Spring 2018 Courses

All courses taught by Robinson Professors are open to anyone meeting department prerequisites.
Spencer CrewRobert Hazen | Carma Hinton | Steven Pearlstein | Laurie Robinson | James Trefil

 

Spencer Crew

HIST 499:001: Slavery, Abolition, and the Underground Railroad
Slavery and its abolition was one of the major issues in the United States leading up to the Civil War. Southerners saw slavery as a positive good for themselves and for the enslaved people they controlled. Abolitionists saw slavery as a blemish on the nation and were committed to bring it to an end. The participants of the Underground Railroad took direct action to undermine slavery by aiding enslaved people seeking freedom escape and start new lives. Reading the ideas and stories of the individuals who were a part of this interracial activist movement, investigating how the underground railroad worked on a day-to-day basis, and examining how historians have assessed this movement will provide the foundation for research class participants will do on the underground railroad and abolition. The Underground Railroad was a complex operation which over the years has had many myths connected to it. Sorting the myth from reality will enable students to better understand how historians assess research material and craft a thesis for their work. They will then apply these insights to the writing of their own research paper for the class.

(W 1:30-4:15 pm)

HIST 691:001: Museum Studies
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the theory and practice of museums with an emphasis on history institutions.  We will examine the origins of museums and the leaders who helped shape the field.  History and memory, surviving controversy, the changing role of museums, museum learning, creating exhibitions, the future of museums, and museums and innovation are among the issues which will be covered.  In the process the class will gain an understanding of the numerous challenges facing museums as well as the process of proposing, researching, and executing an exhibition.

(T 7:20-10:00 pm)

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Robert Hazen

PROV 301:001: Great Ideas in Science
A non-technical introduction to the ideas that have shaped the growth of science. The idea behind each major advance is treated in its historical context, with special attention to its importance in mankind’s understanding of the nature of the universe. Examples are taken from the physical, geological, and biological sciences.

(M 4:30 – 7:10 p.m.)

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Carma Hinton

ARTH 384:001 Arts of China

What makes China the world’s oldest continuous civilization?  Highlighting some of China’s most remarkable artistic achievements, this course explores the dynamic ways in which China interacted with other cultures and absorbed their influences.  The course also examines how social, religious and political shifts have given rise to new forms of material culture and impacted artistic expression.  Despite such changes, however, certain themes and artistic impulses that emerged early on have persisted throughout China’s long history into the present.  This course identifies and traces these enduring characteristics that define what we recognize as Chinese.  Cross-listed as CHIN 470.

(T 4:30-7:10 pm)

HNRS 230:004 Ways of Eating, Ways of Being: Chinese Culture and Society through the Lens of Food

“We are what we eat” is a well-known proverb.  But we are also “how we eat.”  This course uses food as a lens to explore topics relating to Chinese society, politics, literature, and art.  The course also includes a global perspective by examining the ways in which the migrations of certain food plants and food ways into or out of China have blended cultures and changed societies.

(M 4:30-7:10 pm)

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Steven Pearlstein

GOVT 467:001: Money, Markets and Economic Policy
No prerequisite. Applies basic economic concepts to an examination of fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies. Explores the way markets work, the reasons they sometimes fail and the role of government policy. Topics include productivity and economic growth, taxes, health care, globalization, income distribution and financial crises, with an emphasis on market structure, social institutions and the not-always rational behavior of investors and consumers.

Over the last decade, economics has moved from the periphery of the political conversation to its white hot center. This course will provide a familiarity with the fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies, along with an understanding of the economic principles that underlie them. The course is aimed at non-economics majors seeking the economic literacy necessary to do their jobs, manage their lives and participate intelligently as citizens in a democracy.  It is taught by a prize-winning journalist with a knack for demystifying complex economic ideas and policy choices and translating them into conversational English. There are no prerequisites and the course involves very little math. Critical thinkers with curious minds are strongly encouraged to enroll.

(MW 1:30-2:45 pm)

HNRS 131:006 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives: Wealth and Poverty

In this seminar, we will explore wealth and poverty through different disciplines (literature, economics, politics, sociology, philosophy), different media (biography, non-fiction essays, journalism, novels, plays, movies) and the experience of different countries (England, Russia, the United States).  How are the wealthy different from the rest of us? Why are the poor poor, and how do we explain the persistence of poverty even in wealthy societies? Through history, how have the poor viewed the rich and the rich view the poor? What is the moral justification for great differences in wealth? How have views of social class changed?  Students will be required to write an essay answering one such question, drawing on the course readings as well as their own research and experiences.  Readings include Brideshead Revisited (Waugh), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Boo), The Other America (Harrington), Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck) and Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe).  Movies include “Remains of the Day, “The Cherry Orchard,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “Wall Street.”

(TR 10:30-11:45am)

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Laurie Robinson

CRIM 790:001 Capstone in Policy and Practice

Students in this course will work with a justice organization – whether a government agency or a non-profit – to plan, initiate and undertake a research project of usefulness to the organization.  Production of this report (e.g., a “white paper”) will be the focus of the course.  This Research Practicum is the capstone experience for students pursuing a new concentration on Criminology Policy and Practice within the Department of Criminology, Law and Society’s MA program.

(R 4:30-7:10 pm)

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James Trefil

HNRS 353:004 : Science of Cities 
What will the Washington area look like in 50 years? This course will focus on the technology and development of cities, using the capitol area as an example. Students will look at present-day Washington from a historical standpoint and learn what we can predict for its future in light of robotics, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering.

(M 4:30-7:10 pm)

HNRS 353:005: Scientific Revolution

Critically analyzes emergence and impact of specific technologies on contemporary cultures and the core concepts surrounding these technologies, including legal, social, ethical issues and the technology’s relationship to core information security issues. Students develop a significant research project employing multiple disciplinary perspectives. This project will be communicated ethically and with cultural awareness through written, oral and digital means, showing a critical understanding of technologies and their impact.

(T 4:30-7:10 pm)

 

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