Languange: East meets West
Knowledge of language is an extraordinarily complex object of study. What is the relationship between language and mind? Is language a social or individual phenomenon? Is linguistic structure shaped by nature or by convention? Are there limits to linguistic variation? This course explores how eastern and western traditions have approached these questions. Topics include the influence of different writing systems on grammatical traditions; linguistic diversity and language change in China and Europe, and the role of socio-historical context in its characterization; the development of linguistics as a science; the social role of language; language as a political tool, and its sensitivity to the political landscape; treatment of linguistic disorders; and the relationship between language and mind.
Music in Urban Places
Music in Urban Spaces explores the ways in which individuals use music in their everyday lives and how music is used to construct larger social and economic networks that we call culture. We will read musicologists, cultural theorists, urban geographers, sociologists and educators who work to define urban space and the role of music and sound in urban environments, including through music education. While the readings make up our study of the sociology of urban space and the way we use music in everyday life to inform our conversations and the questions we ask, it is within the context of our personal experiences working with music programs at West Philadelphia High School or Henry C Lea Elementary, both inner city neighborhood schools serving economically disadvantaged students, that we will begin to formulate our theories of the contested musical micro-cultures of West Philadelphia. This course is over two-semesters where students register for .5cus each term (for a total of 1cu over the entire academic year) and is tied to the Music and Social Change Residential Program in Fisher Hassenfeld (http://fh.house.upenn.edu/musicandsocialchange) where most class participants live together. All participants volunteer in music classrooms for 3 hours per week, are expected to go to at least two concerts in the community during the year, attend the seminar weekly and complete all assignments.Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
Mideast Thru Many Lenses
This freshman seminar introduces the contemporary Middle East by drawing upon cutting-edge studies written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. These include history, political science, and anthropology, as well as studies of mass media, sexuality, religion, urban life, and the environment. We will spend the first few weeks of the semester surveying major trends in modern Middle Eastern history. We will spend subsequent weeks intensively discussing assigned readings along with documentary films that we will watch in class. The semester will leave students with both a foundation in Middle Eastern studies and a sense of current directions in the field.Cross-Cultural Analysis
Beyond Biology--Enhancing the Human Mind through Technology
Transhumanists seek to extend the capacities of the human mind beyond the bounds of the human brain and body through technology. Indeed, for them, such an extension of human thinking and feeling represents the next big step in human cognitive evolution. In this course, we will examine the philosophical conception of a mind that underpins this movement to extend the human mind beyond human biology. Through an examination of the hypothesis that there can be non-biological thinking and feeling, we consider whether technologies that enable or enhance human mental faculties might one day completely supplant the biological machinery of the human body. We will also consider the moral issues surrounding the creation of transhumans. The questions that we consider in this course will get to the heart of what it means to possess a human mind and indeed to be a human being.
This course addresses the political economy of globalization. We will discuss what the term globalization means and why many observers argue that the current era is marked by globalization. We will also examine the factors that have contributed to the emergence of globalization. We will consider its political and economic implications, both the benefits of globalization and the challenges that it poses for contemporary society. Finally, we will analyze the sources of resistance to globalization and the extent to which it can be reformed.
Neurobiology of Brain Disorders
The human brain is clearly the most complicated and magical organ in the body. We don’t completely understand how it works, but we do know, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the human brain is prone to failure, either by acute injury, chronic degeneration, genetic flaws in its composition, or unknown disturbances in its behavior. Diseases of the brain can take many forms but are all uniformly devastating for individuals, families, and our society, and are also very costly. This course will explore the ways in which various brain disorders (both neurological and psychiatric) manifest themselves and discuss their underlying neurobiological mechanisms. In addition, the social and economic impact of these diseases on society will be considered, as well as some well publicized political issues surrounding many of these brain disorders.
This Is Your Genome! - Fascinating Experiments in Heredity
Your genome represents the complete set of genetic instructions that guides your development from a single cell into a living, thinking, and reproducing organism. This course will examine the ideas that led to our current understanding of genomes with particular emphasis on the molecular biology that revolutionized our concepts of gene and genome structure and function. We will fast-forward through the heredity/chromosome/DNA/gene-structure era and spend some time in the genome-sequencing era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. We will then consider how genome science is revolutionizing our understanding of gene variation, human disease, population biology and evolution. The course will include field trips to the Penn genomic core facilities.
Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 150, at a significantly higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles; conservation laws and symmetry principles; rigid body motion; noninertial reference frames; oscillations.
Students must enroll in both the seminar (PHYS 170.301, shown below) and one of the labs ( PHYS 170.302 or PHYS 170.303, below). The seminar meets for a fourth hour on Mondays from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
302 NG 15 T 0300PM-0500PM STAFF 15 OPEN LAB
303 NG 15 R 0100PM-0300PM STAFF 15 OPEN LAB
Structural Biology and Genomics
Structural biology is the scientific method of describing, predicting and changing the properties of living organisms, including humans, based on “complete” genome chemical structures (sequence) and 3-dimensional structures of cellular components. The intellectual and technical revolutions that occurred during the 20th century made this possible. It is today's approach to understanding biology and solving problems in medicine. We will discuss how macroscopic biological properties, such as reproduction, locomotion and viral infection, are determined by the physics and chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. Changes in biological function, in hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, result from minute changes in individual proteins. Much larger changes in genome and protein structure are often tolerated without consequence. Understanding and exploiting these phenomena at the molecular level is the basis of new technology in the agricultural, energy and drug industries. The broad range of medical, social and political problems associated with the advances will be considered. We will attempt to distinguish real progress from fads and fashion. In addition to several books, there is a weekly reading assignment from Science, Nature and the Tuesday New York Times. This is a two-semester seminar with 0.5 credit unit each semester of the academic year.
Proving Things: Analysis
This course focuses on the creative side of mathematics, with an emphasis on discovery, reasoning, proofs and effective communication, while at the same time studying real and complex numbers, sequences, series, continuity, differentiability and integrability. Small class sizes permit an informal, discussion-type atmosphere, and often the entire class works together on a given problem. Homework is intended to be thought-provoking, rather than skill-sharpening.
Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) Seminar, Part II
This is the second part of the two-semester seminar designed to introduce students to the VIPER program and help them prepare for energy-related research. In this semester, we will continue to discuss research articles on various energy-related topics, best practices for library research, presentation of data, basic research methods, research ethics, data analysis, and funding options. A large focus of the course will also be on presenting (in both written and oral form) the work from the students' summer research internships.