HSA 10 Sections

Explanation need for what this is.

01. Minimalism (Alves)

The idea that less is more swept the art world in the 1960s. Since then the term minimalism has become attached to styles of painting, sculpture, music, and fiction among other fields. This art challenged preconceptions of what art is and should do, and these styles are a nearly maximal influence even today. No background in music or art is required, only a willingness to critically engage artwork that is possibly more than it appears.

02. English with an Accent: Voyage and Recreation in Language (Balseiro)

This course samples literary varieties of English from Europe, Africa, India and the Americas. Thematically, many of the works we will read – from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Nourbese Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue – concern voyages and the centrality of language in cultural transformation. Most of the texts we will study were written by masters of English prose such as Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe, for whom English is a second or third language. In a world increasingly divided by a common language, this course consists in an examination of the varieties of English and of the meanings and forms of its use in literature.

03. The Graphic Novel: Beyond Heroes and Villains (Dadabhoy)

Although graphic storytelling precedes the twentieth-century, for example, in prehistoric cave paintings, it has, in the twentieth century, evolved into a critical and intellectual genre that tackles subjects as varied as the crisis of costumed heroes in the modern world to the culture clash of the immigrant experience in the United States. In this course we will explore the way in which this form allows creators, writers and illustrators, to tell deeply personal and political stories. One of the primary questions guiding our inquiry will be how the form (the use of words and pictures) complements the content (the story).

04. What Would Animals Say? Animal Fables & What They Teach Us about Technology and Science (de Laet)

Can animals teach us anything about technology and science? The animal fables we discuss in this course cover a range of human-animal interactions – from apes making art to dogs on leashes; from delinquent vervets to decision-making cows. The stories suggest that animals take uncanny and perverse pleasure in setting us – experts, care-takers, keepers, experimenters, trainers, humans at large – on the wrong foot. And they offer lessons about the ethics and the methodologies of science, inviting reflection on the means, moralities, and modes at work in the making of knowledge. Consider this section of HSA10 a foray into the world of responsible and responsive science and engineering – an introduction in the study of Science, Technology, and Society.

05. Natural Religion/Religious Naturalism (Dyson)

Can we access the sacred through science? Can we find the Divine in Nature? Why might we want to or not? In this course, we will explore these questions, starting with a critical reading of The Sacred Depths of Nature by cell biologist and author Ursula Goodenough, and moving through both contemporary and historical treatments of the questions offered by scientists, theologians, and philosophers. We will examine our preconceptions about what counts as religion, nature, and science, and consider how relationships between these three categories have shifted at particular historical moments.

06. Seeing (Fandell)

Seeing comes before words. We are born into a sea of images. The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the meanings of images and words alike. But many of us take images at face value, as naturalized occurring phenomenon that need no interpretation. This course focuses on how meaning is constructed in our visual world, how to make sense of it and how to use this knowledge in our everyday experience. We will be analyzing everything from 15th century paintings to selfies to NASA images of our world and beyond to figure out how they shape our seeing and, in turn, our thinking.

07. Unreality (Plascencia)

Your nose has left you. Your lover is experiencing reverse evolution. A filthy angel has crash-landed on your yard. You, a Neanderthal, have had it with caveman puns. These are the dilemmas of the unreal. Through a wide selection of short fictions, we will explore the aesthetics and politics of unreality. The readings will include works by Nikolai Gogol, Jorge Luis Borges, Rosario Ferré, Gabriel García Márquez, Aimee Bender, and George Saunders.

08. Star Trek and Social Theory (Seitz)

While artists have long turned to science fiction to address social conflicts that can prove difficult to confront directly, the Star Trek franchise has garnered both considerable praise for its at times quite thoughtful social critique, and formidable mainstream cultural and economic success. This course will use Star Trek as point of departure and return for engaging important introductory texts in critical social theory, with a focus on issues including economic exploitation, cultural domination, geopolitical conflict, ecological transformation, and the politics of technology. The course will support students in identifying connections between theoretical text and televisual/cinematic narrative, and in developing original, synthetic and critically informed arguments in essay form. Familiarity with the Star Trek franchise is not a requisite for the course.

09. Political Analysis (Steinberg)

Politics has a profound influence on our daily lives. This course provides an opportunity to analyze complex political problems, to debate the merits of competing worldviews and policy proposals, and to communicate your views through high-impact writing and public speaking. Drawing on insights from political science and related fields, we will consider contemporary controversies as well as long-standing debates and will explore the links between the two

10. Making Sense of Humanity (Thompson)

This course explores ways of thinking about what it means to be human—that is, to be morally-minded animals who share in some history and some future, as well as certain values, cultural experiences, and narratives. As we continue to influence and be shaped by our globalized, technology-driven world, and as scientific research influences how we understand ourselves and our environments, it is more relevant than ever to contemplate and potentially redefine what it means to be human and behave humanely. We will draw from perspectives in philosophy, psychology, and cultural studies to address the core questions of the class.

11 & 12. Creative Disruption (Wirthlin)

Often when we see writers in movies or on television, they’re shown waiting for inspiration, and when it strikes, the words flow rapidly. Most often this isn’t what really happens. In this section of HSA 10 we’ll explore the ways in which a number of writers have worked against the traditional notion of inspiration to create texts. We’ll read works by writers who rely on chance, writers who use restrictive formal constraints, conceptual writers and writers who steal, recycle, erase the work of others and use all manner of techniques in the name of producing work that exceeds the limits of inspired production. Some of the authors we’ll read are Robert Coover, Christian Bok, Raymond Queneau, Jen Bervin, Jonathan Lethem, Roland Barthes, Vanessa Place and many others. Through these critical and creative works, we’ll be concerned with questions about why someone might want to create this way, what happens when they do, and what happens to the idea of literature itself in light of this creative disruption.

13. Intellectual Freedom and Intellectual Virtue (Wright)

In this section, we will explore conceptions of the nature and importance of intellectual freedom and of the virtues appropriate to intellectual life. Reading selections may include (in whole or in part): Plato, Apology and Euthydemus; John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration; Tzvetan Todorov, In Defense of the Enlightenment; Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind; Glenn Loury, “Self-Censorship in Public Discourse”; Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, Free Speech on Campus; Jason Baehr, The Inquiring Mind; and Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.