Fall 2022 Courses

All courses taught by Robinson Professors are open to anyone meeting department prerequisites.
Spencer CrewSteven Pearlstein | James Trefil | Hakeem Oluseyi

Spencer Crew

HNRS 240:002 History of the Family

The definition of family and the role of each member of that unit have evolved over the years.  Often the changes are related to economic circumstances and the social mores of the society.  This course will primarily examine the way the American family has changed since colonial days.  In the process we will study how the responsibilities of women, children, and men have altered and why.  We also will compare this with views of family operation in other selected societies such as Rome, India, China, and Japan.

In addition, the class will acquire basic skills in oral history so they can interview family members or close associates to better understand their own family history or the experiences of others growing up.

(TR 10:30 – 11:45 AM)

HIST 300:001 Introduction to Historical Methods – Underground Railroad and Abolition

The course will introduce students to the theory and practice of history.  It will use the Underground Railroad and its connections to slavery and abolition as the vehicle for teaching skills in historical thinking, research, and writing.  The Underground Railroad was a loose network of individuals dedicated to undermining the institution of slavery and gaining freedom for African Americans enslaved by the institution.  Studying it will provide an opportunity for using historical skills and methodology to separate myth from truth in the process writing a research paper.

(T 1:30 – 4:20pm)

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Steven Pearlstein

GOVT 367:004 Issues in Government and Politics:  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)

Govt 490:007 Polarization and the 2022 Election

The 2022 congressional election is shaping up to be the most consequential and hard-fought of any in recent memory, and we will follow it as it unfolds. As it does, our particular focus will be on how and why Americans have become so politically polarized, sorting themselves into warring political tribes characterized by sharp differences in class, race, religion, education, geography and lifestyle.

This course is designed for students who already have an interest in, familiarity with and passion for American politics. Throughout the semester, you will be expected to stay abreast of the major developments in the national election campaign while following in much greater detail one particular hotly contested House or Senate race. Many weeks, we will have a well-known guest speaker who know about politics and campaigns from the inside or who have studied it closely from the outside. Once the votes are all counted, we will analyze what happened and why.

As with all Govt 490 courses, this one involves a considerable amount of group project work and individual writing that require you to synthesize what you have learned about society and government and the way people behave. (TR 9:00-10:30am)

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James Trefil

PHYS 122:003 Inside Relativity

Introductory course describing Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity intended for majors and nonmajors.

(Aug 22-Oct 9 TR 9:00am-10:15am)

PHYS 123:004 Inside the Quantum World

Introductory course describing quantum theory intended for majors and nonmajors.

(Oct 12-Dec 15 TR 9:00am-10:15am)

HNRS 360:004 The History of Science

This course will trace the development of science from the construction of monuments like Stonehenge to the latest ideas about the Large Hadron Collider and the Multiverse. No previous scientific knowledge will be presumed, and the major ideas of science will be developed in their historical context. The course will include readings from important historical texts, and students will be asked to dvelop and present biographies of major scientific figures.

(M 4:30-7:10 pm)

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Hakeem Oluseyi

COS 301:001 Great Ideas In Science

The discoveries of science, as well as their technological applications, play major roles in your life—roles that impact your family, your health, your job, and much more. It is vital that every citizen understand the nature of science, and how scientists arrive at conclusions regarding health, safety, and the environment. The central objective of this course is to introduce to you the most important principles of science, with an emphasis on understanding science at a level that will allow you to appreciate varied natural phenomena in your daily life, as well as reports in magazines and newspapers. We avoid complex vocabulary and mathematics, while emphasizing a few core principles, as well as the nature of scientific questions, the importance of scientific facts, and the process of scientific discovery as a way of knowing. This course, an integral part of the General Education program, has been designed to empower each of you with the ability to continue learning about science throughout your lifetime and to integrate scientific ideas into other aspects of your life. Scientific principles affect all of us, all the time. You don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate the profound importance of science in everyday life and to be a part of the never-ending adventure of scientific discovery. (T 4:30 – 7:10 pm)

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