine commands. We shall examine how the leading philosophers of modern times confronted these challenges, focusing primarily on the challenge for modern theories of knowledge but also considering at least some of the parallel developments in modern moral philosophy. Readings will include selections from Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and in the nineteenth century, the great American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce.
Written work will include several short papers and a final examination. Attendance at both lectures and discussion sections will be required, and participation in both can also count towards final grades.
An introductory course in the history and philosophy of science focused on the development of the modern, scientific view of the world. Starting with ancient Greek science, the course surveys the history of biology, chemistry, and physics examining the origin of concepts such as force, atom, evolution, species, and law of nature. The course also covers key issues in the philosophy of science including the relationship between theory and evidence, the nature of scientific explanation, and scientific realism. Readings will be drawn from the writings of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Descartes, Newton, Boyle, Dalton, Darwin, Mendeleev, and Einstein, as well as secondary sources.
The course will provide an introduction to models of human decision making. One of the primary purposes of the course is to provide a set of basic tools that will help the student translate qualitative uncertainty into numbers. A substantial amount of the course will deal with the theory of rational choice in the presence of objective and subjective uncertainty. Rational choice under uncertainty is by far the most used theory of decision making, and its applications are widespread in economics, finance, political science, law, managerial decision making, the economics of health care, and artificial intelligence. The course will use examples heavily from each of these fields (and also fun “paradoxes” such as the Monty Hall Puzzle) in providing an introduction to the basic foundations of decision making. We will also look at the shortcomings of the theory: both from intuitive and empirical perspectives. No mathematical prerequisites are necessary beyond high school algebra and arithmetic.
WOOTEN, MEREDITH A
Whether America begins with the Puritans and the Mayflower Compact, or with the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution, it is founded in resistance to empire. In the generations between, Americans have desired, dreaded and debated empire. This course will focus on empire and imperialism in American political thought. We will read primary texts addressing empire: from the departure and dissent of the Puritans, and Burke's Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies, to twentieth and twenty-first century debates over America's role in the world. These texts will include political pamphlets and speeches, poetry, novels, policy papers and film.
Introduction to the basic topics of psychology, including learning, motivation, cognition, development, abnormal, physiological, social, and personality.
This course is an introduction to the religious traditions of Southern and Eastern Asia. It surveys the beliefs, rituals, practices, and thought of major traditions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism—and less well known traditions—Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Shintoism. The focus of the course will be on the lived experience of each tradition, looking at the worldviews, motives and aspirations of religious figures. Further, we will trace historical developments by examining moments of sharing and contestation of religious, political, and social ideas between traditions in order to question their boundaries and integrity. Special emphasis is placed on the role of the visual in each religious culture. As Asian religions often do not draw the same boundaries between the sacred and profane as western traditions do, we will also interrogate the ways we approach the study of religion and problematize the very study of “Asian Religions” and “World Religions” in general. This course seeks to foster effective communication skills and to promote critical and independent inquiry into the ways the sacred has been and continues to be made, and how the vicissitudes of life are made meaningful in Asia.
This course develops elementary skills in reading, speaking, understanding and writing the Russian language. We will work with an exciting range of authentic written materials, the Internet, videos and recordings relating to the dynamic scene of Russia today. At the end of the course students will be comfortable with the Russian alphabet and will be able to read simplified literary, commercial, and other types of texts (signs, menus, short news articles, short stories) and participate in elementary conversations about daily life (who you are, what you do every day, where you are from, likes and dislikes).
This course studies the development of 19th and 20th century Russian literature through one of its most distinct and highly recognized genresthe short story. The readings include great masters of fiction such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, and others. The course presents the best works of short fiction and situates them in a literary process that contributes to the history of a larger cultural-political context.
Students will learn about the historical formation, poetic virtue, and thematic characteristics of major narrative modes such as romanticism, utopia, realism, modernism, socialist realism, and post-modernism. We critique the strategic use of various devices of literary representation such as irony, absurd, satire, grotesque, anecdote, etc. Some of the main topics and issues include: culture of the duel; the role of chance; the riddle of death; anatomy of madness; imprisonment and survival; the pathologies of St. Petersburg; terror and homo sovieticus.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to provide a broad overview of the discipline of U.S. sociology including its history, theoretical approaches, methods, ethical concerns, major intellectual debates, and important figures such as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Robert Park. We will read research articles about popular sociological areas of inquiry such as urban studies, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, the family, education, economic stratification, and housing. Some of the sociological articles address current affairs such as the subprime mortgage crisis and economic recession. We will also make connections between concepts and data patterns with sociological issues addressed in documentaries and class discussions. Students will also become familiar with aspects of the sociological research process and sources of data commonly used by sociologists as well as develop analytical and critical thinking skills.
The election of Barack Obama as the United States' first Black president has raised questions about whether we have entered a post-racial society. This course examines the idea of racial progress that is at the heart of such a question, paying close attention to how social scientists have defined and measured racial inequality and progress in the last century. We will consider how dramatic demographic shifts, the growing number of interracial families and individuals who identify as mixed-race, trans-racial adoptions, and the increased visibility of people of color in media, positions of influence, and as celebrities inform scholarly and popular debates about racial progress. Along with some classic works we will also read literature regarding the class versus race debate and color-blind racism. In the process, students will become familiar with sociological data often drawn from in debates about racial progress and will also develop analytical and critical thinking skills.